Exomologesis: OR, A Faithfull Narration OF The Occasion and Motives of the Conversion unto Catholike Vnity OF HUGH-PAULIN DE CRESSY, Lately Deane of Laghlin, &c. in Ireland, and Prebend of Windsore in England.

Now a second time printed; With Additions and Explications, by the same Author, who now calls himself, B. Serenus Cressy, Religious Priest of the holy Order of S. Benedict, in the Convent of S. Gregory in Doway.

Luc. cap. 22. vers. 32. Tu aliquando conversus, confirma fratres.

A PARIS, Chez Jean Billaine, Rue S. Jacques à l'En­signe S. Augustin. MDCLIII.

To the Honourable, Walter Montagu, Esquire.

Sir,

IN this happy retrayt of a volun­tary banishment from the world, (which by Gods goodnesse I have made choice of) one principall de­signe of my thoughts is not to think of the world; yet this cannot justifie nor excuse me, if I should endea­vour or be willing to forget such a Person, as you, and one to whom I have so great obligations. Indeed I should not comply with this my Vo­cation, if I did not oftentimes re­member you. To think of you, to write to you, or converse with you, are not worldly businesses: they may become, and cannot but be advanta­gious, even in matter of spirit, to the most abstracted persons: for [Page] what will such an object represent to them, but a true esteem of heaven, gracefully set off by an heroicall con­tempt of earth; and this exemplifi­ed to the best advantage by one, who in the middest of the greatest afflu­ence of all worldly contentments, in the strength of his age, and vigor of capacity, when he was most disposed and inabled to tast whatever was gustfull in them, yet had the succes­full courage to despise and renounce them: And which is more admira­ble, one that still maintains a fearles­nesse of their skill to recall his liking of them; since out of pure charity to God, and his distressed servants, he dares yet live in sight of them, a stranger to them; one that (with himself) consecrates all his own riches to God, and onely interesses himself in the wealth of others, to the end that he may procure supplies for those that want, and to inrich those, who by supplying such wants, [Page] can be perswaded to purchase eter­nall treasures?

To you, SIR, therfore I addresse my self, willing to take any, even this poor occasion, by a very mean Present to testifie to the world my cordial af­fectionate esteem of you & my thank­full acknowledgment of your great goodnesse and charity towards me, expressed by a considerable pension, without any intercession of friends, voluntarily offered, and out of your own prison and straitnesse freely sent me immediately after my Con­version, though a meer stranger to you, yet sufficiently recommended by relinquishing of Friends, Estate, and Country, for that Religion's sake, which before had made the same con­quest over you: And since expres­sed by many testimonies of your friendly benignity and confidence.

I take leave therefore to present unto you this Book, as it is now a second time published. The subject [Page] of it is the story of my uncertainties and wandrings; and in conclusion, my fix'd establishment in the same solid foundation of Truth with you, which gained [...]e first the happinesse of your affection. And I pretend in this second publication to a further entrance into the same affection, not for any worth of the Treatise, but onely for the testimony that I, of mine own accord, give publikely of my declining, to consider mine own fame or esteem with men, in a mat­ter that respects, though only the cir­cumstances of divine Truth; Since the ground why I renew the impres­sion is to signifie, that I detest to maintain, with a perverse constancy, even the smallest phrases or words, which I could suspect might be ob­noxious to offence or misconstruction.

I cannot call it a Book of Contro­versies, though the essentiall points of Catholike Religion be asserted in it: or if of Controversies, it is [Page] principally against those that unne­cessarily multiply them.

Whatsoever it is, a poor Present it is, God knowes; and yet even in that respect lesse unacceptable to you, who despise riches; and more becoming me, whose profession is poverty. I pretend to no reward, or if any, I am content that your pardon should be my reward: Yet I must recall my words; I do indeed humbly expect and beg a great reward, no lesse then the richest kind of Almes, Prayers: and the best of that best sort of Almes, your prayers; mine for you have been alwayes due, since I knew you; and, God willing, shall be most faithfully paid at Gods holy Altar; for I am, in truth of heart,

SIR,
Your Servant in our Lord, most affectionately devoted, B. SERENUS CRESSY.

To the Right Reverend Fathers, the Fathers DD. Religious of the Holy Order of the Carthusians in the English Convent at Newport in Flanders.

Right R. R. Fathers.

SInce it was the eminent sanctity of your Order (in vaine endeavoured with greater care by you to be hid from the observation of the world, then by o­thers their hypocrisie) which contributed much to put me in a condition of writing a discourse of this nature: And since it was by the command, and for the satisfa­ction of certain Superiours of your Order likewise, that contrary to my Resolution I adventured upon this work: and last­ly, since it was by the advice and encou­ragement of certain of your Fathers Reli­gious, that I took the confidence to publish it, being written; therefore in strict justice it ought to return and addresse it self thi­ther, from whence in so many respects it took its originall.

But whereas the language made it un­capable [Page] either of the censure or apology of those persons who had the greatest and immediate influence upon it, and besides, though it had been Translated, it would not have procured that effect which I in­finitely desire; Therefore it may seem that meer necessity hath cast upon you this trouble and charity. Though the truth is seeing the almost only argument of this Book is to maintain Catholike Uni­ty against the sacriledge of Schisme, there could scarce be chosen fitter Patrons for it' then such persons, who are the true successors of those Innocent Martyrs, with the effusion of whose blood, both Ca­tholike Unity expired in England, and that Sacrilegious Tyrant K. Henry 8. dedicated his accursed Idol of Schisme; an act, which alone may be able to rectifie the judgments of the seducing & seduced World: for can any man think otherwise, but that Catholike Unity is a daughter of heaven, whose Victimes have been the lives of persons so only heavenly in their conversation [...] and how could that infer­nall, monster of Schisme prove her [...]rig [...] ­nall, better, then by being the designe of that Prince [...] abandoned to all impiety, [Page] as that he made choice to establish this his darling by sacriledge and murder: Sa­eriledge most palpably against his consci­ence, since in that regard be always con­tinued a Catholique: and murder of a most studied beyon [...]sness being commit­ted upō persons so innocent [...] that they that hated them, must thereby have professed that they hated innocence and Christian [...] it self; and so far from provo­king him, that they had no other com­merce with mankind, but only in praying for it? But has not almighty God given a succes [...] answerable? For what remains of that impious King, after six mariages (lawful & unlawful,) and innumerable [...], but onely the issue of a wicked Soul, viz. God knows, how many sediti­ous, murders, sacriledges, schismes, & be­ [...]s [...]r [...] Whereas on the other side those in­nor [...] Martyrs d [...] no doubt, from hea­ven [...] with joy [...] you a lawfull seed propagated in an uninterrupted suc­cession in [...] way, & continu­ing in the same Faith, Piety, Charity, & devotion, wch the [...] [...]lif [...]ed with their lives and sealed with their blood; a bles­sing, [...], [...] all other Religious English [Page] Orders of men, only allowed to you, though contrary to all humane judgement and probability; You being persons wholly un­interessed in secular designes, unknown to the world, and, by reason of your solitude and never-discontinued devotions, unca­pable of solliciting for the assistance of others.

Be pleased therefore (right RR. FF.) with your naturall benig [...]ity and chari­ty to admit this discour [...]e into your peace­full solitude: A blessing which the Author (alas!) dares not promise to himself, since by himself he is judged unworthy, and by others uncapable of it. He does notwith­standing with the greater confidence ex­pect this favour of your charity to his Book, because he may pretend in some degree to deserve it, since by presenting this Narration to your view, he shall af­ford unto you, who live the life of An­gells, the pleasure of Angells; viz. an oc­casion to rejoyce at the conversion of a sinner, and the exercise of Angells too, which is to procure, at least by their prayers, a continuance of divine Mer­cy to him. Which if by being remem, bred in your devotions, he shall obtain [Page] he will think that he ha's prudently cho­sen to prefer your Patronage before that of the greatest Princes.

Your RR. Fatherhoods Most humble and de­voted servant. H. P. de Cressy.

APPROBATIO.

NO [...] Fr. Placidus Gascoigne, Bene­dictinorum [...]ongregationis An­glicanae Praeses Generalis, Librum hune, inscriptum EXOMOLOGESIS, or a Narration, &c. à duobus Congre­gationis nostrae Theologis à Capitulo Generali ad id deputatis, lectum & approbatum, typis excudi permitti­mus. In quorum fidem nomen nostrum subscripsimus.

Datum in Conventu nostro Parisi­ensi, 10. Augusti, 1652.

Fr. Placidus Gascoigne Praeses, qui supra.

APPROBATIO.

EGo subscriptus in sacrâ Theologiâ Facultate Parisiensi Magister per­legi Tractatum hunc, cui titulus est, EXOMOLOGESIS, or, A Faithfull Narration of the occasion and motives of the Conversion unto Catho­like Unity of HVGH-PAVLIN de CRESSY, &c. Quem & Catholi­cae Fidei consonum inveni, & veritati revelatae Catholicè credentes certissi­mis inniti principiis ad summos ratio­nis apices ostendentem. Hic etenim Libellus evidentissimè demonstrat Ex­otica & petulantissima Socinianorum posita (qui tamen soli eorum omnium qui ab Ecclesia descivêre videntur ali­quatenus ratiocinari) ipsiusmet Religi­onis fundamenta subvertere: Quos verò haud jam diu Protestantium no­mine notatos habuimus, Anglos nomi­natim, quantúmvis Veterem Ecclesiam & antiquos Patres crepent, Novitatis, Schismatis & erroris manifestissimè e­vinxit. Quapropter typis utiliter man­dari posle judicavi.

Datum Parisiis 15. Junii, 1647.

H. Holden.

PERMISSION.

VEu I'Approbation de Monsieur Henry Holden Docteur en Theo­logie, permis d'imprimer, le premier de Iuillet, 1647.

Signè, Daubray.

APPROBATIO.

HVnc, quem jam ab aliquot annis diligenter perlegi & approbavi Librum (cujus titulus est Exomologesis, &c. ut suprà) iterum libenter appro­bo. Ea vero loca, quae ab aliquibus vel ex inscitia, vel ex pravo affectu malè intellecta audiverit Author, clariori modo, aliísque verbis in hac secunda Editione explicuit; qui nedum infir­mis voluit scandalum praebere. Appen­diculam etiam adjunxit, quâ hetero­doxi cujusdam anonymi leviores quas­dam in doctrinam s [...]am & Catholicam objectiunculas dissolvit ac pessundedit. Quae omnia testor esse Catholicae Ec­clesiae fidei & pietati congrua, ac pro­inde [Page] Librum hunc dignissimum judico qui denuò typis promulgetur.

Datum Parisiis 12. Octobris, 1652.

H. Holden.

APPROBATIO.

LIbrum (cuititulus Exomologesis, &c. unà cum Appendice) legi, in quo nihil Orthodoxiae aut Christianae pie­tati dissonum deprehendi; imò me­thodo facili, compendio sa, uincéque se­cura, veritas verè Catholica Catholi­cis fundamentis stabilitur, omnésque simul Haereses solidè, modestè & eru­ditè refelluntur; ideóque dignum judi­co, qui in communem utilitatem saepi­ùs imprimatur.

Datum Parisiis 20. Octob. 1652.

Fr. Paulus Dei Custodiens. S. The­ologiae Doctor & Diffinitor Con­gregationis Anglo Ben.

Ad Dignissimum Authorem.

LEgi & perlegi Exomologesim tuam (ô verè Seren [...]) & magnopere de­lectatus cum Orationis facilitate & Methodi luce, tum multò magis & ani­mi candore, & sulco luminis, quo viam è periculosissimo Errore ad constan­tissimam veritatem penitus instravisti; neque, quin tibi gratularer & Editio­nem commendarem, neque si quos, mei nominis quam desideras ad scrip­tio, movere potest, iis illam nè accep­tissimam facerem, me potui continere.

Datum è tuguriolo meo pridie Ka­lendas Octobris, Anno Salutis su­prà millesimum sexcentesimum, quingagesimo secundo.

Thomas Albius. S. Theologiae Professor.

APPROBATIO.

ACcepto Theologi, viri docti ac si­de digni, testimonio (cui librum hunc inscriptum EXOMOLOGE­SIS, or a faithfull Narration, &c. perlegendum commisi) nihil hoe in opere contra fidem ac bonos mores; quinimò plurimum utilitatis, ad re­ducendas [Page] intra gremium Ecclesiae oves perditas, eásque veritati pristinae vin­dicandas, contineri; Librum istum meritò imprimendum, ac fidelibus summè commendandum censeo.

Datum è Musaeo nostro 1. Octobr. 1652.

H. Metham. E. C. V. G. & olim S. Theol. Professor.

APPROBATIO.

EXomologêsim hanc, antiquae Fidei vindicem, ab eruditissimo Domino D. Sereno Cressy, viro Novatoribus invi­dendo, conscriptam, non tam oculis ho­minum orthodoxè Sapientium quàm a­nimis imprimendam judico. Dignum si­quidem ut Sphaeram planè candidam in­veniat silius lucis emancipatus ex regno tenebrarum. Prodeat igitur è coelo suo sidus suum, & ut palàm in terris radios videant ultro-coecutientes, O­pus typis evulgetur.

Dat. 3. Kalend. Octob. 1652.

T. I. sacrae Theologia Professor.

S. AVGVSTIN. Ep. ad Fund. c. 4.

OMitting therefore that wisdome which you deny to be in the Catholike Church; there are many other things which most justly retain ine in her b [...]ome: The consent of Peo­ples and Nations retain me there: Authority begun by Miracles, nourished by hope, aug­mented by charity, confirmed by Antiquity, retain me there: The succession of Prelates ever since the scat of S. Peter (to whom our Lord after his Resurrection consigned the feeding of his Sheep (to the present E­piscopaecy, retains me there; Lastly, the very name of Catholique retaines me there, which, not without cause, this Church onely, among so many and so great Heresies, hath in such sort maintained, that when a stranger demands, Where men meet to com­municate with the Catholike Church; there is not any one Heretike ha's the confidence to direct him to his Temple or house.

S. AUGUST. de Unit. Eccles. c. 19.

I Suppose if there were extant any wise man to whom our Lord Jesus Christ had afforded his testimony, and if he were consulted with by us concerning this question, we should by no means doubt to do that which he should deter­mine; and this left we should be judged to op­pose our selves not so much to him, as to the Lord Jesus Christ, by whose tectimony he was commended. Now Christ ha's afforded a testi­mony to his Church.

THE PREFACE.

1. I Had no intention at all to write, much lesse to give to publike view this account of the Reasons and Motives of my relinquishing Error and Schism, and rejoyning my self to Catholike V­nity. Not that I preferred mine own ease before the endeavouring to con­tribute, though in the smallest degree, to the spirituall good of others: But me thought a writing of such a na­ture would seem to argue that I judg­ed my self a person of such conside­ration, as that men would expect from my hands such an account: A conceit, which truly I never entertained, nei­ther had I any reason so to do.

2. Yea afterward, when some men (I am confident, without any visible grounds either from my conversation in times past, or late proceedings) did assume to themselves the authority, or rather, licence, to judge of my in­ward thoughts and intentions, char­ging [Page] me with worldly ambition, dis­content, or melancholy, and attribu­ting to such unworthy Principles that change, which was only the effect of Divine goodnesse and mercy implo­red with earnest and continuall pray­ers: Yet other mens injustice to me did not make me injust to my self, so far as to think that that could qualifie me so as to be fit to appear in publike. All the effect it had upon me was, in regard of my self, a secret joy to suffer any thing for so blessed a cause, as Ca­tholique Unity; and in regard of the authors of such aspersions, a secret griefe and compassion, that they would needs declare themselves ill­willers to me for endeavouring, with­out any others hinderance or losse, to save mine own Soule; or that (resol­ving to be so injust) they would make choice of such imputations, which (though they had in themselvs been true, yet) no man could believe them to have been competent accusers and informers of thoughts, known only to almighty God.

3. But, what neither the just con­tempt and disesteem which I had of [Page] my self would permit, nor the unjust calumniations of others could extort from me, a command intimated from certain vertuous worthy persons Su­periours of the Holy Order of the Car­thusians (whom I thought my self in some sort obliged to obey, though as yet my Superiours only in desire and reverence) gave me the assurance to adventure upon. They, judging it re­quisite that I should give some proof both of the matute advice, and also of the reasonablenesse of my change, made me consider my self only as fit to obey them, without altering in a­ny degree the mean esteem I had of my self: And the same persons advising the publication of what I wrote, have thereby made me by this in genu­ous declaration of what I knew of my self (almost against my will) to answer the aspersions; which those that, I am sure, knew me not so well, haue published.

4. Now I do not pretend by this Narration to deprive them of their liberty of calumniating me still, since they may, if they please, say, linguam nostram magnisicabimus, labia nostra â [Page] nobis sunt: quis n [...]ster Dominus est? Psa. 11. 5. After this profession of the occasion and progresse of my en­quiry, and resolution in point of Re­ligion, which I here make in the pre­sence of God, and before the world, protesting that I do my self believe this history of my self which I now publish, I assure them I shall not put my self to the trouble of saying any more for mine owne vindication in this respect. Neither here do I answer their calumnies any other way, then by discovering my self naked to my very thoughts.

5. They may hereafter, if they please, continue to traduce me more probably and ingenuously, for no doubt I shall in this writing give them many advantages against my self: yea I must tell them my intention was to do them this pleasure; and for that reason I called this Narration an Exo­mologesis, and that with reflection up­on severall notions of that word: For first it is a publike Confession, and that not onely of my former errours and Schism, but withall joyn'd with a dis­covery of, no doubt, many imperfecti­ons [Page] in searching after truth, during the twi-light of my doubtings and uncer­tainties, and many weaknesses in de­fending the truth, after I had found it: So that they have confitentem reum, and such an one as wil be glad to have dis­covered unto him whatsoever is dis­proveable in this Treatise, to the end that, when he is convinced, he may sa­tisfie for them also. Besides, this is cal­led an Exomologesis in as much as it is intended to be a publike Confession or Thanks-giving, a Tabula votiva re­presenting to the world the tempests of Schisme and Heresie, from which I could not have escaped the utmost danger of shipwrack, had not almigh­ty God (the lover of souls) provided a secure haven for me in the Catholike Church. And therefore [...] &c. I give thee thanks O Fa­ther, Lord of heaven and earth, for that thou hast hidden these (mercies) from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes, [...]Even so Lord, for such was thy good pleasure. HO­SANNA IN EXCELSIS.

The first Section.

Conteining an Historicall Narration of the Authors occasion of doubting, and method in searching satisfaction.

CHAP. I.

The occasion of my departure out of England.

Bloody commotions of Calvinists there.

The horriblenesse and strangenesse of them.

1. IT was in the moneth of June in the yeare of our Lord 1644. that those most unna­turall bloody dissentions in Great-Brittaine, uni­versally spread through all the Provinces of that unhappy Nation, constrained me (not so much to avoid my personall danger, as out of the horrour to be a spectatour of such inhumane Tragedies, as were every where daily acted) to forsa [...]e my native countrey, to recreate my selfe with a voluntary exile, & to follow the conduct of the mercifull hand of God, which provided for me not only an opportunity & convenience of subsisting in forrein countrys, but likewise means of diverting in som measure my mind from the sad remembrance of the miseries I left behind me, and, by a retreit into places lesse frequented by passengers, of withdrawing mine [Page 2] cares from being wounded with fresh relations of new bloodshed and massacres.

2. I confesse that war was to me an object not only of horrour, but even astonishment, as having never read or heard of any other that could enter into any comparison with it.

3. Now that which astonished me in the present Commotions was, 1. To consider, that fatall concatenation of a world of disposi­tions and circumstances praeceding this war, so strange that no humane prudence could have foreseen or suspected them, if any of which had not happened, there had been no possibility of any prosperous successe to the Anti-Royallists. 2. To observe an event incredibly successefull to designes the most unreasonable and seeming­ly ridiculous that ever were. For, for example, who could imagine that an inconsiderable num­ber of peevish ignorant Presbyterians should ever come to be able to constreine a whole king­dome to forsweare the Religion, in which they had been bred, and to subvert their own Church upon a groundlesse suspition that the King had a designe to change his Religion, who yet was almost the only person that remained constant in it, so as to hazard not only the ruine of his estate, but the losse of his life also; For the time was, when (if he would have given up Episcopacy) he might have obteined in all other respects very tollerable conditions; Whereas severall of the wisest and learnedst of his Cleargy, have been content to buy their se­curity with a voluntrry degrading of themselves from their offices and titles; yea it may truly be said, that though many of them have suffered [Page 3] in extremity, yet it was not properly with an eye to their Religion, but rather their fidelity and loyalty to their Prince; or upon quarrells against Episcopall Tyranny, to perswade a Nation to accept of Presbyterian Tyranny, in­finitely more unreasonable and intollerable: And which is beyond beliefe, that they should be perswaded to imbarke themselves in a warre, wherein so many myriads of Soules have pe­rished, when the only differences (by the con­fession of the chiefe incendiaries, the Calvinist-Ministers and their partisans in France) were only trifling inconsiderable ceremonies and circumstances: Blessed God, what a strange furious spirit is this, which has from Calvin descended upon his followers, that moves them to such horrible resolutions and extremi­ties even for matters in their owne opinion of no considerable moment, and to the end to enforce their novelties and fancies upon the consciences of others against all justice and rea­son. For what is more unreasonable then that Sects, whose essentiall grounds are Scripture alone, with a renouncing of all visible au­thority to interpret it, should yet assume to them­selves an authority to enforce their opinions upon the consciences of others?

4. Was it possible to consider these things without astonishment? Is not the hand of God as manifest to the eyes of mens under­standings in this businesse, as the hand from heaven was to Baltassar, when by the help of Daniel he read the finall doom of his own and his kingdomes ruine in those words, MANE THE CEL PHARES? I must needs [Page 4] confesse that, though at my leaving of the king­dome the affaires between the King and Anti-royallists stood almost in aequilibrio, there being no considerable advantage on either party, notwithstanding I could not free my selfe from grievous apprehensions that Gods Providence had not been so busie and vigilant in contriving such a concurrence of ominous and prodigious events, to the end to suffer all things quickly to conclude in peace and tranquility.

CHAP. II.

Sacriledge and Perjury acknowledged even by Heathens to be principall causes of publique calamities.

1. FRom a view of our present miseries in England, and a sad presumption of yet worse to succeed, I turned my thoughts to a mo­dest consideration and probable divination of what might be supposed to be the causes of so so daine and dismall a change there, that is, what peculiar nationall sins have lately reigned in that kingdome, and awakned the just severity of God to make it such a spectacle of desolation, and Proverbe of misery above any other nation.

2. Even the Heathens themselves take no­tice of two especiall sinnes so immediately and directly contumelious to the Divine Majesty, and therefore in themselves so heynous, that they never escaped any long time an exemplary vengeance, and the punishment ordinarily in­wrapped [Page 5] even the posterity of the delinquents: Yea though they had been committed only by a private person, and that only inwardly and in designe, yet the Divine Iustice did com­monly extend the punishment to a whole na­tion: such sins the Graecians therefore called A' [...] that is, piacular extermnating crimes: among which the principall were esteemed Sacriledge and Perjury: so that whatsoever calamities seised any time upon any Nation, if it could be found out that either of these two heynous crimes had been committed, though but by a few particular persons, they presently absolved their Gods from any imputation of rigour, and much more of injustice.

3. Of this argument Plutarch speakes ex­cellently in his booke de ser â Numinis vindictâ. And particularly of Sacriledge there is extant in Elian (va [...] Hist. lib. 3 cap. 43.) an ancient memo­rable Delphian Oracle, to this effect,

[...]
[...]
[...]
[...]

That is, Divine vengeance delayeth not to pursue those that are guilty of this crime of Sacriledge, neither can they deprecate or avoyd it, no not though they were the off-spring of Jove himselfe: [Page 6] but it hovers continually over the heads of the guilty, and their Children also, and one calamity on their family overtakes another. An example whereof we find mentioned by Strabo and Gel­ [...]ius, in that so known History of the Gold of Tholouse. Strab. Geogr. lib. 4. A. Gell. lib. 3. cap. 9.

4. Then concerning Perjury, there is a re­markable example in Herodotus of Glaucus Epi­cydides, who could not escape punishment for having only deliberated and in his thoughts designed the forswearing a thing committed to his trust: where likewise this Pythian Oracle is mentioned,

[...]
[...]
[...]

That is, To a perjurd person there is an ofspring given obscure, without name, maimed in hands, and lame in feet: and this judgement seises upon him suddenly and irrcsistably, never quitting him till it have brought to desolation all his flocke and family.

CHAP. III.

England prodigiously guilty of Sacriledge since the Schisme.

Visible judgements have continually pur­sued this crime there.

1. NOw how dreadfully and universally the two Kingdomes of England and Scot­land have beene guilty of these two scandalous, and even to Heathens abominable crimes, Sacriledge and Perjury, since the time that the schisme from Catholique Unity began, is no­toriously apparent to all the world, and with a secret remorse bewayled even by the English Protestants themselves. No man therefore can jnstly blame me as a discoverer and publi­sher of the faults of my beloved countrey, too farre spread already, and too much boasted of by that infamous faction of Calvinists, hereto­fore the chiefe authours of these sins there, and now the avengers of them. It is Schisme onely to which I impute these prodigious crimes: for before the birth of that monster, I appeale to all manner of ancient Records, if ever there was any nation more abounding in holy Offerings, or more exactly obscuring a sincere fidelity and simplicity. I may therefore without blame set downe the dire effects of the most pernici­ous sect that ever was, which is able to convert Paradice it selfe into a savage wastnesse.

2. In the first place then, what a ravage of holy Offerings did that unsatiable gulfe of luft [Page 8] and avarice King Henry the VIII. of England make at the beginning, and for the justifying of his Schisme? How did he at one fatall swoope, snatch away all the goods and reve­newes, drive out all the consecrated servants, and with axes and hammers hew downe all the houses of God in the land belonging to all Religious Orders? A crime the more horrible in him, in as much as he professed at the same time, and made that profession good by his cruelty that (excepting his withdrawing himselfe from his Obedience to the Pope) he continued in the be­liefe of all other Catholique Doctrines, preser­ving likewise in the Calender, and celebrating the memory of those Saints, S. Benedict, Saint Bruno, S. Dominick, S. Francis, &c. whose Reli­gions he utterly demolished.

3. In the dayes of his Sonne and Successour King Edward the VI. a Childe, the then-Pro­ [...]ctour and Governours adding compleat Haere­sie to the former Schisme, continued likwise the Sacriledge, sweeping some few gleanings that had escaped, and upon a ridiculous pre­tence of superstition devoured even to the very Hospitalls, Colledges, Schools and some Parish Churches. Even Qu. Elizabeth her selfe, how generous a Princesse soever, could yet streine her selfe to swallow downe many goodly Mannors belonging to her owne Bishops.

4. Since her times, even till this fatall age, Sa­criledge has much languished there: But now the present bloody Presbyterian Reformers intending as it were to fill the measure of Sacri­ledge to and above the brimme, and envying the pleasure of this sinne to the successours of [Page 9] this their new Schisme, doe labour to dig up the very roots of all Ecclesiasticall revenews, violently ravishing whatsoever belongs al­most to Almighty God in the Kingdome, the designe of many of them being not to spare even the tithes of Parishes, which they intend to exchange into narrow and scandalous sti­pends.

5. Now to justifie that observation of the Heathens touching Gods revenge continually attending this sinne of Sacriledge, and to demon­strate that God has shewd himself at least as sen­sible of this affront done him by Christians, as heretofore by Idolaters, I adjure all the inhabi­tants of England to witnesse with me, if a con­tinuall curse has not pursued and rested upon the families and estates of those, who have thought to enrich themselves by adjoyning the possessions of Gods Church to the inheritance of their Ancestors; if those holy things have not continually cankred and consumed whatso­ever temporall goods or lands have beene an­nexed to them; In a word; whether that may not be verified proportionably through that whole Kingdome, which to this purpose was observed by that learned Antiquary Sir Henry Spelman, who discoursing of this argu­ment, and bewayling, as oft hee did, the in­sensiblenesse of his country to this visible curse of God, tooke a Mappe of his owne Pro­vince, and opening a compasse to the distance of about twenty English miles, fixed one foot upon his owne house, with the other draw­ing a circle about it, and protesting that with­in that circle there had anciently beene (as I [Page 10] remember) neere thirty Monastries, Priories, Nunneries, and other Religious houses distribu­ted to severall familes there: Withall that with­in the same compasse there were about as many ancient Families that had had no portion in those Sacrilegious Spoyles; and that of the for­mer kind there were not left above three Religi­ous houses and Mannors which continued in the same families to which in the age immediately before they had been given: and of the later sort there were not above three families and e­states that had failed and changed Masters.

6. Now can any one possibly expect that Almighty God will be moved to repent himselfe of the plagues destined to that unhappy King­dome, or that hee will make use of such un­christian Reformers to procure the peace and tranquility of it, when so visible examples of his curses upon Sacriledge are not onely di­spised, but even a defiance is made against his severity, by persons, who most blasphemously stile it an honour done to Christ, onely to re­verse the sacred truths by him left unto his Church, and the Holy Orders by him establi­shed in it, but also to despoyle him of his coate after the losse of his cloak, and to expose him almost naked, in his Ministers, to the miseries and scorne of the world?

7. Can any thing else be expected for a proofe that our English Reformers are arrived to the height and perfection of this crime? Yet even something beyond this may be added. Let this age of Christians take notice, and let them not forget to tell it to their Posterity (if they can believe it) that concerning Sacriledge, Order is [Page 11] taken by a publique law: And this, not to con­firme the possession of Church-lands in those sacrilegious hands, to which they have beene given, not to afford them indempnity and secu­rity against any claim of God or his servants: (for how poore and inconsiderable an attentat is that to the impudence of our Reforming Cal­vinists!) But Order is taken by law against any mans repentance hereafter for Sacriledge, against feare of divine vengeance, against avoyding such visible curses from heaven: it is a crime for any man to cease to be Sacrilegious, or to pre­sume to restore unto Almighty God those things which he is perswaded belong unto him: it is not permitted to such a man to restore to the Priest to whom the care of soules is committed, the tythes, which certainly are either Gods due, or no mans: Before this can be done, allow­ance and indulgence must be had from all the three Estates of the Kingdome, they must all agree, as it were to their owne condemnation before such a man can be allowed to ease his tormented conscience, by freeing himselfe from such accursed spoyles. My deare countrey, I hope, will pardon me, if I professe that I could not free my selfe from grievous appre­hensions that a fearfull account will be exacted by Almighty God for a crime so continually and heynously committed, at which even Heatherto themselves would tremble.

CHAP. IV.

Perjury how frequently, and how hey­nously committed in England since the Schisme.

1. THen for the crying destructive sinne of Perjury, the guilt thereof so often, so heynously, so manifestly against conscience repeated hath almost universally seised upon the whole Kingdome. Indeed this sinne, as well as the former of Sacriledge, is the ordinary and al­most necessary attendant of Schisme and Haeresie. That great Patriarch of both, Calvin, would not vouchsafe to impart his skill in these two qualities to them of Geneva, till they had by a solemne publique oath obliged themselves indi­spensibly to embrace whatsoever doctrines he should establish among them, and till they had charged a curse upon themselves and their po­sterity for ever, if afterward they did repent themselves of that Perjury and Rebellion against their lawfull Prince and Bishop.

2. Concerning England, the poore subjects there, ever since Schisme and Haeresie found en­trance, have beene as of course accustomed to be constreined to forsweare themselves by pub­like Order and in a most solemn fashion, when­soever either the lusts or interests of their Prin­ces have moved them to introduce any novel­ties among them. First, Henry the eight, without giving his subjects leave or space to studie the point of Controversie (which yet indeed was then no controversie at all) with forced consent of [Page 13] his Parliament constreined them generally to renounce one Article of that Faith (namely, O­bedience to the Visible Universall Pastour of the Catholique Church) wherein they and their An­cestors for many ages had been bred, a doctrine introduced, and generally embraced there ever since the Nation was converted from Heathe­nisme by their glorious Apostle S. Augustine, the Benedictin Monke delegated thither by the more glorious Pope S. Gregory the Great. To ef­fect which Perjury, the meaner sort of people were forced by Tyranny, and the Great-ones allured by partaking in the spoiles of Sacriledge.

3. After his death, those sacrilegious persons who governed the Kingdome during the reigne and minority of his Son, caused the Parliament a second time to impose upon the whole Nation a yet greater Perjury, namely entirely to sweare away a great part of that Faith which made them Christians. And though they willingly re­pented their former Perjuries and impieties, re­turning to their ancient Beliefe and Obedience during the short reigne of that Catholique Prin­cess Q. Mary: Yet, the interests of her sister & suc­cessour Q Elizabeth prevailed so far, as to make them repent their repentance, and to sweare over againe all their former Perjuries, her cun­ning Counsellours by all unlawfull wayes of violence and allurements surprising the Parlia­ment, corrupting the Cleargy, and violencing the consciences of the subjects, and so contri­ving their designs, as that they confidently ima­gined that Schisme and Haeresie were established in England irremoveably, being setled by a law, as irrevocable, as that of the Medes and Persians.

[Page 14]4. But in vaine: For Schisme and Heresie, wanting firme and reall foundations, and being built only upon secular interests, when those in­terests come to faile (as all worldly things must in time) naturally sinke lower and lower into that gulfe which hath no bottome. For it is re­markable that Heresie being the ruine of Faith, as Schisme is of Charity, all changes that are made in them are still to the worse. Faith is con­tinually more and more undetermined, and Charity more and more cryed downe and made unlawfull. A fearfull example of this hath been represented to the world in this late Schisme in England from a former Schisme: For heretofore the English Protestants pretended that by their Separation from the Catholique Church there was made a rent only in the semelesse garment of Christ, but yet so that the parts hung together still, allowing the Catholique Church to be a true Church of Christ, but preferring their part of it as better cleansed and washed than the o­ther. But now Christs garment is torne by them into I know not how many rags, all pluck'd en­tirely from one another, and this with such vi­olence and injusitice, as Mahomet himselfe would have abhorred.

5. But to returne to Perjury, a most usefull and necessary engine in Schisme; certainely ne­ver any Carthaginian or Barbarian hath given such prodigious Examples, as the Presbyterian Calvinists. For Persons, who make it a foun­dation of their Sect to acknowledge a private spirit to be the only judge of Scripture and points of Religion, renouncing all externall Ec­clesiasticall authority as to such a purpose, for [Page 15] such men, I say, to force other men without any new information or instruction to forswear whatsoever the law of God (as they believed) and most certainly the lawes of the Kingdome then in force obliged them to, is an attentat most horrible: But by a new oath, and that expli­citely commanding persons to preserve their loyalty to their Prince, and to maintaine the Lawes and Religion of the Kingdome, by such an oath I say, to oblige the same Per­sons at the same time to seeke the destruction of their Prince and of the same Lawes and Re­ligion, and to spend their fortunes and lives in the defence of a Religion not yet in being, but promised to be contrived no man knowes when, nor by whom, and to sweare that that unknown Religion yet in the forge was true and only conformable to the word of God: What name can be found out for such [...]an ex­ecrable renouncing of God, as this? And yet all this hath been in the face of the sun, and this must in England be stiled a Reformation, and such an one as might deserve to be purchased with that Sea of blood which hath lately flowed there.

5. Surely this one example alone may suffice to advertise all those who have seperated from the unity of Christs Church, what are and probably will be the dire effects of Schisme. Let them not cast their eyes so much upon those frequent seditions and Rebellions, and those rivers of Christian blood, which under a pre­tence of Reformation have been shed in Chri­stendome since Luthers Apostacy: But let them rather consider this as a judgement more terri­ble [Page 16] then all the former, namely that for a punishment of Schisme, and such crimes as are the naturall fruits of it, Almighty God has given up England to this more then Athei­sticall, wanton, petulant contempt and defiance of his heavenly Majesty.

7. Therefore such abominations as these, Sacriledge and Perjury, then which no Hea­then could imagine any more abomina­ble, and these so great abominations exalted to the utmost degree and circum­stance of aggravation, having thus uni­versally infected and envenomed all the severall Orders and degrees of men in England, could I possibly, remaining a Christian, or not becoming a profest A [...]heist, escape feare­full apprehensions that the end of such things would be yet more terrible, and that such execra­ble crimes would require a long time for expia­tion?

CHAP. V.

The sanguinary lawes, and cruell execution of them upon Catholique Priests in Eng­land.

1. THere was one sinne more of which the English Government since the Schisme there was guilty, which God seldome leaves unpunished, and for which, even during the time of my being a Protestant, I apprehended some time or other as a sharp visitation; which [Page 17] was the enacting and putting in execution those bloudy lawes against poor Catholique Priests, against most of whom there was not the least pretence of any charge of sedition or Treason? But for this only crime of being of that heavenly Vocation, to which the Spirit of God had called, and the sacred authority of the Church had exalted them; And for a conscionable discharge of that calling, they were arraigned, condemned, drag'd to the place of execution, there ignominiously hang'd (among thieves and murderers) and their half-living bodies most inhumanely quartered, and exposed to the sun and weather.

2. This crime was the more inexcuseable, be­cause committed by Englishmen, who (though violent enough in their passion when it is pro­voked, yet) are apt in a short time to relent, and by English Protestants, a Sect pretending a­bove ordinary to moderation and clemency. But the truth is, the Calvinisticall Spirit ha's been working in that state and government ever since the beginning of Q. Elizabeths reign; for the Calvinists were the Councellors that first suggested, those cruelties, which their descen­dents have since eagerly pursued and acted by the hands of others, till (their so long proje­cted designs succeeding) they might have the pleasure to glut themselves with Christian bloud even to vomiting, as they have of late done.

3. Now that this is no false character of that Calvinisticall Spirit, (besides many wo­full experiences in other countreyes) our [Page 18] great Presbyterian contrivers, and managers of the late war have given severall testimo­nies irrefragable, who (whensoever they were pressed with want of treasure, knowing the complexion and temper of their own faction in London, how delightfull a spectacle of bloud would be,) had no readier ways to ex­tort supplies of money from them, then by fea­sting and regaling them with the cruell execu­tion of a Catholique Priest, or shedding the bloud of their own Archbishop, or of some other considerable Royaltist. I be­seech almighty God, that when the time shall come that he will make inquisition for bloud, he would sever the innocent from the guilty, and not impute to the whole Nation the cruelty of that one bloudy Faction there.

CHAP. VI.

The Authors sadnesse for the sins and miseries of his countrey.

What remedies and lenitives he found for this sorrow.

1. A Sad meditation on such arguments as these was the exercise of my thoughts at my departure out of England, and a good while after, during my first abode in France. And though, God be thanked [...] I could not accuse my self of having contributed [Page 19] any thing directly, or otherwise, then all other sinners before Almighty God doe, to the pre­sent desolations of my poore beloved coun­trey, and there ought to have contented my selfe with an entire resignation of the whole matter into the hands of a most mercifull, how­ever infinitely provoked God, praying for the peace of that Ierusalem, without unnecessary affli­cting mine own soule: Yet I willingly deceived my selfe into a kind of pleasure of greiving, with this false beliefe, that in such circumstances to do any thing but grieve were to renounce not onely humanity, but likewise that duty which the Law of Christ obliged me to performe in the behalfe of his Church.

2. But time and better instruction from spi­rituall Persons, especially Catholiques (whose councels in matters of practises in such cases I thought it not unlawfull to hearken to) did at length reduce my minde into a more calme tem­per, toward the tranquility I was much ad­vanc'd by an obstinate resolution not only not to be inquisitive after newes good or bad, but to avoyd those conversations where I might be in danger of such a mortification, and withall by employing my time and thoughts in that charge which I had undertaken, and in mine own private studies.

CHAP. VII.

A Scruple suggested to my minde, viz. To the Communion of what Church I should adhere upon supposition that the Church of England should faile.

1. NOt long after this there was, I know not how, suggested to my understan­ding a thought, which I could not at pleasure si­lence, and which interrupted much my extreame eagernesse of reading; it was this, A supposition being made that it should please Almighty God to put a period to the Church and Ecclesiasticall govern­ment in England, to what Churches Communion I should then adjoyne my selfe!

2. It was not any reason I had to dispayre of the Kings condition that occasioned such an in­quiry (for at this time he was in a state to dis­pute upon even termes the victory with his enemies) nor any jealousie of the truth of the English Religion: But knowing that the English Church, considered as distinct not only from the Roman, but from all other Sects in se­paration likewise from it, was not, nor ever pretended to be either indefectible or infalli­ble: Nay more, considering that the Ec­clesiasticall government in England depended absolutely upon the firmnesse or weaknesse of the Kings authority there, by whose absolute power only and according to whose interests it was framed at first; And perceiving but too well that for many yeares there had been a powerfull, malicious, contriving faction of Calvinists, e­qually [Page 21] enemies to Monarchy and Episcopall Government (as they have given proofe to the full) and which had intruded themselves and were generally incorporated both into the infe­riour Cleargy, Universities, chiefe Bourgeosies, and places of Judicature, whose designe received from their forefathers it had been to omit no occasion to ruine both the civill and Ecclesiasti­call State, whereto the whole Kingdome of Scotland would be sure to give their brotherly assistance: Lastly, being assured that the maine thing, and to me the most considerable advan­tage which the English Church had above all others pretending to a Reformation, namely a succession and authority of Bishops and other Ecclesiasticall Orders received from the Roman Church, was never confidently and generally taught in England to be of divine right, and by consequence tooke no firme rooting in the con­sciences of English subjects; Upon which ground I easily foresaw that though perhaps ma­ny would adventure far to support the Reall au­thority, yet if ever the title of Episcopall Juris­diction should be separated from the Rights of the King, there would but very few appeare that would hazard their fortunes or lives for that which though they preferred infinitely before the Presbyterian Tyranny, yet they had never been taught that it was an essentiall con­dition of a Church. Yea on the contrary they had seen both King and Cleargy, and generally the whole Kingdome looke upon the Calvinist and Lutheran Churches, as brethren of the same Religion in substantialls, sending Bi­shops and other Ecclesiastiques to sit with them [Page 22] in their Synods, maintaining their quarrells, commending their principall Authors, harbou­ring, releeving and preferring their exiles, In a word, upon the title of Brotherhood assisting them with treasure and forces in their Rebellions.

3. Upon such grounds as these, considering the unsure foundation of the English Church, I thought it not unreasonable to spend some thoughts upon that enquiry, viz. To what Churches Communion I should adjoyne my selfe upon supposition that the English Church should come to sayle. I thought my self the rather obliged to pur­sue such a provisionary enquiry, because I remem­bred that M. Hooker, one of the most learned ju­dicious writers that ever that Church had upon such grounds as are before mentioned, especial­ly having an eye unto the sacrilegious spirit of Calvinisme, his great and almost Propheticall prudence, (for Prudentia est quaedam divinatio) Corn. Nep. in vit. Pompou. Attice. In those very bookes which he wrote to defend the Church, said that the English Church was in probability a Church not to continue above fourescore yeares at most. Hooker Eccl. Pol. lib. 5. Sect. 79.

CHAP. VIII.

A Reflection upon severall Sects.

And first upon the Socinians.

1. NOw in pursuing this inquiry, it scarce entred into my thoughts to admit into [Page 23] debate the Roman Church, because the maine foundation thereof, namely infallibility, I veri­ly beleeved I could (powerfully arm'd with Mr. Chillingworths reason) evidently and de­monstratively destroy.

2. Of Sects in separation from the Catholique Church, those which I thought most considera­ble, and therefore represented them to my un­derstanding, to examine which of them would best approve it selfe to my choyce, were 1. the Lutheran, 2. the Calvinist, 3. the Socinian. For as for those fanaticall Sects of Auabaptists, Fa­mulists, &c. they being only confused troops of ignorant dreaming spirits, which hitherto have never been able to convert one Parish or Village entirely to themselves, and the very dregs of all other Sects, where those that were discontented or craised in their understanding ordinarily setled; I could not obtaine from my selfe the patience to examine seriously their grounds, or to put it to the question, whether I should adjoyne my selfe unto them or no. Adde hereto that I could not hitherto under­stand all their grounds distinctly, by reason that I could never meet with any of their writings, so obscure they are, and afraid of the light.

3. Concerning the other three Sects, the temper and morallity of the Socinians was much more agreeable to mee then that of the other two. But their inexcusable boldnesse of tramp­ling under foot all authority of Fathers and Councells, and their licentious introducing blasphemous and long-since-buried Heresies against the fundamentall Mysteries of Faith was to me intollerable. Besides, neither France [Page 24] nor Italy being able to afford me bookes of Socinian doctrines, I was forced to content my selfe with that curiosity, which I had had a few yeares before in England (where such bookes were but too frequent, notwithstanding the care of the late Archbishop of Cant. to hinder the im­porting them) at which time I read over almost all the considerable treatises of that Sect, both of controversy, and exposition of Scripture. The effect of which my curiosity was only an esteeme of the excellency of their naturall parts both for the subtilty, and clearnesse of disputa­tion, and an acknowledgment that though their principles were of all others most fallacious, and their peculiar distinctive doctrines most horri­ble and intollerable to Christian eares, yet they were far more constant to such their prin­ciples, and lesse incumbred with difficulties and contradictions then the other two: In a word, that the frame of their building was with all its deformity more uniforme, then that of other H [...] ­retiques of these times, & as strong as a building could be that had no better foundation then the moving sand of naturall reason: Whereas the other two Sects of Calvinists and Lutherans (to whom I had some jealousie that the English Protestants might be joyned) relying princi­pally indeed upon private interpretation of Scripture, but challenging likewise the suff [...]ages of the Ancient Fathers, (especially in some do­ctrines of meere Tradition, as Baptising of Infants, &c.) by reason of the inequality in the foundation, the building could not choose but have many rents and declinations in the walls, some parts continuing stable, and others sinking [Page 25] by reason of the yeilding of the Foundation: which difformities and inequalities the Socinans avoyded. This was all the change that the rea­ding of those Haereticall blasphemies wrought in me, none of their subtile wrestings, and Chymicall extractions of new sences from fundamentall Texts of Scripture prevai­ling against the constant universall authority of Gods Church interpreting the same Texts.

4. I conceive it unnecessary, if not very in­convenient to set downe here the exceptions I had against the severall peculiar doctrines proper to the Socinians, for feare lest by undertaking to confute I should endanger to distill the in­fectious poyson of them in a countrey, where, God be blessed, they are utterly unknowne: re­membring how subtilly and maliciously the Schollars of Sibrandus Lubbertus in Holland are reported to have abnsed their unwary Master: for they having an extreame itch of reading one of the most pernicious Treatises of Socinus, which was forbidden to be dispersed, knew no better a meanes to satisfy their unlawfull and dangerous curiosity then by perswading their cred [...]lous Master that it was expected from his eminent abilities to confute so pernicious a booke; which he having, as he thought suffi­ciently performed; they further told him that it would be injustice, and a kind of confession of guilt to publish his confutation without the adversaries Text, and by that meanes they made their Master a sower of Haeresy, for every one almost bought up the booke for Socinus his sake only, scarce any vouchsafing to cast their eyes upon the heavy unskillful confutation.

[Page 26]5. Thus I make but a small stay upon the Socinians, on whom I looked rather with pitty then resentment: Considering withall that they were the almost only Sect which made professi­on against violence, and active disobedience, condemning warre absolutely and upon what­soever pretences. Notwithstanding observing that one essentiall marke of that Sect was reso­lutely to hold no opinion, but in every Synod to give leave to the questioning or altering of whatsoever Articles of Faith had been before decided, I found that seemingly calm and quiet spirit of theirs lesse alluring; because from their owne peculiar complexion and grounds, I thus Argued; Who can tell whether (if they encrease in numbers and power) they may not thinke fit to begin with the alteration of that doctrine? For I have known when even the Calvinists in Holland and the Puritans in England, being in low estate, have preached liberty of Prophesying, & pretended only to desire a freedome of injoy­ing their Consciences in particular, promising never to molest any others; As by their first published writings, and by severall Remonstrances and Petitions by Q. Eliz. to K. Iames, in the beginning of hisreigne, and to Parliaments in those times; And yet the same men being after­wards become numerous & powerfull enough to gaine the effect of their Petitions by force, never yet allowed any moderate qualification or tolle­ration to any other.

CHAP. IX.

Reflection upon the Calvinists and Luthe­ran Churches.

Their first disadvantage in comparison with the English Church.

1. HAving passed with so much speed the Socinian Churches, I fixed my thoughts more seriously upon the Lutherans and Calvi­nists, to the end to resolve my selfe whether those points of doctrine, discipline or practise, wherein they differed from, and apparently came short of the English Church, were indeed of so high a nature as to dishearten me from embracing their communion any other way, then by allowing them my Charity, in not condem­ning them, which I also afforded even to the Roman Church it selfe.

2. Now among the differences, (where in all other Sects pretending to a Reformation were distinguishable from the English, as wanting certaine priviledges and commendable quali­ties which she enjoyed) some I found to be commune to all those Sects, (especially the Lutherans and Calvinists:) Others to be proper and peculiar to each. Concerning these lat­ter, I found it to little purpose to spend much time in examining them, because the former commune ones did more then sufficiently dis­hearten me from adjoyning my selfe to their Communion. And those were especially these five, viz. 1. Their grounding their beliefe both [Page 28] of the bookes of Scripture, and the true sence of them, not upon the universall Tradition of the Church, but their owne private Spirit, which, as they pretended, assured them that the Apostles and Evangelists were the Authors of them, and that the sences, which they collect­ed from them, were the true undoubted sen­ces of them. 2. Their apparent want of a lawfull succession of Ecclesiasticall Gover­nours and Teachers, joyn'd with an unsuffer­able presumption in condemning of Tyranny, that Government of Bishops, which had been apparently setled in the universall Church without contradiction since the Apostles Times. 3. Their Doctrines and practises of Sedition and Rebellion. 4. Their professed ha­tred of peace and Reunion with the Catho­lique Church. 5. The prodigious personall qualities of Luther, and Calvin, which shewed them to be persons extreamly unfit to be relyed upon, or acknowledged for Apostles, and Reformers.

3. Concerning the first commune differ­ence, namely, The Calvinist's and Lutheran's grounding their beliefe of Christian Doctrines, and their sence of them, and generally of the bookes of Scripture, not upon the authority and Tradition of the Church so much as upon a private Spirit, testimony or suggesti­on pretended to bee infused from the Spirit of God, by which they took upon themselves to be assured of the truth of Christianity, of their expressions of severall Articles of Faith, and of their perswasion that the Apostles and Evangelists were the Authours of those Di­vine writings: what little satisfaction I [Page 29] found in this maine Foundation of their Religion I shall reserve to demonstrate here­after. For the present I desire that to bee mistaken when I call this one of the dif­ferences and disadvantages which the Lu­therans and Calvinists, &c. have in compa­ring them with the English Church. For though it bee true that by rationall consequence from the grounds declared of the English Church, the former position will evidently follow: notwithstanding shee ha's beene more mo­derate and wary then publiquely to pretend to such a Private Spirit, and by consequence has left a latitude and liberty for them in her Communion to renounce it, as many of the most learned among them have done.

CHAP. X.

Apparent want, yea renouncing of a law­full succession of Ecclesiasticall Gover­nours and Teachers among Lutherans and Calvinists.

I. A Second thing wherein the Lutherans and Calvinists agreed to disagree with the Church of England, was their want of Bishops, and by consequence of a lawfully ordained Clergy. This was an inconvenience so much the more hard to be digested by mee, and which deserved neither excuse nor commiseration, because by reason of their [Page 30] want of Bishops, at their first pretended Re­formations they came to that shamelesnesse as to seeke to palliate this defect by a desperate condemning of the Order it selfe, as a tyranny and usurpation crept into the Church against the expresse Order of Christ and his Apostles: And though they (especially the French Calvinists) might afterward have in some sort remedied this defect by receiving a Cleargy by the Ordination of the English Bishops (whereto they have beene earnestly follicited, as namely, by Bishop Morton) not­withstanding they utterly persisted in the utter refusall of suffering this important dis­advantage to be cured: which perverse Spirit of theirs, Arnobius (cont. Gen. lib. 6.) elegantly describes in these words, Quod semel fine ra­tione fecistis, ne videamini aliquando nesciisse, defenditis, that is, That thing, which yee once unreasonably did, to avoid the imputation of having beene ignorant, yee still maintaine. Yea, to that ridiculous impudence have they arri­ved in Scotland, not many yeares since, as to admit one to publique Penance in the Church onely for having beene a Protestant Bishop.

2. I cannot forbeare to give a taste of Luthers Spirit with reference to this subject, lively represented in a Bull by him published to this Tenour, Anno Domini M. D. XXIII.Ostand. cent 16. pag. 87. pag. 102. Nunc attendite vos Episcopi, imò larvae Diaboli; Doctor Lutherus vult vobis Bullam & Refor­mationem legere, quae vobis non bene sonabit, Doctoris Lutheri Bulla & [Page 31] Reformatio. Quicumque opem ferunt, &c. That is, Now bee attentive O yee Bishops, or rather disguises of the Devill, Doctour Luther will reade to you a Bull, which will not sound plea­singly unto you. The Bull and Reformation of Doctour Luther. Whosoever brings assistance, spends Body, Life, and Honour to the end that Bishopricks may be wasted, and the Government of Bishops extinguished, such are the beloved children of God, and true Christians, observing the Com­mandements of God, and resisting the Ordinances of the Devill. Or if they be not able to doe thus much, let them at least condemne and avoid that Government. But on the contrary, whosoever maintaine the Government of Bishops, and obey them voluntarily, such are tho very Ministers of the Devill, and resist the Ordinance and Law of God. Hitherto is Luthers Bull. And I desire that any reasonable Christian would confesse, whether he can chuse but believe that the very same whom Luther himselfe confesseth to have beene his Counsellour and perswader to leave Masse, was his Secretary likewise to write this Bull? And that a man should not think that this was onely one of Luthers frantick extravagancies, the horrible effect will demonstrate the contrary, which was a fearfull insurrection and Rebellion of a World of Countrey people combined by Oath to the ruine of severall Ecclesiasticall Princes in Germany, who were content in that cause to stand to Luthers judgement. Who when he perceived they were unfurnished of armes, and un­l [...]k [...]ly to prosper in their designe, lest their Re­be [...]lion and the effects of it should be imputed to him, was content to exhort them to obedience.

[Page 32]3. Calvin and Beza, &c. though more subtile, yet were not lesse malicious against Episcopacy, as appeares in severall of their Treatises and Epistles. Yea Calvin ascended to that height of arrogance as to professe that, that Order and Discipline which hee had forged in Geneva, and whereof not one single patterne can be given since Christs Time, was not onely justifiable, but necessarily obliging all Christians to conforme unto.

4. Whether it may in some measure bee attributed to my education in a Church which challenged to it selfe a priviledge beyond all other Sects from a succession of Bishops, or to the evidence of reason and authority which convinced mee of the necessity of such a succession; However it came, I found it was impossible for mee to suffer my selfe to be perswaded that Episcopacy was a Government condemnable; or that a legitimate succession of Holy Orders was not necessary to the constitution of a Church; Or lastly, that the supereminence of Episcopacy above Priesthood, the appropriating thereto of the power of Ordination, Confirmation, and giving suffrages in Councells was an usurpation crep'd into the Church immediatly after the Apostles Times, and contrary to their intention, Considering that the Primitive Churches were extreamly and punctually scrupulous in maintaining the very phrases of traditionary Doctrines, and Formes of customa­practises; In so much as when the least innovation in either was discovered, all men conspired to condemne the innovatours; Witness the controversies about Easter, Rebaptization [Page 33] of Heretiques, &c. Was it imaginable, thought I that those first Bishops, who even by their Of­ficers were more peculiarly Canditati Martyrii, should so suddenly degenerate from the Apo­stolicall Spirit of Humility, as universally to conspire to set up that pretended Tyranny over the rest of the Cleargy, and the whole Church? Or supposing that in the midst of such dire persecutions they had the will and leasure to de­signe such ambitious projects, is it credible that the whole Ordor of B [...]esbyters would suffer them­selves to be excluded from their Priviledges and Officers so very lately bequeathed them by Christ, and conferr'd by the Apostles; and this universally through the whole World, and not one single Presbyter appeare that should protest against such an usurpation? Certainly it was much more probable that Luther, and Calvin were either deceive [...]s or deceived, then that all Primitive Bishops were Tyrants, and all Primitive Preists fooles, or rather betrayers of that power and duty left and enjoyn'd them by the Apostles.

5. But though I could have digested this, what arts or violence could I make use of against mine owne reason and conscience to perswade my selfe to live in a Church, in which there were neither Bishops nor Priests, but a new Order and Title of Ministers made by a conspiracy of ignorant laymen, a Church that took upon her to degrade and annull the Orders of the whole Christian World, because they had not been communicated to her, a Church which (notwithstanding the expresse words of S Paul, Epb. 4. who tells us that one of the speciall gifts [Page 34] which o [...]r Saviour upon his Ascension received from his Father to enrich his Church withall, was that subordination of severall Orders of the Cleargy, which was to continue till the consummation of the Saints, or end of the World, yet) professeth that there is no such subordination, and that there were no lawfull Bishops or Pastours in the Church for many hundred yeares, before Luther broke his vow of Chastity to make himself fit to propagate them, and before Culvin escaped from Noyon to Geneva, there to maintaine the gates against the Bishop, and to create Ministers under himself and in his Princes place?

CHAP. XI.

Consent of Fathers against Calvinists and Lutherans.

1. UPon such grounds of Calvinists and Lutherans (if they could possibly appeare to be true) what impudence and folly must we needs impute to all the ancient Fathers and Doctours of the Church, who never fayle in disputing against all sorts of Here­tiques or Schismatiques to insist unanimously upon this Quere, By what lawfull succession, from what Apostolique Seate their first Teacher derived himselfe? And professing that it was necessary to insist upon the point of succession, as to examine the truth of the Doctrines themselves, according to that Speech of S. Chrysostome (Hom. 11. in Ephes.) Suppose you that it is sufficient [Page 35] to say they are Orthodox, and in the meane time Ordination is lost and perished? To what purpose is the rest, this being not made good? For wee ought no lesse to contend for it then for the Faith it self.

2. Witnesse hereto S. Ireneus, Lib. 4. cap. 45. Where is it then that a Man shall find such Pastours? S. Paul teacheth us when hee sayes, God hath placed in his Church first of all Apostles, secondarily Prophets, in the third place Doctors. There then where the Gifts of our Lord are placed, in the same place must wee seeke for the truth, among whom the succession of the Church since the Apostles, and the purity of Doctrine is maintained in its integrity. Witnesse S. Cyprian (in Ep ad Magnum.) Whereas some alledge that they acknowledge the same God the Father, the same Sonne Jesus Christ, and the same Holy Ghost; this can nothing availe them (viz. being a Schisme.) For Core, Dathan and Abiron ac­knowledged the same God that Aaron the High Priest and Moses did, living under the same Law & in the same Religion: They invoked that one and true God who is to be worshipped and praid to: Yet in as much as exceeding the limits of their Ministery they assumed to themselves the licence to sacrifice in oppo­sition to Aaron the High Priest, who by the ordination of God had before obtained the lawfull Priesthood, they being supernaturally strucken presently received the just punishment of their unlawfull attempts. And againe, Novatianus is not in the Church, neither can be accounted a Bishop, who despising the Evan­gelicall and Apostolicall Tradition, succeeding to no person has been ordained by himselfe. And againe, How can hee be acknowledged to be a true Pastour, who, (the true Pastour beeing alive, and by a successive Ordination presiding in the Church) without [Page 36] succeeding to any one, beginns from himselfe. And again (Ep. ad Flor.) Christ sayes to his Apostles, and by them to all Prelates who succeede the Apostles by a substitute ordination (Vicariâ Ordinatione) He that beareth you heareth me Witnes S. Athanasius (de Synod.) How can they be Bishops, if they have received their Ordination from Heretiques, even by their own accusation? Lastly, (to omit infinite passages in Tertullian, S. Augustin Op [...]atus, &c) Witnesse S. Hierome, who speaking of H lary the Deacon, authour of one of the Sects of the Luciferians (in Dial: cont. Lucifer.) saith, Together with the man his sect likewise is perished, because a Deacon could not ordaine a Clearke to succeede after him. Now it is not a Church which hath no Priests.

3. Were such arguments as those, I would faine know, logicall and efficacious in the third and fourth century of Christianity, and are they of no force now? When was it that they began to lose their vertue? Did all the Ancient Martyrs, Bishops and Doctours of the Church, Champions of Christian Religion, confound all the ancient Heresies by demonstrating that the Authours of them had no personall legitimate, (nor Doctrinall) succession? And shall wee be made believe that such a succession now is not onely not necessary, but that it is rather a prejudice, yea that it is an ar­gument for Heresy? That it is a proofe of a truely pure Reformation to abjure not only all the ancient Ceremonies of Ordination, but even the Officers, yea the very names of all Ecclesiasticall Orders? For mine own part, I must acknow­ledge my want of courage: I durst not range [Page 37] my selfe in such a Congregation, where I should be exposed point blanck to receive all the shot which so many (by all acknowledged) Saints have darted against the ancient Heretiques.

CHAP. XII.

Seditious Doctrines universally taught by Calvinists, &c.

1. A Third important inconvenience, which I could not see any meanes to avoyd being adjoyned to the Lutheran or Calvi­nist Churches, was the scandall of Sedition & Rebel­lion. An imputation this was, which I could never perceive that any of those two factions (and principally the Calvinists) took any care to clear themselves of, any other way then by re­crimination upon some particular persons a­mong Catholiques: Never could I meet with, or heare of any decree Synodicall, any treatise or writing by which they pretended to free themselves from this charge, or to give security to Princes in whose Dominions they lived of their intention to be loyall and obedient.

2. Indeed at the end of the Confession of Faith of the French Calvinist Churches, there is a seeming plausible acknowledgement of ob­ligation to submission to lawes and Magistrates, but with this expresse reservation, moyennant que l' Empire Souverain de Dieu demeure en [...]son entier, that is, upon condition that Gods supreme authori­ty remaine inviolated: a reservation so large and so ambiguous, that they having both by wri­tings and too frequent practises declared that they conceive themselves in conscience and [Page 38] by vertue of Gods law obliged to maintaine the pretended-true Religion (not by suffering for it, but) by active opposing whatsoever humane authority shall seeke to destroy it; Yea more, that they are obliged to use all en­deavours to destroy Idolatry (that is, say they, Catholique Religion) this restriction mentioned in their Confession seemes to have beene in­tended on purpose to put them in mind of their duty to rebell whensoever they have oppor­tunity to maintaine or propagate their owne, or chase out and exterminate Catholique Religion. For mine [...]owne particular I professe I never yet conversed with any of them so ignorant, but, when wee spoke concerning this argument, was able to say some thing to any objections, and many of them had arrived to the skil to al­ledge the subtillest reasons that that their infer­nall book stiled Iunius Brutus (ordinarily attri­buted to B [...]za) did suggest. And by one try­all made since I came into France, I am be­come confident that if the next Synod of Charen­ton were summoned by such as might con­strein them, to explaine themselves, Whether in­case of Religion they might not actively oppose the pres [...]n: supreme authority, or whether if in France they had the same advantage over Cotholiques, which Catholiques have over them, they would allow the same freedome? they would endeavour to give an answer as unsatisfactory as their Confession of Faith.

3. It was not altogether the many seditious passages in Luther's and Calvin's writings which scandalised mee so farre as to conceive my self by communicating with them engaged to [Page 39] profess, at least not to professe against, such hor­rid doctrines (for liberty is sometimes taken by them to renounce some particular Texts even of Calvin) but the not seeing any one protesting against or disavowing such scanda­lous assertions. I confesse I wondred how they could hope to make any Christians believe that their pretended Reformation proceeded from the Spirit of Christ, when instead of those spiri­tuall armes of charity, humility, patience & most indispensable obedience even to Nero himself by which Christ enabled his Apostles to conquer the world to the belief of the Gospel; Calvin and Lu­ther put into the hands of their Sectatours ma­lice, pride, hatred to suffer for conscience sake, active resistance against all authority, in a word, the very same weapons that the Devill sug­gested to Mahomet.

4. Now to make this appear to be no wrong­full imputation, besides the manifest experience of all the blood shed in Germany, France, England, &c. and besides such bloudy treatises of Beza, Knox, Good-man, and others of these later times. I will produce expresse testimonies out of the writings of Luther and Calvin, First Luther (loc. com, class. 4. c. 30. directing his speech to one Spalatinus, hath these words, I will not en­dure that which thou sayest, viz. that the Prince will not suffer that any thing should be written a­gainst the Electour of Mentz, nor any thing that my disturbe the publique peace. I will rather con­found both thee, and the Prince: For if I have op­posed the Pope which is his Creatour, why should I not oppose the creature? And, Is it not a pretty opinion of yours that the publique peace ought not [Page 40] nion of yours that the publike peace ought not to be di­sturbed, but the eternall peace of God may; No such matter, Spalatinus, no such matter. And again, (cap. de Bapt.) We are exempted from all humane lawes by the Christian liberty given us in Baptisme. Then for Calvin, Calv. Inst. l. 4. c. 20. p. 10. & com. in Dan. c. 2. v. 39. &c. 5. v. 5. Id. in. Dan. c. 6. v. 2. & 25. it is observable first how in severall places he la­bours to discredit Monarchy in general: then how seditiously he speaks elswhere, as in this expres­sion, Earthly Princes devest themselves of their power, when they oppose themselves against God, yea they are unworthy to be reckoned in the n [...]mber of men. And therefore it is fitter that a man should spit in their faces them obey them, when they grow so sawey as to [...]be willing to deprive God of his right. Lastly D. Bancroft Archbishop of Canterbury (in his Booke of dangerous Positions, pag. 9.) im­putes to Calvin this damnable position, openly both in writing and deeds defended by his fol­lowers, viz That it is lawfull for subjects, if Prin­ces will not, to reforme Religion, and that by force and armes, if it can be done no other way.

5. I should have been willing to let such hor­rible speeches as these pass for personall faults, and have attributed to them; Luthers frenzy and Calvins malicious spirit, if any of their party would have thought fit to disavow them; or if the yet more horrid books of Beza & other of Calvins disciples had not justified their Masters to have beene [...] modest in comparison of them; and lastly, if I had not knowne that when any among them (I never heard that any put it in a publique tryall, but one) to whom such damnable doctrines have appea­red [Page 41] odious, and were willing to publish their de­testation of them, had not been interrupted, and publikely silenc'd in such a dsigne. But to give a proof irrefragable that this Sect especialy of Calvinisme is bred and nourished with this poyson of sedition, and that even in the infan­cy thereof not being able to keepe in the sting, when it was so weake as that it had no power of wounding, as soone as it gets strength it fayles not to dart it out to the destruction of never so many thousands that oppose it, I shall for proofe onely desire that men would cast their eyes upon the condition of England since the late Calvinisticall faction there got a fatall opportunity to discharge freely that poy­son, which for a long time it was forced to keepe closed up in it's entrals, where after the best enquiry I could make, I could not finde or heare of during the time of these late bloody commotions so much as one single person of the Presbyterian-Calvinist party but did actively oppose his King; Nor one single Minister of that party but was a Trumpet io incite to war: And all this not to free themselves from any danger they were in for their consciences (for before the warre broke out, his Majesty had offered them sufficient security) but to destroy the present government of that Church, and to set up their owne in place of it. And as for their Brethren in France to this day it has beene in vaine attempted to perswade them to signifie the least dislike of these their practises, the most infamous and scandalous to Christianity that ever were.

6. If all these considerations together [Page 42] doe not more then sufficiently prove that without partaking of the scandall, I could not adjoyne my self to the communion of these Sects, let all the world judge: Especially I being before, (& yet remaining) absolutely perswaded that it is utterly unlawfull upon praetence of defend­ing Religion, or avoyding persecution to oppose actively that peaceably settled Government under which I live; Much more to seeke the alteration or ruine of that Government, upon designe of introducing that Reli­gion, which I thinke to be true. And truly I can­not but acknowledge it a great blessing of God, that though I had the misfortune to be bred in Schisme, yet it was in such a Church, the forme whereof having been moulded by au­thority (if not according to the interests) of the Civill Governours, in which continuing it was, besides the obligation of my conscience, mine own secular interests also to be loyall to the King, with whom that Religion did before stand, and is now in great danger to fall: for by this meanes I had no tentation at all to study waies to elude those expresse commands of Christ by S. Paul, (Rom. 13.) to be obedient not only for wrath but even conscience sake to my worldly Governour; and of Christ himselfe immediately (Mat. 5.) to seeke for blessednesse by suffering for the righte­ousnesse of the Gospels sake, not by opposing with active violence the Governours that sought the ruine of it, much lesse under present here of by persecuting and destroying others: Divine Providence seeming on purpose to order the publication of these truly Christian doctrines under the reigne of Tiberius, Caligula, and Nero, then which the sunne never saw more [Page 43] abominable Tyrants and enemies to Religion, to the end that in future ages no pretence should serve to dispense from Obedience. And this doctrine of Obedience, truly Christian, which I learned in England, being now by Gods good­nesse a Catholique, I do and by the grace of God will to my death retaine; and the rather, because I shall now embrace it meerly for the authority of Christ, and in imitation of his Apostles and ancient Christians afterward, whose heroicall subjection to persecuting Em­perours, even then when it was in their power to revenge themselves: among other writers, Tertullian most divinely expresseth in his Apology and elsewhere, and that most victorious The­baean Legion gave an illustrious example. Where­as in England, that the interest of state had: a great influence even upon this doctrine of obe­dience appears in this, that when Q. Elizabeth conceived it convenient for her worldly designs to take on her the Protection of the low-Coun­treyes against the King of Spaine, She employ­ed D. Bilsou Bishop of Winchester one of her learnedst Cleargymen to write his booke of Christian subjection, in which to justifie the re­volt of Holland he gave strange liberty in many cases, especially concerning Religion, for sub­jects to cast off their Obedience. But that book which serv'd Q Eliz. worldly designs, by the just judgement of God hath contributed much to the ruine of her successour K Charles: For there is not any booke that the Presbyterians have made more dangerous use of against their present Prince, then that which his Predecessour com­manded to be written justifie her against the K. of Spaine.

CHAP. XIII.

Protestants recriminating Catholiques for Rebellion, answered.

1. I know well that the Lutherans, but especi­ally the Calvinists triumph much that they can finde so few Catholiques that have been as wicked in this nature, as their best and most authentique teachers: most unjustly imputing to Catholique Religion the most abhored desperate acts of a few Traytors, and the seditious bookes of a few Authors: Whereas not onely all Ca­tholiques in generall doe abhor those Acts, renounce and condemne those Writings, but the whole body of the French Iesuits in Paris, (to whom especially the Calvinists declare war in this point) being in the yeare, 1625. met in a full Assembly, have publiquely and unanimously disavowed, condemned and detested such sediti­ous positions and writings, universally agreeing to condemne that scandall, wherein I never yet saw them imitated by any one Calvinist. Par­ticularly for English Catholiques, their innocence and clearnesse in this point of Obedience was to me sufficiently apparent even before I left that Kingdome, besides other proofes testifyed in a Petition offered to the Parliament immedi­ately before the late Commotions, as in the name of all of that Religion in England, In which the profession of their loyalty, was according to the tenour following.

The Catholiques of England do acknowledge & professe K. Charls now reigning to be their [Page 45] true and lawfull King, supreame Lord, and rightfull sovereigne of this Realme, and of all other his Majesties dominions. And therefore they acknowledge themselves to be ob­liged under paine of sin to obey his Majesty in all civill and temperall affaires, as much as any other of his Majesties subjects, and as the lawes and Rules of Government in this Kingdome doe require at their hands. And that notwithstanding any power or pretention of the Pope or See of Rome, or any Sentence or detraction of what kind or quality soever, given or to be given by the Pope, his predecessors or successors, or by any authority spirituall or temporall proceeding or derived from him or his See against their layd King and Countrey, they will still acknowledge and perform to the utmost of their abilities their faithfull loyalty and true allegeance to their said King and Countrey. And they doe openly disclaime and renounce all forreine Power, be it either Pa­pall or Princely, Spirituall or temporall, in as much as it may seem able, or shall pretend to free, discharge or absolve them from this obli­gation: or shall any way give them leave or licence to raise tumults, beare armes, or offer any violence to his Majesties Royall Person, to the High Court of Parliament, to the State or Government. Being all of them ready not only to discover and make known to his Maje­sty and to the high Court of Parliament all the treasons & conspiracies made against him, or it, which shall come to their hearing, but also to lose their lives in the defence of their King & Countrey, & to resist with their best endevours [Page 46] all conspiracies & attempts made against their said King or Countrey, be they framed or sent under what pretence, or patronized by what forreigne authority soever. And further, they profess that al absolute Princes & supream Governours of what Religion soever they be, are Gods Lieutenants upon earth, and that Obedience is due unto them according to the lawes of each Commonwealth respectively in civill and temporall affaires, and therefore they doe here protest against all doctrine and authority to the contrary. And they doe hold it impious and against the word of God to main­taine that any private Subject may kill and murther the Annointed of God his Prince, though of a different beliefe and Religion from his. And they abhor and detest the pra­ctice thereof as damnable and wicked. And lastly, they offer themselves most willingly to accept and embrace the late Protestation of union made by the High Court of Parlia­ment, excepting only the clause of Religion. Professing that they cannot without sin in­fringe or violate any contract, or break their words and promises made or given to any man, though of a different faith and beliefe from the Church of Rome. All which they doe freely and sincerely acknowledge and protest, as in the presence of God, without any equi­vocation, or mentall reservation whatsoe­ver.

3. Now I desire to know what security be­yond this, any State can expect from any Chri­stian, or indeed any man? What jealousie can reasonably be given by persons, thus clearly and [Page 47] ingenuously professing their consciences and protesting their obedience; yet notwithstand­ing the English Catholiques are ready to give a security even beyond this [...] the Catholique Bishop pro tempore, formerly residing in England, having (as I have been credibly informed) offered his owne person and life, as a pledge of the loyalty of all his Cleargy, &c. under his obedience, in so much as if any of them shall be found guilty of disloyalty, the Bishop will be obliged to produce such a delinquent to con­dingne punishment, or pay the defect of it with the forfeiture of his owne life. These things considered I should not deny, even during the time that I was a Protestant, but that it was with great impudence, and injustice that Catholique Relegion was accused by those two Sects of disloyalty, a crime universally and only adhering th themselves, and abhorr'd by all sorts of persons, all Orders and degrees among Catho­liques.

CHAP. XIV.

A fourth scandall among Calvinists, &c. viz. their aversion from unity.

1. A Fourth great discouragement which I had to joyne in Communion with the Lutheran or Calvinist Churches, was their ma­nifest renouncing of Christian Charity, and the peace of Gods Church, their unwillingnesse to abate the least point of doctrine even to a very [Page 84] phrase, or to alter any thing in discipline though to gaine thereby the greatest good, which is unity and reconciliation, in a word, the Spirit of Donatisme, a Spirit of Separation, out of the love of Separation it selfe.

2. Whether it was a naturall inclination in me to hate all quarrells unlesse most extreamely necessary and unavoidable: or my education in the English Church, which of all other Sects doth most professe moderation, I have alwaies dearly esteemed those writers whether Catho­lique or Protestant, which have endeavoured to lessen the number of differences between Chri­stians, to give the most moderate qualified sences to differing opinions, and to attempt all probable waies of reconciliation, as Hofmeiste­rus, Wicelius, Franciscus à Sancta Clarâ, &c. among Catholiques; And Bishop Andrewes, Montague, Grotius, Monsicur de la Millitiere, Acontus, &c. among Protestants. I was more­over in mine owne understanding convinc'd that in very many points the differences between Catholiques and Protestants was onely in words, while in the meaning both parties agreed, as concerning Freewill, Predestination, Iustification, Merit of Good workes, sinnes Mortall and Veniall, &c. Nay further, that some negative points of doctrine were maintained even by the Church of England contrary to their owne grounds, that is, contrary to the Universall consent of Primi­tive antiquity, as denying Sacrifice and Prayer for the dead, and by consequence, Purgatory, sacrifice of the Altar, Monachisme, Difference betweene Evangelicall Councels and Precepts, vowes, &c.

[Page 49]3. Hereupon it was that mine owne reason, assisted by my love to Christian unity, perswa­ding me that for worldly respects, or out of feare of consequences ungratefull, even the Church of England had divided it selfe from the Catholique to a further distance, then justice, truth, and charity would permit, I could not answer it to mine owne reason and conscience, if, instead of approaching to the Catholique Church, I should run quite out of sight from it, by communicating with those Churches whose generall designe and study it is to make the wound of division incurable, and the breach every day wider and wider, among whom it is a crime to talke of Reunion, in a word who call it zeale to professe division from the Catholique Church even in those very points, wherein their consciences cannot but tell them that they doe really agree with it.

4. Manifest testimonies of this more then Donatisticall Spirit have been given by Calvin in his most barbarous censure of that too too mo­derate condescending booke of Cassander D E OFFICIO PII VIRI, and by the Calvinist­Churches in France in their comportments to­wards M [...]ssicurs Grotius and de la Millitiere upon occasion of those treatises by them published tending to union. Yea so in love have they shewed themselves with Schisme, quatenus Schisme, so zealous to renounce that precious legacy of Peace, which our Saviour at his last farewell to the world left to his Church, that they multiply division upon division even among themselves, making Frusta de frusto, of the seamelesse [Page 50] garment of Christ, denying Communion to one another even for points in their own opinion of no considerable importance. The Lutherans will not communicate with the Calvinists, nor the Remonstrants, with the Contra-remonstrants, nor the Separatists with the English Protestants, And whatsoever union the French-Calvinist Churches boast of, they owe it entirely to the civill Power there, for if that would allow them the liberty, they would fall into as many devisions, as any of their brethren.

5. If sometimes an extraordinary fit of seeming charity have come upon them, the Cir­cumstances demonstrate, that it was not love of unity or conscience that begat that good mood, but meerly temperall hopes or feares. I remember S. Augustin, (Ep. 50. ad Bonifas.) Speaking of those professed Masters of Schisms, the Donatists, gives us this observation, Aliquan­do autem ficut audimus (saith he) nonnulli [...]x [...]ip [...] volentes sibi Gotthos conciliare. That is, Time was, as we are informed, that some of them, desirous to gaine favour with the Goths, when they began to be powerfull, said that they beleived the same things (in substance) with them: but the authority of their ancestors confutes them, for neither is Donatus affirmed to have so believed, of whose party they doe willingly boast themselves to be. This passage of S. Augustin might likewise have been thus inter­preted, In the yeare M. DC. XXXI. when the King of Sweden (King of the Goths) had made a formidable progresse in Germany, A Synod of Cal­vinists at Charenton in France thought it fit [...] admit into their Communion the Lutherans, saying that they agreed with them in all substantiall points [Page 51] of Religion; But herein they contradict their ance­sters, who renounced that communion, and particu­larly Calvin, of whose party they boast themselves to be, affirmed constantly, that the Lutheran absur­dities touching Consubstantiation were greater, then of the Catholiques about Transubstantiati­on.

CHAP. XV.

The scandalous personall-qualities of Lu­ther and Calvin.

1. A Fifth, and which for brevities sake shall be the last discouragement forbidding my communicating with the Lutheran and Cal­vinist Churches, was taken from the Personall qualities of Luther and Calvin the founders of those Churches. Our Saviour admonisheth us to judge of true or false Prophets by their fruits: not that Orthodox teachers may not sometimes live wicked lives; and Haeretiques, laudably: But that those who take upon them to be Prophets, that is, persons extraordinarily raised up in Gods Church to publish new doctrines, or to reforme generall abuses, such men in their lives will signifie the spirit by which they are moved, God never sending such Prophets, but that he indowes them with a more then ordinary measure of his spirit both of wisdome and Holinesse: On the contrary sometime or other discovering the Hypo­crisie of those who falsely pretend to his Mission.

[Page 52]2. Now to judge of these two great Refor­mers by their fruits, I would not build so much, nor be directed by reports of their adversaires, that is the Calvinist writers concerning Luther, nor the Lutherans or Hierom Bolsce concerning Calvin: The Characters and pictures that themselves have made of themselves will shew them so unlike those, whose authority and doctrine they pretended to assume, namely Christ and his Apostles, that they will rather appeare like persons that had agreed to divide between them the whole Stock of Sin, Lu­ther taking for his share carnall sinns, as lust, gluttony, and all manner of intemperance: and Calvin appropriating to himselfe the sins of the spirit, Pride, envy, malice, conten­tion, &c.

3. First for Luther, this testimony he gives of himselfe (in Epist. ad Galat. c v. 14.) before he was reformed, that being in the Monastery he [...] stened his flesh with watching, fasting and prayer: that he reverenced the Pope with great respect for conscience sake: that he observed chastiry, obedience, poverty: this, I did, sayth be, with a simple heart, a good zeale, and for the glory of God, fearefully apprehending the last day of judgement, and from my heart thirsting after salvation. This character he gives of him­selfe, remembring the time that he was a Catho­lique: But being turn'd a Reformer, what a strange reformation doth he confesse that that change made in him, he could not for beare to tell the world such new doctrines as these, (Luther. in Proverb cap, 31. v. 9.) There is nothing in the world sweeter and more desi­rable [Page 53] then the love of a woman, if a man can atteine to the enjoyment of it. (id. Tom. 7. in Ep. ad Wolfg. fol 505.) And againe, If a man resolve to want a woman, let him put off the name of a man, and put on the nature of an Angell or Spirit. (id. in Ep. ad Phil. fol. 334. and 345.) And againe, I burne with a mighty flame of my untamed flesh. I which ought to be fervent in Spirit, burne in the lust of the flesh, &c. Againe, These last eight dayes now past I can neither write, nor pray, nor study, being vexed partly with the tenta­tions of the flesh, partly with other troubles, &c. But saith he, it is sufficient for me that I know the riches of the glory of God, and the Lambe which takes away the sinnes of the world, Sinne cannot seperate us from him, although we should commit fornication or murder even a thousand times a day. Sleydan, a very affectionate Schollar of his, (Hist lib. 3. fol. 9.) reports that he himselfe acknowledged his profession not to be of lifcor manners, but of doctrine. And (lib. 2. fol. 22.) that he wished that he were re­moved from the Office of preaching, because his manners and life did not answer his Pro­fession. Now being reduced to this foule condition, he, forgetting his old Catho­lique Monkish remedies of watching, fasting and prayer, and having before renounced his vow of Chastity, and cast away his Religi­ous habit, (Luth. Tom. 2. in Colloq. Lat.) gave free scope to his lust, and privately, and (O horrible,) incestuously married Katherine Borrhe, a vow'd frofessed Nun: an act that even he him­selfe was ashamed of, and had remorse for. Then to give us a taste of what satisfa­ction [Page 54] he found even in his beliefe of his new doctrines, let us heare the report of Joaunes Mathesius a Lutheran; (Orat. Germ. 12. de Luth.) Antonius Musa the Parish Priest of Roclits, saith he, recounted to me, that on a time he heartily hemoaned himselfe to Doctor Lu­ther that he himselfe could not believe what he preached to others: and that Doctor Luther answer­ed, Praise and thankes be to God that this happens also to others, for I had thought it had hapned only to me. Now who cannot but admire the admi­rable Providence of God by which this pretended Apostle was thus constreined to discover him­selfe to the world in such a shape, as if he had intended to fright all men from hearkning to such a monster so abandoned to all filthinesse, such an Apostate, and that against his consci­ence, not only from Faith, but even humanity? I forbeare to let him publish his other vices, of drunkennesse, gluttony, scurtility, &c. (for he hath left none of his good parts undiscovered in the world) But one thing I cannot omit, a pas­sage not to be parallel'd in any story, excepting onely his fellow-reformer Zuinglius, namely, that he should not be able to for beare to tell the world (as if some body had exercised him and forced him to confesse) that the arguments which moved him to leave Masse, (Luther. in lib. de Missa priva [...]â.) were suggested to him imme­diately and visibly by the Devill himselfe, And all this described with such particular cir­cumstances as if he had taken care that men should not ascribe it to his dreames or to his Melancholly, or frenzy; in a word, as if he had been concern'd in honour to tell who [Page 55] was his Master: a Master that he himselfe sayd he was very well and frequently acquainted with, having eaten more then one measure of salt with him, the Devill sleeping with him oftner then his wife Katherine. Such mercy and goodnesse and care hath almighty God had over his Church to open the mouth of the beast, and by such a miracle to discover the true Author of Schisme.

4. Then for Calvin, (Conrad. Schluss [...]iburg [...] in Theolog. Calvin. lib. 1. fol 72. and cap. 12. 4.) not to take advantage of the Character given him by a learned Protestant, which will represent him so steyned even with fleshly lusts also in a degree beyond Luther, lusts so horrible and unnaturall, that I cannot obtaine from my selfe permission to defile this paper with transcribing his words; and not to repeat his forementioned seditious, bloody positions, befitting rather the Alcoran, then writings of Christian Institutions, or Commentaries; to omit likewise any blasphemous Do­ctrines by which in immediate consequence he destroyes the Mistery of the Blessed Tri­nity, the Justice and Sanctity of Almighty God, making him formally the Author of sinne; The only reading of his bookes against his adversaries, and particularly a­gainst Cassander and Castalio, will acquaint any man with what a spirit he was possessed and agitated, a spirit that suggested to him words to expresse the utmost extremity of Pride, Envie and Malice that a humane soule can be capable of Certainly if that be true (as it is blasphemy to question it) which the spirit of God tells us, [Page 56] That into an uncleane soule the spirit of discipline will not enter: and againe, That God reveales his mysteries to the humble and meeke: it was not without a great care that God had of this part of the world, that he suffered those two great Teachers of Schisme to discover in themselves all manner of uncleannesse both of the flesh and of the spirit, as if on purpose, to the end that the same persons while they were presenting to the world the cup of their poysonous doctrine, should likewise at the same time give warning that that could be no other then poyson, which proceeded from such hearts full of all unclean­ness & the gall of bitternisse: For mine own part I confesse I had not the courage to follow him who profess'd that he followed the Devill, and described himselfe an attendant befitting such a leader; Neither could I be mistaken to such a point as to thinke that there was any resemblance between the Spirit of Christ and that of Calvin. Though the Devill can sometime transforme himselfe into an Angell of light, and by that means circumvent those whose sinnes have deserved that God should give leave to such an efficacy of errour: Yet here the Devill used not so much cunning, he appeares like himselfe with his na­turall uglinesse and horrour, and his Ministers weare his livery: However I am sure it is im­possible that Christ should transforme himselfe into an Angell of darknesse. Vitium simulari non potest virtus potest.

CHAP. XVI.

The Authors unquietnesse not being able to communicate with Calvinists, &c.

Reflection upon the severall Easterne Churches.

1. HAving proceeded thus far in my search of a Church, and finding after an un­partiall disquisition that among all the Sects in the Westerne parts of the world seperated from the Roman Church, I could not finde any Congregation, unto the Communion of which I could without hypocrisy adhere, if that Church wherein I had been bred should come to fayle (a supposition not only possible, but, as the case began to be e're this time, even very probable) I fell into a great perplexity of minde, so great that I could not perceive any cure for it, no not though God should blesse the King of England so far as to give him an entire victory over his enemies, and a power to restore that Church to its former lustre: For I now plainly perceived that hither­to my title of being a Christian and a member of Gods Church, all my interests and hopes of blessednesse depended upon a Church, that ne­ver did pretend either to indefectibility, infallibi­lity or authority obliging any other then only those that live in her Communion [...], and those not in conscience, but only upon pe­nalty of being deprived of certaine priviledgess [Page 58] and preferments belonging to English subjects; upon a Church that never pretended to de­clare or decide Articles of Faith, any o­ther then some few negative ones against the Roman Church, or to fulminate Auathe­mas against whosoever submitted not to her decisions, as the Ancient Church was wont to doe; lastly upon a Church that, as, God knowes, it appeares now manifestly, hath no surer foundation than the prosperity of the King, and continuance of his civill autho­rity.

2. To gaine some ease to my minde, I ap­plyed my self to a re-examination of the preju­dices I had against the other Reformed Churches: None of which I could clearly take away: and particularly concerning the want of a law­full succession of Pastors, I assured my selfe it was not possible to be defended or excused, nothing that I could invent my selfe, or learne from others having any shew of the least proba­bility, or deserving to be confuted.

3. When this succeeded not, I travelled in my minde over the Easterne Countryes: (for still I was prepossessed that the maine ground of the Roman Religion, namely the infallibility of that Church, was as demonstratively confu­table as any absurdity in Mathematiques: and therefore though in the particular points of differences I approached as near unto its belief as Monsieur Grotius, or Monsieur de la Millitiere, Yet that maine foundation being, as I thought, ruinous, it was to no purpose to trouble my selfe with any debate concerning that Church.) But as ill successe I had in the East now, as be­fore, [Page 59] nearer home: For of those Churches, the Maronites I found, were in Communion and beliefe agreeing with the Roman Church. The Abissiues were a schismaticall Church divided both from the rest of the Easterne and Westerne Churches now almost twelve hun­dred yeares since, namely upon the anathema­tizing of the Eutychian Heresie: the like may be said of the Nestorians, Iacobites and other Haereticall Churches in the Easterne Countryes: As for the Graecian Churches they brought al­most all the same difficulties that the Roman Church did, For almost in all points wherein the English Church differed from the Roman they agreed with it; in the Article of the Procession of the Holy Ghost the English agreed with the Roman against them, and their assuming equall authority with the Pope was apparently an usur­pation.

CHAP. XVII.

Necessity of the Authors examining the grounds of the Roman Church.

Severall advantages acknowledged to be in that Church.

1. THus like Noah's Dovo wearying my selfe in flying up and down, and finding [...] rest for the soale of my foot, I was at last forced to returne into the Arke, seeing what ever be­came of the English Church, I Now found rea­son enough not to thinke my selfe safe enough [Page 60] in it. Yet it was a good while before I got any sight of the Arke, and after I saw it, I did not hastily suffer my selfe to be received into it, till I saw there was no other way to escape drowning left me.

2. My first thoughts after so successelesse a search of a Church were, not doubtingly, but sollicitously expostulating in my mind, where is the effect of that promise of Christ, that the gates of Hell should not prevaile against his Church? And, Behold I am with you till the end of the world? I wondered that the Fathers should so unanimously interpret the Church to be that City seated on the top of a mountaine: For I had in vaine sought both mountaines and Valleyes, and could not get a sight of it. But I concluded that certainly the fault was in mine owne eyes, which some mist or disease had blinded, and not in want of visibility in the Church, since all the Promises of God in Christ are in him, YEA, and in him AMEM. And therefore that no preconceits of assurance or demonstrations ought to hinder me from ex­amining the pretentions of the Roman Church, as well as the rest: That it was utterly im­possible that the Promises of Christ should faile, but that it was very possible that both my selfe and Mr. Chillingworth might be mistaken in be­leiving those arguments to be demonstrations, which were not: That perhaps he did not under­stand fully the minde of his adversary M. Knot: Or perhaps that the opinion and expression of Infallibility combated by Mr. Chillingworth was but an interpretation given by a private Doctour of his sence of the Churches doctrine, & so the [Page 61] arguments against it not proceeding directly a­gainst the Church: However that it was very reasonable, just and requisite seriously and di­ligently to examine the true state of that questi­on, which if the Roman Church could to my understanding justifie that she had not err'd in, there would presently be an end of all my tra­vells and doubts about other particular contro­versies. For who will question or suspect the truth of that Witnesse or Judge in particu­lar speeches or assertions, that has once in grosse approved himselfe to be Infalli­ble?

3. Had it not been for this point of the Chur­ches Infallibility, and some Philosophicall Ob­jections against the Reall Presence, &c. I had not lived thus long out of the communion of the Roman Church; for I alwayes acknowled­ged that there were in it very many advantages and excellencies, to which no other Church had the confidence to pretend. As 1. I could not deny (having withall the Confession of the most learned Protestants) that the Religion of the present Roman Church is the very same Religion which Saint Augustin the English A­postle by the Mission of Saint Gregory the Great planted in England, when he converted it from Paganisme; so that me thought it was some­what an extravagant thing to separate now from Rome for those very points, by the em­bracing of which England became Christian; Especially considering what persons Saint Gre­gory and Saint Augustine were, of what sublime holinesse, and profound learning, and how that Religion was confessedly conffirmed by Di­vine [Page 62] Miracles. 2. I could not but admire and infinitely approve the ingenuity of the Roman Church in obliging all her children to interpret Scriptures, and to conforme their beleife to the generall consent of Fathers: Indeed the Prote­stants, in England especially, made honourable mention of the Fathers, but none but Roman Catholiques proceed thus farre. 3. That if we defined Haeresie and Schisme according to the generall notion of the Fathers, viz. that Hae­resie is a misbeleife innovated in points of Faith contrary to the Doctrine universally re­ceived in the Church; and Schisme an uncha­ritable division of one part from the externall Communion of the whole; Of all Churches in the world the Roman could with least reason and justice be accused of these two sinnes, for first, She only receives and preserves the ancient pra­ctise, and all the Councells and Synods of the Church. Secondly all other Sects apparently broke from her Communion, and all Haere­tiques were of her Religion before they innova­ted and introduced new opinions. 4. That the method by which the Roman Church de­cided all emergent controversies, namely by the authority of the present Church, however I was then perswaded there was some usu [...] pation in it, yet de facto ended all disputes, and produced an admirable unity in that Church. A blessing which not only reason, but manifest experience showes to be impossible to be a [...] ­ceiued in Protestant Churches, where scripture interpreted by private judgement is the Rule and Iudge, for hitherto never has there been made an agreement in any one controversie among [Page 63] them: In so much as the proper difference be­tween Catholiques and Protestants is; that if two Catholiques be in debate about any question, both of them will agree to bee judged by a third, namely, the Church; and till that be done they breake not Com­munion: But if two Protestants quarrell, each of them will interpret and judge both for him­selfe and his adversary too, there being no um­pire between them, nor any thing to oblige them to Communion. 5. That the sobr [...]st Protestants sometimes are not without some suspicion of guilt in matter of Schisme, acknow­ledging at least that worldly interests had influ­ence upon those Princes that begun separation first: a case never to be found among Ca­tholiques. And when any such scruples arise in the mindes of Protestants, they never trouble themselves with seeing themselves divided from the Greek or Abissine Churches, but only the Roman. And very many among them, on their death beds at least, when all secular respects are silent, desire reconciliation with the Roman Churches. Whereas I believe there never was heard any one example of a Roman Catholique, which on his death-bed desired to forsake that Communion to be incorporated into a Prote­stant Church. And 6. There was a sixth advantage far more prevailing with me then all the former (though at the first I had but an imperfect view of it) namely, the eminent rules of sanctity and spirituallity taught by most prudent and pious directors, and practised after a manner, that nothing in any of the Prote­stant Churches approacheth neere unto it. [Page 64] The story and Order of my information in this particular, I will reserve till the Conclusion of this Narration. For the present I will content my selfe with avowing that every day the more neare and faire a prospect I had of the beauty of Holinesse, my prejudices and objecti­ons against that Church, in which onely such a jewell was to be found, diminished, till in the end I could not free my selfe from partialli­ty, at least so farre as to wish that Truth might not be found separated from so heavenly a Companion. This Treatise being a Story rather than a controversie, I thought my selfe obli­ged not to conceale my actions, though they might be obnoxious to be esteemed imperfect or faulty: and am content to heare and thanke whosoever will vouchsafe to reprove mee for them.

4. I will not deny but that these seemed to me very specious and alluring qualities, espe­cially being of such a disposition, that is, one that above all things in the world abhorred quarrelling, one who though he durst not betray necessary truths by professing the contrary, yet in many cases would willingly have purchased peace with silence: lastly, one that alwaies sus­pected his owne reason, and that was desirous to find out authority, which might deserve to have his reason submit it selfe to it.

5. Yet notwithstanding all these invitations, so prepossessed was I with the invinciblenesse of Mr. Chillingworth's arguments against the infallibility of the Church, joyn'd with an opinion that it was an essentiall requisite to Communion with the Roman Church to acknow­ledge [Page 65] infallibility in the notion that I apprehen­ded it, that it was not without much violence to my selfe that I could obteine from mine owne reason permission to make a serious en­quiry into the grounds of it. But at last, because I would not accuse my self afterward of want of ingenuity and fidelity in denying that to the Ro­man Church alone, which I had performed in respect of all other Churches besides, even to the Socinians, Nestorians and Eutychians: and besides, the affaires of England growing every day in the greater decadency, I found that I was likely to be forced to a reall necessity of resolving that that Question, which at first I reflected on onely upon an imagined supposition, namely, Supposing the Church of England should come to faile, to the Communion of what Church I should then adjoyne my selfe?

6. A Question this is, which I am con­fident never any one person of any one Sect of Christians before was effectively forced to determine: For never before was there any Religion so wholly appropriated to any King­dome or Government, as that such a Govern­ment decaying, the whole frame of that Church sunk, the professors thereof not being able to find in the whole world any Church into which, without renouncing their maine distinctive principles, they could enter. Since the time that it was Gods good pleasure to rejoyne mee to the Rock from whence I was hewn, leading me into the unity of his Church, I have con­ceived that I might attribute this decay, and now almost vanishing of the English Church to a [Page 66] double intention of almighty God, the first, To shew that when Religion, in substantiall doctrines especially, is framed according to inte­rests of State, it does thereby as it were renounce, and exempt it selfe from Gods Protection, and by consequence not deserving his care, is not likely to be long-liv'd: the second, to the end to shew the curse that lies upon Schisme in ge­nerall, it may seeme to have been Gods pleasure that that Church which had more shew of ex­cuse than any other whatsoever, and that better represented a form of the Ancient and most glorious Church than any other Sect, should be the first that should be undermined, to the end that others seeing what has been done to a tre [...] which had some greennesse in it, might thereby prophecy what shall become of their rotten and drye ones.

CHAP. XVIII.

Preparations to the examining of the grounds of the Roman Churches autho­rity.

1. VVEll, at last lifting up my heart in dayly and almost hourely fervent prayers unto almighty God for the direction of his Holy spirit (a practise which, God knowes, I never discontinued from the beginning of my search, but now a more urging necessity sharp­ned the intention and fervour of my heart;) and striving all I could to cleanse the scals, wherein I [Page 67] was to weigh this so important a merchandise, from all externall prejudices or allurements, or any thing that might hinder my enquiry from being perfectly ingenuous and unpartiall; and almost vowing that, if God would be pleased to set me on a rock higher than my selfe, giving repose unto my minde, that onely knew quid fugeret, but not, quò fugeret, I would consecrate the remainder of my life to blesse and serve him in the best and strictest manner I could finde; and lastly, resolving to purchase truth at the dearest rate possible, though with the losse of fortunes, hopes, friends or Countrey; I applyed my minde earnestly and diligiently to the examination of the authority, and, so much disputed, infallibility of the Roman Church, to Catholiques a rock of foundation upon which all Religion relyed, but to me hitherto a rock of offence, and the maine considerable prejudice, which drove me back whensoever I endea­voured to make any appoaches toward that Church.

2. My next preparation and provision for this businesse, was to informe my selfe, not so much from particular Catholique Doctors, as from the Church it selfe, in the decisions of her Councels, what was her doctrine in this point, and in what manner and termes ex­pressed: my designe being to learne onely what was so necessary to be believed in this Article, as that without it, a man could not call himselfe a Catholique, and with subscription to which alone, a man might sufficiently justifie him­self against all exception to deserve that title. For this purpose I applyed my selfe to the Study of [Page 68] the ancient received Councels, I perused dili­gently the Codex Canonum Ecclesiae Universae, Bur­chardus Wormatiensis, Caranza's summe of the Councels, but especially the Councell of Trent, and the Bull of Pope Pius quartus, desiring fur­ther information from severall learned Catho­liques. If I perused any particular Controver­tists, it was with intention to take notice of such unquestioned and unsuspected Authors as had most retrenched from this controversie all particular opinions, and had expressed their understanding of the Churches meaning with the greatest condescendence and qualifica­tion.

3. Having made extraits pertinent to my purpose out of the forementioned Councells and Authors, and having digested them, I deduced corrollaries out of them, importing what au­thority the Church assumed to her selfe, whence derived, and how limitted. And, distrusting mine owne Collections, to confirme my selfe further, and to assay whether those de­ductions would be allowable by Catholiques sufficiently informed of the true sense of the Churches doctrine, I gathered out of my ex­traits certaine Conclusions, which I digested into a forme of Questions; These I sent to a worthy and learned friend a Doctor of the faculty of Paris, desiring his resolution, whether such senses as I had given of the points mentioned, would be receivable among Catholiques, or no. His kindnesse and Charity moved him not onely to take the trouble upon him of answering my Questions, but likewise voluntary to publish in print the Questions with his answers, to the end [Page 69] satisfaction might be given that he had said nothing therein that any Catholique would que­stion: Which resolutions of his I thought fit to annex to this treatise.

3. Besides all this, for my further information, and because even during my education in Pro­testancy I had been advised, and was consequent­ly resolved to embrace those doctrines, which were most conformable to the profession of the Ancient Church, I conceived it necessary to study diligently such Fathers writings especi­ally as had been forced to maintaine the Churches authority against Heretiques. Thereupon I betook my self to the rending of the Ancient-Church Hi­story, and besides others, I perused exactly Tertullians Praescriptions against Haeretiques, &c. S. Cyprian, S. Epiphanius, S. Augustines Epistles and treatises against the Donatists, Manichaeans, &c. Vincentius Lyrinensis, S. Hieroms Bookes against the Luciferians, Iovinian and Vigilantius: I had recourse likewise upon occasion to cer­taine treatises of Saint Basil, and S. Athanasius, S. Hilary, S. Pacian &c. And lastly I judged it an effectuall way of atteining to the understan­ding the opinion of Antiquity concerning the Church, to select the speciall Texts of Scripture, wherein mention is made of the Church, and to examine how the Fathers interpre­ted those Texts; and what inferences they drew from them in their Sermons and Com­mentaries, in which I might be sure they spoke without interest and passion, as having no ad­versary in sight to combat withall, and therefore were not likely to streine themselves in their expressions. Such Texts of Scripture were these, [Page 70] and the like, Die Ecclesiae, &c. Tell the Church, and if he will not beare the Church, let him be to thee as a Heathen and a Publican. And, Tu es Pertus, &c. Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevaile against it. And, Ecclesiae, quae est firmamentum fidei, &c. The Church which is the ground of Faith, and Pillar of truth, &c.

CHAP. XIX.

What prejudice the Author received by receiving the doctrine of the Roman Churches Authority express'd in School-language.

Successe of his enquiry into Councels and ancient Fathers.

1. THe answering of the Questions, and es­pecially the perusing of those bookes was the businesse of a good space of time, a­bove twelve moneths, or more. The exces­sive paines and diligence employed by mee, which otherwise would have brene tedious, was much sweetned by the discovery every day of new light. And I could not but observe the strange effects of education and prejudice, which made me believe my selfe to be sapara­ted in my beliefe from the Catholique Church at a distance unmeasurable, when indeed I was even at the doores: and I am certaine I had been much sooner a Catholique, if I had thought or rather indeed if I had considered [Page 71] (for if I had considered it well I might have found sufficient ground to think so) that the beliefe of the Churches doctrines nakedly as she proposeth them, and in the latitude allowed by her, had beene sufficient to have gained that title. But I tooke those to be the necessary do­ctrines of the Catholique Church, which were onely the private opinions and expressions of particular Doctors, And the simplicity of the Articles of Christian Faith was clowded by Scholasticall Metaphysicall tearms, which being ab­struse, nice, and unknown to Antiquity rendred the doctrines themselves obscure and withall new and suspected to me.

2. And all this by a very pardonable fault of mine: For from whom should I receive the doctrines of the Roman Church when a Contro­versie is raised, but from the learnedst Masters of Controversie? And how few among them propose the points to be disputed between them and the Protestants in the language of the Church? Besides how few among them are there, who in disputing will allow that la­titude which the Church apparently does? There is scarce any Point of Controversie, which is not severally interpreted, streitned, or enlarged by severall Catholiques of severall Orders and education: and most of them in confuting the Protestants seeme very earnest and make it almost their whole designe to im­pose their particular interpretations and ex­pressions for Catholique doctrines. But with very little or no successe: For a Protestant will be very ready, and may with good reason say, Though by being perswaded by you I shall be­come [Page 72] a Roman Catholique, yet I might deny all that you maintaine, and yet be a Roman Catholique too, for I can produce Authors which you dare not deny to be good Catho­liques, that will not receive nor subscribe to your expression and stating of this Point: Therefore seek to convert them first, and then come and dispute with me: Dispute like a Catholique, for the question is not now whe­ther I shall be a Dominican, Jesuite, Scotist, &c. But whethe I ought to be a Catholique, or no.’ The truth is by these meanes, disputa­tions are endlesse, Catholiques themselves afford­ing answers and objections to Protestants a­gainst Catholiques. Whereas if particular Con­trovertists as were indulgent as the Church is, & would be content to thinke that the termes wherein Shee expressed her minde were the most proper, their adversaries would quickly be silenced, Controversies abated, and, by Gods assistance, union in a short time happily re­stored.

3. The great ha [...]me which I received by judging of the Churches Faith by particular new expressions of it, puts me into this fit of liberty in censuring thus far the method of those men by whom I have been so long a time so far from being perswaded, that I was rather hin­dred from my reunion to the Church: And on the contrary, this happy successe in following the direction of some few Catholique authours, who separating particular opinions of Doctors from necessary Catholique Doctrines, and ur­ging nothing upon me, but without assenting to which, I could not be a Catholique, makes me [Page 73] judge by mine own experience as well as rea­son, that that which healed me of my errours and Schism, would not by Gods blessing want the same effect in others also, especially among English Protestants; [...]nd the rather if (follow­ing the advice of the most Reverend the Lord Archbishop of Roven, ) Protestants, in stead of wearying themselves with perticular de­bates, would resolve this in the first place, why they made the Schism at first, and continue in it still: What dispensation they have from the authority and unity of the Church, so unani­mously and affectionately reverenced and o­beyed by the ancient Fathers?

4. I cannot without ingratitude, in this place and occasion omit a profession of that great ob­ligation I have with thankfulnesse to almighty God, and respect to his happy instrument, to acknowledge the efficacious influence that one Treatise in speciall manner had to the furthe­rance and facilitating of my Conversion, writ­ten in French by that skilfull and authorized Controvertist, Francis Veron Doctor of Di­vinity, and entituled by him Reiglè generale de la foy Catholique: In which he delivers the pure Catholique Doctrine in the words of the Councells, streined and separated from all particular opinions or authorities not absolute­ly obliging. And this exemplified throughout almost all the considerable points of Contro­versie, bewteen Catholiques and the severall Sects of Protestants. Which method of pro­ceeding is approved by several learned Doctors of the Faculty of P [...]is, and the generall de­signe [Page 74] of it by his late Holinesse Gregory the fifth, as was signified to the Author by his Nephew Cardinall Ludovisi [...]; yea God himself hath approved and recommended the same Me­thod by his numerous blessings on it in the Conversion of a world of wandering perverted souls. From his ground it is especially that I in this book both take this fashion and Lati­tude of stating doctrines of faith, & recommend it to others, when they treat with Protestants: And particularly from him did I receive Infor­mation, that the very expresse terme of Infalli­bility was not of obligation to be made use of in Disputation concerning the Churches Au­thority: As likewise that the Doctrines of Faith promulgated by the said Authority in the De­crees of generall Councells, did admit of many more qualifications and restrictions then po­pular Controvertists do think good to make use of. So that if in this or any other point any expressions found in this book shall seem new or not so relishing to any, I must refer them to the said Author and his Approvers, who no doubt will ease me of the trouble of making Apologies.

5. But leaving this digression, I will at last relate the successe I found in reading the Canons of the Church, the forementioned books and treatises of the Fathers, &c. Which was, that I thereby gained a distinct knowledge both of the faith of the present Church, and what those Ancients believed concerning the Churches Authority: and this not by relying upon a few select passages and Texts pick'd out by late [Page 75] Controvertists, but by observing the maine de­signe and intention of those Fathers, when the very like Controversies in their times con­streined them to consider and unanimously de­clare what they themselves thought, and what they had received from their predecessours con­cerning the Church, Haeresie, and Schisme.

6. That therefore which I learned from them pertinent to my present purpose I will set downe in foure Conclusions, relating to foure principall heads of controversie, namely, 1. Of the Rule of Faith, that is, Scripture and Traditions unwritten. 2. Of the Judge of Controversies, that is, the Catho­lique Church. 3. Of the unity of the Church and the danger of Heresy & Schisme. 4. Of the perpetuall Vi­sibility of the Church. To all which Propositions respectively I will adjoyne the doctrine of the present Roman Church, conteined especially in the Councell of Trent; And likewise the beliefe of Protestants; Concluding with an examination whether the Roman or Protestant Churches do best conform themselves to the universal Ancient Tra­ditiō cōcerning the Church & her authority, &c.

7. When all this is done, at their perill be it, if any imputing to me sinister intentions, of which they cannot be judges, shall say it was either worldly discontent or ambition, and not an evident conviction of truth, and re­solution to save my soule that moved me finally to declare my selfe rather a follower of that part which, to my understanding, followes an universall and uninterrupted agreement of such Teachers, as both sides agree not only to have approached neerest to the fountaine of truth, Christ and his Apostles, & therefore to have had [Page 76] meanes of informing themselves in Apostolicall Tradition incomparably beyond us; But also to have been extreamly cautelous and learned, and so not easily obnoxious to be mistaken or deceived, And likewise unquestionably pious and vertuous, and therefore abhorring any in­tention of seducing others for temporall re­spects: Rather then three or foure new teachers, in whom there is not only a visible want of all these good qualities, but on the contrary such as have not been able to forbeare to declare them­selves to be worse men, more polluted with Lust, Gluttony, Sacriledge, Pride, Malice, Envie, &c. then without their own confession their ad­versaries could with a good conscience have ac­cused or but suspected them; And the effect of whose innovations ha's manifestly been nothing but Atheisme, profanenesse, bloodshed, confusion and ruine.

The second Section.

Conteining a stating of foure fundamentall points of Controversie, in foure Conclu­sions.

CHAP. I.

The first Conclusion, concerning the Rule of Faith.

Testimonies of Fathers acknowledging Do­ctrines Traditionary, as well as Scri­pture, to be a Rule of Faith.

1. ACcording to my promise in the last Chapter of the former Section, I will consequently set downe the fundamentall truths of Catholique Religion, in foure Conclusions, re­specting foure generall points of Controversie: The sense of which Conclusions I found evidently and uniformly delivered by the ancient Fathers; and by the light of the said truths, through Gods grace and goodnesse, I became entirely undeceived, and by their direction, I was led as it were by the hand into the Gates of that City, which is set on a hill, the holy Catholique Church of Christ. Now of those, this is the

[Page 78] I. CONCLUSION.

The entire Rule of Faith, comprised in the Doctrines delivered by Christ and his Apostles immediately to the Church, is conteyned not only in Scripture but like­wise in unwritten Traditions.

2. FOr the former part of this Conclusion, viz. ‘That the Rule of Christian Faith (& obedience) is no other then the Doctrines (and Praecepts) delivered immediately by Christ and his Apostles to the Church,’ And by consequence that the present Church pre­tends not to any new Revelations, or Power to make any new Articles of Christian Faith, or to propose any Doctrines under that title other then such as Shee has received by Catholique Tradition, it will be unnecessary paines to prove out of the Fathers, since I doe not know any Christians, who deserve that title, that doubt of it. Indeed the Calvinists (earnest to find all occasions to heighten their Schisme) charge the Catholique Church, as if she ad­mitted within this compasse other Doctrines, Decrees and Decretalls, &c. But most unjustly, since there is no warrant or ground given them to lay this aspersion upon the Church, and all Catholiques generally renounce it.

3. But as for that which followes in the Con­clusion, viz. ‘That this Rule of Faith is not conteined entirely and expresly in Scripture alone, but likewise in unwritten Traditions:’ In this lyes the maine difference betweeen the Ca­tholique Church and all other Sects both anci­ent [Page 79] and moderne; They all and alwaies con­spiring in this, ‘that the Scripture is to be the only Rule, and themselves judges and inter­preters of the sence of it, at least for them­selves, or if not they, no body, however not the present Church:’ and on the contrary Ca­tholiques in all ages unanimously joyning in the contradiction of that ground, and affirming that all Doctrines of Faith were not indeed, no [...] ever were intended to be entirely express'd in Scripture; And that ‘Scriptures ought not to be interpreted by any private spirit or reason, any other way then according to the line of Ecclesiasticall Tradition.’

4. Concerning the Rule of Faith therefore, let us aske our Fathers that were before us how they were instructed in this point, and among them the first testimony will be afforded us by S. Ignatius to this effect quoted by Eusebiu [...]: (Hist. Eccl. l. 3. c. 35.) ‘Ignatius saith he, exhort­ed the Churches to hold themselves insepara­bly to the Tradition of the Apostles, which Tradition for surenesse sake he thought good to reduce into writing. Againe, S. Polycarpus, saith the same Author, (l. 5. c. 19.) taught his Disciples many Traditions not written.’ Again S. Dyony. Arcop. (Hier. Eccl. c. 1.) at least even by acknowledgment of the most learned Prote­stants, an Author of the second or third age, Those prime Captains and heads of our Hierarchy thought it necessary to deliver unto us those sublime and su­persubstantiall Mysteries both in written & unwrit­ten instructions. Again S. Fab. Pope [...] Martyr, (Ep. 1. ad Episc. Orientis.) speaking of holy Chrisme to be renewed every yeare (of which no mention is in [Page 80] Scripture) addes, These things we received from the Holy Apostles and their successors, which we require you to observe. Againe Tertullian (de Cor. Mil. cap. 4.) discoursing, as he often does, of severall rites and practises not mentioned in Scripture, concludes in one place thus, ‘Of all these and other disciplines of the like nature, if thou shalt require a law out of Scripture, thou shalt finde none: Tradition shall be alledged to thee for the Author Custome the confirmer, and Faith the observer. Againe S. Irenaeus, (Cont. Haer. lib. 3. c. 4.) What if the Apostles had not left us Scriptures, ought we not to have followed the Order of Tradition, which they delivered to those to whom they committed the Churches? to which ordina­tion give proofe many nations of those Bar­barous people who beleeve in Christ, having salvation written in their hearts by the Spi­rit, without characters or inke, and diligently observing the ancient Tradition. Againe the Fathers assembled in that ancient Councell of Gangres (Can. 21.) We desire that all those things which have been delivered in divine Scriptures, and by Tradition of the Apostles should be observed in the Church. Againe S. Basil, (de Spir. Sanc. to cap. 27. 29.) of the dogmes and instructions ( [...] [...]) preserved in the Church, some we have by written institutions, others we have delivered by the secret Tradition of the Apo­stles; Both which sorts have the same authority for as much as concernes piety: and there is no man will contradict this that is never so [Page 81] little experienc'd in the law of the Church. The same Father in the same Chapter, The day would faile me if I should produce all the Mysteries which the Church observes without writing. And a little after, I account in an A­postolique thing to persist constantly in obser­ving Traditions not written.’ Againe, Euse­bius Caesariensis, (de dem. Evang. lib. 1.) who ha­ving said that Christ did not as Moses, leave his Law written in Tables or Paper, but in the hearts of his Apostles: who likewise following the example and intention of their Master, ‘Have consign'd their doctrines, some indeed in writing, and others they have delivered to be observed by lawes unwritten. Againe S. Chrysostome (2 Thes. cap. 2.) From hence it appeares that the Apostles have not delivered all things by Epistles, but likewise many things without writing: now both those and these deserve to be equally believed. Againe S. Epiphanius, (haer. 61.) We must likewise make use of Tradition, for all things cannot be taken out of Scripture: And therefore the Holy Apostles have given us some things in writing, and others by Tradition.’ Againe S. Augustin (de Bap. cont. Don. lib. 5. cap. 23.) speaking against those that maintained that Hae­retiques ought to be rebaptised, ‘The Apo­stles, sayth he, have prescribed nothing concer­ning this thing: But this custome which was opposite to S. Cyprian ought to be believed to have taken its originall from their Tradition, as there are many things which the uniuersall Church observe [...]h, and for that reason are rightly beleeved [...] have been commanded by [Page 82] the Apostles, although they are not found in their writings.’ These quotations seemed suffi­cient to me to shew the generall Opinion of the Fathers to be consonant to the Conclusion be­fore mentioned.

CHAP. II.

The Roman Church agreeing with Fa­thers in the same Rule of Faith.

All Sects of Protestants disagree with the Fathers.

1. NOw to the end to confront with Anti­quity the present Roman and Protestant Churches, that it may appeare which of them are the true legitimate children of those Fathers: Wee will begin with the Roman Church, whose mind we finde clearly expressed in the Decree of the Councell of Trent Sess. 4. concerning Canonicall Scriptures, in these words, Sacro­san [...]a, &c. Tridentina Synodus, &c. Perspiciens hanc veritatem, &c. that is, ‘The most holy, &c. Synod of Trent, &c. Clearly perceiving that this truth and discipline (namely, the Doctrine of Christ and his Apostles) is contained in bookes, written, and unwritten Traditions, which were received from Christs Mouth, or delivered as it were from hand to hand from the Apostles, to whom the Holy Ghost dicta­ted it, hath arrived even to us: Following the Oxthodox examples of the Fathers, receives [Page 83] and venerates with an equall affection of duty and reverence all bookes as well of the Old as New Testament, since one God is the authour of both, as likewise the Traditions themselves whether perteining to Faith or Manners, as dictated either by Christs own Mouth, or by the Holy Ghost, and by a continued succession preserved in the Catholique Church. Thus far the Councell of Trent.’

2. Whether the Roman Church has indeed made good this her profession, viz. That in this decree shee followes the Orthodox examples of the Fathers, besides so many formall proofes be­fore alledged, the confession of many learned Protestants will justifie her: As Cartwright (Cartw. Witgift Def p. 103.) speaking of the fore­mentioned or like quotations out of S. Augustin, saith, To approve this speech of Augustin is to bring in Popery, &c. So likewise Whittaker, Fulk, Kem­nitius, &c. (Whit. de Laec. Ser. p. 678. 681. 690, &c. Fulk [...] con. Purg. p. 362. 397. Kemnit. Exam. part 1. p. 87 &c.) for such like assertions of the Fathers condemne then generally; and by name Cle­mens Alexandrinus, Origen, Epiphanius, Tertullian, Augustin, Ambrose, Hierome, Chrysostome, Euse­bius, Baesile, Leo, Maximus, Theophilus, Damascene. &c.

3. In opposition to this decreed Doctrine of the Roman Church, and by consequence to the Orthodox examples of the Fathers, a [...] manner of Sects that have separated from the Church, or from one another since Luthers [...]me, agree almost in no other point unanimously except in this, ‘That the Scripture conteins in it expresly all things both concerning beliefe [Page 84] and practise, which are necessary or but requi­site to salvation. And by consequence that no man is or ought to be obliged to submit to any Doctrine or precept any further then as it can be proved manifestly to him to be con­teined in the written word of God.’

4. The Church of England (Art. 6. of English Church) in particular makes this one of her pe­culiar Articles, ‘That the Holy Scripture con­teineth all things necessary for salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an Article of Faith, or to be thought requisite necessary to salvation. But withall professeth that The three Creeds, Nicene Creed, Atha­nasius Creed, and that which is commonly called the Apostles Creed ought throughly to be received and believed.’ Moreover that she receiveth the foure first Generall Councells: yet not saying that she thinkes her selfe obliged to the one or other for the authority of Tradi­tion or the Councells, for if so, she would be obliged likewise to accept of and submit to ma­ny other Traditions and Councells, as likewise many points and practises confirmed in those Councells, besides the Mysteries of the Blessed Trinity, many of which notwithstanding shee relinquishes, if not condemnes: Yea on the contrary for those three Creeds she gives this reason for her admitting of them ‘because they may be proved by most certaine warrants of holy Scripture.’ And how little or no autho­rity she allowes to the Church, or Generall Councells shall be shewn in the next Conclu­sion. [Page 85] For the present therefore, taking those words of accepting the three Creeds and foure Councells rather for a complement of Civility to Antiquity, then as importing any reall inten­tion to admit any judge or Rule of Faith, but only Scripture and that interpreted by her selfe, for her selfe at least: Come we to consider how rationall and safe a ground this is, ‘That no­thing is to be beleeved but only Scripture.’

CHAP. III.

English Protestants unwilling to Justifie this Position: and Why.

Mr. Chillingworths late booke against the Catholique Church: and the Cha­racter given of it.

1. THis Position of Scripture being the only Rule of Faith, though it be the main foundation upon which all Heretiques and Schis­matiques [...] almost that are and ever were doe rely, and therefore in all likelyhood, since so many millions of people of all Sects and in all ages have been concern'd to study and make it good, should in reason be best upheld: Yet to my ap­prehension of all other controversies, this is the most weakly grounded, and guiltily main­tained.

2. The experience I have of the particular disposition of English Protestanats (properly so called) and the happinesse I have enjoyed in the acquaintance and friendship with very [Page 86] many the most considerable persons for Lear­ning, Prudence, and Piety in that Church, gives mee warrant to say this of them, that there is no point of Controversy that they are more unwilling to touch upon then this of Scriptures being the onely Rule, and no visible Judge to interpret it, I meane, as to the positive maintaining thereof (for as concer­ning the disputing against the infallibility of the Church, there is none more ready to make Objections then they.) One reason hereof may be, because the English Church, out of gratitude to the Ancient Church and Fathers, which have hitherto maintained their Ecclesiasticall Go­vernment against the Calvinists, till they came to dispute with fire and sword, professeth therfore greater reverence to antiquity and Tradition then any other Sect whatsoever; And therefore her children are unwilling to renounce or oppose that great army of Saints & Martyrs of the Pri­mitive times, who unanimously acknowledge that besides Scriptures they had received from their Ancestors Traditionary Doctrines and Ritts, and these so universally spread through all Churches Easterne and Westerne, no man being able to name any particular fallible Au­thour of them, that they were as firmely assured that they proceeded from the Apostles, as that the books of Scripture proceeded from the same Authours. Yea, for many of these Traditions greater proofe might be made of their authen­tique and Divine Originall, then of most books of Scripture, in as much as they were from the beginning universally apparent in the Practise of the Church, visibly shining in their Publique [Page 87] liturgies, for example, ‘Prayer for the Dead, and by consequence, Purgatory, that is, a State of deceased Christians capable of being bettered and eased by the Charity and Devotions of the living, Sacrifice of the Masse, and Offer­ing it for the Quick and Dead, Adoration of Christ really present there, Baptisme of In­fants, Non-rebaptization of Heretiques, Observation of Ecclesiasticall Feastes, Lent­fasts, &c. Invocation of Saints, Vene­ration of Reliques, Images, &c. Practise of Crossing themselves, Rites in admi­nistring Sacraments, &c.’ Whereas the bookes of the New Testament, especially the Epistles and Apocalypse, being written upon emergent occasions, and for the present neede of particular Persons and Churches, were a great while before they could be generally dispersed, and great caution and circumspecti­on used before they would be admitted into the Cannon: and being all, except some few that have perished, received there, it was impos­sible to prevent infinite corruptions in the wri­ting, since every one had leave to transcribe thē.

3. A second reason why English Protestants (I speake knowingly at least of my selfe and not a few others) dispence the more easily with them­selves for examining the sufficiency of this Rule of Faith is, because there being but two ways i­maginable of assigning such a Rule, that is, either expresse Scripture alone, or that joyn'd with Ec­clesiasticall Tradition, which is to be received up­on the authority, or (as the Schooles call it) the in­fallibility of the Church; and Protestants being per­swaded that they can unanswerably confute this [Page 88] fallibility, they take it for granted that the for­mer is the only Rule, and therefore surcease from undergoing the paines of diligent enquiry how firmely their foundation is layd, and what course to take for the answering of those inex­tricable inconveniences which follow upon that ground, for feare, lest if both these foundations should come to shrinke, Christianity it selfe would become questionable, and a way made for direct Atheisme. Hereupon it is that gene­rally their writers have proceeded the destru­ctive way, willingly undertaking to contradict the Churches infallibility; and it is not with­out extreame violence that they can be brought to maintaine their owne grounds; Which when the earnestnesse of Catholiques extorts from them, though they must conclude, for only Scripture, and No-judge, yet either shame or remorse makes them deferre somewhat to the ancient Churches authority, as it were excusing themselves that they dare not suffer themselves to be directed by her; For if by her as a visible Church, then by all Churches succeeding her to these our times.

4. In these latter times since that great un­fortunate Champion against the Churches infalli­bility, Mr. Chillingworth published his booke in defence of Doctour Potter, this guilt of English Protestants ha's beene farre more conspicuous. His objections against the Church, that is, his destructive grounds are avowed and boasted of as unanswerable in a manner by all: but his positive grounds, that is, the making onely Scripture, and that to be interpreted by every single mans reason, to be the Rule of Faith, [Page 89] this is at least waved, if not renounced by many: But most unjustly: since there is no conceivable meanes how to finde out a third in­telligible way of grounding beliefe and deter­mining controversies besides divine revelation proposed and interpreted authoritatively by the Church, or meere Scripture without any obli­gatory interpretation, as shall be demonstrated hereafter. Hence the generall Character given of himselfe and his booke is, ‘That he has had better luck in pulling down buildings, than raising new ones, and that he has ma­naged his sword much more dexterously than his buckler.’ And yet as if there were no need either of house or buckler, or as if Prote­stants did thinke themselves secure from wea­ther and danger, if Catholiques were expulsed and wounded, No man appeares with any de­signe to provide himselfe of any safer way of defence, then that which Mr. Chillingworth hath afforded. Yea Mr. Chillingworth himselfe (his friends know the reason of it) [...]utterly refused to answer those unconquerable confutations of his positive grounds, and those fearefull consequen­ces charged upon them: being satisfied, or at least making a countenance before those that knew him not inwardly, that he was satisfied of the firmenesse of his Rule of Faith, as long as an exact particular answer to all his ob­jections against the Churches infallibility was not published.

Those who have had a particular acquaintance with that extraordinary sublime wit and judge­ment, will, or at least, can, witnesse with me that thus much as I have said in a seeming cen­sure [Page 90] of him is true. Considering the long and inward friendship, and the many obligations I had to him, I had absteined from this, but that the cause in hand obliged me thereto; and but that his book alone had the principall influence upon me to shut up my entrance into Catho­lique unity: I shall therefore have frequent occasion hereafter in this Narration to weigh both his proofes and objections, at least such of them as were most powerfull with me: yet re­solving to be extreamely tender of his reputati­on: But to returne to the Story of my selfe.

CHAP. IIII.

Inconveniences following Protestants Po­sition of Only-Scripture.

Fathers refuse to dispute with Haeretiques from only Scripture.

1. VVHen I was forced to weigh with circumspection and fidelity this maine ‘fundamentall Position of Protestan­tisme, viz. That the Scripture is the only Rule of Faith, or, That all things necessary to be believed are conteined expresly in Scrip­ture,’ what a world of unavoidable inconve­ences did presently throng into my understand­iog, and upon how meere sand did it ap­peare to be laid! For the inconveniences. 1. It is impossible upon this ground that ever there should be found a way to end any contro­versies, [Page 91] as shall be demonstrated in the next Conclusion. 2. There can scarce be named one Haeretique but tooke the same for a ground of his Haeresy, and generally the Fathers protest against this ground, reducing them to Ecclesi­asticall Tradition, and the authority of the pre­sent Church.

2. For a proofe whereof we may consider the particular Treatises and bookes of the ancient Fathers which they wrought directly for this purpose, namely to shew what method and grounds their Ancestors and reason it selfe di­ctated to be used and proceeded upon in dispu­ting with any Haeretique whatsoever: and we shall finde that the Catholiques of these dayes doe shew themselves indeed sons of those Ca­tholique Fathers, exactly treading their steps in appealing to Scripture and generall Tradi­tion from which there lyes no prescription or ap­peale: And on the contrary, that the Haeretiques and Schismatiques of our times have been as ex­act in pursuing the traces of their Ancestors, pretending only Scripture, but relying upon the Pride of their owne hearts, and thinking that their interpretations and wrestings of Scripture ought to prevaile against all present and past authority how universall soever for place, and how uninterrupted soever for succession: The treatises anciently written for this purpose are S. Irenaeus against Haeresies, Tertullian de Prae­scriptionibus, S. Cyprian de unitate Ecclesiae, S. Au­gustin de unitate Ecclesiae, contra Epistolam Funda­menti, de utilitate credendi, &c. S. Vincentius Le­rinensis his Commonitorium, &c.

3. In particular may be witnesse of this Ter­tullian, [Page 92] (Tert. de Praescrip. cap. 19.) ‘There is no good got by disputing out of Texts the Scri­pture but either to make a man sick or mad. And againe, There ought therefore to be no appealing to Scripture, nor disputing out of them, since by that meanes either neither side will be victorious, or it is a hazard whe­ther. And againe, But hitherto we have in generall proceeded against all Heresies, pro­ving by assured, reasonable and necessary pre­scriptions against all Heresies, that they are to be excluded from all disputation out of Scripture. Witnesse likewise S. Augustine, Haeresies and doctrines of perversenesse ensnaring soules, and sinking them into Hell have risen from no other fountaine, but this, that Scriptures which are good, are understood not well, and that which is not well understood in them, is rashly and impu­dently maintained.’ Againe, the same Father brings in the Arian Bishop Maximinus thus chal­lenging a Catholique, (id con. Maximin. Ar. Episco­pum lib. 1.) ‘If thou wilt produce any thing out of divine Scriptures which are common to all, it is necessary we should hearken to thee: But these speeches which are not in Scripture are in no case receivable by us.’ The same Father in the conclusion of the same books brings in another Heretique using these words, I desire and wish to be a Disciple of the Holy Scriptures, &c. If thou shalt affirme any thing out of the Scriptures, if thon shalt produce a quotation of any thing written there in any place, We desire to be found disciples of the Holy Scriptures. Againe se­verall other passages to the same purpose may be [Page 93] seen in severall other parts of his workes as in Epist 222. and in lib. de Gen. ad lit. lib. 7. cap. 9. and de fide & Symb. cap. 9. and in Joan. Tract. 18. Lastly, the same Father disputing against Cres­conius the Grammarian, saith, (id. lib. 1. con. Cresc. Gram. cap. 33.) ‘Yet notwithstanding although there is produced no example of this out of Scriptures Canonicall, we doe never­thelesse observe the truth of the same Scrip­tures, when we doe that which is approved by the Church, whose authority the Scriptures recommend.’ See suitable passages in l. 5. de. Bap. cont. Donat. cap. 23. and de Unit. Eccl. cap. 19. Wit­nesse againe S. Hierom, (S. Hieron. dialog. cont. Lucifer.) ‘Neither let them please themselves, if sometimes they seem to make good their assertions out of some Texts of Scripture, for the Devill likewise sometimes quoted Scrip­ture, for Scriptures consist not in the bare words, but in sence.’ It is true indeed the Fa­thers sometimes commend the fulnesse of Scri­pture, as S. Basil saying, whatsoever is without the Scripture is sinne, but withall he gives us a Rule to know his meaning, shewing that accor­ding to the last quotation out of S. Augustin against Cresco [...]us the Grammarian, that may be said to be virtually conteined in Scripture, which is delivered by the Church, whose au­thority is recommended to us in Scripture, so sayes S. Basil likewise, (id. lib. de Spiritu sancto.) It is an Apostolique thing to persist constantly in Tra­ditions not written, for saith the Apostle, I praise you in that you are mindfull of whatsoever thing came from me, and observe the Traditions which I have given you. Besides in some cases there may [Page 94] be controversies about points, which are not grounded upon Orall Tradition but only Scripture.

4. A third inconvenience following the Pro­testants position is this, That since undoubted­ly there were in the Primitive Church Traditi­ons in great number, besides what is expressed in Scripture, I could not imagine what was become of them, or how it should be possible they should come to be lost having been re­ceived generally through the whole Church, and most of them shining in the practise of it. To salve this inconvenience, Protestants ei­ther impudently give the lye to all the Fathers, and say without the least proofe that there were none at all: Or in England there being under-Sects which by Scripture alone could not be confuted, as Puritans, Anabaptists, Sabbatari­ans, &c. they are forced to acknowledge some few Traditions of such a nature, although there­by they destroy their maine foundation of Only-Scripture; For by the Traditionary do­ctrine of Non-rebaptization they conclude the Anabaptists to be Heretiques, that is, erring in a necessary point of doctrine: Yet themselves renounce doctrines and practises delivered by a far more full Tradition; So great effect hath interest in that Church. But what will become of S. Basils saying before quoted, ‘That the day would faile him if he should undertake to enumerate all the Traditions left by the A­postles in the Church, not mentioned in Scripture?’ For all, that even the most con­descending Protestants will allow for such, may be reckoned five times over in a minute of an [Page 95] hower. Considering therefore that such Tradi­tions being visibly manifest for the most part in the practise of the Church, are far more easily preserved then any writing can be, it will ne­cessarily follow that the rest of that great num­ber are extant in the Roman Church, as may be proved of most of them before reckoned by te­stimonies of Ancient Fathers. (Vid. sup. c. 3.)

5. A fourth inconvenience to my understand­ing, unavoidable by Protestants, and a great proofe of the truth of the Doctrine of the Ro­man Church is this: Though Protestants ge­nerally deny that the points of Controversie de­bated between them and the Roman Church were universally received by the Ancient Church, as ‘Invocation of Saints, adoration of Christ, as present in the blessed Sacrament, Prayer for the dead, &c.’ Yet they cannot de­ny but that in many of the Fathers proofes of these doctrines may be found to shew that such was at least their particular opinions: Now if generally the Ancient Church had agreed with Protestants both in denying such doctrines and practise, received now in the Roman Church, and likewise in making only-expresse-Scripture the Rule to judge by; it could not be avoided but that some Synods or Fathers would have ta­ken notice of such pretended errours in the wri­tings of other Fathers, and likewise would have produced some of those Texts of Scrip­tures now made use of by Protestants for that purpose: a thing they are so far from, that on the contrary we find that many of the Fathers infer the same doctrines from the same Texts that Catholiques now do. And Protestants, though [Page 96] they alledge some passages of Fathers, by which they may seem consequently to destroy such doctrines, and to contradict their owne formall assertions in other places, yet are not able to produce so much as one Text of Scripture in­terpreted by any Father to confute any one such pretended errour. Which is a thing very remark­able, and will argue either that no man in the Ancient Church took notice of such pre­tended dangerous speeches of so many Fathers, or that they understood not the plaine Texts of Scripture, if Protestants grounds be true: or upon Catholiques grounds, since it was im­possible, but they must have taken notice of such opinions, and since they certainly did un­derstand plaine Texts of Scripture, that therefore not disputing out of Scripture, as Protestants doe, they were so far from believing such opi­nions to be errours deserving a Schisme, that they all of them agreed in receiving them as Catholique Truths. Other inconveniences which without hope or possibility of remedy do arise from making Scripture alone (secluding not only Traditions but likewise any visible ob­liging interpreter) to be the only Rule and Judge of Controversies, shall be reserved to be examined in the next Conclusion concerning the Authority of the Church in this busi­nesse.

CHAP. V.

Weaknesse of Protestants proofs for only-Scripture.

Texts of Scripture alleadged by Catho­liques vainly eluded by Protestants.

1. AS I said before, since Protestants and all other Sects doe against their nature and custome so unanimously conspire to forsake the old [...] and good wayes, by travelling wherein, even themselves being judges, so many glori­ous Saints, Confessors, Martyrs, Bishops, &c. were renowned not onely in their owne, but all succeeding times, dissipated armies of Haeretiques, propagated the Kingdome of Christ over the world, subdued Idolatry, and made it utterly to vanish though supported with the force of the whole Roman world, and in fine arrived to a supereminent degree of glory in Paradice; And since in stead of this so successefull a way, they have chosen to walke every man in a severall path through those narrow, crooked and at least very dangerous, (because new) wayes of a proud selfe-assuming presumption in interpreting only-Scripture each man according to his own fancy & interest, fol­lowing the example of no antiquity, but only ancient Heretiques; in all reason they should have taken order to have justified themselves herein after a more then ordinary manner, they ought to have contributed all the invention and skill of all the best wits in each Sect to for­tifie [Page 98] this common foundation of only Scripture, and no visible judge, beyond all other points of difference.

2. And so no doubt they have to the utmost ca­pacity of the subject: But no skill can serve to build a firme secure edifice upon sand: and private reason, or fancies of inspiration are more weake and sandy then even sand it selfe. For proofe hereof let us consider the pre­tended proofes and reasons which they alleadge to assert this their fundamentall position, viz. that the entire Rule of Faith is the written word of God, of which there is not extant any visible authori­tative interpreter. Proofes hereof produced by them are 1. Negative, invalidating such Texts of Scripture as are alledged by Catholiques, and expounded by Fathers to prove Traditions un­written: and 2. Positive, drawne from other Texts expressing the sufficiency and perfection of Scripture.

3. Some Texts by Catholiques produced to prove Traditions, and those concerning points of Doctrine as well as practise or ceremonies, be­sides what is written in the Evangelicall books, are among others these following out of S. Paul, (2 Thes. cap. 1. ver. 15.) ‘Observe the Traditi­tions which you have received from us, whe­ther by word, or by Epistle,’ And againe, (2 Tim. c. 2. ver. 13.) ‘Have before thine eyes the patterne of sound words, which thou hast heard of me in Faith and Jesus Christ: Conserve that good thing committed to thy charge by the Holy Spirit which dwelleth in us.’ And againe, (1 Tim. cap. 2. ver. 2.) ‘The things which thou hast heard of me in the presence of many [Page 99] witnesses consigne them to faithfull men, which may be capable to teach oth [...] also,’ And lastly, (1 Tim. cap. 3. ver. 15.) ‘The Church (is) the pillar and ground of truth.’

4. To elude such Texts as these so expresse in themselves, so stringent and convincing with­out any leave given to any rationall contradi­ction, so unanimously acknowledged by the ancient Father [...] in the plaine importance of them (for there was no need to call their com­mentaries interpretations, there being not the least difficulty or obscurity in them to be clear­ed) Protestants, especially the Calvinists (for the Church of England hath been more inge­nuous) have been forced to make use of the poorest guiltiest shift imaginable, which is, to translate the word [...]enseignements, instructions, or by any other word, but what reason and rules of Grammar would require, namely, Traditions. That which moved them hereto was apparently a resolution to seduce the people: for nourishing them up in the hatred of the Church, in contempt of her autho­rity, in rejecting all her Traditions, so far that whatsoever is proposed under that title of Tra­dition is not only not accepted, but scornfully rejected by them as supposed most certainly false and superstitious; if it should appeare that the Scripture it selfe should referre us to Christi­an doctrines under the notion of Traditions, the very sound of that word in Scripture would perhaps make them suspect that their Ministers had abused them.

5. But moreover for a helpe, if this poore subtility should come to be discovered by their [Page 100] Proselites, it is further answered by them, that S. Paul might very well referre Timothy or the Thessalonians to the summe of Christian doctrine by him before preached, and not yet reduced to writing, because the entire Canon of Scripture was not yet compleated and sealed up; but when that was finished, afterward Christians were not to trust to their memories, but to have recourse to expresse Scripture, as is implyed by severall Texts of Scripture denoting its abun­dant sufficiency for all uses and necessities.

6. For answer to this way of arguing it will be sufficient to say, that whatsoever is here al­ledged by Protestants is meerly gratis dictum, there being not the least intimation given by S. Paul, or any other Evangelicall Author, that the Apostles had any intention to write among them a body of the Christian law, searce any booke of the New Testament having been written, but only upon some particular occa­sion, and for the use of some particular person and Church: and on the contrary it appearing expresly both by Scripture and Tradition that the Apostles, in all the Churches founded by them, left a depositum both of the doctrines and discipline of Christianity uniforme and compleate, not relating at all to any thing alrea­dy, or afterward to be written.

CHAP. VI.

Two principall Texts of Scripture alledged by Protestants to prove it's sufficiency, and against Traditions; answered.

1. COme we now to consider a while those Texts of Scripture pretended by Prote­stants to be so expresse, uncontroulable and pressing, as to justifie them from blame in not only opposing the former evident quota­tions for Traditions, but in dividing from and condemning all Antiquity that taught the con­trary, and not onely so, but relyed upon Tra­dition alone in severall points confessed by them not to be visible in Scripture, and yet con­demn'd, anathematized and utterly vanquish­ed severall Heretiques, who thought it a suffici­ent warrant to be dispensed from severall do­ctrines taught, and practises continued in the Church, because the Scripture was silent in them.

2. Of all others the most considerable Text of Scripture alledged by Protestants, and most prized by them as efficacious to prove its perfe­ction, & sufficiency to be an intire Rule of Faith is this speech of S. Paul to Timothy, (1 Tim. c. 3. v. 16. 17) Omnis Scriptura divinitius inspirata, utilis est, &c. All Scripture divinely inspired is pro­fitable for teaching, for arguing, for reproving and for instructing in righteousnesse, that the man of God may be perfect, instructed to every good worke. Here, say they, it is apparent that S. Paul ac­knowledges Scripture to be profitable for all kindes of spirituall uses, teaching, arguing, &c. [Page 102] and moreover in such a perfection that by it not onely ignorant persons but even the man of God, that is, he who is a Teacher of Gods people, who by his office is obliged to a higher perfection of knowledge, may be made perfect, and that, to every good worke.

3. To this it is answered 1. That by reading the verse immediately going before, we shall be informed both of what Scriptures S. Paul there speakes, and in what sence and with what con­ditions they are profitable for the forementioned uses and ends: the words are, Tu verò permane, &c. Doe thou ( [...] Timothy) persevere in those things which thon hast learned, knowing of whom thou hast learned them, and because from thy childhood thou hast knowne the Holy Scriptures, which may instruct thee to Salvation, by faith which is in Christ Jesus: For all Scripture di­vinely inspired is profitable, &c. By the con­nexion of these words it appeares that those Scriptures to which Saint Paul gives this te­stimony and glorious character were the same in which Timothy, now a Bishop, had been instructed from his childhood, that is, the Scriptures of the Old Testament: For how few of the Evangelicall writings were published even now that he was a Bishop, and certainly scarce any at all when he was a child. S [...] Pauls designe therefore in this passage is evidently this, viz. to exhort Timothy to remaine constant (in iis quae ei tradita fuerant) in those Christian verities and precepts by the Apostle delivered in trust to him not in writing, but orall Tra­dition: For which purpose he uses these mo­tives, namely 1. the consideration of the sublime [Page 103] Apostolicall Office of himselfe his instructour, immediately and miraculously called and enabled to that imployment by Christ from heaven, therefore he sayes, knowing of whom thou hast learned these Evangelicall truths. 2 [...] The conformity of these new revelations to those ancient ones of the Old Testament, in which Timothy had been instructed from his childhood, in which he might perceive, though obscurely traced, certaine markes and Pro­phecyes of the Gospell, and so be easilier en­clin'd to beleive what S. Paul had plainly de­livered to him. 3. Upon this occasion he de­clares the great profit which a Christian may find by having recourse to the old Testament, as having great efficacy to make a man wise unto salvation; but this not of themselves a­lone, but joyned with the Faith, which is in Christ Jesus, and perseverance in believing the Christian verities delivered by orall Tradition. So that the Apostles might very well conclude, All Scriptures (of the Old Testament giving testimony to the Gospell) being inspired by God are very profitable (not entirely of themselves sufficient) for teaching, arguing, reproving, instructing in righteousnesse; And that by them the man of God, (even a Christian Bi­shop) may be made perfect or enabled to every good worke (that is, as he expresseth the same sence in the former verse, wise unto Salvation; but upon condition that they be joyned with the Faith (or Gospell) of Christ Iesus, and perseverance therein.) This to my understanding seems to be the proper naturall importance of this Text of S. Paul, so far from evincing what the Pro­testants [Page 104] would collect from it, that it confirmes the quite contrary.

4. But let it be supposed (which is impossible to be evinced) that the Apostle speakes here by way of Prophecy of Evangelicall Scriptures not yet written, but with respect to the time when they should be perfectly com­pleated; he sayes onely they are profitable, not sufficient, to produce the mentioned effects and end; He excludes not the Church interpre­ting them; in a word, He referres expresly to orall Tradition; And by consequence he is far from saying any thing that may warrant the Protestants upon pretence from these words, to relinquish the way which all ancient Christians and Fathers of the Church walked in, and to walke in that which, as hath been shewed by irrefragable testimonies, has beene traced by all and onely Heretiques. So far is he from saying, or giving warrant to any to say, ‘Reject all things that you finde not expresly contein­ed in Scriptures, though the whole world upon whose only testimony you receive Scriptures affirme that they received other things from the same authority, Keep your selves close to that sence of Scriptures which your own fan­cies or interests shall suggest unto you, and admit neither fathers nor Church to interpret them to you, believe your own understandings onely, which you may call the inspirations of the Holy Ghost, if you please, And content not your selves with deceiving your selves a­lone with such fancies, take authority upon your selves to destroy all publique authority, and to [...] obtrude per sas & nefas your in­terpretations [Page 105] and glosses upon the consci­ences of others.’ This S. Paul ought to have said, if he had purposed to justifie the grounds of Protestantisme: But this I could not conceive to be his meaning, and therefore I tooke it to be my best course to be misled by Fathers, Councells and the whole Catholique Church.

5. A second proofe for the sufficiency of Scripture alone to be an entire Rule of Faith, and of great moment among many Protestants is that speech in the end of the Revelation, (Rev. c. 22. v. 18. 19.) Contestor enim omni audienti, &c. ‘I doe protest to every one that hears the words of the Prophecy of this book: If any one shall adde unto these, God shall adde unto him the plagues written in this booke. And if any one shall diminish from the words of this Prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the booke of life, and out of the Holy City, and out of those things which are written in this book.’ The weight of this Text is much more pressing in their opinion by reason of the situation of it in the close of the whole body of Evangelicall writings; and likewise by the advantage of a Parallel place in the end of Moyses his law.

6. Hereto it is answered that this Text is so far from obliging us to understand it in ge­nerall of Evangelicall doctrines, that expresly and in terminis terminantibus it restreines it selfe onely to the Prophecies conteined in this particular booke, for bidding any one to presume to make any change in it, either by addi­tion and interpolation of other Prophecies pretended to be written by the same Divine [Page 106] Author (a thing practised by Heretiques in o­ther Evangelicall writings when this booke was published) or by razing out any Prophe­cies herein conteined, (as some Heretiques likewise had done in other Apostolicall bookes.) So that this author is so farre from forbidding any other revelations of divine doctrines be­sides those already published, that notwith­standing any thing here said, Agabus and Saint Philips daughters might, if they had pleased, have set forth their Prophecies, so they had done it without injury or disparagement to the Apocalypse. Even as Moyses by such like words signified that in his writings were contei­ned the summe of that law delivered by God on Mount Sinai, at least as much of it as was fit to communicate for the present to the people, and therefore forbad any man to change his writings any way: Yet notwithstanding, it is apparent that not onely the Jewes, but likewise the Ancient Fathers believed that besides this written law, Moyses himselfe delivered to the Preists and Sanedrim many unwritten Tradi­tions relating to the law it selfe, some of which are mentioned in Evangelicall Scripture, as the ‘institution of the order of Exorcists, the mingling of water with the blood of the Te­stament wherewith Moyses sprinckled the people, Skarlet wooll and hyssope to be used in all aspertions, the sprinkling the booke of the Covenant with blood, The names of Jannes and Mambres the antagonists of Moyses, and the combat betweene an Angell and the Devill about Moyses, his body, &c.’ Besides, many Holy men published bookes a­mong [Page 107] the Jewes acknowledged of divine autho­rity, wherein were many Mysteries of Faith not onely more expresly, but de novo conteined, and not at all declared by Moyses, many wri­tings of devotion, Precepts of Piety and man­ners, &c. Onely Moyses his bookes have beene received to this day under the notion of the fun­damentall law of the Jewish Common-wealth, a title that other writings never challen­ged.

7. As concerning the advantage taken from the position of the forementioned Text in the close of the Evangelicall writings, it will be of no force at all to any man that shall consider how it came to passe that the severall bookes were placed in the order as wee at this day finde them viz. That certaine men unknown to us now, but followed by a tacit agreement of the Church, when after the decease of the Apostles they had sought out all the writings that remai­ned and had beene occasionally published by them, compiled them in one volumne in this order; They begun with the Gospels or histo­ry of our Saviours life and death, as reason was, placing them it may be in the order as they were written, however assigning the first place to S. Mathew, because he having written his Gospel in Hebrew for the use of the Jewes and Jewish Christians to whom Christ commanded his Gospel should first be preached, and upon their refusall, to the Gentiles, even for that reason alone his Gospel might be thought to have deserved the first place, the rest follow­ing in the order as they were written. Then followes the Story of the Apostles, especially [Page 108] S. Paul, written by his companion S. Luke, and continued till their separation by S. Pauls voy­age to Rome. After bookes of Story follow doctrinall writings, namely Epistles, conteining particular doctrinall controversies and precepts of manners, written upon occasion, when false Teachers had sowne tares of particular Heresies in the Churches, founded by the Apostles, Among these Epistles, those of S. Paul both for the number, importance and length of them obtained the first place, but disposed not according to the order and dates of time that they were written, but according to the pri­viledges and advantages of the Churches and Citties to which they were sent; the Romans ha­ving obteined, as reason was, the first place, then the Corinthians, &c. and after all such, followed his particular Epistles to particular per­sons, as Timothy, Titus, &c. In the last place, the whole volume was concluded with this single booke of Prophecies, as being last written, most difficult, and lesse necessary. These things be­ing apparent, let all reasonable men judge what just advantage can be taken by Protestants thus to build their maine foundation of difference from the Catholique Church upon so inconsi­derable, so casuall a thing, as the order wherein the bookos of the New Testament have been ranged, no man knowes by whom.

CHAP. VII.

Rnasons and Texts produced by Mr. Chillingworth to prove onely Scripture to be the Rule of Faith.

1. BEsides these two so much by many Pro­testants magnifyed proofes of the Scri­ptures pretended sufficiency to determine all controversies of Religion with exclusion of un­written Traditions: There are other ar­guments, which had greater force with me, pro­duced by Mr. Chillingworth; and which that he might more advan­tagiously enforce,Mr. Chil­lingw. C. 4. 40. 41. 42. 43, &c. & alibi passim. he laies this first for a ground, viz ‘That no man ought to be obliged upon paine of Excommunication to believe any thing, but what God hath revealed to be necessary to eternall salva­tion, which is the substance of the New Co­venant made by God in Christ, conteining points of necessary beleife, and precepts of necessary Evangelicall Obedience; For, (saies he) why should any errour (or igno­rance) exclude him from the Churches Communion, which will not deprive him of eternall salvation? Why should men be more rigid then God?’

2. These grounds thus laid, and supposed unquestionable: In the next place to prove that this Covenant is entirely conteined not only in the whole Scripture but also in the lower Gospels, yea sufficiently in any one of the former, [Page 110] he first alledges these reasons, ‘Because the E­vangelists having, as they professe, a purpose to write the Gospell of Christ, or New Cove­nant, no reason can be imagined why they, who have set downe many passages unnecessary, should neglect any necessary: For what su­pine negligence and indiscretion must that needs bee; such, verily, as no man in these dayes undertaking the same designe, would commit? Againe, with what truth could they stile their bookes the Gospell of Christ, being but a part of it?’

3. After such discourses he brings, in his opinion, two evident and unanswerable Texts out of the Gospells to prove, that whatsoever is necessary for a Christian to beleive or practise is conteined in every one of them severally: The first Text is the conclusion of S. Johns Gospell, (cap. 21) ‘Many other signes also did Iesus in the sight of his Disciples, which are not written in this booke: But these are writ­ten that ye may believe that Jesus is Christ the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.’ For the enforcing of which quotation, he addes. ‘By these words (these are written) may be understood either, These things are written, or These signes are written: Take it which way you will, this conclusion will certainly follow, That either all that which S. Iohn wrote in his Go­spell, or lesse then all, and therefore all much more, was sufficient to make them believe that which being believed with lively faith would certainly bring them to eternall life.’

[Page 111]4. The second proofe is from those words in the Preface of S. Lukes Gospell, (cap. 1.) Foras­much us many have taken in hand to set forth in order a Declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered un­to us which from the beginning were eye witnesses and Ministers of the word. It seemed good to me also having had perfect understanding of things from the first, to write to thee in order, most excel­lent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the cer­tainty of those things wherein thou hast been in­structed. To this quotation he addes a parallell passage of the same S. Luke in his entrance to his History of the Acts of the Apostles, (Chap. 1.) viz The former treatise have I made, O Theophi­lus of all that Iesus began both to doe and teach, untill the day that he was taken up, &c. Lastly he adjoynes twelve questions serving to enforce to the uttermost the strength and energy of these Tex [...]s: Which Questions after I have first prepared a way by consideration of a few principall termes in this controversie to a satisfaction what is here concluded from these Texts quoted by Mr. Chillingworth, I will like­wise set downe, adjoyning to each of them its answer.

CHAP. VIII.

Preparatory grounds for the answering of these reasons and Quotations.

That Christian Religion was setled in the Church by Tradition especially.

The advantage of that way beyond wri­ting.

1. THe whole weight of this Controversie concerning the Rule of Faith (viz. ‘Whether all truths and precepts, &c. of Chri­stianity necessary to Salvation be to be sought for in Scripture alone, or any one or more of the Gospels, as expresly conteined in them (as Protestants affirme) or likewise in the Tradition of the Catholique Church, as Ca­tholiques maintaine?)’ relying upon the true un­derstanding of these three things especially, viz. 1. The way whereby Christianity was setled in the Church, which will appeare to have beene by Orall Tradition and externall uniforme practise, as being more secure from errour and mistakes than writing. 2. The occa­sion of the writing of the Gospels and other bookes of the New Testament, and the bene­fit which the Church reapes by them. 3. The meaning of this Phrase, things necessary to sal­vation, and the freeing of it from ambiguities and misapplications. I conceived it therefore necessary to meditate seriously, and as exactly, as I was capable, to informe my selfe distinctly of these particulars, to the end that I might be able to judge, whether these difficulties and [Page 113] objections alledged by Mr. Chillingworth would approve themselves as unanswerable, as at my leaving of England I supposed them, Here there­fore I will set down in order the effect of my enquiry.

2. To begin therefore with the first particu­lar to be premised, namely, the way whereby Christian Religion was setled and continued in the Church: By diligent reading of the writings of severall Fathers especially, and ancient Eccle­siasticall Historians it manifestly appeared, at least to mine own full satisfaction, that it was not the purpose of Christ to deliver his new law, as Moyses had done his in Tables or written characters, but in Orall Tradition: or to write it indeede, but, as Eusebius Caesariensis before quoted expresseth it, not with ink on paper, but by his Spirit in the hearts of his people, according to the ancient Prophecies concerning him in the Old Testament: And hereupon the Fa­thers observe, that our Saviour left nothing at all in writing, neither did he lay any injunction upon his Apostles to write bookes: And there­fore the same Eus [...]bius (Hist. Ecel. l. 5. cap. 8. & 24.) expresly affirmes, That the Apostles had the least regard to writing. The like is noted by Saint Chrysostome in his frist Homily upon the Acts, where he gives the reason why the booke of the Acts does onely or princi­pally conteine the occurrences concerning S. Paul, and not those neither to the end of his life. But an assurance of this irrefragable is given by Saint Paul himselfe, who in severall places of his Epistles referres to the doctrine setled by orall instruction, as when he sayes, Gal. c. 1. If any [Page 114] ‘one shall preach otherwise then ye have re­ceived, let him be Anathema. And againe, (Phil. cap. 4.) Those things which ye have been taught, and received, and heard and seen in me, doe ye.’ And againe to shew the unifor­mity of the doctrine every where, he calls it [...] a forme of whole­some words. And againe, ‘We write no other things unto you then what you have known.’ And againe, (1 Cor. cap. 14. 15.) ‘As I teach in all Churches.’ And againe, ‘So we have preach­ed, and so ye have believed.’ Hence S. Au­gustine makes this rule, ‘The Scripture is wont for brevities sake to be silent of many things, which are to be learned from the order of Tradition.’ For this reason it was, as antiqui­ty observes, that S. Paul kept his residence so long a time in many Cities after he had setled Churches there, to the end to inculcate into their memories the substantiall doctrines preached over and over unto them, and to e­stablish an uniforme order and discipline a­mong them, which by that meanes continued in an exact conformity for severall centuries of yeares in the Catholique Church all the world over, as Tertullian, S. Basil, S. Augustin, &c. observe.

3. Now this way of setling Religion by Tra­dition and outward practise was much more se­cure and lasting, and far lesse subject to cor­ruptions then writings (without unappealable interpreters especially) could possibly be. If it be objected, that memory is not so safe a depo­sitary as written records, which are made use of to supply the defects of memory. It may be an­swered, [Page 115] that that is true of preserving doctrines meerely speculative, but not so of such as may be made as it were visible by practise, as almost all Evangelicall doctrines are. For as for bookes, we see by experience that those which of all other in the world ought to have been preserved with the most exact care, and wherein the most scrupulous curiosity was commendable, I meane the Sacred Evange­licall writings, have not been able to escape the inevitable fate of all bookes, especially such as every one almost will thinke himselfe concern'd to transcribe, that is, to have infinite variety of readings, much more then any other bookes that I know of whatsoever, and principally in in the originall tongues, which were not read in Churches: Insomuch as in my hearing Bishop Usher, (one of the most learned Pro­testant Prelats in England) professed that, whereas he had had of many yeares before a de­signe to publish the New Testament in Greeke with various lections and Annotations, and for that purpose had used great diligence and spent much money to furnish himselfe with Manu­scripts and Memoires from severall learned men abroad, yet in conclusion he was forced to desist utterly from that undertaking, lest if he should ingenuously have noted all the severall diffe­rences of readings, which himselfe had col­lected, the incredible multitude of them almost in every verse should rather have made men A­theistically to doubt of the truth of the whole booke, then satisfie them in the true reading of any particular passage. An evident signe this is that the ancient Governours of the Church [Page 116] did not suppose that Christian Religion did onely or principally rely upon what was in writing: For if they had, they would doubt­lesse either have forbidden such a multitude of transcribers, or have preserved the Originall co­pies, or at least have imitated the exact diligence and curiosity of the Jewish Masorites in their preserving the Old Testament entire for the future, namely by numbring all the letters and points, and signifying where and how oft every one of them were found in Scripture: None of which preventions and cautions notwithstanding have been used in the Christian Church: Yea so farre is it, from that, that at least one whole Epistle of S. Paul to the Laodiceans, and that most ancient Gospel in Hebrew, secundum Nazaraeos are at this day utterly lost: not to speak of se­verall bookes mentioned in the Old Testament, not now to be heard of.

4. Well, but how casuall soever bookes may prove to be yet it does not hitherto appeare how Orall Tradition and Practise can demon­strate it selfe a way more secure and free from hazard than they. I will therefore endeavour to resolve this seeming difficulty by asking these Questions. Can any one reasonably say that, for example, the doctrines of Christs death for mankinde commemorated in the Bles­sed Sacrament of the Eucharist, & of his reall unfi­gurative presence there have beene, or could pos­sibly have beene more securely propagated and more clearely and intelligibly delivered to Posterity in bookes written, which may be lost and will be corrupted by some transcribers (and every transcribers copy is as [Page 117] authentique as any others) or, as they have been, in the Tradition and universall Practise of the Church, and in a continuall visible celabra­ting of those divine Mysteries, where every action they did performe, published the truth which they believed; where their thanksgiving for Christs Passion dayly renewed the memory, manner and end of it; where their prostra­tions and adorations demonstrated their assu­rance of his reall Presence, where every mans saying Amen at the Priests pronouncing Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi, expressed their con­fession of that Presence with exclusion of all Tropes and Metaphors in the businesse? Againe, is not the true inward sence of these Christian Doctrines conveyed more intelligibly, and represented more exactly, lively and natu­rally by such practises and solemne spectacles, than by bare words, though they had beene never so eleare, and of never so studied a perspicuity? With relation to which expresse, impossible to be mistaken way of propagating the Mysteries of Christian beliefe, and refle­cting in his minde thereupon S. Paul in all pro­bability thus reproved the Galatians for their inconstancy, in these words of wonder and in­dignation Gal. c. 3 v. 1. O insensatiGalatae. O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Iesus Christ hath been (lively) represented, being Crucified among you? As thinking that nothing of lesse power than a charme could deceive persons, or blinde their eyes, after they had been visible spectators, as it were of the passion of Christ.

5. This admirable way of conveying saving [Page 118] truths as it is say more expresse than words a­lone, the naturall sence of the Mysteries being as it were construed and interpreted to the people thereby, or (according to the Prophets expression foretelling this way of Tradition of the Gospel) being not written with inke and on paper, but by the Spirit in mens hearts, by which meanes the sence sunke into their soules, farre more effectually than if words only had swom in their braines: So seemes it to me also farre more lasting, then bookes, being scarce possibly obnoxious to be either extinguished or adulterated. The rage of Persecutors with­out an extraordinary vigilance of Divine Pro­vidence had failed but little of abolishing the whole Bible, I am sure it made them very scarce and precious, and not every ordinary Chri­stians penniworth for severall ages together, and effectively destroyed many most usefull pre­cious monuments of the Ancient Church; The same rage, or negligence or some other misfor­tune have actually beene the losse of an E­pistle of S. Paul to Laodicea, and other Aposto­lique writings, And some meerely speculative, not very necessary Traditions have perished be­cause not apted to be conveyed by practise, as What that was which hindered the revelation of the man of sinne, which S. Paul sayes he told the Church of the Thessalonians; that world of miracles which S. John sayes our blessed Saviour wrought; and likewise the true sence of all ob­scure passages in the New Testament which the Primitive Churches, no doubt, understood; Yea moreover many ancient Liturgies and Missals are now wanting, by reason that the particular [Page 119] Churches, in which they were in use, have fayl­ed: But to take out of the way, or adulterate the Mysteries of Faith through the whole Church, which have been thus continued and daily every where preached not so much in Sermons (though so too) as in visible practise, and not so much written in bookes (though so too) as in the hearts of all Professors of Christianity, This is beyond the reach of either secular or infernall Powers, for to effect this, Persecutours must first have dostroyed all Congregations of Christian mankinde, and by some impossible charme, all men must have agreed together to forget to day what they said and did yesterday: here neither transcribers negligence, nor particular innova­ting fancies of Heretiques, neither adulter sensus, nor corruptor stilus could obstrepere veritate, (Tert. de Prescript.) none of such either negligences or cunnings could interrupt or out-clamour the truth.

6. Now what hath been here exemplified in two particular points, namely the Mystery of Christs Passion, and of the Blessed Sacra­ment may and ought rationally to be extended likewise to the whole body of Divine Revelati­ons, pertaining to the substance of Christian Re­ligion, how abstruse, sublime, yea how seem­ing a speculative soever. What points more sublime, more speculative then those of the ‘Blessed Trinity, the equality and consubstan­tiallity of the Son with the eternall Father, the union and yet distinction of the two Natures in one person, &c.?’ And yet all these might and were continued in the Church, not so much by writings delivered, or Sermons [Page 110] reiterated, as by the outward Practises of the Faithfull in their publique uniforme Devotions: Hereupon when troubles and contestations arose in the Church about those Mysteries, and thereupon Synods assembled, the severall Bishops being demanded how they had been instructed in them each one respectively in their Diocesses, they had no need of stroining their wits to find out the sence of obscure passages of Scripture concerning such Mysteries, or to invent wayes of reconciling Texts seemingly clashing together: they might say, for example concerning the article of the Blessed Trinity, we following the instructions and practises of our Predecessors do baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and in our Devotions we pray unto, give thanks, glorifie each of these three persons in the same language, with equall expressions of duty, without preferring one before the other, thereby acknowledging their glory to be equall, their Majesty coeternall. So likewise for the Consubstantiality of the Son with the Father, the union and distinction of the two Natures, they might say, We adore onely one God, and yet we adore the Son with adoration equall to the Father, by which we acknowledge them both to be one onely God; We doe likewise celebrate and give thanks to the same Son of God for vouchsafing, being God, to take our Nature up­on him & in that to dye, by his death redeeming us from sin and death eternall, Therefore we confesse two distinct Natures united in one Person. &c.

7. Now if such sublime Revelations might, and indeed were really conveyed not in formall [Page 121] expressions of words and phrases, but, which was farre more efficacious, in the true naturall sence and importance of them uncapable of ambigu­ities by such a way of Tradition so impossible to be interrupted as long as Christians begot Christians, and so free from danger of corrup­tions, that they could not be feared, unlesse all Churches would conspire to alter their whole frame of Devotions; A thing they have been so far from intending, that at this day if wee compare all the Liturgies extant from S. Jame's (which ha's received testimony from above 600. Bishops in the second Councell of Nice) to S Basil' [...], S. Chrysostome's, S. Gre­gorie's even to the present Roman Liturgy, adjoyning the Ethiopian, Maronite, Coph [...]ite, &c. wee shall finde an admirable uniformity in all the substantiall parts, yea in many manners of expressions, to the very circumstances of Crossings, and postures, &c. although these Churches have had no communication together of many ages: How much more easily and per­spicuously might other points of Doctrine re­lating to practise be continued in the Church? as Invocation of Saints to be our Intercessours, Veneration of Reliques, Images, &c. Prayer and Sacrifice for the Dead, a beliefe of a capa­city in them to be eased and benefitted by such Prayers, &c. How was it possible that such Doctrines once delivered should be forgotten, being so visibly every Day by all persons acted in the Church? And if no such Doctrines were at first consigned and deposited in the Church, how was it possible they should so chance to mee [...]e in the Publique [Page 122] Devotions of so many Churches and ages, a­mong Persons not only strangers, but for a long time enemies to one another, yea enemies to such a point, that if they had not had irrefra­gable testimonies of the universall Tradition of such doctrines and Practises, the conformity of their adversary Churches would have beene an argument sufficient to have made them to relinquish such Practises and condemne them? Could the Heathen-Graecians ever forget their pretended Deities Baccus or Ceres, or the be­nefits supposed to have beene received by their means, though they had had nothing else to put them in mind of them but their Dionysi­aca or Eleusinian Mysteries? Or among the Romans did not the Palilia, Suo vet [...]urilia, Am­barvalia, Lupercalia, &c. keepe fresh in their mindes the Deities, in whose honour and ingra­titude for whose favour those solemnities had beene instituted? How infinitely more securely and unfailably has almighty God provided for the continuance of Truth and Piety in his Church, since those Heathen-Solemnities were repeated but once a yeare in one City or Countrey, but Ours every day by numbers of people in all Countries, Cities and Vil­lages?

CHAP. IX.

A further demonstration of the firmnesse of Tradition.

Certain objections answered.

1. BUt it will objected, who knowes but there may, yea who can deny but there have crept in alterations even in these Liturgies and formes of Publique Devotions? For answer, It is confess'd there have, for the first Liturgies, as S. James and others ascribed to Apostolique Persons were briefe, simple, lesse ceremonious: and as the Church grew more large and splendid, so Gods service became more extended, solemne and majesticall. But that any substantiall part of Devotion, any expressions implying or instilling new bred er­rours have been introduced into the publique formes of God's service, that is utterly denyed: And they that lay this imputation upon Gods Church are obliiged to produce examples and visible proofes thereof, which it is impossible for them to doe with the hundreth part of that assurance that Catholiques by shewing those which are now extant of the Ancient Liturgies, by alledging irrefragable testimonies of the ex­treame punctuall curiosity of the ancient Fa­thers in exactly and unalterably preserving Tradition according to the Apostles direction, Formam habe, &c. Keepe the forme of sound words, will demonstrate the contrary. I cannot forbeare on this occasion, among many other examples which may be produced to specifie [Page 124] that extreame nicenesse of S. Augustine, shewing not only his care to deliver Traditionall truths themselves, but the termes also in which those truthes were conveyed to his times, Ne me inep­tum putes. Do not thinke me foolish (saith be to Honoratus, lib. de util. cred. cap. 3.) for using Greek termes, my chiefe reason is, because I have so learned these things by Tradition, neither dare I deliver them to thee any other way then as I have received them. So the same Father (dequant anima cap. 34) Divinè ac singulariter in Ecclesiâ Catholicâ traditus, &c. ‘It is a Doctrine divinely and singu­larly delivered by Tradition in the Catho­lique Church, that no Creature is to be worshipped with an internall worship of the Soule. For I doe the more willingly ex­presse my selfe in these termes, because the Doctrine was taught mee in the same.’ This hee sayes, because the word Creatur [...] did not seeme so pure and proper a Latin word. From the like grounds proceeded those frequent speeches in Synods, which silenced all Haereticall innovation, Servetur quod traditum est, and, Vetus Traditio obtineat, and, Desin [...]t incessere novitas vetustatem, &c. ‘Let that which is delivered by Tradition be observed. And, Let Tradition prevayle. And, Let novelty forbeare to oppose antiquity, &c.’ This care certainly was more curiously observed in the publique Devotions of the Church.

2. For proofe whereof, besides the confronting the Ancient Liturgies of the Easterne and Southerne Churches, let Pro­testants, if they please, examine the Ages, [Page 125] against which they believe they have the justest arguments of suspition of any other, viz. since the time of S. Gregory the Great. There are to this day extant his own Missalls in Print, and Breviaries in Manuscript in se­verall Libraries, let them examine what changes such ignorant superstitious Times (as they thinke,) and so many wicked Popes (as they say, and not alwayes untruly) have made in these publique Devotions of the Church: They will blush certainly to have had the least suspition in this nature of the Primitive Times, when they shall see evidently that in the Canon of the Masse there ha's scarce been one word altered for above these last thousand years, And in the Breviary not any that will afford them contentment answerable to their paines of comparing them.

3 Now whereas some Protestants de­mand (and particularly Mr. Chillingworth, in severall places) where are we to seek for these Traditions of which the Roman Church talkes so much? where is the Cabinet and Magazine wherein they are stored? And when will shee empty it that we may see all the treasure that Christ lest unto his Church? Hereto it is answered, that M. Chillingworth said well, that, To say a secret Tradition is as absurd as to say a silent Thunder, since Traditions are obvious to all Mens Eyes, and sound aloud in all Mens Eares, shining in the publique vi­sible practice and profession of the Church: The Church is so far from pretending (as Protestants would faine seem to fancy) that she has certaine secret conservatories of these Traditions out [Page 126] of which upon occasion she can draw some spe­ciall ones to determine emergent Controversies, and much lesse that the Holy Ghost suggests unto her in time of neede any formerly va­nished Apostolique Revelation; that whatso­ever is not expresly in Scripture, or satisfactorily apparen [...] in the publiquely received professions and practises of the Church are not perhaps de­terminable as points of Faith, that is, as Tra­ditionary Divine Revelations In so much as some learned Catholiques are of opinion (how justly or no I examin not) that certaine Que­stions now ventilated in the Church, as concer­ning the Conception of our Blessed Lady, and some of the more subtill and scholasticall Con­troversies between the Jesuites and Dominicans, concerning Grace and Freewill, Predeterminati­on and Contingency, &c. have not light enough either from Scripture, Tradition, or the pub­lique Profession and Practise of the Church, so as to be capable of a precise decision, at least so farre as to make such a decision to become properly an article of Faith; unlesse perhaps such a one, as was that of the Councell of Vienna touching Grace infused into Infants in Baptisme, which is set downe in this forme. Nos attendentes, that is, ‘Wee heedfully con­sidering the generall efficacy of the death of Christ, the which by Baptisme is applyed e­qually and indifferently to all that are bap­tized by the approbation of this Holy Coun­cell, have judged that the second opinion is to be chosen as the more probable and more consonant and agreeeing to the sayings of the Holy Fathers and of the moderne Doctors, [Page 127] which opinion asserteth, That informing Grace and vertues are as well conferred upon Infants in Baptisme, as on persons of ripe age.’ See Clementin. de sum Trin. & fide Cath. And thus the Councell of Basil (Sess. 36.) determi­ned the point of the imaculate conception of our Blessed Lady, not as an article of faith in the present strict and proper sense, but, tanquam doctrinam piam & consonam fidei, that is, as a pious doctrine and consonant to faith. See more in the learned treatise of Franc. as Clara called Systema fidei, Cap. 35.

4. Indeed it cannot be denyed but that in some cases it is within the power of the Church to invent de novo some word or phrase proper to signifie and express a Traditionary doctrine, namely in contradiction to any Haeresie arising and opposing Apostolique Revelations, shining in the publique profession and practise of the Church. So to condemn the Arians deny­ing the Divinity of our Saviour, the Fathers of the Councell of Nice, made choice of the terme [...]though new, yet answerable to the sense and notion of that mystery, which was received by Tradition in the Church, a terme directly and specifically opposite to the Arian Position. In like manner the Church of late devised a new, or rather borrowed of some par­ticular ancient Father the word ( [...]) Transubstantiation as most proper to expresse the notion which in all ages has been received in the Church concerning the Reall Pre­sence of the body of Christ in Blessed Sacra­ment, a terme which like the flaming two-edged waving sword of the Cherub cuts assunder on [Page 128] all sides whatsoever new Heresies do, or probably ever shall devise to oppose that Mystery.

5. Notwithstanding some certaine Traditi­ons there were which in the Primitive times were kept secret among the principall Ecclesi­asticall Governours, as certaine sublime Doctrines, the ceremonious formes of con­ferring some Sacraments, of making the holy Chrismes, Oyle, &c. which seemes to have been done partly to gaine a reverence to the Clergy, as more neerly approaching to the Divine Light, But principally not to expose such Mysteries to the scornfull and profane in­terpretation of the Heathens, or to the weak understandings of the ignorant, and not yet sufficiently instructed Christians, according to the practise of S. Paul himselfe, (1 Cor c. 2.) who saith, Sapientiam loquimur inter perfectos, Wee spèake (sublime) wisedome among those that are perfect: Hence those earnest adjurations in the writings of some very ancient Bishops, whereby they conjured others of their own rank, when they communicated to them cer­taine sublime mysteries to preserve in a deep secrecy what they so received; a memorable instance we have of this caution in the Books of S. Denis Areopagite (Hier. Eccl. c 1.) Hence those disguisings of other Mysteries in Books which were to passe publiquely abroad: Hence those sudden interruptions when they were ready to discover unawares somewhat above the capa­city of their hearers, Pagans, or Catechumens, Frequent examples I could alledge out of S. Epiphanius, S. Chrysostome, S. Augustine. end others: But Cui [...] bono in this placed [Page 129] Since Paganisme has been utterly abolished, and meanes of instruction more common and promiscuous, especially since the invention of Printing (whether happy, or not it is doubt­full) this cautelous reservednesse has beene out of use, perhaps with no little prejudice to the Church: in so much as nothing is reserved now in the brests of the Church­Governours, even the anciently most secret Ceremonies are divuled to all Mens know­ledge: So that now Tradition is far more loud and visible, then ever it was before, and no ground for Protestants to pretend to any suspition that under a shew of Tradition the Church has a mind to exercise either Tyranny or cunning to gaine authority to her determi­nations.

6. Now from this generall Traditionary way of conveying Christian Doctrines, &c. it came to passe that many Fathers being assured of the truth and authenticknesse of such Traditions, and willing to assert them out of Scripture also, have interpreted many Texts, as conteining such Doctrines, which either did not at all afford such a sence, or at least not necessarily, though perhaps the outward sound of the words might put a man in mind of such Doctrines: Examples of this are not a few, particularly in the points of Purgatory, Prayer to Saints, &c. So that whereas Protestants cry Victory when they can prove. or at least make probable that such Fathers have been mistaken in such interpretations, as if the doctrines thence deduced were confuted, in my opinion it is with­out any ground, since on the contrary the lesse [Page 130] force that such Texts of Scripture have to e­vince such doctrines, the greater and stronger proofe have such Traditions, seeing the Fathers, prepossessed with a beliefe of them from the publique practise of the Church, accounted them so apparent, that they thought they saw them even where they were not at all. And therefore, when the Church commands us not to oppose the interpretations which the greatest part of Fathers unanimously make of Scripture, I conceive she does not a waies oblige Catho­liques thereby to give the same sense to Texts which the greatest part of Fathers doe, but rather, not so to interpret any Text as to contradict the Traditionary doctrines believed generally by the Fathers upon this safe ground of Tradition, though perhaps not Logically e­nough deduced from such speciall passages of Scripture: so that though perhaps their com­mentaries there may be questioned, the do­ctrine in the commentaries ought to be em­braced.

CHAP. X.

The second preparatory ground: viz. Occasion of writing the Gospells, &c.

1. IT may now be demanded, if this way of conveying Christian doctrines be so much clearer and safer than writing books, or any other way of transmitting recordes, to what purpose were the Evangelicall bookes written? [Page 131] and why were the necessary points of faith re­duced into such a prescribed form in the Apostles Creed?

2. To say something for answer, and first concerning the Creed. The end why that was compiled seemes to have been to bring into a short and cleare abridgement the principall points of Christian Religion to be repeated at any ones initiation into Christianity by Bap­tisme, being as it were an enlargement of that forme of Baptising prescribed by our Saviour, viz. Baptizo te in nomine Patris & Filii & Spi­ritus sancti (Now in what sense [...] and in respect of what Persons in what State or Order the Creed may be said to contein all points of faith necessary to Salvation shall be shewd hereafter.) As to our present purpose we may observe. 1. That the Creed seemes to be of a middle na­ture betweene written bookes and Orall Tra­dition: as a prescribed forme of words, so it approaches to the former: but as committed by all to memory and actually repeated at Baptisme and other publique Devotions, so it partakes much of the latter. 2. What extreame advantage Tradition has for its preservation beyond any writing, seeing the Creed after it was enlarged by partaking thereof has preserved it selfe from any variety or corruption all the Church over to this day It is true indeed that insome Churches, viz in Af [...]ica in the first beginning of Christianity there was a small difference, their Creed wanting these words, Communion of Saints, the sense whereof not­withstanding may probably be supposed to have been included in the Article concerning [Page 132] the holy Catholique Church, as may be observed in the Creeds extant in the African Fathers, Tertullian, S. Cyprian, S. Optatus and S. Au­gustin: Which difference it is not imaginable should have come by neglect or forgetfulnesse: it is rather probable that that Apostolique Person who taught Christianity first in those quarters, brought the Creed with that small defect; for the very first Creed of all seems to have been much shorter then that now current, as conteining only a profession of Faith in the three Persons in the Blessed Trinity in whose names only Baptisme was administred [...] to which the Apostles or Apostolique persons might afterward adjoyn the other Articles following: which addition being made successively, it is possible some persons might carry away in their voyages into Africa the breifer C [...]ee [...]s before they were so inlarged.

3 In the next place, concerning the Occa­sion and end for which the books of the New Testament were written, we ought to consider the books of History apart from the others of Doctrine and Prophecy, as being distin­guishable both in their occasion and end, For the Gospells therefore, the whole subject of them is a narration of severall passages of our Saviours Life, Death, Resurrection and As­cension; likewise some of the most considerable miracles which he wrought; a sum of the prin­cipall points of his Doctrine, both morall, and mysterious in parables concerning his Church, &c. Now though the memory of all these (ex­cepting perhaps only the severall miracles, prophecies, &c.) as much as was suficient for [Page 133] particular persons, might and actually was in substance preserved by practicall Tradition (as 1. the Mysterious and to us most usefull passages of his Life, &c. in the publique solemnities appointed from all antiquity, in the solemne Fasts & administration of Sacraments. 2. Morall duties in the publique Confessions, and most ancient Penitentiall Canons, Love-Feasts, &c. Yea some of them receiving force almost only from Tradition, as not being at all in Scrip­ture, at least not so expressely as Mr. Chilling­worth requires to points of necessity, as un­lawfulnesse of Polygamy, incestuous marriages in some particular degrees, &c.) Notwithstanding it could not but be infinitely acceptable and satisfactory to all good Christians to be informed as particularly as might be in any thing that con­cerned so Blessed a Master and Saviour, and there­fore were these divine books received with all imaginable reverence and joy, and preser­ved with all possible care, so farre as thousands willingly exposed themselves to Martyrdome rather then deliver them up to the fire; they were read in Churches, discoursed on in Sermons, illustrated by Commentaries, in a word esteemed divine and infallible by all Christians. But yet no generall Tradition has come to us that all that is necessary for all per­sons of all degrees, whether single or in Society to bring them to heaven is conteined expresly in these Gospells: Which is a certaine proof that the ancient Church did not thinke so, or however that they did not think it necessary to thinke so, for no one thing generally thought necessary to salvation, but has been conveyed [Page 134] under that notion by Tradition orall, as well as wri­ting, Besides, it is clear there is nothing expresse for assembling Synods, ordeining severall de­grees of Ministers, no formes or directions for publike service, no unquestionable prohibition of Polygamy, incest, &c. So that although no doubt to some persons in some suddaine despe­rate circumstances there is in the Gospels to be found enough, yea more then enough of meere necessity, yea in any one of them, yea in two or three verses of any one of them: Yet therefore to deduce a generall conclusion that all things simply necessary are conteined in the Gospels, is surely very unreasonable: and much more, thence to inferre a generall Conclusion, so as to make it the fundamentall ground of all Sects of Religion, and a sufficient excuse for that, which (if that Conclusion be not o [...]ely not true, but not so evident as that there can be no shew of contradiction, is a most horrible sinne, namely Schisme or Haeresie) this to me seemed to be somewhat that deserved a name beyond unreasonablenesse it selfe; and that joyned with infinite danger in a point of the highest consequence imaginable.

4. Now the same inconveniences will follow though the bookes of the Acts, Epistles and Apocalyse were added to the Gospels to make them altogether to be an entire perspicuous Rule of Faith without any need of an authorita­tive interpreter. For first, for the Apocalyse, it is a meere obscure Prophecy, and can con­tribute little or nothing to the instruction or discipline of the Church. Then the booke of the Acts though it relate some particulars of [Page 135] our Saviour after his Ascension, as his Sending the Holy Ghost, &c. together with a very few passages concerning any of the Apostles, ex­cepting some few yeares of Saint Pauls travells: yet it will prove but a very imperfect modell for setling of the Church in such a posture and with such qualifications both for doctrine and practise as unquestionable antiquity re­presents unto us the Primitive Apostolique Church. And la [...]ly for the Epistles of S. Paul, &c. it is confessed by all, and the Text it selfe justifies it, that those Epistles were never inten­ded to be written as institutions or Catechismes conteining an abridgement of the whole body of Christian Faith for the whole Church: For,

1. They were written only to some particular congregations, yea many of them to single per­sons, and no order is given to communicate them to the whole Church, I am sure no neces­sity appeares that they should be so divulg [...]d.

2. They were written meerely occasionally, namely by reason that some particular False teachers sowed certaine false doctrines in some particular Churches founded by the Apostles, in the confutation of which Haeresies all the doctrinall parts of those Epistles are generally employed; So that if those Heretiques had not chanced to have broached those particular opi­nions, those Epistles had never beene written.

3. These Epistles especially of Saint Paul the most and the largest, are written in a stile so obscure, such intricacy of arguing, with such di­gessions interwoven, the Logicall Analysis is so extremely difficult, that that gift of interpre­ting was in those dayes a necessary attendant of [Page 136] the Apostles preaching, and I am confident that if an hundred men, and those generally of the same Sect and opinions, were oppointed to re­solve the order and method of S. Paul's argu­ing, there would not three of them agree for three verses together. Now upon these grounds, how improper such writings are to serve for the onely Rule of Faith (which even in Mr. Chillingworth's opinion must be so cleare and evident in points necessary, that there can be no rationall possibility of diversity of opi­nions, and by cosequence no need of an au­thoritative interpreter) let him that can believe it; and let him that dare, put it to the tryall, when his soules eternall estate depends upon it.

CHAP. XI.

The third preparatory ground, viz. the clearing of the ambiguity of these words, necessary to salvation.

1. THese words (necessary to salvation) being applyed to severall objects and subjects admit of great variety in the application and use: therefore before they be affirmed or denyed of any thing,Vid. Card. Perron. Ep. ad Casaub. or to any person, he that intends to expresse his mind distinctly and to the pur­pose must necessarily and expresly before hand declare in what sence, to what degree, in respect of whom, and for what end such things are, or are not necessary.

[Page 137]2. Therefore first for sorts of necessity, There is necessitas medii, when a thing is of it selfe ne­cessry to salvation: and necessitas praec [...]pti, when it is only therefore necessary because it is commanded. Againe necessitas fidei specialis, that is, of things to be believed expresly and distinctly, as the Articles of the Creed: and necessitas fidei generalis, of things which some persons are onely to believe. Againe, necessitas actus, that is of things to be performed by all, as Confession of Christs name, pardoning of offences, restitution, &c. and necessitas ap­probationis or non contradictionis, when men are at least obliged not to condemne certaine things, as vow of Virginity, Voluntary poverty, &c.

3. Then with respect unto objects or things necessary to salvation, some are so absolutely, that is, so as no circumstance of person, time or place, no ignorance, no defect how irre­mediable soever can excuse the absence of such things: other things on the contrary are ne­cessary only conditionally, which in some cases, to some persons may be excusable. Of the for­mer sort, there are but extreamely few things necessary. For, for example, if a Heathen at the point of death upon an effectuall exhortati­on of a Christian should embrace in generall the Religion of Christ, not being able to attend particular instruction, nor perhaps actuall Baptisme, it is very probable that the onely be­lieving of Christ to be the Saviour of the world, and relying upon him for the pardon of his sinnes, and profession of his resolution to o­bey whatsoever should appeare to him to have [Page 138] been Cbrists will though death should cut him off from a particular information in other do­ctrines of Faith, the Sacraments, particular du­ties of Christian morality, &c. would be suffi­cient to such a man to salvation. Of the later sort, viz things necessary conditionally, it is impossible to tell how many or how few they are, till all conditions and circumstances be expressed.

4. In regard of persons, that is, necessary to one which is not to another, as more to a teach­er than a Disciple; to a Governour, then to a person subordinate. Againe, that is necessary to a Congregation, which is not to a single person, to the setling of a Church in good or­der, which is not to every Congregation: to the well-being of a Church, which is not to its simple being: some persons are obliged to know many things explicitely, which others are onely not to dis believe, it being sufficient if they op­pose them not, not necessary that they know them.

5. Having considered such an ambiguity and variety of things necessary (to which many other distinctions might yet be added) I pre­sently judged that whatsoever was the reason that Mr. Chillingworth thought it not necessary to make a distinct application of these severall kindes of necessity according to the exigence of the objects and persons; whether it was neglect or want of memory, or whether intend­ing onely to repell his adversaries present ob­jections, he thought fit to say no more then he was for that purpose necessarily obliged: What ever was the cause, I am sure that for want of [Page 139] such a distinct application, whatsoever he has said to confirme his maine position is little to the satisfaction of any third person, as, I thinke, shall presently be demonstra­ted.

CHAP. XII.

After what manner I judged it neces­sary for my purpose to examine Mr. Chillingworth's reasonings and ar­guments.

1. TH [...]se preparatory grounds being thus premised, way was made for the nea­rer approach to the examination of Mr. Chilling­worth's reasons and proofs before alleged, for the maintaining of the maine foundation of all Schisme, viz. That the Scripture, yea any one Go­spell, conteines in it expresly all things necessary to salvation, either for belief or practise. In the examination whereof (as likewise of other Protestants grounds which follow, and are set downe and prosecured more clearely, more subtily, and I am sure more to the satisfaction of English Protestants, by Mr. Chillingworth, then by any other) I must professe that my intention is not to consider Mr. Chilling­worth's discourses as precisely opposed to his adversaries, for I have neither the vanity to be­leive that so learned and practis'd a Catholique-controvertist should be willing to accept of any one, and much lesse of such an ignorant Neo­phyte as my selfe to defend his excellent booke; [Page 140] neither have I the impudence without leave from him to undertake such a taske: But since upon mine owne knowledge Mr. Chilling­worth believed that his booke, as concerning the Positive grounds, conteined as much as any Protestant could reasonably say; so for the destructive part, that it was an unanswe­rable conviction not onely of what his adversa­ry in particular had said, but of what any Ca­tholique could alledge concerning either the Rule of Faith, or Judge of Conteoversies: Seeing likewise I found it not onely very reasonable in it selfe, but absolutely necessary for me, con­sidering the condition in which I then was, for finding repose unto my mind to inform my selfe, not what some particular learned Catho­liques taught to be their sense of the Churches beliefe in these points (for that would have been a labour insupportable to me, who was much pressed with a desire to be no longer a­lone without any Church to joyne withall) but to enquire what the Roman Church her selfe believed, and in what language, and with what latitude She her self expressed her thoughts and beliefe: Upon these grounds I conceived it requisite to exact and apply M. Chilling­worth's positions and arguments to the simple doctrines and decisions of the Catholique-Church; Resolving that if I found that what She said, and in the latitude that She expresseth her self, was just and reasonable, and withall able to stand firme notwithstanding any of Mr. Chil­lingworth's oppositions, to rest contented there­with; For, for the present it would be happi­ness enough for me to get onely within the pre­cincts [Page 141] of a Church, though no farther then the door-keepers place, I might afterwards, if need were, at leisure make choice there of what ranke or company I would range my selfe unto.

2. Coming therefore to the consideration of M. Chillingworth's conclusion, together with the reasons and proofes of it which he beleived of force sufficient to destroy the doctrine ne­cessarily to be believed by all Roman-Catho­liques, I must needes say that this his Conclu­sion, (The Scripture conteines all necessary points of beliefe and practise, and the Creed all necessary points of beliefe) is so expressed, that in severall respects it may and ought to be assented to by any Catholique: For (as I shewed be­fore) if the word necessary in respect of the object, relate to necssity absolute, and in re­spect of the subject, to any person though con­sidered in a desperate estate for want of means or space to inform himselfe further, then not only the Scripture, or the Creed, or one Gospell, but perhaps this one verse in a Gospell. This is eternall life to know thee the only true God, & Iesus Christ whom thou hast sent, may be instruction sufficient to salvation: and so arising propor­tionably to other circumstances, in respect of other single persons more truths and in­structions are necessary, and more yet to persons enjoying sufficient means to information, to Clergy-men, to Congregations, to well-or­dered Churches. Besides, if the same Con­clusion be considered in another sense (without altering the expression) a sense obvious enough & not improper, in which among other ancient [Page 142] Fathers S. Aug. explaines it as he was before quoted cap. 38. viz. that the Scripture here (as likewise the Creed) is to be taken as joyned with the Churches authority, to which, saith hee, we are expresly referr'd in Scripture, then it not onely conteines whatsoever is necessary to salvation in some qualifyed degree of ne­cessity, and to some certaine persons consi­dered in some certaine circumstances, but like­wise in the most exalted importance of the word necessary, and to all persons considered either as single, or in actuall Communion &c. Lastly if the same Conclusion be so understood that the words of Scripture may be (I doe not say, supplyed, but even) interpreted by the Tradition of the ancient Church and au­thority of the present, so many Catholiques will subscribe to it.

3. This conclusion therefore being so vari­ously applicable, and by consequence capable of being orthodox or erroneous according to severall applications: in the next place I was to reflect upon my present condition, to try whether it befitted mee or no. Now for the present I was in quest of a Church, that Church wherein I had been bred e're this time being almost ready to expire: I lived in an age wherin there was no want of meanes of lear­ning and instruction, even to excesse, for the overmuch light made many men too too wan­ton and curious: I had been bred after such a manner that I was capable in some reasonable degree not only of information, but likewise of an ability to judge what instructour could approve himselfe to be the fittest to be followed [Page 143] and beleived, and for that purpose I endea­voured all I could to free my mimd from all prejudices and partiality: in these circum­stances, two parties invited me to their com­munion. (and a Communion some where or other I knew was necessary:) The one sayd, You may without inevitable danger perhaps take your choice of ei [...]her, but certainly your best and safest way is to come to us, for we will propose to your beleife nothing but the acknowledged written word of God, and that wee have for this hundred yeares beleived to conteine all things necessary not only for your salvation, but any mans else: You shall have the satisfaction to bee freed from all visible authority interpreting that Word, The Spirit will teach you to interpret it as truly as wee doe, for otherwise we shall not suffer you in our Communion. The other party on the con­trary protested aloud, that if I joyned not with them I was utterly lost; that they would pro­pose to me nothing but Divine Revelation con­teined not onely in bookes written, but Tradi­tions unwritten; both conveyed by the same hand and with the same authority, and there­for if either, both to be received; that the for­mer inviters were a new faction for worldly in­terests divided from the whole world, and ap­parently from a Church, which had continued ever since Christs time in an un-interrupted suc­cession of instructers and Doctrine, of Tea­chers appointed for Guides not onely by testi­monie of all ages, but likewise of the same Scri­ptures upon which their adversaries pretended to ground their Schisme [...] that these Guides had [Page 144] continually preserved the Church in a perfect unity of beliefe; whereas the other party within one age that they have appeared, have been torne into near an hundred Sects, All of them with equally-no [...] Justice pretending to the same Rule, and with the same Rule fighting with one ano­ther without the least effect of union, not one controversy among them having been to this day cleared.

4. In these circumstances coming to the ex­amination of this fundamentall ground of Pro­testantisme That the Scriptures conteine all points of beliefe and practise necessary to salvation, I found it necessary, without any change made in the words, to apply the termes necessary to salva­tion not to one or more persons ignorant, destitute of meanes of knowledge, and in some particular unavoydable exigence, but to my self considered in the conditions before mentioned, yea further, to all Christians in generall, and to the exigence of Churches well ordered and setled, as on all sides they pretended to be: And having done thus, I found that no Anti­quity ever delivered this Conclusion in so large a sense; yea on the contrary that generally all Antiquity protested against it: I found that no reason could require that writings evidently in­tended for sepciall uses, and confuting three or foure Haeresies should be made use of, or how­ever should be accounted sufficiently and ex­pressly convictive against Opinions not named in them, and not them thought upon by the Authours, as if they had been entire Systemes of Christianity: In a word, I found that after I had applyed this conclusion to the present use [Page 145] and Hypothesis, the arguments and reasons produced by Mr. Chillingworth, &c. d [...]d not evince or conclude that which would give me, in the case I was, any satisfaction at all: especially considering that if the Prote­stants had gained the better in this particu­lar concerning a Rule, yet I should be far from being at rest in their Churches, unlesse they could further demonstrate, that the Scripture conteined all these things so ex­presly and clearely to all eyes, naming those particular necessary doctrines in contradi­stinction to others unnecessary, or but profitable, or perhaps requisite onely and applying them to the persons respectively to whom they are necessary, and all this after such a manner that no honest reasonable man could remaine in doubt, or be in danger of quarrelling with others (a thing which mine owne eyes confu [...]ed, since I apparently saw earnest conten­tions and separations about points not onely by my selfe, but by the whole Christian world for above thirteene hundred years together esteem­ed necessary, And since by my small reading, I had found that there was not one Article of the Creed which had not been questioned and contradicted) Or unlesse they could de­monstrate that there was no particular point at all necessary; Or lastly that there was some visible authority to decide unappealeably what was to be acknowledged for the true sense of Scripture, and in it, what was onely true, what usefull, what requisite, and what necessary: But these were conditions such as that the Pro­testants had not confidence enough to promise [Page 146] the former, and they were too proud and con­fident of themselves to allow the latter.

CHAP. XIII.

An answer to Mr. Chillingworth's dis­course and reasonings premised before his proofes out of Scripture.

1. BUt to come at last to Mr. Chilling­worth's reasons and quotations out of Scripture to prove that all things necessary to salvation are not onely sufficiently conteined in the bookes of Scripture in generall, but even in any one of the Gospells, mentioned before cap. 26. And first for the examination of that which he layes as a ground of his enforcing the said quotations, viz. ‘That no man ought to be obliged upon paine of Excommunication to believe any thing, but what God hath re­vealed to be necessary to eternall salvation, which is the substance of the New Covenant made by God in Christ, conteining points of necessary beliefe, and precepts of necessary Evangelicall obedience. His reasons being, Why should any errour or ignorance exclude him from the Churches Communion, which will not deprive him of eternall salvatio? Why should men be more rigid then God?’ &c.

2. In stead of answering to this, I acknowledge the foundation to be very substantiall, and the Reasons very concluding. Onely I must take [Page 147] leave to explaine one phrase in this discourse, viz. Things which are of the substance of the New Covenant. For if his meaning be, that onely those things are necessary to be believed explicitely which are essentiall sub­stantiall parts of the New Covenant, and that directly and of their owne nature, I must then deny it: and so does himselfe elsewhere, al­though in this place that which followes in con­sequence to this foundation does seeme to re­quire such a sence of the words. And to prove the reasonablenesse of my denyall (he being now unfortunately dead) I desire any Protestant to resolve these questions, ‘To believe that our Lord was descended according to the flesh from Abraham or David, is it of the substance of the New Covenant directly and of its own Nature?’ We shall both of us answer, No. Nor by consequence is it necessary to salvation to know or believe it. I aske then further: ‘But suppose a man finde, that proposition ex­presly in Scriptures sufficiently proposed to him and acknowledged to be the word of God, is it not then necessary to salvation to be­lieve it?’ I will answer againe as both of us should doe, Yes, without any question: the reason being evident, because though to believe Christ to be the Son of Abraham be not in it selfe of the essence of the Covenant, yet to be­lieve that whatsoever God sayes is true, is: and by consequence an accessory may by some circumstances be made essentiall, and, ‘a man may come to be damned for not believing that, which without any the least prejudice to him he might never have known or heard of. ’ [Page 148] So likewise, for any one who believes, that the Church is the depositary of divine Revelation, and that she is endued with authority from Christ to command things though in them­selves not necessary, yet such as she thinkes help­full to piety; for such a man I say to refuse to believe the unlawfulnesse of Rebaptization (for example) acknowledged by the whole Church both in her universall practise and profession, that it was a Tradition unwritten which came from the Apostles, and confirm'd by the au­thority of a lawfull Councell: or againe to re­fuse to absteine and fast in Lent, Fridayes, Quatuor-Temporibus, &c. the Church com­manding him: both these refusalls (though the former be of a doctrine of it selfe not of the es­sence of the New Covenant, and the later, of an action little more then circumstantiall) are mor­tall sinnes, and the Church may justly excom­municate, and by consequence God will assure­edly condemne such as persist obstinately in such refusalls; And this for a reason more ef­fectuall then the former, because namely obe­dience to the Chnrch is not onely commanded expresly in Scripture (as in the former case) but commanded under this very penalty of Excom­munication (which the former was not) for saith our Lord, If any one heare not the Church, let him be to thee as a Heathen and a Publican.

3. But to proceede, Mr. Chillingworth to prove that this New Covenant is entirely con­teined not onely in the whole Scripture, but al­so in the foure Gospells, yea sufficiently even in any one of the foure, he first alledges these reasons, ‘Because, saith he, the Evangelist's [Page 149] having a purpose to write the Gospell of Christ or new Covenant, no reason can be imagined that they, who have set downe ma­ny passages unnecessary, should neglect any necessary: for what a negligence must this needs be? such an one surely as no man in these dayes undertaking the same designe would commit. Besides, with what truth could they stile their bookes the Gospell of Christ, if they were onely a part of it?’

4. Hereto I answer, that if by the Gospell of Christ he had meant the story of the life, acts, discourses, sufferings, death, Resurrection and Ascension of our Saviour (as I mentioned in my preparatory grounds) I should willingly grant that the foure Evangelists joyntly have written the Gospell of Christ entirely, not omitting any passage thereof necessary, or very requisite to be known: I say the foure Evangelists joyntly, for of each severally I cannot say so: For, for example, S. Marke (either because S. Mathew had done it sufficient­ly before, or for what other reason I will not trouble my selfe to divine, but) S. Marke ‘omit­ting the Incarnation of our Lord of a pure Virgin, his birth,’ and all things that follow­ed till he was thirty yeares old, begins his Go­spell with S. Iohn Baptists mission to preach: now I suppose these Mysteries omitted by S. Marke are at least in a high degree requisite to be known and believed generally; yea I will adde, necessary; since they are expressed in the Apo­stles Creed, as short as it is: yet not necessary ab­solutely and indispensably to every person in what state soever, but only to those that live in [Page 150] the Church, much more to persons of ability and parts, yet more to Teachers, and most of all to Congregations and Churches: and if so, then that which Master Chillingworth would conclude from hence, cannot be sa­tisfactory in this controversie, among such persons, and Sects, and at this time, as I shewed before. So likewise the Evangelist, S. John, be­sides almost all the miracles, Sermons and pa­rables mentioned by other Evangelists, omitt's the Blessed Sacrament, and the Story of our Saviours Ascension. Now I desire any Prote­stant to say whether (what ever would become of some particular person ignorant of these things by an excuse of an impossibility of in­struction) a man living, as now, in sufficient light, and much more one obliged to be a teach­er of others could be saved with ignorance of these things omitted by S. John? I further de­sire him to say whether a society of men de­siring to be joyned and ordered so as to be made a Christian Church, if they had onely S. Johns Gospell for their Rule and patterne, yea though they had all the foure Evangelists, yea all the Evangelicall writings, whether they could settle themselves according to the frame of the Apostolicall Churches, with the same orders, Li­turgies, customes, &c. as apparently were in the Ancient times universally, while some wri­ters lived, who might have seene the Apostles themselves? If not, as it is most evident that not: I aske, whether those Churches were so setled by the free liberty and fancy of the Apostles, so as it had been no great matter though they had ordered them any other way? or whether [Page 151] by the expresse command of Christ, either im­mediately, or by the intervention of his Holy Spirit? By the latter way, no doubt: and by consequence some thing necessary for the frame of the Church, because commanded by Christ, is not conteined in the Evangelists, neither severally nor together, no nor in union with all the other Evangelicall writings.

5. Againe, our Saviour in his life-naturall among them told his Disciples that ‘he had many things to tell them, but he would not tell them then, because as yet they were not a­ble to beare them: But when the Paraclete, the Spirit of truth came, they should then be ful­ly instructed.’ Now will any man say that all these many things were unnecessary? no cer­tainly, on the contrary they were of such extra­ordinary great moment, that the Apostles them­selves could not then beare them. Or were these so weighty things written in the Gospells, where our Saviour sayes he would not discover them? If not there: can it appeare that S. Luke had a designe to set them all downe in the booke of the Acts, where his principall designe was to write some passages especially of S. Pauls Tra­vells onely, and that during the time that him­selfe was a witnesse? Lastly, (for as for the Revelation that being nothing but obscure Allegory or Prophecy, needs not therefore to be enquired of about this matter) is it likely that a few Haeretiques broaching certaine errours, which caused the writing of almost all the E­pistles, should light so fortunately for us as to give the Apostles occasion in consuting them to publish all those many things which our Savi­our [Page 152] would not tell them in his life time? Credat Iudaeus.

CHAP. XIV.

Answer to the Texts produced by Mr. Chillingworth out of the Gospells of S. John and S. Luke.

1. AS for those passages produced by Mr. Chillingworth out of the Gospells, and, as he thought, fully to his purpose, and first to that taken out of the conclusion of S. Iohns Go­spell, where it is said, ‘these things were written that ye might believe in the Sonne of God, and that believing ye might have life.’ Besides the former demonstrations that S. Iohn writ onely of our Saviours life and death, and even therein omitted many things of extreame mo­ment, which are mentioned by the other E­vangelists, and all things revealed after Christs Ascension by the Comforter, which were far from being unnecessary: And besides the so necessary distinction of things necessary in respect of the object and subject so oft ap­ply'd before; I answer particularly to the phrase of this quotation that it does not prove that these things alone are sufficient for such an effect, but onely that these are some of the principall ones necessary: For it is ordinary in Scripture to ascribe the effect of a concate­nation of causes to some more especiall ones alone, either thereby to shew the extraordinary vertue and necessity of them above the rest, or to [Page 153] imply that such vertues cannot be, at least in perfection, alone, but are alwaies accompanyed with the rest. So our Saviour (Mat. cap 5.) pro­mises Beatitude to each single Christian vertue, which indeed is the effect of them all meeting together. And so that speech of S. Paul (Rom. 10.) is to be understood, ‘If thou shalt confesse with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt be­lieve in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. And againe, Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ Indeed nothing is more ordi­nary in Scripture then such Phrases, I will therefore absteine from an unnecessary multi­plication of such passages, concluding this with two like expressions of the same Evangelist, the first in the same Gospell, This is eternall life that they may know thee the onely true God, and Iesus Christ whom thou hast sent. The other out of his first Epistle, which may with as good rea­son prove it self alone, even without the Gospell, to be sufficient instruction to salvation. These things we write unto you that your joy may be full.

2. To the double quotation of S. Luke in the Prefaces to his Gospell, and the History of the Acts of the Apostles, both in effect saying the same thing, namely that in his Gospell he he had written [...]of all things that Jesus did or taught, it is already answered. And be­sides that this speech is hyperbolicall appeares not onely from S. Iohns Gospell, which relating both the facts and speeches of our Saviour, speakes notwithstanding, but very briefly and of a very few things mentioned by S. Luke or any other Evangelist: but likewise from [Page 154] another passage of the same, S. Luke immedi­ately following the quotation out of the Acts, where he sayes that during the forty dayes that our Saviour remained on earth from his Resur­rection to ‘his Ascension he appeared to them and instructed them in the things concerning the Kingdome of God,’ very few of which instructions are mentioned by S. Luke.

CHAP. XV.

An answer to twelve Questions of Mr. Chillingworth, in pursuance of the former Quotations.

1. AS concerning the twelve Questions which I said before (cap. 26.) that Mr. Chillingworth adjoyned to these Quotations to the end to presse the force of them more effi­caciously as thinking them unanswerable, which notwithstanding I found nothing at all diffi­cult, I will according to my promise set them downe in order, and adjoyne to each an an­swer.

2. To the 1. Question therefore, viz. ‘Whether S. Luke did not undertake the very same thing which he sayes many had taken in hand?’ I answer, Yes.

To the 2. ‘Whether this were not to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among Chri­stians?’ I answer likewise, Yes. But then I must adde, not all those things but the principall; and the principall onely among [Page 155] those which concerned our Saviour in Person while he lived on earth till his Ascension, as all the Evangelists expresly say: for a further proof whereof I adde this, It will not surely be denyed but that among the Mysteries of Christianity that of Pentecost holdes a princi­pall place, at which time was the Sealing, as it were, of the Apostles Commission by the Holy Ghost visibly descending and enabling them to performe that for which our Saviour was borne, preached, prayed, wrought miracles, dy­ed, rose againe and was glorified, that is, the promulgation and propagation of the Evan­gelicall law (as the Jewish Pentecost was ap­pointed to commemorate the Promulgation of the Mosaicall law:) Surely then this Mystery is a principall one, and necessary to be believed and commemorated, at least by most Christians capable of instruction, however by a well ordered Christian Church. Yet meerly because this My­stery of the descent of the Holy Ghost hapned ten dayes beyond the time that all the Evange­lists fixed to their Gospells not any of them re­lates it: far was it from them to agree in the omitting of it upon this opinion that it was not necessary.

To the 3. Question, viz. ‘Whether the whole Gospell of Christ, and every necessary doctrine of it were not surely believed among Christians? ’ I answer, Yes. Yea more, that not onely the Gospell, that is, the Historicall narra­tion of Christs life, Sermons, &c. but whatsoe­ver the Holy Ghost afterward taught & ordered in the Church, was the object of Christian faith, as perteining to the Gospell, that is, the New Covenant.

[Page 156]To the 4. ‘Whether they which were eye-witnesses and Ministers of the word from the beginning delivered not the whole Gospell of Christ?’ I Answer, Yes, in this sence, that all this Gospell, as far as concernes our Saviours personall actions and passions during his abode among men hath been delivered sufficiently in the [...]by the foure Evangelists all together; but in particular, S. Marke omi [...]s the Incarnation, birth, &c. of Christ S. Iohn, the Lords Prayer, the Blessed Sacrament, &c. very substantiall things in Christian Religion surely.

To the 5. ‘Whether S. Luke doth not under­take to write in order those things whereof he had perfect understanding from the first?’ I answer still, Yes.

To the 6. ‘Whether he had not perfect un­derstanding of the whole Gospell of Christ?’ I answer, Yes: yea more, that if by the Gospell of Christ we meane, as he does, the story of Christ, he could have added many more parti­culars, not unconsiderable, if he had pleased, and if he had not thought that that which he did write was sufficient for his purpose, and many more particulars, yet he could have written of the Gospell of Christ, if by that be meant Christian Religion in generall.

To the 7. ‘Whether he doth not undertake to write to Th [...]ophilus of all those things wherein he had been instructed?’ I answer, Yes, keeping within the limits of his designe.

To the 8. ‘And whether he had not been in­structed in all the necessary points of the Go­spell of Christ?’ I answer, Yes, viz. under­stood as before.

[Page 157]To the 9. Whether in the other Text (of Act. c. 1.) those words, all things which Jesus began to do and teach, must not at least imply all the principall and necessary things? I an­swer, Yes, keeping to his subject.

To the 10. ‘Whether this be not the very interpretation of your Rhemish Doctours in their annotations upon this place?’ I answer, I know not.

To the 11. ‘Whether all these Articles of the Christian Faith, without the belief where­of no man can be saved be not the principall and most necessary things which Jesus taught?’ I must answer by parcells. 1. I cannot assent to that, that no man can be saved without the beliefe of all these Articles, viz. conteined in the Creed, of which he treates in this Chapter: for I doubt not but some particular man in some cases and extremities may be saved with­out having received information of our Saviours being borne of a Virgin, of his being three dayes in the Grave, his Descent into Hell, &c. 2. I am assured that now Christians (having means of more sufficient illumination) are bound to be­lieve more then the simple bare twelve Arti les of the Creed; for the four first Generall Coun­cels do much enlarge the signification of them, and besides p [...]opose other points, at least indi­rectly objects of our belief. 3. To the following words I answer that though those points were the principall and most necessary things, which Jesus taught, yet this makes nothing against Catholique doctrine. 1. Because many men are necessarily bound to know more then what is in it selfe simply necessary: and, 2. Our Saviour [Page 158] himselfe sayes expresly that besides those points which himselfe taught them, there were others more sublime and surely necessary to some, which till the Comforter came, and en­abled them further, they were not able to beare.

To the 12. and last Question, viz. ‘Whe­ther many things which S. Luke hath written in the Gospell be not lesse principall, and lesse necessary then all and every one of them?’ I answer, Yes, and good reason for it; since his intent being to write a History and not a Catechisme, it was fit for him to relate (grosse modo) all things that Jesus said or did, whether necessary, or not: for as every circumstance and action of Christ (though worth the know­ing) was not a mystery necessary to be related; so neither were all his words articles of Faith necessary both to be known and believed.

3. Whereas for a Corollary and Appendix to these Demands, Mr. Chillingworth adds this Prosopopaea, to his adversary, ‘When you have well considered these proposalls, I believe you will be very apt to thinke (if S. Luke be of any credit with you) that all things necessary to salvation are certainly conteined in his wri­tings alone:’ If his learned adversary would give me leave, I would answer; That truly I have according to the capacity of my weake understanding well considered these proposalls, and S. Luke is of very great credit with mee, and yet I doe not finde in my selfe any aptitude at all to believe that all things necessary to salvation, (that is, with respect to all men and all Churches as the present controversy requires) [Page 159] are certainly conteined in his writings alone; and this for severall reasons before alledged: to which I will adde this one more for a close of this whole conclusion, viz. Because I judging Mr. Chillingworth's opinion to be very reaso­nable, that upon this hypothesis (that all things necessary are conteined in Scripture) it must follow that they are conteined there most cleare­ly, expresly and so as no reasonable honest man can doubt of the sense of them; I am notwith­standing most assured that no man can finde in S. Lukes writings expresse words sufficient to confute all Haeretiques that ever taught any thing destructive to salvation. It may be in­deed so excellent a wit as Mr. Chillingworth's by the advantage of Logick and diligent rea­ding of Fathers, &c. may out of S. Lukes Gospel draw conclusion after conclusion, and so at last infer propositions contrary to Socinian doctrine, for example: yet he should deny his owne prin­ciples, if he should call that doctrine a Haeresie, or so much as an errour of the least danger, which contradicts perhaps the fifth or sixth con­sequence drawne from an Article of Faith it selfe. Let any man therefore for tryall take S. Luke, or all the four; Gospells, yea the whole Bible, and I am perswaded he will finde it a more then Herculean labour out of all to frame such a Creed as the Nicene or Athanasian, and much more, all the points concluded in the four first Generall Councells, which truly I believe necessary to be believed, and I do not begin to believe so now, I was taught so when I lived in England.

CHAP. XVI.

The second Conclusion out of the Fathers, concerning a Iudge of Controversies.

The Authours confession of his willingnes that his opinion against the Churches infallibility might appeare to have been groundlesse.

II. Conclusion.

The second Conclusion out of the Fathers, &c. was this, viz. That it belongs alone to the Ca­tholique Church, which is the one­ly depositary of Divine Revela­tions, authoritatively and with obligation to propose those reve­lations, to all Christians, &c. to interpret the Holy Scriptures, and to determine all emergent Contro­versies; and this to the end of the world, in as much as the Church by vertue of Christs pro­mises [Page 161] and assistance is not onely indefectible, but continually pre­served in all truth.

1. IN this conclusion there are severall parts, as 1. ‘That the Catholique Church is the depositary of all Divine Revela­tions written and unwritten. 2. By conse­quence that it belongs to her to propound them to all persons. 3. That she has authority and that such as requires submission from all, not only to propound, but also to expound these Revelations, and finally to determine all emergent controversies. And 4. That this au­thority is sufficiently grounded upon the great promises of our Saviour made unto his Church.’ Now of these severall Propositions, the two former not being questioned by me when I was in England, I conceived it not sui­table to my designe (which was a narration e­specially of mine owne doubts and resolution with as much brevity as possibly I could) to fill paper with quotations of Fathers or other proofes to resolve that of which I was resolved before. My only scruple was concerning the third and fourth Propositions, Or, to speake properly, it was not a scruple, for I was on the contrary fully resolved, and, to my thinking, satisfied that there was not upon earth any vi­sible authority that could so interpret. Scrip­tures or determine Controversies, is that all men should be obliged necessarily to embrace her interpretations and determinations: And there­fore my purpose is to insist principally upon his [Page 162] Architectonirall controversie, not neglecting in the meane time to examine likewise the other propositions, but briefly and quasi aliud a­gens.

2. It may be believed, and, since this treatise is intended by mee for an Exomologesis or publique Confession, I will not forbeare to con­fess it, that when the progress of my enquiry af­ter a Church led me at last to take into debate even those grounds, of which before I had not the least scruple at all, namely, Whether, as the Roman Church professed, there were extant in the world visible any such authority, I could not free my selfe from so much partiality against my owne understanding, as to wish that it could be made appeare unto me, that there were to be found any tribunall whose decisions I might believe my selfe obliged to follow without any scruple or [...]ergiversation: For then I should not onely in a moment be free from all scruples and doubts in particular points proposed by that authority, in which they would all be swallowed up; but likewise from a world of inconvenien­cies inevitably attending upon my position, viz. ‘That in doubts of Religion we had onely a Rule of it selfe indeed infallible, but challen­ged by all Sects, and no Judge to apply that Rule when necessity required, every man be­ing left to his own reason, at his own perill to take heed that he wrested not that Rule accor­ding to his owne interests or prejudices.’

CHAP. XVII.

The Calvinists, &c. presumtuous re­nouncing of the Churches authority even in proposing of Scripture: And pretending to an immediate Revela­tion.

1. BUt before I proceed further to shew how and upon what grounds I found satisfaction in this point of the Churches autho­rity, after which I could not long remaine unsa­tisfyed in all other points beside: I have somewhat, though not much, to say concerning the first part of this Conclusion, namely of the Churches being depositary of divine Revelati­on. I do not remember that the Church of England hath said any thing of it, more then what may be inferred from those words in the 6. Article, ‘In the name of the Holy Scri­pture we do understand those Canonicall bookes of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.’ By which expression She seemes to make the Churches authority the one­ly ground that may ordinarily be relyed up­on for the discerning which books are Cano­nicall, and which not. And this Mr. Chilling­worth acknowledges in severall passages of his booke.

2. But as for the Calvinist Churches in France (whether the Lutherans agree with them or no, I had not meanes to informe my selfe) I could [Page 164] not without both indignation and shame read how they have declared their mindes touching this Point in their publique Confession of Faith: Where, after the premising what par­ticular bookes of Scripture they received as Ca­nonicall, they adde these words, Nous recognois­sons, &c. that is, ‘We acknowledge these books to be Canonicall, and a most certaine Rule of Faith, not so much for the commune agreement and consent of the Church, as for the Testimony and inward perswasion of the Holy Spirit, which makes us able to discerne them from the other Ecclesiasticall books, up­on which, although they be profitable, cannot be grounded an Article of Faith.’ By which expression they do clearly tell the world, that their meaning is (not to ascribe to the assistance of the Holy Spirit this their beliefe, for gene­rally all Christians doe acknowledge a necessity of such an influence upon the soule, whereby the understanding is perswaded to captivate it selfe to the beliefe, and the will inclined to the love and acceptation of all divine revelations proposed by the Church: But) that they have a new immediate, distinct revelation and testimo­ny of the Holy Ghost inwardly informing them what bookes are Canonicall and what not: And this not only more certaine then the testi­mony of the present Church, but likewise contra­ry thereto, inasmuch as thereby they renounce severall books: which the Church proposes as di­vine and Canonicall.

3. Was it possible that reasonable men could write such things, and ever hope to finde any other men foolish enough to believe [Page 165] them? There seems to have been many persons conspiring to the writing, or at least the signing of this Confession: Had all these this testimo­ny of Gods Spirit revealing to them, and so enabling them to judge and discerne which particular writings are Canonicall, and which not? And does this testimony (which certainly, if not falsely pretended to, is infal­lible) extend to all the particular passages and Texts in these books, without which the belie­ving of the books in grosse would be uselesse? VVell, since they may say what they please without feare of being silenced, and so may all their Off-spring; For what other way is left to silence him that sayes he has the Spirit, but only Exorcismes? Yet for those that wrote this Confession to say this both for themselves and in the name of all their faction to the worlds end, and this without consulting any of them to know whether they had received such an immediate revelation or testimony, and without pretending to such an eminent gift of Prophecy, as never was example of the like since the world began, this exceedes all wonder. Good Lord! to what strange times are we reserved, to see a Sect so numerous, so powerfull (as they have shewed themselves up­on many sad occasions) and not one of them but is a Prophet? What a stupendious thing is this that there should not be found one Calvi­nist destitute of this so certeine, so divine a testimony, beyond the assurance of all Chur­ches since Christ, and yet not one Englishman or Frenchman unlesse of that faction, nor any Chri­stian that I know of besides that knowes any [Page 166] such thing of himselfe, or dares pretend to it? For surely if any one had it, some would pro­fesse it, since a man cannot have a Testimony, but he knowes he has it. This is a miracle be­yond all that Christ and all his (Apostles ever wrought in the Church. But is it not more pro­bable, nay is it not beyond all probability most certaine, most palpable that all these men knowingly and wilfully deceive themselves, and would fain but cannot deceive others? Is not this apparently a lying against the Holy Ghost? Why may it not as well be expected that in their next Confession (or rather, their Presum­ption) they should pretend (as at least most particular writers among them doe) for them­selves and their heires a discerning infallible Spirit to judge of the sense of Scripture, as well as the books? Indeed, what may not be expected from such as having had a hatred to charity, and therefore no true love to the truth, God has justly given over to strong delusions to believe such palpable lyes?

4. But leaving these men miserably pleasing themselves in pretended inspirations, and by that meanes attributing to the Holy Ghost not only all their errours, but likewise their renoun­cing of Christian Charity & Unity, which is im­possible as long as they take upon them to believe that it is from the Spirit that they have divided themselves from Gods Church both in opinion and practise: I will returne to my enquiry con­cerning the authority of the Church.

CHAP. XVIII.

Importance of the Controversie concerning the Churches authority.

Meanes for satisfaction in it abundantly sufficient in Antiquity.

This Controversie before all others ought to be most diligently studyed by Prote­stants.

1. PRoceeding therefore for mine owne sa­tisfaction to read the Fathers upon this argument, and resolving to read them as un­partially as possibly I could, that is, silencing mine owne understanding, when it would in­terpose that no discourse or Rhetorique ought to have force against those demonstrations, which I thought I had against the Churches infallibility, or when it would invent forced senses to that world of passages which I found in the Fathers inconsistent with my pre-assumed assurance; Proceeding I say, in the best manner I could to the reading of the Fathers upon this point, I found that as this controversie was of so infinite importance that upon the decision thereof eternall peace or warre in Religion among Christians depended, the most wise and mercifull Providence had suitably furnished us with meanes of satisfaction in so important a point, infinitely more copious, evident and powerfull, then in any other besides: For in other speciall points of Controversie we must be content to informe our selves of the minde [Page 168] of Antiquity therein onely by particular dis­persed passages of the Fathers, commonly spo­ken en passant, they having no occasion ordi­narily to combate with Heretiques about them: But in this businesse of the Churches authority I found Epistles, Treatises, Bookes, yea vo­lumnes full of almost no other subject; I found (that I may here before the proper season de­clare the successe of so many moneths labour) that the maintaining of the authority of the Church against Heretiques alledging onely Scripture as a Rule, and disclaiming all Judges of that Rule but themselves as to themselves, had beene the businesse of many Ages, the prin­cipall employment of many the learnedst ho­liest Fathers of the Church: I found that such an authority of the Church had been a Tradi­tion of all others most Universall, not any one booke of Scripture being so often testified of in Antiquity as this: I found that if this au­thority of the Church were not to be preserved inviolable, all Synods and Councels that ever were in the Church fell to the ground, yea more, became not only of no validity, but were to be esteemed the most unjust Tyrannicall con­spiracies that ever were, as presuming without sufficient warrant to accuse and anathematize whosoever opposed or accepted not their de­terminations even in such points as were not in Scripture at all, or at most onely there in consequence to their interpretation: Lastly, I found to my infinite satisfaction, and for which I thinke my selfe obliged to spend the greatest part of my life in glorifying Almighty God for it, a full, effectuall and experimentall [Page 169] satisfaction by acknowledging this authority, and suffering my selfe to be taken out of my owne hands, to be conducted by her that Christ had appointed for that office; in a word, I found, that that saying of S. Hierome was most true, viz. ‘That the Sun of the Church present­ly dryes up all the streames of errour and Schisme.’

2. For these reasons I cannot chuse but ad­jure all Protestants, especially English (who think satisfaction and repose of mind upon earth, and glory to be revealed in heaven to be things desirable) that, omitting, or at least deferring all particular disputes with Catholiques, they would in the first place without prejudice and partiallity examine what the present Catholique Church sayes, and in what words Shee sayes it when Shee comes to declare her necessary doctrine concerning this her authority: and that having found what it is that Shee requires to be believed, they would (without altering her expression, and without applying thereto any particular Schoole-man's or Doctours interpretations, as by an obliging necessity to be subscribed to or received) compare what the Church defines, with what the Fathers & Coun­cels do generally and purposely agree in: And if this method produce not in them the same effect, which, by the blessing of God, it did in mee, yet at least they will have this content­ment, after an ingenuous, and, to my knowledge, not-much by them-practised way of examina­tion, to conclude, that they finde that their owne single judgement and interpretation of Scripture deserves rather to be relyed upon [Page 170] and to be preferr'd above all manner of visible authority of all persons and ages, how sacred so­ever esteemed by others; they will either become Catholiques, or remaine in their own (then not very unreasonable opinion) Protestants still, but persons meriting from themselves the highest esteem for infallibility that the Church ever enjoyed since the Apostles times.

CHAP. XIX.

Passages out of Fathers concerning the Churches Authority.

1. BUt I will no longer defer the testimo­nies which Antiquity affords to the third Proposition conteined in the second Conclusi­on forementioned, viz. of the Churches autho­rity to intepret Scriptures and define Controversies. I confesse I might have contented my selfe, considering the superabundance, to omit single passages, when so many Fathers have written whole books to witnesse it, as Tertul­lian, S. Cyprian, S. Augustine, S. Hierome, S. Ver­centius Lirinensis, &c. mentioned before, and whereas all Councells in whatsoever they have de­termined have virtually determined this, other­wise their determinations were to be esteemed any thing else but determinations. Not­withstanding I will not refuse the trouble of se­lecting a few passages more expresly declaring what at large most of the bookes wherein [Page 171] they are found, endeavour generally to prove, whether Logically and rationally or no, let the world judge, I am sure they proved it so effectually, that they have thereby ut­terly destroyed the Heresies that opposed them.

Let the first witnesse therefore be S. Irenaeus, (lib. 3. c. 4.) ‘Where the Church is there is the Spirit (of God) and where the Spirit of God is there is the Church and all grace. The same Father againe, lib. 4. c. 43. We must obey those Priests that are in the Church: those that have succession from the Apostles, who together with Episcopall power have ac­cording to the good pleasure of the Father received the certain gift of Truth. And all the rest who depart from the originall succession, wheresoever they be assembled, to have suspe­cted either as Haeretiques or Schismatiques or Hypocrites: and all these do fall from the truth. Againe, lib 4. c. 62. The spirituall man shall judge them that be out of the Church, Which Church shall be under no mans judge­ment: For to the Church all things are known, in which is perfect faith of the Father, and of the dispensation of Christ, and firme knowledge of the Holy Ghost teacheth al truth. Again, l. 5. c. 4. What if the Apostles had not left Scriptures, ought we not to have followed the Order of Tradition which they delivered to those to whom they committed the Chur­ches? To which order many yeild assent, who believe in Christ, having salvation written in their hearts by the Spirit of God without letters or ink, and diligently keeping [Page 172] ancient Tradition. It is easy to receive the truth from God's Church, seeing the Apostles have most fully deposited in her as in a rich Store-house all thinges belonging to truth: For what! if there should arise any contention of some small questions, ought we not to have recourse to the most ancient Churches, and from them to receive what is certaine and cleare concerning the present question?’

3. Witness Tert. (de Preser.) Therefore we must not appeale to Scriptures, neither is the con­troversy to be settled upon them, in the which there will be either no victory at all, or very uncertaine, &c. Againe, Order did require that that should be proposed in the first place, which ought now to be onely debated, viz. Which of the parties is possessed of that faith to which the Scriptures agree, from whom, and by whom, and when, and to whom that discipline was delivered, by which men are named Christians: For wheresoever it shall appeare that the truth of the Christian discipline or Faith is, there will also be found the truth of Scriptures, and expositions, and all Christian Traditions. Witnesse Origen, Since there be many who thinke they believe the things which are of Christ, and some are of different opinion from those who went before them, let the doctrine of the Church be kept, which is delivered from the Apo­stles by order of succession, and remaines in the Church to this very day. That onely is to be believed for truth which in nothing dis­agrees from the Tradition of the Church. And again, in our understanding of Scriptures [Page 173] we must not depart from the first Ecclesiasti­call Tradition, nor believe otherwise then as the Church of God hath by succession delive­red to us.’

4. ‘Witnesse S. Cyprian, (de unit. Eccl.) There is one head & one Source & one Mother, by the Issue of her fruitfulnesse copious: by her en­crease we are born, we are nourished with her milk, with her Spirit we are quickned: The Spouse of Christ cannot be defiled with adultery, Shee is pure and chast: Shee know­eth one house and with chast bashfulness keep­eth the sanctity of one bed. This preserveth us in God: This advanceth to the Kingdome the Children that shee hath brought forth: Whosoever divideth from the Church and cleaveth to the adultresse, hee is sepa­rated from the promises of the Church: He cannot have God to his Father, that hath not the Church to his Mother. Witnesse, Lactantius, (l. 4. c. ult.) It is onely the Catholique Church that hath the true worship and service of God: this is the wel-spring of truth, the dwelling-place of Faith, the temple of God: into which whosever entreth not, and from which who­soever departeth is without all hope of life and eternall salvation. Witnesse S. Basile and S. Gregory Naz. who (as Ruffinus (Hist. Eccl. l. 2. c. 29.) relateth took the interpretation of Scri­pture not of their own sense but from the Tra­dition of the Fathers. Witness S. Cyril of Jeru­salem, (lat. 18.) The Church is called Catholique because it is spread over the universall world from one end to the other: and because it tea­cheth Catholiquely and entirely all doctrine [Page 174] which are to be known. Witnesse S. Am­brose, Faith is the foundation of the Church: for it was not spoken of the flesh of Peter, but of his faith, That the gates of Hell should not prevaile: His Confession over­came Hell: and this Confession ex­cludes many Haeresies: for seeing the Church like a good Ship is beat upon by many waves, the Foundation of the Church must prevail against all Haeresies. L. de incarn. d [...].

5. ‘Witnesse (Dom. in Psalm. 37.) In the Church the truth resids, Whosoever is seperated from it, it is necessary that he speak false things. Againe, Ep. 54. The heighth of all authority, & all the light of reason for the reparation and reformation of mankinde consists only in the saving name of Christ, and in his only Church. Again, (Ep. 56) The supream Em­perour of our Faith hath fortified his Church with the cittadell of authority, and by meanes of a few persons piously lear­ned hath armed it with copious provisions of unconquerable reason. That therefore to him is the most right discipline, that especially the weak should retire into this cittadell of Faith, to the end that for their defence being placed most securely, others should combat with most strong reasons. Again, (de util Cred. c. 16) if the Providence of God doth not precide over hu­mane affairs, no care is to be had concerning Religion. But if the severall variety of crea­tures, which ought be believed to have flowed from some fountain of most perfect beauty, and by certain inward instinct doth exhort both publiquely and privately those who are [Page 175] naturally better disposed, attesting that God is to be sought and worshipped: we ought not to despaire but that there is some au­thority placed by the same God, upon which we raising and settling our selves as upon a most firm basis, may be exalted up unto God. Againe, This is the providence of true Re­ligion: this is commanded us from heaven, this is delivered unto us by our Blessed an­cestors, this is preserved even to these our times: to be willing to disturb and pervert this, is nothing else but to seek a sacrilegious way to true Religion. Again, (de unit Eccl c. 19.) Neither thou nor I do read this evidently and expresly (viz in the Scriptures) But if there were to be found in the world any one endow'd with wisdome and recommended by the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ, and if such an one were consulted with by us touching this con­troversie, we should in no wise doubt to ob­serve whatsoever such an one should say unto us; and this for fear of being judged to have opposed not so much such a person, as our Lord Jesus Christ himself, by whose testimony such an one is recommended: Now Christ gives te­stimony to his Church. Again, (de Bap. l. 5. c. 23.) To speak the truth, the Apostles have prescri­bed nothing concerning this, but this custome ought to be believed to have taken it's origi­nall from their Tradition, As there are many things which the universall Church ob­serves, the which in good right ought to be be­lieved to have been delivered by the Apo­stles, although they be not found in Scri­pture. Againe, (lib. 4.) That which the universall [Page 176] Church holds, and it is not ordeined by Coun­cels, but hath been alwayes reteined and observed is most justly believed to have been delivered no other way than by Apostolique Tradition, &c. We must observe in these things that which the Church of God observes: the Question therefore between you and us is, Whether of the two, Yours or Ours is the Church of God? Againe, To omit therefore this sincere wisdom which you will not allow to be in the Catholique Church: There are many other things which most justly keep me in her bosome, The con­sent of Peoples and Nations keep me there; The authority begun by Miracles, nourished by hope, augmented by charity, confirmed by Antiquity keep me there; The succession of Prelates ever since the Seat of Peter, to whom our Lord after his Resurrection committed the feeding of his sheep, to this present Episco­pate keep me there; And finally the very name of Catholique keeps me there, the which name this Church alone not without cause hath reteined among so many and great Haeresies, insomuch as when any stranger demands where the assembly is, wherein a man may communicate with the Catholique Church, there is not any one Heretique ha's the boldnesse to shew him his Temple or house, &c. These so many, and so strong, and most deare tyes of the Christian name with good right retein a believer in the Catho­like Church, although that by reason of the slowness of our understanding, or want of merit in our lives, the truth doth not as [Page 177] yet shew it self unto us with perfect evidence. Againe, the same Father in the same book, (ca. 5.) I doe not believe (saith he) that Manichaeus is the Apostle of Christ, I pray you be not angry, neither begin to give ill language: For you know that I have resolved not to be­lieve rashly any thing produced by you. I ask therefore, Who is this Manichaeus? You will answer, the Apostle of Christ. I do not believe it. Now thou wilt find nothing what thou shouldst say or do; for thou didst promise me a science of truth, and now thou forcest me to believe a thing that I know not. It may be thou wilt read the Gospel unto mee, and from thence wilt endeavour to assert the person of Manichaeus. But what if thou shouldest light upon one that doth not yet believe the Gospel, what wouldst thou doe to him when he tells thee, I do not believe? And truly, I my self would not believe the Gospel, were it not that the authority of the Catholique Church moves me Now why should I not believe the same persons saying to me, Believe not Ma­nichaeus, to whom I gave credence, saying, Believe the Gospel? Chuse what thou wilt: If thou shalt say, Believe the Catholiques: they move me to give no credence to you, therefore if I believe them, I must of neces­sity not believe thee. If thou shalt say, Doe not believe Catholiques, Thou shalt doe unjustly compelling me by the Gospel to believe Manicheus, because the same Gospel I believed upon the [...]rea­ching of Catholiques. But if thou [...] [Page 178] say, Thou didst well to believe the Gospell upon the commendation of Catholiques, but ill in believing them discommending Mani­chaeus: Doest thou think me so very a fool, as that without any reason rendred I should believe what thou pleasest, and dis-believe what thou likest not? So that surely I doe much more justly and warily, if because I am already a believer I doe not forsake the Catholiques to come over to thy partie, unlesse thou commandest me not to believe, but undertakest to shew me something that may be known most manifestly and apparently. Therefore if thou wilt afford me reason, quit the Gospel: if thou holdest thy self to the Gospel, I must hold my selfe to those upon whose command I believed the Gospel: and upon the same persons commandement, I must by no meanes believe thee. But if by chance thou shouldst be able to find in the Gospell some passage most evident concerning the Apostle­ship of Manicha [...], thou wilt thereby wea­ken indeed unto mee the authority of Catholiques, who command mee not to believe thee: which authority being in­validated I would no longer believe the Gospell it selfe, because it was for their sakes that I believed it. So that whatsoever thou shalt alledge, will have no force with me.’ To the same purpole the same Father, (lib. de util. cred. c. 14.) ‘Why should I not most diligently enquire what Christ commanded of them before all [...]hers, by whose authority I was moved to [...] that Christ commanded any good [Page 179] thing? Canst thou better declare to me what hee said, whom I would not have thought to have beene, or to be, if the belief thereof had beene recommended by thee to me? This therefore I believed by fame strengthened with celebrity, consent, Anti­quity. But every one may see that you, so few, so turbulent, so new, can produce no­thing deserving authority. VVhat mad­nesse is this? Believe them [Catholiques] that we ought to believe Christ; but learne of us what Christ said. VVhy, I beseech thee? surely if they [Catholiques] were not at all, and could not teach me any thing, I would more easily perswade my selfe that I were not to believe Christ, then that I should learn any thing concerning him from any other then them by whom I believed in him. Lastly the same Father, (con. Cres. I. 1. c. 33.) Although (saith he) there cannot be produced out of the Scriptures any ex­ample of such a thing, yet the truth of the same Scriptures is held of us in this matter when we doe that which pleaseth the whole Church, the which the authority of the same Scriptures doth commend, that because the holy Scriptures cannot deceive us, whosoever feareth to be deceived with the obscurity of this question, let him re­quire the judgement of the Church, which the Holy Scriptures without any am­biguity doe demonstrate: to the end that because the Scriptures cannot deceive us, whoseover is afraid to be deceived by the ob­scurity of any question, may have recourse to [Page 180] the Churches judgement concerning it, the which (Church) the Holy Scriptures demonstrate without any ambiguity.’

6. Witnesse S. Vincentius Lyrinensis, (c. 2.) Inasmuch as all do not take the Scripture in the same sense by reason of it's profundity, but some on one fashion, some on another, so that almost as many sences may seem to be drawn from it as there are men: for Novatianus expounds it one way, Photinus another, Sabel­lius another, Donatus another, Arius, Euno­mius, Macedonius another, Apollinarius and Priscillian another, Iovinian, Pelagius, Caele­stius another, And lastly Nestorius another: For this reason to avoyd the labyrinth of so many contrary errours, it is very necessary that the line of Propheticall and Apostolicall con­ceptions should be drawn according to the rule of Ecclesiasticall and Catholique sense, or intelligence. Witnesse lastly S. Leo, It is not to be doubted but that all Christian observance is of divine institution, and that whatsoever is received by the Church into the custome of devotion doth come from Apostolicall Tra­dition, & from the doctrine of the Holy Ghost: who doth also now preside over his own insti­tutes in the hearts of the Faithfull, that all both obediently observe, and wisely understand them. Serm. 2. de Ieiun. Pent.

CHAP. XX.

Quotations out of Antiquity for the au­thority of Councells.

A contrary character of Heretiques.

1. TO the former quotations so expresse, so efficacious to assert the Churches au­thority in points of Religion, from which there lyes no appeale. I will adjoyne other testi­monies of Antiquity to demonstrate the vene­ration given by all Orthodox Fathers to the Councells of the Church, their acknowledge­ment of their obliging authority, and how in obedience to them they submitted their owne particular opinions. Witnesse hereof may be either the Apostles themselves or Apostolique Fathers at least, in those most ancient Canons (whereto S Clement also gives testimony) who appointed that ‘Bishops should twice in the year keep Councells,Can [...] Apost. 36. 37 &c. Clement. Const. Apost l 2. cap. 30. and among themselves examine the decrees of Religion, and compose such Ecclesiasticall controversies as should arise? the first in the fourth week after Pentecost, and the second on the twelfth day of (Hyperberitaei) Octob.’ Witnesse S. Ignatius, (Ep. ad Smyrn.) ‘Do you all follow the Bishop, as Christ did his Fa­ther. Without the Bishop let no man praesume to do any of those things which belong to the Church. The same Holy Father (Ep. ad Policarp) testifieth that it was the order in his time that Sy [...]ods and assemblies of Bi­shhops [Page 182] were frequently celebrated.’ Witnesse Tertullian, (cont. Psych. cap. 13.) ‘In those countrys of Greece there are assembled in certaine appointed places Councells out of all Churches, by which both things of higher importance are agitated in commune, and the representation of the whole Christian name is celebrated with great veneration.’ Witnesse that glorious Emperour Constantine, in his Epistle to the Churches mentioned by Socrates, Hist. Eccl, lib. 1. cap. 6. where he saith, ‘Whatsoever is decreed in the Holy Councell of Bishops, that is, universally to be ascribed to the Divine Will.’ Witnesse S. Gregory Nazianzen, (Ep. ad Chelid.) ‘Those that agree with Apollinards say that they were admitted by the Councell of the West or Roman Bishop, by whom it is manifest they were once condemned: Let them shew this and we will yeild: for then it is manifest that they assent to the true do­ctrine, for it cannot be otherwise, if they have obtained this.’ Witnesse S. Ambrose, (de Fid. ad Grat. lib. 3. c 7.) who calls the decrees of the Councell of Nice, haereditari [...] signacula, not to be violated by the rash boldnesse of any man: And many expressions to the same effect are extant in S. Hilary in his booke addressed to the Emperour Constan­tius.

2 Witnesse S. Augustin, (con. Don. lib. 7. & con. Crescon. lib. 1.) ‘It is to us a safe thing, not to rush forward in any rashnesse of opinion concerning those things, which nei­ther have been agitated in any Catholique-National-Synod, [Page 183] nor determined in any Oc­cumenicall: but to maintaine that with the assurance of a secure voice, which in the go­vernment of our Lord God and Saviour Je­sus Christ hath been strengthned with the con­sent of the universall Church. And againe, In the former ages of the Church before the Schisme of Donatus. (Id. de Bapt. con. Don. I. 1.) The obscurity of that Question (viz con­cerning Rebaptization of Haeretiques) com­pelled great persons and endued with great charity to dispute and debate among them­selves however without any breach of peace: In so much that in severall Countreys for a long time the decisions of severall Councells did vary and clash among themselves, untill in a Plenary Councell of the whole world that which was soundly believed, was without all manner of doubt confirmed.’ Again, (Id. con. Parm Ep. lib. 2) ‘the question being whether Baptisme can be given by those men also who never have been Christians; we ought not to affirme determinately any thing there­in without the authority of a Councell so great as may be answerable to the greatnesse of the matter. But concerning those who are sepa­rated from the unity of the Church, there is no question at all but that they doe both reteine it, and communicate it, and that they do both perniciously reteine and perniciously communicate it without the bond of Peace: for this hath been already agitated, consider­ed; perfected and confirmed in the unity of the whole world.’ And againe, (Id. de Bapt. con. Don. lib. 2. cap. 4.) ‘Neither durst we affirme [Page 184] any such thing if we were not well grounded upon the most uniforme authority of the universall Church, unto which undoubtedly S. Cyprian would have yeelded, if in his time the truth of this question had been discussed; and declared, and by a Generall Councel established.’ Lastly, (to omit many expresse testimonies of Vincentius Lyrinensis, Facundus, &c.) the last witnesse shall be S. Gregory the Great, (Ep. 24.) who professeth that ‘he receives and venerates the fower first Generall Councells no otherwise then the fower Gospells: as likewise that he doth in like manner embrace the fifth Councell.’ This was the language of the Catholique Fa­thers, when they wrote many of them purposely upon this very Question: And besides these testimonies, other will be produced occasionally in the following discourse.

3. On the contrary, Haeritiques (as S. Basile observes) doe generally agree [...] [...] ‘to raise an altar in opposition to the altar of the Fathers.’ And Vincentius Ly­rinensis, (cap. 16.) gives us a proper character of their Spirit and language, bringing them in thus speaking, V [...]nite ô insapientes & miseri, qui vulgò Catholici vocitamini, &c. ‘Come now O ye foolish and miserable wretches, who are com­monly called Catholiques, and learn the true faith, which besides us no man understands; which has lien hid for many ages past, but hath bin of late discovered & made known: But you must learne it by stealth and in secret, for it [Page 185] will be delightfull unto you.’ So of old spake the Heretiques: Whether of late they have changed this stile, or no, yea how much they have changed this (to be accounted modest) language into a new one full of arrogance, pride and fury, will sufficiently appeare in the treati­ses Polemicall of Luther, Calvin, &c.

CHAP. XXI.

The doctrine of the Roman Church con­cerning the Churches authority.

The great and apparent reasonablenesse of it.

1. I will now subjoyn to the doctrine of the antient Church that of the present Roman Church, that being set in view the one of the other, we may better judge how well they re­semble, or what unlikenesse there is between them. The substance of what the Church has defin'd concerning this point is conteined in this decision of the Councel of Trent (Sess. 4.) viz. Praetercà ad coercenda petulantia ingenia, decrevit (Synodus) Ut nemo, &c. that is, ‘More­over to the end to restrein petulant witts, this Synod decrees, That no man relying upon his own skill, and wresting Holy Scripture to his own sences, shall presume to interpret the Holy Scriptures in matters of Faith and manners pertaining to the edifica­tion of Christian doctrine against that sence [Page 186] which hath been and is held by (our) holy Mother the Church, to whom it appertains to judge of the true sence and interpretation of Holy Scriptures, and against the unani­mous consent of Fathers, although such interpretations were never at any time to be published abroad.’ The substance of this de­cree is repeated in the Bull published by Pius IV. concerning the Oath of the Profession of Faith.

2. This decision, considered simply as the words import in their plaine direct sence, seem­ed to me so strangely reasonable and equall, requiring only due reverence to the present Church, and implying with a strange ingenuity and assurance a conformity with the doctrine unanimously maintained in the antient Church, that I could not believe but that some where or other I should find a far greater burden laid by her upon her childrens shoulders: for accor­ding to that information, which I received from the learnedst Doctours of Controversie among Catholiques (who for the most part doe dresse this point in School-language, and exalt that lan­guage to the utmost importance, deducing like­wise the most rigid consequences from it) I thought the bonds & fetters wherein the Roman Church rest [...]eined all in her Communion were far more stringent and painfull, cutting even to the very bones; So that this newly discovered great equity of the Church made me suspicious, and thereupon inquisitive: therefore I search­ed my selfe, and begg'd of others to search for me into former Councells for somewhat more rigorous and unreasonable: and after all, I [Page 187] could not find in any declaration or Canon in any Councell universally received any higher or more hardly-to be digested expression of the Churches authority, then what is set downe in this decree of the Councell of Trent.

3. Then I perceived that it was that (as it fell out through mine own unwarinesse, to me unfortunate) word of infallibility, and that word understood by me in the most rigorous sence that the terme could import, that above all other things made me despaire of ever being able with a good conscience to enter into the Communion of the Catholique Church: And yet no such word could I find in any Councell, no necessity appeared to me, that either I, or any other Protestant should ever have heard that word named, and much lesse pressed upon us with so much earnestnesse and rigour as of late it hath generally been in disputations and bookes of Controversie. Against this word of infallibility that (so much by all English Prote­stants exalted) booke of Mr. Chillingworth especi­ally combats, and this with too too great success, by reason that the Author makes his ad­vantage of that word, affixing thereto a sense far more strein'd and exilted, then, I am sure, Ca­tholique doctrine, yea or even his learned Anta­gonist doe require. Truly if Mr. Chillingworth would have thought it for his purpose to have proceeded with the ingenuity he professeth, and have examined how much latitude might have been allowed him in this point, concerning this expression of the Churches infallibility in her Conciliary decisions, he would have found that he had much lesse cause to triumph in the furi­ous [Page 188] batteries that he pretends to make against it. For first of all, the forecited Doctor Veron saith expresly, That no mention is found of the word Infallibility in the decrees of the Councell of Trent, nor any other received Councell, and by conse­quence according to the designe of his Method, that word cannot be, as of necessity, imposed upon any one: A Method commended & autho­rized by three Generall assemblies of the Cleargy of France: without contradiction insisted on, and prosecuted more then 40. years together by him, both in Sermons, Disputations and wri­tings, and the Author of it enabled to pursue it, both by letters Patents of the King of France, by the quality of a Catholique Doctour, and by Episcopall Mission. Againe, Bellarmine treating of the comparison between the Infallibility of a Generall Councell, and that of Scripture, gives the preeminence to Scripture in five severall re­spects, among which the third is, ‘That in Scripture there can be no errour, neither in points of Faith nor manners, nor likewise whether any thing be affirmed pertaining to the whole Church, or onely to some few or one particular person, whereas Councells may erre in particular judgements. And the fowrth, That in Scripture not only all sentences, but al and every single word belong to Faith, whereas in Councells neither the disputations pre­mised, nor the reasons added, nor illustrations nor explications adjoyned doe belong to Faith, but only the simple naked Decrees, and not all those neither, but only such as are pro­posed as of Faith, &c.’ Hereto may be added that even those naked decrees also are not alwayes [Page 189] necessarily to be understood according to the latitude of the significations of the words and expressions in themselves, but onely so far as they are intended to contradict the speciall Heresie condemned by them. Hence that famous Carmelite, who modestly disguises himselfe un­der the common title Salmanticensis (the mira­cle of this age both for subtility, perspicuity, and profound solidity of judgement, in that part of his Theological discourse, where he treats largely of Angels) being to answer an Objection out of the Councel of Lateran, hath these words, Ad digno­scendū an aliquid sit desinitū ab Ecclesia, &c. that is,‘To be able to give a judgement, whether any thing be defined by the Church, we must (as Cajetan well observes) attend unto the er­rors, which the Church proposeth to condemn, and not to those things, which shee speaks in­cidently, for such things doe not remaine defined, neither is it erroneous in Faith to opine against them. Now the intention of the Councell of Lateran in that decree was only to exclude the errour of Origen, who affirmed, That this visible world was not (per se) directly intended by God; but onely occasi­onally and by accident, to be a prison in which the Devills should be punished: and hereupon the Councell defined, That it was Gods pleasure and will directly and out of his primary intention, by his divine Omnipo­tence to create both the Angelicall and Hu­mane Nature: Whereas in that Decree it onely sayes incidently that he created at once from the beginning both these Natures. And therefore this last assertion is not by [Page 190] vertue of the said definition become an Article of Faith.’ Hitherto Salmanticen­cis. De Angel. p. 364.

4. Hence it will appeare what ill use Mr. Chillingworth makes of the terme infallibility, either unwillingly forgetting, or willingly con­cealing the great latitude that is allowed gene­rally, and by unsuspected Catholique Authors to the sense and notion of it: which latitude I am assured his learned Adversary would have been very willing to have allowed him. But it was not for his purpose to accept, nor so much as take notice of such allowance, it would have spoiled and abated the edge of many of his flourishing and seemingly subtile discourses. So that it is apparent that Mr. Chillingworths argu­ments against the Churches just authority, as he pretends, (which to most English men, and I am sure to me once appeared unanswerable) If that the word infallibility were but laid by for a while, yea if the unquestionably allow­able qualifications if its sense were but ex­pressed, would (I am confident by mine owne experience) lose the greatest part of their strength, and however appeare not to endanger the Catholique Church at all.

5. I doe not speak this (being now, as I am, by Gods grace a Catholique) to the end either to shew my selfe foolishly forward to take part with any one Catholique writer or o­pinion against another: (for the truth is, my resolution was, that, if my mind disquieted with scruples of Religion should chance to finde rest in the Catholique Church, to submit my selfe in all simplicity to her doctrine, to avoid as [Page 191] much as might be the interessing my selfe in Disputes and Controversies, and the entertain­ing all unusuall, suspected, devious, and rash opinions, and to spend the remainder of my life more to the benefit of my soule, then by engaging my selfe in particular factions and partialities, either about Doctrines or practi­ces.) Nor secondly, to censure at randome all those that make use of that terme in disputati­ons. For I know that before any of our late Schismes, that word was used perhaps without any inconvenience by the Schoole men; and if it were confined to that place where it was bred, there would be still no inconvenience. But since by manifest experience the Protestants (I speak of England) thinke themselves so se­cure, when they have leave to stand or fall by that word, and in very deed have so much to say for themselves, when they are pressed un­necessarily, abruptly and too too rudely with it, the sence thereof not being mollified and sweetned by just and allowable qualifications: Since likewise it is a word capable of so high a sence that we cannot devise one more full and proper to attribute to God himselfe, insomuch as Mr. Chillingworth, when he could prove that the Church was not in so high a degree infallible as the Apostles (shall I say?) no not as God himselfe, thought he had gained the victory: Whereas, besides Bellarmine before quoted, S. Aug. (lib. 2. de Bapt. com. Don. cap. 3.) expresly allowes to holy Scripture a place and preeminence before the decisions of Councells; Lastly since the Church (which Catholiques in this controversie doe pretend to maintaine [Page 192] only) obliges no man to that word, which is not found expresly in any of her received Counsells, as Mounsieur Veron professeth: yea since shee almost desivers the victory into their hands when they urge only her decisions, and when they urge them in the latitude that she allows; Can I be blamed, if my duty to the Church, my affection to mine own countrey and indeed to all that call themselves Christi­ans, and the remembrance how, if I had not perceived that it might be permitted me in this Controversy concerning the Church, to wave that word of infallibility, I should perhaps ne­ver have had occasion to speak this of it in a writing of this nature, Can I (I say) be blamed, if such reasons move me to wish that the Pro­testants may either never be invited to combat the authority of the Church under that notion? Or however that when the terme of Infallibility is used, it may not be pressed in a sense more rigorous and comprehensive, then the Church her selfe hath expressed.

6. Now here by the way I think it fit, to the end to prevent any mistake or misconstruction of what hath been sayd touching the words Infallible and Infallibility, to expresse my mean­ing to be this (viz.) That I am so far from dis­likeing the words themselves so generally made use of, both by Schoole men and Controvertists, that I professe I cannot devile any other single termes by which to expresse the Churches just and necessary Authority. For if it be true (as in­fallibly it is, I am sure) That God hath en­dowed his Church with an Authority to which all Christisns are obliged to submit their un­derstandings [Page 233] and captivate their wills; then it must necessarily follow from the infinite wis­dome and goodnesse of God, that his divine providence will preserve his church in all truth, so as to secure all believers that they cannot be misled by following her, nor walk safely when they follow any other direction: And by con­sequence, that she can neither deceive them, nor be deceived her self; all which is clearly import­ed in the distinct Grammaticall sense of those single termes, Infallible and Infallibility. Notwithstanding since the same termes may possibly be misconceived, because they are ca­pable of comprehending a more extended no­tion, then is here expressed, as evidently they do, when they are attributed to God and to his immediately inspired word. And since Pro­testants have, especially of late, entertained and drunk in a notion and conception from these termes far more rigorous and comprehensive, then either the church her self, or most of the most learned and approved Controvertists do conceive any one to be obliged unto; which no­tion it is as yet very difficult to efface out of their imaginations: Upon these grounds it is, that both from mine own experience in my self, and knowledge, that I think I have of the peculiar temper of English Protestants; I judg­ed it convenient, and even requisite, to exhort Catholiques treating with them, especially in such times as these, that the fields are even white unto the Harvest, and that very many more may probably be won by a charitable complyance (yet still without wrong to ne­cessary Catholique doctrine. God forbid else) [Page 234] then perhaps by the most convincing argu­ments of reason, That they would condescend so far, either to the misunderstandings, preju­dices, or infirmity of Protestants, as, since the Church her self obliges no man to those very expresse termes, for a while either to abstain from them in disputes, or using them, to do it with a qualifying preface, urging and fastning no stricter a sense on them then the Churches own Decision of her authority doth require. Certainly the receiving of a soul from Heresie and Schisme is a work so infinitely precious and meritorious before Almighty God, that it will deserve that we should employ in it, not only all our strength of wit and learning, but all our charity likwise; so imitating the great example of that great Conductor of souls S. Paul, who told the Corinthians, Astutus dolo vos cepi, that is, being crafty I caught you with guile, namely, by instilling Christi­an Doctrines into their minds leisurely and sea­sonably, neither out of time enforcing unne­cessary truths upon them, nor hastily and ab­ruptly urging even necessary, but perhaps un­welcome ones, till he had prudently prepared a way for them. Now if we, entreating with well minded, but seduced souls, would, imita­ting S. Paul, only propose to them at the first necessary doctrines, and those represented with all the lawfull inviting advantages, and most easie constructions, we should no doubt, make many points, from which for the present through misapprehension they have a strong a­version, very receiveable, and very easily di­gestable to them. And by these meanes, ha­ving [Page 235] been happy instruments of restoring them to the Church, we may at leasure, if we have a mind, seek to induce them to adhere unto, and declare themselves for our particular opi­nions, and distinctive interpretations of com­mon points.

7. But to return from this digression, I most affectionately entreat the Protestants, that they would heedfully cast their eyes upon this decree of the Councell of Trent, that they would per­use and turn it as they please; and when they have done this, let them consider if a Synod of Charenton, or Dort, or Gap do not, even while they renounce all visible obliging authority, usurp notwithstanding more then the Catholike Church here challenges: Would any of them give leave to any among them to interpret Scriptures against their sense established by them? Nay, do not they command men to in­terpret Scriptures against doctrines unani­mously consented to by Fathers? Lastly, would they suffer a French Protestant to inter­pret Scriptures, but even as their brethren Pro­testants in in England (heretofore during their prosperity graced by them with that title) do ordinarily interpret them (for example) about Episcopacy, reall Presence, &c? If therefore such fragments of churches do allow them­selves so much, let Protestants try if they can be unreasonable enough to impute tyranny to the Catholique Church, for forbidding any in her communion to invent new senses of Scri­pture, contrary not onely to the doctrine uni­versally embraced through the whole Catholike world, but to this doctrine as professed to be [Page 236] the same which all Churches before, and all Fathers unanimously consent in?

CHAP. XXII.

The method whereby the Author arri­ved to an entire satisfaction concern­ing the Churches authority.

1. I Will now proceed in my narration, how and by what meanes (after I had inform­ed my selfe of the Roman Churches established doctrine concerning her authority, and after I had been assured by very learned Catholiques, that I was not obliged to build upon any other expression of this doctrine, but that of the Church it selfe) I in ashort time arrived to a full satisfaction of all the difficulties and preju­dices, that before I was incombred withall.

2. The objections and difficulties by educa­tion and many yeares study setled in my mind against the Churches infallibility or authority, and which were not suddainly cleared, after I knew that the Church was more moderate and condescending then I had before believed, re­spected not only the substance of this doctrine, but likewise many particulars and circumstances of it, as likewise the immediate consequences of it, forexample, How it could be justifyed with certainty sufficient to support a supernatu­rall faith, that the Church was legally possessed of this authority; Where this authority was scated, whether in the whole Church, or some [Page 237] speciall members of it; Upon what grounds it was challenged; How far it was extended; And after all these, what might appeare to me to be the most rationall way for a Catholique to expresse his resolution of faith, so confident­ly by all Protestants charged with circles and absurdities?

3. To gaine satisfaction in these points, as, for the foundation, I resolved only to consider what the Church her selfe sayd, so for an information more particular since the church had not descended to so punctuall an expression of her mind, conceived it my best way to have recourse either to the writings or verball reso­lutions of such Catholiques of unsuspected O­pinions, as had expressed themselves the most moderately, intelligibly, with allowing the greatest latitude, and lastly, most approaching to the grounds which I thought before to be most reasonable. The particular persons whose speeches or writings contributed most to my satisfaction, I shall occasionally name or reflect upon in the pursuance of this Narra­tion.

4. Now I do not vainly pretend to, or so much as trouble my self with wishing that any man, Catholique, or other, should believe that the method according to which I proceeded, or the grounds which in mine own reasoning I laid, were more rationall then others; for my intent is only to make an Exomologesis, or ac­count of that particular order and progresse whereby I attained repose of mind in the au­thority of the Church, and great contentment in abasing and captivating my reason: It will [Page 238] be sufficient for me if the grounds by me laid, and inferences from them deserve not to be condemned by Catholiques, to prevent which, I may with confidence say that I took very good advice, and used very great circumsp [...] ­ [...]ion. Let them be accounted as imperfect as any man shall please, I am very well contented that others should tell me that they could have furnished me with better: This only I have to say, that purposing to write mine own story, and not directions for others, I am resolved to tell it freely and ingenuously, without conceal­ing whatsoever defaults or wickednesses may by others be imputed to it.

CHAP. XXIII.

Grounds laid to prove a certainty of Tra­dition. Severall degrees of it.

1. SOme of the grounds laid by me in prepa­ration to a distinct conception and satisfa­ction concerning the Churches authority foun­ded upon Tradition, and the certainty thereof, have been already occasionally, though somwhat before their due season, mentioned in the for­mer conclusion, cap. 8. and 9. The substance of which, together with others pertinent there­to, I will here, as in their proper and naturall place, orderly set down.

2. In the first place therefore, since all in­formation of things past before our age can no [Page 239] other way be had (excepting only extraordi­nary or divine inspiration, not to be expected, or relyed upon, if pretended, unlesse it be at­tested by miracles) but by Tradition from the times when such things hapned, yet arriving at us by the testimony of the present times and persons living with us: By consequence I had no difficulty, but that in the present hypothesis of Christian revelations the only immediate witnesse of them was the present church, and this either by orall profession, that thus she had received by information and practise of the precedent age; Or by writings of antiene times continued and daily transcribed, but all preserved and conveyed to us by the present church.

3. In the second place I considered that these divine Revelations, and doctrines of Christian Religion being of such a particular nature as that, besides the believing them to have been, we are obliged to assent unto and embrace them, as the only necessary means of avoiding eternall misery, and attaining to eternall hap­pinesse. Hereupon it is, that the present church, our only witnesse of them, represents them to us, not only as the present age does the actions of Caesar, or books of Cicero, that is, with so much assurance that we cannot be reasonable men and doubt of them, yet by doubting or disbelieving them there is no losse to be feared, but only of our reputation. But she proposeth them to us as necessarily to be submitted to, and her self as an authorised witnesse, having received commission from the divine Author to oblige all men to believe her, as a proponent. [Page 240] Which double capacity of the church, viz. 1. Simply a proponent. 2. As an authorised pro­ponent, I conceived it very requisite for me to distinguish, and, at least, in my understanding, to separate the one from the other: For though Catholiques, who from their infancy have been brought up in acknowledging the grounded au­thority of the church, have no need to distin­guish this double capacity for themselves, yet in disputation with those Sects, which accept of Tradition, simply at least for books of Scripture, but deny such an obliging authority, and espe­cially in explaining the manner of Resolution of Faith, I conceived and found, as to my self, great profit in this distinction.

4. In the third place, for simple Tradition I enquired whether, and upon what grounds it could be made to appear to be certain and ab­solutely convincing. And upon mature consi­deration, I was satisfied that they were ex­tremely mistaken, who thought that there was no absolute certainty in any knowledge, ex­cepting only such as we receive either immedi­ately by our senses, or by evident discourse and demonstration of reason. For on the contrary I found that knowledge from report of Tradi­tion might in some cases be as truly certain, as that from sense or demonstration. So for ex­ample, before, I saw the City of Rome, I was most assured that there was such a place, and the reason was, because it was impossible that such a world of writings and persons, all which could not be led by interest to frame a lye, should conspire to witnesse such a thing, and not one person be found that contradicted [Page 241] them. The like may be said of Tradition, or report of things past, when a whole age agrees universally to acknowledge a Tradition under that notion, neither friends nor enemies con­tradicting, it is impossible that such a report should be false: Yea I may add further, when there are in the same age two Traditions of two considerable parties directly contradicting the one the other, it may fall out, yea sometimes it may be most assured, that both of them must in some respect be true. As for example, the whole Nation of the Jewes dispersed all the world over, do agree that they have received as a most sure Tradition, that our Saviour was an Impostor, and wrought all his pretended miracles by Magick and help of the Divell; on the contrary, all Christians through the whole world agree that they have received a Traditi­on, that our Saviour was the true Messiah pro­mised, and that he wrought all those true mi­racles by the power of God, and for confirma­tion of his divine doctrine: In this case these two Traditions being in respect of the partyes respectively universall, must necessarily be true, though in some sort contradicting, yet not in that wherein they contradict. For it is as cer­tain that the Jewes received, and have continu­ally propagated such a Tradition, though false in the root, as that the Christians have received the contrary: Notwithstanding reason may judge infallibly between them concerning the root of these Traditions, namely by demon­strating that such miracles (acknowledged by both sides to have been wrought) were many of them of such a nature, as that they did ex­ceed [Page 242] all created power, and that the doctrine was so divine, so destructive to the divell, as that he was obliged in interest to endeavour the annibilation of it: and lastly, that nothing was either done or taught by our Saviour, but what was agreeable to the antient Prophecies, received by the Jews concerning the Messiah, &c. upon which grounds it will evidenly ap­pear, that the Jews, who first received such a Tradition, were abused by the malice and per­fidiousnesse of their ancestours, &c. And this is the only proper way of determining and de­ciding the controversie between these two Tra­ditions. But of this more hereafter.

5. In generall therefore I found that a full unquestionable certitude might be had of some Traditious; as to give one example more, that there was such a man as William Duke of Normandy, who conquered England, is most certain, not any Englishman or other that ever heard of it, but believes it, and would impute frenzy to any man that should call it in questi­on. Now the reason why this is so certain to every one, is this; because all men living at this time, who either are inquisitive into times past, or c [...]pable of information do agree; that this particular was told them by their Predecessors, as a thing come to them by Tradition, and so the men of the former age of that before them, thus ascending, till we come to the age wherein he lived, and was personally known and seen by his Subjects. Now it is impossible that all men of any age should both agree together, and actually effect that complot, to deceive their children with a lye, under the notion of Tradi­tion, [Page 243] Add to this; that the present age affords us books and Records descending from hand to hand, and written in severall ages between that time and us, which testifie the same thing. As likewise there are in the generall practise of England, Lawes, Customes, Priviledges, &c. all which are acknowledged to have had their Originall from the same Author. This is an example of one of the highest degrees of Tra­ditionary certitude that may be of a thing pas­sed so many ages since, being confirmed by O­rall Tradition, Universality, Records, lan­guage, and practises or customes.

6. An inferiour degree of certainty in Tra­dition (yet certainty however) is, for example, that there was such a man as Alexander the Great. This is a thing most certain, and yet it wants many of those arguments of assurance in the former example. There is indeed a kind of Orall Tradition of this likewise, yet not arriving unto this age and climate of the world by such a generall succession as the former, by reason that Alexander having li­ved in a quarter of the world remote from us, we are not descended from the men of his age, who knew him; yet, it may be, some of them or their children coming to Rome delivered this, and so some Romanes conveighed it a­mong these Western parts of the world. There are no customes or practises among us relating to Alexander; so that the main arguments of certainty are, 1. Positive, that is, writings dispersed abroad, made by antient Grecians and Romans, all testifying the same thing. 2. Negative, not one man appearing in this [Page 244] age, nor to be heard of in the former, that de­nied it, or so much as called it in question.

7. A yet inferior degree of certainty in Tradition may be exemplified in some writings, as in S. Clements first Epistle to the Corinthi­ans, lately published and printed in England. For that there was such an Epistle written is testifi­ed by all Antiquity, and was assuredly believed by all learned men in this age before the pub­lishing of it: But it is, now near eight hundred years that it ha's been missing in the world, for Photius, I think, is the last writer that takes notice to have read it. Of late this Epistle was found in an ancient Manuscript in the King of England's Library, sent him for a present out of the Eastern countries. Now the certitude that this is the same Epistle anciently acknow­ledged and read in the Church, appears in this: 1. That the characters of the Manuscript are very ancient, (yet I do not believe it to have been written by that glorious Virgin Martyr S. Tecla, as the credulous Grecians would pretend;) so that if it had been counterfeit­ed, it was done in times, when the falsity might have been discovered by unquestioned copies. 2. That the stile is agreeing with the ancient simplicity and gravity of Apostolique writings. 3. That the subject is the very same that those ancient Fathers, who speak of it, do mention. 4. That all the extraits and passages, which the Fathers of the Church do quote out of S. Clements true Epistle, are found in this. Upon which grounds it may be truly said, and I believe no man will contradict it, that this is certainly S. Clements Epistle.

[Page 245]8. It is likely that besides these degrees of certainty, more upon consideration might be found out: but these I esteemed enough for my present purpose. Now by certainty I intend not certitudinem rei, for so nothing that is or hath been is in it self more certain then ano­ther, for even a thing that ha's its existence from free or casuall causes, when it is, is as cer­tain as any other thing produced by causes ne­ver so determinate, efficacious or necessary: But certitudinem quoad nos, that is, our assurance that it hath been: And a thing I call more cer­tain, in this notion (not which ha's less doubt or suspition of not being, for if there be any ra­tionall suspition, there is no certainty, no not in the lowest degree: but) that which ha's more wayes to prove it self to be certain then ano­ther.

CHAP. XXIV.

Divine revelations proved to be certain beyond humane story.

1. I Will now proceed by way of compari­son to demonstrate the high degree of certitude; which we may have of divine Reve­lations, testified by the present Church, consi­dered as a simple proponent, setting aside the authority which she challenges to oblige all men to submit to. In which discourse we are to consider four things especially in Christian Religion, coming to us by Tradition, but in subordinate degrees of certitude, viz. 1. Do­ctrines meerly speculative, and which hardly could be testified in the practise of the church. 2. Books of Scripture. 3. Ceremonies and ex­ternall practises not mentioned expresly in Scripture. 4. Doctrines and customes shining in the practise of the Church, and likewise more or losse clearly express'd in Scripture.

2. First for speculative doctrines, which could hardly be express'd in the practise of the Church, the Tradition of them seems to be ve­ry difficult, and the certainty not so demon­strable. As for example, there are in the Cata­logue of Heresies made by S. Epiphanius, S Au­gustine and Philastrius, certain opinions called Heresies in a large notion, which seem not to have been in themselves of any dangerous con­sequence, but yet have been condemned by Popes, &c. and ever since by a tacit consent of the Universall Church avoided; as the opini­nions [Page 247] of the Millenaries, Melchisedechians, &c. Now whether these Heresies were condemned as contrary to a Tradition, or only by a judge­ment of discretion, by shewing, that the grounds pretended for such opinions out of Scripture are not concluding, but rather the contrary, (as the second Councell of Orange seems to condemn some doctrines of the Semipelagians) is not very certain. However they rest condem­ned, and more probably the former way, as contrary to Tradition; which may rather be believed of the Millenaries, because they pre­tended for their doctrine a Tradition derived from Papias a scholler of the Apostles, and it was very far spread in the church, and main­tained by great Saints and Doctors, as S Ire­naus, S. Justin Martyr, &c. It might very possible be, that the Traditionary doctrines contrary to these Heresies (however specula­tive, and which could not be conveighed by a­ny outward practise of the church) might have continued in mens memories to the times, when these opinions were confuted; For no doubt can be made, but that the Apostolique churches, together with the books of Scripture, received the true sense and interpretation of the most difficult passages, which might conti­nue by a successive instruction, but of which, by reason they were no necessary doctrines of Christian Religion, many are lost, as I exem­plified in the former conclusion. So that the certainty of such Traditionary speculative do­ctrines is very hardly demonstrable; and there­upon many learned Catholiques conceive, that severall lately controverted opinions in the [Page 248] church, as concerning Grace and Freewill, Molin in S. Tho. p 1. q. 1. a. 2. disp. 1. & 2. ad. 3. Can. in loc. Theol. l. 12. Ca. 3. Fr. a S. Cla. in Syst. fidei. Ca. 2. 8. 14. the immacu­late Conception of our bles­sed Lady, &c. have been so much agitated without any decision of the church; and it ever any of the said opini­ons come to be decided by a Councell, that the decision will at least oblige to obe­dience and non-contradiction, but not, per­haps, as an article de fide, that is, as a divine revelation, delivered by universall Tradition: Since it is generally confess'd, that they want such a Tradition. See above in this Section: 1 Cha. 9.

3. As concerning books of Scripture, the Tradition of them may appear certaine in a high degree, at least for the substance of the books: For though at first they were written for the use and necessity of particular Churches and persons, and no Obligation appears ex­pressely to have been imposed to disperse them through the whole Church: Notwithstanding the infinite reverence, which all Christians bore to the Apostles, made every church desi­rous to possesse themselves of whatsoever wri­tings proceeded from them: Yet this not out of any extreme necessity, for from their first foundation all churches were instructed in all points and doctrines of Christianity, as like­wise the same orders of government, publique worship, &c. and this after an uniform man­ner, as appeared to me evident, not only from the antient Liturgies, but severall testimonies [Page 249] out of Tertullian, S. Epiphanius, S. Augustine, &c. But there was required a long time e're such writings could be universally spread, yea several ages were passed, before they were all of them received, even at Rome it self, as appears out of S. Hierome. For before they were admitted into the Canon, we may be sure that great cauti­on and exact information was used. So that af­ter all this they having been now many ages ac­knowledged by the whole church for divine writings, we may have a greater assurance of them, then of the books of Aristotle, Cicero, &c. which, by reason men were not much concern­ed, whether they were legitimate or supposititious, have not been examined with so much advice and caution; and yet that man that should pre­tend to a doubt of them, would be suspected of all men to be tainted in his understanding. But this high degree of certitude we have only of the divine books considered in gross, not of the true reading of particular Texts, as appears by the infinite variety of readings in Manuscripts, yet even in this respect also we may assure our selves that there is no corruption very considerable, or of very dangerous consequence, by considering not only Gods providence and promises to his church, but likewise by comparing the originall Texts with such a world of Translations, Syri­ake, Arabick, AEthiopian, Latin, &c. many of which were made in the very infancy of the church, long before the Archetype or Original copies were lost, some of which Tertullian sayes, remained in his dayes.

4. In the third place, reason told me that such ceremonies, as were universally practised [Page 250] through the whole church from the first times, though not mentioned in Scripture, might ju­stifie themselves to be derived from the Apostles with a greater certainty, then even the books of Scripture themselves; according to that saying of S. Augustine, (Ep. 118.) Those things which we observe, and are not written, but de­livered, and are practised all the world over, are to be understood to have been commanded and appointed either by the Apostles them­selves, or by Generall Councells, the authori­ty whereof is most healthfull in the Church. Which Tertullian before him thus expressed, (de Praesor.) This custome certainly proceeded from Apostolique Tradition; for how could that come into (generall) practise, which was not delivered by Tradition? Now of such kind of rites many examples are extant in anti­ent Liturgies, and many more mentioned, as universally received by Tertullian, S. Cyprian, &c. who wrote before there had been in the church, any plenary Councell, and therefore, by S. Augustines rule, argue such rites to have come from the Apostles. The reason is, be­cause it is not imagineable how it could be pos­sible that such rites should be received by all churches through the world, and that so imme­diately after the Apostles times, and in such a season, when there had never been any generall meeting of Bishops, yea when by reason of the horriblenesse of the persecutions it was extreme­ly difficult for the Bishops of one Province to meet together to settle particular necessary af­fairs (in none of which Synods notwithstand­ing is the least mention made of ordaining such [Page 251] ceremonies) if together with Christian Religi­on, they had not been introduced by the Apo­stles. Let now any reasonable man judge if the books of Scripture, which he acknowledges on­ly upon the ground of generall Tradition, however certainly and unquestionably divine, yet do not want some of these arguments of de­monstration, and enjoy some of the rest in an inferiour degree.

5. But fourthly, Doctrines or customes shining in the generall practise of the Church, and withall more or Lesse clearly expressed in Scri­pture (that is, indeed the whole substance and and frame of Christian Religion, as was shew­ed before, and therein many points now in controversie between Catholiques and Prote­stants, &c. and above all other, this point of the Churches authority) may prove themselves certain in a degree beyond all these, and with as much assurance, as Tradition is capable of, I am confidently perswaded, beyond the high­est degree that I mentioned for secular Tradi­tion, in the example of King William the Con­queror of England. For first, all the persons living in the time of Luthers Apostacy in all Provinces, not of one Kingdome, but of the whole Catholique Church, agreed in testifying that their ancestours had delivered such things to them, as of Tradition Apostolicall, and by consequence, since the contrary cannot be made apparent, we are to judge the same of all prece­dent ages ascending upwards, till the first times, not one Catholique expressely dissenting, and much lesse any one age: So that unlesse in some one age of the church all Catholiques should [Page 252] should have conspired to tell a lye to their chil­dren, and not only so, but should have been a­ble to have seduced them, not one appearing that would have the honesty to discover the de­ceit, I could not conceive it possible, that a Tra­dition of such a nature could be false. Add to the confirmation of the same doctrines the te­stimonies of Histories and Records, yea even of enemies for many doctrines and practises: Moreover the laws continually in force through the Catholike Church, lastly the publike forms of Devotions, Feasts, times of mortifications, &c. All these arguments of certainty conspire in a far more eminent manner to prove these kind of doctrines and rites, then in the example of William the Conquerour.

5. But beyond all these something may, be added, to which that secular example doth in no visible distance approach: For, did William the Conqueror ever appoint any persons about him to write all the considerable particulars of his story, supplying them with all things for the enabling them to that purpose? Did he work miracles himself for the confirming his autho­rity, and give power to his servants and their successors for severall ages to do the like? Did he appoint a succession of Teachers to the worlds end sufficiently instructed, command­ing them to keep warily the depositum of that Religion, both from mixture and perishing, and so to deliver it to their successors, and this upon great penalties of disobeying? Did he, besides solemn dayes for severall uses, institute out­ward rites and practises to be by all men in all times and places solemnly either seen or pra­ctised, [Page 253] and these with prescribed formes, po­stures, and actions, on purpose that the weigh­tiest passages of his acts or sufferings should continually be celebrated in the world, leaving an impossibility of their being forgotten with­out a deluge? Nay lastly, to secu [...]e all men from the least apprehension, did he ingage an omnipotent power to perform a promise that those orders, ceremonies, and laws should con­tinue to the worlds end in despight of the gates of hell it self? Not any of these things have been done by Will. the Conquerour, (or any o­ther but our Lord) to propagate his memory; and yet, notwithstanding all these defects, we are most assured of the Tradition, that such a person there was, that he conquered England, brought in new lawes, customes, &c. What shall we then say of the testimony of the present church for the substance of Christian Religion, even while we consider the church only as a bare witnesse or proponent of such things to us? Is any confirmation stronger then all this re­quisite to beget an assurance in us? Yea is it possible that more secure order could have been taken, then that which the Son of God ha's used to make that which was past now a­bove sixteen ages to remain alwayes, as it were visible before our eyes?

CHAP. XXV.

The reason of considering this double ca­pacity in the Church.

Certainty of belief, compared with cer­tainty of knowledge.

1. THe reason why I enquired into the proofs of the certainty of universall Tradition proposed by the Church, considered antecedently to her authority, was, because I found it necessary, as to my self, for a distinct understanding the Resolution of Catholique Faith, that grounds of certainty of Tradition should first be laid, before the authority of the church interpose to oblige us to believe Chri­stian doctrine for the prime authors sake final­ly, which is God.

2. Since then Tradition in generall is in it self credible, and some Traditions certaine, and above all others that ever were; or, I be­lieve, can possibly be, the Tradition of the church, especially in necessary doctrines of Faith universally believed, and all rites univer­sally practised, and among them this particular Tradition of an obliging authority in the Church, is the most certain; we may conclude that the beliefe and assent thereto approaches the neerest to knowledge of sense, that beliefe possibly can do. But it is impossible, ordinari­ly speaking, that it should arrive to all the de­grees of assurance that sense cum debitis cir­cumstantiis may have; by which means it be­comes [Page 255] meritorious, that is, capable of a re­ward, which, I conceive, experimentall imme­diate knowledge is not: And hereupon it was that our Saviour told S. Thomas, who would not give credit to any reports concerning his Resurrection, till his eyes saw him, and hands felt him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me thou hast believed, blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed. (John 20. 29.) But it may be objected, if manifest vision take away meritoriousnesse by reason of such an apparent certitude, as inforces the understand­ing to assent; why should Faith, which is, or may be built upon grounds demonstrably cer­tain, though indeed not in the utmost degree of experimentall knowledge, have blessednesse an­nexed to it? I answer, the reason seems to be, 1: Because before a man arrive to an assurance in Faith, there is required a great exercise of his understanding to search all the arguments conducing to a firm grounding of his belief, which cannot be done, unlesse there be in those persons inquiring some degree of love to the things inquired after, which travell proceeding from love, is a thing proper to be rewarded. 2. Add to this, that such persons after such a love, and inquiry proceeding from that love, will be forced to submit and captivate their un­derstanding, to the belief of many mysteries infinitely beyond the naturall capacity of their comprehensions, a thing extremely acceptable to God.

3. And this is the state requisite in Christi­ans endued with abilities and learning in the Church, especially the teachers and governors; [Page 256] And however it is most necessary in generall for the setling of a Church, that there should be means of assurance of Tradition praerequired to supernaturall Faith, because discoursing men, especially if they be propossessed with prejudice, or a contrary belief, would hardly or never be brought without it to captivate their understan­dings in such a manner. But as for silly igno­rant Christians, to whom God is pleased to give a certainty of adherence beyond a certainty of evidence (as M. Chillingworth sayes) and who seem rather to believe with their wills, then their understandings, an immediate and simple captivating of their minds to Christian Veri­ties, without searching arguments of assurance, may be conceived acceptable to God, supposing notwithstanding that they live in a Church, where it may be made appear, that what they believe is not a lye, nor a doubtfull truth, but on the contrary certain and infalli­ble. To which purpose S. Augustine (cont. Ep. Fund. c. 4) saith, As for the other r [...]ut of com­mon people, it is not the sharpness of their under­standings, but the simplicity of believing that makes them secure. And again, If Christ be dead only for those who are inabled by a certain comprehension to discern these things, we do labour in the Church almost to no purpose. And therefore the Calvinist Ministers &c. (who profess an undervaluing of Tradition in com­parison of pretended inward revelations and assurances from God's Spirit, and who teach their followers to hate the very name of Tradi­tion) may do well to consider what will becom of them and their faith of Scriptures in gene­rall, [Page 217] when they shall begin to doubt that such pre­tentions are either apparently false, or at least impossible to be proved, or however no argu­ments at all to perswade a third person.

4. Lastly it is observeable [...] that such Tradi­tions as we now speak of, are alwayes capable of being proved to be certain, yet are evidently so, the neerer they come to their foun [...]aine or times, whence they take their originall. And therefore, for example; though at the beginning the whole Nation of the Jews were eye-witnes­ses of the stupendious manne [...] of delivering the law in the wildernesse, yet their successors (im­mediately after that generation was dead) fell into Idolatry and infidelity; the reason where­of was, not because they wanted means, assu­ring themselves of the divine authority of their law, and the curses attending the breach of it; but because of this there was requisite some meditation and exercise of their understanding and besides, those curses were future, and there­fore present temptations of fleshly and secular lusts presently enjoyed by them, had so much power over them as to keep them in negligence or busying their understandings, and in a presump [...]ion that those curses which were fu­ture might perhaps never happen, or not upon themselves in person, or however by a [...]epen­tance some time or other might be prevented. In like manner, and upon the same grounds the Christians of the first times were more ho­ly, more unmoved in their faith, more zealous for the glory of God then in following a­ges; because the grounds of assurance and [Page 218] other motives did more immediately, and so more strongly, make an impression upon their minds. Notwithstanding the faith and ho­linesse of the times further distant from the Apostles (caeteris pa [...]ibus) is perhaps more ac­ceptable to God, and more meritori us, as ha­ving more of the will in it, as our Saviour im­plyes in the forecited speech to S. Thomas.

CHAP. XXVI.

Grounds pre-required to the Churches Authority.

1. HAving shewed the certainty of Traditi­on in generall, and some severall de­grees of it, and withall the incomparable ad­vantage, which the Church, as a simple propo­nent, ha's to prove the certainty of her Tradi­tion of those doctrines which concern the sub­stance of Christian Religion: In the next place I proceeded to make some neerer approa­ches to the consideration of the Authority, which she challenges to her self, and whereby she obliges all in her Communion to believe receive, and embrace whatsoever she thus pro­poseth, that is, to [...]cknowledge the Verity and divine originall of all those Christian revelati­ons deposited in her hands, and severall wayes both by orall instruction, practise, or writing delivered by her to all Christians, to be by [Page 219] them believed, practised and obeyed. The Church, as a simple proponent, only tells us, that such doctrines, books, and rites were anti­ently delivered as divine, and attested by di­vine miracles, believed most assuredly to be such by all Christians: And in respect of this way of proposing, even her enemies may joyn with her to confirm this Tradition; proofes thereof we find in Jewish and Heathen Au­thors: The Jewes all confesse that the Religi­on (by Christ and his Apostles preached in the world) was (at least pretended) to be of divine authority; That strange wonders, (pretended likewise to be wrought by a divine omnipo­tence) gave testimony hereto. But yet neither Jews nor Heathens assent to what Christians infer from hence, namely, that these were indeed divine miracles, and by consequence the Doctrine confirmed by them, divine al­so.

2. This being so, the Church (before she can interpose and make use of her authority to ob­lige any to submit to the particular doctrines and practises by her proposed, and by her like­wise, where need is, explained and interpreted) must give a firm unquestionable assurance of these two things. 1. That the Religion in grosse (which Tradition on all hands agrees to have been delivered) is divine, and hath been more then sufficiently proved to be so. 2. That one of the speciall doctrines of this Religion, is her authority so far extended. I say this as­surance must be firm, and unquestionable in both these points; for if it be only probable, [Page 220] though in never so high a degree, I was not a­ble to comprehend how that which is built up­on such a ground, could be absolutely firm and unquestionable.

3. To demonstrate therefore the former point; viz. concerning our assurance of the divine originall of Christian Religion, I sup­pose this for a ground, That from sufficient principles, reason can conclude certainly and necessarily: which not being to be denyed by rrason, I adde that the principles to be laid by reason as a ground of this our assurance are, 1. The consideration of what a nature those mi­racles were, (which that they have been wrought we have from Tradit [...]on not only assurance, but the highest degree of assurance that Tradition can almost afford.) 2 Of what a nature Christian Religion (delivered by an equally assured Tradition) is, for the confir­mation whereof such miracles were wrought. These two principles, as they give mutual ver­tue each to other, and both of them together do necessarily conclude all that we desire to de­monstrate, so they ought not easily be disjoyn­ed. For first, some of the same effects, which in Christianity we call true miracles, no doubt, have been wrought in places where a false Reli­gion hath been professed. And on the other side every Religion wherein there is no impie­ty is not necessary to be esteemed of divine o­riginall. But when can it be demonstrated that true miracles have been wrought for the assert­ing of a Religion; and that that Religion teach­eth supernaturall doctrines of holynesse, piety, [Page 221] justice, &c. then nothing can in reason be ob­jected against it.

4. In the present case therefore; 1. Concern­ing Miracles wrought by Christ and his Apo­stles &c. (to the end that I may only point at these things, since it is not my present pur­pose to speake of this argument, but only as a preparation to my information concerning the churches authority and Resolution of Faith) we may consider as in this number of miracles, 1. Propeecies in the Old Testa­ment brought to us by most assured Tradition, wherein we find expressely foretold, that the Messiah should come before the Scepter was de­parted from Judah, that is, before the parti­cular Commonwealth of the Jews was destroy­ed; that he should teach a new Covenant to be written not in Tables of Stone, but in the hearts of Gods people; that he should confirm this Covenant by the same Miracles which our Saviour actually wrought; that the Gentiles, (after the death and glorification of the Messi­ah) should be received into this Covenant, and the Jews for their infidelity rejected, &c. 2. Stu­pendious miracles apparently wrought by Christ and his Apostles; to which, because they were but a few persons, end therefore, lest the narrownesse of the scene should prejudice their authority, we may ad a continuance of the like miracles performed by the successors of the Apostles in all the parts of the Roman Em­pire, and by a world of persons, learned and unlearned; men and women, &c. None of which could have been performed by any in­feriour [Page 222] naturall agent known of us, and there­fore either by God himself immediately, or by good supernaturall spirits at least.

5. In the second place for the doctrines and precepts of Christianity, the former are indeed many of them above the reach of naturall rea­son, but not directly against it, conducing ve­ry much to the glory of the divine incompre­hensible Majesty; and the latter directing man­kind in the most perfect manner imagineable to glorifie God, to renounce, de [...]ie and con­temn wicked Spirits, teaching men to performe all duties of justice and charity to all manner of persons respectively, to preserve peace and tranquility in the world, and lastly to perfecti­onate every single person in sobriety, chastity, &c. after a manner more then humane; so that if man be capable of being elevated to a [...]elici­ty beyond nature, this is the onely Religion worthy to bring him to it.

6. From these principles, reason may con­clude most assuredly. 1. That such miracles were certainly wrought, many of them, imme­diately by an omnipotent power; and the rest at least by good Angells, as Gods Ministers; since it is impossible that wicked Spirits should be willing to strain themselves so far on pur­pose to teach mankind to love and glorifie God so hated by them, to encourage them in the learning and practise of vertue and holy­nesse, and, in a word, to induce them to hate, renounce, and destroy the Kingdome of Beel­zebub, the Prince of Divells. 2. That such a Religion, which most assuredly ha's been at­tested [Page 223] by such miracles, is most true. 3. That by consequence, since this Religion expressely sayes so, it is most necessarily to be embraced, being proposed by such a witnesse and propo­nent, as God in that Religion ha's declared to have received commission from him, and authority for that purpose. And this Propo­nent is (as after the spending of many thoughts and much time, before I could free my selfe from many prejudices and misinformations caused by education, &c. by the goodnesse and mercy of God I came at last evidently to per­ceive to be) the present Catholike Church.

CHAP. XXVII.

Proofes [...]ut of Script [...]ure &c. for the Churches au [...]hority.

1. THe speciall grounds, from whence to mine own full satisfaction, J collected this assu [...]ance, That the Church alone was that divinely authorised proponent, from whom I was to receive divine Revelations, and these in the sense that she received and proposeth them; as likewise the method and manner ac­cording to which, as distinctly as I could, I first gave an account to mine own understand­ing, and now to others, were as follows.

2. It having been before declared, and con­formably testified by all kinds of antient Ec­clesiasticall writers, 1. That the doctrines and formes of practise of Christian Religion were by the Apostles with great care and assiduous inculeations firmly setled in all Churches by them founded and established: To which form other Churches, by their successors converted, generally conformed themselves, as Tertullian (de Prescrip.) saith, The Apostles founded Churches in every City, from which (Churches) other Churches afterward did borrow the Faith delivered, and the seeds of doctrine. 2. That Religion was thus setled chiefly, and indeed only by Tradition, the books of Scri­pture having been written only occasionally, and though they comprehend in generall the principall points of Christianity, yet it is very [Page 225] briefly, obscurely, with seeming contradictions, and dispersedly; whereupon it is that they do of­ten refer us to the profession and practise of the church. Hence in evidence of reason it will follow, that he that would inform himself of Christian Religion, must have recourse thither where it [...]a's been d [...]posited, and that not simply in words, but withall the sense of those words, and the very life of them in practise; and this depositary is by all acknowledged more or less, to be the Catholike church: For even those, who make it a part of their Religion to oppose the authority of the Catholike church, yet acknow­ledge that they have received the Scripture (that is, all the Religion which they have) from her and her authority.

3. Hence it will follow, that that man that should either look for Christian religion where it is not, or expect to find it entire where there was no intention to include it in its whole lati­tude, or hope to [...]ssure himself of the clear sense of it, where it is set down often obscurely, almost every where obnoxious to variety of in­terpretations, would certainly not follow the conduct of his reason.

4. Notwithstanding, if the imputation of un­reasonableness were the only effect of such an indiscreet way of information, there is no proud man (and pride, or impatience to submit to au­thority is the root of all heresie and Schism) but would easily perswade himself to despise such an imputation; yea he would take a pleasure in op­posing himself and his own reason single, not only to one, but many ages of men, that should [Page 226] it more reasonable to relye upon authority for that, which cannot be believed, but upon the on­ly motive of authority. There is therefore ano­ther effect far more considerable, then point of reputation, which is the utmost danger of e­ternall perdition in renouncing one main do­ctrinall foundation of Christian Faith, which is the authority of the one, holy, Catholique Church of Christ: which authority consists not only in delivering books of Scripture, or Traditionary doctrines, but in obliging all men to unity, both in f [...]ith and love, which is im­possible to be had, except all men be obliged to the sense and interpretation which she propo­seth, as received from her by the same autho­rity from which she received the books or do­ctrines themselves.

5. A doctrine this is the most expresse in Scriptures, the most constantly asserted by Fa­thers, the only businesse of all Councells, the most freely without any contradiction embra­ced by all Christians before these times, (ex­cepting only those, whom even the Sectaries of these times will call Heretiques or Schisma­tikes) and in these times by all that enjoy the name of Catholikes. In a word, a doctrine this is beyond all other traditionary doctrines pro­pagated from the Apostles to these times, with the fullest universall consent of all Catholikes in all places, and of all times, of any one point in Christian Religion, or any one book of Scripture.

6. Among proofs out of Scripture, we will begin with the Old Testament (concerning [Page 227] which S. Augustine (in Psal. 3. ch. 2.) professeth that the Prophets foretold more often, & more plainly of the Catholike Church then of Christ himself, and the reason, he sayes, was because many Heretiques would arise that would per­haps spare the person of Christ, but none could be a heretike without withdrawing himselfe from the authority and unity of the Church. Now the particular Texts which especially S. Augustine makes use of to assert the churches Authority are these, In the last days the moun­tain of the Lord shall be on the top of all mountains, and all hills shall flow unto her. And she shall judge every tongue that resists her in judgement. And, Kings shall walk in the light of the Church, and people in the splendour of her East. Again, That every Kingdome and Nation which doth not serve her shall perish. (Isa. c. 2. 54. and 60.) That of the Kingly Prophet David, Glorious things are spoken of thee, thou City of God. That of the Canticles, Thou art faire, and there is no spot in thee. And that of the Prophet Ezechi­el, Thou shalt no more be called forsaken, Psa. 86. Cant. 4. Ezech. 37.

7. Proofs out of the New Testament are, Behold I am with you alwayes unto the end of the world, Mat. 8. upon which S. Augustine in Psa. 70. & 10. thus infers, The Church shall be here unto the end of the world. For if it shall not be here unto the end of the world, to whom was it that our Lord said, Behold I am with you alwayes unto the end of the world? And what was the reason that it was necessa­ry [Page 228] that there should be such speeches in the Scripture? Because there would in times to come arise enemies of the Christian Faith, which would say, Christians will continue for a certain space, after that they will vanish, and Idoll [...] shall return, that shall return which was before.) Again Mat. 6. Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; And again, Joh. 14. The Spirit of truth shall remain with you for ever. And again, Let both grow together unto the harvest. And againe, Mat. 18. If any man will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as a Heathen and a Publi­can. (Upon which S. Augustine (lib. 5. de Bapt.) thus descants, the which house likewise hath received the keyes, and a power of loosing and binding. Whosoever shall contemne this house, reproving and correcting him, let him, saith he, be unto thee as a Heathen and a Pub­lican.) And lastly, The Church, which is the pillar and ground of truth. 1 Tim. 4.

CHAP. XXVIII.

The validity of such Texts, &c.

1. UPon these and other such Texts of Scripture, joyn'd with Tradition and uninterrupted practise, the antient Church grounded upon her authority, the antient Coun­cells their power of anathematizing all gain-sayers, and the antient Fathers all their argu­ments and discourses against all sorts of Here­tiques; arguing thus, That if the promises of Christ were true, that his Church should conti­nue for ever, and so continue, as that she should alwaies be preserved in all truth, so that the gates of hell should never prevail against her; then whatsoever Heretiques opposed, or Schis­matiques separated themselves from the present Church, either gave Christ the lye, or acknow­ledged themselves to be a Congregation exemp­ted from these promises; concluding that no pretence could be sufficient to warrant any man at any time to separate from the Church, to which such promises have been made. Hence that great Alexander Bishop of Alexandria, (Theod. Hist. Eccl. l. 1. c. 4.) We acknow­ledge one onely Church Catholique and Apo­stolique, which, as she can never be rooted out, although the whole world should attempt to fight against her, so she surmounts and dissipates all the impious assaults of Heretiques. Hence likewise S. Athanasius, The Church is invinci­ble, although hell it selfe should oppose her. Hence lastly Theophilus [...] God at all times af­fords [Page 242] the same grace unto his Church, namely that the body should be preserved entire, and that the poysons of hereticall doctrines should have no power over her. V. S. Hierom. Ep. 67.

2. Now if these promises of Christ be not both infallible, and likewise absolute: and un­lesse the Church, to which such promises belong be not only visible, but by the weakest under­standings discernable from all other factions and Congregations: and lastly, unlesse upon the same grounds that all the Fathers took ad­vantage from such promises to condemn all Schismes and Heresies against the Catholique Church of their times, all succeeding Catho­liques might with as much reason and justice from the same promises conclude as efficatiously against all following Heresies and Schismes; whatsoever hath been said by all these Fathers, especially the writings of S. Augustine against the Donatists, will prove to be the most foolish, impertinent, jugling discourses that ever were; yea that were too mild a censure; I should say, the most blasphemous and pernicious to Chri­stianity: For by ascribing to the present Church respectively such sanctity, authority, and inde­fectibility, if such titles could not be warrant­ed from Scripture and Tradition, all possible means of taking away scandalls and errours a­mong Christians would be utterly lost; it would be unlawfull for any men to preach truth and piety, or reform vice: in a word, that fearfull comminatory curse in the Revelation would be converted into an Evangelicall precept, Qui nocet, noceat adhuc, & qui in sordibus est, sordescat adhuc. Let him that doth mischiefe, [Page 243] proceed to do more mischiefe still, and let hi [...] that is filthy, be filthy stil, (Apoc. 22.) I might ad, Et qui incredulus est incredulus maneat. Let him that is a disbeliever, take care that he con­tinue a disbeliever still, for whosoever reforms these things are Heretiques and Schismatiques.

3. But such promises are too expresse in Scri­pture, the Tradition of them too constant and universall, the Fathers too good Christians to leave any suspition in mens minds, that they should either lightly, imprudently, or wickedly make use of arguments to destroy heresies, which in future times would be as proper, yea far more efficacious to destroy truth. Therefore if all antiquity conspired to argue thus; Christ has expressely promised and foretold that his Church shall be as a City set upon the top of a hill: and that he by his Spirit will be with this his Church to the end of the world, in which Church notwithstanding there shall be a mix­ture of good and bad till the day of Judgement, but however the Church it self is without spot or wrinckle: Therefore it is a blasphemy in you Manicheans, Donatists, Pelagians, &c. to say the Church of Christ was perished or in­visible, or a harlot, till you revived, reformed and purified it: I say, if the Fathers had reason from such promises to argue thus in the second, third, and fourth Centuries, their Successours had as good reason to make the same deductions from the same principles in the fifth and sixth ages, and so downward till these very times. For, as Christ is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever, so likewise are his promises, and by consequence so likewise is his Church, since [Page 244] he ha's engaged his omnipotence to make good such his promises to his Church untill the worlds end.

4. If not, Let those that forbid such a method of arguing, name how long a time, and how far those promises are to be extended: Let them name the Climactericall year when the effect of them is to cease, or what constellation ha's over-ruled the operation of Gods holy Spirit. To conclude, let them give some reason why the Donatists, (who though in all points of Christian Doctrine agreed with the Catholique Church, yet because, for I know not what pre­tended misdemeanour of one Bishop, they sepa­rated from his Communion, and afterward from all those that communicated with him, that is, the whole Church,) are therefore so highly con­demned by the Fathers for this their Schisme, that they professed the same heaven could not hold them both, yea that Martyrdome it selfe could not blot out that crime: What priviledge can all those Sects of this age alledge for them­selves, that the same arguments and judgements of the Fathers should not be applied to them, who, to their Schisme from charity, have added a division from, and contradiction to not only the Catholique Church, but all manner of Con­gregations praeexistent in so many points of do­ctrine and faith of so high importance?

5. I confesse I could not imagine what could be opposed to this; and therefore I could not but conclude that the antient Fathers Logick was concluding; yea that such unanswerable arguments of theirs, were powerfull means pre­ordained by Christ for the accomplishing of his [Page 245] good promises to his Church, inasmuch as by them the gates of Hell, that is (as severall Fa­thers expound) Heresies have been so far from prevailing against the Church, that they are ut­terly vanished, and the Church built upon that Rock which gave Peter that his new name, continues firm and unmoveable, and no doubt will do so to the end of the world, whatsoever engines of cunning, malice, or rebellion, the Calvinists and other bloudy Sects do raise a­gainst it, to batter it with greater violence then ever before.

6. I am the more confirmed in joyning thus with the Fathers, because I perceive that they, yea that one single Father of the first magni­tude ( S. Augustine) ha's already answered all the most considerable arguments which the Protestants of these times are ready to borrow of their Fathers the Donatists, &c. to destroy the authority of the Church: He ha's already cleared the objection from the example of the Jewish Church reduced to such an almost invisi­ble estate, that there were left no more then se­ven thousand men (and those hidden) which had not bowed the knee to Baal. And from that speech, When the [...]on of Man comes, shall he find faith upon earth? and, Come out of Baby­lon my people, and from the example of that great Eclipse in the Catholique Church, during the interregnum of Arianisme. S. Aug. collat. post. con. Don. cap. 20. id. l. 81. quaest. qu. 61. id d [...] Un. Eccl. S. Hier. con. Lucif. S. Aug. Ep. 48.

CHAP. XXIX.

The Objection from the overflowing of Arianisme in the Church, answe­red.

Mr. Chillingworth's objection, That Christs promises are conditionall, an­swered.

1. THis last objection concerning Arianisme, because even the-now-English-Prote­stants think they have great advantage from it, I am not in so much hast to draw towards an end of this conclusion, but I can be content to set down S. Augustin's answer to it, with a short Appendix. It seems the Donatists took the advantage from some hyperbolicall language of S. Hilary concerning the great deluge of Aria­nisme upon the Church, to enervate the promi­ses of Christ, concerning the extension and du­ration of it. To this S. Augustine, Ep. 48. thus answers, That time, concerning which Hilary wrote, was such, that thou hast thought that thou mightst privily assault such a number of divine testimonies, as if the Church were peri­shed out of the world, &c. Hilary therefore ei­ther blames only the tares, which were in the ten Asian Provinces, and not the wheat: or he thought fit therefore the more profitably, by how much the more vehemently, to blame the wheat, which by some default was in danger. For even the Canonicall Scriptures have this custom [...] in reprehensions, that the word seems [Page 247] to be addressed to all, when it reaches home only to some few.

2. For confirmation of this answer of S. Au­gustine it may be observed, 1. That the violent brunt of that Persecution of the Catholiques by the Arrians lasted scarce four years, namely from the Councell of Ariminum to the death of the Emperour Constantius. 2. That during that time the Western Churches felt little change by that Persecution. 3. That those who subscribed the cunningly contrived Creed at Ariminum did not intend to prejudice thereby the faith of the Councell of Nice, since the new Creed was capable of a Catholique sense. 4. That e­ven in the East very many glorious Catholique Bishops survived the fury of the Arrians 5. That the succession of Catholique Bishops was so far from being interrupted thereby, that S. Hierome who lived neer those times, professeth that in his daies there was not one Bishop in the Catho­lique Church that was not a legitimate successor of those glorious Prelates of the Councell of Nice. From all which considerations we may rationally collect, that our Lord in this example gave a warning to the Rulers of his Church to be vigilant to prevent the like dangerous Heresies for the future; but withall to be confident in his promises, since he had been so carefull to per­form them, that when Heresie had all imagine­able advantages, yet he provided so for his Church, by putting an end to those tentations, that the succession of lawfull Bishops was not at all interrupted by them.

3. Beside these, Mr. Chillingworth produ­ceth an engine (his friends know from what [Page 248] forge) to invalidate, as he believed, all man­ner of advantage, which Catholiques reap from the promises of Christ, concerning a per­petuall succession of his Church, by saying, that those promises are onely conditionall, viz. If Christians would make use of, and im­prove those meanes that Christ had left for the propagation of his Church; otherwise not.

4. But hereto the answer is very ready, For 1. All that is alledged is spoken meerly gratis, there being no warrant from any cir­cumstance in those Texts, wherein such pro­mises are contained, for such an interpreta­tion; and therefore when plain Texts are, and have been interpreted in a sense absolute by all Catholiques of all times, a new unne­cessary interpretation will certainly find no entertainment with any, unlesse it be such as make antiquity a prejudice to truth. 2. M. Chil­lingworth applies this interpretation to fu­ture times onely, not to passed or present; so that thereby it shakes onely our hope for succeeding times, not our faith for the passed or present; and therefore it is not availeable in the dispute in hand, concerning the Roman Catholique Church, which all English Prote­stants acknowledge to be a true Church of Christ, defective in no necessary truths, all the fault being her superabundance.

5. And for this reason it was that general­ly he was blamed, and I my selfe have often taxed him for serving himself of so scanda­lous, and as we thought, so uselesse an in­terpretation. But upon more serious conside­ration, [Page 249] I judged not him unreasonable for it, but my selfe, and others not quick-sight­ed enough to perceive the necessity he had (though he never discovered himselfe plain­ly to any man, as far as I know) to make use of so desperate a glosse: For doubtless he saw clearly, that if there were such absolute Promises of indefectibility and divine assi­stance to the Catholique Church, none could with any justice challenge them, but the Ro­man Church, since she only appropriates them to her present Communion, all others lay­ing down their claim. The speciall allegati­ons which she may produce, to prove her self in a speciall manner interessed in these promises I shall take notice of in the last conclusion. Lastly S. Augustine will afford us a satisfacto­ry answer, who, to the like objection of the Donatists (viz. Men would not persevere, and therefore Christian Religion hath failed out of all Nations, except only the party of Do­natus:) Answers him, As if the Holy Ghost was ignorant what would be the future wills of men, which yet foreseeing notwith­standing foretold that the Church of Christ should endure for ever. De unit. Eccl. c. 12.

CHAP. XXX.

The generall ground of the Churches au­thority, viz. Christs promises.

The severall subjects and acts thereof.

1. TO return therefore to the authority of the present Catholique Church, by ver­tue of which she obligeth all men in her com­munion, not only to receive the Scriptures from her, as a depositary of them, but the true interpretation likewise of them preserved by her, together with all other Traditions, as much as concerns the substance of Christian Religion: This authority seems to be grounded especially upon the promise of indefectibility: an indefectibility, I mean, of the Church con­sidered as one body composed of parts ruling and obeying, teachers and persons instructed, as S. Paul describes the Church, as it is to continue to the perfecting of the Saints: (Eph. 4.) Not as Mr. Chillingworth, who would make our Sa­viours meaning to be no more, but that till his second coming his Gospell should not be so ut­terly rooted out of the world, but that some­where or other there should be some that should professe it.

2. By vertue of this promise, the Church is assured 1. not to be deprived, neither of any ne­cessary truths, nor of lawfull Pastors to teach those necessary truths: when I say necessary, I mean not absolutely necessary to every single person, considered in any circumstance, exi­gence, or extremity (as Mr. Chillingworth and [Page 251] Doctor Potter &c. through their whole books understand it, whether mistaking their adversa­ries, or no, I thought it unnecessary to trouble my self to examine; but I am sure, without any prejudice to the established doctrine of the Church, which remains untouched, though all the inferences which they would make from such a notion of the word necessary were allow­ed them,) but I mean truths necessary to the constitution of a glorious visible Church, which must be furnished with a world of Doctrines and Orders, which to all single persons are far from being necessary to be believed or known, much lesse to persons wanting abilities, or means, or time to be instructed. 2. She is se­cured from Schisme or Heresie; for remaining to the worlds end, one holy Catholique Church (as we professe in the Creed) how can she be divided from her self, either in Faith or Cha­rity? For unlesse all Bishops in Councells Oe­cumenicall, and indeed all Christians should conspire to renounce that truth to day, which they believed yesterday, how can novelty or he­resie enter universally into the Church, under the notion of Tradition?

3. Concerning the subject of this authority, the principall subjects are indeed the Gover­nours and Pastours of the Church, with whom Christ hath promised that he will be to the end of the world: But the adequate subject are all Catholique Christians, as well instructers as instructed: since Tradition is continued by them both, shining in the doctrines taught and received, in devotions exercised, and in out­ward practises and ceremonies celebrated by all Christians.

[Page 252]4 Now of this authority of the Church there are, generally speaking, two acts, 1. An Obligation lying upon all Christians to ac­knowledge that doctrine to be true and necessa­rily to be believed, and those practises necessa­rily to be conformed to, which are taught and received by the whole Church: and all this up­on penalty of being accounted Heretiques, that is, no members of the Church, and there­fore by consequence divided from Christ the head of the Church, which inspires life into it here, and will glorifie it hereafter. 2. A coër­zion, or infliction of spirituall penalties and censures, as suspensions, deprivations, excom­munications &c. on those that persist stub­bornly in opposing those truths and practises. And this belongs to the Teachers and Govern­ours of the Church, more or lesse, according to their severall qualities: For every Parish Priest ha's some degree of this coercive power over his stock: every Bishop over both Priests and se­verall congregations within his Diocesse ha's more: every Metropolitan a yet larger power: A Provinciall Synod above a single Bishop or Metropolitan &c. And in conclusion, the su­preme Ecclesiasticall tribunall is a Synod Occumenicall law­fully called,See Bacon A­nalys. sid. & Cellot. de Hi­er. Eccl lib. 4. c. 10. & 12. Syst. fidei ca. 23. & infr. ca. 33. confirmed, and some adde, universally received by all Catholique Churches, that is by their Prelates, from which there is no appealing, for if there were, all authority would be vain, enjoying the name, but without any effect, or [Page 253] use at all, as shall be shewed hereafter.

5. Concerning the former act of Ecclesiasti­call authority, (viz. an Obligation lying upon all Christians under pain of Heresie to receive the doctrines and practises of the universall Church) that it is in the Church antecedently to a generall Councell, appears by this, namely, that there were in the Church very many Here­sies taken notice of, acknowledged for such by all Catholikes, and dissipated before any generall Councell had been called, as the Ecclesiasticall history & S. Epiphanius will assure us. And this is grounded [...] Upon evident reason, for what is he­resie ( [...]) but a relinquishing of a former received opinion or practise, and the choice of a particular new one? an act this is which implies an extreme contempt of the whole mysticall bo­dy of Christ, and a preferring ones own single judgment or wilfullnesse before whatsoever els is prudent or sacred in the world. 2 Upon ex­presse Scripture, for S. Paul commands the Thessalonians, and S. John all Christians to abstain from the conversation of, and not so much as to bid God speed to all disordinate walkers, swerving from the rule established, and all introducers of novelties in the Church: Yea S. Paul sayes, that an Heretique, even be­fore the Bishops censure, is ( [...]) condemned by himself, that is (as severall Fa­thers expound it) voluntarily and by himselfe separated from the body of the faithfull; so that the solemn excommunication of the Bi­shop against him may seem to be onely a rati­fying of that mans censure against himselfe: For I conceive it can hardly be affirmed of [Page 254] all Heretiques in generall that they are ( [...]) self-condemned, that is pro­fessing and maintaining errors against their own conscience and knowledge.

6. Now this authority residing in the whole body of the Catholique Church (I must adde, of the present Catholique Church) has been in all times preserved so inviolable, that besides the fore-cited testimonies of the Fathers, this observation will sufficiently justifie it, viz. That there was never in any age of the Church (as far as I have been able to inform my selfe) any one single person esteemed a Catholique, that ever either spoke against, or in the least degree censured, or seemed to render suspitious any doctrine or practise universally believed or received by the Catholique Church during the time that he lived. Many Fathers have been very bold and eager against abuses and errours particular, some of them perhaps too largely dispersed; but never any of them, whether pri­vate person or Governour, learned or unlearn­ed, taxed the Church either of errour in do­ctrine, or of superstition, prophanenesse, or a­ny other enormity in practise: Many of them have earnestly called for a free Councell to re­form particular disorders and errours in the lives and writings of both Clergy and Laity (sometimes not sparing Popes themselves) but never to have the Church it self to alter any of her doctrines, or to change any of her practi­ses, upon pretence that they were condemn­able.

7. I know the severall Sectaries of this pre­sent age are in this occasion alwaies ready to [Page 255] object the only one blameable action of that glorious Father and Martyr S. Cyprian, I mean his contestation with the Pope, and opposition to the generall Apostolique Tradition and practise of the Church in non-rebaptization of Heretiques. They neglect, forget, and by their practises condemn that most Christian Spirit of Unity and Charity, which shined in him to­ward those that differed from him in this point, and (as if his errour had been his only vertue) acknowledge him only an example to be imita­ted in his fault, not considering what probable excuses there are to qualifie that single fault of his, to which qualifications, they in none of their so many rebellions can pretend to: as 1. That the generall practise of the Church against him did not appear to him so evident, but that he could alledge examples, not only of the African Churches, but severall in the East likewise, as Cappadocia, Phrygia, &c. as he was informed by Firmilianus in his Epistle to him. 2. That he himself begun not this novelty, but conld justifie the Tradition of it for severall successi­ons, at least as high as the times of Agrippinus one of his Predecessours. 3. That no generall Councell had determined any thing against him. Yea S. Augustine (before quoted) confidently professeth, that if S. Cyprian had survived to the time of the Councell of Nice, he would no doubt have relinquished his opinion, and sub­mitted to the Councell.

8. By this objection borrowed from antient Heretiques, it appears, that as in the Catholique Church there is a Tradition and Succession of truth, so in heresies likewise of errour, the latter [Page 256] Heretiques borrowing from their Predecessors (though not Predecessors in their particular opi­nions) the same arguments and pretences that formerly have been without successe made use of against the Catholique Church: so zealous do such men shew themselves to use all endeavours to renounce that precious legacy of unity and peace, which our Saviour, ready to relinquish the world, so tenderly bequeathed to his Church.

9. Then for the second act of Ecclesiasticall authority, (viz) a power coercive and judici­ary residing in the Church-governours respe­ctively, and supremely in generall Councells, lawfully conven'd, approved, and accepted: this authority the primitive times, and all ages ever since have acknowledged to be grounded upon the institution and promises of Christ, and pra­ctice of the Apostles mentioned expresly in Scri­pture, Act. 15. & delivered likewise by universall Tradition, both orall and practicall, v. g. Tell the Church, and if he will not &c. And, where­soever two or three are gathered together in my name, I am in the midst of them. And, The Apostles and Elders were gathered together to consider about the matter, viz. in the first gene­rall Councell, concerning the controversie a­bout Moyses his law &c,

10. And here likewise may be verified a like observation to the former; viz. That never any one of the Fathers of the Church did ever cen­sure, much lesse contradict or disobey the decisi­ons, orders or decrees of any legitimate Coun­cell in their own or former times. Yea I think I may hereto add something to the utter shame [Page 257] and confusion of the contrivers and propugna­tors of the late Heresies and Schismes, viz. That though most of the antient Heretiques, after a Councell had condemned their opinions, did in­deed refuse to submit to their own condemnati­on: Yet [...] I think, there cannot be found in Antiquity the example of one Heretique that ever began to publish a Heresie against any do­ctrine that had formerly been declared by a ge­nerall Councell. Such a supereminent degree of Rebellion we must acknowledge to be due, and to be appropriated to Luther, Calvin, &c. viz. to tread under foot all kind of Ecclesiasticall authority, not only of the present, but all former times likewise.

11. I shall defer the consideration, how ad­mirable and only effectuall a means of unity a­mong Christians is the authority of the pre­sent Church, and reverence of generall Coun­cells, so unanimously acknowledged by all the antient Worthies, Fathers, Doctors and Mar­tyrs; insomuch as the more eminent in learning and sanctity that any of them have been, the more earnest Champions have they been of the Churches authority But the proper season to enlarge my self upon this subject, will be when I have taken into consideration the contradicto­ry doct [...]ine of Protestants, concerning power of interpreting Scriptures, and judging contro­versies.

CHAP. XXXI

Authority of the Christian Church com­pared with that of the Jewish.

1. BEfore I leave this argument of the grounds of the Churches authority (and the foundation thereof, viz. Christ's pro­mises of indefectibility &c.) because objecti­ons against it are frequently taken out of the Old-Testament, namely from a comparison with the Jewish Church, which though it en­joyed great promises, did notwithstanding fall into a generall corruption, both in faith and manners: It will not be amisse to set down for what reasons I rested satisfied, that none of those arguments ought to have any effect upon me, to shake my acknowledgement of the authority of the Christian Church so unalter­ably grounded, and so universally submitted to.

2. The first reason was, because the Jewish Church had not such promises of indefectibili­ty and security from Heresies, as the Christian Church apparently has. It is true, the Patri­arch Jacob prophesied, that the Scepter should not depart from Judah, nor a Lawgiver from between his knees till Shiloh came. But this promise; I assured my self, respected only the outward policy of the Jewish Nation, which was to remain in a distinct government, not swallowed up by other governments, but open­ly governed by its own laws, as a Common­wealth, plainly distinguishable from others till [Page 259] the coming of the Messiah. 2. They were not furnished with those means of preventing and condemning of Heresies that the Christian Church enjoyeth. For the understanding where­of, I conceived that the Civill and Ecclesiasti­call Law of Moyses was to be considered in two respects, first in the plain litterall sense, and so it differed not much from the lawes of other Kingdomes, the end thereof being world­ly happinesse, which is only in expresse words proposed in that law. Secondly in a spiritu­all, allegoricall and typicall sense, and so it had Immediate influence upon the conscience and inward acts of the soul, which later sense was taken notice of only by extraordinary persons, as Prophets &c. Now for the execution of this law in the literall outward sense and notion of it, God left sufficient authority in the Priests and other Magistrates, threatning every one with death that opposed their sentences and de­crees. And for the explication of any emergent difficulties, God left the Sanedrim together with a succession of Scribes, from whose lips the people were ordinarily to seek knowledge: Insomuch as our Saviour speaking of such Scribes sayes, They sit in Moyses his Chair; whatsoever they command you to observe, ob­serve and do it, Mat. 23. But if we observe the dependance and limitation of that speech, the meaning will appear to be, that for the outward practises of Moyses his law, the Jews were to submit themselves to the established authority, yea even when they interpreted that law to the peoples disadvantage, as they did in the case of tythes mentioned by our Saviour in conse­quence [Page 260] of the former speech, including herbs' as Mint, Commyn, &c. among the Species tyth­able, which Moyses his law did not expresse, not necessarily imply.

3. Such authority the Priests, Scribe [...] and Pharisees had to explain the Precepts of his law for outward practise: But as for spirituall points of belief, Prophecies or internall sancti­ty, it does not appear that they much medled with them, not one decision of the Sanedrim can be produced concerning such matters. In­deed who should be the interpreter of such do­ctrines? There were among them two princi­pall factions, the first of the Nobility, that is, Priests, and those were generally Sadduces, as Josephus informs us: the other that popular fa­ction of the Pharisees. Now I suppose the Sadduces, who denied the immortality of the soul, the existence of Angells &c. were very in­competent Judges in spirituall matters, and yet the authority was principally in their hands: As for the Pharisees, they were the more Ortho­dox of the two, but wanted authority. And to shew that neither party pretended that points of such a nature were within their cognizance, it is observeable, that neither of them extended their power to the condemnation or excommu­nication of the other for such differences; For for such trifles as heaven or hell, &c. they gave free liberty of conscience to every one to believe what and how much any man thought fit. Therefore surely our Saviour never intended to extend the forecited Text to such decisions of the Scribes: For then the people had been ob­liged to have submitted to that decree of theirs, [Page 261] viz. that he should be excommunicated that con­fessed Christ to have been the Messiah. Which Decree of theirs, though it seems to be about a principall point of Faith, yet the ground of making it was not to determine points of that nature; but because they believed, or at least said that they believed, that our Saviours de­sign had been to destroy the law of Moyses and the Temple, and all the Rites which Moyses gave to the Jews, therefore as externall Magi­strates, they provided by such a decree against sedition and rebellion.

CHAP. XXXII.

Enquiry concerning the extent of the Churches authority.

How Stapleton states this point.

1. AFter the having examined the grounds of the Churches authority, which ap­peared to me both as firm in themselves, as the expresse word of God, the promises of Christ, and the Prophecies of the Old Testa­ment could make any thing firm; and likewise as evidently certain to my understanding as the universall acknowledgement of all Christians in the Catholique Church, attested by the con­tinuall profession and practise of all ages of Christianity, the quotations, yea whole volumes of Fathers, and the concurrence of all Councells, Provinciall, Nationall, and O [...]cu­menicall, could render any thing that was delivered before our times assured to any man: In the next place, I took into consideration [Page 262] the extent and latitude of this authority, how far it did necessarily oblige all Christians to submit to it; and what manner of submission is required respectively to the doctrines, Rites, Reformations, &c. decided by the Church.

2. Now this enquiry I made, not with any designe to make choice of any particular opi­nion among learned Catholiques to adhere to in opposition to any others (for being a Catho­lique, I was resolved to be an obedient son of the Church, and onely of the Church) but to the end, that by instructing my self, how much more easie some Catholique Doctors of unque­stionable integrity had made the bonds, where­by the Church restrained all in her Communion (contrary to that conceit which I, whilst I was a Protestant had entertained, when I opposed the Churches authority under the School-noti­on of infallibility, and that notion extended to the utmost importance of the word) I might clearly perceive my selfe, and if occasion were, discover to others (especially of my own coun­try) that the exceptions and advantages which we have against the Roman Church, proceed only from our misunderstanding of her necessa­ry doctrines, or at most, that all the efficacy they have, is only against particular opinions and inferences made by particular Catholique Writers.

3. I did not search for the most qualified sense of the Churches authority in the writings of Oc­cham, Almain, Major, no nor of the most learned spirituall Gerson, &c. partly because some of those Writers are obnoxious to be excepted a­gainst, and all of them wrote before the new [Page 263] Schismes gave Catholiques the oportunity to study this controversie more exactly. I had re­course therefore to writings published since the Councell of Trent, and abstaining from relying upon the suspitious moderatenesse of Cassander, Padre Paulo Veneti, Picherellus &c. I fixed upon the judgement of our learned Stapleton, a man seldome cited, either by Cardinall Bel­larmin, Pe [...]ron, &c. without a testimony of his profoundnesse, perspicuity, and integrity, and without the least suspition from any Catho­lique of tergiversation, partiality or unsound­nesse.

4. This so approved Doctor in those books which he wrote purposely upon this subject, Stapl. lib. de Pri [...]. Fid. doc. Contr. 4. Qu. 2. being to determine this Que­stion, viz. An Ecclesiae vox & determinatio sit infallibilis? that is, Whe­ther the voice and determination of the Church be infallible? gives an exact explication of the true state of the controversie in seven observati­ons (called by him Notabilia) which are in brief, as followeth. 1. That the Church does not expect to be taught by God immediately by n [...]w revelations or enthusiasmes, but makes use of severall means and diligent enquiry, as be­ing governed not by Apostles, who received immediate revelation, but by ordinary Pastors and Teachers. 2. That these Pastours in ma­king use of these severall means of decision, proceed not as the Apostles did, with a peculi­ar infallible direction of the Holy Spirit, but with a prudentiall collection, not alwaies ne­cessary. 3. That to the Apostles, who were the [Page 264] first Masters of Evangelicall Faith and foun­ders of the Church, such an infallible certitude of means was necessary: not so now to the Church, which pretends not to make new Ar­ticles of Faith, but only to deliver what faith­fully she received, and in some cases to adde explications. 4. That in conclusions notwith­standing, though drawn from means and argu­ments sometimes of reason and humane docu­ments, the Church is infallible, Propheticall, and by the holy Spirit's assistance, in some sense divine. 5. That the ground of this difference is, because the Church teacheth not Philoso­phically, and by rules of art, but by an authori­ty conferred by Almighty God. Hence in Councells we see their Decrees and Conclusi­ons, but not alwaies their proofs and argu­ments. 6. That this manner of deciding in Councells was necessary, first in respect of ig­norant persons, because they being rude and in­firm, could never be secure of their belief, if it were to depend on medium's and principles which they could not comprehend: and second­ly in respect of the learned, among whom there would be no end of disputing, if it were per­mitted to them to examine, whether the Prin­ciples upon which Councells build their Con­clusions were firm and concluding enough. In a word, otherwise Religion would not be faith, but Science and Philosophy. 7. (To set down his words at length) We must observe, that to the Churches infallibility in teaching, it is sufficient that she be infallible in the substance of faith, in publique doctrine, and things ne­cessary to salvation. This is manifest, because [Page 265] this is the end of the infallibility given, viz. For the consummation of the Saints, and the edification of the body of Christ, that is, to the publique salvation of the faithfull. Now God and nature as they are not defective in necessaries, so neither are they superabundant in superfluities, nei­ther is the speciall Providence of God to be deduced to each particular: The which Pro­vidence as it doth permit many particular de­fects in the Government of the Universe, and this for the beauty of it, as S. Augustine (de Civ. lib. 11. cap. 18.) observes: so like­wise doth it permit many private errours [...] in the Church, and even in the most learned men an ignorance of many things not necessary, and this not onely to shew a beauty in oppo­sltion, but for the salvation of the Teachers, to whom it is expedient to be ignorant of many things; that in this regard power may perfected in weaknesse, that is, may be repressed from pride. Thus Stapleton with great solidity, and likewise with much becomming warinesse states this Questi­on.

CHAP. XXXIII.

Upon what grounds Stapleton may be conceived to have stated this question, with more then ordinary latitude.

1. TO this determination of Stapleton, I will subjoyn the thoughts I had during my [...]b [...]te with my self about this great and most important controversie; together with the grounds upon which I believed that he had been more moderate and condescending in this point, then generally other Catholique Controvertists are.

2. But first by the way it may be observed, that when he speaks of the voice and determina­tion of the Church in the question proposed, he means the decree of the Church speaking in a generall Councell representatively, in which, sayes he, the Church is infallible, namely with that restriction expressed by him in his last ob­servation, viz. in delivering the substance of Faith, in publique doctrines, and things neces­sary to salvation. Other Catholiques there are which in this matter speak more restrictively then Stapleton hath expressed himself: as, to name one Panormitan, Panorm. C. signif. ext. de Elect. (whose words and opinion, though for the most part disclaimed by Ca­tholique Writers, yet not hither­to consured by any that I know, as hereticall,) they are these. Although a ge­nerall Councell represent the whole univer­sall Church, yet in truth the universall [Page 267] Church is not truly there, but only representa­tively, because the universall Church is made up of a Collection of (all) believers, and that is that Church which cannot erre. Panormitans meaning (to make his words tollerable) I con­ceive is, That the decrees of a generall Councell are not absolutely and necessarily to be acknow­ledged the infallible Doctrines of Faith, till they be received by all particular Catholique Churches, because till then they cannot proper­ly be called the Faith of the universall Church, or of the body of all faithfull Christians, to which bod [...] the promise of infallibility is made. And this was the doctrine of Thomas Walden­sis, and some other Schoolmen &c. An opini­on this is, which though not commonly recei­ved, yet I do not find it deeply censured by any, yea the Gallican Churches reckoned this a­mong their chiefest Priviledges and liberties, that they were not obliged to the decisions of a Generall Councell, till the whole body of the Gallican Clergy had by a speciall agreement consented to them: yea, which is more, till out of the said Decrees they had selected such as they thought good to approve, the which they reduced into a Pragmatick Sanction, and so proposed them; and them only to the several Churches there: My Author from whose cre­dit I received this, is Thuanas, Thuan. de Vi­ta. suâ lib. 6. who protesteth in a discourse to K. Henry the IV. related by himself, that it could not be found in any Records of that Kingdome, that ever any Generall Councell had been any other [...]y received in France. This were a priviledge [Page 268] indeed to the purpose, if it could be made good, as it is much to be doubted.

3. But as for the Opinion of Waldensis, it ha's found many abetrours in these latter ages, for Fr. Pious Mirand [...]la in his eighth Theo­reme de Fid. & Ord. [...]red: saith, Those Decrees may justly be [...]lled tho the Decrees of the uni­versal Church, which are either made by the Pope the Head thereof, or by a Councell, in which the Church is represented in matters necessary to Faith, and which are approved by the Church her self. In like manner Petrus a So [...] Soto Asser. Ca. cit. de Concll. instan [...]ing in the second Councell of Ephesus corrected by that of Chalcedon, manifestly im­plies, that Councells, even Gene­rall, before they be received and approved by the Universall Church, may be repealed by a following Councell, but a Councell once re­ceived can never be altered. And therefore, sayes he, God by his providence over his Church will so order, that whatsoever is erronious or defective in one Councell, shall be corrected in a following one, before it be received in the Church. The same Author repeats the same Doctrine again in his observati­ons upon the Confession of Wit­tenberg. Id. in Conf. Wittenb. Cellot. de Hier. Eccl. l. 4. c. 10. 8. 12. cap. de Concil. Conse­quently hereto Cellotius a lear­ned Jesuite professeth, That the infallibility promised to the Church is twofold. 1. Active, by which the Prelats in Coun­cells proposing points of Faith, are secured from errour. 2. Passive, whereby the Univer­sall [Page 269] Body of the Church under all the Prelates in all the severall Provinces respectively is preserved from assenting to, or believing an errour. Now that in the whole Church, whe­ther represented in a Councell, or dispersed o­ver the world, both these kinds of infal­libility are to be found, saith he, no Catholique can deny. He adds, In case there hath been a­ny thing decreed by Councells, which either hath not been generally admitted, or by gene­rall disuse hath ceased, that the present Church is not thereto obliged, appears clearly by the Decrees of the first Councell of the Apostles, in the prohibition of things strangled, and bloud.

In the last place, our learned Countreyman Bacon Bacon Anal. Fidei. n. 113. (alias Southwell) a very ingenuous and acute Jesuite, doth plainly enough signifie, That it was the opinion, not only of S. Augustine, but generally of all the Writers of that age, that the resolution of Faith had its utmost compleat effect in the re­ception of the whole Christian world; ground­ing his assertion upon such like passages of S. Augustine as these, Those are on­ly Plenary Councells which are ga­thered out of the universall Chri­stian world. Aug. de Bap. l. 2. c. 3. id ibid. Again, The letters of Bishops may be corrected by Nati­onall Councells, and Nationall Councells by Plenary ones, and former Plenary Councells may be corrected by others that succeed. And again, We should not have the boldnesse to af­firm any such thing, were it not that we are [Page 270] confirm'd by the most unanimous authority of the universall Church. Now I suppose their intention is not to refund all authority finally upon the ignorant people, but upon the whole Body of the Prelates, admitting and attesting what was decreed by a few in Councells, by which means the universall Government of the Church sets their seal to the Doctrine of Faith, and vertually, or by consequence, in and with them, all Christians universally in their communion and under their charge. By this means indeed all possible objections will be taken away, and the Decisions of Councells will be the Acts, not of ten Bishops represent­ing a hundred, and perhaps giving suffrages to Doctrines never questioned or debated by them, but of all the Bishops of the Christian world. Now it is not necessary, according to these Authors grounds, that there must be such a Re­ception of conciliary acts by particular P [...]s [...]prossely, f [...]mally, and directly, it being suffi­cient [...]hat it be done interpretatively, that is, when such Doctrines are known, and permitted to be published [...]emine reclamante. And till this be done, shy they, the Councell, though in it self it be very legitimate, and deserving the [...]itle of Oecumonicall, yet it does not sufficient­ly and evidently appear to be so: whereas a Provinciall Councell, yea a Private Fathers or Doctours opinion so received, ha's in it the vertue of a Generall Councell.

4. Now this opinion maintained by such considerable learned Catholikes, and not appa­rently contrary to any decision of the Church, though I did not intend to subscribe to, as un­doubtedly [Page 271] true; for my resolution alwaies was not to engage my self in any private Sects or topicall opinions, and least of all in such as ap­peared to be exotick and suspitious, notwith­standing I was very well contented to perceive, that it was at least an allowable opinion; For I found it of great convenience to my self, to free me from many difficulties: For thereby, 1. Here is no entrenching on the points of con­troversie between Catholiques and Protestants, since they are all, not only decided by the au­thority of Councells, but likewise actually as­sented to and imbraced by all particular Catho­lique Churches; neither (as matters of contro­versie do now stand) is it necessary to require any more from Protestants, then what ha's been so both decided and received. 2. Hereby all the objections, which Protestants make from cer­tain (reall or imaginary) contradictions which may be found in decrees of Councells about o­ther points not now in controversie, are appa­rently rendred ineffectuall; for if that be to be only necessarily accounted an article of Catho­lique Faith, which is actually acknowledged and received by Catholiques, and since contra­dictions cannot be actually assented to, it will follow, that whatsoever decisions of Councells may seem to oppose such articles, are not neces­sarily to be accounted Catholique Doctrines, and by consequence not obligatory. 3. That so much objected speech of S. Augustine (de Bapt. Dom. l 2. c. 3.) (viz. The letters of Bishops may be corrected by Nationall Councells, and Nationall Councells by Plenary ones, and for­mer Plenary Councells may be corrected by o­thers [Page 272] that succeed) though it be understood of points of Doctrine (as it seems to require such a sense, because S. Augustine speaks it upon oc­casion of rebaptization) yet makes nothing against Catholiques, who upon the forementi­oned grounds and authorities, need account that only to be Catholique Doctaine, which is actu­ally imbraced by Catholiques. Yea upon the same grounds the like may be said of that yet more bold speech of Cardinall Cusanus, viz. It may be observed by all experience, that an Universall Councell may fail. (Cusan. con­cord. l. 2. c. 14.)

5. But to proceed to the severall grounds; upon which I conceived Stapleton determined this question, with a greater latitude and indul­gence then most other Writers, and yet not­withstanding he hath escaped the censure of any, being commended even by those who use much more rigor in it then he has done. The first is, That no Doctrine can be called an Article of Faith, but what was in the beginning revealed and delivered to the Church by Christ and his Apostles. 2. That these doctrines have been pre­served and continued to these times by Traditi­on, that is, not only in books approved and de­livered Traditionally, but rather in an orall practicall Tradition from one age to another. For the Church pretends not to any new imme­diate revelation, though she enjoys an effectuall assistance of Gods holy Spirit. 3. That there is a double obligation from decisions of Gene­rall Councells, the first an obligation of Chri­stian belief, in respect of doctrines delivered by Generall Councells, as of universall Tradi­tion: [Page 273] the second only of Canonicall obedience to orders and constitutions for practise, by which men are not bound to believe that these are inforced, as from divine authority, but only to submit to them, as acts of a lawfull Ecclesia­sticall power, however not to censure them as unjust, much lesse to oppose and contradict them. 4. That many (I may say, most) con­stitutions of Councells in order to practise do yet vertually include some degree of belief; as that of Communion under one kind, of the use of Images in Churches and upon Altars, &c. of residence of Bishops, of authorised Transla­tions of Scripture, &c. And that in such cases we are not obliged to believe that Christ or his Apostles gave order that such practises should follow, but only that considering Christs conti­nuall care over his Church so clearly promised, neither these nor any other orders universally established and practised are destructive to any substantiall doctrine or practise of Christiani­ty; and that the authority left by Christ in his church was so large and ample, as that when she shall judge it fit, considering the various dispo­sitions of succeeding times [...] she may alter ex­ternall practises and formes not essentiall or [...] of the substance of Christian Religion, even in the Sacraments themselves, as we see acknowledged in some cases by all Christian churches, as about the altering of the time and posture of re­ceiving the Eucharist, the triple immersion in Baptisme, abstaining from things strangled, and from bloud, &c. 5. That doctrines de­termined by Nationall Councells lay no obli­gation at all upon any other churches, but only [Page 274] those whose Bishops meet together: and all the obligation even of those Christians who live within such Provinces, is only not to contra­dict; they are not bound to receive such deci­sions as Articles of Faith; the reason being e­vident, because one Nation cannot be a compe­tent judge of Catholique Tradition, and there neither is, nor can be any Article of Faith but what is delivered that way. 6. That the authority of the Pastours of the present Church is not of so absolute and sublime a nature as that of the Apostles was, though it be sufficient to require obedience from every man: as like­wise consequently that they are not in all de­grees so powerfully assisted in their determina­tions as the Apostles were, so that some diffe­rence is to be made between Canons of Coun­cells, [...] Apostolike writings, as hath been shew­ed before out of S. Augustine, Beltarmine, and other Authors. 7. That some difference may like­wise be made between the present and primitive Churches: For they having received Christian doctrines more immediately and purely, and besides the true sense of particular passages of Scripture, which are difficult (which is now in a great measure utterly lost) they were able to speak more fully of many particular, not neces­sary points in Christian Religion, then the pre­sent church now can, though perhaps the ad­vantage of tongues and sciences, the benefit of so many writings, both ancient and modern, long study and meditation, &c. may in some sort recompense those disadvantages of the present church 3 yet however these are but ac­quired and humane perfections, whereas the [Page 275] former were Apostolique Tradition. 8. That even of points of doctrine decided by Councells a difference may be made between such as are of universall Tradition, and others: for those former being capable to be made evidently cer­tain (as I proved before) such decisions are to be the objects of our Christian Faith, and no more to be rejected then any other divine reve­lations: But other points of doctrine there are sometimes decided in Councells, rather by the judgement and learning of the Bishops, consi­dering Texts of Scripture, wherein such points seem to be included. And weighing together the doctrines of antient. Fathers and modern Doctors, an example whereof I gave before in the Councell of Vienna, touching inherent grace infused into Infants in Baptism, and in the Councell of Bazil, concerning the imma­culate conception of our B. Lady: NOw such decisions many Catholiques conceive, are not in so eminent a manner the necessary objects of Christian Faith; because not delivered as of u­niversall Tradition: But however an extreme temerity it would be in any particular man to make any doubt of the truth of them, and un­pardonable disobedience to reject them, I mean the conclusions themselves, though if the Texts of Scripture be set down, from whence such conclusions are deduced, or the said authorities produced, it may perhaps not be so great a fault to enquire and dispute, whether from such a Text, or such authorities, such a conclusion will necessarily follow. 9. If in such decisions, as these later are, there should happen to be any errour, (which yet we may piously believe the [Page 276] assistance of Gods holy Spirit promised to the Church will prevent) but if this should happen, since it must necessarily be in a point not perti­nent to the substance of Christian Religion, (for all substanciall points are univ [...]rsall Tra­dition, as we shewed before) it were far better such an error should passe, till (as S. Augustine saith) some later Councell amended it, then that unity should be dissolved for an unnecessary truth, since as Irenaeus saith, There is no refor­mation so important to the Church, as Schism, upon any pretence whatsoever is pernicious.

5. Upon such grounds as these, I supposed, it was that our learned Stapleton stated this question of the churches authority (or as he calls it, infallibility) with so much latitude and condescendence; And him I have quoted not with any intention to prefe [...] him with the dis­paragement of any other, but to shew that thereby I perceived my self not to have suffici­ently considered the necessary doctrine of the Roman Church in this so fundamentall a point of faith; and likewise how (when I heard the Church speaking in her own language, and mo­derately interpreted by Catholique Doctors.) I found what she said so just, so reasonable, so impossible to be contradicted by any thing but passion, or interest, or pride, or hatred of uni­ty, that there was no resisting the attraits of it. Then at last I found what I had all my life time in vain sought after, namely a firm foundation, whereon I might safely and without any scruple rely; and more glad then of all worldly treasures to see my soul taken out of mine own hands, and placed under the conduct of her whom [Page 277] Christ had appointed to be my guide and condu­ctresse, to whom he had made so many rich pro­mises, and with whom it is his pleasure to dwel, then I took up a Psalm of Thanksgiving and said, Laetatus sum in his quae dicta sunt mihi, in domum Domini ibimus: Stantes erant pe­des nostri in atriis tuis Jerusalem: Jerusalem quae aedificatur ut civitas cujus participatio ejus in id ipsum: Illuc enim ascenderunt tribus, tri­bus Domini &c. Psal. 121.

CHAP. XXXIV.

Unsatisfactory grounds of the English Church, concerning the Ecclesiasticall authority.

Calvinists Doctrine, concerning the Spi­rit's being judge of controversies, &c. answered.

1. BEing thus satisfied of the firm grounds of the Churches authority, the only bull­wark against all Heresie and Schisme, a sure preserver of unity, without which no Com­monwealth, no society of men can possibly subsist, much lesse of churches; in a word so necessary, so consonant to reason, that even all sorts of sects and congregations, whilst they deny it to the Catholique Church, usurp it to their own conventicles; to which yet they have not assurance enough to apply our Saviours pro­mises in contradiction to other Seets, with whom they will not communicate; yea even [Page 278] those who make a liberty of prophecying a dif­ferencing mark of their Sect, yet will not allow their own partizans this liberty of prophecying, unlesse they prophecy by their rule, and against their enemies. In the next place I took into consideration the unspeakably happy effects of this authority, which immediately represented themselves to my mind.

2. I will notwithstanding a while defer an account of those effects, till I have briefly set down and examined the grounds which Prote­stants lay for interpreting Scripture, and judg­ing controversies in Religion, in opposition to this authority of the Church and her Generall Councells; as likewise their principall objecti­ons against the said authority: For then com­paring both these doctrines together, and the consequences together, it will be more easie and commodious to decide whether of them is the more advantagious, and whether or no I have made a prudent choice in forsaking a Church, where all unity was impossible, but only such an outward unity, as worldly hopes and fears can produce, and in betaking my selfe to a church where Schisme is impossible.

3. All Protestants, and other Sects, agree in this against the Catholique Church (for Schis­maeest unit [...]s ipsis, as Tertullian. de Prascrip [...] c. 42.) saith, Their unity is an agreement in Schisme, that the Scripture is the only sufficient Rule of Faith, and that there is no visible Judge of the sense of it. But yet to the end that Gods church may not become a very Babel, since a Judge visible or invisible must needs be had, some disagreement there is among [Page 279] among them, what invisible judge to pitch upon.

4. All that I can collect from the sense of the English Church in this point is, that which results from these articles of hers compared to­gether, viz. Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary for salvation, so that whatsoe­ver is not read therein, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an Article of Faith, or be thought requisite necessary to sal­vation. Again, The three Creeds &c. ought throughly to be received &c. For they may be proved by most certain warrants of holy Scri­pture. Again, The visible Church of Christ is a Congregation of faithfull men, in which the pure word of God is preached, and the Sa­craments be duly administred &c. As the Church of Hierusalem &c. so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith. Again, The Church hath power to decree rites or ceremonies, and authority in controversies of Faith; and yet it is not lawful for the church to ordain any thing that is con­trary to Gods Word, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture that it be repugnant to another: wherefore although the church be a witnesse and a keeper of Holy Writ, yet as it ought not to decree any thing against the fame, so besides the same ought it not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of salvation. Again, Generall Councells may not be gathe­red together, without the commandement and will of Princes. And when they be gathe­red together (forasm [...]h as they be an assem­bly [Page 280] of men, whereof all be not governed with the Spirit and Word of God) they may [...]rre, and sometimes have erred, e­ven in things pertaining unto God: where­fore things ordained by them as necessary unto salvation, have neither strength nor authority, unless it may be declared, that they be taken out of Holy Scriptures. From which Articles it is apparent, that the Church of England, though in words she seemes to ascribe some kind of power to the Church and Generall Councells, yet in very deed, since she makes her selfe at least, if not each particular man, a judge, whether the Catholique Church proceeds according to Scriptures or no, the thereby utterly deprives the Church of all manner of authority: yea de facto the Supremest authority, which is in the Church, is actually censured as a Delin­quent, both in having made decisions be­yond, and against the Word of God. But after these destructive determinations, the English Church names no other visible or invisible authority, not laying her selfe any claime thereto, although in effect she takes upon her to do more then she claimes: So that à primo ad ultimum, all the judge­ment that I could make of the English Church was, that since worldly interests constrained her to separate from the Catholike Church, by the just judgement of God, she had only a power given her to destroy the Tem­ple of God, but not so much as to lay one stone towards the raising up another in the place of it.

[Page 281]5. As for the Calvinist party in Eng­land, they follow the example of Calvin, and most of his followers that I had read, as likewise the Lutherans, &c. all which make the Holy Ghost, testifying to every mans conscience, the infallible interpreter of Scripture. Now concerning this their pretence to such a Judge, all I had to say upon it, during that very small time that I had the patience to take it into debate, was; 1. That I could not believe that they be­lieved themselves, when they laid claim each man, or each Sect to such an infallible Iudge. 2. That if they did indeed believe it, as I could not hinder them, so till I had some good experience I durst not pretend to the like infallibility. 3. Since all those Sects pretend to so more-then-miraculous an infallibility, and yet not any of them work any other mira­cles, it proves of no effect to end controver­sies, which is the proper office of a Judge, especially such a Judge as the Holy Ghost, which is the Spirit of unity. 4. That if such a pre­tence was indeed false (as it must be in all Sects differing betweene themselves, but on­ly one) it is in all the rest a most horrible presumptuous lying against the Holy Ghost, and most justly punished by him with implacable and eternall divisions both among themselves, and from Catholique unity, divisions; I say, impossible to be remedied, till all but one Sect agree in the same confession, or acknow­ledge, since a Judge is requisite, and the invi­sible one will not serve the turne, that therefore they are to have recourse to the onely visible [Page 282] one, viz. The present Catholique Church, which in Spirits so envonomed against the Church, as those Sects are, how without a miracle it cannot be expected, fearfull expe­rience shewes. 5. That since this pretending to the Spirit is effectuall onely so far, as by a seeming divine warrant to make them hate one the other, but not to oblige one the o­ther to submit to their so eanonized interpre­tations, it is of no use at all in this businesse of finding out a Judge to end controversies among dissenting Christians. Lastly, That that rule of Tertullian (de Praser.) being un­questionable, viz. That whatsoever is new is Religion, praejudges it selfe to be false, it will undoubtedly follow, that this ground of so many Sects, is of all others most appa­rently untrue, since no example can be found for it in all Antiquity: Here the Tradi­tion from the antient Patriarchs of Merefies failes them, for excepting some fanaticall Heretiques, as the Montanists, &c. none ever pretended to the Spirit against the church.

CHAP. XXXV.

Mr. Chillingworth's new [...] found Judge of Controversies, viz. Private rea­son.

His grounds for the asserting such a Judge.

1. SInce the publishing of Mr. Chilling­worth's book, there ha's appeared in England a new Judge of controversies, and much defer'd unto there, which is every man's private reason interpreting of Scripture. From what countrey this new Judge came, is very well known, and I willingly forbear to disco­ver. The truth is, if Christ had made no pro­mises to his church, if it had not by God's own Spirit been called the Pillar and ground of truth; if universall Tradition were a fable; if all Councello, conspiracies of Tyrants, and lastly, if unity in the church were unnecessary or unprofitable, reason might have much to al­ledge for it self, that it should be raised into this tribunall.

2. But before I examine particularly the pre­tentions of reason to this Office, I will set down the State of this controversie, as Mr. Chilling­worth (c. 4. parag. 93.) ha's very perspicuously and yet very briefly expressed it in these words; Believe the Scripture to be the word of God, use your true endeavour to find the true sense of it, and live according to it, and then you may rest securely that you are in the true way to e­ternall [Page 284] happinesse. These are the directions which he professeth that he would give to any man desirous to save his soule, and requiring whose instructions to rely upon for that pur­pose, and this in opposition to a Catholique, that would advise such a man to have recourse to the Catholique Church &c.

3. Now for a more orderly examining of Mr. Chillingworth's direction for finding out the true sense of Scripture, and judging con­troversies; I will yet more distinctly set down his grounds in severall propositions collected out of his book, in such a method, as may shew the respect and dependence of the one on the o­ther, together with the chief reasons which he alledges for the proof of them; and afterward I will subjoyn thereto the reasons which moved me to judge such grounds of his, insufficient, and his reasons unconcluding; and in conclusi­on I will declare how I satisfied mine own rea­son, that all the severall objections which he makes against the Churches authority, under the notion of infallibility, have not that force that both he and I my self once imagined.

4. The abridgement of Mr. Chillingworth's whole discourse, I conceived might be reduced to these Propositions following, viz, 1. That Christian Religion having been planted so ma­ny ages since, the only ordinary way that we can arrive to the knowledge of it is Tradition: and the only assured way, universall Tradition of all ages and Churches, which is of it selfe credible, and admits not of any proof. 2. That for himself he could find nothing delivered by such an universall Tradition, as of divine au­thority, [Page 285] but only books of Scripture; for if he had, he would have imbraced it with equal sub­mission, since the being written makes not any thing more credible. 3. That the Scripture is a most sufficient, and the only rule of Faith (most sufficient) because it self sayes so (the only rule) because nothing else can be proved to be of uni­versall Tradition. 4. That by consequence, the Scripture contains in it all things necessary to be believed and practised by all sorts of persons, and this so plainly and expressely, that no rea­sonable man can doubt of the sense thereof, much [...]esse be mistaken; for otherwise God would not have provided sufficiently for the salvation of mankind. 5. That concerning those passages of Scripture, wherein are con­tained doctrines of Christianity, but not so plainly, men are not obliged necessarily to un­derstand or believe them, since it cannot consist with the goodnesse of God, that men should be bound to have an expresse knowledge or belief of that which God himself ha's purposely deli­vered obscurely. 6. That since no proof can be made, either out of Scripture, or universall Tradition, that there is any authoritative vi­sible Judge of the sense of the Scripture; and since each mans understanding or reason is the only faculty capable of judging; that therefore it only is to judge of the sense of the Scripture as far as concerns each mans particular. 7. That fince every mans reason may possibly be deceived, (especially proceeding upon objects not immedi­ately offered to sense) therefore an infallible faith is not required; such a probability will serve tqe turn, as is sufficient to produce in a [Page 286] man obedience to the precepts of holinesse com­manded in the Gospell. 8. That since all Chri­stians cannot but agree in necessary doctrines (which are expresse) they ought not to deny communion to one another for other doctrines, not expressely contained in Scripture. And that this is the only affectuall means of redu­cing [...] and preserving unity among Christians.

5. These are in brief the grounds of Chri­stian Faith, and of the means afforded us to at­tain to the true sense of as much of it as is ne­cessary, and likewise to beget charity and unity among Christians as they lye dispersed up and down in Mr. Chillingworths book, and which I have set down faithfully and ingenuously, in the most rationall method that I could devise. I will now with as convenient dispatch as I can, adjoyn likewise in the same order respe­ctively the reasons why I could not content my self with them, but was forced to relinquish them, to abase mine owne reason, and to have recourse to a foundation, as I thought, more firme and rationall, and I am confident farre more safe, viz. the Catholique Church.

CHAP. XXXVI.

An answer to the three first grounds of Mr. Chillingworth.

1. TO the first ground therefore, viz. That there is no other way to be assured of a Religion established many ages since, but uni­versall Tradition, I grant it; But whereas it is added, A Tradition of all ages: If the mean­ing be, that it is required to such an assurance, that a man should have precisely from every age a sufficient testimony of this universal Tradition, this is u [...]terly impossible any other way, then as including the testimony of former ages in that of the present; for though there may be preserved a few writings in every age, all which may contur in this testimony, and so make it indeed very probable; yet the testimony of three or four Writers is not equivalent to the testimony of the age. Add to this, that such a way of proof (though it may give good satis­faction to learned persons, and is practised more by Catholiques then any other, who yet rest upon the present Church for the certainty of Tradition) yet it is very laborious and un­certain, and whereof very few persons are capa­ble, and therfore not to be made a ground for all men to build all Religion upon. The testi­mony therefore of all former ages is alwaies most safely included, as to particular men, in the te­stimony of the present age, if that be universall for place, and grounded upon Tradition, as I shewed before, and made the proofe of the assu­rance [Page 288] of it to be, because it was impossible it should be false, unless some one whole age should conspire to deliver a thing as of Tradition, which was not so and not only conspire, but should actually deceive their children, no man discove­ring the imposture, a thing beyond all imagina­tion of possibility. I will therefore add no more here, but only the confession of a learned Prote­stant in his own words, viz.Field of the Church. l. 4. c. [...]14. When a Doctrine is in any age con­stantly delivered as a matter of Faith, and as received from [...] ancestors, in such sort as the contradictors, thereof were in the beginning noted for novelty, and if they persisted in con­tradiction, in the end charged with heresie, it is impossible but such a doctrine should come by succession from the Apostles.

2. To the second, where he sayes; That he could find nothing as of divine authority de­livered by universall Tradition of all ages, but only books of Scripture. I answer, that any one that will search with a willingnesse to find, shall doubtlesse have better fortune then Mr. Chillingworth. For I desire any one to consider with himself, [...] Whether the Apo­stles did not in all churches established by them, settle the whole doctrine and form of Christian Discipline uniformly? and whether this do­ctrine and discipline was not carefully preserved in the Primitive churches all the world over? if these things be granted, as plaine Texts of Scripture for the former,Act. 20. 20. 27 and an agreement of most of the Fathers, within the time of the [Page 289] four first Generall Councells will testifie for both. Then I desire to know, whether from the fourth Councell till S. Gregory the Great's days, any substantial part of either ha's perished? If any one say it ha's, he will find it a labour be­yond Hercules his forces to prove it; for to this hour I could never see one pressing testimony out of any Ecclesiasticall Writer. Then from S. Gregories dayes to these, it is visible that not any the least substantiall part of either is lost, and this by the confession of severall learned Protestants,Vid. Brere­leys Prot. A­pol. tr. 2. Sect. 1. by the agreement of all Catholique Writers, by S. Gregories own writings, and (which is a proof irrefragable) by comparing the Gregorian Liturgy and Missall with those of the present age. In the next place, let him con­sider, that most of the books of the New Testa­ment were written by the Apostles and Evange­lists for the use of particular churches, some to particular persons, sent by single messengers. Besides, that severall ages were passed, before all the books were communicated, and disper­sed, and accepted as Canonicall by the whole Catholike Church. Now after a comparing of these two Traditions together, let any man judge whether of them is the more universall, either for time or place.

3. To the third, viz. Of Scriptures being an entire Rule of Faith, &c. It is already answe­red cap. 31, 32. &c. Whereto I shall for the pre­sent only add this, viz. That Mr. Chillingworth (cap. 1. parag. 5. 6. 7.) takes great advantage from a speech, as he sayes, of his adversaries, [Page 290] namely, That the Scripture is a perfect rule, forasmuch as a writing can be a rule. I am con­fident his learned adversary never intended to allow him all this in the sense and extent that Mr. Chillingworth presseth it, as if all points of Faith were as fully set down in Scripture, as they could be in any writing. But I have no commission to interpose between them two, and therefore all I have to say is, that there ap­peared to me no kind of necessity, nor any pro­bability that it was his Antagonists intention, that such a large allowance should be made to Protestants; for I would fain know, since evi­dence is one necessary condition to make a rule perfect, could Mr. Chillingworth believe that the meaning of his learned adversary should be, that for example, the doctrine of Faith concern­ing the blessed Trinity is as evidently and intel­ligibly stated in Scripture, as in the first Coun­cell of Nice? or all points in controversie now adayes, as in the Councell of Trent? or that all Texts of Scripture are so unquestionably evi­dent, that no interpretations or Commentaries could make them plainer? his meaning there­fore surely was, that Scripture in regard of evi­dence, and with relation to fundamentall Do­ctrines, chiefly intended to be published in it, is as evident as can be expected from any one single writing standing alone. Not but that one writing explained by a second, and those expla­nations further cleared by a third may be plain­er: Or though it might have been possible, that for example, the Doctrine of the Trinity might have been declared so manifestly, that Photini­anisme or Arianisme might have been prevent­ed, [Page 291] notwithstanding no plainnesse of writing can prevent malitious spirits from extracting novelties of some kinds of senses or heresies, either those or others as pernicious, since as our blessed Lord sayes, Necosse est ut veniant scandala, that is, It is necessary that scandalls must come, Mat. 19. 9 And S. Paul, Oportet & haereses esse, that is, It is needfull that there should be heresies, 1 Cor. 11. 19. both for the tryall of those that love God, and discovery of those that hate him. For unlesse God should quite change the nature of mankind, it is im­possible that any one writing should be so plain, but that either the curiosity, or pride, or inte­rests, or malice, or at least the debility of mens wits may, and doubtlesse will find or extract obscurities and difficulties out of it, especially such a writing as the Scripture is, which being composed by men of severall dispositions and spirits, moreover belongs to all mankind, of all conditions and dispositions, so that if they be let alone, every one will be forward, yea even take a glory to dig and search into the treasures of it, and challenge an equall right to maintain his own, and disparage the discoveries of any other; every Sect and Sectary will think they see and read therein all their owne distinctive opinions clearly shining, and a confutation of all opposite tenents. Yea perhaps, the blind sensuall. Passions, worldly interests, and proud fancies of vain man, will have recourse thither, and not want the impudence to seek for, nor blush to pretend that they have found a covert and protection for the works of Satan in the divine Word of God. In vain therefore [Page 292] doth Mr. Chillingworth triumphantly boast of his inferences, to his seeming advantagious to himself, since they are all extracted meerly from his own misunderstanding of that most reasonable and prudent saying of his worthy Antagonist. 4. Yea this one consideration, that the necessary mysteries of Faith are not, nor could be so evidently set down in any one place of Scripture, but that other places may be found, which may afford ground even to an understanding man to raise objections, will make any man conclude, that either there are no mysteries necessary to be believed, or that something besides Scripture must be made use of to clear all difficulties.

CHAP. XXXVII.

An answer to M. Chillingworth's fourth and fifth grounds.

Severall Novelties introduced by him.

1. To the fourth, where it is said, That all things necessary to salvation are con­tained in Scripture so plainly, that no reason­able man, desirous to find the true sense, can doubt or be mistaken in the sense of them; so that for such matters there is no need of any interpreter. An assertion this is, which is one of the main foundations, upon which all manner of Sects that withdraw themselves from the Churches authority, do and must relye; there­fore I thought it necessary to spend more [Page 293] thoughts in examining the firmnesse of it: and after all, I professe I found it of all others most weak, most contrary to reason, and every daies experience.

2. For demonstrating the justice of this cen­sure of it, and that I may expresse my self more clearly, I will lay down certain positions, to which I conceive all rationall men will assent. As first, touching the word necessary, (besides what hath already been spoken of the ambigu­ousnesse of that word, which is relative, and variable according to it's application to se­verall objects and subjects, which I will not now repeat) I suppose that all men will call that necessary, for which being either denyed or affirmed, they being of a contrary opinion would break Communion from, and deny it to other Churches: for Schisme about unneces­sary things, is by all Christians acknow­ledged a sin almost unpardonable. 2. That ra­tionally to affirm a doctrine to be expressed plainly in Scripture, it is not sufficient to say it appeares so to me, for so almost every one will be forward to say of all his Opinions, which he pretends to be grounded on Scripture: But that is to be called plain and expresse, which ha's not been controverted by men of reason, pretending to piety and impaertiality, especially if they be in any considerable number; so that it will not be satisfactory to say, this appears plainly to me, and I am sure I am not led by interest or faction, as others are; for this may be every ones plea a­gainst another. 3. That where two senses are given of any passage of Scripture, the one ex­tremely [Page 294] probable and naturall, the other not wholly absurd, and whereof the words may possibly be capable: in this case one Prote­stant cannot upon their own grounds condemn or impute heresie to another.

3. These positions thus premised, in the next place I conceived it very just, that before any Sect of Christians did build upon this founda­tion of the Scriptures, containing expressely and evidently all things necessary, that they should all conspire to make a Catalogue of points necessary, and this with relation to seve­rall states of persons, or at least to Communi­ons and Churches: (I add this limitation, be­cause to multiply severall distinct Catalogues for all persons would be of extreme labour: and on the other side, to make one Catalogue for all men, would (as Mr. Chillingworth (Cap. 3. parag. 13. sayes) be like the making a coat for the Moon, which is continually in the wain or encrease.)

4. Now to shew the reasonablenesse of this, and that Mr. Chillingworths adversary required most justly such a Catalogue from Protestants, let but any man consider with himself what satisfaction any man can have from a Prote­stant Minister, when he shall tell him, You have the Bible of our Translation, in which we affirm all necessary truths to be contained, but mixed with a world of unnecessary, you are not absolutely bound to study, or to be able to read this Bible, yet you shall be damned if you be igno­rant of those necessary truths dispersed here and there in it; to say definitively how many, and which are those especiall necessary truths, we [Page 295] are not able, neither have we authority; there­fore at your own perill be sure you mistake nei­ther in the number nor sense of those truths: we can indeed afford you Articles and Cate­chismes, to which as long as you live with us you must be forced to subscribe, but we have no authority (for there is none visible upon earth) to propose our collections or determinations, as obliging in conscience, &c. In what a misera­ble case would that Protestant be, that should give himself leave to examine upon how meer a quicksand all his pretentions to eternity are built.

5. And whereas Mr. Chillingworth would seem to conceive himself secure in the midst of these uncertainties, because, as he thinks, Catholiques also are encumbred with the like: I found that conceit of his altogether groundlesse; for the promises of Christ remaining firm, and appro­priated to the Catholique Church, it will fol­low; 1. That in the Catholique Church shall be taught to the worlds end all necessary and profitable truths to all sorts of persons; so that every man respectively receiving and believe­ing what the church appoints to be proposed to him, cannot fail of being instructed with things necessary, &c. 2. The same Church being en­dued with authority to determine the true sense of divine truths, a Catholique submitting to the Church, cannot be in danger through mi­stakes or errours; so that he who hearkens to the Church, ha's his catalogue of fundamentalls made to his hand, the Church, like the wise Steward in the Gospell out of that store of pro­visions given her by Christ, proportioning to [Page 296] every man his dimensum panis quotidiani, his own befitting allowance.

6. And here by the way will appear; 1. The vanity of that ordinary calumny, which Prote­stants impute to the Catholique Church, as if she taught that it were sufficient to ignorant men only implicitly to believe what the Church believes, without an explicite belief of any thing: for there is none so ignorant, but is obliged to know and assent to what the Church teacheth him by his Pastour suitable to his estate and education. And secondly, an usuall mistake among Protestants, who think that all the credenda in Catholique Re­ligion, are comprised in the definitions of Councells: for before ever any Generall Coun­cell sate, the Church was furnished with her full measure of divine truths, necessary to be believed, which were by her publiquely professed and proposed; which have been occa­sionally declared, and distinctly expounded in her Councells. But to return to Mr. Chilling­worth.

7. He by his sharp understanding, and long meditation, coming to perceive those incon­veniences, and considering that no Protestant or other Church could upon their generally acknowledged grounds authoritatively define either the number or sense of Articles of Faith, so as to oblige any man, even within her Com­munion, in conscience to assent and submission (For, for example, if an Englishman would not subscribe to the sense of any Article of the Church of England, all the penalty would be, he should not partake of the priviledges and pre­ferments [Page 297] of that Church, but he might go over into Denmark or Holland, whose sense in such an Article he liked better, and still be acknow­ledged even by the English Church to be ortho­dox enough.) He therefore was forced to intro­duce two Novelties among English Protestants which find great approbation: the first is to alter the old manner and notion of subscription to the English Articles; for whereas before, the Prote­stants there by their subscription testified their belief of all the 39. Articles in the sense import­ed in the words; yea whereas there was a Ca­non which denounced Excommunication ipso facto to all that should say that any of them were not true, Mr. Chillingworth thus expresseth his mind in subscribing,Answ. to Dire. to N. N [...]par. 39. I am perswaded that the constant doctrine of the Church of Eng­land is so pure and Orthodox, that whosoever believes it, and lives according to it, undoubtedly he shall be saved: and that there is no error in it, which may necessitate or warrant any man to distrub the peace, or re­nounce the Communion of it. This in my opini­on (saith he) is all intended by subscrip­tion.

8. His second novelty is, that whereas the Protestants alwaies professed that the publiqua Confessions of their Churches Faith, was indeed their own faith, that is, such expres­sions plain and indubitable, as are in holy Scripture concerning such points, or at least irrefragable consequences from Scripture, and therfore were to them as Scripture, because their sence of Scripture: and whereas they respe­ctively [Page 298] divided themselves from the Communion of the Catholike and other particular churches, because they would not joyn with them in the belief of Scripture explained in that sense, which their severall Articles import (and not because they refused to submit to Scripture, which all professe to do.) And lastly, whereas though they acknowledged S [...]ripture to be the only Rule of Faith, yet because it not having being written in form of Institutions or a Ca­techisme, the necessary doctrines of Religion are dispersed uncertainly in the severall books, difficulty to be found out of them, and withall not so plainly delivered, but that there is need of explication and conciliation with other passages of Scripture that seem to contradict; for this reason each church compiled abridge­ments and confessions disposed orderly and me­thodically, by which they signifie to the world how they understand Scripture: Mr. Chilling­worth on the contrary delivers their mind joyntly for them after a new way (which is his second Novelty) which I will set down in his own words, (cap. 6. parag. 56.) By the Religion of Protestants I do not (saith he) understand the doctrine of Luther, or Calvin, or Melanch­ion, nor the confession of Augusta, or Geneva, [...] the Catechism of He [...]delberg, nor the Ar­ [...] [...] the Church of England, no nor the harmony of Protestant Confessions; but that wherein they all agree, and which they all sub­scribe with a great [...] harmony, as a perfect rule of their faith and actions, that is the Bible, the Bible, I say the Bible only is the Religion of Protestants: Whatsoever else they believe [Page 299] besides it, and the plain irrefragable indubita­ble consequences of it, well may they hold it as matter of Opinion, but as a matter of Faith and Religion, neither can they with coherence to their own grounds believe it themselves, nor require the belief of it of others, without most high and most Schismaticall presumption. Thus far Mr. Chillingwrrth. Now how far other Protestants out of England will approve of this new shift, which he ha's found out for them, and which, I am sure, he ha's published without any commission from them, I know not: But if they also justifie him in this, all I can say is, that they will make their party much the strong­er by it, and will likewise have reason to pretend to almost primitive antiquity, for if all be of their body, who, whatsoever their particular te­nents be, build their faith upon only Scripture interpreted by each mans reason, then not only all Heretiques of these times, but like­wise almost all Heretiques since the Apo­stles times, will be united in the same corpora­tion.

9. But once more to return to Mr. Chilling­worth's 'Position, viz. That all necessary truths are contained in Scripture so expressely, that no man can rationally doubt of the sense of them, and by consequence there is no need of an autho­rised visible interpreter. All that I shall say in answer hereto, shall be the making a few re­quests to our English Protestants especially: As 1. To consider this and the former speeches of Mr. Chillingworth, not as an extraordinary in­vention of his excellent wit, but that which ex­treme necessity forced him to: for though [Page 300] before him few Protestant Writers have so free­ly discovered the arcana schismatis, as being unwilling to tell their followers that they had no authority to oblige them to their opinions: Yet Mr. Chillingworth deals more ingenu­ously, discovering, that this is indeed a foun­dation most necessary to be laid by all those, who deny all visible Ecclesiasticall authority in expounding Scripture, and judging defini­tively of controversies in Religion: for other­wise they may say, God ha's given us the Scrip­ture to be our only rule, this Rule is ambigu­ous and difficult, even in necessary things; there is no judge to interpret it, mens under­standings are weak, and their wills strong, they are easily led away with prejudices, edu­cation and worldly interests; so that it is a great chance if they light upon the true sense of those difficult, yet most necessary mysteries, con­sidering besides, that they are very contrary to flesh, and blood, and carnall reason. This were to deal with mankind worse then the AEgypti­an Taskmasters did with the Israelites, to de­mand brick, and give them no straw. Since therefore no Protestant would willingly lay such an imputation upon the Father of mercies, it will follow, that he must of meer force ac­knowledge with Mr. Chillingworth, that all truths necessary to salvation are contained in Scripture so expresly, that no rationall man can doubt of the sense of them.

10. My second request to English Protestants is, that they would take into consideration how (after that a Catholique would be so liberall, as to allow them this ground) they would be [Page 301] able, and by what rules, to distinguish points unnecessary from necessary: for though it were true that all necessary points are plain, yet all plain points are not necessary. 3. That for a more particular tryall, they would resolve with themselves, whether the Mysteries of the eternall Godhead, and Incarnation of our Saviour, be not necessary to be believed; if so, (as the English Articles import) then they may do well to take a survey of all the Texts of Scripture, which Volkelius and Crel­lius heap together to combat these mysteries, and afterward conclude, whether only Scri­pture being the Rule, and only private reason the Judge, these mysteries be so plainly and ex­presly contained in Scripture, that no reasona­ble man can doubt of the sense of them, and that there needs no interpreter to reconcile them. 4. I would likewise desire them to consi­der the places of Scripture which Catholiques make use of, to build the authority of the Church, and the Reall Presence (I name these, because they are the principall grounds of their separation.) Now when they have consider­ed the Texts for the former point, let them take notice that they cannot produce one express Text of Scripture against the authority of the Church; and for the other point, whether the Texts which Catholiques produce for the Re­all Presence, do not in the literall grammati­call sense say all that Catholiques believe; and whether all that Protestants labour to prove be not, that though Hoc est corpus me­um, as the words lye, be against them, yet the sense hidden and figurative, which they [Page 302] desire to force upon these words, is against Ca­tholiques. And having considered these two instances, let them upon Mr. Chillingworths present grounds judge how they can satisfie their own reason and conscience, without ex­presse Scripture for themselves, and against at least expresse words of Scripture for Ca­tholikes, to make a separation from the whole world.

11. In the last place I desire them to speak freely, whether if this be true, that to be ex­pressely & unambiguously set down in Scripture, be a condition necessary to all necessary points of Faith, there be indeed any points of faith necessary, since there is scarce any one article of the Creed which ha's not been, and is not at this day questioned by many men, yea by whole churches, in which are, and have been found persons of great learning, subtilty, and as far as the eys of men could judge, piety and vertue, as S. Augustine witnesseth of Pelagius, and S. Vincentius Lirinensis of other Heretiques. Now if they say they will not believe such te­stimonies of their adversaries probity, then the controversies between Sects will become not disputations, but calumniations and implead­ments.

12. To Mr. Chillingworth's fifth ground, viz. That it cannot consist with the goodness of God to oblige any man as of necessity to be­lieve explicitly, or to interpret clearly those places of Scripture which are obscure and am­biguous. I acknowledge all this, and from their own grounds desire Protestants to consi­der, whether any knowledge or distinct belief [Page 303] can justly be required to be yeelded to any spe­ciall points of Christiantty, since there are scarce any that have not been controverted.

CHAP. XXXVIII.

An answer to Mr. Chillingworth's sixth ground.

Of the use of Reason in Faith.

1. TO the sixth ground, viz. That since no proof can be made out of Scripture, nor out of universall Tradition, that there is any visible Judge of the sense of Scripture: and since a mans reason is the only faculty and principle capable of judging, therefore Reason is the only judge of the sense of Scripture; but this only for each mans own self, &c. I an­swer; 1. That his supposition of no visible Judge is so far from being true, that the con­trary ha's all the proofs imagineable, and in the highest degree of assurance imagineable, if Tradition universall for time and place, plain Texts of Scripture interpreted by all Fathers that have written upon them, the continuall practise of the Church in Councells &c. can give a certain proof, as I have shewed before. 2. For private reason being a judge, I will shew the impossibility for it to attain the ends for which Christ appointed a government in his Church, (viz. unity of minds and wills among Christians) together with the unavoid­able absurdities attending such a Judge; and [Page 304] this, after I have considered briefly the rest of his grounds. 3. In this place I will take into consideration the generall foundation of this his foundation, viz. That no other judge, as to a mans own self, besides his own reason, can be imagined, chap. 2. 11.

2. This foundation Mr. Chillingworth e­steems so firm, that upon all occasion he objects it to his adversary, and places his chiefe con­fidence in it; both as a sword to wound his e­nemy, and a buckler to defend himself: for thus, and in this order he argues. 1. What­soever I do in matter of Religion, I do it by mine own particular reason, and resolve it fi­nally into mine own reason. And this is not only my method, but the same is done likewise by all sorts of men, even those that deny pri­vate reason to be judge, deny this by their rea­son; and because their reason tells them that it is more reasonable to rely upon authority, then upon their private judgement or reason. &c. 2. The difference between a Papist and a Protestant is, not that the one judges, and the other does not judge, but that the one judges his guide to be infallible, the other his way to be manifest. 3. To speak properly, saith he, The Scripture is not a judge of controversies, but a rule only, and the only rule for Christi­ans to judge them by; every man is to judge for himself by the judgment of discretion, and to chuse either his Religion first, and then his Church, as we say: Or as you, his Church first, and then his Religion: but by the consent of both sides every man is to judge and chuse. This appeared to me to be the substance of Mr. Chil­lingworth's [Page 305] discourses severally dispersed in his book upon this argument,

3. I confesse this way of arguing of Mr. Chillingworth had a long time great effect with me; and after considering it more atten­tively, I found that of necessity there must be some Sophisme in it, because it makes all parties most contradictory to one another, yet to re­solve their beliefs into the same point, which notwithstanding they utterly deny, it was long before, to mine own satisfaction, I could dis­cover the secret; and now after all, I find not the least difficulty how to expresse my self di­stinctly and intelligibly in my answer to it: notwithstanding I will endeavour to do it as perspicuously as I can.

4. For preparation therefore hereto, I will first shew what faith or belief is, and the seve­rall kinds and manners of it, together with the order how it is begotten in the soul, &c. Now I only speak of a rationall and well grounded faith, not such an one, as with which many ignorant or interessed persons assent, that is, rather with their wills and passions, then their reason or understanding. 1. Be­liefe therefore in generall is an assent of the understanding to any thing related to us; and this for the authority of the relator: So S. Au­gustin. (de util. cred. c. 2.) That we believe any thing, we owe it to authority; that we under­stand any thing, to reason. 2. Belief is immediate, or mediate: immediate, when the prime relatour reveals it immediately to the believer: mediate, when by the intervention of others. 3. Beliefe certain or probable is either, when we have a [Page 306] certainty or probability of the prime relators authority or fidelity; or else, though we be assured of the prime authors fidelity, when we have a certainty or probability of the authority, fidelity and information of the subordinate re­lator. 4. Belief supernaturall is, when the prime relator is supernaturall, and also when the object is supernaturall: I might add, and which is begotten in the soul by a supernaturall vertue (but that is not debated here.) 5. The order an manner whereby an assured firm su­pernaturall faith is begotten in the soul, is, first, in immediate divine revelations, the prime re­lator reveals any thing to the believers under­standing, by the intervention of his outward or inward senses, in mediate divine revelations; when this is done by means of some persons in­dued with authority and ability; so that before firm faith in the thing revealed, there must ne­cessarily precede a certain knowledge that such a thing ha's been revealed. 6. Discourse of reason may, and ordinarily does precede be­lief; but belief it self is not discourse, but a sim­ple assent of the understanding. 7. In beliefe we are to distinguish between the causes, and the motives of it: and when men speak of the last resolution of faith, they intend to consi­der the last motive or authority into which it is resolved, not the primary efficient cause of it. Therefore though faith be an act of reason, yet it is not said to be resolved into reason, though produced by it, but into authority. 8. It is a meer tantology to say, the act of faith is terminated in reason, because reason judges that it is reasonable to believe God: For that [Page 307] seems all one, as if a man should say; an act of reason is an act of reason, or a reasonable act; and indeed otherwise it would be impossible to terminate faith ultimately in God, but a man should believe God, not for Gods autho­rities sake, but his own. 9. The use of reason antecedent to faith, and act of the understand­ing, in assenting to a thing revealed for the authority of God the revealer, do not prejudice neither the supernaturalnesse, nor certainty of Faith; because the same things have place in any revelation, though made immediately by God; for it is with my senses that I receive the thing revealed, and convey it to my under­standing; it is with my understanding that I as­sent to it, and the reason why I assent to it is, be­cause it is most reasonable to believe God, yet none of these things diminish either the super­naturality, or absolute certainty of this belief.

5. But to come to a more particular exami­nation of Mr. Chillingworth's Positions. 1. He argues that private reason ought to be acknow­ledged the Judge of controversies, and interpre­ter of Scripture, because whatsoever we do in Religion, we do it by our particular reason; yea, even those that deny private reason to be a Judge do this, because their reason tells them this is more reasonable, &c. It is confessed that Faith is an act of reason, that is, of the reasonable faculty of the soule; and that it is the same faculty of reason which submits and captivates it self to divine or Ecclesiasticall au­thority; for as to be Gods slave is the greatest liberty, so to renounce carnall reason when God commands it is most reasonable. It is [Page 308] moreover confessed, that in such a case, when reason with submission to God captivates it self, and renounces all discourses of reason that would oppose such an a bnegation of it self, that it does this from a rationall principle, viz. that it is most reasonable to believe and submit to God, who is veracity it self. But what will follow from hence? Will any one therefore either be so unreasonable, as to conclude, that divine faith is ultimately resolved into reason, as into the motive of assenting? (it is indeed the efficient cause producing the act of assent, but the last and principall motive is divine autho­rity) or that divine revelations are to be exa­mined and exacted according to the rule and principles of naturall reason, thereby either to stand or fall? Or lastly, that when reason judges it reasonable to receive the sense of di­vine Revelations from the Church endewed with authority for that purpose, Reason in that case shall be called the interpreter or judge?

6. In the second place, where he sayes, The difference between a Papist and a Protestant is this, not that the one judges, and the other judges not: (Thus far I grant;) But that the one judges his guide to be infallible, the other his way to be manifest. To this I answer, that here are two judges, 1. a Catholique, and his judgement is, that his guide is infallible, or ra­ther speaking in his guides language, that she ha's authority to direct him. This is true, but not all that is true; for he judges of his way too, namely that that way and rule, by which, and in which, his guide sets and directs [Page 309] him is manifest. And he judges of this more ra­tionally, then a Protestant can, because the same that God appointed to be his guide, is both en­trusted with this rule, and an explainer of it likewise to him, having not only words, but sense delivered to her. 2. A Protestant Judge; and his judgement is, that his way is manifest: it is true he judges so, but how injudiciously, hath been already shewn. But does he not judge of his guide? or ha's he no guide to judge of? Yes, that is himself, or his own reason, and that he judges to be all sufficient, both for au­thority and prudence. He that in interpreting an Heathen Orator or Poet, would not trust his own judgment, or adventure his reputation to the world, without alledging authorities, by which he might justifie his judgment: and much more, he that in a tenure of land would willing­ly submit his judgment to the authority of those judges whom the Law ha's deputed, will not­withstanding trample upon all authority, upon the traditionary interpretation of many ages, he will despise Fathers and Councells, and adven­ture eternall happinesse or misery upon his own single judgment: and when all this is done, will call it a judgment of reason and discre­tion.

7. In the third place, To speak properly, (saith he) the Scripture is not a Judge of Controversies, but only a rule, &c. This I grant to Mr. Chillingworth, and withall, that he is the first Protestant that I know of, that ha's spoken properly in this point. But he adds, and the only rule to judge them by. But the contrary I think I have already proved. Yet before [Page 311] I leave this passage, I desire to be informed what controversies are here spoken of; name­ly whether concerning points necessary or un­necessary? surely not of necessary, for how can there be controversies about such points, as according to his belief are set down in Scripture so plainly, that no reasonable man can doubt of the sense of them? and if of unnecessary, why will they confesse that they quarrell unne­cessarily? It follows, Every man is to judge for himself with the judgement of discretion: This is true if the sense be, that it is by the fa­culty of reason that he embraces and assents to divine revelations: not that such revelations are to be admitted or refused, according as they are consonant or repugnant to the principles of discourse of naturall reason. It follows: And to chuse either his Religion first, and then his Church, as we say. But what Church do Pro­testants chuse, since (though in effect there are infinite Churches among them separating from, and damning one another; Yet) if the grounds of Protestantisme be true and reasona­ble, viz. 1. That the belief of necessary funda­mentall doctrines is sufficient to make a true Church. 2. Since all such points are so plainly contained in Scripture, that no reasonable man can doubt of the sense of them, much lesse dis­believe them. And 3. Since no Protestants will deny, but that in all Churches (even the Catholique also) there are reasonable men; it will follow that they must say, that indeed there is but one Religion and one Church, and so no choice at all. It follows, Or as you Ca­tholiques, his Church first, and then his Reli­gion. [Page 310] For my part; I know no Catholique sayes so, nor any reason that should move Mr. Chillingworth to put such words in their mouths. For if we speak of one that is yet to chuse Christianity, and is in pain to find a Con­gregation to joyn himself to, the difference be­tween such a Director as Mr. Chillingworth and a Catholique would be this: Mr. Chilling­worth would tell him,Search the Scriptures at­tested by universall Tradition, as will appear if you peruse all the Records since Christs time; there you will find in it all things neces­sary to be believed and practised, but which, and how many such things there are, we can­not tell you: besides, they are dispersed up and down in Gospells, Acts, Epistles, and Revelation; so that it will cost you much trouble to collect all that are of the substance of the new Covenant in yours and our opini­ons; but to make short work, be sure to be­lieve all in grosse, and then you shall be sure to believe all that is necessary, and then chuse what Church you will, for there can be no danger, since all cannot but agree in necessa­ries, only there is some danger in the Catho­lique Church, for she will oblige you to be­lieve other things as well as Scripture for uni­versall Traditions sake; and besides she will not permit you to think your own self wiser then the whole world. Or if you have the curiosity to live in the purest Church of all, then you must study all the obscure unnecessa­ry passages of Scripture likewise (for such only can be controverted among reasonable men) and examine what every party ha's to say for [Page 312] himself, and then descend from your tribunall of judging, and associate your self with them that you think the wisest, that is, those that agree with you in all your opinions, if there be any such, and there stay, till either they or you change opinions. But as for Catholiques, to such a man that was to chuse both Christianity and a Church, they would first tell him, that by his reason he might most certainly judge that this Religion was taught by Christ and his Apostles, since (besides Records) the universall agreement of the present age was, that they received it from an universall Tradition of former ages, (which is a testimony beyond all others most irrefragable.) 2. They would by the same way assure him, that this Religion was by the first teachers confirm'd with miracles; and his rea­son upon examination both of those miracles, and the sanctity of this Religion in generall, would most assuredly conclude, that the mira­cles were divine, and by consequence the Re­ligion too, and therefore necessary to be em­braced, since it self said so. 3. They would upon the same undeniable grounds of univer­sall Tradition assure him, that among others, one necessary duty of this Religion was, to live in the Communion and under the autho­rity of such a Church, as Christ had promi­sed should be Catholique for place, and never to fail untill his coming to judgement, which Church was one body consisting of a subordi­nation of parts, among which by consequence, one must needs be supreme, and from which to separate, was to be divided from Christ [Page 313] himself; in this Church therefore he was to fix himself inseparably: And here is to be an end of his judging and chusing. For 4. be­ing in this Church, his Reason had no more to do but to submit it self to the beliefe and practise of the speciall doctrines and precepts, which this Church should teach him. Liber­ty indeed he might have to search out inter­pretations of Scripture, yet so as that he must not contradict any traditionary doctrines. And he might draw consequences from do­ctrines, so that he would give leave to the church to judge whether such consequences were rationall and fit to be received, abstain­ing from others that would not assent to his consequences.’ And this is the method accord­ing to which a Catholike would advise such a man to proceed: thus much liberty of judging he would allow to his reason before he did make choice of a church; and only so much afterward.

8. To these discourses Mr. Chillingworth adds some proofs out of Scripture to justifie Private Reason's pretention to judge of the sense of Scripture: as first, those words of S. Paul, 1 Thes. 1. 5. v. 20, 21. Try all things, hold fast that which is good. But I answer, here is no mention either of Scripture or church, much lesse of interpreting Scripture against the church: the truth is, there were extant scarce a­ny books of the New Testament when S. Paul wrote that Epistle. But the words before speak of Prophecyings in the church, which perhaps S. Paul would have to be tryed whether they were consonant to the doctrine which he had de­livered to the church. Now who was to be the [Page 314] Judge of Prophets he shews in another place, 1 Cor. 14. 32. where he sayes, The spirits of the Prophets are subject to the Prophets, not to the ignorant people. A second proof is, Be­lieve not every Spirit, but try the Spirits, whe­ther they be of God or no, 1. Joh. 4. 1. To which the former answer will suffice. A third, Be ye ready to render a reason of the hope that is in you, 1 Pet. 3. 15 [...] I cannot imagine how from this Text this conclusion can be infer'd, Ergo it belongs to all Christians to judge of the sense of Scripture, even against the authori­ty of the Church. A fourth, If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. All the inference that I could possibly draw from this Text would be, therefore if men will not believe their teachers, but either will rush forward themselves, or follow others, that nei­ther have authority nor ability to teach, they are likely to fall into the Ditch. For surely by blind are not meant the lawfull Pastours of the Church, which on the contrary are in the Old Testament called Videntes, or Seers, and by S. Paul, eyes: when speaking of such persons as Mr. Chillingworth here gives the office of judging to, he saith, If the ear shall say, be­cause I am not the eye, I am not of the body, is it therefore not of the body? If all the body were the eye, where were the hearing, 1 Cor. 12. 16. Whereby S. Paul shews expressely that the hearers ought not to usurp the teachers of­fice, expressely contrary to Mr. Chillingworths Position.

9. I will conclude this discourse of Prote­stants exalting private reason against Catho­lique [Page 315] authority, with those memorable words of S. Augustine (Ep. 56.) Those, saith he, who not being in Catholique Unity and Communi­on, yet notwithstanding do boastingly usurp the name of Christians, are constrained to con­tradict the true Believers, and have the bold­nesse to seduce as it were by reasons the igno­rant and unskilfull, although that our Lord is come with this preservative to ordain faith unto the people. But this they are constrained to do, as I said, because they perceive well, that without this there is nothing more vile and base then they are, if their authority be compared with Catholique authority. They en­deavour therefore, as it were, to surmount the most firmly setled and most stable authority of the most surely founded Church, by the name and promising of Reason; for this is as it were an uniform and universall temerity of all He­retiques. But the most clement Commander and Generall of our Faith hath strengthened his Church with this bulwark of Authority by the most famous Assemblies of Peoples and Nati­ons, and by the proper Sees Episcopall of the Apostles, a [...]d by a few learned and truly spi­rituall men hath armed it with a plenteous ma­gazine of Reason invincible.

CHAP. XXXIX.

An answer to Mr. Chillingworth's se­venth and eighth grounds.

1. TO the seventh ground, viz. That a cer­tain infallible Faith is not required, since reason, which is the only agent, is falli­ble, and the grounds not evidently certain, such a probability will serve the turn, as can produce in a mar obedience, &c. For answer hereto, I desire Protestants to consider. 1. Whe­ther at the first planting of Christianity proba­ble grounds of belief had been sufficient? if not, as most certainly not, how come they to be sufficient now? If it be replied, that we must either be content with probable grounds, or none; I answer there is no such necessity; be­cause for all the substantiall points of Christia­nity we have universall Tradition, and that with all advantages for assurance imaginable: insomuch, as if all men would call him mad, that should deny that there was such a man as King William the Conqueror of England, which is yet attested only or principally by a Nationall Tradition there, that man would deserve a title worse then the former, that could doubt of the universall testimony of the Catholique Church all the world over, that such Traditions have come to them from their an­cestors, &c. 2. I desire them to consider, what course they will take to convert the now Jewes, and Turks or Heathens to Christianity, if they shall once tell them, that they can give them no [Page 317] better then probable motives of our Religion? For they will doubtlesse reply, that they will never quit their own Religion, in which they and their ancestors have been bred, and of the truth of which they likewise have (at least in their own opinion) a probable Tradition, for a new one not assured. 3. To consider the ex­ample of the antient Jewes: For if those very persons, who were eye-witnesses of the miracu­lous delivery of the Law, and by consequence were most assured of the divinity of it, yet not­withstanding would not quit temporal pleasures and allurements for the future rewards therein promised; is it likely, that the Christians of these times will upon confessedly only probable grounds and promises, and those not to be ex­pected till after death, renounce assured and present delights, and embrace assured and pre­sent miseries, mortifications, and abnegati­ons?

2. To the eighth and last ground, viz. That since all Christians agree in necessary doctrines, which are expresse, they ought not to deny Com­munion the one to the other, for other doctrines contained obscurely in Scripture; and that that is the only effectuall means of reducing and preserving unity among Christians. I an­swer, that it is apparently contrary to experi­ence what is here said; For neither do all Chri­stians agree in all necessary doctrines: nor in all which themselves esteem necessary: neither will they allow Communion to men differing in points by their own Confession nor esteem­ed so much as substantiall. Yea let England witnesse, if our Presbyterian Calvinists do not [Page 318] think many thousand Hecatombs of Christian bloud, a fit sacrifice to prepare a tyrannicall in­troduction of a few circumstantiall novelties: Therefore to say men ought, and it were well if they would do otherwise; and in the mean time destroy all Ecclesiasticall authority to con­strain them to what they ought to do, is to de­stroy all Christian Communion, indeed all man­ner of policy and society: For upon the same grounds we may as reasonably contend for an universall Anarchy, since all men ought by the law of reason and nature to live in justice, tem­perance, and peace; and therefore let lawes be annulled, and Judges deposed. But God (whose imprudence is wiser then the wisdome of men) seeing our figmentum, our naturall perverse­nesse, hath appointed Civill Governours to o­verawe Delinquents with the whip, and with the sword; and Ecclesiasticall Magistrates likewise, into whose hands he ha's likewise put a spirituall scourge and sword too, to correct or cut off putrified or mortified members: the whole foundation of which Policy and order would be undermined by such an allowance gi­ven to all sorts of Christians to become judges and interpreters for themselves in matters of Religion, upon a groundless and never-yet-ac­complished hope, that they will all agree to use this power with meeknesse and cha­rity.

3. Besides, let all the world judge of the extreme partiality of English Protestants, they say that no man ought to refuse Commu­nion for differences in points in themselves not necessary or fundamentall; and they acknow­ledge [Page 319] that Catholiques agree with them in all points fundamentall; and yet they not only refuse to communicate with them, but call their Communion damnable and Idololatri­call: Yea moreover seek to justifie the executi­on of the most bloudy lawes against Catholike Priests performing their duties, that ever any Christian Nation heard of.

4. Mr. Chillingworth indeed maintains this their partiality of refusing Communion with Catholiques upon this ground, because no man can be allowed by the Councell of Trent to en­te [...] into Catholique Communion that believes not all doctrines of faith therein defined to be of universall Tradition, many of which they disbelieving ought not, or if they would, cannot be received into Communion. Hereto I an­swer. 1. That the Bull of Pius the fourth requires subscription to the Councell only from Priests, &c. 2. Can any antient Church be named that ha's not alwaies done the same? 3. Do not the Lutherans, Calvinists, yea the Church of England, both before and since the writing of his book the same? 4. Does not the omission of requiring an uniform profession of Faith, evidently destroy all Ecclesiasticall authority, and leave every one in a liberty (hi­therto unheard of in Gods Church) of think­ing, and believing, and judging, and saying, and doing what he himself pleases? 5. The unappealable authority of a Generall Coun­cell being once destroyed, would not Babel it self, and the seventy languages of it (as some reckon them) be order and unity it self in com­parison with a Christian Church so confused [Page 320] and mangled, wherein not seventy, but seventy thousand languages might be allowed? For as for this phantasticall Utopian way of Unity here first devised and proposed to the world by Mr. Chillingworth, let even the most ignorant of his judges give sentence; whether as long as men have passions, and as long as there is pride in their hearts, and tentations in the world, it be not utterly impossible to be com­passed? and if upon an impossible supposition it were effected, whether such a kind of unity would deserve the name of unity, and not ra­ther of an universall stupidity and Lethar­gie?

CHAP. XL.

An answer to Mr. Chillingworth's ob­jection, concerning difference among Catholiques, about the Judge of Con­troversies.

1. HAving thus far considered Mr. Chilling­worth's generall grounds concerning a Judge of Controversies dispersed in severall places through his book, I will proceed to take a view of his principal objections against the Ca­tholike doctrine concerning the authority of the Church; which objections are of severall na­tures; for some proceed directly against it, others only against some consequences from it. I will therefore weigh first his objections grounded upon the different opinions of Ca­tholikes [Page 321] concerning that point. 2. His reasons directly proving (as he believes, that no church of one denomination can be infallible) and therefore not the Catholique Church. 3. His proofs that Catholiques in their resolution of Faith are entangled in circles and, absurdities. 4. His arguments to demonstrate that Catho­liques can have no assurance, either of the au­thority of the church, or the validity of any acts performed by the Pastors thereof, &c. But before I attempt a discussion of these particu­lars, I may in generall say of all his objections, that since they proceed only against the word Infallibility, and that word extended to the utmost height and latitude that it can possibly bear, Catholiques, as such, are not at all con­cerned in them, seeing neither is that expression to be found in any received Councell, nor did ever the Church enlarge her authority to so vast a widenesse as Mr. Chillingworth either con­ceived; or at least, for his particular advantage against his adversary, thought good to make show, as if he conceived so.

2. But come we to consider his arguments against Catholiques, grounded upon the diffe­rent opinions among them in what subject this Infallibility or authority is to be placed. The most pressing and pertinent passage in his book concerning this subject is this which follows, viz. What shall we say now if you be not agreed touching your pretended means of agreement? How can you pretend to unity either actuall or potentiall more then Protestants may? Some of you say the Pope alone without a Councell may determine all controversies, but others [Page 322] deny it. Some that a Generall Councell with­out a Pope may do so, others deny this. Some, both inconjunction are infallible determiners, others againe deny this. Lastly, some among you hold the acceptation of the decrees of Councells by the universall Church to be the only way to decide controversies, which others deny by denying the Church to be infallible. And indeed what way of ending controver­sies can this be, when either part may pretend that they are part of the Church, and they re­ceive not the decree, therefore the whole Church hath not received it? Mr. Chil. c. 3. parag. 6.

3. Hereto I answer. 1. That there is indeed no need at all of an answer, since the very ob­jection answers it self: for by saying there are variety of opinions among Catholiques, ac­knowledged for such even while they differ, it follows that the objector is not obliged to sub­mit to that Judge which any Catholique refu­ses. 2. None of these will deny that decision of the Councell of Trent, viz. Ecclesiae est judi­ [...]are de vero sensu sacrae Scripturae, (that is,) It belongs to the Church to judge of the true sense of holy Scripture: And Protestants will not be urged to submit to any more rigid or higher expression. 3. Yea moreover, this in­dulgence, I am confident, will be granted them, namely, That no man will endeavour to oblige them further then to doctrines and practises determined by one or more Councells univer­sall, confirmed by the Pope, and actually recei­ved and accepted by all Catholiques, that is as much as to say, to believe that there is indeed [Page 323] an obliging authority in the Catholike Church, to impose upon her children a belief of all do­ctrines proposed in her Oecumenicall Councells, let this authority be limited and streightned with as many Proviso's, and the sense of these doctrines enlarged and qualified with as many mollifying interpretations, as any approved Catholike Doctor hath thought good, that is in­deed as any reasonable man remaining so can desire; only upon condition, that they do not prejudice nor grate upon the pure simple lan­guage, wherein the Church expresses her self, Christians are at liberty what particular Do­ctors sense they like to embrace, or whether none at all, but will content themselves with the naked decisions of the Church as they lye, without making inferences, or building thereon further conclusions.

CHAP. XLI.

His reasons proving no Church of one de­nomination to be infallible, answered.

1. IN the second place we will weigh his rea­sons to prove that no Church of one de­nomination is infallible, and by consequence no Church at all. His words are, after he had said that he was willing upon courtesie to grant that Christ made a promise (absolute) of inde­fectibility to his Church,Mr. Chil. c. 2. parag. 139. &c. 3. per tot. &c. but [Page 324] be interprets it only in this sense, viz. That true Religion shall never be so far driven out of the world, but that it shall alwaies have some where or other some that believe and pro­fesse it in all things necessary to salvation, and that such believers shall never erre in funda­mentalls, for if they did, they were not a Church. But he denyes utterly that there is any Church fit to be a guide in fundamen­talls, because no Church is fit to be a Guide but onely a Church of some certaine denomi­nation, as the Greek, the Roman, the Abys­sine, &c. For, sayes he, otherwise no man can possibly know which is the true Church but by a pre-examination of the doctrine controverted, and that were not to be guided by the Church to the true doctrine, but by the true do­ctrine to the Church. Now, sayes he, that there is not any Church of one denomination infallible in fundamnntalls is evident: for 1. If it were an infallible guide in funda­mentalls, she would be infallible in all things which she proposes and requires to be belie­ved. 2. That being a point of so m [...]n conse­quence, certainly the Scripture would have na­med that Church. 3. Because Catholiques themselves build the assurance of the churches infallibility onely upon motives very credi­ble, but not certain. Lastly, beeause it is evi­dent, and even to impudence it selfe undenia­ble, that upon this ground of believing all things taught by the present church as taught by Christ, errour was held. For example, the necessity of giving the Eucharist to Infants, and that in S. Augustines time, and that by [Page 325] S. Augustine himself; and therefore without controversie this is no certain ground for truth which may support falshood as well as truth. The same may be said of the doctrine of the Chiliasts, which S. Irenaeus and S. Justin Mar­tyr say was a traditionary doctrine from the A­postles times, &c.

2. To answer this discourse by parcells: And first concerning his exposition of Christ's promise of indefectibility to his Church, it ha's been answered in more then one place already. 2. Where he sayes, that there is no Church fit to be a guide in fundamentalls: I desire to know whether those whom Christ ha's appointed in his church to be Overseers ( [...]) Teachers ( [...]) Governors & Assistants [...] &c.) be not fit to be accounted guides, at least in Fundamentalls? Againe, whether an agreement of all these Governours meet­ing in a Generall Councell be not the su­premest authority? Thirdly, whether that au­thority which is indeed supreme, be not unap­pealable from, and necessarily to be submitted to by all particular subordinate persons? To say such persons have no authority to be Guides, is to contradict expresse Scripture: And to say that there can be a subordination of authority without one that is supreme: Or that that which is indeed supreme, may by particulars (persons, or churches) be op­posed, or so much as appealed from, is to con­tradict not onely what is assumed, but evident reason, and all order. 3. Where it is said, That no Church is fit to be a Guide in Funda­mentalls, [Page 326] but only a Church of one denomina­tion, as Greek, Roman, Abyssine, &c. For o­therwise no man can possibly know which is the true Church, but only by a pre-examination of the doctrines, and that were not to be guided by the Church to the true doctrine, but by the true doctrine to the Church. I answer, That a Catholique Church there is (as we profess in the Creed) and that this Catholique Church is visible and easily to be designed, plainly distin­quishable from new Sects and innovating con­gregations; and that this body representatively united is the supreme authority on earth, and that every particular Church or member of this Catholique Church, as such, is a sufficient guide to those that live in her Communion. As concerning his phrase, a Church of one deno­mination; I grant that God ha's not apparent­ly obliged himself to confine his Promises to any particular Dioecose, Province, or Nation, no not perhaps even to Rome it self: Only this may certainly be affirmed, that the Catholique Church shall by vertue of Christs promises continue to the worlds end a visible Church, teaching all substantiall doctrines of Christia­nity, guided by a lawfull succession of Pastors, under one visible Head, which visible Head ha's hitherto for above sixteen Centuries been the Bishop of Rome; and that is a fair presumpti­on that it will be so to Christs second coming: for I know nothing but a generall earthquake there and swallowing up of that place that is likely to hinder such a succession, since it ha's already abidden all variety of oppositions and tempests, when the whole power of the Roman [Page 327] and infernall Empire sought to extinguish it, and when all sorts of Heretiques and Schisma­tiques sought to undermine it. But I shall speak more of this when I come to the last conclusion, concerning the perpetuall visibility of the Church.

4. In the fourth place, to his first proofe, that no Church of one denomination can be an infallible guide in fundamentalls, because if so, then she should be infallible in non-funda­mentalls also. I answer, that even by Mr. Chil­lingworth's own confession it does not follow that if Christ hath promised to preserve his church from all errour in fundamentalls, that therefore by vertue of that promise she should be exempted from all errour whatsoever, and the reason given by Mr. Chillingworth is worth the marking. The Church, sayes he, may erre, and yet the gates of hell not prevaile against her: for seeing you (Catholiques) do and must grant that a particular Church may hold some errour, and yet be still a true member of the Church; Why may not the universall Church bold the same errour, and yet remain the uni­versall Church, unlesse every the least errour be one of the gates of hell?

5. And indeed many Catholique Writers there are, who, upon the same grounds with Mr. Chillingworth, extend the promise of the holy Spirits assistance to the church, not to all inconsiderable circumstantiall doctrines, but substantiall and traditionary only; And for a further proof we may add, that there are some Fathers of great antiquity and authority, who hold (whether justly and truly or no, I debate [Page 328] not, but they hold) that there are reall differen­ces between the four Evangelists, in some cir­cumstances of no considerable moment related by them, and by consequence there must of ne­cessity in their opinion be an errour, such as it is, in some one of them at l [...]ast: The which in­considerable differences, whether reall or ima­ginary, there being an exact demonstrable a­greement amongst them all in points of Do­ctrine, do rather in S. Chrysostomes judgement (in Mat. Hom. 1) establish then invalidate, or any way prejudice the divine infallibility of their writings; since thereby it is apparent (sayes he) that they did not compose them by consent and conspiracy; for then they would have been scrupulously punctuall in all, even the smallest circumstances, but in the ingenuous simplicity and sincerity of their hearts. In like manner S. Hierome tells us, that in his time some learned Catholiques were of opinion, that the Apostles and Evangelists in the New Te­stament quoted some passages of the old Testa­ment, and the Septuagint meerly out of their memory, not looking into the books them­selves, and that by that means their memory failing, their quotations were not exactly true, yet notwithstanding those Fathers were far from questioning the authority or infallibility of any one of the Evangelists, as concerning a­ny substantiall doctrine contained in any of their Gospells, &c. So likewise in the Latin Translation of the Bible, there are not only differences of senses from Originalls, Hebrew, or Greek now extant, not only great and un­certain variety of reading in the antient Latin [Page 329] Copies, but likewise, as the Protestants brag, very great diversity between the Impressions published by the Authority of Pope Sixtus Quintus and Clemens Octavus, since the Councell of Trent (wherein notwithstanding they are mistaken, for though Sixtus Quintus had design'd an Impression, and prepared a Bull for the authorizing of it, yet God took him a­way before he effected his intent, thereby as it were, signifying that it was his pleasure to take away from Heretiques all seeming advantages against his Church. But though this had been as the Protestants imagine, surely a more cor­rected reimpression does not imply that the Church wanted the true Scripture, since none of such differences are of such considerable mo­ment, as to cause any uncertainty in points of Doctrine. For I conceive it was never heard that any errour was grounded meerly upon a various reading of any Text of Scripture.) But to proceed, certain it is that there were much greater differences between the antient Italica and other Latin Translations of the antient Church and this of S. Hierome; as likewise yet greater between the Septuagint and the He­brew; and yet neither do the Apostles refuse to quote some passages out of the Septuagint, wherein the Translation is manifestly faulty, however in a matter inconsiderable: neither will any Catholique affirm that the promise of the holy Spirits assistance did fail the antient Church, although it only made use of a Tran­slation of the Scripture very imperfect, if com­pared with S. Hieromes; no not though upon such differences of reading it were possible to [Page 330] ground doctrines which might be circumstanti­ally erroneous: It is true, such doctrines would be of no considerable moment; but how­ever they might be erroneous, yet without any prejudice to Christs promises to his Church. So that the Church, even when she does upon supposition erre, yet she does not even then lead any man out of the way to heaven, or within the danger of hell gates; seeing the promises of Christ are infallible that his Spirit shall con­duct, or rather preserve his Church in the be­lief and profession of all truths, at least necessa­ry: and as for points supernumerary or unne­cessary, neither unwilfull ignorance, nor una­voidable mistake shall be imputed as sinfull to any man.

6. To the second proof, viz. That if the promise of infallibility had been made to any Church of one denomination, certainly the Scripture would have named that Church, and have directed all Christians to have recourse unto her, it being a point of so main impor­tance. I answer, 1. The inference is not at all concluding, as I shewed before in the first con­clusion. 2. The Scripture ha's expressely men­tioned such promises made to the Church, and if we will follow either reason or Catholique Tradition interpreting Scripture, we must at least apply those promises to the whole body and succession of the Catholique Church uni­ted under one Head; since no particular man or Church, considered only as a distinct member of the whole can pretend to these promises as peculiarly applicable to themselves. Now this whole body was as apparent and distinguishable [Page 331] from particular sects in the times of S. Augustine and S. Gregory, as if it had been a Church of one denomination, since they framed all their arguments and discourses from the apparent vi­sibility of it: and surely to any one that would not shut his eyes, would have appeared as clear and demonstrable in Luthers time also.

7. To the third proof of Mr. Chillingworth, viz. That Catholiques build their assurance of the infallibility of the Church only upon falli­ble and uncertain grounds and marks. I an­swer, that I have made the contrary appear in severall places before, demonstrating that it is grounded upon the most firm unshaken foun­dation that reason can have, viz. Universall Tradition, by which it is more effectually pro­ved then any particular book of Scripture hath been.

8. To his last proof against the Churches infallibility from his two examples, wherein the Church is said to have erred universally in points pretended to be of Tradition, as name­ly, about the giving the blessed Sacrament to Infants, mentioned by S. Augustine; and the doctrine of the Millenaries; by S. Justin Mar­tyr and S. Irenaeus. For the first example, I re­fer my self to the satisfactory answer given by Cardinall Perron to the same objection made by King James. Perr. repl. l. 2. obs. 3. c. 11. 2. Concerning the other example of the do­ctrine of the Millenaries, &c. I answer, that S. Justin Martyr (dial. cum Trypho.) saith not that it was a Catholique Tradition, nor received by the whole Church, but only of himself, and many other Christians; but withall, that there [Page 332] were many also who were of a pure and pious Christian beliefe which did not acknowledge it. And when all that could be alledged to prove that doctrine to have been an Aposto­lique Tradition, was said, the proof ended up­on the report of Papias, a very credulous man, one that loved to tell stories, many of which could not find belief in the Church, a man meanely learned, and by consequence one that might very probably mistake what he sayes S. John told him concerning that point.

CHAP. XLII.

An answer to Mr. Chillingworth's ob­jection of circles and absurdities to the resolution of Faith of Catho­liques.

1. A Third rank of arguments with which Mr. Chillingworth combats the in­fallibility of the Church, is grounded upon the absurdities, Meanders and circles, which he sayes most unavoidably follow the resolution of the faith of Catholiques. Let us hear the sum of his allegations in his own words, (cap. 2. 118. 119.) For Gods sake (Sir) tell me plainly, in those Texts of Scripture which you alledge for the infallibility of your Church, do not you allow what sense you think true, and disallow the contrary? and do you not this by the dire­ction of your private reason? if you do, why do [Page 333] you condemn it in others? If you do not, I pray what direction do you follow? Or whether you follow none at all? If none at all, this is like drawing Lots, or throwing dice for the choice of a Religion: If any other, I beseech you tell me what it is. Perhaps you will say, the churches authority; and that will be to dance finely in a round thus; To believe the Churches infallible authority, because the Scriptures a­vouch it; and to believe that Scriptures say and mean so, because they are so expounded by the Church. Is not this for a Father to beget his son, and the son to beget his Father? For a foundation &c. The Church you say is in­fallible; I am very doubtfull of it. How shall I know it? The Scripture you say affirmes it, as in the 59. of Esay, My Spirit that is in thee, &c. Well I confesse I find there these words, but I am still doubtfull whether they be spoken of the Church of Christ: and if they be, whether they meane as you pretend. You say, the Church sayes so, which is infallible. Yea but that is the question, and therefore not to be begged, but proved: nei­ther is it so evident as to need no proof; other­wise why brought you this Text to prove it? Nor is it of such a strange quality above all o­ther Propositions, as to be able to prove it self. What then remains, &c. But Universal Tradi­tion (you say, and so do I too) is of it self credible, and that ha's in all ages taught the churches infallibility with full consent. But that it ha's, I hope you would not have me take upon your word; for that were to build my self upon the Church, and the Church upon you. Let then [Page 334] the Tradition appear; for a secret Tradition is somewhat like a silent Thunder. You will per­haps produce &c.

2. For answer hereto: 1. If Mr. Chilling­worth's adversary had grounded the doctrine of the Churches authority meerly and only up­on Texts of Scripture capable of contrary senses, there might have been just ground for Mr. Chillingworth to have pleased himself, as he oft does, in insulting thus on him, and in­tangling him thus in his circles: But Mr. Chil­lingworth himself absolves him toward the lat­ter end of the former passage, where he sayes; But universall Tradition (you say, and so do I too) is of it selfe credible, and that ha's in all ages taught the Churches infallibility, &c. Whereby he shews clearly that his ad­versary, though he serves himself, (as reasona­bly he may and ought) of some Texts of Scripture to fortifie the Traditionary doctrine of the Churches authority, yet makes not those Texts understood in his own sense his onely foundation, but universall Tradition, which is the proper foundation even of the credibility of Scripture it self; and therefore all Mr. Chil­lingworth's inferences and retortions do not, even in his own opinion, in any degree wound, nor so much as incommodate his adversary.

3. Secondly I answer, that whatsoever argu­ments have been or can be made by Prote­stants against the manner of Resolution of Ca­tholique Faith, do not touch the Church at all; since she ha's not intermedled in that Scholasti­call nicety of the Resolution of Faith: If par­ticular men to exercise their wits, and to boast [Page 335] their subtilty, do busie themselves in this last in­quisitive age about such curiosities, undebated and unheard of among the antient Doctors of the church, what is that to the church her self, or her Traditionary doctrines, which were pro­posed and believed before that new language of the schools was invented?

4. But thirdly to demonstrate that Prote­stants do vainly flatter themselves in supposed advantages against Catholiques about this point of Resolution of Faith, I will endeavour as briefly and as perspiouously as I can to set down the state of that controversie, which when I have done, I believe that without any further trouble, it will justifie it self not to be obnoxious to those circles and absurdities which Protestants charge upon it.

5. Now for a preparation thereto, I will lay down these grounds, viz. 1. That that is the thing into which we say Faith is last resolved, which is the prime motive or authority for whose sake we believe. 2. In all kinds of belief the prime authority which deserves Faith must have two qualities, viz. Knowledge and veracity. 3. In divine Faith the prime autho­rity is alwaies the prime Verity, or God. 4. In divine Revelations we are to distinguish the faith or assent which we give to the truth reveal­ed from the knowledge or assent to the Revela­tion, or act of revealing. 5. In immediate divine Revelations we believe the truth it self for the authority of the revealer or relator him­self, which is God: and we assent to the reve­lation, having a certain knowledge thereof, either by the help of our senses externall and [Page 336] internall, or without them immediately by our understanding. 6. But if divine revelations be conveyed to us by a second hand, that is, by the report of others, yet then faith is not resol­ved into the conveying authority, but into the prime. 7. To make faith by vertue of the prime authority certain or firm, I must have assurance of the certitude of this conveying hand, that is, not only that this conveying hand did re­ceive those revealed truths, but the true sense of them likewise, and withall was not subject to errour in the propagating of them.

6. Having laid these grounds, we will make application of them to the present purpose in a few examples. The first shall be of a revela­tion made by God immediately either by ex­presse language, or dreams, or visions, or the Oracle of Urim, &c. (for all these are of the same nature, as much as concerns certainty) as when God revealed to the Prophet Isaiah the mystery of the Conception of the Messiah of a pure Virgin: In this case the Prophet (it is to be supposed) was assured by a certain know­ledge, that this revelation was reall, and not imaginary: so that he believed the truth re­vealed with a most firm faith for the authority of God the prime verity, whom he knew to be the revealer; for if he had not assuredly known this, he could not have adhered firmly to the mystery; though in it selfe never so true and infallible. A second example shall be of an immediate revelation also, but yet somewhat of a different nature from the for­mer, viz. Of our Saviour teaching the Jewes [Page 337] that he was the Messiah, the eternall Sonne of God, and confirming this truth by divine Mi­racles. In all outward appearance he seemed to be but a man, and therefore what he taught could not be the object of divine Faith, neither could his hearers have assurance of his autho­rity, unlesse they were assured of the truth of his miracles. A third example shall be of the same revealed truth, viz. That Christ was the Messiah, &c. but proposed to persons living in the second or third ages after that time, by those, who either were themselves eye-witnesses, or received it from those that were. In this case the persons, living in the second or third age, if they had not certitude that those that told them this did not lye, could not with a faith ration­ally firm and certaine, assent to those truths. But certain they might be, and most undoubt­edly were: and the grounds of this certainty were, as I have largely shewed before, a certain knowledge both that they all heard these and all other substantiall truths of Christiani­ty from their Ancestors, as a Tradition Uni­versall (whether written or no, it matters not) and that it was as impossible, that all their an­cestours all the world over should conspire to seduce them with a lie, as that their own eyes and ears should deceive them In all these exam­ples there is the same resolution of Faith; for both the immediate witnesses of these revelations and their successors do resolve their faith in these su­pernaturall truths finally and only into the au­thority of the prime verity; For if any of them should be asked, Why do you believe that Christ is the eternall Son of God? They would [Page 338] all answer, because God ha's so revealed, nei­ther could they proceed any further: But if they were asked, how are you certain that there was such a divine revelation? the immediate wit­nesses would say, We saw and heard Christ him­self publishing these truths, and with a world of stupendious miracles confirming them: And their successours would say, we receive the same truth by an Universall Tradition, not only in it self, and of it self credible, and in a high de­gree certain, but such an one as ha's more ad­vantages to demonstrate its certainty, then any other that ever was. Now what ha's been spo­ken of the second and third ages, may upon the same grounds be verified of the fourth, fifth, and all following to the worlds end. And like­wise what hath been exemplified in one or two supernaturall truths revealed, may be extended to all the substantiall points of Christianity, all which, as I before demonstrated, arrive un­to us by the same conveying hand of Universall Tradition by severall wayes, as writing, publike profession and practise propagated.

7. Now among these truths or doctrines coming by Universall Tradition, (and for that reason believed most assuredly by all Catholique Christians, and by consequence most certaine and indubitable) one principall one is the au­thority of the present Church, considered not as a relator only, but as authorized by Christ to teach this and all other doctrines, so as to ob­lige all men to belief and obedience: Which speciall doctrine, though it were only testified in Scripture (as it is evidently enough) were sufficient against those that acknowledge only [Page 339] Scripture for their rule: yet we are certain of the truth of this doctrine by the former Rule, which can neither fail us, neither can we be mi­staken in it, viz. Because it is universally be­lieved in the present church, as a doctrine Tra­ditionary; and moreover it is attested by all antient Records of the Fathers of the church, nemine explicite contradicente, and it ha's been practised by Councells in all ages, not one Catholique renouncing his obedience; In so much as to my understanding there is not one Christian doctrine delivered with so full an as­surance, nor in the sense and meaning whereof it is lesse possible for a man to be mistaken. Now by vertue of this speciall truth of the churches authority Universall Tradition (which of it self is most credible and certain) being be­lieved and attested by the present church, be­comes most necessary to be believed by us, the Church supplying the place not only of a wit­nesse, but of an Embassadour likewise instru­cted and employed by Christ himself (as S. Au­gustine most effectually maintains) so that in believing and obeying her, we believe and obey Christ himself, according to Christs own ex­pression, He that heareth you heareth me, and, If any one heareth not the Church, let him be to thee as a Heathen and a Publican. And there­fore they that believe Christian doctrines only, because they think they find them in the Scrip­ture, and believe the Scripture only, because their reason or fancy (which they miscall the testimony of Gods Spirit) tells them that it is the Word of God, though the doctrines them­selves believed by them be true, yet it is a hazard, [Page 340] as to them whether they be so or no, or how­ever whether that be the sense of them or no, it being all one, as if a man by some casual­ty had found a transcribed copy of some part of an Embassadors Pattent or instructions: Whereas Catholiques receive the commands of their heavenly King and Master from his Embassadours own hands, which not only will not conceale any thing necessary or requisite from them, but likewise will be able upon oc­casion to cleare all manner of difficulties that may arise about the sense of the said instructi­ons or Patent, having received glorious promi­ses of continuall residence among us, and of divine assistance to preserve him from any, at least dangerous error.

8. These things thus supposed, Mr. Chil­lingworth's pretended circles and absurdities in the Resolution of Catholique Faith doe clearly and evidently vanish: For a Catholique does not only or chiefly believe the Churches authority, because to his priva [...]e understanding and reason the Scripture seems to say so: but because he knows that the present Catholique Church teacheth so, both by profession and pra­ctise; and that she teacheth this as a Catholike Tradition, believed and practised in all ages; then which it is impossible there should be any testimony more assured and infallible; so that if a man can be sure of any thing done before his own times (as all reasonable men do agree that one may) he cannot avoid being most sure of this, if his passion or interests do not hinder him from searching into the grounds of it. I need not therefore particularly give an answer [Page 341] to Mr. Chillingworth's discourse before produ­ced, since it wholly proceeds upon a mistake of his adversaries, and other Catholiques grounds; and since himself in the close of it seemes to confesse, by objecting to himselfe Universall Tradition, that if this doctrine of the Churches authority could be made appear to be grounded upon Catholike Tradition, it would be as much credible, as if the Scripture had expresly testifi­ed it (since in his opinion the Scripture it selfe, and nothing besides, enjoyes its authority, be­cause it is delivered by Universall Tradition) and by consequence would not be lyable to any circles or absurdities. So that truly I wonder why (seeing Mr. Chillingworth could not be ignorant that Catholiques do generally pretend that this doctrine comes from Tradition, be­sides the proofs of it out of Scripture) he should notwithstanding dispute against it, as if there were no other ground for it, but two or three questionable passages of Script [...]re.

CHAP. XLIII.

An answer to Mr. Chillingworth's al­legations of pretended uncertain­ties and casualties in the grounds of the faith and salvation of Catho­liques.

1. THere is in Mr. Chillingworth's book a­nother rank of objections, which though they do not directly combat the churches (infallibility, or) authority, yet they had great effect upon me, because they seemed to in­fer that the faith and salvation likewise of Ca­tholiques depended upon extreme uncertainties and casualties, and by consequence that a Ca­tholique could not give any assurance that his faith was safely grounded. For thus he ar­gues (c. 2. parag. 63. ad. 68.) The salvation of many millions of Papists (as they suppose and teath) depends upon their having the Sacra­ment of Penance duly administred to them: This again upon the Ministers being a true Priest, which is a thing that depends upon many uncertain and very contingent supposalls, As 1. That he was baptized with due matter. 2. With due forme. 3. With due intention. 4. That the Bishop which ordained him Priest, ordained him likewise with due form, intenti­on, &c. 5. That that Bishop himselfe was a person fitly qualified to give orders, that is, was no Simoniake, &c. 6. That all that Bi­shops Progenitors were fitly qualified: and so [Page 343] till he arrive to the fountain of Priesthood. Now he that shall put together, and maturely consider all the possible wayes of lapsing and nullifying a Priesthood in the Church of Rome, I believe, saith he, will be very inclinable to believe, that in an hundred seeming Priests, there is not one true one. But suppose this in­convenience assoyled, yet still the difficulty will remain whether he will pronounce the absolving words with intent to absolve you; for perhaps he may be a secret Jew, Moor, or Antitrinita­rian; which if he be, then his intention, which is necessary to the validity of a Sacrament, will be wanting, &c.

2. Hereto I answer. 1 That such kind of pretended uncertainties or nullities in particu­lars, do not prejudice the authority and stabi­lity of the church in generall, but that if it be true, which ha's alwayes been believed in the church, viz. That Christ ha's promised to continue till the worlds end a church governed by lawfull Pastors, and preserved in all truth, he will engage his omnipotency to make good his fidelity, and by consequence he will take care to prevent or remedy all obstacles that can be imagined to be otherwise able to evacu­ate such his promises: and I suppose two such Attributes of Christ are a foundation strong enough to build a faith not obnoxious to such a world of casualties, as Mr. Chillingworth suspects. 2. That Mr. Chillingworth's whole discourse proceeds upon a mistake of the e­stablished doctrine of the Catholique Church, which ha's not declared all those things to be nullities, nor any of them in the sense that he [Page 344] alledges. It is true in the Canon law, and a­mong C [...]suists there are mentioned many nul­lities of Orders and other Sacraments, as Si­mony, or Heresie, or Schisme are said to nulli­fie the Ordination of a Bishop or Priest: But how to nullifie it, by taking away the Cha­racter wholly? No. But the Church to shew her detestation of those sins suspends the autho­rity of exercising those Offices from any one that is guilty of those sinnes; and likewise from those that are ordained by such Simoni­call or Hereticall Bishops, till they have given satisfaction to the Church: And therefore in that moderate judgement of Pope Melchiades, (so much commended by S. Augustine Ep. 162.) when he decreed, that if the Donatists would return to the Catholique Communion, their Bishops, if the more antient in any City, should be acknowledged the lawfull Bishops of such a City, or if the younger should succeed upon the first vacancy, there was no mention made of a reordination of such Hereticall or Schismaticall Bishops, or of any Priests made by them. 3. It is not true, that the salvation of Catholiques doth absolutely depend upon the Sacrament of Penance law­fully administred: For though it be necessary to the being of the Church in generall, that that and all other Sacraments be lawfully admi­nistred, and by consequence we may be assu­red, that Christ will in generall prevent all reall wants and obstacles thereto: yet it is not necessary that this should be affirmed of each Catholique in particular: For to Christians which are adulti, that is, capable of the exer­cise [Page 345] of Faith, Hope and Charity, even actuall Baptisme lawfully administred is not absolutely necessary, for in such persons the Votum Bap­tismi will supply all wants or defects impossible to be avoided; and much more certainly will the same Votum serve for other Sacraments, as the Eucharist, Penance, &c. 4. Concerning intention, which the church in the Councell of Florence (in Instr. Arm.) and in the Councell of Trent (Sess. 7. ca. 11.) ha's indeed defined to be a necessary requisite to denominate a Sa­crament to be lawfully administred in these words of the Councell of Florence; Sacraments are perfected by three things, the Matter, Form and Person of the Minister conferring the Sacraments, with an intention of doing what the church doth; of which if any one be wanting, the Sacrament is not perfected. And these of the Councell of Trent, If any man shall say, That in Ministers when they admini­ster the Sacraments there is not required an in­tention at least of doing what the church doth, let him be Anathema. Mr. Chillingworth might, and I am confident did know, that the Intention required was such an one as might be found even in Pagans, Heretiques, Jewes. &c. administring Baptisme, so they do it, as executing the Office hypocritically intruded in­to by them in the due form, and with a right pronunciation of the words of the church, al­though in the mean time in the secret of their hearts they did renounce, deride and detest that Sacrament, and all the efficacy ascribed to it, as appears by the Decisions of antient Councells against the Donatists, and the Rescripts of [Page 346] Pope Nicholas the first, and Alexander the third. De consecr. d. 4: cap. à quodam. And hereupon S. Thomas treating of this subject,p. 3. q. 64. à. 8. ad. 2. delivers his sense in these words, Some answer better, sayes he, that the Minister of the Sacrament doth operate in the person of the whole Church, whose Mi­nister he is; and in the words of the church which he pronounctth is expressed the churches intention, the which sufficeth to the perfection of a Sacrament, unlesse there be an outward expression of the contrary on the part of the Minister, or receiver of the Sacrament. Upon which grounds I suppose it was that Salmeron the Jesuite, and Scribonius Marius a learned Franciscan, highly esteemed by Cardinall Perron, (besides some antient Schoolmen) do after this manner with a far greater latitude then generally Controvertists or Schoolmen doe allow,Salm. in Ep. Paul. l. 1. p. 1. disp. 2. scrib. Mar. de Sacr. disp. 1. endeavour to ex­presse their sense of S. Thomas, and the Decrees of those two Councells, viz That in the Mi­nister there may be a twofold intention. 1. Meerly speculative, inwrap'd in the secrets of his heart, and of which no outward sign does appear, nor indeed no sufficient one can; of this intention the church judgeth not. 2. Pra­cticall, which relates to the outward act; and is thereby really accomplished: The former, say these Authors (unlesse the church shall de­fine the contrary, as hitherto to their seeming she ha's not) can neither profit nor prejudice [Page 347] in conferring Sacraments: If it be an ill, ma­litious intention, it may help to damn the per­son, but it will not hinder the validity of the Sacrament, nor the efficacy of it. The later practicall intention, is that which is only to be considered here. As a servant that is sent by his Master to deliver possession of a house, if he really perform the legall ceremonies, and pronounce the words requisite, whatsoever thoughts of unwillingnesse, reluctancy or con­tradiction lurk in his breast, the delivery will be valid. And truly it seems not intelligible, how it can be possible for a Minister, as a Mi­nister of the Church, not compell'd by force, nor drawn by promises, that knows what he does, and clearly shews that he will do what he knows, should as the church commands him, with all due formality perform a Sacrament, and yet at the same time intend or resolve not to do what he does: He may possibly have in his wicked heart inward wishes that the Sacra­ment might want effect, or a misbelief that the Sacrament is nothing valuable, but a meer su­perstitious, vain or noxious ceremony. But as for the thoughts by which performing a Sacra­ment he would endeavour to intend not to doe that which he intends to do, such thoughts seem to be meer aeriall fancies. Indeed if he shew his contradiction or intention by any outward sign by which it may be judged, that though he observe all the requisite formalities, yet he in­tends them meerly in a mockery, as if an Actor upon a Stage should personate the conferring a Sacrament, and much more if he neglect the due form of words. He will thereby declare that [Page 348] really, that is not a Sacrament which he per­formes, but a meer mockery and malitious scornfull Pageantry. Those learned, and as yet uncensured Authors, therefore (whose opi­nions I do here relate only historically) do conceive the meaning of the church in the forementioned Decisions to be only this, viz. That it is requisite to Sacraments that they be onely this, viz. that they be not admi­nistred jestingly, histrionically and ridicu­lously, but after such a manner that it may rea­sonably be judged, that he who administers them intends to perform his duty and office imposed on him by the church; that is, to per­form and confer a Sacrament, and not to play the fool: Not that the church ever intended that the Sacraments should be valid or null, according to the inward fancies of the admini­strer, or that it should be in the power of an a­theisticall or malitious Bishop or Priest to damn all his Diocese and Parish. And for a further proof of this, it is observeable, that even at the very time when this Article concerning the necessity of intention was debated and conclu­ded in the Councell of Trent, Catharinus Bi­shop of Minori declared openly this sense of that Article against certain disputing School­men, and during the sitting of the Councell, published a book to the same effect, no man censuring or condemning him; Although in­deed his manner of expression was far more unwary, and more approaching to the sense of the Lutherans and Calvinists then the fore­cited Authors, Salmeron, and Scribonius Ma­rius; the further fitnesse of which opinion I [Page 349] leave to the judgement of the Catholique Reader, my intention being only to make a Narration of what I was told or did read in others.

3. And these are the principall arguments produced by Mr. Chillingworth against the infallibility (as he loves to call it) of the Church; at least such of them as had the greatest effect upon me, during my time of Protestancy, to hinder me from submit­ting my selfe to the authority of the Catho­lique Church, or indeed to any authority at all, as obliging in conscience; which argu­ments (when I came to examine them) ap­peared to me in generall, not to touch the established doctrine thereof at all. Whe­ther they were of greater force against his par­ticular aduersary, it concerned not me, nei­ther had I commission or authority to exa­mine.

4. It is not my purpose in this Narration to give particular answers [...]to all his objections: Onely this I professe, that I doe neither remember any one through his whole book, which formerly had any strong influence upon me, nor (since my be­coming a Catholique, after not a perfunctory per-usuall of it) have I met with any, which to mine own understanding, upon the grounds by me formerly laid, doe not seeme to me easily answerable. And I am confident, that if any Protestant shall apply Mr. Chil­lingworth's discourses to the established do­ctrine and expressions of the Catholike Church, he will acknowledge that, notwithstanding [Page 350] any thing said by him, this may remain true, That the Catholique Church hath authority to propose points of Faith, and to interpret Scri­ptures; and that no particular Churches or Christians may or ought to contradict or refuse to submit to her determinations and interpre­tations. Insomuch, as if Mr. Chillingworth had been so fortunate as to have undertaken no more then to examine the doctrine of the church, he would scarce have made use of, and much lesse would he have relyed so confidently upon the strength of any of those arguments which he ha's produced against his adversaries Positions: He must have been forced either to acknowledge the truth of the churches doctrine, or have put himself to the trouble of inventing other kind of arguments, then any I could yet meet with, either in his, or any other Prote­stants writings.

CHAP. XLIV.

Dangerous consequences of Protestants doctrine against the authority of the Church.

1. I Will at length put an end to this tedious (but that it is so necessary) discourse up­on this second conclusion concerning the Judge of Controversies, and authoritative interpreter of Scripture, by shewing, among many, some speciall enormous and unavoidable consequen­ces of the doctrine of Protestants concerning [Page 351] this point, who refuse, yea oppose the consent of the present and antient Catholique Church, propounding doctrines of Faith, and interpre­ting Scripture, and submit to their own particu­lar reason, or private Spirit.

2. The first is an impossibility of Unity, yea though reason were suffered to proceed simply without mixture of passion and interest, as ex­perience and reason it self shews, and it hath been already proved.

3. The second, an evident contradiction to Universall Antiquity, which will not afford one example of any Catholique Writer, that either hath affirmed, that in interpreting Scri­pture every man is to follow the guidance of his own reason or private Spirit, against the autho­rity of the present church; or that hath himself refused, or taught others to refuse upon any pretence to submit to the determinations of the present Catholique Church.

4. The third is, that if the universall testi­mony of the present church, either by her pub­lique profession and practise, or in her decisions in a Generall Councel do not indispensably ob­lige all Christians to obedience upon this pre­tended exception that no expresse mention is made in Scripture of such an unlimited power given to any church of one denomination; then it will follow, that those churches and Coun­cells which have assumed to themselves this au­thority to exact subscription to any decisions of any doctrines, other then expresse quotations of Scripture to be understood by every one, according to his own fancy, and that hath ac­cursed all gainsayers, are guilty of insupporta­ble [Page 352] uncharitablenesse, injustice, and tyranny: Upon which grounds all Protestants are obli­ged to anathematize the four first Generall Councells, as well as all the rest which follow, yea above all other the Councell of Nice, since therein were anathematized all those that did not subscribe to an expression of one Article of Faith, which notwithstanding those Fa­thers acknowledged to be so far from being contained expressely in Scripture, that the word [...](which occasioned so many Tragedies) was not so much as of Tradition, but only invented by them, as proper to oppose the Heresie of the Arians, and to expresse the sense of the Traditionary doctrine of Christs eternall Divinity and equality with the Fa­ther.

5. The fourth is, that upon Protestants grounds it is impossible they should rationally call any doctrine Heresie, or any separation Schisme, without condemning themselves: For concerning Heresie, if they, following the antient Church, define Heresie to be a re­linquishing or opposing the belief of any do­ctrine generally professed in the Catholique Church, or defined by a lawfull Couucell, they will include themselves within the lists of Heretiques, since if for severall ages before Luther, there were either any Churches Ca­tholique, or any authority to make a lawfull assembly; they have done apparently the same. But defining, as they do, Heresie to be a con­tradiction of a Fundamentall Article of the Christian Faith expressely contained in Scri­pture; and not naming, but rather explicitly [Page 353] renouncing any visible Judge authorized to de­termine, whether such or such an Article be to be accounted to be expressely contained there­in against those who deny it, it is impossible to come to an issue between parties contradicting one the other.

6. I will give only two instances in two points acknowledged in England: the first in that great point controverted between the Eng­lish Protestants and the Socinians. The En­glish Protestants call the Socinians Here­tiques, because they deny the eternall Divinity of the second Person in the blessed Trinity, be­cause this is, say they, a fundamentall Article of Christian Faith, and expressely contained in Scripture: But this the Socinians confident­ly deny, yea they professe that the contrary ra­ther is expressely contained in Scripture; for, say they, ‘Neither the word Trinity, nor Per­sonality, nor Consubstantiality, &c. are to be found in Scripture, neither can any Texts be produced, which witnesse in formal words, that the Son is equall to the Father, in respect of the Godhead, yea many Texts expressely say, that he is inferiour. But now what Texts are there to be found so evidently expressing the e­ternall Divinity of the Son of God, as there are for appropriating the Divine Nature to the Father only? (Viz.) these two Texts, This is eternall life to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. And, To us there is but one God, even the Father, and one Lord Jesus Christ.

7. The truth is, if Tradition and the au­thority of the Church be not admitted to [Page 354] interpret Scripture, the Socinians, and other Antitrinitarians cannot by Protestants be condemned as Heretiques upon the pretence of denying expresse Scripture, since if reason alone be judge, those Texts cannot be called express, which may be confronted with others seeming­ly contradicting, or which are capable of a sense, it may be lesse probable, yet so as that without much racking, the words will be able to bear: a case which to have hap'ned in this controversie, every reasonable man will con­fesse, that shall cast his eyes upon the severall positive Texts alledged by Crellius in his book De uno vere Deo. I may add further, that if the universall Tradition of the present Church in the time of the Councell of Nice had not prevailed for the stating of that great contro­versie against the Arians, so many objections those Heretiques heaped together, not only out of Scripture, but likewise out of the writings of such Fathers as preceded that Councell, that perhaps they might have endangered the cause, as will appear to any one that shall cast his eyes upon a world of passages quoted by Here­tiques, out of Clemens Alexandrinus, Ter­tullian, S. Justin Martyr, Origen, Lactanti­us, &c.

8. The Second instance is the Heresie of Re­baptization renewed by the Anabaptists of these times, and in conformity to Antiquity condemned by English Protestants: it is more evident then the Sun, that expresse Scripture a­lone being the Rule, and private reason or Spi­rit the Judge, the Anabaptists cannot upon Protestants grounds be accused either to erre [Page 355] in a point fundamentall, or however in a point fundamentall contained expressely in Scri­pture.

9. In the last place, that upon Protestants grounds no separation among them can justly be called Schisme (in the notion of Antiquity) appears yet more evidently: For among those [...] of S [...] now in England, which abhor and renounce the Communion of one another, 1. There is not any one of them that ha's the assurance to stile themselves the Catholique Church with exclusion of all others not in actu­all Communion with them: Now Schisme is only a separation from the externall Commu­nion of the Catholique Church, at least, if uni­versall antiquity may be allowed to be the judge. 2. There is not any one of them which dares apply to themselves in particular those words of Christ, Tell the Church, and if he will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as a Heathen and a Publican, or those Promi­ses of his, Upon this Rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And, I will send the Comforter which shall lead you into all truth. And, Be­hold I am with you to the end of the world. Now there is no Schisme, but from such a church to which those elogies and promises belong. 3. All the means and remedies left them to deale with those they call Schisma­tiques or Heretiques are, not to excommunicate them in a Generall Councell, as the Catholique Church ha's continually upon occasion done; for what a ridiculo [...]s affembly must that be, to which they should presume to attribute the [Page 356] name of a Generall Councell? And how more ridiculously would an Anathema sound, being fulminated by a Synod of Charenton, or Gappe, or D [...]rt, &c. But their proper course in such cases, is to persecute, imprison, or perhaps burn one another, as Calvin did Servetus; and by this means the weaker and sufferer would be the only Heretique and Schismatique. But of Schisme, more in the following Conclu­sion.

CHAP. XLV.

The third Conclusion.

The point of Shisme slightly considered by Protestants: which notwithstand­ing ought above all others to be chiefly considered.

THE 3d. CONCLUSION, viz.

That there is one only Church of Christ: and that all Heretiques who believe not all Christian doctrines taught in her, and all Schismatiques, who, break­ing the bond of Charity, divide them­selves from her visible and externall Communion, are separated from Christ himself.

1. IN my discourse upon this Conclusion I need not separate Heresie from Schisme, since I do not know any Sect in these times precisely Schismaticall, that is, without any mixture of Heresie, (as the Donatists were in the beginning, who agreed in all doctrines with Catholiques, but separated upon a quar­rell grounded upon a matter of fact. Therefore hereafter when I speak of Schisme, and en­quire upon what party it is to be charged, it is to be supposed that Heresie must accompa­ny it, seeing the foundation of all the present separations among Christians is [...]heir [Page 358] disagreeing in points of faith and do­ctrine.

2. Now though this divine truth, viz. That the true Church of Christ is only one, and by consequence, that an injustifiable separation from it, is in a high degree damnable, be ac­knowledged by all Christians that I know, since it is an expresse article of our Creed, Credo unam sanctam & Catholicam Ecclesiam, that is, I believe one holy Catholike Church; and therefore there may seem to be no necessi­ty to put ones selfe to the trouble of proving it: Notwithstanding I will not refuse that trou­ble to make a collection of quotations, both out of Scripture and Fathers; to the end, both to get a distinct notion of what was antiently understood by this word, Schisme: and to set forth (according to their conceptions) the a­bominablenesse and extreme sinfulnesse of that sin; and this the rather, because a sad medita­tion upon such passages enforced me to consi­der in what a state I had formerly lived, and likewise made me wonder, that heretofore a­bove all other points I had not bent my thoughts and studies to enquire and deter­mine (since it is apparent that there is a Schism in the church) upon which party the guilt of so horrible and exterminating a sinne did lye.

3. But the truth is, my wonder decreased, when I considered that hitherto I had not met with any Protestant Writers that have throughly considered this point of Schisme, which yet above all others ought to have been most exactly ventilated and examined, as S. Au­gustine [Page 359] (lib. 2. cont. lit. Petil.) saith, in the case of Schisme against the Donatists; The whole question therefore is, whether you do not ill, you I say, to whom the whole world ob­jects the sacriledge of so geeat a Schisme? the exact examination of which question whilest you neglect; all that you say is superfluous: and whereas you live like theeves, you boast that you dye as Martyrs. And again, (Ep. 164. ad Emer. Don.) Wherefore in the prime place this is to be enquired, for what reason you made a Schisme? To the same effect said Optatus before him concerning the same Donatists, (lib. 1.) The businesse in hand is concerning se­paration: In Africa, as in all other Pro­vinces likewise, there was but one church before it was divided by those who ordained Majori­nus in the Chair, upon which by succession thou art set. The matter therefore to be consi­dered is, which of the two parties have re­mained in the root with the whole world? which of them went out? which of them is set upon a new Chair (Episcopall) which hereto­fore was not in being? which of them ha's rai­sed an Altar against a (former) Altar? which of them made an Ordination during the life time of him who was before ordanied? Lastly which of them is obnoxious to the sentence of S. John the Apostle, who foretold that many Antichrists would go out of the Church?

4. The almost onely considerable Author among Protestants, who seems to have written largely and purposely upon this argument of Schisme, was that unfortunate Apostate M. An­tonius de Dominis, Arch-Bishop of Spalato, [Page 360] who, as appears by the Index of the heads of his books and Sections, allowed an entire book to this subject: but by what means it came to passe, whether through guilt, or what other my­stery I know not, but in the publication of the three volumes of his works, that book which he intended, or had written de Schismate appears not, there is an hiatus in that place not yet sup­plied. But to proceed to the quotations.

CHAP. XLVI.

Quotations out of Scripture and Fathers to shew the sinfulnesse and danger of Schisme.

1. THe passages of Scripture which I especi­ally took notice of, concerning the sin­fulnesse and extreme danger of Schisme were these, viz. those words of our Saviour, (Mat. 18. 7. Woe unto the world because of scandalls, for it must needs be that scandalls come; not­withstanding woe to that man by whom the scandall cometh. Now the Fathers generally by scandalls understand Heresies and Schismes. Which interpretation S. Paul seems to justifie, joyning together Schismes and scandalls as Synonyma, or words of the same importance, when he sayes, Rom. 16. 17. I beseech you bre­thren, observe those who make Schismes and scandalls, contrary to the doctrine which you have been taught, and avoid them. For [...] such men serve not our Lord Iesus Christ, but their [Page 361] own belly, and by kind speeches and benedi­ctions seduce the hearts of the simple. Again, saith our Saviour, Hereby shall men know that ye are my Disciples; if ye love one another. Add to this his last legacy, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; As likewise that saying of his, which S. Hierome quotes from Tradition, Nunquam l [...]ti sitis, nisi cùm fratres vestros in charitate videritis, that is, Be yet ne­ver joyfull but when you see your brethren in charity. To all which I will subjoyn that passi­onate exhortation of S. Paul, (Philip. 2 1.) If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowells of mercy, fulfill ye my joy that ye be like-minded, unanimous, thinking the same things, doing nothing through con­tention or vain-glory.

2. The same affection and zeale did the antient Fathers and Doctors of the church ex­presse to Catholique Unity, with incredible efficacy, shewing their detestation against Schismes and Divisions: Witnesse S. Irenaeus (lib. 4. c. 62.) God will judge those which make Schismes in the Church, ambitious men, who have not the honor of God before their eys, but rather embracing their owne interest then the unity of the Church, for small and light causes divide the great and glorious body of Christ, &c. For in the end they cannot make any Reformation so important, as the e­vill of Schisme is pernicious. Witnesse S. Dionysius of A­lexandrina,Eus. Hist. [...]c­cles. l. 6. c. 45. writing to No­vatian, A man ought ra­ther [Page 362] to indure all things then to consent to di­vision of the Church of God, since Martyrdome, to which men expose themselves, to the end to hinder the dismembring of the Church, are no lesse glorious, then those which a man suffers for refusing to sacrifice to Idolls. Witnesse S. Cyprian, (de unit. Eccles.) Do they think that Christ is amongst them when they are as­sembled? I speak of those which make assem­blies out of the Church of Christ: No, although they were drawn [...] to torments and execution for the confession of the name of Christ, yet this pollution is not washed away, no not with their bloud: this inexplicable and inexcusea­ble crime of Schisme is not purged away, even by death it self. That man cannot be a Mar­tyr that is not in the Church. And again, He shall not have God for his Father, that would not have the Church for his Mother. Witnesse S. Pacian (ad Sympr. cp. 2.) Although that No­va ian hath been put to death (for Christ) yet he ha's not received a crown. And why? Be­cause he was separated from the peace of the Church, from concord, from that Mother, of whom whosoever will be a Martyr, must be a portion. Witnesse S. Optatus (lib. 1.) Among other Precepts, the divine injunction hath like­wise forbidden these three, Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not go after strange Gods, and (in capitibus mandatorum) in the head of the Com­mandements, Thou shalt not make a Schisme. He means I suppose those words in the preface of the Decalogue, The Lord thy God is One, thou shalt have no other Gods but me. Again (lib. 2.) The unity of the Episcopall Chaire is [Page 363] the prime endowment given to the Church. Wit­nesse S. Chrysostome (in Eph. hom. 11.) There is nothing doth so sharply provoke the wrath of God, as the division of the Church; insomuch as though we should have performed all other sorts of good things, yet we shall incur a pu­nishment no lesse cruell by dividing the unity and fulnesse of the Church, then those have done, who pierced and divided Christs owne body. Witnesse the fourth Councell of Car­thage, (Can 1.) out of the Catholique Church there is no salvation.

3. Witnesse S. Augustine (de Symb. ad Ca­tech. l. 4. c. 10.) For this cause the conclusion of this Sacrament (he means the creed) is termi­nated in the Article concerning the holy Church: and the reason is, because if any man be found separated from her, he shall be exclu­ded from the number of children; neither shall he have God for his Father, that would not have the Church for his Mother: and it will nothing avail him to have rightly believed, or to have done never so many good works, with­out this conclusion of the soveraign good. A­gain, (in Psa. 21.) Whosoever ha's charity is assured. But as for charity, no man transports it out of the Church. Againe, (de Bap. con. Don. l. 1. c. 8.) Those whom the Donatists heale of the wound of I dolatry and infidelity, they themselves wound more dangerously with the wound of Schisme. Again, (sup. gest. Emar.) Out of the Catholique Church a Heretique may have all things but salvation. He may have the Sacraments, He may sing Allelujah, He may answer, Amen. He may keep the Gospell, He [Page 364] may have the Faith and preach it, only salvati­on he cannot have. Again, (l. 3. cont. Petil. c. 5.) No man preaching the name of Christ, and carrying or ministring the Sacrament of Christ is to be followed against the Unity of Christ. Again, (cont. adv. Le. & Proph. l. 1. 6. 17.) If he hear not the Church, let him be to thee as a Heathen and a Publican; which is more grie­vous then if he was strucken through with a sword, consumed by flames, exposed to wilde beasts. Again (l. de Past. c. 12.) The Divel saith not, let them be Donatists and not Arians, for whether they be here or there they belong to him that gathers without making a difference: Let him adore Idolls, saith the Divell, he is mine: Let him remain in the superstition of the Jewes, he is mine: Let him quit Unity, and passe over to this or that, or any Heresie, he is mine.

4. Witnesse likewise S. Fulgentius, (de rem. pec. cap. 22.) Out of this Church nei­ther the title of Christian secures any man, neither doth Baptisme conferre salvation, neither doth any man offer a sacrifice agreeable to God, neither doth any man receive Re­mission of sinnes, neither doth any man at­tain to eternall life, for there is one onely Church, one onely Dove, one onely well-belo­ved, one only Spouse. Again, (de Fid. ad. Pet. D. c. 39.) Hold this most firmly, and doubt not of it in any wise, that every Heretique and Schismatique whatsoever baptized in the name of the Father, the Sonne, and the Holy Ghost; if before the end of his life he be not reunited to the Catholike Church, let him bestow never [Page 365] so many almes, yea though he should shed his bloud for the name of Christ, he cannot obtain salvation. Witnesse lastly S. Prosper, He who does not communicate with the Universall Church is a Heretique and Antichrist. (de prom. & praed. Dei p. 4. c. 5.)

5. Surely no man can justly blame, if a se­rious consideration of such testimonies of Scripture, such a conspiracy of all the Saints almost of the antient Church agreeing to condemne Schisme, as the most heinous inex­cuseable sin that a Christian was capable of committing, not to be redeemed with Faith, Sacraments, Almes, Miracles, no nor Mar­tyrdome it selfe, awakened me from the Le­thargy I was in, and from the presumption which I had, viz. that since I my selfe had no influence upon the beginnings of the Separation, but on the contrary approached as neere in my beliefe to the Catholique Church, as Truth in my opinion would per­mit me; and lastly, since I judged charitably of the state of Cutholiques, that therefore the guilt of Schisme should never be impu­ted to me. Not content therefore to rest up­on these imaginations in a matter, upon which my eternall happinesse inseparably de­pended, if the expresse words of Scripture, and unanimous consent of Antiquity were to be believed, I proceeded to examine the present state of Protestant &c. Churches in separation from the Romane, by the markes which the antient Fathers afforded me to judge by, whether of the two parties were guil­ty, and to which of them this so heynous [Page 368] low, viz. 1. They all agreed that Schisme was a thing of it self evident, & whereof the most ig­norant understandings might inform them­selves: For this being the foundation of all their disputes of the Catholike Church, that it is a con­gregation so visible and illustrious, that it can­not be hidden from the eys of any man that does not willingly shut them, it does necessarily follow, that they who are not in visible communion with that visible church are apparently Schismatikes.

5. Secondly, and by consequence, that the mark of Schisme and Heresie was not a separa­tion from the true faith simply; but from that faith which is openly professed by the Church: For otherwise, if they had defined Schisme with respect onely to the true Faith, all the evidence of Schisme would be utterly taken away, since it would be alwayes ambiguous and dis­putable which of the parties in a Schisme held the true doctrine; of which ignorant peo­ple could not be Judges; and the learned would never acknowledge themselves guilty. Be­sides, the parties evidently in Schisme would be sure, either not at all to acknowledge, or at least to excuse and extenuate their fault, by saying, that though they were in some sort di­vided from the (Catholique) Church, yet this was not so unpardonable, since they left the Church only in points not fundamentall, for in such they agree with Catholiques, and by consequence remain the same church still in substantialls. This is at this day the plea of many Protestants, as it was anciently of the Pelagians, according to that of S. Augustine, (de Pec. Orig. l. 2. c. 22.) Pelagius and Goelestius [Page 369] saith he, desirous cunningly to avoid the odious name of Heresie, affirme that the question con­cerning Originall finne may be disputed with­out endangering Faith. But this assertion of theirs he confuted particularly in his fourteenth Sermon, De Verbis Apostoli; and in generall against both Heretiques and Schismatiques proves, that whatsoever in particular their opi­nions are, yet since they professe otherwise then the church does, and requires of them to doe, they are in a damnable estate, because there­by they vertually renounce one fundamentall Article of faith, viz. of the authority and u­nity of the Catholique Church; and therefore if they break communion, though but for one doctrine, and that of it self of no great impor­tance; their orthodoxnesse in all other points will not avail them wanting truth, and especi­ally renouncing charity and obedience to the U­niversall Church. Hereupon the same Father (in Psal. 54.) saith of the Donatists, We have each of us one Baptisme; in this they were with me: We celebrated the Feasts of the Martyrs, in this they were with me: We fre­quented the solemnity of Easter, in this they were with me: But they were not in all things with me: In Schisme they were not with me: In Heresie they were not with me: In many things they were with me, and in some few things they were not with me: But in those few things in which they were not with me, those many things do not profit them in which they were with me. So again the same Father (Ep. 48.) Speaking to the same Donatists, You are with us in Baptism, [Page 370] in the Creed, in other Sacraments of the Lord: but in the Spirit of unity, in the bond of peace, and finally in the Catholike Church you are not with us.

6. Thirdly, that the proper (to all eys visible) and essentiall mark of Schisme (for what cause soever it matters not) is a wilfull separation from the externall Communion of the Catho­lique Church. So S. Augustine (de unit. c. 4.) Those who do so dissent from the body of Christ, which is the Church, that their Communion is not with the whole wheresoever it is spread, but are fouud in some party separated, it is ma­nifest that they are not in the Catholike Church. And again (de util. cred. c. 2.) There is one Church, if you cast your eyes upon the surface of the earth, more abundant in multitude, and likewise as those who know by experience af­firm, more sincere in truth then all others: but concerning truth that is another dispute. And again (cont. Pet. l. 2. c. 95.) Division and dis­sention makes you Heretiques, and peace and u­nity make us Catholiques. And Uincentius Le­rinensis (cap. 9.) O admirable change! the first Authors of the same opinions are called Catho­liques; and the Sectators, Heretiques, (name­ly because they separated for them.) And S. Pro­sper (de prom. & ben. Dei p. 2. l. 5.) He who communicates with the Universall Church is a Christian and a Catholique: and he who doth not communicate with it, is a Heretique and Antichrist: Hereupon it is that the Fathers understand and interpret the word C [...]tholique, not with respect to doctrine or belief, but Com­munion externall. So S. Augustine (collat. car. [Page 371] d. 3.) We shew by the testimony of our Commu­nion that we have the Catholique Church. And again (brevic. coll. l. 3.) The Donatists (saith he) answered that the word Catholique (or u­niversall) was not derived from the universali­ty of Nations, but from the plenitude of Sa­craments, that is, from the integrity of do­ctrine. And again, (Ep. 48. ad Vinc. Reg.) Thou thinkest that thou hast spoken subtilly when thou interpretest the name Catholique not of U­niversall Communion, but of observation of all precepts and divine Sacraments, or Myste­ries.

7. And to the end to demonstrate to Schis­matiques that they could not pretend to any portion in the Catholique Church, the Fathers ordinarily silenced them from any claim there­to, by asking them whether they could addresse communicatory letters unto, or receive such letters from all Catholique Bishops, which they not being able to do, were supposed to be suffi­ciently convicted. So S. Augustine (ep. 163.) speaking of Fortunatus the Donatist, I asked him if he could send communicatory Letters (which we call Formatas) whither I would name &c. But because the thing was manifest­ly false, they quitted that discourse with confu­sion of language. Hence it was that the anti­ent Schismatiques, not being able with any the least pretence to challenge the title of Catho­liques, were forced to repaire themselves, by laying an aspersion or diminution on that name, as when Sympronian told S. Pacian, (ep. 1.) That none under the Apostles were called Ca­tholiques: and when Gaudentius the Donatist [Page 372] affirmed that the word Catholique was a hu­mane fiction, which S. Augustine calls, Verba blasphemia, Blasphemous words. lib. 1. con. Gaudent.

8. Notwithstanding in some cases the Fa­thers allow, that a man may possibly be separa­ted from the externall communion of the Ca­tholique Church without imputation of Schis­me, according to this discourse which I have found quoted out of S. Augustine. Often times also it happens, saith he, that the divine Providence permits that some good men should be cast out of the Christian Congregation by some over-turbulent sedition of carnall men, which injury done unto such men, when they shall bear it patiently, for the peace of the Church, and shall not attempt any innovati­ons of Schismes or Heresies, they will instruct men with what true affection, and with how great sincerity and charity we ought to serve God. The designe and resolution therefore of such men is, either to returne when the tempest is calmed, or if that be not permitted them, ei­ther by reason that the tempest yet continues, or out of fear lest by their returne another tem­pest should be raised more violent then the for­mer, they preserve a will and affection to serve even those, to the violence and commoti­ons of whom they have given place, defending to the death (without making any separated conventicles) and maintaining by their te­stimony the faith which they know is prea­ched in the Catholique Church: Such as these the Father who sees in secret crownes in se­cret.

[Page 373]9. I remember that Monsienr Grotius, from this speech of S. Augustine, and a suita­ble action (I think) of S. Chrysostomes, defends the non-association to the Catho­lique Church of himselfe, and such peace­able Protestants as himselfe: But surely in vain, for first this discourse of S. Augustine supposes that such persons doe not hold any doctrines condemned by the Catholique Church. 2. That whensoever leave or op­portunity shall be given, they will readily em­brace her Communion. 3. That they doe not communicate with any Sects manifestly in se­paration from it: None of which supposi­tions can he applied to Monsieur Grotius, &c. and therefore such a Communion in voto, or desire cannot in the judgement of Antiquity availe them; since if it could, no Heretique nor Schismatique could be culpable; or that in such a sense doth not communicate with the Catholique Church: for there is not any of them but would willingly communicate with her upon these termes, viz. That she would change the clauses and conditions of her Communion, and reform her selfe according to the patternes of their particular respective Sects.

10. A fourth mark of Heresie and Schisme is, when the first Authors of them can be named, and by consequence can be pro­ved to be in time posteriour to Catholique Unity: And particularly for doctrines, such were esteemed Hereticall, which could not be maintained to be Apostolicall, that is, (not which the Authours did not pretend [Page 374] to be deducible out of Apostolicall Wri­tings, for all Heretiques generally alledg­ed Scripture for all their blasphemies: but) which they could not prove to have been pro­fessed in the church, and deduced successive­ly from Age to Age since the Apostles times: Thus S. Athanasius (in Dec. Syn. Nic. cont. Arian.) Behold we have pro­ved the succession of our doctrine delive­red, from hand to hand, from Father to Sonne: But as for you (Arians) new-Jewes and children of Caiaphas, what Progenitours can you show of your spee­ches? So likewise S. Pacian (Epist. 3.) For my selfe, holding my selfe assured up­on the succession of the Church, and conten­ting my selfe with the peace of the antient Congregation, I have not learned any stu­dies of discord.

CHAP. XLVIII.

An Application of the former marks of Schisms to the present Con­troversie; and a demonstration that they doe not suit to the Ro­mane, but onely Protestant Chur­ches.

1. HAving thus informed my selfe of the mind of Antiquity concerning the na­ture and marks of Schisme and Heresie, and applying them to the controversie in hand, be­tween the Roman and Protestant &c. Churches, it appeared as clear to me as the Sun at noone day, that if the same Fathers and Bishops meet­ing in the antient Councells to condemn the A­rians, Nestorians, Eutychians, Novatians, and Donatists &c. had lived in these times, they must of necessity upon the same grounds have condemned the Lutherans, Calvinists, English-Protestants, Socinians &c. For it being apparent, that there is really a Schisme a­mong the Western Christians since Luthers A­postacy, in as much as so many Sects doe not onely actually separate from the communion of that church, which before that separation they all called the Catholique Church, but likewise impute superstition, idolatry, and other crimes unto it, thereby to justifie such their separation, by which means not a Schisme only, and that most properly so called, is happened, but Here­sie likewise is to be imputed to one of the par­ties [Page 376] divided: That neither of these titles be­longs to the Romane Church, and therefore that both of them are justly and necessarily to be charged upon the Church of England (and by consequence, much more upon all other Sects of Protestants, as being much more vio­lent and uncharitable against the Roman Ca­tholique Church) may to my understanding be demonstrated most evidently after this manner, viz.

2. First with respect to separation from ex­ternall communion: In a manifest Schisme (as this is apparently) those who are but a part, who are new beginners, whose prime au­thors may be named, who have introduced a­mong Christians novelties, not heard of in the world, even by their own confession, for above a thousand years, and have actively separated themselves from the externall com­munion of the whole, in which they did for­merly remaine, those and those onely are Schismatiques; and such are Protestants, as is evident. For 1. The English church is at the best but a particular church, which in the beginning of the raigne of King Henry the VIII. did live in externall communion with the then whole Catholique Church, but after­ward in the same Kings dayes divided it self from the same externall communion, by re­nouncing obedience to the Pope, whom be­fore they acknowledged the visible Head of the Catholique Church. 2. The same English Church in the dayes of his Son King Edward the VI. but especially to his Daughter Q. Eli­zabeth, to the former Schisme added an alte­ration [Page 377] of severall other points of doctrine, con­fessedly for very many ages universally embra­ced by all Catholiques, and conspicuous in the publique profession and practise of the church: and in this double division both from the Faith and externall communion of the Catholique Church ha's the English Nation continued e­ver since. Therefore according to the notion of Schisme, which we have from Antiquity, and plain expresse reason, the English-Prote­stant-Church is properly Schismaticall and He­reticall.

3. On the contrary, the Romane Church (acknowledged by all Englishmen to have been the Catholique Church; and even since the separation allowed by English Protestants themselves to be at least a true member of the Catholique Church) ha's continued to this day in the same forme of externall communion that she had before, ha's not actually nor actively se­parated from any church pre-existent, much lesse from the whole body; ha's changed no­thing of doctrine &c. therefore if she was the Catholique Church before, she is so still: howe­ver she cannot in any the least shew of reason be called Schismaticall.

4. For further proof of this, let us consider the first beginners of separation, Luther, Zu­inglius, or (to apply this discourse to the Church of England) Tindall. I desire to know whe­ther when Tindall alone, of his owne head, without any authority, either civill or ecclesia­sticall, yea in open desiance of both, began to disperse doctrines unheard of among his coun­treymen, all Catholiques, dividing himselfe [Page 378] from the externall communion of the whole world, whether, I say, Tindall thus standing a­lone, as supposed, as yet not to have gained Proselites, was properly and truly a Schisma­tique, or no? If he was, I would fain know by what right he or his followers came to lose that name, when he had perverted a company, sup­pose a Parish, or Diocess, or Province, yea that whole Kingdome, is it become a meritorious thing to gain Proselites to Schisme or Heresie? Is one single person when he is out of company a child of hell, and being joyned with seven o­ther as wicked, or perhaps more wicked then himself, does he thereby become a child of God? Then certainly all Pharisaicall Sectaries have good reason to do what our Saviour sayes of the Pharisees, namely, to travell Sea and Land to make Proselites, since ill company, it seemes, may bring them to heaven, whereas if they had been alone they could not avoid sinking into helll. But if Tindall so standing alone in re­all separation from all other Christians, was no Schismatique; then, since by confession on all sides the Catholique Church cannot fail, it will follow, that Tindall in his own single per­son was the Catholique Church, and the whole body of Christians divided from him were Schismatiques.

5. If this way of arguing be not demonstra­tively concluding, both out of the foremention­ed grounds of the Fathers and evident reason, yea even palpable sense, it will be impossible to make a Syll [...]gisme, or to conclude rationally from any principles whatsoever; we must alter Dictionaries and all formes of language, and [Page 379] affirm that there is no means left to understand one another, though we endeavour to speak ne­ver so plainly: For if he be not a Separ [...]tist, who doth by his own confession actually sepa­rate, and he an Innovator, who doth actually innovate: And if that church which in An. D. 1516. was confessed not to have been Schisma­ticall, because then all things were peaceable, no Schisme was yet begun, if the same church con­tinuing without any alteration in doctrine or practise till the year following, that Luther taught and divided against it, and so ever since be to be called Schismaticall, because others would stay no longer in it, then to change is to be constant, and to be constant, to change; to run away is to stand still, and to stand still to run away.

6. If Protestants reply, that though in re­spect of the then present state of the church, Luther, Tindall, &c. did make alterations, in regard of some precedent ages before Luther, in which the church had been wholly drowned in errour and superstition, they did indeed in­novate; Yet since they sought to reduce the pre­sent distempered church to the form and sound­nesse of the antient Apostolicall church, they were neither alterers nor innovators, but rather took away all alterations and innovations. I answer, that if Luthers or Tindalls judgement alone deserved to be ballanced with the whole world, and if there were any suspition that Christ had forgot his promises, or were become unable to perform them, there might be some pretence for such a plea; otherwise such an ex­cuse doth augment their guilt, in as much as they [Page 380] do dishonor Christ, calumn [...]ate the one, holy, Catholique and Apostolique Church; charge themselves with the extremity both of infidelity and pride, or (in the language of S Augustine) blasphemy and intolerable madnesse.

CHAP. XLIX.

A continuation of proofes, that Schisme and Heresie cannot with the least shew of reason be imputed to the Ro­man C [...]urch; but only and wholly to Protestants, &c.

1. A Further proof as evident as the former, viz. that the imputation of compleat Schisme with Heresie annexed, is onely to be charged upon Protestants, &c. and not with the least shew of reason upon the Roman church, and that with respect of doctrine innovated, is this.

2. It is first confessed that all the doctrines, which the Protestants call errours, and those in themselves damnable (unlesse where in­vincible ignorance shall perhaps excuse) and therefore obliging all Christian people after having received a new light by the preaching of Luther, Tindall, &c. to forsake them, and the communion of all those that persisted in the maintaining of them: I say it is confes­sed that all such pretended errours were spread through the whole Catholique Ch [...]rch in Communion with the Romane in the age be­fore [Page 381] Luther began his Apostacy, nemine con­tradiceute. (Now by the way, how this can agree with that sense which they give to the promises of Christ, that he would preserve his Church in all truth, so that the gates of hell should not prevail against it, I confesse I cannot comprehend: For if all Heresies be the gates of hell, as the Fathers say; then much more Heresies in themselves damnable, although the church had not condemned them, because against essentiall truths. Besides they will not deny, but that invincible ignorance may possi­bly excuse Pelagianisme, Photinianisme, Ari­anisme, &c. so that upon their grounds, not­withstanding the promises of Christ, all Chri­stians for above a thousand years together might as well have been infected with these Heresies also.

3. It is secondly confessed, that excepting two or three, and those not of the most consi­derable opinions, all the rest (now condemned by Protestants, were publiquely and general­ly embraced and professed for severall ages be­fore Luther: I will adde, by all ages and churches till S. Gregories dayes inclusive, that is, for about one thousand years: I might go further, and justifie my assertion clearly and evidently: but for the present let us pitch upon S. Gregories time. For warrant of what I have said, besides the testimony of S. Gregories wri­tings, Liturgy, Rituall, Missall, &c. and be­sides the antient ecclesiasticall history (especi­ally of England) and the Synods antiently as­sembled there, I appeal to the confession of the most learned Protestants, as Humfrey, Fulke, [Page 382] the Centuriators of Magdeburg, &c. whose words describing the Religion brought into England by S. Gregory, and S. Augustine, The Benedictin Monke,Hamp. l. Jesu­it rat. 5. p. 5. Car. Chron. l. 4. p. 567. Bal. in Act. R. pont p. 44. Osiend. cent. 6. p. 288. Magd. cent. 6. 748. & 369. Fulk. conf. purg. p. 333. are these, They brought in, say they, Altars, holy Vestments, Images, Chalices, Candle­sticks, Censers, sacred Ves­sells, holy Water and sprink­ling with it, Reliques and the translations of them, De­dication of Churches, with the bones and ashes of dead men, Consecrations of Al­tars, of Chalices, of Corpo­ralls, of Baptismall Fonts, of Chrysme, of Oyle, of Churches by using sprink­ling of holy water, celebration of the Masse, use of the Archiepiscopal Pall in the solemni­zing of the Masse, books of Roman Ritualls, and a burden of ceremonies, free-will, merit, and justification by works, penance, satisfacti­on, Purgatory, single life of Priests, publique invocation of Saints, and worship of them, ve­neration of Images, Exorcismes, Indulgences, Vowes, Monachisme, Transubstantion, Prayer for the dead, exercise of the Jurisdiction of the Romane Bishop, and his primacy over all Churches, in a word, the remaining chaos (as they call it) of Popish superstition.

4. It is thirdly evident that within that time in severall Councells (Provinciall at least) most of the points in debate between Protestants and the Roman Church, have been either deci­ded, or the belief of them supposed, and all the [Page 383] practises (which Protestants condemne) justifi­ed and commanded: no better proofe of which assertion need be sought for, then that Tome of English Synods published by Sir Henry Spel­man. And on the contrary that it does not appear in any Synod that any of those doctrines or practises have been condemned, nor in the least degree censured: so that if there were any authority in the Catholique Church for above one thousand years together, if she could chal­lenge either belief, or but non-contradiction to her decisions, they cannot be excused, who not only not receive, but oppose, yea condemn, yea blasphemously calumniate her both for doctrines and practises so unanimously professed and em­braced; and all this even then when they ac­knowledge her to be the object of that Article of the creed, Credo unam, sanctam, Catholi­cam, Apostolicam Ecclesiam: But how (unam) if they may, yea ought to divide and tear her in pieces? How (sanctam) if defiled with so much prophanenesse, superstition, and Idolatry, and all this not only permitted, but commanded by her? How (Catholicam) if contradicting the antient universall church? Lastly, how (Apo­stolicam) if so evidently condemnable by Apo­stolique writings, as is pretended?

5. In the fourth place, it was to me an irre­fragable testimony of a strange watchfulnesse of divine providence over the church to preserve it from the gates of hell (that is, established and dangerous errors) that during those worst times thereof, when ignorance, worldlinesse, pride, ty­ranny, &c. raigned with so much scope, I mean during the time of about six ages before Luther; [Page 384] when the Popes, so wicked, so abominable in their lives, enjoyed so unlimited a power even over secular Princes themselves, and much more over the Clergy; yet notwithstanding we do not find that there was any innovation at all in any points that concern doctrine, defined by Councells; nor particularly that the Popes, though in practise they assumed to themselves a vast exercise of externall Jurisdiction, yet that they ever attempted, much lesse effected the in­troducing any decision, as de Fide, of their power above that which was universally belie­ved, not only in the former ages after S. Grego­ries times, but in times immemoriall before that.

6. In the fifth place, concerning the time be­tween the first Councell of Nice and S. Gregory it appeared to me evidently that many points now in controversie have been defined expresly against Protestants: That many have been uni­versally reputed Heteriques for maintaining the very same opinions now again innovated by Protestants, as Aërius, Vigilantius, Iovinian, &c. That scarce any point of doctrine of the Roman church, but is expressely maintained by the Fathers generally. That whatsoever passa­ges seemingly contradicting to Roman do­ctrines are out of the Fathers produced by Pro­testants, do at the most onely argue want of memory in the Fathers, opposing that in one obscure place, which they had plainly affirmed in twenty: That those Fathers, who were so quick-sighted to take notice of, and so zealous to condemn any innovation in doctrine or pra­ctise, yet neither have observed nor opposed [Page 385] any one point, either of doctrine or practise, re­ceived in S. Gregories time, and continued to these, as an innovation: That the generall lan­guage of the Fathers when they spoke ex pro­fesso concerning Prayer for the Dead, Purgae­tory, the blessed Sacrament, the Primacy of the Pope &c. was like those of these times; the an­tient outward form of the church like that of the present; And on the contrary, all these, both ex­pressions and Liturgies, and outward face of the antient Church much more unlike to the Temples of the Calvinists or Lutherans &c. yea or English Protestants, in things wherein they differ from the Roman, when they were from the Congregations of antient Heretiques.

7. In the last place, that the pretended proofs out of Scripture alledged by Protestants, pro­ceed either because no mention is made of Scri­pture of such points, (a way of arguing general­ly renounced by the Fathers, who condemn ma­ny Heretiques by Tradition alone without Scri­pture:) or because they, by drawing consequen­ces out of Texts of Scripture, say they can con­fute such doctrines of the Roman Church, which yet upon their own grounds will not suffice to call the contrary opinions so pretended to be confuted hereticall, and much lesse will they be a sufficient warrant to make such mortall divisi­ons in the church, as are in these dayes.

8. From all which considerations it seemed likewise to my weak understanding, that this plea made use of by Protestants to excuse their Schisme upon pretence of so many dangerous er­rours and heresies crept into the Catholique Church, necessary to be reformed, was a plea of [Page 386] all others the most unreasonable, the most un­just that ever was, a plea so far from excusing them, that above all other things it will make them most unpardonable before God and man; a plea formally evacuating the promises of Christ, inevitably ruining all Ecclesiasticall au­thority, rendring uselesse and ridiculous all the marks that Antiquity gives us, whereby to judge of Schisme and Heresie. Lastly, a plea which English Protestants, by the just judgement of God, have to their owne ruine put into the mouths of Calvinists, and all other Sects, for as they served the Catholiques, so have the Cal­vinists used them, upon pretence of reformati­on, and Scripture, and the antient Apostolique Church, they see themselves rob'd of their church, of their faith, of their liberty, of their livings, and many thousands of their lives; and yet they that were the destroyers of all lawfull authority, and exercisers of too much unlawfull, complain of injustice; they that pluck [...]d downe the hedges of Gods vineyard, wonder to see so many severall kinds of beasts rush in and eat their grapes; in a word, to use the expression of S. Augustine, Et tamen nec ser [...] saltem toties divis [...] atque conscissi, sentiun [...] quod feccrunt. i. e. and yet for all this, seeing so many divisions among them, seeing themselves so torn in pieces, do they not yet perceive the fault that them­selves have done. Cont. Parm. lib. 1.

CHAP. L.

A continuation of the former arguments, viz. that the guilt of Schisme lies only and wholly upon Protestants.

Catholiques not uncharitable, for saying. That Protestancy unrepented is dam­nable.

1. THese Principles laid by the Fathers, with unanimous consent of the execrable na­ture and extremest dangerousnesse of the crime of Schisme; together with the severall descripti­ons and marks which they give to understand it by, seemed to me so reasonable; and these de­ductions which I made from the aforesaid prin­ciples, together with the application of those marks to the present state of controversie be­tween the Roman and Protestant churches see­med so unrefutable: Lastly, the conclusion and result of the whole matter, viz. That the crime of heresie and Schism cannot with the least shew of reason be imputed to the Roman Catholike Church, nor with the least shew of reason avoid­ed by Protestant Churches, since the Fathers being Judges, there is not one mark of Schisme which can be found in the Romane, nor one mark but is evidently found in Protestant chur­ches. All this seemed to me so unanswerable, that unlesse I did resolve to put out mine owne eyes, I could not but see that I had all my life hitherto continued in this fearful state of Schism [...] And (unlesse I did resolve to proceed to that [Page 388] desperate contempt of Scripture, of consent of Antiquity, and of all Ecclesiasticall authority, as to think Heresie and Schisme to be no other then counterfeit [...]or bugbeares invented to fright such foolish Christians as would sub­mit to any authority Divine or Ecclesiasticall) I could not but think it more then time to avoid the precipice into which I was ready to fall, and and for that purpose, to range my selfe to that Communion, which both by testimony of Scri­pture and all Antiquity, and by visible experi­ence could demonstrate that a full effect of all Christs promises had been accomplished in her, which priviledge not any other congregation (in our Western parts at least) did pretend to, any other way then by calling themselves a part of her, whom yet at the same time they called an Idolatresse, and a Strumpet divorced from her coelestiall Bridegroom, or at least commu­nicated with them that were guilty of such blas­phemies.

2. I do professe in the presence of God, and all his blessed Saints and Angells, that I could could not my self imagine, nor find in any Pro­testant writer any exception or objection that came home to the point: this one essentiall mark of Schisme viz. forsaking the externall publike Communion of the Catholike Church, being im­possible to be avoided by them, since both all the world sees it, and they themselves confesse it, though indeed under another and more plau­sible name.

3. I may therefore spare my pains of exami­ning particularly what Mr. Chillingworth and other Protestants alledge for their excuse, all [Page 389] which are evidently answered with applying to them that one saying of S. Augustine in his first book to Petilian the Donatist, I object to you the crime of Schism which you wil deny: And I wil presently prove, because you do not communicate with all Nations. I may add, speaking to Pro­testants, Not with any one Nation or church pre-existent to Luther. Calvin confesseth that he divided à toto orbe terrarum, from the whole world, and so do other Protestants: And im­pudence it self cannot deny, but that in respect of externall communion they have to this day relinquished the whole world; attempts have in­deed beene made to get an entrance into the Greek church, but in vain, for they have beene rejected, and remitted to the obedience of their own Patriarch, as appears by the letter of Hie­remias Patriarcha &c. And therefore for a proof unanswerable, that the Schisme of Pro­testants is a separation not from a particular church (as they call the Roman) but from all Christian Churches all the world over, let them suppose the same question proposed to them, which the Emperor Basilius made to Photius, the Pseudo-Patriarch of Constantinople, With which of the four Patriarchs do you communi­cate? So that as the same S. Augustine saith in the same book, Hoc scelus & maximum, & ma­nifestum, & omnium vestrum est. i. e. This crime (of forsaking Universall communion) is both of all other the greatest, and a manifest one, and belongs to all the sorts of you.

4. If they say they preserve the bond of chari­ty, allowing a possibility of salvation to Catho­liques, onely they separate from Catholique [Page 390] errors which would be damnable to them being so perswaded. What is this to Externall Com­munion? Adde hereto, that though English Protestants, for their own interests, to justifie the lawfulnesse of their Succession, doe allow such a degree of charity to Catholiques; yet it is manifest that they renounce not the commu­nion of Calvinists, &c. who deny that there was any true church in the world when Luther be­gan his sacrilegious Apostacy, and so involve themselves in the same uncharitablenesse. Some there are that say (saith S. Augustine Ep. 48.) we thought it [...]de no matter where (i. e. in what Communion) we preserved the Faith of Christ: But thanks be given to the Lord, who hath gathered us from separation, and hath ma­nifested that this is a thing pleasing to God who is One, to be served in Unity. Besides, [...]| [...]est &c. (saith Epiphanius Diaconus) It is a meer frenzy (an obstruction of reason) to blame, or impute errour to all Churches.

5. If they say, we left only the abuses practi­sed in the Catholique church, which no man can justly blame another for reforming; What is this still to an absolute forsaking of the ex­ternall communion? Tell me (saith S. Augu­stine coat. Gaud, l. 1. c. 7.) whether the church at that time when you say she entertained those who were guilty of all crimes, by the contagion of those sinfull persons perished or perished not? Answer, whether did the church perish, or not? Make choice of what you think good. If she then perished, what church brought forth Donatus? But if she could not perish, because so many were incorporated into her without Baptisme; [Page 391] (he meanes, a second Don [...]tisticall Baptisme) answer me I pray you; What madnesse did move the Sect of Donatus to separate themselves from her upon the pretence of avoiding the Commu­nion of bad men?

6. Therefore Protestants do in vaine please themselves with this word of Reformation: and with telling the world that many, even good Ca­tholiques, both in antient and later times, have earnestly called for a Reformation. For no man denies but that there ha's been great need of it, and is to this day, viz. in respect of doctrines and practises of particulars, and those too too many. But can any one Catholique in any age be produced that called for a change of any one point of doctrine established in the church, or a reformation of any practise authoritatively set­led there as unlawfull? not one such as yet hath been produced, and I am confident not one can; and much lesse any one that upon such pretences hath either counselled or execu [...]ed a division in the church. To what purpose then a separation from the externall communion of the whole church upon this ground of reforming particu­lar abuses, which may lawfully and without any blame be done by an inward Schisme, or mentall separation from errours and superstiti­ons?

7. Therefore when Protestants beast so much of their purifications and reformations, Catho­liques may desire S. Augustine (cont. Gaud. l. 1.) to tell them for them, You have indeed great matters which you may flourish among your righteousnesses, (and reformations:) namely, [...] division of Christ, an annulling of the Sacra­ments [Page 392] of Christ, a forsaking of the peace of Christ, warre against the members of Christ, calumnious accusations against the Spouse of Christ, and a denying of the promises of Christ. The same Father (de unit. Eccles.) likewise will tell them, that if they would have thought good to follow our Saviours example, they would not upon such pretences have forsaken the externall communion of the church: For (sayes he) when he was to be circumcised was John sought after? for that thing was used to be performed by the Jewes. And when a legall sa­crifice was to be offered for him, was there any scruple made of that Temple, which was by him­self called a den of thieves? For the Lord which said, Be ye holy because I am holy, doth make his servants to converse among wicked men so unspottedly, if they preserve that holi­nesse which they receive, as the Lord Jesus him­self was not defiled with the least contagion of wickedness during the time that he lived among the Jewish Nation: neither when be being made under the law, underwent those first Sacraments according to that most perfect way of humility, neither afterward when having chosen his Dis­ciples he lived in the company of his own Tray­tor even till the last (parting) kiss. For by his example not only those who do no wicked things, but those likewise who consent not to any wick­ednesse are wheat securely remaining among chaffe because they neither do such things, nor consent with them that do them; although being themselves good, they patiently suffer the wick­ed, continning in the same field, untill the harvest, in the same floore untill the winnow­ing; [Page 393] within the same nets, untill the separati­on which shall be made upon the shore (i. e. at the end of the world.)

8. And this doctrine the same Father presseth so constantly, so zealously, that he professeth that any separation that is made in the Church upon what pretence soever before the day of judgment, is a sacriledge inexcuseable. Let them therefore study what excuses they please, and conjure up as many objections as they think good, truth it self (speaking by S. Augustines mouth Ep. 48.) will or ought to silence them for ever, Certi sumus neminem se à communione omnium Gentium justè separare potuisse. i. e. We are assured that no man can justly separate himself from the communion of all Nations. And again saith the same Oracle (Cont. ep. Parm. l. 2.) Praecedendae unitatis nulla est necessitas. i. e. There is no necessity to cut Unity asunder. And again (l. 2. cont. Gaud.) Aute tempus littoris damnabiliter separant. i. e. Before the time come that the net is to be drawn ashore, the separati­ons which men make are damnable.

9. Which speeches of S. Augustine will be true till the end of the world being built upon the promises of Christ, that his church should continue for ever in all truth, secure against the gates of hell; and upon the command of Christ, that no separation should be made of the tares from the wheat til the last day of harvest, in which Exibunt Angeli & separabunt, i. e. Angels (not men) shall go forth and separate: By occasion of which text the same Father annexes these pow­erfull words, speaking to the Donatists, (con. ep. Par. l. 2.) Let them chuse (saith he) whether of the [Page 394] two they will rather believe; Jesus Christ, that is, Truth it self saith, The field is the world; and Donatus saith, that Gods field is Africa alone. Let them chuse whether of these two they had rather believe. Jesus Christ, that is Truth it selfe saith, In the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, gather first the tares; and interprets it, saying, the harvest is the end of the world; And Donatus saith, that by the separation of his party, the tares are separated from the wheat before the harvest. Jesus Christ, that is Truth it self saith, the reapers are the Angells; and Donatus saith, that himself and his associates have done that before the harvest, which Jesus Christ saith that the Angells are to do at the harvest. Let them chuse whether of these two they had rather believe. They call themselves Christians, we propose to them Je­sus Christ and Donatus: Let them consider what will become of them, if they bestow only words upon Jesus Christ, and their bearts upon Do­natus? So that this conclusion of his is unalter­ably t [...]ue, not for his times only, but til Christs second coming, viz. That all separation which is made before the drawing the net on shore (or before harvest, i. e. the end of the world) is a eamnable separation; Being Sacrilegium Shis­matis, quod omnia scelera supergreditur. i. e. being the sacriledge of Schisme, which surpas­ses all other, crimes. (Aug. con. Ep. Parm, l, 2.)

10. Therefore to shew the extreme in justice of English Protestants against the Catholique Church, and the just judgement of God upon [...]for it, we may desire them to consider, [Page 395] that in their owne congregations they are con­strained to connive at both errours in doctrine, and abuses in practise to support a Schismaticall Unity, which they would not suffer for Catho­lique Unity. So S. Augustine speakes to the Donatists (lib. 2.) Why do they, saith he, perni­ciously suffer such kind of men in the crime of a Sacrilegious Schisme, which they might (and ought) to have tolerated profitably in the inte­grity of (Catholique) Unity? Again, let them consider with what justice they can condemne the other Sects, Presbyterians and Separatists, if they seek the same destructive way of reform­ing them, which themselves practised upon the Catholiques: For the Presbyterians will alledge Scripture, as well as they; they will pretend er­rours and superstitions, as well as they: And the Separatists beyond this will alledge for them­selves, that which it will be impossible for them to reply reasonably to, for they will say, ‘Since you your selves have taken away all obliging humane authority in points of Religion, give us leave to enjoy that liberty for our own con­sciences, which you have purchased us: we de­sire not to tyrannize over other men, only we would not suffer that you should pretend by a shew of liberty to introduce tyranny.’ If Pro­testants shall oppose secular power or multi­tude to such allegations, that will be to confesse that their reformation was a meere worldly de­sign. If they shall say that it is not fit that a smal conventicle of Sectaries should prevail against a Nationall Synod of the English Clergy; then they must not take it ill to have those efficacious words of S. Augustine applyed unto them, Is [Page 396] the just weighing of matters come to this passe, that a Councell of the Maximianenses, who are an under-segment of your Sect, shall have no force or consideration against you, because in comparison of your numbers they are but a very few, and shall a Councell of your own prevaile against Nations, against the heritage of Christ, and the ends of the earth his possession? I won­der if that man have any bloud left in his body, that should not blush at the mentioning of such a thing as this. Aug. Ep. 154. ad Emer. Don.

11. I will conclude this conclusion with a brief consideration of an accusation which Pro­testants lay against Catholiques, whom they charge with extreme uncharitablenesse, for af­firming, that Protestants dying in their Reli­gion without repentance cannot be saved. Here­to it is answered, that Catholiques do not pre­tend to judge of the salvation or damnation of Protestants in particular, yea they will not doubt to say that to many thousands of them neither their Heresie nor Schisme shall prove de facto damnable, but that supposing they dye with an intention to renounce whatsoever their opinions should appear to them to have been er­roneous, their invincible ignorance caused by education, misinformation of Catholique do­ctrines, &c. may probably find pardon from our mercifull Judge, in case they be truly peni­tent for all other faults committed by them, up­on supposition that any such have been commit­ted: But surely it is no uncharitable judgement to say in generall,V. Lugo de fid. Disp. 12. Sect. 2. That it is damnable to dye in a dam­nable [Page 397] or mortall sinne without repentance: And therefore since even by Protestants con­fession Heresie and Schisme are in a high de­gree damnable sins, and since Catholiques are verily perswaded that Protestants are guilty of these two crimes, it may be called in them a mi­stake, but it cannot be called uncharitablenesse in Catholiques upon such a supposition to make such a judgement. Yea on the contrary I won­der how the English Protestants, &c. who pre­tend that Catholiques are guilty of these two crimes, can notwithstanding contrary to the doctrine of all Antiquity, affirm that such per­sons are not in a damable estate; surely it is self­guilt, and not charity that makes them so chari­table.

CHAP. LI.

The fourth Conclusion.

Proofes of it out of Fathers.

THE FOURTH CONCLUSION is,

That the Catholique Church ever after the times of the Apostles was, is, and shall be visible, continuing in an unin­terrupted succession of lawfull Pastors and true doctrine to the end of the world.

1. FOr confirmation of this conclusion out of Scripture, Texts, sufficient both for number and perspicuity, have already been pro­duced both out of the Old and New Testament in the second conclusion.

2. The same doctrine is no lesse conspicuous in the writings of the Fathers. It is easier (saith S. Chrysostome Hom. 4. in Esa.) that the Sun should be extinguished, then that the Church should be obscured. And again, The Sun is not more manifest, nor the light proceeding from it, theu the actions of the Church. The Church (saith S. Cyprian de Unit. Eccl.) being cloa­thed with the light of our Lord spreads its beames through the whole world.Aug. cout. Pet. l. 2. c. 104. Id. con. Parm. l. 2. c. 3, The Church (saith S. Au­gustine) hath this most cer­tain [Page 399] mark, that she cannot be hidden. And a­gain, Do not these men grope at noone day as if it were midnight? It is a quality common to all Heretiques, not to see the thing of all things in the world most clear (viz. the church) which is placed in the light of all Nations, out of the unity whereof whatsoever they do, though it may seem to be done with great exactnesse and diligence, yet can no more secure them from the wrath of God, then the spiders webs from the rigour of the cold. Hereupon the same Saint (de unit. Eccl.) calls Christ the most true de­clarer of his body, insomuch as be suffers us not to be mistaken neither in the Bridegroom nor in his Spouse. Upon which grounds he makes se­verall exclamations to this purpose, (Id. cont. cres. l. 3.) O the mad perversenesse of men! Thou conceivest that thou deservest to be prai­sed for believing Christ, whom thou seest not; and believest thou shalt not be damned for de­nying his Church which thou seest: Since that Head is in heaven, and this body is upon earth. Thou acknowledgest Jesus Christ, and that which is written (of him) O God be thou ex­alted above the heavens, and doest not acknow­ledge the church in that which follows, and let your glory be spread through all the earth. The like expressions he hath upon Psalm 56. and in his 166. Epistle ad Donat, and on 1. Ep. of S. John Tract. 2. &c. And again (in Psal. 70.) The Christian world is promised, and this is believed (by them:) This promise is fulfilled, and it is contradicted by them. And againe, If the church shall not continue here on earth even to the end of the world, to whom did our [Page 400] Lord say, Behold I am with you even to the end of the world. And again (de Bapt. con. Don. l. 3,) If from the time of S. Cyprian the church perished, from whence did Donatus appeare? out of what earth did he bud? out of what See did he arise? from what heaven did he fall? And again (cont. Jul, l. 5.) If by those holy Priests of God and famous Doctors, Irenaeus, Cyprian, Rheticius, Olympius, Hilary, Am­brose, Gregory, Basile, John Chrysostome, In­nocent, and Hierome, the Manicheans have vi­olated and corrupted the Church, Tell me (Ju­lian) who was it that brought thee forth? was it a chast Matron, or a Harlot, who in her tra­velling brought thee forth by the wombe of spi­rituall Grace into that light which thou hast forsaken? I willingly omit infinite other passa­ges, especially out of S. Augustine to the same purpose, because even Protestants generally do not question the substance of that truth herein contained.

CHAP. LII.

Application of these proofes, to the advantage of the Romane Catho­lique Church, and against Prote­stants, &c.

1. THe cause therefore is clear in the generall Thesis, that the Fathers opinion was, that by vertue of Christs expresse promises, his church was to continue visible and distinguisha­ble from all other unlawfull congregations to the worlds end. This I do not find denied by the English Protestants, I mean neither that this was the sense of the Fathers, nor that this sense was ture.

2. The great controversie therefore is in the Hypothesis, or application of the generall The­sis, viz. whether that such conclusions as the Fathers deduce from the visibility of the Ca­tholique church in their dayes, may rationally be inferred from the Roman Catholique church visible in these dayes. For example, that it is unlawfull upon any pretence of errors or abuses in practise, to separate from the externall com­munion of that church, which now calls it selfe the Catholique Church (which is only the Ro­man, for the Grecian churches, though they challenge the title of Catholique Churches, that is, true members of the Catholique, yet I doe not find that they make an association to their externall communion, a necessary condition to all Christians.)

[Page 402]3. The English Protestants say no, against all Roman Catholiques, who unanimously affirm, that since such discourses of the Fathers were grounded upon Christs promises to his church, which were to be effectuall to the end of the world, that therefore they are as fitly and neces­sarily to be applied to the present, as to the anti­ent Catholike church, and that no other church, but that in communion with the Roman, can make any valuable or legitimate pretentions to that title. Though the truth is, if it be to be grant­ed that there is any visible Catholique church at all, whose externall communion is necessary, the Protestants are inexcuseably culpable, since they neither would nor could upon their grounds communicate with any church in the world that was in being, when Luther began his Apostacy.

4. In this controversie therefore, upon these following considerations and grounds. I fully satisfied my self, that the plea of Roman Catho­liques was just and reasonable. For [...]. Though English Protestants deny the Roman church to be the Catholique church (cum Emphase;) yet they acknowledge her to be a true member at least of the Catholique church; being forced hereto for their own interest to justifie the law­fulnesse of their Ordinations, &c. And this ac­knowledgement alone is sufficient to condemne them for their separation as guilty of Schisme, since he who separates from an acknowledged true member of the Catholique church, doth consequently separate from the Catholique church.

5. Secondly they acknowledge that the whole body of the present Catholique church enjoyes [Page 403] the same priviledges and authority, that it did in the times of the antient Fathers: that a Schisme from it is as pernicious as antiently: that a truly Generall Councell now is as obli­ging and unappealable from as heretofore: And upon these grounds they will condemn them­selves, since it is apparent, that if the Easterne churches were assumed together with the We­stern to make up the full body of the Catho­lique, most of the opinions and pretended er­rours, upon which they ground the lawfulnesse and necessity of their separation, will appear to be the doctrines of the church called Catho­lique even in their sense, as e. g. acknowledging the blessed Sacrament to be a proper Sacrifice propitiatory for quick and dead, the Reall Pre­sence (per modum transmutationis) Prayer for Dead and Purgatory, Invocation of S [...]ines, Veneration of Images, &c. And therefore if all the four Patriarches had met at the Councell of Trent, they had Infallibly concur'd in con­demning the Protestants as Heretiques in these points, and their separation upon such grounds is Schisme, properly so called.

6. Thirdly it appeared evidently to me, that those communions and congregations of Chri­stians which acknowledge subjection to the Pope, could only rightfully challenge the name of the Catholique church, For 1. I took it for granted that that which was called the Catho­like church after the times of the four first Ge­nerall Councells, when the A [...]ans, Photinians, Macedonians, Nestorians, Eurychians &c. were anathematized, was indeed the onely tru [...] Ca­tholique church; by which account the Abyssine [Page 404] churches, as being (at least, antiently) Eutychi­ans, and severall Eastern churches, as Nestori­ans, Jacobi [...]es, &c. were and are to be exclu­ded from that denomination; which yet the Pro­testants now, although they dare not communi­cate with them, would admit into the body of the church; but most unreasonably; for if the Abyssines continue yet Eutychians, the Prote­stants of England (who receive the foure first Generall Councells) do thereby acknowledge them to be Heretiques; if they have quitted Eu­tychianisme, and really adjoyned themselves to the Roman church (according to severall Em­bassies mentioned by Damianus à Goes &c.) then Protestants will find it so much more to their disadvantage to argue any thing from the Abyssine churches. 2. I could observe nothing, which could make me doubt that that which was called the Catholique church from the four first Generall Councells to S. Gregories the Greats dayes inclusivè, was indeed so. For if in S. Gregories dayes there was a Catholique church (is Protestants grant there was) then that which was in communion and subjection to him was only it, since none that I know pre­tend to allow that title to any congregation di­vided from him. Now in the church of S. Gre­gories time it is apparent that in a manner all points of Doctrine (now by Protestants called errours and causes of their separation) were u­niversally acknowledged as Catholique do­ctrines, as I shewed before by a joynt confession of the most learned Protestant writers, by which they vertually confesse, that if they had lived in S. Gregories dayes they would as well have se­parated [Page 405] from him. Besides it appeares by S. Gregories Epistles that he as Pope en­joyed a supereminent authority, and solli­citously exercised a care over all Christian churches: As for his Jurisdiction, as Pa­triarch, and the extension thereof, that I took not here into consideration, since it is not a point pretended to be an Article of Faith. 3. From S. Gregories dayes, till the separation of the East from the externall jurisdiction, rather then the Faith of the Pope and Western churches, the whole body of the church under one visi­ble Head remained, as it did before, en­joying the title of the Catholique church, no other pretending thereto. 4. Since the Division of the East from the Westerne churches (caused as I conceive, upon a quarrell about the Popes Ecclesiasticall Jurisdiction, and not any point of Doctrine) the limits of the Catholique church seem to be much streit­ned. Concerning which Schisme (if it be in­deed a Schisme properly so called) I apprehend­ed no necessity to be very curious to inform my self, being perswaded during the time of my be­ing a Protestant, that, as for that one point of belief, concerning the Procession of the Holy Ghost, wherein the Greek church expresseth her self otherwise then the Roman, if in sub­stance and sense there be a reall difference, that the Roman church was Orthodox. And besides that, I know not any point of doctrine wherein the Greek church agrees with Protestants to condemn the Roman church. It is true they communicate in both kinds, but I could never [Page 406] find that the Greeks made that point any pre­text of their division from the Roman, neither indeed can they, since they also give the Eu­charist to the sick onely in one kind, acknow­ledging withall, that such communicants re­ceive the whole effect of the Sacrament. As for the story of the Schisme, it was begun by Pho­tius the Pseudo-Patriarch of Constantinople up­on ambition and interest, because the Pope would not confirm his illegall intrusion into that Chair; which generally ha's been a fatall occasion of almost all Schismes, as long since S. Cyprian hath observed. Lastly it is manifest that those rights of Jurisdiction also, which (since that Schisme) have been denied by the Greeks to the Pope, were not then begun to be demanded, but had been possessed by him for severall ages; so that there was at least injustice, if not error, on the Grecians part.

7. Fourthly, that the Pope, as successor of S. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, ha's a prima­cy and superiority over all Bishops and Patri­archs, yea an authority over the whole Catho­lique church, so that he may truly be called the Head of the Church, ha's been delivered by so constant and universal a Tradition, that it can­not without extreme impudence be denied. Now how far this superiority and authority ex­tends, I thought it needlesse curiously to inform my self, since, as far as I can learn, all that the church requires in this point even from ecclesi­asticall persons, is a subscription to this professi­on mentioned in the Bull of Pope Pius IV annexed to the Councell of Trent, and colle­cted out of the same, viz. Romano Pontifici [Page 407] Beati Petri Apostolorum Principis successori, ac Jesu Christi. Uicario, veram obedientiam spondeo ae juro. i. e. I do promise and sweare true obedience to the Pope of Rome, successor of blessed S. Peter Prince of the Apostles, and Vicar of Jesus Christ.

8. Now that thus much is of universall Tra­dition, what greater proof can be desired then may be afforded us in a late book entituled Les Grandeurs dell' Eglise Romaine, where such a world of testimonies out of Councells Occume­nicall and Provinciall, Popes, Fathers, both Eastern and Westerne Histories Ecclesiasticall &c. are produced to maintain the Co-union of S. Paul with S. Peter in at least some degree of his universall authority, which not withstanding are not an hundredth part of that which may be alledged out of antiquity for S. Peters Prin­cipality, and the Popes as his successor. Yea that great Councell of Chalced on, (acknowledg­ed and received in England (even when it en­deavoured to deprive the Pope of some part of Jurisdiction, yet acknowledged this his superi­ority and authority as Pope, the Bishops there calling him their Head, and themselves with all Christians, members under that Head. More­over Socrates and Zozomen (writers far from being partiall for the Pope) yet mention antient immemo­riall canons of the church,Socr. Hist. Eccl. l. 2. c. 8. Sozon [...]. Hist. Eccl. l. 3. c. 10. wherein at least a negative voice is given to the Pope in any thing that shall be introduced to oblige the whole church, To conclude, Monsieur Blondel, the most [Page 408] learned French controvertist that ever under­took their common quarrell against the Pope, in that large volume which is spent in confu­ting particular extravagant opinions concerning that subject, as touching the infallibility and Monarchicall Omnipotence of the Pope, his Lordly and domineering headship, and a Mo­narchicall power usurped by him by which to subdue all the members of Christ, &c. yet not­withstanding (which is very remarkable) he confesseth himself, that never any Councell or Nation,Blondel page 16. 810. 855. 12. 316. 107.no not that of Florence nor Trent it self ever adventured to define any thing concerning such ex­cessive titles and power as the Popes Parti­zans do attribute to him. But on the contrary, that the titles of the Apostle S. Peter ought not to be put in debate, since that the Grecians and Protestants also do confesse that it hath beone believed, and that it might be indeed that he was the President and Head or Chiefe (Chef) of the Apostles, the foundation of the Church, and possessor of the Keys of the Kingdom of hea­ven. Yea moreover, That Rome, as being a Church consecrated by the residence and Mar­tyrdome of S. Peter, whom antiquity hath ac­knowledged to be the Head (Chef) of the College Apostolique, having been honored with the title of the Seat of the Apostle S. Peter, might without difficulty be considered by one of the most renowned Councells (viz. that of Chalcedon as Head (Chef) of the Church: Which is in effect to acknowledge that the ne­cessary doctrine of the Roman church concern­ing [Page 409] the Popes Primacy and Authority is Or­thodox.

9. Upon which grounds, since it appeares to have been an universall Tradition of the church (besides expresse words of Scripture) that the Catholique Church was to remaine visi­ble to the end of the world, that is, a church possessed of all substantiall Christian doctrines, preserved in all truth, governed by lawfull Pa­stours, as one body consisting of ruling and ruled members under one visible head, (which S. Cyprian makes the foundation of Unity Ec­clesiasticall) I concluded (as I thought, rati­onally) that that part of the Christian world, which continued in Communion with, and obedience to this so acknowledged Supreme Authority, might and ought most justly to challenge the title of the Catholique Church.

10. Therefore though the priviledge of an independent Patriarchall church (which the English Protestants of late begin to chal­lenge, to the end to excuse their church from the title of Schisme, for withdrawing it selfe from the Popes Jurisdiction) were just and le­gal; yet they will never be able to justifie them­selves for disbelieving what they together with all the other Western churches so many ages agreed to have been true, or for denying the title of Oecumenicall Head to the Pope. Let it be supposed therefore, what some of them alledge, that it is in the power of such a King of England, as Henry the VIII. with the for­ced consent of his Clergy, to erect the English church into a Patriarchate, as Justinian the Em­perour [Page 410] did Justinianaea Prima: Or that Eng­land being an Island like Cyprus, might have the priviledge to be independent of any Patriarch; all that will follow thereon, will be only, that the Pope as Patriarch of the West shall by this meanes be deprived of some Patriarchall Jurisdictions, Investitures, Rights of Ap­peals, &c. which have antiently been endea­voured to be withdrawn from him by the Afri­can Churches, &c. Yet what is this to his title of S. Peters Successor, and Head of the Church? Or was Justinianaea or the Isle of Cyprus so independent in matters of point of Faith or publique practise on the Pope or other Patri­archs, or however, on a Generall Councell, as that they could dejure alter any thing esta­blished by Universall Authority? Could they renverse decisions of Oecumenicall Councells? Or did they ever usurp such an authority to themselves, as to impute superstition, idolatry, prophaneness, heresies, &c. to all other churches, under a shew of Reformation, ruining the whole order of Discipline and Belief, confessedly conti­nued in the whole church for above a thousand years? Till they can produce examples of an authority of Reformation of such a nature assu­med by any Catholique Prince or particular Kingdome, the other pretended right of exemp­tion from Jurisdiction will be so far from excu­sing them, that it will make it apparent to the world, that it was meerly their Princes lusts, ambition and unquenchable thirst after ecclesi­asticall revenewes, that first put the thought of Reformation into their heads, and that upon as just grounds they may expect from others a [Page 411] Reformation of their Reformation, which will perhaps prove more durable, when those baits shall be utterly taken away, which first whetned their wits to contrive that project of a Refor­mation.

11. For my own part therefore, seeing these severall conclusions concerning the Catholique Churches indefectibility, authority, unity, and Visibility, so unanimously attested, confir­med, and made use of by all Antiquity, with so good successe against all manner of antient He­resies and Schismes: And on the contrary per­ceiving no such method practised by Prote­stants disputing with one another, no mention in any of their writings or arguments from Christs promises to the church; but onely pre­sumptuous boastings of greater sagacity and cunning to wrest Scripture to their severall purposes, without the least successe of unity with one another, yea to the utter despair there­of: Having shut mine eyes to all manner of worldly ends and designes; yea resolving to fol­low truth whither soever it would lead me, though quite out of sight of countrey, friends or estate, at length by the mercifull goodnesse of God I found my self in inward safety and re­pose in the midst of that City set [...]pon an hill, whose builder and maker is God, whose foun­dations are Emerauds and Saphirs, and Jesus Christ himself the chief Corner Stone: a City, that is at unity within it selfe, as being or­dered and polished by the Spirit of Unity it selfe; a City not enlightened with the Meteors or Comets of a private Spirit, or changeable humane reason, but with the glory of God, and [Page 412] light of the Lamb: Lastly, a City that for a­bove sixteen hundred years together hath resi­sted all the tempests that the fury of men, or malice of hell could raise against it, and if Christs promises may be trusted to, and his Omnipotence be r [...]lyed upon; shall continue so till his second coming. To him be glory for e­ver and ever.

Amen.

SECT. III.

Containing a brief stating of cer­tain particular points of Controversie, &c.

CHAP. I.

The Question of the Church being deci­ded, decides all other controversies.

How it is almost impossible that errour should have crept into the publike do­ctrine of the Church.

Of what force objections out of Scripture or Fathers are against the Church.

1. AFter that Almighty God had changed that, which was to me a stone of offence, into a rock of foundation, making me to find re­pose of mind in submitting to the authority of his church, which by reason of my former mis­apprehensions I carefully avoided; as if the greatest danger that a Christian could be capa­ble of had beene to be a member of Christs mysticall body, which is his Church, or as if the hearkning to the Church had been the way to make a man worse then a Heathen and a Pub­lican, I then found an experimentall knowledge of the truth of that speech of S. Hierome, (cont. Lucifer.) viz. that the Sun of the Church presently dryes up all rivelets of errors, and dispells all the mists of naturall reason: [Page 414] as likewise of that of the Prophet, Quicredit, intelliget, i. e. He that believes shall under­stand: For being arrived to the top of that mountaine, upon which God had built his church, I found clear weather on all hands, I found that there remained nothing for me to do afterwards, but to hearken to, and obey her, that both Scripture and Fathers, and now mine own reason taught me was only worthy to be o­beyed. And therefore the truth is, here should be an end of my Exomologesis, or account of my inward disputes about controversies con­cerning Religion, which quickly ceased, after that I left off to be mine own Guide and Tea­cher.

2. Notwithstanding among the particular controversies in debate between the Romane Catholiques and other Sects, I will select espe­cially six of the most principall, on purpose to shew, that if any regard had been had either to the authority or peace of Gods church, there would never have been any differences about them, and that in the judgement even of mode­rate Protestants, the differences are indeed of so small weight, that if there had been amongst them but the least measure of charity, or if Schisme had not been esteemed by them a ver­tue; they would never have made such fatall and deadly divisions upon pretences so unconsi­derable.

3. They indeed lay to the charge of the Ca­tholique church novelties in doctrines and pra­ctises: and yet Catholiques, even out of those few that remain, of the most antient Ecclesia­sticall Authors, shew clear proofes of these do­ctrines [Page 415] and practises, and desire no more of them, then that they would speak in the lan­guage of the antient church: They accuse her of impieties, and idolatries, and superstitions, yet Catholiques shew them that the most holy, learned Saints and Martyrs that ever were in Gods church practised and maintained such pretended superstitions, &c. They accuse her of Schisme, for not separating from her selfe and and the whole world, and for not being able to hinder them from committing that most sacri­legious crime; and they impute Heresie to her, for being constant in maintaining the decisions of all Councells, and the profession of all chur­ches and ages.

4. But before I examine the vanity of these imputations by stating those six particular con­troversies, I shall desire our English Protestants to meditate sadly upon two subjects especially. The first is, Which way they can imagine it to be possible that an errour should imperceptibly creep into the belief and practise of the whole church, even setting aside the security we have against any such mischiefe by the meanes of Christs promises? For was it not true, which antiquity testifies, yea and S. Paul himself ex­pressely, that the Apostles and Apostolicall men were instant in season, and out of season, to make known to the primitive Christians, and to inculcate diligently and laboriously into their minds the whole sum of Christian doctrine, not forbearing both publiquely, and from house to house to reveal to them the whole will of God, not suppressing any thing that was profitable, (Act, 20. 20. 27.) And this so fully and effe­ctually, [Page 416] as that if an Angell from heaven could be supposed to teach any thing, not only con­trary, but [...]i. e. besides that which they had taught, he was to be accursed, Galat. 1. 8. Then do not the Fathers tell us (and what proof can Protestants produce to make them appear to be lyars, when they tell us) that at least for five hundred years all caution imagineable was used to prevent and exclude any novelties, that any Heretiques, yea or any Christians, though as learned as Origen, or as holy as S. Cyprian, should attempt to introduce? May we not adde hereto, that whatsoever novelties of the least moment should be obtruded by any, would discover themselves to be novelties, by thwarting the publique profession and practi­sed devotions of the church? as S. Cyprians Rebaptization would oblige all men to pra­ctise that which they had alwayes forborne: and the Arian and Pelagian &c. impieties would constrain the church to alter the formes of prayers to the Sonne of God, and for Gods Grace to cure the impotence and perversenesse of nature, acknowledged in the daily pub­lique confessions. Upon which grounds, S. Cyril against Nestorius, and S. Leo against Eutyches, disprove the errours and impieties of their Heresies, by producing the profession and practise of the church in administring the holy Eucharist, whereby she restified her be­liefe of a reall presence of the very body and bloud of Christ there, which could not con­sist with their Novelties. So that upon the same ground, if Invocation of Saints, Pray­er and offering the most holy Sacrifice for re­mission [Page 417] of sinnes to the dead, Veneration of Images, &c. had been novelties, would not such practises have more directly thwarted the publique devotions of the church, then the Heresies of Nestorius and Eutyches: How was it possible then that such doctrines should have been taught by any particular Father, (as con­fessedly they have been) and not any one ap­peare that should discover and protest against such innovations? what charme was there in these doctrines above all others, to cast the church into a sleep, that she should not per­ceive them, or to silence the Fathers, that a­gainst their custome in all other innovations they should not open their mouths against them? And much more, how was it possible that the publique Liturgies and devotions of the church should come to be changed by admitting such pretended novelties and superstitions, and yet no signes or footsteps be left that such a won­derfull change ha's been made, not one writer to be found that can tell us of any one that op­posed it.

5. The second thing that I desire them to consider is, That since it is at this day, and ha's been for many ages the universall belief of the church, that all such pretended Novelties were indeed Catholique and Apostolique Traditi­ons, what arguments Protestants can reason­ably esteeme sufficient to disprove this be­liefe, and to dispossesse the church of her re­nure? Will the silence of one or two Fathers, think they, be of force enough to such a purpose? If so, I doubt whether the church would then be able to maintaine any one [Page 418] Article of Faith. Would a few seeming diffi­culties and obscure, seemingly opposite quota­tions out of some writings of a few Fathers serve their turn? It did not so in the cause of the Arians, of the Pelagians, of the Novati­ans: &c. and why only in the present controver­sies? Will quotations of Scripture decide the questions against the present church? Indeed if it could be imagineable, that the whole Catho­lique church could at the same time, and with the same hand, deliver us Scripture and do­ctrines contrary to expresse Scripture, if she could be supposed either so foolish as not to see that which no body could be ignorant of, or so wicked, as (clearly seeing what God said) to command us not to believe him, but rather the quite contrary, then she might deserve to be sti­led Schismaticall, because she continues in such a wicked unity; and Hereticall, because she would not submit her judgement and aushority to the passions and lust of an Apostate Monke. But even Protestants themselves will absolve her from such a high degree of guilt, as to contra­dict expresse and formall Scripture. And as for Texts of Scripture, either obscure or ambigu­ous, or [...]ationally admitting severall interpreta­tions, though to some prejudicate ears they may seem to sound otherwise then the church teach­es, in all reason and honesty the churches inter­pretation of them ought to prevail against any private mans: I am sure all sorts of Sects will either submit their judgements to the sense of their particular churches, or at least will con­ceal their opinions, when they cannot submit them; this civility and duty teaches all men. [Page 419] But as for the children of the Catholike church, they have an obligation binding them in con­science to trust the same church for the sense of Scripture (especially in points which she sayes are of Universall Tradition) which they have trusted for the Scripture it selfe; and therefore S. Augustine said well, and like a perfectly good Christian and Catholique, The words of Scripture are so to be understood, as the world hath believed them, which that it should be­lieve the Scripture hath foretold. And surely he that will duely consider of what weight the universal testimony of a whole age of the church is to prove a Tradition, will never think that a few objections, or obscure passages either in Scriptures, or two or three Fathers, who are apt to speak unwarily, when the matter is not in controversie; should decide the cause against it, especially considering that it is almost impossible to receive absolute satisfaction of the doctrine of former ages any other way, or at least any o­ther way so well, as by the universall agreement of the present age, that so the former ages deli­vered to her, What shall we say then, when to the evident testimony of the present age for Ca­tholike verities may be added a world of testi­monies, both of Scripture and antient writers, beyond all comparison far more then for her e­nemies contradictory assertions, even those ene­mies themselves being judges, as will appeare undeniably to any man that will consult that one book of Brercley's Apology of Protestants for the Catholique church.

CHAP. II.

Of the Reall Presence, and Transub­stantiation. Of the Adoration of Christ in the Sacrament, and of Com­munion under one Species.

1. THe six speciall controversies which I shall briefly consider, shall be; 1. Con­cerning the Eucharist, and therein of the Re­all Presence of Christs body by way of Tran­substantiation: as likewise, Of the Adoration of our Lord present in the Sacrament; and com­munion under one Species. 2. Of Invocation of Saints. 3. Of Veneration of Images. 4. Of Prayer for the Dead, and Purgatory. 5. Of In­dulgences. 6. Of the Publike Service in Latin. The reason why I make choice of these is, both because these are the especiall controversies, wherein there is a reall and manifest difference between Catholiques and Protestants, who make these points the principall causes of their separation: For as concerning the debates about Grace and Free-will, Predestination and Justi­fication, as likewise the merits of good works, though ignorant-popular-preaching Protestants make a great clamour about them, yet I was most assured, that there was indeed a reall a­greement, when they came to explaine them­selves sensibly about them. As for the contro­versie concerning the Pope, I have spoken suffi­ciently in the 52. chapter, at the latter end of the fourth conclusion.

[Page 421]2. First therefore concerning the Reall pre­sence of Christs body in the Eucharist, and that by way of Transubstantiation: In dis­coursing upon which, because my designe is not to write the controversie in generall, but only in reference to the doctrine, which, fol­lowing the church of England, I was taught there; it will be sufficient for me to signifie, that by that church I was taught that in the blessed Sacrament the body and bloud of our Lord were really present, exhibited and recei­ved by the Communicants, really I say, not onely as the objects of Faith, or not onely as really exhibiting the effects of Christs suf­fering; but as truly and properly as the Roman church professeth, onely I was forbidden to say that there was any reall change made in the bread and Wine, which remained after Consecration, as they were before: In a word, I was taught to say, what neither I nor any o­ther was able to expresse, save onely that the Romish doctrine was false, which taught that that presence was made by a presence of Christs body under the Species (which only remained) of the visible elements.

3. Now when, I say, that I was taught to expresse my belief thus by the church of Eng­land, my intention is not that that church obli­geth every one to believe thus; For the truth is, so a man will but renounce the two words of Transubstantion, and Consubstantiation, he may, preserving the terme really, interpret him­self; as if really signified only figuratively, or as the object of the understanding, as we see a world of writers allowed there to have ex­pressed [Page 422] themselves: Yea in the 28. and 29. Articles of that Church there are certain clau­ses which require only a figurative sense to be understood, as when it is said, The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the sup­per, only after an heavenly and spirituall man­ner; and the mean whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the supper, is Faith. And again, The wicked &c. are in no wise partakers of Christ, but rather to their condemnation do eat and drink the sign or Sacrament of so great a thing. Which clauses being allowed, those Ar­ticles do admit, yea require not only the Calvi­nistical, but even the Zuinglian sense concerning that point. Yet notwithstanding this, whether the Calvinisticall party there had with their usuall importunity extorted the inserting of those clauses into the Articles, I know not, yet those that followed the Prelaticall Governing Facti­on never considered those expressions, but with­out any Calvinisticall hyps­crisie professed that they be­lieved the Reall Presence as truly and really and proper­ly as the Catholiques did:See the confe­rence of Poissy. And so King James commanded Monsieur Casaubon to signifie his sense to Cardinall Perron in the words of Do­ctor Andrews, then Bishop of Ely.

4. Now what other reason can be imagined should move the most learned and prudent part of the English Clergy to expresse themselves so neer the Catholique sense, but only a convicti­on that besides the formall words of Scripture, the Ecclesiasticall Tradition and generall do­ctrine of the Fathers enforced such a sense? But [Page 423] by what mystery it came to passe that they should dispense with themselves for following Tradi­tion no further; but that under a pretence that the Sacrament was a mystery inexplicable, they should forsake the same Tradition and Fathers, who generally professe, that that presence is made by a reall transmutation of the visible ele­ments into the very Body and Blood of Christ, this I confesse I could never comprehend.

5. Now that such was the Traditionary do­ctrine of the Catholique church, (besides the testimony of the present age, which will be of infinite weight to any one that duly considers it) and to omit a world of quotations out of Councells and Fathers, wherein expressions to prove the same are as full, yea perhaps more ri­gid then the Decision of the Councell of Trent it selfe, I became convinced from these conside­rations, viz. 1. Because in all the antient Litur­gies that ever I saw, there are expresse mention of the verity and reality of this change, and not any the least intimation of a figurative sense: there are expresse prayers that God would by his omnipotent power cause the Bread and Wine to become the Body and Bloud of our Lord, and not the least intimation, that the way of communicating of these mysteries should be only by Faith, or by the operation of the understand­ing. 2. Because in the form of communicating both in the Easterne and Westerne churches, (which form or Canon, S. Chrysostome, S. Am­brose, S. Augustine, S. Basile, &c. attribute to the Apostles themselves as authors) there was required from the communicants a confession of their beliefe of the reality of this change; or [Page 424] to expresse it in S. Ambrose his language, (de Sacr. l. 4. c. 3.) The Priest (viz. presenting to thee that which before consecration was bread) saith unto thee, This is the body of Christ, and thou answerest, Amen, that is to say, it is true; That which the tongue confes­seth, let the heart believe. 3. Because generally the Fathers when they speak of this argument, have recourse to the omnipotence of the Word of Christ,Vid. Iren. l. 4. c. 34. S. Cyril. Hi­er. Ca [...] Myst. 4. Amb. de sacr. l. 4. c. 4. Et de iis qui myst. init. c. 9. Gaudent. de rat. sac. Tr. 2. S. Greg. Nyss. ora. Cat. c. 37. Euseb. (non Emes hom. Pasc.) Am­br. ubi sup. and to wonderfull ope­rations exalted above all hu­mane credibility, as the cause of this change, thereby leaving no doubt that they understood a conversion (not significative, but) reall, true and substanti­all. 4. Because the same Fa­thers to make their auditours more capable of the mystery, ex­emplifie in other kinds of chan­ges or conversions, as of the change of the Bread which Christ did eat, into his owne flesh; of the miraculous conver­sion of water into wine; of Moyses rod into a serpent; and the waters of Nile into blood. Which language would be extremely ridiculous, if they intended not a re­all and substantial change. 5. To prove that they understood not only a presence of Christ in the action of the Sacrament (as some English Pro­testants explain themselves) or a presence consi­stent with a Lutheranical coëxistence of the sub­stance of bread and wine, S. Ambrose will satisfie [Page 425] us, who answering that very objection that the difficulties would be less if it were affirmed that the substance of bread and wine remained toge­ther with the body and blood of Christ after the consecration, hath these words, de Sacr. l. 4. To the first objection we must thus answer, That in mat­ters of faith a man ought not to make choice of that which is accompanied with less difficulties, for otherwise we should affirm that in God there is one only hypostasis &c. But he ought to affirm that which is most conformable to the testimo­nies of the holy Fathers, and to the Tradition of the Church, although never so many difficulties present themselves, seeing that he ought to cap­tivate his understanding under the obedience of Faith. So likewise S. Ignatius quoted by Theo­doret in Dialog. 3. speaks of certain Heretikes who received not the Oblations and Eucharists; because they believed not that the Eucharist was the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ. Which is a proof undeniable, that the most primitive church taught this Catholike dgctrine of the reall Pre­sence; for if there had beene onely a spiri­tuall presence, what pretence could those Heretikes have to resuse them.Vid. Aug. Psal. 98. Ambros. de sp. 5. l. 3. Chrysost. in 1. Cor. Hom. 24: Nazian. Epi­taph. Gorg. Theod. Di­al. 2. 6. Because both the antient Liturgies and Fa­thers of the church do testi­fie the generall custome of Gods people to adore Christ present upon the Altar af­ter Consecration: and this not onely in the time of administration, but af­terwards also, as sup­posing, [Page 426] that that which remained, was and con­tinued truly the body of Christ, according to those words of S. Cyrill of A­lexandria, Cyril. Al. Ep. ad Co­losyr. I know what they say, namely, That the mysticall benediction, if any reliques re­main of it to the next day, is un­profitable to sanctification. But they that say thus are mad: For there is not another Christ made, neither can his holy body be changed, but the vertue of the benediction and the quick­ning Grace remains perpetually in it. 7. Last­ly, because by this argument of the reall trans­mutation of the visible elements into the body of Christ the third Generall Councell of Ephesus, and severall antient Fathers, confuted the Here­sies of Nestorius and Euty­ches, about the two natures of our Saviour,Concil. Ephes. anath. 11. Cy­rill. Alexan. S. Leo P. as I mentioned oc­casionally before. So that such a world of testimonies of Anti­quity concurring, the Tradition being so constant and uniform, S. Leo the Great had just cause to say (Ep. 23.) In the church of God this is so consonantly witnessed by eve­mans mouth, that the truth of the body and bloud of Christ is not even by the tongues of infants concealed among the Sacraments (or, Mysteries) of the common Faith.

6. An Universall Tradition therefore of the Reall Presence hath been so forcible and un­conquerable, as that it constrained even the English Protestants themselves to acknowledge it, and that simply and unhypocritically: How could I then defend my self from submitting [Page 427] and captivating my understanding to the same Tradition, as constant for a reall change and conversion? I must professe ingenuously, that during the time of my being a Protestant, the only, or I am sure principall hinderance from an entire conformity to the Faith of Catholikes in this point, was the inextricablenesse of those arguments which my reason suggested to me out of naturall Philosophy against it, as, how it could be possible that the same body could be in heaven and upon the Altar at the same time? how accidents could remain without their pro­per subjects &c. considering with all the small, or rather no satisfaction which the Scholasticall subtilties gave me.

7. But now if it be demanded, what new Phi­losophy I have learned, since I learned that the Catholique church was to be believed and o­beyed, and what preservative I have found a­gainst those former arguments of naturall rea­son? I must answer freely and ingenuously, that I have not learned to answer such arguments, but to despise them; and to say, God forbid that vain Philosophy should ( [...]) make a prey of me, defrauding me of the most necessary communion with the church of Christ, and most essentiall vertue of captiva­ting my understanding to the obedience of all Evangelicall Mysteries. I do therefore freely confesse my ignorance, and inability to de­monstrate how this particular Mystery can consist even with those rules of Philosphy which I my self receive; But withall, I must not conceale that when I was a Protestant also, I did the same for other points, as the Mystery of [Page 428] the blessed Trinity, the Incarnation of the Son of God, &c. And I did not find any scruple in those mysteries, because I could not reconcile them with Aristotle, or any other Patriarch of Heretiques, as Tertullian calls the Philo­sophers.

8. I will further add, that that which gave me entire satisfaction, and obliged me in consci­ence to silence, and not to answer my reason, when it would raise objections against Tran­substantiation, was, that the same authority, for whose sake I believed it, taught me to be­lieve it to be a mystery inexplicable and in­comprehensible, and that it was not lawfull so to examine it, as that it should stand or fall ac­cording to the dictates of naturall reason. In­somuch as S. Gregory (called the Divine) spoke like one that deserved that surname, in the second Generall Councell of Constantino­ple, That it was not permitted to the Mao­bites and Ammonites to enter into the church of God, that is (saith he) [...] [...]i. e. to Logicall and vainly curious and subtill discourses. I re­fer the Reader to an abundant collection of the testimonies of Fathers, forbidding this curio­sity of examining the possibility of this my­stery upon the grounds of naturall reason, which are to be found in Cardinall Perrons Reply to King James. (Repl. lib. 4. cap. 1. 2. &c.) Therefore far be it from me to determine this Mystery, by the subtill and too too curious disputations of the Schoolmen: I do not envy them their leasure to employ their fan­cies about such matters within their owne [Page 429] walls; but if they begin to passe for competent Judges of this Mystery, I must prosesse that I disclaim them, and I cannot without grief re­member what dangerous use Protestants make of their vaine and sometimes ridiculous Phi­losophicall Questions about this Mystery, who satisfie themselves that the Mystery it self is not true, because they find no satisfa­ction in the discourses and answers, which the Schoole-writers endeavour to give to a thousand foolish objections, which they con­jute up out of Aristotles Philosophy against this Mystery, to be adored and trembled at. It is onely Scripture, testimonies of Fa [...]hers, Ecclesiasticall Tradition, Generall Councells, and the Profession of the present Catholique Church, which are the proper Judges of this controversie, and whose authority, when it is employed as it ought, will assert this di­vine truth of the Reality of Christs presence, by way of conversion in the blessed Sacra­ment, to the confusion of all Novelties and all Blasphemies of Heretiques. The antient, both Latin and Grecian Fathers, who cer­tainly were of wits as subtill and pierceing, as any that have succeeded them, yet never thought upon such nice enquiries, as now eve­ry young Philosopher can prattle of; and therefore I professe, since I am far from find­ing any obligation at all lying upon me to the contrary, yea since the Councell of Trent (Sess. 13. c. I.) hath defined this point in the language of Antiquity, and not of the Schools, saying that Christ is present in the Sa­crament Sacramentaliter, i. e. mysteriously, in­explicably, [Page 430] I will never endeavour to answer a­ny Philosophicall arguments any other way then with such words as these of S. John Da­mascene, The Bread and Wine is changed into the Body and Blood of our Lord; but this af­ter an unsearchable manner: For of this mat­ter we know no further, but only that the word of God is true, and efficacious, and omnipo­tent. Damasc. de Orthod. Fide lib. 4. cap. 14.

Of the Adoration of our Lord Jesus Christ present in the holy Eucharist.

9 [...] Let us now consider to what the church obliges all Catholiques in this point. If any one (saith the Councell of Trent Sess. 13. Can. 6.) saith that Jesus Christ the only Son of God ought not to be adored with the exteriour wor­ship of Latria it self in the holy Sacrament of the Eucharist; and that for that end it ought not to be proposed publikely to the people to be adored; and that those who adore him are Ido­laters, let him be Ana [...]hema. Which worship of Latria is not given to the outward Symbolls of the Eucharist, but only to Jesus Christ him­self there present.Daillé l. des Imag. p. 340. & 376. A certaine degree of respect (even by the confession of the Calvinists) is due to all outward instru­ments of Religion, as to Cha­lices, to the books of Scripture, to the water of Baptisme, and to the Species of Bread and Wine in the Holy Eucharist. And Catholiques allow no more: But the true object which a [Page 431] Catholique adores with this sub­lime act of adoration or Latria,Test. Doc. Sorbon. is in the case in hand, Jesus Christ himself, who is to be adored eve­ry where wheresoever he is present, and there­fore likewise in the holy Eucharist, in the which the Catholique church knows and ac­knowledgeth no other substance (as the Calvi­nists desire to impose on them) but only Jesus Christ. And if they be Idolaters for this, the Lutherans are so too, who teach the same doctrine,Kemn. Ex­am. par. 2. p. 92. though they expresse themselves in the point of the Reall Presence after an­other new-invented manner: yet notwithstanding the Calvinists (when their worldly interests obliged them) could be con­tent to comunicate with the Lutherans, and could swallow their pretended Idolatry, but out of fear and hatred of Catholique union make even the church her self a prejudice against her doctrine.

10. For mine own part (whilest I was a Pro­testant) I professe I could never answer to mine own reason, why we should condemn the wor­shipping of Christ, whom we professed to be present in very truth, without figures or fan­cies. If he had not been there after a peculiar Sacramentall manner, I might lawfully not­withstanding have worshipped him there, be­cause I may and ought to worship him every where, as being God omnipresent: yea though his humane nature be locally present only at the right hand of the Father in glory, yet I may worship the man Jesus Christ every where; be­cause [Page 432] that person, which is God and Man, is e­very where present (viz.) according to his divine not humane nature, and yet it seems when a new acc [...]ssion of another kind of Sacramentall truly reall presence is added to the former, though I acknowledge this later presence to be as reall as the former, I must be forbidden to expresse that I acknowledge and believe it any other way then by saying with my lips that I do so; I must then deny unto him (in that place, at his owne table and altar, and at that time, whilest are ce­lebrated those mysteries, adorable even to An­gells themselves) that worship and respect, which I would have given him at mine own ta­ble, or whilest I was doing the ordinary works of my calling. But it will be said perhaps, you are not forbidden to worship him, but you must not worship him as present there. And why for Gods sake? Bid me rather believe that he is not after an epseciall manner present: But this is ty­ranny and injustice in the highest degree, to command me to believe that he is as truly, (though after another manner) present there, as at the right hand of his Father; and at the same time to command me by my works to be­lye my belief. No, no. Quàm magis ingenuè Peribonius! How much more ingenuous are the Socinians, then all other Sects! for whereas the rest would gladly pretend Antiquity, and take much unprofitable pains to make a Father now and then speak a word in their favour: The So­cinians instead of puzling themselves to untye, cut asunder all such knots and difficulties, they with an impudent resolutenesse break through all obstacles. Let the antient church determine [Page 433] what it please, and let the antient Fathers agree to speak as they have a mind, if what is spoken and decreed either suit not with what they fan­cy that the Holy Ghost does mean, or (natu­rall reason being Judge) ought to mean, or if the Holy Ghost in their opinions hath been si­lent in it, without more a [...]o they presently re­ject and condemn it; upon which grounds they strein not to alter all the language almost of the church, they know no such thing as a Sacra­ment, they acknowledge no promises to, nor no [...]ffects of such ceremonious actions, as the church and all Christians call Sacraments, they scoffe at the Reall Presence, and abominate the adoration of Christ in his Mysteries: Let S. Am­brose (de Sp. 5. l. 3.) say, By his footstool is meant the earth, and by the earth the body of Christ, which every day we adore in the mysteries, and which the Apostles adored in our Lord Jesus. Let S. Augustine (in Psa. 48.) say, For he took earth from earth, both because be conversed here in very flesh, and gave us likewise very flesh to eat for our salvation. Now no man eats that flesh, but that he adores it first: And thus a way is found how the Lords footstoole is ado­red. And again (Epist 120.) expounding that of the Psalmist, All the rich of the earth have eaten and worshipped, And they also (saith he) are brought to the table of Christ, and partake of his body and bloud; but they adore him on­ly; they are not satisfied, because they doe not imitate him. Let S. Chrysostome (in 1. Cor.) say, This body the wise men worshipped in the manger, &c. Let us at least imitate those bar­barous men, we, who are the Citizens of hea­ven; [Page 434] Thou seest him not in a manger, but upon the Altar; not a woman holding him in her armes, but the Priest himself present, and the Spirit abundantly powred upon the sacrifice presented there. Lastly let Theodorct (Dial 2.) say, The mysticall Symbolls are understood, which are celebrated and believed, and adored likewise, as being the very things which they are believed to be. What is all this to a Socini­an, though all antiquity agree in the like lan­guage, and not one Father explicitly dissent from it? But as for Protestants, not having the confidence to renounce the Fathers autho­rity, they make it their task to prove out of such places, that the Fathers intended by such speech­es, that it was Idolatry to worship Christ pre­sent on the Altar. But-Nobis non licet esse tam disertis.

Of Communion under one Species.

11. This is not a matter of doctrine; but meer practise: The church sayes not, it is un­lawfull to take it in both kinds; but onely that upon reasons sufficiently prevailing with her, she thinks fit in the ordinary practise it should be so administred: The Governours Ecclesiasticall therefore are to be answerable for it.

But to demonstrate that even those, who is their private opinion think it were better it should be administred in both kinds, yet ought not upon pretence thereof to break forth into a sacrilegious separation, I will only recommend these few considerations to our English Prote­stants, viz. 1. That there is no explicit com­mand [Page 435] in Scripture, that the Sacrament should be communicated under both Species. If they urge the example of our Saviour, and the man­ner how he administred it; they know that they themselves allow authority to the church to al­ter formes not essentiall to the Sacraments; and accordingly practise both the form in Baptism, and the holy Eucharist, otherwise then they were first instituted. 2. That it is evident, and no ingenuous Protestant will deny it, but that even in the Primitive churches it was an ordinary practise in severall occasions to receive it only in one kind. 3. That not one proof can be shew­ed that the sick ever received the cup. 4. That notwithstanding in the opinion of Antiquity, those who received it so were believed to have enjoyed the whole benefit and vertue of the Sa­crament. 5. That the Greek church, though she gives it ordinarily in publique in both Spe­cies, yet neither in private, nor to the sick, no nor (as it is said) in Lent. Neither doth she make that difference any ground of her separati­on from the Roman church. 6. That Prote­stants confesse, that those who have a naturall antipathy against wine, may receive the body a­lone, and may notwithstanding assure them­selves that they want no fruit or effect of the holy Eucharist. Upon which grounds, if they would duely consider what a horrible crime Schisme is; they would no doubt believe that this were not a sufficient excuse for them.

12. The only proof that I will give of the o­pinion and allowed practise of antiquity in this point, shall be to set down here in English, the [Page 436] 289. Epistle of S. Basile, ad Caesariam Pa­triciam, a memorable monument of the u­sage of private communicating of the holy Eu­charist, and that only under one Species among the antient Christians, His words are these, [...]&c. that is, And tru­ly every day to communicate and participate the holy body and blood of Christ, is a good and pro­fitable thing, seeing he himself hath said in ex­presse words, He that shall eat my flesh, and drink my blood hath eternall life. Now who does doubt but that daily to participate of life, is no other thing but daily to live? Therefore it is that we our selues do communicate four times every week, to wit, on our Lords day, on the fourth day, on the sixth day, and on the Sab­bath day. And moreover upon other dayes, if the memory of any Martyr be celebrated. Now it would be superfluous for me to demonstrate that that custome is not to be condemned, by which Christians were necessitated in the times of persecution, in the absence of the Priest or Ministsr, to receive the Communion (privately) with his own hands, since an inveterate practise hath effectually confirmed it. For all those who lived Monastically in the Deserts, where there was no Priest, reserving the Communion in their Cells, received it of themselves. In A­lexandria likewise, and in AEgypt, each one of the common sort of people, for the most part, hath the Commnnion reserved in his own house. For the Priest having once offered the Sacri­fice, and distributed it, he that receives it en­tire all together, and afterward daily commu­nicates of it, ought to believe that he commu­nicates [Page 437] and receives the very same which the Priest gave him. For likewise in the Church it self the Priest delivers a part (of the Sacri­fice) and the Communicant receives it, with an entire power to dispose of it, and so with his own hands lists it to his own mouth. Now it is the very same in power (or vertue) whe­ther any one shall receive one only portion from the Priest, or many portions together. Hithert [...] S. Basil.

CHAP. III.

Of Invocation of Saints. Of Veneration of I­mages. Of Prayers and Offerings for the Dead, and Purgatory. Of Indulgences. And of publike service in the Latin tongue. With what charity and modesty the doctrines of the church are to be examined.

1. COncerning Invocation of Saints, to shew the opinion of the antient church about it, it may suffice to take no­tice that for denying the law­fullnesse of it Uigilantius was accounted an Heretique, as Dr. Fulke, Hierom. cont. Vigilant. c. 2. 3. Ful. Resp. ad Pseudo-Cath. Cent. 4. Gol. 1240. the Centuria­tors, Osiander, &c. acknow­ledge out of S. Hierome. I am sure S. Ambrose sayes in the very language of the Councell of Trent, We ought to pray unto the Angells in our owne behalf, who have been given for guards unto us, we ought to pray unto the Martyrs, whose bo [...]dies remaining among us, seem to be as it were a gage and hostage of their protection. And [Page 438] S. Augustine (in Psal. 85.) in the language of the Church Litanies, All Martyrs intercede for us, adding, To the end that they may re­joyce in our behalf who pray for us. And The­odoret (l. 8. de Martyr.) gives the very sense of the present church in this point, We do not adore the Saints as Gods, but we pray unto them as divine men, that they would intercede for us. A Tradition this was of the antient Jewish church also, as those words of Josophus witnesse, The pure souls which hear those that call upon them, obtain in heaven a most holy place. And the same Tradition was so constant in the antient Christian Church, Origen in Num. c. 31. H [...]m. 26. that Origen asks; who doubts but that the Saints do aid us by their prayers. Add hereto, that the antient Liturgies of S. Basile &c. have the same prayers to Saints, in the same form as they are found in the Mis­fall and Breviaries at this day. And, that not any Father condemns the practise of it, either as a novelty or supersticion, which in all other cases upon all occasions they have done.

13. To shew the innocence of the church, far from deserving such behaviour from her chil­dren, as she ha's found in this regard. Consider first, that all that the church decides in this point is, that they may be pray'd to. 2. That by the church no man is obliged or constrained to pray to them, or to any but to God. 3. That this is onely that they would intercede for us, a thing which we sinners desire at the hands of o­ther sinners greater perhaps then our selves. 4. That (excepting only the Litanies which are [Page 439] rather ejaculations and wishes, then formed prayers; and excepting some few Poeti­call Hymnes, to which a greater license hath alwayes beene allowed) the Church, both in the Missall and Breviary directs the prayers, which she makes with re [...]pect to Saints, immediately to God himself, desiring him to hearken to the intercession which his Saints make for us, and by their ministery to aid us. And therefore whereas Protestants make their chief difficulty in this matter to be their uncer­tainty, whether our prayers can arrive to the Saints hearing; though it may be resolved out of expresse Scripture even out of those words, There is joy in heaven over one sinner that re­peurs; [...]ot certainly, when the prayers are dire­cted immediately to God, as the church does, no man will doubt but they may arrive thither. I cannot chuse but on this occasion to publish the ingenuity of the Socinians once more, who deal with Religion as they would do with an A­stronomicall Hypothesis, framing and change­ing heaven and earth according to their phaeno­nema; And therefore they, to take away the trouble of examining either Scripture of Fa­thers, dissolve the whole controversie, with fra­ming a new point of Philosophy, viz. that sepa­rated souls have no apprehension, nor parcepti­on at all, but are indeed as sencelesse as the bo­dies, contrary to millions of stories, which are surely not every one false, contrary to expresse Scripture, This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise, and S. Pauls judgement, Whether it was in the body, or out of the body (that I was wrap'd into Paradice) I cannot tell, God knows: [Page 440] by which words, though he knew not which of these two wayes it was, yet he gives to under­stand, that he might have been rap'd in Spirit without the body.

Of Veneration of Images.

3. Concerning Images, we may consider, 1. That they had them in the antient church, Tertullian puts it out of all doubt,Tert. de Pu­dic. c. 7. Ambr. de invent. corp. Gerv. & Prot. who makes mention of the l [...]st sheep generally graven upon the Chalices: And S. Am­brose saith, That a person appear­ed to him, which seemed like to S. Paul, the features of whose countenance I had learned, sayes he, from his picture. The profession and pra­ctise of S. Paulinus is so clear in this behalfe and so confessed by Protestants, that it is lost labour to quote him. 2. No man can deny but that the sight of holy stories in picture, do both more easily represent to weak capacities, and put even the best men in mind of good things, then the reading them in a book. 3. The Coun­cell of Trent (Sess. 25.) expressely professeth, that the ground of Catholiques Veneration of them is not that it is believed that there is any divinity or vertue in them, for which they ought to be venerated: So that all occasion of super­stition is evidently cut off. 4. That things which have any regard to Religion are to be respected and treated with reverence, this nature teaches, and the Calvinists acknowledge, as I took no­tice before out of Monsieur Daillé. 5. That by [Page 441] reason we have not words enough to expresse all our conceptions, nor variety enough of out­ward actions and postures to expresse our in­ward intentions and notions, hence all the trou­ble and contradiction among Christians in this point hath proceeded. And therefore as the antient Jewes applied the word [...]and the posture thereby represented, viz. prostration both to the supreme degree of adoration due only to God, and to the reverence of honor­able persons: So likewise the second Councell of Nice, for want of words applying the word [...](which imports the same) to ima­ges, therefore it was, that till the misunder­standing was cleared, the Westerne Church in the Councell of Francford rejected their deci­sion. But those who love Schisme will needs most unjustly reassume a voluntary misappre­hension of the churches intention in this point, which clearly distinguishes and makes an infi­nite distance betweene the respect, which they give to Images, and that which they ren­der to God, and gives little more to Images, then Protestants themselves confesse to be due to all holy things pertaining to Religion. The Jewes at this day (the greatest enemies certainly of Idolatry that ever were) yet will not unfold the volume of their law til after ma­ny humble declinations of their bodies, and kis­sings of their hands; neither will any sober Christian enter into a church (though he do not pray) without uncovering his head, to shew that he makes a difference between that place, and an ordinary prophane house. The ground of the lawfulnesse and fitnesse of these outward [Page 442] expressions is this, because since we cannot chuse but in our minds and thoughts make a a difference betweene holy and prophane objects, it is as fitting to expresse that difference by outward shews. So that if Catho­liques be to be suspected of superstition and i­dolatry in this behalf; certainly the Calvinists are much more guilty, for exhibiting an out­ward reverence to the Bread and Wine in their Cene, seeing they will not allow a distin­ction between the severall respects which Ca­tholiques acknowledge. 6. That the church ob­ligeth no man (hîc & nunc) to exhibit any ve­neration to Images, &c. Only they must not condemne it in those that allow and practise it.

Of Prayers and Offerings for the Dead: and Purgatory.

4. The denyall of this made Arrius a Here­tique; and besides him I do not find since Chri­stianity begun, til the last age, any one single per­son that denyed or questioned it; never was there found any Liturgy without it; nothing so fre­quent in Fathers and Ecclesiasticall histories as the recommendation of it: In a word I am con­fident there is not one doctrine or practise of Christianity delivered with so full unquestiona­ble a Tradition. So that a man may as wel make an Apology for being a Christian or believing the Gospells to be the word of God, as for this. The truth is, the more sober and learned sort of English Protestants do confesse the immemorial antiquity of i [...]; and would the State there suffer them to upbraid the sacrilegious usurping of such [Page 443] infinite revenewes, as have been ravished both from the living and the dead in that Nation, there is no doubt, but that practise would have yet continued there, for the English church it self hath decided nothing against it, excepting only in consequence by denying Purgatory, which is necessarily supposed in prayer for the dead. Yet I may say they do not indeed deny Purgatory in the whole latitude, as the church ha's decided it, which obliges no man to any particular conceits about it, though perhaps re­ceived as a certain Tradition by many credu­lous Catholikes, as if it could be nothing else but a certain subterraneous mansion ful of tortures, fire and brimstone, &c. None of which the church expressely acknowledgeth, but only Pur­gatorium esse; animasque ibi detentas sidelium suffragiis, potissimùm verò acceptabili altaris sacrificio juvari. i. e. That there is a Purgato­ry, and that the souls detained there are bene­fited by the prayers of the faithfull, and espe­cially by the acceptable sacrifice of the Altar. (Councell of Trent Sess. 15.) Yea in the follow­ing words, that Councell expressely commands Bishops to take care that neither any uncertain groundless or subtill discourses of it should be published to the people in Sermons, but onely what is found delivered by the holy Fathers and sacred Councells; which is in sum, that the souls of Christians, not dying in a perfect e­state, romain in a condition which may be eased and meliorated by the prayers, Oblations and Charity of the living; according to the expresse assertion of S. Aug [...]stine; We ought not by any meanes to doubt but that the Dead are helped [Page 444] by the prayers of the holy Church, by the saving sacrifice, and by the Almes which are distri­buted for their soules, to the end that God may deale with them more mercifully then their sins have deserved: For that is a thing which the church observes; having received it from the Tradition of the Fathers. (Aug. de Verb. Apost. Ser. 32.)

Of Indulgences.

5. That which the church commands to be believed as Catholique Traditionary doctrine, touching this matter of Indulgences, is briefe­ly contained in the Bull of Plus IV. (relating to the 25. Session of the Councell of Trent) in these words, I believe that power of Indulgen­ces hath been given and left in the Church by Jesus Christ; and that the use of them is very healthfull to Christian people. The ground of which doctrine, according to the position of A­lexander of Hales, Durand, Paludanus, and o­thers, quoted at the end of this discourse, is the practise of that severe discipline and correction, which in the most primitive times was exercised against (especially publike and scandalous) sin­ners, those severe penitential Canons then execu­ted, those painful Exomol [...]geses, prostrations, ci­lices, weepings, covering themselves with ashes, rigorous fasts, but principally those long absten­tions and banishings from the most holy Sacra­ment, yea even from entring any further then into the porch of the church, which the primitive zeal imposed upon Delinquents, which are men­tioned in the most antient Ecclesiastical writers, and most expresly in Tertullian and S. Cyprian. [Page 445] An example of which severity more rigorous then all before mentioned, S. Paul hath left us in that censure of his upon the incestuous Corin­thian, whom he delivered over to Satan, to be tormented by him in the flesh. for the saving of his soul, l Cor. 5. which censure he calls by a ge­neral word [...]i. e. an objurgation by (or, before) many, 2 Cor. 2. 6. from whence ecclesiasticall censures were called in the 7. & 8. General Councels [...]Notwith­standing to shew that Ecclesiasticall. Governors ought to mix Christian charity and meeknesse with their severity, especially when they see great signs of compunction and amendment in the Penitents, the same Apostle hath left an example likewise of Indulgence and favour to the same person, which he expresseth by the two verbs [...]and [...]i. e. graciously to spare, and to comfort. In conformity to which rule, the Primitive Churches, as upon occasion they used great severity, so likewise great benig­nity also to Penitents, which S. Cyprian calls the giving of Peace.

6. But in succeeding times zeal and servor of de­votion growing cold, and generally Christians not being able to support so great a rigor, the church in wisdome thought fit to qualifie both the severity of penalties imposed, to shorten the times of abstention from the holy Eucharist, and to grant remission and Indulgence, especially in Articulo mortis generally unto all Penitents: hence came it that the intercessions of Confessors and Martyrs in behalf of Delinquents were ad­mitted by the Bishops, as we read frequently in S. Cyprian; hence the two favourable Canons of [Page 446] Indulgence (viz. the 10, and 12.) of the first Councell of Nice.

7. In these last and most wicked times, wherein the antient Ecclesiasticall Discipline is almost wholly lost, not through any fault of the church, (which enjoynes all Priests to have be­fore their eyes the antient penitentiall Canons, and by them to regulate their penances) but through the generall overflowing of coldnesse in devotion, prophanenesse, and impatience of suffering, and likewise through the impudence, covetousnesse, and partiality of Priests: no man can yet deny, but that as the power of inflicting censures remains in the church, so likewise doth the power of Indulgences.

8. Concerning which Indulgences, all Ca­tholiques do unanimously agree to these two points. 1. That they are profitable: and 2. That the Church hath power to grant them, accord­ing to the Decision of the Councell of Trent. But as for the extent of the vertue of Indulgen­ces, and as touching the conditions required to the receiving them fruitfully, Catholike Divines are divided in their opinions. For 1. concerning the extent of their vertue, Bellarmine (l. 1 de Indulg. c. 7.) sets down this as an opinion maintained by Catholiques, viz. That In­dulgences are no other then relaxations of Penalties enjoyned by Confessarii, or which ought to have been enjoyned according to the Canons. Which opinion, saith he, is maintain­ed by grave Authors, Alexander of Hales, sum. Theolog. p. 4. q. 23. memb. 2. Durand and Paludanus, Pope Adrian 6. in 4. Sent. q. de Indulg. And likewise by Soto the Dominican, [Page 447] and Card. Cajetan, both which teach, that In­dulgences are never granted but for Penalties injoyned. Now both these were appointed by the church to maintain the Doctrine concerning Indulgences against the late Heretiques. Like­wise Maldonate the learned Jesuite (in his book de Sacram. c. 2. de Indulg. q. 1. 2. p.) saith, that the opinion, That Indulgences are only relaxa­tions of the Penalty either enjoyned in the Sa­crament of Penance, or ordained by Ecclesiasti­call Law, seems to him to be the most true opinion, because it is held by good Au­thors, and seemes to be demonstrated by unan­swerable arguments. And in pursuance hereof the same Author produceth eleven reasons; the substance of the three first of which, is this, Because we ought to believe, that the Indul­gences now in use in the church, are the same that were antiently practised, as the Councell of Trent expressely sayes: Now, saith he, we find no other Indulgences in the antient church and Councells, but such as we have mentioned. Again, It was the custome of the church to add this Particle to the Indulgences given, De Pooeitentiis injunctis; since therefore, saith he, the church hath so warily expressed her self, it would be temerarious to interpret her mean­ing otherwise. The same doctrine is strongly maintained likewise by Estius in 4. Sent. dist. 20. [...]. 10.

9. In the next place, concerning the conditi­ons required to receive benefit by Indulgences, all Catholiques agree that these three are ne­cessary. 1. Authority in him that grants them. 2. A just reason for the granting them. 3. Due [Page 448] dispositions in the party receiving them. Now for this last point, Card. Cajetan (as he is quo­ted by Bellarmine l. 1. de Indulg. c. 12.) main­tains, That besides the conditions of being in the state of Grace, and of accomplishing the a­ctions ordained for the gaining of Indulgences, there is a third condition necessary to him that would receive fruit by them, which is, that he have a will to satisfie God by his own labours, as much as he can; and that Indulgences are of no profit to those who will not satisfie for them­selves when they can. From whence he con­cludes, That in such an infinite number of persons that visit the churches in the times of the solemn Stations, and the like Indulgences, there are but very few that reap the profit of them iudeed. This opinion, saith Bellarmine, is profitable and pious, though perhaps it is not true. But since Card Bellarmine, the learned Estius Chancellor of Doway, professes his belief, that this opinion is not only profitable and pi­ous, but very true. See his Comment. in 2. Ep. ad Cor. cap. 2. v. 11. as likewise in 4. Sent. dist. 20. Sect. 10. The like is strongly maintained by Comitolus a learned Jesuit, in Resp. Moral. q. 36. who confirmes his opinion by the testi­monies of Antisiodorensis, Henricus à Ganda­vo, Adrian VI. Boniface VIII. Sylvester, &c.

Now the aforesaid Authors, who teach that Indulgences are onely relaxations from Pe­nances enjoyned, vel ab homine, vel à. Canone, do not therefore believe that they are satisfa­ctions only to the Church, and not to God; for Maldonate expressely declares the contrary [Page 449] in these words, in the forecited place, Cùm in­jungitur poenitentia ab Ecclesia, &c. when the Church enjoynes any Penance, she enjoynes it not only to the end that by such a Penance we should satisfie the Church, but God also. Now the Indulgence is answerable unto the Penance enjoyned, and by consequence it is granted us, not onely to the end that this pe­nalty should be remitted us before the Tri­bunall of the Church, but before Gods Tri­bunall likewise. And from thence he con­cludes, that though Indulgences do regard di­rectly onely Penances, which are enjoyned to be accomplished in this world, notwith­standing they do consequently deliver from the paines of Purgatory likewise. For (saith he) since God does not punish the same fault twice, and since the penalty which men pay in Purgato­ry, is the same with that which they ought to have paid in this world, if the Church, by the means of Indulgences, does remit the penalty, which in this life is due to the Justice of God, it follows, that she remits likewise that which shall be due in Purgatory, that is to say, that which those living persons, to whom such In­dulgences are granted, ought otherwise to suf­fer in Purgatory. Now whether this Doctrine deserve a separation, let all reasonable, mode­rate Christians judge.

Of Publique service in the Latin tongue.

8. This is a matter which concerns only the outward order and decorum of the church, an [Page 450] whereof Ecclesiasticall Governours are only to be judges and disposers, so that if there be any excesse or inconvenience, they only are answer­able before Almighty God, particular persons are not at all concerned in it. Indeed if the Church had appointed her service in the La­tin tongue on purpose that the people should not understand it: Or if she had decreed that it was a thing unlawfull that any body should praise God with the understanding, but onely Priests, and Bishops, and learned men, Prote­stants might have some pretence for their cla­mor, in this regard. But 1. since the Church found her Liturgies in the same tongue through all the Westerne world from the beginning of Christianity. 2. Since no example can be found in any antient churches, Jewish or Chri­stian, Eastern or Westerne, that the langua­ges of Publique Service have beene altered, though those of the Countryes have beene; insomuch as in our Saviours time the Jewish Devotions were performed in Hebrew, when the people only understood the Syrian tongue; so the Cophtites, so the AEthiopians, and so the Jewes to this day. 3. Since it is apparently, both of great comelinesse and benefit, that there should be an uniformity in Gods publike wor­ship, so as that wheresoever a Christian travels, he may as well joyne himself with other Chri­stians in the service of God, as when he staid at home. 4. Since particularly for the Masse, the greatest part of it from all Anti­quity was performed in a low voice by the Bi­shop or Priest, the people neither hearing, nor in the antient Church seeing him, by reason [Page 451] of a vail or curtain, which was drawn between the Altar & the people, excepting only at some cer­tain peculiar times, as at the Elevation, &c. 5. Since the church permits the translating and publish­ing of her Liturgies, since she commands the Priests to explain and inculcate unto the people the meaning of all mysteries; and since she fur­nishes even the most ignorant persons with de­votions suitable to their capacities, and far more beneficiall to them then the hearing the Psalms and other parts of Scripture read, so diffi­cult and abstruse, that even the most learned must confesse their inability to comprehend them. Lastly, since an indiscreet promiscuous exposing of Scriptures hath beene the occasions of so many inconveniences, a better though sad­der proof whereof cannot be given then in the present state of England, where every one read­ing Scripture, and all visible authority of inter­preting it (so as to oblige others to receive such interpretations) being disclaimed, every one of those infinite numbers of Sects believe that they find in Scripture sufficient warrant for all such horrible seditions and murders as have lately been committed there: Therefore the Catho­lique church hath esteemed it a thing befitting her wisdome to continue an uniformity in her publike worship received from our Fathers, and her care and charity to appoint respectively to every condition and state of Christians their proper allowance and dimensum of spirituall food, and to imitate our Saviour, who would not reveale even to his Apostles themselves all the mysteries of the Kingdome of God, during the times of their infirmity, when they were not able to bear them.

[Page 452]9. These being the principall points of con­troversie between Catholiques and Protestants, I judged fit to signifie how (when I considered what the church had declared to be her sense of them, separating them from private opinions, to which no man is obliged) they appeared so reasonable, and so consonant to antiquity, that if I should have continued in a separation from her for their cause, I must at the same time have professed to have renounced all interest in the most glorious Saints and Martyrs that ever the church enjoyed. And if it were Gods good pleasure that all other Protestants, lovers of uni­ty, would think fit not to judge of the Catholike church by the character given of her by Calvi­nist Controvertists, who lay to her charge what­soever imprudent or erroneous positions they find in any particular Catholike author, inso­much as I am confident not one objection a­mong twenty in their writings proceeds directly against the church, but that, if they would be perswaded to hear her testifying of her self in her publike doctrine, they would find that they have been cousened into the guilt of this perni­cious exterminating crime of Schisme, by the passions and iuterests af men, enemies to peace and Christian charity, and that they have been enemies to Gods church for telling them the truth, that perhaps themselves believed in the sense and latitude that she proposeth it. Lastly, if they would but think the judgement of their own Bucer (in Mat. c. 26.) worthy to be heark­ned to, who tells them, Nihil esse damnandum quod ull [...] ratione bonum esse queat. i. e. That nothing is to be condemned (especially in the [Page 453] Church the Spouse of Christ, and Mother of us all) that by any way (or in any sense, or respect) can be good, they would think themselves ob­liged to consider the doctrines of the church with all possible caution, modesty, humility, and charitable construction, and not ruine their souls by forsaking her Communion, till they found that charity her self, which covers a mul­titude of sins, could not excuse her, that is, till they found that notwithstanding the promises of Christ, the gates of bell had, actually pre­vailed against her.

CHAP. IV.

The Holinesse taught and practised in the Catholique Church a great mo­tive to embrace the Doctrines. The Authors former exceptious against certaine practises ascribed to the Church, with their answers. Of the Carthusians. Of Mysticall Theolo­gy, &c,

1. I Will now discharge the promise which I made in the XVII. chap. of the first Secti­on, which was to give a narration what effect the eminent rules of holinesse and true solid devotion, which contrary to my expectation, I found in the Catholike Church, had upon me, and that not onely to incline my will to love them, and desire the practise of them, but to dis­pose [Page 454] my understanding also to be more doci­ble, and more easily perswaded of the truth of speculative points, which were professed in a Church so enriched, and by persons whose whole employment was to love, serve, glorifie, and admire the goodnesse, wisdome, and all other perfections of Almighty God, to meditate day and night upon the holy My­steries of our Salvation, and to mortifie all manner of vice, passions, and lusts, farre more intrinsecally, spiritually, and perfectly, then any thing that I had seen or read before could give me a notion of. I hope I need not be ashamed to professe this, and however I will not for­beare to publish mine own shame, by pro­fessing, that the life and Councells of S. Charles Borromée, and the truly Christian Spirit of hu­mility and meeknesse shining in the writings of Monfieur Sales, Bishop of Geneva, gave more satisfactory answers to all the objections of Protestants, then any I had hitherto found in all the volumes of those famous Cardinalls, Ba­ronius, Bellarmin and Perron, or at least that the former gave a point and a pierceing vertue to the discourses of the later, which in former times I had often and without much effect per­used.

2. That way of satisfying doubts and con­troversies was the stranger to me, because it came directly contrary to my expectation; for I must professe I had in former times a far stronger aversion from the Catholike Church, considered by me as an enemy to Holinesse, then as an enemy to truth. I had observed, 1. In generall, that most of the points in [Page 455] controversie betweene Catholiques and Prote­stants were such as contributed either to avarice or ambition. 2. I saw that rich men, (to whom our Saviour said it was impossible that they should enter into the Kingdome of heaven) were the easiliest admitted of all others by the prosti­tution of pardons and Indulgences. 3. I saw that many Casuists had handled the sins of great men, Usury and Simony, so tenderly and fa­vourably, allowing so many qualifications, that it was become almost impossible to deprehend them. 4. I saw the antient discipline of the church almost quite vanished; and absolution given upon a small penance for such sins (adul­tery, blasphemy, and that most horrible and a­theisticall gallantry of Duelling) which the an­tient church would scarce have pardoned after ten years macerating of the body and soule with fastings, weepings, and yet greater austerities, and for which she would not have received to peace the persons guilty by recidivation, by ad­mitting them to the Communion, no not in Articulo mortis. See the annotation of Peta­vius upon S. Epiphanius, ad Haeres. 59.) 5. I saw (me thought) that absolutions were given as of course; and that persons, though habitually addicted to mortall sins, yet upon an outward profession of sorrow expected and challenged pardon and admission to the blessed Sacrament, and all this toties quoties. 6. I saw that attrition i. e. sorrow for sin, meerly out of fear of being damned, with the Sacrament, was counted a suf­ficient qualification to remission of sins, where­by in my opinion, charity it self became unne­cessary: Such prejudices as these was I possessed [Page 456] withall, all which I imputed to the church her self; insomuch as though I suspected that my understanding might be over-reached by subtill Disputants to excuse the errours, which I belie­ved to be in the Roman church, yet I was re­solved that it was impossible my will should be seduced so far as to approve such enormous pra­ctises.

3. Now the occasion and manner how I came to be satisfied of the eminent sanctity taught and practised in the Catholique Church, and con­cerning those practises, not that they were ex­cuseable, but that they were not to be imputed to the church (which was most innocent of them) was as follows. It hap'ned not long after my arrivall at Paris, that my curiosity led me among other places to visit the Monastery of the Carthusians, whom we deprehended in their ordinary employment of prayers, and in the place of their almost continuall residence, the church: A sight that was, which made a strange impression upon my mind, being at that time also in some unquietnesse, by reason of certaine scruples already entertained concerning Religi­on. For there I saw persons so utterly secluded from the world, that they never visited other men, and rarely and with unwillingnesse admit-other mens visits, yea excepting a few houres weekly, renounced the conversation and sight of one another, but only in the church, where their conversation was only with God: Persons so mortified in their looks, so immoveable in their postures, with countenances so intent up­on their present devotions, as if they onely lived with their rationall faculties, and so far from [Page 457] observing, that they were observed by others, that truly I believe they knew it not: persons (as after enquiry I was informed) that through the whole course of their lives practise a strict ab­stinence, and for a greater part, a rigorous fast; persons that every day allow neer eight houres to vocall prayers, and laborious singing in the church, and almost all the hours besides in their private cells to meditation and contemplation: persons that no incommodity of weather hinders from their midnight watches, and devotions in the church for severall hours together; per­sons, whose inseparable cloathing is hair-cloth, and whose other more private mortifications and austerities they do most sollicitously con­ [...]al from the world, and account it of all other the most rude mortification, if they should come to be discovered: persons, who are so far from desiring the esteem of the world, that they ne­ver would publish any miracles done in their solitude, nor seek the canonization of any of their Saints, no not their Founder S. Brun [...] himself: persons who notwithstanding all these austerities, expresse in their conversation the greatest repose, and contentment, and chearful­nesse of mind imagineable, the greatest com­passion toward others, that would seem to com­passionate them, and protestations, that if there were no happinesse to be expected in another world, yet that the inward ravishings of soule; the spirituall embraces, which their coelestiall Bridegroom affords them many times, deserve to be purchased with far greater worldly losses, and with far greater austerities, then any that they have or can suffer. Lastly, persons whose [Page 458] order ha's continued now without interrupti­on for about six hundred years, without the least scandall, without the least need of Refor­mation, growing the more perfect according to the declination of the rest of mankind, as if God intended it, in an especiall manner, to be the defence and security, the chariots and hor­ses of Israel: An order whose encrease of reve­news are perceived not by themselves, but the poor only, who are accordingly more amply and frequently sustained; insomuch, as that which ha's been the corruption of other orders, is the purifier and refiner of this; and I may add this observation with respect to England, an order that Almighty God did principally chuse, by which to condemn Schisme at it's first entrance there, viz. by suffering them, that is, piety and innocence it self, to be the first victimes and sa­crifices offered to it.

4. I must confesse, that as I could not consi­der these things without astonishment and ad­miration, so I could not free my self from some degree of envy and indignation, that I could not find any thing in any of our Churches to op­pose to such a spectacle: I was willing enough to suspect that there might be some mixture of a secret hypocrisie, and pride, and ostentati­on, even in such renouncings of pride and o­stentation: But then I confuted my own sus­pition by this most sure observation, that Al­mighty God did not usually of all other vices suffer hypocrisie even in a single person to be long undiscovered, much less in a whole order, and for six hundred years together. Therefore I began to discourse thus within my self; ‘Is it [Page 459] possible if the Roman church be so deeply guil­ty, and so intolerably depraved, as I have hi­therto believed, that Almighty God should suffer such servants of his to lye in those dregs and pollutions, exposed to eternall perdition so many years together? Ha's their continuall meditation been in the holy Scriptures, and yet never one beam of divine light be sent from heaven to irradiate any of their under­standings, and to convince them, that their whole Religion is apparently contradictory to the same Scriptures? Is it likely, that if the Faith of the Church was of necessity to be changed, and the practises to be reformed, that God should make choice of such Apostles as a debauched, perjured, sacrilegious, Apostate Monk of Germany; or a seditious, uncharita­ble, malicious Picard, or a furious Gladia­tour of Switzerland, and in the mean time leave such persons enflamed with his love, still lying in their deadly ignorances and impie­ties, never suffering one of that order to be converted, yea leaving Heresie more confirm­ed in them now, then ever before that such a pretended new Evangelicall light discovered it self?’

5. Some time I spent in such meditations, which I could neither hinder nor satisfie my self in; yet because it seemed dangerous to me to build resolutions upon the manner and me­thod of Gods Providence, which is inscrutable; therefore I thought it as necessary for me to examine (not the outward shewes, but) the Rules of Holinesse practised in the Romane church, as the doctrines therein professed; for [Page 434] if the former appeared to be according to the Spirit of Christ, they would strongly argue for the truth of the later. Having this designe, I provided my self of the best Methods of Devo­tion and Spirituality that I could meet with, and upon all occasions I made conversation with such Religious persons, as were in opinion eminent for a spirituall life; The successe whereof was strange and incredible: For whereas I had alwayes been of opinion, that that which in the Roman church was called my­sticall Theology, was, if compar'd with the or­dinary Practicall Divinity, as I took the Mo­rall Philosophy of the Platonists to have been, compared with that of other Philosophers, viz. the same ordinary doctrines and precepts of ver­tue, but only cloathed in abstruse, sublime, and Metaphoricall termes, rendring the professors thereof not more vertuous then other men, but more phantasticall and self conceited: But I found that the notion I had of it had no affini­ty with the thing it self; Mysticall Theology be­ing nothing else in generall, but certain Rules, by the practise whereof a vertuous Christian might attain to a neerer, a more familiar, and beyond all expression comfortable conver­sation with God, by arriving unto, not only a belief, but also an experimentall knowledge and perception of his divine presence, after an in­expressible manner in the soul; wherein he is taught first to purge himself of all pollutions of sin and worldly lusts, to possesse himself of all Christian vertues, and by such meanes to pre­pare himself for an union with the heavenly Majesty; the generall instrument of all these [Page 451] blessings being a constant exercise of Mentall Prayer, that is, meditating with the understand­ing upon heavenly mysteries, but especially in­ward ejaculations, aspirations, and immediate acts of the will, loving, praising, adoring, and perfectly resigning it selfe to the most perfect will of God, by which in time there is made a perfect denudation, mortification, and annihi­lation of a mans own private will, and a suffe­ring ones self to be inacted and moved immedi­ately by Almighty God, and at last a contem­plation of the divine essence without any medi­um, without all help of grosser imaginary forms, an absorption of all operations (called by them a divine idlenesse) whereby the soul reposeth se­curely, and with unspeakable pleasure in the bo­some of her heavenly Bridegroom. I speak not now of strange effects, outward and respecting the body, as Elevations, Extasies, &c. which though admired at by others, yet are neglected, and even pray'd against by spirituall persons themselves.

6. Now to prove that these are neither dreams of ignorant souls, nor sublime extrava­gances of soaring spirits, we may consider that. 1. The greatest understandings that many of the last ages have brought forth (as S. Bernard, S. Thomas Aquinas, S. Bonaventure, and I. Pi­cus Count of Mirandula &c.) have all written uniformly upon the same subject, and have shewed clearly, that what they wrote was not meer speculation, but comprehended, practised, and felt by them. 2. That even the meanest ca­pacities have arrived to the perfection of con­templation, as S. Isidore a plain husband-man [Page 462] in Spain, S. Teresa, S. Catherine of Siena, and of Genoa, (silly ignorant women) & that unparal­lel'd young Heremite, Gregorio Lopez. Insomuch as whosoever shal with a true resignation & pure intention enter into this life of the Spirit, though his understanding be not able to give him enter­tainment for meditation, yea though he be not a­ble to help himself with reading others, yet if, be­ing informed of the necessary points of Catho­like Faith, he humbly & constantly move his wil to frame cordially acts of love and resignation, &c. to God, even such a man or woman shall not fail to arrive, it may be, to a higher degree of union, then the most learned and skilfull Doctors, even to that perfection of which S. Paul speaks, Crucifigor cum Christo: & vi­vo, jaem non ego, sed vivit in me Christus. i. e. I am crucified with Christ: and I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. 3. To the end to be secure of delusions it is observeable, that whereas in other Sects [...]re are certain counterfeitings of such a mysticall familiarity with God, joyned with strange motions and effects, as awong the Anabaptists, Famulists, Quakers, Ranvers, &c. (strange examples whereof (in the last age) we may read in Florimundus Raemundus, yet now daily out-done by those Sects in Eng­land, as at Malton in Yorkshire, London, and other places, where they abound) yet such illuminations discover their black Author, in that the persons are far from being cleansed of their carnall lusts, pride, ma­lice, &c. and the design appeares commonly to be the troubling the world with some new pretended Revelation and Reformation &c. [Page 463] Whereas among spirituall persons in the Ca­tholique Church, the inseparable qualification for contemplation is a deep humility, a most tender charity and love of Catholique unity. 4. Lest a suspition should arise that this mysti­call Theology and doctrine of contemplation should be an invention of Religious Orders to magnifie themselves in the worlds opinion, as having means to a neerer approach to Almigh­ty God, then the rest of the world: We may con­sider both that the same rules for substance are found in the writings of the antient Fathers, as S. D [...]onisius Aroopagita, S, Augustine, S. Basil, Joannes, Cassianus, S. Hierome, &c. and that even those most active Fathers and Bishops of the church have notwithstanding attained to a great perfection of contemplation; yea that in this last age there have not appeared any more perfect therein, then those two famous Bishops, viz. B. Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva, and S. Charles Barromée, that most unwearied sollicitous Arch-Bishop of Milan and Cardinal, and Antonio de Roias a Spanish secular Priest: Though withall it cannot be denyed, but that a retreat and disengagement from the world, soli­tude, silence, and other austerities be very powerfull and effectuall dispositions thereto. But concerning Mysticall Theology I shall re­fer those that desire further information, to the writings of Thaulerus, Harphius, Rusbrochi­us, the Bishop of Geneva, S. Teresa, and many others: Particularly the severall Treatises, as yet Manuscripts, of that late very sublime con­templatiue, F. Augustine Baker, a Monke of our English Congregation of the Holy Order of [Page 446] S. BENET; The yet imperfect sum of whose methodicall instructions concerning Internall Prayer, having happily met withall at Rome, I found my self pressed to hasten my reconcile­ment to the Church, because I thirsted to be­come capable of practising those heavenly in­structions. And afterward in France, but espe­cially in my passage through Cambray, having seen many more of the same Authors writings, the Spirit of which did eminently shew it selfe in the lives of those excellently devout and per­fectly religious Benedictine Dames there; and being by them informed (which within a few dayes mine own eyes assured me of) that the same doctrine was received and practised by their Fathers at Doway. I presently, contrary to all my former resolutions, to dispose my selfe only among strangers in a religious life, deter­mined to fix my self at Doway. I forbore in the former Impression to mention this Author a­mong the rest, because I thought his books were confin'd to Cambray, where they were written, or to his own Convent at Dowvy: But being since assured, that they were largely dispersed, even among the secular Clergy, I could not without ingratitude now omit his name, and I hope that e're long a ful account of his spiritual instructions concerning the severall Degrees of Internall Prayer, shal be happily communicated to the world, methodically digested, & authori­tatively published, to the glory of God, & great advancement of devout souls in his divine love.

7. For my present purpose it will suffice that by that short enquiry I made, I satisfied my self, that in no other Congregation, but the [Page 443] Catholique Church only, were to be found ei­ther rules in writing, or living directors for a true spirituall life in any comparison approach­ing to those before named. Insomuch as I have often wondred why Protestants would not at least borrow and transcribe such wri­tings for their own use and practise; and all that I could say for answer to my self was. 1. That according to that saying of the Fathers, Spiri­tus sanctus non est extra Ecclesiam. i. e. The Holy Spirit resides not any where out of the Church, that is, disperses not his extraordinary favours, and sublimer gifts any where else. 2. Because Protestant Religion, &c. renouncing all Evangelicall Counsells of perfection, as vo­luntary poverty, chastity &c. and their avarice having swallowed all the revenews, which nou­rished men in a solitary life of meditation and contemplation, they both want such effectuall helps thereto, and dare not for fear of being censured as half-Catholiques, commend or pra­ctise the means proper and conducing to it, in­somuch as the very name of Contemplation is unknown among them, I mean in the mysticall sense: for all that is understood among them in their Treatises of devotion by that word, is only the descanting upon any mystery of divinity, or passage of Scripture.

8. Finding therefore not only beyond, but contrary to my expectation, such a trea [...]ure in the Catholique Church as true Devotion, an union with, and participation of the Divine Nature, and the means to purchase this treasure being so obvious there, and so unknown all the world over besides; could I do lesse then say, [Page 466] Quis dabit mibi pennas ficut Columba? Who will give me wings like a d [...]ve, that I may fly into the wildernesse, retired out of the world, and be at rest? that wildernesse into which God ha's promised that he will bring his chosen ones, in which loquetur ad cor corum, i. e. He will communicate himself familiarly unto them: I do freely confesse my partiality, I could not chuse but wish that truth might appear to me to be the companion of Holinesse, and that that church which could give such admirable directi­ons to love God, might not deceive us when she would instruct us to know him. In a word, I was the easilier perswaded to believe and submit to the churches authority, because thereby I was sure to evacuate pride, and an esteem of mine own sufficiency to be mine own directour, and by consequence to exercise at least an act of hu­mility and obedience, if not of faith.

9. As for the prejudices and accusations be­fore mentioned, which I once imputed to the Catholike Church, the clearing of them is not at all difficult; for as for the first, the whole force of it lyes in this, [...] that Christ is accused to have taken care both for the subsistence and honour of his servants and Ministers; a fault that no sect can forgive, as if they intended to be re­venged upon their seducing Ministers, by expo­sing them to beggery and dishonor. But this was never the disposition of Catholiques, they have alwayes willingly afforded this double honour to the Clergy, and yet never any Church upon earth laid so heavy censures upon avarice, Usury and Simony, as the Catholique Church both done. Concerning the 2. the pro­stitution [Page 467] of Indulgences and Pardons is in for­mall words condemned by the Councell of Trent: So that it is not the Church, which o­pens Paradice so freely to rich men, but only particular avaricious Priests, who I fear do by such vain promises shut it both against them­selves, and such customers. To the 3. the im­putation onely concernes two or three private Casuists, so far from being justified by the church, that the Pope hath expressely censured and condemned them. Concerning the 4. I fear indeed the scandall of prostituting absolu­tions for the greatest crimes upon ridiculous penances is but too common; but yet without any fault of the church; yea we may reasonably judge of the mind of the Councell of Trent in that respect, by the zealous practises of S. Charls Barromée (then whom no man had a greater influence upon that Councell) who immediatly after its dissolution spent himself wholly in en­deavouring to restore the antient discipline, as far as this wicked age could bear it, according to the mind of that Councell. For the 5. as the rest, it only reflect; upon particular persons, and touches not the church at all. The like may be said of the last, which speaks of Attrition, and the sufficiency thereof with the Sacrament of Penance to qualifie a person guilty of sin for Remission: Upon better enquiry I found that all Catholique Authors, though they assent to that doctrine in grosse, yet they do not all agree in their explication of the notion of Attrition. For in direct opposition to my pre-conceived prejudice, I find, that (not to speak of Janse­nius and his followers, who professe to embrace [Page 454] S. Augustines Doctrine therein) the learned Estius and Sylvius (the former in l. 4. sentent, dist. 16. 9. and the latter in suppl. D. Tho. ad 3. p. a. 1. q. 1.) do thus expresse themselves, that there are foure acceptions of the word Attrition, according to four Motives unto sorrow for sin. 1. Out of meer naturall and humane motives, as losse of goods, fame, health, &c. 2. Out of fear of hell, and not at all the love of God. 3. For the offence indeed commit­ted against God, but yet this out of an in-effi­cacious, suspended, and meer optative will. Now none of these three, say they, are suffici­ent, even with the Sacrament, to qualifie a sin­ner for the remission of his sins: But only the fourth, which is indeed essentially Contrition, but an imperfect one, according to the expressi­on of the Councell of Trent, being a Grief for sin, because God is offended, joyn'd with an absolute purpose no more to offend him, and proceeding from a will to please him, as deser­ving to be loved above all things, though this will be as yet feeble, remisse, and imperfect. This they say is the lowest qualification that with the Sacrament can suffice to remission of sins. And this they resolutely contend to be the sense of the Councell of Trent; grounding them­selves upon this, to their seeming firm founda­tion, viz. That it is against Scriptures, and the Doctrine of the antient Church, to say, that a man without any degree of true charity can be capable of the remission of his sins, or the fa­vour of God. But very many dissent from the ri [...]ou [...] of this [...]eir expl [...] cation. That which the [...], ( [...]. 14. [...]. 4.) con­cerning [Page 439] this point, is, That A [...]trition (call'd there imperfect Contrition) excluding a will of sinning, and joyn'd with a hope of pardon, but arising from a consideration of the filthinesse of sin, and fear of punishment for it, although without the Sacrament of Penance it cannot of it selfe bring a sinner to justification, yet it disposes him to the obteining the Grace of God in that Sacrament: And that it does not (as Calvin affirmes) make a man a hypocrite, or more a sinner then before; but on the contraery, that it is a gift of God, and an impulse of the holy Spirit not yet inhabiting in man, but only moving him, by whic [...] a penitent being helped, doth prepare unto himselfe a way unto righte­ousness. Then which what could be spoken more moderately, cantelously, and piously? To conclude this argument, Scandalls there will and must be in the church to the end of the world, as our Saviour foretold; and withall, as he foretold a grievous woe to the authors of them; and a blessing proportionable to those that would not be scandalized, that is, that nei­ther would joyne in heart to consent to such scandalls, nor out of hatred of them to usurp the Angells office (who only are deputed to se­parate and pluck up all scandalls at the end of the world) or to rent the mysticall body of Christ.

CHAP. V.

The Conclusion: wherein the imputation of inconstancy charged upon the Au­thor, is answered: as likewise of forsaking a Religion, because it was persecuted.

1. BEfore I wholly take off my pen from this paper, I will, though not without some indignation and grief, answer two impu­tations which have been charged upon me since my declaring my self a Catholique; the first of which is inconstancy: That which raises these passions in me, in regard of this, is only my re­spect and charity to the authors of such an im­putation, which I fear preceeds from a poyson­ous root of bitternesse, I mean a contempt of Religion in generall: They that would not ac­count it a fault for a man that had found out a new mystery or trade of thriving, to embrace that, and forsake another in which he had spent the whole former part of his life: They that would not impute this as a fault to a man to re­nounce one sect of Philosophy, and to embrace another, either for the greater probability of it, or even the gracefulnesse of being new, or a Pa­radox: Yea they that would impute it as a folly and morosity, if a man did not conform himself to any fashionable novelty in cloaths, or lan­guage, or opinion: Such men as these, who think that profit, or fancy, or vanity may excuse inconstancy, and make it commendable; esteem [Page 471] it a vice only, when conscience and the glory of God, and eternity is in question. Religion is the only thing that must be left to the hazard, whether good or bad it must not be changed, and it is dishonorable for a man that is in the way to hell to avoid it, or to accept of heaven, unlesse he was born with a right to it. So that the Jews, who, to keep themselves to their old Rabbins; and the Pagans, who, to maintaine their old even in their own opinion ridiculous Idols, rejected our Saviour, shall in such mens opinions deserve the commendation of constan­cy, and the Apostles for hearkning to him, who only had the words of eternall life, shall not escape their censure. For my part I professe, though I had not believed the Fathers, who with one mouth protest that Schisme and Heresie are most mortall and almost unpardonable sins; if I had only esteemed them as lesse good to my soul, I would have done that right to my rea­son, as both to have rejected them, and to pro­fesse likewise the rejecting them. The Apostle commands us to try all things, and thus far I suppose that such objectors, if it were only for curiosities sake, would agree with him; but he adds further, hold fast that which is good: but here they would leave him, and say, Hold fast that which you held before, whether it be good or bad, let your reason judge of good things, but withall let it reject even the best, rather then be unconstant. Indeed if by being a Catholique I had relinquished any good thing whereof I was possessed being a Protestant; if my fidelity to temporall Superiours, my love to my Countrey and friends, &c. were not even en­creased [Page 438] by this change, I should blush to hear such an objection for mine own sake; whereas now I both blush and grieve only for their sakes; and my only revenge on them, shall be to beseech God to blesse them, with bestowing on them this very fault of inconstancy, that they may live to change at least this little lesse then Atheisticall opinion. To conclude, I desire them first to meditate well whether they be not concerned in that character which S. Augustine (de Bapt, cont. Don. l. 2.) gives certain per­sons in his time, who (saith he) whilst they are afraid to be reprehended for a small time here for inconstancy, are not afraid to be damned for eternity. And next, whether I be not absol­ved in another speech of the same Father, say­ing, (cont. Cresc. lib. 3.) As it is a landable thing not to be removed from a true opinion, so it is a blameable thing to persist in a false one; which never to have held is the prime commen­da [...]ion, but the second, to change it; that ei­ther that which is true may remain from the beginning, or at least by rejecting the false one, the true one may succeed: And likewise in ano­ther parallell one of S. Ambrose, (Ep. 31. ad Valent. [...]mp.) I am not ashamed to be convert­ed with the whole old aged world; seeing no age is too late to learne that which is good: Let that old age blush which cannot amend it selfe, &c. it is no shame to change for the better.

2. This objection only reflects upon my dis­cretion; but the next wounds me in the point of honesty; for I am charged with ingratitude for leaving a church, (wherein I had been bred, [Page 455] and received more then ordinary favours) in the time of her affliction and persecution. Whereto I answer. 1. That if God was pleased to make affliction an occasion of illumination to me, who was I that I should wilfully shut mine eys against his light? 2. If I had, follow­ing the example of many, passed over from the persecuted party to the persecutors, there might have been some ground of an ill suspition. But it was so far from that; that I made choice of a Church, whose only portion both in war and peace was persecution, and this to be expected by her whether party soever prevailed; if the King was restored, all that her members could hope for, was to return to their antient pressures, not on­ly upon their goods, but lives also. This was the portion of that church which I embraced, if that party had been victorious. But on the other side, if the bloudy designes of the Presby­terians (who only then appeared) had succeed­ed, what a cup of bitternesse and terror was prepared for the poor Catholiques? what lesse then utter desolation even to sowing with salt was to be expected from persons, who professe a tyranny even upon the souls of all men, that dissent from them in the sleightest opinions; from persons, who were the contrivers of those bloudy laws against Catholiques, not so much out of conscience, or out of hat [...]ed to them, as for their worldly designes, and against the Kings interests, yea to be a snare unto him; for what disadvantage could it be to his Majesty, that his Subjects should enjoy the liberty of their consciences? and what more fatall engine did they make use of to ruine the late King [Page 474] withall, then by calumniating him with suspiti­ons of Popery, either when any new ceremony was instituted, or when the rigour of the law was mollified against an innocent Priest? from persons lastly, who could not forbear to threaten ruine even to their best friends; who, whereas they had been sollicited by them to expose their lives to free their souls from tyranny, saw themselves ready to be a prey to the most in­gratefull prodigious tyranny that ever was. It is true, of late God ha's been pleased most mi­raculously to break the jaw bones of those Ly­ons, and to commit his people to more mercifull hands; they may be permitted to hope for some ease from Governors, whose profession is to leave mens consciences to God, to whom only they are naked and in the light; especially con­sidering that they themselves have by Gods par­ticular goodnesse escaped that danger, whereby Gods purpose seems to have been to teach them mercy in the School of Experience. But these were things almost above my wishes, much more above my hopes, when I first embraced Catholique Religion. I was then so far from forsaking a church, because it was persecuted, that it was persecution I fled to, persecution suf­fered with most admirable patience and joyful­nesse; it was persecution that invited me to be­come a Catholique; for this I relinquished pre­sent fortunes, and all hopes of future; this made me esteem the losse of my naturall Country, hindred, and most dear friends a great gain and preferment. Lastly, for this I can without mur­muring hear my self stiled a desertor of my Re­ligion, because it was persecuted, even when I [Page 475] embrac'd a Religion, which was persecuted by that very church that complained of the injustice of persecution, and when she complained so, yet persecuted Catholiques.

3. Therefore rejoycing and glorying in such a happy crime as inconstancy, and in so unrea­sonable an imputation, as forsaking truth for persecution, and neglecting such unreasonable accusers, I will as I ought, turn my self to the blessed Author of this change, and confessing unto him in the language of the same S. Au­gustine, (Soliloq. c. 33.) Gratias tibi ago il­luminator & liberator meus, quoniam illumi­nasti me, & cognovi te. Serò novi te Veritas antiqua, serò novi te Veritas aeterna. i. e. I give thee thanks O God my enlightener and deliverer; for thou hast enlightned me; and I have known thee. It was late before I knew thee, O Antient Truth, it was late before I knew thee, O Eternall Truth. I will pray unto him in the words of the same S. Ambrose, (de Penit. l. 2. c. 8.) Serva, Domine, munus tu­um, Custodi donum quod contulisti ettam refu­gienti. i. e. Preserve O Lord thine own free-grace, keep that gift of thine, which thou hast been pleased to confer upon me, that even fled from thee, and was a long time unwilling to receive it.

Amen.

FINIS.

AN APPENDIX: WHEREIN Certain misconstructions of this Book, published by some Pro­testants, especially by I. P. Au­thor of the Preface, before the L. Falklands Discourse, touch­ing Infallibility, are cleared; And likewise the grounds of that Discourse examined.

CHAP. I.

A briefe Recapitulation of the designe, and contents of the whole Book.

1. DEar Catholique Reader [...] though this book was commanded by the unworthy Author to addresse it self, especially to Pro­testants, to whom the account therein is given; yet since not only it, but whatsoever shall be said by others to its prejudice (as it can scarce be avoided, but that writings of such a nature will find either Contradictors, or at least severe [Page 478] Interpreters) may perhaps fall into thy hands, and though but for novelties sake be peru­sed by thee? I judged requisite in this re-im­pression to bespeak thy candour and charity both in perusing it, and whatsoever thou shalt read or hear concerning it.

2. To dispose thee therefore to exhibit (not to the authors person, but his cause, which is thine also, as thou art a Catholique) the ef­fects of such candour and charity, thou art ear­nestly entreated to take into thy consideration that the Authors design was not to publish a book of Controversies, nor to venditate any particular opinion of his own in any point, now in debate between Catholikes and Protestants, but to perform an act of obedience; And being in his own intention then ready to take his fare­well of the world, (in conformity to the com­mand of others,) to leave as it were a Yestamen­tary legacy to all Christians, therein satisfying Catholiques, that his Union with them was not an effect of interest, or any suddain humor of discontent, or inconstancy, but the fruit of as much advisednesse and reason as he was ca­pable of; and tacitly inviting Protestants, if his proceedings could approve themselves to them, by his example and Method to get a vievv of truth, disintangled and unclouded from preconceived, unjust prejudices, and out of love to that truth and most necessary care of their own safety, in heart at least to forsake the dwelling, which they might feel begin to shake and tremble under their feet.

3. Whosoever therefore shall vouchsafe to read this Book, if he will give a right judgment [Page 479] of it, must let the Authors meaning be the spirit of it; and then he will look upon it and consider it, as Tabulam Votivam, in which is represented the Authors safety and happinesse procured by a ship wrack, and his liberty effect­ed by a captivity, and by suffering his hands and feet to be restrained by chaines never, by Gods grace, to be cast off. In a word, he will there for the time, be a witnesse and Auditor to one that ha's been perswaded simply and ingenu­ously to tell a homely, but most true story of the fortunes, which happened to him in a strange countrey, discovering by what unexpe­cted means, and with what unseen snares, Di­vine Catholique Truth (Gods mercifull pro­vidence so disposing it) did unawares most hap­pily entangle, arrest and fasten him in the Ca­tholike Church, at a time, when of all others he least apprehended a captivity from that Coast.

4. The instruments employed by God to ef­fect this Captivity, were especially these two. 1. The conversation of a worthy, prudent and learned friend, namely Doctor H. Holden, Do­ctor of the faculty of Paris. And 2. the per­usall of a little book, entituled, Reigle Genera­le de la foy Catholique, written in French by Mons. Francois Veron, Doctor of Divinity, and Pastor of the Catholike Congregation at Cha­renton. These two proceeding in all points almost upon the same grounds, and in the same order, in a short time effected that Conviction in me, which many volumes of Catholique Controver­tists, formerly used, and a world of Verball disputes had in vain attempted.

5. In brief, the method and proceeding, by [Page 480] which these two successefully effected their cha­ritable designs upon me, was this. I was at that time, (more then in their opinion, for they said it was in their certain knowledge) out of the Church; and according to mine own perswa­sion, in at least a faileable and fallible Church, a Church that could pretend to no authority o­ver my conscience, as a Christian, but meerly over my externall actions and profession, as an Englishman; And withall, such a Church as in the then present circumstances was become ve­ry languishing, and in a very doubtfull conditi­on for subsistence. Herupon I became sollici­tous (upon an imagined supposition of her fu­ture defaillance) how to make the least impru­dent choice, among all other separated Congre­gations and Sects, in case I should really be put upon such a necessity.

6. Being full of these thoughts, and vexed to the heart, both at my self, and all other Se­ctartes, that I was become so hard to be pleased, and that none of them could represent them­selves to me with any qualities fit to invite me to joyn with them, neither could I induce my self to overlook or pardon a world of defects and deformities, which I could not but observe in each of them: In these circumstances, being obliged by many occasions and businesses to frequent the conversation of the foresaid wor­thy friend, then my neighbour, and not being able to conceal the agitation of my thoughts; he before-hand knowing that, whether the Church of England failed or no, I stood in absolute need of a Church for my Soul, & now perceiving that I was in quest after a treasure, [Page 481] in places where it was not to be found, he gave me a prospect of the Catholike Church by quite different ligh [...]s, then I had ever before viewed her: For in his discourses, as likewise in the forementioned book of [...]ed upon her in her pure simp [...] [...] had been no kind of multiplicity of p [...] among her children; [...] as [...] conspiring in the belief [...] profession of h [...] Doctrines [...] those Doctrines [...] to cut off [...] produced such Authors, [...] a­mong Catholiques, as with the greatest free­dom from partiality on ime [...]sts did interpret those Doctrines, and which imposed no greater burthens, nor streitned the paths in which she would have her children to walk, more then she intended and declared.

7. By this means I found that all the furniture, with which I had for so many years provided my self to combat against Catholikes, or to de­fend my self from them, was taken out of my hands: I perceived that in the depth and cen­ter of my spirit, I was really, though unknown to my self, a very Catholike, before I was a Catholique: For all the necessary declared do­ctrines of Catholike Religion, (as they are expressed in the language of the Church) I found I had never rejected: and as for those points, which I could not digest, and for vvhich I had been averted from the Church, I found that they were particular dogme's either of some popular controvertists or Schoolmen, or affixed to certain Orders, and as freely renoun­ced [Page 482] from the notion of necessary Catholike Do­ctrines by other unsuspected Catholikes, as they had been by my self.

8. Hereupon that inward satisfaction of mind (which attended this discovery) love of unity and a complacence in the security of an established state of mind, made me hasten to professe my self our Lords and his Churches Captive. I was quickly weary of that former licentious freedome, which I enjoyed, to believe what I would, so I would not publikely contra­dict what the Lawes and interests of particular S [...]es and Sects among Protestants thought good to order: whereby it came to passe, that into whatsoever Church amongst them I should [...]pen to change my residence, I was as much obliged, if not more, (supposing that I would enjoy the priviledges of that Congregation) to change the outward profession of my Creed, as my habits or fashion of life. Having an immor­tall soule, I was glad to find an immortall faith, to enrich it with; a Faith not fashioned according to the humor and garb of Nations, Cities and Villages; a Faith, the very same in variety of States, well or ill ordered, of Mo­narchies or Aristocracies, or popular govern­ments: a Faith, upon which neither the passi­ons interests, or Tyrannies of Princes & Go­verners, nor the various mutations of ages had any influence: It was alone unchangeable, when nothing, besides it, was exempted from change.

9. Charity to my selfe obliged me to imbrace this Faith: and charity to others made me, be­ing required, not unwilling to communicate o [...] others the treasure I had found, and to disco­ver [Page 483] the wayes how I came to find it. And this I have done, God knowes, imperfectly enough in this Treatise, yet in some sense per­fectly, because sincerely. In which there is nothing of Doctrine, which I acknowledge to be mine, but what thou (dear Catholique Reader) wilt challenge to be thine by as good a right, it being the Common Faith of all Ca­tholique Christians, Whatsoever there is, that seems Doctrinall besides this (excepting it may be, some expressions not warily enough cou­thed) belongs to particular Catholique Au­thors, mentioned by me, not with intention to shew my self a Proselyte of their opinions, but only to declare the convenience that I reaped by them, in that I found I was not obliged to retard my assent to Catholique Doctrine, contained in essentiall Truths; since by their means I found a world of particular disputes cut off, and, though I was not, I found that I might without danger have been of their O­pinions.

CHAP. II.

Grounds upon which certain passages in this book have been misunderstood by some Catholiques, and those mista­kings cleared.

1. WHen I was employed about the first publishing of this Book, the hast of the Printer, and my thoughts then busie about a matter of much greater importance to me, then the printing or [Page 484] publishing of books, viz. about solliciting an admission and unchangeable abode among the French Carthusians, made me that I could not allow my self the leasure to examine what I had written, nor to qualifie some phrases, which I did almost suspect, might, as it hath proved, be obnoxious to misconstruction. I forgot like­wise to quote the Authors names, whose parti­cular interpretations and opinions had been so beneficiall to me, though I had no Obligation nor intention to assent to them. However this neglect of naming them, derived upon my selfe the censures of those, that having been taught otherwise, judged every thing to be Heterodox and unsound, that was not favoured by their particular Masters, or that was delivered in such Phrases and expressions as their ears had not been acquainted with Whereas if the Au­thors had appeared [...] either their authority would have justified what they taught, or at least I should not have been accountable for it.

2. Had it not been for these ( [...]s the case then stood with me) not inexcuseable omissi­ons, I had doubtlesse avoided some [...]igorous imputations and censures, which (as I have been informed) certain, questionlesse, well meaning Catholiques have given of this inconsiderable Book.

3. God forbid I should condemn the Au­thors of such censures, since I am confident the ground of them was not any passion against me (a stranger to them, and only known by the happinesse befallen me of being a Catholique) but a zeale to the Purity of Catholique truth. [Page 485] The Method of the book, and the manner of stating controversies in it, was indeed somwhat new in England, and therefore no wonder if some were startled at it. Besides, if I had had the Providence or leasure to have softend some expressions, and to have made it appear, that that latitude in Disputes, which in England will not passe so freely, yet in France and o­ther Catholique Countryes is very receiveable, they would have seen, that it was not my fault, but my fortune only to displease them.

4. In this Review of my Book, I have en­deavoured to give them all the satisfaction pos­sible, I have added the explanation of severall phrases, which were before hard of Digestion, I have quoted the severall Authors, whose larger Opinions I had occasionally made use of; I have protested my disengagement from particular Dogmes; Nay I have not refused to retract and cancell, what I judged fit to be re­tracted, and more I could not do with a good Conscience. For the generall argument of the book, being a story of what was pass'd, it was not possible for me to alter any thing in the Narration; for God himself cannot make that which ha's been, not to have been: Or if I should publish my self so palpable a lyar; as be­cause some passages do displease some persons, therefore to say that such things were not such, what good or convenience would proceed from a lye? God is my witnesse, in matters of this nature, I despise credit: Nay more, I know not how, but I find a gust in making a Re­tractation, whensoever I can conceive it requi­site, For I count it no vertue to write plausi­bly, [Page 486] or eloquently, or learnedly: But I esteem it a great vertue not to persist in an errour, nor because I haue said a thing once, therefore ever after to maintain it, for a false or vain credits sake. If I have not given sufficient proof of this in this second Edition of my book, I do beg of every charitable Catholique Reader to suggest to me what they yet shall judge fit to be altered, and to give me convincing reasons for it, and I promise them a very cheerfull rea­dinesse to content them, and not great resi­stence against being convinced.

5. Only this one thing I must professe to them, that it is not a convincing argument to me to hear any say, Other Controvertist's have inwrapped within their treatises many Thoologicall Doctrines beyond what Catholike Religion obliges them to, as concerning the Popes Infallibility, &c. therefore you are ob­liged to follow their example. For I must needs tell them, that besides it is in it self un­reasonable to spend time in disputing with Protestants upon Questions in which some Ca­tholiques will be of their side: I cannot but im­pute the unsuccessefulnesse in such disputes, and the paucity of Converts, to such a way of ma­naging Controversies, when Catholiques shew what a number of Doctrines they are able to maintain more then is necessary, and more then concern Protestants to hear of. So that it is to be feared the design of such Catholique writers is not so much to seek the Conversion of Protestants, as to shew their zealous adhe­sion to the particular Doctrines of their Order or Party. For mine own part, truly I am no [Page 487] tyed to any peculiar Dogmes; that holy Con­gregation, to which by Gods providence, I am inserted an unworthy Member, does not exer­cise that violence over spirits, subject to them, as to force a belief of any unnecessary distin­ctive Doctrines upon them, or a profession of doctrines, which they do not believe, or would not, if they lived any where else; Conscience and not faction or partiality is the director of our assent, and it is from the Church only, that we receive the Rule of that assent. Now en­joying this liberty, and having, I thank God, neither hopes nor fears from the world, I will not captivate my own understanding to any but God and his Church, nor my tongue or pen to any particular Schoolman or Controvertist. Now my meaning is, not hereby to imply that I condemn any of these Doctrines, but onely that I desire leave, being to deal with Prote­stants, to be silent, and take no notice of such questions, wherein they are not concerned, but are (whil'st troubled with those disputes) so much the longer detained from entring into Catholique Communion.

6. Having made this profession of my reso­lution to offend none, and yet withall of being subject to none, but the Church, to which only, and not any Faction in the Church, my desires and endeavours shall be to invite Protestants; and to which, if by Gods blessing they adjoyn themselves, they shall be equally welcome to me, to whatsoever party in it they shal range them­selves: If hereafter any Catholique will not content himself with that satisfaction, which I have, and will, as far as reason and conscience [Page 488] will permit, give him: If he be unlearned, I must desire him to dispense with me for taking Rules from him how to manage Controver­sies: If he be learned, and especially if him­selfe be imployed in the Conversion of souls, then I desire him to give me leave with all re­spect and humility to ask him, is there any such priviledge given to any Rank of English Mis­sioners, as that souls may not be suffered to be converted, unlesse it be upon the grounds of Suarez, or Scotus, or Becanus, &c.? Is it lawfull in France to propose the churches do­ctrine pure and unmixed with privat opinions, and is that unlawfull in England? Is the Coun­cell of Trent a suspected Rule, without such or such a Doctours interpretation? I have been in­formed that severall persons, and I have known some that have reaped good by so despiseable a Treatise as this; God, whose power is made perfect in weaknesse, giving his blessing to so imperfect, but well meaning work: Can a­ny charitable Catholique envy this, or be sorry that Protestants should be delivered by any from their errours and Schisme, unlesse the instrument of their conversion devote him­self to all your particular distinctive Tenets? Truly for my part, if, since my being a Catho­lique, I have entertained any particular Do­ctrines, though they should be never so con­tradictory to yours, yet since with all that difference, we remain both of us firmly united in the beliefe and profession of all Doctrines truly Catholique, I should willingly and cordi­ally encourage any Protestant to believe you, and condemn me, upon condition that his e­steem [Page 489] of you, and prejudice against me, might be an inducement to him the soon­er to entertaine a good opinion and liking of Catholique Religion it self. If in this Book there be mentioned any opinions in your opinion too large, yet doubtlesse you cannot but know, that they are publiquely and uncon­troulably asserted by unquestioned Catholique Authors: Or however the Quotations will now inform you so much, and direct you to their particular Treatises. And the principall of these Authors are Salmeron, Bacon, Molina, &c. learned Fathers of the Society; as like­wise Salmanticensis, Monsieur Veron, Estius, &c. Out of such Authors as these I do quote many passages and opinions, accounted indeed generally of the largest allowance, but yet not condemned by any: On the contrary, their books have been in the highest manner appro­ved. These opinions I quote, not as mine own, for I professe against espousing any in this Book; but as doctrines and interpretations, though not so generally embraced, yet univer­sally uncondemned. Now shall these men passe untouched, who asserted, and publi­shed such opinions, and must I be traduced, as an unsound Catholique, for transcribe­ing them, and for only saying that they said so.

7. Experience of what is past, obliges me to prevent misconstructions for the fu­ture: for which purpose this little that hath beene said, shall suffice. And now dear Ca­tholique Reader, I once more addresse my selfe to thee, and to give thee assurance that [Page 490] thou maist freely and without suspition read this Book, the Authenticall Approbations an­nexed to it will secure thee, and withall I pro­test unto thee, that in my heart I do find a great aversenesse from admitting any noveltyes in opinion, or any suspitious questionable dogmes: and to shew my self a true son of the Catholique church. I do here with an humble clear confidence pronounce, that I do submit, not only my self, but all my writings and words, yea my very thoughts (as far as thoughts can be judged by a humane Tribunal) to the judgement of the holy Catholique Ro­man church, of his Holinesse, the Head of the church, and of all whatsoever my Superiours therein; declaring, that if there be any thing in this or any other of my writings, which is contrary to piety, good manners, holy Scri­ptures, or Ecclesiasticall Traditions, or to any verity whatsoever, I do heartily renounce and recall it: NON FACTUM, NON DICTUM, NON COGITATUM ESTO.

CHAP. III.

Misinterpretation of my book by Prote­stants, particularly by I. P. the Au­thor of the Preface to my Lord Falk­lands Discourse of Infallibility.

An answer to the Preface.

Pro captu Lectoris [...]abent sua fata libelli.

1. BOoks have their fates, not from the re­all qualityes, which are, in themselves, [Page 491] but from the severall dispositions, imaginations, and present tempers of the Readers; the eys of some Readers do see in Books that which is in­visible to others: yea what is directly contradi­ctory to what others think they see: And from the same passages some receive a conviction of preconceived opinions, when as others become more hardened in such opinions. So certain it is, that all manner of effects and events are to be ascribed meerly to the Providence of God, who if he leave us to our selves, and do not so dispose of second causes after a superna­turall manner, that his divine Truths be advan­tagiously represented to us, even the Scripture it self, and all the divine infallible mysteries of Faith will appear error, and folly, and a scan­dall unto us, Light will darken us, Truth will seduce us, and happinesse it self will be an occa­sion of our ruine. The experience that we see every day of this (me thinks) should make us even feel and acknowledge, that Faith is the pure gift of God, and by consequence that those, who rely upon the conduct of their own uncer­tain Reason, are almost certain to be mislead by it.

2. When I wrote this Book, I did expect no other, but that it (proceeding from a very weak and imperfect judgment) should be obnoxious to contempt and censures of both Catholikes and others, from whom it could not conceal ma­ny imperfections that were in it, so that I was not much surprised to hear it severely judged. But I had little suspition, that Protestants could extract from it arguments to confirm them in their errors: yet even this ha's happened. And [Page 492] this (I confesse) pierces me to the heart; cha­rity and compassion to souls (so in love with their errors, that the confutation of them makes them more in love with, and better perswa­ded of them) swallows up all the anger and resentment, that nature would fain raise in me, to see my conceptions so unjustly pe [...]verted, and urges me, for the good of their souls, and not for mine own credit, to let such Chymicall ex­tractors of errors from truth see that their art ha's failed them.

3. I heare there have appeared severall books written by Protestants, in which the Authors have taken advantage from some misunderstood passages in my EXOMOLOGESIS. Onely one such book is come to my sight, or rather only a Preface to my L. Falklands discourse of Infallibility, written by a person unknown to me, but onely by these two letters J. P. and an extract out of another book, which I have not seen. By answering of which Preface, as far as it touches me, I conceive grounds will be laid, upon which any other Objections made by Protestants may find and answer, if the Obje­ctors will please to make application.

4. It will not be needfull to transcribe the whole Preface at large here, but I shall set down very faithfully and candidly the substance of it in severall particulars in order, and adjoyn unto them as distinct and satisfactory an Answer, as I can at the present, considering the great disor­ders of Paris, where this is written, and my un­providednesse of Papers and Books. And that being done (if I be permitted) I will take that boldnesse, which my most deare Lord, the Au­thor [Page 493] of the following Discourse of Infallibili­ty, would (if he were living, I am sure) have given me, to shew the invalidity of it against Catholike Doctrine.

5. As for the Preface of J. P. in which he re­flects upon the most deserved praises of that no­ble Lord, excellently represented in the prece­dent Dedication. I acknowledge my self [I cannot say his convert: for many years before him I was a witnesse of the merits, that might challenge them, but] one that does entirely a­gree with him in that point; And if my most worthily lov'd and honoured Friend, M. Trip­let, the Author of the Dedication, will onely give me leave to except out of the severall heads of his praises, this one, of having (as he thinks) efficaciously and meritoriously written against the Catholike Church (and woe is me for my dearest Lords sake, that this must needs be ex­cepted) I would willingly subscribe my name under his: he knows I have enjoyed an equall happinesse with him, to be a witnesse of all those his admirable qualities. He knowes, that though with lesse deserts, yet with (perhaps) equall good fortune, I have had my share in that unpa­rallel'd friendship of his; the memory of which is the pleasing est image that the world ha's left in my mind, since I made a resolution to quit the world. Indeed it is an image too pleasant to be look'd upon, considering my present con­dition and profession; were it not that it can never offer it self but accompanied with a most piercing compassion, that those stupendious ex­cellencies and abilities were not crownd with Catholike Belief; yea, which is most misera­ble, [Page 494] were employed against it. In one thing I must needs yeeld to M. Triplet, which is, that I cannot pretend to the ability to erect so beautifull a monument to the memory of that honoured Lord, nor with so delicate a touch draw his picture, as he ha's done in his Dedication, for which expression both of his gratitude and skill, I think my self obliged to pay him my most humble thanks: And I will take the permission with him to recom­mend to the imitation of my Lord, his now one­ly Sonne, all those admirable qualities of his deceased Father, onely beseeching him, that he would not (and beseeching God, that, neither he nor any of his friends may) account among such qualities, the writing of such Discourses a­gainst Catholike truth, which occasioned the publishing of an Elogy of him equally very ar­tificiall and very naturall.

6. Thus much of the Preface therefore being acknowledged to be unanswerable, the designe of all that follows is. 1. To shew that the doctrine of the churches Infallibility is of all others most generall and comprehen­sive, and which, if it could be demonstrated, would immediately decide all other controver­sies. 2. That therefore none can seriously think Protestants so unreasonable, but that if they were perswaded of the truth of this, they would presently submit, and leave all disputing. 3. But yet since it seems evident to them, that some Decisions of the Church are contradictory to the Scriptures, which Catholiques propound as infallibly true; Therefore it is necessary, that In­fallibility ought to be demonstrated at least to [Page 495] a higher degree of evidence then they have of the contradiction of the Churches Decisions to the in­fallible Rule of Gods Word. 4. That no such de­monstration hath been made by Catholiques, the great Defenders of the Church of England have very excellently and fully demonstrated. 5. And this with such successe, that the very name of In­fallibility begins to be burthensome even to the maintainers of it, in so much that one of their la­test and ablest Proselytes, Hugh Paulin de Cressy, (as the author stiles him) which is a title that the same Serenus Cressy, (for that is henceforth his name assumed in Religion) utterly renounces & is most certain the Author can never justifie against such a world of much more able Proselytes) hath acknowledged the same word Infallibility to be an unfortunate word, and too advantagious to Protestants, and therefore fit to be forgotten, and laid by. Wherupon the Author gives scope to a fit of triumphing at the strength of reason and power of truth, that a Catholique is forced or renounce so fundamentall a doctrine, which yet notwithstand­ing is not found in any Councell, &c. 6. Now lest it should be thought to be only the word (Infalli­bility,) but not the notion of it intended by Ca­tholiques, and understood by Protestants, that is deserted by Mr. Cressy, the Author sayes, that Protestants never impugned it by Nominall Ar­guments, producing a passage out of Bellarmine to justifie the acknowledged sense of that word. 7. Hereupon the Author imputes to Mr. Cres­sy unreasonablenesse in answering Arguments made against that which himself confesses cannot be maintained. 8. And yet greater unreasonable­nesse in the manner of his answer, because desert­ing [Page 196] Infallibility, he answers only for the autho­rity of the Church, and so makes this authority answer for that Infallibility. From this last he draws three consequent absurdities (which shall be set down when their place comes to be answered) 9. Hereupon he profesles that, having considered the inconsiderablenesse of M. Cressy's whole dis­course, he changed his resolution to answer it, as judging it not to deserve an answer. 10. And last­ly he concludes the invinciblenesse of my L. Falk­lands discourse of Infallibility

7. This is the mind and whole importance of the Preface, which, whether rationall or no, shall be examined; but it is confess'd to be orderly e­nough, and therefore shall be endeavoured to be answered according to its order, and the Para­graphs and divisions made by me, not himself.

CHAP. IV.

An Answer to the four first Paragraphs of the Preface.

1. THat which the Author of the Preface sayes in his first Paragraph (viz. That the Do­ctrine of the churhes Infallibility is of all other most generall and comprehensive, and which, if it could be demonstrated, would immediately de­cide all other controversies) is so conformable to evident reason, that it cannot be denied. And that which reason requires of me to acknowledge in the first Paragraph, charity would invite me to grant universally in the second. [viz. That if Prote­stants were perswaded of the truth of this, they would presently submit, and leave all disputing.] Were it not that I. P. himself discourages me. I doubt not but both himself and many others, (if [Page 497] they were absolutely convinced of the churches Infallibility) would not wilfully detain the truth in unrighteousness, by continuing in an obstinate, and then an acknowledged disobedience to the church. But they behave themselves in the search of the truth, as if they were afraid to find it. They come with extreme prejudice and partiality to the examination of the controversie, and if they can find but any small advantage against any passage in Catholike writers, though the churches doctrine be not at all concerned in it, they presently give the cause decided according to their own minds and interests, which partiality of theirs seems much more intense, and withal heightned with f [...] greater Passion, since the downfall of their Church then ever it was before for indignation to see the ex­treme weaknesse of their cause, imbitters them much more in their disputes against Catholikes, and encreases their obstinacy against the authority of Gods church, as if they would be revenged a­gainst God for giving such an advantage to his Church. Proofs of this (given by too many others) will appear in the whole contexture of this Pre­face, as I shall demonstrate.

2. Thirdly, J. P. sayes, That since it seems evi­dent to them, that some decisions of the Church are contradictory to the Word of God, which Catholiques propound as infallibly true; There­fore it is necessary that Infallibility ought to be demonstrated at least to a higher degree of evi­dence, then they have of the contradiction of the Churches decision to the infallible Rule of the Scriptures. Truly this is not altogether unrea­sonable, therefore to give him satisfaction, I will fix a good while upon this point, though I shall be forced to say over somewhat said already. [Page 498] Therefore according to the grounds of the prece­dent Book, I will endeavor to clear the controver­sie of Infallibility, as it is there handled, from the mistakes of J. P. and to effect this more pro­sperously, I will peruse this supposition.

3. Let it be supposed, that the Church of Eng­land did pretend to an Infallibility, or if you will, to an authority of obliging all Christians under pain of Damnation to submit to her De­cisions. This being supposed, and that I, desi­rous to enquire into the grounds of this pretensi­on, should betake my selfe to a meeting of seve­rall learned Protestants, and say to them, since it is so necessary that all Christians should receive in­formation in Christian Doctrine from you, Pray let me know where I shall find it. This request would presently raise a murmure amongst them, and there is onely one answer in which they would all agree, which is this; That that only is to be accounted the doctrine of the Church of Eng­land, which ha's been determined by the authori­ty of the English Bishops, ratified by the secular head of the Church, the King, yet with the ad­vice of the Parliament, and embraced by all the children and Subjects of the English Church. But when they would descend more particularly to signifie the speciall repositories of this Doctrine, there would be great variety of answers; For the most moderate of them would say confidently, it is all to be found comprised sufficiently in the lit­tle Catechisme made for Infants, others would add the Common-Prayer book, others the book of Homilyes, others would yet thrust in the book of Ordination, others the 39. Articles and Canons; others besides would have the four first Generall Councells not to be forgotten; and lastly, some [Page 499] few of those, who are pure Protestants indeed, would say, the whole Canon Law, in as much as concerns doctrine especially, and as far as it is not revoked by Acts of Parliament: All this, with all that went before, is the entire Rule of English-Catholique Doctrine. And all those for their severall answers would produce English Fa­thers and Doctors, whose books have been recei­ved and approved without contradiction in the Church of England.

4. To save the blushing of an English Prote­stant, I would not suffer Mr. Chillingworth, nor my Lord Falkland to put in their votes; for they would have renounced all these, and protested, that neither the Catechisme, nor Common-prayer-Book, nor Homilies, &c. nor all these together, contain that doctrine of the Church of England, to which all are obliged to submit, but only the Bible, the Bible, and nothing but the Bible, and this not interpreted by any Bishop or Synod of Divines, but by every good mans reason, let him shift as he can: An answer, which it admitted, not only totally destroyes the spirituall Jurisdicti­on of the English Clergy, but all authority what­soever, even of the civill Magistrate, in matters of Religion; yet to shew the great impartiality of English Protestants towards Catholike Faith, because they fancied, that by such a position Ca­tholiques might receive some damage, they not only admitted this position of M. Chillingworths, and saw it approved by their Doctor of the Chair, but triumphed in it, as the great Master-piece of the wit of this Age; whereas if they had but half an eye open, they might have seen in it the inevi­table ruine of their whole Fabrick, So that J. P. did not well consider what poor service he ha's [Page 500] done, and what small refreshment he ha's given, or rather what a dishonorable Epitaph he ha's fix­ed upon the monument of his deceased Church, by giving his Testimony of applause to this Trea­tise of my Lo. Falklands, as one of the great De­fenders of the Doctrine of the English Church, which is more ruinous to it, then all the spitefull writings and plots of Cartwright, Knox, Hender­son, or all the rabble o [...] Geneva joyn'd with them. But to return.

5. A Supposition being made of the foresaid an­swer, and it being granted, that all these answers have been published, or without contradiction or censure admitted in the church of England, should not that man be very negligent of his souls good; that being to examine the truth of its doctrine, should trouble himself any further then with the little Catechism of half a sheet of paper, as plain­ly and as simply written as is possible, as if the children that are to learne it, had composed it; since all say, it is at least part of the Rule of the English Faith, and some, without censure of o­thers, say it is all; what a while must the poore mans soul be held in suspense, if he were to stay till he had search'd into the Common-prayer-Book, Homilies, Canons, Acts of Parliament, Procla­mations of the King, Antient Councels, Canon-Law, &c. his soul perhaps might be disposed by death, God knows where, before he had examined the hundredth part of what was necessary.

6. Now to apply this to the present subject, it is agreed by all Catholiques, that the church is an infallible witness and guide; & Protestants profess, that if this could be made evidently appear, they would hold out in no controversie at all, for they would never dispute perpetually with them, [Page 501] whom onely to hear, were to be satisfied; this therefore is to be made evident unto Protestants; yea, more evident then that any particular decisions of the Church do seem to them evidently contradictory to Scripture: This is the task of Catholicks, especially Catholick Missionaries. Now, though when it is said, The Church is infallible, This be commonly understood of all the whole Church in general; yet, when we say, She is an infallible Guide; it is most ordinari­ly understood of the Church, speaking by some authorised person or persons, represen­ting the whole body.

7. About this Representative there is di­versity of opinions among Catholicks: some say the Pope alone does sufficiently represent the Church, as a Guide infallible; Others, a Generall Councell, though without the Pope; Others, a Generall Councell convo­ked, presided in, and confir­med by the Pope;Annal. fidei, nu. 111. Syste­ma fidei, ca. 22. This was like­wise the opi­nion of Gerson. And lastly others (as learned Fa: Bacon acknowledges) add further this condition, that the deci­sion of such a Councell bee accepted and submitted to by the whole Church: All that hold any of these opinions, are universally esteemed good Catholiques, and I would to God all Protestants had so much humility, as to subdue their own private Reason to the lar­gest of them; and for Catholiques, this I may confidently say, That they, who with­out betraying the Truth, make the way to [Page 502] the Church easiest and plainest, have most charity and Faith enough; the others may have more Faith, I would they had more Charity too. Truly, to my understanding there is some inhumanity in urging Prote­stants to more then Catholiques will be ob­liged to: or to think that to Protestants pre­possessed with passion and partiality, that can be made evident, which is so far from being evident to some Catholiques, that they renounce it. Since all changes therefore proceed by degrees, in the name of God let it not be expected from Protestants, that they should with one leap mount to the utmost verge and extent of all Doctrines, held by Catholiques? That they should at one gulpe swallow both all Catholique Doctrines, and all Theologicall Dogmes. Be it granted therefore that it is true, that the Pope is infallible: I will beleeve it, as a Theological truth, but since nei­ther the Church nor the Pope himself has told us so, I cannot, if I would, beleeve it, as a Catholick Doctrine: what therefore have I to do to dispute of it to Protestants, whom my duty is onely to perswade to the belief of the Churches Doctrine? What pitty is it that they must be delayed, and as it were kept out of the Church, till all objections that they can make, and be furnished even from Ca­tholicks themselves to make against this posi­tion, be answered, or all advantages that they can advise against any Bulls or Decretals be cleared to their satisfaction.

8. Therefore I being ingaged to make good to I. P. That the Church (speaking by a Re­presentative [Page 503] is an infallible Guide) would fain choose that Representative, which is qualified with all the conditions allowed by any un­censured Catholicks, to make it most easie and most acceptable to Protestants, which is a general Councel Confirmed, &c. by the Pope and ac­cepted by the Church. But yet I wil abstract from this last clause of being ac [...]epted by the Church, (though there is not any one point of con­troversie in debate between us and them, for which we have not all this authority) as be­ing proved ex superabundanti in what I shall say hereafter.

9. That therefore which I undertake to make evident to I. P. is, That the Church speaking by a general Councel, confirmed by the Pope, is an infallible Guide, (and that with greater evidence, then he can bring for any contradiction pretended betwixt any decisi­on of such a Councel, and the Scripture; yea, with more evidence then he can produce for the Scripture it self, which he owns for his Guide.) which truly to an impartial hearer is no difficult matter, even going upon his own grounds: For if I should ask I. P. Why do you acknowledge the Scripture to be an infalli­ble Rule, as far as it is a Rule? He would an­swer me; Because it is delivered unto us, as such, by an infallible Catholick Tradition: for if he talks of any other proof, as a private spirit, or natural reason, it will be ridiculous; He may as well say he can judge and demon­strate it to be such by smelling with his nose. If I should further ask him, how it appears evident to him, that the Scriptures have [Page 504] been delivered by an infa [...]ible Catholick Tra­dition? He could not deny, but that many Hereticks have denied many books of Scrip­ture; yea, that there is not any one book in the Old or New Testament, but has been re­nounced by some Hereticks and their follow­ers: yet because some Councels have decided, and Fathers witnessed, and the Catholick Church in all ages since have received them as such; therefore it is evident, that they have been delivered by the Church by Catho­lick Tradition. And this is most rational and convincing. Upon these grounds therefore I proceed; and ask any discreet indifferent man, Whether an authority that shall af­ter this manner propose any doctrine, This we have received from Christ and his Apostles, that such and such a doctrine proposed, is a divine infallible truth; and we command all Christians whatsoever, under the pain of anathema and eter­nal damnation, to beleeve it for such: whether I say, such an authority does not assume to it self the office of a Guide, and of an infal­lible Guide? Certainly, he that should speak in this stile, and yet have a guilt, or be in a possibility of seducing, were the most impious abhorred tyrant in the world. What an attentat, an usurpation upon Gods Scep­ter and Throne would this be, if God had not derived this authority upon the Church represented in a Councel? What a cruelty to souls? What a blaspheming of the Holy-Ghost? Now that this hath been the stile of all General Councels is evident: and that Councels speaking in that stile, have [Page 505] been submitted to by the Fathers and accep­ted by the Church with all veneration, as the Oracles of God, is equally apparent: nay, I do not know that ever any Heretick (before these daies) did expresly contradict this in the Thesis; though in Hypothesi they have renounced such particular Councels as them­selves were Anathematized by. Therefore not onely all Councels, but every Decision of every Councel to which an Anathema is annex­ed, decides this question, and proclaims to all the ends of the world this truth, That the Church speaking in General approved Councels, is an infallible Guide to all Christians. Against this not a passage or word in any Father can be produced, but infinite passages for it: Hence it is that the Fathers unanimously profess; That out of the Church there is no possible salvation, because there is no Guide to Heaven but in the Church. If therefore it be a proof evident enough to I. P. of an universal infallible tradition of Scripture, that one or two not General Councels, did with some variety set down the number and names of the books, and that generally speaking, the Fathers have amongst them given attesta­tion to them, some to some books, and some to others, few to all; and that the Church in after ages hath universally accepted them, as such; How short comes that tradition of this, concerning the infallible Guidance of the Church, that is vertually decided in all Councels, and every decision of all attested by all Fathers, not one in one passage contra­dicting or condemning that stile; but una­nimously [Page 506] in all ages since Councels were accepted by the Church, approved and submitted to: how opposite is this truth to the main design of his following discourse, which attempts to prove, that there is in the Church no infallible Guide at all? And how contradictory to that Article of his Church, concerning not onely the fallibility, but actu­al erring of Councels? And again, how con­formable is this way of proceeding to the authority given upon Record, in Scripture by our blessed Saviour to his Church? I say to his Church; for the Fathers assembled in Councel speak not thus in their own persons, nor as so many learned men, but in the per­son of the whole Church, which they repre­sent, and do no more but subsume particulars under that General Anathema, pronounced by our blessed Saviour, when he said, If he re­fuse to here the Church, let him be unto thee, as a Heathen and a Publican.

11. I conjure therefore I. P. and all his and my friends, that he and they would produce, or at least set before their own eyes those Decisions of Councels, which seem to them evidently false, because clearly contra­dictory to Scripture, and compare his evi­dence of a seeming contradiction, with this evidence, that it is impossible there should be such a contradiction; and if they do this with a serious minde, and desire to finde the truth, that they may embrace it, and with hearts lifted up to God, to free them from all respects of the world, and to enlighten their souls with the love of his truth, then [Page 507] perhaps they may see that, which as yet it seems is invisible to them; it is most certain, there is not one express formal text of Scrip­ture contradictory to any Catholick Doctrine; this they confess themselves. And indeed, even abstracting from the promises made by Christ to his Church, it is morally impossi­ble, that so many wise and vertuous men, should with the one hand give the Scripture, as Gods word, and with the other present Doctrines expresly and directly contradicto­ry to it, and none be able to observe the contradiction, though their daily study was to meditate upon, and interpret the Scrip­ture. Now whether any consequence from obscure texts can be more forcible, then that which I have named from the stile of General Councels, I leave not to their wits, but consciences to judge.

12. Matters therefore being impartially weighed, that triumphing Epiphonema of his, in the fourth and fifth Sections vanishes; in which himself with admiration exposeth to the admiration of others, those great conque­ring defenders of the doctrine of the (late) Church of England, that with such excellent conduct and valour, and such admirable success have combated and defeated this our Darling, In­fallibility: he did ill, and even enviously to their glory, that he did not name those wor­thies; for my part, besides the noble Author of the following Discourse, (whom certain­ly he means for one) and by consequence Mr. Chillingworth, I cannot remember that ever I heard any great Elogium in this respect [Page 508] given to any English writer: Yet it may be he might have an eye upon the last Arch-bi­shop of Canterbury, and his late enlarged Dia­logue: which if he did, then I conjure I. P. that he would once more peruse the said Arch-bishop's Discourse, and single from it whatsoever is impertinent to the main essen­tial controversie; that is, whatsoever touches particular debates of Catholicks, about the Popes infallibility, and the exceptions that may be found against certain Councels, as like­wise about the several qualities and conditi­ons required to an acknowledged obliging Councel (all which things are nothing to the purpose.) And lastly, that laying aside all these unnecessary velitations, he would apply the Arch-bishops most efficatious arguments to an Oecumenical confirmed Councel (especially if he will add the condition too of being actu­ally received by the Church) and my life for his, he will see reason to acknowledge, that all that discourse is of no force at all against the Church, yea, that the Archbishop him­self never intended it should. However the Calvinists, or fantastical private Spiritists, or exalters of humane reason, might deal a­gainst the universal authority of Gods Church: the Prelates of England were too wise to judge, that people would be so blinde, as to think any obedience could be due out of conscience to a National Church, begun and continued upon secular and indeed unlawful intrests, if that Church should build its autho­rity upon a profession of renouncing all au­thority. And therfore, though they were very [Page 509] earnest in the controversie about Ecclesiasti­call Authority, when they were to write or proceed juridically against Presbyterians or Separatists, yet they loved not to talk of it against the Catholick Church: yea, it was from the Catholick Church onely, that they borrowed their Arguments against their Schismaticks; as may in a good measure ap­pear in the printed Reasons of the Univer­sity of Oxford against the Covenant, Ne­gative Oath, and Ordinances concerning Discipline and Worship, approved by gene­rall consent in a full Convocation, June 1. 1647,) and it was under the shadow of their pretence to be still a member of the Catholick Church, and to have received their Autho­rity and Succession from it, that they obli­ged good easie Protestants to continue their subjects. But this is but a guesse that I. P. in this passage reflected upon the late Arch­bishop, or any other English Prelaticall Writer.

13. Certain it is he must intend my Lord Falkland, as one of the great Defenders of the Doctrine of the Church of England, since he speaks this in his Preface to his Discourse of Infallibility, and with an evident design thereby to recommend both the Author and his work. This being so, I. P. will give me leave to use his own words. O the strength of Reason rightly managed! O the power of Truth clearly declared! Yea, O the force of a guilty conscience! For what else but the irresista­ble power of truth, and evidence of reason, [Page 510] and acknowledgement of guilt, could move him so publickly to condemn his own Church, and to confess its [...]surpation impossible to be justified? Behold (O Protestants) how your Church is defended! here is a discourse that undertakes to demonstrate, (and if you will believe, your brother I. P. has admira­bly, and unanswerably performed it) that upon earth there neither is, nor ever was a­ny Guide, that could oblige any other to follow his direction; and that every mans conscience is to be guided by his own single naturall Reason, chusing that Faith which is most agreeable to Nature, and holding it one­ly so long as Nature likes it, and then chan­ging it for another: In fine, a Discourse that gives you leave, yea, almost invites you, to return to the Religion of the old Philosophers, those Epoptes and Priests of Nature. If there be any force in this your Defenders discourse, what becomes of your Articles and Canons, your Synods and Convocations, your Infallible Acts of Parliament, and Proclamations? It is evident he might as well, yea more reasona­bly, have said, That the Councell of Trent is a great defender of the Church of England, for that indeed justifies Ecclesiasticall Authority; whereas this discourse directly and purpose­ly, and universally destroyes it: But the meaning, or that which should be the mea­ning of I. P. is this, That the Authority of the Church of England is impossible to be maintained: for if (as the Catholick Church avows) there be in the Church by Christ's appointment, any Authority Ecclesiasticall, ob­liging [Page 511] in conscience; it is certain it is not in­herent in the Church of England, that be­gan but yesterday (and is not now at all) and when it began, it began by the re­nouncing of all visible authority. Again, if as this discourse pretends, there be no obli­ging authority (that is, no infallible one; for surely none can be obliged to an authori­ty, that confesses it self questionable) then both the Catholick Church and the Church of England are meer names, and verbal sounds, that signifie nothing. This is so evident, that it is pitty to insist longer upon the per­secuting of good I. P. that here publishes his conviction and confession, and must either tear out this Preface before such a discourse, or abjure his Church of England, if ever it ap­pear again.

14. By what hath been said it is apparent, that the doctrine of the Infallibility of the Church, speaking by a lawful Oecumenical Coun­cel, is delivered by as full a Tradition, as it is possible for a doctrine to be delivered. And therefore Protestants are inexcusable and [...]since, receiving such spe­cial Books of Scripture upon no other grounds, but Tradition, they yet renounce the Churches authority, which is more univer­sally and authoritatively delivered and con­firmed. The same Truth is unanswerably, grounded upon what hath formerly been proved in this Book, viz. That it is impossible, that that which any one àge agrees in, as Traditi­on, should not be so, because that would argue, that some former wh [...]le Age hath agreed to de­ceive their posterity.

[Page 512] Ob. 15. But perhaps I. P. or his friends will say, That though what hath been asser­ted may be effectual to demonstrate the In­fallible Authority of the universal Church, yet not so to demonstrate, that the Roman is that Infallible Catholick Church, since the Greeks may put in their plea, at least to be a very considerable part. That they are not unwil­ling to submit to the Universal Church, though she should condemn them: For though the importunate restless malice of som Calvinisti­cal spirits among them hath procured some uncivil, and indeed unchristian Clauses to be put into the English Articles, derogating from the Authority of General Councels; yet the true English Protestant hath alwaies been ready to protest submission to the Universal Church. But they are not satisfied, that they ow that submission to the Roman; and if not to the Roman, they know not to what Church.

Sol. 16. To say somthing for the clearing this difficulty, I shall desire them to consider, 1. That whilst the Eastern and Western Churches were joyned in one External communion, it is apparent that that Body was the Catholick Church, to which the Promises of Christ were made, and to which Protestants themselves would not have refused submission. 2. That a breach hapning between these Churches, is not mortal to the whole Body, but onely to that Member that did unlawfully separate. 3. By consequence, that both the Title and real Authority of the Catholick Church remains in the innocent Part, that is, either in the Roman or Eastern Church. 4. That whethersoever [Page 513] of these two be the Catholick Church, Eng­lish Protestants are Schismaticks, since they are divided from both, and the pretended grounds of their Divisions are Doctrines re­ceived by them both. 5. That in case Eng­lish Protestants would now take into debate, to whether of these two parties they should re-adjoyn themselves, by that means to be­come Catholicks again, they must be forced to quit both a greater number of their Topical Doctrines, and more fundamental ones, to fit themselves to an union with the Eastern, then with the Roman Church. 6. That if they will needs out of Passion prefer the Eastern, their Passion will be evident, since that when­soever either remorse of conscience, or the approaches of death made them see their unsafe condition, thousands of them have fled to the Roman Church for shelter, but never any to the Grecian, or any other, but the Roman. 7. That as long as they are out of the Roman Church, they are in a headless trunck, divided from the successor of St. Pèter, whom St. Cy­prian, St. Hierome, Optatus, &c. acknowledged to be the foundation of Unity, Order, &c.

Ob. 17. Now if among Protestants, any out of a perverse condescendence shal grant that the grounds alledged for the separation of the Ea­stern & Western Churches, are not in themselves of such main importance, as to hinder them from being really one Catholick Church: And therefore that before the present controver­sies can be decided, a general Assembly of them all must be expected.

Sol. 18. to this they must give me leave to say. 1. That they make the Promises of [Page 514] Christ to be casual, temporary and obnoxious to critical daies and seasons, if they think, that the changes of Kingdoms, or that the humors of an earthly Tyrant can either evacu­ate or suspend the force of those promises by which our Lord hath obliged himself to pro­vide, that the Gates of Hell, that is, here­sies, shall not prevail against his Church; The effect of which promise, in the opinion of such Objectors must be delayed, till the Grand Signior will allow the Grecian Bishops to meet with the Western, to consult of, and procure the peace and union of Christendom. 2. In case they should be permitted to meet, Pro­testants may without the spirit of prophesie foretel their own most solemn condemnation: For since both the Eastern and Western Churches do already agree in most doctrines renounced by Protestants. [viz. Transubstan­tiation, Adoration of the blessed Sacrament, Prayer for the Dead, and by consequence a Pur­gatory (in which souls are capable of refresh­ment by such Prayers) Veneration of Images, Relicks, &c. Invocation of Saints, Indulgences, Merit of good works, &c.] In which Doctrines they do agree as acknowledging them to be Traditionary: It is impossible they should ever be perswaded to revoke any of them, being met in an Assembly, unless they will re­nounce all order and manner of proceeding in former General Councels; which is not ac­cording to the Method of Protestants. Viz. Endlessly to dispute every controverted Point by Texts of Scripture, but to judge of the Truth of Points, and the sense of Scrip­ture [Page 515] by Traditien? In such Assemblies there­fore Bishops will ask one another, Have your Fathers delivered to you, that Bread, after conse­cration, becomes the Body of Christ? That this body in the Sacrament is to be adored? That we ought to pray for Souls departed in the Faith of Christ, &c.? If so, Servetur quod traditum est. Now it being apparent, that at the present all agree, that such Doctrines both in the East and West have been delivered by Tradition; and that their meeting together in a Councel will not help to make a contrary Tradition pos­sible: It will follow, that whether divided or united, whether alone, or in Assembly, they are, and ever will be at least so far united, as to joyn in the condemnation of Pro­testants.

CHAP. V.

An Answer to the Remainder of the Preface.

1. THe rest of the Preface of I. P. touches my self onely, and pretends to shew what success the writings of those great De­fenders of the Church of England have had against me in particular, forcing me to con­fess, That Infallibility is an unfortunate word: That Mr. Chillingworth hath combated it with too great success; so that I would wish the word were forgotten, or at least laid by, &c. Now since the Church is not at all concern'd in this, but my self onely, who am charged with writing an incongruous impertinent Book, a Book that deserves no answer, but answers it self, since it maintains that which its Ad­versary did not combat, &c. Truly, were it not for I. P. and his friends sake more then mine own, I would not answer for my self: But since I perceive, that the word Infallibi­lity is as unfortunate a word to them as it was to me, I will endeavour to take order that it shall be so no more.

2. First therfore I say with Mr. Veron, that the word Infallibility has been found out by the Schools, that love to find out as short waies to express their noti­ons, as possibly can be. And the world finds very great convenience by it: Therefore with reference to the Church, Schoolmen, and from them Controvertists, (desi­rous to express the great veracity of the Church, con­sidered as a Judge, or witness of Divine Truths, deposed by God with her, and withal the utmost obligation, that all Christians have to beleeve truths so de­termined and witnessed by her) found out this single word Infallibility, to express both these [Page 517] by: But yet the Church her self hath not as yet assumed or borrowed this word in any of her Decisions from the Schools: and therefore being none of the Churches word, we are not oblig'd to make her to speak it: and the truth is, though it comprehends al that they intend by it; yet it is no adaequate measure of those conceptions, because Infallibility may com­prehend a great deal more; for truth and our obligation to beleeve it, is yet in a higher degree in Scripture, then in the Deci­sions of the Church, as Bellarmine acknow­ledges; For the Scripture in all points, both of Doctrine and Story, and all circumstances is infallibly true: not so the Decisions of the Church, in which the simple conclusion de­cided, is onely accounted infallibly true; not so the principles upon which it depends, or reasons by which it is proved, and much less are orders made by Councels, which de­pend upon information; yet notwithstanding we cannot finde a more energetical word to ex­press the unquestionable, and unappealable authority of the Church, then Infallibility. We may proceed further, and say, that Di­vine truths, revealed internally after a superna­tural manner to the Prophets, Apostles, &c. and by intellectual images, are yet more infallible, then the same truths revealed by words; becaus words being but the Images of Images, are further removed from that prime Exem­plar of truth, which is God; and besides are in themselves unavoidably ambiguous, and so do not convey truth so infallibly, as Internal il­lustrations, yet what can we say more of these, [Page 518] then that they are Infallible? Lastly, there is no Image so perfect, but in as much as it is an Image, it comes short of the Exemplar, which is truth it self, that is God; and by consequence differs from it: yet the supre­mest title that we can give to God himself, in this regard, is Infallibility.

But to instance more familiar examples of the several degrees of Infallibility, I am in­fallibly assured, that I cannot repeat all the words I have spoken this last year; and yet I am more infallibly assured, that I cannot say over again, all I have spoken in my whole life. I am infallibly assured, that if I threw a thousand dice, they will not be all sixes; and yet I am more infallibly assured, that the same cast upon so many dice cannot be a thousand times successively repeated: Of all these impossibilities I have several de­grees of assurance, and every degree in a cer­tain sense infallible, but in a severe accepti­on of that word, the very highest is not ri­gorously infallible, because none of the cases alledged are absolutely impossible, if we speak of the highest degree of impossibility; for such imply a flat contradiction, as that a part should be equal to its whole, or any thing be and not be at once, a kinde of cer­tainty that is appliable even to very few Demonstrations: we are not so sure that the light of the Moon is borrowed from the Sun, or her Eclips by the interposition of the Earth, yet these are reckoned amongst de­monstrations in Astronomy, and no man in his wits ever doubted of either. Methinks, [Page 519] if God have furnisht his divine and super­natural truth, with evidence equal to this, that the Sun will shine to morrow, or that there will be a spring and harvest next year, we are infinitely obliged to bless his provi­dence, and justly condemned, if we refuse to beleeve the least of such truths, as shew­ing less affection to save our souls, then the dull Plowmen to sow their corn, who cer­tainly, have far less evidence for their harvest, then Catholicks for their faith, they insist not peevishly upon every caprichious objection, nor exact an infallible security of a plentiful reaping next Summer, but notwithstanding all difficulties and contingencies proceed chearfully in their painful husbandry; and here I shall beg leave to ask the Reader this serious question, supposing (not granting) that the greatest assurance the Church can give, (abstracting from the promises of Christ) be of no higher infallibility, then the lowest degree we have mentioned: would you venture your soul, that a thousand dice, being thrown out of a box would come forth all sixes? Do you not see by this argument, that it is a thousand to one the Catholick is in the right, and consequently a thousand to one the Protestant is in the wrong, and this will necessarily follow; for in Religion we cannot stand by and look on, but we must absolutely engage on one side, and therefore it is a desperate shift of such Protestants, as think, that because they see not a clear demonstration of the Churches Infallibility in the severest importance of that word, they [Page 520] may therefore safely continue in their schism, unless they be hardy enough to ven­ture their souls in a way, where it is at least a thousand to one they lose them. So that, though humane wit should by captious obje­ctions seem to trouble the clearness of the In­fallibility of the Catholick Church (which is in it self really impossible to be endangered) yet are the motives of adherence to that Com­munion, so highly credible (even in a ratio­nal & natural consideration) that it were an absolute madness, to prefer any other separa­ted Church or Congregation, which cannot pretend to the least credibility to support it.

3. These things being thus premis'd, since there are so many degrees of truth, or vera­city and Infallibility, and yet the same word Infallibility applied to them all, it may be very reasonable, that great Caution should be used in the application of it, that is, that it should be expressed in what sense and degree the word is taken before it be urged or di­sputed upon So that if it be advanced to a more sublime degree then the matter re­quires, no wonder if there be misunderstan­ding between Disputants, and not only a pro­longing of Disputations, but also an impossibi­lity of ending them: Now whether it is the fault of Catholick Controvertists for want of explication and clearing of the sense of this word Infallibility, that hath given an advan­tage to Protestants, I examine not; but sure I am Protestants have taken advantage from the ambiguousness of this word Infallibility, to embroile the controversie of the Churches [Page 521] authority, and to spin it out endlessly: inso­much, as there is not one Author of them I ever met with, that (treating of this contro­versy) disputes to the point, or so much as aimes to combat against the Churches Autho­rity, but against an image of Infallibility, crea­ted onely by their own fancies.

4. For proof of this, (to omit the ordi­nary Polemical writings of Protestants, who wast paper and time onely in combating par­ticular unnecessary points controverted by Catholicks themselves) I shall desire any inge­nuous Protestant to examine the proceedings of Mr. Chillingworth, and even my noble Lord too, in this little Treatise, and he wil acknow­ledge what I say to be true; yet certainly no English writers ever professed to come closer to the point, then they.

5. First for Mr. Chillingworth, what a brand [...] shing and flourishing doth he keep with his pen, and what a great proportion of his book is spent in Discourses, by which he would p [...]etend to enervate the Churches Infallibility, which do not so much as approach to­wards it? For suppose a Pope were Simoniacally ele­cted, or a Bishop unlawfully consecrated, or a Priest not baptized, or that any of these had a per­verse intention in administring the Sacraments, would the Church for all this fail in being an Infallible Guide? or would all Christians be turned out of their way to salvation? Did not, or might not he easily have been informed, that excepting in Infants, even Baptism it self, and much less any other Sacrament unlawfully and invalidly administred, do not to such a degree prejudice the persons, but that the Votum Baptismi will suffice them? And Simony does not wipe out the Character, though the Church in detestation of that crime does in validate the Popes acts, and destine him, when the crime is proved, to a Deposition. [Page 522] And as for my Lord Falkland, upon what a mistaken notion of Infallibility he proceeds in this discourse, let the 27th. and 28th. Pa­ragraphs of that Treatise (according to a more exact impression, 1646) witness, where enveighing against Catholicks for putting He­reticks to death; and preventing a Recrimina­tion, for Calvin's burning of Servetus. And the Church of England executing Catholick Priests: He concludes that passage with these words. The Church of England, con­fessing she may erre, is not so chargeable with any fault, as those which pretend they cannot, and so wil be sure never to mend it: And besides, I will be bound to defend no more then I have undertaken; which is to give reason, why the Church of Rome is not Infallible. Whereby his Lordship shews clearly, that in his opinion, an argu­ment from any, supposed, erronious opinion, or faulty practice in the Church, was of force to disprove the Churches Infallibility, al­though such an errour or ill practice was ne­ver authorised by any decision of a General Councel, nor universally spred through the whole Church, as this example, mentioned by him, apparently never was.

6. It was from the like disapprehension that my self formerly had of the notion of Infallibility, and misapplication of it to points controverted by Catholicks, in which the Church it self is entirely untouch'd, that I conceived Mr. Chillingworth's book unan­swerable, and by consequence was so long kept at a distance, and disheartned from so much as taking into debate, whether the [Page 523] Catholick Church was to be considered by me, when I was in quest of a new one; had I not reason then to say, that the word Infal­libility was (not as I. P. quotes me simply, an unfortunate word, but) to me an unfortunate word: not for any fault that was in the word it self, but for my misinformation and mistake of the true sense and inportance of the word? and was it a betraying of the cause or a confession of guilt, when I said, that Mr. Chillingworth had combatted against that word with too great success? Success, I mean, not against the Church, but against his own soul, and the souls of his fellow-English-Protestants, (if I may lawfully call them his fellows) who conspiring with him in the mistake of the word, were, and are, God knows, with him frighted from the Church, which is pla­ced out of the reach of all the shot and noise that he makes against it. It was therefore not without cause that I wished that the word might be forgotten, or at least laid by, that is, as long as Protestants do, and will persist in a wilful mistaking of its sense and notion. And that this was my meaning, and no thought of finding fault with the word In­fallibility it self, which I acknowledged to be as fit a word to express the Authority of the Church by, as could be found in one single tearm, does evidently appear in many passa­ges of my book: and therefore, notwith­standing that wish of mine, and seeming ad­vice to others; yet I my self unawares in all this discourse till I came to this point, made use of the same word, but it was with a re­solution [Page 524] to say, what I have now said, to prevent any more mistaking of it. I. P. therfore, if he well consider it, will finde little ground to please himself with those o­ther words of mine, That Protestants have in­deed very much to say for themselves, when they are press'd unnecessarily with it; and therefore I desired that they might never be invited to com­bat the Church under that Notion. It was pure pitty to them that I said thus, and not the least apprehension for Catholicks. They have indeed much to say for themselves, when they are press'd unnecessarily with it, and the occasions of their mistaking it not ta­ken away; for they will run into endless di­sputes, and such disputes, as Catholicks will furnish them with armes to defend them­selves; whereas, if they be urg'd to produce what they have to say for themselves, when the Authority of the Church, speaking in a lawful Oecumenical Councel is objected to them, they are dumb and ashamed to name the new, and quickly decrepite Church of England, and its Authority, which vanishes at the very sight of the Authority of the Universal Church; yea, and as silent will they be, when they are invited to combat the Authority of the Church, under the notion of Infallibility, so that that notion be first clear'd, and warning given them to abstain from mis­applying it to questions, in which onely par­ticular Catholicks, and not the Church it self is concerned: but indeed, I should not have said, They have much to say for themselves, for, alas, it is miserably against themselves, in the [Page 525] highest degree, when they either unfortu­nately, or wilfully shroud themselves under ambiguities of words, or when they change the state of that question, which should end all questions, either devising or catching at all advantages to keep them out of Gods Church.

7. Upon these considerations, if I said, that Infallibility was (to me) an unfortunate word, had not I reason to say so, since it in­dangered my loss, and caused my delay of at­taining to the fundamental happiness of this and the next world, which is to become a member of the Church of Christ? This might have been spoken without any preju­dice or disparagement to the word it self: as it may be truly said, that Homousion (the Churches own word) was an unfortunate word to the Arians, as likewise that Theotokos was an unfortunate word to the Nestorians, since they would not accept heaven, unless they might have it without being oblig'd to receive those words. Therefore I. P. must pardon me, and give me leave to say more, that is, that Infallibility was an unfortunate word, not to me onely, but to Mr. Chilling­worth likewise, and to my lord Falkland, and to I. P. himself, and indeed to all Protestants, since they will needs, to their own great dis­advantage, make advantage of it, to em­broil Controversies, to multiply objections, and to exclude themselves from the Church: and this they do, because they will neither use nor accept of any other word; And this word which is in it self, and confined to the [Page 526] present acception, very expressive and pro­per) they will needs understand in a far more sublime and comprehensive Notion, then Catholicks intend, thinking, that if they could shew that any particular personal opi­nions of Catholicks, or any practise in the Church did swerve from that rectitude, which they imagine to be imported by that word that they had reason to renounce the Churches Infallibility and authority, though (by being in the Church) they would have no obligation to joyn in such opinions or pra­ctises. What Protestant would have the con­fidence to say, that it doth not belong to the Church to be the interpreter of Scripture, or that acknowledged lawful General Councels are not obliging under the penalty of mani­fest Schism, that is, damnation? And again, on the otherside, what one Protestant is there, who will not protest against the Infal­libility of the Church: and yet this Infallibili­ty in the meaning of the Church, neither dose nor must comprehend more then is imported by the other expressions? Is it not apparent therefore, Since no such word as Infallibility is to be found in any Councel, and since the Church did never enlarge her authority [...] so vast a wideness, as Protestants will needs hither to collect from the word Infallibility; but rather that she does deliver the victory into our hands, when we urge her Decisions, that any Catholick, that had any charity in disputing with Protestants, would either wholly abstain from the word it self, or since it is become so common, and with all so convenient (for no [Page 527] other single word can be imagined so pro­per) would, in using of it confine it to its necessary acception in the present matter, and so prevent Protestants, that they should not, if they would, make use of it to their most disadvantagious advantage; And this latter expedient I have in this review made use of, keeping the word Infallibility (in it self good and innocent;) yet withal using caution, that it should not be mi­staken.

8. What is now become of your excla­mations, my good unknown friend, I. P. how impertinent are they, and how harshly and inharmoniously do they sound? O the strength of reason rightly managed by the Great Defendors of the English Church! O the power of truth clearly declared! That it should force an eminent member of the Church of Rome (alas, eminent in nothing but in miserable imperfections) to retract so necessary, so funda­mental a doctrine, to desert all their Schools, and contradict all their controvertists? For is it not apparent, even from the first impression of my Book, that it was so far from being true, that the strength of reason rightly managed by you, or the power of truth clearly de­clared by you, compelled me to use such expressions; that on the contrary, it was your manifest unreasonableness, and your wilful mistake of Truth, that forced me out of compassion and charity to you [not to re­tract any doctrine of the Church, nor to de­sert any community in it, but] to temper what the Church and the Schooles, and [Page 528] Controvertists, likewise say, to your too much depraved palats.

9: Having been so large hitherto, I may the better dispence with my self to be brief in what follows. Therefore, whereas in the sixth Paragraph I. P. says, That it is not the name or word (Infallibility) that is deserted by Mr. Cressy, but the whole importance and sum of it; since he does not except against the word, but to receive it in the sense of Cardinal Bellar­mine; that is, Infallibilis est qui nullo casu er­rare potest, &c. To this I must needs say, that truly I. P. is mistaken, for it is onely the word Infallibility that is in controversie, and that protestants (I do now except Mr. Chillingworth, &c. who are far from being truly English Protestants) do make meer nominal controversie of this great fundamen­tal one: for no argument that ever I saw, is so much as intended by them to disprove this truth, That it belongs to the Church to be the interpreter of Scripture, and not to any private spirit, or natural reason, or this, That the Decisions of the Catholick Church in lawful approved General Councels are not obliging under pain of Anathema, incurring of schism, and by consequence damnation: and it is this, I say principally this, that the Church under­stands by the notion of Infallibility: There­fore it is in your own sense onely, and not Bellarmines, that you will understand those words of his, Infallibilis est qui nullo casu erra­ [...]e potest: for Bellarmine himself, as I have shewed in my book, acknowledges a General Councel to be infallible, yet not Infallible, as [Page 529] the Scripture, that is, Quod in nullo casu er­rare potest, for the Scripture is Infallible, not onely in Essential Doctrines, but even in all circumstantial, historical passages, phrases and and words: whereas Councels are onely In­fallible in the substance of their Decisions, the which Decisions, as Salmanticensis saith, are likewise to be extended no further, then the latitude of the Heresies, which they in­tend to condemn: but as for other passages in Decrees or decisions, as the grounds, princi­ples, and reasons, from which a Councel dedu­ces its conclusive Decisions, &c. In those it may be deceived, and much more in orders and reformations, which depend upon pru­dence or information. It is therefore a ve­ry great apparent mistake, when you say, that Mr. Cressy retracts (either the word Infalli­bility it self, which he often makes use of, or or much less) the full importance and sense of that word, unless you will mean, that he will not use it in your full importance and sense; for that he acknowledges he will not; he is too charitable to you, to justifie or en­courage you in your mistakes. As for Mr. Chillingworth, my lord Falkland, and if there be any other that proceed upon their grounds, whom you ought to have called, not the Great Defenders, but the great Destroy­ers of the Church of England) though they do indeed mistake the word Infallibility, ex­tending it to too comprehensive a sense, yet, that does not hinder them in their way, for by making every ones personal reason to be judge and interpreters of Scripture, they [Page 530] do thereby destroy all obliging authority, whether fallible or infallible.

10. In the seventh Paragraph the Author, I. P. very rationally, that is, very conse­quently to his most irrational mistaking me. First imputes unreasonableness to me, in ma­king any answer to the arguments, made a­gainst that which he confesses himself cannot be maintained. Hereto, I answer, That 1. Since it was Mr. Chillingworth's book, and not any Prelatical Protestants argument a­gainst the Catholick Churches authority, that perplexed and entangled me. And 2. since I knew that Mr. Chillingworth beleeved his arguments unanswerable, not onely by his Adversary, and such as proceeded upon his Adversarie's. special grounds, but by any Ca­tholick upon what grounds soever; and that the onely grounds upon which Catholick au­thority could be destroyed, were not such as my Lord of Canterbury, &c. proceeded on. viz. To set up a little authority, and seemingly to contradict an universal one; but onely such as Mr. Chillingworth used, viz. To dis­oblige every Christian from all authority whatsoever, as obliging the conscience to the beleeving of any thing, and making private reason the judge: where was this unreasona­bleness of mine, when I attempted to shew the world how I came to be undeceived, and upon what grounds I ceased to think, what before not I onely, but very many Protestants besides my self, thought; namely, that Mr. Chil­lingworths book did wholly destroy, not only his mistaken Infallibility, but the true real [Page 531] Infallibility or Authority of the Church. I am most assured, if the reasons given by me a­gainst M. Chillingworth be indeed concluding, and my answers to his objections satisfacto­ry, that if Mr. Chillingworth had been alive to read my book, and had thought so too, he would not have made that poor shift that I. P. hath done, and have said that Mr. Cressy did unreasonably to impugne him.

11. In the next place forasmuch as con­cerns the manner of my Answer, which I. P. in the eighth Paragraph, says is yet more un­reasonable, In that I, deserting the Infallibility, answer onely to the authority of the Church, so making this authority answer for that Infallibi­lity. I answer, that it was onely a mistaken notion, that both I and Mr. Chillingworth, and all Protestants have of the word Infallibi­lity, that I deserted, and desire I. P. likewise to desert with me, but as for the true Infalli­bility, which is in effect al one with the Autho­rity of the Church, it could never enter in­to my thoughts to desert it, and it proving to be the very same thing with the Authority of the Church, obliging under damnation, it is very reasonable, that this Authority should answer for that Infallibility, and that Infallibility for this Authority.

12. As to the three Absurdities in the opini­on of I. P. following from the unreasona­bleness of my answer; of which the 1. is, That after all I have said to Mr. Chilling­worth's arguments, I must still acknowledge them unanswerable, as they were intended by him that made them. 2. That my Answer must be to [Page 532] no purpose, because I pretend to answer his argu­ments as against the Authority of the Church, simply considered, without Relation to such an In­fallibity, which were never made against an Au­thority so qualified. And 3. That if I intend to refute all opposition made to the Infallibility of the Church, by an assertion of its bare authority, then must I assert that authority which is fallible, to be as great and as convincing, as that which is Infallible, &c.

Here I answer, that there is no need of a­ny further answer, for that which is already said, demonstrates all these consequences to be meer mistakes, grounded upon mistakes Yet, because for good I. P. sake, I am content to take the pains to say more then absolute necessity requires; therefore that which is already said, being presupposed; to the first pretended Absurdity, I answer. 1. That Mr. Chillingworth did esteem both the Rhetorick and Logick of his Book prevalent, not onely against Dr. Potters sin­gle Adversary and his grounds, but against the very foundations of all Catholick Authori­ty; insomuch, as he challenges all Catho­licks whatsoever, protesting, that if they be able to answer, but a very few leaves of his Book, he will submit and go to Mass pre­sently. And 2. The truth is, if his posi­tive grounds of The Bible, and nothing but the Bible, interpreted casually by private reason, be the onely Rule, not Infallibility onely, but all Authority is destroyed: Therefore his in­tention was, that his arguments should have heir force, not onely against that notion, [Page 533] which he thought his Adversary had of Infal­libility, but against the thing it self, whether you will call it Authority or Infallibility. And by consequence, 3. I have no obligation to think still (for it never concerned me to think) his arguments to be unanswerable, as they were intended by himself.

13. To the second pretended Absurdity, I further answer, that it is true, Mr. Chilling­worth very often mistakes, even his Adversary in his acception of the word Infallibility: And this I said in general in the Book, and much more that he mistakes in his applicati­on of this mistaken notion to the Churches Authority, or qualified Infallibility. But though I said this in general, you will finde, that when I come to a particular answer of passa­ges and grounds quoted out of him, they are such as concern the positive fundamental grounds of his whole book, and destroy not onely all Infallibility, but all Authority, yea, the very being of a Church, whether Catholick or Schismatick. And where I an­swer particular objections against the Church, I have no recourse to his mistake of Infalli­bility; Therefore my answer is to some pur­pose, though many of his objections be to none,