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    Wherein The Principles Of The Roman Church As To Moderation, Unity, And Truth, Are Examined; And Sundry Important Controversies, Concerning The Rule Of Faith, Papal Supremacy, The Mass, Images, Etc., Discussed.

    Decemb . 9, 1663. Imprimatur, THO. GREIG, R. in Christ. P. D. Humfr. Episc. Lond. a Sac. domesticis.


    THE previous work of Owen did not pass without a reply from Cane, whose “Fiat Lux” it so smartly refutes. The latter published a letter to the author of the “Animadversions,” in which he betrayed his own sense of discomfiture by wandering from the subject to assail his antagonist and direct public antipathy against him for his conduct during the time of the Commonwealth. In 1664 Dr. Owen published the following work, — his chief contribution to the Popish controversy; in which, while he incidentally disposes of the political insinuations of Cane, he enters with greater fullness of detail on the leading points of the controversy, and completes the argument, which he had not time to develop in the previous treatise. The chief defect in this able work arises from the plan which Owen was constrained to adopt. It was necessary for him to review in succession the topics which his opponent had discussed in “Fiat Lux.” A wish may now be felt, that, since that work has passed into merited oblivion, this masterly dissertation on the leading errors of Romanism by our author had appeared in a shape less connected with a passing dispute, and more fitted to be of general and standing value in the controversy. The exigency, however, which drew from him the publication, could not have been met, had it appeared in such a form. We would have missed the humor with which the treatise abounds, and by which Dr. Owen gives buoyancy to his argument; although embarrassed sometimes by the extent and variety of his lore, he reminds us in his humor of the cumbrous gambols of the whale. All the more important subjects, too, in the controversy with Rome, are considered in the work, and some of them handled with peculiar success. Indeed, on some points, if the facts and arguments in both treatises be taken together, a more successful refutation of the claims of the Church of Rome could not be desiderated. In one respect, moreover, the author kept in view the desirableness of securing for his work a general value among Protestants, by arguing always on ground common to all Protestants, and refusing, in spite of the wily snares of his adversary, to be drawn from this ground.

    Our admiration of the ability and learning in these works is increased when we remember he was all the time suffering much from a professedly Protestant government, in spite of all these services to the Protestant cause. On the Restoration, he had retired to his estate at Stadham, and lived very quietly and privately. Persecution grew so hot that he was obliged to leave it, and escape arrest by frequent removals from place to place. He came to London, and occupied himself in the publication of these treatises. In the very year when the work which follows was published, he was so harassed that he resolved to comply with an invitation from the brethren in New England, and in 1665 made preparations to leave the country. He had great difficulty even in getting his “Vindication of the Animadversions” published. The bishops appointed by act of Parliament censors of the press on theological works, refused to license the printing of it; because “upon all occasions when he mentions the evangelists and apostles, even St. Peter himself, he left out the title of Saint; ” and because “he endeavors to prove that it could not be determined that St Peter was ever at Rome.” He yielded willingly to the first objection, alleging, however, that apostle and evangelist was a higher appellation than the term saint, which was applicable to all the family of God; but he declared that he would rather see his work suppressed than change his views on the other point. Most probably it would have been suppressed; on a representation, however, of Sir Edward Nicholas, one of the Secretaries of State, to the Bishop of London, it was published with the imprimatur of Thomas Greig, his lordship’s domestic chaplain.

    The book, when at length published, produced, like its predecessor, great effect. Lord Clarendon sent for the author by Sir Bulstrode Whitelocke, commended his work in high terms, and assured him that “he deserved the best of any English Protestant of late years.” — (See Asty’s Memoir, p. 24.) Preferment in the Church of England was also offered him; but for the particulars of this remarkable interview, we may refer to the Life of Owen, vol. 1 p. 80.

    An analysis of the work is not required. The author adopts the order of his antagonist in the discussion of the several topics. The chapters on the more important subjects are so replete with argument and learning, all flavored with a humorous exposure of the character of Romanism, and the labyrinth of fallacies in which his opponent is entangled, that the work is yet fresh in value and interest. Considered as a whole, it has undoubtedly been superseded by other works of more enlarged design, and more adapted to the present stage of the war with Rome, but occasionally a course of admirable thinking appears, for which we may look in vain among other kindred treatises. —ED.


    CHRISTIAN READER, ALTHOUGH our Lord Jesus Christ hath laid blessed and stable foundations of unity, peace, and agreement in judgment and affection amongst all his disciples, and given forth command for their attendance unto them, that thereby they might glorify him in the world, and promote their own spiritual advantage; yet also, foreknowing what effect the crafts of Satan, in conjunction with the darkness and lusts of men, would produce, that no offense might thence be taken against him or any of his ways, he hath forewarned all men by his Spirit what differences, divisions, schisms, and heresies would ensue on the publication of the gospel, and arise even among them that should profess subjection unto his authority and law.

    And, accordingly, it speedily came to pass; for what Solomon says that he discovered concerning the first creation, — namely, that “God made man upright, but he sought out many inventions,” or immixed himself in endless questions, — the same fell out in the new creation, or erection of the church of Christ. The state of it was by him formed upright, and all that belonged unto it were of one heart and one soul; but this harmony and perfection of beauty, in answer to his will and institution, lasted not long among them, — many who mixed themselves with those primitive converts, or succeeded them in their profession, quickly seeking out perverse inventions. Hence, in the days of the apostles themselves, there were not only schisms and divisions made in sundry churches of their own planting, with disputes about opinions and needless impositions by those of the circumcision who believed, but also opposition was made unto the very fundamental doctrines of the deity and incarnation of the Son of God by the spirit of antichrist, then entering into the world; as is evident from their writings and epistles. But yet, as all this while our Lord Jesus Christ, according to his promise, preserved the root of love and unity amongst them who sincerely believed in him entire (as he doth still, and will do to the end), by giving the one and self-same Spirit to guide, sanctify, and unite them all unto himself; so the care and authority of the apostles, during their abode in the flesh, so far prevailed, that notwithstanding some temporary impeachments of love and union in or amongst the churches, yet no single prejudice of any long continuance befell them: for either the miscarriages which they fell into were quickly retrieved by them, the truth infallibly cleared, and provision made for peace, unity, and moderation in and about things of less concernment; or else the evil, guilt, and danger of them, remained only with and upon some particular persons, the notoriety of whose wickedness and folly cast them out, by common consent’, from the communion of all the disciples of Christ.

    But no sooner was that sacred society, — oJ iJerolwn coro>v , — with their immediate successors, as Egesippus speaks in Eusebius, departed unto their rest with God, but that the church itself, which until then was preserved a pure and uncorrupted virgin, began to be vexed with abiding contention, and otherwise to degenerate from its primitive, original purity. From thenceforward, especially after the heat of bloody and fiery persecutions began to abate, far the greatest part of ecclesiastical records consists in relations of the divisions, differences, schisms, and heresies that fell out amongst them who professed themselves the disciples of Christ. For those failings, errors, and mistakes, which were found in men of peaceable minds, the church, indeed, of those days extended her peace and unity, — if Justin Martyr and others may be believed, — to such as the seeming warmer zeal and really colder charity of the succeeding ages could not bear withal. But yet divisions and disputes were multiplied into such an excess, as that the Gentiles fetched advantage from them, not only to reproach all Christians withal, but to deter others from the profession of Christianity. So Celsus, in his third book, deals with them; for saith he, jArco>menoi megoi te h+san , kai< e[n ejfro>noun? ejv plh~qov de< spare>ntev au+qiv au+ te>mnontai kai< sci>zontai , kai< sta>seiv ijdi>av e[cein e[kastoi ze>lousi? kai< uJpo< plh>qouv pa>lin dii`sta>menoi sfa~v aujtougkousin? eJnomatov? aiJ tou~tou mo>non ejgkatalipei~n o[mwv aijscu>nontai? — “At first, when there were but a few, they were of one mind, or agreed well enough; but being increased, and the multitude of them scattered abroad, they were presently divided again and again; and every one would have his own party or division; and, as a divided multitude, opposed and reproved one another; so that they had no communion among themselves but only in name, which for shame they retain.”

    So doth he, for his purpose, as is the manner of men, invidiously exaggerate the differences that were in those early times amongst Christians; for he wrote about the days of Trajan the emperor. That others of them took the same course, is testified by Clemens, Stromat. lib. 7, Augustin. Lib. de Ovib. cap. 15, and sundry others of the ancient writers of the church. But that no just offense as to the truth, or any of the ways of Christ, might hence be taken, we are, as I said before, forewarned of all these things by the Lord himself and his apostles; as also of the use and necessity of such events and issues: whence Origen cries out, — Pa>nu zaumasi.wv oJ Pau~lov eijrhke>nai moi dokei~ , “Most admirable unto me seems the saying of Paul, — ‘There must be heresies amongst you, that those who are approved may be manifest.’ “Nor can any just exception be hence taken against the gospel itself; for it doth not belong unto the excellency or dignity of any thing to free itself from all opposition, but only to preserve itself from being prevailed against, and to remain victorious; as the sacred truths of Christ have done, and will do unto the end. Not a few, indeed, in these evil days wherein we live, the ends of the world, and the difficulties with which they are attended being come upon us, — persons ignorant of things past, and regardless of things to come, in bondage to their lusts and pleasures, — are ready to make use of the pretense of divisions and differences among Christians, to give up themselves unto atheism, and indulge to their pleasures like the beasts that perish: “Let us eat and drink; for to-morrow we shall die.” “Quid aliud inscribi poterat sepulchro bovis!” But, whatever they pretend to the contrary, it may be easily evinced that it is their personal dislike of that holy obedience which the gospel requireth, not the differences that are about the doctrines of it, which alienates their minds from the truth. They will not, some of them, forego all philosophical inquiries after the nature and causes of things here below; they know well enough that there was never any agreement amongst the wisest and severest that at any time have been engaged in that disquisition, nor is it likely that ever there will be so.

    And herein they can countenance themselves with the difficulty, obscurity, and importance of the things inquired after. But as for the high and heavenly mysteries of the gospel, the least whereof is infinitely of more importance than any thing that the utmost reach and comprehension of human wisdom can attain unto, they may be neglected and despised because there are contentions about them! “Hic nigrae succus loliginis, haec est AErugo mera.” The truth is, this is so far from any real ground for any such conclusion, that it were utterly impossible that any man should believe the truth of Christian religion if he had not seen, or might not be informed, that such contention and differences had ensued in and about it; for that they should do so is plainly and frequently foretold in those sacred oracles of it, whereof, if any one be found to fail, the veracity and authority of the whole may justly be called into question. If, therefore, men will have a religion so absolutely facile and easy, that, without laying out of their rational abilities or exercising the faculties of their souls about it, without foregoing of their lusts and pleasures, without care of mistakes and miscarriages, they may be securely wrapped up in it, as it were, whether they will or no, I confess they must seek for some other where they can find it; Christianity will yield them no relief. God hath not proposed an acquaintance with the blessed concernments of his glory, and of their own eternal condition, unto the sons of men, on any such terms as that they should not need, with all diligence, to employ and exercise the faculties of their souls in the investigation of them, in the use of the means by him appointed for that purpose, seeing this is the chiefest end for which he hath made us those souls. And as for them who in sincerity give up their minds and consciences unto his authority and guidance, he hath not left them without an infallible direction for such a discharge of their own duty as is sufficient to guide and lead them in the midst of all differences, divisions, and oppositions, unto rest with himself; and the difficulties which are cast upon any in their inquiring after truth, by the error and deviation of other men from it, are all sufficiently recompensed unto them by the excellency and sweetness which they find in the truth itself, when sought out with diligence, according to the mind of Christ. And one said not amiss of old, Ei]poimi tosesi sofw>taton Cristianosqai? — “I dare say he is the wisest Christian who hath most diligently considered the various differences that are in and about Christianity,” as being built in the knowledge of the truth upon the best and most stable foundations.

    To this end hath the Lord Jesus given us his holy word, a perfect and sure revelation of all that he would have us to believe or do in the worship of God. This he commands us diligently to attend unto, to study, search, and inquire after, that we may know his mind and do it. It is true, in their inquiry into it, various apprehensions concerning the sense and meaning of sundry things revealed therein have befallen some men in all ages; and Origen gives this as one occasion of the differences that were in those days amongst Christians: Tou~to , saith he, hjkolou>qhse , diafo>rwv ejkdexame>nwn tountav ei+nai zei>ouv lo>gouv , to< gene>sqai aiJre>seiv , lib. 3 Con. Cel. cap. 1; — “When many were converted unto Christianity, some of them variously understanding the holy Scripture, which they jointly believed, it came to pass that heresy ensued.” For this was the whole rule of faith and unity in those days: the means for securing of us in them imposed on us of late by the Romanists was then not heard of nor thought of in the world. But, moreover, to obviate all danger that might in this matter ensue, from the manifold weakness of our minds in apprehending spiritual things, the Lord Jesus hath promised his Holy Spirit unto all them that believe in him and ask it of him, to prevent their mistakes and miscarriages in the study of his word, and to “lead them into all that truth” the knowledge whereof is necessary, that they may believe in him unto the end, and live unto him.

    And if they who diligently and conscientiously, without prejudices, corrupt ends or designs, in obedience to the command of Christ, shall inquire into the Scriptures, to receive from thence the whole object of their faith and rule of their obedience, — and who, believing his promise, shall pray for his Spirit, and wait to receive him in and by the means appointed for that end, — may not be, and are not thereby, secured from all such mistakes and errors as may disinterest them in the promises of the gospel, I know not how we may be brought unto any certainty or assurance in the truths of God, or the everlasting consolation of our own souls. Neither, indeed, is the nature of man capable of any farther satisfaction in or about these things, unless God should work continual miracles, or give continually special revelations unto all individuals; which would utterly overthrow the whole nature of that faith and obedience which he requires at our hands. But once to suppose that such persons, through a defect of the means appointed by Christ for the instruction and direction before mentioned, may everlastingly miscarry, is to cast an unspeakable reproach on the goodness, grace, and faithfulness of God, and enough to discourage all men from inquiring after the truth. And these things the reader will find farther cleared in the ensuing discourse, with a discovery of the weakness, falseness, and insufficiency of those rules and reliefs which are tendered unto us by the Romanists, in the lieu of them that are given us by God himself. Now, if this be the condition of things in Christian religion, as, to any one that hath with sincerity consulted the Scripture, or considered the goodness, grace, and wisdom of God, it must needs appear to be, it is manifest that men’s startling at it, or being offended upon the account of divisions and differences among them that make profession thereof, is nothing but a pretense to cloak and hide their sloth and supine negligence, with their unwillingness to come up unto the indispensable condition of learning the truth as in Jesus, — namely, obedience unto his whole will and all his commands, so far as he is pleased to reveal them unto us. With others they are but incentives unto that diligence and watchfulness which the things themselves, in their nature high and arduous, and in their importance of everlasting moment, require at your hands. Farther; on those who, by the means fore-mentioned, come to the knowledge of the truth, it is incumbent, according as they are by God’s providence called thereunto, and as they receive ability from him for that purpose, to contend earnestly for it; — nor is their so doing any part of the evil that attends differences and divisions, but a means appointed by God himself for their cure and removal; provided, as the apostle speaks, that they “strive or contend lawfully.”

    The will of God must be done in the ways of his own appointment.

    Outward force and violence, corporeal punishments, swords and fagots, as to any use in things purely spiritual and religious, to impose them on the consciences of men, are condemned in the Scripture, by all the ancient or first writers of the church, by sundry edicts and laws of the empire, and are contrary to the very light of reason whereby we are men, and all the principles of it from whence mankind consenteth and coalesceth into civil society. Explaining, declaring, proving, and confirming the truth, convincing of gainsayers by the evidence of common principles on all hands assented unto and right reason, with prayer and supplications for success, attended with a conversation becoming the gospel we profess, is the way sanctified by God unto the promotion of the truth, and the recovery of them that are gone astray from it. Into this work, according as God hath imparted of his gifts and Spirit unto them, some in most ages of the church have been engaged; and therein have not contracted any guilt of the evils of the contentions and divisions in their days, but cleared themselves of them, and faithfully served the interest of those in their generation: and this justifies and warrants us in the pursuit of the same work, by the same means, in the same days wherein we live. And when at any time men sleep in the neglect of their duty, the envious one will not be wanting to sow his tares in the field of the Lord: which, as in the times and places wherein we live, it should quicken the diligence and industry of those upon whom the care of the preservation of the truth is, by the providence of God, in an especial manner devolved, and who have manifold advantages for their encouragement in their undertaking; so also it gives countenance even to the meanest endeavors that in sincerity are employed in the same work by others in their more private capacity, — amongst which I hope the ensuing brief discourse may, with impartial readers, find admittance. It is designed in general for the defense and vindication of the truth, and that truth which is publicly professed in this nation, against the solicitation of it, and opposition made unto it with more than ordinary vigilancy, and seeming hopes of prevalency; on what grounds I know not.

    This is done by those of the Roman church; who have given in themselves as sad an instance of a degeneracy from the truth as ever the Christian world had experience of. From insensible and almost imperceptible entrances into deviations from the holy rule of the gospel, — countenanced by specious pretenses of piety and devotion, but really influenced by the corrupt lusts of ambition, love of pre-eminence, and earthly-mindedness, in men ignorant or neglective of the mystery and simplicity of the gospel, — their apostasy hath been carried on by various degrees, upon advantages given unto those that made the benefit of it unto themselves, by political commotions and alterations, until, by sundry artifices and sleights of Satan and men, it is grown unto that stated opposition to the right ways of God which we behold it come unto at this day. The great Roman historian desires his reader, in the perusal of his discourses, to consider and observe, “quae vita, qui mores fuerint: per quos viros, quibusque artibus, domi militiaeque, et partum et auctum imperium sit. Labente deinde paullatim disciplina, velut desidentes primo mores sequatur animo; deinde ut magis magisque lapsi sint; tum ire coeperint praecipites: donee ad haec tempera, quibus nec vitia nostra, nec remedia pati possumus, perventum est,” [Liv. Pref.]; — “What was the course of life, what were the manners of those men, both at home and abroad, by whom the Roman empire was erected and enlarged; as also how ancient discipline insensibly decaying, far different manners ensued, whose decay more and more increasing, at length they began violently to decline, until we came unto these days wherein we are able to bear neither our vices nor their remedies:” all which may be as truly and justly spoken of the present Roman ecclesiastical estate. The first rulers and members of that church, by their exemplary sanctity and suffering for the truth, deservedly obtained great renown and reputation amongst the other churches in the world; but after a while the discipline of Christ decaying amongst them, and the purity of his doctrine beginning to be corrupted, they insensibly fell from their pristine glory, until at length they precipitantly tumbled into that condition, wherein, because they fear the spiritual remedy would be their temporal ruin, they are resolved to abide, be it never so desperate or deplorable.

    And hence also it is, that of all the opposition that ever the disciples of Christ had to contend withal, to suffer under, or to witness against, that made unto the truth by the Roman church hath proved the longest, and been attended with the most dreadful consequents; for it is not the work of any age, or of a few persons, to unravel that web of falsehood and unrighteousness, which in a long tract of time hath been cunningly woven, and closely compacted together. Besides, the heads of this declension have provided for their security, by intermixing their concerns with the polity of many nations, and moulding the constitutions of their governments unto a subserviency to their interests and ends. But He is strong and faithful who, in his own way and time, will rescue his truth and worship from being trampled on and defiled by them. In the meantime, that which renders the errors of the fathers and sons of that church most pernicious unto the professors of Christianity is, that, — whether out of blind zeal, rooted in that obstinacy which men are usually given up unto who have refused to retain the truth in the love and power of it, or from their being necessitated thereunto in their counsels for the supportment and preservation of their present interests and secular advantages, — they are not contented to embrace, practice, and adhere unto those crooked paths that they have chosen to walk in, and to attempt the drawing of others into them by such ways and means as the light of nature, right reason, with the Scripture, direct to be used in and about the things of religion which relate to the minds and souls of men; but also, they have pursued an imposition of their conceptions and practices on other men by force and violence, until the world in many places hath been made a stage of oppression, rapine, cruelty, and war, and that which they call their church a very shambles of the slaughtered disciples of Christ. So that what the historian said of the old Romans, in reference unto the Gauls or Cimbrians, — “Usque ad nostram memoriam, Romani [aiunt] alia omnia virtuti suae prona esse, cure Gallis pro salute non pro gloria certari,” — we may apply unto them; it is not truth only, but our temporal safety also, that we are enforced to contend with them about. And whom they cannot reach with outward violence, they endeavor to load with curses; and, by precipitate censures and determination, to eject them out of the limits of Christianity, as to the spiritual and eternal privileges wherewith it is attended. And these things make all hopes of reconciliation for the future, and of present moderation, languid and weak, as all endeavors after them hitherto have been fruitless. For whilst they contend that every proposal of their church, every way and mode in the worship of God that is in usage amongst them, is not only true and right, but of necessity to be embraced and submitted unto, and therefore impose them by all sorts of penalties on the consciences and practices of all men; is it not evident that there can be no peace nor agreement in the world but what waste and solitude, arising from an extermination of persons otherwise minded than themselves, will produce? Some of them, I confess, to serve their present supposed advantages, have of late declaimed about moderation in matters of religion; and I wish that herein that may be sincerely endeavored by some, which, for sinister ends, is corruptly pretended by others. For mine own part, there are no sort of men from whose frame of spirit and ways I shall labor a greater distance, than theirs who set themselves against that moderation towards persons differing from them and others, in the result of their thoughts, upon an humble, sincere investigation of the truth and ways of Christ, which himself and his apostles commend unto us; or that refuse to consent unto any way of reconciliation of dissenters wherein violence is not offered unto the commands of God, as stated in their consciences. Let the Romanists renounce their principles about the absolute necessity of the subjection of all persons unto the pope, in answer unto that groundless and boundless authority which in things sacred and civil they assign unto him, with their resolution of imposing the dictates of their church,” per fas et nefas,” upon our consciences, and we shall endeavor, with all quietness and moderation, to plead with them about our remaining differences, and to join with them in the profession of those important truths wherein we are agreed. But whilst they propose no other forms of reconciliation but our absolute submission unto their papal authority, with our assent unto, and profession of, those doctrines which we are persuaded are contrary to the Scripture, with the sense of catholic antiquity, derogatory to the glory of God, and prejudicial to the salvation of those by whom they are received, and our concurrence with them in those ways of religious worship which themselves are fallen into by degrees they know not how, and which we believe dishonorable unto God, and pernicious to the souls of men; I see no ground of any other peace with them but tat only which we are bound to follow with all men, in abstaining from mutual violence, performing all offices of Christian love, and in a special praying for their repentance and coming to the acknowledgment of the truth.

    On this account was it that some while since, upon the desire of some friends, I undertook the examination of a discourse entitled “Fiat Lux;” whose author, under a pretense of that moderation, which is indeed altogether inconsistent with other principles of his profession, endeavored to insinuate a necessity of the reception of Popery for the bringing of us to peace or agreement here, and the interesting of us in any hope of eternal rest and peace hereafter. Whether that small labor were seasonable or no, or whether any service were done therein to the interest of truth, is left to the judgment of men unprejudiced. Not long after there was published an epistle, pretending a reply unto that discourse, being indeed a mere flourish of empty words, and a giving up of the cause wherein the author of “Fiat Lux” was engaged, as desperate and indefensible. However, I thought it not meet to let it pass without some consideration; partly that the design of that treatise, with others of the like nature of late published amongst us, might be farther manifested; and partly that the ends of moderation and peace being fixed between us, I might farther try and examine whose and what principles are best suited unto their pursuit and accomplishment. I have not, therefore, confined myself unto an answer unto the epistle of the author of “Fiat Lux,” — whieh indeed it doth not deserve, as I suppose, himself being judge, — but have only from it taken occasion to discuss those principles and usages in religion wherein the most important differences between Papists and Protestants do lie. For whereas the whole difference between them and us is branched into two general heads, — the first concerning those principles which they and we severally build our profession upon, and resolve our faith into; and the other respecting particular instances in doctrines of faith and practice in religious worship, — I have laid hold of occasion to treat of them both: of the former absolutely, and of the latter in things of most weight and concernment. And because the judgment of antiquity is deservedly of moment in these things, I have not only manifested it to lie plain and clear against the Romanist, in instances sufficient to impeach their pretended infallibility, — which is enough to dissolve that whole imaginary fabric that is built upon it and centers in it, — but also in most of the material controversies that are between them and us. These things, Christian reader, I thought meet to premise towards the prevention of that offense which any may really take, or for corrupt ends pretend so to do, at the differences in general that are amongst Christians, or those in especial which are between us and the Roman church; as also to give an account of the occasion, design, and end, of the ensuing consideration of them.

    CHAPTER 1.

    SIR, I HAVE received your epistle, and therein your excuse for your long silence; which I willingly admit of and could have been contented it had been longer, so that you had been advised thereby to have spoken any thing more to the purpose than I find you have now done: “Sat cito si sat bene.”

    Things of this nature are always done soon enough when they are done well enough, or as well as they are capable of berg done. But it is no small disappointment to find a]nqrakav ajnti< tou~ zhsaurou~ , a fruitless flourish of words, where a serious debate of an impotent cause was expected and looked for. Nor is it a justification of any man, when he has done a thing amiss, to say he did it speedily, if he were no way necessitated so to do. You are engaged in a cause, unto whose tolerable defense, “opus est Zephyis et hirundine multa,” Hor. Ep. 7:13: though you cannot pretend so short a time to be used in it which will not by many be esteemed more than it deserves; for all time and pains taken to give countenance to error is undoubtedly misspent. Ouj duna>meqa> ti kata< th~v ajlhqei>av , ajll j uJpeav , saith the great apostle [ 2 Corinthians 13:8]; — “We can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth: which role had you obeyed, you might have spared your whole time and labor in this business. However, I shall be glad to find that you have given me just cause to believe what you say, of your not seeing the “Animadversions” on your book before February. As I find you observant of truth in your progress, or falling therein, so shall I judge of your veracity in this unlikely story; for every man gives the best measure of himself. And though I cannot see how possibly a man could spend much time in trussing up such a fardel of trifles and quibbles as your epistle is, yet it is somewhat strange, on the other side, that you should not in eight months’ space — for so long were the “Animadversions” made public before February — set eye on that which, being your own especial concernment, was, to my knowledge, in the hands of many of your party. To deal friendly with you, “Nolim caeterarum rerum to socordem eodem modo.” Yea, I doubt not but you use more diligence in your other affairs; though in general the matter in debate between us seems to be your principal concernment. But now you have seen that discourse, and, as you inform me, “have read it over;” which I believe, and take not only upon the same score of present trust, but upon the evidence also which you give unto your assertion, by your careful avoiding to take any farther notice of the things that you found too difficult for you to reply unto. For any impartial reader, that shall seriously consider the “Animadversions” with your epistle, will quickly find that the main artifice wherein you confide is a pretense of saying somewhat in general, whilst you pass over the things of most importance, and which most press the cause you defend, with a perpetual silence: these you turn from, and fall upon the person of the author of the “Animadversions.” If ever you debated this procedure with yourself, had I been present with you when you said with him in the poet, “Dubius sum quid faciam — Tene relinquam an rem?” I should have replied with him, “Me sodes;” but you were otherwise minded, and are gone before, — —— “Ego (ut contendere durum est Cure victore) sequar.” Hor. Sat. 1:9, 42.

    I will follow you with what patience I can, and make the best use I am able of what offers itself in your discourse.

    Two reasons, I confess, you add why you chose “vadimonium deserere,” and not reply to the “Animadversions;” which, to deal plainly with you, give me very little satisfaction. The first of them, you say, is, “because to do so would be contrary to the very end and design of Fiat Lux;’” which shall immediately be considered. The other is, “the threats which I have given you, that, if you dare to write again, I will make you know what manner of man I am.” Sir, though it seems you dare not reply to my book, yet you dare do that which is much worse; you dare write palpable untruths, and such as yourself know to be so, as others also who have read those papers. By such things as these, with sober and ingenuous persons, you cannot but much prejudice the interest you desire to promote, as well as in yourself you wrong your conscience and ruin your reputation.

    Besides, all advantage springing from untruth is fading; neither will it admit of any covering but of its own kind, which can never be so increased but that it will rain through. Only, I confess thus far you have promoted your design, that you have given a new and cogent instance of the evils attending controversies in religion, which you declaim about in your “Fiat;” which yet is such as it had been your duty to avoid. What it is that you make use of to give countenance unto this fiction (for “malum semper habitat in alieno fundo”), I shall have occasion afterward to consider. For the present I leave you to the discipline of your own thoughts: — —— “Prima est haec ultio, quod se Judice, nemo nocens absolvitur.” Juv. 13:2.

    And I the rather mind you of your failure at this entrance of our discourse, that I may only remit your thoughts unto this stricture when the like occasion offers itself; which I fear it will do not unfrequently. But, sir, it will be no advantage unto me or you to contend for the truth which we profess, if in the meantime we are regardless of the observance of truth in our own hearts and spirits.

    Two principal heads, the discourse which you premise unto the particular consideration of the “Animadversions,” is reducible unto: the first whereof is your endeavor to manifest “that I understood not the design and end of ‘Fiat Lux,’ a discourse” (as you modestly testify) “hard to deal with, and impossible to confute;” the other, your inquiry after the author of the “Animadversions,” with your attempt to prove him one in such a condition as you may possibly hope to obtain more advantage from than you can do by endeavoring the refutation of his book. Some other occasional passages there are in it also, which, as they deserve, shall be considered. Unto these two general heads I shall give you at present a candid return, and leave you, when you are free from flies, to make what use of it you please.

    The design of “Fiat Lux” I took to be the promotion of the papal interest; and the whole of it, in the relation of its parts unto one another, and the general end aimed at in it, to be a persuasive induction unto the embracement of the present Roman faith and religion. The means insisted on for this end I conceived principally to be these: — 1. A declaration of the evils that attend differences in religion, and disputes about it; 2. Of the good of union, peace, love, and concord among Christians; 3. Of the impossibility of obtaining this good by any other ways or means but only by an embracement of the Roman Catholic faith and profession, with a submission to the deciding power and authority of the pope or your church; 4. A defense and illustration of some especial parts of the Roman religion, most commonly by Protestants excepted against.

    This was my mistake; unto this mistake I acknowledge my whole discourse was suited. In the same mistake are all the persons in England that ever I heard speak any thing of that discourse, of what persuasion in religion soever they were. And Aristotle thought it worth while to remember out of Hesiod, Moral. Nicom. lib. 7, that, — Fh>mh d j ou] tiv pa>mpan ajpo>llutai h[n tina polloi< Laoi< fhmi>zousin .

    Hesiod. Erg . kai< hJm .

    That report which so many consent in is not altogether vain. But yet, lest this should not satisfy you, I shall mind you of one who is with you, — pollw~n ajnta>xiov a]llwn , — of as much esteem, it may be, as all the rest; and that is yourself . You are yourself in the same mistake: you know well enough that this was your end, this your design, these the means of your pursuing it; and you acknowledge them immediately so to have been, as we shall see in the consideration of the evidence you tender to evince that mistake in me which you surmise.

    First , You tell me, p. 4, “that I mistake the drift and design of ‘Fiat Lux,’ whilst I take that as absolutely spoken which is only said upon an hypothesis of our present condition here in England.” This were a grand mistake, indeed, that I should look on any thing proposed as an expedient for the ending of differences about religion, without a supposition of differences about religion! But how do you prove that I fell into such a mistake? I plainly and openly acknowledge that such differences there are; all my discourse proceeds on that supposition. I bewail the evil of them, and labor for moderation about them, and have long since ventured to propose my thoughts unto the world to that purpose. All that you suppose in your discourse on this account I suppose also, yea, and grant it; unless it be some such thing as is in controversy between you and Protestants, which you are somewhat frequent in the supposal of unto your advantage, and thereon would persuade them unto a relinquishment of Protestancy and embracement of Popery: which is the end of your book, and will be thought so, if you should deny it a thousand times; for “quid ego verba audiam, facta cum video?” Your protestation comes too late, when the fact hath declared your mind; neither are you now at liberty to coin new designs for your “Fiat.” But this must be my mistake, which no man in his wits could possibly fall into; neither is it an evidence of any great sobriety to impute it to any man, whom we know not certainly to be distracted. But this mistake, you tell me, caused me “to judge and censure what you wrote as impertinent, impious, frivolous,” etc. No such matter; my right apprehension of your hypothesis, end, or design, occasioned me to show that your discourses were incompetent to prevail with rational and sober persons to comply with your desires.

    You proceed to the same purpose, p. 15, and, to manifest my mistake of your design, give an account of it, and tell us that “one thing you suppose, namely, that we are at difference.” So did I also, and am not, therefore, yet fallen upon the discovery of my mistake.

    Secondly , You “commend peace.” I acknowledge you do, and join with you therein; neither is he worthy the name of a Christian who is otherwise minded. That is one great legacy that Christ bequeathed unto his disciples:

    Eijrh>nhn , saith he, ajfi>hmi uJmi~n , eijrh>nhn thdwmi uJmi~n? — “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you;” and he is no disciple of Christ who doth not long for it among all his disciples. This, you tell us, is the whole sum of “Fiat Lux” in few words. You will tell us otherwise immediately; and if you should not, yet we should find it otherwise. You add, therefore, “that to introduce a disposition unto peace, you make it your work to demonstrate the uselessness, endlessness, and unprofitableness of quarrels.” Yet my mistake appears not. I perceived you did speak to this purpose, and I acknowledge with you that quarrels about religion are useless and unprofitable, any otherwise than as we are bound to “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints,” and to “stand fast in our liberty, not giving place to seducers,” with laboring by “sound doctrine to convince and stop the mouths of gainsayers;” all which are made necessary unto us by the commands of Christ, and are not to be called quarrelling. And I know that our quarrels are not yet actually ended; that they are endless I believe not, but hope the contrary. You proceed, and grant that “you labor to persuade your countrymen of an impossibility of ever bringing our debates unto a conclusion, either by light, or spirit, or reason, or Scripture, so long as we stand separated from any superior judicative power unto which all parties will submit; and, therefore, that it is rational and Christian-like to leave these endless contentions, and resign ourselves to humility and peace.”

    This matter will now quickly be ended, and that “ex ore tuo.” Give me leave, I pray, to ask you one or two plain questions: — 1. Whom do you understand by that “superior judicative power,” unto whom you persuade all parties to submit? Have you not told us in your “Fiat” that it is the church or pope of Rome? or will you deny that to be your intention? 2. What do you intend by “resigning ourselves to humility and peace?”

    Do you not aim at our quiet submission to the determinations of the church or pope in all matters of religion? Have you not declared yourself unto this purpose in your “Fiat?” And I desire a little farther to know of you whether this be not that which formally constitutes a man a member of your church, — that he own the judicative power of the pope or your church in all matters of religion, and submit himself thereunto? If these things be so, as you cannot deny them, I hope I shall easily obtain your pardon for affirming that you yourself believed the same to be the design of your book, which I and other men apprehended to be so; for here you directly avow it. If you complain any more about this matter, pray let it be in the words of him in the comedian, “Egomet meo indicio miser, quasi sorex, hodie perii,” Ter. Eun. v. 7, 23; this inconvenience you have brought upon your own self. Neither can any man long avoid such misadventures who designs to cloud his aims; which yet cannot take effect if not in some measure understood. Naked truth, managed in sincerity, whatever perplexities it may meet withal, will never leave its owners in the briers; whereas the serpentine turnings of error and falsehood, to extricate themselves, do but the more entangle their promoters. I doubt not but you hope well, that when all are become Papists again they shall live at peace; though your hope be very groundless, as I have elsewhere demonstrated. You have at best but the shadow or shell of peace; and, for the most part, not that neither. Yea, it may be easily showed that the peace you boast of is inconsistent with, and destructive of, that peace which is left by Christ unto his disciples But the way you propose to bring us to peace is the embracement of Popery: which is that that was fixed on by me as the design of your book; which now acknowledging, you have disarmed yourself of that imaginary advantage which you flourish withal, from “a capital mistake,” as you call it, in me, in misapprehending your design. You were told before, that if by “moderation and peace” you intended a mutual forbearance of one another in our several persuasions, waiting patiently until God shall reveal unto us the precise truth in the things about which we differ, you shall have all the furtherance that I can contribute unto you. But you have another aim, another work in hand, and will not allow that any peace is attainable amongst us, but by a resignation of all our apprehensions, in matters of religion, to the guidance, determination, and decision of the pope, or your church; — a way nowhere prescribed unto us in holy writ, nor in the councils of the primitive church; and, besides, against all reason, law, and equity, your pope and church in our contests being one party litigant: yet “in this persuasion,” you say, “you should abide, were there no other persons in the world but yourself that did embrace it.” And to let you see how unlikely that principle is to produce peace and agreement amongst those multitudes that are at variance about these things, I can assure you that if there were none left alive on the earth but you and I, we should not agree in this thing one jot better than did Cain and Abel about the sacrifices; though I should desire you that we might manage our differences with more moderation than he did, who, by virtue of his primogeniture, seemed to lay a special claim to the priesthood. And indeed, for your part, if your present persuasion be as you sometimes pretend it to be, that your “Fiat Lux” is not a persuasive unto Popery, you have given a sufficient testimony that you can be of an opinion that no man else in the world is of, nor will be, do what you can. But the insufficiency of your principles and arguments to accomplish your design hath been in part already evinced, and shall, God willing, in our progress be farther made manifest.

    This is the sum of what appears in the first part of your prefatory discourse concerning my mistake of your design; which, how little it hath tended unto your advantage, I hope you begin to understand.

    Your next labor consists in a pacific, charitable inquiry after the author of the “Animadversions,” with an endeavor, by I know not how many reasons, to confirm your surmise that he is a person that had an interest in the late troubles in the nation, or, as you phrase it, was “a part of that dismal tempest which overbore all before it, not only church and state, but reason, right, honesty, all true religion, and even good nature too.” See what despair of managing an undertaking which cannot be well deserted will drive men unto! Are you not sensible that you cry, —— “Vos o mihi manes Este boni, quoniam superis aversa voluntas?”

    Virg. AEn. 12:646. or like the Jews, who, when they were convinced of their errors and wickedness by our Savior, began to call him “Samaritan” and “devil,” and to take up stones to cast at him? or as Crescens the Cynic dealt with Justin Martyr, whom because he could not answer, after he had engaged in a dispute with him, he labored to bring him into suspicion with the emperor and senate of Rome as a person dangerous to the commonwealth?

    And so also the Arians dealt with Athanasius. It were easy to manifest that the spring of all this discourse of yours is smart, and not loyalty, and that it proceeds from a sense of your own disappointment, and not zeal for the welfare of others; but how little it is to your purpose I shall show you anon, and could quickly render it as little to your advantage. For what if I should surmise that you were one of the friars that stirred up the Irish to their rebellion and unparalleled murders? Assure yourself I can quickly give as many and as probable reasons for my so doing as you have given, or can give, for your conjecture about the author of the “Animadversions” on your “Fiat Lux.” You little think how much it concerns him to look to himself who undertakes to accuse another; and how easy it were to make you repent your accusation, as much as ever Crassus did his accusing of Carbo. But I was in good hope you would have left such reflections as are capable of so easy a retortion upon yourself, especially being irregular and no way subservient unto your design, and being warned beforehand so to do. Who could imagine that a man of so much piety and mortification, as in your “Fiat” you profess yourself to be, should have so little regard unto common honesty and civility? which are shrewdly intrenched upon by such uncharitable surmises. I suppose you know that the apostle reckons uJpo>noiav ponhramanagement of one, amongst the things that are contrary to the doctrine that is according unto godliness; otherwise suspicion is in your own power, nor can any man hinder you from surmising what you please. This he knew in Plautus who cried, — “Ne admittam culpam ego meo sum promus pectori, Suspicio est in pectore alieno sit Nam nunc ego to si surripuisse suspicer, Jovi coronam de capite e Capitolio, Quod in culmine astat summo, si non id feceris, Atque id tamen mihi lubeat suspicarier, Qui tu id prohibere me potes no suspicer?” Plaut. Trin. 1, 1.

    And I know that, concerning all your dispute and arguings in these pages, you may say what Lucian doth about his “true story:” Gra>fw toi>nun peri< w=n mh>t j ei+don , mh>t j e]paqon , mh>te par j a]llwn ejpuqo>mhn? — “You write about the things which you have neither seen nor suffered, heard nor much inquired after,” Luc. Ver. Hist. 1, 4. Such is the force of faction, and sweetness of revenge in carnal minds To deliver you, if it may be, from the like miscarriages for the future, let me inform you that the author of the “Animadversions” is a person who never had a hand in, nor gave consent unto, the raising of any war in these nations, nor unto any political alteration in them, — no, not to any one that was amongst us during our revolutions; but he acknowledgeth that he lived and acted under them the things wherein he thought his duty consisted, and challengeth all men to charge him with doing the least personal injury unto any, professing himself ready to give satisfaction to any one that can justly claim it. Therefore, as unto the public affairs in this nation, he is amongst them who bless God and the king for the act of oblivion; and that because he supposeth that all the inhabitants of the kingdom which lived in it when his majesty was driven out of it have cause so to do: which some priests and friars have, and that in reference unto such actings as he would scorn, for the saving of his life, to give the least countenance unto; among whom it is not unlikely that you might be one, — which yet he will not aver, nor give reasons to prove it, because he doth not know it so to be. But you have sundry reasons to justify yourself in your charge, and they are as well worthy our consideration as any thing else you have written in your epistle; and shall therefore not be neglected. The first of them you thus express, p. 12, “You cannot abide to hear of moderation; it is with you most wicked, hypocritical, and devilish, especially as it comes from me; for this one thing ‘Fiat Lux’ suffers more from you than for all the contents of the book put together. My reason is your passion; my moderation inflames your wrath: and you are therefore stark wild because I utter so much of sobriety.”

    This is your first reason; which you have exactly squared to the old rule, “Calumniare fortiter, aliquid adhaerebit;”— “Calumny will leave a scar.”

    Would you were yourself only concerned in these things! But among the many woful miscarriages of men professing the religion of Jesus Christ, whereby the beauty and glory of it have been stained in the world, and itself in a great measure rendered ineffectual unto its blessed ends, there is not any thing of more sad consideration than the endeavors of men to promote and propagate the things which they suppose belong unto it by ways and means directly contrary unto, and destructive of, its most known and fundamental principles For when it is once observed and manifest that the actings of men in the promotion of any religion are forbidden and condemned in that religion which they seek to promote, what can rationally be concluded but that they not only disbelieve themselves what they outwardly profess, but also esteem it a fit mask and cover to carry on other interests of their own which they prefer before it?

    And what can more evidently tend unto its disreputation and disadvantage is not easy to conceive. Such is the course here fixed on by you. It is the religion of Christ you pretend to plead for and to promote; but if there be a word true in it, the way you take for that end, — namely, by openly false accusations, — is to be abhorred; which manifests what regard unto it you inwardly cherish. And I wish this were only your personal miscarriage, that you were not encouraged unto it by the principles and example of your chiefest masters and leaders The learned person who wrote the Letters discovering the Mystery of Jesuitism gives us just cause so to conceive; for he doth not only prove that the Jesuits have publicly maintained that “calumny is but a venial sin,” nay, none at all, if used against such as you call calumniators, though grounded on absolute falsities, but hath also given us such pestilent instances of their practice, according to that principle, as Paganism was never acquainted withal. — Let. 15. In their steps you set out in this your first reason, wherein there is not one word of truth. I had formerly told you that I Aid not think you could yourself believe some of the things that you affirmed, at which you take great offense; but I must now tell you, that if you proceed in venting such notorious untruths as here you have heaped together, I shall greatly question whether seriously you believe that Jesus Christ will one day judge the world in righteousness. For I do not think you can produce a pleadable dispensation to say what you please, be it never so false, of a supposed heretic; for though, it may be, you will not keep faith with him, surely you ought to observe truth in speaking of him. You tell us, in your epistle to your “Fiat,” of your “dark obscurity wherein you die daily;” but take heed, sir, lest, —— “Indulgentem tenebris imaeque recessu Sedis inaspectos coelo radiisque penates Servantem, tamen assiduis circumvolet alis Saeva dies animi, scelerumque in pectore dires.”

    Stat. Theb. 1 50.

    Your next reason is, “Because he talks of swords and blood, fire and fagot, guns and daggers; which doth more than show that he hath not let go those hot and furious imaginations.” But of what sort, by whom used, to what end? Doth he mention any of these but such as your church hath made use of for the destruction of Protestants? If you have not done so, why do you not disprove his assertions? If you have, why have you practiced that in the face of the sun which you cannot endure to be told of? Is it equal, think you, that you should kill, burn, and destroy men, for the profession of their faith in Christ Jesus, and that it should not be lawful for others to say you do so? Did not yourself make the calling over of these things necessary, by crying out against Protestants for want of moderation? “It is one of the privileges of the pope,” some say, “to judge all men, and himself to be judged by none;” but is it so also, that no man may say he hath done what all the world knows he hath done, and which we have just cause to fear he would do again had he power to his will? For my part, I can assure you, so that you will cease from charging others with that whose guilt lies heavier upon yourselves than on all the professors of Christianity in the world besides, and give any tolerable security against the like practices for the future, I shall be well content that all which is past may be put by us poor worms into perpetual oblivion; though I know it will be called over another day. Until this be done, and you leave off to make your advantages of other men’s miscarriages, pray arm yourself with patience to hear sometimes a little of your own.

    JOppoi~o>n k j ei]ph~sqa e]pov , toi~o>n k j ejpakou>saiv , said wise Homer of old; and another to the same purpose, “He that speaks what he will, must hear what he would not.” Is it actionable with you against a Protestant, that he will not take your whole sword into his bowels without complaining? Sir, the author of the “Animadversions” doth, and ever did, abhor swords, and guns, and crusades, in matters of religion and conscience, with all violence, that may tantamount unto their usual effects. He ever thought it an uncouth sight to see men marching with crosses on their hacks to destroy Christians, as if they had the Alkoran in their hearts; and therefore desires your excuse if he have reflected a little upon the miscarriages of your church in that kind, especially being called thereunto by your present contrary pretences. “Quis tulerit Graochos de seditione querentes?” — Juv. 2:24.

    And, — —— “Major tandem parcas insane minori.” — Hor. Sat. 2:3, 325.

    It were well if your ways did no more please you, in the previous prospect you take of them than they seem to do in a subsequent reflection upon them. But this is the nature of evil, — it never comes and goes with the same appearing countenance: not that itself changeth at any time, for that which is morally evil is always so; but men’s apprehensions, variously influenced by their affections, lusts, and interests, do frequently change and alter. Now, what conclusions can be made from the premises rightly stated, I leave to your own judgment, at your better leisure.

    Thirdly , You add, “Your prophetic assurance, so often inculcated, that if you could but once come to whisper me in the ear, I would plainly acknowledge, either that I understand not myself what I say, or, if I do, believe it not, gives a fair character of those fanatic times wherein ignorance and hypocrisy prevailed over worth and truth, whereof, if yourself were any part, it is no wonder you should think that I or any man else should either speak he knows not what, or believe not what himself speaks.” That is, a man must needs be as bad as you can imagine him, if he have not such a high opinion of your ability and integrity as to believe that you have written about nothing but what you perfectly understand, nor assert any thing, in the pursuit of your design and interest, but what you really and in cold blood believe to be true. All men, it seems, that were no part of “the former dismal tempest,” have this opinion of you; “credat Apella” If it be so, I confess, for my part, I have no relief against being concluded to be whatever you please: Sosia or not Sosia, the law is in your own hands, and you may condemn all that adore you not into fanaticism at your pleasure; but as he said, “Obsecro per pacem liceat to alloqui, ut ne vapulem.” If you will but grant a little truce from this severity, I doubt not but in a short time to take off from your keenness in the management of this charge; for I hope you will allow that a man may speak the truth without being a fanatic. Truth may get hatred, — I see it hath done so, — but it will make no man hateful. Without looking back, then, to your “Fiat Lux,” I shall, out of this very epistle, give you to see that you have certainly failed on the one hand, in writing about things which you do not at all understand, and therefore discourse concerning them like a blind man about colors; and, as I fear, greatly also on the other, — for I cannot suppose you so ignorant as not to know that some things in your discourse are otherwise than by you represented: nay, and we shall find you at express contradictions, which, pretend what you please, I know you cannot at the same time believe. Instances of these things you will be minded of in our progress. Now, I must needs be very unhappy in discoursing of them, if this be logic and law, that for so doing I must be concluded a fanatic.

    Fourthly , You add, “Your pert assertion, so oft occurring in your book, that there is neither reason, truth, nor honesty in my words, is but the overflowings of that former intemperate zeal;” whereunto may be added what in the last place you insist on to the same purpose, namely, that I “charge you with fraud, ignorance, and wickedness, when in my own heart I find you most clear from any such blemish.” I do not remember where any of these expressions are used by me; that they are nowhere used thus all together, I know well enough, neither shall I make any inquiry after them. I shall therefore desire you only to produce the instances whereunto any of the censures intimated are annexed; and if I do not prove, evidently and plainly, that to be wanting in your discourse which is charged so to be, I will make you a public acknowledgment of the wrong I have done you.

    But if no more was by me expressed than your words, as used to your purpose, did justly deserve, pray be pleased to take notice that it is lawful for any man to speak the truth: and for my part, jEgw< wJv oJ komikov eijmi , thfhn , ska>fhn le>gwn , as he said in Lucian; — “I live in the country where they call a spade a spade.” And if you can give any one instance where I have charged you with any failure, where there is the least probability that I had in my heart other thoughts concerning what you said, I will give up my whole interest in this cause unto you: “Mala mens, malus animus,” Ter. And. 1:1, 137. You have manifested your conscience to be no just measure of other men’s, who reckon upon their giving an account of what they do or say: so that you have but little advanced your charge by these undue insinuatious.

    Neither have you any better success in that which, in the next place, you insist upon; which yet, were it not, like the most of the rest, destitute of truth, would give more countenance unto your reflection than them all. It is, that I “give you sharp and frequent menaces, that if you write or speak again, you shall hear more, find more, feel more, more to your smart, more than you imagine, more than you would; which relish much of that insulting humor which the land groaned under.” I suppose no man reads this representation of my words, with the addition of your own, which makes up the greatest part of them, but must needs think that you have been sorely threatened with some personal inconveniences which I would cause to befall you did you not surcease from writing, or that I would obtain some course to be taken with you to your prejudice. Now, this must needs savor of the spirit of our late days of trouble and mischief or at least of the former days of the prevalency of Popery amongst us, when men were not wont, in such cases, to take up at bare threats and menaces.

    If this be so, all men that know the author of the “Animadversions,” and his condition, must needs conclude him to be very foolish and wicked: foolish, for threatening any with that which is as far from his power to execute as the person threatened can possibly desire it to be; — wicked, for designing that evil unto any individual person which he abhors “in hypothesi” to be inflicted on any upon the like account. But what if there be nothing of all this in the pretended menaces? what if the worst that is in them be only part of a desire that you would abstain from insisting on the personal miscarriages of some that profess the Protestant religion, lest he should be necessitated to make a diversion of your charge, or to show the insufficiency of it to your purpose, by recounting the more notorious failings of the guides, heads, and leaders of your church If this be so, — as it is, in truth, the whole intendment of any of those expressions that are used by me (for the most part of them are your own figments), wherever they occur, — what conclusion can any rational man make from them? Do they not rather intimate a desire of the use of moderation in these our contests, and an abstinence from things personal (for which cause also, fruitlessly, as I now perceive, by this your new kind of ingenuity and moderation, I prefixed not my name to the “Animadversions,” which you also take notice of), than any evil intention or design? This was my threatening you; to which now I shall add, that though I may not say of these papers what Catullus did of his verses on Rufus, — “Verum id non impune feres: nam to omnia secla Noscent, et, qui sis, fama loquetur anus;” Cat. 78:9. yet I shall say, that as many as take notice of this discourse will do no less of your disingenuity and manifold falsehood, in your vain attempt to relieve your dying cause, by casting odium upon him with whom you have to do; like the bonassus that Aristotle informs us of Hist. Animal., lib. cap. 26; which, being as big as a bull, but having horns turned inward and unuseful for fight, when he is pursued, casts out his excrements to defile his pursuers, and to stay them in their passage.

    But what now is the end in all this heap of things, which you would have mistaken for reasons, that you aim at? It is all to show how unfit I am to defend the protestant religion, and that “I am not such a Protestant as I would be thought to be.” But why so? I embrace the doctrine of the church of England, as declared in the Thirty-nine Articles, and other approved public writings of the most famous bishops and other divines thereof. I avow her rejection of the pretended authority and real errors of your church to be her duty, and justifiable. The same is my judgment in reference unto all other protestant churches in the world, in all things wherein they agree among themselves; which is in all things necessary that God may be acceptably worshipped and themselves saved. And why may I not plead the cause of Protestancy against that imputation of demerit which you heap upon it? Neither would I be thought to be any thing in religion but what I am; neither have I any sentiments therein but what I profess. But it may be you will say, in some things I differ from other Protestants. Wisely observed! and if from thence you can conclude a man unqualified for the defense of Protestancy, you have secured yourself from opposition, seeing every Protestant doth so, and must do so whilst there are differences amongst Protestants; but they are in things wherein their Protestancy is not concerned. And may I be so bold as to ask you how the case in this instance stands with yourself, who certainly would have your competency for the defense of your church unquestionable? Differences there are amongst, you; and that, as in and about other things, so also about the pope himself, the head and spring of the religion you profess.

    Some of you maintain his personal infallibility, and that not only in matters of faith, but in matters of fact also; others disclaim the former as highly erroneous, and the latter as grossly blasphemous. Pray, what is your judgment in this matter? for I suppose you are not of both these opinions at once, and I am sure they are irreconcilable. Some of you mount his supremacy above a general council, some would bring him into a coordination with it, and some subject him unto it; though he hath almost Carried the cause, by having store of bishoprics to bestow, whereas a council has none; which was the reason given of old for his prevalency in this contest. May we know what you think in this case? Some of you assert him to be, “de jure,” lord of the whole world in spirituals and temporals absolutely; some in spirituals directly, and in temporals only “in ordine ad spiritualis,” — an abyss from whence you may draw out what you please; and some of you in temporals not at all: and you have not as yet given us your thoughts as to this difference amongst you. Some of you assert in him a power of deposing kings, disposing of kingdoms, transferring titles unto dominion and rule, for and upon such miscarriages as he shall judge to contain disobedience unto the see apostolic; others love not to talk at this haughty rate: neither do I know what is your judgment in this matter. This, as I said before, I am sure of, you cannot be of all these various contradictory judgments at once. Not to trouble you with instances that might be multiplied of the like differences amongst you; if, notwithstanding your adherence unto one part of the contradiction in them, you judge yourself a competent advocate for your church in general, and do busily employ yourself to win over proselytes unto her communion, have the patience to think that one who in some few things differs from some other Protestants, is not wholly incapacitated thereby to repel an unjust charge against Protestancy in general.

    I have done with the two general heads of your prefatory discourse, and shall now only mark one or two incident particulars that belong not unto them, and then proceed to see if we can meet with any thing of more importance than what you have been pleased as yet to communicate unto us.

    Page 5. Upon occasion of a passage in my discourse, wherein, upon misinformation, I expressed some trouble that any young men should be entangled with the rhetoric and sophistry of your “Fiat Lux,” you fall into an harangue, not inferior unto some others in your epistle for that candor and ingenuity you give yourself unto.

    First , you make a plea for “gentlemen” (not once named in my discourse), “that they must be allowed a sense of religion as well as ministers; that they have the body though not the cloak of religion, and are masters of their own reason.” But do you consider with yourself who it is that speaks these words, and to whom you speak them? Do you indeed desire that “gentlemen” should have such a sense of religion, and make use of their reason in the choice of that which therein they adhere unto, as you pretend? Is this pretense consistent with your, plea in your “Fiat Lux,” wherein you labor to reduce them to a naked fanatical “credo?” or is it your interest to court them with fine words, though your intention be far otherwise? But we in England like not such proceedings: — jEcqror moi kei~nov oJmw~v aji`>dao pu>lh|sin , \Ov c j e[teron meqei ejni< fresi>n , a[llo de< ba>zei .

    Nothing dislikes us more than dissimulation. And to whom do you speak?

    Did I, doth any Protestant, deny that gentlemen may have, — do we not say they ought to have? — their sense in religion, and their senses exercised therein? Do we deny they ought to improve their reason, in being conversant about it? Are these the principles of the church of Rome or of that of England? Do we not press them unto these things, as their principal duty in this world? Do we disallow or forbid them any means that may tend to their furtherance in the knowledge and profession of religion? Where is it that, if they do but look upon a Bible, — —— “Furiarum maxima juxta Accubat, et manibus prohibet contingere mensas;” Virg. AEn. 6:605. — the inquisitor lays hold upon them, and bids them be contented with a rosary, or our Lady’s psalter? Do we hinder or dissuade them from any studies, or the use of books that may increase their knowledge and improve their reason? And hath not the Papacy felt the fruits and effects of these principles in the writings of kings, princes, noblemen, and gentlemen, of all sorts? And do not you yourself know all this to be true?

    And is it ingenuous to insist on contrary insinuations? or do you think that truly generous spirits will stoop to so poor a lure? But you proceed: “This is one difference between Catholic countries and ours, — that there the clergyman is only regarded for his virtue and the power he hath received, or is at least believed to have received, from God, in the great ministry of our reconciliation; and if he have any addition of learning besides, it is looked upon as a good accidental ornament, but not as any essential complement of his profession: so that it often happens, without any wonderment at all, that the gentleman-patron is the learned man, and the priest, his chaplain, of little or no science in comparison. But here in England, our gentlemen are disparaged by their own ‘black-coats,’ and not suffered to use their judgment in any kind of learning, without a gibe from them. The gentleman is reasonless, and the scribbling cassock is the only scholar; he alone must speak all, know all, and only understand.” Sir, if your clergy were respected only for their virtue, they would not be overburdened with their honor, unless they have much mended their manners since all the world publicly complained of their lewdness; and which in many places the most would do so still, did they not judge the evil remediless. And if the state of things be, in your Catholic countries, between the gentry and clergy, as you inform us, I fear it is not from the learning of the one, but the ignorance of the other. And this you seem to intimate, by rejecting learning from being any essential complement of their profession: wherein you do wisely, and what you are necessitated to do; for those, who are acquainted with them tell us that if it were, you would have a very thin clergy left you, very many of them not understanding the very mass-book, which they daily chant; and therefore almost every word in your” Missale Romanum” is accented, that they may know how aright to pronounce them; which yet will not deliver them from that mistake of him who, instead of “Introibo ad altare Dei,” read constantly, “Introibo ad tartara Dei.” Herein we envy not the condition of your Catholic countries; and though we desire our gentry were more learned than they are, yet neither we nor they could be contented to have our ministers ignorant, so that they might be in veneration for that office’s sake which they are no way able to discharge. And as to what you affirm concerning England, and our usage here, in the close of your discourse, it is so utterly devoid of truth and honesty, that I cannot but wonder at your open regardlessness of them. Should you have written these things in Spain or Italy (where you have made pictures of Catholics put in bears’ skins and torn with dogs in England, Ecclesiastes Ang. Troph.) concerning England, and the manners of the inhabitants thereof, you might have hoped to have met with some so partially addicted unto your faction and interest as to suppose there were some color of truth in what you aver; but to write these things here amongst us, in the face of the sun, where every one that casts an eye upon them will detest your confidence, and laugh at your folly, is a course of proceeding not easy to be paralleled.

    I shall not insist on the particulars, there being not one word of truth in the whole, but leave you to the discipline of your own thoughts, — “Occultum quatiente animo tortore flagellum.” — Juv. 13:196.

    And so I have done with your prefatory discourse, wherein you have made it appear with what reverence of God and love to the truth you are conversant in the great concernments of the souls of men. What, in particular, you except against in the “Animadversions,” I shall now proceed to the consideration of.

    CHAPTER 2. Vindication of the first chapter of the “Animadversions” — The method of “Fiat Lax” — Romanists’ doctrine of the merit of good works. IN your exceptions to the first chapter of the “Animadversions,” p. 20, I wish I could find any thing agreeable unto truth, according unto your own principles. It was ever granted that polla< yeu>dontai ajoidoi Men may oftentimes utter many things untrue, wherein yet some principles, which they are persuaded to be agreeable unto truth, or some more general mistakes, from whence their particular assertions proceed, may countenance their consciences from a sense of guilt, and some way shield their reputation from the sharpness of censure; but willingly and often for a man practically to offend in this kind, when his mind and understanding is not imposed upon by any previous mistakes, is a miscarriage which I do not yet perceive that the subtilest of your casuists have found out an excuse for. Two exceptions you lay against this chapter, — in the first whereof, by not speaking the whole truth, you render the whole untruth; and, in the latter, you plainly affirm that which your eyes told you to be otherwise. First, you say, I proposed a dilemma unto you for saying you had concealed your method; when what I spake unto you was upon your saying, first that you had used no method, and afterward that you had concealed your method; as you also in your next words here confess. Now, both these being impossible, and severally spoken by you, only to serve a present turn, your sorry merriment about the scholar and his eggs will not free yourself from being very ridiculous. Certainly this using no method, and yet at the same time concealing your method, is part of that civil logic you have learned, no man knows where. You had far better hide your weaknesses under a universal silence, as you do to the most of them, than expose them afresh unto public contempt, trimmed up with froth and trifles. But this is but one of the least of your escapes. You proceed to downright work in your following words: “Going on, you deny” (say you) “that Protestants ever opposed the merit of good works: which at first I wondered at, seeing the sound of it hath rung so often in my own ears, and so many hundred books written in this last age so apparently witness it in all places, till I found afterward, in my thorough perusal of your book, that you neither heed what you say nor how much you deny; at last, giving a distinction of the intrinsic acceptability of our works, the easier to silence me, you say as I say.” Could any man, not acquainted with you, ever imagine but that I had denied that ever Protestants opposed the merit of good works? You positively affirm I did so; you pretend to transcribe my own words; you wonder why I should say so; you produce testimony to disprove what I say: and yet all this while you know well enough that I never said so. Have a little more care, if not of your conscience, yet of your reputation; for, seriously, if you proceed in this manner, you will lose the common privilege of being believed when you speak truth. Your words in your “Fiat Lux,” p. 15, second edition, are, that “Our ministers cull out various texts” (out of the Epistle of Paul to the Romans) “against the Christian doctrine of good works and their merit:” wherein you plainly distinguish between the Christian doctrine of good works and their merit; as well you may. I tell you, pp. 25,26, that no Protestant ever opposed the Christian doctrine of good works. Here you repeat my words, as you pretend, and say that I deny “that any Protestant ever opposed the merit of good works;” and fail into a feigned wonderment at me for saying that which you knew well enough I never said: for merit is not the Christian, but rather, as by you explained, the anti-Christian, doctrine of good works, as being perfectly anti-evangelical. What merit you will esteem this good work of yours to have I know not, and have in part intimated what truly it doth deserve.

    But you add, that, “making a distinction of the intrinsic acceptability of works, you say as I say.” What is that, I pray? Do I say that Protestants oppose the Christian doctrine of good works, as you say in your “Fiat?” or do I say that they never opposed the merit of good works, as you feign me to say in your epistle? Neither the one nor the other; but I say that Protestants teach the Christian doctrine of good works as revealed in the gospel, and oppose the merit of good works by you invented, and as by you explained, and now avowed. And whilst you talk at this rate, as if you were perfectly innocent, you begin your story as if you had nothing to do but to accuse another of fraud, like him that cried, —— “Nec, si miserum fortuna Sinonem Finxit, vanum etiam mendacemque improba finget;” Virg. AEn. 2:79. when you know what his business was But the truth is, when you talk of the merit of good works you stand in a slippery place, and know not well what you would have, nor what it is that you would have me believe. Your Tridentine convention hath indeed provided a limber “cothurnus,” to fit, if it were possible, your several statures and postures. But general words are nothing but the proportion of a cirque or arena for dogmatists to contend within the limits of. The ancient ecclesiastical importance of the word “merit,” wherein, as it may be proved by numberless instances, it denoted no more than to “obtain,” you have the most of you rejected; and do urge it in a strict legal sense, denoting working “for a reward,” and performing that which is proportionable unto it, as the labor of the hireling is to his wages, according unto the strict rules of justice. See your Rhemish Annotations, 1 Corinthians 3, Hebrews 6:10. So is the judgment, I think, of your church explained by Suarez, tom. 1 in Thom. 3, d. 41. “A supernatural work,” saith he, “proceeding from grace, in itself, and in its own nature, hath a proportion unto and condignity of the reward, and is of sufficient value to be worth the same.” And you seem to be of the same opinion, in owning that description of merit which Protestants reject, which I gave in my “Animadversions,” — namely, “an intrinsical worth and value in works, arising from the exact answerableness unto the law and proportion unto the reward, so as on the rules of justice to deserve it.” Of the same mind are most of you (see Andrad. Orthodox. Explic. lib. 6, Bagus de Merit. Op., lib. 1 cap. 9), though I can assure you Paul was not, Romans 6:23, 8:18: so that you must not take it ill if Protestants oppose this doctrine with testimonies out of his Epistle to the Romans, as well as out of many other portions of the holy writ; for they look upon it as an opinion perfectly destructive of the covenant of grace. Nay, I must tell you that some of your own church and way love not to talk at this high and lofty rate. Ferus speaks plain unto you on Matthew 20: “If you desire to hold the grace and favor of God, make no mention of your own merits.” Durand sticks not to call the opinion which you seem to espouse, “temerarious,” yea, “blasphemous,” quest. 2, d. 27. In the explication of your distinction of “congruity” and “condignity,” how woefully are you divided! as also in the application of it. There is no end of your altercations about it, the terms of it being horrid, uncouth, strangers to Scripture and the ancient church, of an arbitrary signification, about which men may with probabilities contend to the world’s end; and yet the very soul and life of your doctrine of merit lies in it. Some ascribe merit of congruity to works before grace, and of condignity to them done in a state of grace; — some, merit of congruity to them done by grace, and merit of condignity they utterly exclude: some give grace and the promise a place in merit; — some so explain it, that they can have no place at all therein.

    Generally, in your books of devotion, when you have to do with God, you begin to bethink yourselves, and speak much more humbly and modestly than you do when you endeavor to dispute subtilely, and quell your adversaries. And I am not without hope that many of you do personally believe, as to your own particular concernments, far better than when you doctrinally express yourselves when you contend with us; as when that famous emperor, Charles V., after all his bustles in and about religion, came to die, in his retirement he expressly renounced all merit of works, as a proud figment, and gave up himself to the sole grace and mercy of God in Jesus Christ, on whose purchase of heaven for him he alone relied. “Toto pectore in Deum revolutus sic ratiocinabatur,” saith the renowned Thuanus, Hist. lib. 21: “se quidem indignum esse qui propriis meritis regnum coelorum obtineret; sed Dominum Deum suum, qui illud duplici jure obtinuit, — et Patris haereditate, et passionis merito, — altero contentum esse, alterum sibi donare, ex cujus dono illud sibi merito vindicet, hacque fiducia, fretus minime confundatur; neque enim oleum misericordiae, nisi in vase fiduciae poni. Hanc hominis fiduciam esse a se deficientis et innitentis Domino suo, — alioqui propriis meritis fidere non fidei esse, sed perfidiae, — peccata remitti per Dei indulgentiam, ideoque credere nos debere, peccata deleri non posse, nisi ab eo cui soli peccavimus, et in quem pedcatum non cadit, per quem solum nobis peccata condonantur.” Words worthy of a lasting memory; which they will not fail of where they are recorded! “Casting himself,” saith that excellent historian, “with his whole soul upon God, he thus reasoned: That for his part he was, on the account of any merits of his own, unworthy to obtain the kingdom of heaven; but his Lord and God, who hath a double right unto it, — one by inheritance of his Father, the other by the merit of his own passion, — contented himself with the one, granted the other unto him: by whose grant he rightly (or deservedly) laid claim thereunto; and, resting in this faith or confidence, he was not confounded; for the oil of mercy is not poured but into the vessel of faith. This is the faith or confidence of a man fainting or despairing in himself, and resting on his Lord, — and otherwise to trust to our own merits is not an act of faith, but of infidelity or perfidiousness, — that sins are forgiven by the mercy of God; and that therefore we ought to believe that sins cannot be blotted out or forgiven but by him against whom we have sinned, who sinneth not, and by whom alone our sins are pardoned.” This, sir, is the faith of Protestants in reference unto the merit of works, which that wise and mighty emperor, after all his military actings against them, found the only safe anchor for his soul “in extremis,” his only relief against crying out, with Hadrian, — “Animula vagula, blandula, Hospes, comesque corporis, Quae nunc abibis in loca?

    Pallidula, frigida, nudula, Nec, ut soles, dabis jocos.” — the only antidote against despair, the only stay of a soul when once entering the lists of eternity. And I am persuaded that many of you fix on the same principles as to your hope and expectation of life and immortality. And to what purpose, I pray you, do you trouble the world with an opinion , wherein you can find no benefit, when, if true, you should principally expect to be relieved and supported by it? But he that looks to find solid peace and consolation in this world, or a blessed entrance into another, on any other grounds than those expressed by that dying emperor, will find himself deceived. Sir, you will one day find that our own works or merits, purgatory, the suffrage of your church, or any parts of it, when we are dead, the surplusage of the works or merits of other sinners, are pitiful things to come into competition with the blood of Christ and pardoning mercy in him. I confess the inquisition made a shift to destroy Constantine, who was confessor to the emperor, and assisted him unto his departure. And king Philip took care that his son Charles should not live in the faith wherein his father Charles died; whereby merit, or our own righteousness, prevailed at court. But, as I said, I am persuaded that when many of you are in cold blood, and think more of God than of Protestants, and of your last account than of your present arguments, you begin to believe that mercy and the righteousness of Christ will be a better plea, as to your own particular concernments, at the last day. Seeing, therefore, that Protestants teach the necessity of good works, upon the cogent principles I minded you of in my “Animadversions,” I suppose it might not be amiss in you to surcease from troubling them about their merit which few of you are agreed about, and which, as I would willingly hope, none of you dare trust unto. You have, I suppose, been minded before now of the conclusion made in this matter by your great champion Bellarmine, lib. 5, De Justificat., cap. 7. “Propter,” saith he, “incertitudinem proprire justitiae, et periculum inanis gloriae, tutissimum est, fiduciam totam in sola Dei misericordia et benignitate reponere;” — “Because of the uncertainty of our own righteousness, and the danger of vain-glory, it is the safest course to place all our confidence in the alone mercy and benignity of God:” wherein, if I mistake not, he disclaimeth all that he had subtilely disputed before about the merit of works. And he appears to have been in good earnest in this conclusion, seeing he made such use of it himself, in particular, at the close of all his disputes and days; praying, in his last will and testament, that God would deal with him, not as “sestimator meriti,” “a judge of his merit;” but “largitor venire,” “a merciful pardoner;” Vit. Bell. per Sylvestr. a Pet. San. Impresa Antuerpiae, 1631. And why is this the safest course? Certainly it must be because God hath appointed it and revealed it so to be; for on no other ground can any course towards heaven be accounted safe. And if this be the way of his appointment, that we should trust to his mercy alone in Christ Jesus, — let them that will be so minded, notwithstanding all persuasions to the contrary, as to trust to their own merit, take heed lest they find, when it is too late, that they have steered a course not so safe as they expected. And so I desire your excuse for this diversion, the design of it being only to discover one reason of your failing in morality, in affirming me to have said that which you knew well enough I did not, — which is this, that you stood in a slippery place as to the point of faith which you were asserting, being not instructed how to speak constantly and evenly unto it; and to take you off from that vain confidence which this proud opinion of the merit of works is apt to ingenerate in you: whose first inventors, I fear, did not sufficiently consider with whom they had to do; before whom sinners appearing in their own strength and righteousness will one day cry, “Who amongst us shall dwell with devouring fire? who amongst us shall inhabit with everlasting burnings?” nor the purity, perfection, and severity of his fiery law, judging, condemning, cursing every sinner for every sin, without the least intimation of mercy or compassion. If you would but seriously consider how impossible it is for any man to know all his secret sins, or to make compensation to God for the least of them that he doth know, and that the very best of his works come short of that universal perfection which is required in them, so that he dares not put the issue of his eternal condition upon any one of them singly, though all the rest of his life should be put into everlasting oblivion; and withal would diligently inquire into the end of God in giving his Son to die for sinners, with the mystery of his love and grace therein, the nature of the new covenant, the importance of the promises thereof, the weight that is laid in Scripture on the righteousness and blood of Christ, with the redemption that is purchased thereby; or to the whole work of our salvation, and the peremptory exclusion of the merit of our works by Paul from our justification before God; — I am persuaded you would find another manner of rest and peace unto your soul than all your own works, and your other pretended supplements of them, or reliefs against their defects, are able to supply you withal. And this I hope you will not be offended at, that I have thus occasionally minded you of.

    CHAPTER 3. A defense of the second chapter of the “Animadversions” — Principles of “Fiat Lux” re-examined — Of our receiving the gospel from Rome — Our abode with them from whom we received it.

    Is the same page you proceed to the consideration of my second chapter, and therein of the principles which I gathered out of your “Fiat Lux,” and which I affirmed to run through and to animate your whole discourse, and to be the foundation on which your superstructure is built. Concerning them all you say, p. 21, “That in the sense the words do either naturally make out, or in which I understand them, of all the whole you can hardly own any one.”

    Pray, sir, remember that I never pretended to set down your words, but to express your sense in my own. And if I do not make it appear that there is no one of the principles mentioned which you have not, in the sense by me declared, affirmed and asserted, I will be contented to be thought to have done you some wrong, and myself much more, for want of attending unto that rule of truth which I am compelled so often to desire you to give up yourself unto the conduct of.

    The first principle imputed unto your “Fiat Lux” is, “that we received the gospel first from Rome.” To which you say, “We, that is, we Englishmen, received it first from thence.” Well, then, this is one principle of the ten; this you own, and seek to defend. If you do so in reference unto any other, what will become of your “hardly one that you can own?” You have already one foot over the limits which you have newly prescribed yourself, and we shall find you utterly forsaking of them by-and-by. For the present you proceed unto the defense of this principle, and say, “But against this you reply that we received it not first from Rome, but by Joseph of Arimathea from Palestine; as ‘Fiat Lux’ himself acknowledgeth.

    Sir, if ‘Fiat Lux’ say both these things, he cannot mean them in your false, contradictory sense, but in his own true one. We, that is we Englishmen, the now actual inhabitants of this land, and progeny of the Saxons, received first our gospel and Christendom from Rome, though the Britons that inhabited the land before, differing as much from us as antipodes, had some of them been christened long before us; and yet the Christendom that prevailed and lasted among the Britons, even they also, as well as we, had it from Rome too. Mark this likewise.” This matter must be called over again afterward; and therefore I shall here be the more brief upon it. In my first answer, I showed you not only that your position was not true, but also, that on supposition it were so, it would not in the least advance your intention. Here you acknowledge that the Britons at first received not the gospel from Rome, but reply two things: — First, “That belongs not unto us Englishmen or Saxons.” To which I shall now only say, that if, because the Britons have been conquered, we, who are now the inhabitants of Britain, may not be thought to have received the gospel from them from whom the Britons at first received it, seeing it was never utterly extinct in Britain from its first plantation, then much less can the present inhabitants of the city of Rome, which hath been conquered oftener than Britain, be thought to have received the. gospel from them by whom it was first delivered unto the old Romans: for though I confess that the Saxons, Jutes, and Angles made great havoc of the ancient Britons in some parts of this island, yet was it not comparable unto that which was made at Rome; which at length Totilas, after it had been taken and sacked more than once before, marching out of it against Belisarius, left as desolate as a wilderness, without one living soul to inhabit it. “Ipse (Totilas) cum suarum copiarum parte progreditur, Romanos qui senatorii erant ordinis secum trahens; alia omni urbanorum multitudine vel virilis muliebrisque sexus, et pueris in Campaniae agros missis: ita ut Romae nemo hominum restaret, sed vasta ibi esset solitudo,” saith Procopius, Hist. Goth. 1:3.

    Concerning which action, saith Sigonius de Imper. Occid. lib. 19: “Urbs Romae, incolis omnibus amotis, prorsus est destituta: memorandum inter pauca exempla humanae fortunae ludibnum, ac spectaculum ipsis etiam hostibus, quanquam ab omni humanitate remotissimis, miserandum;” — “The city of Rome, all its inhabitants being removed, was wholly desolate, an unparalleled reproach of human condition, and a spectacle of pity to the very enemies, though most remote from all humanity!” The next inhabitants of it were a mixture of Greeks, Thracians, and other nations, brought in by Belisarius. You may go now and reproach the Britons, if you please, with their being conquered by the Saxons. In the meantime, pray give me a reason why the present inhabitants of England may not date their reception of Christianity from the first planting of it in this island, as well as you suppose the present inhabitants of Rome may do theirs from the time wherein it was first preached unto the old Romans?

    But you except again, “That the Christendom that prevailed and lasted among the Britons before the coming of the Saxons, came from Rome too.”

    You bid me mark that likewise. I do consider what you say, and desire you to prove it; wherein yet I will not be very urgent, because I will not put you upon impossibilities: and your incompetency to give at least color unto this remarkable assertion shall be discovered in our farther progress.

    For the present I shall only mind you, that the Christianity which prevailed in Britain was that which continued among the Britons in Wales, after the conquest of these parts of the island by the Saxons: and that that came not from Rome is manifest from the customs which they observed and insisted on, differing from those of Rome, and your refusal to admit those of that church; the story whereof you have in Beda, lib. 2 cap. 2. I know it may be rationally replied that Rome might, after the time of the first preaching of the gospel in Britain, have invented many new customs which might be strange unto the Britons at the coming of Austin; for indeed so they have done: but this exception will here take no place; for the customs the British church adhered unto were such as, having their rise and occasion in the east, were never admitted at Rome, and so from thence could not be transmitted hither.

    But there were also other exceptions put in unto your application of this principle unto your purpose, upon supposition that there were any truth in the matter of fact asserted by you; for, suppose that those who from beyond seas first preached the gospel to the Saxons came from Rome, yea, were sent by the bishop, or, if you please, the pope of Rome, I ask, whether it was his religion or the religion of Jesus Christ that they brought with them? Did the pope first find it out? or did they publish it in the name of the pope? You say, “It was the pope’s religion, not invented but professed by him, and from him derived unto us by his missioners.” Well, and what more? for all this was before supposed in my inquiry, and made the foundation of that which we sought farther after. I supposed the pope professed the religion which he sent; and your courtly expression, “Derived unto us by his missioners,” is but the same in sense and meaning with my homely phrase, “They that preached it were sent by him.” On this I inquire, whether it were to be esteemed his religion or no, — that is, any more his than it is the religion of every one that professeth it? or did those that were sent baptize in his name, or teach us that the pope was crucified for us? You answer, that “he sent them to preach.” I see —— “Nil opus est to Circumagi: quendam volo visere non tibi notum;” Hor. Sat. 1:9, 16. you understand not what I inquire after. But if that be all you have to say, as it was before supposed, so what matter is it, I pray, who planted, and who watered? it was the religion of Christ that was preached, and God that “gave the increase.” Christ liveth still, his word abideth still, but the planters and waterers are dead long ago. Again: what though we received the gospel from Rome? doth it therefore follow that we received all the doctrines of the present church of Rome at the same time? Pope Gregory knew little of the present Roman doctrine about the pope of Rome. What was broached of it he condemned in another (even John of Constantinople, who fasted [lusted?] for a kind of popedom), and professed himself an obedient servant to his good lord the emperor. Many a good doctrine hath been lost at Rome since those old days, and many a new fancy broached, and many a tradition of men taught for a doctrine of truth. “Hippolyte, sic est; Thesei vultus amo, Illos priores quos tulit quondam puer, Quum prima puras barba signaret genas, Et ora fiavus tenera tingebat rubor.” We love the church of Rome as it was in its purity and integrity, in the days of her youth and chastity, before she was deflowered by false worship; but what is that to the present Roman carnal confederacy If, then, any in this nation did receive their religion from Rome, — as many of the Saxons had Christianity declared unto them by some sent from Rome for that purpose, — yet it doth not at all follow that they received the present religion of Rome. “Hei mihi qualis! — quantum mutatur ab ilia,” Virg. AEn. 2:274, which of old she professed! “Multa dies variusque labor mutabilis aevi, Rettulit in pejus.” AEn. 11:425.

    And this sad alteration, declension, and change, we may bewail in her, as the prophet did the like apostasy in the church of the Jews of old: “How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water.” He admires that it should be so; was not ignorant how it became so: no more are others in reference unto your apostasy.

    And what if we had received from you, or by your means, the religion that is now professed at Rome, I mean the whole of it, yet we might have received that with it, — namely, the Bible, — which would have made it our duty to examine, try, and reject any thing in it for which we saw from thence just cause so to do, unless we should be condemned for that for which the Bereans are so highly commended. So that neither is your position true, nor, if it were so, would it at all advantage your pretensions.

    I added, also, “Did not the gospel come from another place to Rome, as well as to us? or was it first preached there?” This you have culled out, as supposing yourself able to say something unto it; and what is it? “Properly speaking, it came not so to Rome as it came to us; for one of the twelve fountains, nay, two of the thirteen, and those the largest and greatest, were transferred to Rome; which they watered with their blood.

    We had never any such standing fountain of our Christian religion here, but only a stream derived unto us from thence.” It is the hard hap, it seems, of England, to claim any privilege or reputation that may stand in the way of some men’s designs. No apostle nor apostolical person must be allowed to preach the gospel unto us, lest we should perk up into competition with Rome. But though Rome, it seems, must always be excepted, yet I hope you do not in general conclude our condition beneath that of any place where the gospel at first was preached, by one or two apostles, so as to cry, “Properly speaking, it came not to us at all.” What think you of Jerusalem, where Christ himself and his apostles, all of them, preached the gospel? or what think you of Capernaum, that was “lifted up to heaven,” in the privilege of the means of light granted for a while unto them? Do you think our condition worse than theirs? The two fountains you mentioned were opened at Antioch in Syria, as well as at other places, before they conveyed one drop of their treasures to Rome; which whether one of them ever did by his personal presence, is very questionable. And by this rule of yours, though England may not, yet every place where St. Peter and St. Paul preached the gospel may, contend with Rome as to this privilege. And what will you then get by your triumphing over us? “Non vides id manticae quod in tergo est.” When men are intent upon a supposed advantage, they oftentimes overlook real inconveniences that lie ready to seize upon them; as it befalls you more than once. Besides, there is nothing in the world more obscure than by whom, or what means, the gospel was first preached at Rome. By St. Paul it is certain it was not; for before ever he came thither there was a great number converted to the faith, as appears from his epistle, written about the fourteenth year of Claudius, and the fifty-third of Christ. Nor yet by Peter: for, not at present to insist on the great uncertainty whether ever he was there or no, which shall afterward be spoken unto, there is nothing more certain than that, about the sixth year of Claudius, and forty-fifth of Christ, he was at Antioch, Galatians 2. (Baronius makes the third of Claudius and the fortyfifth of Christ to contemporize, but upon a mistake); and some say he abode there a good while, sundry years, and that upon as good authority as any is produced for his coming to Rome. But it is generally granted that there was a church founded at Rome that year, but by whom, a]dhlon panti< plhliving or dead), — “is known to God alone, of mortal men not to any.” “Jam sumus ergo pares.” For, to confess the truth unto you, I know not certainly who first preached the gospel in Britain: some say Peter, some Paul, some Simon Zelotes, most Joseph of Arimathea, as I have elsewhere showed, by whom certainly I know not; but some one it was, or more, whom God sent upon his errand, and with his message. No more do you know who preached it first at Rome, though in general it appears that some of them at least were of the circumcision; whence the very first converts of that church were variously minded about the observation of Mosaical rites and ceremonies. And I doubt not but God, in his infinitely holy wisdom and providence, left the springs of Christian religion, as to matter of fact, in the first introductions of it into the nations of the world, in so much darkness as to the knowledge of aftertimes, to obviate those towering thoughts of pre-emi-nency which he foresaw that some men from external advantages would entertain, to the no small prejudice of the simplicity of the gospel, and ruin of Christian humility. As far as appears from story, the gospel was preached in England before any church was founded at Rome. It was so, saith Gildas, “Summo tempore Tiberii Caesaris,” — that is, “extremo,” about the end of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, who died in the thirty-ninth year of Christ, five or six years at least before the foundations of the Roman church were laid; kai< tau~ta me>n dh< tau~ta . These things we must speak unto, because you suppose them of importance unto your cause.

    The second assertion ascribed unto your “Fiat” in the “Animadversions” is, “That whence and from whom we first received our religion, there and with them we must abide therein; to them we must repair for guidance; and return to their rule and conduct, if we have departed from them.” To which you now say, “This principle, as it is never delivered by ‘Fiat Lux,’ though you put it upon me, so is it, in the latitude it carries, and wherein you understand it, absolutely false, never thought of by me, and indeed impossible; for how can we abide with them in any truth, who may not, perhaps, abide in it themselves? Great part of Flanders was first converted by Englishmen; and yet are they not obliged to accompany the English in our now present ways.” I am glad you confess this principle now to be false: it was sufficiently proved so to be in the “Animadversions,” and your whole discourse rendered thereby useless; for to what purpose will the preceding assertion, so often inculcated by you, serve, if this be false?

    For what matter is it from whence or whom we received the profession of religion, if there be no obligation upon us to continue in their communion, any farther than as we judge them to continue in the truth? And to what purpose do you avoid the consideration of the reasons and causes of our not abiding with you, and manage all your charge upon the general head of our departure, if we may have just cause, by your own concession, so to do? It is false, then, by your own acknowledgment; and I am as sure, in the sense which I understand it in, that it is yours. And you labor with all your art to prove and confirm it, both in your “Fiat,” pp. 44-47, and in this very epistle, pp. 38-41, etc. On the account that the gospel came unto us from Rome, you expressly adjudge the pre-eminence over us unto Rome, and determine that her we must all hear, and obey, and abide with.

    But if you may say and unsay, assert and deny, avow and disclaim, at your pleasure, as things make for your advantage, and think to evade the owning of the whole drift and scope of your discourse by having expressed yourself in a loose flourish of words, it will be to no great purpose farther to talk with you. “Quo teaeam vultus mutantem Protea nodo?” — Hor. Ep. 1:1. 90.

    To lay fast hold, and not startle at a new shape, was the counsel his daughter gave to Menelaus; and I must needs urge you to leave off all thoughts of evading by such changes of your hue, and to abide by what you say. I confess I believe you never intended knowingly to assert this principle in its whole latitude, because you did not, as it should seem, consider how little it would make for your advantage, seeing so many would come in for a share in the privilege intimated in it with your Roman church, and you do not in any thing love competitors. But you would fain have the conclusion hold as to your Roman church only: those that have received the gospel from her must always abide in her communion. That this assertion is not built on any general foundation of reason or authority, yourself now confess; and that you have no special privilege to plead in this cause hath been proved in the “Animadversions,” whereof you are pleased to take no notice.

    CHAPTER 4. Farther vindication of second chapter of the “Animadversions” — Church of Rome not what she was of old — Her falls and apostasy — Difference between idolatry, apostasy, heresy, and schism — Principles of the church of Rome condemned by the ancient church, fathers, and councils — Imposing rites unnecessary — Persecution for conscience — Papal supremacy — The branches of it — Papal personal infallibility — Religious veneration of images. THE third assertion which you review is, “That the Roman profession of religion, and practice in the worship of God, are every way the same as when first we received the gospel from Rome; nor can they ever otherwise be.” Whereunto you say, “This, indeed, though I do nowhere formally express it, yet I suppose it, because I know it hath been demonstratively proved a hundred times over. You deny it hath been proved; why do you not then disprove it? Because you decline, say you, all common-places.”

    All that I affirmed was, that you did suppose this principle, and built many of your inferences on the supposition thereof; which you here acknowledge. And so you have already owned two of the principles whereof, in the foregoing page, you affirmed that you could hardly own any one, and that in the sense wherein by me they are proposed and understood! But what do you mean, that you “nowhere formally express it?” If you mean that you have not set it down in those syllables wherein you find it expressed in the “Animadversions,” no man ever said you did: you do not use to speak so openly and plainly; to do so would bring you out of the corners, which somewhat that you pretend unto never led you into. But if you deny that you asserted and labored to prove the whole and entire matter of it, your following discourse, wherein you endeavor a vindication of the sophism wherewith you pleaded for it in your “Fiat,” will sufficiently confute you. And so you have avowed already two of the “hardly any one” principles ascribed unto you: and this you say hath been “demonstratively proved a hundred times over,” and ask me why I do not disprove it, giving a ridiculous answer, as from me, unto your inquiry. But pray, sir, talk not of demonstrations in this matter: palpable sophisms, such as your masters use in this cause, are far enough from demonstrations. And if you think it enough for you to say that it hath been proved, why is it not a sufficient answer in me to remind you that it hath been disproved, and your pretended proofs all refuted? And according to what rules of logic do you expect arguments from me to disprove your assertion, whilst I was only answering yours that you produced in its confirmation? But that you may not complain any more, I shall make some addition of the proofs you require, by way of supererogation, when we have considered your vindication of your former arguments for the confirmation of this assertion, wherewith you closed your discourse in your “Fiat Lux.” This you thus propose again, “The Roman was once a true, flourishing church; and if she ever fell, she must fall either by apostasy, heresy, or schism.” So you now mince the matter: in your “Fiat” it was “a most pure, flourishing, and mother church;” and you know there are many that yet acknowledge her a true church, as a thief is a true man, who will not acknowledge her to be a pure church, much less “most pure.” God be merciful to poor worms! This boasting doth not become us; it is not unlike hers who cried, “I sit as a queen, and shall see no sorrow.” I wish you begin to be sensible and ashamed of it, but yet I fear it is otherwise; for whereas, in your “Fiat,” you had proclaimed your Roman church and party to be absolutely innocent mad unblamable, you tell us, p. 10 of your epistle, that you can make it appear that it is far more innocent and amiable than you have made it; more than absolutely innocent, it seems — a note so high that it sounds harshly. And whereas we shall manifest your church to have lost her native beauty, we know that no painting of her (which is all you can do) will render her truly amiable unto a spiritual eye. She hath too often defiled herself to pretend now to be lovely. But to this you say I reply, “The church that then was, in the apostles’ time, was indeed true — not the Roman church that now is;” and add, “So, so; then I say that former true church must fall some time or other. When did she fall? and how did she fall — by apostasy, heresy, or schism?” Sir, you very lamely represent my answer, that you might seem to say something unto it, when indeed you say nothing at all. I discovered unto you the equivocation you use in that expression, “The church of Rome,” and showed you that the thing now so called by you had neither being nor name, neither essence nor affection, in the days of old; its very being is but the “terminus ad quem” of a church’s fall. I showed you also that the church of old, that was pure, fell not whilst it was so; but that the men who succeeded in the place where they lived, in the profession of religion, gradually fell from the parity of that profession which the church at its first planting did enjoy. But all that discourse you pass by, and repeat again your former question, to which you subjoin my first answer, which was, “It was possible she might fall by an earthquake, as did those of Colosse and Laodicea;” to which you [reply,] “We speak not here of any casual or natural downfall, or death of mortals, by plague, famine, or earthquake, but a moral and voluntary lapse in faith. What do you speak to me of earthquakes!” It is well you do so now explain yourself; your former inquiry was only in general, how or by what means she ceased to be what she had been before? as though it were impossible to assign any such: neither did I exclude the sense whereunto you now restrain your words And had I only showed you that it was possible she might fall and come to nothing, and yet not by any of the ways or means by you mentioned, without proceeding unto the consideration of them also, yet your special inquiry being resolved into this general one, from whence it is taken, how a pure, flourishing church may cease to be so? I had rendered your inquiry useless unto your present purpose, though I had not answered your intention; for certainly that which ceaseth to be, ceaseth to be pure, seeing “non-entis nullae sunt affectiones.” The church of the Britons, in this part of the island now called England, was once as pure a church as ever was the church of Rome; yet she ceased to be long since, and that neither by apostasy, heresy, nor schism, but by the sword of the Saxons. And, to tell you the truth, I do not think the old church of Rome unconcerned in this instance, then especially when Rome was left desolate by Totilas, and without inhabitant; for the church of Rome is “urbis,” and not, as you vainly imagine, “orbis ecclesia.”

    Again: I told you she might fall by idolatry, and so neither by apostasy, heresy, or schism. To which you reply, “Good sir, idolatry is a mixed misdemeanor both in faith and manners I speak of the single one of faith; and he that falls by idolatry, if he keep still some parts of Christianity entire, he falls by heresy — by apostasy, if he keep none.” I am persuaded you are the first that ever gave this description of idolatry, and the last that will do so: “It is a mixed misdemeanor in faith and manners.” Manners you speak of in contradistinction to faith, and you so explain yourself; in which sense they relate only unto moral conversation, regulated by the second table. That idolatry hath been and is constantly attended with corruption in manners, the apostle declares, Romans 1, and I willingly grant; but how in itself or in its own nature it should come to be “a mixed misdemeanor in faith and in manners,” I know not: neither can you tell me which is the fleshy, which is the fishy part of this Dagon — what it is in it that is a misdemeanor in faith, and what in manners. According to this description of yours, an idolater should be an ill-mannered or an unmannerly heretic. But you speak of the single misdemeanor in faith; but who gave you leave so to restrain your inquiry? I allowed you before to except against one instance, whereby many a church hath fallen; but if you will except idolatry and manners also, your endeavor to provide a shelter for your guilt is shameful and vain. For what you except out of your inquiry, if you confess not to have been, yet you do that it may be or might have been. And you do wisely to let your adversary know that he is to strike you only where you suppose yourself armed, but by all means must let naked parts alone; and doubtless he must needs be very wise who will take your advice. “The church of Judah was once a pure church, in the days of David; how came she, then, to fall? by apostasy, heresy, or schism?” I answer, if you will give me leave, she fell by idolatry and. corruption of manners; against both which the prophets were protestants, 2 Kings 17:13: hwO;hy] d[‘Y;w’ — God protested against them by his prophets. Again: the same church reformed in the days of Ezra, Nehemiah, Zerubbabel, and hl;wOdN]h’ ts,n,k] yven]a’ “the men of the great congregation,” was a pure church. How did it fall? not by idolatry as formerly, but by corruption of life, unbelief, and rejecting the word of God for superstitious traditions, until it became “a den of thieves.” You see, then, there are other ways of a church’s falling from its pristine purity than those by you insisted on. And if you shall inquire how it may fall, you must exclude nothing out of your inquiry whereby it may do so, and whereby some churches have done so. And if you will have my thoughts in this matter, they are, that the beginning of the fall of your church and many others lay in unbelief, corruption of life, conformity to the world, and other sins that were found in the most of its members. And it is a fancy, to dream of the purity of a church in respect of its outward order, when the power and life of godliness is lost in its members; and a wicked device, to suppose a church may not be separated from Christ by unbelief, whilst it abides in an external profession of the doctrine of faith. Such a church, though it may have “a name to live,” yet indeed is “dead,” and dead things are unclean. We speak of its purity, and acceptation thereon in the sight of God; neither will men “dead in trespasses and sins” be “terrible” unto any “as an army with banners,” unless they are like those in Lucilius, who, “Ut pueri infantes credunt signa omnia ahena Vivere et esse homines; sic isti omnia ficta Vera putant; credunt signis cor inesse ahenis;” as Lactantius reports him. But you say, “If they fall by idolatry, and yet keep any parts of Christianity, they fall by heresy.” But why so? Would you had thought it incumbent on you to give a reason of what you say!

    Are idolatry and heresy the same? Tertullian, who, of all the old ecclesiastical writers, most enlargeth the bounds of idolatry, defines it to be “Omnis circa omne idolum famulatus et servitus;” — “Any worship or service performed in reference to or about any idol.” I do not remember that ever I met with your definition of idolatry in any author whatever.

    Bellarmine seems to place it in “Creaturam aeque colere ac Deum;” — “To worship the creature as much or equally with the Creator:” which description of it, though it be vain and groundless (for his “aeque” is neither in the Scripture nor any approved author of old required to the constituting of the worship of any creature idolatrous), yet is not this heresy neither, but that which differs from it “toto genere.” We know it to be “Cultus religiosus creaturae exhibitus,’ — “Any religious worship of that which by nature is not God;” and so doth your Thomas grant it to be.

    Gregory de Valentia, another of your great champions, contends that “tanquam Deo,” “as unto God,” is to be added unto the definition; as though religious worship could be given unto any thing, and not as unto God really and indeed, though not intentionally as to the worshipper.

    Where a man gives religious worship, there he doth, “ipso facto,” assign a divine eminency, say he what he will to the contrary. Neither will his intention of not doing it “as unto God,” any more free him from idolatry than an adulteress will be free by not looking on her adulterer as her husband. I confess he adds afterward a distinction that is of great use for you, and indispensably he-cessary for your defense, De Idol., lib. 2, cap. 7. St Peter, he tells us, insinuates some “worship of idols, — “cultum aliquem simulachrorun,” — to wit, that of the holy images, to be right or lawful, when he deterreth believers “ab illicitis idolorum cultibus,” — “from the unlawful worship of idols,” 1 Peter 4:3: j jAqemi>toiv eijdwlolatrei>aiv . This were somewhat, indeed, if all epithets were distinguishing, none aggravating or declarative. When Virgil said, “Dulcia mella premes,” Geor. 4, he did not insinuate that there was any bitter honey. Nor is it allowable only for poets, to use explaining and declaring epithets; but Aristotle allows it in the best orators also, so they use not makroi~v h[ ajkai>roiv h\ puknoi~v , “long or unseasonable ones,” or the same frequently: and the use of this here by Peter is free from all those vices. When the Roman orator cried out, “O scelus detestandum!” — “O wickedness to be abhorred!” he did not intend to insinuate that there was a wickedness not to be abhorred, or to be approved. But if it will follow hence that your church is guilty only of lawful idolatry, I shall not much contend about it; yet I must tell you, that as the poor woman, when the physicians in her sickness told her still that what she complained of was a good sign, cried out, Oi]moi ujp j ajgaqw~n ajpo>llumi , — “Good signs have undone me,” — your lawful idolatry, if you take not better heed, will undo you. In the meantime, as to the coincidence you imagine between idolatry and heresy, I wish you would advise with your “angelical doctor,” who will show you how they are contradistinct evils; which he therefore weighs in his scales, and determines which is the heaviest, 22ae q. 94, a. ad 4. The church in the wilderness fell by its moscopoii`>a , — its “making and worshipping a golden calf,” as a representation of the presence of God. That they kept some parts of the doctrine of truth entire is evident from their proclamation of a feast to Jehovah. Do any men in their wits use to say this fall was by heresy, though all agree it was by idolatry? so that your church might fall by idolatry and not fall formally by heresy, according to the genuine importance of the word, the use of it in the Scriptures, or the definition given of it by the schoolmen, or any sober writer of what sort whatever. And here I must desire you to stay a little, if you intend to take Protestants along with you. They constantly return this answer unto you, in the first place, and tell you that your church is fallen by idolatry: it is fallen in the worship which you give unto the “consecrated host,” as you call it; wherein — if the Scriptures, which call it “bread,” and the fathers, who term it the “figure of the body of Christ,” if reason, and all our senses, deceive us not — you are as plainly idolatrous as the poor wretches which fall down and worship a piece of red cloth: so your own Costerus assures us, Enchirid., cap. 8. “Tolerabilior,” saith he, “est eorum error, qui pro deo colunt statuam auream, aut argenteam, aut alterius materiae imaginem, quomodo Gentiles deos suos venerabantur, vel pannum rubrum in hastam elevatum, quod narratur de Lappis, vel viva animalia ut quondam A Egyptii, quam eorum qui frustum panis colunt;” — “Their error is more tolerable who worship a golden or silver statue, or an image of any other matter for a god, as the Gentiles worshipped their gods, or a rag of red cloth lifted upon a spear, as it is reported of the Laplanders, or living creatures, as did the Egyptians of old, than theirs who worship a piece of bread.” This is that which made Averroës cry out,” Seeing the Christians eat the god whom they worship, let my soul be among the philosophers.” You do the same in your worship of the cross; which the chiefest among you maintain to be the same that is due to Christ himself. And you are in the same path still in the religious adoration you give unto the blessed Virgin, your prayers to her, and invocations of her; which abound in all your books of devotion and general practice. And what need we mention any particular instances, when you have begun some of your conciliary actions, the greatest solemnities of Christianity amongst you, with invocation of her for help and assistance?

    So did your council of Lateran, joining with Cardinal Cajetan, in their opening of the second session, in these words: “Quoniam nihil est quod homo de semetipso sine auxilio opeque divina possit polliceri, ad gloriosam ipsam Virginem Dei matrem primum convertam orationem meam;” — “Seeing there is nothing that a man may promise to himself, as of himself, without divine help and assistance, I will first turn my prayer unto the glorious Virgin, the mother of God.” This was the doctrine, this the practice, this the idolatry, of our Lateran council. And again, in the seventh session, “Deiparae nostrea praesidium imploremus;” — “Let us pray for the help or protection of our blessed Mother of God.” And in the tenth session of the same council, Stephen, archbishop of Patras, prays, “Ut ipsa beata Virgo, angelorum domina, fons omnium gratiarum, quae omnes hereses interimit, cujus opera magna reformatio, concordia principum, et vera contra infideles expeditio fieri debet opera ferre dignetur;” — “That the blessed Virgin, the lady of angels, the fountain of all graces, who destroyeth all heresies, by whose assistance the great reformation, the agreement of princes, and sincere expedition against the infidels” (the business of that council), “ought to be performed, would vouchsafe to help him, that he might,” etc.; and thereupon sings this hymn unto her, recorded in the acts of the council: — “Omnium splendor, decus, et perenne Virginum lumen, genetrix Superni, Gloria humani generis Maria Unica nostri. “Sola tu Virgo dominaris astris, Sola tu terrae maris atque coeli Lumen, inceptis faveas rogamus Inclyta nostris. “Ut queam sacros reserare sensus Qui latent chart, is nimium severis; Ingredi, et celsae, duce to benigna, Maenia terrae.” “O Mary! the beauty, honor, and everlasting light of all virgins, the mother of the Highest, the only glory of mankind; thou, Virgin, alone rulest the stars; thou alone art the light of earth, sea, and heaven. Do thou, O glorious lady! we entreat, prosper my endeavors, that I may unfold the sacred senses which lie hid in the too severe writings” (of the Scripture), “and kindly give me, under thy goodness, to enter the walls of the heavenly countries.” I suppose it cannot be doubted whence the pattern of this Conciliary prayer was taken: it is but an imitation of — “Phoebe sylvarumque potens Diana Lucidum coeli decus, o colendi Semper et culti, date quae precamur Tempore sacro. “Alme Sol, curru nitido diem qui Promis et celas, aliusque et idem Nasceris; possis nihil urbe Roma Visere majus. “Rite maturos aperire partus Lenis Ilithyia, tuere matres:

    Sire tu Lucina probas vocari, Seu Genitalis. Diva.” Horat.— Carm. Saeculare.

    And if this be not plainly to place her in the throne of God, I know not what can be imagined so to do. Your worship of angels and of saints is of the same importance, concerning whom you do well to entitle your paragraph, “Heroes;” your doctrine and practice concerning them being the very same with those of the ancient heathen, in reference unto their demons and heroes So your own learned Vives confesseth of many of you, in August. de Civit. Dei, lib. 28 cap. ult. “Multi Christiani,” saith he, “divos divasque non aliter venerantur quam Deum; nec video in multis quod sit discrimen inter eorum opinionem de sanctis, et id quod Gentiles putabant de suis diis;” — “Many Christians worship he and she saints no otherwise than they do God; neither do I see, in many things, what difference there is between their opinion concerning the saints and that which the heathen thought of their gods.” And it is known what Polydore Virgil before him affirmed to the same purpose. Your idolatry, in the worship of images of all sorts, shall be afterward declared. Be, then, this a single or mixed misdemeanor, it matters not; a misdemeanor it is, whereby we affirm that the Roman church is fallen from its pristine purity. And this we think is a full answer unto your inquiry. We need not, you cannot compel us, to go one step farther; but our way is plain and invites us. I shall therefore proceed to let you see once again that she is fallen, by all the ways you thought meet to confine your inquiry unto.

    You proceed: “Finding yourself puzzled in the third place, you lay on load. ‘She fell,’ say you,’ by apostasy, idolatry, heresy, schism, licentiousness, and profaneness of life.’ And in this you do not much unlike the drunken youth, who, being bid to hit his master’s finger with his, when he perceived he could not do it, he ran his whole fist against it.”

    Seriously, sir, you have the worst success in your attempts for a little wit and merriment that ever I met with. If you would take my advice, you should not strain your genius for that which it will not afford you; you forgot the old rule — “Tu nihil invita dices faciesve Minerva.” — Hor. ad Pison., 265.

    Any other diversion were better than this, which proves so successless; yet I must confess you deserve well of pastime, seeing to serve its interests you so often make yourself ridiculous, as you now do in this pitiful story. And I cannot tell you whether my answer have touched your finger or no, but I am sure, if it be true, it strikes your cause to the heart; and I am as sure of the truth of it as I am that I am alive. And you see how I am puzzled, even as he was who cried, “Inopem me copia fecit.” Your church hath fallen so many ways, all so foully and evidently, that it is hard for any man to choose what instance to insist upon who is called on to charge her, as you, by your inquiry of them, do on your Protestant readers; and for my part, I had rather you should take your choice against which of the, things mentioned you think yourself best able to defend her.

    And, may it please you to choose your instance, if I prove not your church to have fallen by it, I will promise you to become a Papist. You proceed to your own particulars, and ask, “Did she fall by apostasy?” to which you subjoin my words, “By a partial, not a total one;” with your reply, “Good sir, in this division apostasy is set to express a total relapse, in opposition to heresy, which is the partial.” I see you have as little mind to be drawn to the consideration of your apostasy as of your idolatry; and would feign post off all to heresy, under a corrupt notion of which term you hope to find some shelter for yourself and your church, although in vain. But — “Verte omnes tete in facies; et contrahe qulcquid Sive animis, sive arte vales.” — Virg. AEn. 12:891.

    You must bear the charge of apostasy also; for why must that needs be the notion of these terms, in the division you made, that you now express? Is it from the strict sense and importance of the words themselves, or from the scriptural or ecclesiastical use of them, or whence is it that it must be so, and that it is so? None of these will give you any relief, or the least countenance unto your fancy. Both ajpostasi>a and ai[resiv are words ejk tw~n me>swn , in themselves of an indifferent signification, denoting things or acts, good or evil, according to their accidental limitations and applications. It is said of some, jAposth>sontai th~v pi>stewv , — “They will depart from the faith,” 1 Timothy 4:1; and the same apostle, speaking of them that name the name of Christ, says,” Let every one of them depart from iniquity,” jjAposth>to ajpo< ajdiki>av , 2 Timothy 2:19: so that the word itself signifies no more but a single and bare departure from any thing, way, rule, or practice, be it good or bad, wherein a man hath been engaged, or which he ought to avoid and fly from. And this is the use of it in the best Greek authors: Pollontev are such, in Homer, who are far distant or remote on any account from any thing or place; and Ta< plei~ston , in Aristotle, things very remote. To leave any place, company, thing, society, or rule, on any cause, is the common use of the word in Thucydides, Plutarch, Lucian, and the rest of their companions in the propriety of that language. “Apostasia,” by ecclesiastical writers, is restrained unto either a backsliding in faith subjective and manners, or a causeless relinquishment of any truth before professed. So the Jews charge Paul, Acts 21:21, jApostasi>an dida>skeiv , — “Thou teachest the apostasy” from Moses’ law. Such also is the nature of ai[resiv , — a special “option, choice,” or way, in profession of any truth or error. So Paul calls Pharisaism ajkrizesta>thn ai[resin th~v zrhskei>av , Acts 26:5, — “the most exact heresy,” or way of religion, among the Jews. And Clemens Alexandrinus, Strom. lib. 8, calls Christian religion ai[resin ajri>sthn , — the “best heresy.” And the great Constantine in one of his edicts calls it ai[resin kaqolikh>n , — “the catholic” or “general heresy;” and ai[resin aJgiwta>thn, — “ the most holy heresy.” The Latins, also, constantly used that word in a sense indifferent. “Cato,” saith Cicero, “est in ea haeresi quae nullum orationis fiorem sequitur.” The words, therefore, themselves, you see, are of an indifferent signification, having this difference between them, that the one for the most part is used to signify the relinquishment of that which a man had before embraced, and the other a choice or embracing of that which a man had not before received or admitted. And this difference is constantly observed by all ecclesiastical writers, who afterward used these words in the worst or an evil sense: so that apostasy, in this appropriation of it, denotes the relinquishment of any important truth or way in religion; and heresy the choice or embracement of any new destructive opinion, or principle, or way in the profession thereof. A man, then, may be an apostate by partial apostasy — that is, depart from the profession of some truth he had formerly embraced, or the performance of some duty which he was engaged in — without being a heretic, or choosing any new opinion which he did not before embrace. Thus you signally call a monk that deserts his monastical profession an apostate, though he embrace no opinion which is condemned by your church, or which you think heretical.

    And a man may be a heretic — that is, choose and embrace some new false opinion, which he may coin out of his own imagination — without a direct renunciation of any truth which before he was instructed in. And this is that which I intended, when I told you that your church is fallen by partial apostasy, and by heresy. She hath renounced many of the important truths which the old Roman church once believed and professed, and so is fallen by apostasy; and she hath invented or coined many articles pretended to be of faith, which the old Roman church never believed, and so is fallen by heresy also. Now, what say you hereunto? Why, “Good sir, in this division apostasy is set to express a total relapse, in opposition to heresy, which is the partial.” But who gave you warrant or leave so to set them? It would, it may be, somewhat serve your turn in evading the charge of apostasy, that lies against your church, but, “good sir,” will not prove that you may thus confound things for your advantage. Idolatry is heresy, and apostasy is heresy, and what not, because you suppose you have found a way to escape the imputation of heresy. I say, then, yet again, in answer to your inquiry, that your church is fallen by apostasy, in her relinquishment of many important truths, and neglect of many necessary duties, which the old Roman church embraced and performed.

    That these may be the more evident unto you, I shall give you some few instances of your apostasy, desiring only that you would grant me that the primitive church of Rome believed and faithfully retained the doctrine of truth wherein from the Scripture it was instructed: — That church believed expressly that all they “who die in the Lord do rest from all their labors,” Revelation 14:13; — which truth you have forsaken, by sending many of them into the flames of purgatory.

    It believed that “the sufferings of this life are not worthy of the glory that shall be revealed in us,” Romans 8:18; — your church is otherwise minded, asserting in our works and sufferings a merit of and condignity unto the glory that shall be received.

    It believed that “we were saved freely, by grace, by faith, which is not of ourselves, but the gift of God; not by works, lest any one should boast,” Ephesians 2:8, Titus 3:5; and therefore besought the Lord “not to enter into judgment with them, because in his sight no flesh could be justified,” <19D003> Psalm 130:3, 168:2; — and you are apostatized from this part of their faith.

    It believed that Christ “was once only offered,” Hebrews 10:12; and that it could not be that “he should often offer himself, because then he must have often suffered and died,” Hebrews 9:25; — which faith of theirs you are departed from.

    It believed that “we have one only mediator and intercessor with God,” 1 Timothy 2:5,1 John 2:1; — wherein also you have renounced their persuasion; as likewise you have done in what it professed, that we may “invocate only him in whom we do believe,” Romans 10:14.

    It believed that the “command to abstain from meats and marriage was the doctrine of devils,” 1 Timothy 4:1-3; — do you abide in the same faith?

    It believed that “every soul,” without exception, “was to be subject to the higher powers,” Romans 13:1; — you will not walk in the steps of their faith herein.

    It believed that all “image-worship was forbidden,” Exodus 20; and whether you abide in the same persuasion we shall afterward examine.

    And many more instances of the like kind you may at any time be minded of.

    You haste to that you would fain be at, which will be found as little to your purpose as those whose consideration you so carefully avoid. You say, “Did she fall by heresy in adhering to any error in faith contrary to the approved doctrine of the church? Here you smile seriously, and tell me, that since I take the Roman and Catholic church to be one, she could not indeed adhere to any thing but what she did adhere unto. Sir, I take them indeed to be one; but here I speak ‘ad hominem,’ to one that doth not take them so. And then, if indeed the Roman church had ever swerved in faith, as you say she has, and be herself as another ordinary particular church, as you say she is, then might you find some one or other more general church, if any there were, to judge her; some oecumenical council to condemn her, some fathers, either Greek or Latin, expressly to write against her, as Protestants now do; some or other grave authority to censure her; or at least some company of believers, out of whose body she went, and from whose faith she fell. None of which since you are not able to assign” (wherein you have spoken more rightly than you were aware of; for not to be able to assign none of them infers at least an ability to assign some if not all of them), “my query remains unanswered, and the Roman still as flourishing a church as ever she was.”

    Ans. 1. You represent my answer lamely. I desire the reader to consult it’ in the “Animadversions,” pp. 66-68. What you have taken notice of discovers only your finesse in making heresy an adherence to an error in faith, contrary to the doctrine of the church; and yourselves the church whereby you must needs be secured from heresy, though you should adhere to the most heretical principles that ever were broached in the world. But nothing of all this, as I have showed, will be allowed you. 2. As we have seen some of the reasons why you were so unwilling to try the cause of your church on the heads of idolatry and apostasy, so here you discover a sufficient reason why you have passed over your other head of schism in silence. You avow yourself one of the most schismatical principles that were ever adhered unto by any professing the name of Christ. The Roman church and the Catholic are with you one and the same. Is not this Petilianus’s, in “parte Donati;” nay, Badlides’s, JHmei~v ejsmen oiJ a]nqrwpoi , oiJ de< a]lloi pa>ntev ku>nev kai< uJe>v , Epiphan.

    Heres. 4. — “We only are men; all others are dogs and swine.” “Macte virtute!” If this be not to show moderation and to pursue reconciliation, at once to shut out all men but yourselves from the church here, and consequently heaven hereafter, what can be thought so to be? In earnest, sir, you may talk what you please of moderation; but whilst you avow this one wretched schismatical principle, you do your endeavor to exclude all true Christian moderation out of the world. 3. Why do you conclude that your query is not answered? Suppose one question could not be answered, doth it necessarily follow that another cannot? I suppose you take notice that this is another question, and not that at first proposed, as I told you before. Your first inquiry was about your church’s crime; this is about her conviction and condemnation. And your conclusion hath no strength in it but what is built on this unquestionable maxim, that “None ever offended who was not publicly judged;” as though there were no harlots in the world but those that have been carted. It is enough, sir, that her condition is “sub judice,” as it will be whether you or I will or no; and that there is not evidence wanting for her conviction, nor ever was since her fall, though it may be it hath not at all times been so publicly managed. And yet so vain is your triumphant conclusion, that we rest not here, but prove also that she hath been of old judged and condemned, as you will hear anon.

    And thus I have once more given you an answer to your inquiry how your church fell, — namely, that she hath done so by all the ways and means by which it is possible for a church to fall. She failed, under the just hand of God, when the persons of that urbic church were extirpated, partly by others, but totally by Totilas; as the British church in England fell by the sword of the Saxons. She hath fallen by idolatry and corruption of life; as did the church of the Jews before the captivity. She hath fallen by her relinquishment of the written word as the only rule of faith and worship, and by adhering to the uncertain traditions of men; as did the church of the Jews after their return from captivity. She hath fallen by apostasy, in forsaking the profession of many important truths of the gospel; as the church of the Galatians did for a season, in their relinquishment of the doctrine of justification by grace alone. She hath fallen by heresy, in coining new articles of faith, and imposing them on the consciences of the disciples of Christ; as the Montanists did with their new Paraclete and rigid observances. She hath fallen by schism in herself, — as the Judaical church did when divided into Essenes, Sadducees, and Pharisees, — setting up pope against pope, and council against council, continuing in her intestine broils for some ages together; and from all others, by the wretched principle but now avowed by you; as the Donatists did of old.

    She hath fallen by ambition, in the Hildebrandine principle, asserting a sovereignty in the pope over the kings and potentates of the earth; whereof I can give you no precedent instance, unless it be of him who claimed the kingdoms of the world to be his own, and boasted that he disposed of them at his pleasure, Matthew 4. And now I hope you will not take it in ill part that I have given you a plain answer unto your question; which, as I suppose, was proposed unto us for that end and purpose.

    But although these things are evident and sufficiently proved, yet I see nothing will satisfy you unless we produce testimonies of former times, to manifest that your church hath been arraigned, judged, condemned, written against, by fathers, councils, or other churches. Now, though this be somewhat an unreasonable expectation in you, and that which I am no way bound unto by the law of our discourse to satisfy you in, yet, to prevent for the future such evasions as you have made use of on all occasions in your epistle, I shall, in a few pregnant and unquestionable instances, give you an account both when, how, and by whom, the falls of your church have been observed, reproved, condemned, and written against. Only unto what shall be discoursed unto this purpose, I desire liberty to premise these three things, which I suppose will be granted. “Dabitur ignis tameu, etsi ab inimicis petam.” The first is, That what is by any previously condemned, before the embracing and practice of it, is no less condemned by them than if the practice had preceded their condemnation. Though you should say that your avowing of a condemned error would make it no error, yet you cannot say that it will render it not condemned; for that which is done cannot be undone, say you what you will.

    Secondly , That where any opinion or practice in religion, which is embraced and used by your church, is condemned and written against, that then your church, which so embraceth and useth it, is condemned and written against. For neither do Protestants write against your church, nor condemn it on any other account, but of your opinions and practices; and you require but such a writing and condemnation as you complain of amongst them.

    Thirdly , I desire you to take notice that I do not this as though it were necessary to the security and defense of the cause which we maintain against you. It is abundantly sufficient and satisfactory unto our consciences, in your casting us out from your communion, that all the ways whereby we say your church is fallen from her pristine purity are judged and condemned in the Scripture, the word of truth, whither we appeal for the last determination of the differences between us. These things being premised, to prevent such evasions as you have accustomed yourself unto, I shall, as briefly as I can, give you somewhat of that which you have now twice called for. 1. Your principle and practice, in imposing upon all persons and churches a necessity of the observation of your rites and ceremonies, customs and traditions, casting them out of communion who refuse to submit unto this your great principle of all the schisms in Europe, was contradicted, written against, condemned, by councils and fathers, in the very first instance that ever you gave of it. Be pleased to consider that this concerns the very life and being of your church; for if you may not impose your constitutions, observances, and customs upon all others, “actum est,” there is an end of your present church state. Let us see, then, how this was thought of in the days of old. Victor, the bishop of Rome, A.D. 96, condemns and excommunicates the churches of Asia, because they would not join with him in the celebration of Easter precisely on the Lord’s day. Did this practice escape uncontrolled? He was written against by the great Irenssus, and reproved that he had cast out of communion taav tou~ Qeou~ , “whole churches of God,” for a trivial cause.

    His act also was condemned, in the justification of those churches, by a council in Palestine, where Theophilus presided; and another in Asia, called together for the same purpose by Polycrates, Euseb. Eccleas. Hist., lib. 5 cap. 22-25. This is an early instance of a considerable fall in your church, and an open opposition by councils and fathers made unto it, And do not you, sir, deceive yourself, as though the act of Victor were alone concerned in this censure of Irenaeus and others. The principle before mentioned, which is the very life and soul of your church, is condemned in it. It was done also in a repetition of the same instance attempted here in England by you, when Austin, that came from Rome, would have imposed on the British churches the observation of Easter according to the custom of the Roman church. The bishops and monks of these churches not only rejected your custom, but the principle also from whence the attempt to impose it on them did proceed; protesting that they owned no subjection to the bishop of Rome, nor other regard than what they did to every good Christian, Concil. Anglican. p. 188. 2. Your doctrine and practice of forcing men by carnal weapons, corporal penalties, tortures, and terrors of death, unto the embracement of your profession, and actually destroying and taking away the lives of them that persist in their dissent from you, is condemned by fathers and councils, as well as by the Scriptures, and the light of nature itself. It is condemned by Tertullian, Apol. cap. 23. “Videte,” saith he, “ne et hoc ad irreligiositatis elogium concurrat, adimere libertatem religionis, et interdicere optionem divinitatis, ut non liceat mihi colere quod velim, sed cogar colere quod nolim;” with the like expressions in twenty other places. All this external compulsion he ascribes unto profaneness. So doth Clemens Alexand., Stromat. 8; so also did Lactantius: all consenting in that maxim of Tertullian, “Lex nova non se vindicat ultore gladio;” “The law of Christ revengeth not itself with a punishing sword.” The council of Sardis, Epist. ad Alexaud., expressly affirms that they dissuaded the emperor from interposing his secular power to compel them that dissented. And you are fully condemned in a canon of a council at Toledo, cap. de Judae. distinct, 45: “Praecipit sancta synodus, nemini deinceps ad credendum vim inferre; cui enim vult Deus miseretur, et quem vult indurat;” — “The holy synod commandeth that none hereafter shall by force be compelled to the faith; for God hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” Athanasius, in his Epistle ad Solitarios, falls heavily on the Arians, that they began first to compel men to their heresy by force, prisons, and punishments; whence he concludes of their sect, “Atque ita seipsam quam non sit pia nec Dei cultrix manifestat;” — “It evidently declares itself hereby to be neither pious nor to have any reverence of God.” In a book that is of some credit with you, — namely, Clemens’s Constitutions, — you have this amongst other things for your comfort: To< aujtexou>sion tw~n ajnqrw>pwn ajfh~ken ejleu>qeron , ouj proskai>rw| zana>Tw| dika>zwn ajll j ejn eJte>ra| katasta>sei logoqetw~n aujto>? — “Christ left men the power of their wills free” (in this matter), “not punishing them with death temporal, but calling them to give an account in another world.” And Chrysostom speaks to the same purpose on John 6. jErwta~ le>gwn , Mh< kai< uJmei~v ze>lete uJpa>gein ; o[per pa~san h+n ajfairou~ntov bi>an kai< ajna>gknh? — “He asked them, saying, ‘Will ye also go away?’ which is the question of one rejecting all force and necessity.” Epiphanius gives it as the character of the semi-Arians, Touqeian dida>skontav diw>kousin , oujk e]ti lo>goiv boulo>menoi ajnatre>pein , ajlla< kai< e]cqraiv , kai< pole>moiv , kai< cw>ra| eijrga>santo ajlla< pollai~v? — “They persecute them that teach the truth, not confuting them with words, but delivering them that believe aright to hatreds, wars, and swords, having now brought destruction, not to one city or country alone, but to many.” Neither can you relieve yourselves by answering that they were true believers whom they persecuted, you punish heretics and schismatics only; for they thought and said the same of themselves which you assert in your own behalf. So Salvian informs us, “Haeretici sunt, sed non scientes; denique apud nos sunt haeretici, aloud se non sunt. Nam in tantum se et catholicos judicant, ut nos ipsos titulo haereticae pravitatis infament: quod ergo illi nobis sunt, et hoc nos illis;” — “They are heretics, but they know it not; they are heretics unto us, but not unto themselves, for they so far judge themselves to be catholic, that they condemn us for the guilt of heresy: so, then, what they are to us, that we are to them.” Especially was your whole practice in this matter solemnly condemned in the case of Priscillianus, recorded by Sulpitius Severus in the end of his second book, — the only instance that Benarmine could fix upon, in all antiquity, for the putting of any men to death upon the account of religion; for the other whom he mentions, he confesseth himself to have been a magician. Ithacius, with some other bishops his associates, procured Maximus the tyrant to put Priscillianus a Gnostic, with some others, to death, and to banish some of their followers.

    What saith the historian thereon? “Hoc modo,” saith he, “homines luce indignissimi pessimo exemplo, necati, aut exiliis mulctati;” — “On this manner were those unworthy wretches either slain or punished by banishment, by a very evil precedent.” And what was the success of this zeal? “Non solum,” saith he, “non repressa est haeresis, sed confirmata, latius propagata est;” — “The heresy was so far from being repressed by it, that it was the more confirmed and propagated.” And what ensued hereupon in the church itself? “Inter nostros perpetuum discordiarum bellum exarserat: quod jam per quindecim annos foedis dissensionibus agitatum nullo modo sopiri poterat. Et nunc cure maxime discordiis episcoporum turbari aut misceri omnia cernerentur, cunctaque per eos odio ant gratia, metu, inconstantia, in vidia, factione, avaritia, arrogantia, somno, desidia essent depravata: — postremo plures adversum paucos bene consulentes, insanis consiliis et pertinacibus studiis certabant: inter hsec plebs Dei, et optimus quisque, probro atque ludibrio habebatur;” with which words he shuts up his ecclesiastical story. “Amongst ours, a lasting war of discord was kindled, which, after it hath now for fifteen years been carried on with shameful contentions, can by no means be allayed; and now especially, when all things appear to be troubled and perverted by the discord of the bishops, and that all things are depraved by them, through hatred, favor, fear, inconstancy, envy, faction, covetousness, pride, sleepiness, and sloth, — the most, with mad counsels and pertinacious endeavors, [were] opposing themselves to the few that are better advised.

    Amongst all these things the people of God, and every honest man, is become a reproach and a scorn.” Thus that historian, complaining of the consequents of this proceeding. But good men left not the matter so:

    Martinus Turonensis presently refuseth all communion with them who had any hand in the death or banishment of the persons mentioned; so doth Ambrose declare himself to have done, Epist. 27; as did the rest of the sober, godly bishops of those days. At length both Ithacius and Idacius, the promoters of this work, were solemnly excommunicated, though one of them had before, for very shame, foregone his bishopric. See Prosp. Chron. 389, and Isidore de Viris Illustribus. So that here also the judgment and practice of your church, which she is fallen into, is publicly condemned and written against thirteen hundred years ago. Should I insist on all the testimonies that of this kind might be produced, — “Ante diem clauso componet vesper olympo,” Virg. AEn. 1:378. than I could make an end of them. I have added this instance to the former, as knowing them to be the two great pillars on which the tottering fabric of your church is raised, and which, if they were removed, the whole of it would quickly fall to the ground; and you see how long ago they were both publicly condemned. 3. Your papal cecumenical supremacy hath two main branches: — (1). Your pope’s spiritual power over all persons and churches in the things of religion; (2.) His power over emperors, kings, and protestants, in reference unto religion; or, as you speak, “in ordine ad spiritualia.”

    The first your church stumbled into by many degrees, from the days of Victor, who made the first notable halt to this purpose; the latter you stumbled into in the days of Gregory VII., or Hildebrand. It were endless to declare how this fall of your church hath been declared, written against, opposed, condemned by churches, councils, fathers, princes, and learned men in all ages Some few evidences to this purpose, to satisfy your request, I shall direct you unto. It was written against and condemned by Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, and that in a council at Carthage, anno 258, upon an attempt made by Stephen, bishop of Rome, looking in some small degree towards that usurped supremacy which afterward was attained unto. You may, if you please, there see him rebuked, and the practice of your church condemned. The same Cyprian had done no less before, in reference unto some actings of Cornelius, the predecessor of Stephen, Epist. ad Cornel. Though the pretensions ot Cornelius and Stephen were modest in comparison of your present vast claim, yet the churches of God in those days could not bear them. It is prejudged in the most famous council of Nice, which assigned bounds unto the jurisdiction of bishops, giving to several of them equal authority: can. 6. Ta< ajrcai~a [e]qh ] kratei>tw , ta< ejn Aijgu>ptw| ¸ kai< Lizu>h| , kai< Pentapo>lei , w[ste toav ejpi>skopon pa>ntwn tou>twn e]cein than , ejpeidh< kai< tw~| ejn th~| jRw>mh| ejpisko>pw| tou~to sunh>qev ejsti>n? oJmoi>wv de< kai< kata< thaiv ta< preszei~a sw>zesqai tai~v ejkklhsi>aiv? — “Let the ancient customs be observed, that, as to Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis, the bishops of Alexandria have power over them” (or the churches in them), “for so is the custom of the bishop of Rome” (that is, to have power over the adjoining churches); “likewise about Antioch, and in other provinces, that the ancient rights of the churches be preserved.” Your great pope, whom you so frequently call “the pastor of Christendom,” was here but oJ ejn th~| JRw>mh| ejpi>skopov , — “the bishop in the city or church of Rome,” or of the church in the city of Rome. And bounds are assigned unto the authority which he claimed by custom, as to his of Alexandria and Antioch. It is true the church of Alexandria hath some power assigned, ascribed, or granted unto it, above other churches of Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis, for a warranty whereof the usage of the Roman church in reference unto her neighbor churches is made use of; which, to deal freely with you, and to tell you my private thoughts, was a confirmation of a disorder by your example, which you were from that day forward seldom wanting to give plenty of. So to this purpose, Concil. Antioch. can. 13 and 15, anno 341; Concil. Con-stantinop. can. 2, anno 381. But this canon of the Nicene fathers openly condemneth, and is perfectly destructive of, your present claimed supremacy. Three councils together in Africa, within the space of twenty years, warned your church of her fall into this heresy, and opposed her attempts for the promotion of it: — The first at Carthage, anno 407, which forbids all appeals unto any beyond the sea; which Rome was to them in Africa no less than it is unto us in England.

    The next was the second Milevitan, anno 416, where the same prohibition is revived with express respect unto the see of Rome, as Binius acknowledgeth. The same order is again asserted by another council in Africa, wherein the pretensions of Boniface unto some kind of superintendency over other churches are sorely reproved, and his way of prosecuting his attempt, by pretended canons of the council of Nice, after great pains taken and charge disbursed in the discovery of the forgery, censured and condemned. All these testimonies of the condemnation of this fall of yours, by fathers and councils, you have gathered unto your hand in the Cod. Can. Conc. Afric., and by Binius, with others. Also the substance of all these canons of provincial synods is confirmed in the fourth chapter of the decree of the third oecumenical council at Ephesus, anno 431, can. 8: Yh~fov? ]Edoxe th~| aJgi>a| [tau>th| ] kai< oijkoumenikh~| suno>dw| , sw>zesqai eJka>sth| ejparci>a| kaqara< kai< ajzi>asta ta< aujth~| proso>nta di>kaia ejxajrch~v a]nwqen , kata< to< pa>lai krath>san e]qpv? — “It seemeth good to the holy and general council that every province retain its rights pure and inviolate, which, according unto ancient custom, it had from the beginning.” The decree, I confess, was purposely framed against the bishop of Antioch, who had taken on him to ordain bishops in Cyprus, out of his province; but it is built on that general reason which expressly condemns the Roman pretensions to an unlimited supremacy.

    The great and famous council of Chalcedon, anno 451, condemned the same heresy, and plainly overthrew the whole foundation of your papal plea, act 15, can. 18, as the canons of that council are collected by Balsamon and Zonaras; though some of them, with intolerable partiality, would separate this and some others from the body of the canons of that council, giving them a place by themselves. The decree contains the reasons of the council’s assigning privileges next unto, and equally with, the Roman, unto the Oonstantinopolitan church: Tw~| zro>nw| , say they, th~v preszute>rav JRw>mhv , dia< to< basile>uein thlin ejkei>nhn , oiJ pate>rev eijko>twv ajpodedw>kasi ta< preszei~a? — The fathers” (our predecessors) “granted privileges to the see of ancient Rome, because that was the imperial city.” Do you see from whence proceeded all the privileges of the Roman throne? — merely from the grants and concessions of former bishops; and I wish they had been liberal only of what was their own. And what was the reason of their so doing? Because the city was “imperial:” in which one sentence, beth their supremacy and the grounds of it are discarded and virtually condemned; for their pretensions are utterly inconsistent with this synodical determination.

    They proceed: For the same reason, Ta< i=sa preszei~a ajpe>neiman tw~| th~v ne>av JRw>mhv aJgiwta>tw| zro>nw| , eujlo>gwv kri>nantev tha| kai< sugklh>tw| timhqei~san po>lin , kai< tw~n i]swn ajpolau>ousan preszei>wn th~| preszute>ra| basili>di JRw>mh| , kai< ejn toi~v ejkklhsiastikoi~v>? — “They” (the hundred and fifty bishops) “assigned the same or equal privileges unto the holy see of new Rome; rightly determining that the city which is honored with the empire and senate should enjoy equal privileges in things ecclesiastical with the ancient queen-Rome,” or Rome-regent of old. Is not your present supremacy here sufficiently condemned, and that by as famous a council as ever the Christian world enjoyed? And it will not avail you that you fell into this heresy fully afterward, and not before the determination of this council: for he that falls into a heresy after the determination of a council is no less condemned therein than he that fell into it before, and gave occasion to the sentence; yea, his guilt is the greater of the two, because he despised the sentence which he knew, which the other, it may be, neither did nor could foresee. I gave you an instance before how it is condemned and written against by the British church here in this island, and many more instances of the same nature might be added.

    The Hildebrandine branch of your supremacy, — I mean the power that you challenge over kings and potentates, “in online ad spiritualia,” — which, having made some progress by insensible degrees, was enthroned by Pope Gregory VII., hath as little escaped opposition, censure, and condemnation, as any heresy whereinto your church is fallen This Gregory may be accounted the chief father of this heresy; for he licked the unshapen monster into that terrible form wherein it hath since ranged about on the earth. What this man’s principles and practices were, I shall not desire you to learn of Cardinal Benno, whom yet I have reason to judge the more impartial writer of the two, but of Cardinal Baronius, who makes it his business to extol him to the skies: “Facit eum apud nos deum, virtutes narrat,” — “He makes almost a god of him;” or at least zei~on a]ndra , as Socrates tells us the Lacedemonians called an excellent man, Plato in Menn. The chief kingdoms of Europe, as England and Spain, with Sicilia and Sardinia, and sundry other principalities, he claimed as his own unquestionable fee. The empire he accounted his proper care, making the deposing of emperors much of his business. The principles he proceeded upon, the same cardinal informs us of in his Annals, ad an. 1076, n. 30.

    And he hath done well to record them, that they might be preserved “in perpetuam rei memoriam,” that we might learn what your great father exercised himself about, — “Dum succus pecori et lac subducitur agnis,” Virg. Ec. 3:6, whilst the poor sheep famished for want of knowledge and instruction.

    They are called “Dictata Papae,” and “ex tripode” we may not doubt, being in number twenty-seven; whereof I shall mind you of a few.

    The first is, “Quod Romana ecclesia a solo Domino sit fundata;” — “That the Roman church was founded by the Lord alone.” (2.) “Quod solus Romanus pontifex jure dicatur universalis;” — “That the Roman bishop is rightfully called universal.” So some think, indeed, ever since Pope Gregory I. taught them that he who assumed that title was a forerunner of antichrist. (3.) “Quod ille solus possit deponere episcopos, vel reconciliare;” — “That he alone can depose bishops, or restore them;” which agrees well with the practice of all the councils from that of Antioch, which deposed Paulus Samosatenus. (7.) “Quod illi soli licet, pro temporis necessitate, novas leges condere;” — “That he alone, as necessity requires, can make new laws.” Let him proceed. (8.) “Quod solus possit uti imperialibus insigniis;” — “He alone can use imperial ensigns.” It is a great kindness in him, doubtless, to lend them to any of his neighbors, or rather subject-kings. (9.) “Quod solius papae pedes omnes principes deosculentur;” — “That it is the pope alone whose feet all princes may or ought to kiss.”

    Yea, and it is a kindness if he kick not their crowns from their heads with his foot, as one did our King John’s; or tread upon their necks, as another did on the Emperor Frederic’s.” (11.) “Quod unicum est nomen in mundo, — papae scilicet;” — “That there is only one name in the world, — into wit, that of the pope;” no other name, it seems, given under heaven. Once more, (12.) “Quod illi liceat Imperatores deponere;” — “That it is lawful for him to depose emperors.” I hope you will not be offended at the calling over these heresies because the so doing is not suited to our present design. I took them out of your Cardinal Baronius, in the place above quoted, who hath placed them as on a pillar, V. D. P. L. P.,’ f26 — “Where they may be easily read by an men.” And that you may not think that these were the heresies of Gregory alone, the same Baronius affirms that these Dictates were confirmed in a synod at Rome, whereby they became the heresies of your whole church. Did Peter thus feed the sheep of Christ? seeing “Pasce ores mess,” is the great pretense for all these exorbitances. Alas, — “Hic alienus oves custos bis mulget in hora,” Virg. Ecl. 3:5, an this is but the shearing, milking, and slaying of a stranger, the shepherds being driven into corners. But have these noisome heresies of your church, think you, passed without control? Was she not judged, censured, written against, and condemned in the person of her chief pastor? You must be a very stranger unto all history if you can imagine any such thing. A council assembled by the emperor at Worms, in Germany, reckons up the miscarriages of this Hildebrand, and pronounceth him deposed, with all those that adhered unto him. Another synod, anno 1080, at Brixia in Bavaria, condemns him also for the same causes. All the heroic potentates of Europe, especially the emperors of Germany, the kings of England and France, with whole assemblies of their clergy, have always opposed and condemned this branch of your supremacy. And to this purpose hundreds of their laws, decrees, edicts, and declarations, are at this day extant. 4. Your pope’s personal infallibility, with the requisite qualifications, is another heretical opinion that your church hath fallen by. And herein you are aujtokata>kritoi , — “condemned of yourselves,” — and we need no farther witness against you; you have been often taken ejpautofw>rw| , “in the very fact.” I know there is an opinion secretly advancing amongst some of you, whereby you would cast out of the bounds of your defense this personal infallibility of your pope; but we have no more reason to esteem that opinion the doctrine of your church than we have to conclude that the Jesuits’ new position, asserting him infallible in matter of fact, is so. And though I know not perfectly what your opinion is in this matter, yet I may take a time to show how utterly unserviceable unto your purpose the new way of the explication of infallibility is. For it hath but these two general inconveniences attending it, — first, That it is not the opinion of your church; secondly, If that be the only infallibility we are to rest on, the whole claim of your church, and its interest therein, falls to the ground; — both which I hope to have an opportunity to manifest. In the meantime, we take that for the doctrine of your church which is declared by itself so to be, which is explained and defended by her most famous champions. And, indeed, you in your “Fiat” assert, as I have showed, the pope personally to be an unerring guide; which is that we inquire after.

    Bellarmine tells us that all Catholics agree in these two things: — (1.) “Pontificem, cure generali concilio, non posse errare in condendis decretis fidei, vel generalibus praeceptis morum;” — “That the pope, with a general council, cannot err in making decrees of faith, or general precepts concerning manners.” (2.) “Pontificem solum, vel cure suo particulari concilio, aliquid in re dubia statuentem, sire errare possit sive non, esse ab omnibus fidelibus obedienter audiendum;” — “All believers must willingly obey the pope, either alone or with his particular council, determining in doubtful matters, whether he may err or no.”

    I confess, if this be so, and he must be obeyed, whether he do right or wrong, whether he teacheth truly or falsely, it is to no great purpose to talk of his infallibility; for follow him we must whither ever he leads us, though it should be to hell. And the Catholic proposition that he asserts himself is, that, “Summus pontifex, cure totam ecclesiam docet in his quae ad fidem pertinent, nullo casu errare potest;” — “The pope, when he teacheth the whole church, can in no case err in those things which appertain unto faith,” De Romans Pontif., lib. 4 cap. 2, 3. What a blind that is “of teaching the whole church,” children can see. The pope can no way teach the whole church but as he declares his opinion or judgment; which may be divulged unto many, as that of another man. Let us see, then, how well they have made good this their infallibility, and how well their judgment hath been approved of by the church of old. I will not here mind you of the decree fathered on Clemens, wherein he determines that “all things among Christians ought to be common; and among them, wives;” — because I know it is falsely imposed on him, though you may be justly charged with it, who are the authors of those forgeries whereof that is a part. Nor shall I rake the epistles which you ascribe unto divers of the ancient bishops of Rome, that are full of ignorance, errors, and pitiful nonsense, because they are, questionless, pseudepigraphal, though you who own them may be justly charged with their follies. Nor will I much insist on the testimony of Tertullian in his book against Praxeas, that the bishop of Rome owned the prophecies of Montanus, until Praxeas persuaded him to the contrary; because, it may be, you will say that perhaps Tertullian spake partially in favor of a sect whereunto he was himself addicted, — though, for aught I know, he is as sufficient a witness in matter of fact as any one man upon the roll of antiquity. But what say you to Marcellinus? Did he not sacrifice to idols? which, according unto you, is “a mixed misdemeanor in faith and manners” (Con. tom 1, Vita Marcel.), and therefore certainly a shrewd impeachment of his infallibility; and was he not judged for it? What think you of Liberius? did he not subscribe to Arianism? Sozomen tells you expressly that he did so, lib. cap. 15; and so doth Athanasius, Epist. ad Solitarios, giving the reason why he did so, — namely, out of fear; and so doth Jerome, both in Script.

    Ecclesiast. Fortunat. and in Euseb. Chron. Pope Honorius was solemnly condemned for a Monothelite heretic in the sixth general council, act. 12, 13; which sentence was afterward ratified by your own darling, the second of Nice, act. 3, 7, and is mentioned in a decretal epistle of Pope Leo II. So infallible was he during his life, so infallible was he thought to be when he was dead, — whilst he lived he taught heresy, and when he was dead he was condemned for a heretic; and with him the principle which is the hinge of your present faith. Neither did Vigilius behave himself one jot better in his chair. The council of Pisa deposed Gregory XII. and Benedict XIII. for schismatics and heretics. The council of Constance accused John XXIII. of abominable heresy, sess. 11. And that of Basil condemned Engenius as one “a fide devium et pertinacem haereticum,” sess. 34; — “an erroneous person and obstinate heretic.” Other instances of the like nature might be called over, manifesting that your popes have erred, and been condemned as persons erroneous; and therein the principle of their infallibility.

    I would be unwilling to tire your patience, yet, upon your reiterated desire, I shall present you with one instance more; and I will do it but briefly, because I must deal with you again about the same matter. 5. Your church is fallen by idolatry, as otherwise, so in that religious veneration of images which she useth; whereunto you have added heresy, in teaching it for a doctrine of truth, and imposing the belief of it by your Tridentine determination on the consciences of the disciples of Christ. I know you would fain mince the matter, and spread over the corrupt doctrine of your church about it with rhJmasi bussi>noiv , “silken words,” as you do the posts that they are made of with gold, when, as the prophet speaks of your predecessors in that work, you lavish it out of the bag for that purpose. But to what purpose? Your first council, the second of Nice (which yet was not wholly yours neither, for it condemns Honorius, calls Tharasius the oecumenical patriarch, and he expounds in it the rock on which the church was built to be Christ, and not Peter); your last council, that of Trent; your angelical doctor, Thomas of Aquine; your great champions, Bellarmine and Baronius, Suarez, Vasquez, and the rest of them; with the Catholic practice and usage of your church in all places, — declare sufficiently what is your faith, or rather misbelief, in this matter.

    Hence Azorius, Institut. lib. 9 cap. 6, tells us that “Constans est theologorum sententia, imaginem eodem honore et cultu coli, quo colitur id cujus est imago;” — “It is the constant judgment of divines, that the image is to be worshipped with the same honor and worship wherewith that is worshipped whose image it is.” The Nicene council, by the instigation of Pope Adrian, anathematizeth every one who doth but doubt of the adoration of images, act. 7. Thomas contendeth that the cross is to be worshipped with “latria,” p. 3, q. 25, a. 4; which is a word that he and you suppose to express religious worship of the highest sort. And your council of Trent, in their decree about this matter, confirmed the doctrine of that lestrical convention at Nice, whose frauds and impostures were never paralleled in the world but by itself. And do you think that a few ambiguous flourishing words of you, an unknown person, shall make the world believe that they understand not the doctrine and practice of your church, which is proclaimed unto them by the fathers and masters of your persuasion herein, and expressed in practices under their eyes every day?

    Do you think it so easy for you, “Cornicum oculos, configere,” as Cicero tells us an attorney, one Cn. Flavius, thought to do, in going beyond all that the great lawyers had done before him, Orat. pro Muraena, 11. We cannot yet be persuaded that you are so great an interpreter of the Roman oracles as to believe you before all the sages before mentioned, to whom hundreds may be added. And what do you think of this doctrine and practice of your church? Hath it been opposed, judged, and condemned, or no? The first writers of Christianity, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Origen, Tertullian, Arnobius, Lactantius, utterly abhorred the use of all images, at least “in sacris.” The council held at Eliberis in Spain, twelve or thirteen years before the famous assembly at Nice, positively forbid all use of pictures in churches: Can. 36, “Placuit, picturas in ecclesia esse non debere; ne quod colitur et adoratur in parietibus depingatur;” — “The council resolved that pictures ought not to be in churches; that that which is worshipped and adored be not painted on walls.” Cyprian condemns it, Epist. ad Demetriad. And so, generally, do all the fathers, as may be gathered in the pitiful endeavors and forgeries of the second Nicene council, endeavoring to confirm it from them. Epiphanius reckons it among the errors of the Gnostics; and himself brake an image that he found hanging in a church, Epist. ad Johan. Hierosol. Austin was of the same judgment, see Lib. de Morib. Ecclea Cathol. cap. 34. Your adoration of them is expressly condemned by Gregory the Great, in an epistle to Serinus, lib. 7 epist. 111, and lib. 9 epist. 9. The Greek church condemned it, in a synod at Constantinople, anno 754. And one learned man in those days undertaking its defense (and, indeed, the only man of learning that ever did so until of late), they excommunicated and cursed him. This was Damascenus; concerning whom they used those expressions, repeated in the second Nicene council: Mansoumw| kai< ZarjrJakhno>froni ajna>Dqema? tw~| eijkonola>trh| kai< falsogra>fw| Mansouqema? tw~| tou~ Cristou~ uJzristh~| kai< ejpizou>lw| th~v basilei>av Mansouqema? tw~| th~v ajsezei>av didaska>lw| kai< parermhneuth~| th~v zei>av grafh~v Mansouqema? “Unto Mansour, of an evil name, and in judgment consenting with Saracens, anathema; to Mansour, a worshipper of images and writer of falsehood, anathema; to Mansour, contumelious against Christ and traitor to the empire, anathema; to Mansour, a teacher of impiety and perverse interpreter of Scripture, anathema,” Synod. Nic. 2 Act. 6. For that it was Johannes Damascenus that they intended, the Nicene fathers sufficiently manifest in the answer following, read by Epiphanius the deacon. And this reward did he meet withal, from the seventh council at Constantinople, for his pains in asserting the veneration of images; although he did not, in that particular, pervert the Scripture as some of you do, but laid the whole weight of his opinion on tradition; wherein he is followed by Vasquez among yourselves. Moreover, the western churches, in a great council at Frankfort in Germany, utterly condemned the Nicene determination, which in your Tridentine convention you approve and ratify, anno 794. It was also condemned here by the church of England, and the doctrine of it fully confuted by Albinus, Hoveden Annal. anno 791. Never was any heresy more publicly and solemnly condemned than this, whereby your church is fallen from its pristine purity. But hereof more afterward.

    It were no difficult matter to proceed unto all the chief ways whereby your church is fallen, and to manifest that they have been all publicly disclaimed and condemned by the better and sounder part of professors; but the instances insisted on may, I hope, prove sufficient for your satisfaction. I shall therefore proceed to consider what you offer unto the remaining principles which I conceived to animate the whole discourse of your “Fiat Lux.”

    CHAPTER 5. Other principles of “Fiat Lux” re-examined — Things not at quiet in religion, before reformation of the first reformers — Departure from Rome no cause of divisions — Returnal unto Rome no means of union. YOU proceed unto the fourth assertion gathered out of your “Fiat,” which you thus lay down: “‘It is,’ say you, ‘frequently pleaded by our author that all things, as to religion, were ever quiet and in peace before the Protestants’ relinquishment of the Roman see.’ That ‘ever’ is your own addition, but let it pass; what say you hereunto? This principle you pretend is drawn out of ‘Fiat Lux,’ not because it is there, but only to open a door to yourself to expatiate into some wide general discourse about the many wars, distractions, altercations, that have been aforetime up and down in the world, in some several ages of Christianity. And you therefore say, it is frequently pleaded by me, because indeed I never spake one word of it, and it is in truth a false and fond assertion; though neither you nor I can deny that such as keep unity of faith with the church can never, so long as they hold it, fall out upon that account.” Sir, I take you to be the author of “Fiat Lux;” and if you are so, I cannot but think you were asleep when you talked at this rate. “The assertion is false and fond; you speak not one word of it!” Pray, sir, take a little advice of your son, “Fiat,” not to talk on this manner; and you will wonder yourself how you came to swallow so much confidence as in the face of the world to vent such things as these. He tells us from you, pp. 234-236, chap. 4, second edition, that “After the conversion of this land by the children of blessed St Bene’t, notwithstanding the interposition of the Norman conquest, that all men lived peaceably together, without any the least disturbance upon the account of religion, until the end of King Henry VIII.’s reign, about five hundred years after the conquest.” See also what in general you discourse of all places to this purpose, pp. 221, 222. And, p. 227, you do in express terms lay down the position which here you so exclaim against as “false and fond;” but you may make as bold with it as you please, for it is your own. “Never had this land,” say you, “for so many hundred years as it was Catholic, upon the account of religion any disturbance at all; whereas, after the exile of the Catholic belief in our land, from the period of King Henry VIII.’s reign to these days, we have been in actual disquiet, or at least in fears.” “Estne haec tunica filii tui?” Are not these your words? Doth not your son “Fiat” wear this livery? And do you not speak to this purpose in twenty other places? Is it not one of the main suppositions you proceed upon in your whole discourse? You do well now, indeed, to acknowledge that what you spake was “fond and false,” and you might do as much for the most that you have written in that whole discourse; but now openly to deny what you have asserted, and that in so many places, that is not so well done of yore. There are, sir, many ways to free yourself from that damage you feel or fear from the “Animadversions.” When any thing is charged on you or proved against you which you are not able to defend, you may ingenuously acknowledge your mistake, and that without any dishonor to you at all: good men have done so; so may you or I when we have just occasion. It is none of your tenets that you are all of you infallible, or that your personal mistakes or miscarriages will prejudice your cause. Or you might pass it by in silence, as you have done with the things of the most importance in the “Animadversions;” and so keep up your reputation that you could reply to them if you would, or were free from flies. And we know Polloi~v ajpo>krisiv hJ siwph< tugca>nei , as Menander speak; — “Silence is with many the best answer.” Or you might attempt to disprove or answer, as the case requires. But this that you have fixed upon, of denying your own words, is the very worst course that you could have chosen, upon the account either of conscience or reputation. However, thus much we have obtained, — one of the chief pretenses of your “Fiat” is, by your own confession, “false and fond.” It is indeed no wonder that it should be so; it was fully proved to be so in the “Animadversions: but that you should acknowledge it to be so is somewhat strange; and it would have been very welcome news had you plainly owned your conviction of it, and not renounced your own offspring. But I see you have a mind to the benefit you aimed at by it, though you are ashamed of the way you used for the obtaining of it; and therefore add, “That neither you nor I can deny that such as keep the unity of faith with that church can never, so long as they hold it, fall out on that account.” But this, on the fhrst consideration, seems to me no very singular privilege; methinks a Turk, a Jew, an Arian, may say the same of their societies: it being no more but this, — “So long as you agree with us, you shall be sure to agree with us!” They must be very unfriendly minded towards you that will call these kuri>av do>xav into question. Yet there remains still one scruple on my mind in reference unto what you assert. I am not satisfied that there is in your church any such unity of faith as can keep men from falling out or differing in and about the doctrines and opinions they profess If there be, the children of your church are marvellous morose, that they have not all this while learned to be quiet, but are at this very day writing volumes against one another, and procuring the books of one another to be prohibited and condemned; which the writings of one of the most learned of you in this nation have lately not escaped. I know you will say sometimes, that though you differ, yet you differ not in things belonging unto the unity of faith. But I fear this is but a blind, an apron of fig-leaves. What you cannot agree in, be it of never so great importance, you will agree to say that it belongs not unto the unity of faith; when things no way to be compared in weight and use with them, so you agree about them, shall be asserted so to do. Andin what you differ, whilst the scales of interest on the part of the combatants hang even, all your differences are but in school and disputable points; — but if one party prevail in interest and reputation, and render their antagonists inconsiderable as to any outward trouble, those very points that before were disputable shall be made necessary, and to belong to the unity of faith; as it lately happened in the case of the Jansenists.

    And here you are safe again: the unity of the faith is that which you agree in; and that which you cannot agree about belongs not unto it, as you tell us, though you talk at another rate among yourselves But we must think that the unity of faith is bounded by the confines of your wranglements, and your agreement is the rule of it. This, it may be, you think suits your turn: but whether it be so well suited unto the interest of the gospel and of truth, you must give men leave to inquire, or they will do it “ingratiis,” whether you will or no. But if by the unity of faith you intend the substantial doctrines of the gospel proposed in the Scripture to be believed on necessity unto salvation, it is unquestionably among all the churches in the world, and might possibly be brought forth into some tolerable communion in profession and practice, did not your schismatical interest and principles interpose themselves to the contrary.

    The fifth supposition in your “Fiat,” observed in the “Animadversions,” is, “That the first reformers were most of them contemptible persons, their means indirect, and their ends sinister;” to which you reply, “Where is it, sir, where is it, that I meddle with any men’s persons, or say they are contemptible? What and how many are those persons? and where did they live? But this you add of your own is in a vast universal notion, to the end you may bring in the apostles and prophets, and some kings, into the list of persons by me surnamed ‘contemptible,’ and liken my speech, who never spake any such thing, to the sarcasms of Celsus, Lucian, Porphyry, Julian, and other Pagans.” So you begin; but “ne saevi, magne Sacerdos!”

    Have a little patience, and I will direct you to the places where you display in many words that which in a few I represented. They are in your “Fiat,” chap. 4, sect. 18, second edition, from p. 239, unto sect. 20, p. 251. Had you lost your “Fiat,” that you make such an outcry after that which in a moment he could have supplied you withal? “Calvin, and a tailor’s widow, — Luther and Catharine Bore, — pleased with a naked unicorn, — swarms of reformers as thick as grasshoppers, fallen priests and votaries, — ambitious heads, emulating one another, — if not the worst, yet none of the best that ever were, — so eagerly quarrelling among themselves, that a sober man would not have patience to hear their sermons or read their books;” with much more to the same purpose, you will find in the places which I have now directed you unto. But I see you love to say what you please, but not to hear of it again. But he that can, in no more words, more truly express the full and genuine sense of your 18th and 19th chapters than I have done, in the assertion you so cry out against, shall have my thanks for his pains; only, I must mind you that you have perverted it, in placing the last words as if they referred unto the reformers you talk of, that they did their work for “sinister ends,” when I only said that “their doctrine, according to your insinuations, was received for sinister ends;” wherein I comprised your foul reflections upon King Henry VIII., and Queen Elizabeth his daughter, — not placing them, as you now feign, among the number of them whom I affirmed to be reported by you as a company of contemptible persons. But now, upon a confidence that you have shifted your hands of a necessity to reinforce this assertion, which you find, it may be, in yourself an incompetency for, you reflect back upon some former passages in the “Animadversions,” wherein the general objections that you lay against Protestancy are observed to be the same for substance that long ago were by Celsus objected unto Christianity, and say, “So likewise, in the very beginning of this your second chapter, you spend four leaves in a parallel betwixt me and the pagan Celsus; whereof there is not any member of it true. ‘Doth Fiat Lux,’ say you, ‘lay the cause of all the troubles, disorders, tumults, wars, within the nations of Europe, upon Protestants? doth he charge the Protestants, that by their schisms and seditions they make a way for other revolts? doth he gather a rhapsody of insignificant words? doth he insist upon their divisions? doth he manage the arguments of the Jews against Christ, etc.? — so doth Celsus, who is confuted by Origen.’ Where does ‘Fiat Lux,’ where does, does he, does he any such thing? Are you not ashamed to talk at this rate? I give a hint, indeed, of the divisions that be amongst us, and the frequent argumentations that are made to embroil and puzzle one another, with our much evil, and little appearance of any good in order unto unity and peace; which is the end of my discourse. But must I therefore be Celsus? Did Celsus any such thing to such an end? It is the end that moralizeth, and specifies the action. To diminish Christianity, by upbraiding our frailties, is paganish; to exhort to unity, by representing the inconvenience of faction, is a Christian and pious work. When honest Proestants in the pulpit speak ten times more full and vehemently against the divisions, wars, and contentions that be amongst us, than ever came into my thoughts, must they therefore every one of them be a Celsus, a pagan Celsus? What stuff is this? But it is not only my defamation you aim at; your own glory comes in the rear. If I be Celsus, the pagan Celsus, you then, forsooth, must be Origen that wrote against him, honest Origen; that is the thing. Pray, sir, — it is but a word, — let me advise you, by the way, that you do not forget yourself in your heat, and give your wife occasion to fall out with you. However you may, yet will not your wife like it perhaps so well that her husband should be Origen.” Such trash as this must he consider who is forced to have to do with you. These, it seems, are the meditations you are conversant with in your retirements.

    What little regard you have in them unto truth or honesty shall quickly be discovered unto yore 1. Do I compare you with Celsus, or do I make you to be Celsus? I had certainly been very much mistaken if I had done so, u=v thsmall abilities in literature, as you discover yourself to be, with so learned a philosopher, had been a great mistake.

    And I wish you give me not occasion to think you as much inferior unto him in morals as I know you are in your intellectuals. But, sir, I nowhere compare you unto him; but only show a coincidence of your objections against Protestancy with some of his against Christianity; which the likeness of your cause and interest cast you upon. 2. I did not say, “You had the same end with him:” I expressed my thoughts to the contrary; nor did compare your act and his in point of morality, but only showed, as I said before, a coincidence in your reasonings. This you saw and read; and now, in an open defiance of truth and ingenuity, express the contrary. Celsus would not have done so. But I must tell you, sir, you are mistaken, if you suppose that the end doth so absolutely moralize an action that it of itself should render it good or evil.

    Evil it may, but good of itself it cannot; for, “Bonum oritur ex integris causis, malum ex quolibet defectu.” Rectifying the intention will not secure your morality. And yet, also, on second thoughts, I see not much difference between the ends that Celsus proposed unto himself upon his general principle, and those that you propose to yourself upon your own; as well as the way whereby you proceed is the same. But yet, upon the accounts before mentioned, I shall free you from your fears of being thought like him. 3. When Protestants preach against our divisions, they charge them upon the persons of them that are guilty, whereas you do it on the principles of the religion that they profess; so that although you may deal like Celsus, they do not. 4. The scurrilous sarcasm wherewith you close your discourse is not meet for any thing but the entertainment of a friar and his concubine; such as in some places, formerly, men have by public edicts forced you to maintain, as the only expedient to preserve their families from being defiled by you. 5. Let us now pare through the instances that you have culled out of many charged upon you, to be the same with those of Celsus, concerning which you make such a trebled outcry, “Does he, does he, does he?” The first is, “Doth ‘Fiat Lux’ lay the cause of all tumults and disorders on Protestants?” “Clames licet, et mare coelo Confundas,” Juv. 6:282. “Fiat Lux” doth so, chap. 4, sect. 17, p. 237, sect. 18, pp. 242, 243, sect. 20, p. 255, and in sundry other places. You add, “Doth he charge Protestants, that by their schisms and seditions they make way for other revolts?” He doth so, and that frequently, chap. 3, sect. 14, p. 187, etc. “Doth he,” you add, “gather a rhapsody of insignificant words, as did Celsus?” I say he doth, in the pretended plea that he insists on for Quakers, and for Presbyterians also, chap. 3, sect. 13, pp. 172, 173, etc. Again, “Doth he manage the arguments of the Jews against Christianity, as was done by Celsus?” He doth directly, expressly, and at large, chap. in., sect. 12, p. 158, etc. I confess, because it may be you know it not, you might have questioned the truth of my parallel on the side that concerned Celsus, which yet I am ready at any time, if you shall so do, to give you satisfaction in; but that you would question it on your own part, when your whole discourse, and the most of the passages in it, make it so evident, I could not foresee. But your whole defense is nothing but a noise or an outcry, to deter men from coming nigh you to see how the case stands with you. It will not serve your turn, ejrjrJi>fqh ku>zov? you must abide by what you have done, or fairly retract it. In the meantime, I am glad to find you ashamed of that which elsewhere you so much boast and glory in.

    With the sixth and seventh principles mentioned by me you deal in like manner. You deny them to be yours; which is plainly to deny yourself to be the author of “Fiat Lux.” And surely every man that hath once looked seriously into that discourse of yours will be amazed to hear you saying that you never asserted “Our departure from Rome to be the cause of the evils among Protestants;” or that “There is no remedy for them but by a returnal thither again;” which are the things that now you deny to be spoken or intended by you. For my part, I am now so used unto this kind of confidence, that nothing you say or deny seems strange unto me. And whereas unto your denial you add not any thing that may give occasion unto any useful discourse, I shall pass it by, and proceed unto that which will afford us some better advantage unto that purpose.

    CHAPTER 6. Farther vindication of the second chapter of the “Animadversions” — Scripture sufficient to settle men in the truth — Instance against it, examined, removed — Principles of Protestants and Romanists in reference unto moderation compared and discussed. THE eighth principle, which way soever it be determined, is of great importance as to the cause under debate. Here, then, we shall stay a while, and examine the difficulties which you labor to entangle that assertion withal; which we acknowledge to be the great and fundamental principle of our profession, and you oppose. The position I laid down as yours is, “That the Scripture, on sundry accounts, is insufficient to settle us in the truth of religion, or to bring us to an agreement amongst ourselves.”

    Hereunto I subjoined the four heads of reasons which, in your “Fiat,” you insisted on to make good your assertion. These you thought meet to pass by without reviving them again to your farther disadvantage. You are acquainted, it seems, with the old rule, —— “Et quae Desperat tractata nitescere, posse, relinquit.”

    Hor. ad. Pis. 150.

    The position itself you dare not directly deny; but you seek what you can to waive the owning of it, contrary to your express discourse, chap 3 sect. 15, pp. 199,200, etc.; as also in sundry other places, interwoven with expressions exceedingly derogatery to the authority, excellency, efficacy, and fullness of the Scripture; as hath been showed in the “Animadversions.” But let us now consider what you plead for yourself.

    Thus, then, you proceed: “You speak not one word to the purpose, or against me at all, if I had delivered any such principle. God’s word is both the sufficient and only necessary means of both our conversion and settlement, as well in truth as virtue. But the thing you heed not, and unto which I only speak, is this, that the Scripture be in two hands; for example, of the Protestant church in England, and of the Puritan, who with the Scripture rose up and rebelled against her. Can the Scripture alone of itself decide the business? How shall it do it? Has it ever done it? Or can that written word, now solitary and in private hands, so settle any in a way that neither himself, nor present adherents, nor future generations, shall question it, or with as much probability dissent from it, either totally or in part, as himself first set it? This is the case unto which you do neither here nor in your whole book speak one word; and what you speak otherwise of the Scripture’s excellency, I allow it for good.” 1. Because you are not the only judge of what I have written, nor indeed any competent judge of it at all, I shall not concern myself in the censure which your interest compels you to pass on it. It is left unto the thoughts of those who are more impartial. 2. Setting aside your instance, pitched on “ad invidiam” only, with some equivocal expressions, as must needs be thought ma>la ejnte>cnwv , “very artificially,” to be put into the state of a question, and that which you deny is this,” That where any persons or churches are at variance or difference about any thing concerning religion or the worship of God, the Scripture is not sufficient for the umpirage of that difference, so that they may be reconciled and center in the profession of the same truth.” I wish you would now tell me what discrepancy there is between the assertion which I ascribed unto you, and that which yourself here avow. I suppose they are in substance the same, and as such will be owned by every one that understands any thing of the maters about which we treat. And this is so spoken unto in the “Animadversions,” that you have no mind to undertake the examination of it; but labor to divert the discourse unto that which may appear something else, but indeed is not so. 3. For your distinction between Protestants and Puritans in England, I know not well what to make of it. I know no Puritans in England that are not Protestants, though all the Protestants in England do not absolutely agree in every “punctilio” relating to religion, nor in all things relating unto the outward worship of God; no more than did the churches in the apostles’ days, or than your Catholics do. You give us, then, a distinction like that which a man may give between the church of Rome and the Jesuits or Dominicans; or the sons of St. Bene’t or of St. Francis of Assisi; — a distinction or distribution of the genus into the genus and one species comprehended under it, as if you should have said, “That ‘animal’ is either ‘animal’ or’ homo.’” 4. Though I had rather, therefore, that you had placed your instance between the church of Rome and Protestants, yet because any instance of persons that have different apprehensions about things belonging to the worship of God will suffice us as to the present purpose, I shall let it pass: only I desire you once more, that when you would endeavor to render any thing, way, or acting of men odious, that you would forbear to cast the Scripture into a copartnership therein; which here you seem to do. “The Puritan,” you say, “with the Scripture rose up and rebelled.”

    Rebellion is the name of an outrageous evil, such as the Scripture giveth not the least countenance unto; and therefore when you think meet to charge it upon any, you may do well not to say that “they do it with the Scripture.” It will not be to your comfort or advantage so to do. This is but my advice; you may do as you see cause. — “Tales casus Cassandra canebat.” — Virg. AEn. 3:188. 5. The differences you suppose and look upon as undeterminable by the Scripture, are about things that in themselves really and in truth belong unto Christian religion, or such as do not so indeed, but are only fancied by some men so to do. If they are of this latter sort, as the most of the controversies which we have with you are, — as about your mass, purgatory, the pope, — we account that all differences about them are sufficiently determined in the Scriptures, because they are nowhere mentioned in them. And this must needs be so, if the word of God be, as you here grant, “the sufficient and only means beth of our conversion and settlement, as well in truth as in virtue.” Sir, I had no sooner written these words, in that haste wherein I treat with you, but I suspected a necessity of craving your pardon for supposing my inference confirmed by your concession; for whereas you had immediately before set down the assertion supposed to be yours about the Scriptures, you add the words now mentioned, “God’s word is the sufficient and only means of our conversion and settlement in the truth.” I did not in the least suspect that you intended any legerdemain in the business, but that the Scripture and God’s word had been only various denominations with you of the same precise thing, as they are with us: only, I confess, at the first view, I wondered how you could reconcile this assertion with the known principles of your church; and, besides, I knew it to be perfectly destructive of your design in your following inquiry. But now I fear you play hide-and-seek in the ambiguity your church hath put upon that title, “God’s word;” which it hath applied unto your unwritten traditions as well as unto the written word, as the Jews apply the same term unto their oral law. And therefore, as I said before, I crave your pardon for supposing my inference confirmed by your concession, wherein I fear I was mistaken, and only desire you that for the future you would speak your mind plainly and candidly, as it becomes a Christian and lover of truth to do. But my assertion I esteem never the worse, though it have not the happiness to enjoy your approbation; especially considering that, in the particular instances mentioned, there are many things delivered in Scripture inconsistent with and destructive of your notions about them, sufficient to exterminate them from the confines of the city of God. 6. Suppose the matters in difference do really belong unto religion and the worship of God, and that the difference lies only in men’s various conception of them, you ask, “Can the Scripture alone of itself decide the business?” What do you mean by “alone of itself?” If you mean, without men’s application of themselves unto it, and subjecting of their consciences unto its authoritative decisions, neither it nor any thing else can do it. The matter itself is perfectly stated in the Scripture, whether any men take notice of it or no; but their various apprehensions about it must be regulated by their applications unto it in the way mentioned. On this only supposition, that those who are at variance about things which really appertain unto the religion of Jesus Christ will refer the determination of them unto the Scripture, and bring the conceptions of their minds to be regulated thereby, standing unto its arbitrament, it is able alone and of itself to end all their differences, and settle them all in the truth. This hath been proved unto you a thousand times, and confirmed by most clear testimonies of the Scripture itself, with argument, taken from its nature, perfection, and the end of its giving forth unto men; as also from the practice of our Lord Jesus and his apostles, with their directions and commands given unto us for the same purpose; from the practice of the first churches, with innumerable testimonies of the ancient fathers and doctors. Neither can this be denied without that horrible derogation from its perfection and plenitude, so reverenced by them of old, which is objected unto you for your so doing. Protestants suppose the Scripture to be given forth by God, to be unto the church a perfect rule of that faith and obedience which he requires at the hands of the sons of men. They suppose that it is such a revelation of his mind or will as is intelligible unto all them that are concerned to know it, if they use the means by him appointed to come unto a right understanding of it. They suppose that what is not taught therein, or not taught so clearly as that men who humbly and heartily seek unto him may know his mind therein as to what he requireth of them, cannot possibly be the necessary and indispensable duty of any one to perform. They suppose that it is the duty of every man to search the Scriptures with all diligence, by the help and assistance of the means that God hath appointed in his church, to come to the knowledge of his mind and will in all things concerning their faith and obedience; and firmly to believe and adhere unto what they find revealed by him. And they, moreover, suppose that those who deny any of these suppositions are therein, and so far as they do so, injurious to the grace, wisdom, love, and care of God towards his church, to the honor and perfection of the Scripture, the comfort and establishment of the souls of men, leaving them no assured principles to build their faith and salvation upon. Now, from these suppositions, I hope you see that it will unavoidably follow that the Scripture is able every way to effect that which you deny unto it a sufficiency for; for where, I pray you, lies its defect? I am afraid, from the next part of your question, “Has it ever done it?” that you run upon a great mistake. The defect that follows the failings and miscarriages of men, you would have imputed unto the want of sufficiency in the Scripture. But we cannot allow you herein. The Scripture in its place, and in that kind of cause which it is, is as sufficient to settle men, all men, in the truth, as the sun is to give light to all men to see by; but the sun that giveth light doth not give eyes also. The Scripture doth its work as a moral rule ; which men are not necessitated or compelled to attend unto or follow. And if, through their neglect of it, or not attendance unto it, or disability to discern the mind and will of God in it, — whether proceeding from their natural impotency and blindness in their lapsed condition, or some evil habit of mind contracted by their giving admission unto corrupt prejudices and traditional principles, — the work be not effected, this is no impeachment of the Scripture’s sufficiency, but a manifestation of their weakness and folly. Besides, all that unity in faith that hath been at any time, or is in the world, according to the mind of God; every decision that hath been made at any time of any difference in or about religion, in a right way and order, — hath been by the Scripture, which God hath sanctified unto these ends and purposes. And it is impossible that the miscarriages or defects of men can reflect the least blame upon it, or make it esteemed insufficient for the end now inquired after. The pursuit, then, of your inquiry which now you insist upon, is in part vain, in part already answered. In vain it is that you inquire “whether the written word can settle any man in a way that neither himself, nor present adherents, nor future generations shall question?” for our inquiry is not after what may be, or what shall be, but what ought to be. It is able to settle a man in a way that none ought to question unto the world’s end: so it settled the first Christians. But to secure us that none shall ever question the way whereinto it leads us, that it is not designed for, nor is it either needful or possible that it should be so. The oral preaching of the Son of God and of his apostles did not so secure them whom they taught.

    The way that they professed was everywhere questioned, contradicted, spoken against; and many, after the profession of it, again renounced it.

    And I wonder what feat you have to settle any one in a way that shall never be questioned. The authority of your pope and church will not do it: themselves are things as highly questioned and disputed about as any thing that was ever named with reference unto religion. If you shall say, “But yet they ought not to be so questioned, and it is the fault of men that they are so,” you may well spare me the labor of answering your question, seeing you have done it yourself. And whereas you add, “Or with as much probability dissent from it, either totally or in part, as himself first set it,” — when the very preceding words do not speak of a man’s own setting, but of the Scripture’s settling, the man only embracing what that settleth and determineth, — it is answered already, that what is so settled by the Scripture, and received as settled, cannot justly be questioned by any. And you insinuate a most irrational supposition, on which your assertion is built, — namely, that error may have as much probability as truth. For I suppose you will grant that what is settled by the Scripture is true, and therefore that which dissents from it must needs be an error; which, that it may be as probable indeed as truth (for we speak not of appearances, which have all their strength from our weaknesses), is a new notion, which may well be added to your many other of the like rarity and evidence. But why is not the Scripture able to settle men in unquestionable truth? When the people of old doubted about the ways of God wherein they ought to walk, himself sends them to “the law and to the testimony” for their instruction and settlement, Isaiah 8:20; and we think the counsel of him who cannot deceive nor be deceived is to be hearkened unto, as well as his command to be obeyed. Our Savior assures us that if men will not hear Moses and the prophets, and take direction from them for those ways wherein they may please God, they will not do it, whatsoever they pretend, from any other means which they rather approve of, Luke 16:29,31. Yea, and when the great fundamental of Christian religion, concerning the person of the Messiah, was in question, he sends men for their settlement unto the Scriptures, John 5:39. And we suppose that that which is sufficient to settle us in the foundation is so to confirm us also in the whole superstructure; especially considering that it is able “to make the man of God perfect, and to be thoroughly furnished unto all good works,” 2 Timothy 3:16,17. What more is required unto the settlement of any one in religion we know not, nor what can rationally stand in competition with the Scripture to this purpose, seeing that is expressly commended unto us for it by the Holy Ghost; other ways are built on the conjectures of men. Yea, the assurance which we may have hereby is preferred by Peter before that which any may have by an immediate voice from heaven, 2 Peter 1:19, And is it not an unreasonable thing, now, for you to come and tell us that the Scripture is not sufficient to give us an unquestionable settlement in religion? “Whether it be meet to hearken unto God or men, judge you.” For our part, we seek not for the foundation of our settlement in long uncertain discourses, dubious conclusions and inferences, fallible conjectures, sophistical reasonings, such as you would call us unto, but in the express direction and command of God. Him we can follow and trust unto, without the least fear of miscarriage. Whither you would lead us we know not, and are not willing to make desperate experiments in things of so high concernment. But since you have been pleased to overlook what hath been discoursed unto this purpose in the “Animadversions,” and, with your usual confidence, to affirm “that I nowhere at all speak one word to the case that you proposed,” I shall, for your farther satisfaction, give you a little enlargement of my thoughts as to the principles on which Protestants and Romanists proceed in these matters, and compare them together, that it may be seen whether of us builds on the most stable and adequate foundation as to the superstruction aimed at by us both.

    Two things you profess, if I mistake not, to aim at in your “Fiat;” at least you pretend so to do: — 1. Moderation in and about our differences whilst they continue; 2. The reduction of all dissenters unto a unity in faith and profession; — things, no doubt, great and excellent. He can be no Christian that aims not at them, that doth not earnestly desire them. You profess to make them your design; Protestants do so also. Now, let us consider whether of the two, you or they, are fitted with principles, according unto the diversity of professions wherein you are engaged, for the regular accomplishment and effecting of these ends. And in the consideration of the latter of them, you will find your present case fully and clearly resolved. 1. For the first, — of moderation, — I intend by it, and I think so do you also, the mutual forbearance of one another as to any effects of hatred, enmity, or animosities of any kind, attended with offices of love, charity, kindness, and compassion, proceeding from a frame of heart or gracious habit of mind naturally producing such effects, with a quiet, peaceable deportment towards one another, during our present differences in or about any thing in religion. Certainly, this moderation is a blessed thing; earnestly commended unto us by our Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles; and as necessary to preserve peace among Christians as the sun in the firmament is to give light unto the world. The very heathen could say, Pa>ntwn me>tron a]riston , — “Moderation is the life of all things;” and nothing is durable but from the influence which it receives from it. Now, in pressing after moderation, Protestants proceed chiefly on two principles, which, being once admitted, make it a duty indispensable. And I can assure you that no man will long follow after moderation but only he that looks upon it as his duty so to do; incident provocations will quickly divert them in their course who pursue it for any other ends or on any other accounts.

    The first principle of the Protestants disposing them to moderation, and indispensably exacting it of them as their duty, is, that amongst all the professors of the name of Christ, who are known by their relation unto any church, or way of note or mark in the world, not actually condemned in the primitive or apostolical times, there is so much saving truth owned and taught, as, being received with faith and submitted unto with sincere obedience, is sufficient to give them that profess it an interest in Christ and in the covenant of grace and love of God, and to secure their salvation.

    This principle hath been openly defended by them, and I profess it to be mine. It is true, there are ways whereby the truth mentioned may be rendered ineffectual; but that hinders not but that the principle is true, and that the truth so received is sufficient for the producing of those effects in its kind and place. And let men pretend what they please, the last day will discover that that faith which “purifieth the heart,” and renders the person in whom it is accepted with God by Jesus Christ, may have its objective truths confined in a very narrow compass; yet it must embrace all that is indispensably necessary to salvation. And it is an uusufferable tyranny over the souls and consciences of men, to introduce and assert a necessity of believing whatever this or that church, any, or indeed all churches, shall please to propose; for the proposal of all the churches in the world cannot make any thing to be necessary to be believed that was not so antecedently unto that proposal Churches may help the faith of believers; they cannot burden it, or exercise any dominion over it. He that believeth that whatever God reveals is true, and that the holy Scripture is a perfect revelation of his mind and will (wherein almost all Christians agree), need not fear that he shall be burdened with multitudes of particular articles of faith, provided he do his duty in sincerity, to come to an acquaintance with what God hath so revealed. Now, if men’s common interest in Christ their head, and their participation of the same Spirit from him, with their union in the bond of the covenant of grace, and an equal sharing in the love of God the Father, be the principles, and, upon the matter, the only grounds and reasons of that special love, without dissimulation, which Christians ought to bear one towards another, — from whence the moderation pleaded for must proceed, or it is a thing of no use in our present case, at least no way generally belonging to the gospel of Jesus Christ, — and if all these things may be obtained by virtue of that truth which is professed in common among all known societies of Christians, doth it not unavoidably follow that we ought to exercise moderation towards one another, however differing in or about things which destroy not the principles of love and union? Certainly we ought, unless we will resolvedly stifle the actings of that love which is implanted in all the disciples of Christ, and, besides, live in an open disobedience unto his commands. This, then, indispensably exacts moderation in Protestants towards them that differ from them; and that not only within the lines of Protestancy, because they believe that, notwithstanding that dissent, they have, or may have, for aught they know, an interest in those things which are the only reasons of that love which is required in them towards the disciples of Christ. There is a moderation proceeding from the principles of reason in general, and requisite unto our common interest in humanity, which is good, and an especial ornament unto them in whom it is, especially if they are persons exalted above others in place of rule and government. Men fierce, implacable, revengeful, impatient, treading down all that they dislike under their feet, are the greatest defacers of the image of God in the world, and, upon the matter, the only troublers of human society. But the moderation which the gospel requireth ariseth and proceedeth from the principles of union with Christ before mentioned; which is that that proves us disciples of Christ indeed, and will confirm the mind in suitable actings against all the provocations to the contrary which; from the infirmities and miscarriages of men, we are sure to meet withal. Neither doth this at all hinder but that we may contend earnestly for the truth delivered unto us, and labor, by the ways of Christ’s appointment, to reclaim others from such opinions, ways, and practices, in and about the things of religion and worship of God, as are injurious unto his glory, and may be destructive and pernicious to their own souls. Neither doth it, in the least, put any discouragement upon endeavors to oppose the impiety and profaneness of men in their corruption in life and conversation; which certainly and unquestionably are inconsistent with and destructive of the profession of the gospel, let them on whom they are found be of what party, church, or way of religion they please. And if those in whose hearts are the ways of God, however diversified among themselves by various apprehensions of some doctrines and practices, would sincerely, according to their duty, set themselves to oppose that profaneness, wickedness of life, or open viciousness of conversation, which is breaking in like a flood upon the world, — and which, as it hath already almost drowned the whole glory of Christian religion, so it will undoubtedly, if not prevented, end in the woful calamity and final ruin of Christendom, — they would have less mind and leisure to wrangle fiercely among themselves, and breathe out destruction against one another for their mistakes and differences about things which, by their own experience, they find not to take off from their love to Christ, nor weaken the obedience he requires at their hands. But whilst the whole power of Christianity is despised, conversion to God and separation from the ways of the perishing world are set at nought, and men think they have nothing to do in religion but to be zealously addicted to this or that party amongst them that profess it, it is no wonder if they think their chiefest duty to consist in destroying one another. But for men that profess to he leaders and guides of others in Christian religion, openly to pursue carnal and worldly interests, greatness, wealth, outward splendor and pomp, to live in luxury and pride, to labor to strengthen and support themselves by the adherence of persons of profane and wicked lives, that so they may destroy all that in any opinion differ from themselves, is vigorously to endeavor to drive out of the world that religion which they profess, and, in the meantime, to render it so uncomely and undesirable that others must needs be discouraged from its embracement. But these things cannot spring from the principles of Protestants, which, as I have manifested, lead them unto other manner of actings. And it is to no purpose to ask, why then they are not all affected accordingly? for they that are not so do live in an open contradiction to their own avowed principles; which, that it is no news in the world, the vicious lives of many, in all places professing Christianity, will not suffer us to doubt. For though that religion which they profess teacheth them to “deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, to live soberly, and righteously, and godly, in this present world,” if they intend the least benefit by it, yet they hold the profession of it on a contrary practice. And for this selfdeceiving, attended with eternal ruin, many men are beholding unto such notions as yours about your church, securing salvation within the pale of its external communion, laying little weight on the things which, at the last day, will only stand them in stead. But for Protestants, setting aside their occasional exasperations, when they begin to bethink themselves, they cannot satisfy their own consciences in a resolution not to love them, because of some differences, whom they believe that God loves or may love, notwithstanding those differences from them; or to renounce all union with them who, they are persuaded, are united unto Christ; or not to be moderate towards them in this world with whom they expect to live for ever in another. I speak only of them, on all sides, who have received into their hearts, and do express in their lives, the scriptural power and energy of the gospel, who are begotten unto Christ by the word of truth, and have received of his Spirit, promised in the covenant of grace unto all them that believe on him; for, not to dissemble with you, I believe all others, as to their present state, to be in the same condition before God, be they of what church or way they will, though they are not all in the same condition in respect of the means of their spiritual advantage which they enjoy or may do so, they being much more excellent in some societies of Christians than others. This then, to return, is the principle of Protestants, derived down unto them from Christ and his apostles; and hereby are they eminently furnished for the exercise of that moderation which you so much and so deservedly commend. And more fully to tell you my private judgment, which whether it be my own only I do not much concern myself to inquire, but this it is: — Any man in the world who receiveth the Scripture of the Old and New Testament as the word of God, and on that account assents in general to the whole truth revealed in them, worshipping God in Christ, and yielding obedience unto him answerable unto his light and conviction, — not contradicting his profession by any practice inconsistent with true piety, nor owning of any opinion or persuasion destructive to the known fundamentals of Christianity, — though he should have the unhappiness to dissent, in some things, from all the churches that are at this day in the world, may yet have an internal, supernatural, saving principle of his faith and obedience, and be undoubtedly saved. And I am sure it is my duty to exercise moderation towards every man concerning whom I have, or ought to have, that persuasion. 2. Some Protestants are of that judgment that external force ought to have no place at all in matters of faith, however laws may be constituted with penalties for the preservation of public outward order in a nation; most of them, that “haereticidium,” or putting men to death for their misapprehensions in the things of God, is absolutely unlawful; and all of them, that faith is the gift of God, for the communication whereof unto men he hath appointed certain means, whereof external force is none; — unto which two last positions, not only the greatest Protestant but the greatest potentate in Europe hath lately, in his own words, expressive of a heavenly benignity towards mankind in their infirmities, declared his royal assent. And I shall somewhat question the Protestancy of them whom his authority, example, and reason doth not conclude in these things. For my part, I desire no better, I can give no greater warrant to assert them as the principles of Protestants than what I have now acquainted you with.

    And it is no small satisfaction unto me to contemplate on the heavenly principle of gospel peace planted in the noble soil of royal ingenuity and goodness; whence fruit may be expected to the great profit and advantage of the whole world. Nor is it easy to discover the natural and genuine tendency of these principles towards moderation. Indeed, in acting according unto them, and in a regular consistency with them, consists the moderation which we treat about. Wherever, then, Protestants use not that moderation towards those that dissent from them, if otherwise peaceable, which the Lord Jesus requires his disciples to exercise towards all them that profess the same common hope with them, the fault is solely in the persons so offending, and is not countenanced from any principles which they avow. Whether it be so with those of your church shall now be considered. 1. You have no one principle that you more pertinaciously adhere unto, nor which yields you greater advantage with weak, unstable souls, than that whereby you confine all Christianity within the bounds of your own communion. The Roman church and the catholic are with you one and the same. No privilege of the gospel, you suppose, belongs unto any soul in the world who lives not in your communion, and in professed subjection unto the pope. Union with Christ, saving faith here, with salvation hereafter, belongs to no other, — no, not one. This is the moderation of your church, whereunto your outward actings have, for the most part, been suited. Indeed, by this one principle, you are utterly incapacitated to exercise any of that moderation towards those that dissent from you which the gospel requires. You cannot love them as the disciples of Christ, nor act towards them from any such principles. It is possible for you to show moderation towards them as men; but to show any moderation towards them as those [who are] partakers of the same precious faith with you, that is impossible for you to do. Yet this is that which we are inquiring after, — not the moderation that may be amongst men as men, but that which ought to be among Christians as Christians. This is gospel moderation; the other is common unto us with Turks, Jews, and Pagans, and not at all of our present disquisition. And I wish that this were found amongst you, as proceeding from the principles of reason, with ingenuity and goodness of nature, more than it is; for that which proceedeth from, and is regulated by, interest, is hypocritical, and not thankworthy. As occasion offers itself, it will turn and change; as we have found it to do in most kingdoms of Europe. Apparent, then, it is, that this fundamental principle of your profession, “Subesse Romano pontifici,” etc., — that it is of “indispensable necessity unto salvation unto every soul to be subject unto the pope of Rome,” — doth utterly incapacitate you for that moderation towards any that are not of you which Christ requires in his disciples towards one another; seeing you judge none to be so but yourselves. Yet I assure you withal that I hope, yea, I am verily persuaded, that there are many, very many amongst you, whose minds and affections are so influenced by common ingrafted notions of God and his goodness, with a sense of the frailties of mankind, and weakness of the evidence that is rendered unto them for the eviction of that indispensable necessity of subjection to the pope which their masters urge, as also with the beams of truth shining forth in general in the Scriptures, and what they know or have heard of the practices of primitive times, as that, being seasoned with Christian charity and candor, they are not so leavened with the sour prejudice of this principle as to be rendered unmeet for the due exercise of moderation. But for this they are not beholding to your church, nor this great principle of your profession. 2. It is the principle of your church, whereunto your practice hath been suited, that those who dissent from you in things determined by your church, being heretics, if they continue so to do after the application of the means for their reclaiming which you think meet to use, ought to be imprisoned, burned, or one way or other put to death. This you cannot deny to be your principle, in being the very foundation of your Inquisition, — the chief corner-stone in your ecclesiastical fabric, that couples and holds up the whole building together. And it hath been asserted in your practice for sundry ages, in most nations of Europe. Your councils, as that of Constance, have determined it, and practiced accordingly with John Huss and Jerome; your doctors dispute for it; your church lives upon it That you are destitute of any color from antiquity in this your way, I have showed before. Bellarmine, De Laic., cap. 22, could find no other instance of it but that of Priscillianus, which what entertainment it found in the church of God, I have declared; with that of one Basilius, out of Gregory’s Dialogues, lib. 1 cap. 4, whom he confesseth to have been a magician; and of Bogomilus, in the days of Alexius Comnenus, 1100 years after Christ, whose putting to death notwithstanding was afterward censured and condemned in a synod of more sober persons than those who procured it. Instances of your avowing this principle in your dealing with the Albigenses of old, the inhabitants of Merindol and Cabrieres in France, with the Waldenses in the valleys of Piedmont, formerly and of late; of your judiciary proceedings against multitudes of persons of all sorts, conditions, ages, and sexes, in this and most other nations of Europe, you are not pleased with the mention of; I shall therefore pass them by: only, I desire you would not question whether this be the principle of your church or no, seeing you have given the world too great assurance that so it is; and yourself, in your “Fiat,” commend the wisdom of Philip, king of Spain, in his rigor in the pursuit of it, p. 243. These things being so, I desire to know what foundation you have to stand upon in pressing for moderation amongst dissenters in religion. I confess it is a huge argument of your good nature that you are so inclinable unto it; but when you should come to the real exercise of it, I am afraid you would find your hands tied up by these principles of your church, and your endeavors thereupon become very faint and evanid.

    Men in such cases may make great pretenses, — “At velut in somnis oculos ubi languida pressit Nocte quies, nequicquam avidos extendere cursus Velle videmur, et in mediis conatibus aegri Succidimus.” Virg. AEn. 12:908.

    Being destitute of any real foundation, your attempts are but like the fruitless endeavors of men in their sleep, wherein great workings of spirits and fancy produce no effects. I confess, notwithstanding all this, others may be moderate towards you; I judge it their duty so to be, I desire they may be so; but how you should exercise moderation towards others, I cannot so well discern. Only as unto the former, so much more am I relieved as unto this principle, from the persuasion I have of the candor and ingenuity of many individual persons of your profession, which will not suffer them to be captivated under the power of such corrupt prejudices as these. And for my part, if I could approve of external force in any case in matters of religion, it would be against the promoters of the principle mentioned. — “Cogendus” — “In mores hominemque Creon.”

    Statius, Theb. 12:165.

    When men, under pretense of zeal for religion, depose all sense of the laws of nature and humanity, some earnestness may be justified in unteaching them their untoward catechisms, which lie indeed not only against the design, spirit, principles, and letter of the gospel, but “terrarum leges et mundi foedera,” — the very foundations of reason on which men coalesce into civil society. But, as we observed before, out of one of the ancients, “Force hath no place in or about the law of Christ,” one way or other.

    That which gave occasion unto this discourse was your insinuation of the Scripture’s insufficiency for the settlement of men in the unity of faith, the contrary whereof being the great principle of Protestancy, I was willing a little to enlarge myself unto the consideration of your principles and ours, — not only with reference unto the unity of faith, but also as unto that moderation which you pretend to plead for, and the want whereof you charge on Protestants, premising it unto the ensuing discourse, wherein you will meet with a full and a direct answer unto your question.

    CHAPTER 7. Unity of faith, wherein it consists — Principles of Protestants as to the settling men in religion and unity of faith, proposed and confirmed. THE next thing proposed as a good to be aimed at, is unity in faith, and settlement or infallible assurance therein. This is a good desirable for itself; whereas the moderation treated of is only a medium of relief against other evils until this may be attained. And therefore, though it be, upon supposition of our differences, earnestly to be endeavored after, yet it is not to be rested in, as though the utmost of our duty consisted in it, and we had no prospect beyond it. It is a catholic unity in faith which all Christians are to aim at; and so both you and we profess to do, only we differ both about the nature of it and the proper means of attaining it. For the nature of it, you conceive it to consist in the “explicit or implicit belief of all things and doctrines determined on, taught, and proposed by your church [to] be believed, and nothing else (with faith supernatural) but what is so taught and proposed.” But this description of the unity of faith we can by no means admit of: — 1. Because it is novel. It hath no footstep in any writings of the apostles, nor of the first fathers or writers of the church, nor in the practice of the disciples of Christ for many ages. That the determination of the Roman church, and its proposal of things or articles to be believed, should be the adequate rule of faith unto all believers, is a matter as foreign unto all antiquity as that the prophecies of Montanus should be so. 2. Because it makes the unity of faith, after the full and last revelation of the will of God, flux, alterable, and unstable, liable to increase and decrease; whereas it is uniform, constant, always the same in all ages, times, and places, since the finishing of the canon of the Scriptures. For we know, and all the world knows, that your church hath determined many things lately — some cqehn , as it were but yesterday — to be believed, which itself had never before determined, and so hath increased the rule of faith, moved its center, and extended its circumference; and what she may farther determine and propose tomorrow, no man knows.

    And your duty it is to be ready to believe whatever she shall so propose; whereby you cannot certainly know unto your dying day whether you do believe all that may belong to the unity of faith or no. Nay, — 3. Your church hath determined and proposed to be believed express contradictions: which determinations abiding on record, you are not agreed which of them to adhere unto; as is manifest in your conciliary decrees about the power of the Pope and the Council, unto which of them the preeminence is due. Now, this is a strange rule of the unity of faith, that is not only capable of increase, changes, and alterations, so that that may belong unto it one day which did not belong unto it, another, — as is evident from your Tridentine decrees, wherein you made many things necessary to be believed which before were esteemed but probable, and were the subjects of sophistical altercations in your schools, — but also compriseth in itself express contradictions; which cannot at all belong unto faith, because both of them may be false, one of them must be so; nor to unity, because contrary and adverse. 4. Whereas holding “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” or the unity of faith, is so great and important a duty unto all Christians, that they can no way discharge their consciences unto God without a wellgrounded satisfaction that they live in the performance of it, this description of its nature renders it morally impossible for any man explicitly to know (and that only a man knows which he knows explicitly) that he doth answer his duty herein. For, (1.) The determinations of your church of things to be believed are so many and various, that it is not within the compass of an ordinary diligence and ability to search and find them out. Nor, when a man hath done his utmost, can he obtain any tolerable security that there have not other determinations been made, that he is not as yet come to an acquaintance with all, or that he ever shall so do; and how in this case he can have any satisfactory persuasion that he keeps the unity of faith, is not as yet made evident. (2.) In the determinations he may meet withal, or by any means come to the knowledge of, he is to receive and believe the things determined and proposed unto him in the sense intended by the church, or else he is never the nearer to his end: but what that sense is in the most of your church’s proposals, your doctors do so endlessly quarrel among themselves, that it is impossible a man should come unto any great certainty in his inquiry after it; yet a precise meaning in all her proposals your church must have, or she hath none at all. What shall a man do, when he comes unto one of your great masters to be acquainted with the genuine sense of one of your church’s proposals? this being the way that he takes for his satisfaction: — First, he speaks unto the article or question to be considered in general; then gives the different senses of it according to these and those famous masters, the most of which he confutes, — who yet all of them professed themselves to explain and to speak according to the sense of your church; and, lastly, gives his own interpretation of it, which, it may be, within a few months is confuted by another. (3.) Suppose a man have attained a knowledge of all, that your church hath determined and proposed to be believed, and to a right understanding of her precise sense and meaning in all her determinations and proposals, — which I believe never yet man attained unto, — yet what assurance can he have, if he live in any place remote from Rome, but that your church may have made some new determinations in matters of faith, whose embracement, in the sense which she intends, belongs unto his keeping the unity of faith, which yet he is not acquainted withal? Is it not simply impossible for him to be satisfied at any time that he believes all that is to be believed, or that he holds the unity of faith? Your late pontifical determination in the case of the Jansenists and Molinists is sufficient to illustrate this instance. For I suppose you are equally bound not to believe what your church condemneth as heretical, as you are bound to believe what it pro-poseth for Catholic doctrine. (4.) I desire to know when a man who lives here in England begins to be obliged to believe the determinations of your church that are made at Rome. It may be he first hears of them in a “Mercury” or weekly newsbook; or it may be he hath notice of them by some private letters, from some who live near the place; or it may be he hath a knowledge of them by common report; or it may be they are printed in some books, or that there is a brief of them published somewhere under the name of the pope; or they are put into some volume written about the councils; or some religious person, on whom he much relies, assures him of them. I know you believe that your church’s proposition is a sufficient means of the revelation of any article, to make it necessary to be believed; but I desire to know what is necessary to cause a man to receive any dictate or doctrine as your church’s proposition? — not only upon this account, that you are not very well agreed upon the “requisita” unto the making of such a proposition, but also because, be you as infallible as you please in your proposals, the means and ways you use to communicate those proposals you make unto individuals in whom alone the faith whereof we treat exists are all of them fallible. Now, that which I desire to know is, What is or what are those certain means and ways of communicating the propositions of your church unto any person, wherein he is bound to acquiesce, and upon the application of them unto him to believe them, “fide divina cui non potest subesse falsum?” Is it any one thing, or way, or means, that [forms] the hinge upon which his assent turns? or is it a complication of many things concurring to the same purpose? If it be any one thing, way, or medium, that you fix upon, pray let us know it, and we shall examine its fitness and sufficiency for the use you put it unto. I am sure we shall find it to be either infallible or fallible. If you say the former, and that that particular upon which the assent of a man’s mind unto any thing to be the proposal of your church depends, must, in the testimony it gives and evidence that it affords, be esteemed infallible, then you have as many infallible persons, things, or writings, as you make use of to acquaint one another with the determinations of your church; that is, upon the matter, you are all so, though I know in particular that you are not. If the latter, notwithstanding the first pretended infallible proposition, your faith will be found to be resolved immediately into a fallible information; for what will it advantage me that the proposal of your church cannot deceive me, if I may be deceived in the communicating of that proposal unto me? And I can with no more firmness, certainty, or assurance, believe the thing proposed unto me, than I do believe that it is the proposal of the church wherein it is made. For you pretend not unto any self-evidencing efficacy in your church’s propositions, or things proposed by it; but all their authority, as to me, turns upon the assurance that I have of their relation unto your church, or that they are the proposals of your church, concerning which I have nothing but very fallible evidence, and so cannot possibly believe them with faith divine and supernatural. If you shall say that there are many things concurring unto this communication of your church’s proposal unto a man, as the notoriety of the fact, suitable proceedings upon it, books written to prove it, testimonies of good men, and the like, I cannot but mind you that all these being “sigillatim,” every one apart fallible, they cannot in their conspiracy improve themselves into an infallibility. Strengthen a probability they may; testify infallibly they neither do nor can. So that, on this account, it is not only impossible for a man to know whether he holds the unity of faith or no, but, indeed, whether he believe any thing at all with faith supernatural and divine, seeing he hath no infallible evidence for what is proposed unto him to believe, to build his faith upon. 5. Protestants are not satisfied with your general implicit assent unto what your church teacheth and determineth, which you have invented to solve the difficulties that attend your description of the unity of faith. Of what use it may be unto other purposes, I do not now dispute; but as to this, of the preservation of the unity of faith, it is certainly of none at all. The unity of faith consists in all men’s express believing all that all men are bound expressly to believe, be it what it will. Now, you would have this preserved by men’s not believing what they are bound to believe: for what belongs to this keeping the unity of faith, they are bound to believe expressly; and what they believe implicitly, they do indeed no more but not expressly disbelieve, — for if they do any more than not disbelieve, they put forth some act of their understanding about it, and so far expressly believe it: so that, upon the matter, you would have men to keep the unity of faith by a not believing of that which, that they may keep the unity of faith, they are bound expressly to believe; nor can you do otherwise whilst you make all the propositions of your church of things to be believed to belong to the unity of faith Lastly, The determinations of your church you make to be the next efficient cause of your unity. Now these, not being absolutely infallible, leave it, like Delos, flitting up and down in the sea of probabilities only. This we shall manifest unto you immediately; at least, we shall evidence that you have no cogent reasons nor stable grounds to prove your church infallible in her determinations.

    At present, it shall suffice to mind you that she hath determined contradictions, and that in as eminent a manner as it is possible for her to declare her sense by, — namely, by councils confirmed by popes; and an infallible determination of contradictions is not a notion of any easy digestion in the thoughts of a man in his right wits. We confess, then, that we cannot agree with you in your rule of the unity of faith, though the thing itself we press after as our duty. For, (2.) Protestants do not conceive this unity to consist in a precise determination of all questions that are or may be raised in or about things belonging unto the faith, whether it be made by your church or any other way. Your Thomas of Aquine, who without question is the best and most sober of all your school doctors, hath in one book given us five hundred and twenty-two articles of religion, which you esteem miraculously stated: “Quot articuli, tot miracula.” All these have at least five questions, one with another, stated and determined in explication of them; which amount unto two thousand six hundred and ten conclusions in matters of religion. Now, we are far from thinking that all these determinations, or the like, belong unto the unity of faith, though much of the religion amongst some of you lies in not dissenting from them. The questions that your Bellarmine hath determined and asserted, the positions in them as of faith, and ne cessary to be believed, are, I think, near forty times as many as the articles of the ancient creed of the church, and such as it is most evident that, if they be of the nature and importance pretended, it is impossible that any considerable number of men should ever be able to discharge their duty in this business of holding the unity of faith. That a man believe in general that the holy Scripture is given by inspiration from God, and that all things proposed therein for him to believe are therefore infallibly true, and to be as such believed; and that, in particular, he believe every article or point of truth that he hath sufficient means for his instruction in, and conviction that it is so revealed; they judge to be necessary unto the holding of the unity of faith. And this also they know, that this sufficiency of means unto every one that enjoys the benefit of the Scriptures, extends itself unto all those articles of truth which are necessary for him to believe, so as that he may yield unto God the obedience that he requireth, receive the Holy Spirit of promise, and be accepted with God. Herein doth that unity of faith which is amongst the disciples of Christ in the world consist, and ever did; nor can do so in any thing else. Nor doth that variety of apprehensions that in many things is found among the disciples of Christ, and ever was, render this unity, like that you plead for, various and uncertain; for the rule and formal reason of it, — namely, God’s revelation in the Scripture, — is still one and the same, perfectly unalterable. And the several degrees that men attain unto in their apprehensions of it do no more reflect a charge of variety upon it than the difference of seeing, as to the several degrees of the sharpness or obtuseness of our bodily eyes, doth upon the light given by the sun. The truth is, if there was any common measure of the assents of men, either as to the intension of it, as it is subjectively in their minds, or extension of it, as it respecteth truths revealed, that belonged unto the unity of faith, it were impossible there should be any such thing in the world, at least that any such thing should be known to be. Only this I acknowledge, that it is the duty of all men to come up to the full and explicit acknowledgment of all the truths revealed in the word of God, wherein the glory of God and the Christian’s duty are concerned; as also to a joint consent in faith objective, or propositions of truth revealed, at least in things of most importance, — though their faith subjective, or the internal assent of their minds, have, as it will have in several persons, various degrees, yea, in the same persons, it may be, at different seasons. And in our laboring to come up unto this joint acknowledgment of the same sense and intendment of God in all revealed truths consists our endeavor after that perfection in the unity of faith which in this life is attainable; as our moderation doth in our walking in peace and love with and towards others, according to what we have already attained. We may distinguish, then, between that unity of faith which an interest in gives union with Christ unto them that hold it, and communion in love with all equally interested therein; and that accomplishment of it which gives a sameness of profession, and consent in all acts of outward communion in the worship of God. The first is found in and amongst all the disciples of Christ in the world, wherever they are; the latter is that which, moreover, it is your duty to press after. The former consists in an assent in general unto all the truths of God revealed in the Scripture, and in particular unto them that we have sufficient means to evidence them unto us to be so revealed. The latter may come under a double consideration: for either there may be required unto it, in them who hold it, the joint perception of and assent unto every truth revealed in the Scripture, with an equal degree of certainty in adherence and evidence in perception, — and it is not in this life, wherein the best of us know but in part, attainable; or only such a concurrence in an assent unto the necessary propositions of truth as may enable them to hold together that outward communion in the worship of God which we before mentioned. And this is certainly attainable by the ways and means that shall immediately be laid down; and where this is, there is the unity of faith in that completeness which we are bound to labor for the attainment of. This the apostolical churches enjoyed of old, and unto the recovery whereof there is nothing more prejudicial than your new stating of it upon the account of your church’s proposals.

    This unity of faith we judge good and necessary, and that it is our duty to press after it; so also in general do you. It remains, then, that we consider what is the way, what are the means and principles, that Protestants propose and insist upon for the attainment of it; that is, in answer to your question, “What it is that can settle any man in the truth of religion, and unite all men therein?” And then, because you object this unto us, as if we were at some loss and uncertainty therein, and yourselves very secure, I shall consider what are the grounds and principles that you proceed upon for the same ends and purposes, — namely, to “settle any man in the truth of religion, and to bring all men to a harmony and consent therein.”

    Now, I shall herein manifest unto you these two things: — 1. That the principles which the Protestants proceed upon, in the improvement whereof they obtain themselves assured and infallible settlement in the truth, and labor to reduce others unto the unity of faith, are such as are both suited unto, and sufficient for, the end and work which they design to effect by them, and also in themselves of such unquestionable truth, certainty, and evidence, that either they are all granted by yourselves, or cannot be denied without shaking the very foundations of Christianity. 2. That those which you proceed upon are some of them untrue, and most of them dubious and questionable, none of them able to bear the weight that you lay upon them; and some of them such as the admission of would give just cause to question the whole truth of Christian religion. And both these, sir, I crave leave to manifest unto you, whereby you may the better judge whether the Scripture or your church be the best way to bring men unto settlement in religion, which is the thing inquired after.

    I. Protestants lay down this as the hJ ajrch< th~v uJposta>sewv kai< oJmologi>av , — as “the very beginning and first principle of their confidence and confession,” — that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, as the Holy Ghost teacheth them, 2 Timothy 3:16; that is, that the books of the Old and New Testament were all of them written by the immediate guidance, direction, and inspiration of God; — “the hand of the\parLORD,” as David speaks, 1 Chronicles 28:19, being upon the penmen thereof in writing; and his Spirit, as Peter informs us, speaking in them, 1 Peter 1:11: so that whatever is contained and delivered in them is given out from God, and is received on his authority. This principle I suppose you grant to be true. Do you not? If you will deny it, say so, and we will proceed no farther until we have proved it. I know you have various ways labored to undermine the aujtopisti>a of the holy Scriptures; many queries you put unto men, how they can know it to be from God, to be true, from heaven, and not of men? — many scruples you endeavor to possess them with against its authority. It is not my present business to remove them; it is sufficient unto me, — 1. That you yourselves, who differ from us in other things, and with whom our contest about the best way of coming to settlement in the truth alone is, do acknowledge this principle we proceed upon to be true. And, — 2. That ye cannot oppose it without setting yourselves to dig up the very foundations of Christian religion, and to open a way to let in an inundation of atheism on the world. So our first step is fixed on the grand fundamental principle of all the religion and acceptable worship of God that is in the world.

    II. They affirm that this Scripture evidenceth itself by many infallible tekmh>ria to be so given by inspiration from God; and, besides, is witnessed so to be by the testimony of the church of God from the days of Moses, wherein it began to be written, to the days wherein we live, — our Lord Christ and his apostles asserting and confirming the same testimony; which testimony is conveyed unto us by uninterrupted catholic tradition. The first part of this position, I confess, some of you deny; and the latter part of it you generally all of you pervert, confining the testimony mentioned unto that of your present church; which is a very inconsiderable part of it, if any part at all. But how groundlessly, how prejudicially to the verity and honor of Christian religion in general, you do these things, I shall briefly show you.

    Some of you, I say, deny the first part of this assertion; so doth Andradius, Defens. Concil. Trident. lib. 3. “Neque enim,” saith he, “in ipsis libris quibus sacra mysteria conscripta sunt, quicquam inest divinitatis, quod nos ad credendum quae illis continentur, religione aliqua constringat;” — “Neither is there in the books themselves, wherein the holy mysteries are written, any thing of divinity that should constrain us, by virtue of any religious respect thereunto, to believe the things that are contained in them.” Hence Cochlaeus, lib. 2. De Authoritate Ecclesiastes et Script., gathers up a [great] many instances out of the book of the Scripture, which he declares to be altogether incredible, were it not for the authority of the church. I need not mention any more of your leaders concurring with them; you know who is of the same mind with them, if the author of “Fiat Lux” be not unknown to you. Your resolving universal tradition into the authority of your present church, to which end there is a book written not long since by a Jesuit, under the name of Vincentius Severinus, is no less notorious. Some of you, I confess, are more modest, and otherwise minded, as to both parts of our assertion. See Malderus, Episcop. Antwerp. De Object. Fidei, qu. 1; Vaselius Groningen. De Potestat. Ecclesiastes et Epist. ad Jacob. Hock. Alliacens. in lib. 1:Sentent.

    Artic. 3; Gerson Exam. Dec. part. 2, consid, 1 tom. 1 fol. 105; and in twenty other places. But when you come to deal with Protestants, and consider well the tendency of this assertion, you use, I confess, a hundred tergiversations, and are most unwilling to come to the acknowledgment of it; and, rather than suffer from it, deny it downright, and that with scurrilous reflections and comparisons, likening it, as to any characters of God’s truth and holiness, upon it, unto Livy’s story, yea, A Esop’s Fables, or a piece of poetry. And when you have done so, you apply yourselves to the canvassing of stories in the Old Testament, and to find out appearing contradictions; and tell us of the uncertainty of the authors of some particular books, — that the whole is of itself a dead letter, which can prove nothing at all; inquiring, Who told us that the penmen of it were divinely inspired, seeing they testify no such thing of themselves? and if they should, yet others may do, and have done so, who, notwithstanding, were not so inspired; and ask us, Why we receive the Gospel of Luke, who was not an apostle, and reject that of Thomas, who was one? with many the like cavilling exceptions.

    But, — 1. That must needs be a bad cause which stands in need of such a defense.

    Is this the voice of Jacob, or Esau? Are these the expressions of Christians, or Pagans? From whose quiver are these arrows taken? Is this fair, sober, candid, Christian dealing? Have you no way to defend the authority of your church but by questioning the authority of the Scripture? Did ever any of the fathers of old, or any in the world before yourselves, take this course to plead their interests in any thing they professed? Is this practice Catholic, or, like many of your principles, singular, your own, Donatistical? Is it any great sign that you have an interest in that living child, when you are so ready he should be destroyed, rather than you would be cast in your contest with Protestants? 2. Do you think that this course, of proclaiming to Atheists, Turks, and Pagans, that the Scripture, which all Christians maintain against them to be the word of the living God, given by inspiration from him, — and on which the faith of all the martyrs who have suffered from their opposition, rage, and cruelty, and of all others that truly believe in Jesus Christ, was and is founded, and whereinto it is resolved, — hath no arguments of its divine original implanted on it, no lines of the excellencies and perfections of its author drawn on it, no power or efficacy towards the consciences of men, evidencing its authority over them, no ability of itself to comfort and support them in their trials and sufferings with the hope of things that are not seen; — is this, think you, an acceptable service unto the Lord Christ, who will one day judge the secrets of all hearts according unto that word? or is it not really to expose Christian religion to scorn and contempt? And do you find so much sweetness in “dolus, an virtus, quis in hoste requirat?” Virg. A En. 2:390, as to cast off all reverence of God and his word, in the pursuit of the supposed adversaries of your earthly interests? 3. If your arguments and objections are effectual and prevalent unto the end for which you intend them, will not your direct issue be the utter overthrow of the very foundation of the whole profession of Christians in the world? And are you, like Samson, content to pull down the house that must fall upon yourselves also, so that you may stifle Protestants with its fall? It may be it were well you should do so, were it a house of Dagon, a temple dedicated unto idols; but to deal so with that wherein dwells the majesty of the living God is not so justifiable. It is true, evert this principle and you overthrow the foundation on which the faith of Protestants is built; but it is no less true that you do the same to the foundation of the Christian faith in general, wherein we hope your own concernment also lies. And this is the thing that I am declaring unto you, — namely, that either you acknowledge the principles on which Protestants build their faith and profession, or by denying them you open a door unto atheism, at least to the extirpation of Christian religion out of the world. I confess you pretend a relief against the present instance, in the authority of your church, sufficient, as you say, to give a credibility unto the Scripture, though its own self-evidencing power and efficacy, with the confirmation of it by Catholic tradition, exclusive to your present suffrage, be rejected.

    Now, I suppose you will grant that the prop you supply men withal, upon your casting down the foundations on which they have laid the weight of their eternal salvation, had need be firm and immovable. And remember that you have to do with them who, though they may be otherwise inclinable unto you, “Non tamen ignorant quid distent sera lupinis,” Hor. Ep. 1:7, 28; and must use their own judgment in the consideration of what you tender unto them. And they ask you, — 1. What will you do if it be as you say with them who absolutely reject the authority of your church; which is the condition of more than a moiety of the inhabitants of the world, to speak sufficiently within compass?

    And, — 2. What will you advise us to say to innumerable other persons that are pious and rational, who, upon the mere consideration of the lives of many, of the most, of the guides of your church, your bloody, inhuman practices, your pursuit of worldly, carnal designs, your visible, secular interest, wherein you are combined and united, cannot persuade themselves that the testimony of your church, in and about things that are invisible, spiritual, heavenly, and eternal, is at all valuable, much less that it is sufficient to bear the weight you would lay upon it? 3. Was not this the way and method of Vaninus for the introduction of his atheism, — first, to question, slight, and sophistically except against the old approved arguments and evidences manifesting the being and existence of a divine, self-subsisting power; substituting in their room, for the confirmation of it, his own sophisms, which himself knew might be easily discussed and disproved? Do you deal any better with us, in decrying the Scripture’s self-evidencing efficacy, with the testimony given unto it by God himself, substituting nothing in the room thereof but the authority of your church? A man, certainly, can take up nothing upon the sole authority of your church, until, contrary to the pretensions, reasons, and arguments of far a greater number of Christians than yourselves, he acknowledge you to be a true church at least, if not the only church in the world. Now, how, I pray, wilt you bring him into that state and condition that he may rationally make any such judgment? How will you prove unto him that there is any such thing as a church in the world; that a church hath any authority; that its testimony can make any thing credible, or meet to be believed? You must prove these things to him, or whatever assent he gives unto what you say is from fanatical credulity. To suppose that he should believe you upon your word, because you are the church, is to suppose that he believes that which you are yet but attempting to induce him to believe. If you persist to press him, without other proof, not only to believe what you first said unto him, but also even this, that whatever you shall say to him hereafter, that he must believe it because you say it, will not any rational man nauseate at your unreasonable importunity, and tell you that men who have a mind to be befooled may meet with such alchymistical pretenders all the world over? Will you persuade him that you are the church, and that the church is furnished with the authority mentioned, by rational arguments? I wish you would inform me of any one that you can make use of that doth not include a supposition of something unproved by you, and which can never be proved but by your own authority, which is the thing in question; or the immediate authority of God, which you reject. A number, indeed, of pretenses, or, it may be, probabilities, you may heap together; which yet upon examination will not be found so much neither, unless a man will swallow amongst them that which is destitute of all probability but what is included in the evidence given unto it by divine revelation, which is not yet pleaded unto him. It may be, then, you will work miracles to confirm your assertions. Let us see them; for although very many things are requisite to manifest any works of wonder that may be wrought in the world to be real miracles, and good caution be required to judge unto what end miracles are wrought, yet, if we may have any tolerable evidence of your working miracles in confirmation of this assertion, that you are the true and only church of God, with the other inferences depending thereon, which we are in the consideration of, you will find us very easy to be treated withal. But herein also you fail. You have, then, no way to deal with such a man as we first supposed, but as you do with us, and producing testimonies of Scripture to prove and confirm the authority of your church; and then you will quickly find where you are, and what snares you have cast yourselves into. Will not a man who hears you proving the authority of your church by the Scripture ask you, “And whence hath this Scripture its authority?” yes, that is supposed to be the thing in question, which, denying unto it an aujtopisti>a , you yet produce to confirm the authority of that by whose authority alone itself is evidenced to have any authority at all. Rest in the authority of God, manifesting itself in the Scripture, witnessed unto by the catholic tradition of all ages, you will not. But you will prove the Scripture to be the word of God by the testimony of your church; and you will prove your church to be enabled sufficiently to testify the Scriptures to be of God, by the testimonies of the Scripture. Would you know where to begin and where to end? But you are, indeed, in a circle which hath neither beginning nor ending. I know not when we shall be enabled to say, — “Inventus, Chrysippe, tui finitor acervi.” — Pers. 6:80.

    Now, do you think it reasonable that we should leave our stable and immovable firm foundations to run round with you in this endless circle, until, through giddiness, we fall into unbelief or atheism? This is that which I told you before, — you must either acknowledge our principle in this matter to be firm and certain, or open a door to atheism and the contempt of Christian religion, seeing you are not able to substitute any thing in the room thereof that is able to bear the weight that must be laid upon it, if we believe. For how should you do so? Shall man be like unto God, or equal unto him? The testimony we rest in is divine, fortified from all objections by the strongest human testimony possible, — namely, catholic tradition. That which you would supply us with is merely human, and no more. And, 4. Your importunity in opposing this principle is so much the more marvellous unto us, because therein you openly oppose yourselves to express testimonies of Scripture and the full suffrage of the ancient church.

    I wish you would a little weigh what is affirmed, 2 Peter 1:19,20; <19B9152> Psalm 119:152; John 5:34-36,39; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; Acts 17:11; 1 John 5:6,10, 2:20; Hebrews 11; 1 Timothy 1:15; Acts 26:22. And will you take with you the consent of the ancients? Clemens Alexand. Strom. vii., speaks fully to our purpose; as he doth also, lib. 4, where he plainly affirms that the church proved the Scripture by itself; and other things, as the unity of the Deity, by the Scripture. But his own words in the former place are worth the recital: — ]Ecomen , saith he, thstewv , torion , dia> te tw~n profhtw~n , dia> te tou~ eujaggeli>ou , kai< dia< tw~n makari>wn ajposto>lwn polutro>pwv kai< polumerw~v ejx ajrch~v eijv te>lov hJgou>menon th~v gnw>sewv . Throu dei~sqai uJpola>zoi , oujke>t j a\n o]ntwv ajrch< fulacqei>h — “For the beginning of faith, or principle of what we teach, we have the Lord; who in sundry manners, and by divers parts, by the prophets, gospel, and holy apostles, leads us to knowledge. And if any one suppose that a principle stands in need of another” (to prove it), “he destroys the nature of a principle,” or “it is no longer preserved a principle.”

    This is that we say, — the Scripture, the Old and New Testament, is the principle of our faith. This is proved by itself to be of the Lord, who is its author; and if we cause it to depend on any thing else, it is no longer the principle of our faith and profession. And a little after, where he hath showed that a principle ought not to be disputed, nor to be the to< krino>menon of any debate, he adds, jEiko>twv toi>nun pi>stei perilazo>ntev ajnapo>deikton thav kai< taxeiv par j aujth~v th~v ajrch~v lazo>ntev , fwnh~| Kuri>ou paideuo>meqa prognwsin th~v ajlhqei>av — “It is meet, then, that receiving by faith the most absolute principle without other demonstration, and taking demonstrations of the principle from the principle itself, we be instructed by the voice of the Lord unto the knowledge of the truth;” that is, we believe the Scripture for its own sake, and the testimony that God gives unto it, in it and by it, and do prove every thing else by it; and so are confirmed in the faith or knowledge of the truth. So he farther explains himself, Ouj ganoiv ajnqrw >poiv prose>comen , oi[v kai< ajntapofai>nesqai ejp j i[shv e]xestin — “For we do not simply or absolutely attend or give heed unto men determining or defining; against whom it is equal that we may define or declare our judgments.”

    So it is; whilst the authority of man, or men, any society of men in the world, is pleaded, the authority of others may by as good reason be objected against it; as, whilst you plead your church and its definitions, others may on as good grounds oppose theirs unto you therein. And therefore Clemens proceeds:

    Eij d j oujk ajrkei~ mo>non ajplw~v eijpei~n to< do>xan , ajlla< pistw>sasqai dei~ to< lecqepwn ajname>nomen martsri>an , ajlla< th~| tou~ Kuri>ou fwnh~| pistou>meqa to< zhtou>menon , h\ pasw~n ajpodei>Zewn ejcegguwte>ra , ua~llon d j h\ monh ajpo>deixiv ou=sa tugca>nei? kaq j h\n ejpisth>mhn oiJ ajpogeusa>menoi mo>non tw~n Grafw~n , pistoi> — “For if it be not sufficient merely to declare or assert that which appears to be truth, but also to make that credible or fit to be believed which is spoken, we seek not after the testimony that is given by men, but we confirm that which is proposed or inquired about with the voice of the Lord; which is more full than any demonstration, or rather is itself the only demonstration; according to the knowledge whereof they that have tasted of the Scriptures are believers.”

    Into the voice, the word of God alone, the church then resolved their faith; this only they built upon, acknowledging all human testimony to be too weak and infirm to be made a foundation for it; and this voice of God, in the Scripture evidencing itself so to be, is the only demonstration of faith which they rested in: whereupon, a little after, he adds, Ou[twv ou+n kai< hJmei~v ajp j aujtw~n tw~n Grafw~n telei>Wv ajpodeiknu>ntev , ejk pi>stewv peiqo>meqa ajpodeiktikw~v — “So we, having perfect demonstrations out of the Scriptures, are by faith demonstratively assured or persuaded of the truth of the things proposed.”

    This was the profession of the church of old; this the resolution of their faith; this is that which Protestants in this case adhere unto. They proved the Scripture to be from God, — as he elsewhere speaks, ejx aujqentei>av pantokratorikh~v , — as we also do; Strom 4. To this purpose speaks Salvianus de Gub., lib. 3, “Alia omnia (id est, humana dicta) argumentis et testibus egent; Dei autem sermo ipse sibi testis est, quia necesse est ut quicquid incorrupta veritas loquitur, incorruptum sit testimonum veritatis;” — “All other sayings stand in need of arguments and witnesses to confirm them: the word of God is witness to itself; for whatever the truth incorrupted speaks, must of necessity be an incorrupted testimony of truth.” And although some of them allowed the testimony of the church as a motive unto believing the gospel, or things preached from it, yet as to the belief of the Scripture, with faith divine and supernatural, to be the word of God, they required but these two things: — 1. That self-evidence in the Scripture itself which is needful for an indemonstrable principle, from which and by which all other things are to be demonstrated. And that self-evidence Clemens puts in the place of all demonstrations. 2. The efficacy of the Spirit in the heart, to enable it to give a saving assent unto the truth proposed unto it.

    Thus Austin, in his Confessions, lib. 6 cap. 5, “Persuasisti mihi, o Domine Deus, non qui crederent libris tuis, quos tanta in omnibus fere gentibus authoritate fundasti, sed qui non crederent esse culpandos; nec audiendos esse, siqui mihi forte dicerent, ‘Unde scis illos libros unius [veri et] veracissimi Dei Spiritu esse, humano generi ministratos?’ id ipsum enim maxime credendum erat;” — “O Lord God, thou hast persuaded me, that not they who believe thy books, which with so great authority thou hast settled almost in all nations, were to be blamed, but those who believe them not; and that I should not hearken unto any of them who might chance say unto me, ‘Whence dost thou know those books to be given out unto mankind from the Spirit of the true God? for that is the thing which principally was to be believed.” In which words the holy man hath given us full direction what to say, when you come upon us with that question, which some used, it seems, in his days; — a great testimony of the antiquity of your principles. Add hereunto what he writes in the 11th book and 3d chapter of the same treatise, and we have the sum of the resolution and principle of his faith. “Audiam,” saith he, “et intelligam quomodo fecisti ccelum et terrain. Scripsit hoc Moses; scripsit et abiit, transivit hinc ad to; neque enim nunc ante me est. Nam si esset, tenerem eum, et rogarem eum, et per to obsecrarem ut mihi ista panderet; et praeberem aures corporis mei soais erumpentibus ex ore ejus. At si Hebraea voce loqueretur, frustra pulsaret sensum meum, nec inde mentem meam quidquam tangeret: si autem Latine, scirem quid diceret. Sed unde scirem an verum diceret? quod si et hoc scirem, hum et ab illo scirem?

    Intus utique mihi, intus in domiclio eogitationis, nec Hebrae, nec Graeca, necLatina, nec barbara, veritas, sine otis et linguae organis, sine strepitu syllabarum, diceret, ‘Verum dicit;’ et ego statim certus confidenter illi homini tuo dicerem, ‘Verum dicia’ Cure ergo ilium interrogare non possim, to, quo plenus vera dixit, veritas, rogo to, Deus meus, rogo parce peccatis meis; et qui illi servo tuo dedisti haec dicere, da et mihi haec intelligere;” — “I would hear and understand, O Lord, how thou hast made the heavens and the earth. Moses wrote this; he wrote it and is gone, and he is gone to thee; for now he is not present with me. If he were, I would lay hold on him, and ask him, and beseech him, for thy sake, that he would unfold these things unto me; and I would cause the ears of my body to attend unto the words of his mouth. But if he should speak in the Hebrew tongue, he would only in vain strike upon my outward sense, and my mind within would not be affected with it. If he speak in Latin, I should know what he said. But whence should I know that he spake the truth? should I know this also from him? The truth, that is neither Hebrew, Greek, Latin, nor expressed in any barbarous language, would say unto me inwardly, in the dwelling-place of my thoughts, without the organs of mouth or tongue, or noise of syllables, ‘He speaks the truth;’ and I with confidence should say unto him, thy servant, ‘Thou speakest the truth.’

    Seeing, therefore, I cannot inquire of him, I beseech thee, that art truth, with whom he being filled spake the truth, I beseech thee, O my God, pardon my sins; and thou who gavest unto him, thy servant, to speak these things, grant unto me to understand them.” Thus this holy man ascribes his assent unto the unquestionable principle of the Scripture, as to the effecting of it in himself, to the work of God’s Spirit in his heart. As Basil also doth on Psalm 115:

    Pi>stiv hJ uJpedouv thzasin e]lkousa , hJ pi>stiv oujc j hJ gewmetrikai~v ajna>gkaiv , ajll j hJ tai~v tou~ Pneu>matov ejnergei>aiv ejgginome>nh “Faith, which draws the soul unto consent above the efficacy of all ways or methods of persuasion; faith, that is wrought and begotten in us, not by geometrical enforcements or demonstrations, but by the effectual operations of the Spirit.”

    And both these principles are excellently expressed by one amongst yourselves, even Baptista Mantuanus, Lib. de Patientia, cap. 32, 33. “Saepenumero,” saith he, “mecum cogitavi, unde tam suadibilis esset ista Scriptura, ut tam potenter infiuat in animos auditorum; unde tantum habeat energize, ut non ad opinandum, sed ad solide credendum, omnes inflectat;” — “I have often thought with myself, whence the Scripture is so persuasive; whence it doth so powerfully influence the minds of the hearers; whence it hath so much efficacy, that it should incline and bow all men, not to think as probable, but solidly to believe, the things it proposeth.” “Non,” saith he, “est hoc imputandum rationum evidentiae quas non adducit; non artis industriss et verbis suavibus et ad persuadendum accommodatis, quibus non utitur;” — “It is not to be ascribed unto the evidence of reasons, which it bringeth not; neither to the excellency of art, sweet words, and accommodated unto persuasion, which it makes no use of.” “Sed vide an id in causa sit, quod persuasi sumus earn a Prima Veritate fiuxisse;” — “But see if this be not the cause of it, that we are persuaded that it proceeds from the Prime Verity.” He proceeds, “Sed unde sumus ita persuasi nisi ab ipsa? quasi ad ei credendum non sua ipsus trahat authoritas. Sed unde quaeso hanc sibi authoritatem, vindicavit? Neque enhn vidimus nos Deum conscionantem, scribentem, docentem; tamen ac si vidissemus, credimus et tenemus a Spiritu Sancto fiuxisse quod legimus. Forsitan fuerit haec ratio firmiter adhaerendi, quod in ea veritas sit solidior, quamvis non clarior. Habet enim omnis veritas vim inclinativam; et major majorem, maxima maximam. Sed cur ergo omnes non credunt evangelio? Respondeo, Quod non omnes trahuntur a Deo.”

    And again, “Inest ergo Scripturis sacris nescio quid natura sublimius; id est, inspiratio facta divinitus et divinee irra-diatonis influxus certus.” “But whence are we persuaded that it is from the First Verity but from itself? its own authority draws us to believe it. But whence obtains it this authority? We see not God preaching, writing, teaching; but yet, as if we had seen him, we believe and firmly hold that which we read to have come from the Holy Ghost. It may be that this is a reason of our firm adhering unto it, that the truth in it is more solid, though not more clear” (than in any other way of proposal.) “And all truth hath a power to incline unto belief; the greater the truth, the greater its power, and the greatest truth must have the greatest power so to incline us. But why, then, do not all believe the gospel? I answer, Because all are not drawn of God.” “There is, then, in the holy Scripture somewhat more sublime than nature; that is, the divine inspiration from whence it is, and the divine irradiation wherewith it is accompanied.” This is the principle of Protestants. The sacred Scripture is credible, as proceeding from the First Verity; this it manifests by its own light and efficacy; and we are enabled to believe it by the effectual working of the Spirit of God in our hearts. Whence our Savior asks the Jews, John 5:47, “If ye believe not the writings of Moses, how shall ye believe my words?” They who will not believe the written word of the Scripture upon the authority that it hath in itself, would not believe if Christ should personally speak unto them. So saith Theophylact on the place: Ouj pisteu>ete toi~v gegramme>noiv? kai< pw~v pisteu>sete toi~v ejmoi~v ajgra>foiv rJh>masi ; III. Protestants believe and profess that the end wherefore God gave forth his word by inspiration was, that it might be a stable, infallible revelation of his mind and will as to that knowledge which he would have mankind entertain of him, with that worship and obedience which he requiteth of them, that so they may please him in this world, and come unto the fruition of him unto all eternity. God, who is the formal object, is also the prime cause of all religious worship. What is due unto him as the first cause, last end, and sovereign Lord of all, as to the substance of it, and what he farther appoints himself as to the manner of its performance, suited unto his own holiness, and the condition wherein in reference unto our last end we stand and are, making up the whole of it, — that he hath given his word to reveal these things unto us, to be our rule, guide, and direction in our ways, walkings, and universal deportment before him, is, as I take it, a fundamental principle of our Christian profession. Neither do I know that this is denied by your church, although you startle at the inferences that are justly made from it I shall not need, therefore, to add any thing in its confirmation, but only mind you again that the calling of it into question is directly against the very heart of all religion, and the unanimous consent of all that in the world are called Christians, or ever were so. Yea, and it must be granted, or the whole Scripture esteemed a fable, because it frequently declares that it is given unto us of God for this end and purpose. And hence do Protestants infer two other conclusions, on which they build their persuasion concerning the unity of faith, and the proper means of their settlement therein: — 1. That therefore the Scripture is perfect and every way complete, — namely, with respect unto that end whereunto of God it is designed; a perfect and complete revelation of the will of God as to his worship and our obedience. And we cannot but wonder that any who profess themselves to believe that it was given for the end mentioned, should not have that sacred reverence for the wisdom, goodness, and love of its Author unto mankind, as freely to assent unto this inference and conclusion: “He is our Rock, and his work is perfect.” And lest any men should please themselves in the imagination of contributing any thing towards the effecting of the end of his word by a supply unto it, he hath strictly forbidden them any such addition, Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32, Proverbs 30:6; which, if it were not complete in reference unto its proper end, would hold no great correspendency with that love and goodness which the same word everywhere declares to be in him. I suppose you know with how many express testimonies of Scripture itself this truth is confirmed; which, added unto that light and evidence which, as a deduction from the former fundamental truth, it hath in itself, is very sufficient to render it unquestionable. You may at your leisure, besides those fore-named, consult Psalm 19:8; Isaiah 8:20; Ezekiel 36:27; Matthew 15:6; Luke 1:3,4, 16:29,31, 24:25-27; John 5:39, 20:9; Acts 1:16, 17:2,3, 20:27, 26:22; Romans 10:17, 15:4; Corinthians 14:6; Galatians 1:8; Ephesians 2:19,20; 2 Timothy 3:16,17; Hebrews 1:1; 2 Peter 1:19; Revelation 22:18. For though texts of Scripture are not appointed for us to “throw at one another’s heads,” as you talk in your “Fiat,” yet they are for us to use and insist on in the confirmation of the truth, if we may take the example of Christ and all his apostles for our warrant. And it were endless to recite the full and plain testimonies of the ancient fathers and councils to this purpose; neither is that my present design, though I did somewhat occasionally that way upon the former principle. It shall suffice me to show that the denial of this assertion also, as it is inferred from the foregoing principle, is prejudicial, if not pernicious, to Christian religion in general. The whole of our faith and profession is resolved into the known excellencies and perfections of the nature of God. Amongst these there are none that have a more immediate and quickening influence into them than his wisdom, goodness, grace, care, and love towards them unto whom he is pleased to reveal himself; nor is there any property of his nature that in his word he more frequently gives testimony unto. And all of them doth he declare himself to have exalted and glorified in a signal manner, in that revelation which he hath made of himself, his mind and will therein. I suppose this cannot be denied by any who hath the least sense of the importance of the things revealed. Now, if the revelation made for the end before proposed be not perfect and complete, — that is, sufficient to enable a man to know so much of God, his mind and will, and to direct him so in his worship and obedience unto him, as that he may please him here and come to the fruition of him hereafter, — it must needs become an evident means of deceiving him and ruining him, and that to all eternity. And the least fear of any such event overthrows all the notions which he had before entertained of those blessed properties of the divine nature; and so, consequently, disposeth him unto atheism. For if a man hath once received the Scripture as the word of God, and that [as] given unto him to be his guide unto heaven by God himself if one shall come to him and tell him, “Yea, but it is not a perfect guide; but though you should attend sincerely to all the directions that it gives you, yet you may come short of your duty and expectation; you may neither please God here nor come to the fruition of him hereafter;” — in case he should assent unto this suggestion, can he entertain any other thoughts of God but such as our first parents did, when, by attendance unto the false insinuations of the old serpent, they cast off his sovereignty and their dependence on him? Neither can you relieve him against such thoughts by your pretended traditional supply, seeing it will still be impossible for him to look on this revelation of the will of God as imperfect and insufficient for the end for which it plainly professeth itself to be given forth by him, without some intrenchment on those notions of his nature which he had before received; for it will presently occur unto him, that, seeing this way of revealing himself for the ends mentioned is good, and approved of himself so to be, if he hath not made it complete for that end, it was either because he could not; and where, then, is his wisdom? or because he would not; and where, then, is his love, care, and goodness? and seeing he saith he hath done what you would have him to believe that he hath not done, where is his truth and veracity? Certainly, a man that seriously ponders what he hath to do, and knows the vanity of an irrational, fanatical “credo,” will conclude that either the Scripture is to be received as perfect or not to be received at all. 2. Protestants conclude hence, That the Scripture, given of God for this purpose, is intelligible unto men using the means by God appointed to come to the understanding of his mind and will therein. I know many of your way are pleased grievously to mistake our intention in this inference and conclusion. Sometimes they would impose upon us to say that all places of Scripture, all words and sentences in it, are plain, and of an obvious sense, and easy to be understood. And yet this you know, or may know if you please, and, I am sure, ought to know before you talk of these things with us, that we absolutely deny. It is one thing to say that all necessary truth is plainly and clearly revealed in the Scripture, which we do say; and another, that every text and passage in the Scripture is plain and easy to be understood, which we do not say, nor ever thought, as confessing that to say so were to contradict our own experience and that of the disciples of Christ in all ages. Sometimes you feign as though we asserted all the things that are revealed in the Scripture to be plain and obvious to every man’s understanding; whereas we acknowledge that the things themselves revealed are many of them mysterious, surpassing the comprehension of any man in this world, and only maintain that the propositions wherein the revelation of them is made are plain and intelligible unto them that use the means appointed of God to come to a right understanding of them. And sometimes you would commit this with another principle of ours, whereby we assert that the supernatural light of grace, to be wrought in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, is necessary to give unto us a saving perception and understanding of the mind of God in the Scripture; for what needs such special assistance in so plain a matter? as though the asserting of the perspicuity in the object made ability to discern in the subject altogether unnecessary, or that he who affirms the sun to give light doth at the same time affirm also that men have no need of eyes to see it withal. Besides, we know there is a vast difference between a notional speculative apprehension and perception of the meaning and truth of the propositions contained in the Scripture, — which we acknowledge that every reasonable, unprejudiced person may attain unto, — and a gracious, saving, spiritual perception of them, and assent unto them with faith divine and supernatural; and this, we say, is the especial work of the Holy Ghost in the hearts of the elect. And I know not how many other exceptions you make to keep yourselves from a right understanding of our intention in this inference; but, as yourself elsewhere learnedly observe, “Who so blind as he that will not see?” I shall therefore once more, that we may proceed, declare unto you what it is that we intend in this assertion; — it is, namely, that the things which are revealed in the Scripture, to the end that, by the belief of them and obedience unto them, we may please God, are so proposed and declared that a man, any man, free from prejudices and temptations, in and by the use of the means appointed him of God for that purpose, may come to the understanding (and that infallibly) of all that God would have him know or do in religion, there being no defect or hinderance in the Scripture, or manner of its revealing things necessary, that should obstruct him therein. What are the means appointed of God for this purpose we do not now inquire, but shall anon declare. What defect, blindness, or darkness there is, may be, in and upon the minds of men in their depraved, lapsed condition, — what disadvantages they may be cast under by their prejudices, traditions, negligences, sins, and profaneness, — belongs not unto our present disquisition. That which we assert concerns merely the manner of the proposal of the truths to be believed which are revealed in the Scripture; and this, we say, is such as that there is no impossibility, no, nor great difficulty, but that a man may come to the right understanding of them, — not as to the comprehension of the things themselves, but the perception of the sense of the propositions wherein they are expressed. And this assertion of ours is, as the former, grounded on the Scripture itself. See, if you please, Deuteronomy 30:11; Psalm 19:8, 119:105; Proverbs 6:23; 2 Corinthians 4:3; 2 Peter 1:19. And to deny it is to pluck up all religion by the roots, and to turn men loose unto scepticism, libertinism, and atheism; and that with such a horrid reproach unto God himself, as that nothing more abominable can be invented. The devil of old, being not able to give out certain answers unto them that came to inquire about their concernments at his oracles, put them off a long time with dubious, enigmatical, unintelligible sophisms; but when once the world had, by experience, study, and observation, improved itself into a wisdom beyond the pitch of its first rudeness, men began generally to despise what they saw could not be certainly understood. This made the devil pluck in his horns, as not finding it for the interest of his kingdom to expose himself to be scoffed at by them with whose follies and fanatical credulity, in esteeming highly of that which could not be understood, he had for many generations sported himself. And do they not blasphemously expose the oracles of the true, holy, and living God to no less contempt, who, for their own sinister ends, would frighten men from them with the ugly scarecrow of obscurity, or their not being intelligible unto every man by the use of means, so far as he is concerned to know them, and the mind of God in them? And herein also Protestants stand as firmly as the fundamentals of Christianity will bear them.

    IV. Protestants believe that it is the duty of all men who desire to know the will of God, and to worship him according unto his mind, to use diligence, in the improvement of the means appointed for that end, to come unto a right and full understanding of all things in the Scripture wherein their faith and obedience are concerned. This necessarily follows from the principles before laid down; nor is it possible it should be otherwise. It is doubtless incumbent on every man to study and know his duty. That cannot be a man’s duty which he is not bound to know, especially not such a duty as whereon his eternal welfare should depend; and I suppose a man can take no better course to come to the knowledge of his duty than that which God hath appointed for that purpose. His commands and exhortations, which we have given us in the Scripture, for our diligence in this matter, with the explications and improvements of them in the writings of the fathers, are so obvious, trite, and known, that it were mere loss of time to insist on the repetition of them. I suppose I should speak within compass if I should say that one Chrysostom doth, in a hundred places, exhort Christians of all sorts to the diligent study and search of the Scriptures, and especially of the epistles of Paul, — not the most plain and easy part of them. I know the practice of your church lies to the contrary, and what you plead in the justification of that practice; but I am sorry both for her and you, — both for the contrivers of, and consenters unto, this abomination; and I fear what your account will be as to this matter at the last day. God having granted the inestimable benefit of his word unto mankind, revealing therein unto them the only way by which they may attain unto a blessed eternity, is it not the greatest ingratitude that any man can possibly contract the guilt of, to neglect the use of it?

    What, then, is your condition, who, upon slight and trivial pretenses, set up your own wisdom and authority against the wisdom and authority of God; advising and commanding men, upon the pain of your displeasure in this world, not to attend unto that which God commands them to attend unto, on pain of his displeasure in the world to come? So that though I confess that you deny this principle, yet I cannot see but that you do so, not only upon the hazard of your own souls and the souls of them that attend unto you, seeing that “if the blind lead the blind, both must fall into the ditch;” but also that you do it to the great prejudice of Christian religion in the very foundations of it. For what can a man rationally conclude, that shall see you driving all persons, and that on no small penalties, excepting yourselves who are concerned in the conspiracy, and some few others whom you suppose sufficiently initiated in your mysteries, from the reading and study of those books wherein the world knows, and yourselves confess, that the arcana of Christian religion are contained, but that there are some things in them, like the hidden “sacra” of the old pagan hierophants, which may not be disclosed, because, however countenanced by a remote veneration, yet are [they] indeed “turpia” or “ridicula,” — things to be ashamed of or scorned And the truth is, some of your doctors have spoken very suspiciously this way, whilst they justify your practice in driving the people from the study of the Scripture, by intimations of things and expressions not so pure and chaste as to be fit for the knowledge of the promiscuous multitude; when, in the meantime, themselves or their associates do publish unto all the world, in their rules and directions for confession, such abominable filth and ribaldry as, I think, was never by any other means vented amongst mankind.

    V. Protestants say that the Lord Christ hath instituted his church, and therein appointed a ministry to preside over the rest of his disciples in his name, and to unfold unto them his mind and will as recorded in his word; for which end he hath promised his presence with them by his Spirit unto the end of the world, to enable them, in an humble dependence on his assistance, to find out and declare his commands and appointments unto their brethren. This position, I suppose, you will not contend with us about; although I know that you put another sense upon most of the terms of it than the Scripture will allow, or we can admit of.

    These are the principles of Protestants; this is the progress of their faith in coming unto settlement and assurance. These are the foundations, which are as unquestionable as any thing in Christianity; the most of them, yourselves being judges. And from them one of these two things will necessarily follow, — either, That all men, unto whom the word of God doth come, will come to an agreement in the truth, or the unity of faith; or, secondly, That it is their own fault if they do not so do: for what, upon these principles, should hinder them from so doing? All saving truth is revealed by God in the Scripture, unto the end that men may come to the knowledge of it. It is so revealed by him that it is possible, and, with his assistance, easy, for men to know aright his mind and will about these things so revealed; and he hath appointed regular ways and means for men to wait upon him in and by, for the obtaining of his assistance. Now, pray, revive your question that gave occasion unto this discourse, — However men may differ in religion, why is not the Scripture sufficient to bring them unto an agreement and settlement? Take heed that in your answer you deny not some principle that will involve the whole interest of Christianity in its ruin. Where is the defect? where the hinderance why all men, upon these principles, however differing at present, may not come to a full settlement and agreement? I hope you will find none but what are in themselves; and for them, “ipsi viderint,” the Scripture is blameless. Here is certainty of revelation from God, — fullness of that revelation as to our duty, clearness and perspicuity for our understanding of it, — means appointed and sanctified for that end; what, I pray, is wanting? All truths wherein it is the duty of men to agree are fixed and stated, so that it can never be lawful for any man, in any generation, to call any of them into question; — plain and evident, that no man can mistake the mind of God in them in things wherein his duty is concerned, without his own crime and guilt. You will say, then, it may be, “But why, then, do not men agree? why do you not agree among yourselves?” But I would hope that it is scarcely possible for any man to be so ignorant of the condition of mankind, and amongst them of the best of men, as seriously to ask this question. Are not all men naturally blind in the things of God? Do not the best of men know only in part? Have not the different tempers, constitutions, and educations of men a great influence upon their understandings and judgments? Besides, do not lust, corruptions, carnal interests, and respect unto worldly things, bear sway in the minds of many that profess Christian religion? Are not many prepossessed with prejudices, traditions, customs, and usages against the truth? And are not these things, and the like, sufficient to keep up variance in the world, without the least suspicion of any disability in the Scripture to bring them to a holy agreement and immovable settlement? Neither is there any other way for men to come unto settlement and agreement in religion, according to the mind of God, but that only which hath been now proposed; and this they will come unto when all men shall be persuaded to captivate their understandings to the obedience of faith. I deny not that by outward force and compulsion, by supine negligence of their own concernments, by refusing to bethink themselves, and such other ways and means, some men may come to some agreement amongst themselves in the things of religion.

    But this agreement, we say, is not of God, it is not built upon to< zeme>lion th~v pi>stewv ejpi< Qeo>n , — “the foundation of faith towards God;” and so is of no esteem with him. That such is all the unity which, on your principles, you are able to bring men unto, we shall manifest in our next discourse. For the present, I dare challenge you, or any man in the world, to question or oppose any one of the principles before laid down; and which, whilst they stand firm, it is evident unto all how the Scripture is able to settle men unquestionably in the truth, and that forever, o[per e]dei dei>xai . I shall close this discourse with a passage out of Chrysostom, which fully confirms all that I have asserted; it is in Homil. 33, in Act. Apost. cap. 15 Ti> ou+n , saith he, a\n ei]pwmen progei o[ti bou>lomai lene>sqai Cristiano>v , ajll j oujk oi+da ti>ni prosqw~mai . — “What shall we say unto the Gentiles? A Gentile cometh and saith, ‘I would be a Christian, but I know not unto whom amongst you I should adhere.’” Let us hear the reasons of his hesitation. Saith he, Ma>ch par j uJmi~n pollh< kai< sta>siv , poluruzov? poi~on e[lwmai do>gma ; ti> aiJrh>somai ; e[kastov le>gei o[ti ajlhqeu>w? ti>ni peisqw~ ; mhde — “There are many contentions, seditions, and tumults amongst you: what opinion to choose I know not. Every one says, I am in the truth; [whom shall I believe?] I am utterly ignorant of what is in the Scripture about these things.”

    Do you know whose objections these are, and by whom they have been lately managed? Will you hear what Chrysostom answers? Saith he, Pa>nu ge tou~to uJpegomen pei>qesqai , ejko>twv ejqoruzou~? eijde< tai~v grafai~v le>gomen pisteu>ein , au=tai de< ajplai~ kai< ajlhqei~v , eu]kolo>n soi to< krino>menon? ei] tiv ejkei>naiv sumfwnei~ , ou=tov Cristiano>v? ei] tiv ma>cetai , ou=tov po>rjrJw tou~ kano>nov tou>tou — “This makes wholly for us; for if we should say that we believe on probable reasonings, thou mayst justly be troubled; but seeing we profess that we believe in the Scriptures, which are plain and true, it is easy for thee to judge and determine. He that yields his consent unto them, he is a Christian; and he that contends against them is far from the rule of Christianity.”

    And in the process of his discourse, which is well worth the perusal before you write any more familiar epistles, he requires no more of a man to settle him in the truth, but that he receive the Scripture, and have nou~n kai< kri>sin , “a mind and judgment,” to use in the consideration of it.

    It remaineth now that we consider what it is that you propose unto men to bring them unto a settlement in religion, and all Christians to the unity of faith, with the principles that you proceed upon to that purpose; which, because I would not too far lengthen out this discourse, I shall refer to the next chapter.

    CHAPTER 8. Principles of Papists, whereon they proceed in bringing men to a settlement in religion and the unity of faith, examined. YOUR plea to this purpose is blended with a double pretense of pope and church. Sometimes you tell us of the pope and his succession to St. Peter, and sometimes of the church and its authority. Sometimes you speak as if both these were one and the same; and sometimes you seem to distinguish them. Some of you lay most weight upon the papal succession and infallibility; and some on the church’s jurisdiction and authority. I shall crave leave to take your pleas asunder, and first to consider what force they have in them, as unto the end whereunto they are applied, severally and apart; and then see what, in their joint concurrence, they can contribute thereunto. And whatever you think of it, I suppose this course of proceeding will please ingenuous persons and lovers of truth, because it enables them to take a distinct view of the things whereon they are to give judgment; whereas in your handling of them, something you suppose, something you insinuate, something you openly aver, yet so confound them with other heterogeneous discourses, that it can hardly be discerned what grounds you build upon; — a way of proceeding which, as it argues a secret guilt and fear of bringing forth your principles to light, so a gross kind of sophistry exploded by all masters of reason whatsoever. They would not have us “fumum ex fulgore, sed ex fiuno dare lucem,” — “darken things clear and perspicuous in themselves, but to make things dark and confused perspicuous.” And the orator tells us that Epicurus’s discourse was ambiguous, because his “sententia” was “inhonesta,” — “his opinion shameful.” And to what purpose should any one contend with you about such general ambiguous expressions, w[sper ejn nuktomaci>a| ? I shall, then, begin with the pope and his infallibility, because you seem to lay most weight thereon, and tell us plainly, p. of your “Fiat,” second edition, “That if the pope be not an unerring guide in affairs of religion, all is lost;” and that” a man once rid of his authority may as easily deride and as solidly confute the incarnation as the sprinkling of holy water:” so resolving our faith of the incarnation of Christ into his authority or testimony. Yea, and in the same page, “That if it had not been for the pope, Christ himself had not been taken in the world for any such person as he is believed this day;” and p. 378, to the same purpose, “The first great fundamental of Christian religion, which is the truth and divinity of Christ, had it not been for him, had failed long ago in the world;” with much more to the same purpose. Hence it is evident that, in your judgment, all truth and certainty in religion depends on the pope’s authority and infallibility; or, as you express it, “his unerring guidance.” This is your principle, this you propose as the only medium to bring us unto that settlement in religion which you suppose the Scripture is not able to do. What course should we now take? would you have us believe you at the first word, without farther trial or examination? would you have a man to do so who never before heard of pope or church? We are commanded to “try all things, and to hold fast that which is good;” to try pretending spirits. And the Bereans are commended for examining by the Scripture what Paul himself preached unto them. An implicit credulity given up to such dictates is the height of fanaticism. Have we not reason, then, to call you and your copartners in this design to an account how you prove that which you so strenuously assert and suppose, and to examine the principles of that authority whereunto you resolve all your faith and religion? If, upon mature consideration, these prove solid, and the inferences you make from them cogent, it is good reason that you should be attended unto. If they prove otherwise, if the first be false and the latter sophistical, you cannot justly take it ill of him that shall advise you to take heed that, whilst you are gloriously displaying your colors, the ground that you stand upon do not sink under your feet. And here you are forced to go many a step backward to fix your first footing (until you leave your pope quite out of sight), from whence you advance towards him by several degrees, and so arrive at his supremacy and infallibility; and so we shall have “reditum Diomedis ab interitu Meleagri.” f33 I. Your first principle to this purpose is, “That Peter was the prince of the apostles, and that in him the Lord Jesus founded a monarchy in his church.” So, p. 360, you call him “The head and prince of the whole congregation.” Now, this we think no meet principle for any one to begin withal, in asserting the foundation of faith and religion; nor do we think that if it were meet so to be used, that it is any way subservient unto your design and purpose. 1. A principle, fundamental, or first entrance into any way of settlement in faith or religion, it cannot possibly be, because it presupposeth the knowledge of, and assent unto, many other great fundamental articles of Christian religion, yea, upon the matter, all that are so: for before you can rationally talk with a man about Peter’s principality, and the monarchical state of the church hereon depending, you must suppose that he believes the Scripture to be the word of God, and all things that are taught therein concerning Jesus Christ, his person, nature, offices, work, and gospel, to be certainly and infallibly true; for they are all supposed in your assertion, which without the knowledge of them is uncouth, horrid, insignificant, and foreign to all notions that a man can rationally entertain of God or religion; nay, no attempt of proof or confirmation can be given unto it but by and from Scripture, whereby you fall directly into the principle which you seek so carefully to avoid, — namely, that the Scripture is the only way and means of settling us in the truth, since you cannot settle any man in the very first proposition which you make to lead him into another way but by the Scripture. So powerful is truth, that those who will not follow it willingly, it will lead them captive in triumph, whether they will or no. 2. It is unmeet for any purpose, because it is not true. No one word from the Scripture can you produce in its confirmation; where yet if it be not revealed, it must pass as a very uncertain and frivolous conjecture. You can produce no suffrage of the ancient church unto your purpose; which yet if you could, would not presently render any assertion so confirmed infallibly certain, much less fundamental. Some, indeed, of the fourth century call Peter “Principem apostolorum;” but explain themselves to intend thereby toapostles like the “Princeps senatus,” or “Princeps civitatis,” the chief in their assemblies, or principal in dignity, how truly I know not: but that he should be amongst them and over them a prince in office, a monarch as to rule and power, is a thing that they never once dreamed of; and the asseveration of it is an open untruth.

    The apostles were equal in their call, office, place, dignity, employments: all the difference between them was in their labors, sufferings, and success, wherein Paul seems to have had the pre-eminence; who, as Peter and all the rest of the apostles, every one singly and for himself, had the care of all the churches committed unto him, though it may be, for the better discharge of their duty ordinarily they divided their work, as they found it necessary for them to apply themselves unto it in particular. See Corinthians 11. And this equality between the apostles is more than once insinuated by Paul, and that with special reference unto Peter, <460101> Corinthians 1; Galatians 1:18,19, 2:9. And is it not wonderful, that if this assertion should not only be true, but such a truth as on which the whole faith of the church was to be built, that the Scripture should be utterly silent of it, that it should give us no rules about it, no directions to use and improve it, afford us no one instance of the exercise of the power and authority intimated, no, not one; but that, on the contrary, it should lay clown principles exclusive of it? Matthew 20:25,26; Luke 22:25,26; and when it comes to make an enumeration of all the offices appointed by Christ in his church, Ephesians 4:11, should pass over the prince and his office in silence, on which all the rest were to depend? You see what a foundation you begin to build upon, — a mere imagination and groundless presumption, which hath not the least countenance given unto it by Scripture or antiquity. What a perplexed condition must you needs cast men into, if they shall attend unto your persuasions to rest on the pope’s unerring guidance for all their certainty in religion, when the first motive you propose unto them, to gain their assent, is a proposition so far destitute of any cogent evidence of its truth or innate credibility, that it is apparently false, and easily manifested so to be! 3. Were it never so true, as it is notoriously false, yet it would not one jot promote your design. It is about Peter the apostle, and not the pope of Rome, that we are discoursing. Do you think a man can easily commence, “per saltum,” from the imaginary principality of Peter, unto the infallibility of the present pope of Rome? “Quid papas cum Petro?” what relation is there between the one and other Suppose a man have so good a mind unto your company as to be willing to set out with you in this ominous stumbling at the threshold, what will you next lead him into? You say, — II. “That St Peter, besides his apostolical power and office (wherein, setting aside the prerogative of his princedom before mentioned, the rest of the apostles were partakers with him), had also an oecumenical episcopal power invested in him, which was to be transmitted unto others after him.” His office purely apostolical you have no mind to lay claim unto. It may be you despair of being able to prove that your pope is immediately called and sent by Christ; that he is furnished with a power of working miracles, and such other things as concurred to the constitution of the office apostolical. And perhaps himself hath but little mind to be exercised in the discharge of that office, by travelling up and down, poor, despised, persecuted, to preach the gospel. Monarchy, rule, supremacy, authority, jurisdiction, infallibility, are words that better please him; and therefore have you mounted this notion of Peter’s episcopacy, whereunto you would have us think that all the fine things you so love and dote upon are annexed. Poor, laboring, persecuted Peter the apostle, may die and be forgotten; but Peter the bishop, harnessed with power, principality, sovereignty, and vicarship of Christ, this is the man you inquire after: but you will have very hard work to find him in the Scripture, or antiquity, yea, the least footstep of him. And do you think, indeed, that this episcopacy of Peter, distinct from his apostleship, is a meet stone to be laid in the foundation of faith It is a thing that plainly overthrows his apostleship: for if he were a bishop, properly and distinctly, he was no apostle, — if an apostle, not such a bishop; that is, if his care were confined unto any one church, and his residence required therein, as the case is with a proper bishop, how could the care of all the churches be upon him? how could he be obliged to pass up and down the world in pursuit of his commission of preaching the gospel unto all nations, or to travel up and down as the necessity of the churches did require? But you will say that he was not bishop of this or that particular, but of the church universal; but I supposed you had thought him bishop of the church of Rome, and that you will plead him afterward so to have been. And I must assure you that he that thinks the church of Rome, in the days of Peter and Paul, was the same with the church catholic, and not looked on [as being] as particular a church as that of Jerusalem, or Ephesus, or Corinth, is a person with whom I will have as little to do as I can in this matter. For to what purpose should any one spend time to debate things with men absurd and unreasonable, and who will affirm that it is midnight at noonday?

    I know the apostolical office did include in it the power of all other offices in the church whatever, as the less are included in the greater; but that he who was an apostle should formally also be a bishop, though an apostle might exercise the whole power and office of a bishop, is ejk tw~n ajduna>twn , — somewhat allied unto impossibilities. Do you see what a quagmire you are building upon? I know if a man will let you alone, you will raise a structure, which, after you have painted and gilded, you may prevail with many harborless creatures to accept of an habitation therein: for when you have laid your foundation out of sight, you will pretend that all your building is on a rock; whereas, indeed, you have nothing but the rotten posts of such suppositions as these to support it withal. But suppose that Peter was thus a prince, monarch, apostle, bishop, — that is, a catholic, particular officer, — what is that to you? Why, — III. “This Peter came and preached the gospel at Rome.” Though you can by no means prove this assertion so as to make it “de fide,” or necessarily to be believed of any one man in the world, much less to become meet to enjoy a place among those fundamentals that are tendered unto us to bring us unto settlement in religion, yet, being a matter very uncertain and of little importance, I shall not much contend with you about it. Witnesses merely human and fallible you have for it a great many; and exceptions almost without number may be put in against your testimonies, and those of great weight and moment. Now, although that which you affirm might be granted you without any real advantage unto your cause, or the enabling of you to draw any lawful inferences to uphold your papal claim by, yet; to let you see on what sorry, uncertain presumptions you build your faith and profession, and that in and about things which you make of indispensable necessity unto salvation, I shall in our passage remind you of some few of them, which, I profess seriously unto you, make it not only questionable unto me whether or no, but also somewhat improbable, that ever Peter came to Rome. Though those that follow and give their assents unto this story are many, yet it was taken up upon the credit and report of one or two persons; as Eusebius manifests, lib. 2 cap. 25.

    Whether Dionysius Corinthius or Papias first began the story I know not; but I know certainly that both of them manifested themselves, in other things, to be a tittle too credulous. 2. That which many of them built their credulity upon is very uncertain, if not certainly false, — namely, that Peter wrote his first epistle from Rome, which he calls Babylon in the subscription of it. But wherefore he should then so call it, no man can tell. The Apocalypse of John, who prophesied what Rome should be in after ages, and thereon what name should be accommodated unto it for its false worship and persecution, was not yet written. Nor was there any thing yet spoken of or known among the disciples, whence they might conjecture Rome to be intended by that appellation. So that, according unto this supposition, St. Peter, intending to acquaint them unto whom he wrote where he was when he wrote unto them, and to present them with the respects of the church in that place, had, by an enigmatical expression, rather amused than informed them.

    Besides, he had before this agreed with and solemnly engaged himself unto Paul to take care of the Circumcision; unto whom, after he had preached a while in Palestine, it is more than probable that he betook himself unto Babylon in Assyria, — the principal seat of their residence in their first and most populous dispersion, — from whence he wrote unto all their colonies scattered abroad in the neighboring nations. So that although I will not, because of the consent of many of the ancients, deny that Peter went to Rome and preached there, yet I am fully satisfied that this foundation of the story told by them is a perfect mistake, consisting in an unwarrantable, causeless wresting of a plain expression unto a mystical sense and meaning. 3. Your witnesses agree not at all in their story; neither as to the time of his going to Rome nor as to the occasion of it, nor as to the season of his abode there. Many of them assign unto him twenty-five years for his residence there, which is evidently false, and easily disproved. This computation is ascribed to Eusebius in Chron. lib. i.; but it is evidently an addition of Jerome’s, in whose days the tradition was increased, for there is no such thing in the original Greek copy of Eusebius, nor doth it agree with what he had elsewhere written concerning him. And it is very well worth while to consider how Onuphrius Panvinus, a very learned antiquary of your own party, makes up these twenty-five years of Peter’s episcopacy at Rome, Annotat in Plat. in Vit. B. Petr. “Ex novem primis annis,” saith he, “post Christi mortem, usque ad inltium secundi ann; Imperii Claudii, Petrum Judsaea nunquam excessisse, ex Actis Apostolorum, et Pauli Epistola ad Galatas, apertissime constat. Si igitur, ut inter omnes anthores conven;t, eo tempore Romam venit, illud certe necessarium videtur eum ante ad urbem adventum Antiochiee septem annis non sedisse; sed hanc ejus Antiochenam cathedram alio tempore fuisse. Quam rein ex vetustissimorum authorum testimonio sic constitui: Secundo Imperil Claudii anno Romam venit; a quo tempore usque ad illius obitum, ann; plus minus viginti quinque intersunt, quibus, etsi eum Romse sedisse veteres scribunt, non tamen praeterea sequitur, ipsum semper in urbe commoratum esse: ham, quarto anno ejus ad urbem adventus, Hierusolymam reversus est, et ibi concilio apostolorum interfuit; inde Antiochiam profectus, septem ibidem annis usque ad Neronis Imperium permansit, cujus initio Romam reversus Romanam dilabentem reparavit ecclesiam. Peregrinatione inde per universam fere Europam suscepta, Romam rediens novissimo Neronis Imperil anno, martyrium crucis passus est;” — “For the first nine years after the death of Christ, unto the beginning of the second year of Claudius, it is most evident, from the Acts, and Epistle to the Galatians, that Peter went not out of Palestine. If therefore, as all agree, he came at that time to Rome, it is certain that he had not abode at Antioch seven years before his coming thither (which yet all the witnesses agree in); but this his Antiochian chair fell out at some other time.

    Wherefore, I thus order the whole matter from the testimony of most ancient authors” (not that any one before him ever wrote any such thing, but this he supposeth may be said to reconcile their contradictions): “In the second year of Claudius he came to Rome. From thence unto his death were twenty-five years, more or less: which space of time, although the ancients write that he sat at Rome, yet it doth not follow thence that he always abode in the city; for, in the fourth year after his coming, he returned unto Jerusalem to be present at the council of the apostles; thence going unto Antioch, he continued there seven years, unto the reign of Nero. In the beginning of his reign, he returned unto Rome, to repair the decaying church there. From thence, passing almost through all Europe, he returned again to Rome in the last year of Nero, and underwent martyrdom by the cross.” You may easily discern the uncertainty, at least, of that story, which this learned man can give no countenance unto but by multiplying improbable imaginations to shelter one another. For, — (1.) Who ever said that Peter came from Rome to come up to the council at Jerusalem, when it is most manifest, from the story of the Acts, that he had never before departed out of Judea? And this council being granted to have been in the sixth year of Claudius, as here it is by Onuphrius, quite overthrows the tradition of his going to Rome in his second. (2.) The abode of twenty-five years at Rome, as thus disposed, is no abode indeed; for he continued almost twice as long at Antioch as he did at Rome. (3.) Here is no time at all allowed unto him for preaching the gospel in Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, which certainly are not provinces of Europe; in which places Eusebius, Hist. lib. 3 cap. 1, Origen, and all the ancients, agree that he did attend unto his apostleship towards the Jews, and his epistles make it evident. (4.) Nor is there any time left for him to be at Babylon, where yet we know he was. So that this fancy can have no countenance given it without a full rejection of all that we know to be true in the story. 4. The Scripture is utterly silent of any such thing as Peter’s going to Rome. Other journeyings of his it records, as to Samaria, Lydda, Joppa, Caesarea, Antioch. Now, it was no way material that his coming unto any of these places should be known but only in reference unto the things done there by him, and yet they are recorded; but this his going to Rome, which is supposed to be of such huge importance in Christian religion, and that, according to Onuphrius, falling out in the midst of his other journeyings, as it must do if ever it fell out, is utterly passed by in silence. If it had been to have such an influence into the very being of Christianity as now is pretended, some men will be apt to think that the mention of it would not have been omitted. 5. Paul, in his Epistle to the Romans, written a good while after this imaginary going of Peter to Rome, makes no mention of him, when yet he saluted by name those of chief note and dignity in the church there; so that, undoubtedly, he was not then come thither. 6. The same apostle being at Rome in the reign of Nero, in the midst of the time allotted unto the abode of Peter there, never once mentions him in any of the epistles which from thence he wrote unto the churches and his fellow-laborers, though he doth remember very many others that were with him in the city. 7. He asserts that, in one of his epistles from thence, which, as I think, sufficiently proves that Peter was not then there: for he says plainly that in his trial he was forsaken by all men , that no man stood by him; which he mentions as their sin, and prays for pardon for them. Now, no man can reasonably, think that Peter was amongst the number of them whom he complained of. 8. The story is not consistent with what is expressly written of Peter by Luke in the Acts, and Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians. Paul was converted unto the faith about the thirty-eighth year of Christ, or fifth after his ascension. After this he continued three years preaching the gospel about Damascus and in Arabia. In the fortieth or forty-first year of Christ he came to Jerusalem, to confer with Peter, Galatians 1; which was the first of Claudius. As yet, therefore, Peter was not removed out of Judea. Fourteen years after, — that is, either after his first going up to Jerusalem, or rather fourteen years after his first conversion, — he went up again to Jerusalem, and found Peter still there; which was in the fiftysecond year of Christ, and the thirteenth of Claudius. Or if you should take the date of the fourteen years mentioned by him shorter by five or six years, and reckon their beginning from the passion and resurrection of Christ, which is not improbable, then this going up of Paul to Jerusalem will be found to be the same with his going up to the council from Antioch, about the sixth or rather seventh year of Claudius, Peter was then yet certainly at Jerusalem, — that is, about the forty-sixth year of Christ; some while after you would have the church to be founded by him at Rome. After this, when Paul had taken a long progress through many countries, wherein he must needs spend some years, returning unto Antioch, Acts 18:22, he there again met with Peter, Galatians 2:11, Peter being yet still in the east, towards the end of the reign of Claudius.

    At Antioch, where Paul found him, if any of your witnesses may be believed, he abode seven years. Besides, he was now very old, and ready to lay down his mortality, as our Lord had showed him; and, in all probability, after his remove from Antioch, spent the residue of his days in the eastern dispersion of the Jews. For, — 9. Much of the apostle’s work in Palestine among the Jews was now drawing to an end; the elect being gathered in, troubles were growing upon the nation: and Peter had, as we observed before, agreed with Paul to take the care of the Circumcision, of whom the greatest number by far, excepting only Judea itself, was in Babylon, and the eastern nations about it. Now, whether these and the like observations out of the Scripture, concerning the course of St. Peter’s life, be not sufficient to outbalance the testimony of your disagreeing witnesses, impartial and unprejudiced men may judge. For my part, I do not intend to conclude peremptorily from them that Peter was never at Rome, or never preached the gospel there; but that your assertion of it is improbable, and built upon very questionable grounds, that I suppose I may safely conclude. And God forbid that we should once imagine the present faith of Christians, or their profession of Christian religion, to be built upon such uncertain conjectures, or to be concerned in them, whether they be true or false. Nothing can be spoken with more reproach unto it than to say that it stands in need of such supportment. And yet, if this one supposition fail you, all your building falls to the ground in a moment.

    Never was so stupendous a fabric raised on such imaginary foundations.

    But, that we may proceed, let us suppose this also, that Peter was at Rome, and preached the gospel there, what will thence follow unto your advantage? what towards the settlement of any man in religion, or bringing us unto the unity of faith, — the things inquired after? He was at, he preached the gospel at, Jerusalem, Samaria, Joppa, Antioch, Babylon, and sundry other places; and yet we fred no such consequences pleaded from thence as you urge from his coming to Rome. Wherefore you add, — IV. “That St Peter was bishop of the Roman church; that he fixed his seat there, and there he died.” In gathering up your principles I follow the footsteps of Bellarmine, Baronius, and other great champions of your church, so that you cannot except against the method of our proposals of them. Now, this conclusion is built on these three suppositions: — 1. That Peter had an episcopal office distinct from his apostolical; 2. That he was at Rome; 3. That he fixed his episcopal see there ; — whereof the second is very questionable, the first and last are absolutely false: so that the conclusion itself must needs be a notable fundamental principle of faith.

    It is true, and I showed it before, that the apostles, when they came into any church, did exercise all the power of bishops in and over that church; but not as bishops, but as apostles: as a king may, in any of the cities of his dominions where he comes, exercise all the authority of the mayor or particular governor of that place where he is, which yet doth not make him become the mayor of the place, which would be a diminution of his royal dignity. No more did the apostles become local bishops, because of their exercising episcopal power in any particular church by virtue of their authority apostolical, wherein that other was included, as hath been declared. And “cui bono?” to what purpose serves this fictitious episcopacy? All the privileges that you contend for the assignation of unto Peter were bestowed upon him as an apostle, or as a believing disciple of Christ; as such he had those peculiar grants made unto him. The keys of the kingdom of heaven were given unto him as an apostle (or, according to St. Austin, as a believer); as such was he commanded to feed the sheep of Christ. It was unto him as an apostle, or a professing believer, that Christ promised to build the church on the faith that he had professed. You reckon all these things among the privileges of Peter the apostle; who as such is said to be oJ prw~tov , or first in order. As an apostle he had the care of all the churches committed unto him; as an apostle he was divinely inspired and enabled infallibly to reveal the mind of Christ. All these things belonged unto him as an apostle. And what privilege he could have besides as a bishop, neither you nor I can tell, no more than you can when, how, or by whom he was called and ordained unto any such office; all which we know well enough concerning his apostleship. If you will, then, have any to succeed him in the enjoyment of any or of all these privileges, you must bespeak him to succeed him in his apostleship, and not in his bishopric. Besides, as I said before, this imaginary episcopacy, which limits and confines him unto a particular church, as it doth if it be an episcopacy properly so called, is destructive of his apostolical office, and of his duty in answering the commission given him of preaching the gospel to every creature, following the guidance of God’s providence and conduct of the Holy Ghost in his way. Many of the ancients, I confess, affirm that Peter sat bishop of the church of Rome: but they all evidently use the word in a large sense, to imply that during his abode there (for that there he was they did suppose) he took upon him the especial care of that church; for the same persons constantly affirm that Paul also was bishop Of the same church at the same time, which cannot be otherwise understood than in the large sense mentioned. And Rufinus, Praefat.

    Recog. Clement. ad Gaudent, unriddles the mystery. “Linus,” saith he, “et Cletus fuerunt ante Clementem episcopi in urbe Roma, sed superstite Petro; videlicet, ut illi episcopatus curare gererent, iste veto apostolatus impleret officium;” — “Linus and Cletus were bishops in the city of Rome before Clemens, but whilst Peter was yet alive; they performing the duty of bishops, Peter attending unto his office apostolical.” And hereby doth he utterly discard the present new plea of the foundation of your faith; for though he assert that Peter the apostle was at Rome, yet he denies that he ever sat bishop there, but names two others that ruled that church at Rome jointly during his time, either in one assembly or in two, — the one of the Circumcision, the other of the Gentile converts. And if Peter were thus bishop of Rome, and entered, as you say, upon his episcopacy at his first coming thither, whence is it that you are forced to confess that he was so long absent from his charge? Five years, saith Bellarmine; but that will by no means salve the difficulty. Seven, saith Onuphrius, at once, and abiding at one place; the most part of his time, besides, being spent in other places, and yet allowing him no time at all for those places where he certainly was. Eighteen, saith Cortesius. Strange, that he should be so long absent from his especial cure, and never write one word to them for their instruction or consolation, whereas, in the meantime, he wrote two epistles unto them who, it seems, did not in any special manner belong unto his charge! I wish we could once find our way out of this maze of uncertainties. This is but a sad disquisition after principles of faith, to settle men in religion by them; and yet, if we should suppose this also, we are far enough from our journey’s end. The present bishop of Rome is as yet behind the curtain, neither can he appear upon the stage until he be ushered in by one pretense more of the same nature with them that went before. And this is, — V. “That some one must needs succeed Peter in his episcopacy.” But why so? why was it not needful that one should succeed him in his apostleship? Why was it not needful that Paul should have a successor as well as Peter? and John as well as either of them? “Because,” you say, “that was necessary for the church; not so these.” But who told you so?

    Where is the proof of what you aver? Who made you judges of what is necessary and what is not necessary for the church of Christ, when himself is silent? And why is not the succession of an apostle necessary as well as of such a bishop as you fancy? Had it not been better to have had one still residing in the church of whose infallibility there could have been no doubt or question, — one that had the power of working miracles, that should have no need to scare the people by shaking fire out of his sleeve, as your Pope Gregory VII. was wont to do, if Cardinal Benno may be believed? But you have now carried us quite off from the Scripture, and story, and probable conjectures, to attend unto you whilst you give the Lord Jesus prudential advice about what is necessary for his church. “It must needs be so, it is meet it should be so,” is the best of your proof in this matter; only, your “Fratres Walenburgici” add, “that never any man ordained the government of a community more weakly than Christ must be supposed to have done the government of his church, if he have not appointed such a successor to Peter as you imagine.” But it is easy for you to assert what you please of this nature, and as easy for any one to reject what you so assert, if he please. These things are without the verge of Christian religion, — chimeras, towers and palaces in the air. But what must St. Peter be succeeded in? “His episcopacy.” And what therewithal? “His authority, power, jurisdiction over all churches in the world, with an unerring judgment in matters of faith.” But all these belonged unto Peter, as far as ever they belonged unto him, as he was an apostle, long before you fancy him to have been a bishop: as, then, his episcopacy came without these things, so, for aught you know, it might go without them.

    This is a matter of huge importance in that system of principles which you tender unto us to bring us unto settlement in religion and the unity of faith. Would you would consider a little how you may give some tolerable appearance of proof unto that which the Scripture is so utterly silent in; yea, which lies against the whole economy of the Lord Jesus Christ in his ordering of his church, as delivered unto us therein. “Dic aliquem, dic, Quintiliane, colorem.” But we come now to the pope, whom here we first find “latentem post principia,” and coming forth meta< pollh~v fantasi>av with his claim. For you say, — VI. “That the bishop of Rome is the man that thus succeeds Peter in his episcopacy; which, though it were settled at Rome, was over the whole catholic church.” So you say, and so you profess yourselves to believe.

    And we desire that you would not take it amiss, if we desire to know upon what grounds you do so; being unwilling to cast away all consideration, that we may embrace a fanatical “credo” in this unlikely business. We desire therefore to know who appointed that there should be any succession? who, that the bishop of Rome should be this successor?

    Did Jesus Christ do it We may justly expect you should say he did; but if you do, we desire to know when, where, how, seeing the Scripture is utterly silent of any such thing. Did St. Peter himself do it? Pray, manifest unto us that by the appointment of Jesus Christ he had power so to do; and that, secondly, he actually did so. Neither of these can you prove, or produce any testimony worth crediting in confirmation of it. Did it necessarily follow from hence, because that was the place where Peter died? But this was accidental, a thing that Peter thought not of; far you say that a few days before his death, he was leaving that place. Besides, according to this insinuation, why did not every apostle leave a successor behind him in the place where he died, and that by virtue of his dying in that place? Or produce you any patent granted to Peter in especial, that where he died, there he should leave a successor behind him? But it seems the whole weight of your faith is laid upon a matter of fact accidentally fallen out, yea, and that very uncertain whether ever it fell out or no. Show us any thing of the will and institution of Christ in this matter; as that Peter should go to Rome, that he should fix his seat there, that he should die there, that he should have a successor, that the bishop of Rome should be his successor, that unto this successor I know not what nor how many privileges should be conveyed. All these are arbitrary euJrh>mata , inventions, that men may multiply “in infinitum” at their pleasure; for what should set bounds to the imaginations of men when once they cast off all reverence of Christ and his truth Once more: Why did not Peter fix a seat and leave a successor at Antioch, and in other places, where he abode, and preached, and exercised episcopal power without all question? Was it because he died at Rome? This is to acknowledge that the whole Papacy is built, as was said, upon an accidental matter of fact, and that supposed, not proved. Farther: if he must be supposed to succeed Peter, I desire to know what that succession is, and wherein he doth succeed him. Doth he succeed him in all that he had and was, in reference unto the church of God? Doth he succeed him in the manner of his call to his office? Peter was called immediately by Christ in his own person: the pope is chosen by the conclave of cardinals; concerning whom, their office, privileges, power, right to choose the successor of Peter, there is not one iota in the Scripture, or any monuments of the best antiquity; and how, in their election of popes, they have been influenced by the interest of powerful strumpets, your own Baronius will inform you. Doth he succeed him in the way and manner of his personal discharge of his office and employment? Not in the least. Peter, in the pursuit of his commission, and in obedience unto the command of his Lord and Master, traveled up and down the world preaching the gospel, planting and watering the churches of Christ in patience, self-denial, humility, zeal, temperance, meekness; the pope reigns at Rome in ease, exalting himself above the kings of the earth, without taking the least pains in his own person for the conversion of sinners or edification of the disciples of Christ. Doth he succeed him in his personal qualifications, which were of such extraordinary advantage unto the church of God in his days, — his faith, love, holiness, light, and knowledge? You will not say so. Many of your popes, by your own confession, have been ignorant and stupid; many of them flagitiously wicked, to say no more. Doth he succeed him in the way and manner of his exercising his care and authority towards the churches of Christ? As little as the rest. Peter did it by his prayers for the churches, personal visitation, and instruction of them, writing by inspiration, for their direction and guidance, according to the will of God: the pope by bulls, and consistorial determinations, executed by intricate legal processes and officers, unknown not only to Peter, but all antiquity; whose ways, practices, orders, terms, St. Peter himself, were he upon the earth again, would very little understand. Doth he succeed him in his personal infallibility? Agree among yourselves if you can, and give an answer unto this inquiry. Doth he succeed him in his power of working miracles? You do not so much as pretend thereunto. Doth he succeed him in the doctrine that he taught? It hath been proved unto you a thousand times that he doth not; and we are still ready to prove it again, if you call us thereunto. Wherein, then, doth this succession consist that you talk of? In his power, authority, jurisdiction, supremacy, monarchy, with the secular advantages of riches, honor, and pomp that attend them; things sweet and desirable unto carnal minds. This is the succession you pretend to plead for. And are you not therein to be commended for your wisdom? In the things that Peter really enjoyed, and which were of singular spiritual advantage unto the church of God, you disclaim any succession unto him, and fix it on things wherein he was no way concerned, that make for your own secular advantage and interest. You have certainly laid your design very well, if these things would hold good to eternity; for hence it is that you draw out the monarchy of your pope, direct and absolute in ecclesiastical things over the whole church; indirect at least, and “in ordine ad spiritualia,” over the whole world. This is the Diana, in making of shrines for whom your occupation consists; and it brings no small gains unto you. Hence you wire-draw his cathedral infallibility, legislative authority, freedom from the judgment of any; whereby you hope to secure him and yourselves from all opposition, endeavoring to terrify them with this Medusa’s head that approach unto you. Hence are his titles, “The Vicar of Christ, Head and Spouse of his Church, Vice-Deus, Deus alter in Terris,” and the like, whereby you keep up popular veneration, and preserve his majestic distance from the poor disciples of Christ. Hence you warrant his practices, suited unto these pretensions and titles, in the deposing of kings, transposing of titles unto dominion and rule, giving away of kingdoms, stirring up and waging mighty wars, causing and commanding them that dissent from him, or refuse to yield obedience unto him, to be destroyed with fire and sword. And who can now question but that you have very wisely stated your succession.

    This is the way, this the progress, whereby you pretend to bring us unto the unity of faith. If we win submit unto the pope, and acquiesce in his determinations (whereunto to induce us we have the cogent reasons now considered), the work will be effected. This is the way that God hath, as you pretend, appointed to bring us unto settlement in religion. These things you have told us so often, and with so much confidence, that you take it ill we should question the truth of any thing you aver in the whole matter, and look upon us as very ignorant or unreasonable for our so doing. Yea, he that believes it safer for him to trust the everlasting concernments of his soul unto the goodness, grace, and faithfulness of God in his word, than unto these principles of yours, is rejected by you out of the limits of the catholic church, — that is, of Christianity, for they are the same. To make good your judgment and censure, then, you vent endless cavils against the authority, perfection, and perspicuity of the Scriptures, pretending to despise and scorn whatever is offered in their vindication.

    This rope of sand, composed of false suppositions, groundless presumptions, inconsequent inferences, in all which there is not one word of infallible truth, at least that you can any way make appear so to be, is the great bond you used to gird men withal into the unity of faith. In brief, you tell us that if we will all submit to the pope, we shall be sure all to agree. But this is no more but, as I have before told you, what every party of men in the world tender us, upon the same or the like condition. It is not a mere agreement we aim at, but an agreement in the truth; not a mere unity, but a unity of faith; — and faith must be built on principles infallible, or it will prove in the close to have been fancy, not faith; carnal imagination, not Christian belief: otherwise we may agree in Turcism, or Judaism, or Paganism, as well as in Christianity, and to as good purpose.

    Now, what of this kind do you tender unto us? Would you have us to leave the sure word of prophecy, more sure than a voice from heaven; the light shining in the dark places of this world, which we are commanded to attend unto by God himself; the holy Scripture given by inspiration, which is able to make us wise unto salvation; the word that is perfect, sure, right, converting the soul, enlightening the eyes, making wise the simple, — whose observation is attended with great reward, — to give heed, yea, to give up all our spiritual and eternal concernments, to the credit of old, groundless, uncertain stories, inevident presumptions, fables invented for and openly improved unto carnal, secular, and wicked ends?

    Is your request reasonable? Would we could prevail with you to cease your importunity in this matter; especially considering the dangerous consequence of the admission of these your principles unto Christianity in general. For if it be so that St. Peter had such an episcopacy as you talk of, and that a continuance of it in a succession by the bishops of Rome be of that indispensable necessity unto the preservation of Christian religion as is pretended, many men, considering the nature and quality of that succession, — how the means of its continuation have been arbitrarily and occasionally changed, — what place formerly popular suffrage and the imperial authority have had in it, — how it came to be devolved on a conclave of cardinals, — what violence and tumults have attended one way, what briberies and filthy respects unto the lusts of unclean persons, the other, — what interruptions the succession itself hath had, by vacancies, schisms, and contests for the place, and uncertainty of the person that had the best right unto the popedom, according to the customs of the days wherein he lived, — and that many of the persons who have had a place in the pretended succession have been plainly men of the world, such as cannot receive the Spirit of Christ, yea, open enemies unto his cross, — would find just cause to suspect that Christianity were utterly failed many ages ago in the world; which certainly would not much promote the settlement in truth and unity of faith that we are inquiring after. And this is the first way that you propose to supply that defect which you charge upon the Scripture, that it is insufficient to reconcile men that are at variance about religion, and settle them in the truth. And if you are able, by so many uncertainties and untruths, to bring men unto a certainty and settlement in the truth, you need not despair of compassing any thing that you shall have a mind to attempt.

    But you have yet another plea, which you make no less use of than of the former; which must therefore be also (now you have engaged us in this work) a little examined. This is the CHURCH, its authority and infallibility.

    The truth is, when you come to make a practical application of this plea unto your own use, you resolve it into and confound it with that foregoing of the pope, in whom solely many of you would have this authority and infallibility of the church to reside. Yet because, in your management of it, you proceed on other principles than those before mentioned, this pretense also shall be apart considered. And here you tell us, — I. “That the church was betbre the Scripture, and giveth authority unto it.” By the Scriptures you know that we understand the word of God, with this one adjunct, of its being written by his command and appointment. We do not say that it belongs unto the essence of the word of God that it be written: whatever is spoken by God we admit as his word, when we are infallibly assured that by ham it was spoken; and that we should do so before, himself doth not require at our hands, for he would have us use our utmost diligence not to be imposed upon by any in his name. Therefore we grant that the word of God was given out for the rule of men in his worship two thousand years before it was written; but it was so given forth as that they unto whom it came had infallible assurance that from him it came, and his word it was. And if you, or any man else, can give us such assurance that any thing is or hath been spoken by him besides what we have now written in the Scripture, we shall receive it with the same faith and obedience wherewith we receive the Scripture itself.

    Whereas, therefore, you say “that the church was before the Scripture,” — if you intend no more but that there was a church in the world before the word of God was written, we grant it true, but not at all to your purpose.

    If you intend that “the church is before the word of God,” which at an appointed time was written, it may possibly be wrested unto your purpose, but is far from being true, seeing the church is a society of men called to the knowledge and worship of God by his word. They become a church by the call of that word which, it seems, you would have not given until they are a church: so effects produce their causes, children beget their parents, light brings forth the sun, and heat the fire; so are the prophets and apostles built upon the foundation of the church, whereof the pope is the corner-stone; so was the Judaical church before the law of its constitution, and the Christian before the word of promise whereon it was founded, and the word of command by which it was edified.

    In brief, from the day wherein man was first created upon the earth, to the days wherein we live, never did a person or church yield any obedience, or perform any acceptable worship unto God, but what was founded on and regulated by his word, given unto them antecedently unto their obedience and worship, to be the sole foundation and rule of it. That you have no concernment in what is or may be truly spoken of the church, we shall afterward show; but it is not for the interest of truth that we should suffer you, without control, to impose such absurd notions on the minds of men, especially when you pretend to direct them unto a settlement in religion.

    Alike true is it that “the church gives authority unto the Scripture.” Every true church, indeed, gives witness or testimony unto it; and it is its duty so to do. It holds it forth, declares and manifests it, so that it may be considered and taken notice of by all; which is one main end of the institution of the church in this world. But the church no more gives authority to the Scripture than it gives authority to God himself. He requires of men the discharge of that duty which he hath assigned unto them, but stands not in need of their suffrage to confirm his authority. It was not so, indeed, with the idols of old, of whom Tertullian said rightly, “Si deus homini non placuerit, deus non erit.” The reputation of their deity depended on the testimony of men, as you say that of Christ’s doth on the authority of the pope. But I shall not farther insist upon the disprovement of this vanity, having showed already that the Scripture hath all its authority, both in itself and in reference unto us, from him whose word it is; and we have also made it appear that your assertions to the contrary are meet for nothing but to open a door unto all irreligiousness, profaneness, and atheism; so that there is oudev , “nothing sound or savory,” — nothing which a heart careful to preserve its loyalty unto God will not nauseate at, — nothing not suited to oppugn the fundamentals of Christian religion in this your position. This ground well fixed, you tell us, — II. “That the church is infallible, or cannot err in what she teacheth to be believed.” And we ask you what church you mean, and how far you intend that it is infallible? The only known church which was then in the world was in the wilderness, when Moses was in the mount. Was it infallible when it made the golden calf, and danced about it, proclaiming a feast unto Jehovah before the calf? Was the same church afterward infallible in the days of the judges, when it worshipped Baalim and Ashtaroth? or in the days of Jeroboam, when it sacrificed before the calves at Dan and Bethel? or in the other branch of it in the days of Ahaz, when the high priest set up an altar in the temple for the king to offer sacrifice unto the gods of Damascus? or in the days of Jehoiakim and Zedekiah, when the high priest, with the rest of the priests, imprisoned and would have slain Jeremiah for preaching the word of God? or when they preferred the worship of the queen of heaven before that of the God of Abraham? Or was it infallible when the high priest, with the whole council or sanhedrim of the church, judicially condemned, as far as in them lay, their own Messiah, and rejected the gospel that was preached unto them? You must inform us what other church was then in the world, or you will quickly perceive how ungrounded your general maxim is of the church’s absolute infallibility. As far, indeed, as it attends unto the infallible rule given unto it it is so, but not one jot farther. Moreover, we desire to know what church you mean in your assertion, or, rather, what is it you mean by the church? Do you intend the mystical church, or the whole number of God’s elect in all ages, or in any age, militant on the earth, which principally is the church of God? Ephesians 5:25; or do you intend the whole diffused body of the disciples of Christ in the world, separated to God by baptism and the profession of saving truth, which is the church catholic visible? or do you mean any particular church, as the Roman or Constantinopolitan, the French, Dutch, or English church? If you intend the first of these, or the church in the first sense, we acknowledge that it is thus far infallible, — that no true member of it shall ever totally and finally renounce, lose, or forsake that faith without which they cannot please God and be saved: this the Scripture teacheth, this Austin confirmeth in a hundred places. If you intend the church in the second sense, we grant that also so far unerring and infallible, as that there ever was and ever shall be in the world a number of men making profession of the saving truth of the gospel, and yielding professed subjection unto our Lord Jesus Christ according unto it; wherein consists his visible kingdom in this world, that never was, that never can be, utterly overthrown. If you speak of a church in the last sense, then we tell you that no such church is, by virtue of any promise of our Lord Jesus Christ, freed from erring, yea, so far as to deny the fundamentals of Christianity, and thereby to lose the very being of a church. Whilst it continues a church it cannot err fundamentally, because such errors destroy the very being of a church; but those who were once a church, by their failing in the truth, may cease to be so any longer. And a church as such may so fail, though every person in it do not so; for the individual members of it, that are so also of the mystical church, shall be preserved in its apostasy. And so the mystical church and the catholic church of professors may be continued, though all particular churches should fail. So that no person, the church in no sense, is absolutely freed in this world from the danger of all errors: that is the condition we shall attain in heaven; here, where we know but in part, we are incapable of it. The church of the elect, and every member of it, shall eventually be preserved by the power of the Holy Ghost from any such error as would utterly destroy their communion with Christ in grace here, or prevent their fruition of him in glory hereafter; or, as the apostle speaks, they shall assuredly be “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.”

    The general church of visible professors shall be always so far preserved in the world, as that there shall never want some, in some place or other of it, that shall profess all needful saving truths of the gospel, in the belief whereof, and obedience whereunto, a man may be saved; but for particular churches, as such, they have no security but what lies in their diligent attendance unto that infallible rule, which will preserve them from all hurtful errors, if, through their own default, they neglect not to keep close unto it. And your flattering yourselves with an imagination of any other privilege is that which hath wrought your ruin. You are deceived if, in this matter, you are of Menander’s mind, who said, Aujto>mata ta< pra>gmat j ejpi< to< sumfe>ron rJei~ ka[n kaqeudh>sh| , “All will, of its own accord, fall out well with you though you sleep securely.” As for all other churches in the world besides your own, we have your concession not only that they were and are fallible, but that they have actually erred long since; and the same hath been proved against yours a thousand times; and your best reserve against particular charges of error lies in this impertinent general pretense, that you cannot err. It may be you will ask, for you use so to do, and it is the design of your “Fiat” to promote the inquiry, — “If the church be fallible (that is, to propose unto us the things and doctrines that we are to believe), how can we with faith infallible believe her proposals?” And I tell you truly, I know not how we can, if we believe them only upon her authority, or she propose them to be believed solely upon that account; but when she proposeth them unto us to be believed on the authority of God speaking in the Scriptures, we both can and do believe what she teacheth and proposeth, and that with faith infallible, resolved into the veracity of God in his word. And we grant every church to be so far infallible as it attends unto the only infallible rule amongst men. When you prove that any one church is, by any promise of Christ, any grant of privilege expressed or intimated in the Scripture, placed in an unerring condition, any farther than as, in the use of the means appointed, she attends unto the only rule of her preservation; or that any church shall be necessitated to attend unto that rule whether she will or no, whereby she may be preserved; or can give us an instance of any church, since the foundation of the world, that hath been actually preserved, and absolutely, from all error (other than that of your own, which you know we cannot admit of), — as you will do me>ga kai< perizo>hton e]rgon , “a great and memorable work,” so we shall grant as much as you can reasonably desire of us, upon the account of the assertion under consideration. But until you do some one or all of these, your crying out, “The church, the church, the church cannot err,” makes no other noise in our ears than that of the Jews, “The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the law shall not fail,” did in the ears of the prophets of old. Neither do we speak this of the church, or any church, as though we were concerned to question or deny any just privileges belonging unto it, thereby to secure ourselves from any pretensions of yours, but merely for the sake of truth. For we shall manifest anon unto you that you are as little concerned in the privileges of the church, be they what they will, more or less, as any society of the professors of Christianity in the world, if so be that you are concerned in them at all. So that if the truth would permit us to agree with you in all things that you assign unto the church, yet the difference between you and us were never the nearer to an end; for we should still differ with you about your share and interest therein, and for ever abhor your frowardness in appropriating of them all unto yourselves. And herein, as I said, hath lain a great part of your ruin: whilst you have been sweetly dreaming of an infallibility, you have really plunged yourselves into errors innumerable; and when any one hath jogged you to awake you out of your fatal sleep, by minding you of your particular errors, your dream hath left such an impression upon your imagination as that you think them no errors, upon this only ground, because you cannot err. I am persuaded, had it not been for this one error, you had been freed from many others. But this perfectly disenables you for any candid inquisition after the truth; for why should he once look about him, or, indeed, so much as take care to keep his eyes open, who is sure that he can never be out of his way? Hence you inquire not at all whether what you profess be truth or not; but to learn what your church teacheth, and defend it, is all that you have to do about religion in this world. And whatever absurdities or inconveniencies you find yourselves driven unto in the handling of particular points, all is one; they must be right, though you cannot defend them, because your church, which cannot err, hath so declared them to be! And if you should chance to be convinced of any truth in particular that is contrary to the determination of your church, you know not how to embrace it, but must shut your eyes against its light and evidence, and cast it out of your minds, or wander up and down with a various assent between contradictions.

    Well said he of old, — Eujh>qeia> moi fai>netai dhloume>nh To< noei~n mettesqai d j a[ dei~ .

    This is flat folly, — namely, for a man to live in rebellion unto his own light. But you add, — III. “That yourselves, — that is, the pope, with those who in matters of religion adhere unto him, and live in subjection unto him, — are this church, in an assent unto whose infallible teachings and determinations the unity of faith doth consist.” Could you prove this assertion, I confess it would stand you in good stead. But before we inquire aider that, we shall endeavor a little to come unto a right understanding of what you say.

    When you affirm that the Roman church is the church of Christ, you intend either that it is the only church of Christ, — all the church of Christ, — and so, consequently, the catholic church; or you mean that it is a church of Christ, which hath an especial prerogative, enabling it to require obedience of all the disciples of Christ. 1. If you say the former, we desire to know, First, When it became so to be. It was not so when all the church was together at Jerusalem, and no foundation of any church at all laid at Rome, Acts 1:1-5. It was not so when the first church of the Gentiles was gathered at Antioch, and the disciples first began to be called Christians; for as yet we have no tidings of any church at Rome. It was not so when Paul wrote his epistles, for he makes express mention of many other churches in other places, which had no relation unto any church at Rome more than they had one to another, in their common profession of the same faith, and therein enjoyed equal gifts and privileges with it. It was not so in the days of the primitive fathers of the first three hundred years, who all of them, not one excepted, took the Roman to be a local particular church, and the bishop of Rome to be such a bishop as they esteemed of all other churches and bishops. Their persuasion in this matter is expressed in the beginning of the Epistle of Clemens, or church of Rome, unto the church of Corinth: JH ejkklhsi>a tou~ Qeou~ hJ paroikou~sa Rw>mhn , th~| ejkklhsi>a| tou~ Qeou~ paroikou>sh| Ko>rinqon? — “The church [of God] that is at Rome to the church [of God] that is at Corinth;” beth local churches, both equal. And such is the language of all the writers of those times. It was not so in the days of the fathers and councils of the next three centuries, who still accounted it a particular church, — diocesan or patriarchal, but all of them particular; never calling it catholic but upon the account of its holding the catholic faith, as they called all other churches that did so, in opposition to the errors, heresies, and schisms of any in their days. We desire, then, to know when it became the only or absolutely catholic church of Christ; as also, secondly, by what means it became so to be. It did not do so by virtue of any institution, warrant, or command of Christ. You were never able to produce the least intimation of any such warrant out of any writing of divine inspiration, nor approved catholic writer of the first ages after Christ, though it hugely concern you so to do, if it were possible to be done; but they all expressly teach that which is inconsistent with such pretences. It did not do so by any decree of the first general councils, which are all of them silent as to any such thing; and some of them, as those of Nice, Ephesus, and Chalcedon, expressly declare and determine the contrary, — at least that which is contrary thereunto. We can find no other way or means whereby it can pretend unto this vast privilege, unless it be the grant of Phocas unto Boniface that he should be called the Universal Bishop; who, to serve his own ends, was very liberal of that which was not at all in his power to bestow. And yet neither is this, though it be a means that you have more reason to be ashamed than to boast of, sufficient to found your present claim, considering how that name was in those days no more than a name, — a mere airy, ambitious title, — that carried along with it no real power, and “stet magni nominis umbra.”

    Secondly , We cannot give our assent unto this claim of yours, because we should thereby be necessitated to cut off from the church, and consequently all hope of salvation, far the greatest number of men in the world who in this and all foregoing ages have called and do “call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.” This we dare not do, especially considering that many of them have spent, and do spend, their days in great affliction, for their testimony unto Christ and his gospel; and many of them every day seal their testimony with their blood, — so belonging, as we believe, unto that “holy army of martyrs” which continually praiseth God. Now, as herein we dare not concur with you, considering the charge given unto Timothy by Paul, Mh< koinw>nei ajmarti>aiv ajllotri>aiv , “Be not partaker of other men’s sins;” so indeed we are persuaded that your opinion, or rather presumption, in this matter, is extremely injurious to the grace of Christ, the love and goodness of God, as also to the truth of the gospel. And therefore, — Thirdly , We suppose this the most schismatical principle that ever was broached under the sun, since there was a church upon the earth; and that because, — (1.) It is the most groundless; (2.) The most uncharitable that ever was; and, (3.) Of the most pernicious consequence, as having a principal influence into the present irreconcilableness of differences among Christians in the world; which will one day be charged on the authors and abettors of it.

    For it will one day appear that it is not the various conceptions of the minds of peaceable men about the things of God, nor the various degrees of knowledge and faith that are found amongst them, but groundless impositions of things as necessary to be believed and practiced beyond Scripture warrant, that are the springs and causes of all, or at least the most blamable and sinful, differences among Christians.

    Fourthly , We know this pretense, should it take place, would prove extremely hazardous unto the truth of the promises of Christ given unto the catholic church. For suppose that to be one and the same with the Roman, and whatever mishap may befall the one must be thought to befall the other; for on our supposition they are not only like Hippocrates’s twins, that, being born together, wept and joyed together, and together died, but like Hippocrates himself, as the same individual person or thing, being both the same, — one church that hath two names, Catholic and Roman; that is, universal-particular: no otherwise two than as Julius Caesar was, when, by his overawing his colleague from the execution of his office, they dated their acts at Rome, “Julio et Caesare consulibus;” for, as they said, — “Non Bibulo quicquam nuper sed Caesare factum est; Nam Bibulo fieri eonsule nil memini .”

    Now, besides the failings which we know your church to have been subject unuto, in point of faith, manners, and worship, it hath also been at least in danger of destruction in the time of the prevalency of the Goths, Vandals, Huns, and Longobards, especially when Rome itself was left desolate and without inhabitant by Totilas. And what yet farther may befall it before the end of the world, Qeou~ ejn gou>nasi . Only this I know, that many are in expectation of a sad catastrophe to be given unto it, and that on grounds not to be despised. Now, God forbid that the church unto which the promises are made should be once thought to be subject unto all the dangers and hazards that you willfully expose yourselves unto. So that as this is a very groundless presumption in itself, so it is a very great aggravation of your miscarriages also, whilst you seek to entitle the catholic church of Christ unto them which can neither contract any such guilt as you have done, nor be liable to any such misery or punishment as you are.

    Fifthly , We see not the promises made unto the catholic church fulfulled unto you, as we see that to have befallen your church which is contrary unto the promises that ever it should befall the catholic. The conclusion, then, will necessarily on both instances follow, that either you are not the catholic church, or that the promises of Christ have failed and been of none effect; and you may easily guess which part of the conclusion it is best and most safe for us to give assent unto. I shall give you one or two instances unto this last head. Christ hath promised his Spirit unto his church, — that is, his catholic church, — to “abide with it for ever,” John 14:16. But this promise hath not been made good unto your church at all times, because it hath not been so unto the head of it. Many a time the head of your church hath not received the Spirit of Christ, for our Savior tells us in the next words that “the world cannot receive him,” — that is, men of the world, carnally-minded men, cannot do so; for he is the peculiar inheritance of those that are called, sanctified, and do believe.

    Now, if ever there was any “world” in the world, any of the “world” in the earth, some, many, of your popes have been so; and therefore, by the testimony of Christ, could not receive the Spirit that he promised unto his church. Again, it is promised unto the church mystical or catholic, in the first and chiefest notion of it, “that all her children shall be holy, all taught of God;” and all that are so taught, as our Savior informs us, “come to him” by saving faith. You will not, I am sure, for shame, affirm that this promise hath been made good to all, either children or fathers, of your church. Innumerable other promises made to the catholic church may be instanced in, which you can no better or otherwise apply unto your church than one of your popes did that of the psalmist to himself, “Thou shalt tread on the lion and the basilisk,” when he set his foot on the neck of Frederick the emperor. But the arguments are endless whereby the vanity of this pretense may be disproved. I shall only add, — Sixthly , That it is contrary to all story , reason, and common sense; for it is notorious that far the greatest part of Christians that belong to the catholic church of Christ, or have done so from the days that Christianity first entered the world, successively in all ages, never thought themselves any otherwise concerned in the Roman church than in any other particular church of name in the world: and is it not a madness to exclude them all from being Christians, or belonging to the catholic church, because they belonged not to the Roman? This I could easily demonstrate throughout all ages of the church successively. But we need not insist longer on the disproving of that assertion which implies a flat contradiction in the very terms of it. If any church be the catholic, it cannot therefore be the Roman; and if it be the Roman properly, it cannot therefore be the catholic. 2. If you shall say that you mean only that you are a particular church of Christ, but yet that or such a particular church as hath the great privileges of infallibility and universal authority annexed unto it, which make it of necessity for all men to submit unto it, and to acquiesce in its determinations, I answer, — (1.) I fear you will not say so; you will not, I fear, renounce your claim unto catholicism. I have already observed that yourself in particular affirm the Roman and catholic church to be one and the same. It is not enough for you that you belong any way to the church of Christ, but you plead that none do so but yourselves. (2.) Indeed you do not own yourselves in this very assertion to be a particular church; your claim of universal authority and jurisdiction, which you still carry along with you, is inconsistent with any such concession. (3.) To make the best of it that we can, what ground have you to give us this difference between the churches of Christ, that one is fallible, another infallible; that one hath power over all the rest; that one depends on Christ, all the rest on that one? Where is the least intimation given of any such thing in the Scripture? where or by whom is it expressly asserted amongst the ancient writers of the church? Was this principle pleaded or once asserted in any of the ancient council? Some ambiguous expressions of particular persons, most of them bishops of Rome in the declining days of the church, you produce, indeed, unto this purpose; but can any rational man think them a sufficient foundation of that stupendous fabric which you endeavor to erect upon them? I suppose you will not find any such persons hasty in their so doing: those who are already engaged will not be easily recovered. For new proselytes unto these principles, you have small ground to expect any; unless it be of persons whose lives are either tainted with sensuality, which they would gladly have a refuge for against the accusations of their consciences, or whose minds are entangled with worldly, secular advantages, suited to their conditions, tempers, and inclinations.

    Thus I have, with what briefness I could, showed you the uncertainty, indeed falseness, of those general principles from which you educe all your other pleas and reasonings, into which they must be resolved. And now, I pray, consider the groundwork you lay for the bringing of men unto a settlement in the truth, and unto the unity of faith, in opposition to the Scripture, which you reject as insufficient unto this purpose. The sum of it is, an acquiescency in the proposals and determinations of your church, as to all things that concern faith and the worship of God; the two main principles that concur unto it we have apart considered, and have found them every way insufficient for the end proposed. Neither have they one jot more of strength when they are complicated and blended together, as they usually are by you, than they have in and of themselves, as they stand singly on their own bottoms. A thousand falsehoods put together will be far enough from making one truth. A multiplication of them may increase a sophism, but not add the least weight or strength to an argument. An army of cripples will not make one sound man. And can you think it reasonable that we should renounce our sure and firm word of prophecy to attend unto you in this chase of uncertain conjectures and palpable untruths? Suppose this were a way that would bring you and us to an agreement, and take away the evil of our differences, I can name you twenty that would do it as effectually; and they should none of them have any evil in them but only that which yours also is openly guilty of, — namely, the relinquishment of our duty towards God and care of our own souls, to come to some peace amongst ourselves in this world: which would be nothing else but a plain conspiracy against Jesus Christ, and rejection of his authority. At present, I shall say no more but that he who is led into the truth by so many errors, and is brought unto establishment by so many uncertainties, hath singular success, and such as no other man hath reason to look for; or he is like Robert, duke of Normandy, who, when he caused the Saracens to carry him into Jerusalem, sent word unto his friends in Europe that he was “carried into heaven on the backs of devils.”

    It may also, in particular, be easily made to appear how unsuited your means of bringing men unto the unity of faith are unto that supposition of the present differences in religion between you and us which you proceed upon; for suppose a man be convinced that many things taught by your church are false, and contrary to the mind of God, as you know the case to be between you and us, what course would you take with him to reduce him unto the unity of faith? Would you tell him that your church cannot err? or would you endeavor to persuade him that the particulars which he in-stanceth in as errors are not so indeed, but real truths, and necessarily by him to be believed? The former, if you would speak it out downright and openly, as becometh men who distrust not the truth of their principles (for he that is persuaded of the truth never fears its strength), would soon appear to be a very wise course indeed. You would persuade a man in general that you cannot err, whilst he gives you instances that you have actually erred. Do not think you have any sophisms against motion in general that will prevail with any man to assent unto you whilst he is able to rise and walk to and fro. Besides, he that is convinced of any thing wherein you err, believes the opposite unto it to be true; and that on grounds unto him sufficiently cogent to require his assent. If you could now persuade him that you cannot err, whilst he actually believes things to be true which he knows to be contrary to your determination, what a sweet condition should you bring him into! Can you enable him to believe contradictions at the same time? or, when a man, on particular grounds and evidences, is come to a serried, firm persuasion that any doctrine of your church (suppose that of transubstantiation) is false and contradictory unto Scripture and right reason, if you should, abstracting from particulars, in general puzzle him with sophisms and pretenses for your church’s infallibility, do you think it is an easy thing for him immediately to forego that persuasion in particular which his mind, upon cogent, and to him unavoidable, grounds and arguments, was possessed withal, without a rational removal of those grounds and arguments? Men’s belief of things never pierces deeper into their souls than their imagination, who can take it up and lay it down at their pleasure. I am persuaded, therefore, you would take the latter course, and strive to convince him of his mistakes in the things that he judgeth erroneous in the doctrine of your church. And what way would you proceed by for his conviction? Would you not produce testimonies of Scripture, with arguments drawn from them, and the suffrage of the Fathers to the same purpose? Nay, would you not do so, if the error he charge you withal be that of the authority and infallibility of your church? I am sure all your controversy-writers of note take this course. And do you not see, then, that you are brought, whether you will or no, unto the use of that way and means for the reducing of men unto the unity of faith which you before rejected, which Protestants avow as sufficient to that purpose?

    CHAPTER 9. Proposals from protestant principles tending unto moderation and unity. YOU may, from what hath been spoken, perceive how, upon your own principles, you are utterly disenabled to exercise any true moderation towards dissenters from you; and that which you do so exercise we are beholding for it, as Cicero said of the honesty of some of the Epicureans, to the goodness of their nature, which the illness of their opinions cannot corrupt; neither are you any way enabled by them to reduce men unto the unity of faith: so that you are not more happy in your proposing of good ends unto yourself than you are unhappy in choosing mediums for the effecting of them. It may be, for your own skill, you are able, like Archimedes, to remove the earthly ball of our contentions; but you are like him again that you have nowhere to stand whilst you go about your work.

    However, we thank you for your good intentions: “In magnis voluisse,” is no small commendation. Protestants, on the other side, you see, are furnished with firm, stable principles and rules in the pursuit both of moderation and unity; and there are some things in themselves very practicable, and naturally deducible from the principles of Protestants, wherein the complete exercise of moderation may be obtained, and a better progress made towards unity than is likely to be by a rigid contending to impose different principles on one another; or by impetuous clamors of “Lo here, and lo there,” which at present most men are taken up withal.

    Some few of them I shall name unto you, as a pacific coronis to the preceding critical discourse; and —— “Si quid novisti rectius istis Candidus imperti; si non, his utere mecum.”

    Hor. Ep. 1:6, 68.

    And they are these: — I. Whereas our Savior hath determined that our happiness consisteth not in the knowing the things of the gospel, but in doing of them; and seeing that no man can expect any benefit or advantage from or by Christ Jesus but only they that yield obedience unto him, to whom alone he is a “captain of salvation;” the first thing wherein all that profess Christianity ought to agree and consent together is, jointly to obey the commands of Christ, — “to live godly, righteously, and soberly in this present world,” following after “holiness, without which no man shall see God.” Until we all agree in this, and make it our business, and fix it as our end, in vain shall we attempt to agree in notional and speculative truths; nor would it be much to our advantage so to do. For as I remember I have told you before, so I now on this occasion tell you again, it will at the last day appear that it is all one to any man what party or way in Christian religion he hath been of, if he have not personally been born again, and, upon mixing the promises of Christ with faith, have thereupon yielded obedience unto him unto the end. I confess men may have many advantages in one way, that they may not have in another, — they may have better means of instruction, and better examples for imitation: but as to the event, it will be one and the same with all unbelievers, all unrighteous and ungodly persons; and men may be very zealous believers in a party who are in the sight of God unbelievers as to the whole design of the gospel. This is a principle wherein, as I take it, all Christians agree, — namely, that the profession of Christianity will do no man the least good as to his eternal concernments that lives not up to the power of it; yea, it will be an aggravation of his condemnation: and the want hereof is that which hath lost all the lustre and splendor of the religion taught by Jesus Christ in the world. Would Christians of all parties make it their business to retrieve its reputation, wherein also their own bliss and happiness is involved, by a universal obedience unto the precepts of it, it would insensibly sink a thousand of their differences under ground. Were this attended unto, the world would quickly say with admiration, — “Magnus ab integro seclorum nascitur ordo:

    Jam nova progenies coelo demittitur alto.” Virg. Ecl. 4:5,7.

    The old, glorious, beautiful face of Christianity would be restored unto it again; which many deform more and more every day by painting a dead carcase instead of the living spouse of Christ. And if ever we intend to take one step towards any agreement or unity, it must be by fixing this principle in the minds of all men, — that it is of no advantage to any man whatever church or way in Christian religion he be of, unless he personally believe the promises, and live in obedience unto all the precepts of Christ; and that for him who doth so, that it is a trampling of the whole gospel under foot to say that his salvation could be endangered by his not being of this or that church or way, especially considering how much of the world hath immixed itself into all the known ways that are in it. Were this once well fixed on the minds of men, and did they practically believe that men shall not be dealt withal at the last day by gross, as of this or that party or church, but that every individual person must stand upon his own bottom, live by his own faith, or perish for want of it, as if there had been no other persons in the world but himself, we should quickly find their keenness in promoting and contending for their several parties taken off, their heat allayed, and they will begin to find their business and concernment in religion to be utterly another matter than they thought of.

    For the present, some Protestants think that when the Roman power is by one means or other broken, which they expect, that then we shall agree and have peace; Romanists, on the other side, look for and desire the extirpation of all that they call heresy or heretics, by one way or other.

    Some, pretending highly to moderation on both sides, especially among the Protestants, hope that it may be attained by mutual condescension of the parties at variance, contemperation of opinions and practices unto the present distant apprehensions and interests of the chief leaders of either side: what issue and event their desires, hopes, and attempts will have, time will show to all the world. For my part, until, by a fresh pouring out of the Spirit of God from on high, I see Christians in profession agreeing in pursuing the end of Christianity, endeavoring to be followers of Jesus Christ in a conversation becoming the gospel, without trusting to the parties wherein they are engaged, I shall have very little hopes to see any unity amongst us that shall be one jot better than our present differences.

    To see this, if any thing, would make me say, — “O mihi tam longae maneat pars ultima vitae!” — Virg. Ecl. 4:53.

    The present face of Christianity makes the worm a wearisome wilderness; nor should I think any thing a more necessary duty than it would be for persons of piety and ability to apologize for the religion of Jesus Christ, and to show how unconcerned it is in the ways and practices of the most that profess it, and how utterly another thing it is from what in the world it is represented to be, — so to put a stop unto that atheism which is breaking in upon us from the contempt that men have of that idea of Christian religion which they have taken from the manner of its profession and lives of its professors, — were it not that I suppose it more immediately incumbent on them and us all to do the same work in a real expression of its power and excellency, in such a kind of goodness, holiness, righteousness, and heavenliness of conversation, as the world is only as yet in secret acquainted withal. When this is done, the way for a farther agreement will be open and facile; and until it be so, men will fight on, — —— “Ipsique, nepotesque Et nati natorum, et qui nascentur ab illis;” we shall have no end of our quarrels. Could I see a heroic temper fall on the minds of men of the several parties at variance, to bid adieu to the world, its customs, manners, and fashions, which are all vain and perishing; — not in a local, corporeal retirement from the men and lawful businesses of it, or a relinquishment of the necessary callings and employments in it, but in their spirits and affections; could I see them taking up the cross of Christ, — not on their backs in its figure, but on their hearts in its power, — and in their whole conversation conforming themselves unto his blessed example, so teaching all others of their parties what it is that they build upon for a blessed eternity, that they may not please and deceive themselves with their conceited orthodoxy in the trifling differences which they have with other Christians; I should hope the very name of persecution, and every thing that is contrary to Christian moderation, would quickly be driven out of Christendom, and that error, and whatever is contrary to the unity of faith, would not be long-lived after them. But whilst these things are far from us, let us not flatter ourselves as though a windy flourish of words had any efficacy in it to bring us to moderation and unity. At variance we are, and at variance we must be content to be; that being but one of the evils that at this day triumph in the world over conquered Christianity. This being supposed, — II. Whereas the decline of God is a mystery, in the knowledge whereof men attain unto wisdom according to that measure of light and grace which the Spirit, who divides unto every man as he will, is pleased to communicate unto them, if men would not frame any other rule or standard unto that wisdom, and the various degrees of it, but only that which God himself hath assigned thereunto, the fuel would, upon the matter, be wholly taken away from the fire of our contentions. All men have not, nor, let men pretend what they please to the contrary, ever had, nor ever will have, the same light, the same knowledge, the same spiritual wisdom and understanding, the same degree of assurance, the same measure of comprehension, in the things of God. But whilst they have the same rule, the same objective revelation, the use of the same means to grow spiritually wise in the knowledge of it, they have all the agreement that God hath appointed for them, or calls them unto. To frame for them all, in rigid confessions, or systems of supposed credible propositions, a Procrustes’ bed to stretch them upon, or crop them unto the size of, so to reduce them to the same opinion in all things, is a vain and fruitless attempt, that men have for many generations wearied themselves about, and yet continue so to do. Remove out of the way anathemas upon propositions arbitrarily composed and expressed, philosophical conclusions, rules of faith of a mere human composure, or use them no otherwise but only to testify the voluntary consent of men’s minds in expressing to their own satisfaction the things which they do believe, and let men be esteemed to believe and to have attained degrees in the faith according as they are taught of God, with an allowance for every one’s measure of means, light, grace, gifts, which are not things in our own power, and we shall be nearer unto quietness than most men imagine.

    When Christians had any unity in the world, the Bible alone was thought to contain their religion, and every one endeavored to learn the mind of God out of it, both by their own endeavors and as they were instructed therein by their guides; neither did they pursue this work with any other end but only that they might be strengthened in their faith and hope, and learn to serve God and obey him, that so they might come to the blessed enjoyment of him. Nor will there ever, I fear, be again any unity among them until things are reduced to the same state and condition. But among all the vanities that the minds of men are exercised with in this world, there is none to be compared unto that of their hoping and endeavoring to bring all persons that profess the religion of Jesus Christ, to acquiesce in the same opinions about all particulars which are any way determined to belong thereunto, especially considering how endlessly they are multiplied and branched into instances; such, for aught appears, the first churches took little or no notice of, nay, neither knew nor understood any thing of them, in the sense and terms wherein they are now proposed as a “tessera” of communion among Christians. In a word, leave Christian religion unto its primitive liberty, wherein it was believed to be revealed of God, and that revelation of it to be contained in the Scripture, which men searched and studied, to become themselves, and to teach others to be, wise in the knowledge of God and living unto him, and the most of the contests that are in the world will quickly vanish and disappear. But whilst every one hath a confession, a way, a church, and its authority, which must be imposed on all others, or else he cries to his nearest relations, — “Lupis et agnis quanta sortito obtigit Tecum mihi discordia est;” we may look for peace, moderation, and unity, when we are here no more, and not sooner. So that, — III. If those theological determinations that make up at this day amongst some men the greatest part of those assertions, positions, or propositions, which are called articles of faith or truth, — which are not delivered in the words that the Spirit of God teacheth, but in terms of art, and in answer unto rules and notions which the world might haply, without any great disadvantage, [have] been unacquainted withal unto this day had not Aristotle found them out or stumbled on them, — might be eliminated from the city of God and communion of Christians, and left for men to exercise their wits about who have nothing else to do, and the doctrine of truth which is according unto godliness left unto that noble, heavenly, spiritual, generous amplitude, wherein it was delivered in the Scripture and believed in the first churches, innumerable causes of strife and contentions would be taken away: but, “ferri video mea gaudia ventis,” small hopes have I to see any such impression and consent to befall the minds of concerned men; and yet, I must confess, I have not one jot more of the reuniting the disciples of Christ in love and concord. But most men that profess any thing of divinity have learned it as an art or human science, out of the road, compass, and track whereof they know nothing of the mind of God; nay, many scarce know the things in themselves, and as they are to be believed, which they are passing skillful in as they are expressed in their arbitrary terms of art, which none almost understand but themselves. And is it likely that such men, who are not a few in the world, will let go their skill and knowledge, and with them their reputation and advantage, and sacrifice them all to the peace and agreement that we are seeking after? Some learn their divinity out of the late and modern schools, both in the Reformed and Papal church; in both which a science is proposed under that name, consisting in a farrago of credible propositions, asserted in terms suited unto that philosophy that is variously predominant in them. What a kind of theology this hath produced in the Papacy, Agricola, Erasmus, Vives, Jansenius, with innumerable other learned men of your own, have sufficiently declared. And that it hath any better success in the Reformed churches, many things, which I shall not now instance in, give me cause to doubt. Some beast themselves to learn their divinity from the fathers, and say they depart not from their sense and idiom of expression in what they believe and profess. But we find by experience that, what for want of wisdom and judgment in themselves, what for such reasons taken from the writings which they make their oracles, which I shall not insist upon, much of the divinity of some of these men consists in that which, to avoid provocation, I shall not express.

    Whilst men are thus pre-engaged, it will be very hard to prevail with them to think that the greatest part of their divinity is such that Christian religion, either as to the matter, or at least as to that mode wherein alone they have imbibed it, is little or not at all concerned in: nor will it be easy to persuade them that it is a mystery laid up in the Scripture, and all true divinity a wisdom in the knowledge of that mystery, and skill to live unto God accordingly; without which, as I said before, we shall have no peace or agreement in this world. “Nobis curiositate opus non est post Jesum Christum, nec inquisitione post evangelium,” says Tertullian; — “Curiosity after the doctrine of Christ, and philosophical inquisitions” (in religion) “after the gospel, belong not unto us.” As we are, — IV. It were well if Christians would but seriously consider what and how many things they are wherein their present apprehensions of the mind and will of God do center and agree, — I mean as to the substance of them, their nature and importance, and how far they will lead men in the ways of pleasing God, and coming to the enjoyment of him. Were not an endeavor to this purpose impeded by many men’s importunate cries of “All or none,” “As good nothing at all as not every thing,” and that in this or that way, mode, or fashion, it might not a little conduce to the peace of Christendom. And I must acknowledge unto you that I think it is prejudice, carnal interest, love of power, and present enjoyments, with other secular advantages, joined with pride, self-will, and contempt of others, that keep the professors of Christianity from conspiring to improve this consideration. But, God help us, we are all for parties, and our own exact being in the right, and therein the only church of Christ in the earth, — at least, that others are so only so far as they agree with us, we being ourselves the rule and standard of all gospel church state, laying weight upon what we differ from others in, for the most part exceedingly above what it doth deserve. Were “the same mind in us that was in Christ Jesus,” the same frame of spirit that was in his blessed apostles, we should be willing to try the effects of his love and care towards all that profess his name, by a sedate consideration, at least, how far he hath instructed them in the knowledge of his will, and what effects this learning of him may produce. And to tell you truly, I do not think there is a more horrid monster in the earth than that opinion is, which, in the great diversity that there is among Christians in the world, includes happiness and salvation within the limits and precincts of any party of them, as though Christ and the gospel, their own faith, obedience, and sufferings, could not possibly do them any good in their station and condition. This is that Alecto, —— “Cul tristia bella, Iraque, insidiaeque, et crimina noxia cordi.

    Odit et Jim pater Pluton; odere sorores Tartareae monstrum: Tot sese vertit in ora, Tam myra facies, tot pullulat atra colubris.” Virg. AEn. 7:825.

    Wherever this opinion takes place, which indeed bids defiance to the goodness of God and the blood of Christ with a gigantic boldness, for men to talk of moderation, unity, and peace, is to mock others, and to befool themselves in things of the greatest importance in the world. “Altera manu ostentant panem, altera lapidem ferunt.” For my own part, I have not any firmer persuasion in and about these things, nor that yields more satisfaction and contentment unto my mind in reflections upon it, than this, — that if a man sincerely believe all that, and only that, wherein all Christians in the world agree, and yield obedience unto God according to the guidance of what he doth so believe, not neglecting or refusing the knowledge of any one truth that he hath sufficient means to be instructed in, he need not go unto any church in the world to secure his salvation. “Hic taurus aheneus esto,” Hor. Ep. 1:1,60. It is true it is the duty of such a man to join himself unto some church of Christ or other, which walks in professed subjection unto his institutions, and in the observation of his appointments; but to think that his not being of, or joining with, this or that society, should cut him off from all hopes of a blessed eternity, is but to entertain a viper in our minds, or to act suitably to the principles of the old serpent, and to put forth the venom of his poison. Some of the ancients, indeed, tell us that out of the catholic church there is no salvation; and so say I also, but, withal, that the belief mentioned of the truths generally embraced by Christians in their present divisions in the world (I still speak of the most famous and numerous societies of them), and its profession, do so constitute a man a member of the catholic church, that whilst he walks answerably to his profession, it is not in the power of this or that, no, not of all the churches in the world, to divest him of that privilege. Nor can all these cries that are in the world, “We are the church, and we are the church; you are not the church, and you are not the church,” persuade me but that as every assembly in the general notion of it is a church, so every assembly of Christians that ordinarily meet to worship God in Christ according to his appointment is a church of Christ, — —— “Haec, mi pater, Te dicere aequom fuit, et id defendere.”

    Ter. Adel. 4:5,40.

    When you talked of moderation and unity, such principles as these had better become you than those which you either privately couched in your discourse or openly insisted on. Men that think of reducing unity among Christians, upon the precise terms of that truth which they suppose themselves “in solidum” possessors of, “ipsi sibi somnia fingunt,” do but entertain themselves with pleasant dreams, which a little consideration may awake them from. Charity, condescension, a retrenchment of opinions, with a rejection of secular interests, and a design for the pursuit of general obedience, — without any such respect to the particular enclosures which diversity of opinions, and different measures of light and knowledge, have made in the field of the Lord, as should confine the effects of any duty towards the disciples of Christ unto those within them, — with the like actings of minds suited unto the example of Jesus Christ, must introduce the desired unity, or we shall expect it in vain.

    These are some of my hasty thoughts upon the principles of Protestants before mentioned, which you and others may make use of as you and they please. In the meantime, I shall pray that we may, amidst all our differences, love one another, pray for one another, wait patiently for the communication of farther light unto one another, leave evil surmises, and much more the condemning and seeking the ruin of those that dissent from us, which men usually do on various pretenses, most of them false and coined for the present purpose. And when we can arrive thereunto, I shall hope that from such general principles as before mentioned somewhat may be advanced towards the peace of Christians; and that there will be so when the whole concernment of religion shall, in the providence of God, be unravelled from that worldly and secular interest wherewith it hath been wound up and entangled for sundry ages; and when men shall not be engaged, from their cradles to their graves, in a precipitate zeal for any church or way of profession, by outward advantages inseparably mixed and blended with it before they came into the world. In the meantime, to expect unity in profession, by the reduction of all men to a precise agreement in all the doctrines that have been and are ventilated among Christians, and in all acts and ways of worship, is to refer the supreme and last determination of things evangelical to the sword of secular power and violence, and to inscribe “Vox ultima Christi” upon great guns and other engines of war, seeing otherwise it will not be effected; — and what may be done this way I know not. “Sponte tonat; coeunt ipsae sine flamine nubes.” CHAPTER 10. Farther vindication of the second chapter of the “Animadversions” — The remaining principles of “Fiat Lux” considered. IT is time to return and put an end unto our review of those ciples which I observed your discourse to be built upon. The next, as laid down in the “Animadversions,” p. 103, is, “That the pope is a good man, one that seeks nothing but our good, that never did us harm, but hath the care and inspection of us committed unto him by Christ.” In the repetition hereof you leave out all the last part, and express no more but “The pope is a good man, and seeks nothing but our good;” and therein aim at a double advantage unto yourself, — first, That you may, with some color of truth, though really without it, deny the assertion to be yours, when the latter part of it, which, upon the matter, is that which gives the sense and determines the meaning of the whole, is expressly contended for by you, and that frequently and at large; secondly, That you may vent an empty cavil against that expression, “Seeks nothing but our good,” whereas had you added the next words, “And never did us harm,” every one would have perceived in what sense the former were spoken, and so have prevented the frivolous exception. Your words are, “This also I nowhere aver, for I never saw him, nor have any such acquaintance with him as to know whether he be a good man or no; though, in charity, I do not use to judge hardly of any body, much less could say that he whom I know to have a general solicitude for all churches seeks nothing but our good. Sir, if I had pondered my words in ‘Fiat Lux’ no better than you heed yours in your ‘Animadversions’ upon it, they might even go together, both of them, to lay up pepper and spices, or some yet more vile employment.”

    For what you have said of the pope, I desire the reader to consult your paragraph so entitled; and if he find not that you have said ten times more in the commendation of him than I intimated in the words laid down for your principle, I am content to be esteemed to have done you wrong. You have, indeed, not only set him out as a good man, but have made him much more than a man, and have ascribed that unto him which is not lawful to be ascribed unto any man whatever. Some of your expressions I have again reminded you of, and many others of the same nature might be instanced in; and what you can say more of him than you have done, unless you would “exalt him above all that is called God, and is worshipped,” unless you should set him “in the temple of God, and show him that he is God,” I know not. Let the reader, if he please, consult your expressions where you have placed them; I shall stain paper with them no more. And you do but trifle with us, when you tell us that “you know not the pope, nor have any such acquaintance with him as to know whether he be a good man or no,” — as though your personal acquaintance with this or that pope belonged at all to our question; although I must needs say that it seems very strange unto me that you should hang the weight of religion and the salvation of your own soul upon one of whom you know not so much as whether he be a good man or no. For my part, I am persuaded there is no such hardship in Christian religion, as that we should be bound to believe that all the safety of our faith and salvation depends on a man, and he such a one as concerning whom we know not whether he be a good man or no. The apostle lays the foundation of our hope on better ground, Hebrews 1:1-3. And yet, whatever opinion you may have of your present pope, you are forced to be at this indifferency about his honesty, because you are not able to deny but that very many of his predecessors, on whose shoulders the weight of all your religion lay, no less than you suppose it doth on his who now sways the papal scepter, were very brutes, — so far from being good men as that they may be reckoned amongst the worst in the world. Protestants, as I said, are persuaded that their faith is laid up in better hands. With the latter part of my words, as by you set down, you play sophistically, that you might say something to them (as to my knowledge, I never observed any man so hard put to it to say somewhat, were it right or wrong); which seems to be the utmost of your design. You feign the sense of my words to be, “That the pope doth no other thing in the world but seek our good;” and confute me by saying, “That he hath a general solicitude for all churches.” But, sir, I said not, “He doth nothing but seek our good;” but only, “He seeks nothing but our good, and never did us harm.” And you may quickly see how causelessly you fall into a contemplation of your accuracy in your “Fiat,” and of the looseness of my expressions in the “Animadversions;” for although I acknowledge that discourse to have been written in greater haste than perhaps the severer judgments of learned men might well allow of, as is also this return unto your epistle, being both of them proportioned rather unto the merits of your discourse than that of the cause in agitation between us, yet I cannot see that you or any man else hath any just cause to except against this expression of my intention, which yet is the only one that in that kind falls under your censure. For whereas I say that the pope seeks nothing but our good, and that he never did us harm, would any man living but yourself understand these words any otherwise But with reference unto them of whom I speak? — that is, as to us, he seeks nothing but our good, whatever he doth in the world besides. And is it not a wild interpretation that you make of my words, whilst you suppose me to intimate that “absolutely the pope doth nothing in the world,” or hath no other business at all that he concerns himself in, but only the seeking of our good in particular? If you cannot allow the books that you read the common civility of interpreting things indefinitely expressed in them with the limitations that the subject-matter whereof they treat requires, you had better employ your time in any thing than study, as being not able to understand many lines in any author you shall read. Nor are such expressions to be avoided in our common discourse. If a man, talking of your” Fiat,” should say that you do nothing but seek the good of your countrymen, would you interpret his words as though he denied that you say mass, and hear confessions, or to intimate that you do nothing but write “Fiats?” And you know with whom lies both “jus et norma loquendi.”

    The tenth and last principle is, “That the devotion of Catholics far transcends that of Protestants.” So you now express it; what you mention being but one part of three that the “Animadversions” speak unto.

    Hereunto you reply, “But, sir, I never made in ‘Fiat Lux’ any comparisons between your devotions; nor can I say how much the one is, or how little the other. But you are the maddest commentator that I have ever seen: you first make the text, and then animadversions upon it.” Pray, sir, have a little patience, and learn from this instance not to be too confident upon your memory for the future. I shall rather think that fails you at present than your conscience: but a failure I am sure there is, and you shall take the liberty to charge it where you please; which is more than every one would allow you. I would, indeed, desirously free myself from the labor of transcribing aught that you have written to this purpose in your “Fiat,” and only refer you to the places, which you seem to have forgotten; but because this is the last instance of this kind that we are to treat about, and you have by degrees raised your confidence in denying your own words, to that height as to accuse them of madness who do but remind you of them, I shall represent unto you once again what you have written to this purpose: and I am persuaded, upon your review of it, you will like it so well as to be sorry that ever you disowned it. I shall instance only in one place, which is sect. 22, pp. 270,271, where your words are these: — “When I beheld” (in the Catholic countries) “the deep reverence and earnest devotion of the people, the majesty of their service, the gravity of their altars, the decency of their priests, ‘Certainly,’ said I within myself, ‘this is the house of God, the gate of heaven.’ Alas! our churches in England, as they be now, be as short of those, either for decency, use, or piety, as stables to a princely palace! There they be upon their knees all the week long at their prayers, many of them constantly an hour together in the morning, and half an hour he that is least. And, ‘My house,’ said God, ‘is the house of prayer:’ but our churches are either shut up all the week, or, if they be open, are wholly taken up with boys shouting, running, and gamboling all about. On Sundays, indeed, our people sit quiet, and decently dressed, but to bow the knee is quite out of fashion; and if any one chance to do it, as it is rare to behold, so he is very nimble at it, and as soon up as down, as if he made a courtship with his knees, and only tried if his nerves and sinews were as good to bow as to stand upright. And our whole religious work here is to sit quietly whilst the minister speaks upon a text, . . . . .and that we spend all our days, ever learning and teaching,” etc. If this discourse must be esteemed text, I pray tell me whose it is, yours or mine; or whether it doth not contain a comparison between the devotion of your Catholics and Protestants; and whether that of the former be not preferred above the other: and when you have done so, pray also tell me whether you suppose it an honest and candid way of handling matters of this importance, or, indeed, of any sort whatever, for a man to say and unsay at his pleasure according unto what he apprehends to be for his present advantage; and whether a man may believe you that you so accurately pondered the words of your “Fiat” as you seem to pretend, seeing you dare not abide by what you have written, but disclaim it. And yet I confess this may fall out, if your design in the weighing of your words was so to place them as to deceive us by them; which, indeed, it seems to have been. But it is your unhappiness that your words are brought unto other men’s scales after they had so fairly passed your own. For the devotion itself (by the way) of Catholics, which you here paint forth unto us, it looks very suspiciously to be painted. The piety of your churches, wherein they exceed ours, I confess I understand not; and your people’s frequenting public places to perform their private devotions leans much to the old Pharisaism, which our Savior himself hath branded to all eternity for hypocritical, and carried on with little attendance unto his precept of making the closet, and that with the door shut upon the devotionists, the most proper seat of private supplications.

    Besides, if their prayers consist, as for the most part they do, in going over by tale a set number of sayings which they little understand, you may do well to commend your devotion to them that understand not one word of gospel, for those that do will not attend unto it. And so I have once more passed through the principles of your work, with a fresh discussion of some of them, — which I tell you again I suppose sufficient to satisfy judicious and ingenuous persons in the sophistry and inconclusiveness of the whole; my farther procedure being intended for the satisfaction of yourself and such others as have imbibed the prejudices which you endeavor to forestall your minds withal, and thereby have given no small impeachment unto your judgment and ingenuity.

    CHAPTER 11. Judicious readers — Schoolmen the forgers of Popery — Nature of the discourse in “Fiat Lux.” YOUR ensuing discourses are such as might well be passed by, as containing nothing serious or worth a review. “An passim sequerer corvum?” Ludicrous similitudes, with trifling exceptions to some words in the “Animadversions,” cut off from that coherence wherein they are placed, are the chief ingredients of it. With these you aim, with your wonted success, to make sport: — —— “Venite in ignem Pleni ruris et inficetiarum Annales Volusi.” I wish we had agreed beforehand, “Ut faceres tu quod velles; neo non ego possem, Indulgere mihi,” that I might have been freed from the consideration of such trifles: as the case stands, I shall make my passage through them with what speed I can.

    First , You except against the close of the consideration of your principles, namely, “That I would do so to my book also, if I had none to deal with but ingenuous and judicious readers;” and tell me, “that it seems what follows is for readers neither judicious nor ingenuous.” But why so, I pray? That which is written for the information of them who want either judgment or ingenuity, may be also written for their use who have both.

    Neither did I speak absolutely of them that were ingenuous and judicious, but added also, that they were such as had an acquaintance with the state of religion of old and at this day in Europe, with the concernment of their own souls in these things. With such as these, I supposed then, and do still, that a discovery of the sophistry of your discourse, and the falseness of the principles you proceeded on, was sufficient to give them satisfaction as to the usefulness of the whole, without a particular ventilating of the flourishes that you made upon your sandy foundations.

    But because I know there were some that might, by the commendation of your friends, light upon your discourse, that either, being prepossessed by prejudices, might want the ingenuity to examine particularly your assertions and inferences, or, through un-acquaintedness with the stories of some things that you referred unto, might be disenabled to make a right judgment of what you averred, I was willing to take some farther pains also for your satisfaction; and what was herein done or spoken amiss, as yet I cannot discern. But I am persuaded that if you had not supposed that you had some of little judgment and less ingenuity to give satisfaction unto, you would never have pleased yourself with the writing of such empty trifles in a business wherein you pretend so great a concernment.

    Page 31. You observe that I say, “The schoolmen were the hammerers and forgers of Popery;” and add, “Alas, sir, I see that anger spoils your memory: for in the 11th and 12th chapters you make Popery to be hammered and forged not a few hundreds of years before any schoolmen were extant; and therefore tell me that I hate the schoolmen as the Frenchmen do Talbot, for having been frightened with them formerly, — ‘Sed risu inepto res ineptior nulla est.’“ I confess the language of your schoolmen is so corrupt and barbarous, — many of the things they sweat about so vain, curious, unprofitable, — their way of handling things, and expressing the notions of their minds, so perplexed, dark, obscure, and oftentimes unintelligible, — divers of their assertions and suppositions so horrid and monstrous, — the whole system of their pretended divinity so alien and foreign unto the mystery of the gospel, — that I know no great reason that any man hath much to delight in them. These things have made them the sport and scorn of the learnedest men that ever lived in the communion of your own church.

    What one said of old of others may be well applied unto them: — “Stature lacessunt onmipotentis Dei Calumniosis litibus.

    Fidem minutis dissecant ambagibus Ut quisque est lingua nequior.

    Solvunt ligantque quaestionum vincula Per Syllogismos plectiles.” Indeed, to see them come forth harnessed with syllogisms and sophisms; attended with obs and sols; speaking part the language of the Jews, and part the language of Ashdod; fighting and contending among themselves as if they had sprung from the teeth of Cadmus’ serpent; subjecting all the properties, decrees, and actions of the holy God to their profane babblings, — might perhaps beget some fear in the minds of men not much guilty of want of constancy, as the sight of the harpies did of old to AEneas and his companions, of whom they gave that account, — “Tristius baud illis monstrum, nec saevior ulla Pestis et ira Deum Stygiis sese extulit undia Vidimus, et subita gelidus formidlne sanguis Diriguit; cecidere animi.” Virg. AEn. 3:214,259.

    But the truth is, there is no real cause of fear of them: they are not like to do mischief to any, unless they are resolved aforehand to give up their faith in the things of God to the authority of this or that philosopher, and forego all solid, rational consideration of things, to betake themselves to sophistical canting, and the winding up of subtilty into plain nonsense, — which oftentimes befalls the best of them; whence Melchior Canus, one of yourselves, says of some of your learned disputes, “Puderet me dicere non intelligere, si ipsi intelligerent qui tractarunt;” — “I should be ashamed to say I did not understand them, but that they understood not themselves.”

    Others may be entangled by them, who, if they cannot untie your knots, may break your webs, especially when they find the conclusions, as oftentimes they are, directly contrary to Scripture, right reason, and natural sense itself. For they are the genuine offspring of the old sophisters whom Lucian talks of in his “Menippus,” or Nekuomantei>a , and tells us that, in hearing the disputations, To< pa>ntwn deinw~n ajtopw>taton , s[ti peri< tw~n ejnantiwta>twn ejkastov aujtw~n le>gwn , sfo>dra nikw~ntav kai< piqanougouv ejpori>zeto , w[ste mh>te tw~| zermogonti , mh>te tw~| yucro>n , ajntile>gein e]cein , kai< tau~ta , eijdo>ta safw~v wJv oujk a[n pote zermo>n ti ei]h kai< yucronw| — “That,” saith he, “which seemed the most absurd of all was, that when they disputed of things absolutely contrary, they yet brought invincible and persuasive reasons to prove what they said; so that I durst not speak a word against him that affirmed hot and cold to be the same, although I knew well enough that the same thing could not be hot and cold at the same time.”

    And therefore he tells us, that in hearing of them he did, like a man half asleep, sometimes nod one way and sometimes another; which is certainly the deportment of the generality of them who are conversant in the wrangles of your schoolmen. But whatever I said of them or your church is perfectly consistent with itself and the truth. I grant that before the schoolmen set forth in the world, many unsound opinions were broached in, and many superstitious practices admitted into your church, and a great pretense raised unto a superintendency over other churches; which were parts of that mass out of which your Popery is formed: but before the schoolmen took it in hand, it was “rudis indigestaque moles,” — a heap, not a house. As Rabbi Juda Hakkadosh gathered the passant traditions of his own time among the Jews into a body or system, which is called the “Mishna,” or duplicate of their law, — wherein he composed a new religion for them, sufficiently distant from that which was professed by their forefathers, — so have your schoolmen done also. Out of the passant traditions of the days wherein they lived, blended with sophistical, corrupted notions of their own, countenanced and gilded with the sayings of some ancient writers of the church, for the most part wrested or misunderstood, they have hammered out that system of philosophicaltraditional divinity which is now enstamped with the authority of the Tridentine council; being as far distant from the divinity of the New Testament as the farrago of traditions collected by Rabbi Juda, and improved in the Talmuds, is from that of the Old.

    Pages 33-35. Having nothing else to say, you fall again upon my pretended mistake of considering that as “spoken absolutely by you which you spake only upon supposition;” and talk of “metaphysical speculations in your ‘Fiat,’ which you conceive me very unmeet to deal withal; and direct me to Bellarmine’s catechism, as better suiting my inclination and capacity.” But, sir, we are not wont here in England to account cloudy, dark, sophistical declamations, to be metaphysical speculations; nor every feigned supposition to be a philosophical abstraction. I wish you would be persuaded that there is not the least tincture of any solid metaphysics in your whole discourse. It may be, indeed, you would be angry with them that should undeceive you, and cry out, — — “Pol, me occidistis, amici, Non servastis;” as he did, — “Cui demptus per vim mentis gratissimus error.” You may perhaps please yourself with conceits of your metaphysical achievements; but your friends cannot but pity you to see your vanity.

    The least youth in our universities will tell you, that to make a general supposition, true or false, and to flourish upon it with words of a seeming probability, without any cogency or proof, belongs to rhetoric, and not at all to metaphysics; and this is the very nature of your discourse. Nor do I mistake your aim in it, as you pretend. I grant in the place you would be thought to reply unto, though you speak not one word to the purpose, that your inquiry is after a means of settling men in the truth, upon supposition that they are not yet attained thereunto; and you labor to show the difficulty that there is in that attainment, upon the account of the insufficiency of many mediums that may be pretended to be used for that end. In answer unto your inquiry, I tell you directly, that the only means of settling men in the truth of religion is divine revelation, and that this revelation is entirely and perfectly contained in the Scripture; which, therefore, is a sufficient means of settling all men in the truth. Suppose them “rasae tabulae;” suppose them utterly ignorant of truth; suppose them prejudiced against it; suppose them divided amongst themselves about it; — the only safe, rational, secure way of bringing them all to settlement is their belief of the revelation of God contained in the Scripture. This I manifested unto you in the “Animadversions;” whereunto you reply by a commendation of your own metaphysical abilities, with the excellencies of your discourse, without taking the least notice of my answer, or the reasons given you against that fanatical, groundless “credo” which you would now again impose upon us.

    CHAPTER 12. False suppositions, causing false and absurd consequences— Whence we had the gospel in England, and by whose means — What is our duty in reference unto them by whom we receive the gospel.

    Page 36.YOU insist upon somewhat in particular that looks towards your purpose, which shall therefore be discussed; for I shall not willingly miss any opportunity that you will afford me of examining whatever you have to tender in the behalf of your dying cause. You mind me, therefore, of my answer unto that discourse of yours, “If the Papist or Roman Catholic, who first brought us the news of Christianity, be now become so odious, then may likewise the whole story of Christianity be thought a romance.

    You speak with the like extravagancy, and mind not my hypothetics at all, to speak directly to my inference, as it becomes a man of art to do; but, neglecting my consequence, which in that discourse is principally and solely intended, you seem to deny my supposition, which, if my discourse had been drawn into a syllogism, would have been the minor of it. And it consists of two categories, — First, That the Papist is now become odious; secondly, That the Papist delivered us the first news of Christianity. The first of these you little heed; the second you deny. ‘That the Papist,’ say you, ‘or Roman Catholic, first brought Christ and his Christianity into this land, is most untrue. I wonder,’ etc. And your reason is, ‘Because if any Romans came hither, they were not Papists; and indeed our Christianity came from the east.’ And this is all you say to my hypothetic, or conditional ratiocination, as if I had said nothing at all but that one absolute category, which, being delivered before, I now only suppose. You used to call me a civil logician, but I fear a natural one, as you are, will hardly be able to justify this notion of yours as artificial. A conditional hath a verity of its own, so far differing from the supposed category, that this being false, that may yet be true. For example, if I should say thus, ‘A man who hath wings as an eagle, or if a man had the wings of an eagle, he might fly in the air as well as another bird;’ and such an assertion is not to be confuted by proving that a man hath not the wings of an eagle.”

    The substance of this whole discourse is no more but this, That because the inference upon a supposition may be a consequence logically true, though the supposition be false or feigned, therefore the consequent, or thing inferred, also is really true, and a man must fly in the air, as you say, “like another bird.” But, sir, though every consequence be true logically, — that is, lawfully inferred from its premises, be they true or false, and so must in disputation be allowed, — yet, where the consequent is the thing in question, to suppose that if the consequence be lawfully educed from the premises, that it also must be true, is a fond surmise. And therefore they know “qui nondum aere laventur,” that the way to disappoint the conclusion of an hypothetic syllogism is to disprove the category included in the supposition, when reduced into an assumption from whence it is to be inferred. For instance, if the thing in question be, Whether a man can fly in the air, as you say, “like another bird,” and to prove it, you should say, “If he has wings he can do so;” the way, I think, to stop your progress is to deny that he hath wings; and if you should continue to wrangle that your inference is good, “If he hath wings he may fly like another bird,” you would but make yourself ridiculous. But if you may be allowed to make false and absurd suppositions, and must have them taken for granted, you are very much to blame if you infer not conclusions unto your own purpose. And this in general is your constant way of dealing.

    Unless we will allow you to suppose yourselves to be the church, and that all the excellent things which are spoken of the church belong unto you alone, with the like groundless presumptions, you are instantly mute, as if there had appeared unto you “Harpocrates digito qui significat St.” f36 But if, in the case in agitation between us, I should permit you without control to make what suppositions you please, and to make inferences from them which must be admitted for truth because logically following upon your suppositions, what man of art I might have appeared unto you I know not; I fear with others I should scarcely have preserved the reputation of common sense or understanding. And I must acknowledge unto you that I am ignorant of that logic which teacheth men to suffer their adversaries to proceed and infer upon absurdities and false suppositions, to oppose the truth which they maintain. And yet I know well enough what Aristotle hath taught us concerning to< lauza>nein to< ejn ajrch~ , kai< to< ajnai>tion wJv ai]tion tiqe>nai? in which part of his logic you seem to have been most conversant.

    But let us once again consider your ratiocination as here you endeavor to reinforce it. Your supposition, you say, “includes these two categories, — first, That the Papists are become odious unto us; secondly, That the Papists delivered us the first news of Christianity.” Well, both these propositions I deny. Papists are not become odious unto us, though we love not their Popery; Papists did not bring us the first news of Christianity. This I have proved unto you already, and shall yet do it farther. Will you now be angry and talk of logic, because I grant not the consequent of these false pretensions to be true? as if every syllogism must of necessity be true materially which is so in form. But yet farther to discover your mistake, I was so willing to hear you out unto the utmost of what you had to say, that in the “Animadversions,” after the discovery of the falsity of the assertions that it arose from, I suffered your supposition to pass, and showed you the weakness of your inference upon it. And the reason of my so doing was this, that because though the Papists brought not the gospel first into England, yet I do not judge it impossible but that they may be the means of communicating it unto some other place or people; and I would be loath to grant that they who receive it from them must either always embrace their Popery or renounce the gospel. I confess a great entanglement would be put on the thoughts and minds of such persons by the principle of the infallibility of them that sent your teachers; whereinto it may be also they would labor to resolve your belief. But yet if withal you shall communicate unto them the gospel itself, as the great repository of the mysteries of that religion wherein you instruct them, there is a sufficient foundation laid for their reception of Christianity and the rejection of your Popery; for when once the gospel hath evidenced itself unto their consciences that it is from God, as it will do if it be received unto any benefit or advantage at all, they will or may easily discern that those who brought it unto them were themselves in many things deceived in their apprehensions of the mind of God therein revealed, especially as to your pretense of the infallibility of any man or men, any farther than his conceptions agree with what is revealed in that gospel which they have received, and now for its own sake believe to be from God. And once to imagine that when the Scripture is received by faith, and hath brought the soul into subjection to the authority of God, exerting itself in it and by it, that it will not warrant them in the rejection of any respect unto men whatever, is “to err, not knowing the Scripture, nor the power of God.” In this condition of things, men will bless God for any means which he was pleased to use in the communicating the gospel unto them; and if those who were employed in that work shall persist in obtruding upon their faith and worship things that are not revealed, they will quickly discover such a contradiction in their principles as that it is utterly impossible that they should rationally assent unto and embrace them all, but either they must renounce the gospel which they have brought them, or reject those other principles which they would impose upon them that are contrary thereunto. And whether of these they will do, upon a supposition that the gospel hath now obtained that authority over their consciences and minds which it claims in and over all that receive it, it is no hard matter to determine. Men, then, who have themselves mixed the doctrine of the gospel with many abominable errors of their own, may in the providence of God be made instrumental to convey the gospel unto others. At the first tender of it they may, for the truth’s sake, which they are convinced of, receive also the errors that are tendered unto them, as being as yet not able to discern the chaff from the wheat; but when once the gospel is rooted in their minds, and they begin to have their senses exercised therein to discern between good and evil, and their faith of the truth they receive is resolved into the authority of God himself, the author of the gospel, they have their warrant for the rejection of the errors which they had before imbibed, according as they shall be discovered unto them.

    For though they may first consider the gospel on the proposition of them that first bring them the tidings of it, as the Samaritans came to our Savior upon the information of the woman, yet when they come to experience themselves its power and efficacy, they believe it for its own sake, as those did also in our Lord Jesus Christ upon his own account; when this is done they will be enabled to distinguish, as the prophet speaks, “between a dream and a prophecy, between chaff and wheat,” between error and truth. And thus if we should grant that the first news of Christianity was brought into England by Papists, yet it doth not at all follow that if we reject Popery we must also reject the gospel, or esteem it a romance; for if we should have received Popery, we should have received it only upon the credit and authority of them that brought it, but the truth of Christianity we should have received on the authority of the gospel which was brought unto us: so that our entertainment of Popery and Christianity standing not on the same bottom or foot of account, we might well reject the one and retain the other. But this consideration as to us is needless; they were not Papists which brought Christianity first into this land. Wherefore, well knowing that the whole strength of your reasoning depends on the supposition that they were so, you proceed to confirm it in your manner; that is, by saying it over again. But we will hear you speaking your own words: — “We had not our Christianity immediately from the east, nor from Joseph of Arimathea, we Englishmen had not; for as he delivered his Christianity unto some Britons when our land was not called England, but Albion or Brittany, and the inhabitants were not Englishmen, but Britons or Cimbrians, so likewise did that Christianity and the whole news of it quite vanish, being suddenly overwhelmed by the ancient deluge of Paganism. Nor did it ever come from them to us; nay, the Britons themselves had so forgot and lost it, that they also needed a second conversion; which they received from Pope Eleutherius. And that was the only news of Christianity which prevailed and lasted even amongst the very Britons: which seems to me a great secret of divine Providence in planting and governing his church, as if he would have nothing to stand firm and lasting but what was immediately fixed by and seated upon that rock; — for all other conversions have variety, and the very seats of the other apostles failed, that all might the better cement in the unity of one head; nay, the tables which God wrote with his own hand were broken, but the others written by Moses remained, that we might learn to give a due respect unto him whom God hath set over us as our head and ruler under him, and none exalt himself against him. I know you will laugh at this my observation; but I cannot but tell you what I think. When I speak, then, of the news of Christianity being first brought to this land, I mean not that which was first brought upon the earth or soil of this land, and spoken to any body then dwelling here, but that which was delivered to the forefathers of the now present inhabitants, who were Saxons or Englishmen. And I say that we, the now present inhabitants of England, offspring of the Saxons or English, had the first news of our Christianity immediately from Rome, and from Pope Gregorius, the Roman patriarch, by the hands of his missioner, St. Austin. Since, then, the categoric expressions are both clear, — namely, That the Papists first brought us the news of Christianity; and, secondly, That the Papist is now become odious unto us, — what say you to my consequent, That the whole story of Christianity may as well be deemed a romance as any part of that Christianity we at first received is now judged to be a part of a romance? This consequence of mine it behoved a man of those great parts you would be thought to have to heed attentively, and yet you never minded it.”

    Some few observations upon this discourse of yours will farther manifest the absurdity of that consequence which you feign not to have been taken notice of in the “Animadversions;” for which you had no cause, but that you might easily discern that you did not deserve it. First, then, you grant that the gospel came out of the east into this land: so, then, we did not first receive the gospel from Rome, much less by the means of Papists. “But the land was then called Albion or Brittany, and the people Britons or Cimbrians, not Englishmen.” What then? though the names of places or people are changed, the gospel, wherever it is, is still the same. “But the Britons lost the gospel until they had a new conversion from Rome, by the. means of Eleutherius.” But you fail, sir, and are either ignorant in the story of those times or else wilfully pervert the truth. All the fathers and favorers of that story agree that Christianity was well rooted and known in Britain when Lucius, as is pretended, sent to Eleutherins for assistance in its propagation. Your own Baronius will assure you no less, ad an. 183, n. 3, 4. Gildas, De Excid. will do it more fully. Virunnius tells us that the Britons were then “strengthened in the faith,” not that they then received it; strengthened in what they had, not newly converted, though some, as it is said, were so. And the days of Lucius are assigned by Sabellicus as the time wherein the whole province received the name of Christ “publicitus cure ordinatione,” — “by public decree.” That it was received there before, and abode there, as in other places of the world, under persecution, all men agree. In this interval of time did the British church bring forth Claudia, Ruffins, Elvanus, and Meduinus; whose names, amongst others, are yet preserved. And to this space of time do the testimonies of Tertullian adv.

    Judaeos, and of Origen, Hom. 4, in Ezekiel, concerning Christianity in Britain, belong. Besides, if the only prevalent religion in Brittany were, as you fancy, that which came from Rome, how came the observation of Easter, both amongst the Britons, as Beda manifests, and the Scots, as Petrus Cluniacensis declares, to be answerable to the customs of the Eastern church, and contrary to those of the Roman? Did those that came from Rome teach them to do that which they judged their duty not to do?

    But what need we stay in the confutation of this figment? The very epistle of Eleutherius manifests it abundantly so to be. If there be any thing of truth in that rescript, it doth not appear that Lucius wrote any thing unto him about Christian religion, but about the imperial laws to govern his kingdom by; and Eleutherius, in his answer, plainly intimates that the Scripture was received amongst the Britons, and the gospel much dispersed over the whole nation. And yet this figment of your own you make the bottom of a most strange contemplation, — namely, that God in his “providence would have all that Christianity fail which came not from Rome.” That is the meaning of those expressions, “He would have nothing stand firm or lasting but what was immediately fixed by and seated on that rock; for all other conversions have vanished.” Really, sir, I am sorry for you, to see what woful shelves your prejudicate opinions do cast you upon, who in yourself seem to be a well-meaning, good-natured man. Do you think, indeed, that those conversions that were wrought in the world by the means of any persons not coming from Rome, which were Christ himself and all his apostles, were not fixed on the rock? Can such a blasphemous thought enter into your heart? If those primitive converts that were called unto the faith by persons coming out of the east were not built on the rock, they all perished everlastingly, every soul of them; and if the other churches planted by them were not immediately fixed and seated on the rock, they went all to hell, — the gates of it prevailed against them.

    Do you think, indeed, that God suffered all the churches in the world to come to nothing, that all Christians might be brought into subjection to your pope? which you call “cementing in a unity of one head.” If you do so, you think, wickedly, that he is altogether like unto yourself; but he will reprove you, and set your faults in order before your eyes. Such horrible, dismal thoughts do men allow themselves to be conversant withal, who are resolved to sacrifice truth, reason, and charity unto their prejudices and interest! Take heed, sir, lest the rock that you beast of prove not seven hills, and deceive you. In the pursuit of the same consideration you tell me, “that I will laugh at your observation, that the tables written by God’s own hand were broken, but those written by Moses remained, that we may learn to give a due respect to him whom God hath set over us.” But you do not well to say so; I do not laugh at your observation, but I really pity you that make it. Pray, sir, what were those tables that were written by Moses, when those written by God were broken? Such mistakes as these you ever and anon fall into, and I fear for want of being conversant in holy writ; which it seems your principles prompt you unto a neglect of.

    Sir, the tables prepared by Moses were no less written with the finger of God than those were which he first prepared himself, Exodus 34:1,28; Deuteronomy 10:1,2,4. And if you had laid a good ground for your notion, that the tables prepared by God were broken, and those hewed by Moses preserved, and would have only added, what you ought to have done, that there was nothing in the tables delivered unto the people by Moses but what was written by the finger of God, I should have commended both it and the inference you make from it. As it is built by you on the sand, it would fall with its own weight, were it no heavier than a feather. But you lay great stress, I suppose, on that which follows, — namely, “That the Britons being expelled by the Saxons, the Saxons first received their Christianity from Rome.” You may remember what hath been told you already in answer to this case, about Rome’s being left without inhabitants by Totilas. Besides, if we that are now inhabitants of England must be thought to have first received the gospel then when it was first preached unto our own progenitors, in a direct line ascending, this will be found a matter so dubious and uncertain as not possibly to be a thing of any concernment In Christian religion; and, moreover, will exempt most of the chief families of England from your enclosure, seeing one way or other they derive themselves from the ancient Britons. Such pitiful trifles are you forced to make use of to give countenance unto your cause! But let it be granted that Christianity was first communicated unto the Saxons from Rome in the days of Pope Gregory, — which yet, indeed, is not true neither; for queen Bertha, with her bishop Luidhardus, had both practiced the worship of Christ In England before his coming, and so prepared the people, that Gregory says In one of his epistles, “Anglorum gentem voluisse fieri Christianam,” — what will thence ensue? “Why, plainly, that we must all be Papists, or atheists, and esteem the whole gospel a romance.” But why so, I pray? “Why, the categoric assertions are both clear, — namely, that the Papists first brought us the news of Christianity, and that Papists are now odious.” But how comes this about? We were talking of Gregory, and some that came from Rome in his days; and if you take them for Papists you are much deceived. Prove that there was one Papist at Rome in the days of that Gregory, and I will be another, — I mean such a Papist as your present pope is, or as yourself are. Do you think that Gregory believed the Catholic supremacy and infallibility of the pope? the doing whereof In an especial manner constitutes a man a Papist. If you have any such thoughts, you are an utter stranger to the state of things in those days, as also to the writings of Gregory himself: for your better information you may do well to consult him, lib. 4 epist. 32, 36, 38; and sundry other instances may be given out of his own writings, how remote he was from your present Popery.

    Irregularities and superstitious observations were, not a few in his days, crept Into the church of Rome, which you still pertinaciously adhere unto; — as you have the happiness to adhere firmly unto any thing that you once irregularly embrace; but that the main doctrines, principles, practices, and modes of worship which constitute Popery, were known, admitted, practiced, or received at Rome in the days of Gregory, I know full well that you are not able to prove. And by this you may see the truth of your first assertion, “That Papists brought us the first news of Christianity;” which you do not In the least endeavor to prove, but take it, hand over head, to be the same with this, “That some from Rome preached the gospel to the Saxons in the days of Gregory,” which it hath no manner of affinity withal. Your second true assertion is, “That the Papist is now become odious unto us;” but yet neither will this be granted you. Popery we dislike; but that the Papists are become odious unto us we absolutely deny. Though we like not the Popery they have admitted, yet we love them for the Christianity which they have retained. And must not that needs be a doughty consequence that is educed out of principles wherein there is not a word of truth? Besides, I have already in part manifested unto you, that supposing both of them to be true, as neither of them is, yet your consequence is altogether inconsequent, and will by no means follow upon them. And this will yet more fully appear in an examination of your ensuing discourse.

    That which you fix upon to except against is towards the close of my discourse to this purpose, in these words, as set down by you, p. 40: “Many things delivered us at first with the first news of Christianity, may be afterward rejected for the love of Christ, and by the commission of Christ.” The truth of this assertion I have newly proved again unto you, and have exemplified it in the instance of Papists bringing the first news of Christianity to any place; which is not impossible but they may do, though to this nation they did not. I had also before confirmed it with such reasons as you judged it best to take no notice of; which is your way with things that are too hard for you to grapple withal. I must, I see, drive these things through the thick obstacles of your prejudices with more instances, or you will not be sensible of them. What think you, then, of those who received the first news of Christianity by believers of the Circumcision, who at the same time taught them the necessity of being circumcised, and of keeping Moses’s law? Were they not bound afterward, upon the discovery of the mistake of their teachers, to retain the gospel, and the truth thereof taught by them, and to reject the observation of Mosaical rites and observations? or were they free, upon the discovery of their mistake, to esteem the whole gospel a romance? What think you of those that were converted by Arians? which were great multitudes, and some whole nations. Were not those nations bound for the love of Christ, by his word, to retain their Christianity, and reject their Arianism? or must they needs account the whole gospel a fable, when they were convinced of the error of their first teachers, denying Christ Jesus in his divine nature to be of the same substance with his Father, or essentially God? To give you an instance that, it may be, will please you better: There are very many Indians in New England, or elsewhere, converted unto Christianity by Protestants; without whose instruction they had never received the least rumor or report of it. Tell me your judgment: if you were now amongst them, would you not endeavor to persuade them that Christian religion indeed was true, but that their first instructors in it had deceived them as to many particulars of it; which you would undeceive them in, and yet keep them close to their Christianity? And do you not know that many who have in former days been by heretics converted to Christianity from Paganism, have afterward, from the principles of their Christianity, been convinced of their heresy, and retaining the one, have rejected the other? It is not for your advantage to maintain an opposition against so evident a truth, and exemplified by so many instances in all ages. I know well enough the ground of your pertinaciousness in your mistake; it is, that men who receive the gospel do resolve their faith into the authority of them that first preach it unto them. Now, this supposition is openly false, and universally, as to all persons whatever not divinely inspired, yea, as to the apostles themselves, but only with respect unto their working of miracles, which gave testimony unto the doctrine that they taught.

    Otherwise, God’s revelation contained in the Scriptures is that which the faith of men is formally and ultimately resolved into; so that, whatever propositions that are made unto them they may reject, unless they do it with a “non obstante” for its supposed revelation, the whole revelation abides unshaken, and their faith founded thereon. But as to the persons who first bring unto any the tidings of the gospel, seeing the faith of them that receive it is not resolved into their authority or infallibility, they may, they ought, to examine their proposals by that unerring word which they ultimately rest upon, as did the Bereans, and receive or reject them, at first or afterward, as they see cause; and this without the least impeachment of the truth or authority of the gospel itself, which, under this formal consideration, as revealed of God, they absolutely believe. Let us now see what you except hereunto. First, you ask, “What love of Christ’s dictates, what commission of Christ, allows you to choose and reject at your own pleasure?” Ans. None; nor was that at all in question, nor do you speak like a man that durst look upon the true state of the controversy between us. You proclaim your cause desperate by this perpetual tergiversation.

    The question is, Whether, when men preach the gospel unto others as a revelation from God, and bring along with them the Scripture, wherein they say that revelation is comprised, when that is received as such, and hath its authority confirmed in the minds of them that receive it, whether are they not bound to try all the teaching in particular of them that first bring it unto them, or afterward continue the preaching of it, whether it be consonant to that rule or word wherein they believe the whole revelation of the will of God relating to the gospel declared unto them to be contained, and to embrace what is suitably thereunto, and to reject any thing that in particular may be, by the mistakes of the teachers, imposed upon them? Instead of “believing what the Scripture teacheth, and rejecting what it condemns,” you substitute “choosing or rejecting at your own pleasure,” — a thing wherein our discourse is not at all concerned.

    You add, “What heretic was ever so much a fool as not to pretend the love of Christ and commission of Christ for what he did?” What then, I pray?

    May not others do a thing really upon such grounds as some pretend to do them on falsely? May not a judge have his commission from the king because some have counterfeited the great seal? May not you sincerely seek the good and peace of your country upon the principles of your religion, though some, pretending the same principles, have sought its disturbance and ruin? If there be any force in this exception, it overthrows the authority and efficacy of every thing that any man may falsely pretend unto; which is to shut all order, rule, government, and virtue out of the world. You proceed, “How shall any one know you do it out of any such love or commission, since those who delivered the articles of faith now rejected pretended equal love to Christ and commission of Christ for the delivery of them as any other?” I wonder you should proceed with such impertinent inquiries. How can any man manifest that he doth any thing by the commission of another, but by his producing and manifesting his commission to be his? And how can he prove that he doth it out of love to him, but by his diligence, care, and conscience in the discharge of his duty? as our Savior tells us, saving, “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” which is the proper effect of love unto him, and open evidence or manifestation of it. Now, how should a man prove that he doth any thing by the commission of Christ, but by producing that commission; that is, in the things about which we treat, by declaring and evidencing that the things he proposeth to be believed are revealed by his Spirit in his word, and that the things which he rejects are contrary thereunto? And whatever men may pretend, Christ gives out no adverse commissions; his word is every way and every where the same, at perfect harmony and consistency with itself: so that if it come to that, that several persons do teach contrary doctrines, either before or after one another, or together, under the same pretense of receiving them from Christ, — as was the case between the Pharisees of old that believed and the apostles, — they that attend unto them have a perfect guide to direct them in their choice, a perfect rule to judge of the things proposed. As in the church of the Jews, the Pharisees had taught the people many things as from God, — for their traditions or oral law they pretended to be from God, — our Savior comes, really a teacher from God, and he disproves their false doctrines which they had prepossessed the people withal; and all this he doth by the Scripture, the word of truth, which they had before received. And this example hath he left unto his church unto the end of the world. But you yet proceed: “Why may we not at length reject all the rest for love of something else, when this love of Christ, which is now crept into the very outside of our lips, is slipped off from thence? Do you think men cannot find a cavil against him as well as his law delivered unto us with the first news of him, and as easily dig up the root as cut up the branches?” You are the pleasantest man at a disputation that ever I met withal; “haud ulli veterum virtute secundus,” you outgo your masters in palpable sophistry.

    If we may and ought, for the love of Christ, reject errors and untruths taught by fallible men, then we may reject him also for the love of other things! Who doubts it but men may if they will, if they have a mind to do so? They may do so physically, but may they do so morally? may they do so upon the same or as good grounds and reasons as they reject errors and false worship for the sake of Christ? With such kind of arguing is the Roman cause supported. Again, you suppose the law of Christ to be rejected, and therefore say that his person may be so also; but this contains an application of the general thesis unto your particular case, and thereupon the begging of the thing in question. Our inquiry was general, whether things at first delivered by any persons that preach the gospel may not be rejected, without any impeachment of the authority of the gospel itself? Here, that you may insinuate that to be the case between you and us, you suppose the things rejected to be the law of Christ, when, indeed, they are things rejected because they are contrary to the law of Christ, and so affirmed in the assertion which you seek to oppose; for nothing may be rejected by the commission of Christ but what is contrary to his law. The truth is, he that rejects the law of Christ, as it is his, needs no other inducement to reject his person; for he hath done it already in the rejection of his law. But yet it may not be granted, though it belong not unto our present discourse, that every one that rejects any part of the law of Christ must therefore be in a propensity to reject Christ himself, provided that he do it only because he cloth not believe it to be any part of his law; for whilst a man abides firm and constant in his faith in Christ and love unto him, with a resolution to submit himself to his whole word, law, and institutions, his misapprehensions of this or that particular in them is no impeachment of his faith or love. Of the same importance is that which you add, — namely, “Did not the Jews, by pretense of their love to the immortal God, whom their forefathers served, reject the whole gospel at once and why may we not possibly by piecemeal?” You do only cavil at the expression I used, of doing the thing mentioned “for the love of Christ:” but I used it not alone, as knowing how easy a thing it was to pretend it, and how unwarrantable a ground of any actings in religion such a pretense would prove; wherefore I added unto it his “commission,” — that is, his word. And so I desire to know of you whether the Jews, out of love to God, and by the direction of his word, did reject the gospel or no.

    This you must assert if you intend by this instance to oppose my assertion. Besides, indeed, the Jews did scarce pretend to reject the gospel out of love to God, but to their old church-state and traditions; on which very account yourselves at this day reject many important truths of it.

    But it is one thing vainly to pretend the love of God; another so to love him indeed as to keep his commandments, and in so doing to cleave unto the truth, and to reject that which is contrary thereunto. You add, as the issue of these inquiries: “Let us leave cavils; grant my supposition, which you cannot deny; then speak to my consequence, which I deem most strong and good, to infer a conclusion which neither you nor I can grant.” Ans. I wish you had thought before of leaving cavils, that we might have been eased of the consideration of the foregoing queries, which are nothing else, and those very trivial. Your supposition, — which is, “That Papists first brought the gospel into England,” — you say I cannot deny; but, sir, I do deny it, and challenge you or any man in the world to make it good, or to give any color of truth unto it. Then your consequence you say you “deem strong and good.” I doubt not but you do so: so did Suffenus of his poems; but another was not of the same mind, who says of him, — —— “Qui modo scurra, Ant si quid hac re trititus, videbatur, Idem inficeto est inficetior rure, Simul poemata attigit; neque idem unquam AEque est beatus, ac poema cum scribit:

    Tam gaudet in se, tamque se ipse miratur.” Catull. 22:12-17.

    You may, for aught I know, have a good faculty at some other things; but you very unhappily please yourself in drawing of consequences, which, for the most part, are very infirm and naught, as, in particular, I have abundantly manifested that to be which you now speak of. But you conclude: “I tell you plainly, and without tergiversation, before God and all his holy angels, what I should think if I descended unto any conclusion in this affair. And it is this, — either the Papist, who holds at this day all these articles of faith which were delivered at the first conversion of this land by St. Austin, is unjustly become odious amongst us; or else, my honest parsons, throw off your cassocks, and resign your benefices and glebe-lands into the hands of your neighbors, whose they were aforetime.

    My consequence is irrefragable.” And I tell you plainly that I greatly pity you for your discourse, and that on many accounts: — 1. That, in the same breath wherein you so solemnly protest before God and his holy angels, you should so openly prevaricate as to intimate that you descend unto no conclusions in this affair, wherein, notwithstanding your pretenses, you really dogmatize, and that with as much confidence as it is possible, I think, for any man to do. And, 2. That you cast “before God and his holy angels” the light froth of your scoffing expressions, “My honest parsons,” etc., — a sign with what conscience you are conversant in these things. And, 3. That, undertaking to write and declare your mind in things of the nature and importance that these are of, you should have no more judgment in them or about them than so solemnly to entitle such a trifling sophism by the name of “Irrefragable consequence.” As also, 4. That, in the solemnity of your protestation, you forgot to express your mind in sober sense; for, aiming to make a disjunctive conclusion, you make the parts of it not at all disparate, but coincident as to your intention, the one of them being the direct consequent of the other. 5. That you so much make naked your desires after benefices and glebelands, as though they were the great matter in contest amongst us; which reflects no small shame and stain on Christian religion and all the professors of it. 6. Your “irrefragable consequence” is a most pitiful piece of sophistry, built upon I know not how many false suppositions; as, — (1.) “That Papists are become odious unto us;” whereas we only reject your Popery, love your persons, and approve of your Christianity. (2.) “That Papists brought us the first tidings of the gospel;” which hath been sufficiently before disproved. (3.) “That Papists hold all things in religion that they did, and as they did, who first brought us the news of Christianity;” which we have also manifested to be otherwise, in the signal instance of the opinion of Pope Gregory about your papal power and titles. (4.) “That we have no occasion of exception against Papists but only their holding the things that those did who first preached the gospel here;” when that is no cause at all of our exceptions, but their multitude of pretended articles of faith, and idolatrous superstitious practices in worship, superadded by them since that time, are the things they stand charged withal. Now, your consequent being built on all these suppositions, fit to hold a principal place in Lucian’s “Vera Historia,” must needs be irrefragable.

    What you add farther on this subject is but a repetition in other words of what you had said before, with an application of your false and groundless supposition unto our present differences; but yet, lest you should flatter yourself, or your disciples deceive themselves with thoughts that there is any thing of weight or moment in it, it shall also be considered. You add, then, “That if any part, much more if any parts, great substantial parts, of religion brought into the land with the first news of Christianity, be once rejected (as they are now amongst us) as Romish or Romanical, and that rejection or reformation be permitted, then may other parts, and all parts, if the gap be not stopped, be looked upon at length as points of no better a condition.”

    I have given you sundry instances already, undeniably evincing that some opinions of them who first bring the news of Christian religion unto any may be afterward rejected, without the least impeachment of the truth of the whole or of our faith therein; yea, men may be necessitated so to reject them, to keep entire the truth of the whole. But the rejection supposed is of men’s opinions that bring Christian religion, and not of any parts of Christian religion itself; for the mistakes of any men whatever, whether in speculation or practice about religion, are no parts of religion, much less substantial parts of it. Such was the opinion of the necessity of the observation of Mosaical rites, taught, with a suitable practice, by many believers of the Circumcision, who first preached the gospel in sundry places in the world; and such were the rites and opinions brought into England by Austin that are rejected by Protestants, — if any such there were, which as yet you have not made to appear. There is no such affinity between truth and error, however any men may endeavor to blend them together, but that others may separate between them, and reject the one without any prejudice unto the other: “Male sarta Gratia nequicquam coit,’ Hor. Ep. 1:3,31. Yea, the truth and light of the gospel is of that nature, as that, if it be once sincerely received in the mind and embraced, it will work out all those false notions which by any means together with it may be instilled, as “rectum” is “index sui et obliqui.” Whilst, then, we know and are persuaded that in any system of religion which is proposed unto us it is only error which we reject, having an infallible rule for the guidance of our judgment therein, there is no danger of weakening our assent unto the truth which we retain. Truth and falsehood can never stand upon the same bottom, nor have the same evidence, though they may be proposed at the same time unto us, and by the same persons; so that there is no difficulty in apprehending how the one may be received and the other rejected. Nor may it be granted (though your concernment lie not therein at all), that if a man reject or disbelieve any point of truth that is delivered unto him in an entire system of truths, that he is thereby made inclinable to reject the rest also, or disenabled to give a firm assent unto them; unless he reject or disbelieve it upon a notion that is common to them all. For instance, he that rejects any truth revealed in the Scripture on this ground, that the Scripture is not an infallible revelation of divine and supernatural truth, cannot but, in the pursuit of that apprehension of his, reject also all other truths therein revealed, at least so far as they are knowable only by that revelation; but he that shall disbelieve any truth revealed in the Scripture, because it is not manifest unto him to be so revealed, and is in a readiness to receive it when it shall be so manifest, upon the authority of the author of the whole, is not in the least danger to be induced by that disbelief to question any thing of that which he is convinced so to be revealed. But, as I said, your concernment lies not therein, who are not able to prove that Protestants have rejected any one part, much less “substantial part” of religion; and your conclusion, upon a supposition of the rejection of errors and practices of the contrary to the gospel or principles of religion, is very infirm. The ground of all your sophistry lies in this, that men who receive Christian religion are bound to resolve their faith into the authority of them that preach it first unto them; whereupon, it being impossible for them to question any thing they teach without an impeachment of their absolute infallibility, and so far the authority which they are to rest upon, they have no firm foundation left for their assent unto the things which as yet they do not question; and consequently, in process of time, may easily be induced so to do. But this presumption is perfectly destructive to all the certainty of Christian religion; for whereas it proposeth the subject-matter of it to be believed with divine faith and supernatural, it leaves no formal reason or cause of any such faith, no foundation for it to be built upon, or principle to be resolved into: for how can divine faith arise out of human authority? For acts being specificated by their objects, such as is the authority on which a man believes, such is his faith; — human, if that be human; divine, if it be divine. But resolving, as we ought, all our faith into the authority of God revealing things to be believed, and knowing that revelation to be entirely contained in the Scriptures, by which we are to examine and try whatever is, by any man or men, proposed unto us as an object of our faith, — they proposing it only upon this consideration, that it is a part of that which is revealed by God in the Scripture for us to believe, without which they have no ground nor warrant to propose any thing at all unto us in that kind, — we may reject any of their proposals which we find and discern not to be so revealed, or not to be agreeable to what is so revealed, without the least weakening of our assent unto what is revealed indeed, or making way for any man so to do. For whilst the formal reason of faith remains absolutely un-impeached, different apprehensions about particular things to be believed have no efficacy to weaken faith itself; as we shall farther see in the examination of your ensuing discourse: — “The same way and means that lopped off some branches will do the like to others, and the root too.” (But the errors and mistakes of men are not branches growing from the root of the gospel.) “A vilification of that church wherein they find themselves who have a mind to prevaricate, upon pretense of Scripture and power of interpreting it, light, Spirit, or reason, adjoined with a personal obstinacy that will not submit, will do it roundly and to effect.

    This first brought off the Protestants from the Roman Catholic church; this lately separated the Presbyterians from the English Protestant church, the Independent from the Presbyterian, and the Quakers from the other Independent. And this left good, maintains nothing of Christian religion but the moral part, which in deed and truth is but honest Paganism. This speech is worthy of all serious consideration.”

    That which this discourse seems to amount unto is, that if a man question or reject any thing that is taught by the church whereof he is a member, there remains no way for him to come unto any certainty in the remaining parts of religion, but that he may, on as good grounds, question and reject all things as any. As you phrase the matter, by “men’s vilifying a church who have a mind to prevaricate, upon pretense of Scripture,” etc., though there is no consequence in what you say, yet no man can be so mad as to plead in justification of such a proceeding; for it is not much to be doubted but that he who layeth such a foundation, and makes such a beginning of a separation from any church, will make a progress suitable thereunto. But if you will speak unto your own purpose, and so as they may have any concernment in what you say with whom you deal, you must otherwise frame your hypothesis: Suppose a man to be a member of any church, or to find himself in any church-state with others, and that he doth at any time, by the light and direction of the Scripture, discover any thing or things to be taught or practiced in that church whereof he is so a member which he cannot assent unto, unless he will contradict the revelation that God hath made of himself, his mind and will, in that complete rule of all that religion and worship which are pleasing unto him, and therefore doth suspend his assent thereunto, and therein dissent from the determination of that church; then you are to assert, for the promotion of your design, that all the consequents will follow which you expatiate upon. But this supposition fixes immovably, upon the penalty of forfeiting their interest in all saving truth, all Christians whatever, Greeks, Abyssines, Armenians, Protestants, in the churches wherein they find themselves, and so makes frustrate all the attempts for their reconciliation to the church of Rome; for do you think they will attend unto you, when you persuade them to a relinquishment of the communion of that church wherein they find themselves to join with you, when the first thing you tell them is, that if they do so they are undone, and that forever? And yet this is the sum of all that you can plead with them, if there be any sense in the argument you make use of against our relinquishment of the opinions and practices of the church of Rome, because we or our forefathers were at any time members thereof, or lived in its communion. But you would have this the special privilege of your church alone. Any other church a man may leave, yea, all other churches besides: he may relinquish the principles wherein he hath been instructed: yea, it is his duty to renounce their communion. Only your church of Rome is wholly sacred; a man that hath once been a member of it must be so for ever; and he that questions any thing taught therein may, on the same grounds, question all the articles of faith in the Christian religion. And who gave you leave to suppose the only thing in question between us, and to use it as a medium to educe your conclusion from? Is it your business to take care, —— “Bullatis ut tibi nugis Pagina turgescat, dare pondus idonea fumo?” Pers. 5:19.

    We know the condition of your Roman church to be no other than that of other churches, if it be not worse than that of any of them. And, therefore, on what terms and reasons soever a man may relinquish the opinions and renounce the communion of any other church, upon the same may he renounce the communion and relinquish the opinions of yours; and if there be no reasons sufficiently cogent so to deal with any church whatever, I pray on what grounds do you proceed to persuade others to such a course, that they may join with you —— “Dicisque facisque quod ipse Non sani esse hominis non sanus juret Orestes.” Pers. 3:117.

    To disentangle you out of this labyrinth whereinto you have cast yourself, I shall desire you to observe, that if the Lord Christ by his word be the supreme revealer of all divine truth, and the church (that is, any church whatever) be only the ministerial proposer of it, under and from him, being to be regulated in all its propositions by his revelation; if it shall chance to propose that for truth which is not by him revealed, — as it may do, seeing it hath no security of being preserved from such failures, but only in its attendance unto that rule, which it may neglect or corrupt, — a man in such a case cannot discharge his duty to the supreme revealer without dissenting from the ministerial proposer. Nay, if it be a truth which is proposed, and a man dissent from it because he is not convinced that it is revealed, he is in no danger to be induced to question other propositions which he knows to be so revealed, his faith being built upon and resolved into that revelation alone. All that remains of your discourse lies with its whole weight on this presumption: Because some men may either wilfully prevaricate from the truth, or be mistaken in their apprehensions of it, and so dissent from a church that teacheth the truth, and wherein she so teacheth it, without cause; therefore no man may or ought to relinquish the errors of a church, which he is really and truly convinced by Scripture, and solid reason suitable thereunto, so to be; — an inference so wild and so destructive of all assurance in every thing that is knowable in the world, that I wonder how your interest could induce you to give any countenance unto it! for if no man can certainly and infallibly know any thing, by any way or means, wherein some or other are ignorantly or willfully mistaken, we must bid adieu for ever to the certain knowledge of any thing in this world. And how slightly soever you are pleased to speak of Scripture, light, Spirit, and reason, they are the proper names of the ways and helps that God hath graciously given to the sons of men to come to the knowledge of himself. And if the Scripture, by the assistance of the Spirit of God, and the light in it communicated unto men by him, be not sufficient to lead them, in the use and improvement of their reason, unto the saving knowledge of the will of God, and that assurance therein which may be a firm foundation of acceptable obedience unto him, they must be content to go without it, for other ways and means of it there are none. But this is your manner of dealing with us. All other churches must be slighted and relinquished, the means appointed and sanctified by God himself to bring us unto the knowledge of and settlement in the truth must be rejected, that all men may be brought to a fanatical, unreasonable resignation of their faith to you and your church. If this be not done, men may with as good reason renounce truth as error, and after they have rejected one error, be inclined to cast off all that truth for the sake whereof that error was rejected by them! And I know not what other inconveniences and mischiefs will follow. It must needs be well for you that you are, —— “Gallinae filius albae;” seeing all others are, —— “Viles pulli nati infelicibus ovis.” Your only misadventure is, that you are fallen into somewhat an unhappy age, wherein men are hard-hearted, and will not give away their faith and reason to every one that can take the confidence to beg them at their hands.

    But you will now prove by instances that if a man deny any thing that your church proposeth, he may with as good reason deny every truth whatever. I shall follow you through them, and consider what, in your matter or manner of proposal, is worthy that serious perusal of them which you so much desire. To begin: “See if the Quakers deny not as resolutely the regenerating power of baptism as you the efficacy of absolution. See if the Presbyterians do not with as much reason evacuate the prelacy of Protestants as they the Papacy.” All things it seems are alike, truth and error, and may with the same mason be opposed and rejected. And because some men renounce errors, others may on as good grounds renounce the truth, and oppose it with as solid and cogent reasons! The Scripture, it seems, is of no use to direct, guide, or settle men in these things that relate to the worship and knowledge of God! What a strange dream hath the church of God been in from the days of Moses, if this be so! Hitherto it hath been thought that what the Scripture teacheth in these things turned the scales, and made the embracement of it reasonable, as the rejection of them the contrary. As the woman said to Joab, “They were wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall surely ask counsel at Abel; and so they ended the matter.” They said in old time concerning these things, “To the law, and. to the testimony; search the Scriptures;” and so they ended the matter. But it seems “tempora mutantur,” and that now truth and falsehood are equally probable, having the same grounds, the same evidences. “Quis leget haec? min’ tu istud ais?” Do you think to be believed in these incredible figments, fit to bear a part in the stories of Ulysses unto Alcinous? Yet you proceed: “See if the Socinian arguments against the Trinity be not as strong as yours against the eucharist.” But where did you ever read any arguments of ours against the eucharist? Have you a dispensation to say what you please for the promotion of the Catholic cause? Are not the arguments you intend indeed rather for the eucharist than against it, — arguments to vindicate the nature of that holy eucharistical ordinance, and to preserve it from the manifold abuses that you and your church do put upon it? that is, they are arguments against your transubstantiation and proper sacrifice that you intend. And will you now say that the arguments of the Socinians against the Trinity, the great fundamental article of our profession, plainly taught in the Scripture, and constantly believed by the church of all ages, are of equal force and validity with those used against your transubstantiation and sacrifice of the mass, — things never mentioned, no not once, in the whole Scripture, never heard of nor believed by the church of old, and destructive in your reception unto all that reason and sense whereby we are, and know that we are, men and live? But suppose your prejudice and partial addiction unto your way and faction may be allowed to countenance you in this monstrous comparing and coupling of things together, like his who “Mortua jungebat corpora vivis;” is your inference from your inquiry any other but this, that the Scripture, setting aside the authority of your church, is of no use to instruct men in the truth, but that all things are alike uncertain unto all? And this you farther manifest to be your meaning in your following inquiries. “See,” say you, “if the Jew do not with as much plausibility deride Christ, as you his church.” And would you could see what it is to be a zealot in a faction, or would learn to deal candidly and honestly in things wherein your own and the souls of other men are concerned. Who is it amongst us that derides the church of Christ? Did Elijah deride the temple at Jerusalem when he opposed the priests of Baal? or must every one presently be judged to deride the church of Christ, who opposeth the corruptions that the Roman faction have endeavored to bring into that part of it wherein for some ages they have prevailed? What plausibility you have found out in the Jews’ derision of Christ, I know not. I know some that are as conversant in their writings, at least, as you seem to have been, who affirm that your arguings and revilings are utterly destitute of all plausibility and tolerable pretense.

    But men must have leave to say what they please, when they will be talking of they know not what; as is the case with you when by any chance you stumble on the Jews or their concernments. This is that which, for the present, you would persuade men unto, — that the arguments of the Jews against Christ are as good as those of Protestants against your church. “Credat Apella,” Of the same nature with these is the remainder of your instances and queries. You suppose that a man may have as good reasons for the denial of hell as purgatory; of God’s providence and the soul’s immortality as of any piece of Popery; and then may not want appearing incongruities, tautologies, improbabilities, to disenable all holy writ at once! This is the condition of the man who disbelieves any thing proposed by your church; nor in that state is he capable of any relief, — fluctuate he must in all uncertainties. Truth and error are all one unto him; and he hath as good grounds for the one as the other. But, sir, pray what serves the Scripture for all this while? will it afford a man no light, no guidance, no direction? Was this quite out of your mind? or did you presume your reader would not once cast his thoughts towards it for his relief in that maze of uncertainties which you endeavor to cast him into? or dare you manage such an impeachment of the wisdom and goodness of God, as to affirm that that revelation of himself which he hath graciously afforded unto men to teach them the knowledge of himself, and to bring them to settlement and assurance therein, is of no use or validity to any such purpose? The Holy Ghost tells us that “the Scripture is profitable for doctrine and instruction, able to make the man of God perfect, and us all wise unto salvation;” that the “sure word of prophecy,” whereunto he commands us to attend, is “a light shining in a dark place;” directs us to search into it, that we may come to the acknowledgment of the truth, sending us unto it for our settlement; affirming that they who speak not “according to the law and the testimony have no light in them.” He assures us that the word of God “is a light unto our feet; and his law perfect, converting the soul;” that it is “able to build us up, and to give us an inheritance among all them that are sanctified;” that the things in it are “written that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing we may have life through his name.” See also Luke 16:29,31; Psalm 19:7,8; 2 Peter 1:19; John 5:39; Romans 15:4; Hebrews 4:12. Is there no truth in all this, and much more that is affirmed to the same purpose? or are you surprised with this mention of it, as Caesar Borgia was with his sickness at the death of his father Pope Alexander, which spoiled all his designs, and made him cry that he had never thought of it, and so had not provided against it? Do you not know that a volume might be filled with testimonies of ancient fathers, bearing witness to the sufficiency and efficacy of the Scripture for the settlement of the minds of men in the knowledge of God and his worship? Doth not the experience of all ages, of all places in the world, render your sophistry contemptible? Are there not, were there not, millions of Christians always, who either knew not, or regarded not, or openly rejected, the authority of your church, and disbelieved many of her present proposals, who yet were and are steadfast and immovable in the faith of Christ, and willingly seal the truth of it with their dearest blood? But if neither the testimony of God himself in the Scriptures, nor the concurrent suffrage of the ancient church, nor the experience of so many thousands of the disciples of Christ, is of any moment with you, I hope you will not take it amiss if I look upon you as one giving in yourself as signal an instance of the power of prejudice, and partial addiction to a party and interest, as a man can well meet withal in the world. This discourse, you tell me in your close, you have bestowed upon me in a way of supererogation; wherein you deal with us as you do with God himself. The duties he expressly, by his commands, requireth at your hands, you pass by without so much as taking notice of some of them; and others, as those of the second command, you openly reject, offering him somewhat of your own that he doth not require, by the way, as you barbarously call it, of supererogation: and so here you have passed over in silence that which was incumbent on you to have replied unto, if you had not a mind “vadimonium deserere,” to give over the defense of that cause you had undertaken, and in the room thereof substitute this needless and useless diversion, by the way, as you say, of supererogation. But yet, because you were so free of your charity, before you had paid your debts, as to bestow it upon me, I was not unwilling to requite your kindness, and have therefore sent it you back again, with that acknowledgment of your favor wherewith it is now attended.

    CHAPTER 13. Faith and charity of Roman Catholics. YOUR following discourse, pp. 44, 45, is spent partly in the commendation of your “Fiat Lux,” and the metaphysical, abstracted discourses of it; partly in a repetition, in other words, of what you had before insisted on. The former I shall no farther endeavor to disturb your contentment in. It is a common error, — —— “Neque est quisquam Quem non in aliqua re videre Suffenum Possis.” Catull. 22:19.

    I am not your rival in the admiration of it, and shall therefore leave you quietly in the embracements of your darling. And for the latter, we have had enough of it already; and so, by this time, I hope you think also. The close only of your discourse is considerable, and therefore I shall transcribe it for your second thoughts; and it is this: — “But, sir, what you say here, and so often up and down your book, of Papists’ contempt of the Scripture, I beseech you will please to abstain from it for the time to come. I have conversed with the Roman Catholics of France, Flanders, and Germany; I have read more of their books, both histories, contemplative and scholastical divines, than I believe you have ever seen or heard of; I have seen the colleges of sacred priests, and religious houses; I have communed with all sort of people, and perused their counsels; — and after all this I tell you, and out of my love I tell you, that their respect to Scripture is real, absolute, and cordial, even to admiration. Others may talk of it, but they act it, and would be ready to stone that man that should diminish holy writ. Let us not wrong the innocent. The Scripture is theirs, and Jesus Christ is theirs, who also will plead their cause when he sees time.”

    What you mention of your own diligence and achievements, what you have done, where you have been, what you have seen and discoursed, I shall not trouble you about. It may be, as to your soul’s health, —— “Tutior, poteras esse domi.” But yet, for all the report that you are pleased to make of yourself, it is not hard to discern that you and I —— “Nec pondera rerum Nec momenta sumus.” And notwithstanding your writings, it would have been very difficult for any man to have guessed at your great reading, had you not satisfied us by this your own information of it. It may be, if you had spared some of the time which you have spent in the reading of your Catholic books unto the study of the Scripture, it had not been unto your disadvantage. In the meantime, there is an hyperbole in your confidence a little too evident; for it is possible that I may, and true that I have seen more of your authors in half an hour than you can read, I think, in a hundred years; unless you intend always to give no other account of your reading than you have done in your “Fiat” and “Epistola.” But we are weary of this periautologi>a , — “Quin tu alium quaeras quoi centones farcias.” — Plaut. Epist. 3:4,18.

    But to pass by this boasting; there are two parts of your discourse, — the one concerning the faith, the other expressing the charity of the Roman Catholics. The first contains what respect you would be thought to have for the Scripture; the latter, what you really have for all other Christians besides yourselves. As to the former, you tell me that I speak of the “Papists’ contempt of the Scripture,” and desire me to abstain from it for the time to come. Whether I have used that expression anywhere of contempt of the Scripture, well I know not. But whereas I look upon you as my friend, — at least, for the good advice I have frequently given you, I have deserved that you should be so, — and therefore shall not deny you any thing that I can reasonably grant; and whereas I cannot readily comply with you in your present request, as to the alteration of my mind in reference unto the respect that Papists bear unto the Scriptures, I esteem myself obliged to give you some account of the reasons why I persist in my former thoughts: which I hope, as is usual in such cases, you will be pleased to take in friendly part. For besides, sir, that you back your request with nothing but some over-confident asseverations, subscribed with “Teste meipso,” I have many reasons, taken from the practice and doctrine of your church, that strongly induce me to abide in my former persuasion; as, — 1. You know that in these and the neighboring nations, Papists have publicly burned the Scriptures, and destroyed more copies of them than ever Antiochus Epiphanes did of the Jewish law. And if you should go about to prove unto me that Protestants have no great regard to the sacred images that have been worshipped, because in these and the neighboring nations they brake and burned a great number of them, I should not readily know what to answer you; nor can I entertain any such confidence of your abilities as to expect from you a satisfactory answer unto my instance of the very same nature, manifesting what respect Papists bear unto the Scriptures. 2. You know that they have imprisoned and burned sundry persons for keeping the Scriptures in their houses, or some parts of them, and reading them for their instruction and comfort. Nor is this any great sign of respect unto them; no more than it is of men’s respect to treason or murder, because they hang them up who are guilty of them. And, 3. Your church prohibitsth the reading of them unto laymen, unless, in some special cases, some few of them be licensed by you so to do; and you study and sweat for arguments to prove the reading of them needless and dangerous, putting them, as translated, into the catalogue of books prohibited. Now, this is the very mark and stamp that your church sets upon those books which she disapproves, and discountenanceth as pernicious to the faithful. 4. Your council of Trent hath decreed that your unwritten traditions are to be received with the same faith and veneration as the Scriptures, constituting them to be one part of the word of God, and the Scriptures another: than which nothing could be spoken more in contempt of it or in reproach unto it; for I must assure you Protestants think you cannot possibly contract a greater guilt, by any contempt of the Scripture, than you do by reducing it into order with your unwritten traditions. 5. You have added books, not only written with a human and fallible spirit, but farced with actual mistakes and falsehoods, unto the canon of the Scripture, giving just occasion unto them who receive it from you only to question the authority of the whole. And, 6. You teach the authority of the Scripture, at least in respect of us (which is all it hath, for authority is ejk tw~n proauthority of your church; — the readiest way in the world to bring it into contempt with them that know what your church is, and what it hath been. And, 7. You plead that it is very obscure and unintelligible of itself, and that in things of the greatest moment and of most indispensable necessity unto salvation; whereby you render it perfectly useless, according to the old rule, “Quod non potest intelligi, debet negligi,” — it is fit “that should be neglected which cannot be understood.” And, 8. There is a book lately written by one of your party, after you have been frequently warned and told of these things, entitled “Fiat Lux,” giving countenance unto many other hard reflections upon it; as hath been manifested in the “Animadversions” written on that book. 9. Your great masters in their writings have spoken very contemptuously of it; whereof I shall give you a few instances. The council of Trent, which is properly yours, determines, as I told you, that their traditions are to be received and venerated, “pari pietatis affectu et reverentia,” — “with an equal affection of piety and reverence,” — as the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament; which is a setting up of the altar of Damascus with that of God himself in the same temple, sess. 4, dec. 1. And Andradius, no small part of that convention, in his defense of that decree, tells us that, “Cum Christus fragilitati memorize evangelio scripto succurrendum putavit, ita breve compendium libris tradi voluit, ut pars maxima, tanquam magni precii thesaurus, traditionibus intimis ecclesiae visceribus infixis, relicta fuerit;” — “As our Lord Christ thought meet to relieve the frailty of memory by the written gospel, so he would have a short compendium or abridgment committed unto books, that the greatest part, as a most precious treasure, might be left unto traditions, fixed in the very inward bowels of the church.” This is that “cordial and absolute respect, even unto admiration,” that your Catholics bear unto the Scripture, — and he that doth not admire it seems to me to be very stupid, — It contains some small part of the mysteries of Christian religion, the great treasure of them lying in your traditions! And thereupon he concludes, “Canonem seu regulam fidei exactissimam non esse Scripturam, sed ecclesiae ejudicium;” — “That the canon or most exact rule of faith is not the Scripture, but the judgment of the church;” much to the same purpose as you plead in your “Fiat” and “Epistola.” Pighius, another champion of your church (Ecclesiastical Hierarchies, lib. 1 cap. 4), after he hath given many reasons to prove the obscurity of the Scripture, with its flexibility to every man’s sense, as you know who also hath done and referred all things to be determined by the church, concludes, “Si hujus doctrinae memores fuissemus, hsereticos scilicet non esse informandos vel convincendos ex Scripturis, meliore sane loco essent res nostrae; sed dum ostentandi ingenii et eruditionis gratia cum Luthero in certamen descenditur Scripturarum, excitatum est hoc quod, proh dolor! nunc videmus incendium;” — “Had we been mindful of this doctrine, that heretics are not to be instructed nor convinced out of the Scriptures, our affairs had been in a better condition than now they are; but whilst some, to show their wit and learning, would needs contend with Luther out of the Scriptures, the fire which we now with grief behold was kindled and stirred up.” And it may be you remember who it was that called the Scripture “Evangelium nigrum” and “Theologiam atramentariam,” seeing he was one of the most famous champions of your church and cause. But before we quite leave your council of Trent, we may do well to remember the advice which the fathers of it, who upon the stirs in Germany removed unto Bononia, gave to the pope, Julius III., which one that was then amongst them afterward published. “Denique,” say they in their letters to him, “quod inter omnia consilia quae nos hoc tempore dare possumus omnium gravissimum, ad extremum re-servavimua Oculi hic aperiendi sunt; omnibus nervis adnitendum erit ut quam minimum evangelii poterit (praesertim vulgarl lingua) in iis legatur civitatibus quae sub tua ditione et potestate sunt, sufficiatque tantilium illud quod in missa legi solet, nec eo amplius cuiquam mortalium legere liceat. Quamdiu enim pauculo illo homines contenti fuerunt, tamdiu res tuae ex sententia successere, eaedemque in contrarium labi coeperunt ex quo ulterins legi vulgo usurpatum est. Hic file, in summa, est liber qui praeter caeteros hasce nobis tempestates ac turbines conciliavit quibus prope abrepti sumua Et sane siquis ilium diligenter expendat, deinde quae in nostris fieri ecclesiis consueverunt, singula ordine contempletur, videbit plurimum inter se dissidere, ethanc doctrinam nostram ab ilia prorsus diversam ease, ac saepe contrariam etiam. Quod simul atque homines intelligant, a docto scilicet aliquo adversariorum stimulati, non ante clamandi finem faciunt, quam rein plane omnem divulgaverint, nosque invisos omnibus reddiderint. Quare occultandae pauculae illae chartulae sed adhibita quadam cautione et diligentia, ne eares majores nobis turbas ac tumultus excitet;” “Last of all, that which is the most weighty of all the advices which at this time we shall give unto you, we have reserved for the close of all.

    Your eyes are here to be opened; you are to endeavor, with the utmost of your power, that as little as may be of the gospel (especially in any vulgar tongue) be read in those cities which are under your government and authority, but let that little suffice them which is wont to be read in the mass” (of which mind you also know who is): “neither let it be lawful for any man to read any more of it; for as long as men were contented with that little, your affairs were as prosperous as heart could desire, and began immediately to decline upon the custom of reading any more of it. This is, in brief, that book which above all others hath procured unto us those tempests and storms wherewith we are almost carried away headlong. And the truth is, if any one shall diligently consider it, and then seriously ponder on all the things that are accustomed to be done in our churches, he will find them to be very different, the one from the other, and our doctrine to be diverse from the doctrine thereof, yea, and oftentimes plainly contrary unto it. Now this when men begin to understand, being stirred up by some learned men or other amongst the adversaries, they make no end of clamoring until they have divulged the whole matter, and rendered us hateful unto all. Wherefore those few sheets of paper are to be hid; but with caution and diligence, lest their concealment should stir us up greater troubles.” This is fair and open, being a brief summary of that admiration of the Scriptures which so abounds in Catholic countries. That Hermannus, one of some account in your church, affirmed that the Scriptures could be of no more authority than A Esop’s Fables, were they not confirmed by the testimony of your church, we are informed by one Brentius; and we believe the information to be true, because the saying is defended by Hosius, DeAuthoritat. Script., lib. 3, who adds unto it of his own: “Revera nisi nos authoritas ecclesiae doceret hanc Scripturam esse canonicam, perexiguum apud nos pendus haberet;” — “The truth is, if the authority of the church did not teach us that this Scripture is canonical, it would be of very light weight unto us.” Such cordial respect do you bear unto it! And the fore-mentioned Andradius, Defens. Con. Trid. lib. 2, to the same purpose: “Neque enim in ipsis libris, quibus sacra mysteria conscripta sunt, quicquam inest divinitatis quae nos ad credendum quae in illis continentur religione aliqua constringat. Sed eeclesiae, quae codices illos sacros esse docet, et antiquorum patrum fidem et pietatem commendat, tanta inest vis et amplitudo, ut illis nemo sine gravissima impietatis nota possit repugnare;” — “Neither is there in those books, wherein the divine mysteries are written, any thing or any character of divinity or divine original which should, on a religious account, oblige us to believe the things that are contained in them. But yet such is the force and authority of the church, which teacheth those books to be sacred, and commendeth the faith and piety of the ancient fathers, that no man can oppose them without a grievous mark of impiety.” How, by what means, from whom, should we learn the sense of your church, if not from your council of Trent, and such mighty champions of it? Do you think it equitable that we should listen to the suggestions of every obscure friar, and entertain thoughts from them about the sense of your church contrary to the plain assertion of your councils and great rabbis? And if this be the respect that, in Catholic countries, is given to the Scripture, I hope you will not find many of your countrymen rivals with them therein. It is all but “Hail” and “Crucify.” “We respect the Scriptures, but there is another part of God’s word besides them; we respect the Scriptures, but traditions contain more of the doctrine of truth; we respect the Scriptures, but think it not meet that Christians be suffered to read them; we respect the Scripture, but do not think that it hath any character in it of its own divine original for which we should believe it; we respect the Scripture, but yet we would not believe it were it not commended unto us by our church; we respect the Scripture, but it is dark, obscure, not intelligible but by the interpretation of our church.” Pray, sir, keep your respects at home; they are despised by the Scripture itself, which gives testimony unto its own authority, perfection, sufficiency to guide us to God, perspicuity, and certainty, without any respect unto your church or its authority; and we know its testimony to be true. And for our part, we fear that whilst these Joab’s kisses of respect are upon your lips, you have a sword in your right hands to let out the vitals of divine truth and religion Do you think your general expressions of respect, and that unto “admiration,” are a covering long and broad enough to hide all this contempt and reproach that you continually pour upon the Scriptures? Deal thus with your ruler, and see whether he will accept your person. Give him some good words in general, but let your particular expressions of your esteem of him come short of what his state and regal dignity do require, will it be well taken at your hands?

    Expressions of the same nature with these instanced in might be collected of your chiefest authors sufficient to fill a volume; and yet I never read nor heard that any of them were ever “stoned” in your Catholic countries, whatever you intimate of the boiling up of your zeal into a rage against those that should go about to diminish it. Indeed, whatever you pretend, this is your faith about the Scripture; and therefore I desire that you would accept of this account why I cannot comply with your wish, and not speak any more of Papists slighting the Scripture, seeing I know they do so in the sense and way by me expressed, and other ways I never said they did so.

    From the account of your faith we may proceed to your charity, wherewith you close this discourse. Speaking of your Roman Catholics, you say, “The Scripture is theirs, and Jesus Christ is theirs, who will one day plead their cause.” What do you mean, sir, by “theirs?” Do you intend it exclusively to all others? so theirs as not to be the right and portion of any other? It is evident that this is your sense, not only because, unless it be so, the words have neither sense nor emphasis in them; but also because, suitably unto this sense, you elsewhere declare that the Roman and the catholic church are with you one and the same. This is your charity, fit to accompany and to be the fruit of the faith before discoursed of. This is your catholicism, — the empaling of Christ, Scripture, the church, and consequently all acceptable religion, to the Roman party and faction; — downright Donatism, the wretchedest schism that ever rent the church of God; which makes the wounds of Christendom incurable, and all hope of coalition in love desperate.

    St Paul, directing one of his epistles unto “All that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,” that no countenance from that expression of “Jesus Christ our Lord” might be given unto any surmise of his appropriating unto himself and those with him a peculiar interest in Jesus Christ, he adds immediately, “Both their Lord and ours,” — the Lord of all that in every place call upon his name, 1 Corinthians 1:2.

    This was the old catholicism, which the new hath as much affinity unto as darkness hath to light, and not one jot more. “The Scripture is ours, and Christ is ours, and what have any else to do with them? What though in other places you call on the name of Jesus Christ, yet he is our Lord, not yours.”

    This, I say, is that wretched schism which, clothed with the name of Catholicism (which, after it had slain, it robbed of its name and garments), the world for some ages hath groaned under, and is like to do so whilst it is supported by so many secular advantages and interests as are subservient unto it at this day.

    CHAPTER 14. Of reason — Jews’ objections against Christ.

    Page 47.YOU proceed to vindicate your unreasonable paragraph about reason, or rather against it. What reason we are to expect in a dispute against the use of reason in and about the things which are the highest and most proper object of it, is easy for any one to imagine; for by reason in religion we understand not merely the ratiocination of a man, upon and according to the inbred principles of his nature, but every acting of the understanding of a man about the things of God, proceeding from such principles, or guided by any such rule, as no way impeach its rationality.

    To vindicate your discourse in your “Fiat” upon this subject, you make use of two mediums: — 1. You pretend that to be the whole subject of your discourse about reason which is but a part of it; and, 2. You deny that to be the design and aim of your book which you yourself know, and all other men acknowledge, so to be.

    On the first head you tell me that your discourse concerned “reason to be excluded from the employment of framing articles of religion.” It is true you talk somewhat to that purpose; and you were told that Protestants were no way concerned in that discourse. And it is no less true that you dispute against the use and exercise of reason in our choice of, or adhering unto, any religion, or any way or practice in religion; that is, the liberty of a man’s rational judgment in determining what is right and what is wrong, what true, what false, in the things that are proposed unto him as belonging unto religion, guided, bounded, and determined by the only rule, measure, and last umpire in and about such things. This you oppose and that directly, and that to this end, — to show unto Protestants that they can come unto no certainty in religion by this exercise of their reason in and about the things of God. That men should, by the use of reason, endeavor to find out and frame a religion, is fond to imagine. They who ever attempted any such thing knew it was not religion, but a pretense to some other end, that they were coining. To make the reason of a man, proceeding and acting upon its own light and inbred principles, the absolute and sovereign judge of the things that are proposed to be believed or practiced in religion, so as that it should be free for him to receive or reject them, according as they answer and are suited thereunto, is no less absurd and foolish: and whoever will assert it must build his assertion on this supposition, that a man is capable of comprehending fully and clearly whatsoever God can reveal of himself; which is contrary to the prime dictates of reason, in reference unto the simplicity and infiniteness of God’s being, and so would imply a contradiction in its first admission. It is no less untrue that. a man, in the lapsed, depraved condition of nature, can, by the light thereof, and the utmost improvement of his reason, come to a saving, sanctifying perception of the things themselves that God hath revealed concerning himself, his will, and worship; which is the peculiar effect of the Spirit and grace of Christ. But to say that a man is not to use his reason in finding out the sense and meaning of the propositions wherein the truths of religion are represented unto him, and in judging of their truth and falsehood by the rule of them, which is the Scripture, is to deny that indeed we are men, and to put a reproach upon our mortality, by intimating that men do not, cannot, nor ought to do, that which they not only know they do, but also that they cannot but do: for they do but vainly deceive themselves who suppose, or rather dream, that they make any determination of what is true or false in religion without the use and exercise of their reason; it is to say they do it as beasts, and not as men, — than which nothing can be spoken more to the dishonor of religion, nor more effectual to deter men from the entertainment of it. For our part we rejoice in this, that we dare avow the religion which we profess to be highly rational, and that the most mysterious articles of it are proposed unto our belief on grounds of the most unquestionable reason, and such as cannot be rejected without a contradiction to the most sovereign dictates of that intellectual nature wherewith of God we are endued. And it is not a few trifling instances of some men’s abuse of their reason, in its prejudicate exercise about the things of God, that shall make us ungrateful to God that he hath made us men, or to neglect the laying out of the best that he hath intrusted us with by nature in his service in the work of grace.

    And what course do you yourself proceed in? When any thing is proposed unto you concerning religion, do you not think upon it? doth not your mind exercise about it those first acts of reason or understanding which prepare and dispose you to discourse and compute it with yourself? do you not consider whether the thing itself be good or evil, and whether the propositions wherein it is made unto you are true or false? do you not call to mind the rule and measure whereby you are to make a judgment whether they be so or no? We talk not now what that rule is, but only whether you do not make a judgment of the propositions that are made unto you by some rule or other; and whether, with that judgment, your mind do not assent unto them or dissent from them. Yea, is not your judgment, which you so make, the assent or dissent of your mind? or what course do you take? I wish you would inform us of your excellent expedient to teach a man to cry “Credo,” without the use or exercise of his reason to bring him thereunto. But when you have done so, I know it is no other way but that by which you may teach a parrot or starling to say as much, or the crow that cried of old, ]Estai pa>nta kalw~v . But you would evade all concernment in this discourse, by denying that your “Fiat Lux” “was written unto any such concernment against Protestants.” I know not well what you mean by your “Unto any such concernment against Protestants.” That the main design of your discourse is to bring Protestants unto an uncertainty in their profession, by everting the principles which you apprehend them to build upon, and thereon to persuade them unto Popery, I was in hope you would have no more denied. It hath been evidenced unto you, with as needless a labor as ever any man was put unto; but it is done because you would needs have it so, and shall not now be done again.

    Your ensuing discourse, wherein you attempt to say something unto the ninth chapter of the “Animadversions,” is not unlike the preceding; and therefore I shall cast them under one head. Your business in it is to cast a fresh dishonor upon Christian religion, by questioning the defensibility of its principles against Jewish objections any otherwise than by an irrational “credo.” Let us hear you speak in your own language. “Your vaunting flourishes,” you say, “about Scripture, which you love to talk on, will not, without the help of your ‘credo’ and humble resignation, solve the argument; which, that you may the easilier be quit of, you never examine, but only run on in your usual, flourishes about the use and excellency of God’s word. I told you in ‘Fiat Lux’ what the Jew will reply to all such reasonings; but you have the pregnant wit not to heed any thing that may hinder your flourishes. But if you were kept up in a chamber with a learned Jew, without bread, water, and fire, till you had satisfied him in that objection, I am still well enough assured, for all your vaunts, that if you do not make use of your ‘credo,’ which here you contemn, you might there stay till hunger and cold have made an end of you.” The meaning of this discourse is, that the Jews’ pretense of rejecting Christ upon the authority and tradition of their church, was not, nor is to be, satisfied by testimonies given in the Scripture unto the person, doctrine, and work of the Messiah. The sum of the objection laid down in your “Fiat Lux” is that which I have now mentioned. It was the plea of the Jews against Christ and his doctrine, managed from the authority and tradition of their church. That Christ and his apostles gave the answer unto this objection which I have now intimated, — namely, the testimony of God himself in the Scripture to the truth of that which they objected against, which was to be preferred unto the authority and testimony of their church, — I have undeniably proved unto you in the “Animadversions;” and it is manifest to every one that hath but read the New Testament with any consideration or understanding. The same way was persisted in by the ancient fathers; as all their writings against the Jews do testify. And I must now tell you, that your calling the validity of this answer into question is highly injurious unto the honor of Christianity, and blasphemous against Christ himself.

    The best interpretation that I can give unto your words is, that you are a person wholly ignorant of the controversies that are between the Jews and Christians, and the way that is to be taken for their satisfaction or confutation. You tell us, indeed, in your “Fiat,” that the Jews will reply to those testimonies of Scripture which are alleged as giving witness to our Lord Jesus Christ and his doctrine, and contend about the interpretation of them; and this you tell me “I have the wit to take no notice of;” — which, by the way, is unduly averred by you, and contrary to your own science and conscience, seeing you profess that you have read over my “Animadversions;” and probably the very place wherein I do take notice of what you said to that purpose, and replied unto it, was not far from your eye when you wrote the contrary. And as I showed you what was the opinion of the ancients of that reply of the Jews which you mention, so I shall now add that nothing but gross ignorance in these things can give countenance to an imagination that there is any thing but folly and madness in the rabbinical evasions of the testimonies of the Old Testament given unto our Lord Christ and his gospel. And your substitution of a naked fanatical “credo,” not resolved into the testimony of the holy writ, in the room of that express witness which is given in holy Scripture unto the person and doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ, to oppose therewith the Judaical plea from their church, state, power, and authority, is an engine fit to undermine the very root of Christianity, and to render the whole gospel highly questionable. Besides, it is so absurd as to the conviction of the Jews, such a mere “petitio principii,” or begging of what is in controversy between Christians and them, that I challenge you to produce any one learned man that hath made use of it to that purpose. To think that your “credo,” built on principles which he despiseth, which you cannot prove unto him, will convince another man of the truth of what you believe, can have no other ground but a magical fancy that the fixing of your imagination shall affect his, and conform it unto your apprehension of things. Such is your course in telling the Jews of the authority of your church, and your “credo” thereupon; which cannot be supposed to have any existence “in rerum natura,” unless it be first supposed that their church was failed, which supposal that it was not is the sole foundation of their objection. What end you can propose herein, but to expose yourself and your profession unto their scorn and contempt, I know not. Sir, the Lord Christ confirmed himself to be the Son of God and Savior of the world by the miracles which he wrought; and the doctrine which he taught was testified to be divine by signs and express words from heaven. He proved it also by the testimonies out of the law and prophets; all which was confirmed by his resurrection from the dead. This coming of the promised Messiah, the work that he was to perform, and the characteristical tekmh>ria of him, in application unto the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the apostles and evangelists proved out of the Scripture, to the conviction and conversion of thousands of the Jews, and the confusion of the rest. And if you know not that the ancient fathers, and learned men of succeeding ages, have undeniably proved against the Jews, out of the Scripture of the Old Testament, and by the testimony thereof, that the promised Messiah was to be God and man in one person; that he was to come at the time of the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh; that the work which he was to perform was the very same and no other than what was wrought and accomplished by him, with all the other important concernments of his person and office, — so that they have nothing left to countenance them in their obstinacy but mere senseless trifles; — you are exceedingly unmeet to make use of their objections, or the condition of the controversy between them and Christians. For what you add in reference unto myself, I shall need only to mind you that the question is not about any personal ability of mine to satisfy a Jew, — which, whatever it be, when I have a mind to increase it, for somewhat that I know of, and which I have learned out of their writings, I will not come unto you for assistance, — but concerning the sufficiency of that principle for the confronting of Judaical objections, taken from the authority of their church; which I have formerly proved unto you that our Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles made use of unto that purpose. And I will not say that it was from the pregnancy of your wit, that, whatever heed you took unto the stating of the case between you and Protestants in the “Animadversions,” parallel unto that between the Jews and the apostles (seeing a very little wit will suffice to direct a man to let that alone which he finds too heavy for him to remove out of his way), you speak not one word unto it: yet I will say that it is a thing of that kind whereof there are frequent instances in your whole discourse; and for what reason is not very difficult for any man to conjecture.

    CHAPTER 15. Pleas of Prelate Protestants — Christ the only supreme and absolute head of the church.

    Page 49.YOU take a view of the 10th chapter of the “Animadversions,’’ opposed unto the 13th and 14th paragraphs of your “Fiat Lux,” wherein you pretend to set forth the various pleas of those that are at difference amongst us in matters of religion. These you there distribute into Independents, Presbyterians, and Protestants. Here, omitting the consideration of the two former, you apply yourself unto what was spoken about “Prelate Protestants,” as you call them. “You endeavor,” say you, “to disable both what I have set down to make against the prelate Protestant, and also what I have said for him. I said in ‘Fiat Lux,’ that it made not a little against our Protestants, that after the prelate Protestancy was settled in England, they were forced, for their own preservation against the Puritans, to take up some of those principles again which former Protestants had cast down for popish; as is the authority of the visible church, efficacy of ordination, difference between clergy and laity.

    Here, first, you deny that these principles are popish; but, sir, there are some Jews, even at this day, who will deny any such man as Pontius Pilate to have ever been in Jewry. I have other things to do than to fill volumes with useless texts, which here I might easily do out of the books both of the first reformers, and Catholic divines and councils.”

    What acquaintance you have with the Jews we have in part seen already, and shall have occasion hereafter to examine a little farther. In the meantime, you may be pleased to take notice that men who know what they say are not easily affrighted from it by a show of such mormoes, as he in the comedian was from his own house by his servant’s pretense that it was haunted by sprites, when there were none in it but his own debauched companions. I denied those opinions to be popish, and should do so still, were I accused for so doing before a Roman judge as corrupt and wicked as Pontius Pilate; for I can prove them to be more ancient than any part of Popery, in the sense explained in the “Animadversions,” and admitted generally by Protestants. We never esteem every thing popish that Papists hold or believe. Some things in your profession belong unto your Christianity; some things to your Popery. And I am persuaded you do not think this proposition, “Jesus Christ is the Son of God,” to be heretical, because those whom you account heretics do profess and believe it. Prove the principles you mention to be invented by yourselves, without any foundation in the Scripture or constant suffrage of the ancient churches, and you prove them to be popish, to be your own. If you cannot do so, though Papists profess them, yet they may be Christian.

    This is spoken as to the principles themselves, not unto your explanation of them, which in sundry particulars is popish, which was never owned by prelate Protestants. You proceed: “You challenge me to prove that these principles were ever denied by our prelate Protestants; and this you do wittily and like yourself. You therefore bid me prove that those principles were ever denied by our prelate Protestants, because I say that our prelate Protestants here in England, as soon as they became such, took up again those forenamed principles, which Protestants, their forefathers, beth here in England and beyond seas, before our prelacy was set up, had still rejected. When I say, then, that our prelate Protestants affirmed and asserted those principles which former Protestants denied, you bid me prove that our prelate Protestants ever denied them.” But whatever you can prove or cannot prove, you have made it very easy for any man to prove that you have very little regard unto truth and sobriety in what you aver, so that you may acquit yourself from that which presseth you, and which, according to the rules of them, you cannot stand before. You tell us, in the entrance of this discourse, that you said “that prelate Protestants, for their own preservation, took up some of those principles again which former Protestants had cast down for popish;” and here expressly, that you “said not that they took up the principles which themselves had cast down, but only those which other before them had so dealt withal.” Now, pray take a view of your own words, whereby you express yourself in this matter, chap. 3 sect. 14, p. 189, second edition.

    Are they not these: “The prelate Protestant, to defend himself against them” (the Presbyterians and Independents), “is forced to make use of those very principles which himself aforetime” (not other Protestants but himself), “when he” (not others) “first contended against Popery, destroyed. So that upon him falls most heavily, even like thunder and lightning from heaven, utterly to kill and cut him asunder, that great oracle delivered by St Paul, ‘If I build up again the things I’” (not another) “‘formerly destroyed, I make myself a prevaricator, an impostor, a reprobate?’“ What think you of these words? Do you charge the prelate Protestant with building up what others had pulled down, or what he had destroyed himself? Is your rule out of St. Paul applicable unto him upon any other account but that he himself was both the builder and destroyer?

    Sir, such miscarriages as these Protestants know to be mortal sins; and if, without contrition for them, you have celebrated any sacrament of your church, it cannot be avoided but that you have brought a great inconvenience on some of your disciples. Besides, suppose you had spoken as you now feign yourself to have done, I desire to know who they are whom you intend when you say, “Our prelate Protestants, so soon as they became such;” as though they were first Protestants at large, and destroyed those principles which afterward they built up when they became prelate Protestants; seeing all men know that our reformation was begun by prelates themselves, and such as never disclaimed the principles by you instanced in.

    But you tell me, “I do not only reject what you object against prelate Protestants, but also what you allege in their behalf.” I do so indeed, — though I laugh not at you or it, as you pretend, — and so must any man do, who, pleading for Protestancy, hath not a mind openly to prevaricate; for your plea for them is such as, if admitted, would not only overthrow your prelacy, which you pretend to assert, but also destroy your Protestancy, which you will not deny but that you seek to oppose. Nay, it is no other but what was contradicted in the very council of Trent by the Spanish prelates, as that which they conceived to have been an engine contrived for the ruin of episcopacy under a pretense of establishing it, and which, instead of asserting them to be bishops in the church, would have rendered them all curates to the pope. You would have us believe that Christ hath appointed one episcopal monarch in his church, with plenitude of power, to represent his own person, which is the pope; and from him all other bishops to derive their power, being substituted by him, and unto him, unto their work. And must not this needs be an acceptable defensative or plea unto prelate Protestants; which, if it be admitted, they can be no longer supposed to be made overseers of their flocks by the Holy Ghost, but by the pope, which forfeits their prelacy; and, besides, asserts his supremacy, which destroys their Protestancy?

    Upon this occasion you proceed to touch upon somewhat of great. importance concerning the head of the church, wherein you know a great part of the difference between yourself and those whom you oppose to consist. In your passage you mention the use of true logic; but I fear we shall find that in your discourse “laudatur et alget.” I should have been glad to have found you making what use you were able of that which you commend. It would, I suppose, have directed you to have stated plainly and clearly what it is that you assert, and what it is that you oppose, and to have given your arguments catasceuastical of the one, and anasceuastical of the other. But either you knew not that way of procedure, or you considered how little advantage unto your end you were like to obtain thereby; and therefore you make use only of that part of logic which teacheth the nature and kinds of sophisms, in particular that of confounding things which ought to be distinguished. However, your discourse, such as it is, shall be examined, and that by the rules of that logic which yourself commend.

    You say, p. 51, “The church says, ‘I must have a bishop,’ or otherwise she will not have such a visible head as she had at first, This that you may enervate, you tell me ‘that the church hath still the same head she had, which is Christ, who is present with his church by his Spirit and his laws, and is man-God still as much as ever he was, and ever the same will be; and if I would have any other visible bishop to be head, then it seems I would not have the same head, and so would have the same, and not the same.’” This is but one part of my answer, and that very lamely and imperfectly reported. The reader, if he please, may see the whole of it, chap, 9 p. 223, etc., and therewithal take a specimen of your ingenuity in this controversy. It were very sufficient, to render your following exceptions against it useless unto your purpose, merely to repeat what you seek to oppose; but because you shall not have any pretense that any thing you have said is passed over undiscussed, I shall consider what you offer in way of exception to so much of my answer as you are pleased yourself to express, and, as may be supposed, thought yourself qualified to deal withal. Thus, then, you proceed: — “I cannot in reason be thought to speak otherwise, if we would use true logic, of the identity of the head, than I do of the identity of the body, of the church. This body is not numerically the same; for the men of the first age are long ago gone out of the world, and another generation come, who yet are a body of Christians of the same kind, though not numerically the same. So do I require, that since Jesus Christ as man, the head immediate of other believing men, is departed hence to the glory of his Father, that the church should still have a head of the same kind, as visibly now present, as she had in the beginning; or else, say I, she cannot be completely the same body, or a body of the same kind visible, as she was. But this she hath not, this she is not, except she have a visible bishop, as she had in the beginning, present with her, guiding and ruling under God. Christ our Lord is indeed still man-God, but his manhood is now separate; nor is he visibly present as man, which immediately headed his believers under God, on whose influence their nature depended. His Godhead is still the same in all things, not only in itself, but in order to his church also, as it was before equally invisible, and in the like manner believed; but the nature delegate under God, and once ruling visibly amongst us by words and examples, is now utterly withdrawn. And if a nature of the same kind be not now delegate with a power of exterior government, as at the first there was, then hath not the church the same head now which she had then. ‘Qui habet aures audiendi audiat.’” How you have secured your logic in this discourse shall afterward be considered; your divinity seems, at the first view, liable unto just exceptions. For, — 1. You suppose Christ in his human nature only to have been the head of his church; and therefore the absence of that to necessitate the constitution of another. Now, this supposition is openly false, and dangerous to the whole being of Christianity. It is the Son of God who is the head of the church; who as he is man, so also is he “over all, God blessed for ever;” and as God and man in one person is that head, and ever was since his incarnation, and ever will be to the end of the world. To deny this is to overthrow the foundation of the church’s faith, preservation, and consolation, it being founded and built on this, that he was “the Son of the living God,” Matthew 16. And yet into this supposition alone is your imaginary necessity of the substitution of another head in his room resolved. 2. You plainly confess that the present church hath not the same head that the church had when our Lord Christ conversed with them in the days of his flesh. That, you say, was his “human nature, delegate under God; which being now removed and separate, another person so delegate under God is substituted in his place:” which not only deprives the church of its first head, but also deposeth the human nature of Christ from that office of headship to his church which you confess that for a while it enjoyed, leaving him nothing but what belongs unto him as God, wherein alone you will allow him to be that unto his church which formerly he was.

    Confessing, I say, the human nature of Christ to have been the head of the church, and now denying it so to be, you do what lies in you to depose him from his office and throne, allowing his human nature, as far as I can perceive, to be of little other use than to be eaten by you in the mass. 3. You make your intention yet more evident, by intimating that the human nature of Christ is now no more head of the church than the present church is made up of the same numerical members that it was constituted of in the days of his flesh. What change you suppose in the church, the body, the same you suppose and assert in the head thereof; and as that change excludes those former members from being present members, so this excludes the former head from being the present head. Of old the head of the church was the human nature of Christ, delegate under God; now that is removed, and another person in the same nature is so delegated unto the same office. Now, this is not a head under Christ, but in distinction from him, in the same place wherein he was, and so exclusive of him; which must needs be Antichrist, one pretending to be in his room and place, to his exclusion, — that is, one set up against him. And thus also what you seek to avoid doth inevitably follow upon your discourse, — namely, that “you would have the church, for the preservation of its oneness and sameness, to have the same head she had;” which is not the same, unless you will say that the pope is Christ. These are the principles that you proceed upon: — First , You tell us “That the human nature of Christ, delegate under God, was the visible head of the church.”

    Secondly , “That this nature is now removed from us, and ceaseth so to be;” that is, not only to be visible, but the visible head of the church, and is no more so than the present church is made up of the same individual members as it was in the days of his flesh, which, as you well observe, it is not.

    Thirdly , “That a nature of the same kind in another person is now delegate under God to the same office of a visible head, with that power of external government which Christ had whilst he was that head.” And is it not plain from hence that you exclude the Lord Christ from being that head of his church which he was in former days? And, substituting another in his room and place, you at once depose him, and assign another head unto the church; and that in your attempt to prove that her head must still be the same, or she cannot be so.

    Farther: the human nature of Christ was personally united unto the Son of God; and if that head which you now fancy the church to have be not so united, it is not the same head that that was; and so, whilst you seek to establish, not indeed a sameness in the head of the church, but a likeness in several heads of it as to visibility, you evidently assert a change in the nature of that head of the church which we inquire after. In a word, Christ and the pope are not the same; and therefore if it be necessary, to maintain that the church hath the same head that she had, to assert that in the room of Christ she hath the pope, you prove that she hath the same head that she had, because she hath one that is not the same she had; and so, “Qui habet aures audiat.” 4. You vainly imagine the whole catholic church any otherwise visible than with the eyes of faith and understanding. It was never so; no, not when Christ conversed with it in the earth; no, not if you should suppose only his blessed mother, his twelve apostles, and some few more, only to belong unto it. For though all the members of it might be seen, and that at once, by the bodily eyes of men, as might also the human nature of him who was the head of it, yet as he was Head of the church, and in that his whole person wherein he was so and is so, he was never visible unto any; “for no man hath seen God at any time.” And therefore you, substituting a head in his room who in his whole person is visible, seeing he was not so, do change the head of the church as to its visibility also (for one that is in his whole person visible and another that is not so are not alike visible), wherein you would principally place the identity of the church. 5. Let us see whether your logic be any better than your divinity. The best argument that can be formed out of your discourse is this: “If the church hath not a head visibly present with her, as she had when Christ, in his human nature, was on the earth, she is not the same that she was: but according to their principles she hath not a head now so visibly present with her; therefore she is not the same, according unto them.” I desire to know how you prove your inference. It is built on this supposition, — that the sameness of the church depends upon the visibility of its head, and not on the sameness of the head itself; which is a fond conceit, and contrary to express Scripture, Ephesians 4:3-7, and not capable of the least countenance from reason. It may be you will say that though your argument do not conclude that on our supposition the church is not the same absolutely as it was, yet it doth that it is not the same as to visibility. Whereunto I answer, — (1.) That there is no necessity that the church should be always the same as to visibility, or always visible in the same manner, or always equally visible as to all concernments of it. (2.) You mistake the whole nature of the visibility of the church, supposing it to consist in its being seen with the bodily eyes of men; whereas it is only an affection of its public profession of the truth, whereunto its being seen in part or in whole by the eyes of any or all men doth no way belong. (3.) That the church, as I said before, was indeed never absolutely visible in its head and members, he who was the head of it being never in his whole person visible unto the eyes of men; and he is yet, as he was of old, visible to the eyes of faith, whereby we see him that is invisible. So that to be visible to the bodily eyes of men, in its head and members, was never a property of the church, much less such a one as that thereon its sameness in all ages should depend. 6. You fail also in supposing that the numerical sameness of the church as a body depends absolutely on the sameness of its members; for whilst in succession it hath all things the same that concur unto its constitution, order, and existence, it may be still the same body corporate, though it consist not of the same individual persons or bodies natural, — as the kingdom of England is the same kingdom that it was two hundred years ago, though there be not now one person living that then it was made up of: for though the matter be the same only specifically, yet the form being the same numerically, that denominates the body to be so. But that I may the better represent unto you the proper genius and design of your discourse, I shall briefly mind you of the principles which you oppose in it and seek to evert by it; as also of those which you intend to compass your purpose by. Of the first sort are these: — 1. “That the Lord Christ, God and man in one person, is, and ever continues to be, the only absolute monarchical head of his own church.” I suppose it needless for me to confirm this principle by testimonies of Scripture, which, it being a matter of pure revelation, is the only way of confirmation that it is capable of. That he is the head of his church is so frequently averred, that every one who hath but read the New Testament will assent unto it, upon the bare repetition of the words, with the same faith whereby he assents unto the writing itself, whatever it be; and we shall afterward see that the notion of a head is absolutely exclusive of competition in the matter denoted by it. A head, properly, is singly and absolutely so; and therefore the substitution of another head unto the church in the room of Christ, or with him, is perfectly exclusive of him from being so. 2. “That Christ as God-man, in his whole person, was never visible to the fleshly eyes of men;” and whereas as such he was head of the church, as the head of the church he was never absolutely visible. His human nature was seen of old, which was but something of him as he was and is the head of the church; otherwise than by faith no man hath seen him at any time: and it changeth the condition of the church to suppose that now it hath a head who, being a mere man, is in his whole person visible, so far as a man may be seen. 3. That the visibility of the church consisteth in its public profession of the truth, and not in its being objected to the bodily eyes of men. It is a thing that faith may believe, it is a thing that reason may take notice of, consider, and comprehend, the eyes of the body being of no use in this matter. When a church professeth the truth, it is “the ground and pillar” of it, a city on a hill, — that is, visible, though no man see it, yea, though no man observe or contemplate on any thing about it; its own profession, not other men’s observation, constitutes it visible. Nor is there any thing more required to a church’s visibility but its profession of the truth, unto which all the outward advantages which it hath, or may have, of appearing conspicuously or gloriously to the consideration of men, are purely accidental, which may be separated from it without any prejudice unto its visibility. 4. That the sameness of the church in all ages doth not depend on its sameness in respect of degrees of visibility. That the church be the same that it was, [it] is required that it profess the same truth it did, whereby it becomes absolutely visible; but the degrees of this visibility, as to conspicuousness and notoriety, depending on things accidental unto the being, and consequently visibility, of the church, do no way affect it as unto any change. Now, from hence it follows, — 1. That the presence or absence of the human nature of Christ with or from his church on earth doth not belong unto the visibility of it; so that the absence of it doth no way infer a necessity of substituting another visible head in his stead. Nor was the presence of his human nature with his church any way necessary to the visibility of it, his conversation on the earth being wholly for other ends and purposes. 2. That the presence or absence of the human nature of Christ not varying his headship, which under both considerations is still the same, the supposition of another head is perfectly destructive of the whole headship of Christ, there being no vacancy possible to be imagined for that supply but by the removal of Christ out of his place. For he being the head of his church as God and man, in his whole person invisible, and the visibility of the church consisting solely in its own profession of the truth, the absence of his human nature from the earth neither changeth his own headship nor prejudiceth the church’s visibility, so that either the one or the other of them should induce a necessity of the supply of another head. Consider now what it is that you oppose unto these thing. You tell us, — 1. “That Christ was the head of the church in his human nature, delegated by and under God to that purpose.” You mean he was so absolutely, and as man, exclusively to his divine nature. This your whole discourse, with the inferences that you draw from this supposition, abundantly manifests:

    If you can make this good, you may conclude what you please. I know no man that hath any great cause to oppose himself unto you, for you have taken away the very foundation of the being and safety of the church in your supposition. 2. You inform us, “That Christ by his ascension into heaven ceased to be that head that he was, so that of necessity another must be substituted in his place and room;” and this we must think to be the pope. He is, I confess, absent from his church here on earth as to his bodily appearance amongst us; which, as it was not necessary as to his headship, so he promised to supply the inconvenience which his disciples apprehended would ensue thereupon, so that they should have great cause to rejoice at it, as that wherein their great advantage would lie, John 16:7. That this should be by giving us a pope at Rome in his stead, he hath no way intimated. And unto those who know what, your pope is, and what he hath done in the world, you will hardly make it evident that the great advantage which the Lord Christ promised unto his disciples upon his absence is made good unto them by his supervisorship. 3. You would have the “visibility of the church depend on the visibility of its head, as also its sameness in all ages.” And no one, you are secure, who is now visible, pretends to be the head of the church but the pope alone, and therefore of necessity he it must be. But, sir, if the Lord Jesus Christ had had no other nature than that wherein he was visible to the eyes of men, he could never have been a meet head for a church dispersed throughout the whole world, nor have been able to discharge the duty annexed by God unto that office. And if so, I hope you will not take it amiss if on that supposition I deem your pope, of whom millions of Christians know nothing but by uncertain rumors, nor he of them, to be very unmeet for the discharge of it. And for the visibility of the church, I have before declared wherein it doth consist. Upon the whole matter, you do not only come short of proving the identity and oneness of the church to depend upon one visible bishop as its monarchical head, but also the principles whereby you attempt the confirmation of that absurd position are of that nature that they exclude the headship of Christ, and infer no less change or alteration in the church than that which must needs ensue thereon, and the substitution of another in his room; which destroys the very essence and being of it.

    Let us now consider what you farther reply unto that which is offered in the “Animadversions” unto the purpose now discoursed of. Your ensuing words are, — “And here, by the way, we may take notice what a fierce English Protestant you are, who labor so stoutly to evacuate my argument for episcopacy, and leave none of your own behind you, nor acquaint the world with any, though you know far better; but would make us believe, notwithstanding those far better reasons for prelacy, that Christ himself, as he is the immediate head of invisible influence, so is he likewise the only and immediate head of visible direction and government amongst us, without the interposition of any person, delegate in his stead, to oversee and rule under him in his church on earth; which is against the tenor both of sacred gospel and St Paul’s epistles, and all antiquity, and the present ecclesiastical polity of England, and is the doctrine not of any English Protestant, but of the Presbyterian, Independent, and Quaker.”

    How little cause you have to attempt an impeachment of my Protestancy, I hope I have in some measure evidenced unto you; and shall yet farther make it manifest, as you give me occasion so to do. In the meantime, as I told you before that I would not plead the particular concernment of any party amongst Protestants, no more than you do that of any party among yourselves, so I am sure enough that I have delivered nothing prejudicial unto any of them, because I have kept myself unto the defense of their Protestancy, wherein they all agree. Nor have I given you an answer unto any argument that tends in the least to the confirmation of such a prelacy as by any sort of Protestants is admitted; but only showed the emptiness and pernicious consequences of your sophism, wherewith you plead in pretense for prelacy, indeed for a papal supremacy, and that on such principles as are absolutely destructive of that Protestant prelacy which you would be thought to give countenance unto. And your ensuing discourse, wherein you labor to justify your reflection on me, is a pitiful piece of falsehood and sophistry. For, — 1. This double head of the catholic church, — one of influence, the other of direction and government, — which you fancy some Protestants to admit of, is a thing that they declare against as injurious to the Lord Christ, and that which would render the church “biceps monstrum,” — horrid and deformed. It is Christ himself; who as by his Spirit he exercises the office of a head by invisible influence, so by his word that of visible direction and rule: he is, I say, the only head of visible direction to his church, though he be not a visible head to that purpose; which that he should be is to no purpose at all. 2. If by the “interposition of any person under Christ, delegate in his stead,” you understand any one single person delegated in his stead to oversee and rule the whole catholic church, such a one as you now plead for in your “Epistle,” it isintolerable arrogancy to intimate that he is designed either in the gospel, or St. Paul’s epistles, or antiquity, whereas you are not able to assign any place, or text, or word in them, directly or by fair consequence, to justify what you assert. And for the present ecclesiastical polity of the church of England, if you yet know it not, let me inform you that the very foundations of it are laid in a direct contrary supposition, — namely, that there is no such single person delegated under Christ for the rule of the whole catholic church; which gives us a new evidence of your conscientious care in what you say and write. 3. If you intend (that which is not at all to your purpose) “persons to rule under Christ in the church,” presiding, according to his direction and institution, in and over the particular churches whereunto they do relate, governing them in his name, by his authority, and according to his word, I desire you to inform me wherein I have said, or written, or intimated any thing that may give you the least countenance in your affirming that by me it is denied; or where it was ever denied by any Protestant whatever, prelatical, presbyterian, or independent. Neither doth this concession of theirs in the least impeach the sole sovereign monarchy of Christ, and single headship over his church to all ends and purposes. A monarch may be, and is, the sole supreme governor and political head of his kingdom, though he appoint others to execute his laws, by virtue of authority derived from him, in the several provinces, shires, and parishes of it. And Christ is the only head of his church, though he have appointed others to preside and rule in his name, in those distributions of his disciples whereinto they are cast by his appointment. But you proceed: “Christ, in their way, is immediate head not only of subministration and influence, but of exterior derivation also and government, to his church.” Ans. He is so, — the supreme and only head of the church catholic, in the one way and other, though the means of conveying influences of grace and of exterior rule be various. “Then,” say you, “is he such a head to all believers, or no?” To all; the whole body in general, and every individual member thereof in particular. “If he be so to all,” you say, “then no man is to be governed in affairs of religion by any other man.” But why so, I pray? Can no man govern, in any sense or place, but he must be a supreme head? The king is immediate head unto all his subjects; he is king not only to the whole kingdom, but to every individual person in his kingdom; — doth it thence follow that they may not be governed by officers subordinate, delegated under him to rule them by his authority according to his laws? or that if they may be so, he is not the only immediate king and supreme head unto them all? The apostle tells us expressly that the “head of every man is Christ,” 1 Corinthians 11:3; and that a head of rule, as the husband is the head of the wife, Ephesians 5:23; as well as he is a head of influence unto the whole body, and every member of it in particular, 1 Corinthians 12:12, Colossians 2:19. And it is a senseless thing to imagine that this should in the least impeach his appointment of men to rule under him in his church according to his law; who are thereupon not heads, but in respect of him servants, and in respect to the particular churches wherein they serve him rulers or guides, yea, their servants for his sake, — not lords over the flocks, but ministers of their faith. By these are the flocks of Christ governed, as by shepherds appointed by him, the great “shepherd and bishop of their souls,” according to the rules by him prescribed for the rule of the one and obedience of the other. But if by “Governed by another man,” you mean absolutely, supremely, at his will and pleasure, then we deny that any disciple of Christ is in the things of God so to be governed by any man; and affirm that to assert it is to cast down Jesus Christ from his throne.

    But you say, “If he be not immediate head unto all, but ministers head the people, and Christ heads the ministers, this in effect is nothing but to make every minister a bishop. Why do you not plainly say what it is more than manifest you would have? All this while you heed no more the laws of the land than constitutions of the gospel.” Ans. I have told you how Christ is the immediate head unto all, and yet how he hath appointed others to preside in his churches under him; and that this should infer an equality in all that are by him appointed to that work is most senseless to imagine. Nor did I in the least intimate any such thing, but only that therefore there was no need of any one supreme head of the whole catholic church, nor any place or room left for such a one, without the deposition of Christ himself. Because the king is the only supreme head of all his people, doth it therefore follow that if he appoint constables to rule in every parish, with that allotment of power which, by his laws, he gives unto them, and justices of peace to rule over them in a whole county, that therefore every constable in effect is a justice of peace, or that there is a sameness in their office? Christ is the head of every man that is in the church, be he bishop, or minister, or private man; and when the ministers are said to head the people, or the bishops to head them, the expression is improper, — an inferior, ministerial, subordinate rule being expressed by the name of that which is supreme and absolute; or, they head them not absolutely, but in some respect only, as every one of them dischargeth the authority over and towards them wherewith he is intrusted. This assertion of Christ’s sole, absolute headship, and denial of any monarchical state in the church catholic but what ariseth from thence, doth not, as every child may see, concern the difference that is about the superiority of bishops to ministers or presbyters: for, notwithstanding this, there are degrees in the ministry of the church, and several orders of men are engaged therein; and whatever there are, there might have been more, had it seemed good to our Lord Christ to appoint them. And whatever order of men may be supposed to be instituted by him in his church, he must be supposed to be the head of them all, and they are all to serve him in the duties and offices that they have to discharge towards the church and one another. This headship of Christ is the thing that you are to oppose, and its exclusiveness to the substitution of an absolute head over the whole catholic church in his place, because of his bodily absence from the earth.

    But this you cast out of sight, and instead thereof fall upon the equality of bishops and ministers, which no way ensues thereon, both bishops and presbyters agreeing well enough in the truth we assert and plead for. “This,” you say, “is contrary to the gospel, and the law of the land.” What is, I pray? that “Christ is the only absolute head of the catholic church?” “No; but ‘that bishops and ministers are in effect all one.’“ But what is that to your purpose? will it advantage your cause what way ever that problem be determined? Was any occasion offered you to discourse upon that question? Nay, you perceive well enough yourself that this is nothing at all to your design, and therefore in your following discourse you double and sophisticate, making it evident that either you understand not yourself what you say, or that you would not have others understand you, or that you confound all things with a design to deceive: for when you come to speak of the gospel, you attempt to prove the appointment of one supreme pastor to the whole catholic church, and, by the law of the land, the superiority of bishops over ministers, as though these things were the same, or had any relation one to another; whereas we have showed the former, in your sense, to be destructive to the latter. Truth never put any man upon such subterfuges; and I hope the difficulties that you find yourself perplexed withal may direct you at length to find that there is a “deceit in your right hand.” But let us hear your own words: — “As for the gospel, the Lord, who had been visible governor and pastor of his flock on earth, when he was now to depart hence, as all the apostles expected one to be chosen to succeed him in his care, so did he, notwithstanding his own invisible presence and providence over his flock, publicly appoint one. And when he taught them that he who was greatest among them should be as the least, he did not deny but suppose one greater, and taught, in one and the same breath, both that he was over them, and for what he was over them, — namely, to feed, not to tyrannize; not to domineer and hurt, but to direct, comfort, and conduct his flock in all humility and tenderness, as a servant of all their spiritual necessities. And if a bishop be otherwise affected, it is the fault of his person, not his place.”

    And what is it that you would prove hereby? Is it that bishops are above ministers? which, in the words immediately foregoing, you asserted, and in those next ensuing confirm from the law of the land. Is there any tendency in your discourse towards any such purpose? Nay, do not yourself know that what you seek to insinuate, — namely, the institution of one supreme pastor of the whole catholic church, one of the apostles to be above and ruler over all the rest of the apostles, and the whole church besides, — is perfectly destructive of the hierarchy of bishops in England as established by law; and also at once casting down the main if not only foundation that they plead for their station and order from the gospel? For all “prelate Protestants,” as you call them, assert an equality in all the apostles, and a superiority in them to the seventy disciples; whence, by a parity of reason, they conclude unto the superiority of bishops over ministers to be continued in the church. And are you not a fair advocate for your cause, and well meet for the reproving of others for not consenting unto them?

    But, waiving that which you little care for, and are not at all concerned in, let us see how you prove that which we know you greatly desire to give some countenance unto; that is, a universal visible pastor over the whole catholic church, in the place and room of Christ himself. First, you tell us that “the apostles expected one to be chosen to succeed Christ in his care.”

    But to have one succeed another in his care infers that that other ceased to take and exercise the care which formerly he had and exercised; which in this case is highly blasphemous once to imagine. I wish you would take more care of what you say in things of this nature, and not suffer the impetuous bias of your interest to cast you upon expressions so injurious to the honor of Christ and safety of his church. And how do you prove that the apostles had any such expectation as that which you mention?

    Our Savior gave them equal commission to teach all nations; told them that as his Father had sent him so he sent them; that he had chosen them twelve, but that one of them was a devil, — never that one of them should be pope. Their institution, instruction, privileges, charge, calling, were all equal. How, then, should they come to have this expectation, that one of them should be chosen to succeed Christ in his care, when they were all chosen to serve under him in the continuance of his care towards his church? That which you obscurely intimate from whence this expectation of yours might arise, is the contest that was amongst them about preeminence: Luke 22:24, “There was a strife amongst them which of them should be accounted the greatest.” This, you suppose, was upon their persuasion that one should be chosen in particular to succeed the Lord Christ in his care; whereupon they fell into difference about the place. But, — 1. Is it not somewhat strange unto yourself how they should contest about a succession unto Christ in his absence, who had not once thought that he would ever be absent from them, nor could bear the mention of it without great sorrow of heart when afterward he began to acquaint them with it? 2. How should they come in your apprehension to quarrel about that which, as you suppose and contend, was some while before determined? for this contest of yours was some while after the promise of the keys to Peter, and the saying of Christ that he “would build his church on the rock.” Were the apostles, think you, as stupid as Protestants, that they could not see the supremacy of Peter in those passages, but must yet fall at variance who should be pope? 3. How doth it appear that this strife of theirs who should be greatest did not arise from their apprehension of an earthly kingdom, a hope whereof, according to the then current persuasion of the Judaical church, to be erected by their master, whom they believed in as the true Messiah, they were not delivered from until after his resurrection, when they were filled with the Spirit of the New Testament? Acts 1. Certainly from that root sprang the ambitious desire of the sons of Zebedee after pre-eminence in his kingdom; and the designing of the rest of them in this place, from the manner of its management, by strife, seems to have had no better a spring. 4. The stop put by our Lord Jesus unto the strife that was amongst them makes it manifest that it arose from no such expectation as you imagine; or that at least if it did, yet your expectation was irregular, vain, and groundless: for, — (1.) He tells them that there should be no such greatness in his church as that which they contended about, being like to the sovereignty exercised by and in the nations of the earth: from which he that can show a difference in your papal rule, “erit mihi magnus Apollo.” (2.) He tells them that his Father had equally provided a kingdom, — that is, heavenly and eternal, — for all them that believed; which was the only greatness that they ought to look or inquire after. (3.) That as to their privilege in his kingdom, it should be equal unto them all; for they “should all sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel:” so ascribing equal power, anthority, and dignity unto them all; which utterly overthrows the figment of the supremacy of any one of them over the rest, Luke 22:30, Matthew 19:28. And, (4.) Yet farther to prevent any such conceit as that which you suppose them to have had concerning the prelation of any one of them, he tells them that “one was their Master, even Christ, and that all they were brethren,” Matthew 23:8; so giving them to understand that he had designed them to be perfectly and every way equal among themselves. So ill have you laid the foundation of your plea, as that it guides us to a full determination of the contrary to your pretense, and that given by our Savior himself, with many reasons persuading his disciples of the equity of it and unto an acquiescency in it. And what you add, that he presently appointed one to the pre-eminency you imagine, is altogether inconsistent with what you would conclude from the strife about it; for the appointment you fancy preceded this contention, and had it been real, and to any such purpose, would certainly have prevented it. Thus you do neither prove from the gospel what you pretend unto, namely, that bishops are above ministers, — so well do you plead your cause! nor what you intend, namely, that the pope is appointed over them all. Only you wisely add a caution about what a bishop ought to be and do “de jure,” and what any one of them may do or be “de facto;” because it is impossible for any man to find the least difference between the domination which our Savior expressly condemns and that which your pope doth exercise, although I know not whether you would think meet to have him divested of that authority on the pretense whereof he so domineers in the world.

    Finding yourself destitute of any countenance from the gospel, you proceed to the laws of the land. To what purpose? — to prove that Christ appointed “one amongst his apostles to preside with plenitude of power over all the rest of them,” and consequently over the whole catholic church succeeding him in his care? Certainly you will find little countenance in our laws to this purpose. But let us hear your own words again. “As for the laws of the land,” say you, “it is there most strongly decreed, by the consent and authority of the whole kingdom, not only that bishops are our ministers, but that the king’s majesty is head of the bishops also in the line of hierarchy, from whose hand they receive both their places and jurisdiction. This was established not only by one, but by several parliament acts, both in the reign of King Edward and Queen Elizabeth.”

    What will hence follow? — that there is one universal bishop appointed to succeed Christ in his care over the church catholic, the thing you attempted to prove in the words immediately foregoing? Do not the same laws which assert the order you mention exclude that which you would introduce? Or would you prove that bishops by the law of this land have a jurisdiction superior unto ministers? Who ever went about to deny it? or what will the remembrance of it advance your pretensions? And yet neither is this fairly expressed by you. For as no Protestants assert the king to be in his power and office interposed between Christ and bishops or ministers, as to their ministerial office, which is purely spiritual; so the power of supreme jurisdiction which they ascribe unto him is not, as you falsely insinuate, granted unto him by the laws of King Edward and Queen Elizabeth, but is an inseparable privilege of his imperial crown, exercised by his royal predecessors, and asserted by them against the intrusions and usurpations of the pope of Rome, only declared by those and other laws.

    But I perceive you have another design in hand. You are entering upon a discourse wherein you compare yourselves not only with Presbyterians and Independents, but prelate Protestants also, in what you ascribe unto kings in ecclesiastical affairs, preferring yourselves before and above them all. What just cause you have so to do, we shall afterward consider. Your confidence in it at first view presents itself unto us. For whereas there was not in the “Animadversions” any occasion of it administered unto you, and yourself confess that your whole discourse about it is beside your purpose, p. 66; yet, waiving almost every thing that was incumbent upon you to have insisted on, if you would not plainly have appeared “vadimonium deseruisse,” and to have given up your “Fiat” as indefensible, you divert into a long harangue about it. The thesis you would by various flourishes give countenance unto is this, That Papists in their deference unto kings, even in ecclesiastical matters, and in their principles of their obedience unto them, do excel Protestants of all sorts.

    That this is not to our present purpose, yourself cannot but see and acknowledge. However, your discourse, such as it is, relating to one special head of difference between us, shall be apart considered by itself in our next chapter.

    CHAPTER 16. The power assigned by Papists and Protestants unto kings in matters ecclesiastical — Their several principles discussed and compared. YOUR discourse on this head is not reducible by logic itself unto any method or rules of argument. For it is in general, — 1. So loose, ambiguous, and metaphorically expressed; 2. So sophistical and inconclusive; 3. So inconsistent in sundry instances with the principles and practices of your church, if you speak intelligibly; 4. So false and untrue in many particulars, — that it is scarcely, for these excellent qualifications, to be paralleled with any thing either in your “Fiat” or your “Epistola.”

    First , It is loose and ambiguous: — (1.) Not stating what you intend by “the head of the church,” which you discourse about. (2.) Not determining whether the king be such a head of execution in matters of religion as may use the liberty of his own judgment as to what he puts in execution, or whether he be not bound to execute your pope’s determinations on the penalty of the forfeiture of his Christianity; which I doubt we shall find to be your opinion. (3.) Not declaring wherein the power which you assign unto him is founded (whether in God’s immediate institution or the concession of the pope), whereon it should solely depend, unto whom it is in all things to be made subservient.

    Secondly , Sophistical : — (1.) In playing with the ambiguity of that expression, “Head of the church,” and by the advantage thereof imposing on Protestants contradictions between their profession and practice, as though in the one they acknowledged the king to be head of the church, and not in the other (whereas there is a perfect consonancy between them in the sense wherein they understand that expression); shrouding your own sense and opinion in the meantime under the same ambiguity. (2.) In supposing an absolute universal head of the whole catholic church, and then giving reasons why no king can be that head; when you know that the whole question is, whether there be any such head of the catholic church on earth or no. (3.) In supposing the principles and practices of the primitive church to have been the same with those of the present Roman, and those of the present Roman to have been all known and allowed of old, — which begs all that is in controversy between us; and sundry other instances of the like nature may be observed in it.

    Thirdly , Inconsistent with the principles and practices of your own church, both — (1.) In what you ascribe unto kings; and, (2.) In your stating of the power and jurisdiction of your pope, — if the ambiguity of your words and expressions will allow us to conclude what you intend or aim at.

    Fourthly , False — (1.) In matter of fact, as to what you relate of the obedience of your church unto kings; (2.) In the principles and opinions which you impose on your adversaries; (3.) In the declaration that you make of your own; and, (4.) In many particular assertions, whose consideration will afterward occur.

    This is a business I could have been glad you had not necessitated me to the consideration of; for it cannot be truly and distinctly handled without some such reflections upon your church and way as may, without extraordinary indulgence, redound unto your disadvantage. You have by your own voluntary choice called me to the discussion of those principles which have created you much trouble in these nations, and put you oftentimes upon attempting their disquiet. Now, these are things which I desire not. I am but a private man, and am very well contented you should enjoy all that peace and liberty which you think not meet in other nations, where the power is at your disposal, to grant unto them that dissent from you. “Lex talionis” should be far from influencing the minds of Christians in this matter, however the equity of it may at any time be pleaded or urged to relieve others in other places under bondage and persecution. But I am sure, if I judge your proceedings against other men dissenting from you in conscience to be unjustifiable by the Scripture, or light of nature, or suffrage of the ancient church, as I do, I have no reason to desire that they should be drawn into precedent against yourselves, in any place in the world. And therefore, sir, had you provided the best color you could for your own principles, and palliated them to the utmost, so to hide them from the eyes of those who it may be are ready to seek their disturbance and trouble from an apprehension of the evil that may ensue upon them, and had not set them up in comparison with the principles of Protestants of all sorts, and, for the setting off your own with the better grace and lustre, untruly and invidiously reported theirs, to expose them unto those thoughts and that severity from supreme powers which you seek yourselves to waive, I should have wholly passed by this discourse, unto which no occasion was administered in the “Animadversions.” But now, as you have handled the matter, unless I would have it taken for granted that the principles of the Roman church are more suited unto the establishment and promotion of the interest and sovereignty of kings and other supreme magistrates, and in particular the kings of these nations, than those of Protestants, which in truth I do not believe, I must of necessity make a little farther inquiry into your discourse. And I desire your pardon if in my so doing any thing be spoken that suits not so well your interest and designs, neither expecting nor desiring any, if aught be delivered by me not according to truth.

    To make our way the more clear, some of the ambiguous expressions which you make use of to cloud and hide your intention in your inquiry after the head of the church, must be explained: — 1. By the church you understand not this or that particular church, not the church of this or that nation, kingdom, or country, but the whole catholic church throughout the world. And when you have explained yourself to this purpose, you endeavor, by six arguments no less (pp. 67, 68), to prove that no king ever was or can be head of it. He said well of old, — “In causa facili cuivis licet ease diserto.” — Ov. Trist. 3:11, 21.

    I wonder you contented yourself to give us six reasons only, and that you proceeded not at least unto the high hills of eighteenthly and nineteenthly that you talk of in your “Fiat Lux,” where you scoff at the preaching of Presbyterians. It may be you will scarcely ever obtain such another opportunity of showing the fertility of your invention. So did he flourish who thought himself secure from adversaries, — —— “Caput altum in praelia tollit, Ostenditque humeros latos, alternaque jactat Brachia protendens, et verberat ictibus auras.”

    Virg. AEn. 5:375.

    But you do like him, — you only beat the air. Do you think any man was ever so distempered as to dream that any king whatever could be “the absolute head of the whole catholic church of Christ?” We no more think any king, in any sense, to be the head of the catholic church than we think the pope so to be. The Roman empire was at its height and glory when first Christianity set forth in the world, and had extended its bounds beyond those of any kingdom that arose before it, or that hath since succeeded unto it; and yet, within a very few years after the resurrection of Christ, the gospel had diffused itself beyond the limits of that empire, among the Parthians and Indians, and unto “Britannorum Romanis inaccessa loca,” as Tertullian calls them. Now, none ever supposed that any king had power or authority of any sort in reference unto the church, or any members of it, without or beyond the precise limits of his own dominions. The inquiry we have under consideration about the power of kings, and the obedience due unto them in ecclesiastical things, is limited absolutely unto their own kingdoms, and unto those of their subjects which are Christians in them. And thus, — “Hi motus animorum atque haec certamina tanta Pulvaris exigui jactu compressa quiescunt.” Virg. Georg. 4:87.

    A little observation of this one known and granted principle renders not only your six reasons altogether useless, but supersedes also a great part of your rhetoric, which, under the ambiguity of that expression, you display in your whole discourse. 2. You pleasantly lead about your unwary reader with the ambiguity of the other term, “The head.” Hence, p. 58, you fall into a great exclamation against Protestants, “That, acknowledging the king to be the head of the church, they do not supplicate unto him and acquiesce in his judgment in religious affairs;” — as if ever any Protestant acknowledged any king, or any mortal man, to be such a head of the church as you fancy to yourselves, in whose determinations in religion all men are bound spiritually, and as to their eternal concernments, to acquiesce, and that not because they are true according to the Scripture, but because they are his.

    Such a head you make the pope; such a one on earth all Protestants deny: which evacuates your whole discourse to that purpose, pp. 58, 59. It is true, in opposition unto your papal claim of authority and jurisdiction over the subjects of this kingdom, Protestants do assert the king to be so head of the church within his own realms and dominions, as that he is, by God’s appointment, the sole fountain and spring amongst men of all authority and power to be exercised over the persons of his subjects in matters of external cognizance and order; being no way obnoxious to the direction, supervisorship, and superintendency of any other, — in particular, not of the pope. He is not the “only striker,” as you phrase it, in his kingdoms; but the only protector under God of all his subjects, and the only distributer of justice, in rewards and punishments, unto them, not depending in the administration of the one or other on the determinations or orders of your pope or church. Not that any of them do use absolutely that expression of “Head of the church;” but that they ascribe unto him all authority that ought or can be exercised in his dominions over any of his subjects, whether in things civil or ecclesiastical, that are not merely spiritual, and to be ministerially ordered in obedience unto Christ Jesus.

    And that you may the better see what it is that Protestants ascribe unto the king, and to every king that is absolutely supreme, as his majesty is in his own dominions, and withal how exceeding vain your unreasonable reproach is, which you cast upon them for not giving themselves up unto an absolute acquiescency in human determinations, as merely such, on pretense that they proceed from the head of the church, I shall give you a brief account of their thoughts in this whole matter: — 1. They say that the king is the supreme governor over all persons whatever within his realms and dominions, none being exempted on any account from subjection unto his regal authority. How well you approve of this proposition in the great assignations you pretend unto kingly power, we shall afterward inquire. Protestants found their persuasion in this matter on the authority of the Scripture, both Old Testament and New, and the very principles constituting sovereign power amongst men.

    You speak fair to kings, but at first dash exempt a considerable number of their born subjects, owing them indispensable natural allegiance, from their jurisdiction. Of this sort are the clergy. But the kings of Judah of old were not of your mind. Solomon certainly thought Abiathar, though high priest, subject to his royal authority, when he denounced against him a sentence of death, and actually deposed him from the priesthood. The like course did his successors proceed in. For neither had God, in the first provision he made for a king amongst his people, Deuteronomy 17, nor in that prescription of the manner of the kingdom which he gave them by Samuel, once intimated an exemption of any persons, priests or others, from the rule or authority of the prince which he would set over them. In the New Testament we have the rule, as the practice in the Old, Romans 13:1, “Let every soul be subject to the higher powers,” — the power that bears the sword, “the striker.” And we think that your clergymen have souls (at least “pro sale”), and so come within the circumference of this command and rule. Chrysostom, in his comment on that place, is of our mind, and prevents your pretense of an exception from the rule by special privilege, giving us a distribution of the universality of the persons here intended into their several kinds.

    Deiknuttetai kai< iJereu~si kai< monacoi~v oujci< toi~v biwtikoi~v mo>non? ejk prooimi>wn aujto< dh~lon ejpoi>hsen , ou[tw le>gwn , Pa~sa yuch< ejxousi>aiv uJperecou>saiv uJpotasse>sqw , ka[|n ajpo>stolov h+v , ka[|n eujaggelisth>v , ka[|n profh>thv , ka[|n sJotisou~n? oujde< gapei thzeian au[th hJ uJpotagh> , kai< oujc j aJplw~v ei+pe piqe>sqw , ajll j uJpotasse>sqw — “He showeth that these things are commanded unto all, unto priests and monks, and not to secular persons only; which he declareth in the very entrance of his discourse, saying, ‘Let every soul be subject to the higher powers,’ whether thou be an apostle, or an evangelist, or a prophet, or whatever thou be; for subjection overthrows not piety. And he saith not simply, ‘Let him obey,’ but, ‘Let him be subject.’” The very same instances are given by Theodoret, Oecumenius, and Theophylact. Bernard, Epist. 42, ad Archiepisc. Senonena, meets with your exception, which in his days began to be broached in the world, and tells you expressly that it is a delusion. In conformity unto this rule of St. Paul, Peter exhorts all Christians, none excepted, to “submit themselves unto the king, as supreme,” 1 Peter 2:13. And whatever we conclude from these words in reference unto the king, I fear that if, instead of the king, he had said the pope , you would have thought us very impudent if we had persisted in the denial of your monstrous imaginary headship; but in this principle, on these and the like grounds, do all Protestants concur.

    And, indeed, to fancy a sovereign monarch with so great a number of men as your clergy consists of in many kingdoms exempted from his regal authority, is to lay such an axe unto the root of his government, as whereby with one stroke you may hew it down at your pleasure. 2. Protestants affirm that “Rex in regno suo,” every king in his own kingdom, is the supreme dispenser of justice and judgment unto all persons, in all causes that belong unto or are determinable “in foro exteriori,” in any court of judicature, whether the matter which they concern be civil or ecclesiastical. No cause, no difference determinable by any law of man, and to be determined by coercive umpirage or authority, is exempted from his cognizance. Neither can any man, on any pretense, claim any jurisdiction over any of his subjects not directly and immediately derived from him. Neither can any king who is a sovereign monarch, like the kings of this land, yield or grant a power in any other to judge of any ecclesiastical causes among his subjects, as arising from any other spring, or growing on any other root but that of his own authority, without an impeachment and irreparable prejudice to his crown and dignity; neither doth any such concession, grant, or supposition, make it indeed so to be, but is a mere fiction and mistake, all that is done upon it being “ipso facto” null, and of none effect. Neither, if a king should make a pretended legal grant of such power unto any, would any right accrue unto them thereby; the making of such a grant being a matter absolutely out of his power, as are all things whereby his regal authority, wherein the majesty of his kingdom is inwrapped, may be diminished: for that king who hath a power to diminish his kingly authority never was intrusted with absolute kingly power. Neither is this power granted unto our kings by the acts of parliament, which you mention, made in the beginning of the Reformation, but was always inherent in them, and exercised it; innumerable instances, and often vindicated with a high hand from papal encroachments, even during the hour and power of your darkness; as hath been sufficiently proved by many, both divines and lawyers. Things of mere spiritual order, as preaching the word, administration of the sacraments, and the like, we ascribe not unto kings, nor the communicating of power unto any for their performance. The sovereign power of these things is vested in Christ alone, and by him committed unto his ministers; but religion hath many concernments that attend it, which must be disposed of by forensical, juridical process and determinations. All these, with the persons of them that are interested in them, are subject immediately to the power and authority of the king, and none other; and to exempt them, or any of them, or any of the like nature which may emerge amongst men in things relating unto conscience and religion, whose catalogue may be endlessly extended, from royal cognizance, is to make mere properties of kings, in things which in a very special manner concern the peace and welfare of their subjects, and the distribution of rewards and punishments among them. Of this sort are all things that concern the authoritative public conventions of church officers, and differences amongst them about their interests, practices, and public profession of doctrines; collations of legal dignities and benefices, by and with investitures legal and valid; all ecclesiastical revenues with their incidences; the courts and jurisdictions of ecclesiastical persons for the reglement of the outward man by censures and sentences of law, with the like. And as this whole matter is sufficiently confirmed by what was spoken before of the power of kings over the persons of all their subjects, and (for to what end should they have such a power, if in respect of many of them, and that in the chief concernments of their rule and government, it may never be exerted?) so I should tire your patience if I should report one half of the laws, instances, and pleas, made, given, and used by the ancient Christian kings and emperors in the pursuit and for the confirmation of this their just power. The decrees and edicts of Constantine the Great, commanding, ruling, and disposing of bishops in cases ecclesiastical; the laws of Justinian, Charles the Great, Ludovicus his son, and Lotharius his successor, with more innumerable to the same purpose, are extant and known unto all. So also are the pleas, protestations, and vindications of most of the kingdoms of Europe, after once the pretensions of Papacy began to be broached to their prejudice. And, in particular, notable instances you might have of the exercise of this royal power in the first Christian magistrate invested with supreme authority, both in the case of Athanasius, Socrat. lib. 1 cap. 28, and cap. 34, Athan. Apol. 2, as also of the Donatists, Euseb. lib. 10 cap. 5, August. Epist. 162, 166, and Advers.

    Crescon lib. 3 cap. 17; whereunto innumerable instances in his successors may be added. 3. Protestants teach unanimously that it is incumbent on kings to find out, receive, embrace, and promote the truth of the gospel, and the worship of God appointed therein, confirming, protecting, and defending of it by their regal power and authority; as also, that in their so doing they are to use the liberty of their own judgments, informed by the ways that God hath appointed for that end, independently of the dictates, determinations, and orders of any other person or persons in the world, unto whose authority they should be obnoxious. Heathen kings made laws for God, Daniel 3:6; Jonah 3. And the great thing that we find any of the good kings of Judah commended for is, that they commanded the worship of God to be observed and performed according unto his own appointment. For this end were they then bound to write out a copy of the law with their own hands, Deuteronomy 17:18, and to study in it continually. To this purpose were they warned, charged, exhorted, and excited by the prophets; that is, that they should serve God as kings. And to this purpose are there innumerable laws of the best Christian kings and emperors still extant in the world.

    In these things consists that supremacy or headship of kings which Protestants unanimously ascribe unto them, especially those in England to his royal majesty. And from hence you may see the frivolousness of sundry things you object unto them, — As, first, of the scheme or series of ecclesiastical power which you ascribe to prelate Protestants and the laws of the land, from which you say the Presbyterians dissent; which you thus express: — “By the laws of our land, our series of government ecclesiastical stands thus:

    Christ, God, King, Bishop, Ministers, People. “The Presbyterian predicament is thus:

    God, Christ, Minister, People. “So that the minister’s head, in the Presbyterian predicament, toucheth Christ’s feet immediately, and nothing intervenes. You pretend, indeed, that hereby you do exalt Christ. But this is a mere cheat, as all men may see with their eyes; for Christ is but where he was: but the minister indeed is exalted, being now set in the king’s place, one degree higher than the bishops, who by law is under king and bishops too.”

    If I mistake not in my guess, you greatly pleased yourself with your scheme, wherein you pretend to make, forsooth, an ocular demonstration of what you undertook to prove; whereas, indeed, it is as trivial a fancy as a man can ordinarily meet withal. For, 1. Neither the law, nor prelates, nor Presbyterians, ascribe any place at all unto the king’s majesty in the series of spiritual order; he is neither bishop, nor minister, nor deacon, or any way authorized by Christ to convey or communicate power merely spiritual unto any others. No such thing is claimed by our kings, or declared in law, or asserted by Protestants of any sort. But in the series of exterior government, both prelate Protestants and Presbyterians assign a supremacy over all persons in his dominions, and that in all causes that are inquirable and determinable by or in any court exercising jurisdiction and authority, unto his majesty.

    All sorts assign unto him the supreme place under Christ in external government and jurisdiction. None assign him any place in spiritual order, and merely spiritual power. 2. If you place bishops on the series of exterior government, as appointed by the king and confirmed by the law of the land, there is yet no difference with respect unto them. 3. The question, then, is solely about the series of spiritual order, and thereabout it is confessed there are various apprehensions of Protestants; which is all you prove, and so do, “magno conatu nugas agere.” Who knows it not? I wish there were any need to prove it. But, sir, this difference about the superiority of bishops to presbyters, or their equality or identity, was agitated in the church many and many a hundred year before you or I were born, and will be so probably when we are both dead and forgotten; so that what it makes in this dispute is very hard for a sober man to conjecture. 4. Who they are that pretend to exalt Christ, by a mere asserting ministers not to be by his institution subject to bishops, which you call a “cheat,” I know not, nor shall be their advocate. They exalt Christ who love him and keep his commandments, and no other.

    Secondly, You may also as easily discern the frivolousness of your exclamation against Protestants for not giving up their differences in religion to the umpirage of kings, upon the assignment of that supremacy unto them which hath been declared. When we make the king such a head of the catholic church as you make the pope, we shall seek unto him as the fountain of our faith; as you pretend to do unto the pope. For the present, we give that honor to none but Christ himself; and for what we assign in profession unto the king, we answer it wholly in our practical submission.

    Protestants never thought nor said that any king was appointed by Christ to be supreme, infallible proposer of all things to be believed and done in the worship of God; no king ever assumed that power unto himself. It is Jesus Christ alone who is the supreme and absolute lawgiver of his church, “the author and finisher of our faith;” and it is the honor of kings to serve him, in the promotion of his interest, by the exercise of that authority and duty which we have before declared. What, unto the dethroning and dishonor as much as in you lieth of Christ himself, and of kings also, you assign unto the pope, in making him the supreme head and fountain of your faith, hath been already considered. This is the substance of what you except against Protestants, either as to opinion or practice, in this matter of deference unto kingly authority in things ecclesiastical. What is the sense of your church, which you prefer unto your sentiments herein, I shall, after I have a little examined your present pretensions, manifest unto you (seeing you will have it so) from those who are full well able to inform us of it: — “Fas mihi pontificum sacrata resolvere jura; —— atque omnia ferre sub auras, Siqua tegunt; teneor Romae nec legibus ullis.”

    Virg. AEn 2:157.

    For your own part, you have expressed yourself in this matter so loosely, generally, and ambiguously, that it is very hard for any man to collect from your words what it is that you assert or what you deny. I shall endeavor to draw out your sense by a few inquiries; as, — 1. Do you think the king hath any authority vested in him, as king, in ecclesiastical affairs and over ecclesiastical persons? You tell us, “That Catholics observe the king in all things, as well ecclesiastic as civil,” p. 59; “That in the line of corporeal power and authority the king is immediately under God,” p. 61; with other words to the same purpose, if they are to any purpose at all. I desire to know whether you grant in him an authority derived immediately from God in and over ecclesiastical affairs, as to convene synods or councils, to reform things amiss in the church, as to the outward administration of them? or do you think that he hath such power and authority to make, constitute, or appoint laws, with penal sanctions, in and about things ecclesiastical? And, 2. Do you think that in the work which he hath to do for the church, be it what it will, he may use the liberty of his own judgment, directed by the light of the Scripture, or that he is precisely to follow the declarations and determinations of the pope? If he have not this authority, if he may not use this liberty, the good words you speak of Catholics, and give unto him, signify, indeed, nothing at all. If, then, he hath and may, you openly rise up against the bulls, briefs, and interdicts of your popes themselves, and the universal practice of your church for many ages. And, therefore, I desire you to inform me, 3. Whether you do not judge him absolutely to be subject and accountable to the pope for whatever he doth in ecclesiastical affairs in his own kingdoms and dominions? If you answer suitably to the principles, maxims, and practice of your church, you must say he is: and if so, I must tell you that whatever you ascribe unto him in things ecclesiastical, he acts not about them as king, but in some other capacity; for to do a thing as a king, and to be accountable for what he doth therein to the pope, implies a contradiction. 4. Hath not the pope a power over his subjects, many of them at least, to convent, censure, judge, and punish them, and to exempt them in criminal cases from his jurisdiction? And is not this a fair supremacy, that it is meet he should be contented withal, when you put it into the power of another to exempt as many of his subjects as he pleaseth and are willing from his regal authority? 5. When you say, “That, in matters of faith, kings for their own ease remit their subjects to their papal pastor,” p. 57, whether do you not collude with us, or, indeed, do at all think as you speak? Do you think that kings have real power in and about those things wherein you depend on the pope, and only remit their subjects to him for their own ease? You cannot but know that this one concession would ruin the whole Papacy, as being expressly destructive of all the foundations on which it is built. Nor did ever any pope proceed on this ground in his interposures in the world about matters of faith, — that such things, indeed, belonged unto others, and were only by them remitted unto him for their ease. 6. Whether you do not include kings themselves in your general assertion, p. 55, “That they who after papal decisions remain contumacious forfeit their Christianity,” and if so, whether you do not at once overthrow all your other splendid concessions, and make kings absolute dependants on the pope for all the privileges of their Christianity; and whether you account not among them their very regal dignity itself? — whereby it may easily appear how much Protestant kings and potentates are beholding unto you, seeing it is manifest that they live and rule in a neglect of many papal decisions and determinations. 7. Whether you do not very fondly pretend to prove your Roman Catholics’ acknowledgment of the power of princes to make laws, in cases ecclesiastical, from the laws of Justinian, p, 59; whereas they are instances of regal power, in such cases plainly destructive of your present Hildebrandine faith and authority? and whether you suppose such laws to have any force or authority of law without the papal sanction and confirmation. 8. Whether you think, indeed, that confession unto priests is such an effectual means of securing the peace and interest of kings as you pretend, p. 59? and whether Queen Elizabeth, King James, Henry III. and IV. of France, had cause to believe it? and whether you learned this notion from Parry, Ravaillac, Mariana, Clement, Parsons, Allen, Garnet, Gerard, Oldcome, with their associates? 9. Whether you forget not yourself when you place “Aaron and Joshua in government together,” p. 64? 10. Whether you really believe that the pope hath power only to “persuade in matters of religion,” as you pretend, p. 65? and if so, from what topics he takes the whips, wires, and racks that he makes use of in his Inquisition? and whether he hath not a right even to destroy kings themselves, who will not be his executioners in destroying of others? I wish you would come out of the clouds, and speak your mind freely and plainly to some of these inquiries. Your present ambiguous discourse, in the face of it, suited unto your interest, gives no satisfaction whilst these snakes lie in the grass of it. Wherefore, leaving you a little to your second thoughts, I shall inquire of your masters and fathers themselves what is the true sense of your church in this matter; and we shall find them speaking it out plainly and roundly. For they tell us, — 1. That the government of the whole catholic church is monarchical, — a state wherein all power is derived from one fountain, one and the same person. This is the first principle that is laid down by all your writers, in treating of the church and its power, and that which your great Cardinal Baronius lays as the foundation on which he builds the huge structure of his ecclesiastical annals. 2. That the pope is this monarch of the church, — the person in whom alone the sovereign rule of it is originally vested; so that it is absolutely impossible that any other person should have, enjoy, or use any ecclesiastical authority but what is derived from him. I believe you suppose this sufficiently proved by Bellarmine and others. Yourself own it, nor can deny it without a disclaimure of your present Papacy. And this one principle perfectly discovers the vanity of your pretended attributions of power in ecclesiastical things to kings and princes; for to suppose a monarchical estate, and not to suppose all power and authority in that state to be derived from the monarch in it and of it alone, is to suppose a perfect contradiction, or a state monarchical that is not monarchical.

    Protestants place the monarchical state of the catholic church in its relation unto Christ alone; and therefore it is incumbent on them to assert that no man hath, nor can have, a power in the church, as such, but what is derived from and communicated unto him by him. And you, placing it in reference unto the pope, must of necessity deny that any power can be exercised in it but what is derived from him; so that whatever you pretend in this kind to grant unto kings, you allow it unto them only by concession or delegation from the pope. They must hold it from him in chief, or he cannot be the chief, only, and absolute head and monarch, of the catholic church; which you would persuade us to believe that he is. Kings then may, even in church affairs, be “strikers” under him, — be the servants and executioners of his will and pleasure; but authority from God, immediately in and about them, they have none, nor can have any whilst your imaginary monarchy takes place. This one fundamental principle of your religion sufficiently discovers the insignificancy of your flourish about kingly authority in ecclesiastical things, seeing, upon a supposition of it, they can have none at all But you stay not here; for, — 3. You ascribe unto your popes a universal dominion, even in civil things, over all Christian kings and their subjects. In the explanation of this dominion, I confess you somewhat vary among yourselves; but the thing itself is generally asserted by you, and made a foundation of practice.

    Some of you maintain that the pope, by divine right and constitution, hath an absolute supreme dominion over the whole world. This opinion, Bellarmine, lib. 5, De Pont. cap. 1, confesseth to be maintained by Augustinus Triumphus, Alvarus, Pelagius, Hostiensis, and Panormitanus.

    And himself, in the next words, condemns the opinion of them who deny the pope to have any such temporal power as that he may command secular princes, and deprive them of their kingdoms and principalities, not only as false, but as downright heresy. And why doth he name the first opinion as that of four or five doctors, when it is the common opinion of your church, as Baronius sufficiently manifests in the life of Gregory VII.?

    That great preserver of your pontifical omnipotency, in his bull against Henry the German emperor, affirms that he hath “power to take away empires, kingdoms, and principalities, or whatever a mortal man may have;” as Platina records it in his life. As also, Pope Nicholas II., in his Epistle ad Mediolanens., asserts that the rights both of the heavenly and earthly empires are committed unto him. And he that hath but looked on the Dictates of the forenamed Gregory, confirmed in a council at Rome, and defended by Baronius, or into their Decretals, knows that you give both swords to the pope, and that over and over; whence Carerius, lib. cap. 9, affirms that it is the common opinion of the school divines that the pope hath “plenissimam potestatem,” plenary power, over the whole world, both in ecclesiastical and temporal matters. And you know the old comparison made by the Canonists, cap. de Major. et Obed., between the pope and the emperor, — namely, that “he is as the sun, the emperor as the moon,” which borrows all its light from the other. Bellarmine, and those few whom he follows, or that follow him, maintain that the pope “hath this power only indirectly, and in order unto spiritual things.” The meaning of which assertion, as he explains himself, is, that besides that direct power which he hath over those countries and kingdoms which, on one pretense or other, he claims to be feudatory to the Roman see, which are no small number of the chiefest kingdoms of Europe, he hath a power over them all, to dispose of them, their kings and rulers, according as he judgeth it to conduce to the good and interest of the church; — which as it really differs very little from the former opinion, so Barclay tells us that Pope Sixtus was very little pleased with that seeming depression of the papal power, which his words intimate. But the stated doctrine of your church in this matter is so declared by Hosius, Augustinus Triumphus, Carerius, Schioppius, Marca, and others, all approved by her authority, that there can be no question of it. Moreover, to make way for the putting of this indirect power into direct execution, you declare, — 4. That the pope is the supreme judge of faith, and his declarations and determinations so far the rule of it, as that they are to be received, and finally submitted unto. Not to do so, is that which you express heresy, or schism, or apostasy. About this principle also of your profession there have been, as about most other things amongst you, great disputes and wranglings between the doctors and props of your church. Much debate there hath been whether this power be to be attributed unto the pope without a council, or above a council, or against one. About these chimeras are whole volumes filled with keen and subtile argumentations. But the pope’s personal, or at least cathedral determination, hath at length prevailed. For whatever some few of you may whisper, unto your own trouble and disadvantage, to the impeachment of his personal infallibility, you are easily decried by the general voice of your doctors; and, besides, those very persons themselves, wherever they would place the infallibility of the church that they fancy, are forced to put it so far into the pope’s hand and management, as that whatever he determines, with the necessary solemnities, in matters of faith, is ultimately at least to be acquiesced in.

    So yourself assure us, averring that he who doth not so “forfeits his Christianity,” and consequently all the privileges which thereby he enjoys; and we have reason sufficient, from former experience, to believe that [if] the pope have the ability unto his will, [he] is ready enough to take the forfeiture. Whether upon a prince’s falling into heresy, in not acquiescing in your papal determinations, his subjects are discharged, “ipso facto,” from all obedience unto him, as Dominicus Bannes and others maintain, or whether there needs the denunciation of a sentence against him by the pope for their absolution, you are not agreed. But yet, — 5. You affirm that in case of such disobedience unto the pope, he is armed with power to depose kings and princes, and to give away and bestow their kingdoms and dominions on others. Innumerable are the instances whereby the popes themselves have justified their claim of this power in the face of the world; and it were endless to recount the emperors, kings, and free princes that they have attempted to ruin and destroy (in the pursuit of some whereof they actually succeeded), with the desolations of nations that have ensued thereon. I shall mention but one, and that given us in the days of our fathers, and it may be in the memory of some yet alive. Pope Pius V. takes upon him, contrary to the advice and entreaties of the Emperor of Germany and others, to depose Queen Elizabeth, and to devote her to destruction. To this end he absolved all her subects from their allegiance, and gave away her kingdoms and dominions to the Spaniard, assisting him to his utmost in his attempt to take possession of his grant; and all for refusing obedience to the see of Rome! You cannot, I presume, be offended with my mention of that which is known unto all; for these things were not done in a corner. And is it not hence evident that all the power which you grant unto kings is merely precarious, which they hold of your pope as tenants at will? and should they not appear to do so, were his force, wit, and courage answerable to his will and pretense of authority? But be it that because you cannot help it, you suffer them to live at peace and quietness in the main of their rule; yet you still curb them in their own dominions; for, — 6. You exempt all the clergy from under their rule and power. See your Bellarmine sweating to prove that they are not bound to their laws, so as to be judged by them without their leave, if they transgress, or to pay any tribute, De Cleric. lib. 1 cap. 28. They are all reserved to the power and jurisdiction of the pope. And he that shall consider into what a vast and boundless multitude, by reason of the several disorderly orders of your city monks and friars, your clergy is swelled into in most places of Europe, will easily perceive what your interest is in every kingdom of it. I am persuaded there is scarce a considerable nation wherein the profession of your religion is enthroned, in which the pope hath not a hundred thousand able fighting men, that are his peculiar subjects, exempted from the power and jurisdiction of kings themselves; which you must needs conceive to be a blessed interpretation of that of the apostle, “Let every soul be subject to the higher powers.” And, — 7. You extend the papal power to things as well as persons in the dominions of all kings and commonwealths; for the lands and possessions that are given unto any of the pope’s especial subjects, you will have to be exempted from tributes and public burdens of the state. And you farther contend, that it is not in the power of any kings or rulers to hinder such alienations of lands and possessions from their dominions. By this means no small part of the territories of many princes is subduced from under their power. The dreadful consequences of which principles so startled the wise state of Venice, that you know they disputed it to the utmost with your vice-god Paul V. In dealing with them, as I remember, their attempt was successless; for, notwithstanding the defense made of the papal process against them by Baronius, Bellarmine, and others, yet the actings of that sober state in forbidding such alienation of lands and fees from their rule and power without their consent, with their plea for the subjection of ecclesiastics unto them in their own dominions, was so vindicated by Dr.

    Paul Suave, Marsilius of Padua, and others, that the horns of the bull, which had been thrust forth against them unto so great a length, were pulled in again.

    I told you, in the entrance of this discourse, how unwilling I should have been to have given you the least disquietment in your way, had you only attempted to set off your own respects unto royal power unto the best advantage you could; but your sorting up your principles and practices in competition with those of Protestants of any sort whatever, and preferring them before and above them, as unto your deference unto kings, and that in matters ecclesiastical, hath made these few instances, expressive of the real sense of your church in this matter, as I suppose, necessary and equal.

    CHAPTER 17. Scripture — Story of the progress and declension of religion vindicated — Papal artifices for the promotion of their power and interest — Advantages made by them on the Western Empire. YOU proceed, p. 70, unto the animadversions on your 13th paragraph, entitled “Scripture,” wherein how greatly and causelessly it is by you undervalued is fully declared; but whatever is offered in it for the discovery of your miscarriage and your own conviction, you wisely pass over without taking notice of it at all, and only repeat again your case to the same purpose, and almost in the very same words you had done before. Now, this I have already considered and removed out of our way, so that it is altogether needless to divert again to the discussion of it. That which we have to do, for the answering of all your cavils and objections in and about the case you frame and propose, is, to declare and manifest the Scripture’s sufficiency for the revelation of all necessary truths, therein affording us a stable rule of faith, every way suited to the decision of all differences in and about religion, and to keep Christians in perfect peace, as it did of old; and this we have already done. Why this proper work of the Scripture is not in all places and at all times effected, proceeds from the lusts and prejudices of men; which when, by the grace of God, they shall be removed, it will no longer be obstructed.

    Your next attempt, p. 72, is upon my “story of the progress and corruption of Christian religion in the world,” with respect unto that of your own. Yours, you tell us, “is serious, temperate, and sober;” every way as excellent as Suffenus thought his verses. Mine, you say, “is fraught with defamation and wrath against all ages and people.” Very good! I doubt not but you thought it was fit you should say so, though you knew no reason why, nor could fix on any thing in it for your warrant in these intemperate reproaches. Do I say any thing but what the stories of all ages and the experience of Christendom do proclaim? Is it now a defamation, to report what the learned men of those days have recorded, what good men bewailed, and the sad effects whereof the world long groaned under, and was at length ruined by? What “wrath” is in all this?

    May not men be warned to take heed of falling into the like evils, by the miscarriages of them that went before them, without “wrath and defamation?” Are the books of the Kings, Chronicles, and Prophets “fraught with wrath and defamation,” because they report, complain of, and reprove, the sad apostasies of the church in those days, with the wickedness of the kings, priests, and people that it was composed of, and declare the abomination of those ways of false worship, licentiousness of life, violence, and oppression, whereby they provoked God against them to their ruin? If my story be not true, why do you not disprove it? if it be, why do you exclaim against it? Do I not direct you unto authors of unquestionable credit, complaining of the things which I report from them?

    And if you know not that many others may be added unto those by me named, testifying the same things, you know very little of the matter you undertake to treat about? But we need go no farther than yourself to discover how devoid of all pretense your reproaches are, and that by considering the exceptions which you put in to my story; which may rationally be supposed to be the most plausible you could invent, and directed against those parts of it which you imagined were most obnoxious to your charge. I shall, therefore, consider them in the order wherein they are proposed, and discover whether the keenness of your assault answer the noise of your outcry at its entrance.

    First , You observe that I say, “Joseph of Arimathea was in England, but that he taught the same religion that is now in England.” Unto which you reply, “But what is that religion?” and this inquiry I have observed you elsewhere to insist upon. But I told you before that I intend the Protestant religion, and that as confirmed and established by law in this kingdom.

    And the advantage you endeavor from some differences that are amongst us is little to your purposes, and less to the commendation of your ingenuity. For besides that there are differences of as high a nature, and, considering the principles you proceed upon, of greater importance among yourselves, and those agitated with as great animosities and subtilities as those among any sort of men at variance about religion in the world, you, that so earnestly seek and press after a forbearance for your profession besides and against the established law, should not, methinks, at the same time be so forward in reproaching us that there are dissenters in the kingdom from some things established by law, especially considering how utterly inconsiderable for the most part they are, in comparison of the things wherein you differ from us all. This, I fear, is the reward that they have cause to expect from many of you, who are inclined to desire that you, amongst others, might be partakers of indulgence from the extremity of the law; though from others of you, for whose sakes they are inclined unto those desires, I hope they may look for better things, and such as accompany charity, moderation, and peace. So that your first exception gives a greater impeachment unto your own candor and ingenuity, than unto the truth or sobriety of my story.

    You proceed and say, “That I tell you that the story of Fugatius and Damianus, missioners of Pope Eleutherius, is suspected by me for many reasons;” and reply, “Because you assign none, I am therefore moved to think they may be all reduced unto one; which is, that you will not acknowledge any good thing ever to have come from Rome.” But see what it is for a man to give himself up unto vain surmises! You know full well that I plead that you are no way concerned in what was done at Rome in the days of Eleutherius, who was neither Pope nor Papist, nor knew any thing of that which we reject as Popery; so that I had no reason to disdain or deny any good thing that was then done at Rome, or by any from thence. Besides, I can assure you that to this day I would willingly own, embrace, and rejoice in any good that is or may be done there, may I be truly and impartially informed of it; and should be glad to hear of more than unprejudiced men have been able of late ages to inform us of I am far from making an enclosure of all goodness unto any party of men in the world, and far from judging or condemning all of any party, or supposing that no good thing can be done by them or proceed from them. Such conceits are apt to flow from the high towering thoughts of infallibility and supremacy, and the confining of Christianity to some certain company of men, in some parts of the world; which I am a stranger unto. I know no party among Christians that is in all things to be admired, nor any that is in all things to be condemned; and can perfectly free you, if you are capable of satisfaction, from all fears of my dislike of any thing because it came or comes from Rome. For to me it is all one from whence truth and virtue come; they shall be welcome for their own sakes. But you seem to be guided in these and the like surmises by your own humor, principles, and way of managing things in religion, — a Lesbian rule, which will suffer you to depart from the paths of truth and charity no oftener than you have a mind so to do. To deliver you from your mistake in this particular, I shall now give you some of those reasons which beget in me a suspicion concerning the truth of that story about Fugatius and Damianus, as it is commonly told, only intimating the heads of them with all possible brevity.

    First, then, I suppose the whole story is built on the authority of the epistle of Eleutherius unto Lucius, which is yet extant: other foundation of it, that I know of, is neither pleaded or pretended. Now, there want not reasons to prove that epistle, as the most of those Fathered on the old bishops of Rome, to be supposititious. For, — 1. The author of that epistle condemneth the imperial laws, and rejecteth them as unmeet to be used in the civil government of this nation; which Eleutherius neither ought to have done. nor could safely do. 2. It supposeth Lucius to have the Roman law sent unto him, which had been long before exercised in this nation, and was well known in the whole province, as he witnesseth of days before these: “Gallia causidicos docuit facunda Britannos.” — Juv. 15:111.

    Secondly , The first reporters of this story agree not in the time wherein the matter mentioned in it should fall out. Beda, lib. 1 cap. 4, assigns it unto the year 156, which was twenty-two years before Eleutherius was bishop, as Baronius manifesta Henricus de Effordia ascribes it unto the nineteenth year of the reign of Verus the emperor, who reigned not so many years at all. Ado refers it unto the time of Commodus, with some part of whose reign the episcopacy of Eleutherius did indeed contemporate. 2. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the chief promoter of this report, joineth it wish so many lies and open fictions, as may well draw the truth of the whole story into question. So that divers would have us believe that some such thing was clone at one time or other, but when they cannot tell 3. Both the epistle of Eleutherius and the reporters of it do suppose that Lucius, to whom he wrote, was an absolute monarch in England, king over the whole kingdom, with supreme authority and power, ruling his subjects by the advice of his nobles, without being obnoxious unto or dependent in his government on any others.

    But this supposition is so openly repugnant to the whole story of the state of things in the province of England in those days, that it is beyond the wit of man to make any reconciliation between them; for besides that Caesar and Tacitus do both plainly affirm that in the days of the Romans’ entrance upon this island, there was no such king or monarch among the Britons, but that they were all divided into several toparchies, and those at mortal feuds and variance among themselves (which made for the conquest of them all), it was now become a presidiary province of the Roman empire, and had been so from the days of Claudius; as Suetonius, Tacitus, and Dio inform us. Especially was it reduced into and settled in that form by Pub. Ostorius in the days of Nero, upon the conquest of Boadicea, queen of the Iceni; and fully subjected in its remainders unto the Roman yoke and laws, after some strugglings for liberty, by Julius Agricola, in the days of Vespasian; as Tacitus assures us in the life of his father-in-law. In this estate Britain continued under Nerva and Trajan; the whole province being afterward secured by Adrian from the incursion of the Picts, and other barbarous nations, with the defense of his famous walls; whereof Spartianus gives us an account. In this condition did the whole province continue unto the death of Commodus, under the rule of Ulpius Marcellus; as we are informed by Die and Lampridius. This was the state of affairs in Britain when the epistle of Eleutherius is supposed to be written. And for my part, I cannot discover where this Lucius should reign with all that sovereignty ascribed unto him. Baronius thinks he might do so beyond the Picts’ wall; which utterly overthrows the whole story, and leaves the whole province of Britain utterly unconcerned in the coming of Fugatius and Damianus into this island. These are some, and many other reasons of my suspicion I could add, manifesting it to be far more just than yours, — “That I had no reason for it but only because I would not acknowledge that any good could come from Rome.” f40 Let us now see what you farther except against the account I give of the progress and declension of religion in these and other nations. You add, “‘Then,’ say you, ‘succeeded times of luxury, sloth, pride, ambition, scandalous riots, and corruption both of faith and manners, over all the Christian world, both princes, priests, prelates, and people.’“ But you somewhat pervert my words, so to make them liable unto your exception; for as by me they are laid down, it seems you could find no occasion against them. I tell you, p. 253, [p. 99], “That after these things a sad decay in faith and holiness of life befell professors, not only in this nation, but, for the most part, all the world over. The stories of those days are full of nothing more than the oppression, luxury, sloth of rulers; the pride, ambition, and unseemly, scandalous contests for pre-eminence of sees and extent of jurisdiction, among bishops; the sensuality and ignorance of the most of men.” Now, whether these words are not agreeable to truth and sobriety, I leave to every man to judge who hath any tolerable acquaintance with history, or the occurrences of the ages respected in them. Your reply unto them is: “Not a grain of virtue or goodness, we must think, in so many Christian kingdoms and ages!” But why must you think so? Who induceth you thereunto? When the church of Israel was professedly far more corrupted than I have intimated the state of the Christian church in any part of the world to have been, yet there was more than “a grain of virtue or goodness,” not only in Elijah, but in the meanest of those seven thousand who, within the small precincts of that kingdom, had not bowed the knee to Baal. I never in the least questioned but that in that declension of Christianity which I intimated, and remission of the most from their pristine zeal, there were thousands and ten thousands that kept their integrity, and mourned for all the abominations that they saw practiced in the world. Pray, reflect a little upon the condition of the Asian churches mentioned in the Revelation. The discovery made of their spiritual state by Christ himself, chap. 2, 3, was within less than forty years after their first planting; and yet you see most of them had left their “first love,” and were decayed in their faith and zeal. In one of them there were but “a few names” remaining that had any life or integrity for Christ, — the body of the church having only “a name to live,” being truly and really “dead” as to any acts of spiritual life, wherein our communion with God consists. And do you make it so strange, that whereas the churches that were planted and watered by the apostles themselves, and enriched with many excellent gifts and graces, should, within the space of less than forty years, by the testimony of the Lord Christ himself, so decay and fall off from their first purity, faith, and works, other churches, who had not their advantages, should do so within the space of four hundred years, of which season I speak? I fear your vain conceit of being “rich and wanting nothing,” of infallibility and impossibility to stand in need of any reformation, of being as good as ever any church was, or as you need to be, is that which hath more prejudiced your church in particular than you can readily imagine. And what I affirmed of those other churches, I know well enough how to prove out of the best and most approved