A TREATISE OF FAITH, WHERIN IS BRIEFELY, AND PLANLY SHEWED, A DIRECT WAY, BY WHICH EVERY man may resolue, and settle his minde, in all doubtes, que­stions, or controuersies, con­cerning matters of Faith.

Isa. 30.

Haec est via, ambulate in ea, This is the way, walke in it.

A. D.

Permissu Superiorum. 1605.

A TABLE OR BRIEFE Summary of the whole Treatise.

Cap. 1.
THat faith is absolutely necessary to saluation.
Cap. 2.
That this faith, is but one.
Cap. 3.
That this one faith, must be infallible.
Cap. 4.
That this one, infallible faith, must be entire.
Cap. 5.
That Almighty God hath prouided some sufficient meanes, whereby, all sorts of mē, may at all times, learne this one infallible, and entire faith.
Cap. 6.
What conditions or properties are re­quisite, in this rule or meanes, pro­uided by almighty God.
Cap. 7.
That Scripture alone, cannot bee this rule, or meanes.
Cap. 8.
That no naturall witte of man, or hu­mane learning, either by interpre­ting Scripture, or otherwise, can bee this rule of faith.
Cap. 9.
That priuate spirit, cannot be this rule.
Cap. 10.
That the doctrine or teaching of the true Church of Christ, is the rule or meanes, wherby al men must learne the true faith.
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[Page] Cap. 11.
That this true Church of Christ, of which wee must learne the true faith, is alwaies to continue, with­out interruption, vntill the worldes end.
Cap. 12.
That this same Church must alwaies be visible.
Cap. 13.
How we should discerne or know, which company of men, is this true visible Church, of which wee must learne true faith.
Cap. 14.
That those Notes or markes which he­retikes assigne. To wit true doctrine of faith; and right vse of Sacramēts be not sufficient.
Cap. 15.
That these foure, Vna, Sancta, Ca­tholica, Apostolica. One, Ho­ly, Catholique, Apostolique, be good markes, whereby men may dis­cerne, which is the true Church.
Cap. 16.
That these foure markes, agree only to the Romane Church. That is to say, [...] that company of men, which agree [...] in professiō of faith, with the Church of Rome.
§. 1.
That the Romane Church onely [...] One.
[Page] §. 2.
That the Romane Church onely is Holy.
§. 3.
That the Romane Church is onely Catholique.
§. 4.
That the Romane Church is onelie Apostolique.
Cap. 17.
The conclusion of the whole discourse. Viz. That the Romane Church is the onely true Church of Christ, of which, all men must learne, the one, infallible, entire faith, which is necessary to saluation. And that the Prote­stants Congregation cannot be this true Church.


BEing moued by some friendes, to conferre with one of indif­ferent good iudgement, and of no ill disposition of nature, though very earnest in that religiō which he did professe: I was desirous to doe my best endeuours, to let him plainly see, that the Catholique Romaine faith was the onely right. For which purpose, I did chose, to let passe disputes about par­ticular pointes, and in generall to shewe; First, that it is necessary to admitte an in­fallible authority in the true Catholique church: by reason whereof, euery one is to learne of it onely, which is the true faith of Christ. Secondly, that those one­ly, which professe the Romaine faith, are the true Catholique church. The which hauinge proued: I did consequently con­clude; that the faith & beleife, which the authoritie of the Romaine church, doth commend vnto vs, ought, without doubt, to be holden for the true faith.

Vpon which pointes, when he had heard my discourse: he desired me, for his better remembrance, to sette downe in writtinge, what I had said. The which I had first thought to haue done briefely, [Page] and to haue imparted it onely to him: but by some other friēdes, it was wished, that I should hādle the matter, more at large; they intēdinge (as it seemed) that it might not onely doe good to him, but to others also, that should haue need of it, aswell as he. Of which sorte of men standinge in this need, as I could not (consideringe their miserable case) but take great pit­tie: so I was easily moued, especially at my friendes request, to be willinge to doe my endeuour, which might be for their reliefe & succour: and to take any course, which might turne to their helpe and profit.

Now of all other courses, which haue beene, and might be vndertaken; that, which, in my speach, I did choose, as most expedient for him, with whome I did conferre, seemed best also for me, to prosequute in this my writinge, for the benefit of him, and others, and this for foure reasons.

First, because it is very briefe, & com­pendious; 1 and consequētly such, as euery one might haue leisure, and should not be much weary to reade it.

Secondly, because, it, standinge onely 2 [Page] vpon few, but most certaine conclusions, and groundes▪ is free from many cauils of the captions, which more ample discour­ses are subiect vnto.

3 Thirdly, because, the matter handled in it, is not very high nor hard, but com­mon, easy, & plaine: and such, as may be vnderstoode of any, who, hauing but a reasonable witte, or vnderstanding, will carefully reade it (as the importance of the matter requireth) with iudgment, de­liberation, & (which is chiefe) with praier to God, and a resolute good will to fol­low that, which he shall finde to be right.

4 Fourthly: because, these few plaine pointes, which are here sett downe, in­clude all other: and whosoeuer shall, by the help of Gods grace, and the force of these, or other reasons, yeeld assent to the pointes proued in this discourse: must by cōsequence, without farther disputing or difficultie, yeeld to all particular pointes, which the aforesaid church commēdeth for pointes of faith, and wilbe moued to settle himselfe in the stedfast belefe of all For if he once admitte, that there [...] Church, or company of mē, on earth, in­fallibly taught by the holy gost, what is [Page] the true faith in all pointes: and that this church is, by Gods appointemēt, to teach all men in al matters of faith, which is the infallible trueth: and further, that this Church, which is thus taught, and must teach vs, is no other but that visible com­pany, which professeth the Romaine faith: then he shall not neede to straine his wittes in studying, or to wast wordes in wrangling, about particuler pointes of controuersies, or to vse any such trouble some and vncertaine meanes to finde out the trueth: but may easely, and most cer­tainely be instructed in all, by onely en­quiring and finding out (which all sortes of men may easely doe) what is general­ly holden, by the Church, for truth, in all particuler pointes, whereof they doubt. Of which pointes also, (If they be desi­rous) they may haue sufficient authoritie and reason yeelded, by the learned of the same Church, though they should not so desire reason to be yeelded, that without reason be giuen, they would not beleeue at all, or as grounding their faith vppon the reason giuen: sith Christian beleife ought onely to be grounded, vpō the au­thority of God, speakinge by the mouth [Page] of the church who ought to be beleeued in all matters, without giuing any reason.

The which briefe & compendious re­solutiō of faith, whosoeuer will (as euery one may securely, and (as in the discourse following shall bee declared) must neces­sarily embrace: beside the ease, he shall al­so reape this commoditie, that, cutting of all occasions of needlesse and fruitelesse doubtes, questions and disputes, concer­ning matters of faith: wherein vnsettled mindes spend their time and spirit; hee shall haue good leisure, and better li­kinge, then ordinarily such vnquiet mindes can haue, to emploie his ende­uoures more fruitfully otherwaies; to witte, in building vpon the firme foun­dation of stedfast faith, the gould & pre­tious stones, of Gods loue, and other ver­tues, in practise whereof consisteth that good life, which maketh a man become the liuing temple of almightie God: the which temple, Gods spirit will not only visitte with holy inspirations & blessings oftentimes, in this life, but he will also in­habite and dwell continually in it, both by grace, here, and by glory, in the other most happy, and euerlasting life.


CHAP. I. That true faith is absolutely necessa­rie to saluation.

WHosoeuer hath a true desire to please God, & an earnest care to saue his owne soule, (the which should bee the chiefest desire, and care of euery Christian man) must first resolue, and settle himselfe, in a sound beliefe of matters of faith: holding it for a most assured ground, That there is a faith, which, whosoeuer wanteth, cannot possi­bly please God, (nor consequently be saued, sith none are saued that do not please God.) This ground is set downe by S. Paul him­selfe, who saith,Heb 11. Sine fide impossibile est place­re Deo: without faith it is vnpossible to please God. The same is confirmed by S. Augustine, who saith, Constat, Ser. 38. de Tem­pore. neminem ad veram posse peruenire beatitudinem, nisi D [...]o [Page 2] placeat: & Deo neminem placere posse, nisi per fi­dem. Fides namque est bonorum omnium funda­mentum. Fides est humanae salutis initium. Sine hac, nemo ad siliorum Dei consortium peruenire potest: quia sine ipsa, nec in hoc seculo, quisquam iustificationis consequitur gratiam, nec in futuro, vitam possidebit aeternam. It is certaine, that none can come to true happines, vnlesse he please God: and that none can please God, but by faith. For faith is the foun­dation of all good things. Faith is the be­ginning of mans saluation. Without this, none can come to the fellowship of the children of God: because without this, neither doth any, in this world, obtaine the grace of iustification, neither shall he, in the next, possesse eternall life. Thus faith S. Austen. And the same might bee confirmed, out of other Ro. 2. Galat. 3. Ephes. 2. Scriptures and Cōc. Milea Can. 4. Concil. Trid. sess. 6. c. 7.8. Iren. l. 5. cap. 29. Chrysost. Hom. 32. in Ioan. & Ser­mone de Fide & Char. Ci­rill. Alex. in Ioan. lib. 4. Fathers, but that the matter is cleare enough. onely this I will adde, that when the Scriptures do require faith, as a thing absolutely necessary to saluatiō; the com­mon tradition of councells and Fathers do interpret, not only, that there is a posi­tiue precept of faith; (for if it were but a positiue precept, ignorance might excuse in some case) but that at least, some kinde [Page 3] of faith is necessaria necessitate medij; that is to say, is ordained as a necessary meanes, without which, no man can attaine sal­uation, in any case: and that in this mat­ter Si quis ignorat, ignorabitur. If any man by ignorance doe not know,1. Cor. 14 he shall not be knowne, as S. Paule speaketh.

CHAP. II. That this faith, necessary to saluation, is but one.

THis faith (which I haue shewed to be so absolutely necessary to salua­tion) is but One only. This is plainly pro­ued, out of S. Paule, who saith,Ephes. 4. Vnus Do­minus, vna fides, vnum baptisma, signifying, that, like as there is but one Lord, & one Baptisme: so there is but One faith. The same is confirmed, with the auctoritie of the ancient Fathers Nisi vna est (saith S. Leo.) Fides non est, dicente apostolo, Ser. 4. in Natiu. Dom. vnus Domi­nus, vna fides, vnum baptisma. Vnlesse it be one, it is not faith, sith the Apostle saith, one Lord one faith, one Baptisme. Omni studio (saith S. Hierome) Laborandum est, In cap. 4. ad Eph. pri­mùm occurrere in fidei vnitatem. We must la­bour with all diligence, first to meete, in [Page 4] the vnity of faith. Hanc fidem (saith Irenaeus) ecclesia in vniuersum mundum disseminata dili­genter custodit, Lib. 1. c. 3 quasi vnam domum inhabitans: & similiter credit ijs, quasi vnam animam ha­bens & vnum cor: & consonanter haec praedicat, & docet, & tradit, quasi vnum possidens os. N [...] quamuis in mundo dissimiles sint loquelae, tames virtus traditionis vna & eadem est. This faith, the Church spreade ouer the vvhole world, doth diligently keep, as dwelling in one house: and doth belieue in one like manner those things, (to witt which are proposed for pointes of faith) as ha­uing one soule and one heart: and doth preach, and teach, and deliuer by traditi­on those things, after one vniforme man­ner, as possessing one mouth. For al­though there be diuers and different lan­guages in the world, yet the vertue of tradition is One and the same. Thus saith this Father. By whose words we may vn­derstand, not onely, that there is but one faith, but also, how it is saide to bee one; which might seeme not to be one, consi­dering there are so many points or arti­cles, which we beleeue by our faith; and so many seuerall men, who haue in them this faith; yet One (saith this Father) it is, [Page 5] because the whole Church doth beleeue those pointes, in one like manner. That is to say, because the beliefe of one man, is in all pointes like, and nothing different from the beliefe of another: or, because euery faithful mā beleeueth euery point or article, for one and the like cause, or formall reason; to witt, because God hath reuealed it: and deliuered it to vs, by his Catholike Church, to be beleeued. For which reason euery one should beleeue, whatsoeuer hee belieueth as a point of Christian faith:

CHAP. III. That this one faith necessary to saluati­on is infallible.

THIS one faith, without which we cannot be saued, must be infallible, & most certaine. This is cleare, because, faith is that credite or inward assent of minde, which we giue to that, which God, (who is the prime or first veritie, which neither can deceiue, nor be decei­ued) hath reuealed vnto vs, by meanes of the preachinge or teachinge of the true church; as we may gather out of S. Paule, when he saieth: Quomodo credent ei, Rom. 10. quem non [Page 6] audierunt? quomodo andient sine praedicante? quomodo praedicabunt nisimittantur? &c. ergo fi­des ex auditu, auditus autem per verbum Chri­sti. The sense of which wordes is, that, sith we can not beleeue, vnles we heare: nor heare, vnles some lawfully sent do preach vnto vs; faith is bredde in vs, by hearing, and yeelding assent or credite, to the worde of Christ, made knowen vnto vs, by the preachinge of the true Church, which onely is lawfully sent of God; wherefore, like as the worde of Christ, being God, is absolutely infalli­ble, so also the creditt giuē to this worde, (which is our faith) must needes be also most certaine and infallible. Fides (saieth S. Basille) est, Ser. de Fi­dei con­fessione. eorum quae dicta sunt, assentiens approbatio, sine vlla haesitatione, cum animi per­suasione de eorum veritate, quae Dei munere prae­dicata sunt. Faith is a consenting approba­tion of those thinges, which are saide; & an vndoubted perswasion of minde, of the trueth of those thinges, which are preached,Hom. 12. in epist ad He­braeos. by the guift of God. Fides (sai­eth S. Chrysostome) dici non potest, nisi cir­ca [...]a quae non videntur, amplius quam circa ea quae videtur, certitudinem quis habeat. It can not be called faith, vnles one be more cer­taine [Page 7] of those things which are not seen, then of those thinges which are seene. The reason whereof, the same S. Chry­sostome declareth in an other place,Hom. 83. in Matth. say­ing: Superet sensum & rationem nostram ser­mo ipsius: (Dei) nam verbis eius fraudari non possumus: sensus vero noster deceptu facillimus est. Let Gods worde (saieth he) surmount our sense and reason: for wee can not be deceiued by his wordes, but our sense is most easely deceiued. Sith, therefore, our faith is grounded on the word of God, reuealed to vs by Iesus Christ our Lord, speaking by the mouth of the Church, as he saieth himselfe Luc. 10. Qui vos audit me au­dit: he that heareth you heareth me: we ought to receaue the word of faith, prea­ched by the true Church, 1. Thes. 2.not as the worde of mā, but, as it is truely, the worde of God; and consequently, we must ac­count it a thing most certaine, and abso­lutely infallible.

CHAP. IIII. That this one infallible faith necessary to saluation must also bee entire.

THis one infallible faith, without which we can not please God, must [Page 8] also be entire, whole, & soūd, in al points & it is not sufficient to beleeue stedfastly some points, misbeleeuing or not belee­ued obstinately other some, or any one. The reasō of this is, because, euery point of doctrin, yea euery word, that almighty God hath reuealed, and by his Church, propounded vn [...]o vs to be belieued, must vnder paine of damnation, be belieued; as we may gather out of S. Marke;Mar. c. 16. where when our Sauiour had giuen chardge to his Disciples, to preache the gospell to euery creature (the which chardge he al­so gaue in S. Mathew, Math. 28. sayinge: docete om­nes gentes, &c. docentes eos seruare omnia qu [...] ­cumque mandaui vobis. teach all nations, &c. teachinge thē to obserue all thinges, whatsoeuer I haue commaunded you) he pronounceth indefinitely; Qui non credi­derit, condemnabitur. he that shall not be­leeue, shall be cōdemned; not excepting, or distinguishing any one pointe of do­ctrine, as needles to be belieued, or which a man might, at his pleasure, misbelieue, or doubt of without danger, and this not without reason: for not to belieue any one pointe whatsoeuer, which God, by reuealing it, doth restifie to bee true, and [Page 9] which, by his Church, he hath comman­ded vs to belieue, must needes be dam­nable, as being a notable iniurie to Gods veritie, & a great disobediēce to his will. But all pointes of faith are thus testified by God, & commaunded to be belieued, otherwise they be not pointes of faith, but of opinion, or some other kinde of knowledge. Therefore all pointes of faith, must, vnder paine of damnation, be belieued; beleiued (I say) either expresly and actually, as learned men may doe: or implicite and virtually as vnlearned Catho­likes commonly doe: who beleeuing ex­presly those articles, which euery one is bound particulerly to know, doe not in the rest, obstinately doubt, or hold some errour against the Church, but haue a minde prepared to submitte themselues in all thinges, to the authority of the Church, (which they are sure is taught & directed by the spirit of God) and doe in general hold for vndoubted truth, what­soeuer the Catholike or vniuersall Church doth beleeue.

Secondly, that man which beleeuing some points, should deny others: cannot, while he doth thus, haue one & the same [Page 10] faith, which other Christians haue. Sith hee doth not (as Erenaeus requireth to th [...] vnity of faith) belieue the points of faith in a like; but in a different manner from other Christians. That i [...] to say. Neither doth hee beleeue all the pointes which they doe: neither doth hee beleeue those points wherin he doth agree with them▪ for the same reason that they doe, that is to say. He doth not beleeue those point [...] which hee seemeth to beleeue precisely▪ for that God hath reuealed them, and by his Church propounded them; for if he [...] did; sith this reason is cōmon to al point of faith, he should assoone beleeue all, [...] any one. He hath not, therfore (I say) one and the same faith, which other Christi­ans haue, (who notwithstāding haue the true faith.) And sith as S. Leo said nisi [...] est, fides non est. If it bee not one faith, it i [...] no faith at all: It followeth that he, tha [...] beleeueth not entirely al points of faith▪ hath no faith at all: and consequentlie▪ sith one, that hath no faith, can no way be saued; It is euident that he, that belee­uing some articles, doth obstinately de­ny others, cannot be saued.

Thirdly, to beleeue some pointes o [...] [Page 11] faith, and to deny others, or any one; is he­resie: as to deny all is absolute Infidelitie. But it is sure, euen out of Scripture, that Heretiques shall not bee saued, no more then Infidels.Ioan. 3. For as it is saide Qui non cre­dit, iam iudicatus est, he that beleeueth not, is already iudged: so the Apostle Saint Paule reckoneth heresies among the works of the flesh;In the Greeke text, aires es. of all which hee doth pro­nounce. Qui talia agunt regnum Dei non consequentur. Gal. 5. Those which doe such like thinges, shall not attaine the kingdome of God.

Fourthly, I may confirme the same, with the testimony of the auncient Fa­thers. First of S. Athanasius in his creede, which is commonly knowne and appro­ued of all.Athanas. in Simb. Quicunque (saith he) vult salvus esse, ante omnia opus est, vt teneat Catholicam fi­dem: quam nisi quisque integram, inuiolatam (que) Seruauerit, absque dubio in aeternum peribit.

VVhosoeuer will bee saued, before all things, it is needfull that he hold the Ca­tholike faith: which vnlesse euery one doe keepe entire and vnuiolate,Teste theodo­reto lib. 4. eccles. hi­stor. c. 1 [...]. without doubt hee shall perish euerlastingly. Qui sunt in Sacris Litteris eruditi, (saith S. Basill) ne [...] ­nam quidem sillabam diuinorum dogmatū prodi [Page 12] sinunt: sed pro istius defensione, si opus est, null [...] non mortis genus libenter amplectuntur. Those that are well instructed in holy Writte, doe not suffer one sillable of diuine do­ctrine to be betrayed or yeelded vp: but for the defence thereof, if neede bee, doe willingly embrace any kinde of death. Nihil periculosius (saith Nazianzen) his hae­reticis esse potest, Gregor. Nazianz. tract. de Fide. qui cum integrè per omnia de­currant; vno tamen verbo, quasi venem gutt [...], veram illam ac simplicem fidem dominicam in­fi [...]iunt. Nothing can bee more perillous then these heretiques, who, when they runne vprightly through all the rest, yet, with one word, as with a droppe of poy­son, doe infect that true and sincere faith of our Lord.

CHAP. V. That there must be some meanes prouided by Almighty God, by which all sorts of men may learne, this faith, which is so necessary to saluation.

AS this one, infallible, & entire faith, is necessary to saluatiō, to al sorts of men, as well vnlearned, as learned: so we must say,1. Tim. 2. that almighty God Qui vult om­nes [Page 13] homines saluos fieri, & ad agnitionem veri­tatis venire who would haue all men to be saued, and to come to the knowledge of truth; hath (for proofe that this, of his part, is a true will) prouided some rule or meanes, wherby euery man learn [...]d, and vnlearned, may sufficiently in all points, questions or doubts of faith, be infallibly instructed, what is to bee holden for the true faith: and that the only cause, why any man misseth of the true faith, is ei­ther because hee doth not seeke out, and find this rule & meanes, or hauing found it, he will not vse it, & in all pointes, (sub­mitting his owne sense, self-opinion, and proper Iudgement) obediently yeeld as­sent vnto it; as the nature of diuine faith, and the duety of euery Christian, bindeth him to do. This is proued. Because, if Al­mighty God hath a true will, of his part,1. Tim. 2. 1. Tim. 4. 2. Pet. 3. Aug. lib. de Sp. & lib. c. 33. Prosper. lit. 2. de vocat gent. cap. 23.25.28. to leade all men to this happy end of e­ternall saluation, (as it may bee plainely proued that he hath out of Scripture and Fathers) hee must needes prouide them sufficient meanes, by which it may at least, bee possible for them to attaine that end. For wee neuer say, that God hath a will to do any thing, vnlesse he do either [Page 14] absolutely worke the thing,D. Am­bros. Ser. 8. in Psal. 118. Iren. l. 4. cap. 71. or at least, prouide meanes sufficient, by which it is possible to be done. But vnlesse there bee such a rule or meanes prouided, by which euery one learned & vnlearned, may at­taine to this one, infallible & entire faith, of which I haue spoken before, there are not sufficiēt meanes prouided, by which it is possible for all men to come to salua­tion; sith (as I proued) without that faith, it is vnpossible for any one, to come to saluation. Therefore wee must needes say, that Almighty God hath prouided this rule or meanes, by which euery man, euē the most vnlearned, may sufficiently bee instructed in matters of faith.

To this purpose saith S. Austen: Si Dei prouidentia praesidet rebus humanis, Lib. de vtil. cre­dendi non est despe­randum, ab eodem ipso Deo auctoritatem aliquā constitutam esse, qua, velut certo gradu, nitentes attollamur in Deum. If Gods prouidence (saith he) rule and gouerne humane mat­ters, (as he proueth that he doth) we may not despaire, but that there is a certaine auctority, appointed by the same God, vpon which, staying our selues, as vppon a sure step, wee may be lifted vp to God. Saint Austen therfore doth acknowledge [Page 15] some auctority to be needful, as a meanes whereby wee may bee lifted vp to God. The which lifting vp to God, is first be­gunne by true faith: and because, this au­ctority is so needfull a meanes, he would not haue vs doubte, but that God, whose prouidence stretcheth it selfe to all hu­mane matters, hath not failed to prouide this meanes for vs, it being a principall matter, and so principall, as vpon which (according to the ordinary course) depē ­deth the summe of our saluation. We are not therefore (I say) to doubt, but that al­mighty God hath prouided a meanes, whereby Animalis homo qui non percipit [...]a quae sunt spiritus Dei, 1. Cor. 2. a sensuall man who hath no vnderstanding of the diuine mi­steries of faith, may come to know them, by a firme and infallible beliefe.

Onely the question is, what manner of thing this meanes must be; and where e­uery man must seeke and finde it, that ha­uing found it he may (as S. Austen spea­keth) stay himselfe vpon it, as vpon a sure steppe, thereby to bee lifted vp to a true faith, and by faith to God. The which question being of so great consequence, that it being well determined, a mā need [Page 16] neuer make more question in matters of faith; I will (God willing) in the chapters following, endeuor to resolue it, as clear­ly as I can. And this I purpose to do, first by setting downe, what conditions or properties this rule of faith must haue: afterwards by prouing particulerly, that neither Scripture alone: nor any natural witte or humane learning: nor priuate spirit, can be this rule of faith. And final­ly that this rule, which all men may safely and must necessarily follow, can be no o­ther, but the teaching of the Catholique Church.

CHAP. VI. What conditions or properties must be found in the rule of faith.

THis rule, which almighty God hath prouided, as a sufficient meanes, to direct mē, to the knowledge of true faith, necessary to saluation; must haue three conditions or properties.

First it must be certaine & infallible; for otherwise it cannot be a sufficient foūda­tion, whereupon to build faith, which (as is proued before) is absolutely infallible.

[Page 17]Secondly it must bee such, as may bee certainely, and plainely knowne, of all sortes of men. For if to any sorte, it could not be knowen, or not certainly known, it could not be to them a rule or meanes, wherby they might direct themselues, to the certaine knowledge of the true faith.

Thirdly, it must bee vniuersall, that it may not only make vs know certainely, what is the true faith in some one, two, or moe pointes, but absolutely in all pointes of faith. For otherwise it were not a suffi­cient meanes, whereby we may attaine to an entire faith; which integrity of faith is necessary to saluation, in such wise, as hath beene declared, and proued before.

CHAP. VII. That Scripture alone cannot bee this rule of faith.

OVT of these former grounds foure conclusions.

The first cōclusion is, that Scripture alone, especially as it is, by Protestants transla­ted into the English tongue; cannot bee this rule of faith.

This I proue.

First, for that these translations faile in the first condition; that is to say, they are not infallible; (as the rule of faith must be) for neither were the Scriptures writ­ten in this language, immediately by the holy Ghost: neither were the translators assisted by the same holy Ghost infalli­bly. Infallibly (I say) that is, in such sort, as it were vnpossible that they should erre in any point. Sith, therefore, the transla­tors, as being but men, may erre. (To say nothing of that which by Gregory Martin is proued: and by the often changes of new and variable translations is shewed that some haue erred) how can a man, (and especially an vnlearned man, who hath not sufficient meanes, learning, nor leisure to compare the translations with the prime authentical originall) how can (I say) such a man be infallibly sure, that this particuler trāslation, which he hath, doth not erre? & if in some places it erre; how cā he be infallibly sure, that in those places, which doe seeme to fauour that sect, which he followeth, it doth not erre? vnlesse he will admit an vnfallible aucto­rity in the Church, to assure vs, that such, [Page 19] or such a translation doth not erre, in any point, of which auctority, I shall speake more hereafter.

Secondly, they faile in the second con­ditiō or property, which the rule of faith should haue. For the Scriptures thēselues alone, in what language soeuer, bee ob­scure, and hard to be vnderstood, at least to vnlearned men, who cānot read them; and therefore the Scriptures alone, can­not bee, vnto vnlearned men, a sufficient rule to instruct them in al points of faith; as is plaine. For locke vp an vnlettered man, and an English Bible, for a time in a studdy; and he will come forth (I warrant you) as ignorant in matters of faith, as he went in; if wee adde no other meanes to instruct him, but the bare written Word, which he cannot reade. And yet vnlear­ned men may bee saued: and saued they cannot be, without an entire and vnfalli­ble faith: and this they cannot haue, vn­lesse there be some certaine rule and vn­fallible meanes prouided by almightie God, meet for the capacity, to teach them this faith: and Scripture alone (as is now proued) is not a rule meete for the capa­city of vnlearned men, or apte to instruct [Page 20] them sufficiently, in all points of faith. But what speake I only of vnlearned mē? sith, also learned men cannot, by onely reading the scriptures, be vnfallibly sure, that they rightly vnderstand them. For while they vnderstand one way, perhaps they ought to vnderstand another way: that which they vnderstand plainly and litterally, ought perhaps to be vnderstood figuratiuely and mystically; and contra­ry, that which they vnderstand figura­tiuely, ought perhaps to bee vnderstood properly. And seeing that it is most cer­taine, that all do not expound right, sith the exposition of one, is contrary to the exposition of another; (as right is neuer contrary to right) how should one be vn­fallibly sure, that hee onely expoundeth right; hauing nothing to assure him, but the seeming of his owne sense & reason, which is as vncertaine and fallible, as the iudgments and persuasions of other men, who seeme to thēselues, to haue attained, as well as he, the right interpretation or sense. Moreouer there be many things re­quired to the perfect vnderstanding of Scripture, which are found but in verie few: and those also in whom those giftes [Page 21] are, are not vnfallibly sure, that they are so guided by those giftes, but that, both they and others may prudently doubte, least sometimes, in their priuate expositi­ons, as men, they erre. And consequent­ly, their priuate expositions cannot bee that rule of faith, which wee seeke for, which must on the one side bee determi­nately and plainely vnderstood: and on the other side, it must bee vnfallible, cer­taine, and such as cannot erre.

Thirdly, they faile in the third condi­tion. For the Scriptures are not so vniuer­sal, as the rule of faith had need to be. For this rule ought to be so vniuersall, that it may be able, absolutely to resolue & de­termine all doubtes & questions of faith, which either haue bin, or may hereafter bee in controuersie; for otherwise there were not sufficient meanes prouided, by which, schisme and heresies might bee a­ [...]oided: vnity of faith, (so necessary to sal­uatiō) might be conserued among Chri­stian men. But the Scriptures bee not thus vniuersall. For there bee diuers questions or doubtes, moued now a daies, and those also touching very substantiall matters, which are not expressely set downe, nor [Page 22] determined, by onely expresse Scripture. For where haue we any expresse Scrip­ture, to proue, that all those, and onely those bookes which Catholikes or Pro­testants holde for Scripture, or indeede Gods word, and true Scripture? this wee shall not finde expressely set downe in a part of Scripture. This point, therefore, whereupon dependeth the certainety of euery point, proued out of Scripture, cā ­not be made certaine to our knowledge, or beliefe; vnlesse we admitte some other infallible rule, or auctority, whereupon wee may ground an vnfallible beliefe; which infallible rule if we admitte, to as­sure vs, that there is, at all, any Scripture: and that those bookes, and no other bee Canonicall Scripture; why should wee not admitte the same to assure vs vnfalliblie, which is the true sense and meaning of the same Scripture. Hereupon S. Austen saith very well Cur non apud eos diligentissi­me requiram, Lib. de vtilitate credendi, cap. 4. quid Christus praeceperit, quorum auctoritate commotus, Christum aliquid praece­pisse iam credidi? Tu ne mihi melius expositurus es, quid ille dixerit? &c. Why should I not most diligently aske, or learne of those, (hee meaneth of the Catholike Church) [Page 23] what Christ hath commanded, by whose auctority I was moued to beleeue, that Christ cōmanded any thing at all? what Wilt thou expound vnto me better, what he hath saide? that is to say, the meaning of his words.Ibidem. Quae (saith hee) ista tanta de­ [...]ent [...]a est, illis crede Christo esse credendum, & [...] nobis disce, quid ille dix [...]rit? multo facilius [...]ibi persuaderem, Christo non esse credendum: quam de illo quidquam, nisi ab ijs; per quos ei cre­didissem, discendum. What a madnes is this in thee, to say, beleeue them (to witte the Catholikes) that we must beleeue Christ (and the Scriptures to bee his word) yet learne of vs, what Christ said? (that is to say what is the meaning of his word) I should (saith S. Austen) much more easily perswade my self, that I ought not to be­leeue Christ at all, then that I must learne any thing, cōcerning him, of any, except of those, of whom I haue already learned to beleeue in him.

Thus I haue proued, that those english translations, wherupon Protestants com­monly build their faith, cannot be a suffi­cient rule of true Christian faith. First be­cause they are not infallibly free from errour. Secondly, for that all men cannot [Page 24] reade them; neither can any by only rea­ding, bee sure to attaine the right sense without which to haue the wordes of Scripture, is to haue them as Austen saith ad specie [...], non ad salutem for a shew, but not to saluation Lastly for that all pointes of doctrine, which appertaine to true Chri­stian faith, are not expresly set downe in Scripture,Aug. l. 5. de bapt. & donat. cap. 23. Basil. lib. de Sp. cap. 29. Epiph. haer. 61. as, beside my proofe, S. Austen S. Basi [...]l, and Epiphanius doe affirme. Some of which reasōs haue also force to proue, that Scripture alone, in what language soeuer, is not a fitte meanes, to instruct sufficiently, all sorts of men in al matters of faith. Wherefore I may absolutely cō ­clude, that Scripture alone cannot be that [...] of faith, which we seeke for.

Some obiect against this cōclusion, that place of S. Paul. Omnis Scriptura diuinitus [...]spirata, vtilis est ad docēdum &c. vt perfectus [...] homo &c. But this place proueth nothing against that which I haue said. For it saith not, that Scripture alone is sufficient to instruct a man to perfection, but that it is profitable for this purpose, as it is indeed & the rather, because, it commendeth vn­to vs the auctority of the Church, which (as I shall afterwards proue) is sufficient. [Page 25] Now it is certaine, that to bee profitable, and to bee of it selfe alone sufficient, bee farre different things. Stones & Timber be profitable to the building of an house: yet they alone, without a worke-man to square them, & set them in order, bee not sufficient for this purpose.

CHAP. VIII. That no naturall witte or learning can be the rule of faith.

THE Second Conclusion is, that no one mans naturall witte & learning; neither any company of men neuer so learned, (only as they are learned men, not infallibly assisted by the holy Spirit of God) can, either by interpreting Scrip­ture, or otherwise, be this rule of faith.

This I proue.

Because all this wit and learning, be it neuer so exquisite or rare, is humane, na­turall, and fallible; and therefore it can­not be a sufficient foundation, whereupō to build a diuine, supernatural, and infal­lible faith.

This reason I cōfirme. Because, what­soeuer a man, neuer so witty and learned [Page 26] propoundeth to others, to bee beleeued vpon the only credit of his word, wit, o [...] humane study and learning; it can haue no more certainety, then is this his word▪ wit, and learning. But these being all na­turall and humane: are subiect to errour▪ and deceipt.Rom. 3. For Omnis homo mendax, then is no man, but he may, both deceiue, and be deceiued: and may (if hee haue no o­ther helpe, but of nature, & industry) both be deceiued, in thinking, that to be Gods word, which is not: or that to be the true meaning, and sense of Gods word, which is not: & may also deceiue others, whilest being to confident of his wit & learning▪ hee presumeth to teach others, these his erronious opinions. Therfore the beliefe which shall be builte vppon such a mans word and teaching, is, or may bee a false beliefe; and alwaies is vncertaine and fal­lible; and therefore can neuer bee a true diuine and Christian faith, which alwaies is most certaine and infallible. And this which I haue said of the wit and learning of one particuler man; may also bee ap­plied▪ to proue against the wit [...] and lear­ning of any company of men, hauing no assistance, but their owne naturall giftes, [Page 27] [...]nd industrie of studie or reading.

This same reason I cōfirme yet againe more strongly. For the rule of faith, must be able to propose to vs vnfallibly, not onely the letters & seeming sense▪ but the true sense of Gods word, & the sense in­ [...]ended by the holy Spirit of God, the au­thour of this word; otherwise it cannot be a sufficient meanes, to breede in vs, an infallible, Christian faith, and beliefe, which is only grounded, vppon the true sēse intēded by almighty God, the prime or first verity, the speaker of this word. But no mā, nor no cōpany of men, can by their naturall witte and learning, tell vn­fallibly, what (especially in all points of faith) is the true intended sense of Gods word.1. Cor. 2. For as S. Paul saith Quis c [...]gnouit sen­s [...]m domini? who hath knowen, to wit, by nature, arte, or learning) the sense of our Lord.Ibidem. Quae Dei sum (saith the same S. Paul) nemo cognouit nisi spiritus Dei those thinges which are of God, no man hath knowen, but the spirit of God. And therefore that knowledge, which himselfe had of diuine matters, came not from any naturall witt of man,Ibidem. but (as hee plainely affirmeth) from the spirit of God nobis reuelauit Deus [Page 28] per spiritum suum. God hath reuealed vnto vs, (saith he) by his spirit. Therefore wee may well conclude. That no one man, nor [...] company of men, (without the assistance of God [...] spirit) can, either by interpreting Scripture, or o­therwise, be the rule of faith.

Hence I inferre that those, who, for matters of faith, relie wholy, either vpon their owne priuate opiniō or iudgment, of the sense and meaning of Scripture; o [...] vpon the learning and iudgement of o­thers, who are but men, not infallibly as­sisted by the holy Ghost, nor by him vn­fallibly preserued from errour; (as many or rather all Protestants do) those (I say) cannot haue diuine and Christian faith▪ but only fallible opiniō, & humane faith.

CHAP. IX. That a priuate spirit cannot bee the rule of faith.

THE Third Conclusion is, that no pri­uate man, who perswadeth himselfe to be singulerly instructed by the Spirit, can be this rule of faith; especially so far forth, as hee beleeueth or teacheth, con­trary to the receiued doctrine of the Ca­tholique Church.

This I proue.

First, because S, Paule saith Si quis vobis [...]ngelizauerit, praeter id quod accepistis, Gal. 1. Ana­themasit. Pronouncing generally, that, whosoeuer teacheth or preacheth, con­trary to the receiued doctrine of the Ca­tholike Church, should be held Anathe­matized or accursed.

Secondly, the rule of faith, must be in­fallible, plainely knowne to all sortes of men, and vniuersall; that is to say, such, as may sufficiently instruct all men, in all pointes of faith, without danger of error. (As hath beene proued before.) But this priuate spirit is not such. For, first, that man himselfe▪ cannot be vnfallibly sure, that he in particuler is taught by the holy Spirit. For neither is there any prom [...]se in Scripture, to assure infallibly, that hee in particuler is thus taught: neither is there any other sufficient reason to per­swade the same. For suppose hee haue such extraordinary motions, feelings or Illustrations, which, he thinketh, cannot come of himselfe, but from some Spirit; yet hee cannot in reason straight waies conclude, that he is thus moued & taught by the Spirite of God. For sure it is, that [Page 30] euery spirit, is not the Spirit of God. As there is the Spirit of truth: so there is a spirit of errour. As there is an Angell of light: so there is a prince of darkenesse. Yea sometimes Ipsa Sathanas transfigurat se in Angelum lucis. 2. Cor. 11 Sathan himselfe, doth transfigure himselfe, into an Angell of light. Wherfore he had neede very care­fully to put in practise, the aduise of Saint Iohn who saith.2. Iohn 4. Nolite credere omni spiritui, sed probate spiritus, si ex Deo sint. Doe not be­leeue euery spirit, but proue or try them, whether they be of God or noe. Neither doth it seeme sufficient, that a priuate mā try them, onely by his owne iudgement▪ or by those motions, feelinges or illumi­nations, which, in his priuate conceipte, are confirmable to Scripture; because al his trial is very vncertaine, and subiect to errour; by reason that our owne iudge­ment (especially in our owne matters) is very easily deceaued; and that Sathan can so cunningly couer himselfe vnder the shape of a good Angell; & so colour his wicked designements with pretense of good; and so guild his darke & grosse errours, with the glistering light of the words, and seeming sense of Scripture, [Page 31] that hardly, or not at all, he shalbe per­ceiued. Wherefore the safest way were to try these spiritts, by the touchstone, of the true Pastours of the Catholique Church, who may say with S. Paul, non ignoramus cogitationes Sathanae, 2. Cor. 2. we are not ignorant of the cogitations of Sathan; and who may also say with S. Iohn. Nos ex Deo sumus; 1. Iohn 4. qui nouit Deum audit nos: qui non est ex Deo, non audit nos. In hoc cognoscimus spiritum veritatis, & spiritum erroris. We are of God; he that knoweth God heareth vs: he that is not of God, doth not heare vs. In this wee know the Spirit of truth, and the spirit of errour. Now, if any will not admitte this manner of trying, and discerning the spi­rit of truth, from the spirit of errour, but will trust their owne iudgement alone, in this matter; feare they may iustly, nay, rather they may be sure (as Cassian saith) that they shal worship in their thoughts,Collat. 61. c. 11. the angell of darkenes, for the Angell of light, to their exceeding great harme. And, at least, howsoeuer their priuate af­fection and selfe-loue encline them to thinke well of themselues, & of that spi­rite, which they permitte to teach them those singuler points of new and strange [Page 32] doctrine: yet sure it is, that this their per­swasion of the goodnes of their spirit, is not infallible, as the rule of faith must be; sith diuers, now adaies, perswade them­selues in the same maner to be taught by the holy Spirit; & yet (one of them tea­ching against another) it is not possible, that all, that thus perswade themselues, should bee taught by this spirit; sith this Spirit doth neuer teach cōtrary to it selfe. And therefore some, in this their perswa­sion, must needes be deceaued. And ther­fore who, hauing no testimony of euidēt miracle, or some other vndoubted proof, dare arrogantly affirme, that he onely is not deceaued; especially in such sorte, as to condemne all other, and to propose himselfe to himselfe & others, as the on­ly sufficient rule of faith, considering that others, who presume, & perswade them­selues altogither in like manner are, in this their perswasion, deceaued.

But suppose one could assure himselfe, that he were taught by Gods Spirite im­mediately, what is the true faith in all pointes, in such sort, that he could erre in none, (as it is not the manner of almighty God, to teach men immediately by him­selfe [Page 33] alone, or by an Angell; but rather as the Scripture telleth vs fides ex auditu. Rom. 10. Faith is bredde in vs by hearing: and is to bee required ex ore Sacerdotis out of the mouth of the Priest:Mal. 5. and is to be learned of Pastors and Doctors, whom God hath appointed in his Church, of purpose; to instruct vs, and continue vs in the anciēt faith) but suppose (I say) that one could assuredly perswade himselfe, to be imme­diately taught of God, what is the truth in all pointes. How should hee, without testimony of miracle, glue assurance to o­thers, that hee is thus taught? especiallie when hee teacheth quite contrary to the Catholike Church, which, by plaine pro­mises and testimonies of Scripture, vvee know to be taught of God.

Perhaps he will alledge that generall promise of Scripture Omnis qui petit accipit assuring them therby,Matth. 7 that euery one that prayeth for any thing, receiueth it; and that he hath earnestly prayed for the spi­rit, therefore he must needes haue it. But to this argument, we may easily answere▪ that this promise of our Sauiour, is not so vniuersally to be vnderstood, as though euery one that prayeth for a thing, shall [Page 34] infallibly obtaine it, without any condi­tion (at least in the manner of praying) required of our part. For we reade, euen in Scripture petitis & non accipitis eo quod male petatis. Iacobi 4. You aske or pray and receiue not (the thing requested) because you aske amisse. By which place wee learne, that to obtaine any thing by prayer, re­quireth a condition of praying wel, or in such sorte, as is fit; the which condition, doth (as learned men obserue) include many circumstances, for fault of the due obseruance whereof, it may and doth of­ten happen, that our prayer is not well made, nor in such sort as is fit; and is con­sequently frustrate of the efficacy, which otherwise by the promise of our Sauiour it should haue had. Now these circum­stances being many, and diuers of them very inward, it is not very easie. For any man, to be absolutely sure, that hee hath obserued them, in such sort, as is fit; and therefore he cannot bee absolutely sure, that his praier hath taken effect; & there­fore it is no sufficient proofe, whereby one may perswade others, that hee hath the Spirit of God, to say, hee hath prayed for it; especially cōsidering, that we may [Page 35] finde very many most contray, in religi­on, one to another, who notwithstanding will say, that they daily pray for the spi­rit; and I doubt not, but many of them in some sort, yea earnestly, after their man­ner, doe pray for it; yet sure it is that all these (being thus contrary) haue it not. How shal we then be assured, that this or that man, who, presuming vpon the assi­stance of this spiritt, (which he thinketh he hath obtained by prayer) setteth a broache a singular and new inuēted do­ctrine, how shall we be sure (I say) that such a mā hath the spiritt of God indeed? Some will perchance saye, that we may safely beleeue them, because, they preach nothing but pure Scripture, while as for euery pointe of their doctrine, they cite still sentences of Scripture. But this an­swere will not serue. First, because, for & in the name of scripture, they bring forth their false & corrupt translations, which do differ, in some places, euen in wordes, from true scripture. Secondly, supposing that they did alwaies cite the true wordes of scripture, yet they may easily applye them to a wronge sense or meaninge; to witt to that, which they falsely imagine, [Page 36] (being seduced by their own appetite, or by their own former error) to be the true sense. For as S. Austen saieth: Ad Imagines phantasmatum suorum carnalis anima conuertit omni [...] sacramenta & verba librorum sancto­rum:Lib. 3. de bapt. & donatist. cap. 19. a carnall and sens [...]all minde (such as heretiques are not without; sith heresie it selfe is accounted, by S. Paule a worke of the flesh) doth conuert or turne all the misteries and words of holy bookes, vn­to his owne imaginations & phantasies. Whereupon it commeth to passe, that, as the same S. Austen saith.Ep. 222. & Tract 18. in Io­anes. Omnes haeretici, qui in authoritate Scripturas recipiunt; ipsas sibi vi­dentur sectari, cumsuos sectentur errores. All heretickes that receiue and admitte the authority of the Scriptures, seeme to thē ­selues to follow the only Scriptures, whē they follow their owne errours. And as they may seeme to themselues, to follow onely the Scriptures, when they follow their owne errours: so they may seeme (especially to the simple people; or to those, who, being seduced by them who­ly build their beliefe vpon thē) to preach nothing but pure Scripture, whē indeed, they preach their owne erronious opini­ons, coloured and painted with words of [Page 37] Scripture; as it is the manner of euerie sect maister, to confirme his errour, with words of Scripture; yea the Diuell him­selfe doth sometime, for his purpose,Matth. 4. al­ledge words of Scripture.

Wherefore, there is no reason, wherby wee may bee assured, that such men haue the Spirit of God: but we may finde ma­ny reasons to conuince that they haue not this Spirit. And to omitte, for breuity sake, the seeking out of any other; euen the singularity or priuatenes of their spi­rit, is sufficient not onely to moue vs to suspect it, but also to condemne it, and to assure vs, that it cannot bee the Spirit of truth; as is very well signified by S. Au­gustine; who saith, Veritas tua, Domine, Lib. 12. Confess. cap. 25. nec mea est, nec illius, sed omnium, quos ad eius com­munionem publicè vocas; terribiliter admonens nos, ne eam habere velimus priuatam, ne priue­mur ea. Nam quisquis id, quod tu, ad fruendum, omnibus proponis, sibi propriè vendicat, & suum esse vult, quod omnium est, à communi propellitur ad sua, id est, à veritate ad mendacium. Thy truth (O Lord) is neither proper to mee, nor him, but common to all, whom thou dost publiquely call to the common par­taking of its, warning vs terribly to take [Page 38] heede, that wee will not haue it priuate to our selfe, least we be depriued of it. For whosoeuer doth challenge that to him­selfe priuately, which thou dost propose publiquely to be enioyed of all, and will haue that his owne, which is common to all, he is driuen from the common to this owne, that is to say from the truth to a lie.

CHAP. X. That the doctrine and teaching of the true Church, is the rule of faith.

THE fourth Conclusion is, that, this in­fallible rule, which euery one ought to follow, in all points of faith, is the Do­ctrine and teaching of the true Church, or cōpany of the true faithfull of Christ.

This I proue by this reason.

If our Sauiour Christ hath promised to any cōpanie of men, the presence of him­selfe; and the assistance of his holy spiritt, of purpose, to instructe, & teach them all trueth: giuing withall peculiar charge & commission to them, to teache all natiōs, and to preache to euery creature: giuing also warrant to all, that they may safely heare them, giuing also commandement, [Page 39] whereby he bindeth all, to doe, in all thinges, according to their saying: and threatning greatly those, who will not heare and beleeue them: then certainely the doctrine & teaching of these men, is, in all pointes, most true and infallible; & such, as, (if the other conditions, required in the rule of faith, be not, (as they are not,) wanting) may well be proposed to all sortes, as an assured ground, whereupō they may safely build an infallible Chri­stian faith. For looke what our Sauiour Christ hath promised must needes be per­formed: and whatsoeuer he warranteth, or commandeth, may safely, & without danger of errour be done; nay must of ne­cessity be done; especially, whē he threat­neth those, and will not doe it: and con­sequently if he haue promised, to sende his holy spirit, to teach, any company of men, all trueth it is not to be doubted, but that he sendeth this his holy spirit, and by it teacheth them all trueth; & sith the teaching of this spirit is vnfallible, we are not to doubt, but that this compa­ny, is, in all pointes, infall [...]bly taught the trueth. If also the same our Sauiour gaue warrant, and commandement, that they [Page 40] should teach vs, & that we should heare them, and doe in all thinges, according to their saying: we may not likwise doubt, but that they shall be able to teache, all sortes of men, in all pointes, the infallible trueth; and that all sortes of men, may, if they will, learne of that company, what, in all pointes, is the infallible trueth. For otherwise by this generall commaunde­ment of hearing them, and doing accor­ding to their saying, we should be boūde sometime, to heare & beleeue an vntruth and to doe that, which were not vpright and good: which without blasphemy to Christ his veritie & goodnes can no way be thought.

But so it is, that Christ our Sauiour hath in holy Scripture promised, giuen commis­sion, warranted, commaunded, and threatened in manner aforesaide.

Therefore we can not doubt, but that their is a certaine company (the which is called the true Church of Christ) which both is, in all pointes of faith, infallibly taught by the holy spirit; and is likewise to teach all sortes of men, in all pointes of faith, what is the infallible trueth: and therefore the teaching of this companie, [Page 41] may well be assigned, and proposed to all men, as an vndoubted, sufficient rule of faith.

The promise of our Sauiour Christ we haue first in the Gospell of S. Mathew: Mat. c. 28 ego [...]obiscum sum omnibus diebus, vsque ad cōsum­ [...]ationem seculi: I am with you, al the daies vntill the ende of the world: in which wordes is promised the continuall pre­sence of Christ himselfe, (who is veritas the trueth it selfe) with his Church; not for a while then, or for a while now; but, all the daies vntill the end of the world. Secondly we haue an other promise in the gospell of S. Iohn: Ioan. 14. Ego rogabo patrem & alium para­clitum dabit vobis, vt maneat vobiscum in aeter­ [...]um, spiritum veritatis. I will aske my fa­ther, and he will giue you an other para­elite, the spirit of trueth, that he may re­maine with you (not only for 600. yeares, but) for euer. And againe (in the same S. Iohn.) to shew vs, for what purpose he would haue his holy Spirite remaine a­mong vs for euer; he saith,Ioan. 14. Paraclitus quā [...]ittet pater in nomine m [...]o, ille vos docebit om­ [...]a, & suggeret vobis omnia, quaecunque dixero vobis, the paraclite, whom my Father will sende in my name, shall teach you all [Page 42] things, & shal put you in mind of al things whatsoeuer I shall say vnto you.Ioan. 16. And a­gaine Cum venerit ille spiritus veritatis, docebit v [...]s omnē veritatē. Whē that spirit of truth shall come, hee shall teach you all truth.

The charge and commission is plaine in S. Mathew cuntes docete omnes gentes. Math. 28 Go­ing teach all nations. And in S. Marke euntes in mundum vniuersum praedicate Euan­gelium omni creaturae. Mar. 16. Going into the whole world preach the Gospell to euery crea­ture.

The warrant we haue in S Luke Qui vos audit, Luc. 10. me audit. Hee that heareth you hea­reth mee. By which wordes appeareth plainely, that our Sauiour Christ would haue vs to heare and giue credit to his Church no lesse then to himselfe.

The commandemēt is expressed in S. Mathew, Math. 23. Super Cathedram Moysisederūt Scri­bae & Pharisaei. Omnia ergo quaecun (que) dixeri [...]t vobis seritate & facite. The Scribes & Pha­risies haue sitten vpon the chaire of Mo­ses. All things therfore, whatsoeuer they shall say vnto you, obserue and doe. Out of which words we may gather, that wee are bound, in all pointes, to do according to the doctrine of the Prelates of the Ca­tholike [Page 43] Church, yea, although it should happen, that their liues were not lauda­ble but bad. For although our Sauiour, in this place, doth only in expresse wordes, make mention of the chaire of Moses, in which the Priests of the old Law did sit: yet he is to be vnderstood, to speake also of the chaire of S. Peter, his owne Vice­gerent, in which the Priestes of the new Law doe succeed. And this à f [...]rtiori be­cause, we haue greater reason to thinke, that our Sauiour intēded, in his doctrine, to giue rules to the Priests and people of his new Law, which was presently to be­gin, and to continue till the worldes end, then only to giue documents to those of the old Law, considering he knew, that it should, so shortly cease. Wherefore the ancient fathers do vnderstand, that place to bee meant of the Priestes of the new Law; and namely S. Augustine who saith thus In illum ordinem Episcoporum, Epist. 165. qui ducitur ab ipso petro ad Anastasium, qui nunc in eadem Cathedra sedet, etiamsi quisquam traditor, per il­latempora, subreps [...]sset, nihil praeiudicaret Eccle­sie, & innocentibus Christianis; quibus proui­dens, Dominus ait, de praepositis malis; quae di­cunt, facite: quae faciunt, facere nolite. Into [Page 44] that order of Bishoppes which is deriued from S. Peter himself vnto Anastasius, who now sitteth vpō the same chair; although some traytor had crept in, in those times, he should nothing hurt the Church and the innocent Christians, for whome, our Lord prouiding, saith of euill Prelates, what they say, do; what they do, do not.

The threates we may gather. First out of S. Luke when our Sauiour faith,Luc. 10. Qui vos spernit, me spernit. Hee that despiseth you, despiseth me. Signifying, that look what sinne it were, not to heare, but to despise our Sauiour Christ himselfe, that wee should account it the same, to despise, & not to giue eare, and credit, to the Catho­like Church. Insinuating therby, that the like punishment is to be expected, for the saide contempte. Secondly in S. Mathew the same our Sauiour expressely saith; Si Ecclesiam non audierit, Math. 18. sit tibi sicut Ethnicus & publicanus. If he wil not heare the Church let him be to thee like an Ethnicke and a Publican. Finally, in S. Marke after hee had giuen charge & cōmission to preach the Gospell to euery creature,Mar. 16. hee pro­nounceth this threate to those that will not beleeue saying Qui non crediderit con­demnabitur [Page 45] hee that will not beleeue shall be condemned.

Thus you see our Sauiour Christ hath promised to his Church, the continuall presence of himselfe and of his holy Spi­rit, to teach that cōpany all truth. Wher­of followeth that it is infallibly taught al truth. Moreouer, hee hath giuen charge and commission to that Church, to teach vs, and hath warranted, and commanded vs, in all pointes, to heare and do, accor­ding to the saying of this Church; which proueth, that it appertaineth to this Church, to instruct vs, in all pointes of faith, and that we ought to learne of it, in all matters of religion, what is the fallible truth; & consequently, that the doctrine of this Church is the rule of faith,

Worthily therefore doth S. Paule call this Church columnam & firmamentum veri­tatis. The pillar and ground of truth.1. Tim. 3. Worthily also saith S Austen Scripturarum à nobis tenetur veritas, cum id facimus, Lib. 1. & Crescon. cap. 33. quod vniuersae placet Ecclesiae, quam, earundem scrip­turarum commendat authoritas: vt quoniam scriptura sancta fallere non potest, quisquis falli [...]etuit huius obscuritate questionis, ecclesiam de illa consulat, quam, sine vlla ambiguitate, scrip­tura [Page 46] sancta demonstrat. The truth of the Scriptures is holden of vs, when wee doe that, which pleaseth the vniuersall or whole Church, the which is commended by the authority of the Scriptures them­selues; that because the holy Scripture cannot deceiue, whosoeuer feareth to bee deceiued with the obscurity of this que­stion, let him require the iudgement of the church, which, without any ambiguity, the holy Scripture doth demonstrate, by which wordes, hee sheweth plainely that the sentence of the Church, is of in­fallible and vndoubted truth, & that the way not to bee deceiued in an obscure question, is to aske and follow the iudge­ment of the Church. Wherefore worthily also do we all say Credo Ecclesiam Catholicā. I beleeue the Catholike Church; & wor­thily also may I conclude; that neither Scripture alone; nor naturall witte and learning; nor priuate spirit: nor any o­ther thing, but onely the teaching of the true Church of Christ, is that ordinarie meanes, which Almighty God hath pro­uided, whereby all men may learne that one▪ infallible, entire faith, which I pro­ued to be necessary to saluation.

CHAP. XI. That the Church, whose doctrine must bee to vs the rule of faith, must alwaies continue, without interruption, from Christ his time, till the worldes end.

COnsidering what had bene proued, in the former Chapter, about the in­fallible authorite of the doctrine of the true Church: I hope no Christian will de­nie, but that, so longe as this Church doth continew, we haue, of it, a sure pillar and a firme foundation, whereupon we may safely build our beleefe. For either a mā must denie, that euer our Sauior did make any such promise; gaue such charge and commission, left any such warrant; sett forth such a commaundement; or thun­dred out any such threates, as before is rehearsed: which were to denie the scrip­tures, which scriptures are generally re­ceiued by all Christians; no otherwise thē, (as they are,) the vndoubted worde of God: or els he must wrest the interpreta­tion thereof, both from that, which the wordes, of themselues, naturally yeeld, & [Page 48] also from the common sense and vnder­standing, either of al, or the most learned, and almost of the vnlearned also, of the whole Christian world: or els he shalbe forced to confesse that, which, not I, but S. Paule hath saied:1. Tim. 3. ecclesia est columna & fir­mamentum veritatis: the Church is the pil­lar and ground of trueth. Onely it may perchaunce seeme to some (of those, that doe, at this day oppose themselues against the authoritie of the Church,) that this was true, for S. Paules time, and perhaps for some 3.4.5. or 6. hundred yeares af­ter: but not to be presumed vpon in latter times, and namely when Luther began his reformation (as they tearme it) or now a dayes.

Against these men I set downe this assertion.

The true Church of Christ (which the fore­named testimonies of Scripture do com­mend) was and is to continew, without interruption, till the worldes end.

This I proue.

First, out of the very wordes, of those promises, which I cited, out of S. Mathew, & S. Iohn. For how can Christ our Sauiour, or his holy Spirit, be with his Church, in [Page 49] such sort, as there is promised; to witt till the worldes end, and for euer: and especi­ally, as is saied in S. Matthew: Matth. cap. 28. omnibus die­bus vsque ad consummationem seculi: all the daies, euen to the end of the world; vnles the Church also be, al the daies vntill the end of the world. For if the Church for any time, daies, moneths, or yeares doe cease to be: Christ can not for those years, moneths, and daies, be truely saied, to be with his Church (sith he can not be with that which is not) and consequentely he can not be saied, to haue fulfilled his pro­mise, wherein he saied, he would be with his Church, all the daies, vntill the end of the world.

Secondly, I proue the same, out of an other promise, or prophesie of our Sauior Christ, to his Church, wherein hee saith: portae inferi non preual [...]bunt aduersus eam: Math. 16▪ the gates of hell shall not preuaile against it. For how was it true, that the gates of hell shall not preuaile, if they haue preuailed so much, as vtterly to abolish the Church or at least, to bannishe it quite out of the world, for so long a time? graūting there­for (which euery Christian must needes graunt) that the prophesies and promises [Page 50] of our Sauiour, are alwaies fullfilled, and that they are vnfallibly true: we may not doubte, but that the Church, hath euer beene, since Christ his time, & shall neuer cease to be in the world.

Thirdly, I may confirme the same out of other scriptures, where the perpetuitie of the Church is either affirmed, or pro­mised, of which kinde of testimonies, being very many, I will onely rehearse some few, of the Church (if we will beleue S. Austen his exposition) it is saide:Psal. 47. Deu [...] fundauit eam in aeternum; God hath establi­shed it for euer. And of it, signified by the name of the kingdome of Christ, the pro­phet Daniel saieth: Suscitabit Deus caelireg­num quod in aeternum non dissipabitur. Dan. 2. The God of heauen shall raise vp a kingdome, which shal not be broken in peeces for euer.Luc. 1. As is also saide in S. Luke: regni eius non erit sinis: there shalbe no ende of his kingedome.

Lastly, I might cōfirme the same, with the testimonie of the auncient Fathers Origen, S. Chrysostome, S. Bernard: and espe­cially of S. Austen, In Psalm. 101. Conc. 2. who disputing against the Do [...]atistes, saieth thus, as rehearsing one of their speeches: Sed illa Ecclesia, quae [Page 51] fuit omnium gentium, iam non est, perijt: That Church, which was of all nations, is not now; it is perished. Vnto which their speach he answereth: O impudentem vocem. Accounting it great impudencie, to saye, the Church is perished. And in the same place, he bringeth in the Church, as spea­king personally, thus;Ibidem. Quamdiu ero in hoc siculo? annuncia mihi propter illos qui dicunt: Fuit, & iam non est: apostatauit, & perijt Eccle­sia ad omnibus gentibus. Et annunci auit, nec vacua fuit vox ista. Quis annunciauit mihi nisi ipsa via? quando annunciauit? ecce ego vobiscum sum omnibus diebus vsque ad consummationem seculi. How long shall I be in this world? tell me in regard of them who saye; the Church indeede was, but it is not now: it is become apostata, and is perished out of all nations. And he tould me, neither was this word in vaine, who tould me, but the way it selfe? (to witt Christ, who faieth, I am the way) when did he tell? Behold I am with you vntill the end of the world.

CHAP. XII. That this Church, which must be to vs the rule of faith, as it must alwaies continue; so it must also al­waies be visible.

NOVV hauing proued that the true Church of Christ must alwaies cō ­tinue, without interruptiō, till the worlds end: it remaineth that I shew also in what manner it is to continue; to wit, whether it shall alwaies be visible. That is to say, whether, in all ages, it was and shall be a company of men, who may be seene, and in some sort, plainely knowne to be that company, which men are to beleeue, by faith, to be the true Church of Christ: or that it shal be, sometime at least, inuisible; that no man can see those mē, nor know them, to be that company, which we must beleeue, to be the true Church of Christ.

In which matter

My Assertion is, that the true Church of Christ (of which the places of Scripture afore cited doe speake) must alwaies bee visible.

This I proue.

Is [...] [...].61.First by that plaine Prophesie of Isaias [Page 53] in the 61. chapter. (Which chapter to be vnderstood of our Sauiour Christ & his Church, wee may gather out of S. Luke, where our Sauiour himselfe citeth some words out of that chapter,Luc. 4. and expoun­deth them to be fulfilled in himselfe) the words of the Prophesie are these Faedus perpetuum feriam eis, Isa. 61. & scietur in gentibus se­men eorum, Omnes qui viderint eos cognoscent illos, quoniam isti sunt semen cui benedixit Do­minus. I will make a perpetuall couenant or league with them, and their seede shall be knowne among nations, all that shall see them, shall know them, that they are the seede, which our Lord hath blessed. How could he more plainely haue fore­tould the visiblenes of the Church?

Secondly our Sauiour hath ordained this his Church to bee the light of the world; according as he saith, vos estis lux mundi you are the light of the world,Math. 5. and to be a rule or meanes, by which, all men, at all times, may come to the knowledge of that One, infallible, entire faith, which is necessary to saluation, as hath bin pro­ued. But how can it bee the light of the world, if it selfe be inuisible? (nemo accen­dit lucernam, & ponit eam sub modio. No man [Page 54] lighteth a candle, & when he hath done, setteth it vnder a bushell, where it cannot be seene.) And how can it bee a meanes, by which, at all times, the infallible truth may bee made knowen, to all sortes of men; if it selfe▪ at any time, could not be knowne of men? Or if you say, that, some times, it could neither be knowne it selfe, nor be a meanes▪ by which the true faith might be made knowne; then, sith that I proued that it is a necessary meanes, and so necessary, that, without it, according to the ordinary course, there is not suffi­ciēt meanes prouided by almighty God, to instruct all men infallibly in all points of faith. Then (I say) men, that liued at that time, wanted necessary meanes, wherby they might attaine to the know­ledge of true faith, and consequently, whereby they might come to saluation, which if it were so. How is it vniuersally true, which is vniuersally saide in Scrip­ture? [...]. Tim. 2. D [...]us vult omnes homines saluos fieri. & ad agnitionem veritatis venire. God would haue all men to be saued, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For how can he be saide, to haue a true will to saue all men? if he haue not, at all times, prouided [Page 55] meanes sufficient, whereby, all men may come to the knowledge of true faith, and thereby, by degrees, to saluation. Sith es­pecially, he hath power to prouide these meanes: and knoweth, that without these meanes prouided, it is vnpossible for men to attaine true faith, and eternall saluati­on. For knowing it vnpossible, he cannot be saide to will it; sith no wise man wil­leth that, which he knoweth perfectly to be altogither vnpossible; and much lesse may Almighty God be saide, to will any thing, which is absolutely vnpossible, considering that his wisedome is infinit, and that his will is alwaies ioyned with some worke or effecte, by which, that which he willeth, at least, is made possible to be done. Wherefore to verifie that Al­mighty God would haue all men saued, we must needes say, that hee hath proui­ded, for all men, those meanes, which bee necessary, and without which, it is vnpos­sible for them, to come to the knowledge of true faith, and therby to saluation; One of which meanes, is a visible Church, of which they must heare, & learne the true faith; which is the first, and a necessarie steppe to saluation. The Church there­fore [Page 56] must needes be alwaies visible.

Thirdly if the vniuersall Churche of Christ, should, for any space of time, be in­uisible: it should, for that space, cease to professe outwardly that faith, which, in hart, it did beleeue. For if it did outwardly professe; how should it not, by this pro­fession, be made visible and knowen? But if the vniuersall Church, should, for such a time, faile to professe the faith; hell gates (contrary to Christes promise) did mighte­ly preuaile against it. For, were it not a mightie preuailing, that the whol church should faile in a thing, so necessary to sal­uation? as we know, outward profession of faith to be necessary, both by that of our Sauiour:Math. 10. Qui negauerit me coram homi­nibus, ego negabo illum coram Patre meo. He, that shall denie me before men, I will de­nie him before my Father.Luc. 9. And: Qui me erubuerit & sermones meos, hunc Filius hominis erubeseet. He that shall be ashamed of me, and of my wordes, him, the sonne of man wilbe ashamed of. And by that of Saint Paule: Rom. 10. Corde creditur ad iustitiam, ore fit con­fessio ad salutem. With hart we beleeue to iustice, with mouth we confesse to salua­tion. Which place learned men inteprete [Page 57] to signifie, that profession of faith is, som­times, necessary to saluatiō; and they say further, that, this sometimes, is so oft, as either the glorie of God, or the profit of our neighbour, doth, of necessitie, require it; the which cases of necessity do happen very often, and great meruaile it were, (or rather vnpossible) that they should neuer haue happened, for so long a time, as the Protestants would haue their Church to haue beene inuisible.

Fourthly if the Church were not visi­ble, wee could not fulfill that commaun­dement of our Sauiour, wherein he said: Dic Ecclesiae. Tell the Church. For how can we tell the Church any thing,Math. 18. if wee can not tell where to seeke it; neither if wee did by chaunce meete it, could wee know it to be the Church.

Fiftly, it is certaine, that once, the true Church of Christ, was visible; to wit, when it first began in Hierusalem in the Apostles and Disciples of our Sauiour Christ, and that companie, which by their preaching was conuerted to the faith. But there can no reason be shewed, why it should be visible then, and not now.

If it were needefull to be visible then, [Page 58] because otherwise it could not bee a Church, that is, A Society of men lincked to­gether, in the profession of one faith: in the vse of the same Sacramentes▪ vnder the gouernement of lawfull Pastours. For the same reason, it must needes be vi [...]ble now; because, (as in the last chapter is proued) there must be a Church now; & therefore it must be a society of mē, professing the same faith: vsing the same Sacramentes: liuing vn­der the gouernement of lawfull pastours. For all this pertaineth to the very essence of the Church.

If also it were needefull to be visible thē, that those offices & functions, which must bee done in the Church, might bee well perfourmed: to wit, as there were in the Church some pastors, & some sheepe; (as S. Gregory Nazianzene saieth) some to commaund,Oratione de mode­rat. in dis­put. ha­benda. some to obey: some to teach, some to be taught; some to feede the flock of Christ, some to be fedde: so (that euery one of these, might doe what pertained properly to his duetie) it was needfull, that the pastours must know their sheepe and the sheep their pastours; & that those that should teach, and rule, and minister the Sacraments, must see, and knowe [Page 59] them, whome they were to teach and rule, and to whome, they were to giue the Sacramentes. And on the contrary syde, the other had need to haue knowē those, of whome they must be taught, whome they must obey, and, from whome, they were to receiue the holesome food of the holy Sacramentes. If (I saye) this reason proue, that it was needefull then, that the Church should be visible and knowen: for the same reason, it wilbe also neede­full to say, that the Church must be visi­ble, now, & at all times. For at all times, there m [...]st be pastours and sheepe in the Church, being the sheepefolde of Christ. And, at all times, these pastors must go­uerne, instruct, and minister the holy Sa­craments: and the other must receiue go­uernement, instruction, and the foode of the holy Sacraments, at their hands. And consequentely, there had neede be some visible tokens, at all times, by which the pastours may knowe their sheepe, least, for want of this knowledge; they may vn­awares, dare sanctum canibus, Matth. 7. & pr [...]i [...]cere margaritas ante porcos, giue that which is holy to dogges, & cast margarites before hogges, which our Sauiour commandeth [Page 60] them not to doe. And on the other side, there had neede be some visible markes, by which the sheepe may know and dis­cerne their lawfull pastours, & true prea­chers, from false teachers, and intruding vsurpers. For otherwise, they could not tell, whome to heare, & obey, & whome to repaire to for the Sacramentes: & con­trary, whome to take heede of, as of false prophetes: whose voice to neglect, as of strangers: and whose poisoned foode of polluted Sacraments to reiect, no lesse then a baite laide to kill them by theeues and robbers; as it importeth greatly eue­ry one to do.

If lastly it were needfull to be visible, then, that those, which were out of it, might ioyne themselues vnto it, and be­come members of it; thereby to partici­pate the graces and benedictions, which Christ our Lord communicated only to it; and to escape the deluge of eternall damnation wherewith, all was sure to be drowned, that were found, out of it, as it were, out of another Noë his arke. This reason also requireth and vrgeth, that the Church must be visible now, and at al o­ther times. For if, at any time, it were not [Page 61] visible; how could men, that were out of it, come vnto it? or how could they at­taine saluation, if they did not enter into it? sith at all times, the merits and fruites of Christs Passion are inclosed in it: and the meanes, of saluation, and to escape e­ternall damnation, are only found in it. The Church therefore is visible at all times. For at all times, that Prophesie of Isaias must be true, wherin our Lord spea­keth thus to the Church,Isa. 60. Aperientur portae tuae iugiter, die ac nocte non claudentur; vt affe­ratur ad te fortitudo gentium, & reges earum adducantur; Gens enim & regnum quod non seruierit tibi peribit. Thy gates shalbe con­tinually opened, day and night they shall not be shut; that the strength of nations and the kings therof may be brought vn­to thee; for the nation and kingdome which shall not serue thee, shall perish.

Sixtly the only reason and ground, by which, heretiques hold the Church to be inuisible, is, because they imagine the Church to consist onely of the elect or onely of the good. But this is a false ground, as appeareth by the name of Church in Greeke Ecclesia which euen by the etymology of the word doth sig­nifie, [Page 62] the company of men called; now sure it is, that moe are called then elected, as our Sauiour saith,Math. 20. multi vocati pauci electi. Againe, this ground is shewed to be false, by those parables, in which the Church is compared to a floare,Math. 3. wherein wheate and chaffe are mixed.Math. 23. And to a mariage, to which came good and bad. And to a net,Math. 13. wherin are gathered al sorts of fishes, good and bad. And to ten Virgins, wher­of fiue were foolish and excluded from the celestial marriage.Math. 25. This ground is al­so shewed to be false out of S. Paule, [...]. Cor. 5. who commandeth the Corinthians, to expell an incestuous person out of the Church. Er­go, before this expulsion, there was such a person in the Church, and therefore, the Church doth not consist, only, of those, that be good.

Lastly, the ancient Fathers did teach, that the Church is visible.Hom. 30. in math. Origen saith Ec­clesia plena est fulgore ab oriente vs (que) ad occi­dentem. The Church is full of brightness from the East to the West. Ecclesia (saith S. Cyprian) Domini luce perfusa, radios suos per orbem spargit. Lib. de Vnitate Ecclesiae. The Church being bright, with the light of our Lord, doth spreade her beames throughout the world. Faci­lius [Page 63] est (saith S. Chrysostome) solem extingui quàm ecclesiam obscurari. Lib. 4. in cap. 6. Isa. It is more easy that the Sunne should be extinguished, then that the Church should be obscured, that is to say darkened and quite without light. S. Augustine also alluding to (or ra­ther expounding) those words of our Sa­uiour Non potest ciuitas abscondi supra montem posita. Saith,Lib. 3. & ep. parm. cap. 4. Ecclesia supra montem constituta abscondi nō potest. The Church being built vpon a mountaine, cannot be hid. And againe, in another place, he saith.Tract. 2. in epist. Ioan. Quid am­plius dicturus sum quàm caecos, qui tam magnū montem non vident; qui, contra lucernam in cā ­delabro positam, oculos claudunt? What shall I say more, but that they are blind, who doe not see so great a mountaine: who shut their eyes, at the candle, sette vpon the candle-sticke?

CHAP. XIII. How we should discerne and know, which is the true visible Church of Christ.

HITHERTO I haue shewed that the rule of faith, (which all men ought to seeke, that, by it, they may learne true faith) is the doctrine of the Church of [Page 64] Christ: and that this Church doth con­tinue: and is alwaies visible, that is to say, such as may be found out and knowne▪ Now the greatest question is (sith, there are diuers companies of them that be­leeue in Christ; euery one of which, challenge to themselues, the title of the true Church) how euery man may come to know assuredly, and in particuler, which company is indeed the true visible Church of Christ, whose doctrine we must, in all points, beleeue and follow.

To this question I answere that euery company which hath the name of Chri­stiās, or which challeng to thēselues the name of the Church, are not alwaies the true Church. For of heretiques we may well say; as S. Austen doth, non, quia ecclesia Christi videntur habere nomen, idcirco pertinent ad eius consecrationem. They doe not there­fore pertaine to the consecration of the Church of Christ, because they seeme to cary the name of the Church of Christ. For (as the same S. Austen saith in another place) heretiques are only whited ouer with the name of Christians.Lib. & ep. parm. cap. 7. Lib. de prescript. When in­deed Si haeretici sunt (as Tertullian saith) Christiani esse non possunt. If they be hereti­ques, [Page 65] they cannot be true Christians. The reason whereof, the same Tertullian insi­nuateth to be, because, they follow [...] that faith, which came from Christ (to his Apostles and Disciples, and which was deliuered by them, from hand to hand, to our forefathers, and so to vs) but they follow that faith, which they chose to themselues; of which election or choise, the name of heretike & heresie did arise.

The way therefore, to discerne, which is the true Church, is, first to set downe, which be the certaine markes, by which, all men may easily know the Church: & then to examine to whom these markes do agree. The which, that I may the bet­ter performe, in the chapters following, here I thinke good, first briefely to note, what belongeth to the nature of a good and sufficient marke.

Note, therefore that two things are re­quired in euery sufficiēt marke. The first is, that it be not common to many, but proper, and only agreeing to the thing, whereof it is a marke. As for example, it is no good marke whereby to know any particuler mā; to say, he hath two hands, or two eares; because this is common to [Page 66] many and therefore no sufficient note or marke, wherby one may be distinguished or knowne from all other. But a marke, whereby we may discerne one speciall man, from all other, must be some one thing, or moe, which he hath, and others haue not.Taller. bigger. As if he were longer, larger, or fairer thē the rest; or if some others were as long, Tall. Tall. and other some as faire, yet none were long & faire both, but only he. The second thing, required in a good marke, is, that it be more apparant, and easie to be knowne, then the thing. For example, If I were to describe and make knowne a certaine man, who were otherwise vn­knowne. I must not thinke it sufficient to giue the definition of his essence, or to as­signe the secret disposition of his hart, li­uer and other inward partes, which are commonly harder to be knowne, thē the man himselfe. But I must declare some apparant thing in his face, hands or some outward part of his body: or in his voice, apparell, behauiour, or such like; which agreeing onely to that man; and being easie to be knowne, may be a meanes to make vs know the man we seeke for.

Wherefore, when we will assigne some [Page 67] good markes, by which, all sortes of men may, in some sort, discerne, which parti­cular cōpany of men is the true Church, we must haue speciall regard to assigne those things, which, in some matters, may be apparant to all sortes of men; sith all sortes of men had neede to seeke out, and according to their capacitie discerne which is the true Church: we must also assigne those thinges, which agree to no other companie, but that, which is the true Church, to th'intent that a man shall see all those thinges, which be assigned as marks, to agree to any companie, he may streightwaies conclude, that company to bee the true Church: as on the contrarie side, if he perceiue, either all, or any one of them to be wanting, in any company, he may be sure, that, that company is not the true Church.

CHAP. XIIII. That those markes of the Church, which Haeretiques assigne, be not good markes.

OVT of that, which in the former chapter, I briefely noted, about the [Page 68] nature of a good marke, we may easily gather, that those markes, which some Haeretiques assigne, to wit, the true do­ctrine of faith: and the right vse of the Sa­craments, are no good markes, by which all sortes of men may come to knowe, which is the true Church; but are meanes (as Haeretiques vse them) to cast a myste ouer the whole matter, when as they know, that they can, most easily, conuert all the Sacramentes, and holy wordes of Scripture,Lib. 3. de bapt. & donat. cap. 19. Ad imagines phantasmatum suo­rum, vnto their owne imaginations and phantasticall opinions (as out of S. Austen we may gather, that the manner of Haere­tiques is,) especially when the authoritie of the Church, (which should correct those deprauations and false expositions) is not first, by other markes, knowen and admitted.

The doctrine of faith, therefore (I say) and the right vse of Sacramentes, be not good marks, whereby men may discerne which is the true Church.

This I proue.

First, for that by the true doctrine of faith (which they assigne for a marke of the Church) either they meane, true do­ctrine [Page 69] in some pointes onely, or in all. True doctrine in some pointes onely, is no good marke, because the Haeretiques teache the trueth in some pointes. This therfore being not proper to the Church; but agreeing rather to Haeretiques, can bee no good marke of the true Church: because it wanteth the first condition of a marke, which is, to be proper, & agree­ing onely to the thing, whereof it is a marke. True doctrine also in all pointes, although it be proper (if we ioyne to it the right vse of Sacramentes, with obe­dience to lawfull pastours) & agree one­ly to the true Church, yet it is no good marke; because, it faileth in the second condition, which is required in a good marke, that is to say, it is not apparant or easy to be knowē, of al those, who should seeke out the true Church. As I may easily proue, because to know which cō ­panie teacheth the trueth in all pointes, requireth first learning, wherby one may vnderstand the tearmes, and state of the question, or controuersie. besides, iudge­ment, to discusse and weigh prudētly the worth and sufficiency of the authorities and reasons of both partes; that, vpō this [Page 70] pondering of reasons, he may prudently conclude which is the better part. More­ouer one had neede to haue a supernatu­rall light of Gods grace and the assistāce of his Spirit, whereby he may discerne & see those thinges, which be aboue all na­turall rules and reasons. Ad haec quis ido­neus? Who can saye that himselfe is suffi­ciently furnished with these helpes? who can bee infallibly sure, that he hath all these, in such sorte, as is requisite, for ob­taineing, by his own industrie, true & vn­fallible faith; in all points? surely, at least, the vnlearned must needes confesse, that, in diuers mysteries, they doe not so much as vnderstand the tearmes and state of the question: and much lesse are they able, to examine sufficiently the worth of euery reason: neither are all such, as can per­swade themselues, that they are singular­ly inlightened, and immediately taught of Gods Spirite: neither, if they did thus perswade themselues, could they be vn­fallibly sure, that in this their perswasion they were not deceiued; sith it is certaine, that some of them, that most strongely perswade themselues to be thus taught, are in this their perswasion deceiued; nei­ther [Page 71] can the vnlearned sufficiently know the truth, in euery particuler point, by giuing credit to some one, or other learned man, or any companie of the learned; vnles, that company, bee first knowen, to be of the true Church, & cō ­sequently to be guided in their teaching, by the holy Ghost, as I proued before. So that it is most hard or rather vnpossible for a mā, and especially for an vnlearned man, in all pointes,Lib. 3. & Faust. cap. 13. liquidam à tot erroribus discernere veritatem, to discerne the plaine truth from so many errours, as S. Austen saith. It is also most hard for a man of himself to iudge, which vse of Sacramēts is right, if he be not first taught by the Church; sith this is a principall point of the true doctrine of faith, which is (as I sayde) very hard or rather vnpossible to be perfitely knowen by a mans owne selfe. But to know, first, which company is the true Church; and then, by giuing credit to it, to learne, which is the true faith; & which vse of Sacraments is right, there are not so many things required, nor any great difficultie, as shalbe decla­red. For the Church is that direct way, which Isaias speaketh of, when hee saith: [Page 72] Haec erit vobis directa vta, Isa. c. 35. ita vt stulti non errent per eam. This shalbe to you a direct waye, so that euen fooles, (to wit simple & vn­learned men) may not erre in it.

Secondly I proue the same, because, when we seeke for the true Church, we seeke it principally for this end, that by it, as by a necessary▪ & infallible meanes we may heare, and learne of it, the true, faith in all pointes, which otherwise in it selfe is hidden, obscure and vnknowen to vs; according to that of S. Paule. Animalis homo non percipit [...]a, 1. Cor. 2. quae sunt Spiritus Dei: the sensuall man doth not perceiue those thinges, which are of the Spirit of God. For, sith, none, by the onely power of na­turall wit, (which in vnderstāding vseth the help of outward senses,) can obtaine the supernaturall knowledge of diuine mysteries, which we belieue by our faith: neither doth the Spirit of God who, as the principall cause, infuseth this guift of faith into our soules) ordinarily instruct any man, in the knowledge of true faith, immediately by himselfe alone, or by an Angell sent from heauē; we must needes, if we will haue true faith, seeke first for that, which it pleaseth almighty God to [Page 73] vse, as the ordinary instrument and as a necessary meanes, by which men may learne true faith; the which is no other, but the preaching and teaching of the true Church, according to that saying of S. Paule. Rom. 10. Quomodo credent ei quem non audie­rint? quomodo audient sine praedicante? quomo­do praedicabunt nisi mittantur? How shall they beleeue him, whom they haue not heard? how shall they heare, without a preacher? how shall they preach, vnlesse they be sent. Therefore the true Church, which only hath preachers truely sent of God, must first be found out, that by it we may heare and know which is the true faith. Therefore of the two, the true Church is rather a marke, whereby we may know the true preaching, and, con­sequently the true doctrine of faith, then contrary, that, (as heretiques say) the doctrine should be a marke, whereby all men must know, which is the true Church.

Thirdly, true faith is included in the true Church, and, as it were enclosed in her belly; as S. Austen saith, vpon those words of the Psalme Errauerunt ab vtero, In Ps. 53. [...]quu [...]i sunt falsa. In ventre ecclesiae (saith he) [Page 74] veritas manet; quisquis ab hoc ventre separatus fuerit, necesse est, vt falsa loquatur. Truth re­maineth in the belly of the Church; who­soeuer is seperated (to wit by difference in doctrine) frō this belly of the Church, must needs speake false. Therfore like as, if a man had golde in his belly, we must first find the man▪ before we can come to see the golde it selfe: so we must first, by other markes, find out the true Church, which hath the gold of true faith, hidden in her belly, before we come to see the gold of true faith it selfe Sith especially, we cannot see it, vnlesse shee open her mouth, and deliuer it vnto vs, & that we cannot (being spiritually blind) certaine­ly know it to be true, & not counterfeite, but by giuing credit to her testimony of it. According as the same S. Austen saith Euangelio non crederem, Lib. & Ep. Fund. cap. 5. nisi me ecclesiae authori­tas commoueret. I should not beleeue the Gospell it selfe, vnlesse I were moued by the authority of the Church. For if we had not the testimony of the Church, how should we haue bin infallibly sure, that there were any Gospel at all? or how should wee haue knowne, that those bookes, which beare title of the Gospell, [Page 75] according to S. Mathew, Marke, Luke, and Iohn. Are true Canonicall Scripture▪ ra­ther then those bookes, which are writen in the name of Nicodemus, and S. Thomas, bearing the same title or inscription of Gospell.

Fourthly, if the true doctrine of faith, in all particuler pointes, must bee fore knowne, as a marke, whereby to know the true Church; then (contrary to that which hath bin proued) the authority of the Church, should not be a necessarie meanes, whereby men must come to the knowledge of the true faith. For if before wee come to know, which is the true Church, we must, by other meanes, haue knowne, which is the true faith; what neede then is there, for getting true faith already had, to seeke or bring in the au­thority of the same Church.

Fiftly, If, before we giue absolute and vndoubted credit to the true Church we must examine and iudge, whether euery particuler point of doctrine, which it holdeth, be the truth, with authority to accept that only, which we like, or which seemeth, in our conceipt, right and con­formable to Scripture: & to reiect, what­soeuer [Page 76] wee mislike, or which, in our pri­uate iudgement, seemeth not so right and cōformable; then we make our selues ex­aminers and Iudges ouer the Church; & consequently, we preferre our liking or disliking, our iudgement and censure, of the interpretation & sense of Scripture, before the iudgement, and censure of the Church of God. But it is absurd, both in reason and religion, to preferre the iudg­ment of any priuate man (be he neuer so witty and learned, or neuer so strongly perswaded▪ in his owne mind, that he is taught by the Spirit) before the iudge­ment & definitiue sentence of the Church of God; the which is a company of men, many of which, both are, & alwaies haue bin, vertuous, wise, and learned, & (which is chiefe) is such a company, as, according to the absolute and infallible promises of our Sauiour, hath, vndoubtedly, the ho­ly Spirit among them, guiding them, and teaching them all truth, and not permit­ting them to erre, as before hath beene proued.

But you may perhaps say that in Scripture we are willed, not to beleeue euery spirit,1. Ioh. 4. but to try spirits, whether they bee [Page 77] of God or no▪ and that therefore, we must examine and try the spirit of the Church, by looking into euery particuler point of doctrine, which it teacheth.

I answere. That, in that place of Scrip­ture, it is not meant, that it belongeth to euery particuler man to try all spirits; but in generall, the Scripture giueth the Church warning, not to accept▪ euery one, that boasteth himselfe to haue the Spirit, and willeth, that they should trie those spirits; not, that euery simple or pri­uate man, should take vpon him to trie them: but that those of the Church, to whom the office of trying spirits doth appertaine, to wit, the Doctors and Pa­stors, which almighty God hath put in his Church, of purpose,Eph. 4▪ Vt non circumfera­ [...]ur omni vento doctrinae that we may not be caried away with euery wind of doctrine, and Vt non simus paruuli fluctuantes that we may not be litle ones wauering, with e­uery blast of those, that boast themselues to be singulerly taught by the Spirit. So that this trying of spirits is only meant of those spirits, of which men may well doubt, whether they be of God or no; & thē also this trial belōgeth to the Pastors [Page 78] of the Church. But when it is certaine that the spirit is of God, we neither need nor ought doubtfully to examine, or pre­sūptuously to iudge of it but submitting obediently, the iudgement of our owne sense and reason, wee must beleeue the teaching of it, in euery point. Now it is most certaine, that the Spirit of the true visible Church is of God, as, out of holie Scripture, hath bin most euidently pro­ued. And therefore our only care should be, to seeke out those markes, by which, all men may know, which particuler cō ­pany of mē, is the true Church of Christ, whose doctrine, we neither need, nor lawfully may examine▪ and try, in doubt­full manner, but must obediently and vn­doubtfully, in all points, beleeue, as the only assured and infallible truth.

CHAP. XV. That these foure properties, Vna, Sancta, Ca­tholica, Apostolica, that is to saie, One, Holy, Catholique, Apostolique, are good markes, by which men may know, which is the true Church.

SITH, our Sauiour Christ, hath thought good; to plant a visible Church vpon [Page 79] earth, which he would haue to continue, vntill the worlds end, for this speciall in­ [...]ent and purpose, that all men, in all ages, by meanes of it, may learne the doctrine of the true faith: the true worship of God: the right vse of the Sacraments: the hole­some lawes of good life: and generally all good thinges, that appertaine to the glo­rie of God, and the saluatiō of our soules; wee haue not any reason to doubte, but that the same our Sauiour, (for the excee­ding loue, which, (of his part, without ex­ception, or respect of persons) he beareth to al mākind) hath ordained some marks or notes, by which all sortes, and conse­quently euen simple men, may sufficiētly discerne, which company (among many, which challenge to themselues the title of the true Church) is indeede the true Church. For sith, hee would haue euery one to heare, and learne thinges necessa­ry to saluation, only of the true Church; we must needes thinke, his wisedome and goodnes to haue marked this his Church with such manifest signes & properties, that all men may easily know it, and dis­cerne it from others, whome he knew would take vpō them, (though falsly) the [Page 80] title and profession of the true Church.

This seemeth to haue beene expresse­ly foretold by the Prophete Isaias, when he saieth:Isa. c. 61. Scietur in gentibus semen eorum, & germen eorum in medio populorum. Omnes qui viderint [...]os, cognoscent illos, quia isti sunt semen, cui benedixit Dominus. Their seed shall be knowen in the nations, & their ofspring in the middest of people; all that shall see them, shall know them, because these are that seed, which our Lord hath blessed. Which is as much, as if he should say, that the Church shall haue such manifest markes, that it shalbe easy for euery one to know them to be the true Church.

Some of these markes are set downe by S. Austen, Lib. & Ep. Fund. cap 4. who calleth them bandes or chaines, which doe hold a faithfull man in the Catholique Church, although for the slownes of his wit, or for some other cause, he doth not euidently see the truth of the doctrine, in it selfe.

Of these markes, diuers authours haue written at large. I (for breuitie sake) haue chosen out onely these foure: Vna, Sancta, Catholica, Apostolica: One, Holy, Catholique, Apostolique: because I hope these will be sufficient, and because I finde these, e­ [...]pecially, [Page 81] set forth in Scriptures: commē ­ [...]ed by Councels: and generally admit­ [...]ed, of all sortes, both Catholiques and Protestantes, as now I am to declare.

First, for the generall admittance of these properties of the true Church, I need no other proofe, but that both Ca­tholiques and Protestantes, allow of the Nicene, & Constantinopolitane Creed, where­ [...]n we profes to beleeue the true Church, [...]he which Church, is there described, with these onely foure properties, which before I named, as though, by those one­ly, euery man might sufficiently know that Church, which, in euery pointe, they are bound to beleeue. Now if besides this proofe, out of the generally receiued Councels, some precise man would haue [...]eproue,The first marke Vna pro­ued out of Scrip­ture. Cant c. 6 Cypr. l. de vnitate Ecclesiae. Aug. l. 6. in Ioan. Ioh. c. 1 [...] these properties to agree to the true Church, out of the Scripture it selfe, this also I may easily doe.

The true Church is signified to be One, by those wordes of the Canticle: Vna est [...] mea, if we will beleeue the exposi­tion of S. Cyprian and S. Austen. Also we may gather the same out of those wordes of our Sauiour, in which he calleth his Church vnum ouile one sheepfold. Also by [Page 82] those places of S. Paul, where he tearmeth the Church vnum corpus one body.Rom 12. 1. Cor. 10 More­ouer Christ our Sauiour praying for his Church, did specially intreate, & without doubt obtained,Ioh. 17. vt omnes vnum sint, that all the membres therof should be one thing, to wit, that at the least they should al pro­fesse one and the same faith: all partake of one and the same baptisme, and other Sacramentes, all liue vnder one and the same Lord, in due subordination & sub­iection to that vniforme and orderly go­uernement of lawfull pastours, ordained & appointed in the Church by him. The true Church of Christ therefore is one.

Contrary, the conuenticles of Here­tiques are destitute of this marke of vni­tie,Lib. de Prescript. according as Tertullian affirmeth, say­ing. Denique penitus inspectae Haereses omnes, in multis, deprehenduntur cum auctoribus suis dis­sentientes. Finally all Heresies, if they be well looked into, are found to differ, in many thinges, from their first founders. And the reason of this disagreemēt amōg Heretiques, the same Tertullian assigneth very well, in the same place, saying. Va­riant inter se Haeretici, Ibidem. dum vnusquisque pro su [...] arbitrio modulatur quod accepit: quemadmodum [Page 83] [...] pro arbitrio composuit ille qui tradidit. He­retiques do differ (in pointes of doctrine) [...]mong themselues, while as euery one ta­ [...]eth vpon him to fashion the faith, which he receiued, according to his owne liking [...] fancie: like as he, that first deliuered it [...]nto them, did inuent it, according to his owne will and pleasure.

The true Church is also proued to bee [...]ly, by that of S. Paule. The se­cond marke. Sancta. Templum Dei san­ctum est, quod estis vos. The temple of God is holy, which temple you are.1. Cor. 3. By which place notwithstanding S. Paule did not [...]eane to signifie, that euery one of this companie was holy. For a litle after, in the same Epistle, hee saith to the same cō ­panie, Omnino auditur inter vos fornicatio, 1. Cor. 5. & [...]lis fornicatio, qualis nec inter gentes. There is plainely heard fornication among you, and such fornication as the like is not a­mong the heathen. He doth not therfore (I say) meane that euery one of the Church is holy, but that the whole com­pany is to be tearmed holy; because the profession thereof doth, of it selfe, who­ly tend to holines; the doctrine being such, as withdraweth from all vice, and instructeth and moueth men to vertue; [Page 84] the Sacraments also do not only signifie, but, in the vertue, which they haue from Christ his Passion, they also worke, in vs, (as instrumentall causes) true & inward sanctitie. Wherfore although euery one, that is in the Church, be not holy, yet, no doubt, alwaies some are; the which their holines, it pleaseth almighty God to te­stifie and make knowne sometime by miracle, and ordinarily, he vseth to make it apparant enough, by the light of their vertuous actions, which, at all times, in many members of the true Church, doe so shine before men, that▪ by it, men are moued to glorify God, and sometimes to imitate in their owne life, that, which, in others, they admire. And whatsoeuer member of the Church faileth from this holines of life, it is euident, that the faulte is only in himselfe, who liueth not accor­ding to the prescript of his profession, nor vseth, in due sort, those meanes, which it hath of the holy Sacraments, which, as I said before, are effectual instruments of sanctification.

Contrariwise, no sect of Heretiques, is truely holy; neither was there euer any person, that did inuent, or obstinately [Page 85] adhere vnto, any sect of heresie, which [...]ad in him true sāctity. And no merueile. Because the very profession and doctrine it selfe of euery heresie, is opposite to the very rootes of true sanctity; the which rootes be true Christian faith and humilitie. For how can he be truely holy and iust? who being possessed with the spirit of he­resy, must needs be depriued of true faith, without which, the iust man cannot liue, according to that saying of S. Paule. Hebr. 10. Mat. 18. Iustus ex fide viuit. Or how can he be holy? that doth not only, not humble himselfe, like a litle one, submitting himselfe to euery humane creature, for Gods sake:1. Pet. 2. but doth proudly oppose himselfe, against the v­niuersall Church it self, whom God hath willed and commanded vs to heare,Luc. 10. no otherwise then himselfe. For wanting this humility,Iac. 4. & consequently the grace of God, which is denied to the proud, & giuen to the humble, there is no doubt, but that howsoeuer such a man seemeth in his outward behauiour, hee can haue no true sanctity within him; the which true sanctity failing inwardly, it is hard for him to beare himselfe so, but that, sometime or other, by one occasion or o­ther, [Page 86] he shall euen outwardly manifest this his inward wāt; as in these our daies, heretiques commonly do, in such appa­rant manner, that it is no hard matter to discerne, that they be not (as some of thē would haue the Church defined) a compa­ny of Saints.

The third marke Catholica.The true Church is proued also to be Catholique, that is to say vniuersall; first, in time; by most plaine prophesies & pro­mises of scripture, as I haue already shewed in the eleauenth chapter; vnto which here I will only adde those words of Isai­as Hoc faedus meum cum eis dicit Dominus, Isa. c. 59. spi­ritus meus qui est in te, & verba mea, quae posui in ore tuo, non recedent de ore tuo, & de ore semi­nis tui, & de ore seminis seminis tui, dicit Do­minus, amodo vs (que) in sempiternum. This is my couenant with them, saith our Lord; my Spirit which is in thee, and my wordes which I haue put in thy mouth, shall not depart from thy mouth, and from the mouth of thy seede, and from the mouth of the seede of thy seede, saith our Lord, from hence forth for euer.

It may also be easily proued to be vni­uersal in respect of place,Psal. 21. by these plaine testimonies of holy Scripture. Conuerten­ [...]r [Page 87] ad Dominum vniuersi fines terrae, all the [...]ounds of the earth shall be conuerted to [...] Lord. Dominabitur à mari vs (que) admare, Psal. 71. [...] à flumine vs (que) ad terminos orbis terrarum. He (to wit Christ) shall rule and haue do­minion from sea to sea, & from the flood, [...]ntill the furthermost limits of the earth. Omnes gentes seruient ei. Ibidem. All nations shall serue him. Vpon all which places and some other, see S. Austen in his exposition of the Psalmes, and among other things, which he speaketh to the purpose, note his interpretation of those words à slumi­ [...] vs (que) ad terminos orbis terrarum. VVhich words (saith he) doth signifie, that the do­minion of Christ began à slumine Iordano from the flood of Iordan; where he, be­ing baptized, was made manifest, by the descending of the holy Ghost, and the sound of his Fathers voice; from whence hee began to choose his Disciples; and from hence (saith he) Doctrina oius incipi­ [...]s dilatatur, vs (que) ad terminos orbis terrae, Aug, in Psal. 71. cum praedicatur Euangelium regni in vniuerso orbe, in testimonium omnibus gentibus, & tunc veni­ [...] finis. His doctrine beginning, is dilated or spread abroad, vnto the furthest parts of the earth, when the Gospell of the [Page 88] kingdome is preached ouer the whole world, for a testimony to all nations, af­ter which done, the end (of the world) shall come. See also the same S. Austen in his booke de vnitate Ecclesiae, especially in the ninth and tenth chapter, where he ci­teth and vrgeth that place of Saint Luke, where our Sauiour saith Necesse est impleri omnia quae scripta sunt in lege, Luc. 24. Prophetis, & Psalmis de me &c. quoniam sic scriptum est, & sic oportebit Christum pati, & resurgere à mor­tuis, & predicari in nomine eius poenitentiam & remissionem peccatorum in omnes gentes, incipi­entibus ab Ierosolima. It is needfull that all things should be fulfilled, which are wri­ten of me, in the Law, the Prophets and Psalmes &c. for so it is written, and so it was needfull, that Christ should suffer, & rise againe from the dead the third day, and that penance and remission of sinnes should be preached in his name through­out all nations, beginning from Hierusa­lem. By which place and diuers others, he sheweth plainely, that the true Church of Christ, cannot be contained in a cor­ner of the world, but must be vniuersall, that is, diffused and spread, throughout the whole world, as the same S. Austen, [Page 89] beside his other proofes, gathered out of the very name Catholica, the which name (saith he) was imposed on the Church by our forefathers,Aug. 1. de Vtilitate Ecclesiae. vt ex ipso nomine ostenderent [...]ia per totum est, secundū totum enim Catholon [...]race dicitur. That by the very name, [...]hey might shew, that the Church is throughout the whole world. For (saith he) the word Catholon in Greeke (where­vpon Catholique is deriued) signifyeth a thing which is generall or agreeing to the whole.

But we must note here, that when we [...]aye, the true Church is Catholique or [...]ffused throughout the whole world; it is ment, that, at least, by succession of time, it hath beene or shalbe dilated more and more in euery natiō, till it haue gone throughout the whole world. Moreouer it is tearmed Catholique, not onely be­cause it shalbe spred ouer the whol world in processe of time, but also because, euen in euery age, it hath beene and shalbe al­waies in very many nations; and indeede in euery nation, where any Christian re­ligion is, which is, in a sort to be spred o­uer the whole world. This doth S. Austen in his booke de vnitate Ecclesiae most dili­gently [Page 90] proue out of the Scriptures them­selues. The effect of his argument is this▪ The Church must be such as it is descri­bed in Scripture. But in Scripture it is described to beginne at Ierusalem: and to procede into al Iewrie:Act. c. 1. & to goe forward into Samaria: and to streatch it selfe fur­ther & further vsque ad vltimum terrae euen vnto the vttermost of the earth. And (sai­eth hee) the seede of the Gospell once sowen in the fielde of the world,Collos. 1. fructifi­cat, & crescit, doth (not, vniuersally, or for the most part, perish, but) fructifie and grow or encrease, in omni mundo in the whole world, & doth cōtinue to grow or encrease,Mat. 13. vsque ad messem vntill the haruest of the consummation of the world, as our Sauiour signifieth, the which consumma­tion wilbe, when this seede is come to the full grouth praedicabitur Euangelium in vni­uerso mundo, Mat. 24. in testimonium omnibus gentibus, (saieth our Sauiour) & tunc veniet consum­matio, the Gospell shalbe preached in the whole world, for a testimonie to all na­tions, and then the consummation shall come. This is Saint Austens discourse, by which he proueth that the true Church of Christ, is not contained in a corner of [Page 91] [...] world, but must be dilated and spred, [...] a sort, ouer the whole world.

On the contrary side, the congregatiō [...] Heretiques is not Catholique neither in [...] nor place. And first for time it is e­ [...]dent, because true doctrine was first [...]eached and beleeued, as the good seede [...]as first sowen in the fielde, & afterward [...] cockle, that is, false doctrine was ouer [...]wed. S. Paule did, for three yeares space, [...]ith the Ephesians the true doctrine of [...]ith, and had cōuersed among them like [...] lambe,Act. 20. seruiens Domino cum omni humilita­ [...] seruing our Lord with all humility; but [...]fter his departure, he saide, he knew that [...]enous wolues would enter in among [...]em, not sparing the flocke, and that, euē [...] of their owne companie, there would [...] viri loquentes peruersa, Ibidem. vt abducant disci­ [...]is post se, men speaking peruerse things [...]at they may leade away disciples after [...]emselues. And, as this happened at [...]esus, so doubtles in all other places, [...]here there hath beene any alteration of Christian doctrine; first the true faith was [...]anted by some Apostle or Apostolique [...]an. and afterward the contrarie was [...]ought in, by some speaking peruerse [Page 92] things, therby leading away disciples af­ter thēselues. So that it is certaine, that no Heresie is so ancient, as the true faith: nei­ther is any one of them of so long conti­nuance, for the time to come, as S. Paule signifieth, when, hauing described Here­tiques of the latter daies, he addeth, Sed vltra non proficient, insipientia enim eorum ma­nifesta erit omnibus, 2. Tim. 3. but they shall prosper no further, for their follie shalbe manifest to all. The same doth S. Austen aptly ex­presse, expounding those wordes of the Psalme,Aug. in Psal. 57. Ad nihilum deuenient tanquam aqua decurrens. Non vos terreant, sratres (saieth he) quidam fluuij qui dicuntur torrentes; hyemalibus aquis implentur; nolite timere, post paululum transit, decurrit aqua, ad tempus perstrepit, mo [...] cessabit, diu stare non possunt, Multae Haerese, iam emortuae sunt, &c. My brethren let not certaine floodes called landebrookes ter­rifie you; they are filled with winter wa­ters, feare them not, after a while the wa­ter doth passe & runne downe, for a time it maketh a noise, but it will cease by and by, those floodes can not stand long; Ma­ny Heresies are now alreadie dead, &c. Now if we will haue respect of place, it is certaine that no Heresie is by processe of [Page 93] time to spread it selfe absolutely ouer the whole world, as I haue proued, that the true Church shall doe, and the reason hereof may bee assigned, because as Saint Austen saieth, diu stare non possunt, they can not continue so long, as were needefull, to gett them so vniuersally spred ouer the whole world, especially considering, that as S. Paule saieth, when they haue conti­nued a while,2. Tim. 3. Insipientia earum manifesta fit omnibus, their folishenes is made manifest to all, and so no meruaile, si vltra non profi­ciant, if they prosper not, nor make no further progresse. Neither ordinarily, in any one age, is Heresie so vniuersall in place as the true Catholique religiō, but, for the most part, it is contained in one or two coūtries, as it were in a corner of the world. So that of heretiques we may well say, as S. Austen doth, that they are those, which say: Ecce hic est Christus, ecce illic. Aug. l. de Vnitate Ecclesiae. cap. 3. Be­holde Christ is here, beholde he is there. (that is to say, the true doctrine of Christ is only truely preached in this countrie, or that country) of which kind of people, our Sauiour giueth vs warning, and bid­deth vs, saying, nolite credere, beleeue them not.Mat. 24. We may well say also of these (as the [Page 94] same S. Austen doth) Quaecunque congregatio cuiuslibet Haeresis, Aug. l. 4. de Simb. cap. 10. in angulis sedet, concubina est, non matrona. Whatsoeuer congregation of what Heresie soeuer, sitteth in corners, (that is to say, is but in few prouinces, & in the rest of the Christian world, either is not at all, or at least is not manifestly knowen to be) is a concubine, not a ma­trone, to wit it is not the spouse of Christ, nor the lawfull mother of the children of God. Wherefore sith there is this diffe­rence betwixt heresie, and true Christian religion; that, as the same S. Austen saith.) Singulae Haereses in multis gētibus vbi Ecclesia est non inueniuntur: Aug. l. de Vnitate Ecclesiae. cap. 3. Ecclesia autem, quae vbique est, etiam vbi illae sunt, inuenitur. Heresies are not found in many nations, where the Church is: but the Church, which is eue­ry where, is found in those natiōs, where Heresies are. This difference (I say) being betwixt Heresie, and the true religion, we need not doubt, but that to be Catholique, or vniuersally receiued in the Christian world, especially at all times, is a note of the truth. And that therefore the compa­nie which professeth the faith, which, at all times, and, in a sort, in all places, hath bin receiued of Christians, is vndoubted­ly [Page 95] the true Church of Christ.

Lastly the true Church is also Aposto­lique, that is to say, such as hath her foun­dation from the Apostles, according to [...]hat saying of the Apostle S. Paule. Ephes. 2. Non estis hospites & aduenae sed estis ciues sanctorum & domestici Dei, superaedificati supra fundamē ­t [...]m Apostolorum & Prophetarum, ipso summo [...]gulari lapide Christo Iesu. You are not straungers and forreiners, but you are ci­tizens of the saincts and the domesticals of God, built vpon the foundation of the Apo­stles, and Prophetes, Iesus Christ himselfe being the highest corner stone. This we may gather out of that which is alreadie saide. For if the apostles were they which were appointed, by our Sauior, to be, vn­der him,Act. 1. the foūders of his Church which by their preaching, beganne at Ierusalem, and from thence, by them,Act. 2. and those that receiued auctority from them,Aug. l. de Pastor. cap. 8. tanquam vi­ [...]is crescendo vbique diffusa est (as Saint Austen speaketh) like a vine, by growing was spred abroad euery where; & being thus first planted, and spred abroad, was after­wards, by the ministerie of lawfully suc­ceeding pastours and doctors, continued, without interruption, till now, and shalbe [Page 70] also so continued, till the worldes end: there is no doubt, but that this companie (descending thus lineally from the Apo­stles, & depending of them, as their law­full progenitours, and being built vpon them, as (after Christ himselfe) vpō prin­cipall foundations) may well bee called Apostolique, that is to saye, such as deriue their pedegree from no other authour or founder, latter then the Apostles them­selues. All this doth Tertullian briefely, but pithely comprehend in this short sentēce Apostoli apud vnam-quam (que) ciuitatem ecclesias condiderunt: Lib. de prescript. ab his autem ciuitatibus seu eccle­sijs ab Apostolis constitutis, traducem fidei, & semina doctrinae, caeterae exinde ecclesiae mutua­tae sunt & quotidie mutuantur vt ecclesiae fiant, ac per hoc & ipsae Apostolicae deputabuntur vt soboles Apostolicarum ecclesiarum. The Apo­stles (to wit either immediately by them­selues, or by meanes of others) founded Churches at euery Citty: from which ci­ties or Churches, being thus founded by the Apostles, other Churches afterward did borrow, and do daily borrow the of­spring of faith, and the seeds of doctrine, that they may be made Churches, and, by this meanes, these also shall be accoū ­ted [Page 97] Apostolique, as being the issue of the Apostolicall Churches.

Contrariwise no conuenticle of here­tiques can be Apostolique, by reason that heresie (being an vpstart nouelty, contra­ry to the former receiued faith of the Church) cannot haue any Apostle or A­postolique man, for auctor and founder, but is forced to acknowledge some o­ther, of whom, as it receaued the first be­ing, so most comonly, either the doctrine or the men that follow it, or both, receiue also their name, as of Arrians came Arria­nisme, and the Arrians, of Montanus came the Montanists, and Montanisme, and there was neuer yet heretique, which could de­riue the pedegree of his congregation, by vninterrupted succession, from the A­postles; which maketh Tertullian to vrge them so earnestly, saying,Lib. de prescript. Edant haeretici origines ecclesiarum suarum, euoluant ordinem Episcoporum ita per successiones decurrentes, vt primus ille Episcopus, aliquem ex Apostolicis vi­ [...]is, qui tamen cum Apostolis perseuerauerit, au­thorem habuerit, & antecessorem. Let the he­tikes shew the beginning of their Chur­ches (or, as they had rather say, of their Congregations) let them vnfold the or­der [Page 98] of their Bishops (or superintendents) so running downe by successions, that the first of them shall haue for his auctor (in doctrine) and predecessors (in place) any Apostolique man, who did perseuer, and did not forsake the Apostles. Thus did Tertullian vrge them because he knew well, that they could neuer make this proper note of the true Church to agree to their company.

It appeareth therefore plaine enough, that these foure properties One Holy Ca­tholique and Apostolique agree only to the true Church; and sith it is no hard mat­ter for any to see or know, which com­pany of Christians hath these properties (as in the next chapter I shall declare.) It is also plaine, that these foure One, Holie Catholique, Apostolique (being proper to the true Church: and apparant enough) are good notes or markes, by which mē may discerne, which company of those, which haue the name of Christians, and which professe (as euery company professeth themselues) to teach the true doctrine of Christ, is indeed the true Church, which, doubtlesse, teacheth, in all points, the true doctrine of Christ.

CHAP. XVI. That the Romane Church is One, Holy, Catholique, Apostolique, and therefore the true Church.

THVS farre my discourse hath gone along all in generalities, in shewing the necessity of true faith: and that this faith is to be learned of the true Church: and that this Church continueth alwaies and is visible, as being a visible company of men professing the true faith of Christ: parta­king his Sacraments: and liuing vnder the go­uernement of lawfull Pastors his substitutes: & that, (whereas diuers companies of men take vpon them the title of this Church, whereby some do stand in doubt, which company is the true Church) there bee certain marks, by which, the true Church may be certainely knowen, & discerned, from all other companies or congregati­ons: and finally, that these markes bee those foure One, Holy, Catholique, Apostoli­que, which are certainely knowne to bee the properties of the true Church, both by the Nicene Creed, and also by plaine testimonies of Scriptures and Fathers.

[Page 100]Now it wil be good to see, if we can, by these generall grounds, conclude, which particuler company of men is the true Church of Christ. A conclusion of ex­ceeding great consequence, as touching all matters in controuersie concerning the doctrine of faith, as may appeare, by the drifte of all my former discourse. For the framing of which conclusion, we shal not need to bring in comparison, all the companies or sectes of diuers religions, that haue bin and are in the world; be­cause euery one can easily discerne of themselues, and especially by the helpe of that, which hath beene saide, that nei­ther Turkes nor Iewes nor whatsoeuer o­ther Infidels, can be the true Church of Christ, because these neither haue the name of Christians, neither do they pro­fesse to haue the name of Christ. Neither am I now to meddle with heretiques and schismatiques of former ages, the which, as they haue bin condemned, by the ge­nerall consent of the Church, so, in con­tinuance of time, they haue beene worne out by the same Church, in so much, that euen the memory of them (God be than­ked) seemeth to be perished with them.

[Page 101]My chiefe question and comparison, therfore, shalbe, betwixt the Romain Church (that is to say, that company, which com­ [...]unicateth, and agreeth in profession of faith, with the Church of Rome, & liueth vnder the obedience (as touching spiri­tuall matters) of the Bishop of Rome, & other Bishops and pastours vnder him) and the Protestantes (that is to say, that companie, which from Luther his time hitherward, haue opposed themselues against the Ro­maine Church) either all or any one sect of them; my question (I say) or compari­son shalbee, to which of those two, the foure forenamed markes agree, and con­sequentely, which of them is the true Church.

§ SECT. I. That the Romaine Church onely is one.

FIrst I finde that the Protestants Church is not perfitely One, or vniforme in dogmaticall points of faith, but variable, according to the varietie of times & per­sons, now holding one thing, then an o­ther, and that the learned men thereof, are so much at Iarre among themselues, [Page 102] in matters of faith, that it is hard to finde three, in all pointes, of one opinion, and, (which is chiefly to bee pondered, as principally appertaining to the marke of Vnitie) they haue no meanes to end their controuersies, so to returne to vnitie, and to continue therein. For while as they ad­mitt no rule of faith, but onely Scripture: which scriptures diuers men expound di­uersely, according to the diuers humours and affections, opinions and phantasies of euery one, neuer one admitting any one head or cheef ruler infallibly guided by the holy Ghost, in his doctrine, to whose censure in matters of faith, euery one should of necessitie submit thēselues vt capite constituto, Lib. 2. & Iouin. schismatis tollatur occasio; that, (as S. Hierome speaketh) a head or chiefe ruler being ordained, occasion of schisme or diuision may bee taken away. Whilst they do thus (as they all doe thus, al proclaiming to be ruled by only Scrip­ture, and yet almost in euery one, in one point or other, expounding Scripture di­uersely, and one contrarie to an other, ac­cording to the diuers seeming of euery ones sense, and neuer one admitting any one superiour, infallibly guided by the [Page 103] [...]oly Ghost, to whose definitiue sentence [...]e and the rest wilbe bound to submitte [...]eir doctrine & expositiōs): whilst (I say) [...]hey doe thus, it is vnpossible that they [...]hould, in fidei occurrere vnitatem, S. Hier. in cap. 4 ad Ephes. meete (as S. Hierome consaileth) in the vnity of faith. The which vnitie in profession of faith notwithstanding, is one principall thing [...]ertaining to the vnitie of the Church: and Vnitie of the Church, is one chiefe mark, by which we must discerne which is the true Church.

Contrary wise the Romane Church is al­waies one and vniforme in faith, neuer va­ [...]ying, or holding any dogmaticall point contrarie to that, which in former times, from the beginning it did hold. The lear­ [...]ed men thereof, though sometimes dif­fering in opinion, in matters not defined by the Church, yet in matters of faith all cōspire in one. And no meruaile, because they haue a most conuenient meanes to keepe vnity in professiō of faith, sith they do acknowledge one chief pastor apoin­ted ouer them (to wit the successour of S. [...]eter) to whose definitiue censure, in mat­ters cōcerning religion, they wholy sub­mitte themselues, knowing that to Saint [Page 104] Peter (and his successours) Christ our Sa­uior promised the keyes of the kingdome of heauen:Math. 16. and that hee would vpon him (and his successours) as vpon a sure rocke, build his Church. Knowing also that the same our Sauiour did specially pray for S. Peter (and euery one his lawfull succes­sour) that this faith should not faile (at least so farr▪ as to teach the Church a false faith) to the intent,Luc. 22. that he might bee al­waies able to confirme his brethren, if, at any time, they should faile in the doctrine of faith.Chrysost. lib. 2. de Sacerdo­tio. S. Leo Ser. 2. de anniuers. assumpt. suae. ad Pontif. Ioan. 21. Knowing lastly, that to S. Peter, and his successours (which word I adde, not without sufficient authority and rea­son) Christ our Lord gaue most ample power ouer his vniuersall Church, say­ing, pasce ou [...]s m [...]as, feede my sheepe: that is to say: Rule or gouerne, as chief pastor vnder me, my sheep; that is, all those, that pertaine to the sheepefolde, which is the Church; giuing him and his successours charge to feed them, with the food of true doctrine of faith: and consequently bin­ding these his sheep, to receiue obedient­ly this foode of true doctrine of faith at their hands: & consequently tying him­selfe so to assiste him, and his successours, [Page 105] [...]ith the guiding of the holy Ghost, that [...]ey should alwaies propose vnto the [...]ocke of Christ, which is his vniuersall Church, the foode of true faith, and that [...]hey should neuer teach (ex Cathedra) any [...]ing contrary to true faith, sith if hee [...]ould not thus assist, but should pemitte [...]em to teach the Church errors in faith, [...]ē the Church, which Luke 10. Mat. 23. Mat. 16. Ioh. 16. he hath bound [...] heare this Pastor in all points, might, [...]ontrary to his purpose, erre, nay, should, [...] him, be bound to erre, which, without [...]lasphemy, cannot be said. All Catholike [...]earned men, therefore, knowing this, do [...]cknowledge that the definitiue sentēce, [...] this chiefe Pastor (either alone or at [...]ast with a generall councell) must needs [...]ee, alwaies, an vnfallible vndoubted [...]; and that therefore, they may safe­ [...]y, yea, they must necessarily, submitte all [...]eir iudgements and opinions, either in [...]terpreting Scripture, or otherwise in [...]tters concerning religion, to the cen­ [...]re of this Apostolike seate. The which [...]hile they doe, (as they must alwaies do, [...] they wil be accounted Catholike men, [...] will not cast out themselues, or bee cast out of the company of Catholiques) [Page 106] how is it possible, that one should dissen [...] from another, in matters of faith, or a [...] least obstinately (as heretiques doe) erre in any point of faith;

So that this difference may be assigned betwixt any sect of heretiques and the Romane Church; that heretiques are a company not vnited among themselues by any like, which is able to containe & continue them in vnity of faith: whereas the Romane Church is Plebs Sacerdoti aduna­ta & grex Pastori suo adhaerens (as S. Cyprian saith a Church should bee) a people ioy­ned to their Priest and a flocke cleauing to their Pastor,Cypr. lib. 4. Epist. 9 whom whilst it heareth, as it is alwaies bound to do) it is vnpossi­ble, but that it should retaine the vnitie of faith; like as, on the contrary side, ac­cording to the saying of S. Cyprian non ali­unde haereses obortae sunt, Lib. 1. Epist. 3. aut nata schismat [...], quàm inde, quod Sacerdoti Dei non obtempera­tur; nec vnus in Ecclesia ad tempus Sacerdos, nec vnus iudex vice Christi cogitatur. Not frō any other root haue heresies & schismes sproung vp but from this, that men doe not obey the Priest of God, neither doe they consider, how that in the Church there is one Priest, and one Iudge, for the time in steed of Christ.

§ II. That the Romane Church only is Holy.

SECONDLY, I finde that the Prote­stants Congregation is not Holy. Be­ [...]ause, not only most of their men be eui­ [...]ently more wicked, then men, which [...]oth in olde time, and in latter yeares, li­ [...]ed in the Roman Church; as those can tell, which haue seene both, and is confessed [...] Luther himselfe, who saith thus; Sunt [...] homines magis vindict cupidi, In postil­la super Euang dom. pri­mae ad­uentus. magis [...], magis ab omni misericordia remoti, magis [...]desti, & indisciplinati, multo (que) deteriores [...] fuerunt in Papatu. Men are now more [...]euengfull, more couetous, more vnmer­ [...]full, more vnmodest and vnruly, and [...]uch worse then when they were Pa­ [...]ists. The like testimony you may find [...]uen by another of their Doctors called [...]idelinus, which for breuity sake I omit. [...]ut chiefely their company is not holy,Conc. 4. super cap. 21. Luc. because there was neuer yet Saint or holy [...]an of it: neither is their doctrine such, [...] may, of it selfe, leade the most precise obseruers of it, to holines, but doth, (by [...]uers points which haue bin taught) ra­ther [Page 108] encline men to liberty, and loosene of life. As for example, it enclineth them to breake fasting daies; and to cast away secret confession of sins to a Priest; both which are knowne to bee soueraigne re­medies against sin. Also it enclineth them to neglect good workes; for they hould them either not to be necessary or no [...] meritorious of life euerlasting, which must needs make men lesse esteeme the practise of them. Also it maketh men carelesse in keeping Gods commande­ments, because diuers Protestants (if not all) hold them vnpossible to be obserued; and (as it is said) impossibilium non est electio ▪ No man chooseth or laboureth to at­chiue that which he thinketh to be alto­gether vnpossible. It maketh men also not to feare, or to bee carefull to auoide sinne, because it is held among them that whatsoeuer we do is sinne, and that wee cannot chuse but continually sinne, and that all sinnes are of themselues mortall, which whosoeuer thinketh, how can hee be afraid to sin, sith stultum est timere, quod vit ari nō potest, it is foolishnes to feare that, which no way can bee auoided. Finallie their doctrine of predestination is able to [Page 109] make men carelesse or desperate in all actions and consultations, sith some of them hould all things so to proceede of Gods eternall predestination, that man (in matters of religion, at least) hath no free-will to doe well, or to auoid ill, but that God himselfe is author, and moueth them, effectually and forcibly, not onely to good workes, but in the same sort, vn­to the acte of sinne. Loe whither this do­ctrine leadeth a man, vvhich giueth grounds, which of themselues encline a man, to neglect all endeuour, in the study and practise of vertue, and to cast away care of auoiding sinne and vice: & con­sider whether this can bee a good tree, which of it owne nature bringeth forth so bad fruite.Mat. 7. And see whether this com­pany, which teacheth and beleeueth such points of vnholy doctrine, can possiblie be a Holy Church.

In the Romane Church, I confesse there be some sinfull folke, all in it are not good. For the Church is called nigra & formosa, Cant. 1. blacke and faire, in it are mixed good and bad, as out of diuers parables of our Sa­uiour I proued before. But there are two differences betwixt the sinfull, which are [Page 110] in the Romaine Church and those which are among Sectaries.

The first difference is, that among he­retiques there are none, which wee may call truely holy, of which, as of the better or more worthy part, their congregation may be tearmed holy: as the Romane Church may. It may bee perhaps, that one may finde diuers of them, who abstaine from grosse outward sinnes, as stealing, swea­ring, &c. And that some of them, doe many workes morally good, as to giue almes to the needie, and that they liue, at least in outward shew, in vpright and moderate sort. But alas, these be not suf­ficient or certaine signes of sanctitie; all this, & perhaps farre more, we may reade of heathen Philosophers; these outward actions may proceed of naturall & some­time of sinnefull motiues: and consequēt­ly, they may be very farre from true ho­lines, which must be groūded in true charitie; [...]. Cor. 13 for as S. Paule saith to distribute all that one hath to feed the poore, or to giue ones bodie to burne, doth nothing auaile without charity: which charity must pro­ceede de corde puro, [...]. Tim. 1. & conscientia bona, & fide non ficta out of a pure harte, & a good con­science, [Page 111] and an vnfained faith. The which things being most inward; and consequēt­ly hidden and secret, cannot sufficiently be shewed to others, by those outward actions, which may come from other causes as soone as from these. Nay, they can not be knowen certainely of the par­ty himselfe.Eccles. [...]. For n [...]s [...]it homo vtrum odio vel [...]more dignus sit a man knoweth not whe­ther he be worthy of hate or loue: and quis potest dicere mundum est cor meum?Prou. [...]. who can say my hart is cleane? but these things are reserued to him onely qui scrutatur cor­d [...], who searcheth the harts, to witte al­mightie God, and it cannot be perfitely knowen of men, who haue them truely, and consequently, who be truely saints, vnles it please him to reueale it, by mira­cle, or some other certaine way vnto vs. But hitherto it was neuer heard that al­mightie God did, by miracle,See Sta­phil. in absolu [...]. respons. Cochlae. in actis Lutheri. A [...]. 152 [...] Bolse [...]. i [...] vita Cal­uin. c. 13 or any such certaine way, giue testimony, that either Luther or Caluin, or any of their fellowes or followers had in them this true holi­nes, or that they were Saints: but rather, while as they presumptuously attempted to worke miracles, it hath pleased God, by giuing either none, or euill successe, to [Page 112] testifie that they were not Saints. Where­as, on the contrary syde, it hath pleased God, to giue testimony by miracles of the faith and holines of life of diuers, which professed the Romaine faith; of which sort I might bring in many examples, but I will at this time onely name S. Bernard, S. Dominike, S. Frauncis, who, on the one side, were certainely knowen, to haue bin professours of that religion, which was then, & is now, professed at Rome; as may appeare, both by that, which is left writ­ten of their liues, & also by this, that they were chiefe fathers and founders of cer­taine Religious orders of Monkes and Friers, which yet continue there: &, on the other side, they are certainly knowen to be ho­ly men, partly by their sober, chast, & ver­tuous life, partly by the guift of miracles, in so much,Luther. lib. de capt. Bab. Philip in Apol. art. 5 & 27. that euen Luther himselfe, and other of our aduersaries, confesse them to haue beene Saints. The which being con­fessed of these, must needes inferre the like confession of the sanctitie of many o­ther who were also professors of the same Romane faith, whose names we may finde registred in the Calender, euen in bookes sett out by Protestants, and whose vertu­ous [Page 113] life, holy death, & miraculous deedes, we may find in good authours. See Saint Athanas. in vita S. Antonij apud Surium. S. Bernard in vita S. Malachiae. S. Antoninus 3. parte hist. titulo 23. & 24. Surius throughout his large volumes of the liues of Saints & others. Now this being cōfessed, that di­uers, whom we know to haue bene mem­bers of the Romane Church, are saincts: we may well inferre, that, at least, some part of this Church is holy, and that ther­fore of this part (per synecdochen) the whole may be tearmed holy: especially conside­ring that the faith of this part, (which was a principall roote, out of which their holines did spring) is all one in substance with the faith, which we all professe: and therefore, we may say that our faith and profession enclineth and leadeth to the same holines of life that theirs did. And therefore though many, through their owne fault, faile in the practise of vertue and holines, yet our profession (being all one with the professiō of these holy men) is to be tearmed holy, as theirs was. Of which holy profession in some sort, all our whole companie may be called holy, as of the art of painting or any other art, [Page 114] all that professe them are commōly tear­med by a name proper to their professiō, though it happen that diuers of them, be not very skilfull, nor doe not much exer­cise his art.

And from hence riseth the second dif­ference, betwixt Protestantes and vs, to wit, that the very doctrine it selfe, which Protestantes teach, doth (as I shewed be­fore) induce men to libertie, and conse­quently to lewde life: whereas the Ro­mane faith, which wee professe, both ex­pressely forbiddeth all vice: and prescri­beth lawes contrary to liberty and loose­nes of life; & containeth most soueraigne meanes, to incite and moue a man, to all perfite vertue, and holines of life. As for example. It teacheth, that, notwithstan­ding the presence or predestination of Almighty God, mā hath free-will, wher­with (being ayded by Gods grace, which grace, through the merit of Christs Passi­on, is ready for all, that with humble, de­uout and perseuerant prayer will aske, & by frequenting, in due sort, the holy Sa­craments, will seeke for it) he may auoid sinne and embrace vertue, the which ta­keth away despaire of shunning euill and [Page 115] doing well, which easily followeth of the contrary opinion. It teacheth also that Gods commādements be not vnpossible to be obserued; nay nor hard (through helpe of grace, which is alwaies at hand) to be obserued of one, which hath but a good will;1. Ioh. 5. according as S. Iohn saith man­data eius grauia non sunt his commādemēts be not heauy, yea that they may, by the same grace, be easily obserued, according to that of our Sauiour Iugum meum suaue, Mat. 11. & onus meum leue my yoke is sweet, & my burthen light. The which moueth a man to conceiue great hope of eschewing e­uill and liuing wel, which hope, (& con­sequently hart) to do well, a man cannot haue, who perswadeth himself, that Gods commandements be vnpossible to be ob­serued, as I shewed before. Againe it teacheth, that, as a man may, by grace, auoid sinne, and easily keepe Gods com­mandements, & by doing good workes, liue well: so this good life is pleasing & acceptable vnto God, and these good workes (as proceeding from grace, and receiuing vertue frō the merits of Christ, of which this grace doth depend) are me­ritorious, and such, for reward whereof, [Page 116] God will giue, to them that perseuerant­ly do them, euerlasting blisse in the king­dome of heauen. The which doctrine will, doubtlesse, if it be duely considered, breed in a mans mind great loue and de­light to doe well, as the contrary must needs breed, at least, a coldnes in deuoti­on, if not a contempt & loathing of good deeds, and specially of those good deeds, which haue any difficulty annexed to them. It teacheth also that for sinners are prepared exceeding great punishments in the next life; and that though there be meanes in the Church to get remission of sin, & pardon of the paine, yet it teacheth that a man cānot ordinarily be absolute­ly certaine, that hee hath so vsed those meanes, as that hee hath thereby gotten that remissiō or pardon; which is a great motiue to make men wary not to fall in­to sinne, and to moue them Cum metu & tremore operari salutem with feare and trem­bling to worke their saluation whereas Protestants vpon supposed certainety of saluation cast away this holesome feare,Philip. cap. 2. and so may easily become carelesse of a­uoiding any sinne. Furthermore it pre­scribeth holesome lawes and customes, [Page 117] of fasting and prayer, and of other exer­cises of vertue & piety, wherby the flesh may be subiect to the spirit, and the spirit to God. It maintaineth also secret confes­sion of sinnes to a Priest, as being a thing necessary, and commanded by our Saui­our himselfe, the which both is a great bridle to hold men backe from sinne (as experience teacheth) and is a speciall meanes, whereby the Pastours of the Church knowing the inward cōscience of their flocke, may better, apply fitte re­medies to their spirituall diseases, & pre­scribe, to euery one, fit exercises, for their practise and progresse in vertue. Finally the profession of this Church is such, that euen simple Protestants, when they see any Catholique do a thing amisse, will or­dinarily say You should not thus, or a man of your profession should doe otherwise. So that those which be sinful in the Roman Church, cannot, in any sort, ascribe their sinnes to any defect, or peruersity of the doctrine of the Church, but must needes acknow­ledge thē to proceed frō their own frailty or malice, cōtrary to the teaching of the Church, & sometimes euē cōtrary to their owne conscience, & actuall knowledge.

[Page 118]Wherefore I may conclude, that al­though there be some sinfull men in the Romane Church, yet it may well be called Holy; because the doctrine which it be­leeueth and professeth, of it owne nature, enclineth and directeth a man to the true holines, and consequently is of it selfe ho­ly: and also because there be many holy persons in it, some of which are certaine­ly knowne in particuler to be such, by proofe of miracle, others are onely knowne by this probable reason, to wit that they hold the same faith, which was holden by those, who haue bin certaine­ly knowen holy men, and houlding the same faith (which must needs be the true faith, sith none are truly holy, or can pos­sibly please God, without the right faith, which is but one) they haue in them a root, out of which true holines is apte to spring, and therefore, when wee see no apparant euill fruite, whereby wee may discouer some euill roote, but only good, which is apt to spring of this good root, and especially when we see the fruite of their good workes, to be conformable, & like to the workes of those, which are knowne Saints, wee haue great cause to [Page 119] iudge, that they also are iust men, and in some sorte holy, if not perfectly Saintes. Sith therfore many men which haue bin and are members of the Romane Church, haue beene and are knowne, either by absolute proofe of miracle, or at least, in this other manner, to be holy; Of these as of the better, more worthy and princi­pall part, the whole may be (as I said be­fore) tearmed holy; as a tree, that hauing a roote apte to giue life to the braunches, some of which being deade, others haue life, is absolutely said to be aliue; which, if wee should see to haue a corrupted roote, and could not perceiue it to haue any liuing braunches, wee should haue cause to affirme absolutely, that it were dead, and not aliue.

§. III. That the Romane Church onelie is Catholique.

THIRDLY I finde that the Prote­stants company is not Catholique; that is to say vniuersall, neither in time, [Page 120] nor in place; for it came vp of late, and is but in few places of Christendome: nei­ther in points of doctrine; for their do­ctrine consisteth chiefely of negatiues, that is to say in denying diuers pointes, which haue beene generally held in for­mer ages, as appeareth by the Chronicles of the Magd [...]burgenses their owne do­ctors, who confesse that the ancient Fa­thers held this and that, which they now deny. And there is no learned Prote­stant (vnles he be too too impudent) but he will confesse, that there cannot bee as­signed a visible company of men profes­sing the same faith, which they doe) euer since Christ his time, continuing, with­out interruption, till now. And there­fore, will he, nill he, he must confesse, that the Protestants Church is not vni­uersall, and therefore not Catholique (as out of Scripture, I shewed Christs true Church must be.

But the Romaine Church is Catholique. For first, it hath bene continually without ceasing since Christ and his Apostles time, stil visibly (though sometimes in perse­cution) professing the same faith which is receiued from the Apostles, without [Page 121] change til [...] this day. It is therefore Catho­lique or vniuersall in time. It hath also had and hath at this day, some in euery coun­trey, where there are any Christians, (which is almost; if not absolutely euery where) that communicateth and agreeth with it, in profession of faith. Therefore it is also Catholique or vniuersall in place. It teacheth also an vniuersall and most am­ple vniforme doctrine of God, of angels, of all other creatures, & specially of man of mans first framing, of his finall end, of things pertaining to his nature, of his fall by sinne, of his reparation by grace, of lawes prescribed vnto him, of vertues, which hee ought to embrace, of vices, which hee ought to eschew, of Christ our Redeemer, his Incarnation, life, death, re­surrection, ascension, and comming again to Iudgemēt, of Sacraments and all other things, that any way pertaine to Chri­stian religion. Neither doth it, at this day, denie any one point of doctrine of faith, which, in former times, was vniuersally receiued, for a veritie of the Catholique Church. The which if any man will take vpon him to gainesaye, let him shew and proue, if he can, what pointe of doctrine [Page 122] the Romaine Church doth denie, or holde contrarie to that, which by the Church was vniuersally held before. As we can shew diuers pointes, that the Protestants so hold or denie. Let him (I say) shew and proue by setting downe the point of do­ctrine, the authour, the time, the place, & what companie did oppose themselues against it, and who they were that did continew (as the true Church must still continew) in the profession of the former faith, lineally, without interruption, till these our daies: as we cā shew and proue against them. Let him also shewe what countrie there is, or hath beene, where Christian faith either was first planted, or afterwards continued, where some, at least, haue not holden the Romaine faith. As we can shew, euen at this day, diuers places, where there religiō is scarse heard of, especially in the Indian, Iaponian, and China countries, which were, not long since, first cōuerted to the Christian faith, onely by those, who were membres o [...] the Romaine Church, & chiefly by Iesuite [...] sent thither by the auctoritie of the Pope ▪ And to goe no further then our dear [...] countrie England. Wee shall finde in th [...] [Page 123] Cronicles, that it was conuerted by Au­ [...]ustine a Monke, sent by S. Gregory the Pope, See the History of Saint Bede. lib. 1. cap. 23. and that it continued in that faith, with­out knowledge of the Protestants religion, which then, and for diuers hūdred yeares after, was neuer heard of, as being then [...]nhatched. The like record of other countries conuerted by meanes of those onely, who either were directely sent by [...]he Pope or Bishop of Rome, or, at least, com­municated and agreed in profession of [...]aith, with him, we may finde in other hi­ [...]tories. Lastly let him shew some space of time, in which the Romaine Church was [...]ot since Christ and his Apostles time; or [...] which it was not visible and knowen. As wee can shew them many hundred [...]eares in which theirs was not at all. Let [...]im (I say) therfore shew & proue, (which [...]euer any yet did or can proue) that euer [...]he Romaine Church did either faile, to be [...] to be visible, or being still visible, when [...]he profession of the ancient faith, which [...] receiued from the Apostles, did faile in [...] and when, and by whom the profession [...]f a new faith began in it. As we can shew [...]hen, where, & by whome, this new (no) [...]ith of theirs began.

[Page 124]Certaine it is that once the Romaine Church had the true faith, & was a true Church, to wit, when S. Paule writ to the Romanes, Rom. 1. saying, vestra fides annunciatur in vniuerso orbe, your faith is renowmed in the whole world. When therefore, I pray you, (as the learned and renowned M. Campian vrgeth) when (I saye) did Rome chaunge the beleefe and profession of faith which once it had.In ration. redditis acadaem. [...]a. 7. Quo tempore? quo Pontifice? qua via? qua vi? quibus incrementis vrbem & orbem religio peruasit aliena? Quas vo­ces? quas turbas, quae lamenta ea res progenuit? Omnes orbe reliquo sopiti sunt dum Roma, Roma inquam, noua Sacramenta, nouum sacrificium, nouum religionis dogma procuderet? Nullus exti­tit Historicus, neque Latinus, neque Graecus, ne (que) remotus, neque citimus, qui rem tantam vel ob­scure iaceret in commentarios? At what time? vnder what Pope, what way? with what violence or force? with what augmenta­tion or encrease did a strainge religion ouerflow the cittie and the whole world? What speaches or rumours? what tu­mults or troubles? what lamentations (at least) did it breed? was all the rest of the world a sleepe, when Rome (the Imperial and mother cittie, whose matters for the [Page 125] most part are open to the view of the whole world) when Rome I say, did coine new Sacraments, a new sacrifice, a new doctrine of faith and religion? Was there neuer one Historiographer, neither Latin nor Greeke, neither farre off nor neere, who would at least obscurely cast into his commentaries, such a notable matter as this is.

Certainely it is not possible, if such a thing as this had happened, but that it should haue beene resisted, or at least re­corded by some For suppose it were true, (which Protestants imagine) that some points, of the faith and religion, which Rome professeth at this day, were as con­trary to that, which was in it, when Saint Paule commended [...]he Romane faith as blacke to white, darkenesse to light; or so absurde, as were now Iudaisme or Pa­ganisme (as one of their Historiographers accounteth it worse, saying, that indeede Augustine the Monke conuerted the Sax­ons from Paganisme, but,Hollin­shead in the des­cription of Brita­ny. fol. 11. as the prouerbe saith (saith hee) bringing them out of Gods blessing into the warme Sunne) Suppose, I say this were true. Then I would demaund, if it were possible, that [Page 126] any Prince, in any Christian cittie, and much more that the Pope in Rome the mo­ther cittie, could, at this day, bring in any notable obsurde rite of Iewish or Paga­nish religion; for example to offer vp an Oxe in sacrifice, or to worship a Cow as God, and not only to practise it priuate­ly in his owne Chappell, but to get it publiquely practised and preached, in all Churches, not onely of that cittie, but al­so, in all the rest of the Christian world, and that none should, in Christian zeale, continually oppose themselues, that no Bishop should preach; no Doctor write against this horrible innouation of faith, and the author thereof; that none should haue constancy to suffer martyrdome, which Christians haue bin alwaies most ready to endure, rather then to yeelde to a profession and practise, so contrary to their ancient faith; that there should be no true harted Christians, who would speake of it, or, at least, lament it, nor no Historiographer that would so much as make obscure mention of it. Could all be so a sleepe, that they could not note or so cold and negligent, in matters concer­ning their soules good, as, generally, [Page 127] without any care to yeeld vnto it? Noe certainely, though there were no promise of Christ his owne continuall presence; no assurance of the infallible assistance of his holy Spirit: Yet it is not possible that such a grosse errour should arise a­mong Christians, and ouerwhelme the whole world, without some resistance. The Bishops and Pastors could not bee so simple, or so vnmindfull of their duty, but they would first note such an euident contrariety, to the ancient and vniuersal­ly receiued faith; and noting it, they would, doubtlesse, with common cōsent, resist, contradict, and finally, according to Saint Paule his rule, accurse it.Gall. 1. If there­fore this could not happen now, nor e­uer heretofore was heard, that any such absurd errour or heresie did or could a­rise, without noting or resisting; what reason can any man haue, to say, that this hath happened at Rome? not being able to alledge any writter, that did note the thing, the person, the time, and what op­positiō was made and continued against it, as in all heresies that haue spronge vp of new, we can doe. If there could not a little ceremonie be added to the Masse, [Page 128] but that it was set downe in history, when and by whom; how could the whole sub­stance of the Masse, (which consisteth in consecration, oblation, and consumpti­on of the sacred Hoast) be newly inuen­ted, and no mention made, when or by whom, or that euer there was any such new inuention at all? If also historiogra­phers were not afraide to note personall and priuate vices of the Popes themselues; which they might well think Popes would not willingly haue made open to the world; why should they haue feared to haue recorded any alteration in religion? Which if it had beene, had beene a thing done publikely in the view of the whole world; or if there were any feare or flat­tery, which might tye the tongues and pennes of those, that liued neare hand, that they durst not or would not menti­on such a matter, yet, doubtlesse, others, which liued in places further off, should not haue had those causes, and conse­quently would not haue kept secret such an open and important a thing as this. If lastly the histories which make mention of these priuate vices of Popes, and other Christian Princes, could not onely first [Page 129] come out, but also continue, without touch, till these latter times; what reason can any haue to doubte or dreame, but that the like would haue beene set out a­bout the alteration of religion, if it had happened? and that, if any such history reporting any true accident of alteration or change of religion had come out; it should, partly by Gods prouidence, part­ly by humane diligence; haue bin pre­serued, till these our daies; especially cō ­sidering, that such records had beene so requisite, for discerning the ancient, vn­changed, true Christian religion, from vpstart nouelty, which must needes bee false.

So that we may well conclude; that, if Christian religion had, since the Apostles time▪ altered in Rome; it would haue bin recorded in histories, as other things, and especially such notable alterations are recorded: and those histories would haue beene preserued till this day, as other Christian monuments haue beene pre­serued, euen in time of persecution, yea, euen then, when the persecutors made particuler enquiry for Christian bookes, to burne or consume them. But in those [Page 130] auncient histories, there is no mention made of any such alteration of religion in Rome. Wherefore it followeth that there was no such alteration or change at all. No such alteration being made, it is euident that the same faith and religi­on, which was in Saint Paules time, hath alwaies continued, & is there now. That which was there then, was the true faith and religion, as appeareth by that high commendation, which Saint Paule hath left written of it. Therefore that which is there now, must needes bee the onely true holy and Catholique faith; and that compa­ny which professeth it, must needes bee the Onely true Holy and Catholique Church.

Neither can I see what answere can, with any probability, be forged against this reason. For to say, that the errours of the Church of Rome crept in by little and little, and so, for the littlenes of the thing, or for the negligence of the Pastors, were not espied; is an Idle fiction already re­futed. For first those matters, which the Protestantes call errours in the Romane Church, be not so little matters, but that lesse, euen in the like kinde, are ordinari­ly recorded in stories. Nay, some of them [Page 131] are in the Protestants conceipts, (& con­sequently if men of olde time had beene Protestants, they would haue beene also in their conceipts) as grosse superstition as Paganisme it selfe, namely to adore Christ our Sauiour as being really and substantially present in the Blessed Sacra­ment, the which Sacrament Protestants hold to be, (really and substantially) but a bare peece of bread. Also the Prote­stants account the vse of the Images to be Idolatry, and say (very ignorantly or maliciously) that wee adore stockes and stones, as the Panims did. The which thinges, could not so haue crept in, by lit­tle and little, but they must needes be es­pied: Neither could the Pastours of the Church, at any time, be so simple and ig­norant, so sleepy and negligent, but they must needes haue seene: and seeing must needes in some sort haue resisted, as be­fore I haue said. For to imagine all the Pastours, of any one age, to haue beene in such a deepe Lethargicall and deadlie sleepe, that they could not onely not per­ceiue, when the enemy should ouer sow Cockle in the harts of some; but also when this Cockle of false beliefe should grow to [Page 132] outward action, and especially to publike practise, the which could not be but most apparant; to imagine (I say) all the Pa­stors to be so simple and sleepy, not then to marke, or not to resist, is rather the dreame of a proud man in his sleepe, who is apte to thinke all men fooles beside himselfe, then a iudiciall conceipte of a waking man of any vnderstanding, who ought to thinke of things past, either ac­cording to the verity recorded in stories, or when this faileth, by comparing the likelihood of that which hee thinketh was done by men of that time, with that, which most men of their quality, would do in like case.

Finally if these were so, and that the Church did, by this meanes, for so long space, in such important matters, vniuer­sally erre,Lib. de Prescript. neglexerit Officium Spiritus San­ctus (as Tertullian speaketh refuting the like cauill of heretiques) the holy Ghost should haue neglected his office, which is, (as I haue proued before out of Scrip­ture) not to permit the vniuersall Church to fall into errour, but to suggest vnto it all things,Ioh. 14. Ioh. 16. that Christ said vnto it, and to teach it all truth.

§. IIII. That the Romane Church onely is Apostolique.

FOurthly I finde that the Protestants Church is not Apostolique. Because, they can not deriue the Pedegree of their preachers, lineally, without interruption, from the Apostles: but are forced to ac­knowledge some other as Luther, or Cal­uin, or some such, for their first founders, in this their new faith; from whome they may perhaps shew some succession of the preachers of their faith: but they can ne­uer shew, that Luther or Caluin themselues (wsto liued within this hundred yeares) did either lawfully succeede, or was law­fully sent to teach this new faith, by any Apostolique Bishop or Pastour. Nay Lu­ther himselfe doth not onely confesse, but also bragge, that he was the first preacher of this new found faith, Christum à nobis primo vulgatum audemns gloriari (saieth hee) we darre boast,Epist. ad Argent. an Dom. 1525. that Christ was first pub­lished by vs. For which his glorious boa­sting, [Page 134] me thinkes, hee deserueth well that title which Optatus giueth vnto Victor the first Bishop of the Donatists, Lib. & parm. to wit, to be called filius sine patre, Discipulus sine magistro a sonne without a father, a disciple with­out a maister.

On the cōtrary side the Romane Church can shew a lineall succession of their Bi­shops, without interruption, euen from the Apostle Saint Peter, vnto Clement the eight the Bishop of Rome, which liueth at this daie. The which succession from the Apostles, which we haue, and the Prote­stants want, the ancient fathers did much esteeme, and vsed it as an argument, part­ly co confound the Heretiques, partly to confirme themselues in the vnitie of the Catholique Church. So doth Irenaeus who saith. Traditionem ab Apostolis, & annuncia­tam hominibus fidem, Lib. 3. c. 3 per successiones episcopo­rum peruenientem vsque ad nos, indicantes, con­fundimus omnes illos, qui quoquo modo, vel per sui placentiam malam, vel per vanam gloriam, vel per caecitatem & malam sententiam, praeter­quàm oportet, colligunt. Shewing the tradi­tion from the Apostles, and the faith cō ­ming vnto vs, by succession of Bishops, we confounde all them, who, any way, [Page 135] through euill cōplacence of themselues, or vaine glorie, or through peruerse opi­nion, doe collect (and cōclude) otherwise, then they ought. So also doth Saint Au­sten, who saith. Tenet me in Ecclesia Catholica, Et Epist. Funda­menti. c. 4. [...]b ipsa Sede Petri Apostoli, cui pascendas oues suas Dominus commendauit, vsque ad praesen­ [...] Episcopum, successio Sacerdotum. The succession of Priests from the very seate of Peter the Apostle, to whome our Lord commended his sheepe to be fedde, vntill this present Bishop, doth hold me in the Catholique Church. See the same Saint Au­sten Epist. 150. Optatus l. 2. cont. Parmen. Saint Epiphan. Haer. 275. Saint Cyprian. l. 1. epist. 6. S. Athanas. Orat. 2. contra Arrianos, who pronounceth them to be Heretiques,Athanas. orat. 2. & Arrian. qui [...]unde quàm à tota successione Cathedrae Eccle­siasticae originē fidei suae deducunt who deriue the beginning of their faith, from any o­ther ground, then from the whole succes­sion of Ecclesiasticall chaire. And this saith he is eximium & admirabile argumen­tum ad haereticam sectam explorandam an ex­cellent and admirable argument, wherby we may espie out, and discerne an here­ticall sect. The which argument these Fa­thers would neuer haue vrged and extol­led [Page 136] so much, if they had not thought that this succession was an vndoubted good marke of the Church, and that with this lawfull, vninterrupted, Apostolicall suc­cession of Doctors and Pastors, the true Apostolique faith and doctrine, was al­waies conioyned. The which to be con­ioyned we may easily proue out of Saint Paule himselfe, who saith Dedit Pastores & Doctores ad consummationem sanctorum, Ephes. 4. in opus ministerij, in aedificationem Corporis Chri­sti, donec occurramus omnes in vnitatem fidei & agnitionis Filij Dei, in virum perfectum, in mensuram aetatis plenitudinis Christi. Signi­fying that Christ our Sauiour hath ap­pointed these outward functions of Pa­stors and Doctors, in the Church, to con­tinue vntill the worlds end, for the edifi­cation and perfection thereof, and espe­cially for this purpose vt non simus paruuli fluctuantes & circumferamur omni vento do­ctrinae that we may not be little ones wa­uering,Ibidem. and carried about with euery winde of doctrine. Wherefore that this ordinance and appointment of Pastours and Doctors, in the Church, made by our Sauiour Christ, may not bee frustrate of the effect intended by him; wee must [Page 137] needes say, that he hath decreed, so to as­sist and direct these Pastours in teaching the doctrine of faith, that the people, their flocke, may alwaies, by their meanes, bee preserued from wauering in the ancient faith, and from being carried about with euery wind of new doctrine. The which cannot be, vnlesse with succession of Pa­stors be alwaies conioyned succession in true doctrine, at least in such sort, that all the Pastors cannot, at any time, vniuer­sally erre, or faile to teach the ancient & Apostolique faith. For if they should thus vniuersally erre, then all the people (who doe, and ought, like sheepe, follow the voice of their Pastour) should also gene­rally erre, & so the whole Church, which (according to Saint Gregorie Nazianzene) consisteth of sheepe and Pastors, should,Orat. de modera­tione in disput. habendo▪ contrary to diuers promises of our Saui­our, vniuersally erre. So that we may be sure, that the Ordinary Pastors shall ne­uer be so forsaken of the promised Spirit of truth, that all shall generally erre, and teach errors in faith; or that there shall not be, at all times, some sufficient com­pany of lawfull succeeding Pastors,Ioh. 2 [...] ad­hering to the succession of S. Peter (who [Page 138] was by our Sauiour, appointed chiefe Pa­stor) of whom we may learne the truth, and by whom we may alwaies be con­firmed and continued in the true ancient faith, and preserued from being carried about with the winde of vpstart errour. The which being so, it followeth that the true Apostolique doctrine is insepe­rably conioyned, with the succession of lawfull Pastors, especically of the Apo­stolique sea of Rome.

Wherefore we may, against all Here­tiques of our time (as the auncient Fa­thers did against Heretikes of their time) vrge this argument of succession, especi­ally of the Apostolicall succession of the Bi­shoppes of Rome. We may say to them as Saint Augustine saith to the Donatistes. Aug. in Psa. cont. partem Donati. Nu­merare Sacerdotes ab ipsa sede Petri, & in ill [...] ordine Patrum, quis, cui, successit, videte. Num­ber the Priestes from the seate it selfe of Peter, and in that Order or rowe of Fa­thers, see, which succeeded which. Wee may say with Irenaeus Hac ordinatione et suc­cessione Episcoporum, Irenaeus lib. 3. c. 3. traditio Apostolorum ad nos peruenit; & est plenissima ostensio vnam & eandem fidem esse, quae ab Apostolis vsque nunc confirmata est. By this orderly succession [Page 139] of Bishoppes, the tradition of the Apo­stles hath come vnto vs; and it is a most full demonstration that the faith, which from the Apostles is confirmed euen vn­till now is one and the same. We may tell them with Tertullian. Lib. de Prescript. Nos communica­ [...]us cum ecclesijs Apostolicis, quod nulla aduer­sa doctrina facit; & hoc est testimonium verita­tis. We doe communicate with the Apo­stolique Churches, which no contrarie doctrine doth, and this is a testimony of the truth.

CHAP. XVII. The Conclusion of the whole discourse.

NOVV, to make an end, considering all this, which I haue said and pro­ued, to wit, that there is but one, infalli­ble, entire faith, the which is necessary to saluation, to all sorts of men: the which faith euery one must learne by some knowen, infallible, and vniuersall rule, accomodate to the capacity of euery one: the which rule cannot be any other [Page 140] but the doctrine and teaching of the true Church: the which Church is alwaies to continue visible vntill the worlds end, and is to bee knowen by these foure markes Vna, Sancta, Catholica, Apostolica, One, Holy, Catholique, Apostolique: the which markes agree only to the Roman Church, (that is to say, to that company, which doth communicate, and agree in profes­sion of faith, with the Church of Rome) whereupon followeth, that this Church or company is the onely true Church of which, euery one must learne that faith which is necessary to saluatiō. Cōsidering (I say) al this, I would demand of the Pro­testāts, how they can perswade thēselues, to haue that faith, which is necessarie to saluation, sith they will not admitt the au­thoritie and doctrine of this Church, of which onely they ought to learne this faith? or how they can (as some of them doe) challenge to themselues the title of the true Church, sith their companie hath neuer one of the foure markes, which, by common consent of all, must needes be acknowledged for the true markes of the Church? how can their congregation be the true Church? which neither is One, be­cause [Page 141] it hath no meanes to keepe vnitie, nor Holy, because, neither was there euer any man of it, which, by miracle or any other euident testimony, can be proued, to haue beene truely holy, neither is their doctrine such, as those that must purely obserue it, do, without faile, thereby be­come holy: nor Catholique, because it tea­cheth not all truths, that haue beene held by the vniuersal Church in former times, but denieth many of them; neither is it spred ouer all the Christian world, but being deuided into diuers sectes, euery particular secte is contained in some cor­ner of the world; neither hath it beene in all times euer since Christ, but sproung vp of late,See Pra­teolus verbo Lutherani. the first founder being Martin Luther an Apostata, a man, after his Apo­stasie from his professed religious order, knowen, both by his writings, wordes, deedes, & manner of death, to haue beene a notable ill liuer. nor Apostolique, because the preachers thereof can not deriue their Pedegree, lineally, without interruption, from any Apostle, but are forced to be­ginne their line, if they will haue any, from Luther, Caluin, or some latter. How can they then bragge, that they haue the [Page 142] true, holy, Catholique, and Aphstolique faith? sith this is not found in any compa­nie, that differeth in doctrine, from the onely true, holy, Catholique, and Apo­stolique Church. For if it be true (which Saint Austen faith) that in ventre Ecclesiae ve­ritas manet the truth remaineth in the bel­lie of the Church,In Ps. 53. it is impossible that those, who are disioined, by difference of beleefe from that companie, which is knowen to bee the true Church, should haue the true faith. For true faith (as be­fore hath bene proued) is but one; where­fore hee that differreth in beleefe from them which haue the true faith, either he must haue a false faith, or no faith at all. Againe, one can not haue true faith, vn­les he first heare it, according to the ordi­narie rule of Saint Paule, Rom. 10. saying, Fides ex auditu, faith cōmeth of hearing: but how can one heare true doctrine of faith sine praedicante without one to preach truely vnto him? & how shold one preach true­ly, at least in all points, nisi mittatur, vnles he be sent, and consequently assisted by the Spiritt of God? now, how should wee know, that Luther, or Caluin, or any other that will leape out of the Church, and [Page 143] leaue that company, wherein is vndoub­ted succession, and by succession lawfull missiō, or sending from God; how should we (I say) know that these men teaching a new, and contrary doctrine, were in­deede sent of God? Nay certainely wee may be most sure, that they were not sent of God. For sith Almightie God hath, by his Sonne, planted a Church vpon earth, which Church hee would haue alwaies continue, vntill the worldes end, & hath placed in it a visible succession of lawful ordinary pastours, whom hee will, with the assistance of himselfe, and his holy Spirit so guide, that they shall neuer vni­uersally faile, to teach the true faith, and to preserue the people from errours; wee are not now, to expect any to bee sent from God, to instruct the people, but such onely, as come in this ordinary manner, by lawfull succession, order, and calling, according as Saint Paule saith:Heb. c. 5. Nec quisquā sumit sibi honorem, sed qui vocatur à Deo tan­quam Aaron. Neither doth any man take to himselfe the honour, but hee that is called of God, as Aaron was: to wit, visi­bly, and with peculiar consecration, as we read in Leuiticus, cap. 8. to which ac­cordeth [Page 144] that which wee read 2. Paralipp. cap. 26. where Azarias said to king Ozias: [...]. Paral. cap. 26. Non est tui officij, Ozia, vt adoleas incensum Do­mino, sed Sacerdotum, hoc est filiorum Aaron, qui consecrati sunt ad huiusmodi ministerium; egre­dere de Sanctuario, &c. It is not thy office, O Ozias,, to offer incense to our Lord, but it is the office of Priests, to witte, of the sonnes of Aaron, who are consecrated to this function or ministerie; goe out of the Sanctuarie. Which bidding when Ozias contēned, & would not obey, he was pre­sently stricken with a leprosie, and then being terrified, feeling the punishment inflicted by our Lord, he hastened away, as in the same place is declared. By which places, we may learne that it doth not be­long to any one to doe priestly functi­ons, (as to offer incēse or sacrifice to God, or take vpon thē the auctoritie to preach and instruct the people) but onely to Priests called visibly, and cōsecrated for this peculiar purpose, as Aaron and his children were. For though the Priesthood of the Pastors of the new law be not Aa­ronicall; yet it agreeth with the Priesthood of Aaron, (according to Saint Paule his saying, in the foresaid place) in this, that [Page 145] those, that come to it, must not take the honour of themselues, but must be called vnto it, of God, as Aaron was, to wit, visi­bly: & by peculiar cōsecration. In which ordinary manner whosoeuer commeth, he may be truely called Pastor ovium a Pa­stor of Christs flocke;Ioh. 10. Ibidem. because intrat per ostium he entereth in by the doore, to wit, by Christ himselfe, who first visibly cal­led, consecrated, and sent immediatelie the Apostles: and the Apostles, by au­thority receaued from him, did visiblie,1. Tim. 4. by imposition of handes, call, consecrate, and send others: and those, in like man­ner, others, from time to time, without interruption, vntill these present men, who now are Priestes, of the Catholique Romane Church. These therefore enter in by Christ, who is the doore, and there­fore these be true Pastours; and whosoe­uer entereth, not thus in at the doore, but cōmeth in another way,Ioh. 10. our Sauiour tel­leth vs, how we should account of him, when he saith. Qui non intrat per ostium in ouile ouium, sed ascendit aliunde, ille fur est & latro. he that entreth not in by the doore, into the sheep-fold, but ascēdeth by some other way, he is a theefe & a robber; who [Page 146] commeth not to feede the sheepe, but to steale, kill, and destroy them. So that we haue not (I say) to expect any to be sent of God to feed vs, with the food of true do­ctrine of faith, but such only, as come in this ordinary maner; (as it is certaine that Luther, & Caluin, when they left their for­mer profession, and tooke vpon them to preach this new faith; did not come visi­bly, called, cōsecrated & sent, for this pur­pose, by any lawful authority, according to the ordinary manner) or if it should please God to send any one, in extraordi­nary maner, it appertaineth to his proui­dence, to furnish him with the gift of mi­racles, as he did his Sonne our Sauiour Christ; or with a miraculous conception, & with strange & extraordinary sanctity of life, as was seene in S. Iohn Baptist: or fi­nally with some euidēt token, that it may be plainely knowen, that he is assuredly sent of God. Otherwise the people should not be bound to belieue him, but might, without sin,Ioh. 10. reiect his doctrin; according as our Sauiour said of himself Si non facio opera patris mei nolite credere mihi If I do not the workes of my Father,Ioh. [...]5. do not beleeue me. And againe Si opera nō fecissem in eis, quae [Page 147] nemo alius fecit, peccatū non haberent. If I had not done works among thē, that no other hath done, they should not haue sin­ned, to witte, in not beleeuing. Nay, the people should now, (an ordinary course being, by our Sauiour set downe, to continue till the worldes end, as be­fore hath bene proued) the people (I say) should now sinne, in beleeuing any one, that shall come, and tell them that he is extraordinarily sent of God, if he teach contrary to that doctrine, which by ordi­nary Doctours and pastours of the Catho­lique Church is vniuersally taught: for al­though it should happen, that the liues of these Pastours should not be so com­mendable, or be somtimes euidently bad; yet their doctrine must alwaies be regar­ded and obserued,Mat. 23. according to that say­ing of our Sauiour, Super cathedrā Moysi se­dorunt Scribae & Pharisaei: omnia ergo quaecun (que) dixerint vobis, seruate & facite: secundum vero operae eorum nolite facere. Vpon the chaire of Moyses the Scribes and Pharisees haue sitten; all things therfore whatsoeuer they say to you, obserue ye and doe; but accor­ding to their workes do ye not. By which saying we are assured, that notwithstan­ding [Page 148] the Pastours of the Catholique Church should, at any time in their liues, bee like Scribes & Pharisies; yet we may alwaies safely, yea wee must necessarily follow their doctrine, and must not in any wise admit any that shall offer to teach vs to a contrary doctrine,Gal. 1. according as wee are willed by S. Paule, who saith: Si quis vobis euangelizauerit praeter id quod accepistis, ana­thema sit. If any shall euangelize or preach vnto you, beside (or contrary to) that which you haue alreadie receiued, be hee anathema. So that sith the people did once receiue, from the ordinary pastours that doctrine, which hath descended from hand to hand, from Christ and his Apo­stles themselues,2. contra Iulian. (according to that of S. Austen: Quod inuenerunt in Ecclesia, tenuerunt: quod didicerunt, docuerunt: quod à patribus ac­ceperunt, hoc filijs tradiderunt. That which they found in the Church, they held: that which they learned, they taught: that which they receiued from their fathers, that they deliuered to their children) whosoeuer hee be, that shall euangelize any thing opposite to this receiued do­ctrin, whether he seeme to be an Apostle, or an Angell, and much more if he be an [Page 149] other, to witte one of these new maisters, who faile very much (to say no more) from Apostolicall perfection, and Ange­licall puritie of life, according to S. Paule, anathema sit, be he anathema. Yea, such a one, that doth not onely not bring this Catholique or generally receiued do­ctrine,Epist. 2. but bringeth in a new and contra­ry doctrine, we should not (according to S. Iohn) salute him (vnles vpon some need or for some good respect) or say aue vnto him, and much lesse should we giue cre­dit to his words, or vse him, as a rule of our faith, or preferre his teaching before the teaching of the Catholique Church.

And surely, me thinkes, though there were none of these euidēt proofes, which I haue brought out of Scripture; yet euen reason it selfe would teach, that we ought to giue more credit to the vniuersal com­panie of Catholiques, which haue beene at all times, and are now spred ouer all the Christian world, then to any parti­cular priuate man, or some few, his fello­wes & followers. It is a prouerb cōmon amongest all men, Vox populi, vox Dei, the voice of the people or whole multitude, is the voice of God? that which all men [Page 150] say, must needes be true. And on the cō ­trary part, to that particular man or his priuate companie, which will oppose themselues against this generall voice of all (like Ismael, of whome it is written, manus eius contra omnes, & manus omnium cō ­tra eum, his hands are against all men, and the hands of all are against him) it may well be obiected, that which Luther (who was the first in this our age which did so) confesseth was obiected to himselfe, by his owne conscience, or rather principal­ly by the mercy and grace of the almigh­tie God, seeking to reclaime him from his errour,In Praef. Li. de ab­rog. Mis­sae, priua­ [...] ad fra­t [...]es Aug. Ordin. in caenoo. Witten­berg. while there was any hope. Num tu solum sapis? Art thou onely wise? Luthers words be these. Quoties mihi palpita­uit tremulum cor, & reprehendens obiecit for­tissimum illud argumentum, Tu solus sapis? Tot­ne errant vniuersi? Tanta secula ignorauerunt? Quid si tu erres, & tot tecum in errorem trahas damnandos aeternaliter? How often did my trembling hart pant, and, reprehending me, did obiect mee that most strong and forcible argumēt: Art thou alone wise? haue there so many vniuersally erred? haue so many ages beene blinde and liued in ig­norance? What rather if thou thy selfe [Page 151] erre, and drawest so many after thee into errour, who (therefore) shalbee damned eternally. This did almighty God obiect to Luther, the which might doubtles haue done him good, but that he, (presuming vpon his owne vnderstanding of Scrip­ture, and preferring his owne iudgement, before the iudgment of the Church) har­dened his hart against such heauenly in­spirations, which he tearmed Papisticall arguments. And this same may well bee obiected to any priuate man, or any few, who, leauing the Kings broade street, or beaten hye way of the Catholique Church, will seeke out a by-path, as being, in their conceipt, a better, easier, and more direct way to heauen. To them (I say) well may be said Are you onely wise? are all the rest in former ages fooles? haue you only, af­ter so many hundred yeares after Christ found out the true faith, & the right way to heauen? haue al the rest liued in blind­nes, darkenes, and errour? consequently, are you onely they that please God, and shall be saued? (for as I haue proued be­fore, without true and entire faith, none can be saued) and were then al the rest, so many millions, your owne forefathers & [Page 152] auncestors, (many of which, were most innocent men and vertuous liuers, and some of which shedde their blood for Christ his sake) were (I say) all these ha­ted of God? did al these perish? were they all damned? shall all these endure vn­speakeable paines, in hell, for euer? O impious, cruell, and incredible assertion. Nay surely; I am rather to thinke, that you are vnwise, who pretending to tra­uaile toward the happy kingdome of heauen, and to goe to that glorious citty the heauenly Ierusalem, will leaue the bea­ten street, in which, al those haue walked, that euer heretofore wēt thither, who by miracles sometimes, as it were by letters sent from thence, haue giuen testimony to vs, that remaine behinde, that they are safelie arriued there. You (I say) are vnwise that will leaue this way, and will aduenture the liues not onely of your bodies, but of your soules, in a path found out, of late, by your selues, neuer [...]racked before, in which whosoeuer haue yet gone, God knoweth what is become of them; sith we neuer had letter of mira­cle, or any other euident token, or euer heard any word frō thē, to assure vs, that [Page 153] they safely passed that way: me thinkes▪ I may account you most vnwise men that will aduenture such a pretious Iew­ell, as your soule is, to bee transpor­ted, by such an vncertaine and dangerous waie. I must needes thinke, that, sith there is but one right waie; and that the way of the Catholique Church is a sure and ap­proued safe waie, you are very vnadui­sed, who, with the aduenture of the irre­parable losse of your dearest and peer­lesse treasure your soule, will leaue this safe and secure way, to seeke out a new vncertaine and perillous waie. I must needes thinke, sith the Catholique Rom [...]ne Church is, (as I haue proued) the light of the world, the rule of faith, the pillar and sure ground of truth: that, you lea­uing it, leaue the light, and therefore walke in darkenesse▪ forsaking it, forsake the direct path of true faith, and there­fore are misse-led, in the myst of incredu­litie, into the wildernes of misbeleefe; & finally that you, hauing thus lost the sure ground of truth, doe fall into the mierie ditc [...]e of many absurdities, and must needes be drowned in the pitt of in­numerable errours; and erring thus from [Page 154] the waie, the veritie, and the life, which i [...] Christ Iesus residing, according to his pro­mise, in the Catholique Church, must needes (vnles you will (which I hartely wishe) returne to the vnitie of the same Church) incurre your owne perdition, death, and damnatiō of body and soule, from which sweet Iesus deliuer you, and vs all, to the honour, and perpetuall praise of his ho­ly name. AMEN.

Laus Deo.

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