AN EXAMINATION OF THOSE PLAVSI­ble Appearances which seeme most to commend the Romish Church, and to preiudice the Reformed.

DISCOVERING THEM to be but meere shifts, purposely in­vented, to hinder an exact triall of do­ctrine by the Scriptures.


Englished out of French.

OXFORD, Printed by Iohn Lichfield and William Turner, for Edward Forrest. Ann. Dom. 1626.

To the Reader.

COurteous Reader: for pre­venting mistakes, giue me leaue to aduertise thee, that in many passages of this book beside the running title, J haue vsed the word Preiu­dice in a sense, not very vsuall in English, make it answere to the French word Preiugè, which my Author vseth, not for an ill preconceit, as wee commonly take it, but for such a plausible appearance, as before due examination, ma [...] bee a probable ground for any preconceit of a thing, either good or bad. So Antiquitie is a Preiudice for the Papists, and against vs, because that before a iudicious examination, it is a proba­ble ground for common braines to conceiue well of their Religion, and to mistrust ours. Secondly, I haue not beene so superstitious in expressing my Authors word, as I haue obserued some transla­tors [Page] to be: I haue not construed, but translated, keeping (as neere as I could) an euen course be­tween a Pedant & a Paraphrast: For when the Originall is not to be learned by the Translation, I tbink it not only lawfull, but also conuenient to make vse of that liberty. The neglect of it, I take to be the reason, why commonly Translations are thought to tast flat in respect of the Ori­ginall. I shall not wonder if some slipps haue escaped mee, seeing a man may be as ab­surdly ouer seene by too much animaduersion, as by none, and (which is the misery of the most circum­spect diligence) a man may dote as much by ga­zing through a thing, as by staring beside it: yet I hope there are none so grosse as that they may a­buse either my Author, or his Reader.


[Page]AN EXAMINATION of the Prejudices of those of the Ro­mish Church, against those of the Re­formed Religion.

CHAP. I. That passion blindeth the iudgement of man, and hindreth it from assenting to the Truth.

IT's a matter worthy asto­nishment, that not onely vulgar braines, but even the most eminent wits, should suffer themselues to be so easily wonne, by the out-sides of lies, to beare armes against the truth. Albeit the spirit of man, the more excellent a temper it is of, the more na­turall, and eager an appetite it hath after the know­ledge of the trut [...]: by the same instinct loathing ig­norance, and especially disdaining to be cheated. So [Page 2] that even the most artificiall flatterers, insteed of hu­moring it, would offend it, if it once conceiued it selfe to be but flattered: as on the contrary, if it once com­pleatly apprehended the truth, it would stoope to it, how harsh and bitter soever it were. So hard is it but that the compleat representation, the inside of a lye will offend vs, and that of the truth affect vs.

But the cause of our mischiefe is the perversenesse of our passions, which oftentimes so over-heat, and distemper the heart, that out of it, as it were exhaling thick, and black vapours vpon the vnderstanding they either disturb our iudgements, or altogether dull our apprehensions. Neither deale they so well with vs as those piercing smoakes, which bereauing man of his bodily sight, yet leaue him still this vncomfortable priviledge, that as he seeth nothing, so he cannot bee gull'd by any lying apparitions. Whereas when a heart chafed with passion, hath dimmed, yea extingui­shed the light of the vnderstanding, yet that takes not from it a presumptuous conceit of its owne cleere sight, and reall comprehension of the truth. Whence it commeth to passe, that man compassed about with thick darknesse, confidently dreameth that he walketh in the Sunne shine, and is strongly conceited that he hath then fast hold of the truth, when he huggeth an absurd, ridiculous fable. This corruption is almost v­niversall, and like to a generall distemper of all the hu­mours in the body, it's dispersed into all the passages of mans life. In a word, it's the Epidemicall disease of our soules which maketh vs easily induced to beleeue all that for true which we desire should be so, as being more [Page 3] sutable to our dispositions, and convenient for the accomplishment, and execution of our desires, and de­signes. Vpon this we invent vnto our selues probabi­lities, and readily entertaine such as are presented vn­to vs, to make vs beleeue that matters are so as passi­on willeth vs to conceiue them: as on the contrary that which we desire should be false, as thwarting our aymes, crossing and encumbring our enterprises by the like naturall flattery of our selues, we perswade our selues that it is false indeed, or suffer our selues to be easily so perswaded by another.

The first veine of this corruption may be espied even in the infancy of man. Children are cheered, and delighted, if one tell them that the tale which pleaseth them is true, and they willingly beleeue it how strange, and fabulous soever it otherwise seeme vnto them: cōtrariwise they are vexed and discouraged, if one plainely tell thē that it was fained only for pleasure; it will be a hard matter to stick this impression into them. So naturally familiar is the power which passion hath, to darken, and blindfold the vnderstanding.

After the same manner whosoever loueth with a fit of passion, he will descry many shewes of arguments to encourage his affection, in the discourse of him who extolleth that vpon which he doteth. And as he desireth that that which he loueth shou [...]d bee praise-worthy, beholding it through this clowd, he vieweth it in a shape and colour farre different from the natu­rall. Parents oft-times curb'd by civility from an out­ward expression of their indiscreet affection, yet in themselues giue the lye to those who freely tell them [Page 4] the truth of their children: for it being a iust cause of extreame griefe vnto vs to be the parents of vnto­ward children, so is it hardly beleeued by vs, so long as there remaineth any probability of the better con­trary. He who is desirous to enter into a law-suit will conceiue a pretious esteeme of weake, and frivolous counsell, which perswadeth him that his cause is good: contrariwise he will disesteeme, and bee much displeased with the solidereasons of a sage Counseller, who out of the goodnesse both of his conscience, and skill, certifieth him of the weaknesse of his cause, and disswadeth him from entring into law. All this pro­ceedeth from this passion which entangleth his vn­derstanding, and hindreth it from a steedy view of those cozening semblances, from an impartiall exami­nation of them, and from comparing of them with the truth. Even so some one sick of an ignominious dis­ease, against all other Physitians he will willingly ap­proue of him who shall iudge him to be sicke indeed, but of an honest disease. Imprinting according to his desire this false conceit into his minde, vnder the su­perscription of truth: for so a lye is never approued of, but masked with the looks of its opposite. Yea our owne passions varnish it over, or at least hinder vs from tearing of its vaile, for feare least we beholding it with a narrow eye, stripped of the borrowed face of truth, should be affrighted by its vglinesse.

CHAP. II. That this imperfection of iudgement, proceeding from passion, is discouered principally in the cause of Religion.

IT may be that in the civill part of mans life where (if the worst come to the worst) it toucheth but the temporall good: this af­fected winking of the vnderstanding is not altogether hurtfull. But in Religion it fareth other­wise, the danger here is dreadful, and the losse beyond recovery: when all here is embarked, and carried away, the body & the soule, not to be no more, which would be at least a forlorne kinde of happinesse, but to be everlastingly miserable, which is the wofull com­plement of all vnhappinesse.

And yet for all that this mischieuous quality hath so encroached vpon our nature, and insinuated it selfe into such good footing, that it's never more domi­neering, and peremptory, then when the question is concerning Religion, the salvation of the soule, and the worship which God requireth of vs. Vid. epist. de progress. Rel. Christian, ap. Jndos. The poore Indians so long as they are shewed braue ensigne, or curious picture (because the imbroderie, and painting ravish the sense, and man is naturally idolatrous) runne to them like birds to the fowlers crye, even to adore them, as if they enshrined some Deity. But otherwise, let o [...]e tell them of their errours, of the errours of their fore-fa [...]hers, they will demand (Munsler in, Cosm. descrip. F [...]is. as did the Prince of [Page 6] Frisland) What is become of their progenitors, and friends, formerly dead in their errours? And if one an­swere them, that they are in hell, they will reply, that they will goe thither also, secretly giuing vs to vnder­stand, that there is no likelyhood they should be there, The loue which they beare towards them maketh them mistake this sad truth for a lye, because it impli­eth the condemnation of those whom nature, or ac­quaintance hath most indeared to them.

If by reasons so sensible, that meere sense might comprehend them, it be strongly endeauored to make the folly of the Turkish Religion visible vnto a Turke, all this while the Sunne is but shewed to a beetle, the Turke sees not a whit: not as if that had impaired his senses, but it being an irksome businesse to acknow­ledge the horrid absurdities of his superstition, his pas­sions grow furious, & either besot his vnderstanding, or divert it from a discontenting speculation of such a truth, which being assented to, would force him to pronounce sentence of condemnation vpon his coun­try-men, his Sultan, his friends, and kindred. This is so torturing a griefe vnto him, that nature will not suffer him to beleeue it, and so it remaineth as incredible vn­to him, as it is vnpleasant, vnlesse God worke aboue nature.

Let vs accuse the obstinate Iewes of blasphemy, by testimonies of Scripture, wee shall stop their mouths, we shall convince them, but yet for all that not convert them. Rom. 1 [...].2. An inconsiderate zeale without knowledge (as the Apostle hath obserued it) Gal. 1.14. a super­stitious reverence of the traditions of their fathers, [Page 7] Rom. 10.3. a sottish doting vpon their owne righteousnesse, Ioh. 6.15. Act. 1.6. a desire of the restauration of their state, of their re­stablishment in the land of promise;2. Cor. 3.16. overspread their eyes, as it were, with a vaile, so that they cannot be­hold the glory of God in the face of Christ; Mat. 15.3 6. Marc. 7.8.9 & 13. who nullifieth their traditions; Luc. 18.9.8. teareth from them the false covert of righteousnesse; Ioh. 6.15. Act. 1.7. who confoundeth their hope of an earthly kingdome, and prosperity; Ioh. 18.36. who frustrateth their expectation of a King, a Messias tri­umphing in secular pompe: Mat. 11.29. who bindeth them to the taking vp of his Crosse, 1. Cor. 1.23. presenting himselfe to them crucified, Act. 2.23. and in his Crosse the shame, & hor­rour of the rebellion of their Ancestors.

All this is thus, and more harsh to the naturall ap­prehension of the Iew: and therefore hee is no lesse blockish, and backward to beleeue it. In as much as he considereth not, neither alloweth the true, & full poise to those meanes whereby this truth should be proued vnto him. It is then from his passion that this his Ioh, 9.39. & 49. af­fected, voluntary, and in consequence malicious igno­rance proceedeth.

CHAP. III. That the vnderstanding troubled by the affections of the heart, alwaies findeth pretences, to make it selfe beleeue that which it desireth should be true.

IT is not so, for all this, that this ignorance wanteth colour, which giueth it at least the aspect, and complexion of a true know­ledge, insomuch that it deceiueth him [Page 8] who hath it, and oftentimes others also. 1 Cor. 1.23. The Paynims puffe [...] vp with a conceipt of their owne wisedome, esteemed the doctrines of Christian Religion to be meere dotages. Videsis Apo­log. Ch [...]stian. [...] Ge [...]t [...]s viz: duas A­p [...]log. Iustini d [...]s [...]er: Tatia­ni [...]heoph C [...]em. Alex. Tertul. in Ap [...]log. Arnob. Minut. F [...]lic. Lactan. Ioseph. cont. A [...]pion. Cyp [...]ian cont, Dem [...]t. N [...]zi [...]n co [...]. [...]ulian. To this purpose they alledged all that which reason blinded with passion could furnish them with, albeit that in their superstition they belee­ved many things much more repugnant to humane reason. They alle [...]ged Antiquity, and yet all the Pa­gan superstition sprang vp long after the truth. Had we but the [...]earned discourse of Iosephus against Appi­on, it is enough to instruct vs that that wisdome so much vaunted of was of late birth in comparison to th [...]t of God, to that of the Church. They alleaged a [...]so their Minut. Fel. Arno [...] lib 7. Te [...]tul Apolog. cap 22· miracles, their prodigious wonders, their oracles, t [...]e Arnob. lib. 1. Cyprian. contr. Dem [...]t. Maxim. Im [...]er. in edict. [...]useb Eccles. [...]. ab. 9. c. 7. disasters which befell the world after the publication of Christianity: as if it had not beene con­fir [...]ed by many, and most admirable miracles against the contemners of it: as if it had not bin promised, & spokē of long before by oracles far exceeding theirs in clearnesse, antiquity, and truth: as if whilst the Pagan superstition flourished the world had not smarted vn­der the same evills, which it felt since the preaching of th [...] Gospell, or as if it had felt more tolerable plagues. And as i [...] this multiplication of evills were not rather to be attributed to the contempt of so excellent a gra [...]e t [...] t [...]e butcherie, and martyring of so many poore soules guilty of nothing but Christianity, blamelesse in all other respects, living not so much like men,Symmach li 10. epi [...]t. [...]. as Angels.

If you please but to read the relation of Symmachus to t [...]e Emperours Theodosius, Valentinian, and Ar­cadius [Page 9] apologizing for Paganisme, you shal find there were never grosser vntruthes invented, nor yet more like vnto truth: that nothing could be spoken with more impiety, or more plausibility, the author being as eloquent, as he was irreligious.

These poore Paynims little thought they maintai­ned a bad cause; their affection to it made them mi­stake it for good. Tertul Apol. cap. 49. They excused that in Paganisme, which in Christianity they esteemed a folly, a crime, a sacriledge· For Paganisme they enslaved their vnder­standings, & busied them to search out reasons against reason, in it they swallowed even Elephants. On the contrary in the Christian Religion they accuratly strai­ned, and sifted every circumstance: the propension of their affections swayed them to an approofe of the Religion of their Sym. in rel [...] Ancestours, forbade them to con­demne so many braue spirits of ignorance, to remoue the bounds which the renowned Ancients had fixed, to tumble into the hazard of ruine, and confusion (so they imagined) their Empire, and Mecaen. apud Dion. lib. 52. Common-wealth which never receiveth such violent tosses, nor ever fee­leth such furious shaking-fits as when alterations in matter of Religion are stirring in it. Having vpon these considerations conceived a hatred against Chri­stianity, it was easie for them afterward to invent more prejudices against it.

Act. 3.17. 1. Cor. 2 6. The Iewes for the most part blindly condemned Christ, and his doctrine. Ioh. 7.17. But if any one will doe the will of my father (saith the Lord vnto them) he shall iudge of the doctrine: noting thereby, that the prima­ry cause of their malicious ignorance was the corrup­tion [Page 10] of their hearts. Yet they were not to seeke for pre­tences. They opposed against him Mark 7.5. Math. 15.2. antiquity, Ioh 8 33. suc­cession, R [...]m 11. the promises made vnto them, Ma [...]k. 1.27. the strange­nesse, and novelty of his doctrine, Ioh 6 42. Mat. 13. [...]5. Ioh 7 49. the contemptible condition of himselfe, his disciples, and followers. But the cause of this evill lay deeper, inveterated even with in their marrow, Act [...].5. an invincible hardnesse of heart, Gal. 1.14. an obstinate resolution not to let goe their hold of the superstition of their forefathers.

CHAP. IIII. That Passion in the cause of Religion produceth at this day the like effects, and covereth it selfe with the like plausible pretences.

WHo doubteth but that at this day, the same passions cause vs to conceiue the same pre­judices against the same truths? Its a very harsh point to condemne our forefathers for Heretickes, this is to putrifie their memories, it see­meth to be an impious, and vnnaturall act towards them. The Pagans had this consideration, the Iewes had it, and haue it at this day. We who are men as they are, subject to the same passions with them, haue the very same inclination, willingly to beleeue that the Religion of our Grandfathers, was the only holy, and divine Religion.

It [...] insupportable to nature (because tempered with little sweetnes) to incur [...]e disgrace, to procure the dis­pleasure of parents, kindred, neighbours, countrymen, [Page 11] superiours. These respects are able to produce in vs at least this effect, to make vs wish that the religion of those to whom nature, and the civill lawes haue obli­ged vs were the true. This desire afterward can it not stagger the iudgement: and this staggering can it not terminat it selfe in a firme resolution to hold our selues fast vnto it: and not to examine whether it be as sound as it is favourable? Because that comming to discerne its imperfections, our conscience will not suffer vs to be any longer at quiet, vntill we change it for a better, even vpon condition of running into inconveniences so cumbersome, and vnwelcome vnto the sense of our nature.

So then, when the ambitious spirit of man percei­veth it selfe taken vp already on the one side, by a reli­gion propitious to his ambition, and invited on the o­ther side by such a one as bindeth him to renounce the honour, and embrace the infamy of the world, shall we doubt of his partiality in the choice? Is it not easie to iudge on which side he will turne the ballance? Cer­tainely man cannot strip himselfe out of all affection of religion; in the same proportion he doth that, he vnmanneth himselfe, and is at best, but a monster of na­ture in humane shape. Perforce then he is to make profession of some kinde of religion, the profession of irreligion being more infamous then that of a brutish, stupid sensuality. But amongst so many religions when he commeth to the choice of the True his affe­ctions, his particular interests accompany him to the ballance, and there sway all. The truth how soundly soever propounded, how evidently soever manifested, [Page 12] how powerfully soever vrged is not able to make the counterpoise. For this cause St. Paul recommend­ing the Gospell, and wishing the knowledge of it to King Agrippa, excepted his bonds: as knowing right well, what a stumbling block the bondes, and crosse of the Gospell are to Potentates.

Wee are wont to excuse at least, if not to defend a wicked person if favourable, and beneficiall vnto vs, and wee thinke the cariage of a good man to be peeuish, froward, and cruell if hee oppose our ends, & thwart our purposes. Iust so it is with our affection towards religion: if it fauoureth vs, and apply it selfe to our humours we are curious in inventing trickes to adorne it, and artificiall colours to beautifie it. If we doe al­ready, or are like to make profession of it vpon good advantagious hire, in this case probabilities are vnto vs so many convincing, & irresistible demonstrations: the grosser and more palpable heresies in it are but pet­ty mistakes: the horrible abuses, and enormities are but such slips as should be borne with in the spirit of meeknesse. But towards the religion crosse to his affe­ctions, and which is is an enemy to his ambition man behaueth him selfe after another fashion: he stretch­eth, and straineth his wits to espie some faults in it▪ in it a small wrinkle, a wart, a superficiall spot seemeth vnto him an hideous deformity. Oft times he will not or dares not so much as looke vpon it, for feare of be­ing captiuated by its beauty. He willingly openeth the eare to him who is a deadly enemy of it, to him who slandereth it; he stops it against them who only can re­present it to him in its natiue purity, never considering [Page 13] but in hasty, and prefunctory thoughts, the firmenes of its grounds, for feare least a truth so euident, and powerfull should come to master, and tame the rebel­lion of his vnderstanding.

CHAP: V: That to be throughly assured of the truth of a Religion, it is necessary to examine the nature of the reasons, vpon which it is grounded.

SEing that such is the inclination of our na­ture, it concerneth him who desireth to bee throughly setled in the assurance of the truth of his Religion, narrowly to consider, whether they are bare prejudices, plausible pretences, respects meerely carnall which make it pleasing vnto him, or whithe [...] the truth of it be so cleere, and evident, that the conscience remaines convinced with it, the soule satisfied, the minde resolued and content. This disquisition, this meditation will be of excellent vse in making way for the discerning in matter of Religion, of truth from errour, superstition from piety, of the a­buse from that which is legitimate, custome from law. For it will furnish vs with proofes, not drawne from the circumstances of the accessory, and that which is meerely accidentall: but such as are grounded vpon the principall, and which result from the nature, & essence of the thing it selfe. Proofes infallible, and inforcing a necessary conclusion, whereas the other either con­clude not at all, or if they doe, the most the conclusion [Page 14] can doe, is to make the cause for which the proofes were produced plausible, and g [...]acious, the contrarie suspected, and odious, being nothing else (if we esteem of them as they are) but likely-hoods of truth, prettie conjectures. Now is it not well knowne that the most plausible, and gracious causes, are not alwaies of their ranke, which being not commended but by their own proper right, haue that for the only ground, & reason not of the favour, but of the justice they demande? And those which by reason either of the ignorance, or par­tiality of men are suspected, and hated, haue they not oft-times the lawes, and equity on their side? Certes the most pure, and (as I may say) the most innocent in­nocencie would be punishable, were it enough to make one guilty, to be thought so.

But we may proceede farther, and affirme that the suspition of falsity, is a calamitie ordinary to truth. Vn­der an vncomely maske, their may be hid an admira­ble beauty. Should the diamond lose it's invincible solidity, or the inward fountaine of its bright, and sparkling luster if sometimes it be found so outwardly discoloured, that at the first view, it can hardly be knowne for a diamond?

In the Courts of Iustice it's ordained that accusers should bring in their inditement of the largest, that the court may be fully informed concerning the accused parties: yet this is not called condemnation, but it on­ly presupposeth a suspition. Let then preiudices, ex­ceptions, and pretences be imployed to the vttermost, to make a religion suspected, so that vpon them with­out more adoe the accusers ground not its condemna­tion, [Page 15] so that they tarrie vpon tearmes of suspition vntill they proceede orderly to a larger enquiry, and a stri­cter examination, so that the question be not a whit spared, nor if it be possible, the most vigorous proofe. If a rich diamond suspected of bastardy had sence, it would call for the touchstone, and desire to be admit­ted to a triall. Truth also being suspected, reioiceth and presuming vpon victory, triumpheth already, if shee be put to a serious examination, and her last triall. The decree which imposeth this vpon her, is not against her, but for her, this disgraceth her not but helpeth her to the only meanes by which shee may redeeme her credit. This is that shee most earnestly desireth as bee­ing a passage, and introduction to her glory. It is her affliction to be suspected, but she maketh not that her complaint, this is not the subiect of her grievances, cu­stome hath sweetned this vnto her, and made it tolera­ble. Her complaint and greife which she cannot so easi­ly disgest is that shee seeth her selfe condemned vpon surmises, her cause not being sifted to the bottome, where lieth the maine point of her defence, and where shee hath reserued all her strength. For other wise by reason of by matters in the forme of proceeding, cir­cumstances, appearances, coniectures, she would be quite lost, & ofttimes borne downe by a lie. Is it not too well knowne that by such meanes the better causes are lost? That by such trickes bad causes almost commonly in corrupt times seeke and obtaine the vi­ctory? Excellently then to this purpose spake Tertulli­an. Apolog cap. 1. Truth entreateth not to haue her cause favoured be­cause shee wondreth not at her condition. Shee knoweth [Page 16] that shee is a stranger vpon earth, and that amongst strangers shee easily meeteth with enimies. But shee hath her kindred, residence, hope, and dignity in the hea­vē. One thing yet she affectionatly beggeth, that she may not be condemned vnheard. What can the lawes loose here where they haue absolute authority, if she be vouch safed a hearing? Shall not their power be with more credit increased, if they condemne her euen hauing heard her. But if they condemne her without hearing her, beside the hatred of manifest vniustice, they will incurre also the suspicion of a bad conscience, in that they would not heare that which hauing heard they could not haue condemned.

CHAP: VI. That the cause of those of the Reformed Religi­on hath beene condemned in the Romish Church, vpon bare preiudices, with­out ev [...]r beeing throughly examined.

THey of the Church of Rome haue incur­red this suspition, in condemning the Re­formed Religion without considering it, and examining it to the bottome. They auoid both the hearing of our sermons, and read­ing of our writings: they neither reade, nor meditate vpon the holy scripture. The high esteeme which they haue both of the learning, and honestly of their Doctors, hath preuailed thus farre with them, that [Page 17] they haue chosen them for Iudges, in a cause wherein themselues are parties. Parties accused not of a pettie fault, but of a crime, a sacriledge, an impiety in causing the revolt of Israel. If this accusation be false it were an easie and effectuall course to silence it, if they would but lay open to the publick view the weaknes, and im­pertinencie of the reasons. Why are they so affraid to heare it? why is it a kind of sacriledge amongst them to be busied in so serious, and so holy a meditation? Why is it made a shriving matter to haue but thought of it? Who made these ordinances? Who instituted this so wary a discipline? What was their plot in it? What benefit expect they from it? If the Pope be innocent, why made he this prohibition? Is it the part of innocency, or of guiltines to entreate, yea command that the accusation should not be heard? This manner of proceeding tendes it to iustifie him­selfe, or rather to auoid, and escape iudgement? doubt­lesse he doth as good as openly confesse that he is af­fraid of it. If wee had vsed such a subtile methode in our proceedings, wee shoulde haue afforded iust mat­ter of presumption against our selues, that wee went not that way to worke honestly, bona fide, but driuen to it by an ill conscience.

It's true indeed that in their schooles, and writings they sometimes mention our accusation, but for that they ought the more to be suspected of it. For he who hindreth his accuser from being vnderstood, and taking the accusation out of his mouth, will propose it himselfe, secretly giueth vs leaue to presume, tha [...] hee disguiseth it, that he may the more easily shift it off.

[Page 18]It's also the common and continuall complaint of those of the Reformed Religion, that their accusation is neuer proposed but mangled, and counterfeit, that their faith is represented by its enemies, out of its na­turall shape. That their Adversaries in their disputa­tions against them, doe but quarrell with their owne fictions, and combate with puppets of their owne making. That they represent some prints, and linea­ments of our doctrine, but not in their true decencie, and proportiō, like certaine looking-glasses which re­presēting the visage mishapen, yet after a sort preserue something of the hue and complexion. So they hauing vnder taken [...]s they say to paint our deformi­ties yet they will not suffer any one to looke vs in the face. What may be thought of the cunning, or in­genuity of that Painter which would haue vs iudge of his picture without comparing it to the originall? They cite, and reade our bookes in the chaire, as the false accusers of Christ, with their cavilling sophistry, alleaged his words to a contrary sence. But if they deale fairely, and say no more then what is true, why giue they not their people leaue to looke, and consi­der at their leasure whether matters are so or no? Why is the meere curiositie of reading, and hearing our workes accounted a sinne [...]? What a wild contra­diction, what a strange confusion is this, to cite our bookes and forbid the reading of thē? But the naturall lazinesse of mē maketh this both excusable, & plausible. For to referre the people to our writings seemeth vn­to them, a token of assurance in their Doctour, this assurance, or rather boldnesse serueth them also [Page 19] for a note of conscionable dealing, and withall the prohibition of troubling themselues about this matter, easeth them of a labour. They are glad to heare our bookes cited, that they may not seeme so vnreasona­ble, as to condemne vs vpon other mens words; they are as glad to be forbid to examine the citations, that they may be discharged of such a trouble. So the lazie merchant relyeth vpon his factour, and the vn­worthy Councellor vpon his clarke, so long as the one looketh now and then to some accounts, the other to an extract of the processe, but carelesly, hand over head: and both of them say, the one of his factour, the other of his clerke, that they are sufficient, and conscionable men made both for their Masters profit, and ease, they willingly perswade thēselues so, that they may sleepe the quietlier.

CHAP. VII. Vpon what Preiudices we haue beene condemned in the Church of Rome.

WEE could easily demonstrate that which we haue said, particularly running through all the points of the Reformed Religion, and manifesting the disguisement put vpon it, to expose it to hatred, and suspicion. But our ayme is to examine vnder what pretences, it hath beene & is endevoured to hinder those reasons from beeing at all, or duely considered which haue made the refor­mation of their abuses necessary.

[Page 20]Their master-peece, or chief-trick of policie hath beene, to decline the will and law of God speaking in the scriptures. And as wicked Magistrates, and the corrupters of iustice in a common-wea [...]th, make th [...] authoritie of the lawes to depend vpon theirs, vnder good and popular colours of a pretended obscuritie, & imperfection in them, that so there may be a gate o­pened to al liberty, in substituting in the roome of the lawes, their owne willes, and particular passions. So in the Church wicked Pastours, not daring to accuse the Script [...]res of falsehood, or to r [...]fuse subiection to their authority directly, haue contriued diuers meanes by which they may auoid their sentence & determinatiō, charging thē with all those defects, which make a wri­ting mee [...]ly humane, defectiue, & imperfect in its own kind, denying the efficacy and maiesty of the Scripture while they call it Coster. En­ [...]hir. controu c. 1 a dead letter, Bordes de a­bus Missae. of white, and blacke: its clearenesse, and simplicitie, whil'st they blame it for Cens. Colon. p 9. And [...]ad. explis. ortho­dox lib: 2. p: 69 Eckius in En­chir p [...]op: 4 pag 69. obscuritie, and Pe [...]rus a so [...] in defe [...]s de vno praes. Iud. E [...]cles. p. 108. co [...]: 2. Pighius de Hi­era: Ecel. 1. c 4. ambiguitie: its Card. p [...]rro in t [...]ct. de i [...]suffi­Script. Pistorius cont. disp. Mentz f. 27 sufficiencie, while they dare to accuse it of insufficiencie: its aucthority in respect of vs, when they make no scruple to teach that it hath no more authoritie, over vs without the authority of the Church, then Herman. lau­datus à Card. Hosio. lib 3 de author scrip. Aesops fables, Bellar. lib. 4. de verbo Dei cap. 4. or Mahomets Alcoran.

But we suppose that we haue by Gods assistance elsewhere suff [...]ciently shewed how false these censures, or (to speake more fully) these blasphemies are; wee haue at least wise performed it in such a manner, that the adversaries of this truth hitherto haue not replied any thing. Only the vexation and desperate rage, to see the vanity, and villanie of their vngodly policies [Page 21] exposed starke-naked to the view of the world, hath forced them insteed of dissembling their ex [...]reame griefe, to vent it in iniuries, and outragious insolencies wo [...]thy indeed of their persons, and well befitting so desperate a cause, so accursed both of God and men: but doubtlesse most vnbeseeming a Christian, a Do­ctor of Christians, vnsutable to the gravitie, the sweet demeanour, and gracious mildenesse of truth.

This euent sad in it selfe, hath notwithstanding af­forded vs ioy, in affording vs a new example of the preuailing force of truth, which faileth not to con­vince, euen then when shee perswadeth not, and if shee cannot bend her adversaries, yet shee so tram­ple [...]h them, and so sorely bruiseth them, that albeit they submit not themselues vnto her, they are neuerthelesse constrained to testifie the vlcer, and wound of their cō ­sciences by furious railings, like those proceeding from a woman surprised in the shamefull act of adultery. In the mean time this ioy hath encouraged vs to pro­ceed farther, in discovering by what devises they hin­der an examination of the conformity of our Religi­on, with the rule of faith, as Tertul de prae­scrip. advers. hae­ret c. 13. & ali­bi. Tertullian calleth it; whilst God enableth vs in the meanes to shew how they haue ma [...]e it an impossibility, to consider religi­on in its owne naturall guife, representing it so coun­terfeit, & vnlike it selfe, that as they pourtray it for the most part, it is prodigiously mishapen.

Now to make our religion so obnoxious to hatred and suspicion, that none should vouchsafe to consider its harmonie, and concord with those maximes, and principles which haue beene at all times, and are at [Page 22] this time vnquestionable amongst Christians: they haue pronounced it an impossibilitie for any Christiā to discerne the truth by the spirit of God dwelling in him. And hauing once appropriated to themselues the title of the Church, [...]nobled with so many elogies, priviledged by so many promises, that no man may presume to question her authoritie, vnlesse hee forth­with professe himselfe a Iew, Turke, or Pagan: it was easie for them afterwards, to shuffle the doctrine con­trary to their abuses besides all examination.

But they, seeing that it was not enough to vsurpe a magnificent title, vnlesse it were after some sort justi­fied; and that contrarily the presumptuous rashnesse of such proceedings might pull vpon them the gene­rall hatred, and vniversall detestation of all Christians: they haue found out (as they imagine) notable pre­tences to colour this vsurpation, and verefie their title.

All th [...]se pretences may be reduced to tenne heads, which they propound vnto vs after this manner.

1 The magnificent state of their Church: oppo­sed, to the contemptible condition of th [...]se who call for a reformation of their abuses.

2 Her vnity, and the division of her adversaries.

3 Her antiquitie: and the noveltie of the Refor­mation.

4 They vrge vs to confesse, that sometimes they h [...]ue beene the true Church, if we yeeld that, then they cry out: that therefore they are so still, because the Church perisheth not, as certainly shee cannot either perish, or change in that which is essentiall.

5 They stand vpon a quotation of times, places [Page 23] persons, when, where, by whom this change was wrought, this defection begunne?

6 They demand, where our Church soiourned so long time, in what citty, yea into what valley, what de­sert did she retire?

7 They except against the commission of the Au­thors of the Reformation as false, and counte [...]feit.

8 They make great braggs of their succession con­tinued without interruption.

9 They boast of having the substance of Christia­nity amongst them, even by our owne confession.

10 They dazell the eyes of the world with the shew of a multitude of religious persons, which they say haue renounced the world, trampled vnder their feet the delights, riches, and honours of earth that they may aspire vnto heaven.

So in the vpshot they make their conclusion, that where these notes are, there is the Church: and where they are not, she cannot be. And so presuming that they may with good right take these notes vnto them­selues, and that we can pretend nothing for them: al­beit this truth receiued amongst vs, dart her most cleere, and liuely rayes into the most passionate, and partiall eyes, yet they alwaies condemne vs vpon these prejudices.

CHAP. VIII. A consideration of the outward glory of the Ro­mish Church, and of the meane estate of the true Church.

NOw albeit these considerations might make the world doubt, whether we were the true Church or no, yet they should not haue made them to condemne vs. The Lord Ie­sus was surnamed the Nazarene, this very surname made Nathanael to doubt, whether he were the Mes­sias or no. Can any good come out of Nazareth? (said he to Philip) but as soone as Philip answered him, come and see, he went and saw him. What shall wee loose by it, if we take a stricter view of these appearances, that we may see whether there bee no cosenage in them? The most rigorous exam [...]nation will not make them false, contrarily their truth the more its tried, it will become the more illustrious. But if they are but cheating shewes, what honest heart will not bee con­tent that the imposture should be detected?

To this purpose wee are now busied. And for as much as the matter we haue in hand is large, that our discourse may not roue, wee will severally examine these pretences in the same order wee propounded th [...]m.

Of all these appearances, the Magnificence of the Romane Church, is the first with which she presents her selfe to the view of people being remarkable by [Page 25] three principall circumstances. 1 Her outward glo­ry. 2 Her ceremonies. 3 Her policy.

But what will become of this maine point if al these circumstances ought to make vs the more suspect her: and if the Church which in this respect is opposite vnto her for the want of these shewes deserueth to be better esteemed of by vs?

Surely 1 The nature of the Church. 2 Her conditi­on. 3 The dangerous inconveniences which these cir­cumstances draw along with th [...]m, forbid vs to admit them for characters, and badges of the true Church: for the glory and lustre of the Church is not outward, bodily, visible: but inward, spirituall, invisible. All her beauty is within, Ps. 45. v. 54. shee is like vnto the Tents of Cant. 1.5. Ke­dar, as soone couered with dust, and well nigh burned with the heat of the Sunne: as soone be [...]t [...]n & shaken with stormes, and tempests: but in the meane time, inwardly all glittering in glory and magnificence. Like in this unto her Ephes. 1.21. & 4.15. &. 5.23 Colos. 1.18. head the Lord Iesus, as being Rom 8.29. predestinated to bee made conformable vnto his image: who, during the time of his conversation here belowe, had nothing without Esay. 5 [...] 3. him that could make him amiable; being Phil. 2.7. contemptible in his owne per­son, in Act. 4.13. his Disciples, Ioh. 7.49. and followers, in the iudge­ment of him who saw but his outside. Who would haue compared him in this respect to Tiberius, or Pi­late, or Caiphas the high Priest? Luc 2.7. Borne in a Cratch, not in a Palace: Math 2.5. in a blinde village, not at Ierusalem, not at Rome: Mat. 1. Luc 3 of the Royall stocke indeed, but then when the glory of it was quite eclipsed; Luc. amongst the Israelites, but at a time when they were slaues to the [Page 26] Romans: Mat. 1.18.23. of a Virgin, but so poore, that shee was be­trothed to a Mat 13 55. Marc. 6.3. Carpenter: at his bi [...]th indeed adored by a company of Luc. 2.8. &c. shepheards, but by a Mat. 2. few wisemē: persecuted by Mat. [...].12.13. Herod, living in such a 14. [...]5. Ioh. 1.31.33. retired obscu­rity, vntill the time of his Baptisme, that Iohn himselfe knew him not. Mat. 4 1. Then was hee led by the spirit into the Wildernesse, tempted by Satan, by him carried vp to a pinnacle of the Temple; and after all this ha­ving begun his preaching Luc. 9.58. continually, and vnmer­cifully persecuted even to death: but by whom? Sure­ly by the Princes of the world, the Magistrates, the ve­ry same which pretended the title of the Church, the authority, succession, and chaire of Moses: oppressed alwaies with these prejudices, Haue any of the gover­nours, and Phar [...]ses beleeued in him? Behold to what the pomp and state of Iesus Christ is brought, to ig­nominie, and pouerty. But in the meane time consider him inwardly, Colos. 2 3. in him are hid all the treasures of wis­dome, and knowledge: Colos. 2.9. in him dwelleth all the full­nesse of the Godhead bodily: Act. 3.15. & 5.31. he is the Prince of life: Apoc. 19 16. the Lord of glory: Math. 3.17. the Sonne of God: Thes. 1.14.18 & 3.18 his onely sonne: Phil. 2.6.7. who being in the forme of God, but made himselfe of no reputation.

Should i [...] then be seemely for the Church, Ephes. 2.1 [...]. the workmanship of his hands, Esa. 64.8. the clay which his fin­gers haue fashioned, 1 Pet. 1.19. the slaue which hee hath ran­somed by his blood, Ephes. 5.17 the spouse which he hath san­ctified by his spirit, to we [...]re any other livery then his owne, to be handled more daintily, and after a more delicate manner then himselfe? Is it possible that the [Page 27] body should not be made conformable to its head, that the glory of the head being invisible, that of the body should be visible: that the magnificence of the head being heavenly, & spirituall, that of the Church, the mysticall body of that head, should be earthly and secular? Yea her condition is to Rom. 8.17. 2. Tim. 2.11. suffer with him, that she may raigne with him. Moreouer, statelines, & gai­etie in apparell doth not commend, but prejudice cha­stitie, which either is of meane condition, or else as modest in her deportments as if she were.

This pomp which invites and feasts as it were, the eyes of the body, is but carnall; and seeing it doth so much humour the flesh, it should rather be taken for a marke of pride, then of vertue. Luc. 16.19. The rich glutton is clothed with purple and fine linnen: he fares delici­ously: contrarily Lazarus is sick, vlcerous, exposed to the iniuries of the weather, and scorne of men, behol­ding to dogges only for reliefe. Yet Lazarus is an Embleme of the Church; the glutton of the world.

Moreover, hath not the Lord advertised Mat. 10.16. his own, that he sent them abroad as sheep amongst Wolues, Luc, 21.17. that they should bee hated of all men for his names sake. That as the Ioh. 15.17.1 [...] world had hated him, so it would hate them.Ioh. 6.6. That they should be cast out of the Syna­gogues: questionlesse out of those Synagogues which had the succession, and pleaded antiquity. That they should be Luc. 12.12. haled before the Magistrates, Ioh. 16.2. that they which put them to death, should thinke they did God good service, in a word, that Ma. 10, 24.25 the Disciple being not aboue his Master, they should expect the same wel­come and entertainement in the world which he had [Page 28] formerly received. 1. Cor. 1.26. You see, saith the Apostle, your calling, not many wise according to the flesh, not many noble, but God hath chosen the weake things of this world, and things which are not, to confound things that are, that no flesh might glorie before him. Mat. 11.25. A­gree [...]bly to the thanksgiuing of our Sauiour, I thanke thee O father, Lord of heauen and earth, for that thou hast hid th [...]se things frō the wise, and prud [...]nt and hast reuealed them vnto babes, & to his exhortation Luc. 12.3 [...]. Feare not little flocke, for it is your fathers will to giue you the kingdome.

And indeed if that outward pomp were a note of the true Church, and its contrary of the false: the true Church for the space of three hundred yeares, and more, during the time of her persecu [...]ions, should haue beene the false. After that, when Arrianisme had so ove [...]-runne the world, that it Hier. cont. Lu­ [...]if [...]r. groaned, and won­to see it selfe become an Arrian. When the Em­per [...]ur Th [...]odor [...]t. Eccles. Hist. lib. 3. c. 16. Constantius tauntingly demaunded of Liberius Bishop of Rome, How great a part of the world he thought himselfe to be, that hee alone sh [...]uld take the part of one wicked fellow, (such a o [...]e w [...]s Athanasius in his esteeme) that hee should so disturbe the peace [...]f the whole world. When Liberi­us was faine to con [...]e [...]se indeed that he was alone, but replied withall, that his being alone could not weaken the cause of the true faith. When he alleaged an exam­ple from former times, that once there were but three which resisted Nebuchadnezars decree, commanding them to worship an Idoll. Athanas. in [...] ad eos qui [...]eg vit. solit [...]r. When the same Liberius was ca [...]ried downe by the impetuous streame, & sub­scribed [Page 29] to Arrianisme. Greg Naz. in orat. cont. A [...]ian. When Nazianzen was angry that the Church was measured by the mu [...]titude: and when he said, speaking of the Arrians, they haue the people, and we the faith; they haue the gold and silver, and we the doctrine; What? was the true Religion all this while the bravest, and most illustrious? Was it amongst them which bare the greatest sway in those times? Was it removed from obscurer places of a­bode, to reside in more famous and imperiall citties?

Let vs remember the advertisement which Jn lib. cont. Arri. & Auxent S. Hi­lary gaue indeed to those of his owne time, but which extend [...]th its vse also to ours. Of one thing I advise you, take heed of Antichrist. It is not well that you are so taken with the loue of walls, that you reverence the Church of God in consecrated houses and goodly edifi­ces, that vnder these you settle the name of peace [and presume on it] Is it a matter to be questioned (a re­markable speech) that Antichrist must sit in them? The mountaines, woods, lakes, prisons, caues, dungeons, seeme safer to me, for the Prophets either abiding in them, or being driven, and cast into them, haue prophe­sied by the spirit of God

This outward glory then, is incompatible with the nature of the true Church, and cannot possibly bee ta­ken for one of her markes: on the contrary, the want of it being more naturall to the Church, it doth more distinctly set her forth to the notice of intelligent be­holders.

CHAP. IX. What kinde of tranquillitiy belongeth vnto the true Church? How Kings are her nursing fathers? And that Kings are not the noursing fathers of the Romish Church.

BVt what then? Shall the Church never en­ioy a quiet estate? And those promises that Esa. 49.7.23. Kings shall be her nursing fathers, that they shall licke vp the dust of her feet, shall they be frustrated? God forbid. True it is that God Ioh. 14.27. & 16.33.giveth peace to his Church: but it is such as Philip. 4 7. passeth all vnderstanding. That Rom. 5.1. peace towards God, by which shee glorieth in afflictions: being 2. Co [...] 4.8. pressed, but not oppressed:Rom. 5.2.3. in perplexity, but not comfortlesse: persecuted, but not forsaken: cast downe, but not de­stroyed. And these promises that Kings shall be her nursing fathers, that they shall licke vp the dust of her feet, are of the same nature with those other promises; that she Esa. 60.16. shall sucke the milke of the nations, that Esa. 46.1 [...]. Kings shall walke before her in chaines, as it were in triumph: nations enemies, Kings enemies of the Church. Promises then of earthly things, for types of heavenly: promises of fading and transitorie commo­dities, to represent those everlasting honours & plea­sures. In this manner God hath promised that he would set her vpon Carbuncles,Esa. 54.11. and build her vpon Saphires, pronouncing that there should be no mo [...]e tumults, nor clattering in her gates. Because the Iew­ish [Page 31] nation at the time of these prophecies, was most in loue with such matters, therefore the holy Ghost vsed them in the expression of the happie, but spirituall estate of the Church. In the same kinde the Lord pro­miseth,Esa. 43.2. that when the Church should passe through waters, they shall not overflow her, that being in t [...]e fire, she shall not be burnt. Promises according to the letter, figuratiue; according to the sense, mysticall, and reall. Its true that God somtimes giues to his Church Psal. 125.3. an outward prosperity,Prov. 30 8. 1. Tim. 4.8. & 6.6. but in a mediocrity, Act. 14.22. but for a time. It appertaines not vnto her, to enioy a com­pleat peace on earth, being 2. Cor. 5.6. a stranger in it, & a Heb. 11.13. pil­grime, out Heb. 11.14.15. of her element, and Heb. 13, 14. Apoc. 14.13. heavenly country. Prov. 30.6. A continuall, and vndisturbed peace, is vncompati­ble with her nature, and doth not cherish, but change it, and at length quite corrupt it. Even as the outward heat of the ayre, continued without moderation, first slackes the vigour of the inward, and naturall heat, & maketh it faint, at last stifles and quite extinguisheth it.

Its true, also that kings are the foster-fathers of the Church, but this is seldome. 2. Chron. 36.22.23 Esd. 1.11 Esa. 49.28. & 45.1. Cyrus was a father to the Iewish Church, yet no part of it. So many Pagan Emperours haue suffered their kingdomes to bee re­ceptacles of Christians. Then was it when the Church sucked the milke of the Gentiles: then, if ever, was this prophesie, that Kings should be her sustainers, fulfilled liberally. Yet we deny not but God raiseth vp Prin­ces in his Church. But when these Princes in striving to shew themselues Patrons of his Church, with more affection, then discretion, haue fostered her even with superfluity, they haue procured her ruine, by the same [Page 32] means they sought her advancement.

It was not a Poet only, from whom the pride and surly pomp of the Romish Church, extorted this speech, Petrarch. in Sonnet. begin­ni [...]g Fontana. Hor Constantin non torna, Let's haue no more Constantines. St Hierome In vit. Malch. Monac. ad ini [...]i. himselfe observed in his time, (marke Reader how long since it was) that the Church attained to her full growth, became adultae by persecutions: but being cherished by Christian Princes, she increased indeed in riches and power, but decreased in vertues, and graces. What would he haue s [...]id in our daies? Wherefore a too pompous magnificence in the Church, is at the first a presage of a future alteration, and at last a certaine note of a change to worse. But the times are now otherwise, & matters are crept into another extreame. There is not a Prince at this day, which, to speake truely, sustaineth the Romish Church: she rather vpholdeth them, by whom she is said to be vpheld. So they cannot pro­perly be tearmed her Patrons. Shee domineers over them, even in temporall matters: she holdes their au­thorities and estates fastned to her beckand pleasure. Its a small matter for her to vsurp the power of excommunicating them, vnlesse she also take vpon her the authority to depriue them of their sovera [...]gneties. When it pleaseth her, she plucks away the scepter, & tramples the crownes vnder her feet: so that now (a strange alteration) the nursing father trembles before his nursling, and the Guardian stands in feare of his pupil [...]; not with such a feare, wherewith of [...]imes God strikes his enemies, a feare proceeding from a secret cause,Psal 10 [...].15. when he hath caused his uoice, Touch not mine [Page 33] annointed to giue a startling sound to the most in­humane and sauage hearts; but with an affrighting apprehension of conspiracies, poyniards, powder-plots, the ruine of their estates, and reuolt of their sub­iects. O barbarous, and vnnaturall pupill! o vnfortu­nate and ill-rewarded Protectors. What? shall the Church which vsurpeth this authority, practiseth this cruelty be the true Church? surely he hit the point well, who was the first that said, that deuotion begate wealth, but the daughter devoured the mother. A prodigious child deliuery that Religion should send forth so vnnaturall a monster, so contrary to the disp [...] ­sition of its mother. But it was the purpose of God. He had foretold that Kings,Apoc. 17.17. should giue their king­domes to the Beast, that they should vndergoe its yoake. This prediction was to be accomplished.

Now then l [...]t the Romish Church proceede, and pra [...]cke it lusti [...]y, let her triūph in this imperiall great­nesse, seeing it is the greatnesse of the Beast: let her scorne at our homelinesse, and scoff at our penury, seing it is the condition of the Church.

CHAP: X. That the Ceremonies of the Romish Church, doe not Commend, but disparage her.

BVt let vs examine, whether the multitude of ceremonies in the Romish [...]hurch, can giue her that title, which her pompe can­not, and whether the want of such a troupe [Page 34] amongst vs, will procure vs that disparagement, which the meanesse of our estate cannot. Certainely all alike, one as much as the other. So that wee still stand vpon the same tearmes with them: their glory shameth, them our ignominy honoureth vs: their ce­remonies make them superstitious: our simplicitie notifieth that we haue the true Religion·

This will clearely be discerned, if we consider, that there was indeedeGal. 3.23. time whē the ceremonies, & the ru­dimēts of the world had place, and were vsefull in the Church of God: who then Cols. 2 17. manifested himselfe in types, and shadowes. But this time Colos 4.1.2 3.4.5. lasted no longer, then whilst the Church was in her infancie, while the heire was a child, he was to be gouerned as a child, his tendernesse being not capable of a full liberty, and of a manlike instruction. The Luc 1.78 day spring from on high, Malach. [...].2

. the sunne of righteousnesse was not yet risen. The bodie of the shadowes, Col 2 7. Ioh: 1.17. the truth of the figures was not then exhibited. But the Gal. 4.1. et seq. fullnesse of time being accomplished, the time of the Churches infan­cy being expired, the heire being come to a perfect stature, the Sunne of righteousnesse being already risen, the Col [...]s. 2.17. Heb: 10. body and rea;l truth being now represen­ted; the Gal. 4 3. rudiments of the world tooke their leaue, the shadowes vanished, the Gal 2.35.26 types gaue place to truth, the carnall schoole-mastership yeelded to a spi­rituall liberty, Heb. 7.16. obscurity and imperfection, to clear­nesse and perfection.

For this cause, the Apostle said, Colos. 2.19.17. Let no man con­demne you in meate, or in drinke, or in respect of an Holy day, or of the new moone, or of the Sabbath daies, [Page 35] the reason was, because these things were shadowes of things to come, but the body (as he addes) is of Christ· Proceeding farther, he comes even to cut off a [...]l those ceremonies, which were got into the Church by humane institution. If ye be dead (saith he) with Christ, from the rudiments of the world, why, a [...] though liuing in the world are ye subiect to ordinances. (Touch not, taste not, handle not, which are to perish with the vsing) after the commandements and do­ctrines of men, which things haue indeede a shew of wisedome, in will worship and humilitie in that they spare not the body, and haue no regard to the satisfy­ing of the flesh.

What could be more effectually and vrgently spo­ken, for the banishment of ceremonies out of the Church? for by this we see that they are altogether incompatible with the nature of the Church vnder the Gospell: 1 the Church is dead with Christ, and so to liue spiritually, 2 these ordinances are a burden, the Lord hath eased her of it, 3 they are perishable, true piety is permanent, 4 they are doctrines of men, the doctrine of Gods worship is divine, sent downe from heauen: 5 They haue a flash of humane wisedome, some shew of humilitie, but they are indeede will-worships& Vainely then, and impertinently in this case are the pretences of a good meaning vsed, meere fig-leaue couerings. It is for Princes to prescribe rules according to which they will be serued, not for subiects to inuent them to themselues, he is a [...]ebell who attempts it. How much more rebellious shall the bole sacriledge of them be accounted, who either [Page 36] bringe in to, or keepe in the church a seruice of God patched vp meerely of humane institutions? The more these ceremonies increase, the more vn­m [...]nnerly presumption and sacriledge, there is in the Church, and shall they be the markes of a true Church?

Let vs consider the Primitiue Church flourishing more in times of the Apostles then euer it did after­wards, who will not admire her great simplicity in all points, and especially in ceremonies? For excepting the celebration of baptisme by washing of water; and of the holy supper, according to the lords institution, in taking the bread and wine, and distributing them after thanks giuing: excepting also, the imposition of hands vpon those which extraordinarily receiued the holy Gost, whether it weare in a Heb. 6.2. generall calling, or a 1 Tim. 4. d [...]e 5· 22. particular to a charge in the Church, marke. 6.13. Iam. 6, 14. Aug. ep. 118. ad Ianuar. and an­nealing for a miraculus effect of healing the fick, I say these excepted, their will not be found any other cere­mony in those primitiue times, so admirable was their simplicity. But the number of them was multiplied after wards, not by diuine but by humane institutiō. St. Austē entring in to discourse about ceremonies with Ianuarius, s [...]yes wel, that our Lord hath subiected vs to ā easie yoke and a light burden; and therefore hath vni­ted his new people, by the sacraments very few in num­ber, v [...]ry easy to be o [...]serued, very excellent in their signification, as is Baptisme cons [...]crated in the name of the Trin [...]ty, and the Communion of his body and b [...]ood▪ and if their bee any other thing commended in Scripture, not comprehending the ceremonies which are to bee read in the Pentateuch, which made the ser­uitude [Page 37] of the antient people heauy and toile some. If he adde that it is to be presupposed, that those things which are obserued by the whole world,Aug. Jbid. although vnwritten, haue notwithstanding beene ordained either by the Apostles, or by the Councells, this he re­straineth neverthelesse to a small number of feastes, of the passion, Resurrection, and ascension of our Lord, of the comming of the Holy Ghost, yea in clos­ing his discourse with this supposition, and if their bee any thing obserued by the whole Church, he plainely giues vs to vnderstand, that their were very few things, beside those by him specified, and those to of very small moment. The doubting particle, If their be any, imports that necessarily. And truely if the cere­monies had amounted then as they doe now, to an heavy burden by reason of their number, the diffi­culty and trouble of obseruing them. If in obscurity of signification, they had matched the Iewish ceremo­nies, yea if they had beene taken from the ceremonies of the law (as the Popish are all, excepting those which are borrowed from Paganisme) this good fa­ther should haue contradicted himselfe, if hee had thought that either the Apostles would, or Councels could haue imposed them vpon the Church. He had said that our Lord had subiected his Church to an ea­sy yoke, and a light burden, should he then say, that the Apostles and Councels had beene willing to make this yoke irksome, and burden heauy?Aug. 119. Epi. c. 9. Elsewhere he complaineth of the excessiue number, and intollerable multitude of ceremonies admitted into particular Churches: bemoaning the condition of the Church, [Page 38] by this meanes more slauish, then that of the Iewes. But this number was not so insupportable in respect of the seruitude it brought vpon the Church, as dange­rous in regard of the superstition it begate.

And certainely here is the venome incorporated into humane inventions,Aug. ib. which vnder some well com­posed lookes of piety and deuotion, insinuating them­selues into the true seruice of God, they stifle that, and aduance themselues into its roome. Our Lord marked ou [...] this euill when his Disciples being accused of transgressing the traditions of their fathers, he not only iustifieth them but also condemneth their accu­sers, for hauing made void the commandement of God by their traditions. who is so blind that hath not seene, that sees not daily that the commande­ments, but falsely called the commandements of the Church, are more religiously respected, and with more scruple violated, then those, which all confesse to be the commandements of God? Notwithstand­ing the infinitenes of their number and variety, the sot­tishest, & dullest amōgst thē haue thē at their fingers ēds: the spirituall seruice of God in the meane time, and the manner of its performance is vnknowne vnto them, the precepts which inioyne and teach it are strange to the greatest part of them. A pregnant argument of the hypocrisie and corruption of mans nature, which is delighted in that which is fleshly and out­ward: neglecting that which is spirituall, and inward. This is that which gaue occasion to that antient and grievous complaint of the Prophet, conceiued in the name of God. This people draweth neere vnto mee [Page 39] with their lips, but their heart is farre from me, Esa. 29.15. for their feare and seruice is the commandement of men.

A man continuing without any exercise of religi­on, can hardly be at peace with himselfe, and therefore he ventureth vpon some kind of deuotion, but the mischiefe is, that he is not pleased, but in that which is outward and sensuall, carnall as he is in that which is carnall. the more then that a religion is sensible, and mechanicall (as wee may terme it) the more accepta­ble it is vnto him, the more intellettuall, and spirituall, the more vncouth and harsh. For this cause even vn­der the new testament, and vnder grace,Ioh: 4.21.23. now when the Lord hath advanced his Church to an estate meerely spirituall, he hath left her neuerthelesse some ceremonies, by reason of her infirmity, but few in number, and without brauery, accompanied with the preaching of the word for feare of danger, namely, the Sacraments of Baptisme and the holy supper.Colos. 3. [...]. For he would elevate our hearts vnto a sublime pitch, and set them on high, and fixe them vpon their Principall obiect, drawing them from sensible and materiall ob­iects, to more refined and purified affections and me­ditations.

Pondering these reasons, we make no more apo­logies for our selues to those who cast in our teeth our penu [...]y of ceremonies. Nay wee thinke this our glo­ry, seeing in this point we stand vpō the same tearmes with the blessed Apostles, wee haue the same defence which they had, the condemnation of our accusers, for that by their trumperies, they haue smothered the syncere simplicitie of true worship. Wee tell them [Page 40] that this multitude of rites, and traditions is more suteable to the superstition of Turkes, Iewes, and infi­dels, amongst whome all these vanities haue beene, and are still in re [...]uest. Christian religion is not capable of them, they cannot stand either with the spirituall estate, or poore condition of the Church. Supersti­tion the mother of ceremonies is lavish, & prodigall, Spirituall whordome as it is, it hath this comōn with the bodily. Both of them must haue their paintings, their trinkets, their inveaglemēts & this cānot be with­out charges. The Church cannot afford such cost vpon ceremonies, and bables, her stock is so employ­ed in succouring the liuing images of Christ, that shee cannot t [...]inke vpon wooden babies: the world is so hard w [...]th her, that shee hath nothing to cast away in the guilding of Alters, in erecting proud edifices, in adorning walles with t [...]pe [...]lrie, in maiestick and state­ly processions through the streets.

CHAP: XI. That the policie of the Roman Church, serues all for preiudice against her.

WEE haue seene then, that neither the pompe, nor the ceremonies of the Church [...]f Rome can doe her any seruice, but on­ly to make her the more suspected, the more shee stands vpon them: euen as the rioto [...]s luxu­ry, a [...]fected postures of countenance, and m [...]ltitude of compliments in a woman make her chastitie more [Page 41] questionable. But peradventure the policy, govern­ment, and authority which she takes vpon her, hauing a visible head, si [...]ting in a throne more then imperiall, in the citty of Rome, heretofore the Queene and Em­presse of the vniverse: and now by vsurpation greater then ever she was, having succeeded the Empire, and in this succession surmounted it in greatnesse of so­veraigntie which she takes vpon her: exercising do­minion over the body, and the soule, in this life and after it, in this world, & without the circuit of it; with­out being accountable to any, submitting all to her selfe, not only the outward man, but the inward also, even the conscience. Peradventure, we say, this consi­deration may make vs both to reverence, and admire her. This doubtlesse may set her out most amiably to carnall eyes: but the spirit iudgeth otherwise, yea quite contrary of it. When the protestation of Christ shall come into our memories, Ioh. 18.36. that his kingdome is not of this world: the exhortation of Christ, that Mat. 10.25. his Disciples should not be like to the kings of the nations, the example of Christ, who being himselfe Lord of Lords, King of Kings, during the time of his abase­ment, became Mat. 17.16. tributary to a Prince, a tyrant: The commandement of Christ, when he bid to pay vnto Caesar, that which is Caesars, and vnto God that which is Gods. The Act. 23.10. practice of this commandement in the Apostles, who acknowledged themselues subiects to superiour powers, subiecting to them every Rom. 13.1. 1 Pet. 2.13.14. soule by their e [...]hortations, when they protested that they 2. Cor. 4.5. 2. Cor. 1 24. 2 Thes. 2.4. were the servants of the faithfull for Christs sakee, that they had no power over their faith. These consi­derations [Page 42] make that which ravisht fleshly eyes, misha­pen, hideous, and terrible to a spirituall view; especial­ly when it shall bee considered that this boundlesse power, and transcendent dignity is a character of An­tichrist, the true condition of his Antichristian king­dome, directly contrary to that of our Lord Iesus Christ.

Certainely be it as it will, that there haue beene, are and will be many 1. Ioh. 2.18. Antichrists, and false teachers, which oppose themselues against Christ, yet there is one of them to lb. & 2. Thes 2.4. whom this title is, by an vnhappy ex­cellency, principally due. Inasmuch as that beside the abominable impurity of his doctrine, which is com­mon to him with the others, hee invades the royall prerogatiue of Christ; hoising himselfe aboue 2. Thes. 2.4. the Magistrate and the Angells themselues, and so aboue all that is called God (for these are they to whom this name is allowed in Scripture), whil'st arrogating to himselfe a power over consciences, hee pretends a supremacy over all Christians: a supremacy of religi­on, and which is spirituall; and so fits in the temple of God, behaving him [...]elfe, as if he were God; taking vp­on him the power of binding & loosing consciēces; of making that sinne which God hath not called sinne; of giving dispensations where God giues none; of ra­ting good workes and setting a price vpon them, en­hauncing, and moderating the market according to his occasions. See Monsieur d [...] Nevers his discourse of his embassage to Rome. When he hath terrified the conscien­ces of the greatest Monarchs, working this impression into them by his deputies, that how serious soever their repentance may be, yet they cannot enioy peace [Page 43] either of soule, or body, vnlesse his absolution come betweene. Whil'st he makes vncleane the vse of crea­tures whom God hath sanctified by his word, not commending a fast, but inforcing an abstinence from certaine creatures against the expresse word of God, which pronounceth this doctrine, a doctrine of Di­vells. Whil'st he vndertakes to make Viz: that of the Cleargy. marriage vn­lawfull, which the Scripture hath called honourable amongst all men, and the bed vndefiled. When hee dispenseth with the Viz: Mona­stick vows [...]. breaking of vowes, when hee allowes for honest those Witnesse the King of Polo­nia, who by a dispensation maried his si­ster in law. marriages, which the word of God hath declared to be incestuous. When he de­clares by his indulgentiall Bulls, that prayers had in a pl [...]ce by him assigned, are more pretious, then if they had beene without his assignation. Exercising this traffique, that with the sale of things spiritual, of soules and consciences, he may stuffe his treasures, which he imployeth, as the world knoweth, either in maintai­ning warre against Christian Princes, or in promo­ting his kindred, or in making his proud, prophane, Epicurean court swimme in superfluities of dissolute luxury. What shall we say more? When he vnderta­keth to shut and open at his pleasure the gates of Pa­radise, to prolong, or abbreviate the torments of those that are departed. When arrogating to himselfe this power, he vseth such a partiality in the execution of i [...]; partiality, say we? When he proceeds in such nig­gardlinesse, and avarice, yea such barbarous inhumani­ty, savîng only whom it pleaseth him to saue, being able (if you will beleeue himselfe) to saue all. Is not this to arrogate a power proper, and peculiar to God [Page 44] alone? But this power which in God, the Lord and Master of all, is no whit tyrannicall: in man, who is obliged to doe for another all he can possible, to loue his neighbour as himselfe, more then tyrannicall. Fi­nally, when Clem 5 in bu [...]a indulg. out of his authority, he employeth the Angells, in the pretended execution of his comman­dements, v [...]urps not he an authority more then hu­mane, altogether divine? Yet notwithstanding, this so strangely vsurped power, is the master sinew of that policy, by which this vnwildy body subsisteth, the Co­lossus and maine pil [...]ar of the Roman Church, a nerue which taking its originall from the head, straggles through the whole body, being distributed to every member proportionably to its vse: even as in the king­domes of the world, the Monarches reserving with themselues, as it were, the spring-head, and sunne of soveraignety, nevertheles communicate the streames of this spring, the beames of this sunne in proportion to their officers, according to each of their functions.

CHAP. XII That although it hath beene foretold, that Anti­christ should sit in the Temple of God, yet that Church which acknowledgeth him, cannot be the true Church.

BVt there remaineth yet this scruple, that how tyrannicall and Antichristian soever this policy be, yet the Church where it is practised may not a whit the lesse bee the [Page 45] true Church. Yea rather seeing that Antichrist must sit in the Temple of God, considering this power and dignity, wee haue iust reason to presume that the Church of Rome, wherein it beares sway, may be tru­ly the Temple of God.

This scruple cannot stagger, or stay him who shall examine whether this power be to be exercised by the Church, or against her: to be approved, or de [...]ested by her; who will consider that the followers of Anti­christ at any time, now if he be already come, as cer­tainely he is: or for the future, if he be not yet come, as a great part of the world dreameth, may oppose the church by the same argument, alleaging that they are the true church, because Antichrist is amongst them. One August. civit. Dei lib. 10. c. 59 therefore, adventured to interpret these words, sitting in the Temple of God, in a sense which runnes, sitting against the Temple of God, grounding vpon the words in the [...]. originall, which may denote as well, an opposition against the church, as a resi­dence in it. But let vs take the words in the former sense, that Antichrist must sit in the church of God; yet it will never follow that that church which a [...] ­knowledgeth him for her head, obeyeth, and adoreth him hath any thing of the church but the bare name. Let him then be in the church, but as a canker is in the body, a tyrant in the commonwealth. It may seeme that for this cause the Apostle vsed the word Temple, rather then Church, that hee might expresse vnto vs this mystery of iniquity, by allusion to the Temple of Ierusalem, called by an excellency, the Temple of God; signifying vnto vs, that as the Temple of God had [Page 46] beene anciently the place which God had consecra­ted, to t [...]e outward exercise of his service, but that men aft [...]rward transformed it into a den of theeues: retaining for all that the title of the Temple of God, in regard of it's primitiue, and sanctified vse: even so the church of Rome is stiled the Temple of God, as being primordially planted, and dressed by his hand: conse­crated to God, and the Lord Iesus Christ, (and is so still at this day outwardly) by baptisme, and professi­on of the Christian faith, although they haue degene­rated from their originall purity, and by their abomi­nations prophaned their consecration, & belied their profession. Like vnto rebells, who notwithstanding their rebellion, retaine the name still of kings subiects, as vsually he that is the ringleader of a conspiracy, o­beyed by his confederates, is said to vsurpe rule over the kings subiects. So the adulteresse keepes the name of a wife still. After this fashion, that may bee called the Temple of God, which is become a den of theeues, that wherein not Antiochus, but Antichrist hath set vp the abomination of desolation. But granting them that the Temple of God, wherein Antichrist must sit, should be the true Church; it cannot thence bee con­cluded that the Church of Rome should be the true Church; this will imply no more, then that the Tem­ple of God are the faithfull, both those which haue been heretofore, and those which are still as it were impled­ged in the Church of Rome, as anciently the Iewes were in Babylon, and all Israell in Aegypt. Over them the Pope long since sate, and at this day sits, and in this sense sits in the Temple of God in the rigour of its [Page 47] signification. They in the meane time never were, and now are not of the Romane church, as the graine is in the chaffe, but not of it. As some vpright Iustices may be in a Court of corrupt Iudges, but not of their con­federacy, a few wholsome bodies may be with a mul­titude of infectious, but not of their company. Final­ly to cut them off from all evasiō, we say that the Pope sitteth in the church of God, in regard of the vnlimi­ted authority he vsurps over all christians, even those which are separated from his slaues, vndertaking as their Iudge, to proceed against them with his tyran­nous censures, and constraining Princes to persecute them.

It is then a certaine truth, that this policie of the Ro­man church, being of the same nature with that of the Antichristian church, it is a disgracefull and scanda­lous badge of her corruption, and apostacy.

On the other side, let the government of the refor­med churches be obserued, in them there is no su­preame iurisdiction, but an authority which alwaies submitteth it selfe to the rule of Gods word, and Ca­nons of a discipline regulated by it. Every man being assubiected to the iudgement, not of one alone, but of many, and those many not vndertaking to binde any man by their authority, but only by the equitie of their decrees, submitting themselues to the controll of any man, yea and yeelding to it, if it be accompanied with reason. The true church is of so ample a circumference that she cannnot be governed by one alone, and of so Royall a descent, that in that which concerneth the conscience, she cannot be ruled by any but God him­selfe. [Page 48] Any other whosoever he be, imployed in any function concerning her, must behaue himselfe as her servant, not as her Lord, not prescribing her any thing, but bearing witnesse to what hath beene prescribed her, not advancing himselfe aboue kings, but bowing vnto them, not thinking, that his spirituall liberty, ex­empts him from bodily loyaltie, but giving to Caesar, that which is Caesars, to God that which is Gods, ho­nour to whom honour, tribute to whom tribute be­longeth.

This is the platforme and ground of iurisdicti­on in the protestant churches, very different from the Popes, who establisheth a spirituall monarchie in the church, who taketh vpon him to iudge all, without be­ing iudged by any, who requireth a blind obedience, grounded not vpon the reason and equity of his in­iunctions, but vpon the vncontrolable eminency of his place, making as much of his ordinances, as if they were brought downe immediatly from God, as ha­ving in the Plat. in vita Paul. 2. registry of his breast, the fulnesse of infalli­ble knowledge.

CHAP. XIII. Whether vnion and discord be markes, by which the true Church should bee discerned from the false.

ALL the advantage then that the Church of Rome gets by this clatter of externall pomp, of ceremonies, iurisdiction and au­thority, by which it is endeavored to make [Page 49] her greatnesse more venerable, stands her but in this sorry steed, to strengthen the suspicion of her falshood into her conviction. On the contrary, the innocent basenesse, simplicity, and humility notable in the true church, maketh her more louely, affording vs sound matter of a pressing coniecture, & a strong presump­tion that she is indeed, as well as in stile, The Reformed Church. This perceiued, maketh vs presage that all the other exceptions which the Church of Rome dar­teth against vs will be of the same making with this first: having more plausibility, then soundnesse, partia­lity, then iustice, colour then strength, as we shall see, by Gods assistance, in the progresse of this examinati­on. Let vs consider then in the second place, what weight there is in the pretended vnity of the Church of Rome, opposed to the discord surmised to bee a­mongst vs.

Now we say that it is not generally true, that vnity should alwaies be a note of the true Church, or dis­cord of the false. We s [...]y also that the vnity of the Romane Church is in shew only, not in deed: that it is rather a conspiracy, then a vnion; like vnto that a­mongst those which were besieged in Ierusalem, who Joseph. de bel. Judaec. l. 6. c 4. disagreeing betweene them [...]elues, ioyned forces ne­verthelesse against those which besieged them, being divided at home, and vnited abroad. And on the o­ther side that our discord is only surmised, and t [...]at we are in truth vnited, not only against the common en [...] ­my, but also betweene our selues.

That it is true that vnion is not a marke of the true Church, nor disvnion, a iust presumption of the false, [Page 50] see we not that in the times of the Apostles, there were great discords in the Church? Some of them were of one opinion, some of another, one thought that the ceremonies of t [...]e law were to be retained, a­nother that they were not. And this divisiō had made such an alienation of hearts in t [...]e Church, that Gal. 2.11. St Peter himselfe was compelled to be a timeserver, and diversly to apply himselfe, according to places, and persons, vntill he met with a rough censure from St Paul, who resisted him to his face, and sharply rebu­ked him, for not walking vprightly according to the truth of the Gospell. I vnderstand (saith 1 Cor. 11.18. the same Apostle, writing to the Corinthians) that there are dissentions among you, and I partly beleeue it, for there must be heresies amongst you also, that they which are approued may be made manifest.

Behold in the meane while Act. 23. amongst the Iewes, the Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadduces vnited together vnder one head the high Priest. Could they then bene­fit themselues with this pretence, and vpbraid the Christians with their discord? True it is, the Saddu­ces agreed not with the Pharises in all points of do­ctrine, but yet, all of them acknowledged one chiefe Priest, all of them ioined together in the same forme of diu [...]ne seruice, & which is more, the number of the Sadduces was so small, commpared with the other; that it could nor furnish the Christians with iust mat­ter of reto [...]tion; and if it could, what would this haue beene more then reproach, and counter-reproach, crimination, and recrimination; equally true on either side. Now seeing that one of the parties was the true [Page 51] Church, could it be inferred from its diuision, that it was the false? Neither diuision then, nor vnion can be essentiall characters either of the true or false Church. But suppose these markes should bee infallible, what would the Church of Rome get by it? What should wee iudge of her during that long schisme? What may afford her an apology? perhaps a distinction, that the division at that time, was in respect of charity, not of faith, and doctrine. But how will this distinction of schisme in faith, and schisme in charity, heale vp the wound, if both of them be equally, pernicious, equally incompatible with the nature of the Church? The Donatists were not diuided from the Catholique Church in faith, at the first, for all that, they were re­puted of as members cut off from her. Their schisme, indeede, at the length begate heresie; as an inflamed vlcer causeth a feuer. And may wee not avouch, that during the last schisme in the Romane Church, the same case hath happened, when the anti Popes were by one another accounted the forerunners of Anti­christe: rhe followers of both sides reciprocally called by one another the members of Antichrist. What may here be replyed? perhaps, that in the Christian Church in the time of the Apostles, in the Romane Church since, heretickes and schismatickes were not of the true Church, but mingled with it: as darnell amongst wheat, which maketh no part of the wheat: as mutiners in an army which are not of the army. But what? make not they of the reformed religion the same reply when their discord is cast in their dish? confesse they not that their is indeede darnell in their wheat, but yet not [Page 52] of it, that there are in their spirituall army turbulen-mutiners, but not of their army? Now if so soone after the publication of the Gospell by the Apostles, when that Iudaisme, and Paganisme were assaulted by such strong forces there sprang euen then schismes, and heresies like fogs at the rising of the sunne. If in a time so priuiledged, so flourishing with the frequency, and variety of gifts, and extraordinary graces, not­wi [...]hstanding all this, Sathan striued with might and maine, to make the assault vpon those, who gaue it to his kingdome confounded with distractions, that he might weaken the assailants, by diuiding them: who will thinke it strange that he hath made the like assay, with the same successe in this last reformation? who will wonder, that he hath raised such an hurly burly of dissonant voices, that Christs voice may not be heard distinctly? Iust as anciently the Iewes making their children passe through the fire, in honour of their Idol Moloch, for feare that their ruef [...]ll scrietches should call to their hearts for naturall affection, and amaze them with the sound of their owne cruelty, they tooke order, that voices so sensibly lamentable, should bee lost in a rude variety of more clattering, and vn­passionate noises Certes this deuice was effectuall to the Iewes, but it succeedeth not so well with Satan. The cryes of infants were feeble, and might easily bee out-noised: but the voice of Christ, how soft and sweet soever it bee, to those who are his, yet it is a piercing, and a mighty voice. True religion hath had its course, all heresies are either dead, or dye one after annother not by the fu [...]y of faggots, and gibbets, but by the [Page 53] sword of the spirit, and by the power of the word of the liuing God.

CHAP. XIIII. That their is no true vnity in the Church of Rome, and that in the reformed Church, there is no discord of importance.

BVt to consider this point neerer hand, there is no discord of moment amongst vs; no syncere vnion amongst them: but a combi­nation to ruine their common aduersaries; as some Princes, which otherwise bare mutual grudges one against another, entertaine neuerthelesse a league against a common enemy. So Herod and Pilate agreed, in putting to death the Lord Iesus, the sauiour of the world.

Surely it cannot be denied, but that in former ages, the dissentions in the Romish Church were very great. Their mutuall hatred was deadly, witnesse their schisme, witnesse also the great variety of opi­nions amongst those doctours which themselues stile Catholique. who so will see proofe of this, let him only consult the writings of Cardinall Bellarmine, there he shall find diuersities, and contrarities of opinions amongst the Catholique doctours almost about euery point of religion.

But the Pope being then busied about the establishmēt of his Papall omnipotence his spirituall authority over the temporalty, yea his temporall authority ouer the [Page 54] temporalty, and spiritualty together, tormented not himselfe with those disputes, not so much as to inter­pose his authority to appease them. For those schoole­broiles at that time did not a whit preiudice his desig­nes, but rather helped them forward. So long as these doctors sharpned their subtilties against themselues, they let him alone in peace, they outvied one ano­ther in flattering of him, each side fearing lest he should incline to its opposite. This indifferencie was both acceptable to the disagreeing parties, and beneficiall to the Pope. There were as yet no strangers which might publish the shame of these doings, and aduan­tage themselues by these domesticke quarrells of their enemies: they spake therefore at that time freely, and boldly vented their opinions betweene themselues. But since that, the world is well changed, their affaires are no longer at this point. Now it was to be feared, least the discord of the seruants, should ruine the authority of the Master. For this it is, that he hath de­sired to [...]ull it asleepe, that he may bend the entire for­ces of his supports, against the stranger, and common adversary. He was now to looke to it, that they without tooke no advantage of this dissention, & to take away the scandall of it from those that are within. This is that he hath done, but after a sorry manner, as hee could, tyrannically, and by meanes altogether shame­full. Not by a resolution of their doubts, by stating of their questions, by a rationall decision of their contro­versies; but by his absolute authority imposing silence vpon the parties, by this trick [...], smothering the evill, without medling with the root.

[Page 55]He that will be better informed concerning this, let him obserue that even at this day (for example) the true followers of Thomas yeeld not to Bellarmine, that their Angelicall Doctor concluded amisse, affir­ming that the image of Christ, and the true Crosse are to be worshipped with the same adoration, that Christ himselfe. That the Sorbonists will not consent to the Jesuits, that the Pope should be aboue a Councell, that he may as well depose as excommunicate Kings, that a Tyrant may lawfully be put to death even by a private man. In the meane while these points are of such con­sequence, that if any of them be true, they vnavoidably damne the contrary.Bellar. de imag. l. 2. c. 20.21. If the opinion of Bellarmine bee true, touching the adoration of images, that of Tho­mas is pure idolatrie: if the tenet of the Iesuits concer­ning the authority of the Pope be receiuable, that of the Sorbonists is schismaticall and hereticall.

What will be answered vs here? Doubtlesse that these opinions are but problematicall, and may on both sides indifferently be maintained, so long as the Church hath not giuen her determination of them. This hole indeed they vsually start out at, when for the diversity of opinions which are amongst them, they are pressed not to taxe that fault in others, which is so notorious in themselues, not to vrge those lawes vpon others which they meane to shift off themselues. Ne­verthelesse their by-corner reacheth not farre, they cannot runne farre, if one briefly tell them, that the sen­tence of the Church is not effectiue, but declaratiue, that it makes not truth but directeth to it, it makes not heresie, but points it out. Even as the opinion of the [Page 56] Physitian makes the disease neither better, nor worse then it is, lesse doth it make it what it is. The diseased party then of whō the Physitiā hath decreed nothing, ceaseth not to be sicke and to dye, as well as those who by a true prognosticke were iudged to be in danger of death. Whether the iudgement then of the church be interposed or not, that which deserues to bee con­demned is condemnable of it selfe, and in the sequel, makes him that beleeueth it infallibly damnable.

But let any man tell me, whether there may be ima­gined a more compleat and formall schisme, then that which we see in the protestation of the French church against the councell of Trent: Yes, they say, but this was but in certaine points. What matters that? See­ing that a Councell is a body, and expects either to be wholy receaued, or wholy reiected: not submitting it selfe to iudgement,Vid. Sledian. comment. l. 22. that they to whom it speaketh by authority, should goe about to choose, and picke out some of its determinations. But requiring of all an absolute and vniversall obedience by reason of its authority, and the pretended presidence and guidance of the holy Ghost.

After all this, who will not be more astonished, to see that the Pope pronounceth not definitiue sentence vpon these differences▪ dispatcheth not these difficul­ties, determineth not these questions. Is it because he taketh delight, to foster and cherish discord amongst his ad [...]erents? No, this is no time for it. He is so neer­ly assaulted by those without, and so lustily incounte­red with, that he had need haue good entercourse, & keepe good correspondency with those that are [Page 57] within. Is it then because he fauoureth all sides equally? neither, this is more vnlikely then the other. He loueth his greatnesse to well, he is to iealous of his authority, too zealous for the aduācemēt of his Papal omnipotēcy to beare no more affection to those who imploy their spirits to his bent, for his soueraignty, thē to those who crosse it, & skirmish with it. Is it not known, how these are esteemed of, in that they are tearmed Politikes, and haue not the name of Catholiques allowed them, but grudgingly. That which holdeth the Pope, from openly condemning some of them, is a feare by alie­nateing them to diminish his forces. He knoweth, that slippery things wrung to hard slide away the faster: that lines stretched too much snap in sunder. He re­membreth the peremptory roughnes of Leo the tenth, he hath seene how much it hath cost him (or to speake mo [...]e properly) the papall Monarchy, to haue prose­cuted the affaires of the See so eagerly, to haue beene so stiffely bent in the breaking of that, which (as he thinkes) might haue beene mollified and bended with time.

By this it is to be seene, that there is rather a conspi­racy amongst them, the [...] a true vnion: as on the con­trary, the difference amongst vs is rather a diversity, then a diuision, in the circumstances, then in the thing; in the accessory, then in the principall; in the policy, then in the doctrine; amongst some persons, then in the Corporation, and generality of our Churches. Witnesse the harmony of our confessions, and Cate­chismes, a harmony grounded vpon no other plot, or designe, then that of cōming to the kingdome of hea­uen, [Page 58] to the fruition of the heauenly inheritance, by that one and only way, the knowledge of one true God, and whom he hath sent I [...]sus Christ. Iohn. 17. If some turbu­lent spirits striue to trouble our peace, to diuide our vnity, wee account them not ours, they are spots in our feasts, Iud. v. 12, and scabs in our body, which spirituall vigour hath chased out. Surely if any one communicate not with vs, in doctrine and charity, he is none of ours, al­though he impugne the same adversarie with vs: no more, then he is of that side which impugneth vs, vnder colour, that he opposeth vs with them. They are not accounted members of the Romane Church, who oppose vs with as much violence as shee doth, no more ought the same men to bee esteemed ours, vnder this couert, that they fight with vs against the Church of Rom [...]; but indeede with much lesse valour and efficacy: and therefore they are much more sup­ported by her, and shee by them reciprocally, then they support vs.

CHAP. XV. That novelty is a reproach which is ordinarily cast vp­on truth, and how shee hath beene cleared of it from time to time.

LEt vs come now to the preiudice strongest of all the rest, that Antiquity they pretend, burdening on the contrary, the truth which we preach, as new, with hatred and envy. Antiquity, they say, is diuine and venerable, [Page 59] nouelty on the other side, damnable and diuellish. The truth of this wee willingly subscribed to, but wee yeeld not, that this antiquity, which they so much cracke of, appertaineth vnto them: that the shame of nouelty which they so much taunt vs with, is due vnto vs. Here standeth the difference, if they can iusti­fie that they are ancienter then wee, let them gaine the cause: if wee are conuinced of nouelty, let sentence be pronounced against vs, the condemnation shall be iust, we are all ready to giue way to it, and to be the first that shall set their hands to it.

But wee earnestly request, that their pretences may not be takē vpon t [...]eir words, that our reasōs may be pon­dered ere we bee condemned of nouelty vpon a bare accusatiō: yea although there were some likelyhood of truth in it. So long as the accuser speaketh, it is hard if the defendant be not iniured. But the lawes, but na­ture, but God willeth, that both parties, the plaintif and defendant, be heard with equall attention and e­quity. Otherwise, where is the innocent that could shroud himselfe from the fraud and violēce of calūny: alwaies malitious, but then confident and perempto­ry, when shee perceiueth herselfe handsomely trim­med, and to be favoured something like the truth.

To begin this point, wee say that it is no new mat­ter that truth should be censured of nouelty, nor that falshood should be invested with the venerable and sa­cred mantle of antiquity. The Iewes cast this aspersi­on vpon our Sauiour the Prophet of Prophets, and doctor of doctors: contrarily they tooke to themselues this prerogatiue, that they were the Marc 7.5. Math. 13.2. old friends, and [Page 60] retainers of truth. Sym. in relat. The pagans made the primitiue Christians odious to the world by the aspersion of nouelty. Proud and lying braggers, they made bra­uadoes and trophies, with the monuments of their an­tiquity. It is for vs then to thinke our selues happy, and to cheare vp our selues in that wee are partakers of the same slanders with Christ: these are honorable skars, with which the primitiue Christians were mar­ked: And they who goe about to shame vs by these aspersions, who boast and brag of their antiquity, if they doe it vpon the same title which the Iewes and Pa­gans presumed on, are they not vnhappie, and their proceeding is it not really as ridiculous, as in appea­rance it was commendable? Now that it is so, it ap­peareth by the nature of the answeres we oppose to their exceptions, conformable to those of Christ to the Iewes, and of the Christians to the pagans, to dis­couer the impie [...]y, quell the earnestnes, and abate the insolency of the like calumnies. Search the scriptures (saith our Sauiour) for in them yee thinke to haue e­ternall life, and they are th [...]y which testifie of me, [...]oh. 5.39. If y [...]u haue beleeued in M [...]s [...]s yee beleeue also in me, [...] 5.4 [...]. for he wrote of me. This is our defence at this day. Wee are slandered as innouators, wee answer, search the Scriptures, if you beleeue Moses, the Prophets and A­postles, you will bel [...]e [...]e also in Christ, preached in the midst of vs, wee publish nothing, but what hath bee [...]e written by them. It was oblected to our Saui­our, Math 25.6. that his d [...]sciples violated the traditions of the fathers, he replyed v [...]to th [...]m, that by their traditi­ons they had made void the word of God. Wee at t [...]is [Page 61] time are molested with the same censure, wee in our Sauiours authority, retort the same reproch, vsing his words, in the face of them that brocht it. Wee offer to make it manifest, wee doe indeede make it a plaine case, that they nullifie the word of God by their traditi­ons, that our antiquity is the antiquity of the Scripture, yea of the truth contained in it, which was preached before euer it was written. So when the Pagans by this aspersion (though false) of nouelty, made the cause of the Christians suspected, they were confuted by Tertul. Apol. c. 19. the antiquity of the scriptures, and by a proposall of these considerations, that wee are not so much to care when, Arnob. Contr. Gentes. lib. 2. as vpon what grounds wee embrace religion, that as God almighty Iehouah, the ancient of daies is not of any new being, so his true worship cannot be new, the forme of which worship who can better prescribe, Ambros in r [...]s­pos. ad Sym. ce­lat. then God himselfe? who (said they) is more to be be­leeued in a matter concerning God, then God himselfe? is man to be credited, who is ignorant of himselfe, vn­lesse God assist him, and reueale him to himselfe? It is not the antiquity of yeares, but of manners which is venerable. Its no disparagement to be conuerted euen in the doting age of the world, no age is superannuated for repentance. It is rather a shame, not to be forward in a willing and industrious amendment in old age. So the Primitiue Christians defended themselues; and so in these times, wee frame our apologies. Wee re­hearse the same things to iustifie vs. Wee request, that the antiquity not of persones, but of doctrine may be respected. This is that which we expect, that to which wee haue summoned, and doe daily call our [Page 62] adversaries to. Hither our adversaries dare not come, that they may not come hither, they find excuses to runne back. It is then, a base slander which is cast vp­on vs; that wee confesse our religion is new, that wee denie, which wee stifly affirme, that antiquity is all­waies on truths side. Christ in appearance, was but an vpstart in respect of his adversaries; as being but new­ly come abroad; Christian religion, if one would haue iudged of it, while he cast his eyes vpon the heathenish monuments, their temples and edifices, would haue beene thought a neotericke vanity. New in outward shew, but really Christ and his doctrine, in antiquity surpassed the Pharises, and their leauen; Christianity was by many ages ancienter then Paganisme. But is it not a kind of stupidity in mā, more to looke after tow­ers and steeples, then truth? neuer remēbring that there was a time when these deuices were not; but truth was before them all·

Is it not reasonable here that wee should be heard? will it not be thought, that wee speake with reason, when wee affectionately both aduise and entreate, that it may be considered, that it is a fault, almost common to all men, to call that new, which is not so but in re­spect of them, to bestow the honour of antiquity vpon nothing but what is ancient in their opinion; measur­ing both antiquity and nouelty, by the ell of their me­mories. It fares with religion and lawes, which the corruption and ignorance of the times hath obscured, and as it were buried, as it doth with Countries called new-found lands, because lately discouered: yet who is there that hath not his senses stolne from him, which [Page 63] doubts but that they are of the same standing with the world? All reformation is new, what matter is it if the modell, and patterne of it be antient? Let our disco­uery be new, The land which wee haue discouered is ancient, h [...]th alwaies beene, though vnknowne to the multitude·

CHAP. XVI. That the search of antiquity is not rightly ordered, and what the direction is which Saint Cyprian giues vs for it,

WEE affirme then, that antiquity is alwaies on the right hand of truth, wee beleeue it, and preach it, honouring true antiqui­ty, not that which seemeth so to our fancy ignorant of times past: but that which is true and reall. Otherwise, wee should be like those, which sometimes thought, that beyond the great Ocean, and Atlanti­que sea, there was no land, because there was neuer knowne any Pilot, that went so farre, vntill Colum­bus ventred vpon it in the time of our Grandfathers. Wee beginne at our shore, with our time and so goe backward; but why at least peirce wee not this Ocean of time, and so get through to the other end? why loose wee courage in the midst of our voyage, why turne wee saile so suddainely? If wee haue had neither the skill nor courage to saile further, why affirme wee so confidently, that their is nothing beyond our com­putation? why dreame wee that it is impossible for vs, [Page 64] to find that which wee neuer sufficiently looked after, fearing to find it, desirous not to find it. Wee may then iustly suffer this taunt, that wee fainted in our vn­dertakings; that wee were tired in our iourney. When they goe about to calculate antiquity, now a daies they beginne not with that which is first, the first epoche is, where were you within these hundred yeares! so in steede of going fo [...]ward, they stop at a short period and retire homeward. In the meane time this path were not to be neglected, nor this method to be refu­sed, if they would not stop in their search, vntill they came to the age of the Apostles; for beateing this way so farre, how many nouelties would their be met with betweene this and that, of fresher date; and which might be questioned, where were you before? which are not then of that ancient originall, nor graced with the priuiledges of true antiquity, which yet are antiquities in respect of vs, and our times: but meere nouel [...]ies in respect of the age of the Apostles.

That which was in the age of the Apostles, is truely ancient, and nothing ancient but that: they are the fathers whose bounds wee must not remoue: wee must inquire after the waies of these fathers, as for those degenerate ancestors which came afterwards, wee haue an expresse prohibi [...]ion. Walke not accord­ing to the statutes of your fathers, Ezek. 2 [...].18. and regard not their-ordināces, I am Iehouah your God, walke in my statutes, keepe my commandements, and doe them. Antiquity then is not to be accounted of, but as shee is a witnesse of truth, according to Tertullian, that which was first taught (saith hee) is of the Lord and true.Tertull. de praescent, [...] That which [Page 65] is absolutely first then, is to bee sought out, and from it the calculation is to begun.

St. Cyprian giueth vs a direction for this calculati­on,Cypri. ad Pomp. cont. epist. Seph Epis. epist. 74. ex edit Pamell. (although he otherwise applyeth it) which is as pertinent, as it is familiar, instructing vs, that euen as a conduit of water which formerly ranne copiously, and continually coming to faile vpon a suddaine, wee haue recourse to the spring-head, to know the cause of this defect: whether it bee that the drying of the fountaine, depriueth the running water, both of an o­riginall & nourishment: or whether the foūtaine being entire the water faileth in its course, the pipe being ei­ther brokē or stopt, that it being mēded the water may bee restored to the vse of the citty, in the same plenty & purity it proceedeth from the fountaine: so, saith he, the Priestes of God ought to repaire to the originall, and the tradition of the Gospell and Apostles, in keeping his commandements, to the end, that the reason of our actions may be deduced, from the same beginning, whence that deriueth its authority. That wee may not doubt, what is the tradition of which he speaketh:Cypr. ibid. let vs he [...]re what he saith a little before, to the same purpose. One alleadged to him tradition; whence is this tradition, replyeth he, is it from the Lord, from the authority of the Euange­lists or Apostles? For that those things which are written, in the booke of the law, are to bee obserued, God himselfe testifieth, telling Iosuah that the booke of the Law, the scripture should not depart out of his mouth. If then it bee either commanded in the Gospell or contained in the Apostolicall writings, that they [Page 66] which come out of any heresie, be it what it will should not be baptised, let this holy and diuine tradi­tion be obserued. St. Cyprian reiecteth not the bap­tisme of heretickes, but only because he bel [...]eueth not that it was a holy and diuine tradition, that it should bee admitted; he is ready to receiue it, if it bee proued vnto him to bee such a one; giuing vs the rule to proue it, by the apostolicall wri [...]ings. He cal [...]eth then a diuine and holy tradition, all that which may bee iustified by them, as for other tradi [...]ions, he putteth t [...]em aside with this sl [...]ghting interrogato [...]y▪ whence is this tradition? Now therefore such traditions as these, we are ready to accept, prouided that the Papists, after the same method, manifest their origin all vnto vs. When w [...]e demand whence is this tradition? when beganne it? let them answere vs, it is drawne from the writings, it hath beene from the time of the Apostles.

CHAP: XVII. That the only meanes to pr [...]ue true antiquity, is to haue recourse to the begining by the scripture.

NOw that wee alledge St. Cyprian, it is not to authorise the truth, by the authority of men, only wee borrow their words, and fancies to expresse it. Wee wish that it may be considered, not who speakes, but what is spo­ken. But if better authority here be called for, we wil al­ledge supreme authoritie; that of the Lord prescribing [Page 67] vs the rule It was not so from the beginning. Wisely then, and fitly,Tertul. contr. Marcion. l [...]b. 4 ca. 5. said Tertullian, th [...]t which is the first, is the truer, and that which is from the beginning is first, and that which is of the Apostles, is from the be­ginning. To which wee adde, only that which follow­eth of it selfe, that which is in the scripture, in the wri­tings of the Apostles is of the Apostles.

So then, in respect of this antiquity, doe wee not submit our selues to reason, when wee yeeld that our doctrine should be reiected, if it be not of the Apostles? Are not our proofes authētique to cōfirme [...]he antiquity of our religion, when they are gathered out of their writings, the writings of the Prophe [...]s & Euāgelists?

The course which is taken, to proue the antiquity so much talked of in the Church of Rome, is a re­course to Fathers, and Councells. The more ant [...]ent these Fathers and Councels are, proue t [...]ey not this antiquity the more euidently? But what fa [...]hers, what Councells a [...]e more ancient, then the scripture? what antiquity then, is ancienter then the scriptures? what title more ancient then that which is of the same date with the scriptures? certainely it is an excesse of open blasphemy, to equalize either fathers or coun­cells to Scripture, and yet this is done. But though this be done, yet it will not be said, that the Scripture is of a fresher originall then the fathers, and Councels, Impudency hath not yet ventured so farre. He then of whose side is the doctrine of the scripture, hath gai­ne [...] the prerogatiue of antiquity, and by consequent of truth. So then this question about anti [...]uity is brought to this issue, what wee are to examine which [Page 68] is the doctrine most consonant to Scripture, this be­ing cleared, the controversie of antiquity need to trouble vs no longer.

It is impossible othe [...]wise to decide it: for let them alleage fathers, and Councells, as long as they will, this scruple still remaineth, to knowe if the Apostles haue so ordained. Vniversall consent cannot be cal­led to witnesse in this case, for to shew that, it would [...]e requisite to aske all persons of all ages, vntill the A­postles. If the name of vniversall consent, be attribu­ted to that which is beleeued by the greater part, to the most received opinion, yet how shall we knowe and iudge of this kinde of vniversall agreement? Must it be by Councells? Provinciall Councells cannot giue vs sufficient assurance of it, and for generall let them shew vs that after that at Ierusalem which is re­gistred in the Scripture, there was any one held be­fore that of Nice, which was not celebrated vntill a­bout the yeare 325. shall it be by the writings of the fathers which liued before this Councell? The Just. Mart. in dial. cont. T [...]y. Iren. cont. Her. lib. 5. c. 33. Euseb. Eccl hist. lib. 3 c. 36. Tertul de spe fi­del prout cita­ [...]ur à Hier. in Com. sup 36 c. Ez [...]ch Vict ap. Hier. ib. & in Catal. script. Ec­ [...]les. in nom. Papius Lactan. lib. 7. c 25. grea­test part, yea & most ancient of them had this strange conceit, that we are to expect after the resurrection, an earthly happines here below, for the space of 1000 yeares, during which the Lord also shall conuerse with vs eating, and drinking. A doctrine which those Fathers propose as receaued of all the Church. The Fa [...]hers then are not sufficient witnesses, the consent of the Church is not a sufficient testimonie of true an­tiquitie. Aug. lib. 1. de merit. peccat. c. 20 & 24 & lib ad Bonif. cont 2. Epist. Pelag. c. 22. & lib. [...] c. 4. &. l. cont. Iulia [...]. c 2. & passim a ibi. But what shall we say of their consent in re­ceiuing little children to the Eucharist? Shall we there­fore beleeue this opinion to be ancient? Ancient in­deed [Page 69] in respect of vs, but not of truth, which being truely ancient and Apostolicall, hath condemned it of error, which doubtlesse will be confessed by the Church of Rome. They which came after these ancients, haue corrected their errours, concerning the thousand yeares habitation vpon earth, the worldly de [...]ights af­ter the resurrection, the admission of children to the Communion. Their comming afterward, hath not preiudiced the priority of truth, which they set vp a­gaine in her ancient splendor and Maiesty. The time which these fathers lived before them, advantaged not their opinions younger then truth.

It is then a reasonable offer which we make, to ve­refie the antiqu [...]ty of our religion by the Scripture. It is an easie, necessary, and certaine discovery. For how few are there to be found, which either are versed in antiquity, or can be? Seeing the tedious succession of so many ages, the multitude of volumes which must be read, and pervsed for this purpose. A multitude, if we haue regard to the truth of the history we search, defectiue; if to the leasure of ability of the greater sort infinite. Let them which haue beene versed in these enquiries speake, if they finde not through every age changes, and alterations? But the Scripture is expo­sed to the view of every one; it is but one booke in which that which is necessary to salvation is easie to him, who is not preoccupated either with passion, or with a conceit of its obscurity. This wee haue else­where demonstrated, here we will only recite as ap­pertaining to the matter we haue in hand, that which the renowned father Chrys. [...] inacta tom. 4. edit. Sauil [...] Chrysostome speaketh concer­ning [Page 70] this. The Pagan saith, I would make my selfe a Christian, but I knowe not which side to fasten on. There are many contentions among you, every one saith, I speake the truth. I knowe not vnto what, or whom to referre my selfe: both sides pr [...]tend Scripture. But an­swere him, this maketh much for vs: for if wee should say that we beleeue reasons, there would be something to trouble one, but seeing that we stand to the Scrip­tures se [...]ing they are plaine, and true, it is very easie to iudge of the matter. If any one consent vnto them he is a Christian: if he oppose them, he is far from their company.

These are the very words of that father, which in his mouth will finde a great deale more favour, and lesse envy then in ours. Words which advertise vs, that the Scripture is the most especiall instrument to ha [...]e recourse to, in t [...]e search either of antiquity, or truth. Words also, which avouch that the Pagan him­selfe, [...]ay iudge who is he that beleeueth, who speak­eth agreeably to Script [...]re: a [...]though he cannot iudge of the truth contained in it. For they are very diffe­rent things to iudge of the truth of a writing, and of the conformity of some discourse to it. The Pagans could not iudge of the truth of the Scripture, but ac­cording to Chrys [...]stome, they might discerne, what tenet and opinion was most confo [...]mable to it. Now this sufficeth in the question of antiquity: for neither side doub [...]e [...]h, but that the Scripture is most ancient, that si [...]e then which shall be found most conforma­ble to it, shall be the most ancient. The Pagans may iudge of this conformity, saith Chrysostome, how much [Page 71] rather then may the Christians. The shortest cut then to the composing of this difference, is to addresse our selues to the Scripture.

When one would knowe the antiquity of the pri­viledges of a Colledge, or a soceity, he repaireth no whither, but to the Charter of the foundation. The instrument of the foundation of the Church is the Scripture: if we offer to verifie our antiquity, if we doe verifie it by the date of this instrument: wee proceed ingeniously, and our conclusion is irresistible. Let thē cease then to reproach vs, that wee haue brought in a new doctrine, vnknowne in the times of the Apostles. Let them not for shame boast any longer of antiqu [...]ty, seeing they refuse to be con [...]rolled by the Scripture, the most ancient monument of antiquity. Certainely they make but an vntoward enquiry into antiquitie, who measure it by a certaine number of yeares: who dreame that to haue beene alwaies extant, whose be­ginning they are ignorant of.

It is a safer course then, to proue antiquity by truth, then truth by a [...]tiquity. Custome without truth, as St Cyprian well obserued, is but antiquity of errour. Cypriari. Epist. 74. The proportion, elaborate figure, the beauty of a medaile, statue, or an old peece of building is not knowne by the antiquity, but the antiquity of them is characteri­sed by these conditions as by i [...]s infallible markes. So the glory and vse of the Sunne, are not discerned by his a [...]tiquity, but by his glory and vse, hee may bee iudged to be as old as heaven and earth. It is not with time in respect of truth, as it is in respect of nobility, the antiquity of which augmenteth its reverence, ma­king [Page 72] it more illustrious. Time contributeth no growth, nor luster to truth. Shee was as much herselfe, in her cradle, as shee is many centuries of yeares after. We must beleeue that the thing is, and afterward examine since what time it beganne to be. Let vs proue our religion to be true: and afterward let vs consider its antiquity: yea by this meanes wee shall haue proued it; for vertue is ancienter then vice, trueth then lyes, superstition is after religion as sicknesse after health. So wee are ready to verify both the antiquitie of our religion, by its trueth, and the truth of it by its anti­quitie: beginning at the well-head, the times of the Patriarches, Prophets and Apostles; that the processe may be abridged, and speedily ended.

CHAP: XVIII. That vpon the supposition, that the Church of Rome hath sometimes beene a true Church, it can­not be concluded, that shee is so at this day.

SO on their side those counterfeit flashes of antiquity vanish, which now with a reall brightnesse, shine more vigorously on our side. They who cracked so much of their antiquity, are found to be but vpstarts; and wee which were flouted at as new comers, are found to haue the strongest title to antiquity. Yet here they will demand, whether wee can deny but that the Church of Rome hath beene a true Church: seeing there is extant an [Page 73] Epistle of St. Paule addressed vnto her, in which her Rom. 1. [...]. faith is commended, as being renowned through the whole world? Certes wee confesse, that the Church of Rome hath sometimes been not the true church, but a true Church: that her faith hath beene commended, by the Apostle. We say also, that if they can make her appeare to vs at this day, as shee was then, wee will willingly shake hands with her. That neuerthelesse, this cannot serue her for any prerogatiue; for if the Apostle directeth one letter to her, he wrote two to the Corinthians, if he extolled her faith, testifying of it that it was renowned through the whole world, he hath graced also the faith of the Thessalonians with the same elogies.1. Thes. 1. [...]. These prerogatiues benefit not any of those Churches, at this day, with any priuiledge, why then doth the Church of Rome extract advanta­ges out of them? The Churches of Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria haue sometimes beene pu [...]e and flourishing Churches: b [...]t now who condemneth thē not, as being fallen from the piety an [...] doctrine of their ancestors? But they adde, that the Church of God cannot faile or decay: a strange pertinacy! The Chu [...]ches which we haue named of Corinth, Thes­salonica, Alexandria, and Constantinople since that they are altered & changed: that they haue failed, and fallen away, a [...]e not perm [...]tted to haue recourse to the priuiledge, and to the fauour which God had shew­ed vnto their predecessors, if they alleage, that they haue beene sometimes true Churches, yet this con­sequence will not be admitted, that therefore they are so now. It will easily and clearely be manifested, that [Page 74] they are no longer true churches; and that neuerthe­less [...], the church of God hath not beene conquered by t [...]e gates of hell, but hath continued immoue [...]ble vpon the rocke, vpon which shee was built by the su­preme Architect, the Lord Iesus. It will be answered these Churches, that their ancestors indee [...]e we [...]e of the true Church, but tha [...] a [...]so the gates of hell haue not preuailed against them, that they haue ouercome temptations, that they haue vanquished death, and shall vanquish the graue; that they which haue suc­ce [...]ded them, haue succe [...]ded the [...] in the name and title of the Church: n [...]t in truth of doctrine, not in pu [...]ity of life, and that t [...]refore they are not of the true Church. That it is n [...]t therefore strange, that the promises made vnto the Church, should be true, a [...]d yet not appertaine vnto them; seeing they are ne [...]ther the true Chu [...]ch, nor [...]rue Churches, but bare­ly succ [...]sso [...]s of som [...] tha [...] haue beene.

Let the Doctors of the Church of Rome here tell vs in conscience, i [...] s [...]ch an answere be not pertinent, & [...]eyond reply to the Easterne Churches, which are separated from the Romane, when they alleadge their Ancestors, when they s [...]y t [...]e fathers were of them. Why shoul [...] it not be permitted vs then, to vse the same answere to them: that the [...]r predecessors mad [...] a part of the tru [...] Church, that the gates of hell haue not preuai [...]ed again [...]t them: but this honour and especiall fauour of God advantageth not their poster [...]ty, vnlesse they make it evident, that they haue not been Apostates from the doctrine of their fathers. Good parents may haue bad Children: and yet God [Page 75] failes not of his promise to the Parents, although the child receiue the stipend due vnto his iniquity: the pi­ety of his parents serues but to encrease his condem­nation. A good father cannot perish, a true Church c [...]nnot fall away. But as it is but too common, that wicked children succeede good parents, which perish in their sinne, except they repent: so to a true Church an impure Church succeedeth, a [...]d perisheth in her impurity, vnlesse shee be repurified and reformed.Math. 3.9. Doe yee workes worthy of repentance, and presume not to say, that wee are the Children of Abraham (said Iohn Baptist to the Iewes) If Iohn. 8.39. yee were the Children of Abraham, yee would doe th [...] workes of Abraham, (said the Lord to them, then when they bragged, that they were of the race of Abraham) They Rom. 4.16. & 9.7. then a [...]e the true Children of Abraham, which are his Child [...] in the faith, and they are truely the successors of the Primitiue Churches, which haue succeeded them in the doctrine of the faith.

The ancestors of the twelue tribes which reuolted, were of the true Church; for all this, could it be said, af­ter their reuolt, because sometimes they had beene, that therefore they were so still, vnder pretēce that the true Church cannot reuolt? doubtlesse no, for when it was said that the ten tribes at other times had beene of the true Church, that was alwaies vnderstood of their pious and religious ancestors: of them, meerely in respect of the outward profession, and in regard of the opiniō men might conceiue of them, before their reuolt. So their reuolt caused not that the Church should reuolt, but discouered their hypocrisie, Ierem. 3.11. More­over [Page 76] it so fell out that Iudah, Be [...]iamin, and the halfe tribe of Manasseh reuolted also with a worse apostacy then they of Israell:Ezech. 16.51 & 23 11. 2. King 16 21. and consequently the reuolt was generall in all Israel; yet notwithstanding it could not be said, euen then, Esa. 1.9. that the Church of God was re­volted, because that insteed of the reuolted multi­tude, God alwaies preserued his owne. A small num­ber of the election of grace,Ezech. 9.4. which groaned & sighed for all the abominations, which were committed in Ierusalem.

CHAP: XIX. That notwithstanding the reuolt of the Romish Church, the true Church hath con­tinued whole and entire.

IN the Apostacy 2. Thes. 2.3. which was to be in th [...] Christian Church, and which at this day wee see to be, the same is come to passe. If the Iewes in vaine cryed the Ierem. 7.4. Temple, the Temple, in vaine cry they now adaies, the Church, the Church. If there were nothing but the Temple, an empty name, a stately den of theeues. If it were some­times answered them which boasted of it Ierem. ib. Trust not vpon lying words, The temple of the Lord &c. May not wee now make the same answer vpon the like oc­casion. They brag'd, that the law should not perish from the Priest, nor the councell from the wise, nor the word from the Prophet, because these promises were made to the Church.

[Page 77]At this day the Romanists say the same, make the same vauntes, but that which was sometimes answe­red those vaineglorious hypocrites,Ezech 7.10. the law shall perish from Priest, & counsell from the sage, is that which we tell our aduersaries, it is that which wee desire to be admitted to verifie, that wee may not be oppressed with these preiudices, wherewith the Iewes anciently endeauored to confute the Prophets and the Lord, the Prince of Prophets himselfe, the supreame Prophet of his Church.

At the time when the Lord came into the world: when God was manifested in the flesh, and many yeares before that time, what was the state, and out­ward face of the Iewish Church? What was the high Priest? What were the successors of Moses which pretended antiquity, succession and the title of guides, and Pastors of Israel? Surely enemies of God vnder the honest title of being his seruants: seducers of the People, vnder the demure shew of being their teach­ers: Corrupters of the law, wearing the ornaments, and sitting in the chaire of interpreters; commending themselves to the people, and by them commended vnder this magnificent title. Such was the Iewish Church to looke vpon outwardly, as well in those which sate & ruled in their Synagogues, in their great & little councells which they called the Sanhedrin; as in the route & multitude which followed approued, & adhered to those disorders. So miserable was the face of the Iewish Church at that time, which yet had not alwaies beene so. But neuerthelesse, in this so thicke and blacke darknesse God caused his light to [Page 78] shine, reserued his wheat amongst this chaffe, in that infected multitude he preserued a small number from that [...]pirituall pestilence: small indeed, but so vseth to be the number of things of worth, excellen­ci [...]s are rarities. There is much stone, few diamonds: the [...]e are many dullards, few sages. It is the little flock to whom it hath pleased the father to giue the Kingdome.

So then the Church which hath succeeded, which hath occupied the [...]oome of the true Church, may be­come an harlot by being erroneous and apostaticall, and yet the true Church erreth not, is not abandoned of her Lord and husband. The reply also, which here is made vnto vs, is impertinent, not tolerable, That the estate of the Church, was of another nature vn­der the old Testament, before the first comming of our Sauiour, while the Gal: 41.23 heire was a child, and the Church enioyed not a full liberty; while shee Heb. 11.13.39. saluted the promises of the actuall exhibition of the Messiah, & of the abundance of Grace in him, a farre off, with­out obtaining them as yet. All this is true, but would they hence infer that the heauenly father hath disin­herited his childrē, vnder the old Testament, which he doth no longer vnder the new? That he hath prosti­tuted his spouse, but now keepeth her in his Cabinet? No, our heauēly father hath neuer been without Chil­dren, our bridegroome without the Church his bride. It is true indeede that he maintained her more spar­ingly, vnder the old, then vnder the new Testament, [...]s the scripture teacheth, and wee beleeue. But wee [Page 79] denie that he forsooke her any more then, then now, for, he which Zach 2.8. toucheth you saith he, toucheth the apple of mine eye. The Church then which reuolted vnder the o [...]d Testament, the Church which follow­ed that reuolt was not the Church, but in name and in respect of the reuenues and dignities into which it succeeded, masked howsoever with the outward profession of the true religion. This was the Church which forsooke God, this was the Church whom God forsooke.

If then any Church in these times after the like man­ner become apostaticall, ought she to haue any more priuile [...]ge vnder the n [...]w, then vnder the old Testa­ment? God detesteth hypocrisie equally in a [...]l ages, yea the greater it is, the more abhominable it is vnto him. If then it be doubled in these latter times, the indignation of God is proportionably incensed a­gainst it. The grace offered, excuseth not, but agraua­teth the neglect of it, so that there is no difference in th [...]t which concerneth the perseuerance and revolt of the Church, vnder the law, or vnder grace.

This is our b [...]leife and our doctrine in this point. Not that we would affi [...]me, that the true Church er­reth or falleth away finally in that which is fundamen­tall; although in some of her Gal 1. & 3.1. members, sometimes she goe away for a time. But we affirme, that they who by most voices beare away the title of the Church, either haue erred, or may erre, eu [...]n funda­mentally and finally. So when we say that the Iewish Church hath erred, wee vnderstand not the true Iewish Church, but that which was so in appearance, which [Page 80] tooke vp its roome, and bare the outward cog­nisance of it, which had the externall calling, & succes­sion. After the same manner when we teach, that the Christian Church may erre, that it hath erred, we vnderstand not the number of the faithful, the number of their successo [...]s in the faith, wee are cofident that they cannot erre fundamentally, generally all to­gether, and finally. Wee say indeede, that the Church which erreth, is that Church, which trium­phing with the title of Christs spouse, is indeede no better then a strumpet.

CHAP: XX. That they of the Church of Rome vse a perverse and ridiculous manner of Argumentation, while they conclude from the promis [...]s made to the Church, that they nei [...]her haue erred, nor can erre

IT is a friuolous tricke then, that they insist somuch vpon the promi [...]es made to the Church, and to b [...]ing vs newes that f [...]ee Math. 16.18 is built vp [...]n a rocke, t [...]at the gates of he [...]l shall not preuaile a­gainst her. It is to no purpose, that they alledge those priuiledges, that shee is 1. Tim. 3.15.the pillar and prop of [...]ruth, the spouse of Christ, Ephes. 1.32. his Cant. 2.16. & 6.3 onely spouse, that he is, and will be alwaies in the mi [...]dest of her, that his Iohn 16. spirit guideth her into all true [...]h. Math. 28.20. The pith of our controuersie lyes not in all this. Let him which de­nieth [Page 81] the truth of these promises, or envieth the church these elogies be Anathema Maranatha; let him be as a Iew, or a Turke. But as he is not truely a Iew which is one outwardly, said the Apostle: so neither is shee alwaies the true church which is so in the account of men; but shee which Rom. 2.28.29. is so inwardly, whose glory and praise is of God, and not of men, Ib. sealed by his spirit, 1. Cor. 1.2. Ephes. 1.13. knowne of him, & him onely certainly and 2. Tim. 2.19. distinct­ly. All the question is, whether shee bee the true church, whom the world graceth with this title. If wee should graunt that the church of Rome is the true church, doubtlesse we should confesse too, that she ne­ver erred fundamentally. Let it then be verified vnto vs that shee is so, and we will giue way to all the rest, we will ingeniously confesse our selues to haue beene schismatiques, in separating our selues from her com­munion.

The principall question then betweene vs and them is, whether they are the true church or no. This being so, is not their proceeding perverse and ridiculous, when they take that for granted, which is the maine point of our cōtroversie? For alleadging that they are the Church, they thence inferre, that they neither haue erred, nor can erre. This argument should runne backward, they haue not erred, therefore they are the true Churc [...]. If a woman accused of adultery, of be­ing taken even in the vile act of her vnchastity, insteed of answering directly to her accusation, and of acquit­ting her selfe, by this meanes to recover her good name now tainted, for all her defence, should onely make a bare protestation, that shee were an honest, [Page 82] chast woman, might it not be presumed, that she were either mad as well as dishonest, or else as impudent as vnchast? What should that Physitian bee thought of, which being examined about a fact of impoison­ment obiected against him, instead of iustifying his prescriptions, and his application of them according to the rules of Physicke, would onely cry out that hee was a Physitian of much skill, experience, and fidelity? We accuse the church of Rome (she who will needs be called so) of being the whore, and the Babylon in the Revelation. We accuse her Doctors of impoiso­ning soules; she answereth vs that she is chast, and that she is the spouse of Christ: her Doctors tell vs that they are the successours of the Apostles, and the ser­vants of God; contenting themselues with this poore silly answer, without any other proofe to iustifie them­selues. Truely if we should accord that the Papacy is the spo [...]se of Christ; and that its Doctors are the heires of the Apostles, they would haue gained the ca [...]s [...]: but what man is there so stript of reason which seeth not, that when we accuse the Church of Rome for having erred, and plaied the Apostate, wee accuse her of not being the true Church: That when wee ac­cuse the teachers of the church of Rome for being se­ducers, we deny them to be the successours of the A­postles. So then, when for their compleat defence, they only oppose against vs these glittering titles, they doe no more then simply affi [...]me that, which was principally called in question; a pretty defence for them who haue none at all. True it is, that their pro­ceeding would haue some equitie in it, if our accusa­tion [Page 83] consisted in a naked assertion, and if we barely af­firmed that, which we were not able to proue: for to a simple yea, it is enough to oppose as simple a nay, You say it, we deny it. Yet he that is innocent will not con­tent himselfe with this easie come off, couragious as he is, he will doe more then acquit himselfe. But here the question is not about a bare affirmation, but a ra­tionall proofe, so strongly backed, that there is no shift in sophistry, no wrangling devise which they haue not recourse to, that they may not be bound to answer directly. Wee offer to lay open the whore­domes of the Church of Rome, and the impoison­ments of her teachers. We propound this accusation fortified with reasons and proofes. Is not this on our part to proceed as we should? and on theirs by this vaunting, as vaine as it is bold, of the venerable title of the Church, the Pastors and Teachers of the Church, which they oppose vs with, to make themselues rather more suspected, then any whit iustified? Yet when they are prosecuted and driven even into the vtter­most corner of their evasions, their last mine, as it were, by which they blow all vp is, We are the Church of Ca­tholike Doctors. As if we disputed not with them a­bout the truth of this title, as if this were not the summe and substance of our accusation, that they are not such as they would make vs beleeue they are. In doing which, they are like vnto a company of vnlear­ned Professors, who when they are puzled & nonplust by their auditors, for want of other reply, betake them­selues to the authority of the chaire, and prerogatiue of the square cap.

CHAP: XXI. That it is an vniust proceeding, to deny the change happened in the Church, vnder pretence that the Authors, time, and place of it cannot be specified.

FOr all this they imagine, that they come over vs againe very shrewdly by a demand which they vrge vs with, pressing vs to tell, where, when, and by whom the change in the Church was begunne. For presuming that we cannot answere them exactly concerning this, they promise to themselues in the sequell this aduan­tage, that we shall be forced to yeeld vnto them, that since the times of the apostles, matters haue continu­ed at that point which wee see them to be at at this day; neuer considering that it is the vnhappie condi­tion of time, and the ordinary pace of the world to runne on into wo [...]se, to loose and destroy with time that good which deserued to haue beene perpetuated by it. Not as if this corruption or contagion could at all endanger or hurt the true Church, the number of the faithfull and the elect, whom God sustaineth in the midst of the greatest confusions, and enlight­neth in the most fearefull eclipses, as wee haue former­ly shewed: but in as much as time shriueleth and wrinckleth, as it were, the face, and outward hue of all things.

Vnder the old Testament, before the publication of [Page 85] the yeare of Gods good pleasure, he alwaies preser­ved his Church, viz. his owne; yet no man denyeth, but the outward face of the Church was the subiect of many and great alterations: all confesse it, and hee which should not, would deny the Scripture. Vnder the new Testament the same is happened, the Church of God neuer altered in that which is essentiall, much lesse hath shee vtterly failed: but if wee consider her outwardly, in the multitude in which shee lay hid as the graine amidst the chaffe, here the change is no­torious, wee offer to manifest it to him who doubteth of it. But wee say, it is a tyrannous law to compell vs to particularise the persons, times, & pla­ces by whom, when, and where the change, and re­uolt was begunne.

When the concealer of stolne goods is attached for felonie, the lawfull owner challenging his goods, and, verefying his title, gaineth his cause, and ouer­throweth the concealer, although he cannot shew where, when, and by whom the theft was commit­ted. The Physitian forbeareth not to iudge of a disease, and to apply conuenient remedies vnto it, although he be ignorant of the time, place and occasion of it.

Surely it is a weake conclusion in all matters, espe­cially in religion, to infer that no alteratiō hath beene, vnder colour, that the author, time, and place of it cannot be punctually specified. Such an accurate en­quirie, aknowledge so exact in such circumstances de­pendeth of the histories of times past; what then, if those histories bee not knowne? what if they bee not to bee found in the Records of Antiquity? What a [Page 86] multitude of alterations haue all along happend, the first authours, times, and places of which, it is im­possible to specifie? But who is not acquainted with the ordinary dealings of Innouatours? who knoweth not that they vse to mislay or abolish such copies, and e­vidences as might one day be produced against them? How many bastardly books haue beene fathered vpon ancient, and famous authors which they would haue reiected as monsters? This hath beene practised in all faculties, in Phisick, in Law, and also in Diuinity. It is then a hard and vniust proceeding in Romanists, to bind those who accuse thē for being Innouatours, to produce against them fragments foisted into the Registrie by their owne confederates whereas they produce more authētique, & vnquestionable evidēces.

He that should vndertake to conuince the Iewes of hauing adulterated, or rather abolished the purity of the ancient doctrine of their fathers: since the time of the Prophet Malachie, he would find himselfe hardly tasked, precisely to specifie the authors, times, & places of this so strange, & enormious an alteratiō. Yet it is as cleare as noone, that such a corruptiō, such a chāge hath beene in the Religiō of the Iewes. By what then is this so vndoubted a truth made euident? doubtlesse by the Scriptures, by which wee know what was the ancient Religion of the Iewes. The comparison of that samplar with the religion of the Iewes, as it was in our Sauiours time, discouereth what a great diuersity there is, betweene their new superstition and old religion: and consequently mar­keth out the change, though not the circūstances of it.

[Page 87]And indeede, when the Lord the sonne of God accused the Scribes, and Pharisees, the Doctors and interpreters of the law, and conuinced them of ha­uing corrupted the ancient and originall purity, he troubled not himselfe to quote vnto them records and histories, and exquisitely to set downe where, when and by whom the innouation was begunne. He contented himselfe with the Scriptures, and went no farther then the comparison of doctrine. Yet who could better haue preformed such an enterprise then himselfe? who could number to the smallest scruples of time, and was superlatiuely skilled both in Chro­nologie, and Historie. But he was willing in his owne person, to teach vs what method wee are to follow in discouering, and reforming abuses, to wit, that wee are not bound, scrupulously to specifie all those circumstances, which are of no importance to the maine point.

CHAP: XXII. That there are changes which creepe on by little and little, and that it is hard, yea imposible to specifie alwaies the times, places, and authors of a change.

MOreover we must needs confesse that which experience dayly thrusteth into our sen­ses, that there are alterations which cr [...]epe on and encrease by little and little, so that one cannot so distinctly perceiue them, that it should [Page 88] be possible for him precisely to quote the very instant of every degree, in this almost insensible progresse. Who could ever obserue when, where, by whom, by what degrees the Frēch tongue hath been chāged? Yet must he needs be accounted void of iudgement, who from this difficulty, yea impossibilitie, would conclude that there hath beene no change in it. What old man is there, able precisely to obserue the minute, houre, day, month, yea yeare, in which he beginnes to bee an old man, to change his complexion, to feele the de­caying of his strength and faculties? yet for all that, he must needs be senselesse, who in his old age should deny so sensible an alteration.

Now to apply these considerations to the estate of the Christian Church. Who knoweth not that in the Primitiue Church, the Vid. sup. c. 17. errour of the Millenaries pre­vailed? Yet who is hee that can specifie by whom, where, when it began? Who can particularly tell when it ended, where, and by whom it was first con­demned? Vpon this who will inferre, that this errour hath beene alwa [...]es, that it is yet in the Church, or that it is not an errour, but an Apostolicall doctrine? It was also (as no man doubteth) an errour anciently recei­ved and approued by the Church, that the Sacrament of the Vid. iter. c. 17 supper was to bee administred to little chil­dren. Who will tell vs who was the first father of it? Where, and when it was brought in. Who will pro­duce the records of an opposition made against it? Nay more, let any man tell when, and in what Coun­cell such a doctrine was condemned? There is no man able to performe this, and shall we therefore say its a doctrine of the Apostles.

[Page 89]It was an errour of the Fathers of the Primitiue Church, that Iren. cont. hae­res. lib. 5. ad finē. Tertull. de an. cap. 5. Ambros. de hon. Mort. c. 10. Aug. in Enchir. ad Laur. c. 109. the soules of the Saints themselues en­tred not into the heavenly Paradise immediatly after their departure out of their bodies. Tertullian excep­ted only the soules of Martyrs. But who is able to name the author, time, or place of the nativity of this strange opinion? Yet it is most certaine, that this erro­nious doctrine, had its birth, growth, and period. It was an erroneous practise in the ancient church, to pray to God in the behalfe of the Patriarchs,Epipha nhaer. 75 co [...]t. Arr. lib. 3. t [...]m. 1. Cypr. Epist 34. ex edit. Pamel. Prophets and for the whole company of the iust deceased, for the Martyrs themselues. Who is so versed in the knowledge of antiquity, that can distinctly set downe the time, place, and first inventer of that so strange a devotion; or the councell in which it was condemned, when, where it was first condemned? The difficulty, yea impossibility of rendring an exact account of such particularities, shall it be a sufficient ground to main­taine, that it alwaies was, and is still in the church.

There was a time when immediatly after Baptisme, Tertull. de coron. Mil. c. 4. the baptised partie was made to tast milke, & hony, when his whole body was to be Dionys. Areop. de Eccles. Hie­rarch. c. 2. Clem const. A­post. lib. 7. c. 41. & 44. annointed with oile when they were Tertull. ib. to abstaine a whole weeke after from washing themselues. When they made vpon a certaine day in the yeare offerings for the nativity, that is, for the memory of the day of the Martyres suf­ferings. When they thought it an impiety to fast betweene Easter and Whit [...]ontide, to worship knee­ling. When Basil. de spi [...] san. c. 27. they prayed not but towards the East.

When was it that these customes had their begin­ning? Or if they are Apostolicall, as it was sometimes [Page 90] thought when they were practised, how haue htey beene since altered? When began their change, by whom, in what place? If wee are not able to satisfie those, which should vrge vs with all these queries, must we needs therefore be obstinate without reason, and peevi [...]hly deny the change of those rites? And seeing the change of them was made with reason, must wee not confesse that they were not of Apostolicall, that is, of divine institution?

It was an Apostolicall constitution, but which was to last no longer then the occasion of it,Act. 15.29. that the faith­full should abstaine from victualls sacrificed to Idols, from bloud, and that which was strangled. Wee see that this constitution hath expired, but if wee cannot assigne the time when it gaue vp the Ghost, or the Sy­node in which it was abrogated, shall wee therefore affirme that it continueth vntill now? In the meane time, it is as absurd to deny the originall of a thing, vn­der pretence that t [...]e author, time, and place of it are vnknowne, as to deny the discontinuation and end of it, vnder colour, that it cannot be assigned by whom, where, and when it begunne to be discontinued. As if one should deny that he had ever beene the month, yeare, or perhaps age, of whose nativitie is vncertaine: or as if one should deny that he were dead, the yeare, or perhaps age, of whose decease is vnknowne vnto him.

It is then an absurd cavill, to presse vs to shew that no change hath happened in the Church, by quoting the time, by assigning the place, by naming the Au­thors of it. But we argue rationally, when wee proue [Page 91] by experience, that there hath beene a change: when we compare the doctrine of the Apostles with that which prevailed in the church afterwards, and cleere­ly manifest the strange diversity, & repugnancy there is betweene them. When we compare the state of the Romish Church, with that of the church in the first & purest ages, and make the diversitie betweene them visible and palpable? Although, this kinde of proofe being not easie, but to those who haue skill in the lan­guages, we stand not chiefly vpon it. And although it should faile vs, which yet it doth not, yet therefore there should not be any prescription, or exception a­gainst Scripture. That which is come vp since, is new in respect of it, though ancient in respect of vs. But here the question is not about the Antiquity of per­sons. To which we adde, that if there should bee any thing found as ancient as the Scripture, being not conformable vnto it, if its antiquity commend it, its falsity condemneth it so much the more, as it is the nature of evill to be the more pernicious, the more ancient it is.

CHAP: XXIII. That it is not ingenuous dealing, to vrge vs to answer where our Church was, and what Pastors it had before the Reformation.

NOw the authors of these wrangling, cavil­ling proceedings, might cease their capti­ous quirkes, and take time to blush a while. But as the contentious spirit of Sophistrie [Page 92] is infinite in the invention of new trickes to perplexe a cause, they giue vs here another knot to vntie. God they say hath alwaies had a church on earth, this wee confesse: and that church hath from time to time had her Pastors, here we agree with them too. But then, say they, Where was your Church before Luther? What Pastours, what Doctours had it? See here a­gaine, how from the ignorance of man, they conclude the not being of the thing. Presuming that we cannot satisfie these demandes, and assuring themselues that we knowe not where our Church hath beene, and by whom it was guided, they take it for a matter already out of question, that therefore our Church was not at all. In which inference there is discovered a notable peece of wrangling; for it being presupposed (which yet is false, as it will appeare by and by) that we knewe not where our church was, and who haue beene our Pastours, since the alteration, and defection hapned in the church of Rome, might it in conscience hence bee concluded, that it was not therefore at all? Would this consequence be admitted, Thou knowest not such a thing, therefore it is not, or hath not beene. Yet this is the manner of their argumentation against vs. You knowe not, say they, where your Church was, nor who were her Pastours, therefore she was not at all. Vpon this it is, that they triumph and insult over vs, as if wee answering that we knowe not where our Church was, nor what Teachers it had, we should implicitly yeeld in the same answer, that she was not all, or if she were, that shee was destitute of Pastours.

The like argument once deceaved the Prophet Elias [Page 93] when he knewe not where the church of the tenne Tribes was, nor who were its Guides. 1 King. 19.10. Rom. 11.4. They haue for­saken thy covenant (saith he) they haue broken downe thy altars, they haue slaine thy Prophets, and I am left alone, and they goe about to take away my life also. Hee thought himselfe to be alone, because his fellows were vnknowne vnto him. But the Lord made him see the imperfection of his vntoward Logicke, advertising him that he had reserved seauen thousand to himselfe, which had not bowed the knee to Baal. If then the Church of Israel might subsist so secretly, that Elias knewe neither her abode, nor her Pastours, who will thinke it strange, that the same case should happen in the time of our Grandfathers: that then when the earth was overclovded with darknesse, God had a Church, albeit we are not able to specify the place of her residence, or names of her Pastours. It may not here be replied, that at that time beside the hidden company, God had a flourishing Church in Iudah; in as much as it hath often fallen out, that the Church of Iudah equalled, yea exceeded This hath beene shewed already. c. 18. the church of Israel in corruption. So that then to behold the face of the church, as it was obvious to humane view, it could not be said, but all lay in desolation. But albeit that lamen­table defection had not beene vniversall in [...]srael and Iudah, yet the argument drawne from the estate of the Israelitish church would still retaine its force, seeing that if such a part of the Church might exist vndiscer­nable, why may not the other parts also, and all other particular Churches subsist vnknowne?

It's a necessary consequence, that that which hin­dreth [Page 94] the whole Church from lying hid, ought also to hinder any of her parts: and the same power which preserueth and sustaineth the parts of the Church, viz: particular Churches, amongst the most tumultuous confusions and disorders, shall conserue likewise the whole Church. If we are to thinke, that the Church is alwaies visible, and may be pointed at with the finger, because the Lord prescribing the meanes to com­pose differences,Math. 18:17. hath said, Tell it to the Church, seeing they are particular Churches to whom recourse in this case is to be had: this reason will proue as strong­ly, that particular Churches should alwaies be visible. If it hinder not but these may be invisible, as it is a­greed vpon, neither will it hinder, that the Church to­tally in her vniversality may sometimes be invisible. If the Church be alwaiesEsa. 2.2. set vpō the tops of mountaines, if in consequence, she be alwaies visible, the particular Churches shall be so too, seeing she cannot be taken notice of, but in them and by them, and if she bee not alwaies glorious and conspicuous in her parts, no more shall shee be in the whole. If lastly, it be thought that the Church ought alwaies to be visible, alwaies exposed to the eyes of men, because her Pastours are Math. 5.15.1 [...]. the lights of the world, compared to candles which are not put vnder bushells, but vpon Candlestickes, see­ing this appertaineth to the Ministers of particular Churches, the Churches in which these Ministers are, by this argument shall continue alwaies visible to the eyes of carnall men, which is manifestly false. But certain [...]ly. God hath not promised, that his Church should bee alwaies elevated vpon mountaines; he [Page 95] promised indeede, that she should be placed there, and so no man doubteth but that this promise from time to time hath had its accomplishment. But he neuer promised that she should be placed there alwaies, no more hath it fallen out so. On the contrary, God hath promised, thatApoc. 12.14. there should be wings giuen to his Church, that shee might fly vnto her place, before the pers [...]cuting Dragon. And whereas, the Lord hath commanded vs, to empty our grieuances which wee haue against her brethren in to the bosome of the Church, when priuate reconciliation is impossible: this commandement is of the nature of those which alwaies haue this condition vnderstood, when the thing is possible. The Lord had regard to the time wherein he liued, and hath prescribed a law which ought to be obserued, but alwaies the possibility of obseruance supposed, and an estate of the Church semblable to that in his time, when the Church disci­pline was not as as yet corrupted in this point. This Commandement then presupposeth not, that the Church should alwaies be obvious to the eyes of men, but that in the case propounded recourse should be had vnto her, when shee was so.

As for the Pastours of the Church, they are called the light of the world, not alwaies in relation to the effect, but to the duety; as they are called also in this respect the Mat. 5.13. salt of the earth, beecause they were or­dained for this purpose, and are bound to this duty. But then when they are in effect the light, it is a spiri­tuall light, not discernable but to the eyes of the soule, & mindes of those which are spirituall, of those which [Page 96] are in the house, as our Saviour expresseth it. So that none of these considerations can yeeld a sufficient ar­gument, for the perpetuall outward visibility of the Church, neither in the whole, nor in her parts.

CHAP. XXIIII. That the Church of God was before the last Reformation, where shee was, and who were her Pastors.

BVt if they will needs presse vs further yet, & demād where our Church was extāt imme­diately before our separatiō, we tell thē that shee was in Babylō, in captivity vnder the kingdome of Antichrist. a Come out of Babylō my people, it is written in the Revelation: the people of God were then in Babylon, albeit they served not the Gods of Babylon; and which is more, their Teachers were the Teachers of Babylon. If this seeme strange to any mā, let him call to minde the estate of the Iewish church before our Saviour had begunne his preaching. Might it not at that time haue beene demanded, where the Church of God had beene before, and who were her Pastours? What could one answere to this query? Might it haue beene said, that the Scribes and Phari­ses, and their adherents, the greater part of the people were the Church? alas they were nothing lesse: they were enemies of Christ and [...]his Church the true answer then had beene to say, that the Church was a small number of righteous persons, which groaned vnder the burden of that spirituall tyranny, which lamented the desolation come [Page 97] vpon them by the corruption of the ancient doctrine and discipline. That the Doctors of [...]he Church were the Pharises, of whom the Lord testified, that they sate in Moses chaire. Now we say the very same thing. That God before the reformation begun in the daies of our fore-fathers had a Church in the midst of Baby­lon, in the midst of the Popish and Antichristian church: but that this church howsoeuer, was not the multitude of those who had received the Apoc. 14 9. marke of the Beast, and worshipped it, but the small Apoc. 20.4. company of those which misliked the Roman tyrannie and cor­ruption, of whom, some from time to time being de­tected, haue beene banished, others cruelly put to death, and slandered to haue beene guilty of horrible and hainous crimes, to make their persons odious to the people, & their memories execrable to posterity: had not God by his providence, maugre the subtiltie and furie of calumnie, preserved the monuments of their faith and pietie even vnto this day. Such were the poore Waldenses constrained to wander to & fro, such also were the exiled Albigenses.

Concerning that which is further demanded of vs, who were the Teachers of the Church during that time so full of confusion then when Babel raigned: We answer that questionlesse the holy Ghost alwaies instructed his Church Ioh. 16.13. inwardly, and that outwardly they were the very same which taught publikely, namely the Doctours of the Romish Church. But some man may here say, that by consequent they were true Teachers: to which we answer, that in some sort they were true: as the Scribes and Pharises were both true [Page 98] Teachers and seducers: true when they sitting in Mo­ses chaire, teaching his doctrine, the people receiued wholsome instruction by their Ministery: Seducers when they sitting in their owne chaire, teaching their owne traditions, their owne inventions, they 1. Cor. 1.18. 2. Cor. 2.15. who p [...]rished, the people whom Rom. 11.17. God had not chosen suc­ked in the poison which they tempered. Thus it was in the Iewish c [...]urch before the Lord had begunne to manifest himselfe to the world, otherwise God had not had a Ch [...]rch. This being true and evident, it should not be necessary sollicitously to insist vpon a farther answer to the demand, How this could bee? When there is an agreement about the thing, it is cu­riosity to inquire after the manner of it.

Yet that we may leaue no scruple behinde, we will tell them after what manner God vseth false Teachers to instruct his people. The Scribes and Pharises pro­pounded the word of God, and read it amongst the Iewes before the comming of our Saviour, so much as was necessary to salvation: but they mingled their leaven with it, they thrust in their expositions, glosses, and traditions; the true Church sustained her selfe with the word, and reiected the leauen, the false glut­ted her selfe with the leauen, and let passe the word. What strange matter is there in all this? The sheepe in their pasturage where there are some venomous hea [...]bes, and others convenient for this nature, knowe well how to choose that which is proper for them, & [...]o let alone that which is hurtfull: and shall the sheepe of Christ be vnfurnished of this discretion? They of whom it is said,Ioh. 10.4.5· that they heare his voice, knowe it, [Page 99] follow it, and fly from the hand of a stranger.

Who then will wonder any longer, that before the great Reformation which the Lord hath begunne in these latter daies, as it were in the decrepite age of the world, the Church hauing truth propounded vnto her mixed with lyes, hath embraced the truth and re­iected the lyes. Surely this truth hath sounded alwaies in the Church, it hath beene in the mouthes of the Ro­mish Doctours, as the benediction was in the mouth of Balaam. This truth, that there is one God, Creatour, and preserver of all things, that the Father, Sonne, and Spirit, distinguished, but not divided, are this God: that the vniverse being created for man, and man af­ter the image of God, he by his sinne hath drawne vp­on himselfe anger and malediction. That the s [...]nne of God hath taken our nature vpon him, and in it hath expiated our offences, that all th [...]se which beleeue in him, which repent in syncerity obtaine mercy. That therefore we ought to loue so mercifull a God, to call vpon him, to giue him thankes. Thus farre the Scribes and Pharises were in Moses chaire, in the chaire of the Prophets, of Christ and his Apostles: thus farre they were to be harkned to. Thus farre the Church did heare them: But whilst they added to this truth their lyes, to this spirituall bread their leauen: then they sate in their owne chaire, they were to be heard no farther; then the true church stopt her eares against them, the false she listned to them.

Thus we answer to this importunate questixon, How may this be?

By the same reason also, we are not perplexed for [Page 100] an answer, when they aske vs, what is become of our forefathers? This interrogatory proposed by the Pa­gans to the first Christians, extorted from them an an­swer odious in the mouthes of children speaking of their parents, that God was marvellous in his waies, but in all likelihood they were damned. Thankes be to God, we are not driuen to such straites. In Pa­ganisme there was nothing which might saue, no word of grace and mercy: in the doctrine published in the church of Rome, there was something to be [...] chosen, and they who picked it out carefully, and ap­plyed it to their vse were saued. Why should wee doubt but that many thousands of our fathers did it? God hath knowne how to preserue a church to him­selfe in the midst of the most horrible Apostacies, con­fusions, and desolations, happening vnder the old Te­stament since Malachie. Should his arme be shortned vnder the new? No, but Mal. 3.6.Eternall as he is, he is alwaies like himselfe.

Now then let the importunate curiosity surcease those questions, framed only to distract the simple: Where was your Church? Where were your Pastours? Our church was in Babylon, and her Teachers for want of better, were the Teachers of Babylon. Concerning that which they trouble vs farther with; why therefore we haue not imitated our forefathers exam­ple, why we are come out of Babylon if they were saved in it? We will giue reasons for it hereafterIn cap. their pro­per place.

CHAP. XXV. Of the true succession of the Church, what it is, that it dependeth not of succession, either naturall, or Politicke.

NOw because they mainely oppresse vs, with the preiudice, which they make against vs about Succession, which they say is of great moment and pretend moreover, that they haue it, and that we haue it not; that they haue con­tinued alwaies, that we are lately come in by the by, crossing their line of succession, let vs consider what strength this pretence for them, & exception against vs may haue.

Now that the ambiguitie of the word may not in­tangle vs, we must knowe what kinde of succession they meane. If it be a naturall succession, from father to sonne, from generation to generation: we say that the succession of the Church dependeth not of such a succession. It was, and is still the prerogatiue of the obstinate Iewes, that they are the successours of the Rom. 9. [...]. Patriarches and Prophets, in respect of carnall and naturall generation, yet they are farre enough from being the true Church. They haue succeeded their re­ligious Ancestors in being men, this succession is na­turall. They haue not succeeded them in being faith­full men, this succession is spirituall. If they vnder­stand a politicke succession, in respect of the place and auctority, one succeeding another in order, and with­out [Page 102] out interruption, we affirme, that the Church is not fastned to such a succession.

How often doe the Prophets complaine, that the people of Israell, their kings, and Priestes were all gone out of the way and quite disordered by idola­try? albeit their kings were successours of good kings, and their Priests of good Priests. The Scribes and Pharises enioyed not they this kind of succession, which we call Politicke? Were they for all that the true Church? yea were they not Mat. seducers of the peo­ple, corruptors of the Law, sworne and deadly ene­mies of the Lord and his doctrine. Now against this truth so evident, it is impossible they should reply any thing, but it will be very friuolous. If it be said, that Malachie prophesieth, that Mal. 2.7. the Priests lips shall pre­serue knowledge, that the people shall seeke the law at his mouth: wee answer that in that place, there is not contained a prediction of an after euent, but a decla­ration of a duty. For indeede presently after the Prophet accuseth the Priest, for hauing gone out of the way, for causing the people to stumble. A manifest proofe that these words: the lips of the Priest shall pre­serue knewledge, haue no other emphasis thē to signi­fie, that the lips of the Priest ought to preserue know­ledge. There is nothing more frequēt in Scripture, thē to propose a duty in the future tense. Almost all the commandements of God runne in this forme. Thou shalt haue no other Gods before me, Thou shalt not make to thy selfe any graven image: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vaine. &c. He that should inferre vpon these formes of speech, that these Cōmandements shall never bee broken, would hardly proue himselfe a reasonable creature.

[Page 103]So the true succession of the Church, is not alwaies ioyned to this politicke succession which of it selfe without the succession of piety, is like to the succession of darknesse to light, of sicknesse to health, of an infe­ctious aire to a wholesome, of barrennesse to frui [...]ull­nesse, of a Tyrant to a good Prince. That ought to be accounted the true succession, which is the su [...]cession of truth. To haue the same minde and opinion, is to haue succession of the same seate; not to haue the same opiniō, is to be contrary in respect of the seat. The succession of the seate hath but the name of succession, the suc­cession of opinion hath the truth of it, [...] Nazi­anzen orat. 21. in laud. Athan. said Nazian­zane, and in saying so, hath taught vs in what sense, the Lord would haue the Mat. 23.2. Scribes and Pharises to be heard as sitting in Moses chaire, to wit, when they tought like Moses, so farre as they are the successors of Moses in doctrine. But that hindreth not but that he hath commanded also,Mat. 16.6. Psal. 107. v. 33.34.35. to take heed of the lea­uen of the Pharises, when they sit not in his Chaire, but vpon a stoole of their owne making.

But what hath the Church of God then no certaine succession on earth? Yea the Lord hath said,Esa. 6.13. that as the substance of the oke and Teyletree is in that which they cast, so the holie seed shall be her substance. But this succession is not tyed either to the naturall, or to the politicke succession, but it dependeth onely of the free disposition of him, who turneth riuers into a wilder­nesse: and the water springs into drie ground A fruit­full land into barrennesse, for the wickednesse of them that dwell therein who turneth the wildernesse into a standing water: and drie ground into water springs.

CHAP: XXVI. That the Popes authority, is not originally deriued from the Apostles.

BVt to come nearer to this matter, the Ro­mish Church hath no kind of lawfull suc­cession; not that of gouernment and poli­cie, not that of rites and ceremonies, no not the succession of persons, least of all that of doctrine.

Shee hath not that of the policie of the ancient Church, for in the ancient Church there were no Popes, no Cardinalls, no Patriarches, no not Arch­bishops and Bishops after the Romish fashion. All the Apostles in respect of the power of the keyes, and authority of the Apostleship were equall. If there were any difference betweene them, it was not in respect of their function. For it they were all Ioh. 20.21. ioynt tenants immediately to the supreme Apostle, the Prince of Apostles the Lord Iesus. From him they all immediately receiued the same commission, to teach all nations, the Ioh. 20.23. same power to forgiue sinnes. Their names were equally written vpon the twelue foundations of the high Ieru­salem:Apoc. 21.14. Mat. 19.28. Luc. 22.30. they are placed vpon twelue thrones, not sub­alternate, but coordinate, in the same pitch & eminē ­cie,Gelas. Cyzicen A [...]t. Syn. Nic. lib. 2. c. [...]. of the same dignitie, even as the twelue tribes. They are (said Constantine the great in the Councell of Nice) twelue pillars, not then vnderpropped by one another, but which being ioyned together bare vp [Page 105] the edifice of the Church. Be it, that the Lord hath promised the keyes of the kingdome of heauen to St. Peter, he Ioh. 20.23. hath bestowed the same power vpon the other Apostles: be it, Luc. 22.32. that he hath prayed that his faith might not faile, he hath Ioh. 17.20. prayed also for all the faithfull: be it, that he hath exhorted him thrice,Ioh. to feede his sheepe, this was because he had denied him thrice, [...], Isid. Pelus. l [...]b. 1. ep. 103. Timoth. Anag. A triple deniall wanted a three-fold reestablishment: he which had stumbled thrice, was to be lifted vp thrice. Shall any extraordinary priuiledge be allowed him because of this reestablish­ment? Must those seruants which are most frequent­ly and earnestly put in minde of their duties, for this be supposed to be in greater auctority? shall they be placed in a degree aboue the other? Nay they them­selues interpret it on the contrary, and take it for an angrie dislike their superiours haue of them: they are vexed for it with St. Peter, and if their Masters could see in to their hearts, as his could, they would say with him,Ioh. 21.15. Thou know'st that I loue thee, thou know'st that I desire to serue thee, Finally be it, that the Lord hath said vnto him, Mat. 16.18. Thou art Peter, and vpon this rocke will I build my Church: Greg. Nyl. in Test. & vet. Test. de T [...]in. cont▪ Jud. Cyril. de. Trin. lib. 4. Chrys. in Mat. hom. 55. Hil. de Trin. l. 2. & 6. Aug. retract. l. 1. c. 21. in Ioan. tract. 124. & ali [...]i. saepe. Hieron. in Ab­diam c. 1. The most ancient and most renowned amongst the fathers teach, that Christ vnderstood not the the person, but the confession of St. Peter; not Peter viz: the rocke which cōfessed, but the rocke by him confessed, viz: Iesus Christ our Lord. Howbeit, wee willingly confesse, that the Church hath beene built vpon St. Peter, but not vpon him onely. He is one of the foundations of the Church, but not the onely foundation of it, one of the twelue [Page 106] pillars, one of the twelue Iudges of the twelue tribes Israell, but not the foundation of these foundations, the pillar of these pillars, the Iudge of these Iudges, but a collaterall foundation, a collaterall pillar, a col­laterall Iudge with the other Apostles his compani­ons. Furthermore St. Peter vndertooke not, to de­pose Kings, or to vsurpe any such authority, contra­rily he hath ioyned these two duties together: 1. Pet. 2.17. Feare God, honour the king, how heathenish a tyrant soeuer, and Persecutor of the Church, the Emperour at that time was. 1. Pet. 5.12. He had no dominion likewise ouer the o­ther guides of the Church, whome he calleth his companions in office.

Now albeit St. Peter should haue had that autho­thority, which is attributed to the Pope at this day, yet they are still to proue, that it died not with him. And if his authority of Apostle-ship suruiued him not, how much lesse that of being the Prince of the A­postles? If the other Apostles in regard of their A­postle-ship, haue not left themselues successours, how should he leaue his iurisdiction ouer them behind him? He had the gift of doeing miracles, to whom hath he particularly bequeathed this faculty? Can the Pope doe any miracles? He was the Apostle of the circum­cision: is the Pope the Apostle of the Iewes? These of­fices of the Apostles were extraordinary, like that of Moses, which was extinguished in his person, and did not outliue him. As then the Bishop of Ephesus should idely haue challenged to himselfe the authori­ty of Iohn the Euangelist, & the Bishop of Alexandria that of St. Mark, albeit that tradition report, that these [Page 107] two Apostles had bishops for their successors, St. Iohn at Ephesus, St. Mark, at Alexandria: Even so the Popes vnreasonably vsurp the authority of St. Peter, vnder pretence that tradition maketh them his successors. So that, in this respect, the Papall Monarchie hath no Apostolicall succession, seeing that not only, it hath not had its originall in the times of the Apostles, but also this kind of soveraigntie was a long time after vnknowne in the Church Cypr ep. 52. ad Anton edit. Pamel. & alibi passim. St. Cyprian calls Corneli­us Bishop of Rome, his collegue and Co-Bishop, and the other Bishops coepiscopos, or the fellow Bishops of Cornelius;Epist 55. ad Cornel. S. Augusti. in Concil. Africa. [...]. edit. Ehi [...]g [...]ri. he blameth him for hauing receiued those, which the other Bishops (whom hee cal­leth the fellow Bishops of Cornelius) had excom­municated; hee sets before him the statute of the discipline of those times, inioyning that the cause should be iudged, where the crime was com­mitted; a statute, which he groundeth vpon iustice and equitie, vpon the commission giuen to all Pastours, and the power which euery one of them hath by vertue of his Commissiion, ouer that portion of the flocke which is assigned him, of which he is to giue account vnto the Lord. Likewise he sharpely repre­hendeth Stephen also Bishop of Rome, teaching that as there is but one Church through out the whole world deuided into many members viz: particular Churches: so there is but one Bishopricke diuided into many particular Bishopricks. He attributeth the same authority to the other Apostles with St. Peter,Jdem de vni­ta. Eccles. although to denote vnitie it was said to St. Peter, I will giue thee the keyes of the kingdome of heauen. [Page 108] It is not then to the person of St Peter, but to Peter as representing the vnity of all the Apostles. Of which mind also are Hieron. cont. Iovin. lib. 1 c. 14 August t [...]act. in Iohan. 119 & [...]24. St. Hierome, and St. Austen: Gelas Cyzi. act. Concil. Nic. p. 2. c. 28. The synod of Alexandria addresseth their synodall epistle, not to the Bishop of Rome in particular, but to him conioyntly with the other, without the interposition of any distinction betweene them. Athanasius neuer calleth him otherwise, then his Co-bishop, and Com­minister, his fellow Bishop, and fellow Minister. Ho­sius subscribed first to the Canons of the Nicene Councell, not as representing the Bishop of Rome, but generally the Westerne Churches: after the same manner as the Bishop of Alexandria those of Egypt, Lybia, Pentapolis, &c. Hosius was not there then, to represent the vniuersall Bishop of the Church, but to represent the Churches of the West, as every of the other Bishops, Churches of a particular circuit or iurisdiction, as it may more amply be seene by their subscriptions. Lastly, that which hapned vnto the Pope in the sixt Councell of Carthage puts all out of doubt,Tom. [...]. Concil. Concil. Carthag. 6. an 420. Vi [...]. Cont. M [...]g [...]. Cont. 5. cap. 9. and admitteth of no reply. A certaine lewd companion named Appiarius deposed from his Mi­nisteriall function and preferment by the Bishops of Africa, repaired to Zosimus then Bishop of Rome, who hauing reinstituted him, and deeming this a fit occasi­on to enlarge the bounds of his dominion, graspeth it fast, and posteth this Appiarius reconfirmed with his Embassadours to the Councel of Carthage, giuing them moreover in commission, to demand that the vniversall authority of the Pope should bee acknow­ledged by the Councell, alleaging to that purpose [Page 109] a Canon of the Nycene Synode. Vpon these passa­ges Zosimus dying, Eulalius is chosen in his place, by the greater part of the Clergy and people: but he gaue place to the violence of Boniface, who out of his ambition prosecuted that which Zosimus had de­manded, touching the acknowledgement of his pri­macy. The Councell flatly denied, that there was any thing in the records of the Nicene Synode, which might favour his pretended primacie, and in the mean time sent Commissaries to the Patriarchs of Constan­tinople and Alexandria, to haue a sight of the authen­ticke copies of the acts of the Councell which were kept by them. Vpon this Pope Boniface died. Cele­stine succeeded him, who also with the like heat, clai­med the approbation of his fained authority. But the Councell having already discouered by the report of their Commissaries, that the authenticke copies of the Nicene Synod contained no such matter as the proud Bishops of Rome required, blamed their fraud, chec­ked their insolencie, and adiured them to receiue no more appeales, adding this notable reason that the grace of the holy spirit would not bee wanting to any Province, In epist. Concil. As [...]. ad Celest. Nisi forte quis­quam est. &c, vnlesse some man imagined that God could inspire iustice to one only, and that he would withhold it from an infinite number of Bishops.

Now, this history maketh it appeare vnto vs, that vntill that time, the Churches of Africa had not ac­knowledged the Pope. So that if at this day, there were any in those parts of the world, which did ac­knowledge him, they should not be their successours in this. If the Pope hath beene from the beginning [Page 110] vniversall Bishop, how happened it that at that time he was not vniversally obeyed by the Church? But it is no lesse remarkable, that the Popes which required this acknowledgement from the Councell, sent not men to expostulate with that assembly by authority, much lesse to excommunicate them vpon their refu­sall as schismatickes: as also, that they alleaged no Scripture for the primacie, but onely the Canon of a Councell. Yet they vsed a strange boldnesse, in daring to falsifie the Canons of the Nicene Synode: A fraud yet of which their successours seeme to haue beene a­shamed. For in the decrees of the Nicene councell, as we haue received them from them, there is nothing extant which maketh for the primacy: but in them, the other Patriarches are rather equalised to the Bishop of Rome. Lastly, the harsh censure, with which this councell entertained the Pope, which neverthelesse was but provinciall, witnesseth it not, that at that time his authority was new? This being so, seeing that suc­cession must drawe its line from the first, and that the first Romane Bishop had not that authority which he hath that now raigneth: it followeth, that there is no succession in the Pope-ship, and by consequent not in the whole state of the Papacie.

CHAP. XXVII. That the Cardinalls, Patriarchs, Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Monkes, and Nunnes of the Romish Church, are not of Apostolicall in­stitution.

AFter we haue examined the succession of the supreame degree of authoritie in the church of Rome, come wee now to the in­feriour orders, and first to the Cardinalls. Who is so ignorant at this day, as to thinke, or so im­pudent as to affirme, that their institution was in the times of the Apostles: or that their office, such as it is at this day, was in the church a good while after the age of the Apostles. The church increasing, there were created by the principall churches Polyd. Virg. lib. 4. de inven. c. 19. Presbyteri Cardi­nales, that is to say, principall, or chiefe Elders. Dia­coni Cardinales, principall or chiefe Deacons. Their office was limited within the iurisdiction of the church where they were created; if at Rome, within the iuris­diction of the church of Rome: if at Carthage, within the iurisdiction of the church of Carthage. Their charge was a superintendency over the common El­ders, and common Deacons. The Cardinalls at this day, haue nothing of it but the name, their charge is quite of another nature, their institution is altogether different. They are now the electours of the Pope, which they were not anciently, except those of the ci­tie [Page 112] of Rome as making a part of the Clergie. Now they take care of the affaires of all those churches, which are obedient to the Pope: anciently their charge was bounded within the circuit of one church alone. How­soever it's true indeed, that by hypocrisie, they beare now adaies certaine titles, which seeme to assigne and to binde them to certaine parishes in Rome; to the end that they may retaine, if not the truth, yet the name of what they were anciently. Anciently their authority allowed them not any degree aboue Bi­shops: now they are, as it were, Princes of the bloud in the church, next to the triple crowne. So then the Cardinalls haue no succession deriued from the Apo­stles, and by consequence neither the church of Rome, in respect of this part of her policy.

As for the Patriarchs, there were none of them also in the times of the Apostles, nor a long time after. On­ly we read in the decrees of the Nicene councell,Can. 6. that their iurisdiction is called an ancient custome, a tearme very different from an Apostolicall tradition. Moreo­ver the Patriarchs were supreame, and equall to the Bishop of Rome in iurisdiction: he was but their com­panion, albeit he were first in order. All the other Pa­triarchs haue long since renounced the communiō of the Roman church: the Pope also will no longer be accoūted a Patriarch. The Patriarchs which are at this day in the Romish church, are elected by the Pope, who hath no power to choose thē, seeing that at their first institution (which howsoever was not Apostoli­call) they were his fellowes in authoritie. So the Pa­triarchs of the Romish church haue no lawfull succes­sion, [Page 113] their beginning being not not from the true be­ginning, the times of the Apostles, yea not from the primitiue institution of Patriarches.

The Romish Archbishops and Bishops at this day are nothing like those ancient, primitiue ones, I say not onely in respect of their manners, but also in re­spect of their authority. Their authority at this day dependeth barely of the Pope: anciently, it was not subiected but to the Companie of Bishops; They might not be deposed, but by the common consent. They were not bound, to runne to Rome for their e­lection; But they gaue their mutuall aduice, one to another, both in the election and deposition of a Bishop. Anciently they had no such authority ouer the magistrate, as they at this day vsurpe. It's worth the observation, to see how matters are chan­ged. Their authority in respect of the Pope, is become slauish: in respect of the magistrate, tyrannicall This is their comfort, that they haue gotten on the one side, that which they haue lost on the other; so they would haue it, choosing rather to be subiect to one who is far from them, and whose greatnesse depend­eth of theirs, then to many which are neare them, and whose lustre might obscure theirs. In regard of this order therefore, there is no succession in the Church of Rome.

In the ancient Church there were Elders tearmed Presbyteri, from whence came the name of Prebsters, Priests, But the Priests of the Romish Church retaine nothing of them, but the name. Their Principall office was to 1. Tim. 1.89. teach and instruct, where as the Romish [Page 114] Priests for the most part, are vnlearned idiots, and by consequence are no otherwise successours of those Primitiue ones, then darknesse, pouerty, sicknesse, suc­ceed light, wealth, health. Now this default, can­not be excused, by alleaging that it is the fault of the persons; for so it is in Ecclesiasticall functions, that were the incapacity of the person is, the function cannot bee. I call here the incapacity, not simply the fault of the person, but the impossibility of discharg­ing the function. The womā which hath no milke, can­not be a nurse, and if she take the office of one who hath vpon her, this cannot be in the qualitie of a nurse, shee cannot be a nurse beyond the name. So he which hath not in some sort the abilities requisite for reaching, he cannot possibly be a teacher; if he suc­ceede one that could and did teach, he succeedeth him not as teacher, but onely in his name. Moreouer, the Principall part of the priests office consisteth now a dayes in mumbling of masse, and in being sacrificers, of which there is no mention in the Primitiue ordina­tion of Priests.

In the ancient Church there were Act. 6.2.3. Deacons; now there are Deacons, Archdeacons, subdeacons. But what haue these people of the ancient Deacons, be­side the name? Take they any care of the poore? yea they suck their blood by a cruell and importunate ex­action of their reuenues. Doe they serue tables? yea themselues are sumptuously attended at their owne. In a word, seeing they doe not the office of the anci­ent Deacons, how shall they be their successiours?

Concerning Monkes and Nunnes, there will no [...] [Page 115] be found a syllable in scripture, to signifie that there were any in the age of the Apostles. Hieron. in vit. Paul. Erem St. Hierome who hath much extolled this profession, fetcheth its originall from Paul the Hermite; a faire time after the Apostles. If else where, he referreth its beginning to a time more ancient, he contradicteth both him­selfe and the truth,in Catal. scrip Eccles. nom. Phil. being carried away by the excessiue affection he bare to this profession. Howsoeuer the Monkes of these times, cannot iustly be accounted the successours of these Monkes which St. Hierome so much commendeth: What maketh a monke ad Paul. de in­stit. Mon. sayd he, within citties? These not onely abide in citties, but euen in them build citties. St. Austen hath left a full treatise of this point, in­tituled. De opere mona­chi. extat. 3. tem. Basil. In St. Austens time it was theft for a Monk to beg: now it is an especiall point of their sanctifie. Cypr. ep. 62. edit. Pamel. In St. Cyprians time it was not vn­lawfull for him who had vowed continencie to marry afterwards: now it's a matter monstrously hereticall; except when the Pope dispenceth with it, who like a God vpon earth can doe whatsoeuer it pleaseth him, and more also then God in heauen, for he can make vice vertue, and vertue vice by his dispensations.

CHAP: XXVIII. That the Ceremonies of the Romish, Church are not of Apostolicall institution.

IF we consider the Ceremonies of the Ro­mish Church, we shall quickly see, that the ancient simplicity and Apostolicall purity is not to be found in her: that those decent [Page 114] customes of true antiquity, are either quite changed by her, or so extreamely abused, that they are made vnprofitable. In the flourishing time of the Apostles, there was nothing vsed in baptisme but water: after­wards there was added Chrisme and since that, salt & spittle. What successiō haue these additions, these new superfluities, seing they had not their originall, at the first institution of that sacrament? The channell & pipe as it were of succession here grew faulty, and receaued in this stinking water running athwart. The disguise­ment which they haue put vpon the holy supper, is yet more prodigious, they haue miserably and vnhap­pily mangled it: they haue cleft the seale of the King of heauen in the middle, and cast away the one halfe of it. What is it that superstition dareth not to venture vpon? We haue the institution & canō of this holy sa­crament recited by three Euangelists and by St. Paul. Can there be any thing more pure, more simple, lesse stuffed with superfluous & superstitious ceremonies? lesse accompanied with pomp & compliments? Now compare with that purity, simplicitie, that nakednesse (as I may say) of ceremonies, the histrionicall pomp, the apish gestures, and anticke trickes of the Masse: can there be any thing imagined more vnlike vnto it, and disproportionable? What succession then may be conceiued, or acknowledged, where the dissimilitude is so great, but a succession of evill to good, or cor­ruption to purity?

Moreouer what shall we say of their superstitious consecration of chappels, altars, pixes, fonts, Chali­ces, plates, vestiments, holy oile, holy bread, holy wa­ter, [Page 117] of their Beads, Agnus Dei, Images, of their christ­ning of Bells, of the hallowing of ensignes and swords. From whence will they fetch the institution of these trumperies? Had they a heart of lead, a face of iron, & a for [...]head of brasse, yet they would not dare to affirme that any of these fopperies were in vse in the age of the Apostles? What succession then of them can they pretend? Lastly their processions, their stately pompe at funeralls, so Proud and magnificent that now they fondly liue and die altogether: Came it from the A­postles? Yea is it not a relique of the Pagā superstition?

CHAP. XXIX. That there is no succession, in respect of doctrine, in the Romish Church.

BVt the worst of all is, that they destitute of the succession of the truth, which is the soule and life of the Church.

True antiquite beleeued, Apoc. 14.18. that they which die in the Lord, rest from their labours: they beleeue, that at their departure out of this life, they goe to Purgatorie, there to fry in as scorching a fire as that in hell.

True antiquity beleeved, that Luc. 17.10. when we shall haue done all that which is commanded vs, we are but vn­profitable servants, because wee shall haue done no more then was our dutie to doe.

They teach that man already culpable before God, may merit eternall life, ex condigno, by exact propor­tion of the worke of the wages.

[Page 118]True antiquity beleeued Rom. 8.18. that the sufferings of this present life, are not sufficient to counterpoise the glory which is eternall.

They beleeue, that they doe counterpoise them in merits.

Antiquitie beleeued, that we are saued freely. They beleeue, that we are saved by the merit of our works.

Antiquitie beleeved that we are saved Ephes. 2.8. by grace through faith, and that not of our selues, it is the gift of God, not by workes, to the end that no man might boast.

They beleeue, that we are saved, partly by grace through faith, partly by merits and workes, that faith is partly the gift of God, and partly an effect of our freewill.

Antiquitie beleeued, that we are not Tit 3 5. saued by workes of righteousnesse, which we haue done.

They beleeue, that we are saved, ex congruo, by the workes which we doe before our regeneration, and ex condigno, by those which follow it.

Antiquitie prayed the Lord, Ps [...]l. 143.2. not to enter into iudgement with his servants, because that before him no flesh shall be iustified.

They beleeue, that the Lord shall enter into iudge­ment with them, for they beleeue to be iustified by the merit of their workes.

Prim [...]tiue, and Apostolicall antiquity beleeued, that [...]m. 11.6. Gods election was every way free: that election is of grace, that if it be of grace it is no more of works, otherwise grace were no more grace, but if it bee of workes, it is no more of grace, otherwise workes were no more workes.

[Page 119] They beleeue, that it is of grace, and of works too.

Antiquity beleeued, Phil. 2.13. that it is God which effe­ctually produceth in vs to will, and to doe, according to his good pleasure.

They attribute both the one, and the other, in part, to their owne free will.

Antiquitie beleeved,2. Cor. 3.5. that we are not able to think any thing of our selues, but that our sufficiency is frō God.

They attribute our sufficiency in part to our owne selues.

Antiquity beleeued, Ioh. 15 5. that wee can doe nothing without Christ.

They beleeue, that we can without Christ, while we are not yet engraffed into him, doe workes which me­rit eternall life ex congruo, as before our regeneration, and that without the grace of God, a man may for a time be without sinning.

Antiquity beleeued, thatEphes. 2.3. of our owne nature wee are the children of wrath: they beleeue, that by the strength of our owne nature, we are able to prepare, and to dispose our selues for grace.

Antiquity beleeved, Ephes. 2.1. that before Christ hath quickned vs, we are dead in sinnes: They beleeue that we haue freewill to good.

Antiquitie beleeued, that Gal. 5.17. the spirit fighteth a­gainst the flesh, and the flesh against the spirit, & that they are contrary things in vs.

They beleeue, that we are able to fulfill the law of God perfectly, that is to say, without sinne.

Antiquitie beleeved, that Rom. 8 7. the lusting of the flesh [Page 120] is enmity against God, and cannot bee subiect to the law of God.

They acknowledge even in the flesh a freewill to good.

Antiquitie beleeued, that Christ Ioh. 17.9. prayed not for the world, but for those whom the Father hath giuen him out of the world.

They beleeue, that it is no certaine number for which the Lord hath prayed, but that he prayed in­differently for all.

The Ancients beleeved, that all they who haue Ioh. 6.44. heard of the father, and haue learned of him, come vnto Christ, and that no man commeth vnto him, vn­lesse the father drawe him.

They beleeue, that they who come not to Christ, haue heard of the father as well as the other: and that there is no grace, nor particular election in the calling and conversion of a Christian.

Antiquitie beleeved, that it is Christ which Ioh. 15.5. choo­seth vs, and not we that choose him.

They on the contrary beleeue, that wee choose Christ, for they make that grace by which hee calleth vs to him vniversall, and suppose it indifferently pro­posed to all, so that in respect of Christ, there is no ele­ction, seeing he promiscuously calleth all, but that we choose of our selues to goe vnto him. Whence that is alwaies in their mouthes, Fac vt praedestineris, si non es praedestinatus, Make thy selfe predestinated, if thou art not.

Antiquitie beleeued, that God Rom. 9.15· hath mercy vpon whom he will haue mercy, and compassion of whom [Page 121] he pleaseth to haue compassion, that hee hath mercy on whom he will haue mercy, and whom he will hee hardneth.

They bereaue God of this liberty, and accuse them of blasphemie who attribute it vnto him.

Antiquitie beleeued, that they who fall away, who goe 1. Ioh. 2.1 [...]. out from among the faithfull, were neuer of the number of the faithfull, for if they had beene of vs (saith S. Iohn) they would haue tarried with vs.

They beleeue, that they who are truely faithfull to day, may fall away to morrow, and that no man can be assured of his perseuerance.

Antiquitie beleeued, that wee haue Rom. 8.1 [...]. not receiued the spirit of bondage to be againe in feare, but the spi­rit of adoption which cryeth in our hearts, Abba Fa­ther.

They beleeue that the spirit of the faithfull is a spi­rit of feare, that they must alwaies liue in doubt, that to haue a setled assurance is presumption.

Antiquitie beleeued, that whosoeuer beleeueth in Ioh. 3 38. Christ hath everlasting life.

They say, that he who beleeueth in Christ cannot be certaine of life, albeit the Lord hath said it, which is in effect, to beleeue that wee must not beleeue in Christ: for how shal he beleeue in Christ, who doubt­eth whether Christ loueth him or not? Whether Christ will loue him continually as they teach him to doubt?

Antiquitie beleeued, that there is no 1. Ioh. 4.28. feare in loue and that perfect loue casteth out feare.

They commend feare in those which ought to [Page 122] burne with loue, not that feare of offending God that filiall feare, but a feare of being damned, a seruile feare.

Antiquitie beleeued, that there is but one naturall body of Chri [...]t, a [...]d that composed of the substance of the blessed Virgin.

They would seeme indeed to beleeue so too, but by the infini [...]e multitude of their hosties, or sacrifices, each of which they s [...]y is Christs body, attributing vnto him also b [...]dies ma [...]e of bread, they betray their dissimu­lation, and shew themselues to beleeue the quite con­trary.

Antiquitie beleeued, that the Cor. 10▪16 Sa [...]rament of the alt [...]r was broken bread: they beleeue that it is the bo­die of Christ which is not broken.

Antiquitie beleeued, that the heavens must con­taine Christ vntill his second comming.Act 3. [...]1. They beleeue that the body of Christ is evey where, where their hostie [...] a [...]e.

Antiquitie be [...]eeved, that those were not to be be­leeued which should say, Mat. 24 26. Here is Christ, there is Christ, he is in the secret chambers.

They thinke, and say the contrary every day, when they haue him about the streets, when they carry him to the sicke, when they shut him vp in the Pixes.

Antiquitie beleeued, that H [...]b. 10. [...]. Iesus Christ is offered but once: they beleeue that he is offered a numberlesse number of times.

Antiquitie beleeued, that it was H [...]Heb. 9 25. impossible Christ should be offered often, vnlesse hee suffered often. They beleeue, that he is offered every day without suf­fering.

[Page 123] Antiquitie bele [...]ued, that we haue but 1. Tim. 2.5· one Medi­atour towards God. They beleeue, that we haue many.

Antiquitie beleeued, that Rom. 10.14. we ought to call vp­on none but him in whom we beleeue. They beleeue, that we must call vpon many in whom it is not lawfull to beleeue, namely the Saints and Saintesses of Para­dise.

Antiquitie beleeued,Heb. 4.16. that wee may with a sound heart in a full perswasion of faith, yea with boldnesse goe to the throne of grace that we may obtaine mer­cy, and finde grace to helpe in time of need.

They teach, that it is presumption, & that we must vse the mediation of the Saints to God, as we doe the intercession of Court favorites to the King.

Antiquitie beleeued,2. Chro. 6.30 that only God knoweth the heart. They beleeue, that the Saints knowe all our se­crets.

Antiquitie alloweth not prayer for the dead (wee say true Antiquity which is the Scripture) for it teach­eth that Heb. 9.27. after death commeth iudgement, which must be vnderstood immediatly after, for otherwise one might say as well, that after our birth commeth iudgement.

On the contrary, they beleeue that iudgement commeth not immediatly after death, and vpon this opinion they ground their prayers for the dead.

Antiquitie beleeued, that that which entreth in at the mouth of a man, defileth not the man.

They beleeue, that eating of flesh in Lent defileth the man.

Antiquity beleeved, that to 1. Tim. 4.1, [...]. command abstinence [Page 124] from marriage, and certaine meats is a doctrine of Di­vells.

The Romanists command, and practise both.

Antiquitie beleeued, that Exod. 20. images were not to be worshipped.

The Romish Church is full of such idolatrie.

Antiquitie beleeued that God is to be worship­ped in spirit and truth.Ioh. 4.24.

The Romish Church thinkes there can be no reli­gion, where there is not a multitude of ceremonies.

Antiquitie beleeued, that he which 1. Thes. 3.10 laboureth not should not eat.

The greatest Saints amongst them abstaine from l [...]bour and are most idle.

Antiquitie beleeued, that it was Act. 20.35. a more blessed thing to giue then to receiue.

They beleeue farre otherwise, for the most holy a­mongst them place their felicitie in povertie.

Antiquity beleeued, that it was expedient to Prov. [...]0.8. pray to God against poverty.

They beleeue that its best to vow it.

CHAP. XXX. That there is not so much as the succession of per­sons in the Church of Rome.

BVT how will this matter goe, if it appeare that they are destitute, not only of the suc­cession of Ecclesiasticall policie, of the suc­cession of ceremonies, of the succession of [Page 125] doctrine, but also of the succession of persons? If it hath fayled in the Popes themselues, shall it not by the same reason, haue fayled in the whole body depen­ding of them? Now he that would deny, that this suc­cession hath not beene interrupted amongst the Popes he must, impudently venture to deny also the outragi­ous schismes made by the Antipopes, whilst there were two, sometimes three, who claymed this succes­siō. It cannot be said, that only one of them had it, for what's then become of the Churches that depended on the other Popes? Shall they be excused by the pre­tence of their well-meaning, because every one of thē beleeued, that they depended on the true Pope. This good intention then shall excuse the Donatists, Aug. ep. 15. for they thought they adhered to the succession of the A­postles: and why should not the same excuse the Pro­testants also, seeing they beleeue verily, that their Mi­nisters are the successours of those Pastours, which the Apostles planted in the Primitiue Churches.

It is to no purpose to produce here the example of Barbarius Philippus, who being a slaue, his determi­nations which he gaue during the time of his iudica­ture were currant neverthelesse, even after he was dis­covered to be a slaue. For there is not the same reason in the Ecclesiasticall functions. Civill functions de­pend of the approbation of men, these of God. The Popes the being not true Popes, but vsurpers before God, could haue no authoritie, whatsoever men estee­med of them. It is as idle to alleage the example of Iudas, because that although he were a wicked man, yet he was a lawfull Apostle, not an intruder, but one [Page 126] lawfully called to the Apostleship, which cānot be ve­rified of those Popes, which were thrust out, becaus [...] thrust into the ch [...]ire. Gen [...]b. Chron. & 4. sect. 10. Genebrard goes farther then all this, when he pronounceth all those Popes vnlaw­full, in whose election the Emperour of Germany bare the sway, although there were many of them suc­ceeding one another, without ever being deposed.

The succession then hauing fayled in the Popeship, (as I may so speak) seeing the Pope is the head of the whole body of the Romane Church, it would be la­bour in vaine to shew, that it hath beene personally interrupted in his members, who haue no other suc­cession then what is derived from his.

CHAP. XXXI. That its meere wrangling to demand by what authority one requires an holy Reformation.

BVt be it (say they) that we haue in so many kindes degenerated from the purity of our ancestors, who gaue you authority to reforme vs? Who hath appointed you iudges over vs? See them againe at their preiudices. So the Pharises anciently outbr [...]ved the Lord. In what authority doest thou th [...]se things? But what haue wee done, that they should presse vs so much, to shew our authority? We haue espied the wolfe in the fold, & we haue cryed ou [...] the enemie, not at the gates, but in [...]he cittadell, and we haue sounded alarme. We haue [Page 127] observed the Traytors, and fingered them out. To proceed thus farre, there needeth no other authority, then the zeale of the honour of our Soveraigne Lord, of the peace of his Ierusalem, and prosperity of his house. If the Wolfe hath made no spoile, if that man of sinne hath not taken possession of the tem­ple of God, if the watchmen of Israel are not become gluttonous, and drowsie dogges, then our zeale hath beene without knowledge, yea not zeale, but madnes. We intreat them to giue vs leaue to make it appeare, that we cryed not out, but vpon a iust and necessary occasion, if we cannot verifie this, let vs bee condem­ned. But let vs not be thrust back vpon the simple pre­iudice of want of authority in our persons; to giue warning, and advise, it is insteed of all authoritie, to knowe how to giue it seasonably. He that can shew, that he hath given an opportune, and necessary ad­vertisement, sufficiently purgeth himselfe from the crime of rashnesse. Here then is the pith of the mat­ter, to examine whether we haue so proceeded or no: This being cleared, the question touching authority will be found to be but a wrangling quirke, craftily in­vented to make vs loose the principall: for who doubt­eth, but if that the desolation of the outward face of the Church, hath beene so lamentable as we pretend, that every one ought rather to striue to succour it, with some timely remedie, proportionably to the measure of his skill, then to make it worse by dissem­bling it? In the common wealth, if any one arise a­gainst the ordinary officers of the King, this is called sedition, rebellion, treason, but if this insurrection bee [Page 128] occasion'd by a treason attempted by those officers a­gainst the King, and state, if this be verified, it is no longer a crime, but an heroicke exploit, and an exam­ple of loyalty, so much the more famous, by how much lesse note, and authority he was of, who vnder­tooke, and atchieved it.

It is as truely, as commonly held, that the divine power is evidently manifested, where the strength of man, by reason of the meanesse of the person, could not come betweene. If a person not authorised by de­gree, and licence, should vndertake to controle the ad­vise of Lawyers, and Physitians in their owne professi­ons, he is not accounted rash, if hee doth it with rea­son, especially if he doe it according to the Canons, and rules of art: but he is esteemed, and respected so much the more, as he hath lesse commendation else­where, then from his owne deserts. How much more yet is he reverenced, if he doe it in time of need, in matter of great moment, when it standeth vpon life, and death? should not such an one be advanced, and for his skill, and fidelitie worthily be promoted into their roomes, who are vnworthie of them, both for their ignorance, and vnfaithfulnesse? If this be practi­sed, and that profitably in the affai [...]es of the world, for the supreame law, is the service of the King, and safety of the people; shall not the same bee practised in the Church, in divine affaires, which concerne the glory of the King of Kings, the eternall safety of our soules, the importance of the gaine, or losse being infinite. It is a [...] ordinary law of nature, that heavy bodies descend as it were to their center, the place of their rest, & con­seruation; [Page 129] and yet this law is subiect to another more generall law of nature, which commandeth, that there be no vacuity against the ordinary law of nature; so that rather then there should be any emptinesse light bodies will sinke downe, and heauy bodies will mount vp. Iust so it is in Ecclesiasticall, and ciuill af­faires. In the church it is an ordinary law, that every man in it follow his calling, hold his ranke, keepe the law prescribed him, to avoid confusion, which must needes arise from each ones intermedling with ano­thers function. But this law is subiect to another more vniuersall law, of more importance and neces­sity, which commandeth every one to forget his or­dinary condition, and to abandon his priuate ranke, that he may goe against some extreame evill, and keep backe some irreparable losse, when it cannot other­wise be avoyded, then by this seeming breach of his ranke. I say seeming, for indeede, hee which vpon a reasonable, and vrgent occasion quitteth his place, quitteth it not, but keepeth it: hee should abandon it, in not abandoning in this case: euen as heauy bodies should either moue, or rest against nature, if they for­sooke not their ordinary centers, to ascend aloft, when by their ascent they should hinder a vacuity: So the souldier, who being ascertained, that his captiane hath traiterously deliuered the gate to the enemy, should superstitiously keepe his ranke, and not set vpon his captaine, hee would not in effect in this case keepe his ranke, but whil'st hee would doe the duty of a souldier, hee would bee found to haue committed the act of a traytor.

CHAP: XXXII. That they whom God imployed in the reformation had an outward calling, and that albeit they had not had it, if they were otherwise furnished with the gifts requisite for such a businesse, this defect ought not to be obiected a­gainst them.

IF wee iustifie our selues vpon these tearmes, why should wee be accused of se­dition in the Church? If being but priuate persons (as they make of vs) wee haue ven­tured vpon the common officers, if being but com­mon souldiers (as they tearme vs) wee haue perfor­med the office of Captaines, so farre, as to deny them our obedience, and to make warre with them, as with the enemies of our King, and disturbers of the peace of his spirituall Commonwealth, and finally, as a­gainst traitors. Although in truth, the first repairers of the ruines of the Church, in the time of our forefa­thers, were not Iackes out of office, or common soul­diers, but men imployed in the principall functions of the Church. In England all the Bishops, in Ger­many the most ren [...]wned Doctors of the Church, as also in Switzerland, of whom others are descended: Here it is replyed, that if these men, had a true calling, then there is a true calling in their Church, and consequently, they shall be the true Church. [Page 131] To this wee answere, that if there may be a true bap­tisme without the true Church, why may there not be also a true vocation? Is the vocation lesse compa­tible with the false Church then Baptisme, doubtlesse, where is baptisme, there is a power to administer it, and where this power is there is a calling. None can seale, vnlesse he be a Keeper of the seales, no man is so, vnlesse he be called to it. The seales of the Church are the sacraments, no man can seale in the Church, but he who hath commission for it. They acknowledge that our baptisme is effectuall, and rei­terate it not, what heretickes soever they account vs: wee pay them the like, when wee make that calling sufficient, which our predecessors receiued from thē, the right of which they haue bequeathed to posterity. To allow then our baptisme, what is it, but to confesse that wee may baptise? and what is this but to confesse that we haue an ordination, a calling to baptise?

But their reply furnisheth vs with a stronger argu­ment against themselues, when we presse them either to confesse, that they are not the true Church, or to yeeld that the calling receiued amongst them was lawfull. It cannot be concluded, that there where there is a true calling, there is also the true Church. Witnesse the ten tribes revolted, & the Church of Iu­dah, in the time of the Idolatrous Kings, in the time of our Sauiour Christ, in which the Levites alwaies had their calling, albeit they executed it amisse. But it will be good logicke to argue that where there is no calling, there is no true Church; witnesse the multi­tude of Pagans and infidels, amongst whome [...]here [Page 132] being true calling, there can bee no true Church. Here they are faine to take sanctuary in another shift, that the calling of the first reformers was nullified by the corruption, and alteration of that doctrine, for the preaching of which it was conferred vpon them. But see they not, that this reply giueth vs as much as wee desire? namely, that setting aside the question, touch­ing ordination, they accuse vs for hauing altered, and corrupted the doctrine, of which accusation if we purge our selues, why perplexe they vs about out­ward ordination; seeing they yeeld by their reply, that wee haue that, prouided, that wee haue not lost it, by corruption of doctrine: As also on our side, if wee iustifie not our doctrine, we will yeeld to thē that we haue no lawful calling amongst vs, & that our prede­cessors lost it, assoone as they brought a change into the Church. If they reply here, that the question is not whether our pastors at the beginning of the reforma­tion, altered the doctrine of the Gospell, but, whether they altered that of the Romish Church, for the preaching of which they were sent. To this wee answer, that the teachers in the Roman Church, are called in­deede to publish the doctrine of the same Church, but vnder the title of the Gospell of our Lord Iesus Christ. This doctrine then being not commended vnto them, but as supposed for Euangelicall, if they come to dis­couer that it is not so, they are no longer bound to teach it, but to teach that doctrine which is correspon­dent to that title, vnder which the other was falsly commended vnto them.

Surely if our doctrine be true, albeit wee had not the [Page 133] ward calling, yet wee were to be heard: if it be false though wee had this externall mission, (as wee haue it) yet wee were not to be hearkned to, but abhorred. Why then come they not directly to this point? why beginne they not with our doctrine? can there bee a better argument against a Phisitian, then to proue that he is vnskilfull, or that he is an impoysoner? or a­gainst a Lawier, then that he is ignorant and corrupt? or a better meanes to procure credit, to a Physitian, or authority to a Lawyer, then the proofe of their ability and fidelity? what doe degrees and licences, profit a a Phisitian or Lawyer, if they be both witlesse and dis­honest? what doe their not taking of degrees in case of necessity disadvantage them, if otherwise they are skilfull and honest? So it is with the teachers in the Church, if they are of sufficiencie, they are to be re­ceiued, though they haue no testimoniall of their ex­ternall ordination, and if they haue not this sufficiency be it, that they make it appeare, that they were out­wardly sent, yet this would be but a humane mission, an authority bestowed by ignorant man, which the Lord disalloweth, who sendeth no man whom he hath not endowed with gifts, necessary for the exe­cution of the charge in which he imployeth him. He is not like those hucksters of degrees, worthy to be banisht out of commonwealths, who for the most part license those, not whom desert, but whom bribes and by respects commend. So then where this diuine mission hath place, there is also suffciency: where suf­ciency is not found, wee may conclude that there is no diuine mission. Now if this sufficiency be found [Page 134] in our Teachers, if it be not found in the greater part of the Romish pastors; wee shall haue on our side an ar­gument and testimony of diuine ordination, they on­ly of an humane; an vncertaine institution, because he that conferreth it, may be either so deceaued by his ignorance, blinded by his affection, or perverted by his malice and wickednesse in such a manner, that he may call him whom God calleth not, and put by him whom God calleth.

CHAP: XXXIII. That the example of the first Reformers openeth no gap to confusion, seeing they had the outward calling, and that albeit they should not haue had it, the misery of those times excu­seth, yea iustifieth that defect.

NEverthelesse, here diuerse difficulties throw themselues in our way. 1 That it must necessarily breed confusion, to per­mit euery man to exercise that charge of which he is capable, without being orderly called vn­to to it. 2 That the example of the Priests in the ancient law is contrary to it, who being fallen from God, yet no man was permitted to substitute himselfe into their roomes. 3 That the example of commonwealth is a­gainst it, in which no man is suffered, to take vpon him any office, of what worth soeuer he bee, vnlesse he be legally deputed to it. 4 That there will be no danger in ioyning with a schismaticall Church, if to [Page 135] be true ministers of the Church, it sufficeth to haue the truth, and purity of doctrine. From these obie­ctions, they conclude that outward mission and vo­cation are absolutely necessary, vnlesse they are sup­plyed by some other circumstances, as the gift of mi­racles, or prophecying.

But wee easily wind our selues out of these difficul­ties, by shewing, that our first reformers had the cal­ling which was at that time ordinary: & that therefore they gaue no example of selfe-intrusion into the Priests office, seeing themselues were priests; nor of vndertaking the execution of a charge without a pa­tent, seing they were priuiledged, and licenced to that function which they vndertooke, hauing beene called to be ministers; That no man may take occasion by their example, to be schismaticall, because schisme is a separation made without a lawfull cause, and the separation made by them was most iust, 1 for the A­postacy, 2 heresie, 3 idolatry, 4 cruelty of the Romish Church. To the verifying of which, we beg that wee may be admitted, because the manifestation of this, is the onely proofe of our innocency. If the Church of Rome be not Apostaticall, hereticall, idolatrous, cruell, if wee make not this accusation good, let vs be condemned for schismatickes in separating from her; for heretickes, seing that our separation, hath beene grounded vpon the cōtrariety betweene our doctrine and theirs.

But because in the former Chapter, wee haue prin­cipally reckoned vpon sufficiency, and occasion to exercise this sufficiency, so farre as to thinke these two [Page 136] circumstances, the notes of divine calling and sending, Let vs suppose (that which was not) that the first which God employed in the worke of reformation, had not an humane, and outward ordination; let vs consider if that therefore, they indiscreetly vndertooke a busi­nesse of such consequence, and whether the reasons a [...]leaged to that purpose bee of any weight. It is a freq [...]ent saying in their mouthes, How shall they preach vnlesse they bee s [...]nt? But this hindreth not, but that he who is sent by God, may ofttimes be thrust backe by men. Our Lord was not only reiected, but euen persecuted to death, by the Scribes and Pharises; the Apostles, were entertained with the like contempt, the like crueltie; and which of the prophets is it (said the Lord to the Iewes) which your fathers haue not ki [...]led? In the meane time it is certaine, that no man may thrust himselfe into a charge in the Church without mission. But the controversie is about the na­ture of this mission, whether it be humane, hauing its approbation from men, or diuine, hauing its appro­bation from God? In a tolerable estate of the Church, God hath established an order which he would haue to bee kept; euen as Kings and princes in their domi­nions, who though they might by their authority in­stall their officers immediately, yet they will haue them passe through certaine formalities, which they haue ord [...]ined for orders sa [...]e, and for preventing hasty, and crafty surprisalls. But when their state is disturbed, when their officers are combined against them, when all order is perverted, and these formali­ties haue no longer place, the Prince immediately [Page 137] setleth his officers in their places, it sufficeth them for all patents, to be authorised by his commandement. So it is in the Church, God will haue every thing done in order, so farre as it may be obserued, but when confusion hath turned all vpside down, he forbiddeth not, to looke to the maine chance, though it be with­out a methode, but commandeth, to sollicite the prin­cipall businesse, the more zealously, because there is lesse possibilitie of compassing it the ordinary way. Methode is commendable in all things, but when exi­gences are so violent, that they make it impossible, na­ture, lawes, customes, instruct vs to betake our selues vnto that which is most necessary.

This then is not to giue example to tumultuous persons, or to open a gap to confusion: for he is truely tumultuous who contemneth order, not he who can­not finde it: he who neglecteth it without any good motiue, not he who is constrained to passe over it. It supposeth then, not introduceth a confusion, to per­mit the exercise of a function to one who is capable of it, destitute of a humane calling, then when the cal­ling is impossible, the exercise of the function necessa­ry. But whilest the ordinary formalities may bee ob­serued, and the case is not so vrgent, as to exact an ex­traordinary proceeding, it would be truely to open a gate to disorder. So it maketh no way for sedition in a citty, or mutinie in a campe, to permit that in case of treason, the citizen should rise against the subordinate Magistrate, the Souldier against his Captaine, with­out any other commission, then his owne private mo­tion, if he cannot haue time for a more formall course. [Page 138] Confusion is only when without this case this licence is permitted. So the first obiection drawne from the inconvenience, which the liberty of not observing or­der and formes of law when it is possible, draweth af­ter it, cannot disadvantage our predecessors, although they were not furnished with an outward calling, see­ing they were driuen to such plunges, as gaue them not leaue, safely, to follow the methode of law.

For the affaires of the Church, being at that passe that heresie, and idolatrie bare the sway, that they which had the outward calling, not only exercised it abusiuely, but which is worse, hauing the authority to conferre it, they bestowed it not vpon those who would and could exercise it aright: keeping backe (as some times the Pharises did) the key of knowledge, shutting vp heaven gates, neither entring in them­selues, nor suffering any other to get in: It was necessa­ry then, albeit, they had no outward calling, in an ex­traordinary case, to venture vpon an extraordinary proiect. St Paul had foretold, that there should come a falling away, so notable that by a kinde of singularity he calleth it2. Thess. 2.3. [...].Apostacy. Not then one heresie, one sect, a part by it selfe, for there had been already in his time such fallings away, but a revolt which should ouer­spread the face of the Church, so that she might hard­ly be espyed through the thicknes of so horrid a cloud. Now who are those which were to oppose thēselues against this revolt? Doubtlesse not the Apostates themselues, not they who persevered in this revolt: but they who separated themselues from it, who protested against it, be it that they either had authority amongst [Page 139] the fallen away, as the Levits amongst the tenne revol­ted Tribes, or be it that they had it not. But they will say, perhaps we our selues haue made this revolt? Let this then be our question, the preiudice laid aside, and then we must come to the examination of doctrine, which is all that we desire.

CHAPTER. XXXIV. That the example of the Priests vnder the law, cannot be drawne into argument to proue that a man may not sometimes exercise a function in the Church without an outward calling.

THE second obiection which they make a­gainst vs, is that, as it was not lawfull, to oc­cupy the roomes of the Priests in the anci­ent law even during their revolt: so it is not lawfull for any man, in the revolt of the Doctors of the Christian Church, to take the place of a Doctour.

But there is not the same reason betweene the Pa­stours of the Christian Church, and the Priests of the Iewish Church. Their function was typicall, & carnall, and therefore fastned to certaine typicall, and carnall circumstances of times, places and persons: they were not to sacrifice but at a certaine time, it was not per­mitted but to a certaine race, to exercise the Priests of­fice, and that in the Land of Iuda only.

The administration of the Gospell is reall, spirituall, free from all circumstances. Preaching may bee in all times, at all places, by all men of ability, who both may and ought to preach, when it's requisite. Salvation de­pended [Page 140] not vpon the carnall and typicall administra­tion, the ceremoniall sacrificing in the law, the omissi­on of which, the circumstances of times, places, per­sons requisite for the businesse ceasing, as in the time of captivitie, of it selfe endangered not mens soules, as doth that of the pre [...]ching of the word, which the Lord even vnder the old Testament set free, chaining it not to these conditions, to such a time, such a place, such a person, because it is simply and absolutely ne­cessary to salvation. Whence it was that there were teachers out of all the Tribes of Israel, who although they supplied not the defect of Priests, for so much as was typicall and ceremoniall in their charge, as in of­fering of sacrifice; this part of their charge, being espe­cially, appropriat [...]d to their persons: neverthelesse, in that which concerned teaching and instruction, they were substituted for aid, and releefe, and were to make good those stations which the others had forsaken. Witnesse the Prophets and the Sonnes of the Pro­phets, being indifferently of any Tribe, witnesse the Pharises whose calling our Saviour alloweth, censu­ring only the abuse of it, who were not only of the Tribe of Levi, but of all Tribes, of which St Paul fur­nisheth vs with an example in his owne person, being of the stocke of Beniamin, and yet a Pharisee, borne of a Pharisee. And indeed, if here were fit place to al­leage the ancient law against this truth, as it was not lawfull but for one Tribe to execute the Priesthood of the old Testament, and but at a certaine time only, and in a certaine place: we should by the same reason, cir­cumscribe the calling of Ministers vnder the Gospell [Page 141] with the same limits, and girde in their liberty with the same fetters; making it requisite that they should be of a certaine family, and exercise their calling at a definite time and place. Whence it is manifest, that the priesthood of the old Testament cannot be brought for an example, when the controversie is a­bout preaching vnder the new, that being tyed to certaine circumstances, from which this by the pro­pertie of its nature is freed.

CHAP: XXXV. That the example of Iudges in a Commonwealth is im­pertinent, to proue, that outward ordination is alwaies necessary in the Church.

IT is to as little purpose, to produce the example of a Iudge in a Commonwealth, where no man what necessity soeuer there be, what ability soeuer he hath, may pre­sume to thrust himselfe into that office, without being called to it.

For besides that wee haue formerly shewed, that in the time of confusion, the King installeth Iudges himselfe, not binding them to passe through the vsuall formes, there is moreouer this difference to bee considered. The exercising of the office of a Iudge, deriueth it's force and efficacy, from his authority, whence it is that the determinations of Iudges, are not executed because they are iust, but because they are sentences, and determinations, bee it that they [Page 142] are giuen iustly, by the wisdome and equity of the iudge, or vniustly by his ignorance, or corruptnesse But the vertue, and power of the Ministeriall function dependeth not of the authority of him that practiseth it; For if he be ignorant, or hereticall, one who wil­lingly slighteth his charge, and vilifieth his own fun­ction, an hucster of Gods word (as the Apostle speaketh) his authority will not make, that when he hath proclaimed peace, peace, there shall be peace by & by, as well as the sentences of Iudges how vniust or silly soeuer they are, faile not for all that to be put in execution. On the other side, if he who exerciseth the function be both of ability and fidelity, though he want the formality of an outward mission, it being impossible for him to obtaine it, and that which he doth without it being necessary, he faileth not effectu­ally, to instruct, exhort, and comfort.

It fareth with him as with a Phisitian whose autho­rity giueth not his doses and recipes vertue to worke▪ and in working to heale, but it is his skill & honesty which direct him in choise of such prescriptions as are proper for the cure, which is the fruit of his labour, and the end he proposeth vnto himselfe. Otherwise, euery graduated Phisitian would without any more adoe cure the sicke, if it were the authority of the Doctor and not the vertue of his physicke, which did the cure, the choise and application of which depend­eth of his knowledge, and fidelity. Whence it com­meth to passe also, that if the Phisitian be skillfull, and carefull, the want of authority, in his person, hinde­reth not, the operation of his doses. From whence [Page 143] by comparison it may be obserued, why in a Iudge outward authority seemeth to be absolutely, and sim­ply necessary, and why in a Pastour notwithstanding, that authority which dependeth of humane authority is not simply necessary: namely because whatsoeuer a Iudge doeth, he doth by that authority, which is lent him from a superiour, his abilities but enabling him to doe that aright, which his deriued authority, maketh him doe effectually: but in a Pastor, if he be sound in knowledge and conscience, the administra­tion of his charge doth alwaies it's work, as effectually and compleatly, as if it were backed and graced by hu­mane authority. It is the good phisick which healeth; the good milke which nourisheth, whether the Phisi­tian hath taken his degrees or not, whether the nurse were approved of by a Phisitian or no; these circum­stances as they bring nothing to the point, so they take nothing from it. Now the Gospell is a medicine (saith the prophet,) milke (saith the Apostle,) the au­thority then of him who applyeth this medicine, who giueth this milke to suck, or drinke, I say the authori­ty, the commendation of men, can neither augment nor diminish their vertues·

But some will say, that although that authority which dependeth of outward mission, be not alwaies requisite in pastours, yet at least, this defect ought to be supplied by miracles; & here they call vpon vs for our miracles. But we aske them againe, where are the miracles of Iohn the Baptist, Iohn. 10.41. of whom it is written that he neuer did any miracles. As for that, after his conception, he leaped in his mothers wombe at the [Page 144] presence of the blessed virgin Mary bearing in her wombe the Lord of the world, this was not done to authorise & confirme his office in to the execution of which he entered a long time after. When Miracles are done to make some enterprise authentique, they are done either immediately before it, or else they ac­company it while it selfe is in hand: they are done also publiquely, exposed to the view of all, that they may be the lesse suspected for impostures. But to answere precisely, wee say that when the Gospell was first to be planted, Miracles were very necessary, but that being finished, their necessity ceased. The Miracles wrought to authorize the Gospell anci­ently, retaine still, at least amongst Christians, their vertue for that effect. If then wee prooue that wee propose the same Gospell, those ancient miracles are ours. Let them admit vs then to this proofe, in which if wee faile wee will confesse then, that they haue good reason to call vpon vs for miracles, yea & more then this, that wee were not to be beleeued, though wee should doe very strange ones. For wee read, that the coming of Antechrist shall be with signes and wonders, but wee read not that they who oppose him shall worke miracles: so that if wee should make a trade of doing miracles, or as it were stage-shewes of them, this would make vs not more iustified, but suspected.

CHAP: XXXVI. That the example of the first reformers fauoureth not schismatiques.

THere remaineth yet the fourth obiection, that it seemeth that this doctrine touching the true markes of diuine calling, to wit, sufficiency, & a necessity to imploy this sufficiency, fauour & encourage schisme. But wee tell them, that this cannot bee. For seeing that he who maketh a schisme hath no necessity to make it, this note agreeth not to a schismaticall teacher who in a to­lerable estate of the Church, erecteth a Church apart, seeing that then he emploieth his gifts, without necessi­ty; for the beaten way lying open, what need hath he to betake himselfe to new cross-pathes? but this way being stopt vp to our predecessors, it followeth that they were driuen to a necessity, which presseth not schismatiques. Certainely there is no schisme where their is a iust occasion of separation, & an impossibi­lity of proceeding otherwise, now we say, that such was the misery of the times of our predecessors, that they had iust reason to separate themselues, & thar albeit they had beene vnprouided of that outward Vocation which they had, yet it had beene impossible for them to proceede otherwise then they did. If they offer to deny this truth, wee offer to make it good, hither wee desire to be admitted, setting aside the pre­iudice: if wee faile in our proofe, wee refuse not to be accounted schismatiques.

CHAP: XXXVII. In what sense wee yeeld that the Church of Rome hath the substance of true religion, and how shee ceaseth not for all that to be a false Chuch.

YEa; but at least wee yeeld to them, that they haue Baptisme, that they haue the sub­stance of Christian religion; from whence they conclude, that they cannot perish, & that wee who haue separated our selues from them, haue gone schismatically to worke. This argument they frame, from that confession which they thinke they haue extorted from vs, let vs see then what trueth & strength it may haue. First concerning Baptisme, they confesse that wee haue it, & that it may be a­mongst heretiques: Antiquity beleeued it, & wee be­leeue it with antiquity. They reiterate not the Bap­tisme administred by vs, wee reiterate not the Bap­tisme administred by them: this priuiledge aduanta­geth not vs against them, why should it aduantage them against vs? The true Circumcision was in the Church of the ten tribes, it was not for all that the true Church: an hereticall Church, shall haue Bap­tisme, & yet for all that not cease to be a false Church; not in respect of the Baptisme, but of her heresie: not in regard of that which is pure in her & of the Lords institution, but in regard of her rebellion against the Lord, & her owne impurity. That they haue Baptisme then wee graunt, but so wee say haue all here­tiques, [Page 147] so the ten tribes after their apostacy receiued circumcision▪ this exception then is friuolous, when they pretend, that wee confesse, that they haue the Baptisme, & craftily dissemble that which wee adde, that they haue adulterated, & depraued it as much as in them lies. Concerning the substance of Christian religion, wee confesse that it is also amongst them, but not pure, nor separated, not only from chaffe and straw, that is, from tolerable abuses, but neither from the venome and poison of false doctrine. Now it is no schisme to forsake a Church wherein is the sub­stance of religion, if it be accompanied with supersti­tion, impiety and sacriledge, as gold and siluer in false coine are mingled with copper aad tinne. It is true that the Church of Rome teacheth, that there is one God, Father, Sonne, and holy Ghost, that for the re­demption of mankind, the s [...]nne hath taken to him­selfe the nature of Man, and in it hath expiated our sinnes by his death, that he was buried, raised from the dead, taken vp into heauen, sitting at the right hand of God Almighty: That the holy Ghost sanctifi­eth vs, th [...]t there is a Church, a communion of Saints, a remission of sinnes, a resurrection of the flesh, and a life euerlasting. That by faith wee must rely vpon the mercy of God, that by hope wee must expect the accom­plishment of his promises, by charity loue him. This is indeed the substance of Christian religion which continueth so farre as the doctrine, and outward Pro­fession of it in the Church of Rome, in this respect wee haue not forsaken her, but these considerations make vs leaue her the title of a Church, to which soe [Page 148] farre wee will alwaies be ioyned. But what is it that hath not beene added to corrupt this truth? what strange doctrines haue beene inuented to obscure it? What heresies? what Idolatry? what grosse sacriledge vent they vnder the protection of this Truth which they professe. These are the causes of our separation from them, if amongst them wee could haue enioyed the substance of true religion, without defiling vs with their superstition, wee had tarried with them still. But in these later times, after the Lord had lifted vp the Standart of his Gospell, and sounded with his Trumpet, Come out of Babilon my people, since the Angells haue flowne in the midst of heauen, carrying the euerlasting Gospell, and crying with a lowd voice, Blessed are they henceforth who dye in the Lord for they rest from their labours, and their works fol­low them: not to runne to this standard, not to obey this summons, not to goe whither wee heare this in­uiting voice call vs, in breife not to come out of Ba­bilon, to goe vp to Ierusalem, is a rebellion against the liuing God, and a manifest contempt of his grace· Before this, the faithfull whom God had reserued to himselfe in the Captiuity of Babilon as a residue of the election of grace, though they were not separated from the superstitious, yet they were from their super­stitiō, their groanes, and sighs seruing in steed of protestations against it, because that the Lord had not yet opened them away by which to come out, nor as yet prepared them a place into which they might withdraw themselues. In a word the time preordai­ned by God, to put an end to that miserable captiuity [Page 149] was not yet come. As then it was not a sinne to tarry in Egypt before the Lord had sent Moses, or in Ba­bilon before the seauenty yeares were expired; But God hauing sent Moses, hauing giuen liberty to his people to come out of Egypt, to come out of Babi­lon, to tarry there still had beene manifestly to testify a consent to the superstition of Egypt, and idolatry of Babilon: so before the Lord had sounded vs a loud summons with his trumpet, Come out of Babilon my people, he sustained and supported his people in the midst of Babilon; it was not at that time a sinne, but a Captiuity to abide in it. But for any to abide, or linger in it, after the publishing of this summons, it is a sure testimony, that they liue not in it vnwillingly, but with delight, and that, at least outwardly, they par­take of her sinnes, and so may iustly partake of her plagues. Now to demand, why God caused not this trumpet to be sounded sooner, is to dispute a­gainst him; it were to bring back those ancient questi­ons propounded to the primitiue Christians, why the Lord Iesus had not brought the light of the Gospell sooner into the Church, to which St. Paul clearely answereth, when he teacheth, that the fullnesse of time was not yet come. Why the Lord called not the Gentils sooner vnto his knowledge? to which the same Apostle answereth noe more, then that God hauing winked at the time of Ignorance, now war­neth every man to repent. Act. 17.3 [...]. He hath the times and sea­sons in his owne disposing.

It often falleth out, that they who cannot goe out of an infectious citty tarry in it, and are safe, but for all [Page 150] that, they that haue opportunitie to goe out of it, will not take example from them to tarry in it. The sheep­heard will lead his sheepe into pastures where are noxious hearbs, rather then he will suffer them to bee famished: but if he haue the opportunity of leading them elsewhere, where no danger is to be feared, the good lucke that God gaue him, of preserving them in an vnwholsome pasture, shall not disswade him from taking of them out of that, to put them into a better. That which the shepheard doth to his sheepe, we are to doe to our selues: so long as there was presented vnto vs no other place of pasturage, then the Romane Church, for want of a better, wee were compelled to make vse of that. But the Lord hauing graciously pro­v [...]ded vs a better, miserable are we if we leaue not that, and betake our selues to this. In the time of a famine men liue pinchingly and wretchedly, but the dearth being past, and plenty restored, hee that will not take the benefit of it, deserueth to be starued to death. Let this consideration then serue for the solution of the difficultie aboue proposed.

CHAP. XXXVIII. That there is nothing which deserveth to be admi­red in the life of the Monkes of the Romish Church.

NOw it remaineth, that wee examine their last preiudice. They haue amongst them a swarme of religious creatures of both sexes, who preferre povertie before wealth, seue­rity [Page 151] of discipline before the tender delicacy of plea­sures, humility and contempt of the world, before the greatnesse and pompe of it: who being sequestred from the turmoiles, and tumults of secular affairs liue here on earth, like Angells in heauen. Who deny na­ture that which she exacteth of them, macerate their flesh and tame it in such an austere manner, that it ser­veth the soule no longer but for a sheath, or case, Snatched vp already to heauen in affection and con­templation, and not tarrying here belowe, but after the fashion of Angels during their soiournement on earth. Or if their be any thing else which may set it forth more admirably, its all (say they) to be found in the angelicall, and heauenly life of Monkes and Nunnes.

Soe Mounte-bankes extoll the vertue of their drugges, affirming them to be nothing, but Elixers, balmes, & antidotes even against death itselfe. Now the confi­dent boldnesse, the smooth behauiour, and eloquent pratling of the Mountebanque, hath this faculty to make the praises of his druggs pausible and receiuable to the simple, and dimme sighted Vulgar. But expe­rience confuteth them, discouering at last the impu­dent knauery of these cosening quacksaluers. Soe the Turkes vaunt of their religious folke, of the sanctity, austerity and extraordinary devotion which seeming­ly shineth in their whole conuersation. Let vs heare not a Turke, but Septem ca­strem de morib. & r [...]lig. Turc. c. 14. a Chris [...]ian, a Monke by profession, who had familia [...]ly resorted to them, and obserued their fashions, who hath described their superstition, a witnesse, not to be suspected in this point. Some of [Page 152] them (saith he) shew an exceeding great patience, weare noe habit, goe naked, not couering any thing but their priuities: of so great perfectiō that they are impassible, testifying their patience by brand markes made by burning, by scarres made by launcing; some of thē eate, and drinke very seldome, others altogether forbeare both; some are so poore, that it's said, they thinke not at all on earthly matters: others neuer speake, and pur­posely auoid the company of men, least they should be vrged to speake, one of which sort I saw, not without admiration. Others haue the gifts of vision, others of reuelation: some haue raptures and supernaturall ex­tasies, or traunces. And by this meanes, there is no man amongst them which acquireth not some spiri­tuall skill and experience, and according to the diuer­sity of this skill which they professe they are distingui­shed by their habits, and manner of being. If there be seene any amongst them wearing feathers on their heads, this noteth that they are giuen to meditations and reuelations. If any of them weare a patcht habit, this is a signe of their pouerty. They which were rings in their eares shew by this that they are sub­missiue in spirit for the frequency of their raptures. If they weare chaines about their neckes and armes, this testifieth the violence and vehemence of their raptures: some of them liue sequestred, others associa­ted: some liue solitary inforrests and desarts, others in citties vsing hospitality. Where may these be para­leld? who can produce any thing outwardly at least, & in shew, so holie and austere amongst the Christian Monkes.

[Page 153]What could they answer here, if the Turkes should goe to outbraue them after this fashion, vsing the same pretence against them, which they vse agianst vs? will they say, that this sanctitie is but hypocrisie, that this austerity is but savage barbarousnesse? (as in­deede it is no better.) But this is our defence against them, when they goe about to oppresse vs with the preiudice drawne from the consideration of their Monkish holinesse and austeritie. What great matter haue you (say wee) in this respect, which those bar­barous miscreants the Turkes haue not? nay, which is more what haue yea wherein you are not by them ex­ceeded? will they answer vs heere, that they haue the Christian faith and Religion? But so wee shall haue vnmasked them of this preiudice, so wee shall force them to come to the triall of doctrine. The monkish life shall not iustifie the religion of the Romish Church, but they must goe quite backward, and iustifie the Monkish life by that religion from whence it borroweth its worth and dignity. So wee shall haue fetcht backe the disputation to its true point, to the examination of the truth; thrusting aside that by-con­sideration, which advantageth the cause of the Turkes, as mu [...]h as it disaduantageth ours.

But let vs draw a little nearer, to this seeming san­ctity and austerity: let vs looke stedfastly vpon it, and see whether it were not painting which deluded our view, whil'st wee stood farther off? whether it be not a cunningly contriued outside, adorning an vgly and prodigious inside. First of all, what kind of pouerty may wee imagine this to be, where no man is in [Page 154] trouble or anxiety to procure himselfe, wherewith to cloath himselfe against the cold, couer himselfe against the heat, replenish himselfe against hunger, to refresh himselfe against thirst, to physicke himselfe against sicknesse? may this be tearmed pouerty with­out mocking both God and man? If this be pouerty, what is abundance? Nay (say they) but these goods are possessed without appropriation: no man hath any thing to himselfe; be it so, doe they therefore en­ioy thē any whit the lesse. Enioy wee not all the sunne the glorious lamp of the world? enioy wee not light in [...]ommon, and without diuision? What? are wee therefore poore, destitute of light, or rich, abounding with it? what shall wee say of the aire, and water? are wee in penury of these elements, because wee haue not them enclosed vnto our selues, because wee en­ioy them in common? Monkish pouerty then is no­minall pouerty, but reall abundance.

But their discipline is rigid and seuere! here wee call the world to witnesse, yea wee appeale vnto thē ­selues in this point. Wee will not rub vp the ancient reproches of their gluttony, drunkennesse, whore­dome, adultery, sodomie. But let the world iudge, let them speake themselues, whether they obserue this austere discipline? whether those ruddie cheekes, those white fleshie hands, those liuely sparkling eyes, that spritefull vigor of the whole body, testifie a rigo­rous maceratiō & taming of the flesh, or whether that iollie plight be not rather an effect of ease, mirth, good cheere, and a compleat entertainment of nature? Yet (forsooth) we must beleeue, that they (poore [Page 155] hearts) fast extreamely, that they lash themselues vn­mercifully, that they lye vpon the bare, cold, hard ground, that they grate their skinnes with sackcloth. And questionlesse some few of them doe that, which they all professe to doe: But what a great peece of worke is it, if custome at first allaies, at length quite steales away the sense of these miseries. There is an excellent discourse to this purpose, & well worth the observation in the worke which Chrysostome hath left de sacerdotio, Chrys. [...]. edit sa­uill. that is (in the language of our times) of the office of a Bishop. Where he making a compari­son betweene the reall vexations in that office, and these seeming tortures in the monkish life (which wee deny not to haue beene in respect, in his time, but many waies differing from this in our time) he telleth vs, that it is to be seene by experience that there are many who without any paine or discontent, make a shift with very poore fare and very hard lodging; Principally such as being of a kind of rough course nature haue alwaies beene brought vp so: but not onely such, in as much as a good able constitution of body, and custome, soften and sweeten the roughnesse and harshnesse of these extremities, euen to those who formerly haue beene more daintily brought vp.

Surely, so it is. Those who are of a more tender and crasie constitution, faint vnder these austerities, and either lose their liues amongst them, or else retire out of them by a dispensation: those of a stronger, and and more solide, tough complexion, not one­ly goe through stitch with them, and make them tolerable, but in the end find them not onely easie, [Page 156] but which is more delightsome. It's a matter to bee wondred at, that no man bestowes an admiration vp­on the patience of the galley slaues, which is so great that they sing in the midst of their greuious toyle, so voluntary that they oftimes refuse their libertie, and chuse to tarry in the gallies: whereas to see a lazy fellow well couered, to shew his naked feete vpon condition of warming them when he listeth, all are amazed, as if this were some extraordinary exploit quiet surpassing humane strength. Wee daily see poore, drudging laborours toile, and sweat, and with painefull sighes keepe time as it were to their worke: wee see them with a greedy, glad appetite deuoure course bread, nourishing thēselues with such victual's as wee would hardly vouch safe to touch: in a word, wee see them in appearance even to kill themselues with irkesome labour; yet no man won­ders at it, no man pitties them, because wee all know, that custome hath dulled and blunted in them the sen [...]e & apprehension of wearisomenesse and paine. What then doe wee wonder at? What extraordinary matter is there to be obserued, in the patience of the Monkes, that they must needes be so much admired? Is it because from their labour, their ariseth no profit or commodity to their neighbour? Whereas by the paines of drudging laborours, and toyling mariners, the life of man is comforted, the society of men is vp­held and maintained? What then? shall wee admire a labour in vaine▪ an vnprofitable, fruitlesse toyle, and disesteeme that, which is not onely profitable but also necessary. But by their austerity, they testifie their [Page 157] patience, very likely; why doe they not till the earth then? why row they not in the galleys? is not there an ample subiect enough for thē to shew their patience, and to doe some seruice to the world beside into the bargaine, were it but in putting themselues into the place of many poore slaues whose naturall infirmi­ties make their seruitude insupportable? Or if that be too much, haue they not a fit opportunity to tame the flesh, in the Vineyards of the next neighbours to their Couents, in the fields at haruest time, at the presse in time of vintage, by this meanes both to ease the poore day-laborers, and to make some recompence for those almes which they get so easily by begging? This would be both to subdue the flesh, and profit the world both together. That other discipline so much talked of, may be iustly suspected, because it hath no regard to the profit of another. He who may with the same paines, tame his flesh, and serue his country is vngratefull, and vncharitable, if being able to vn­dertake this course, he neglecteth it. But the truth is, that they refuse not this kind of exercise, but onely because it is lesse pleasant then their owne.

CHAP. XXXIX. A resolution of certaine doubts, which may be framed concerning some things in the precedent Chapter.

BVt it will be said, that the labour of secular men is not voluntary. Why so? Why is it lesse voluntary then that of the Monkes? Is it because they cannot exempt them­selues [Page 158] from it when they list? Why this (I trow) is the Monkes case to. Or is it because they are forced to fol­low that hard kind of life, whereas the Monkes bound themselues to it with vowes voluntarily made. Surely there is no difference betweene thē yet, in this respect. Despairing discontents, melancholicke dumps, the feare of parents, the hard dealing of kindred, the sim­plicitie of youth, the desire of avoiding some disgrace, or trouble which is like to come vpon vs if we tarry a­broad in the world, are vsually the first motiues, and which giue the first impressions to them who aspire to the Monkish life. When these considerations haue once staggered vs, and set vs a wavering, it is an easie matter afterwards to perswade our selues, that that course of life to which we are now addicted (bee it what it will) is the most compendious path to perfe­ction, and the ready way to Paradise. But after that men are once entred into it, and haue engaged them­selues in it, then some come to discouer the vnhappi­nesse of their choice, they befoole themselues at lea­sure, perceiving those places to be but vncouth pri­sons within, which while they beheld them without, seemed princely palaces. But now it is too late; they are fast enough in the stockes, and fetters, bolts, barres, double gates, the Goaler and Keepers take away all hope of getting out. So the fishes which tosse & tum­ble within the nets, seeme to play and sport to the o­thers which behold them without. But the desire of being partakes of that sport, hauing once allured them in, they quickly perceiue what is become of them.

[Page 159]But some man will say, if it be so, how commeth it to passe, that we heare none of them complaine, that we perceiue not any of these votaries, by sighs and moanes, to discouer their repentance and dislike of their profession. Surely it is, because no man proclai­meth his owne folly, but every one is most carefull to hide it, especially when it is remedilesse. He who hath beene vnfortunately married, will not discover the in­conveniences which he findeth in his marriage, if hee can possibly cover them, because it cannot bee done without some shame and disgrace. Discontents of this kinde, doe not evaporate by exposing them to the winde. To this sort of vnfortunate weights, there remaines no comfort, but only to procure their mise­ries a reputation of not being. So merchants willing­ly dissemble their losses, especially those which come from their owne rashnesse and indiscretion. So the Divells who are comforted, if they draw many to hell vse not to tell how hot it is there.

CHAP. XL. That the profession of Monkes is not a note of true humilitie, and that their life hath no­thing Angelicall in it.

WE see then, what kinde of povertie the po­vertie of Monks is: what kinde of austerity their austeritie is, hauing nothing admira­ble in them, nothing which may prejudice their opposites in a matter of so great importance as [Page 160] is religion, seeing there is nothing extraordinary in them, nothing which is not common in the ordinary course of life, nothing which may not bee both paral­lel'd, and transcended in the most horrible superstiti­ons.

But peradventure they are humble, contemning the world? But whence should that be coniectured? Is it from their povertie, or from the meanesse of their ap­parell, or from their savage kinde of life quite estran­ged from humane civilitie? This coniecture indeed might haue some colour and probabilitie, if their po­vertie (such as it is,) their habit & their strange course of life made them contemptible and despicable to the world. But povertie, basenesse of apparell, and stoicall incivilitie which make any other person cōtemptible, adorne a Monke, and make him honorable. Aboun­dance of wealth, bravery in apparell, fashionable car­riage are not honourable in the world, but onely be­cause they make him to be honoured who hath them. But if basenesse procure respect and applause, it's pride to seeme cont [...]mptible, and ambition to affect base­nesse. He spake not like a foole, who told the Cynick Philosopher, that he saw his pride through the holes of his cloake, because he was so poorely clad, that he might be the more respected. There was not ancient­ly any sort of men so proud as that [...]ect of Philoso­phers, with their long beards, course cloakes, beggerly scrips, bare feet, like to our Capuchins now a daies. The Gentrie, and common people of those times with a kinde of emulation, outvyed one another in a superstitious respect to that Idol of gravity, that de­ceitfull [Page 161] outside of humilitie, which inwrapped a prou­der heart then the royall robe of Alexander. True hu­milit [...]e is seated in the heart, and in the inmost closet of the soule: shee is not commended by any thing which may bee counterfeited: shee is discerned as well vnder the robes of David, as vnder the rags of La­zarus. But some will say, that the Monkes would bee more respected then they are, if they were not Monks. Let vs see how true this is; what should we thinke of those heauie, blockish spirits thrust into a Monastery by their kindred, because of their vnfitnesse for any thing else, that they might not serue for a reproach to the family of which they are descended: is it likely these creatures would bee more respected not being Monkes? What should we thinke of those poore fel­lowes, which if they were out of the Covent, would hardly finde wherewith to sustaine nature, vnlesse they got it by their fingers ends at some base occupation? Would these be more respected? Lastly, what should we thinke of those more sublimated wits, and soaring spirits amongst them, to whom the Monastery is in­steed of a Galerie through which they may walke to a Bishopricke, thence climbe to a Cardinalship, and thence ofttimes iump into the Papall throne? Would these haue fared better out of the Monastery? Sup­pose all them hit not this marke, could they haue ay­med better at it out of the Couent? It was a Pope who before he came to this dignity, vsed out of his austeri­ty a net insteed of a bed, and now seeing the world to wonder at the change which he had made of his net bed into a fether bed, answered, that he had caught his [Page 162] fish. The Monkish profession serues now adaies to heighthen & adorne the lustre of learning, eloquence, and the like good parts, as shadowes in a picture grace the other colours. Mantuan amongst the Po­ets, was but the more esteemed because hee was a Monke. Hath Onuphrius beene any whit the lesse ad­mired by his own, or lesse esteemed of by the learned? Aquinas, and Scotus, haue they not beene so much the more renowned because they were Monkes?

The glory, and applause which Monsieur du Bou­chage hath gotten by his Monasticke profession, haue they not equalled all the honour which he could ex­pect from Martiall feats? Those actions cannot bee true notes of humilitie wherein one sowes a small ho­nour, for an assured haruest of a greater: but those wherein a man debaseth and deiecteth himselfe, expe­cting no advancement or preferment but in heauen. The praise also of this humilitie is not of men, but from God, who seeth it in secret and rewardeth it o­penly. Let it be proued vnto vs then, that the Monks contemne honour, and we will beleeue that they con­temne the world. It is not to tread the world vnder foot, not to plead at barre, not to sit in the chaire of state, not to beare armes, not to serue ones King and country, to liue in idlenesse according to the precepts of Epicurus: but not sollicitously to ayme at, not to affe [...]t that honour which is wont to accompany all these professions. The Monkish profession cannot bring a testimoniall of such a contempt of the world; yea on the contrary, it betrayes a great loue of it, see­ing it is the most certaine and easie way to that ho­nour [Page 163] which other men purchase with so much sweat and anxiety. Finally they tell vs, that the Monkish life is Angelicall, but I would willingly know wherefore: Doe the Angells vse to be idle during their abode vp­on earth? Yea are they not all ministring spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heires of salva­tion. Are they not busie for the preservation of men? But these Angel-Monkes, what doe they? It will bee said, they spend much time in prayer; yea, they de­voure widdowes houses, vnder the pretence of their long prayers, as anciently did the Scribes & Pharises. To pray to God, and to serue the world, are these mat­ters which cannot stand together? The Patriarchs, Prophets, & Apostles did not they pray? And yet did they not labour day and night for the setting forward of the salvation of men? Questionlesse, their charity is cold and hypocriticall who being able to doe more, spend it only in prayers; iustly deseruing, that their prayers should redescend vpon their owne heads tur­ned into curses.

CHAP. XLI. That the profession of Monkes is contrary to true pietie.

BEhold now what that so much admired pouerty of Monkes is come to, their humi­litie, their so highly esteemed imitation of Angells. But if we will but take the paines to acquaint our selues a little better with the mysteries [Page 164] of this profession, we shall perceiue it to be quite con­trary to true pietie, that it dishonoureth & turneth it vpside downe: and lastly, that the issue of it is to make a man a theefe, a whoremonger, a proud Pharisee.

First of all, theft is manifest and notorious in it. For the profession of Monkes bindeth them not to giue a­ny thing to another, it hindreth the sonne from suc­couring the father, the daughter from relieuing the necessities of the mother, the rich from possessing that with which they might comfort the poore, the wise­man from taking care of the weale-publike; the vali­ant man from defending his countrie, the lawes, and religion by his valour, yea it hindereth the Divine frō preaching: for if some amongst them doe preach, it is not as they are Monkes; That license was anciently granted them in the forme of a dispensation. In St Hieromes time the office of Monks was not to preach, but to weepe. To imploy ones selfe in preaching is to bid the Monkish life farewell, & to renounce it in this respect. And if every Monke should imploy his gift and talent, as doe the small number of those amongst them which preach, the Monasteries would remaine emptie, and these Monks would be no longer Monks, but secular men conversing in the world and busying themselues for the common good of it, every one ac­cording to his abilitie, every man in his ranke & stati­on, one in pleading the cause of the Orphane: ano­ther in applying convenient remedies for the pre­vention, or expulsion of diseases: another in distribu­ting almes out of his abundance: one in the exercise of one calling, another in another. But the Monkes [Page 165] by their vowes quite disenable themselues for the per­formance of these offices. Some ancient lawes puni­shed certaine cowards, which that they might not be pressed for the warre, got their thumbs cut off, not on­ly for hauing vsed an inhumane cruelty towards them selues, but also for hauing cosened the Common­wealth of its due. They then make themselues culpa­ble after the same manner, who wittingly depriue thē ­selues of those meanes, by which they might giue a helping hand for the reliefe of the common necessities of mans life. We are not placed in this life, neither a­bide we in this world for our selues only, but for o­thers also, every man for his neighbour. It is the law of nature, it's the law of God, it's the precept of the Gospell, that we should doe good to all, and especially to those of the houshold of faith. He then who purposely maketh himselfe vnprofitable, willingly violateth this law, shewing himselfe vnnaturall, rebellious against God, full of selfe-loue, seeking that which is his owne, and not the Lord Iesus, any farther then the lips and outward profession.

But which is yet more intolerable, they make them­selues not only vnprofitable, but also burdensome; they liue vpon other mens labours, they depriue those who are poore indeed of their reliefe, intercepting that which might and ought to be giuen them. They think it a more blessed thing to receiue, then to giue quite contrary to the iudgement of our Saviour. They la­bour not, and yet they thinke themselues worthie to liue and be maintained, notwithstanding the speech of the Apostle, he which worketh not, let him not eat.

[Page 166]They say that their prayers are their taskes, & their oraisons their businesse. But St Austin in his booke de opere Monach: where he hath taken vpon him to proue that every Monke which liues vpon almes and gifts is guiltie of theft, hath amply refuted these flim-flamms: shewing that the spirituall service of God, doth not hinder vs from, but incourage vs to labour. The Greci­ans account him not a true Monke, who is chargeable to others. The Abyssin Monkes follow the same law. And indeed though the Monkish profession be anci­ent enough in the Church, yet the idlenesse of Monks, and their begging is but new. In St Austens time some beganne in fauour of them to alleage the example of the birds of the fields, of whom the Lord saith that they neither sow nor reap.Aug. de oper. Monach. c. 26. But that good father an­swereth them as they deserued, telling them that hee was of opinion that they might goe as the birds doe, to feed themselues in the fields, without bringing any thing home with them, and that it would bee good if they had wings, that they might be affrighted away like stares [birds] & not be apprehended as theeues.

Concerning the second point, the Monkish life doth not quench, but nourish, doth not cast water but oyle vpon the fire of concupiscence. An honest liberty of marrying, when one will, if a man be not altogether gracelesse, easily spends and exhales this passion, and suffereth it not to breake out into flames; whereas the constraint by vow, taketh away all hopes of vent, and shutteth it vp within vs. There is no man lesse troubled with hunger, then he who hopes that he may eat whē he pleaseth, he who despaireth of it, betaketh himselfe [Page 167] to his owne flesh, and as the Prophet speaketh, eateth even his owne arme. Now this is not spoken with a purpose to discouer the secrets of the Couent, but on­ly to giue a secret glaunce at that which all the world knoweth of it.

But what? Can their fastings, and scourgings af­ford them no remedy? Yes if they would in due pro­portion fast continually, if they would fast simply and absolutely; otherwise for him which hath not the gift of continence to fast by starts, and lash himselfe by fits, this is but to stirre his disease insteed of remouing it, and to anger his sore, insteed of healing it? There are diseases which are nourished by gentle, lenitiue re­medies. The anodins (such medicines as cast the sicke into a sleep) take away the paine for a time: but they ei­ther kill the persō out right, or else the paine returneth with the greater violence, as if it had gone backward for a time, that it might come forward with a doubled furie. Witnesse St Hierome himselfe,Hieron. ad Eust. de custod. Virg. tom. 2. my countenance (saith he) was wan by reason of my fasting, and my flesh, was dead before my selfe, and yet my spirit boyled with­in me with the heat of my desires. Did so holy and de­vout a man out of I knowe not what humilitie pub­likely divulge so base and scandalous a lye of himselfe? No, no. He spake the truth, and thereby (how highly soever he hath extolled virginitie) vnwittingly con­fesseth, that for concupiscence which is not modera­ted by the gift and particular grace of continence, there remaineth only that remedy set downe by the Apostle, that for avoiding fornication, every man should haue his owne wife, and every woman her owne husband.

[Page 168]True virginitie is r [...]dically in the soule, if it bee not [...]ere principally, it cannot be in the body, and if it be there, it will transfuse it selfe thence into the body, whether it be in wedlocke, or in a single life. Imagine we that St Peter married (as the most ancient testifie of him) was lesse acceptable to God, [...]gnat. in epist. ad Philadelph. [...]id exerc. 3. V [...]del. cap. 12. then St Paul vn­married? God measureth not men but by piety, where he findeth that equall, he is equally pleased with it, be it in married, or vnmarried persons.

What then? shall the single life haue no preroga­tiue? Yes questionlesse, if it conduce more to pietie, then marriage; but if it faile in this point it's much in­feriour to marriage. Now it alwaies fayleth of that in them who haue not the gift of it. There are some (saith our Saviour) which make themselues Eunuches for the kingdome of heaven; but all men cannot re­ceiue this saying, Mar. [...]. Cor. 7.7. saue they to whom it is given. Which is clearely expounded vnto vs by St Paul, telling vs that he could wish indeed, that all had the gift of con­tinence as well as he, but that every man hath his pro­per gift, one in one kinde, another in another· To him then, who hath receiued this gift after the same maner as St Paul had receiued it, his single life doubtlesse will be farre more advantagious then marriage, because that to him who is thus qualified, virginitie is a helpe for piety, marriage would bee but an incumbrance. But to him who hath not receiued that gift in that manner, his single life would be but a snare and a trap: for by reason of his single life he would burne, & the Apostle tells vs that it is better to marry, then to burne. As then marriage serues but for an hindrance [Page 169] and disturbance to him, who hath the gift that St. Paul had, to wit, the gift of continence: so the single life serueth but for an encumbrance and temptation, the danger of which is vnavoidable, and deadly, to him who hath not receiued the gift of containing himselfe. Wee worthily esteeme of the single life of those whome God calleth to it, but wee say that no man is called vnto it, who is forced to burne in it.

Wherefore then (say they) see wee not this single life more common amongst you? Heere wee could tell them, that they should dispute against our do­ctrine, not against our manners; that faults in manners ought not to be thrust vpon the doctrine, if the do­ctrine condemneth thē; that our doctrine approueth not their doeings, who being able to containe them­selues are married, vnlesse they are driuen vnto it by some other vrgent necessity. But wee will answere directly, that the gift continence being rare wee are not to wonder if the single life which pre­supposeth this gift be lesse frequent, but rather to admire the wisdome of the Apostle, who hauing set before vs the conueniences of a single life and the inconueniences of mariage, professeth that it is not to ensnare vs. Now if wee are not fitly qualified for a single life, it is vndoubtedly to ensnare our selues, if wee chuse rather to burne in a single life, then to quench the fire by marriage. The thousands, and wee dare say millions of Martyrs both in the Primitiue Church, and in our owne times, giue a sufficient testimonie that wee entertaine and embrace not marriage, but so farre as it fitteth vs for [Page 170] our calling. In how base and dispitefull a mann [...] soeuer men calumniate it, which of our Martyrs was ever held back by the consideration of the sweetnesse of his marriage, by the naturall affection towards hi [...] children, by the cares of the world, from sealing the Gospell with his blood? They might all haue liued, and many of them might haue liued in all outward content, either for honours or pleasures, yet notwith­standing all this, they preferred death before life, tor­ments before pleasures, the ignominy & shame, be­fore the honour and applause of the world. Let our enemies be our Iudges, is not such a kind of death more admirable then the single life of Monkes? is it not a sure token of a more magnanimous spirit, of a more feruent zeale, of a more fixed hope, of a more vehement loue, of a more liuely faith, thē the single life of these Votaries; vnchast for the most part, and chast onely by constraint. But let us returne to our purpose. As the Monkish life tends to make him who addicteth himselfe to it, a theefe and a whoremonger, vnlesse he hath receiued the gift requisite for a single life: so in the third place, it is a thing which puffeth a man vp with a wonderfull presumption of himselfe. I know the Monkes make great profession of humility, but how can he be humble who thinketh himselfe able, who vndertaketh to merite, and beleeueth that he doth merite? True humility is for a man to thinke himsel [...]e vnworthy, to somuch as looke vp vnto heauen: these Votaries presume to merite it.

Moreouer true humility is for vs to thinke that when wee haue done all, wee are but vnprofitable ser­uants; [Page 171] these Monkish Saints, beleeue that they doe workes of supererogation, and that they merit for others also. What pride is this, or what blasphemie? God himselfe commandeth vs to loue him with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our strength: They make profession of doing a great deale more then he commandeth vs.

In what mood soeuer God speaketh, it is impera­tiue, after what fashion soever he speaketh, he can­not but command: see in the meane time the mon­strous pride of these Monkes: There are (say they) some counsells which God giueth, to obey which man is not bound vnlesse himselfe please, his owne vow alone bindeth him to obedience. Who can in conscience thinke thus of the Counsells of God without a proud exaltation of himselfe against him? was this the ayme of the Lord? is this the fruit of his familiar mildnesse? when he commands in counsel­ling, and counsells in commanding, deales he so courteously with vs to the end that man should mis­take him for his companion? that he should miscon­strue his commandements, and allow them onely the faint emphasis of counsells which a friend giues to a friend without any strongertie of obseruing thē. The entreaties of our superiours are commandes, if wee either speake, or thinke of them otherwise, wee cease in effect to acknowledge them for our Superiours, we proudly exalt our selues against them. And what may wee then thinke of these professors of humility, who allow not God that in matter of religion, which they owe to men in matter of ciuility. Questionlesse this [Page 172] proueth them not onely proud, but also both sacri­legious and blasphemous persons.

These things being so, how commeth it to passe, that such grosse impiety should serue for a pretence to iustify that religion, of the which it maketh pro­fessiō? Yea seing that it is so farre frō being what it see­med to be at the first view, that it is indeede the quite contrary, as wee suppose wee haue proued, let it serue rather to accuse, yea to condemne that religion, of which it's said to be the excellency and perfection.

The Conclusion.

WE haue at length examined in order, all [...]hose preiudices and pretences which they of the Romish Church haue inuented, to hinder our cause from being throughly & exactly examined. It was the onely scope of this trea­tise to shew that all those allegations 1 of the Magnifi­cence 2 Vnity, 3 Antiquity, 4 Stability, 5 Continuatiō 6 Succession, 7 the substance of truth, 8 the holinesse pretended to be in the Church of Rome, are but friuo­lous pretences, devised to hinder an exquisite and so­lide enquirie of the truth. If wee haue attained to this scope, its all wee could desire: the indifferent Reader shall iudge of it. For my owne part, it sufficeth me that my consc [...]ence beareth me witnesse, that I haue pro­ceeded in it without vainglory, without stomack, in all sincerity, as speaking rather before God, then before men. This maketh me hope for his blessing vpon my paines so much the more, as he is iealous of his truth, [Page 173] at the clearing of which I haue wholy aimed. Where­fore I humbly entreat him, by his spirit, to supply all my defects, and notwithstanding my infirmities, not to faile to accomplish his power by weake meanes, whether it be in confirming those, whome he hath already called to the communion of his grace, or whe­ther it be in awaking others out of their security, to the end that they may seeke his truth, and in seeking it may find it, and in it euerlasting life through Iesus Christ our Lord, to whom with the Father, & the Holie Spirit be honour and glory eternally, Amen.


Faults escaped in some copies.

PAg. 5. lin. 18. for braue, read, some braue. Pag. 8. line 21. for superstition, superstition florished. P· 11. lin. 29. for accompany, for the most part accompany. 28.17. for won, wondred. 31.27. for liberally, lite­rally. 132.1. for being true, being no true Pag. 108. referre the citation out of Cyzicenus to that which followeth about Hosius. and at u read Athanas. 2. Apol. Diuers other petty faults there are, such as cannot wrong a [...] intelligent Reader.

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