By IOHN CAMERON Minister of the Word of God, and Divinity Professour in the Academie of Montauban.

Translated into English by IOHN VERNEVIL. M. A.

Basilius ad Eustathium medicum epist. quae est 80. ex edit. Paris. 1618.

Let the Scripture giuen by inspiration of God be Vmpire, and the sentence of truth shall wholy bee giuen to them, with whom the tenents agreable to the holy w [...] shall bee found.

OXFORD. Printed by VVilliam Turner Printer to the famous Vniversity, and are to be sold by Henry Curteine. 1648.

TO THE RIGHT WORSHIP­FVLL Sr THOMAS LEIGH KNIGHT AND BARONET, AND TO THE VERTVOVS and Religious Lady Mary Leigh his deare and louing Consort.

I AM not vnmind­full of the favours and courtisies (Right Worll.) receiued from your much honoured Grand-father Sr Tho­mas Leigh, (of blessed memory) at my first comming into England, how in my distresse his liberall maintenance re­freshed mee: And in all those yeares that I had the honour to belong vnto you, how gratious and bountifull I found you both: should I silence these your benefits bestowed on mee, and not acknow­ledge them to the world, my conscience surely [Page 4] would accuse mee of ingratitude, a vice abomi­nable and hatefull both to God and good menPeremptoria siquidem res est ingratitudo, ho­stis gratiae ini­mica salutis▪ Bernard sermo­ne 2. de septem misericordijs.. To avoide which, I haue presumed to publish, and offer to the world vnder both your names this my little translation, of the great and learned Ca­meron; not for any hope I haue by this, or any greater seruice to requite your favours to mee, but only to testifie that I confesse and acknow­ledge Gods goodnesse towards mee in finding such a shelter that hath receiued & kept mee safe in a land where I was a stranger. For which your fauours towards mee, the Lord of heauen and earth restore you an hundred fold into your bo­somes, and giue your VVorships grace to see (as your Honourable Grand fathers haue done) your childrens children like Oliue plants round a­bout your table.

Receiue then this small mite as a token of the bounden seruice of him, who vncessantly prayeth God to blesse you and your Noble Familie with all spirituall blessings in Christ Iesus.

Your WorPS. most humbly to command IOHN VERNEVIL

To the Reader.

I present vnto your censure this tract of Monsieur Cameron in English; I know the skill of many for translating out of French to bee farre better then mine owne: but my request is, that you re­spect my desire to do good, and not my imperfecti­ons. I hold it a matter altogether impossible to draw a picture fully to the life: let Poets tell of painters, and of birds deceiued by the exactnesse of their skill; yet an originall ever looseth some lustre and grace, though the translatours care be never so great. Howsoever consider I intreate you, the author of this little tract: for the worke of any man is now­adayes esteemed, as the workeman is, and men care most for reading that whose authours they esteeme. For the Author I will say this little: during his natu­rall life his reputation was great in France, and so great, that all the Iesuites there did seeke, and at last obtained to haue him banished, nor was there any o­ther cause thereof then his great learning,Plantus [...]in mi­lite. Act. 3. scena 2. v. 29. the Iesu­ites in their conferences being not able to withstand him.

Quoniam aemulare non licet, nunc in [...]ides.

He had his refuge here, where by the speciall care of that great fauourer of learning K. Iames (of blessed memory) he was provided for in Scotland, his natiue coūtry, but so great was his harty loue to France, that by the effectual mediatiō of those honorable Ambas­sadors then in France, he gat that envious sentence re­versed, [Page 6] which being done he immediately conveigh­ed himselfe to Montauban to bee professour there, where he ended his dayes, to the great losse of Gods Church, and that Vniversity. Now seeing the fer­uent loue that hee had in doing good to my owne natiue Country, I haue endeauoured (as much as ly­eth in mee) to requite his loue, and to make his French worke speake English. If this tract bee fauou­rably receiued, and that I shall perceiue my English phrase tollerably to be approued, your kind accep­tance shall encourage mee to a greater worke: my na­ture abhorreth idlenesse, and beeing in such a place, I loue to be doing, and to imploy my selfe, for feare to be worse imployed*.Quem diabo­lus non inve­nit occupatum ipse occupat. Enjoy this as a prodromus, till by your prayers God of his infinite grace and mercy enable mee to end my greater worke now in hand. Farewell.

Thine in the Lord IOHN VERNEVIL.

CHAP. 1.
The subtility of those who shunne the reformation, and the sincerity of them who require it.

IT is sayd that Alcibiades as yet but young in yeares, but in craft and subtility already aged, comming on a day to visit Pericles, when one had told him that hee was busie making vp the accounts which hee was to giue of his office; immediately replyed, it was better for Pericles to busie himselfe, in seeking the meanes how hee might giue no accounts at all, and so went his wayes. This passage hath beene applauded by many as most sharpe and witty. But there are some, and of those not a few who much esteeme the vse and ne­cessity of the councell it importeth: All bankrupts, pet­tifoggers, extortioners, and in a word, the whole rable of impostors make vse thereof, and haue recourse vnto it, as to the onely soveraigne remedie of their di­spaire: and indeede hee that is convinced in his consci­ence, [Page 8] that knoweth that hee shall come short of his ac­counts, and in the proofe of his pretended right, it is his safest and easiest way to avoid the comming to any ac­count, or triall at all. Where contrariwise, hee that hath a cleare conscience, his reckonings ready, his cause good, doth flye nothing more then such shifts; and desires, and endeauours aboue all to bee heard throughly, fearing least the prescription, exceptions, and pretences of cun­ning wranglers, though hee could make vse of them, should darken the equitie of his cause, and leaue behind it this scruple, that his cause in the issue of it, will prooue like to those other vnto which it hath some resemblance in the proceeding. Would to GOD all men in the controversies of religion, were of the same opinion, and had the same cou­rage, and true meaning, which humaine and civill wisdome doth suggest to vs in our law suites, that wee would bee willing to come to an issue. And since wee all agree that our heauenly Father hath not left vs without a Testament, that wee on both sides, know by what Notaries it hath beene receiued, where they haue enrolled it, since wee haue the law and the testimony, that wee would also haue our recourse with a joynt consent, to that Testament, to those Notaries, to their Registers, and say with one and the same voyce af­ter the Prophet, To the law and to the testimony, if they speake not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

Truely God revealeth not his will; the Prophets, the Apostles teach it not, but by his word; wee haue this word, what can wee aske more? would wee know what the judgement of God is, what the testimony of the Pro­phets, and Apostles are concerning that doctrine? ought not God himselfe to declare it? should not the Prophets and Apostles Publish it? Wee haue this declaration, wee haue (no Christian doubteth thereof) the authentique coppy [Page 9] of this publication, haue we not then what wee neede, what we seeke, and aske so earnestly, to wit a sentence and a finall decree on our controversies? Truely it is not necessa­ry, that the King, the Secretary, the Court, the Register bee all present wheresoever it is requisite that the Kings will be knowne, if wee haue the order of the Court, wee are as­sured of the Edict and decree. Wee stand at this day on these termes, wee haue not to do with the Iewes, neither with the Turkes, who denie the authority, the one of a part, the other of the whole Scripture. Wee are Christi­ans, wee beleeue, wee all protest that we haue in the Cano­nicall booke of the Scripture of the old and new Testament, the declaration of the will of God. We acknowledge on both sides that whatsoever is there contained, is the word of God which is able to make vs wise vnto salvation, and throughly furnished vnto all good workes. 2 Timoth 3. 1 [...] 17. Why do we then so earnestly demand the corporall presence of our judge? why do wee desire that he should giue vs a Vicar, a substi­tute, since wee haue his decree, and acknowledge that hee hath pronounced it?

CHAP. 2.
The demand and proposall of those, who desire a holy reformation.

This is the complaint of them, who at this day grieue and sigh; lamenting the desolation of Israel and Iuda, who wish and demand, that as good Iosiah caused the book of the Law to be read before him,2 Kings 22. 10. as Esdras, and Nehemiah did the like before the congregation, when they endeavoured to reforme the Church, and restore it to her first integrity: so the like may be practised at this day. If in Christendome all things be foūd conformable to this law in matters of Re­ligion, there will be no neede of changing any thing therein, but to punish rather those vnquiet spirits, those troublesome and schismaticall heretickes, which trouble and marre by their novelties the peace of the Church, and repose of the [Page 10] whole world. But if this conformitie be not there to bee found, but on the contrary a difference & disagreeing, why should not Gods truth be preferred before humaine inven­tions, the law before there customes, and the kingdome of Iesus Christ before the tyranny, and dominion of him, who hath vsurped both over the living and the dead, over soule and body, prince and people, an authority in effect wholy soueraigne? And here let every soule in which there is left any touch of conscience, let every man in whom there is found the least sparke of manhood, remaining in such a division of the Church, in such a disagreeing especially a­bout things of so great importance, judge which of the two doth rather practise the craft of Alcibiades in shunning and declining, whether they who demand that their procee­dings be examined by the rule of this word, (which we all avouch to be inspired, dictated, and registred by the spirit of God, or else those who shunne nothing more then the cen­sure of this word, of this Scripture, so farre as to charge it with defects, vnsufferable even in humaine writings, accu­sing it of obscurity, ambiguity, and imperfections; which truly are the proprieties of the Oracles of Apollo, of the leaues of Sybil's, but little agreeable to the the law of the Almighty, the which the kingly Prophet so much magnifi­eth as beeing perfect, Psa. 9. 7. 8. pure, sure, and giving wisdome to the simple.

CHAP. 3.
Wherein the objections against the foresaid demand are set downe, and that which is framed against the per­son of those which require it is refuted.

Since then wee are brought to this poynt, that instead of pleading the cause throughly, there is a question made whether wee ought to come so farre, they stand much vp­pon the quality of the accuser, they conteste against the sufficiencie of the Iudge, to whom hee appeales. Wee are [Page 11] constrayned first of all to examine the equity or injustice of this manner of proceeding.

And first as touching the quality of the accusers, they terme them new start-vps, they aske them what calling they haue thereunto, by what authority they haue made so bold an attempt as to protest they desire the reformation of the Church.

The thing then objected to them is noveltie and rashnesse. But both of these objections are but a recrimination, the which cannot be verified, but that first their accusation be convinced of vntruth, and therefore ought not, neither can it be receiued, before that point of their accusation be cleared.

They vndertake to proue that the doctrine of our Lord and of the Apostles hath beene altered and changed in that Church which termeth it selfe Catholique: they vrge that every other doctrine is to be rejected, no other admitted but that alone. They protest then, not that they will bring in, but that their meaning is to banish novelties, for which cause Noveltie, cannot bee obiected vnto them, so long as it cannot be proved that they are innovatours: which is the chiefe point of the controversie: the question beeing not here of the Nouelty of the persons but of that of faith and doctrine, according to which we ought to iudge of the persons, and not of it according to the persons. Tertull. Prisc [...]s ad haeret: cap. 3. ex personis pro­bamus fidem, an ex fide per­sonas? As learnedly Tertul­lian.

Seing then that the summe of their accusations consist, in this that they accuse the Church, falsely called Catholique, to haue innovated, so long as it doth not appeare, whether their accusation be true or no, novelty cannot be obiected to them. As for the rashnesse of the accusation, no more can it be obiected vnto them, vntill that the accusation bee retorted by a direct and just defence: for even as in an estate and commonwealth, every man is admitted to accuse in case of high treason, and none is reiected, but vpon a mani­fest falsity of his accusation, neither is he accounted to ac­cuse rashly, who accuseth truly: so in the Church, whosoe­uer accuseth of high treason against God, is to bee heard [Page 12] without objecting vnto him rashnesse, vntil it be prooued that his accusation is false: In an armie, in a besieged towne, whē there is questiō of treasō, no advise whatsoever is neg­lected, but they rather duly weigh & consider, not so much from whom it proceedeth, as the importance of it, the accu­sers are not punished, if their accusation be not found false; but if it be true they are applauded, rewarded, advanced, and often promoted in the offices, and places of the accused. In the Church of God, in matter of conscience wee ought not to stoppe any mans mouth, but to convince, or satisfie the heart and conscience; such was the practise of the Aposto­licall Church. The Fathers haue so carried themselues towards Heretiques, yea S Austustine himselfe, speaking of the Manicheans, Aug. concr. e­pist Man. cap. 4. Basil. de Sp. S. c. 17. is of this opinion. And if any of the Ancients haue vsed perscription in any such case, it hath beene in matters that were not properly of the essence of faith: or if the doctrine was quaestioned, then haue they to do with them,Tertul. praescr. cap [...] 7. who grounded not themselues especially vpon the Scripture, but wrested according as they listed, some certaine peeces of it, forcing them to their purpose, and as it were by torture, making them to confesse what they never knew. And therefore the same Fathers called thē Sucifugas Scripturarum, men who shunne the light of the Scripture:Tertul. de res. car. c. 47. yea in those times prescription became them well. It was impossible that then there should bee such a declining and falling from the trueth. The mystery of iniquity, which had already begunne to be conceiued in the times of the Apostles, was yet in the cradle. Our conditi­on at this day is otherwise, who are come vnto the last times, who reckon a thousand and soe many hundred yeares since the flourishing and happy times of the Apostles. Du­ring which so long space of time this mystery should in probability be well growne. Wee see the most flourishing Churches, in times past planted by the Apostles, now brought into desolation, and we cannot now call to witnesse the memory of men.

CHAP. 4.
Wherein are proposed the allegations against the sufficiencie of the Iudge, to whom those who desire a reformatiō do appeale.

BVT for all this they call in doubt the sufficiencie of the Iudge, before whom the accusers commence their suite, to wit, God speaking in the Scriptures, or by the Scriptures.

1 They doubt whether hee can be Iudge considered after that manner, because, say they every Iudge ought to speake,Eight reasons wherefore God cannot be Iudge. now God speaking in the Scripture, is as though hee did not speake at all, the Scripture having neede it selfe to bee propounded, and applyed by some other.

2 And besides, the words of a Iudge ought to be cleare, & intelligible, & this writtē word is obscure as much as may be.

3 Thirdly, the Scripture is ambiguous and subject to di­vers interpretations, whereas the decrees of a Iudge ought to be certaine and positiue.

4 Fourthly, the Scripture is defectiue, and imperfect, and therefore cannot be extended, nor applied to the decision of our controversies.

5 Fiftly, the resolution of a Iudge ought to make them agree, who referre themselues to him, whereas it is seene what discord there is, even amongst those who would end these variances by the Scriptures.

6 Sixtly, the Heretiques themselues make vse of the Scriptures, whereas the sentence of the Iudge, cannot ad­vantage the party condemned by him.

7 Seaventhly, if God speaking in, or by, the Scripture were the Iudge, to what end then serue the Councels?

8 Finally, if we had no other determination then that of the Scriptures, we must needes alwaies liue in vncertainty: for the weaknesse and deceitfulnesse of mans vnderstanding considered, who amongst so great a multitude, & in such a discord of those, who take vpon thē to haue the gift of the holy Ghost, could know and discerne who hath it? Who a­midst such a nūber of those who think they haue it, & are de­ceiued [Page 14] in their opinion can assure himselfe that hee hath it? what then, do they refuse to be Iudged? by no meanes in ap­perance, but they would haue the Church to be judge; the truth is that when that comes to the vpshot, wee find that this Church is themselues; who would bee both iudges and parties, as shall be more plainely showne hereafter.

CHAP. 5.
The proposall of the meanes of nullity against the foresaid allegations, and the verifying of the first meanes against the first and second allegation.

NOW let vs consider their arguments alleadged a­gainst the sufficiencie of the judge before whom they are summoned, which if they are not, 1 Contrary to their owne designe. 2. to the truth. 3. If they do not tend to the sub­version of Christian Religion: the accusers refuse not to ac­cept of them. But if they be found incompatible, 1. with the cause for the defence of which they are alleaged, 2. with the truth, 3. with the authority of Christian Religion; No body will condemne the accusers of false dealing, if they keepe themselues to their first citation and appeale.

But we are confident that all these meanes of nullity mayThe eight reasons retorted against the adversary. easily be verified: and that wee may proceede in order, let vs beginne with the first, and let vs consider all these rea­sons, one after another, if they do not oppose that cause in favour of which they are produced.

1 And as for the first, if God speaking in the Scriptures, or by the Scriptures is as if hee speake not at all, vnder a colour that the Scripture is dombe, and giuing no sound, ought wee not vpon the same reason to say that the Fathers speaking in their writings, the Church speaking in the Canōs of the Councells, the Pope in his decrees, and decretalls, in his breefes and in his bulls and indulgences: it were all one as if the Fathers, Church, and Pope speake not at all? And ought not the writings of the Fathers, the Canons of the Coun­cels, [Page 15] the decrees and decretals, the briefes, bulls, and indul­gences bee propounded and applyed? nay and that by such who are not qualified for iudges, to wit the particular or Ecclesiastical persons who may erre, as not hauing the pro­mise of infallibility. Every one a part, as they are in their pulpitt's, in their states, or lesse solemne exhortations pro­posing the traditions of the Fathers, the Canōs of the Coun­cels, the decrees & constitutions of the Popes, their breefes, bulls and indulgences.

This first reason then drawne from the nature of the Scripture that it is dumbe, that it hath neede to be propoun­ded and applyed, cannot be admitted, vnlesse they will v­pon the same grounds annihilate the authority of the Fa­thers, Councels, Popes, in whose words the very pretended defects are to be found, as plainly [...]ppeareth.

2 And for the secōd allegation touching the obscurity of the Scripture, it cānot be maintained, but it must be withal aver­red, that all the proofes drawne from this word are likewise obscure and consequently that the Romish Religion cannot be gathered from the Scripture, but by guesses and con­iectures: So that all the proofes drawn from this Scripture, to maintaine the Doctrine of the Romish Church, shall be meere coniectures and guesses: And are they not to blame then vpon this reckoning, not to bind those that accuse the Romish Church of reuolt, to keepe themselues to the iudge before whom they haue made their appeale? seing hee speakes so obscurely on the accusers side, that hee will ne­ver iustifie his accusation, neyther condemne the party ac­cused, who being in possession, whereas the accuser is the plaintife, if the evidences by which hee pretends to verifie his accusation be obscure, and intricate, ought rather ob­lige him to produce them, then oppose or hinder that hee should make vse of them. For hee that accuseth, and for proofe of his accusation, alleageth reasōs too hard to be vn­vnderstood, that hee may seeme to speake Welch, or Irish, both iustifies the party accused and makes himselfe worthy to be laughed at.

CHAP. 6.
The verification of the first meanes of Nullitie against the third, and fourth allegation.

3 BVt (if as by the third allegation it seemes) the Scripture bee ambiguous. and capable of divers interpretations, wherefore and with what reason is it, that the Doctors that terme themselues Catholickes doe make more account, of one expression of Scripture, then of another, grounding themselues either vpon the circumstances of the very text, which is expounded, or vpon some other passage of the Scripture, the sense whereof is cleare, manifest and certaine, and not simply vpon the authority of the Church?

If the Scripture be as they say, a nose of waxe, Theramenes buskin, a shoe for both feete, a wethercock which turnes with the winde: wherefore do they refute by Scripture the inter­pretations, nay, rather the false glosses of heretiques? Wherefore do they not barely alleage vnto them the autho­rity of the Church? Verily according to their reckoning, for the prooueing of transubstantiation, they neede no more vrge the words of the Scripture, hoc est corpus meum, neither to say that they must be taken as they sound, as be­ing words of a last will and testament, seing that this passage being a part of the Scripture, is according to the nature of the Scripture (if their allegation be true) ambiguous and ca­pable of divers interpretations: and therefore they ought not to beleiue transubstantiation by reason of this place of Scrip­ture, but because it hath pleased the Church so to interpret it: and so the beliefe of the Church of Rome will not bee grounded vpon the Scripture, nor ruled according to it; but quite contrary, the sence of the Scripture, is ruled and grounded vpon the knowledge of the Church; so that the foundation is builded vpon the house, and the building is the levell and the square.

And to conclude, how commeth it to passe that they say [Page 17] that the Scripture proueth so distinctly, so clearely, so evi­dently the pretended authority of the Church, that they wonder how those that do but read the Scripture can admit it, if so bee that the Scripture bee ambiguous, and of a double meaning as hath beene pretended by the third alle­gation.

4 Touching the fourth defect objected against the Scrip­ture, to wit that it is imperfect, and doth not sufficiently fur­nish vs with reasons, for to proue or refute what is to be belee­ued, in matters of controversie betwixt vs. If this obje­ction bee received, how haue the Doctors of the Church, which is called Catholique, vndertaken to proue all the points of the Romish Religion by the Scripture? Haue they taken vpon them rashly a thing impossible? would they shew themselues in this sophisters and cavilling di­sputers, seeking in the Scripture that which is not there to be found and prouing a truth by a lye? or are there some points of doctrine beleeued in the Church termed Catho­lique, which are not contained in the Scripture? who amongst them all dare vndertake to make a catalogue of any such points? what may those points of doctrine be, that are not handled in the Scripture, for being silent in which, the Scripture is termed imperfect?

They are not points touching the Trinity, the incarnati­on of the Sonne of God, the redemption of mankind, or of faith in Iesus Christ, of hope, charity and repentance, of the necessity and practise of good workes, of life eternall, of Baptisme, of the preaching of the word, of the holy supper; these points and those that depend on them are without doubt retained in the Scripture.

What then can these articles of faith bee, of which the Prophets, the Apostles, nay God himselfe hath spoken in the Scripture? Is it the article of the popes authority, not only now to excommunitate, but also to depose Kings? his authority of dispēcing with mariages, with which God dispenceth not in his word? to make eating of flesh in Lent (a thing of it selfe indifferent) to bee a sinne? and that [Page 18] an incestious mariage be not incestious, or else the article of his imperiall dominion so soveraigne and supreme that al­though hee should lead whole troupes of silly soules into hell, none may presume to say vnto him my Lord why do you so? and of so large extent that it reacheth vnto the soules both of the liuing and the dead? Or are they the ar­ticles of worshipping of Images, of invocation of Saints, of the fier of purgatory, as hote as that of hell, of workes of supererogation, of merit ex congruo & ex cōdigno, that Iesus Christ hath sacrificed himselfe vpon earth twice, to wit, when he celebrated the holy Supper with his disciples, and not once alone vpon the crosse, that divine service ought to be sayd in an vnknowne tongue, that Christ hath not saued by his death the litle children which dye without baptisme. And if there be any other article of this sort of which the holy Ghost hath made no mention, and the Prophets, and Apostles haue written nothing. No the holy Ghost hath di­ctated, the Prophets and Apostles haue written the cleane contrary, That the temporall authority of Kings is immediat­ly from God. Rom. 13. 1. 2. Cor. 4. 5. That every man is subiect to, and not aboue the law of God. That the very Apostles are the servants, but not the lords of the Church. Apoc. 14. 13. That the soules of them which dye in Christ rest from their labours. Rom. 10. 14. That wee must not call on him in whom we have not beleeued. That wee must not bowe downe to images. Exod. 20. Luc. 17. 10. Heb. 9. & 10. cb. That when we haue done all wee can, wee are vnprofi­table servants. That Christ hath not offered himselfe often­times, but once. That the vse of an vnknowne tongue in the Church is a curse. 1. Cor. 14. 21. Mat. 1 [...]. 1 [...], That Christ receiued the litle Children, yea before baptisme.

CHAP. 7.
A verifying of the first meanes of nullity against the fift and sixt [...]llegation.

AND for the fifth reproach cast vpon the Scripture, to wit, that those who make profession to end their contro­versies [Page 19] by its determination, are disagreeing in opinion, if this consideration should make that God speaking in the Scrip­ture or by the Scriptures, were not a competent Iudge to de­termine our controversies, it would follow also from thence that neither the Church should be our Iudge, since in this respect there is no difference. For in the times of the Pri­mitiue Church, both Arrians and Orthodoxes, Donatistes & Catholiques, did pretend to follow the judgement of the Church. The Arrians did reject the Councell of Nice, re­quired a new Councell: yea many Arrians in effect prote­sted that they would hold themselues to the Councell of Nice: so that by this account the Church it selfe shall not be the Iudge, if from the discord of them, who professe to referre themselues to the decision of a Iudge, wee shall con­clude the insufficiencie of the Iudge.

Finally amongst the Doctors, who call themselues Ca­tholiques, and protest all with one full consent to submit themselues to the judgment of the Church, what jarres? what contentions are there? The Angelicall D S Thomas Discord amongst the Romish Do­ctors. holds that the Crosse is to be worshiped with a religious worship, to this purpose hee brings the authority of the Church: and proveth that the image is to bee worshipped with the veryTho. 2a 2ae qu. 103. art. 3. & 3. q 25. art. 40. Bellar. lib. 2. de magin. c: 20. 2 [...] same worship which is due to the same thing represented by the Image. Bellarmine is not of the same opinion, as­signing a lower degree of worshippe to the Image, then to the thing whereof it is an Image, and for streng­thening of his opinion hee also alleageth the authority of the Church. wherefore then cast they this reproach ra­ther on the sacred word, then the Church? And whereas in the sixth place, they endeavour to prooue that, God speaking in the Scripture, cannot be judge of our differencies, vnder a colour that Hereticks do challenge and attribute to themselues the Scripture, by the same reason they conclude also that neither the Church shall bee Iudge: for heretiques makeConcil. Cal [...] Act. 1. vse of the authority of the Church as of a cloake, Cite the Fathers, the Councels, the traditions of the Church. But if it bee replyed, that this is for shew only and in Sophisticall [Page 20] manner; the answer also is easie, and at hand, to wit they do the like in alleaging the Scripture: therefore things stand vpon the very same tearmes, were it not that some though they dare not speake, yet do thinke that the Scripture in­deede favoureth Heretiques, which were all one as to imagine that God by his word doth cover (as with a cloake) the devils lyes, which were as impious to thinke, as blas­phemous to speake.

CHAP. 8.
The verification of the first meanes of Nullity against the 7. and 8. allegation.

AND concerning that which is demanded in the seauenth place, for what serue Councels if Scripture can reconcile vs? do not they see they make way to another counterdemaund no lesse vrgent, to wit, for what serue the Councels if the Church be our Iudge? they cannot here replye that the Coun­cels make this Church, which is the Iudge that they re­quire: for then it may be obiected that the Church is with­out a judge saue only during the time of a Councell, and that once expired (or not begunne) there shall be no meanes to resolue the doubtes of conscience. And who shall call this Councell? shall the Emperour and the Kings? but their thoughts are otherwise distracted, neither do they agree a­mongst themselues, and though they should take the busi­nesse to heart, and to that end should agree, haue not those of Rome stripped them of their priviledge of calling a Coun­cell, as heretofore they haue done? Or shall the Pope? hee feares too much those assemblies, hee knoweth very well what affronts haue been given to his predecessours in them, and what hazard they ranne even in the last Councell of Trent, notwithstanding all their canvassing, and vnderhand dealing, and that the holy Ghost was sent thither by post from Rome. Furthermore the Councell cannot bee held alwayes, neither can every one bee there present to heare [Page 21] it speake viuavoce. Amid'st all those difficulties what shall become of doubtes and disputes? who shall resolue them? who shall determine them in the meane while? how shall the conscience by this meanes haue alwaies a Iudge to whom shee may haue recourse to be resolved? And now in the Church which tearmeth it selfe Catholique who shall be Iudge in our Controversies? shall it bee the Councell of Trent? but no Iudge will bee admitted that speakes not viuavoce, and henceforth in this respect the Councell of Trent, and all other Councels are as dumbe as the Scripture: they are cited, they are wrested to diverse senses. If this que­stion then touching the vse of a Councell (to which we shall answere directly hereafter) doth force vt to renounce the Iudgment of God speaking in the Scripture, it will also force them to renounce the Iudgement of the Church.

Finally the last allegation touching the vncertainty of hu­mane iudgement when we are to iudge who hath the spirit, or whether one hath it himselfe or no, amongst so great a number who disagreeing one from another do all notwithstanding e­qually lay clayme to the gift of the holy spirit. If this allegation take place, it will also cause that no recourse can bee had to the authority and iudgement of the Church, for if it be so, that (according to the allegation) it cannot bee knowne who hath the spirit, or who hath it not, because of the weakenesse of humaine iudgement, and the multitude and discord of pretenders; how shall it be known who are those who make the Catholique Church or not? Truely every man that cannot assure himselfe that hee hath the spirit, which alone inspireth true wisdome, ought also to doubt whether he bee not a foole, and ignorant, when question is made of iudging of such things which belong to the spirit. And since it belō ­geth not to fooles to iudge who are wise men, every one be­ing according to this last allegation, bound to doubt that he is a foole, as being destitute of the spirit; no man by the same reason can iudge which is the assembly of those who are truly wise; no man (the incertitude of his iudgement consi­dered, if this allegation hath place, in such a multitude, [Page 22] variety and discord of those who vsurpe as propper vnto themselues that title of the Church, pretending all that of right it belongs vnto them) can make any certaine choyce, or cull out those on whom in trueth it is to be conferred.

CHAP. 9.
The verification of the second meanes of nullity against the first allegation.

IT is then very manyfest that all these allegations are in­cōpatible with the intent of those who alleaged them, but forall this they will darken, and weaken the right of the cause against which they are alleaged, if wee do not also shew their falsitie, and impertinencie, which is the second meanes of nullity that wee haue opposed against them.

To beginne then with the first, it is an infinite wrong that the written word of the liuing God is called a dead and dumbe letter, that God speaking in this fashion should bee accounted not to speake at all, vnder colour that hee vses not a voyce, the which cannot be admitted in the diuine na­ture, which is not necessary amongst men, but for to carry, and conveigh by the eare to the heart the conceptions of the minde, and together with them the knowledge of those things whereof they are the image: which beeing done by another meanes, as by writing, the liuely voyce is no word necessary. Hee therefore spake very wittily who first cal­led bookes dumbe maisters, at once indeavouring to ex­presse what they were in regard of the sound, and what in regard of the vertue and efficacie, of expressing and tea­ching, to wit, dumbe, if wee respect the sound, but eloquent and powerfull, if wee regard what they expresse, and teach▪ we heare not at this day the voyce of Demosthenes nor of Ci­cero, neverthelesse when wee read their writings it seemes vnto vs that wee heare them. The instructions of an Am­bassadour, the testament of a Father, the sentence of a Iudge, the letter of a friend, the authentique coppie of a contract, [Page 23] do they not expresse the pleasure of the King, the will of the Father, of the Iudge, of a frtend, of such as haue made any contract after the same manner as the vocall word and liue­ly voice? And shall not wee make the same account, of the instructions, of the Testament, of the sentence, of the letters, of the authentique coppie of the contract, which our King hath giuen to his Embassadours, our heavenly Father hath left to vs his children, the Iudge of the whole world hath pronounced, the bridegroome hath written to his spouse, and which the mediator betweene God and men the Lord Iesus hath sealed with his blood?Iohn. 5. 46. For had yee beleeued Moses (sayth the Lord) ye would haue beleeued mee, and neverthelesse Moses then spake not,Luke. 16. 29. v. 31. but in and by his wri­tings. They haue Moses and the Prophets, sayd Abraham to the rich glutton, if they heare not Moses and the Prophets, speaking of the rich mans brethren, neither will they be per­swaded though one rose from the dead. And yet who doubteth but that in those dayes Moses and the Prophets were not li­uing in the world, nor spake vnto the world any other way, but in and by their writings: so true it is that he who im­parts to vs his minde by writing, doth speake and con­verse with vs, albeit we heare not his voyce. And therefore since we haue, as wee acknowledge on both sides, the wri­tings not only of Moses and the Prophets, but also of the Evangelists and Apostles, Why should not we hearken vn­to Moses and the Prophets, vnto the Evangelists and Apo­stles? why shall wee say, vnder a pretext that they are dead, that they speake no more? Do they not speake all at this day in the same manner as Moses and the Prophets did when Abraham willed that we should giue eare vnto them? And since it is most true that the Scripture is giuen by inspira­tion of God, 2 Tim. 3. 16. 2. Pet. 1. 10. that it is not of private interpretation, why should not we receiue it with the the same reverence, which wee would yeeld vnto it, if wee should heare him delivering it by word of mouth vnto the Prophets and Apostles? the let­ter and the word change not the signification, neyther the force and efficacy of it, like as the voyce and sound (with [Page 24] men of vnderstanding addeth little or nothing vnto it. But yet if we so much desire the sound & noyse of the voyce, let vs heare this word propounded, let vs heare it preached, let vs heare it red. But as we heare the Cryer & Sargeants pro­claime the ordinances, and decrees of the Court, when they put them in execution, without attributing (for all that) vn­to them the title & honour of Iudges: yea if we find but the coppie of them fixed in our absence on our doores, we read it with reverence and readily obey it, so that there is no neede of the personall presence of the Iudge, who is suffici­ently enough present, when he speaketh vnto vs by his de­cree: Let vs then at least, beare the same respect towards the coelestiall Iudge and his holy decree, which wee do to­wards an earthly Iudge, towards humaine ordinances, al­though we haue but the coppy of it, let vs read it with hu­mility, let vs obey it with zeale, let vs not require that the invisible should make himselfe otherwise visible vnto vs, that the dead should rise from the graue; yea let vs rather meditate on this trueth, wee haue Moses, wee haue the Pro­phets, if wee heare not them (to wit) speaking in their wri­tings, wee should not a jot sooner be perswaded, if they should rise againe from the dead and speake vnto vs.

CHAP. 10.
The verification of the second meanes of Nullity against the the second allegation.

WITH as little reason do they accuse the Scripture of obscurity: for if they speake of the matter handled in the Scriptures,How the Scrip­ture is obscure. truly it surmounteth humaine sense and vnderstanding in what manner soever it bee considered, ei­ther as it is proposed in the Scripture, or published in the Church, it being altogether impossible to proue it by de­monstrations, or to sette it downe by way of conclusions, and principles as in other sciences: But this obscurity is easily resolued by the light of the spirit, which wanting in [Page 25] the heart, it is no more possible to judge of the truth, whether it be considered as written & delivered in the Scripture, or heard, as preached by the Church, thē it's possible for a blind man to judge of colours, and of the light of the sunne: or a foolish and madde man of true wisdome. Whence it ap­peareth, that it is not the sentence of an externall Iudge which can order this rebellion of humaine vnderstanding a­gainst the trueth of God, seing question is made, of con­vincing the conscience which is the proper worke of God leading by the force of his spirit every thought captiue vn­der the obedience of Christ. 2. Cor. 10. 5. As neither it is the autho­ritie of the earthly Iudge in civill causes, which canne conuince the partie in his conscience, but the acknow­ledgement and feeling that hee hath in his soule, of the equity and justice of the sentence, of the which as long as it remaineth vnknowne vnto him hee cannot bee satis­fied, though hee may bee constrained externally to o­bey it.

In matter therefore of Religion, when men goe not a­bout to constraine,What kind of Iudge requisite for the Church. but to perswade, not to stoppe the mouth by violence, but to convince the heart; no question is to be made in this case of hauing an externall Iudge de­termining by definitiue sentence, but rather of an internall Doctor perswading the heart.Iohn 6. 44. For no man comes to mee (saith our Saviour) except the Father draw him, alleaging to this purpose the Scripture speaking of the Prophets, and say­ing that they shall bee all taught of God. Isaiah 54. 1 [...]. But if they speake not of the obscurity of the matter which is handled in the Scripture, but of that of the phrase and manner of spea­king and of that of the wordes vsed by the holy spirit in expres­sing of it, without doubt they accuse the holy spirit eyther of inability, or vnwillingnesse to expresse himselfe intel­ligibly. But neither the one nor the other canne bee sayd of him, without detracting either from his wisdome, or his goodnes. Certainly that law of which Dauid speaketh which he magnifieth so much, for it's light that he calleth it [Page 26] a lanthorne to his feete, Psal. 119. v. 105. Psal. 19. and a light vnto his path, making wise the simple, was a written law, was the Scripture, which gi­ueth by this reckoning vnderstanding not only to the Pro­phets and great ones, but also to the most simple and igno­rant, this was the Scripture of which the Apostle speaketh when he sayth that whatsoeuer things haue beene written afore time haue beene written for our learning: Rom. 15. 4. and therefore by the same reason clearely & plainely, there being no greater ene­my to learning then obscurity. It was the Scripture which he termed to be giuen by inspiration of God, 2. Tim. 1. 19. and profitable to teach and instruct; how can this be if it be obscure? likewise he sayth, that Timothy had knowne the holy Scriptures from his child hood nay [...] from his very infancie. do we vse to reade darke, obscure authors vnto little children? It was the Scripture which the Apostle Saint Peter calleth a light that shineth in a darke place. 2. Pet. 1. 19. And what difference is there betweene darknesse and light, a lanthorne and obscurity? And to be breife, it was the scripture, the reading of which hath beene so much recommended, by the Ancient Fathers; namely, by Saint Chrysostome whose exhortation so patheti­call and pithy,Chris [...]st. he [...]. 3. de Laz. so often reiterated and inculcated shew plain­ly that this abuse of not reading the Scriptures, vnder a colour of their obscurity, did long agoe in his time be­gin to creepe into the Church, but was neither receiued nor approued by it as now it is.

And here it may be some will say vnto vs that it cannot be denyed,Obiection for the obscurity of the Scripture. Answere. but the Scripture is obscure, otherwise to what end serue so many cōmentaries, homelies, and sermons? But the answere is very easie that we deny not that the Scripture is in many places very obscure, God hauing so ordained it of his infinite wisdome, for to beate downe the presumption of man, and to rouse vp his lazinesse to a holy studie, and di­ligent reading of it; as S [...] Augustine hath very well obser­ved. But wee say with the same Father, That in those things that are most plainly sette downe in the Scripture are con­tained all things which concerne faith and good manners. For as touching what is over, and aboue that, the whole mili­tant [Page 27] Church were it vnited in one, were not able to ex­pound all the obscure places in the Scripture, otherwise she would not haue beene, so vncharitable as not to haue taken care to haue furnished her children with an ample and au­thenticke conmentary, which might make all the Scripture cleare and without obscurity; And as touching preaching and commentaries, they serue not alwayes to illustrate, and explaine, but oftentimes to delate and amplifie, and when they do illustrate, they do it not by any light borrowed else­where then from the Scripture itselfe, interpreting the Scrip­tures by the Scriptures themselues following therein the Councell of the Fathers, and the practice of the Levites, of whom it is written that they did read in the booke of the law of God expounding it, Nehem. 8. 8. and rendring the true sense of it, cau­sing it to be vnderstood by the Scripture. So that we way iudge of the sense of that which is obscure, by the sense of that which is cleare, & likewise discerne whether the interpreta­tiō be agreable to the place of the Scriptures, by that which goeth before, and followeth after, whereas in a place that is difficult, to speake properly, when the interpretation of it is given cannot be receiued but vpon credit, and with relation to the authority of the interpretors, because in such a case wee cannot see the correspondence that is be­tweene the Text and the commentary, the words and the sense, which cānot be said of good & whole some interpre­tation of the Scripture which therefore ought not to bee condemned of obscurity.

CHAP. 11.
The verification of the second meanes of Nullity against the third and fourth allegation▪

The third accusation of ambiguitie is as vniust as the two former; for if the Scripture had beene ambiguous, and capable of divers interpretations, how had it bin possible for the Apostle S [...] Paul to convince the Iewes by the Scriptures? can [Page 28] one by any saying having an ambiguous and double mea­ning, force the vnderstanding and the conscience of an ob­durate and obstinate enemy? how could the Iewes of Berea examine by the Scripture the doctrine of the same Apostle S. Paul? That which is ambiguous, and may bee bent too and fro can it serue for a rule? the question not beeing of a Lesbian rule which is rather ruled then doth rule, and mea­sured, then it selfe a measure, which is bowed and bended whither soever wee list, but of a certaine and constant rule which is alwayes the same. And how did our Lord imploy, not only his authority, as the sonne of God, but the Scrip­ture it selfe, when he would proue the resurrection of the dead against the Sadduces, and so pregnantly that even the Deuill himselfe with all his sophistry could not answere the argument, shall we thinke hee proued a truth which he vn­dertooke to cleare, and put out of all doubt by a passage, the sense whereof was doubtfull and vncertaine? And what, (for we also alleage the Fathers) are not both Athanasius and S. Augustine of this opinion? that by a due consideration had of what goeth before, and what followeth after, and by the consent and agreement it hath with the Principall scope of the matter which is there treated of, the Scriptures are to be interpreted a­gainst hereticks. How could it be showne by the same Scrip­tures which is yet dayly practised that a false and hereticall interpretation doth not agree to the Scripture? And finally is it in conscience seemly in calling the Scriptures ambigu­ous, to brand them, and disgrace them so farre, as to fasten vpon them the marke of Satans Oracles? If they had beene such; if Tertullian had beleeued them to be such, the here­ticks had never given them occasion to call them, hee him­selfe had never called them, Lucifugas Scripturarum, such as shunne and flie the Scripture as the oule or batte doth the cleare sun-shine.

The fourth accusation of the imperfection of the Scripture is noe lesse grevious, and vnjust: for since the Scripture hath beene ordained of God to make men wise unto saluation, [...]. Timoth. 3. 15. [...]7. and perfect vnto every good worke. It must without doubt [Page 29] containe all doctrine necessary to salvation, otherwise it could not attaine its end. And since Scripture it selfe doth promisse this so exact and perfect doctrine, either its witnesse is not of God, or what it testifies of it selfe is true. Nay which is more, God hath expressely prohibited to adde to it, or to diminish any thing from it. And if this hath had place in the old Testament, shall it not in the new which is much more full and perfect? it is not to bee beleeued. Let vs then adore, as Tertullian speaketh, the fulnesse of the Scrip­tures, and let vs not heare (as Athanasius speaketh) neither re­ceiue any thing besides or aboue thē in that which concernes the doctrine of faith. For touching the policy, & ceremonies vsed in the Church; it is another matter, wee avouch that the Fa­thers did not thinke themselues bound to giue an accompt of them by the Scripture. But a great part of those ceremo­nies vsed in their times hath bin quite abolished, so that they are no longer in vse, no not in the Romish Church, which notwithstanding doth glory so much for keeping & obser­ving of traditions approued by antiquity, & receiued for Apostolicall.

CHAP. 12.
The verification of the second meanes of nullity against the fift allegation.

TOuching the fift allegation that the Scripture cannot be the rule, seeing it cannot put an end to the dissentions of them, who make profession to keepe themselues strictly vnto it, is also wonderfully perverse. For question is not made of such a rule, as vnto which, all those should truly and indeed conforme themselues, who make a shew so to do, neither of finding such a Iudge, as all they who professe to yeeld, & referre themselues to his judgement, should in effect per­forme it: so long as the Church shall be militant here on earth, such a rule, such a Iudge will not be foūd. But the que­stion is of finding a rule, of finding a Iudge, to whom who­soever shall submit himselfe, to which whosoever shall con­forme himselfe, shall not disagree frō those who do the like? [Page 30] Otherwise albeit that passion, and malice hinder not that men may seeme to hold themselues to one certaine rule, of which the doctrine is evident and playne, for to disguise the businesse and colour over a bad cause these vices notwith­standing will not suffer vs in truth to conforme our selues thereunto, as is seene in the example of the heretiques aboue alleaged, who did protest to keepe themselues to the Coun­cell of Nice, and to the traditions of the Fathers. Moreover we do not seeke a rule to which whosoever conformeth himselfe doth it wholy in all points. For it is well knowne that the Fathers did conforme themselues to the patterne of the Scripture, to the consent of the Church, and yet which of them hath done it so exactly? all of them by rea­son of humaine infirmity, disagreing one with another, and oftentimes from themselues. He that shall say, that there­fore God speaking in the scripture is not Iudge, by the same reason should bee forced to conclude, that neither the Church it selfe is Iudge. But the question is of finding a Iudge, a rule which might cause agrement at least in the Principall points, amongst all those who sincerely desire the knowledge of truth.

There were betwixt the Christians and the Iewes great controversies, they protested both the one and the other that the Scripture was the rule. And St Paul that hee taught nothing but what the Prophets had foretold. And the Iewes would receiue no other doctrine, but that of Moses and the Prophets: ceased he therefore to convince the Iewes by the Scriptures, and apply them as the rule against them? And vnder colour that the Iewes boasting them­selues in Moses writings, agreed not with the Lords, who made as much or more reckoning of them, did he forbeare to tel them,Iohn. 5. 46. 47. had yee beleeued Moses, yee would haue beleeued mee, for hee wrote of mee: but if yee beleeue not his writings how shall ye beleeue my words? and in the verse immediately going before.v. 45▪ Do not thinke that I will accuse you to the Fa­ther, there is one that will accuse you, euen Moses in whom you trust.

CHAP. 13.
The verifying of the second meanes of Nullity against the sixt allegation.

BVT if hereticks for answere vnto the sixt accusation, lay claime to the Scripture, it is not in effect and indeede but only in shew. and therefore as those who make some false Demonstrations in the Mathematicks, although they make vse of principles of the science, are notwithstanding refuted and convinced by the same principles, and therefore their errour is no ways preiudicious to the authority and certainty of the Mathematicks: even so the hereticks, albeit for to cloake their heresie, they teere in peeces the Scrip­ture, and wrest it to their sence, ought neverthelesse to bee convinced, no otherwise, then by the same Scriptures of which the Lord hath left vnto vs a notable example in his person, when being tempted by Satan who applyed and vsed against him the scripture, he repelled the temptation by the same scripture: the holy Fathers also did they leaue of to beate downe heresie, even so farre as to put it to death, by this sword of the spirit, albeit that heresie also in shew made vse of it. Truly the hereticks forge their heresie first in their heads, and then afterwards seeke it in the Scripture,Tertul. de resur. car. cap. 3. Vt de Scriptu­ris solis quaesti­ones suas si­stant stare non poterunt. which favoureth them so little, that if their controversies were to be determined by it, they would not subsist, as very well said Tertullian, who had never suffered himselfe to be carri­ed away to the vaine fancies of Montanus, if he had firmely held this his Maxime.

CHAP. 14.
The verifying of the second meanes of Nullity against the seaventh allegation.

AS for the Councels if wee liued in the times of the A­postles, wee should thinke it very expedient to intreate [Page 32] them to assemble themselves in a Councell to determine our controversies: Their quality, the authority of their charge, or rather the extraordinary gifts, and the particular assistance of the holy Ghost, giuing them this advantage of being both able and willing to judge infalliblie; humaine igno­rance would not blinde their eies that they could not see the truth, and the feare of a Pope, of an Emperour, of Kings, would not hinder them to vtter it. But we stand not now at this day, on such termes, this infallibility is no where to bee found, there are no more Prophets, no Evangelists but only as they exhibite thēselues to vs in their writings: every lea­der of the Church taken a part, is subiect to erre, & all vnited together in one body, bring with them their portion of in­firmity, the weaknesse of humane nature, passion, particular interest may intermingle themselues into their consultati­ons, and so hoodwinke their eyes that they cannot see the truth, or so tye their tongues that they cannot vtter it. Wit­nesse the trueth of this the history of the Councel of Trent, * set forth by those who were engaged more then ordinary to couer its shame,And. Duellij o­rationes in Concilio Tri­dētino habitae. Examen Con­cilij Trident: Innocentio Gentileto au­thore. avowed and evidently receiued in this Kingdome of France, to strengthen the opposition which hath bin alwayes framed against it, & to vphold the liber­ty of the French Church, a history which none hath beene able to disproue to this day.

But here it may be sayd, hath not then the Lord in vaine promised his assistance, if wee should yet doubt of the infal­libility of the determinations of the Councels?See the instructi­ons and letters of the Kings of France and their Embassadours with the letters of the Emperours and Princes of Germany. But esp [...]cially read the history of the Councell of Trent by Pietro S [...]ane. God forbid, for is it not doubted, nay is it not formally denyed that par­ticular Synodes are infallible? Is it not avouched that they haue erred, and yet the promise of the Lord remaineth still true? And it will availe nothing to reply here, that the pro­mise was not made to particular Councels, but to the gene­rall which are called Oecumenicall. For the Lord hath pro­mised to be as wel in themid'st of two or three gathered to­gether in his name, as of a whole multitude. If this promise hindreth not, but two or three may erre, how shall it oblige vs to judge better of a multitude? what then the Lord shall [Page 33] not hee keepe his promise, and shall not hee bee justified when hee speakes? nay, let every man be declared a lyer, that the Lord may be acknowledged faithfull and true: for hee hath promised not to a multitude only, but also to two or three the assistance of his spirit in their consultations, to wit, if they be gathered together in his name, if they seeke him in trueth. But who canne discerne who are they; if not by the holinesse of their constitutions, which if it be not found in them, wee are not bound to beleeue that they were assembled in the name of Christ, nor conse­quently that they haue beene made pertakers of the be­nefit of such an excellent promise. Saint Augustine well knew this truth when hee affirmed that the Coun­cells even those which are generall may be corrected and reformed.

To what good then serue the Councels? truly oftentimes they are so farre from beeing good, that they are per­nicious: for if the number of those which are good bee the lesse without doubt the multitude will carry it, and it will bee as the Councell of the foure hundred Prophets and one, holden in the presence of Iehosaphat, and Ahab, where the 400 evill prophets crushed the one good, and carried it notwithstanding all the resistance he could make. For which cause the Religious wisdome of holy Athanasius cannot sufficiently be praised, opposing himselfe against them, who required Synodes vnder pretence of refor­ming the faith, in alleadging vnto them that wee haue the Scripture more proper for this purpose then any other meanes whatsoeuer, yea that because hee doubted least the multitude of the worser part might sway the ballance. In the time of Gregorie Nazianzen things were come to such a height of corruption, that being sum­moned by Procopius in the Emperours name to come to a Synode,Epist. [...]5. Quo [...]m nu [...] ­lius Concil [...]j finem l [...]tum & faustum vi­ [...]i. hee excused himselfe saying, that hee never saw any good issue of a synode. But when a Councell may bee held composed of men well red in the Scripture, zealous of the glory of God, louers of the peace of the Church, [Page 34] there is no doubt but such an assembly may bring forth much good, because it might cleare, that which is difficult, not by it's owne authority, but by it's sufficiencie. Even as when a window is opened by a strong dextrous hand, which was shut vp before; the more weake and vnable who could not open it, do see the sun, perceiue the opening, not because of any authority of him that opened it, but by reason of his strength, & dexterity manifesting it selfe by a visible and sensible effect. But such Councels we may rather wish then looke for. The deluge of vices which hath over­flowed Christendome having drawne vpon vs this horrible judgement. Such was that first Councell of Nice, that tooke the Scripture onely for the rule and square of it's judge­ment, and refused not to submit it selfe to the touchstone and triall, as S [...] Athanasius witnesseth, proposing to other Councels, or rather conventicles, the example of this Coun­cels modesty to make them blush with shame and confound their pride.

And indeed it was a remarkable thing, that the Fathers protested that they would not vse the authority of the Councell of Nice against the Arrians, but of the scripture, vpon which the Councell of Nice is founded, what shall wee then conclude, but that wee ought to approue of the good Councells, receiue their ordinances with reverence, not because they could not erre, but if so they haue not er­red, and argue in this manner against Heretickes, when mat­ter of right is called in question. The Councell hath so con­cluded according to the Scripture, therefore it is true: and not after this manner. The Councell hath so concluded, therefore it is so. But in matter of fact and touching history, to judge what is that which is vniversally beleeued and receiued, and by the greater part, wee may wel conclude from the deter­mination of an Oecumenicall Councell, that it is beleeued and receiued generally: And therefore the Councells also are good for this purpose to stoppe the mouth of Here­ticks, who might pretend the consent of the Church, and by such a protestation giue some scandall to the weaker, which [Page 35] by this meanes may easily be taken away.

Truly if the Councels had thought that their consultati­ōs should be approued, because of their authority simply; & not much more rather, for the truth of them, and their con­formity with the Scriptures, they had never inserted in their acts the places of Scripture, the reasons on which they grounded themselues, they had never framed vs, a man may say, a verball processe of all that had passed, but they would haue contented themselues to haue inserted the Canons on­ly without any further declaration, but not proceeding af­ter this manner, they would giue vs a reason of their delibe­ration, and recommend themselues famous, not by the v­surpation of a soveraigne authority, but by a declaration and exposition of the trueth, that so our faith might not bee grounded vpon humane authority, but vpon that of the li­ving God.

And truly to what end is the ceremony of laying the bible vpon the table in a Councell; is it not to declare that it's au­thority is ruled by a Law? and as a Iudge in a politicke e­state, who hath the Princes Law for his rule, ought to judge according to that law, and is accountable for his judge­ment: so are the Councels to determine according to the Scripture, and are bound to make apparant vnto the con­science, as much as lyes in them, that they haue judged ac­cording vnto it: but some may say, Councels at lest are sub­ordinate Iudges. Bee it so; but wee seeke a Soveraigne Iudge, a Iudge from whom it is not lawfull to appeale, an infallible Iudge. This authority, this priviledge cannot bee giuen to Councels. Wee seeke a Iudge that is alwaies on bench giving audience, a Iudge to whom wee may at all times haue recourse, and such Councels cannot bee.

CHAP. 15.
The verifying of the second meanes of Nullity against the eight allegation by declaring the impertinasy thereof.

THe last point remaineth to be cleared, to wit, whether the vncertainty of humane iudgement canne cause that [Page 36] God speaking in the Scripture should not bee fit to be our Iudge, since a man cannot know, neither who hath, nor whether he himselfe hath the holy spirit, or not, And here first of all could wee answere that touching the matter in hand, the question is not whether wee canne know immediate­ly, or as the Schoole speaketh à priori, who hath the ho­ly Ghost: but onely who speaketh according to the Scrip­tures, which being resolued, by conferring the Scriptures, with that which is proposed, wee may easily conclude, if passion and malice darken not the vnderstanding who proposeth the words of the holy Ghost, and by this meanes discerne à posteriori as they say who hath the spi­rit, seeing that in regard of Pastors and Doctors none preach the word of the spirit but those to whom the spi­rit hath suggested them, how wicked and detestable so­ever otherwise they may bee. So that the question is brought to matter of fact, to witte; who proposeth that which is contained in the Scripture, which question is cleared in examining the Doctrine proposed by the Scrip­ture; as the proportion of a building is knowne by ap­plying of the square and levell. For example, the Iewes of Boerea did not directly and à priori inquire whether Saint Paul when hee preached vnto them was inspired of the holy spirit, or no; it had beene an impossible thing for them, seeing it is the property of God alone to bee the searcher of hearts. But they made inquirie for all that whether Saint Paul did speake according to the Scrip­tures, and hauing by conferring of Saint Pauls doctrine with the Scriptures, discovered the conformity, and how they answered the one to the other, they judged truly, & as indeed it was, to wit, that Saint Paul spake not of him­selfe, but by the holy spirit. Yea the Ancients themselues, hauing to do with heretickes who made shew to hold the Scripture for their rule, haue not refused to dispute be­fore a Pagan Iudge, who although by reason of his vnbe­liefe hee was not capable to judge whether of two parties [Page 37] maintained the truth, pronounced neverthelesse and very happily which of the two concluded most conformably to the Scripture, which both the one and the other alleaged for their purpose, but the same sufficeth vs at this day in our controversies: for if it be apparant who speake accor­ding to the Scriptures, no man who maketh profession of Christianity doubting of the Scripture, the conclusion will bee plaine and evident, that whosoever hee be, speakes according to truth, and by the spirit of truth: There is much difference betweene beleeuing the Principles of Christian Religion, and judging who teach most confor­mably to those principles. To the first, faith and the il­lumination of the holy spirit, are absolutely necessary: for the second, common sense is sufficient. To beleeue that the Scripture is true, when it teacheth vs that there is but one God, that the Father is God, the Sonne God, and the holy Ghost also, that the Father is not the Sonne nor the holy Ghost, neither the one nor the other, for this faith onely is required. But to inferre from thence that the nature of God is one in number, that the persons of the Trinity are distinct, yet not divided, that they com­municate in one and the same nature, for this I say com­mon sense alone sufficeth, which cannot deny the conse­quent, the truth of the antecedent once granted, which without all doubt cannot bee comprehended but by faith. It is then in vaine to aske who shall judge of the conse­quences, as if a man hauing learned in a historie how ma­ny companies and how many souldiers in every compa­ny were in an army, how many troopes of horse, and how many horsemen in every troope, one should demand who shall judge whether the number of the souldiers of which the army did consist be rightly collected frō thence: In like manner if we can proue by the Scripture that, that which Christ gaue to his disciples, was bread broken, and if wee proue by the same Scripture that the body of Christ is not broken in the Eucharist, and that yet much lesse the [Page 38] bread brokē is Christs body, to demād here who shall judge whether a man may inferre from hence that the Lord gaue not vs externally his own body in the Eucharist is all one as to aske, who hath common sense. Likewise, when the Apostle sayth, that wee are saued by grace, through faith, and that not of our selues, Eph. 2. 8▪ 9. it is the gift of God, not of workes least any man should Boast, If it bee asked here who shall judge, whether it can be gathered from hence, that wee are not sa­ved by the merit of our workes, but by faith, wholly rely­ing vpon this grace, without hauing merited it our selues by any workes of ours? is not this to aske how a man might know that hee is in his senses? But if the consequence bee so obscure, that it is harde to judge of it, this is an argu­ment that there is no consequence at all: the nature of which is such, that in a manner it forceth our vnderstan­ding to yeeld vnto it, and to allow of it, albeit we had stu­died in no other logicke then that of nature.

CHAP. 16.
The verifying of the second meanes of Nullity against the eight allegation by declaring the vntrueth thereof.

BVT if wee proceede so farre as to demand how we may know, whether the Scripture bee the coppy of the declared will of God, since a man cannot know, neither who hath, nor whether hee himselfe hath the spirit of God or no; the an­swere is very easie, hee who knoweth not whether he hath the spirit or no, belongs not to Christ; and therefore it is not strange if he knowes not the voyce of Christ; but all those who belong to Christ are made partakers of his spirit.Rom. 8. 9. v. 14. 15. 16. If any man hath not the spirit of Christ hee is none of his. As many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sonnes of God, they haue not receiued the spirit of bondage againe to feare, but the spirit of adoption which cryeth Abba Father in their hearts.

The spirit it selfe beareth witnesse to their spirit, Eph. 1. 13. 14. that they are the children of God. They are sealed vntill the redempti­on of the purchased possession, hee is vnto them a spirit [Page 39] of wisdome and reuelation:Iohn 10. 3. 4. 5. They are the sheepe of Christ, they heare and know the voyce of their sheepheard. They follow him, 1. Cor. 2. [...] 4. 15. 16. and the voice of a stranger they will not follow but will flie from him, for they know not his voyce. The Father driues them to Christ, they are taught of God, they haue learned of the Father,1. Iohn 2. 27. they are spirituall, and therefore comprehend the things that are of God, because the spirit hath revealed thē vnto them, & they are spiritually discerned. They haue receiued the anoynting by the holy spirit and know all things:2. Cor. 3. 3. Ephes. 3. 17. 1. Cor. 16. 19. Luke 1. 78. God hath written his lawes in their hearts. Christ dwels there by faith. Their bodies are the temples of the holy Ghost. And those who are adorned and enriched so sump­tuously, can they bee ignorant of the excellencie of the dia­mond, and the magnificencie of the riches which they pos­sesse? Those who are enlightened with such a light, vpon whom the Lord causeth the day to spring from on high to shine, and the light of his countenance to airse, to whom he is the sun and buckler, the sunne of righteousnesse, bearing health vnder his wings, whose eyes hee hath enlightened, can they doubt whether they walke in his light?

Shall the naturall man by his reason comprehend that he discourseth, and the spirituall man shall not hee discerne by the spirit, that hee hath the spirit?

And here some man may say vnto vs; But how many may bee found who boast, nay who thinke verily they haue the spirit, and yet are grossely deceiued; how many haue the spirit, and yet erre oftentimes in their iudge­ments? and indeede it is so: but is it not either a strange perversity, or indiscretiō, to inferre from thence that none can know, that none can judge and discerne assuredly to salvation, the spirituall things which God hath revealed outwardly to his by his word, & inwardly by his spirit? For do we not see amōgst men how many there are who glory and deceiue themselues with a false opinion of wisdome, being indeed imprudent & foolish, & yet whosoever would conclude from thence, that hee who is truly wise, cannot know that hee is so; should bring into the world not that of [Page 40] the Academiques, but even the Pyrronian suspence of judg­ment. If then the boasting and vanity of a foole, cannot prejudice the assured knowledge, which hee who is wise can, and ought to haue of wisdome; no more can the false perswasions of hypocrites which proceede from the illusiō of Satan, shake the certainty of that assurāce which procee­deth from the sense and feeling of the spirit dwelling in the heart of the spirituall man, and giuing as wee haue said, testimony to his spirit. Yea the conformity of his moti­ons with the word of the Scripture, assures and strengthens him, and putteth a difference betweene the sence and feeling he hath, and that which ariseth from the false illusion of Sa­tan, which hath no other rule then it selfe. From the same fountaine either of malice or vnadvisednesse it proceedes that vnder pretence that those who haue receiued the spi­rit do erre sometimes, they would conclude, that in that which is necessary to salvation they cannot passe any cer­taine judgement: for the wisest in the knowledge of world­ly businesses may offend against the rules of wisdome, and yet who will deny for all this but they can giue advise and sure counsell. Wee say, sure, according to the rules of wisdome: For no man can answere for the event which is oftentimes contrary to the wisedome of Counsell and favoureth rash attempts. The learned are ignorant of ma­ny things, but not of such without which they cannot de­serue that name. As then the prudent differ not from fooles in this that they never commit any follies, but in this that their follies are not grosse, are not ordinary, and as the difference that is between the learned & the ignorāt cō ­sists in that which is the Principall in the Science which he professeth. The ignorāt on the contrary is either ignorant of all, or knowes very little, and even that little which hee knowes to speake properly hee knowes not. So the diffe­rence that is betweene the man spiritually wise, & him that is ignorant according to the spirit, it is not in this that the Spirituall man never, but in that hee erres not grossely and ordinarily: Not in that hee knowes all, but in that hee [Page 41] knowes all that which is necessary in his profession, where­as hee that is spiritually foolish and ignorant, erres almost alwayes, erres ordinarily, is ignorant of that which is neces­sary that he should know for the making of himselfe such as hee professeth himselfe to bee. And euen as there is a great disproportion betweene fooles and wisemen in the or­dinary course and cariage of their liues; betweene the lear­ned and ignorant in the knowledge of good arts, and yet all the wise in that kind are not equally wise, nor all the learned equally learned, nay in that very humane and secular wise­dome, and learning, there is no one perfectly wise, perfectly learned: so great is the difference betweene those whom God hath enlightned with his knowledge, and those whom the eyes of their vnderstanding the God of this world hath blinded, and yet there is no one amongst them all, who hath attained to the highest degree of perfection.

Wee conclude then, that as those that belong not to the Lord, cannot assure themselues of his spirit, and by conse­quent cannot discerne his word vnto saluation: so all those that are his, do feele the efficacie of his spirit in their hearts, euen as they feele and finde in themselues by experience the vse of reason; and judge by the spirit of spirituall things proposed in the word, after the same manner as by reason, they judge of things that canne bee comprehended by it. It sufficeth vs to haue proued that the faithfull haue an assu­red and certaine rule in the Scripture.

CHAP. 17.
The verifying of the third meanes of nullity against the allegations.

And by these reasons wee thinke wee haue made good the two first meanes of Nullity proposed against the eight allegations; It remaineth that wee verifie the third, to wit, that they tend to the subversion of Christian Religion.

[Page 42] To come then to the point, let vt first of all consider that their ayme is to proue that a Christiā can haue no assurance of his Religion of that which he ought to beleeue, by the Scripture, because it is dumbe, obscure, ambiguous, imperfect, which cannot assure those who depend on it, and may bee allea­ged in favour of heretickes. If that detestable opinion bee once engrafted in the heart, as it is set forth and maintained by word, and writing, what will become I pray you of the authority of the Church, which is grounded vpon the Scripture? if the foundation of it be so falty, is it not to bee feared that the building will sinke? If a Christian cannot, yea ought not to ground himselfe vpon the Scripture by reason of these pretended imperfections, with what confi­dence shall hee ground himselfe vpon the authority of the Church, which hath no other foundation, then this founda­tion so imperfect, if the foresaid allegations be true? But if the one and the other proppe of faith faile, this of the scrip­ture, and consequently that of the authority of the Church grounded on the Scripture, (as of necessity when the founda­tion is vndermined, those that leane vpon the wall must fall together with the wall) what will become of the authority, of the assurance of Christian Religion? The right of the Church is called in question, and shee, either as a daughter produces the scripture, the coppy of the Testament of her Father, or as a spouse brings forth the Scripture, the cōtract of her marriage, and this Testament is foūd dumbe, obscure, ambiguous, of a double meaning, being not able to cleare the night of the Church, nay which may bee imployed a­gainst her. In this case what shall bee the foundation? what the title? what the proofes of the right of the Church? will they not be found (if we beleeue the allegations) to be dumbe, ambiguous, obscure, imperfect proofes? and con­sequently shall not the right, instead of being confirmed, be­come invalide and of no force? And who will not judge that the Church proceeds not fairely attributing to her self so great authority, and maintaining it by proofes fo defe­ctiue, or who will beleeue that the same is the true Church, [Page 43] the true people of God, who shew a Testament, a coue­nant of God, cōtracted with her, which she confesseth to be set downe in dumbe words, obscure, ambiguous, applyable to every sense, and which may be produced and vrged a­gainst her selfe?

How will the Atheists laugh at this? & how, alas! will the consciences of them bee shaken, that beleeue and receiue this opinion of the obscurity, ambiguity, and insufficiencie of the Scriptures?

Let vs consider in the second place that their ayme is to cast all Christians into incertainty; striuing to proue by these allegations that a man in what concernes Religion ought to mistrust his owne judgement, which being once granted, how shall a man know whether hee deceiues not himselfe in beleeving that there is a Church? Here the Scripture cannot succour or helpe: for it is presupposed that it can­not afford any certainty: It is laid for a foundation, that a Christian hearing, reading, meditating on the Scripture may coozen and deceiue himselfe. Neither can a man in this straight haue recourse to the testimony of the holy Ghost; for the allegation presupposeth, that it cannot be knowne neither who hath, neither whether a man himselfe hath the holy spirit or no. And as for the authority of the Church, it cannot bee alleaged, for question may bee made whether there be any Church at all. As then to him who should doubt whether there ought to be a Pope in the world, it would seeme strange & far frō the purpose to alleage the testimony of the Pope, for to perswade him that there ought to bee one: Even so when we are to proue, that there is a Church, it is in vaine to alleage the testimony of the Church. If then Christian Religion hath no foundation either in the Scripture, or in the testimony of the holy Ghost, or in the authority of the Church, as it followeth from the allegati­on, where shall shee seeke, where shall shee finde where-v­pon to vphold her selfe? shall it bee in Philosophie? there much lesse; for if a Christian man cannot judge whe­ther there be a Church by the spirit; as not being able to as­sure [Page 44] himselfe whether hee hath the spirit, much lesse able shall hee be to do it by his reason, which without the spirit is starke blinde in spirituall things.

Let vs in the third place consider that in the disputes touching the markes and notes of the Church, it is questio­ned what they are? one is of one opinion, another of ano­ther, whence may a certaine knowledge of them bee had? shall it bee from the Scripture? but the allegation presuppo­seth that it is impossible: shall it bee from the Church? ne­ver the nearer: for it so litle appeares which is the Church, that it is controversed what are her markes by which she is knowne.

Let vs in the fourth place consider, (that grant wee had found the markes of the Church, according to the allegation which casts men into incertitude,) it could not be discerned to what congregation to apply them, amongst so many and divers assemblies, who challenge them: for it is supposed as granted according to the allegation, that the Scripture can­not here guide vs, that wee may deceiue our selues in ma­king the choyce: and the testimony of the Church can as little helpe vs, if first of all it bee not presupposed that it hath the markes of the Church, which is the point in que­stion: for wee seeke in what Church the markes of the Church are to bee found: and to rely herein vpon the testi­mony of the Church doth presuppose that wee know al­ready in what Church the markes of the Church are found.

Let vs in the fift place consider that according to the alle­gations there is no meanes how a man converted to the Church, canne bee assured of his Religion: For if hee hath not beene convinced by lawfull arguments, neither his pro­fession, which followed the conviction of his conscience shall be lawfull. It is very certaine that if the foundation of his faith who hath beene converted, bee the authority of the Church, the foundation of his conuersion hath not beene lawfull. for there was no meanes to perswade him, that the Church hath any such authority; in alleadging to him the testimony of the Church. And the allegation of [Page 45] Scripture, and of reason according to their supposition, is not a lawful meanes to resolue the conscience. Having bin then brought to acknowledge the authority of the Church founded vpon these arguments, it cannot be but weake and vnlawfull; and consequently the beleefe of all that hee hath beleeued, as depending vpon the authority which hee giveth vnto the Church. And indeede if such a one whom wee would convert doth question the authority of the Church, shall we proue vnto him that whereof he doubteth, by alleaging vnto him that whereof hee maketh likewise doubt? the argument then of his conuersion to the acknow­ledgment of the Church cannot haue beene the authority of the Church. If then no man can bee assured of the foundati­on of his conversion, no more neither can hee bee which is builded vpon the foundation.

In the sixt place let vs obserue that the Church which is called Catholique never speaketh by word of mouth, they are the particulars that are her Heralds. It may bee de­manded then by what meanes a man may bee assured that they discharge their place faithfully, since they may erre in proposing doctrine contrary to the meaning of the Church? This cannot bee by the Scripture: for according to the alle­gation, truth and falsehood cannot be discerned by it; no, nor by the testimony of the Church; for he speaketh not but by particular men, of whom it is doubted whether they haue faithfully reported the determination of the Church.

In the Seaventh place let vs consider, that if the authority of the Church bee the foundation of faith, every one shall beleeue because his companion hath beleeued: and so chri­stian religion shall bee made ridiculous: for seeing the Church is a congregation of persons in which every one grounds his faith vpon the authority of the whole congre­gation of which they are Members, it will necessarily fol­low, that every one of them shall beleeue apart because all haue beleeued together.

In the eight place let vs weigh this horrible inconveni­ence, that we shall not beleeue the mysteries of the Trinit, [Page 46] of the incarnation of the redemption of mankinde, but by heare-say, because our Ancestours, our Parents, our fellow burgesses, haue beleeued so; and shall not beleeue that they haue beene the Church of God, but because they haue left this testimony of themselues, which the Iewes may vsurpe with the like appearance of right, if we renounce the autho­rity of Scriptures.

Now haue wee verified this last meanes of Nullity not to incense any, (God is our witnesse) but to shew if it bee possible, into what, and how many execrable absurdities some amongst them vnadvisedly precipitate themselues, who by the meanes of these allegations endeavour to draw vs from the judgement of God speaking in the Scripture, to the judgement of men pretending the title of the Church being most certaine that he who vrged principally this bu­sinesse, if wee way be judge of him according to his wri­tings aymed especially to lay the foūdatiō of Atheisme, not that his intent was to overthrow the Romish Religion. He was a French man and a louer of publike peace, hee did know that so to maintaine it, it behoued that the most wel­come and the most approoued Religion was to be maintai­ned. We thinke it not strange, that hee should haue com­mended in publike the Romish Religion: from thence hee had his meanes: But wee are extreamely displeased, that he durst testifie by his writings his contempt, and litle re­spect of all Religion.

Furthermore as we haue proved the iniquity of the judg­ment which the Doctors who call themselues Catholickes passe on the Scripture: so wee hope that it will be easie to see their assignemēt of a judge in sending vs to the Church, is eyther illusiue or impossible; illusiue, if by the Church they vnderstand themselues: for since they are our oppo­site parties, they cannot bee our judges. Impossible if by the Church they vnderstand the mysticall body of our Lord Iesus Christ, to whom only notwithstanding the promises haue beene made; For who canne distinctly point out the members of that body but hee alone who is the head? And [Page 47] who can then assemble them? And if this be impossible, how shal that Church be the judge which we require? A speaking Iudge, a well knowe Iudge, to whom all may haue their re­course, by whom all may bee resolued. And therefore we persist in our demand that wee may be remitted to an­swere before that vnsuspected Iudge, and acknowledged of all parties, to wit, God speaking in the Scriptures.

Let vs conclude then with Optatus Mileuitanus;Optatus E­piscopus Mile­uitanus contra Parmenianum lib. 5. Tomo. 2. Bibliothaec. pa­trum. pag. 393. columna. 1. edi­tione Parisiensi 1575. Nemo vobis credat, nemo nobis: omnes contensiosi ho­mines sumus, Quaerendi sunt judices [...]i Chri­stiani, de vtra (que) parte dari non possunt, deforis quaerendus est judex. si Paga­nus, non potest nos [...]e Christia­na secreta, si Iu­daeus, inimicus est Christiani baptismatis. Er­go in terris de hac re nullum poterit reperiri iudicium: de coelo quaerendus est iudex sed vt quid pulsamus ad coelum, cum habeamus hic in Evangelio Testamentum? Quia hoc loco rectè possunt terrena coelestibus comparari: tale est, quod qu [...]uis hominum habens nume­rosos filios. His quamdiu pater praesens est, ipse imperat singulis: non est adhuc necessarium testamentum. Sic & Christus, quamdiu praesens in terris fuit (quamuis nec modò desit) pro tempore quicquid necessarium erat, Apostolis imperavit Sed quomodo terrenus pater cum se in confinio senserit mortis, timens ne post mortem [...]uam rupta pace, litigent frattes, adhibi­tis testibus voluntatem suam de pectore morituro transfert in tabulas diu duraturas. Et si fue­rit inter fratres contentio nata, non itur ad tumulum, sed quaeritur testamentum. Et qui in tumulo quiescit, tacitis de tabulis loquitur viuus. Is; cuius est testamentum in caelo est. Ergo voluntas eius, velut in testamento, sic in Evangelio inquiratur. Let no body beleeue you, let no body beleeue vs, for indeede wee are op­posite parties. Wee must seeke then Iudges; if wee take them from among Christians; they can be neither of the one nor the o­ther partie, they must be sought then without If wee call a Pa­gan, hee knowes not Christian mysteries; if a Iewe, hee is an ene­my of Christian Baptisme. Wee cannot then finde on earth any Iudge of this businesse, wee mnst then seeke a Iudge from hea­uen. But why knocke wee at heauens gate, since wee haue the TESTAMENT in the Gospell? for here we may compare terre­striall things with coelestiall: it is as if a man had many chil­dren; whilest hee is with them he gouerneth and commandeth every one of them; his Testament is not as yet necessary. But as the terrestriall father finding himselfe nere his end, and fearing that after his death, the bond of peace being broken, contentions and debates may arise amongst the brothers; calling witnesses, signeth in tabls to endure for euer, that which he hath within his dying heart, that if there happen any strife between the brothers; it shal not be needful to go to the graue, but that the Testamēt be sought for in the dumbe tables, frō whence, he that rests quietly [Page 48] in his graue, [...]eakes liuely; The testator is in heauē: let vs search then his will in the Gospell as in his testament.

For according to the saying of Chrysostome,Homil in Ps 95. [...] 3. p. [...] Du­ca [...] 16 [...]1. [...] If any thing be said without the Scripture, the spirit of the hearer halteth, now assenting, anon doubting; sometimes reiecting the words as friuilous▪ and presently receiuing the same againe as probable: But when the testimony of Gods word is produced out of the Scripture, i [...] strengthens as well the discourse of the speaker, as the spirit of [...] And would it not be very absurd▪ saith the same Father, not to trust another in a matter of monye, but to account, and [...]ll it on's selfe: and neuerthelesse when the determining of th [...]se so weighty matters is in hand, to suffer himselfe to be drawne as it were by force, and inconsiderately, to another mans opinion; especially hauing an exact scale, rule, and square, to wit, the declaration of the holy Scriptures? And therefore I adiure, and pray you all, that you leaue that which seemeth Good to this man or to that man, and that ye inquire of the Scriptures concerning these things. [...] 13. in [...] epist. ad [...] finem ex ed [...]io [...] Com [...]liona [...] 84▪ [...]

Galat. 6. v. 16. As man [...] as walke according to this rule, peace bee on them, and mercy, and vpon the Israel of God.

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