Tradidi Vobis: OR THE Traditionary Conveyance OF FAITH Cleer'd, In the RATIONAL WAY, Against The Exceptions of a Learned Opponent.

By J. B. Esquire.

1 COR. 11.2.
Laudo autem vos fratres, quòd — sicut
Tradidi vobis, praecepta mea tenetis.

LONDON, Printed in the Year, 1662.

The PUBLISHER to the Reader.

IF I trespass against Ci­vility in publishing this Controversie, without the Authors consents, I presume them as much righted in my good opi­nion of them, which chiefly embolden­ed me to this attempt; for I looked up­on them both as hearty lovers of truth, and aymers both at the same fair mark, though their shafts were shot from op­posite Camps; and hence concluded a disposition in them to submit any pri­vate consideration to that most preva­lent concern, and to expose their candid thoughts to the open day, however the Genius of modesty blushes to be made its own discoverer, and rather permits it self to be guessed at by others, affect­ing to leave, not without some unnatu­ralness, [Page] its hopeful productions to be fostered up and cherished by the care of providence, or the charitable pitie of some accidental Passenger.

This Character I have of the worthy and learned Author of these Objecti­ons, from acquaintance, and his own sober Pen; and the same I dare avow of my Friend the Replyer. And that as the former intended only his own pri­vate satisfaction; so the later had no further end in his eye, than to satisfie so candid an Enquirers particular scru­ples, or perhaps a grateful respect to that incomparable and much envied Master of his, the great Explainer of Tradi­tion; to the defence of whose Doctrine he owes the imployment of that strength the same Doctrine had given him. Yet, why may I not add, too, as a likely mo­tive of his pains, at any fair hint of oc­casion, his high zeal for the subject it self, Tradition; so onelily important, so radically influential towards sted­diness in faith, That Rushworths Di­alogues, and the Apology for them [Page] can never be over importunely abet­ed and pressd.

Now though I am bound by my Reason to hold the victory on my friends side, and to expect the Readers should judge the same; yet I profess ingenuously I printed not this out of a conceit that the weak carriage of the Objector gave any ad­vantage or incouragement; but rather impute much to his excellent wit, that using a cleer and unblundering expres­sion, (a thing rare in such Adversa­ries) could manage so well so infirm a cause; and that having weighed Doctor Hammonds Discourse against Tradi­tion with his, I judged this far the more nervous, manly, and worthy my Friends thoughts, then the former; not only because that affects too much wordishness, and confusedness, but be­caus the death of its Author might make it, with som shew of reason, objected, that it was ignoble to seek to triumph over the ashes of one adversary, and decline others, yet alive of equal or greater force, entring the lists upon the same quarrel.

S. W.


PAge 11. line 15. read inviolate, p. 15. l. ult. r. there may. p. 26. l. 6. r. critically evince. and l. 15. r. comes now. p. 19. l. 4. r. of your. p. 21. l. 6. r. they not understanding, his craft will— and l. 14. r. which all. p. 28. l. 13. for made, r. incident. p. 41. l. 21. for their, r. your. p. 52. l. 20. for that, r. your. p. 61. l. 18. r. her. p. 73. l. 7. r. in it. p. 74. l. 12. r. as in. p. 80. l. 7, 8. r. gingling, and l. 14. for one, r. an. p. 81. l. 19. r. notion. p. 88. l. 6. r. news. p. 96. l. 20. r. to another. p. 99. l. 8. r. there are. p. 114. l. 15. r. confirmandos. p. 119. l. 7. r. deference. p. 122. l. 22. r. de et p. 123 l. 20. r. derive their. p. 125. l. 20. r. Books, is. p. 142. l. 5. r. could not, not. p. 164. l. 14. dele yet. p. 176. l. 18. r. evince them. p. 181. l. 7, 8. r. has provided even against the defects of nature. p. 182. l. 27. r by design. p. 188. l. 12. r. I see. p. 192. dele and. l. 26. r. another, and spread among the vulgar upon the authority of pri­vate men, as Doctors, are— p. 197. l 6. r. descent. p. 218. l. 27. r. wonder at what you say first; p. 126. l. 21. before it be consecrated▪ pr 227. l. 22. r into it. p. 232. l. 6. r. furem. p. 241. l. 4. r they, not yet being admitted. p. 246. l. 21. r. non-admission; 'tis false. p. 252. l. ult. r. do not. p. 265. l. 18. r. reverenc'd and l. 25. for prays r. prayers. p. 270. l. 27. r. places. p. 271. l. 15. r. hold true. p. 283. l. 7. r. is evidenc'd. p. 293. l. 19. r. if any. p. 279, l. 26. r. upon. p. 287. l, 14. r, 'twould have.


PART I. Scripture not the Rule of Faith.

  • Incertaintie of the Letter of Scripture, in order to that effect. Sect. 1. pag. 1.
  • Incertainty of the sense of Scripture from the bare Letter. Sect. 2. p. 23.
  • Scripture, critically managed, not suffi­cient to decide Controversies. Sect. 3. p. 45.
  • The two Places, Iohn 20. and Luke 1. no proof that the written Word is a sufficient means for the salvation of mankind. Sect. 4. p, 86.
  • Answer to those Fathers, who are brought for the sufficiency of Scripture. Sect. 5 p. 109.

PART II. Tradition the Rule of Faith.

  • Certainty of Tradition. Sect. 1. p. 160.
  • [Page] Authority of Fathers. Transubstantia­tion. Sect. 2. p. 205.
  • Prayer to Saints. Sect. 3. p. 238.
  • Images, Sect. 4. p. 274.
  • The Conclusion. Sect. 5. p. 285.

PART I. SCRIPTURE not the Rule of FAITH.

SECT. I. Incertainty of the Letter of Scripture in Order to that Effect.


I Have often bemoaned my loss of your ingenuous so­ciety, and think my self unhappy that my hopes are gon, of having those ver­bal conferences, in which I much delighted, and for which I am ex­ceedingly obliged unto you for many civi­lities; that which I have learnt from you hath put me upon further enquiries then e­ver I should (as I believ) had you not been the occasion of them, my resolution still re­mains to proceed by all possible means to make up my present deficiency: If I know any thing of my self, I am an impartial lover of truth, therefore ready to embrace any I am capable of that concerns me to know. I have perused those two Pieces of Mr. Whites with diligence, to find that Demonstration [Page 2] promised, but stil remain in my first wonder, that so many excellent able men should im­brace that for clear truth which to me is fals­hood, I think I have not willingly shut my eyes against light, but opened them both, to see what I cannot discern, and lest I should be thought to stifle truth, and smother con­viction in my breast, I have here endea­voured to give you a brief account of my apprehensions of the Discourse, in hope of that candid answer and satisfaction your in­genuity hath been pleased to promise me. I remember a wise saying of yours, If this one thing (upon which all depends) the nature of Tradition were well lookt into, many Volumes might be saved; surely truth may be cleared with few Arguments, which is often invisible in a croud of words. Mr. White excellently well resolves, only to meddle with Arguments, and not to confute Authors in all Punctilioes, because of loss of time to no purpose. I wish you were but as willing to urge any one of your strongest Arguments (which might be don in a lit­tle Paper) as I am desirous to follow you in the pursuit, I should then hope of benefit, which your ingenuity will not altogether suffer me to despair of, you having yet (as [Page 3] I remember your words) never refused to dispute with any man.

¶. 2. Though there be many things in the First Dialogue which I do not con­sent to, yet I think it in vain to mention them, till we be agreed on the second and third, in which the main point lies on which they depend.

¶. 3. In the Second Dialogue he proves Scripture alone cannot decide Controversies in Religion, because of uncertainty of Co­pies, Translations, &c. 1. I grant we cannot fully determine all things we might desire to know by what we have in Scripture, nei­ther do I think it was intended to make us omniscient. 2. We might possibly have known more then we doe, were it not for those several causes of uncertainty mentioned.

Part I. Sect. I. ¶ 1, 2, 3.


WHere I find so much civility, I expect to feel far stronger Argu­ments, than if Passion were the manager [Page 4] of your cause, and even your courtesie alone had hazarded to conquer me, had the concern of my cause, and the evi­dent truth on my side left me to my good nature; But these engage me to use the best weapons my reason and knowledg affords, with rigor too against the point you maintain, and to exchange those per­sonal complements into the solider re­spects of heartily endeavouring your sa­tisfaction; assuring you unfainedly that I more willingly attempt it, because your best advantage, the [...]ight of Truth, (which not only your sincere expressions, but your temper & genius manifest to be your aim) is included in my victory; who your Friend is with whom you had those ver­bal Conferences, I am not so happy as to learn, nor yet (which is a great misfor­tune) your self: But since 'tis your soul that I speak to, and that I have great acquaintance with it by those expressions it hath given of it self in your ingenuous Papers, I can securely own so much know­ledg of you as to take a right measure how to behave my self towards you, that is with candor and civility. What circum­stances may have hinder'd your friends [Page 5] giving satisfaction by his own pen, I know not; But I am sure, though the importunity of powerful Friends, in the absence of that excellent Master of mine, have even forc't me to this task, yet I may with truth say, 'twas your tempe­rate way of writing, your clearness, and apprehended sincerity, which were my chief encouragers: Entring the lists then with this protestation, that you have an hearty servant for your Adversarie, and one who combats you only to make you more my friend, and your own, I address to my Defence, And

¶ 2. 3. Because I know not whether the state of the Question be not mistaken, I conceive this place very fit to observe how it stands in the second Dialogue: viz. We beleeve that by Scripture alone, left without the guard of the Church, nothing, or at least, not sufficient for the salvation of man­kind can be sufficiently proved; Where the words mankind and sufficiently being of special Energie, ought particularly to be observed. What is meant by sufficient proof the 15th Encounter of the Apologie, p. 142. declares to be inavoidable and con­vincing Demonstration beyond any sha­dow of Reply.

[Page 6]¶. 4. Yet thirdly, notwithstanding all that hath been said, I thinke we have suffi­cient certainty out of Scripture alone, con­cerning those things which are absolutely necessary for Salvation, and many things be­sides only profitable, my Reasons are these.

¶. 4. You put the contradictory to your Adversary, which you assume to prove fairly, meaning by Salvation, the the salvation of mankinde, as I presume you do: But your reasons seem to come short of your intent: For suppose all true which you urge to the tenth Pa­raph, namely, that the alterations mentio­ned to be possible (whereof you deny not but that many have hapned, yet) have not all of them actually befallen Scripture. Suppose I say this to be true, what a Chaos is there betwixt that Premise, and your Conclusion, That Faith may with sufficient certainty be proved out of Scripture a­lone? For though all have not hapned, yet since some have, and you are uncertain precisely where, 'tis manifest you can ne­ver be certain, but that they have hapned in whatsoever Text you shall pitch upon to prove any thing by, and consequently you can never be absolutely certain of any; [Page 7] again, since Demostration implyes a must be of the Conclusion, and must be evidently excludes may be of the opposite, 'tis plain, that to destroy Demonstration, that is, in this case, sufficient certainty, it suffices to prove the opposite may be; so that though it be granted, these alterations have not all hapned, yet while there appears a pos­sibility they may have done so, there ap­pears an impossibility of ever coming to a rigorous certainty by Scripture. But to take particular notice of every Paragraph.

¶ 5. 1. It seems to me more improbable that nothing of Scripture (as you say) should be contrary to your Faith (supposing it the true) notwithstanding those innumerable al­terations of Scripture, then that all those alterations of Scripture (proved Metaphysi­cally only possible) should actually have befell the Scripture.

¶. 5. 'Tis very strange it should appear improbable to you, but that Scripture and our Faith must needs contradict one another, supposing the one to be Scripture, and the other true, as you do: Must truths needs be opposed to themselves, which have hitherto been esteem'd opposite only to falshood? If you mean by Scripture, [Page 8] the alterations of Scripture, as the sequel makes me imagin, how much wrong do you do the Word? for if Scripture be al­tered or changed from what it was, then 'tis not what it was, that is, 'tis not Scri­pture. But of these Alterations 'tis not our Tenet, that none of them have been contra­ry to our Faith (the alterations made by the Translations of the first Founders of Prote­stancy having been judged so contrary to it, that it occasioned the prohibition to read the Scriptures in Vulgar Tongues) But only that there is nothing in the Vulgar E­dition, according to that sence, in which the Church understands it, which is contra­ry to her faith. And if you will allow the Church but to know the Faith she is ap­pointed to teach, and know what she means by what she reads, and what a contradiction is, [three Requests which cannot well be refused her] you must make her very ig­norant, if you deny her power to discern whether there be between what she reads, and what she teaches, any contradiction or not.

¶. 6. Suppose all these alterations suppo­sed possible had actually crept in, might we not seek for Scripture in Scripture, seeing [Page 9] they are innumerable even to every line and word (as Mr. White) and how is it possible, that all those deviations from true Scrip­ture should in nothing contradict truths, for you say there is nothing in Scripture contra­ry to your faith, therefore surely you cannot think there are so many corruptions; for be­sides what he himself hath (lest he should prove more then he was willing) many Co­pies had the same faults; I adde, that the Christians, in the Primitive times, were ve­ry careful of the Bible, especially when Co­pies were made for publike use to be in the Church, there was the greatest diligence possible taken to have the oldest and best, which they might have better ground to dis­scern then we can, who lived nigher the first Age; besides the ancientest Copies, the best being kept by publike care were more secure, and could, yea did remain many hundred years (as some there are to this very day) by which the Copies that are afterward co­pied out, may escape many corruptions of others before them.

¶. 6. You see then how the first part of this Paraph is answered; for we do not say that our Faith has never been contradicted by these deviations, the num­ber [Page 10] of which, though we cannot deter­mine, we cannot chuse but think very great; and, whatever we think of theirs, know, that to our purpose 'tis enough they may have hapned, whether actu­ally they have, or have not.

And for the second part of it, concern­ing the care of the Primitive Christians, as I will not deny what you say, to have some probability, so neither can you de­ny that probability will not serve the turn; and that their care, how great soe­ver, exempted them not from being men, and subject to the casualties of humane actions. I shall therefore fairly allow them to have been as careful as they could be, and conceive the condition [...] they lived in, left them not a capacity of doing what is necessary for their intent. For it being known, the Church was under perse­cution 300 years; the experience I have how hard it is in this depression, we our selves live in, to preserve monuments in a condition fit to undergo a severe ju­ridical examination, much less such a one as the salvation of mankind ought depend on; such a one as wil not only endure the Test of wise & honest judgments, but must [Page 11] be proof against all cavils of all sorts of critical wranglers, makes me suspect your conjectures were not throughly and rigo­rously lookt into. First, I doubt the publike care, you suppose, and persecution agree not well together: What sanctuaries, what places free from search, were there for the publike care to secure these sa­cred Monuments in? What safety could there be for their writings, whose persons were in perpetual hazard? ne­cessarily they must have been intrusted to the fidelity of private men, which, let us for once suppose, did always remain unviolate, and never betray their trust to any hope or fear, 'tis hard to imagine it could so preserv them from the innume­rable hazards necessary to be met with, from so many enemies in so long a time, as that no alterations should creep into the Text. For, (to bar malice and all wilful faults, both the devotion of private Christians would require, and publike prudence, the better to preserve it, would endeavour as great a multiplicity of Co­pies as might be. These Copies must of necessity be made in hast and fear, and what enemies they are to exactness, 'tis [Page 12] needless to insist on. Now in after times what shall hinder these Copies from con­testing with their Originals in Authori­ty, and if, (which the influence of chance must sometimes needs bring to pass) the Originals come to be lost, and the Copies remain, what reason shall prefer one be­fore another? As for the true Originals, the very Writings, I mean, sent from the Apostles, they cannot be imagined able to wrastle with so great an Age, especially if we reflect the reverence universally born the Apostles, and desire to see what proceeded from them, exposed them to the view and handling of so many, that they could not fail in a short time to be much worn. What publike use they were of in the Church, especially when there was no publike face of a Church, and the pieces sent to one citie, were unknown in another, (perhaps for a good while un­written) is something troublesome to guess, and at best, but pure guess. And for what you say last, that many of the best Copies survived many Ages, and some e­ven to this day; I should have been glad if you had acquainted me with the Rea­sons why you so confidently affirm, what [Page 13] I doubt you do but gratis suppose: For what signs, what proofs to satisfie you, do these Copies bring that they truly deserve the Authority they pretend to; that they were of the number of those best, preser­ved by publike care; In fine, that they are not even fuller of faults then those which they would have corrected by them?

¶. 7. Again, there's a very good way to discern the best, by those several Trans­lations that have been made in or nigh the Apostles times of the Bible in Arabick, Syriack, and other Languages.

¶. 7. Now for Translations, I should conceive the greater the variety of Translations is, the greater must the confusion be: Since certainly where they differ, as Translations of necessity must do, no one language bearing all the Pro­prieties of another, there lyes a suspition, the Translation has bin made out of diffe­rent copies, whereof that which you have not, may, for ought you know, be better then that you have. Then again, why should one Translation yeeld to another? and who shall determine whether the fault belong to the Arabick for example, or the Syriack? So that what you have [Page 14] said hitherto, is resolv'd, not onely into conjecture, whereas your cause requires demonstration, but unlikely conjecture too.

¶. 8. 2. To me this is a good Argu­ment that there is no such great corruption in our Original Copies; All those Fathers which I have read (which are chiefly of the first, second, and third Centuries) agree ex­cellent well (though not exactly) in their manifold quotations out of Scripture, with our present Copies: Some corruptions there are, but nothing nigh what is imagined; the Bible was not before Printing every mans Money (as Mr. White) therefore not so ma­ny as now, and so not liable to many corrup­tions, besides being exceeding dear, they must needs look to have them well done for their great price, but especially those Copies which were procured by a whole Societie for their publike use, or those preserved in publike Libraries.

¶ 8. How numerous the Quotations are, which you have observed, I cannot tell: but must needs think it strange eve­ry thing should be game that rises. I be­seech you, should I presse to know the number of Fathers you have read, and of [Page 15] places whose agreement you have obser­ved, what account could your good ar­gument yield? There be millions of Sen­tences in the Holy Scriptures: have you observed agreement in a single million? nay in 100. in 50. in 40? I spare your modesty, and go no lower; but beg you to reflect what it is which you call a good argument, viz. that because there is some kind of agreement, of some few places, in ours, with more Antient Co­pies, which for any thing we know may be corrupted too, and these places I con­ceive, not concerning our disputes; Therefore the whole Book is evidenc'd to be so free from corruption in all pla­ces, that the Salvation of mankind may securely rely upon it. Next 'twould af­ford much matter of discourse, to con­sider how an agreement in Quotations should be excellent, and not exact? for certainly it is a pretty odd kind of excel­lence which wants exactness. 3ly. How does it appear but that the agreement, such as it is, proceeds from this, that our Translators have conformed their Translations, to the Fathers Quotations? In which case here may very well be an [Page 16] agreement with the quoted places, but no likelyhood of inferring any with the rest. But I insist upon this, that since you acknowledge som disagreement, and some corruptions, it is not possible you should rigorously, and critically crime the Innocence of any one place in questi­on, much lesse of all that are necessary to the Salvation of mankind. That be­fore Printing there were fewer Bibles, I conceive true, but not that the [...] were fewer faults in those which were; it be­ing certainly much easier to print, then write correctly, and yet no Bible comes new forth without Errata' [...]. As much care too is now us'd of the presse, as could be then of the Copyer, and yet Errata's, there still be, and will be while man is man, and subject to the Laws of transitory things. And for publick Li­braries, and Societies, they belong to la­ter times; when the rust of incertainty had already eaten too far, for any in­dustry to scour it clean away.

¶. 9. They had the Bible in no less re­verence then we, yea, the very Jews (who are thought willingly to corrupt the Hebrew) seem more careful then the Christians, as appears [Page 17] by their Majoreth. Montanus frees them sufficiently from the Aspersion, in those places we (any of us) accuse them to falsifie, they have of their own accord shewn the diversities in their divers Copies, and their counting the very number of the Letters in the Bible suf­ficiently pleads for them: But in general I conceive it a hard matter for any Hereticks or others so to corrupt willingly as is pretend­ed, both because of the number dispersed in se­veral parts of the world, which they could not come at, and likewise by reason of the pos­sessors of other Copies, being their enemies in opinion, would never suffer them without ma­king it known to the endeavourers disgrace, and frustation of the end which should move them to endeavour, which must have been to prove their errors by those apparent corruptions.

¶ 9. Whether the Jews deserve the accusation of willful corruption or not, which is yet a moot case betwixt Schol­lers, I intend not to determine; since I apprehend it will contribute little to the settlement of our differences concerning the new Law, to settle in what manner they used the old one. Onely this is certain, that if, of learned men, some condemn, some absolve them; the mat­ter [Page 18] is left probable, and uncapable of be­ing a sure foundation for any thing to be built upon it. But I must wonder, the nice diligence you attribute to them, of counting the number of Letters in the Bible, should seem a sufficient plea of their sincerity; as if it were not most ea­sie to retain the number of letters, and yet change the words, Sacred and Cursed are the same in number of letters, though o­therwise, not only most different, but most opposite. And for what you say concerning Hereticks, 'tis likely they did not corrupt all Copies, but if they cor­rupted any, they quite spoiled your Ar­gument; for what shall distinguish in your grounds, betwixt a corrupt and a true copie? Yes, but they could not cor­rupt, because their Adversaries would have discovered the foul play. Therefore they should not if you will; but that they have done it, is evident, almost of all He­reticks upon record yet remaining in the Writings of several of the Fathers. A­mong the rest Marcion kept such a nib­ling and gnawing the Scriptures, that he got himself the name of Mus Ponticus, a name which perhaps no antiquity will [Page 19] gnaw off. But what do we dispute whether that may have hapned in former Ages, which, if any credit may be given to the best of their Authors, 'tis beyond dispute manifest, has hapned in ours?See Protest. A­pology. Zuinglius, Osiander, and Kecker­man reprehend Luther for corruptions in Scripture; and whether he deserv'd it not, who had the obstinate insolency to main­tain his Additions of the Word, [onely] to Faith, in his Transl. of 3 Rom. 28. with this Plea; Dr. Martin Luther will have it so, and says he is a Doctor above all the Doctors in the Papacie, do you judge. Luther is not behind hand with the Zuinglians, whom he terms fools, Antichrists, decei­vers, &c. And Conradus Sclusselburg profes­ses of Zuinglius, that his scelus (of change­ing hoc est, into hoc significat, is by no means to be excused. The Translations of Basil and Castalio, are in Beza's judge­ment, wicked, altogether differing from the Holy Ghost, Sacrilegious and Ethni­cal; his own contains Errors too many to be noted in a Book of an ordinary bulk, if you will beleeve Castalio, and plainly change the Text, according to Carol Molinaus, who also attests of Cal­vin, [Page 20] that he strains the Gospel, makes it totter up and down, and plainly adds to the Text. And, if the judgement of our Church add any thing to the credit of your own Authors, consider that the horror she had of the manifold corrupti­ons every day produced, and the sence she had of the danger wch they threatned to the souls she was obliged to take care of, occasioned the prohibition, you so much dislike, of reading Scriptures in Vulgar Languages, that is, corrupted; for to the Vulgar Latin the prohibition extends not.

Now, it being, as I conceive, very e­vident that corruptions have been made, and that willingly too: I would fain know, what shall hinder a corrupt Co­pie from out-living the Books written to discover the corruption, and pleading in after ages, its antiquity for a title to ge­nuine, with as much likelihood as the truest Copie in the world? while there is nothing but the bare words of either to discern betwixt them? But you think the discovery of the corruption would frustrate the end of him that makes them, not considering that these baits are laid for simple onely, not learned men, whose [Page 21] easiness if the Heretick have won any credit upon, he must be the veriest Dunce in the world, if he be not able, to any crime whatsoever, to frame some, either, to them plausible, or at least, confused Defence, which they, not under­standing his craft, will make use of his Authority to perswade them, his inno­cence suffers, not by desert, but by want of capacity in them to see it.

¶. 10. All that plausible discourse of the possibility of Scripture-corruption only teacheth me wariness and diligence to use all means, withall confirming my Faith that it is the Word of God, seeing so many contrary minds could never have combin'd to forge it, nor those various Lections crept in, had it not been universally in respect of time and place received.

¶. 10. That something was commen­ded to Writing by divine Authority, you gather well; but that the Books we have and as we have them, are that somthing, is, if it be part of your Faith, what you will not find any thing able to confirm. Suppose an Atheist, or wittie Infidel, whose faithfulness to his nature requires severe demonstration, reply to your dis­course, [Page 22] that, although contrary mindes could not combine to a forgery, yet they may be deceived by a forger, who for any thing appears to the contrary, may have adulterated the first Copie of the Origi­nal, from which adulterated Copie, all our Lections may have been derived: What return could you make to this man? Could all your wariness and di­ligence deny but that this case might happen? which if it could, what confi­dence could motion to him the receiving those Books as Infallible and Divine, which he sees may have been corrupted, and you are unable to shew but that they have been so. Reflect therefore if you please, what a pretty confirmation you have of your Faith, which can neither satisfie another, nor establish your self upon a foundation of any certainty, and less then certainty, and that absolute and rigorous, cannot in these matters be a foundation. I pass therefore to the next Section, after I have observed, that this neither proves there is so much as one corruption less in the Bible, then your Adversary thinks may be, and that al­though it had proved many less, it would [Page 23] nothing have advanced your purpose, since, that Corruptions may be there, that is for ought you know, are there, does as much destroy your pretence to certain­tie, as if you knew they actually were there.

SECT. II. Incertainty of the Sence of Scripture from the bare let­ter.

¶ 1 THe next material Question is how to understand these Scriptures, which we may see sufficiently to agree, be­cause the Original Languages are not now commonly known, equivocations incident to all writings and words, &c.

¶ 1 THat which you call the next mate­rial Question, I do not comprehend how you come to state in the manner you do. I presume you intend to oppose the 8th. [Page 24] and following Sections of the 2d. Dia­logue, where, several incertainties neces­sarily springing out of the variety of Translations, Copies, &c. being already handled, is examined what must needs fol­low from this, that the Scripture, in the supposition there were but one authenti­cal Copy extant, is a Book written in words of men. So that the Question there seems not to be of the method how to understand the Scripture, but of this, whether they may be understood with that certainty which in our businesse is requisite.

¶ 2. Here I wonder at the excellent Mr. White, not to have prevented this my dif­ficulty; that the same difficulty lies as heavy, yea heavier upon Tradition, for that came by the same way (as you will confesse) first delivered in those Origi­nal Tongues, and must be Translated (by word of Mouth) and Expounded even into our Native Languages, before we can be made sensible of them; and is it not as hard for me, to tell you that in English, which a­nother told me in Latin, as for me (or ano­ther better learnt than my self) to Translate [Page 25] so much written to my hand in Latine, into English, surely this later is the exactest way.

¶ 2. Here you must give me leave to wonder too, but 'tis that you raise such a difficulty, and attribute so much heaviness to it upon so light ground: Truly, I am so far from confessing that Scripture and Tradition came by the same way, that I conceive it impossible they should do so: For Scripture con­tains a determinate number of words, which are the same to whoever reads them; Tradition is not at all confin'd, but uses fewer, and more obscure to ingeni­ous persons; more, & clearer to those who are duller, and consequently is not subject to translation; since certainly I cannot be said to have translated, if what another hath told me in 500 words of French, I tell you in 100 of English: What you assume therefore, that Christi­anity was first delivered in the Original tongues, is in this sense true, that it was first preached to those Nations, whose Vulgar Languages were those which we call Original, but that gives you no pre­tence to add, 'twas translated into ours, it being delivered neither to them nor [Page 26] us in a set form of words, which might be translated, but so preached to both in our several Vulgar Languages, that the people understood the meaning of what their Preachers delivered to them, and were not left to guess at it by scanning the various, and therefore doubtful, sig­nification of the words, they express'd it in. So that Tradition is not subject to any of the uncertainties which writing cannot be exempt from; a truth, which the next word, expounded, seems to confess. For it being the business of Exposition to render the Text clear, if the Gospel were by tradition expounded to the peo­ple, there must have been a great fault in the Expositor, if there remained any un­certainty or doubt in them.

¶. 3. You will say perhaps not the words, but the sense was delivered by Tradi­tion at first in several expressions.

Answ. Yet still by words liable to all those difficulties incident to Scripture, yea greater, when they again transmit it to others of ano­ther language. Scripture too has the same truths essential to Christianity in divers ex­pressions, several places almost in every Book; and whether this be not the surer way of trans­mitting [Page 27] truths, let Papias his example wit­ness, who pretended to hear the Apostles them­selves teach the Doctrine of Millenaries, had he transmitted the very words in Wri­ting, others, having judgement which he want­ed, as Eusebius, would have seen his mistake, by this appears in general, Writing the surest way, Litera scripta manet.

¶ 3. 'Tis true then, that not a set form of words, but a determinate sence came down to us by Tradition, by the means of words indeed, but not as you say, liable to all those difficulties inci­dent to Scripture. For though words are necessary to both, yet there is this difference, that in Traditon, where, by the observation of the Master, or notice of the Scholler any doubt is perceived, 'tis presently explicated by other words, till it be perfectly taken away, and the thing understood: Whereas Scripture is con­fin'd to those precise words it contains, concerning which if either your self have any doubt, or another raise it in you, you have no means of satisfaction; for how can you come to the knowledge of the thing signified, while you are at a loss about the sign? that sign, which is [Page 28] all you have to trust to, being to expli­cate another thing, not it self. Now, if you reflect that the Gospel was preacht, or d [...]livered by word of mouth, with that care and time, that it was not only well understood by the people, but setled deeply in their souls, by a constant pra­ctise and high esteem; you will see that since they understood the doctrine delive­red to them, and could not forget it by reason of their constant practise, nor lose it by reason of their multitude, Traditi­on has not one of the difficulties made to Scripture. This advantage too, which orall delivery has above writing, ought not be forgotten, that the liveliness of the voice, and aptness of the gesture, and such companions of words fitly pronounced, do infinitely contribute to make them be understood. We see Ironical expres­sions differ no otherwise from serious ones, then in the motion of a lip or eye, and yet how vast is the difference? Nay, the actions of the speaker suited to, and joyned with the circumstance in which he speaks, is perhaps of all Interpreters the best, and admits the least doubt of his meaning. Writing therefore, necessari­ly [Page 29] wanting these helps, must of necessity want also a most effiacious means of ma­king the words it presents to the eye in­telligible, which these enjoy that are convey'd to us by the ear. That Scri­pture has couched in i [...] most, if not all truths essential to Christianity in divers Expressions, I conceive to be true; but if you will compare it to Tradition, you must add, that these truths are indisputa­bly acknowledged, and practised both with constancy, and high esteem by a multitude, and I shal then not think it in­feriour to Tradition, with which perhaps 'twill be the very same. And for the example of Papias, I am sure it is nothing against me, it being evident there want the conditions necessary to Tradition: Viz. Of being openly and constantly preached to such a multitude, as can cer­tainly witness of it, that perfectly un­derstand it, and practise according to it: And I think it makes for me, since in all likelihood the error proceeded from this, that the words used in discourse by the Apostle, were mis-understood by some of the hearers; and what hapned to them when they were spoken, I know nothing [Page 30] can hinder them from being liable to, af­ter they are written: So that even that example concludes that all error proceeds from the deceitfulness of set words, which Tradition not being tied to, is also freed from the inconveniences they are the occasion of.

¶ 4. We may to our comfort remember, this Age affords such as are as well skilled in the Originals, yea, letter then many Learned men, that lived several hundreds of years before us. I confess (what they are forced to acknowledge) some things we cannot yet know, by reason of those difficulties: No more could the Church for above 12 hundred years ago, yet as then so now, we have sufficient, though not all, light to salvation only out of Scripture. Because we cannot understand all things (some where­of of in Scripture S. Peter tells us are hard to be understood) shall we say we can understand nothing certainly? Why should we doubt our Saviour was born of the Virgin Mary, more then that we understand any sentence we hear commonly from one another, although there be no other way then Scripture to know it. We make no doubt but we understand a place of Plato, Aristotle, Tully, &c. and cannot God write as intelligibly?

[Page 31]¶ 4. What the learning is of men of this age, I conceive very unnecessary to examine, especially since all the use you make of it, is to affirm confidently, That we have sufficient light to salvation onely out of Scripture; to which all I shall return, is, that so critical an Exceptor against Arguments, should not himself use for one, the Conclusion barely said over. That we can understand nothing certainly, is not Mr Whites Position, but that we can­not understand enough for the salvation of mankind with certainty requisite to that effect, and till you say something a­gainst him, I have nothing to say against you. Why we should doubt of our Sa­viours being born of the Virgin Mary, I know not, and were there no other Readers of Scripture, but such as you, and I, perhaps none would; but if any do, as I think Helvidius did, and you have no other means of convincing him but by words, which a subtle Critick will shew are capable of other senses; pray how will you hinder a multitude, with whom an opinion of learning, and holi­ness has gotten him credit, from follow­ing him into damnation? of the parity [Page 32] between Scripture and Aristotles writings you will give me occasion to speak more fully by and by.

¶ 5. Surely God would be understood by all, seeing he commands all not only to read his Law, but to write it upon their posts and doors and Phylacteries, and be continually talk­ing of those things that are necessary for sal­vation, Deut. 6.7. and by his Apostles, tells us, that he intends so to doe, not always to speak in Parables, John 16.25, 26. and in 2 Cor. 4.2, 3, 4. not handling the Word of God deceit­fully, but by manifestation of the truth, com­mending our selves to every mans conscience in the sight of God, but if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them that beleeve not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God should shine unto them. Prov. 8.9. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge; but what more plain then that in Hab. 2.2. And the Lord answered me and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon Tables, that he may run that readeth.

¶. 5. For the citations you fill the next Paraph with, I profess I am at a loss to find any opposition in them to [Page 33] what I am maintaining: The Dialogues say, Equivocation, the nature of the Ori­ginal tongues, their being ceased, &c. cau­ses an uncertainty of the sense of Scrip­ture; and you reply that God comman­ded his Law to be written upon Posts, Doors, and Philacteries; that he intended to speak to his Apostles without Para­bles, that S. Paul did not handle the word of God deceitfully, that the words of wisdom are plain to him that under­standeth; and that the Prophet was com­manded to write a Vision plain: Does any of this, or all prove that equivocati­on, &c. brings in no incertainty, or that it and the rest, are not found in Scripture? This is what I conceive it had been pro­per to have spoken to, every thing else being not the Question. But to speak minutely to each, I must tell you, the Comments I have seen upon what you urge out of Deuteronomie, apprehend the command mentioned not to intend so much a literal obedience (for certainly all could not read, every one had not Phi­lacteries, &c.) as it indeavoured to make it the business of the Jews to sink the Law into their hearts by a perpetual pra­ctise [Page 34] and high esteem. But the Question is not, Whether the Scripture be not plain enough for the intent for which it was made; (you know the Dialogues af­firm the Motives of the love of God and our neighbour, &c. are easily found in the Bible, by a discreet reading, and not only that, but a man may by such a reading be­come a perfect beleeving Catholick) but whether it were intended for the effect which you attribute to it, Viz. to be the rule of Faith, that is, alone to secure the passage for all mankind to heaven, when strength of wit, strength of malice, and stronger then both, the weakness of mor­tality, and repugnance of humane frail­ty, all joyn to stop it up. This we deny, and not but that Scripture may have been well enough understood when 'twas first written: For certainly, while the Circumstances last in which, and for which 'tis made, it is much easier to comprehend the meaning of a writing, then afterwards when they being past, we are left to guesse at the sense without other help then the bare letter, which we are apt to interpret every one his own way. 'Tis true therfore that Scripture was [Page 35] intended to be intelligible to those to whom it was written, but not to after Ages without other means. To exemplifie in the Jews, of whom your Ob­jection runs, did not the Pharisees and Sa­duces (not to mention the rest of their Sects) both admit the Scripture, and yet so far disagree in understanding it, that many times they were both wrong? Nei­ther would I have you reply, They were out, in things only of less concern, in not fundamentals; for besides that this, would you but determine what a Funda­mental were, might be shew'd to be false, it gives no satisfaction to the Argument, although admired for true; since unque­stionably God did not write any thing at all, with design to instruct the Reader, fundamental, or not fundamental, which he would not have understood; 'twere blasphemy to impute such folly to him; if then they failed in any thing, they un­derstood not something which God in­tended should be understood. 'Tis therefore in my opinion, very clear, that his intention lasted no longer, then the circumstances which accompanied the action, and which being past, the bare [Page 36] letter was no longer sufficient without other helps, their constant practice, for ex­ample, the best Interpreter of a Law, which while they adhered to it, kept them right in all things commended by it, and by it the sense of the letter was cleared to after Ages, which to the first, was suffici­ently determined by other circumstances; although not so but that, even then, it was to a wrangling Caviller very possible to be wrested, as the example of St. Pauls wri­tings undeniably evince of the New Te­stament. The following one from John 16. seems farther from the purpose: For how can you deduce any thing relating to it out of this, That our Saviour told his Apostles, the time was coming when he would speak to them without Para­bles? I conceive he means the fortie days conversation with them after his Passion, in which, because he made them fully un­derstand what he said, will it ever follow that every one fully and certainly under­stands what is written? Farther off, if a greater distance may be, is what you cite from 2 Cor. where the Apostle having in his absence, been defamed by some pseudo-Apostle to the Corinthians, justifies [Page 37] himself, and his fellow labourers, affirming they performed their Obligation of preaching the Gospel sincerely and up­rightly; which what it has to do with our Question, indeed I cannot imagin. That from the Proverbs (if it may be meant of the Scripture, which I doubt it cannot, the Text seeming very plain against that sense) is against you; for it requires an aptitude and promptness in the Reader, which is to confess, where these qualities are not, the plainness, you urge, must also vanish. Now since these dispositions con­sist not with pride and obstinacy, and in controversies of Faith, heresie must of necessity take one of the parts, and here­sie cannot be without pride and obstinacy, nothing can be plainer then that these dispositions cannot be in the Readers on both sides, and that Scripture by conse­quence, is no effectual weapon against one of them. As for the last, it is I think farthest of all, the command signifying no more then this, that whereas Prophecies use to be couched in mysterious language, the Prophet was directed here to do o­therwise, and write the vision plainly, that is, not mysteriously: Your plain argu­ment [Page 38] therefore stands thus, that because one vision was commanded to be written not misteriously, therefore the bare let­ter of Scripture is a sufficient means to as much certainty as is necessary to the Sal­vation of mankind, which is plainly, no argument at all.

¶. 6. Truths necessary are plain enough, though others only profitable be not all so, nor is it requisite, seeing God hath not thought good they should be all so, else he would have made them plain too, indeed to them that are not duely qualified, what will be plain? A man shut his eyes against any thing, but let a man come with a good minde, ready to fetch, not bring any meaning, observe the drift of the place, what went before, what followes, com­pare obscure with plain places, heartily pray unto God; such a man will certainly see what shall be sufficient for his Salvation, if he live accordingly.

¶. 6. This paragraph conjectures a man may be saved by Scripture alone, and since it does no more, I might, if I would, make a drawn match of it, by opposing my No, to your l. But sincerity and di­ligence being virtues which God may very much favour, and since a weak vessel [Page 39] will bring a man to his Haven, who sails in a perpetual calm, I cannot see what it prejudices me to admit, what you say, to be true. For we enquire not what upright honesty will be satisfied with, but how to convince wrangling obstina­cie? and how to be able to allay, or at least live in those storms of doubts, which, either our own too curious natures, or the malice of others is sure to raise in a multitude, especially such a one as Pro­vidence has made us parts of.

¶. 7. I see not what Objections can destroy this, and wonder to read in some of your dispu­ting against us such expressions as these; No cause imaginable could avert our will from gi­ving the function of Supream and sole Iudge to holy writ, if both the thing were not im­possible in it self, and if both Reason and Experience did not convince our understanding, that by this Assertion contentions are encreased and not ended. We acknowledge holy Scrip­ture to be a most perfect Rule, for as much as a writing can be a Rule, &c. Would you stand to that, Scripture is a most perfect Rule, as any Rule can be, this Assertion would soon end contentions between us. Why cannot Scripture be a perfect Rule without need of un­written [Page 40] Traditions, to end controversies by? I see not the impossibility, I would you would be pleased to teach me; All that the Apostles taught and delivered to their Successors, were all truths, and were they not sufficient to be a Rule to Judge by, whether written or by word of mouth? I think all those truths they delivered were a sufficient Rule, for their Successors could have nothing else to Judge by, except they pretend to an infalli­ble Spirit; well, then could not all of that truth be written which was delivered, sure­ly, yea, for I know not any thing one man may speak to another by word of mouth, but he may write it, therefore it is possible such a sufficient Rule may be made (I prove now only the possibility) and if it may, his Assent is due to our Doctrine, because he protests to have no other imaginable ground, that could avert his will from giving it the function of supreme and sole Judge.

¶. 7. The next Paraph opposes a pair of Assertions, which since I know not whose they are, I hope you will not take it amiss, if I do not engage my self to de­fend. 'Tis well, if I can preserve Mr. White himself from so strong an enemy as you are. For the Positions themselves [Page 41] I conceive the second absolutely false, and that a Writing may be contrived with much more perfection, that is fitness to be a Rule, then the Scripture is. And for the first (though I conceive it true, as the case stands, so many uncertainties from so many several causes unavoidably crow­ding into the writing we have) yet ab­stractedly to examine whether a writing may not be framed without them, is a Question so little to our purpose, that I beseech you give me leave to say no more of it, then that while we have no better words, nor better skill in ordering them then yet are known, tis to be doubt­ed no one Book will be exempted from the face of all, even those which by design are the plainest, as Laws, which no industry could yet contrive so but that the moot-cases bear a notable proportion to the resolv'd ones: As for their discourse, 'tis agreed that Truths are a sufficient rule to judge by, provided they be sufficiently, that is, certainly known to be Truths. 'Tis also agreed, they may be written; but we deny the sense of that Writing can always sufficiently be made out by its bare Cha­racters, without other assistance; and this [Page 42] which yet is our onely question, your discourse takes no notice of, but suppo­sing to be truth, and to be known to be truth, is the same thing, roves, handsom­ly indeed, but yet roves.

¶ 8. Again, to prove Scripture may be a Supream rule, to decide all necessary controversies, I pray answer me, Whether the determinations of your Councils can end controversies? I suppose you affirm it: Those determinations are printed by you, to be read by all, and be such a Rule, can they be un­derstood? I have read of two of your Doctors both present at the Council of Trent, oppose each other, and alledge the decree against each other, so that your determinations are not always sufficient, no, nor ever can they be, if what you affirm of Scripture be true, Viz. insufficient to determine: For suppose your decrees most plain, how shall I be cer­tain this is the meaning of those determi­nations, If I cannot, till a further deter­mination come out to explain the first, I ask again, How I shall be certain that I under­stand and have the right meaning of this second? What by another determination a­gain? Why so, I shall be querying in infini­tum, and never be sure, unless I rest in some [Page 43] one determination which may be sufficiently intelligible to me, to satisfie and assertain me of the truth, and if Mans writings can be a determination and sufficient Rule to be­get certain truth in me, why not Gods?

¶. 8. The Parity, you next urge, betwixt Scripture and Councels, I should think of great force, if there were nothing but the bare letter in both. But in the former the word is the only interpreter of the sence, in the later, the word is interpre­ted by the sence: in the first, the sence is to be accomodated to the word, in the 2d. the word to the sence. To explicate my self, be pleas'd to reflect, That Bishops going into Councel, go not to find out a faith which before they knew not, but to certifie that which they already know, Then, before they agree upon words to expresse it by, they have in their heads that which they would expresse: and when the words are agreed on, they per­fectly know what they mean by them, and in which of the sences, if they be capa­ble of more than one, they are to be taken in. This they testifie by their practise when they are out of Councel, and so leave to their posterity, not only a Rule, [Page 44] but a Method to preserve it from being wrested by the craft, and perversenesse of their Adversaries. Now in Scripture the case is quite different; There are none to tell you the sence of the word in question, neither can the word it self help you, for 'tis of it you doubt. In our case too, 'tis interpreted quite against the common practise, and therefore (which give me leave to hint by the way) the interpreter ought not to be contented the word may bear his sence, but must evidently see it can bear no other.

For he that leaves the common pra­ctise to which the word may be accomo­dated, when his Salvation depends upon the choice, for this that the word may al­so be accomodated to another sence, I doubt apprehends but slightly the value of his Soul, and what it is to be eternally, or happy, or miserable. But this by the bye. The printed determinations therefore of Councils barely are not our Rule, but the printed determinations understood and practised; And were the Scripture so qualifi'd, I know not what condition it would want necessary to a Rule. In the mean time the instance of the Tridentine [Page 45] Doctors seems to be as much against you as a Thing can be: for what possibility of certainty from words, when the very same are cited in behalf of contradicto­ries; and if a verbal foundation be found weak in Councils, how can you think 'twill sustain a building of Scripture? Though in this particular case the acci­dent has nothing of wonder, since the Council abstaining, as far as I remember, purposely, from determining either side, and speaking abstractedly, must of necessi­ty leave a colour for both, and a latitude for wit and fancie to work on, and deter­mine which side they please.

SECT. III. Scripture, critically managed, not sufficient to decide Controversies.

¶. 1. THe 3d. Question whether Scrip­ture can determine Controver­sies? 1. We affirm not, all possible Contro­versies of Religion can satisfactorily be de­termined by Scripture, neither do I think [Page 46] you dare say they can by your Traditions, but 2ly. all necessary to Salvation may. In the 15th. Encounter of the Apol. pag 136. Mr. White makes use of an old Objection to dis­prove Scriptures sufficiency in general, which truly I should not have thought worth the taking notice of, did it not come from Mr. White, whom I much honour, and find more Rational than many others of your Con­troversie writers I have since Read; it is this Scripture hath not these 1600 years en­ded Controversies, therefore it is not a suffi­cient Rule. 1. He speaks more then he proves of 1600 years. As to the experience since Lu­thers time, it's plainly false, that not one point has been resolved by it; that Christ is the Messias promised, that through Faith in his name Salvation is to be had, and many others have been, and are resolved, and agreed unto by Protestants who own not your Tra­ditions; but what Wonder Scripture does not end the feud between you and us, see­ing you will not be ruled by Scripture as the Supreme Rule to decide by; he might as well have concluded against traditions, because they have not yet ended the Controversies since Luthers time between you and us, [Page 47] who doth not acknowledge your Traditions as a supream Rule to judge by.

¶ 1. The next Reason begins with a Question, which as you state it, has no opposition to the Dialogues, for after they have shewn how points of Religion may be decided, and controversies determined by Scripture, me thinks it should not be questioned whether that may be done, which they shew how 'tis done. The dif­ference betwixt you, though you say no­thing of it, is of the certainty of deter­mining Controversies; their Position be­ing, That a discreet and diligent perusal of Scripture will make a man a perfect Catholick, but not with that steady firm­ness as to be able to evince his Religion before a Critical Judge, against a wrang­ling and craftie Adversary; and this is your task to oppose, if you will op­pose the Dialogues. To the experi­ence Master White glances at in his fifteenth Encounter; you answer, he proves not what he says of sixteen hundred years, which is true; but sure to your se­cond thoughts that place, which profes­ses not to treat the Question, and onely [Page 48] mentions it by the by, will not seem pro­per for a large proof: Yet if you desire to see one, his Tabulae Suffragiales will serve you, where he handles that questi­on largely.

And for what you say, since Luthers time that many points have been resolv'd by Scripture, though he speak of Points controverted betwixt Catholicks and Pro­testants, and so your Position does not di­rectly thwart him, yet I conceive you are in the wrong, and doubt whether any one point ever have been resolv'd amongst the adversaries of the Roman Church meer­ly by Scripture: 'Tis true, there are seve­ral in which they all agree, and Catho­likes with them, as those you instance in; but not because Scripture has reconciled their differences concerning them, but be­cause they never owned any differences to reconcile. Consult Historie faithful­ly and impartially, and if you find one side ever plainly convinced another, or gene­rally any other agreement then this, that the Point controverted belonged not to salvation, and so either part permitted to keep their own opinion, I shall learn som­thing of you, which yet I am yet ignorant [Page 49] of. Mean while the points, yon say are a­greed, I conceive, are so onely, because they have not been questioned; whereof I take the reason to be the nature of man, which being accustomed to any one thing, can­not be brought to the opposite but by de­grees and time, a quality which grounds that Maxime, Nemo repente fit pessionus. So I conceive that Luther, being brought up & long inured to Religion, though Pas­sion obliged him to renounce some points of it, yet was withheld by the course of nature from following his Principles whe­ther they would at last have brought him, into infidelity. His successors still went farther, and I do not see that where they exceeded him, either himself in his life­time, or Schollers after him were able to correct and bound them by Scripture; but that every one had as fair a plea for deserting him, as he for deserting the Church: Whether the Clew would have brought him, had he pursued it far e­nough, the fifth Monarchy and Quake­rism will inform you; which though per­haps you may look on but as Bastards, and think it strange they should be laid to his charge, yet I cannot tell any thing [Page 50] should hinder you from acknowledging them his issue, but their deformity; for they profess Scripture as much as he, and have by his principles and example as great a liberty to interpret it. You will say they err in their Interpretation: True, but so did he, and as long as they follow what seems the truth to them, they do all that he did; and if that seeming be a Plea for him against possession and autho­ty, I see not how you can deny it them. Against some of these, and perhaps this Labyrinth has many more windings we are yet unacquainted with, 'tis possible you may have occasion to dispute some of the points you conceive agreed of: and till experience satisfie you of the suc­cess, you would do well not to be too con­fident of the favour of Scripture: In the mean time pray do not take that for re­solved, which was never disputed.

As to what you say, that we refuse to be ruled by Scripture, you do us wrong, for by acknowledging it the Word of God, we bind our selves to accept whatsoever can be proved it teaches; so that if it be true, as you say that your Religion may be convinced out of Scripture, your vi­ctory [Page 51] over us is certain. Nay we have one Copie too, which to us is authentical, and which in Disputation we refuse not, whereas, when you are pressed you [...]lie from one to another: And how you, that pretend to rely on Scripture, can have fairer play shewn you, then a Book brought, which your Adversary acknow­ledges to be Scripture, and professes an absolute obedience, and submission to whatever it says, indeed I cannot imagin.

Since then nothing more can be required on our sides, pray charge us not with such injurious scandals; and take it not amiss, if I tell you with that plainness, which in concerns of the soul, being a duty of Charitie, should never be look'd upon as a breach of civility, that what you so loudly call the Word of God, and with the Majestie of so great a Name, endeavour to dazle your adversaries eyes, while in truth you blind your own, proves, when faithfully and severely scan'd, no other thing, but your own meer fancy, to which you accom­modate the outward Word in which the true Word of God is contained, and be­cause you can do so, break communion [Page 52] with us, because we prefer another sense, which the words also agree withall, suit­able to our constant and universal pra­ctise, and which to leave upon no better inducement, I must confess I know not how to excuse from downright madness. Moreover, some of our Controvertists, laying down in condescendence to you, their own assured Arms, Tradition, have engaged with you at your own weapon, critical handling of Scripture; of whose en­deavours, I am content almost even partia­lity it self should be Judge, being very con­fident no Byas can be great enough to draw a reasonable nature, so far wide of Truth, as to pronounce us, in that kind of war, overcome.

When you say Tradition has not en­ded controversies, you express where the fault lies, Viz. in that not acknowledging them, it being unpossible that Judge should end a difference, whose sentence is refused by either of the parties: But then this is not for want of necessary qua­lities in him, but submission in them: We refuse not to make Scripture sole Judge out of fear it should give sentence against us; we know its sence much better then [Page 53] you, and know 'tis for us, and if you think you can convince us by it, do it, we both must and will submit; but out of fear, by its not giving sentence at all, our dissen­tions should never come to an end. We earnestly long to see all the sheep of Christ quietly seeding again in one fold, and that unhappy wall of division, which so long has separated them, battered down; and because we do so, cannot but testifie Scripture is no fit Engine to do it: 'Twas to us she was given, not to you, and we know her efficacy is more in times of peace, then War; that she is more proper to increase charity, then be­get faith; and that being principally in­tended to sanctifie the faithful, she does ordinarily require they should first be faithful, that they may afterwards be san­ctified. Had you the same disposition to peace, you would either effectually shew the Scripture a sit Judge to decide contro­versies, critically and frowardly handled, or appeal to some other: for he that pre­tends a desire of an end, in order to which he will obstinately beleeve those to be means, which both from reason and ex­perience he may learn to be none, and [Page 54] will not be brought to use other, is con­vinced to do no more then barely pre­tend it.

¶ 2. Reason, in things that depend upon it, is often a sufficient rule, yet many can­not be brought to an agreement by it even in things which are evident & by others demon­strated; shall we then think it sufficient to disprove it a rule because some, yea many are not made to accord with it? Mr. White p. 153. grants the Jews might have been (though they were not) led to Christ and salvation by Scripture, if they had inter­preted it with charity and humility: And p. 110. However the marks of the Church are apparant enough in Scripture, if there want not will in the seeker to acknowledg them: If this be not to contradict himself I know not what is. To ill-disposed or undis­posed refractory minds nothing is suffi­cient. I see a monstrous difficultie for you to understand Scripture aright, who are re­solved to make no other sence, then what a­grees with your supposed Traditions.

¶ 2. That which I conceive to be the drift of this Paragraph, Viz. That 'tis perhaps more often, the fault of the par­ties, then of the Judge, that differences [Page 55] are kept alive, is certainly true: But you apply it not, neither, as we think, can you do it with any appearance to conclude we are in fault, that bind our selves, even in this kind of tryall to much stricter con­ditions then you will be brought to do. For, besides the reverence we bear the Scripture, even to an absolute submission to whatever it says, (then which you neither do, nor can do more) we also bring you a Book, which we so acknow­ledg to be Scripture, that in disputation we refuse it not; would you do so much perhaps more good might be done then is, mean time this is certain, that more cannot be required of us.

Next you pretend a contradiction from two places which you cite; and I cannot tell whether you mean those places con­tradict one another, wch nevertheless seem to say the same thing, or that both those places contradict the former Doctrine: Now that asserts two things; 1. That Scripture does not speak plain enough to convince a wrangling Critick. 2. That it does speak plain enough to satisfie an humble and charitable Reader, in which if you see any contradiction, you see [Page 56] not onely what I cannot, but what I conceive is not there to be seen.

¶. 3. Page 137. Mr. White seems to grant (what I cannot tell how he can deny) that the Scripture is as well able to make us understand its meaning, as Plato or Ari­stotle theirs, but the supposition where all the venom lies is concealed (as he is pleased to phrase it) so the Scripture was written of those controversies which since are risen; I see no danger in this poison rightly understood, God delivering those things in Scripture which are sufficient for salvation, speaks so, that he may be as well understood as Plato, Aristotle, &c. in their Writings, then the Reader of holy Writ, (that comes to it, as page 153. the Iewes should have done with charitie and humilitie, which would actually have brought them to the truth) may have the true meaning of Gods Word, as to the points of faith and practice; Now having the truth, cannot he see that error which shall aft [...]rwards arise to be falshood, because it is contrary to the truth which he has out of Scripture, linea recta est Judex sui & obliqui. But strange opinions may spring up, which can neither be proved nor disproved satisfactorily by Scripture, nor is it necessary all possible controversies should be [Page 57] determinable, I do not think you pretend to this kind of Omniscience by your Traditions. I pray tell me, how does your Church confute new errors, which were not started in the A­postles time, by thinking only that they are false, or by looking upon those truths, which it pretends the Apostles at first delivered before those errors came up, which it sees are contrary to those received truths: unless you pretend to new Revelations to discover new errors by, and what poyson is there in making written truths the streight Rule to measure future inormities by, more then to make unwritten truth serve for that end.

¶. 3. The next Paragraph insists up­on the Parity betwixt Scripture, and the writings of Plato, or Aristotle, touching which, what you say Mr. White seems to grant, that the one is as well able to make us understand its meaning, as the other; I must tell you does but seem so, and 'tis a wonder to me you observed it not, the very next page, but one, to that you cite, being employ'd in shewing the way of writing us'd, by Aristotle, has a great advantage towards being under­stood, over that of the Bible. But he denies not but both may be understood; [Page 58] and that stuff you weave into this Con­clusion: That a Reader of Scripture may come to the truth, and by it judge arising Errors. Pray what's this against Mr. White; because he may arrive at truth, shall he therefore be fixed there with that constancy that no subtlety can stagger him? Shall his Humility and Charity, which introduced him, provide him too with Arms to maintain the place, and defend it against the assaults of Wit and Malice leagued together? I see no glimmering of such a consequence; which neverthelesse should have been yours, for, till you are there, your Journeys end is stil before you.

Besides, your foundation, that all things sufficient for Salvation are delivered in Scripture, meaning the Salvation of man­kind, is not firm, especially making, as you do afterwards, every one of the Gos­pels to contain a perfect sum of what is necessary to be believed and practised; for some things, and those necessary to Salva­tion, are beleived meerly upon the account of Traditions, as the Scripture it self &c. Those strange opinions too; which, you say, may spring up, may perhaps concern [Page 59] things necessary to Salvation, which, if they can neither be proved nor disproved satisfactorily by Scripture, plainly there is not by your method, any satisfaction left us in things necessary to Salva­tion.

And for what you urge last, that writ­ten truths may be as streight a Rule as unwritten ones, 'tis true, provided they be agreed on to be truths; But the question is not whether written truths will con­vince a rising error, but whether writ­ten words will so convince the truths they contain to, whoever rises up in error a­gainst them, that no Artifice shall be able to pervert their fidelity, and introduce another sence into the same sounds. An instance may make the thing clearer. Let the Church, before Arius, have had no better weapon to defend her faith of the Consubstantiality of the Father and Son, then these and the like words. Ego & Pa­ter unum sumus: and you will make me much wiser then I am, if you render it possible shee should preserve her self from being overcome by the craft of that Here­tick, who would have proved at least plausibly, as Hereticks us'd to do, by the [Page 60] Rule of conferring one place with ano­ther, that those words ought not to be understood of an unity of Substance; since our Sauiour elsewhere prays his A­postles may be one, as his Father and he are one; which evidently contradicting a substantial unity, The former words ought to yield to these plain ones, Pater major me est. 'Twas not then by those words, but by the sence of them, so firmly rooted in her practise, that neither the wit, nor power of Arius, joyn'd with a perverse and lasting obstinacy, could shake it, that she decided the controver­sie, and transmitted sound Doctrine to her posterity; Shee saw his interpretati­on contradicted her sence, delivered by Christ and his Apostles, and continued by Tradition, but no body could see it contradicted the words, which his wit made as favourable to him as her. By which very same Method (to answer your Question in your own words) I conceive the Church would at this day confute new errors, viz by looking upon the truths first delivered by the Apostles, and since preserved by her practise, not the words in which they were delivered. [Page 61] To sum up your Paraph therefore in short, 'tis true, that Linea recta est ju­dex sui & obliqui; 'Tis true, that truth is linea recta t [...] 'Tis true also, that the Reader, duly qualified, may by due read­ing Scripture come to truth; but that this truth will be enough to serve all the exigencies of all mankind, in all circum­stances, or that what satisfied his sincerity and diligence will be able to satisfie all manner of peevishness and obstinacy, are two Positions, which I see you have not, and think you cannot prove. There is no doubt but truth ought to judge, which is the thing you do say: But if there be a doubt which is truth, I conceive bare words, which were perhaps sufficient to discover hers to charity and humility, will not be able to convince her against malicious craft and pride; which is what you should, but do not prove.

¶ 4. If words would affright a man, Mr. White doth it by search after evidence of Argument. In the same page 137. he requires any one Book in the whole Bible whose Theam is now controverted; he men­tions S. Johns Gospel, which was to shew the Godhead of Christ, but that is not so directly [Page 62] (saith he) his Theam as the miraculous life of our Saviour, from whence his Divinity was to be deduced. And page 153. John in­tended only such particulars as prove that Christ was God, in which later expression if he do not seem (as to me he doth) to contradict his former, the former making S. Johns in­tent a History, the latter a Discourse only (as his word is) of a controversal truth.

¶ 4. The contradiction you glance at here, will not, even with your assistance, so much as seem such to any diligence of mine; and since I cannot overcome it, I must beseech you to pardon that dulness which will let me see but one sence in these two expressions: Viz. S. John wrote the miraculous life of our Saviour, so as his Divinity might be deduced from it, and S. John in his History specifies such particulars as prove the Divinity of our Saviour.

¶ 5. Yet this he clearly says, S. John made an Antidote against that error, then begin­ning, yet (as he) the design so unsuccessful, that never any heresie was more powerful, then that which opposed the truth intended by his Book, whence he seems to infer, Scri­pture no sufficient Rule to decide, because the [Page 63] Arians were not silenced by it. I demand why the Arians were not convinced by that Book written on purpose to oppose that error which they held, by a very large discovering the contrary truth; was it because there was not evidence enough of that truth, which S. John onely intended in his whole Book; surely you must say so, and then I pray consider what you say, whether it be not imputing weak­ness to S. John, or to the Holy Ghost writing by him, quod horrendum, that he should set himself to write a whole Book in which (as Mr Whites words are) he intended only such particulars as prove that Christ was God, and yet not prove it sufficiently: If S. John did prove it sufficiently, why were not the Arians convinced by it; surely the fault was not in the want of evidence of those miraculous actions (which, our Saviour saith, prove him to be the Son of God, and one with the Father) but in their wills, I say it was their own fault; so then notwith­standing all Mr White hath said, I conclude the Scripture may be a sufficient means to decide controversies by, although refractory minds be not silenced by it. Neither has God promised that obstinate opposers of [Page 64] truth, shall have any means of truth made effectual to them.

¶ 5. To the difficulty of the following Paragraph, because you propose it by de­mands, I shall answer by Replys: and to the first, Why the Arians were not con­vinced by that Book, I answer, because 'twas a Book, that is, a multitude of words, which having no Interpreter to protect them, could not preserve themselves from being wrested into senses different from what was meant by the Author. Was there not then, say you, Evidence enough of that truth? Yes, to humble Seekers; but to convince it to the Arians, no; Evi­dence and Conviction (taking them se­verely) are things above the reach of meer words. But this imputes weakness to S. John, or rather the Holy Ghost; why so? put a Reed into a Giants hand, and because with it he cannot cleave an Oak, is he therefore weak? a feeble in­strument is no argument of the feeble­ness of him that uses it: Now words I take to be very weak, and they cease not to be words, whoever he be that employs them; not but that S. John, or rather the Holy Ghost by him, which I think, [Page 65] you will not deny might have managed them much better, and made a much nearer approach to evidence, had he so pleased, or that been his aym. I see men write plainer every day, and God forbid I should think they understand the use of words better than he that gave them the power to understand. Neither dare I at­tribute the contrivance of the Book to chance or imagine the works of God to be directed by any thing but his own infi­nite wisdom and providence. Whence then the obscurity of that book? Truly I am not of Council with the Divinity: but believe I may safely assert thus much, that since the Holy Ghost knew what you would object, and yet chose that manner of writing, he meant you should see that book was not intended for a Judge of differences in Religion, to which he refus'd to give all the qualities necessary for a Judge, and which even a book is ca­pable of.

To this I foresee you will object, that at least S. John cannot be excused from the weaknesse of making choice of a means by which he knew his end was not to be arriv'd at; and that to write against Co­rinthus [Page 66] when he was conscious his writing could not prove his intent, was not on­ly unnecessary, but hurtful. To which I reply, he writ so, as abundantly to prove his intent, in that manner as he design'd to prove it, but his intent was not that his writing should be a proof, contenti­ously and frowardly scann'd, but humbly and diligently studied. In the former way he had left them a much better weapon both to defend themselves, and overcome their Adversaries, then words can be, namely that which S. Paul commands us to desert upon no inducements, no nor even of an Angel from Heaven; but be­sides this, for the superabundant com­fort and strength of the faithful, he ad­ded also a confirmation of their faith by writing, intelligible enough, at the time, and to the persons he writ, when every body knew what it was which Cerinthus objected, and his followers insisted on, and consequently knew how to apply the Phisick to the disease, and plainly see his pretences overborn by the Apostles authority. But now the case is quite diffe­rent. To say nothing of the alteration of words and the great change which so [Page 67] much time, must needs make, in the Phrases, and manner of speech, our Intel­ligence of that Heresie is faint and dim, and to expect we should comprehend what was written against it, equally with those ages which flourish'd with it, is to make him, that has hardly any knowledg of the disease, as cunning in the cure, as that Doctor whose charge the Patient is; The Apostles Gospel, therefore, was, in those circumstances, plain enough by the letter, to those to whom he writ, but to us so dark, that except we look upon it with the spectacles of Tradition, or o­ther helps, we have no security of pene­trating its sence; though even to them it was not so clear, but that it was wrestible (and much more in the time of Arius) to malicious subtlety and wit, which Hereticks never want. But then those Hereticks, not the Scripture, were in fault, say you; and no body doubts but that Heresie and fault are inseparable: But whether they be in fault or no, the Church ought to be furnisht with Arms to defend her self against all sorts of Ene­mies, and not, till they cease to be in fault (when they will also cease to be [Page 68] her enemies) be left ungarded; she must be provided as well to confound the proud, as confirm the humble: And this first quality is that which we deny to Scripture, and if you onely attribute to it the se­cond, you oppose not us, neither do I know why we should oppose you.

But God has not promis'd that obstinate opposers of truth, shall have any means of truth made effectual to them. Very true, but he has promis'd the gates of Hell, in which I doubt, these obstinate men can­not be denied to stand, shall not prevail against his Church; and I understand not how they can be denied to have pre­vailed, if that, which you would make her only guard, uncertain words, being by their craft seduced into a compliance with them, they may as plausibly object obstinacy to the Church, as she to them. For that and constancy are distinguished only by their alliance, or enmity with truth, and if truth cannot be made appear, as you say to obstinate men, God has not promis'd it shall, neither can it, whether be the obstinate opposers, they or the Church. Besides, to bate those inseparable companions of Heresie, Pride, [Page 69] Obstinacy, consider what will, in your principles, become of sincere, but sharp understandings, people that are not yet faithful, nor ever were obstinate, but al­ways wittie; who look upon disputes in Religion without concern of any thing, but truth, but look that what themselves accept for truth, be truly such, and will not be put off with counterfeit ware, and take, in stead of truth, the partial constru­ction of either side. Neither will they be denied, neither can justice deny them, but that they should first see the truth, before they be prest to imbrace it: Now, that Truth be seen to be truth, 'tis plainly necessary that there be no possibility of falshood; there being no contradiction in the world more manifest then that the same thing, should, at the same time, be possible to be false, and evidently true, that is, impossible to be false.

'Tis equally plain that, where there is nothing to make out the truth, but words, if those words be made agree to two sen­ses, neither can be made out to be truth; for you put but one cause, & that produci­ble of both effects. That one may somtimes, seem the more proper, is nothing to the [Page 70] purpose: For, besides that to offer plausibi­lity to those who look after truth, and can discern it, is to go about to allay hunger with steam in stead of meat, 'tis agreed by all parties, that many times the impro­per acception is the true one: So by first-begotten in Mat. 1. we both understand only begotten, which nevertheless, are in rigour very different, and 'tis the same of many other and universally of all mystical places.

To apply all to our case, can you deny but that he, who sees the thing may be false, does not see it is true, and conse­quently that to accept it for truth, is to wrong his nature? Conformably to your Maxime in the 2d Part, That no man must give assent without sufficient evidence? Can you deny, that amongst all the differ­ing Sects of Christians, there is any one which does not, in whatever place of Scri­pture you urge against them, find a sence favourable to themselves, which they make the words tolerably bear? Can the charity, you claim, suffer you to say, there is no sincerity, no wit, but in your own party, and deny there are amongst the Presbyterians, Anabaptists, Independents, &c. persons, as sincere as your selves, as [Page 71] desirous of truth, who search and pray, and yet differ? if none of all this can be denied, consider what a desperately wretched principle it is, according to which there is no effectual means of truth provided, not only for obstinate opposers, but neither for earnest pursuers of it? And since, without the truths we speak of, there is no salvation, and they are not to be had without being seen to be truths, and your principle will not let them be seen, being applicable also to falshood, 'tis a plain case, that according to it these men, that is the most considerable part of mankind, if not in number, at least in value, must be either Infidel, or irrational, either eternally miserable men, or not men in their most important actions, for certainly who acts against reason, is so far not man, but beast.

6. I thinke Mr White p. 139. does but beat the air in requiring Gods written Word (if it be to decide) to proceed artificially or scientifically; Let the Almighty have li­berty to deliver himself as he please, I think the learnedst and acutest have cause to blesse his Majestie, that he will stoop to meanest capacities (intending his Law for all) that [Page 72] so the greatest (if the mean may) might more easily understand his oracles and pleasure; that very thing Mr. White thinks wanting in Scripture to the making of it a sufficient Rule to decide, St. Paul glories in, as most suita­ble to the highness of divine mysteries, which scorn (rather then they will be be­holden to) the props of humane wit and invention. 1 Cor. 2.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, &c. I came not (saith the Apostle) to you with ex­cellencie of speech, or of wisdome, declaring unto you the testimony of God, my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of mans wisdome, but in demonstration of the spi­rit and power, that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God, &c. The demonstration of divine truths was given in plain language, without humane arts, (though St. Paul had them) yet all the Apo­stles were not so, some being illiterate plain Fishermen; as was their writing, such was their preaching, for we have some part of their discourses penn'd, which were accomodated to vulgar capacities to whom they preached. I ask whether they did not sufficiently demonstrate divine truths to their people in plain language? if not, then they did not leave the Gospel evi­dent enough, if they did, then we have a suf­ficient [Page 73] demonstration of divine truths, although the Bible be not written logically, and its plainnesse hinders it not from being a sufficient Rule to decide or know truths.

¶. 6. I do not find that Mr. White, in the place you cite, ties Almighty God to such strict conditions: in saying no more then that writings, penn'd according to the severity of science, are more easily un­derstood, then such as are written loosely without connexion; and this I think you deny not. The second [...]gue indeed, out of this, that the Scripture is not written in a method necessary to deliver a judging Law, gathers it was not meant by God for such. But this consequence you do not, and I think the candid in­genuity you are Master of, will not suf­fer you to oppose. What you cite from the Apostle I cannot imagin which way you will draw to your assistance. The whole place is expresly of preaching and speech, writing not so much as once glanc'd at, and how Scripture should be proved to be sole Judge of controversies from thence where 'tis not either named or thought of, I professe my sight is too short to discover; your self seem to make [Page 74] use of it against your self, when you say that if they did sufficiently demonstrate divine truths to their people in plain lan­guage, then we have sufficient evidence of them. True, but not by the Bible, for 'twas not by writing but by preach­ing they taught the people, and 'tis by adhering to what they so taught that we also, whom personally they did not teach, come to have sufficient evidence of divine truth [...].

¶. 7. I [...] that, as Acts 2. &c. and Acts 18.28. Apollos mightily convinced the Jews, and that publiquely shewing by the Scriptures that Jesus was Christ, so that Scripture affords sufficient Arguments, to prove even most material points sufficiently, although obstinate opposers, as the Jews, are not silenced, It will be an aggravation to their punishment that will not be convinced by Scrip­ture evidence, and I see not how it can deserve punishment, if there be not evidence enough to convince.

¶. 7. What you may urge out of the Acts know not: what I can find of my self, I am sure makes nothing against me. For the example of Apollos, no body doubts, but arguments may be drawn out [Page 75] of Scripture with marvellous efficacy. You know the Dialogues hold Catholi­cism may be victoriously evidenc'd to be more conformable to Scripture than Pro­testancy by arguments purely drawn from the Text, without extrinsical helps: and what they hold may be done against you, I conceive was the very thing Apol­los did against the Jews, not that he pre­tended Scripture was the onely foundati­on of Faith; The place will not be drawn to any such meaning, and we know our Saviour tells the Jews his works give testimony of him, and that they should beleive the works, and not believe him without them; Now I imagine, that to this evidence of miracles when the Jews oppos'd the Authority of Scripture, pre­tending those could not be the works of God, which justified a Doctrine contra­dictory to the word of God, Apollos took away this pretence, by shewing his doctrine not onely not contradictory, but much more conformable then theirs, and this I apprehend was the sence of the Controversies between them. Now if in this universal liberty of prophecying which this age affords us, onely my in­terpretation [Page 76] do not yet passe for currant, be pleas'd to reflect, no necessity of answe­ring your argument obliges me to rely upon it, to which 'tis enough to say, that no such thing as you intend appears in the place you cite. That the not being convinced, will be an aggravation of punishment to the Jews in this sence, that the pride, and blindness, caus'd by it, which hinders them from coming, by an humble reading, to such a degree of truth, as they might, is a fault for which they shall be punished, I readily grant; but that their punishment shall be aggrava­ted, or they at all punished for not finding a rigorous evidence there where 'tis not, is a fancy in which I cannot perceive any colour of apparence.

¶. 8. In the 16. Encounter pag. 151. Mr. White answers that 5th. John, brought to prove Scripture was sufficient to Salvation without Tradition, why else did God command Moses to write those Laws he had given, if that written word was not a perfect Rule, which he commanded to be kept so carefully, and to be read continually, 31. Deut. 9, 10, 11. and to be copyed out for the King, as Deut. 18.19. to read therein all the dayes of his life, [Page 77] unto which God would have no addition, be­cause it was a perfect Rule, and therefore when the Scribes and Pharisees, would needs bring in their Traditions, as you do, to make void the Law of God, you know what our Saviour denounced against them; Now though we prove the sufficiency even of one Book of Scripture, for to be a suffici­ent rule to salvation, we are far from contradicting our selves, as though by that reason all the rest (every one of which is pro­fitable) might be burnt: For thus I argue, if one single Gospel be a sufficient rule to sal­vation, much more are all the Books of the Bible sufficient without your Traditions.

¶ 8. The places which here you cite out of Deuteronomy seem little to the pur­pose: Your premises, That God com­manded his Laws to be written, to be kept carefully, and read continually, to be co­pied out for the King, &c. being so vast­ly distant from the Conclusion, Viz. That the written Word was a perfect Rule, that my dulness cannot see any approach be­tween them; all this we see practis'd in our Laws, in which notwithstanding we also see a manifest necessity of an Inter­preter: That God would therefore have [Page 78] no addition, because it was a perfect Rule, is a reason for which you are perfectly be­holding to your own invention, and which in things of this concern, you would do well not to trust over-far, at least you will pardon an Adversary if he do not.

As for the Scribes and Pharisees, who you say, brought in their Traditi­ons to make void the Law of God, when our cases are alike, I shall think you do us no wrong to rank us with them. But you will be pleased to stay till we do make void the Law of God; for while we confess that the Word, whether written or orally deli­vered, is the Law, & only enquire after the meaning of the first, which when under­stood, we profess an intire submission to, I conceive we go not about to make void, but to fulfill the Law; for certainly the wrong sense of the Law is not the Law, and as certainly that cannot be the right sence, which sets the two words, whereof neither can vary from truth, at variance one with another. But to look into the thing, their Traditions have nothing of common with ours but the Word, which will inform you how dangerous a founda­tion words are, when by the same sound [Page 79] are expressed things most different. Tra­dition with us signifies a publike delivery to a multitude, so as what was so deliver­ed was setled in their understanding, and rooted in their hearts by a constant visible practice. Their Tradition was a close underhand conveyance from a few to a few, neither so many, nor so honest, as to be secure from mistakes, both accidental, and wilful, and yet the cheat, if any hap­ned, remaining by the secrecy undisco­vered; so that nothing more apt to make void the Law of God then such a Traditi­on as this: Whereas, since it cannot be de­nied, but that what was orally delivered by Christ and his Apostles to their Disci­ples, and by them practised was the Law of God, you must either say we have vio­lated their practise, (which since we affirm it to be our rule, you cannot fairly do, without evidencing what you say) or you will have much ado your selves to avoid the imputation you lay upon us: for evi­dently the Law is made void, as much by contradicting the unwritten, as the writ­ten word; Now if we practise what the first Disciples, and their Successors did, and what they practised was the Law, [Page 80] clearly he that contradicts our practice cannot refuse the company of the Scribes and Pharisees: So that while by going no farther then the empty sound, you fancie us neer the gulf they were swal­lowed up in, your judgment, fixed upon the thing, and not diverted by the jug­ling noise, will find your selves are deep in it.

I cannot leave this Subject with­out admonishing you of a piece of foul play in the Translation of the Bible, I have heard objected to your side, and which possibly may have had one effect upon your self: 'Tis that Traditions be­ing sometimes commended, sometimes re­prehended in the Scripture, though the Original word be the same in both cases, yet the Translation varies it so, as, when it is taken in an ill sence, to render it by the Word Tradition; when in a good, always to make use of some o­ther: An Artifice which, if true, ar­gues much want of sincerity in the Translators, and brings much hazard to the Reader; The avoiding of which is the true reason the Church for­bids the use of Scripture in Vulgar lan­guages.

[Page 81]For the rest I cannot see, but he that says, This is sufficient to salvation, says, more then this is not necessary, and by consequence, Salvation would not be concerned, if that more were not. What you mean by Profitable, I cannot tell: if this that some persons find in some books what they would not in others, then evi­dently those books are necessary to those persons: if onely that their Faith is con­firm'd, or strengthned, either this strength is necessary to Salvation at least for some, and then again the books are ne­cessary for them; or unnecessary, and then what prejudice to Salvation if they were burnt? So that I doubt your fancy was too much possess'd with the sound, to give your judgement leisure to examine the notions of the word. Your conse­quence, if one be sufficient, all are more then sufficient, is certainly good, but you know we deny, what you must next sub­sume, conceiving that neither one, nor all are sufficient.

¶. 9. Our Saviour in that 5th. of St. John, does not Reprehend the Jews (as Mr. White seems to intimate) for seeking Salva­tion out of Scripture, where it is to be had, [Page 82] but tacitely (by that, you think you have it there) implies, they were mistaken, and did presume they had it, who had it not by their own fault for want of conforming to it; David often tearms the Law of God perfect, 19. Psa. 7. &c. the Law of God is perfect converting the Soul, the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple: therefore our Savi­our sends the Jews to the Scripture (which was sufficient to have taught them, had they been duly qualified with Charity and Humili­ty, else he should have sent refractory Adver­saries to an insufficient means in vain) to learn and be convinced of that most material truth, that he was the Messias. I observe Mr. Whites note on the place, Scripture Testimo­ny is put in the last place, not (as he) as the weakest argument, it is not usual to set the weakest, but rather the strongest argument in the last place, therefore the third place does not disparage Scripture; St. Peter seems to be of a contrary mind to Mr. White, 2 Pet. 1.19. speaking before of the miraculous voice, sub­joynes, we have also a more sure word of Pro­phesie, &c. Surely St Austin is cleerly of this mind, as you may see hereafter, that the written word is a surer Testimonie, than Mi­racles.

[Page 83]¶. 9. You except here against Mr. Whites answer to the 5th. of St. John, but wherein consists the force of the excepti­on, and weaknesse of his answer, indeed I cannot comprehend. Our Saviour, say you, does not reprehend the Jews, as Mr. White seems to intimate, but tacitely implies they were mistaken, &c. But why should not our Saviour reprehend them, whom you acknowledge by their fault and mistake worthy of reprehensi­on? Again what does tacitely implying they were mistaken, and this by their own fault, differ from, at least, a tacite, that is a seeming reprehension; so that your exception seems to consist in saying the very same thing with him you except against. But, what is of more impor­tance, what's all this to the purpose? The place is brought to prove Scripture sufficient, in the way mentioned, to Sal­vation: All that concerns the question of this place, is that the Jews thought they had life in the Scriptures, but so, as you acknowledge, that they were mista­ken and had it not; now let that be the Antecedent, and they must be strange Ma­gical Chains, that will tye the Conclusion [Page 84] to it, and make a good argument of this, The Jews had not life in the Scriptures, ergo Scriptures are sufficient to Salvation. 'Twas indeed their own fault they had it not, and I doubt not but an humble and charitable diligence would have found in them the important truth our Saviour was insisting on; But to make good the conclusion, 'tis not enough one point may appear to industry and piety, but that all may so appear as to be victori­ously maintain'd against obstinate and crafty peevishnesse.

The Attributes of perfection given by David, none doubts to be justly due to the Law of God: But what is justly due to it, I conceive injustice to attribute to any thing which is not it. Now Scripture contains, but is not the Law: and as we are far from the Blasphemy of suspecting any imperfection in the Law it self, so the place is as far from any opposition to us; for our question is not of the perfection of the Law, (none but Atheists or Infidels question it,) but of the perfection of the Letter in order to determine Controver­sies. This we deny, and deny also these places concern our difference. For Mr. [Page 85] Whites note, I conceive the place of an Ar­gument too inconsiderable a dispute to take up many thoughts: only this is cleer, that our Saviour, before he mentions Scripture, appeals to the Testimony of John, and his Father, and seems to repre­hend the Jews for not yielding to them: which argues the consideration of Scrip­ture was brought in more for superabun­dant condescendence, than necessity. And for. St. Peter, it would be easie, by expli­cating the sence of the place, to shew he is far from being of a contrary mind to Mr. White: but, it being not proper for an Answerer, to go farther than his Opponent leads him, till you expresse where his seeming contrariety lies, give me leave to assure you there seems no such thing to me; and in the mean time to desire your serious reflection on the words next following, that Scripture is not of private interpretation, lest while you pretend St. Peter contrary to Mr. White, your self become contrary to St. Peter. S. Austines mind, when you make good your promise to shew it me, I pro­mise you shall see mine concerning it.

SECT. IV. The two places, 20. Jo. and 1. Luke. No proof that the written word is a sufficient means for the Salvation of Mankind.

¶. 1. THe first place of Scripture which Mr. White cannot hinder proving the Scripture a sufficient means for Salvation and Rule to decide all necessary Controversies, is the 20th. chap. and two last verses of the Gospel of St. John, where be gives us an account of his Gospel, I say of his Gospel, and how could he intitle it the Gospel, if it were but a part of the Gospel of Christ; does he delude the world in the very first word and title, to call that the Gospel which is but a little part of it; if there be not all the essential parts of the Doctrine necessary to Salvation, in each of the Evan­gelists, as St. Mathew, and St. Mark, The Book of the Generation of Jesus Christ, Mat. 1.1. It was not his whole businesse to set down the Genealogie, that's but the 8th. part of the Book, [Page 87] but the Life and Doctrine of our Lord and thus S. Mark begins, The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and so he goeth on to lay down all the necessary actions and doctrines of salvation; Can you imagin they should set themselves to write half a Gospel, John 20. latter end, S John confesseth there were many other things done by our Saviour which he had not written, because they were too many to be written, but he hath taken as many of them as are sufficient for us, if we make the right use of them to bring us to salvation.

¶ 1. You argue next from the word Gospel, and pretend the world would be deluded, if all the essential parts of the Doctrine necessary to salvation, were not contained in every one of the Evangelists. But, I beseech you delude not your self into a belief that the word signifies more then it does. I am not Critick e­nough to derive the English word, which however would prove little more then impertinent labour; but I have been taught the Latin, or rather Greek word Evangelium, signifying Original­ly, no more then good or happy News, or rather the reward given to whosoever [Page 88] brought such news, is by Ecclesiastical use appropriated to the best and happiest, Viz. that of the way to eternal happiness; now I beseech you, cannot a man tell news, except he te [...]l all he know? Or is not that to be called new, which leaves un­told any thing belonging to the same sub­ject? To argue therefore, that because S. Johns Book contains news concerning the way to Heaven, therefore it contains all that concerns our way to Heaven seems very unreasonable; but what is more, 'tis also nothing to the purpose: For were it granted that all things neces­sary to salvation were contained in eve­ry of the Gospels, it would not follow they were so contained as is necessary, that is, accompanied with evidence enough to guide mankind securely through all vi­cissitudes to happiness, and yet no less is requisite to make Scripture the onely rule of faith.

To the Question you make in the last place, whether the Evangelists can be imagined to have written half a Go­spel? I conceive your very next words are an answer; for I beseech you, had S. John written those many things which their [Page 89] multitude made him omit, had they not all been Gospel? So that whatever proporti­on they bear of ½, or ⅓ or ⅛ to the things written, this is certain, he did not write all the Gospel he knew. Yes, but he writ say you, all necessary to salvation, you say so, but will not take it amiss, if your bare Assertion have not the force to oblige e­very one to think so, against the plain signification of the word you ground it upon: For, necessary to salvation, is not, as I said before, that which the word Go­spel imports.

¶. 2. Mr White answers to the place first, S. Johns writing was not to make a compleat History of our Saviours acts and doctrine; but only to specifie such particu­lars as prove that Christ was the true con­substantial Son of God; to assert is not to prove S. John intended only, &c. It may be as easily denied, as affirmed; thats like an obstinate Sophister, that intends not truth, but to say somwhat only to stop his adver­saries mouth, a sign of a bad cause; It is a sufficient confutation of any new Asser­tion to prove it has no ground, I see none i­maginable Mr White builds his Assertion on, unless he has some he does not express, [Page 90] which would be strange in this weighty mat­ter, but possibly that Assertion of S. Johns sole intent to prove Christs Diety (without which back door he cannot evade the force of the Argument) is built upon the 31 verse of that 20 Chapter, but these things are written (by me for this intent) that ye might beleeve that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God; but if you will give me leave I will prove the contrary with as much probabi­lity (and I think certainty) out of the same Text not dis-jointed (as Mr White makes use of it to force a false confession) but ta­ken wholly those things are written (by me for this end) to bring you to salvation by your beleeving or entertainining the Go­spel, that Christ is the Messias, for which end I have given you here those things that are requisite to beget such a saving faith in you, although I might have written more, I have not, contenting my self with those which are sufficient, for what end? [...]. To shew you only in a speculative way that Christ is God? No, that would not save, but that you may beleeve Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that belee­ving you might have life through his name; their having life seems rather to be his chief [Page 91] end because it is in the last place, quod est ultimum in executione est primum in in­tentione; or if you will begin at the other end, the words do not shew it St. Johns chief design, to prove Christ the Consubstantial Son of God, for thus they run, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ (or Messias) the Son of God, that is the Saviour of the World, who was to come, that you may be saved by him.

¶. 2. You next except against the answer Mr. White gives to the 20th. of John; and first, that he asserts, but proves not, which you say is a sign of a bad cause, a trick of an obstinate Sophister, &c. But pray recollect your self, and remember an Answerer that goes about to prove, goes beyond his bounds: To affirm, deny, or distinguish, is the whole Sphere of his activity. And when you say 'tis a sufficient confutation of a new assertion to shew it has no ground; you say very true; but pray take along with you, that your assertion of Scriptures sufficiency to the effect we speak of, is the new assertion, unheard of in the world before Luther; and an interpretation of this place in favour of it, every jot as [Page 92] new; no such sence having ever been thought of, till the necessity of justi­fying an unreasonable Tenet, forced as unreasonable an explication. If you please, prove your ground, and do not take it for granted till it be disproved. When you have done so, shew this, which you call a new assertion of Mr. Whites, has no ground; for before, sure you ought not to think it, sufficiently confu­ted. Till then I cannot see why it should be a sign of a bad cause to believe the Apostle, and take his word when he tels us the design of his writing was that we might believe the Divinity of the Son. But you can prove the contrary with as much probabilities out of the same Text: if you do no more, Mr. White has done as much as he should do▪ for if both expli­cations be probable, his Adversary has concluded nothing against him. But you think you can prove it with certainty; let us see whether it be rational for me to think so; and first, after you have quar­relled with Mr. White for dis-jointing the Text, (as I conceive very ungroundedly, when, except this word, Christ, which is not any way material, he cites the verse [Page 93] truly) your self, instead of setting it together again, deliver, not the Text, out of which you undertake to conclude, but a large Paraphrase upon it, and this without telling us whether it be your own, or recommended by any authority, or in fine any ground why we should ac­cept it, and, of which, nothing is certain, but that it is not the Text; and This you call certainty. Pray Sir Remember, to as­sert, is not to prove, Remember it may be as easily deny'd as affirm'd, Remember ob­stinate Sophistry, and signs of a bad cause.

Next, all the use you make of your Paraphrase is to establish this conclusion, whose certainty too is by this time relented into seeming, that their having life seems to be his chief end. Be it so, as I conceive the end of all the Apostles, not only in their writings, but both their and their Masters end, in all his actions was the life of Christians: Sure it will not follow their life needed no other either sustenance or Phisick then this Gospel. Be it granted it is a princi­pal means to this end; that it is the only, or whole means, the place does not so much as offer any likelyhood of asserting; [Page 94] nay, I see not how the Apostle can, without manifest violence to the Text, be made, to mean more than the one point he expresses, and the fruit resul­ting from it; for certainly 'tis not to ex­pound, but wrest a Text, when the same word is repeated in the same period, wil­fully to give it one sence in the former, another in the later place; which, yet, is the case here; for in the first part of the period, the word believe is so restrained by the Apostle, that it cannot, without unpardonable guilt, be doubted what it was he meant should be believed, when he plainly tells us, 'tis this, that Jesus is Christ the Son of God: and the word believing presently following, in the same context, and link'd to the former with a conjunction, sincerity cannot imagine it should be meant of any other be­lief, than that which, so immediately before, was plainly expressed, that to re­peat it, had been Tautologie. If words therefore can make any thing clear, I see not what place of doubt there is left, but that this is the Apostles meaning, that the Book was written to the end we might believe the Divinity of the Son, and, by [Page 95] that belief, have life, as much as depends upon that one point; which being the foundation of all our Faith, may per­haps be therefore said to give us life, be­cause whatever contributes to our life, has dependance on it; for if Christ be no Son of God, then no sufficient teach­er of mankind, and if no sufficient teacher, then nothing sufficiently taught. Though otherwise, sure life is not pro­mis'd more expresly to this faith, then Salvation to eating his flesh, which never­thelesse, I believe you will not say is e­nough to Salvation, and consequently should not that, this is enough to life.

What you say in the last place, that the words do not shew it St. Johns chief de­sign to prove Christ the Consubstantial Son of God, how do you prove? The word Christ, which is all the Text has more than what Mr. White cites, alters not the case, These two expressions. That Jesus is the Son of God, and that he is Christ the Son of God, not having any considerable difference, since no­thing is more evident, then that he that believes him to be Christ the Son of God, believes him to be the Son of God. But [Page 96] I apprehend all this business to be nothing but the confusion raised in our thoughts, by the equivocation of the word end, which may either signifie what S. John intended to do when he set himself to write that Book, which I conceive was to shew the Consubstantiality of the Son, or else what fruit he design'd from it af­ter it was written, and this seems to be the life of his Readers.

¶ 3. They, to whom he wrote, own'd Christ as the Saviour, yet he writes to them, that they might have full knowledge, and a standing monument to preserve that knowledg. But besides that Mr White has no ground for that fancie, S. Johns de­sign was only to specifie such particulars as prove Christs Dietie, I think it an unan­swerable Argument to shew from one Chap­ter another of the Gospel, how many par­ticulars there are, that are nothing at all to this only purpose of S. John, yea more particulars that do no way prove it then that doe, as any one may see that reads over the Gospel; I wonder then how Mr White could shift off the place by this groundless false Assertion, if it be, as to me it is evi­dent, then S. John making here (as it is [Page 97] manifest) a recapitulation of all those Do­ctrines and Precepts in his Gospel concluding from all, shews us, that his Book is a suffici­ent rule to salvation in all things absolutely necessary, the expression, that beleeving that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, must needs be understood as ordinarily it is thorow­out the Scripture. He that beleeves shall be saved, &c. not of a naked assent of the understanding, but of the consent of the will too, as the same S. John himself, c. 1.12. As many as received him, to them he gave power to become the sons of God (and now expounding that receiving of Christ for [...] and Saviour, adds) to them that beleeve in his name: For this capi­tal truth or Act is big with, or virtually contains all the rest S. John had delivered in his Gospel, it were improper for S. John being to comprize all in few words, in this Conclu­sion to particularize all, that were to write over the Gospel again; besides its known ver­ba intellectus denotant affectus else nei­ther this, nor many other expressions of the like nature in Scripture could be true seeing bare assenting, as Devils do, saves not.

¶ 3. Whether Mr White have any ground for what you call his fancy, I am [Page 98] so confident of your sinceritie, that I dare appeal to your second thoughts, if you please to reflect, the word onely, which you insist upon, seems not more severely used by Mr White then to signifie chiefly, or principally, which may well consist with many, perhaps the greater number of, other particularities; as Sir Kenelm Dig­bies Book was intended only to prove the immortality of the Soul, and yet far the greater part is spent in the consideration of bodies. And yet truly I beleeve, tha [...] were S. Johns Book examined from Chap­ter to Chapter, little would be found but what does either directly prove our Savi­ours Divinitie, or is subordinate to that end; some accidentals excepted, which the nature of such discourses requires should be weaved in, and which hinder not but that the other is the only design.

To proceed, I must take leave to wonder in my turn, you persist to call Mr Whites Answer a shift, false and groundless, and say no more then you do to make it ap­pear so. What you next affirm to be evi­dent and manifest, that S. John making here a recapitulation of all those Doctrines and and Precepts in his Gospel, concluding [Page 99] from all, shews us, that his Book is a suf­ficient Rule to salvation in all things abso­lutely necessary, if I understand what 'tis to recapitulate, and to conclude, is evi­dently neither manifest, nor true, for what words are there, that can bear the sense of recapitulating, and concluding in these short periods: Many other things here are which I have not written, but those I have, I writ to the end, &c. To recapitu­late signifies to sum up the chief Heads of what was said before, and to conclude is to gather somthing from others that went before, and here are neither heads, nor premises, but a bare Historical Narration informing us what the Apostle did, and why, which differs as much from recapi­tulating and concluding, as History does from Logick. But, what is of more im­portance, how came you to be so clear sighted, as where none else can perceive any Conclusion at all, to discover this, That his Book is a sufficient rule to salva­tion in all things necessary? That belief, or faith is to be understood of saving faith (which is all I can perceive you drive at to the end of the Paraph) is so far from it, that I do not beleeve any violence will [Page 100] make a premise of it; for be it as you de­sire that the Apostle writ, that we might beleev in Christ the Son of God with a saving faith, and I dare say no Arithme­tick would comprehend the number of intermedial links necessary to fasten this Conclusion to it, that what he writ is a sufficient rule to salvation.

¶ 4. But what need I trouble my self or you, with writing all I could, I remem­ber an ingenuous confession of yours, when we were one night discoursing of this place that you thought the whole Book was not only sufficient for salvation, but even some parts of it, if a man had no more, which is as much as I desire.

¶ 4. The answer to this Paraph de­pends upon the memory of that person who made such a confession: I conceive it true thus far, that even some parts might be sufficient for the salvation of some single person, extraordinarily dispo­posed, and circumstanced, which in all likelihood was his meaning. But this is nothing to our Question, whether it be sufficient for the conduct of all disposi­tions found in mankind, through all cir­cumstances the Church will be in from [Page 101] the Resurrection to the day of Judge­ment.

¶ 5. The second place I look upon as a sufficient proof of Scriptures sufficiency, is the beginning of S. Lukes Gospel, compared with the beginning of the Acts; In Mr Whites Apology p. 165, 166. where he af­firms there is not a word that this Book should serve for a Catechism, to teach him and all the world the entire body of Christi­anity, I think there is, that thou mayest know the certainty of those things thou hast been taught, or as the Greek word is, hast been Catechized in. So then S. Lukes Go­spel contains a perfect sum of all these Do­ctrines and duties which Theophilus a Christian already had learnt. To me this proves S. Lukes Gospel to be a bodie of Di­vinitie, or a Systeme of all necessary truths of Christianity, so that S. Lukes Gospel is more then a naked Historie of Christs life, containing his Doctrine too, or else he had not given Theophilus a full account of all he had been instructed in▪ To say (as Mr White) S. Luke speaketh but by the by of our Saviours Doctrine, or (as his words are) some of his excellent sayings, is quite contrary to those words of the first of the [Page 102] Acts, out of which he gathers his saying, for there he speaks thus of his Gospel. The former Treatise have I made, O Theophi­lus, of all that Jesus began both to do and to teach, which is more then (as Mr White) some of his excellent sayings: I lay the stress upon these two words, all and teach, which Mr White passeth over as Commentators do hard places, although it be the chief thing to be answered: Another thing I ob­serve in Mr Whites translation, he omits the word perfectly or exactly in the third verse of the Gospel, which is very pertinent. By all things Jesus did and taught, must be meant the substance of Christian Religion, the chief Doctrines and duties which were necessary to salvation, for if any material point were omitted by S. Luke, he could not alledge his exact knowledge in all things which he promises, nor say as he does in the Acts, that he had delivered all Christ did or taught; from whence I must con­clude (and you too, unless you can shew suf­ficient cause to the contrary) that S. Lukes Gospel, much more the whole Bible, hath sufficient truth in it, and contains all points necessary to salvation, and may be a sufficient means, though we have no traditions. The [Page 103] Covenant between God and man is cleerly e­nough laid down there, and in other Books be­sides, with all those things, without which no salvation.

¶. 5. The second place you insist up­on is the beginning of Saint Lukes Go­spel, compar'd with the beginning of the Acts: which, with your favour, I con­ceive you have not brought home to our question; for admit all you say were true, even the conclusion it self, viz. that Saint Lukes Gospel hath sufficient truths in it, and contains all points necessary to salvation, and may be a sufficient means, though we have no Traditions; your cause is far from being evicted, For our question is not so much whether sufficient truths be containd in scripture, as whether they bee contained sufficiently that is with evidence enough to carry away a cleer victory from malicious and obstinate Criticism: So that it consists very well, that all necessary truths may be contained, which is all you do say, and yet not so contain'd as in necessary for that effect, which is what you should have said. Again, since the same means may be sufficient for one person, which [Page 104] are not for another, or for all, and suffi­cient at one time, not so at another; Your Conclusion that this Gospel may be a sufficient means without Tradition, comes far short of what it should be, that 'tis suf­ficient to all persons, in all circumstances.

Now I presume the Evangelist wri­ting to Theophilus, with design to instruct him particularly, the sufficiency you speak of, cannot fairly be stretched farther then his intent, and be construed to belong to more then Theophilus himself: And cer­tainly, since every body in the Church is not Theophilus, to deserve a Gospel should be writ to him, it cannot be ex­pected what was sufficient for him, should be sufficient for every body else. You see then how strongly soever your Canon is charged, I conceive the Conclusion safe, as placed beyond its level. But yet to try the force it has, The first thing you say against Mr White is, that you think the place shews, the Book was intended for a Catechism to teach him, and all the world, the entire body of Christianity, moved by these words, that thou mayest know the certainty of these things thou hast been taught or catechized in. I [Page 105] beseech you, how does it appear, that by those things must be understood a body of Christianity? You see Mr White under­stands no more by them, then reports he [Theophilus] had heard, and tels you, if you will urge another sense, you must first justifie it against this. Now evident­ly writing to let Theophilus know the cer­tainty of those reports he had heard, is far enough from writing a body of Chri­stianity. As for the word Catechized, which you seem to rely upon, its original signification, (if good Grecians have not mis-informed me) being most properly rendred by insono, or infundo, imports no more then a delivery of somthing by word of mouth; though since, by Ecclesiastical custome it hath almost been appropriated to the delivery of Christian doctrine:

Now this being since S. Lukes time, what it was that was so delivered to Theophilus, cannot be gathered from the word. But if that be true, which you say of Theophi­lus, that he was already a Christian, I do not see the words can be brought to bear your sense, since manifestly he could not have been so, without already being cer­tain of the body of Christianity. So that [Page 106] your Exposition, makes the Evangelist, very wisely, take a great deal of pains, in writing a book, to inform Theophilus cer­tainly, of what he certainly knew before. Mr. Whites interpretation therefore seems much the more genuine, and yet, even admitting yours, I cannot, as I said before, imagine any approach to our difference: For St. Luke, expresly confining his de­sign to the instruction of Theophilus, hee that extends it to more, acts ma­nifestly without any Warrant from him.

You urge afterwards the first of the Acts, which, you say Mr. White passeth o­ver as Commentators do hard pla­ces. Truly, your severity is beyond what I have ever met with, and you are the first example of expecting a man should answer more then is objected: Mr. White is speaking to the Gospel, and these words are in the Acts, and yet you except against him for taking no notice of them. As for the difficultie it self, since those words cannot be taken in their proper natural signification, St. John plainly telling us, the world would not be able to contain the books which might be written; I do not see any ground you [Page 107] have to understand by them the substance of Christian doctrine. With submission to better judgments, I apprehend that by All is meant, all he thought fit to commu­nicate to Theophilus, that sense seeming to flow naturally from the places compa­red together: But whether that interpre­tation be true or no, I am sure nothing appears why a man should accept of yours. For whereas you would prove it out of St. Lukes exact knowledge, that is manifestly nothing to the purpose, e­very bodie seeing it follows not, because S. Luke knew all, therefore he delivered all.

And for the quarrel against Mr. White, for leaving out the word exactly, besides that, as I come from saying, it is far from being very pertinent, exact knowing being much a different thing from exact teaching all he knew, Mr. White puts in stead of it, that he was pre­sent almost at all things, &c. which, in matters of fact is the most exact knowledg that can be: And for the second proof, that otherwise he could not say he had delivered All Christ did or taught, I have already told you, though that word can­not be taken properly, to signifie truly [Page 108] All, yo [...] do it wrong to take it so im­properly as you do, the substance of Christian doctrine being a strange Eng­lish of the Latin word Omne. But be all this given to the respect of the person, which suffers me not to pass by any thing you say, without taking notice of it, though otherwise your Conclusion, which I am now come to, does not any way prejudice the Tenet I am maintain­ing; To contain sufficient truths, and to be a sufficient means to salvation, (which may possibly be true in respect of some persons and circumstances) being quite another thing, then to decide all quarrels carried on by factiously litigious persons, and this in all times and cases.

For a conclusion, I beseech you to accept of this observation, that a serious reflecti­on on what you do your self, would satis­fie you, whether partie Truth takes in this question; for whatever force, custom, and a prepossest fancie has on your words, to make them maintain St. Lukes Gospel a­lone sufficient, nature contradicts them so powerfully, that your actions speak the clean contrary, and plainly prove 'tis not sufficient: for since you cannot hold, that [Page 109] a sufficient means to you, which you do not sufficiently know to be a means, and this sufficiency of the Gospel you do not know without the Acts, which nature for­ces you to rely upon, even while you are maintaining you need them not; you see plainly your words and actions agree not, and that while you would by the former perswade the sufficiency of the Gospel alone, the later unresistably convince somthing else, viz. the Acts, is necessary to its sufficiency, that is, that it alone is not sufficient.

SECT. V. Answer to those Fathers who are brought for the sufficiencie of Scripture.

MY next Argument for Scriptures suf­ficiency shall be out of the Fathers, which Mr White p. 175. thinks improper for us, who will not relie on their Authori­ty for any one point; what though we receive not from them any authoritative testimonie, yet we embrace a rational one from any, not [Page 110] because they say it, therefore it is true, but because we see no reason to dis-beleeve, or have sufficient reason to beleeve they testifie truths, as a Judge collects a truth from Wit­nesses, every one of which is a fallible man, yet, by beholding circumstances, sees their concurrent Testimonies cannot be false; here we have ground enough to beleeve, that Scri­pture was a sufficient rule to them, because they say and confess it was. I am ready to beleeve any Tradition as well as the Bible, provided we have as good ground to beleeve it came from the Apostles, as I have of the Bible. Suppose it be not a sufficient argu­ment for us, who besides have Scripture on our side, yet it is a sufficient Argument a­gainst you, who pretend to derive your Reli­gion from them who went before you, whom you include in your Church; (as Mr White) If the Bible had once that authority we plead for, in your Church, it should have it still, the contrary being a Novelty; therefore I must count your Doctrine false, till you have solved this Argument. That which was the Rule must be, but Scripture was the Rule, Ergo, &c.

¶. 2. First, I must take out of the way your Objections out of those Fathers I make [Page 111] use of, that they were of your opinion, which you gather out of several expressions of theirs, as that of Austin (whose and others their words, I have of late read in your Authors pleading thus your cause) I would not beleeve the Gospel, unless the Authori­ty, &c. In which, and all other of their ex­pressions, we must understand (unless we will say through heat of dispute they some­times contradict their own sence plainly de­livered at other times) according to their intent, and so I see not any thing that makes against us, as that mentioned; Either S. Austin means the Church of all ages, or that present in which he lived: If that pre­cisely, abstractly without consideration of the antiquity of it, and its doctrinal succes­sion from the Apostles, his doctrine had been nothing available against the Manichees, against whom he disputes, for they might have alledg'd the authority of their Church, with as good ground against him, therefore when he alledgeth the authority of the Church or Tradition to be a sufficient proof of that which is not contained in Scripture, he means the universal Tradition of all a­ges, which was as evident as that of Scri­pture tradition, or as cleerly derived from [Page 112] the Apostles by universal Tradition, as the Scripture it self, and such a Tradition I am ready to embrace: It is cleer how high he valued the Churches authority in that lib. 2. de util. cred. c. 14. This therefore I beleeved by fame, strengthned by celebrity, consent, antiquity, so that he did no more than we, who notwithstanding are of a contrary mind to you.

¶ 3. First we beleeve the things of Religion, because they are published and held in that Church or place where we live, yet not sufficiently, for that, not a sufficient ground of belief, because of fame, till the uni­versal celebrity, consent and antiquity, do strengthen it. He sees not Christ hath re­commended the Church for an infallible decider of emergent controversies, but for a credible witness of ancient Tradition; who­soever therefore refuseth to follow the pra­ctice of the Church (understand of all pla­ces and ages) in things clearly descended from Christ, let him be lookt upon to refuse Christ; But if he be understood any where asserting only the present Churches authority suffi­cient to determine, it must be in things that are not matters of faith, that which he proves by tradition, he does not affirm it ne­cessary [Page 113] to salvation, or things contained in Scripture, for his (Austins) words are evi­dent.

¶ 4. In iis quae apertè posita sunt in sacris scripturis omnia ea reperiuntur quae continent fidem moresque vivendi, Aug. de doct. Christiana, lib. 2. c. 9. Ne­mo mihi dicat, O quid dexit Donatus, aut quid dexit Parm. aut Pontus, aut qui­libet eorum? quia non Catholicis Episco­pis consentiendum est, sic ubi sorte fallan­tur, ut contra Canonicas Scripturas ali­quid sentiant. Aug. de unitate Eccl. c. 10. Again, Ecclesiam suam demonstrarent si possunt non in sermonibus & rumoribus Afrorum, non in conciliis Episcoporum suorum, non in literis quorumlibet dispu­tatorum, non in signis & prodigiis fallaci­bus (quia etiam contra ista verbo Domini cauti redditi sumus) sed in scripto legis, in prophetarū praedictis in cantibus Psalmo­rum, in ipsius Pastoris vocibus, in Evange­listarum praedicationibus & laboribus; hoc est in omnibus Canonicis Sanctorum li­brorum authoritatibus, Eodem lib. c. 16. Utrum ipsi Ecclesiam teneant, non nisi di­vinarum Scripturarum Canonicis libris ostendant; quia nec nos propterea dicimus [Page 114] credi debere, quod in Ecclesia Christi su­mus; aut quia ipsam commendavit Optatus Ambrosius vel alii innumerabiles nostrae communionis Episcopi; aut quia nostro­rum colligarum conciliis predicata est, aut quia per totum orbem tanta mirabilia Sanctorum fiunt, &c. Quaecunque talia in Catholicâ fiunt ideo approbantur, quia in Catholica fiunt, non ideo manifestatur Catholica, quia haec in ea fiunt. Ipse Do­minus Jesus cum resurrexit a mortuis, & discipulorum oculis corpus suum offer­ret, ne quid tamen fallaciae se pati arbi­trarentur, magis eos testimoniis legis & Prophetarum & Psalmorum conforman­dos esse judicavit. Ibidem. Non audia­mus haec dico, sed haec dixit Dominus. Sunt certae libri Dominici quorum au­thoritati utrique consentimus, ibi quaera­mus Ecclesiam, ibi discutiamus causam nostram, Eod. lib. c. 23. Chrysost. in Act. Hom. 33. Take from Hereticks the Opi­nions which th [...] maintain with the Hea­then, that they may defend their Questions by Scripture alone, and they cannot stand. Tertullian de Resurrectione carnis. Hie­rom on Matth. 23. writing of an Opinion that John Baptist was killed, because he fore­told [Page 115] the coming of Christ, saith thus; this because it hath no authority from Scri­pture, may as easily be condemned as appro­ved. I might here add Aquinas his words, 1a quest. 36. art. 2. ad 1m. confessing what he had proved out of Dionisius, We are to affirm nothing of the Holy Ghost, but what we find in Scripture. Thus you will have Scripture alone (some of you as Mr White confesses) to be the Rule for some truths, though not for others, which indeed are hu­mane inventions; but I shall not urge you to maintain all your Doctors affirm (which notwithstanding, you who build upon autho­rity, have more cause to do then we) Only ob­serve the Fathers were against you. I pro­ceed to give you more proofs of it.

¶ 1, 2, 3, 4. I come now to your Testi­monies from the Fathers, and beg leave before I enter upon them to pause a while upon the State of the Question betwixt us, that our eye being strongly fixt upon it, may not be diverted by that variety of Objects, which the many notions found in Testimonies will present it. You as­sert, We deny Scripture to be the rule of Faith; Every of which words deserves its particular reflexion, For first, by Scripture [Page 116] is meant either the words or sense; that is, the words containing a sense, so as that another may be found in the same words; or else a sense expressed accidentally by such words, & which might have been ex­pressed by other. By a Rule since 'tis our belief must be regulated, and our belief is of things, not sounds, is understood ei­ther a determinate sense, or certain means to arrive at it. We say then that Scri­pture, taken the first way cannot be a Rule, nothing being more evident then that words, meerly as such; without due quali­fications, which are not found in all words, are neither sense, nor means to ar­rive at a determinate one, since the same words may comprehend many senses. Take Scripture the second way, and the question is quite changed; none denies the sence of it to be the word of God, by which all our belief and actions are to be regulated; our Dispute then in that case, is not whether it be a Rule, but how 'tis known; whether by the bare words in which 'tis couched (which we deny, be­cause other sences are couched in the ve­ry same words) or by the Churches autho­rity interpreting it by Tradition, which [Page 117] you conceived unnecessary. To Scripture interpreted by Tradition, or the sence of Scripture acknowledged by Tradition, we submit all our thoughts and actions, but deny the title of a Rule can belong to Scripture, taken for the meer words, un­senc't, that is, Characters; and conceive the sence of Scripture cannot be suffici­ently discovered by the bare scanning of the words, which after all, being capa­ble of many sences, leave it undetermined which is the true one.

Faith is to be considered either in respect of one, or some few men, or in respect of a multitude; for since the same cause produces not the same effect upon different subjects, 'tis not possible that to every of those many, who are comprehended in a Church, the same knowledge should be necessary: That there is a rewarder of good, and punisher of evil, may for ought I can tell be enough for some extraordi­narily disposed creature to know, but mankind requires the knowledge of much more. Again outward circumstances ex­tremely vary the disposition of the sub­ject. We live both in calms and storms, and to day a washing boul will ferry me [Page 118] over the Thames, which Oars perhaps will hardly do to morrow: Now since he that meets with no rubs seldom stumbles, if the way be smooth and even, every thing overcoms it; if rugged or deep, 'tis not passed without much labour and dif­ficulty. And so the faithful, who live in a deep peace, need not that strength of certainty, which is necessary for those, who are assaulted by the outward wars of Heresie, or intestine broils of Schism.

Observe then, if you please, what your witnesses to gain your cause, should de­pose for you. That Scripture, taken for the words, teaches the Church, that is, mankind the way to salvation, so as not to need the assistance of Tradition, or any other Interpreter, to secure them against all possible assaults of all possible adver­saries; or taken for the sence, that the sence of Scripture is so known by the bare words, without the help of Traditi­on, or other Interpreter, that no subtlety or malice can weaken the certainty it gives of as much as is necessary for the salvation of mankind. This is what they should say; What they do, let us now ex­amine. But first you tell us, you receive [Page 119] not their Testimony as authoritative, but embrace both their and any other as rational; which is a peece of learning, I should have been not sor­ry to have met in an Adversary I had desired to treat like one. To you I can onely say, your difference to those, who mint such adulterate coin, is much great­er then the blind obedience with which we use to be reproached.

Of the two ways of moving assent, Autho­rity & Reason, the one is distinguished from the other in this, that the first relies up­on the credit of the Proposer, whom, if we be satisfied he is so wise as to know what he says, and so good, as not to say against what he knows, 'tis rational to beleeve, and lay hold upon the truth he presents us, which we see, with his eyes, not our own. The second carries us, by the evidence of truth it proposes, barefaced, and without any consideration of the Proposer, in which way we rely upon our own eyes, not another mans credit: Wherefore if you will proceed the first way, by Testimonies, they are onely, and so far valuable, as their Author has autho­rity, and must be either authoritative, or [Page 120] of no force at all: If the second, 'tis im­pertinent to cite an Author for what is considerable, onely in respect of what it is, not in respect of him that said it, for reasons have weight from their inward vertue, and are neither greater in the mouth of Aristotle, nor lesse in the mouth a Cobler. Neither therefore can autho­ritative be separated from testimony, nor rational joyned to it; a rational Testimony in true English, saying a Testimony, which is not a Testimony, but a reason.

Your 3 Paraph too has a very pretty di­stinction in these terms, that the Church is is no infallible decider, but a credible witness, whereas these two, are at least in our subject matter inseparable. For since not infallible says fallible, and fallible says that which may deceive, and credible says what 'tis rational to beleeve, and no­thing is more irrational then to beleeve what may deceive the beleever, plainly if the Church be not infallible, neither is she credible. Besides, her power of de­ciding, in things of this nature, is founded upon her power of witnessing, she being therefore able to decide, because she is able to witness what it was which Christ [Page 121] and his Apostles taught her, and she has till now preserved: in which, if she can credibly, that is, infallibly witness, she can also infallibly decide; if her testimony be fallible, she cannot be credible. The rest of what you say, till you come to the Te­stimonies themselvs, although I do not al­low, yet I think not necessary to meddle with, apprehending the concern of our dispute to be very independent of it. But now St. Austin tells us, non Catholicis Episcopis consentiendum est, sicubi forte fal­lantur, ut contra Canonicas Scripturas ali­quid sentiant. Very true, and sure no body, at least no Catholick Bishop ever pretended to be believed against Scripture, that is, its sence, concerning which, our contest is how tis known, and to that the witness says nothing. Again, Ecclesiam suam demonstrent non in sermo­nibus, &c. sed in Canonicis librorum au­thoritatibus: And, utrum ipsi Ecclesiam te­neant non nisi divinarum Scripturarum Ca­nonicis libris ostendant: Lastly, non Audi­amus haec dico, sed haec dixit Dominus, &c. ibi quaeramus Ecclesiam, &c. In which three places he challenges his Adversaries, to prove their cause by Scripture, a course, not onely commendable in him, [Page 122] but practis'd dayly by us. Several of our Books will witness for us, we are so far from thinking our cause lost by Scripture, that we know it infinitely superior even in that kind of tryal: but what's this to the purpose? Because St. Austin then, and we now, know the advantage Scri­pture gives us above all our Adversaries, does therefore either he or we think the bare words of it are our Rule of faith, or that its sence needs no other means to be found out, but the bare words? These Sir are our onely Questions, but not so much as thought on by the Judges you bring to decide them. The place you bring from his Doct. Christ. seems more to the purpose, but yet comes not home; it being violence to extend it farther then private Readers, and these qualifi'd, as he expresses, with piety, hu­mility, and fear of God: pietate mansue­tis, (as his words are) de timentibus Deum, piously meek, and fearing God. And of these tis also Mr. Whites opinion, that the Scripture is plain enough to make them perfect beleeving Catholicks. But that 'tis able to contest with captious fro­wardness, and those crooked dispositions [Page 123] which accompany Heresie, or satisfie the nice sharpness of sincere, but piercing wits, or that the plainness, he speaks of, ought to bee understood with respect to the exigencies of the Church, that is mankind, which may be true in respect of such excellently dispos'd persons as he mentions, are things, however neces­sary, yet not at all touched.

St. Hieroms authority is wider; all it says being thus much, that where there is but one authentick History extant of the Subject to be spoken of, what is not found there, has no sufficient ground to keep it from being unblamably rejected. Which is his case: for there is no authen­tick History of the actions of St. John Baptist, but the Bible; wherefore, since they are no subject of Traditions, they must either deny their ground from thence, or have no ground at all.

Tertullians words are plainly changed: for whereas you make him tye and, as it were, challenge Hereticks to defend their cause by Scripture, his words are: ut de Scripturis solis questiones suas s [...]stant, That they may, not defend, but present, or han­dle their Questions, not by, but of Scrip­tures [Page 124] alone, in which, though by the od­ness of the Phrase, the sence be a little dark, yet this is clear, that the expressi­on is common to proving and defending, and therefore to restrain it to defendin [...], is in the mildest language, manifest inju­stice: For my part, I conceive the sence no more but this; That Hereticks cannot prove their cause by Scripture. But I must wonder at the proceedings of your men, and by what charm they get the cre­dit of misleading people, when 'tis ma­nifest they chuse to grope in the dark, when they might walk in the open light. To hook in the authority of Tertullian to their party, they take advantage here of a place, whose obscurity renders the sence hard to be determined, and easie to be wrested (but not enough to their pur­pose neither, without plainly changing the words) when they cannot be ignorant he has delivered his judgement directly against them in as express terms as words can frame in his prescription against He­resies. I shall only transcribe two short places, and recommend the whole excel­lent Work to your serious perusal. He tells us we are not to dispute with Here­ticks [Page 125] out of Scripture, which they have nothing to do withal, it being forbid by the Apostle amongst other Reasons, Quo­niam nihil proficiat congressio scriptura­rum, nisi plane ut aut stomachi quis ineat eversionem aut cerebri; because bandying of Scriptures is good for nothing at all, but to turn either the stomack or the brain: And a little further, Ergo non ad Scri­pturas provocandum est, in quibus aut nulla, aut incerta victoria est, aut parum certa: Wherefore we are not to appeal to Scriptures, in which the victorie is either none at all, or uncertain, at least not certain.

Now I beseech you, where is the sincerity of those men who would make us beleeve Tertullian held Scripture the only rule of Faith? Or because there is a wrestible place to be found in one of his Books, 'tis his judgement of the point in question, either doubtful, or possible to be unknown to whoever desires to know it, and much lesse to any that lays claim to the title of learned? S. Thomas of Aquine says indeed, that nothing is to be affirmed of God, which is not expressed in Scripture; but how? either according to the words, or according to the sence: [Page 126] which is to say, that some things, as in particular, the question in hand of the Holy Ghost are so in Scripture as not to be efficaciously discovered by the words; and so he brings a place to prove the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Son, very far from unavoidable. But I forbear to urge his authority against you, imagining by your nice wariness in men­tioning him, you are sufficiently satisfied he is far from your opinion in this point, and proceed to the rest of the proofs you give a promise of.

¶ 5. It appears Christian people lookt upon the Bible, as the rule of Faith, by these words of the Council in Socrates his Ec­clesiastical History, 2. l. c. 29. Nomen substantiae quoniam a patribus simpliciter positum a populo autem ignoratum, offensionem propterea multis concitat (mark) quod Scripturis minimè sit com­prehensum [they would not have been of­fended if the Scripture had not been their Rule) visum est ipsum tollere, & omnino nullam mentionem hujus verbi substantia, eum de Deo loquimur, de reliquo fieri quia literae sacrae omnino substantiae vel Filii & Spiritus Sancti neutiquam memi­nerint [Page 127] filium tamen Patri per omnia si­milem dicimus: quippe cum sacrae Scri­pturae illud asserant, doceant. And that expression of Constantine to which all the Bishops (except those friends of Arius) did consent when he came first into the Council of Nice, after the Bishops had taken their places exhorting them to concord: A quo (Eustachia) cum esset peroratum, Impe­rator omni genere laudis illustrissimus, verba facere de concordia & consensu animorum in memoriam eos redigere tum crudelitatis tyrannorum, tum prae­clarissimae pacis suis temporibus divinitus Ecclesiae decretae.

Ostendere etiam, quam grave esset, imo vero quam acerbum hostibus jam profli­gatis, & nemine ex adverso se opponere audente, ut ipsi se oppugnarent mutuo, & laetitiam inimicis, atque adeo risum praebereat; praesertim cum de rebus di­vinis disputarent, haberent (que) doctrinam sacratissimi spiritus literarum monumen­tis proditam. Nam libri (inquit) Evangelistarum & Apostolorum, quin etian veterum prophetarum oracula nos evidenter docent, quid de divino numin [...] sentiendum sit [...] Omni igitur seditio [...] [Page 128] contentione depulsa, literarum divinitus inspiratarum testimoniis res in questionem adductas dissolvamus: Theodoret Eccles. History, l. 1. cap. 7.

Many more expressions I might bring, but I do not see what can be clearer, then these words or what sence possibly you can put upon them; the Emperor seems to exag­gerate it as a most unreasonable and strange thing that they should dissent in matters of Faith, while they have them evidently laid down in Scripture, which he bids them take for their rule to decide the controversie by, and accordingly the Author tells us they did, and in their leters and forms of Faith; I find all along Scripture Arguments. I think this deserves your serious considerati­tion.

¶ 6. I think your own Reason (if you will impartially give it leave to act and declare it self) will tell you this clear Ar­gument deserves a clear answer, not a con­jecture without ground, as Mr. Whites p. 93. &c. will appear to any unbiassed man. We have ground (says he, and yet does not give any ground, which therefore is as easily de­nied as asserted) to beleeve that some learn­ed men in the Court, were prevented by [Page 129] Arius, and sollicited into a secret favour of this error, from whom 'tis likely (it is not likely) proceeded that motion of Constantine to the Council, for determining the point out of Scripture. Did not Constantine know the truth before? Mr White proves he did by his own Argument 97. unless a man be so perverse as to affirm Christians did not use the form of Baptism prescribed by Christ, there can be no doubt of the bles­sed Trinity: the very words of Baptism carrying the truth (I say) in themselves: and is that likely the Emperor would be­tray the truth, or favour an Heretick to whom he writes sharply, and of whom he speaks bitterly in his letter to the Church of Alexandria, against whom chiefly he had even called the Council. Mr White con­fesseth the Council followed the Emperors words, and there was magna conquisitio, turning of Scriptures, &c. though not to that end to which the Emperor propos'd it; so then he grants the Emperor propos'd it, as I make use of his words: But the Coun­cil did not follow his words for that end; the historian says, Maxima pars ejus verbis obtemperavit. I cannot gather one silla­ble hence nor from any other place for Mr [Page 130] White; Ʋnless there be a proof, it is but Sophistry, and a sign of a desperate cause. It is likely, is it not? that grave wise As­sembly that came to confute an obstinate ad­versarie, would make use of a Lesbian rule (if they did not count it sufficient and the chief) which their Adversary would make nothing of, as long as one place can ex­plicate a hundred opposed, so Mr. White speaks.

¶. 7. Yet it is plain they did make use of this Rule, and did conclude by it, (that same truth which they had before that learnt out of it, as Eusebius in his Epistle to his own people confesses. Socr. l. 1. c. 5. yea, stick and keep to Scripture-expressions, in the forme of their determinations, as much as they could, which Mr. White himself calls a good way to govern their ex­pressions by: and therefore I cannot imagine the possibility of the truth of his words, (p. 98.) that the Council at last was for­ced to conclude out of Tradition, he brings Theodoret to prove it, but names not the place where, I have read all I can imagine should shew it, but finde not one word: a necessity, sayes he, which the Rules of Saint Irenaeus, &c. justifies; I have not the other [Page 131] be mentions, without citing the place; as for Irenaeus, I am sure it is false, he has no such Rule in his whole book, the only place in him that glanceth at it, is not a proof (I speak of it elsewhere) if it were, it would prove Ire­naeus an egregious fool, to spend above 600 pages to no purpose in Scripture-Argument, and then in one page do all the work by your imaginarie only Argument, I expect a better Solution, or a deserved consent to the contrary truth.

¶. 8. Mr. White p. 95. seems to make the Bishops to set upon this Resolution of their own accord; if that be true also, then both Bi­shops and People were of the same minde his words are; But the same Bishops consented to excommunicate the Contradicters, to hinder men from unwritten words: and was not that a proper and prudent remedy to prevent the inconveniences that easily arise from con­fusion and incertaintie of language: when e­very one phrases the mysterie according to his private fancie (and are not all your Traditions, which you say depend not upon words subject to these inconveniences, pray tell me ingenu­ously) and governs not his terms, by some constant and steadie Rule, and the Writings of the Apostles or ancient Fathers. What [Page 132] now! does Mr. White turn his tale, and call Scripture a constant steadie rule, which before he made a nose of wax.

¶ 5, 6, 7, 8. There follows a Citation from a Council out of Socrates, which to a Person disposed to make use of it affords a fair advantage: But as my aim is your service, not victory, I shall only desire you to reflect they were Hereticks, who by the Artifice of that pretence, sought to draw the Council of Ariminum to subscribe a new form of Faith, in prejudice of what had formerly been establisht at Nice: A sleight which the Catholicks rejected with this Answer: We came not hither as though we wanted Faith and beleef (for we retain that Faith which we have learned from the beginning) but we are come to withstand Novelties; if those things which you have now read, neither savour, nor tend to the establishing of Novelty, accurse and renounce the He­resie of Arius in such wise as the old and ancient Canon of the Church hath ba­nished all Heretical and Blasphemous Doctrine. Now consider, if you please, who they were that pretended Scripture, who they that rejected it, and adhered [Page 133] constantly to what they had learned from the beginning, and observe which party your Position takes, and which mine.

Next, is an expression of Constantines in his Oration to the Council of Nice, insisted upon, to my no small wonder, through 4. Paragraphs. For how comes it that a man bred up wholly to the Arts of War and Government, and so lately become a Christian, that he wanted even time, had his other employments been no Obstacle, to advance beyond the degree of a Learner, should yet be look'd upon by you as so great a Doctor, that an ex­pression of his (which according to the cu­stom of such persons too, has more of ora­tory, then severe discourse in it,) should wholly sway you in a point of Religion, whose judgment I dare say, in a point of Politicks, in which he was much better vers'd, would not be of half that credit with you? what if he did not so much as understand the thing? and if he did, what if he spoke rather according to his oc­casions then his judgment? For Princes you know, do, and ought to govern their actions by other rules then private men, and speak sometimes more what 'tis fit [Page 134] they should be heard speak, then what they truly think. In either of these cases, both which I take to be, not only possible, but so far probable that I think them true, how weak a support is this Testimo­ny you so much rely upon? And yet I think these advantages so unnecessary, that the place it self faithfully consulted needs no assistance to conclude plainly against you; For since you make Constan­tine satified of the truth of the Question, before the calling of the Council, it can­not with any colour be imagined he meant to put that to tryal which, before the try­all appointed, was already known, and re­solv'd on. The Question therefore in Issue, could not be which was Faith, which Heresie, neither does that use to be, or in­deed can be a Question among those that know their own Faith: but how the oppositions made against the known Faith might be answered. And this (besides that after a man is satisfied of the truth of one part of the Question, there can be no more dispute concerning the same Question, but how to answer the Ob­jections of the opposite) is clear from the very words: For dissolvere does not [Page 135] signifie to give sentence in a Question, (he that should English it so, would wrest it strangely) but to solve an Argument, its natural signification, to loose or untie, being applied by Schollers to the knots of Sophistry. That Phrase therefore imports the answering an Objection, not the determining a controversie, and the sence of the place is this: Let us by Scripture shew the Arguments of A­rius brought out of Scripture fallacious and unconcluding.

I beseech you then to accept of this short Answer to your long Discourse; First, that whatever were Constantines opinion, 'tis of no extraordinary impor­tance either way, he being a man wholly bred up to other Arts then Divinity, and by the course of his life disabled from attaining a mastery in such abstruse points. Secondly, that yours is so far from appearing to be his Opinion, that you cannot force it upon the words you cite without manifest violence, and which their own genuine signification, and the consideration of circumstances plainly refuse.

As for that part of your seventh Pa­raph, [Page 136] where you deny the Council was forced to conclude out of Tradition the desire of serving you makes me wish my self a better Historian then I am: But I think the Epistle of S. Athanasius to the Africans, which you will find in Theode­ret lib. 1. c. 8. will sufficiently clear that Truth to you, since 'twill inform you, that whatever words the Fathers of the Coun­cil could chuse out of Scripture to ex­press the Catholick Faith in, the Arians knew how to elude, by shewing the same words to have other sences in other pla­ces; which at last forced the Fathers to invent a new word, and gave occasion to the Arians of murmuring, that they were condemned by unwritten words; that is, not by Scripture, but by Tradi­tion.

Since, what has formerly been said, will I hope, be an ingenuous Answer to the question of your eighth Paraph, and satis­fie you that Tradition is not subject to the same inconveniences with words; there remains no more but to vindicate Mr White from the inconstancy you charge him with, to which there will I think no more be needful, then barely to [Page 137] represent the case to your second thoughts: Our faith, you know, must be both beleeved and expressed; the expres­sions, he conceives it sit, should be uni­form, and that the best way in order to it, is to make use, as much as may be, of those which the Holy Ghost in Scripture has before made use of. But since expres­sion supposes the knowledg of what it is we would express, he holds there is some other way to come to this knowledg be­sides looking upon the expressions which are consequent to the knowledg; whereas the way to it is before it, and that the expressions naked of themselves, and left unguarded of other helps are not suffici­ent to preserve and secure the truths they contain; the Positions then are both true, That the Scripture is the best Rule to govern our expressions by, and yet not sufficient to regulate our Beleef; and the contradictions you fancy between them, proceeds not from his inconstancy, but your inadvertence.

¶ 9. Of late I have read over Iraeneus, diligently endeavouring to see the Rule he takes for to confute the Errors he writes against, and cannot see but you are out: [Page 138] One or two places indeed I have found seem­ing to favour you, which since I find your Writers make use of, yet if I understand any thing he is your enemie. He says in­deed in his fifth Book, cap. 4. What if the Apostles had not left us Scriptures, ought we not to have followed the order of Tradi­tion which they delivered, &c. But does not this imply, we need not use crutches, seeing we have legs; some Nations he says had no written Word, yet had the same Doctrine which was written: What then? As long as they have and retain the Doctrine purely, whether in writing or in their hearts, it is well, but though the Apostles did leave some Nations the Gospel without Writing, it does not follow that they would have always retained and kept it in succeeding ages pure­ly; where is there any particular Church under heaven, that hath to this day kept the doctrines of salvation from the Apostles entirely without any writing? He might challenge his Adversaries to shew their do­ctrine came from the Apostles by Tradition, living presently after those times wherein some that conversed with the Apostles lived, and when all Churches agreed (as in Iraene­us his time) in matters of Faith, and that [Page 139] unity was then a good assurance, they all came from one fountain; but the case is altred, those ancient Churches afterwards were divided, and then whom must a man beleeve, when each say they have the way to heaven?

¶ 9. I am sorry your opinion and mine disagree so much about Irenaeus, whom though I cannot profess to have read so exactly as you do, yet I dare say I am not mistaken, as I think you are, in the sence of those places I have read: And first, the edge of those two, you bring in our behalf, seems not at all taken off by the Answers you give them. For since in case no Scriptures had been left, he refers us to the order of Tradition, plainly suppo­sing Tradition would have done our busi­ness, and that we had not, even in that case been left without a rule (it had been non-sence to refer us to a rule, which would not have been a rule when tryed, and had he thought so, he would certainly have told us, there had been in that case no rule at all) and if so, then pray why is not Tradition as much a rule with Scri­ptures as without them? They may add to its force by their testimony, but take [Page 140] away nothing of its efficacy. For, that the truths, which the Apostles taught, were written, sure makes them no whit the lesse truths, and if it may be known what 'twas they taught (as you see Ire­naeus is of the opinion it may by Tradition) I hope the security is equal whether it were or were not commended to writing. This place then (which by the way is not in the fifth but third Book) makes it very evident Irenaeus held another rule besides Scripture, that is Scripture not the onely Rule, which is your Tenet.

Again, since some Nations had the Do­ctrine, but had no Scriptures, does it not follow undeniably that there was another means besides Scripture to preserve the Doctrine amongst them? and further that the Apostles trusted not to writing the preservation of the Doctrine they taught them? which had they intended for a means, much more the only means of do­ing it, they cannot be imagined to have omitted. I learn therfore from this place, both the efficacy of Tradition, which actually did preserve the Apostles do­ctrine without writing, and the judg­ment of the Apostles, who left their [Page 141] doctrine in these Nations not to Scri­pture, but Tradition, to be preserved. But it follows not, say you, they would have retained their doctrine pure in succeeding ages, although they did so till Irenaeus's time. And pray why does it not follow? provided they would still make use of the means by which they retain'd pure doctrine till that time: and what time shall be assigned in which the same cause shall leave off producing the same effect? since confessedly traditi­on did preserve the Doctrine till then, you should prove, not barely affirm, it could do so no longer. But the truth is, and your own clear thoughts will certain­ly shew it you, that rule was so far from a likelihood of betraying the truths com­mitted to her, that it cannot be contrived into a possibility that it should betray them; for since the Apostles left them the truth, as long as they retained what they received from the Apostles, and ad­mitted nothing else, which is the method of Tradition, pray what door could Error find to creep in at? 'Twas not therefore possible for them to make ship­wrack of their faith, till they had first [Page 142] thrown their rule overboard, and they would not only have preserved their do­ctrine pure to succeeding Ages, by the same means they had preserv'd it till then, but they could not preserve it pure, while they retain'd the same means which had preserv'd it till then.

To the following question I answer, the Church, of which by Gods mercie I am a member, has preserved the doctrines of salvation entire, not without writings indeed, but without making them her Rule to preserve them by, neither had she, or could she have preserved them, had there been no other means left her then words. For what you say next, I refer you to the third Dialogue, to see, since 'tis the same thing in point of certaintie, to receive a truth immediately, through two hands, or through twentie, provided we be sure there be no deceit in the inter­mediate Conveyers, all possibilitie of deceit removed from them, and conse­quently our certaintie equal with that of those who lived nearer the Apostles times. As for the unity of the Churches in the time of Irenaeus, 'tis true there was an unity, and stil is amongst all those [Page 143] that stuck to Tradition, but then, as now, some were divided, and by the same means as now, viz. by preferring their private Interpretations of Scripture be­fore the doctrine they had been taught. This divided the Valentinians in the time of Irenaeus, the Arians in the time of St. Athanasius, the Donatists in Saint Austins, in all Ages some, and divides you now. And the way to know whom a man must beleeve, when each say they have the way to Heaven, was then, as now, to keep fast to what had been taught, to follow those Churches that do so, and those that build upon private Interpreta­tions to reject; so that the case is not at all altered, the method of arriving to the knowledge of saving truths, being the same anciently and now.

¶. 10. That Irenaeus apprehended all those truths necessary for salvation, were con­tained in Scripture, which some places for a while have had without writing, is clear by what follows, and that the Scripture is a sufficient rule to salvation, and was to him and the Church in his dayes which enjoyed it: he tells us, the Apostles left the same in wri­ting, in lib. 3. cap. 1. edit. Basil. His [Page 144] words are, Non enim per alios depositi­onem salutis nostrae cognovimus, quam per eos, per quos Evangelium pervenit ad nos. Quod quidem tunc praeconiave­runt, postea verò per Dei voluntatem in Scripturis nobis tradiderunt, fundamen­tum & columnam fidei nostrae futurum. Is not this clear against you? The Scripture then was not written by chance, but by the Will of God, for this end, that it might be a standing rule, and pillar or foundation of our faith. And lib. 2. cap. 46. shews this is a clear certain way for every one, Cum itaque universae Scripturae & propheticae, & Evangelicae, in aperto & sine ambigui­tate, & similiter ab omnibus audiri pos­sunt, He was blaming Hereticks drawing errors from obscure Places and Parables, when they might have seen the light in clear places, by which the darker are to be understood. God (says he) has given power to honest reli­gious mindes that are desirous of truth to see it, Haec promptè meditabitur & in ipsis proficiat diuturno studio, facilem sen­tentiam efficiens. Sunt autem haec, quae ante oculos nostros occurrunt, & quae­cunque apertè, & sine ambiguo ipsis di­ctionibus posita sunt in Scripturis, & [Page 145] ideo Parabolae debent ambiguis adaptari; sic enim & qui absolvit, sine periculo ab­solvit, & parabolae ab omnibus similiter absolutionem accipient, & a veritate cor­pus integrum, & simili adaptatione mem­brorum, & sine concussione perseverat. Sed quae non apertè dicta sunt, neque ante oculos posita, copulare absolutionibus parabolarum, quas unusquisque prout vult adinvenit, sic enim apud nullum erit regula veritatis. And so says he there, (If we do not with sober unbiast minds take the plain Scripture for our guide) a man shall be always seeking, but never come to the truth, yet the Scripture doth clear it, though all do not beleeve one God, &c. si­cut demonstravimus ex ipsis Scriptura­rum dictionibus. Quia enim de cogita­tione eorum qui contraria opinantur de patre, nihil apertè, neque ipsa dictione, neque sine controversiâ in nullâ omnino dictum sit Scripturâ, & ipsi testantur di­centes, in absconso haec eadem Salvatorem docuisse non omnes, sed aliquos discipu­lorum, qui possunt capere, &c. Quia autem Parabolae possunt recipere multas absolutiones, ex ipsis de inquisitione Dei affirmare, derelinquentes quod cer­tum [Page 146] & indubitatum & verum est, valde praecipitantium se in periculum, & irra­tionabilium esse, quis non amantium veri­tatem confitebitur. And in the next Chapter, Habentes itaque regulam ipsam veritatem, & in apertum positum de Deo testimonium, non debemus quaestionum declinantes in alias atque alias absolutio­nes ejicere firmam & veram de Deo sci­entiam, &c. Si autem omnium quae in scripturis requiruntur absolutiones non possumus invenire, alterum tamen Deum praeter eum qui est non requiramus; im­pietas enim haec maxima est. Credere autem haec talia debemus Deo, qui & nos fecit, rectissime scientes, quia scripturae quidem perfectae sunt, quippe à verbo Dei & Spiritu ejus dictae. Si autem in rebus creaturae quaedam quidem eorum adja­cent Deo, quaedam autem & in nostram venerunt scientiam, quod mali est, si & eorum, quae in scripturis requiruntur, uni­versis scripturis spiritualibus existentibus quaedam quidem absolvamus secundum gratiam Dei, quaedam autem commende­mus Deo, & non solum in hoc seculo, sed & in futuro; ut semper quidem Deus doceat, homo autem semper discat. Si [Page 147] ergo secundum hunc mundum, quem diximus, quaedam quidem quaestionem Deo comiserimus, & fidem nostram ser­vabimus, & omnis Scriptura à Deo no­bis data consonans nobis invenietur, & parabolae his quae manifestè dicta sunt consonabunt, & manifestè dicta absol­vent Parabolas, & per dictionum multas voces unam consonantem melodiam sen­tiet. By which you see clearly what may be judged the way, and held the only way to de­cide all controversies, plain Scripture, and thinks it no absurditie for us to be ignorant, of what God is not pleased to teach us in Scri­pture, and that you may see yet more clearly, he held Scripture, as his word, was perfect, con­taining the whole doctrine of the Gospel, which is our question.

¶. 10. After these exceptions taken to what he says in our favour, you examine Irenaeus for your self: and first produce these words, Non enim per alios, &c. the sense of which I take to be, that the Go­spel or doctrine of Christ, which was to be the foundation of our faith, was by the Will of God delivered to us by writing, as well as preaching. In which, what branch there is that does so much [Page 148] as concern us, truly I see not; for no bo­dy doubts but the doctrine of Christ is the foundation of our faith, that it was writ­ten as well as preached, and this not by chance, but by particular Providence and instinct of the Holy Ghost, any of which positions when I contradict, I will ac­knowledge Irenaeus is against me: In the mean time I appeal to the very Rules of Syntax, whether he be not against you: and whether Scripturis fundamentum will agree, that Scripture be the foundation, which the construction plainly attributes to Evangelium; that is, the doctrine or points of faith, that is, the sense of the Letter, not the letter to be senc'd; which is the Tenet you maintain, we oppose.

There follow two long citations out of lib. 2. cap. 46. & 47. which you say, shew clearly, that plain Scripture may be judged the only way to decide all con­troversies: and this I deny not, for sup­posing Scripture to be plain enough for that effect, I see not why it should not produce it: But do the places say it is plain enough? What you think I know not; but I will assure you I am so far from thinking that question determin'd [Page 149] here, that no part of either of them prompts me to suspect the Father did so much as think of it. His businesse in these chapters, as far as I apprehend, is, in the first to shew the absurdity of op­posing a fancie drawn from an obscure Parable, to an acknowledged doctrine, and even in Scripture plain to religious Lovers of truth: and in the second, to teach the impossibility of attaining to all knowledge in this life, and the necessi­tie of being content to know as much as God is pleas'd we should, and be ig­norant of the rest. Now, if by deciding those questions, he hath given sentence in ours, from which 'tis impossible any two should be farther removed, and that by teaching Parables are not to be reli'd on, nor our thirst after knowledg satis­fied in this life, he has taught Scripture is plain enough to decide all controver­sies in all times and cases. He has done both what he never thought to do, and what I think impossible he ever should doe.

¶. 11. In his third book, cap. 14. Si autem Lucas quidem, qui semper cum Paulo praedicavit, & dilectus ab eo dictus [Page 150] est, & cum eo evangelizavit, & creditus est referre nobis evangelium, nihil aliud ab eo didicit, sicut ex verbis ejus osten­sum est, quem admodum hi, qui nunquam Paulo adjuncti fuerunt, gloriantur ab­scondita & inerrabilia didicisse Sacra­menta? Quoniam autem Paulus simpli­citer, quae sciebat haec & docebat, non solum eos, qui cum eo erant, verum om­nes audientes, seipsum fecit manifestum. In Mileto convocatis Episcopis & Pre [...] ­byteriis, (repeats those words, Acts. 20.17. and so on) non subtraxi uti non an­nuntiarem vobis omnem sententiam Dei. Sic Apostoli simpliciter & nemini invi­dentes, quae didicerant ipsi à Domino, haec omnibus tradebunt. Sic igitur & Lucas nemini invidens, ea quae ab eis di­dicerat, tradidit nobis, sicut ipse testifi­catur dicens, quemadmodum tradiderunt nobis, qui ab initio contemplatores & ministri fuerunt verbi. Observe, I pray you, and impartially weigh the truth, Irenaeus is professedly disputing against the Valenti­nians throughout his whole book, confutes them all along by Scripture, answers their ob­jection, (which is the very same with yours against us) the Scriptures do not contein all [Page 151] divine truths and mysteries, and there fore they would not be judged nor confuted by it (as you at this day.) Irenaeus first proves out of Scripture, that the Apostles deliver­ed freely, plainly, the whole mystery or do­ctrine of salvation to all, envying the know­ledg of it, or any part of that knowledge, to none great or small, therefore not to S. Luke who was a continual companion of the A­postle Paul, and a beloved fellow-labourer; So that he S. Luke must needs know all, and out of S. Lukes words (the very same I have before made my Argument, the be­ginning of his Gospel and the Acts) shews he did faithfully relate all he had received and learnt of the Apostles, not envying us any one truth [what is the meaning of that expression] he himself had learnt. Besides what force could there have been in Ire­naeus his Argument; or indeed to what purpose would his whole Book have been, proving from Scripture all along his Adver­saries to be out, and their Tenet to be false, because the Scripture doth not teach them: if the Scripture be not such a perfect Rule, which contains the whole Mystery of salva­tion, and doctrine of the Gospel.

Thus I think (if I am not mightily mi­staken) [Page 152] I have proved the Minor Proposi­tion which only can be questioned of that Syllogism, which destroys Mr. Rushworths second Dialogue. That which hath been the rule in the Primitive Church must still be.

But the Written word, which we enjoy was the rule, as appears by what hath been said.

Ergo, The Scripture still is, &c.

¶ 11. The last is out of the fourteenth Chapter of the third Book, which to make strong against us, you assume two things, and I conceive neither true: First, That he confutes them all along by Scriptures; which I do not see, how it would advantage you were it admit­ted; for because he saw it convenient to dispute out of Scripture, will it therefore follow, no other way of disputing is ei­ther lawfull or possible: We dispute with you every day out of Scripture, yet hold another a surer, nay the onely rule; but I wonder the diligence you profess should so far deceive the candour you are ma­ster of, as to offer it for true, which can­not but have observed the first Chapters of this very Book are employed in con­futing [Page 153] them by Tradition, and that Scri­pture is made use of, not for necessity (I cannot speak more of the abundant effi­cacy of Tradition then he does) but out of abundance, ut undique resistatur illis si quos ex his retusione confundentes ad con­versionem veritatis adducere possimus, as he says in the 2d Chapter of this Book, which you see is an expression not of ne­cessity, but charity. And if I am not mi­staken, for I have not the means to studie it exactly, his whole second Book is so fill'd with Arguments from reason, That Scri­pture is hardly so much as mentioned, un­less sometimes by the by.

Secondly, you assume with as much injustice, as mistake, that their Objection is the same with ours, and the Answer given by him to them, the same you give to us: Our Tenet (for objection, while we are upon the defensive, we make none) is that Scripture is not the rule of Faith; That of the Valentinians, that I mean which Irenaeus speaks to in this place, was, as you may see in the beginning of the thirteenth Chapter, that none but S. Paul was acquainted with the truth, as having only received it by revelation, [Page 154] whereby all his Arguments in the prece­dent Chapter, from the authorities of S. Peter, S. Stephen, S. Philip, &c. had been overthrown; to strengthen them, he proves in the thirteenth chapter, that not only S. Paul, but the rest of the Disciples also understood the Mystery of Salvation; and in the 14 particularly S. Luke and these two, Viz. Scripture is not the sole rule of Faith, S. Paul alone was acquainted with the Mysteries of Salvation, an exact studier of Irenaeus, and impartial lover of truth, would have to be the same. As to the place it self; this I conceive to be your Argument, S. Paul delivered all he knew to S. Luke, S. Luke writ all was delivered him; therefore S. Paul knew all that was necessary to salvation, S. Luke writ all was necessary to salvation. To which I have already answered, that though I should admit the Conclusion, little would be advanced in order to our Question, since we deny not but all may be containd in Scripture some way or o­ther, particularly, or under general heads, but that all is so contain'd, as is necessary for the salvation of mankind; to which effect we conceive certainty, and [Page 155] to that evidence requisite, neither of which are within the compass of naked words, left without any guard to the violent and contrary storms of Criti­cism.

But I conceive you do the Saint wrong, and understand the word all in a sence far different from what he did; for having learnt from S. John, so little a Book as S. Lukes could not hold truly all, till you can prove he meant his Book for a rule of Faith, and intended to deliver in it all things necessary to salvation, I must beleeve 'tis no ordinary violence that can force such a sence upon it, as has nei­ther a likely, nor any ground; but since your own profession, and large citations, shew both a confidence and esteem of Irenaeus, give me leave with that serious earnestness, which the concern of eter­nity, for no less is in Question, re­quires, to presse your own words upon you, and desire you to observe and im­partially weigh the Truth, while I repre­sent the proceedings of Irenaeus to you, and make you judge whether of us take part with the Father, whether with his Adversaries. The Error of the Valenti­nians, [Page 156] was built upon certain obscure places of Scripture, or rather indeed up­on certain deceitful reasonings in Philo­sophy (as your denial of Transubstantiati­on, for example is, and a denial even of the B. Trinity, if you pleas'd might be) but perceiving the Rules of Christianity did not allow that for a foundation of Faith, they endeavoured to support the edifice by Scripture, bragging, no doubt, among their followers, it was clearly on their side, but being press'd to a Tryal, giving in evidence the obscure places mentioned.

Against this, Irenaeus contends that Parables, because capable of many Solu­tions, are not to be relyed upon, and con­sequently, since only the true sense of Scripture is Scripture, that Scripture is vainly pretended, where the many sences leave us uncertain which is the true one. Then examining the places for his side, and shewing them both in clearness and number to over-ballance the other, he overthrows their pretence, and preserves the majesty of Scripture to his party: The same do we to you, who, building most of your mistakes in Faith, upon [Page 157] mistakes in Philosophy, pretend plain Scripture, and when it comes to tryal, bring places capable of as many sences, as the Valentinian parables were of so­lutions. We answer, as he did, that there is no relying upon such places: And, examining those we conceive to be of our side, and comparing them with yours, both in clearness and number, conclude your sences not true, and Scripture not only not for you, but against you. Yet all this while neither he, nor we think Scripture, for this disputing out of it, the only rule of Faith, whether it be, or no, being not in these cases, our question. But since as the Valentinians did then, you will now undertake to prove Scripture is against us, and as Irenaeus then, so we now acknowledge nothing is to be held against Scripture, we do, as he did, shew you cannot make good your undertaking.

Next, The Valentinians, by the privi­ledg of their neerness to the Primitive times better acquainted with the grounds of faith then you, would have justified their Interpretations by Tradition: an e­vident proof what it was which those first Ages held the Interpreter of Scripture, [Page 158] and that so undeniably, that even He­reticks pretended to it. What says Ire­naeus to this? Does he answer as you do, that Tradition is not to be regarded, but the cause to be decided by Scripture, and that the only Rule? by no means: but carefully and diligently proves Tra­dition to be against them: Which he also declares to be, not what they pretended, by abuse of those words, Sapientiam lo­quimur inter perfectos, whispering cor­ner conveyances of one to another (such as the Cabala you object to us) but the open, plain profession of those Churches to whom the Apostles left their doctrine and its practice, and among which, he conceives that of the Roman Church a­lone sufficient.

This publike Testimony, as he, so we lay claim to, and profess with him, would be sufficient, even though there were no Scriptures at all; which nevertheless since Gods infinite goodness has provided for us, we do not understand the force of the former impaired by the addition of a new force. But, that belonging to a­nother question, give me leave to end the present one with this confidence, [Page 159] that you cannot but see we follow the Fa­thers steps, and you those who follow the Valentinians, and that it appears by what hath been said, your Minor neither is, nor, since you have failed, in likelihood ever will be proved.

PART II. Tradition the Rule of Faith.

SECT. I. ¶ 1 Certainty of Tradition.

¶ 1. IN the third Dialogue, the certainty of your Traditions (having endeavoured to take away the certainty of Scripture, I think in vain) is endeavoured. I was glad of the promise, to do the work only by reason and common sence, without any quotations of Authors, because I want that vast know­ledge in Antiquity, which is requisite for the deciding of this Question by it; but I see my hopes are frustrated, for your cause nei­ther is here, nor can be proved by reason a­lone, without that reading which yet I want. The Reasons here or any other, that may be [Page 161] managed without quotations of Authors, I am ready to see and examine, and as ready to subscribe unto, if they convince me; but I thinke it unreasonable for you to pretend to prove your Religion infallible, and yet bring no positive Arguments that are of themselues sufficient to convince, but only to stand upon your guard; thats all Mr White doth; a subtile Turk might the same way prove as well his false religion, true.

PART II. SECT. 1. ¶ 1.

BEing now arrived at the second Part of your Discourse, I find no­thing in the first Paraph necessary to be taken notice of but the last words, Viz. That 'tis unreasonable to pretend to prove our Religion infallible, and yet bring no positive Arguments, &c. In the first Branch of which saying you are not much amiss; nothing being more unreasonable, then that a Church, which confessedly [Page 162] was once the true one, should be put to prove she is now no false one, when all the Maximes of common sence, and proceed­ings of nature, suppose her innocence, till the contrary be, not by surmises and probabilities, but plainly and undeniably proved. Whoever therefore says she has fail'd, ought to prove it, and not ex­pect she should prove the impossibility of the contrary. 'Tis true, the conde­scendence of charity has prevailed to un­dertake so unreasonable a Task here, but not without protesting against the necessity of doing it, as you see in the second Paraph of this Dialogue. But the second is so injurious, that, had all men been of your temper, perhaps it would have been well done to have stood wholly upon that sure guard you reproach Mr White withal, and which the advantage of his cause gives him, and never medled with positive Arguments, which though unanswered, and for ought I can imagin, unanswerable, since I do not beleeve any man can say more then you have done, you would yet deny to be so much as Arguments.

That perswasion of yours too, which [Page 163] thinks so much reading necessary to your Information, I cannot allow of, but be­cause you produce no reason for it, can oppose it no otherwise, then by pro­fessing my dislike of it.

¶ 2. In his first Encounter he gives a Compendium of the Argument, page 8. Her doctrine is received from Christ and still handed along to the present time: Sup­pose I say, for example, in the eighth Age an Error crept in: Hee'l reply, it entred not in, because that Age held nothing was to be admitted as of Faith, except that was delivered to it by the former, therefore seeing that was then first beleeved, it was not de­livered by the former, therefore not received. I answer, no new opinion, when first it creeps up, is entertaind by any as a new thing which was not before, but as forgotten, or not discern'd, or lost before; do you think the Arians lookt upon their Doctrine as new, which was never beleeved before, or that was contrary to what the Apostles taught? If they did, they would hav [...] cast off all Christianity, and held nothing with the Orthodox. Mr White brings in our Objection, The Church did not stand upon that same traditional ground formerly, as Rome now. He replys, [Page 164] If this principle did not always govern the Church, it was introduced in some Age, the eighth for example, either (says he against this) the Church had assurance in that eighth Age, all she held was descended li­neally, as we speak, from the Apostles, or not; if she had, then questionless she held her Doctrine upon that Maxime: If not, then she wilfully belied, and damned, &c. volun­tarily taking up this new, &c. Is this the Demonstration?

¶ 2. Your stating, and opposing Mr Whites Argument, making me suspect you did not yet perfectly comprehend it; I beg leave to put you in mind, there are two things he endeavours to prove. 1. That if the Church always rely'd up­on the Maxime of immediate delivery, she could admit no error into her Faith: 2. That she did always rely upon that Maxime. The first he proves thus, if an Error came in, it came in at some time, let that time be the eighth Age, and if the Church then admitted nothing but what she had received, and this she had not re­ceived (for you put it then first to come in) she did not admit it then, nor by the same evidence could admit any error in any age▪ [Page 165] To the second we shall speak in the fourth Paraph; to this you answer, no new opi­nion is entertain'd, as a new thing which was not before, but as forgotten, or not discern'd, or lost before: An Answer which I dare not profess a perfect compre­hension of, not seeing to which of the premises 'tis directly oppos'd by a plain grant, denial, or distinction, one of which ought always to keep company with e­very answer: but conceive the force of the Argument is not any thing empair'd by it; for let it be entertain'd as lost, as forgotten, or how you will, so it were not immediatly delivered, either the Rule must be broken, or it could not be entertain'd. And this I think evident, even by your very termes: for if it were entertain'd as forgotten, then 'twas entertain'd as a thing which some former Age forgot to deliver, then some former Age did not deliver it, then, if nothing were entertain'd but what was delivered, pray how could this find entertainment?

To your question of the Arians, I answer 'tis very likely the Ringleaders among them perswaded their followers such fine [Page 166] things as you say, That their doctrine was not new, &c. but nothing could blinde them so far as not to see, 'twas not taught them by their immediate forefathers. And though conceit of Arius's vertue and learning prevail'd with the more igno­rant, as ambition and interest with the more subtle, not to value and to desert this Rule, yet 'twas impossible they should be ignorant that they did desert it. They would then have cast off all Christianity, say you, and truly the experience of my own Countrey makes me believe they would, had they continued unopposed long enough to have pursued their prin­ciple, whether it would have led them. But nature endures not an immediate passage from one extreme to another; a consideration, which being touched be­fore, I now say no more to, and passe to your next difficultie, which, by your acknowledging is brought in by Mr. Whites objection, I perceive, is levelled against the second not the first Conclu­sion: our businesse now therefore is to examine, whether the Church has always adhered to this maxime, there being no dispute, but that (if she hath) she could [Page 167] not admit of any Error in her Faith.

¶ 3. This I am sure of, that either I do understand nothing of it, or there's no force in it: By assurance I suppose he means not absolute certainty; if he do, the second horn of the Dilemma upon which we fall, does us no hurt; I conceive he means thought; if the eighth Age thought all she held was descended lineally from the Apo­stles, then she held her Doctrine upon that Maxim: But she thought all she held was descended lineally from the Apostles (is not that the Minor to be supplied, if we turn the first part into a Catagorical Syllo­gism) therefore she held her Doctrine upon that Maxim. This I think is the Con­clusion, for I do not clearly discern his mea­ning, suppose only I grant the Conclusion; me thinks he does not conclude what he was to prove, which should be this, therefore that Age was not the first that held her Do­ctrine upon that Maxim. But to the other part of the Dilemma more fully.

¶. 3. You chuse to fall upon the se­cond horn of the Dilemma, whose sharp­nesse we shall presently try, after I have assur'd you, that by assurance, he means absolute certaintie; which there is no [Page 168] denying but that she either had, or had not. In the first Case his Discourse runs thus: she had assurance in the eighth Age, before she took up the Maxime said to be new, therefore she had the Ma­xime, by which she had assurance, before; this Maxime could be no other then Tra­dition, nothing else being able to give her assurance, therefore she had the Maxime of Tradition before, therefore that Age was not the first she took it up in: which is what you desire should be the Conclu­sion.

¶ 4. If not (says he) then she wilfully belied her self, &c. I wholly deny this wil­fulness will follow; thus the 8th Age enter­tained that principle first of all, suppose she might think it true, when it was not, and so no wilfulness; might not the Church think all she held descended to her through the interjacent Ages by the Bible which is handed still to her, and yet not think all she received descended lineally in your sence? I pray Sir, make my dull capacitie see this absurdity, which I profess I cannot; I think if your Argument prove any thing, it proves against all Errors in general any where, that they could not have come into [Page 169] the world, and then I wish exceedingly your Argument were true. The Heretick held no Error, because he held nothing was to be embraced but truth; Is not this the very same Argument? Mr White says some of yours maintain Tenets in other termes, that are condemned; might I not prove the contrary by his own Argument; the Error could not enter into them, because they held nothing was to be entertaind, as of Faith, except what was delivered to them by the former; this is the very Argument: To say the case is not the same in respect of uni­versality is not to the purpose; for there is no universality mentioned in the Argu­ment, the stress is not yet put in that; If the argument be true in one, I see not why it should not be in another.

¶ 4. But you take the second Part, in which case he presses you deny, an un­admittable wilfulness: Let us see; The Supposition puts the Church not assured whether her Doctrine were lineally de­scended, or no; The Maxime makes her oblige her Posterity, under pain of dam­nation too, to beleeve it was so descend­ed, that is to beleeve what she knew not to be true, that is, what for ought she [Page 170] knew was false, & yet you discover no wil­fulness. Pray can reason justifie a com­mand to accept that for true, which the Commander knows may be false, and for ought he knows is so? and is there any other principle of action, besides reason, but will? I but she might think her Prin­ciple true, when it was not; but what if no greater wilfulness can be imagined then to think so? for you must mean it true, either in respect it had conveied the true faith to her, or would convey the true Faith to her posterity. The first is Nonsence, for that Age being supposed the first in which she took up the Prin­ciple, the faith she had must of necessity have been conveid to her by some other. The second is as bad or worse, for if that principle be the Test of true Faith, her own, not being received by it, must needs be thought not to be true, & that being the Faith she commended to the prin­ciple to be conveid, could even wilfulness make her think that principle would con­vey a true Faith to her posterity, which had received a false one to convey?

But she might, say you, think her Do­ctrine true, as taught by the Bible, which [Page 171] Bible was handed down to her, though her Doctrine were not: If she did but think so, she did not know it to be true; therefore it was not certain to her, there­fore but probable; therefore to recom­mend it as true and certain, which to her was not so, was to do what she had no ground for, that is to act wilfully.

Again, if she thought her self to have received the true faith from the Bible, she must needs think the Bible a means to convey the true faith to her, that is a true rule, then to desert that which she thought a true one, and impose ano­ther as the onely true one, besides which, she thought, even when she impos'd the second, the first also to be true, pray what name can it own but wilfulness? Thus which way soever we turn, nothing appears but impossibility; which also a little reflected on, would be discovered much greater, and far deeper plunged into contradiction: For were it possible a Council, for example, should be so maliciously wilfull, as to consent to the damnation of all posterity; mankind has rooted in it a greater desire of its own good, then to be so cheated into [Page 172] everlasting misery, especially so openly that it could not be ignorant of the jug­gle. But neither is it proper for me to dilate that am an Answerer, neither is it necessary to one that sees day so soon as you do.

To go on then, you think the Argu­ment proves against all Errors, if any thing, but why you think so, you do not say, and indeed I cannot guess: One only supposition seems able to give the fancie any colour, Viz. That our Saviour, be­sides those necessary to Salvation, taught also all manner of other truths whatsoe­ver, in all Arts and Sciences, &c. All which, being equally recommended to Tradition, flow down in the same great channel to us; but this me thinks is too wild a fancie to suspect you of. Next, you parallel our Argument with one you frame in behalf of an Heretick in this manner: He holds nothing is to be em­braced but truth, therefore what he im­braces is truth; put your Heretick to have a right method of arriving at truth, and faithfully to pursue it, and there is no doubt but your Conclusion is strong, and so strong that it quite overthrows [Page 173] the Supposition, for he cannot in that case be an Heretick; but that he has any such method, or makes any use of it, we must seek elsewhere then in your Argu­ment, which out of this that the thing should be done, concludes it is done. By the sincerity you profess, and ow to the concern of eternity, do we argue in that manner? Do not we prove both that our method cannot fail us, and that we never failed to make use of our method? The first under penalty of this evident contradiction, that the same thing must be beleeved before, and not before the same time; the second by the impossibi­lity that mankind should conspire noto­riously and unconcealably to cheat their posterity into everlasting damnation. And is this to say the Conclusion over in the Antecedent, and then infer it in the Consequent: Beseech you, Sir, re­strain those sallies of wit, to things lesse dangerous to be plaid upon then salva­tion.

Lastly, you object Mr Whites saying that several condemn'd Tenets are maintain'd in other terms by some Divines, and as­sume that these Divines, holding nothing [Page 174] as of Faith but what was delivered by the former age, would have no Error. And that is true, meaning Errors in Faith, but Di­vines proceed upon other Rules when they err, and their Errors concern no Faith but Divinity. It may indeed so happen, that these Errors in Divinity do also contradict some point of Faith; but that the equivocation of terms hinders them from seeing, in which case the Po­sition is erroneous, and against Faith, the beleef of the maintainer, who sees not so much, very good and unblameable. Now, if I understand the Position right, 'tis no more then this, that some Divines understand not the force of terms used by themselves, which rigorously scanned may happen to contain an error unpercei­ved by him who uses them, but dives not so far into them. Remember then, if you please, the case is of Divines, that is of persons working according to the rules of science, not of faithful proceeding upon grounds of Faith, after which I hope you will not infer an Error in the rule of Faith,, because there be errors in things concluded by other Principles.

¶ 5. And truly if I have eyes, Mr Rush­worth [Page 175] does not more then shew a kinde of possibilitie, that all points of faith could have been handed down, the first delivered them to the second Age, the third heard them of the se­cond, the fourth of the third, &c. But is this a proving of it, that it was so, or that no material corruptions could have crept in, why else does he object against himself what is most obvious to be seen, A posse ad esse non valet consequentia? That cuts the throat of his Arguments, so that yet there's no certainty proved, that which he answers is indeed rea­sonable, you should think they were, because they might be so handed; but go no further yet, till you prove more, and seeing you conceive a possi­bilitie of such descent, Remember the contra­ry possibilitie (much more probable) that there may be errors crept in; but till you see, you will not beleeve they are, I shall not entreat you out of your Religion, only I beg and wish you hold no more then your Arguments prove, only a possibilitie, but it is easier to deviate from the streight rule of truth, then alwayes to keep to it.

¶. 5. When you writ this Paragraph, your thoughts certainly were so fixed up­on the place in which your objection is brought in, that the next leaves, almost [Page 176] the next lines, escape their observance. The least advance would have suggested to them, that not only a possibility of preserving truth, but a plain actual inde­fectibility is aim'd at. Not but that a possibility is enough, such a possibility I mean, or power, as we speak of, that is, such as has the nature of a proper cause to its effect, that is, which should have done the effect. Since if our Rule be proper to convey the truth to us, no bo­dy can rationally affirm it has not done, what 'tis granted, 'twas of its own na­ture apt to do without evidencing what he says. Let those therefore, who, up­on pretence of errors, refuse communi­on with us, take it to heart, and either plainly evince him, or tremble at the horrour of living in a continued and obstinate schisme. As for the edge of that maxime, A posse ad esse non valet con­sequentia; The Dialogues shew 'tis taken off by this other, frustra est potentia quae nunquam reducitur in actum, the power in this case being but to one effect, and to repeat what they say, which is all I have to do, seems unnecessary.

To guess at what the following dis­course [Page 177] aims, which puts a possibility of truth, and a possibility of error, this indeed the more probable, but no more then probable, I am quite at a losse. Would you have no certaintie in Religi­on, that is, no Religion at all in the world? For with what steadiness can I act in order towards Heaven, if my thoughts be perpetually checkt with this doubt, for example, that perhaps there is no Heaven at all; and if I be uncertain of it, is it possible to shake off the doubt? Till I comprehend your design therfore, I shall only desire you to reflect, that if the possibility of error be only the more probable, then 'tis but probable, then the contrary, though less, is yet probable too; then it may be there are no errors in the Church you refuse communion with. Therefore, since to divide, is as much as lies in the divider, to destroy the Church, and to destroy the Church is to take away all hopes of salvation, (for since we cannot know the way to Heaven of our selves, if we lose our mistress that should teach it us, there can remain no ground of hope,) and this from all mankind, consider, if you please what [Page 178] 'tis to continue a separation, and at the same time acknowledge, that perhaps there are no errors, that is, no ground why you should do so. But we will beleeve no errors till we see them; no indeed, we will not contra­dict nature so much, which supposes eve­ry man innocent till he be proved guilty.

In return to your civility of not intreat­ing me out of my Religion, I will in­treat you not to be out of it neither, and to remember, that your soul being equal­ly concern'd with mine, 'tis your obli­gation as well as mine, not to beleeve any errors, where you see there may be none, till you see they are there, and that not probably, but with undeniable evidence, when, as you will be able to shew them, I promise you, I will be ready to desert them.

¶. 6. But Mr. White would fain prove more from the natural inclination of truth and happiness: this I think if it prove any thing, proves man will needs be a groping after some Religion or other, but that it should be after the true, or make him preserve the true Religion, (I shall give Account why I will [Page 179] not assent unto) without corruption, I see not, or why it should not prove as well that every particular man, in whom there is such an inclination, should preserve the truth.

My Reason why that inclination spoken of doth no way prove the Point, is from the fall of Adam, if there were no such thing as the corruption of mans nature, Mr Whites Reason would have more likelihood in it, and hereby appears the weakness of your cause, in that you are fain (the acutest of you) to have recourse to such Bulrushes to make weapons of, as the corrupt na­ture of man ready to uphold (what, the pure Oracles of God?) No, the contrary rather. The natural man or man by na­ture is blinded, and sees not the things of God, they are contrary to him, rather in­clines to Superstition then the true Worship of God, is naturally more steady in Idolatry then the pure service of God; will you not take my word for this? Read Jer. 2.9, 10, 11, 12, 13. seee if there be such a thing; Hath a Nation changed their Gods, which yet are no Gods; but my people have chan­ged their glory for that which doth not profit.

[Page 180]¶ 6. I think you mistake Mr Whites Argument here: And first whereas you put a natural inclination to truth and happiness; His words are, that hopes and fears in the will, ignorance and the con­ceit of another mans knowledge in the understanding, are the Parents of Reli­gion: And I presume you mean the same thing, but speak contractedly. Now I conceive 'tis not from this barely, he proves the preservation of true Religion, as you seem to suppose, but from hence, that man being not to be wrought upon but by reason, authority, or power, none of the three can be imagined to have place, where the Religion is supposed once true, and largely dispersed: So that you seem to take a part of the Argument for the whole.

As for the difficulty from the corrupti- of nature in man, 'tis that corruption which makes him deceivable by the ways mentioned for were his nature entirely sound, neither power nor authority could be imagined forcible enough to prevail with him against his own good, and rea­son cannot be supposed opposite to truth. So that were there no corruptions, there [Page 181] would be neither necessity of nor place for the Argument, which contends, That since there are but three ways, even in this state of misery, to work upon a man, and that none of them can be effectual in our case, the divine goodness ha-provided even against the defects of nasture, and placed the security of our faith, beyond the reach of its corruptions; for however vice may by as a man in opinion by hindring the faithful working of his Reasons it, withal its malice, cannot hin­der him from using his eyes and ears in plain matters of fact, which is all our Rule of Faith requires; the fall of Adam then makes not the Argument weak, but necessary.

But perhaps it may contribute to your satisfaction to observe, that nature is spo­ken of man in different significations; for sometimes by that word is meant Reason, sometimes that frame of corpo­real Instruments which concur to its be­ing an Animal: Now when you hear of the bad Inclinations of Nature, and na­tural men, 'tis to be understood of the disorder occasioned principally in the body by the sin of Adam, and by the [Page 182] union of it with the soul, drawing her into evils, which are therefore such, be­cause they are against nature, it being unpossible that should be ill, which to nature is conformable: Man is therefore truly drawn against his nature, even when he follows those which you call his natu­ral inclinations to sin; for since he is ani­mal rationale, if Reason be not his nature, he is no more a man. Now the Argu­ment proves that natural disorders, taking nature in the second sence, have not the power to prevail upon his nature, taken in the first sence, either to lose all Religi­on, or change the true one in the Circum­stances accompanying our case: For it be­ing natural to man, that his words should flow from his thoughts, and conforma­bly to them, when a lie is told, that is, words are brought forth dis-formable to the thoughts of the speaker, 'tis plain that nature is crossed, and design works, that is artifice, that is not nature. And so we see that those, who are not in a condition to use design, as fools and drunken men, always tell truth. Further, those who lie, design, or aim at, some end attainable by lying, thus force their nature, unlesse [Page 183] the design be only mirth, rising from the odness of the lie, must either hope to cloath it with an appearance of truth, and conceal it from being known to be what it is, or despair of compassing their design, nothing being more evident, then that no man wil be perswaded by a known untruth.

Put then the Tenets of Religion to be universally dispersed, and visible in pra­ctice, and the people strongly possessed of the truth of them, is it not undeniable that who would go about to perswade them, either that the former Tenets were not held and practised, or that some new invention was formerly held and practi­sed, must be known by every body, to tell an open manifest lie, that is can have no hopes of concealing it, nor consequently of prevailing with it, or compassing any design by it, that is, if he have wit e­nough to see the impossibility, such a lier must act without a motive (for none acts for a thing held clearly impossible) and so the action be directly carried out of the sphere of whole rational nature which is obliged to act for some end or motive good or bad. You see then, that in both cases rational nature, taking original sin, [Page 184] and the corruptions flowing from it in­to the bargain, is destroyed and over­thrown by such an action, even of one single man, to which if we add the mul­titudes, the millions that must conspire to this unnatural lie, since otherwise their authority can never over-bear the coun­terpoize of those who will adhere to ma­nifest and known truth, the impossibility swels to a proportion so monstrous, that it seems beyond the power even of Arith­metick it self to comprehend it. And so much, though but little in respect of the latitude of the subject, and strange advan­tages our rule of Faith bears with it, for mans inclination to truth, that is, as he has an understanding power in him.

Let us see what follows from his incli­nation to happiness, which is so the ob­ject of his will that it cannot act without an aim at some good, either reall or apparent. Put men strongly to conceit their beatitude, or eternal well-being, and that it depends wholly upon the Tenets which make up their Religion, is it not evident, this conceit still remaining, which is our case, that there cannot be imagina­ble any greater hopes or fears, (that is, [Page 185] greater motives to the will) then certain­ly beleeved enjoyment of heaven, or pu­nishment in Hell, and this for all eternity? which being so, 'tis as certainly demon­strated, that a multitude of men, thus affected, shall not be byassed to prevari­cate from so concerning truths, and pro­pagate so prejudicial falshoods, as they look upon those to be which contradict their Religion, as it is that a straw can­not weigh down a thousand pounds.

Now put the Religion to be true, to be universally dispersed, and this the Test of it, to admit nothing into it, but upon the account of inheritance from imme­diate Fathers, as from the first deliverer, and this so, as that it be all one to be not inherited, and to be not Religion (which three things though the present business do not require they should be urged, are yet manifest in our case, the two last being visible, almost to blindness, and the first un­deniable to Christianity, since it can­not be doubted, but that the Religion which Christ delivered was true) and you may if you please perceive that the fall of Adam is so far from necessarily occasioning a fall from true Religion, [Page 186] that mankind, once possest of the truth, and this method to preserve it, must plain­ly fall from its nature, and degenerate in­to beast, or somthing worse, if it be not as steady in the pure service of God, and preservation of the truth, as of it self; the props which uphold the former being full as strong, if not more then those which sustain the later.

¶. 7. The Inclination you speak of to underprop your tottering infallibility, is very steady to uphold corruptions, and superstiti­on as we accuse you of, not so the pure Wor­ship of God. Again, I pray tell me, since you have only proved, or rather shewn a pos­sibility of your Doctrines succession, Is it not more possible to deviate from the right line then to keep close to it? This probability is stronger against you then any (I cannot see they are any more then probabilities) you bring for your selves, that there could be no error universally spread over your Church: Shall I give you an instance to prove the possibility. The Jews Church, when their Forefathers were brought out of Egypt, had not the whole Nation every man of them sufficient Instruction in and confirmation of the true worship of God, so [Page 187] many wonders and signes as they had, yet did they not corrupt the worship? I hope 40 yeers is sufficient (Mr White thought three yeers enough for the Apostles to be in one place) to teach the ways of God, and all those mi­racles they had to confirm them after they were setled in the land of Canaan, how could they lose any points of Doctrine recei­ved, or their Traditions be corrupted, if your Arguments hold: Was it not possible (seeing it has been) they should afterward again, bring in their Traditions for Truths, by which they made void the Law of God, as our Saviour speaks, and those Traditions (as Mr. White p. 124.) went among the Jews for currant sound Law, and afterward continued; ask them in one of those after Ages, whether it came from Moses, (sup­pose one of those false Traditions) he may answer (says Mr White p. 126.) he received it from their Predecessors, but they can yeeld no account why any Age may not have chang'd that, but why may not the Jew ask in what age (as you do us) or year their Doctrine was corrupted; but (says Mr. White) If I assign an age or yeer, can they acquit themselves in point of proof? (and so I say of you) clearly they cannot: for [Page 188] since there was no Register, nor visible effects of this Doctrine; and so unless you can shew a Register or effects for every age and yeer, you cannot prove there have been no corrupti­ons among you, and so all your infallibility de­pends upon uncertainty; what if there be not Histories and Records of all passages of the Church (as likely there are not) how can I be sure there have been no such changes as are possible? and where now is your certain proof?

¶. 7. The nature of man then, being reason, see not why you should so con­fidently affirm, he is naturally more steady in idolatry then the pure service of God, unless you will make the disorder of rea­son more his nature then reason it self. What follows is an odd perseverance of yours, when by taking so much pains to shew he has not demonstrated, you can­not but acknowledge he pretends to have done so. Your question, whether it be not more possible to deviate from, then to keep close to the right line? will find an answer in this reflexion, that if a thing be made to keep us in a right line, and to guide mankinde so power­fully by it, that the line cannot be devi­ated from, without a deviation from na­ture, [Page 189] (and this I have shewn to be our case) 'twill be harder to deviate from, then to keep in it: as it is very difficult to force a falling Port-cullis into a crook­ed line, which by the nature of its weight, and directions of Art is determined to a streight one.

The rest of this Paragraph, and the whole following one presses the failing of the Iews, an example against which there lie innumerable exceptions: for first, they were a particular Nation, sub­ject to be wrought upon by hopes and feare, when any of their Princes went about to make his own wickedness Na­tional; from which spring most of their failings were derived. Again, there wanted in their breasts that great fire of Pentecost, which together with Christi­an Religion, planted in their hearts that received it, an unspeakable esteem of it, and a certain perswasion that all things, even life it self were to be neglected for it, the advantage of future goods infi­nitely overvaluing all possible evils in this world. Whereas, as far as I can perceive, the conceit, which the Jewes had of the next world, was very weak [Page 190] and slothful, being led, even to the keep­ing of the Law, by hopes of temporal goods promised to the observers, the my­stical Land of Promise being generally apprehended but feebly.

But, what most imports, you say no­thing, and I think can say nothing to prove Tradition was their rule. Their Law was delivered immediatly to Moses, and by him left in writing, whose Inter­pretation was reserved to the High Priest, what has this proceeding to do with Tra­dition? Or would you have it preserve them from failing, who neither made use of it, nor had it to make use of? if Tra­dition were not their rule, which that it was I do not see how it can be asserted, pray what does their failing concern us? If not that, but the written Word was their Rule, which I do not see how it can be deny'd, pray what hinders your Dis­course to be conclusive against your self, and their failing an evidence, that the written Word is no preservative against Errors? This you would do well to re­flect upon: Mean while your Argument against the security we pretend to by Tradition stands thus; the Jews had er­rors [Page 191] who followed it not, therefore we, who do, cannot be without them: A dis­course which as I should never have ex­pected from you, so I know not whether your second thoughts will think fit to own.

But to descend to particulars: Had not the whole Nation of the Jews every man sufficient instruction in, and confirmation of the true Worship of God, yet did they not corrupt the Worship? How far the instru­ction of the Jews was derived to particu­lar men, I am not able to answer, and I doubt you do but guess. This I see that those things which were commended to the practice of the multitude, as their Feasts, Circumcision, &c. remained entire among all their failings, though they were but a particular Nation, and want­ed that inward fire of charity infused by the Holy Ghost, together with Christia­nity into the hearts of the first beleevers. And you speak of the corruption of their Traditions, that is, private Interpretati­ons of their Law, so far from being un­derstood & practis'd by the multitude, that being delivered with the seal of secrecie, they were not so much as known to them.

[Page 192]To answer your Argument then, what do you mean by sufficient instruction? that particular men were instructed by the Law sufficiently to go to Heaven, I con­ceive true: but that the instruction of particular men was sufficient to preserve the Law from being corrupted, I cannot grant; since I think there is not, in a par­ticular Nation, force enough to defend it self from the numerous, and violent a [...] ­saults, which the corruption of nature, you just now insisted on, will be sure to make upon it. But how could they lose any point of doctrine if Mr. Whites Argu­ment hold? Pray does his Argument se­cure those, who neither make use of Tra­dition for their Rule, nor have it to make use of? I, but was it not possible they should bring in their Traditions to make void the Law of God? See how weak a thing 'tis to dispute out of words. The Traditi­ons you speak of are no more Traditions▪ then Jews are Christians. These private Cabalistical interpretations of Scripture, made by unknown Authors, and handed privately from one confident to another, as Doctors among the Vulgar upon the authority of private men, are what their [Page 193] word signifies, and our Saviour repre­hends. And because these made void the Law of God, shall therefore the thoughts and actions of an universality of people, in which there can be no juggle, nothing concealed, and which have no­thing at all common with the former, undergo the same condemnation.

After this you retort Mr Whites an­swer to the Jew upon himself, and urge that unless we can shew a register, and visible effects for every age and year, we cannot prove there has been no cor­ruption among us. If this will con­tent you, 'twill not be very difficult to give you satisfaction; for I beseech you are not the actions of mankind visible ef­fects of the perswasion from whence they flow? if you find people going to Mass, adoring the holy Sacrifice, assisting at Dir­ges, reverencing Images, &c. will you doubt of their faith concerning these particulars? Behold then the visible ef­fects of Religion, which if you assign any Age in which they were introduced, we thus acquit our selves, without the help of History or Records in point of proof. It being much more impossible things [Page 194] of that notorious publikeness could be introduced without notice being taken that they were so, then for a Tumbler to shew tricks from Pauls to Westminster, and no body regard him, the age you as­sign could not but know they were then brought in: But the principle of that Age being to receive nothing but what was delivered by her Forefathers, she could not admit of these things, which 'tis manifest she was conscious were then first begun, and by the same evidence, they could be begun in no Age, but that of their author, Christ, by whom, since they are now received, 'tis very clear they were delivered.

See now how this will fit the Jew, whose Traditions, there being no such principle to keep them out, may, for ought he can tell, be brought in in any Age, and whom in so suspicious and fallacious a secrecie, as accompanied them, 'tis impossible e­ver to satisfie, that the Masters he relies upon, either have not deceived him, or are not deceived themselves.

¶ 8. Those Traditions, which went a­mong the Jewish people for sound Law, (as Mr White p. 124.) which the Pharisees [Page 195] taught them, have continued since with them, in their several Countries where they have been scattered; although they have no Sanhedrims, seeing they agree among them­selves in them, May they not prove, with your Argument, such Traditions came from Moses, they have been handed still to them from father to son, and that in divers pla­ces, so that they could not meet together to compose this forgerie: so that it is no such impossible thing, as to leap over Pauls steeple (though Mr White &c.) as for your false Traditions to have first spread themselves very largely and by degrees, and then being so spread to continue long, and yet to be false, there's example of its possibi­lity in the Jews, and likewise in the Turks, &c.

¶ 8. Here you argue in this manner: The Jews now, in the time of their dis­persion into several Countries, agree in those false Traditions, which had former­ly been taught them by the Pharisees, and which passed among them for sound Law, therefore our discourse proves they came from Moses. Of which argument I doubt your Antecedent has more of confidence then ground: for where, or [Page 196] how does this agreement of the scattered Jews to these Traditions appear? By as much as I can learn, from the small commerce I have had my self, and intelli­gence I could get from others, they are far enough from an uniformity in their opinions. Neither do I know their agree­ment is general in any thing, but what the natural force, there is in Tradition, preserves in them, as the times and man­ners of celebrating their Feasts, their circumcision, the ornaments for their Synagogues and whatever else the ob­stinacy of perpetual practice suffers them not to disagree in. Now this seems so far from weakning, that it strongly con­firms the force of Tradition, which if it have, even unawares, such an effect upon them, I do not see why it should be de­nied its efficacy upon us.

You may perhaps think these things are preserved by writing: But I conceive it follows not, that if a thing be written, it does not owe its preservation to Tradi­tion, and that both these things, and wri­ting and all, have been preserved by it. Nay, I beleeve that when you have ex­amined the business well, you will find [Page 197] little agreement in any thing, whether written, or not, that does not proceed from this method. Though, were your Antecedent admitted, I do not see how it justifies your consequence. For though such an agreement may argue the dissent of what they agree in from the time of their dispersion, it will not reach one jot farther, nor afford any shew of reason, why some one of the Rabbins, in the in­termedial Ages, betwixt Moses and the dispersion, may not have begun and dis­persed the doctrine pretended to descend from Moses.

¶ 9. One thing more I shall take notice of p. 29. where he defends your additions in Religion, an evident way both how error came into your Church, and spread it self over the whole face of it; by your authorita­tive determinations of new points not for­malie (as you must confess) received at first, that which you determine once must stand as an infallible truth, and what won­der such spread themselves over that great part of Christendom, which you had set your selves ouer, seeing all that were under you, must receive all decisions from you for certainties, and these shall be derived to [Page 198] following Ages, and so Traditions of later date go for Apostolike. God forbids not the Doctors out of two truths delivered to ga­ther a third, nor those that are no Doctors to do the same if they can; but who gives the Doctors of your Church power to com­mand their people to beleeve all their decisi­ons certainly true without any more adoe: Whether they be true or no it matters not, as long as they are uncertain to any one, he is not bound to beleeve them certainly true, p. 31. Mr White demands whether the refuser have a demonstration against those truths, he refuseth to give absolute assent unto? no, what then? must he therefore assent? Is it not a sufficient ground not to assent? because he has no sufficient to assent? I think it is, and I pray do you shew the contrary, if I mistake.

¶ 10. A hundred Mathematicians only tell me there is another world besides this, just such another; they are satisfied, but give me no ground to know the same; must I needs swear it is so, and assent to that I know not as a certain truth (thus you suf­fer your selves to be led by the noses into a thousand absurdities) though the man by his probabilities is not to conclude rashly all the Doctors determinations to be false, [Page 199] yet though he had no probability against their decision, he must deny assent only upon this ground, that he has not sufficient evidence to conclude their determinations certain. I ask of you when a Council of yours meet, and from two truths received arrive at the discovery of a third Tenet; can the Council erre in this Deduction or no? I see no reason to say they cannot, there's no promise for it, they are all every one of them singly taken one by one fallible men as well as others. Nay, Mr White, p. 227. says they may, when he denies any Fathers saying, a sufficient proof of a point, no, (says he) not the chie­fest of them, no not 300 of them together, for so many Bishops in a Council have erred; well then, it is possible they should err, though I will suppose it less probable, then that one man should erre, well but still it is possible they should err, and with what candor can Mr White call it an obstinate and malepert pride, not to subscribe to a fallible judgement, as infallible or certain, I call it blind folly to do it, must I beleeve that true, which I have no sufficient ground for, I have it not because their bare Asser­tions or judgement, who may be mistaken, are fallible, so then I should beleeve a lie [Page 200] morally, if not logically, to me, though not in it self, because it is uncertain.

¶ 11. Now consider, is this a trifle? uno ab­surdo concesso mille sequuntur, though the first uncertainty, which they concluded a cer­tain truth, be but a smal falshood (as it is possible) afterwards more must needs follow being built upon the former, and so what won­der that Church swarms with Errors, where such a principle is admitted.

Yet this way must be taken, the certain word of the eternal God, shall be thrown a­side, and fallible men that are parties too in the cause shall ascend the throne, and make their word a Law, ther's difference between keeping quiet and not contradicting, and be­tween being forced to subscribe to what a man knows not certainly, this is wickedness in them that force it, it is forcing often to sin, what is not of faith is sin. But besides, though Mr White say one single man can­not have a demonstration against that which is determined true, though we suppose it rare, it is possible for one man to find out what all the world besides is ignorant of, as many have, Mr Whites own instance of Des Cartes is sufficient, who found out more then many learned Clerks, with twice [Page 201] the poring, and will you force all to subscribe notwithstanding?

¶ 9, 10, 11. The Discourse in your following Paragraphs is strong, and wor­thy your self, and though by mistake of our Tenets, not concluding against us, yet full of excellently deduced truth. And first to defend Mr White, who only main­tains the addition of Truths, why do you so confidently call that an evident way how Error might enter, and spread it self in the Church? Is Truth and Error all one? or does it follow that because men are content to admit of what they see to be true, they will not check at what they either see is false, or do not see is true? Will it ever follow out of Mr Whites Position, that there is no harm in adding of truths, that the mischeif of adding er­rors cannot be avoided?

Now, because I conceive the mistake your whole Discourse runs upon, is oc­casioned by a wrong apprehension of the infallibility of Councils, I find it neces­sary to observe that, though some of our Doctors speak of Councils so indistinctly, that they beget such an opinion of their infallibility and authority, as I perceive [Page 202] you fancie, yet the best Divines, with whom Mr White agrees, do not allow any power in the Church of making new Ar­ticles of Faith, that is, of making that to be faith to day, which was not faith ye­sterday, and the day before, and always, which it could not be, without being taught by Christ and his Apostles: whence 'tis evidently consequent, that if they cannot make any new thing to be faith, neither can they oblige any to re­ceive, and beleeve it, as faith. Their power therefore of imposing Faith upon us (whatever fancies the confusion of some Discourses hath raised) extends no farther then to such things as both were, and were known to be faith before their Imposition: And sure no danger can be suspected from an Authority of com­manding that which the whole world sees whether they have authority to do or no. And so much for faith.

As for truths collected from Premises; First, it appears they have no power to introduce them into the Catalogue of faith; I except such as appear plainly at first sight, and need no skill at all to their deduction, which, though in ri­gour [Page 203] they be not properly faith, are yet in a moral estimation accounted the same, and so by the world (which in such plain things cannot be deceived) are indifferently beleeved. Secondly, A Council, being an Assembly of the learn­edst men in the Church, cannot be denied to see into consequences far enough to know whether they be truly deduced or no; so that if they ingage for the truth, of any one, as it cannot be exalted into faith, so neither can it be imagined falls without some prejudice crossing the dis­position of nature, which moves us to beleeve every one in his trade. Neither do I think, whatever you say of your hun­dred Mathematicians, in which science being your self a Master, to trust is impro­per, but that if half a hundred Carpen­ters should agree such a peice of timber would fit such a house, or as many Survey­ers that such a peece of ground contained so many Acres, your heart could not chuse but think it true, what ever oppo­sition the strength of your wit might make against it: So that Mr White had reason to say, he that refuses to be­leeve the Church, if his thoughts be tho­roughly [Page 204] sifted, will find in them a proud preference of his own private fancie, be­fore the wisdom of the Christian world.

Nevertheless to comply with the way­ward humours of her children, I beleeve she will exact no more in things of this nature, then a quiet submission, which your self cannot but see absolutely neces­sary for government, and a not opposition without evidence, leaving you the free­dome of your inward thoughts, to assent no farther then you see reason (which yet if you be learned, you may have by look­ing into the reason her self goes upon, if you be unlearned, you have no reason for any principle that governs the most important of your actions of compa­rable weight to her authority) nay per­haps even to dissent, if a case contrivable onely, as I conceive, by a wild roving fancie, should be put actually to have been, Viz. That evidence be producible against her, so it be proposed with the moderation and submission necessary to the quiet and peace of all governments. since I hope this Explication of these points will rectifie the mistakes interwo­ven through your solid Discourses in these [Page 205] Paragraphs. I shall without a more par­ticular examination pass on to the next Section.

SECT. II. Authority of Fathers; Transubstan­tiation.

¶ 1. LEt us come to Particulars Tran­substantiation, there cannot be a more absurd Tenet imagined, that could be fuller of Contradictions, as plain as any contradiction in the world, that the Sun should shine and not shine at the same time, that Christ should begin to be, and not to be at the same time, broken and yet not broken at the same time, in one place, and yet in hundred thousands; so many that you your selves are fain to look off, and confess you are not able to solve, yet for this what ground have you? the Word of God? No, your own Authors confess, you have no more cause to understand, Hoc est corpus meum literally, then those the Lamb is the Passeover, Christ is a door, a rock, a way.

¶ 1. Which opposes the point of [Page 206] Transubstantiation, but so gently that the difficulties which you would have im­possible to Omnipotency, are (almost) as familiar and ordinary events as any we converse with. But for the first, That Christ should begin to be, and not to be, how do you verifie either part? or infer from our doctrine there is a time when Christ is not? Which is necessary to the truth of your Proposition: Tis true, that this half hour he is not upon the Altar, the next he is; but sure it could not escape you, that, not to be upon the Altar, and not to be are two very different things. Now I am sure you do not wonder to see a Wart or Pimple to grow and perish; which nevertheless, while they live, have no distinct being from the being of the man they grow upon, that is, are that man, and yet cease to be, without causing the man to do so. And for those that follow, that Christ is broken, and not broken, in one place, and in ten thou­sand, pray consider that the multiplicity of forms our Saviour vouchsafes to put his sacred Body under, is to his body, as quantity or extension to substance. A man is but one thing and no more; his [Page 207] hands, his feet, and whatever else go to the making up of man, being not se­veral things, but entring all into the unity of this truly one man; and this man by one of his feet is in one place, by another, not in that, but another place: Cut his hair, or nail, he is truly divided (that is, according to that part which is truly he) and truly remains one.

Now raise your thoughts, and consider how very little more faith this great mystery requires of you, no more then that you will permit the Author of na­ture to do that by the multitude of forms, with which he is pleased to cloth his bo­dy, which nature does every day by means of quantity, and see whether it be not very unjust (to say no more) to deny that to omnipotence, which the ordinary course of causes does so perpetually bring forth, that it never concerns your wonder, and seldom your notice. You will find some disparity in these simili­tudes, and so you must, for nullum simile est idem, but if I mistake not you will find the very knot of the difficulty the same in both, though the manner of tying be different; and however it be a [Page 208] little reverence and submission to that power which extends to all things, should easily prevail with us to beleeve, he is able to do more then we to compre­hend.

For the rest, in what you say we confess, viz. innumerable contradictions unsolva­ble, and which we are fain to look off from, certainly you must either mistake our Authors or they themselves: none, that understood what he said, ever grant­ing a true contradiction in this mystery; neither do I beleeve they meant any more then that the depth of it is not to be fa­thom'd by the shortness of our under­standing; a conceit, even to a moderate sense, of that vast Abyss of power, as well as wisdom and goodness, so far from unreasonable, that I know not how the contrary can be excused from impious. And for what you make our Authors say, that we have no more cause to understand the words of Consecration literally, then other expressions acknowledged to be metaphorical; those who truly say so [if there be any such, which truly I much doubt] are then pitiful Authors; none, even among those that are far from the [Page 209] desert of being Authors, being ignorant, That Tradition is the best Interpreter of Scripture, and that it teaches us to follow the letter in one place, and not in ano­ther.

¶ 2. Have you derived this Interpreta­tion all along from the Apostles? No your Scotus and Bellarmine confesse that, Ante concilium Lateranse transubstantiatio non fui dogma fidei. And as plain it is the first Ages of the Church, though they highly reverenced the Eucharist, and possi­bly by some hyperbolical expressions gave way to your Error, yet were cleerly against you. Irenaeus l. 4. c. 34. Panis terrenus accepta vocatione à verbo Dei, non amplius est communis panis (yet bread still) sed effici­tur eucharistica quae constat ex duabus terrena (therefore it is bread still) & celesti. Tertullian l. 4. contra Man. Acceptum panem & distribuentem discipulis suis, cor­pus suum illum fecit: (how?) hoc est cor­pus meum dicendo, id est, figura corporis mei. Basilius in Liturg. & Greg. Nazianz in orat. de pas. both call the Bread and Wine antitypa corporis Christi. Ambros. de Sacram. l. 4. c. 5. haec oblatio est figura corporis & sanguinis domini, August. [Page 210] contr. didim. c. 12. Non dubitavit Dominus dicere, Hoc est corpus meum cum signum corporis sui daret; And Judam adhi­buit convivium in quo corporis & sangui­nis sui figuram discipulis suis commenda­vit & tradidit. Si sacramenta quandam similitudinem earum rerum, quarum sa­cramenta sunt, non haberent omnino sa­cramenta non essent. Ex hac autem si­militudine plerun (que) etiam ipsarum rerum nomina accipiunt. Sicut ergo secundum quendam modum sacramentum corporis Christi, corpus Christi est: sacramentum sanguinis Christi, sanguis Christi est; Ita sacramentum fidei fides est. Sicut ergo, caelestis panis, qui caro Christi est, suo modo vocatur corpus Christi, cum revera sit sacramentum corporis Christi, illius viz. quod visibile, palpabile, mortale, in cruce positum est: vocaturque ipsa im­molatio carnis, quae Sacerdotis manibus fit, Christi passio, mors, crucifixio, non rei veritate, sed significante mysterio: Sic sa­cramentum fidei, quo Baptismus intelli­gitur, fides es. Theodoret Dialog. 1. Ser­vator certè noster nomina commutavit, & corpori quidem idem, quod erat sym­boli ac signi, nomen imposuit, symbolo [Page 211] autem, quod erat corporis. Causa muta­tionis manifesta est iis, qui sunt divinis mysteriis initiati: Volebat enim eos, qui sunt divinorum mysteriorum participes, non attendere naturam eorum quae vi­dentur sed propter nominum mutatio­nem, mutationi, quae fit ex gratia credere. Qui enim quod natura est corpus, triticum & panem appellavit, & vitem seipsum rur­sus nominavit, is symbola, quae videntur, appellatione corporis & sanguinis hono­ravit, non naturam quidem mutans, sed naturae gratiam adjiciens. So Marius Monachus sayes, the Bread and Wine are offered in the Church, as the Antitypes of his flesh and blood, and they that partake of the Bread which appears, do spiritually (not bodily then, as you grosly) eat the flesh of the Lord.

From all those and many more I might name, I conclude that, instead of Mr Whites malepertness, page 31. the contrary is a madness, seeing a man must shut his eyes, first against the Sun, then obstinately resolve, come on it what will, to embrace not only un­certainties for certainties, but gross fal­shood for clear truth.

[Page 212]¶ 2. You next make this Question; if we have derived this Interpretation all along from the Apostles? which supposes the foundation of all our Doctrines to be an Interpretation of Scripture, a Position disownd, as you know, by us; but if the Question be, as I presume you meant it, Whether we have derived this Doctrine all along from the Apostles. I answer yes, and appeal even to your self, whether it were in the power of the Council of Lateran, which you generally take to be the first, which setled that doctrine, or any other authority upon the face of the earth, to impose, upon whole nations, tenets, dam­nable to themselves and posterity, and im­possible not to be seen to be so; what is there beyond the power of humane na­ture, if this be not, That mankind, brought up in a beleef, that the Blessed Sacrament is no more then plain bread, made to sig­nifie higher things indeed, but only to signifie them, should of a sudden unani­mously run to Mass, there adore the holy Sacrifice, and by vast Alms acknowledg it propitiatory for both quick and dead? Observe how slowly and warily the Coun­cil, of Trent has been admitted into the [Page 213] several Provinces of Christendom, into all which, even the Catholick ones, it has not yet, nor perhaps ever will, as to decrees of manners, gain'd an entire en­trance, and confesse the nature of hu­mane things endures not so extravagant a power, even in Councils, as to change the faith of the world, which it professes with this perswasion, that eternal hap­pinesse depends upon it, according to an arbitrary determination, and that the making of a new word should make new truths, nay make that true to day which was false yesterday.

There Sir are impossibilities in nature, and may enter into a large fancy, but ne­ver passe from thence into a sober Judge­ment, nothing being more certain, then that, as great as the Power of a Council is, it is so far from being able to intro­duce a new faith with a new word, that it could never have introduced a new word which had not been found agreea­ble to the old faith.

Before I speak to your Fathers, who, you say, are so clear against us, give me leave to speak a little to your self; and put you in mind that you and I are now [Page 214] disputing, not of an obscure peece of Criticism, or unconcerning point of Philosophy, in which a mistake is of no greater concern than the credit of the mistaker, but of Religion, that is the way to Heaven, in which, if we misse, we have the same hopes of comming thither, that he has of getting to his journeys end by night who travels all day in a wrong road. Our Souls therefore, and their Salvation being concerned in this contest, no plea ought to be produ­ced but such a one, of whose efficacy we are so far perswaded as to venture them upon it.

Now by the great candor you profess, have the Fathers you cite, so much au­thority with you? are you content so to submit your judgement to theirs, as, when it appears what the path is they walked in, to quit all others for it, and constantly pursue it to eternity? such, and only such a disposition may make the pains requisite to so great an effect, as clearing the sence of the Fathers in all points of controversy, rationally chari­table: but if you have it not, the whole businesse is turn'd into a wit-combat, and [Page 215] the Question no more but this, whether of us two are better vers'd in Antiquity? and truly, me thinks, the concern of eter­nity deserves to be treated a little more seriously, then, if what is alleaged, prove true, nothing is advanced, if false, no­thing lost; which yet I take to be your case; for if the Fathers say, as you would have them, you professe not to rely upon them, if otherwise, not to re­gard them.

But I am afraid your manner of treat­ing the Fathers is more liable to excepti­ons, then your treating them. For, (to omit the want of rigorous exactnesse in some of your Testimonies, which uses to accompany those citations which are per­fectly your own,) you have brought a Quotation from S. Austin, which you make look like an entire Text, that proves, when examined, a collection of several sentences, some not so much as his, scattered through several books, in several Tomes, and cite for it a book never written, at least by him. This proceeding, I dare say, is not yours, and I would intreat you, since you refuse to rely upon the Fathers, not to hazard [Page 216] your own, or eternal happinesse, or eter­nal misery, upon the credit of, you know best whom, but in all likelyhood, (be­sides their being men, that is, in your principles, not to be rely'd on, because fallible) engaged by interest or affection into a partiality, which should be more suspicious to you, then the bare fallibi­lity of such men as the Fathers; and whoever they be, I may safely say, not comparable either in learning or virtue to those great ornaments of the Church of God. If ever you think fit to look into them, take my counsel, and look with your own, not other mens eyes; 'Tis your self are concerned; and I con­ceive it injustice to yield a submission to any body else, which you deny the Fa­thers; Next do not only read them, by starts I mean, as an occasional citation invites you, but study them, and per­severe with diligence from the beginning to the end of that piece you desire to be Master of; and then if you be truly un­prejudic'd, and bring a willingnesse to embrace what you find, I am as confident you will find the truth this way, as I think it extreamly difficult, not to say [Page 217] impossible, you should come to it by any other.

It would perhaps, not have been impro­per to consider a little in this place the nature of Arguments drawn from Fathers; for neither do we hold this consequence necessary; A father affirms this, therefore this is true. But having been already lon­longer then I intended, give me leave to refer you for that point to Mr Whites Con­troversie Logick, and only propose you this short reflexion; that since a Father is a Father, in as much as he propagates that kind in which he is a Father, that is in our case, the Church, and the Church is a company of faithful, and who are faithful, is to be known by the rule of faith, that point must first be setled, before any claim can be made either to father, or Church, since without it you can nei­ther affirm of any man that he is a Fa­ther, nor of any company of men, that 'tis a Church.

Farther, since a Father as such, is not a Doctor or deducer of Consequences, (for so every Doctor of Divinity would be a Father) nor a Homilist, nor Commentator, for the same reason, you will find the word, [Page 218] strictly look'd into, imports a propagator of Christian faith, by witnessing what the Church held in the time for which he witnesseth; but so as that the witness, by reason either of his eminency in learn­ing, dignity of place, or both, or by being an avowed Champion of the Churches Doctrine against her enemies cannot be conceived ignorant of the Churches sence in his days. To go therefore pro­perly to work, your Testimonies from Fathers, should be from men thus qua­lified, speaking as witnesses, the words, though of the same men, if under other capacities, being not properly the words of Fathers, but of Schollers, Preachers, or what other capacity they speak in. And to these just bounds, would you, as you ought confine your quotations, alas, how small a shew would Antiquity afford you? perhaps not four in her whole extent. Your present appearance will, I doubt, by this reflexion, be disco­vered to be made out of false Musters; nevertheless in condescendence to you, let us now examine what you say, and let me wonder what you say; first, viz. That the first Ages were clearly against [Page 219] us. Pray what have you, or can you have to justifie an Assertion of that sound? perhaps you will say the wri­tings of these times. But I should think that those who do not write, are infinite­ly more considerable in number, and no lesse in value, then those who do; and do not believe you can assign a reason why the Title and credit of so glorious a title as an Age should be taken from them who certainly best deserve it, but of whose sense you have no account at all, to be given to those few who have given an account of their sence, but do not at al deserv the title.

Again, even of those few who have written, how many are lost, and never descended down to us, who for any thing we know to the contrary, may not have been of the same opinion with those whose writings we have. If I should write now, and you write against me, but so as my Book have the fortune to be preserved, yours not: Will you not think the Age wrong'd, if a thousand years hence they conclude that to be the sence of it which they find in my Book? Cast up your accounts therefore faith­fully, and you will find the sum total [Page 220] of your Age to be two or three Writers in every hundred years, who are so far from making the sence of the first Ages to be against us (for they are of our side too) that they do not so much as make it appear what it was: Yet since you seem to put a confidence in them, let us see to whom they will be more favourable.

Your first from Irenaeus, we look upon as so far from being clearly against us, that we use to produce it on our be­half; conceiving it expresses very clearly that what was common Bread before con­secration, does by vertue thereof (accepta vocatione) cease to be what it was, and becomes Eucharist, in which are both earthly qualities, colour, taste, &c. and heavenly substance, the body of Christ. A second view will, I am confident, shew you this to be the sence of the place, and cause you to agree in this particular with Luther, who, in his Defens. verb. Coen. is of opinion that the vocare Dei did make the things to be vvhat they vvere called, and that Irenaeus used the word in that sence.

The next from Tertullian is accompa­nied with as great, though a more easie mistake; his obscurity being very often [Page 221] not penetrable but to laborious and obstinate industry; but if you please to look upon the place and throughly con­sider it, you will find his meaning was, not that this, which he says our Saviour made his body: was only a figure of his body, but that what anciently was a figure of his body, he then made his body; for his whole design being to prove that our Sa­viour fulfilled the figures of the Old Testa­ment, the place objected provs particular­ly the fulfilling that of Bread which being by the Prophet, conjiciamus lignum in panem ejus, used for a Figure of his body, he says is the reason why he took rather Bread then any other thing to change in­to his sacred body.

The following ones, all but Theodorets, have the same difficulty, all witnessing the Blessed Eucharist to be an Antitype a figure, a sign, &c. of the body and blood of Christ; and that it is so, and usually, and well called so, we agree, but that the Fathers ever meant it so a Figure, or sign as to exclude the thing signified, we deny, and conceive it impos­sible you should prove. In what sense [Page 222] they called it so you may, if you please, learn from the last words of your Testi­mony attributed by you to S. Austin con­tra Didim. who never wrote any such Book that I know of, but found in the Canon, Hoc est de Consecr. and said indeed to be taken out of him. These now af­firm the consecrated Bread to be truly the flesh of Christ, and yet a Sacrament also, or sign of his Body. How? ob­serve, illius, viz. quod visibile palpabile mor­tale in cruce positum est; that is, this body now immortal, now invisible signifies or brings into our mind this same body as mortal, as visible, &c. being it self in a different form a sign of it self. Vocatur­que ipsa immolatio carnis the sacrifice, mark you, of what? Of flesh) quae sacerdotis manibus fit, that is, the Mass, Christi passio &c. non rei veritate sed significante myste­rio; for the Priest does not truly cruci­fie, truly kill our Saviour, but mistical­ly represent to us by sacrificing his now impassible body, that great, and onely once performed Sacrifice offered upon the Cross in the same body when passi­ble. Both actions, truly Sacrifice, both Victims, truly body, and the same body, [Page 223] but one, under one form, a Sacrament, or sign of it self under another.

Now that the same thing in a diffe­rent relation, may be a sign, or figure, or image of it self, I hope will not ap­pear strange to you, if you reflect, that God the Son is the image of his Fathers sub­stance, and the same substance was made into the likeness of man, and yet truly man, &c. And your Argument, 'tis a sign or figure, therefore not substance, is common to you with the Marcionites, who argued Christ, because in Image, therefore not in truth a servant, no man, because in like­ness a man; and because in figure, there­fore not in substance a man; for which they are reprehended and confuted by Tertullian lib. 5. cont. Marc. c. 20. So that your Argument, were it good, proves more then you intended, and perhaps imagined, and not onely takes away our Saviours bodie from the blessed Eucha­rist, but leaves him none to take away; for certainly the same Argument is the same, whether in Marcions mouth or in yours, and there is no remedy but you must either relinquish it, or cannot re­linquish him. In short what wonder, [Page 224] that it is called a sign, when it cannot be a Sacrament without being so? all our Question is, Whether it be a meer sign? This the Testimonies should express, and not leave to the Readers gloss.

There remains Theodoret, saying, the nature is not changed, but grace added to it. But what is meant by nature, then which a more equivocal word sel­dom accurs, is the Question. In our or­dinary speech very often, and in the Fa­thers most frequently, the proper quali­ties of a thing use to be called natural, and nature; and that Theodoret meant no more by the word here, (viz. that the nature, that is, the taste, colour, shape, &c. of bread was not changed) I am in­duced to beleeve, both from this very place, which tells us we are not to look to the nature, or outward appearances of what is seen, but, for the change of names, to beleeve the change made by grace, which change I conceive to be a real, not moral onely change, of sub­stance, not office; since then the Bread by consecration should become a sign of Christs body (which if you will beleeve Tertullian it was before) is no such myste­rie [Page 225] as to deserve a change of names to re­quire our faith, and be manifest onely mysteriis initiatis. But more by what he says in his second Dialogue, where he plain­ly tells us the mystical signs are under­stood to be that which they are made, and are beleeved, and adored as being the things which they are beleeved. Now what think you, was Theodoret of your opinion that maintains such a change by vertue of consecration as brings in adoration with it? May bread be adored, let it signifie what it will? unquestiona­bly therefore, he held such a change as made the bread to be no longer bread, but a fit object of adoration. And that it may appear the rest of the Fathers were of his mind, and the interpretati­on, I make of their sayings, not obtru­ded upon them, but purely their own true sentiments: I shall present you with a short taste of their judgment, leaving you in case it stir your appetite to desire it, for a fuller meal, to the large store of their own writings, which if you please to fall upon, I am confident you cannot bring a hunger, which will not meet with full satietie.

[Page 226]S. Ambros. de iis qui myst. init. c. 9. Quantis igitur utimur exemplis ut probemus non hoc esse quod natura formavit, sed quod benedictio consecravit, majoremque esse vim benedictionis quam naturae. How many ex­amples therefore do we use to prove it is not what nature framed, but what the blessing has consecrated, and that the force of the blessing is greater then that of nature. And in his Treatise de Sacram. l. 4. cap. 5. Antequam consecretur panis est, ubi autem verba Chri­sti accesserint corpus est Christi. Again, & ante verba Christi calix est vini & aquae plenus, ubi verba Christi operata fuerint ibi sanguis efficitur qui plebem redemit. Ergo videte quantis generibus potens est sermo Chri­sti universa convertere. Deinde ipse Domi­nus Jesus testificatur nobis quod corpus suum accipiamus & sanguinem, nunquid debemus de ejus fide & testificatione dubitare? Before consecrated, it is bread; as soon as the words of Christ are added, it is the body of Christ. Again, and before the words of Christ, it is a Chalice full of Wine and Water, as soon as the words of Christ have operated, bloud is made there, that bloud which redeemed the people. Behold therefore how many ways powerful the speech of Christ is to change [Page 227] all things. Moreover our Lord Jesus him­self testifies to us that we do receive his bo­dy and bloud; is it for us to doubt of his credit and witness?

S. Greg. Nyss. orat. Catec. cap 37. Oportet considerare quomodo fieri potuerit, ut unum illud corpus, quod tam multis fidelium millibus in universo orbe terrarum semper distribuitur, totum per partem sit in un [...]quoque, & ipsum in se totum maneat: Which having discour­sed, he concludes, Haec autem dat virtute be­nedictionis in illud transelementata eorumquae apparent natura. We are to consider how it could come to pass, that that one bo­dy which is perpetually distributed to so many thousands of faithful through the whole world, is whole in every one in particular, and remains whole in it self. But these things he gives by vertue of the blessing, having trans-elemented, the nature of those things which appear unto it. And Orat. 1. de Resur. Qui e­nim potestate sua cuncta disponit, non ex pro­ditione sibi impendentem necessitatem, non Ju­daeorum quasi praedonum impetuus, non inquam Pilati sententiam expectat ut eorum malitia sit communis hominum salutis principium & causa; sed consilio suo antevertit, & arcano [Page 228] sacrificii genere quod ab hominibus cer­ni non poterat, seipsum pro nobis hostiam offert, & victimam immolat, sacerdos simul existens, & agnus Dei, ille qui mundi pecca­tum tollit. Quando id praestitit? cum corpus suum discipulis congregatis edendum, & san­guinem bibendum praebuit, tunc aperte declara­vit agni sacrificium jam esse perfectum. For he, who by his power disposes all things, doth not expect the necessity now neerly approaching from his betraying, expects not to be set upon by the Jews like Theeves, expects not, I say, the sentence of Pilate, that their malice may be the beginning and cause of the common safetie of mankind: but by his providence prevents them, and by a hidden kinde of sacrifice, which could not be discerned by men, offers himself an Host for us, and immolates a Victim, being himself both Priest and Lamb of God, that Lamb which takes away the sin of the world. When did he perform this? when he gave his bodie to be eaten, and blood to be drunk, to his Disciples gathered together, then he openly declared the Sacrifice of the Lamb to be now accom­plished.

[Page 229]S. Hierom. ep. ad Hedib. q. 2. Nec Moyses dedit nobis panem verum, sed Dominus Jesus: ipse conviva & convivium ipse comedens & qui comeditur. Neither did Moses give us the true bread but our Lord Jesus; himself both guest and banquet, himself both eating and eaten.

Cyril. Al. l. 10. in Joan. c. 13. Non ta­men negamus recta nos fide charitateque syn­cera Christo spiritualiter conjungi, sed nul­lam nobis conjunctionis rationem secundum carnem ejus illo esse, id profecto pernegamus idque à divinis scripturis omnino alienum di­cimus. An fortassis putat ignotam nobis my­sticae benedictionis virtutem esse, quae quum in nobis fiat, nonne corporaliter quoque facit communicatione carnis Christi, Christum in nobis hahitare. Ʋnde considerandum est non babitudine solum quae per charitatem intelligi­tur, Christum in nobis esse, verum etiam & participatione naturali. Non credis mihi haec dicenti Christo, te obsecro, fidem praebe. Never­theless we do not deny that we are joyned spiritually to Christ, by a righs faith and sincere charity, but that we are not at all joyned to him according to the flesh, that we utterly deny, and affirm it to be altogether against the Divine Scri­ptures. [Page 230] Does he think we are ignorant of the efficacie of the mystical blessing, which when it is performed in us, doth it not make Christ dwell in us even corpo­rally too by communication of the flesh of Christ? Whence is to be considered that Christ is in us, not habitually onely, that is, by charity, but also by a natural participation too. You beleeve not me in these matters; I beseech you beleeve Christ. Cyril Hier cat. myst. 4. Cum igi­tur Christus ipse sic affirmet, atque dicat de pane, hoc est corpus meum: Quis deinceps au­deat dubitare? ac eodem quoque confirmante & dicente, hic est sanguis meus: Quis inquam dubitet, & dicat non esse illius sanguinem; a­quam aliquando mutavit in vinum, quod est sanguini propinquum, in Cana Galileae sola volunta [...]e; & non erit dignus cui credamus quod vinum in sanguinem transmutasset. Ne ergo consideres tanquam panem nudum, & vi­num nudum: Corpus enim est & sanguis Chri­sti secundum ipsius Domini verba; quamvis enim sensus hoc tibi suggerit, tamen fides te confirmet, ne ex gustu rem judices, quin po­tius habeas ex fide pro certissimo, ita ut nulla subeat dubitatio, esse tibi donata corpus & san­guinem. Hoc sciens, & pro certissimo habens [Page 231] panem hunc qui videtur, non esse panem, etiamsi gustus panem esse sentiat, sed esse corpus Christi; & vinum quod à nobis conspicitur tametsi sen [...]ui gustus vinum esse videatur, non tamen vinum sed sanguinem esse Christi. Since therefore Christ himself affirms it, & says of Bread, This is my body, who dares from thenceforth doubt it? himself also confirming and saying, This is my bloud; who, I say, is there can doubt, and say it is not his bloud? In Cana of Galilee, he did here­tofore by his onely will change water into wine, which approaches to bloud; and will he become not worthy to be beleeved that he has changed wine into bloud? Do not therefore consider it as bare bread and bare wine, for according to the words of our Lord himself, it is the body and bloud of Christ; for al­though sense do suggest this unto thee, yet let faith confirm thee, that thou do do not judge of the thing by thy taste, but rather hold by faith for most certain, so that there be no place for doubt that what is given thee is body and bloud. Knowing this, and holding for most cer­trin, that this Bread which is seen is not Bread, although the taste judge it to be [Page 232] so, but the Body of Christ, and the Wine which is seen by us, although to the sense of taste it seem Wine, yet is not Wine, but the bloud of Christ.

S. Aug. Ep. 162. Tolerat ipse Dominus Judam, Diabolum, sunem, & venditorem su­um, sinit accipere inter innocentes discipulos, quod fideles noverunt pretium nostrum. And in Psal. 33. con. 1. Ferebatur in manibus suis. Hoc vero fratres quomodo posset fieri in homine, quis intelligat? Quis enim portatur manibus suis? manibus aliorum potest portari homo, manibus suis nemo portatur. Quomodo intelligatur in ipso David secundum literam non invenimus, in Christo autem invenimus; ferebatur enim Christus in manibus suis, quan­do commendamus ipsum corpus suum, ait, hoc est corpus meum Our Lord himself endures Judas a Devil, a Thief, who sold him; he suffers him to receive amongst his in­nocent Disciples that which the faithful know to be our price. Again, upon these words of Psal. 33. And he was carried in his own hands. But this brethren, how it may be verified in man, who can un­derstand? for who is carried in his own hands? in the hands of another, a man may be carried, no man is carried in his [Page 233] own. How this may literally be under­stood of David we do not find; of Christ we do, for Christ was carried in his own hand [...], when recommending his own ve­ry body, he said, This is my body.

S. Chrys. in Matth. 26. Hom. 83. Cre­damus itaque ubique Deo, nec repugnemus ei, etiamsi sensui, & cogitationi nostrae absur­dum esse videatur quod dicit: superet & sensum & rationem nostram sermo ipsius, quod in omnibus, & praecipue in mysteriis facia [...]us, non illa quae ante nos jacent solummodo aspici­entes, sed verba quoque ejus tenentes; nam verbis ejus defraudari non possumus, sensus vero noster deceptui facillimus est; illa falsa esse non possunt, hic sepius atque saepius falli­tur; Quoniam ergo ille dixit; hoc est corpus meum: nulla teneamur ambiguitate, sed creda­mus, & oculis intellectus id perspiciamus. O quot modo dicunt vellem formam & speciem ejus, vellem vestimenta ipsa, vellem cal­ceamenta videre; ipsum igitur vides, ip­sum tangis, ipsum comedis. Veniat tibi in mentem quo sis honore honoratus, qua men­sa fruaris, ea namque re nos alimur quam Angeli videntes tremunt, nec absque pavo [...]e, propter fulgo em qui inde resilit, aspicere [...]es­sunt. Let us therefore beleeve God and [Page 234] not withstand him, although what he says seem absurd to our sence and under­standing; let his words surmount both our sense and our reason, & this let us do in all things, and principally in the my­steries, not looking only upon those things which lie before us, but minding also his words, for by them we cannot be deceived, 'tis very easie to impose upon our sence: 'Tis not possible they should be false, this is deceived over & over again, since therefore he has said, This is my bo­dy, let us not doubt at all but beleeve and look upon it, with the eies of our under­standing. O how many are there now who say I would fain see his shape and beauty, nay but his cloths, his shooes? why thou seest his own self, touchest himself, eatest himself: Consider what an honour it is which is done thee, at what a Table thou art fed, for we are nourished with that very thing which the Angels tremble in beholding, and are not able to look upon without dread for the glory which issues from it.

And Hom. 24. on 1 Cor. Id quod est in calice, est id quod fluxit è latere, & illius sumus participes. Hoc [...]us, etiam jacen [...] [Page 235] in praesepi, reveriti sunt magi. And, cum multo metu & tremore adorarunt: Tu autem non in praesipi vides, sed in altari; non foemi­nam eum tenentem, sed sacerdotem astantem. Nos ergo ipsos excitemus, & formidemus, & longe majorem quam illi Barbari ostenda­mus reverentiam. That which is in the Chalice is that which did flow from the side, and of that we are partakers. The wise men did reverence to this body lying even in a Crib, with much fear and trem­bling adored it: But thou seest it, not in the Crib, but on the Altar; thou seest not a woman holding him, but a Priest assisting: Let us therefore stir up our selves and fear, and shew much more re­verence then those barbarous men.

Again, Hom. 17. ad Heb. Eundem enim semper offerimus: non nunc quidem alium, sed semper eundem. Quoniam multis in locis offer­tur, multine sunt Christi? nequaquam, sed unus ubique Christus; qui & hic est plenus, & illic plenus unum corpus: Pontifex noster ille est qui illam obtulit hostiam quae nos mundat. Il­lam nunc quoque offerimus quae tunc fuit ob­lata, quae non potest consumi. For we al­ways offer up the same; not another, even at this time, but the same; because he is [Page 236] offered (or sacrificed) in many places, are there therefore many Christs? by no means, but one Christ every where: who is entire here, entire there, one bodie. He is our Bishop who offered, that Host which cleanseth us: We also do now offer that Host which then was offered, which cannot be consumed. And lib. 3. de Sacerd. c. 4. O miraculum! O Dei benig­nitatem! qui cum patre sursum sedet in illo ipso temporis articulo omnium manibus per­tractatur, ac se ipse tradit volentibus ipsum excipere ac complecti. O miracle! O good­ness of God! He, who sits with his Father above, is in the same instant of time, hand, led by us all, and himself gives himself to those who are willing to receive and imbrace him.

I shall conclude with two, but those so evidently express in the point of Ado­ration, that they seem of themselves e­nough to conclude the Controversie. The First is from S. Ambrose l. 3. de spir. sanct. c. 12. Itaque per scabellum terra intel­ligatur, per terram autem caro Christi, quam hodie quoque in mysteriis adoramus, & quam Apostoli in Domino Jesu, ut supra diximus adorarunt: By a footstool therefore let [Page 237] earth be understood, by earth the flesh of Christ, which even at this day, we adore in the mysteries, and which the A­postles, as I said before, adored in our Lord Jesus.

The next from S. Austin, explicating the same words in Psal. 98. Suscepit enim de terra terram, quia caro de terra est, & de carne Mariae carnem accepit; & quia in ipsa carne hic ambulavit, & ipsam carnem nobis manducandam ad salutem dedit, nemo autem illam carnem manducaverit, nisi prius adora­verit, Juventum est quomodo adoretur tale scabellum pedum Domini, & non solum non pec­cemus adorando, sed peccemus non adorando. For of earth he took earth, because flesh is of earth, and of the flesh of Mary he took flesh; and because he walked here in that flesh, and gave us that flesh to be eaten unto salvation, and none eats that flesh without having first adored it; We have found how such a footstool of the feet of our Lord may be adored, and how we do not only not sin in adoring it, but sin in not adoring it.

These few I have chosen out of many, enough, I hope to satisfie you, that 'tis very far from plain, that the first Ages [Page 238] were cleerly against us. And that those whose forward confidence has perswaded you to think so, have very much wrong­ed the confidence you put in them; it being not possible, for our selves at this day, to express more plainly then those great lights of the Church have done be­fore us: That our senses are not in this mat­ter, to be trusted; that they may, but the Word of God cannot deceive us; that what we see in the blessed Eucharist is not what nature framed; not Bread and Wine, though to our senses it seem so; but the body and blood of Christ, that blood which redeemed the peo­ple, that very thing which did flow from his side; which the Sages saw and adored in the manger; that at which the An­gels, in beholding, tremble, nor are able to look upon without fear; that which no man received without first adoring, and which, in fine, 'tis sin not to adore.

SECT. III. Prayer to Saints.

BƲt to proceed, page 103. Mr. White strives to answer the Objection of [Page 239] Prayer to Saints, alleged as an Innovation, & so a proof of the uncertainty of Traditions, and their corruptions; the first Argument from the opinion of the Fathers, who held that the souls of Saints were not admitted into heaven before the day of Judgment, Mr. White only says, he does not beleeve it their opinion, but he should have proved they did not, I wish the Arguments brought were set down by Mr. White, but supposing they held Saints were not admitted, he sees no consequence, which I exceedingly wonder at, what? Eagle-eyed Mr. White not see it? No wonder indeed, when he changes the very question, which with what ingenuitie it is done, I leave to you his friend to judge: the Question was in the first line of the page, Prayer to Saints, he says suppose they were not, may they not nevertheless pray for us? I pray Mr. White, Is there not a great vast difference between these two, the Saints pray for us, and we may pray to the Saints, suppose the Saints not yet in heaven pray for us, the Church of God in general, not knowing every ones particular condition, may they not do it without Superstition or I­dolatry? For a particular man here, may and should pray for the welfare of the Church be­yond [Page 240] Sea, but can the Church beyond Sea, all the members of it, in whatsoever place or time by night or day, pray unto the parti­cular man here in England, to pray to God for them, without Idolatry, seeing the man here they all pray to must know the prayers they make whether by night or by day, whether he be asleep or awake, whether many of them pray together in several places, or onely one at once, and is it not Idolatry? Suppose every man of you in England, upon every occasion you had should pray to the Pope, to get help for you from God; one in this Town is a praying for health; another at the same hour in Wales for deliverance from Robbers, another at midnight, when the Pope is asleep, prays for pardon of sin, I think you will say this is Idolatry, making a God of a man, whom you suppose by praying, to hear and know your particular conditions; but it is a quite other matter, if the Pope should pray for all of you in general, (as we do for the whole Church) though he knew not your particu­lar wants: The Consequence then which admirable Mr. White cannot see, is strong and good, for if you grant, the Fathers held Saints were not admitted into heaven, they [Page 241] held they were not to be prayed unto; because before admission, they could not know every mans condition, that laid it open to them in prayer, what say you? could they not yet be admitted, know every mans condition or not? If not, why doe you pray to them that can­not hear you? If they know (which Mr. White seems to hold in bringing Jeremiah praying for the people) then indeed the Con­sequence is not forcing, and indeed unlesse Mr. White think so, be does but fumble, as bad as your Seraphim of Divines (so yours call Aquinas) about this very question, which by reason of the badness of his Te­net contradicts himself in the compass of two leaves.

¶ 1. This Section treats of Prayer to Saints, and the first Paraph is im­ployed in making good a consequence, which you acknowledge little importing whether true or no, since Mr. Whites se­cond Answer is, as you confess, that which he relies upon, nay which you acknowledg to be not forcing, that is not good, and none in that opinion which Mr. White maintains for true, Viz That [Page 242] Saints even before admission into Heaven know every mans condition. I cannot tell therefore whether reason will justifie my pains in examining, what before I begin is confessed to be nothing to the purpose; and yet the bitter confidence of your close, which calls Mr. Whites Discourse trifles, and signs of a rotten cause, &c. prevails with me to let you see those terms do not become an Argu­ment, whose Premises besides being un­true, are also many ways nothing to the purpose.

First then I observe, that in the very place you charge Mr. White with want of ingenuity, you would have much ado to defend your self, from a severe Adver­sary; pray, if I should urge it, what rea­son could you assign of changing his Objection, That divers Fathers held non-admission before the day of judge­ment, into this expression, that the Fa­thers held it, which signifies all, or the universality of them, his, importing but a few. But, though you give me occa­sion I will not be rigorous, and proceed to tell you, 'tis both unjust and irratio­nal, [Page 243] to exact the proof you do. Let those prove the Fathers held the opinion, who say they did, else a bare denial is a suffi­cient Confutation of a bare Asser­tion; the proof as you know very well, belonging to the Plaintiff, not Defen­dant. But besides Mr. White disclaims medling with the point, and 'tis a strange severity in you to quarrel at the want of a proof where there is not so much as an Argument, and to be angry for not finding what you are told beforehand is not there to find; yet if your curiositie persevere, you may, if you please, see the ground of Mr. Whites opinion in his Middle state of Souls, Acc. 4.

In the mean time we must see what is to be said to the alteration you accuse him to have made of the Question: which first, I will hope, you look not upon as design, for no man plays foul play but for advan­tage, and 'tis the same thing to him whe­ther Saints hear us, or hear us not before admission. You see he maintains the opinion of non-admission to be false, and therefore cannot be concerned what hap­pens, in case it be, for argument sake, sup­posed true.

[Page 244]Next, though it seem but odly spent time, which is imployed in guessing, and besides himself no body can do more, at the reason of the accident, yet I beleeve from the experience I have of him, I may confidently affirm this passage to be one of those obscurities, which his great in­tentiveness upon sence, and small care of expression makes every body complain of in him. Neither is this the first time that his overmuch minding the thing he would discourse of, has made him for­get som link necessary to the chain of his discourse; which had it been made in this manner, the Saints whether admitted or not admitted, may pray for us, and do know whether we pray to them, there­fore the Objection is of no force; your self would have, and have allowed.

Now that second Proposition is to him so cleer a truth, holding that our blindness here is from the cloud of mat­ter which darkens every thing, and which the soul being freed from, finds no obscu­rity impenetrable to her natural activity, that he never reflected other people would find a difficulty where himself saw none; I beg leave therefore to add it for him, and [Page 245] undertake to defend it against the assaults your next Paraph makes upon it; though I apprehend my self not otherwise oblig'd to so much, then by the desire I have to proceed according to the rules, not of strict disputation, but civility: For would I insist upon it, how could you justifie your cleer-sightedness, and this conse­quence, which, though Mr. White could not, you saw was good; if the Fathers held non-admission, they held no prayer? because, say you, they knew not, before admission every mans condition. This you see I have denied; but, put case I had not, I am afraid you would come short of your account.

S. Austin and other Fathers are alledged by Veron, an excellent French Contro­vertist, to maintain prayer to Saints, e­ven while they doubted whether these Saints heard the prayers made to them: And you may reflect, that prayer to Saints, is a part of Tradition rivetted into our hearts by an universal and undeniable practise; but whether souls, freed from the commerce of bodies, receive intelli­gence of what passes among bodies; and this again either from the nature of their [Page 246] state, or divine revelation: Whether the return of our prayers to Saints be from their mediation, or only from the good­ness of God making use of our affection to creatures like our selves, to give us those benefits, which otherwise we had never demanded, and so never received, and the like, are School questions, in which speculative wits, according to the difference of their learning and studie, have met with either truth or error, but acting all the while as Schollers, and ne­ver doubting the lawfulness of the pra­ctice, which occasioned all these disputes, and which they saw firmly setled upon a more solid foundation then all their School-learning, for had they done so, they had disputed it, as well as the rest.

To take then all parts of your Argu­ment, tis false, the Fathers held non-ad­mission is false, that non-admission im­ports ignorance of our condition; lastly, 'tis false, that non admission and igno­rance both of them exclude prayers to Saints, that is, in the Fathers judgement (for the Question is not what is true or false, but what they held to be so) since they prayed to them even then when they [Page 247] doubted whether they were heard or no. Now I beseech you reflect, if to reject such arguments be a sign of a rotten cause, what it is to be perswaded by them, and perswaded in matters of no less con­cern then eternity?

¶ 2. Suppose that be Mr. Whites mean­ing, the Saints know what we pray to them before they are admitted into heaven, is that your Tenet? To what purpose else does he bring Jeremies praying in the Macchabees, to say that he prays in general (as we do for the whole Church, though we know not its par­ticular state) is nothing to the purpose, the Question is, Whether we may pray to the Saints, and in order to our praying to them, whether they can know every particular mans prayer; if you say they do, you and your Apo­criphal Book, contradict the undoubted Word of God, by his Prophet, Isai 63.16. Abraham knows us not, and Isaac is ignorant of us, which your S. Thomas can no otherwise solve, then by imagining the Saints before Christ were not yet admitted to Heaven.

¶ 3. Here comes your convincing, as you think, Argument against the know­ledg of Saints, from the Prophet Isaiah; A­raham knows us not, and Israel is ignorant of [Page 248] us: but I would beg of you not to put so much confidence in words without a full mastery of their sense; for 'tis the sense of Scripture is truly Scripture. You have found indeed the word ignorant, and knows us not, but what is meant by that word, (and what that is, is the whole difficulty) you settle not. You know that word, Luke 13.25, 27. is ap­plied to the Master of the House, Mat. 25.12. to the Bridegroom; and I hope you will not, from it, argue any ignorance in that Master, and that Bridegroom, Mark 13.32. The knowledge of the day of judgment is denied to that Son, who being so man that he is also God, can­not, sure, at any time be imagined to want his omniscience. Since therefore 'tis manifest those words have in Scri­pture many senses, what possibility is there by the bare sound without fur­ther inquirie to conclude any one? The Context, and your own later Translati­ons, which for ignorant put acknowledg not, perswade me they have here the same sense, as when God is said not to know impious persons. But 'tis not for me to prove, but to shew you have not done [Page 249] so; and in the mean time to wonder so excellent a wit should make such a bra­vado with a Bulrush, which nevertheless I impute to the weakness of your cause, whose armory affords no better weapons.

¶ 3. That which Mr. White proves out of the parable of Dives, praying to Abra­ham, is as ridiculous, for if it be a proof, it is either nothing to the Question, or contra­ry to that Scripture named. But the princi­pal answer (for the former are but trifles, signs of a rotten cause) Saints are admitted to Heaven before the day of Judgment, there­fore seeing God, and so all things, know our prayers, and so sit to be prayed unto. But seeing this naked, groundless, not proved Assertion, is the principal answer, how chance not a word to the Argument that prevented and utterly destroyed it, the Fathers did hold the contrary? Is this a satisfaction to the Argument, only to say I do not beleeve it? Be Judge your self and give a better.

¶ 3. You call Mr. Whites touch up­on the Parable of Dives ridiculous, and say 'tis either nothing to the Question, or contrary to the Scripture named; but since you do no more then say so, you will pardon me if I have not that capti­vation [Page 250] of my understanding to your words, which you refuse the Church; and give me leave to put you in mind you cannot affirm it contrary to that Scripture, till you be assured what that Scripture is; and farther, since Scripture cannot be contrary to it self, 'tis lawful for me to beleeve, you may as soon miss the sence of it, as Mr. White, whose prin­cipal Answer, you in the next place, call a naked, groundless, not proved Asser­tion, and for naked, I think you mean want of either proof or ground, for sure you will not except against the want of Rhetorick, and then 'tis the same with one of the other expressions: To the first of which I reply he has ex­prest the ground of it, Viz. Tradition; and to the second, that being the Defen­dant, it was not his part to prove. But how chance no word to the Argument? According to the small insight I have in Logick, no argument either requires, or can have a fuller answer, then a plain denial of its premises, which I take to be done here.

The Argument is this, Divers Fa­thers, you say the Fathers, held [Page 251] non-admission before the day of judgment, wherefore they must also hold no prayer to Saints: Now, if I aver the admission of Saints before the day of Judgment is taught by Tradition, I think I say also, that it was taught by the Fa­thers, and consequently deny they taught the contrary and must beleeve, till I am better instructed in the Laws of Dispu­tations, when thus much is said to an Argument, more ought not, and perhaps cannot be said. Let me add nevertheless in this place, that were the antecedent true of divers Fathers, if the Consequent be recommended by Tradition, we must ei­ther reject the Apostle, or refuse to admit of any Plea, not only of Fathers, but even Angels against it.

¶ 4. But to consider this principal Asser­tion by it self, what ground for it? Can you prove the Fathers held so gross absurdity, and shew clearly this Tradition came from the A­postles, that Saints departed have an infinite participation or omniscience communicated to them from God, as is necessary to make them fit objects to be prayed unto, knowing all prayers of every one, every where that are offered up to them? I much desire to see this proved.

[Page 252]¶ 4. You next demand the ground of this Assertion, and whether the Omni­science of Saints be descended by Tra­dition from the Apostles? No Sir, I have told you already it belongs not to Faith, but Divinity, where, if you please to take the pains necessary, you may find it proved true, but not of faith; such things belong to the School, not the Church, who will not refuse Com­munion to any for refusing to beleeve it. The practice of praying to Saints, Tra­dition has, by immemorial custome, setled her in possession of; how that practice is reconciled to Philosophy, whether by the omniscience of Saints, by divine re­velation, or other disposition of pro­vidence, is disputed in the Schools: while her aim of bringing her Subjects to the esteem and practice of vertue, by the e­steem of those whom the practise of it has made so glorious, is perfectly attain­ed without those subtleties, which have no other influence upon our actions, then as fences or out-works, which it belongs to Divinity both to maintain and enlarge; but so as that an Error in it does not weaken her hold which is [Page 253] built upon a much stronger foundation: Mean time while you ask, if the Fathers held so gross absurdities; if you mean om­niscience of Saints, you see I maintain it to be no absurdity, but a great and certain truth; if you mean non omniscience, I hope you will hereafter be less earnest in main­taining what your self call a gross ab­surdity, in either case give me leave to tell you, that for divers Fathers (for that ex­pression, the Fathers, which imports them all, fair dealing will not receive into its place) to hold an opinion in matters of learning, which after ages discovered un­maintainable, I take to be a conceit very far from absurdity.

¶ 5. Have not the holy Angels the same sight of God as Saints? whether Saints are admitted or no, is not so certain as that the Angels are in heaven, may they not as well be prayed unto? you must confess there's no reason against the one that holds not against the other, and I think your Michael-Masses shew you allow both, and so run quite blanck against that Word which proves your Tradition here false; 2 Col. 18. Let no man beguile you of your reward, in a voluntary humilitie and worshipping of Angels, intruding in those [Page 254] things which he hath not seen vainly puft up by his fleshly mind.

¶ 5. That Holy Angels may as well be prayed to, as Saints, I freely grant, and to what you object out of Col. 2.18. I answer, it is against those who so rely­ed upon the mediation of Angels, that they denied the meditation of Christ, as S. Chrysostom upon this place testifies;Sunt quidam qui dicunt non oportere per Christum adduci, sed per Angelos. S. Chrys. Col. 2. there are some who say we must not be reconci­led, and have access to God the Father by Christ, but by Angels: An Heresie which I think, is attributed to Si­mon Magus, and called in his followers the Religion of Angels. But the Text seems to need no other Com­ment then a faithful scanning of it: for it does not barely admonish the Colossi­ans to beware of such as endeavoured to seduce them into the worship of Angels, but so as not to hold the head; that is, such a worship as took away, or denied the head, and [...] [...]consistent with our duties to it. Which words, being im­mediate to those you cite, had in my opinion been proper for your conside­ration [Page 255] before you had setled your judg­ment upon the place which is imperfect without them.

¶ 6. I cannot see but your Tenet is point blank contrary to the Scripture howsoever you palliate it over, and blind your eyes with new coin'd Distinctions. S. John Apoc. 22.8, 9. went to worship the Angel, who, in the 19th chap. vers. 10. had told him he was one of his brethren the Prophets that kept the sayings of that Book himself, surely he could not look upon him now as God, yet was forbidden to worship him with that Religious Worship you offer to Saints. Or did Cornelius, Acts 10.25, 26. look upon Peter as God, when he fell down before him? the Devil in Matth. 4. did not bid our Saviour fall down and worship him as God, he had confessed God to be, and in saying, all these are given me, implyed God greater then himself; yet our Sa­viour allegeth Scripture to prove such an acti­on unlawful, It is written, Thou shalt wor­ship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve, These words are nothing to the purpose, according to your doctrine, for the Divel might have replyed, I, You may worship God and me too; thus you make void the Law of God by your Traditions.

[Page 256]¶ 6. Your next Paraph passes from the invocation of Saints, to their vene­ration, and in the first place reprehends some answers, it seems you have met with, under the name of new coin'd distin­ctions. And how to justifie them, or know whether they are justifiable, except you had expressed them, I cannot tell: but in general, to quarrel at the use of distinctions, seems extremely unjust, it being impossible, without them, to ar­rive at any certainty by the means of words; for there being few, perhaps not any, which are not used in many sences, what imagination can fancy a possibility of fixing upon any one sense by a sound, which is common to many, till they are distinguished one from another, and the particular signification applied to the general word?

Now let us see how you come to be so strongly perswaded of the opposition of our Tenet to Scripture: You say S. John in the Apocalips was forbidden to worship the Angel with that religious worship we offer to Saints, but have no warrant from the place, to say so, where there is no word to inform us what kind [Page 257] of worship it was which the Saint offered, and the Angel refused, and you know how dangerous additions or diminuti­ons are: there appears no more then barely worship offered and refused; whereof you are so intent upon the latter, that you quite forget the former, which nevertheless seems important enough to deserve a reflexion; for if worship were offered, and offered by S. John, that illumi­nated and beloved Apostle, and this when, as you say, he was aware it was an An­gel to whom he offered it, I cannot see but to deny Angel-worship is to say that great Apostle either knew not what was lawful, or acted what he knew unlawful; two Assertions, which to embrace, I think, nothing but the necessity of de­fending an ill cause, can ingage a man; For my part I must desire none will take it amiss, if I regulate my actions by those of the beloved Disciple, and think al­lowable whatever he thought so.

But to look neerer on the place, the worship there mentioned being of neces­sity to be supposed either due or not due; I know several things are said to render a reason why the Angel might re­fuse [Page 258] it, in the first Supposition; and the Saint be mistaken to offer it in the se­cond; but either I understand nothing, or neither Supposition affords ground enough to raise a battery against us; for if it be put due, whatever the reason might be of the Angels refusal, we shall be very unjustly quarrelled at, for giving every one what's their due. Paying of of debts, sure, will not become opposite to Scripture, if not due, what wonder if the Angel refused it? And whatever might be the reason of the Apostles mi­stake, this is certain, that out of this, that an undue honour was refused, it will ne­ver follow that a due one may not be gi­ven. That which we give must be first proved undue, and unlawful, before it can be concluded against by the refusal of one which was so. For, that some worship is due, sure none, but a Quaker, will deny, since certainly an Angel is as good a person as a Justice of Peace, to whom nevertheless, I hope, by the grace of God, we may say without Idolatry, if it please your Worship. And for Re­ligious Worship, which seems to stick with you, I doubt there is a mistake, but know [Page 259] not how to rectifie it, if you bar the use of distinctions, whose service if you had pleased to make use of, so far, as to have look'd into the several notions of the Word, my service would have been need­less to you.

Religion then signifies the worship of God, and Religious by consequence, ap­pertaining, or relating to the worship of God, and this in several, and unequal respects; as when we say a religious man, house, book, demeanour, &c. we mean those persons, or things have relation, though differently, to the service of God. Now the best and most proper sent of Re­ligiousness, is in a soul, and since no qua­lity can be more, or so much, esteemable, we conceive the soul, which has it to be valuable, or to have worth; the acknow­ledgment of which, we call worship, that is testimony of worth.

Farther this worship, being founded, not on the worth rising from natural, or acquired parts, from eminence of dig­nity, or any civil consideration, but pure­ly on supernatural, or religious endow­ments, we call religious worship, and mean by it an acknowledgment of worth, [Page 260] springing from this, that the persons to whom we give it, are highly in the favor of God, meerly as such, without mixture of any other consideration. This kind of worship then, is therefore called religi­ous, because it aims at God, being given to persons highly dear to him; and pure­ly upon the score, that they are so, and nothing is more plain from common sence, then that he who honours a person, purely as loving another, does by that act heartily honor that other.

From the action of Cornelius what you would infer, I am left to guess, all the use you make, being to ask whether he took S. Peter for God? to which after I have replyed, that I conceive he did not, I know not what more to say: but me thinks Catholike Religion has a strange Fate, that no act of Christian modestie, and humilitie can pass without being straind into an opposition to it.

The last place is Matth. 4. whence you would prove the Divel did not desire to be worshipped as God, because he con­fessed God: Good Sir, does the Divel act according to his knowledg? and can you be ignorant his misery consists in [Page 261] obstinate adhesion to things against rea­son, and which he sees to be so? Has he changed his mind, think you, since the fatal Ero similis altissimo? This was strangely argued, but to wrest the place against our Tenet, is, I think, stranger; it being to say men may not honour (ve­nerari) Angels, because God refused to adore the Divel. How little consulta­tion did you use with your own thoughts in this Paragraph? but you reply, in be­half of the Devil, our Saviour might have worshipped him, and his Father both: Which seems to me to evince, past dis­pute, that the worship desired by the De­vil was such a one as was due to God: for had he meant onely a testimony of that excellence which was in him, do you think him ignorant of it who created it? or backward to express his know­ledg of it in necessary circumstances, who is justice it self? Evidently therefore the Devil desired what belonged not to him, and ought not to hinder those happy spirits from receiving Veneration to whom it does belong; and yet we are so unfortunate as to evacuate the Law of God by true Traditions, while you have [Page 262] the happiness to preserve it by untrue Interpretations.

¶ 7. Page 104. Mr. White has a most ingenious evasion of the second Argument, confessing the Objection would have force if they did really doubt; I think it is clear they did. Origen l. 2. in ep. ad Rom. sayes, Whether the Saints that are with God do any thing for us and labour; let this also be reckoned amongst the secret and hidden things of God, which may not be committed to writing. So Au­stin (de cur. mor. c. 39.) leaves it undetermin'd, whether the dead Martyrs do help us or no, and addeth that these things pass our understandings, and in Chap. 13. of the same Book affirms, That the souls of the departed never know what we do here upon earth, and doth bring for proof thereof, Isai. 63.16. and that of the Kings 2.22.20. I will gather thee to thy Fa­thers, &c. That place which Mr. White mentions (I suppose by what I find in some, for Mr. White mentions not the Authors he answers) is Nazianzen, Invec. 1. in Julia­num. Hear O thou soul of great Constan­tine. (Jacobi Billi annot. 2. in hanc orat.) if thou have any sence, &c. What is this O thou most divine Emperour? for I am forced to expostulate with him, as if he were here [Page 263] present, and heard me, though indeed he he with God; and in his second Invective he calleth unto Julian being dead and damned in Hell. So that for 200 yeers after Christ, there was no Invocation of Saints, as they affirm who have perused all the Monuments of these times. Origen and others after him speaks so as it appears, they could not teach it for a truth, seeing they profess themselves ignorant of the Saints conditions, others flatly deny they know what we do, yet I perceive there was a custome taken up among some to commemorate the de­ceased Martyrs, yet without that impiety which afterward crept in. Austin, de vera Relig. cap. 55. says, Let not our Religion be to wor­ship the dead; we are to honour them for imi­tation sake, but not to worship them for reli­gion sake. This exhortation of his implies, a superstitious custome then taken up, by some against which he speaks. Et de civitate Dei l. 22. c. 10. He says we do not build Temples unto our Martyrs as unto Gods, but we set up Memorials for them, as for men departed whose souls do live in rest with God, nor do we set up any Altars to sacrifice unto them, but we offer up our Sacrifice unto one onely God, both theirs and ours; at which sacrifice they are named in their order, as men of God, who have conque­red [Page 264] the world by confessing him, but they are not invocated of the Priest that sacrificeth: But afterward as Mr. White cannot deny, p. 105. It was crowded into the Liturgie by Petrus Gnaphaeus an Heretick: Thus the private devotion of superstitious men became first publike, which some of the Fathers plainly speak against, as Ambros. in expos. epist. ad Rom. Solent quidem misera uti excusatione, dicentes per justos posse ire ad Deum, sicut per comites (therefore he accuseth them, not for worshipping Saints as God, as supream being; but just as you pretend yet to do) pervenitur ad Regem. Euge: nunquid tam demens est aliquis, & salutis suae immemor, ut honorificentiam Regis vindicet comiti, cum hac de re, si qua etiam tractare fuerint inventi, jure ut res damnentur majestatis? & isti non putant reos, qui honorem nominis Dei deferunt creaturae, & relicto domino adorant con­servos, quasi sit aliquid plus quod serve­tur Deo. Nam & ideo ad Regem per tribunos & comites i [...]ur, quia homo, u­tique Rex, & nescit quibus debeat remp. credere. Ad Deum autem, quem utique non latet (omnium enim merita novit) promerendum, suffragatore non est opus, [Page 265] sed mente devota. Ʋbicun (que) enim talis locu­tus fuerit nihil respondebit.

¶ 7. This Paragraph is made up of Quotations, but so odly used, to say no worse, that I cannot but conclude you took them upon trust, and take the liber­ty to represent again to you the extream injustice you do your own soul, to take it upon pretence of the fallibility of men, and insecurity of blind obedience, and implicite faith, out of the conduct of the Catholick Church, in whose faithful bo­some innumerable millions are secure, to subject it to a truly blind and implicite obedience of some one or few cryed up, not by desert but faction, and if living, perhaps little known beyond the bounds of a Parish, I dare say not reverend enough to sway an entire one, and who not only may, but do deceive you. I should beg of you this Point might find admittance to your most serious and quiet thoughts, but that eternal happiness or misery is a concern of that importance, that where it pleads, prays, and whatever else the desire of serving a worthy person can suggest, may, and perhaps ought to be si­lent.

[Page 266]But, to begin with Mr. White, I doubt you stretch his grant beyond his inten­tions; for I cannot beleeve he meant the same force which he allows the Argu­ment, great enough either to overthrow, as you seem to suppose, or so much as stand in competition with Tradition, so as that we should be uncertain which to follow, the doubt of the one, or cer­tainty of the other; but only that the case, when proved, would also prove some Father held an Opinion in matter of learning, not faith, which in its conse­quence was opposite to Tradition, but because this was not yet penetrated into the opinion onely, not the maintai­ner, blameable.

To come now to your Citations: The first is from Origen, lib. 2. in Ep. ad Rom. where one half of the period is quite cut off, and the sence of the remain­ing half, fixt upon one part of the words, the rest being suppressed▪ Just as if, out of this Period, I will go to London on horsback, one should leave the last words, and prove, out of the former, I meant to go on foot. The sentence in Origen lies thus: Jam vero si extra corpus [Page 267] positi vel sancti, qui cum Christo sunt, agunt aliquid & laborent pro nobis, ad similitudinem Angelorum qui salutis nostrae ministeria procu­rant; vel rursum peccatores etiam ipsi extra corpus positi agunt aliquid secundum propositum mentis suae, Angelorum nihilominus ad simili­tudinem sinistrorum, cum quibus in aeternum ignem mittendi dicuntur à Christo; habeatur ho [...] quoque inter occulta Dei neque chartulae committenda mysteria. Compare now the citation with the place cited, and judge of the sincerity of the Quoter. The words have long since been examined by Bellarmine, who lodges Origens doubt, not upon assistance or not assistance, but upon this whether the assistance be ad simi­litudinem Angelorum, or no, that is, by way of office and special deputation.

There follows S. Aust de cur. mort. who is so far from leaving it undetermin'd, whether the dead Martyrs help us or no, (as you put it) That I will yeeld my claim to him, if your studie can furnish you with plainer and more express words to signifie in the very place you urge the Question was, not whether, but how, those Martyrs do help those, quos per eos certum est adjuvari, says he, whether by them­selves, [Page 268] by the Ministery of Angels, or o­ther disposition of the Divine providence. Nay, his sence in that point is so very cleer, that I am at a loss how to contrive a way, being very unwilling to impute it to wilfulness, by which he should be mista­ken. For the Question disputed in that Book, being, whether it avail a dead man, that his body be inter'd neer the shrine of a Martyr; S. Austin maintains the Af­firmative upon this ground, That such a Position causes the man to be more often and more lively recommended to the as­sistance of that Martyr by the prayers of the living; and how he, who justifies the choice of place in burial, by the advantage received in being recommended to the as­sistance of a Martyr, should be imagi­ned to doubt whether there be any assist­ance or no, and think it unlawful to de­mand it, the shortness of my sight cannot discover.

He is indeed (in his 13h chap.) of opini­on, that Souls departed are not, by the condition of their state, any longer ac­quainted with the passages of this life; but tells us presently, that defect is sup­plied, either by intelligence from such [Page 269] as newly die, or from Angels, or it may be from God himself; however it be, he most evidently and undeniably asserts the custome in his time of praying for the dead, and praying for them to Saints. To make an end of this authority, there being in this matter, as in all others, to be distinguished what is Faith, from what is Learning; the first being no more then barely, that 'tis good and profitable to have recourse to the assistance of Saints: To the last belonging many Questions, in some ages more doubtful, in some, as truth opens to time and industry, more setled, but still remaining points of learn­ing, not faith; I onely desire of you that you will please to be of that Faith in this Point which S. Austin plainly and unquestionably delivers in this very Book, which being insisted on by your self, I do not see you can offer less, and promise I will expect no more: Marry, because in a point of School-learning he maintains an opinion now generally disallowed; to infer, he was against the practise of the Church, because his Posi­tion, in which he was wrong, may be conceived opposite to it, when he both [Page 270] plainly attests, and approves the practice, and uses much diligence and studie to re­concile his Position to it, is a proceeding I had rather you should correct, then I censure.

There follow two passages out of two Invectives of S. Greg. Naz. which I see are examples of Prosopopoeia, and no more in them; but doubt whether the follow­ing Assertion be stranger, or the Con­nexion of it, with a so that, as if because S. Gregory above 300 years after Christ, made use of a Rhetorical figure, therefore in the first 200 yeers, there was no Invo­cation of Saints. To the thing it self, I shall say no more; then humbly desire you to beware of blind obedience and impli­cite faith, of condemning and practising the same thing, and if you will believe fallible men, to beleeve the Fathers them­selves, and not what more fallible men tell you of them. I would gladly know also what those, you give so much credit to, do bring to justifie themselves, and their saying, that in that time there was no Invocation. I do not beleeve they produce any plain place which deny such practises were, or were lawful to be used; [Page 271] and conceive, they either argue from the silence of some of them, that there was no such thing, because they say nothing of it, which (besides that it wildly supposes whatsoever was writ in these Ages, came safely down to us) is as much as to ex­pect, that whatever subject a man chuses for his Book, he must treat of all things in it; or else make use of, perhaps their Errors, in School points, as the igno­rance of souls departed, the impos­sibility of commerce betwixt the next world and this, &c. to overthrow what they might, as S. Austin long after clear­ly did, held true, even while they held these errors, and this, (to say nothing of the injustice it does the Fathers, to extend a mistake of theirs in a point of learning, without sufficient ground, to their faith too,) is in stead of discovering error, by its opposition to truth, to take the error for truth, and then conclude the truth to be the error: This kind of pro­ceeding has strange luck, to gain credit with so nice and piercing a judgement as yours.

What S. Austin says, in the two fol­lowing Citations, is the very thing the [Page 272] Church beleevs, and practises at this day, and what whoever professes, she is ready to imbrace in her sacred Communion; it being the custom, even at this day, that Saints are not invocated at the Holy Sa­crifice, all the prayers there being purely addressed to God.

And for Petrus Gnaphaeus, since you produce no reason why I should not, I cannot see but Mr. Whites Observation is satisfactory beyond Reply; Viz. That since his authority, how great soever it were, could not preserve him from being condemned of Heresie; this fact could not have failed to peep among the rest of his Heresies, had the Church not found it consonant to her faith.

The last is from S. Ambrose, then which I never saw any thing more wretchedly mangled. The place is an explication of v. 22. cap. 1. ad Rom. saying themselves to be wise, they became fools; This he attri­butes to the vain power upon the course of the Heavens and stars, who, by challen­ging an opinion of wisdom from the knowledg of such glorious creatures, were lost in the folly of staying there, and not passing on to the Creator. Se­lent [Page 273] tamen, says the Book, pudore passi neg­lecti Dei, misera uti excusatione dicentes per istos, &c. where first the word tamen is changed into quidam, which makes the sense absolute, whereas the first evidently restrains it to what went before, viz. Those vain Philosophers: Then pudore passi neglecti Dei, which are also relative, are quite left out, and to compleat the work, the word istos, is turned into justos, which can no more fit the place then Gi­ant, or Castle; for he being to explicate the Apostles meaning, and the Apostle plainly speaking of the vanity of humane Philosophy, would he not have hit his sence finely to make him talk of Saints worship? Can those mens excuse be ima­gined so miserable, as to alledge, in justi­fication of their not glorifying God, that Saints are to God, as Courtiers to Princes, that never thought of Saints, nor if they had, were one jot neerer their excuse: This is a kind of dealing which our obe­dience, as blind as you conceive it, would not endure: But I forbear to press it farther, then in behalf of your own hap­piness, to beseech your own calm thoughts may work freely and imparti­ally upon it.

SECT. IV. Images.

PAge 176. Mr White answers the Ob­jection of the second Commandment, that if it binds now, then the whole Ceremonial Law does, but I cannot see that prohibition is a Ceremony? It is not repeated in the new Testament, therefore it does not bind, I see no force in that Argument neither, many precepts of the old are not repeated in the new, which not­withstanding bind us now: as, not to lie with beasts, not to remove antient land-marks, &c. Where is the tenth Commandment repeated in so many words? But is there nothing of the se­cond in the New Testament? I shall remember you of one, and that is in the 17th of the Acts, where S. Paul is preaching the Gospel to the Athenians: confutes their (and your) super­stition of worshipping the unknown (which was the true) God, by bodily representations in the 29th verse; we ought not to think that the God­head is like unto gold or silver graven by art and mens device, God is not like unto any similitude the art of man can devise, therefore ought not to be worshipped by similitudes, [Page 275] therefore no pictures or representations of him are to be made, whether it be of man, or birds, or four-footed beasts, or of creeping things (as the words are, Rom. 1.25.) whereby some, instead of glorifying God, have dishonour­ed him, and changed his glory, as if there were not a greater evil (because of the greater dis­proportion between the infinite Majesty of Hea­ven and Earth, and any finite thing) to worship or represent God in a shape infinitely below him, then there would be for a subject to go and fall down to a Toad under him, for to worship and honour his King in it. That reason of the Apostle in Acts 17. is the very same with that Isai. 40.18. where God speaks against his being worshipped under shapes; First, in many expressions describes his own greatness and Majestie; the Nations of the Earth all are but as the drop of a Bucket to him, &c. con­cludes from all, To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness will you compare to him? The workman melteth, &c. What Mr. White says, p. 110. of the marks of the Church, as apparent enough out of Scri­pture, I say of this point, If there want not will in the seeker to acknowledge them. Lactantius saith, Just. l. 2. c. 19. where Images are for Religions sake, there is no Religion. The [Page 276] Council of Elibera, Can. 36. decreed, that nothing should be painted on the walls of Churches, which is adored of the people. Ori­gen cont. Cels. l. 7. We suffer not any to worship Jesus at Altars, Images and Tem­ples; because it is written, Thou shalt have none other Gods, &c. Epiphanius epist. ad Joh. Hierus. saith, It is against the Au­thority of the Scriptures, to see the Images of Christ, or of any Saints, hanging in the Church. In the seventh Council of Constantinople, those words of Epiphanius are cited against the Encraticae; be mindful beloved children not to bring Images into the Church, nor set them in the places where the Saints are buried, but always carry God in your hearts; neither let them be suffered in any common house, for it is not meet that a Christian should be oc­cupied by the eyes, but by the meditation of the mind.

¶ 1. You reply to Mr. Whites answer to the usual Objection from the Deca­logue, that you cannot see that prohibiti­on is a Ceremony; but what's this to the purpose? There is no distinction in Mr. White of Ceremonial, or not Cere­monial, but a plain Consequence autho­rized by the Apostle, that who receives, [Page 277] as of obligation, any part of the Law in vertue of the Law, be it Ceremony, or what else it can be, is bound, in pur­suance of that action, to receive the whole Law. If you derive your Tenet from the Law of Nature, as your men­tioning Ceremonies seems to suppose, what do you cite the Decalogue for? prove the Prohibition contrary to the Law of Nature, and you have done your business: But cease to object the Jews Law, in ver­tue of which you either receive it not, and then cannot press it, or else are ob­liged to receive the whole Law with it. This Consequence too, that if it be not repeated in the new Law, it binds not, you do not see: I cannot tell what dim­ness has of a sudden overcast as clear a sight as I have met with; but me thinks nothing can be plainer, then that if the whole Law be abolished, no part of it can be binding, but in vertue of some o­ther Law in which it is inserted.

For the examples you alledge, of Pre­cepts unrepeated, and yet binding, The first is cleerly against the Law of nature, and in vertue of that, not the old precept, to be avoided. The second, how do you [Page 278] prove obliging, farther then the muni­cipal Laws we live under exact it? But what makes you demand a repetition of the tenth Commandment in so many words? Cannot the same thing be command­ed in several words? or would you deter­mine the command to the words, not what is meant by them? But you have found this command repeated in the New Testament in these words of S. Paul We ought not to think the Godhead is like to gold or silver, graven by art and mens device; and if you can make these two Propositi­on, God is not like an Image, and Thou shalt not make an Image to adore it, to be the same, I shall think that though Images are not, your power in reasoning is, in somthing, very like the Godhead; for 'twill be omnipotent.

Then you discourse in this manner: God is not like unto any similitude the art of man can devise, therefore ought not to be wor­shipt by similitudes. If nothing can be like him and consequently nothing be a similitude, sure you need not fear that worship which can never be, since it sup­poses a thing which can never be. But I suppose you mean, by similitudes, Images, [Page 279] whether like or unlike; and then pray how does it follow, no Image can be like him, therefore no honor can re­dound to him, that is, no benefit to us, by Images. To worship these Images, so as to beleeve them either him, or like him, which are the things I conceive, the Apostle speaks against, we do abhor with the height of detestation; but if they in­duce us to worship him oftner, and more ardently then we should without them, how can it be but that to oppose them is to oppose his worship? Therefore no Pictures or Representations of him are to be made. Beseech you Sir, what Law is there against making Pictures which are not like? Sure you would be very severe to ill Painters. But the truth is, the Pi­ctures which are made of God are indeed no more then signs, which present him to our memory, and called pictures of him with no more justice, then a Bush would be called the Picture of Wine. For the nature of a Picture consisting in re­presenting to the eye, the same propor­tion, colour, and figure of parts, up-a piece of cloth, or wood, which we see in the Original, I refer [Page 280] my self to your own candor to judge whe­ther we be guilty of the impiety of be­lieving, parts, or colour, or any thing which the art of painting is able to reach, to be in God; for painting is only of bo­dies, and those grosse ones too; to ex­presse wind, or those smaller parts which affect the Smell, Tast, &c. is beyond her Sphere. So that none, who is in his sences, can imagin us so damnably sencelesse, as to believe 'tis in its power to frame any repre­sentation of God, which, with any pro­priety can be called a Picture of him. These, which we have, by custom, warran­ted, and perhaps begun, by authority of Scripture, bring, by the shapes they repre­sent, the Divinity into our memories, and adoration of it, not of the pictures, into our hearts: and, except it be unlawful to remember and adore the Deity, I cannot imagine it should be unlawful to use means which conduce to that end.

By this, I presume, you already see the disparity of the Comparison of pictures to a Toad; but first, what mean you by wor­shipping God in a shape? if you mean, that we hold, either that shape to be his, or he to be in it, more then his ubiquity makes [Page 281] him present to all things, you either mi­stake, or wrong us: and what else that expression should signifie, I see not. Next, what is there of common betwixt these Pictures, and the Toad, whether you look upon the end, or means? The end of our Pictures is the Adoration of God, a duty, which, since you cannot deny to be often necessary, and never unfit, you should deny us no occasion that prompts us to perform it. And for the means: We con­ceave, that, as no notion can be attributed to God, but with much impropriety, so we cannot chuse a better than what the Scripture attributes to him in the vision of the Prophet Daniel, viz. antiquus Dierum. We use therefore, to put us in mind of God, a Picture, which presents to our eyes the reverence of Age, which, if you have any quarrel to, blame the Scripture in which we find it, and which, by an uni­versal custom, was, without memory of its beginning, and therefore, if St. Austins rule hold, like to descend from the Apo­stles, presently conveys to our Soul, an ap­prehension first, and then an adoration of God. For the Toad, what has it, either from nature, or custom, to do with the [Page 282] King, that he that falls down to it, should be thought to honour him? and what can hinder it from being judged, even by the King himself, pretended to be honoured by it, a most ridiculous and unworthy acti­on?

What you say next, of the conformity of the reasons brought in the Acts, to those in Isay, I shall not examine; since the conclusion, you make, being no more, then that nothing like to God can be made, I hold it as great impiety to deny it, as I conceive there is impossibility of deducing from that truth any thing to the prejudice of this other, which I am maintaining.

The rest are Quotations, so carelesly gathered, to say no more, that I know not whether I should more blame your Credu­lity (for I am sure they owe not their birth to the Candor you professe) in giving your self up to the conduct of others, who are so able to guide your self or pitty your misfortune that those you honour with so much confidence, should so little deserve it. The words of Lactantius are these, Quare non est dubium quin Religio nulla est, ubicunque Simulacrum est. where [Page 283] by Simulacrum, is plainly meant an Idol, as by the whole intent of the book, which is contra Gentiles, by his subsequent proof, and by these words almost immediately preceding, Non sub pedibus quarat De­um, nec a vestigiis suis eruat quod adoret, evidence past dispute. And had you seen the place, you could not have doubted but his Simulacrum is a figure believed to be God, and so adored, which, till we main­tain lawful, Lactantius is very unjustly brought to oppose us.

The 36 Can. of the Councel of Elibera runs thus: Placuit picturas in Ecclesia esse non debere, ne quod colitur aut adoratur, in parietibus depingatur; A decree which may as well be made now, as then, did Circumstances require it from the wisdom of our Governours. For we say not, that 'Tis unlawful not to have Pictures in Churches, but, that 'tis not unlawful to have them. Now because the prudence of those Fathers judged them inconveni­ent in those times of persecution, and that place (for this Councel of no more then 19 Bishops concerns only Spain;) Can any Candour infer they judged them absolute­ly unlawful, and unpermittable to any [Page 284] Place, Time, or Circumstance? Besides, as far as probability may be allow'd to in­terpret this Prohibition, it proceeded from the reverence had of Sacred Images, which it therefore forbad, lest they should run the hazard of being disgracefully or unhandsomly defaced in those unsetled times, either by the moysture of the wall, on which they were painted, or the malice of their Persecutors, impossible to be avoyded while they were fix'd to the Fabrick. For what else can Ne in parieti­bus quod colitur, depingatur, signifie? for so it is, and not as you cite it, That nothing be painted which is adored. Which, if true, as 'tis much the likelyest to be so of any thing hitherto suggested to my thoughts, It will be very fine, that their care to preserve Images, should be turn'd into an Argument to overthrow them.

I cannot find any such words as you mention in Origen, nor do believe any else will; having read the place you cite with some diligence.

That piece of the Epistle of Epiphanius is looked upon as a foul, and manifest for­gery; The reasons you may see in Bellarmin de Imag. lib 2. c. 9. And for the last passage, [Page 285] attributed, by you to the 7th. Coun­cil of Constantinople, it happened in the 7th. general Council, viz. the 2d. of Nice; and the words are imposed upon Epiphanius by Gregorius, who disputed for the Hereticks, but plainly deny'd to be his by Epiphanius Diaconus, who argued for the Catholicks. Pray take care what credit you give to persons, who cloath a manifest forgery, openly detected in a general Council, with the authority of such a man, as Epiphanius; and so openly detected, that 'tis impossible your Author, who ever he be, should be ignorant of it.

SECT. V. The Conclusion.

¶ 1. FRom all I have said I cannot but conclude; 1st. that Scripture is a sufficient Rule to Salvation. If you ask me how I know Scripture, to be the word of God? I answer, I have no cause to doubt it, no more than whether Tully [...] [...] Aristotles works be theirs; yea lesse, I see [...] evident by [Page 286] universal tradition, in respect of place and time, All Monuments of Antiquity suffi­ciently prove it, by comparing passages and circumstances of all times since those books were first written. If the only Argument to move me to this Assent, were only your pre­sent Churches assertion, I confesse, what you use to urge, I must receive all she says. But then I think, I must as well receive the Al­coran to be the word of God, because the Mahumetan Church sayes so.

¶ 1. FRom what has been said, I cannot but conclude that Scripture is so far from being a sufficient Rule to Salvati­on, (meaning, by Rule, such a one as we have all this while been talking of) that to rely upon it, with no better an Interpreter of the Letter, then the Letter it self, is the way to destroy all means first, and then all hopes of Salvation: That principle being the true gate, through which all the Sects, which, with their numerous swarms, over-burden and afflict Christianity, have en­tred. For what the Protestant Prelacy alleages to justi [...]e their Schism from their Catholic [...]uperiors, the very same is a plea for Presbytery against Prelacy, for [Page 287] Anabaptism against Presbytery, for Inde­pendency against all; and how far the Chain may be stretched, which already reaches to the 5th. Monarchy, and Quake­rism, none knows; But this I am sure of, that every linck is as strong as the first.

For the reason you give, why you be­leeve Scripture to be Scripture, viz. be­cause you have no reason to doubt it; 'tis an invincible demonstration of the force of prejudice, and more of reason I see nothing in it. Had your mind been in the same temper it was in the first Sect. of this part, would have been reason sufficient, not only to doubt, but to reject it, that you had not evidence of its certainty. For there a man must plainly deny assent to what even all Do­ctors determine, though he have no-so much-as-probable Objection against them, upon this onely ground, That he has not evidence their determination is certain, and here he must yeeld assent, be­cause he has not evidence the thing he assents to, is not certain. Which is want of evidence must at one time produce dissent, at another assent, as it suits with your inclinations to the case it is ap­ply,d [Page 288] to. Besides, if all parts of Scripture have been doubted of,Vid. Hierom. de Scrip. Eccl. in Petro, Jacobo, Juda, Paulo. Spondan. ad an. 60. & 98. Com. Laod. &c. and denyed too, nay some, which you receive, by se­veral even of the Fathers, Why should not you think you have reason to doubt, as well as those who lived neerer the Primitive times, and should know more? who shall satisfie a Critical Soul, that all their doubts were ever fairly answered, and they not more oppress'd by strength, then satisfi'd by reason? and this also destroys your pretence to universal Tradition of time and place; since that could not, in your grounds, be delivered with universality, which by some has been denyed.

And for your Monuments of Antiquity, I beseech you pretend not to prove it that way, for I think I deal liberally, if I allow you to have examined ten Authors of eve­ry age, and what proof are ten of the sentiments of 1000000? Then what do you find in these Authors? certain pla­ces of Scripture cited out of such books, as we still have; but whether those books contained then the same number of Chap­ters [Page 289] and Verses they do now, you will find very few to speak to. Nay I do not beleeve you will find ten in all Ages that give you a Catalogue of the Books them­selves, much less of the Chapters and Verses: So that your conspiracy of all Monuments of Antiquity will not a­mount to ten men in fifteen Ages. I must desire you not to mistake what I have said, as if I also doubted of Scri­pture, which I acknowledg to be the Word of God, reverence it as such, and know the denyers of it were, for the most part, Hereticks. All I aim at, is by an Argument ad hominem, to shew the power of prejudice, to which what is reason, when of one side, ceases to be reason when on the contrary. If, therefore, you faithfully pursue your own Princi­ples, what ever you think, the true ground why you receive Scripture is the present Churches Authority, and you should, as you rightly infer, receive the sense, as well as words from her. And for your fear of the Alcoran, you will need no o­ther security then your own thoughts, if you reflect that all, which the testimo­ny of the Mahumetan Church (if that [Page 290] name be tolerable) concludes, is, That what she says was delivered by Mahomet, was truly delivered by Mahomet; and to so much I think you will allow her te­stimony good, beleeving you do not doubt but that Mahomet was truly Author of the Alcoran; and so much if you al­low her, you cannot deny the Testimony of a Christian Church; Viz. That what she affirms was delivered by Christ, was truly delivered by Christ, and farther Tradition reaches not. Now the Mi­nor, necessary to a conclusion of Religi­on, that what was delivered by Mahomet, was inspired by God, I am sure you hold as great impiety to grant, as Blasphemy to de­ny that which we subsume; viz. that what was delivered by Christ did truly proceed from God. Tradition then of the Alco­ [...]an, and Tradition of Christian doctrine, agree in this, that they prove, the one to have descended from Mahomet, the other from Christ, but Christianity endures not either that a delivery from Mahomet should, or that a delivery from Christ sh [...]uld not argue a necessity of obedience, to what was so delivered, as to sacred and heavenly truth.

[Page 291]¶ 2. Secondly, I say, if you can prove or produce any Tradition for any revealed truth not contained in the Bible, as cleerly univer­sal for time and place, as that Tradition which assures me, the Bible is the Word of God, I must imbrace it.

¶ 2. Secondly I conceive there is no point of our faith, but has, not onely as clearly an universal Tradition, but a much clearer both for time and place then the Scripture, a truth which since you may find in the first Sections of Rushworths second Dialogue: I shall only wonder here, you see not that the very Arguments which you make against the universality of Tradition for some points, as that they have been doubted of, and rejected by some, are every whit as forcible a­gainst Scripture, whereof there is no pa [...] which has not been both doubted of, and rejected too; by Hereticks indeed (at least for the most part, for some also of the Fathers have doubted even of some Books, which your selves receive) but so also were they who rejected the points in question, whose opposition, if it be not allowed against Scripture, can­not be valid to any thing, but prejudice [Page 292] against points of doctrine: Be true there­fore, if you please, to your own reason, and embrace that principle, and the Communion of those who own it, which alone can, with certainty, convey to you these sacred Truths which are necessary for your happiness.

¶ 3. Thirdly, I cannot grant your Church was the onely one before Luthers time, there's the Greek, Abyssen, and others there may be in several parts of the world that I know not of.

¶ 3. Thirdly, What you mean here by our Church, I cannot tell; if onely, that number of Orthodox Christians, who live within the Precincts of the Roman, either Diocess or Patriarchate, I know no body maintains, I'm sure I do not beleeve, the number of the faith­ful is confin'd to that Pale. But to an­swer of every particular place where Christians live, till it be agreed what they held; and of what may be too, as well as what is, seems unreasonable ei­for me to undertake, or you to exact; thus much is true in general, that what­ever company of men, where-ever they live, hold this only principle of unity [Page 293] both in faith and government, so as to be a Church, are, not another, but our Church; and who hold it not, are no Church at all.

¶ 4. Fourthly, I see no necessity, that any one particular Church should continue uncor­rupted, or that it is necessary, the greatest number of Professors of Christianity should have uncorrupted Religion. In the days of E­lijah the Prophet, there were but 700 that had not bowed the knee to Baal, which the Prophet, that thought himself alone, knew not of.

¶ 4. That there is any necessity a par­ticular Church should always remain un­corrupted, or that the greatest number of professors of Christianity should have uncorrupted Religion, are two Proposi­tions, which, since any body does, I am sure no body is bound to maintain, I am glad they impose upon me no necessi­ty of contest with you in this Paragraph. But least you should think, it would fol­low thence that Tradition were uncertain; I must affirm that, not only a particular Church, but scarcely a particular family, that is, well instructed, can possibly err, if they stick to Tradition, and that the [Page 294] universality of the Church, though ten thousand times more dispersed then it is, cannot secure it from error, if they de­sert it.

¶ 5. Lastly, I see no proof of your infal­libility, sure I am, it is a safer way to pre­serve truths in writing then to be transmitted by the various apprehensions and mmories of multitudes, and truly I beleeve you would not have retained so much truth as you have, had it not been for the Bible, and other writings, and so I see not how you prove any thing has been intirely transmitted onely by Tradition. Much lesse how it is proved, there could creep no error into your Faith.

¶. 5. Lastly, I would fain flatter my self, with hopes of success, in the design I have had to serve you; but however that proves, must needs take the liberty to think, if you do not yet see the proof you mention, the fault is not in the object. Only I presume there is no mistake in the word Infallibility, which placed singly, may speak an Attribute too much approaching to Divinity to belong to any thing of mortal, but by extraor­dinary priviledge, since it extends it self to all subjects whatsoever▪ whereas with [Page 295] us 'tis confined to matters of Faith, and signifies but this, that we can neither be deceived in what we hear, nor deceive our posterity in what we relate concerning these matters. Now it being the nature of man to speak truth, and the number of men being, in this case beyond all tempta­tions, whether of hopes, fears, or whatever else may be imagined should prevail with them to contradict their nature, I cannot see but a little reflexion must needs make you acknowledge 'tis beyond the power of imagination it self to put any deceit in their testimony, since it will be to put an effect, whose cause, the putter sees, neither is, nor, can be.

That Truths may be preserv'd in writing I doubt not; nay, even better, then by the various apprehensions, and memories of multitudes: But if there be no variety in their apprehensions, nor dependance on their memories, continual practice, over­weighing the defects of nature, I cannot see but 'tis much easier to beat a man from a sence whereof he has no other hold then a word, appliable to another sence, then to beat a multitude from the judgements which they are in possession of, and [Page 296] confirm'd by the daily actions of their whole lives. Besides, while the writings preserve the truth, who shall preserve the writings from false copying, and all the errors which both negligence and knavery threaten them withall? and if the Vessel be tainted, what shall keep the Wine pure?

For the rest, I conceive, that whatever you think of us, your selves would not have the truths you have, had not nature maintained that Tradition in your pra­ctice, you deny in your words; Your faith of the Blessed Trinity is right, because no interest has yet moved you to follow your principles against it: But give an Arian the same liberty against it, you take against us, and if you convince him, you will as much deceive me, as I think you do your selves to beleeve you can do it. The same I say of Baptism, of Pre­lacy, and the rest of those truths you profess, all which, while you pretend Scripture, it is Tradition which has truly conveyed to you, and you have kept since because no body has opposed them, but when they do, have no more hold then of those you have deserted. Neither [Page 297] is it possible for your principles to con­vince an Adversary that makes advantage of them, neither just to condemn him, for it will be to condemn your selves and that plea, which, if it justifie you, must absolve him.

That faith has been so transmitted by Tradition, that it has not been written, is not Mr. Whites tenet; but that writing, at least the writings we have, is not able so to transmit it, as is necessary for the Sal­vation of mankind, without Tradition. This being the security of whatever wri­ting faith is contained in; if it be Scrip­ture, we know the sense by Tradition: if a Father, he is of authority, in as much as what he writes is consonant to Tradition; if any thing be found to disagree, that not having any weight.

¶ 6. First, I ask whether an Error cannot overspread the face of the greatest Church visible? It hath done so in the Arians time, In our Saviours time.

Secondly, whether an Error once spread cannot continue? Arianism continued most universal for many years: Mahomets Errors and Blasphemies for many Ages: Jewish Suppositious Traditions, longer yet [Page 298] then they. What security then can a man have, that Errors could not creep into the the Church? while it is your Principle to embrace any thing your Councils shall deter­mine.

¶ 6. To your first Question I answer, if that may be called a Church, which wants the only principle which can make a Church, I conceive an error may very easily overspread the face of the greatest visible; There being no more to do then to desert this Rule, and then truth will, not only easily, but almost certainly desert her; without adhering to Tradition, I know no security, any number of men, be it never so great, can have of truths a­bove the reach of natural reason, such as are the Maxims of Religion; But let the Church, you speak of, adhere to Tradition, and be largely diffused, and I conceive it as impossible that Error should overspread it, as that it should be ignorant of what it does every day.

To the second, since the supposal of an Er [...]s being spread, supposes a destructi­on of that fence, which only could keep it out, viz. cleaving to Tradition, I conceive an Error once spread not only may, but [Page 299] will continue without extraordinary Pro­vidence of Almighty God. Arianism, which you exemplifie in, was plainly brought in by preferring the interpretations, which Arius made of Scripture, (as you do those of Luther, &c.) before the Doctrine delivered by their Forefathers, neither was there any cure for the disease, till they purged themselves of novelty, and rested in the ancient Doctrine. Mahomet also took the same course, and all those, whom his impieties will bring to Hell, will owe their damnation to the deserting of this principle, which had his followers not first been cozened from, it had not been possible for him to have undon so great a part of the world. Jewish Traditions I have already spoken of, and hope I need not again put you in mind, they have no­thing common with Tradition but the name. This principle then, and only this of adhering to Tradition, gives a man all imaginable security that Errors neither have, nor could creep into our Church.

As for blindly embracing what ever is determined by Councils, I doubt you are not Master of our Doctrine in that point. For the Rule, even of Councils themselves, [Page 300] is Tradition, and were it possible They should contradict it, we are taught to adhere to Tradition against both them, and Angels too. Whether the case can ever happen I know not, and conceive nothing, but the roving of a wild fancy, will make it possible: but if it do, I have told you our Doctrine.

¶ 7. What though you have Tenets of a 1000 years standing, they are never the truer, seeing Errors have been so long, and longer ago, and some are known to have been propagated as far from Father to Son, it is all one as if they yesterday begun, seeing the succeeding age has nothing of Divine truth, which was not in the precedent. Now how can you assure us, every one of yours were clearly throughout every one age. The Rea­son page 8. (which Mr. White makes his Demonstration) to me is a meer Sophism the 8th. age suppose, could not entertain any new Opinion or Error [...] because its principle was, by which it was to judge of truth; Nothing is to be admitted as of Faith, ex­cept what was delivered to it by the former, the Reason of the Consequence is, because then they would contradict themselves. What then? Is it impossible for a man to take up a [Page 301] new Opinion, and think it true (though he be mistaken) because of some principle he holds, which proves it false, if discern'd; How is that argument cleer convincing of it self, without the help of other considerations (reason, common sence, and experience, tell me the contrary?) If it be sufficient, why does not Mr. White keep to it alone (I find him scarce ever after making use of it) without a­ny other to salve all Objections by? as he might if it were universally true and evident. All he says is to evade the Arguments, and only keep to this; That no age did adm [...]t any new point de facto, which way I confesse suffi­cient for you to keep your hold, if satisfactorily done; but then you must not pretend to in­fallibility, for you only prove seemingly) posse [...]sion, but I see nothing proves the impossi­bility of the contrary, suppose one grant you the possession: I see the largenesse of your Ter­ritories, is that wherein your chief strength does lie. Mr. White often denyes the possibility of any corruption, because it would have bred such a combustion as would have been known; this is the only appearance of Reason or Proof, that to my best Apprehension, I find in both him, and Mr. Rushworth. But without quotation of innumerable Authors which he promises to perform only by Reason) he can [Page 302] never give any positive sufficient Proof, that there was never in any age such commotions as did give way to any one innovation. I use Mr. Whites own Argument, p. 117. For a man not to Act, not to turn from your Religion, it is enough to have no Reason; but to Act, to prove that your Rellgion is infalli­ble, or to a Pagan, that it is the true uncor­rupted, you ought to have a positive cause.

¶ 7. I agree with you that the age of Errors, gives them no approach to Truth; and that one of 1000 years is no lesse an Error, then one of but a day old. But you must also agree with me, that 'tis a great prejudice against its being an Error, if a Tenet have with constancy and gene­rality been held so great a space of time. For what subtlety can obscure it from the eyes of the world, that in so long time it should not be discovered? Prove there­fore, but do not suppose, our Tenets to be Errors; and as then Age will afford them no patronage, so till then it makes the presumption of truth to be clearly on their side; This being most evident in our case, that Truth cannot be without Age, nor Novelty with Truth. For the assu­rance you desire that every part of our faith was clearly throughout every age, [Page 303] you may receive it by reflecting that 'tis clearly through the present age, which, because of the forementioned principle▪ could not be, without its having been so through the last. Now what your eyes shew you in these two Ages, your Judge­ment (if ye suffer it to sway you, and no­thing to sway it) will assure you must have happened in every age, the case being perfectly the same in all.

You think Mr. Whites Argument a So­phisme, because a man may take up a new opinion, and think it true, though he be mistaken. But can he think his new opini­on, which he takes up, was delivered him by his Forefathers, that is, not new, and not taken up? Till he do this, which is palpable contradiction, let him think his Opinions never so true, his thoughts will bring no prejudice to the Argument. For to be True, and to be of Faith, are two quite different things: This, supposes being delivered, and your opinion is sup­posed newly taken up, that is not delivered, that is not of Faith, and seen not to be so; now if reason, common sence, and experi­ence tell you that who thinks a thing true, must therefore think it of Faith, when, by [...] [Page 306] it also, that is, prove it; but then we must not pretend to Infallibility, I think no body does pretend, that who has proved no Er­rors have come in, has proved no Errors can come in; we endeavour to prove this too, when we pretend to prove infalli­bility. For you onely prove seemingly the possession, I do not know who does so much as seem to go about the proving of that which is apparent in it self be­yond the evidence of proof: That Lu­ther was a Member of the Catholick Church, till he set himself to oppose it, and that till he changed his profession, he professed what the Church then did, and hath ever since maintained, (and what I instance onely in Luther, I under­stand of all introducers of Novelty that ever deserted the Church) are things beyond either the necessity, or ra­ther power of proof, for I am yet to learn in what Mood and Figure that Syllogism must be, which must prove the Sun shines at noon.

I see the largeness of your territories is that wherein your chief strength lies. 'Tis indeed universality which renders nature true and constant to her self, whereas in a parti­cular [Page 307] she may be defective; one man may be born lame, or blind, but not all. That corruption would have bred a combusti­on, which must have been known, you ac­knowledg has some appearance of rea­son, though nothing else has: Thanks be to God at least for so much, which if you would please fairly to own, and make a step to a further progress, with­out diminishing it into appearance of reason, when I must take the liberty to think, nothing appears reason you can oppose against it, you were in a hopeful way to your satisfaction; but not to ad­mit a truth, seen to be so, is a weakness, which destroys all possibility either of advance in your self, or success in the pains which are taken for you; for what more can be done; then to deliver a truth with that plainness that no reason can be found out to encounter it? But quotations are necessary to make up Mr. Whites proof; if it were so, eternal happiness might well deserve a little labour; but must Authors be quoted to shew, that, if the corruption be taken notice of, it could not come in unawares, and if not unawares then o­penly; and this either by reason, which [Page 306] [...] [Page 307] [...] [Page 308] is to change the natures of truth and fal­shood, or force which to overcome the extent of the Church, and continue so many ages as is necessary to the planta­tion of Errors of this importance, nature, without looking into Books, tells us the impossibility of.

The Argument you make in the last place, I beseech you make against your self, and since 'tis in a matter of no lesse concern then eternal either happiness or misery, make it faithfully. Consider that if, not to act, no reason is requisite, to act there must be reason; you have act­ed, and though not actually begun a se­paration, yet actually follow, and adhere to those who did begin it, and do conti­nue it. This action in a case of such im­portance as S [...]ism, requires such reason as is fit for salvation to depend on. Ex­amine therefore your reasons, but severe­ly, and so as your Conscience be willing and secure to own them at that Judgment where the sentence is eternity, and if you find them to have neer the force of those of ours, which you say have no force, I shall think either your judgment strangely byassed, or mine strangely blind. [Page 309] This to you, but to a Pagan I acknowledg he is not to be put upon the proof; you may if you please, for your experience, reflect what yourself would say to one, and see whether you can say any thing stronger to him, then we do to you; if your thoughts be faithful to you, I doubt, what you deny reason against your self, must either be reason against him, or you will have much ado to keep your Argu­ments from being unreasonable. I have had some proof of this, in a Divine of yours, famous, and I think deservedly, as any of your side; whose discourse upon this Theam makes experience joyn with my reason to strengthen the confidence I have of the truth of what I say.

¶ 8. I cannot see, how you that take away the distinction of Fundamental, and a non-Fun­damental in points of faith, can evade that of the Quartadecimans proving the chief part of Christians to have been mistaken in this Tra­ditional way, holding by it contradictions, while each part pretends this title, and so shews it, not an infallible way, to say it was a small point received in some Churches. In answer, to the gradual receiving of the Cannon, you confess one Province may have sufficient evi­dence [Page 310] of that one truth, which from it must be spread over the rest of the Church.

I think those things which I have written prove not only your way not only fallible, but false in many points. Several other things I have observed in Mr. White which do not satisfie me; but because I want those Authors necessary to make my Objections cleer, I chuse rather to be silent in them, then not to speak to purpose.

Had I time to write these over again, I might make what I say cleerer, but I doubt not but your ingenuity will discerne my mean­ing, and according to promise grant me a can­did answer, which I shall gratefully embrace, and if convincing, as readily acknowledge.

In the mean while I rest, Yours to serve you in what I may.

¶ 8. As for your distinction of funda­mental and not fundamental in points of faith, the words possibly may be taken in such a sence that it may be tolerable; but if by fundamental you mean necessary, this being plainly a relative word, it ought to be expressed to whom they are necessary, if you say to mankind, 'tis evident no point is not-fundamental, [Page 311] since so God would have taught us what is unnecessary, that is, done a needless action; if to a single man, then they can never be assigned, since they vary accord­ing to the several exigencies of several persons.

The instance of the Quartadecimans, being, I conceive, fully answered by Mr. White p. 44. I have no more to do, after I have referred you thither, where you will find the point it self was no subject of Tradition, but a practise, which accord­ing to the different circumstances of dif­ferent places, was by the wisdom of the Apostles, who saw what was convenient for the time and place they lived in, practi­sed differently, and afterwards, by the wis­dom of the Church, those circumstances ceasing, reduced to an Uniformity.

For the rest, I hope, what I have writ­ten, will satisfie you, that neither falsity, nor fallibility of Mr. Whites way appears in your Exceptions. It had been easie and perhaps necessary, had the piece been intended for more then your self, to have woven it something closer; but a sight that pierces so far into the bracks of an Argument, can be no less sharp in disco­vering [Page 312] its fastness; and I think your eye too strong to need spectacles or glasses, or whatever helps are invented for weak­er Organs. I am onely to make Apo­logie for the delay of this Reply, occasi­oned by a little business, and a great deal of sickness, and to profess, that if this Answer be not such a one as you desire, 'tis the mis-fortune of many a good cause, to suffer by the badness of its Advocates.

Your very Humble Servant J. B.

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