By Neal Carolan, formerly Parish-Priest of Slane and Stacallan, &c. in Meath.


Aug. 8. 1688.

Rad. Rule, R. R. in Christo Patri, ac Domino Domino Francisco Archiep. Dublin. à sacr. domest.

DƲBLIN, Printed by Jos: Ray, for William Norman in Dames-street, and Eliphal Dobson at the Stationers Arms in Castle-street. 1688.

The Preface to the Reader.

IT is just and reasonable that every man that deserts the Communion of a Church in which he hath been educated, and embraceth a Communion distinct from it, should render some accompt to the world of the reasons of his change, that so he might avoid the imputation of levity and rashness. This hath been done by many of the Protestants that have embraced the Roman Faith; namely, by Dr. Vane, Mr. Cressy, Mr. Manby, and others, and by many Romanists, that have embraced the Reformed Religion, by the Learned Archbishop of Spalato, and several others, and being my self resolved to forsake the Communi­on of the Church of Rome, and to embrace that of the Reformed Church of Ireland, which I think more agreeable to the Word of God, and to the Primitive Antiquity, I look on my self to be under the same obligations of satisfying others, in the Motives of my change.

As it was my great happiness to be Baptized into the Christian Faith, so it was my misfortune to be educated in that which is far distant from it (I mean the Ro­man Faith) as it now stands since the determinations of the Council of Trent: and I hope the Gentlemen of that Religion will not take it ill that I call it an infelicity, since I can entertain no other apprehensions of it, whilst I lie under the convictious that are at present upon my Spirit.

In the Communion of this Church I was admitted into the seven Holy Orders of the Church in a weeks time, by Anthony Geoghegan, Bishop of Meath in the Year 1662, and in the month of August in the same Year I was sent to Paris, where I was instructed in Phylosophy in the College of Grassini, and took the De­gree of Master in Arts, in the University of Paris aforesaid, and after Writing my Speculative Divinity in the College of Navar in the said University, under Dr. Vinot, Dr. Saussoy, and Dr. Ligny, I finished my course, and took up a re­solution of returning to my Native Country, where I landed about June 1667, and afterwards continued about some two years teaching a private School in the Borders of Meath, till in the year 1669, I was instituted into the Parish of Slane, and Stacallan, by Oliver Desse, then Vicar General of the Dioress of Meath, where I continued as Parish Priest for four intire years, to the no small content and satisfaction of my Parishioners: from them in the year 1675, I was removed to the Parishes of Pa [...]stown, and Brownstown, and in the year 79. commanded back again to my first charge in Slan [...].

During this time, I had the opportunity of reading two Bookes that were most especially recommended to the Clergy of the Province of U [...]ster, by the late Pri­mate Oliver Plunket, viz. Archdokins Theologia Tripartita, and the Touch­stone of the Reformed Gospel. The former of these he distributed amongst us, at a certain price, when the first impr [...]ssion of it came forth, and the latter we were [Page]required to purchase, as being very proper to confute Protestants out of their own Bibles. I was no less forward in procuring the Books, then industrious in reading them, and for a long time I thought them unanswerable, till at length dis­coursing with some of the Reverend Protestant Clergy of Meath, I found by them that the Touchstone, was only an old Book new vampt up with a new Title, and some few Chapters added, and that it had been long ago published, under the Title of the Gag for the new Gospel, and learnedly been answered by the Reve­rend Bishop Mountague. Whereupon I procured the answer to it, and upon perusal found that the Author of the Old Gag ro New Touchstone (call it which you please) had in many things basely misrepresented the Doctrine of the Protestants, pro­pounding it in such crude, and indifinite terms as no sober Protestant doth ac­knowledge it for their sense: as in his 2d, Proposition he affirms, that Protestants say that in matters of Faith, We must not relye upon the judgment of the Church, and of her Pastors, but only on the written word. In the 3d, that the Scriptures are easily to be understood. In the 4th, that Apostolical Tra­ditions, and ancient customs of the Church (not found in the written word) are not to to be received, nor oblige. In the 5th, that a man by his own under­standing, or private Spirit, may rightly judge and interpret Scripture. In the 7th, that the Church can erre. In the 32, that the Saints may not pray for us, and so in others. None of which Propositions are owned by Protestants, as their Do­ctrines without many previous distinctions and limitations. I found also that in other things he had hudled together many Propositions as the general sense of Protestants, which (if he had consulted their learned Writings) he would have found to be no more then School Points, and Problematical Questions; nay, which are still disputed as such by the best learned men in the Church of Rome. Such are for Example, The Doctrines of Freewill, in the 19th Proposition, The Impossibility of keep­ing the Commandements, in the 20th Proposition, The Inamissibility of Faith, in the 23th, The Doctrine of Election, and Reprobation, in the 24th, The Doctrine of Assurance of Salvation. in the 25th and The Doctrine of every m [...]n having his Guardian Angel, in the 26th, most of which Points are matter of Controversie between Remonstrants, and Contra-remonstrants amongst the Pro­testants, And between the Jansenists and Jesuits in the Church of Rome.

This unfair proceeding, charging the Protestants with Doctrines, which they either totally deny, or do not acknowledge without previous distinctions, bred a dis­like in me to the Book, and consequently put me upon an inquiry into those Doctrines of the Protestants which the Author of it had so fouly misrepresented, and the more I read in their Writings the better I was reconciled to their Opinions, and the worse I liked those of the Church of Rome; some of whose Errors I shall brief­ly touch, as the Motives of my Conversion, and occasion of my deserting her Communion.

Motives of Conversion to the Catholick Faith, as it is professed in the Reformed Church of England.

CHAP. I. Of the Ʋncharitableness of the Church of Rome.

THE first Motive thereof is her great Uncharitableness, not only to Protestants, but also to all other Societies of Christians this day in the World except themselves; and that in two things.

First, In confining the Catholick Church to themselves.

Secondly, In excluding all others from hope of Salvation that are not in their own Communion.

It will be unnecessary to prove that these are the Doctrines of the Church of Rome, since there is no Controvertist that doth not affirm them, and they are expresly defined in the Council of Trent, in her Anathema to every Article. And Pope Pius IV. affirms in his Bull, That this is the Catholick Faith, out of which no one can be saved. All the Clergy of Ireland, whether Secular or Regular, are taught to say so; the Priests and Friers affirm it in their Sermons now to the People more than ever: And it is one of the most popular Arguments and common Topicks of Conversion that they all use to the Protestants, to reconcile them to the Church of Rome: That they are all Hereticks; That they are out of the Church; That there is no hopes of Salvation for them whilest they are so.

The first of these particulars, viz. Confining of the Catholick Church to themselves, is a Proposition so hugely unreasonable that I could hardly bring my self to the belief of it. It seemed [Page 2]to me a very unreasonable thing, that the Church of Rome, which is but a Member of the Catholick Church (and that none of the foundest) should arrogate to it self the Name and Priviledges of the whole Catholick▪ Quia à dicto secundùm quid, ad dictum sim­pliciter non valet consequentia; Nec semper denominatio totius se­quitur partes seperatim sumptas. And I could find no Text of Scripture for the justification of it, nor any sound Reason to prove it, nor any promise of our Saviour on which to ground it; and I concluded with my self, that the affirming it might prove a dangerous prejudice to the perpetuity of the Church, and contradict our Saviours promise concerning the Gates of Hell not being able to prevail against it, because it was not only pos­sible that the Church of Rome, as well as other Churches, might err, but there are express Cautions given her in that particular by St. Paul, Rom 11.18, 20. Thou bearest not the root, but the root thee: Be not high minded but fear, and if God spareth not the natural branches, take heed least he also spare not thee. In the Writings of the Primitive Fathers it appears, that they never be­lieved the Church of Rome to be any thing else but a particular Church. Ignatius, in the Title of his Epistle to the Romans, stiles it [...]. And St. Am­brose reckons the Roman Church in the same rank with the Churches of Egypt and Alexandria: So that if they were parti­cular, or topical Churches, the Church of Rome must be so too. The same thing doth Pope Apud Binium in Concil. E­phesino. Ce­lestine in his Epistle to John Bishop of Antioch, where he reckons up the Churches of Rome and Alexan­dria as Members of the Catholick Church. Asseret se (Nestorius) fidem tenere, quam secundum Apostolicam doctrinam Romana, Alex­andrina, & Catholica universalis Ecclesia tenet. Nay it appears by the Epistle of Pope Innocent III. to John, Lib. 2. Epist. 200. Patriarch of Constantinople, that in the 12th Century the Pope himself did not believe it. Dicitur autem universa­lis Ecclesia, quae de universis constet Ecclesiis, quae Graeco Verbo Ca­tholica nominatur: (says he) Ecclesia Romana sic non est universa­lis Ecclesia, sed universalis Ecclesiae pars.

Besides this, I find this very Proposition condemned in the Do­natists, and looked upon by the Fathers as the grand Fundamen­tal Principle of their Schism and Division; for they, as appears by the Writings of St. Augustine and Optatus, did affirm that Christ had no Church on Earth, but in the parts of Donatus: that the Church was perished in all parts of the World except their own Assemblies, and that Salvation no where could be had but in their Communion; they esteemed the rest of the Christi­ans to be no better than Pagans: they broke their Chalices, scraped their Altars, and washed their Vestments, and the Walls of their Churches, pretending that all was polluted by their touch of them. How much of this Spirit doth reign in our mo­dern Donatists is easily observed by any man that will take the pains to compare their Writings and Practises with those of their Ancestors, the antient Donatists in Africk. And indeed it is high time for every man to leave the society of that Person that thinks himself alone to have reason, and all the rest of mankind to be mad and out of their wits.

Nor is this Proposition only unreasonable, but is also very un­charitable, in as much as it condemns not only Protestant Churches, but all the Christians in the Eastern parts of the World that are not of the Roman Faith; the Greeks and Arminians, the Jacobites and Nestorians, the Maronites and Abissines, and Coph­tites or Christians of Egypt, and for ever excludes them from hopes of Salvation; which is in effect to unchurch the greatest part of Christians, and condemn them to everlasting burnings; who are more in number, and more extend in Territories then the Professors of the present Roman Faith can pretend to be; notwithstanding all their brags of Universality. It may be per­haps said, that the Eastern Christians and Protestants are Here­ticks: but I think it much easier to say so than make it good; and if they were, yet the charity of the modern Bomanists is much more streightned than that of St. Augustines was, De Baptis. con­tra Don. l. 1. c. 10. l. 5. c. 27. who durst not deny a possibility of Salvation, even to He­reticks themselves. For when the Donatists did ob­ject, that Heresio is an Harlot, that if Baptism of Hereticks be [Page 4]good, then Sons are born to God of Heresie; and so of an Harlot. His Answer was, that the Conventicles of Hereticks do bear Chil­dren unto God; not in that wherein they are divided, but in that wherein they still remain join'd with the True & Catholick Church; not in that they are Hereticks, but as much as they profess and practise that which other Christians do. Nay, according to the Opinion of the Roman Doctors they have no reason (if they stand to their own Principles) to judg so severely of Hereticks; for they grant that the honour of Martyrdom is only peculiar to the Members of the Catholick Church; and they cannot deny but it is possible for an Heritick to suffer for the Christian Religi­on, and lay down his life in the defence of the Faith of Christ: From whence it must inevitably follow, according to their own confessions, that either Hereticks may be saved, or else Mar­tyrdom is not proper to the Church and Members of it.

Nor are the Romanists only unreasonable, and uncharitable, in confining the Catholick Church to themselves, but they are so in excluding also other Christians from the hopes of Salvation that are not of their own Communion. This will appear from two Considerations. First, they are more un­charitable to them then they are to Heathens that never heard of Jesus Christ: for Lud. Vives in Aug. de Civitat Dei. l. 18. c. 47. Andr. id. l. 3. At alii apud Casail. de quadripli justit. l. 1. c. 12 & Collium de anim. pag. l. 1. c. 24. & l. 5. c. 7, 8, 22. many of their own Writers do grant a possibility of Salva­tion to the Pagans, if they live good moral lives, and yet the Protestants, thô they believe in Christ, and profess all the Articles of the Apostles Creed, and lead their lives suitable to the Gospel, must be damned to Hell; only because they cannot believe the Church of Rome to be their Mistress, nor call the Pope their Master on Earth.

It seems that Infidelity is a lesser crime then Non-Communion with Rome; that there is more hopes of Pagans, then of Pro­testants, to be saved, and that it is more pardonable not to be­lieve in Christ Jesus then to deny the authority of the Church of Rome: In that many of them make so few things to be neces­sary to be believed in order to eternal salvation, that upon their own Principles they cannot exclude the Protestants from the [Page 5]hopes of it; and for those that inlarge the Articles of Belief a little farther, they cannot deny Salvation to the Protestants, if they believe all that they require as necessary.

Some men make the Belief of Jesus Christ, and submission to his Laws, sufficient to bring a man to Heaven; and if so, it is very uncharitable to exclude Protestants from it, that believe so much, as well as themselves. Others add the knowledge and be­lief of those things that are contained in the Lords Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, and Doctrin of the Sacraments. Now take the explicite credenda, in which of these Notions you will, it is hugely uncharitable, to exclude the Protestants out of Hea­ven, when they believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, and submit to his Laws, and live according to his Religion; when they believe all that is contained in the Creed, the Lords Prayer, and the Decalogue, and assent to the Doctrin of those Sacra­ments that are generally necessary for salvation.

CHAP. II. Of the Infallibility of the Pope.

THE second Motive is, The Doctrine of the Roman Church concerning the Infallibility of the Pope; also concerning an Infallible Church and General Council, and concerning the Infal­lible Judg or Guide in Controversies about Religion, which the Romanists talk so much of, and pretend to have.

No man certainly that fully considers the various models of an Infallible Guide which the several parties of Papists do describe and defend in opposition to one another, will wonder that I have given this Chapter a manifold Title. The great uncer­tainty and confusion of Opinions which I found in the Romish Communion about this affair was not the least cause of my being discontented with that Religion: It startled me exceedingly at the beginning of my inquiry, to find the main Pillar of the Ro­mish Doctrin (that is the Infallible Director above mentioned) [Page 6]was only a name without any reality, for there is little or nothing set up by one party under this name or title which is not strongly confuted by another of the Roman Catholicks; yet they all join to run down the Protestants for having a Religion built upon no secure foundation; for all Religion is so insecurely built (if we believe the Romanists) which is not bottomed upon the Te­stimony of some visible Infallible director; whether that be the unerring guidance or direction of the Pope, as some think, or of a Pope and General Council together, as others do judg; or of a Council without the Pope, and acting under an assumed Pre­sident, as a third sort imagine. Now it is true indeed, that our Faith, ought to rely upon an Infallible Foundation, and the written Word of God is the thing, and the vain pretence of a visible unerring Judge, or Guide; is nothing but mere conceit, as I shall hereafter plainly shew.

Therefore I look upon my self at present as obliged to acquaint the Reader, how much I found my self mistaken concerning this Infallible Guide, which heretofore I very much relied upon. When I entered into an enquiry, and would very gladly have consulted him, and take his advice, immediately I found my self lost in an endless wilderness of Disputes, dissentions, and in­consistent Opinions concerning him: For the writers of the Ro­man Church are divided into several Sects about this affair, and what one party of them sets up, another party pulls down and rejects.

Most Divines that have dependance on the Court of Rome, and likewise many others, maintain that the Pope is Infallible in his own Person; and that he needs not the concurrence of general Councils, but can make Infallible Decrees concerning Faith and Manners, by himself alone: yet they are not well agreed about this neither.

Albertus Pighius (as it is reported by Cardinal Bell. lib. 4. c. 2, de Rom. Pont.) was of opinion, that the Pope could not become a Heretick, neither in his private capacity, nor when he acted publickly by his Pontifical Authority. Now the Car­dinal, thô a great Assertor of Papal Priviledges, yer condemns [Page 7]this Opinion of Pighius for an extravagance. Thus

The third Opinion (for he had cited two before) is in the other extream, Tertia sententia est in altero ex­tremo Pontificem non posse ullo mo­do esse Haereticum, nec docere pub­licè Haeresin, etiamsi rem aliquam solus definiat. Ita Albertus Pig­hius, lib. 4. c. 8. Hierarch. Eccl. that the Pope in no way can become an He­retick, nor publickly teach Heresie, although he defines some things by himself alone.

Nevertheless not only this Cardinal, but also Cajetan, and Baro­nius, most of the order of the Jesuites, and in short, all the Divines of the Italian Faction, do stifly maintain the personal Infallibili­ty of the Pope: In some sense indeed more moderatly, and in some sense more extravagantly, then Pighius; for they are more moderate in acknowledging that the Pope in his private capacity may become a Heretick, and much worse. Yet they constantly af­firm, that in his publick capacity, and when he makes use of his Pontifical Authority, then he cannot possibly be in the wrong, nor teach any false Doctrin: And this Position they endeavor to make good, by the best Arguments they can get: Every little shadow of proof, that occurrs either in the holy Scripture, or in the Fathers, is setched out in order to confirm this pretended unerring priviledg of the Roman Prelate. Amongst other things the Example of the Jewish high Priest is thought to have some weight in it, thô some of those were Idolaters; and one, that is Caiphas, by the same sentence condemned Christ for a Deceiver, and the whole Christian Religion for an Imposture. Now the Romish Doctors being urged with this mighty Scandal, and shame to Pontifical Infallibility, do (some of them) give this answer; that Caiphas mistook the matter of Fact, but not the matter of Faith. See Bell. Tom. 2. lib. 2. c. 8. Concil. de Autho­ritate Rom. Pont.

And the wise Author of the Papist Misrepresented, pag. 46. brings this Example of Caiphas upon the stage, not considering that it is so far from being any way advantagious to the pretence of the Roman Pontiff, that it even disgraces the very name of High Priest. This Author, c. 18. pag 46. speaking of the Grace [Page 8]and Assistance which God in some instances gave to Persons emi­nent in Office; and particularly to Capiphas, when he judged it necessary that Christ should be put to death for the conservation of the Nations: he says, With like helping Grace, he doubts not but God generally assists the Pastors of the New Law, and more especially the High Priest (that is the Pope) for the good of the whole Flock. And therefore thô he were as wicked as Caiphas, yet he is ready to render him all respect due to his Function, and to obey him in every thing concerning the exercise of his Charge, not for any consideration of his Person, but meerly for the Office he bears. Let the Reader observe the words of this Author; what a notable guide the Bishop of Rome is according to this mans description of him; His extraordinary endowments in con­ducting Souls to Heaven is compared unto the Grace which Cai­phas had when he falsly and unjustly condemned our Saviour for a Deceiver; and consequently the whole Christian Religion for a deceit. Nothing certainly can be more strange, unless it be what Cardinal Bellarmine says concerning Papal Infallibilty, lib. 4. de Rom. Pont. c. 5. he maintains that the Pope hath a priviledge of being free from error, in making any publick Decree what ever relating to Faith or Practise; and he carrys the Assertion so high as to say, that If the Pope should err by command ing Vices, Si Papa erraret praecipiendo vi­tia, vel prohibendo virtutes, te­neretur Ecclaesia credere vitia esse bona, & virtutes malas, nisi vellet contra conscientiam peccare. Lib. 4. de Rom. Pont. Cap. 5. and forbidding Ver­tues, the Church would be bound to believe, that Vices were good, and Vertues evil; unless it would sin against Conscience. Wonderful Do­ctrine.

Certainly no man of any reason or honesty but will abhor such a Position; and accordingly Bellarmines heart smote him in his old age for having delivered such a thing: And therefore in his Recognition upon this passage he minced the matter, and partly recalled this wild saying, perhaps when he was near death, and had no hopes to obtain the Papacy for himself; then he was con­tent [Page 9]to speak more soberly concerning the Power and Privi­ledges of the Pope.

But above all men commend me to Costerus the Jesuite, for a wonderful Teacher of Papal Infallibility. He says, It may come to pass, as we confess, that the Successor of St. Fatemur fieri posse, ut Petri Suc­cessor Idola colat, apud se forte de Fide non recte sentiens; ade­oque Artibus Diabolicis operam navet. Sed constanter negamus Vicarios Christi, Petrique Suc­cessores. Romanos Pontifices, vel Haeresin alios docere posse, vel Errorem proponere. Cost. Enchi­rid. c. 3. Peter may worship Idols, privately perhaps, having a wrong Opi­nion concerning the Faith; and may consequently be a Studier of Diabolical Arts. But this we constantly deny, that the Popes of Rome, Vicars of Christ, and Successors of St. Peter, can teach Heresie to others, or propose an Error.

Whether Costerus, when he delivered this, had an eye to those Popes, who have been accused of being Magicians, and invoking Devils, I cannot determin. But I appeal to all persons endu'd with Reason, and let them judge whether I had not just cause to grow very much dissatisfied with that Communion, whose Mem­bers do first make it necessary for all Christians to bottom and ground their Faith and Religion upon the credit of an Infallible Guide, and then they give the most lewd description of him that ever was heard. One that may be an Idolater, a Wizard and an Infidel, an Heretick in his private capacity, one that is notwithstanding to be obeyed, if he command Vices, and forbid Vertues; and if he command so, all Christians are bound to believe Vices to be good, and Vertues evil: one that is an Infallible Guide, such as Caiphas was: one that has as much security and certainty of being in the right as Caiphas had. Whence it follows, that the Christians, who rely on the Pope, have just as much certainty of being in the right, as the Jews in our Saviours time had of being so, by relying on their High Priest; yet they, notwithstanding the infallible Conduct of Cai­phas, cryed against Christ, crucifie him, crucifie him; and release [Page 10]unto us Barabbas. Doubtless these men, who describe and prove the Popes Infallibility after such a manner, as you have heard, are very blamable. Methinks they should have more regard to the Honour of a Prince, than to have characterized him as they do. I know it was not done out of any ill will, but it is usual for too officious Servants sometimes to do their Masters as much hurt, as if they were real Enemies.

Thus the Reader will fully perceive how little satisfaction I found in the pretended unerring Guide, or Conductor, which the Italian Papists do propose. It is manifest there is very little comfort or security in the Conduct of such a Guide. But being disappointed in expecting infallible Guidance from any one per­son, such as the Pope is, whom the Italian Parasites advance; I proceeded to consider another unerrable Guide, which the French Divines set up in opposition to the Italians, that is, a General Council. This indeed at first appeared unto me to have the fairest pretension to be the Guide so much talked of. I suppose it well known, that in France the Personal Infallibility is generally rejected and decryed, as an untrue and groundless thing; and many large Discourses have been written by the French Divines, in order to prove not only that the Pope may be deceived, but also that he has been very often actually so, even in matters of the greatest importance. The Discourses writ­ten by Gerson above 250 years ago are abundantly known to all men of Reading. Tract. An liceat in causis Fidei à summo Pon­tifice appellare. And in later times Launoius, a Sorbon Doctor, in many places of his Epistles, not only declares his own Sense against the Personal Infallibility of the Pope, but likewise the Sense or Judgment of the Gallican Church. He reproaches one Baro, his adversary, for holding the Bishop of Rome to be incapable of er­ring, and counts Baro to be a Traytor to the Gallican Church and Nation for it. I shall produce one passage out of Launoius to this purpose.

Thus he inveighs against Baro, In Gallicanam grassatur Ec­clesiam, quae Romanum Pontifi­cem submittit Concilio, & ei non errandi in fide, & moribus privilegium abjudicat sed soli ad­judicat Ecclesia, & Ecclesiam fi­guranti Concilio. Launoius Epi­stolarum parte 5ta. Epistola ad Fortinum, pag. 43. vide etiam pag. 93. He perniciously de­stroys the Church of France, [Page 11]which makes the Bishop of Rome inferiour to a Council, and decrees against his Privi­ledge of not erring in Faith and Manners, and contrariwise adjudges it only to the Church and to a Council, the Repre­sentative thereof.

Here we have seen this learned Sorbon Doctor directly oppo­site to the Italian Divines concerning this affair, which is under debate. It is likewise very well known, that Richerius, another Doctor of Sorbon, and as good a Roman Catholick as the best of them, has written his History of General Councils on set purpose therein to run down and demolish the Personal Infallibility, and other pretended Priviledges of the Pope. But above all Monsieur Maimbourg (a most inveterate Enemy to the Protestant Religion) has composed a Book designedly to confute the vain pretence of Papal Infallibility; and in the sixth Chapter of that Book above­mentioned he alledges all manner of Authorities, in order to con­vince mankind, that the Pope is not infallible; and he clearly makes out his Allegations i [...] 10 Chapters of the Book aforesaid, concerning the Prerogatives of Rome and her Bishop. That which is very pleasant is, that Maimbourg finds several Popes, who thought their Predecessors fallible, and some, though but a few, who thought themselves so too, Among these Adrian VI. like a modest and honest man, when he was actually Pope, con­tinued to own in general, and without exception, that the Bishop of Rome might fall into Error. Maimbourgs words are these.

Adrian VI. in his Commentaries upon the 4th of the Sen­tences, says positively, and in a most decisive manner. That he is certain, Cortum est, quod Pontifex pos­sit errare etiam in iis, quae tan­gunt fidem, Haeresin, per suam determinationem aut Decretalem asserendo. cap. 15. pag. 183. the Pope may err even in matters belonging to Faith, teaching and establish­ing a Heresie by his Definiti­on, or by his Decretal.

Hence it manifestly appears, that the French Catholicks are [Page 12]in this regard, opposite to the Italian Papists. Therefore Bellar­min will not let this French Doctrine pass, it being very preju­dicial to the Interest of the papal Chair at Rome; but he con­tradicts it, lib. 4. cap. 2. de Romano Pontifice, and that very se­verely, saying, (videtur erronea, & Haeresi proxima) it seems to be wholly erroneous, and next in the world to Heresie. Here let the Reader consider how those Doctors of the Popish Perswasi­on disagree and contradict each other about their pretended infal­lible Judge or Guide in matters of Religion.

The French Divines and Pope Adrian VI hold, that the Pope is not infallible, and they say, that the diffusive Church and a Gene­ral Council is so. Then comes Cardinal Bellarm with others like him, and gives them the lye; and then they of the other side, not willing to dye in this debt, do the like to him and his associates.

If it be said, that both parties had more manners than to tax one another with the lye in express terms, that is true indeed, but yet they do the same in effect.

Finding this great discord amongst them, I set aside the whole Italian Sect at once, and could have been content, if the French party had been able to advance a model of an infallible Guide with any concord amongst themselves, and without contradict­ing one another.

But alas they also are full of Disputes and Dissentions, and the best model they devise is liable to very great exceptions. As for Disputes and Controversy the matter is thus; Some hold, that a General Council is the only infallible Guide and Judge in things appertaining to Religion, but they allow the Pope many great priviledges in the Council. For example, a General Council (say one party) cannot be called, but by the Popes Authority, or by his Consent. And the opinion of these men is to be found in Petrus de Marca the late famous Archbishop of Paris, lib. 4. de Concordia Sacerdotii & Imperii, cap. 5. parag. 4.

Others affirm again, that the Civil Magistrate may call an extraordinary Council, which was the Judgment of the Univer­sity of Paris, publickly declared by the Command of King Charles VIII. as may be seen in the 4th Book of the History of General [Page 13]Councils set forth by Richerius above mentioned. C. 2. and the same was likewise the judgment of the late Famous Archbishop of Paris. Lib. 6. C. 17.4. de concordia Sacerdotii & Imperii.

A third sort hold it not to be absolutely necessary that the Pope should have any hand in constituting a General Council, or in presiding in it, or in ratifying the Decrees of it. And this is the Opinion of Monsieur Maimbourg in his Book concerning the Prerogatives of Rome, and her Bishop. Chap. 16. Pag. 188, 189. The same Opinion is likewise maintained by Richerius, Historia Concil. General. lib. 1. c. 5. For in two General Councils, that is the second and fifth, the Pope neither presided by himself, nor by his Delegates; and the same Richerius disproves the co­lours and pretences found out by Baronius and Binius, in order to make the World believe that the Pope had some presidency in the Councils above named. Hitherto we find nothing in pur­suit of this Infallible Guide, but uncertainty and confusion, ever­lasting Disputes, and endless Quarrels. This I considered, and was exceedingly troubled, to find my self so mightily deceived in my expectation.

But let us proceed farther, and see whether any thing in the World be consistent, and credible in this French Doctrin: con­cerning their model of an Infallible Guide, I am content to set aside the manifold Disputes, concerning the nature and consti­tution of a Council, on condition I may find them well agreed for the rest. Notwithstanding, if they were perfectly agreed, and as harmonious as Musick, yet there lies very many excepti­ons against their Opinion: for if a General Council be the only thing incapable of Error, then it follows inevitably, that there has been no visible Infallible Guide upon earth for these 120 years last past. For it is so long since any thing pretending to be a General Council was in being. Therefore when the French Papists falsly charge the Protestants for having no certain ground­work, or foundation of their Faith, they do not consider that the Protestants may return the charge, and ask those Papists, where their Infallible Directors is since the Council of Trent was dissolved above 120 years ago.

If it be said, that althô there is no Council now sitting, yet Records and Writings, which contain the Canons and Decrees of Councils are yet extant, and may be consulted. This makes a Writing capable of being a Guide or Director of our Faith, which is a thing the Romanists will not admit of. For when the Protestants affirm the written Word of God is only the In­fallible Director, then they except against all Writings, as inca­pable of being any certain Directors, because they may be wrested by Interpretation to bear many Senses: And upon this account they call the Holy Scripture a Leaden Rule and a Nose of Wax.

Now for my part I cannot perceive but that the Canons and Decrees of dead Councils are liable to wresting and mis­interpretation as well as the Holy Scripture. Methinks the Bishop of Condom's Book is a very strong proof of this; and ma­ny instances of the like I could give, but I shall omit them, be­cause it is notorious that the sense of many Canons is exceedingly disputable. Thus I plainly perceive upon the whole matter, that either Records of Councils are no infallible or sufficient Guide, or if they be so, the Holy Scripture is much more such. Whence it follows that the Protestants are in the right, by rely­ing mainly upon the Scripture.

Certainly, if a Writing can afford infallible direction, the writ­ten Word of God has the best pretence in the World to that office: Therefore the Reformed Church hath reason in some respect to thank the French Papists; for althô their pretended unerring Director is not sufficient, yet it suggests to them where they may find out one that is very sufficient. Such will be the consequence of that model of an Infallible Guide which is advan­ced, and defended by the Gallican Church, and by others that follow their method. But there are yet farther Inconveniences in it, enough to dissatisfie any considerative person whatsoever. I was content (as you have heard) to pass by the great Contro­versie above mentioned, between the Italian and French men: I could have prevailed with my self to have connived at the many dissentions under which the Gallican Divines do labour, con­cerning [Page 15]the nature and constitution of a General Council. Yet after all, I perceive it is impossible to get to an end of their Con­troversies, in so much that I am affraid I shall incumber the Rea­der with a tedious and long account of them. The thing that at present I shall consider, is their dissention concerning the ex­tent of that Infallibility which they attribute to General Councils: For some extend the supposed Infallibility, attending the Coun­cils aforesaid, to all sorts of Decrees, whether they concern Faith, or Practice; and this was the current sense of the University of Paris 145 years ago; as appears by their conclusions concern­ing this affair, publickly agreed upon, and declared Anno Dom. 1542. by the Theological Faculty of that University, Articulo 22. It is certain (say they) that General Councils lawfully as­sembled, Certum est Concilium Generale le­gitime Congregatam universalem representans Ecclesiam, in Fidei & Morum determinationibus er­rare non posse, and representing the Universal Church, cannot err in Decrees concerning Faith and the Church.

But of late the Gallican Doctors sing a new song; they have departed from this Opinion of their Predecessors, and restrained their imagined Infallibility of Councils only to matters of Faith. And an account of this one may find, p. 9. of the Reflections made upon the first Answer, given to the Papist Misrepresented and Represented. Besides it is in every bodies mouth, that has been educated in France, that in matters of Practice, Discipline, or Government; General Councils are not Infallible. Thus at one stroke the French Doctors of these last ages have cut off, at least, in nine or ten parts from the extent of that Infallibility, which their Predecessors 145 years ago did ascribe to the De­crees of Councils. For most certain it is, the Rules of Practice appertaining to Christianity are (to speak within compass) nine or ten times as many as the matters of Faith. So the modern French Clergy do hold a much less extended Infallibili­ty then what was heretofore held and taught by the Theological Faculty of Paris above mentioned: and according to the modern Position or Doctrin we are deserted by the unerring Guide in [Page 16]much the greater part of Christianity, and may err and wander in all practical Points, and scatter as much as any Hereticks whatever.

Hereupon some perhaps will say, that although the Office of an infallible Conductor be reduced to a very small compass, yet notwithstanding it is better to have his help and assistance (as little as it is) than to want it. Truly there was a time when I thought so too: but then I considered, that most of those Points controverted between Protestants and Papists are matters of pra­ctice: Therefore if the unerring direction of the Guide does not extend to practical Decrees, it follows that most of the points a­foresaid have not hitherto been infallibly determined in savour of the Church of Rome. The Worship of Images, the Adoration of the Gross, the Worship of Angels and Saints, the half Commu­nion, the Adoration of the Host, and several other things are points of practice, and not properly matters of Faith. If it be said, that the Decrees made by the Council of Trent concerning those things do virtually and implicitly contain a point of Faith, by obliging us to believe the lawfulness or expediency of doing them, I answer, that the case of other Decrees about matters of Practice, Discipline, or Government is just the same: In so much that either all practical Decrees must for this reason be re­ducible to matters of Faith, or else the Decrees concerning Image Worship, half Communion, and the rest abovementioned cannot be reduced to that kind, but must be rank'd among matters of Practice; and so are not capable of any infallible Determination, if the Description of the Guide given by the French Divines be true. But if any man will maintain, that all practical Decrees are reducible to matters of Faith, for the reason aforesaid, then the deposing Canon of the Lateran Council is reducible to the same kind, and is consequently established in the Roman Church by an infallible Decree, which makes it an essential part of the Romish Church. Now this is that great inconvenience which the French Clergy do endeavour to avoid by restraining the un­erring priviledge of the Councils to matters of Faith alone. They are sensible that several Constitutions and Decrees of Coun­cils [Page 17]are prejudicial to Rights of Sovereign Princes, and injurious to the Libertis of the Gallican Church; they are aware of the great mischief, which those Canons and Decrees made for depo­sing Kings might bring upon them if their potent Monarch should perceive that such Doctrines are judged essential to the Religion of Rome; and for that reason they warily restrain the supposed Infallibility of Councils to matters of Faith alone, and so give themselves room and scope enough to run down the deposing Canons & Doctrines; and yet to pretend that they have an infal­lible Guide still left in store. But this design will be quite ruin­ed, if practical Decrees are therefore esteemed to be infallible because they include or suppose a speculative Doctrine concern­ing the lawfulness or expediency of things they enjoyn. For if such Decrees and Constitutions are infallible, then they are essen­tial parts of the Roman Catholick Religion, even the deposing Canons among the rest. So that I plainly see the Frenchmen will be necessitated, by trusting to the Conduct of their infallible Guide, either to own that Image-worship, Invocation of Saints, &c. neither yet are nor indeed ever can be decreed infallibly; or else they must own the Doctrine of deposing Princes to be infallibly decreed, which is the thing they endeavour to avoid. The latter case makes their Guide mischievous and dangerous, and the for­mer makes him in a manner unserviceable.

Thus we see what a miserable confusion these poor people have brought themselves to, by pretending to find a visible Judge of Controversies incapable of Error among mortal men. They have made the greatest part of Christianity an uncertain thing (as far as in them lay) by removing it (as far as their Opinions could remove it) from its proper and natural basis, that is, the Word of God; and by grounding it upon the testimony of an airy phantome, called an infallible Guide; but owned by them­selves to be liable enough to Error, and to have erred most grie­vously in matters of the greatest importance. They say, this Guide cannot be mistaken in matters of Faith; but in the conclu­sion, they cannot tell what they themselves mean by that term [matters of Faith:] for although that term be of it self clear enough, [Page 18]yet they make the signification of it obscure and uncertain, by confounding matters of Faith and matters of Practice, being not able, according to their Principles (for as much as I under­stand) to make any clear distinction between them. When I was brought to this great uncertainty, and did not know on what foundation to ground my Belief, or how to understand certainly the Commands of God, I remembred what was said Deuteron. chap. 30. vers. 11, 12, 13, 14. The Commandment which I command thee this day is not hidden from thine eyes, nor is it far off. It is not in the Heaven above, that thou shouldst say, who shall go up for us into Heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? neither is it beyond the Sea, that thou shouldst say, who shall go over the Sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? but the Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou maist do it. And the same thing is repeated in the New Testament by St. Paul. Rom. c. 10. v. 6, 7, 8. with an application of it to the Christian Dispensation.

Having been thus taught of God, I understood that it was not necessary for me to seek an infallible Guide either in Rome or France; God has provided sufficient means whereby we may know his Will in all Christian Countrys, without going beyond the Sea to fetch the knowledge of it from afar off. His written Word is a Guide, whose Veracity cannot be questioned; and there are means to understand the true sense of it, which are abundantly sufficient, and infinitely better than the Romanists have to under­stand their pretended infallible Director: For that is a thing that no man certainly knows, neither what he is, nor where he is, neither how he is to be consulted, nor how far he is to be trust­ed; which, doubtless, are lamentable defects in a thing called a Guide. The Word of God assuredly ought to be our Rule. And I am resolved to follow it, according to the Direction given me by St. Augustine.

Let no man say to me, O! Nemo mihi dicat, O! quid dixit Donatus, aut Parmenianus, aut Pontius, aut aliquis alius illorum? quia nec cum Catholicis Episcopis sentiendumest, sicubi fortè fallan­tur, ut contra Canonicas Scripturas aliquid sentiant. Aug. de Ʋnit. Ecclesiae, c. 10. what said Donatus, Parmenia­nus, or Pontius, or any other of them? for neither ought we to [Page 19]agree with Catholick Bishops, if perhaps in some cases they are so much mistaken, as to en­tertain Opinions contrary to the Canonical Scriptures.

Thus we see St. Augustin prefers the Guidance of Gods Word to the Direction of any one or more Bishops, although account­ed never so Catholick. It seemed strange to me, that a matter of such weight and consequence as this is, the stay and prop of all Religion (as they term it,) and a thing that tends so much to the preservation of Truth and Peace in the Church, should not be taken notice of by the four Evangelists, who yet record ma­ny things of smaller importance.

That St. Paul should hint nothing of it to that Church that pretends so mightily to it. That in his Epistle to the Corinthi­ans (where he takes notice of their Schisms, one being of Paul, a­nother of Apollos, and a third of Cephas) he did not tell them, that they ought to require Cephas his Judgment for the Deter­mination of their Differences.

That Peter himself, giving all diligence to mind the Christians of what was needful, before his departure, should forget to tell them of so necessary and so important an Article as this. That the Scriptures so frequently warn us of false Teachers, and false Prophets, that should arise; and yet tell us nothing of this in­fallible Remedy; but rather put the cure of the evil upon the pains and diligence of the Christians, in trying their Spirits. That the Asian Bishops, in their opposition against Pope Victor, and the African in their opposition to Pope Stephen, should either not know of this priviledge of St. Peters Successors, or not ac­knowledge it if they did. That St. Augustin and the Council of Carthage should be so ill instructed in the Faith, as not to acknow­ledge it; but rather stand out so stifly, as they did, in the case of Appeals. That the Popes, in the contest with him, should be so ignorant of their own priviledges, as not to alledge their In­fallibity in the Point, (which would have put a speedy end to the Dispute;) but rather take Sanctuary in a pretended Canon [Page 20]of the Council of Nice. That so many Councils should be cal­led from distant parts of the world, to the expences of the Bi­shops, and the hazard of their Churches, when there was a Re­medy so near at hand, as the consulting of the infallible Bishop of Rome on all occasions. And lastly, that the Popes themselves should so far disbelieve it, as to contradict and rescind the De­crees of one another. These things seem to me such mighty pre­judices against this infallible Judg, that I know not how to answer them. To which I shall add, that instead of putting an end to Controversies, and being a Cure to the evils of Christendom (as is pretended,) it is the most expedient way to promote and con­tinue them, by possessing that Church (which hath been the great cause of Disputes) with an opinion of her own Infallibility, and consequently rendring her incurable in her Errors, and in­capable either of redressing them, or satisfying the Consciences of them that dissent from her. Consequently St. Augustine ex­presses the same thing in another place more largely than above in his last mentioned passage, shewing nothing to have infallible Authority, except the holy Scripture, no not a General Council it self.

Who knows not (says he) that the holy Canonical Scri­pture, Quis autem nesciat sanctam Scripturam Canonicam, tam ve­teris quam novi Testamenti, cer­tis suis terminis contineri, eamque omnibus posterioribus Episcopo­rum Literis ita praeponi, ut de illà omninò dubitari, ant disce­ptari non possit, utrum verum vel utrum rectum sit quicquid in eâ scriptum esse constiterit? Aug. lib. 2. contra Donat. cap. 3. both of the old and new Testament, is comprehended within its own determined li­mits, and that it is so far pre­ferred before the more modern Writings of Bishops, as that it is unlawful to doubt or to dis­pute about it, or to question whether any thing manifestly written in it be true or right?

But he then immediately after tells us, that the case of Ecclesi­astical Writers, of National Synods, and General Councils is quite otherwise.

Who knows not that the [Page 21]Writings of Bishops, Quis autem nesciat Episcopo­rum Literas, quae post confirma­tum Canonem vel scriptae sunt, vel scribuntur, & per sermo­nem fortè sapientiorem cujuslibet in eâ re peritioris, & per ali­orum Episcoporum graviorem Au­thoritatem, doctiorúmque Pru­dentiam, & per Concilia licere reprehendi, si quid in eis forsan à veritate deviatum est, & ip­sa Concilia, quae per singulas Pro­vincias vel Regiones fiant ple­nariorum Conciliorum Authori­tati, quae fiunt ex universo or­be Christiano sine ullis ambagi­bus cedere, ipsaque plenaria pri­ora saepe posterioribus emendani. Aug. ubi supra. which either heretofore have been written, or are at present in composing, since the Canon of Scripture is established, may lawfully be reprehended by a more ingenious Discourse proceeding (it may be) from a person skilfuller in that af­fair, or by the more grave Au­thority of other Bishops, or the Prudence of the more learned, or also by Councils? Moreo­ver who knows not that Pro­vincial or National Synods do yield without delay to the Authority of General Councils which are gathered out of all the Christian world, and that General Councils precedent in time are often corrected by them that are subsequent.

Here we see, that according to St. Augustine, nothing but the Word of God is esteemed incorrigible or infallible, not so much as a General Council. Therefore I am resolved to follow this Doctrine, and to adhere to the Word of God, as my only Rule. And because I find that the Church of England in this particular agrees most exactly with St. Augustine, for that reason I will henceforth embrace the Communion of that Church.

CHAP. III. Of Transubstantiation.

THE third Motive of my Conversion is my dislike to the modern Doctrine of Transubstantiation, and I may well call it so, because it was disliked by the antient Fathers, and was full 1215 Years before it could obtain the credit to be defined as an Article of Faith; for it was not defined such till the Council of Lateran held the above mentioned Year under Innocent III. and the Testimonies of the Fathers & Councils (as hereafter you shall see) are so decretory against it that the learned Arch-Bishop of Paris doth ingeniously acknowledg it: Petr. Mar. Tract. de Eucharist. And for the justification of it they have been forced to cor­rupt their Logick and their Natural Philosophy, the better to season Young Novices for the reception of it in Divini­ty, and maintain such Paradoxes in them both, that if the Pro­testants had the ill Fate to take them up they long ago had been hissed out of the Schools for defending them.

Such are the proposition of accidents existing without a sub­ject, and the possibility of one Body being in divers places at the same time: they have destroyed the nature of a Sacrament by taking away the Visible Sign, and have stretched the words of Institution to a sense that many of their own Writers did not believe before it was defined; and some have since been so candid as to confess that they could not see the meaning of Transubstantiation in the Text, if it were not for the authority of the church. They are forced to tell all men loudly to their faces, that four of their Senses are mistaken about their proper Object, when neither the Medium nor the Organ are indisposed. That there is no Bread there at all, thô they see, feel, smell and taste Bread. That the Senses of this or that man, are not only mistaken, (which is somewhat pardonable) but the Senses of all mankind, at all times, and in all places, whensoever they [Page 23]receive the Eucharist, nay that they are engaged so fatally in the mistake, that they are never like to be retrieved out of it, thô they use their utmost care to detect the fallacy. They are forced to contradict the common reason of mankind, and main­tain Propositions, that sound Reason doth abhor in all other instances.

Sound Reason tells us, that one Body can be but in one place at one time, that it must have partes extra partes, distant in situation, and impenetrable; that it must have a quantity and extension; that Accident cannot subsist without a Subject, that conversion of one Substance into another cannot be without a change in the Accidents.

But in the Doctrin of Transubstantiation we are taught to disbelieve all these Principles. The Body of Christ is at the same time in many places far distant from one another; it is glorious in Heaven, and on Earth subject to a thousand disho­nours; it occupies a certain place there, but in the Host it takes up none, but is (in manner like a Spirit) in an indivisible point: it moves in one place, and rests in another: it is elevated in one place, and depressed in another; and all at the same time and season. That the Body of Christ is without quantity and ex­tension; that there is length, and nothing long; breadth, and nothing broad; roundness, and nothing round; thickness, and yet nothing thick. That the Body of Christ doth exist with­out its accidents and essential properties; and the accidents, of Bread and Wine without a subject; and yet these ac­cidents shall do still the same seats, and serve a man to as usu­all purposes as if the substance were with them; a man may seed upon them, and be nourished with them, and have his Spirit cheered, and refreshed with the colour, and smell of Wine thô he drink not a drop of it. Lo these are the paradoxes which the defenders of Transubstantiation must be forced to take up for the justification of it; and they must still seem so to me, till I meet with a clear and satisfactory answer to them. There was a time when I was content to swallow them as well as others; the prejudice of Education and Authority of the [Page 24]Church, had so great an influence upon me, that I did not con­sider them as I ought; but, as by the blessing of God I have shaked off the prejudice of the one, so I am still willing to pay a deference to the authority of the other; if it can be made good that she hath authority, to impose things on my Belief that thwart my Senses, and contradict common Principles of Reason.

This monstrous, and lately framed figment of human inventi­on, (I mean) the Doctrin of Transubstantiation, is so far from being Primitive and Apostolick, that we know the time it began to be owned publickly for an Opinion; and the very Council, in which it was said to be passed into a publick Doctrin, and by what arts it was promoted, and by what persons it was introduced.

For all the World knows, that by their own Parties, by In 4. lib Sentent. d. 11. q. 3. Scotus, by ibid. q. 6. Ocham, Le [...]t. 40. in can. missae.Biel, Fisher Bishop Cap. cont. captivit. Babyl. of Rochester, and divers o­thers whom De Euchar. lib. 3. cap. 23. sect. 2. dicit. Bellarmine calls most acute and learned men: It was declared that the Doctrine of Transubstantiation is not expressed in the Ca­non of the Bible; that in the Scriptures there is no place so express, (as without the Churches declaration) to compel us to admit of Transubstantiation; and therefore at least it is to be suspected of Novelty. But further, we know that it was but a disputable Question in the ninth and tenth Ages after Christ; that it was not pretended to be an Article of Faith till the Lateran Council in the time of Innocent III. 1215 Years af­ter Christ; that since that pretended Venere quidem tunc multa in conful­tationem. nec decer­ni tamen aperte quic quam potuit. Platina in vita Innocent III. determi­nation divers of the chiefest Teachers of their own side have no more been satisfied of the ground of it than they were before, but still have publickly affirmed that the Article is not expressed in Scripture; apud Suar. tom. 3. disp. 46. sect. 3. loc. com. lib. 3. fund. 2. particularly Johannes de Bassolis, Cardinal Cajetan, and Melchior Ca­nus; besides those above reckoned: And there­fore if it was not expressed in Scripture it will be clear that they made their Article out of their own heads; for they could [Page 25]not declare it to be there if it was not; and if it be there but obscure­ly, then it ought to be taught accordingly; and at most it could be but a probable Doctrine, and not certain as an Article of Faith.

But that we may put it past Argument and Probability, it is certain, That as the Doctrine was not taught in Scripture expres­ly, so it was not taught at all as a Catholick Doctrine, or as an Article of Faith by the Primitive Ages of the Church.

Now in order to make this appear, we have the Confessions of many Authors very much esteemed by the Church of Rome, whose authorities have been most exactly collected and examined by the learned Bishop Taylor, to whom I own my self much indebted for my Conversion.

For the further manifestation of the incontroulable truth of this point, we need no other proof but the confession and acknow­ledgment of the great Doctors of the Church of Rome. Scotus says, That before the Lateran Council Transubstantiation was no Article of Faith, as Bellarmine confesses; Lib. 3. de Euch. c. 23 Sect. unum tamen. Sum. l. 8. c. 20. and Hen­riquez affirms that Scotus says, It was not antient; in­somuch that Bellarmine accuses him of Ignorance, say­ing, He talked at that rate because he had not read the Roman Council under Pope Gregory VII. nor that consent of Fathers which (to little purpose) he had heaped together. Rem Transubstantionis Patres nè attigisse quidem, said some of the English Jesuites in Prison. The Fathers have not so much as touched or medled with the matter of Tran­substantiation. Discurs. modest. p. 13. And in Peter Lombard's time it was so far from being an Article of Faith, or Catholick Do­ctrine, that they did not know whether it were true or no: And after he had collected the Sentences of the Fathers in that Article, he confessed, He could not tell whether there was any substantial change or no. His words are these. L. 4. Sen­ten. dist. 11 lit. a. If it be enquired what kind of Conversion it is, whether it be formal or substantial, or another kind? I am not able to define it: only I know that it is not formal, because the same Accidents remain, the same Colour and Tast. To some it seems to be substantial, saying that the Substance is changed, that it is done essentially; to which the former authority seems to consent: [Page 26]But to this Sentence others oppose these things, if the substance of Bread and Wine be substantially converted into the Body and Bloud of Christ, which before was not the Body, then every day some sub­stance is made the Body and Bloud of Christ, which was not his Body before. And to day something is Christs Body which yesterday was not: and every day Christs Body is increased; and is made of such matter, of which it was not made in the conception. These are his words, which I have remarked, not only for Arguments sake, (though it be unanswerable;) but to give a plain demonstration, that in his time this Doctrine was new, not the Doctrine of the Church. And this was written about Ad Annum 1160. fifty years before it was said to be decreed in the Lateran Ad Annum 1215. Council: And therefore it made haste, in so short a time to pass from a disputable Question to an Article of Faith. But even after the Council Secund. Bu­chol. An. Dom. 1271. sed se­cund. Volater­ranum 1335. in 4. lib. Sen. tent. dist. 11. q. 1. sect. pro­pter tertium. Durandus, as good a Catholick, and as famous a Doctor, as any was in the Church of Rome, pub­lickly maintained, that even after Consecration the very matter of Bread remained; and although he says, that by reason of the Authority of the Church it is not to be held, yet it is not only possible it should be so, but it implies no contradiction, that it be Christs Body, and yet the matter of Bread remain. And if this might be admitted, it would salve many difficulties which arise from say­ing, that the substance of Bread does not remain. But here his Reason was overcome by Authority, and he durst not affirm that which alone he was able to give (as he thought) a reasonable ac­count of. But by this it appears that the Opinion then was but in the forge: and by all their understanding they could never accord it, but still the Questions were uncertain, and the Opini­on was not determined at Lateran, as it is now held at Rome. It is also plain, that it is a stranger to antiquity. De Transubstantiatione [...]anis in Corpus Christi rara est in antiquis Scriptoribus mentio, De Heraes. l. 8. verbo Indul­gentia. said Alphonsus à Castro. There is seldom mention made in the ancient Wri­ters of Transubstantiating the Bread into Christs Body. I know the modesly and interest of the man, he would not have said, it [Page 27]had been seldom, if he could have found it in any reasonable de­gree warranted: he might have said, and justified it, there was no mention at all of this Article in the primitive Church. And that it was a meer stranger to Antiquity, will not be denyed by any sober person, who considers that it was with so much uneasi­ness entertained even in the corruptest and most degenerate times, and argued and unsettled almost 1300 years after Christ. And that it was so, will but too evidently appear by the stating and resolution of this Question, which we find in the Canon Law. For Berengarius was by Pope Nicholaus commanded to recant his Errors in these words, and to affirm, Cap. Ego Be­reng. consecr. dist. 2. Verum Corpus & Sanguinem Domini nostri Jesu Chri­sti sensualiter non solum in Sacramento, sed in veri­tate manibus S [...]cerdotum tractari, frangi, & fidelium dentibus at­teri. That the true Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ sensually not only in the Sacrament, but in truth is handled by the Priests hands, and broken, and grinded by the teeth of the faithful. Now although this was publickly read at Rome before 115 Bishops, and by the Pope sent up and down the Churches of Italy, France and Germany; yet this day it is renounced by the Church of Rome; and unless it be well expounded (says the Gloss) will-lead unto Heresie. But however this may be, it is plain they understood it not, as it is now decreed. But, as it happened to the Pelagians in the beginning of their Heresie, they spake rude­ly, ignorantly, and easily to be reproved; but being ashamed, and disputed into a more sober understanding of their Hypothe­sis, they spake more warily, but yet differently from what they spake at first. So it was and is in this Question; at first they understood it not, and it was too unreasonable in any tolerable sense to make any thing of it, but experience and necessity hath brought it to what it is. But that this Doctrine was not the Do­ctrine of the first and best ages of the Church, these following Testimonies do make evident. Advers. Marqi­on. l. 4. c. 40. The words of Ter­tullian are these, The Bread being taken and distri­buted to his Disciples, Christ made it his Body, saying, this is my Body, that is, the Figure of my Body.

The same is affirmed by Justin Martyr; Contra Tryph. Judae.The Bread of the Eucharist was a Figure, which Christ the Lord commanded to do in remembrance of his Passion. In Dialog con­tra Mar. Colle­ctis ex Maximo tempore Com­modi & Severi Imper.

Origen calls the Bread and the Chalice, the Ima­ges of the Body and Blood of Christ. And again, that Bread which is sanctified by the Word of God, so far as belongs to the matter (or substance) of it, goes into the belly, In Matt. 13.and is cast away in the secession, or separati­on, which to affirm of the natural and glorified Body of Christ were greatly blasphemous: and therefore the Body of Christ which the Communicants receive, is not the Body in a natural sense, but in a spiritual, which is not capable of any such accident, as the Elements are.

Eusebius says, Demonstr. E­vangel. l. 1. c. 1 & ult. h. 2. that Christ gave to his Disciples the Symbols of Divine Oeconomy, commanding the Image and Type of his own Body to be made. St. Macarius says, that in the Church is offered Bread and Wine, the Antitype of his Flesh, and of his Blood; and they that partake of the Bread that appears do spiritually eat the Flesh of Christ. By which words the sense of the above cited Fathers is explicated. For when they affirm, that in this Sacrament is offered the Figure, the Image, the Antitype of Christs Body and Blood, although they speak perfectly against Transubstantiation; yet they do not deny the real and spiritual presence of Christs Body and Blood, which we all believe as certainly as that it is not transubstanti­ated, or present in a natural and carnal manner.

The same is also fully explicated by the good St. Ephrem. The Body of Christ received by the faithful departs not from the sensible substance, De sacris Anti och. legibus a pud Photium, l. 1. c. 229.and is undivided from a spi­ritual Grace. For even Baptism being wholly made spiritual, and being that which is the same, and proper of the sensible substance, I mean of Water, saves; and that which is born doth not perish.

St. Gregory Nazianzen spake so expresly in this Question, as if he had undertaken on pupose to consute the Article of Trent; Now we shall be partakers of the Paschal Supper, Orat. 2. in Pasch.but still in figure, though more clear than in the old Law. For the legal Passover (I will not be afraid to speak it) was an ob­scure Figure of a Figure.

St. Chrysostom affirms dogmatically, Epist. ad Caes. contr. Haeres. Apollinarii, cit. per Damasc. & Colect. Senten. Pp. contr. Se­verianos, edit per Tu­nian. h. 23. in 1 Cor. that be fore the Bread is sanctified we name it bread, but the Divine Grace sanctifying it by the means of the Priest, it is freed from the name of Bread, but is esteemed worthy to be called the Lords Body, although the nature of Bread remains in it.

To these very many more might be added, but instead of them the words of St. Augustin may suffice, as being an evident con­viction what was the Doctrine of the primitive Church in this Question: In Psalm. 98. This great Doctor brings in Christ speak­ing thus to his Disciples; You are not to eat this Bo­dy which you see, or drink that Blood which my Crucifiers shall pour forth. I have commended to you a Sacrament, which being spiritual­ly understood shall quicken you. And again, Christ brought them to a Banquet, in which he commended to his Disciples the Figure of his Body and Blood; (for he did not doubt to say, this is my Body, when he gave the Sign of his Body; and that which is by all men called a Sacrifice, is the Sign of the true Sacrifice, in which the Flesh of Christ, after his Assumption, is celebrated by the Sacrament of Remembrance.

But in this particular the Canon Law it self, and the Master of the Sentences, are the best Witnesses, De Consecrat. dist. 1. c. qui manducant, &c. prima quidem, &c. non hoc cor­pus, &c. quid pa­ras. in both which Chollections there are divers Testimo­nies brought; especially from St. Ambrose and St. Augustin, which whosoever can reconcile with the Doctrine of Transubstantiation; may easily put a Civet and Dog, a Pidgeon and a Kite into couples, and make Fire and Water enter into natural and eternal Friendships.

Theodoret and Pope Gelasius speak more emphatically even to the nature of things, and the Philosophy of the Question; Christ honoured the Symbols and Signs (saith Theodoret) not changing the Nature, but to Nature adding Grace, Sentent. lib. 4. dist. 11. dialog. 1. c. 8.which Symbols are seen with the title of his Body and Blood. Dialog 2. c. 24.For neither do the mystical Signs recede from their Nature; for they abide in their proper substance, figure and form, and may be seen, touched, &c. And [Page 30]for a Testimony that will be esteemed infallible, I alledge the words of Pope Gelasius; De Duabus Nat. con­tra Eutych. & Nestor. videatur Picherel. in Dissert. de missa, & expositione verbo rum Institutionis coe­nae Domini.Truly the Sacraments of the Body and Blood of Christ, which we receive, are a divine thing, for that by them we are made partakers of the Divine Nature, yet ceases not to be the substance, or nature of Bread and Wine. And truly an image and similitude of the Bo­dy and Blood of Christ are celebrated in the action of the my­steries.

If the Patrons of this novelty be not yet satisfied by what is already said in reference thereunto, let them see and diligently mark these following Councils; Ancyranum anno Domini 314. Can. 2. Neocaesariense anno eodem Can. 13. Nicenum 1. an. 325. in act. lib. 2. c. 3. Laodicenum ann. 364. Can. 25. Carthagiense ann. 397. Can. 24. Aurelianense ann. 541. Can. 4. Toletanum 4. an. 633. Can. 17. Bracarense ann. 675, C. 2. Toletanum 16. ann. 693. C. 6. Constantinopolitanum in Trullo ann. 691. Can. 32. and if there be any shame in them, they will never brag of Antiquity to patro­nize them therein: for they are diametrically repugnant unto them in this behalf.

Now from these premises I am not desirous to infer any odi­ous consequences in reproof of the Church of Rome; but I think my self bound in conscience to swerve from it, and judge it my duty to give caution and admonition to all other well disposed Christians to do so likewise.

1. That they be not abused by the Rhetorical words and high expressions alledged out of the Fathers, calling the Sacra­ment the Body or Flesh of Christ: For we all believe it is so, and rejoyce in it. But the Question is, after what manner it is so, whether after the manner of Flesh, or after the manner of spiritual Grace, or sacramental consequence? I, with the holy Scriptures, Jo. 6.36. and primitive Fathers, affirm the latter, the Church of Rome, against the words of Scripture, and the Explication of Christ, affirm the former.

2. That they be careful not to admit such Doctrines, under the pretence of being ancient, since although the Roman Error [Page 31]had been so long admitted, and is ancient in respect of our days, yet it is an Innovation in Christianity, and brought in by Igno­rance, Power and Superstition very many ages after Christ.

3. I exhort them, that they remember the words of Christ, when he explicates the Doctrine of giving us his Flesh for Meat, and his Blood for Drink, that he tells us, Ut supra. the Flesh pro­fiteth nothing: but the Words which I speak are Spirit, and they are Life.

4. That if these ancient and primitive Doctors above cited say true, and that the Symbols still remain the same in their natural substance and properties even after they are blessed, and when they are received, and that Christs Body and Blood are only present to Faith and Spirit, that then whoever attempts to give Divine Honour to these Symbols, or Elements, (as the Church of Rome does), attempts to give a Creature the due and incom­municable propriety of God; and that then this evil passes fur­ther than an error in the understanding, for it carrys them to a dangerous practice, which cannot reasonably be excused from the crime of Idolatry.

To conclude, this matter of it self is an error so prodigiously great and dangerous, that I need not tell of the horrid and blas­phemous Questions which are sometimes handled by them of the Church of Rome concerning this divine mystery. As if a Priest going by a Bakers Shop, and saying with an Intention, Hoc est Corpus me­um, whether all the Bakers Bread be turned to Christs Body? whether a Church-mouse does eat her Maker? whether a man by eating the consecrated Symbols does break his fast? for if it be Bread and Wine he does not, and if it be Christs Christs Body and Bloud naturally and properly, it is not Bread and Wine. Whether it may be said, the Priest in some sense is the Creator of God himself? whether his Power be greater than the Power of Angels and Archangels? For that it is so, is ex­presly affirmed by Cassenaeus. Gloria mundi 4. num. 6. Whether (as a Bohe­mian Priest said) that a Priest before he says his first Mass be the Son of God, but afterward he is the Father of God, and Creator of his Body? But these things are too bad, and [Page 32]therefore I love not to rake in so filthy channels, but give only general warning to all them whom I wish well, to take heed of such persons, who, from the proper consequences of their new sound Articles, grow too bold and extravagant, and of such Do­ctrines, from whence these and many other evil Propsitions fre­quently do issue. As the Tree is, such must be the Fruit. But I hope it may be sufficient to say, that what the Church of Rome teaches of Transubstantiation, is absolutely impossible, and im­plies contradictions very many, to the belief of which no Faith obligeth me, and no Reason can endure.

CHAP. IV. Of the Half Communion.

THE fourth Motive of my Conversion is another piece of Novelty I was much dissatisfied with, and that is, the Half Communion. And the more I inquired into the Word of God, and the Sense of the primitive Church concerning it, the more I found cause to dislike it. Certainly the common Reason of all men, that are Christians, cannot but suggest unto them, that e­very Command, Order and Institution of Christ ought to be ac­counted extremely sacred, and that whatever he has appointed should be observed most religiously, without any deviation from the Rule which he hath delivered.

Now upon examination I found, that the Church of Rome had made a very unwarrantable and a strange alteration in the Ad­ministration of the Sacrament, by detaining the Cup from the people: and therefore (I hope) no rational man can blame me for rejecting Communion with her, and adhering to that Reli­gion of the Reformed Church, where I saw the Command of our Saviour carefully observed, and his Institution most obsequi­ously followed. And because I do here enter upon an Accusati­on of the Church of Rome, it is reasonable I should in the first place set down what I apprehend to be the Doctrine of that [Page 33]party concerning this matter, and then I will endeavour to de­monstrate, that both the Doctrine and Practice of it are repug­nant to the Word of God, and to the Doctrine and Practice of the primitive Church. It is pretended by the Romanists, that they have made no change in any thing material or essential to the Sacrament: For they resolutely affirm, that the giving of the Cup to the people is an indifferent thing, and may be done or omitted, as the Rulers of the Church shall judge convenient. Some of them proceed farther, and pretend that receiving the Bread alone was less or more the practice of all ages, since the beginning of Christianity. Many conjectures and surmises have been invented by Bellarmin and others in order to make this seem likely, and yet all in vain: For many learned men of the Roman Catholick party are ashamed of this pretence, and inge­nuously confess, that there never was any such practice approved amongst the Ancients.

Alphonsus à Castro, asserting the lawfulness of the peoples com­municating in both kinds, hath these words, (saith he)

For I have learned from the Writings of many holy men, Nam olim per multa saecula sic apud omnes Catholicos usurpatum esse, ex multorum sanctorum scri­ptis didicimus. Alphons. titul. Eucharist. Haeres. 13. that anciently for many ages it was the custom for all Ca­tholiques to communicate so.

Lindanus a great maintainer of Popery affirms, that both kinds were generally received in the Eucharist even till the year 1260. Panopliae lib. 4. c. 56. in these words,

I now omit other things (says he) which make for this pur­pose, to wit, Omitto nunc alia, quae huc fa­ciunt, quod in aetatem usque Di­vi Thomae 1. ann. Domini 1260. utriusque speciei Communio ferè ubique fuerir Laicis administra­ta, sed non ubique; periculis for­tè & effusi Sanguinis Domini, scandalis unà cum populis negli­gentia, & pietatis detrimento in­crebescentibus paulatim utriusque speciei Communio in unam dege­neravit. that till the age of St. Thomas, that is, till the year of our Lord 1260. the Com­munion in both kinds was al­most every where administred to the Laity, but not every where; perhaps dangers and scandals arising from spilling [Page 34]the Blood of Christ, together with the peoples negligence, and the decay of Piety becom­ing every day greater, the Communion of both kinds gra­dually degenerated into one.

Albaspinaeus, the late learned Bishop of Orleans in France, un­dertakes to confute several of Bellarmins, Conjectures about the pre­tended Antiquity of the Half Communion, especially his fancy that the Lay-communion, a thing sometimes mentioned by the ancient Writers, was a custom of the peoples, receiving only in one kind: and upon this occasion Albaspinaeus hath these words following.

But if we grant that which by all means we ought to ac­knowledge, to wit, Atqui si detur quod concedi omninò necesse est, quo tempore Concilia & Patres de Communi­one Laicâ mentionem fecerunt, Laicos sub utraque specie commu­nicâsse: sequitur non esse sub una specie Communionem. lib. 1. Ob­servat. cap. 4. that in those times, when the Coun­cils and Fathers made menti­on of the Lay-Communion, the people did partake of both kinds: it follows, that this (i.e.) Lay-Communion is not par­ticipating of the Sacrament under one kind.

There are two remarkable places in Cardinal Bona, lib. 2, c. 18. de Rebus Liturgicis, to prove that the Communion in one kind was not practised till the year 1200. and that all the precedent ages had the contrary practice, and gave both kinds to the people publickly. He pretends besides, but indeed without any consi­derable ground, that the Half Communion was privately practis­ed in those ages. These are his sayings,

It is certain (says he) that all persons in all places, Certum est quippe omnes pas­sim Clericos & Laicos, viros & mulieres sub utraque specie sacra mysteria antiquitùs sumpsisse cum solemni eorum Celebrationi ade­rant & offerebant, & de Oblatis participabant. Cler­gy and people, men and wo­men, did anciently receive the holy mysteries in both kinds when they were present at the [Page 35]publick Celebration, when they offered, and did partake of the Offerings.

And a little after,

For always and every where, Semper enim & ubique, ab Ecclesiae primordiis usque ad sae­culum duodecimum, sub specii Pa­nis & Vini communicârent fide­les, caepitque paulatim ejus saecu­li initio usus calicis obsolescere. from the infancy of the Church till the 12th age, the faithful received the Communion un­der both kinds, of Bread and Wine; and the custom of the Cup in the beginning of that age began by little and little to be disused.

Thus we see by the Testimonies already produced, that de­taining the Cup from the people was no ancient practice, but be­gan about 460 years ago. These Authors here cited being Pa­pists are a sufficient proof of this, and many more of the same Perswasion might be brought to confirm the same, which at pre­sent I omit, that I may shun tediousness. But the thing which upon examination I found my self obliged principally to consider, was not only what had been the ancient practice in this matter, but also what the reason & ground was which moved the holy Fathers and the primitive Church generally (as well Laity as Clergy) to believe themselves most strictly bound to receive both kinds. For that they had such a Belief, the Authorities which I shall hereafter alledge will convincingly demonstrate, and the reason and ground of this their Perswasion was the Command and Institution of Christ. He had ordered in the Gospel, that all should drink of the Cup, and they, with great Piety and Reverence to his Com­mand, accounted themselves all obliged to do what he enjoyned them.

This certainly is nothing but what ought to be done. And I heartily wish the Church of Rome had retained the like veneration and pious regard for the Command of Christ; I should then have found no cause to blame her in this particular.

Now because I have here in effect asserted, that the Command of Christ concerning the Sacrament was that which had influence [Page 36]upon the Christians of the eldest ages; I shall in the first place produce the Precept, and then subjoin immediately the Sense of Antiquity to it, which will manifest that they thought the obli­gation arising from the Divine Precept did extend to all Believers without any discrimination; and if this be effectually performed, I suppose, it will be unnecessary to advertise the Reader, that the same apprehensions concerning the necessity of receiving in both kinds ought to take place at all times, and in all Christian Societies. The consequence of which is, that the Roman Church is a notorious transgressor of Divine Law in this respect; and that the pretended indifferency of giving the Cup to the people, or withholding of it, is a false supposition.

Our Saviour, when he first appointed this Sacrament, deliver­ed a Command, Matt. 26.27. that all should drink of the Cup; and after his Resurrection he reinforced all the Precepts which he had given to his Disciples, and consequently this amongst the rest, Matth. 28.19, 20. saying, Go, teach all Nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have comman­ded you. We see hence how express our Saviours words are, that all Nations should be taught to observe whatever he commanded his Disciples; who would think (if he saw it not before his eyes) that any Society of Christians, that will needs be called the Ca­tholick Church, should avowedly trample under foot this manifest Command of God? They are so far from teaching all Nations to observe what Christ commanded his Disciples, that they pro­fessedly teach the quite contrary. Our Saviour said, Drink ye all of it. No, says the Church of Rome, all shall not drink of it, but a few shall, that is, consecrating Priests. One would ima­gine that these Texts of holy Scripture above mentioned should make a deep impression upon all men that pretend to have any regard for the Laws of God, and they did so till 1200 years af­ter Christ, when the practice of detaining the Cup from the people began first to be introduced by a corrupt custom, and was long afterwards established by Pope Martin V. in the Coun­cil of Constance. So new and late is this Point of Popery, that [Page 37]it was not conciliarly decreed till about 272 years ago. And yet nothing is more usual with the Roman Catholicks, than to brag of the Antiquity of their Religion. I shall have an oppor­tunity hereafter of considering this late Decree of Pope Martin, when I come to produce the ancient Canon of Pope Gelasius, made near 1200 years ago, expresly repugnant, and contary to this late Decree of Martin: For Gelasius declares receiving in one kind to be sacrilegious.

At present I shall proceed to alledge the Testimonies of the ancient Fathers, to shew that they understood our Saviours words [Drink ye all of this] agreeably to the Sense of the Re­formed Church of England; that is, so as to account all Chri­stians, without exception, obliged to partake of the Cup. But by the way, I cannot but observe, that Paschasius Corbeiensis, a man of great credit in the Church of Rome, for his Invention of Christs corporeal Presence in the Host, about the year 830. did expound the words above mentioned, contrary to the Sense of the present Church of Rome, and in favour of the Protestants. His expressions are these.

It is Christ that breaks this Bread, Christus est qui frangit hunc Panem, & per manus Ministro­rum tribuit credentibus. Simi­liter & calicem porrigit eis, di­cens, accipite, & bibite ex hoc omnes tam Ministri, quam reliqui Credentes. Paschas. be Coena Do­mini, cap. 14. and by the hands of the Ministers delivers it to the Believers. Likewise he gives them the Cup, saying, take, and drink ye all of this, both the Ministers and other Believes.

Here we see Paschasius makes the Command to extend to all without any difference; and it is a wonder to me, why the Ro­man Catholicks do follow this man so zealously in his Invention of the corporeal Presence of Christ in the Eucharistical Bread, and will not admit of his Interpretation of this Command of Christ, that all Believers should drink of the Cup.

But there are much more ancient and authentick Authors, who understood our Saviours words according to the Sense of the Reformed Church of England, whose Testimonies hereafter [Page 38]follow, and that in reference of proving that the Members there­of do not expound Scripture according to their own private Judgment, as it is falsely imputed to them by the wretched Au­thor of Pax Vobis, Mr. Manby and others, who (as I plainly find) never understood any thing of the Doctrine of this Church concerning the Interpretation of Scripture.

The first ancient Writer, whose Authority I intend to make use of, is S. Justin Martyr, one that lived not long after the Apo­stolick age, and lost his Life for the Profession of the Christian Faith. He in his second Apology gives an account to the Empe­ror of the method and manner of Divine Service amongst the Christians, and coming to give an account of the Lords Supper, he does it thus;

They that are called Dea­cons among us do distribute to every one present, Qai apud nos vocantur Diaco­ni distribuunt unicuique priesen­tium ut participent de Pane, & Vino & Aquâ benedictis. Justin. Apol 2. that they may partake of the consecrat­ed Bread, and Wine, and Water.

It is remarkable, that he says, the Deacons gave both kinds to every one present, and a little after he tells us, they did so; because our Saviour in the Gospel commanded them to do so. For (says he) the Apostles in the Books written by them, Nam Apostoli in Commentariis à se scriptis, quae Evangelia vo­cantur, ita sibi praecepisse Jesum tradiderunt. Justin. Apol. 2. ubi supra. which are called the Gospels, have taught us, that Jesus commanded them to do so.

Bellarmin pretends that this last expression of S. Justin, con­cerning the Command of Christ, hath only relation to the Gonse­cration, not to the Administration of the Sacrament. But any man by reading the place will sind the Cardinals words to be ground­less: For the Command of Christ is offered by S. Justin as the reason of the whole procedure in celebrating the Sacrament, and not as particularly respecting the Consecration of the Elements.

The second an [...]ient Author, whose Testimony I shall produce as an uncontroulable Evidence in this behall, is St. Cyprian, who flourished principally about the Yeat 250. and not many Years [Page 39]after was put to death for his Religion. This Holy Martyr, in his Epistle to Caecilius, reprehends the Aquarians, that were He­reticks, so called, because in the Consecration and Administration of this Holy Sacrament of our Lords Supper they made no use of Wine, but used Water in stead of it. Now Sr. Gyprian reproves these Aquarians upon two accounts: First in that they offered to Consecrate without Wine; and secondly, in that they gave no Wine to the People; and in both respects he taxes them with a very great tranfgression of the command and appointment of our Saviour. The former miscarriage and irrogularity of the Aqua­rians doth not concern the Roman Catholicks; because they use Wine when they Consecrate: But in the second point they are like the Aquarians, and therefore do fall under the same cen­sure with them. Let us hear what St. Cyprian says concerning this whole affair: He begins the Epistle by telling Caecilius, That although many Reverend Bishops did exactly observe our Lords Tradition (for so calls he the Command or Institution of Christ) yet (says he) because some out of Ignorance or simplicity in consecrating the Cup of our Lord, Tamen quoniam quidam vel igno­ranter, vel simpliciter in Calice Dominico sanctificando & plebi ministrando, non faciunt quod Je­sus Christas Dominus & Deus no­ster (hujus Sacrificii Auctor & Doctor) fecit, & docuit: religi­osum pariter, ac necessarium duxi, de hoc ad vos literas facere at siquis in isto errore adhuc tenea­tur veritatis luce perspectâ ad radicem & originem Dominicae Traditionis revertatur [...] Cypr. Epist. 63. Pamilianae editionis. and in administring it to the People, do not do that which Jesus Christ our Lord God (the Teacher and Au­thor of this Sacrifice) did, and taught: I judged it to be a­greeable to good Conscience, and necessary to write to you about this matter; that if any one be yet possessed with this Error, he may, by seeing the Light of Truth, return to the root and original of our Lords Tradition.

And thus having establisht his foundation, namely that no­thing ought to be done contrary to the Institution of Christ: [Page 40]in the first part of his Epistle he proves the necessity of using Wine in the Consecration of the Sacrament; but in the later part he comes to consider the great inconvenience and mischief to the people that ensued from their being deprived of the Cup. And that which he chiefly takes notice of, was a great decay and failure of Christian Courage, occasioned (as St. Cyprian sup­poses) by this depravation of the Sacrament. For in times of Persecution some learned (from the Aquarians) to abstain from drinking the Consecrated Wine, least the smell of it should dis­cover that they have been at the Christian Meetings in the Mornings: St. Cyprians Words are these. Caeterum omnis Religionis, et ve ritatis Disciplina subvertitur, nisi id, quod spiritualiter praeci­pitur, fideliter observetur, nisi si sacrificiis matutinis hoc quis ve retur, ne per saporem vini redo­leat sanguinem Christi: sic ergo­incipit in persecutionibus a pas­sione Christi fraternitas retardari dum in oblationibus discit de san­guine ejus, et cruore confundi Cyp. Ep. 63. ubi supra. But the discipline and good order of all Religi­on and Truth is overthrown, unless what was spiritually commanded be faithfully ob­served. But perhaps the case is, that some persons in the Morning Sacrifices (or Sacra­ments) are afraid, least by the savor of Wine they should smell of Christs Blood, and so by this means our Christian Brethren in times of Persecu­tion begin to be slack, or backward in suffering for Christ, while at the Celebra­tion of the Sacrament they learn to be ashamed of Christs Blood.

And a little after the same Author says, Quomodo autem possumus propter Christem sanguinem fundere qui sanguinem Christi erubescimus bibere. How can we be­ing asham'd to drink the Blood of Christ, spill our Blood for Christs sake.

Besides in another Epistle the same S. Cyp. writing to Cornelius [Page 41]the Bishop of Rome concerning the restoring of certain delinquent Brethren (who in times of Persecution had fallen into Idolatry, but by Repentance deserved to be reconciled to the Church) urges the necessity of their being admitted into Communion; because that since new Troubles and Persecutions were coming on, it would be necessary to arm and fortifie all Believers with the Sacrament of the Lords Supper; and he insists particularly upon the necessiy of giving them the Sacramental Cup. His ex­pressions are these that follow,

For after what a strange manner do we teach and ex­cite them to lose their Blood in confessing the Name of Christ, Nam quomodo docemus aut provocamus eos in confessione No­minis Christi sanguinem suum fundere, si eis militaturis San­guinem Christi denegamus? aut quomodo ad Martyrii poculum idoneos facimus, si eos priùs ad bibendum in Ecclesiâ poculum Domini jure Communicationit non admittimus? Cyp. Ep 54. Edit. Pamel. if we deny the Blood of Christ to them that are rea­dy to undergo such a warfare? And how do we make them fit for the Cup of Martyrdom, if we do not admit them first by the right of Communion to drink our Lords Cup in the Church?

It is observable that S. Cyprian here pleads for the peoples re­ceiving the Cup from the right of Communion, that is, from the right which accrewed to every one, by his being made a mem­ber of the visible Church.

By this passage, and the rest before cited, it appears abundant­ly what the Judgment of this holy Martyr was, that he thought all Christians obliged to receive the consecrated Wine, and that the omission of it was a transgression of our Lords Commandment, and the destruction of several Christian virtues, especially of that courage and resolution wherewith all Believers ought openly to profess the Name of Christ.

I might produce many more ancient Witnesses of great credit, to make good what is here by me affirmed, but I shall content my self, for brevitys sake, with two others, whose Authority [Page 42]doubtless ought to be past all exception with the Roman Catho­licks; because they were Popes or Bishops of Rome: for anciently the Title of Pope was given to any eminent Bishop. The first of these is Leo, the first of that name that was Bishop in Rome; but before I produce his Testimony, it is necessary to observe that although his words are levelled against the Manichees, who su­perstitiously abhorred Wine; and therefore avoided receiving the Sacramental Cup: yet Leo's words do abundantly shew what his Judgment was concerning that necessity, which as he thought did lye indispensibly upon all Communicants to partake of the mystical Blood of Christ; Consequently (says he) when they venture to be present at our mysteries, Cumque ad tegendam infidelita­tem suam nostris audeant inter­esse mysteriis, ita in Sacramen­torum Communione se temperant, ut interdum tutius lateant; ore indigno Christi Corpus accipiunt, Sanguinem autem Redemptionis nostrae haurire omninò declinant; quod ideò vestram scire volumus sanctitatem, ut nobis hujusmodi homines his manifestentur indi­ciis; & quorum fuerit depre­hensa sacrilegia simulatio, notati, & proditi à Sanctorum societa­te Sacerdotali Authoritate pel­lantur. Serm. 4. in Quadra­ges. they after such manner do comport them­selves in partaking of the Sa­craments, that sometimes they very safely pass undiscerned; with an unprepared mouth they receive the Body, but al­together avoid the drinking of the Blood of our Redemption, which I would have you, holy Brethren, therefore to take no tice of, that by these indications such men as these may be dis­covered to us; and that they, whose sacrilegious dissimulati­on is sound out by being ob­served, and detected, may be driven from the society of the Saints by the Power of the Church.

Hence it is manifest to any man of reason, that St. Leo lookt upon this practice of the Manichees as a most wicked and sacri­legious thing, and he decrees no less a penalty for it than Ex­communication. [Page 43]Now it cannot be their inward and invisible superstition that he would have notice taken of, but it must be their external comportment in avoiding the consecrated Wine. Moreover if receiving the Cup had been an indifferent thing, and esteemed so in Leo's age, then the omission or declining of it, would have been no distinctive mark to discover the Manichees from the Orthodox or regular Communicants: For both might have done the same thing, and so the Manichees would have gone undiscovered. Hence I could not but conclude that Leo, and all Orthodox believers of his time, were of the same judgment in this point, with the Reformed Church of England, since that Reverend Bishop lookt upon receiving the Cup, as a certain sign of an Or­thodox and true Christian, and esteemed the contrary practice an infallible marke of a detestable and sacrilegious Heretick.

And I am exceedingly confirmed in this Opinion, because I find that Pope Gelasius (one who sate in the Episcopal Chair of Rome about Thirty years after Leo's death) hath in a most pub­lick, solemn, and authentick manner declared the necessity of Re­ceiving in both kinds and the contrary practice to be sacrilegious; For he made a Canon against the corrupt custom of Receiving in one kind, which some superstitious people were then endea­vouring to introduce: And this very Canon is to be found in Gratians Body of the Canon Law. De Consecrat. dist. 2. c. 12. It is in the Acts of the Councils. It is also in the Annals of Cardi­nal Baronius ad annum 496. But in short there is no doubt of its being the true and genuine Canon of Gelasius and conse­quently no man can rationally deny this to be a very convincing proof; that the judgment and practice of the ancient Bishops of Rome, was directly contrary to that of the Modern Bishops, and Church thereof. I shall here produce the words of the Canon it self; that the impertiall Reader may judge whether I had not reason to conclude, that the present Roman Church is guilty of Novelties, and that the Reformed Church of England, does punctually follow the sense of Antiquity.

But we find (says he) that some who having received the [Page 44]portion of the Holy Body, do abstain from the Cup of the Blood. Comperimus autem quod qui­dam-sumpta tantummodo Corpus sacri portione, â Calice Cruo­ris abstineant: qui proculdubio, quoniam nescio qua superstitione docentur obstringi, aut integra sacramenta percipiant; aut ab integris arceautur, quia divisio vnius ejusdemque mysterii sine grandi sacrilegio non potest pro­venire. Gratian. de consecrat. dist. 2. c. 12. Let these men with­out all controversy (because they are informed against; as persons possest with I know not what superstition) either receive the whole Sacrament or abstaine from the whole: for a division or parting of the one and the same mistery cannot come to passe with­out very great sacriledge.

This ancient Canon (I find) hath given very strange distur­bance to the modern Church of Rome: great stir hath been to avoid the force of it; if it were possible to be done: And because it cannot be denyed, that this Canon or Decree was made by Gelasius almost 1200 years ago. Therefore many interpretations have been devised to make it reconcilable, and consistent with their present practice of detaining the Cup from the People.

The first device is to imagine and suppose without any manner of ground in the world, that this Decree only respects the Priests consecrating the Host. Thus we find the Author of the Anno­tations upon Gratian endeavouring to escape the difficulty. But undoubtedly neither the Protestants, nor any rational man, hath any reason to regard this vain and idle supposition. Espe­cially when so eminent a man, as Cardinal Baronius hath assured us; that this is a senselesse and foolish solution. He calls it frigidam solutionem ad annum 496 num. 20. & 21. And says; he rejects it, and hath no need of such foolery.

But there is another evasion which is commonly made use of by the Romanist, in order to elude the force of this Canon; and because this evasion is most in vogue amongst them therefore particularly I did consider it.

Many of their controvertists, do pretend that the ancient De­cree of Gelasius was only temporary and occasional, built upon [Page 45]the condition of the times; when it was made. And therefore (say they) it might be abrogated without any violation of Divine law; when the reason of it, by the change of the times, was removed. Now it is pretended, that the reason or cause of it was this; In the age of Gelasius (say they) the Church was exceedingly pestered with a copious number of dissembling Manichees, who had a mind to be accounted Catholicks; yet out of a superstitious aversion to Wine, abstained from the Cup in the Sacrament. And this, if we believe them, was the cause and reason of the Decree against receiving in one kind, and not any Divine Precept enjoyning both.

This I narrowly examined, and found it to be more idle and insignificant than the former, which Cardinal Baronius called senseless and foolish. For whatever the condition of those times was, the principal reason of the Canon is incorted into the Ca­non it self, and it is this following, [Because a parting of one and the same mystery cannot come to pass without very great Sacriledge.] Now I must beg leave of my old Friends, to tell them that this is no temporary or mutable reason: certainly, not to commit Sa­criledge is a thing of unchangeable and perpetual obligation, nei­ther has it any dependence upon the condition of any Age or Time: For let the Times change never so much, it will never be lawsul to commit Sacriledge, and such is communicating in one kind alone, if Pope Gelasius may be believed.

Thus it is plain, that this ancient Decree is directly contrary to the late constitutions of the Roman Church, and these eva­sions, invented in order to make it seem reconciliable, have not any plausible colour of reason. Therefore I doubt not, but the judicious and impartial Reader will be satisfied, that it is necessary for all Christians that come to the Lords Supper, to partake of it in both kinds; and that this necessity arises from the Command of our Saviour, enjoining all to drink of the Cup. The ancient Fathers did so believe, and teach, as the Authorities already cited do clearly and satisfactorily manifest. Herein I have Lindanus agreeing with me (though he was a great Defender of Popery) in these words, when he had first shewn what the Opinion of the old Writers was, said,

After this manner the ancient Fathers, chiefly St. Leo, Hunc igitur in modum illam ve tustissimam, planéque Apostoli­cam utriusque speciei Communi­onem conservatam atque observa­tam populo Christiano cupiebant prisci Patres, Divus Leo, Ge­lasius, & Patres in Concilio Tu­ronensi.Gelasi­us, and the Fathers in the Council of Tours did desire that that most ancient and al­together Apostolical Commu­nion in both kinds might be preserved and observed by the Christian people.

Lastly. That the Reader may the better compare this ancient Doctrine and Practice with the novel and late Rule set up by the Romanists, it is necessary that I produce the Canon made by Pope Martin V. in the Council of Constance about 272 years ago, which forbids administring the Cup to the people. Because the Canon is long I shall only produce two clauses of it, and any man that pleases may consult the whole, and judge whether I do any wrong. I am sure, I intend to deliver nothing but what is truth. After a Preface containing the reasons of their proceed­ings it is said, The holy General Council of Constance defines, Concilium sacrum generale Con­stantiense definit, quod licet Chri­stus post Caenam instituerit, & suis Discipulis administraverit sub utraque Panis & Vini spe­cie, venerabile hoc Sacramen­tum (tamen hoc non obstante) &c. Acta Conc. Constant. edit. Labb. that altho' Christ did institute this vene­rable Sacrament after Supper, and administer it under both kinds, of Bread and Wine, to his Disciples, (yet hoc non ob­stante) notwithstanding this, it is first decreed, that the Sacra­ment should not be celebrated after Supper. And then some things being brought in by way of Preamble, to put a blind upon the matter, It is also decreed, that the custom of giving only one kind to the people (tho' contrary to Christs Institution, and the Practice of the primitive Church) should thenceforth be accounted Law. In the latter part of the Ca­non there is a clause directly opposite to the Decree of Gelasius [Page 47]above mentioned. For whereas that ancient Pope had declared, that receiving in one kind could not be without Sacriledge, the Canon of Constance contradicts him after this manner; Therefore to say the observa­tion of this custom, or Law, Quapropter dicere quod hanc con­suetudinem, vel legem observare sit sacrilegum, censeri debet er­roneum. is sacrilegious, ought to be judg­ed erroneous. Then it seems the Decree of Gelasius ought to be judged erroneus. For that Decree affirms the custom or law about receiving in one kind to be sacrilegious, as has heretofore been abundantly shewn.

Thus having found the Practice and Doctrine of the present Church of Rome contrary and repugnant to the Word of God, and to the Judgment of ancient Authors, of which some were Popes, publickly enacting the direct opposite to what was late­ly decreed at Constance; I could not but conclude that I was in no right way: And therefore took up a resolution to adjoin my self to the Protestant Church, where I saw the Command of Christ carefully observed, and the Sacrament in both kinds given to the people, according to his Institution.

CHAP. V. Of Image-Worship.

THe fifth Motive of my Conversion is the Use, or rather the Abuse of Images. There is none that pretends to the least knowledge of Antiquity, but knows that the Worship of Graven Images is far from being either a Christian, Apostolick, Primitive or Catholick Practice: and yet the Papists give to graven Images the Worship due to God, to Christ and his Saints, tho they pre­tend otherwise. We need not enquire what actions they suppose fit to be used in their Image-Worship: For these appear in their publick Processions, their Incensings, and Pilgrimages, their Pray­ers and Vows made unto them. Certainly the Worship of a [Page 48]graven Image is plainly and frequently forbidden in the Old Te­stament, as you may read in the Commandments uttered with Gods own Mouth, with Thundring and Lightning on Mount Sinai, viz. Thou shalt not make to thy self any graven Image, nor the likeness of any thing, that is in Heaven above, or in the Earth beneath, or in the Water under the Earth; thou shalt not how down to them, nor worship them. Which Thunder from Heaven the Guides of the Romish Church discerning to threaten vehemently their dreadful Idolatry which daily they commit, thought fit in wisdom to conceal the knowledge of the second Commandment from the people, by excluding it from the Decalogue, and divid­ing the tenth into two. And notwithstanding their Image-Wor­ship is so infinite a Scandal to the Jews and Turks, and a Re­proach to Christianity it self among all strangers that live with them, and observe their Rites, and that it cannot in the least be pretended to be lawful, but with the laborious artifices of ma­ny Airy and Metaphysical Distinctions, which the people who most need them do least understand; yet they use these and many other miserable shifts, and silly evasions, whereby they labour to darken the Light of the true Catholick Doctrine in this point, as has been manifested by many (of great capacity) to the full, in their Comments on Deut. 4.15, 16. and other places of Scripture, where you may see that the adoring of the very true God himself in or by an Image cometh within the compass of Idolatry, which the Word of God condemneth: and therefore that this whole Doctrine and Practice is contrary to the Law of God I need not tell you. Let us hear what the primitive Chri­stians held concerning Images, first in their Councils, secondly in the Writings of the primitive Fathers.

First then as to their Councils; For keeping of Pictures out of the Churches, the Canon of the Eliberine Council (held in Spain about the time of Constantine the Great) gives this directi­on; It is our Will, that Pictures ought not to be in the Church, lest that which is worshiped or adored should be painted on the Walls. Which words have so troubled the Wits of the late Church of Rome, that Melchior Canus scrupleth not only to accuse the [Page 49]Council of Impudency, but also of Impiety for making such a Law. In a Council of several Bishops in the year of our Lord 730. un­der Leo the Emperor, titled Iconomachus, Images were solemnly condemned. And in another Council held at Constantinople ann. 755. or thereabouts, under the Reign of Constantine Copronymus, with great solemnity they were also condemned.

Notwithstanding the several Decrees of these Councils enacted against the Idolatrous Worship of Images, the second Council of Nice advanced Image-Worship. And that indeed was very like­ly to be the product of a Council assembled by that most wicked Empress Irene, who was bred and educated in Heathenism, and probably continued a Heathen in her heart all the days of her life, if we may judge of her Religion by her actions. Certainly no person, that had any sense of Christianity, would ever do the things that she did. Now by the Authority and Interest of this impious Woman, and by the procurement of Pope Adrian I. this Decree for Image-worship was obtained.

But this Decree, altho' it was not by many degrees so gross as what was afterwards invented by the Schoolmen of the Popish Communion, yet was rejected as repugnant to the Doctrine of the Church of God by the Princes and Bishops of England about the year 792. and afterwards by Charles the Great, and the Bishops of Italy, France and Germany, which by his appointment were gathered together in the Council of Frankford in the year 794.

Thus much I thought needful to be alledged against the Wor­ship of Images from the Authority of Councils, some of which have better pretences to be accounted General, than either the second of Nice, or that of Trent can pretend to.

But then in the second place, if we consider the Testimonies of the Fathers, we shall find them plain against Image worship. The sact of Epiphanius rending the Veil that hung in the Church of Anablatha is effectual, to demonstrate what an abomination it was in his days, and in his opinion, to worship Images; which himself in his Epistle to John Bishop of Hierusalem (translated by St. Hierom out of Greek into Latin) does thus explain.

I found there (says he) a Veil hanging at the door of the Church dyed, Inveni ibi Velum pendens in foribus ejusdem Ecclesiae tin­ctum, atque depictum, & habens Imaginem quast Christi, vel San­cti cujusdam; non enim satis me­mini cujus Image fuerit. Cum ergo hoc vidissem in Ecclesiâ Christi contra Auctoritatem Scri­pturarum hominis pendere Imagi nem, scidi idud, & magis dedi consilium custodibus ejusdem loci ut pauperom mortuum eo obvel­verent & efferrent. Epiph. Ep. ad Joan. Hierosolym. Tom. 2. O­per. Hieron. Ep. 60. and paint­ed, and having the Image as it were of Christ, or some Saint; for I do not well re­member whose Image it was. When therefore I saw this, that contrary to the Athority of the Scriptures, the image of a man was hanged up in the Church of Christ, I cut it, and gave counsel to the Keepers of the place, that they should wrap and bury some poor dead man in it.

And afterwards he intreated the Bishop of Jerusalem, under whose Government this Church was, To give charge thereafter, Praecipere in Ecclesia Christi istiusmodi Vela, quae contra no­stram Religionem veniunt, non appendi. Epist. Epiphanii, ubi supra. that such Veils as these, which are repugnant to our Religion should not be hanged up in the Church of Christ. Had this holy Father now been arised from the dead, and had seen the great number of Images not only hung in Churches, and Ora­tories of them of the Communion of Rome, but also worshiped and adored relatively (as their Disputants term it,) how much, Chri­stian Reader, think you, would he be amazed and astonished hereat? would he not rather judge them to be the Churches of Baal, than of Christ? And yet these people brag of Antiquity after this, and pretend to rely on the Authority of ancient Wri­ters in asserting the Lawfulness of Image-worship.

Let us hear in the next place what Lactantius says, Imagines sacrae, quibus inanissimi homines serviunt, omni Sensu ca­rent, quia terra sunt. Quis au­tem non intelligat nefas esse re­ctum animal curvari, ut adoret torram, quae ideo subjecta est, ut calcanda à nobis non adoranda sit? Quare non esse dubium, quin Religio nulla fit ubicunque simu­lachrum est — Divini autem nibil est nisi in caelestibus rebus; carent ergo Religione simulachra quia nihil potest esse caeleste in ea re quae fit ex terrâ. Lactant. lib. 2. cap. 17, & 18. Those consecrated Images (says he) which vain men do serve, want all Sense, because [Page 51]they are earth. Now who is there, that understands not that it is unfit for an upright creature to be bowed down that he may worship the earth, which for this cause is put un­der our feet that it may be trodden upon, not worshiped by us? Wherefore there is no doubt, but that there is no Religion wherever there is an Image— There is nothing that is godly, but consists in heavenly things. Therfore I­mages are things that have nothing to do with Religi­on (or they are void of Reli­gion) because nothing that is heavenly can be in that thing which is made of earth.

St. Ambrose affirms, that in his days the Church was an utter stranger to any thing like Images. He tells us, That the Church acknowledg­ed no vain resemblances, Ecclesia inanes ideas, & vanas nescit simulachrorum figuras, sed veram novit Trinitatis substau­tiam. Lib. de Jacob & Vitâ be­ata. nor any vain Figures of Images, but that it acknowledged the true Substance of the Trini­ty.

When Adrian the Emperor had commanded that the Temples should be in all Cities rendred clear of Images, it was immedi­ately apprehended, that he had provided these Temples for Christ; as Aelius Lampridius noteth in the Life of Alexander Severus. Which is a convincing Argument, that it was not in use with Christians in those days, to have any Images in their Churches.

This, I suppose, is enough to demonstrate, that the ancient [Page 52]and primitive Church was as great a Stranger to Images, and that it abhorr'd them as much as the Church of England does at present. Many and large Collections have been made by Protestant Writers of the Sense and Opinions of antient Writers concerning this particular, unto whom I must refer the Reader, because the present occasion will not permit me to be prolix or tedious in reciting them. I have examined several of these Col­lections, and find them to be accurate, and this is one princi­pal motive of my Conversion.

We see by what has been already alledged of what account the use of Images was in the ancient and best times: Christians then would by no means permit them to be brought into their Churches. Nay, some of them would not so much as admit the Art it self of making them; so jealous were they of the danger, and careful to prevent the deceit, whereby the simple might any way be drawn on to adore them.

Now the Church of Rome does own that it is very abomi­nable to worship an Image absolutely, that is, to make it the principal or sole object of Adoration. But their evasion here in is, that a relative Worship is not forbidden, nor falleth under the compass of Idolatry; that is to say, to worship an Image in regard of him whose Image it is, and by reason of the relation it has to him, it is not against the Commandment. To this I an­swer, that the Worship of it after that manner doth not excuse the Worshippers from Idolatry, since the Commandment is deli­vered in general expressions, and has no limitation or restriction; but it forbids, without exception, all bowing down to them, and worshipping of them, of what kind soever the Worship be.

Had a relative Worship of Images been accounted lawful in the primitive ages, certainly the holy Fathers and Councils would not have omitted to acquaint us therewith. But we find the quite contrary: for when the Gentiles demanded of the ancient Chri­stians, why they had no known Images, they did not say, we have Images to be relatively worshipped. But Minutius Felix returned them this for answer; Quod enim simulachrum Deo fin­gam, cùm ipse Homo, si recte exi­stimes, sit Dei simulachrum. Mi nut, in Octav. What Image shall I make of [Page 53]God, when Man himself, if you rightly judge, is Gods Image?

St. Augustine, discoursing about the Duties that arise from the first Table of the Decalogue, has this following passage; It is forbidden that any simi­litude of God should be wor­shipped in things contrived by humane invention; Prohibetur coli aliqua in figmen­tis hominem Dei similitudo, non quia non habet Imaginem Deus, sed quia nulla ejus Image coli de b [...]t nisi illa, quae hoc est quod ipse. Aug. Epist. 119. ad Janua­rium. not but that God has an Image, but because no Image of him ought to be worshipped, ex­cept that one (meaning Christ) which is the same thing with himself.

Here we see St. Augustin's Opinion concerning the Sense of the second Commandment; he judges that worshiping any simi­litude of God by an invented Figure is herein prohibited, and consequently relative Worship; according to his Judgment, is a transgression of a divine Precept.

St. Ambrose agrees most exactly with him; He tells us, that God would not have himself worshiped in Stones. Non vult se Deus coli in Lapidi­bus. Ambr. Ep. 31. ad Valentin. That is, in Images made of Stone, and I suppose the case will be much the same if the Image be made of any other materials.

By these examples we see how far the ancient Writers of the Church differ'd in their Opinion concerning Image worship from the present Church of Rome. The ancient Writers agree exactly with the Protestants, and were altogether of the same Perswasi­on with them, although the word or term of Protestant was not then known, but is of later times invented to signifie them that protest against the Errors of the Church of Rome.

I shall add a few words more concerning the original of this wicked practice. I find by St. Irenaeus, lib. 1. cap. 23. contra He­raes. and also by others, that Simon Magus and his Disciples wore the first that brought Images into the Christian Religion. If the [Page 54]Rominists will acknowledge these for their Patrons, themselves can tell how much it will redound to their Glory. It is true that this custom of Image worship was very ancient, but very hereti­cal also, and abominable. Simon Magus and his Sectaries were introducers thereof (as I said before,) who had Images, some pain­ted in Colours, others fram'd of Gold, and of other matter, which they said, were Representations of Christ made under Pontius Pilate, when Christ was here conversant among men. Whence it came to pass, that Corpoorates and his disciple Marcellina (who brought this idolatrous practice to Rome in the time of Pope A­nicetus) having privily made Images of Jesus and Paul, of Homer and Pythagoras, did cense and worship them, as Irenaeus above­mentioned does relate, lib. 1. contra Heraes. cap. 24. But against this wicked practice the ancient Christians did zealously and pi­ously declare. Here is the eldest instance of Image-worship in any person that ever pretended to be any thing of a Christian; and we may see how severely it is censur'd, and mark'd with the infamous brand of Heresie; such then was the first rise of Ima­ges among Christians: but there was another cause, that much contributed to the advancement of their Worship, and that was this; Many simple Christians nowly converted from Paganism could not unlearn the customs of it, as it is observed by Eusebius concerning the image of Christ erected by the Woman that was cur'd of the Bloody Issue, Euseb l 7. Hist. Ecclesiast. c. 18. It is no marvel (says he) that those of the Heathen, who of old were cured by our Saviour, should do such things, since we have seen the Images of the Apostles St. Paul and St. Peter, yea and of Christ himself kept painted with colours in Tables. For they (that is, converted Gen­tiles) of old were wont by a Heathenish custom thus to honour them whom they accounted to be their Benefactors or Preservers.

But by whomsoever they were first brought in, certain it is they proved a pernicious allurement to the simple people, who soon went a whoring after them, contrary to the Command of God, and the Doctrine of the ancient Fathers and Defenders of Christianity.

This I find to be the true state of the whole affair concerning [Page 55]Image worship, and I am heartily sorry that I understood, it not heretofore. But I hope to obtain pardon, because I labour'd un­der great prejudices of my Education and could not imagine that such grave and learned Doctors as have asserted the Law­fulness and Antiquity of Image-worship, would have led me in­to so gross an Error.

We are told by some of these Doctors, and particularly by the Archbishop of Spalate. That the veneration of Images oven the most ancient, Ecclesiam Christianam etiam an­tiquissimam, totam ac universa­lem summo consensu absque ullâ oppositione aut contradictione statuas ac imaginas veneratam esse M. Anton de Domin de Con­silio reditûs sect. 23. the whole and universal Church did embrace as a Doctrine of Faith; and that with unani­mous consent, and without any opposition or contradiction it did worship Statutes, and Images.

Now for consutation of this shameless assertion, I appeal to the aforegoing Councils and Holy Fathers; certainly I had reason to grow dissatisfied with the Communion of Rome, when I saw that their great sticklers endeavoured to defend their Doctrines by such notorious and manifest untruth.

Concerning the Adoration of the Cross.

I Think the worship of the material Cross of Christ to be some­what like the worship of Images, and that is the cause why I have rankt it under this general head, which I assign for my fifth Motive. But altho the Devotions paid by the Romanists to the Cross do in some respects resemble Image worship, yet in many regards they are much worse: For the Romanists do avowedly give Latria to the Cross, and although some of them do pretend that this is only given to it relatively; yet if one examine their Hymns and Prayers directed to the Wooden Cross, it will ma­nifestly appear that their excuses are trivial, and their pretences vain. None doubts but that our Saviours Sufferings (which are [Page 56]often called the Cross of Christ) do abundantly deserve our greatest regard, but then to transfer this to the material and literal Cross is a wonderful thing, and I am astonisht at my self in that for so many years I never considered it, or weighted this matter, as I ought to have done. But I shall proceed to consider some of the pretences, and excuses which Roman Catholicks make in order to defend the worship of the Cross

Bellarmin sayes lib. 2. de Reliquiis Sanctis, that the Cross ought to be adored by the fame worship with Christ, because it was touched by Christs Sacred Body. But if this be true then it fol­lows that the Blessed Virgin Mary is to be worshiped by the same worship also, by reason she carried him nine months in her Womb, she nourisht him &c. and his contact with her was na­tural, with the Cross violent. But the Romanists deny such due to her, therefore of necessity they ought to deny it to be due to the holy Cross.

If Latria (or supreme Worship) be due to the Cross for its con­tact with Christ, it ought rather for that reason to be attributed unto the Ass, whereon Christ rid with solemnity to Jerusalem; and to the several Beds, whereon He lay, and Ships, wherein he wafted from Region to Region; because his attingency in and with them was voluntary, with the Cross coactive. Nay they ought upon the same ground to adore Judas his lips, the Offi­cers hands, that apprehended and bound Christ, the Scourges, whereby He was whipt, for they were instruments of his passion as well as the Cross.

If they adore all other Crosses for their resemblance of the origi­nal Cross so they ought to adore all Mangers, all Launces, all Nails, Thorns, Spittles, &c. for these have the same resemblance to our Saviours Manger, and to those Nails, Thorns &c. which were the instruments of his Passion.

They attribute more Honour unto Christs Cross than to his Resurrection by these words, We adore thy Cross, and comme­morate thy Resurrection. Crucem tuam adoramus, resurrectionem tu­am recolimus They ascribe then (it seems) Adoration to the Cross which is only proper unto the Divine Nature, and to the Cross [Page 57]likewise (that is to the Wood) they attribute the redemption of the world, and the reconcilation of mankind unto God the Fa­ther. vide Bellarmin lib. 2. c. 23. sect. Ac primum. They also at­tribute forgiveness of Sins, and increase of Righteousness to the Cross, they repose their hopes and confidence in the dead Wood of the Cross, and beg remission of Sins from it; as may be seen in their Hymns extant in the Roman Breviary, cor­rected and revised by the authority of the Council of Trent, and set forth by several Popes, as may be seen in several Editions of it, especially in that Printed at Paris anno 1662 whence I draw this that follows.

O Crux ave spes unica!
In hoc Paschali gaudio
Auge piis Justitiam,
Reisque dona veniam.

That is in English thus;

Hail O Cross, our only hope!
In this our Paschal joy,
Increase the Righteousness of the pious,
And give pardon to the guilty.

Nothing, doubtless, can be more prodigious, unless it be what follows,

O Crux splendidior cunctis astris,
Mundo celebris, hominibus multum amabilis,
Sanctior universis,
Quae sola fuisse digna portare talentum mundi,
Dulce Lignum, dulces clavos dulcia ferens pondera,
Salva praesentem catervam
In tuis hodie laudibus congregatam.
Alleluja, Alleluja.

That is in English thus,

O Cross! more bright than all the Stars.
Famous through the world, very lovely to mankind.
More holy than all other things,
Which wast alone worthy to carry the Ransom of the world,
Dear Wood, that carriest the dear Nails, and the dear Burden.
[Page 58]
Save the present Assembly, which is to day gathered together for thy Praise.
Alleluja, Alleluja.

Great Complements, upon my word, for a liveless piece of Wood! for that they mean the material Cross, (and not the Pas­sion of our Saviour) their words do abundantly declare. We see here they repose their hope and considence in the Wood; they beg increase of Grace from it, and ascribe to it a Power to forgive Sins, which Attribute appertaineth to the Godhead only.

The Humanity of Christ, separated from his Divinity, is not to be adored with divine Worship, as St. Augustin teacheth, Ho­mil. 38. de Verbis Domini. Therefore much less his Cross, or any other representative Image of his.

The Holy Ghost is present in the Sacrament of Baptism; yet it is not to be adored with the same Worship due to the Holy Ghost. Therefore that Wood whereon Christ suffered, and other Blocks, or Stumps of Trees resembling it, are not to be adored with the same veneration due unto Christ. Many consequences that may be inserr'd from the Worship of the Cross, and of Ima­ges, are so prodigiously absurd, impious, blasphemous, and so nu­merous, that if I endeavoured exactly to enumerate and prose­cute them, I should never come unto an end. Therefore I leave them to the upholders of these abuses, whence they are emer­gent, and also these upholders to trust to their Images, like to like, for they that make them (Psal. 115.8.) are like unto them, and so is every one that trusteth in them.

CHAP. VI. Of Prayers in an unknown Tongue.

THe Sixth and last Motive or Cause of my Declension from the Church of Rome, is its lack of Charity, in robbing Christi­ans not only of the superabundant effects of our Lords Supper, [Page 59]by dismembring it, but also of that other effectual Remedy, which Christ left unto them, as means whereby they might attain unto Salvation, viz. the benefit of Publick Service, or Common Pray­ers, by hindring them to make use thereof in the vulgar tongue, intended by God and Nature for all peoples edification. This Common Service, Prayers, Liturgy, or Mass, which in effect are all one, the Conventicle of Trent in the 22th Sess. and 8th chap. denies plainly to be expedient to use in the vulgar Tongue, or Idiom: So Stapleton the Jesuit, in his English Book written against Bishop Jewel, Artic. 3. p. 75. says inconsiderately, that Devotion is rather hindred by using it in a known Idiom, than promoted. Bel­larmine, in the second Book de Verbo Dei, chap. 15. endeavours to prove, that anciently Common Prayers were universally pra­ctised in the Latin tongue by all Nations, and consequently now ought to be so.

This self-ended and fabulous Natration of Bellarmines (I beg his leave for saying it) is far from truth, and as contrary to Christs Ordinance, to the Apostolick Practice, and the general Custom of the primitive Church, as Fire and Water, black and white, cold and heat are one to another. Which first I prove by the Testimonies of Scripture. 2. By the undeniable Authorities of the holy Fathers. 3. By the usual Practice of all other Christi­an Nations. 4. I shall endeavour to prove that the Church of Rome hath borrowed this practice from such Authors, as it is a shame for her to imitate.

The Testimonies of Scripture produced to this effect.

1. What Christ commanded, that ought religiously to be observed in his Church: but Christ by the mouth of his Apostle St. Paul commanded Common Prayers to be used in the vulgar Idiom un­derstood by the hearers, 1 Cor. 14.9. So likewise you, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak unto the air. v. 14. For if I pray in an un­known tongue, my Spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. v. 16. Else, when thou shalt bless with the Spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen, at they giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? And v. 19. Yea [Page 60]I had rather speak five words with my understanding in the Church, that by my voice I might teach others also, then ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

2. Whatever is done in the Church, that ought to redound to the edification thereof. 1 Cor. 14 v. 26. How is it then, Bre­thren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a Psalm, hath a Doctrine, hath a Tongue, hath Revelation, hath an Interpretati­on: let all things be done unto edifying. But an unknown tongue edifies none. Ibid. v. 6. Now, Brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you ei­ther by revelation, or knowledge, or by prophesying, or Doctrine? v. 9. as above cited.

3. If the Minister prayeth in an unknown tongue, he is a Bar­barian to the people, and also the people to him, 1 Cor. 14. v. 11. Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him, that speaketh a Barbarian, and he that speaketh a Barbarian unto me.

4. All things ought to be done in the Church with decency, and due order, 1 Cor. 14. v. 40. Let all things be done decently, and in order. But the use of Prayers in an unknown tongue is, directly against this Rule: because when the Minister so prayeth, the hearers understand not what he says, nor consequently pray, nor say Amen to any effect; nay, the Minister only, who under­standeth the Divine Service, prayeth; and so the Prayers, which ought to be publick, by this means are become private, which is as opposite to the Decency, and right Order of the Church, as Whoremongering to the seventh Commandment.

5. As the Prophets, Christ, the Apostles, and their true Suc­cessors have solemnly ministred the Rites and publick Office of the Church, even so now and perpetually they ought (as far as is possible) in the same form, manner and method, without alte­ration, to be ministred. But they ministred them in the vulgar Language, according to the capacity of their Hearers, as St. Paul abundantly witnesseth in the aforegoing 1 Cor. 14. And besides many of the Papists themselves own, that Prayers understood are far better, and more available; as Lyranus on the first Epistle to the Corinthians 14. and Cardinal Cajetan in Comment. on the same [Page 61]chap. Therefore the practice of praying in a known tongue be­ing better, and more effectual for edifying the people ought still to be retained in the Church; whereas she is always to edi [...]ie, and not destroy.

Though the whole stream of all the holy Fathers cannot more convincingly prove the certainty of this truth, than St. Paul hath done already; yet for the further satisfaction of the Reader. I will produce a few Testimonies to the same purpose, so preg­nant as not to be avoided. Basil the Great in Epist. 63 has these following words; By the dawning of the day (says he) the Con­gregation of the Faithful alto­gether with one voice, Illucescente jam die pariter un [...] ore, ac corde omnes fideles, Con­fessionis Psalmum Deo offerunt, ac suis, quisque verbis resipiscentiam. profitetur — Quae consuetudines. omnibus Dei Ecclesis consentien­tes sunt. and one mind, offereth a Psalm of Thanksgiving unto the Lord, and every one in his own proper speech acknowledgeth his amendment of life— Which practices are consented unto in all the Churches of God.

How could this custom of using Common Prayers with one voice, or language, in Basil the Great's time, in all Christian. Churches, be plausible amongst the faithful, if their Liturgies (as Bellarmine feigns) had been customarily used in Latin? For it cannot be properly said, that they offered unâ voce. Thanksgiving unto the Lord, if they practised diversity of Languages.

Saint Augustine affirms the same, l. 2. in Gen. c. 8. in these words, None can be edified by hearing that which he understands not. Nemo (inquit) aedificatur audien­do quod non intelligit.

And on Psalm 99. he says again, Blessed be they, who under­stand the magnificient Praise of the Lord: Beatus populus, qui intelligit ju­bilationem: curramus ad hanc Beatitudinem: intelligamus ju­bilationem: non eam sine intel­lectu sundamus. let us hasten to this Blessedness: let us under­stand it: let us not pour it out, unless we understand it.

Hence follows, that few in the Church of Rome can attain un­to this blessedness of understanding the Lords Praise; because it [Page 62]cannot be compassed without perfect knowledge of the Latine tongue, which cannot be acquired without a tedious progress in the study of it; which progress is morally impossble for the Commonalty, who make up the greatest number in that Com­munion: Yet they are uncharitably, and that contrary to S. Au­gustines Admonition, excluded from this Blessedness, by a new Commandment and Article of Faith, lately sabricated in the Con­venticle of Trent, to their utter destruction. For what profit can they receive that hear a sound, and are strangers to the meaning of it? it were as good that they were absent as present: and therefore Solomon calls this doting kind of serving God Sacrificium stultorum, a Sacrifice of Fools; and so really it is: For they that hear it are no further benefited thereby, than they have capa­city to apprehend it; as Azorius learnedly affirms in these words, Devotion springs from un­derstanding; Affectus consequitur intellectum; ubi autem earum rerum, quae pe­tuntur, aut dicuntur, nullus ha­betur intellectus, ibi exiguus assur­git affectus, & consequenter valdè exiguus fructus. when there is no understanding of things that are sought, or said, there is but little Devotion, and consequently very little bene­fit reapt by the hearer.

Indeed according to this grave Doctors opinion, it were as ad­vantagious to them that are not Latinists, to have a speechless Priest so say Mass mentally, as one that hath the freedom of speaking to say it loudly; for he that cannot speak and hath no speech, and he that hath none to be understood is all alike unto the ignorant, in regard of profiting them; which is a thing rare­ly well confirmed by St. Augustine, in the 4th Book of his Christi­an Doctrine, the 10th chap. exciting the people with a great deal of vehemency to refrain from the perverse custom of praying in an unknown Language, which in no way (says he, tends to edi­fication. There is no cause (says he) why a man should speak at all, if they for whose sake he speaks understand him not. Quid prodest locutionum integritas, quam non sequitur intellectus au­dientis? Cum loquendi nulla causa, si quod loquimur non intelligunt, propter quos ut intelligant loquimur.

For God hears the Priests thoughts when he speaks not, as well as when he speaks; he hears the Prayers of the Heart, and sees the Word of the Mind, and a speechless Priest can do all the Ce­remonies, and make the Signs, and he that speaks aloud to them that understand him not does no more.

So the Author of the Exposition upon the first Epistle to the Co­rinthians, by some thought to be St. Ambrose, chap. 14. says, If ye be convened to edifie the Church, Si ad Ecclesiam aedificandam con­venitis, ea dici debent, quae in­telligunt auditores. things ought to be spoken, which the hearers un­derstand.

Which Doctrine is plainly seconded by Cassiodore upon Psal. 46. in these words, We ought not only (says he) to sing, Non solum (inquit) cantantes, sed intelligentes psallere debemus; ne­mo enim quidquam facit sapienter quod non intelligit. but also to know and understand the sense & mean­ing of our singing; for none can do any thing rationally, except he knoweth the mean­ing of it.

And likewise by Jacobus Faber Stapul. in his Comment. on 1 Cor. 14. who affirms (rebuking the people for their Lewdness touch­this particular.) That a great part of the world, now a days prayeth, Maxima pars hominum cum nunc orat, nescio si Spiritu scio tamen quod non mente orat: nam linguâ orat quam non intelligit. but whether their Prayers pro­ceed from the Spirit of God I know not, but I know they pray not from the heart, nor to any effect: because they pray in an unknown tongue.

If the aforegoing incontroulable Authorities of these holy Fa­thers be not sufficient to confute Bellarmines groundless Surmise, and imaginary Comment, by saying, that in the former ages of the primitive Church Common Prayers were generally practised in [Page 64]Latin amongst the Faithful, and Professors of Christianity; for his and his Sticklers Disgrace and Shame, I add Thomas Aquinas on 1 Cor. 14. Lyra ibid. and Cassander Liturg. cap. 28. who, siding with St. Paul, do frequently tell us, that Divine Service or pub­lick Prayers in an unknown Tongue do not edifie, and conse­quently were forbidden; as I have shewn evidently already? To this effect I might produce the torrent of the holy Fathers, who flourished in the succeeding ages of the Church, but that I am willing to shun prolixity. And so I go on to the proof of the third part of my Assertion, which is, That the Practical Custom of all Christian Nations anciently was, to pray in their own native Languages, and it is to this very day.

Here Origen in his 8th Book against Celsus may come in as an impartial Witness, testifying, that the Grecians in their Pray­ers use Greek, and the Romans the Roman Language; and so eve­ry Nation according to his Idiom prayeth to God, and praiseth him as they were able.

And Lyra seconds him thus, on 1 Cor. c. 14. affirming, that in the primitive Church Blessings, our Lords Prayer, and all other things were done in the vulgar tongue: nay, not only Common Prayers, but the whole Bible was anciently by many Translati­ons made fit for the peoples use; as St. Hierom. Epist. ad Sophr. affirms, that himself translated the Bible into the Dalmatian tongue. And Ʋlphilas Sozom lib. 6. Hist. c. 37. a Bishop among the Goths translated it into the Gotick tongue. And that it was translated into all other Languages, we are told by St. Chrysost. Homil. 1. in 8. S. Joannis. By S. August. l. 2. c. 5. de Doctrinâ Chri­stianâ. And Theodoret Serm. 5. de Graecar. Affect. Curat.

Besides all these authentick Testimonies of the aforementioned renowned Doctors, who indifferently acquaint all Christians, that in the primitive Church the Priest and the People joined together in their Prayers, and understood each other, and prayed in their mother-tongue; I will produce for a further and more palpable conviction of this Foppery, the words of the Civil and Canon Law. Justinian the Emperour made a Law in these words; Our Will [Page 65]and Command is, that all the Bishops and Priests do celebrate the Sacrament of Oblation, and the Prayers thereunto added in the ho­ly Baptism with a loud and clear voice, which may be understood by the faithful, that thereby the minds of the Hearers may be raised up with greater Devotion, to set forth the Praise of the Lord God; for so the Apostle teacheth, 1 Cor. 14.

And Innocent III. is most express herein, in the great General Council of Lateran, (as themselves esteem,) held anno 1215. Can. 9. where he hath these words; Because (saith he) in many places within the same City and Diocess the people of divers Tongues are mixt together, having under one and the same Faith divers Cere­monies and Rites, We strictly charge and command, that the Bishops of such Cities and Diocesses provide men fit, who may celebrate the Divine Office according to the diversity of their Languages, &c.

If you will inquire, why are they not as stedfast followers of Pope Innocent in this point, as in that of Transubstantiation? I can give you no other reason, but that (I am afraid) they will be called Libertines by their ill-wishers, for making use of the Laws of God and Man (as they please) to the advancement of their Self-ended Errors; and for impudently rejecting what is contrary thereunto. Now if the usual Custom of the Prophets, Christs Institution, and exemplary manner of preaching, and teaching to say Prayers in an understood Language; if the Words of the Apostle, the Practice of the primitive Church, the Sayings of the holy Fathers, and Concessions of impartial men of their own Communion, if the Consent of all other Christian Nations, and the Piety of our Forefathers, if right Reason and the nature of publick Service it self, if the Needs of the Ignorant, and Condition of the holy Prayers, if the Laws of Princes, and the Laws of the Church, which require all our Prayers to be said according to the Understanding of our Auditors; if all these cannot prevail with the Church of Rome, to do so much good to the poor ignorant peoples Souls, as to consent they should understand what in particular they ask of God; assuredly, there is great pertinacy of Opinion, and very little Charity to those procious Souls for whom Christ suffer'd, and for whom they must give a strict account.

And the Papists themselves own, that at this very instant of time the Egyptians, Moscovians, Sclavonians, Armenians, E­thiopians, Moravians, Bohemians, Hungarians, the Jacobites, A­bassines, and all other Christian Nations have, in and throughout the whole Universe, their Liturgies in their own native Lan­guages. And Eckius affirms, that the same practice, and no other, is observed in the Indies in Asia, in Africa, or any other part of the world amongst Christians. And that being so, it is strange that the Protestants should not have the same priviledge, with­out any peremptory Censure from the See of Rome of being Hereticks, and damned, for doing nothing else but what other Christians do.

As to the proof of the fourth part of this Assertion; This prophane custom of Prayers in an unknown Language, which the Church of Rome so closely sticks unto, is derived,

1. From the Osseni Hereticks, as Epiphanius affirms, Haeres. 19.

2. From the Heracleonites, of whom St. Augustine gives an account; saying, That they taught to pray with obscure words, supposing that words in a barbarous and unknown tongue might be more powerful.

3. (If we may give credit to famous Historians, both ancient and modern,) From the Jews, who in their Synagogues, not on­ly formerly, but at this very day, read Hebrew, which the people rarely understand. And besides, from the Turks, who in their Mosques read Arabick, of which the people know nothing.

The very consideration of these leading Patterns, which the Church of Rome does so pertinatiously imitate herein, have been so prevailing with me, as to forsake her Communion, and to embrace that of the Reformed Church, wherein surer Guides unto Eternity can be demonstrated.

And now having given an account of the Motives of my Change, I have one only Request to make to the candid Pro­testants; that they would not treat a new Convert as the Chri­stians did St. Paul on his first Change, Act. 9.26. by being a­fraid of me, and not believing me to be a sincere Proselyte: for [Page 67]as I never persecuted any of them in my life, but rather did them all good offices that lay in my power: so I hope it will be some motive to them to believe my Conversion real, when it is done at a time when they themselves are not without fears and apprehensions of Disadvantage.



BEcause that I (the Writer of the foregoing Book) am in some degree a stranger to the English Tongue, I desire the Reader ingeniously to pardon my unskilfulness in it, and not to be dis­gusted if he meet with some improprieties in the Language; for although by the advice and direction of my Friends many impro­per expressions were corrected; yet I suppose that some Errors of that nature do still remain.


PAge 3. line 22. read Armenians, p. 4. in the margin r. Andradius lib. 3. Orthodoxarum Explicationum Resp. ad Axiom. 6. & alii apud Casalium lib. 1. c. 12. prim. part. de qua­dripert. justit. p. 6. l. 20. r. taken, p. 7. l. 25. and afterwards r. Cataphas, ib. l. 30. r. de Conciliorum Authoritate, p. 8. l. 4. r. Nation, ib. in the Latin citation r. Ecclesia, p. 15. l. 18. r. Faith and Duties, ib. l. 28. r. nine parts in ten, p. 16. l. 33. r. Romish Religion, p. 17. l. 1. r. to the rights, ib. l. 2. r. liberties, p. 30. l. 5. r. yet it ceases not, ib. l. 18. r. for itu, p. 31. l. 28. r. he does, p. 33 in the latin citation of Lindanus, r. id est anno Domini, p 35. in the latin cita­tion of Card. Bona r. sub specie, ib. r. communicarunt, p. 41. l. 8. r. necessity, p. 42. l. 13. of the latin citation r. sacrilega, p. 43. l. 31. r. impartial, ib. l. ult. r. corporis, p. 44. l. 11. r. parting of one, p. 45. l. 25. r. reconcilable, ib. l. 32. r. Lindanus, who agreeing, p. 47. l. 7. r. erroneous, p. 51. l. 14. r. therefore, p. 54. l. 13. r. Haeres. p. 57. l. 3. r. Bell. lib. 2. c. 23. de Reliquiis san­ctis.

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