Imprimatur, …


Guil. Jane, R. P. D. Hen. Episc. Lond. à sacris domesticis.

THE LEGACY OF THE Right Reverend Father in GOD, HERBERT Lord Bishop of Hereford: To his DIOCESS. OR A SHORT Determination of all Controversies We have with the PAPISTS, By Gods Holy Word.

JOHN xvii. 17.

Thy Word is Truth.

LONDON: Printed for Charles Harper, at the Flower-de-luce, over against St. Dunstans Church in Fleet-street. 1679.

To All within my Diocess, especially those of the City of HEREFORD.

Dearly Beloved in the Lord,

TIS now a year and half since in my Cathedral I told you my sad apprehensions of Popish designs, to de­stroy both us and our Re­ligion: for though no particular disco­very could then be made, yet the dis­course and actings of several Papists in these parts did plainly shew they were then preparing that which is now disco­vered: for they were then providing Horse and Arms, they posted about day and night, they threatned many that they must ere long turn or burn, and some told their friends that if it came to cutting of throats they should be saved; which [Page] made it evident that not only they had some bloody design, but thought them­selves also sure to effect it. Whereupon I besought you to arm your selves for the day of Tryal, and preached a Sermon to that effect: and afterwards the better to strengthen you against the incursion of Popish Superstitious Doctrines, I preach­ed several Sermons how you were to stick close to the Scriptures, Gods Holy Word, which was our only Rule of Faith, and not knowing what kind of Pastor you might have after my death, whether a Protestant Pastor not well verst in such matters, or a Popish Pastor wholly devoted to them; I resolved at my decease to leave you these Sermons as a Legacy: for my great age of seventy five years past assuring me, according to 2. Pet. 1. 14, 15. That shortly I must put off this my Tabernacle, I will endeavour that [Page] you may be able after my decease to have these things alwaies in remembrance. But now I have a new and farther reason to hasten this my Legacy to you, because I hear my bloody Enemies the Jesuitical Priests are resolved as soon as they can find opportunity, to hasten my death. This hath made me speed these Sermons to the Press, lest I and they fall into their hands who will give the same speedy end to both. And the truth of what I now deliver to you I trust by Gods assisting grace to seal with my blood, if he call me to it; for then I know he will enable me for it. And though I am a weak carnal worm, of my self not able to do any thing, yet by Gods powerful grace I may, and I hope I shall be enabled to do all things: for he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. And therefore I most hum­bly and most readily commit the keeping [Page] of my Soul to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator: His will be done.


TO THE Christian Reader.

THere being so many Books of our Contro­versies with the Papists both learned and unlearned already printed, this may seem both useless and vain, yet I hope it may prove otherwise; because I humbly conceive, you may find some useful things here not uttered before, and if but one, yet considering the great concern of the matter in hand, our right faith and our salvation thereon depending, no con­scientious man will repent the spending five or six hours time (in that short space the whole may be perused) in the pursuit of it: and I heartily wish more hours were not spent in things as useless sometimes even by good and learned men. But put the case there be not one good thing here, but what hath formerly been better set forth, yet this little Book may be useful: Experience shews man to be so affected with novelty, as soon to grow weary of the best things and for variety take up worse: and so this meaner discourse may have better effect by being new. And if I may any way contribute to the establishing my Di­ocess and others in the true, primitive Catholick Religion, I shall not repent my labour, though you do yours.

[Page]Considering with my self that the greater part of men are illiterate, and can reap but little benefit by learned Treatises; and of the more literate, some not so zealous in Religion as willingly to spend much time in the search of truth, I resolved on such a plain and compendious way as might satisfie and settle the greater part of men, not troubling their heads with many (or scarce any) quotati­ons out of several Authors, which (pardon me if I say) can be useful but to very few men. For such small scantlings as are there set down can give little or no as­surance of the sence of the Author. We see that Chri­stian Writers taking here and there pieces of heathen Vir­gil, make him speak Christianity: so taking small parcels of any Orthodox Father, you may make him speak Popery. Wherefore such short quotations can serve only as Indexes to guide men to the Tracts from whence they are taken: and before you can have the clear meaning of the Author, you must observe the main business in hand, and the scope he drives at; you must also know his usual way of ex­pression, whether allegorical or plain literal, rhetorical or concise, with several other circumstances; and it will be often necessary to compare one place with another of the same Author: all which not one man of a thousand hath ability, leisure and will to perform; and he that hath and doth so, yet after all his labour, he hath but human assu­rance in a matter of his salvation, which is no better than a bank of sand to build his eternal ill or welfare on; which [Page] sure no wise man will do, but only on that Rock Christ Jesus and his Holy Gospel: hold fast to that, and be sure to observe our Saviours way of encountring the Devil and his deluding ministers with a Scriptum est, thus and thus it is written, you will be sure to drive them away and overcome them. But if you once quit the Word of God, and hearken to the doctrines of men, your unstable heart, like a wave of the sea, will be tossed to and fro with diver­sity of doctrines: For you will find one Father say this, another that, yea the same Father say diversly in divers places. St. Austin wrote a whole Tract of Recantati­ons, with great piety and ingenuity, acknowledging his for­mer Errors, had he dyed before he wrote those Recantati­ons, then all those Errors, by the rule of the Papists, had past with great Authority for Truths. I heartily wish the other great Doctors of the Church had seriously re­viewed in their riper Age what they wrote in their Youth, as St. Austin did: doubtless some of them would have found things to recant as well as he. Whoever hath a mind to see more of this, let him read Daillee of the true use of the Fathers: but by this and the following discour­ses you will find the doctrine of man is no sure ground to build your Faith and Salvation on, but only on the Word of God. Moreover, were the Doctrines of the Fathers of far more Authority, yet among their Writings there are many spurious Books foisted in by idle Monks, who were the common transcribers of the Fathers Works before [Page] Printing. Bellarmine the great Champion of the Pa­pists doth acknowledge this, and hath written a Book to distinguish the true from the false, yet hath reserved some in his Catalogue for true (making for their Doctrines) as spurious as those he hath cast out.

You see then 'tis very difficult to know which are the genuine Books of the Fathers; and when you know that; 'tis as difficult to know what is the clear sence of their Writings, and thirdly, to know which are their Orthodox Opinions, which their Errors, (for there is no learned Papist but will acknowledge they had Errors) and after all this we have no warrant to build our Faith and Salva­tion on their Doctrine. Wherefore to save all men this great labour both needless and fruitless, I resolved on this short, easie, plain way to prove, That in the Scripture alone without any other Book in the world, we have clear, full, and compleat instruction for matters of belief and practice, in summ, all things necessary for our salvation in Scripture, and that there is no need to consult any other Book but the Bible alone for all. And Secondly, I do here further prove, that it is both dangerous and impious to affirm the Scriptures are not compleat in themselves for our Salvation. And Thirdly, that 'tis both irreligi­ous and idolatrous to believe in any man, or assembly of men in matters of Salvation: which saves all men the labour of looking farther than the Bible for it.

[Page]And because the Papists pretend Scripture (which we acknowledge to be our Rule of Faith) for some of their Opi­nions differing from us, I have here (I hope fully) Ex­plained and Answered those Scriptures, especially what they pretend for Transubstantiation and Corporal Presence of our Saviour Christ in the Lords Supper: which I shall add at the end in a short Tract by it self, because it is not at all contained in that Text whereon my three Sermons depend.

And thus I hope this little Book (if not confuted) sub­servient to Scripture, may without any other, satisfie and settle any one in all the Controversies we have with the Papists: First, by having proved we are not to believe any thing with divine Faith, but what is plainly contained in Scripture: Secondly, by having Answered what they pretend from Scripture: Thirdly, because for all other differences with us they have no Scripture. Now if any Papist can confute me in any one of these material princi­pal things, I shall heartily thank him, and promise in the word of a Christian, I shall readily acknowledge my Error and embrace his Truth: But if he only cavil, or scurri­lously scoff at trivial things (as some to their own shame and reproach have formerly done) I shall thank them also for this, for thereby they prove their own Errors and con­firm my Truths.

I have this one thing more only to trouble the Reader with: The first of my three Sermons on that Text [Page] Search the Scriptures, was Preacht in September, 1677, and in June, 1678. comes out a little book to the same intent of that Sermon expressing several things in it, and in the very same manner, by what means I know not, but this I and many others know, that my Sermon was Preached almost a year before that Book came forth, and therefore I could not have them from that Author, called, The same Author that wrote the whole Duty of Man, who it seems must countenance Books to the worlds end. However, I thought it fit to Print that Sermon with the other two, first because it contains se­veral things not in that Book, and secondly, the other two would be very defective without it.

And now, good Reader, I beg your favourable Censure if you find any small Mistakes or Errors: for you know, and I confess, being a man I may err, humanum est errare, sed in errore perseverare belluinum est, therefore I abhorr it. I conclude all with my Prayers for you, and begging your Prayers for me, that God in his great mercy by the light of his holy Word and holy Spirit would guide us all into all saving truth. And to his Divine Majesty from whom cometh every good and perfect gift, be ascribed, as is most due, all Honour and Glory for ever and ever.


A SERMON ON JOHN V. Ver. 39. Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have Eternal Life.

WHEN I last appeared here, my business was to arm you with Christian Courage and firm resolution to fight manfully the good fight of Faith, with full assurance of a glorious reward from the sure hand of our most gracious God, who never fails to reward those that seek and serve him. And this our fight must be, not with the arm of flesh and sword of steel, which is often subdued and broken by a stronger, but with the power of the Word and Sword of the Spi­rit, which no power upon earth or under the earth can subdue, because he that is with us is stronger than all that are against us. Now for the present, I shall endeavour to shew you what we are to fight for. And this we learn from the Apostle St. Iude, who commands us to contend for the faith once delivered to the Saints, once for all; the faith which was delivered by our Saviour and his Apostles, once [Page 2] to remain to all future Generations for the Salvation of all Mankind. Which Faith is contained in the Holy Scrip­tures, and written there for our Learning, as the Scrip­ture it self tells us. Search therefore the Scriptures for it, for in them ye have Eternal Life.

In these words we have two things set forth unto us, First, A Command; Secondly, The Reason of the Com­mand. The Command, to Search the Scriptures; then the Reason of this Command, for in the Scriptures we have Eternal Life.

Both these things are so plain in themselves, that they need no explication. But the perverse wits of evil men, who can find nodum in scirpo, have invented some difficul­ties in them to excuse their pernicious practices clean con­trary to them. The Governours of the Romish Church guilty of such practices, have invented these difficulties. For they having many things in their Church Devotions quite contrary to Scripture, (as I shall shew you, e're this business be ended) find it necessary to shut up the Scrip­ture from the Laity, who would not so blindly be sedu­ced into them, had they the light of Holy Scripture to discover the grossness of them. And therefore, First, They will have it, that this command of our Saviour to Search the Scriptures belongs only to the Clergy, and they are to teach the people out of them. Secondly, As to the reason of the Command, That in them we have Eternal Life, the Romists add, that you must take along with you the explication of the Church, and such other addi­tions as the Church shall propose; for the Church (say they) is guided by the same Holy Ghost as did guide the Apostles and Evangelists to dictate and write the Scrip­tures, and therefore the Doctrines of the Church are equally to be held, and as necessary to Eternal Life.

[Page 3]But, Beloved, these are meer juggling mists cast be­fore the eyes of men to lead them blindfold into their superstitious gainful practices. And, God willing, I shall prove unto you that both these their assertions are ground­less and false. First, I shall prove that this command of our Saviour, Search the Scriptures, belongs to all that are capa­ble to understand matters of Salvation, whether Clergy or Laity, Men or Women, or even Children, and that 'tis not only lawful but pious to search into the Scriptures. Secondly, I shall prove that the belief of the Scriptures alone is sufficient to Eternal Life, without any addition, and that we are not bound to believe any Doctrine the Church shall teach, but what is fully contained in Scrip­ture, or so clearly deduced from thence, that any man of common understanding may plainly see the evidence of that deduction. And farther, I shall prove that 'tis a damnable thing for any man or Church to teach any Do­ctrine as necessary to Salvation, but what is so fully con­tained in, or so clearly deduced from Scripture, as I now mentioned. And seeing both these points are matters of Salvation, wherein all mankind, learned or unlearned, high and low, are concerned, I think it necessary to han­dle these matters in so plain a way as may sute with the ca­pacity of all, even the unlearned, who are most easily se­duced into error.

I begin with the first part, the command of our Saviour, Search the Scriptures, and to prove that this belongs to all. And for the more methodical proceeding in this business, I shall divide all sorts of men into three ranks, and shew that to search the Scriptures belongs to all three, Priests, Princes, and People. And first, for Priests there can be no doubt. The only doubt in this point is, whether they do search the Scriptures so diligently and studiously as [Page 4] they ought, that St Pauls objection be not laid to their charge: Thou that teachest others, teachest thou not thy self? Wherefore I beseech you of the Clergy, that are present, to consider what a shameful and scandalous thing it is, that a poor mechanick tradesman should be more ready in quoting Scripture for his error than you for the truth: and you that should be able, as the Apostle saith, with sound Doctrine to stop the mouths of all gainsayers, such weak silly gainsayers should stop your mouths with cor­rupted Doctrine and mistaken Texts, and you not able to shew their gross mistakes: and so with the noise of Scripture-proofs they go away triumphant, confirmed in their errors, by reason of your neglect of reading the Scriptures, or not understanding what you do read. I beseech you consider it well, and let this brief admoniti­on suffice without any farther enlargement on this matter.

And now I may proceed to the second sort of men that are to search the Scriptures, that is, Princes and all Ma­gistrates: for Deut. xvii. 18, 19, 20. we find a command for them: And it shall be when he sitteth upon the throne of his Kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this Law in a book, out of that which is before the Priests the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this Law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the Commandment to the right hand or to the left. This command was given hundreds of years before the Iews had any Kings, which shews great providential care and earnestness in God, that Kings should be studious in his Holy Laws. And 'tis a very pertinent note that learned Grotius hath on this place, That the King is to write himself a Copy of Gods Laws, [Page 5] which is the best way to imprint a thing in a mans memo­ry; for when a man Copies out any thing, he insists upon every word the time of writing, and so makes the deeper impression in his mind to remember it. Whereby you see that Kings are required, as well as Priests, to be very conversant in the Scriptures, to read them all the days of their life. And the reason of this is given by the Pro­phet Isa. xlix. where, speaking of the Church of Christ which was to be set up among the Gentiles, he tells the Church that Kings should be her nursing-fathers, and Queens her nursing-mothers. And sure Fathers and Mothers should be able to teach their Children, and not their Children teach them. From whence I might infer, that Kings should be more knowing in Scripture than Church-men, Kings being as it were their Fathers. And so it was with King David, he did so meditate on the Laws of God both day and night, that he thereby became wiser than his teachers, I suppose he means the Priests who taught him in his minority. But let this pass, and let us take nursing-fathers here as Protectors only and Governours: yet as such they ought to be very knowing in Scripture, that they may distinguish between sound and corrupted Doctrine, for sure they are not to protect and nurse up Heresie, which they may chance to do, if they have not a right understanding of Scripture, but are led away by false and deluding teachers, as the Arrian Emperours were, and so proved oppressing Tyrants over the Ortho­dox Church. Thus you see 'tis necessary for the Spiri­tual Government of the Church that Kings should ob­serve this command of God, and have the Bible before them, and read therein all the days of their life, And 'tis very necessary also for the Civil Government of the State, as 'tis there in Deut. exprest, that their hearts be not lifted [Page 6] up above their brethren, and that they do not multiply to themselves wives, nor silver, nor gold.

What is here said of Kings or great Persons concerns all you that are in Authority under the King at present, or are like to be hereafter. For seeing that Kings cannot be personally present in all parts of their Dominion, they are constrained to appoint others under them to perform that which they cannot do themselves. From whence it necessarily follows that this command of God to Kings be­longs to all those who act by their Authority. And as it is in the business of Godfathers and Godmothers, that in­ferior persons are often substituted to perform the parts of great ones: so is it in Church-fathers and Church-mo­thers, and their Substitutes are to be Nursing-fathers to the Church, to countenance and protect the Orthodox Teach­ers. They are likewise to read daily in Gods Holy Word for the very same ends, that their hearts also be not lifted up above their brethren; that they do not multiply to them­selves silver nor gold; which all in Authority are by nature prone unto, and inferiours probably more than Kings themselves: for Kings being born to great dignity, pow­er and revenue, are not so transported with it as persons who from a low condition are exalted unto them; com­monly their minds also are exalted. And so we see on the contrary part, men who are tumbled down from dig­nity, power and wealth, are far more dejected with it, than those who are born and bred in low and poor estate; these are as contented and chearful in that condition, and commonly more than great ones in theirs: and just so, born Princes commonly are less arrogant, and less cove­tous than those risen to great dignity. Now reading dai­ly in Gods Holy Word, especially in the Gospel, doth very much abate all exorbitancy in these matters, when [Page 7] there we contemplate the poverty, the humiliation, the meekness, the affability of the King of eternal glory. Yet this hindered him not in shewing his Authority when it was needful: for he sharply rebuked the vices of the Iews, and with a scourge whipt out of the Temple the money-changers and other Mechanicks that prophaned it. The severity of justice mingled with meekness and affability in due time and place, hath a wonderful com­manding authority over the hearts of all, and makes Go­vernment both beloved and feared. Besides, reading the Scriptures hath another great effect conducing very much to Government: for 'tis very powerful in operation, ma­king great impressions of all vertues in the minds of men; the practice whereof in the Magistrate gains him great re­verence to his Authority, and is also a great inducement to the people to follow him in the way of vertue: and then the Government will be so easie to him, as he may lead them with a twine thread, as commonly we say, to whatsoever he pleases. Vertuous persons never resist Au­thority, knowing 'tis the Ordinance of God, but will rather defend it with their lives: whereas all vitious persons hate Government as a restraint to their licentious appetites, and a curb to their covetous and injurious op­pressions of others, and are therefore ready on all occasions to mutiny and rebel against Authority; but then the Magistrate having by his just and vertuous proceedings possest himself of the hearts of all good men, and increa­sed the number of them by his pious example, shall be sure to have all their hands ready to assist and protect him in the due execution of his Office. No laws in the world can preserve Government long without the operation of Gods Laws on the consciences of men: for when evil men have conceived and nourished up wicked designs in their [Page 8] hearts, their passions will be so blown up and enflamed by mutual discourse, and animating one another, and their reason so blinded by their passions, that they will venture on the most irrational and desperate attempts, and proceed to some sudden mischief, though it be to their own ruin and loss of life. But the Laws of God prin­cipiis obstant, give a check to the first motions of wicked­ness; the all-seeing eye of God, and his severe avenging hand with eternal flames strikes a terror in the heart, and there suppresses all evil designs before they go farther, se­curing the Government in continual peace and safety. And thus I have shewed you the obligation that lies on Princes, and all Magistrates that are under them, to be studious in reading the Scripture, and in acting according to Gods Holy Laws, considering how advantagious it will be to the ease and happiness of their Government.

There remains now to treat of the third rank of men, the People; and to shew you, that they also are included in this command of our Saviour to search the Scriptures. And this I shall prove unto you by the whole current of the Bible. I begin with the Old Testament, the Books of Moses and the Prophets. Did not Moses deliver all his Laws and Ordinances to the people, and that by Gods express command, as you may see, Exod. xix. and several Chapters following; where 'tis often repeated, Call all the people. Tell the people, &c. twenty times over and more. And so again in Deut. vi. 7. and again xi. 18. When Moses repeated unto the people all the Ordinances of God, he called all the people together, all Israel, and commanded them to teach their Children all the words of the Law, and to expound to them the meaning thereof: and farther, that they should write them on the posts and gates of their houses, that they might have them always before their [Page 9] eyes; and to wear them as frontlets on their foreheads, and on their arms as bracelets, for perpetual remembrance; and to talk of them to their children, when they sate in their houses, when they were in the field, and when they walked by the way. All this you have set down at large in those Chapters mentioned. I beseech you now, can any thing be more earnestly required, more strictly commanded? And then again for the Prophets, as you will find almost in every Chapter. Go to my people. Speak in the ears of all this people. Cry unto this people, and say, I have sent unto you all my servants the Prophets, rising up early and sending. Sure I have said enough and enough for the Old Testament.

Now for the New, from the very beginning to the end. Were not the very first glad tidings of the Gospel decla­red unto the people, the meanest of the people, Shepherds, and by them to others of like condition? and when Iohn the Baptist came out of the Wilderness to preach, Was it not to the people? And when Christ himself went forth to preach, Was it not to the people, and those of the lowest degree? And he gave it unto the Disciples of St. Iohn as a special sign of his being the Christ, That the poor had the Gospel preached unto them; as if it were chiefly intended to them. And accordingly St. Paul tells us 1 Cor. i. 26. Ye see your calling, Brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called. And as our Saviour himself preached un­to all, and for the most part to those of the lowest de­gree: so when he was to leave this world he gave the like charge to his Disciples, That they should, preach the Gospel to every creature, as you may see in the last Chap­ter of St. Mark; to every creature, that is, to every hu­mane Creature: which expression of our Saviour carries [Page 10] great energy, as if he had said, In the preaching of the Gospel, do not go the way of the world, and make your application to the great, to the rich, to the powerful; no, but to those of low degree; as I have done; to the poor, to the despised of the world, to every creature, ever so mean, ever so contemptible; be sure you preach it to them. Thus much for the Gospel. Then follow the Acts written to Theophilus one of the Laity. And so the Epistles of the Apostles. That to the Romans is directed all that are at Rome, to all. That to the Corinthians, to all that call upon the name of the Lord Iesus, to all in every place: and so the rest. And 'tis observable, that there is no mention made of the Clergy in any of his Epistles, but in that one to the Philippians, where he expresses the Bi­shops and Deacons; and yet even there he puts them in the last place: first, to all the Saints that are at Philippi, and then adds, with the Bishops and Deacons: so that this Epistle is primarily directed to all the Saints.

But perchance some ignorant people may stumble at the word Church in some of his Epistles; as if those Epi­stles directed to the Church, were intended to Church­men, as we call them, meaning thereby the Clergy, the Ministers of the Church. But, Beloved, this word, in the Original Greek [...], translated by us Church, doth not at all signifie Church-men, but the Laity assem­bled together, which we properly call the congregation of the faithful: and so in Scripture, the Church of such a town; the Church in such a house, that is, the faithful, or the Saints of that town, or in that house: those that use there to assemble together for the worship of God. But we use the word Church by corrupt custom promis­cuously sometimes for the Congregation, sometimes for the house wherein they meet, sometimes for the body [Page 11] of Church-men, and so we say the Canons of the Church, that is, the Canons composed by Church-men. But [...] in Scripture is never so placed, but only for the Congregation of the faithful. This is more expresly de­clared Rev. ii. 1. where the Bishop is called the Angel, and the Congregation, distinct from the Minister, is cal­led the Church: The Angel of the Church, that is, the Bi­shop, the Pastor, or chief Minister of the Congregation. And therefore St. Pauls Epistles directed to the Church of such a place, is just the same as to the Congregation, to the faithful, or to the Saints of such a place; which con­sisted of the Laity: and not only of men, but Women also and Children, they were likewise to read the Scrip­tures. And according to this, he gives it as a great com­mendation to Timothy, that of a Child he had learned the Scriptures. And we know that this was the practice of the Primitive Christian Church many Ages. For St. Hierome, one of the four eminent Doctors and Fathers of the Church, who lived 400 years after Christ, in his Epistle to Laeta a Roman Matron, sets down a method for her to teach her little Girl the Scriptures, what books she should read first, and what next: first the book of Psalms, then the Proverbs, then Ecclesiastes; and after other books na­med in the Old Testament, he concludes, Ad Evangelia transeat, nunquam ea depositura de manibus. Acta Apostolo­rum, & Epistolas tota cordis imbibat voluntate. Let her then pass over to the Gospels and never let them go out of her hands. And as for the Acts of the Apostles, and the Epistles, let her apply her heart to learn them with all diligence. And St. Gregory, another of the four eminent Doctors, who was the last of them, and lived 600 years after Christ, and was Bishop of Rome; who for his great sanctity and learning was called Gregory the Great: he, in his book [Page 12] of Morals written for the instruction of all, gives this Rule, Divinas Scripturas saepiùs lege; imo nunquam de ma­nibus tuis sacra lectio deponatur. Read often the divine Scriptures; yea, rather let them never go out of your hands. And in another place, he tells us, Dictis obscurioribus for­tes exercet, & parvulis humili sermone blanditur. There you will find obscure sayings to exercise strong men, and low­ly sayings for little ones. Here you have the Doctrine and Practice of the Primitive Church for many Ages. And yet the Romanists will most impudently affirm, that we are the deserters of Antiquity, and they only follow the practice of the Primitive Church. But let us return to St. Paul, who, as I have shewed you, directs his Epistles to the whole Congregation of the faithful. And as St. Paul, so St. Iames, to the twelve Tribes, who were the faithful. So St. Peter, the first Epist. to all the Elect: the se­cond to all the faithful. So St. Iohn, St. Iude; all writ­ten to the faithful in general. And I pray you observe what a strict charge St. Paul gives at the end of his Epi­stles to the Colossians and the Thessalonians. I charge you by the Lord that this Epistle be read to all the Holy Brethren, to all. It were very superfluous to add more for this busi­ness.

But notwithstanding all this the Governours of the Roman Church shut up the Scripture from the people, and with very great reason, they teaching the people so many things clean contrary to Scripture. The Scripture severe­ly forbids the worship of images: the Governours of the Roman Church teach the people to worship them. The Scripture commands exact performance of all vows made unto God: the Pope takes upon him to dispense with the most solemn vows that can be made, even though the blessed Sacrament be received upon them. The Scripture [Page 13] commands obedience to Kings and all that are in Autho­rity: the Pope dispenses with all obedience and oaths made unto their Kings, and often commands them to re­bel, make war, and murther them; yea, the Son to re­bel against his own Father, as the Son of Henry the fourth, Emperour. The Scripture forbids marrying with many near Relations: the Pope dispenses with all. The Scrip­ture commands the Service of the Church to be in the known language of the people: the Pope commands it to be in a language the people understands not at all. The Scripture tells us God only can forgive sins: the Pope says he also can; and if you will give him largely, he will forgive you largely. The Scripture tells us there is but one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Iesus: the Roman Church teaches there are thousands of Saints and Angels; and pray unto them and the blessed Virgin much more than to Christ or God the Father, ten Ave Mary's for one Pater Noster. Good reason then have the Romanists to add unto these contradictions of Scrip­ture and many more, that grand iniquity of shutting up the Scripture from the people, lest they should discover these contradictions. They do wisely in their Genera­tions.

But now that some Protestants, who teach none of these things, should think it fit to shut up Scripture from the people is wonderful; and the reason they give for it is as bad as the thing: because, forsooth, ignorant people reading the Scripture it causes them to fall into very ex­travagant Opinions and Heresies. How horrid a thing is it to affirm this! Really it appears no less than blasphe­my against the Holy Ghost; whereof our Saviour pro­nounc'd that dreadful Sentence, That it should never be forgiven neither in this world neither in the world to come. [Page 14] For to say the reading of Scripture causes the people to fall into Heresie, is the same in effect as to say the Holy Ghost is the Author of sin: for I have most clearly pro­ved unto you that the Scripture dictated by the Holy Ghost commands all to read the Scripture. But I hope they intend no such matter as blasphemy, but think they have some colour for what they say from 2 Pet. iii. 16. where St. Peter speaks of the unlearned and unstable, wrest­ing the Scriptures to their own destruction. But I pray you mark how St. Peter joyns unstable with unlearned: the want of stability is the main cause of their wresting the Scriptures. For I shall shew you by and by, that they who abound in learning, yet wanting stability, wrest the Scriptures as well (I should say as ill) as the unlearned. But first I desire my pretending wise men to advise a little with St. Paul, Rom. vii. 10. where he tells us that the Com­mandment which was ordained unto life, he found unto death: did he therefore lay aside the Commandment? God for­bid: the Commandment was Good and Holy: how then came it to pass? He tells us, vers. 8. that sin taking occa­sion by the Commandment, wrought in him all manner of con­cupiscence. And again vers. 11. Sin taking occasion by the Commandment, deceived him, and by it slew him. Thus, Beloved, you see 'twas not the Commandment that wrought death in St. Paul, but sin, that is, concupiscence, the corruption of nature that was in him, this caused all the evil. And just so it is in our case. 'Tis not the Scripture which causes Heresies, Schisms, and Divisions amongst us. God forbid we should say so, but sin taking occasion by the Scripture works all these: the corruption of mens natures blinds and deceives them; the pride and wilfulness of their heart, the conceit of their own holi­ness and godly understanding sets them forward in oppo­sition [Page 15] to the common received Doctrine, and to affect singularity and applause by teaching some new thing. Then they tumble over the Scripture to find out Texts that carry some colour for it, as they fondly conceive; and having found such, they presently blaze abroad their new Doctrine, which the giddy unconstant people, al­ways fond of new things, presently catch at and follow. This puffs up the Teachers and sets them agog, and makes them ready to suffer any thing in that behalf; for this increases the reputation of their Sanctity, as suffer­ing imprisonment and the like for the truth; and at length by large Contributions, this comes to increase the wealth of their purse also: and then there's no reducing them to obedience and order. Now, as St. Paul saith, 'Tis not the Scripture which causeth all this, but sin: the Spiritual pride of their heart takes occasion by the Scrip­ture to work in them Divisions and Heresies. And though the Scripture were wholly shut up from them, yet the same sin, their Spiritual pride of heart, would cause the same Divisions and Heresies. Do not we see this daily happen to them who reject the Scripture, and walk by their new inward lights, which they pretend God infuses into them? This makes it most manifest that all our Divisions, as St. Paul saith, proceed from sin that is in us. And doth not St. Iames agree with St. Paul in this, when he saith, From whence come wars and fight­ings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? So, from whence come these Divisions and Contentions? come they not hence, even of their lusts that war in their Members. Now I be­seech you to consider, were it not as sensless as wicked to shut up the Scripture, the word of life, from the whole Congregation of the faithful, because the sin and [Page 16] corruption of some turn it to their death. But as Iob xi. saith, Vain man would be wise, though a man be born like a wild asses colt. Yea, he would be wiser than God, who well foresaw these Heresies and Divisions, and forewarns us by St. Paul, 1 Cor. xi. 18, &c. not only that they would come, but also must come for the tryal of the E­lect. Our Saviour also tells us, that he came not to bring peace on earth but a sword; to set a man at variance a­gainst his Father, and the Daughter against her Mother, Matt. x. 34, &c. And doth vain man think by his wisdom to frustrate the Divine Decree; yea, to stop our Saviours mouth from preaching the Gospel, and say, I beseech you, Sir, hold your peace, you set men at variance, even Fa­ther and Son, Mother and Daughter one against another. What think you, Beloved, were this wisdom, or despe­rate sinful folly? It is just the same, or indeed far worse, than to desire God to withdraw the Sun from shining on the earth, because it causes evil weeds to grow up in evil ground. Wherefore, my Beloved, I beseech you let us hear­ken to the true wisdom of God, and not to the vain decei­vable wisdom of man born as ignorant as the wild asses colt. Yet he will be so wise as for the preventing of Errors and Divisions, to shut up the Holy Scripture from the people, which God hath commanded to be delivered to the peo­ple. But I shall shew you yet farther the perverseness of these pretending wise men. Is it not well known to all men verst in the writings of antiquity that the most dan­gerous spreading Heresies which infested the Church for several Ages, and whereof some continue to this very day, sprang not from the people, but from learned emi­nent men, Priests and Bishops, Monks and Abbots, and divers others famous for learning, as the Arian, the Ne­storian, the Eutychian, the Pelagian, the Macedonian, the [Page 17] Manichean Heresies and several others, which have migh­tily disturbed the Christian Church in all Nations, East, West, North, and South. And then by the rule of our rare wise men, the Scripture must be shut up from these also, Bishops and Priests, as well as people, from all. Seal it up and bury it in a Cave till the Resurrection of the dead; and before that time all Religion may be dead and buried also; and in the mean time we may take the Alco­ran for our meditation, or Ovid de Fastibus, and so all be­come Turks or Heathens; and the Kingdom of Satan set up instead of the Kingdom of Christ. Satan himself could not have found out a better exploit to do his work.

And really, my beloved, I must in all seriousness tell you that the Christian world was very far degenerated and declining into Heathenism by shutting up the Scrip­tures in later Ages, before it pleased God in his great mercy to stir up Dr. Luther, Bucer, Melancthon, Calvin, and several others to open again the Gospel unto us, and by the light thereof to discover the Heathenish superstitions of the Church of Rome, who had again revived many practices of old Pagan Rome: the Pagan had their purifying Waters cal­led Aquae Lustrales; in imitation whereof the Papists have their Holy Water to sprinkle themselves withal when they enter the Church. So, instead of the Pagan Vestal Fires, the Papists have their lamps continually burning day and night before their Altars. The Pagans had their Tutelary gods as Protectors of this and that place: so have the Pa­pists their several Saints for several Countreys; St. Dennis for France, St. Iames for Spain, St. Peter for Rome, St. George for England, St. Patrick for Ireland. The Pagans carried the Idols of their gods about in Procession with great pomp, burning Incense and singing Hymns unto them: the Papists do the very same to the Idols of the [Page 18] blessed Virgin and Saints, to the reproach rather than the honour of their memory, as if they had been Heathen, and not Christian Saints, Many many more are their su­perstitious fopperies, forsaking the body Christ, and fol­low the infatuating shadows of humane inventions, Teach­ing for Doctrines the Commandments of men. God only knows what a Chaos of confusion we had been sunk into before this, had not God stirred up those Worthies I mentioned; when the Pope like a God upon earth, had usurped that Anti-Christian power as to thwart the com­mandments of God and Christ our blessed Saviour, as I have already shewed you in many particulars. But there is one I have not yet mentioned more remarkable and de­testable than any of those, I mean the countermanding that solemn and last command of our Lord and Saviour Jesus, at his last Supper after he had instituted the blessed Sacrament of his body and blood to our endless comfort, and commanded his Apostles to do the same in remem­brance of him. And I pray you take notice of one cir­cumstance therein, which perchance you have never yet observed, and 'tis this. When our Saviour delivered the Bread unto the Apostles, he said, Take, eat this, and no more: but when he delivered the Cup, he gave a more exact command for it, saying, Drink ye all of this. As if he had said, Be sure that every one of you partake of the Cup; let no one omit it, And why so particularly com­mand the Cup more than the Bread? Truly with great reason, He divinely foreseeing the sacrilegious dismem­bring of this blessed Sacrament, which the Roman Church would make, in depriving the people of the Cup. Where­as one would think this Command of our dying Lord and Saviour for us should of all other Commands be most ex­actly performed to a tittle in every point: Yet the Pope, [Page 19] as ungratefully as insolently, presumes to command to keep the Cup from the People. Who could have believed such an insolency, had not the whole world seen it? By the same rule he might, and perchance before this time (had not his high presuming power met with such oppo­sition in Germany) would have taken away the Bread al­so, and made the People only gazers on, and admirers of the great dignity of the Priests, who alone were admitted to that Holy Supper: for so it is among them now for the most part, the Priest saying Mass every day, but the com­mon people generally receive the blessed Sacrament but once or twice a year. Now had the Pope taken away the Bread also, he might have given the very same rea­son for that as he doth for taking away the Cup. They give two reasons: First, because it may happen that in delivering the Cup to many people, the Wine, which they call the Blood, may be spilt: Why so? in giving the Bread some crums may fall, and they affirm that Christs body is entirely contained in the least crum. Second­ly, They say, the People have the Blood of Christ in his Body, when they receive that, and therefore they need it not again in the Cup. Though 'tis apparent in Scrip­ture that our Saviour gave it in the Cup apart, to signifie his bloodshedding from his body, saying, This is my blood which was shed. But 'tis no matter what our Saviour said, the Pope says otherwise, and we must hearken to him; he says 'tis sufficient for the People to receive the Blood in his Body. And so should he say that he is the Head of the Church, and if he alone receive the Bread and Cup, and no other, neither People nor Priest receive either, 'tis suffi­cient, if the Head receive them; the Head stands for the whole Body: the Pope guided by the Holy Ghost says so, and then who dares say otherwise? And thus you see, [Page 20] that if we once let go the Scripture, farewell all Religi­on; all the commands of God are to small purpose: what the Pope says must be a Law. Good Lord deliver us.

The time is welnigh past and I must hasten to an end. Wherefore I shall now add only a short reflection on what hath been said, with a word of Exhortation in the close: You have heard Gods Command to the People of Israel concerning the Old Law, That all should read it, teach it their Children, write it on the doors and posts of their dwellings, discourse of it in their Houses, by the way, and in the fields. You have heard also Gods Command to the Prophets, To go to all the house of Israel, to all the people, and cry aloud to them all the day long. You have heard our Saviours Command to the Apostles, To go and Preach the Gospel to all Nations, to every creature. You have heard how the Apostles, guided by the Holy Ghost, directed their Epistles To all the Faithful, to all the Saints. You have heard Saint Paul strictly command his Epistles to be read to all the holy Brethren. And now shall any man be so inso­lently, so desperately wicked, as to dare to controul the Command of God, so often reiterated; and countermand the Scriptures to be shut up from the People? Man a worm of the Earth thus to oppose his Creator! Nay my beloved, hearken yet farther: The Romanists declare it to be a sin for the people to read the Scripture. And you know the wages of sin is death, eternal death: so then the Romanists declare it to be Eternal Death for the people to read the words of Eternal Life. Stand amazed, O ye Hea­vens at this! If this be not transcendent madness and tran­scendent wickedness too, tell me what is? To say the Sun is darkness, is ten times more tolerable than to say the word of Eternal Life is Eternal Death to him that reads it. But now, I beseech you, mark what a ridiculous Salvo [Page 21] they bring for this their horrid wickedness. O say they, but you may have leave of your Confessor to read the Scripture, if he find you fit for it; that is, if he find you a dull tame Ass ready to bear all the burthen of his imposed Superstitions, and zealously embrace them; then per­chance you may have leave, as I said, of your Confessor to read the Scriptures, and then 'tis no sin. Your Confessor your Confounder! thus insolently to usurp over your Christian Liberty. You that are called to the glorious liberty of the Children of God, and have heard God the Father speaking unto you in the Law, God the Son speaking to you in the Gospel, God the Holy Ghost speak­ing to you in the Apostles; three Persons one Almighty God commanding you to read the Scriptures, and teach them your Children: must you now ask a silly blind worm of the Earth leave to read them? Can you ever suffer your selves thus to be blindfolded, fettered, and en­slaved under Popish Tyranny? Thus to be deprived of the Gospel, the Word of Life, the Power of God unto Salva­tion? No Beloved, I hope you will never be so infatuated by deluding words, nor so terrified with any threatning powers upon Earth or under the Earth, as to quit this Heavenly Food of your Souls. Man liveth not by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God: Earthly Food entreth into the belly and so passeth out into the draught: but this Heavenly Food the Word of God abideth for ever, and shall nourish up our Souls unto Everlasting Life. This ought to be our daily bread; herein we should read and meditate day and night, and say with David, I have more delight in thy Commandments than in thousands of gold and silver. For here we find a Heavenly Treasure for our Souls: here we learn all things profitable for our Salvation: this is the Book [Page 22] which teaches Priests that blessed work of gaining Souls unto Christ by sound Doctrine and godly Example, which will make them shine in this World as Stars in the Firma­ment: Let your Light so shine. This is the Book that teaches Princes and all Magistrates their duty to God for the People, to administer justice with uprightness, to shew mercy with prudence, to subdue the rebellious, to protect the oppressed: and this will make them feared, loved, and even adored as Gods upon Earth. I said ye are Gods, this Book will teach the People their duty and piety towards God, their duty and loyalty to their Sovereign, reverence to all in Authority, love and peace with their fellow Sub­jects. Here great ones learn humility, rich men charity, poor contentedness, the oppressed patience, the afflicted comfort; it worketh all in all to Gods glory and our own eternal happiness: Happy are the people that are in such a case: yea, blessed are the people who have the Lord for their God, and his Holy Law for their instruction in all things as we have: other Books may be helps to Devotion and give us some instruction for life; but all come much short of this Holy Book. When you would have a Tree thrive and bear fruit, you dig about it, you manure it with soil and water it; all these are good helps, yet all these without Sun-shine upon it effect little; 'tis the Sun that fetches up the sap, causes it to budd, blossom, and bear fruit. And so 'tis that Sun of Righteousness who there speaks to us and sends the powerful raies of his grace upon our hearts, 'tis he that worketh in us, and cau­seth us to bring forth fruit. The Law of the Lord as David saith, converteth the Soul: it doth not only instruct the Soul as other Books, but also converts the Soul, gives life unto Souls dead in sin, for 'tis the word of life, the power of God unto salvation. And blessed be the infinite goodness and [Page 23] mercy of God, who so freely imparts this Heavenly Bles­sing to us all. Come, come hither all ye that hunger and thirst ofter Righteousness, come Clergy, come Laity, come Male and Female, come Old and Young, come Rich and Poor; come and ye shall all be satisfied; Come buy with­out money and without price, for our God is a most gracious God, he will not send any one away empty, no but giveth liberally to all men. And to this our most gracious God be ascribed, as is most due, all honour and praise, majesty and glory now and for ever.


The Second SERMON ON JOHN V. Ver. 39. Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have Eternal Life.

THE former part of this Text, Search the Scriptures, I have already treated of, shewing you that this Command of our Saviour belongs to all conditi­ons of men and women; and that 'tis not only lawful, but pious also and profitable for all to read the Scri­ptures, and to teach them their Chil­dren, that from their very infancy they may suck in the sincere milk of the Word, that they may grow thereby. And this I proved unto you by the whole current of the Bible, both Old and New Testament: And therefore it is a strange presumption, very foolish and very impious, for vain man born ignorant as the wild Asses Colt, to pretend to give reasons for shutting up the Scripture from the People, God having so expresly and so often com­manded all to read the Scriptures. And consequently 'tis [Page 26] a blasphemous speech to say, that the peoples reading the Scripture causeth them to fall into schisms and heresies, for it casts a reproach upon Gods Command, making him the Author of Sin. But now put the case that the peoples reading of Scripture were the real cause of their falling into Schisms and Errors (which God forbid we should say in earnest) but only let us suppose it, and then consider, whether or no it be not far worse with them that shut up the Scripture from the people, than with us that let them read it. For first, none of our Sectaries that depend on Scripture fall into such damnable Errors as the Papists Idolatrous worship, and dismembring the blessed Sacra­ment, and some others. Secondly, we have but few in corners here and there run into Errors, not one of a hun­dred, or scarce of a thousand: whereas their whole Church from the lowest to the very highest, People, Priests, Bishops, Archbishops, Pope and all, as it was with the Iews in their fits of Idolatry, all run into the same: Nay 'tis worse with these than with the Iews, for these have not recovered themselves out of their Errors many hundred years together, but most obstinately persist in them, not­withstanding the many learned Protestant Writers that have so palpably discovered them: yet like Demetrius the the Silver-Smith with his Crafts-men, so the Pope and his adherents animate one another, saying their Craft will be in danger to be set at nought; their Idol-Temples would be despised, and their wealth and magnificence utterly destroyed. And thus, Beloved, you see the miser­able and desperate condition of these poor blinded and fettered Christians: the Pope hath got them fast within his enchanted Chain, and 'tis his interest never to let them go; and all this by shutting up the Scripture. Lord have mercy upon them, and send them the light of his Holy [Page 27] Gospel to shine amongst them. Amen. So much for the first part of my Text, Christ's Command to search the Scri­ptures.

Now we come to the second part, the reason of the Command, For in them ye have Eternal Life: a most weighty reason; there cannot be a greater than the gain­ing of Eternal Life. We all find by experience in our selves the truth of that saying, Iob ii. 4. Skin for skin, yea all that a man hath will he give for his Life. For which there is great reason according to nature, for all that a man hath affords him no content or comfort in death, which takes away the sense of all things: If therefore life be so dear unto us, because it gives us a capacity to enjoy these poor earthly delights that have so great and drossy an alloy of intermingled cares and troubles which alwaies attend them: or if it were possible to enjoy them with more ease and tranquillity, yet are they but momen­tary: surely then Eternal Life, which alwaies brings with it the enjoyment of heavenly pleasures, free from all so­licitous care and fear, and full of all imaginable delight, yea far beyond all that our narrow brain can now imagin; for eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entred into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. And this unconceivable delight being to continue beyond Methusalem's Age, or the Age of the whole world, to have an eternal duration for ever and ever; I pray you then consider at how high a value we should esteem the means whereby we are to attain such an excessive weight of glory.

For the present then, my business must be to shew you that the Holy Scriptures contain in them compleatly without any additional requisite, the means to attain Eternal Life: and then doubtless there will need small [Page 28] exhortation to move you to put a high value on them. Let us then fall immediately on this business: Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have Eternal Life.

Though I doubt not to make out this matter absolutely clear unto you, yet I fear some weaker persons may stag­ger a little at one word in my Text, and may erroneously fancy that it gives great cause of doubt, and that is the word Think, ye think ye have Eternal Life. Our Saviour doth directly say that in the Scriptures we have Eternal Life, but only tells the Iews that they thought they had in them Eternal Life: and perchance they thought amiss, Who can tell? Who can tell? certainly he could tell who gave them this counsel to search the Scriptures; which you may be sure he would never have done, did not the Scriptures contain in them Eternal Life: if not, it had been a vain thing to search the Scriptures for it, and our Saviours Advice had been vain; which God forbid we should say or think: wherefore we may assuredly conclude that our Saviour who advised the Iews to search the Scri­ptures, he both could tell and would have told them, had they thought amiss: for he came down from Heaven for this very end, namely to teach them and us the way to Eternal Life; and therefore says of himself, I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life: I came to teach this unto you and all the world. And as St. Paul declares, Acts xiii. he came to teach first the Iews, verse 26. To you is the word of Salvation sent. And again, verse 46. It was necessary that the Word of God should first have been spoken to you. And our Saviour himself preached only to the Iews, and in their sight he wrought all his Miracles. All which makes it most evident that he used all means possible to inform them aright in the way to Eternal Life: who then can doubt but that if the Iews had been mistaken in their opi­nion [Page 29] of the Scriptures, our Saviour would most readily have corrected their error. So that this manner of speak­ing in our Saviour, In them ye think ye have Eternal Life, is far from intimating any doubt in this matter; 'tis ra­ther a fuller conviction of the Iews: 'tis a way of arguing which the School-men call Argumentum ad hominem; which is the shortest and plainest way to confute another: You think, you your selves confess that the Scriptures contain Eternal Life in them; this is a truth you cannot deny. And our Saviour Luk. x. 25, 26, 27, 28. fully declares this to be his sence likewise, where being asked by a Lawyer of the Iews, Master, what shall I do to inhe­rit Eternal Life? He said unto him, What is written in the Law? how readest thou? And he answering, said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thy self. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. Here you see our Saviour directs him for the gaining of Eternal Life to look into the Law: and when the Lawyer had declared what was written in the Law, our Saviour pre­sently concludes, This do, and thou shalt live: thou hast no need to be instructed farther; the Law fully declares what thou art to do for the gaining of Eternal Life. And this Evangelist, St. Iohn, who wrote my Text, tells us toward the end of his Gospel, that he omitted to write many things of our Saviour, But these were written that we might believe, and believing that we might have Life. Now if we can have life by believing these things, it fol­lows most evidently that there is no necessity of believing other things.

If you answer, That the belief of other things may prove great helps to Eternal Life; and who would not [Page 30] be glad to have all the helps he can to obtain Eternal Life. To this I reply; That the belief of other things may prove hinderances, for ought we know, and not helps. Were it not then most desperate folly for me to venture upon other things which may prove hinderances to my Salvation, when God tells me that he hath reveal­ed unto me by his holy Prophets, Apostles, and by his own Son all things necessary to Salvation? Was not this the business for which our Saviour came into the world, as I said before, to teach us the way to Eternal Life? And when our Saviour went out of the world, he left his Apostles to finish the work he had begun, promising them, that he would send them the Holy Ghost, who should lead them into all truth. And as the Apostles received the knowledg of all truth, so they faithfully delivered it to o­thers: for so St. Paul, Acts xx. assures the Elders of Ephe­sus, whom he sent for to Miletus, That he had declared unto them the whole counsel of God, and that he had not kept back any thing that was profitable to them, vers. 20. Mark, I beseech you, he declares not only necessary things, but all things profitable, all; kept nothing back that was profitable. Doth not this, I pray you, fully confirm what I said, That the belief of any thing more than what is declared in Scripture may prove rather a hinderance than a help to Salvation? Nay, 'tis not only may be, but probably, if not certainly will be a hinde­rance and not a help, since the Apostle assures us that he declared all things profitable, that is, all things helpful. And doth not St. Peter, 2 Epist. i. 8. and following verses discourse to this purpose? For there he tells them that in doing those things which he had taught them, they should make their calling and election sure, and that thereby an entrance should be ministred unto them abundantly. Were [Page 31] it not then as sensless as dangerous to venture on any other means, or helps (as they call them) than what the Scripture shews for our Salvation; for if we follow that, it makes our Salvation abundantly sure.

But, say the Romanists, all that the Apostles declared was not committed to writing, but some by word of mouth, and so passed by tradition from hand to hand: and for this they bring us a Scripture, 2 Thes. ii. 15. My Brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word or our Epistle. From whence say they, 'tis evident, that all things the Apostles taught for mans Salvation were not delivered in writing, but some by tradition from word of mouth. The answer to this is very easie: for though St. Paul did not teach the Thessalonians all things by writing, but some by word of mouth, yet it doth not follow but that his Epistles to the Thessalonians, with other his Epistles, as also the Epistles of the other Apostles, the Acts, the Gospels, all toge­ther did contain in them all things necessary, and profita­ble also, to Eternal Life. For this reason St. Paul com­manded his Epistles written to one Church to be read to other Churches, as I formerly shewed you. And so St. Peter in his Epistles commends to the people likewise the Epistles of his beloved Brother Paul. And therefore I did not say that any one Epistle, two, or three did con­tain all things necessary to Eternal Life. Nor did our Saviour tell the Iews that in any one or more Prophets they had Eternal Life; but in the Scriptures they had Eternal Life: in Moses, Psalms, Proverbs, Prophets; in the whole Scripture. And if the Old Testament were so perfect and so glorious, as to contain in it all things necessary to Eternal Life, which glory was to be done away, as St. Paul saith: shall not the New Testament, the Mini­stration [Page 32] of the Spirit be much more glorious and perfect? 2 Cor. iii. 7, 8. Would God be less careful of his Church establish'd by his own Son in Person, which was to re­main to the end of the world, than of that erected by Moses his Servant, which was but a shadow of that to come? Can any man be so simple as to think this, though perchance so perverse as to affirm it? This and such like things they may whisper in a corner to silly women, or men as silly: but certainly none can have the face to say this to any man of understanding, 'tis so absurd, and so fully confuted by St. Paul, not only in the places before cited, but also in 2 Tim. iii. 16, 17. where he tells him that all Scripture is given by inspiration from God, and is profi­table for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, through­ly furnished unto all good works. Observe, I beseech you, That the man of God may be perfect: perfect in Do­ctrine, in faith, in good works, in all things. Oh! my beloved, God send me and you the perfection of Scri­pture, the Doctrine and Works there taught, and let the Papists follow their Doctrines of men, their perfecti­on, their works of merit, yea, and of supererogation too. Whereas we learn from Scripture, that when we have done all we can, we are unprofitable Servants: but their Doctrines of men teach them, that their great Saints Bennet, Fran­cis, Dominick, Ignatius, and many hundreds more are such profitable Servants, and have done such mighty works of perfection, as not only to merit Heaven for themselves, but also to gain Heaven for others by their superabundant merits; which the Pope hath power when he pleases, to apply to Souls scorching in Purgatory, and dismiss them away presently to Heaven. (Sure a hard hearted cruel man that will let any lie long in those raging [Page 33] flames, if he have power to release them.) Who can but pitty those poor silly Souls that are led into everlasting flames by these seducing Teachers, so flatly contrary to the Scriptures cited now, and others, That no man may deliver his brother, or make agreement unto God for him: For it cost more to redeem their Souls; it cost the blood and death of our Saviour Jesus. For our sins being tres­passes against the infinite majesty of God, none but our Saviour who is also of an infinite Majesty, both God and man could make a just satisfaction for them. Had a thou­sand Bennets, Dominicks, &c. and ten thousand thousands more been sacrificed on Crosses, all had been in vain, we should all lie for ever in everlasting flames. These Scrip­tures are shut up from the eyes of poor blind-folded Pa­pists. But, Blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear, Matt. xiii. 16. Your eyes, and your ears, see, read, and hear these Scriptures daily preached unto you. Hold fast these, the words of Eternal Life, which alone will make you wise unto Salvation, and throughly furnish you unto all good works, make you perfect without any Doctrines of men, as you shall hear more particularly by and by.

What then? must we lay aside all the Writings of the Holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church, even in the purest times? by no means: for they may be very help­ful to us in expounding obscure places of Scripture; for which several sorts of learning are very useful. First, The perfect understanding of the Original Languages in which the Scriptures were written, as the Hebrew, the Syriac, the Greek Languages. Now many of the Pri­mitive Fathers were either born, or much educated when those Languages were naturally spoken; and thereby could much better judg of the propriety and full signifi­cation [Page 34] of many words which we are much to seek in: and each Country Language hath several proverbial say­ings and antient forms of speech, which in process of time grow out of use and very hard to be understood: we see that very few now are able to understand old Chau­cers Language, English being very much altered since. Secondly, History and Geography are very necessary for the understanding of several passages in Scripture. And certainly those Primitive Fathers living near the times and places when and where our Saviour and the Apostles taught and acted, may be able to inform us of several cir­cumstances, and give us great light in many passages which otherwise we could not well understand. Thirdly, Where a passage of Scripture may have several significations, and thereby make it doubtful what is the more proper mean­ing of it there, those Primitive Fathers can best tell us in what sence it was received in the Primitive Church. And surely in doubtful places every modest man will think it fit to incline to those Primitive Godly men, whose nearness to the Apostles gave them great opportu­nities of knowing the true sence; and whose godly lives give us great assurance of their fidelity in delivering un­to us what they received from their godly Fore-fathers; some the very Disciples of the Apostles. Several other reasons might be added for our regard and reverence to these Primitive Fathers in their Expositions of the dark or doubtful places of Scripture. Yet I humbly conceive, nothing of all this is necessary to understand those mat­ters of faith which are necessary to Salvation, as, that God created and governs the world, or the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ. These and such necessary things are so plainly set down in Scripture, as that men of ordinary capacity may understand them without any Com­ment of the Fathers.

[Page 35]But what if any one or more very learned and very godly Fathers, even such as laid down their lives for the faith; what if they teach me a Doctrine, in which the Scripture is wholly silent? Ought I not to believe in them? To this I small give you an answer from Tertullian one of the first Christian Writers, who lived in the second Century about a hundred and fifty years after Christs Ascension; He tells us in his Prescriptions against Heresies, that this was the rule among Christians, That they were not to believe any thing, but that which Christ and his A­postles had delivered unto them in the Scripture. Hoc pri­ùs credimus, non ess [...] quod ultra credere debemus. And a little after sets down a Creed, which very little varies from that which we have amongst us, called the Apostles Creed: This, saith he, is our rule of faith, and we believe Nihil esse ultra quod credere debemus, That there is nothing more for us to believe: for this rule here set down is a com­pendium of all. I do not cite this out of Tertullian, as if I would prescribe unto you from him what you are to be­lieve by his Authority: for he doth not tell us this as his own opinion, but only relates what was the belief and practice of the Church in his Primitive days, who was so near after Christ. And this Tertullian is generally believ­ed by the Learned to be as faithful a relater as any antient Writer whatsoever. And he was of so great a credit with that learned and godly Father and Martyr of the Church St. Cyprian (who lived not many years after Ter­tullian) that he always called him Master; and daily read his Works, calling to his Servant, Da Magistrum. Give me my Masters Book to read. Which shews he was of great credit. But Tertullian after the discourse I now mentioned out of him, confirms what he had said by Scripture Authority (which is of far more weight than [Page 36] Tertullian and St. Cyprian both) citing that place of St. Paul to the Galatians, Chap. i. vers. 8. Though we, or an Angel from Heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you, than that which we have preached, let him be accursed. Now you must know that the Original Greek, from whence our Gospel is translated, hath this more effectual to our pur­pose, [...]: which more exactly in English is rendred thus: If any man preach unto you any thing besides what we have preached: he doth not say, contrary to what we have preached, but besides, which is the same in effect as to say, any thing more. And Arius Monta­nus, a learned Papist in the University of Sevil in Spain, who translated the Greek new Testament word for word, sets it down just as I have done unto you: Praeter quod evangelizavimus: Besides what we have preached. St. Paul means, If they shall preach any more as necessary to Sal­vation: for this is to make the Word of God of no effect, he having in his Holy Word given us a rule of Faith for our Salvation: and then for any one to say you must be­lieve more, is in effect to say, Gods Word is not sufficient. This is an accursed saying, according to St. Paul. Now, if neither St. Paul, nor an Angel from Heaven had any Commission to preach any thing besides what is already set down in the Scripture, certainly we may shut up our ears to any one, or to all the Doctors of the Church preaching unto us any thing more than what is there con­tained. As for Example, If they shall preach, 'tis necessa­ry to obey the Pope, to believe Purgatory, or the like things which are not expressed in Scriptures; let them be accursed as St. Paul saith.

A second Question may be, what you are to do when any Father or Fathers expound a place of Scripture con­trary to what you believe is the plain meaning of that [Page 37] place. Must you quit your own judgment and believe in them? This is just like the Prophet whom God sent to Bethel with an express command not to eat bread there: he hearkened afterward to the old lying Prophet, who pretending to have received a contrary message from God dissuaded him from what God had commanded, for which he was slain by a Lion in his return. And surely all men have great reason to expect the like recompence for their disobedience, who forsake that which they veri­ly believe is Gods Command, and hearken to the Do­ctrins of men. To this my Answer, I shall give you another from a person of great Authority, St. Austin, a most eminent Doctor of the Church. In one of his E­pistles to St. Ierome he gives a clear judgment in this case. First, He tells us that when he reads the Holy Scriptures, he entirely submits his own judgment to them and abso­lutely believes every thing there to be true, meerly be­cause it is contained there: Gods Word is truth, it can­not be otherwise; therefore whether he understands it or no, yet still he believes it truth. But as for all other Wri­ters, he saith, Alios autem ita lego, ut quantalibet sanctitate doctriná (que) praepolleant, non ideo verum putem, quia ita ipsi senserint, sed quia mihi vel per illos autores canonicos, vel probabili ratione quod à vero non abhorreant, persuadere po­tuerint: Other Writers I so read, as that be they ever so Holy, ever so Learned, I do not therefore believe their opinion to be true, because they thought so, but so far on­ly as they prove it true by Canonical Scripture, or by such reasons as seem not to be contrary to the truth: And then tells St. Ierome that he doubts not but he is of the same mind. And as for my part, I am fully of Saint Au­stins mind, and farther, think it to be great impiety to be of another mind: which I shall shew you by a familiar [Page 38] example. Put the case an authentic Book of the Laws of England, confirmed by Act of Parliament, tells us, There is one King of England, namely, Charles the Second, and that we must all obey him: who would not from hence undoubtedly conclude, there is but one King, Charles the Second, whom we ought to obey? But now come two or three esteemed great Doctors of the Law, and tells us we are quite mistaken in the meaning of the Law, which though it tells us there is one King, yet from hence it doth not follow but that there may be more than one; and we assure you there are a hundred Kings whom we ought to obey. Were not this very absurd and contrary to all reason, that the Law should formally declare unto us there is one King, if there were a hundred, or twenty, or two? yet forsooth we must quit our reason, and be­lieve these Lawyers there are a hundred. Were not this directly to believe these Lawyers rather than the Law? Just so, the Scripture, the Word of God, tells us, There is one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Iesus, and that we ought to present our supplications to God by him: from whence we undoubtedly conclude accor­ding to reason, that there is but one Mediator. But we meet with some great Doctors of the Church who tell us, we are quite mistaken; for though the Scripture name one, yet notwithstanding there are a thousand Mediators, Saints and Angels, by whom we ought to present our sup­plications, but shew us no other Scripture to make this good, yet require us to believe it meerly, because they tell us so: were not this to forsake Gods Word and be­lieve in man rather than in God? which, I say, is down­right Idolatry.

For the better understanding this my assertion, I must shew you what Faith is Divine and Human. Divine faith [Page 39] is the gift of God, saith St. Paul, Eph. ii. 8. a grace in­fused into our minds by God, whereby we believe his holy Word to be so true as that 'tis impossible it should be otherwise: and though it seem contrary to our reason, yet it captivates our understanding in obedience to the faith, and makes us believe it meerly because God said it. Human faith is when we believe upon the Authority of another man who tells us such a thing, because we believe him an understanding and honest man; he will not easily be mistaken or deluded, nor will he tell a lie. Yet we know the wisest may be deceived, and the truest may tell a lie. So that all Human belief still supposes a possi­bility at least that it may not be true. Herein then lies the difference between Divine faith and Humane. That there is no possibility of untruth in Divine faith. There­fore we say that we believe in God: we entirely submit and captivate our understanding to Gods Word; he is truth it self. But when we speak of man, we say that we believe man, not that we believe in man: for this implies an impossibility of untruth in that man, and we undoub­tedly believe the thing meerly because he spake it. Such a belief is due only unto God, and is called Divine Faith, and is a supernatural gift of God unto us. There is no such thing in nature; the natural man receiveth not the things of God, neither can be know them, because they are spi­ritually discerned, 1 Cor. ii. 14.

Having thus informed you what Divine and Humane Faith is: I come now to the business of Idolatry. I say then, To believe in man, that is, to believe any thing to be infallibly true, meerly because such a man said it, and to venture your Salvation on it, is directly Idolatry, yea, though an Angel said it. For in so believing in man or Angel you make him God; I mean, you worship him as [Page 40] God: Yea, it is the greatest Idolatry you can perform; for you give him the principal and greatest worship of God. To offer incense, to sacrifice Rams and Bulls is no­thing to this Idolatry: nay, to sacrifice your own body to man is much inferior to it, for 'tis but sacrificing so much dirt. One Soul is worth a hundred bodies of beasts or men: and therefore to sacrifice your Soul, and your rea­son, the principal highest faculty of your Soul, to capti­vate your understanding in obedience to faith in man, is the highest act of Divine Worship; and consequently to give this to man, is most abominable Idolatry. And con­trariwise, to worship God with our Soul, and captivate our understanding in obedience to faith in him is the most acceptable service we can possibly perform: this is the justifying act, the saving grace: this alone acquires Hea­ven, and without this the whole world cannot purchase it: Without this faith 'tis impossible to please God, Heb. xi. 6. and with this Abraham so pleased God, as that God there­upon promised to multiply his seed as the stars of Heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and that all the nations of the world should be blessed in him, Gen. xxii. 17, 18. I hope you are now fully satisfied, that to believe in any man, ever so learned, ever so holy, is great Idolatry; for therein you make him God. God hath three peculiar Attributes, Unus, Verus, Bonus; God is one, God is true, God is good. Our Saviour questioned that man that called him good, Why callest thou me good! there is none good, but one, that is God, Mark x. 17, 18. As if he had said, Why callest thou me good? dost thou believe me to be God? otherwise thou oughtest not to call me good. So we may say, Why call you this man true? Do you believe him God? for there is none true but God: no man perfectly true, so true, but he may be [Page 41] deceived or false. And therefore the Psalmist saith, All men are liars; that is, all men have by nature the vice of falshood in them, as well as other vices: and so 'tis not only possible, but probable also that any man may tell a lie, if God give him not the grace of truth. Much more is it possible and probable for any man to be deceived and speak a falshood, though he intend it not. God only is perfectly true; he can neither deceive nor be decei­ved.

But now perchance you think to wave this Idolatry which I have laid to your charge, by answering, that you do not believe in the Fathers of the Church as you be­lieve in God; you do not worship them with Divine faith. Say you so? what then? with Humane faith on­ly? Why then I am sure your Humane faith shall never save you; you were as good lay it by: we are saved on­ly by Divine faith, not of our selves, it is the gift of God.

But what if your Saints in whom you believe, work miracles? then you will say you believe in them with a Divine and saving faith, their miracles being wrought by the power of God to confirm their Doctrine: for we have no other assurance of the Doctrine delivered by the Apo­stles, but the miracles which they wrought in confirma­tion of it. Excuse me, for herein you are foully mista­ken: we have our Saviours command given them to preach the Gospel to all the world, and we have his pro­mise made to them, that he would send the Holy Ghost unto them to lead them into all truth; which we are assu­red did descend upon them, working miraculously in di­vers and sundry manners. Wherefore to speak properly, we say, That we do not believe in the Apostles, but we believe in God the Holy Ghost, speaking to us by the [Page 42] Apostles. And which is yet more, our Saviour himself which was both God and man, yet he doth not require us to believe in him as man, but as God, assuring us so. Ioh. viii. 28. I do nothing of my self, but as my father hath taught me, I speak these things. And again, xii. 49. I have not spoken of my self; but the father which sent me, he gave me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak. By which we are fully instructed, that we are not to believe in any man living, but only in God speaking to us by man: and therefore we are not to give Divine Faith to the Doctrine of any man the greatest Saint that ever was, unless we are as fully assured that he hath God the Holy Ghost speaking in him, as we are that he spake to us by the Apostles. And certainly we have no such assu­rance of any man since the Apostles; no special command given by Christ to preach any new Gospel; no promise of the Holy Ghost to lead them into all truth; no visi­ble descension of the Holy Ghost in after Ages; no gift of tongues, nor prophesie. But it may be you think that at the end of St. Matthews Gospel where Christ sends the Apostles to preach, and says, Lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world; this promise must be inten­ded to the Apostles Successors also, the Fathers of the Church, that Christ would be with them unto the end of the world; for the Apostles themselves were not to continue unto the end of the world, but their Succes­sors. All this I grant, that Christ will be with the Fathers of the Church, the Successors of the Apostles to the end of the world, who succeed the Apostles in their Doctrine as well as in Office, Christ will bless them and prosper that Doctrine unto the end of the world. Wherefore I pray you consider the whole context of that place, Vers. 19, 20. Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them [Page 43] in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world. So long as you teach the things I have commanded you, so long I am with you, even to the end of the world. The promise then of being with them to the end of the world is conditional, viz. If they teach the things that Christ hath commanded either by himself or by his Apostles, who were guided by his Spirit, all which commands of Christ and his Apostles are deliver­ed unto us in the Scriptures On this condition the pro­mise was made, in teaching the things commanded, and not otherwise. What is this to teaching of new Doctrine not commanded by Christ, not contained in Scripture? Not one tittle of promise made for that, nor any commissi­on given to teach new Doctrines, but rather a curse for the person teaching any other Gospel than what was al­ready preached, be he man on earth, or Angel from Hea­ven: Gal. i. 8. Why? because the Doctrine preacht by Christ and his Apostles was compleat for our Salvation. And therefore we do not find that any one of the antient Holy Fathers doth pretend to any such infallible guidance of the Holy Ghost, and thereby require submission and obedience to his Doctrine, but rather declares quite con­trary, as I have newly mentioned unto you out of St. Au­stine, one of the four principal Doctors of the Church; who gives us a general rule, Not to give any assured be­lief to any the most learned and most Holy Fathers farther than they can prove their Doctrine by Scriptures; that is our compleat rule of faith. Is it not then a strange, disobedient, wilful, blind submission to their Doctrine, expresly contrary to the rule of faith given by themselves?

[Page 44]And great reason had St. Austin to give us this rule, when he had found, as he expresses in another place, that St. Cyprian a preceding Father of the Church, most emi­nent for learning and sanctity, who laid down his life for the faith; this great Doctor, Saint, and Martyr, taught and maintained an error even unto death: which error of his was condemned afterwards by the whole Christian Church. And not only St. Cyprian, but all the great Bi­shops of Affrica joyned with him in this error. And long before St. Cyprian, Papias Bishop of Hierapolis, whom that famous Bishop of Lyons, Irenaeus, affirms to have been a Disciple of St. Iohn the Evangelist, (and very probably he might be so, for St. Iohn dyed in the hundred and se­cond year of our Lord, and Papias was then a Pastor of the Church,) He taught, if not began (as most antient Writers conceive) the error of the Chiliasts, That Christ should come again to reign here on earth a thousand years. Irenaeus Bishop of Lyons mentioned before, learnt this error of him, and did propagate it farther, till at length it infected most Writers of that Age. And this Irenaeus himself was the Disciple of St. Polycarpus, and Polycarpus the Disciple of St. Iohn: and therefore 'twas no wonder that this error was taken up by many Doctors of the Church, having two such famous men the Authors of it. Yet this error was not long after rejected by the whole Christian Church. Good reason then had St. Au­stin to give us that rule, not to subscribe to any Doctrine of the Fathers, but such as they proved by Holy Scri­ptures. And it was a seasonable caution to future Ages a­gainst his own Doctrine; for he himself taught the error, that it was necessary to administer the Sacrament of the Lords Supper to Infants: and this was an opinion gene­rally believed in the Christian Church for many years, [Page 45] though afterwards, and to this day concluded a gross er­ror. And I beg leave to say this as true as free, That whoever reads the Doctors and Fathers of the Church writings of the erroneous customs generally practised in their times, but afterwards rejected by the whole Chri­stian Church (as well by the Papists as others) shall find these Fathers as zealously maintaining by forced argu­ments and wrested Scriptures those their erroneous cu­stoms, as the soundest truths. God is my record, I say not this out of any reproach to them, whereof many have been great Champions for the fundamental truths, and great examples and leaders to piety and godly life: but I say it only to prevent our being led into errors by their Authority, who though they were very learned and godly men, yet still were men, and being men were subject to error: and for this cause no assurance can be had in the word of man alone, but of him only who was God and man, for God only is truth.

And as for the miracles pretended to be wrought by the Fathers of the Church in confirmation of their Do­ctrine: I answer; First, We find in no authentick Author any miracles wrought by the prime and principal Fathers of the Church in confirmation of any Doctrine taught by them, St. Cyprian, St. Ambrose, St. Ierome, St. Austine, St. Chrysostome, St. Gregory Nazianzen, and such like. Se­condly, For the pretended Fathers of the Church in later Ages, and Mothers also, it is sufficiently known what gross and ridiculous impostures have been in later Ages noised abroad for great miracles. Our learned Dr. Stil­lingfleet hath sufficiently set them forth in their proper co­lours. These fine devices began about the six hundredth year after Christ, and in a few years after they grew as familiar as jugling feats, especially in the female sex, of [Page 46] whom I find none that wrought them in the Apostles days, when true miracles were frequent among men; and when there were women certainly as holy as any whatsoever in future Ages. We do not find that the blessed Virgin her self ever wrought any miracle, though now the Papists will tell you of a thousand wrought daily by several images of hers. But this we know, that in the later days lying wonders shall be wrought to deceive, if it were possi­ble, the very Elect: and we also know, that whatever seeming miracle is wrought contrary to the word of God is a lying wonder; for Gods word is truth and all liars that speak against that. But these miracles which they pretend to be wrought at the images of the blessed Virgin and other Saints, are apparently contrary to the word of God, which commands us not to bow down to, nor wor­ship any images; and consequently these must needs be lying wonders wrought to deceive the people, who are thereby induced to worship those images, and do daily visit them and prostrate themselves before them with as much reverence and devotion as if Christ himself were there present. This is fully known to every man that hath travelled those parts. But the Popish Priests here (surely ashamed of their own Devotions) will boldly deny it: and finding us too strongly fortified with Scripture truth to be seduced by their supposititious Saints, with their lying wonders, and too quick-sighted to be catched with such stauking horses, they come upon us with a whole Army of the Church Militant, the Universal Ca­tholick Church, (meaning the Romish Church, falsly so called) yea, and back'd with Scripture too, and so fight us at our own weapon; and thence thunder out irresista­ble Cannon Shot: He that will not hear the Church, let him be unto thee as an Heathen man and a Publicane, Matt. xviii. 17.

[Page 47]Beloved, my time would fail me should I now engage in a fresh battel, I shall therefore refer this to another time, and for the present add only a few words of directi­on for those who take comfort in reading the Scripture, and desire to improve their knowledge therein, but meet with many obscure and difficult places which exceed their capacity; in which they would gladly be farther instruct­ed. To this I answer, first, That I conceive it fit to ad­vise with some learned, orthodox, sober and godly Di­vine, if they have any such in their Neighbourhood; for give me leave to say, men so compleatly qualified are not every where to be found in these unfortunate days: But if they can find any such, let them desire his assistance; and if this godly person can by other plain places of Scripture and clear reason make the sense of that doubtful place evident to his understanding, then he may well conclude that to be the true meaning of the Holy Ghost. But if this godly Counsellor makes use of any human Authority, that is, any one or many Fathers of the Church, or Coun­cils, or the like, to make good his exposition, and cannot do it by clear places of Scripture, or such circumstances as make that doubtful place clear to your understanding, but require you to submit meerly to their Authority, then you are to afford him no more than a human belief, which helps you nothing forward to your salvation, for that wholly depends on divine faith and belief in God, not in man, as I have shewed you. And as for the doubtful places, pass them over as doubtful, and the clear know­ledge thereof not necessary to your salvation: God re­quires of no man beyond the talent which he hath given him; and in his infinite goodness hath so provided, that all things necessary for salvation may be understood of all. What can be more plainly set forth to common under­standing [Page 48] than it is in Scripture, That there is one God Creator of Heaven and Earth; one Saviour Iesus Christ the Son of God, who dyed for all men, rose again the third day, ascended into Heaven, and shall come again at the last day to judge and reward every man according to his deeds. And then for the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lords Supper and such like necessary things, they are also plainly set forth in Scripture, even to vulgar under­standings. And lastly, for our course of life, what can be more plainly prohibited than fornication, adultery, all lasciviousness, murther, striking, railing, cousening? What can be more plainly commanded than to do justice, shew mercy, charity, &c. and in sum, to do unto all men as we would have them do unto us? Now whosoever shall be­lieve and practise all these plain things, my Soul for his he shall never miss of his Salvation, though he miss the un­derstanding of a hundred places of Scripture; many whereof the most learned understand very little better, though they can talk more of them. When our Saviour represents unto us the great Judgment day, Mat. XXV. He doth not call any to his right hand because they under­stood these and these dark places in Scripture; nor curse any on his left hand because they understood them not: but the whole Judgment depends on doing or not doing. Come ye blessed, for ye have fed the hungry, cloathed the naked, &c. and go ye cursed, for ye have not done so. Where­fore the question in the Gospel is, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit Eternal Life? and our Saviour's Answer is, This do and thou shalt live. And S. Paul tells us, though we understood all Mysteries, yet this profiteth not without Charity. Charity and the deeds thereof, with a firm belief of so much of Scripture as God enables us to understand, would undoubtedly bring us to Christ's right hand in that [Page 49] great day. Were but our practice according to the measure of our knowledge, it would be happy for us: but hence comes our misery, that instead of practising what we understand, we fall to disputing of that we understand not; and so we grow into passion, from passion into faction, from faction into schisms and heresies. Were our passion laid aside, there would be no need of laying aside the Scriptures, but we should read them to our edification: whereas we now read them to our destruction and confusion: and thus the word of Eternal Life becomes unto us the savour of Death unto Death. Wherefore my beloved, when you take the Scri­ptures into your hands to read, let your main intention be to observe the Instructions there given for your behaviour and course of life, and then labour to stir up your affection and desire to practise it. As for matters of belief, as much as is necessary will quickly be attained: but for practice that will require the whole study of a mans life. Neither doth this consist so much in reading as in meditating on what we do read, and striving to subdue our hearts in obedience to it, and sending up also short, but fervent ejaculations to Al­mighty God for the powerful assistance of his holy spirit to enable us to perform, that is the end of all, to perform, This do and thou shalt live. And if we thus read the Scriptures, they will be unto us as the words of Eternal Life, and the power of God to our Salvation. Which God of his infinite mercy grant.

THE THIRD SERMON ON JOHN V. Ver. 39. Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have Eternal Life.

THE last thing we were upon in handling this Text was, that the Scriptures where­in we say we have Eternal Life, tells us that we are to hear the Church, and he that will not hear the Church, let him be un­to thee as a heathen man and a publican. Mat. xviii. 17. Here, say the Papists, we have a plain, easie, and safe rule to guide all in matters of Faith, both learned and unlearned: this cuts off all disputes and prevents all errors. Hear the Church, what the Church believes we must belieue, and if we will not hear the Church we are hereticks, heathens. If this be the safe and only way to heaven, what man in his right wits would not take this safe and easie way? Doubtless a very easie way, and truly I think that is the reason why many so much incline to it: most men love an easie way to Heaven, and few are found willing to take much pains for it. And those few that are conscientious in their way, are often [Page 51] scrupulous also and fearful, and being wearied with anxie­ties and disputes, in their melancholy moods may be willing to lie down on this specious bank, not considering Latet an­guis in herba, the lurking Adder that there lies concealed. For certainly this way is as dangerous as easie, far from safe. Can any man think it a safe way to forsake the God of truth and his holy word, and hearken to vain erroneous men and their doctrines, whereof our Saviour bids us be­ware? No, Let God be true and every man a liar, Rom. iii. 4. But you will say, what the Papists here urge is not the Do­ctrine of men, but the Word of God, Hear the Church. I grant 'tis the Word of God, but strangely abused by the in­terpretation of men, and wrested very far from the clear meaning of the Text, as I shall now shew you.

Look, I pray you, a few verses before, and see what is the business here treated of, and to what this saying relates. V. 15. If thy Brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy Brother. V. 16. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. V. 17. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the Church: but if he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. I beseech you what is this to our purpose? to the determi­nation in matters of Faith? Are trespasses matters of Faith? No, but they will prove from hence by necessary conse­quence, That if you are to hear the Church in matters of fact, such as trespasses, much more are you to hear the Church in matters of faith. They will prove? I thought we had laid aside all proofs and consequences: for they pro­duce this Text as a clear evident rule to cut off all doubts and disputes, a plain and safe way for all men learned and unlearned. What is proposed as a plain rule to clear all doubts and determine all controversies, ought in it self to be [Page 52] as clear as the Sun; so that whosoever is not stark blind must needs see it: and then doubtless I am stark blind, for I cannot see one word here tending to matters of faith. But they will argue thus, If we are to hear the Church in temporal matters, much more in spiritual matters: for the Church be­ing a spiritual body, hath more to do in spirituals than tem­porals. As blind as I am, I plainly see as gross a mistake here in the word Church, as before in the word Trespasses. Did not I fully shew you the other day, that this word [...] in the Text, which we in English translate Church, never in Scripture signifies the Clergy, but the Congregation of the people, the assembly of the faithful, though we in English use the word Church very variously, which is often the cause of great mistakes: and therefore I pray you remember it well, that in Scripture it still signifies the Congregation of the People. And would the Papists have the Congregation of the People be our Infallible Guide to give rules of Faith and determine all controversies? If so, I see a sure and fatal con­sequence to their Infallible Head the Pope; he and his triple Crown would soon be tumbled from his Throne to the ground, and all his power under foot. But put the case we would take the word Church here for the Clergy, as the Papists would have us: yet this gives no commission far­ther then to determin trespasses. And as for their conse­sequences, 'tis very absurd to infer, that because God leaves unto men to determin the small matters of this world, there­fore men may determin matters of that infinite weight as the eternal salvation of Souls. For though the Church (that is, the Congregation) should make a wrong judgment in the case, yet the party suffering may, if he please, make great ad­vantage by it; for the patient suffering the loss for peace sake, as God hath required, he shall gain a hundred fold in Heaven: but the party that forsakes Gods W [...]d, and hear­kens to the wrong determination in matters of Faith, shall [Page 53] suffer a hundred fold damage in Hell. This therefore God reserves to himself and his Holy word, unto which we are not to add any thing, nor subtract from it, under a severe penalty there declared. Wherefore we must take this Text as it lies without any human addition, and so 'tis evident that it contains nothing but the determination of matters of trespass between Neighbours; of which our Saviour would have the offender privately admonisht, and if no amend­ment, than appeal to the Congregation in publick. Not one word here concerning matters of Faith. And thus beloved, you see what a vain empty sound this great clamor is which the Papists make of this Text, Hear ye the Church, and who­ever will not hear the Church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Every part of it most grosly mistaken and wrested from the true meaning: matters of fact, such as trespasses and injuries, wrested to matters of Faith: the word Church wrested from the Congregation to the Cler­gy, contrary to the whole current of Scripture. Wherefore, my beloved, you see how necessary it is for you to follow this counsel of our Saviour, and search the Scriptures; and advise also with the more learned Pastors of our Church to arm you against these seducing teachers. I hope this Text is sufficiently cleared, and so I pass unto another.

1 Tim. iii. 15. There 'tis said, The Church is the Pillar and ground of truth: This Scripture (say the Papists) plainly relates to matters of Faith, for truth is the object of our Faith; we readily grant it. What then? Why then we are to hold fast to the Faith of the Church, for that is the Pillar of truth, ergo she cannot err. This is another of their feigned consequences, far from the meaning of the Text: let us then peruse the Text it self with the circumstances there set down, as we did the former, and you will not find any such thing here as the Papists pretend. That thou mayst know how thou oughtest to behave thy self in the house of God, which is the [Page 54] Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth. First, That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thy self in the house of God. There is nothing more frequent in Scri­pture than to set the word House for the People: the house of Israel for the people hundreds of times. And so Moses was faithful in all his house, Heb. iii. 2. that is, among all his peo­ple. And so 1 Pet. ii. 5. tells the Christians, That as living stones they are built up a spiritual house to God. And again, iv. 17. If judgment begin at the house of God, that is, the peo­ple of God. Wherefore here, Behave thy self in the house of God, signifies the houshold, the people of God. That place where a man dwells is commonly called his house? and God being said to dwell among his people, 2 Cor. vi. 16. I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people: therefore the people are called the house of God. Next follows, Which is the Church of the living God, that is, the Congregation of the living God: for 'tis the same word [...], which I shewed you, alwaies in Scripture signifies the Congregation. Now I pray you put this together, that thou mayest know how to be­have thy self among the people of God, which is the Con­gregation of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth: This last part of the verse, the pillar and ground of the truth, is metaphorical and may be interpreted several ways according to several mens apprehensions. But in the first place, I conceive all must grant, that no metaphorical saying can be a clear, evident and general rule to explain and determin other sentences, but rather in it self needs an expo­sition. But however you take this place, it is evident that the Papists from hence can never have any proof for the in­fallibility of their Church, as they would have it: for S. Paul calls the Congregation of the people, the pillar and ground of the truth: But to shew you how little this Text will serve their turn; though [...] never in Scripture sig­nifies [Page 55] the Clergy, yet for their greater conviction, let it pass. The Clergy are here called the pillar and ground of truth: What then? Why then the assembly of the Clergy must be infallible. Hold there, I beseech you: Why? can truth be fallible? no certainly, but the pillar of truth may fail: the pillar may decay and go to ruin, but the truth of God endu­reth for ever, 1 Pet. i. 23. What then is meant by these words, The pillar and ground of the truth? I will shew you.

I suppose you have seen pillars set up in high ways at the meeting of several ways together, and inscriptions written on the several sides of the pillars, This way leads to such a place; That way leads to that place: some pillars have arms in them, and hands pointing to the ways. The pillar is only that which bears the inscription, 'tis the inscription that gives you the true information which is the way. Now St. Paul saith, Rom. iii. 2. speaking of the people of the Iews, and the great advantage they had over other Nati­ons, For unto them were committed the Oracles of God. And so St. Stephen Acts vii. 38. tells his brethren the Iews, that their fathers received the Oracles of God to give unto us: So we may say of the Christians to their great honour and advan­tage above all other people in the world, To them were com­mitted the Oracles of God, the Holy Scriptures, to give unto us. As then of old the people of the Iews were peculiarly the people of God, the house of God, which was then the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth, and they bare the Oracles of God, the Holy Scriptures: So St. Paul now calleth the Christians the peculiar people of God, the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth; for they now bear the Oracles of God, the Holy Scriptures, the word of truth, teaching us the true and perfect way to the Heavenly Ierusa­lem. This my Exposition is strongly backed and confirmed by another Text of Scripture, which is accounted by all men [Page 56] the best way of expounding Scripture. Rev. i. 20. The se­ven Churches or Congregations are set forth by seven golden Candlesticks: and you know candlesticks give no light of themselves, but only hold the candles which give the light: so the Churches are to hold forth Christ; he is the light of the world, and his Doctrine contained in the Scriptures; they give the light, they teach us the way to Eternal Life. As in the former place, the pillars bear and hold forth the inscriptions the Oracles of God: so here the Candlesticks hold forth the light of Gods Holy Word; this teacheth us the way, herein lies the infallible truth; not in the Church, the Congrega­tion, that consists of fallible men: Gods Word is truth, all men are liars. And as the Iews, people and Priests also er­red, and so grosly erred as to become Idolaters, yet the Ora­cles they bare never erred: so we may too truly say to the proud boasting Papists, their whole Church, Pope, Princes, People have and do all err, and so grosly err as to be guilty of great Idolatry, worshipping and praying, and thereby giv­ing Gods glory to Saints and Angels, to Pictures and Images. This is most rationally and learnedly proved by Dr. Stilling­fleet, now the Reverend Dean of St. Pauls, and most practi­cally and palpably shewed in a small Book, Intitled, A Let­ter to a Friend concerning Popish Idolatry; which in one hours reading fully declares it. Of which Letter I will say only this, That I am sure all there set down is truth; for with my own eyes I have seen all, having lived many years abroad amongst them. But I grant they are not all practised here in England, for two reasons. First, They would be ashamed to set up Pictures and Images here publickly to worship in the face of the Gospel-Sunshine, where very Children would deride them. And Secondly, the Laws and Government would not suffer them. Wherefore to conclude this point, whoever reads the Gospel, and by that examines the Do­ctrines of the Romish Church, shall see that she is not the infal­lible [Page 57] Church she is pretended to be, as plainly as you see the Moon is not the Sun: you will discover such foul black spots in her face, as may assure you, she is not that beautiful belo­ved Spouse set forth in the Canticles: for she hath so foully erred against the truth of the Gospel in several things, which I have formerly laid before you, as makes it most evident that she is neither truth, nor so much as the pillar of truth, but the pillar of error, stifly mainteining several errors: and doth not so much as hold forth the Gospel of truth to teach the people the way to Heaven, but shuts it up from the peo­ple, that she may lead them blindfold into error. And so much be spoken concerning this Text, The Church is the pillar and ground of the truth. If any man can give a better expo­sition of this Text, I shall be glad to learn it of him; but I am sure the Papists have not yet, by all that ever I saw or heard of.

They bring us another Text much like this, Matth. the last Chapter: where Christ sends forth his Disciples to teach all Nations, promising to be with them in teaching unto the end of the world. This Text I fully answered in my last Sermon. Moreover, these words being spoken by our Saviour to all the Apostles in general, and their Successors, of necessity gives equal Commission to them all; and therefore makes more against the superiority of the Romish Church than for it: for by this all Churches planted by other Apostles have the same promise.

The Papists therefore have one Scripture more which they urge particularly for their Church; but it hath been so oft disputed, and so fully confuted by whole Volumes of our Writers, as a man would wonder to see them like Cats knockt down and quite dead in all appearance, yet rise up again with this Text in their mouths. It is this, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church: and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, Matt. xvi. 18. As to [Page 58] this, I shall give you the heads only of several answers as plainly and briefly as may be for your more easie remem­brance. But I pray you still remember what we are search­ing Scripture for, and that is, a plain easie rule to determine all doubts that may arise in matters of faith. And certainly this Text is not such, but as far or farther from that than the former, for 'tis a figurative speech all along; it speaks of building on a rock, and the gates of Hell; of binding and loosing; almost every word a figure: and the greatest Do­ctors and Fathers of the Church have disputed very various­ly about it; the Papists cannot deny it: and therefore this cannot be a plain easie rule to clear doubtful matters, it be­ing so doubtful in it self. Let us now hear what the Text it self saith, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church: and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Is here any one word, that the Church shall be infallible and cannot err? The gates of Hell shall not prevail against the Church, therefore, say they, she cannot err. The veriest dunce in the University would be ashamed to make such ri­diculous consequences. Put the case God had promised the King of England, that the French King should not prevail against him; must it therefore follow that 'tis impossible the French King should set foot upon English ground, or kill any one of our Kings Subjects, or take any of his Ships? Rare nonsence! Many Princes after several battels lost, much of their Country invaded, yet have prevailed and driven out the Enemy: many a man after several wounds received, hath prevailed and killed his Adversary. Let then the Papists go and learn what that means, The seed of the woman shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel, Gen. iii. 15. The seed of the Woman crushed the Head of Satan and prevail­ed against the gates of Hell, though the Prince thereof brui­sed and wounded him in the heel. Many errors and Heresies have bruised and wounded the Church, yet have not pre­vailed [Page 59] to destroy it; the vitals, the fundamentals have still been preserved. That profession of Peter whereon Christ built his Church, was, Thou art Christ the Son of the living God. This saith hath still been preserved in the Church, the gates of Hell never could prevail against it. This is all our Saviour here promised, and this he hath ever to this day made good, and will assuredly make good to the end of the world. But put the case these words, The gates of Hell shall not prevail against the Church, did imply some infallibility promised to the Church in general, yet how come the Pa­pists to challenge this insallibility to the Church of Rome and deprive all other Churches of it? Why, say they, Christ here promises to build his Church on St. Peter. 'Tis false; the Text doth not say, Thou art Peter, and upon thee will I build my Church: but, Upon this rock will I build my Church; and that rock was Christ, 1 Cor. x. 4. Christ the Son of the Living God whom Peter professed; on this rock was the Church built. But suppose yet farther, that our Savi­our had promised he would build his Church on Peter, what then? Yet not on him alone, for St. Paul tells us, Eph. ii. 19, 20. That the House of God (which is the Church of God) is built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Pro­phets, Christ Iesus himself being the chief corner stone: built upon other Apostles and Prophets also as well as on Peter, but chiefly on Christ himself. And then for those words, Binding and Loosing; the same that is said here to Peter, is said to all the Apostles, Matt. xviii. 18. Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven. And again, Ioh. xx. 23. Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them: and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. And what a silly childish noise do they make with those words said to Peter, unto thee will I give the keys of heaven: for the whole sence of those words is fully contained in those, Whose soever sins [Page 60] ye remit, they are remitted unto them: and whose soever sins ye retain they are retained. For 'tis sin that shuts us out of Heaven, and when sin is remitted, Heaven-Gate is again opened. Whoever then hath power to remit and retain sin, he hath the keys of Heaven to all intents and purposes. Where is then I pray you, S. Peter's preheminence over any other Apostle? for the Church was built on all the Apostles, as well as on Peter; and they all had the keys of Heaven given unto them.

But now mark what goes before in Iohn xx. 21. As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. This cuts off all man­ner of pretence to the least precedency of power given to Peter before the rest of the Apostles; for our Saviour here saith unto them all, As my Father sent me, even so send I you; Even so, in the self same manner. And sure the Papists are not so desperate as to say St. Peter had a higher and more powerful Commission than Christ himself: and as you see, Christ here gives all the Apostles Commission equal with himself: As my Father sent me, even so send I you. So that 'tis impossible Peter could have a greater. Is it not then a strange presumption for the Papists to boast of such a tran­scendent power and preheminence given to Peter above the rest of the Apostles, as to make him Lord and Master over them? which doubtless would have raised no small indigna­tion in the rest of the Apostles. We see when Iames and Iohn desired only the precedency before the rest, no Lordship, but only to sit the one on his right hand, the other on his left, they were greatly offended at it. Wherefore to make Peter their Lord and Master, must needs offend them far more: yet we find not the least murmuring at it, because they found no prece­dency at all given him: And do not we see how St. Paul, though a late born Apostle, out of time, took the boldness to resist him to the face, when he walked not uprightly: which you may be sure St. Paul would not have done, had [Page 61] he taken St. Peter for Christ's High Priest, Lord over all: for St. Paul repented for having too severely reproved the High Priest of the Iews, though he did it unwittingly, and for his cruel injustice.

Certainly whoever reads the two first Chapters of S. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians, if he be not much possest with S. Peter's preheminence before hand, must needs see that S. Paul gives him no such thing, but rather the contra­ry: mark I pray you, S. Paul's design there, 'tis to shew that he received not the knowledg of the Gospel, nor the Com­mission to preach it from man, but from Christ only. And therefore as soon as Christ had revealed himself to him and sent him to preach, Immediately I conferred not, says he, with flesh and blood: neither went I up to Jerusalem to them that were Apostles before me, but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Je­rusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days: But other of the Apostles saw I none. As if the seeing the other A­postles Iames and Iohn, whom in the next Chapter he calls Pillars, had carried more appearance of his receiving Com­mission from man, than his seeing Peter and tarrying with him fifteen days. Now had Peter been (as the Papists would have it) Head of the Church, Lord over all; the seeing of Peter Head of the Church, and tarrying with him so long, had signified far more towards his receiving Commission from man, than had he seen all the other Apostles and tarried with them fifteen months: for Peter being Head, he and not the other Apostles, was to give him Commission. And then again when he names the great Pillars of the Church, who seemed to be somewhat more than the rest, he puts Iames in the first place: But though they seemed to be somewhat, yet whatever they were, S. Paul tells us, it maketh no matter to him, he gave them not any subjection: how! not any subjection? no, not for an hour, for they who seemed to be somewhat, in con­ference [Page 62] added nothing to him; but contrariwise, mark I pray you, contrary to all subjection, they gave unto him, yea and unto Barnabas also, the right hand of fellowship; far from any Lordship over Paul, or over Barnabas either, though he were none of the twelve, for he and they were all fellows in preaching the Gospel, dividing the work betwixt them; Paul and Barnabas to preach unto the Heathen, and they unto the Circumcision. Is it not then most evident by all this, that S. Peter was no Lord, nor Head over the rest of the Apostles? nor did he outlive all the rest, and so become Head of the Church by survivancy: S. Iohn that great and beloved Apostle outlived him long, and 'tis thought all the rest: and then by survivancy he should be Head, and con­sequently his Successor Head of the Church, not S. Peter's Successor: for S. Peter himself was not Head. And then I pray you tell me, when S. Peter was dead and S. Iohn re­mained, Who was then Head of the Church? Was S. Peter's Successor (whoever he was, Linus or Clemens) was he Head and Lord over S. Iohn, or S. Iohn over him? Speak I beseech you: No, your modesty will not suffer you to say that your Pope Linus was Head and Lord over S. Iohn the beloved of our Lord. I dare venture my life on it, Linus never assumed any such Lordship to himself: for Eusebius tells us, that when Polycarpus a Successor of S. Iohn, came to Rome to treat with Anicetus a Successor of S. Peter, about the time of celebrating the Feast of Easter (which was then much disputed: the Church of Asia holding it at one time and the Church of Rome at another) Anicetus S. Peter's Successor did not assume any Lordship over Polycarpus, nor require him to submit unto the Roman Custome: No, he was so far from it, that he gave the honour to Polycarpus and the pre­cedency, to celebrate the blessed Sacrament of the Lords Supper in his own Church at Rome. This was a mark of great honour and precedency, for in those days the Chief [Page 63] did always celebrate. If then your Church had no Head­ship over the Asian Church in the time of S. Iohn, nor in the time of Polycarpus, many years after: I beseech you tell me from whence sprang this mighty Headship of the Pope to be Lord of the whole World? Successors, as Successors, can challenge no more Authority than their Predecessors had. If the present Bishop of Salisbury hath no Authority over the Bishop of Lincoln, certainly Salisburies Successor can have none over Lincolns Successor. And so Saint Peter having no Lordship over S. Iohn nor any other Apostle, Peter's Successor can have none over their Successors: this is clear. How then? Did Christ ever come again upon Earth to establish this Headship? or, Did an Angel come from Hea­ven to do it? Though I must tell you, should an Angel come from Heaven and preach any other Doctrine than what is in Scripture, we are fully warranted not to receive it. But if nei­ther Christ, nor Angel, nor any one Scripture declare this Headship, is it not a most unreasonable thing to require us to believe this as a matter absolutely necessary to Salvation? and to believe it with as full assurance as we believe Christ was born of the Virgin; or that Christ was Crucified, and that he rose from the dead. Let them shew us then in such plain Scripture words, that the Pope is to be Head of the Church, that the Church of Rome shall be Infallible unto the worlds end, that we are to receive all her Doctrines as the Oracles of God: or, that in the Church of Rome we have Eternal Life. Let them but shew us some promise, some command, plain like this, and we shall readily submit: real­ly we should be heartily glad to see it, it would save us much trouble. But, beloved, you all know, there is nothing like this in all the Scripture: How then dare any man ven­ture the eternal salvation of his Soul, and in obedience to the Church of Rome, practise things so apparently contrary to Gods Commands, as to worship Images, pray unto Saints, [Page 64] receive the Sacrament of the Lords Supper in one kind, and such like as I mentioned formerly.

I know there are in the writings of several Fathers many expressions which highly magnifie the Authority of the Church in general, and some for the Church of Rome in particular: all which signifie very little, if you consider the circumstances and motives for their so speaking. When the Church was infested with Heresies, the Orthodox Fathers disputing with them used all the Arguments they could to reduce them to the Truth: but perverse men not hearken­ing to their reasons, their last and pressing Argument was, the Authority of the Church; which they set forth with great lustre to make the Argument more powerful and force their submission unto it. And because the generality of the Church in those days by Gods blessing was not yet in­fected with errors, they urged the Authority and true be­lief of the Universal Church, to reclaim the particular He­retical Churches from their Error: and the most general Language being then Greek, they used the word Catholick, which in that Language signifies Universal: and hence arose the phrase of the Catholick Church. Moreover, it pleased God to preserve the Roman Church in the true Faith, with great Zeal and Piety for many years, their Bishops being successively Martyr'd by the Heathen Emperors and their Officers at Rome: And their true Faith being celebrated also in Scripture by S. Paul, it was magnified by the true believ­ing Fathers of other Churches, as Antioch, Ephesus, Constan­tinople, Alexandria, &c. that it might the more move the Heretical Members of their Churches to conform unto it: telling them how S. Peter and S. Paul, the two great Pillars of the Church were Martyr'd there, and therefore they ought to believe no Error could enter that Church which was so sanctified with the blood of those two great Apostles and divers other famous Martyrs. All which they uttered [Page 65] with great zeal, that they might make the unbelievers to re­verence it the more, and submit unto it: As when two of our Lawyers differ in opinion, he that hath the Lord Chief Justice Coke on his side, will magnifie him as such an Oracle of the Law that could not err, and say all that his wit can invent to set it forth; it doth not therefore follow that he seriously thinks Coke to have been infallible: no more do these sayings of the Fathers conclude the Roman Church to be infallible: as I shall now shew you by one Example suf­ficient to satisfie any man without farther trouble.

S. Cyprian was a Bishop and Martyr of the true Catholick Church, as famous for Learning and Sanctity, as for his Faith and Martyrdom; he wrote a zealous Tract for the unity of the Church, wherein he uttered those sayings which the Papists have so frequently in their mouths. Habere non po­test Deum Patrem, qui Ecclesiam non habet Matrem: he cannot have God for his Father, who will not have the Church for his Mother; And, As no man was saved out of Noah's Ark: so, no man can be saved out of the Church. Which being spoken by so great a man, seem to carry great Autho­rity with them: But, if I might freely speak my mind, I would say of them, that they are fine flourishing sentences sounding handsomely to the ear, but cannot much satisfie a mans reason, unless he had clearly exprest what he means by the word Ecclesia, Church. I know full well what the Pa­pists mean by it; they mean the Bishop of Rome and his Clergy, and all those that are of his Faith and Communion, and believe that no man can be saved that is not in that Communion: And this is with them the Mother Church and Noah's Ark. But I shall now plainly shew, that S. Cypri­an meant no such thing: for in the beginning of this Tract he declares that St. Peter (whom the Papists would needs have to be the Founder of their Church) had no Autho­rity over the rest of the Apostles and Churches founded by [Page 66] them: but that all the Apostles were of equal honour and authority, Pari consortio praediti & honoris & potestatis. Which saying he fully confirmed by his practice, which is the clearest exposition of a mans meaning; for a great dispute arising between him and Stephen the Bishop of Rome about Rebaptizing those which were Christned in Heretical Churches, S. Cyprian declared, his Judgment was for Re­baptizing; Stephen declares the contrary: and both parties adhering stifly to their own opinions, the dispute grew so high that Cyprian held a Council of all the African Bishops, and there Decreed, that they ought to be Rebaptized; for there being but one Baptism, which was to be had only in the true Church, the Heretical Baptism being done out of the true Church, was no Baptism. Here 'tis plain, S. Cyprian meant by the word Church, his Church and all that were in Communion with him. Stephen on the other side calls a Council at Rome, and there Decrees, that the Heretical Bap­tism being performed in due manner, though the Priest Bap­tizing were an Heretick out of the Church, yet the Baptism being in the form of the true Church, was a true Baptism. But Cyprian notwithstanding the Decree of Stephen, with his Bishops, persisting in their opinion of Rebaptizing them, Stephen Excommunicates them; which S. Cyprian valued not a straw, but called Stephen his obstinate Brother, and a favourer of Hereticks, Marcion, Valentine, Apelles, and other Blasphemers against God; as is set forth in his Epistle to Pompeius writing of this business. And Firmilianus another Bishop of the African Church, writing to S. Cyprian of the same matter, says, that the Roman Church vainly pretend the Authority of their Apostles (meaning St. Peter and St. Paul) seeing that they did not observe those things which were delivered them from the beginning by their Founders. Eos autem qui Romae sunt non ea in omnibus observare, quae sint ab origine tradita, & frustrà Apostolorum authoritatem praeten­dere. [Page 67] And a little before expresly affirms, that as the Here­ticks are persons condemned of themselves: so the Roma­nists favouring and approving their Baptism, did adjudge and make themselves partakers of their damnable Heresies. By all which it is most evident, that S. Cyprian and the other Bishops of Africa did not mean the Roman Church for the Mother Church and Noah's Ark, out of whose Communion there was no Salvation: for though they were Excommuni­cated by the Bishop of Rome and his Clergy, persisted in their Opinion and slighted very much his Excommunica­tion, and esteemed their own Church to be that Mother Church and Noah's Ark, out of which there was no Salva­tion. And in like manner I conceive all other Fathers, who so magnifie the Churches Authority, mean that Church who are of the same Faith and Communion with themselves, sup­posing still their own to be the right, though ever so wrong. So that before you can with reason submit your self to the Faith, and put your self into the Communion of any Church, it is requisite for you to be assured which Church hath the true Faith and saving Communion: which must be found out by that only safe Rule of Scripture, by which all Churches ought to be examined and tried. And now I shall proceed a little farther with the Papists, and here challenge them to bring me any one sentence from any one antient Father of the Church, who with all his magnifying the Authority of the Church of Rome, or the whole Church in general, doth yet ascribe unto it power to propose any new Article of Faith by their own Authority, without Scripture-proof; much less to countermand any one Scripture-precept. And unless the Papists can shew this, they shew nothing for their belief and practice of those many things I have formerly mentioned; and for which they have not one tittle of Scri­pture proof: And this I have said for the fuller confutation of the Papists: for we take the Scripture for our only rule [Page 68] of faith, and conceive our selves bound to believe nothing more than what is there declared, as I hope I have fully pro­ved.

The conclusion then of all must be, That we can have no infallible assurance for our faith to rest upon, but the Scri­ptures, the word of God, and not of man. In the Scriptures we have Eternal Life, and therefore are commanded to search them for it; and there we shall find all necessary saving truth plainly set forth, as I shewed you. The humble searcher and fervent Prayer cannot fail of it: He that thus seeks hath our Saviours never-failing promise to find. And thus the beginning and ending of our discourse must be one and the same, Search the Scriptures, for in them ye have Eternal Life.

Having at length finished the several parts of my Text, I shall now in as few words as may be, declare unto you my motive end why I undertook this work. No man is such a stranger in our Ierusalem as not to know what is daily discour­sed in all places. Many timerous Zelots cannot hold in their fears; many insulting Papists cannot hold in their hopes, that Popery will again bear rule in this Nation. For my own part weighing things according to reason, I mean such a mea­sure of reason as God hath given me, I cannot see any great probability of it: for the great goodness of God hath given us so gracious a King and so averse to Popery, as that when it would have been a very great advantage to him, he could not by any means be brought to embrace it. We may be then assured he will not hearken to it now, when in all pro­bability, it will dangerously shake, if not overturn also the very foundations of Regal Government in this Nation. Be­sides, the Sunshine of the Gospel, for ever blessed be God for it, hath so long appeared in our Church, and so disco­vered the grossness of Popish errors in matters of faith, such foppish superstitions in their practice, as that men, women, and children, plainly see and deride them. So that Scripture [Page 69] and Reason being so prevalent against Popery, and the Uni­versal genius of the Nation so averse to it, in reason I should think we are pretty safe from it. But when I consider our course of life is so contrary to Reason, and so bestial; so con­trary to Religion, and so atheistical; so contrary to Gospel light, and such deeds of darkness daily committed; it seems too probable we may soon become of any or no faith, who are already become such beasts and devils in practice. Have we not then great cause of fear, that God, after so many and so great blessings to draw our hearts unto him with cords of love, and (these failing of effect) after so many chastising judgments to fright us from our sins by smarting Rods; and all these also rendred vain, and God daily provoked more and more by our loud crying sins for vengeance: Have we not great cause of fear, that God will bring upon us that si­nal and severe judgment, as to take from us the light of his Holy Gospel, which we have so desperately abused and pro­faned, and leave us to our own blindness, to work out our present confusion and future damnation? Hence, and hence only, arises all my fear. This makes the whole head sick, and the whol heart [...], Isa. i. 5. For this cause I did resolve to advise you, That whilest you have the light, you would walk as Children of the light; and whilst you have the Scriptures before you, you would search into them, and arm your selves against the assaults of the world and the flesh; against the powers of darkness, and cunning craftiness of those that lie in wait to deceive. What God pleases to do with us, he only can tell: I will never cease to hope in his infinite mercy; nor can I cease to fear our own wickedness almost infinite, certainly never so excessive in this Nation. Whether God for this hath determined to bring upon us the evil day, I know not; but this I know, that if he hath so determined, now is the time to prepare for it before hand, and not when 'tis come; for then mens [Page 70] hearts will be so filled with fears and cares to avoid the pre­sent evil, and to preserve what they have in this world, as that they will not be able to make a right judgment of things relating to the world to come; but their reason will be so biassed by their affections, as then to think those Arguments for the Popish Religion rational and plausible, which now they think very simple and absurd. Wherefore now in this time of peace and calmness, when your reason is not distur­bed with tumults, nor your conscience awed with dangers; I here ask you in the presence of God, Are your judgments convinced by those Arguments which I have laid before you in Gods Holy Word, that the Scriptures contain in them­selves compleatly Eternal Life; and thus you ought to take them alone for the only rule of faith; and that you are not to hearken to any Doctrines of men, ever so holy, ever so learned, farther than they can make their Doctrine evident to your understandings by plain places of Scripture; and that whatever miracles are pretended to be wrought by them, if they tend to prove any things which you, according to the best of your understanding, verily believe are a­gainst Scripture, you are to take them for lying wonders, wrought by that great deceiver and tempter of man­kind, the Devil. Are you now fully perswaded of all this, or no? For your fuller satisfaction I repeat it again, and do you consider it well. Are your judgments? &c. If you doubt of any part of this, I, as your lawful Pastor set over you by God and the King his vicegerent, require you to re­pair to me, and propose your doubts, and I hope, by Gods assistance to give you full satisfaction. And if you are alrea­dy satisfied, then in Gods name, I require you to hold fast to the Scriptures, his Holy Word, and not to suffer your selves to be carried away with any wind of Humane Do­ctrine. And when, if ever, times of change and danger come, and your judgment begins to alter from what now seems to [Page 71] you apparent truth and fully agreeable to Gods Holy Word, you ought to conceive that alteration proceeds from the de­lusion of the devil, the world and the flesh, not from any new inspiration from God, for he is the same to day and for ever; he cannot change, 'tis you that change. But perchance some will say in those days, This Papist tells me things I ne­ver heard of before, new and better arguments; and upon better information, I may and ought to change to better re­solutions. Oh, my beloved, take heed; 'tis not better in­formation, but the old man loves to have it so, for it will then make better for his enjoyment of this world. But I will now take from you this subterfuge, you shall not 'scape me so: Go now to the ablest Papist you can hear of, consult with such; see what new and better arguments they can now give you: and if you think you have met with such, come to me, I shall take any pains to give you better satis­faction. But if you come no more at me now, but in the change of times your heart and reason change, I shall (if I so long live) and you ought infallibly to conclude, 'tis not Reason nor Religion, but the blindness of your heart and the corruption of your flesh that leads you blindly away from the God of truth to follow the Doctrine of erroneous man. For no doubt you may now in times of settlement and quiet make a far better judgment of things, than in times of bu­stle and danger. No man, whilest he carries this house of clay about him, can mount to that high pitch as to be above the reach of storms and combustions, but will undoubted­ly be shak'd and disordered with them. The stiffest Oak will bend with boisterous winds. Wherefore now, as I said, is the time to make a clear rational judgment of truth, and to make also firm resolutions to adhere to that. And then if danger comes, and your heart be besieged by pow­erful enemies, be sure to observe the counsel of good King Hezekiah, 2 King. xviii. 36. Hold your peace and answer not [Page 72] a word to any deluding Rabshakeh who shall endeavour to withdraw you from our Heavenly King Christ Jesus, and his holy Word, and revolt to the proud Prince of Babylon, the Pope of Rome. Disputing is dangerous when interest is the Argument, that takes captive the hearts of most men: silence then will be the safety. And be you assured, that in that great and terrible day of the Lord, the word that I have now spoken unto you (for 'tis the Word of God) shall judge and condemn you if you, swerve from it.

Lastly, for a Conclusion, let me advise all those who are not throughly setled in their Religion, to endeavour it with all speed: no man ever so young, ever so strong, hath any assurance of life for a day, we see it by daily experience: and it would be a very sad thing for a dying man to be then to chuse his Religion. I advise you therefore not to delay this necessary work: and when you are on serious mature con­sideration, well setled in the Faith, admit no more of debates, for 'tis a great artifice of the Devil so to busie mens heads in matters of Faith, as wholly to neglect good Life, without which Faith is fruitless and dead: for though we are justi­fied by Faith, yet it must be Faith working by Love, Gal. v. 6. And he that loves God keeps his Commandments, Iohn xiv. 15. and 21. And therefore 'tis meer Hypocrisie in those who seem so zealous for the truth of Religion, but take no care to live the life of Religion; of which sort there are too too many: they wear out their Life and their Bible in tumbling it over for Texts to oppose the Papists, but pass over all those Texts wherewith they should be armed to oppose the temptations of the Devil. These ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone, Mat. xxiii. 23. These persons will be ranked with those who in that final day shall come and say, Lord, Lord, we have Prophesied in thy Name, cast out Devils, and done many wondrous works; and yet shall hear that dreadful Sentence from the Lord, I never knew you, de­part [Page 73] from me all ye that work Iniquity, Mat. vii. 23. You are then to search the Scriptures both for true Faith and good Life, and to captivate yo [...] hearts in obedience to Gods Com­mandments, as well as your understandings in obedience to the Faith; both are equally requisite to Eternal Life, and both are plainly and fully declared in the Scriptures; they make us wise unto Salvation, and throughly furnish us unto every good work: so that we are lest without excuse in either. You know these things, and happy are ye, if ye do them, not other­wise.

And thus, Beloved, having laid plainly before you out of Gods Holy Word, the way of Truth and the way of Error, the way of Godliness and the way of Iniquity, the way of Life and the way of Death; I most humbly and most earnest­ly beseech our most Gracious God for his Son Christ Iesus's sake, to give you a right understanding in all things, and to preserve you continually in the way of Truth, Holiness, Righteousness, and Life Everlasting.



A SUPPLEMENT To the PRECEDING SERMONS. TOGETHER WITH A TRACT concerning the Holy Sacrament OF THE Lords Supper. Promised in the PREFACE.

By the Right Reverend Father in God, HERBERT Lord Bishop of HEREFORD.

London, Printed for Charles Harper, 1679.


IN the Preceding Sermons, I have proved these six things. 1. That by God's special appointment all persons are to read and learn the Scriptures, for their Edification in Faith and good Life; and therefore 'tis both foolish and impious for vain Man to take upon him to give reasons why the People should not read them. 2. The reason of this; because that in the Scriptures we have eternal life, as our Saviour tells us; which St. Paul explicates more particularly, saying, That they make us wise unto salvation, that is, they teach us all things necessary for our belief, and they throughly furnish us unto all good works; that is, they teach us all things requisite for good life. And these things the Scriptures compleatly contain in themselves, without any Humane Doctrines; so that if there were no other Writings nor Instructions in the World but the Scriptures alone, yet we should not want any thing necessary to eternal life. 3. That we are not to believe any thing with Divine Faith, but what is clearly con­tained in Scripture; for such a belief is a Duty be­longing [Page 78] to God alone: and 'tis the greatest and most acceptable Duty and Sacrifice we can perform unto God, to captivate our understandings in Obedience to Faith in God: and therefore to give this principal Di­vine Service unto Man, is high Idolatry; and conse­quently to believe in the Apostles themselves had been great Idolatry, had not Christ fully assured us, That they should have the Holy Ghost to guide them into all Truth: So that to speak properly, we do not believe in the Apostles and Prophets, but in God the Holy Ghost speaking in them. And for this reason we find St. Paul very wary in distinguishing, and declaring to the people what he delivered as from the Lord, and what he delivered as from himself, though he was perswaded he had the Spirit of the Lord, even in that. But yet no clear and full assurance that it was spoken directly by the Lord. Nay, our blessed Saviour him­self, though God and Man, yet would not have us be­lieve in him as Man; and therefore assures us, That the words he spake, were not his, but the Father's speaking by him. 4. I have proved that we have not any clear and full assurance from God, That any Assembly of Men or Church since the Apostles, are infallibly guided by the Holy Ghost into all Truth; and therefore to believe in any Assembly of Men or Church, without this full assurance of the Holy Ghost's speaking in them, is Ido­latry also; for by such a belief, you pay them the grea­test Divine Worship. 5. Though we should grant, That some promise of Infallibility were made in Scripture to the Church, yet this must include the Laity as well as the Clergy; for the word [...], which we tran­slate Church, is always set in Scripture for the Congre­gation of the Faithful, and is not once set for the [Page 79] Clergy distinct from the Laity. But there is no such thing as Infallibility granted to any, neither Priests nor People, nor both together. 6. Grant yet farther, that the word Church in Scripture should signifie the Cler­gy, and a promise of Infallibility made to them as Successors to the Apostles; yet the same Promise be­ing made, and the same Authority given to all the Apo­stles alike, the Successor of St. Peter and his Clergy, cannot from hence challenge any more Infallibility, than the Successors of the other Apostles with their Clergy and Church, But the Papists deny this Infalli­bility to other Churches. Certainly then other Chur­ches may as well deny it to them. All these things I have proved.

But now for a fuller conviction of the Papists, and perchance for better satisfaction to some others, I have a mind to grant yet farther, That Christ made some particular Promise to St. Peter above the other Apo­stles, yea and to St. Peter's Successors; also ('tis im­possible from Scripture to prove either of these, but let it pass so) let us now see how the Papists can from hence fix this Infallibility to the Bishop of Rome, and his Churches. For I have shewed you from Scripture (which doubtless is of better Authority than any Wri­tings the Papists can bring for St. Peter) that Rome was comprised in St. Paul's Jurisdiction, and that he lived, and preached and suffered there. But we will pass over this also, and yield to St. Peter's Jurisdiction over the whole World. What then? Then St. Peter was Bishop of Rome, and setled his Successor there. And how do the Papists prove this? They answer, that ma­ny authentick Historians tell them so: is this all their Proof? Humane Testimony from History, is this a suffi­cient [Page 80] foundation for a prime Article of Faith, on which depends the Salvation of all Christian Souls? Is this a sure Rock, or rather a bank of Sand, to build their In­fallibility upon? Do not the same Historians relate, that St. Peter was Bishop of Antioch? and we have more reason to believe History for this; because the Scripture tells us he was there, but not one tittle of his ever be­ing at Rome, but strong Presumptions to the contrary. St. Luke in the Acts speaking so much of St. Paul's go­ing thither, hath not one word of St. Peter's, who being (as the Papists believe) so eminent an Apostle above all the rest, seems somewhat neglected by St. Luke, which makes me suspect St. Luke was not of their Opi­nion. And shall we accuse St. Paul also for want of cha­rity or civility never to mention St. Peter in all those his particular and numerous Salutations to and from others in his Epistles? we must not think that their quarrel at Antioch, where St. Paul withstood St. Peter, stuck so long in his mind as to omit all Salutation to him in several Epistles. We ought rather in charity to St. Paul, to believe St. Peter was not at Rome. And truly methinks the Papists themselves, who pretend so much to honour St. Peter, do him no small dishonour in affirming him to be at Rome, when St. Paul answered for himself before Nero the first time; St. Paul com­plaining that no man stood with him, but all forsook him. And if those Historians, which the Papists rely on for St. Peter's being Bishop of Rome, speak true in the circumstance of time, then he was at Rome when St. Paul first answered before Nero: And who would not rather distrust these Historians, than believe St. Pe­ter forsook St. Paul, when he answered before Nero. Certainly whoever considers well all these weighty cir­cumstances [Page 81] from Scripture, may think them more pon­derous, than the Relation of Historians, for his being Bishop there so many years. In which Matter, if the first Historian was mistaken, others that wrote after, per­chance to save themselves the trouble of confuting him, and not fore-seeing any evil consequence arising thence, followed that track, and so the Error ran on too far to be corrected.

For my own part, though I will not gainsay the Hi­storians, yet I must needs gainsay the Papists, That Hi­story-Relation cannot be a sufficient ground for so princi­pal an Article of Faith, especially seeing the Scripture-Circumstances are so much against it. And they that will give full credit to Historians in this, must conse­quently believe the same Historians, affirming, That St. Peter was first Bishop at Antioch, that zealous City, which first took up that glorious, but then dangerous, Name of Christians. And is it not a disparagement to St. Pe­ter, that he, like old doting Lovers, should so much pre­fer his second Wife before his first, as to bequeath this his inestimable Jewel of Infallibility to her? May not St. Peter be accused as Ephesus was, Rev. 2. 4. to have left his first Love? Truly I will not so rashly accuse St. Peter, neither will I so rashly yield unto the Romanists this Infallibility, damning us all that will not sacrifice our Souls, and idolize it. I think I comply fairly, in yielding that St. Peter had some pre-eminence above other Apostles, and that he was Bishop of Rome; but that he gave all that he had to his second Wife, and no­thing to his first; so great partiality I will never yield to, but require them to prove it, by producing St. Peter's Will, which I never yet could see, nor ever yet fully understood, whom St. Peter appointed his first Successor [Page 82] at Rome, to whom he bequeathed this inestimable Lega­cy. The Papists themselves cannot agree upon it; some say Clemens, some Linus, some Cletus: Are we not then at a rare pass for St. Peter's infallible Successor, when they cannot assure us who was the first, to whom St. Pe­ter gave this Infallibility? For ought I know, this Jewel might be lost in the scuffle, and so none of them had it.

Moreover, finding the Papists so uncertain in so prime a Matter, makes me to doubt other things also. And therefore I farther require, to see the form of St. Peter's establishment for his Successors: For this is a clear Case, That in the election of any Officer, if the fundamental Rules of Election be not observed, the Election is void. Let us then see the form of St. Peter's establishment, for the election of his Successors. The principal Authors that relate St. Peter Bishop of Rome, affirm, That he no­minated Clemens for his Successor: And it seems this Sto­ry ran for truth; for they who will needs have Linus to be the first Successor, are forc'd to salve up their Story, by saying, That Clemens out of modesty would not ac­cept of it, and so Linus was put up, and after Linus's death, Clemens came in. So that we are not only igno­rant who was St. Peter's Successor, but by what Autho­rity also he succeeded; for it seems St. Peter's Authority was not obeyed, but another came in, and how he came in, is also uncertain; and which way soever he came in, I would know who gave them Authority, that did put him in? If St. Peter gave it not, as it seems he did not, but named his own Successor, who gave it? Or were they violent Intruders without Authority? And if they were no lawful Electors, sure he was no lawful Succes­sor; and so, for ought I can see, the Church of Rome [Page 83] is at a great loss for infallible Successor to St. Peter.

But which way soever this Business was carried at first, 'tis evident, that tis carried clean otherwise now. For at first, either St. Peter named his Successor (as most pro­bable in Reason, and by History also,) or he was chosen by the Clergy alone, as many think; for that Custom seems to have continued a while in the Church; the People being but few, and bearing wonderful Reverence to their Pastors, were wholly governed by them in all things. Or he was chosen by the Clergy and People both; for after the People were grown numerous, they grew also factious, and would not receive such Pastors as the Clergy elected, unless they also approved them, taking upon themselves a share in the Election: And this was so generally practised in all Churches, that at length he was not allowed a lawful Pastor, that was not thus chosen. Now which way of all these, St. Peter's Suc­cessor was chosen at first, and afterwards for hundreds of years, this is evident, That the Election now is quite otherwise, than it was for many hundred years; for now he is chosen by a select company of Cardinals, an Order of Clergy never heard of in former Ages, all created by Popes, some in Favour to their Kindred, some in Faction, to keep up their Party in Rome, some in Policy, to get interest with foreign Princes, creating their Relations, as fit for Clergy-men, as St. Peter was for a Courtier; and these are the gallant Men, that must chuse us an in­fallible Successor to St. Peter; whereas doubtless St. Pe­ter would abhor such spruce, delicate, effeminate Clergy; I will say no worse of them, though the World talks loud things of another-guess nature. But let these Men be what they will in their Lives, I look upon them to be in no Au­thority for Election, not being instituted by St. Peter, nor [Page 84] conformed to the primitive practice, the Election being then, as before related, either by all the Clergy (no Bishop being excluded, as now) or by all the Clergy and People both. Moreover, put the case these Cardinals should be divided in their Election, and set up several Popes as they have done, who remained so several years, therefore may many more; whose Infallibility then must we rely on? If you tell me, this may happen, how-ever he be chosen, pardon me, not if he be chosen and nominated by his Predecessor, as in all probability, and best of History, St. Peters Suc­cessor was. But it may be again replied, That the Prede­cessor may die a sudden death, and then we are to seek; or if other Bishops chuse him, they may be divided; or if Clergy and People are to make the Election, they also may be dis-joynted and divided; and thus we are to seek as well as in the Cardinal's Division. All this is true; and for all these probable confusions, I cannot think God left his Church in this confused manner, so as doubting Souls cannot tell to whom to make their address, to be resolved in Matters of Salvation.

Again, their Council of Florence determined and decla­red, That the intention of the Minister is requisite to the effect of every Sacrament: As for example, If one of their Priests should pronounce the words of Consecration in the Lord's Supper, and not intend to consecrate the Bread, then 'tis no Sacrament, but the Bread remains bare Bread still; because he did not intend to consecrate it. (I pray you, remember this, for I shall have occasion to mention it again hereafter.) So when any Bishop says the words for or­daining a Priest, and doth not intend really to ordain, they say he is no Priest. So when an Archbishop, seeming to consecrate another Bishop, says the words, but doth not in­tend his Consecration; then they believe, this Man is not hereby really made Bishop, the words, without the intenti­on, [Page 85] having no effect. From hence 'tis evident, That if the Bishop that consecrated the Pope, did not intend to make him Bishop, he is none; or if the Bishop that conse­crated that Bishop that consecrated the Pope, did not in­tend it, then he was no Bishop, and consequently could not consecrate a Bishop, he being none himself. So that going back from Bishop to Bishop, if one of a hundred in process of time hath failed of intention, then there can be no assu­rance that this Man is really a Bishop and Pope. Now con­sidering how many devilish wicked Bishops have been among them, 'tis more than probable, some one of them hath minded the business of his Consecration no more than a Horse; nay, perchance in the wickedness of his heart, hath laughed at that thing as a meer foppery; as that blas­phemous, devilish Pope, laughing, said, O quantum nobis profuit haec Fabula Christi! What mighty advantage hath that Fable of Christ brought unto us! But whether he re­ally intended Consecration or no, that being in the secret of his own heart alone, is impossible to be known by ano­ther. 'Tis then most evident, we cannot possibly have any assurance that such a M [...]n is a Priest, Bishop, Pope, and St. Peter's Successor, and if he be not St. Peter's Successor, then his Determinations signifie nothing, as the Papists confess. Where then is their assurance of any Pope's [...]nfal­libility, having no assurance that he is Pope, Bishop, or Priest? Can any Man think Gods infinite Goodness and Provi­dence, would leave hi [...] Church in so great distraction, as the Papist s belief of their Pope's Infallibility embroils us in? No certainly; but God hath left us a short and safe way, his holy Scripture, in searching of which with since­rity and humility, we shall be sure to find eternal life; for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

I have a desire to go yet a little farther. And let us sup­pose there were Infallibility settled in the Church of Rome; [Page 86] I desire to know particularly, where 'tis to be found. Here we shall find the Papists at a great stand. Some say, 'Tis in the Pope alone, some in a General Council alone, some say, in Pope and Council together. Nay, some will farther tell you, That whether Pope, or Council, or both together decree any thing, yet that Decree is not obliga­tory in any National Church (as for example, in the Church of France,) unless the Church of France have ap­proved and received that Council. You see, at what a loss we are still for Infallibility, they themselves are not agreed where 'tis to be found. But certainly, of these three several Opinions (I pass over the fourth) it is most rational, and coherent to their first Principle, That the In­fallibility is fixed in the Pope, whom they all grant to be St. Peter's Successor; for this Infallibility being originally granted to St. Peter, 'tis most coherent to this, that it should descend to his Successor. Besides, they that would have it in the Pope and Council together, say, That the Pope only hath the power to call General Councils, and to confirm the Decrees of the Councils; so that if he doth not both call and confirm all the Decrees, they are of no force, nor any obliged to submit to them. And thus, in effect, this Infallibility determines in the Pope alone, the Council signifying nothing without him. And then if this Infallibility be residing in the Pope, I pray you remem­ber what I told you but now, the impossibility of assurance of any man's being rightly Pope, which requires so many assuring Circumstances.

But now after all these innumerable difficulties and perplexities to find out where this Infallibility lies, I meet with another grand difficulty, yea, as great as all these put together. For, if we consider what strange, horrid, wicked Creatures have been Popes (since the Creation of the World there have not been persons more abominably [Page 87] and devillishly wicked) what possible assurance then can be found sufficient to make us believe the Infallible Spirit of the Holy Ghost inhabits in such Dens of uncleanness and cruelty, as the Breasts of such detestable Monsters of Iniquity. To believe the high incomprehensible my­stery of our Saviour s incarnation, That the Omnipotent Divine Nature, and the weak Nature of Man are united in one Person of Christ, is sure a thing of very hard be­lief, and requires the express Word of God to make us to submit and captivate our understandings in obedience to it. What then can be sufficient to make us believe this, so extreamly contrary to all reason, That the All­glorious and All-holy Spirit of God, and the spirit of the Devil should be united in the heart of such abominable Popes? What can captivate our hearts to this belief? I confess we are to submit to God's Word; though it seem ever so contrary to reason, I dare not say otherwise. But then I beg leave to say, That I may require to see the Word of God for this as plainly, and as expresly as we see the Sun in a clear Sky at Noon. Gideon, as it is set forth Iudg. vi. after that God had plainly declared unto him by an Angel, That he should conquer the Midianites, and had confirmed his Word by that miracle of Fire rising out of the Rock, and consuming the Sacrifice; yet pre­sumed to require of God a farther assurance, by a Mira­cle of Dew filling a Fleece of Wool; yea, and after that a third Miracle of having the Fleece dry, and all the ground wet round about it; and the great goodness of God hearkened to him in all. I hope then the infinite goodness of God would not be angry if I should desire one, two, or three evident assurances to make me believe a thing to humane reason, far more impossible than his conquering the Midianites. God was graciously pleased to assure us by his beloved Disciple St. Iohn, of the Incar­nation [Page 88] of his Eternal Son, that he had heard, and [...], [...]nd looked upon (the Original word is [...] which sig­nifies consideringly to observe) yea, and his hands had handled the Word of Life: all which put together, is as compleat an assurance as can be imagined; and all this to assure us of the Union of the two Natures, Divine and Humane in one Person, as I said before; and yet the Di­vine and Humane Natures are not so extreamly opposite as the Spirit of God, and the spirit of the Devil. May we not then in all humility desire to hea, to see, narrowly observe, yea, and handle with our hands some fi [...]m Evi­dence of this Union of the Spirit of God, and the spirit of the Devil in the heart of Pope Alexander the sixth, guilty of Rapine, Murther, Incest, and all other Abominati [...]ns imaginable? Let then the Papists shew us from St. Iohn, or some other Apostle, some such full Evidence as this of St. Iohn, for this incredible Union, and I shall submit; but certainly never till I hear, see, and handle it: let them believe what they please.

Having thus, as I suppose, given you sufficient reasons to take you off from so long a Journey as to Rome, to con­sult his infallible Holiness the Pope: Perchance you will ask me to whom then you are to make your address for the determination of such doubts and disputes as may arise in matters of Religion; Hath God left his Church without any Head to guide and govern it? No certainly, we have a Head and Guide Infallible, Christ Jesus our Lord. But he is in Heaven, we cannot ascend thither, nor must we expect miraculous Voices from thence to answer us: I grant it, for there is no need; Hearken to St. Paul, Rom. x. 6, 7, 8, 9. Say not in thine heart, who shall ascend into Heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above.) Or who shall descend into the deep (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The Word is nigh [Page 89] thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the Word of faith which we preach, That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Iesus, and shalt believe in thine heart, That God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. You have Christ s Word at hand, God be blessed for it, 'tis daily before you: If thou shalt confess with thy mouth, and believe with thy heart what is there plainly set forth, thou shalt be saved: You have God's Word for it in seve­ral places, as I have shewed you, and that there is nothing more necessary to be believed: and if you will not believe God's Word in this, you will not believe though one rose from the dead, nor though an Angel descended from Heaven. And as for doubts and disputes there is no need, lay them by; nay, there is hurt in them, for they gender strife of words, from whence cometh envy, railings, evil sur­misings, 1 Tim. vi. 4. I have often told you, What is neces­sary, is plain, without disp [...]te: But you will say, The common people do not understand half, no [...] [...] quarter of the Scripture, as it there lies; What then? Then 'tis ne­cessary to instruct them further. In the Name of God do so: make them understond as much as you can of Scrip­ture, the more the better, though not necessary. And I dare affirm That whoever believes explicitely as much as he understands of Scripture, though it be not the hun­dredth part of it, and believes all the rest implicitly, that is, believes all the rest to be true, because God spake it, and also practises according to that he doth understand, that man shall be saved: And this I will undertake to make good against all the Wise and Disputers of the World: But if any man will be contentious, we have no such custom, nor the Churches of God, 1 Cor. xi. 16.

Tis probable you may Object, It often happens, that Disputes do arise both among the People, and among the Priests also, and though the things disputed be not neces­sary, [Page 90] yet 'tis necessary to have some of Authority to de­termine and compose them; otherwise great Disorders and Tumults may follow. No doubt but restless and perverse­spirited men will raise Disputes and Troubles, where there is no ground for them; yet there will be no need to deter­mine the truth on either side; but rather to compel both Parties to peace and quiet, that neither cause disturbance to Church or State; and this belongs to the Civil Magi­strate and his Authority. For 'tis not the determination of Priests or Pope, will keep such busie-bodies quiet; they will as readily dispute their determination. Was it not so in the Arian dispute which was determined by that fa­mous Council of Nice, yea, and confirmed also by the Emperor's Decree? yet all without effect, the Arians stifly maintaining their Opinion hundreds of years after. We see then that Determinations are as fruitless as needless. But in the first three hundred years of Christianity there was no [...] of Faith, but the Scripture alone; nei­ther did any Man, or any Assembly of Men after the Apo­stles, take upon them to determine any new matter of Faith, though there were several Heresies started in those days. The Pastors of the Church only preached the Scrip­ture, and required Men's Obedience to that; they that refused, were excluded the Congregation and Society of the Faithful: and they proceeded no farther.

If it be answered, That all the Princes of the World were then Heathens, by reason whereof no General Coun­cils could be called to determine more, though ever so re­quisite. I answer, let us then see, when that great Ge­neral Council of Nice was called under Constantine, a Chri­stian Emperor, what they determined. The Church then had three hundred years experience to find out what was wanting, and composed another Creed for all the World; yet added no new Article of Faith to that called the Apo­stles [Page 91] Creed; but only explained some things in that more fully: and whoever believed and subscribed to that Creed passed for an Orthodox, a true believing Christian. Doubt­less so many Learned and Godly Bishops would not omit any thing necessary to Man's Salvation. Let us then hold fast to that, for now I hope all was compleated: The Bi­shop of Rome, as well as other Bishops, approved and sub­scribed to this. We all profess that Nicene Creed: and if that Creed was sufficient to save all Christians then, sure it will save all Christians now. Why then do they require us now to believe more, Purgatory, praying to Saints, and a thousand other things, whereof there is no mention in the Nicene Creed or Council. The Papists will answer, Because many oppose them now, but nobody opposed them before the Council of Nice. They answer most truly: no man opposed them before, and why? because no man professed them before. These are new matters of a later hatching; no man in these days so much as dream't of such things. But 'tis not at all to our purpose, whether any then professed them, or any opposed them: for be they true, or be they false, there is no necessity to believe them. This is true, or else all the Bishops of that Council were fowly to blame in not putting them into their Creed: from whence 'tis evident, they thought them not neces­sary then, and so may we safely think now. But the Papists farther Object, Many damnable Heresies may arise, which the Fathers of that Council being no Prophets, could not foresee: I grant it; What then? why then it will be necessary to suppress them: I grant this also, and earnestly desire it. Suppress whatever is new set up, but set up no more new as necessary to be believed. This is the Point we still hold to: Men were saved, and may still be saved without believing more. Till they can con­fute me in this, their talk is vain and without weight.

[Page 92]And thus all, both Men and Women may be able to stop the mouth of Papists with their own Argument; when they cry unto you in their absurd wonted manner, Hear the Church. You must believe as the Church believes; answer, Yes, you do believe as the Church believes, as the Church and Council of Nice believed; you hold eve­ry Article of their Creed. 'Tis you Papists who believe not as the Church and Council of Nice believed; you have altered the Faith, and have built a great deal of Wood, Hay, Stubble upon the old foundation, which can never abide the trial of Scripture. From whence 'tis evident you are the Hereticks, for you have wilfully taken up to your selves several Opinions contrary to Scripture, which you profess to be the Word of God; and therefore you are, according to St. Paul, [...], condemned of your selves; for you acknowledge the rule, and yet go on in your will-worship contrary to the rule.

Yet notwithstanding all that I have said here, I declare this, When there are several Opinions and Disputes in a Nation about Matters in Religion, the Supream Magi­strates and Church-Governours may in Prudence think it necessary for the peace of Church and State to require all that are to enter into places of trust in Church or State, to subscribe to such Articles as they conceive most con­ducing thereto; and he that refuses, they may refuse him: no man is injured by this either in his Salvation, or Life, or Liberty, or Estate; he is as free as he was before. I hold only to this, That no man be required to believe any thing as necessary to Salvation, but what is plainly contained in Scripture.

A Tract concerning the Holy Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, which I promised in the Preface.

Good Reader,

YOu must first understand, What it is to take a saying in a Literal or a Figurative sence. For example: If a Man take a Stick in his hand, and say, This is my Staff; you take this in a Literal sence, that is, you take it accor­ding to the bare words, and usual meaning of them, that this Staff is his, he is the owner of it. But if he say, This is my Horse; you see that Stick is not a real Horse; there­fore, you conceive, he means not a real Horse; but that as a Horse is used for a help to carry a Man on his way, so this Stick helps to support his Body, and carry him on his way. This we call a Figurative sence, that is, signifying something otherwise than the bare words usually express: For the word Horse is not here taken, as usually, for a re­al Horse, but for another thing used as a Horse. Now all Men that reade the Scripture, find it necessary to take many things spoken there in a Figurative sence; for it would be contrary to all Reason and Religion, to take them in a Li­teral sence. As when our Saviour said, I am the Door, no Man conceives Christ to be a real Door; and therefore he takes it in a Figurative sence, by way of comparison to a Door; that as a Door is the entrance into a House, so Christ tells us, he is the Door, the entrance for us into Heaven; no Man can enter there but by him and his Me­rits. So Christ said, I am the Bread that came down from Hea­ven; [Page 94] no Man takes this in a Literal sence, according to the usual meaning of the word Bread, for real Bread, but by way of comparison; as Bread nourishes our Bodies, so Christ is come down from Heaven to nourish our Souls. Again, Christ taking Bread in his hand, said, This is my Body: We know that Bread is not Christ's real Body; we therefore conceive Christ means a comparison; that as this Bread is broken and bruised under your teeth, and so passes down into your breast to nourish your Body, so my Body shall be broken, bruised and killed, that by my Sufferings and Death, your Souls may be nourished to eternal Life. In all reason we must conclude thus, unless Christ had said something more, to make us think otherwise; for we have no other way to understand any thing Christ spoke, but according to the Rule of Reason, which God hath given us to speak and understand all things. But the Papists, who understand the former words, I am the Bread, in a Figura­tive sence, meerly because their Sense and Reason tells them, that Christ is not real Bread, yet will needs understand these words, This is my Body, in a Literal sence, That the Bread is made Christ's real, substantial Body, though their Sense and Reason tells them, 'tis still real Bread; for which, I desire them to give me a satisfying Reason; for in all appearance, both Affirmations are of the same nature. Cer­tainly then they must shew us some great Motive, that in­duces them to take the two forms of speech so very diffe­rently, being in themselves both alike. First, From Rea­son no Motive can possibly be found; for, by Reason, 'tis equally hard to understand Christ to be Bread, as Bread to be Christ. Secondly, If, according to Religion, we capti­vate our Reason, in obedience to Faith, 'tis as easie to be­lieve Bread to be Christ, as Christ to be Bread.

And 'tis very impertinent here to talk of God's infinite Power, how that can effect things impossible to Reason; [Page 95] for we most readily grant it. And therefore the Papists do as falsly as foolishly accuse us of Unbelief; and that we are wholly guided by our Reason, and deny the Bread to be Christ's Body, because our Reason cannot comprehend it. Do not we believe, God created all the World of no­thing, three Persons to be one God, God and Man to be one Person, Christ? Sure these are harder to believe, than that God can change Bread into his Body; and we would more readily believe this, than the former highest Mysteries, had we this miraculous change as plainly set forth in Scrip­ture, as those Mysteries greater and harder to be believed. Let them then plainly shew us in Scripture, that Christ changed the Bread into his Body, and we shall as readily believe it as they: but they barely tell us, Christ said of the Bread, This is my Body; and we again tell them, Christ said, I am the Bread: They require us to believe the first to be a miraculous change, and we likewise require them to believe the second to be as miraculous a change; they re­fuse the second, so we refuse the first, why not? This is the thing we still urge, to [...]hew us some compelling Motive, why they make such an infinite difference between these two sayings, when the forms of speech are both the same; yet the one must infer a mighty miracle, the other none at all, but as familiar a Figure as may be. Had our Saviour taken into his hand a picture of a Face, and said, This is my Face; what Man could imagine he intended, This picture is changed into my real substantial Face? but rather undoubted­ly conceive he meant, This represents my Face. And just so when he took Bread into his hand, and said, This is my Body; who can imagine but he meant, This represents my Bo­dy? And therefore, as I said, it requires some urgent Rea­son to make us think otherwise. But in stead of Reason, they return us Railing, that we are faithless Hereticks; and we reply, They are foolish Pratlers.

[Page 96]But now to shew how willing we are to believe Christ in this or any thing else, be it ever so much against our reason, we will narrowly examine and observe all circumstances in the institution of this blessed Sacrament, and see if we can find any considerable motive to encline us to this miracu­lous change of transubstantiating bread into Christ's Body.

In the first place, let us reflect on the Original type of this Sacrament, which was the Sacrifice of Melchisedek, King of Salem, when he met Abraham coming from the Victory over the Heathen Kings, mentioned Gen. 14. 18. And Mel­chisedek, King of Salem, brought forth bread and wine. This Melchisedek was a Priest of the most high God. And Heb. 7. the Apostle at large declares, That Christ was a Priest of the same Order with Melchisedek, in all things typi­fied by Melchisedek. Now what Sacrifice did Melchi­sedek offer up unto the most high God? Bread and Wine, real, substantial Bread and Wine: Doubtless then from hence we should conclude, That Christ being a Priest of the same Order with Melchisedek, should offer the same Sacrifice with him, real, substantial Bread and Wine. Surely this makes against the Papists Transubstantiation.

Secondly, Let us consider the Iewish Sacraments, which were also Types of ours. The Iews had in their Church two Sacraments, Circumcision, and the Paschal Lamb: and these were, as I said, Types of what was to follow in Christ; who abolishing that Church and Sacraments, did introduce two other Sacraments in his Church, Baptism and the holy Supper. As Circumcision was the initiating Sacrament to the Iews; So Baptism is to us: And as the Paschal Lamb was the commemorating Sacrament to the Iews of their deliverance from their bondage in Aegypt; so the holy Supper is our commemorating Sacrament of our delive­rance from the bondage of Hell. You see then that thus far our Sacraments resemble those of the Iews. Was there [Page 97] any Transubstantiation in the Iewish Sacraments? No: We cannot then from the Iewish Sacraments find the least hint of Transubstantiation in ours.

Thirdly, Let u [...] compare our two Sacraments one to the other. Is there any Transubstantiation, or any real alteration in the element of water in the Sacrament of Baptism? No: the water still remains in substance water. We cannot then from that Sacrament find any ground for Transubstantia­tion in this.

Fourthly, Let us consider this Sacrament in it self, what was our Saviours intent in the institution of it, which certainly should be a great, and the best guide to us in this business. 'Tis evident by several Scriptures, that it was instituted to commemorate our Saviour's Pas­sion and Death; Christ expresly declared it so at the in­stitution; Do this in remembrance of me; And St. Paul, 1 Cor. xi. 26. expresly declares it so; As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. Now let us see if Transubstantiation do any way help towards a fuller setting forth the Lord's Death. Let the Papists shew this if they can; it would somewhat en­cline us to their Transubstantiation: for my part I pro­fess sincerely it appears to me quite otherwise. For in their transubstantiated Sacrament, there is no represen­tation of our Saviour's Suffering, nor of his Blood-shedding and Death: for they affirm his Body to be there a Spiri­tual Body impassible; no breaking of it; no division of the Blood from his Fle [...]h: for they believe Christ's Body to be entirely Flesh, Bones, and Blood, the whole Body under both forms of Bread and Wine; so saith their great Doctor Aquinas, in the third Part of his Summes, Quest. 76. Art. 2. and there proves it in his School-way. So that in their Sacrament there is nothing representing Christ's Sufferings, nor Blood-shedding, nor Death: For, first, [Page 98] There is no real substance broken; for the substance of Bread, say they, is gone, and 'tis now Christ's Body, which is now impassible, cannot be broken. The Priest seems to break a Wafer, but 'tis no real Wafer, 'tis Christ's Body; that is not broken neither: So in truth and reality nothing is broken, 'tis broken, and 'tis not broken. And then for the Chalice, there is no Wine, nor Christ's Blood apart, 'tis Christ's Body entire (as they believe) so you drink the same, both Body and Blood together, which before you have eaten; and you eat before the very same which you afterwards drink: So that eating and drinking is here one and the same (rare School-devices). Let us re­turn to our own Sacrament; there is real Bread and Wine, the Bread is really broken by the Priest as it was by Christ, 'tis also bruised under the teeth of the eater: So the Wine is received a part from the Bread; both in a figure, representing unto us Christ's Sufferings, Blood-shedding and Death, and buried in our breasts as in the Sepulchre.

And thus you see how much better our Sacrament of real Bread and Wine shews our Saviour's Sufferings and Death, than their transubstantiated Bread and Wine. Now considering how many figurative Speeches there are in the Gospel, a man cannot but wonder how this Tran­substantiation with accidents only of Bread and Wine hanging in the air, without any substance of Bread and Wine to support them, how this could come into the head of the first Inventer; there being nothing in the Types and Sacraments of the Old Law, nor in the Institution of the New, to give us the least hint of it; Especially con­sidering the simplicity and plainness of the Gospel, preach­ed generally to a vulgar Auditory, and fitted for their capacity, and these Sacraments instituted for their use as well as others. But the Papist Doctors have turned this [Page 99] into such an obscure Scholastick Sacrament, that you must study Logick, Physick, Metaphysick, and School-Divi­nity many years, before you can understand what they would be at; without any Scripture-foundation for this their Castle built in the Air.

How? cry the Papists, without any Scripture-founda­tion? Look, we advise you, into St. Iohn's Gospel, Chap. 6. v. 53, 54, 55, 56. Then Iesus said unto them, Verily, verily I say unto you, Except ye eat the-flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. What can be more plainly exprest, even to the meanest capacity of men? Good Reader, I suppose you conceive that here we are hard beset; for these words certainly carry far more ap­pearance for their transubstantiating the Bread into real Flesh, than the bare saying, This is my Body; which, as I shewed you, is a common figurative way of speaking in Scripture. But yet, as our Saviour saith, If ye have faith, ye may say unto this mountain, be thou removed and it shall be done: So you shall see this their mountain of Obje­ction presently removed.

Come then, my Papist Doctors, Will you have these words in St. Iohn literal, down right literal, without any figure? I beseeeh you then tell me, What becomes of all the Laity in your Church? Will you send them into Hell, Body and Soul for ever, to make good this new-found Tran­substantiation? Doth not our Saviour here expresly declare, That, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his bloud, ye have no life in you: Eat and Drink, mark, and Drink; And do the Laity eat and drink literally? no certainly: How then shall they enter into life? Must none but the [Page 100] Priests be saved? Poor miserable Laity! I am sure you must literally be damned for ever to save Transubstantiation; a sad doctrine for you, whatever becomes of your Priests: I fear they will fare little better, that thus blindly lead you into this fatal ditch of damnation: Consider, I beseech you, how they delude and gull you. They press these words of St. Iohn upon the ignorant Laity, My flesh is meat indeed; to perswade them 'tis real flesh in the Sacrament: but when we press them with those words. Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his bloud, ye have no life in you: thereby shewing, That 'tis necessary for all to drink the blood, as well as eat the flesh; then they say, all here is to be taken in a spiritual sence, of eating and drinking by Faith. Wherein they say truly, but yet shew they deal falsly with you, making you believe all here is to be taken lite­rally; whereas in truth all is to be taken spiritually, and they compelled to acknowledge it so by their unlucky De­cree of taking the Cup from the Laity. Had it not been for this, good God, how would they have dunn'd our ears with this Chapter of St. Iohn! there would have been no enduring their lowd clamors for their literal sence.

But now I beseech you calmly to consider this passage in St. Iohn, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his bloud, ye have no life in you. Who so eateth my flesh, and drinketh my bloud, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. These words carry far more appearance of Christ's real Flesh in the Sacrament, than those in St. Mat­thew, This is my Body: which, as I said before, is a figura­tive way of speaking, very frequent in Scripture, and no body startled at it: but when our Saviour pronounced those words in St. Iohn, most that heard them were very much startled and disordered at them; yea, many Disciples left following our Saviour upon them, crying, This is an hard saying, who can bear it? for really it sounds very hard, [Page 101] if you take the bare words in themselves without our Sa­viour's Comment upon them (whereof we shall speak by and by.) This then is the thing I pray you to consider: if these words in St. Iohn, which carry so much a greater ap­pearance of real flesh in the Sacrament, yet may and ought to be taken, and are taken by the Papists themselves in a Spiritual sence; Is it not a most unreasonable and senceless thing in the Papists to cry out upon us for taking those words in St. Matthew, This is my Body, in a spiritual sence? It is just the same as for a man that refuses to take a guilded shilling for pure Gold; [...] out on me because I will not accept of a piece of plain brass for pure gold. But setting aside the Papists (who take all Scriptures right or wrong, as they serve most for their turn; and as they blasphemously call the Scripture a nose of wax, so use it, and shape all to their own [...]ancy;) let us now see our Saviour's own Com­ment on his own words, that is the sure way to have the right sence of them. I pray you then observe how our Saviour in this Chapter, v. 47. just before he began this discourse, prepares his Disciples for the spiritual under­standing of what follows by saving, Verily verily I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. Which plainly shews, that the words he was going to speak, were to be apprehended by Faith, and not in a carnal way: for as he saith in this 47 Verse with a double asseveration, Ve­rily, verily I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath ever­lasting life: So Verse 53. Verily, verily I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Here he affirms the very same of eating his flesh, as before of believing in him; shewing that our eating must be by Faith, and not carnally. And then again after our Saviour saw that many were offended at those words of Eating his flesh; to take them off from any gross carnal [Page 102] apprehension, he tells them, The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

After that our Saviour had thus instructed his Disciples, in the true spiritual sence of his words, we find it so rectified their Understandings, as that when he administred to them this holy Sacrament, and gave them, that which figura­tively he called, his Body, to eat, not one of them in the least scrupled at it; which doubtless some one or other would have done, had they imagined our Saviour had gi­ven his real Flesh. They who startled at hearing it, would much more at acting it; for their Faith was not yet so strong, as to believe such a miraculous Transubstantiation, as the Papists fancy; and that his whole Body should enter in at the narrow circle of their mouthes. For we see how weakly they staggered at our Saviour's Resurrection, though forewarned of it several times by him; and they had seen him also raise several others from the dead, yet would not believe his Resurrection, till they saw him, and scarce then. All which plainly shews, they took the Bread as real Bread, according to Christ's Institution, in remem­brance of his Passion and Death, and not as his very Body, entring in at their mouthes into their breasts; which doubtless some of them would have startled at, as I said. And can any Man think, but that our Saviour would have more particularly instructed them in so high and wonder­ful a Mystery (as the Papists make of it) before he had de­livered them his real Body to eat? he knew well the weak­ness of their Faith. Nor do we find St. Paul, when he in­structed the Corinthians concerning this Sacrament, say any thing, which might give them any apprehension of so dif­ficult and sublime a Mystery, as the Bread to be changed into Christ's very Body; and that all which they saw, felt, tasted, were only meer accidents remaining, no Man can [Page 103] conceive how; and 'twere giddiness to believe, unless they had been particularly and fully exprest by divine Authori­ty; then, I grant, we ought to believe it, without heark­ning to our Sense or Reason, as we do other Mysteries. Let the Papists shew us in Scripture their Transubstantiation, and accidents thus remaining, and we will believe all as firmly as they. I do not require their fine School-word Transubstantiation, but to shew any expression which clearly imports it, and that shall suffice. But to believe contrary to all Sense, to all Reason, without divine Affir­mation, were sensless indeed, not faithless, no Scripture requiring this Faith. And that Scripture in St. Iohn, which seems to say most towards it, the Papists themselves take, as we do, in a spiritual sence, not literal. What shall we say to these Will-worshippers, Will-believers! 'Tis meer Will-godliness for gain. This new-found Sacrifice, with new-found Pargatory, brings store of Mass-grist to their Mill. This we readily, and with cause believe, and so do they.

The Papists then taking that passage in St. Iohn, in a spi­ritual sense, as we do, they have nothing in Scripture for their Transubstantiation but those words, This is my Body; which taken barely in themselves, can signifie no more a substantial change, than, I am the Bread. And if we add to the words the Circumstances of the Institution, or the relation to the former Types, or to our present Sacrament of Baptism; in none of these we find the least Motive to a substantial change of the Bread, but quite contrary, as I have shewed you. Yet, I pray you, let us see what strange stuff, and confused kind of business, the Papists make with this their Transubstantiation. We will talk a little with them in their own Language.

Well, my Friends, let us hear how you order this your Transubstantiation. Our Saviour takes Bread in his hand, [Page 104] and says, This is my Body. I desire you to expound to me, in a plain Catechistical way, how you understand these words; and to save you as much trouble as I can, I will tell you my weak apprehension of them; if right, the Work is done; if wrong, I pray you instruct me better. I hum­bly conceive, when a Man takes a thing in his hand, and says, This, if a Staff, he means, This Staff; if a Stone, he means, This Stone. And so, when our Saviour took Bread in his hand, and said, This, I conceive, according to the literal sense, he means, This Bread is my Body; how can I conceive otherwise? No, say the Papists, Christ cannot mean so, for this would Logically infer a direct contradicti­on; for Bread, whilst Bread, cannot be Flesh and Bones; Flesh is not Bread. To say then, This Bread is Flesh, is the same as to say, This Bread is not Bread, a flat contradiction. How, my Friends! do you stand upon your Logick-Infe­rences, and deny the plain, literal meaning of Christ's words, because your Logick tells you it cannot be? It seems, you are now become the unbelieving Hereticks. But how then do you understand, This is; What is? What doth Christ here affirm is his Body? The Papists answer, He means no real, determinate thing, but something in imagination only. The word, This, must here be taken as an Individuum va­gum, that is, an imaginary Species of Bread, in abstracto & communi, which is a meer School-conception, that hath no other being than in the brain of Man. This Individuum vagum (we know not what) is Christ's Body. Good Read­er, Do you understand them? I believe, no more than I do, that is, not at all. What strange Whimsies are these to enter into the heads of Men, that would pass for learned and serious, and in a matter of so great weight? Beloved, Beware lest any man spoil you through Philosophy and vain de­ceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ, Col. ii. 8. Did Christ ever instruct the [Page 105] Apostles concerning this your Individuum vagum, or of ac­cidents of Bread, appearing without the substance of Bread? Not a tittle of i [...]. How then should these abstruse School­notions come into such mens illiterate Heads? They then must needs understand our Saviour, according to the mea­sure of their capacity. Wherefore when our Saviour took Bread in his hand, shewed it them, and said, This is my Bo­dy; they having no notion of Individuum vagum, nor of accidents of Bread hanging in the Air, without the sub­stance of Bread to support them, (things to be admired by all Men, understood by no Man, nor believed without ex­press, plain, and divine revelation, which they had not,) they must needs understand this Bread, real Bread. And all M [...]n understanding, that Bread could not be our Savi­our's real, carnal Body, when our Saviour said, This is my Body; they must needs understand, This represents my Bo­dy; their Capacity could not understand it otherwise, nor their Faith believe it otherwise, unless our Saviour had be­fore fully instructed them; which he never did, but quite contrary, Ioh. vi. told them, The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life; surely then to be un­derstood in a spiritual, and not a carnal sence. Had Christ said, This Bread I will change into my Body, that in a miraculous manner it may enter in at your mouthes, and pass down into your breasts; I hope, the Apostles then would, and we now should, by God's Grace, readily believe it. I believe Christ to be God, and can do what-ever he pleases. And I humbly conceive, Christ would have made some such necessary Paraphrase on his words, to make the A­postles and us understand his meaning; for certain­ly without some such divine Declaration, no Man could ever have conceived, much less have believed such a Mystery, as the Papists make of it. I am sure, what-ever we find in Scripture, relating to this Sacrament, makes [Page 104] [...] [Page 105] [...] [Page 106] against the Papists. St. Paul instructing the Corinthians concerning this Sacrament, had likewise a fair opportu­nity, yea, as I humbly conceive, I may say a necessary obligation to declare unto them this Papal hidden mystery, had he believed as they do, a real change of the Bread into Christ's Body. I say, a necessary obligation; for St. Paul, Acts xx. 26. expresses it to be blood-guiltiness, if he did not declare unto them all the Counsel of God; That is, all mysteries necessary for the Salvation of their Souls: it was necessary then for St. Paul to declare to the Corinthians this great and hidden mystery, if there were any; But he declares the contrary, telling them it was Bread which they did eat, 1 Cor. xi. 26, As often as ye eat this bread; and the Bread is eaten after the words of Con­secration. If then it be Bread when we eat, there is no change at all. And I pray you, let us observe also St. Paul's manner of Consecration: First he tells them, that he deli­vered unto them what he had received of the Lord, to shew his fidelity in the business; then proceeds to the form of con­secrating the Bread: And when he comes to the Cup, he saith, This Cup is the new Testament in my blood. Mark, I pray you, He doth not say, This Wine, but, This Cup. I here ask the Papists, is this a literal, or a figurative Speech? If literal, then the Cup is changed into the Blood, so saith the letter; Wine is not here mentioned. And if you talk of God's Power, God can as easily change the Cup into his Blood, as the Wine. The Papists then will needs have a figure in this Consecration, so we in that of the Bread; for it were absurd to take one literally, and the other figuratively. And I presume the Papists will not dare to say that St. Paul here prevaricated in de­livering what he received from the Lord, yet St. Paul's words differ somewhat from Christ's; but if we take them figuratively, they are in effect the same: which [Page 107] plainly shews, all here is figurative. The Papists then having no Scripture expressing any substantial change of the Bread, and we having a Scripture clearly expressing that it remains Bread after Consecration; I suppose their figment of Transubstantiation is sufficiently confuted; For had we ten Scriptures declaring the same, they were of no more force than one. In Humane Evidences, many are of more weight than one, because Man may erre; God cannot.

Yet there want not other Scriptures strongly implying a denial of Christ's Corporal presence in the Sacrament. First, Our Saviour at the Institution of this blessed Sacra­ment, commands his Disciples to celebrate it in Remem­brance of him: and it seems very incongruous to desire men to remember that person who is present before them. Secondly, Acts iii. 21. St. Peter tells us, That the heavens must receive Christ, until the times of restitution of all things. And therefore we see, Acts vii. 56. when he was pleased to shew himself unto that blessed Martyr St. Stephen, he did not descend from Heaven, but opened the Heavens, and strengthened the eyes of Stephen to behold him at that great distance. Thirdly, Ioh. xvi. Where our blessed Saviour discourses largely to his Disciples of going [...]rom them, and their great Sorrow caused thereby, he uses se­veral Arguments to allay it; and in conclusion, promises to send them the Holy Ghost the Comforter, of whom they had then but a very obscure notion, and could not receive any present comfort by it: But had our Saviour promised to return again presently, and be daily in the celebration of his last Supper, (which we find was daily celebrated by the Apostles) this would doubtless have been the greatest comfort imaginable to them. Who then can doubt but that our Saviour would have given them this great comfort by telling them so, had he intended [Page 108] any such thing as the Papists groundlesly believe: But of this we find not one tittle. 'Tis a common saying, Fa­cilè credimus quod volumus, We easily believe the thing we desire. Wherefore, were there (I do not say a clear expression, but) any good intimation of that the Papists would have us believe, what Christian would not most gladly and readily catch at it, and believe it with all his heart? For sure it would be a great and daily comfort to us to go to the Altar of our blessed Saviour Jesus that died for us, there corporally present (as they believe) and there with Mary Magdalen adore him, kiss those blessed feet that were pierced for us, wash them with our tears, and receive them and his whole Body into our breasts. If it be said, All this may as well be done now by Faith: I grant, a lively Faith of this, affords great comfort to the Soul; but whil'st our Soul is united to the Body, we cannot so refine and spiritualize the affections of it, but that we shall still hanker after some bodily comfort. And I verily believe the bodily part of the Papists Devotions to this Sacrament; as also to the worshipping of Saints with their Shrines, Reliques, Pictures, and such like, is a great means to gain People to their Religion. To worship God in Spirit and Truth only, though it be the only true Christian Worship, yet it is a sublime and difficult thing, and requires the Spiritual sublimation of Hearts by Grace. And this is the reason of the Jews so often and so easily falling away to the gross Idolatry of the Heathens: And in a great measure operates in like manner on the Pa­pists. And could we find any warrant in Scripture to save our Souls with such bodily worship, I believe very few of us would be found so spiritual, as not to encline to it. Wherefore, Let him that standeth, take heed lest he fall.

All this while I have said nothing of their Idolatrous [Page 109] adoring their consecrated Wafer, which they will needs have to be Christ's real Body. But if it be not, then they themselves confess (an evident truth without their Confession) That they are as great Idolaters as any Hea­thens, adoring a dead Wafer for the ever-living God. And I desire them also to remember the Determination of their Council of Constance (mentioned before in the Supplement) That the intention of the Priest in Consecration of the Host, is requisite to effect their supposed Transubstantia­tion: wherein, if he fail, they grant that there is no sub­stantial change in the Bread, nor any Consecration at all. Now considering how many careless, dissolute, yea and villainous Priests are amongst them; 'tis more than proba­ble, that many of them intend not at all this business, when they are about it; and some, as I said before, in their Hearts laugh at it as a meer Mock shew to gull the Spe­ctators, who notwithstanding, with all reverence adore the unconsecrated Wafers of those villainous Priests. All which makes their case so dangerous, that no man of any tolerable Reason or Conscience would venture, without clear Scripture-warrant for it. Wherefore I beseech them to consider, that we have a plain text of Scripture against Transubstantiation, viz. That it is Bread which we eat in this Sacrament after the Consecration of it, besides many other Scriptures intimating the same; we have both Rea­son and Sence also on our side; which two latter, we are bound to follow, unless forbidden by some plain text of Scripture; which they can never shew, bringing only one figurative speech, viz. This is my body; which they will needs have to be literally spoken: whereas there are many more the like, which they themselves take in a figurative sence. And our Saviour's own comment upon this matter, Ioh. vi. declares it ought to be taken spiritually and figu­ratively. But notwithstanding all this, put the case that [Page 110] we were mistaken, and they were in the right as to this, yet certainly our case is far safer than theirs; for they can­not deny that we have great probability of Scripture for us, nothing directly against us; so that we have a fair plea to God for our belief, though erroneous: whereas they have no plea, not one tittle of Scripture or Reason for their erroneous Sacrilegious dismembring this Holy Sacra­ment, flatly against Christ's Institution and Command, reite­rated again by St. Paul: Their case then is apparently dam­nable. If they answer, They have the Command of their Pope and Church: I reply, That if their Pope and Church have power to reverse any one part of Scripture, the same power may reverse another, and another, and in sum, All. This is such high Phanaticism, as it were as great mad­ness in us, as in them, to discourse longer with them.

But I hope they are not all so mad, and therefore I shall proceed farther to gain such, and knowing that they are great admirers of the Doctors and Fathers of the Church, especially the more ancient (though our Faith is built wholly on Scripture without them, and therefore I did not intend to make use of their Authority at all;) yet I shall here produce enough to give any moderate Papist full satisfaction, That their Transubstantiation is against the belief of the Ancient Fathers of the true Catholick Church.

First then I lay this ground: Their Transubstantiation plainly and necessarily infers Christ's Body to be really and corporally present in many thousand places at once, in all Parts of the World, where they celebrate Mass. Now if I can bring clear proof from any one eminent Father of the true Catholick Church, that Christ's Body cannot be in many distinct places at once, this Father clearly proves Transubstantiation cannot be. St. Austin, an eminent Bi­shop and Father, was always held not only Orthodox, but [Page 111] of great authority in the Church, cited frequently in the Papists Schools to this very day. And his great Piety and Modesty was a great cause of his great Authority; for he bore a singular Reverence and Submission to Scripture, still captivating his understanding to that; nor was ever known to begin or countenance Novelty, but always re­verenced the Doctrine of the Primitive Church; and there­fore most worthy to be hearkened to. This famous Bishop and Doctor of the Church, in his 57 Epistle to Dardanus, discourseth at large of this point. An quia ubique Deus sit, hominem quoque illum qui in Deo sit, ubique diffusum dicere possumus? Whether or no we may affirm that God being every where; so the Man Christ being in God, is also every where, or confin'd to a certain place? So that the Man Christ cannot be affirm'd to be both in Heaven and on Earth at the same time. And in the discussion of this matter, he sets down this for a rule; Cavendum est nè ita divinitatem adstruamus hominis, ut veritatem corporis aufera­mus, We must take heed that we do not so establish the Divinity of the Man Christ, as to destroy the truth and reality of his Body, which cannot be in several places at once, nor so much as in two places at once, in Paradise, and on Earth; though his Divinity fill all places at once, and is every where, and therefore concludes thus, Chri­stum ubique totum praesentem esse non dubites tanquam Deum, & in loco aliquo coeli propter veri corporis modum. Doubt not but that Christ is wholly present every where as God, but yet is in some certain place in Heaven, by reason of the reality of his Body. And as Saint Austin denies that the Body of Christ, being a real humane Body, can be in se­veral places at once; so doth he affirm that the Body of Christ must possess a place suitable to the largeness and dimensions of the Body, with length and breadth in pro­portion [Page 112] to every limb. Cum corpus sit aliqua substantia quan­titas ejus est in magnitudine molis ejus—distantibus partibus quae simul esse non possunt, quoniam suum quaeque spatium loco­rum tenent, minores minora, & majores majora. A Body being a substance with quantity, this quantity consists in the bulk of it, with parts distant one from the other, and not confusedly all together, but each one possesseth a proper place to it self, the lesser parts a lesser space, the greater a greater; because amplior est quantitas in ampliori­bus partibus, brevior in brevioribus, & in nulla parte tanta quanta per totum. Because the quantity of the longer parts is longer, of the shorter parts shorter; so that the bigness of the whole must needs exceed the bigness of any part, and consequently the space which the whole Body posses­seth, must needs be greater than the space of any one part. Spatia locorum tolle corporibus, nusquam erunt, & quae nusquam erunt, nec erunt. The proportion and bigness of space is so necessary to the proportion and bigness of a Body with its parts, that if you take away this just space from Bodies, they cannot be said to be in any place, and to say a Body is not in any place, is in effect to say it is not at all. Now you must understand that all this dis­course of Saint Austin in this place is concerning immor­tal Bodies, and even Christ's Body now glorious in Hea­ven. For the Question which Dardanus made, and to which Saint Austin answers, was concerning the being of Christ's Body now immortal; Whether that could be in several places at once, or is confin'd to one cer­tain place? And to shew that Saint Austin thus under­stands this Question, his words declare, saying, Nam ip­sum immortale corpus minus est in parte quàm in toto, &c. For that immortal Body is less in a part than in the whole, &c. and gives his reason. Cùm corpus sit aliqua sub­stantia, &c. as before.

[Page 113]I shall endeavour to make all this a little plainer to lower Capacities. The difference between a Body and a Spirit is this; A Body possesses a space according to the quantity and bigness of the Body, each part of the Body filling a space sutable to the proportion of it. A Body of five foot long and a foot broad, takes up the room of five foot in length, and a foot in breadth, and cannot be contain'd in a less space, each limb of this Body filling its proper place, the Head in one place, the Arm in another, the Leg in ano­ther, and so the rest; so that two Bodies can't be in the same place, nor two parts of the same Body in one place. But a Body having many hollow parts in it, as the Belly and the Head, and in the most fleshy parts, as in the Thigh, there is some hollowness, and porous parts in the flesh; so that these parts may be crusht into some-what a lesser space; and thus the Thigh of eighteen inches about, may be squeez'd into a compass of fourteen or fifteen; and so the length of a Body may be crusht some-what shorter. But when a Body is so crusht together, as all the hollow and porous parts are quite filled, touch and press one upon ano­ther, then you cannot possibly contract it into a lesser space; you can't contract a Man's Body of five foot, into the space of an yearling-Child, without destroying the form of the Body; or should you chop a Man's Body all in pieces, and put them all confusedly into a Sack, 'tis no more a Man's Body, but only the substance and parts which did make a Man's Body, whilst the parts were distinct, and each part possest its proper place. Now a Spirit is quite otherwise. An Angel hath no limited quantity or bigness, is not five nor one foot long, hath neither length nor breadth, is neither round nor square, can't be measur'd any way, hath no distinct parts of Head, Arms, Feet, and thus having no distinct parts nor dimension, doth not possess any place; [Page 114] one Angel, or a hundred Angels, may be contain'd in the circle of an inch, as well as a hundred foot, all alike. If you desire me now positively to tell you, what kind of substance Angels are, and what kind of Being they have, when they descend from Heaven to us, when I know, I will tell you. We that have no knowledge of things but by our senses, can give no distinction of Spirits, which are not at all discernable by our senses; we know what Bo­dies are, we see and feel that they are bigger and lesser, have distinct parts, possessing places accordingly. And so for distinction-sake of Bodies from Spirits; we call that a Body, which hath this bigness and parts, and call that a Spirit, which hath no bigness nor parts, nor possesseth any place; so we know Spirits only negatively, that they are not Bodies with parts; but what they are positively, or how they are, we know not at all. This being premis'd in general, we come now to Christ's Body in particular. There have been Hereticks that affirm'd, Christ had not such a Body as other Men, but a kind of aerial, cele­stial, spiritual Body, such as no Man can well understand; but all true Christians did and do believe, that Christ, as the Scripture saith, became flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone, and had, in all respects, a perfect humane Body of the Virgin Mary, died and rose again with the same humane Body, with flesh and bones, as he himself told Thomas, the unbelieving Apostle, and made him feel and confess it was so: And as he was perfect Man, so was he perfect God. Now St. Austin gives us this Caution, We must not so establish the God-head of Christ, as to destroy his Man­hood, but acknowledge both still to continue the same, as Christ was born of the Virgin Mary. When he lay in the Manger as a humane Child, his God-head filled both Hea­ven and Earth, his Body was in one certain place, his God­head [Page 115] in all places, and the parts of his Body were in distinct places, the Head in one, the Foot in another; had it not been thus, he had not been Man; had his Body been in se­veral places, or the several parts of his Body in one and the same place, his Body had not been of the nature of our Bo­dies, which cannot be in several places at once, nor the several parts of our Body in the same place. So that if we affirm, That Christ being God, his Body can be in several places at once, and all the parts of his Body in one and the same place, by the power of his God-head, we magnifie indeed his God-head; but, as St. Austin saith, we totally destroy his Man-hood, we make his Body to be no more a Humane Body of space and parts; but a kind of Spi­ritual Body, as those Hereticks affirm'd. Wherefore if we will be of the Catholick Faith, we must acknowledge Christ to be perfect Man, to have such a Humane Body as we have, which cannot be in two places at once, in Heaven and on Earth, nor the head in the same place where the foot. This was Saint Austin's Faith, and doubtless the Catholick Faith in his days; he being ac­knowledged by all of his days, and ever since, a prime Doctor of the Catholick Faith.

Notwithstanding all that hath been said, I grant, and sure Saint Austin would have granted, That as Christ by the miraculous power of his God-head, fed five thousand men with five loaves and two fishes, either extending the parts of those loaves into five thousand parcels, or multi­plying the loaves; so God can take any humane Body and extend out the parts of that Body as wide as all the whole Earth, or contract all the parts of that Body into the space of a pin's head or point, or can multiply that Body into a million of Bodies; but then that Body so en­larged or contracted, becomes a great or little Monster, is [Page 116] no more a Humane Body; multiplied, becomes many Bo­dies, is no more one Body. And so God can do with Christ's Body: but then multiplied in several places, there are many Christ's, lo, here Christ, and there Christ; if so enlarged or, contracted, then a Monster-Christ, no Man-Christ; which were horrid to affirm. We deny nothing to God's Power, that is not a Sin or a Contradiction, which are the effects of weakness not of Power; but supposing Christ to be as the Catholick Church believes, but one Christ, and him a perfect Man, with a perfect Humane Body, 'tis a contradiction to say there is but one Christ, and there are many Christ's, here Christ, and there Christ; to say he hath a perfect Humane Body, possessing the pro­portionable place of a Humane Body, and that he hath a Body, not possessing the proportionable place of a Hu­mane Body, but is extended in proportion as big as the whole Earth, or contracted into the proportion of a pin's head; these are contradictions and weaknesses, and there­fore we deny them to God as Saint Austin did.

Let any one now consider how it is possible for Saint Austin to be of the Papist-Faith concerning the corporal presence of Christ in the Sacrament, believing Christ to be in so many thousand places at once bodily present, as they have consecrated Wafers all their Church over; or that Christ's Body should be wholly contain'd within the compass of a little Wafer, and in every parcel of such a Wafer, divided into an hundred parts. Whereas Saint Austin believed, that Christ's Body continuing a real Hu­mane Body (as all knowing Christians profess) could not be in two places at once, in Heaven, and on Earth; and that a real Body cannot be in a less place than the quan­tity and magnitude of that Body requires, allotting a di­stinct several space to each part and limb whatsoever. [Page 117] Wherefore I cannot but conclude, that Saint Austin was of the same Faith with the Catholick Church of his time, and that the Papists are of a very different Faith from him and them.

I know full well that the Papists do alledge another place of Saint Austin's, where he seems to speak some­what in conformity to their Faith, as in his Explication or Paraphrase on the Thirty third Psalm. Where dis­coursing of those words, Ferebatur manibus suis, He was carried in his own hands: He applies those words unto Christ, saying, That they could not be literally meant of any body else; because Christ only bare himself in his own hands, when he deliver'd with his own hands his Body in the Sacrament to his Disciples. To this I could answer. That if St. Austin doth here seem to con­tradict what he had proved before, it follows from hence that we cannot take the authority of any Father for our Faith; because this learned and eminent Father, as well as many others, seems to contradict himself. But I will not make so injurious an answer to so worthy a Father of the Church; for in truth he doth not here contradict in the least what he said before, as I shall now make appear. Saint Austin in his Epistle to Dardanus, doth professedly discourse the point in a Doctrinal way, and doth not only give his Opinion, but the reasons that so enforce it, as that it can't be otherwise; But it is quite another thing to discourse by way of Paraphrase, as Saint Austin doth on that Psalm, we may well affirm that he used the common paraphrastical liberty, which is very frequent among the Fathers, especially the more ancient, and chiefly in Origen, whom I may well call the origine of such Libertin discourse; that great luxuriant Wit, making flourishes upon every word, often used Expres­sions [Page 118] too too light for the weighty sence of Holy Scrip­ture; but his great Wit and Learning having obtain'd great reverence, these things passed pardonable in him, and became too much imitated by succeeding Doctors: And therefore 'tis no wonder that Saint Austin, not much unlike him in luxuriancy of Wit, was somewhat like him in the way of Allegories and Paraphrases; wherein men do not so much intend the clear positive Doctrine, as flourishing circumlocutions and variety of Phansies. But we may the better excuse Saint Austin in this, if we take in Saint Austin's rule; That it is no strange thing or false thing to affirm that of the signs which belong to the thing signified, as he exemplifies in our Saviour himself. Non dubitavit dicere, hoc est cor­pus meum, cùm signum daret corporis sui. Our Saviour doubted not to affirm to his Disciples, and say, This is my body, when he gave unto them the sign of his Body, which was the Bread he blessed, brake, and gave unto them: And so St. Austin doubted not to affirm and say, That Christ bare his Body in his own hands, when he bare Bread which was the sign of his Body. And so those words, He was carried in his own hands may be said to be literally verified of our Saviour, secundùm quendum modum, after a certain manner (the Phrase St. Austin useth upon this very subject in another place) not literally in the exact sence. And the meaning is only this, These words, He was carried in his own hands, cannot be so pro­perly, or so literally understood of David, or any other man, as of Christ: for David in no sence can be said to carry himself in his own hands; our Sa­viour may, because he carried Bread, the sign of his Body, in his own hands. And now for the clear [Page 119] conviction of the Papists, and for the full satisfaction of every impartial man; It is evident Saint Austin himself doth in this very place plainly declare, He meant no otherwise than I have exprest him: For after he had discoursed much of this business, he con­cludes thus. Ipse se portabat quodammodo, cùm diceret, Hoc est corpus meum. He bare himself in his own hands, after a certain manner, when he said, This is my body: which, as I said, plainly shews he meant not, our Saviour did really carry himself in his hands, but, as he saith, Quodammodo; after a certain man­ner; which Quodammodo had been very improper, had our Saviour really carried himself in his own hands. But put the case Saint Austin had not here added this word Quodammodo, after a certain manner, yet any man that is the least verst in matters of Learning, will certainly be far more moved in his Opinion, by what Saint Austin Doctrinally and De­monstratively affirms, than by what he Paraphrasti­cally discourses, which is the slightest way of dis­coursing in the world. I will not here urge against the Papists that place of Saint Austin I mentioned but now, That Christ doubted not to say to his Dis­ciples, This is my body, when he gave them the sign of his Body; because he doth not there purposely di­spute this business, but brings in that occasionally, to prove somewhat else: Yet from hence it is appa­rent enough that Saint Austin understood the Bread in the Lord's Supper to be only a sign of Christ's Body, and not his real Body, as the Papists believe. But I return to the business in hand.

[Page 120]There is a passage in Scripture, usually objected against this Argument of St. Austin's, That our Saviour came into the Room where his Disciples were, the doors being shut: Which seems to imply, That a glorified Body doth not re­quire such spaces and dimensions of place as mortal Bodies; because our Saviour's Body entred the Room, passing through the material Body of Stone, Wood, or the like, as they would have it. This Objection is easily answered, That no Man is able to affirm, How our Saviour's Body entred the Room, it being not expressed in Scripture▪ but this is clear, That our Saviour might divide the Walls or Doors, or Roof, or Floor, and so make way for his Bo­dy to enter, and yet his Disciples not perceive it. As our Saviour passed through the midst of the Iews, and they perceived it not, when they carried him to the brow of the Hill, to cast him down head long; no Man supposes from hence, That our Saviour passed through the Bodies of the Iews, but by them unseen. Wherefore it not being declared in Scripture, how he entred, how can any Argu­ment be drawn from hence, of our Saviour's Body passing through other Bodies? and consequently, how doth this confute or weaken St. Austin's Argument? Certainly not at all.

I will set down one passage more of another memorable Father and Bishop, Theodoret, who disputing with an He­retick named Eranistes, that denied our Saviour to have a real, humane, substantial Body, after his Resurrection, and affirmed, That his Humanity was wholly swallowed up in the Divinity. Theodoret, arguing against him, Di­a [...]. 2. Ch. 24. affirmeth, That as the Bread, after the Con­secration in the Lord's Supper, is not changed in form and substance, but remains the very same which it was before Consecration; so▪ Saviour's Body, after the Resurrecti­on, [Page 121] remains the very same both in form and substance as it was before. Which words are as plain in themselves, and as flatly contrary to the present Romish belief, as any Man can express. What I have here produced out of these two Fathers, is found in those Books of theirs, which the Papists themselves allow to be their own authentick Wri­tings; not out of any controverted Books, as the Papists often do cite many things out of spurious Books, which bear only the Name of Fathers, but are not their own ge­nuine Writings, and acknowledged by Bellarmine, and other learned Papists, to be supposititious.

And now, I desire the Papists, first, to produce any one cotemporary or later Father or Doctor of the Church, that condemns St. Austin's or Theodoret's Opinion or Argu­ments in this Matter; and what they wrote, was publish­ed to all the Church. Certainly then, if they had publish­ed this flatly contrary to the received Opinion of the Church, some, or rather many, would have reproved them; but none ever did, ancient or later. Assuredly then the Church did not believe Transubstantiation; for that expresly declares the substance of Bread to be changed, and also necessarily infers, that Christ's Body is in many places at once, and that his whole Body is contained with­in the compass of a little Wafer; all which St. Austin flatly denies. It is most evident, that St. Austin and the Church then believed directly contrary to what the Papist-Church now believes. And I farther desire the Papists to consi­der, That what I have set down out of St. Austin, is not a Sentence fallen from him, as it were by chance, but a serious Affirmation, in Answer to a Question con­cerning this very Matter; and the thing not only barely affirmed, but proved by many convincing Argu­ments.

[Page 122]Secondly, I desire the Papists to produce any one Father or Doctor of the Catholick Church, within four, (I may say five, or six, or more,) hundred years after Christ, that by way of Doctrine, and in a continued Discourse, plainly affirms, That the sub­stance of Bread is changed into Christ's Body, or any accidents of Bread hanging in the Air, without real Bread to support them, as their subtil, fanciful School­men now talk; or that Christ's real Body can be in many distinct places at once; or that his whole Body can be contained within the compass of an inch, as it is now believed by the Papists. And had the anci­ent Church believed such strange, mystical things of this blessed Sacrament, as the Romanists now do, who can doubt, but some one or other of the many famous Writers in those days, would have some where expli­cated and declared the same.

I know full well, that some of the ancient Fathers, have, in their Rhetorical Discourses, expressions, that carry some colour for them, and as many for us; which truly I value not much on either side, for a very good Reason which Valentia the Jesuit gives, (being urged with some Arguments out of the Fa­thers against himself, concerning Transubstantiation;) That before this Question of the Sacrament was agi­tated, 'tis no wonder, if some of the Fathers, minùs consideratè & rectè hac de re senserint & scripscrint, did not so considerately think and write of this Mat­ter, but took great liberty of speech, not fore-seeing the ill use would be made of it. And therefore to stir up the People's Devotion to the Sacrament, which was fallen much from the primitive zeal, to [Page 123] great coldness, they used high, Rhetorical expres­sions, such as the Papists themselves will not al­low of, in a literal sence: As when Chrysostome telleth the People, That their Teeth are fixed in the Flesh of Christ, their Tongues bloudied with his Bloud, and that the Assembly of the People was made red by the same: Which strange ex­pressions, in the Papist's behalf, and some other as much against them, Bellarmine is forced to ex­cuse by a Rhetorical Hyperbole, but are really in­excusable. And if the Papists will not go home with us, to the uttermost of their expressions, why should we be bound to foot it just accor­ding to their measures? here to move, there to stop, just as they please to lead the Dance. And I shall make this further Use of Valentia's and Bellarmine's Sayings, That if the ancient Fa­thers did write so inconsiderately of our Matters in Controversie, how is it possible for any Man to settle his Conscience, and build his Faith up­on the Writings of the Fathers, they having so many Sayings so contrary one to the other? And still I pray you remember, that not one of them writes directly of this Subject. All which will force us to adhere close to that only true and safe Foundation of our Faith, the Word of God, who is one and the same to day and for ever. I have written all this, to give some sa­tisfaction to those Papists, who are so inclined to hearken to the Fathers, whom by Saint Au­stin's Rule, we are to believe no farther, than they can prove what they affirm from Scrip­ture.

[Page 124]Having, as I humbly conceive, fully answer­ed the Papist's Pretence from Scripture, for their Transubstantiation; I shall now very briefly an­swer two or three Scriptures more, which they likewise pretend, for some other Errours. For Purgatory, that of 1 Cor. iii. where there is men­tion of trying Men's Works by fire, and sa­ving by fire, &c. which relates no more to their Purgatory-fire, than to a fire swilling a Hog, as appears most evidently by the subject Matter in hand. Saint Paul discourses there of his own and Apollo's preaching the Gospel, and building up the Corinthians in the Faith, where­of Christ is the only Foundation. You must remember, that Apollo was a Jew, mighty in the Scripture, as 'tis said, Acts 18. but con­verted to the Christian Faith, mightily convin­ced the Iews, proving that Iesus was Christ; yet, it seems, did some-what adhere to the Iewish Ceremonies, and, as I humbly conceive, did thereby cause some Divisions among the Corin­thians; which Saint Paul doth there gently hint, not willing to disgust a new Beginner, yet a great Labourer in the Gospel. For there Saint Paul accuses the Corinthians of Divisions, some crying, I am of Paul; others, I am of Apollo: That is, I am with Paul, against Iewish, su­perstitious Ceremonies; I am with Apollo, for them. Now Saint Paul, desirous to unite all in Christ, tells them, that neither Paul nor A­pollo was any thing, but Christ must be all in all; for he is the only Foundation; and all Do­ctrines to be preached, must be built on him, [Page 125] and all tend to Edification in the Spirit; as Christ told the Samaritan Woman, that we are no more to worship God, either at Samaria, or at Ierusalem; that is, we are not to worship God, either after the Samaritan, or after the Iew­ish Customs and Ceremonies, (which Saint Paul here calls Wood, Hay, Stubble,) but only in Spirit, and in Truth, which he calls Gold, Sil­ver, precious Stones: All those external, carnal Ceremonies were to be quite abolished, not to be re-built again on Christ, (as the Roma­nists do, yea, and re-build on Christ some of the old Roman Heathen Superstitions also, as I formerly shewed you;) for in the fiery-Trial at the Judgment-day, the Fire should try e­very Man's work; that is, every Man should give a severe account of what he had built, what Do­ctrine he had preached; if pure, spiritual Doctrine; that like Gold, Silver, precious Stones, would en­dure the fiery-Trial of that day, remain and be rewarded; But if Superstitious ceremonial Doctrine, that like Wood, Hay, Stubble, would not endure the fiery-Trial, but would be burnt, and the Builder thereof would lose his labour and reward; but because he kept the Foundation, Christ, and was sound in the principal parts of the Faith, he should be saved, yet so As by Fire; he should pass a severe examination and check for building such gross carnal stuff upon so pure and spiritual a foundation: Which little particle, As, like a small spark, sets on fire and burns down to the ground all that stubble-building of Papal Purgatory: for no man is so ignorant, but knows that this Par­ticle [Page 126] As always denotes a similitude, a likeness to the thing named; and how absurd were it to say, Fire is like Fire? St. Peter in his first Epist. Ch. 4. v. 12. writes, Beloved, think it not strange concern­ing the fiery-triall, which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: Had they ta­ken this, as the Papists do, for real Fire, they would have thought it strange indeed. This Phrase of fiery-Trial is so familiar in Scripture, that no man can without wilfulness mistake it; especially here, where the whole discourse all along is figu­rative. Is not Foundation, Building, Gold, Sil­ver, precious Stones, Wood, Hay, Stubble, all figurative, not one of them literally spoken? Yet forsooth, this one word Fire alone must be taken literally. I pray you then take Wood, Hay, Stub­ble also literally along with you into your Pur­gatory-Fire, it will make such a blaze about your ears, as that the Pope with all his Holy Water and Agnus Dei's will not be able to quench it. Really these are strange Men, that will thus a­buse Scripture to delude poor silly people; un­less they repent, they will doubtless meet with a far worse Fire, than that their invented Purgatory-Fire, not As Fire, but a real and eternal Fire; from which, Good Lord deliver them.

In like manner they abuse another text in St. Iames, Ch. 5. v. 14. where he speaks of one of the miraculous gifts given to the Elders of the Church and Preachers of the Gospel in those days, to a­noint the Sick with oyl, and so cure them. This the Papists obtrude to poor ignorant Souls for their [Page 127] extream Unction, which they administer to Sick persons, not for their Recovery, but when they are past all hopes of Recovery, as a Sacrament, to confer the grace of Faith, and to strengthen them then for their departure out of this world; as different from the Scripture meaning, as the Sun-rising from Sun-setting, Life from Death. And just so they abuse v. 16, Confess your faults one to another; for their Auricular Confession to their Priests: which is a meer Exhortation to mu­tual and charitable Reconciliation of all Christians one to another, by the Offenders confessing and acknowledging the wrong they have done to their Neighbour, and then both Parties praying for one another; as all good Christians ought to do: for doubtless all men are bound in Consci­ence as well to acknowledge and confess their faults to the party injured, as to pray for him: And this St. Iames exhorts all Christians to do.

You see now what strange deluding Persons these Popish Priests are, who, if they find but one word in Scripture that agrees with one word of their superstitious practice, they pop this in­to the ears of silly people, and drive it in with a Mallet, yet quite contrary to the meaning of that text from whence they took it; which they cannot be so ignorant but to see. To whom, therefore I cannot but say as the An­gel did to Satan, The Lord rebuke them. Yet I shall not cease to pray to the Lord also for their Conversion; for which, while there is life, [Page 128] there is hope. I conclude then as blessed St. Stephen did for his Persecutors, Lord lay not this Sin to their charge.

Glory be to God on high, and on earth Peace, Good will towards Men.



Three Books written by the Right Reverend Father in God, Herbert Lord Bishop of Hereford.

  • 1. A Sermon Preached before the King, at Whitehall.
  • 2. A Letter written to a Friend, concerning Popish Idolatry, &c.
  • 3. A Second Call to a farther Humiliation, being a Sermon Preached at the Cathe­dral Church in Hereford, the 24th of No­vember, 1678.

All three Printed for Charles Harper at the Flower de luce over against St. Dunstan's Church in Fleet-street.

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