Imprimatur,

Hic Liber cui Titulus (A Vindication of the Principles of the Author, &c.)

Jo. Battely.

A VINDICATION OF THE PRINCIPLES OF THE AUTHOR of the Answer to the Compiler of the Nubes Testium From the Charge of POPERY.

In Answer to a late Pretended Letter from a Dissenter to the Divines of the Church of England.

As Deceivers, and yet True, 2 Cor. 6.8.

LONDON, Printed for Henry Mortlock at the Phoenix in St. Paul's Church-yard. 1688.

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A VINDICATION OF THE PRINCIPLES OF THE AUTHOR of the Answer to the Compiler of the Nubes Testium, &c.

HAD I not already promised the world in Print a speedy Vindication of my self, the natural care and tenderness that every man hath for his own Reputation are a sufficient engage­ment to set about the clearing of my self from being that Counterfeit, or teaching that Popery I am accused of in a Pretended Letter from a Dissenter to the Divines of the Church of England.

I have already hinted to the world in the Advertise­ment [Page 2]at the end of my Second Letter to Sabran the Jesuit, that I am very well satisfied not onely that this pretend­ed Letter came out of Henry Hill's Press, but that it was the Issue of the Representer's (or Compiler's, call him whe­ther you will) malicious Pen.

This, every one that I converse with, as well as my self, quickly saw, and every man else cannot but see, that either knows the Print of Henry Hills, or the Stile of the Representer.

Having made this discovery of their unhansom un­derhand-dealings herein, I was once thinking to have shewn how very conformable this management was to the Secret Practices of some of the Members of the Church of Rome in former times against the Established Church of England; but when I found Materials increase too much upon my hands, which would have made an In­troduction too large for such a Discourse as I intend this to be, I have upon that, and a better reason laid that design aside.

I cannot however but tell the Representer here, that I have read and considered his Third Chapter in his Third Part of Popery Misrepresented and Represented about the Jesuits in Protestant Pulpits: And that I found neither Truth nor Reason there, as I think I could make appa­rent unto the world, were not this a Subject too nice for the present Age.

I will tell him also, that it would have been as pru­dent in him not to have touched upon this string, since this is a Subject, in the treating of which he doth inevi­tably run himself upon hurting either his Cause or his Conscience.

Among the Methods made use of against the Church of England, there is none more likely to have ruined the [Page 3] Church, than that which was so much in vogue in the late King's Reign. I mean the beginning and keeping up of Fears and Jealousies against the Church, as if her Greatest as well as most Learned Members had been at best Po­pishly affected, and waited onely for a good opportunity either of stepping over unto the Church of Rome, or at least of accommodating Matters with Her, and meeting her half way.

How successful this false and most unreasonable Slan­der of the Church of England was, no person can be igno­rant, that remembers even the last part of the late King's Reign. What share some of our Representer's Friends had in the raising or fomenting those Jealousies, and Fears of the Best Church-men, and Greatest Men in it, is not so easie to discover here: That they had some share in them, is what we have very good reason to su­spect, since we are sure that they did reap the greatest advantage from them.

But when that time was come which the Fanatical E­nemies of the Church of England said the Church-men waited onely for: and when those deluding and deluded People saw that to the Confusion of all their false surmizes the Clergy of the Church of England continued firm to their Mo­ther-Church, and vigorous against all the Assaults of Rome; and were as far as ever from betraying the Cause or the Defence of the Church of England or the Protestant Interest; those Fears and Jealousies were laid aside and buried; and the Multitude began to have a new as well as just appre­hension of things; and were not ashamed to confess that they had been very much abused with those false Fears, and groundless Jealousies, and that they were now abundant­ly convinced that the Church-men really were what they had all along professed and shewn themselves to be, True [Page 4]Sons of the Church of England, and the most faithful and diligent Defenders of the Protestant Cause.

This discovery of the Sincerity of the Clergy of the Church of England was, I do not in the least question, very uneasy to one Part of the World, who could not but be highly troubled that the serviceable and prosperous Fears and Jealousies were now out of date, and laid by as utterly useless: and I do not doubt that they were there­upon no little unwilling to have them quite forgotten.

All the business was how to retrieve those Fears and Jealousies before they were clean extinct: and what must be done to keep some of them up, and to continue them in the Heads of the deluded People.

I can very easily suppose that there were as many Expe­dients almost, as Welwishers to the support of the Old Me­thod: but he in my opinion seems to have hit on the most probable means, who was for shewing to the World that there still is an Agreement in most material things between the two Churchs of England and Rome.

This was the Invention of one of our Representers Church, who it seems took it very ill that the world should think the Clergy of the Church of England were such great Oppo­sers of Popery, or that they really were as far from being infected with Principles of Popery as they were desirous to be thought at this time.

That he might therefore convince the People, and ex­pose to the world that great mistake, He prepares a Collec­tion, and publishes in Print his worthy design, which was to shew according to the Title it bears, An Agreement be­tween the Church of England and the Church of Rome.

But there were two great Mistakes committed in the publishing of that Pamphlet, which were like to ruin the design of it, and prevent its doing any good towards the keeping up of Fears and Jealousies of the English Clergy: [Page 5]the One was, that the Author thereof did discover so plainly what Church he was of, and the other was, that the Book did in its Title page shew out of whose Press it came.

Had it been the Work of some Protestant Dissenter, it would have required a fairer examination, and deserved the greater credit, as coming from one who commonly makes such professions of Conscience and Sincerity, and who (by his former share of promoting Fears and Jea­lousies of the Clergy) might seem to be in a particular manner interested to make good his quondam charge against the Clergy of the Church of England.

Nay, had the Author but personated a Dissenter in it, and published it as from one of that kind, it might have ex­pected better success. But for him to lay open so plainly himself, and to let the world know that he was of the Church of Rome, and which was as ill managed, to have Henry Hills to set his name to his Book, that so every one might know whence it came; this was too gross to im­pose upon any, and this was enough to blast the whole de­sign, since there are no people of tolerable sense but would as soon as they saw whence it came, reflect with them­selves, that this Book must needs be a ridiculous sham, be­cause if there were in reality any such Agreements between any of the Members of the Church of England and the Church of Rome, the Romanists would have been far from being either so uncivil to their secret Friends, or so much Enemies to their own Designs, as to discover their private Allies to the world, and post them up that every Body may know them, and thereby deprive themselves of ever hav­ing such secret Friends any more.

And therefore this ridiculous Pamphlet was so far from helping on, or keeping up the Jealousie-Design, or doing [Page 6]them any good that way, The Reve­rend Dr. Sh [...]lock. that it onely served to provoke that very worthy Person who was particularly aimd at and abused in it to publish a Vindication of himself, wherein he hath throughly basted the pretences of his Romish Adversa­ry, and broke the neck of the silly design.

The ill fortune however of that fruitless design did not deter our Representer from trying the same Method again; so good and so promising an undertaking must not be let fall for the miscarriages of one Man; a design so necessary must be pursued, and care onely taken not to make any more such false steps, as the former Author had, but to se­cure the Privacy of it.

To this good purpose our Representer comes forth, and presents the world with no fewer than sixteen Articles of Popery extracted out of one Book lately published by a Member of the Church of England; and this in the disguise of a Dissenter, and without any Printers name to it, that so the Suppositious Brat might pass undiscovered, and all that was said in this pretended Letter might be swallowed by the unthinking Multitude as if it came from some real Dissen­ter.

This new Method the Representer was pleased to try first against me; for out of my Answer to his Nubes Testium are all those Articles of Popery pretended to be collected, which are the Subject of that personating Letter from the Dissenter to the Divines of the Church of England.

But to the great disparagement of our crafty Representer, this Letter neither was so well managed as it ought to have been; for tho there was Art in fathering the Brat upon the Dissenters, as if it had come from One of them, yet this Art was forgotten, to personate the Dissenter a lit­tle better, for in this pretended Letter One plainly sees the Representer in every Period, and his own stile carried through­out.

And therefore, as tho the Author were conscious to him­self, and his Friends of the same mind, that his stile would endanger his discovery, all care was taken that it might not be known out of what Press this pretended Letter was sent: Randal Taylor the Publisher of it had a strict charge laid upon him not to discover whence he had it, or for whom he did publish it, and thereupon durst not tell whence he had it: and so resolute were they to have it concealed, that when my Booksellers Servant went the next day to Henry Hills Printing-house to buy two or three of the Let­ters among other Books, they denied the Letter, and refused to sell him any of it, tho he saw and pointed to a heap of them in the shop before their faces.

But all this foolish care was to no purpose, since Henry Hills Print is too well known to all Booksellers, and the Representers stile to all Scholars that have given themselves the trouble of reading his frothy Pamphlets.

I must confess that upon publishing my Answer to the Compiler of the Nubes Testium I did expect to meet with a great deal of ill usage and slanders; I had in my Answer to that Book of the Representer discovered two things in relation to the Author of it, which I knew would incense and gall the Author of it as much as they would please the Generality of Readers: the One was that He had stole his whole Book (except a small passage or two) out of Na­talis Alexandre, a present Writer of the Church of Rome, without once mentioning whence He had it: The other thing was, that He had stole the Book out of an Author, every one of whose Volumes made use of by this Pla­giary had been condemned to the flames two years be­fore by the present Pope, and all people forbid, under pain of Excommunication immediately incurr'd, the keeping, reading or transcribing any of those Volumes; and there­upon [Page 8]stands excommunicate for his pains by the present Pope, and cannot be absolved by any person but the Pope himself, or the Bishop of Rome for the time being.

The First of these did discover how much a Scholar our Representer was notwithstanding that Pompous Colle­ction out of Fathers: and the other shewed as plainly, how dutiful a Son of the Church he is notwithstanding all the fine things said in behalf of the Bishop of Rome in any of his Pieces.

As I did expect, so I now have found that I have in the highest manner disobliged our Representing Compiler, since I meet with the worst usage that rage or malice were able to dictate. I little dreamed that in the mu­stering up of my faults and mistakes, Popery would have been any part of my charge: but it seems I was sufficient­ly mistaken; and tho I, who may be allowed to know my own sense best, did believe there was no more Popery in my Book, than there is either in my Heart or my Head, yet this prying Representer can find a great deal of it there, and charges me (quoting place and page for it) with sixteen Articles of Popery; which large Bill against me I will now examine.

The three first Articles of Popery that I am charged with are about the Pope himself, in favour of whom I am charged with saying first that I can grant, that the Bishop of Rome is the Successor of S. Peter. 2. That that See is the Centre of the Catholick Communion, while possest by an Orthodox Bishop. 3. That whosoever separates himself from it, professing the true Faith, and possessed by a Catholick Bishop, is guilty of Schism.

And is this ingenuous dealing? must every Disputant be charged with what he grants meerly for disputation sake? And must every Writer be charged with what he onely [Page 9] supposes for argument sake, and to expose his Adversary more plainly? This is very hard and very unreasonable mea­sure to charge either Disputant or Writer with teaching what he does onely grant for Argument sake, and with believing what he meerly supposes for the same purpose: and yet this is my Case in that Accusation.

I was in that chapter of my Book out of which these passages are taken, shewing what a disingenuous sort of an Adversary I had to deal with there; how he, when he came to treat of the Popes Supremacy, instead of put­ting down a just and fair account of the Pretensions of the Bishops of Rome, did onely mention two or three trifling things which any one with adding onely to them two or three necessary words might grant, and yet be as far as any one ever was from believing the Supremacy of the Popes of Rome.

That I might therefore expose him, and shew the great looseness and craft with which he wrote, I did in that place undertake to prove it in particular: and went through all the Heads of that chapter, still telling him at every one of them that I could grant it, and yet continue without any obligation in the least of believing the Popes Su­premacy.

What I had said there, and granted as is usual in all Writers, meerly for to expose my Adversary, this Letter-Writer hath by sleight of hand turned into honest confes­sions, and makes me assert in the Letter what I had onely supposed in the Book.

Whosoever will look into that page of my Book, will quickly see how extravagantly abusive and false this charge in the Letter upon me is, and how very disinge­nuous and malicious that person must be that would from thence affix to me as an Assertion, about the Bishop of [Page 10] Rome's Succession and Unity, that which was onely a School-Concession for Argument sake.

And tho this answer is sufficient with all persons of sense to convince them what a Jugling Adversary I have, yet there is an Expression in that very paragraph, which does express, as plainly as words can, my denyal of and disbelief of any of those things that He lays to my charge in the Letter as fair Concessions of my Opinion about the Bishop of Rome: for immediately after those passages set down in the Letter, I have these very words; I can, I say subscribe (THOUGH I DO NOT) to all this without any Obligation in the least of believing the Popes Supremacy.

And here I cannot but appeal to the world to judge betwixt me, and this Jugling Adversary, whether any one could express his meaning more plainly, and his dissent more fully than I have done in that place, and whether that Adversary must not be devoid of all Hones­ty, Sense or Conscience that would notwithstanding such a direct denyal of mine expressed there, charge me with believing and granting that the Bishop of Rome is S. Peter's Successor, that he is the Centre of Catholick Communion, and, that it is Schism to separate from his See.

Had my stile been obscure, and my expressions been in­tricate, and those words, which did declare my direct dis­belief of those things, at some great distance three or four pages off, for example, from those quoted by the Represen­ter; there might have been some small pretence, some little colour for the knavery used here by him; but there was no ground for any such Plea, for the Expressions and stile are plain enough there, and the words, though I do not are in the very next line to his last quotation, and it is im­possible but he should both see them, and read them too.

With what conscience then could any man read those [Page 11]words, and yet have the forehead from the very same page, to bring me in as believing the direct contrary. I am so far from thinking that any Christian would be guilty of such a deliberate and injurious imposture, that I believe both Turks and Heathens would abhor and detest the being guilty of such a malicious Forgery.

As for that good Opinion of the Pope, which this Jugler mentions afterwards in the Letter as mine, I think I have sufficiently evidenced to the world in that second Chapter of my Answer to the Compiler how little a Friend to, or fa­vourer of the Popes Pretensions I am. If to shew that there is no ground or Authority from Scripture for his claims to Su­premacy; if to shew that there is no ground for the Pre­tended Supremacy from the Laws and Canons of the Uni­versal Church for the first six hundred years after Christ, and to back this with Three Challenges to all the Romish Priests in England to name one Canon in the Code of the Univer­sal Church that does either constitute, or assert, or suppose the Bishop of Rome to be that Head and Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church which their General Council of Flo­rence defined him to be; if to shew I say all these things be a discovery of a mans good Opinion of the Pope, I do here own that I have as good an Opinion of the Pope as any Per­son within the four Seas.

But I am afraid that I never shall have either favour or thanks for my good Opinion of the Pope: And however the Representer who I believe read that chapter thorough, does tell the world of his meeting with my good Opinion of the Pope in that Book; I am very fully persuaded that he does no more believe himself that I have any good Opi­nion of the Pope, than I believe that he is at this Instant in Japan.

But when a mans hand is in at such sort of writing [Page 12]and when he is resolved to blacken his Adversary, but wants Matter and Ground for such Calumnies, He must e [...]en do as my Adversary does, invent himself what he would fain have found in his Adversaries Work, and charge him with saying that in his Work which he does not, nay which he ex­presly denies.

I think I have fully vindicated my self from the charge about the Pope himself against me, and exposed enough the notorius Calumny of the Representer upon this Point: However, lest any Reader should not sufficiently appre­hend the first part of my Answer to this Calumny, and lest any of the Representers Friends should deny the Proof of the deliberate Falsification of my meaning, because the passage is not set down, and they converse commonly with those who either have not, or will not, or it may be, must not look into my Book it self, I will transcribe those two whole paragraphs thence, which are the Subject of his Charge and my Answer, and they are these in the begin­ning of my Second Chapter concerning the Popes Suprema­cy, p. 8.

Our Compiler being now come to a Point of debate, doth not forget his art of palliating, which was so ser­viceable to him in his Misrepresentations and Represen­tations of Popery. He cannot but know (and therefore ought to have avoided it) that this loose talk about Suc­cessor of Peter, and Centre of Catholick Communion does not reach the Pretensions of the Bishops of Rome, nor fully and fairly declare what Power, Jurisdiction and Au­thority, in and over the Catholick Church those Bishops challenge as their Right.

To let him see how loosely he manages this debate [Page 13]betwixt us, I can with putting in two or three necessary words subscribe to all our Compiler says for the Pope, and yet be as far from owning the Popes Supremacy, as the Church of England is or ever was. The Fathers teach, says our Compiler Nubes Testium, p. 22. that Christ Built his Church upon Peter: So say I too, if by Fathers here be meant two or three of them, and not the Fathers unanimously (as he hath it before) or generally. That the Bishop of Rome is the Suc­cessor of Saint Peter, is what I can also grant, and that that See is the Centre of the Catholick Communion, if I may but put in here what is absolutely necessary, while pos­sessed by an Orthodox Bishop, and that whosoever separates himself from it (I add, professing the true Faith, and possessed by a Catholick Bishop) is guilty of Schism. I CAN, I SAY, SUBSCRIBE (THOUGH I DO NOT) TO ALL This, without any Obligation in the least of believing the Popes Supremacy: All that our Compiler puts down here, reaching no farther than a Primacy of Order, does not at all suppose in the Popes any Jurisdiction or Autho­rity over the Catholick Church.

Having dispatched my Vindication against the Charge of the three first Articles of Popery, I come now to examine the fourth, which doth charge me with doubting whether there be really any Controversy about Tradition, betwixt the Church of Rome and the Church of England.

Well then, are these my expressions in the place quoted? Or is this the sense of them there? I must profess to the world that had I not already discovered the cheats of the malicious Representer in the former Articles, I could not have believed that any person of common sense or learn­ing would have been guilty of such tricks.

I had the same occasion in my chapter about the Tra­dition [Page 14]that I had in the former chapter about Supre­macy, of shewing how loose a Writer our Compiler is, and exposing him for putting that down as an account of the Controversy which I could subscribe to, if taken in that sense which the words would fairly bear, and yet be never the nearer to Popery than I now am, or ever intend to be.

Upon this, coming to examine what he had put down at the Head of his Collections about Tradition, I have these expressions; To state therefore the Controversy about Tradition (if there really be any) betwixt us, he should not have put down that for the account of the debate herein betwixt us, which is agreed to by both sides, nor should have omitted that wherein WE REAL­LY DISAGREE, and that is about the Scriptures be­ing a certain and Perfect Rule of Faith WITHOUT THE HELP of TRADITION, which the Council of Trent hath made to be of Equal Authority with the Scrip­ture.

One would think such clear expressions as these would have prevented my being accused of doubting whether there really be any Controversie about Tradition betwixt the Church of Rome, and the Church of England, but no clearness it seems can be protection against the Malice of such an Adversary as is fallen upon me: and therefore he puts down those expressions as mine doubting, whether there be really any Controversie about Tra­dition betwixt the Church of Rome, and the Church of England; when in that very paragraph I say that We (meaning the Churches of England and Rome) Really Disagree about Tradition's being part of the Rule of Faith.

And therefore any other Reader, less spiteful than my angry Adversary, would easily have seen and observed that the expression in the beginning of the paragraph (if [Page 15]there really be any) was used and intended for an allusion to that state of the Controversie which had been set down by the Compiler about Tradition, and ought not to be wire-drawn to make me doubt that in the beginning of the paragraph, the contrary to which I did directly assert within three lines after.

The fifth Article of the charge against me is, that I did say that the Tradition of the Catholick Church is to be received; and the sixth is of the same kind, that I con­fessed there, That by Tradition we receive the Holy Scrip­tures, and know how to separate the Scriptures from Apo­cryphal or Suppositious Writings.

I do freely own that these are my expressions in that place, and these I am sure are far from looking like Po­pery, if I that wrote them may be allowed to tell in what sense I did mean and intend them.

All the service that my Adversary could expect from the citing and insisting upon them was onely to amuse the common Readers with the Word Tradition, that they not understanding the Ambiguity of the Word, nor in what several senses the Word Tradition was used, might be tempted to believe that I was for setting up there that Tradition which they used to hear preached against so much by the Clergy of the Church of England.

By Tradition here which I said we receive or admit of, I did not mean that Tradition which is set up as part of the Rule of Faith in the Church of Rome, nor did I any more mean Tradition as it is taken for any Doctrine of the Church of Rome which they say was from the beginning delivered to them. All that I meant by Tradition there was no more than the bare means of delivering down to us the Word of God, and any Rites or Customs in the Ancient Church.

When I said therefore that by this Tradition we recei­ved the Holy Scriptures, and know how to separate the Scriptures from Apocryphal or Supposititious Writings: The full and clear meaning of those expressions was, that the Canonical Books of the Holy Scriptures, or (to speak to the meanest capacity) that the Bible was delivered down from time to time, and from hand to hand in all Ages unto us, that we did receive them from our Forefathers in the Church as they had received them from theirs up unto the beginning, and that since they delivered down to us onely those Books, which the Church of England does believe and admit for the Word of God, we do thereby know that no other Books could be part of the Scriptures, which were not handed down to us for such.

This is as much as I need to offer either in Vindication of my self, or explication of my words, when I spoke of Tradition; but because I cannot clear my innocence too much herein, I will shew the world that I had very good Vouchers for every word that I said thereabout, and will produce the sense of Arch-Bishop Usher, who never was thought by any Sort of Protestants to be any ways incline­able to, or guilty of Popery.

This most learned Prelate in his Reply to the Jesuits Challenge hath these words about p. 35. Tradition.

This must I needs tell you before we begin, that you much mistake the matter, if you think that Traditions of all sorts promiscuously are struck at by our Religion. We willingly acknowledge, that the word of God which by some of the Apostles was set down in writ­ing, was both by themselves, and others of their [Page 17]fellow-labourers, delivered by word of mouth: and that the Church in succeeding ages was bound not only to preserve those sacred writings committed to her trust, but also to deliver unto her children vivâ voce the form of wholsome words contained therein. Traditions therefore of this nature, come not within the compass of our controversy: the question being betwixt us de ipsâ Doctrinâ traditâ, not de tradendi modo; touching the substance of the doctrine delivered, not of the manner of delivering it. Again, it must be remembred that here we speak of doctrine deliver­ed as the word of God, that is, of points of religion revealed unto the Prophets and Apostles, for the per­petual information of Gods people: not of rites and ceremonies, and other ordinances which are left to the disposition of the Church, and consequently be not of divine but of positive and humane right. Tradi­tions therefore of this kind likewise are not properly brought within the circuit of this question.

Thus that most learned Man, whose Authority is so deservedly great in the world.

The Seventh Article of Popery is, that I said there, that I was willing and ready to receive any Doctrine not written that hath as perpetual, unanimous, and certain a Tra­dition as the Scripture; and that I onely wait for the proving this, and then I am ready to embrace all the Do­ctrines of Popery.

As for those last words, and then he is ready to embrace all the Doctrines of Popery, which are maliciously put in the Italick Character, that so they might be thought by the Reader to be my own words, I have no such expres­sions there, and these are onely the Representer's conse­quence [Page 18]draw from what I had said there, that we onely wait for their proving that any of those Doctrines they would obtrude upon us have been thus universally deli­vered.

But his business here was to make the passage look as invidious as he could, and therefore he was so very care­ful to put his own Consequence down in the most odious terms that he could devise.

The former part of the Accusation about my professed readiness to receive any Doctrine not written that hath as perpetual, unanimous and certain a Tradition as the Doctrines written in Scripture have, I do readily own, and plead guilty unto it, since I am very well satisfied that my Re­ligion, as a Member of the Church of England is not in danger of being shockt or endangered by it. I do still say, that I am now ready to receive any such unwritten Doctrines; which expressions of mine, as well in my Book as here, are far from supposing that the Church of England wants any necessary means of Salvation, or that there are in any other Church any such unwritten Doctrines so qualified for a Christian's Reception as I there require; but they do on the contrary suppose that the Church of Rome is not able to shew for any one point of Religion which they would obtrude upon us such a perpetual, una­nimous and certain Tradition as I do demand for it.

I used those words there, because I did not onely be­lieve, but was fully persuaded that it is impossible for the Church of Rome to prove in that Method any of their Doctrines which are refused by us; and if it be impossible, I suppose I am in no very great likelihood of ever becoming a Roman Catholick, while I make a thing impossible to them the condition of my ever becoming a member of their Church.

The eighth Article of Popery is my saying that there is no necessity of Express Scripture for the Constitutions and pra­ctices, which his Church enjoyns in order to the more regular and decent service of God.

But how comes this to be an Article of Popery against me? And how comes this to be christened Popery? Hath it not always been the Doctrine of the Reformed Church of England? Is not this a Doctrine common to all persuasi­ons of Christians in the world? I cannot but look upon the Representer in great pain and concern to muster up a set of Articles of Popery against me, that is forced to make a false muster, and to call that Popery which in rea­lity is not.

His weakness is as visible as his malice in this affair; as his malice put him upon making me odious by draw­ing up a charge of Popish Principles against me, so his weakness did in this place betray him into a miscalling that Doctrine Popery, which is common to all sorts of Chris­tians.

The Church of England hath professed this as her sense all along, that there is no necessity of Express Scripture for her Constitutions and Orders for the more regular and decent Service of God, but that these things are commanded one­ly in general, and the particular determination thereof left to the Governours of the several Churches.

Nor is the Church of England alone, nor the onely Church among the Reformed of this persuasion; the Reformed Churches beyond the Seas do altogether concur with Her in this; and so do all the Greek, Eastern and Southern Churches, not one of which doth require express Texts of Scripture for the several Ceremonies and Constitutions in their Churches, for the more decent service of God, but [Page 20]look upon a general Commission to the Church from the Word of God to enable and empower them to provide and order the particular Modes and Practices.

Nay, our Dissenters themselves, notwithstanding their too great rigidness in many things, cannot but subscribe the Doctrine I set down above, since they do not pretend to shew express Scripture for the several Orders made among them in relation to the Circumstances of Time, Place, Postures and Gestures used in the Service of God.

Since then what I said above, and was accused of Popery for it, proves to be a Doctrine equally espoused by all Persuasions of Christians, as well as by the Church of Rome, I would fain know by what Art this is to be made Popery; we may as well, and with as great reason call the Doctrine of the Incarnation, or of the Resurrection of our blessed Saviour Popery, as that Doctrine about the no necessity of express Scripture for Ecclesiastical Constitu­tions, since they are no more the general Belief of all Christians than this last mentioned Doctrine is.

This Charge then ought to have been omitted, since what I have said above is so far from being one of my Articles of Popery, that it is no Popery at all, but a Do­ctrine assented to by the generality of the Christian World.

Before I go on to the next Article, I must consider what he hath further to object against me in this Point. Here I am accused as if I had spoken onely my own sense, and thereby given occasion to my Adversary to post me up as a Papist, or Popishly inclined for it, whereas I said plainly, that it was the Doctrine of our Church, that there is no necessity of express Scripture for the Constitutions and Practices which she enjoyns in order to the more regular and decent service of God.

But before my Adversary ends his Letter, I am brought in again, as if I had said that we espouse a Tra­dition which authorises Constitutions and Practices without any Authority of the Written Word: but I would fain know where it was that I said this. I said the Church taught that there was no necessity of Express Scripture, and here it is come to no Scripture at all, for that is the place the Representer alludes to.

I must therefore ask him seriously whether these two be the same, and whether there is no difference between not express Scripture, and no Scripture at all: could this Adversary shew that there is no medium betwixt Express Scripture and no Scripture at all, it would have served for some excuse for him; but since that is impossible to be shewn, all people owning that what is onely implyed, or ordered in general terms, or may be deduced by ra­tional consequence thence, is said to be founded on Scrip­ture, and to have the authority thereof, as well as that Doctrine which is delivered the most plainly or expresly there, I must accuse my Adversary of very great disinge­nuity here, who does so injuriously turn the not requi­ring express Scripture into the not requiring any Scrip­ture.

Malice it seems will put men that are set upon revenge on doing the most unlawful things, and quite pervert­ing the words of their Adversary, and making them say what they never did, nor thought on, the Represen­ter otherwise could not but have seen how great a wrong he was doing me there, and his Conscience must have upbraided him with a deliberate abusing and perverting my words: but against that home-enemy he seems to be provided with armour of Proof.

The next Article of Popery laid to my charge is for asserting, That the Tradition of Antiquity is highly useful and necessary for the Interpretation of Points of Faith.

I cannot see how this comes to be Popery any more than the last Article that I was charged with: my Adversa­ries business here seems to be only to amuse the Multitude with the word Tradition; and therefore my care needs onely be employed for the acquitting of my self to let the world see all that I or others mean by the Tradition mentioned here.

By Tradition here I meant nothing else than those In­terpretations of difficult places of Scriptures, and explications of points of Faith which we meet with in the Fathers from the first Century downwards. Such Interpretations, whether received from those before them, or found out by their own industry, and comparing of one part of Scripture with another, we do embrace as transmitted from them unto us in their Writings, and look upon such Interpretations as very good Guides, and necessary Assistan­ces to prevent our falling into Error, by letting us see how from time to time such a Point of Doctrine, or such a Text was taken by the generality, or unanimous Consent of Fathers in such a determinate sense.

We have very great reason to value the Fathers upon this very account, because they afford us such evidences against those Doctrines the Church of Rome would obtrude upon us: It cannot but be very great pleasure to find that the Texts of Scripture which are alledged by the Romish Writers for some of their particular Doctrines are interpreted generally in a sense quite contrary by the Primitive Fathers.

I am sure that the Texts of Scripture alledged for that great fundamental Article of Popery, the Pope's Supremacy, [Page 23]by the Romish Writers, are interpreted by the generality, and almost unanimous Consent of the Fathers and Ecclesi­astical Writers in a sense quite contrary to that which the Romanists urge them for.

I am very well assured that in very many other Points of Doctrine we are able to shew that the Generality of Fathers did not interpret the Texts of Scripture upon which the Romanists found them, in that sense which they contend for; and I do believe that we may extend it to all points of Doctrine grounded upon Texts of Scripture which are under debate betwixt the Church of England, and the Church of Rome.

If it be Popery then to value and embrace those Interpre­tations which are delivered to us from the Fathers, and which are the Best Evidences next to the Holy Scriptures themselves of the falshood and unreasonableness of the se­veral Points of Popery, and which will assist us to ruin those groundless Doctrines, I am content to be a Papist in this Ar­ticle, but am affraid I shall never be looked upon as one jot more a Catholick for it.

I will pass on to the next charge, the Tenth Article of my Popery, which in my Adversaries Letter runs thus, that He Honours the Saints in observing days in honour of them: But how comes it to be here, He honours, when I said plain­ly enough that WE, that is the Church of England, do it? If there be any Popery in this charge, why is it laid to me as if I were delivering there onely my own Judgment or Practice, and not to the Church of England, whom I spoke of expresly there?

But the Man begins to draw low, and to be put to all his Shifts to make up a Catalogue of Popery against me, that might make some show, and therefore since I proved [Page 24]so ill natured in the rest of my Book as to give him no advantage against me, He very wisely charges that as my own, and an Article of my Popery, which is the avowed and most known Practice of the best Reformed Churches in the World.

It is very well known that not onely the Church of England, but the best Reformed Churches abroad do ob­serve dayes in honour or memory of the Saints departed, who do at the same time detest and abhor the putting up of prayers unto them, or praying to them for to be made partakers of their Merits.

He that will take the pains to look into the Litur­gy of the Church of England, may quickly see what honour it is that our Church payes to the Saints; that it is no other, nor no more than to Bless God for his mani­fold Gifts and Graces unto them, whereby they were enabled to be glorious Examples of Holiness to the World, and strengthened in any Troubles or Fiery Trials to pass through them with a Christian Cou­rage and Resignation; and to pray unto him that we may have Grace to direct our Lives after their good Ex­amples.

This is all that our Church doth practice in her Liturgy, and all that she requires in the Sermons on those Festival Days is, that the Example of the Servants of God, and par­ticularly of that Saint whose memory is celebrated that day, may be set forth in the best manner, that so the Con­gregation may be persuaded to direct their Lives also in the same good and holy paths.

But tho this be all that the Church of England doth practise or allow, yet He is for proving that I am for doing more; He says that I seem to grant all that is produced in Nubes Testium upon that Subject, one of whose [Page 25]Instances was their celebrating the Saints Memory with a Religious Solemnity, so to be Partakers of their Merits.

This charge I can answer in a very few words, that I neither did grant all he collected in the Nubes Testium upon that Subject, nor seemed to grant it: And which is more, that I could not, since I do not believe that the most Holy Men have any Merits, or that if they had, that o­thers can after their decease be either helped by them, or be made Partakers of them by celebrating their Memories even with the most Religious Solemnity.

The next Article of Popery is so very ridiculous, that it is not worth the putting down, or giving one word of Answer to it; but I must not omit it, lest I be upbraid­ed, and told that I had the cunning to slip over those points which would discover me most, and lay me open to the world.

It shall not then be put out of its place, or thrown quite away, but shall have its turn. In this Eleventh Article I am accused of saying, that it is generally piously believed, that the glorified Saints do intercede for the Church Mili­tant.

I would fain know what all this is to me, am I to be the Generality of Christians? Or am I to answer for what other people believe? I speak there of a General Be­lief, and have not put down one Syllable of my own per­suasion herein, and yet this disingenuous Adversary is for fixing all this upon me, and puts it down as my own Opi­nion, or to no purpose at all. If he puts it down for my persuasion, he plays false since I do not hint one syllable of my sense about it, and if it be as it really is to no purpose there, it is very ridiculous, and ought to be contemned as such, and the Author of it for his Pains.

The twelvth Article is that I should say that the Ho­nour which in Primitive times was paid to the Memories of Saints, was nothing but what was highly just, and that herein they are imitated by us, as well as by any other Christians,

I do own that these are my own expressions, or my sense if by Primitive times be intended onely the Three first Centuries of the Church, of whose Ages I there spoke: but how comes this Article over again? this is the very same with the Tenth Article, and hath been suffici­ently answered there, when I shewed what honour it was that our Church did pay unto the Memories of the Saints.

But this Scarcity of matter is a troublesom thing, and therefore the poor man is forced to come with the Old Article over again: but tho he be so impertinent with his second Edition of the Article, I will not be so in transcribing my Answer to that 10th Article hither.

I could however be almost willing to shew how all that the Church of England practises and requires as to the Memories of Saints is the very same that was prac­tised, nay all that was practised by the Primitive Christians in the three first Centuries; but since this would take up much more room than I can afford it here, I will onely mention that famous Instance of the Church of Smyrna, how they were resolved to Comme­morate their Martyred Bishop S. Polycarp. As for worship­ing him, much less his Reliques, or of praying to him (as an old translation of that Churches Epistle hath it) They inform the Christians of Lyons and the whole world that they did detest the doing or thoughts of it, that they onely loved his Memory for that very great good will which he had shewn to his heavenly King and Ma­ster, [Page 27]and therefore did resolve to celebrate with Joy and Praises the Birth-day (as the Church did then call the day of Martyrdom) of this Saint in Memory of him, and such as had finished their courses like him, and for an incitement, and preparation to all that were to com­bate in such bloudy encounters.

Here is no mention either of Hymns or Prayers offered up to the Saint himself, and reason good, since these were then and long after, and ought always to be looked on as Peculiar to the God of Heaven alone.

The thirteenth Article of Popery is that I say, that the Fathers kept the Reliques of Saints with respect and Venera­tion, and believed that God often wrought Miracles by them, and that they might do it too.

Thus the Representer hath drawn up the Charge, and this he hath done very like himself, that is, with more sleight and cunning than any Honest person would use. For first, he puts down as my words, that the Fathers kept the Reliques of Saints with Respect and Veneration, and be­lieved that God often wrought Miracles by them, whereas they are not my words, but his own, he had said them in the Nubes Testium, and I did grant them, that so I might the better shew, that granting such things were done then; this did not defend or countenance the present Practices of the Church of Rome towards Reliques.

However for that my granting and allowing of them, he hath made them mine, whereas had any other per­son of Sense or Conscience been to have mentioned those Expressions, he would have put them down as said by the Representer himself, and only granted by me.

He next lays the charge as if I had said that the Fathers indefinitely kept the Reliques of Saints; and by this the [Page 28] Reader must understand, if he pleases, that I said that the Fathers in general did it, even the first Fathers of the three first Centuries, but this is as disingenuous as the rest of his Accusations; for when I did grant his saying that the Fathers kept the Reliques, I did not grant it of the Fathers indefinitely, but did particularly specifie what Fathers Practice I granted it to be, and did limit it to the Fathers of the latter Ages, by which I mean the latter end of the fourth, and the fifth, and following Centuries, as any one that will but peruse that one page (out of which it is quoted) must necessarily see.

As to the Charge then taken all together, I had so fully expressed my Sense and my Mind in that Chapter that he carps at, that I think I need to use no other words to clear my self and answer the Charge of Popery, than those I had put down in that place.

Speaking in that Chapter of the great difference betwixt what was practised in the fourth and fifth Centuries of the Church in relation to Reliques, and what is practised now by the Church of Rome, I have these words. I need not examine by retail his Testimonies from the latter end of the fourth and sifth Centuries, the design of which he himself makes only to prove that the Fathers kept the Reliques of Saints with Respect and Veneration, and be­lieved that God often wrought Miracles by them: which WE do grant the Fathers of those latter Ages did, and might do it too, as long as they kept (as they said of themselves that they always did) from paying Religious Worship unto them: But we say withal, that what the Christians of those Ages did about these things, does no ways defend the present Extravagancies of the Church of Rome; the Excesses wherein about Reliques are come [Page 29]to that scandalous height, as to make the learned men of their own Church ashamed of them.

They that will compare this passage with the Repre­senter's Extracts out of it in the 13th Article against me, cannot but discover what usage every one must expect that dares to provoke so very angry a man.

But that I may also shew my own Judgment about Re­liques, I will trouble the Reader with the next paragraph, wherein if I did not set down exactly (as I designed) the Opinion of our Mother-Church of England about those things, yet I am sure I did that of my own Soul.

As to the Practice of the Church of England, which inquires not after, nor is solicitous about the Reliques of Saints, this may be said in her defence, that she finds no Practice or Command about any such searching after the bones of the Dead in any part of Scripture of either Testament, but that their whole care then was to com­mit them to their Sepulchres in hopes of a future Resur­rection, and never to disturb their Ashes; and therefore she thinks it must needs be her greatest commendation, that she is more careful to imitate what she finds writ­ten and practised in the Scriptures themselves, than to imitate what the fourth Age of the Church began to pra­ctise, when the Church of Christ was near four hundred years old: The Holy Scriptures themselves are the Rule of her Faith, and for any Apostolical Practices she in­quires among them, who lived with the Apostles or nearest to them; among whom finding nothing of any searching for Reliques, or any Miracles done by them in those first three hundrid years, she is resolved to practise what the Christians of those first and purest Ages did, ra­ther than what After-ages did, wherein plenty and pros­perity [Page 30]let loose the reins to some peoples fancies, and made that a part of Religion, which was never any before.

The fourteenth Article of Popery against me is that we freely grant, That the Fathers practised praying for the Dead; and owned it as advantageous to the Souls departed: And that I should say that no body denys, That the Fathers in the first Ages us'd Oblations and Prayers for the Dead, and that these Prayers were offer'd up also for pardon of sins.

I am extremely at a loss to find how I am drawn in for Popery here, and which way it is proved upon me: All that I have done here is to own that the Fathers did practise those things which I could not deny without betraying a greater Ignorance than I must pretend to in those Writers, or that I have no conscience at all. But must my Ingenuity then be made my crime? and must I be made a Papist for granting that, which I could not in my Circumstances deny without making my self a bold Lyar?

I am fallen it seems into very bad hands, into the hands of One, who is resoved to blacken me without having any regard to Truth or Justice, or Conscience.

I do not say one word there of my approving what those Fathers did; I do not in the least hint that I am for such Practises, or that I ever use such Prayers or Ob­lations for the Dead, or ever intended to do it: So that this terrible Charge depends onely, and must rest upon my granting such Practices in former days.

But is this dealing either just or reasonable? at this rate he may make me a defender of any the most con­trary things, when I grant (as every man of conscience must) that the generality of Fathers in the first Centuries believed a Millennium, am I to be made a Millenary for this? when I grant that for many Ages the Communion [Page 31]was given unto Infants, must I be concluded to be one that is of opinion that it ought to be so still? or must I be represented thereupon to the world as one that does still practise the thing, and gives the Communion unto the little Children.

How ridiculous soever such false and extravagant con­clusions appear to the world, yet the Usage that I find from the Representer's hands is exactly the same, and al­together as groundless as the other.

As for the Doctrine and Practices of the Church of Eng­land her self, which I do heartily subscribe to; so far is she from either encouraging or practising Prayers for the Dead, that whereas in the dawning of the Reformation in King Edwards first Common-Prayer Book there was a direct Praying for the Dead in that Prayer for the whole Estate of Christs Church; in the next Review of the Liturgy the Pe­titions for the Dead were quite left out of that Prayer, and out of the whole Service. In the Common-Prayer Book printed at London in March 1549, the Prayer for the Dead is to be met with, and so it is in another Edition in June following in the same year at London: And in a Third Edi­tion of 1551. at Dublin; but upon the Review which was made about that time we find it omitted and quite left out of the Common-Prayer Books, printed in 1552, and after­wards down to our times not any usage or revival of that Practice among us.

As to the Reasons for leaving off that Practice which could pretend to so much Antiquity, I am not at leasure, nor have Room here to set them down; I must confess that I am not at all satisfied of it from the best Instances for it.

I cannot but look upon S. Ambrose's praying for the Soul of the Emperor Theodosius, and his resolution not to leave [Page 32]him, till by his Tears and Prayers he had brought him unto the Mountain of the Lord, where he might enjoy Life for e­vermore, as a Thing that might very well have been spa­red, nay that ought to have been spared, since we know by the very same Oration that Saint Ambrose did believe that the Soul of that Emperour was in Bliss, was placed in Heaven, did enjoy at that time perpetual Light, and a never ceasing Tranquillity, and was admitted into the Society of the Saints in Glory. I have no other defence to make for this extraordinary Action of this Father, than to say that all this was done in a Rhetorical Harangue, wherein the Custom of all times hath allowed the Orators to speak things that were not strict truths, and things which they neither properly speaking believed themselves, or were desirous that others should.

And so in that celebrated Instance of Saint Austins pray­ing for his Mother Monica after her decease, that God would not enter into Judgment with her, and yet professing in the very next words that he did believe that God had already done for her all that he did pray for; I am no more a­ble to defend it, than I could the Prayers of any man whom God had blessed with Children and Heirs to his name and his Estate, if he should be importunate with God that he would bestow the blessing of Children upon him, and bestow in his mercy but one Son upon him to keep up his family and his name.

I do not mention these things to expose those two ve­nerable Fathers, but to vindicate the Practice of my Mother-Church in relation to these things. I think those that dye in the Lord have no need of our Prayers, and that those that dye in his disfavonr can receive no benefit by them.

The fifteenth Article against me is, that I say that it is the Opinion of his Church, that Christs Body is really present in the Eucharist.

This charge is as ridiculous as any of the rest, for if the real presence be the Opinion of our Church, how comes it to be one of my Articles of Popery? Could this unreasonable Adversary have shewn that the Real Presence is not the Opinion of our Church, but onely of the Church of Rome, and that I was a believer of such a real Presence, his charge against me of a Popish Opinion herein would have been most justly laid: But he neither offers to prove that our Church is not of that Opinion, nor is he at all able to do it, and yet I must be a Papist notwithstanding I believe with our Church, whose real Presence is far from looking like Po­pery, since she hath so often and so fully declared that by real here is only meant a spiritual, not corporeal, or natural Presence of Christs Body.

Nay in that very place where I said it was the Opinion of our Church that Christs Body was really present in the Eucha­rist, I gave also the reason of that Opinion, because we believe (as my words p. 65. there are) that the consecrated Elements do by the Appointment of God communicate to every faithful Receiver the Body and Blood of Christ: which is no more than what S. Paul hath said in other words before us, when he tells the Corinthians that the Bread which he and they broke was a Communion of, or did communicate to them, the Body of Christ, and that the Cup of Blessing was a Communion of the Blood of Christ. 1 Cor. 10.16.

The last Article of Popery against me is of the same nature with the former, that I do confess That that con­secrated [Page 34]Food is the Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ.

I do own that I did grant those words as taken out of Justin Martyr, but had my Sly Adversary but had the Honesty to have put down the words that do imme­diately follow there, I am sure that this would either not have been put down as an Article of my Popery, or that my Accuser would have been hist at by all men for his folly in charging me with it, since immediately after those words I did express my self thus; We have already granted that it is (to wit, that the Consecrated Food is the Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ) however to corrobo­rate what we said above, it is evident to a Demonstra­tion that this consecrated Food was still Bread, and not transubstantiated into the natural Body and Blood of Christ, because S. Justin says at the same time and in the same sentence that our Bodys are Nourished by that very conse­crated Food; to affirm which of the Natural Flesh of Christ is impious and detestable.

Thus I have gone through, and fully answered this large Charge of Popery against me, and since he was not satisfied in the Letter to set them onely once down, but does for the greater security of effecting his designs a­gainst me, repeat them in short before he ends his Letter, I will do the same here by my Answers unto them.

The first charge therefore in three Articles about the Pope, and the fourth about Tradition, I have shewn to be as Notorious and Scandalous a Falsification of a mans words and meaning as the greatest Cheat in the world could be guilty of: that the six next can be called Popery onely by the same Figure that we would call the Belief of Christs Resurrection Popery, because all Christians in the world believe it as well as the Church of Rome: which is a thing so horridly foolish, as no one but he that hath [Page 35]more Malice than Wit or Logick in his head could be supposed guilty of: and for the last six, they are most false­ly nicknamed Popery, and most ridiculously laid to my particular charge; except this Malicious Adversary can shew that to make a thing Popery it is necessary that it be believed and practised by all Churches that are against as well as for the Church of Rome; and that I am the Ge­nerality of Christians, or at least the whole Church of Eng­land.

If ever Rage and Folly, Malice and Weakness were equally discovered to the world, it certainly was in this wretched Letter, wherein all the care seems to be either to pervert my words, and falsifie my meaning, or to put down that as said by me, which was not so; as meant by me, that was not so; and as said by me in particular, which was common unto all Christians.

Notwithstanding this injurious usage of me, yet I cannot but thank the Representer for it, since he hath by this Let­ter discovered to the world what sort of person he is; and thereby given warning to the world to have a care how they believe One that will be guilty of such dishonest things; He may write on as long as he pleases, but this usage of me will, I question not, prevent his doing any mischief by it, since Men are for reading those Books one­ly wherein they have reason to expect Truth, Candor and Integrity; and are always upon their guard against, if they vouchsafe to read, an Author that can and does write without any concern for Truth, Conscience or Honesty.

I will before I conclude make one short address unto the Dissenters, that they would have a care how they suffer themselves to be imposed upon in these things. I know this Author makes it his great care to keep them still aloof off the Church of England, and therefore is upon every [Page 36]occasion, nay without any occasion still putting them in mind of the late Execution of Penal Laws, and how they were harassed by them. But can they believe after all this that this man is their real Friend, whose Principles and Pra­ctices look quite another way? I think his affixing this most false and injurious Letter unto some of them is a fair warning how much real kindness he hath for them, who was so very desirous to have this Letter thought by all peo­ple to be theirs, which is made up of nothing else but folly, falshood and slander. What is this but to have the world to believe that the Dissenters are still the same foo­lish, false and slanderous people that most of his Church did use to think them, and I am affraid, do still continue to do. I will trouble them no further, but request this at their hands, that they would make it their Prayer to God, that they never may be guilty of the dishonouring of God by af­fording their helping hand to the ruine of the Protestant Religion.

FINIS.

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