The Nullity of the Romish Faith. OR A BLOW At the Root of the Romish Church,

BEING An Examination of that Funda­mentall Doctrine of the CHURCH of ROME concerning the Churches IN­FALLIBILITY, and of all those severall Me­thods which their most famous and approved Writers have used for the defence thereof;

TOGETHER WITH An APPENDIX tending to the Demon­stration of the Solidity of the PROTESTANT FAITH, wherein the Reader will find all the materiall Objections and Cavils of their most considerable Writers, viz. Richworth (alias Rushworth) in his Dialogues, White in his Treatise De fide and his Apology for Tradition, Cressy in his Exomologesis, S. Clara in his Sy­stema fidei, and Captaine Everard in his late account of his pretended Conversion to the Church of Rome discussed and Answered.

By MATTHEVV POOLE late Minister of the Gospell in London.

OXFORD, Printed by Hen: Hall Printer to the UNIVERSITY, for Ric: Davis, 1666.

To the Right Honourable ARTHUR Earle of DONEGAL Lord Viscount Chichester, of Carickfer­gus, Baron of Belfast, one of his MAJE­STIES most Honourable Privy Coun­cellors for his Kingdome of Ireland.


HOw much it concernes every man to be rightly informed in the Controversies between Rome and Us, is sufficiently evident from the great importance they have in reference to our ever­lasting state: The Papists think the Protestant Doctrine is dangerous to Salva­tion; and the Protestants know the Popish Do­ctrine to be so: For although they use confi­dently to give it out to their Partisans that their Religion is a safe way in the judgment of Prote­stants themselves, and though in former times of ignorance God might wink at some members of [Page] the Church of Rome that held the Foundation, although they built a great deale of Hay and Stubble upon it: Yet since the late Edition of severall new Articles of their creed, and since the contempt of that clear and glorious light of Gospell discoveries shining in the discourses and Writings of Protestant Authors. I cannot (and I fear God will not) excuse them from that hai­nous crime of rebelling against the light or with holding it in unrighteousnesse; and as Christ said to the Jewes, they have now no cloake for their Sinnes.

What the portion is of the followers of An­tichrist we may more safely understand from the Testimony of God then from the conjectures of men; of them we read that they shall be damned, 2 Thes. 2.12. That their names are not written in the Book of Life, Rev. 13.8. That they shall drink of the Wine of the wrath of God—and shall be tormented with Fire and Brimstone—and the smoke of their Torment shall ascend evermore, and they shall have no rest day nor night which worship the beast and his image, Rev. 14.9, 10, 11.

The onely doubt is whether the Papists be followers of Antichrist, or (which comes to one) whether the Pope be Antichrist, which seemed so probable to the famous Lord Bacon that being asked by King JAMES whether he thought him so to be, it was no lesse truly then wittily answe­red [Page] by him, That if an hue and cry should come after Antichrist, which should describe him by those Characters by which he is deciphered in the Bible, he should certainly apprehend the Pope for him, and I desire all Papists, who would not venture their Eternall Salvation upon uncertain­ties, to doe our cause and their own Soules that justice as to peruse the Author's of both sides viz. Whitaker and Downham on the one, and Bellar­mine and Lessius on the other, and then I doubt not but they will conclude the notorious weak­nesse of their cavils, or pretended Answers to our Allegations to be at least an high presumption of the truth of our Assertion, if not sufficient to put an end to all further doubtings.

My Lord,

It is no small evidence of a good cause and felicity of our Protestant people, that they are permitted to see with their own Eyes, and are both allowed and warned by their teachers, not to take matters of Salvation upon trust but to enquire and search the Scriptures and other Au­thors whether those things be true or no, whil'st unhappy Papists like the Andabatae of old must winke and fight, and are obliged with an implicit Faith to follow their guides in spight of Christs [Page] caution used upon the like occasion, If the blind lead the blind both shall fall into the Ditch, Matth. 15.14. Protestant Ministers bespeak their hea­rers in St Pauls language, I speak to wise men judge ye what I say, 1 Cor. 10. 15. While Popish Priests, if they would speak out must say I speak as to Fooles, believe all that I say: A plaine signe their Gold is adulterate because they dare not suffer it to come to the Touchstone.

My Lord,

In the handling of these Controversies I thought it most prudent and ingenuous to follow the Councell which Benhadad gave to his Soul­diers, to fight neither with small nor great, but with the King of Israel, and therefore I did not mind the branches, but have indeavoured to strike at the Root: For such is the Doctrine here dis­cussed viz. The Doctrine of the Churches Au­thority and Infallibility and so it is acknowledged by all the Romanists, and we are advised by them (if we mean to do any good) to attaque them in this point. I like the Counsell and therefore have resolved [...] arcem petere to attempt their strongest hold: All the Controversies of the Church of Rome have (what Caligula wished all the people of Rome had) one work, and that is this of the Churches Infallible Authority: while this [Page] is safe, we do but paire their Nailes, and cut their Haire which will quickly grow againe, but if this failes, all falls, wound them here, and it goes to the heart. Whether I have done this here or no, I shall not be so absurd or arrogant as to give judg­ment in my own cause, this onely I shall be bold to say, that I have faithfully represented the strength of the Popish cause in this great point out of their most famous and approved Authors, and such of whom it might be truly said Si moe­nia Romae Defendi possent dextrâ hac defensa fu­issent, and therefore if all the plausible pretences of their most considerable Writers be here remo­ved and destroyed (which I willingly referre to the judgment of the serious intelligent and impar­tiall Reader) I may without injustice conclude that their Doctrine is indefensible and their cause desperate.

My Lord,

The reason why I devolve the patronage of this work upon your Lordship is not onely the consideration of your reall worth and those ho­nourable qualities resplendent in you, that true generosity, sincere friendship, obliging sweetnesse, impartiall valuation of persons acc [...]rding to their merit, not their party or opinion in little things, and other conspicuous vertues (which they that [Page] have the happinesse of your acquaintance are wit­nesses of) nor is it onely the known excellency and exemplary piety of your most Illustrious Lady (which nothing but ignorance or malice can deny) nor the particular obligations which I shall allwayes desire to own to both of you, but the contemplation of that great interest, which by the high capacity of your Place, and the no­blenesse of your Estate, and the unexampled affability of your deportment, you have in the Kingdome of Ireland; which how free it is from other Venoms your Lordship knowes better then I, yet sure I am it is sadly infected with the Poison of Popish Doctrines, and therefore I thought the Antidote most needfull there, and that your Lord­ships Authority and Influence accompanied with your zealous indeavours (which God expects and I promise to my self from you in so good a cause) might induce many persons of the Romish per­swasion to read and consider this short Treatise, if God peradventure may give them Repentance to the acknowledgment of the Truth that they may recover themselves from the snare of the Devill.

That God would encline your heart to contri­bute your most effectuall help to so good a work and succeed you in it and recompence you for it, [Page] and that God would blesse Your self and worthy Lady with all the blessings you want, and merci­fully preserve and Sanctify to you all you have, and crowne all with those inexpressible feli­cities of another World, is now and shall by Gods assistance be the humble and fervent pray­er of,

My Lord,
Your Lordships Orator at the Throne of Grace MATTHEW POOLE.

To the Reader.

BEfore I come to the worke it selfe I know my Rea­der will require satisfaction in two things which I hold my selfe obliged to give in the first to the Protestant, in the latter to the Romanist. 1. It will be objected to me as the Iewish Tradition, tels us was objected to Moses by his Antagonists, who char­ged him with bringing Magicall operations among them, that he brought Straw into AEgypt, a country abounding with Corne: so it will be said that I trouble the World with needlesse repetitions, that I write an Iliad after Homer, and do that work which hath long since been d [...]n much bet­ter by our Protestant Heroes, and that Nil dictum est quod non est dictum prius; and particularly that this point of Infallibility hath been discussed by that formidable Adver­sary of Rome the most acute Mr Chillingworth, Lord Falk­land, Dr Hammond, and lately by our Learned Mr Stilling­fleet: To these my Apology is, 1. That the clamorous importunity of Popish Writers doth force us to these repetiti­ons, it being the practise of most of their present Controvertists boldly to urge those things in English as unanswerable which they know have been so solidly disproved in Latin that they neither cannot have pretended to Answer. 2. I have made it my indeavour as much as I could to avoid repetiti­ons, which are as displeasing to me as they can be to the Rea­der, which if I have in many places stumbled upon, it hath rather been the necessity of the thing or an unhappy chance then the choice and designe. 3. The Reader I hope will [Page] find [...]: If I had known of any Author, who had in so short a compasse and plain Method contracted and dissolved the strength of the Popish cause in this great point, I had wil­lingly superseded; nor did I intrude my self into this work, but was invited to it by diverse worthy and learned friends, and afterwards incouraged in it by the approbation of such persons, whose judgments I think almost all the learned part of England doth reverence. 4. Here is a new plea (viz con­cerning the sufficiency of the Testimony of the present Church and the Infallibility of Oral Tradition) not at all considered by Mr. Chillingworth, nor fully discussed by any other that I know of, (except the ingenious Lord Falkland, who handles it quite another way, and hath left room for some Gleanings after his Harvest:) Nor is it debated by Mr. Stilling fleet, whose Adversaries led him to things of another nature. And besides it is known to diverse, that this Treatise was prepared for the Press before Mr. Stillingfleet's excellent Discourse came out, though retarded by some unhappy occurrences which it is needless here to recount.

The second particular is this: The Papists will pretend, that the Doctrines I charge upon them, and the Testimonies which I alledge against them, are onely the particular opinions of private Doctors, and not of their whole Church. My defence is this.

1 The Authors which are here introduced, are not pedan­tick writers, but such as are of prime note and highest esteem in the Church of Rome, and the most zealous and considerable Champions of their cause, and such (for the generality of them,) whose writings came forth with the character of their Churches approbation upon them, concerning whom it will be very difficult to perswade any intelligent man, either that such persons did not understand the sense of the Church of Rome, (as well as the Objector) or that they did knowingly contradict the doctrine of their Church, or would be permitted so to do without any censure upon them.

[Page]2 The testimonies of those Authors are undoubtedly suffi­cient for that end for which I alledg them, which is to shew the falseness of those doctrines, and the weakness of those ar­guments which are disbelieved and disproved by their own learnedest and stoutest Champions, by which it may appear to all impartial persons, that it is not the ignorance nor prejudice of Protestants, (as some of their VVriters have the Effronte­ry to assert) which makes them reject the Popish Tenets, but meerly the want of Truth and evidence therein, confessed (as you will see all along in the following Treatise) by their own Brethren, and that it is a desperate madness in any Papist to hazard his everlasting concernments upon such principles, as so many of their acutest Scholars do publickly disavow: And that this is really the case of the unhappy Romanist I refer thee to the subsequent Discourse.

POOLE's Nullity of the Romish faith.


The Introduction.
Pag. 1.
CHAP. 1.
The Popes infallible Authority is no sufficient foundation of Faith, and is a meer nullity
pag. 2.
CHAP. 2.
Scripture is no sufficient founda­tion of Faith to a Papist ac­cording to their principles pro­ved out of their prime Authors.
Sect. 1, 2, 3, 4.
The Scriptures alledged by them for the Popes infallible autho­rity examined in generall.
Sect. 5. 6.
In particular Matth. 16. 18. Thou art Peter
Sect. 7. 8, 9,
Iohn 21. Feed my sheep.
Se. 10,
Luk. 22. I have prayed, &c.
§. 11.
Deut. 17. 11, 12,
§. 12.
CHAP. 3.
Of the Infallible authority of the Fathers
Asserted by the Papists.
Sect. 1.
1. By the same arguments by which the Papists derogate from the authority of Scrip­ture.
§. 2, 3.
2. Because Infallibility is the Churches Prerogative.
§. 4.
3. The Fathers disclaime it.
§. 5.
Exc. But Fathers where they agree are Infallible Answered.
§. 6. p. 46.
4 The Papists themselves dis­own the Infallibility of the Fathers though consenting.
§. 7, 8, 9.
CHAP. 4.
Of the Authority and Infallibi­lity of the Church and Coun­cels
Asserted by Papists.
§. 1.
1. There is no Foundation for it in Tradition.
§. 3, 4.
For 1. If the Fathers deliver such a Tradition they are not infallible.
§. 5.
Exc. Fathers consenting are Infallible:
Answ. We cannot at this di­stance understand their con­sent.
2. If the antients did believe the Infallibility of Coun­cels, [Page] they might do it upon the account of Scripture not Tradition.
§. 6.
3. It doth not appear that the Fathers believed the Infal­libility of Councels. Proved by answering the arguments of Bellarm. and S. Clara.
Sect. 7, 8, 9, 10.
Of St Austins judgment.
§. 10, 11.
4. It appears that the Fathers believed the Fallibility of Councels.
§. 12.
2. There is no foundation for this Infallibility in Scripture. Proved in generall.
§. 13.
In particular by the exami­nation of the Texts urged for it.
1 Tim, 3. 15.
§. 14.
Mat. 18. 17. Hear the Church and Luk. 10. 16.
§ 15.
That the Church and Mini­sters are not to be heard in all things with an implicit Faith.
1. Christ denies this to the Apostles:
2. Else people cannot sin in obeying their Pastours.
3. People are allowed to exa­mine their teachers Do­ctrines.
Iob. 16. 3. He shall guide you into all truth.
§. 16.
Acts 15. 28.
§. 17.
Mat. 28.
§. 18. pag. 103.
3. The Papists themselves dis­own the Infallibility of Coun­cels.
§. 20.
An examination of that eva­sion and pretended agreement of Papists in this, that the Pope and Councell together are Infallible.
§. 21.
4. The Infallibility of their Councels destroyed by the consideration of those things which Papists themselves re­quire in Infallible Councels as
1. That they be generall.
§. 23
2. That they have the consent and approbation of the whole Church.
§. 24.
3. That they be rightly con­stituted and ordered and guided by honesty, piety, and love to Truth.
§. 25.
Exc. Pope, Councels, Fathers, Scripture conjoyned make the Church Infallible.
§. 26.
CHAP. 5.
Of O [...]all Tradition and the Te­stimony of the present Church.
This new opinion represented in the words of its Authors and abettors.
§. 1.
1. Hereby they both settle the Protestant foundation of Faith and overthrow their own.
§. 2, 3
2. This makes Orall Tradition more certain then writing, a­gainst the judgment of God and all men.
§. 4. pag. 140.
3. Errors may come in and have come in to the Church under pretence of Tradition.
§. 5.
4. Traditionary proofs disowned,
1. By the Prophets and Jewes [Page] of old.
§. 6.
Exc. The Law of Christi­ans is written in their hearts not Tables.
§. 7.
2. By Christ and his Apostles
§. 8.
Exc. 2 Thes. 2. 15.
5. Scripture proofe is necessary for confirmation of Doctrines in the judgment of the Fathers.
§. 9.
[...]. Orall Tradition hath deceived the Romanists themselves.
§. 10. pag. 158.
Exc. They are not decei­ved in great points de fide. Answered.
[...]. Though experience sufficient­ly proves the deceit of this ar­gument, yet it is particularly shewed how error might creep in this way.
§. 11.
It might creep in by degrees.
§. 12.
1. Christians might mistake the mind of their Predeces­sors.
§. 13. pag. 166.
1. There was no certaine way for the third age to know the Doctrines of the second.
2. Instances given of mens misunderstanding the Doctrine of the prece­dant Age.
§. 14.
3. The words of our prae­decessors may be remem­bred and the sence per­verted.
§. 15.
4. Some ages were horri­bly ignorant and care­lesse Exemplified in the tenth Age.
Sect. 16, 17, 18.
And few Writers.
§. 19.
2. Christians might knowing­ly recede from the Do­ctrines of their Ancestors.
1. From Gods just judg­ment.
§. 21.
2. Because they did believe their praedecessors erred.
Sect. 22.
3. Eminent persons might corrupt the Doctrine re­ceived from their Ancest­ors and did so.
Sect. 23.
Exemplified in a forgery of the Popes.
8. This way of Tradition dispro­ved by the practise of the Church of Rome which intro­duceth Doctrines, not descen­ding by Tradition but new.
Sect. 24.
Exemplified in two Doctrines
The immaculate conception of the Blessed Virgin,
And the Canon of the Scripture.
CHAP. 6.
Of Miracles and the motives of credibility
The o [...]inion represented in their words.
Sect. 1.
1. Other Churches have a ju­ster claime to these marks then Rome.
Sect. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
2. Diverse of them are not marks of the Church.
Sect. 8.9.10.
The Character of miracles spe­cially [Page] considered and their Ar­gument thence confuted.
1. Christs Miracles prove Romes Fall [...]bility.
Sect. 12.
2. Miracles are not simply and universally to be believed. Proved by Arguments.
Sect. 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18.
3. Miracles onely prove the verity of the Doctrine not the Infallibility of the per­son.
Sect. 19.
4. Miracles doe not alwayes prove the verity of a Do­ctrine for they may be, and have been done by Hea­thens and Hereticks.
Which is acknowledged by the learned Papists.
Sect. 20.
5. Miracles are pleaded by the Romanists either im­pertinently or falsly.
Sect. 21
6. Protestants may plead Mi­racles as well as Papists.
Sect. 22.
A briefe recapitulation of the severall pretensions and re­solutions of Faith among the Romanists.
Sect. 23.
Another plea from Gods pro­vidence, and the supposed necessity of a living Infal­lible judge.
Sect. 25, 26, 27, 28.
CHAP. 7.
Of the Solidity of the Pro [...]stants Foundation of Faith.
The Protestants have a solid fou [...]dation of Faith in the Scri [...]tures, the Papists themselves [...] ing judges.
Sect. [...]
Their Learned men acknowle [...]
1. That the Scripture is, [...] may be known to be the [...] of God without the Church Testimony and by its ow [...] light.
Sect. [...]
2. That the Books of Scriptu [...] are not corrupted in essentia [...] and necessary points.
Sect. [...]
3. That the sence of Scripture [...] things necessary may be u [...]derstood.
Sect. [...]
Except: Protestants [...] upon an humane Transla [...]tion answered
Se. 5, 6, 7, [...]
Protestants freed from the pre [...]tended circle of proving Scrip [...]ture by the spirit, and the spi [...]rit by the Scripture.
Sect. 9 [...] 10, 11, 12 [...]
A consideration of that preten [...] ostered at by some Romanists.
That the Churches Authority [...] a sufficient foundation fo [...] faith without infallibility.
Sect. 13 [...]


THe occasion of it.
pag. 1
The occasion of Everards pre­tended conversion to Popery.
p. 5.
The Argument which perverted him, viz. that a Protestant can­not be infallibly assured of the truth of Christian Religion: considered and examined.
pag. 8. to the 12.
Of the Doctrine of Infallibility as stated by Mr Cressy.
p. 12.
Papists and Protestants grant that such a Doctrine ought to have the greatest evidence that such things can beare.
p. 14.
Whether the Doctrine of Infalli­bility be evidently proved.
The Negative defended.
1. Because it is not evident to the Papists themselves.
p. 15.
They are divided about it not­withstanding their pretended agreement.
p. 16.
Their haltings in the point, and Mr Cressy's shufflings discove­red.
p. 18.
2. Because their reasons to de­defend it are weak.
Mr Cressy's arguments examined.
Arg. 1. Take away Infallibility and you destroy all authority.
p. 21.
2. From the Anathema's of Coun­cels.
p. 23.
3. From the promises of Infalli­bility made to the Church.
pag. 25 to pag. 30.
4. No unity without Infallibi­lity.
pag. 30.
Other considerations against in­fallibility.
1. The Texts and arguments al­ledged, either prove nothing or more then Mr Cressy would have.
pag. 33.
2. If a Pope and Councell toge­ther were Infallible, yet now they have no Infallibility in the Church of Rome.
A Character of the last Pope drawn by a Papist, and the Popes confession that he never studied Divinity.
p. 34.
The grounds of the Faith of Pro­testants stated, and the preten­ded differences among Pro­testants reconciled.
pag. 36. to 45.
Captain Everards arguments a­gainst the judgment of reason considered.
pag. 45.
Everards arguments against Scriptures, being a perfect rule and judg of Controversies, ex­amined & answered. 1 (Which is the great argument of the Papists) because it doth not answer its end nor reconcile the dissent [...]rs.
p. 47.
2. Some books of Scripture are lost.
p. 50.
3. A rule must be plain but Scripture is dark.
p. 52.
2 Pet. 3.16. Vindicated.
pag. 52.
Severall particulars wherein the Scripture is said to be darke. [Page] considered.
1. About the number of Sacra­ments.
pag 54.
2. About the number of Cano­nicall books.
p. 55.
3. About the incorruption of Scripture.
p. 56.
4. About the sence of Scrip­ture.
p. 57.
5. About fundamentall points.
p. 59.
4. Protestants have not the Ori­ginals but onely Transla­tions.
p. 63.
5. There are contradictions in Scripture.
p. 65.
6. Scripture is liable to contrary Expositions.
p. 66.
7. Scripture was not judge in the Apostles dayes.
p. 68.
8. This makes every man judge.
p. 69.
Another argument of Cressy's, taken from hence that Scrip­ture were written upon parti­cular occasions.
p. 71.
Rushworth's two great ap [...]plauded a [...]guments in his Da [...]alogues refuted.
The first taken from the grea [...] uncertain [...]y and corruption of the Texts in our Bibles.
p. 75 to 82.
The second from the Methods of Lawes and Lawgivers.
p. 82.
Mr. White's argument, viz. That Scripture was not Written a­bout the present Controversies, considered and answered.
p. 88.
The Scriptures authority and su­fficiency, argued onely from one Text.
2 Tim. 3.15, 16. Vindicated from diverse exceptions of Captain Everard, Mr Cressy, and Mr. White.
p. 92. ad finem.

A Postscript to the Reader.

The designe of this Treatise being to destroy all pretensions of Infallibility in the Church, Pope, or Councels; it were an unreasonable thing for the Reader to expect In­fallibility in the Printer or to deny his pardon to the er­rors of the Presse occasioned by the Authors constant ab­sence. Such smaller errors as do not pervert the sence, the Reader will easily discerne. The grosser mistakes which he is intreated to Correct are such as these that follow.

For work pag. 4. of the Epistle Dedicatory line the last but one read neck Pag. 8. l n. 27. read decis [...]on. p. 9. l. 7. r. Gret [...]. p. 13. l. 31. r. rock. p. 14. l. 21. r. least. p. 33 l. 17. r. Melchior. p. 35. l. 32. r. their. after namely p. 39. l. 15. r. because. for best. p. [...]0. l. 8. r. least. p. [...]5. l. 26. r. Grill. [...] acquices. p. 58. l. 25. r. acquiesces. p. 60. l. 2. r. Gresserus. p. 65. l. 26 and 27. r. [...]d there for [...]y p. 84. l. last r. of p. 87. l. 22. r. Osius. p. 87. l. 26. r. adde with p. 112 l 4.r. fricat. [...]b. l. 26. r. breaths. p. 116. l. 10. r. Celotius. p. 117 l. 32. r. scrupulosi [...] p. 120. l. 29. r. affectione. p. 125. l. 3. r. Dullardus. p. 130. l. 1. r. student. p. 137. l. 7. r. discevers. p. 137. l. 14. r. Romish. p. 137. l. 25.r. recentieribus. p. 138. l. 31. r. niti pag. 155. the signatures to the cit [...]tions are misplaced. p. 165. l. 29. r. answerer for thinks. p. 171. l. 20. r. things. p. 174. l. 33. r. Apota [...]ici. p. 201. l. antepenultima dele non. p. 218. l. last. r. protervire p. 218. l. 31 and 32. dele and to fetch in miracles that they may not want arguments p. 226. l. last. r. undeniable.

In the Appendix.

Pag. 40. l. 3. after iu [...] read each particular. p. 44. l. 30. r. it is. p. 61. l. 31. r. effe­ctuall [...]. p.62. l. 17. r. Stilling fleet. ib. p. 31. r. Smiglecius. p. 76. l. 20. for perfectly r. in part.

The Nullity of the Romish Faith

The Introduction.

ALl Papists profess to resolve their Faith in­to, and to ground it upon the Churches in­fallible T [...]stimonie and supreme Authority. But when they come to explicate what they mean by the Church, and on what account they ground their Faith upon her, then they sall into diverse opinions. By the Church some under­stand the ancient Church, whose Testimonie is expressed in the writings of the Fathers, others, the present Church, whose living Testimonie, and Authoritie they say is sufficient without any further inquirie: and this present Churh too, they cannot yet agree what it is: Some say the Pope, others a generall Councell, and others the Pope and a Councell to­gether. Nor are they less at variance about the grounds on which they build the Churches Authoritie. This some lay in the Testimonie of scripture, others in the Authority of the Fathers, others in universall or all tradition, others in the mo­tives of credibility (as we shall see in the process of this di­scourse.) My purpose is to discover the rottenness of these severall foundations as they make use of them and to shew. That they have no solid foundation for their Faith in any of these recited particulars: and for more orderly proceeding I shall lay down six propositions.

I that a Papists faith hath no solid foundation in the au­thoritie and infallibilitie of the Pope. 2 Nor in the scri­ptures according to their principles. 3 Nor in the autho­rity [Page 2] of Fathers. 4 Nor in the infallibility of the Church and Councels. 5 Nor in unwritten tradition; and the authority of the present Church. 6 Nor in the motives of credibility. Of which in order.

CHAP. 1. Of the Popes Authority and Infallibility.

Sect. 1. Propos. 1. THe Popes infallibile authority is in it self of no validity, and is a meere nullity further then it is established or corroborated by the rest. This needs no great proofe. For if I should ask any Papist why he rather re­lies upon the decisions of the Bishop of Rome, then the Bishop of York, the onely plea is, that the Bishop of Rome is St Peters successor, and established by God in those roy­alties and jurisdictions, which St Peter is supposed to have been invested with. But if I ask how this appears, what proofs and evidences there are of this assertion (upon which hangs the whole Mass, and Fabrick of Po­pery.) There is no man so grosly absurd, to believe himself or to affirm that I am bound to believe this bare­ly upon the Popes assertion, that he is Peters successor. But for the proof of this, I am by the learned Romanist referred unto some passages of scripture; as Thou art Pe­ter feed my sheep, &c. Unto Tradition and the Testimony of Fathers and acts of Councells, that have either devol­ved this power upon or acknowledged and confirmed it▪ in the Bishops of Rome: from whence it undeniably fol­lowes, that the Popes [...] or naked affirmation of his own Authority (though delivered [...]x Cathedrá, and with all immaginable formalities) is of no weight in it self, and hath no strength, nor vertue in it further then it is sup­ported and demonstrated from such Testimonies of scrip­ture [Page 3] fathers or Councells. Which will further appear from this consideration: That upon supposition, that the Scripture had been silent as to Peters supremacy, and the Fathers and Councels had said nothing concerning the succession of the Bishops of Rome, in St Peters chair, but had ascribed the same priviledges, which they are pretended to atribute to the Pope, to the Bishop of An­tioch. I say upon this supposition, the Popes pretences would have been adjudged extremely presumptuous, and wholly ridiculous. From this then wee have gained thus much. That the Popes Authority and Infallibility being the thing in Question and but a superstruction upon those other fore-mentioned foundations; and not [...], or credible for it self, that, it is not in it self a sufficient foun­dation for a Papists faith. And so that must be quitted as impertinent to the present enquiry, and we must go to the other particulars and examine whether a Papist with­out any reference to or dependence upon the Popes Au­thority or Infallibility can find a solid foundation for his faith either in Scriptures, Fathers, Councels, tradition or the motives of Credibility. And if I can shew, that the Papists according to their own principles cannot have a solid and sure ground for their faith in any of the now mentioned particulars, or if I can shew that all their other pretensions according to the principles of the most and learned'st Papists, depend upon this Authority of the Pope, and without it are no solid foundation of faith, that Scriptures, Fathers, Councels, and tradition, are not conclusive nor obliging to me to believe, without the Popes Authority and Interpretation (which I think will be made evident in the following dis­courses) then I may truly conclude that they have no foundation for their faith. Therefore I pass on to the second head.

CHAP. II. Of the Authority of Scripture according to Romish Principles.

Prop. 2. Sect. 1. THat the Scripture in it self, without the Inter­pretation, Testimonie, and Authority of th [...] Church, is not a sufficient foundation o [...] Faith for private Christians, according to the Doctrine the Romanists: This is so plaine, so often asserted b [...] them, so universally owned, so vehemently urged in a [...] their Treatises, that if there were not an horrible per [...]versnesse and tergiversation in that sort of men (wh [...] indeed by the badnesse of their cause are forced to sa [...] and unsay, give and recall, affirme and denie the sam [...] things as occasion requires, and the strength of an Ar [...]gument forceth them:) I might supercede from an [...] further paine or trouble therein; I shall therefore onely observe two Principles of the Popish Creed, either o [...] which (and much more both put together) do plainly and undeniably evince, that according to their Hypothe­ses the Scripture in it selfe is no solid ground nor foun­dation of a Christian Faith. 1. That a Christian canno [...] know, and is not bound to believe, any, or all of the Books of Scripture to be the Word of God, without the Churches Witnesse and Authority. 2. That the senc [...] of Scripture is so obscure and ambiguous in the Article of Faith, that a Christian cannot discover it without th [...] Churches interpretation.

§. 2. For the first of these, it may suffice at present t [...] mention two or three passages out of their approved Writers. Baily the Jesuite, in his Catechisme of Con­troversies made by the command of the Archbishop o [...] [Page 5] Burdeaux. puts this Question: 1 To whom doth it belong to determine of Canonicall Books! and Answers thus, To the Church, without whose Authority I should no more be­lieve St Matthew then Titus Livius. When Brentius al­ledged the saying of a Papist; that if the Scriptures were destitute of the Churches Authority, they would weigh no more then AEsops Fables: the Cardinall Hosius re­plies,(b) That these words may be taken in a pious sence; For in truth (saith he) unl esse the Authoritie of the Church did teach us that this Scripture were Canonicall, it would have very little weight with us: So Charron plainly tels us,(c) That the Scripture hath no Authority, no weight or force towards us, and our Faith; but for the Churches asser­tion and declaration. Andradius in expresse termes de­nies(a) That there is any thing of Divinity in the Scripture, which bindes us to believe the things therein contained, but the Church, which teacheth us, that those Boo ks are Sacred, none can resist without the high [...]st impiety. One may well cry out-Heu Pietas, heu priscae fid [...]s! To disbelieve the Scripture, that is no impiety, but to resist the Church, that is the Highest impiety: To make God a lyar, that is no impiety; but to mak the Church a lyar, that is impiety in the highest. You see now the reason why Violations of the Churches Authority are more severely punished [Page 6] at Rome, then the grossest transgressions of Gods Lawe [...] because there is more impiety in them, and so more sev [...]rity should be exercised against them. And Pighi [...] useth no lesse freedome, telling us(b) That the Scriptur [...] have no Authority with us either from themselves, or from their Authours, but meerly from the Churches Testimon [...] Thus you see, that according to the systeme of Popis [...] Theology, the Scripture doth not discover it selfe to b [...] the Word of God, nor oblige my faith, unlesse it brin [...] along with it the Churches Letters of credence: An [...] whereas in St Pauls dayes, neither Church nor Apostle was believed further then they brought credentials fro [...] Scripture, Acts 17.11. And St Austine in his dayes, in hi [...] Controversies with the Donatists, batters down thei [...] Church by this Argument, that they could not show it in, nor prove it from the Authority of Scriptures: Now on the contrary the Scripture is not to be received, un­lesse it be confirmed by the Churches Authoritie: And as Tertullian argued of old:(a) God shall not be God, with­out mans consent. It is here, as in dealings between man [...] and man; if I say to some unknown person recommended to me by one whom I know and trust, I should not be­lieve your professions of honesty (for I know you not) were it not for the Testimony which my worthy friend gives of you: In this case, the mans professions of ho­nesty are not the ground of my faith or confidence in him, but onely my friends Testimony. Or as if a learner in Philosophy should say to his Tutor, I should not be­lieve that to be true, which I read in my Book, that the Earth moves, were it not for the reverence I beare to your deep judgment and great abilities: Here it is [Page 7] plaine, the reading in his book, is not the foundation of his faith or perswasion, but onely the reverence he bears to his teacher. And just this (say they) is the case of the scripture, to which purpose they alledge, and own those words of Austin, (though they pervert the sence) (a) I should not believe the Gospell, unless the Churches Au­thority did move me. Which if true in their sence, then the Churches Authority is the sole foundation of my faith, and without it the scripture is a meer Cypher or at least not sufficient to command, or ground my faith, which was the thing to be demonstrated, The truth is, the Papists put the same scorn upon the scrip­tures, that the prophet Elisha did upon that ungodly King Iehoram— 2 Kings 3.14. and bespeake it in the same lan­guage—were it not that I regard the presence, the te­stimony and the authority of the Church, I would not look towards thee, not believe, nor reverence thee.

Sect. 3. If it be said, that although the Churches Te­stimony was necessary before, yet since the Church hath long agoe consigned the Canon of the scripture, my faith is now grounded not only upon the Churches testimony; but upon the scriptures Authority.

To this I answer. 1 That now as well as formerly, the faith of a Christian (acted by Romish principles) doth not depend upon the word but barely upon the Churches testimony, which I shall make plain by an in­stance. I do not believe (supposing I were a Papist) the Popes supremacy because I read these words. Thou art Peter, (for if I read those words in Tacitus, I should not draw an Argument from them, unless happily I should fall into as merry a vein as Bellarmine doth when he proves Purgatory out of(b) Plato, Cicero, and Virgil) [Page 8] But because the books wherein I read those words, Thou art Peter, is a book of Canonicall scripture, and a part of the word of God, there lies the whole stress of the argu­ment. And this I cannot know, (say our Catholick ma­sters,) and am not bound to believe, but for the Chur­ches Testimony: Which testimony, as it is the onely cause which makes the scripture in generall, Authenticall, Quoad nos, saith Stapleton, so it must be that alone, which makes this place: Thou art Peter, Argumentative quoad nos, that is, all the force that Argument hath to perswade or convince me, is from the Church and not from the scripture, and the scripture makes it Canonicall to me, and its being Canonical, gives the whole weight to the Argument, and quod est, causa causae, est causa causati.

Sect. 4. 2. It is not the words, but sence of Scripture, where the strength of the argument lies. And that sence, say they, wee cannot understand, nor attain, but by the Churches interpretation, which leads me to the second principle of the Romanists, viz. That the sence of scripture, (which is indeed the very Soul of scri­pture, and the onely ground of faith, and Argu­ments,) is in many matters: of faith, so obscure, and am­biguous, that there is an absolute necessity of an Authen­tick, and infallible Interpreter, and Judge to acquaint us therewith, that is the Church, or (per aequevalentiam Ie­suiticam) the Pope. And it is absurd to expect, and im­possible to receive satisfaction of doubts, and dceision, of controversies, of faith from the scripture, which is but a dead letter, unless the Church animates it. This is so notoriously owned by them all, that it is needless to quote Authors for it. That which I inferre from hence is this, that according to this Hypothesis, the scripture in it self, (I say in it self, for that is all the present Proposition pre­tends to prove) is no solid foundation for my faith; and indeed, that it is a meer Cypher, which if your Church [Page 9] be put to it, may have some signification and value, butelse none at all. And that it is not the letter of the Scripture in it selfe, but the Churches interpretation which gives weight to this argument. And this plainly appears from that saying, of their great Master Stapleton, which deserves to be often men tioned, in rei memoriam, and the rather, because Grotserus (a) owns it and justifies it when Staple­ton had asserted in his triplication against Whitaker, c. 17. that even the Divinity of Christ, and of God did depend upon the Authority of the Pope. And when Pappus had charged Stapleton with that assertion. Gretsers defence is: that Stapleton did not mean that they depended upon the Pope: in se & ex parte rei, but onely quoad nos, in respect of us, and so (saith Gretser) it is very true, for that I be­lieve that Christ is God, and that God is one, and three, I do it, being induced by the Authority of the Church, testifying that those books wherein such things are delivered, are divine, and dictated by God: (a) I desire the reader to observe this as fully opening the mysterie of the Romish Cabal, and discovering the dreadfull tendency of Popish princi­ples making the Divinity of Christ precarious, that the Divinity of the Pope may be absolute and certain. And thus I trow the Pope hath quit scores with Christ, for as he was beholden to Christ, for his Authority, so now Christ is beholden to his vicar, for his Divinity: and saith hee, it was truely said by Tannerus (nor needed Pappus to wonder at it,) that without the interpretation and testifica­tion (b) [Page 10] of the Church it is impossible to believe out of Scripture alone, that God is one, and that there are three persons. Who is it that dare charge these Jesuites with Equivocation? I think they speak as plainly as their greatest enemies can desire: Here you see the meaning of that distinction quoad se & quoad nos, viz. They acknowledg the Scrip­ture in it self to be true and Canonicall, and it is a Truth in it selfe, that Christ is God; but so far as concernes me, I am not bound to believe either the one or other; but for the Churches Testimony, which is the very thing I am now proving and hereby granted, That the Scripture in it self is no foundation of my Faith. And this is the more weighty, because you see it was not an unadvised slip of one mans Pen, but here you have it deliberately asserted and defen­ded by a Triumvirate of Popish Authors, each of whose works, where that passage was, is set forth with the appro­bation of severall Romish Doctors of principall note.

§. 5. But peradventure, Quae non prosunt singula a juncta juvant. Although, neither the Popes Authority, nor the Scriptures Testimony alone will, yet both together may constitute a solid and sufficient foundation of faith; and the Popes Authority being asserted in, and demon­strated by the Scriptures, is a sure sooting for my faith; To which, though it might suffice to object the circle (which is here most palpable and evident) yet I shall at present forbeare that answer, and referre it to another place, and shall here consider, whether the Scriptures assert the Popes infallible Authority, as it is pretended. And first in generall, whereas severall Texts of Scripture are pleaded by the Romanists, in favour of the Popes Su­premacy and Infallibility, as Feed my sheep—Thou art Pe­ter I have prayed for thee—and the like: I demande whe­ther these words or Texts of Scripture, in, and for them­selves, without the interpretation and testification of the Romish Church, do bind me to believe the Popes Su­premacy, [Page 11] and Infallibility, or no [...]; If they deny the validity of these Texts, without the Churches Testimo­ny and Authority (as needs they must according to their Principles) then it followes, that there is nothing in Scrip­ture, considered in it selfe, that bindes me to believe the Popes Supremacy, and consequently I do not sin, when I do not believe and own their Arguments drawn from these Texts, and that the Scripture in it selfe is no sufficient foundation for a Papists Faith: If they affirme it, then let all the Papists in the World give me a reason why these Texts The Word was God, Joh. 1. He thought it no robbery to be equall with God, Phil. 2. This is the true God—1 Joh. 5. Should not in themselves, and without the Churches Authority as solidly prove the Divinity of Christ, as the other mentioned Texts are affirmed to prove the Supremacy and Infallibility of the Pope.

§. 6. If they persist still to say, that the alleadged Texts are in themselves a solid foundation for my faith, al­though such an aspersion is contrary to their universall profession and overturnes the whole fabrick of Popery; yet because I know those Proteus's will turne themselves into all shapes, and indeavour to slip all knots, and be­cause I observe all their writings are stuffed with severall Texts of Scripture, as if they would make their deluded Proselites believe they made them the foundation of their faith: I shall therefore make some briefe remarks upon the chiefe of their Scripture allegations, in pursu­ance of the Proposition under consideration, and shew that the faith of a Papist hath no foundation at all in the sacred Scripture, in the great and fundamentall point of the Popes Infallibility: Onely that you may understand the diffidence, which some of their own great Rabbies have in their Scripture Arguments, I shall minde you of a remarkable saying of Eminent Doctor Pighius, who per­swading his Catholicks in their Disputations, rather to [Page 12] argue from Tradition then Scriptures, he breaks out into these memorable expressions: (a) Of which Doctrine if we had been mindfull, that Hereticks are not to be convinced out of Scriptures, our affaires had been in a better posture; but whilest for ostentation of wit and learning men disputed with Luther from Scripture this Fire, which, alas, we now see was kindled, as if he had said: You may as soon fetch water out of a stone as prove the Romish cause from the the Scripture: Oh the power of truth! Oh the de­speratenesse of the Popish cause. His Councell indeed was good, but they could not follow it; for having once been sumbling about some Scriptures, though they saw well enough how impertinent they were to their purpose, yet having once begun, they were obliged to proceed, and make good their attempts (for of all things in the World, they hate retreating and recanting) left they should put an Argument into our hands, against the in­fallibility of the Church from her actuall mistakes and errours in the exposition of Scriptures.

§. 7. The principall places of Scripture upon which the Popes Supreme Authority and infallibility is founded, are as follow.

The first is Matth. 16.18. Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church, and the Gates of Hell shall not prevaile against it: Ergo, The Pope is Supreme Head, and Infallibe: I shall forbear actum agere, and there­fore shall omit severall Answers allready given, and onely point at some few of those many allegations, by which the ridiculousnesse of this collection may appeare, and [Page 13] the desperatenesse of that cause that can find no better supports.

1. This promise concernes onely the invisible Church of elect persons, which appears thus, because he speaks of that Church against which the gates of Hell do not pre­vaile, but the gates of Hell do prevaile against all repro­bates) and therefore the meanest sincere Elect Christian in the World, hath a juster claime to infallibility from this place, then many Popes of Rome had (whom their own Authors confesse to have been reprobates.)

2. This promise secures the Church as well from dam­nable sins as damnable errours. I prove it; The Church is here secured against the prevalency of the Gates of Hell: But the Gates of Hell may prevaile as surely, and do prevaile as frequently by damnable sins, as by errors. Ergo, If therefore notwithstanding this Text, Popes have fallen into damnable Sins, they may consequently fall into damnable Heresies.

3. The Infallibility here promised, extends onely to damnable Heresies, and such as lead to, and leave a man under the gates of Hell, and therefore if it were intended of the Pope and Church of Rome, Christ promiseth no more infallibility to him, then he hereby promiseth, and generally giveth to all persevering Christians.

4. This promise is spoken of, and made to the whole Church, and therefore belongs to all the parts and mem­bers of it alike: So that, if it prove the Infallibility of the Romish Bishop and Church, it proves also the same of the Bishops and Churches of Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi, &c. which may further appeare, thus; That if we should grant the Papists their absurd supposition, that this work was not Peters confession, but his person, yet since the Bishops of Corinth, and Ephesus, and indeed all the Bi­shops in the World, according to this supposition were built upon Peters person, as well as the Bishop of Rome, [Page 14] and the infallibility supposed is here promised equally to all that are built upon the Rock, it must either prove all of them infallible, or leave the Pope fallible.

5. Whatsoever Authority or Infallibility is here pro­mised to Peter is in other places promised and given to the rest of the Apostles, and therefore what is collected from this place, for St Peters Successors may be with e­quall truth and evidence pleaded from other places, for the Successors of the rest of the Apostles. The same Keyes which are here promised to Peter are actually gi­ven to all the Apostles, Math. 18.18. and Ioh. 20.22, 23. And if infallibility be here promised to Peter, as much is promised to all the Apostles, John 16.13. He will guide you into all Truth. And if St Peter be here called a Rock, so are the other Apostles called Pillars, Gal. 2.9. and Foundations, Eph. 2. Apoc. 21.14. And that 16th of Matthew speaks not one syllable more of transmitting St Peters Authority to his Successors, then those other places do to their Successors: And therefore it una­voydably followes, either that all their Successors are infallible, or that St Peters Successor is fallible, at best for any thing that appeares from this Text (whether the Popes infallibility hath other foundations we shall exa­mine in their order.)

8. It may be said, That although this place may not seem to be cogent to one that considers it in it selfe, yet if you take it according to the exposition of the Fathers, it proves what it is alledged for:

But 1. The Fathers generally did understand this Rock to be not Peters Person, but his confession, or Christ as confessed by him, and this you shall finde pro­ved to have been the minde of St Cyrill, Hilary, Hierom, Ambrose, Basil, Augustine, yea, and the whole Coun­cell of Chalcedon in that incomparably learned and Ir­reffragable Discourse of Moulins, called The Novelty of Popery, Lib. 2. cap. 4.

[Page 15]2. That the Fathers are not infallible guides of Faith and Religion I shall prove in the next Proposition.

3. But howsoever, They that assert the infallibility of the Fathers, when they relate the Churches Judgment, yet allow their Fallibility in expounding Scripture: Caietan and Maldonate both acknowledge it, and practise accordingly, that a man may in many cases pre­ferre a new exposition, though it be repugnant to the expositions of most of the Antient Fathers: And Sr Kenelme Digby speaking of the infallibility of the Fa­thers, expressely saith, he understands it onely of the Tra­ditions. or Doctrines, delivered by them as the Faith recei­ved from their Ancestours, not of their Comments or Ser­mons upon Scripture, which are to have no more weight then the reasons they give for them. Letters between Lord Digby and Sr Kenelme Digby, pag. 10.

§. But if all these, and other difficulties were cleared; yet, do two things remaine behind, in which this Text, and all others are wholly silent, and for them they are for­ced to fly to Tradition, and the Authority of the Fa­thers, (of which in the next place.) The first, That all this Supreme Authority and infallibility, which they sup­pose to have been in Peter, was transmitted to his Suc­cessor (and consequently Linus St Peters Successor was Superiour to the Apostle and Evangelist St Iohn, which he had need have no squeamish Conscience that can di­gest) and yet all this amounts to nothing, unlesse another thing be proved, viz: That the Bishop of Rome is St Pe­ters Successor; and here the scripture failes them, and the Coronis or Apex of the Argument (without which it is both impertinent, and impotent, as to the probation of the Soveraignty of the Roman Bishop) is fetched solely from Tradition and the Testimony of the Fathers: And so their Argument stands like the Angell in the Apocalypse with one foot on the Earth, another on the [Page 16] Sea, one Leg of it in Scripture, the other in History; an [...] because conclusio sequitur partem deteriorem, the conclusion cannot be de side; or rather to speak the truth: The whole Syllogisme is extra Scripturall. The prerogative of St Peter are transmitted to St Peters Successors; Bu [...] the Bishop of Rome is S Peters Successor; where it ap­peares from what hath been said, that neither propositio [...] is to be proved from Scripture, but wholly from Tradi­tion, and that is all at present I am concerned to make good. And yet if all this were over, they have not done [...] Behold the misery of a desperate cause: for whereas it is known, and granted by the Papists, that St Peter had two Seas, he was Bishop of Antioch for seven Years saith Baronius, and Bishop of Rome, it must be further evin [...] ced, That the Bishop of Antioch was excluded from, and the Bishop of Rome invested with St Peters Prerogatives And would you know the proofe of this position (which is the very Foundation Stone of the Popes Supremacy You shall have the Argument in Bellarmines words (a) [...] had its rise à facto Petri from St Peters fact. Peter leave [...] Antioch and comes to Rome, and there he dies, and so hi [...] Holinesse got the day. Here I desire the Reader to ob­serve, that all the Faith of the Romanists, concerning the Popes Infallibility, depends upon, and is resolved into a matter of Fact, and an uncertain Historicall relation [...] Nay, to speak truly, there are severall matters of Fact, every one of which must be solidly demonstrated, before their Faith can have a firme Foundation. 1. That Peter was at Rome. 2. That Peter was Bishop of Rome pro­perly so called. 3. That St Peter died at Rome. 4. That it was Christs, or Peters intention, that Peters Successor should enjoy all his Priviledges. 5. That Christ or Peter appointed his Romane not his Antiochian Successor to [Page 17] be this person, to whom such priviledges were to be transmitted: If there be a flaw in any one of these, their whole cause in this point, is lost. And all these are matters of fact. And such is the nature, and uncertainty of matters of fact, that the Papists confess those persons whom they suppose infallible in matters of faith, are fallible in mat­ters of fact. Excepitng that modern dotage of some of the Jesuites, who have lately asserted the Popes infallibi­lity in matters of fact: But that is such a piece of drol­lery, and impudence, that their own brethren, who have not forsworn all modesty are ashamed of it: now to as­sume, as some of these assertions are apparently false, so there are none of them, but are disputable points, and denied by divers learned men, not without a plausible appearance of authorities and arguments. And if the Jesuites opinion be true concerning the doctrine of pro­bability, that a man may satisfie his conscience, and ven­ture his salvation upon the opinions of two or three learn'd Doctors. Then a Protestant may satisfy his conscience, and venture his salvation upon it, that all these propositions are false, being denied by far more then that number of learned Doctors. At least this must be granted, that it ren­ders the forementioned positions, dubious and uncertain. And so the Papists build their divine faith upon a dubious historicall faith: yet again: what if Peter dies there? must the universall headship needs go to the Bishop of the place where he dies, and not to another where he lived? Charles the fifth was King of Spain, and Emperour of Germany; if he die in Spain, must all the Kings of Spain be therefore Emperours of Germany? Haply they will say no, because the Empire is elective, not hereditary; and if that were granted, which the Papists will never be able to prove, that there was such a thing as this uni­versall headship, and that this was to continue, will they pawne their soules on it, (for so indeed they do) that this [Page 18] universall headship was hereditary, not elective? How will they prove it? Christ dies at Ierusalem, by this rule the Bishop of Ierusalem must be universall head: Suppose the Pope should leave Rome, and go to Avignon, (a [...] once he did) and settle, and die there, by this rule, the Bi­shop of Avignon must succeed in the universall headship [...] But I need say no more of so absurd a fancy.

Sect. 10. A second place of scripture is, Ioh. 21. Pete [...] feed my sheep; And this feeding must denote ruling as wel [...] as teaching, and this rule (forsooth) must needs be the supreme power, and that power must bee attended with [...] infallibility, and these sheep must be all the sheep in the world, nay, shephards too, exceept the Pan, or princep [...] pastorum at Rome. Tantae molis erat Romanum conder [...] papam. And this rope of sand must be called an argu­ment, by which one may see the intollerable confidence they have in themselves and their shamelesse contempt of the Readers, whom they think obliged to receive all their dictates without enquiry. I would have you to wit that the Church of Rome knew what they did, when they invented the doctrine of an implicit faith and a blind obedience to all the Churches decrees, for if men should once dare to open their eyes and examine their assertions, all their craft would be in danger to be set, at nought, and the Temple of Dominus Deus noster papa, (as the Canon Law calls him) would be despised and his magnificence would be destroyed, whom so great a part of the world worshippeth. But if indeed they will by Transubstantiation turn this handfull of straw into a pillar of their Church, (as I cannot blame one near drowning, for catching at every twig) then I shall offer these things to their consideration.

1 That Bellarmine (as his manner is) bestowes seaven arguments to prove that which none ever denied, that those words were spoken to Peter alone, and neglects [Page 19] that which he should have disproved viz. the reason thereof given by Aug. Cyril, Ambrose, and others; and after them the Protestants which was, not the collation of a new dignity superior to that of the other Apostles, but his restoration to his former dignity of the Apostle­ship, from which by his great transgression he might seem to have fallen as Iudas really did fall by his Trans­gression Act. 1.

2. If this Text afford them any support, they must have it either from the Act, or the word Feed, or from the object or phrase, my sheep: For the first, By what Arts can the Supremacy of the Pope he drawn from that word or precept! This feeding (in the judgment of the Romanists themselves) implies nothing but teaching and ruling, and both those are ascribed to all the Apostles without any discrimination, Mat. 28.19, 20. Mat. 18. Iohn. 20. And Bellarmine himselfe confesseth, that not onely the power of Rule, but the supreme power was conferred upon all the Apostles: (a) Nay, they are ascribed to infe­riour Ministers Heb. 13. Obey them that have the rule over you; and 1 Tim. 5.17. The elders that rule well; and to such, the very same Precept is given, 1 Pet. 5.1, 2. The Elders—I exhort—Feed the flock of God which is a­mong you: Doth Feeding in one place argue superiority, and in another place imply subjection? or rather in both places it seemes it signifies what the Pope pleaseth; But you must know the Romish Doctors having called [...]he Scripture a Lesbian Rule, and a Nose of Wax,—they were bound in honour aut invenire aut facere, either to finde it so, or to make it such; if it be said their charge [...] limited to the Flock of God among them, whereas Peters extends to all the sheep; the Answer is easie, if that [...]e granted, for then the difference doth not lie in the [Page 20] act of Feeding, but in the object of which I now come to speak, that is the second thing; the phrase my sheep:

Granting therefore what Bellar. desires that he speaks of all the sheep, yet herein St Peter had no prerogative above the other Apostles who are equally commanded to teach and baptise all Nations Mat. 28.19. to preach the Gospell to every Creature, Mar. 16.15. And Peters Diocess surely cannot be larger, unlesse happily Utopia be taken in, or that which is in the same part of the world, I meane Purgatory: But you will say, surely they have somewhat else to plead for themselves from this Text; Why yes These good masters of the feast have reserved the best Wine to the last. Here comes in a rare notion not fit to be prostituted to vulgar apprehensions, you shall heare it upon condition you will not put them to the proofe of it which they are not bound to do, for nem [...] tenetur a [...] impossibilia, No man is obliged to do more then is in his power; Peter was to feed the sheep as ordinary Pastour, the rest as extraordinary Ambassadors and with a certaine subjection to Peter, (a) If you ask, doth this Text say so? or any other Text? or is there one syllable from whence this may be deduced? you must re­member the condition which I told you. And what if this be granted, how comes the ordinary power to be greater and higher then the extraordinary? In the Old Testament generally, the extraordinary officers, the Pro­phets whom God raised were superior to the Priests, And in the New Testament, the Apostles and Evangelists who were extraordinary officers were superior to Pastors and Teachers, which are the ordinary. How come the [Page 21] Tables to be turned? and the ordinary agent to be ad­vanced above the extraordinary Ambassadors? And what if all this be granted it edifies nothing unlesse two things be superadded, of both which the Scripture is wholly silent and their proof failes them. 1. They must prove that this power of feeding is transmitted to Peters Successors in a more peculiar manner, then to the Suc­cessors of the other Apostles, and that whatever power Peter had is deposited in their hand. 2. That the Pope. is this Successor to whom these things are concredited. And these they do not pretend to prove from Scripture So that still the conclusion remaines intire, That the Scripture is not to the Papists a solid and sure ground of Faith.

§. 11. A third place alwaies in their mouths is Luke 22.31. Simon, Simon; Satan hath desired to winnow you, but I have prayed that thy faith faile not. A man would not believe if he did not see it with his own eyes that such Learned men as diverse of the Papists are should put any confidence in such broken reeds and shatter'd Arguments as this is, Truely saith a learned man, Hoc non est disputare sed somniare: This is rather a dreame, then an Argument: What thoughts the Papists have of our English Sectaries is sufficiently known; but I must needs do them this right to professe, I do not know that Sect among us (the Quakers excepted) so absurd and im­pertinent in the all gations of Scripture for their most irrationall opinions as in sundry particulars (and this especially) the Papists are. But because they shall not complaine of us (as we do justly of them) that we rather condemne them then confute them, I shall shew the ridiculousnesse of this allegation to their purpose.

1. If this Prayer secure the Pope from unbeliefe and errour in judgment, it secures him also from unbeliefe and Apostacy in heart and life: But this Prayer doth [Page 22] not secure the Pope from Apostacy in heart and life. The Papists generally confesse that severall of their Popes were Apostatici non Apostolici Apostates, not Apostolick persons. All the doubt lies about the Major, which I prove thus; If this Prayer was put up for Peter in the name and on the behalfe of his Successors as well as him­selfe (as the Papists pretend it was though we denie it) then the same thing for which Christ prayes for Peter, Christ Prayes for it for his Successors also, and therefore if Christ prayed that Peter might be kept from Apostacy in heart and life as well as in opinion and judgment, then the Major is true. But Christ prayed that Peter might be so kept, which I thus prove Christs Prayer was the Antidote against the Devils malicious designe; Sa­tan hath desired to winnow you, but I have prayed &c. And consequently the plaister must be as large as the sore: But the Devils designe was not only to draw Peter to er­ror in judgment, but also, yea principally to draw him to Apostacy in heart and life. Ergo.

2. If notwithstanding this Prayer it was possible, that Peter himselfe might fall so farre after Christ's Prayer, as to teach a false Doctrine; then this Prayer doth not prove the Popes infallibility. But notwithstanding this Prayer, it was possible that Peter might fall so far as to teach a false Doctrine. The Minor (which alone needs proofe) I prove thus, He that believed a false Doctrine, might preach a false doctrine; but Peter after this prayer did believe a false doctrine which plainly apeares from Acts 1.6. Wilt thou at this time restore the Kingdome to Israel? by which it is evident and the Popish expositions confesse it) that the Apostles (and Peter with them) still retained the old leaven of the beliefe of a Temporal Monarchy of Christ upon earth, (a Doctrine which the Papists themselves condemne in the Millenaries) Nor was this▪ the onely mistake of Peter or the Apostles after that Prayer. And indeed [Page 23] it was not Christs Prayer, but the gift of the Holy Ghost after his death which did secure the Apostles from errour, and us from deceit, in following their Doctrines.

3. If Christs Prayer for the not failing of Peters faith render the Pope infallible, then St Pauls Prayer for the Thessalonians, I pray God your whole Spirit, Soule and Body be preserved blamelesse, unto the comming of our Lord Iesus Christ, 1 Thes. 5.23. and for the Philippians, That they might abound in knowledge—and approve things that are excellent, that they might be sincere, and without offence, till the day of Christ, Philip. 1.9. prove the infalli­bility, yea, the impeccability of the Thessalonians, and the Philippians. The reason is this; because St Pauls Prayer being infallibly dictated by Gods Spirit, and made accor­ding to his Word, and in Christs name must as surely be answered, as Christs Prayer was, for God who cannot lie hath promised to answer such Prayers.

4. If the Prayer of Christ for the perseverance of Faith, makes him infallible for whom Christ prayes, then all elect and persevering believers are infallible. The consequence appeares thus; Because Christ did pray, and doth intercede for the perseverance of the Faith of every such person. Christ expressely tels us, Joh. 17. I pray not for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word. And there is not one persevering Christian in the World, but owes his perseverance to the Prayer, care, and intercession of Christ: Hence they are said to be preserved in Christ Jesus Iude 1.1. And therefore either this Argument concludes, not for the Popes infallibility, or else it gives him ten thousand part­ners in that priviledge. And surely, if the prayer for this mercy makes the Pope infallible, much more doth the actuall donation of this mercy make believers infallible.

5. This Prayer was intended for the other Apostles, as well as Peter (though Christ speak to Peter in the name [Page 24] of the rest, as his manner was as evidently appears from hence. Christ prayes for those, whom the Divell desires to winnow. That is plaine from the words, Satan hath de­sired to winnow you, but I have prayed— But the Devils aime was, not onely against Peter but the rest of the Apo­stles, as Christ expressely tels us [...] not [...] thee but [...] you in the plurall number. And therefore it fol­lowes, that as the disease and danger was generall and common to all the Apostles, so was that reliefe and suc­cour, which Christ here afforded, and consequently all the Apostles are interested in this promise, and therefore either it makes not the successors of Peter infallible, or else it makes all the successours of all the Apostles infal­lible, let them chuse which they will.

6. And yet if all those difficulties be overcome, the Conclusion may be granted, without any advantage to their cause. For, what if Christ prayed for Peter alone? What if this prayer intended and procured infallibility for him? Quid hoc ad Iphieli boves? What is this to the Pope? What Scripture, what Father, what man (that is not wholly mancipated to the Popes ambitious humour) will say or can prove that the Pope is interested in all the prayers of Christ for Peter? Or why may not all the successours of the other Apostles upon as good grounds claime an interest in that prayer of Christ for the infallibility of all the Apostles Ioh. 17? (For sure I am those prayers of Christ that God would keep them through his own name, v. 11. keep them from evill, v. 15. sanctify them through his truth and keep them unto glory, v. 21, 22, 23, 24. do as fully imply infallibility as this that Peters faith might not faile,) Or, if I do grant, what they can­not prove, that Peters successours have this as their pecu­liar, yet why should not this prayer preserve the chaire of Antioch as well at that of Rome from fallibility? And how can this prayer that his faith may not faile be [Page 25] put up by Christ for one of them that he tels us, he doth not pray for. Ioh. 17.9. I pray not for th [...] World, i.e. of re­probates (and such many Popes are confessed to have been) or how can this prayer for perseverance in the faith be offered up by Christ for such as never had any true faith (as is acknowledged of many Popes) or how dare they say Christ prayed thus for the faith of all suc­ceeding Popes, when they confesse the faith of severall Popes hath failed? It is true they have a miserable shift they tell us a Pope may erre as a private person, though not as a Pope, he may erre personally, though not judicially, not in Cathedrâ, it is no doubt among us (saith Costerus) (a) That the Pope as a private person, may erre and fall into Heresy. If this be granted, the Pope is not concerned in this prayer and promise of infallibility. For if this prayer for Peter reacheth to his Successors, then the same priviledge for which Christ here prayes for Peter, for the same he prayeth for his Successors: But the same privi­ledge, which according to their supposition is here prayed for on Peters behalfe, is not prayed for on the behalfe of his successors, themselves being Judges. For Christs prayer they confesse secured Peter from falling into er­rour, even as a private person, which you see they do not Pretend for the Pope. But here is the benefit of the popes reserving the key of interpretations in his own brest, for now he can order it as he pleaseth, and propor­tion the meanings of any Text as need requires, and so this Text (if you please to believe them) it procures. 1. That Peter cannot erre, neither personally, nor judici­ally. 2. That the Pope may erre personally, but not [Page 26] judicially. 3. That the whole Church of Rome can­not erre personally: But it is all the reason in the world that the first inventers and Authors of Infallibility should have the disposing of it in their own hands.

§. 12. A fourth place vehemently urged on the be­halfe of the Popes Infallibility is, Deut. 17.11, 12. where the Iowes are commanded under paine of death to stand to the judgment of the High-Priest, and to do according to the sen­tence which the Priest should shew them.—Therefore (say they) the High-Priest was infallible (else the people had been bound to rest in a false decision) & consequently the Pope who succeeds in the High-Priests place is infallible.

To which I answer, 1. If a man should put them to prove the consequence, how wofully would they be gra­velled? If these Romanists would lay aside their Dicta­tourship and condescend to the proofe of their assertions, how would they prove one of these things: 1. That the high Priest of the Jewes hath a visible Successour upon earth among Christians. 2. That the Pope alone is this Succes­sor. 3. That this supposed successor must be invested with all the Priviledges which the High-Priest had. But I shall passe by all these and the horrible impertinency of the instance & feeblenesse of the consequence, and shall assault them on the strongest side by denying the Antecedent, viz. that any infallibility is here ascribed or promised to the High-Priest, for proof hereof I offer these Arguments.

1. No more infallibility is here ascribed to the High­Priest then to the Judg and to the inferiour Priests: But the Judge and inferiour Priests were not infallible; Ergo, This place doth not prove the High-Priests Infal­libility, The Major is evident from the reading of the Words, the Judge or Civill Magistrate is joyned in the same commission with the Priest, and the people are commanded to acquiesce indifferently in the determina­tions, both of the one and of the other: and therefore ei­ther [Page 27] both are infallible, or neither: Again it is not the High-Priest alone, who is here meant, but others also, so the words run in the plurall number, the Priests, the Levites, v.9. And they shall shew thee, they shal inform thee.

For the Minor, it is acknowledged by the Papists Ergo.

2 If this text proves the high Priests infallibility, it proves it in the matters here spoken of: But this place doth not prove the high priests infallibility, in the mat­ters here spoken of: for those are matters of fact, between blood and blood, plea and plea, stroke and stroke: questions which were decided by Testimonies, and in such they con­fesse the Pope may erre: so then their Argument runs thus: The high Priest was infallible, in matters of fact. Therefore the Pope is not infallible in matters of fact, but he is infallible in matters of Faith: but our comfort is, as it is a dangerous Argument, so themselves furnish us with an Antidote; for they deny both propositions. 1. they deny the consequent, from matters of fact, to matters of faith. 2 They deny the antecedent, for they do not ascribe to the Pope, and consequently, not to the high Priest, infallibility in matters of fact. You see what shifts they are put to, to support their cause with such rotten posts: to argue from the Aut hority of the priests, to end particular controversies between man and man, between blood and blood, plea and plea, stroke and stroke, (which is all that place speaks of,) to the infallibi­lity of the Pope, in all the matters of God, and deciding all the controversies of religion. I think they have suf­ficiently improved the stock the high Priest left them.

3 Those words (however they may seem to a carelesse reader at first view) do not assert the infallibility of the Priest or Priests, nor the obligation of the people to an absolute submission, and blind obedience to all their di­ctates and expositions, & that for two undeniable reasons.

1 Because other places of Scripture (with whom this, [Page 28] must be reconciled) command both Prince, and people to keep close to the word of God, and to that end, to read in the book of the law diligently, and to do accord­ing to all that is written therein, Deut. 5.32, 33. You shall observe to do as the Lord hath commanded you, you shall not turn aside to the right hand, or to the left: You shall walke in all the wayes which the Lord commanded you. So Deut. 6.6. &c. It is Gods speech to Ioshua, ch. 1.8. This booke of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein. And in case of doubt, it is the Prophets injunction to the people, to have recourse to the law, and to the Testimony. Isa. 8, 20, Now put case an high priest should fall into Idolatry (I may well suppose it, for it was done,) and should expound the law so as to favour his opinion, & practice, I demand whether in this case, the people of the Jewes were bound to believe & obey him, or not, to worship an Idol, or not? Affirme it none will, but one of a Jesuiticall h.e.a feared conscience nor can any Christian hear such an assertion without hor­rour, If they deny it, their argument from this place is lost.

2 That sence of Scripture which justifies the Jewes in in putting Christ to death, is a false fence, and corrupt exposition: But the Popish sence of this place, and their argument from it, doth justifie the Jewes in putting Christ to death. Ergo it is a corrupt exposition, for the Major, he that denies it, deserves not the name of a Chri­stian: And whatever his successours will do at a pinch, I am sure St. Peter did not justifie them, but severely con­demns them, and highly aggravates, their sin in it: Act. 2, & 3, & 4, & 5. The Minor, (about which alone the doubt lies) I shall easily prove: which I am more willing to do, that all Christians may observe the just Iudgment of God, and the fearfull Apostacy of these men, that rather then recant their errours will, (in effect) renounce Chri­stianity, [Page 29] and justifie the murderers of Christ, I prove it thus: If the Jewes, in that Act, did nothing, but what by vertue of this place, they were obliged to do, then they did not sin. But the Jewes did nothing in the murdering of Christ, but what by vertue of this place (If the Popish sence bee true) they were obliged to do. Ergo: The Major they do, and must grant, for it cannot be a sin to obey Gods command. The Minor I prove, if this law did require absolute obedience to their Priests, and was in force at that time, then the Jewes did nothing, but what they were obliged to do: But this law did require such obedience, (say the Papists) and it was in force at that time (say I) Ergo: The consequence no man will deny, but he that doth not understand it. The Minor, I prove it in its two branches 1. This law bound the Jewes to absolute obedience to their Priests: This is known to be their opinion. But because I have no great confidence in the ingenuity of these men, I will prove it out of 2, or 3 of their most eminent authors. Becanus hath these words, the whole people in matters of religion were com­manded to follow that which the High-Priest enjoyned them. (a) What more plain? Thus Melchior Canus (one of great Authority with them) Moses doth not command that they should believe the Priests if they judged accord­ing to law, but rather, that they should take that for law, which the Priest taught them (b) Bellarm disputes against the assertion of Brentius, That the people were to stand to the Iudgment of the High-Priest's only upon condition they judged according to law, and argues that they were abso­lutely bound to follow it.(c) And (that you may see it is [Page 30] a resolved case) Gretser defends Bel in it and tell's us plain­ly the people were bound to stand to the High-Priests judg­ment whatsoever their sentence was(a) I think an Adversary will not require more for the proofe of the first branch of the Minor.

The second branch of the Minor is, that this law was then in force, which I prove thus. If Christ had not at that time destroyed or abolished this Law, it was in force: But Christ had not at that time destroyed or abo­lished it: The Ceremoniall Law which was to expire yet in the judgment of all intelligent Divines, Antient and Modern, Popish and Protestant did not expire till the death of Christ, and consequently while Christ lived, this Law was in force, which being considered, quite invalidates the last and most plausible evasion of the Pa­pists to this instance as Becanus delivers it Synagoga fere expiravit, The Synagogue was almost expired: He should have said the precept, Deut. 17. was altogether expired, and instead of it here is, the Synagogue was almost expired: And what then? it was not yet expired, nor dead. A man that is almost dead is yet alive, and while the Law lives, it hath its force over us, as the Apostle ar­gues Rom 7.1. Else it is a pretty device of Becanus, and will do fine feats; for by the same Argument I will prove that the Jewes were not then bound to observe their Passeover, quia Synagoga fere expiravit: And if that Law which enjoyned the observation of the passeover was in full force to the Jewes, notwithstanding the nearnesse of its expiration, then the same must be acknowledged of this Law, which required absolute obedience to the High-Priests sentence, and consequently the Jewes were then bound by it, and therefore (Horresco referens) did not sin in it; And because the conclusion is divilish and de­testable to all that love the Lord Jesus in sincerity, there­fore the principles from which it flowes are rotten, and [Page 31] that Popish cause which cannot stand without such pro­digious blasphemies ought to be abhorred by all that pretend to Christianity. And therefore the Popish glosse upon the place is false, and their Argument from it is wicked, and the true sence is this, they were bound to hearken to the Priests, if they delivered sentence accor­ding to the Law, and not if they did grosly contradict it: And the rejection of this exposition, and the asser­tion of the peoples implicit faith hath forced severall of them, who passe for sober men amongst our Adversa­ries into such expressions as these That this action of the Priests (in condemning of Christ) was indeed contrary to Christ, but their sentence was most true, and most profitable, yea, that it was a Divine Oracle. So Canus (a) That at that time the Priests had the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth: So Petrus a Soto (b) That the Arts of that Coun­cell were wicked, but the sentence whereby they condemned Christ was just and true, So Harding. (c) Really Prote­stants must be tender in pressing their Arguments too farre, for the Papists, like wild Horses when they are chased will venture over hedg and ditch. We have already made them turne Jewes; I am afraid next remove we shall dispute them into Paganisme, if they be not there already.

§. 13. And thus I have dispatched the Romanists pretensions from Scripture, for the Popes Supreme and infallible Authority: If infallibility have any foundati­on in Scripture, it is in these places: And how far they are from giving any countenance or support to their opinion I leave to that reader to judge, who hath either sence or conscience, or any care of his Salvation. But [Page 32] I must not do them wrong, I confesse there is one Argu­ment behind, and that is taken from St Peters prero­gatives: And Bellarmine reckons up no lesse then twenty eight Prerogatives, which all undoubtedly be­long to the Pope: yes, that I confesse strikes all dead and therefore I must crave the Readers pardon, and Bel­larmines mercy, if I once do (as the Papists do ordinarily) passe over in silence what I cannot Answer, for who can resist these Evidences? Peters name is changed: Ergo, the Popes nature is changed from fallible to infal­lible: Peter is oft mentioned in the first place, therefore ought to have the first seat, and is the chiefe Bishop: Peter walks with Christ upon the Water, and therefore the Pope must raigne with him upon earth, and Divisum imperium cum Iove Papa tenet: Peter payes Tribute, and therefore the Pope should have a power of levying Tri­bute to reinburse him. Christ teacheth in Peters Ship, and therefore to quit scores, the Pope should rule in Christs Church: Christ bids Peter let down his Net, therefore the Pope must catch the Fish of Supremacy: Christ washeth Peters feet, therefore all men must kisse the Popes Toe: These and diverse other such prero­gatives. Bel hath collected together, and vehemently argues from them for the Popes Supremacy,(a) but for these I must desire some time to give in my Answer.

I hope I have said enough to prove the second Propo­sition, viz. That the Scripture in it selfe is not a suffi­cient and solid foundation for a Papists faith (according to their Principles) and that the popes pretended Infal­libility hath no solid foundation there; But when they are beaten out of Scripture they use to fly to the Fathers, and to rest their Faith in the Authority of the Fathers: And therefore that must be considered in the next place.

CHAP. III. Of the Authority and Infallibility of the Fathers.

Prop. 3. Sect. 1. THe third Proposition then is this: The Faith of the Papists hath no solid foundation in the Authority of the Fathers: This the rather deserves consi­deration, because they make their great boast of it, and urge it as a principall Pillar of their Faith: It is asserted in their Cannon Law, That the Fathers are to be owned and followed even to the least jot. And although some of them have declared their dislike of that assertion; yet they generally agree in this, That the Authority of the Fathers, especially where they consent, is a solid Foundation for their faith to rest upon. Hence those expressions of their great Doctors, Take away the Authority of Fathers, and Councels, and all things in the Church are doubtfull and uncertaine, Eccius.(a) From the Writings of the Fathers as from an Oracle Vniversities have the certainty of their assertions, and Councels have their decrees, (b) Sixtus Senensis, Melilior Canus an Author of great Note among the Ro­manists laies down this Conclusion, That the common sence of the Fathers in the exposition of Scripture is a most certaine Argument to confirme Theologicall assertions: For (saith he) the sence of all those Holy men is the sence of Gods Spirit. And a little after, Although you may require of a Philosopher the reason of a Philosophicall Conclusion, yet [Page 34] in the exposition of Holy Scripture, you are bound to believe your Ancestors, though they give you no reason for it, and to defend whatsoever opinions you receive from them, of the Law of faith and of Religion: And a little after, All those Holy men together cannot erre in a matter of Faith. (a) All the Fathers together do never erre, nor can they agree in one error saith Bell. (b) The sayings and Testimonies of the Antient Fathers are not to be examined, when all or al­most all do agree in one opinion, saith Salmeron. (c) That which the Fathers unanimously deliver about Religion is In­fallibly true, saith Gregory de Valentiá;(d) from all which we plainly see, that according to their opinion, the judg­ment of the Fathers is a sure basis and ground of Faith: That is it which I am now to disprove, and to shew, That the Writings of the Fathers, neither are, nor can be a safe and sufficient foundation for a Papists Faith.

§. 2. Onely let me premise two things. 1. I would not be misunderstood as if I did intend to derogate from the just Authority of the Fathers, or to defraud them of that veneration which is due to persons of such Antiqui­ty, [Page 35] ability, and integrity, but onely to denie that preten­ded infallibility which none did more dislike then them­selves as we shall see hereafter. Let them have all the honour which is due to the most worthy men, not acted by divine inspiration, but let them not have that Honour which belongs to God onely, and his inspired ones: We grant their Testimony is highly credible, especially where there is indeed that which is oft pretended, but seldome proved, viz. an universall consent, but their Authority is not infallible. 2. That I do not fall into this dispute as declining the judgment of the Fathers of the first 600 years, or suspecting their partiality on the Popes side. I know sufficiently, and so may any man (whom the God of this World hath not blinded) that doth but read what our Learned Divines have said in this particular, or with his own eyes look into the Fathers, that there is is not one considerable point in controversie between us and the Romanists, but if judgment were to be given by any impartiall person from the Fathers (excepting those who are evidently demonstrated to be spurious Authors) their mouths would presently be stopped and their cause and confidence lay'd in the dust; onely be­cause that work is so thoroughly done by others, and would swell this into a voluminous bignesse; I shall for­beare that, and proceed to handle what I proposed; and P shall prove the proposition by foure Arguments.

1. All those assertions and Arguments which the Pa­pists urge against the Authority of sacred Scripture, for the decision of controversies do no lesse overthrow all the Authority of the Writings of the Fathers. When they attempt to disprove the Authority of the Scriptures considered in themselves; these are then Arguments uni­versally owned and urged: God would not have his Church depend upon Paper-Books saith Costerus. Scripture (say they) cannot decide controversies, because it cannot [Page 36] summon and heare both parties, it cannot compell trangressours to obedience, it doth not particularly condemne Hereticks: It doth not say Erras Jacobe Gretsere, Gretser you are in an errour: It speaks doubtfully, and men dispute about the sence of Scripture, and so controversies will be endlesse. Hence I thus argue; Either those Arguments are strong and cogent against the Scriptures Authority, or they are not: If they be not, then the Scripture must be ow­ned as Judge of Controversies, notwithstanding all those Arguments: If they be valid against the Authority of Scriptures, why are they not as strong against the Autho­rity of the Fathers! Or what difference is there in this par­ticular, between the writings of the Scripture and of the Fathers? Are the writings of St Paul deaf that they cannot hear parties, and dumbe; that they cannot deliver sentence, and can the Writings of St Austine, heare, and speake? Doth not the Scripture say Gretser you are in an errour? And do the writings of Ierome or Ambrose say, Luther you are in an error? Cannot St Paul con­demne Hereticks and compell transgressors to obedience? and can St Cyprian do it? What offence hath St Paul done, that Peters Successors should thus degrade him, sure Manet altâ mente repostum they bare him a grudge for reproving St Peter Gal. 2. And so now they are even with him. In short, forasmuch as the Arguments and premises are wholly the same concerning the Scriptures and the Fathers, either the authority of both of them must be receaved as Judges of Controversies, or else both must be rejected: For, in pari causâ idem jus, say the Lawyers, in the same cause, there is the same right.

Againe another of their Arguments, Why the Scripture cannot of it selfe be a ground of Faith is this; because without the Church, we cannot know which books of Scrip­ture are genuine, and which are spurious: This is the great Argument of Stapleton, and all other Romish Doctors. [Page 37] In like manner I argue the writings of the Fathers can­not in themselves be a solid ground of my faith, because without the Churches judgment I cannot tell which of their Writings are genuine, and which are spurious. For that there are great multitude of spurious Writings masked under the names of the Fathers, is acknowledged by Sixtus Senensis. Bel. and others, and the Fathers them­selves oft complained of that practise in their daies. So again, Scripture is obscure and ambiguous, and full of see­ming contradictions, and there are many disputes about the true sence, and therefore it cannot be the rule of my faith say Bellarm. Becanus, Costorus, and the rest. The same may be more justly said against the Authority of the Fa­thers. Their obscurity and ambiguity appeares from the very same Arguments which they bring to make good their charge against the Scriptures, even from the multitude of Comments which Learned men have made upon the darke passages, of the Fathers, in which, no lesse then in St Pauls Epistles are [...], things hard to be un­derstood, which men of corrupt minds wrest to their own destruction, and from the great disputes which are at this day fervent in the World, concerning the judgments of the Fathers, and their meaning in severall passages' about which there are as fierce contests as about any passages of the Scripture: it having been truly observed by indifferent persons, that both Papists and Protestants have fortified their severall and contrariant assertions with plausible allegations from the Fathers: Nor are there onely seeming contradictions in the Fathers (as there are in Scripture) but most reall and direct ones, and if it be not enough, that one of them contradicts ano­ther, many pregnant instances are given of the same Fa­ther in one place, contradicting himselfe in another; But for this and other things concerning the Fathers Au­thority, I must refer the Reader to those Learned Au­thors [Page 38] that have exemplified this in severall Instances (a). Once more, The Scripture (they say) is corrupted and falsified in severall places, and so unfit to be a rule: And have the Fathers Works seen no corruption? Yes, we have it under the hands of Possevinus, Sixtus Senensis, Bellarm. and others who confess their hard hap in this particular, and how wofully they are corrupted in multi­tudes of places, and needs must the Fathers fare worse then the Scriptures herein, because they were never pre­served with that care and conscience which was exercised about the Holy Scriptures; Therefore, either they must quit their Arguments against the Scriptures Authority, or else renounce the Authority of the Fathers which is ob­noxious to the same inconveniencies.

§.4. 2. That the Fathers whose writings are extant (for of them this proposition treats) are not infallible, may be undeniably evinced from the Hypothesis of our Adver­saries, and the supposed subject of that Infallibility which is pretended. Infallibility is the proper and peculiar priviledge of the Church, say all the Papists: The onely question is, What this Church is? Some make it the Pope, others a Councell, others the whole body of the faithfull, but they generally agree that it must be some one or all of those: But the Fathers I am here discoursing of are not one, or all of these, and therefore they cannot pre­tend to the supposed infallibility; nor can the Papists by their own principles ascribe it to them; to which may be added, That if the Pope himselfe, notwithstanding his pretended gift of Infallibility, may erre as a private Doctor, either in speaking, or writing (which all the Papists grant) how can either any, or most of them, who have no other capacity but that of a private Doctor be exempt from a possibility of erring? And consequently the Fathers are not infallible, nor a solid foundation for a Papists faith.

[Page 39] Sect. 5. Again, if they will needs obtrude upon us, this upstart Infallibility of particular fathers, I demand whether this infallibility belongs to all the fathers that lived in one Age, or only to the Writers of that Age, or only to those of the Writers, whose works have had better hap then others to come to our hand, and whe­ther to all them together, or onely to a part of them? For one of these they must unavoydably assert: If they say the first, that this Infallibility was in all the fathers that lived in one Age, or the Major part of them (as in reason they must, for what Scripture or Reason had one, to pretend Infallibility, more then another, excepting alwayes the Bishop of Room, of whose Infallibility, it must, bee confessed, there was never any quaestion, name­ly, in those dayes none had the impudence to assert it) if that be granted yet those few, whose writings are ex­tant (of whom alone our controversie is) might all be fallible, though the Major part of the Fathers be ac­knowledged infallible. If it be said, those Fathers do not onely speak their own sence, but the sence of the Church of their Age, and in that respect, they are infallible, which is the common plea, and most plausible Argument they use in this point: The Fathers are infallible, not in their expositions, but in their traditions, and the Doctrines they deliver as received from their Ancestors: Thus Sr Ke­nelm Digby, White, Holden, and the Papists of the new Modell, This I shall have occasion to handle more largely afterward: At present it may suffice to answer two things. 1 That it is most certain, they are so far from delivering the sence of the Church of that Age in the controversies between us, and the Romanists, that they seldom touch, upon the most of them, and when they do it, it is obiter, and by accident, not ex professo, and solemnly, they be­ing then taken up with other matters, as disputing against Jewes, and Gentiles, and the hereticks of that Age

[Page 40]2 However, that being purely matter of fact to under­stand, and report the History of the Churches Doctrine in their Age; if they were infallible in matters of Faith, yet in point of fact, they were not infallible, For the Pope himself is allowed to bee fallible in such matters, and as it is confessed, the Pope may erre, through fear or hope, or humane passions (as Liberius Marcellinus, and others did) at best, for a season: so doubtlesse might the Fathers, either through weaknesse, misunderstand, or through favour, or prejudice misreport the sence of others; (of which it were easy to give many Instances.) If the se­cond thing be asserted, that this Infallibility belongs only to the Writers of each Age, wee would desire them to set the [...]r inventions on work, to devise a reason why the Writers were infallible; [...]and not the Preachers, seeing the Apostles who had, and all others that pretend to In­fallibility (as the Pope, and Councell) challenge it equal­ly in their Sermons, and Writings, in their verbal, and written decrees, and much lesse can they with any colour assert that this Infallibility belongs only to those Writers which are come to our hands, as if it were not sufficient for the rest, that they lost their Writings, but they must also lose their Infallibility. And yet such is the impudence of these men, and the desperatenesse of their cause, that they are found to attribute this Infallibility, not onely to all conjunctly, but to the most of that smal remnant of surviving Writers, as you saw from their expressions, which because they are so monstrously bold as to assert, I shall take the boldnesse to aske, by what right shall five Fathers, vid. Dionysius, Clemens, Ignatius, Polycarpus, and Hermes, supposing that all the works extant under their names were genuine (for these are all left us of those great numbers of the Fathers of the first Age) I say, by what right shall these five invest themselves with the name, or privi­ledge of the whole Catholick Church of that Age: (for [Page 41] it is to her alone the supposed promise of Infallibility was made) in what Scripture, or Father, or Lexicon, do five Fathers make up the whole Church? True it is, the Pope hath a peculiar priviledge in this point, and is by the Jesuites invested with the name of the Church —The Church Virtuall. And it must be acknowledged there is since colour for the Title: for having swallowed up all the rights and priviledges of the Church, he ought to have the Name into the bargain: But setting aside that prodigious [...]; I would know, why I might not as well say, that five of the Romish Doctors, viz. Salme­ron, Canus, Costerus, Stapleton, and Bellarmine, are the Church of Rome, or that five of our English Doctors are the Church of England, nay, all the Protestant World, as that five of the Fathers made up the whole Church of their Age? Yet againe, forasmuch as they ascribe infal­libility, not onely to all, but also to the major part of the Fathers: of these five then, two may erre by their own confession. And that all the particular Fathers have their their errors is generally acknowledged by the Papists, and often urged by them to defend themselves from the force of many convincing allegations from the Fa­thers against their opinions. Well then, to keep to this particular instance: It is granted that Dionysius may erre, and so may Ignatius, then the Infallibility is preser­ved in Clemens, and Polycarpus, and Hermes: But they also, or any two of them may erre in other things, and then the Infallibility is preserved in Dionysius, and Igna­tius, and Hermes. Thus (it seems) Infallibility is banded between the Fathers like a Tennis-ball, from one to ano­ther, and they have it by turnes. Such monsters must be in the Conclusion, if Infallibility be in the premises. That is enough for the second Argument.

§. 5. The third Argument is this: The Fathers pro­fesse they are not infallible: either they say true or false; [Page 42] if true, then they are not infallible; if false, then they erred in that assertion, and therefore are not Infallible. So the Papists are gone by their own Argument, and rule too: For here we have the consent of the Fathers; It were infinite to recount all passages to this purpose: I shall onely suggest some few which are evident and un­deniable in this particular. Clemens Alexandrinus hath these words, The principle of our Doctrine is the Lord who hath taught us by the Prophets, by the Gospell, and by the Apostles; and he addes, If any man think this Principle needs another Principle, he doth not indeed keep that Princi­ple. But the Papists say, the Scripture principle needs another principle to support it, viz. the Churches Autho­rity: Ergo, the Papists have forsaken the principle of the Scripture, and so saved us further labour of proving their Apostacy. And he addes, that the standard by which things are to be examined, is not the testimony of men (there­fore not the Testimony of Fathers, Councels, Popes, who I thinke are all men, save onely that severall of the Popes are represented by their own Authors as beasts) but the Word of the Lord. And lest you should understand it of Tradition, he calls it just before the Scripture and word of the Lord: We do not (saith he) believe the assertions of men, they must not onely say, but prove, 31 and that: too from the [Page 43] Scriptures. What can be more expresse? So Basil (a) tels us, The hearers that are instructed in the Scriptures must examine the Doctrine of their teachers, they must re­ceive those things which are agreeable to Scripture, and re­ject those things which are contrary to it: Where we plainly see St Basils direct contrariety to the principles and practise of the Romish Church.

1. St Basil allowes his heares to examine their teachers Doctrine; so do not the Papists. The people are so bound to be subject to their Pastours, that if their Pastours shoulderre, the people were bound to erre with them, saith Tannerus, (b) A Christian is bound to receive the Churches Doctrine with­out examination, saith Bellarmine. Pastours are simply to be heard in all things, nor are we to consider what is said, but who said it, i. e. if he were a lawfull Pastour, as Sta­pleton (d) bellowes it out (for it is a speech fitter for a beast then for a man,) (c) And yet these are the men who will not depart a nailes bredth from the Fathers: This is the Church, the principall note whereof is consent with the Fathers, of which you may judge by this, and what we shall adde from others.

[Page 44]2. Basil makes the Scripture alone the rule by which all other things are to be examined, not Fathers, not Coun­cels, not Traditions: but the Papists are of another minde. St Clara. (a) tels us of a Popish Treatise, written by a friend of his, solemnly approved by the Parishian Doctors of the Sor­bon (so you see it is no particular fancy, but a received opinion) where (saith he) that Author expresly asserts, that the Church therefore receives the Scriptures, because, and so far as they are conformable to Tradition not contrarily, i.e. She doth not receive Tradition, because, and so far as it agrees with Scripture: And thus far doubtlesse he was in the right, saith St Clare; And consequently Basil was in the wrong.

That saying of Cyprians is never to be forgotten, (b) That Christ alone is to be heard, the Father witnesseth from Heaven: We are not therefore to regard what others before us thought, but what he that was before all, Christ first did, for we are not to follow the custome of men but the truth of God. If the Papists would say as much, this con­troversy would be at an end. And it is observable, that Pamelius who is very brisk and free of his Notes and ani­madversions whereever Cyprian casts in a word that may seem to give countenance to their opinions, passeth over this place with profound silence, as well seeing, it was so hot, it would have burned his Fingers.

[Page 45]St Chrysostome (a) is as fully Protestant in this parti­cular (as if he had been of Councell in our cause) in two points he is positive for us. 1. He presseth the people to examine things delivered to them (therefore he was against the Popish implicit faith) Let us not carry about the opinion of the multitude, but let us examine things; and not contented to deliver the assertion, he addes a reason. Is it not absurd, that when you are to receive m [...]ny, you do not trust other men, but examine it your selves, and when you are to judge of things, then to be drawn away by other mens opi­nions? And this (saith he) is the worse fault in you, be­cause you have the Scriptures. That brings in the second Herely of Chrysostomes: The rule by which he commands them to try all things is the Scripture, and (the mischiefe too is) he cals it a perfect rule, you have (saith he) an exact standard and rule of all things: and he concludes thus, I beseech you do not regard what this or that man thinks, but enquire all things of the Scriptures: I know no way to avoid this evident testimony but one: if I might advise them, the next Jesuite that Writes shall swear these words were foisted into Chrysostomes works, by the Protestants; and that they are not to be found in an old Manuscript Copy of Chrysostome in the Vatican.

What Protestant can deliver our Doctrine more fully then Origen: It is necessary (saith he) that we should alledge the Testimony of Scriptures, without which our ex­positions do not command faith (b): Or then Cyrill, Do [Page 46] not believe me saying these things, unlesse I prove them out of the Scriptures (c) Or then Ambrose, thus speaking to the Emperour Gratian, I would not you should believe our Argument or disputation, let us aske the Scriptures, aske the Prophets, the Apostles, (d) St Austin had none of the Fathers in greater veneration, then Cyprian, and Ambrose; yet heare how he speaks of them, of Cyprian thus: (e) I am not obliged by his Authority; I do not look on his Epistles as Canonicall, but I examine them by the Scrip­tures, and what is repugnant thereunto, with his good leave I reject it: Would the Papists give us but this liberty, we should desire no more: and of Ambrose he saith the like.

Peradventure it will be said in this point, as it is in the generall; That although it is confessed by the Fathers, that particular Doctors are liable to error; yet in such things wherein the Fathers do unanimously agree, they have an infallible Authority, and are a sufficient founda­tion of Faith.

To this I answer: 1 If this were granted, it doth not in the least, secure the Romists concernments because there is not one of all those points controverted between them and us, wherein such unanimous consent can be produ­ced, but in every one of them there are pregnant allega­tions, out of some of the Fathers repugnant to their opi­nions and assertions. This their learned men cannot but know, and if they have any ingenuity in them, they can­not deny.

[Page 47]2 I answer with Witaker against urging this very Plea: What a silly thing is it to deny, that, that which happen'd to each of them cannot possibly happen to all of them. (a) And with Gerhard, the Testimonies of the Fa­thers collectively taken, cannot bee of another kind and na­ture, then they are distributively (b) Nor can any man deny the truth of the proposition, if he apprehends the meaning of it; for how can the same persons, being onely considered under a double notion be both fallible and infallible at the same time; And if Austin, Ambrose, Cyprian (supposing these were all the Fathers) be each of them fallible, how can a meer collective consideration of them render them infallible?

3. I Answer with Learned Dr Holdsworth: That the Fathers deny this Infallibility, not onely to one or two of them dispersedly, but to all the Antients collectively considered, (c) and this I shall prove onely by one Ar­gument. They that make Infallibility the peculiar pro­perty of the Canonicall Writer, deny the Infallibility of the Fathers, eitheir collectively, or distributively con­sidered: But the Fathers make Infallibility the peculiar property of the Canonicall Writers, and abjudicate it from all other Writers. St Ierome is expresse, Except the Apostles, whatsoever else is afterward said, let it be cut off, [Page 48] for it hath no Authority (a) And againe, I make a diffe­rence between the Apostles and other Writers, those alwaies said Truth; but these in somethings as men did erre (b)

St Austin makes this difference between the Holy Scrip­tures and all other Writings, That those are to be read with a necessity of believing, but these with a liberty of judging (c) What living man can expresse the Pro­testant Doctrine in more evident termes then the same Father elsewhere doth, That which is confirmed by the Authority of the Holy Scriptures, is without doubt to be believed, but for other witnesses and testimonies, (whether more, or fewer; agreed, or divided, all is one to St Austin) you may receive them or reject them as you shall judge, they have more or lesse weight (d) And again, when he was pressed by Ierom with the Authority of six or seven of the Greek Fathers, he thus Answers: (c) I have lear­ned to give this honour and reverence to the Books of Scrip­ture, to believe there is no error in them: But as for others, how Learned or Godly soever they be, I so read them that I do not believe any thing to be true, because they thought so, [Page 49] but because they proved it so to be by the Scriptures. To conclude, so evident is St. Austin's judgment in that point, that it forced this ingenuous confession from a learned and acute Papist, Occam by name, who spea­king of a passage of St. Austins about this point, hath these words.(a) It is to be noted, that Austin in that authority speaking of other writers beside the pen-men of the Scripture, mak [...]s no difference among these Non-Canonical Writers: and therefore, whether they be Popes, or others, whether they writ in Council, or out of Council, the same judgment is to be passed upon them. You see St. Austin's mind is plain, and doth (our Adversaries themselves being judges) di­rectly overturne that great fundamental point of the In­fallibility of Councels and Popes (which, if you will be­lieve them, is not only true, but necessary to salvation) and yet these are the men that walk in the good old paths; These are they, that maintaine no doctrine, but what hath been conveyed to them by the Fathers. I know no Salvo but that which they use in the great ar­ticle of Transubstantiation, viz. to tell us, we must not believe our selves when we read such passages in the Fathers, and that together with the eyes of our mind our Reasons, and Consciences, we must give up the eyes of our body to the Pope's disposal. And this doctrine of Austins (if you will believe the Romanists) when delive­red by the Protestants is a new and upstart doctrine, ne­ver heard of in the world till Luther's dayes; and by this you may judge of the justice of that charge, when the like is said of our other doctrines. I might fill up a Trea­tise with pertinent citations out of the Fathers to this [Page 50] purpose, but this is enough for any but those, who are resolved to sacrifice their consciences to the Pope's am­bition, and for them it is too much.

§ 7. The fourth and last argument is this: The Papists themselves, whatever sometimes they pretend, yet indeed do not make the Fathers the ground & foun­dation of their Faith, but acknowledg them fallible 1. This appears from what hath already been discoursed concer­ning their avowed Doctrine, That Infallibility is the pro­per and peculiar priviledge of the Church, and conse­quently belongs not to the Fathers in their single capaci­ties. 2. It appears from the acknowledged novelty of several Romish doctrines, which their most learned men confess cannot be proved from the Fathers: Such are

1. The doctrine of forbidding the reading of the Scripture to Lay-men (as they are called:) We confess in their dayes (viz. of [...]erome and Augustine) Lay-men were conversant in the reading of the Scripture, saith Azo­rius (a) And whereas many Popish Authors expound those words Ioh. 5 39. [...] indicatively, as if they did only acquaint us with the practice of the Jewes, and not containe a command of Christ to his hearers to read the Scriptures. Tolet and Maldonaete (b) both wit­nesse, that Chrysostome, Theophylact, and Augustine, and all weighty authors except Cyrill do understand it impera­tively for a command of Christ.

2 They acknowledg the novelty of Transubstantiati­on. The words of Scotus are these: (c) Before the Lateran Councell, the doctrine of Transubstantiation was no point of [Page 51] faith: and the first Laeteran Councel was above 1100 years after Christ's birth. And Alphonsus de Castro de­livers this memorable assertion: Many things are known to later Authors, which the Antient writers were wholly ignorant of, for these seldome make any mention of Transub­stantiation. (a)

3 The doctrine of Indulgencies and Purgatory (I joyn them both together as being neer of kin) of which Bishop Fisher hath this remarkable passage. (b) No or­thodox Christian now doubts whether there be a Purgatory, though the Antients seldome or never mentioned it: And a little after; Considering that Purgatory was for a good while unknown, — and again, seeing then Purgatory was known and received in the Church so lately, who can wonder that Indulgencies were not used in the primitive Church? So Gabriel Bi el: (c) Before the times of St. Gregory (& that was 600 years after Christ) there was little or no use of Indul­gencies: but now they are used frequently, because the Church without doubt hath the spirit of Christ, and therefore cannot erre. That sine dubio did his worke, for I was about to dispute against his assertion, but that phrase quite took away my courage. You see it is a courtesy that the Pa­pists will condescend to prove their doctrine from Scrip­ture [Page 52] and Fathers; whereas if they would stand upon their termes, they might argue thus: The conclusion without doubt is true, that the Church cannot erre; therefore a fig for the premises. So Durandus: (a) Concerning Indul­gencies little can be said with any certainty, because the Scripture speaks not expresly of them; and the holy Fathers Aug: Ambrose, Hilary, Ierome do not at all mention them. And Cajetan expresly: (b) No sacred Scripture, no au­thority of antient Fathers, either Greek or Latine, hath brought the rise of Indulgencies to our knowledge: And yet (if you please to believe it) this and all the doctrines of the Romish Church are no other then such as have been handed to them from the Apostles by all the antient Fa­thers in an uninterrupted succession. I believe I could instance in twenty several Articles of the Romish Church, for which they have no colour of authority from any of the Fathers. But this may suffice for a Specimen of that respect which the Papists have for the Fathers, when they do not comply with their humors. The Fathers were so ignorant for a thousand years together, that they did not understand, or so negligent that they did not instruct their people in that great mystery of Transubstantiation, (then which none was more necessary to be taught, be­cause none more difficult to believe.) The Fathers were so hard-hearted and cruel, that they would suffer souls to fry in Purgatory for hundreds of years together, whom they might have certainly released by the help of Indul­gencies. The Fathers were so indiscreet, that they allowed their hearers to read the Scriptures, and have them in a [Page 53] vulgar tongue. But now it is not fit to be granted, saith Sixtus Sinensis (a) The Church of Rome hath got a mo­nopoly of all knowledg, fidelity, tender-heartedness, (which you will wonder at) discretion, and all good qua­lities, and Infallibility into the bargain.

This is the excellency of the Romish faith, that it is calcu­lated for any Meridian. Are any of their doctrines seem­ingly favoured by the Fathers? why then you shall have large Harangues concerning the authority of the Fathers, and their adherence to them. Are there any of their points, wherein the Fathers are either silent of op­ponent? why they are furnished with another strain: that the Fathers were but private Doctors, and had their failings. The chief of the Fathers had their falls, saith Bel­larmine. (b) In the books of the Antients, which the Church reads as authentick, sometimes are found wicked and heretical passages, saith Sixtus Sinensis. * And so long as the Church of Rome reserves to her self alwayes a liberty of determining what passages are wicked and heretical, I trow she is out of Gun-shot: I do not value Origens judgment, saith Pererius. (c) And that you may see the Papists do insanire cum ratione, I pray you take notice, that what they want in conscience and honest dealing, they make up in wit, and therefore have devised several ingenuous shifts, whereby they can elude the most preg­nant testimonies of the Fathers levied against them. Sometimes they answer, that the Fathers speak [...] in opposition to the present Adversary they were dispu­ting with, not [...] as laying down their own posi­tive opinion: thus Perron: (d) and Sixtus Senensis (e) Some­times [Page 54] they say the Fathers speak declamatorio more, by per­bolically, and by excess: thus Sixtus Senensis answers our allegations from the Fathers for reading the Scrip­ture (a) Thus Petavius answers a clear passage of Chry­sostomes against Auricular Confession. (b) At other times they tell us the Fathers did not alwaies speak what they thought, but what they saw necessary to confute their Adversaries: thus Perron answers the citations from the Fathers against creature-worship. If you alledge the Epistles of the Fathers, they tell you, the Fathers did not use fully to open their minds in those writings: So Perron answers a Testimony of Austins against Transubstantiati­on. Sometimes they plead, that the Fathers speak the opinion of others, not their own; as Bellarmine answers a place out of Hierom. (c) If you bring any passage out of their Poems, they say the Fathers did use Poetical li­berty, as Bellarmine answers to Prudentius (d) So just was the judgment of the University of Doway upon Ber­tram's Book, of the body and bloud of Christ: Seeing we bear many errors in the antient Fathers, and extenuate and excuse them, and oft times by some divised fiction we de­ny and put a convenient sense upon them, when they are op­posed against us in disputations with our adversaries, we do not see why Bertram doth not deserve the same equity, and diligent recognition. (e) And thus they deale with the Fathers, when they displease their humor, and oppose their doctrines. But if the Fathers deliver any thing that [Page 55] seems to countenance their conceits, then every passage of the Fathers is dogmatical, and every word an argu­ment: then the Fathers have done playing and quibling, then they have opened their minds fully, and given us their most serious and last thoughts.

§ 8. And lest you should think it was only the opi­nions of several Fathers which they despised, I shall ac­quaint you with their practice in case of consent of the Fathers, or the major part of them. That the Angels were corporeal, was the opinion of most of the Fathers saith Pererius (a) For this opinion Sixtus Senensis rec­kons up Origen, Lactant: Athenas: Methodius, Hilarius, Damascinus, Cassianus, and the secound Councel of Nice: to whom Maldonat addes, as [...], Clemens Alexan: Theodoret, Tertullian, Ambrose, Augustine, &c. such a Constellation one shall seldome find in any controverted opinion: Yet hear what Senensis saith, I think the con­trary opinion is the trust. If a Protestant had said as much, what tumults and tragedies would it have raised in the Romane Court? how would all the world have rung with it? So again, that I may further lay open this Romish imposture, I shall represent to the reader's con­sideration that controversy concerning the immaculate conception of the Blessed Virgin: what is the common and current doctrine of the Church of Rome at this day is sufficiently known from the decree of the Councel of Trent concerning Original sin, (in which decree they ex­presly tell us, they would not have her included) (b), and from the severe constitutions of Sixtus the fourth, [Page 56] and Paul the fifth, and Gregory the fifteenth Popes, against those that should presume to teach this Doctrine, that the Blessed Virgin was conceived in sin, and from the practice of divers Popish Universities, who have not only received the doctrine of the immaculate concep­tion of the Virgin, but bind their members by solemn oath to own it, and from the writings of multitudes of the most eminent Popish writers, who positively assert it, as Delrio, Henriquez, Az [...]rius, Suarez, Vasquez, Salmeron, Acosta, Abulensis, Canus, Navarrus, and a world of others. Now let us see, whether in this point they made the consent of Fathers their rule, or (which is equivalent) what was the judgment of the antient Fa­thers therein: which I shall give you from the mouths of the Papists themselves, then which they cannot desire a fairer tryal. Hear Canus: All the antients that make any mention of this matter, have with one mouth asserted, that the Blessed Virgin was conceived in sin, as Ambrose, Aug: Chrys: &c. and none of them contradicted that assertion: and then he addes his [...] and the Romish opinion: That the argument from authority is weak, and the contrary doctrine is probably and piously defended in the Church of Rome (a) And he confesseth, he knew no other way to confute this argument of Erasmus against the authority of the Fathers, then by saying the opinion was not de fide, or no matter of faith. (b) A remedy as bad as the di­sease.

1. Because the opinion is most absurd that a Doctrine [Page 57] is not de fide till the Pope or Councell have determined it, from whence would follow amongst many other grosse absurdities. 1. That it was not de fide while Christ lived that Jesus was the Messias, no Councell ha­ving determined it. 2. That most of the Articles of the Christian Religion were not de fide before the Councell of Nice. 3. That God revealing a truth in his Holy Scriptures cannot oblige our faith as much as a Councell, revealing it in their Decrees. But I need say no more of this, because it is rejected by diverse of their own most Learned Authors: It is the common opinion of Doctors, that a Councell doth not make a thing to be of Faith, but denies, or declares, that such a thing is, or formerly was de fide, as the Holy Fathers abundantly confirme, saith White (a)

2. Because this was de fide according to their own Doctrine: For the Councell of Basil had positively de­fined and determined it, as pious and agreeable to Faith, reason, and Scripture, to be embraced by all Catholicks; and that it should be lawfull to no man to teach the con­trary. (b) This put S Clara so hard to it, that he is for­ced to this horrible shift, that they onely defined it, tan­quam piam & consonam fidei. Now the termes tanquam & consonam are termes of diminution (c) But to re­turne; Salmeron treating of this point tels us, that his Adversaries reckon 200, others 300 Fathers against his and the Romish Doctrine of the immaculate conception: Well, what is his Answer? Really it is so full of Heresy that I fear they will chide me for translating it: he tels you, The Argument from Authority is weak: I Answer [Page 58] (saith he) from Exod. 23.2. Thou shalt not speak in a cause to incline after many to wrest judgment, as Augustine answered the Donatists; it was a signe that a cause wanted truth, which leaned upon Authority; That the youn­ger Doctors see further then the antients: that is to say, the Romish Doctors are wiser then the Antient Fa­thers. (a) I commend these passages to the care of my Lords the Inquisitors, the next time the purging humour takes them, they richly deserve a roome in the Iudex ex­purgatorius.

And yet these are the onely adorers of the Antient Fathers, that tell you We do not receive part of the Doctrine of the Fathers, and reject part, but we embrace it all saith Duraeus (b) We hold the whole Volumes saith Campian (c) These are they that hold the Fathers to be uncorrupted judges of Controversies, whom God would not suffer to fall into error, and lead others into it, saith Costerus (d) Will you see more of this mistery of iniquity? I shall onely name the rest: Diverse Popish Authors of prime note acknowledge that it was the generall opinion of the Fa­thers, That the Sacrament of the Lords Supper ought to be given to Infants. So Maldonate, The Opinion of St Au­gustine, and Innocent the first, (a Pope, and therefore his [Page 59] opinion infallibly true) flourished in the Church for 600 years that the Eucharist was necessary to Infants (a) That the Lords Supper should be receaved by the people in both kinds. For the Councell of Constance in that very place where it takes away one kind, (the Cup) do ac­knowledge that the use of both kinds by the people was instituted by Christ, and enjoyed by the people in the an­tient Church (b) That the Saints departed, should not be admitted to the vision of God, before the day of judg­ment: So much Perron confesseth, and Sixtus Senensis, (c) That the Saints should raigne with Christ a thousand years, that Pamelius grants(d) In all these and severall others, it is known that the Church of Rome asserts the contrary, how truly, and justly I dispute not, nor is it ma­teriall to my purpose, which is onely to shew how upon all occasions, where need requires they do as little regard the Authority of the Fathers as any, whom they most traduce for so doing. But would you know the mistery of this? why, The Fathers are not reckoned as Fathers when they deliver any thing which they did not receive from the Church, saith Duraeus (e) In earnest, that saying de­served a Cardinals Cap. And Baily the Jesuite seconds him in it, where putting this question; Whether the Au­thority of the Doctors (Fathers) ought to be admitted; he answers: Yes, as f [...]r as the Church approves of them (f)

The Fathers have Authority with us as far as we please: [Page 60] I will adde a third (that you may see it is a ruled case:) and that is Gresserus. A Father (saith he) is one that feeds the Church with wholesome Doctrine: but if instead of corne he give chaff or tares, he is not now a Father but a step­Father, not a teacher but a seducer. *

When the Fathers say any thing which seems to coun­tenance their positions, then they are Fathers, uncorrupt judges, infallible interpreters, and Purgatory is too mild a punishment for him that shall goe one haires breadth from them. But if the Fathers will once begin to take upon them, if they will exceed those bounds the Pope hath set them, and contradict his interest or opinion, then it is time to take them a peg lower, then they call them Fathers, but make children of them: They had better have held their Tongues; for now all comes out, and the Papists are the Chams (as they call the Protestants) who uncover their Fathers nakednesses: Then Eusebius (who when he is Orthodox in the Romane account passeth for a most famous Writer, a most learned man, and a Catho­lick with Lindanus, (a) Sixtus Senensis (b) and others) is all on a sudden transubstantiated into an Arrian Heretick with Costerus (c) and Baronius (d) Then poor Tertullian (who, when he speaks righteous things passeth for a most noble Author, the chiefe of all the Latine Fathers with Lindanus, (e)) is not so much as a man of the Church; [Page 61] nay, he is an hereticall Author, an heresiarch, a Montanist say Azorius (a) and Bellarm (b) Then Origen (who when he is a good boy passeth for a witnesse beyond exception with Duraeus (c) another master of the Churches after the Apostles as Jerome calls him saith Lindanus (d)) is a meer schismatick saith Canus (e) the Father of the Arrians and Eunomians saith Maldonate (f) Then Constantine himselfe, (that you may see the Church of Rome is not guilty of respect of persons) is not much to be regarded he was a greater Emperor then Doctor saith Bellarm. (g) Then Lactantius is better skilled in Tully, then in the Scripture and Victorinus was a Martyr but wanted learning saith Bellarmine (h) Nay, I think both he and the rest of the Fathers wanted wit as well as learning: for if they would but have blotted out all Anti-Romish passages (which might have been done with one Blot, provided it reached from the beginning to the end of their works) they had all passed for Orthodox and admirable men, and we had not heard one word of their infirmities or miscarriages.

What need I trouble my selfe and the Reader, with saying that which all the World knows concerning the Papists receding from the common sence of the Fathers in expositions of Scripture, and preferring new interpre­tations before them, (not fearing their own Tridentine thunderbolt, That no man should dare to interpret Scripture [Page 62] against the common consent of the Fathers, (a) For which I shall onely referre the reader to those places where he may be more fully satisfied, that this was the opinion and practise of the Learned and approved Romanists, as Cajetan (b) Pererius, (c) Maldonate (d) and severall o­thers(e)

§. 9. In short, to strike the businesse dead, you shall have the positive judgment of the principall pillars of the Romish Church: Sacred Doctrine (saith Aquinas) useth Authority of Scripture as a necessary Argument, but the Authorities of other Doctors of the Church onely as a pro­bable Argument: for our faith leanes upon the revelation made to the Apostles and Prophets, not to other Doctors (f) The Authorities of the Fathers without the Scripture doth not oblige my faith, saith Biel (g) It is the property of the Holy Scriptures, that there is no error in it which needs correction saith Baronius (h) The Writings of the Fathers (saith Bellarmine in totidem terminis) are not a rule, and have not authority to oblige me (i) And not contented to assert, he elsewhere offers proofs of the invalidity of the [Page 63] Fathers without, and their perfect subjection to the Au­thority of the Church and Bishop of Rome. The Fa­thers execute the office of Doctors, but Counsels and Popes exe­cute the office of a Iudge committed to them by God (a) And againe: The Pope hath no Fathers in the Church, but all are his sonnes: No wonder then that the sonnes are subject to the Father, not the Fathers to the Sonnes (b) Thus Gregory de Valentiâ cuts the knot he cannot untie: If the consent of Doctors cannot be made out, the Pope may use his Autho­rity (c) Really these Jesuites are most ingenious fel­lowes, they are resolved never to be at a non-plus: when they saw the Scripture was not for their turnes, they vote that should not be judge of controversies and fled to the Fathers. When they saw multitudes of notable passages cited out of the [...]athers destructive to their Hierarchy, then it must be consent of the Fathers: Now because they know they cannot make out the con­sent of the Fathers for any one Article of their Faith. Here is a Salvo for that, the Popes Authority is evident: It is but saying, that is a first Principle, and all controver­sies are at an end. By this time I think I may expect the Reader that hath but a dram of ingenuity in him must needs acknowledge that the Authority of the Fa­thers is neither ex veritate rei (in truth) nor ex opinione Pontificiorum (in the judgment of the Papists) a solid foundation for a Papists Faith which was the Proposition to be proved: I shall dismisse this with two Obser­vations.

[Page 64]1. How sweetly the Romish Doctors agree in that which they acknowledge to be a principall foundation of Faith, viz. the Authority of the Fathers.

2. I shall leave this Syllogisme, taken out of their own Authors, to the consideration of the prudent Rea­der: If you take away the authority of Fathers and Coun­cels, all things in the Church are uncertaine, saith Eccius, as you saw before: But B [...]llarmine and others, have here taken away the Authority of the Fathers: And in the next Chapter you shall see they take away the Authori­ty of Councels: Ergo, There is nothing certaine in the Romish Church: Thus I have shewed that the Faith of the Papists hath no sure ground or foundation in the Authority of the Pope, Scriptures, or Fathers: Now I come to the fourth particular, the Authority and Infal­libility of the Church and Councels which is the sacra anchora the principall refuge of a languishing cause.

CHAP. IV. Of the Authority and Infallibility of the Church and Councels.

Sect. 1. LEt us therefore examine in the next place, whether the Councels will stand them in better stead. Whether the splendid name and Autho­rity of the Church be a solid and sufficient foundation of Faith. In order to which I shall lay down this propo­sition. That the Authority of the Church and Councels is no sufficient foundation for a Papists faith: This I shall more fully discusse, because here it is that very many of the Popish Doctors do build their hopes, and lay the foun­dation of their faith. And here indeed they have greatest appearance of probability. [Page 65] A general Councel rightly congregated cannot erre in the faith, saith Alphonsus de Castro (a) Councels represent the Catho­lick Church which cannot erre, and therefore they cannot erre saies Eccius and Tapperus (b) The decrees of general Councels have as much weight as the Holy Gospels, saith Costerus (c) Councels approved and confirmed by the Pope cannot erre, say Canus (d) and Bellar▪ Councels,(e)being the highest Ecclesiasti­call Iudicatories cannot erre saith [...]annerus (f) The decrees of Councels are the Oracles of the Holy Ghost, saith Stapleton:(g) Surely now I may cry out [...]: Here is the ground and pillar of truth, and at least—spes altera Romae.

§. 2. 1. Then I would know whence comes this Infallibility of Councels? It must be from Gods promise (for they do not pretend it is any natural inhaerent property of any man or men single or conjunct.) And this promise must be made known to us by divine Revelation, i.e. either by Scripture or Tradition (for other revelation they do not pretend to:) Thus farre they and wee are agreed: Now I assume, That the Infallibility of Councels is not revealed to us, neither in the one nor in the other.

§. 3. 1. Not in the Traditions of the Fathers; for among all the Traditions mentioned by them you shall not find this concerning the Infallibility of Councels: Nor have our Adversaries (that I know of) alledged one considerable antient Father, asserting that such a Tradition was conveyed to them from the Apostles, though there had been such a Tradition, they who were so carefull to e­numerate all the Traditions of far lesse consequence, which pretended to an Apostolicall Original, neither should nor would have omitted to acquaint the Church with so impor­tant a Tradition, as this is now supposed to be: And this [Page 66] might suffice for Answer, till our Adversaries give us an instance of some such Tradition.

§. 4. But because Tradition and the testimony of the Fathers is their chiefe Pillar of the Infallibility of Councels (the wiser sort of them being sensible of the impertinency of their Scripture allegations:) I shall consider this a little more largely then at first I intended, and shall indeavour to make good foure things, which if proved, will give a deadly stroke at the root of infalli­bility. 1. If there were such a Tradition among the Fathers as is pretended, it is no solid and sufficient foun­dation for our Faith. 2. If the antients did believe the infallibility of Councels, yet it doth not follow they be­lieved it upon the account of such a Tradition. 3. It doth not appear that the Antiens did believe the Infalli­bility of Councels. 4. It doth appeare that the Antients did believe the fallibility of Councels.

§. 5. The first proposition is this; That if some of the Fathers did tell us they had such a Tradition among them as is pretended concerning the Infallibility of Councels, it is no solid and sufficient foundation for our Faith, because the Fathers were subject to errours and mistakes, as we have now proved, and as the Papists con­fesse, at least they might erre in matters of fact (for in such things they acknowledge the Pope himselfe to be fallible.) And this was purely a question of fact, whe­ther such a Tradition were delivered to them. And that the fathers were ofttimes deceived in the point of Tra­ditions, and in matters of fact is acknowledged by se­verall of the most learned Papists; and Baronius gives us diverse examples of their mistakes in sundry parts of his Annals, and that too amongst the first Fathers, who had farre greater opportunities to know the truth then their followers, and greater integrity to deliver nothing contrary to their knowledge, and much more there might [Page 67] mistakes be committed by those that came after them.

If it be said, That although some particular Fathers might mistake in the matters of Tradition, yet the Fa­thers consenting therein are infallible.

This is already answered in the former Chapter, to which I shall here adde; that it is impossible for us at this distance to understand the consent of the Fathers, e.g. of the first or second Age, there being such a small and inconsiderable remnant left of them like two or three planks after a common shipwrack. Gregory de Valen­tia confesseth even of the Doctours of the age we live in that it seldome happens that we can sufficiently understand the opinion of all the Doctors that live in one Age (a) How much more hard, nay, impossible must it needs be to understand the minde of that Age which is gone 1500 years agoe? And Melchior Canus confesseth, That the Authority of most of the Holy (Fathers) if a few did con­tradict them, will not afford a Divine a solid Argument (b) So that if such a tradition had been delivered by some, yea the major part of the Fathers, if some others, though fewer had contradicted it, Faith hath lost its foundation, and this might be done (and such things in all probability were oft done) though no footsteps of it are come to the memory of Posterity. As Austin speaks of Cyprian when he was pressed with his Authority, he answers Happily he did recant, though we know it not: For neither were all things done [...]among the Bishops at that time committed to writing, nor do we know all things that were committed to Writing (c) [Page 68] And if this was considerable in Austins dayes, who lived within two hundred years of those times, how much more weighty must it be to us that come twelve hun­dred years after him? Now then to put a case (because this consideration shakes the very pillars of Popery, and overthrowes almost all their pretensions from Tradition and the Authority of the Fathers.) Suppose the Major part of the Antient Fathers had said in terminis, that the Bishop of Rome was supreme head and infallible gover­nour of the Church (though nothing was further from their thoughts) and suppose a lesse number of the Fa­thers did in that age contradict it, though the contra­dictours happily either did not commit their opinion to Writing, or if they did, their Writings might be sup­pressed by the major part (as hath been the lot of most Ages) or by the injury of time are lost (which the Papists cannot say was impossible for the Writings of the Fa­thers, seeing they tell us that de facto some of the Books of Holy Scripture are lost:) The next age comes and un­derstands the truth of what I have now supposed: The question is, Whether the Authority of the Major part of the Fathers of the former age be a sufficient foundation for their Faith in the Popes Supremacy and infallibility? Melchiôr Canus saith No: Now then the next age or ages having happily forgotten such contradictions (which the Age immediately next remembred.) The question is whether that foundation which was insufficient to the precedent Age, is now through their ignorance of such contradiction become sufficient to the following Age? if they affirme it, it would become the Jesuites in point of gratitude to Write a Panegyrick in praise of Igno­rance which is it seems, not onely the Mother of Devo­tion, but of assurance and certainty of knowledge; if they deny it, they confesse the weaknesse of their asser­tion: In short, he that will lay the foundation of his [Page 69] Faith upon such a quicksand, must either prove the nega­tive that there was no such contradiction as we have supposed (which is impossible) or confesse his Faith re­lies upon the Sand (which is dreadfull.) And againe admit they had the consent of Fathers in this Tradition. I have given severall instances, wherein they acknow­ledge they have departed from the consent of Fathers, and that there were severall Doctrines which (if we be­lieve the Papists when they tell us the Fathers owned no Doctrine, but what they had by Tradition) the Fathers receaved by Tradition, wherein they were de facto mista­ken, and why might they not be mistaken in this? Wee all know how generall the Millenary opinion was among the Fathers of the second and third Centuries, though it be said all came from the mistake of Papias, an honest, but credulous Doctor. And dare these men venture their Souls upon it, that Papias was the onely credulous Author? and that this was the onely mistaken Tradition? or that it was impossible for those Fathers who were so many of them imposed upon by one credulous person in one point to be imposed upon by another in other points? All these and many other uncertainties must not onely be allowed but are laid in the very foundation of Infallibility.

§. 6. The second particular is this: That if the Antients did believe the Infallibility of Councels, yet it doth not follow they believed it upon the account of such a Tradition, for they might believe it upon other grounds. It is evident they believed many (nay, to speak the truth all) Doctrines because they apprehended them to be contained in the Scriptures; and why might it not be so with this? Why might not the Fathers be­lieve this (if they did believe it) upon the same misappre­hensions and mistakes (which the Papists at this day runne into) concerning the sence of those Scriptures which are alledged for the Infallibility of Councels? And con­sequently [Page 70] the Fathers opinions of the Infallibility of Councels doth not argue that they received such a Tra­dition from the Apostles, but only that this was their opi­nion, wherein, no lesse then in other points, they were subject to errors as I have proved.

§. 7. The third Proposition is this: It doth not ap­peare that the antient Fathers did believe the Infallibility of Councels. For triall hereof I shall refer my self to those Arguments and Authorities which are alledged for the proof of the contrary position: Bel brings three Arguments, to shew that the Antient Fathers held that generall Coun­cels could not erre and not one of them speak to the point:

His first Argument is this, They affirme that the sen­tence of a generall Councell in the cause of Faith is the last judgment of the Church, from which th [...]re lies no ap­peale, and which cannot be made void or retracted: Hence it evidently followes that such Counsels cannot erre, because else it were a very unjust thing to compell Christians that they should n [...]t appeale from that judgment which may be erronious (a) I Answer, 1. St Austin did hold that the sentence of a generall Councell might be retracted, though not by private Christians, yet by a [...]ollowing ge­nerall Councell, former generall Councels (saith he) are corrected by the later, of which more by and by, and that is enough to shew he did not believe it infallible. 2. The Consequence is weak and denied by the Protestants, and therefore might be denied by the Fathers: If the consequence be infirme now, it could not be strong then; and for this we have the Testimony of a Papist S. Clara, who tels us; that Calvin, and Robertus Baronius, and all the Protestants, and some others who deny the Infallibility of generall Councels do neverthelesse acknowledge it to be the [Page 71] supreme Iudge of Controversies upon Earth, and that such a Councell hath a det [...]rmining and decisive pow­er, which all are externally bound to obey to prevent Schisme (a) Nor is it unjust, but necessary for the pre­servation of order and prevention of worse mischiefes, that there should be a Supreme though fallible Autho­rity, beyond which there might be no appeale: And as it is no injustice that there lies no appeale beyond the Supreme Magistrate in civill affaires, though he be con­fessed to be Fallible: so neither can it be any injustice that there is no appeale beyond the Supreme Ecclesiasti­call Judicatory in Church matters though it be fallible, provided it be granted (which the Protestants with the Fathers do assert and have proved) that such Judicato­ries do not bind the conscience but onely regulate the outward Acts, and prevent visible Confusions.

§. 8. And the same Answer will serve for Bellarmines second Argument, which is this: The Fathers and Coun­cels teach that they who do not acquiesse in the sentence of gene­rall Councels are Hereticks and deserve excommunications, and therefore they thought such Councels could not erre (b)

Answer, 1. I deny the Consequence againe for the now mentioned reason: The civill cutting of such as resist the sentence of the Magistrate doth as fully prove the Magistrates Infallibility, as the Ecclesiasticall cutting of such as do not rest in the sentence of a Councell doth prove the Councels Infallibility. 2. The Fathers did not account men Hereticks meerly because they rested not in the sentence of a Councell as such (for then they [Page 72] should have been Hereticks for rejecting the Arrian Councels) but because the Doctrine which they oppo­sed, and the Councels asserted was true; and so it was the verity of the Doctrine, not the Conciliarity (if you will pardon the word) of the sentence by which they judged of Hereticks. That cannot be an Argument that the Fathers believed the Infallibility of Councels, which is common to those that deny their Infallibility; but the cal [...]ing of those Hereticks who do not acquiesse in the sentence of Councels is common to those that deny the Infallibility of Councels; for the Protestants them­selves have branded and censured and sometimes put to death as Hereticks such men as in fundamentall points of Religion have receded from their publick Confessors of Faith, and the decrees of their Synods, without ever pretending to Infallibility.

But (that I may improve the Cardinals Argument for him to the highest) Put case the Fathers had said that men were bound to believe all the assertions of their generall Councell, yet this doth not evince that they thought them Infallible, I prove it plainly thus. The Papists maintaine that people are bound to believe their Pastours, and to receive all their Doctrines without exa­mination or haesitation (according to that which Stapleton so largely and frequently defends; That Pastours are sim­ply to be heard in all things) and yet they do not hold these Pastours to be Infallible: So they tell us by vertue of that Text, Mat. 23. 2. The Jewes were bound to be­lieve all the Doctrines publikely taught by the Scribes and Pharisees, and yet they do not hold that the particu­lar Scribes and Pharisees (of whom that Text speaks) were infallible: And the Fathers might justly say all men were bound to believe all the decrees of their Coun­cels which then were past, not that they thought Coun­cels were Infallible, but because they judged all their de­crees [Page 73] true and consonant to the Scripture: otherwise how little they valued the decrees of Councels, when they ap­prehended them repugnant to the holy Scripture may be sufficiently understood by their contempt of the Arrian Councels.

3. There is in this argument the same [...] or error which was through most of the arguments and testimo­nies of the Fathers pretended in this cause, viz. they ar­gue from the authority of Councels to their infallibility, and how invalid the consequence is appears from this un­deniable argument. Masters, Magistrates, Parents, Bi­shops, and Provincial Councels have Authority, but not Infallibility. If all that the Fathers say to that purpose were put upon the rack, it would prove nothing but this, that they thought (what the Protestants grant) that ge­neral Councels were the supreme judicatories of the Church, from which was no appeal, and in which all men were obliged peaceably to acquesce; but that doth not infer Infallibility, as we have seen.

§ 9. Bellarmine's third argument is this The Fa­thers teach, that the Decrees of general Councels are Divine, and from the Spirit of God; from wh [...]nce follows, that they were not subject to error (a). And this he confirms by the testimony of Constantine (who, now he is orthodox is grown considerable, though when he was alledged against him, he was a greater Prince then Doctor, as we heard even now) Greg. Nazianz. Cyrill, and Leo, who call the decrees of the Councel of Nice divine, and say they were ordered by the Spirit of God: and so say I too. And it is true of all the decrees of all Councels, (nay of all the Ser­mons of Ministers) which are collected from Scripture and [Page 74] conformable to it (such as the Nicene Decrees were) that they are divine Oracles. But then their Divinity, and that, which is the consequent of Divinity, Infallibility, ariseth not from the Authority decreeing them, (which being but humane, could not make the decrees divine) but from the matter of the decrees which was taken out of Scripture, (as Bellarmine confesseth (a), and therefore divine. But if Bellar: thinks from this particular case to draw a general conclusion, I must make bold to stop him in his careere, till he hath told me whither he think this argument solid. The Fathers held the decrees of the Councel of Nice to be divine, and (say it were) infalli­bly true: Therefore they thought the decrees of all Coun­cels divine and infallible, and consequently the Anti­Nicene and Arrian Councels. If he can disgest this, I will say he hath a stomach as good as his conscience is bad.

§ 10. I think it is time to take my leave of the Car­dinal, and come to the Fryar S. Clara (who being an in­genuous person, and coming last, hath doubtlesse selected the best weapons) and his great argument I find to be this: That the Fathers did generally own the Infallibility of the Catholick Church, and consequently the Infallibility of general Councels, which are the same with the Church, and their definitions are the determinations of the Church: this he largely prosecutes cap. 20, 21, 22. For Answer, let me premise what I have proved, that if this were the opi­nion of the Fathers, yet seeing that they confesse them­selves to be men subject to like passions and mistakes with others according to that of Austin, Neither do you think, that because we are Bishops, we are not liable to irre­gular motions, but rather let us conceive that we live danger­ously [Page 75] amongst the snares of temptations, because we are men (a). And seeing the Papists confesse they have er­red in many things, therefore this, if it were true, will af­ford no solid and sufficient foundation for their faith; but I shall forgive them that infirmity: The argument (how­ever he glories much in it) hath nothing sound from head to foot; how can they expect this argument should pre­vaile with us, when it is rejected by themselves, who de­ny the consequence from the Infallibility of the Church unto that of Councels. So doth Cam [...]racensis (as S. Clara notes) in these words: A general Councel may erre in the faith, because if it should erre, yet it would remaine that others without the Councel did not erre, and by consequence that the faith of the Church did not faile (b). The like saith Panormitanus: A Councel may erre, as it hath err [...]d; nor doth this hinder it, that Christ prayed for his Church that it might not erre, because, although a general Councel represent the whole Church, yet in truth it is not the whole Church: —All the faithful do constitute that Church, whose head and husband Christ is, and that is the Church which cannot erre (c). The very same thing, and almost in the same words saith Antonius (d), where he adds an instance, That the saying of Ierome was preferred before the decree of a Councel. Thus you see the consequence is de­nied [Page 76] by three famous Authors of their own: Nay, what say you, if S. Clara himself deny the Conse­quence: I am greatly mistaken, if it doth not follow from hence, that he makes Gouncels infallible no further then they are afterwards received and owned by the Church, and allowes them to be fallible where that reception doth not follow, as we shall see hereafter; and therefore the Infallibility is fixed in the Catholick Church, not in the Councel, and consequently the Church may be infalli­ble, and yet the Councel remain fallible: as those Papists that assert Councels to have their Infallibility from the Pope, (which Bellarmine and the Jesuites generally do) confess Councels without the Popes confirmation, and in themselves to be but fallible: for what the Pope's con­firmation is in Bellarmine's opinion, that the Churches reception is in the judgment of S. Clara, and all the Authors he cites to that purpose. What say you further, if S. Clara confess the falsehood of his own Conclusion? let the intelligent Reader judg. His Conclusion is, Therefore Councels are infallible in the judgment of the Fathers; and of all the Fathers he tels us S. Austin is the greatest Assertor of the Infallibility of Councels: now I assume, St. Austin in the judgent of S. Clara held, that Councels are fallible. This I prove from his own words: In this sense Occham rightly delivers the mind of Austin: whe­ther they be Popes or others, whether they wrot any thing in Councel, or out of Councel, the same judgment is to be passed▪ upon them, that things are not therefore to be reputed infalli­bly true & certain because they wrot so, but onely because they could prove it by Scripture, or reason, or miracles, or the ap­probation of the universal Church. Thus far Occham. Now follows S. Clara's [...]: Which doctrine of his I judg most safe, and that it is owned by almost all Catholicks. (a) [Page 77] The evidence of this place forced S. Clara to make this acknowledgment, that it seems to favour the opinion of those who asserted the Fallibility of Councels in lesser things, (though indeed this is but a figment of his own brain, and a distinction foisted into the text, which St. Austin never dream'd of) and he is reduced to such straits, that he hath no other way to evade, but in stead of an Answer to oppose one argument against another; viz. that it is sufficient for him, that the Fathers call those Hereticks that do not adhere to the definitions of Coun­cels, Ergo they thought them Infallible(a): It is Bellar­mine's argument, and I have already answer'd it. And so this block being removed, the Conclusion remains firme, That St. Austin thought not Councels infallible. For farther confirmation whereof, I shall from hence col­lect two Arguments, plainly proving, that St. Austin was not of the judgment of the Romanists in this point of the Infallibility of Councels.

1. Because no more Infallibility is here granted to general Councels then to particular Synods, nay then to private Doctors. This I prove, because St. Austin, and the Papists themselves, and indeed all men allow each of them so far infallible, and their assertions to be infallibly true, as they can prove them by Scripture, or irrefragable reasons, or miracles, or the approbation of the whole Church: and not one syllable more doth Austin give to general Councels.

[Page 78]2. Because the Papists will not, and cannot accor­ding to their principles truly speak what St. Austin there speaks; and therefore St. Austin did not think as they think (unlesse they will make him one of those, who sel­dome speak as they think) It is the known and avowed Doctrine of the Romish Church, (however disowned by some few of them, whom they look on as Extrava­gants and Schismaticks,) that we are bound to believe the Doctrine of the Pope, say some, of the Councel, say o­thers, of the Pope and Councel together, say almost all, upon the credit of their own assertion, without any fur­ther reason. This is evident from Stapleton (a), Gregory de Valentia (b), Tannerus (c), and Bellarmine in several p [...]aces, one I shall instance in. It is one thing (saith he) to interpret a law as a Doctor, (that requires Learning;) another thing to interpret it as Iudge, (that requires Au­thority:) a Doctor propounds not his opinion as necessary to to be followed, farther then reason induceth us; but a Iudg propounds his opinion with a necessity of following it. The Fa­thers [...]xpound Scripture as Doctors or Lawyers, but the Pope and Councels as Iudges or Princes (d). And now let S. Clara himself judg, if he will deal candidly, whether St. Austin and Bellarmine were of a mind, or (which is all one) whether St. Austin did receive the Decrees of Councels as of Judges and Princes, barely upon the credit of their authority or assertion, as the Papists say he did, or only [Page 79] as Doctors, because they could prove what they say from Scripture or reason, as St. Austin in terminis asserts?

§ 11. But because it is of some concernment to un­derstand Austin's mind in this point, (whose authority is so venerable both to them and us, and whom both Parties willingly admit for Umpire in this controversy, (I shall further consider what S. Clara alledgeth from him for this purpose: the passage he pleads is this; Vntill that which was wholsomely believed, was confirmed, and all doubts removed by a general Councel (a): Therefore, saith S. Clara, it is not lawful to doubt after the definitions of Councels (b). Put it it into a Syllogism, and it is this. That which so confirms a truth, as to remove all doubts, is Infallible: But a general Councel so confirmes a truth, as to remove all doubts: Ergo. The Major is denied: for a private Minister may by the evidence of Scripture or reason so confirme a truth, as to remove all doubt from the hearers, and yet is not therefore infallible. There are then two wayes, whereby doubts may be removed. 1. By the infallibility of the authority: Thus when God tells me that which seems improbable to reason, this should remove all doubt. 2. By the evidence of arguments: and so their argument proceeds à genere ad speciem affirmativè, thus a general Councel removeth doubts, Ergo they do it by the Infallibility of their Authority; it followeth not, for you see they may do it by the evidence of their argument. And this Answer might very well suffice: But that I may give them full satisfaction (if possibly the interest of these men would suffer their consciences to open their eyes) I shall prove that it was so, and that St. Austin speaks of this latter way of removing doubts, i.e. by their con­vincing [Page 80] arguments, not by their infallible authority. This plainly appears by considering the contexture of the words: Lest I should seem, saith he, only to prove it by hu­mane arguments, because the obscurity of this question did in former times, before the schisme of Donatus, make great and worthy Bishops and Provincial Councels differ among themselves, untill by a General Councel, that which was wholsomely believed was confirmed, and all doubts removed, I shall bring out of the Gospel infallible arguments (a). Where you plainly see, that he cals the authority of Councels but a Humane argument and authority, and that he ac­knowledgeth none but Scripture-arguments to be certa, certain or infallible, as is evident from the Antithesis. 2. This appears most undeniably from a parallel place, where St. Austin speaks thus of Cyprian: That holie man sufficiently shewed, that he would have changed his opinion, if any had demonstrated to him that Baptisme might be so given &c.(b) And a little after, he would have yielded to a general Councel, if the truth of that question had in his time been evidenced, and declared, and confirmed by a gene­ral Councel (c). And he gives the reason of his yielding, Because that holy Soul would have yielded even to one man declaring and demonstrating the truth (d), —much more to [Page 81] a general Councel. In all which it is plain, that it was not any presumed Infallibility of the Councel, but the clear­ness of the truth, and the strength of their arguments which would have satisfied Cyprian in St. Austin's judg­ment. 3. This may be irrefragably proved from hence, that St. Austin makes this the peculiar property of the holy Scripture (by which it is distinguished from, and ad­vanced above all the opinions, decrees, or writings of all Bishops in or out of Councels) that we may not doubt of any thing contained in it. The words are express, and brought in with a Quis nesciat: Who knowes not that the holy Scripture is so preferred before all the letters of after-Bishops, that we may not so much as doubt or debate concer­ning any thing contained in them, whether it be true or no. But the letters of the Bishops may be reproved by Councels, if they swerve from the truth: and Provincial Councels must yeild to General Councels, and former general Councels are oft corrected by the latter (a): where there is a gradation from Bishops to Provincial, and thence to General Coun­cels, but all of them are in this respect postposed to the Scripture, that we may lawfully doubt of any thing con­tained in their Decrees, and where they swerve from the truth, reject it. And nothing more evinceth the strength of this argument; then the silliness of our Adversaries evasions: He speaks of questions of Fact and Ceremony, not of Faith, saith Bellarmine and Stapleton, whereas the que­stion there disputed was, whether persons Baptized by [Page 82] Hereticks should be rebaptized, which the Fathers for­merly made and the Papists now make a question of Faith. But by emendantur (saith Stapleton) he means per­fectiùs explicantur: If you ask in what Dictionary or Author the word emendantur is so taken, you must un­derstand that it follows à majori ad minus: that if our Romish Masters may coyn new Articles of Faith, which diverse Papists professe they may, much more may they devise new significations of words. But I would know of these Doctors, what they would think, or at least what discreet and sober men would think of that Author that should say, Libri Mofis à Prophetis emendantur, or Scrip­ta Prophetarum ab Apostolis emendantur: and yet if Sta­pletons Lexicon may be used, it were an harmlesse ex­pression. But if these men will give St. Austin leave to be the interpreter of his own words, he hath sufficiently open'd his mind, by making emendare and reprehendere parallel expressions, and by speaking of such an Emenda­tion as follows after, or is conjoyned with a doubting of the truth of what was delivered by the Councel. This may serve for the third Proposition.

§ 12. And here I might give my self a supersedeas, having shewed the imbecillity of their principal Proofs from the Fathers; but ex abundantis I shall adde the fourth Proposition, which is this; That it doth appear, the An­tients did believe the fallibility of Councels. The for­mer proposition shewed, that they could not prove their Assertion, and this I hope will disprove it. But because what hath been already said may serve for that end also, I shall be the briefer in this, and shall only mention three arguments to prove it.

1. They who make Scripture-proof necessary to command the belief of doctrines or matters of Religion, do not hold the Infallibility of Councels; But so did the Fathers: Ergo. The Major is evident from hence: be­cause [Page 83] one infallible Authority is sufficient; and the addi­tion of another, though it may tend ad melius esse, yet it cannot be necessary ad esse, (for then the former were not sufficient.) And the Papists who believe the Infallibility of Popes or Councels, do professe eo nomine that Scrip­ture-proof is not necessary, and that the Churches au­thority without Scripture evidence is sufficient. When Whitaker urged the necessity of Scripture-proof, to shew the Church for proof of the Scriptures prerogative above the Church, Stapleton roundly answers, That such proof is not necessary to a Christian man, and a Believer (a). For the Minor, That the Fathers did judge Scripture proof necessary, hath been already shew'd, and will hereafter be made good; and to prevent tedious repetitions I shall now forbear it.

2 They who allow the people liberty of examinati­on of all that any men, since the Apostles, say, do not be­lieve the Infallibility of Councels: but so do the Fathers. The major is evident from the confession and practice of our Adversaries, who believing the Infallibility of the Pope or Councels, do injoyn the reception of their De­crees and Injunctions without examination. A Chri­stian ought to receive the Churches doctrine without exami­nation, saith Bellarmine (b). The Minor hath been proved from the expresse words of the Fathers.

3. They that derogate Faith from all men without exception, beside the Apostles, do not hold the Infallibi­lity of Councels: But so do the Fathers, Ergo. The Major needs no proof: for the Councels are made up of men, and such too as are confessed to be each of them [Page 84] fallible. Nor do they pretend to any Enthusiasme, or immediate revelation. The Minor also hath been fully proved: to which I shall adde one out of Austin [...] If it be confirmed by authority of Scripture, we are to believe it with­out all doubting: but for other witnesses, or their testimonies, a man may believe, or not believe, as he apprehends what they say hath weight or not (a) It is true, S. Clara sayes, that St. Austin doth only prefer Scripture before particular au­thors (b): which, how false it is, sufficiently appears from the other testimony of Austins, which I have even now discussed, wherein you plainly saw in Occam's and St. Clara's own judgment, St. Austin positively took away all difference between Councels and private Doctors in this particular, and equally denied all [...] to both of them. Thus I hope I have sufficiently proved what I undertook concerning the supposed Tradition and the testimony of the Fathers, in reference to the Infallibility of Councels. This is the first Branch; The Infallibility of Councels is not made known to us by Tradition: the next Proposition must shew, That it is not revealed in Scripture.

§ 13. This therefore is the Second branch, That the Infallibility of Councels hath no foundation in Scrip­ture [...]

1. I might justly insist upon what hath been already mentioned concerning the doctrine of the Romanists about the insignificancy and insufficiency by the Scrip­ture [Page 85] to ground my faith without the Churches authori­ty. And surely they that professe they are not bound to believe the Divinity of Christ, were it not for the testi­mony and interpretation of the Church, i.e. the Pope, or a Councel, (which is their assertion) must needs give us the same liberty to assert, that a Christian is not bound to believe what the Scripture saith concerning the Infallibi­lity of the Pope or Councels, but for the testimony of the Pope and Councels: that is, we have no reason to believe their Infallibility, but this, that they tell us they are infallible, we have their word for it; so it seems the Disciple is better then his Master, and the Pope's word will go further then the word of God: for the Scriptures Testimony is not to be credited in its own cause saith Bellarmine (a), as the Churches Testimony is. When the Papists would presse the Scripture to the service of this notion, it may say to them as Iepthah did to the Elders of Israel, Iud. 11.7. Did not je hate me, and expell me out of my fath [...]r's house, and why are you come unto me now, when ye are in distress? And upon condition they will reply with the Gileadites, Therefore we turn again to thee now that thou mayest be our head. I will overlook that other­wise unpardonable fault, by (which they have rendred the Scripture unserviceable to their purpose) and once more they shall have a fair tryal, whether the Infallibility of Councels can be demonstrated from Scripture.

Sect. 14. The first and principall support of Infallibili­ty is 1 Tim. 3. 15: where the Church is called the pil­lar and ground of Truth. This is their Ajacis ctypeus, which you shall find used upon all occasions, and infi­nitely [Page 86] repeated by every impertinent scribler of the Ro­mish party.

For Answer, to passe over that notion of our acute, Chillingworth, that it is not the Church, but Timothy who is there called the ground and pillar of Truth, and so there is onely an Ellipsis of the word [...] which is very frequent [...] for [...], or of the word [...] for [...], as the learned Gataker observes, and there are diverse instances of either of them. So the sence is that thou mightest behave thy selfe in the House of God, the Church as a Pillar or as becomes a Pillar. And he gives this notable reason for it, because it was heterogeneous to call that Church a pillar which in the same verse he had called an house. And this I am sure would puzle our masters to answer: But to wave that, I answer.

1 The Church spoken of is not the Church of Rome, but the Church in which Timothy was placed. And whether it be spoken of the Church in generall or in par­ticular, what is this to Rome? Here wee find a notable piece of the Romane mystery of iniquity: If there be any reproofes, or censures applied to any other Chur­ches, there every Church must bear its own burden: But if any Church be honoured in Scripture with commendations, promises, priviledges that presently be­longs to Rome, and they have a commission to seize it for their own use: but how unjustly we shall here disco­ver, for if you understand these words of the Catholick Church, or of the Church in generall, then the words only prove the indefectibility of the whole Church, which may consist with the errour and Apostacy of several which then were eminent Churches whereof we have unquestionable Instances in the glorious Churches of Asia, which notwithstanding this promise fell away: and consequently Rome, though then her faith was famous throughout the World, might fall with them or after [Page 87] them. And if you understand the words of a parti­cular Church they must be understood of that Church in which Timothy was placed: And if my memory faile me not exceedingly, that was not Rome, but Ephesus, which notwithstanding this Caracter did fall away: And moreover it was not the Church ruling, but the Church ruled in, and over which Timothy, was set, which is here called the pillar and ground of truth. And so the Argu­ment runs thus: The Church and people of Ephesus are the pillar and ground of truth. Therefore the Pope of Rome is infallible. The Consequence is thus proved, the Pope may interpret Scripture as he pleaseth, and though he may erre in the premises, as Stapleton confesseth (a) yet he is alwayes infallible in the conclusion as the same Stapleton asserts: Ergo the Popes infallibility is out of the reach of all Arguments.

2 The terme of Pillar notes the solidity, but not the in­fallibility of the Church, it notes the difficulty of its re­movall, but not the impossibility. Every stout Cham­pion of Gods Truth is a pillar of the truth, and such are frequently called by that name in the fathers, but yet they are not infallible. Athanasius was a pillar of the truth, but not infallible: The great Osires a pillar of the truth, and Nicene faith, yet fell fowly, as appears by the story. Musonius Bishop of Neocaesarea is by Basilius Caesariensis invested this very title of [...]. (b) Ergo by the Romane Logick Basil ▪ thought him infallible, or if he did not then Basil did not think those words implyed infallibility, Gregory Nyssen tells us, not onely Peter, and Iames, and Iohn are pillars, not only Iohn Baptist is a light, but also all that build up the Church are pillars and lights (c) Therefore it seemes all Ministers are [Page 88] infallible: Male Children are called [...], the pillars of their families, among the Greek Poets, and Getae, a faith­full servant in Terence, is called Columen Familiae, the pillar of the family: For ought I know, if those men would go to Rome, and upon the credit of this word sue out a Writ of priviledge, they might be as infallible as the Pope himselfe.

3. This Phrase, The Church is the Pillar of Truth, may note the Churches duty, not her practice, and what she ought to be, not what she alwaies is. They shall not say this is gratis dictum, I will make it good by parallel Instances, wherein they shall see the absurdity of their argument. Rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evill. Rom. 13.3. If this argument be good, The Church is a Pillar, E. she cannot e [...]re, then this also is good, That Rulers cannot be a terror to good works. None but one that comes from Bedlam would assert the latter, and none but one that comes from Rome would conclude the for­mer. Thus our Saviour saith of his Ministers, Ye are the salt of the world, ye are the light of the world, Matth. 5. Ergo by this argument, this Salt could not loose its savour, and no Minister can be in the dark, but every one must be infallible. Thus Prov. 16 10. A Divine sentence is in the lips of the King, his mouth transgresseth not in judgment: Ergo Kings are infallible. If the Pope had such a Text in the New Testament, The Pope's mouth transgresseth not in judgment, you may easily imagine what triumphs the As­sertors of Infallibility would have made, who can build a towring confidence upon such pittiful foundations: and yet this doth not informe us of the practice of Kings, but acquaints them with their duty, as Interpreters agree.

4. This Phrase, The pillar and ground of Truth, notes the necessity of the Churches ministry (quoad nos) but not the infallibility of her Authority: those are two distinct things, and the one no way consequent upon the other. [Page 89] The utmost which can be squeezed from that phrase is this, that the Church doth support the truth and Gos­pel of Christ in the world, and so doth every sincere, zea­lous defender of the truth, and especially the Ministers, and prime champions of the truth, not only when met together in a general Councel, but also in their single capacities, which I think will be undeniably proved by this argument. The Church was the pillar and ground of truth for the first three hundred years after Christ and the Apostles, never did it more deserve that name, nor did it ever more discharge that office; but all that time there was no oecumenical Councel (and that is the only Councel to whom Infallibility is ascribed by the Papists) therefore either that phrase doth not evince infallibility, or the several pastors of those ages were infallible.

5. The consequence of the argument is false and fri­volous; The Church is the pillar of truth, Ergo she is in­fallible: for the same Church may be a pillar of truth and a seat of Error. For what is it to be a Pillar of the Truth, (if we draw aside the curtain of the Metaphor) but to be a Defender of the Faith? And who knows not that the same persons may defend the truth, and maintain errors with them, unlesse he be one that never read the Bible, nor Ecclesiastical History? Who knows not that the same persons, which defended the truth of Christianity against Jewes and Pagans, did also maintain the Doctrine of Ie­sabel, and the Heresy of the Nicolaitans? Rev. 2. and that those very men that owned the foundation, did build the hay and stubble of false doctrines thereupon, 1 Cor. 3. and that diverse of the stoutest defenders of the truth of the Gospel among the Fathers had their errors, as Bellarmine acknowledgeth? Else, if they will stand to the consequence, it will follow by vertue of it, Such a Minister preacheth the truth, Ergo he is infallible, and cannot preach false doctrine. Such a Judg is the Pillar of [Page 90] Justice in the land, Ergo it is impossible he should make an unjust Decree: Proclamations are hanged upon such a pillar, Ergo a Libell cannot be fastned there.

6. Their argument proceeds from a declaration of the Churches present state, (for that is all that place as­serts, viz. that the Church then was a Church and Pillar of truth) to an assurance of its perpetual continuance in that state, (which is quite another thing:) Which kind of argumentation, if it might pass for currant, it would work brave exploits; for then it would follow, The city of Sion was an habitation of righteousnesse, a pillar of truth and justice, Ergo the Prophet Isay was mis-infor­med, when he said, The faithfull City is become a Harlot, it was full of judgment, righteousnesse lodged in it, but now murderers, Isa: 1.21▪ Nay then the Church of England is orthodox in the Romane sence: Probatur: It was the Pillar of truth, viz. when it was the Pope's Asse, Ergo it is so still, and the Papists slander us, when they say, we are fallen away. The Church was a Virgin in the Apo­stles dayes, saith Egesippus, Ergo she is not now corrup­ted, nor indeed can be: for I must tell you, the Pope can do more then all the Apostles either pretended or did; for they could not even while they lived wholly keep the Church from actual corruption, but the Pope keeps her from all possibility of corruption. Thus the Pope is om­nipotent, and it is no marvell he is infallible.

§ 15. The Second place of principal moment alledg­ed for the Infallibility of the Church and Councels is Mat. 18.17. where all are commanded to hear the Church, and they that hear her not, are to be accounted as Heathens and Publicans, Ergo the Church of Rome is In­fallible: for this is the comfort, whatever is in the pre­mises, Romes infallibility is in the conclusion; and the Church of Rome, that can dispence with Gods [Page 91] lawes (a) may well dispense with Syllogistical rules, by which there ought not to be more in the conclusion then in the premises, but that Law was made for Subjects, but not for our Sovereign Lord the Pope. To this may be added another place they vehemently urge, Luk. 10.16. He that heareth you, heareth me, Ergo the Church is infalli­ble.

Ans. 1. Whatever these texts prove, what right hath the Church of Rome to her monopoly of the priviledges here conveyed? Or why may not the Greek or English Chur­ches and their Ministers claime the benefit of them? The words have an indifferent aspect to all of them.

2. The consequence is false, Christians must hear the Church and Ministers, Ergo they are infallible: which I thus prove. Children must obey their Parents, and if they do not, they must dye for it, Deut. 21. are parents therefore infallible? Subjects must obey their Magistrates, or dye for it, Ios. 1.18. Whosoever will not hearken unto thy words, he shall be put to death: it seems then Magistrates are infallible. For this is the argument by which the Ro­manists pretend to prove the Infallibility of the High­priest of the Jewes, because they that would not hear him, were to be put to death, Deut. 17. Nay this very text Luc. 10. destroyes that sense which the Romanists would fasten upon it: for seeing it is not the Apostles, but seventy disciples, and they too not as met in a Coun­cel, but as preaching the Gospel severally, or (at most) by pairs, whom they are under such dreadful penalties commanded to hear, if it be conclusive for infallibility, it proves the infallibility of every Minister, or at least of e­very pair of them.

[Page 92]3. It is agreed between them and us, that Christ speaks of the Censures of the Church Mat. 18. and there­fore surely, if it prove the Churches Infallibility, in any thing, it must be in the matter there spoken of viz. in Church-censures: But they grant the Church is Falli­ble in her censures, as depending upon Testimony and matters of fact: And therefore it is ridiculous to infer from thence her Infallibility in other things which are not spoken of in this place.

4. The Church and Ministers are to be heard, not sim­ply and in all things, but onely in the Lord, and what they speak, according to his word: This is denied by the Pa­pists who positively assert, that they are to be heard in all things, and without examination, as we have seen from their own words: It is therefore necessary to say some­thing to overthrow this lawlesse liberty and boundlesse authority ascribed by them to the Church, for this is their [...], or one of their radicall mi­stakes.

1. That which Christ denies to the Apostles is not to be ascribed to the Church: but Christ denies this abso­lute Authority to the Apostles Matt. 23.10. Be ye not called masters, for one is your Master even Christ, where it is not the name, but thing which is prohibited, even ma­gisterium fidei, or the usurpation of an absolute authority in teachers, and the exaction of an universall beliefe and blinde obedience in hearers, which was the errour of the Pharisees here condemned by our Saviour, for so they said: You are to believe all the sayings of our Rabbines in their Homilies no lesse then the Law of Moses: And again, All their words are the very words of God are their expressi­ons in the Thalmud. It cannot be denied that Christ derogates that authority from the Apostles, which he ascribes to himself; but if the Popish opinion were true, the Apostles had as great authority as Christ himselfe, [Page 93] for the height of Christs authority is expressed in these words (nor can more be said of God himself) him shall ye hear in all things Act. 3.22. This indeed the Popish Doctors most blasphemously arrogate to themselves (as you have seen) but so did not the Apostles: they had not so learned Christ; they allwaies observed their Distance: Be followers of us as we are of Christ. I have received of the Lord that which I delivered. St Paul denies that he had dominion over their Faith, 2 Cor. 1.24. Not that we have dominion over your Faith. I'le warrant you Paul de­nied it to himselfe, because it was Peters Prerogative, for it is certaine St Peters Successors challenge it, for Dominion and Subjection are Relatives. And if the peo­ple owe an absolute subjection of their Faith to their tea­chers, the Teachers have an absolute dominion over the Faith of the people: In short: This sottish Doctrine of an implicit Faith must needs be Apocryphal, so long as the Epistle to the Galatians is Canonicall, and especially Gal. 1.8. Though we or an Angel from Heaven Preach any other Gospell—let him be accursed: And he is not conten­ted with a single assertion, but addes as we said before, so say I now againe—let him be accursed: Which if the Rea­der compare with that abominable passage of Bellarmines, If the Pope should erre in commanding Vices and forbidding Vertues, the Church were bound to believe vices to be good, and vertues to be evill (a): He will be able to judge whe­ther the Faith of the present Romish Church be the same with that of the Apostles dayes, or not: and whether they who are so liberall in dispensing their Anathema's to all that differ from their sentiments do not justly fall un­der the Anathema here denounced.

[Page 94]2. If Pastours are to be heard in all things, then peo­ple cannot sin in obeying their Pastours, (else they should sin in doing their duty) but people may sin in obeying their Pastours: Methinks this should need no proofe, but I finde this to be the temper of our Adversaries, they who give the hardest measure to us, expect the highest measure from us, and they of whom we may say (as Galen did of Moses) multa dicunt, nihil probant, they say much, and prove nothing; will yield us nothing, but what we must win by dint of Argument;

Therefore I shall prove it briefly: The Jewes sinned in following Aarons Doctrine: These be thy Gods O Israel: So the Prophet Ieremy frequently condemnes them for obeying the decrees of their Priests in his time: And our Saviour hath put this out of doubt, speaking of the Jewish Teachers, Matt. 15. If the blind lead the blind both will fall into the Ditch: And St Peter assures us (if his Successors will please to give him credit) that the Jewes were guilty of a great sinne in Christs death, though they did it in obedience to the decrees of their Rulers, Acts 3.14.17.

3. If people are allowed to examine the Doctrines of their Teachers by the word ere they receive them, then they are not to be heard in all things; But people are allowed so to examine—All the doubt lies about the Minor; and yet who can doubt of that, who ever read these following places. Take heed that no man deceive you, for many shall come in my name, Math. 24.4, 5. Prove all things, hold fast that which is good, 1 Thes. 5.21. Prove the Spirits, 1 Joh. 4.1. It is true Bellarmine saith, These precepts belong onely to Learned men (a): And Gretserus [Page 95] gives this reason for it, because the unlearned people are not able to examine (a); very good: It seemes then, none but the Learned can have their sences exercised to discerne between good and evill, Heb. 5.14. And it is the priviledge of shephards onely which Christ made the Character of all his sheep; That they knew his voice, and could di­stinguish it from the voice of Strangers, Joh. 10.4, 5. It seems Christ spoke to the learned only, when he said, Search the Scriptures, Ioh. 5.39. It seems the learned Thessalonians only were bound to hold fast that which is good, for that goes with their proving, and proving was in order to holding fast. It seems the Bereans (whom Paul commends for examining his doctrine by the Scriptures, Act. 17.) were Masters of Arts, and Berea was an Uni­versity, and [...] implies that they had Academical education; and the Apostle meant it only of the Univer­sity, when he writ to the city of Corinth, I speak as to wise men, judg ye what I say, 1 Cor. 10.15. Nay, the mis­chief is, if this be granted, their work is not done: for if the learned may examine, that is sufficient for our pur­pose for such are many Lay-men, (as they are called) and diverse of the Clergy, who have no share in the Churches government, and therefore are as much bound to subje­ction as any of the people: and consequently the Rulers are not simply to be obeyed, nor their doctrine blindly received upon their own credit. But (saith Bellarmine) Inde d doubtful doctrines are to be examined, but the doctrine of lawful Ministers is not doubtful, but openly good (b) I see the Cardinal intended to shew his wisdome, reserving the [Page 96] discovery of his honesty to another time: Bellarmine was resolved to take a post, which he might be sure to keep, he knew the Hereticks would be nibling about the premises, and therefore he leaves the guarding of them to others, and resolves to hold the conclusion, (which he knew was not good manners to deny.) But if such do­ctrine as our teachers deliver be eo nomine evidently good and true, then these commands of trying are both dan­gerous (seeing they suppose and allow of doubts) and frustraneous, (since I may safely receive them without tryal.)

§ 16. A third place alledged for the Infallibility of the Church and Councels is Joh. 16.13. When the Spirit of truth his come, he will guide you into all truth. Hence Bel­larmine thus argues: Christ speaks not of the Apostles only, but of their successors, because he saith, the comforter shall abide with you for ever, ch. 14.16. i. e. with them and their successors for ever. But Christ doth not lead the Bishops se­verally considered into all truth, therefore he leads them into truth when they are gathered together; and seeing there is no greater chair in the Church, by which God teacheth us, then the Pope, when a Councel is added to him: if his chair should erre, how this promise is true, he will teach you all truth, I see not (a) This may be too: Bernardus non videt omnia, and why should Robertus do it?

[Page 97]Ans. 1. These words, if extended beyond the Apo­stles, do not imply any infallibility: or if they do, a man may with as great colour deduce the infallibility nay the omnisciency of all Believers from 1 Joh. 2.20. Ye have an unction from the holy one, and ye know all things: and v. 27. The same anointing teacheth you all things. All truth in the text is only meant of all truths necessary to salvati­on (nothing being more familiar in Scripture-use, then for general expressions, as all men, every creature, &c. to be understood with tacit limitations) nor are all whom God leads into truth, infallibly led into it, unless they will make all sincere Christians infallible; for all such are led by the Spirit into truth, but not all in the same manner and de­gree, as the Apostles were. So the Popish argument pro­ceeds à genere ad speciem affirmativé: They are led into truth, Ergo they are infallibly led.

2. There is nothing in that text Joh. 16. to shew the extent of that promise to the Apostles successors, which Bellarmine sufficiently discovers, by deserting this place and fetching in another to his aid Joh 14. so his argument is cunningly patched up of two places. That God would lead them into all truth he proves from Joh. 16. That God will do this for ever he would fain prove from Joh. 14. whereas this place doth not say, that God would lead the Apostles into all truth for ever, but only that the spirit should abide with them for ever, and that as a comforter, which is quite another thing: if not, let me see that Papist that will give it under his hand, that every one with whom the Spirit abides as a comforter is infallible. And yet if I should wink at this fraudulent dealing of Bellarmines, and admit the phrase for ever into the prin­cipal Text, this would not infer a necessity of stretching this promise beyond the Apostles; partly because in Scrip­ture use that phrase doth frequently denote the term of life, as Exod. 21.6. The servant is to be with his master for [Page 98] ever, and 1 Kings 12.7.—they will be thy servants for ever; and principally because in strictest propriety of speech the spirit of God did and doth for ever abide in the per­sons of the Apostles. As God betroths every one of his people to him for ever, Hos. 2.19. and is their portion for ever, Psal. 73.26. and the water that Christ gives to his people (which he himself expounds of the Spirit, Joh. 7.38, 39.) is in them for ever. Joh. 4.14.

3. If this promise of leading into all truth be under­stood of the Apostles and their Successors in the same manner, that is so as to make them both infallible, then as the Apostles severally considered were infallible, and not onely when combined in Councels, so also are their Successors each of them Infallible. (which all Papists deny) It is a strange way of arguing which Bellarmine useth. The Apostles severally considered were Infallible by vertue of this promise: And their Successors are com­prehended in this promise: And their Successors are not in­fallible in their single Capacities, (as the Apostles were:) Ergo, they are infallible when they are gathered together: This is that I told you before, and here you see it exempli­fied, though Fallibility be in the premises, yet you shall be sure to meet with Infallibility in the Conclusion.

4. If this promise of the Spirit did containe Infallibi­lity, and did extend beyond the Apostles, yet certainly it is a most unreasonable thing, not onely to communicate but appropriate this promise of the Spirit to such as have not the Spirit: such are all ungodly men Iude vers. 19, — sensuall, not having the Spirit. Yea, in that very place which the Papists urge for the perpetuall residence of Gods Spirit in Popes and Bishops Ioh. 14. There is a posi­tive exclusion of all ungodly men from any share there­in vers. 17. The Spirit of Truth whom the World cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him. A Character ascribed by God himselfe to all wicked men, [Page 99] 1 Io. 3.6. Whosoever sinneth (be he Christian, Minister, or Pope) hath not seen him, neither known him. Soin this Argument they runne upon a double absurdity. 1. That they deny the promised guidance of the Spirit unto those Elect, Holy and humble Christians who are the onely persons that in Scripture account have the Spirit, and are led by the Spi­rit, and walke after the Spirit. 2. That they challenge the Infallible guidance of the Spirit to those that have not so much as the generall conduct of the Spirit which is common to all true Christians.

5. That you may see the desperatenesse of the Popish cause, you may observe that Bellarmine himselfe else­where denies the Conclusion which in this place he strives to obtrude upon us: For here he inferres the Infalli­bility of Councels, but elswhere he laies down this posi­tion, That a generall Councell may erre, and is not Infalli­ble, except the Pope confirme them; that is to say, The Councell in it self is Fallible, the Pope onely is Infallible, of which more by and by: And thus according to Bel­larmines opinion, the Bishops neither severally nor con­cunctly are infallible, but in truth. The Pope onely is infallible. And so Bellarmine hath not onely shuffled the Pope into the Text, but indeed jusled out all others, and destroyed that infallibility of Councels which he pre­tended to assert; as became the Popes faithfull servant to do. And so this is Bellarmines Argument from these words, God hath promised Infallibility to lead all the Apostles, and all their Successors into all truth: There­fore none of the Apostles Successors are Infallible, save St Peters onely.

§. 17. A fourth place for the Infallibility of Coun­cels is Acts 15.28. For it seemed good unto the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden then these necessary things, whence they thus argue: This Councell had the Infallible direction of the Holy-Ghost and [Page 100] consequently all other Councels have it.

Answ. 1. If the Conclusion be universally true (which if it be not, it will do the Church of Rome no service) then the Arrian Councels were infallible: But if they say that onely the Orthodox Councels are Infallible, that alters the question, and the Church of Rome must first prove her Orthodoxy, and then her Infallibility; and to speak truth, she may prove the one as soone as the other.

2. The utmost importance of this phrase is, that they made this decree by the direction of the Holy Ghost d.d It seemed good to us by the direction of the Holy Ghost. And for this there is no need to devise a new Phaenome­non of infallible assistance, to be afforded to all Councels (of which there is not one syllable in the whole Chapter) seeing there are other waies, mentioned in that place, in respect whereof they had the Holy Ghosts direction, and might say it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us, and by which the Holy Ghost did give its Testimony to their decree directed against those that urged the necessi­ty of Circumcision upon the Gentiles. 1. It seemed good to the Holy Ghost inasmuch as when the Gospell was preached to the Gentiles by Peter—God bare them wit­nesse, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us, v.8. so making no difference between the Circumcision and Uncircumcision. 2. It seemed good to the Holy Ghost who in the Scripture had foretold the conversion of the Uncircumcised Gentiles to the Faith and their reception into the Church: And for asmuch as it is exceeding plaine that the controversy was debated in that Councell principally if not solely by Scripture Arguments, and the conclusion deduced from Scripture evidence, they might very well say it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, if it was conformable to the Scripture, there being nothing more familiar then this that what is said in Scripture is ascribed to the Holy Ghost, as Act. 1.26. The Holy Ghost spake by [Page 101] the mouth of David. Heb. 3.7. Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith, to day if ye will here my voice.

3. If that phrase doth imply Infallibility, yet the con­sequence doth not hold from Apostles to Bishops: I ap­peale to any Papist (whose candour is not gone with his conscience) whether this follow: A Councell wherein were severall persons, even in their single capacities In­fallible, had infallible direction, when they were met toge­ther; Ergo, Those Councels wherein there is not one person, but is confessed in his single Capacity to be Fal­lible, are Infallible: If any or every Apostle had singly said, It seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to me, would this have inferred the Infallibility of every single Bishop! They say No: Then let them shew a reason why the Argument proceeds not as well from single Apostles to single Bishops as from Apostles conjoyned in Councell to Bishops conjoyned.

4. There is also another inconsequence: The Apo­stles and Councell had the direction of the Holy-Ghost in a conclusion regulated by Scripture and collected from it: Ergo, All following Councels have the direction of the Holy-Ghost, and cannot erre in all their conclusions whatsoever: Is not this a goodly Argument? This Councel did not erre: Ergo, No other Councel can erre: The words are onely assertive of a present case, viz. of the direction of this Councell in that point, not at all promissive of any thing for the future, and there­fore can give us no security at all for the Infallibility of Councels for the future: it would make fine work if every assertion were turned into a promise: I might as well argue. David was guided by the Spirit of God in the ordering of Gods house (as you read, I Chron. 28.12, 19.) Therefore all succeeding kings of Iudah were In­fallible: Moses was faithfull in all Gods house. Heb 3.5. Ergo, None of Moses's Successors could be unfaithfull: [Page 102] Nothing can be replied, but this, That David and Moses had a speciall assistance not communicated to all their Successors: And the same may as truly be said of this Councell and the Apostles here assembled; But (saith Bellarmine) Infallibility being granted to this Councell as being necessary for the conservation of the Church against He­restes, the same reason and necessity continuing the same In­fallibility must consequently be granted to following generall Councels (a); I Answer,

1. If this Councell by reason of the Apostles was In­fallible, yet this Infallibility was purely accidentall (be­cause persons indued with Infallibility for other ends were there present) and not conferred upon them for the decision of the present controversy: and the reason why Infallibility was bestowed upon the Apostles was not common to all but particular to that age and season viz. because they were to lay a solid foundation for, and to give a sure rule to all the Churches in after ages, and therefore Infallibility was their peculiar priviledge. It is but a lame inference, Infallibility was necessary in the first founders of Christianity for the Plantation and constitution of the Gospell Church: Ergo, It was ne­cessary for the constant and perpetuall government of the Church in all after ages: Upon the same warrant a man may argue thus: Miracles were necessary in the first erecting and laying the Foundation of the Church: Ergo, they were necessary for the edification of the Church in all successive ages: In both cases the consequence is re­pugnant to common sense and reason, and confuted by experience; For

2. That such generall Councels and their Infallibility are not so necessary as the Papists would perswade us [Page 103] plainly appeares from hence that God (who is never de­fective in necessaries) left his Church for three hundred years together wholly without them, and yet the Church since the dayes of the Apostles never had more stability in the Faith, and a greater plenitude of every grace and good work then in those times.

5. That you may see how little reason there is that Protestants should be convinced by this place, take no­tice that diverse of the Learned Papists are unsatified with this Argument, among which are Ockam (a), Came­racensis (b), Ferus (c), and Mr White in his Treatise De fide & Theologia, where he thus Answers the Argument: Nor is it materiall that in that Apostolicall Councell they use those words. It seemed good to the Holy-Ghost and to us; For first, it was a Councell of Prophets in each of which Gods spirit dwelt in a speciall manner, at least in the Apo­stles—And he addes—If they acted with reason, doubtlesse they acted by the instinct of Gods Spirit, although not such as Divines feigne to be assistant to Councells (d).

A fifth place they urge is Mat. 28. vers. the last. I am with you allwaies to the end of the World.

Answ. 1. Whatsoever this promise containes, the Pa­pists have no part in it, because it depends upon a condi­tion which they have so grossely violated, Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and loe (in so doing) I am with you: Christ commanded his Disciples to search the Scriptures: Papists teach the [Page 104] Contrary; Christ commanded all his Disciples that par­took of the Bread to drink also of the Cup: Papists teach otherwise, and the like may be instanced in an hun­dred particulars.

2. Put this Argument into forme and it is this: They whom Christ promiseth to be with are Infallible, But Christ promiseth to be with his Church: Ergo, This Church is Infallible: Here are three propositions, and every one of them faulty in one kind or other. 1. For the Major, it is most falfe: For Christ hath promised to be with every single sincere believer. Ioh. 14.23. If a man love me—wee will come to him and make our abode with him: So Ioh. 17.20, 21, 22.23. And the Holy Ghost (by which it is that Christ is present) is given to every such person: Ergo (it seems) they are Infallible▪ 2. For the Minor, it is true, but impertinent: Christ hath promi­sed to be with his Church and with his Ministers to the worlds end, but not in the same manner and with the same degree of assistance as he was with the Apostles to give them Infallible direction: If otherwise, then as every single Apostle was, so every single Minister must be Infallible, which they themselves deny. 3. The Conclu­sion if granted, reacheth not to Rome: for there being severall Churches pretending to this promise, and the Text no more determining it self to one then to the o­ther, it may as well be claimed by the Greek or English as by the Romish Church; Nay, which is more, Rome is excluded or rather hath excluded her selfe from it, as we have seen, and by her disobedience to Christs commands, hath cut off her Title to his promise.

§. 19. There is one place more they use to plead; it is Mat. 18 20. Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. This I con­fesse drives the Naile home: I see they are resolved to make sure work. For now it matters not what becomes [Page 105] of the Infallibility of the Pope or generall Councels, or the Universall Church; For whereever there are but two or three Jesuites met together, pretending Christs name, there is Infallibility: I think those Hereticks had better have held their Tongues, for then the Church of Rome would have been contented to assert the Infallibi­lity of Pope or Councels, but now they will not abate them an Ace, but will make it good in spight of Scripture, Fathers, and Councels, and all the World, that every leash of Popish Priests is Infallible.

But I need say nothing more in Answer to this ridi­culous Argument, because the Answers to the last Argu­ment will serve for this also, and their own great Doctors confesse the impertinency of this allegation, and amongst them two great names, Stapleton (a) and Gregory de Va­lentiâ (b): And these are the Scriptures upon which they ground their Monstrous conceit of the Infallibility of Councels: what a sandy Foundation they have for it in Tradition we shewed before: And how little counte­nance they have from Scripture, and how absurdly they wrest that to their own destruction hath been now disco­vered: And therefore I may conclude this Doctrine hath no footing in Scripture, nor Tradition, which was the first branch of the Proposition to be proved.

§. 20. And here I might set up my rest: For ha­ving pulled down the two Pillars upon which the buil­ding of Infallibility stands, I know no remedy but it must fall to the ground: But for the more abundant demon­stration of the [...] of the Romish Doctors, and vanity of their Religion, I shall adde a second considera­tion and shew, that however when they discourse with Protestants, they make a great noise about the Infallibi­lity [Page 106] of councels, yet when they debate the point among themselves, none deny it with greater seriousness, nor dispute against it with more earnestnesse then diverse of themselves. I speak not now of the private opinions of some obscure Doctors among them, but of the publick doctrines of their Church, the opinion of the Popes, Cardinals, and all the [...]esuites and stoutest champions of the Romish Church, and the generality of Italian, Spa­nish, and Germane Papists, and almost all (some of the French faction excepted) do expresly deny the infallibi­lity of Councels, and, which is more, they dispute against it: particularly Cajetan, and Bellarmine, and Gregory de Valentia, some of whose Arguments are these. Infalli­bility is not in the headlesse body, therefore a councell in it self is not infallible That from which there is appeal, is not infallible, but there lyes an appeal from a councell to the Pope, Ergo. The Church is committed to Peter, not to a councell, Ergo. Thus Cajetan (a). The Pope can either approve or reject the decrees of a Councel, Ergo the Councel is not infalli­ble. The Councel hath its infallibility from its conjunction with her head the Pope, Ergo. Many Councels have erred in decrees of faith, Ergo. Thus Bellarmine (b). By the way remember, this is the Gentleman that even now ur­ged Ioh. 16. to prove, that Councels could not erre, and now he proves they have erred: it were well if the Ro­manists had either better consciences, or better memories. God doth nothing in vain, but the gift of infallibility would be given to Councels in vain seeing the Pope hath it, Ergo. That which is repugnant to our most assured faith concer­ning the Pope's primacy is not to be admitted, But the su­preme and infallible authority of Councels is repugnant to the [Page 107] Pope's primacy, Ergo: Thus Gregory de Valentia (a). So you see, by their own argument, either the Pope's pri­macy or the Councels infallibility is lost: & as the Jesuites on the one side thus strenuously dispute down the infalli­bility and supremacy of Councels, so their Adversaries on the other side do as stoutly overthrow the supremacy and infallibility of the Pope, wherein besides the positive testimonies of diverse of the most learned & antient Pa­pists, they have the suffrage of two late famous Popish Councels Constance and Basil, such a spirit of giddiness and division hath God put amongst these Builders of Ba­bel: And yet this is the Jerusalem, a city united in it self. These are the men that reproach the Protestant Churches with their divisions in some petite controversies, whilst they themselves are so irreconcileably divided in that, upon which the decision of all other controversies de­pends, viz. in the rule and judge of controversies. I think I need not say much more: For the more antient Papists, he that shall look into that excellent discourse of Robert Baronius against Turnbull, called Apologia pro disputatione de formali objecto fidei, will find the infallibility of Coun­cels expresly denied by Ockam, Cameracensis, Waldensis, Panormitanus, Antoninus, Cusanus, (all venerable names in the Romish Church) whose words are there recited (b). And for the modern Papists it may suffice to name three authors of principle account, whom the rest of the Herd do follow. Melchior Canus laies down their doctrine in two Propositions. 1. A general Councel, which is not cal­led and confirmed by the Pope, may erre in the faith. 2. Pro­vincial Councels, which are confirmed by the Pope, cannot erre; the rest may erre (c) And Bellarmine saith the same [Page 108] thing almost in the same words (a), and when he was gravel'd with the authority of that famous Councel of Chalcedon, (a Councel that Pope Gregory the great said he reverenced as one of the four Gospels) and a Decree of theirs against the Primacy of the Bishop of Rome, he an­swers roundly, that that Decree is of no force, because it was made in the absence of the Pope's Legates, who afterwards did protest against it (b). Where by the way we may take notice, what opinion that oecumenical Councel had of the Pope's Supremacy and Infallibility, who first passed and afterwards ratified that decree, notwithstanding all the solicitations and protestations of the Romane Legate in the Pope's name to the contrary. In like manner saith Andradius, That Councell erred, in as much as it did rashly and without cause prefer the Church of Constantinople before that of Alexandria and Antioch (c). And Gregory de Va­lentia being assaulted with a Canon of the Synodus Trul­laena, defends himself with this answer: That Synod is of no authority, because its Canons were not confirmed by the Pope (d).

§ 21. It is true, the Papists perceiving the danger of their cause from this difference between the Pope and Councels, have at last found out this [...] (and [Page 109] by that means they pretend they are all agreed) the Pope and Councell joyning together are infallible: And in this sense their doctrine is true, that general councels are in­fallible, viz. if they are called and confirmed by the Pope. For answer whereunto I commend four things to the Readers observation.

1. Observe the non-sense of this opinion. The que­stion is, whether general councels lawfully called have an infallible assistance and guidance of the Spirit in the for­ming of their decrees? The Papists affirm, we deny: now comes in a condition in their affirmation, which over­throwes the affirmation it self. They are infallible (say they) if the Pope confirms them: well then, the Councel meets, considers, decrees; here is their work done, hither­to (say our Masters) they are fallible: they send them to the Pope for confirmation, for ubi desinit Concilium, inci­pit Papa: if the Pope confirms them, they are infallible; if he disapprove them, they are fallible. And so, it seems, the councell receives infallible direction from God for their work, after their work is done; and it ceaseth to be, before it be infallible, in spight of the old maxime of the Logicians, Ab est tertii a [...]jecti, ad est secundi adjecti valet consecutio. Really the councels have an hard bar­gain of it, that cannot get Infallibility, till they have lost their existency.

2. Observe the hypocrisy and self conviction of this opinion. The infallibility of councels is the great [...] cast before the eyes of those who cannot penetrate into the depth of things. Several Scriptures are preten­ded, which are said evidently to prove this infallibility: now we see they themselves deny the thing, they pretend to prove; and councels are infallible no further then the Pope pleaseth. And with this key you must open all the alledged Scriptures: you must hear the Church, i. e. un­lesse the Pope shut up your eares Christ is present where [Page 110] two or three are met together in his name, viz if they have the Pope's approbation. The Spirit will lead you in­to all rruth, viz. if you follow the instructions of his Ho­linesse. And if a councel may say, It seemed good to the Holy Ghost and us, it signifies nothing, if it be not added, and to our Lord the Pope. Thus Councels are meer cyphers, except the Pope adde his figure: and Councels are joyned with Popes, only as Bibulus was with Caesar, to fill up a vacancy, and make a noise in vulgar eares. Nor is the wound of the Popish cause healed by this device, but on­ly skinned over: for as the assertors of the infallibility of councels deny infalliblity to the Pope, further then he ad­heres to such councels; so the assertors of Papal infalli­bility allow to councels no infallibility, but what they have in dependence upon, and by influence from the Pope. So Bellarmine in terms saith, Infallibility doth not come part­ly from the Pope, and partly from the Councel, but wholly from the Pope (a). And Stapleton is expresse: The Pope receives no new power, nor authority, nor infallibility from the addition of a Councel (b). What need I say more, such contemptuous thoughts hath Bellarmine of the infallibi­lity of councels, that he spends one entire chapter upon the proof of this Proposition, That general Councels may erre, if they do not follow the Pope's instruction, if they have not the Legates consent; nay more, if it be in a point where­in the Legates have no certain instructions from the Pope: and he gives us amongst many instances of erring Coun­cels this remarkable one: The Councel of Basil by common consent, and with the Legates concurrence concluded, that a Councel is above the Pope, which certainly is now judged er­roneous [Page 111] (a). You see how hard it is for Councels to carry their dish eaven. By what hath been said it appeares what a sorry foundation the Infallibility of Councels is, when from their principles it unavoidably followes, That a colledge of Jesuites is as infallible as a generall Councel: for they confesse a provinciall Councell (which in it selfe hath no more Authority to oblige the whole Church then such a Colledge) is Infallible with the Popes concurrence, and without it generall Councels are Fallible.

3. Observe the insufficiency of this evasion: For if Infallibility were granted to such a combination of Pope and Councell, this gives them no reliefe, save onely du­ring the Session of the Councell, for when the Councell is dissolved, their Writings must indure the same fate with the writings of the Apostles of being unable to Judg or decide controversies: For all the Papists most vehe­mently plead for the necessity of a living Judge that can heare both parties and determine all emergent contro­versies: Thus Infallibility is not so much as res unius ae­tatis: Nay ofttimes it is but res unius anni, like Ionah's gourd, it comes up in a night and withers in a night. And the Church for three hundred years after Christ had no Infallibility, and since the Councell of Trent the Papists have not had an Infallible judge, and at this day their Church hath no Infallibility and consequently no solid Foundation for their Faith.

4. Observe the preposterousnesse of this opinion: If Councels come to the Pope for Confirmation, he may say to them as Iohn the Baptist said to Christ, Mat. 3, 14. I have need to be baptized of thee and comest thou to me? [Page 112] So may the Pope say, I have need to be confirmed by your Authority, and without you am but magni nominis umbra, and do you come to me? But I confesse wanus manum feriat. If the Pope have any Infallibility, he had it from Councels, for Scripture ownes it not (as we have seen) and the particular Fathers could not give what they never had, and now it is good manners to requite them, and so he comunicates to them that Infallibility he re­ceives from them.

To conclude this consideration: It is sufficient for my purpose which is acknowledged by the greatest and most considerable part of the Romish Church at this day, That generall Councels in themselves are not Infallible, and consequently are no solid Foundation for a Papists Faith, which is all this Proposition pretended to make good, though you see I have given them an [...].

§. 22. A third consideration is this: If the Infalli­bility of general Councels rightly called constituted and ordered, were granted, yet this would give no Advantage to the Romish cause nor security to their Faith, and that for such reasons as diverse of the most Learned Pa­pists themselves do stamp with their approbation. And here I might insist upon sundry particulars, but I shall confine my selfe to a few, and for the rest refer you on­ly to one of their own Authours; White in the oft men­tioned Treatise who thus breaks out his doubts concer­ning this Doctrine of the Infallibility of Councels: —If you assert an unknown and invisible influence of Gods Spirit it is so uncertaine and doubtfull, that it is fruitlesse to con­tend about it: Seeing it is matter of strife, rather then evi­dence to what Councels; and when this assistance is given: whilest some quarrell with the calling, others the absence of nations, or Patriarchs, and others dispute about th [...] praesi­dency, and others about the method and circumstances in the handling of questions: others about the number, weight, or [Page 113] degree of suffrages: others about Confirmation: and others re­quire the Churches consent, ere it can be known whether this Assistance belong to the Councell, or no (a). Where you may observe no lesse then ten severall causes of doubting, and yet all these uncertainties they will rather run upon, then acknowledge the Authority and sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures which are called a more sure word (2 Pet. 1.19.) then that which had another kind and far higher degree of certainty then the decrees of Councels can ever arrive at, but I must not rest in generals. I shall particularly acquaint you with some of the Intrigues of the Romish Church and their own requisites to the legiti­mation of Councels: I shall pick out three. 1. They confesse the Councell which is Infallible must be oecume­nicall. 2. And its decrees must be ratified by the con­sent and approbation of the whole Church. 3. They must proceed sincerely, and faithfully, and piously in it: Now in all these things there are notorious defects in the Church and Councels of Rome.

§. 23. 1. Most Papists grant that, that Councell, to which Infallibility is promised, must be generall or oecu­menicall: and they that pretend to assert the Infallibility of Provinciall Councels when confirmed by the Pope, do indeed utterly reject the Infallibility of all Councels, [Page 114] and ascribe it wholly to the Pope, and to Councels onely by participation from him and in dependence upon him: If then any Councels be Infallible, they must be gene­rall: to which purpose they alledge the saying of St Au­stin, That those onely are Concilia plenaria, full and general Councels which are collected out of all the Christian World (a) Hence the seaventh Synod disowned the Constantinopo­litan Councell and their decrees against Images, because they were not a generall Councell and had not all the Patri­archs there (b). And S. Clara calls it The most received Doctrine of their Church, and cites severall Authors of great note to that purpose (c). Now to assume: The Councels pretended by the Romanists were no generall councels. To say nothing of former Councels (which in their greatest plenitude were onely conventions of the Churches in the Romane Empire.) The later Coun­cels (on whom the weight of the Popish cause principally depends) were not oecumenicall Councels. There is one acknowledged defect in them all, to wit, the absence of the Greek Church. Cardinal Cusanus complaines, At present (Alas!) the Catholick Church, and the Parochial Church of Rome have but one Councell, seeing the whole Church is now reduced to one Patriarchate (d). And as the Objection is really unanswerable, so that which is offered in stead of an Answer is very considerable which S. Clara. represents out of Cusanus and Barlaam: That it matters [Page 115] not that onely the Romane Patriarch and those united to him are there, and that the Schismaticall Patriarcks are absent, for generall Councels are not to be collected out of Hereticks and Schismaticks, but out of the Orthodox, and such as are united to the Church (a). From whence I gather two things. 1. That if the Church of Rome cannot assoile her self from the imputation of Heresy (which by the leanenesse of their replies to the inditements of Prote­stant Authors sufficiently appeares they are not able to do) their Councels are constituted ex Indebitâ materiâ, of undue materials, and therefore cannot pretend to In­fallibility, if there were any such thing in rerum natur â. 2. That we are not to believe the Orthodoxy and much lesse the Infallibility of Councels upon the credit of their naked assertion and absolute Authority, as the Papists affirme (seeing the most Hereticall and Schismaticall Coun­cels have ever asserted themselves to be Orthodox) but it is the right and priviledge of Subjects to examine and judge of the legitimatenesse of Councels, and conse­quently of the validity of their decrees.

§. 24. The second particular is this: That Councels are not infallible nor their decrees unquestionable, unlesse they have the tacit consent and approbation of the whole Church. This position is laid down by S. Clara (in the forementioned Treatise) There is required a tacit or inter­pretative ratification of the whole Church to compleat the definition of a Councell (b): Nor is this his private opi­nion, but he there confirmes it from the words of Panor­mitanes, Turnball, Pope Leo, Petrus â Soto, Castillo, Mi­randula, [Page 116] Gersonius and others (a): And afterwards he quotes these words out of Petrus D' Aliaco, That gene­rall Councells may erre, unlesse when they are accepted by the Vniversall Church and then they are Infallible (b). And in another place himselfe expressely tels us We are not presently to pronounce a thing de fide by reason of some ex­pressions of Councels or their Canons, but we must diligently inquire the constant judgment of the Church, else we shall finde many Canons of Faith which doe not agree with the truth according to the opinion of many (c). And Coltius hath these words, As wee have seen before the common d [...]ssent of the Church hath rendred the decrees of Popes and Councels invalid (d). I mention this the more fully, because it is a pretty devise. It must be confessed the Religion of Rome cannot easily be mistaken for a piece of Piety but he that shall denie it to be an Art of Policy will quickly be confuted and here is an instance will put him to silence.

There is a double discovery of the Romish subtilty in this businesse.

1. You see how handsomely they make a vertue of necessity: now they manage it as a Principle taken up [Page 117] on choice, whereas S. Clara himself sufficiently insinuates, that they were forced to it se def [...]ndendo and took it up at a forced put: for speaking of the former rules of discer­ning a generall Councell he confesseth, That their businesse is very intricate and liable to many troublesome objections against the lawfulnesse of their Councels, but here is a short way to obviate those difficulties by arguing from the reception of the Church, for if the Church receive it for a generall Councell, we need not trouble our selves about little matters, since this reception is sufficient evidence (a).

2. Here is an excellent Antidote against the saucy decrees of severall Councels repugnant to the Popes Supreme Authority: If the sixth Councell of Carthage be pleaded that there should be no appeales to Rome from beyond the Seas, if that of the Councell of Chalcedon be urged, wherein they give [...] the same honours and priviledges to the Bishop of Constantinople as to the Bishop of Rome. If the later Councels of Constance and Basil be alledged wherein the Popes subjection to Councels is positively determined: Now here is an Answer ready to this, and to all that former Councels said and to all that any Councell shall ever say to the Worlds end viz. The Canons of these Councels were not received by the whole Church, but opposed and rejected by the Church and Bi­shop of Rome, a great and eminent part of it: Thus, I think, they have brought off their master the Pope with honour, and as he was Infallible, so now they have made [Page 118] him invulnerable. Scripture cannot hurt him, for he hath the key of Interpretation. Fathers cannot reach him, for they are his Children (saith Bellarmine.) As it is no newes for the Pope to be well stored with Children: And now Councels cannot touch him, for he will hinder their universall reception: And if the Romish Doctors be beaten out of this conceit, it is but studying some new device which is easily done by men that want no wit and have no conscience: for it is resolved to hold the Conclusion, though the poore premises may be put to hard shifts. Well then, to allow them their supposi­tion, and all the benefits of it they must remember the rule of the Lawyers: Qui sentit commodum debet sentire & onus: Benefit and inconvenience must goe together. And this is the inconvenience and mischiefe which they are still forced into notwithstanding all their tricks and stratagems, even to eat their own words and to pull down with one hand that Infallibility which they build up with another; For how can the Councell or the Pope either be said to have that infallible guidance (which is pretended) in the making of their decrees if the Churches non-reception may prove their Fallibility? But here is the wonder-working power of the Church of Rome: do not think strange when you read that passage in the Councell of Lateran delivered in an Ora­tion before the Pope and Councell, That the Pope-hath a power above all power in heaven or earth (a) For he can do that which the Schoolmen unanimously put out of the reach of every power in Heaven or Earth, viz. factum infectum reddere, recall things that are past, and by this Argument prove, that, that Councell which was Infalli­ble [Page 119] while it sat, after its dissolution is become Fallible. But to returne: This is to precipitate themselves into those absurdities which they charge upon us. This is to make the Church judge of her Judges: This is to take away all the security of their Faith if we may believe their own famous Councell of Basil, whose words are these: Nor let any man presume to say that a generall Councell may erre, for if once this pernicious errour were admitted, the whole Catholick Faith would stagger, and we should have nothing certaine in the Church, for by the same reason that one may erre, the rest may erre also (a). Besides hereby they run into a new Circle (as if all their former Circles were not sufficient) If you aske what it is which makes the Faith of the Romish Church and people sure and Infallible? It is the Infallibility of the Pope and Councell: If you aske againe what it is which makes the decrees of Pope and Councell Infallible? It is the Churches reception of them; and yet all this if gran­ted will not relieve them, for that the decrees of their Popes and Councels have no such reception of the uni­versall Church, appeares sufficiently from the publick dissent of so many famous and flourishing Churches in the World, I meane the Greek and Protestant Churches which do not therefore cease to be members of the Ca­tholick Church, because the Papists disowne them no more then the Popish Churches become true members by their pretending to that Title.

§. 25. 3. There is another assertion of the Papists: That Councels are not Infallible unlesse they be rightly consti­tuted [Page 120] and ordered: for this I shall deale with them, as the Apostles did with their Kinsmen the Cretians, I shall implead them with an [...]. Nay, not one but many [...] in their opinion. Councels (say they) may erre if they do not proceed Conciliariter, i.e. in a regular manner saith S. Clara, his words are these: The most Learned Corduba in Quaestionario lib. 4. qu. 1. (quoting Roffensis in his Prologue against Luther and Horantius in his places lib. 2. cap. 17.) saith, that God hath promised his assistance to a Councell, wh [...]n they do what in them lies — If they be Bishops, and Learned and prudent men selected out of the whole Church, if they proceed without Carnall affections, and with a love to the Truth, then, and not otherwise it is gathered lawfully, and in Christ name (a). Thus Bellarmine pressed with the Au­thority of the Councell of Chalcedon against the Popes Supremacy saith, A lawfull Councell may erre in those things wherein it acts not lawfully (b). And Petrus à Soto (a man of great account amongst them) tels us this is the sence of their assertion, That Councels cannot erre: They understand it (saith he) of Councels lawfully congre­gated and acting without fraud and deceit (c). And Pope Leo speaking of the causes of the errours of the Councell of Ephesus assignes this, because they did not proceed with a [Page 121] pure conscience and right judgment (a). So Malderus in his Treatise against the Synod of Dort saith: In vaine do Synods assemble, and men go to them, when they do not remove all sinister affection and onely seek that which is Christs; and he addes, Then indeed they are gathered together in Christs name, then Christ is in the midst of them (b). The summe is this: Infallible assistance is not a gift dispensed pro­miscuously to Pope or Bishops howsoever they demeane themselves; but only upon their good behaviour, being the priviledge of those alone who act with diligence, fidelity, sincere love to the Truth and good conscience; that is to say, to such persons as few Popes and Popish Bishops have been: so that if any Popes or Bishops vio­late the conditions on their parts required, they may lose the priviledge on Gods part promised: If they be unsin­cere in their intentions, and biassed with humane affecti­on, if ambition or covetousnesse be in their hearts and sway their actions, actum est de Infallibilitate their infal­libility is laid in the dust: It is true S. Clara saith We are to suppose that a Pope and Councell do thus proceed unlesse the contrary be evident (c). But I Answer,

1. Thus the Doctrine of Infallibility and the whole weight of the Romish Church and cause depends upon a meer supposition, and (which is far worse) upon such an one as can never be proved: for who can know the since­rity of another mans intentions but himselfe? What man knoweth the things of a man save the spirit of a man that is in him? 1 Cor. 2.

[Page 122]2. I note that these men craftily shift off the proofe to us when it belongs to them for Asserenti incumbit pro­batio. He that saith a Pope or Councell proceeding sincerely and piously is infallible is bound to prove two things. 1. That such an one is a lawfull Pope or Coun­cell. 2. That such a lawfull Pope or Councell proceed lawfully (as Bellarmine himselfe requires) and piously. And as it were an absurd conceit, if I require a proof that such a man is lawfull Pope, to say Supponendum est &c. We must suppose him to be the lawfull Pope, un­lesse the contrary be evident, so is it also when I expect a proofe of the sincerity of his intentions, instead of a Pro­bandum, to tell me supponendum est, which is to tell me that I must venture my Salvation upon a prooflesse asser­tion: And it is a new straine of Popish Logick that suppositions must passe for Arguments. 3. I observe the desperate issue of Popish principles, the foundation of their Faith and Hope is the Infallibility of Pope or Councell: This Infallibility they can have no assurance of, which I thus prove. No man can have assurance of the performance of a conditionall promise unlesse he have assurance of the performance of the condition; but the promise of Infallibility is a conditionall promise de­pending upon the honesty and sincerity of mans inten­tions which another man can never be assured of. Here we have a remarkable evidence of the perverse Spirit of our Adversaries and the indefensiblenesse of their cause: Those very men that are so curious and criticall that they will not allow a man to be sure of his own sincerity now will needs have us to rest assured of the sincerity of another man: But how are we assured? Why, with a non constat de opposito: An Ingenious device which will serve for many excellent purposes: Thus I may be assured that the present great Mogul is turned Christian, because the contrary is not evident: Thus I may be assu­red [Page 123] of the vertue, wisdome, and piety of every person that now lives at Rome, because the contrary is not evi­dent to me. In a word, according to their Doctrines and Answers, A Papist hath no greater assurance of the Popes or Councels Infallibility, then I have That there is a World in the Moon: That the day of Iudgment shall be next year: Or that I shall die to morrow: Or that a thou­sand soules shall be converted by the next Sermon I preach, because in all these I may say non constat de opposito, the contrary is not evident. Really the Protestants ought not to be envious at the assurance of the Papists, for they are contented with very moderate termes for it. If they would be satisfied with the same kind of assurance in conveyance of worldly estates as they are in the Salva­tion of their Soules, I believe they would get away all good bargaines from their neighbours; but you will finde them wiser there.

4. But alas for them I fear I shall be cruell to them, for I cannot allow their non constat de opposito; They tell us we must suppose that Popes and Councels have all­waies acted sincerely and honestly, because we do not know the contrary: an assertion which whosoever will undertake to make good must combat the Faith of all Hi­story: I shall say nothing of the censures of Protestants upon them (whose interest and opinion may render them suspected of partiality:) But I hope they will not take it amisse if I represent some few of those innumerable Testimonies which their own most learned and approved Authors have given concerning the hypocrisy, impiety, fraud, ambition, avarice of their infallible Gentlemen, the Popes, and Popish Bishops. And were it not that the Pope hath a power of turning vice into vertue at his pleasure (according to that saying of Bellarmines, In a good since Christ hath given to Peter a power of making [Page 124] sinne to be no sin (a)) it were impossible to mistake the Pope for a Saint let us here some few of the expressions of such as lived and died in their communion: For the Popes he that reads their own Historians, would think the name of Holinesse were given to them by Antiphrasis, and that in meer pity they were allowed the name who did not pretend to the thing. The Papall chaire is called by themselves Cathedra pestilentiae a pestilentiall chaire. Genebrard himselfe though a sworn vassall of the Popes confesseth, as I observed before, that for 150 years to­gether the Popes were Apostatici, Apostates not Aposto­licks; as if they succeeded Peter onely in the denying of his master: and yet these are our infallible masters: who doubts but they can worke miracles at Rome, that can make Apostacy and Infallibility dwell together in the same person: and however our Saviour said No man can serve two masters, and St Paul, What communion can there be between Christ and Belial, yet the Papists are in­fallibly sure of the contrary, for (if their most approved Authours may be credited) diverse of the Popes have had infallible guidance of Gods spirit and undoubted com­munion with the Devill at the same time; for so faith Platina (sometimes the Popes library keeper) All the Popes from Sylvester the second even to Gregory the seventh inclusively (which were about 18 Popes) were Magi­tians (b). But I confesse all the Popes were not conju­rers for some of them were such silly wretches that they did not understand Grammer according to the report [Page 125] of their own Authors (a): And yet these too were in­fallible Doctors. And Ludovicus Vives dealt too hardly with poore Bullardus for saying The better Grammarian, the worse Divine for here it seemes, The worst Gramma­rians were the best; nay, the infallible Divines. All Hi­stories are full of the ambition, frauds, forgeries even of those who were accounted some of the best of their Popes, to say nothing of more abhominable vices: Nor did this corruption rest in the head but from thence dispers it selfe into all the members, the Cardinals, Bishops. Go­vernours of the Romish Church: It was acknowledg­ed by the Pope (and therefore infallibly true.) Adrianus the sixth by the name of the Popes and prelates, We have all turned after our own wayes, there is none that doth good, no not one (b). The famous Chancellor of Paris Gerson complaines that Learned and godly Bishops were chosen no where, but carnall men and ignorant of Spirituall things (c). And so proud (saith he) that they do not know themselves to be men. Duarenus speaks home to this purpose: Most of the Bishops of our time are greater strangers to Religion and Holy things then any of the secular Nobles, and they mind nothing but how to defend their possessions by right or wrong (d). Ferus cries out: Who doth not see the insatiable [Page 126] avarice and impostures of the Popes and religious men? with these all things are vendible (a). And Stella informs us, There were few possessors of Benefices who had them other­wise then either by begging, or paying for them (b). And yet these were the good men of the Church of Rome, these are they who acted in Councels sincerely from love to God and his truth, not seeking their own things but the things of Christ, and therefore without doubt infallible. And for the state of Councels, take one testimony for all of one that was an eminent part and member of them, Cardinal Iulian, who in his Epistle to Eugenius the fourth in the councel of Basil in plain terms tels him, that all Councels, since that of Chalcedon, (which was above a thou­sand years ago) were instituted, not for the discovery of truth, but for the defence and increase of the power of the Romane Church, and the liberty of Churchmen (c).

Should I descend to particulars, and open the several impostures and palpable frauds, which the Popes and their Partisans have successively used in the packing of councels, and making voices, and forging decrees, and in­gaging the Bishops by hopes, and fears, and interests, to give up their votes and consciences to the advance­ment of the Romish power and magnificence, I should engage my self to transcribe whole volumes, and cut out work for the whole terme of my life; The transactions of the councel of Trent are fresh in memory. And he that shall peruse the words of their own Historians, the Pro­testations [Page 127] of Princes, the Censures of Universities relating to it &c. will easily be satisfied, whether Clara's non con­stat de opposito be true or no. And therefore notwith­standing this frivolous excuse it remaines a truth, that according to the principles of Papists themselves, and be­cause of those evident defects in them acknowledged by their own Authors, whatever Councels regularly called and ordered may pretend to, their councels must lay down their claime to Infallibility; and so their faith hath no solid foundation, as not in the Pope's authority, so not in Scripture, nor in the testimony of the Fathers, nor yet in the infallibility of general councels. And therefore I may safely conclude, they have no solid foundation for their Faith.

26. There is only one thing which may seem to retard the passing of the sentence: that is this. That although each of these taken asunder may not be sufficient, yet all put together make a cord which is not easily broken, Quoe non prosunt fingula, juncta juvant: and therefore, foras­much as the Church stands upon four Pillars, Authority of Scriptures, Tradition of Fathers, Infallibility of Coun­cels, and the Pope, their Faith is like Mount Sion that cannot be removed. And if it be deemed an absurd and unreasonable thing (as we poor fallible creatures have thought) to prove the Scriptures from the authority of the Church, Councels, or Pope, and circularly to prove the authority of the Church, Councels, or Pope from the Scripture. The Jesuits have found out the Quadrature of the Circle, and they tell you, that it is no more absurd that Scripture should lean upon the Churches authority, and the Church on the authority of Scripture, then that St. John the Baptist should give testimony to Christ, and Christ to him again; or that the Old Testament should be confirmed by the New, and the New Testament by the Old. This is one of their last pleas: we find them now [Page 128] retired to their Fort-royal, beat them out of this, and u­pon the matter all is lost: and truly that will be no hard matter to do, if the Reader please to consider 1. The great disparity of the alledged Instances. Iohn and Christ might give testimony one to another, but neither of them did simply depend upon each other's testimonies: suppo­sing that Christ had given no express testimony concer­ning Iohn, yet I say the mission of Iohn was not only true in it self, but sufficiently evident to the Jews, as plainly appears from hence: That the Pharisees, when asked by Christ, whether the Baptisme of Iohn was from Heaven or of men, were afraid to deny its Heavenly original, as being against the common sentiment of the Jewes: and Christ chargeth the Pharisees with rejecting the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of Iohn, Luk. 7. 30. And much more true is it of Christ, that he did not depend upon the testimony of John, but had other and better testimony, Ioh. 5.36. But I have greater testimony then that of Iohn. And it is enough for my purpose, if ei­ther Christ or John had an authority independent upon the others evidence, though the other had not. And the like may be said of the Old and New Testament: well may they give testimony one to another, for neither of them doth totally depend upon the other. The Old Te­stament did sufficiently evidence its authority, before ever the New Testament was written; and the New Te­stament too did carry other convincing evidences of its divine original and authority, besides the testimony of the Old Testament: such as the voice from Heaven, This is my well beloved Son, 2 Pet. 1.17. and the glorious mi­racles he did, Ioh. 5.36. The works that I do bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me: the holiness of his life, power of his doctrine, patience of his death. But now (to apply this to our present purpose) it is here far other­wise; for the Scripture (say they) doth not evidence it [Page 129] self any other way to us but by the Churches testimony, (as we have heard from their own words:) and Coun­cels, Fathers, and the Pope (we say, and have proved) cannot evidence their Authority and Infallibility any o­ther way but by the Scripture, (which according to their principles is impossible) or by their own Testimony, which is ridiculous.

2. Let it be considered, that the Romanists do not make these four, Scripture, Fathers, Councels, and Popes coordinate and collateral foundations of their Faith, as if each of them did contribute a distinct and independent support unto the Romish Faith; but indeed they make one of them totally to depend upon another, and at last reduce them all to one, and (to speak properly) to none. For the Fathers, and Councels, and the splendid name of the Church, however they are pretended to put a fair glosse upon a foul cause, yet indeed the authority of them all is as vigorously disputed against by the most and lear­ned'st Romanists, as by any Protestants in the world. You remember, what their great master Bellarmine told you, That Infallibility and Supreme Authority is not partly in the Pope, partly in the Councel, but wholly in the Pope: what need we trouble our selves further? Those four are now reduc'd to two, Scripture and the Pope; and those two must mutually prove one another. There is no solid and sufficient ground for me to believe the Scriptures, but the testimony of the Pope, say the Papists; and there is no solid and sufficient ground for me to believe the Authority and Infallibility of the Pope, but the testimo­ny of the Scriptures: For the Fathers and Councels re­ceiving all their authority and infallibility from the Pope, cannot give him the infallibility and authority they recei­ved from him: Now how senslesse a resolution of Faith this is (though most of the Papists have no better and no other) you may perceive by some few instances. It is as [Page 130] if a Sudent should say thus: I should not believe such a book to be an excellent book, but for my Tutor's testi­mony, who tels me so. And again: I should not believe my Tutor's testimony to be of any validity, but for the testimony of that book concerning him. Who would not laugh at such an assertion? Or as if a man should say: I should not believe the honesty of Richard, were it not for the testimony of Thomas. And I should not believe the honesty of Thomas, were it not for the testimony of Richard. Where is there a man that will accept of such security in a trivial worldly bargain? And yet the Papists are content to venture their souls upon it. From all that hath been said, I conclude, that the pretended authori­ties we have discoursed of, do neither severally nor yet jointly afford a solid foundation for a Papist's Faith, nor prove that Infallibility which they pretend to; and con­sequently, there is no solid foundation for a Papists faith. And here I might discharge my self from further trouble, having discovered the nullity of all the pretences which have been hitherto owned by the Church of Rome.

CHAP. V. Of Orall Tradition, and the Testimony of the pre­sent Church.

§. 1. BUt because I am resolved to do their cause all the right that may be, and give them all the favourable allowance they can desire, I shall consider the singular conceits of their private Doctors, where the authors are any whit considerable. and their opinion hath any thing of plausibility. There is then another shift, which some subtle Romanists have lately invented; who perceiving how their brethren have been beaten out of [Page 131] the field by strength of Scripture and argument, in their conceit about the infallibility of the Pope or Councel; come in for their succour with an Universal Tradition, and the authority of the present Church. This is the way of Rushworth in his Dialogues, Mr. White, and Holden, and Sr. Kenelm Digby, and S. Clara. Their defence and dis­course is this, for I shall give you their opinion in their own words. A man may prudently believe the present Church for her self, and ought so to do: A man needs not, nor is not obliged to enquire further; —there he may safely fix, (a) saith S. Clara. Thus the L. Faulkland's Adversary: That society of Christians, which alone pretend to teach nothing but what they have received from their Fathers, and they from theirs, and so from the Apostles, they must needs hold the truth which first was delivered: for if they could teach falsehoods, then some age must either have erred in un­derstanding their Ancestors, or have joyned to deceive their posterity, neither of which is credible. But the Church of Rome, and they only, pretend to teach nothing else &c. Ergo they must needs hold the truth. The acute Mr. White ex­plains the opinion more exactly and fully, and the strength of his and their notion I shall give you in his words.

1. The nations did understand the doctrine taught by the Apostles, and practised it, and highly valued it, as most necessary for them and their posterity, and to be preferred be­fore all other things.

2. Those first Christians even at their death, both could and would, and therefore doubtlesse did most vehemently com­mend this doctrine to their Children: and the Fathers did al­waies deliver the same doctrine which they received from [Page 132] their Parents, and under that notion because they had recei­ved it.

3. If any delivered another doctrine, he could be proved a lyar by the rest of the world; or if all should agree against their consciences to deliver a new doctrine, under that notion (scil. of a doctrine delivered from their Parents) that whole age would be guilty of treachery and parricide, and should agree to murder themselves, which is impossible.

4. There was a perpetual succession of Pastors, who took care of Faith and manners; and it is evident, that the Pa­stors and people had the same faith.

5. And there arose heresies, by which the truth might be more cleared, and they that maintained the antient doctrine might be distinguished from Innovators: which Innovators did not publickly reject the Apostles doctrine, but pleaded it was not rightly understood, and the other part kept the name of the Catholick Church.

6. It is necessary, that that congregation, which alwaies kept the antient discipline, should alone profess that she recei­ved her opinions from Christ by perpetual succession, and that she neither did nor could receive any thing into the Ca­non of their Faith under another notion.

7. As certainly therefore, as one may know, that the con­gregation of believers, which at this day is called Catholick, is animated with a number of learned and wise men, so cer­tainly will it be known, that she is not conscious of any new­ness of doctrine, and therefore there is no new doctrine.

8. Following ages cannot be ignorant, what former ages believed about those things which are explained in Sermons, Catechisms, Prayers, and Sacraments, and such are all things necessary to the Catholick Faith.

9. This doctrine delivered from hand to hand was con­firmed by long custome, diverse laws, rewards and punish­ments both of this and the following life, monuments of wri­ters, by which all would be kept in it.

[Page 133] 10. Following Rulers could not change the doctrine of their Predecessors without schisme, and notorious tumult in the Church, as dayly experience proveth(a) To the same [Page 134] purpose also Holden discourseth in his Treatise of the re­solution of Faith. This is a new Plea, and deserves speci­al consideration.

§. 2. For Answer, 1. I give Mr. White and his wor­thy Partners humble thanks for the great favour or ra­ther justice done by them to the Protestant cause. For, whereas this is the perplexing question, wherewith they think to puzzle us, How we can know the Scriptures to be the word of God without the Churches infallible au­thority? and from the supposed impossibility thereof, they infer the necessity of the Churches authority: these kind-hearted Gentlemen have helped us out of the bry­ars: for now it seems, and it is a truth, and so far the argument from Tradition is really conclusive, that we may know the Scripture to be the word of God without the Churches infallible authority, viz. by tradition. And the argument of Tradition would not at all lose its strength if the Church were wholly stript of the capacity of a Judg, and retained only the qualification of a witnesse, and con­sequently the Churches authority is not at all necessary. And if the Church should boast of her authority against or above tradition, it may be said to her according to these mens principles, as the Apostle said to the Gentiles, Rom. 11. If thou boast, thou bearest not Tradition, but Tradition thee, for so say these Doctors. Mr. White spends one en­tire chapter upon the proof of this Proposition, That the succession of doctrine is the only rule of Faith (a), and saith, that whether we place this infallibility in the whole body of the Church, or in Councels, or in Scriptures, in each of these their authority is resolved into and all depends upon Tradition (b). And he spends several chapters to shew, [Page 135] that neither the Pope, nor Councels can give any solidity, or certainty to our Faith but what they have from Tradition: If it be said Tradition is conveyed to us by the Church, and so there is still a necessity of her Authority. I an­swer plainly no: It followes onely that there is necessi­ty of her Ministery, but not of her Authority. A Pro­clamation of the King and Councel could not come to my hands, (If I live at Yorke) but by a Messenger, and by the Scribe, or Printer: But if any from this necessity of his Ministery infer his Authority, I may well deny the consequence; but because it is unhansome to extenuate a courtesie, I hold my self obliged further to acknow­ledge the great kindnesse of our Adversaries, who not contented to assert the validity of the Protestants foun­dation of Faith have also overturned their own, which that you may the better understand, I shall briefly re­present to you the sweet Harmony of those Cadmaean Brethren, and how God hath confounded the language of Babels; Builders: so that they have little to do, but to stand still, and see the Salvation of God while these Midianites, and Amalekites thrust their Swords in one anothers sides.

The opinion and language of most Papists in the world is this. That Tradition is therefore only infallible because it is delivered to us by the Church which is infallible:(a) If you ask Bellarmine what it is by which I am assured that a tradition is right, he answers, because the whole Church, which receives it cannot erre. (b) So the late [Page 136] Answerer of Bishop Laud. There is no means lest to believe any thing with a divine infallible Faith, if the Authori­ty of the Catholick Church be rejected as erronious, and fal­lible, for who can believe either Creed, or Scripture, or un­written Tradition, but upon her Authority. (a) Nay, S: Clara himself notwithstanding his Romantick strain: That Tradition and the naked Testimony of the present Church is sufficient, yet elsewhere confesseth the Chur­ches infallibility must necessarily be supposed to make my Faith certain: His words are these: The Testimony of the Church by which Traditions come to us, is infallible, from a Divine Revelation, because it is evident from the Scripture that the Church is infallible: And presently after, If the Church were not infallibile, it could not produce in me an infallible Faith, (b) And this was the constant Do­ctrine of the Romish Masters in all former Ages: Now come a new Generation who finding the Notion of in­fallibility hard beset, and that Pillar shaken, they support their cause with a quite cōtrary position: That it is not the Churches infallibility that renders Tradition infallible (as their former Masters held) but the infallibility of Tradition that makes the Church infallible, and therefore they say, the Church her self is no further infallible then she followes Tradition. Thus Mr White plainly tells us that Councils are not infallible, because the speciall assistance of Gods spirit makes them infallible, but because by irrefragable testimony [Page 137] they confirm the succession of their Doctrines, and are such witnesses of tradition as cannot be refused.

Thus Holden having told us that the Popes infallibility is controverted on both sides by just, godly, and most learned Catholicks, as well antient, as modern, and neither [...]svde con­demned by Authentick censure (a) (which by the way discourses the desparatenesse of the greatest part of the Romish Church at this day which ventures their Soules, and rest their faith upon what themselves confesse to be a doubtfull foundation, viz. the Popes infallibility) (b) All Divines (saith he) confesse it is not certain with a Di­vine, and a Catholick Faith, he comes to lay down this conclusion that the Infallibility of the Church is not from any Priviledge granted to the Romans sea, or St Peters suc­cesseur but from the universall and Catholick tradition of the Church (c) and Councels fare no better then Popes. They are (saith he) not Founders, but only Guardians, and Witnesses of revealed truths (d) so Mr White allowes neither Pope nor Councels any infallibility, but what they have from tradition, as wee have seen, and tels us in expresse termes, that Tradition is overthrown, if any other principle [Page 138] be added to it: for here lies the solidity of Tradition that nothing is accepted by the Church but from Traditi­on (a).

§. 3. Well, what shall the poor unlearned Romanist do, that finds his great masters at variance in the very foundation of his Faith: Here are two contradictory assertions: one of them must unavoidably be false: A man may with probability at least assert the falshood of either of them, having the suffrage of diverse of their own most learned Catholick Authors for him in either opinion; but whether they be true or false, their cause is lost:

1. If they be true, and 1. If that be true, that Tradi­tion be the foundation of the Churches Infallibility: then 1. Whence hath Tradition this Infallibility? From Scripture? That they utterly disclaime. From Traditi­on? Then why may not Scripture give Testimony to it self as well as Tradition? And whence hath that Tradi­tion its Infallibility? and so in infinitum. Is it from the reason of the thing? So Mr White implies who at­tempts to prove it by a rationall and Logicall Discourse, but himself hath prevented that, while he saith To leane upon Logicall inferences is to place the foundation of our Faith and the Church in the sand (b). And S. Clara gives a check to this: It is more reasonable and wise, even for the most learned and acute persons to rely upon the Autho­rity of the Church then to adhere to our own reasonings how plausible soever (c). And that is largely disproved in [Page 139] the following discourse. Is it then from the Churches Infallibility? This they deny and allow the Church no infallibility independent upon Tradition.

2. Seeing they grant the Church may erre, if she re­ceed from Tradition I can never be sure she doth not erre unlesse I be sure she keep to Tradition: And there­fore I must examine that, and judge of it, and so private men are made judges of controversies, which they so much dread.

3. Hereby the Authority of the Pope and generall Councels of Bishops is rendred unnecessary: I prove it thus: If these be necessary onely as witnesses to Traditi­on, then their Authority is not necessary: For it is not Authority, but knowledge and fidelity which renders a witnesse competent: A lay hearer of St Paul may be as competent a witnesse of the Doctrine he heard St Paul Preach, as a Bishop, supposing a parity in their knowledg, fidelity, and converse with the Apostle, and another Bishop may be as competent a witnesse as the Bishop of Rome and consequently as Infallible, and any congre­gation of discreet and pious Christians who heard St Pe­ter Preach are as infallible witnesses as the Church of Rome, and if there were a generall assembly of lay men of equall knowledge and experience, they are as infallible witnesses what the Faith of the next precedent age was, and what the Faith of the present Church is, as a Coun­cell of Bishops: Nay (to speak truth) they are more cre­dible witnesses, because lesse byassed by interest affecti­on or prejudice. These rocks the first branch throwes them upon.

2. If they flie from his and make the Churches infal­libility the foundation of Traditions (as the most Papists do) then they must demonstrate that Infallibility from Scripture, Fathers, or Councels, which we have seen, they cannot do. So that, if either of their positions be true, their cause is lost.

[Page 140]But 2. If either of them be false, they are gone too: For if tradition be not Infallible in it selfe without the Churches Authority (as the one side saith) then the Pa­pists have no certaine rule for the Church to steere i [...]s course by (for the Scriptures they do not own as such) and if the Church be not infallible, but by vertue of this Tradition (as the other side saith,) then they con­fesse the insufficiency of all their proofes from Scripture and from the Authority of Fathers and Councels, and their Authority is no more, then that of any faithfull or credible Historian, and instead of a Divine the Papists have nothing but an Historicall faith. I shall conclude this first Answer with one syllogisme from the words and assertions of Mr White: Tradition is overthrown, if another principle of Faith be added to it: But the most and Learnedest Doctours of the Romish Church do adde another principle to it, viz. the Churches Authority and infallibility as I shewed from their own words: Ergo, either Tradition and all this new devise, or the Authority of the Romish Church is overthrown.

4. Answ. 2. This new conceit directly thwarts the designe of God in the Writing of the Scripture, and in­deed the common sence and experience of all mankind: for hereby a verball Tradition is made a more sure way of conveyance to posterity then a Writing. It hath been the Wisdome of God in forme [...] ages to take care that those things might be Written, which he would have kept in remembrance. Exod. 17. 14. Write this for a memoriall in a Book: So little did God trust this (now supposed infallible) way of orall Tradition, that he would not venture the Decalogue upon it (though the words were but few, and the importance of them so considera­ble, both in truth, and in the apprehensions of the Jewes, that if Mr Whites Argument have any strength in it, it was impossible posterity should ever mistake it) but [Page 141] write it with his own finger once and againe after the breaking of the first Tables: And although, whilest the Church was confined to a few families and divine revela­tions were frequently renewed a verball Tradition was sufficient, yet when the Church came to be multiplyed and especially when it comes to be dispersed into all Na­tions and Revelations cease, then Writing proves of ab­solute necessity: How farre the first and wisest Chri­stians were from Mr Whites opinion appeares from hence, that not daring to leane upon the broken reed of Orall Tradition, they did earnely desire the Apostles to commit their Doctrines to Writing. Eusibius reports that St Peters hearers were not content with this way of Tra­dition from Peters mouth, but (for want of Mr VVhites presence there to convince them of their folly,) They earnestly begged it of Marke that he would leave them that Doctrine in VVriting which they had received by word of mouth (a). And Hierome tels us That St John the Evan­gelist was almost forced to write by all the Bishops of Asia (b): who (it seems) were raw novices that did not under­stand their Catechisme nor the first principle in it viz. The sufficiency and infallibility of orall Tradition. And St Luke gives it us under his hand (not fearing either Mr VVhites anger or his Argument) that he wrote his Gospell ad majorem [...] that Christians might have the greater certainty Luk 1 3,4. When Iob desires the perpetuall continuance of his words he wisheth, O that my words were now VVritten! Oh that they were Printed in a Book! Job. 19.23. And David in the same case [Page 142] would not rely upon Tradition, but takes this course for assurance: This shall be written for the generation to come, Psal. 102.18. But because Mr VVhite undoubtedly is a better Philosopher and Divine then either Luke or Iob or David were, (and therefore good reason they should all vaile to his more penetrating wit and deeper judgment) he shall do well to remember that God him­selfe was of the same judgment—Go, write it before them in a Table and note it in a Book that it may be for the time to come for ever Isa. 30.8. And to this agrees the com­mon experience of mankind: Vox audita perit, litera, scripta manet verball Traditions, quickly vanish, onely writings are durable: Hence those famous Lawes of Ly­curgus, institutes of the Druides Philosophy of Pythagoras are upon the matter wholly lost and onely some few fragments reserved, because not committed to writing: but this will be put out of doubt by reflecting upon the History of mankind, wereby the aierinesse of this phan­tasme will be discovered, and the great difference be­tween Tradition and writing in point of certainty de­monstrated: Adam and Noah the two successive heads of mankind did doubtlesse deliver the true Doctrine to their posterity with the same important circumstances, (which Mr VVhite supposeth in the Doctrine of the Gospell) as a Doctrine of everlasting consequence, and they so received it, and for a season transmitted it to their Children: But alas! how soon was all obliterated, and in this sense all mankind (some very few excepted) did agree to murther themselves, and they actually did that which Mr VVhite saith was impossible: And so from hence forward let all Logitians take notice of it, that Ab esse ad posse non valet consequentia. Well, some centuries after comes Moses and by Gods command delivers a Law in Writing and this law abides, and the Jewes to this day retaine it in remembrance and venera­tion [Page 143] and for above 3000 years together have been thereby kept from those Pagan opinions and Idolatries which all the Scholars of Tradition almost in the whole World have fallen into: and consequently writing is a sure; and orall Tradition, an unsafe and uncertaine way of conveyance: and this principle hath had universall influence upon the actions of wise men, in all ages, and in all things: Hence care hath been alwaies taken for the writing of Canons of Councels, decrees of Courts, Acts of Parliament (though the importance of them were many times so great and evident, that according to this new notion, writing was superfluous, and verball Traditi­on Infallible:) And if those wise men durst never trust unwritten Tradition with their estates and worldly con­cernments, shall we be so mad as to venture our Souls upon it? Let Papists do so, who having given up their consciences to the Pope cannot say their soules are their own, but let them not be displeased, if we desire to make a wiser bargaine. But our English Apostate hath a distinct­ion to salve this grosse absurdity: It is true (saith he) of Doctrines meerly speculative, that the memory is not so safe a depository as VVritten records, but not of such as may be made as it were visible by practise: And he is pleased to give us an instance in the Doctrine of the Sacrament and Christs reall unfigurative presence in it, which (saith he) was more securely and clearly delivered by the Churches practise, then could be by books VVritten, their prostrations and adorations demonstrated their assurance of his real pre­sence, where every mans saying Amen at the Priests pronoun­cing Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi, expressed their confession of that presence with exclusion of all tropes and figures in the businesse. Exomol. §. 1. c. 8. And are these the great and visible assurances of Doctrines to which all the security of Writings must strike saile? Are these grounds so evident that the Doctrines could not possibly, have [Page 144] been more securely propagated and more clearly and in­telligibly delivered to posterity in Writing as Cressy da­ringly asserts? See Exomolog. Sect. 1. chap. 8. O the besotting nature of Popery! O the tremendous judg­ment of God punishing Apostacy with an [...] a reprobate sence! Dare this miserable man say these are clearer evidences of the reall presence then if it had been said in terminis. This is my body in a proper and cor­poreall sence, or this bread is converted into the very sub­stance of this body which you now see? These men may well say what they please for it appeares they can believe what they list.

May I with the Readers leave in few words, discover the shamefull weaknesse and horrid impudence of this asser­tion: Is it true indeed that the prostrations and adora­tions, of Christians discover'd their assurance of the reall corporall presence? And of all men living could Mr Cressy say this, who had so oft seen others receive and himself received the Sacrament in England and Ireland in a po­sture of adoration viz. kneeling, with an assurance of the falshood of that opinion of the reall corporall presence? Why might not the speciall yet spirituall presence of Christ in the Sacrament occasion this prostration, as well as the speciall and Spirituall presence of God in the Arke occasioned the Jewes to fall down and worship at his footstoole? And must the poore Clarke come in with his Amen to help the lame priest over the stile? Why there is not a Protestant but when he heares these words pronounced this is my body will say his Amen to it, and acknowledge it so to be, but still Christs words must be taken in Christs sence, and that is, though figurative yet very frequent in such cases: In short, since these are the practicall visible Arguments alledged as instances of the Infallible certainty of orall Tradition, above all that can be said in writing: I hope the Reader (who con­cernes [Page 145] himselfe either in matters of credit or conscience) will easily discerne and ingeniously confesse, both the ab­surdity of their Arguments and assertion, and the solidity of this second Answer, and the advantage of writing a­bove unwritten Tradition.

§. 5. Ans. 3. If this assertion be true and solid, and Tradition be an Infallible foundation of Faith as those men pretend no errour could come into the Church un­der pretence of Tradition from the Apostles: That is evi­dent in it selfe (else an infallible Authoritie is liable to er­ror which is a contradiction) and it is granted by our Adversaries, who therefore tell us that all Hereticks re­cede from the Tradition of their Fathers and broach new and unheard of Doctrines, as we have seen.

But errors may come into the Church under pretence of Tradition. Here all the doubt lies, and therefore I shall indeavour to make it good, a taske which would be wholly superfluous if the impudence of our Adver­saries, and the desperatenesse of their cause did not ob­lige them to require, and us to give the proofe of the most evident verities: I might insist upon the Doctrine of the Chiliasts (which the Papists confesse to be false) which was commended to the Church by Papias and Ire­naeus too as an Apostolicall Tradition, and so received by the generality of Orthodox Christians (saith Iustin Mar­tyr:) This Argument is renderd more considerable by the pitifull evasion wherewith Mr VVhite shuffles it off, saying, That the Chiliasts were deceaved by Cerinthus who feigned he had this from the Apostles in private discour­ses, not in publike Preaching (a). For (to say nothing of this that the Fathers derive its pedegree from another root) whatever was the occasion and ground of this mi­stake [Page 146] in that Tradition it sufficiently proves what I in­tend viz. that many or most of the guides of the Church may receive false Doctrines as comming from the Apo­stles, and so transmit them to their Posterity, which is the thing now denied. It was an old Observation of Irenaeus concerning the Hereticks of his time (one would think the words were not onely Historicall of them, but also propheticall of the Papists) When Hereticks are re­proved out of the Scripture; they begin to accuse the Scrip­ture, as if truth could not be discovered by those that know not Tradition (a).(b) The Arrians pretended they had their Doctrine by Tradition from their Ancestors: particularly they named Origen, Dionysius Alexandrinus, and Lucian the Martyr by whose hands their Doctrine had been conveyed to them, as Baronius acknowledgeth Epipha­nius tels us the Cajani pretended St Paul as the Author and founder of their Hereticall Doctrines: The Pela­gians boasted of their Doctrine, That it had been alwaies celebrated by the Learning of Holy men (b). The Doctrine of rebaptisation (which the Papists acknowledge to be erroneous) was brought in by Cyprian and the African Bishops under a pretence of Tradition: The words of Cyprian are these: We do not now broach a new Doctrine, but one long fince decreed by our Predecessors (c). It is true Pamelius saith he meanes this of his immediate Prede­cessors Agrippinus, and the rest: and that will serve my turne, if Mr VVhites Argument will hold: for then no [Page 147] Age (and consequently not this) could either be ignorant of, or knowingly recede from the Doctrine of their Fa­thers, nor they from their Fathers, and so upward to the Apostles: And indeed Cyprian carries it higher, even to the Apostles whiles he calls it The Faith of the Catholick Church, and reckons it amongst the Apostolicall and E­vangelicall precepts (a). And Firmilian expressely affirmes it was delivered by Christ and his Apostles (b). And will these mens confidence yet serve them to assert that no error could come into the Church by Tradition?

If all those Eminent African Bishops and Churches might either misunderstand their Ancestors or deceive their posterity (as Mr White cannot deny they did e [...]er the one or other) why might not the Spanish, or French, or Romish do it. If it be said, there was a promise to the contrary at least for the Church of Rome. To say no­thing of the manifest weaknesse of that pretence I answer two things: 1. That Mr White expressely rejects this Infallibility by promise. 2. However this Argument be­ing of another nature and depending not upon the pro­mise of God, but the nature and evidence of the thing is by this instance irrefragably overthrown.

Answ. 4. That way of proving which was rejected by the Prophets and godly Jewes, by Christ and by the Apo­stles is not to be approved, much lesse preferred before that way which they approved and used; but this way of proving the truth of a Doctrine by Tradition from their next Ancestours and the Testimony of the present Church was rejected by the Prophets &c. and by Christ [Page 148] and the Apostles: Ergo, It is not now to be approved. For the Minor (in which all the doubt lies) it consists of two Branches: The first relating to the old Testament; The second to the New:

The first is: That this way was disowned by the Pro­phets and godly Jewes under the old Testament: It is true some of the Jewes did owne this Popish opinion as you may read I [...]r. 44.17. But the Prophets were of ano­ther perswasion. Ezek. 20.18. Walke not in the Statutes of your Fathers. And from Tradition they used to send their people to the Law and Testimony Isa. 8.20. And the godly Kings of Iudah did not make Tradition (as the Papists do) but the written Law (as the Protestants do) the rule of their reformation: Thus David 1 Chron. 16. 40.—to do according to all that is Written in the Law: Thus Hezekiah 2 Chron. 31. he did all, as it is Written in the Law of the Lord: So Iosiah 2 Chron. 34.30, 31. and 35.12. The like did Ezra long after Ezra 6.18. and Nehemiah chap. 8. They dwelt in Booths, as it is Written. Here Scripture recovers what Tradition had lost, for though God had commanded this, yet since the daies of Ioshua they had not done so vers. 17. By all which we evi­dently discerne how different their opinion was from this of the Papists, and how little confidence they put in Tra­dition, Iosiah would not so much as make Hezekiahs re­formation his rule nor Hezekiah take his patterne from Iehoshaphats reformation, but still every one had immedi­ate recourse to the written Word; For it seems it was a Language that these Holy men understood not, That Scripture was a corrupt writing, a leaden rule, a dumb master.

§. 7. There is indeed one Objection against the con­sequence from the Jewes to the Christians and from the Old Testament to the New: I shall give it you in the words of one of the acutest of our Adversaries, i e. [Page 149] Mr White, The Law of the Iewes was delivered in Tables of Stone and the volume of the Law, to which it is expressely opposed that God will write the Law of Christians in their hearts. (a)

I Answer, 1. The words are not to be understood ab­solutely (as they sound) but comparatively, not as if they did wholly deny that the Mosaicall Law was written in the Heart (for that is affirmed in other places as Deut. 30.6. The Lord thy God will circumcise thy heart and the heart of thy seed) or as if they did affirme that the Christian Law was written only in mens hearts and not in Paper (which the Papists themselves dare not assert) but onely it is a comparative expression like that, I will have mercy and not sacrifice, Christ sent me not to baptise but to preach, i. e. principally and primarily, for else the one as well as the other was enjoyned by God: And so it is here implied that the Christian Law should be written more eminently, upon the hearts of Christi­ans, then it ordinarily was upon the hearts of the Jewes, and that it should be writ in a more legible Cha­racter.

Answ. 2. If we examine in whose hearts this Chri­stian Law is written, we shall find it concernes not the Tradition, of the Church by which all things are to be regulated: For I demand of them was this promise made and performed to all that are called Christians, or onely to the elect and sincere Christians, or onely to the Pope and Bishops? If they say the first then one Chri­stian as well as another is furnished with this rule of all Controversies, and consequently as able to judge of Con­troversies, [Page 150] then lay-men and Ministers have this Law equally written in their hearts; if they say the second, That it is onely the elect and sincere Christians (as indeed it is), then it must be something else beside Tradition which is no lesse known to the hypocriticall pretender then to the sincere professor of Christianity; If they say the third, That this Law was written onely in the hearts of the Pope and Bishops met in Councell (As what is there so ridiculous which some of our Adversaries will not say rather then confesse their errours and give glory to God?) They are evidently confuted by the words of the place, Jer. 31.34. They shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every one his brother, saying, know the Lord for they shall all know me from the least of them unto the greatest—for I will forgive their iniquity. And besides Mr White himselfe saith, This Law is written onely in cordibus sid lium in the hearts of the faithfull: Now in what Dictionary we shall find fidelis to be translated Atheist, Sodomite, Magitian, &c. (Epithetes not without cause given to Popes and Popish Bishops by their own Authors) I would gladly be informed.

Answ. 3. If we enquire what this is, which is here said to be written in their hearts, we shall see Mr VVhites invention was better then his judgment or his conscience: with what Spectales do these men read this Writing in the heart, that tell us this was the Doctrine of Transub­stantiation, Indulgences, Invocation of Saints, Popes Su­premacy, the Churches Infallibility? But you must know though this Writing was from God, yet the inter­pretation belongs to the Pope, whose will stands for his reason, and his word for a Law: But if we consult the Prophet: If with the Popes good leave God may be his own Interpreter: He tels you this was the Inscrip­tion [...] Know the Lord. The knowledge of God Ier. 31.33. and the fear of God Ier. 32.39, 40. [Page 151] And this Law written in the heart was so far from being appointed by God for a rule to walke by (much less was it to justle out the word, as the Papists now abuse it) that the use of this was only to help them to make the word their rule Ezek. 26 27. I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes Hence that in Is. 59.21. My Spirit that is in thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth shall not depar [...] out of thy mouth: So this objection being discharged, the consequence remaines in full force, and Traditions being disapproved under the old Testa­ment cannot be approved under the new: But I shall more fully prove that in the next branch, which is this.

§. 8. 2. This way of proving the truth of Doctrines by verbal tradition is disallowed by Christ and the Apo­stles: He knowes nothing of the Pharisees, and indeed but little of the New Testament, that knowes not that this was the great Doctrine of the Pharisees: And from their school the Papists had this Doctrine of the certain­ty of Tradition: So little reason had Du. Moulin to write a book about the novelty of Popery when diverse of their Doctrines have such a venerable Antiquity that they are as old as the Pharisees. No wonder the Church of Rome hath diverse Doctrines that Christ never delivered to them, for they had a great part of the leaven of the Pharisees left them for a legacy. And from them they had their bold expressions by which they advance Tradition above the Scripture: The Author of the book called [...] hath this saying, think not that the written law is the Foundation of our Faith, but the law of orall Tradition, And again in the book Iuchas. p. 158. Without this orall law (of Tradition) the whole law would be in darknesse; and again, all those things which our Rab­bins taught us we are equally to believe as the Law of Mo­ses. But this is so known, that it is frivolous to multiply [Page 152] testimonies of this kind: The footsteps of this principle you may discern in diverse places of the New Testament: They made the Tradition of the fathers, the rule of their Faith Mat. 15.2. VVhy do thy Disciples transgresse the Tradition of the Elders. St Paul mentions it as one of his Pharisaicall errours, that he was exceedingly zealous of the Traditions of his Fathers Gal. 1.14. And St Peter speaks of it as a part or effect of their redemption by Christ that they were delivered from a vain conversation received by Tradition from their Fathers. 1. Peter. 1. this sufficiently shews what their opinion was. Now let us hear what reflection Christ and the Apostles made upon it: And there you shall find that which would end the controversy with ingenious adversaries viz. That whereas the Romanists tell us that the deserting of Tra­dition is the true cause and spring of all errours, on the contrary, our Saviour makes this the Fountain of their errours, their forsaking the Scripture, not their receding from the Tradition of their Ancestors, Mat. 22.29. Ye do erre not knowing the Scriptures, we are beholden to the Papists that they do not say, there is a corruption in the Text, and Scripture is put in for Tradition: For surely if Christ had been of the mind of those Gentlemen, he never had a fitter opportunity to utter it, then now, for the Sadduces were noted as enimies to Traditions. And the Doctrine of the resurrection, was but darkely deli­vered in Scripture at lest in the Pentatuch, and more plainly by Tradition: So now or never was the time for Christ to say to the Sadduces (as doubtlesse Mr White would, if he had been present, and Christ should, if Mr Whites Argument be good) you erre, because you take no heed to the Traditions of your Ancestors. But here is not a syllable about that, but all is cast upon their not knowing the Scriptures: Thus in the resolution of that great controversy concerning the Messias, Christ doth [Page 153] not confute the Jewes, nor stablish the Truth from Tra­dition (though there was eminent occasion for it at that time, there being such a Tradition then rise amongst them, that the time of the coming of the Messias was at hand, Daniels week being nigh exspired, and with it a general expectation of him) but from [...]cripture: Christ proves himself to be the true Messias by several Arguments, by the Testimony of Iohn (who was a Pro­phet, yea, and more then a Prophet) by his Fathers voice from heaven by his miracles, and above all by the Scri­pture, how came Christ to omit that which (if those men do not deceive us) was more considerable then all the rest viz. Tradition and the Testimony of the present Church. A strange oversight, you will say, but it seemes it was a discovery denied to Christ, and all the A­postles, and reserved to these last times. Answerable to this was the practise of the godly Bereans who did exa­mine St Pauls Doctrine not by Tradition (as the Papists do) but by the Scripture Acts 17.11. And St Paul him­self evidenceth the soundnesse of his Doctrine not by its conformity with Tradition (which our Adversaries lay such stresse upon that S. Clara with severall others a­ffirme that they receive the Scripture onely so farre as they agree with Tradition (a) but by its consonancy to the Scriptures, saying, That he witnessed none other thing then what was in Moses and the Prophets, Act. 26.22. and Act. 24.14, 15. So then, the question now is, which is the more rationall way to resolve a Christians doubts and [Page 154] ground his Faith, whether that which hath had the ap­probation of all the Holy-men of God in both Testa­ments, or the ingenious devise of these witty Doctors that come with their quintum Evangelium into the World, that is, whether Scripture or Tradition. I know one thing will be said, That the Apostles did urge Tra­ditions as well as Scriptures, to this purpose we oft heare of that, 2 Thes. 2.15. Hold the Tradition which ye have been taught whether by word or our Epistle; To which I Answer briefly:

1. That if the Papists can demonstrate any of their Traditions to be indeed Apostolicall (as these were) we shall receive them, if conformable to Scripture; but if they be dissonant from Scripture, we have commission from St Paul to renounce them though they be either of Apostolicall or Angelicall originall. Gal. 1.18.9.

2. The Argument I confesse is right of the Romish stamp viz. The Thessalonians were bound to receive what they heard immediately from St Pauls mouth in such things as for the substance of them were contained in the Scripture: Therefore we are now bound to re­ceive all those Traditions which the Church of Rome tell us they had from those, that had them from those, that had them from those, that told them their Ancestors, were told by their Ancestors that some of their Ance­stors had it from Paul 1600 years agoe—risum teneatis amici? This may serve for the fourth Answer.

§ 9. Ans. 5. If this Doctrine be true, Scripture proof is not necessary for any point in Religion (for it asserts the sufficiency of Tradition in it self and without the Scripture:) But Scripture proof is necessary for confir­mation of points in Religion: This I might prove from Scripture, but that hath been done allready in the former Answer, therefore I shall here confute this Argument of Tradition by Tradition and the testimony of the Fa­thers: [Page 155] To pick up all they have to this purpose would fill Volumes; I shall therefore single out some few Illustrious Testimonies: Nothing can more evidently overthrow this goodly structure then those forementioned words of Cyprian, We ought not to regard what others have done before us, but what Christ who was before all thought fit to be done: For we must follow Gods Truth, not mens custome (a). What Protestant can say more in few words then Clemens Alexandrinus in few words: We assert no­thing without Scripture (b): Therefore he thought not Tradition a sure evidence, though so near the Fountaine, much lesse can it now give us any certainty having con­flicted with hazards and been exposed to the infection of 1300 years. St Basil is expresse: It is necessary that every word or thing be confirmed by the Holy Scriptures [...]. bomil. de fide. And else where he tells you, It is a manifest defection from the Faith and token of Pride, either to rej [...]ct any thing that is written, or to introduce any thing that is not writ­ten (d). And Constantine speaking of the rule by which all things were to be examined and judged, confines it to the Scripture. The Books of the Prophets, and Apostles (saith he) do plainly instruct us what to think of Divine things: therefore laying aside hostile discord, from the words which were divinely inspired, let us take our expositions of quoestions. (e) It is a pitiful shift of Bellarmines to say [Page 156] that Constantine was a better Emperor then Doctor, whereas in this particular Theodoret assures us that the whole Synod did highly approve of this saying, nor did any of the Antients ever condemne him for it: And indeed the practise of the Synod shewes their approbation of the Speech and consequently gives us another Argu­ment for they determined the controversy according to the Scriptures saith Ambrose (a), and Athanasius too whose words are these, The Bishops congregated at Nice, col­lecting tog [...]ther all things they could out of Scripture to de­fend their opinion, they affirmed that the Son was consubstan­tiall to the Father (b). And Bellarmine himself confesseth it: The Councell of Nice, when they defined the Son to be consubstantiall to the Father, they drew their Conclusion out of the Scriptures (c). Notable is that place of Chryso­stomes because it acquaints us with his own judgment and the judgment of the Christians of that age, If any thing be asserted (saith he) without Scripture the minde of the hearer wavers—But when Scripture comes, that confirmes the speakers words and settles the hearers mind (d). Tertullian thus confutes the opinion of Her­mogenes, that things were made of prae existent matter with, I never read it, let Hermogenes shew where it is written, or else let him fear the woe denounced against those those that adde to the Scripture (e). And againe, I do [Page 157] not receive what thou bringest of thy own without the Scrip­ture (a). And againe, Take away from Hereticks the things they have in common with Heathens, that they may referre their questions to Scripture alone and they can never stand (b). But the Papists are of another mind, for if you will believe them, if Scripture alone must judge Controver­sies, Heresies will never fall. Theodoret professeth he was not so bold as to assert any thing wherein the Scripture was silent (c). Thus Origen: It is necessary that we call in the Testimony of Scripture, for without this our expositions have no credit (d). Austin is most full and plaine, I will men­tion but one place, Whether they have the Church they can­not shew but from the Canonicall Books of Scripture: And yet there is no question wherein Tradition seems more pertinent, and where the Papists urge it with more vehe­mency. I might adde a thousand pregnant places more, but either these or none will suffice to prove that the Antients did judge Scripture proofe necessary for the confirmation of any Doctrine in Religion, which the Ro­manists now judge not necessary. The Fathers preten­ded Tradition for their opinion, and the Papists pretend it now: Either Tradition deceived the Fathers then, or it deceives the Papists now: Either will serve our turne to shew the Fallibility of Tradition. If it be said there are no les [...]e expresse Testimonies alledged by the Papists on the behalfe of Tradition, and why should not they be received as well as those on the behalfe of the Scrip­ture. [Page 158] I Answer, 1. If the Fathers do in some places assert the sufficiency of proof from Tradition, and in other places the necessity of Scripture proofe, these assertions being directly contrary one to another it invalidates their Authority in matters of Religion: For so say the Lawyers most justly and truly, Testis pugnantia diceus fi­dem non facit.

2. But upon enquiry it will be found in the places cited for Tradition (especially if you compare them with those alledged for Scripture) that they do plead Tradition onely as a secondary Argument to confirme that Faith which is grounded upon Scripture, but it is as clear as the Sunne that they ever made Tradition strike faile to the Scripture, and made no scruple of deserting Tradition when the evidence of Scripture Arguments stood on the other side.

Answ. 6. The Romanists themselves are undeniable instances of the vanity of their own Argument: They tell us Tradition cannot deceive us: Why Tradition hath deceived them: There are diverse contradictory opinions maintained in the Church of Rome, about 300 are reckoned out of Bellarmine: The dissenters, though never so implacably divided amongst themselves, do agree in this, That they believe nothing but what hath come to them by Tradition from their Fathers, and so from the Apostles; Then certainly either Tradition hath deceived some of them, or both the parts of a contradiction may be true: I shall not launch forth into the Sea of Romish contradictions, nor take notice of pettie differences a­mongst obscure Authors, but shall instance in two mate­riall points, viz. The Doctrine of Gods grace, and mans will, and the appurtenances as they are controverted be­tween the French and Italian Papists: In both of them, it is clear as the Sun that both parties pretend Tradi­tion: Now the Trumpet of Tradition gives an uncer­taine [Page 159] found, for Tradition tels the Jesuites this is truth, That the will is determined to good actions, not by Gods grace, but by its own inclination and agency: Tradition tels the Dominicans and Jansenists that this is a grosse falsity: So for the Church if you enquire in whom Su­preme Authority and Infallibility resides (for that is the great question.) Tradition tels the Jesuites, it is in the Pope; Tradition not long since told the Councels of Basil and Constance that it was in a Councell, not in the Pope, and so it tells many of the French Doctors at this day; And (I will tell you a thing in your eare) both these are Apostolicall Traditions though you and I think they are directly contrary: It is true that St Iames saith, No Fountaine can yield both Salt-water and Fresh, Chap. 3. 8.12. But that is to be understood onely of the Foun­taine of the Scripture, but the Fountain of Tradition can yield both Salt and Fresh, both bitter and sweet. You may well allow Tradition to be Infallible, for you see it can work wonders, and reconcile contradictions: If this seem strange to you, you may expect the proof of it in an Appendix to the next Edition of Mr VVhites Apology for Tradition demonstrating that Contradictoria possunt esse simul vera, to be dedicated to the Defenders of Tran­substantiation; but to returne: What say our masters to this difficulty; why, I will faithfully acquaint you where their strength lies, and what their pretences are: I find three things which are or may with some colour be said for them to safeguard the Infallibility of Traditi­on against this dreadfull shock.

1. They say these are onely Doctrines ventilated in Schooles, not of any great consequence to Christians: Thus the controversies between the Jesuites and Domi­nicans about Gods free grace and mans free-will (they say) are but Scholasticall niceties, wherein the substance of Religion is not at all concerned: So for that point of [Page 160] Supremacy and Infallibility it is no great matter, The dissenters onely seek out the decider of Points of Doctrine that is, by whose mouth we are to know, which be our Articles of Faith, whether by the Popes or Councels or both, which is not much materiall (saith Rushworth's second Edition Dial. 3. §. 9.) to our purpose whatever the truth be, supposing we acknowledge no Articles of Faith but such as have descend [...]d to us from Christ and his Apostles;

For Answer, I would know whether a private Chri­stian can Infallibly know what are those Articles of Faith which came from Christ and his Apostles without the de­cision of Pope or Councell, or not: If they say he can know it, then it followes that private Christians may be Infalli­ble of themselves, and consequently there is no necessity of Pope or Councels, for what need any more then Infal­libility? If they say he cannot, then an Infallible guide, judge, and interpreter is necessary to Tradition as well as to Scripture, and without this Tradition cannot make us Infallible, and consequently, if it be doubtfull and dis­putable who this Judge is, it must be also doubtfull whe­ther the Tradition be right; and therefore Tradition can­not make me Infallible: It is an audacity beyond parallel that they who make it so materiall as that they assert we have no certainty in our Faith for want of a decider of points of Doctrine, and make no scruple of sending us to Hell for want of such a Decider, should say this a­mongst themselves is not materiall, for (as to use and be­nefit) it is all one to have no decider of controversies, and not to be agreed who it is, according to that known maxime of the Lawyers, Idem est non apparere & non esse: As for the other points between the Jesuites and Domi­nicans, how materiall they are we will take their own judgments: If we may believe either one or other of them, the points are of great moment: If you aske the Jansenists or Dominicans their opinion of the Jesuiticall [Page 161] Doctrine, they tell you that it is the very poison of the Pe­lagian Heresy, yea, it is worse then Pelagianisme, that they are contemners of Grace, such as rob God of his honour, taking halfe of it to themselves, that it is here disputed, Whether God alone be God, or whether the will of man be a kind of inferiour, yet (in part) an Independent Deity. These are Mr Whites words in his Sonus Buccinae. quaest. Theolog. in Epis & in parag. 7.

And for the Jesuites, they are not one jot behind hand with them in their censure of the Dominican Doctrine; which (say the Jesuites) brings back the stoicall para­dox, robs God of the Glory of his goodnesse, makes God a lyer and the Author of sinne; and yet when we tell them of these divisions, the breach is presently healed, these savages are grown tame, their differences triviall, and onely some School niceties, wherein Faith is not con­cerned: And now both Stoicks and Pelagians are grown Orthodox, and the grace, glory, soveraignty and holinesse of God, are matters but of small concernment: and so it seems they are to them, else they durst not so shame­lesly dally with them: But it is usuall with them to make the greatest points of Faith like Counters, which in com­putation sometimes stand for pounds, sometimes for pence, as interest and occasion require. And it is worth Observation, These very points of difference when they fall out among Protestants, between Calvin and Armi­nius, they are represented by our Adversaries as very materiall and weighty differences, but when they come to their share they are of no moment.

2. It may be said, Tradition may deceive some of the Romanists but not all: Now it is the Church which is said to be Infallible, not particular Doctors: For An­swer, let it be remembred that I am not now speaking of the deception of some few private Doctors, but the points alledged are controverted amongst as learned and [Page 162] devout men (as they call Devotion) as ever the Church of Rome had; here is Order against Order, University a­gainst University, Nation against Nation, all of them pre­tending Tradition for their contrary opinions with grea­test confidence and eagernesse. Premising this, I An­swer, That Tradition which hath deceived thousands of the best and Learnedst Romanists may deceive ten thousand, That which deceives the Jesuites in some points may deceive the Dominicans in others, the Fran­ciscans in others: If it deceive the French Papists in some points, it may deceive the Italians in others, and so is not Infallible in any: Or else, what bounds will these men set to the Infallibility of Tradition? Will they say Tra­dition is only Infallible in France, and those of the same perswasion, who plead Tradition for the Supremacy of the Councell above the Pope? Or will they say the In­fallibility of Tradition is kept beyond the Alpes among the Italian Doctors, who urge Tradition for the Popes Supremacy above Councels? But what security will they give us, That the Fallibility of Tradition cannot passe over the Alpes and get from one side to the other? Indeed Infallibility may happily be a tender piece not able to get over those snowy Mountains: But Fallibility can travell to all parts and at all times: In short, it being certaine that Tradition doth deceive thousands of them it may deceive the the rest: Nor can this be any way prevented, but by pretending the promise of Infalli­bility; but this is Heterogeneous to the present enquiry, and they are now pleading for another Infallibility from the nature of Tradition, and that is hereby disproved; and for the fiction of a promise, I have discovered that before.

But the third and last pretence is most frequent; That however in lesser points they may be mistaken and divi­ded, yet they are agreed in all that is de fide, in all points [Page 163] of Faith, that is, in such things as have been decided by Pope or Councell: I answer in few words, and thus I reinforce my Discourse. If Tradition might deceive them before such a Decision, it might deceive them after­wards; because the Decision of a Councell doth not al­ter the nature and property of Tradition: It is true (ac­cording to the opinion of some Papists) such a decision of a point may cause him to believe a Doctrine which before he doubted of or denied, because he may judge the Churches Authority so infallible and obliging to him, that Tradition with Scripture and all other things must strike saile to it: But the decision of a Councell cannot make that a Tradition, which was no Tradition, nor can it hinder, but that Tradition did deceive me before, and consequently might deceive me afterwards. For instance: If the Pope determine the controversie between the Jan­senists and Jesuites about Predestination, Grace, Frewill, &c. his determination in favour of the Jesuits possibly may change some of the Jansenists judgments, because peradventure it is their principle that the Pope is the In­fallible Judge of Controversies, to whom they must all submit: But (supposing that the Popes decides according to the verity of Tradition, and that must alwaies be sup­posed a thousand of his decisions cannot hinder, but that all the Jansenists and Dominicans had untill that time been deceived by Tradition: So it seemes Tradi­tion in that point was Fallible for above 1600 ye [...]rs to­gether after Christ, and now upon the Popes determina­tion An. 1653. it is momento turbinis grown Infallible; but neither will this do their work, for the nature of Tra­dition being the same, either it must be infallible in the foregoing ages, or else it must now be acknowledged. Fallible.

§. 11. Answ. 7. Although this one Answer might suffice to all their perplexing Arguments tending to shew the im­possibility [Page 164] of any mutation or corruption where Tradi­tion is pretended, viz. that it is apparent, there have been severall mutations and corruptions where Tradition is owned: As it was a sufficient confutation of that Philosophers knotty Arguments alledged to prove that there was no motion, when his Adversary walked be­fore him; though happily the other brought some Argu­ments, that might puzzle an able disputant to Answer. (which in that point is not hard to doe:) Or if any man should urge a subtile Argument to prove the impossibi­lity of Sins comming into the World, because neither could the understanding be first deceived, nor the will corrupted without the deception of the understanding, it were sufficient to alledge the universall experience of mankind to the contrary: So the undoubted experience of manifest corruptions in the Church so called, which no man that hath the use of his Eyes, and exercise of his reason or conscience can be ignorant of, might justly silence all the cavils of wanton wits pretending to prove the impossibility of it: yet because I will use all possible means to convince them, if God peradventure may give some of them repentance that they may recover them­selves from the snare of the Divell, I shall proceed far­ther and easily evince the possibility of corruption in that case, and point at some of those many fountaines of cor­ruption, from whence the streames of errour might flow into the Church, notwithstanding the pretence of, and ad­herence to the Doctrine of Tradition. And because the answer of the Lord Falkland reduceth all to two branches: If (saith he) a company of Christians pretending Tradition for all they teach, could teach falshoods, then some age must either have erred in understanding their Ancestors, or have joyned to deceive their posterity; but neither of these are cre­dible. I shall apply my Answer to him, first in generall, and then to the severall branches of his Argument.

[Page 165] §. 12. In generall, the whole Argument is built upon a false supposition, as if the misunderstanding or deceit must needs come in as it were in one spring tide, as if it were impossible that the Tares of Errour should be sowne in the Church while men slept and never drea­med of it: The basis of this Argument lies in an asser­tion of the impossibility of that, which the nature of it shewes to be most rationall and probable, and the expe­rience of all ages shewes to be most usuall, i. e. that cor­ruption of Doctrines and manners (for in this both are alike) should creep in by degrees: As Iasons ship was wasted (so Truth was lost) one piece after another: Nemo repente fit turpissimus: Who knowes not that errours crept into the Jewish Church gradually, and why might it not be so in the Christian Church? We know very well, Posito uno absurdo sequuntur multa: One error will breed an hundred, yet all its Children are not borne in one day. St Paul tels us the mystery of iniquity began to worke in his dai [...]s, but was not brought to perfection till many ages after. The Apostle hath sufficiently co [...] ­suted this sencelesse fancy, whilest he tels us that Heresy eats like a cank [...]r or a gangreen, i. e. by degrees, and is not worst at first, but encreaseth to more ungodlinesse, 2 Tim. 2. 16, 17. As that cloud, which at first appearance was no bigger then a mans hand, did gradually overspread the whole face of the Heavens; so those opinions which at first were onely the sentiments of the lesser part, might by degrees improve and become the greater, or at least by the favour of Princes, or power & learning of their ad­vocates, become the stronger, untill at last, like Moses's Rod they devoured the other Rods, & monopolizing to them­selves the liberty of writing & professing their Doctrines, and suppressing all contrary Discourses & Treatises, their Doctrine being proposed by them as Catholick Doctrines and the Doctrines of their own and former ages (which [Page 166] was frequently pretended by severall Hereticks) and this proposition not contradicted by considerable persons, (which in some Ages were few and those easily byassed) or the contradiction being speedily suppressed, (which is very possible and hath been usuall [...] it could not probably fall out otherwise, but that their opinion should be trans­mitted to their Successors for the Faith of their Age. Rome was not built in a day, neither in a civil, nor in a Spirituall notion. And de facto, that corruptions did creep into the Church of Rome by degrees, hath been so fully demonstrated, that I need onely point the Reader to those Authors who have done this worke, especially to Momeys mystery of Iniquity, and the excellent defence of it in French by Rivet against the cavils of Coffetean.

2. I answer particularly, and in opposition to the first branch, I lay down this position: That the following Age, or the Major part of those called Christians, might easily mistake the minde of the foregoing Age, of which many rationall accounts may be given. 1. There was no certaine way, whereby (for example) the particular Christians of the third Age, might Infallibly know the Doctrines which were delivered by the whole Church of the second Age. Remember the question is not how probably they might believe, but how infallibly they might know it, for nothing will serve the Romanists turne, short of Infallibility: It is true, the Christians of An­tioch might know what their Fathers delivered to them there, and they of Ephesus what was there delivered, but no Christian could without miracles infallibly know, what were the Doctrines delivered to the Christians in those innumerable places where the Gospell had got soot­ing. Hence then I offer this Argument: Either this is sufficient for the Infallibility of Tradition, that the Chri­stians in severall Cities and places did understand what their Ancestours taught in such places, and would not de­ceive [Page 167] their posterity in it, or it is not sufficient, but it is ne­cessary that Traditions should be compared, and the Truth discovered in a generall Councell: If they say the former, then they assert the Infallibility, not onely of the Church or Bishop of Rome, or of a generall Coun­cell, or of the Catholick Church, but of every particular City: And to say Truth, Either this plea of Tradition is fallacious and absurd, or every particular Church is In­fallible: For (to use their own words) if the Christians (suppose of Ephesus) could be deceived, then either they did not understand the Doctrine of their Ancestors there delivered, or they did willingly deceive their posterity; but neither of these were possible: Ergo, The Church of Ephesus was Infallible: If they will eat their own words, (as they will do any thing sooner then retract their errors and returne to the Truth) and say the Church of Ephesus, might misunderstand their Ancestors or deceive their Posterity, then so might the Church of Antioch and that of Alexandria, and so the rest, and what then becomes of Infallibility? If they say the latter, viz. That there is a necessity of a generall Councell to com­pare Traditions and declare the Truth, then they are desired to remember, that as yet there had been no gene­rall Councell, and consequently no Infallibility, and there­fore in that Age there might be a misunderstanding, yea many mistakes: What else will they say? Will they say that a Christian might Infallibly know the Truth by tra­velling to all places and companies of Christians, and hea­ring it from their own mouths? This, though it might give satisfaction to such a Christian, yet it could not sa­tisfy others who had no such evidence. Or will they say the Christians knew it by Testimonies received from every Church and particular recitals of their Traditions? Why such Testimonials are not so much as pretended to have been required, or given, and if they had been [Page 168] given, yet that could satisfy none, but those few eyewit­nesses of them. It remaines therefore that there was no way whereby the Christians of the third Age might be assured of the genuine Traditions of the second. (which was the thing to be proved) And the solidity and satis­factorinesse of this one Answer, (if there were no more) appeares plainly from hence, that the great Architects of this devise make it essentiall to such a Tradition that it come from all the Apostles, so Mr White informes us, since all Catholicks when they speak of Tradition deliberately & ex­actly, define it to be a Doctrine universally taught by the Apostle\`s we may safely conclude, where two Apostles teach differently, n [...]ither is Tradition. Apology for Tradition Encounter 6 & elsewhere his reply to our instance of the Tradition of communicating Infants is this, That it was a Tradition begun by some Apostles, not all, in some countries not all. En­counter. 2. Hence then I thus argue, The following Christians could have no assurance what Doctrine was taught by all the Apostles without a generall Councell of all the Churches, severally taught by the severall Apo­stles; but such generall Councell there was none in the third Age: Therefore the third Age could not Infallibly understand the Apostolicall Traditions delivered in the second, which was the thing to be proved.

§. 14. 2. There are many instances which may be gi­ven of mens misunderstanding the Doctrines of the pre­ceding age: We have one instance among our selves, con­cerning the judgment of the Church of England of the next preceding [...]ge in the Quinquarticular points, The favourers of Arminius his Doctrines tell us, that she maintained their Doctrines: Their Adversaries tell us, she held the contrary: and there are Books written, and Arguments urged on both sides; he that doubts of this, let him look into Mr [...]rin on the one side, and Dr H [...]ylin on the other: And why might it not be thus [Page 169] in former ages? And seeing there are great mistakes daily committed, and fresh disputes managed, about the opi­nions of those Authors, who have left us their mind (as plainly as words can make it) in books, which are alwaies present to our perusal; how can it be sense for a man to say, that one may infallibly know their mind by a tran­sient hearing of them? what tedious controversies are there about the judgment of S. Augustine, and others of the Fathers, in sundry points of great moment, wherein they have as fully explained themselves as any Preacher can do, or useth to do? Suppose now the Fathers preach the same things and words which they have left us in writings, (as diverse of their works were no other then their Sermons) can any man without nonsence say, that the diligent Reader may be mistaken, and the attentive Hearer is infallible? We all know the five Propositions of Iansenius condemned lately at Rom [...]. The Jansenists deny that to be the sense of Iansenius his words, which the Pope and the Jesuits affix to them: both parties are agreed in his words, (which seldome happens in Orall Traditions, and consequently makes the argument stron­ger) yet they differ in the sense, which one side saith is Heretical, the other aver it is innocent. Why might not in like manner several parties, though it be supposed they perfectly remembred the words delivered by Peter in a Sermon 20 years before, (which I would not grant but that it is a work of charity to help the weak) what hin­ders but that they may understand them in contrary sen­ses, and so derive from them contrary conclusions, and yet both pretend to assert nothing but the doctrine deli­vered from S. Peter's mouth? Are there not sharp con­tests among Popish Authors about the opinion of the Councel of Trent in diverse points, and that too among those who were present upon the place, and heard their debates? And will these men still undertake to prove that [Page 170] Snow is black, or (which is equivalent to it) that it was im­possible to do t [...]at which is usually done, viz. to mistake the doctrines of the former age? Let us consider one Scrip­ture instance. S. Paul tels us, a man is justified by faith [...]th­out the works of the law, and that Abraham was thus justi­fied: the Papists remember the words, but mistake the sence. Now put case S. Paul had preached the same words (as he did unquestionably the same things) which he wrot, who can say (that hath any care what he saith) that they that mistook the sense of those words when they read them in a Book, could not as easily have mistaken them, when they heard them from his mouth? Especially if it be considered, that St. Iames preached and wrot a Doctrine in words seemingly contrary to these. My Question now is, what should hinder, that the several hearers of those Apostles, perfectly remembring their various expressions, might not derive contrary Traditions from them? why might not the one side have apprehended Paul as exclu­ding all works in the Protestant sense from Justification, and the others have understood Iames (as the Papists at this day do) as conjoying faith and works in justificati­on? And if this cannot be denied, then it follows unavioid­ably, that errors may come into the Church under pre­tence of Tradition, which was the thing to be proved. Another instance we have in the Sadduces, whose error is reported to have come into the world under the colour of Tradition: for when Antigonus Sochoeus a Master in Israel, was teaching, that if there was no future reward, no immortality of the Soul, no resurrection of the body, yet we ought to serve God: his Scholar Sadok so mis-un­derstood him, that he broached a new doctrine, and tur­ned his Hypothetical Proposition into a Categorical, and asserted, that there was no resurrection of the body, nor immortality of the soul, &c. And will these men pawn their souls on it, that it was impossible for the Apostles [Page 171] hearers to commit the same mistakes in the doctrines they heard from their mouths? Hath not S. Iohn given us an Instance of easiness and earlinesse of such mistakes in Joh, 21. where, upon that expression of Christ's concerning Iohn, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? the Evangelist observes, that a Tradition was delivered among the brethren, that that Disciple should not dye, vers. 22.23. In a word, if it be so familiar a thing (as daily experience shews) for common hearers to mis-understand the words, and mistake the sense of a Preacher, when they are but newly come from him, and all things are fresh in their memory, what a desperate assertion is this, that a man can certainly remember the words, and infallibly un­derstand the sense of those Sermons he heard from his former Ministers, it may be twenty years ago? And if it be granted (as it cannot be denied) that the hearers of the second age might mistake the doctrines delivered by the teachers of the foregoing age in some things; why might not the hearers of the third age mistake their predecessors in other thinks, and so of the fourth, and further, untill at last the Systeme of Divinity came to that ruthful habit in which it is delivered in the Church of Rome? To clear this further, consider (what I have already intima­ted.)

§. 15. 3. The words of our predecessors may be remem­bred, and yet the sense wonderfully perverted. Now as it is not words, but the sense of them wherein the soul lyes, so all or most of the controversies in the Church are about the sense of words. And in this, Scripture and Tradition are equally lyable to the same fate, the words may be a­greed, and the controversy arise solely about the sense of them. For example, the Tr [...]dition of the first age was this, That God alone was to be worshipped, not men, not Angels, not Images: Nor is it possible that any man should expresse his mind more plainly and positively then [Page 172] the Fathers unanimously did in this particular. Now comes the next age, and they receive indeed this Traditi­on, but then here ariseth a question, In what sense they said God alone was to be worshipped? S. Austin takes it up, and saith, they meant that God alone was to be wor­shipped with Latria, and the Saints with Dulia. And although it is evident enough, that by Dulia S. Austin meant nothing but a civil worship (because he ascribes it to the living as well as the dead, and when he takes Dulia for a religious worship, he appropriates it to God (a)), yet this unhappy distinction falling into the hands of his per­verse successors, gave rise to another controversy, viz. In what sense S. Austin ascribes Dulia to the creature? And thus, as in the throwing of a stone upon the water, one cir­cle begets another, so doth one controversy ingender ano­ther, and every one of them is a convincing evidence of the fallibility of Tradition. Take one Instance more: S. Gre­gory, the great Pope, delivers this doctrine to posterity, as his doctrine, and the doctrine of his Ancestors, that whosoever cals himself Universal Bishop, is proud, pro­fane, abominable, wicked, blasphemous, and the forerunner of Antichrist. This is confessed. Now Gregory's successors have an itch after the name and thing of Universal Bi­shop: in order to this they start a question (where in deed there was none to men that had either science or conscience) viz. In what sense Gregory condemned this title of Universal Bishop? For this is a Maxime, let the Pope speak what words he please, the sense is alwaies or­thodox: Oh, say these Sophi, Iohn of Constantinople called himself Universal Bishop, as if he were the onely Bishop, and all others but his Vicars. and that they must not so much as have the name of Bishop, a sense that poor Iohn never [Page 173] dreamed of, nor any man of that age (for then surely Anastasius the Patriarch of Antioch, and Mauritius the Emperour would never have written to Gregory (as they did) that it was but a frivolous thing that Iohn desired:) so now by this ingenuous device, here comes in a new, contrary, and that too (forsooth) a Catholick Tradition, viz. That the Pope is, and ever ought to be, and ever was Universal Bishop. But whether the Popish glosse be sound or rotten, it equally serves my purpose, which is to shew, how controversies may arise about the sense, and errors come in at that door, though Tradition hath made a true report of the words, (which it seldome doth.) I might multiply instances, but these will suffice for a candid Adversary, and others nothing will suffice.

§ 16. 4. This will be made more probable, if you consider the quality of some former ages, which might and did give great advantage to error to creep in under the mask of Tradition, and consequently evinceth how easy it was for one age to mistake the doctrines of the preceding age. To this end consider with me the condi­tion of the tenth age, of which I shall desire you to judg according to the testimony of their own authors. The words of Baronius are these. In the nine hundredth year of Christ, the third Indiction, a new age begins, which by rea­son of its asperity and barrennesse of good is wont to be called the Iron age, from the deformity of abounding wickednesse, the Leaden; and from the scarcity of writers, the obscure age (a). And Genebrard, though according to the man­ner of the Beast he chargeth it upon the Lutherans, that they only call it saeculum infelix, an unhappy age, yet he [Page 174] elsewhere forgets himself (therein the more inexcusable, because he was one of them who ought to have good me­mories) and in his Chronology plainly tels us, This is cal­led the unhappy age, being barren of ingenuous and l [...]arned men (a): and he tells you, that the Popes of that age (the principal conservators of Tradition, and the subjects of Infallibility) had altogether fallen from the vertue of their Ancestors, and were rather Apostates then Apostles (b). Can any man doubt of the power of Papists to make a Transubstantiation, when we see with our eyes that they can turn every piece of wood into an infallible Doctor? I think I need say nothing for the confutation of Mr. White's argument, but barely repeat it, that the Reader may compare it with the state of this age. It is this: The whole Church, or major part of it in every age were so knowing, that they infallibly understood all the do­ctrines of the foregoing age, and so carefull and pious, that they would not deceive themselves, nor their poste­rity. Answer the argument I need not, but only observe 3 things in this age, which will pr [...]ve [...] not onely the possibility but a great probability both of mis­taking their ancestors, and of deceiving themselves and their posterity. 1. Ignorance, 2. Carelesness and Profane­nesse, 3. Scarcity of Writers. No man can adjudg Infalli­bility to such an age, unlesse he will offer violence to all his rational powers.

§ 17. 1. Here was grosse ignorance in the generality of the Clergy, the Popes themselves not excepted. The whole world was overspread with darkness, as thick as that in AEgypt, saith Baronius (c). It is reported, that at that [Page 175] time there were no publick Schools, saith Carolus Sigoni­us (a). And the Synodus Rhemensis, cited by Baronius, plainly say, that at that time, it was reported, that there were scarce any learned men at Rome (b). He that saith so ignorant an age could not mistake, must needs be in a dream, and when he awakes I shall give him further an­swer. If any prudent man (who will not suffer his eyes likes Sampsons to be put out, that he may grind in the Pope's mill) reflect upon the state of some ignorant Country-congregations among us, if he please to examine them, he shall find them so far from understanding in­fallibly the doctrines delivered by their Ancestors and former Ministers 20 or 30 years before, that they do not understand the opinions of their own age, no nor so much as those which their Minister (though an able pain­ful and plain Preacher, such as were very few in that age) hath been preaching upon for diverse years together. And yet (forsooth) a company of such men as these (by Mr. White's argument) are free from all possibilities of mis­takes what were the doctrines delivered by the age be­fore them.

§ 18. 2. There was an universal carelesness and profanesse upon mens spirits. Neither Ministers nor peo­ple did much busy their heads about such matters, but minded only the advancement of their secular interest, and the pampering of their bellies, (say their own Historians:) the Clergy then were universally negligent in teaching and instructing the people, (whose ignorance they saw most serviceable to their designes) and the people were as carelesse to understand the concernments of religion. And if this very carelesnesse and profanesse did utterly [Page 176] lose and extinguish all the sentiments and doctrines of true religion, delivered by Adam and Noah, in their po­sterity, why might it not be so after Christ's time? Mr. White and his Partisans venture their salvation upon the truth of this absurd Proposition: That it was impossible the same cause should produce the same effects. Nor is it to any purpose that Rushworth alledgeth to prove the disparity, viz. That onely one man and one woman were wit­nesses of those high wond [...]rs (whereas the Gospel had innume­rable miracle [...] witnessed to multitudes of people in diverse countries) that the hearers could hardly b [...]lieve them, that they had but a sl [...]ight care of recommending God's service to their children, and that they w [...]re taken up with the worlds plantation, and other secular affairs: and there was no set form and institutions of Priests and governours to joyne all nations in communion, no chief Bishop &c. Dialog. 3. §. 15. For 1. supposing that (which Divines generally believe) viz. that Adam truly repented of his sin; it is contrary to common sense to believe, that he who had such a fresh knowledg and lively sense of the difference between highest feli­city and utmost misery, should be carelesse in the con­cernments of religion, that he that had been the unhappy instrument of ruining all his posterity, should not use all possible diligences to heal the wound himself had made; and with greatest instances and importunities indeavour the perpetuation of religion to his posterity. 2. It is false to say there were then no Priests, no chief Bishop to take care of religion: for though there were none that had the names, yet there were that had the office, and did the work, viz. the heads of families, and especially the great and common Father and universal Bishop of all mankind. And it is both against reason and experience and charity to think this natural Bishop would take less care of the conservation of Religion among his own natural children, then the Bishop of Rome would do among his titular re­lations. [Page 177] 3. As for the wonders of the Creation, they were so great and glorious, and innumerable, and at that time so evident and unquestionable, that it is the greatest wonder of all how they could disbelieve them, or so soon wear out the memory of them; especially when Adam lived above 900 years to demonstrate the verity and in­culcate the story of them, whereas the Apostles were dead, and all the eye witnesses of their miracles in a fourth part of that time. In a word, though it be easy in this, and all other resemblances, to devise several dissimilitudes and disproportions, yet in the maine there is an agree­ment, That the carelesnesse of posterity may blast the most powerful and important Traditions. If it be further pre­tended, that there is a disparity, because God hath pro­mised his Spirit to guide the Christians into truth, and to preserve them from mistake: I shall only say two things, having fully answered this before. 1. Whatever promise or priviledge of the Spirit is made to Christians, surely it is a most absurd and unreasonable thing, to pretend the donation of this priviledge, and the performance of this promise unto such, as we have now described; concer­ning whom the Scripture expresly tels us, that they are sen­sual, not having the spirit, Jud. v. 19. and they cannot re­ceive the spirit of God, Joh. 14.17. Where the Spirit of God is, it brings light with it, it turns men from dark­nesse into a marvelous light, it rowseth men out of the sleep of carelesnesse, and makes them give all diligence to make their calling and election sure. And therefore where ignorance and profanesse are allowed and predominant, (as apparently they were in this age) we may safely say, such have not the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them, for where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, especially that which is the principal part of it, a liberty from the bon­dage of sin and Satan, by whom that age was so wofully captivated, that we need not many arguments to shew, [Page 178] that they were not influenced by God's Spirit, but acted by the rulers of the darkness of this world, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. 2. This is impertinent to the present argument, which is drawn not from the efficacy of a divine promise, but from the nature of the thing, and the common prudence of men, and that natural principle of self-preservation, (as you will plainly see, if you look back upon Mr. White's words.) This ar­gument proceeds as if it were morally impossible for men wilfully to deceive themselves and their posterity, which is not from the influence of a divine promise, but from an instinct of nature, and so this evasion is insufficient. To return therefore (having removed this rub out of the way) and to make good what I have said concerning the carelesnesse and wickednesse of the age, that this disease had overspread the whole body Civil and Ecclesiastical, the Pope himself not excepted, you shall hear from the approved Authors of the Romish Church. Platina cals several of those Pope's, Monstra & portenta hominū, mon­sters of men. Iohn the 11th is called by Cardinal Baronius (one who, we may be sure, would do the Popes no wrong, and the Protestants no right) rather a defiler then ruler of the Romane seat (a) They were prodigious Popes, saith Genebrardus (b). Pope Sergius, saith Baronius, was a slave of all vices, and the wickedest of men (c). And of Iohn the 10th he saith, Then whom none was more filthy (d). And such characters they give to diverse of the Popes of that age: and these are the supreme Heads of the Church, the prime subjects and fountains of Infallibility. And con­formable [Page 179] to the head were the generality of the members of that politick body, the ministers and governours, (as well as the people) of that age, as you heard acknowledg­ed by their own most approved Authors. Now compare this with their argument for Tradition, and you will be able to judg of the solidity of it. The two Pillars upon which the infallibility of the argument from Tradition is built, are these, (I shall give you them in the words of Rushworth in his applauded Dialogues 3. §. 15.1.) It was no hard matter for the Church to conserve the truth of her doctrine, if she were carefull; which histories plainly bear witnesse she was. 2. That nature forceth men to have care of Religion, and therefore it was impossible any error should creep into the Church. And elsewhere saith he, Nature permits not men to be sleepy in Religion, §. 8. To which discourse I reply three things, which plainly evince the folly of this opinion. 1. That the infallibility of Tradi­tion by these arguments depends upon the faith of some few Historians, whom all confesse to be fallible, which is a contradiction. 2. That the supposed carefulness (upon which the infallibility of Tradition depends) being the effect of thatnature which is equally in all men, if it make any person or Councel infallible, it must make e­very particular Church, nay every Christian infallible, (at least such ashave common konwledge and prudence in them:) 3. Observe the impudence of this sort of men, that dare avouch those Histories for witnesses of the Churches care, which have so expresly and unanimously record­ed her carelesnesse both in this and other ages. See ch. 4.

§. 19. 3. There is another thing very considerable in this matter, viz. There was a great scarcity of writers, which cuts the sinews of that grand objection which they urge in all their Treatises; That there could be no change in doctrine without schism and a notorious tumult (as White saith:) and they prove there was no change, because [Page 180] we cannot shew the Authors, times, and places of them. (As if one that had got the plague, might say he is free from it, because he knows not how, nor where, nor from whom he got it.) Now here appears the unreasonableness of their demand and the absurdity of their argument; how can it be expected that we should give an account of all the occurrences and mutations of that age, when they confesse so few books were written, and those that were, were written by such as, were either wholly, or in part leavened with the corruption of the time, and therefore (for their own honour) obliged to conceal all such chan­ges and defections, as themselves had an hand in. And if any reputed Heretick durst venture to betray any of the secrets of the mystery of Iniquity which was then work­ing, his book was presently suppressed, and he and it both confuted by an argument fetched out of the fire, or rather thrown into it. So the Papists do by us, as if a man should blow out all the Lights, and then blame me for not finding what I was making inquest after; or as if one should burn my principal evidences, and then charge me that I cannot make out my Title. And yet notwith­standing all the frauds and force of the Romish Sea, God hath not left his Truth without witnesse, nor us without notable testimonies, even from among themselves, of the successive depravations and corruptions in religion by them foisted into the Church: but that hath been fully proved by others, and therefore I shall say nothing of it. I shall adde onely this, that although I have instanced but in one age, yet indeed there were several other ages o­verspread with the same deluge of ignorance, and care­lesnesse, and loosnesse, and consequently lyable to the same mistakes: such as the age before the reformation of Religion was, and diverse others, wherein learned men were thought to be Conjurers, and reading of Greek was counted as hard, as the quadrating of a Circle, and [Page 181] skill in the learned languages made a man half an here­tick: and this all records are full of. I think I need say no more to prove the firs [...] branch, viz. That it was possible for some ages, or the major part of them to mistake the mind of their Predecessors in matters of Religion. But I must not omit Mr. Whites animadversion upon this consi­deration, which he cals a ridiculous cavill, and a slander so palpably absurd, that he can scarce perswade himself to think they that use it, are not rather blinded with malice th [...]n ignorance. You will easily judg his reason runs low, be­cause his passion flies so high: and what is the reason of this clamor? why (saith he) The Protestants acknowledge the doctrines (of the Roman [...] Church) which th [...]y call errors, were already flourishing some hundreds of years before these times of Ignorance. Apolog: for Tradition, Encounter 1. Shall I return Mr. White his own language? What shall I ascribe this intolerable mistake to? shall I attribute it to his ignorance? I cannot tell how to do so to one of his parts and reading. Dare he say that all the present do­ctrines of the Church of Rome were flourishing some hundreds of years before the tenth age, whose ignorance I have represented and proved? Or if he say and think so, yet dare he say the Protestants are of this mind, if he ever looked into any Protestant Author? Is it not evident to the whole world, that the Protestants do both univer­sally deny, and solidly disprove this audacious assertion, and evidently prove (even by the suffrages of learned Papists) the far later novelty of many of their errors? Shall I then ascribe it to his malice? I am loth to do so: although none more frequently guilty of that crime, then they that most boldly charge it upon others. One may by this & such like passages imagine, how vain a thing it is, to expect sincerity and honesty from these men in the handling of controversies, when such a one as Mr. White. (a person of more repute for candour and ingenuity then [Page 182] most of their writers) shall not fear to assert in Print in the face of all the Protestant world, That the Prot [...]stants do boldly acknowledg the Romane [...]hurch hath had universal Tradition for the whole body of its faith, ever since S. Grego­ries dayes, which is now a thousand years! then which no­thing can be said more notoriously false, and monstrous­ly absurd. But againe, suppose the age most famous for its ignorance were after S. Gregories dayes, who knows not (that is not a meer stranger to all Antiquity and Ec­clesiastical History) that there was in some ages before S. Gregory, at least among the generality of Christians and many Ministers, so much ignorance, as might easily betray them to mistakes in several doctrines, and pretended Traditions? And finally if all he aims at were granted, it signifies not much, and cannot pretend to prove any more then this, That in the first ages errors did not creep in at that door, which may be granted without any consi­derable prejudice to the Protestant assertiō, since in other ages most of their great errors might come in that way, and in all ages they might come in several other wayes.

§. 20. The second Branch is this. That as some ages might mistake the doctrines of their Fathers so they might knowingly deliver to their posterity, not the doctrine they received from their Ancestors, but some other. And of this many reasons may be given, but I shall confine my self to three.

§. 21. 1. It might be from Gods just judgment, giving men up to believe what was false, viz. That such doctrines did come from the Apostles by their Ancestors, which indeed did not. Nay what these men would needs perswade us was impossiible, the H. Ghost hath assured us is certain and future, 2 Thes. 2.10, 11, 12. Because they receiv [...]d not the truth in the love of it, God shall send strong delusions, that they should believe a lye: a place more con­si [...]erable, because it is particularly levelled at the Romish [Page 183] faction (as might be evidently shewed, if it were not ex­travagant from my present businesse. That the character here described suit, with the quality of divers ages fore­mentioned, viz. that they were such, as did not receive the truth in the love of it, that they had pleasure in un­righteousnesse; he that reviews what hath been here said, will find no cause to doubt: and therefore that the judg­ment here denounced should be inflicted upon them, is no more then what might be expected from the faith­fulnesse of God, and the usual course of his providence. And if they might believe other lyes of greater impor­tance, and more dangerous consequence, why might they not believe such a lye as this, viz. That a doctrine came from the Apostles, which indeed did not? And because the generality of the forementioned ages, the Clergy and Popes not excepted, were apparently guilty of the sins here deciphered, and consequently obnoxious to the judgment here predicted; therefore it is intolera­ble impudence to assert, that those men were infallibly g [...]ided into all truth, whom that God, who cannot lye, hath threatned to give up to believe lyes; of which this is not the least considerable and dreadful, to believe such persons to be infallible.

§. 22. 2. The greatest part of the Church in one age might knowingly recede from the doctrine of their immediate Ancestors, and deliver another doctrine to their posterity; because they might believe, that the Chu [...]ches and Fathers of the next foregoing age might fall into some errors: for that which is actually believed by Protestants now, might possibly be believed by the Fathers then, Ab esse ad posse valet argum [...]ntum. And this is sufficient for the answer of this argument, and the defence of our cause: but ex abundanti I adde, That de facto, this was the faith of the greatest part of the Church and writers in some ages, as I have already shewed out [Page 184] of undeniable testimonies. To which I shall only adde 2 or 3 passages out of Cyprian, by which the Reader may evidently discern, how little weight was then laid upon (that which is now said to be infallible) Tradition, and the testimony of the present Church. Tradition indeed was the plea urged by the Bishop of Rome against Cyprian and the African Bishops: now mark what the reply is. Two things Cyprian answers: 1. That th [...]y of Rome did not observe all antient Traditions, and this (saith he) ap­pears from their opinion about Easter: which, by the way, discovers the vanity of that supposition, which they lay as a basis of the present position, viz. That the Church of Rome delivers nothing, but what she professeth to have received from her Ancestors. 2. He answers, That this was but a humane Tradition, and therefore not infallible (a). And it is considerable, that he writes thus to the Pope, by which we may sufficiently understand, what was Cy­prian's judgment, and the faith of that age concerning the infallibility of Tradition, as also of the Pope, and Church of Rome. And conformable to Cyprians was the decision of the whole Councel of Carthage, When truth is manif [...]st, (say they) let custome yield to truth, and although hitherto none did baptize Hereticks in the Church, now let them begin to baptize them (b). And in another place, Cy­prian speaking of the custome of mixing wine and water in the Sacrament, hath these words: Nor should any one think that the custome of some is to be followed, for we are to enquire whom they followed, for onely Christ is to be followed: and he addes, that we are not to r [...]gard what others have done before us, but what Christ, who is before all, first did; for we [Page 185] must not follow mens customes, but Gods Truth (a). And in another place he positively asserts, that when any thing is out of order, the onely way to be satisfied is to go to the fountaine, to the head and originall of Divine Tradition, to Evangelicall and Apostolicall Tradition (b). From all which it undeniably followes that Cyprian and his bre­thren, did not judge the Tradition of the next preceding Age Infallible, nor the Testimony of the present Church sufficient, (as these Gentlemen now do) and consequently thought it might introduce opinions contrary to what they received from their Ancestors, when by these alle­gations it appeares as plainly, as if it were written with a Sun beame, they judged it lyable to mistakes and errours; and this is the very Doctrine of the Protestants.

§. 23. 3. There might be an agreement and designe amongst many persons and eminent members of the Church, to corrupt the Doctrine received from their An­cestors for their wordly interest and carnall ends, of which almost all Ages afford us wofull and innumerable in­stances. With the Readers leave, I will exemplify this Proposition in a notorious instance, in a Doctrine of great concernment, (which is the prora & puppis, The founda­tion stone and corner stone of the Romish Religion, and if you will take Bellarmines word, necessary to Salvation) I meane the Popes Supremacy, I beg the Readers pardon, if I do a little more largely insist upon it, then my man­ner is, because the story is remarkable, and strikes at the root of this novel conceit, concerning the impossibility of a wilfull deception: Mr White tels us, the Church cannot be deceived in Tradition, and especially the Church and [Page 186] Bishop of Rome (who by the consent of all the Papists have been the most faithfull conservators of Tradition): The Papists generally agree, that they have an authentick and universall Tradition, on the behalfe of the Popes Supremacy, of which the right of appeales is a principall branch, and the greatest evidence: And this Tradition (say they) came to them from the Apostles, by the Fathers of all Ages successively. Well then, to come to the story. In the year 417▪ There was a famous Councell at Car­thag [...], (owned by Bellarmine and Baronius by the name of The generall Councell of Carthage) consisting of 217 Bishops, among whom was Alypius and St Austin. Zo­simus being Pope at that time, sends his Legates thither, and pretends a right of appeales from the African Chur­ches to himself at Rome, and to make this good, he alledg­eth for it some of the Canons of the Councell of Nice, for he ascends no higher, the more silly wretch he! for if the Doctrine of the present Church of Rome be true, he might have brought that, which was more evident and irresistible then 100 Canons of Nice, (which now all the World rings of, and all their discourses are full fraught with) viz. The institution of Christ, the supremacy of Peter devolved upon him, the universall Tradition of the whole Church. But of all these here is altum silentium. for you must conceive these were Arguments laid up in store (like the Treasure in St Mark [...] Chest) for some high future exigencies, or wisely reserved for a season, wherein the World should wonder after the beast, and be most capable of such impressions. Well, The Fathers consi­der his Petition (for as yet the Popes were not masters of their Art, and had not Learned their lesson of volumus, statuimus, mandamus) and marvell at the proposition, and tell Faustus and his collegues, that they find no such Ca­nons in their Copies of the Councell of Nice as were al­ledged, and had indeed been forged at Rome (as is ac­knowledged [Page 187] even by that Popish Councel of(a) Florence) Hereupon a motion is made and agreed, that they send forthwith to the Bishops of Constantinople, Alexandria, and Antioch, for their Copies of the Acts of that Coun­cell. (A sawcy trick it was not onely [...]o deny the Popes Infallibility, but also to question his verity) when they re­ceive them, they finde that the pretended Canons were not there, and so conclude, there should be no appeales from Africa to the Roman Bishop: (A strange boldnesse in this Councell, to reverse the institution of Christ, and usurpe upon St Peters jurisdiction, and provoke him upon whom they wholly depended for the Confirmation of all their decrees! it is great pitty they were not better advised: Well, you may imagine what sad tidings this was at Rome: You will desire to know what their An­swer is, why then for your satisfaction, I pray you take notice: They have a Tradition at Rome, (it is part of that inscription upon Seth's Pillars, erected before the flood, which Iosephus mentions, the Counterpart whereof they have in the Vatican) that when ever his Holinesse is gravel'd with an hard Argument, and can do no good a­bout the premises, it may be lawful for him, or others plea­ding for him, to deny the Conclusion: Bellarmines words are expresse: The African Fathers were deceived through ignorance (b). What pitty was it that Bellarmine was not their Secretary to informe them better? The Afri­can Fathers did rashly, and depart [...]d from the example and obedience of their Ancestors, saith Stapleton (c) q d. they [Page 188] were naughty boyes and deserved to be whipped into better manners- The more inexcusable the Pope that did not thunder them into order by his Excommunications; But why do I mention these: Behold, a greater then Bellarmine or Stapleton is here; Enter Boniface the second who thus VVrites in his Epistle to Eulabius (an Epistle owned for his by Pighius, Lindanus, Sanderus, Turrianus, Alanus, Copus and Harding, though Bellarmine being ur­ged with it, pretends it is suspected, but dare not say it is forged:) Aurelius with his collegues (whereof St Au­stin was one) by the instigation of the Devill, began proudly to exalt themselves against the Church of Rome (a) So it seemes these Fathers were wickedly resolved against the Supremacy of the Pope, with a Flectere si n [...]queo superos, Acheronta movebo, and they, whom so many of the Lear­ned Papists affirme to be infallibly guided by the Spirit of God, his Holinesse declares they were acted by the Di­vell: By this time I hope the Reader, that is not wholly blinde, may see the vanity of this Argument from Tra­dition: Catholick Tradition is pretended at Rome for the Popes Supremacy and Infallibility: This Tradition with oth [...]rs comes to them by uninterrupted succession from the Apostles, wherein (by the Argument I have now in consideration) it was impossible for the Bishops or Governours of the Church, either to misunderstand the mind of their Ancestors, or wittingly to deceive their posterity: That which they make impossible to be done, the instance proposed discovers to be certainly done, it being impossible that the Fathers, should make such a de­cree, if they had not either been ignorant of such a Tra­dition (as Bellarmine chargeth them) or wilfully and ma­liciously [Page 189] opposed it (as the Pope accuseth them) And forasmuch as these Fathers pleaded a Tradition directly contrary to that which the Romanists pretend viz. That there should be no appeales to Rome, it irresistibly fol­lowes that Tradition hath deceived, either them formerly, or the Papists at this day. I shall dismisse this Answer with a remarke upon the whole matter, that if the Pope and Popish faction durst for their own base and ambiti­ous designes, use such palpable forgery in a time of so much light, when they had so many diligent observers and potent opposers, I leave to the prudent Reader to imagine, what forgeries might be expected from them in after Ages, in times of ignorance and carelesnesse, when all the VVorld was in a deep sleep, and the Pope onely vigilant to improve all occasions to his advantage, and had allmost all Princes and People in the Christian VVorld at his Devotion. And thus much may serve for the seventh Answer, wherein I have been the more pro­lix, because it strikes at the root of the Argument, & not onely proves the possibility of deceit in Traditions, but also discovers the wayes and modes, by which mistakes may be committed, and falshoods introduced under pre­tence of Tradition.

I will adde but one thing more.

§. 24. Answ. 8. and last. If the Tradition preten­ded, give us infallible assurance that the Doctrines of the present Church of Rome are come from the Apostles: then the Romish Church holdeth no Doctrines, but such as they have received from the Apostles: But the Ro­mish Church holdeth many Doctrines which she hath not received from the Apostles: This I might take for gran­ted, having allready proved it in that fundamentall Tra­dition of the Church of Rome concerning the Popes Su­premacy: I might refer the Reader to what I have re­ported out of diverse Popish Authors of greatest note, [Page 190] concerning their acknowledgments of their departing from the Doctrines and practises of the Fathers: and ha­ving said so much there, I shall content my self with men­tioning two particulars: The first shall be (that which hath been more large [...]y discussed Chap. 3. whither I refer the Reader) about the Blessed Virgins conception in Ori­ginall sin. The present Doctrine of the Romish Church (or at least of the far greatest part and most eminent members of it) is for her immaculate conception, as I shewed before from the decrees of Popes and Universi­ties, &c. and innumerable of their most approved Au­thors: How much this opinion was favoured by the Councell of Trent, sufficiently appeares from their De­cree about Originall sin, (though cunningly and doubt­fully delivered, as the Devils Oracles used to be) in which Decree, they declare that they would not comprehend the Blessed Virgin: The sence of which decree (accor­ding to that favourable glosse which Mr White puts upon it) was this, That the Councell did judge both opinions probable: Now from the businesse thus stated I gather two undeniable Arguments to prove the Fallibility of Tradition. 1. Tradition told the Antient Fathers that one of those opinions was positively false viz. That the Blessed Virgin was not conceived in sin: Tradition told the Councell of Trent that either of these opinions was probably true, which is an implicit contradiction. 2. See­ing in this hot contest not yet ended between the diffe­rent factions of the Romanists in this point, both sides pretend Tradition for their contrary opinions (and both agree in this to hold nothing but what they have by Tra­dition) Therefore Tradition must needs have deceived one of them, Ergo, it is not Infallible To which I shall adde that the Doctrine which the most and learnedest of them hold viz. of immaculate conception was not received by Tradition from the Fathers, as I have shew­ed [Page 191] from the ingenuous confessions of their most Learned VVriters, to which I may adde those words of Melchior Canus, That the Bless [...]d Virgin was wholly free from Originall sinne cannot be proved out of Scripture, according to its genuine meaning: But that is but a small matter to give the Scripture a goeby, let us see what he saith of the Golden rule of Tradition, therefore he addes present­ly, Nor can it be said that it came into the Church by Apostolicall Tradition, for those Traditions could not come to our hands by any other then those Bishops, and holy Authors which succeded the Apostles: But it is evi­dent that those antient writers did not receive it from their Ancestors for then they would have faithfully delivered it to their posterity (a) And yet (if Mr Whites Discourse be solid) in spight of your eyes you shall believe, not onely that no Doctrine is delivered by the Church of Rome which hath not been conveyed to their hands from Fa­thers to Children, even from the Apostles dayes, but that it was impossible any other Doctrine should creep in.

The other instance is that of the Canon of the Scrip­ture imposed upon us by the Church of Rome, which they say is another Apostolicall Tradition, and yet their own prime Authors, confesse the most Antient Fathers to be on our side, at least as to severall of their Apocryphall Books: Sixtus Senensis gives them to us in generall: The Antient Fathers did hold the controverted Books to be [Page 192] un-canonicall (a) Bellarmine gives us Epiphanius, Hi­lary, Ruffinus, and Hierom; (b) Canus gives us Orig [...]n, Da­mascen, Athanasius, and Melito (c) a famous and antient Father, who flourished Anno 170, and was a man of great judgment and ven [...]rable Sanctity, saith Sixtus Senensis, who purposely travelled to the Eastern Churches (where the Apostles had their principall residence and employ­ment) to learne out the true Canon, and brings a non est in ventus for the Apocryphall Books, and returnes with the very same Canon which we own, so that in him we have the Testimonies of all those flourishing and A­postolicall Churches, to which Tertullian directs us for the discovery of the Truth: Nor to this day have the Papists cited one Father or Councell, within the compasse of 600 (I think I may say a 1000) years, who did receive their whole Canon, and consequently none of them (for ought appeares in their Writings) knew any thing of this pretended Tradition, but (as it seemes by the story) when the Image of Diana dropt down from Heaven, she brought this Tradition along with her: The like might be shewed in [...]undry other particulars: In the caelibacy of Priests, which is onely de jure humano, not divine, by the confession of Thomas, Durandus, Lombardus, and Scotus, four principall pillars of the Papall Church, and Turria­nus was noted by Cassander as the onely man of all, both old and late Writers of the Popish party who maintained the jus divinum of it: But if it were an Apostolicall Tradition, it was de jure Divino, and the Councell of Nice would▪ never have dispensed with a divine Injunction: So in the worshipping of Images, Transubstantiation, [Page 193] Purgatory, and many other considerable points wherein I need say nothing, because it hath been so fully cleared by diverse Learned Protestant Writers, particularly, by Iewell, Vsher in his Answer to the Jesuites Challenge; Moulins Novelty of Popery, Dallaeus in severall pieces, Rainolds de Libris Apo [...]ryphis, Whitaker Chamier, and innu­merable others: But manum de Tabulâ.

This I hope, may suffice for the refutation of this novell invention, concerning the Infallibility of Tradition, and the Testimony of the present Church, where I have been more large, because it is a late plea, and lesse hath been said of it by Protestant Authors. And so it remaines unshaken; That a Papists Faith hath no solid Foundation in orall Tradition, and the present Churches Authority, which was the businesse of this Proposition.

CHAP. 8. Of Miracles, and the motives of credibility.

Sect. 1. BUt we are not yet come to the end of our journey; And although the Arguments urged by Protestants against their resolution of Faith, have pro­bably convinced the consciences of diverse of them, yet have they not stop'd their mouths. We have shewed in the former Chapters, how they have been driven from post to post, and as in a besieged City, when the Walls and Works of it are battered down, they raise new fortifications, so having seen their former preten­ces batter'd about their eares, some of them have de­vised one shift more; for finding themselves yet in that ridiculous Circle (of believing the Scripture for the [Page 194] Churches sake, and the Church for Scriptures sake) not­withstanding all the attempts of their Brethren to get out; Some of them have taken up their rest in the markes of a Church and the motives of credibility.

This (though rejected by former and learneder Papists yet) of late hath been taken up by Turnebull in his T [...] ­tragonismus, a discourse about the Object of Faith, and after him by the late Answerer of Bishop Lauds Book, called Lawa's Labyrinth, whose words are these: We prove the Churches Infallibility not by Scripture, but by the motives of Credibility, and signes of the Church, which are these, Sanctity of life, miracles, efficacy, purity, and excellency of Doctrine, fulfilling of Proph [...]cies, succession of lawfully sent Pastours, Vnity, Antiquity, and the very name of Catholick. Then (saith he) having thus proved the Churches Infallible Authority, and by that received the Scripture, we confirme the same by Scripture, which Scrip­ture▪ proofs are not Prime and Absolute, but onely secondary and ex suppositione, & ad hominem, or ex principiis con­cessis against Sectaries (a) This is their plea, concerning which I shall need to say the lesse, because the Book wherein it is revived and urged, called Labyrinthus Can­tuariensis, is so solidly and Learnedly Answered by my worthy friend Mr Stillingfleet: Yet having finished this Discourse long before that excellent work came forth, and having twisted it into the method of the pre­sent Treatise and designe, I thought not fit wholly to su­persede it, whereby the body of the work would be ren­derd lame and incompleat, but rather to be shorter in it, and as far as I can, to cut off such passages as happily may be coincident with what is said by Mr Stillingfleet in that particular; for I do not desire actum agere.

[Page 195]§. 2. Answ. 1. Let it be observed, how shamelessely these men abuse their Readers, when they pretend the Infallibility of the Church is solidly demonstrated from Scripture; (and this they generally do:) Here you have reum confit [...]ntem, they confesse the imbecillity of those Arguments; For (say they) they are but secondary proofs, and Argumenta ad hominem: Now such Argu­ments are not cogent and concluding in themselves, but onely do conclude against some particular Adversary from his own principles: So they acknowledge that al­though their Arguments may perswade one that is doci­ble, yet they cannot convince a gainsayer: And the strength of their Argument depends upon the Courtesy of the Protestants.

§. 3. 2. In vaine are these Marks of a Church pleaded for the Infallibility of the Church of Rome, when other Churches have a juster claime to them, and so little co­lour have the Romanists for their monopoly of them; that upon enquiry it will be found they have no consi­derable interest in them: This I shall shew in the prin­cipall and most important of them. 1. The first in dig­nity (though not in order) is the glory of Miracles: The most eminent in this kind are confessed to be those which were done by Christ and his Apostles: Those Miracles were done in Confirmation of the Doctrine of the Reformed Churches, not of the Church of Rome, which appeares thus: These Miracles were done in con­firmation of the Doctrine delivered in the Scriptures, but the Doctrine of the Reformed Churches is the Do­ctrine delivered in the Scriptures, and the Doctrine of the present Church of Rome is repugnant thereunto: Ergo, These Miracles were done in confirmation of the Doctrine of the Reformed Churches: The Major our adversaries dare not deny: The Minor hath been unde­niably evidenced so much to the conviction of our Ad­versaries, [Page 196] that they dare not owne the Scripture for their Judge, and instead of submitting themselves to its sentence, bend their wits to except against the judge, and decline its Tribunall, following that Counsell which was given to Pericles, when he was studying how to give up his accounts to the Athenians, that he should rather study how to give up no account at all: And some of them (whose words are recited in this Treatise) acknow­ledge the folly of their brethren, who would manage their cause by Scripture Arguments: But whether the Pro­testant Doctrine hath been solidly evinced from Scrip­ture or not, thus much undoubtedly followes, that if any miracles be pretended against that Doctrine which Christ sealed by his miracles, they are not to be regarded, and the miracles done by Christ &c. are infinitely to be pre­ferred before them. And consequently the glory of Mi­racles is more ours then theirs.

§. 4. The like I may say secondly, for the efficacy of Doctrine, which they so confidently appropriate to them­selves: But if the efficacy of their sword were not greater then that of their Doctrine, the world would quickly see the vanity of that Argument: And how little confidence themselves put in it may be seen by the professed ne­cessity of an Inquisition. Next newes I expect is to hear this Argument pleaded on the behalfe of the Alcho­ran, I am sure it may upon as good grounds, their religi­on being much of the same complexion, and the Popish cause being managed most commonly by Mahumetan weapons. But on the contrary let a man consider with himselfe, the miraculous successe of the Protestant Reli­gion in the late Reformation, how strangely, speedily, generally, it diffused it self, in the very same manner as the Gospell did in its first Plantation in the World, not­withstanding the great disadvantages it was to grapple with; the horrible ignorance and perversenesse of the Age, [Page 197] the mighty power of long custome and inveterate preju­dice, the craft of Polititians, the learning of the whole World, the might of Princes and Emperors, the threats, fires, inqu [...]si [...]ions of Persecutors, the great offers and multiplied allurements to Apostacy; I say, he that shall review all these things (as they are recorded by the Hi­storians of both parties) will quickly understand to whom this Character belongs.

§. 5. For the purity and excellency of their Doctrine: If their and our Doctrines were to be tried by that test, the controversy would speedily be at an end. The Word of God is the palace and rule of purity, and that Doctrine which hath most of conformity therewith, hath most of purity: Howsoever, it is too grosse a begging of the question, to alledge that for a note and evidence of their Church, which is more doubtfull then the Church it selfe: And for the Sanctity of their Lives, we are hear­tily glad to hear of it; if the reports were as credible as the newes is good, it would rejoyce our hearts, because their own Authors in severall Ages, have successively ac­knowledged and bewailed, the horrible and universall wickednesse of their own Church, Clergy, Popes, &c. All stories are full of their monstrous filthinesse, though ordinarily masked under the pretence of externall ho­linesse. And for the holinesse of their Church of late times, I shall onely say this: Of all men they have least cause to dispute against faith alone, for he that can believe their sanctity had need be a Solifidian, and have ne [...]ther sence nor reason: But you must know the Church of Rome lives upon her old stock, it is the holinesse of their Ancestors which they intend. Bellarmine is forced to go farre back for his proofs, for he alledgeth the Sanctity of the Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Antients Fathers as arguments of their Holinesse; so the Church of Rome is all on a sudden grown Orthodox in the doctrine of [Page 198] imputation, with this proviso, that they allow the impu­tation of the righteousnesse of their Ancestors to the present Church, but not of their wickednesse, you may as farre as you please even to Adam, nay, if you will, even to theFather of the Praeadamitae, impute to them the Holi­nesse of their Ancestors, but for the prodigious filthi­nesse, the Sorce [...]ies, Adulteries, Murderers, Heresies of their Fathers, and former Bishops, and Popes, that ought not to be imputed to them.

§. 6. And for the other grand Character of consent with Antiquity, which they vaunt so much of, among those, that either have not learning to search into the Antients, or wit to judg of what they read; to say no­thing of this, that the hoary head of Antiquity is not to be respected, if it be not found in the way of righteous­nesse; evill doctrines or habits, the more Antient, the worse, and the inveteratenesse of a disease, is no commen­dation to it: He that shall please to look into the Fa­thers with his own eyes, or peruse the Discourses of our Learned Authors upon this point, such as Rainolds, Iewell, Whitaker, Chamier, Dallaeus, Albertinus, Vsher, Morton, Morney, Rivet, and multitudes more, will soon discover the impudence of this plea; and the fruit of their labours would quickly appeare in the World, but for that piece of their imposture, that as they deny the reading of the Scripture to lay-men, so they forbid the reading of our Protestant Authors to their Scholars, excepting such whose consciences they find to be of a Jesuiticall com­plexion, and free from the heresy of tendernesse.

§. 7. I know it will be said, that we want diverse of those marks which they have, as Duration, Amplitude, Visible succession, Union among our selves and with the Pope: But al [...]though the Papists have no colourable pretence to those Characters, among such as will inquire into the verity of their Assertions, and not greedily [Page 199] swallow down all of them; though in point of duration, divers of the most materiall Doctrines of the present Romish Church are so far from it, that they stand con­victed of Novellisme by the confession of their own Authors: And for Amplitude; notwithstanding all their intolerable boasting with the credulous vulgar, the learned know, the Church of Rome containeth not one third part of the Christian World: And for Succession; their own Authors have acknowledged fre­quent and long interruption, yea even in the Papall See: Yet, if all that might be said upon those points were su­perseded, If they grant us, or we can prove the former, viz. That the miracles confirme our Doctrine, the Fa­thers prof [...]sse our Faith, that the efficacy, purity, and excellency of Doctrine belongs to us, we do not much matter the rest, nor will the Reader who is satisfied in the former, be at all startled at the latter.

§. 8. 3. Consider what rotten Pillars most of these are, upon which the Church of Rome leanes, and you will find, they need no Sampson to pull them down; one of them excepted, which Bellarmine therefore puts in the first place, and that is from the name of Catholick, as being grounded upon that infallible Maxime Conveniunt r [...]bus nomina saepe suis: That therefore cannot be resisted. onely I blame Bellarmines oversight, that being so hard put to it, to prove the Sanctity of his Church, he did not prove it from the Title of Holinesse given to the head of it: And then here had been a paire of Demonstrations not to be paralleld in all Euclid.

§. 9. And for severall other marks, there is this in­excusable errour in them, that they alledge those notes to prove the Church which are altogether impertinent and ridiculous, if you do not presuppose the Church: so they wisely suppose, what they see they cannot prove: I instance in Duration, Antiquity, Unity, Amplitude, [Page 200] Succession, against which I thus argue: Either these do prove the being of the Church where ever they are, and the want of a Church where they are absent, or they do not; if they do not, then they are absurdly brought to prove their Church; if you say they do, then where those Characters are found, there is a true Church, and where they are wanting, there is no Church: But neither one, nor the other is true; not the first, for there is not one of those now mentioned but have agreed to Pagans or Hereticks. Who knowes not the Antiquity, Duration, Amplitude, and Unity of the Pagan Religion? All those were the Arguments of the Heathens against the Christi­ans, and the Papists have these arrowes out of their qui­ver: and to say truth, it is but reasonable, that they that have borrowed so much of their Religion and Worship from the Pagans, should also borrow their Arguments: for you know the accessary followes the princip [...]ll. the onely wonder is, how those Arguments which were weak and absurd in the Pagans (and so judged and re­jected by the Antient Fathers) are become strong in the Papists? But I know a reason for that too. The Pope pretends to a Divinity upon Earth, and consequently he can make weake things strong, and as the Authority of the Romish Church is Infallible, so their Arguments are without all doubt irresistible. VVho knowes not that the Arrian Heresy overspread the World? That the mi­stery of iniquity which began to work in St Pauls dayes, was not to be finished and destroyed untill Christs second comming? 2 Thes. 2. That there was a time when the whole World wonder'd after the beast.

And for the latter branch, who knowes not that the Christian Church was a true Church when it wanted those Characters, or at least diverse of them, when it was in its infancy, and therefore could not have Duration, when confined to a narrow roome Act. 1. and therefore [Page 201] had no amplitude? and consequently, these are no ne­cessary marks, nor certain discoveries of the true Church, as the Popish Doctors make their simple Prose­lytes believe. So succession of Pastors signifies nothing, unlesse you presuppose the truth of the Church, whereof they are Pastors: which forceth their own Authors to confesse, that without true doctrine, there is no true succes­sion: and that a local succession alone without a profession of sound doctrine is no certain note: so Stapleton (a). And Bel­larmine ingenuously acknowledgeth, that this argument of Succession is brought by them chiefly to prove, that there is no Church, where there is no succession, from whence it doth not follow (saith he) necessarily, that the Church is there, where succession is (b): So if this argument should possibly disprove our Church, yet it doth not prove theirs.

§ 10. So for Unity, it is a shoe will fit every foot, and hath been urged by Pagans, (whose great argument against Christianity, was taken from the divisions of Chri­stians, and the unity of Pagans in their Religion;) and the Fathers answered the Pagans, (as we do the Papists) that as the Church of God is one, so the Devil's Babylon is one, as S. Austin expresseth it, and that Unity without Verity is not to be regarded. It was no argument of the verity and infallibility of the Jewish Church, that they were united against Christ: nor was it an evidence that the Church of Corinth, Galatia, and others mentioned in the New Testament were not the true Churches of [Page 202] Christ, because they were peste'rd with fearful divisions, and worse opinions, then those which are owned by any Divines of the Protestant confession. But if this test were allowed, if things be weighed, they would have little benefit by it. I know there is nothing more fami­liar with the Romanists, then to possesse silly seduced crea­tures with an opinion of their unity, and our divisions: I wish the latter were not more evident then the former, God open the eyes, and humble and forgive those, who by causing divisions and offences among us, have laid this stumbling block in their way! It is no wonder, they that cannot examine things, are deceived with words. But if any discreet person look within the vaile, and compare their condition and ours, he will find, Clodius accus at moe­chos; and that they do, as if a man infected with a leprosy, should reproach one who was troubled with the itch; or as if a man, whose hand was cut off, should quarrel with another for having a scratch on his finger. As for our Churches, I know it is usual for the Papists to charge us with the frantick opinions of Quakers, the desperate he­resies of Socinus, and the like; but they would take it ill, if we should charge their Religion with all the Blasphe­mous, atheistical, heretical opinions of some that have live­ed amongst them. Their own consciences tell them, that these, though they are among us, yet they are not of us. He that would judge righteous judgment, must take his aestimate from the publick confessions of the Pro­testant Churches, (whose Harmony is published and pro­ved to all the world,) and such of our learned Doctors as adhere to it, and there he shall find the diversities of opi­nion amongst us are onely in some lesser points, happily about government, or other circumstantiall things: but it is most certain, and undeniable, that all of them do hold the head, & agree in all the fundamental points of Religiō. But on the other side, what if there be cloven Tongues [Page 203] in Protestant Churches? Is Rome a City at unity within it self? How come we then to hear the noise of axes and hammers among the builders of their Temple? 300 dif­ferences have been collected out of Bellarmine's words and works, and several of them of greater importance then any of our divisions(a). It is true they have a pret­ty knack, when we tell them of their divisions; they say, they are not in things de fide: I see, Duo cùm faciunt idem non est idem. It is a woful division among us between Re­monstrants and Contra-remonstrants: but the same dif­ference among them, between Jesuits and Dominicans, that is of no moment. Oh ye foolish Papists! how long will you be bewitched by such silly impostures! how long will you love simplicity? So for that great division among them, about the very foundation of their faith, (which is ten times more weighty then all the Protestant differences put together,) the Pope's Infallibility; they tell you, it is not de fide, although indeed it be their fundamentum fun­damentorum, and their whole Religion hangs upon it, at least in the judgment of all the Jesuits, and the far grea­test number of the learned Doctors and eminent writers of the Church of Rome of this age. It is confessed by themselves, that they are divided in this great point: so Bellarmine tells you: The second opinion is, that the Pope as Pope may teach heresy; this opinion (saith he) is defended by Nilus, some Parisians, as Gerson, and Almaine, and Al­phonsus de Castro, and Adrian the sixth a Pope, in his que­stion of Confirmation. So we have the infallibility of the Pope to assure us, that the Pope hath not Infallibility. And this opinion (saith he) is not properly heretical, for we see the Church doth still tolerate it; yet it is erroneous, and [Page 204] very near heresy (a). I will tell you how near it is, when the Jesuits have throughly leaven'd the world with that opinion, and perfectly destroyed the liberties of the Gal­lican Churches, and the Pope can do it without raising a commotion in his own kingdome, then you shall find this Embryo perfected, and it is become a compleat he­resie. In like manner saith Dr. Holden, speaking of the Pope's Infallibility: We see it is argued on both sides by ma­ny most godly and learned Catholicks, both antient and mo­dern, and neither part hath yet been censured, or prohibited, and therefore it is evident, no Catholick is bound to this or that side. By which one instance you may see, how much reason we have to bespeak them, as Christ did the Pharisees, Math. 7.5. Thou Hypocrite, first cast out the Beam out of thine own eye, and then thou shalt see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brothers eye. Thus we see when their pretended signs come to be examined, they are lighter then vanity, as we have seen by this short and transient consideration of the most and weightiest of them.

§ 11. But, although other evidences are pleaded, yet the rest of them come in onely as handmaids to the prin­cipal Character of miracles, for here it is that they set up their rest, and so must I too for a season. So the Answerer of Bishop Land: The Church is proved to be infallible the same way that Moses, Christ, and his Apostles were pro­ved to be infallible, and that was by the sanctity of their life, [Page 205] and the glory of their miracles. The works of Christ did of themselves without Scripture prove Christ to be infallible, Ioh. 5.36. and 10 25, 38. and 14 11. and the Apostles con­firmed their words by signes. Mark. 14.19.(a). And con­sequently, the miracles done by the Church of Rome do without Scripture prove her infallibility. This is their last plea, they are now brought to their last legs; if this fail them, they are lost.

§ 12. Ans. 1. If the miracles of Christ, and his Apo­stles did prove their infallibility in the doctrine they de­livered, then they prove the fallibility of the Church of Rome, and their actual error, because they are visibly de­parted from that doctrine; and if they prove any infalli­bility, they prove theirs, who adhere to the doctrine of the Scriptures. And so we thank them for this argument.

§ 13. Ans. 2. Although where miracles are true, and many, and evident, and uncontrolled, they give a great stroke to the proof of that doctrine, which is confirmed by them, yet it is false to say, that Christ, or his Apostles did require an absolute submission to, and belief of, eve­ry doctrine, upon the bare account of miracles, without any reference to Scripture. And it is most certain, that Christ and his Apostles (notwithstanding their miracles) did prove their doctrines from, and allow their hearers to examine their doctrines by the Scripture. This strikes at the foundation of their argument & plea, and therefore I shall endeavour thoroughly to prove it.

§ 14. 1. This appears from the expresse commands of Christ, and the Apostles to that purpose. In the same place, where Christ bids them believe him for his works sake, he commands them to believe him for the Scriptures sake, Joh. 5.39. Search the Scriptures: And if the former [...] [Page 200] [...] [Page 201] [...] [Page 202] [...] [Page 203] [...] [Page 204] [...] [Page 205] [Page 206] prove the sufficiency of their argument from miracles, why should not the latter prove the sufficiency of the Protestants argument from Scripture? especially, if you consider, that Christ apparently prefers Scripture argu­ments before that of miracles: for in that 5. of John, where he ascends gradually from the weakest to the strongest testimonies, he placeth them in this order. First, he urgeth Iohn's testimony, vers. 32. next, the testimo­ny of his miracles, vers. 36. and last, the testimony of Scriptures, v. 39. And this more fully appears from Luke. 16.29. If they hear not Moses, and the prophets, neither will they be perswaded, though one rose from the dead. Upon which words Chrysostome's glosse is full and cogent, (at least to them who pretend to rely upon the Fathers au­thority, and exactly to maintain their doctrines:) his words are these: That you may see, that the doctrine of the Prophets, (and consequently of the Apostles,) is more to be believed then the preaching of one raised from the dead; consider this, that every one that is dead, is a servant, but what the Scripture speaks, those things the Lord speaks (a). Whence I thus argue: The authority of the Lord is not onely greater in se, but more credible quoad nos, then the authority of the Servant: This no man living will deny. But the authority of Scriptures is the authority of the Lord, and the authority of the Pope, (adde a Councel to him, if you please) is the authority of a Servant, yea (if you take that in earnest, which is intended onely for a complement) a Servant of Servants: Ergo the Scripture is more to be credited then the Pope, or Church. It was a [Page 207] good turn for the Pope, that Greg. de Valentia hath assu­red him, that if the Fathers do at any time talke sawcily, Sua tum constat authoritas Romano Pontifici, i.e. The Pope will keep his authority and infallibility in spight of them: else I am afraid this passage of S. Chrysostomes might have done his Holinesse a discourtesy. And this farther ap­pears from 2 Pet. 1. where you have the question ex­presly decided; for after the Apostle had confirmed his doctrine from that miraculous appearance of God in the Mount, and that voice from Heaven, he addes, ver. 19. We have a more sure word of Prophecy. The Bereans did not believe S. Paul's in [...]allibility, barely upon the account of his miracles, (nor are they therefore blamed) but did examine his doctrines by the Scriptures, (and for that they are commended.) Act. 17.11.

§ 15. 2. It was not the will of Christ, that all mira­cles should be believed, but he would have some miracles rejected: therefore he would not have all miracles in themselves, and for themselves, credited and owned. The Assumption I prove by three arguments.

§ 16. 1. Christ's will was compliant with his Fathers will, and he came to fulfill Gods word, not to destroy it: But this was the express will of God, that all miracles should not be credited. This no man can doubt of, that reads Deut. 13. If there arise among you a Prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign, or a wonder, and the sign or wonder come to passe, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other Gods, —and let us serve them, thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that Prophet, for the Lord your God proveth you. Whence it irrefragably follows, that if it could, without blasphemy, be imagined, that Jesus Christ had delivered such a doctrine as this, Let us go after other Gods, his miracles should have been disowned, and rejected, and therefore miracles of them­selves are not to be credited.

[Page 208]§ 17. 2. Christ and his Apostles have foretold us, that miracles should be done by the teachers of false do­ctrines: Therefore miracles in themselves are no suffici­ent evidence of the truth of a doctrine. The Conse­quence none can deny. The Antecedent (which alone can admit of doubt) is so evident from plain Scriptures, that I need onely recite them. I will mention onely two places: 2 Thes. 2 9. The coming of Antichrist is said to be after the working of Satan with all power, and signs, and lying won­ders: and that you may see they are called lying won­ders, not so much ratione materiae, (because they are fabu­lous, and pretended,) as ratione finis, (because brought to confirme a lye,) it is said Apoc. 13.13, 14. That he doth great wonders, so that he maketh fire to come down from hea­ven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth, by means of those miracles, which he had power to do. I tell you, the world is well mended with the Church of Rome, that those miracles, which in the Apo­stles dayes were foretold as a character of Antichristia­nity, are now become an evidence of Infallibility.

§ 18. 3. That evidence which Christ speaks of, as common to himself and counterfeit-Messiahs, is no suffici­ent evidence, nor at all to be equall'd with that evidence which is peculiar to the true Messias: But the evidence of miracles Christ speaks of, as common to himself and counterfeit Messiahs. This is plain from Mat. 24. 24. There shall arise false Christs, and false Prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders, that if it were possible, they should deceive the very elect. The Scripture only is the sure [...]: and therefore, what Divines observe of the Spi­rits testimony, that it is alwaies conjunct with the testimo­ny of conscience, (and therefore it is not said, [...], but [...]) the like we may discern in this, That where Christ urgeth the argument of miracles, he doth it in conjunction with the Scripture, as we saw in Joh. 5. and [Page 209] the like we have Joh. 10.25-38. where Christ pleads his works onely as they are done in his Fathers name, that is, not onely as he pretended his Fathers name, (for so did the false Christs Mat. 24.) but he really acted them with his commission, and in conformity to his will and word: So that the Scripture is the only [...], and not mi­racles in themselves, as this argument of the Papists falsly supposeth.

§ 19. Ans. 3. If it were admitted, that miracles (and the like may be said of all the rest of their marks of a Church) do prove the verity of a doctrine, yet they do not necessarily prove the Infallibility of him that doth those works, or receives that doctrine. Observe this, for it strikes at the root of this their last pretence. The notes of a man may prove his manhood, but they do not prove his nobility, wisdome, learning: these must be proved aliunde from another head. The Protestant notes of a Church do prove the being and truth of our Church, but not its infallibility; nor would they do it, if the Prote­stants pretended or desired it, (for mens pretences, or desires do not alter the nature of things,) I say, the notes do prove the Churches verity. But what are the privi­ledges of that Church so constituted in being, and whe­ther Infallibility be one of them, that is another question, and the resolution of it must be fetched from another Topick: now that this is so, I shall plainly and briefly, and (if I mistake not) undeniably prove. It is granted, that the gift of miracles was not peculiar to the Apostles, but was communicated by God to other Ministers and Christians in the primitive times: either then they must say, that every such Minister and Christian, singly consi­dered, was infallible, (which no man ever yet was so im­pudent to assert,) or confesse, that miracles are no suf­ficient evidence of Infallibility. It was enough that mi­racles did confirme the doctrines delivered, whether by [Page 210] Apostles, or other Ministers, for the confirmation of our Faith, (though they had been otherwise fallible.) But if they will do that which never man did, viz. assert the infal­libility of every such worker of miracles, then not only the Pope & Councels and Catholick Church are infallible, but also Xaverius the Jesuite, (of whose miracles they tell us so many fine stories, though he himself in his Epi­stles speaks not a syllable of them, and bewailes the want of the gift of Tongues, a miracle (if any) most necessary for the conversion of the Indians, I say, if their own rela­tions of these miracles may be credited) he must be infalli­ble. And so here is another article of the Popish Creed: for besides the Infallibility of the Church, Pope, or Coun­cel, here is the infallibility of the Jesuites: Non equidem invideo, miror magis. Yet farther, if miracles were solid proofs of Infallibility, yet they prove it onely in such per­sons as do them; Papae nec seritur, nec metitur. Why should the miracles of Gregory of Nazianzen prove the infallibility of the Bishop of Rome? or how come the mi­racles of the thundring Legion to prove the infallibility of the thundring Church of Rome? or by what Magical art do those miracles, which left poor Bernard (that did them) fallible, passe over to Rome, and render his Holi­nesse Infallible? The Jewish Church was not therefore infallible, because the Prophets, who wrought miracles amongst them, were thereby proved infallible: (nor do the Papists assert the infallibility of that Church, by vertue of such a priviledge belonging to those Prophets, but one­ly because of that promise to the High Priest. Deut. 17.) In like manner, if their narrations concerning the mira­cles of S. Francis, S. Dominick &c., and if it were farther granted, that such miracles did prove their infallibility, yet this would no way prove the Infallibility of the Ro­mish Church in which they were done. so in diverse re­spects you see the argument fals to the ground.

[Page 211] § 20 Ans. 4. Miracles are so far from proving the in­fallibility of the persons that do them, that they do not so much as prove the verity of doctrines delivered by them. That miracles have been done, (or at least such things, as the strictest observation of common prudence could not distinguish from miracles) by hereticks, yea by pagans, is confessed by the Papists themselves, and e­vinced by the known examples of Vespasian, (who cured a blind man, as Baronius himself acknowledgeth, and all Historians relate,) and Apollonius Tyanaew, and others. You may see how this troubles Card. Bellarmine, that he is forced to this answer, That the Devil had possessed the eye of that man, that he might seem to cure, when he ceased to hurt: Mutato nomine de te Fabula narratur: For so, whatsoever miracles are done, or pretended by the Pa­pists for confirmation of the doctrines of Devils, (and such are all repugnant to Scripture, and two of their doctrines are particularly so called 1 Tim. 4.1, 2, 3.) may as well be said to be done by the collusion of the Devil. And yet (by the way) this is no blemish to God's providence to permit such miracles, but an act of his wise counsel, and righteous judgment, that those who will not be won by the Word, and those glorious, abundant, and evident mi­racles done in the confirmation of it, may be hardned by other miracles, which (though far short in number, and commonly lesse notorious for observation, and lesse be­beneficial for use) God permits to be done, and justly may, having forewarn'd the world of such impostures, and forestall'd the minds of men with such clear irradia­tions of his truth, and such illustrious glory of miracles, that in comparison of them, the following wonders were no more then the glimmering light of a Gloworm to the splendor of the Sun in his Meridian: Of which we have eminent Instances in the wonders of Iannes and Iambres, after Pharaoh had hardned his heart against the word of [Page 212] God, and his glorious works, and afterward in the won­ders of Apollonius Tyanaeus, when men had wickedly re­jected the offers of grace by Jesus Christ, and resisted the glorious light of his most excellent doctrine, and inimi­table works. To make this more clear, I shall shew it under the hands of the greatest champions of the Romish Church. Estius writes thus: The Fathers and Historians do every where witnesse; (so that here you have a multitude of testimonies in one) that true miracles may be done with­out the Church by false Prophets. Hereticks, and Schisma­ticks (a): and he quotes among other witnesses Hilary, and Austin, and Gregory the great (a Pope, and therefore infallible in this assertion,) and a little after he doth so positively assert our doctrine, and so strongly batter down the pillar of the Papacy, that if you did not know the Author, you would judg him to be an absolute Pro­testant in that point: for after he had said, that wonder­ful works may be done by hereticks, and Devils in confirma­tion of false doctrine, he addes, but against this dec [...]it Christ hath forewarned his faithful ones, saying, Do not go forth, do not believe. It is to be noted. that he doth not say, Exa­mine diligently whether they be true miracles; for the princi­pal confirmation of the faithful ought to be the doctrine of the Church of old, confirmed by Christ and his Apostles by un­doubted miracles (b). And Maldonate (though as sel­dome [Page 213] guilty of ingenuity, as most I have read) is forced to confesse, that Hierom. Chrysost. Euthymius, and Theo­phylact. do prove by many examples, that true miracles may be done by unbelievers, and (saith he) Christ admonisbeth us, that we do not believe false Prophets, even when they work true miracles: So little reason had the Author of Lawd's Labyrinth to call it a strang Paradox, that true miracles may be marks of a false doctrine, and to say, that all Divines confess, that true miracles are not feasible, but by an extra­ordinary power of God, and that God thereby seales to the truth of a doctrine, chap. 9 sect. 5. and then to run away, as if he had throughly done his work, when you see his bold assertion confuted by more learned persons of his own party. Then again the said Maldonate puts a question, Whether no argument can be drawn from miracles, to prove the truth of a doctrine? and answers, It follows not, that no argument can be drawn from them, but no certain argu­ment (a); that is, the argument from miracles is next door to none; it is probable, but not undeniable; it is conjectural, but not certain. And yet these new Doctors dare lay the foundation of all, viz. the Churches infallibi­lity, upon meer conjectures, and probabilities. One would think the Jesuit had borrowed this, as he hath done hun­dreds of his best passages, out of Calvin, and unadvisedly transcribed it into his commentary. And Andradius, the great defender of the Tridentine faith, is leaven'd with the same heresy: for he saith, S. Augustine conten­deth, that sure and certain tokens of the Church are to be [Page 214] fetched out of the sacred Scriptures, because they are free from all suspition of falsehood: but miracles may be done by the help of the Devil (a). And Gregory de Valentiâ tels us plainly, that miracles of themselves do not beget infallible certainty of the truth of a doctrine and Church, but on the con­trary, the true and lawful Church gives us assurance of the truth of miracles, as S. Austin shews (b). To conclude this answer, I shall onely adde Bellarmine's words: Before the approbation of the Church, it is not evident, nor certain, by a certainty of faith, concerning any miracle, that it is a true miracle (c). And therefore the Churches infallibility cannot be proved by miracles, because it must be presup­posed, before these miracles can give us any certainty.

§ 21. Ans. 5. If all the former difficulties were re­moved, it profits them not; for when a man comes to look into the pieces of their argument from miracles, he shall find such horrible mistakes, and woful impostures, that indeed it makes their cause the worse, and gives prudent men occasion to discern, that these are the Badges of the Antichristian faction, that they are the very signes, and lying wonders foretold 2 Thes. 2. I shall brief­ly look upon some of the parts of the argument.

1 They alledge for themselves the miracles of Christ, and his Apostles, and the first Fathers, which being done [Page 215] in confirmation of a doctrine (as repugnant to theirs as Heaven is to Hell) are so far from proving their Infallibi­lity, that they demonstrate their falshood and heresy.

2. They plead all those miracles as testimonies to the present doctrine of the Romish Church, which were done by such, as though they lived in the communion of the Church of Rome, yet did complain of their corruptions, and condemn diverse of their present doctrines: as ap­pears in Bernard, particularly in the great doctrine of Merit.

3. They alledge such miracles, as were done by Pa­pists, in order to the conversion of Heathens to Christia­nity, which if really done by the cooperation of the di­vine power, do prove no more but this, That God there­by bare witnesse to the common cause of Christianity, (for confirmation whereof such miracles were done, [...] and not to their particular opinions, wherein they stand divi­ded from other Christians.

4. They alledge such miracles, as for the generality of them, their own Authors (such of them as have not sacri­ficed to Impudence) acknowledg to be fictitious and ridi­culous. What should I tell you of that known censure of Melchior Canus, concerning the Legends of the Saints, (which are the great treasuries of Popish miracles, and re­ceived by the poor besotted Papists with the same vene­ration, as the four Gospels) That the lives of the Saints were written with lesse integrity and faithfulnesse, then the lives of the Heathen Emperors were written by Heathen au­thors (a). A dear sentence! it cost him the loss of a Car­dinals [Page 216] Cap. Ag [...]eeable to this was that of Vives, that the Legends were written by a man of a Brasen forehead, and a Leaden wit. I shall forbear further particulars, for it were endlesse to enumerate all the complaints amongst their own Authors, (in whom there were any relicks of candor and conscience) of the fictions in this kind, and the many notable instances of those impious frauds discove­red upon the reformation of Religion, which before that time, were reputed such certain miracles, that it was suf­ficient to make a man an Heretick to doubt of the truth of them. I shall adde onely this, that our Adversaries could not possibly do a greater spight to Christianity, nor a greater dishonour to those illustrious and unquestiona­ble miracles done by Christ and his Apostles, in the face of all the world, so as their greatest enemies were forced to acknowledge the verity of them, then to compare with them, and equal to them, their fabulous relations concerning some seeming wonders, commonly done in a corner, and by such who served their own interest in them, and whose evidence was so dark, that the truth of them was questioned by their own friends, as you have now heard: as if their design were to make good that pas­sage of one of their holy Fathers, who called the Gospel, Fabula Christi, the fable of Christ, in that known expres­sion, How great riches hath this Fable of Christ procured to us! But if every syllable of what their Fabulists have recorded of their miracles were true, it will stand them in little stead, for the reasons before alledged, and pro­ved. And therefore I conclude, that the miracles preten­ded, or done by Papists, are no certain and sufficient evi­dence of their Infallibility, and no solid foundation for their Faith.

§ 22. Ans. 6. To which I shall onely adde this word at parting, that if miracles must passe for arguments, I know no reason, but Protestants have as good a Title to [Page 217] them as the Church of Rome: For although we do not use to boast of wonders, nor indeed have any need to use that Argument, having such solid evidence and suffici­ent ground for our Faith in the Holy Scriptures, yet if our adversaries will force us to it, I think our plea is as just as theirs, and we could very easily fill a Volume, not with such fictitious narrations, as they stuffe their Legends with, but with undoubted Histories of Protestant won­ders. If the Antients esteemed the first propagation of Christianity by such contemptible meanes against such potent and universall opposition, an eminent miracle; why may we not reckon this for a miracle, that the refor­mation of Religion should be carried on by a despicable Monk in despight of all the power, policy, cruelty, flat­tery, learning of the last Age? we can tell them of mira­culous cures of Diseases, and dispossessions of Devils by the Prayers of Gods people, of certaine praedictions of fu­ture contingencies by Protestant Ministers, of miracu­lous preservations and deliverances of Protestant Princes and Ministers from the bloody rage and deep designes of Papists, of eminent and unusuall judgments of God upon Popish Persecutors, of all these there are remarka­ble instances already extant in Print, and such as the Papists were never able to disprove to this day: so that the Protestant cause is not inferiour to the Romish in this particular, but onely here are two things evident in Protestants which are not so in their Adversaries, viz. 1. The Modesty of the Protestants that they do not boast of what they might justly plead. 2. The [...], or self sufficiency of the Protestant cause, that hath evidence enough in Scripture, and hath Arguments enough, and to spare, whereas the penury of the Popish cause forceth them to catch at shadowes for want of substance.

§. 23. Thus I have considered the severall pretences of their great Doctors, and all the Pillars upon which this [Page 218] vast structure of the Churches Infallibility depends: I have stated the severall pretensions in the words of their own most approved Authors: I have weighed (I think I may say) all their considerable Arguments by which they seek to maintaine them, in the ballance of the Sanctuary, and have found them light: I shall close this particular with a briefe reflection upon the whole matter, and the diverse and repugnant courses of their Learned Authors in the resolution and foundation of their Faith; wherein we shall see these miserable creatures running (like the false Prophet in Ieremy) from chamber to chamber to hide themselves.

1. They made a bold venture at Scripture, and fairly offerd to try their cause by it, for which they deserve this Motto—Magnis tamen excidit ausis: But their own brethren pull'd them by the eare, and told them that would not do their work. Gainsayers can never be con­vinced out of Scripture, therefore you must confound them with Tradition, saies their great Salmeron (a): And they soone found that to be true which once a Popish Clergy man said when he had found a Bible; He knew not who was the Author of it, but sure he was, it was some pestilent Heretick, for he every where condemnes the Doctrines of our Church.

2. They fly to the Fathers and their Infallible Autho­rity: There upon a faire triall, they are beaten out of the field: Upon debate they find the Fathers so [...], so uncertaine in some things, so positive against them in other things, that they presently cry Crucifige to those, whose ears had rung with Hosanna's before, and down goes the Infallibility of the Fathers and to fetch in miracles, that they may not want Arguments.

[Page 219]3. Then they flie to Councels, and by all meanes they must be Infallible; well, the Protestants follow them thi­ther: That point comes to be scann'd. Instances are gi­ven of the errours of Councels (if either Papists or Pro­testants may be Judges:) And (which had the greatest hand in the deposing of Councels) severall notable passa­ges are alleadged out of Councels against the Popes Su­premacy, and diverse of the present Doctrines of the Ro­mish Church: And upon the hearing of the cause, the Pope himselfe, and the most of the learned and conside­rable Papists now in the World are resolved to trust Councels no longer with this jewell, and not content to deny, they dispute down the Infallibility of Councels, as I have shewed.

4. Then they flie to the Pope for help, and Jesuites cry out [...], They have found the man that is infalli­ble: Now saltat senex, salva res est, well the Pro­testants joyne issue with them upon that, give many shrewd instances of the errours of Popes, alledge the ex­presse words of Adrianus Sextus, a Pope confessing the Fallibility of Popes, (whom Bellarmine himselfe reckons among those who hold that the Pope may be an Heretick and teach Heresy (a)) And besides all this, two Po­pish approved Councels are pleaded, viz. Constance and Basil, who absolutely deny the Popes Supremacy and In­fallibility. Well, what shall they do next?

5. Then there must be another device, a coalition of Pope and Councell, and those meeting together are In­fallible.

Thus Infallibility is but a short-lived businesse, and dies at the expiration of the Councell (for when they are dissolved, their Writings as well as those of Holy [Page 220] Scripture are uncapable of being a judge). And thus they have devised an Infallibility, made of a commixtion of two Fallibles (an ingenious invention it is by which one may make an infinite of two finites, and of two guilty persons make up one innocent) But this also is destroyed by them­selves: For although the divided parties seem to patch up an Agreement, yet indeed they are as much at vari­ance as ever; For the Jesuites make the Pope alone In­fallible (and the Councell onely in dependance upon him)▪ And their Adversaries ascribe this Infallibility to the Councell alone, (and to the Pope onely by communica­tion from them.) And so they are both gone by the Ar­guments allready mentioned under each of those heads. And if we may believe either, there is security in neither. And besides all these, diverse of their late Learned Wri­ters reject the Infallibility both of Pope and Councels, as White, Holden, Cressy, Sr Kenelme Digby, &c. who assert, that neither one nor other, are further Infallible; then they keep to the Golden rule of Tradition, and in that sence every Christian (viz. so farre as he keeps to Tradi­tion) is Infallible.

6. The next devise is orall Tradition, and the Autho­rity of the present Church, who are therefore right, be­cause they say so: So this is a confirmation of their Faith answerable to his confutation, who answered all Bellarmines works with saying Mentir is Bellarmine? Bel­larmine thou liest: In like manner do these men confute all the Protestant Writers, and maintaine their own Te­nets, by saying, recte dicis Domine Papa or mater Ecclesia, That the Pope and present Church are in the right. Thus their bare assertion must passe for a solid demonstration, & their pretence that they hold nothing, but what they had frō the Apostles, must be admitted as a proof that it is so, & shadowes must go for substances: But this besides the ridi­culousnes of begging the questiō, & craving what they cānot [Page 221] prove, is denied by the greatest Pillars of their own Church, and such as with whom the Authors of this new and wild fancy, will not compare themselves, either for number or quality: For this is the known and most approved Doctrine of the Church of Rome, That Tra­dition and Scripture both are two dead letters, and partiall rules, and there is besides these required a living judge indued with supreme and infallible Authority; and without this judge we cannot infallibly understand, and are not bound to receive and believe either the one or the other.

7. At last they are so hard put to it, that they cannot leap out of the Circle, nor extricate themselves out of that Labyrinth in which their conceit of Infallibility hath involved them, without Miracles: In come the marks of the Church and the glory of Miracles: And thus farre I shall discharge them from that invincible difficulty of proving the truth of their most famous miracles, for if they can prove the Infallibility of their Church, I will give it under my hand that they can worke a Miracle: for then they can reconcile contradictions, and they can do that which the ineffectuall essayes of all their greatest wits have shewed to be above the wit of man, or Devill either, (for doubtlesse those Popes who had familiar ac­quaintance with the Devill, would not faile to take in his advice and assistance for the defence of their Infallibility) and therefore must needs be acknowledged for [...] or workers of Miracles: Thus I have dispatched their severall pretences, and shewed the nullity of them all, and consequently the nullity of their Faith:

§. 24. There is onely one thing to be added: They have one Argument more, which (although if their other cords break, they acknowledg this will not hold, yet because they use much to insist upon it). I shall consider in a few words: And that is an Argument taken from the pro­vidence [Page 222] of God, and his care over the Church: It is fit and necessary (lay they) that there should be some in­fallible Judge that could finally end all Controversies, and therefore there is such an one, and they are that Judge. I know no man in the world can leap further at three jumps. 1. There ought to be. 2. There is an Infallible Judge. 3. Their Church is it.

§ 25. Answ. 1. Why may not I turne their Argu­ment upon them? God hath not provided such a judge, Ergo such a judge is not necessary. VVhen God thought fit to appoint a judge for the decision of some contro­versies in the Old Testament, he thought fit to expresse, the person, the place, his work, his power: And if the Popish doctrine be true, that this Judge is of such nece­ssity, that without him we cannot understand, and are not bound to believe the Scriptures to be the word of God, and that submission to this Judge is necessary to Salvation; it is ten thousand times more incredible that God (to whom all our present controversies were not un­foreseen) should not leave us some mention of it in those Scriptures which are written for this end that we might believe, Joh. 20.31. and that we might be made wise unto Salvation, 2 Tim. 3.15. Then that such a Judge is ne­cessary: If God had but said instead of Tell the Church, Tell the Bishop of Rome, or heare the Bishop of Rome in all things, all those infinite and dreadfull distractions, divisions, persecutions, errours and mischiefes, which have since risen in the world had been prevented: So if reason may be judge, who can believe it consistent with the goodnesse of God or Christs care over his Church, or Gods designe in giving the Scriptures, to omit such a ne­cessary point as this, upon which all the rest had depen­ded: especially when Doctrines of far lesse concernment are there plainly recorded and often repeated?

[Page 223] §. 26. Answ. 2. If once men suffer their understandings to mount so high as to teach God what is fit, and posi­tively to conclude that to be done which they judge fit to be done: It opens a gap to Atheisme and to all ima­ginable Superstition: What a fine modell of Divinity should we have if once this doore were open'd? It was fit that all the Translators of the Bible should have infal­lible guidance, that they might not mistake in a letter: It was fit that the Doctrine of the Popes Supremacy and Infallibility should have been ingraven upon every mans heart, or at least plainly revealed in the Bible, this being of more use then all the Bible besides; (since the Pope could have supplied the want of a Bible) And as Chilling­worth well argues, it was as fit that every Minister should have been Infallible; that all the Popes should be free from grosse wickednesse; (as all other infallible persons recorded in Scripture were) It was fit that obstinate He­reticks should be consumed with fire from Heaven: Therefore by this Argument all these things are done, how much better and more becomming is it for a Chri­stian to say with the Apostle, who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been his Counsellor? Rom. 11.34. Then boldly to measure God by our own fancies, and tie him to our fond imaginations.

§. 27. 3. If it be granted that there is an Infallible judge, yet it doth not their work, for particular Chri­stians are not Infallibly assured of the Infallibility of their Church, (unlesse they will say that every Papist is Infal­lible) And therefore no particular Papist hath better ground for his Faith upon this score then the Protestants have: for they neither have, nor pretend to better Ar­guments, upon which they believe their Church to be this Supreme and Infallible judge, then what Protestants alledge to prove the Scripture to be judge, viz. Texts of Scripture, Tradition, Fathers, Councels, Miracles, rationall [...] [Page 218] [...] [Page 219] [...] [Page 220] [...] [Page 221] [...] [Page 222] [...] [Page 223] [Page 224] Arguments, &c. And if a Protestant may be deceived in these when he inferres from them the Infallibility of the Scripture, why may not a Papist be deceived when he inferres from them the Infallibility of his Church, since he hath no better Arguments, nor more Infallible guidance? And therefore as to particular Christians (of whom the whole Church consists, and about whom alone the care of Christ and Gods Providence is exer­cised) God hath not taken more effectuall care for their infallible guidance according to the Romish Principles then according to ours: For as they say, Protestants have no security for their Faith, though the Scripture be Infal­lible, because they cannot Infallibly underitand it, or be­lieve this to be the Scripture: so say I, the Papists have no security of the Infallibility of their Church (though the Churches Infallibility be acknowledged true in it self) since they cannot infallibly know either that there is such an infallibility, or theirs to be the Church to whom it is promised.

§. 28. 4. It is neither necessary, nor suitable to the methods of Gods Providence and the declarations of his will, that there should be a finall end and infallible judge of all controversies in this life: That which these men teil us was fit to be done, God hath told us he did not judge fit (and who is most credible do you judge) 1 Cor. 11. 19. There must be Heresies—that they which are approved may be made manifest. God hath acquainted us, that it is his pleasure that Tares should grow with the Wheat unto the end of the World. In respect of wicked men it was fit (in regard of Gods Justice) that there should be stones of stumbling and Rocks of offence, for the punishment of those that were disobedient: And in regard of elect and sincere Christians, who live holily, and humbly be­lieve, and pray fervently, and seek the true way diligently, such a judge is not necessary, God having provided for [Page 225] them other wayes, by giving them the promise of his Spirit, and guidance into Truth (which is as good security as the Pope himselfe hath, or pretends for his supposed Infallibility) by that anointing which teacheth them all things, 1 Ioh. 2. 27. in confidence of whose conduct they may say with David: Thou shalt guide me with thy counsell and afterwards receive me to Glory, Psal. 73. 24. They are kept by Gods power, 1 Pet. 1. 5. and the care and strength of Christ, Ioh. 10. And what need a Christian desire more? Truly saith Amesius, God hath provided for the safety of the Godly, not for the cu­riosity or perversnesse of other men. And therefore this plea must go after all the rest, and they are still lest in a Forlorne and desperate, because in a faithlesse condition: And thus having forced my way through all the obstru­ctions which they laid before us: I know not what hinders, but I may pronounce the sentence, notwith­standing all their big looks and glorious pretences of Infallibility, notwithstanding all the noise of Scripture, Fathers, Popes, Councels, Tradition, Miracles; when things come to be scanned, it appeares they have no foundation for their Faith, and consequently have no Faith. Lord be mercifull to them.

CHAP. VII. Of the Solidity of the Protestants founda­tion of Faith.

§. 1. HAppily they will fay of us, as Ierome did of Lactantius, that he could facilius aliena de­struere, quam stabiline sua, that we can more easily overthrow the foundation of their Faith, then make our [Page 226] own good: I shall therefore (though it be besides my present designe, which is onely to undeceive the World in that great cheat of Infallibility) in few words enquire whether the Protestants have not a better and more solid foundation of their Faith, then the Papists have: And this I shall shew onely by one Argument.

The Popish foundation of faith is such, as many of their own great Doctours are unsatisfied in, (There being no foundation laid by any of them, but it is both denied, and disproved by others, no lesse eminent of their own communion, as I have proved at large and such as is un­animously opposed by all Protestants and solidly dispro­ved) But the Protestant foundation of Faith is such as all Protestant Churches (of what denomination soever) are agreed in, yea such as diverse of our most learned Ad­versaries acknowledge to be solid and sufficient. You will say if you can prove this, the controversy will be at an end, and if I do not, let the Reader Judge. There are but three things that need proof. 1. That the Books of Scripture (which Protestants build their Faith upon) are, and may be proved to be the word of God. 2. That in the substantials of Faith, these Books are uncorrupted. 3: That the sence of Scripture may be sufficiently under­stood in necessary points.

§. 2. For the first: That the Protestants Bible is, and may be proved to be the word of God: It is true, when they meet with any of our Novices they use to put this perplexing question (as they call it) to them, How know you Scripture to be the word of God? what matters it how I know it, seeing they acknowledg it, and by gran­ting the thing make their question superfluous? But I Answer, I know it even by the Confession of our Ad­versaries: So they acknowledge and own the verity and solidity of our foundation, and the testimony of an ad­versary against himself is undeniabe: It may be of good [Page 227] use here a little to compare the several discourses of lear­ned Papists to different persons, and how prettily they contradict themselves, and confute their own arguments. When the Papists dispute against us, they tell us, It is im­possible to know the Scripture to be the word of God, but by the Churches Testimony. But if you take them in their lucid intervals, and their disputes against Atheists, or Heathens, then you shall have them in another tune: then Bellarmine can say, Nothing is more evid [...]nt, and more certain then the Sacred Scriptures, so that he must needs be a very fool that denies faith to them (a). Here he can fur­nish us with several arguments to prove the authority of the Scripture (distinct from, and independent upon the Churches authority,) the verity of Prophecies, harmony of writers, works of Providence, glory of Miracles, con­sent of Nations, &c. Either then these arguments do so­lidly prove the Divine authority of the Scriptures, or they do not: if they do not, then Bellarmine is a Baffler to use fallacious arguments, and a Lyar too, having said, nothing is more evident, nothing more certain: if they do, then the Scriptures may be evidenced to be the word of God with­out the Churches Testimony, which they so boldly deny at other times. The like might I shew out of Gregory de Valentia, who musters up diverse convincing arguments, whereby even Heathens may be satisfied, that the Scrip­ture is the word of God, without the aid of the Churches authority (b). And the like is done by several of their learned and approved Authors: from which it plainly ap­pears, That the foundation of Christianity and Protestan­cy is one and the same, and that we have the same argu­ments [Page 228] and evidences for the ground of our Faith as Pro­testants, (viz. for the Divine authority of the Scriptures, independently upon the Churches testimony) which we have as Christians; and that the Papists cannot say nor do any thing towards the subversion of the Faith of the Re­formed Churches herein, but at the same time, and by the same art and arguments, they must oppugne the Chri­stian cause, and acknowledg it untenable against a subtle Pagan or Atheist. And I desire the Reader to consider, that this is not an answer or argument ad hominem, which I now insist upon, but fetched from the nature of the thing, & the verity of the Christian Religion. And for what they pretend, That without the Churches Testimony we can­not know that S. Mathews Gospel was written by him, and so the rest: they shall take an Answer of a very eminent and approved Author of their own, Melchior Canus: It is not much material to the Catholick Faith, that any book was written by this [...]r that Author, so long as the Spirit of God is b [...]lieved to be the Author of it: which Gregory learn­edly delivers, and explaines; For it matters not with what pen the King writes his Letter, if it be true that he writ it (a).

§ 3. The second thing is, That the Books of Scripture are not corrupt in the essential and necessary points of Faith. This a man may easily discern by looking into the nature and quality of those various lections, which are pleaded as evidences of corruption, where he shall quick­ly find them generally to be in matters of lesse moment, and such upon which Salvation doth not depend. But because the examination of this would be a tedious work, [Page 229] I shall save my self and Reader the labour, and shall prove it in general (as at first I proposed) from the con­fession of the Papists themselves, who condemn the rash­nesse of those of their own Brethren, (which out of a preposterous respect to the vulgar Translation, assert the malitious co [...]ruption of the Hebrew Text,) and positive­ly maintain the incorruption of the Bible in matters of importance. Of this opinion are, among the Papists, Bel­larmine, Arias M [...]ntanus, Driedo, Bannes, Tena, Acosta, Lorinus, and diverse others: If you please, we will hear the fore-man of the Jury speak for the rest. I confesse (saith he) that the Scriptures are not altogether pure, they have some errors in them; but they are not of such moment, that the Scripture is defective in things that belong to faith and mann [...]rs. For for the most part, those differences and various lections consist in some w [...]rds which make little or no difference in the Text (a). To whom I shall adde the ac­knowledgment of a late Author S. Clara, whose words are these: Consid [...]ring a moral thing morally, it is altoge­ther impossible, that the Books of the New Testament were or are consi [...]erably adulterated (b). And so he goes on, proving what he had asserted. This may suffice for the second thing.

§ 4. For the third particular, (which alone now re­mains in doubt) concerning the sense of Scripture. My as­sertion [Page 230] is this: A Protestant hath or may have a suffici­ent assurance of understanding the sense of Scripture in things necessary to salvation. This I shall briefly prove by this argument: God's promise is sufficient assurance, (the Papists do not pretend an higher assurance for their Churches Infallibility,) but a protestant is, or may be assured of this by God's promise, as appears from Joh. 7. 17. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God. Protestants have the assurance of Reason, and whatever the Papists talk, they have no o­ther. It is true, they talk of several things, Fathers, Coun­cels, Tradition, Motives of Credibility, &c. but in these, and all other arguments, both Papists and Protestants a­gree in this, that when they go to settle and satisfie their consciences, though they hear many things, yet reason weighs them all, and rejects what it judgeth false, and holds fast what it esteemeth true and good: if that will not do, they have the assurance of the Spirit, which God hath promised to those that ask it, Luk. 11.13. and this is as much as the Church her self pretends. In a word, to strike the businesse dead, you shall see the perspicuity and evidence of the Scriptures, in things necessary to sal­vation, acknowledged by our Adversaries, from whom the force of Truth extorted these confessions: That part of Scripture is plain and evident, which conteins the first and chief principles of things to be believed, and the principal rules of living: so Sixtus Senensis (a). We deny not, that the chief articles of faith, which are necessary to salvation to all Christians, are plainly enough comprehended in the wri­tings of the Apostles: so Costerus (b). And Salmeron, [Page 231] having said, that all Doctrines and Traditions are to be examined by Scripture, he saith, The Scripture is so fra­med and ordered by God, that it might be accommodated to all places, times, persons, difficulties, dangers, diseases, to drive away evil, to procure good, to overthrow errors, to sta­blish truths, to instil vertue, to expel vice (a). And Hierony­mus ab Oleastro saith, We are to praise God for it, that those things which are necessary to salvation, he hath made easy (b). From all these things put together, I think I may say, it undeniably follows, (which I proposed to evince,) That the foundation of a Protestants Faith is solid and suffici­ent, our adversaries themselves being Judges.

§ 5. Onely I must remove one block out of the way. Peradventure they will say, that if all these things be true, concerning the word of God in its own language, yet there is one notorious defect in the groundwork of the Protestants Faith, viz. That they build it upon the credit of a Translation, made by persons confessedly fallible. This, because they make such a noise with it amongst ig­norant and injudicious persons, (however to men of un­derstanding it is but an impertinent discourse) it will be convenient to say something to it, and but a little. To this then I Answer 1. The Papists cannot in reason charge us with that fault, of which themselves are equally guilty; nor can they accuse our Faith of that infirmity, to which their own is no lesse obnoxious: for the generality of un­learned Papists in the world have nothing but a Transla­tion, or, which is worse, a meer Report, for the founda­tion [Page 232] of their Faith. If their suppositions were admitted, that the Pope or Councel is the infallible Judge of con­troversies, and that their Decrees are of undoubted ve­rity, yet forasmuch as it is the lot of very few Papists to be eye or ear-witnesses of them, they are forced to re­ceive the rules of their Faith, (i.e. the Decrees of Popes or Councels) either from the meer reports of such men, whom they acknowledge fallible, (unlesse they will (as in­deed they may upon as good grounds, having once fallen into the humor of inventing) devise Infallible Nuntios, as well as an Infallible Judge) or at best, if they be trans­mitted to them in writing, yet since they are written in a strange language, and unknown to vulgar Papists, they cannot understand them but by a Translation. And con­sequently the case of vulgar Protestants, who rely upon a Translation of the decrees of holy Scripture, is not one jot inferior to that of vulgar Papists, who rely upon a Translation of the Popes decrees.

§ 6. Ans. 2. Those Protestants that understand not the original languages, have a sufficient foundation of their Faith in the Translations they enjoy, and that for two reasons. 1. They have so great a moral assurance of the verity of their Translation in all matters of mo­ment, that no man can doubt of it, that is not within one remove of madnesse: and this is such a certainty, as the Papists have no reason to quarrel with. It is the obser­vation of a grave Author of their own, Those things are certain amongst men, which cannot be denied without per­verseness and folly (a). And again, Such things as are de­livered by common consent of histories, it is a most foolish [Page 233] thing either to deny them, or doubt of them (a). Now to apply this. A man may have as great an humane assu­rance as is possible of the verity of our Translations, by the collation of differing Translations, made by several persons in diverse times and places, and they too in se­veral languages, and sometimes by men of opposite prin­ciples in Religion, yet all agreeing in the main; by the impossibility of a design among some learned men to cheat the vulgar by a false Translation, there being so many watchful eyes upon them in every Translation, so little benefit by such a deceit, such extreme danger and disgrace attending upon it, such improbability of any successe: by the ridiculousnesse and impertinency of Po­pish exceptions against our Translations, (as may be seen in the discourses between Dr. Fulk and Greg [...]ry Martin upon that Subject) being in the grosse so inconsiderable, that if all were granted they desire, we need nothing else to confute them but their own Doway Bible, or Rhemish Testament: and several other wayes. In a word, the Pa­pists themselves have not so good security for that, upon which all their Religion and Infallibility depends, viz. whe­ther Alexander the 7th. be a regular Pope: for, if he be not a Priest, which he is not, say the Papists, if his Ordainer did not intend to make him a Priest, (and who knows a­nother mans intentions?) or if there was any Symony in his election to the Popedome, (which how is it possible for us to be assured that there was not?) in which case by their own profession, the Election is null, and all the acti­ons done by him afterward: so till they have better for­tified their own Faith, I am sure they haue no reason to quarrel with ours.

[Page 234] § 7. 2. There is more then a moral assurance, even a Divine Faith of the verity of that Scripture which is contained in our Translations. For whereas, amongst o­ther arguments alledged by Christians, and owned by the Papists themselves, they urge the Majesty of the Style, the sublimity of the matter, the efficacy of the Doctrine, and its influence into the hearts of men, (of which Gre­gory de Valentia saith, I know not whether it be a greater argument for the Scriptures then all the rest, yea then mira­cles, confession of adversaries &c) (a). Now the power of these arguments is not confined to the original langua­ges, but common to true Translations: for it is not the shell of the words, but the kernell of the matter which commends it self to the consciences of men, and that is the same in all languages. The Scripture in English, no lesse then in Hebrew or Greek, displayes its lustre, and exerts itspower, and discovers the characters of its Di­vine original. The most unlearned Christians do ordina­rily feel such a supernatural force in the Scriptures, (though conveighed to them onely in a Translation,) they find in themselves, and observe in others such a sharp­nesse and energy, in oft times convincing the proudest sinners, converting the most profligate wretches, com­forting the most distressed consciences, that it forceth them to say, Non vox hominem sonat, God is in this Scri­pture of a truth. When a man finds the Law of God in English, converting the soul, and enlightning the eyes, (which was David's argument for its Divinity, Psal. 19.) when men feel the Scripture in the English Translation quick and powerful, and sharper then any two-edged sword, pier­cing even to the dividing as under of soul and spirit, and the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and in­tents of the heart: (which was S. Paul's argument Heb. 12.) [Page 235] and so I might instance in diverse others properties: what can they infer, but that it is the voice of God, though he speaks by an Interpreter, that it is the water of life, though conveighed to them in the Glasse of a Translation.

§ 8. Ans. 3. At worst, this may fully stop their mouths, that the argument doth not touch the merits of the cause, nor shake the foundation of our Faith, but one­ly concerns some particular persons, viz. such as are ig­norant of, and unlearned in the original languages. So the defect lies in the persons, not in the cause, not in the ground-work of our Faith, but in the neglects of some men, to build up themselves fully upon it. If any man be unsatisfied with Translations, he hath under God a remedy in his own hands: if he like not the Cistern, he may go to the Fountaine, if he will take the pains of so long a journey. A little industry, and diligent use of those means and helps which are offered even to vulgar Christians, will wholly remove this difficulty, and put a period to this argument.

§ 9. I shall conclude this discourse with the conside­ration of two particulars. The first is an objection they urge against the solidity of our Faith. The second, is one plea more they have for the solidity of their own. The first is an objection, which they frequently urge in all their Treatises: That circular way of argumentation, which we justly object against them, they boldly retort upon us, and tell us, that we have no way to prove the Scripture, but by the Spirits testimony, and no way to prove the Spirits testimony, but by the Scripture. This is counted one of the hardest knots, and therefore it will be worth the while in few words to unty it, (though it may seem a little heterogeneous to my present design.)

§ 10. 1 They have no reason to object this circle to us, that they cannot free themselves from. I speak not now of the other famous circle of the Church and Scrip­ture, [Page 236] (which their most learned Authors of late have in­genuously confessed,) but here is another Circle: The Papists have Circulum in Circulo. For they professe a man cannot know the Church, but by the Spirit, nor the Spirit but by the Church. That a man cannot know the Spirit, nor the mind of the Spirit, nor distinguish it from false and counterfeit ones, but by the Church, is their great principle: He cannot know it (say they) by the Scripture, unlesse he read it with the Churches spectacles; Revelation they do not pretend to, therefore this is known onely by the Church, (to whom the discerning of Spirits belongs,) and by others onely from the Churches authority, and infallible testimony. But that is a clear case: the onely doubt lies about the other branch, viz. That a man (according to their principles) cannot know the Church but by the Spirit: and that you shall have un­der the hands of their great Masters. Stapleton's words are these: This secret testimony is altogether necessary, that a man may believe the Churches judgment and testimony a­bout the approbation of the Scriptures, neither will Faith follow without this inward testimony of the Spirit of God, al­though the Church attest, commend, publish, approve the Scripture a thousand times over (a). So Canus▪ tels us, that Humane authority, and other mo [...]ives, are not sufficient in­ducements to believe, but there is moreover a necessity of an inward efficient cause, i.e. the special help of God moving us to believe (b). What can be more plain? let them an­swer [Page 237] themselves, and that will serve our turn. Either they must leave themselves in the Circle, or help us out. Iam sumus ergo pares. And it is unreasonable, that they should urge that as a peculiar inconvenience of our Reso­lution of Faith, to which their own is no lesse obnoxious.

§ 11. 2. It is false, that we have no other way to prove the Scripture to be the word of God, but the Spi­rits internal Testimony. They cannot be ignorant, that we have diverse arguments of another nature, and inde­pendent upon that Testimony of the Spirit, by which the authority of Scripture is solidly proved. And Papists as well as Protestants have substantially defended the cause of the Scriptures against Pagans and Atheists. Either those arguments are solid, rational, and convincing, or they are not: if they say, they are not; then, Be it known to all men by these presents, that the Assertors of Popery are the Betrayers of Christianity: If they be, then is the Scripture proved other wayes, then by the Spirits testi­mony. How can our Adversaries vindicate themselves, either from shameful Ignorance, if they do not know; or abominable malice, if they wittingly bely us, that we have no argument to prove the Scripture, but the Testi­mony of the Spirit. What, are those glorious miracles, by which the Scripture was sealed and propagated, now become no argument? Is the Transcendency of the Mat­ter, and Majesty of the Style, and admirable Power of the Word of none effect, to prove the Scriptures Divinity? Are not the patience of Martyrs, the concurring testimo­ny of Jewes and Heathens to the truth of Scripture-rela­tions, the verity of predictions, and the like, as solid ar­guments now, as they were in the Primitive times, when the Fathers confounded the learnedest Pagans by these and such like arguments? If they be, (as they must affirm, unlesse they will turn perfect Pagans, as they are in the half way to it already,) then their Assertion is false, That [Page 238] we cannot prove the Divinity of the Scripture, but by the Spirits Testimony; and the Circle, which they impute to us is indeed in their own Brain, and their Argument is the fruit of their Vertigo.

§ 12. 3. Here is no Circle, because, although the Spirit and Scripture do mutually prove one another, yet they do it in diverso genere, in diverse wayes, and several capacities: but a Circle is, when a man proceeds ab eodem ad idem codem modo cognitum, when a mans knowledg pro­ceeds from the fame thing to the same thing in the same way. But in this case, though the thing be the same, yet the way of knowledg varies, and that breaks the Circle. The Scripture proves the Spirit, per modum objecti & argumenti, objectively, and by way of argument, by suggesting such truths to me, from which I may collect the [...] of the Spirit, and prove its Divinity. But the Spirit proves, or rather approves the Scripture, per modum causae effectivae & instrumenti, as a Divine instrument in­fused into the soul, whereby I am enabled to apprehend such verities as are contained in the Scripture. The Pa­pists indeed cannot get out of their Circle of Church and Scripture, because each of them is the argument by which they prove the other: the argument, nay the onely argument (say they) for which I believe the Scripture, is the authority of the Church, testifying it: and the argu­ment, for which they believe the Church, is the authori­ty of the Scripture. And here the Circle is so grosse and evident, that it is acknowledged by diverse of their own late learned Authors. Holden confesseth in expresse terms, that they who resolve their Faith in this manner, (and so do almost all the learned Papists in the world) do unavoidably fall into a Circle (a). So the late Answe­rer [Page 239] of Bishop Lawd confesseth, it is a vitious Circle to prove Scripture from the Churches Tradition, and the Chur­ches Tradition from Scripture (a), (as they generally do, some few Excentrical spirits excepted:) nor can he get out of it, but by returning to that Vomit, which his for­mer Masters had discharged themselves from, viz. to prove Infallibility by miracles, and the motives of credi­bility. But in our case it is quite otherwise, for the Spi­rit works ut instrumentum, by way of Instrument; the Scripture, ut argumentum, by way of Argument. It were an absurd aspersion to call this a Circle, if any man should say: I believe the Sun to be bigger then the Earth, because my reason tels me it is so, and I believe my rea­son saith true, because Mathematical arguments convince me it must needs be so. That which frees this discourse from the Circle, is, that the Mathematicks prove it, ut ar­gumentum, Reason proves it ut iustrumentum: and the same may be said in the present case. I shall farther il­lustrate this by a similitude or two: It is here, as when a man, through the infirmity of his eye, apprehends a thing to be lesse then it is. There are three wayes, whereby this man may be convinced of his error: 1. By argu­ments taken from the thing it self. 2. By bringing the object nearer to the eye, (which was at too great a di­stance) whereby it appears in its due proportion. 3. By curing the infirmity of the eye. Thus the Physitian, that removes the distemper of the eye, and restores it to its native strength and vigor, may be said to convince him. Now to apply this. The Spirit of God doth not convince a man of the Divinity of the Scriptures the first way, as a Philosopher, but the last way, as a Physitian; not by an elucidation of the object by arguments, but by the eleva­tion [Page 240] of the faculty, or by anointing the eyes with eye­salve, and curing its infirmity. To which the second may be added, viz That the Spirit of God brings his word, and the characters of its Divinity impress'd upon it, nea­rer unto us, and writes it in the heart according to Gods promise to that purpose, and so we see the object better, by reason of its approximation to us. Or as it is with a Philosopher, when he reads a book, written in the de­fence of some Position, (as suppose the doctrine of the circulation of the Bloud,) possibly his mind may be dis­composed, and his braines by reason of some peccant humor much distemper'd, and in this case he reads the book, but is not at all satisfied by it: afterwards, Physical means are applyed, whereby the brain is restored to its native constitution, and purged from those distempers, whereby it was clouded: now he returns to the book a­gain, and reads it over anew, and yields himselve captive to the opinion. You see here is no change of the old ar­guments, nor any addition of new ones; onely the impe­diments which were in the faculty, or the organ, are re­moved. Just so it is in the matter now in controversy: The Spirit of God doth not prove the Scripture to me by arguments, which I never had before, but by the illumi­nation of my mind, to apprehend the arguments, which I did not apprehend before. It is with men, as it was with Hagar, Gen. 21. there was a Well of water, but she saw it not, till God open'd her eyes, vers. 19. There is a self-evidencing light in the Scriptures, onely the Spirit of God cures that blindness of mind, whereby the Devil hin­dred the world from discerning it. Thus the Spirit con­vinced the Jews of the Truth of the Gospel by removing the vaile, which was upon their hearts in the reading of Moses, 2 Cor. 3.15, 16. And so God convinced his elect among the Heathens, not by discovering any more argu­ments to them, then he did to the reprobates among [Page 241] them, for the same doctrine and arguments were preach­ed to both alike, but by opening their eyes to see what others saw not, Act. 26.18. and by opening their hearts to receive what others would not receive, as Act. 16.14. To conclude, forasmuch as the testimony of the Spirit is not the Argument for which, but onely the Instrument by which they believe; and on the contrary, the Testi­mony of Scripture is the proper argument for which they believe, it is most evident, that they work in several ca­pacities, and so we are fully discharged from that Circle, which they causlesly charge us with, and notwithstan­ding this objection, the foundation of our Faith standeth sure. This is the first particular.

§ 13. The other particular concernes the Popish foun­dation: for some of the Romanists finding themselves so wofully intangled in the business of Infallibility, are grown sick of the notion. Cressy, the English Apostate, in his Exomologesis confesseth, That Infallibility is an unfortunate word, combated by Mr. Chillingworth with too too great success, that he could wish the word were forgot­ten, or at least laid by: these therefore tell us, that if the Infallibility of the Church be denied, yet a Papist hath suf­ficient ground for his Faith in the Churches authority, in which he is obliged to acquiesce, and whom he must hear in all things: and this way some others go. This I thought fit to mention, that the world may see the complexion of a Romish conscience, and the desperate shifts which the wretchednesse of their cause forceth them to. But be­cause the absurdity of this new fancy doth suâ luce con­stare, I shall dismiss it with two remarks upon it.

1. That it is disclaimed by the Romish Church, (and it were a frivolous thing to concern our selves in refuting all the wild fancies of their particular Doctors.) It is true Cressy saith, No such word as Infallibility is to be found in [Page 242] [...]ny Councel: the good man had forgot the definition of the Councel of Basil, wherein they call it a pernitious er­ror, to say, that a Councel can erre: (the passage I cited before,) or else he meant to be witty; for it is very true, that non potest errare is not the same word with Infallibili­ty, though it be the same thing. Nor do the Papists onely assert the Infallibility of their Church, but generally ac­knowledge, That without this, their Faith would have no solid Foundation, nor their Religion any certainty. I shall not multiply instances in so known a thing: you have ma­ny instances in one, in that forementioned passage of the Councel of Basil, That if once that pernitious error were admitted, that general Councels may erre, the whole Catho­lick Faith would t [...]tter (a). And Bellarmine in a fore­quoted passage confesseth, That it is a most unreasonable thing to require Christians to be finally subject to the judg­ment of that Church which is liable to error (b). And there­fore I need not cast away pretious time in confuting those particular fancies of some private Doctors, which are directly repugnant unto the confessed opinion of the Pope, and the Decree of a general Councel.

2. This is so far from mending the matter, that it makes it far worse: for he that saith, I am bound to believe the Church in all things, because she is infallible in all things, speaks that which is coherent in it self, and the conse­quence is agreeable to reason; the onely fault lies in the Antecedent. But he that saith, I am bound to believe the Church in all things, though she may erre in many things, (and none knows how many,) throws himself and me u­pon such desperate Rocks, as none but a mad-man would run upon. When Bellarmine delivers that desperate do­ctrine, That if the Pope should command us to sin, we are [Page 243] bound to obey him: and when others have said, That if the Pope should lead thousands to Hell, we must not reprove him: their followers mollifie the harshnesse of those as­sertions with this favourable construction, That the Pro­positions are onely Hypothetical, depending upon such conditions, as by reason of the promise of Infallibility, can never be fulfilled, for (say they) the Pope cannot com­mand sin, and cannot lead men to Hell: and this, if true were a plausible evasion. But to tell me, that, if the Pope or Church may erre, yet I am bound to believe & obey them in all things, this is to make that my Duty, which God hath threatned as a terrible Curse, 2 Thes. 2. viz. to believe lies: This is to confront the Apostle, Act. 5. and to say, That it is better to obey men th [...]n God, when their commands are contrary; this is to bring me under a necessity of that Woe, denounced against such as call evill good, and good evill, that put darknesse for light, and light for darknesse, Isa. 5.20. This is to say, That I am bound to follow my blind Leaders, though it be into the Ditch; That I am un­der an obligation of offending God by making him a lyar, and of damning my own Soul. This is to say, That the Israelites were bound to obey Aaron's Idolatrous decree, concerning the observation of the Feast of the Calfe: nay more, That the Jewes were bound to obey their Church in putting Christ to death, though they had at that time known him to be the true Messias. In a word, such and so many are the prodigious absurdities which would inevita­bly follow from that wild assertion, that Madnesse it self, unlesse in its highest Paroxysme, could not equal it: and when the Authors of it come to themselves, or return to the judgment of their own Church, or when their Church comes over to their opinion, and layes aside their bold pre­tences to Infallibility, they may expect a farther Answer.

But since I wrot this, I find, Mr. Cressy hath saved me the labour of farther Answer: for in his second edition, [Page 244] (and secundae cogitationes sunt meliores) I find him sick of his former notion: I suppose he hath met with sharp re­bukes from his wiser Brethren, what Penances or censures they have inflicted on him I know not, but the effect is visible, and the man is brought to a recanting strain. And that he may have some colourable Palliation for it, he pretends, he was mis-understood, and that he never meant to deny Infallibility to the Church, save onely in the most rigorous sense that the Terme could import, and therefore he roundly asserts, That the Church can neither deceive believers that follow her, nor be deceived her self. Exo­molog. sect. 2. ch. 21. And, Infallibility and Authority are in effect all one as applied to the Church: for to say, that the Church hath authority to oblige all Christians to receive her Doctrines, and withall to say she is fallible, is extremity of Injustice and Tyranny. Appendix to Exomolog. chap. 5. num. 14. So this pretence is also gone after the rest: and therefore from all that hath been discoursed and proved, I may take the boldnesse to conclude, That the Faith of a Papist, if he keep to his own principles, hath no Foun­dation, or is not built upon the Rock, but meerly upon the Sand, or (in the Prophet's language) they have forsa­ken (the Scriptures,) the fountain of living water, to hew out unto themselves broken Cisterns, that can hold no water.

An APPENDIX by way of re­flection upon Captain Robert Everards EPISTLE, and account of his Conversion and Submission to the Romish Church; and Mr Cressy's EXOMOLOGESIS.

SInce the finishing of the foregoing Treatise, I was told of an Epistolary Discourse of Captaine Everards, and withall that the substance of it was fully Answered by what I had there discus­sed, onely it was convenient to accommodate the passa­ges relating thereto to the severall parts of his Epistle: Upon this sugestion I procured the Epistle it selfe as enlarged in the second Edition, and diligently read it once or twice over: And I confesse I was at first dubious whether I should take any notice of it, partly because I saw it was nothing but a collection out of others (as he most properly calls it) and a repetition of those old Sophismes, that have been answered and exploded an hundred times over, and partly because I discerned by the spirit of the man, and the frame of his Discourse, and the circumstances of his change, that there was no likelihood at all of retriving and reclaiming him, how cleare and irresistible soever the evidence and arguments were that should be produced. He that hath but half an Eye may see a designe in the whole management of the change: And although he assures us with a teste me ipso, that he is not biassed by worldly interests, and private ends, he must allow discreet persons the liberty of their [Page 2] Faith in that particular, and not take it amisse, if seeing the feeblenesse of his Arguments, and their insufficiency for the producing of such a change, they suspect it was done by the power of interest, which is so secret an af­faire, and its methods so crypticall, and the waies of ser­ving it so various, that no wise man will believe it impos­sible, and I am sure the contexture of his Discourse, and the manner of his p [...]ocesse doth not render it at all incredible: And these considerations inclined me to silence: But on the other side when I considered, that the hand of Ioab sufficiently appeares in the penning of this Epistle, that it was a collection of the strength of more Learned Writers, and a conjunction of abler heads then his own, who were resolved in this occasion and instance, to represent what could in briefe be said to per­swade unsetled persons to change their Religion; and (whatever other mens opinions are) what a reverend esteem the Author hath of it, who tels us he saw reason enough to believe it could not be Answered pag. 88. and that he challengeth it as a piece of justice to shew him his errors; I thought it not amisse to take some notice of it, knowing that if what I should say were unsuccessefull to him, yet it would not be unacc [...]ptable to God, (since we are a sweet savour of God in them that believe and in them that perish) and that if I were not an instrument of Gods mercy to him, in reducing him to the truth from which he hath revolted, yet I should be an instrument of Gods Justice, and a witnesse on Gods behalfe to leave him without excuse.

In one thing I must crave Mr Everards pardon, if I do not take his Counsell in Answering him [...] and setting down each of his Paragraphs before the severall Answers: It is a course which I confesse I do not ap­prove of in the answering of other Authors, because it runs a man into personall contests, and petite animad▪ [Page 3] versions, and catching at little advantages, and so expends the answerers paines, and the readers patience, and the buyers mony to no purpose, and if I did like it in some others, yet really he must excuse me if I do not esteem him so classicall an Author, nor his Epistle so weighty a Discourse, as to deserve such solemne consideration: Yet this I shall promise him (and I call God to witnesse it) that I shall not wilfully decline any part of it, wherein his strength may lie, but shall indeavour to the utmost of my poor skill, to single out such things as are most plau­sible and considerable, and such, as if they be solidly An­swered, the rest will fall of course, or need no further trouble.

What I have to say, I shall reduce to two heads. 1. Per­sonall. 2. Dogmaticall. The first I shall passe over in few words, because it concernes not the merits of the cause, and yet it is not convenient wholly to neglect it, because it is set forth [...], and Mr Eve­rard (whom I would by no meanes deprive of his due praise) hath shewed wit and art in it, something there­fore must be said to disabuse such as are too apt to be deceived with good words and faire speeches, and the influence of examples: And if there be some seeming harshnesse in my expressions, it must not be ascribed to my temper (which my friends will assoyle me from) or principles, or hatred of Mr Everard, (a person known to me nec beneficio, nec injuriâ) but to the discharge of my duty (which is to rebuke such as he is [...] sharply) and the necessary caution of others; My personall re­flections shall onely be two, The first upon the quality of the person; The second, The occasion and manner of the change.

1. As for the quality of the person, I must confesse I am not at all surprized with the Apostacy (for so I must [...]all it with St Paul, 1 Tim. 4.1. and 2 Thes. 2.3.) of a per­son [Page 4] of his character, as we have it drawn by his own pen, pag. 4. When I profest my selfe against Infant-Baptisme, I had run through almost (if not altogether) all the severall Professions of Christianity then appearing in this Kingdome. It is no new thing that a giddy headed man should get a fall: It is no more then was long since foretold, and this day in this person those Scriptures are fulfilled which tell us, that the unlearned and unstable should wrest the Scripture (as this Epistler most horribly doth) to their own destruction, 2 Pet. 3.16. That such as received not the Truth in the love of it, should be given up to strong delusions to believe lies, 2 Thes. 2.10, 11. that such as were [...]ver learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the Truth should be led away, 2 Tim. 3.6, 7. that evill men and se­ducers (as he now acknowledgeth he was) should wax worse and worse, deceiving and b [...]ing deceived, vers. 13. that unstable soules should be beguiled, 2 Pet. 2.19.

It is not at all strange, that he that despised the per­sons, vilified the function, contemned and forsook the guidance of able and faithfull Protestant Ministers, by whom he might have been easily antidoted against this Infection, should be betrayed into the hands of Romish Priests: It is not strange that he that loved to wander should antiquum obtinere, and having passed thorough all the varieties which England affords, should gratify his temper and follow his inclinations to see what newes at Rome: In the meane time it concernes all Prote­stants, and especially persons of the same complexion and condition, with fear and reverence to behold the just and tremendous judgment of God upon unsetled and unstable Christians, and such as are given to change, whilest they see these smaller rivulets of lesser errors leading to the dead Sea of damnable delusions: And as we have many wofull instances of poore deluded Soules, that having wandred from party to party, from opinion to opinion, [Page 5] from congregation to congregation, have at last been swallowed up, some in the gulfe of downright Atheisme, others of the besotting dotages of the Quakers; so we have here an instance of one, whom the same wildnesse and wantonnesse of opinion hath betrayed to Popish impostures.

The second personall reflection concernes the occasion and manner of his change which in briefe is this, as him­selfe represents it pag. 5, 6, &c. He falls into the compa­ny and acquaintance of a Lay-Papist (which he had been allwaies told and so supposed that they were an ignorant Generation) and he proposeth and presseth an Argu­ment, which the Captaine could not Answer, and there­fore submits and borrowes two or three Popish Books from that Gentleman (viz. the question of questions, Fiat Lux, and Knots answer to Chillingworth) and so the work is done, my Captaine is conquer'd, and become a Papist, or (stilo novo) a Roman Catholick: Upon this relation I shall take the boldnesse to make these following Animadversions.

1. In generall, It is very observable how easily he gives up the cause, how valiantly the Captaine fought in the field I know not, but sure I am, if he fought at the same rate that here he disputes, no man could desire an easier adversary: Happily because he was about to com­mence into a beliefe of the unbloody Sacrifice of the Masse, he was resolved his Antagonist should not have a bloody victory: I shall adventure to commend this patterne as an effectuall receit to make Papists, and (that you may see it is a [...] if not a [...] it will indifferently serve to make Turks, Jewes, Pagans, or He­reticks of any kind: Let a person unlearned or unstu­died in the point he debates (such as none that read this relation will deny this Author to have been unlesse they be such themselves) enter the lists with some able [Page 6] Champion of the adverse party (a Character which the Captaine himselfe ascribes to his then Antagonist) and when he meets with an objection that himselfe cannot Answer, let him conclude it unanswerable (which our Author did) and read two or three such Books as his Adversary shall put into his hand, if this do not speedily and effectually worke the cure, he may be given over for desperate.

2. Though to determine that this supposed conversion was a plotted businesse, may seem an intrusion into the Divine prerogative to judge the heart, yet this I may safely say, that it looks so like a plot, that it requires more then an ordinary charity to believe it was not: For as the Philosopher well observes, no man must (and no seri­ous man will) forsake a solid and well grounded Truth, for some subtill objection suggested by a crafty disputer, which he cannot answer; If it was not a designed thing, how can it be imagined, that in a matter of Salvation and damnation, he should be so grossely negligent in the use of means to come to the knowledge of the Truth and the answering of his Objection? Otherwise who can believe that he would not have addressed himself to some able Protestant Minister or Scholar to see whether he could Answer it, (unlesse peradventure, through the pride of his heart he scorned the advice of Ministers, and thought himselfe wiser then his Teachers, and then no wonder such pride had a fall) or would he not by the di­rection of some knowing Protestant have rather searched into some Protestant Books for an Answer, (as here he falls upon the reading of Popish Authors by the advice of a Papist) if he really were a Protestant at that time when he pretended to be so? for if this Captaine had understood those controversies, and spent that time in the reading of the solid Books of excellent Protestant Au­thors, and grounding himselfe in the Principles of Reli­gion, [Page 7] which he spent in talking and teaching others, and scribling of idle Pamphlets, and railing at Learned and Godly Ministers; these objections which through his ignorance and unacquaintednesse with those points seemed new to him, would have been discovered to him as they are to others, to be but coleworts not twice but twenty times sod; and Arguments long since ex­ploded.

3. To this let me adde, the wonder is the greater, and the designe more credible, to consider that his conversion should be wrought by such Authors: as Fiat Lux, and Knots Answer to Chillingworth: The former, nothing but an heap of words and an empty sound, which if stript of all its gauderies, and rhetoricall flashes, (apt to take none but children in understanding) and all the weight of reasons were pickt out and brought together, it might (without such Art as was shewed about Homer) be put into a Nut-shell; unlesse happily that was the Ar­gument that convinced him, that the Author tels us (us I say who are English-men and remember the Ma­rian Persecution, and the Irish Massacre, and the bloodi­nesse of the French Leaguers, and the barbarities of High and Low Germany, and the late Ferities of Piemont) that the Pope is a very honest Gentleman that never did any harme.

And for Knots infidelity unmasked, that man that shall take that Book for a solid confutation of Mr Chilling­worth, must have lost both reason and conscience; (for the losse of one of them will hardly serve turne) by which you may see the Captaine was prepared for a change, and like soft-Wax ready to receive the impres­sion. And this is all I shall say concerning the quality of the person, and the manner of his change; I shall now come to the Dogmaticall part.

[Page 8]The first and principall thing will be to consider the force of that Discourse which did the work, which though it be a very silly one, yet is commensurate to many mens capacities, and meeting with an ignorant proud or loose Protestant, sometimes is the meane of their perversion.

The Popish Gentleman asked me (saith my Author) whether I was so certainly and infallibly assured of the Truth of the Christian Religion, that it was not possible for me, or for those who taught me Christianity to be mistaken therein; and he gave me this reason for his question, that otherwise, as to me, Christianity could be no more then pro­bably true, and we could not condemne the Iew, or Turke, or Pagan, since they were as well perswaded of their severall wayes, as we could be of ours, upon a fallible certainty, and for ought we knew, (not having any infallible certainty for our Christianity) some of them might be in the right, and wee in the wrong way, for it is possible you may be mista­ken, pag 5, 6.

This is that, that did the deed, and this is the shield of Hercules, or rather the sword of Goliah, by which they sometimes do execution upon an ungrounded or ungodly Protestant, which therefore it will be worth while a little to insist upon.

1. Let it be observed, what rare Champions the Pa­pists are for the Christian cause, and what a singular course they take for the Conversion of Jewes and Turks and Pagans: For more clearnesse I shall represent it in a Syllogisticall forme: If the Church of Rome (i.e. the Pope and a Councell) be not infallible, a Jew, or Turke, or Pagan are as well perswaded of their severall waies, as we of ours, these are the Authors words: But the Church of Rome (whether you mean the Pope or Councel or both) is not infallible. This I hope hath been made evident enough from the foregoing discourse, Ergo, a [Page 9] Jew, or Turk, or Pagan are as well perswaded of their several wayes, as we of ours: a glorious Conclusion! and most true of Italian Christians: Turks and Pagans are as well perswaded of their wayes, as they are of Christia­nity. Nor is it without cause that so many Authors (some of them Popish) complain so much of the swarms of A­theists in the Church of Rome; for certainly this is as com­pendious a way to Atheisme as can lightly be imagined; to hang the verity of Christianity and the Pope's or Councels Infallibility upon the same pin; and conse­quently those learned Papists, who doubtless many of them laugh in their sleeves, to see so credulous and sim­ple a world to believe the latter, can easily shake off the sence of the former.

2 Let us examine a little the strength of this pretty Proposition: That if we be not infallibly assured of the truth of Christianity, Jewes, and Turks, and Pagans are as well perswaded of their wayes, as we of ours. What a mad assertion is this, that nothing is credible, but what is infallibly certain, and that there is no difference be­tween probabilities and improbabilities, and yet such Whirlpools and quick sands must they needs sink into, that give up themselves to the conduct of Popish guides and principles. I am not infallibly certain, that there is such a place as Iamaica, (for it is possible all Geographers may mistake, and all Travellers may lye, unlesse his Ho­linesse should chance to make a voyage to see:) therefore by this doughty argument, I am as cer­tain, that there is a Sea-passage to China by the North. I am not infallibly sure, that the Sun is bigger then a Bushel, (for Epicurus thought it no bigger, as Cicero informes us:) Therefore (it seems) I am as certain that there is a World in the Moon, or in every Star (as some Philosophers held.) I am not infallibly cer­tain of the existence and atchievements of Alexander the [Page 10] Great; by this argument it will follow, that I am no lesse sure of the history and adventures of St. George of Eng­land. What if I be not infallibly sure of the truth of the Christian Religion, may there not be such clear proba­bilities, and cogent evidence, that none but a mad man can deny it? What if in a frosty morning I should find 2 or 3 verses written upon a glasse window, will any man in his right wits doubt, that some man or other writ them? and yet it is not impossible (because it implies no contradiction) that the Frost (which oft times carves out various and curious figures) should some time or o­ther have a lucky hit, and fall into a vein of Poetry. Or what if I see a Calf in a field, will any sober man questi­on whether it came from a Cow, because I am not infal­libly certain it did not drop out of the Clouds, as once one did? In like manner, if I be not simply infallible (taking the word in a strict and proper notion) of the Truth of Christian Religion, yet certainly it may suffice against any Turk, or Jew, or Pagan, or Papist either, who in this argument, as in many other things, are confede­rate with them, whose Reason makes him a person fit for Discourse, that there are so great and many and pregnant evidences, that no man can deny without forfeiture of his reason, discretion, and modesty, and all the principles of humanity.

3 If this argument be cogent, and besides the certitudo objecti, the infallibility of the thing, there be required a certitudo subjecti, the infallibility of the Person, to be sa­tisfied, (which here is contended for;) then not onely the Pope and Councel, but every particular Christian must have this gift of Infallibility, (an ampliation of the priviledge which his great Ghostly Father will never al­low,) for mark it, that is the thing which the Catholick Gentleman urged, and where with my Captain was gra­velled: He asked me (saith he) whether I was sure and cer­tain, [Page 11] —and whether I was so certainly and infallibly assured of the truth of Christian Religion, or else (said he) as to me Christianity was but probably true, else it is possible you may be mistaken: and at this rate do they use to talke to such as they desire to Proselyte. By all which it appears, that the infallibility must be particular in every in­dividual person, that would be satisfied himself, or would convince another of the Truth of Christianity. I am not ignorant of a shuffling artifice, which this Catholick used in confounding two things together, necessary to be di­stinguished, as no wonder to meet with confusion of lan­guage in the builders of Babel, whilst he (too cunning for twenty of these Novices) states the businesse thus: He asked me (saith my Author) whether I was so certain, —that it was not possible for me, or for those who taught me Christianity, to be mistaken in this, p. 5. Here lies the my­stery of Iniquity, and here was the blind cast before the eyes of this unequal combatant, which he had neither wit enough to understand himself, nor humility enough to learn from others. But I shall endeavour to bring this Fox out of his hole by this Argument: Either a subjective certainty or infallibility of belief of the Truth of Christi­anity is necessary for particular Christians, or it is not: if it be not necessary, then in vain do Papists urge this ar­gument, and boast so much of it, as unanswerable; where­as now they give it up, and confess probable evidence sufficient for particular Christians, and Infallibility ne­cessary onely for the Pope or Councel: and so the poor Captain hath lost his Infallibility, and had best think of his old military word, As you were, for here the cord is cut asunder, by which he was drawn over to Rome, for now the Protestant stands upon even ground (at least) with the Papist. For suppose, for once, contradictions were reconciled, and the Popish opinion of the Churches infallible authority were true in it self certitudine objecti; [Page 12] so also is the Protestants opinion concerning the Infalli­ble authority of the Scripture true in it self, and certitu­dine objecti, as the most desperate Papists do grant, Staple­ton, and Bellarmine, and all. The Scripture (say they) is Divine, and true, and certain in it self, but not quo ad nos: therefore hitherto there is no difference: now to proceed. If it be a sufficient foundation for a Romanist, that he hath such probable evidence of this doctrine of the Churches Infallibility, why should it not be as sufficient a foundation for a Protestant, that he hath such (nay in­finitely more▪ probable evidence of the doctrine of the Scriptures Infallibility? since the evidence of the latter is granted by the Papists themselves, and the evidence of the former not onely denyed and disputed down by the Protestants, but also questioned by their own Authors, as I have shewed at large. This question I challenge the whole club of Jesuites, (which happily contributed to this Epistle) solidly to answer. But now on the other side, if they will retire to the other part of the Dilemma, and say, That a subjective Infallibility is necessary for particular Christians, then every Papist in England not onely hath a Pope in his belly, but hath got his Crown also upon his head, and communicates with him in that great Prerogative of Infallibility: and truly I must do them justice; without doubt every Papist in England is as infallible as the Pope himself.

4. But if nothing will satisfie but Infallibility, let us a little enquire into it, what it is, and where it lies, & what infallible and irresistible demonstrations the Romanists have for this grand principle, for which a man must put out the eye of his reason, and forsake the conduct of the Scripture, and depose the holy Spirit from his Royalty. Certainly it is madnesse in the highest to put us off with conjectures, and suppositions and imagined probabilities in so important an affaire, upon which all the rest depends, [Page 13] and to which all must strike saile; so then the que­stion will be this, whether this pretence of Infallibility be not a gratis dictum, a crude and bold assertion, or ra­ther, whether it be evidenced with such strength and clearnesse, as to compell the assent of all reasonable per­sons: And here I shall do the Captain and the Popish cause this right, as to consider it in its most advantage­ous notion. If there be any Infallibility, most certain it is, that it is in the Pope and general Councel together, which is the most plausible and received opinion of the Church of Rome. And here it is that our English Apo­state, Mr. Cressy, in the last Edition of his Book, centers; and here also the Captain casts anchor: The Prelates of the Church (saith he) though as men they are fallible, yet when assembled in a general Councel with their supreme Pastor, they are still made infallible by the assistance of the same holy Ghost, who was as well promised to them as to the Apostles.

Now for this notion, I might refer the Captaine and the Reader to what I have said and proved in the fore­going [...]reatise, which when he, or any of his Fathers shall solidly answer, it will be time enough then to consider it. But because this is the sole foundation upon which the Papists build all the rest, and Mr. Cressy adjures all Prote­stants, that omitting or deferring all particular disputes with Catholicks, they would examine this point, Sect. 2. Chap. 19. and because I am resolved by God's help to search and try where the strength of this Sampson lies, (if there be any in it) I shall a little farther consider it; and if I find his arguments proportionable to his confidence, and that he is as solid in proving it, as he is daring in as­serting it, surely he will do the Christian world an inex­pressible favour, and infinitely oblige all Protestants, and he will find us far from the madnesse of fighting a­gainst God and our own soules. But since all is not Gold [Page 14] that glisters, and our Savour hath commanded us to try the Spirits, and to prove all things, and not to believe men, saying, Lo here is Christ, or, Lo there is Christ; they must not take it amisse, if, after such evident discovery of their manifold impostures, we dare not take all things upon trust from them, nor swallow down so great a mor­sell without chewing, and enquiring into it.

It seems to be granted on both sides, and the nature of the thing requires it, That this being a grand principle should have the greatest evidence, which things of that nature can bear: and such indeed they pretend for it. So Mr. Cr [...]ssy tells us, That as this controversy was of infi­nite importance, Providence hath suitably furnished us with means of satisfaction —infinitely more copious, evident, and powerful, then in any other besides. Exomolog. [...]ct. 2. chap. 18. And again: That which I undertake to make evident to J. P. is; that the Church speaking by a general Councel, con­firmed by the Pope, is an infallible guide, (and that with more evidence then he can produce for the Scripture it self.) Appendix to his Exomologesis chap. 4. num. 9. It is well that Saying and Doing are two things, or else the Prote­stant cause had been quite in the dust. If Mr. Cressy make this good, his worke is done, if not, it will concern him to remember from whence he is fallen, and repent of his Apostacy. So now we are come to the point, whether the Churches Infallibility be so evidently proved, as they pretend? They affirm, and I deny it: and the grounds of my denial have been a principal part of the foregoing discourse. I shall forbear repetitions, as much as is pos­sible, and shall here only give two arguments to shew, That this pretended evidence of of the doctrine of Infal­libility is but one of their [...], and a piece of their usual artifice, to give us confident affirmations in stead of evident proofs.

My first reason is taken from the inevidence of this [Page 15] doctrine to themselves, and many of their own Brethren. What a desperate assertion is it, to ascribe greater evi­dence to the Churches Infallibility, (which is denied by many of their own Authors,) then to the Divinity of the Scripture? (whose evidence is so great, that both Prote­stants and Papists universally acquies [...]e in it) I have al­ready represented the differences and dissatisfactions of their own Authors in this, supposed to be, most evident point. And certainly, it can be nothing but want of evi­dence, which hinders the assent of those, whose interest so powerfully obligeth them to it. Particularly I have shewed the vanity of that pretence of agreement be­tween their divided Authors in the Infallibility of the Pope and a Councel together, and that the several Par­tisans, howsoever they put them both together in name and shew, yet in truth they ascribe the Infallibility en­tirely to the one or other, either to the Pope alone, or to the Councel alone, and to the other onely in dependance thereupon. Infallibility is not partly in the Pope, and partly in the Councel, but wholly in the Pope, (say the Jesuites,) and from him communicated to the Councel, who are infallible no farther then they have his consent and concurrence. And on the other side it is wholly in the Councel, and in the Pope onely by participation from them, (say the Gallican Papists, and Anti-Jesuitical par­ty, and of this mind were those Councels that undertook the censuring and removing of Popes themselves.) And consequently, the Infallibity of Councels not being evi­dent to the Jesuites and their party, and the Infallibility of the Pope not being evident to the French Papists, and many others, it follows, that there is no evidence at all in either, nor in both together, their own Authors being Judges. For if I can prove to a Jesuite, That the Pope in Cathedrâ is not infallible, he will (and by his principles must) grant, That the addition of a Councel doth not [Page 16] make him infallible. And if I can prove to a French Pa­pist, that a general Councel rightly called and constitu­ted is not infallible, he will (and by his principles must) acknowledge the Pope's consent cannot render them in­fallible: so that indeed if either be disproved, both are disproved.

Nor doth any thing render this evidence more darke, and the Romish cause more contemptible, then the con­sideration of those poor Fig. leaves, wherewith Mr. Cressy seeks to cover his Mothers nakednesse in this particular. For when Mr. Chillingworth urged this very argument against their infallible Judge, that themselves were divi­ded about it, who it was, whether Pope or Councel &c. all that Mr. Cressy answers ad rem, is this; That these different Authors of theirs are all agreed in that decision of the Councel of Trent, It belongs to the Church to be Iudg of the true sense of the holy Scripture: an answer so desperate, that it shews that man, who could acquiesce in it, to be, if not a Papist by interest rather then Consci­ence, yet at least one given up by God to those strong de­lusions, threatned to the Followers of Antichrist, 2 Thes. 2. among whom he hath now listed himself. And doth this indeed end the differences? doth he offer that for an Answer, which his Adversary before had acknowledged? and is this all the relief they have towards the ending of all differences, and the satisfaction of their consciences? When Alexander was asked, To whom he would leave his Empire? and he answered; To the best: since he did not at all determine, who this best was, I think no man in his wits will say, this was a likely or effectual way to end the differences among the Graecians: It is true the Cap­tains were all agreed in genere, that it should be left to the best; but some thought one best, others another, and so the dissensions continued among them, and were not at all healed by that general agreement. In the very same [Page 17] manner, although they be agreed in the general, that the Church must judge, so long as they continue at vari­ance, and have implacable feuds about it who this Church is, they are not one whit nearer agreement. Suppose in former times a question arose between the Senate and Emperor of Rome, which was the chief power, and su­preme Judge of all Civill controversies; and the Subjects of the Empire were highly divided about it, some ascri­bing the supremacy to the Emperor, others to the Senate: would Mr. Cressy say, the Romanes are agreed, because they were all united in this, That the supreme power was to end all their controversies? Suppose 3 or 4 Competi­tors to a Kingdome, and the inhabitants thereof seve­rally divided about them; will any man on this side Bed­lam say, they are all agreed, because agreed in this gene­rall, that the King must rule? or must not every man ac­knowledg, that this agreement signifies but little, so long as they differ about this, which is that King? And is not this the very case of the Church of Rome? They are all a­greed (forsooth) not one dissenting voice among them: but how? why they are agreed that the Church is the judge. But, Mr. Cressy, the great difference is behind, who is the Church? the Pope, say some, a Councel say others, a Pope and Councel together say a third sort, (and the (several assertors of each opinion confute and destroy the rest,) and all that hold any of these opinions are univer­sally esteemed good Catholicks, saith Mr. Cressy in his Append, ch. 4. num. 7. So they are good Catholicks that dispute down the Pope's Infallibility, and they good Ca­tholicks too that dispute down the Infallibility of Coun­cels, and (for the reason before mentioned) they good Catholicks, that reject the infallibility of both together. And therefore tis a m [...]st impudent position, which Mr. Cressy layes down, (and the Papists are obliged to owne,) That the doctrine of the Churches Infallibility is so evident, [Page 18] that the Prot [...]stants are inexcusable, and [...], that do not receive it: out of thy own mouth will God judge thee, O thou unfaithful Servant, who hast thus ex­pressed thy self in another place; To my understanding there is some inhumanity in urging Protestants to more then Catholicks will be obliged to, or to thinke that to Protestants prepossessed with passion and partiality, that can be made evident, which is so far from being evident to some Catho­licks, that they renounce it. Appendix to the Exomologesis, ch. 4. num. 7.

To this might be added, as a farther demonstration of the inevidence of this point even to the Romanists them­selves, those secret checks which they meet with from their own consciences in the assertion of this supposed In­fallibility, discovered by their haltings, and corrections, and tergiversations, and self-contradictions in explication of this new phaenomenon. For however Mr. Cressy mounts this Infallibility so high, that it must not yield to Scrip­ture it self, yet both himself elsewhere, and their other Authors every where are contented with a far lower pro­portion. Bellarmine (whom Mr. Cressy rights and ap­proves) in his comparison of the Infallibility of the Church and Scripture, gives the preheminence to Scrip­ture in five several respects. See Cressy sect. 2. ch. 21. Truth, and our obligation to believe it, is in an higher degree in Scripture, then in the decisions of the Church. Cressy Appendix chap. 5. n. 2. And this Infallibility of the Church, though they will not suffer us to call it humane and moral, yet they dare not assert it to be Divine, but onely after a sort, and in some manner Divine, as the Author of Laua's labyrinth informes us. And this Infal­libility they farther confesse is not in way of immediate revelation or inspiration from God, but in the way of ar­gumentation and discourse. And here too they are won­derful cautious▪ for it is acknowledged by Bellarmine and [Page 19] Stapleton, and subscrib'd by Mr Cressy, That the Church is fallible in the premises, but infallible in the conclusion. Cressy ubi suprà, and sect. 2. chap. 32. and Append. chap. 5. In the decisions of the Church, the simple conclusion decided is onely accounted infallibly true, not so the principles upon which it depends, or reasons by which it is proved. Really these Romish Priests are admirable fellows in all things: Admirable Builders! Vitruvius himself might learn Ar­chitecture from them, for they can teach him how to build a solid and durable Edifice upon a rotten foundati­on: Admirable Logitians! Aristotle might go to School to them, and learn such Lessons as were above his appre­hension, for it is resolved, he must blot out his Axiomes, Conclusio sequitur partem debiliorem, and, Non debet esse plus in conclus [...]ne quàm in praemissis, and Ex falsis nil nise falsum: The Colledge of Jesuites at Rome are ready to make good the contrary against him, when Plato's great year shall bring him and them together upon the Stage. Admirable Divines! that have outdone their Lord and Master, and in spight of whatsoever is said by him Luk. 6.43, 44. will, it he please, maintain a dispute with him upon this Thesis, That a corrupt tree can bring forth good fruit, and that of thornes men may gather figs, and of a Bramb [...]bush grapes: and this shall be not probably de­fended, but infallibly demonstrated. For it were a silly thing to think, that they that are infallible Divines should be but fallible Disputants. But to return: The inevidence of this notion of the Churches Infallibility may sufficiently appear from Mr. Cressy's own expressions, (which have been observed by others) who by the evi­dence of the Truth was forced to this acknowledgment, That Infallibility is an infortunate word, that Mr. Chil­lingworth hath combated it with too great success, so that I could wish (saith he) the word were forgotten, or at least laid by, whereas all, that understand any thing, know, that it [Page 20] was not the word, but the thing which he combated; and his arguments were not nominal against the Title, but real against the thing it self. It is true, since this pas­sage was published and taken notice of, Mr. [...]ressy (ha­ving doubtlesse been severely school'd by his Superiors for such a dangerous passage) is grown more cautious, and hath stretched his wit (and I fear his conscience too) to palliate his assertion, and make an honourable retreat: and he honestly acquaints us with his design, i. e. being crafty to catch the Protestants with guile. Sect. 2. ch. 21. He that reads the Appendix to the second Edition of his Exo­mologesis, will easily discern the trepidations of a guilty conscience, whilst sometimes you shall find him tacitly denying the Churches Infallibility properly so called, and contenting himself with great Probability in the room of it: at other times you will meet him crying up this Infalli­bility in express or equivalent terms, and in most places having no salvo for himself but this; That his assertion, and the Protestants disputation did proceed upon the mistaken notion of Infallibility, which the Protestants ad­vanced to an higher pitch then ever the Church of Rome did, and so fought against an image that themselves had set up: which is so notorious a falsehood, that if Mr. Cres­sy's wit, and memory, and conscience had not all fai­led him together, he could hardly have run into it; since all Protestants of any note ever did, and particularly Mr. Chillingworth doth dispute against the Churches Infalli­bility, onely in that sense and degree which Mr. Cressy upon maturest advice in this second Edition hath thought fit to expresse in these words: That God will preserve his Church in all truth, so as to secure all believers, that she can neither deceive them, nor be deceived her self. sect. 2. chap. 21. Did ever any Protestant, that understood himself, or the point pretend to more? Not Mr. Chillingworth I am sure. They all knew and granted, that abolute infallibi­lity [Page 21] was Gods Prerogative, and neither pretended by the Church of Rome, nor was that opinion by Pro­testants fastned upon them: The onely question was, whether God did vouchsafe such infallible guidance to the Church, that she could not erre in her decrees, and decisions; This Papists affirmed, and Protestants denied: and let me adde, that this Infallibility is as high as was ever ascribed to the Prophets or Apostles and Penmen of the Holy Scripture: And although their infallibility be said to be larger or greater extensivè, because in them it reached to all sentences, and words, and Arguments, yet the Romanists themselves cannot say it is higher or greater intensivè, and the Articles of Faith or conclusive decisions decreed by Councels, are in their opinion as in­fallible, as the same are when they are laid down in the Scripture. This was the Notion Mr Chillingworth com­bated against, with so great successe as Cressy con­fesseth.

The second Argument to prove the inevidence of this notion of the Churches infallibility, I shall take from the impertinency and feeblenesse of those crutches or reasons wherewith they indeavour to support it: I observe the summe and strength of what he hath to say in this point is reducible to five heads.

The first and great pretence is this, Take away Infalli­bility and you destroy all Authority; all Authority, that is not Infallible is meer Faction and Rebellion, and Authority that reacheth onely to the outward appearance, or the purse Cressy Appen: ch. 7. num. 2. And elsewhere Infallibility and Authority are in effect all one as applied to the Church, Ibid c. 5. n. 14. And the assertions of the Churches Au­thority which are frequent in the Fathers Mr Cressy ur­geth as if they had been directly levelled at the Churches infallibility, Exomolog. Sect. 2. chap. 19. Nay, so daring is this man in his Argument, that not contented with his [Page 22] own pretended satisfaction in it, he will needs obtrude the same opinion upon that Noble Lord Falkland (which it is sufficiently known he abhorred) viz. that if the Ca­tholick Churches Authority and Infallibility were opposed all other Churches must expire: The Authority of the English Church would be an airy fantasme &c. Append. chap. 6. num. 9.

For Answer, I durst appeale to the conscience of this very man, but that Apostates in the Faith do at the same time make shipwrack of a good conscience: let any Ro­manist that is not prodigall of his damnation, seriously consider the grosse falshood of this bold supposition. What! no Authority without Infallibility? Belike there is no Authority in the King, because no Infallibility. He will say Civill Authority is but externall; But Eccle­siasticall reacheth the conscience, and commands the be­liefe of the inward man: Mr Cressy knew this to be a gratis dictum and justly denied by Protestants, and therefore he should have proved it, but crude supposi­tions and imperious dictates do passe among Romanists for solid demonstrations: Yet againe I would aske Mr Cressy whether the Assembly of the Clergy in France have Authority over that Church, or no: If he deny it I refer him to his brethren there for an Answer: If he grant it, then Authority may be without Infallibility: Againe I aske him whether the Pope without a Councell have Authority over the Church or no: If he deny it, 'tis at his perill; if he affirme it, then his Argument is in great jeopardy: For Protestants are allowed to disbe­lieve the Popes personall Infallibility: And he confes­seth (I gave you his own words before) that good Ca­tholicks deny it and dispute against it: Yet once more, When generall Councels have been called to determine the pretensions of Anti-Popes, or to depose usurping Popes, or when they have had differences with the Popes, [Page 23] I demand whether these Councels had any Authority or no? To say they had none, or that their Authority was but an airy fantasme I think Mr Cressy will not dare, and if they had, then either a Councell without the Pope is Infallible (which most Learned Papists now deny, and if Mr Cressy be of another mind let him tell us) or Autho­rity may be without Infallibility.

In a word that the World may see the complexion of an Apostates conscience, This very man will grant that there is an Authority in the Superiour over his Convent, in every Bishop over his Diocesse, in ever Generall over his order, and a weighty Authority too (as their vassals feel by sad experience) yet I hope these are not Infalli­ble, E. the more impudent is he that argues f [...]om Authority to Infallibility.

A second Argument is much of the same comple­xion, taken from the stile and practise of generall Councels which was to propose their Doctrines as infalli­ble truths, and to command all Christians under the paine of Anathema, and eternall damnation to believe them for such: That Authority which should speak thus not be­ing Infallible, would be guilty of the greatest tyranny and cruelty, and usurpation that ever was in the World. Append. chap. 4. n. 9.

This hath been fully answered before, and there­fore I shall here content my selfe with these two re­flections.

1. The utmost of this Argument (abstracting from the invidious expressions he here clothes it with, that it may have in tenour what it wants in strength) would be no more then this: That generall Councels in such a way of proceeding were mistaken and were liable to error: A proposition which he knew very well the Protestants did universally own, and I hope well may, since the Jesu­ites (so great a part and support of the Roman Church) [Page 24] have and do acknowledge that generall Councels and their decrees are not infallible untill the Popes consent be added, yet such Councels (as is notoriously known) have used to put their Anathema's to their decrees before the Popes assent was given: And yet forsooth (if you will believe a man that hath cast away his Faith) this Argument is more evident then we can produce for the Scripture it selfe (for so he saith, ibid.)

2. These Anathema's do not at all prove that such Councels either were or thought themselves Infallible: It is true, it is an Argument they thought one of these two things, either that the Doctrine proposed by them was Infallibly true (as indeed they did) or that their Au­thority was infallibly certaine (which they never preten­ded) either of these were a sufficient ground for such Anathema's; and therefore his Argument is infirme pro­ceeding à genere ad speciem, animal est, E. homo. They owned Infallibility E. they owned it in their Authority: Particular Pastors have a power to Anathematize and do so in case of Excommunication of Hereticks. Are they therefore infallible? If it be said they do it onely in pursuance and execution of the decrees of Councels: I Answer: If such persons (confessedly fallible) may Anathematize them that renounce the Doctrines deli­vered in Councels, because supposed to be Infallibly true, why may not the same persons Anathematize them that renounce the Doctrines expressely delivered in Scripture, which all grant to be infallibly true? Againe, if we look into the Records of Councels wee shall find that this practise of Anathematizing was not onely in use in gene­rall, but also in particular aud Provinciall Councells which are confessed to be fallible: E. Mr Cressy look to your Arguments and conscience better; once more, The Popes Anathemas a [...]l the World rings of, yet you have seen his Infallibility is denied by many and Learned Papists, and [Page 25] they too such as are universally esteemed good Catholicks, saith Mr Cressy Append. chap 4. num. 7. Therefore how durst he say, Anathema's are evidences of Infalli­bility?

The third Argument is taken from the promises of In­fallibility made to this Church. This Doctrine of the Churches Infallibility is the most expresse in Scriptures, saith Mr Cressy Sect. 2. chap. 26. n. 5. I suppose he told us so upon the same account that the old Painter wrot under his picture, This is a Lion, for fear some should have mistaken it for a Bull, for truely if he had not said it was most expresse there, any rationall man would have sworn the contrary.

I confesse I thought Mr Cressy (as well as Mr White and other Traditionall Doctors) had been sick of those pre­tences, and sufficiently discovered the impertinency of them to their purpose: and really when I read over the Scriptures quoted by him to prove this Infallibility, and consider how insignificant they are to his businesse, and how plainly, and fully, and frequently they have been answered by Protestants, (which he doth not here reply to) I must not dissemble that I find a great diffi­culty to believe his conscience could be satisfied there­with, sure I am whilest he was a Protestant (if he under­stood himselfe) he would have entertained such proofs with; contempt: I dare confidently say that most of the Scripture-allegations produced by the Quakers (in de­fence of their absurd and ridiculous opinions) are every whit as pertinent as any that are here cited: It is true they are materiall to that purpose to which they are cited by the Fathers, viz. to prove the Churches perpetuity and just Authority; but for Infallibility, how far the Fa­thers were from believing that I hope hath been made sufficiently evident from the foregoing Discourse, where also particular Answers have been given to their Argu­ments [Page 26] from these places, which when they solidly vindi­cate, it will deserve, and ( [...]) shall have our conside­ration. At present I shall content my self with this ge­nerall animadversion.

Those Scripturall promises pretended for the Churches Infallibility, either they do of themselves, without the Churches sence and exposition, evidently and solidly prove the point they are brought for, or they do not; if they say they do, then other passages of Scripture (un­doubtedly farre more plaine and positive for diverse do­ctrines rejected by the Papists) do of themselves, without the Churches sence and exposition prove those points they are brought for, and so Scripture may decide con­troversies; if they say not, then the Churches Infallibility must be supposed, before it can be proved from those Tex [...]s, which is I confesse agreeable to the Roman-Catho­lick way of Disputation, and fit for them that cannot endure reason should be judge, but I am sure it will never satisfie any man that hath any care of his consci­ence or Salvation: But I can tell the Reader good newes, and that which is strange too among Romanists, who use to confute Protestants by the meer naming of those Texts that have been substantially vindicated an hundred times. Mr Cressy hath one Chapter entitled the Validity of such Texts &c. so it is called, but I doubt it was the Printers mistake for invalidity, as will appeare upon perusall: He offers but one Argument for proofe of this Capitall Assertion, upon which all the Papacy de­pends, and it is this: The Antient Fathers do usually Argue against their Hereticks and Schismaticks from those promises, that Christs Church should continue for ever, and that the gates of Hell should not prevaile against her: Now (saith he) if these promises of Christ be not Infallible and ab­solute and that Church Visible: What then? then woe to the poor Fathers, then the Writings of these Fathers [Page 27] will prove to be the most foolish, impertinent, jugling, yea blasphemous and p [...]rnicious discourses that ever were. So Cressy Sect. 2. chap 28. that is to say (if we take the no­tion out of this odious dresse) they used fallacious Argu­ments: Very good! And is this that, that satisfied Mr Cressy's conscience? O the modesty of the man! you see a little thing satisfies him; but if he will cheat him­selfe, let him not think to cheat us with such ridiculous Arguments.

1. The utmost of what would follow is that the An­tient Fathers whose Writings are extant were Fallible, and liable to mistakes: A Proposition which I have for­merly proved, and the Popish Doctors themselves agree with us therein, I suppose Mr Cressy will not dissent.

2. If upon every impertinent and unconcluding Ar­gument produced by Fathers, Councels, or Popes, against supposed Hereticks, I should make this inference that they were all Juglers, Blasphemers, &c. Mr Cressy would think it a very harsh censure: When their great Lords and Masters argue at this rate (as he knowes who did) Arise Peter kill and eat, and here are two Swords: Ergo, the Pope hath civill and Spirituall power over all men: They that are in the flesh cannot please God: E. Priests should not be married: God made man after his own Image: E. Images are lawfull. Will Mr Cressy now say these were all Juglers, Blasphemers, &c? and their Writings the most foolish, impertinent, pernicious Dis­courses that ever were? either then let Mr Cressy qualify his censure there, or apply it here.

3. If the Fathers were supposed infallible, yet they might use impertinent and unconcluding Arguments: You must remember our Masters the Romanists while they assert the infallibility of the Pope and Councell, they cautiously distinguish between the conclusion and [Page 28] the mediums or Arguments to prove it: I will onely mind you of him whom they all so highly approve and applaud i. e. Stapleton (whom Mr Cressy followes and the rest of them) who (as you saw) limits this infallibility to the Conclusion, not to the premises or Argument: So if the Fathers were infallible (as you see and the Papists confesse they are not) yet this being onely in the Con­clusion, it will not at all secure them from impertinency and error in their Arguments or mediums used to con­firme the conclusions, which is all that this Discourse of Mr Cr [...]ssy pretends to prove: So now judge whether the Printer was not a knave (for sure the Author could not be so since he is a Benedictine) to set in the front of this Argument, The Validity, &c.

But you know non omnia possumus omnes: Peradven­ture Mr Cressy is a better respondent then opponent, and though he cannot at all prove his own assertion, yet he will at least solidly Answer his Adversaries: But alas! here he is so jejune that it moves my pitty; for when Mr Chillingworth pleaded that these promises were onely conditionall, if Christians should make use of Gods means —The Church should continue: Hereto (saith Cressy) the answer is very ready, Oh the benefit of a ready wit when attended with an easy Conscience! 1. There is no warrant from any circumstance in those Texts for such a new interpretation.

I will not ingage in that Argument, onely I will referre a parallel place to his consideration: It is said particular­ly concerning Jerusalem (which never was said concer­ning Rome) I have hallowed this house—to put my name therein for ever, and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually, 1 Kings 9.3. And it is again repeated con­cerning that house, that the Lord had said, In Ierusalem shall my Name be for ever, 2 Chron. 33.4. Then (if he have a conscience) let him Answer, whether there be not [Page 29] as much warrant from these Texts to prove this promise to Ierusalem to be infallible and unconditional, (which they grant it was not) as from the other Texts to prove them to be so to the Church of Rome. He need not take day to answer it.

His second Answer is wholly ad hominem, (and the o­ther you will say was little ad rem,) That Mr. Chilling­worth applies this to future times onely, not to past or present, and therefore it concernes not the dispute in hand about the Romane Catholick Church, which all English Protestants acknowledg to be a true Church of Christ. Just so they would perswade their Proselytes, that all Protestants grant that theirs is a safe way, and Salvation to be had ordinarily in the communion of their Church; whereas neither the one nor the other are true. But what if Pro­testants do, and Mr. Chillingworth did grant their Church to be a true Church, doth it therefore follow, these Texts were pertinently alledged to prove it? or did Mr. Chillingworth say, these promises were absolute for time past or present, and conditional onely for the future? no such matter: but these are onely his own dreams, and shufflings, who (pro more) when he cannot answer his Adversary, indeavours to blind his Reader. I have onely one thing more to observe upon that which (he tels us Mr. Chillingworth saw it) That if there were such promises of Indefectibility, none could challenge them but the Romane Church, since she onely claims them, all others lay down their claime. But that also is no more solid then the rest: for since this promise of Indefectibility is general and indefinite, it no more belongs to Rome then to any other particular Church: neither have they any more interest in the promise, because they boldly claime the Monopoly of it, (since an Usurpers claime gives him no just Title to the thing.) Nor have other Churches the lesse interest in it, because their conscience and modesty [Page 30] will not suffer them to appropriate it to themselves, (for though they extend this promise of Indefectibility to the whole Church, yet they reap the comfort and benefit of it, in as much as they are true members of that Church, and not upon any local or particular consideration.)

There is a fourth argument behind, taken from the Tradition or testimony of the present▪ Church: but this I have discoursed at large, and I hope discovered the folly of that new device: thither I refer the Reader.

A fifth argument there is, and that is all I find in Mr. Cressy, (for I have diligently searched him, and God is my witnesse I have indeavoured to single out the strong­est and most plausible passages in him, which I had not answered before,) and that is taken from the Churches Unity: One Church th [...]re cannot be, without one faith; nor one faith, where differences are irreconcileable; and no recon­ciling of differences, but by an Authority, and that infalli­ble. Append. ch. 6. n. 3. And again: The Sun shines not more clear (I suppose he means in the Cloysters of his Convent) then that there is no possible Vnity without Au­thority, nor no Christian Vnity without an Infallible Autho­rity. ch. 7. n. 2.

Ans. Very well: it being premised, That their onely infallible Authority is, as Mr. Cressy states it, the Church speaking by a general Councel confirmed by the Pope, Appen. chap. 4. num. 9. then, if this argument be solid, let Mr. Cressy take what follows: Then there was nei­ther one Church, nor one Faith, for the first 300 years, when there was no general Councel: then when the Pope dies, or his Sea is vacant other wayes (as it oft hath been) and when there is no Councel (as now there is none) there is no Unity in the Church of Rome: what thinks this man of the Gallican Church, which (unlesse they be throughly Jesuited) do still hold (as they used to do) that the Pope, personally considered, is not infallible, [Page 31] but onely with a general Councel: will he justify it in the Assembly of the French Clergy, that they have at this day no unity among them, and no way to reconcile their differences, because they have no infallible Authori­ty? But I shall not wast my time any longer with these impertinent and miscalled arguments: I shall leave the point with this short Memorandum, That it is a plain evi­dence of the desperatnesse of their cause, that all the great wit, and vast learning, and deep cunning of the Romish Doctors can furnish them with no better argu­ments then these. And since this is all that Mr. Cressy can pretend for his Apostacy, I would intreat him in his next to furnish me with some Answers to those that suspect his Change was not from Conscience, but Discon­tent or Passion, or Worldly Interest, (as affairs then stood:) for I confesse I am at a losse, and know not what to say for him; and the rather, because the pretended motives of his Conversion are so ridiculously absurd, and incredible, among which I find two that deserve a special remark. One is the scandalous personal qualities of Lu­ther and Calvin, which, if all that he saith of them were true and material, (as it is either notoriously false, or in­considerable,) yet it amounts to nothing against the Pro­testant cause, since though we own them for eminent persons, and worthy instruments, yet we readily acknow­ledge, they were lyable to error, and subject to passions and infirmities, no lesse then other men; nor did we ever make them the pillars and grounds of the Gospel, or the foundation and rule of our Faith. But that this should occasion his Change, I confesse is beyond the faith of Miracles to believe. This is prodigious, That the suppo­sed mistakes or miscarriages of two particular Protestant Doctors should really have greater influence to turn him from the Protestant Religion, then the real Blasphemies, and abominable filthinesses of their Masters and Pillars [Page 32] of their Faith and Church, viz. the Popes, should have to alienate him from the Popish Religion: and these things not feigned by Adversaries, (as most of their Calumnies against Luther and Calvin are) but acknowledged by their own Authors, who have left us a particular account of the several sorts of their villanies: so many Blasphe­mers, as Iohn 13. Iulius 3. &c. so many Hereticks, as Boniface 8. Iohn 23. so many Conjurers, as Sylvester the second, and his Successors for many successions; so many Whoremongers, so many Sodomites, Poysoners, Incestuous, and what not? 150 Popes (saith Genebrard) rahter Apostatical then Apostolical persons. And yet this tender-conscienced man, who knew all these things, and could bear with all this, and a thousand more such infirmities in the Popes, was so squeamish, that he was not able to endure the scandals of Luther and Calvin. And another motive he addes, not at all inferior to the former, viz. The bloudy commotions of the Calvinists, and the sanguinary Lawes and cruel execution of them upon Catholick Priests in England: And this was a great offence to him, who was well acquainted with the Massa­cres of France, of Germany, and the Low countries, and the English too in Popish times, who knew the history of the barbarous cruelties of the Inquisition torments, who himself had been an eye and ear [...]witnesse of the inhu­mane butcheries of above one hundred thousand inno­cent Protestants in Ireland. But all this did not move the good man at all: he could swallow Camels, but a Gnat hath choaked him. O Divelish Hypocrisy! But God will not be mocked, and I hope men that have any sense will not easily be deceaved to believe the sincerity of that mans Conversion, which is brought on by such ri­diculous Motives. But to return.

For a close of this great point, I shall leave three things to the consideration of any discreet and conscienti­tious [Page 33] Reader, and particularly of our two English Apo­states, with whom I am now treating, if they have any sense of Eternity or Conscience left.

1. That the principal Texts of Scripture, and argu­ments urged by them and others for the infallibility of the Pope and Councel together, either prove nothing to their purpose, or prove more then they would have or dare assert, i. e. they prove either the Pope or Councel to be infallible by themselves, and without any reference to the other, and are accordingly pleaded by each party for their opinion. As for instance: Thou art Peter, upon this rock &c. I will give unto thee the keyes &c. And Si [...] monI have prayed, that thy Faith fail not: and the like. If these Texts prove any Infallibility, the prove they In­fallibility of the Pope, or St. Peter's Successor, whether with or without a Councel. So on the other side, the Texts of Scripture pleaded for the Infallibility of Councels from what was said to or of all the Apostles: H [...] that heareth you, heareth me. It seemed good to the holy Ghost and us. Where two or three are gathered together. I am with you to the end of the world: If these Texts prove any Infallibili­ty, they prove the Infallibility of all the Governours of the Church, and Successors of the Apostles, at least when they are assembled together, without any special refe­rence to the Pope, who is but one of them. And because it is sufficiently evident, that these places do not prove the infallibility of those, of whom they are acknowledged primarily and formally to speak, (which is so evident, that we have thousands of the most learned and resolved Papists consenting to us herein, as is before proved,) it is therefore a strange presumption to pretend these places cogent proofs of the infallibility of them, of whom these Texts are confessed not to speak save onely by implicati­on: and consequently the infallibility of Pope and Coun­cel together, (which is the chief retreat of the most sub­tile [Page 34] and cautious Papists) is destitute of solid proof, and an ungrounded assertion.

2 [...] If all that these men say were granted, that a general Councel confirmed by the Pope were the infallible Judge, yet since there is now no such thing, (nor like to be,) as a general Councel in the Church of Rome, but the Pope stands upon his own legs, therefore the Church of Rome at this day is not infallible▪ and hath no infallible Judge, and no way to end their controversies, nor any advantage above Protestants therein. If they say, the Pope hath the assistance and concurrence of general Councels in their writings and Decrees, I answer: The infallible Judge, which they plead for, must according to their principles be a living judge, and therefore requires the existence of the Councel, as well as of the Pope. I would aske Mr. Cressy this question: Is the Pope infallible in his exposition and application of the Decrees of Coun­cels, or no? if he be, then the Pope alone is infallible without a Councel, (which himself confesseth is a propo­sition so harsh, that Protestants should not be urged to acknowledge it:) if he be not, then they have no infallible judge at Rome at this time, [...].

3. Since the present Romanists have now no Anchor­hold but the Pope's Infallibility, (for general Councel there is none,) and by Mr. Cressy's argument, if there be no Infallibility, there is no Authority, and therefore no Unity, and therefore no Faith: I shall desire the Reader to reflect upon the character of that person, who is so boldly asserted the Supreme Infallible Judge of all con­troversies in Religion: I will not take it from Protestants (least they should be thought partial,) but as it is drawn by a Papist & he too one non è multis, one so eminent for learning and prudence, and trustiness, that he was imploy­ed by the French Bishops to manage that great affaire a­gainst the Jesuits at Rome: it is St. Amour, in that famous & [Page 35] known book, his Journal concerning the Transactions at [...] Rome, relating to the five Propositions controverted be­tween the Molinists and Iansenests, where it is left upon Record, in perpetuam rei memoriam, That when he solli­cited the Pope (Innocent the Tenth) to decide that con­troversy, and to that end presented a paper to him, desiring him to read it, the Pope (saith my Author) would not re­ceive and read it, because he said this would engage him fur­ther, and oblige him to too great toyles, as he knew the dis­cussion of this matter required, even of such as had applyed themselves to that study all their time, but much more pains must it cost him then others; because (said he, they are the Popes own words) it is not my profession, besides that I am old, I have never studyed Divinity: Part. 3. chap. 12. And yet this is the ground and pillar of Truth, this is the prime subject of Infallibility, the great Judge of all controver­sies, (to whom Scripture, Reason, Spirit, all must vaile,) whose Decisions must be taken for the Oracles of God. And the same Pope Innocent the Tenth tels this story of a predecessor of his, Clement the 8. who (saith he) after he had caused this matter (viz. the question between thē Iansenists and Iesuites) to be debated in his presence for a long time by the most excellent men, after he had studied them himself with very great care, (so that as he remembred, some toook occasion thereby to say, that Clement the 8. began very old to study Divinity,) yet he could not at last decide any thing therein, but was fain to impose a perpetual silence upon both sides. This is the man that must infallibly decide all controversies, that could not decide this, and we (for­ [...]ooth) must all venture our soules upon his unerring gui­dance, that is not convinced of it himself, and our Pa­pists most impudently assert the Pope's Infallibility, who modestly acknowledged his own ignorance and insuffici­ency. These things I hope may abundantly suffice for the demolishing of the grounds of their Faith, I must [Page 36] now speak something to the establishing of ours. The ra­ther, because the Captain requires it in his Answerer, not to proceed in the way of Negatives, not to rest in pulling down, but to assert what we would establish. And Mr. Cressy takes notice of Mr. Chillingworth and his book, That he was better in pulling down buildings, then raising new ones, and that he hath managed his Sword much more dexterously then his Buckler; and that Pro­testants do neither own and defend the positive grounds which Chillingworth laid, nor provide themselves of any safer Defence. Exomolog. sect. 2. chap. 3. num. 4.

To which it might suffice in general to reply, that if once the grounds of their Faith be demolished, and their great pretensions of supreme and infallible Authority sub­verted; if it be proved, that neither the Pope, nor Coun­cels, nor Church of Rome be infallible, theu the Protestant Churches at least stand upon even ground with the Church of Rome, and whatsoever they can reasonably pretend for the stablishing of their Faith, will tend to the securing of ours; and if Protestants have no solid and sufficient foundation for their Beliefe, neither have the Papists any better: and then one of these 2 things will follow: Either that Scripture, Reason, and the concur­ring testimony of former Ages, and Churches, and Fa­thers are a firme Basis for a Christians Faith, independent­ly upon the churches authority, and infallibility, (and this is a certain Truth, though utterly destructive to the church of Rome,) or else (which I tremble to speak, and yet these desperate persons are not afraid to assert,) that the Christian Faith hath no solid ground to rest upon, (I mean without the Churches infallible Authority, which is now supposed to be discarded and disproved.) Now here it must be confessed, that some Protestants expresse themselves too unwarily in the point, whereby they give the Adversary some seeming advantage and [Page 37] occasion to represent our Doctrine to their ignorant and deluded Proselytes, as diversified into three or four severall and contrary opinions, about the judge and rule of Faith, which some are said to ascribe to the Scriptures, o [...]ers to the Spirit of God within them, others to reason, and others to universal [...] Tradition, whereas indeed all these are really agreed, and these are not so many seve­rall judges or rules, but all in their places and orders do happily correspond to the constitution of the Protestant ground of Faith, which I shall make thus appeare by the help of a threefold distinction.

1. VVe must distinguish between the judge and rule of Faith, which the Papists cunningly, and some others inconsiderately confound, for instance: If I should assert the Church to be the Judge, or Reason to be the judge, yet the Scripture is the rule to which the Judge is tyed, and from which if it swerve, so far forth its sentence is null.

2. VVe must distinguish between Judge and Judge, and here we must take notice of a triple Judge according to the triple Court, forum coeli, forum Ecclesiae, forum con­scientiae, the Court of Heaven, the Court of the Church, and the Court of Con [...]cience. Accordingly there are three Judges.

1. The Supreme and truly Infallible Judge of all con­troversies, and that is God and Christ who appropriates it to himselfe t [...] be the alone Law-giver, Iam. 4.12. And this is so proper to God, that the blessed Apostles durst not ascribe it to themselves, (however their successors are grown more hardy) not for that we have dominion over your Faith, 2 Cor. [...].24. This judge is Lord over all both in the Church and in the conscience, which are all subordinate to him.

2. There is an externall and politicall Judge, placed by God in the Church, and these are the Governors [Page 38] whom Christ hath placed in and over the Church: and these are subordinate to the Supreme Judge, who if they really contradict His soveraigne Sentence and higher Authority, and require things evidently contrary to the will of their and our master, must give their subjects leave to argue with the Apostle Peter (and I tell you it was an unhappy accident that St Peter should furnish the Protestants with such an Argument, as would puz­zle all his Successors to Answer) Whether it be right in the sight of God to harken unto you more then unto God, judge ye, Acts 4.19.

3. There is an internall and secret Judge, placed by God in every particular person, and that you may call Reason or Conscience; for as God hath made every man a reasonable Creature, and capable to judge of his own actions, so he hath not given that faculty (no more then the rest) to be for ever suspended, and wrap [...] in a Nap­kin, but to be duly exercised, nor would he have men like bruit beasts that have no understanding, but every where calls upon them to Judge: I speak to wise men, judge ye what I say, 1 Cor. 10▪ 15. And the service God requires of every man must be [...] reasonable service, Rom. 12 1. And every man must be ready and able to give a reason of the hope that is in him, 1 Pet. 3.15.

3. We must distinguish between an instrument and an argument. And here lies the Golden mean by which a man may avoid those contrary Heresies both equidi­stant from the Truth, I mean the Socinian on the one hand, and the Papist on the other, whereof the former would make reason a soveraigne, un [...]versall judge to which even Scripture it selfe must vaile: And some go so high that I remember one of them faith: If the Scrip­ture should say in expresse termes, That Christ is the most High God, I should not believe it (because utterly [Page 39] repugnant to reason) but seek some other sence of those words. And the latter (the Romanists) would quite put reason out of office, and in terminis submit to a blind or implicit obedience without any examination, whereas the truth lies between both. Reason or Conscience is not an Argument (I meane in matters of Faith purely such) that is, I do not therefore believe such a Doctrine of Faith to be true, because my reason or conscience, in it selfe and by vertue of rationall and extrascripturall Argu­ments tels me it is true (for this were to make my reason the rule and standard of Truth) but my reason or consci­ence believes such a thing to be true, because it reads or hears such Arguments and evidences from the Scripture as are the undoubted [...] of the Truth. And thus reason is the instrument by which I apprehend the Ar­gument which compels my beliefe: So againe the Spirit of God (as in this controversy it is taken for the gifts or graces of a believing Soule) or its ordinary suggestions in my mind are not the argument by which I am con­vinced of the Truth of a Doctrine, (for I may be deceived by a false spirit under the Title of Gods, and I am com­manded to trie the Spirits and not to believe every Spirit) but it is the instrument (as I may so speak) by which I am enabled to understand the weight and force of those Arguments which are recorded (suppose) in the Scriptures, or rather to speak most properly, reason is the instrument, and Gods Spirit is the great helper and assistant by which that instrument is elevated and fitted to discerne those linearnents of Truth which God hath drawn in Scripture or elsewhere, whence alone the Ar­guments for proof of the Truth are derived: So now the state of the question is reduced to a narrow compasse, and I shall lay it down in these Propositions.

1. Supreme and Infallible judge upon earth we know none, and I hope from what hath been said and proved [Page 40] at large it appeares that there is none, at least the Pope and Councell and Church of Rome is none.

2. An externall politicall judge in the Church we wil­lingly acknowledge and reverently esteeme, The true and rightfull Governors of the Church orderly Assembled, and proceeding regularly in Councels (whether lesser or larger) are the externall judge, whose decisions are to be highly valued, whose orders are not rashly to be de­spised or contradicted, yet three Cautions wee must interpose. 1. That this Judge is not infallible, but sub­ject to error. 2. That this Judge being subject to an higher Authority, and tied to an higher rule, if its decisi­ons or commands be manifestly repugnant to that supe­rior Authority and rule, they are not to be received and obeyed. 3. That this Judge is constituted by God in the Church, not for the command of mens consciences, but for the regulation of their actions, and for the preser­vation of the peace of the Church, which is not violated by mens inward and unknown sentiments, but by their externall demeanor and sensible effects of them: And therefore this is abundantly sufficient for the preservati­on of order and peace in the Church.

3. Every mans own reason and conscience is judge for himselfe, and for the guidance of his own actions: State it in this manner, and I know no hurt at all in ma­king reason a Judge: Christ himselfe when he Preached in the World he propounds the Articles of Faith to the reasons of his hearers, and calls upon every one of them to judge (so far as concerned his own apprehensions or actions) Luke 12.57. Yea, and why even of your selves judge you not what is right. Christ no where commands his hea­rers blindly to submit to the decrees of the present judge their Church, the high-Priest and Councill, but calls upon them to judge for themselves, to beware of the Leaven, i.e. the false Doctrine of their Rulers, Matth. 16.12. [Page 41] and (which is more) refers his own Doctrine to their sear­ching, which is an act of reason, Ioh. 5.39. Search the Scriptures? But alas this reason is imperfect and corrupt and dimsighted in matters of Faith, therefore something farther is necessary. Therefore

Prop. 4. That reason may be a competent judge of matters of Faith: It is necessary that it be assisted and elevated by the spirit of God, whereby of the rationall he is made a Spirituall man, and eo nomine a fit judge of such affaires. 1 Cor. 2.15. He that is Spirituall Iudgeth all things. As that a man may exactly see those Heavenly Bo­dies which are at a great distance from us, it is necessary to look upon them thorough a Glasse, without which a man could not discerne many of them: So are the aides of Gods spirit to help our purblind reason, which without these could not discerne things afarre off, according to 2 Pet. 1▪9.

Prop. 5. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the Infallible rule and ground and touch­stone of Faith, by which both Churches and all particular persons are to be regulated in their faith and manners, from which all controversies of Faith are to be decided and judged, to which all are perfectly subordinate, by which all the opinions of men and decisions of Councels are to be examined, and they that swerve from and are opposite to this rule, are ipso facto null and void, and so to be esteemed by all Christians. I rather call it a rule then a judge, because there is an [...] in the word, the appellation of judge by common use being appropriated to persons, but it is the voice and writing of our Sove­raigne Lord and judg by which all inferior judges are to be guided in their decrees.

Propos. 6. Uniuersall Tradition rightly understood (viz. the concurring testimony of all Churches, and ages, and persons in their Writing [...] left us) is of great use and [Page 42] force, and is the Vehiculum or Channel by which that Scripture, (which alone is our rule) is conveyed to us. But here I must adde these two Cautions.

1. Tradition though necessary to convey the rule to us, yet is no part of the rule. I must here distinguish be­tween res tradita the thing delivered, and traditio the Tra­dition or delivery of it: If Tradition be understood in the former sence (as the Papists understand it) for cer­taine unscripturall Doctrines delivered by Tradition, we know no such thing, and by comparing the boldnesse of their pretensions to such Traditions with the weaknesse of their proofes and evidences, we plainly discerne they can make out no such thing: But if Tradition be taken for the conveyance or delivery it selfe, or for the Testi­mony of the Church successively given to the Truths and Books of the Scripture, we confesse it is of great use and in some sort necessary, to bring the rule to us, yet (as I say) it is no part of the rule: As that bread which nourisheth me, it is necessary that it be brought to me in some Basket or other Vehiculum, yet it is the Bread alone, not the Basket which nourisheth me: The VVater of such a remote but excellent Spring which quencheth my thirst could not come to me, if there were not a channel to convey it, yet it is the VVater alone which refresheth me, not the channel. The decrees or Acts of King and Parliament are the onely rule by which our forreigne plantations are governed, and to which such as are judges there are tyed (yea so farre tyed that if those Judges should impose contrary commands, as for example; If they should command the people to rebell against the King, they are bound not onely to examine their com­mands, but to disobey them) But it is altogether necessa­ry that there should be a ship wherein such Acts or de­crees should be conveyed to them; yet it were a very ab­surd thing to say the Ship is a part of the rule, though the [Page 43] Papists (whilest from the necessity of Tradition they infer that it is a part of the rule) do apparently runne into the same solecisme. In a word, Tradition was not appoin­ted by Christ as a part of that ground upon which we were to build our rule, by which we were to try particu­lar Doctrines and Articles of Faith, but was necessary, not [...] ex instituto Christi, but ex natura rei, and from the con­dition of humane affaires, there being no other way (without a new revelation) possible or imaginable to con­vey the Gospell and Scriptures to those that were to live so many hundred years after the first publication of it: Tradition being to us, that which Eyes and Eares were to them that were Eye-witnesses of his convincing mira­cles, and Eare-witnesses of his irrefragable discourses, that is neither their Eyes and Eares were, nor to us Tradition is the Argument and ground of our Faith, but a ne­cessary meane or instrument to convey those Arguments and grounds of Scripture which were convincing and satisfactory.

2. This Tradition is no Act of Authority, but onely of testimony, not at all peculiar to the Church or gene­rall Councels, but common to all antient VVriters: Yea let it be observed as a very materiall consideration in this point, so far is the Capacity of a Church from being ne­cessary to the validity of this Tradition and Testimony, concerning the great rule of our Faith the Holy Scrip­tures, that the Testimony and Tradition of such as neither are the Church nor any part of it, but enemies to it (I meane Jewes and Heathens) are in some respects more considerable, according to that known maxime—Testi­monium adversarii contra se est validissimum. It being one of the best Arguments (and at this day so urged both by Protestants and Papists) for the truth of the Holy Scriptures, and particularly of the Gospell, that the truth of those Historicall relations of Christs miracles was ac­knowledged [Page 44] by the most Learned Jewes and Heathens that lived in antient times: And by those considerations we may discerne the vanity of that triviall calumny of the great differences among Protestants about the rule of Faith and judge of Controversies, whereas by what hath been said (which is no other then the common Doctrine of the Protestant Churches and Writers, how­ever sometimes they seem to differ in modo explicandi) it appeares how all these severall things concurre like so many Stones fitly compacted together to make up the building of our Faith; which (that I may in few words present it to the Readers review) is this:

The Scripture is the Object, the onely rule and stan­dard of Faith, by which all controversies of Faith are to be decided and judged, the res creditae, and the ratio cre­d [...]ndi. Tradition is the Vehicle to conveigh this rule to us and our times: Reason is the instrument by which I apprehend, or the eye by which I discerne or see this rule: The spirit of God is the Eye-salve that anoints mine Eye and inables it to see this rule: The Church is the interpreter (though not infallible and authentick) the witnesse, the guardian of this rule, and the applier of the generall rules of Scripture to particular cases and times and circumstances.

And things being thus stated (which is really the sence of Protestants in this great point, as it were easy to shew from the confessors of our Churches and the Treatises of our most and choicest Authors) is it not at all diffi­cult to blow away with a breath those pitifull cavils, whereby they indeavour to perplex the mind of ignorant or prejudiced persons, lest the light of the Gospell should shine into their minds. One thing is worth our Observation, That diverse of the Popish arguments do wholly arise from, and depend upon, either some in commodious expressions of some Protestant Writers, or [Page 45] some false exposition put upon them by the adversaries; As for instance, when they argue against the Scripture from the nature of a Judge, that a Judge must heare parties, must not be mute, but passe sentence, &c. All these and many such cavillations are thus silenced by saying that which is true, that it is an [...] and fi­gurative expression when we call Scripture a Judge, in as much as it is the voice or writing of our Judge, and in­deed it is a rule: So their Arguments against the judg­ment of reason, either have no weight in them at all, or else depend upon a scandalous and untrue suggestion, as if the Protestants made reason the Judge in a Socinian sence: So their Arguments against the Spirits being judge do proceed I doubt from a willfull mistake (for in their Learned Writers it cannot be ignorance) as if the Protestants submitted Scripture and reason and all to the judgment of the spirit in themselves in an Enthusiastick notion, which is so farre from being true, that they try and judge of the spirit by the Word according to Apo­stolicall prescription. This being premised, I come now to treat with my Captaine, and weigh his Arguments that have any colour or appearance of truth in them.

And first he argues against reasons being the judge of Controversies: Concerning which let me be bold to say thus much, That the Papists themselves do make reason judge of Controversies as farre as the Protestants do, though both the one and other tye up this judge to a rule. If it be said the Protestants make the reason of every particular man judge, (which indeed they do, in the sence forementioned and for their own actions) so do the Papists make the reason of the Pope or a Councell the judge, For when they say the Pope or Counsell is the Judge of Controversies: I would know what it is in them, if not their reason which is the judge; as it is their reason which examineth and heareth and considereth, [Page 46] so sure, it is the same reason which concludeth and judg­eth, so that the question between the Papists and Prote­stants is not whether Reason be the judge, but whether the reason of particular persons, or the reason of the Pope or Councell.

The Arguments which he urgeth against the judg­ment of reason are so irrationall that it is sufficient con­futation to mention them.

1. (Saith he) Reason must submit to the Judge, E. it is not the Judge. Answ. It is true, supreme Judge it is not, but subordinate and tied to rule: Protestants assert no more.

2. The Judge must be Infallible; but reason is Fallible, Ergo: Answ: The Major is a pitifull petitio principii, They that help'd him to make his Book will tell him what it meanes.

3. If reason were Judge, a man might please God without Faith, for reason would teach us sufficiently how to please God. Answ: The same Argument will overthrow his Church: If the Church be the Judge, then a man may please God without faith, for the Church tea­cheth us sufficiently how to please God.

4. If Reason be Judge we must not believe what we do not understand.

Answ: Non sequitur, For this Judge is tied up to a Law and rule which commands us to believe what we do not understand.

But I am sick of such wofull Arguments, though the poore Captaine hath no better, and therefore I will quit that work and come to that which is more materiall viz. To try whether he hath any better against the Scripture: And here also I shall do his cause that right as with him to take into consideration what is said by Mr Cressy in his Exomologesis, which I am the more willing to do, because if the Popish cause have any strength in it, and if the [Page 47] Doctrine of the Scripture alone being Judge and rule of Controversies be untrue and indefensible (as they pre­tend it is) we may expect the demonstration of it from a man of his wit and learning and experience in the Con­troversy, as having thoroughly considered all pretensions and arguments of both parties, and taken in the advice of the most famed Doctors of the Romish Church: But I must not dissemble that I was wofully disappointed in the perusall of Mr Cressy's piece, and whereas I expected something solid and substantiall, or at least very plausi­ble, which I might have some ground in charity to believe might give at least a colour for his change, I find little in him worthy of consideration, but what hath allready received satisfactory Answers: Yet because the cause affords no better Arguments, I shall briefly consider what he and the Captaine and his assistants deliver in this matter.

That the Scripture is not the onely rule of Faith and Judge of Controversies, is the Proposition they at­tempt to prove, and their Arguments are those which follow.

Arg. 1. Scripture cannot be this Judge and Rule, because it did not answer its end, for they that own this Judge disagree among themselves, Everard Epist. p. 33. Scripture doth not reconcile them. Thus Cressy, by this rule it is impossible that ever Controversies should be ended, Sect. 2. chap. 4. n. 1.

Answ. Scripture might be (as really it was) designed instituted and ordained for the ruling of mens Faith and the judging and deciding Controversies, though through the depravednesse of men, this end might not be obtained: If this Argument have any weight in it, I may upon the same ground argue thus: Preaching of the Gospell was not instituted for the salvation of the World, because it doth not answer its end, but proves to many a favou [...] [Page 48] of death: Or the Law of God was not instituted by God for a rule of life, because it doth not obtaine its end, and men will not be ruled by it: In a word let it be observed, If this Argument prove any thing, it proves what the very Papists deny, that the Scripture is not so much as a part of the rule, neither of Faith nor manners, for still according to the present Argument it doth not Answer its end, for there is no one controversy in Faith, which Scripture alone decides, so as to silence all differen­ces, which is the thing pretended necessary to a Judge of Controversies. For the further discovery of the imper­tinency and vanity of this Argument, however it is their Goliah which they boast most of, I shall offer them this Dilemma relating to that power of ending all differences among Christians which they suppose was necessary for, and by Christ committed to the Judge of Controversies, Either (I say) that power is absolute, unconditionall and effectuall, and if so, there could be no Heresies, Schismes, or differences in the Christian World, which we see is most false; or it is a conditionall power sufficient of it self for the ending of differences, though frustrable and impedible in its effects by the ignorance or perversenesse of men (which is the reall truth) And in this sense the Scripture may be judge, i. e. there is enough in it said and clearly delivered, by which all Controversies might be ended, if men would be humble, studious, and self-denying: and in the former sense the Church of Rome is no judge of Controversies. Peradventure it will be said that all men are bound to submit and hearken to all the decrees of the Church of Rome, and when they do so submit, it is an effectuall meane to end all differences: In the very same manner and upon farre better grounds I say of the Scripture, that all are bound to submit and hearken to all its Councels and decrees, and when they do so, it will effectually end all Contro­versies: [Page 49] If it be further said, that the Church hath a power of coercion to compel dissenters to submit: I Answer either that coercion they speak of is spirituall by Church censures & excommunication, &c. or civill by corporall penalties death, &c. If they understand it of civill coercion, that is not at all necessary nor intrinsecall to an Ecclesiasticall judge of Controversies, otherwise the Apostles (who had not this civill power:) Nay Christ himselfe (who denies that he was judge or ruler) should not be such a Judge, and the Church for the first 300 years had no judge of Controversies: Nay, the Papists themselves in pretence at least abjudicate this from the Church, and referre it wholly to the Civill Power: If they speak of a Spirituall coercion, then the Scripture hath such a power of infli­cting Spirituall penalties upon its violaters and contem­ners, such as obduration, and ejection from the presence of God, and such excommunication as the other is but a shadow of it: And whether they speak of one or other, the Protestant Judge of Controversies is not destitute of either advantage: If it be remembred that the Prote­stants own an Ecclesiasticall Politicall Judge, whi [...]h Judge although their modesty will not suffer them to pretend to Infallibility, and a power to oblige all people to receive all their decrees though anti-Scripturall, without enquiry; and though they say with the Apostle, they have their power for edification, not for destruction. 2 Cor. 13.10 and they can do nothing against the Truth but for the Truth, and though it is their advice to their peo­ple, which was the counsell of the Apostle to his people. 1 Cor. 11.1. Be followers of me even as I also am of Christ: Yet they have a power to explaine and maintaine the Doctrines of the Scripture, and they acknowledge a pow­er in the Magistrate by civill sanctions and penalties to suppresse and restraine such as shall corrupt the Truth and infect peoples soules with the poyson of Hereticall [Page 50] Doctrines. And this may abundantly serve for Answer to their Achilles or principall argument which makes such a noise in the world.

Arg. 2. Scripture cannot be a perfect rule, because some books of Scripture are lost, and it is the whole Scrip­ture which is this rule.

Ans: 1. Then Tradition also cannot be a rule, for di­verse Traditions are lost as Cressy confesseth, Sect. 1. ch. 8. n. 5. and all the Papists acknowledg.

Answ. 2. It doth not at all appeare that any one of those Books are lost which concerned controversies of Faith, or the rule of Life; All which to this day hath been proved is this, That some Books Written by Holy men and Prophets are lost: But it is a vaine imagination, without the shadow of a proofe, that all which was writ­ten by such men was a part of Canonicall or Divine Scripture, for we read that the Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, which inspired them not at all times, but onely when he pleased, there being this difference between the spirits inspiration of Christ and all other Holy men, that it was in Christ with­out measure, and without difference of time, but in the Apostles it was a gift, confined to such seasons and pro­portions as God saw fit for them. Is any man so ab­surd as to think that every letter which a Prophet or Apostle might write about any private affaires was a part of the Sacred Scripture? Or if Solomons Herball were extant, must it needs be admitted into the Canon of the Sacred Scripture? Or how can they prove (and if they do not prove it, this Argument is impertinent) that the Histories which Ioshua, or Nathan, or Samuel, or Gad, &c. might or did write concerning the Warres of the Lord, or the Civill transactions of the Kingdomes of Israel and Iudah must needs be a part of the Canon? Or did the temporary transient and extraordinary inspirations of [Page 51] the Holy-Gost deprive them of their common gifts and faculties? And was the capacity of a Prophet incon­sistent with that of an Historian? or because Balaam was once inspired, must we needs Canonize all that after­wards he spake, if it were extant? or because Hannah was once inspired, 1 Sam. 2. and Simeon, and Elizabeth Luk. 1. did ever any man, unlesse in a dream, imagine that all their after Discourses were Canonicall?

Answ. 3. Although fragmenta auri sunt pretiosa the least shreds of Scripture are of inestimable value, yet we must distinguish between the essentiall and integrall parts of the rule of Faith, every part and parcell of it is a choice blessing for our bene esse and more abundant dire­ction and consolation, yet is it not an essentiall part of the rule of Faith, for the farre greatest part of those sacred Books is spent in the explication of such general lawes and directions as were of themselves sufficient strictè loquen­do, or the repetition of the same things which mans dulnesse and backwardnesse to such things made highly expedient and beneficiall: The five Books of Moses were sufficient to Salvation before any of the other Books were indited, and the following Writings of the Prophets were but Comments upon them, which if by Gods providence they had been lost, no doubt the first five Books would have been sufficient for Salvation for that state of the Church: So when St Matthew had VVritten his Gospell wherein the Doctrine of the person and office and works of Christ (who is the marrow of both Testaments, and the sole-sufficient object of saving knowledge Ioh. 17.3.) is clearly revealed and fully pro­ved, I do assert (and let any of our Adversaries prove the contrary if they can) that that had been sufficient for our Salvation: And yet it must be acknowledged a wonderfull favour from God that he hath so plentifully provided for us, and so carefully watched by his Provi­dence [Page 52] for the preservation of the severall Books of Scrip­ture, that all the wit and learning of Adversaries can only furnish them with two instances of Apostolicall VVri­tings which they suppose to be lost viz. one Epistle from Laodicea, and another to the Corinthians.

Arg. 3. A rule must be plaine and cleare, but the Scriptures are darke and doubtfull, and that in things appertaining to Salvation, as appeares from 2 Pet. 3.16. —things hard to be understood which they that are un­learned and unstable wrest to their destruction: Now this could not bring destruction, if they were not hard in things appertaining to Salvation: And here the Cap­taine musters up severall necessary Doctrines which he supposeth not to be clearly laid down in Scripture.

Answ. The Scripture is plaine and cleare in things necessary to Salvation, as hath been abundantly evinced by Protestants out of expresse Scriptures and consent of Fathers: But that belongs to another point, and I do not love to mingle distinct questions together, therefore to them I shall referre the Reader, onely I shall take notice of such assaults as he hath made upon this Do­ctrine.

For the Text 2 Pet. 3.16: I confesse I do not meet with any passage so plausible as this in his whole Book: But the solution of the doubt is not difficult: If you consider, 1. To whom these things are said to be darke even to ignorant, unstable, ungodly men: VVhen Pro­testants say Scripture is cleare, they do not meane it is so to those that are blind, or to them that shut their Eyes, or have discoloured Eyes, (and such are they of whom those things are said) but unto such as are humble, and diligent in the use of means to find out the Truth; not onely some passages of St Paul but in generall all Divine and Spirituall Truths are darke to the naturall man (and such there is no reason to doubt these were) as is posi­tively [Page 53] asserted by the Apostle S. Paul, 1 Cor. 2.14. The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishnesse unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned: and consequently, if the Popish argument from this place have any force in it, not onely some parts of Scripture will be dark, but not any part of it will be plaine, which the most impudent Papist durst never yet assert. 2. The wresting of the Scripture in any of its truths or doctrines is so great a sin, that it may well be called destructive, though the do­ctrine wrested be not simply necessary to salvation: as the disbeliefe and contempt of any Truth or assertion plainly delivered by God, is confessed to be damnable, though the matter of the assertion be meerly circumstan­tial, and not at all in it self necessary to salvation.

3. S. Paul's [...], or difficult passages, might be wrested to destruction, although the matter of them was not necessary to be known, or understood in order to Salvation. As for instance: That passage of St. Pauls, All things are lawful for me, (scil. all indifferent things; for he there speaks of the use of meats, or observation of dayes,) This, I say is not a fundamental Truth, nor is the knowledg of it necessary to Salvation, yet when the Li­bertines do abuse this Scripture, to justify themselves in the practice of all wickednesse, doubtlesse they wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction. Besides, the matter of a Text may be of lesser importance, and the knowledge thereof not necessary to Salvation, and the first and im­mediate mistake of it may be in it self inconsiderable, and yet that may usher in other, and those higher mi­stakes, (as we see error is fruitful, and grows worse and worse,) and at last end in destruction; as that Cloud, which at first was no bigger then a mans hand, did quickly over­cast the whole Heavens. The doctrine of Predestination the Papists confesse is no fundamental, since their own [Page 54] Doctors are divided about it; yet if any man from St. Paul's assertions of the efficacy and immutability of Pre­destination, should infer the unnecessarinesse of Sanctifi­cation to Salvation, (as some have done) doubtlesse this man would wrest the Scriptures to his own destruction. But the Captain is not contented with a general imputa­tion of darknesse to the Scripture, but pretends several Instances of things necessary to Salvation, which are not plain and clear in the Scriptures: his Instances are these. 1 The nature and number of the Sacraments. 2 The number of the Canonical Books, and that the Scriptures are the word of God. 3. The incorruption of the Scrip­ture. 4. The understanding the true sence of Scripture, which is literal, which mystical. 5. The number of fun­damental points. 6. The doctrine of the Trinity: and 7. other doctrines concerning the baptizing of Infants, and womens receiving the Eucharist, and the observation of the Lords day, and the doctrine which condemnes Re­baptization. All these (saith he) are necessary to Salva­tion, and yet Scripture is not plain and clear in them. So that here are two assertions, and both of them false in most of the Instances, and all are false in one of them. It pitties me to trifle away time in the particular answer of such impertinent allegations, did not the weaknesse of some in believing all that is boldly asserted, make it ne­cessary.

For the 1. The Scripture is plain enough in describing the nature of those two Sacraments, which Christ hath instituted, as the Captain might easily have informed himself, if in stead of going to Knot, and Fiat Lux &c. he had looked into almost any of our Protestant Systems, or common places of Divinity, whither I refer the Rea­der, having somewhat else to do, then to transcribe com­mon places: And for the other 5 Sacraments I cannot say they are delivered in Scripture more clearly then the o­thers, [Page 55] but I may say, they are lesse darkly, because indeed not delivered there at all, being onely a fiction of their own, of which God may say, They never came into my mind.

For the 2. It is a crude and false assertion which the Captain layes down, That it is necessary to salvation to believe all the books of the holy Scriptures to be the word of God, and to believe nothing to be the word of God which is Apocryphal. If the latter part be true, woe to the Church of Rome that now is, which hath owned those writings for the word of God in the Councel of Trent, which by the judgment of so many most learned Fathers, and grave Councels, and the Church of so many succes­sive ages have ever been held for Apocryphal, as no ra­tional man can doubt, that shall take the pains to read either of those excellent pieces, Raynoldus de libris Apo­cryphis, or Bishop Cousens his Scholastical history of the Canon of the Scripture. And if the former part be true, then we must damne all those Fathers, and Churches, who (as both Papists and Protestants acknowledge) did some­times doubt of some books now universally received: nay farther, we must damne all the former ages, and Churches, and innumerable holy and learned writers, and even many of the most famous Papists themselves, who did all disown and disbelieve some at least of those Books, which (if we take the judgment of the Tr [...]nt Councel) are and were a part of the word of God. The truth is, (and so it is generally owned by Protestant wri­ters) That the belief of those Truths conteined in the Scriptures is necessary to Salvation, though happily a man through ignorance or error should doubt about some one Book. It is necessary that I should believe the history of Christs life and death, but it is not necessary to Salva­tion simply and absolutely to believe that the Gospel of St. Mark (for instance) was written by Divine inspirati­on. [Page 56] This may appear from hence, because Faith is suffi­cient for Salvation, and faith comes by hearing, Rom. 10. as well as by reading: now as Faith might be, and really was wrought by the hearing of the doctrine and history of Christ, when preached by such Ministers as were not divinely inspired, so might it be wrought by the reading of such things, when written by the very same persons; and consequently it was not, and is not necessary to the working of Faith, (and therefore to the procuring of Sal­vation,) to believe, That St. Marks Gospel was written by Divine inspiration. And yet I do not assert this, as if I thought that it were not a very great sin, (especially in and after so much light about it) to disbelieve any one book of the Scriptures, there being so many evident characters of a Divine inspiration upon the particular books, besides the general assertion 2 Tim. 3.16. All Scripture is given by divine inspiration, and other convin­cing places, but onely to shew, That (which is a certain and evident Truth) it is not simply and absolutely, and ex natura rei necessary for every person to believe every particular Book to be the word of God, but a serious and practical beliefe of the Truths conteined in those Books, may be sufficient to Salvation, even where there is an ignorance (if not wilful and affected) of the Divine Au­thority of some book or books of Scripture.

3. For the Third thing, the incorruption of the Scrip­ture, I Answer

1. The Scriptures incorruption in substantial and considerable points, besides that it is confessed by the lear­ned Papists (as I have shewed before,) doth sufficiently appear from it self, by the collation of one place of Scrip­ture with another, as also by the collation of several co­pies. And one great argument of it may be fetched from (that which seems to twhart it,) viz. the various rea­dings which learned men have observed out of diverse [Page 57] copies, let any man look into them as he finds them colle­cted in the late Polyglotte Bible, and his own eyes shall witnesse, that howsoever the differences of Readings are numerous, yet they are not of any moment; and indeed the differences in lesser matters are a considerable evi­dence of the Scriptures uncorruptednesse in greater, wherein the copies do wonderfully consent.

2 If the Scripture not evidencing its own incorrup­tion, hinder its being a rule, then neither can the Scrip­ture be so much as a part of our Rule, (which yet is granted by the most insolent of our Adversaries) for so the argument will carry it, if there be any strength in it, nor was the Decalogue a rule of life to the following ge­nerations of the Israelites, nor can the old and unrepealed Acts of Parliament be a Rule to England, nor yet can Tradition be a Rule to the Papists; for the Papists not onely confesse its insufficiency to evince its own uncor­ruptednesse, but acknowledge its actual corruption in several points, (as hath been shewed before:) nor can the Decrees of Popes and Councels be a rule, which being writings, must needs be lyable to the same imperfections and corruptions, that the Scriptures because writings are said to be subject to: and consequently there is no rule neither for Papists nor Protestants, but every one may do that which seems right in his own eyes.

4. He pretends it is necessary to Salvation to under­stand which is the true sense of Scriptures, when it is to be taken literally, when mystically, and this (saith he) cannot be understood from sole Scripture.

Ans. Here also both Propositions are remarkably false. 1. It is not necessary to Salvation to a Christian to un­derstand the true sense of every Scripture: if it were, what shall become of those Legions of poor deluded Pa­pists, into whose devotion ignorance is so considerable an ingredient? who neither understand the se [...]se, nor are [Page 58] permitted to read the words of the Scripture. 2. The [...]ense of Scripture in fundamental points is clear and intel­ligible, and that from Scripture, which is its own best In­terprete [...]. And if we consult the best Expositors, either Popish or Protestant, we shall find, they never so well un­fold Sc [...]pture riddles, (if I may so speak) as when they plow with the Scriptures Heifer. Every puny knows the colla­tion of parallel, or seemingly repugnant places; and the observation of the scope and cohaerence, and the like, are the best Keyes to find out the true sense of the Scripture, and sufficient to discover it, unlesse the readers igno­rance or negligence, pride or prejudice stand in his way. I will take an instance from the Captain himself of those Scriptures which confute the Arrians: Joh. 10.30. I and my father are one: but (saith the Captain) the Arrian will say, this is meant of Onenesse in affection, as Joh. 17.21. And here my Captain is gravelled, and halfe made an Arrian; and because he could not answer the Arrian, he concludes again, no body else can: But wiser men would have told him, That this Arrian glosse is confuted out of the Scriptures, both out of the present chapter, (the Captain and Arrian being more blind then the Jewes, who understood Christs meaning better, viz. That he made himself God, v. 33.) and from other places of Scrip­tures, where Christ is expresly called God, Joh. 1.1. the true God, 1 Joh. 5.20. and thought it no robbery to be e­qual with God. Phil. 2.6. And indeed the Councel of Nice (as I shewed in the foregoing discourse) did confute the Arrian Heresy out of the Scriptures, they saw no need of going further.

5 He alledgeth the number of fundamental points, which (saith he) the Scripture determines not.

Ans. This is most false. The Scripture doth sufficient­ly determine fundamental points: I must not here run into another controversy concerning the number of fun­damentals. [Page 59] This may suffice at present, That the Scrip­ture doth not presse all Truths with equal vehemency; that there are some points, wherein the Scripture doth, though not approve of, yet dispence with differing opini­ons in Christians: such as those were concerning dayes, and meats, and ceremonies in Religion: and there are o­ther points, which it urgeth upon us with highest penal­ties; such as that in Joh. 8.24. If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall dye in your sins. To me this is a rule: That to which God promiseth or annexeth salvation, is surely sufficient for salvation; I care not one straw for all the Romane Thunder-claps of Damnation, where I have one promise from God for my salvation. I am assured by God that to fear God, and keep his commandements, is the whole duty of man, Eccles. 12.13. That he that feareth God, and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him, Act. 10.35. That this is life eternal, to know thee to be the onely true God and Iesus Christ whom thou hast sent: Joh. 17.3. and consequently if I know him, and believe in him, his per­son, and office, and work, I may humbly put in my claime for eternal life, and have not so much reason to fear their cursing of me, (knowing that the curse causelesse shall not come) as they have to fear the curse of God, and an addition to their plagues for adding to God's word. Rev. 22.18. In a word, the fundamentals or sub­stantials of Religion do apparently lie in two things, the Law, and the Gospel: the Scripture tels me, that love is the fulfilling of the law, Rom. 13.10. that he that loveth Christ shall be loved of his father, Ioh. 14.21. that hereby we know that we are passed from death to life, because we love the brethren, 1 Joh 3.14. It tels me also, That faith in Christ is the fulfilling of the Gospel: ye believe in God, believe also in me, Joh. 14.1. and these things are written, that ye might be­lieve, that Iesus is the Christ the son of God, and that belie­ving ye might have life in his name. Joh. 20.31. Christ hath [Page 60] [...]sured us, (it seems he should have asked his Vicars leave for it,) He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. Ioh. 3.36. For my part I am not afraid to venture my sal­vation upon this promise: and for Popish comminations and curses, I shall only say with the Psalmist, Let them curse, but bless thou, Psal. 109.28.

By these things we see the Scripture sufficiently in­formes us of fundamentals. To which I might adde the common sense of Gods Church, and the learned Ministers in all ages, it having been acknowledged by the most e­minent Doctors, both antient and modern, both Popish and Protestant, (as may be seen at large in Dr. Pottèrs want of charity charged upon Romanists, and Mr. Chilling­worths Defence of it,) That the Creed, commonly called the Apostles Creed, doth contein in it a compleat body of the fundamentals of salvation for the Credenda, and all the Articles of the Creed are sufficiently evidenced from the Scriptures, as I could with great facility demonstrate, but I study brevity.

But you must know, the Church of Rome hath another notion of Fundamentals, a rare notion I tell you, for you shall not find the like either in Scripture, or any antient Author. They make the Churches definition the rule of Fundamentals: That is a Fundamental Truth, and de fide, which the Church determines and decrees, though never so inconsiderable, and that is no Fundamental, nor de fide, which the Church hath not determined, though it be ne­ver so material. Thus to fast in Lent, on Fridaies, if the Church command it, is now become a Fundamental, and if any man obstinately refuse it, God will assuredly con­demne such a person, saith an English Apostate, Cressy sect. 2. ch. 13. n. 2. though he there confesseth it is but an action little more then circumstantial: yet on the other side it is no Fundamental to hold, That all men (except Christ) are conceived in sin, because the Church (forsooth) hath [Page 61] not determined the Question of the Blessed Virgin. Thus with the Romanists it is a fundamental doctrine to believe that Paul left his Cloak at Troas, (namely if the Church injoyn you to believe it, for there is the knack, it is not Fundamental, because St. Paul asserts it, 2 Tim. 4 13 but because St. Peters successor or the Church injoyns you to believe it:) but it is no Fundamental, that Christ is God, if the Church doth not oblige you to believe it. Did I say it was not a Fundamental? I do them wrong in not speaking the whole truth; for so far are they from own­ing it for a Fundamental Article, that they will not allow it to be an article or object of our Faith, without such confirmation and injunction from the Church, as I shew­ed in the beginning of the foregoing Discourse. But this is so grosse a cheat, and such a groundless imposture, wholly destitute of all appearance of proof, that it is a vanity to spend time in the confuting of it. If any Papist think otherwise, let him give us solid proofs, That the Pope or Councel have such dominion over our Faith, That Fundamentals are all at their mercy; though me [...] thinks the very mention of such a conceit is abundant con­futation, nor can any thing be more absurd, then to say, That it is no Fundamental to believe that God is, and that he is a rewarder of them them tha [...] diligently seek him, (unlesse the Churches Authority command us to believe it,) and that it is a Fundamental to believe that (which so many of the Antients did not believe,) viz. the falsehood of the Millenary opinion, or of the admission of departed Saints to the Beatifical Vision before the day of Judge­ment, (because these are determined by the Church:) And there is nothing which more essentially overthrowes the Popish conceit of Fundamentals, then the considera­tion of the Pillar upon which they build it, which is the Churches Infallible authority, as the Answerer of Bishop Land Discourseth, whose great argument is this: whosoe­ver [Page 62] refuseth to believe any thing sufficiently propounded to him for a truth revealed from God, commits a damnable sin: but whosoever refuseth to believe any point sufficiently pr [...]poun­ded to him or defined by the Church as matter of faith, refu­seth to believe a thing sufficiently pr [...]pounded to him for a truth revealed from God: this is proved from hence, be­cause general Councels cannot erre. Where to say no­thing of the Major, you see this man proves (and the Church of Rome hath no better proofs) incertum per incer­tius, their notion of Fundamentals from their opinion of Councels infallibility: and the infallibility of Councels ha­ving been abundantly evinced to be but a Chimaerical Imagination, I must needs conclude, That the foundation being fallen, the superstructure needs no strength of ar­gument to pull it down, if any desire to see this wild con­ceit baff [...]ed he may find it done in that excellent discourse of Mr. Stingfleets, part. 1▪ chap. 2, 3, 4.

For the 6. particular, the doctrine of the Trinity: it is true, that is a real Fundamental; but to say, that is not clearly proved from the Scripture, and for one that pre­tends he was a Protestant to say thus, I confesse it is one of those many arguments, which gives us too much oc­casion to ascribe the Captains change to any thing rather then to the convictions of his conscience, or the evidence of his cause. Behold the harmony between Socinianisme and Popery! Rather then not assert the Churches au­thority, these men will renounce the great principles of Christianity, and put this great advantage into the Soci­nians hands, to confesse that they cannot be confuted by Scripture. But the learned Papists are of another mind in their lucid intervals, and some of them (as Simglecius) have sufficiently overthrown the Socinian Heresy from Scripture evidence: however I am sure Protestants have abundantly evinced it. Let any man read but those ex­cellent discourses of Placaeus about the Praeexistence of [Page 63] Christ before his birth of the Virgin, and his Divinity, and he will be of another mind. But this shews the Cap­tain was prepared to receive any thing, that could so ea­sily believe a proposition, which he could not but know from his own experience to be horribly false, unlesse he were shamefully ignorant.

7 For the remaining points, they split upon the same Rocks with the former, for there is none of them but is sufficiently evident from Scripture, as hath been fully proved by those who have treated of those matters: (but I must forbear digressions.) And besides, (in the sense he intends) he will find it an hard matter to prove their necessity to salvation: if he think otherwise, let him try his strength.

And this may satisfy the third argument concerning the Scriptures darkness in things said to be necessary to salvation,

A fourth argument urged against the Scriptures supre­macy is, that we have not the Originals, but onely Co­pies and Translations, and these made by fallible men, and therefore it cannot be a certain rule to our Faith. This hath been answered in the former Discourse, it will suffice therefore briefly to suggest some [...]ew things.

1 This argument (if solid and weighty) will prove that no Copies nor Translations can be a Rule to us, that onely the Original Decalogue, which was written by Gods own finger, was a Rule to the Jews, and conse­quently, that Transcript of it which by Gods appoint­ment the Prince had, and was obliged to read, was no rule to him: which how false it is, will appear from Deut. 17▪ 18, 19. —When he sitteth upon the Throne, —he shall write him a Copy of this Law in a Book out of that which is before the Priests the Levites, — and he shall read therein, —that he may learn to keep all the words of this Law, and these Statutes to do them. By which the Reader will quick­ly [Page 64] discern what weight is in this part of the Discours: That a Copy cannot be a certain rule, for the Princes rule is but a Copy, and the Transcription of that not limited to an infallible hand. When Moses of old time was read in the Synagogues every Sabbath day, Act. 15.21. it is to be pre­sumed, each of them had not the Original of God's writing yet was it never rejected from being a rule upon that ac­count. What rare work would this Notion make in a Kingdom, if throughly prosecuted? Belike the Captaine doth not hold his Statute book a rule to him, because it is not the Original. And observe the horrible partiality of these men: The Decrees of the Pope or Councel, suppose of Trent, are a Rule and a certain one too to our Eng­lish Papists, though they have nothing of them but a Copy and a Translation; but the Scripture cannot be a Rule, because it is onely a Copy and Translation. The law of God or of the Church is a rule to the hearers, when it is delivered onely by a Popish Priest (and he confessed­ly fallible) by word of mouth, and it ceaseth to be a rule, when it is delivered by writing by a fallible hand: yet surely the one is but a copy as well as the other, though made by diverse instruments.

2. The copies and Translations of Scripture are a sure and certain rule, because they do sufficiently evidence themselves to be the word of God, and the same for sub­stance with the Originals. The incorruption of the Scrip­tures in substantial things is sufficiently evinced from the confession of its greatest Adversaries the Papists, from the consent of Copies taken by persons of several ages, and far distant places, and contrary principles, from the innumerable multitude of copies every where dispersed, and the constant jealousy and watchfulnesse of so many wise and zealous Christians, ready to observe the least considerable corruption, and give warning of it, and many other considerations. All those arguments which are plea­ded [Page 65] both by Papists and Protestants for the Divinity of the Scripture, they reach to copies and Translations: In these, as well as in the Original is the majesty of the Style, the sublimity of the doctrines, the purity of the matter, the excellency of the design: To these as well as the Origi­nals God hath given so many signal testimonies by the con­version of thousands, by frequent and illustrious miracles, by the cooperation of his Spirit with them in the hearts of his people, and many other arguments, which (when a Papist is in a good mood, and disputing with a Pagan) must passe for undeniable demonstrations of the truth of Christianity and the Divinity of the Scriptures. And for the differences in Translations, (either noted by the Pa­pists, or confessed by any of the Protestants,) which the Captain makes a great Flourish with, and other Papists make such triumphs at, they are so petite and trivial, and so little concerning the substance and foundation of Reli­gion or the Scriptures, that to me it affords an unquestio­nable evidence, That our Translations are unblameable in fundamental places, because all their great wits and lear­ned Doctors to this day could not discover any such mis­takes, though they have made it their businesse to find them out. But I shall say no more to this argument in this place, having in the former part of the Treatise spoken to it.

A fifth argument is taken from the seeming contradi­ctions which are in Scripture, not resolveable by the Scri­pture. Hence (saith the Captain) Reason conceiveth her self to have this infallible demonstration, viz. no one who speaketh two things, the one contrary to the other▪ is infallible in speaking; but the Scripture so speaketh, therefore saith Reason the Scripture is not infallible in speaking. Nay (he might and should have said) the Scrip­ture is not credible in speaking: and therefore say I, by the vertue of this argument the Captain must either ac­knowledge [Page 66] himselfe an unreasonable man, or an Atheist▪ I tell you it was good hap, That in stead of the Catholick Gentleman he did not meet with an Atheist, for the ar­guments which convinced him are indifferently calcula­ted for either Meridian. But for all those seeming contra­dictions, the short Answer is this.

1. That there are no such places, but are capable of convenient reconciliations, as hath been already made good by several learned men both Papists and Protestants, who have professedly treated of those matters, and dis­covered the vanity of this objection. And if it were granted, That there are some places which men have not yet hit upon the right way of reconciling them, that is no evidence of the impossibility of it, since we can give instances in others, which in former times were thought as insoluble, as any now are, which the learning and dili­gence of after ages hath fully cleared from all semblance of contradiction.

2. Those seeming contradictions are either reconci [...]e­able out of Scripture, or else are but historical difficulties, not at all necessary to salvation. The Captain should do [...]ell to put the parts of his discourse together, and see how they agree, because he will not, I will do it for him. The Proposition which Protestants assert, and he attempts to disprove is, That the Scripture is a perfect Rule in things necessary to salvation. This he disproves by instan­cing in some insoluble difficulties in matters unnecessary to salvation. But we must pardon him, it is vitium causae, the cause affordes no better arguments.

A sixth argument is this▪ Scripture is no sufficient rule, because it is lyable to diverse and contrary expositions.

An invincible argument, by which a man may dispute all Rules out of the world! Probatur. The Decalogue is no rule of life or manners, for the Pharisees understood it one way, Christ another, Mat. 5. The Statutes of the Kingdome [Page 67] are no rule, for learned Lawyers differ in their expositi­ons. The Decrees of Popes and Councels are no rule, be­cause lyable to diverse and contrary expositions, so far, that Gratian the compiler of their Canon Law hath one entire Title De Concordantia, Discordantium Canonum, i. e. concerning the reconciling of disagreeing Canons: And there is this remarkable difference between the con­dition of the Romish and our affairs: our differences are in the exposition and accommodation of the rule, but Popish differences are in the Text and rule it self, since there are amongst them not onely diverse and contrary expositions of the same Canon, (which yet is sufficient to take off all their glorying over us, and to bring them to our levell) but indeed there are contrary Texts, the decrees and sentences of one Pope directly contrary to another, and one Councel to another. Pope Steph [...]n nulls the decrees of Formosus, the three next Popes null the de­crees of Stephen, and re-establish those of [...]ormosus. Sergi­us the third comes after, and again nulls Formosus his de­crees. But I will tell you of a greater matter, even no lesse then the Authentical Translation of the Bible: S [...]x­the 5th▪ sets forth one Bible An. 1590, not rashly, but deliberately, with the advice of his Cardinals, the assi­stance of the most learned men of all the Christian world, (they are his own words,) corrects the errors of the Press with his own hand, imposeth this upon the whole Church. Within 3 years comes Clemens the 8. and he puts forth another Edition, not onely diverse, but in several passa­ges directly contrary to it, (for which I refer the reader either to those two Bibles themselves, or to Dr. Iames his Bellum Papale, and the Defence of it, where he shall find above a thousand differences between them,) yet Cle [...]ens suppresseth all other Translations, and enjoynes this for the one [...]y Authentick Translation, and so it is held to this day. The like I might shew of Councels, as it were [Page 68] easy to furnish the Reader with many instances not of the seeming but real contradictions of Popes and Coun­cels among themselves, and yet (forsooth) the appearance of a contradiction must exauctorate the Scriptures, when real contradictions shall not prejudice the Authority of Pope and Councel; so true it is, That some may better steal a horse then others look over the [...]edge.

The seventh assault which the Captain makes is this. If the Scripture be our sole rule and Judge, then it was so in the Apostles dayes, and if so, the Authority of the Apostles ceased when they had done writing.

I Answer 1. The Consequence may very well be deni­ed from the Apostles times to ours. The argument is this: Scriptures were not the onely rule, when there were seve­ral governours of the Church acknowledged on all hands to be infallible both singly and joyntly: Ergo it is not the onely rule now, when there is no person nor persons in the Church, but who is proved to be fallible. For this is the case at this day, unlesse the Captain and Mr. Cressy and the rest will change their notes, and in stead of the Pope and Councel combined, say that the Pope alone is infallible, wherein I desire to understand their minds. 2. The other Consequence hath not a Dram more of Truth in it: for if the Scripture were the sole rule, yet did not the Apostolical Authority cease. It is no diminution to their Authority to say, they had not a power superior to the Scripture or the word of God, i. e. That the Ser­vant was not above his Master; the Apostles never pre­tended to such a power, but rather carried themselves in all things as became those who professed their subjection to the word of their God and Lord. Observe the man­ner of their proceeding in that great Councel, Act. 15. still you shall find the Scripture is the rule, by which they guide the whole debate, and from which they draw their conclusion, as none that read that chapter can deny. You [Page 69] may observe that an Apostle (and he too of so great Au­thority that he durst reprove St Peter to his face Gal. 2.) makes no scruple of circumscribing his own Authority within the limits of Gods Word, and he repeats it in rei­memoriam, Though we or an Angel from Heaven preach any other Gospell unto you then that which we have Preached unto you, let him be accursed, Gal. 1.8. I know it is said by Mr White in his Apology for Tradition, that this place makes for Tradition rather then for Scripture, and for what the Apostles delivered by word of mouth, not what they left in Writing: To which the reply is most easy, that since the Doctrine delivered by the Apostles, either by word or Writing is and must be confessed to be of equall Avthority (the Councell of Trent goes no higher while they assert that Scripture and Tradition are to be received pari pietatis aff [...]ctu ac reverentia, with equall piety and reverence) it consequently followes, that he who renounceth all pretensions of Authority Superior, or not subordinate to the one, cannot be said with any colour of sence to challenge a Supremacy over the other: The Apostles had not so learned Christ as they who arro­gate the name of their Successors have: The power they claimed was not Autocratoricall and despoticall, having dominion over the peoples Faith, and being Lords over Gods Heritage, but onely Ministeriall, not for destruction, but for edification, not coordinate, but subject unto their Master and his Word.

The last reason he urgeth is, that this opinion of sole Scripture makes every man Judge who take upon them to read and understand the Scripture.

Answ. 1. If it be meant a private Judge, so farre as it concernes his own actions; It is true, and that Judgment (as I have shewed) the Scripture allowes and enjoynes to private Christians, and informes us of the sad condition of those that neglecting their own judgment, give up [Page 70] themselves to a blind obedience to their rulers (an errour common to the Jewes of old and the Papists now) assu­ring us this is no excuse nor security to them, but if the blind lead the blind both will fall into the Ditch, Matth. 15.14.

2. The Papists themselves however they renounce this principle of every mans being Judge in words and shew, yet they receive it in truth and practise upon it, and what­ever noise they make of Fathers and Councels and the Pope and Church, yet in truth they make particular men the Judges for their own actions; For instance if we examine the grounds and manner of the Conversion (as they miscall it) of any man to the Romish Religion, (take Cressy and the Captaine for instances) we shall find the Papists that dealt with them, made them Judges: And when the Captain yields to that great Argument, viz. That if he did not turne Catholick he had no infallible assurance that Christian Religion was true, was not he himselfe Judge of the validity of this Argument? And when Cressy or others are perverted by that great Title of the Churches Authority to which they think all should be subject, what do they but make themselves Judges of this question upon which all depends, whether the Chur­ches Authority be a sufficient and safe foundation for a mans faith to rest upon? So if I come to any Papist who is capable of Discourse, I would aske him whether he continues in the Popish communion and beliefe with reason or without it? If he say, without reason, I shall forbear discoursing with bruit creatures▪ If with rea­son, I demand what it is; and here he will enter into a large harangue, concerning the necessity of a living and infallible judge for the ending of Controversies, and that the Pope or Councell is this Judge: In this case I say, the Romanist makes himself the Judge of the first and principall question, upon which all the rest depend, viz. [Page 71] whether such a Judge be necessary, and whether the Pope or Councell be this Judge: And certainly as St Paul argues 1 Cor. 6. They that are fit to judge the greater and weightier causes cannot be unfit to judge the smaller matters.

Thus I have gone over all the Arguments or appearances of reason which the Captaine or others for him have col­lected, and what Mr Cressy hath pleaded for any of them: I shall in the next place proceed to answer what farther Arguments I meet with either in Mr Cressy, or in that famous (or rather infamous) piece called Rushworths Dia­logues, or in Mr Whites Apology for Tradition; For doubtlesse si Pergama dextrâ Def [...]ndi possent, dextrâ▪ hac defensa fuissent: And if men of their parts and learning and study in the Controversy can say nothing to purpose against the Scriptures being a perfect rule. I shall with greater security a [...]quiesce in the Truth of the Protestant Doctrine.

Another Argument therefore against the Scriptures is taken from the occasion of VVriting the Books of the New-Testament of which Cressy Treats, Sect. 2. chap. 10. And it is observable that his Argument (however it re­gularly ought to reach the whole Scripture, yet) is onely (upon the matter) levied against the Epistles in the New-Testament, which (saith he) were never intended to be Written as Institutions or Catechismes containing an A­bridgment of the whole Body of Christian▪ Faith for the whole Church, for they were Written onely to particular Persons or Congregations (without order to communicate them to the whole Church) and they were written me [...]rly occasionally, because of some false Doctrines▪ which if those Hereticks had not chanced to have broached, they had never been Written: And therefore surely are very improper for a rule of Faith (which must be so true and cleare and evi­dent that there can be no rationall possibility of contradiction [Page 72] or diversity of opinion) and for a man to venture his Soule upon. This is the summe of that Discourse (excepting what he saith of the obscurity of the Scriptures which I have considered before.)

For Answer, 1. Since Mr Cressy requires it in a rule of Faith that it be so true and cleare and so evident, that there can be no rationall possibility of contradiction or diversity of opinion, let him, or rather any other disinte­ressed or unprejudiced person seriously consider, what hath been discoursed in the former Treatise, and An­swer it to his own conscience as he will give his account to God another day, whether the Popish rule of Faith be so true and cleare and evident, &c. as is pretended to be necessary, or rather, whether it be not so dark and doubt­full, that it is not onely rejected by Protestants upon solid and cogent grounds, but also disputed and denied by di­verse of their own great Doctors: The question under favour is not this, whether our rule be so cleare as to ad­mit of no possibility of contradiction, (for who can dream of this that ever heard or read of the Academicks whose great principle was to contradict every thing and be con­fident of nothing?) but whether the Popish rule or ours be better, whether is more true, clear, and evident? And this one would think should not be very difficult to determine: And whether the Protestant rule be so evident that it may satisfy the Conscience and Reason and prudence of any modest, humble, and diligent enqui­rer, though it may not silence the clamours of every bold caviller, since there have been (and probably yet are) in the VVorld men so absurdly scepticall, that they have cavilled against the certainty of this Proposition, that two and three make five.

2. The occasionality and particularity of those Wri­tings is no impediment to their being a rule, (though this is a notion the Popish Writers oft mention and vehe­mently [Page 73] urge upon the simpler sort of men) It neither hin­ders their being a rule, nor their being a perfect rule: 1. Not the former, the Papists themselves being Judges, for they acknowledge it to be regula partialis a part of the rule (I tell you Christ is exceedingly beholden to them that will acknowledge thus much and allow him any share in the rule of his Church.) The Councell of Trent in its Decree concerning the Canonicall Scriptures, notwithstanding this objection ascribes this to the Scrip­tures no lesse then to Traditions, That both of them toge­ther are the Canon or rule of Faith and manners, and to both they allow equall Piety and reverence as I said before. Will any man say the law concerning Inheritances deli­vered Num. 27. was no Law or rule to the Israelites, because it was delivered upon the extraordinary occasion of Zelophehads daughters Petition? Or that the Law against the Priests drinking of Wine, when he was to go into the Tabernacle Levit. 10.9. was no rule to the Priests, because delivered peradventure upon the occasi­on of some intemperance of Nadab and Abihu? 2. Nor doth this at all hinder the Scriptures being a perfect rule, partly because this Objection concernes onely one part of the New-Testament viz. the Apostolicall Epistles: But for the Gospels which of themselves are a sufficient rule (though the addition of the other is an abundant conso­lation and a rich mercy:) Mr Cressy confesseth they were Written upon no speciall occasion, but for the common benefit of all succeeding Christians as an History of his Life and De [...]th, and a summe of the principall points of his Doctrine, (They are the Authors words, and we need no more to justify the Scriptures sufficiency) and partly be­cause the occasions, however casuall to men, yet were foreseen and foreordained by God to be such as would recurre in all following Ages, and partly because the Apostle extends his thoughts and instructions beyond [Page 74] the present occasion upon which, or particular person, or persons to which he Writes even to following Ages, and consequently intended them for rules and directions not onely to them, but to others, yea to all succeeding Christians. What else meanes St Paul in charging Ti­mothy to keep the command there mentioned — untill the appearing of Christ, 1 Tim. 6.14. which St Paul knew was at a great distance, 2 Th [...]s. 2.1. if he did not include his Successors? The Books of the Old Testament, at least diverse of them were written upon speciall occasion, and yet St Paul hath given it under his hand, That whatsoever things were Written afore time were Written for our lear­ning, Rom. 15.4. and that all those Scriptures are profita­ble (to us) for Doctrine, repro [...]fe, &c. 2 Tim. 3.16. An irre­fragable Argument that what was Written upon a speci­all occasion may be a standing rule. And the constant u­niversall practise of all the Ancient Fathers and Counsels confirming Truths or Duties, and reproving sins or errors in after Ages from the Testimonies of the Apostolicall Epistles, doth unquestionably evince that they judged them however directed to particular persons or Churches, yet indeed designed for a rule of the Church in all follow­ing Generations.

That particular occasions have given the rise to such generall rules and lawes as have been of perpetuall force and use, no man that knowes any thing can be ignorant: And that really this was the case, and that the Principles, Doctrines, and Instructions which are laid down by the Apostles in their Epistolary Writings, how particular soe­ver the occasion might be that drew them sorth, are in their own nature and quality indifferently calculated for, and equally fit to be a guide to other persons or Churches, needs no proofe, but the reading of them, and a reflection upon the daily practise of all Preachers as well Popish as Protestant which from time to time deduce [Page 75] such documents from them as are singularly usefull in whatsoever age or place they live in.

And this may serve Mr Cressy's turne, for I meet with nothing else considerable to this point in his Book. In the next place I shall consider what Mr Rushworth saith (who in the opinion of the Romanists is [...]) in his famed Dialogues: His Arguments against the Scriptures being Judge of Controversies are two: The first is (that which hath been allready handled) from the errors and corruptions which must needs be in our Bible, by Copists and Translators: And here he set his wit upon the rack to devise whatever could be said to blast the credit and the Authority of the Scripture: Here he tels us of the many hazards, doubts, and mistakes, from multitude of Copies, depravations of Hereticks, the Jewes at Tiberias and Greeks elsewhere, mistakes of the negligent or ignorant Transcriber, multiplicity of Tran­slations, equivocation of words which are used in several senses according to the variety of times, places, and per­sons, the ceasing of these Tongues in which Scripture was Written, and the quality of the Hebrew and Greek Tongues: He computes how many erro [...]s probably might be in the Copies of the Bible, we may well allow (saith he) 336 errors in one Copy, which admitted, you will find the number of errors in all the Copies made since the Apostles time fifteen or sixteen times as many as there are words in the Bible, and so by this account, it would be 15 or 16 to one of any particular place, that it were not the true Text, (These are his words Dialog. 2. Sect. 5.)

VVhen I read these and other things of the same ten­dency, I began to reason with my selfe: Are these the Discourses of William Rushworth a Romish Priest? Are these the Arguments which must make men Christians or (which in their sence is all one) Roman Catholicks? [Page 76] Is this the man that affected the rigour of Mathematicall discourse even in his Controversies, as we may perceive by this worke? (for so Mr White is pleased to tell us?) Is this the Book that so learned, so ingenious a man as Mr White must commend to the VVorld, as that which was very sa­tisfactory to diverse judicious persons: Surely it is a mistake these are not Rushworths, but Vaninus his Dialogues, or it is a newfound remnant of Iulian the Apostate, which some unlucky Heretick hath set out under the name of a Ro­mish Priest.

May I be so bold as to aske our Holy Mother the Church of Rome Num haec est tunica filii? Is this thy sonnes voice? No sure, It is some Priest of Apollo, bid­ding defiance to the Christian cause, and striving to ren­der the Holy Scriptures contemptible and ridiculous. But you see what desperate men will do, in a desperate cause, rather then not maintaine the Papall Authority, they will subvert the very foundations of Christianity: The Jesuites tell us that in order to the comming of Anti­christ, Rome shall turne Pagan; I am perfectly of their mind, and I think the turne is halfe wrought allready: Ecce signum! for none short of a Pagan could talke at this rate: The insolency of the Discourse, and confidence of the Disputer, and the applauss of his party makes it necessary that I should say something farther by way of Answer.

The first Answer (which alone may silence this impu­dent Objection) is this: Either this Argument proves nothing against us, or it proves more then the Papists, at best such of them as are not quite out of their wits and consciences too would have it; let us reflect a little upon the premises and then forecast the Conclusion. Take all his discourse for granted, that by reason of the many mi­stakes, corruptions, doubts, difficulties, there is nothing but incertitude, that it is fifteen to one of any particular [Page 77] place, that it is not the true Text, that it is as ridicul [...]s to seek the decision of Controversies out of the Bible, as to [...]ut with a Beetle or to kn [...]ck with a straw: These are the Authors words Dialog. 2. Sect. 2. Go, say these are faint-hearted fellowes if you can: Give me those honest soules that tell us plainly what they think of the Scrip­tures, and how little they value them. It were an hard case if all the the Churches Adversari [...]s were crafty companions: Now (say I) if these things be true then certainly it was not without cause, that the Papist fore­mentioned said, that without the Churches Authority the Scriptures were of no more value then AEsops Fa­bles. Their Father Costerus had good reason to say it was a Sheath that would admit any Sword, and Pamelius did rightly call it a Nose of Wax. If this were true, we might throw all our Bibles into the Fire, for Controver­sies cannot be decided thence, nor errors detected, nor truth evinced, (there's nothing there but uncertainty and darknesse) and consequently our sins cannot be re­proved, nor duties pressed from the Scripture for the same reason, unlesse these men will say (who we see will not stick at small matters) that the Copists or Translators errors did happily hit onely upon such places as concer­cerned Controversies (that the Church alone might rule there) not at all on such as concerne duties and sinnes: But if this be true, whence come those high Characters and ample Testimonies which the most learned Papists and their Councels have given to the Scripture, that they acknowledge the Scriptures or Bible (and they spake of that which we have) to be the word of God, as much to be reverenced as Tradition it selfe: How came Bellar­mine to say of those Books of the Prophets and Apostles (which we have) Nibil notius, nihil certius, &c. i. e. nothing is more evident, nothing more certain then that they are the Word of God, and none but a fool can denie [Page 78] them credit▪ de verbo Dei, lib. 1. c. 2. Whence is it that the Papists accuse the Protestants of slander, for saying they exauctorate the Scripture? How is it that they all pretend the Church may not contradict those very Scrip­tures which we have? In my opinion the Church of Rome was wofully overseen in disputing with the Pro­testants out of the Scripture, or troubling themselves to answer the Scriptures which Protestants brought, for Mr Rushworth hath furnished them with one Answer which will serve for an universall Plaister, therefore I would advise them thus to Answer once for all, when a Protestant argues against merit from that Text, When you have done all that you can say you are unprofitable servants, Luk. 17.10. Let them say it was the error of the Copist, & should have been profitable servants: So when it is made a Character of the Apostacy of the latter times forbid­ding to marry, 1 Tim. 4.3. It is but saying, it was an error of the Copist that put forbidding instead of commanding, (a familiar mistake at Rome) and then I think the Here­ticks are paid home: And so when Christ bids the peo­ple Search the Scriptures, say the Copist left out the word not, it should have been Search not, for so Tradition as­sures us: And so in a thousand other cases, I need no more then give the hint, A word is enough to the wise, as doubtlesse they at Rome are in their generation: In short, what do these men and such Arguments tend to but debauch the consciences of men, and depreciate the Scriptures, that if men have not so much grace as to ab­horre such heathenish discourses, it is enough to make the Scripture as insignificant a VVriting as the most con­temptible Pamphlet that ever the VVorld was pester'd with.

I easily apprehend there is one subterfuge, that the Adversaries of the Holy Scriptures will think to make an escape at: They will say all this is true, there neither is [Page 79] nor would be any thing at all certaine, or credible, or clear in the Scripture, and the Sacred VVritings we now have, but for the Infallibility of the Church, which from Infallible Tradition receives them and delivers them to us: But I Answer, 1. Woe to us Christians if all the validity of the Scripture depended upon the Infallibility of the Pope or a Councell. Is not this a rare piece of intelli­gence for Heathens and Atheists and scoffers at the Scripture? Are not these men worthy pillars of the Christian cause? 2. Tradition is not at all concerned in the present dispute nor Infallibility neither: For sup­pose the utmost of what can be or is said by the Roma­nists in this matter viz. that by Tradition we are Infal­libly assured that the Scriptures are the VVord of God, and that the severall Books reputed Canonicall by them are indeed Canonicall, suppose I say we should take all this for granted, what is this to our businesse? Tra­dition (I hope) doth not Infallibly assure them that the Copists committed no errors in Transcribing nor the Translators in Translating. Tradition did not infalli­bly assure Sixtus 5th, that his Translation was right, for it assured his Successor Clement 8, that it was corrupt in above a thousand places: And when those Popes put forth their Translations it sufficiently appeares and they confesse it, they were not guided by inspiration, but pro­ceeded in all things more humano, by collation of Copies, advice of learned men, as I mentioned before out of the Popes own words: And consequently if all Copies be so corrupt that we can have no certainty from them, no more could the Pope and his consultors have from those Copies they used, and therefore are lyable to the same uncertainties.

2. However Mr Rushworth pleaseth himselfe in this Argument as if it were unanswerable, and Protestants were mad that did not yield to it; there is one plaine [Page 80] evidence able to assure any rationall man that there is no weight and force in it, because, although these things have been formerly and frequently objected against the Scripture (for Mr Rushworth was not the first Antiscrip­turist) yet diverse of the most learned, and discreet, and resolved Doctors of the Romish Church (who doubtlesse were too wise to let slip any reall advantage, and knew very well how much their cause needed it) do utterly re­ject and deny it, and together with us do assert the un­corruptednesse of the Books of Scripture now ex­tant among us, as I before proved out of their own words.

3. Here is not any one convincing reason to perswade us of the corruption of the Scripture in substantiall things: All that Mr Rushworth offers in liew of those solid Arguments to disprove the Authority and purity of our Bible is a collection of probabilities (which witty men can easily multiply upon all occasions) to shew that errours have been frequently committed in Copies and Translations (which no man denies:) But alas how farre short do they fall in proofe, if they come to be scanned by any indifferent person: That which seemes to threa­ten most is the corruption of Hereticks, and we are told of the Jewes at Tiberias who pointed the Bible, when ene­mies to Christ, and thereby had opportunity to change the whole Text, as also of the Greek Hereticks: I am very willing the cause should be decided by this one point: For (as it is well argued by the Assertors of the Integrity of the Hebrew Text, to whom I refer the Reader, such as Buxtorf and Glassius and many others) if those Jewes have corrupted the Hebrew Bible maliti­ously to weaken the Christian cause, certainly they have done it in those places which are of greatest importance to evince Christianity: But this it is notoriously known they have not done, since most of the convincing proofs [Page 81] of Christs being the true Messiah are taken out of that very Bible which came out of their hands: And for the Greek and other Hereticks, it is very true that some of them did attempt the corruption of some few Texts of Scripture, but the very attempt made such a noise in the Christian World, and the whole Church took such an alarme at it, that it was presently discover'd and ab­horr'd, and they severely censured for it, and even Papists confesse the Doctours of the Church were so vigilant, that there could not be any wilfull and materiall de­pravation of the Greek Testament, and the like may be said for the neglects or oversights of Copists. The Chri­stians of former Ages had such an high opinion of the Scriptures necessity and transcendent excellency, that they kept it with all possible care, such exact acquain­tance and familiar knowledge of the Scripture, that they could not but discover the least considerable error, such conscientious strictnesse, that they abhorred the least de­pravation, and such jealousy and watchfulnesse to ob­serve and secure that inestimable treasure, that it cannot with any probabi [...]ity be imagined that substantiall cor­ruptions should come into the Texts, and much lesse can the contrary position be taken for a demonstra­tion.

4. As there is no cogent reason to argue the Bibles corruption, so there are sufficient evidences of its incor­ruption: Some I have now mentioned, to which may be added the generall inconsiderablenesse of those various lections (which Popish Writers triumph so much in) the samenesse for substance in all the citations of Scripture in Authors of diverse Ages, and distant places and seve­rall languages, the acknowledged uncorruptednesse of se­verall other Authors (as to materiall points notwithstan­ding all the different readings) which yet were not read with that diligence and observation, nor received with [Page 82] that veneration, no [...] kept with that Religion, nor watch­ed with that jealousy, nor were the corruptours of them terrified with such threatnings, nor mens own interests so deeply concerned in the conservation of their purity, and consequently were farre more liable to errors or vio­lations then the Scripture: To all which may be added that (which alone is sufficient) even the providence and goodnesse of God, which as it mercifully gave these ex­cellent Writings for mans conduct to eternall blisse, so it gives us just ground for a comfortable and confident expectation that it would preserve them to our use, and not suffer these (Holy VVritings) to see corruption: This is so materiall a consideration even in the judgment of our Adversaries, that it is their principall Argument, and urged by them with greatest vehemency and p [...]ausi­bility, for the Churches Authority and Infallibility, be­cause (as they pretend) it doth not consist with the providence and goodnesse of God to leave his Church without an Infallible guide; so that both Papists and Protestants own the solidity of the principle, and differ onely in the application of it, whilest they urge it for the Infallibility of the Pope and Councell (which as you have seen their own Authors are not satisfied in) and we urge it for the infallibility and incorruptibility of the Scrip­tures, (which all Protestants and diverse Papists as­sert:)

Thus I hope I have fully satisfied that first Argument.

The other Argument which Mr Rushworth suggests is taken from the nature of the Books of Scripture: If a law were to be given in Writing it must be thus; First the common things must be commanded, then by degrees they must descend to particulars, still observing that severall matters should be under severall Chapters or divisions, and not one piece here, another there, and things must be plaine and distinct: From which it is evident enough that the [Page 83] Scripture was never intended for a Law or Iudge of Contro­versies, because the Book is so large, and so many things min­gled unappertaining to the substance of our beliefe, as Histo­ricall, Epistolar, Mysticall, and so many repetitions; and lastly it is left to a meer conjecture what may be the meaning of it: Thus Rushworth Dialog. 2. Sect. 2.

Is this the Mathematicall man? Is this the rigour of Mathematicks? This is enough to make a man forsweare the study of the Mathematicks, if it produce no better demonstrations: We poor Protestants may well be con­tent to submit to the Lawes of these men, for you see they give Lawes to God himselfe, and it is allready en­acted in the conclave of Rome, that if God do not speak in Mood and Figure he shall not be heard, and that if he put forth any Law-book wherein he doth not rigo­rously observe the orders and methods of a Systeme it shall not be received: Believe me it was a good turne that Mr Cowell Writ his Institutiones Iuris Anglicani, wherein he reduced the English Lawes to a Method, for else woe had been to the poor Statute-Books and all Re­cords of our Lawes, for as sure as a club they had been voted to be no Lawes, nor Judges of Controversies be­tween men and men, for so saith our Theologicall Euclide that scornes to speak under a Demonstration; for we know how much more large a book they make then the Bible, and how many things are mingled unappertaining to the substance of our estates and lives &c. The summe of the Argument is this▪ The Scripture was not inten­ded for the Law, because it is so large, so miscellaneous, so full of repetitions &c. Shall I need to say any more for the answer of such an Argument wherein there is no­thing evident, but the disputers confidence, and the Pa­pists credulity, and the desperatenesse of their cause?

Answ. 1. If this Argument hold the Old Testament or the Pentateuch was no Law to the Jewes, But [Page 84] this is false, and it was a Law to the Jewes, Ergo, the principle is false from which such a conclusion is deduced: The Major I prove from his own words, and besides he particularly disputes against the Old Testaments being a Law: The Minor I hope I shall easily prove: Where to prevent equivocation or mistakes, take notice I med­dle not with the ambiguous terme of JUDGE, wee are now disputing whether it were a Law; nor do I meddle with that question whether it be a Law to us; But to the Jewes: This then I assert that the Old Testa­ment (notwithstanding this objection) was a Law to the Jewes, and a man would think the very mention of the proposition should cut off all necessity of proof: It is so absurd and portentous a thing to Christian eares to hear so evident and received an Assertion questioned, I prove it onely by this Argument: That Book by which both people and Priests, and Princes of the Jewes were to be guided and ruled and commanded in their decisions, was certainly a Law to them; But such was the Old Testa­ment, 1. For the people it is plaine: They are commanded to observe to do all the Words of this Law that are Written in this Book, Deut. 28.58. And Moses makes bold to call it a Law-book, notwithstanding all the mix­tures, repetitions, &c. and a curse is pronounced to every one that continued not in all things written in the Book of the Law to do them, Gal. 3.10. and for the gui­dance of the people, those Books were to be read by or to the people, Deut. 31.9. Ios. 8.35. Neh. 8. and diverse other places: 2. For the Princes it is no lesse evident that it was a Law and rule to them, Ios. 1.8. This Book of the Law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is Written therein: And Deut. 17.18, 19. When he sitteth upon the Throne—he shall Write him a Copy of this Law in a Book out of that which [Page 85] is before the Priests the Levites, and he shall read therein all the dayes of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord,—to keep all the words of this law and these statutes to do them. Thus it is undeniable, it was a Law both to Prince and People, and that is sufficient to overthrow the whole ar­gument. But I adde 3. It was a law to the Priests too. I do not now dispute whether the people were absolutely tyed to follow the Priests decisions, (I think the contrary hath been sufficiently evidenced,) but my present assertion is onely this, The books of Scripture were a law to the Priests, by which they were to be ordered and regulated in their proceedings: The sentence which the Priests were to pronounce, it must be the sentence of the Law, Deut, 17.11. and the Priests are oft censured and condemned for neglecting or transgressing the Law, which plainly shews it was the law and rule of their proceedings.

Ans. 2. But what shall we say if the Papists themselves deny their own Conclusion, which here they indeavour tanto molimine to prove? You will say we have little rea­son to believe those that do not believe themselves, or to assent to that Conclusion which they deny. To make good this, you must remember, the question is not about the Judge, properly so called, but about the Rule or Law, to which we suppose the Judge to be tyed: for if the Scriptures had been compiled in the form of a law with the greatest exquisitenesse, this would not have satisfied our Masters the Jesuites, but there must have been another, and that a living Judge of controversies. This premised, I thus proceed: Either they of the Church of Rome have a Law, by which they regulate all their Decrees and de­cisions, or they have none: if they say, they have none, then they act lawlessly and arbitrarily, and we have found Antichrist by his character [...], or Lawlesse, 2 Thes. 2. but if they say, (as they all pretend and professe) they are guided by a law, then I enquire, what that law is? [Page 86] Here it is true they are divided, while some make the judgment of the antient Church and Fathers their law, others the Popes Decrees, others the Acts of Councels, but all of them pretend some law or other, and which o­pinion soever of their Church they take, (for they have good choice,) either their argument hath no force against the Scriptures being our Law, or it equally militates a­gainst their own Laws. As for instance: if they make the judgment of the Fathers their Law, are not they lya­ble to the same exceptions with the Scripture; of large­nesse, aliene mixtures, repetitions, &c? And the like may be said of Popes Decretals. and the Acts of Councels, (which they generally pretend to own as their Law:) and it is no lesse true of Tradition, of the largenesse whereof one may say, (as was formerly said of Livy,) Quas mea non totas Bibliotheca capit: for according to the estimate which a learned Author of their own makes, (Charron by name,) the Scripture is but minima pars veritatis revelatae, the least part of revealed Truth: He that pleaseth, may see good store of them collected by that great terrour of the Papists, Moulin, in a Treatise of his in French, con­cerning Traditions. Nay (to put all out of doubt) these very men, that argue at this rate, though they do not acquiesce in the Scripture as a Judge, yet they do own it for a Law: they confesse the word of God is their rule and law, onely they make (as I may say) this law to con­sist of two Tables, the written and the unwritten Word, which you saw the Councel of Trent receive with equal piety and reverence. Now certainly they that subscribe to this (as the Papists generally do,) they own the Scrip­ture for a Law, though not for a compleat and sufficient Law: nor doth the investing of Tradition with the quali­ty of a Law, devest the Scripture of it, any more then the addition of new Acts of Parliament doth derogate the name and authority of a Law from all former Acts and [Page 87] statutes, that is, not at all. Much more might be said to shew the folly and absurdity of this argument, but if I should spend more words about it, I should both questi­on my own, and too grosly distrust the Readers discre­tion.

And now having done with the Mathematicks, let us come to the Politicks, the best argument the Church of Rome hath. Politick Mr. White, who seeing their Scrip­ture arguments in the suds, and for the Fathers pila mi [...] nantia pilis, comes in to succour a falling cause with Poli­tick considerations, and moral conjectures, and fine-spun probabilities. No man can deny that it was politickly done, when they saw their Church could prove nothing, to assert, that her bare saying was sufficient, that the testi­mony of the present Church, that she holds nothing but what she hath received from Christ and the Apostles, is security enough for a Christian's Faith: but this notion I have largely examined, and I hope Mr. White will abate something of his confidence in it; therefore I have no­thing to do here, but to consider what he alledgeth against the Scriptures being a Rule or Judge of controversies, and (excepting what hath been before discussed) I find one­ly one argument that can pretend to merit any conside­ration, and it is delivered by him pro more with great con­fidence and contempt of his Adversaries. When the Pro­testants ask the question, as well they may, Cannot the Bible make it self be understood as well as Plato and Ari­stotle? (a question which all the wits of the Romane Church, not excluding Mr. White, were never able to answer,) and thence infer, that the Scripture is suffici­ently intelligible, and able to decide controversies: Mr. White's answer and argument against the Scriptures is this: That this depends upon a most false supposition, viz: that the Scripture was written of those controversies which now are: whereas it is a most shameless proposition to say, the Scriptures [Page 88] were written of the controversies long after their date, sprung up in the Christian world: beginning from Genesis to the A­pocalypse let them name one Book, whose Theme is any now controverted Point between Protestants and Catholicks. Apo­logy for Tradition, fifteenth Encounter. And consequent­ly the Scripture is no fit Judge for our controversies. This, you must know, is the argument of another Mathe­matical Papist, who cries out of Protestants for resting in probabilities, yet can satisfy himself (or at least pretends to do so) with such absurd and improbable ratiocinations▪ O the power of prejudice or interest! (for I cannot tell which it is that blinds such men as Mr. White.) Be of good chear, Protestants, the Papists are upon their last legs: you see their arguments run very low.

The Answer is this in short, (for truly it needs no long nor laborious reply, how much soever Mr. White is con­ceited of it.) It is not a most shamelesse but a most shameful proposition, to say the Scripture is unable to decide any of those controversies, which are since sprung up in the Christian world. Is there any Freshman in the University ignorant of this, That Rectum est Index sui & obliqui; that the assertion of a Truth is sufficient for the confutation of all contrary errors, wheresoever or when­sover broached: I may say to Mr. White, as they did to Moses, Wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? Doth Mr. White think his Readers would have neither wit nor con­science? I aske whether those passages of Scripture, In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God, Joh. 1.1. who is over all God blessed for ever, Rom. 9.5. This is the true God and eternal life, 1 Joh. 5.20. Before Abraham was I am, Joh. 8.58. do not solidly and sufficiently confute the late sprung Socinian Heresy, and prove Christ's Divinity and prae-existency before his In­carnation? If he say no, I will promise him hearty thanks (though not from Christ, nor peradventure from his Vi­car, [Page 89] yet) from all the Socinians in the world, and then he would do well to answer what Placaeus, and other of the Protestants, or rather (as a demonstration of the unity of the Romish Church) what Smigl [...]cius and others of his Brother. Romanists have argued from those places, or else let him give us the reason, why his Brethren should play the knaves, and own and urge those things for solid ar­guments, which they did not think so. If he say, yea, then down fals all this goodly structure, and Mr. White must seek for a new prop to their declining Babel, and Scripture is not unable to decide controversies of a later Date. Yet again: I will prove Jesus Christ was not of Mr. White's mind, for he thought Scripture (yea even such parts of Scripture as were not written upon those Themes or con­troversies, nor designed against those errors) able to de­cide supervening controversies. Thus he confutes the Pharisaical opinion about Divorce, from a Text well nigh as old as the Creation of the world, even the institution of marriage, Math. 19.4, 5, 6. So he confutes the error of the Sadduces against the resurrection, from a Scripture long before delivered, (and such an one too as seemed to have no respect at all to such an Heresy) Mat. 22.29, 30, 31, 32. May it please this worthy Gentleman to give us leave without offence to prefer our Saviours opinion be­fore his. I am ashamed to spend time in confuting so sensless a cavil, (but that the reputation of an Author sometimes makes Non-sence passe for an Argument) I need onely advise the Reader to read over the New Te­stament, and (if he have either reason or conscience) it is impossible he should be of Mr. White's mind. Did not the Apostles decide that controversie Act. 15. from antient Scriptures, and from such places as seem as irrelative to the matter debated, as any which are urged by any con­siderable Protestant against the Popish errors? And why then may not we tread in their steps? why may not a [Page 90] Protestant as well confute the opinion of Justification by works (in the Popish sense) from that Scripture we con­clude we are justified by Faith without the works of the Law, as S. Paul might and did confute the same doctrine (when held by the Jews) from that passage of Davids, Blessed is the man whose iniquities are forgiven, Rom. 4? If these words long before delivered, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him onely shalt thou serve, Deut. 6.13. were sufficient to decide the controversy between Christ and the Devil, to confute the opinion of Devil-worship, why may not the same words as urged by Christ be as suf­ficient to decide the controversy between the Papists and us, to confute the opinion of Image-worship? But I am not at leisure to transcribe all the New Testament. I can­not think of Mr. White (as it is said of many Popish Do­ctors,) that he never read over the Bible, but I would de­sire him once more to read it, and to put on his Spectacles, and then tell me if he be still of the same mind. If this will not do, let him reflect upon the Fathers, whether it was not the universal practice of the Fathers to confute later Heresies out of the Scripture: this they did either perti­nently or solidly, (and then it may be done still,) or im­pertinently and fallaciously, (and then Mr. White makes them meer Juglers.) In a word, as upon supposition that Aristotle was authentick, and [...], it were no hard matter out of him to confute all the new opinions of the Modern Philosophers. So the Scriptures being confes­sedly such, it may suffice for the confutation of later He­resies. Lastly, if all this will not serve turn, it is (to use his own words) a shameless proposition, to say the Scripture doth not speak of the matters now in controversy be­tween us and the Papists; and whoever asserts it, either understands not what he saith, or must be presumed never to have read any of our Protestant Controvertists, who have fully confuted all the Popish errors and heresies [Page 91] from express Scriptures, or (which is all one) from genu­ine consequences evidently deduced from them. Nor doth it matter at all to say, the Scripture treats not of the con­troversies at large, since it is by all acknowledged, that every part and parcel of Scripture is Canonical and Au­thentical, and the Papists make this the difference be­tween the Divinity of the Scriptures and Conciliary De­crees: That these are Divine in the main Conclusion, but not in the premises or mediums, but the Scripture they say is Divine in all, every verse, every word being Divine; and consequently if but one verse of Scripture speak a­gainst an error, it doth as solidly (though not so fully) confute that error, as if a whole Book were written a­gainst it. For instance: that Text, This is the true God, if the sense of the words be agreed, (and if they be not, it would do nothing, though an whole Epistle were writ­ten about it, and so far there is no difference) doth as substantially confute the Socinian Heresy in that point, as a larger Discourse upon it would do; and therefore Mr. White's argument is empty and inffectual, and must go after its fellows. And so all their arguments (of any note) against the Scriptures being Rule or Judge of controver­sies are I hope sufficiently answered, and the Protestant doctrine or Truth of Christ, viz. The Scripture is a suffi­cient rule or judge of controversies, stands-like a Rock, at which their Waves are dashed in pieces.

And now I should come to the other part, by positive Scriptures and arguments to prove the Scriptures autho­rity and sufficiency, but this is fully done by many lear­ned pens; onely because our principal arguments for it are assaulted by the Adversaries I now have to do with, I shall therefore consider their pretensions against the evi­dence of those places alledged by us in defence of the au­thority and sufficiency of their Scriptures, for I am forced by them (against my own desire and inclination) to con­found [Page 92] found these two heads, and treat of them together. I know there are several Texts rightly urged by the Prote­stants, and vainly cavilled by the Papists: but because the handling of this point was not my first nor is my main design at present, and one solid argument or convincing Scripture is as good as a thousand, and both parties are upon the matter willing their cause should stand or fall by the verdict of one place, as it doth, or doth not con­vincingly prove the sufficiency of the holy Scriptures, and because above all places the Romanists most eagerly com­bate this, I shall therefore more largely insist upon it, and clear up the force and evidence of it, notwithstanding all the clouds they cast before it.

The place is 2 Tim. 3.15, 16. From a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto Salvation through faith which is in Christ Iesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righte­ousness, that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furni­shed to all good works.

To ingenuous and dis-interested persons the very rea­ding of these words is a sufficient confutation of the Po­pish opinion: but that you may see the Romanists have (if no conscience, yet) some wit, they are able to darken the clearest Texts, and to perplex what they cannot an­swer. Our arguments from this place are plain and co­gent. 1. That which can make a man wise unto Salvation is sufficient for Salvation. 2. That which is sufficient for the conferring of all those things which are necessary to salvation, is sufficient for salvation: but so is the Scrip­ture. For there are but two things necessary to salvation, viz. knowledg of the Truth, and practice of righteousness and holiness.: and for both these the Scripture is said to be sufficient. 3. That which is sufficient for a man of God or Minister, is much more sufficient for a private [Page 93] Christian: but so is the Scripture: Ergo.

But let us see what our Adversaries pretend against this evident place: Excep. 1 It is able indeed, but that is through faith, E. it is not of it self sufficient, saith our Captain. It speaks not of making Timothy a Christian by the Bible, (since it supposeth Timothy's being already made a Christian by Paul's institutions vivâ voce) but it speaks of the perfect­ing of his faith, not the first choice of it: and this faith is a be­lief of Christian verities delivered by Oral Tradition; saith Mr. Cressy sect. 2. cap. 6. And consonantly to him Mr. White thus glosseth upon the place: The Scriptures will contri­bute to thy salvation, so that thou understand them according to the faith of Iesus Christ, which I have orally delivered un­to thee. Apology for Tradition, Sixteenth Encounter.

Ans. 1. The necessity of Faith is no argument of the Scriptures insufficiency. The Scripture is sufficient, i. e. in genere objecti, in respect of the object, or doctrine, or reve­lation, and yet Faith is necessary in genere instrumenti, as an instrument, (for it is plain enough, the faith he speaks of is the grace, not the doctrine of Faith.) By this argu­ment Scripture and Tradition together were no perfect rule, for both will not make a man wise unto salvation otherwise then through faith.

Ans. 2. It is falsly supposed, and can never be proved, That the Faith here spoken of is the fides quae creditur, or the doctrine of Faith, not fides quâ creditur, or the grace of Faith, and that by Faith are here intended Christian Verities, delivered by Oral Tradition from St. Paul, or the other Apostles: and this Supposition is the Basis of their Answer. The contrary sufficiently appears from di­verse considerations. 1. This contradicts the Apostles scope, which apparently is to commend the Scriptures, as able to make wise to Salvation &c. But this were no com­mendation at all to say, they together with such Chri­stian verities are sufficient for salvation: for according to [Page 94] this argument it might be said of any one verse in all the Old Testament, what is here said of all the Scriptures, viz. That that Verse together with Faith, i. e. with the Chri­stian verities delivered by Oral Tradition, is sufficient for Salvation, which no Papist will deny: and therefore that Answer is absurd.

2. Timothy's faith here supposed, is of the same kind with the Faith of his Mother and Grandmother, 2 Tim. 1.5. When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy Grandmother Lois, and thy mo­ther Eunice. Was the faith of his Grandmother too the Christian Verities delivered by Oral Tradition from the Apostles after she was dead?

3. It is not said, The Scriptures are able—with the faith, but through the faith; not [...], but [...], which plainly shews, that this Faith is not another object di­stinct from the Scriptures, but an instrument to apply the Scriptures; especially if we consider a parallel place, Heb. 4.2. The word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith, i e. with the grace of Faith: for none can be so senselesse, as to think they were damned for want of oral Tradition.

4. The Faith here spoken of is together with the Scrip­tures sufficient for salvation: and so is the grace of faith: But the Dogmatical belief of Christian Verities deliver'd by Tradition, together with the Scriptures, is not suffici­ent for Salvation, as the Papists confesse: E. the grace of Faith is the thing here spoken of.

5. The Faith here spoken of is a thing distinct and total­ly differing from the Scriptures, and not at all coincident with them. But the Christian Verities or Traditions de­livered by the Apostles were not things so different, but coincident with the Scripture, as evidently appears from Act. 26.22. where S. Paul in terminis professeth, he said (preached) none other things, then those which the Prophets [Page 95] and Moses did say should come. But I would have you to wit, that the Church of Rome know what Paul preached better then himself: a plain evidence of their Infallibility.

Exc. 2. By this argument the Scriptures of the Old Te­stament (for of them he speaks) are sufficient for salvation, and so the New Testament is not necessary. So the Captain p. 29. and Cressy ubi suprà.

Ans. 1. It is very true, the Scriptures of the Old Testa­ment were in those times sufficient for salvation: This appears from the place now cited, Act. 26.22. compared with Act. 20.27. where S. Paul saith, he delivered the whole counsel of God Hence I argue: The whole counsel of God was delivered by S. Paul, and is sufficient for sal­vation: but all that S. Paul delivered was in Moses and in the Prophets, Act. 26.22. If the Old Testament was deficient in any doctrine, it was that which the New Te­stament seems to supply, viz. the doctrine of Christ, and yet the Old Testament was sufficient to teach Christ; for it did both instruct men about the Person, and Office, and work of the Messias, (as our Divines do abundantly prove against the Jews, to whom I refer the Reader for the proof of it) and also did sufficiently prove that Jesus was the Christ, as appears undeniably from Act. 18.28. and consequently there was no defect, but a sufficiency (for that time and condition of affairs) even in the old Testa­ment in things necessary to salvation.

A Third Exception they take against our argument from this place is, That it speaks onely of perfection after faith, but here is no question about the first choice of faith, much lesse is there any mention of convincing in foro conten­tioso) about which is all our controversy. Thus Mr. White's Apology for Tradition, 16. Encounter.

Ans. Since then all our controversy is about that, whe­ther the Scriptures are so convincing, it will be worth our while to examine the point; for it is not my desire to catch [Page 96] at little advantages, but to attaque the Aversary in his strongest Fort.

But before I come to the proof, let us inquire into the meaning of the Phrase, What it is for the Scripture to be convincing in foro contentioso, i. e. in way of disputation. I take it for granted, he is not so absurd as to expect that the scripture should be so convincing, as actually to con­vince, and satisfy, and silence the most importunate and unreasonable Caviller. In that sense the clearest demon­stration in the Mathematicks is not convincing: but with­out doubt Mr. White takes his Apology, and so his Trea­tise de fide, and Mr. Rushworths Dialogues to be convin­cing Discourses, because though they do not actually con­vince the stubborn Hereticks, yet they are apta nata to convince them, there is so much evidence in them, as may and ought to satisfy any understanding, unconcerned, inquisitive, and prudent adversary: and in this sense I do assert, that the scriptures are convin [...]ing in f [...]ro contentio­so, (which is the great thing Mr. White sticks at:) I prove it thus.

1. The scriptures make a man of God, i.e. the Minister (as they acknowledg) perfect, and throughly furnished to every work: but this is one of his chief works, to con­vince Gain-sayers Ti [...]. 1.9. Ergo scripture furnisheth him with convincing arguments.

2. The Scripture is here expressely said to be profitable among other things for Conviction, [...], first for doctrine, i.e. for the confirmation of Truths, then for conviction, (for so the Greek word more properly signi­fies then for reproof, which is mentioned in the next par­ticular, for correction) or for resutation of errors. But surely Scripture were not profitable for conviction, if it be insufficient to attain that end, and be unconvincing: nay more, Scripture is not profitable for doctrine, if it onely beget conjectures and opinions, and doth not give [Page 97] solid and satisfying evidence of its doctrines: and if it do evidently assert or prove a Truth, it must by consequence as evidently convince and consute the contrary error. For example: if any Scripture positively assert, that Christ is the true God, and equal with the Father, (as de facto it doth,) doth not the same Scripture sufficiently convince even in foro contentioso the Socinian Hereticks, who make Christ but a Creature, and inferior to the Father? Neither let him tell me of their cavils against such places, for so Anaxagoras did cavill against those that said Snow was white, (and gave a reason for it, saith Tully, because the water of which it had its rise was black,) yet no man I think will deny, that there is convincing evidence (even in foro contentioso) of its whitenesse.

3. The Scripture was convincing formerly, and there­fore it is so still, (for I do not know that it hath lost any of its vertue.) Christ proved himself to be the Messias out of the Scriptures in sundry places, and I think Mr. White will not deny, that all Christ's arguments were con­vincing. So Christ proves his Lordship and Divinity out of the Scriptures, and I think convincingly, (for his Ad­versaries were not able to answer him a word,) out of the Psalmes. Read Mat. 22.42. &c. When Peter and Paul disputed against the Jewes out of the Scripture, and proved (as they did) out of the scriptures, that Jesus whom they crucified was Lord and Christ; I would know, whe­ther their scripture-proofs were solid and convincing, or no: if they deny it, they make the Apostles deceivers, and wresters of the scriptures; if they affirm, then scripture is convincing. Once more: we read Act. 18.28. of Apol­los, that he mightily convinced the Jewes, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ. I am ashamed to mention more arguments in so clear a cause: and yet we must believe these men against our senses, and reason, and conscience, that the scriptures are not able to convince [Page 98] men in foro contentioso; and Mr. VVhite (who sometimes writes as if he believed an everlasting state) dares hazard it upon such false and frivolous suppositions.

Excep. 4. This word (All Scripture) must signify ei­ther every Scripture, as the Original word [...] ought to be rendred, (and then all Scripture save one Book is uselesse,) or all the Scriptures that ever were, (and then we have them not,) or all that were then written, (and then all since writ­ten are superfluous,) or all that we now have. Epist. pag. 29.30.

Ans. The Text speaks not of every scripture, but of all the scriptures that then were. As for the word [...] two things are evident enough:

1. That it may be taken collectively, and the use of the word will warrant it. I see the Captain is grown a Graecian, therefore I shall desire him to look onely into two places which his masters the Rhemists intepret colle­ctivè, not distributivè: Mat. 8.32. [...] the whole herd, not every herd, and [...] the whole city, v. 34.

2. That it must be so taken here, our Adversaries being judges: for else this confessed inconvenience will follow, That any one verse of the Scripture is profitable and suffi­cient to all these purposes: nor doth it at all follow, that all the rest are superfluous, because not precisely necessa­ry. The Pentateuch alone was a sufficient law for the Jewes, yet none will say the Books of the Prophets con­cerning the explication or application of that Law were superfluous.

Excep, 5. He sayes not the Scriptures are sufficient, but onely profitable. Cressy.

Ans. 1. He saith they are profitable [...], for every good work, and what is so, is undoubtedly suffi­cient.

2. He saith they are profitable, so far as to make one wise to salvation, and I think that is sufficient.

[Page 99]3. He saith, they are profitable to the producing of all things necessary to salvation, which are acknowledged to be onely two, Faith, and Life, and they are profitable to both of them: 1 for doctrine, i. the demonstration of the Truth, 2. for conviction or reproof, i.e. the consutation of errors: 3. for correction, i.e. the reproof of sins: 4. for instruction in righteousnesse, or the discovery of Duties. And what is thus every way profitable, cannot with any colour be charged with insufficiency.

Excep. 6. It is a clear case, the Apostle speaks of the bene­fit of Scripture▪ when explicated and applyed by a Preacher.

Ans. 1. By this argument all these high and various elogiums, which are here so emphatically given to all the Scripture, do as truly belong to any one verse of Scrip­ture. By this, those two words, Dic Ecclesiae, Tell the Church, are able to make one wise to salvation, and fur­nished to every good work &c. for so they are or may be (through God's blessing) if explicated and applied by an able preacher. So those words, Abraham beg at Isa ac, are able to all these mentioned purposes, viz. if explicated and applyed. So you see the Church of Rome is grown superlatively orthodox, for they who ere while would not allow all the Scripture to be sufficient, are now so a­bundantly satisfied in the point, that they allow any one verse in the Bible (not excluding, Tobit went, and his dog followed him) to be sufficient.

This, I hope, may suffice for the vindication of this Text, wherein I have been the larger, because it is most plain and impregnable to our purpose; and sufficient of it self to decide the whole controversy. I shall not concern my selfe, or trouble the Reader with the vindication of other Texts to the same purpose, (which are many, and considerable, and with great facility defensible against all the Romish assaults,) because to him that submits to the authority and self-evidencing light of this Text, that la­bour [Page 100] is superfluous; and to him, whose Conscience will suffer his wit to quarrel against such forcible and clear expressions, and arguments, as this Te [...]t affords, it is fru­straneous. And therefore upon the evidence that hath been delivered, I shall take the boldnesse to conclude, That not the Church, but the Scripture is the sufficient Rule and Infallible Guide, by which we are to be regu­lated in all things pertaining to Faith or Godlinesse.


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.