A Full and Clear EXPOSITION OF THE PROTESTANT Rule of Faith, With An Excellent DIALOGUE Laying forth the large Extent of True Protestant Charity against the Uncharitable Papists.

I Having made it a prime part of my Study these several years, to seek into the Principles of Religion, and up­on account that I judged the saving of my Soul, the grea­test concern I had to deal in this World, I was resolved, maugre all the Principles of Education, Interest, or Passion, there to fix, where I truly was convinced be­tween God and my own Soul, that the surest footing was, and securest way to Salvation. Which to my unspeakable comfort, being satisfy'd that I have found: I can't conceal the desire I have of directing others to endeavour the same, that they may partake of the like happiness which I my self enjoy. To accomplish this the more compendiously, I conceive nothing more efficacious, than to search as I have done, into the different grounds of each Church. The Roman Catholicks, tho' they allow any sober Person may read (with leave) the Holy Scriptures, yet they permit none to interpret the same in points of Faith, unless they take along with them the [Page 2] Judgment of the whole Church, either diffusive, or assembled by her Representatives in a General Council Lawfully call'd, under their chief head his Holiness of Rome, and to such Definitions alone do they believe themselves bound to subscribe. Now our Protestant Churches deal more liberally, and allow every sound Member a power of reading Holy Scripture, and judging of Controversies in Faith, according to the measure of light imparted, so that no body is Bound to submit either to Fathers or Councils, unless he judge they speak conformably to his private sense of Scripture.

Now, having lately touched upon this point in my Answer to Dr. Tennison's Remarks, and having fram'd an argument of no small force, to invalidate the Protestant Rule of Faith as by him delivered, to which the Dr. in his fifteen Sheets has not returned one Syllable, I thought it might prove very beneficial to the Publick, if that point were throughly handled, the whole weight of all Controversy turning upon this Hinge, viz. whether there be any Power upon Earth, to which all Men are bound to submit in matters of Faith, as the Catholicks teach; or whether every sound Man be left free to judge for himself, as the Protestants assert.

Methinks I see the Protestant Reader in a Zealous fret, for having bought the Paper of an Author against whom he has conceived a no­table prejudice, borrowed from the Writings of Dr. Tennison, which he has been pleased to inter-line with many very Injurious and Scandalous reflections upon Me and My Religion, nothing provoked thereto, as appears from the modest account I gave of the Confe­rence; nor do my Remarks contain any more than a Vindication void of Passion, to which Truth and Justice did oblige me. And although the Dr. continue in his fifteen Sheets called, Pulton Con­sidered, his Reviling, Defaming, and Bantering Stile: yet (ever willing to yield to the Dr. in this) the Answer I will shorly publish thereto, as it shall be very short, so it shall contain nothing that may disedify the Reader.

The Dr. having assign'd the Holy Scriptures, as understood by every sound Iudgment, for the Rule of Faith; and consequently having given to every such Person authority to Judge of Con­troversies in Faith, at least as far as concerns his own salvation, I fram'd the following Discourse, the Dr. has not been pleased to return an Answer, tho' it was the chief Querie put to him.

‘We must allow, if to any, a soundness of Judgement to Lu­ther, Calvin, Carolostadius, Zwinglius, Beza, Castalio, &c. who were the principal Heads of the Reformed Churches, and consequent­ly receiv'd more of the Divine Influence, us'd more industry in acquiring Authentick Copies, comparing of Texts, Imploring the Divine Assistance, than any of their Followers.

[Page 3] To begin therefore with Luther, Zwinglius says of him, That he was a foul Corrupter, and horrible Falsifier of God's Word: One, who followed the Marcionists and Arians, that raz'd out such places of Ho­ly Writ as were against him. Thou dost, says he to Luther, corrupt the word of God; Thou art seen to be a manifest and common Corrupter and Perverter of the Holy Scriptures. How much are we asham'd of thee, who have hitherto esteem'd thee? With how great reason Zwinglius objected this to him, ‘those are Judges, who have noted above a thousand places, chang'd by him in the New Testament alone; Vide Bell. Ser. de Pentec. and that he set forth the Gospels seven times, every Edition very much differing from the precedent. Now, I desire to know, whe­ther, and when Martin Luther had the assistance of the H. Ghost?’

Luther on the other side affirms of the Zwinglian Translators, That they are Fools, Asses, Anti-christs, Deceivers, and of an Ass­like understanding. Beza says of the Basilian Translation, That it is in many places Wicked, and altogether differing from the mind of the Holy Ghost. Of Beza's Translation, Castalio observes, That to note all his Errours, would require a great Volume. Beza again pro­nounces of Gastalio's Edition, that, It is False, Foolish, Un­skillful, Bold, Blasphemous, Vitious, Ridiculous, Cursed, Erroni­ous, Wicked, Perverse. In the first English Bible, set forth in the Reign of Henry VIII. by Tindal the chief Apostle of the pretended Reformation, Bishop Tunstal has noted no less than two thousand Corruptions in the Translation of the New Testament alone.’

Give me leave here to argue, as follows: I have a Soul to save, which is the Concern of Concerns; and which, being once lost, is irrecoverably lost, and for all Eternity, never to be redeem'd from an Abyss of inexplicable Wo. For the saving of this most precious Soul, I ask of our pretended Reformers, What I am to do? Take this Scripture, say the Zwinglians, and here you shall find the word of Life. Hearken not to them, says Luther, they are Fools, Anti-christs, Deceivers. I turn to Luther, Take heed, says Zwinglius, He is a Marcionist, an Arian, a manifest and com­mon Corruper and Perverter of the Holy Scriptures. I leave them both, and go to Beza: He offers me a Volume, which he calls the Word of GOD, when Castalio, crying out, bids me beware, and tells me, 'tis a Volume of Errours, Beza defends himself by defaming Casta­lio, as False, Bold, Blasphemous, Cursed, Erronious.

Allarm'd at the clashing of this Cadmean Race of Reformers, I leave Germany, and come into England, a Wise and Polite Nation, which, having consider'd at a distance these mutual Dissentions of our Heavenly gifted Gospellers, takes doubtless better measures. Tindal her prime Apostle, offers me the Book of Life, when Tunstal warns me of two thousand Corruptions in the lesser half of it. I [Page 4] hang in suspence. The Parliament declares it to be a Crafty, False, and Relig. & Gover. p. 306. & 318. untrue Translation: Yet Cranmer is allowed to present me it again little chang'd, besides the Marginal Notes and Preface. However thro' the esteem, I have for that august Assembly, I submit my self, and am willing to depend on its prudent determination.

To the end therefore, that amidst so much confusion, this weigh­ty matter may be more Cautiously and Piously decided, Martin Bucer, once a Dominican, Bernardin Ochin, a quondam Frier, and some others, qualify'd in the same nature, are call'd into England by my Lord Protector and Bishop Cranmer, to frame a new Model of Religion, and fix the Standard of the English pretended Refor­mation.

Let me here desire my Reader to weigh these following lines with that indifference of Judgment, and unprejudicateness of mind, which an Affair of this importance requires, and as I write them, with the most sincere Zeal, and Uprightness of intention; so I most earnestly beg, they may be accordingly consider'd by the di­screet Christian Reader.

Bucer therefore, stil'd by Arch-Bishop Whitgift, a Reverend, Learned, Painful, Sound Father; and of whom Sir John Cheek In his De­fence, page 522. said, The World scarce had his Fellow, first became a Lutheran, then a Zwinglian, after that a Lutheran again, as may be seen in the Acts of the Synod, held at Luthers House in Wittemberg, in the year 1589, And Bucer himself in his Commentary on the 6th. of St. John, and Epist. ad Norimb. & Esseing. 26th. of St. Matthew, asks pardon of GOD for having deceiv'd so many with the Errours of Zwinglius and the Sacramentarians; yet after this open Repentance, he returns to the same Zwinglianism in England; and at his Death, as those, who were present testifie, Schlussem. nn Theol. Calv. l. 2. f. 70. Pra­tcol. page 107. embraces Judaism, having long before declar'd to Dudley Duke of Northumberland, that he doubted, whether all was true, which the Evangelists relate of CHRIST; which if it were, none, who believ'd CHRIST to be GOD, and to have spoken these words, This is my Body, could deny the Real Presence.

Ochin, whose Opinions were Oracles to the Composers of the Nine and Thirty Articles, and whom Bishop Bale terms a Light of Relig. & Gover. p. 62. 3. the Church; saying, That England was happy whilst It had him, mise­rable when it lost him; after many changes in Religion turn'd Jew, taught Circumcision, and wrote a Book in defence of Polygamy.

Cranmer in Henry VIII's days, wrote a Book in defence of the See his Letters in Fox. 1279 and Stow, p. 1036. Real Presence: and another in Edward VI's against it. Many such Remarks might be made of Peter Martyr, Coverdale, and others, the grand Masters of the Reformed Church of England.

Now I desire to know, whether these Men were in all these Opini­ons true Protestants. If my Reason is not quite lost, I conceive, [Page 5] you must answer in the Affirmative: for he (according to your Doctrine) is a true Protestant, who guides himself by the HoIy Scrip­ture, taken in such sense, as appears true to his own reason, which he is not oblig'd to submit to the Judgment of any Church whatsoever. Why so? Because every sound Judgment is a sufficient Judge in Controversy. If those Men therefore were of sound judgment, and judging accor­ding to Scripture, as they for the present understood it, were now of one Opinion, then of another: now condemn'd, what they once believ'd; then again believ'd the Tenet, they had so lately Anathematiz'd: liv'd Christians; dy'd Jews: They were notwith­standing, in all these Opinions, true Protestants. If you say, they judg'd right, when they were Zwinglians; wrong, when they were Lutherans: This is said meerly gratis, and is a perfect begging of the Question. The Lutherans will rise up, and assert, that they were then truly inspir'd from above, when they judg'd the Zwin­glians an abominable Sect: And the Jews will challenge them, be­cause in their latter days, when they were not only more experi­enc'd, but also more grave and serious upon the approach of death, they pronounc'd Christ to be no Messias, and all the Christian Re­ligion to be nothing, but a meer Delusion and Cheat.

If being asham'd of such Patriarchs, you disown them, and say, They were deceiv'd in this or t'other Opinion, that they were of weak judgment, wanted Sincerity, Humility, Modesty: It then follows, that the Basis of your pretended Church totters, and how shall any one be assur'd, that the Fabrick, built on such a Foundation, is firm, solid, and warrantable?

If you say, you have only taken from them, what was true; and agreeable to the right meaning of GOD's Holy Word, without the mixture of their various and unchristian Errours, I desire you to give me a Rule, by which I may be assured of this your certain Choice of only true Doctrine. These Men always spake conformably to their present Judgment of Scripture, which as you Universally teach, is clear and evident in all points necessary to Salvation: what certainty have I, that this Perspicuity and Evidence was better di­scern'd by them, when they taught this Doctrine, than when they deliver'd the Opposite? If you tell me, you are sure of it, because 'tis conformable to your own Judgment of Scripture; the oppo­site Party will as confidently affirm, they are certain of the con­trary, because they Judge contrary to the Doctrines, which, they are assur'd, are true, and only conformable to GOD's Holy Word.

The Zwinglian according to his sense of Scripure, says, He is sure Bucer was deluded, when he taught Lutheranism; The Lutheran from his Judgment of Scripture, avers the same assurance of his having Err'd, when he taught Zwinglianism; The Jew is as certain [Page 6] that he was deceiv'd in both, and was then only in the right, when he embrac'd Judaism. Where does the Scripture say, Luther, you understand me right? you Zwinglius Err, or the contrary?

But methinks, I hear you tell me, that I have forgot with whom I argue; that yours is not a Religion of any one Man, but a Church Establish'd by Law, that 'tis not only imprudence, but even impu­dence, to question the Certainty and Truth of a Religion, pre­scrib'd by so Wise, Sincere, and Learn'd an Assembly, as that of an English Parliament. Very good; but am I not still free to examine according to my own Sense and Judgment, whether this Assembly speak conformably to the sense of the Holy Ghost? You reply, that I am, every Man of sound Judgment being judge of Controversies of Faith. What therefore, if according to the conviction of my Un­derstanding, I am in my Conscience perswaded, that they have all Err'd, Holy Scripture seeming clear to me in the contrary sense, Am I still a true Protestant, while I Judge the Church of England to be a Spurious and False Church? If so, then I am at the same time a Protestant, and no Protestant; if not, then a Man of sound judge­ment, may cease to be a compleat judge in Controversy. If you Preach to me submission of Judgment and implicit Faith, you have left your Principles, and are become a Papist. O, but tho' I may securely judge Ten whole Ages, and Twelve General Councels to have handed down to me a false sense of Holy Scripture; yet I must by no means question, but that now at last, an English Parlia­ment has hit upon the right: You may as rationally oblige a Man, his eyes being wide open, not to see at mid-day; but I must be­lieve, or away to Prison, and undergo the severe Penalties of the Law; This goes hard. I would fain Conform, if it stood with my Conscience: Let us therefore try for once, whether I can't in Pru­dence and Christian Sincerity, secure my Soul by a Conformity to so advantagious a Judgment.

I find therefore in Henry VIII's time, an English Parliament crying down the Pope, and placing his Majesty of England in his room; and yet I see the same Men persecute as Hereticks, those, who in other Points joyn'd with the Transmarin Innovators. In Edward VI's days, I find the same Men declare that Doctrine to be most damnable He­resy, which themselves had all along during the Reign of Henry VIII. profess'd as Catholick. Queen Mary being seated on the Throne, I find them Recanting, and Condemning themselves, and censuring all the Points of Protestancy as Wicked and Heretical: and within six years after, I see them again pass the same Censure on the Roman Catholick Doctrine, to which they had so lately and solemnly been reconcil'd.

[Page 7] Now, give me leave (Christian Reader) to ask you; can I with a safe Conscience, leave a Church whose General Councils, Lawfully Assembled, and approv'd (by which I govern my self) have not in 1600 years produc'd, (as I can find) any one contradiction in mat­ters of Faith, to depend upon Parliamentary Creeds, four times wholly inverted in sixteen years? Can I in Prudence and Consci­ence renounce the former, to embrace the latter? Give me but one pregnant Reason for this, and I engage to become your Pro­selite.

If you tell me, one Parliament was guided by Passion, another by Interest; but that 'twas Queen Elizabeths Parliament, which consisted of Men according to the Spirit of GOD: Is not this a­gain a manifest begging of the Question? Where does the Bible (for at present, as a good Protestant, I admit of no other Rule) where, I say, does the Bible tell me, that the Parliament of Queen Elizabeth should be guided by the Holy Spirit, and not that of King Henry VIII. &c. If you shall return to your old Evasion, that you are sure on't, because you find that Parliament agree with your own Judgment; those, who liv'd in King Henry's days, will on the same ground of pure Scripture tell me quite another story: How then can I be satisfied, which of your Judgments is true? You will answer me, I must judge for my self. What therefore, if accor­ding to my sense of Holy Scripture, I judge in my Conscience (as in the presence of Almighty GOD I truly do) that King Henry VIII's Parliament was Schismatical, Queen Elizabeth's Heretical, and this (as indeed it falls out) after a serious, long, calm, dis-in­teress'd Examen, am I still a True Protestant? You must grant me to be one, because I follow the Protestant Rule, which is (as you say) Holy Scripture, as every one after the use of due means, does in his own proper judgment understand it. What can be more ri­diculous than this? I am a True Protestant, at least in my Princi­ples, tho' by those very Principles, I judge the Protestant Church to be Schismatical and Heretical

The Great Extent of Protestant Charity; Or, a Dialogue between Eudoxius and Philautus, concerning the Protestant Rule of Faith; shewing it to be an in-let, not only to all Heresy, but even to Turcism, Judaism, and Atheism it self.

Eudoxius.

I Shall not, Sir, I hope, offend you by proposing you a few Doubts concerning your Protestant Rule of Faith: which is holy Scripture, as understood by every sound judgment.

[Page 8] Philautus,

So far from it, Sir, that on the contrary, you will very much oblige me.

Eu.

Reading lately, Sir, the Works, publish'd by the first Lights of your pretended Reformation, who all give us the same Rule of Faith, I discover'd in them a wonderful Spirit of Contradiction; and found, that they not only differ'd the one from the other in matters of Faith, but that the same Men dissented from themselves; now teaching one Doctrine, then another.

Phil.

When you shall have prov'd your Assertion, I will return you a satisfactory Answer.

Eu.

Luther in his Book De Potestate Papae, teaches, that there are seven Sacraments; De Captivitate Babylonica, that there are only three; ad Waldenses, only two; and again de Captivitate Ba­bylonica, that according to Holy Scripture there is but one. In his Sermon of the Eucharist, he tells us, that in the Sacrament of the Altar, there is neither Bread nor Wine, but only the Species or appearance of them; yet in his Book against the King of Eng­land he asserts, That he is wicked and a Blasphemer, who says, The Bread is changed into the substance of CHRIST's Body. Concerning the Popes Power he affirms in his Book de Potestate Papae, That, if it were not Jure Divino, and from GOD, it could never have subsisted so long; and yet in his Treatise de Captivitate Baby­lonica, he often repeats, That he is certain, the Power of the Pope is the Kingdom of Babylon. In Disputatione Lipsiensi, he says, I do not only believe, but certainly know, that there is a Purgatory; and yet de Abrogandâ Missâ, he tells us, 'Tis more secure to deny Pur­gatory. I have Sir, to the number of threescore such Contradicti­ons out of this one Author, the first and greatest Light of the Reformation; and near as many out of Calvin, Beza, &c. Now I desire to know, how I may be assur'd, which part of the Contra­diction is conformable to Divine Revelation, which otherwise.

Phil.

Of contradictory Doctrines, you may safely hold that to be true, which after a serious and due examin, appears to you agreeable to holy Scripture.

Eu.

But what, if another be convinc'd of the opposite?

Phil.

He is bound to believe, as he comprehends it, however different his belief may be from yours.

Eu.

And shall each of us be assured, he has Divine Faith, rela­ting to such a Mystery, tho' we evidently contradict one another?

Phil.

‘I do not say, you shall each of you have Divine Faith con­cerning that particular point, in which you differ; but that each of you may safely hold that side of the Contradiction, which he verily believes to be true, provided you both proceed with sin­cerity, and are neither of you blinded with Passion: For the Arti­cle [Page 9] may perhaps be of such a Nature, that there will be no ne­cessity for either of you to believe it with Divine Faith.’

Eu.

What then say you of a Quaker, who, grounding himself on his own sense of Holy Scripture, believes Baptism as imperti­nent and superstitious, as you do the use of Holy Water?

Phil.

I say, the Quaker, so believing, proceeds not with Sincerity and without Passion.

Eu.

How will you make it appear, that you are the only Men, who proceed sincerly; and that all, which contradict you, are mis­led and blinded by Passion, or the like.

Phil.

I don't say, all, who contradict me, are so misled.

Eu.

They may then contradict you, and not be misled?

Phil.

‘Herein our Charity is greater than yours: for, as we ar­rogate not to our selves Infallibility, so consequently we condemn not all, that are of a contrary perswasion to our selves; but al­low Salvation to any, who reading the Holy Scripture, shall be­lieve so much, so far, and in that sense, they humbly conceive, it ought to have.’

Eu.

So that, if to day I understood the Bible in one sense, to morrow in another; using always equal Diligence and Sincerity, I shall always be in the right.

Phil.

I say not, that you will always be in the right; but that you will not be accountable to GOD for any Errour, as long as you judge accor­ding to Conscience.

Eu.

But what, if I govern my Conscience by a false Principle? what, if Almighty GOD has laid upon all Christians an obligati­on of submitting their private Judgment to the Universal deter­mination of the Church?

Phil.

What, if the Sky should fall? There is nothing so evident, as that every Man of a sincere will and sound judgment, using due endea­vour, will clearly see in Scripture, whatsoever is necessary for him to be­lieve, or do, that he may obtain eternal life.

Eu.

Notwithstanding this your Evidence of Scripture, many (for ought we can discern) of equal Probity, Learning, and Di­ligence, have delivered contradictory Doctrines from the same Text of Holy Writ.

Phil.

Not in material Points, or in the Fundamentals or Essentials of Faith.

Eu.

Sir, I can make it appear, that there is no one Point of Faith, which has not been deny'd by such, as have constantly pre­tended to follow the Guidance of Holy Scripture. Apollinaris taught, ‘That our Saviour had no Soul distinct from his Divi­nity;’ Manichaeus, ‘That there were from all Eternity two Prin­ciples or Deities;’ The Anti-trinitarians, ‘Oppugned the Mystery [Page 10] of the Blessed Trinity; the Origenists and Millenaries deny'd Ever­lasting Life and Death; Eutyches, affirm'd, There were not two Natures in CHRIST; Nestorius, That the Divine and Humane Nature were not truly united, but only in a moral or eminential manner; the Arians made the second Person inferiour to the first, and a Creature.’ All these, I hope, are material Points of Faith; yet were they all opugned by Men, who (for any thing, can be made out to the contrary) Read and Study'd the Holy Scriptures with as much Sincerity, Diligence, Learning and Piety, as any of the late Reformers. I desire therefore to know, whether these Men were part of the true Chatholick Church?

Phil.

If it could be credibly made out, that they proceeded with Sin­cerity, and Piety, I should be unwilling to exclude them the Church.

Eu.

The contrary can't be prov'd against them without begging the Question. If you say, they wanted Sincerity, Learning, Piety, Diligence, &c. they will disown the Charge, and return it upon your self. Give me therefore one convincing Reason, why I may not believe them as well as you.

Phil.

So you believe according to conscience, I shall not judge, nor condemn you.

Eu.

At least, what you just now asserted, is false, viz. that one, who acts Sincerly, cannot err in things, necessary to Salvation, by reason of the Clearness and Evidence, they have from Holy Scrip­ture.

Phil.

I won't be possitive concerning those, that liv'd in former Ages, of whom we have but a dubious and slender knowledge; at least 'tis mani­fest by the experience of the present Times, that the Scripture is clear in all things, necessary to Salvation, and of this, all Protestants are agreed.

Eu.

There are then among Protestants no Hereticks and Unbe­lievers?

Phil.

Not amongst true ones.

Eu.

Amongst those, who carefully, diligently, and sincerely read the Scripture?

Phill.

No.

Eu.

How comes it then to pass, that Luther calls the Hereticos seriò cense­mus, & a­lienos ab Ecclesiâ Dei. 1. con. Sacr. Zwin­glians, and Sacramentarians, who deny'd the Real Presence, Here­ticks, poyson'd by the Devil, seperate from the Church of CHRIST, Aurif. vit. de Heret. possest, repossest, through possest, and over and again possest with the Devil, Diabolatos, perdiabolatos, transdiabolatos, superdiabo­latos; and that he says, I protest before GOD and the World, that I Epist. ad Harmogin. To 7. Wit. fol. 380. agree not with them, (the Sacramentarians, which is our Religion of England) nor ever will, while the World standeth, but will have my hands clear from the blood of those Sheep, which these Hereticks drive from [Page 11] CHRIST, deceive, and kill. Munster and Carolostadius, two great Pillars of the Reformation, he calls furious Devils. Calvin on the contrary, speaking of the Lutherans, says, Ult. adm Jo Cav. ad Joac. Westp. &c. That they neither care for the Judgement of GOD nor Angels, that they are men indu'd with a Devillish Pride, a Doggish wickedness, and blind Drunkenness; that they are nothing but Mad Barkers, Giants, Cyclops, &c. In libell. edit. in exil. Heshusius pronounces of Melancthon, and the Wittembergians, that they are entirely out of the Church. In Epist. ad Nob. Pol. Beza proclaims of the Anabaptists, that they are Blasphemers of Almighty GOD, and held three GODS. The Basilienses declare of Carolostadius, that he was the Plague of the Church, and was kill'd by the Devil: In Collat. Doct. Aris & Melanc. Stancha­rus of Melancton, that he was an Arian, and the Anti-christ of the North, and Distuber of all Christianism. Vid. Cyechorit. passim in suis libris. Castalio, speaking of the Calvinist, calls them Proud, Furious, Haughty Hereticks, saying that Geneva is Babylon, the Ministers Sorcerers, Conjurers, Sons of Sodom and Gomorha.

Here Sir, I desire to ask one Question, viz. whether or no you receive into the number of common Christianity, and Catholick Union, those, who (in the Judgment of the prime Lights of the Gospel, and the first chosen by GOD to Reform the North) are ‘Hereticks, possest, and repossest by the Devil, Devils in humane shape, without the fear of GOD, Blasphemers, Arians, Anti­christs, Corrupters of common Christianity, Furious, Haughty, Giants, Conjurers, Sorcerers, Soddomites and Gomorrhaeans?’ It seems to me, you must, because all these Men were true Protestants; and true Protestants, you say, make the true Church. They were true Protestants, because they all adhear'd to the Holy Scripture, in such sense, as they themselves understood it, refusing all other Judges, and protesting against all other Power on Earth, which should pretend to oblige a Christian to submit his own Judg­ment of Scripture, to a contrary Interpretation of the Church, if the Church should seem to him not to teach conformably to that sense of Scripture which he should verily believe to be true.

Phil.

‘I have already told you, that I'll Judge no Man: if they us'd the Diligence, Sincerity, Piety, and Learning, we require, 'tis certain they could not err damnably.’

Eu.

They will all not only say, but swear also, that they have omitted no endeavours of Diligence or Pious means. They are all (in their own conceits) sure they are in the right, and that those, who differ from them, are deluded, blinded with Passion, byas'd by Interest, or the like. Give me, Sir, an Infallible Rule, where­by I may know, which of them have the Spirit of Truth, which the contrary?

[Page 12] Phil.

‘I tell you once again, let GOD Judge them. I meddle with none of them: 'tis not my Affair, I am certain, I am in the right.’

Eu.

Under favour, Sir, I think this a Demonstration, that eve­ry Protestant Church is at the same time, according to your own Principles, both in the true Church, and out of the true Church, and consequently neither in nor out, which is a meer Chimera. I thus prove my Assertion. Every Protestant Church is a true Church, because her Members of sound judgment are fit Judges in Controversies of Faith by Scripture, which alone they follow, and which is clear in all things, necessary to Salvation. Every Protestant Church is also a false Church, because those Churches, which are by Members of sound judgement, governing themselves by Scripture, judg'd Heretical, Blasphemers, Anti-christian, and Diabolical, must needs be false Churches: But, as I have shewn above, there is no particular Protestant Church, which has not by some other parti­cular Protestant Church been so call'd, represented, and believ'd: therefore every Protestant Church is false. Thus is every Prote­stant Church both true and false, and consequently Church and no Church; which, as I said before, is a meer Chimera.

Phil.

‘Hold, Sir, not so fast: I have let you ramble long enough; 'tis now time to take you up. You have, Sir, I perceive, forgot what I told you in the beginning of our Discourse; that the Point, concerning which the difference is, may perhaps be of such a Nature, that there is no necessity of believing it with Di­vine Faith; that is, it may perhaps be none of the Essentials or Fundamentals of Faith.’

Eu.

There may therefore be Heretical, Blasphemous, Anti-christian, and Diabolical Doctrines, taught by sound Christians remaining in the Communion of the H. Catholick Church; because all these Characters are consistent with the Fundamentals of Christianity; oblige me therefore, so far, as to give me aList of these all-saving Fundamentals.

Phil.

‘That, Sir, is not so easy as you imagin: for by reason of Mens different Capacities and Apprehension, that may be ne­cessary to one Person, which is not so to another: so that to require such a List of me, is to bid me shape a Coat for the Moon, which (she being never at a stay, but always either increasing or decrea­sing) is utterly impossible. This only you may rely on, as a cer­tain truth, that nothing can be a Fundamental or Essential Point of Faith, which is not clearly deliver'd in Holy Writ. Nor can there be any greater Evidence of a Points being clearly taught in Scripture, than that Learned and Pious Men after a diligent search, and the use of due means, differ not about it.’

I see then, Sir, by this your Doctrine, that a Man may without endangering his Salvation, deny all these Articles, I have hitherto been taught to be the principal Points of Christianity.

Phil.

‘Sir, what you may have been taught, I know not: but since you press me so close, give me leave to tell you with the Learned Mr. Chillingworth, that, if you mean by Fundamental, what is necessary to be explicitly believed by every one for the obtaining of Eternal Life; there is perhaps nothing so, but that there is a GOD, and that JESUS CHRIST came to save fin­ners; and that whoever, holding this Foundation, shall be ready to submit his Belief to all, that he shall find reveal'd in Scripture, taken in such sense, as he himself shall after the use of due means Judge to be true, can never err damnably, nor consequently cease to be a Member of that Church, out of which there is no Salvation.’

Eu.

I must confess Sir, that your Charity is of a very vast ex­tent: For by this your Doctrine, all those, who were by the Fa­thers in the Primitive Church, and the first General Councils con­demned as notorious Hereticks, ought not to be excluded the Pale of the Church. But pray Sir, what would you say to one, who having read the Holy Scripture with all possible Diligence, and consider'd not only the many Contradictory Opinions, held by Men pretending to no other Rule, but also the possitive Assertion of Protestants; that all visible Churches for a thousand years have been Erroneous and False, and that all the Signs, Prodigies, and Miracles, wrought by pretended Catholicks, (as you are pleas'd to call us,) were nothing but Imposters and Cheats,; that there was no true Holiness in all our Saints, nor any Faith to be given to our Fathers. How far, Sir, I say, would your Charity extend to one, who, after a thorow Consideration of all this, should with the Turks remain perswaded, that as Moses's Law was abolisht by the coming of our Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST, so the Chri­stian Law was to have an end at the coming of Mahomet, who was according to their Doctrine, a Prophet sent by God to that pur­pose, and as far exceeded CHRIST, as CHRIST did Moses; and being thus perswaded, should follow the Example of Adam Neu­serus, a most Learned Protestant, and chief Pastor of Heidelberg, Osiand. Cant. p. 16. who became a Mahometan, and was Circumcis'd at Constantinople with many of his Flock.

Phil.

‘Since I am, Sir, as I have already told you, to judge of my Neighbour with Charity, I find no reason, why I may not allow Salvation to such a Man, acting sincerely; especially see­ing he holds the Foundation, that there is a GOD, and that IESVS CHRIST came to save sinners.

I see then, Sir, that he was not altogether mistaken, who affirm'd Protestancy and Turcism to be very near of kin. What would you think of another, who, believing the Alcoran to be (as indeed it is) nothing but the Dreams of a Blasphemous Impostor, and hearing your Opinion of the Miracles, wrought during the last ten Ages, should from thence, and from the many seeming Con­tradictions, not easily reconcil'd, between the Old Testament and the New, between Gospel and Gospel, really in his Conscience believe all Christianity to be a Cheat, and the Four Evangelists Four Impostors; and should therefore, as befel the Learned Protestant Allemannus, judge it his safest course to embrace Judaism? This Man is of a sound Judgment, reads Scripture, examins diligently, and Schlussel­berg. de Theol. Cal. fol. 9. sincerely according to his Judgment of Scripture, believes all Christians either Cheats or Fools, animated by your example, who believe the same of the last Ten Ages.

Phil.

‘If this case be possible, I see not how I can in Charity pronounce such a Man condemn'd to Eternal Torments.’

Eu,

Once more, Sir, what would you say of another, that should, after all private diligence possible in reading of Scripture, grounding himself on your Assertion of the last Ten Ages, having produc'd nothing but Impostors, and considering, that all the Ar­guments, you bring against Miracles in the Roman Church, may equally be alledg'd against those of Moses, and our Saviour, should remain convinc'd, that the Creation of the World, the Wonders of Exodus, and all the other surprizing Stories, related in Holy Writ, are meer Fables, and consequently that Religion is only a pure invention of States-men, Politickly devised to keep Man­kind in aw; and in fine, question the very Being of a Deity?

Phil.

Sir, I have often told you, Iudge no Man.

Eu.

So that Heretieal, Blasphemous, Anti-christian, Diabolical, Tur­kish, Iewish, Heathenish, Atheistical Doctrines, undergo no censure from a true Protestant than the which, what can be granted more destructive to Christianity?

Unheard of PARADOXES, following from the Pro­testant Rule of Faith.

1 Paradox. WHen Luther's Conscience checkt him in the terms he expresseth, Lut. to. Ger. fol. 9 & to. 2. Wittem. 1562. & alibi. ‘How often did my trembling heart beat within me, and reprehending me, object against me that most strong Argument, art thou only wife? Do so many Worlds Err? Were so many Ages Ignorant?’ What if thou Errest, and drawest so many into Errour with thee to be damn'd Eternally. And again, Luth. to. 5. Wittem. in Galat. fol. 290. & in Coll. Mensal. fol 273. ‘Dost thou, O sole Man, and of no ac­count [Page 15] take upon thee so great matters! What if thou being but one, offendest! If God permit such, so many, and all to Err, why may he not permit thee to Err.’ Luth. to. 7. Wittem. an 1558. & to. 6. Ger. fol. 26. & ali­is in Locis. ‘Hitherto appertain those strong Arguments the Church, the Fathers, the Concils, the Customs, the Multitudes, and Greatness of Wise Men, (who have taught the opposite Doctrine to mine.)’ In col. mensal. 158. & in prof. in to. Ger. f. 9. ‘That I had never begun this business. [e] That my Writings were burnt, and bury'd in Eternal Oblivion.’ A true Protestant believes, that Luther did Prudently and Piously stifle all these remorses of his Conscience, and that he was endu'd with the Spirit of God, when he said, Tom. 5. Wittem. an 1554. fol. 290. & in Ep..ad Gal. c. ‘Be it that the Church, Austin, and other Doctors, also Peter and Paul, yea that an Angel from Heaven teach other­wise, yet is my Doctrine such as setteth forth God's only Glory. Peter the chief of the Apostles, did live and teach besides the word of God.’

Now dear Christian what Judgment can be more rash, injurious and contrary to Christian Charity, than to assert that so many Ho­ly and Learned Doctors as have been, and are confessed Papists (and even the whole visible Church for the space of at least a thousand years) could either ignorantly mistake, or would wilfully forsake the true sense of God's word so clearly shining in Scripture, as every petty Protestant doth pretend? what so repugnant to Chri­stian modesty and simplicity, as for a Man to prefer his own pri­vate Opinion to the Decissions of General Councils, Torrents of Fathers, Clouds of Witnesses, and the Universal Tradition of so many Ages.

2 Paradox. A true Protestant believes, that Almighty God ha­ving a Loc. com. Class. 4. pag. 50. a design to Reform his Church, made use of Luther, haunted by the Devil from a Child; to avoid whose molestations, he be­came Religious, and was quiet till he threw off his Habit, and held Sacrilegious commerse with a Nun; when again the Devil return'd really, not imaginarily to him. Of Calvin, Sclussel. Hier. Bols. an. 1577. Defence of the censur, fol. 81. 8. who besides the keeping a Gentleman of La-anna's Wife, was sentenc'd at Noyon in France, to be publickly branded in the Shoulder, for sins not to be named, as was Registred by Mr. Bertilier Secretary of the Coun­cil of Geneva, under a sworn Notaries hand. Ibid. fol. 86. 87, &c. Of Beza, who liv'd in wickedness with Andebertus a Boy; with Candida a Har­lot, who ran away with a Taylors Wife, that dwelt in Calender­street in Paris, and kept another Woman called Claudia, whose Child he kill'd to cover the sin. Of See the Stat. an. 28. Henic. 7. 1536. Cranmer, who two several times at least, Marry'd King Henry the Eighth, and as often decla­red the said Marriage Null. Dr. Heyl. Fox, &c. Besides his own marrying against his Oath when a Fellow at Cambridge, and afterwards, Schi. Angl. p. 216. when Bishop, carried his Wench along with him in his Episcopal Visitations. [Page 16] Of Poynet, who went to Law with a Butcher for his Wife, having then another Wife living. Of Bale of hemself, Cent. 5. 245. Bale, who was inspir'd to take a sweet-heart called Doll.

All of them men without Mission, either Ordinary (as not being sent by any Lawful Power upon Earth) or Extraordinary, that is particularly Delegated from Heaven, as not having all of them together (as Erasmus well objected) power of Miracles, even so far as to cure a Lame Horse. And that they had neither command over Devils, Gift of Tongues, Spirit of Prophesy, or any Super­natural Grace whatever. Yet these men are believed by a true Protestant, to have been Vessels of Election, chosen by Almighty God, to Reform the World; men endu'd with a Divine Spirit, and that Austin, Apostle of our Countrey, Boniface sent hence with Twelve Companions, to the Conversion of Germany; Willebrord, sent with as many to the Conversion of Brabant, Freez-land, Ize­land, &c. Monks of exquisite Learning, Irreproachable Behaviour, Unspotted Innocency, Saint-like Conversation, Gifted from above with all supernatural Graces, Power of Miracles, and most of which sealed their irreprehensible lives with a Glorious Martyrdom; were Impostors, or at least imposed upon, Deceivers, or deceived, to have believ'd and taught a Doctrine to be Reformed by Martin Luther, Calvin, &c. that Bucer, Peter Martin, &c. having sacre­ligiously broken their tripple Vow made to God, and coming into England with their debauched Nuns, brought along with them the purity of the Primitive Church; And that their Contemporary Xave­rius, leaving all his great Pretentions in Europe, and sailing into the remotest parts of the East to Preach the Faith, Gifted from Heaven with Power of curing all Diseases, raising the dead, casting out De­vils, endued with a high spirit of Prophesy, Gift of Tongues, and whom God prospered so far, that he Converted from Paganism 12 Kingdoms by his Preaching, and still savours by preserving his In­nocent, Unspotted, and Chaste Body uncorrupt at Goa; A true Protestant I say, believes Bucer sent by God, Xaverius by the spirit of Falshood. If so, let Protestants object no more, that Catholicks require we deny our senses, since they exact that we lay aside our Reason.

3 Paradox. A true Protestant believes, that that Government would be the best Constituted in the World (as being a perfect model of the best of Governments, left by Christ in his Church) wherein every sound man should have Power to cancel the Decisions of the highest Courts, and a full liberty of disobeying and oppo­sing the Sentence of the Supream Judges in Law, unless it should agree with his own private sense of the same Law. For, if in mat­ters of Faith, the object whereof is remote from our senses, and Essentially obscure to us in this Life, every sound Sheep is left [Page 17] Judge over his Pastor, and the whole Church; what more reaso­nable than in a Question of meum & tuum, which we feel with our hands, and see with our eyes, and which is the ground of all Law and Government, every sound man should be his own Judge, and Arraign, Judge, and Condemn his Ruler, Governour, Prince, King, or Emperour, if in his private Opinion, he Judges they proceed not according to Law, (as he understands it.) This se­quel is so natural and inevitable in our Protestant Principles, that it has effectually in all Countreys where-ever Protestancy has spread it self, Armed the Subjects against their Temporal Lords, as it first had done against the Spiritual; and nothing was so ordinary, as to see them March to the Field with a Bible under their arms, and a Text of Sripture in their Banner, to fight the Battle of the Lord, against the Princes of the Earth; and hence perhaps it was, that wise Prince King Iames the First, presaging as it were, the Fate of his Royal Son, said of the Members of Parliament, then sitting, That they were an Assembly of 300 Kings. That all the late Wars of Germany against the Emperour and Lawful Soveraigns, happen'd upon their change of Religion is witness, beside many others Dret­serus, A Protestant writer in part 2. Nullenarii 6. pag. 661. Of Basil. Geneva, Zuitzerland, Sweedland, Holland. see Crispin. Chitreus, Flor. Rai. &c.

4 Paradox. A true Protestant must grant, that our Saviour was much over-seen in the method he took of Converting the World by Teachers and Preachers, and laying a reiterated Command upon all men of believing them; since really no man is bound to pin his Faith upon anothers sleeve. Now the Efficacious way would have been, to Command his Life and Actions to be writ in all Languages, and compil'd with the Old Testament, to be sent into every part of the World; for all things necessary to Salvation being clear and evident in Holy Scripture, and no body being oblig'd to be­lieve more than the comprehends, and as it were, sees to be true out of the said Holy Scripture; all, by this means, would, or at least might have presently discover'd the nullity of their own false Reli­gions, and consequently imbrace common Christianity; that is, believe so much of Christ and his Doctrine as each one should draw under the Scheme of his own Reason, nothing else being necessary to Salvation in our Protestant Principles.

5 Paradox. Should a Gentleman make the delivery of his Estate, saying, Sir, I deliver unto you a full and free Possession of this In­heritance, to dispose of at Discretion in quality of true Owner and Lord; but if you touch it against my will, or dispose of it in whole, or in part, otherwise than I shall judge expedient, expect to be treated with all the Violence, Severity can invent. Would [Page 18] not this be a most impertinent and self-destroying Settlement? questionless it would. Yet this is the procedure of the Church of England: Here, take says she to all sound Members of the whole Christian Church, this Holy Bible, Read and Interpret it freely; you can't but find out the Truth therein contain'd, nor are you oblig'd to submit to any Authority under Heaven against your own Dictamen: But if you presume to judge of matters therein contain'd contrary to my Sentiment thereof (though you are as able and as free to judge as my self) know, that no Severity of the Law shall be spar'd in Chastizing you. Is not this an admirable Liberty? An unparallel'd Charity? Millions who never were in themselves, or their Ancestors Members of her Communion, must be oblig'd against Conscience to come over to her; and no body must presume to question her Authority, because ipsa dicit, and she shall inveigh against Roman Catholicks most violently, for requiring that she re­turn to the Union of the Church, whose Member she had own'd her self for upwards of a thousand years: Is not this a Paradox of Paradox's? I must believe she had just reason to separate from the Church of Rome, (though if I read Scripture till Dooms-day, I can find no ground for it) I must blindfoldly believe no Subject in the Kingdom has just reason to remain out of her Communion. That is, I must believe no body but an English Protestant can be a sound Member of the Christian Church, or a fit Judge in Contro­versy: And that the Scripture has not for these thousand years been clear to any at all, and at present is only so to an English Protestant: Which if granted, (as granted it must be,) it evidently follows that our English Protestant, is the most Uncharitable and Unconscion­able Christian in the World.

6. Paradox. The true Protestant believes that a Roman Catholick Prays to a Crucifix as well as to Christ himself, and attributes as See Advice to the Pul­pits, the Repres. Misrepres. much satisfaction to it, as to the Blood of his Redeemer: That the Roman Catholick Saints were Canonized for Treasons, detesta­ble Villanies, as a reward of strife and every evil Work; That to be false and deceitful, is meritorious, and worthy of Eternal Life: ‘That with Money one may compound with Heaven for unforsaken sins; and be absolved without being at all sorry for them: That Indulgences serve instead of sanctification and good life; Con­fession to carry on the Plots and projects of the Priests, with a hundred such detestable Abominations.’ True Protestant Ministers have laid out the Catholick Tenets under these foul colours for a­bove these hundred years, while the whole Body of Roman Catho­licks, and every Member of them disown, condemn, and execrate every point thereof in particular. Now is it not a mysterious Paradox, that a Minister of the Church of England should better [Page 19] understand our Catholick Tenets, than the Council of Trent, and the whole Body of the Catholick Clergy? I do most solemnly pro­test See the Ca­techism of the Coun. of Trent. in the presence of Almighty God, that were these Doctrines, and the like taught in the Roman Catholick Church, as Protestants say they are, I would not remain one hour in her Communion: yet the Vulgar must believe it so; and why? Because it is for the In­terest of the Protestant Clergy that the People should live in Ap­prehension and Horrour of Popery, whether by false or true Re­ports, it was always alike to the Protestant Teachers.

7 Paradox. Although it be evident, that King Henry the Eighth, never thought of laying the first stone of the Reformation preten­ded, till he was refused by his Holiness, the liberty of putting a­way his Lawful Queen, and that the Protector of Edward the Sixth, who carried on the design, had always in his eye the great Fortune he raised upon the Ruins of Abbys, Priorys, &c. And that Queen Elizabeth had never perfected it, was it not that she found it the only expedient for the making a Party to support the weakness, or rather defect and nullity of her Title.

Altho' all the Promoters of this great Revolution were apparently invited, by ample and rich Possessions of the Church, and the Prote­stant Clergy entered into Possession of more than a Million of Ca­tholick Revenues.

Altho' nothing be so clear, as that the necessity of a handsom maintenance for Wife and Children, mixt with a fear of being defam'd and ruin'd by the Party, if they leave it; be the chief in­vitation of the Ministers of the Church of England, to remain in her Communion, as many of them have own'd to me, (some of which I have reconcil'd.) Altho' experience hourly teaches, that no Catholick ever calls for a Minister on his Death-bed, to be received into the Protestant Communion. Tho' Protestants daily send for Ro­man Catholick Priests in that Truth-discovering moment. Yet our true Protestant believes this whole work of the Reformation to have been begun, and carried on without Interest, Prejudice, or Passion, and that there is a finger of God in the whole: And that it is the Roman Catholick (forsooth) who in matters of Religion, is guided by Interest, while the Protestant is governed by pure Reason, and sole Principles of Religion; which if so, our Reason is inverted, our Judgment without Rule, and all of us destitute of common Sense.

Can it be possible that any Considering, Serious, Sober Chri­stian Reading this Paper with an unbyass'd Mind, and indifferent Reason should do otherwise than doubt at least, whether the Pro­testant Rule of Faith may be follow'd in the perillous journey of Eternity; and whether he may not have the same reason to doubt, [Page 20] as an Eminent Doctor of the Church of England had, when giving me his Hand, he said; Sir, you have by the Hand the Vnhappiest Man living; I desir'd to know the reason of his Dissatisfaction; I am, says he, a Member of a Church, I know to be False, and a Guide to other, in a way I am sure will never Save them. Why truly Dr. said I, things standing so, you have a great deal of reason to style your self Unhappy, and ought in my judgment to provide a time­ly remedy; he replyed, That God was merciful, and that he would think on't in good time: That there was one Impediment, viz. A Wife, which he must provide for; that he had been Gentilely Educated, and was now very acceptable to the Gentry (as indeed he was) and that to be­come a Catholick would ruine his Family: That if he should quit his Be­nefice (one of the best in our Country) another might succeed who would do more harm, and rail against the Truth more than he had done: For his part, he said, he had never in his Life Preached against the Papists but twice (which still lay upon his Conscience) and it was for that he had been check'd by his Bishop for not doing it. I replyed, That all these spe­cious Arguments would not prove a sufficient Plea at the day of Judgment. He shrunck up his shoulders, saying, He served a God, he hop'd, would be as merciful to him, as he had been to one of his Pre­decessors, who was reconcil'd upon his Death-Bed. I laboured to shew him the danger of that fallacious Discourse, saying how he ought to call to mind, that altho' a Thief on the right hand of our dying Saviour had found mercy, yet another as near to his Redeemer, had perished on the left; and much to that purpose. In the end, he promised, that the Spring following, He would go to Rome, and do as his Consci­ence obliged him, nor could I obtain any more of him; I returned soon after into Flanders, and that very Winter the poor Gentle­man died without any assistance.

It was (as I take it) upon the same occasion, that he told me, How he thought it impossible for any Schollar, who was not blinded by false Principles of Education, Interest, Passion, or Sensuality, to read the Holy Scriptures, and search into History, without being convinced of the Roman Catholick Churches being the only way to Salvation, and consequently of the nullity of all the pretended Reformations.

ADVERTISMENT.

I Have been obliged to prefix different Titles to this short Discourse, by reason of the Endeavours I have Experienced to be used by Protestant Ministers to keep out of the Peoples hands all Books and Papers, which might contribute to the dis-abu­sing a Nation, the most imposed upon this day in Christendom.

FINIS.

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