THE VAIN INSOLENCY OF ROME, Challenging SALVATION to her own FACTION; Discovered in Two LETTERS.

The first whereof was written by a Priest of the Church of Rome to a Gentle­woman of York, that had got out of the Snares of the Popish Superstition.

The second sent by the same Gentlewoman (instructed by a Divine of the Church of England) in answer thereunto.

The truth endureth, and is always strong; it liveth and conquereth for evermore.1 Esdras 4. 38.

LONDON, Printed for Richard Royston, Bookseller to the Kings most Excellent Majesty. 1673.

TO THE READER.

REader, by the Letter of the Romish Priest, which immediately here fol­loweth, thou wilt easily per­ceive, with what craft, and artifice, the Romish Huck­sters endeavour to seduce the people of our Church of En­gland, and generally all of the Reformation, to the Com­munion of Rome. They tell them, that they are out of St. Peters Fold, and there­fore, of necessity, in a state of damnation.

The first greatness of Rome [Page] was founded in the eminency of the City, and the concessi­ons and indulgence of some of the Emperors. But the sub­tile Popes, perceiving, that what former Emperors grant­ed, others, in succeeding times, might revoke, pervert­ed that Text Mat. 16. 18. Tu es Petrus, &c. Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock, &c. to the founding of a spiritual Monarchy, and the claim of both Swords, Tem­poral, as well as Spiritual; or, at least the Temporal in order to the Spiritual. And all Jesuited Papists (nei­ther see I how any of them that submit to the third Late­ran Council, can be other­wise [Page] minded) hold that Prin­ces excommunicated may be rejected by their own Sub­jects. What good effects this New-Gospel doctrine wrought in the World, may appear in the instances of the murther of those two noble Kings, Henry the Third, and Henry the Fourth of France, and in that design of the Fifth of November amongst our selves here in England.

'Tis strange that all Prin­ces in the World are not a­larm'd, as learned, and perspi­cacious King James of bles­sed memory was, with these doctrines. For whatsoever Allegiance the Romanists pre­tend to, yet it is evident, that [Page] an instance may fall out, wherein they will be forced to renownce their obedi­ence, either to their Pope, or King.

Take heed therefore, if thou art disengaged from this seduction, of coming near to such snares; and if thou art (as alas too many of late a­mongst us have been) caught in them, break them with all speed.

That fearful instance of the Learned Latomus (of which thou wilt read in the Gentlewomans answer to the Priest's Letter, here annex­ed, will declare, that the greatest sticklers for Rome's interest, when they shall most [Page] need it, will find little peace. For that may be said of this spiritual, which Solomon spake of the carnal Harlot, Prov. 7. 26, 27 She hath cast down many wounded: yea ma­ny strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to Hell, going down to the chambers of Death.

IMPRIMATUR

Tho. Tomkyns.

The Priests Letter.

Madam,

SInce my departure from you, I have not forgot your enga­ging Charity; what regret may, I well have, that contrary to your promise in the long Gallery, you have forgot your Soul, so preti­ous to God! Madam, return home. I labour to get your dear Son Pic. to return home. You may come home again; no loss, Madam, like the loss of a Soul, I should be glad to suffer death, that you would accept of life. Some years past, I was in hopes the charitable Boxes ofSealed with Cros­ses. Lozanges you did send me, would bring you [Page 12] in again to St. Peter's Fold, out of which no Salvation. Sweet Jesus and his unspotted Mother grant you grace to do well by St. Francis Xaverius his intercession. Cordi­ally wished by, Madam,

Your engaged well wishing Friend and Servant.

The Gentlewomans Answer.

Sir,

I Received your Letter, and, though I cannot despise the zeal of your Charity, yet (I thank God) that, through his goodness, I can now discern the errour of it. I wish (and truly, I account my self bound thereun­to, in requital of the care which you profess for my Soul) that you were your self in as good a way for Salvation, in respect of your communion with the Church of Rome, as I am, upon the account of my return to my dear Mother, the Church of England.

Since I saw you, I have a little better considered the Articles of our Church, and in them I per­ceive nothing commended to my Faith, but what is either expresly conteined in the Holy Scriptures, or deducible, by very good conse­quence, [Page 14] from them. But I am ve­ry well assured by those, that know it, that in some Councils lately held by your Church, and particularly that of Trent, there are divers Canons (to which you will expect my consent) neither agreeable to the Holy Scriptures, nor consonant to the purer ages of the Church, and yet your Pope Pius the Fourth, curseth all that are not of that Faith, and exclud­eth all from Salvation, that be­lieve not according to the Tenour of them. Bishop Morton was a Learned man, and he took pains to examine the grounds of the peremptory decree of that Pope; the Book wherein he did it, is called the Grand Imposture of the now Church of Rome. I pray per­use it heedfully and candidly, and submit to the truths conteined therein.

As for my promise in the Long Gallery, whereof you re-mind me, I confess my errour in mak­ing [Page 15] it; and I am told that it be­ing unlawful in the matter (I mean to adhere to your corrupt Church) my sin of rash engagement would be heightned by perfor­mance, whereas it is so far from being any, to break it, that 'tis my obligation so to do. David rashly swore to destroy all the Males in Nabals Family, but, by the good counsel of Abigail, ra­ther broke his oath, than proceed­ed to add murder to his passion. And truly, Sir, though you may think it presumption in me, to give advice to a person of your calling and gravity; yet when I consider that David, a great Prophet, and a King then anointed, despised not the good counsel of a woman, but said with all meekness, Blessed be thy advise, and blessed be thou. (1 Sam. 25. 33.) I shall not re­pent that I prompt these intima­tions unto you, but rather ear­nestly, yet humbly request you, ay, and adjure you in the fear of [Page 16] God, to break your engagement to that pestilent Society, to which, perhaps you are as solemnly un­der the bond of an Oath, (for that was, I hear, Pope Pius his in­junction to the Clergy, to em­brace the Trent Faith) engaged, as David was to avenge himself.

St. Augustine (I have heard) was entangled in the heresies of the Manichees,, and we are taught in the sacred History, that St. Paul once persecuted the faith of Christ. Both these came, by Gods mer­cy, to the sight of their foul er­rours, and at last defended the Faith, which they had opposed.

Some of your present perswa­sion, and in the same degree of Office, have seen their Snares, and got (through the goodness of God) their feet out of them; and publickly given the account of their change; I refer you to their Books, better known possi­bly (and I wish accordingly con­sidered) to your self than me. [Page 17] I cannot urge you upon more weighty terms, than you are pleased to prompt unto me, the due remembrance of the worth of your immortal Soul.

Sir, I desire to emulate your own Charity to my self, and say in your behalf, as you say in mine, I should be glad to suffer death, that you would accept of life. No loss you say (and you say truly in it, for you speak in conformity to the language of Christ himself, What shall it profit a man, if he should gain the whole World and lose his own Soul?) like the loss of a Soul. Precious it is to God, and should it be vile to our selves, to whom the damage will be only prejudicial? God the Father sent his Son to redeem it, God the Son shed his blood to ransom it, and the Holy Spirit is plased to seal it with his signature, as the peculiar treasure of God.

Now then, I beseech you, Sir [...] weigh with your self the dange [...] [Page 16] [...] [Page 17] [...] [Page 18] you expose this precious Soul of yours unto, and not your own only, but the Souls also of as ma­ny, as you win to your own er­rour, whilst you tell them, as you do me, that Salvation is not to be had out of St. Peter's Fold, mean­ing thereby, the present Church of Rome; in which (to speak my mind freely to you) I think that Salvation can very scarcely, if at all, be procured by those of it, that dye in the constant defence of the pernicious errours main­tained generally by all that ad­here unto it.

To speak nothing of the mani­fold, and gross deviations of your Church from both Sacred Scrip­ture, and primitive antiquity; as half-Communion, the absurd do­ctrine of Transubstantiation, Pur­gatory, Divine Service in a tongue not known to the people, that should perform it, &c. I say to speak nothing of these, what strange [...]xpressions fall from your own [Page 19] Pen in the little Note, which you sent me; Sweet Jesus, and his un­spotted Mother, grant you grace to do well, by St. Francis Xaverius his Intercession?

Had you commended me to the grace of Christ alone, you had done it with good warranty from St. Peter, in whom you boast. Thus speaketh he, Epist. I. 5. 10. The God of all grace, &c. make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. Christ with the Father and the blessed Spirit are one God you know; from any of the blessed Persons, we may ask Grace, and wish it for others, securely. But to crave it from Creatures (such is the Blessed Virgin, though ne­ver so glorious) is very dange­rous, if not blasphemous.

If I be not mistaken, Divines make it an argument of the Di­vinity of the second, and third Persons in the Holy Trinity, that in the Scripture stile, Grace is wished from them, in conjuncti­on [Page 20] with the first. Thus the rest of the Apostles salute, and thus they frequently take their leave of the Churches to which they write.1 Cor. 1. 3. 2 Cor. 13. 14. No mention in these forms of the Blessed Virgin, she is never joined to the Holy Tri­nity in such prayers for Grace; and indeed if God (as St. Peter speaks) be the Author of all Grace, what Grace need we ask of the Blessed Virgin?

And then again, I am a little startled at these words, unspotted Mother, if you mean no more by it, than that the Blessed Virgin since her death is discharged from all sin, and defilement incident (through the fall of our first Pa­rents) or rather unavoidable to our humane Nature, I can easily admit the term unspotted; but if by the word unspotted, you in­sinuate our Ladies immaculate con­ception, I expect better reasons, than ever yet I have heard al­ledged, before I can sign such an [Page 21] Article with my faith. I am told, that Saint Anselm saith, that the Mother of our Lord was conceiv­ed in sin, and why we should not believe him, speaking so agreea­bly to the language of the Holy Spirit, which exempts none, but our Lord himself, from the com­mon Contagion, I see no reason.

What were the Vertues of your Saint Francis Xaverius (to whose intercession also you think fit to commend me) to me is un­certain; but this I am most sure of, that the intercession of our Blessed Saviour with his Father, is sufficient for me; that he hath commanded all, that labour, and are heavy laden, to come unto him. Mat. 11. 28. and that such as do come unto him, he will in no wise cast out, John 6. 37.

I confess, when I made my ap­plication to you, I was in great trouble; and for my sudden ease, was ready to flie unto any pro­fession, that would offer me pre­sent [Page 22] relief. Alas, you know, peo­ple falling from an high place, catch at any thing within their reach; if sharp Swords, or red hot Irons were in their way, they would lay hold on them. It was (I now perceive) no small stupi­dity, and blindness in me, that I did not so fully, as I should have done, consider the excellent con­stitution, and pure doctrine of our Church of England. For therein I now see all the comforts, that can be imagined requisite unto distressed Souls, are abundantly offered unto me. I have the Scriptures accurately translated; I have the sense of my dear Mo­ther, in exact conformity to them, laid before me in our 39 Articles; I may have access unto my Confessor, in all cases of my perplexities, and I find such of our Priests, to whom I have made my applications, compassionate, grave, and faithful unto me. But they tell me (and I am very well [Page 23] pleased to hear it from them) that I must not be discouraged, though I find not that present ease that I long for. Upon my pro­fession of repentance, and faith in Christ, they are ready to dis­pense unto me the benefit, and blessing of their absolution, but if I find not presently that transport of rejoycing, which (it may be) I too hastily catch at; they advise me, not to be too much discouraged, but to wait the Lords leisure; who will have us, even after he hath received us to pardon, sometimes by experi­ence find the truth of that speech in the Holy Prophet Jerem. 2. 19. It is an evil and bitter thing that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of Hosts.

They support me with this assu­rance, that if I repent, and believe the Gospel, I shall certainly be sav­ed, and if any offer me Consolation upon other terms, they do but de­lude [Page 24] me. Whatsoever my discou­ragements are, they exhort me to patience, and the doctrine is the more satisfactory unto me, because I see it to be agreeable to that meek resolution of the Church in the holy Prophet Mic. 7. 9. Where, in her affliction, I see her pitching upon this conclusion, and saying, I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him.

I am not at all affrighted at your denial of Salvation to all out of Saint Peter's Fold; I am sure that all penitent Believers are of the Fold of Christ, in which, ex­cept St. Peter himself had been a Sheep, as well as a Pastour under the great Shepherd, he had un­doubtedly perished. He preach­ed as well, and as good doctrine at other places as he did at Rome; and the rest of the Holy Apostles, wheresoever they preached, de­livered the same truths, that he did, to the Church of Christ.

[Page 25] If Rome in succeeding times (by being the seat of the Empe­rours) became a more eminent City than her Sisters, and the Bishops of it obtained any extra­ordinary priviledges by their fa­vours; all these things are ex­trinsecal to the substance of the Christian Faith; which, when Rome ceased to deliver in that purity wherein St. Peter taught it, she can with no better pretensions lay claim to Saint Peter, than the Jews of old did to Moses. Whom Christ tells (notwithstanding all their boasting in him) that they did not believe his writings. And truly I think the same might now be said in several instances, to those of Rome, in reference to St. Peter, of whom she glori­eth. Had they believed St. Pe­ters writings, they would never condemn those Churches, as He­retical, which in no point deny them.

[Page 26] I do not, Sir, profess my self able to contest with one of your profession, neither have I, to pro­voke you to disputation, written so large an answer to your few lines. But Saint Peter, to whose Fold you invite me, and in whose Fold (not excluding the rest of his Fellow-Apostles, for the names of all the Twelve were written in the twelve foundati­ons of the Holy Jerusalem, Apocal. 21. 14.) because we adhere to his doctrine, we believe that we of the Church of England now live, giveth me warrant to speak what I here declare, when he thus exhorteth us 1 Epist. Chap. 3. Vers. 15. Be ready always to give an answer to every man that ask­eth you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear. In that meekness and fear, thus commended unto us by ours, as well as your Saint Peter, nay more ours than yours, nay (give [Page 27] me leave to say it) ours, and not yours, in our matters of dif­ference, I humbly give you this Answer, and rest,

Sir, Novemb. 27. 1672. Your assured Friend, and humble Servant in Christ.

[Page 28]Postscript.
Sir,

BEcause you tell me, in effect, that I must be damned, if I should die out of the Communion of your Church, give me leave (in regard, that I am not so well able to argue rationally, as to ob­serve Historical passages, which sometimes are Commentaries up­on disputable truths) to acquaint you with a short History, which I minded, when I heard it, the more heedfully, because it dis­charged me from that fear, which your Severity is apt to be­get in the minds of unsettled Pro­testants. 'Tis this; and you will find it, as my Friend, who tran­slated it out of Latin for me, as­sureth me, in the third part of Solomon Glassius his exposition of the Gospels, page 277, and 278. Jacobus Latomus was in exceed­ing great reputation amongst the [Page 29] Divines of our time, because he had written against the Lutherans somewhat more learnedly, than ei­ther Clitopheus, or Eckius, or Roffensis; and all thought him a person of candour, and that he had written according to the con­viction of his own conscience.

This Person, when he drew near his death, commanded our Masters to be called, and as they stood by him, with groans and deeep-fetcht sighs, said; I therefore commanded you to be called, that I might testifie unto you, that the doctrine of Lu­ther, which you furiously perse­cute, is the true doctrine of Christ, the Apostles, and the Church, and this, which you defend is impious, and diabolical; and I my self, for certain writings of mine, which I have lately, against the conviction of my conscience and knowledge, set forth against the Lutherans, to gratifie you, am a damned man.

When in horrour and astonish­ment [Page 30] at this speech, they looked one on another, and those that were more ingenuous, exhorted him, not to dispair of the mercy of God, although he were perswaded, that he had done wickedly; He, commemo­rating many passages concerning the punishments and exile of godly men, who by his instigation were either slain or banished, at last, with groanings, added; in vain you la­bour to comfort me, for I cer­tainly know, that I am damned, and with these words gave up the Ghost. Glassius affirmeth that he receiv­ed this History out of D. Alesius in his Exposition of the 41 Psalm. And truly, Sir, though you may perhaps condemn it, as a Fable, yet for my part, I am so far from distrusting the truth of it, that I wonder, that many of your best Scholars do not leave this World in the same convictions; and in­deed, it is very probable, that they do, and some times declare as much. But such confessions are [Page 31] like the Guard of Souldiers Nar­ratives of our Saviours Resurre­ction, they are strangled (as the Male-children were commanded to be in Egypt) as soon as they are born, if not by bribery, yet by interest, which knows no in­genuity, nor will admit of any discoveries, against its own con­cerns, though never so pernici­ous. I wish you a better temper, and in that hearty desire, com­mend you to the God of truth, assuring you, that I will never be (by Gods assistance) moved from the profession of that holy Religion, wherein now I stand, though I shall ever be ready to testifie my thanks to you, for your charita­ble affections, and remain

Yours, in all Christian affection and service.
Sir,

AFter my Letter was written, but before it was sealed, I considered a little, what your Saint Francis Xaverius his merits might be, unto whose Patronage you are pleased to commend me. I am informed, that he is a Saint of a late Canonization; first a Proselyte of, and then a Confe­derate with Ignatius de Loyola; and truly, I think, not far from some of his Enthusiastical rap­tures. He, with Ignatius, indeed got Pope Paul the thirds approba­tion to be allowed with some o­thers, as a Religious Society, in the year 1540. But there is an expression in that Popes Letters Vid. Re­gul. Jesui­tic. (of Grant) which may beget a jealousie, that the Pope had an eye to the service he might have from them, as well as to the de­votion of the men, if at least he thought them devout. His words [Page 33] I hear, run thus. We have lately heard, that Ignatius de Loyola, and Peter Faber, and Francis Xaverius, &c. inspired (as 'tis piously believed) with the Holy Ghost, coming from several quar­ters of the World, met together, and being confederate into a So­ciety, have renounced the snares of this World, and for ever devo­ted their lives to the service of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of us, and of our successours, the Bishops of Rome, &c.

I suppose the Pope might have so much of humane frailty in him, as to take all in good part, that such sworn Servants of his should enterprise.

Upon these grounds I believe the following Popes, Gregory the fifteenth, and his successor Ʋrbanus the eighth, had such high estimation of this Francis; inso­much that the one declared him a Saint, and the other Canoni­zed [Page 34] him. I am told, that he had so behaved himself in preaching to the Indians, that he is call­ed their Apostle. But truly, to speak my mind freely to you, his atchievements there, seem to me very difficult to be believed. I doubt, whether all the miracles of Christ, and his Apostles record­ed in the Scripture may be equal to those mentioned in Ʋrban's Letters for the Canonization of your Xaverius.

'Tis said in them that he defix­ed his eyes, in his exstatick rap­tures, on the Heavens; that his whole body, by divine force, would be elevated from the earth, and his face so inflamed, that it would represent Angelical clari­ty; and he would cry out, it is enough Lord, it is enough. And, when he said Mass (the abomi­nation, as 'tis now celebrated, of your Romish Service, as the Learned Doctor Brevint excel­lently [Page 35] shews us) he would be so alienated from his senses (which indeed I believe) that the Ministers present in the service could not, in some com­petent time, by pulling his Gar­ments, excite him to his atten­dance on the Work he had▪ in hand. And otherwise, the peo­ple could observe him advanced (wondring at the miracle) a Cubit above the earth. He wore such tattered Rags (and is this a piece of merit?) that the Boys sometimes would mock, and deride him. Of the like nature is his frequent walkings on the hot Sands, and on Thorns themselves, drinking the polluted waters, with which he had wash­ed the soars of diseased people. And then, his ability to speak the Languages, which he never learnt, and to be understood, some times, by men of several tongues, when he spake one, that [Page 36] was strange to the Auditours, till he began to preach, is as much, if not more, than what was granted to the blessed Apostles at the Feast of Penticost. 'Tis strange to me, that he should cast a Crucifix into the Sea, to still the Waves, and stranger yet, that having lost it by vio­lence of the storm, it should be brought to him, as he walked on the Shore, in the mouth of a Sea-Crab.

I marvel (though you read this, and much more as Roman­tick in the Popes Letters) that you can credit all this done by a person, about an hundred years since; especially seeing the Learned Fathers about four hun­dred years after Christ, judged the age of miracles to be past, and our belief of those only, that are recorded in the Holy Scriptures, to be sufficient now for our present Satisfaction.

[Page 37] Besides, were the miracles re­ported to have been done by him true, and the man as good, as you think him to have been, I conceive his intercession for a­ny particular person to be a point uncertain, and truly, as long as we have the interces­sion of Christ, altogether super­fluous.

I am resolved therefore, to leave your Xaverius to the qui­et enjoyment of the felicity, which he hath obtained (if at least he be in a state of bliss) and to give him no interruption, in any concerns of my Soul.

FINIS.

Errata.

IN the second Page to the Reader, l. 20. for third r. fourth, vid Concil. Lateran. sub Inno­centio 3o cap. 3. de Haeretic.

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