THE PREFACE TO THE READER.

THe Books are almost innumera­ble occasion'd by an unhappy He­resy, that in the last age infe­cted Germany, and after like a Leprosy, Overspread the greatest part of our Northen Countries. Too many are writ by Those, who stile themselves Protestants, or of the Reformed Reli­gion, not to speak of the Subdivisions as Arminians, Brownists, Anabaptists, or of their Followers, which crum­ble into as many Sects as men. Of These we have VVri­ters, who with no little Animosity inveigh bitterly one against an other. Yet (because Self-interest will have it so) All of them closely joyn in a Foul dishonorable Lea­gue against an Ancient Mother Church That made them and their Progenitors Christians.

This hath stirr'd up the pen of many a learned man, not so much to confute their weak Discourses, as posi­tively to Assert Truth which cannot be shaken, and to Vndeceive a poor sort of seduced People, who easily gain'd by sleek VVords and the Specious Pretenses of some (who have told untruth so long, that at last they almost Believe it Themselves) insensibly fall into er­rour. To Vnbeguile these deluded Souls more, I ha­ve here cast my Mite also into the Treasury of these learned labours, and writ this Treatise. VVherin I both lay forth the Evidence of our Roman Catholick Re­ligion upon undoubted Grounds, and make it likewise manifest That Protestancy, as Reformed, which is only a fallible taught Doctrin, cannot be Resolved into Gods Infallible Revelation, and thersore is no part of Christian Religion, But a meer Opinion only Vpheld by Fancy.

I undertook the small work you here se upon this occasion. About a year since, (so much it was when I writ this Preface) A friend sent me a Book with a surly imperious Title. The Nullity of the Romish Faith; or a blow at the root of the Romish Church. By Mr. Matthew Poole printed anno 1666. and only desired me to make a few Observations upon an Appendix by the same Author against a Converted Gentleman. Curiosity ledd me on to read the whole [Page] book, where finding little worth the Answering, I laid it aside for two or three months, till I was urged again to return some short Answer to the Appendix. But while this busines gave me a little entertainment, VVe here (though at distance) Heard a noise of a Ra­tional Account of the Grounds of Protestant Religion &c. by Mr. Edward Stillingfleet. The book I saw but late­ly, yet some Parcels of his Doctrin found the way to me by several Reports, and Letters also. VVerupon, I laid Mr. Pooles Appendix aside And was longer in this Treatise then I intended, or was indeed necessary to Answer the Appendix, which yet may have an An­swer timely enough.

By the way, as far as sure Principles can Guide one, and a few Glances at Mr. Pooles Doctrin will reach to, I refute some weak ground's of His Nullity, which is as much as it deserves. That of Mr. Stillingfleet Merit's more, I mean a larger Refutation. Though to speak Truth, it is too tediously long and both sayes very much, and very little: Much in Generalities and cavilling at our Catholick Faith, But little in giving any Account of Protestant Religion as 'tis now reformed, which yet was the only Thing I sought for, but found not in his writings, as I have often noted in this Treatise. Had I had his book sooner, or more time, I would have refuted some more chief points in it, but I hope Those [Page] have it in hand, that will bring the Author to a better account; for he who first Tell▪s amiss must count twice, before He make a Right reckoning.

I wave all along, as much as may be, an unnecessary Repetition of known Authorities drawn from Scripture, and Fathers (for that were Actum agere) and endeavor to ground my Discours upon undoubted Principles. And my chief aym is, as I novv insinuated, to make it evident, That Protestancy built upon Fancy, stand's tottering vvithout the Support os any acknovvledged Principles, and consequently Fall's of it self. To speak more plainly: VVhen Sectaries go about, either to impugn the Roman Catholick Doctrin, or to establish their Ovvn, They give you nothing that look's like a sure ovvned Principle, but quite contrary, tire you out vvith long loos Discourses, which driven on to the very last, at most come to no more but to Guesses only, vveak Conjectures, and the unproved Thoughts of those vvho make them. In a vvord, They never fall on Principles, nor can make their own Doctrin good upon any better Argument then by only saying, It is True, or cavilling at ours: As if't were the way for a man to Prove Himfelf honest, by saying his neighbour is not so; or enough to Establish Their House built upon sand to Assert that ours, once certainly setled on a Rock, is not Th' an­cient building it was but hath been repayr'd, and otherwi­se Adorn'd. If all this were true (as it is most fals) what's [Page] their House the better, that's still upon sand? Or, their Religion sounder, that stand's Vnprincipl'd without Scrip­ture, Church, or Reason? I only say thus much in a Preface, and prove it afterward in the following Discour­ses, which I was advised to write in Latin, having now more use of That (I may thank my long Absence from Eng­land for it) then is allowed me of our Mother Tongue. But sapientibus & insipientibus debitor sum. I desire to satisfy all, and owe as much to the Illiterate of my dear Country as to the Learned, and therfore shall Ex­pose this Treatise in plain English (for I can speak no better) and hope upon that Account to find the Readers easier Pardon If I often Speak improperly, or now and then break Priscians head in English.

Sometimes as the matter requires, I am forc'd to ma­ke use of words that may seem harsh as Toyes, Fancies, Trifles not worth the Ansvvering &c. But 'tis impos­sible for me to use other language, if I'll call things by their right names, and give the vvorld to understand vvhat they are, Smoother termes would look like Mockery (whilst Se­ctaries use harsher) rather then Civility. Believe what you will. I Profess seriously, all I say is without Pas­sion, or Design to reflect Personally upon our Adversaries whom I pitty and pray for, having no intention to reproach them, but to Reprove Heresy, To rail at any, but to convince by Reason.

But I keep you too long at the Door, open and read without Prejudice, and if you be not satisfied with what I write, of Charity give me timely notice, for my dayes are almost Don. In the other world I can make no Answer but to Almighty God, for the sincerity of my undertaking: wherby if any one sou­le reap benefit, I have enough; if none do so, my com­fort is, that He who knowes my good intention will be my ample Recompence, though infinitly above my desert,

Farewel.

A NECESSARY ADVERTISEMENT FOR THE READER.

1. MAy it pleas Any one to read this Treatise, And either seek to profit by it, or vouchsafe to return an Answer, He will I hope, after a general thought, cast on what I intend to prove in the ensuing Discourses, take particular Notice also of a few Notes here set down which may per­haps conduce to His better satisfaction.

2. Concerning the first. We need not to say much. My Intent is Chiefly to prove These four Things. 1. That Sectaries are Churchles, because They acknowledge no infal­lible Church on earth. Yet there are Infallible Teachers (and consequently an infallible Church) as is Demonstrated in the first Discours. 2. That [Page] They are as Scriptureles as Churchles, and have not one syllable of Gods Word for Protestancy. Therfore we treat in the second Discours of Their mangling and misinterpreting Scripture. 3. That Their Proceeding is most Vnreasonable in some chief controversies handled in the third Discours. 4. We prove in the fourth Discours, the Roman Catholick Church to be the only true Church of Christ, And there also lay Forth the im­probability of Protestant Religion. All this is Don to make good what the Title briefly ex­presses. Viz Protestancy is vvithout Principles of Scripture, Church and Reason. Now a word of what I would have you to Note.

3. It is truly lamentable, to se how contro­versies in these our dayes are driven on to nothing but to endles quarrels. There is certainly some cause of so long a work, which might, me­thinks, be brought to a period with less Adoe. And what is it, think ye? Is it because Christs true Religion cannot be made evidently credible to Reason? No certainly. For, that Reli­gion which hath stood invincible in the heat of so many persecutions, which hath converted whole Kingdoms and Nations, and drawn Mil­lions of souls to it, must necessarily appear most [Page] evidently Credible to all rational men. Is it because a fals Religion cannot be Argued of Falshood? No. It is as easy to convince an erroneous Sect of errour, as to prove true Re­ligion to be true. And Hence, I say, it is im­possible to conceive any Thing like Religion, that can neither be Proved evidently credible, or manifestly Argued of Falshood. The Reason is, Because the evident Credibility of true Religion (if one on­ly be true in the VVorld) takes off from the fals Religion all Prudent credibility, and leaves it uttely destitute of Motives founding credibility. In a word, The euident credibility of Truth makes Falshood highly improbable. VVhence I inferr. If true Religion be made thus manifestly credible by Al­mighty God, Rational Proofs cannot fail to countenance that which He will have manifestly known. Contrarywise, such proofs must of necessity be wanting to a fals Religion, which God will have to appear both evidently Incredible, and Improbable to prudent Reason. The Catholick therfore that hold's his Religion at least evidently Credible before He believes, and certainly true by his Act of Faith, cannot but have Proofs at hand which Do not only clearly evidence the undoub­ted Credibility of it, but also Dash and Discounte­nance [Page] what ever can be said in the Defence of a contrary Errour. On the other side, The Sectary must of necessity want such grounded Proofs; And consequently whether he Defend's his own, or impugn's the true Religion, All He saith will end at last in meer Cavils and wordy Fallacies. You have the Reason Hereof mo­re largely laid forth Disc. 1. C. 8. Because God cannot permit in the Presence (as it were) of his true Religion a fals Sect to appear so much as slightly Probable, which ever is and must be inferiour to Truth (or rather nothing) in the lustre and evidence of Credibility. Which is to say in other Terms: An Erroneous Sect cannot he made at all Credible to Reason.

4. What then is the Reason, when the Ca­tholick both supposeth and proves His Reli­gion to be only true and Orthodox, that The­se strifes go endlesly on between us and a few Protestants? Scarce any Book, though ne­ver so solid and learned, is set forth by an En­glish Catholick, but presently a Thing called an Answer sallies out against it. Exceptions are made by Sectaries, This, They say, Proves not, That Displeases &c. In a word, if we believe them, All is Answered, when, God knowes, A [Page] prudent Reader see's the main Difficulties wa­ved, And very often finds the very state of the Question gtosly mistaken. I'll say my thought freely, and humbly submit all I say to the pru­dent Censure of every learned Catholick. As long as Sectaries (without a just and rational Reproof, it's all vve can Do) are permitted to continue still the strain of writing they constant­ly follow, which is to entertain the Reader with tedious Discourses in general of Christian Reli­gion, when Protestancy is that which should be Proved, with meer conjectures, bare negative Arguments And unproved Propositions, with their own forced and violent interpretations when an Authority urgeth, In a word, with their Gues­ses and unworthy Cavils seasoned with jeers when nothing els will Doe &c. whilst this is Don, The close way of Arguing is laid asi­de, They may talk on to the worlds end, without fruit to Any but to the Printer only, that gains money by their Books. You will ask wat Reme­dy Against this proceding? An old Answer sayes much: It is: When they go about, either to pro­ve their own Novelties, or to impugn our Catho­lick Doctrin, That we keep them from wan­dring to far from home, and Hold them close [Page] to Proofs and Principles (these are the Shollers lawes, our Rules and Canons) Do this, and you'l soon se their long Discourses Shrunk up to little, Their large volumes brought to a few sheets of paper. Now if they refuse to stand to Principles, we must leave them to Fancy, And show how they both Disgrace their cause, and themselves also.

5. By this word Principle, or Principles, I under­stand in our present matter a strong rational, sa­tisfactory, Intellectual light, that prudently forceth Reason to acquiesce in a Verity proposed: whether it arise from solid grounds of Reason, or from great Authority, matters little, so it be prudently Per­svvasive and forceably work on a well disposed understanding. Iudges Decide by some mea­sure of it in their equitable Sentences, And Schoolmen should not want it in their Opi­nions. But, much more is requisite when we speak of Religion wheron salvation De­pend's; For here a far greater light a better As­surance (Surmounting meer Probability) is ne­nessary, which cannot be darkned by Fallacies, or weakned by Trivial Fetches. You have the ground hereof Declared Disc. 1. C. 8. Because God, that lead's us in this present state to the knowledge of His Revealed Truths, not by En­thusiasms [Page] or private Illustrations, but by pru­dent inducements suitable to Reason, always ma­kes his true Religion so manifest by undubitable Signs, Marks, and Characters, that not only the learned, but the more ignorant may come (if prudence Guide him) to a clear Sight of it by certain Principles. We may, I think, pro­ceed as securely by light enough laid out to Rea­son in this weighty matter, as we do in other great Verities. For example: All acknow­ledge Gods Divine Providence over the world, and Therfore have strong Principles to prove the Truth. We Christians say, That Christ our Lord And His Apostles taught most certain Heavenly Doctrin. Principles cannot be want­ing to prove this our Christian Verity. VVe say, Iudaism and Mahometism are Fals Sects: The Assertion can be made Good by sure and undoub­ted Proofs. The only Question now under Dispute is, whether we Catholicks or Sectaries profess and Teach the Ancient Orthodox Do­ctrin established by Christ and his Apostles, And without all Controversy certain Principles can­not fail in this particular, wherby the difference between us may be decided: Or if they Do fail, (which is not possible) every one may not only [Page] adhere without reproof to any Religion or no­ne, as Fancy pleaseth; But, moreover may most justly blame Almighty God (And this is hideously impious) who command's us on the one side to embrace true Religion, yet on the Other, Leaves us in such Fearful darknes, That none after a diligent search can find out by sure Principles, vvhat or vvhere that Religion is which He will have us to believe, to make profession of, to live and dye in. And this would be highly contrary to his infinit Goodnes. Thus much premised.

6. I say first. The Sectary, whether He takes in hand to establish his own Opinions, or to impugn any Doctrin of our Catholick Faith, shall never come to an Intellectual light that hath a likelyhood of a sure Principle. The Reason is most evident in Catholick grounds (I say no more yet) Because Truth cannot be contrary to Truth: If therfore Catholick Religion be true, what ever the Sectary sayes against it, when he either Plead's for his own, or oppugn's our Doctrin, must of necessity be so remote from sure Princi­ples, That his whole Talk, ultimatly Resolved, will appear in its own likenes a meer cheat, and end in nothing but a fallacy; For it is not Possible to [Page] force Truth out of Falshood, or to make that Pro­bable which is Essentially improbable.

7. I say 2. It cannot but be most ma­nifest to every prudent disinteressed Iudgement, That Sectaries have nothing like sound recei­ved Principles to rely on, whether They oppugn our Catholick Doctrin, or Defend their own Opinions. To clear this Assertion from Ca­vils, you shall se what we propose. Be plea­sed only to take two or three sheets of paper (much more is not needful) And permit a lear­ned Catholick briefly to set down in the first Pages of them, the Proofs he hath for his Ca­tholick Doctrin in one particular Controversy now agitated (this short way of Arguing will do the deed) Then let the Protestant write all he can say for his contrary Proposition in the other Pages, And if you do not se a strange unequal Parallel of Proofs, And no Proofs laid to­gether, call me what you will, I'll bear a just rebuke, yet fear not any. I say, pitch upon One Controversy now in Dispute. For Example that one long debated (we cannot now in­sist upon all) may be thought of. Viz. VVhe­ther Recours had to the Saints in Heaven by the Prayers of the living, be erroneous or true Doctrin? [Page] Next permit the Question to be truely stated, and then Hear what the Catholick sayes for Himself. He tell's you first the Roman Ca­tholick Church and the Greek Church also, whe­ther Orthodox or Schismatical teach, as He believes. 2. He produceth Scriptures to prove his Doctrin. 3. He alleges Fathers both Greek and Latin quoted by every Pole­mical writer on this subject. Bellarmin furnisheth you most plentifully lib. 1. de Sanct. Beati cap. 19. The wit of man cannot wrest them to a sen­se contrary to our Catholick Position. 4. You will have His Reasons, and that one most con­cluding: Good men laudably pray for us he­re on earth: Ergo, much more the Saints in Heaven (because in a better state) can do that Charity. When the Catholick hath ended his Proofs grounded on these and the like undenia­ble Principles. Cast your thoughts a little on the Sectaries Contrary proofs, And mark well his Principles. Hath He any Church reputed Orthodox either now, or six hundred years agon, That expresly and positively defended his Opinion, and condemned our Doctrin? No, most evidently not any. Hath he so much as one syllable of Scripture, that plainly and posi­tively [Page] Denyes our Catholick position, and speak's for his? Not a word is found in the whole Bible to that purpose, much against it. Hath he Fathers so numerous and clear for his No­velty, as we produce for this one Truth, Saints can both hear and help us? Not one Father is ex­press against us, or plain for his contrary Opi­nion. Parallel therfore a Church and no Church, Scripture and no Scripture, Fathers express for us, and not one against us: And judge you whether it be not evident to every disinteressed judgement, that Protestants want sound Prin­ciples to rely on in this Controversy. And as you se a Defect of Principles here, so you will find it in all other Disputes between us. Now if they say, They value not much of our Church Authority. I answer, They speak without Prin­ciples, For the sole judgement of our Church (had we no more) will be thought in any just Tribunal a stronger proof for our Doctrin, then their meer slighting of it can be without a like­lyhood of proof. If They say again, They can either Deny or explicate the Fathers we produ­ce, I Answer, They are still out of Principles: For their Denial is weightles, unles They ground it upon a surer Principle, then that Authority is, which they [Page] Deny. Observe well. We have innume­rable Fathers Greek and Latin express for the Invocation of Saints. Say therfore, What will it Avail the Sectary barely to reject these Au­thorities (because they are the words of men and not of God) Vnles He Give you the plain word of God, or the Authority of an Orthodox Church (in place of them) wheron his Denial hath sure footing? If this be not don, He comes to nothing like a Principle, consequently the Fa­thers Authority (most agreable to the Churches Doctrin) is a clear Demonstration against him. If He Pretend to allege Fathers contrary to ours: I Answer, He hath not one express or plainly contrary. However, falsly suppose, He had one or two, The contest would then be, whe­ther one that stands, as it were, alone opposit to the Churches Doctrin, or many Fathers that si­de with the Church deserve more credit? Here I am sure He will stand without footing on any certain Principle. If He tell you Third­ly, The Primitive Church prayed not to Saints: They are his own empty words. We prove the contrary, by the express Testimonies of most ancient Fathers, and the Tradition of our Church, whilst He remains speechles and without a Prin­ciple [Page] to ground his Assertion on. If He Ob­ject fourthly. His Reasons, chiefly two viz. Prayers to Saints lessens our Honor to Christ. And, we cannot say how our prayers come to the Saints Hear­ing &c. I Answer. Here is nothing pro­bable, for an Objection (as soon solved as seen) is far off from the nature of a sound Principle. We say therfore, if to pray for one an other Here on Earth lessens not Christs Honor, there is no danger of lessening it by our recours had to the Saints in Heaven, now in a most Glorious and happy Condition. And thus, no less a Doctor then S. Hierom, Adversus vigilantium, Paris print 1609. pag. 590. Solves the Difficulty at those words. Dicis in libello tuo &c. Thou, Vigilantius, saith in thy Book, that whilst we live we may pray for one another, but after Death no Prayer is heard for Any. Here is the Objection. Mark S. Hie­roms Answer. Si Apostoli & Martyres adhuc in corpore constituti, possunt orare pro ceteris, quando pro se debent esse soliciti: quanto magis post coronas, victorias & trium­phos. If the Apostles and Martyrs yet living in a mortal body, can pray for others, when they are solicitous for themselves: much more, can they do that Charity after their Crowns, Victo­ries, and Triumphs. He goes on. Vnus ho­mo [Page] Moyses &c. That one Moyses obtained par­don for thousands Exod. 32. And the first Mar­tyr S. Stephen living, prayed for his Persecutors Act. 7. Et postquam cum Christo esse coeperint minus vale­bunt? And what, shall they be able to do less now, when they are glorious with Christ in Heaven? Melior (que) erit vigilantius cams vivens, quam ille leo mortuus. And can thou, Vigilantius, a li­ving Dog, be better then that dead Lyon, (He alludes to S. Paul that prayed for others whilst he lived?) Tu vigilans dormis, & dormiens scribis. I tell thee, Vigilantius, waking thou sleep's, and slee­ping writ's these things against prayer to Saints. Thus S. Hierom. And not only S. Austin lib. 22. de Civit. c. 8. (to omit innumerable others) Ap­proves the Doctrin, but that worthy Bishop al­so, S. Greg Nyssen in his Oration of S. Theodore Martyr, Paris print 1615. page 1011. and 1017. con­firms the Practice of it. Pray for us, saith S. Grego­ry (addressing himself by an earnest Petition to S. Theodore when the Scythians threatned a war to the Country) make intercession to him who is our common King and Lord. As you are a souldier fight for us and defend us, And as a Martyr speak freely for your fellovv servants here. A few lines after. And if more Prayer be needful, assemble together the vvhole Quire [Page] of your Brethren Martyrs, and joyntly intercede for us. Put S. Peter in mind, move S. Paul, and the beloved Disciple of our Lord S. Iohn, that they be solicitous for the Churches, vvhere once they vvore Chains, passed dan­gers, and finally Dyed. Say now, what lesse­ning is here of Christs Honor by the prayer of this Ancient Saint and most learned Prelate? Or what answer can be returned to these three Au­thorities? The other Difficulty is as forceles: For if Scctaries can explicate how the blessed Soul of our Saviour in Heaven hear's our Prayers, which I hope they will not Deny (I speak of his Sanctified created Soul) all Difficulty ceaseth in the present Controversy: How They hear is o­pinion (se Bell. cap. 20. n. Argumentum tertium) But That they Hear, is certain Doctrin.

7. Now if Sectaries tell us They can so ex­plicate These Fathers as to make their words in­significant to our Purpose: I would first learn, what can be said to S. Hierom, S. Austin, and S. Gregory now cited; But this is not all, for I am to assure them further, That their explications, when contrary to the Doctrin of a whole Church, as also to the obvious sense of either Scripture or Fathers quoted by us, are so far off from being Principles, that they me­rit not the name of mean probabilities; which Truth [Page] is more amply Declared Discours 4. c. 4. n. 8. 9. Where I prove that no Interpretation of Secta­ries can be Allowed of, unles it rely on an ex­trinsick Ground much surer then His Gloss is that interpret's, which therfore must be plain Scriptu­re, The undoubted consent of Fathers, Vniver­sal Tradition, or such like convincing Principles. Hence I said, when the Catholick Interprets a dubious or Difficil Passage, He never makes his Gloss to be the ultimate Proof of his Doctrin, But sup­poseth that proved by stronger Principles distinct from His Interpretation. All is contrary with the Sectary, who makes His Gloss to do all, to be the last and surest ground of his Opinion, without the Sup­port of any better Proof then his own word is. And thus much is evident in other Controversies now Debated between us, as you will see Hereaf­ter.

8. From this want of clear Principles, all the too manifest and most Discernable Faint pro­ceeding of our Adversaries in matters now con­troverted, shewes it self so openly, that one with half an Eye may Discover it. It is From want of Principles, That they now begin to be weary of Protestancy, and hold that a Faith Common to all Sectaries is sufficient to Saluation: if this [Page] may Pass, They need not herafter to stand more for Protestancy then Arianism, or for any other condemned Heresy. For the sa­me Principles (were there Any) would make both Sects equally Credible. Hence it also is, That you have them ever Cavilling at our Re­ligion (and 'Tis the easiest thing in the world to Find fault, Yea, and to cavil at the ve­rities of Holy Scripture it self, you se Arians do so) but still you find them wanting in that which concern's them most, which is to bring their Novelties to the grounds of either Scriptu­re, or any Ancient Church Doctrin: Herin they are as mute, as Fishes, and say not a word. It is from want of Principles, That, when they ex­plicate a Council or Father alleged against them, They are tediously long about little, that is in relating the circumstances to be as They would have Them, but whether they hit right is e­ver a matter of Dispute, and nothing like a re­ceived Principle. From hence it also is, That when They make such and such Doctrins to be In [...]o [...]ations (Praying to Saints Purgatory, or what els you will) The very last ground They standon, comes to nothing but Negative Argu­ments, [Page] weak Conjectures, blind Guesses, Fancy, and meer Vncertainties. It is From the want of Prin­ciples, That when we produce undeniable History for innumerable Miracles wrought in our Church, An odd Answer is at hand: They cannot believe them, as if, forsooth, Their Paro­le or meer Vnbelief had force enough to make null all that is writ of this subject by most ap­proved Authors. From want of Principles it is That they ever place against our clear Authorities no more but meer uncertain Te­stimonies, And pick out of our Writers all they can pilfer for Their Advantage, wheras, if they had a good cause in hand and sound Principles to rely on, They should beat down the Doctrin of long standing Church [...] by unde­niable Proofs, taken from Scripture, Councils, and consent of Fathers, wherof more present­ly. From hence it also is, That when a Do­ctrin pleaseth them, Tradition is approved of; But if it be contrary to their Fancy, then Tradition is of no account or value. For example. Prayer for the Dead is as well a universal Tradition of both the Greek and Latin Church, as to hold that Canon of the [Page] Sectaries Bible to be the Word of God, yet the one is admitted of, And the other set light by; And upon what Principle (Distinct from un­proved Conjectures) Do They take and leave as they list? Finally, it is for want of Prin­ciples, That in lieu of solid Arguments in eve­ry Controversy now handled you have words in stead of Substance, margents painted with Greek and Latin, now a story told of a Pope or Pre­late, now a jeer, now a jest in handsom lan­guage &c. And thus they hold on in their Merriments, Thoughtles, as it seems, of an accounting Day to come before a sever Iudge, and a long Eternity that follows. And to what purpose are these light Skirmishes and pet­ty Doin [...] in a serious matter wheron salvation depend's, whilst God is dishonored, souls are beguiled, Christs sacred Truths also infinitly suffer, by them who will yet be named Chri­stians.

9. I call them here petty Doings. For when on the one side I set before my Eyes our Ro­man Catholick Church (once founded by Christ) and therfore must hold it most Ancient and con­fessedly true. When again I find it of a vast [Page] extent diffused the whole world over, And as much renowned as largely Extended. When I see it glorious Evidenced by Miracles, pow­erful in the Conversions of Infidels, eminent in Sanctity, And most profound learning. When I consider How it hath stood invinci­ble in the heat of all persecutions, and call to mind the Heresies vainquished by it Age after Age, To say no more now of other signal Marks wherwith it is made illustrious and vi­sible to all. VVhen (I say) I consider the­se Truths. Methinks evident Reason Tells me, that a few slight Cavils cannot much an­noy or hurt it. No. Either clear Demon­strations, or (were it possible) more then De­monstrations ought to enter here, and shake this our strong Fortress, Or, if they do not, Common Prudence obliges me to own this for Christs true Spouse, or to Grant, (which is hideously Against the Grounds of Christianity) that there is no such Thing as an Orthodox Church in the world.

10. Now on the other side, when I cast my Thoughts on a Few late risen Company of Divided Sectaries, utterly Destitute of all [Page] prudent Motives, without Antiquity, Mira­cles, Conversions, or other Evidences of Cre­dibility; when again I seriously ponder how slightly they goe to work against us, How weakly They attempt with meer Trifles (re­mote from Proofs and Principles) to Vnroot (as it were) this strong Building of our Catho­lick Society, I stand astonished, and must needs say, They seem to be men not too thoughtful of Eternity, And never can wonder enough at Their boldnes, whilst They dare, as they do, to take pen in hand, and presume to write a­gainst an Ancient Church, that made the world and their own Progenitors Christians. But what is Hitherto briefly hinted at, will be mo­re largely laid forth in the ensuing Discour­ses.

11. Now it is high time to end an Adverti­sement, and to tell our Adversaries my absolu­te Resolution. It is thus. Let who will pre­tend to Answer this Treatis either in part or whole, Nothing shall draw me to Reply, un­les He that Answers come more closely to Principles, then I ever yet saw in Protestant Wri­ter. It is a sin to trifle our precious time [Page] away in Cavils. I'll hartily thank any that may pleas to Answer upon Grounded Principles: but if He fail Herin, His labour will be lost and mine hereafter spared, All I shall Do (if I do so much) will be to tell him were He misseth in the Main point which is to come closely to Principles.

THE INTRODVCTION.

BEfore we enter upon the fol­lowing discourses, I must need's have a word with Mr. Poole, whose Nullity, and Appendix (but chiefly the request of a friend) induced me to write this Treatise. It is very true, after one serious perusal of this Nullity, I had enough of it, and therfore judged it unne­cessary, and indeed not worth the pains to answer [...], or to follow the Author through his Mazes, and long wandring parergons. I returne him undoubted grounds of true Religion (they are undeniable) which at least destroy his best Prin­ciples; and if I mistake not, this is fully as much as a Nullity deserves. However, if he desire more, he may probably have it in another Treatise. Now, if you ask, why I took this way of answering, if yet you'l call it an Answer, I'll tell you. My ayme is not so much to meddle with this Nullity, as to speak for the Catholik cause, and prove something, which shall not be answered. Again:

It is more then tedious, ever to be encountring a few old worn-out Arguments (set forth in new dresses) which have been confuted a hundred ti­mes over. Thirdly: No small part of this Nul­lity seem's to be too trivial, while later Catholik writers are introduced speaking, as Mr. Poole thinks, disadvantagiously, and against our Faith. Now Sixtus Senensis sayes this, now Bellarmin that, now Stapleton a third thing, &c. And are these, think ye, doughty Doings for such an Antagonist, that offers to strike at the very root of the Roman Church? Alas, what he cites thus, were all he cites true, is a Nullity indeed, and a meer nothing; for Church Doctrin depends on no mans private opinion: But, when we make an inspection into these Au­thors (as I have done on several occasions, and find them quoted by halfs, weighed out of their circumstances, mangled, and traduced to a sinister sense) we must speak truth, That cheats will go on their way, and rather play at small game, then sit out, or seem to do nothing.

Had Protestants any thing like a good cause in hand, or Truth on their side, they would cer­tainly plead more manfully for it, and never like poor people in harvest, go thus a gleaning up and down our Authors (known for professed Catho­liks) [Page 3] who little, God knows, intended to favour Sectaries by such segments, as they are pleased to pick up, much less to furnish Protestants with ar­mour against Catholik Doctrin. But what will ye? Sectaries can do no better. Yet I must tell you what they ought to do, whilst they embrace a Novelty, and cast of the old Religion. They should make the ancient Canons to roar against our Doctrin, they should confound and over­whelm us with undeniable proofs, drawn from plain Scripture, ancient Councils, universal Tra­dition, and the unanimous consent of Fathers: Of these we hear no great noise. Next (and this most concerns them) They should also positively prove, and establish every Article of Protestant Religion, as Protestancy, by such plain, open, and illustrious Authorities, then a Bellarmin, a Stapleton, a Maldonate and others might well follow the rear: But to va­pour with a few broken fragments, I'll espyed in these Modern Authors (and worse applyed) without attending to their whole drift, antecedent and consequent, and think to defeat an Ancient Church with such trivial Doings, is so slight a way of schirmishing, that it deserves no counterblow, but pitty and compassion. That incomparable Author of the Protestants Apology, learn's them ano­hter [Page 4] way of arguing, whilst he doth not only shew the endles clashing of Sectaries amongst them­selves, but moreover solidly proves our Catholik Doctrin positively, and this by the most satisfactory and undeniable Principles, that a lover of Truth can wish for.

Thus these new men should defend their cau­se, and it is no fault of ours that they trifle it out, and do no better. We charge enough upon them, and could they well acquit themselves, they would certainly go more closely to work, and answer directly. We say, and will prove it, That, that Doctrin which they believe as Protestants, contrary to the Roman Catholik Faith, is evidently no part of any Christian belief, but a meer Opinion grounded on fancy only. We say, and will prove it, that this new Religion of Protestancy hath all the marks and characters of heresy following it, which can be thought on: not one is wanting; for, if Arius of old, who quited the ancient Roman Church, and banded against it, was, upon that account, both schismatick and heretick, our Sectaries are in eâdem nave, and have done so, their cause and case, in other matters, is the very same. 2. As Arius stood all alone at his first rise, opposite to the rest of Christians, and was opposed by all, so [Page 5] were they also both opposite, and opposed by all. 3. As he began without commission to broach his Novelties against the ancient Faith, so are they as wholy uncōmissioned to preach Theirs: And here we give them matter enough to work on, and conjure them to produce their commis­sion. 4. As Arius, supported by secular power, vented what ever he pleased without curb, or any superiour law to check him, and therfore fell into desperate Extravagancies; so are our new men lawles also, and submit to none but their own fancy and self-judgement. Finally, as Arius, without warrant of the Church, interpreted Scripture as his own weak reason taught him, just so do our Sectaries: here only is the difference, That he had a plausible sound of Scripture-words for his heresy; Protestants have neither sound, nor syllable, nor sense through the whole Bible for one article of Protestancy, as Protestancy. This I shall make good hereafter.

Here is charge enough drawn up against them; but by what satisfactory known and received Principles▪ which force reason to acquiesce (and we make a search after these) they can acquit them­selves, or rationally answer, is a heavy difficulty. I'll tell you in a word (and remember it) they shall [Page 6] never answer by any thing that hath the look of a rational proof, or a received Principle. No: Their own sole proofles word, wheron the whole ma­chin of Protestancy is built, upholds what ever they teach: They have no more. They say, 'tis true, they left the ancient Roman Church, because it left it self, but yet stick close to the Primitive Doctrin. Observe it: They are here both Ac­cusers of us, and Iudges in their own cause. Their proofles word doth all, without reducing it to any known or certain owned Principle. Not one Council, not one Canon, no ancient Tradition, no consent of Fathers can they produce, wherby par­ticular men are lycensed to rise up against an An­cient Mother Church, and condemn it of false Doctrin. They will tell you, that they stood all alone when Luther rose up, yet taught, forsooth, the true Gospel of Iesus Christ: and we must believe them. Here is the last Propositio quiescens. They say so: To what we charge against their uncom­missioned Authority to preach as they did, you ha­ve the like uncommissioned answer: The Lord sent them abroad, and the Truth they taught se­cures them. But of these weak wordy replyes I have said to much in this short Digression.

Let us now retourn to Mr. Poole: And I must [Page 7] say, all he hath vented in his Nullity or Appendix against us, comes to no more, but to a most weak assault of a feeble Adversary; for this man, who endeavorus to prove that both Church and Coun­cils, and what else you can mention, are fallible, can never assume to himself, or tye to any Community he joyns with the Spirit of Infallibility: For, if the infallibility of the Church of Rome must down; down, say I, also with the infallibility of the Prote­stant Church, of the Grecian Church, and of all other societies of Christians. With some of these Mr. Poole is listed, and therfore I cannot but hold him, and his Adherents, men of no more, then of a fallible Religion. Hence I argue: Suppose, which is utterly false, that the Church, or all Churches, all Councils, all Fathers are fallible, and that Christian Religion (as it is taught by these) is likewise falli­ble: Admit also, that I were to embrace one of these many fallible Religions, (which I shall never do) will not prudence dictate, if I have no other certainty then these meer uncertainties to rely on, that it is better to hold where I am, and stick to my ancient Religion, glorious with innumerable Mar­tyrs, Doctors, Confessors, &c. then to give up my Faith to Mr. Pooles post-nate fallible Religion, and false discours? How therfore can this man so much [Page 8] as once endeavour, to draw me, or any, of my more ancient and universal Religion (though supposed fallible) to another new one, which lyes sick of the same disease, totters, and reel's as much as mine (if not more) and in a word is fallible? Of two evils the lesse is to be chosen. It is an evil without doubt, to have no Religion certain; yet, if I were to choose one of two uncertain Religions, and could by no certain Teacher learn which of them is worse (being both naught) I would either pitch where I list, and as my fancy lead's me; or rather choose none at all, knowing wel, that a ruin of all Faith, followes the renouncing of certainty in Religion. But of this more hereafter. In the interim,

I would know of Mr. Poole, whether this stran­ge and unheard of Proposition: Christian Religion, as it is taught and delivered by all Pastors, Doctors, &c. is fallible, be subjectively in him that speak's it, an infalli­ble Assertion, or fallible? If the first, we have an En­glish Pope (I mean Mr. Poole) who without either Scripture, Church, or Council, can speak infallibly in matters of Faith. If that formal Proposition be fallible, it fall's of it self, without further proof, to nothing, and renders this sense: I. M. P. say by a fallible Assertion, that Christian Religion is fallible; which feeble Assertion (and the weaker [Page 9] it is, the worse it is for him) cannot at all startle me, or any, who upon the Authority of thousands more learned than he (to say no more) hold one Religion, and but one only, certain and infal­lible. Perhaps he will say, that though his Propo­sition be fallible, yet it is highly probable against the pretended Infallibility of the Roman Church, no other society of Christians laying claim to infallibility. Mark by the way what this Ad­versary drives at. It is to tell the world a word of comfort, viz. That Christ Iesus hath now no certain and infallible Religion taught or learned in the whole Christian world; And to make this most fallible and false Proposition good, he back's it by another of his own, as false and fallible, viz. It is at least highly probable, that the Church of Rome is fallible. Pray you on what leggs doth this high supposed probability stand? I'll tell you, it stands only on Mr. Pooles weak thoughts, and unwarran­ted word, more you have not. For, never did any ancient Council, or universal Tradition, or the unanimous consent of Fathers hold it a thing highly probable, that either Christian Religion, or the Catholik Church of Rome is fallible. Doth the Scripture favour any where this wild Asser­tion? No, not one syllable is found to that pur­pose, [Page 10] we have texts enough to the contrary; some I shall quote on a fitter occasion.

You will ask what then is it, that Mr. Pooles pro­ves against us in the fourth Chapter of his Nullity? I answer, just nothing. His whole strain is thus: After much tampering with those convincing places of holy Scripture, usually alledged for the Churches Infallibility, and spoiling all with his fallible fancies, he goes negatively to work, and tell's us: Such and such texts (turned out of their genuine sense by his glosses) come not home, nor prove any Church infallible; and it is no wonder, for, as perverted by him, they are none of Gods Scripture, but his own scribled whimsies. Take here one instance for many, that text of S. Paul, 1. Tim. 3. 15. where the Church is stiled the pillar and ground of Truth, seem's plain enough, open, and si­gnificant for the Catholik sense. Now comes Mr. Poole with his glosses, page 86. and saith perhaps, here may be an Ellipsis, of the word [...] may be writ for [...]; and if so, Timothy was the pillar, not the Church. Again, The Church here spoken of, may be that wherin Timothy was placed, not the Roman. 3. The term of pillar, notes the solidity, not the infallibility of the Church. 4. It may no­te the Churches Duty, not her practise with a [Page 11] long, &c. Observe wel. Vpon these wretched fal­lible suppositions Mr. Poole seem's to conclude, that those words are unconcluding for the Infallibility of any Christian society. Put I ask by what Au­thority must I suppose his Ellipsis, or that the Church spoken of was Timothy's Church, not the Vniversal? That the term pillar notes not the Infallibility, &c? Doth God speak thus in Scriptu­re, or rather doth not Mr. Poole vent these wild Fancies without Scripture or any unquestioned Authority? This later is most evident; And can he think by such farfetcht glosses, either to rob the Apostle of his plain obvious sense, or to make me believe that his guesses hit right on Gods true meaning, delivered in this text?

If he reply, the meaning may be as he guesses. I answer, and it may not be as he guesses, Who is here to judge between us? Who can tell me, that Mr. Pools May be is a prop sure enough to build my faith upon? He is therfore to show positively by a Propositio quiescens; that is, by some cogent proof and undoubted Authority, that S. Pauls words must be understood as he glosses, and con­sequently is obliged to make good some one of these desperate Propositions. Christ Iesus hath now no infallible Religion taught or learned in the Christian [Page 12] world. All Christian Societies are fallible. That holy and universal Church, mentioned in the Creed, is fallible, &c. But to wave such proofs, to lay hold on a Text in Scripture, and torture it as he pleaseth, and after the misusage to tell us, the Text proves nothing; is only to sport with Gods Word, and say, that Scripture made no Scripture by whole heaps of fal­lible glosses, is proofles. The foundation is good, but the superstructure is naught. Give me the strongest place in Scripture for any Article of Christian faith, I can by pidling at the Text with unevidenced glosses, both so pervert and poyson the words, that at last they speak haeresy. Yet on such unproved conjectures Protestant Religion stands, and can never have better footing, while Gods unwritten Word is rejected, and no infallible Teacher is allowed of, that learn's us Truth.

One word more, and I end. Had those two Gallants, Luther and Calvin, when they took upon them to reform the darkned world of Popery, thus allarm'd their Hearers. My Masters: We Preach indeed a new Gospel upon the best con­jectures we are able; but you must know, that all we say is fallible: How sick would such a saying have made the strongest stomack amongst them? For, if fallible, if uncertain Doctrin, it was none [Page 13] of Christ Iesus Doctrin, and therfore stood in need of a more pure refining. And how know our Protestants, but that yet a new sort of People may start-up, and make it their task to reform all the fallible Reformers, that have troubled the world since Luthers dayes? Had I no other just exception against our Protestants but thus much only; That they yet know not where about They are in their reformation, and because fallible, can never know, whether for example the thing they have in hand; be yet a meer Embrio of Religion, or of a more perfect shape, a new layd egg, or a hatcht chicken; whether they themselves are yet only Novices, Proficients, or Masters in the trade of Reformation; I say, were there no more, This alo­ne would fright me from ever being Protestant.

Believe it, the Professors of an uncertain and endles reformable Religion shall never come to settlement, till they renounce the cheat and Be­lieve as the Apostle teaches, ad Gal. 1. 8. Licet nos, &c. Altough we, or Angel from heaven preach otherwise to you then we have preached to you, let him be accursed; which is fully to say: Believe him not. And here by the way observe, how destructive these words are of an uncertain and fallible teaching, in mat­ters of Religion; for admit (which Mr. Poole grants) [Page 14] that all Christian Communities, all Councils, all Fathers, all Tradition, &c. deliver only Fallible Doctrin, (that is, Doctrin lyable to errour) I only may not, but am obliged to disbelieve this Truth of S. Paul, and believe him, or, an Angel sent from heaven, if either of them preached contrary to this fallible Learning. Why? Doctrin that is fallible may be false; but the preaching of an An­gel sent from heaven cannot be false, and therfore is more certain then Christian Doctrin, that may be false. But I am obliged to quit the lesse certain Doctrin, for the most certain preaching of an Angel; ergo I must relinquish Christianity, if an Angel preach against it. The reason is. The les­ser light yeilds to the greater, probability submits to certainty, and my fallible (though highly proba­ble) Assent cannot but yeild to the infallible As­sertion of an Angel, if he speak contrary to it.

These few considerations premised, we must insist more largely on this subject, and demon­strate that there are living and infallible Teachers of Religion in some one Society of Christians or other; which is directly opposite to Mr. Poole, who holds, That no men are so highly priviledged by Almighty God, as to have subjective infallibility, or, to teach infallibly; though, perhaps, they may de­liver [Page 15] truth (as it were by chance) but not infallibly as Teachers. I say, as Teachers, for by what I can learn by Mr. Poole and other Protestants, They think all done when they tell us, That the objective Doctrin delivered in Scripture is infallible, (which yet they cannot know without an infallible Tea­cher, and therfore in saying this, they speak only fallibly:) but admit they know so much, they are never the better for it, unles they joyntly own some Oracle, some certain Master, who by Divine assi­stance interpret's Scripture without errour, and as exactly convey's into our harts Gods written re­vealed Verities, when any doubt ariseth, as if the Apostles taught us. These Teachers are they (can we find them out) that circumscribe our ranging Fancies, and put a limit to our swerving Thoughts, while we often read, and seldom un­derstand those great secrets which God hath layd up in the book of Sctipture, without them (as we see by too sad experience) our weak rea­son, and strong Fancies pervert all, and produce monsters of haeresies out of Scripture it self, wherof more hereafter.

THE FIRST DISCOVRS OF INFALLIBLE TEACHERS, AND THE MOTIVES OF CREDIBILITY.

THE FIRST CHAPTER.
There Are infallible Teachers of true Christian Religion.

1. BEfore I prove the Assertion, I would gladly learn of our Adversaries (who make all men fallible) whether, for these thousand years, the world ever had in it any Christians, who heard the infallible Doctrin of Christ truly taught, and infallibly believed it? If they disown such infallible Believers, they must joyntly deny all infallible Faith, and consequently say, That though God hath revealed in Scripture innumerable Verities, yes, and for this end, to [Page 17] beget infallible Faith in our harts, yet no man can lay hold on them, nor yeild to them by any other assent, but what is fallible, and may be false. Methinks ther­fore,Gods infal­lible Reve­lation re­quires an infallible assent of Faith. an infallible Verity revealed to us forcibly re­quires an answerable and correspondent infallible as­sent of Faith in us: For to say, God speak's infalli­bly to me, and that I either will not, or cannot infalli­bly believe him, is in a word to tell him, that his cer­tain Truths may ly close where they are in the book of Scripture, (they may rest there) without being layd up, or lodged in my hart as infallible owned and believed Truths. Most contrary are those golden words of the Apostle, 1. Thess. 2. v. 12. to this wild Doctrin: Ther­fore we thank God without intermission, because when ye recei­ved the word of God, which ye heard from us, ye received it not, as the word of men, but as it truly is the word of God, who (effe­ctually) works in you that believe. Observe well: He who receives the delivered Word of God, as it is truly Gods Word and not mans; He that hath in his hart the in­fallible Word of God, and, by the cooperation of Grace, yeilds an assent to it, as to the infallible word of God, can­not but believe what God speak's, and as he speak's: but God speak's infallibly, Therfore he believes infalli­bly; or if he reach not so high, but faulters with an assent that is fallible, he Believes not God, nor his Word (as it truly is Gods Word) who never did nor can speak any thing fallibly. Now, if on the other side our Adversaries grant, that Christians heard the infal­lible Doctrin of Christ, and believed it infallibly, They also must admit of a Subjective infallibility, at least in such Believers. And this truth Scripture clearly points at, in these and the like undeniable places, obvious to all: [Page 18] I know who I believe, and am certain. Let the house of Israël certainly know. Although we or Angel from heaven, &c. Faith is a conviction [...], or a strong argument of Belief that is infallible, supposeth infallible Teachers. what appears not, &c. But these I wave, because known to every one. Let us now proceed to the Teachers of Christian Religion, and prove our Assertion.

2. To go on clearly, I would know whether there have not alwayes been, now are, and ever will be among These true and infallible Believers, some Pastors, Do­ctors, or Teachers, who, Authorised by Christ, are by Duty, both to instruct Christians, in case they swerve from Truth, and also to reduce Aliens from Christ, to a true Belief of his sacred Doctrin? Certainly, Mr. Poole will own such Pastors in the world; if not, what are Mini­sters for in England? Or, why doth He assume to him­self this Office of teaching, whilst He endeavours to reclaim a seduced Captain from his Apostacy, as he call's it? And is it possible? What? After such anThe harsh Doctrin of Sectaries. acknowledgement, shall we hear this unheard, harsh, and most Haeretical Assertion: That all these Pastors, who are to unbeguile soules, may be beguiled Them­selves, or teach false Doctrin? And that not so much as one, amongst them all, is so Highly priviledged, as to instruct with certainty? If all are fallible, and none Teaches certainly, the Blind lead's the blind, the Scholler is as good as his Master; at least, none can in prudence learn of any, if this perswasion live in him. He that Teaches me, may as well erre as I, who am to Learn. If an unskilful Traveller enquire the way to an unknown place of one, knowing it no better then he that asks, He travel's on with no security, and This is our very case: Amongst so many By-ways, so many mazes of [Page 19] Sects and Schisms, as now swarm in the world, and like cobwebs intricate thousands of souls in their journey, we are posting on as fast as Time can drive us, to a place yet unknown, a long Eternity. The directing thread, that safely drawes us out of these Labirinths, is Sure, Firm, and infallible Faith; we ask to learn this of our new Doctors, and not one can certainly say, Such is the way: This infallibly is the Faith that winds us out of errour, and most assuredly lead▪s to Heaven: or, if any say so much, he speaks only Fallibly.

3. And here is the summary of Protestants com­fortlesProtestants doctrine comfortles. Doctrin. They have Pastors that talk, but Teach nothing certainly: They have Infallible Verities lock'd up in Scripture, but none can open that Book, or convey them with Assurance into mens harts: They hear God speak, but none of them certainly knows what he sayes: They have Christs Promises of a Spirit of Truth' abyding with some Christian Teachers (find them where they can) for ever, to the end of the world; but now, They must say, because all Pastors are fallible, That Christ keep's not his word, if all may deceive, and Teach both fallible and false Doctrin. Finally, they must own such Belie­vers, as S. Paul mentioneth, Who receive the word of God, as it Truly is the word of God; but have not one Pastor, or Doctor, that dare show his face, and say he Teaches this word infallibly. Yet infallible Believers and infalli­ble Teachers seem neer Correlatives; the one, if Faith come by Hearing, staggers without the other, andInfallible Hearers of Gods word suppose In­fallible Teachers. methinks when the Apostle saith, Rom. 10. 14. None can hear without a Preacher, he supposeth as well the Prea­cher instructing) infallible, as the Hearer infallibly in­structed.

CHAP. II.
The Infallible Doctrin of Christ neces­sarily requires infallible Teachers.

1. THe proof of my Assertion is more fully decla­red Chap. 4. n. 6. and relyes on this Principle In­fallible Doctrin taught only fallibly, under that notion of fallibly taught Doctrin, is not the Doctrin of Christ. We are of God, saith Scripture, Iohn Epist. 1. cap. 4. v. 6. He that knowes God, hear's us; he that is not of God, heareth us not. Hereby we know the Spirit of Truth, and the Spirit of errour. Which is to say in other Terms. He that hear's an infallible Teacher, hath the Spirit of Truth; and he that hear's not an infallible Teacher, wants this Spirit of Truth. Again, Epist. 2. v. 9. Every one that recedes, [...], and remains not in the Doctrin of Christ, hath not God, &c. But every one, that Hears only a fallible Teacher, easily recedes, and remains not in the Doctrin of Christ; Ther­fore he hath not God, nor the Spirit of Truth in him.

2. Upon these grounds I Argue further. Christ Do­ctrin, infallible in it self, is either now taught infallibly by some Pastors lawfully sent, or fallibly. If the first; we must own infallible Teachers of this infallible Do­ctrin. If the second, That is, if Christs infallible Do­ctrin be taught only Fallibly, ex parte Docentis, it followes evidently, first, That though God speaks infallibly, yet no man hath certainty of what he saith. It followes secondly, That such a fallible Teaching of Christs Do­ctrin, [Page 21] may be cavilled at, and disputed against. For,Doctrin taught Fal­libly may be cavilled at, and di­sputed against. all Doctrin taught fallibly, and which by force of its Proposal, or merit of the Doctrin, may deceive and be false, is lyable to cavil, and dispute; Therfore this Do­ctrin may be also cavilled at, and disputed against. It followes thirdly, That really Christs Doctrin (perchance perverted by a fallible and false Delivery) may not be Taught at all. The reason is: No other Doctrin is, or can be taught, but what is fallible, and may be false: but Christs Doctrin is nor fallible, nor can be false; Therfore that Doctrin which is only Taught fallibly (as it is so delive­red) is none of Christs infallible Doctrin. Consequently, if any man would now utterly abjure all the taught Do­ctrin of the Christian world, he might do it without being an Haeretick. I prove it: He who only abjures and Denies Fallible Doctrin which may be false, neither abjures nor denies Christs Doctrin nor any Christian Ve­rity, which cannot be false: But all Christian Doctrin, that can be Taught (Sectaries say) is Fallible and may be False; Therfore he who Denies such a fallible taught Doctrin, denies not Christs Doctrin, and cannot be upon that account an Haeretick. You will say: He who Denies all Christian taught Doctrin, certainly De­nies some of those Objective Verities which are revealed in Gods Word, and therfore is an Haeretick. Very true, if he be sure, That his Teacher delivers those Verities infallibly: But our Protestants say, Because all TeachersInfallible Doctrin taught only fallibly, im­plyes no De­nial of Christs infallible Verities. are fallible, none can have that Assurance from them, or any; Therfore their Doctrin, as it is taught fallibly, may be cavilled at, yes, and denied also without the guilt of Haeresy. The reason is. Whoever, only De­nies the fallible Teaching of infallible Doctrin (yet not [Page 22] known for such) Denies not the Objective infallible Do­ctrin in it self, but the Formal fallible Delivery of it; and this, he may boldly say, is none of Christs Doctrin.

3. The substance of what I would here expresse, mayNo assuran­ce can be had from men that Teach Christs Doctrin fallibly. perhaps more plainly be reduced to Form thus: A so­ciety of men, who can do no more but only Teach fal­lible Doctrin, which may be false, can assure none, that they Teach Christs infallible Doctrin, which cannot be false: But all societies of Christians can do no more but Teach fallible Doctrin which may be false, (for all Churches, all Councils, all Fathers, all Papists, all Protestants, and Mr. Poole with them, are (as they say) Fallible in their Feaching;) Therfore not one amongst them can assure any, that he Teaches or Delivers the infallible Doctrin of Christ. I say, That he Teaches; for, if we meet with a Simplician That tel's us, He builds his Faith and Religion, not upon any Preachers talk, but on the Objective Verities revealed in Scripture. I answer: Un­lesObjective revealed Verities no sufficient ground of infallible Faith. he first learn of some Infallible Oracle, what Scriptu­re exactly speak's in a hundred controverted places, he shall never by his own poreing on a Bible either arrive to the depth of God true meaning, or derive infalli­ble Faith from those Objective revealed Verities. The re­ply supposeth, That all Truth couched in Scripture, is as easily understood, with the unclasping of a Bible, as the sun is seen at noon-day. If so, Ministers here­after may (for the most of men) shut their books, stop their mouths, and preach no more.

4. Some yet perhaps will say: One may preach the infallible Doctrin of Christ, though himself be falli­ble in the Delivery of it, which feem's manifest; for eve­ry Catechist, or Preacher, though he delivers the infal­lible [Page 23] Doctrin of Christ, yet delivers it not infallibly; why therfore may not Ministers in England teach, as those do, infallible Doctrin, though, ex parte subjecti docentis, they Teach it fallibly? I answer first: Ministers in England have no Infallible Church to recurre to, in case They erre; for their whole Community is fallible. The Catholick Preacher hath a sure Oracle to rely on; an Infallible Church, that unbeguil's him if he swerve from Truth, which is a mighty Advantage and a greatThe Ad­vantage of an infalli­ble Church. Disparity in the present question. Now if you say Sectaries may as well rely on infallible Scripture for their Direction, as we do on an Infallible Church; I de­ny the Supposition, and shall shew hereafter, That not so much as one Article of Protestancy can be proved by Scripture. Again: No man call's into doubt the Objective Verities contained in Scripture, known as such: But here is the difficulty, whether the new invented Interpretations made on Scripture by Sectaries be true or false; and if false, They have no Infallible Ora­cle to amend the Errour as the Catholick Teacher hath.

5. I answer secondly: S. Paul, methinks, layes foun­dation enough to solve the Objection, Rom. 10. 15. How shall They preach unles they he sent? Why therfore may we not assert. That every Catechist, every Preacher that hath a lawful Mission, and is sent by the Infallible Church to preach Christs sacred Doctrin, if he preach that Doctrin which Christ and his Church approves of, is then, under that Notion of a Member conjoyned with an Infallible Church, Infallible in his Teaching? Though all vulgar taught Doctrin is not such. Now Ministers, who are unsent men, and therfore divorced [Page 24] from this infallible Moral Body, cannot but talk, as they do, Fallibly.

6. I would not have any to mistake my meaning. Know therfore first: I do not say, That this or that Pastor, purely considered as a Pastor, is infallible in all he Teaches. Nor secondly, That either Councils as­sembled, or particular Bishops, are by any intrinsick in­herent quality elevated to a state of Insallibility. But thirdly, I affirm: That God, who, according to Christs promise, will ever guide his Church in Truth, cannot permit All the Pastors and Teachers in it to swerve from Carholick Doctrin: For, if so, The whole Catholick Church might erre, which is contrary toPastors▪ lawfully sent teach Infallible Doctrin infallibly. Christs promise. Hence I say, fourthly: Every Bi­shop or Pastor, though not Personally infallible, yet when he is sent to preach Christs Doctrin, and com­plies with his Duty, That is, when he Teaches No­thing, but what he hath commission to teach in the Name of God and his Church; such a man. I say, considered as a nember conjoyned with an Infallible Church in the Delivery of Christs Verities, may be sayd to teach infallibly; For upon this supposition, he doth not on­ly speak Truth as it were by chance (An Haeretick may do so;) But more, as he speak's in the name of God and his Church, He teaches as the Church teacheth, that is, infallibly. The Reason is Manifest in Catholick Principles; Because the Holy Ghost ever Assists some Pastors in the Catholick Church to teach true Christian Doctrin, and 'tis as certain that Those he Assists teach it infallibly; Therfore a Pastor, Prelate or Bishop that Delivers Christs Doctrin, as is now declared, teaches Infallibly. You will say, This Pa­stor, [Page 25] or that Bishop may, trough malice, ignorance, Objections answered. or both, swerve from Truth. I grant it; but then he teaches not as one of Gods Ministers, not com­plies with his Mission. You will say again. Thus much at least followes out of this Principle, That a Bishop when he Teaches as lawfully sent, is at that instant as infallible as the Pope when he Defines in Council; or, to speak in Mr. Pooles homely language, hath a Pope in his belly. I answer. Every faithful Bishop may have as Infallible Faith, as the Pope: what wonder is it therfore if, when he Teaches as both Po­pe and the Church teach, he be then sayd to Teach infallibly? Yet there is a great Disparity between the Pope and particular Pastors, Bishops, &c. For no particular Bishop can make any new Declarations of Faith obligeing all Christians to believe; The Pope with a Council can do so. No particular Bishop, pre­cisely considered as such, is infallible; For he may Teach to day as one lawfully sent, and to morrow erre by ignorance, yea, and Malice also: But the Pope, considered as Pope and Christs Vicar on Earth can never Define in Councils but Infallibly; and ther­fore his Assistance is in a higher measure certain, and supereminently Infallible.

7. The last ground of this Doctrin (which great De­vinesThe whole Church consisting of Pastors &c. is in­fallible. assert) is, That the whole Church of Christ, which consists of Pastors and Hearers, of Teachers and Learners, Antecedently to Pope and Council Con­ciliarily assembled together, is infallible; For the Pro­mises of Christ ever Assisting the Church, Primarily belong to this whole moral Body, which cannot erre: Against this Church Hell gates shall never prevail, with [Page 26] it The Spirit of Truth shall re main foor ever, &c. Now this Infallibility cannot but remain and stand fast in the members of this mystical Body; not in Pastors only, for it avails little, that These teach infallibly, if none learn their infallible Doctrin: nor in Hearers only, be­cause they learn not infallible Doctrin without a Teacher. Infallibility then accompanies both Pastors and Hea­rers.How Pa­stors and Hearers are infalli­ble. As therfore, These believing Hearers (conjoyned in Faith with this infallible Church) are under That notion, infallible, (no Catholick can deny it:) so li­kewise these Believing Pastors, as conjoynd in Do­ctrin with this unerring Church, and Teaching what the Church Teaches, under that notion, are infallible in their Doctrin. Yet, as. I now intimated, there is a great Difference between the Representative Church of a Pope and Council lawfully and Conciliarily assem­bled, and particular Pastors, Particular Christians, and Particular Churches; For, the RepresentativeParticular Pastors may erre. Church, because of the powerful Assistance of the Holy Ghost, cannot swerve from Truth in its Defini­tions; but this Pastor, that Teacher, that Particu­lar Church may swerve (altogether cannot) though under the notion of a Pastor sent to teach the Infallible Doctrin of Christ and his Church, he Teaches infalli­bly. Separate him from this moral Body, he loo­seth Assistance, and cannot but teach Fallibly, though he speak Truth by chance; consequently he is none of Christs Teachers, for Christ never impowred any to teach Fallible Doctrin, that may be false. You will say, separate a Minister from the Truth of the Gospel, and he is also no Teacher. Alas, he separat's him­self; For, he hath no Mission to preach as he doth, [Page 27] and moreover Professeth that he can teach nothing infallibly. But of this more afferward: In the in­terim.

8. To cut of all reply to the Argument, I propose it thus. No man that is by nature lyable to errour, or wants God's special Divine Assistance in his tea­ching, and Positively renounceth all infallible Socie­ties of Christian Teachers, can teach with certainty Christs Infallible Doctrin. But all men, now at least in being, are by nature lyable to errour, want this spe­cial Assistance in their Teaching, and must (as Mr. Poo­le will have it) positively renounce all infallible So­cieties of Christian Teachers; Therfore no man can Teach with certainty, or deliver the Infallible Do­ctrin of Christ. The Major is evident: For he who by nature is lyable to errour, and hath not infallibleMen want­ing infalli­ble Assi­stance to teach, can­not deliver Christs Doctrin in­fallibly. Assistance to Teach infallibly, or wants the Guidan­ce of an infallible Society to Direct him, may as easi­ly erre and misse in his teaching, as hit right on the Infallible Doctrin of Christ. The Minor is granted by Mr. Poole; For all Churches; whether Roman or En­glish, Arian or Grecian, are lyable to errour, want special Assistance in their Teaching, and ought posi­tively to renounce all Societies of infallible Christian Teachers; Therfore, the conclusion undeniably fol­lowes, which is, That none can with certainty Teach the Infallible Doctrin of Christ. And from hen­ce also followes an utter ruin of Christian Religion (yea and of Scripture too) as I shall hereafter De­monstrate. For if all Pastors, all Doctors, all Tea­chers of Christian Religion may erre in the Delivery of their Doctrin, all Learners of it, may likewise [Page 28] erre in Hearing it; and if so, we have no certainty, That God is now Adored in Spirit and Truth by ei­ther, Teacher, or Hearer.

9. The ultimate reason, why a Total ruin of Chri­stianThe utter ruin of Christian Religion followes the fallible Teaching of it in a whole Church. What all Euangeli­cal Prea­chers la­koured for. Religion accompanieth the fallible Teaching of it, is thus proved. None can teach Christian Faith, that doth not Propose, or make Almighty God to be the Author of it, And therfore our Saviour, Iohn 7. 16. told the Iewes, That his Doctrin was not his, but his Fathers that sent him, Yea, The Prophets also, and all other Evangelical Preachers, chiefly laboured in this, to perswade their Hearers, that God was the Author of that Doctrin they taught. Now say I: None can Propose or make God the Author of Christian Faith, that doth not own it as a Doctrin asserted by his Eternal Veracity infallibly revealing Truth (for this is the Formal Object of Christian Faith;) But He that only Teaches fallible Doctrin, which may be false, deserts this Formal Object, and can neither own God for the Author of it, nor his infallible revealing Verity: Ergo, he must own a fallible Authority to uphold this Do­ctrin, which is utterly Destructive of Christian Faith. The reason will be yet more evidenced, if you pro­pose it after this manner. A Doctrine, which by for­ce of all the Principles it hath is meerly fallible andThe last ground of this Do­ctrin. no more, may be salse: But Christian Doctrin, as it is Taught by all Pastors and Ministers of the Word, &c. is thus fallible; Ergo it may be false: But, God never sent Christ our Lord, nor Christ his Apostles or any, to Teach a Doctrin that may be false; Ergo he sent none to Teach a Doctrin or Religion that is fal­lible. I prove it. He sent none to Teach any other [Page 29] Doctrin, but that which is founded, and intrinsecally re­lies on his Eternal infallible Verity revealing Truth: But such a Doctrin can neither be false nor fallible. Ther­fore this taught Doctrin is certain and infallible: For, to grant that God sent Pastors to teach a Doctrin which relies on his infallible Revelation, is to say, He assist's them to teach it infallibly.

CHAP. III.
Other proofs for Teachers, and a Church Infallible.

1. I Argue again thus. Supposing the promises of Christ made in Scripture, Gods Goodnes cannot oblige the whole moral Body of Christians to believe a falsity, or to contradict his certain revealed Verities. But if all Pastors and Doctors may erre in their Instru­ction, whilst they teach Christian Doctrin, God wouldGod cannot oblige us to believe a falsity. as indifferently oblige us to believe a falsity, and con­tradict his certain Verities, as to hear truth when by chance it is taught, which is contrary to his Goodnes. The first Proposition is evident, and confessedly true; For our Adversaries say, it is repugnant to all conceptions of Gods Goodnes to require of men, under pain of Damnation, to Believe something as infallibly true, which is really false. The other also is as clear. For if all Pastors, all Doctors, who have the charge of souls, may (because fallible) as well Teach false Doctrin as true, as easily erre, as Deliver Christs pure Verities, [Page 30] Christians are, by virtue of Gods Command already intimated, bound both to hear and obey them. Matth. 18. 17. If he will not hear the Church, that is, as S. Chry­sostome expounds, the Prelates and chief Pastors of it, let him be to thee as a Heathen, &c. Hebr. 13. 17. Obey your Prelates, [...], your Guides, your Leaders and Commanders, and be subject to them; For they watch as being, to render account of your souls. Again, vers. 7. The Apostle command's us to imitate the Faith of these Pastors and Teachers. From these and other innume­rable places of Scripture, known to all, I argue. What is possible may be reduced to Act, but it is possible, That all Pastors and Teachers may erre, and Deliver false Doctrin to the Christian world; and in case they do so, I am upon these plain expres Ordinances of God, obliged to Believe them. Therfore I must Be­lieve them, although they Teach false Doctrin. And if so, God obligeth me to Believe a Falsity; or, which is a real Verity, I am forced to grant this undeniable Truth, that his All-seeing providence doth now, and ever will Preserve a Church, whose Pastors and Tea­chers are infallible in the Delivery of Christian Doctrin. Without this certain established Infallibility in some one or other Society of Believers, Christianity is no more but a meer tottering, reeling, and uncertain Religion; yet I must listen to it, whether Those who teach it, stand or fall, that is, whether they erre or not, teach an imposture or Truth.

2. To confirm this proof, I ask whether God, after he had delivered his own certain Verities infallibly, and made also (by his Divine Assistance) Those first Masters of the Gospel, his Blessed Apostles, infalli­ble, [Page 31] in their Delivery of these Verities; whether then, I say in the ensuing ages he divorced himself from hisA question proposed to Sectaries. Church, and withdrew all Special Assistance from it, or, yet continued that gracious favour to some Pa­stors and Doctors of a Christian society? If he con­tinued that care and providence for the Direction of some Pastors in Truth, Those, because so guided, are still infallible in their Teaching. Contrary wise, if he abandoned that charge, and deprived all Pastors for the Future of infallible Assistance, This woful con­sequence followes. That Christian Religion, once strongly supported by Gods unerring Spirit, ever since the Apostles Preaching, hath lost that Hold, and now stands tottering on no more steedy ground, then what the weak, mutable, and erring Sentiments of men can afford it. Now how unmeet these are for so great a charge, Salomon Sap. 9. 15. sayes enough: Cogitationes mortalium timidae, & incertae providentiae nostrae. The cogitations of mortal men are fearful, and our Providence vncertain; yet so it is, (and here mark the hideous crime of Protestants) who first Divorce Christ from his Church, and violently pull ReligionHow Secta­ries trans­gresse, from its center, which is Gods infallible directing Spi­rit; and then make all the taught Doctrin of Christia­nity, to lean and rely only upon mans weak, timid, staggering, and errable conceptions. The proof is evident; for either it relyes on God, and so is infal­lible, or upon Humane reason, and therfore as This is various, Religion cannot but be changeable. Let then the world judge (I appeal to no other Tribunal) whether Christians can be satisfied with this com­fortles Doctrin. All they can now learn from any Chri­stian [Page 32] Pastor touching Religion, hath only mans weak Thought, and Reason for it; but no certain Assurance that God speaks by these Pastors, Because all, and every one of them (left to themselves) are fallible.

3. I must prosecute this matter further, whereforeMan too feeble to preserve Christian Doctrine in its purity, I say this Truth boldly. It is above mans power and policy (weak and errable in his Conceptions) con­stantly and unchangably to support, or carry on Age after Age the profound Doctrin of Christ in its Primi­tive purity, without Divine Assistance. Wit alone (dazeled as we see in the search of the most obvious things in nature) is insufficient, either rightly to Pe­netrate these high Mysteries of grace, or with cer­tainty to conuey them unto us in that exact sense, as God once delivered them. The reason hereof is drawn from the sublime Excellency of Christian Religion,Because of its sublime Excellency. which being (as all know) a Doctrin of Gods own incomprehensible Wisdom, a Communication of his deepest Secrets, cannot but transcend the force of humane knowledge; it cannot but lye, as it were, in a region above the reach of weak Reason only, and stand at a great distance from our fallible Dis­courses. Whence I argue thus. All light and knowledge, which flow from a fallible Power and capacity, cannot but be answerable to such a capa­city, id est, Deficient, uncertain, and Fallible: But all the light and knowledge, which Christians now have from either Church or Pastors, concerning this sublime Doctrin of Christ and Gods revealed Verities in Scripture, flow, and are derived from no other, but from a fallible capacity, which is mans errable and weak understanding; and not from Gods in­fallible [Page 33] Assistance (who say our Protestants) hath withdrawn infallibility from the Church: Ergo, This taught Doctrin cannot but be Deficient, uncertain, Fallible Doctrine is not Christs. and Fallible. Grant this, and none can prudently rely on it, none can know by any Principle, whe­ther it be true or false, none finally can own it for Christs certain Doctrin. Rob therfore the Church of its proper Dote, which is Divine Assistance; take from it the Spirit of infallibility, Cancel that Truth of the Gospel, I have prayed for thee, Peter, that thy Faith fail not; Destroy that impregnable Rock, wheron Christianity is founded, Matt. 15. Tu es Petrus, &c. Though all the Pastors in the world were Salomons for wit, Austins for learning, Gregories for vigilancy, Chry­sostoms for eloquence; yet they would be too weak, fee­ble, and fallible Instruments either rightly to illumina­teWit alone too weak to tamper with Reli­gion. us (by the force of wit or Learning only) concer­ning those High Verities revealed in Scripture, or ex­actly to Preserve them in their first candor, without change and Alteration. Alas! might wit alone tamper with Gods Truths at pleasure, might it turn Religion into as many Forms or shapes as weak Reason often conceives, This too unskilful Master would, as Fancies and judgements are various, now build, now destroy, now add, now subtract, now make, now marr, and bring in more confusion into Christinianity, then the wisest men are able to redresse. And

4. Thus much we se evidently, not only in the oldMans with the cause of errours. Philosophers, who, led on by their weak Discours and guesses, grosly mistook in their Opinions concerning Beatitude; but in some learned Fathers also (witnes aExamples of it. Tertullian and Origen,) For, These two great wits of the [Page 34] world, because they left the Guidance of the Church, and relyed too much on their private Judgements, fell, as we know, into deplorable errours. But most of all this misery is visible in all condemned Haereticks, as Arians, Pelagians, and Nestorians (witty and learned enough) but Because wit too boldly entred into Divine Mysteries, and meddled with matters above its strength, these men lost themselves; and here was the sole causeGods spe­cial Assi­stance pre­serves his Curch from er­rour. of their Ruin and falling from Truth. Whence I con­clude contrary to Protestants (who have nothing to support Religion but their own weak and errable Con­jectures) That unles Gods gracious Providence parti­cularly Protect his Church, and by special Assistance Preserve it from errour; The very best of us all (though never so learned) left to our weak conjectures, and fal­lible Discourses, might most easily become Arians, Nestorians, Pelagians, Protestants, Socinians, now Chri­stians, now no Christians, or what you will. Pro­testancy, and all Haeresy, which stand topling on no fir­mer ground then meer conjectures are, lead the way to these Downfalls, to no Religion, or any Religion, as Fancy best likes.

5. To prevent therfore this great Evil, the wise Pro­videnceGods Pro­vidence over his Church. of God (who well foresaw mans weaknes and Instability) first Delivered his own eternal Truths in­fallibly; (none doubts of this.) Next, he caused these Truths to be taught infallibly by the first Masters of the Gospel, his chosen Disciples; here of also there is no doubt with our modern men. Moreover, Becau­se his real Intention was, That not only the Primitive Christians, should exactly receive those revealed Ve­rities from infallible Teachers; but others also in en­suing [Page 35] ages (for All souls were providently cared for) His infinite Goodnes established a visible Catholick Church, whose Head and Pastors, guided, not by hu­mane wit or Policy, but by Assistance derived from the Holy Ghost, should, by virtue of so special grace, Teach Truth infallibly, and preserve poor souls from errour to the end of the world. Without this Addi­tionPreserves Christia­nity from ruine. of a perpetuated Assistance, as well in order to the Later, as first Believers, providence would not have done its work compleatly, Christianity ere this day (too unsteedily built) would have fallen to Ruin, and as often alrered from it self in the space of 1667. yea­res, as our Sectaries have done in this last hundred. A more spiteful Blow therfore cannot be given to God, a greater Chimaera cannot be thought on, then to grant, as Sectaries do, that his All seing wisdom first founded a Church upon infallible Teachers, and next to spoile all with this ungodly Assertion, viz: Afterward, when Christians as much stood in need of infal­lible Pastors for their Direction (because of emergent Hae­resies) then it was, He withdrew Assistance from them, Abandoned his charge, and left a whole Church to the wavering, timid, and uncertain Sentiments of meer erring men, who altogether, because by nature fallible, might as easily (without this superiour gra­ce of infallibility) have taught grosse errours, as the Verities of Christian Religion. This sequele fol­lowes from our Protestants Principles, where you se enough (I say it once more) of their great sin and Haeresy,

CHAP. IV.
Replyes to these Arguments are answered.

1. ONe perhaps may be. God surely will never permit all the Pastors of Christianity to erre and deceive the world: at least this is no Conse­quence, They may erre, Ergo they do and will a­ctually erre, for many things may be, which never will be. I answer, and many things actually happen, Answer to Objections. which were never suspected would be: and why may not this diffused Errour be one of them, who knows the contrary? In Protestants principles we have the greatest Presumption imaginable for this actual errour of all: For, they say, That ample and ancient Church of Rome, and all condemned Haereticks with it erred: set then these aside, it is impossible to de­sign plainly such Christian Teachers as never de facto erred. 2. The very possibility (yes and facility also) of All falling into Errour, makes the actuality of it fearfully doubtful, now men had been mad to loose both Lives and Goods, to dye ignominiously on Gib­bets, for any doubtful and uncertain Doctrin. The Apostle put other thoughts in the primitive Martyrs hearts, other words in their mouths: Scio cui credidi, & certus sum. I know who I believe, and am certain. No Hearers therfore, can certainly rely on any doubt­ful and uncertain Religion.

[Page 37]2. The second reply. Admit that all Christian Pa­storsSecond Re­ply. teach erroneous Doctrin, yet no great mischief followes; for Those who hear them are either con­scious of the Falsity; And if so, they are not to belie­ve their Teachers, or, They erre invincibly, which is a blameles Errour, and Therfore cannot in justice be held an Offence. The first part of the Reply sup­poses some instructed Christians wiser then all their Teachers together, which is an Impertinency never heard of. The second touches not the difficulty; for here we blame not such as may, perhaps, invincibly erre; But say, That the blame goes higher, and is unworthily cast on God, who obliges Christians to believe the Pastors of a Catholick Church, and yet gi­ves them such disabled ones, that all of them may erre universally, and teach Doctrin contrary to his revealed Truths. Here lyes the mystery of iniquity, upheldProtestants Mystery of iniquity. by Protestants, and the uglines of it appears in this wrethched Assertion: God will have me to believe a Catho­lick Church; yet this whole Catholick Church, that is all the They cast blame upon God. Pastors, all the Councils, all the Fathers, Doctors and Pre­lates of this Church, may teach me such false Doctrin as God never intended I should learn. They may, if fallible, teach us, that Christ is not God, that Heaven is not a place of Eternal Happines, nor Hell an abode of E­ternal torments: Such Haeresies have been spread by Those who went under the name of Christians; and why may not, I beseech you, all Christian Pastors abuse the world as much, if Gods gracious ordinance, concerning the Churches infallibility, faill us?

3. A third reply: It is one Thing to teach Truth,Teaching Truth in­fallibly. and another to teach it infallibly: Put therfore the ca­se, [Page 38] That Almighty God foresaw from Eternity, that though all Pastors of the Church, potentiâ antecedente, antecedently might erre, yet some at least, ex supposi­tione consequenti, or, consequently, would not erre, but teach Christian Verities faithfully. Suppose, I say, only thus much. We have sufficient Assurance of Truth actually taught in the world, without that Pre­vious infallible Assistance we plead for, which seems here useles; for if either man or Angel Delivers a Ve­rity, it matters nothing, whether it arise from a Fal­lible or infallible cause. Our Faith therfore hath strength enough, if it rely on Truth actually Taught, though the Teacher wants infallibility. I answer: If God foresaw, that all the Pastors of his Church would not erre or teach false Doctrin, This Verity is either revealed to Christians; as a Divine Truth, or no: if not, we make that revealed, which is not revealed, and consequently can ground no Assurance on it: if it be revealed and known to us, this very Revela­tion, viz: All the Pastors of the Church shall not erre, is an undoubted Principle, which, assented to by true Faith, is our Security, Because such a Faith suppo­seth the contrary Actual errour of all essentially exclu­ded by virtue of Gods Revelation; For it is impossible that God tell us this Truth. All the Pastors of my Church shall not erre in any age, and yet, in sensu compo­sito of this Revelation permit them to erre universally. Observe in one Instance the security we have by for­ce of such a Revelation.

4. Suppose, that God had revealed to Isaac, that his Father Abraham would not sacrifice him, and withall, that Isaac firmly believed that Verity; He had [Page 39] been as indubitably secured from dying at that time, as if Abrahams hands had been tyed in chains, or wholy made impotent to give a fatal blow. Now mark the Application. As Gods Eternal Prevision of Abrahams not taking Isaacs life away, Antecedent­ly supposed the cause therof actually also foreseen (antecedently, I say, in a foregoing signe os nature) so likewise it is in our present case, when from Eternity he knew, that all the Pastors of his Church would not actually err, and revealed this Truth in time; His All-seing wisdom Previously, pro priori signo ratio­nis, foresaw also the total cause of their actual not Er­ring, which cause (as I have already proved) was not the power of mans weak, variable, and mistaking Reason; But the most certain Principle of Gods special and Divine Assistance. When therfore God (as the Objection supposeth) revealed that Verity▪ All shall not err, he did not only, by virtue of his Revelation, impossibilitate the contrary universal er­rour, bur warranted more, that, all of them, be­cause prevented by special Assistance, could not er­re. And this is what Scripture Energitically tells us, of Hell gates not prevailing against the Church, of Christs Being with the Church to te end of the world; wherof mo­re hereafter. In the interim you see; that ChristianChristian Faith re­lies on Truth taught by an Infalli­ble Oracle. Faith doth not only rely on a meer contingent (or hap hazard) Delivery of Truth; but on Truth, taught by an Assisted and infallible Oracle, which All must assert, or grant, that although Christ him­self, by a supposed Impossibility, had been fallible inNo certitu­de of Truth had Christ, and his Apostles taught it Fallibly. his Preaching, or the Apostles likewise fallible in Their writting Scripture, and only (because lyable [Page 40] to errour, had delivered Gods Verities contingently, by chance, Christian Religion might yet have stood as firme and unshaken as now it is, which is a hor­rid, and an unheard of Haeresy.

5. A fourth reply: We cannot prove by good rea­son (if we set aside some ambiguous Passages of Scri­pture, which only seemingly say the contrary) that the immediate Proponent of true certain Christian Faith (Catholiks say 'Tis the Church) ought to be certain and infallible. It seems enough, say some, that this Faith be taught upon a rational Evidence, which Evidence, finally resolved, comes to no more but to a Moral certainty. These (as I am informed) ground themselves on this Principle, That all the Assurance we can have of Christian Religion, hath for its whole Foundation moral Certainty only, and it seems a prop firm enough to support it. More it cannot have.

6. The Objection contains two parts. To the first I answer: If Divine Faith be in the world, ReasonDivine Faith must have an infallibie Teacher. convinceth, that the object of it be propounded by a Certain and infallible Teacher, and then most, when Points fundamental lye under Dispute, and are in controversy. Faith therfore requires two things essen­tially, (to omit other Necessaries) an Object, which is Gods Revelation, and a Proposition of this object made by some Teacher to Christians, which Doctrin the Apostle ratifies, Rom. 10. 15. How shall they hear without a Preacher. By virtue of this Proposition (whe­ther we call it Cause, or an Essential Condition) the Elicite Act of Faith followes in a Believer, and in­tellectually layes, as it were hold, both on Gods [Page 41] Revelation and the Thing revealed. Observe now well. Gods Revelation (none doubts it) is certain and infallible. Divine Faith, which resteth on this Motive, and proceeds from Grace, is also certain and infallible. The only Difficulty remaining, con­cerns this Proponent of Faiths Object, and it is, whe­ther He that Directs me, and endeavours rightly to settle my Faith upon Gods infallible Revelation, do his work with assurance, fallibly, or infallibly.

7. I say first. Gods infallible Revelation avail's nothing in order to Faith, unles Christians by their Faith lay hold on the Certainty therof, or own it as infallible, and the assured ground of their Assent. The reason is. Because God speaks infallibly to Christians for this End, That his infallible Word may have influence into Faith, and support in with Cer­tainty. If therefore this revealed Word be not Cer­tainly Proposed (as it is) infallible, if it be not due­ly applyed to a Believers understanding, under itsThe object of Faith must be in­fallibly ap­plyed. own Notion of certainty, that strength of infallibility lyes as it were dead, without Operation, and profits Belief no more, then Food doth a Body into which it cannot enter. The similitude is fit: For as Food, though apt to strengthen a Body, is just as if it were not, unles it be duely Applyed; so Gods Certain Re­velation, though most Proportionate to strengthen a Soul in Faith, yet in order to this Effect, it looseth all Efficacy, while a due Application of its infallibility is wanting.

8. To illustrate more this necessary Truth; I say secondly. When a Revelation lyes darkly in Scriptu­re, as it often doth in High points of Controversy, [Page 42] according to the measure or degrees of Certitude, which the Proponent of Faith gives to the Revelation, and saith, God speaks thus, An Assent answerably fol­lowes with like Certitude in the Hearer, and not a stronger. If therfore the Proponent only say Doubt­fully, I think God speak's as I preach, but am not Cer­tain; Gods Re­velation is received according as 'tis pro­pounded. Doubtful also is the Assent given to this Preaching. If he say, What I teach is Probable, The Assent can be no more but Probable. If finally He truely say, I teach Infallibly what is revealed, the Assent Answers, and is Infallible. The reason is clear. For, as no Eye can see Colours in darknes before light makes them visible, yea, and according to the measure of light it see's them: so no Intellectual Eye can discover a dark Revelation, before he borrow light from his Tea­cher, and as The light is lesse or more, so He see's that object lesse, or more perfectly. A dubious and uncertain Proposal therfore, made of a certain Revela­tion, when it doth not Clearly manifest it self, is like a glimmering light, And neither doth, nor can apply the Objective infallibility Therof with Assurance to mans intellectual Faculty, which yet seek's after Certain­ty in matters of Belief. This needs no proof. For he who proposeth only Doubfully a Revelation, which is Certain in it self, both in actu signato, and exercito, saith no more but timidly thus much: Perhaps I decla­re A timide proposal of Divine Re­velation begets no more but a doubtfull Faith. what God speak's, and perhaps I do not: For my De­claration only Doubfully guesses at the Certainty of the Reve­lation, And it is against the nature of all Doubt to convey Certainty into any understanding. As long therfote as the infallibility of a Revelation stands remo­te from me, For want of an undoubted Application [Page 43] made by an infallible Proponent, it can no more trans­fuse Certainty into Faith, then fire, at a great distan­ce, warm, That is, no more Then if it were not Cer­tain in it self, or not at all in Being. Whence I con­clude. That a certain Revelation (if obscure in Scri­pture) requires a Certain Proposition, Because It little avail's me to know this truth, That if God speak's, he speak's infallibly, unles, hîc & nunc, in these circumstan­ce when he speak's to me for my Saluation, I yeild my cer­tain Assent to the infallibility of his Word, which cannot be done, unles I have Assurance from my Teacher, that he speak's (as I ought to believe) infallibly. Upon these undeniable Principles I say, thirdly. OurSectaries can have no Divine Faith. Sectaries can do no more but doubtfully guesse at what they Believe, and consequently (as Protestants) never yet had, nor can have Divine, certain, and in­fallible Faith. I prove the Assertion. All Faith, which hath no other Certitude, then what is derived from Those, who propound the object of it (id est, Gods Revelation) uncertainly and doubtfully, is no mo­re but wavering, Opinative and doubtful. But the Faith of Protestants is evidently such, Because no man, or Society of men amongst them, can without doubt and fear infallibly say: God speak's as I preach, and I infallibly preach as God speaks; For, if he averr thus much with Truth, he Propound's the object of his Faith infallibly, and therfore is so farre infallible. If he doThey can­not propose Faith in­fallibly. not, his preaching must be finally resolved into his own timid, weak, and wavering Opinion, which weighed, comes to no more but this Levity. I hope well, and think I preach what God hath infallibly Revealed, yet am not certain, because all I say, (for ought I know) is fallible.

[Page 44]9. If you will se this Truth farther Evidenced, do no more but ask of any Protestant, Why, for exam­ple, He believes that all the Churches on earth are falli­ble? That Christ is only figuratively in the Eucharist? That Faith only justifies? That there are two Sacraments and no more, &c. His first refuge perhaps will be to Scri­pture. But demand again. Whether Scripture in plain and Express Terms, Delivers these supposed Do­ctrins? If he be not more then impudent, he must say, No. All therfore he can reply, is, That the Ministers of his Church, after a perusal of Scriptu­re, find these Verities contained there, and Propose all to him as things Certainly revealed, Therfore he be­lieves them. Here we come to the trial of Prote­stants Faith, and mark well, How unavoydably They are forced to grant, That when a pretended Revelation, Sectaries must own an Infal­lible Propo­nent. is not manifest for them, But lyes (if at all) very darkly in Scripture, it must be brought to light, and made more clear by some Teacher. Some one or other (if it have in­fluence into Faith) must Apply it and Propose it to a Hearer, as Gods certain Word. Without this Ap­plication made by a certain Teacher, no Christian can (but most temerariously) admit of the Revelation, as Divine, and Certain.

10. Demand therfore in the last place, Whether all the Ministers in England are able to propound cer­tainly and infallibly the above mentioned Doctrins (dark­ly at least, and indeed, not all contained in Scriptu­re) as Gods revealed Truths to any? The answer must be Negative. They cannot (for if they pro­pose them infallibly, Ministers are infallible) Ergo, say I, none can Believe these Doctrins for Gods cer­tain [Page 45] Revelation, Because the Proposal of them (abso­lutely necessary to apply the Revelation) is defective, weak, dubious and uncertain. The Faith therfore, which followes upon so unsteedy a Teaching, cannot but be answerably rowling, That is in one word, no Faith at all. And Protestants have no better.

11. Some perhaps may say: Though Protestants have no great Certainty of the Doctrins above speci­fied, because they are neither expresly in Scripture, nor Asserted by any infallible Teacher, yet their Faith in Fundamentals (universally held by all Christians) stand's sure enough, and is infallible. Such Truths shall never fail, and so far the Pastors of the Church may, it is likely, be held infallible.

12. Hereafter we shall treat more largely of Funda­mental points, and Therfore at present will wave what is not pertinent to answer this Reply. And perti­nentWhy Do­ctrine of Protesta as Prote­stants is uncertain. it is to say first: That not one Doctrin peculiar to Protestants, (as Protestants) because neither ex­presly found in Scripture, nor Asserted by any infal­lible Teacher, can certainly be believed upon Divine Revelation. That these Sectaries teach not their own Protestant Tenents infallibly, is granted. That Scri­pture doth not in express Terms, without intolerable glossing, deliver one of them, shall be made, after a few pages, most evident; And thus, if this last Reply be to any purpose, it brings Ruin to that part of Doctrin which is called Protestancy. I say secondly, There is scarce one Article of Christs Sacred Doctrin, so clearly expressed in Scripture, which may not, would men take the liberty, as Sectaries do, by wilful Glosses to alienate it from the Churches sense, be perverted. [Page 46] Arians have taught them this mode of Glossing, and they exactly follow it. Separate therfore the wordsDoubful words of Scripture, separated from the sense of an Infallible Interpreter, ground not Faith. of Scripture from the Sense of an infallible Interpreter, we can Believe nothing, we have no more but a body with­out a Soul, guesses without certainty. And upon such uncertainties the whole Faith of Protestants doth and must rely, which is deplorable. And here ask them, when They appeal (as They ever doe) to Scripture, What they mean by Scripture, which needs Interpre­tation, even in Points most Fundamental. Must we admit of their Interpretation? Why so, more then of others as learned as They? Why not as well on the present Churches Interpretation? This is as good (to say no more) as their fallible Guesses are. But of this Subject hereafter. I say thirdly. NeverThe Church in all her Do­ctrine equally infallible. any Catholick Church hitherto held it self infallible in a few Fundamental Doctrins, and not in others. Therfore Protestants are more insolently bold, whilst they attempt to make this Distinction, then ever any Church yet was. What? That meer fallible Men shall be my Doctors, and ex tripode define, So far the Church holds infallible Doctrin, But no further, T'would be well nigh eight Degrees of madnes in me, to believe them. Admit once of this: A new Haeretick may step out, and defend as stoutly, yea, and upon as solid grounds, that Scripture it self it not infallible, but only in a few Fundamental Mat­ters, yet unknown to the world. If you say this sounds too harshly, and cannot be granted. Paral­lel I beseech you, your own wild Assertion with it,The Church is Christ's Schole. and se whether that runs much smoother. Thus it is. Christ hath erected a School, which is his Church, [Page 47] where Christians are to learn his Sacred Doctrin: But when they come to it, They find more then the half of its Doctrin doubtful, fallible, unsound, uncertain. Alas! Aristotle's or Plato's School can cfford us Topicks, and uncertain­ties enough: I hope Christs School can learn us better. Fourthly. Were the Church falsly supposed Fallible in the delivery of some Doctrin lesse Funda­mental, it would be much safer to believe it, then Pro­testants, who may err in all they say, And then most, when being void of proofs, They stand trifling with a Distinction of Fundamentals, and not Fundamentals. He­rein as in all other things, they are most fallible, and must I, think ye, credit men, that can say nothing certainly?

13. Fifthly, and I end: Admit once of a Church with this half infallibility in fundamentals; our Se­ctaries, who so furiously oppugn that whole infallibi­lity which we ascribe to the Roman Church, must Answer their own Arguments against us. For here we question them. as they do us. Where or in what Rational Queries made to Protestants. Subject is that partial infallibility lodged? What Pastors de­signable are endewed with it? How shall we make our Ad­dresses to them in doubts and difficulties, if none know where, or who they are? What kind of infallibility is this? By whose assured Testimony can we learn what is de fide funaamentali, what not? What if these Pastors be devi­ded amongst themselves in their Decisions of fundameetals, whose judgement is finally to be stood too, &c.? These and the like Questions, most easily answer'd by Ca­tholicks, when They give an account of their Belief (as I shall shew in the Resolution of Faith) press so strongly upon Protestants, that not one of them [Page 48] shall ever have a satisfactory Answer. Perhaps toProtestants pretence to a private Spirit. solve them, some will recurre to the private Spirit, and say, This tell's them all Truth in these doubts. Contra. Ask only here: Whether this Spirit makes them or their Pastors infallible, or can direct others to find out such infallible Pastors? If they reply: Tho­se are such, as Teach Gods Word purely; the An­swer is impertinent, for we ask whether it Assists any to Teach Gods pure Word infallibly, And who they are? It may be others will say, that Christ never had since the Apostles time, any infallible Church on earth even in fundamentals, All therfore we have now to Direct us, is only the book of Scripture (without other Proponent) and every mans private Reason. Contra. It is Evident, That Scripture makes no man infallible, both Arians and Others read it, and yet grosly err in Points most Essential. Deny therfore a Church unerrable in Essentials, and say boldly, that as Arians have already erred in some Fundamentals, so others might before this day have wholy erred, and outed both Christ and Creed, with every Article of Christian Religion. For weak Reason alone, is in­sufficient. to Preserve Christianity in its Purity, as I have shewed above, wherof also more hereafter.

CHAP. V.
A word with some later Sectaries con­cerning Moral certainty.

1. HEre we come to examin the other part of the Objection proposed above, n. 5. And thusMr. Stil­ling fleet. some later men Discours concerning the certainty of Christian Religion. They say first, (and most true­ly) That the ultimate Motive wheron Faith relyes, is Gods infallible Testimony, with all, That none can question the fallibility of this Revealed Testimony, when it is Sufficiently proposed, and made known to us. The only Question therfore is, How it comes to be made known, or, discovered in order to those thingsProtestants Doctrine about Moral Cer­tainty. which are immediatly Revealed. They say secondly. Moral certainty may be a sufficient foundation For the most firm assent, if the matter to be believed, be the infallible Truth of a Doctrin, upon sutable Evidence. Though we have now but Moral Certainty of that Evidence, The Assent may yet be firm to such a Doctrin, as infallible. They say thirdly: Moral Certainty may be as great as Mathematical and Physical, supposing as little reason to doubt in moral things as to their natures, as in Mathematical and Physical, as to Theirs. Here briefly is their Doctrin. Some further Explications of it, will perhaps more opportunely ha­ve place, while we make our Exception against it. And

2. My first Exception is. These Authors do not [Page 50] sufficiently explain what they would have here under­stood by Moral certainty, wherin there is a great Lati­tude. One Degree of it excludes all Rational doubt.Degrees of Moral Cer­tainty. And thus we say: He, who never saw Constantinople, may yet upon the indubitable Testimony of so many witnesses, who have seen it, affirm without fear, There is, or hath been such a Citty in the world. An other Degree of this Certitude reaches not so high, As we se in School Opinions. Some Philosophers Tell you, it is Morally certain, That sublunary Bodies, as Fire and water, are composed of Matter and Form. That Accidents are really distinct from Substance and Mo­tion, yet now there are some, that deny it, and hold, as they think, a contrary Philosophy more Morally cer­tain. Therfore, when we come to apply this Moral certainty to Disputable matters, we do seldom or ne­ver agree about it. I doubt not, but These very men, we now treat with, will say (what They jud­ge, God knowes) that, That part of Protestant Reli­gion, wherin it differ's from all Christians, is upon Moral Certainty True, yet the Rest of the world op­poses them, and Avouches it hath not so much as one Degree of Probability for it, That therfore, which is here meant by Moral certitude, must, if these Au­thors speak to the purpose, be a Certainty, wherof no man can Rationally doubt. Thus much sup­posed,

3. I say first, (and by this Assertion you may dis­cover the grand Cheat of these Novellists) ChristianA grand Cheat of Navellists discover'd. Religion as it is fancied, and variously Professed by innu­merable, who go under that name and Notion, hath so little of this Great Moral Certainty for it, That it is [Page 51] an Haeresy to Allow it a mean Probability. Why? Arians, Pelagians, Eutychians, Donatists, Socinians, And all other condemned Haereticks, called Themselves Christians, and professed some part of Christian Religion truely; But had They, I beseech you, a great Moral Certainty For the other part of their Errours and Haeresies, falsly vented by them as Christs Doctrin? You wil say, No. But they had it for the Fundamentals of Christian Religion, wherof no man ever doubted, and thus much they Defend upon that Certitude. Admit of this as True, (though I hope, Prorestants grant, That Arians do deny Fundamental Doctrin.) What is it to the Purpose to tell us. All condemned Haereticks, and Prote­stants These men wave the main Question. with them, have Moral certainty for one Part of Chri­stian Religion, wherof None ever doubted; And to give us nothing of this High Certitude for the other Part, which is in Controversy, and Specifically belongs to Protestants? Had these men therfore come home to the Dfficulty, They would not have here mispent time in Proving what needs no Proof, viz. That the General Doctrin owned by all Christians (as is a Belief in one God, or, of Christ a Redeemer &c.) Hath at least Moral certainty for it; But They should have shewed, That Arianism, as Arianism, or (which had been to the Pur­pose) That Protestancy, as Protestancy, stands so firmly built on High Moral Certainty, That None can prudently doubt of Protestants under the general na­me of Chri­stians per­swade No­thing for Protestan­cy. it. Now this They fraudulently wave, And only put us of, with a general word of the Certainty of Christian Religion, as if Protestancy, hid under that Specious name, had safety and San­ctuary enough; or, as if it were all one to say. The part of Chri­stian Faith universally agreed on is certain. Ergo Protestancy, as Protestancy, goes along with it upon equal Certitude. Alas! [Page 52] This is that which only requires proof, and is the thing we Absolutly deny.

4. Again, (And here is my second Exception) These Authors cannot apply their Moral certainty to the Faith of any Religion, that beares the name of Chri­stian. At least, it is neither appliable to Catholicks, nor Protestants. For proof hereof, Note first: That mo­ralTwo Refle­ctions ma­de on Mo­ral Cer­tainty. Certainty taken in what Height you please, is an Act of the Judicative Power in man, subjectively setled in his Mind, who hath it, And ever falles on a De­terminate Object, (for in Objects, à parte rei, there is neither Probability, nor moral Certainty.) Every Thing imaginable being either in it self Real and Stable, or not, independent of any Moral Assertion: As is clear, For should one say now: It is morally certain, that there is such a Citty as Rome in the World; Rome is, or is not, independent of what is asserted morally Certain. No­te secondly. Though the greatest Moral certaintyMoral Certainty may be False. usually excludes a rational doubt in order to what is asserted certain; yet in rigour it may be false, And Ther­fore ever implyes some weak Degree of Fear, of anxiety, and suspicion to the contrary. Had any one said a few dayes before the Burning of London (little then fore­seeing that sad Disaster) that, That Noble Citty would not in so strange a manner be consumed with fire, He would have been thought to have uttered a Truth Mo­rally certain, yet the contrary doleful Effect proved it untrue. And the like may happen now, while we upon Moral Certainty Say, Rome or Constantinople are Citties in Being. These Grounds supposed,

5. I say first. Whoever, when he Affirm's, that Christian Religion is only Morally Certain, and hath [Page 53] for the Object of his Affirmation, that which EssentiallyMoral Certainty only de­stroy's the Being of Christian Religion. constitutes Religion, I mean true Divine and Superna­tural Faith, highly wrongs Christian Religion, yea, and destroyes the very Being and Essence of it. I prove it. The Certainty of Divine Faith, is as farre above, and distant from all the Degrees of Moral Certitude (which may be false) as Heaven is from Earth, and more. Therfore he who allowes no greater Certainty to true Faith then Moral, which may be false, destroyes bothCertainty of Faith farre above Moral Certainty. the Life and Essence of Christian Religion. That the Certainty of Faith farre surpasseth all the Degrees of Moral Certitude, is Demonstrable upon Principles, granted as well by Orthodox Christians, as by our Adversaries, who say, That true Faith dot not only affirm, That what God Reveales is most Certain (for thus much, supposing a God, we know by Science, were there no Faith) but by Faith we affirm without fear at all: God speaks Thus and Thus. He reveales that the Divine Word took flesh. That Christ dyed for us. That there is a Trinity of Persons in one Divine essence &c. Such Truths, we already own as Delivered by one, who neither can, nor will Deceive us.

6. Hence I argue. The Sole and Adequate Ob­ject of Divine and Supernatural Faith, is Gods infini­te Veracity, which Actually speak's to us, and is lya­ble to no errour. Faith then, if it be Divine. Tend's unto no other Object, neither is the now infused Habit of it, though fortified with a thousand Illustrations, inabled to Rest upon any other Motive in this present State. What therfore this Infinite Veracity actually Reveal's, that Faith layes hold on; It cannot believe mo­re or lesse, Now I subsume. But this Infinite Ve­racity [Page 54] (when it is duely Proposed) Transfuseth moreGods Vera­city trans­fuseth mo­re certain­ty into Faith, then the Motives of Moral Certainty can do. Certainty into the Elicite Act of Faith, Then any Mo­ral Certainty derived from inferiour Motives can have; For all Moral Certainty is at least capable of Falsity, and may deceive us: Gods infallible Veracity cannot be Fal­se, nor deceive if Faith Rest upon that Motive; And if it Rest not there, it is no Faith at all. It is therfore absolutely impossible: if God speak's, and, I Believe him as he Speak's, That all the Power in Heaven can Falsify this Faith if it rest not on Gods Vera­city is not Faith. Act, or Separate a most High infallibility from it. Contrary­wise, There is no Moral Certainty, but may, by all the Principles it hath, be false and fallible, yea, and often is so.

7. From this undoubted Ground. I inferre also,Supernatu­ral Faith more Cer­tain then Metaphysi­cal Science. That Supernatural Faith is more Certain and infallible, then all the Metaphysical Science, which Nature can give us. It is true, Metaphysical Science hath more of the Eviden­ce, and therfore excludes all indeliberate Fear or Doubt to the contrary (for no man can so much as indelibera­tely Doubt, whether a whole Citty be greater then one House;) But for Absolute Certainty, and Infal­lible Adhesion, Faith yet surpasseth it. The ReasonThe Energy of Faiths Motive. is; Because the Infinite Veracity of God, which only supporteth Faith, Majori vi, with greater Force, Energy, and Necessity transfuseth into it a Supereminent Infallibility, supereminent, I say, and above all the Certainty, which Principles of nature can afford. As therfore this In­finite Veracity surpasseth all Created certainty, so Faith, which relyes on it, goes beyond all Natural and infe­riour certainty. Upon this Principle we see first, How Divinely the Apostle spoke: Licet nos &c. Al­though we or Angel from Heaven preach contrary &c. [Page 55] Let him be accursed. And, how wel St. Chrysostome delivered himself, when He saith, Hom. 12. (ponde­ring those words ad Hebr. 11. Fides est Argumentum &c.) That he held them more certain, then the Things he saw with his Eyes. These Truths (and great Truths They are) cannot subsist, unles Faith be stronger in Certitude, then all the Principles in Nature, and consequently farre more strong then Moral Certainty is, which may be false. Now with such an Assent the Roman Ca­tholick Church Believes, Therfore a Faith only Mo­rally certain Belong's not to it. If Protestants Disown it, They have no Faith, no, nor so much as a Belief Morally certain, wherof more presently. We see se­condly. How the very Essence of Christian Religion is destroyed, if we make Faith no more but Morally cer­tain; which is, what I intended to Prove.

8. Perhaps, These Authors will tell us: When theyReligion founded on Moral Certainty confuted. Assert Christian Religion to be founded on Moral cer­tainty, Their Assertion fall's not immediatly upon the Assent of Divine Faith, which is firm and certain; But rather upon the Object of it Antecedently applyed to us Before we believe; wherof we can have no greater Assurance, then what is Moral. And it is no won­der; For, say They, There can be had no greater then Moral certainty of the main Foundations of all Religion, which are the Being of God, and the Soules Im­mortality. To quarrel therfore with Moral certainty is Madnes, when the Foundation of all Religion is ca­pable of no more. By the way, if this be Madnes, I se very little Wisdom in some, who, to oppugne the Churches infallibility (proved as they suppose by motives of Credibility only morally certain) Ring out [Page 56] nothing but Peales of Impossibilities, and say it cannot be That the Assent to a matter Believed, Rise higher or stand firmer, then the Assent, which is given to the Testimony wheron we Believe. But the Infal­libility of the Church is the thing Believed, upon the Testimony of Motives, at most but Morally certain; Therfore we cannot Believe this with a stronger De­gree of certainty, then those Motives give us, which afford at most but Moral certainty. If this Discours be good, I argue thus, Ad hominem. No greater certain­ty have Christians now Antecedently to their Actual Belief, that God speaks to them by either Scripture or Church, then that God is in Being; But the very Being of God is only known by Moral certainty; Ergo, that he speaks to Christians cannot be known antecedent­ly to Belief, by any greater Certitude, then what is Moral, and may deceive them. How then, I be­seech you, comes the Elicite Act of Supernatural Faith unto such a Height of Certainty, as not to Credit an Angel, if he Preach against it? Upon what Motive stands it so firm, when no other Certainty supports it, but only what is Moral, and may be false? The Medium is fallible, Therfore the Belief founded on it is no better, but Moral and fallible. Mark well your own Argument. 'Tis thus.

9. The Motives of Credibility for Christian Faith, Because only known by Moral Certainty, cannot ground a certain Belief of any Churches Infallibility: Ergo, I say, The very Existency of God and his Re­velation, Because only known by a Moral Certainty, cannot ground a firm Belief in God, or any Christian Verity, unles you say, that These Motives for Chri­stian [Page 57] Faith, far surpasse in Certainty all the certain knowledge we can have of Gods Existency. I know not what these men can answer. My thought is, They must make Faith a meer Opinion, and allow it nothing of Certainty, or Supernatural infallibility, Though they seemingly speak otherwise, as if Moral Certainty might be a sufficient Foundation for the most firm assent. Would to God they would declare themselves intelligi­bly, And say plainly, whether this firm Assent here mentioned be only of the like Nature with probable firm Opinions taught in Schools? Or contrarywise (if this firm Assent be Faith) whether it doth not Supereminently surpas the Certainty of All other ob­scure intellectual Operations, which Christians now have on Earth? This should be explicated, but is not.

10. Now to the Reply. Though an exact AnswerAn An­swer to the Reply. cannot be well returned, without entring upon an o­ther question (the Resolution of Faith) which here lyes out of the way, and Admit's not in this Place of a full and diligent Examination. I say first. No ob­scure intellectual Operation, which preced's Divine Faith, or is independent of it, can arise to those Degrees of Certainty which this Supernatural Act requires. Admit then, that the Existency of God (which is true) can be Demonstra­ted by natural Reason, Admit also, that those strong Motives for Christian Religion Antecedently known by Humane Discours, demonstratively convince the Ve­rity of it, yet because Faith (as I now sayd) Relyes upon a Superiour infallible Principle (Gods own unerrable Veracity) it far surmont's both these Certainties, and much more would it go beyond them, were they [Page 58] known as Moral Truths only. Why? A natural Dis­cours, wherby these Vetities are known, is Science; But no science gives the last, or least Degree of in­trinsick No Science gives the least Degree of certitude to Faith. Certitude to Faith; and Therfore Divines say: Gods Supream Verity, which ever supports Belief, upholds it not as known by natural Reason; For if it did, Faith would be at last resolved into one natural Principle thus. I believe God to be the Highest Verity ima­ginable, not Because he saith so, But because I know this great Truth Scientifically, where you se, the last Analy­sis rest's on an extrinsecal Principle of knowledge, with which Faith, as Faith, meddles not.

11. Thus much therfore is clear. Although the Motives of Credibility manifest (as they do) most un­doubtedly, that God speak's to Christians, yet, when we bring an Act of Faith by a true Analysis to its Home and Center, we find it ever Resting on Gods Veracity only, as the last Stay and most certain Motive. Not­withstanding,Motives to Faith ab­solutly necessarly. the Praeambulatory Motives avail in­finitly to Faith, Because they indubitably point out that Society of Christians, wherin Gods Verities are certainly taught, and make this Discernable from all other Haeretical Conventicles. In a word, They shew Christian Religion to be either evidently Credi­ble, or as some later Divines will have it, evidently True in Attestante. And if this be so, the formal Object of Christian Faith is known, as it were Scienti­fically, either before, or when we Actually Believe, which seems grounded on those words of the Apostle: Scio cui credidi, & certus sum: I know, and then believe certainly.

12. At present I wave this Doctrin, and say second­ly. [Page 59] It is one thing to know Scientifically, and anotherDifference betwixt a Certain Belief and a Scientifi­call know­ledge. to Believe certainly. Both intervene in the matter now handled. Faith Prerequires a Science, and Moreover essentially includes Certainty. Thus it is. Whi­le one of Prudence ponders those strong and pressing Motives, which (as Light doth the Sun) gloriously evidence true Christian Religion (such are Miracles the long continued Consent of Nations, Sanctity of life, Efficacy in Doctrin, the blood sheding of Martyrs &c.) He knowes,What and how these Motives convince. that God cannot permit the world to be cheated into errour by them. He knowes, that his goodnes can­not proclaim, as it were, and publish to Christians a Religion manifested by such evident convincing Marks and Signs of Truth, and afterward Signify a meer no­thing. It cannot be, that God speak's in so powerful a Language, and deceives us; For who can perswa­de himself, That all the Miracles done by Christ and his Blessed Apostles, the eminent Sanctity They showed, and admirable Conversion wrought by them, (open to mens eyes and senses) were permitted like Charms to Delude the world? Yet this followes, if ei­ther no Religion answered to these great visible won­ders, or, if such palpable convincing Signs could make a false Religion as Speciously Credible, as Gods true Religion is. Therfore Rich. de S. Victor. lib. 1. de Trin. c. 2. with just Reason Exclaims. Si error est quem cre­didimus à te decepti sumus. If it be Errour we Believe, it is you, O God, who have deceived us: and He gives this Reason, Iis enim signis &c. For by such for­cible Signs, the Doctrin we believe is confirmed, which could not proceed from any, but from you alone. Observe now well. Two Judgements [Page 60] may ensue upon the Consideration of these exteriourIudgements upon these Signs. Signs, which manifest Christianity. The one after this manner. God certainly Delivered his Eternal Truths by the Preaching of Christ, and his Blessed Apostles, who had no other Exteriour Testimony for their Doctrin but Miracles, Sanctity, Conversions of Na­tions &c. I now see, saith this prudent Man, as evidently the like Miracles, the like Conversions with great Sanctity &c. in the Roman Catholick Church: If therfore it was Evident that God spoke to the first Christians by the wonderful works of Christ; it is as Evident, that he Speaks now to me by the Still con­tinued Miracles of this Church. This Discours, or Judgement, wherby he affirms, There are These won­ders, Faith and Science Tend diffe­rently. God speak's by his Church, is not Faith, but Scien­ce; Because it Relyes on Motives, which Reason knows evidently enough. Now further. When He is thus disposed and prepared to Believe by so firm an Evidence, The other Judgement of Elicite Faith followes, which tend's not into the Evidence of tho­se Motives; for if it did so, under that Notion it would not be Faith; For Faith, as Faith, totally Relyes on Gods Sole Revelation, and for this, as the only Formal Object, a Christian Believes what ever mystery is Re­vealed after a due Proposal; as is already Declared.

13. Some will say. The Elicite Act of Faith Scien­tifically knowes not the Object wheron it Relyes, and therfore cannot be Certain. Answer. It is a Ca­techresis, or an Abuse in Speech to say, That either Faith, or any other intellectual operation knowes its Object; The understanding informed by these vital Acts knowes, if we speak properly. Yet, if we [Page 61] go on in that vulgar Language, significant enough.Faith can no more Scientifi­cally prove or know its Object, then Science, as Science, can believe its Object. I say Faith, as Faith, no more Scientifically knowes or proves its Object, then Science, as Science, Be­lieves what it knowes: This proves, That certain­ly Believes, whilst it Resteth immediatly upon Gods Revelation, which is most amply proved by the Pre­ambulatory Motives now touched on. Neither can Faith Scientifically know or prove its Object, without loosing an Essential Predicate, which is Obscurity. All therfore, who destroy not the very Nature of Faith, must allow it the greatest Certainty under heaven,Faith both obscure and certain. and withall grant, as the Apostle doth, that it is Argumentum non apparentium, of a dark, and obscure Tendency.

14. You will reply again. The Mode then and Tendency of Faith unto its Object is here supposed Obscure, and that Previous judgement of Credibili­ty after all possible weighing of those Motives, which do manifest the Credibility of this Truth. God speaks by the Church, is no more but Morally certain; Ergo the Belief of that Truth stands still wavering upon Vncertainties. I answer. If these Motives have an infallible Connexion with Divine Revelation, That is, If they clearly convince, that God cannot but de facto speak to Christians, after so many Signs and wonders, The Iudgement Previous to Faith, is Metaphysi­cally certain. However give it a lesser Certainty, we must yet say with the Prophet: Testimonia tua credi­bilia The Moti­ves bring Reason to an inva­riable Sta­te of Belie­ving. facta sunt nimis; These motives well considered, bring Reason to an invariable State of Believing, in so much, That none can Disbelieve without Sin, and Madnes. Again we must say, That Judgement [Page 62] which throughly penetrat's them, Evacuat's both Doubt and Fear to the Contrary, and far exceed's all Degrees of Probability, which gives Reason the Freedom to Al­ter an Opinion when Stronger Proofs come against it. But no Real Proof whatever, is capable to Over­throwNo real proof can weaken this Iudge­ment. the Certainty of this Judgement, though Fal­lacies may puzzle it. Call it then as you please Mo­ral or Metaphysical Evidence, it hath proved its own Strength, for never Any without it, since Christiani­ty began, either rightly believed in Christ, or Church.

15. This Judgement therfore which like an Interiour voyce (supposing the Exteriour Proposition of the Church) summon's us to hear, or, like a Light that discover's Gods own Language delivered by Revela­tion, makes the Language, once dark, clear enough to us. Now being thus manifested, we lay hold on it, and yeild Assent to the Revelation for it self, and not for the antecedent Motives. And because this Re­velation is without Dispute more infallible then any Truth in Nature, it cannot but Answerably, as I said above, impart and contribute a Stronger Certainty to Faith, then the most evident Principles do to any Science. Vpon this strong Fortresse then Christian Religion stands firm, which undoubtedly implyes a greater Certainty then only Mo­ral. And I think, our Adversaries will say so too;Sectaries own a Faith more then mo­rally cer­tain. who, though They take the Canon of Scripture upon Moral Certainty, yet they Believe the particular Re­vealed Mysteries contained in that Book, with a far surer Assent then what is only moral. Moral Cer­tainty therfore necessarily help's to Faith, though FaithInstances how moral certainty help's to Faith. ultimately Relyes not on it. Thus, you know, the will loves Good either Real or Apparent, yet need's not to [Page 63] love the cognition which represents goodnes. For that is only conditio applicans, a condition applying the Ob­ject to the Power, but no Cause of Love. I may also adhere to a Doctrin in St. Austin for St. Austins Autho­rity, upon the Moral certain Word of one who tells, me, This great Doctor saith so. Why therfore may I not, induced by far Stronger Motives to believe this Truth. God speaks by his Church, Adhere only to his Revelation without touching on the Motives, which serve well as Conditions to Apply that Object to the Po­wer, yet want the Strength of a formal Object to sup­port Faith? But more of this Subject in another Trea­tise, where we shall show that the Certainty of Faith (at least unevident in respect of the material Object) is not so much a Speculative, as a Prudent submissive and Practical Certainty.

CHAP. VI.
Faith only morally certain, is no Faith. Protestants have no Moral cer­tainty of Protestant Religion.

1. LEt us here suppose (contrary to Truth) that all Religion, brought to a just Trial, comes to no more but to a High Moral certainty, which, Though it implyes no absolute Impossibility of being False, yet is so strong, That none, considering the great Evidence we have for Christianity, can without [Page 64] madnes Practically doubt or hold it otherwise then it is; most Morally certain. Put the case then, That we arrive to this Degree of Certitude only, you will ask, why is not such a Faith stedfast enough, and very sufficient to Saluation? Thus far, if I mistake not, some Neoteriks make Faith certain, and strip it of all further infallibility. I answer. A Faith only Morally certain is no Faith, and prove my Assertion. That wheron all Moral Certainty imaginable Essen­tially depend's, is fallible, and may Deceive us. That, That wheron Faith re­lyes is in­fallible. That wheron Moral Cer­tainty de­pend's is fallible. wheron true Faith Essentially depends, which is Divine Reve­lation, is infallible and cannot Deceive: Ergo, what ever ground's a Moral certainty only, which may deceive, is as un­proportionate to uphold true Faith, as Revelation owned as Divine, is unfit to ground a fallible Opinion. As long ther­fore, as the Object of pure Moral Certainty, becomes not Gods Revelation, (which can never be) so long Faith cannot rely on it: Or, if it do rest here, it Mistakes its Object and call's tbat Revelation, which is none. The ultimate Reason of this Discours standsTwo sure Principles. firm upon these two Principles. 1. All moral Certainty may be False. 2. Gods Revelation, Because it is Infallible as God, Essentially excludes that weaker Degree of Certitude, and cannot be false; which is to say in plainer Terms: God neither doth nor can speak any thing, only morally certain.

2. That all Moral certainty may be false is evident. For invent the strongest imaginable (as This is distin­guished from Physical, or Metaphysical Certainty) and say what you will within that compas, Viz. Rome and Constantinople are now Citties in Being. Or, That when one in a large Citty sitt's imprisoned at noon­day, and hears no body; yet saith. Most surely [Page 65] all the Inhabitants of this place are neither dead nor asleep. Such an Assertion, though most Morally cer­tain, is capable of Falsity; For God may have de­stroyed all those men; or given them over to a stran­ge unheard of drowsines; That's no impossibility if it were so; Why? Because the Assertion only stands upon these Negatives, or some like Foundations. Ne­ver yet was seen such an Effect as this, Secundary Cau­ses never yet concurred to so Universal a Sleep or Mortality. Here is the best Assurance which can be had, and yet it may be false. Contrarywise. Sup­pose that God Reveal's to the Imprisoned party thisWhat God Reveales is always most Cer­tain. Truth, duely proposed. All the men of this Citty are not dead; His Belief resting on this Revelation is so Certain, that no power in Heaven can falsify it. Where you see a vast Disparity in order to Infallibili­ty, between Faith and Moral certainty. The oneDifference between Faith and Moral Certainty. because of its weak motive may be fals, the other strongly upheld by Revelation cannot be falsified. Perhaps you will say. At least we know not, that God speaks to us, but only upon Moral certainty. Of this more presently. Here the Reply is not to the purpose; For all we convince now, is, That Faith (if any be in the World) must finally Rest on Gods infallible Revelation, and consequently, That no Mo­tive of Moral certainty hath Strength enough to sup­port it. Now by what means it comes at last, to be setled in this Center of Gods infallible Veracity, is another question; Thus it must Rest, or, as our Ad­versaries confes, loose the Essence of infallible Faith.

3. Briefly. We shall now make good the other As­sertion in the Title, and show, Though Moral cer­tainty [Page 66] were (as it is not) a prop strong enough toProtestants Religion hath not Moral Cer­tainty. support Christian Religion, yet Protestants have no Degree of it for their Pretended Religion. I prove this Truth. By Protestancy, we must either un­derstand those Prudential Motives, which induce men to Believe the Specifical and particular Doctrins of Pro­testants (such are Miracles, Antiquity, great Conver­sions &c.) Or rather the very Tenents and Doctrins actually believed by them. For example: That all Pastors may err in delivering Christian Doctrin. That there are two Sacraments only, or, what else you will. If we speak of Motives, this Religion is so naked, that it cannot shew you so much as one, as is largely De­monstrated in the 8. 9. and 10. ensuing Chapters, whether to avoyd an unnecessary Repetition, the Rea­der is remitted. Waving therfore at present a fur­ther Proof hereof, I Argue thus against the Moral cer­tainty Protestants Doctrin. without Rational induce­ments. of their Doctrin. A Doctrin broached without Previous rational Inducements, (whose very Professors were and are no more but Fallible) and which at its first Rise, or Appearance in the World seemed a meer Paradox to the far greater part of Christians, and yet throughly examined, is held still by this far greater number (most knowing and learned) false, and im­probable, cannot be a Doctrin morally certain. Pro­testancy is thus consestedly fallible, and both at itsA Conuin­cing Argu­ment. Rise was, and is Still Opposed, not only by the vast number of Catholicks, But by all other Haere­ticks also, as fals and improbable; Ergo, it is not a Do­ctrin Morally Certain. That a Doctrin so meanly thought of and universally Decryed, cannot be thus Certain, is proved out of the very Notion of Moral [Page 67] certainty, which though not absolutely infallible, yet, when the Grounds and Motives of it are perfectly known, it passeth for an uncontradicted Truth, and free's men from Doubt, destructive of such a degree of Cer­tainty. Thus we say morally. Rome and Constan­tinople are now Citties in being. All the inhabitants of China are not dead. These, And the like Assertions passe for current Moral Truths, without Opposition, without Contradiction. If therfore Protestant Reli­gionThe reason of the Ar­gement. were in such a measure Morally certain; That vast Multitude of Christians, wherof innumerable are Pious, Con­scientious and Learned, could never hold it, as they do, false and improbable. No Verity Morally certain ever mettA Verity Morally Certain was never so long and universally opposed as Protestancy is. with such a strong Contradiction. If ye say, This Opposition ariseth out of Malice, ye speak not proba­bly, and more justly draw on your selves the like Cen­sure, for beginning so strange a Religion. If you say again. These Learned Men penetrate not too well the Depth of this new Doctrin, you talk at random. Their Knowledge is not inferiour to Yours; what you se, they se, and perhaps more. Charge not therfore Ignorance on them, wherof your selves are more likely guilty.

4. Yet some Replyes may be here expected. One is. Protestants have moral Assurance of their Bible, Because all say it is Gods Word; Ergo they have Assu­ranceMoral As­surance of the Bible is no Assu­rance of True Reli­gion. of their Religion also. The Antecedent is bad, and the Consequence worse. Arians, Pelagians, and all Haereticks are as morally assured of their Bible, as any Protestant. Have they, I pray you, as great Certainty of those pestilent Haeresies proved, as they think, out of the Bible? You say no, Because they [Page 68] Interpret amis, and you do not. Learnedly an­swered. But who makes your Interpretation better then Theirs? They have that Book, and spend their pri­vate Judgement on it; you have no more. Unles ther­fore your Book or Judgement be better then Theirs, You are Altogether as uncertain of your particular Do­ctrins, as They of Theirs. The Reason is: BecauseProtestant Glosses no more Scri­pture then the Glosses of Arians. you have not one Sole Expres Text of Scripture for Protestancy. You may add your own Glosses, and make it speak Protestancy; But these Glosses are no more Scripture, nor more morally certain, then Those of Arians, Pelagians &c. Therfore a moral Assuran­ce of the Bible which is easily abused, gives no man mo­ral certainty of sound Doctrin. But of this subject he­reafter.

5. A second Objection. As what is Fals, may be by errour judged Morally certain, so often what is True, may not be held Morally certain. Therfore though Protestancy want's that High Moral certainty now required, yet it may be True. I answer. But if it want Moral certainty, it hath it not, which is all we prove at present. Again. Though it may be true (which is impossible) so also it may be fals. Now Protestants, I hope, do not believe a meer Possi­bility Sectaries can not be­lieve the actual Truth of Protestan­cy. only, nor the May be of Truth (for many Things are not which may be) but they Believe more, the Actual supposed Truth of Protestancy. And this they cannot do without Moral Certainty of that which they hold Actually true.

6. A third Objection, and, 'Tis more to the pur­pose. Our Argument now proposed proves too much, and Therfore proves nothing, For its best For­ce [Page 69] lyes in this one Assertion, viz. That a Doctrin or Religion, which is Opposed by the greatest part of Christians, as False and Paradoxal, cannot be Morally certain. If this Principle hold good, it if followes, That much, and very much too, of the Roman Catholick Doctrin, want's also moral Certainty, Because a very great number of Christians oppugne it as fals. Some de­ny the Popes Supremacy, Others the Real Presence, Others Purgatory, Others Praging for the Dead &c. And Pro­testants, after their long study, deny all These at on­ce; Therfore such Doctrins cannot be Morally certain.

7. I answer first. This Objection, without doubt, Proves too much and impugn's a Certain Truth of Christianity. For tell me, when the whole world, as St. Hierom saith, growning under Arianism, saw that Hae­resy far and neer diffused: Did that Opposition wea­ken the Moral certainty which Orthodox Christians had then of a Trinity of Persons in one Essence? (And we only speak now of Moral Evidence Ante­cedentAncient Motives never loose their Force. to Faith.) If so, the Motives morally evi­dent for the Belief of that Mystery ceased, or, at least lost their Ancient Vigor, which is fals. And one great Realon is; Because that true Doctrin of a Trinity had no first Rise, nor appeared like a new Paradox inCatholick Doctrin had no first Rise like Protestan­cy. the world as Protestancy did, peeping out like an un­known Stranger, when Luther and Calvin first broach'd it. No, That Catholick Doctrin was universally be­lieved by all faithful Christians, before Arians were born. The Motives therfore, which made it evi­dently Credible before Arius, continued firm (notwith­standing His Opposition) and still induced Christians to Believe as They had done formerly. Which Reason [Page 70] also holds good to our present purpose, And doth not only give an immense Disparity between the Moral evident Certainty of Catholick Religion, And what ever Certainty Haeresy can Pretend to; But also, De­monstratively makes both Protestancy and all Haere­sy improbable. And this Truth I shall evidence, ha­ving first cleared the Fallacy which intricates the Re­ply now in hand.

CHAP. VII.
How Sectaries err in the search made af­ter Religion. Of their weak and Im­probable Opposition. The Obje­ction is more fully answered.

1. OVr Sectaries and all Haereticks err grosly in a main Principle, which breed's nothing but Confusion to themselves, and Others. Thus it is.Haereticks errour in their search of True Re­ligion. Some for Scripture only. In their search after True Religion They run on, But how? Extra viam, in a wrong and mistaken way. Some will find it out by the Book of Holy Scripture, which few exactly read, and none can understand by his private judgement, These err, not knowing Scrip­ture, And may, as St. Austin notes Epist. 40. ad Deo gra­tias, end their Lives, before they end Difficulties thisOthers fly to the pri­mitive Church Doctrin. way. Others fly to the Doctrin of the Primitive Church, and loose Themselves. For, what private man can now by his meer reading, Morally ascertain [Page 71] me, or any, of the indubitable universal Sense of that Doctrin? Wheras all, which the Church held then, was not writ: Of what was writ, part is lost, and much of what remains, is (as experience Teacheth)Others are for Reason only. lyable to Cavils and Misinterpretations. Others (and it is a Socinian jogg) Decide all by weak Humane Rea­son, as, if forsooth, Wit alone were able to Fathom Gods Incomprehensible Secrets. Others finally withoutOhers stay on the dif­ficil Myste­ries of▪ Faith. further Inspection, stand poering on the material Ob­jects or Mysteries of Faith, and after many a mispent Houre, ask at last of a very unskilful Master (their own weak Reason) what it Judgeth of these Mysteries?All labour loft. If Reason, as it often fall's out, find's them difficil, It Cast's them away, as meer Improbabilities. Thus the Arian reject's a Trinity, The Pelagian Original Sin, The Protestant Christs Real Presence in the Eucharist, Be­cause they run into Dark matters, whick only puzzle Reason, and wave those further Considerations, which clear all, And make Faith, if not evidently certain in Attestante, at least evidently credible.

2. I say therfore. The most easy way to find out true Religion, or the first unquestionable EvidenceThe way to find out True Reli­gion is easy and evi­dent. which points it out, lyes open, and is obvious to All, Before we either examin particular Mysteries of Faith, or enter upon Proofs, Drawn from Scripture, Coun­cils, or Fathers. It is true, from these Grounds, we have irrefragable Arguments against all Sectaries; But can They think, that the wise Providence of God hath put, as it were, Religion so far out of sight, or set it at so great a Distance from us, That none can come to the knowledge of it, Before Scripture, Fathers, and those large Volumes of Councils are exactly exa­mined, [Page 72] whic few read, and fewer understand? No certainly. True Religion evidenceth it self, and isTrue Reli­gion evi­denceth it self. most Discernable from errour by an other clear and conspicuous Light, which none can but se (unles he wilfully shut his eyes) Antecedently to the Perusal of Scripture, Fathers &c. This Light or Evidence we may rightly call Gods own perswasive Language, wher­by he Speaks to Reason before we Elicit Faith, and rationally convinceth all of this general Truth. One So­ciety of Christians There is, wherin my Eternal Truths are Taught, this I make manifest by evident Signes, by the Light of clear and undeniable Motives, wherof none can, but most unreasonably, doubt. So it is, saith Origen Hom. 30. in Matth. Ecclesia plena est fulgore ab Oriente usque ad Occiden­tem. The Church, like a Resplendent Sun, casteth out Lu­stre from East to West; and They are blind, who see not so clear a Brightnes. Thus much premised.

3. I Answer to the Objection above, and say.Sectaries groundles impugning Catholick Doctrin. Though thousands more then Sectaries impugne part of the Ro­man Catholick Doctrin, yet as long as God demonstratively Evi­denceth the absolute Credibility of that Church which teaches it, By such rational prudent, and pressing Motives, as have gai­ned Millions of Soules to Believe, our Adversaries in banding against Church Doctrin, only bewray Malice, Ignorance, or Both, And do no more but cast dirt at a Sun, which provi­dence (maugre Their weak Attempts) will have to Shine, whilst Christianity lasteth. So Urgent therfore, so Illu­strious are these Motives (as I shal presently declare) for the total Belief of what the Roman Catholick Church teaches, That they do not only suppresse and silence such weak Opponents, But also make Protestancy, and all other Sects improbable, and incredible. The reason hereof (most [Page 73] amply laid forth in the three next following Chap­ters) stand's sure on these two undeniable Principles. First; That Church which Christ Iesus founded, (andChrist ma­nifest to All, and so is his Church. his Blessed Intention was to gain the whole World to it) is so Eminently Glorious, so Clearly Marked with un­boubted Signs and most Legible Characters of Truth, That the Simplest Man, if he follow Reason, may find it out, and Believe securely. No other but theThe Roman Catholick Church only, Evi­denced Credible. Roman Catholick Church only is thus Evidenced. Se Chap. 8. 9. 10. The second Principle. This Holy Church, which Age after Age (without any late rise, like that of Protestancy) hath stood constantly ever since Christ, and drawn whole Kingdoms and Nations to its Belief; was either on set Purpose raised up byIt was not founded by Christ to cheat the world. Almighty God, and conserved in Being, for so long a time, to Cheat the world into a false Belief (which is Impious to think) or must be owned, as it deserves, for the only undoubted most manifested, and gloriously evidenced Church of Christ. Se Chap. 8. n. 5. 6.

4. You will say. Notwithstanding all the glorious Marks we can lay claim to, and grace our Church withal, very many Learned Men do oppose it. If then the Argument above have force This very Opposition of so many, Weaken's much, and takes of no few De­grees of that Moral certainty we stand for. Contra. Very many Learned men opposed both Apostolical andSlight Op­position not Valued of. Primitive Doctrin, Atheists band against God, and Iewes against Christ, the Arians yet impugn a Trinity. Are our Sectaries affrighted upon that Account, or weakned in their Moral Certainty of thar Mystery, whilst They Believe it? No. Every Trivial and slight Opposition therfore, made against a Verity [Page 74] which strongly Defend's and powerfully plead's fo [...]it felf, can neither dant, nor discountenance it. The Opposition then in our present Matter (if to the pur­pose)It ought to be deeply rational and brought to certain Principles. ought to be well Grounded and deeply Rational; grounded, I say, not upon what, This or That priva­te person by his sole fallible bosom Thoughts, holds Reasonable (for so every Arian will make good his Hae­resy) But the Opposition if rational must go further, and rest at last upon a Solid and satisfactory Principle, which well laid forth, gently forceth every PrudentSectaries destitute of any Ratio­nal Proof against the Catholick Church. and Disinteressed Man to Acquiesce and yeild to it. But this cannot be done in our present case; for Secta­ries are so utterly destitute of what ever look's like a Rational Proof or any received Principle, They are so disinabled to speak with sense against the known Evi­dence of the Roman Catholick Religion, That (And I do assert it boldly) They shall as soon turn Christianity out of the World, as rationally abate or lessen the plain and undisputable Evidence of this one Christian Society.

5. This blessed Society therfore, stands thus upon firmSolid Prin­ciples for the Catho­lick Church. Ground, upon solid and undoubted Principles. I shew you, saith this Church, Those very Motives, which anciently countenanced the Preaching of Christ, and converted the world, And These plead for me. With what urgent contrary Proofs can you, my good Protestants, deface such Glorious Marks of Truth, or make them either Insignificant, or forceles Arguments? Is this weightily done by drawing a few trivial GlossesSectaries trifle. out of mistaken Scripture? By telling us of Council contradicting Council, By quoting our Authors wrong­fully, By relating a story not worth the hearing of a Pope, or Prelate? Are these Manly proofs, think ye, [Page 75] or sufficient to Eclipse the Glory of the Ancient Church? Toyes, Trifles, Frivolous. I shew you again,Other Evi­dences of the Ca­tholick Church. saith this Church, That the most Wise of the World, the most Learned, the most Holy (Their Number is numberles) notwithstanding the Opposition made a­gainst me, have Age after Age (even before and afterThe most wise and Learned of the world, not­withstan­ding the Opposition made a­gainst this Church, lived and dyed in it. your Haeresy began) Constantly professed my Faith, lived and dyed in it without Change and Alteration: Tel me, were These Millions of Souls, learned and unlearned for a thousand years and more, All mad, All besotted, all seduced by Fooleries? It is worse then Mad­nes to say so. Here then is a principle, in moral mat­ters, the Surest imaginable, for our Church. This Nubes testium alone, and of such witnesses (which is ever to be reflected on) makes it evidently Credible. And by what contrary rational Proof or received Principle, can our Adversaries enervate, or make null the Testi­monyAll These wise and Learned cannot be supposed mad, or se­duced by Fooleries. of these innumerable Givers in of Evidence, who led on by Motives, which They thought Ratio­nal (and what passed for Reason amongst so many and such qualified Persons, ought to passe for Reason with all) Believed this Church and dyed in it happi­ly? I'll tell you, had our Sectaries Salomons Wisdom,Protestants cannot Answer This one Argument. They would yet be unable to satisfy This one Argument probably, much less to Evidence it forceles, upon either solid Proof or, any received Principle. The reason is. No proof can vainquish an evident Ve­rity; But it is an evident Verity, that God CheatedNo proof against Evident truth. not the World by means of so numerous a multitude of Catholick Professors. It is an evident Verity, That all those Wise and Learned Catholicks were neither Mad, nor, for so long a time, Deluded by Fooleries. [Page 76] He therfore, who, when rational Proofs fail, cannotIf Sectaries slight such witnesses, They slight themselves much more. speak a reasonable word against these Millions of wit­nesses, But slights and undervalues them; doth not only slight the greatest Authority on Earth, But also, if he be a Protestant, must slight Protestancy; if an Arian, Arianism. For these Sects have neither Authority, nor Witnesses comparable to those of the Catholick Church.

6. For conclusion of this matter, be pleased to no­te, That as our Adversaries are destitute of rational Proofs (reducible to received Principles) whilst They im­pugne the clear Evidence of our Church, so they also want them in all other particular Controversies. For, whether They go about to oppose our Doctrin,Soctaries never come to Principles. or to prove their own, You can never draw from them Proof brought to an undoubted Principle, as I shall most amply show hereafter. They are Opponents ('Tis true) when they tell us we have changed the Ancient Doctrin of the Church, brought in novelties, and I know not what. We hear such Talk, but where is the Propositio quiescens, or grounded Proof to make this Charge good? They say so, And that is all. And yet, if possible, They are worse at it, in proving Their own Doctrin. Take here one Instan­ce, you shall have more hereafter. We demandA question proposed. upon what rational Proof can These men Believe the Sacred Mystery of the Blessed Trinity, and deny the Catholick Doctrin of Christs Real Presence in the Sacra­ment? Are they forced to Admit of the one, andProtestants believe one Mystery, reject an­other with out proof. Reject the other by clear and manifest Scripture? Evidently no. Scripture is without controversy, more openly Significant, and Expressive for the Real Presence, then for a Trinity. Doth the Difficulty [Page 77] of the Sacrament rationally retard their Belief? The Trinity is yet a more difficil Mystery to Reason. O, but the Trinity was ever Believed by the True Church: So, say I, was The other Mystery also. But speak Reason now, And say, what Church was it which ever believed the Trinity? The Roman Ca­tholick Church surely, For Arius and others impu­gned that Mystery. Now Protestants say this Ro­man Catholick Church erred in believing Christs Real Presence; and if so, They are most unreasonable in relying on it for the Belief of a Trinity; For, if it erred in the Belief of one Mystery, it may as well have erred in the other. They may say, the best and most Ancient Fathers held a Trinity. Very true; And as evidently They believed Christs Real Presence in the Eucharist. But what will you say, if I in­fringe the Authority of these learned Father in this matter? I can do it (though not in Real Truth) most easily, being assisted by the Principles of Prote­stants, who tell us, that the whole Roman Church, That is, All the Fathers and Doctors of it, erred for a thousand years together in believing the CatholickIf the Church had erred, the Fathers may more likely have erred. Doctrin of the Blessed Sacrament. Wherupon I inferre Those Ancient Fathers, who both learnedly defended, and piously believed a Mysterious Trinity, may more likely have erred in doing so, then, that a whole Church, for so vast a Time, hath patronised erroneous Doctrin, and falsly believed the Real Presen­ce. Most undoubtedly, The wisdom and Authority of this long standingh Catholick Church, is, in true Prudence, of greater sway and value, then the sole Authority of those far fewer Ancient Fathers can be (though most [Page 78] Venerable, and worthy all Respect) that writ of theSectaries who slight a whole learned Church may more rationally slight the Ancient Fathers. Sacred Trinity. Those men therfore, who have the Boldnes to slight so great a Church, cannot wtih so much as a colour of Reason Reverence more highly those Ancient Fathers. But enough of this Sub­ject. Let us now go on to a further consideration of these prudent Motives, and se more particularly, what Religion gives us the best Evidence of Them.

CHAP. VIII.
A few Reflections made upon these Moti­ves of credibility. No Religion hath Motives founding moral certainty but One only, which is the Roman Catholick Religion.

1. NOte first. If God (as we now suppose) gui­desAll Chri­stians prr­fesse not Christs true Doctrin. us by his Providence, and hath established true Religion in the world, it is as certain, that all who profes Christianity (for example Arians, and Pe­lagians) believe not intierly Christs true Doctrin, as that some, blessed by so singular a Favour, both rightly be­lieve, and profes it. It is again most certain, ThatHow God lead's us to the knowledge of true Religion. if this wise Providence draws us not to the knouwledge of true Religion by Euthusias'ms, private Illustration, or the ministery of Angels; it leads us on by extrinsecal Moti­ves, [Page 79] suitable to Reason, by rational Inducements, or discernable Evidence: And, these we call known Signs, Cognisances of Truth, evident Marks, clear Characters, or plain speaking Language, which plead as it were in Gods behalf, and as clearly shew us where true Religion is, as These visible Creatures manifest a Deity, or, as that Star which brought the Sages to Bethlem, pointed out the Saviour of the world. None can Deny These plain Inducements of Faith; But such as deny those first and most clear Manifestations of Truth, which Christ our Lord and his Blessed Apostles evidenced, when by Their admirable Miracles, strange Conversions, Sanctity of life &c. They withdrew beguiled Sou­les from Error, and wrought Faith in Them, Before one Word of Scripture was registred.

2. Note 2. (And it is the Reflection of a learned Author.) As no man enters on a Dispute with others,God, as it were, Dis­putes a­gainst Fals­hood with rational Argu­ments. but be hopes to get the better; so God, when he pro­poseth true Religion to Christians, engageth as it we­re in a Dispute with the Devil, and all those Sectaries who oppose it, And therfore cannot hope, But is sure to conquer and convince his Adversaries; otherwise it were folly to begin a Dispute; which would not end to his Honor. Now, if he convince, he doth it,And silen­ces all Op­ponents of Truth. by the Force and Efficacy of such powerful Argu­ments, laid out to Reason, as are able to silence all Opponents: For, strong rational Inducements perswasively work on Reason, And clear mans Intellectual power from all Mistrust and Doubt.

3. Note 3. It is impossible (after the Establishment of true Faith amongst Christians) That God, either will or can permit a false Religion to be more Speciously evident to Reason by Force of rational Motives, then his true Religion [Page 80] is. For were this possible, He would oblige ReasonA false Re­ligion can­not be mo­re Specious­ly evident to reason, then Gods true Reli­gion is, by rational Inducements to embrace a fals Religion, which is highly repugnant to his Goodnes. And, upon this ground I say more. It is impossible, That a false Religion equalize the true One, in the Evidence of ratio­nal Motives; For, if the evidences for Falshood be equal with those other of Truth, God would stand guilty of arguing less efficaciously, in behalf of his own Verities. WeNor can equalize it in the Evi­dence of Credibility. must then conclude, That Gods true Religion, ever, most eminently surpasseth falshood in the grace and lustre of those Motives which evidence it to Reason. And from hence it followes, That no man can in Iustice appropriate those rational Inducements, which draw reason to Rational Motives belong not to all called Christians. find out true Religion, to all, who go under the name of Chri­stians; For amongst these (whether Arians or others) you have false Religions; but the Marks, Motives and Cognisances of Truth cannot belong to a false Religion, unles God propose error as Speciously evident to Rea­son, as his own Revealed Truth, which is now proved impossible.

4. These few Reflections premised. Let us look a­boutTwo Reli­gions in Competi­tion. us, and cast a serious Thoughr on two Religions only, which as it seem's, stand justling with one an­other, yea, and will needs come into Competition for Truth. The one is, the Ancient and long Continued Roman Catholick Religion. The other, is that late Novelty of Protestanism. Let reason, I say, go here impartially to work, let it make a diligent enquiry after the Rational Motives, which, as it were, plead in be­half of these two different Religions. Both are notBoth can­not be True both have not the like Evidence. true, and Therfore both cannot be evidenced by the like Marks ande Cognisances of Truth, the One must [Page 81] yeild to the Other. What do I say yeild? The first appears like a glorious Sun Procedens & crescens usque ad perfectum diem, which, as Origen saith, casteth such lustre from East to West, that all eyes Behold it. The other of Protestancy, Reason finds so nakedly Poor, so destitute of Light, and Motives, That its mean Appearance makes it despicable, and not worth the looking at.

5. Briefly then I Argue for the moral Evidence of our Catholick Roman Religion. A Religion, which, af­ter the just Condemnation of so many undoubted and acknowledged Haereticks, hath permanently stood Visibly victorious for 16. hundred years, And which never yet wasMoral Evi­dence for the Roman Catholick Religion. condemned by any known true Church of Error or Haeresy. A Religion, which hath drawn thousands of Infidels, and A­liens (from Christ) to its Belief. And which hath had Age after Age, whole millions of constant Professors, wherof in­numerable were not only most Wise, Learned and Vertuous, But willingly also lost their temporal Fortunes, and couragiously shed their Blood for it. Such a Religion, I say, which hathIt hath gained in­numerable Believers. thus perswasively wrought on the Reason of so many Wise, and Learned &c. And, gained to it whole mul­titudes of Believers, and Martyrs, shewes by this one admirable Effect (had we no other Proof) Strength and Evidence enough to convince the most obdurate Hart in the World. For, either (as I noted above) we must say, That all these Wise and Glorious Men were mad, as being induced by Fooleries to Believe, and dye as they did; or grant, That They had clear and undenia­ble Evidence to warrant their Belief, for which we now plead. Nay, I say more: So general a Mistake and De­lusion,Gods Pro­vidence over his Church could not permit so general a Delusion. is upon an other Account most impossible; For, that great Care and Providence which God had ever of his Church, [Page 82] could not permit (if true Faith were in the world from the fifth Age to Luther) so learned, so numerous, and pretious a part of Christians as Roman Catholicks were in those Dayes, to be led into a falss Belief by either trivial or foolish Motives. If we swallow down this vast impossibility, we must Con­clude,Note wel, a vast im­possibility. that, for so long a time, God had no true Church at all; For none, called Christians, were then in being But Catholicks only, and known condemned Haereticks. But of this particular most largely Hereafter. In the interim

6. I propose a second and most convincing Argu­ment.No Religion Ex termi­nis Evi­dently true or false. No Religion, whether it be that of Iesus Christ, or Mahomet, that of Catholicks, or Sectaries, either is, or can be ex Terminis evidently True or False; neither can a bare Affirmation for its Truth, without farther Proof, force Convin­cing Argu­ments for Catholick Religion. Reason to accept of it: Otherwise, every man might now begin a new Religion as he list's, and sufficiently war­rant it by only saying, He speaks Truth. True Reli­gion therfore must have its Evidence, and known Di­scernibility from Error, before it be accepted of. And now, because both Catholicks and all Sectaries sup­pose, that the Religion, which Christ Iesus and his Bles­sed Apostles taught, was indubitably and clearly evi­denced by Marks, and convincing Signs of Truth. We are in the first place to ponder well those Motives, which made evident that first Christian and Apostoli­cal Doctrin; and next to Consider, whether the very like Motives have not evidenced the Roman Catholick Faith Age after Age. Briefly. The greatest and most visible Evidences for that Apostolical Doctrin, were (to omit others) first, most known and unquestioned Mira­cles. (The Dead rose up to Life, the Blind saw, the Deaf [Page 83] heard, Devils were ejected out of possessed Persons &c.) 2. Admirable Conversions wrought upon Infidels and Gentils. 3. An examplar Neglect of the World, conjoyned with great Sanctity of life &c. But these Evidences are clear,Apostolical Evidences of Mira­cles, Con­versions &c. are the Chur­ches Evi­dence. without dispute for the Doctrin of the Roman Catho­lick Church, and for no other Religion. Therfore if those primitive Miracles, that Efficacy of Doctrin, those great Conversions, that admirable Sanctity of the first Aposto­lical Men, perswasively induced Aliens from Truth, to believe in Christ, They are yet, as powerful and for­ceable to induce All, who follow Reason, to Believe both the Antecedent Church of Rome, and this modern Church also, now in Being. No tolerable Reply can be given to this Argument. Will our new Men deny emi­nent Sanctity to innumerable, who profess our Roman Religion? The contrary is evident, by all those ap­parentEvidence of Sanctity. Signs, wherby Sanctity can be known in this mortal Life. Witnes the Contempt of the World manifest in Thousands, the charitable Alms deeds of Seculars, the Austere and mortified Life of Religious, wherof more Herafter &c. O, but all Pastors and Doctors of the Catholick Church are not Saints like the Apostles. Frivolous. No more were all the Primitive Pastors or People for 4. or 5. Ages after Christ so Eminently Holy, (do out Pro­testants arrive to that Degree of Sanctity?) Yet thou­sands then were, and are still without debate, Innocent, Holy and Virtuous.

7. Again. Can Sectaries deny those prodigious Conversions of Nations, wrought by this Church upon Heathens and Aliens from Christ? If they do, All are upon Record, both Friends and Enemies attribute these Wonders to that Mother Church. Tell me, I [Page 84] beseech you, who converted our once most Catholick Evidence of Conver­sions. England to the Faith it Anciently had, but Roman Ca­tholicks? Who reduced Germany, Polony, Spain, France, Denmark, Swedland, and the Low-Coun­tries to the same Faith? They were Men united in Be­lief with the Roman Church. Who yet send Missioners to those remoter Parts of the world, to China, Iapony and other Places? This Church only doth God that Ser­vice, whilst our Ministers sit at home with ease, tyed fast to their fine Wives, and fat Benefices. If Finally they doubt of our Miracles, They may as well doubt of the Suns light at noon Day, so Conspicuous They have been ever in this Church, and are still to this present Age. Wherof more in the next Chapter. All I ask now is, Whether it be not morally certain, that the World had once in it such Men as were cal­led Alexander, Caesar, Pompey, Cicero? yes. As great Evidence we have for most eminent Miracles do­ne by this Church: Constant Tradition, known Records, Evidence of Miracles done by the Catholick Church. undoubted History, convey them to us; All which none can Deny, without wilful Perversnes, And a High degree of Impudency. Yet suppose Men so imper­tinently bold, as to question some Miracles; whether for example, ever since the primitive Age any were raised from death to life? Whether Devils have been Cast out? Whether Sight were restored to the Blind, Strength to the Lame (All these are upon Record?) Yet Conversion of Nations a great Miracle. they cannot deny that grand and convincing Miracle of Conver­sions, which is Proof enough, as St. Austin Learnedly Consider's lib. 22. Civitat. Cap. 5. Chiefly at those words.St. Austins Discourse. Si rem credibilem crediderunt. If men, saith he, Believed a thing credible (he speaks of the Resurrection of the [Page 85] dead, and the like is of any other Mystery in Faith) videant quam sint stolidi, se what fools Those are, who will not believe. Si autem res incredibilis est. If the thing be incredible. This is most incredible, yea, and the strangest miracle of all, that, That which was deem'd Incredible, gained Belief the whole World over. The Argument is convincing, and proves as well, that those after Conversions wrought upon Infidels by Roman Evangelical Preachers, were Admirable, and truely Miraculous. Millions have been converted by them. These numerous multitudes therfore of Believers were either drawn on by fooleries. If so;Fooleries could not induce Millions to contemn the world and beco­me good Christians. They were mad, And here lyes the Miracles, saith St. Au­stin, Viz. That Fooleries could induce so many to Contemn the World, and become good Christians: Or, Con­trarywise, They believed this Roman Catholick Church upon weighty rational Motives. If so; Why are not our Protestants obliged to believe as they did, upon the same prudent Inducements. If They Tell us: The Church Taught an other Doctrin, when these great Conver­sions were made, then it Teaches now; They do not only most unlearnedly Suppose what is to be Proved (yea cannot be proved because utterly false) But also speak not one Word to the Purpose; For, both our Progenitors in England and innumerable others, were drawn from Error by Popish Preachers. And even in this present Age, the like glorious Conversions are, and have been wrought by these Blessed mens Labours,Why these Conver­sions are to be estee­med Mira­culous. and Theirs only. Now if you ask upon what Ac­count such Conversions are to be esteemed Miracu­lous? This one Instance answers you. Imagin you saw a little Flock of Sheep or Lambs, sent into a [Page 86] Desert, full of ravenous Wolves, withall; That these Lambs, though at first many were devoured, yet at length render'd the Wolves so Tame, and so abated their Rage, that they became like Lambs, mild and submissive. Would you not say, that such a work were prodigious, and above the force of nature? This is our very case. Behold saith our Saviour, Luc. 10. I send you as Lambs amongst Wolves▪ And the­se you must subdue. It was done. Behold, saith the Roman Catholick Church, I send my Preachers still abroad to the Remotest parts of the World, and have changed Wolves into Lambs, That is, I have made Infidels, once Rebellious to Christ, Subject to his lawes, the Vitious I have made Virtuous, and brought thousands of them to no other Religion, but Popery. This work, with the Assistance of Gods Grace is done, Et est mirabile in oculis nostris, and 'tis admirable. Had our Protestants made such Chan­ges, or drawn so many Infidels to their new Faith, they would have talked of wonders; But because Ca­tholicksWhy Pro­testants flight Mi­racles, and Conver­sions? gained them to the old Religion, all is No­thing. So it is. They have no Miracles, and therfore Slight them: No Conversions, and thersore undervalue them. A Strange proceeding. Those very wonders which in­duced the world to become Christian, Because they yet emi­nently appear in the Roman Catholick Church, must ly under Contempt; Those Ancient Proofs of Christianity are now proofles, Those Primitive Evidences of Miracles, Conversions &c. (the Church is in fault for shewing them) cannot be seen by these later Men, who yet have Eyes to discern the Book of Scripture by its own Light and Majesty. And by the way mark the [Page 87] Paradox. The exteriour words of a Bible (for of the­seA Paradox of Secta­ries. we only speak) are Evidences enough for Scriptu­re; yet those glorious works now mentioned are (for­sooth) no Evidence of this Church. The very Ma­jesty of the style Ascertain's these men, that God Speak's by that Sacred Book; yet all the perceptible miraculous Majesty, which the Church shewes us, cannot perswade them, that he speaks by this visible, audible, and most known Oracle of Truth. A Bible (well known, its true, upon other Grounds to be most Sa­cred) discouers its Divinity, and immediatly proves who writ it, Yet a Church so gloriously marked, sayes no­thing who Directs it. Is this Reason, or Religion think ye? Can Reason produce this unreasonable Thought in any, That the wise Providence of God hath permitted so eminent, so numerous, so pious, so learned, and so long standing a Multitude of Chri­stians, as Catholicks have been (and yet are) to be Cheated into Errour, even whilst they evidence their Faith, by such Proofs and Motives, as Christ and his Apostles manifested Christian Religion? What? Shall we think that Miracles, Conversions of Souls, ca­sting out of Devils, Sanctity of life &c. which were once convincing Arguments of Christianity, are now showed to coun­tenance a Falsity? To judge so, is the most impro­bableSectaries judge im­probably. Thought that ever entred a Christians Hart, yea, and impossible, unles we hold, that God can lea­ve of to be Goodnes it self, or, make Falshood more apparently evident then Truth the whole World over: which is proved to be a gross errour.

8. Other Arguments we have for a greater Certain­ty then moral, previously Evidencing the Roman Ca­tholick [Page 88] Religion before we Believe; wherof more in the next Chapter. It is now sufficient to say, That our Protestants grant thus much. First, becauseProtestants grant Evi­dence of Credibility to the Ro­man Ca­tholick Re­ligion. the more learned of them allow Salvation to those, who live and dye in this Faith; But most sure it is, That Saving Faith hath at least moral Evidence, and Certainty for it. 2. Whilst They talk of no man knowes what Evidence manifesting Christian Reli­gion in General, They only plead for our Catholick Faith, and speak not a word in behalf of Protestancy. The Reason is. If both these Religions are not True,Motives Evidencing true Reli­gion inse­parably fol­low that. but the One only, The Motives which Evidence true Re­ligion inseparably follow That, and cannot belong (as I have already proved) to the Other, which is false. Therfore They, or We, are obliged to show them. But Prote­stancy cannot show so much as one prudent Motive for it self, as will most clearly appear in the 10. Cha­pter: Ergo, what Evidence there is for true Christian Faith, Catholicks have it, or there is none in the World for any Religion.

CHAP. IX.
A short Digression concerning the Shu­fling of Protestants in this matter.

1. HEre I cannot but reflect on the slight endea­vours of some later Sectaries, who offer atMr. Stil­lingfleets weak en­deavours. Much in an Empty Title called The Protestants way of resolving Faith; yet in prosecuting the matter, They [Page 89] handle it so unluckily, that no man Hear's a word more spoken in behalf of Protestanism, then of Aria­nism, or of what ever other Haeresy. Motives and Reasons they give none for Protestant Doctrin, as Protestancy, As They ought to have done in the first place, after so glorious a Title.

2. To prove what is said, have patience to hear some few parergons. There are, say They, in the question of resolving Faith these three questions to be resolved. First, Why I believe those things to be true, which are contained in the Book called Scripture? 2. Why I believe the Doctrin contained in that Book to be Divine? 3. Why I believe the Books themselves to be of Divine Revelation? Mark here a Shufling, and remember once more the Title. The Protestants way of resolving Faith. Is it so? Is it the Protestants way? Yes. Surely then the Questions here proposed, and the Answers re­turned are most Pertinent to help on Protestants in their resolving Faith, That is, to make ProtestancyThese Au­thors wave what they should Explicate. evidently credible by clear and rational Motives. You will say, They are so. And I say, They are no more to that purpose (of Protestants resolving Faith, or giving of prudent Motives for Protestancy) then if such a Religion had never been in the world. I pro­ve my Assertion. The Arian will say. I believe Arians be­lieve Scri­pture as much as Protestants those Things to be True which are contained in Scripture. I believe the Doctrin in that Book, to be Divine. I believe the Books themselves to be of Divine Revelation, and this I do upon as good Grounds, as you Protestants, if not on better. For if you admit of these Verities, upon the greatest Evidence, which things of that Nature are capable of, So do I too. But say, I beseech [Page 90] you, what more Advantage have you upon this Con­cession, for your particular Religion, then I have for mi­ne? For, let these Books be True, let them contain Divine Doctrin, let us believe the Revelation in them to be Sacred, yet both you and I are to seek which of us hath the better Religion, and this cannot be de­cided by owing three Truths, wherof no Christian ever doubted. Why therfore do you, when it is your particular Task to resolve Protestants Faith, never meddle with the Question? But wast time in pro­ving that, which when it is proved, help's you no more then all other Christians, who are contrary to you in Belief. Will you se this clearly?

3. I freely grant, that those things in Scripture are True, They are Divine, the Books themselves are of Divine Revelation. But next ask, What is this to Protestant Religion? Or, how, is the Resolution of Protestants Faith advanced upon the owning These Ve­rities? Nothing at all. And the Reason is, for rhough all Christians acknowledge in general Scriptu­re to be most Divine, yet they are at endles Disputes concerning the Doctrin of it. Now, no Man, I hope, To have Scripture in our hands gives no Assurance of true Faith. will say, Because he hath this Book in his hands, or owns it as Gods Word, that therfore He rightly Believes the particular necessary Doctrin in it. For, were this true, known Haeretiks would be as sound in Faith as any. To conclude then, The Roman Catholick enquires not here after any general Proof of Scripture (He proved that before Protestants were born) But he urges for Moti­ves, What Ca­tholicks re­quire of Protestants. and rational Inducements, wherby Protestancy, as Protestancy, is evidenced to have any ressemblance with the Primitive Doctrin of Christ and his blessed Apostles. [Page 91] Known Marks and Cognisances of Truth, must mani­fest this particular Doctrin, And not a general talk of the Divinity of Scripture, which every Arian and Haeretick would own, were there no such thing as a Protestant in Being.

4. They hold on in this proofles strain, and tell us how Moral certainty is Assurance enough, that Christian Religion is infallibly true. Be it so, it is nothing to the purpose; For we enquire not in this place after the moral Evidence of Christian Religion in General, which, as it professed by condemned Haere­ticks, Protestancy uneviden­ced. hath none; But we ask for the moral Certain­ty, wherby Protestancy is evidenced. This is not so much as spoken of, though the Title of resolving Protestants Faith requires a direct Answer to this Dif­ficulty. They say again, There can be no greater then moral Certainty for the main Foundations of all Religion, and the chiefest is the Existency and Being of God. The Assertion is falss, as I could demonstrate, were it now pertinent to handle that question. But Let it pass. Give us, I beseech you, as much Moral certainty of Protestant Religion, as All acknowled­ge for the Existency of a Deity, and we are satis­fied; But of this we hear not a word. We ha­ve Talk enough of the Moral certainty of ChristianThey An­swer not to the difficul­ty. Religion, which Answers not to the Title of resolving Pro­testants Faith.

5. They say thirdly. Suppose, God gives the must infallible Evidence of any Religion, some who are bound to believe that Religion, can have no more then Moral certainty of it. Transeat totum, at present. What makes it for Protestancy? We here ask, Why Protestants believe as they do? Why They adhere to their [Page 92] new Faith, and preferr that Before all other Reli­gions? Rational Motives Can be produced, or not. We hitherto hear of none, And therfore su­spect, yea, know very well, there are none for it.

6. They say fourthly. Moral certainty yeilds us suffi­cient Protestants altogether in Gene­ralls. Assurance that Christian Religion is infallibly true. What Religion is infallibly true upon moral certainty. Is it Arianism or Pelagianism? No. Is it the Ro­man Catholick Religion? No. Is it Protestancy? Yes. Then produce Rational Motives which may ground a moral certainty more of this Religion, then of any other Sect, and we acquiesce. But this you cannot do.

7. They say fifthly. Where there is evident credibility in And prove nothing for their Reli­gion. the matter propounded, there doth arise upon Men an obliga­tion to believe. Very good! To believe, what. Gi­ve us this evident Credibility of Protestancy, and so­mething is said to the purpose. Hereof yet we have no news, nor are like to have, and consequently Pro­testants cannot be obliged to Believe as they do. Af­ter some other Parergons,

8. They say sixthly. The last Resolution of Faith is not into the infallibility of the instrument of conveyance, but in­to the infallibility of that Doctrin which is therby conveyed to us. Shall we eternally have these Empty words, and no Substance? You talk here of an infallibili­ty of Doctrin, and we would have the Riddle expoun­ded. Is it the Roman Catholick Doctrin? Or yours? Or Arianism? What for Gods sake, avail's it to hear a noise of infallible Doctrin, and not to know, who rightly professeth it? Your Doctrin therfore of Protestancy is to be Evidenced, this is all we look for.

[Page 93]9. They say seventhly. If the Doctrin of Christ be true and Divine, then all the promises made were accomplished: Now that was one of the greatest, that his Spirit should lead his Apostles into all Truth. Very true. But what is this for Protestant Doctrin? We ask still by what Signs and Marks of Truth, do these new Men prove their particular Faith to be Apostolical? Here only lyes the Difficulty, never touched on by them. Ad­mit therfore at present, that they have in their hands the infallible Records of Gods Word, they are far of yet from proving their particular Doctrin of Prote­stancy to be Scripture, or the infallible Word of God. This is the sole controverted Question between us.

10. They finally end. Thus much may suffise in general concerning the Protestant way of resolving Faith. Very little, it seems, serves their turn, who hitherto neverLoct labour to talk of Christian Religion in General. medled with that Resolution; But have lost their la­bour, by a talking in General of Christian Religion, which no more concern's Protestancy, then it doth the worst of Haereticks. And after this manner They hold on in another Chapter entituled. The sense of Fathers in this Controversy; Where Iustin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Cle­mens Fathers ci­ted to no purpose. of Alexandria are cited▪ but to what purpose God only knows. Are they quoted to evidence any thing like Protestancy? No. The whole-Discours of the­se Learned Fathers look's another way, and never medles with this Novelty. Read them as they are, either in These Authors (with all the Advantages of their Glosses on them) or rather in the Originals, as I have don exactly, you will find them so great Stran­gers to this new Haeresy; That they never thought of it. To transcribe again their whole Discours [Page 94] would prove tedious, read Iustins words in these Au­thors Part. 1. Chap. 9. page 264. and add to them the reflection made page 265. What part (say they) is there now of our Resolution of Faith which is not here in (that is in Iustins Testimony) asserted? I answer, No­thing at all, as will appear by your own Questions and Answers wholy irrelative to Protestancy. Thus then you go on.

If you ask why you believe there were such men in the Iustin ma­kes nothing for Prote­stants. world as these Prophets wherof Iustin speaks. Answer. The continuance of their Books and common Fame sufficiently attest it. Be is so, what is this to Protestancy? Can any one probably inferr, Because He believes there were such men in the world as Prophet, Apostles, or Euangelists, Therfore he hath the true Doctrin ofWeak in­ferences. these Prophets? No. For both Arians and Pela­gians yeild Assent to that general Truth, and so do Ca­tholicks also; are all These right in Faith upon that Account precisely? Toyes. No more then are Protestants. 3. If you ask, say you, why you Believe them to be true Prophets? Answ. The excellency of their Doctrin joyned with the fulfilling of Prophecies, and working Miracles, abundantly prove it. Prove what for Gods sake? No more but this, that those Prophets taught excellent Doctrin, and wrought Miracles; Doth it therfore follow that Protestants, Arians, and other Haereticks teach such Doctrin, or work Mira­cles? No. Herein lyes the Difficulty, not so much as glanced at, or touched on. And thusNor Cle­mens Alex. they run on to no purpose for many pages, with Testimonies drawn out of Irenaeus, and Clemens Alexan­drinus, which no more relate to Protestancy then [Page 95] those first Words of Genesis do: In the beginning God created Heaven and Earth. Nay more. Clemens citedBut Con­futes them. by these Authors, page 273. expresly confutes our Sectaries, whilst he requires two things necessary to attain to the true knowledge of true Faith in Christ, [...], and [...]: the Enquiry and Discovery of it. The Enquiry is an impulse of the mind (say these men) for finding Truth out, by Signs which are proper to it. Discovery, is the End and Rest of this Enquiry, which lyes in the comprehension of the things, which is pro­perly knowledge. A most true and admirable Expres­sion. Clemens according to these Authors, proceds thus. Now the Signs by which Truth is Discovered, are either Precedent, Concomitant, or Subsequent. The pre­cedent Signs, wherby we discover Christ to be the Son of God, are the Prophecies declaring his coming. The Con­comitant, were the Testimonies concerning his Birth. The subsequent Signs, are those Miracles which were published and manifestly shewed to the World after his Ascension, &c. Most true and Divine Doctrin, which is entirely for the Roman Catholick Religion, and against Prote­stants. Why? We enquire after the precedent Signs, wherby their new Religion is discovered? We ask for subsequent Signs, which were publick­ly known to the world soon after the broaching of their new Faith, and yet cannot hear of any shew­ed by these new men in confirmation of their Faith. Finally, we urge for Miracles and other Prudential Motives Evidencing Protestant Religion in the en­suing Chapter (but find none.) Read it, and give an impartial judgement.

CHAP. X.
Protestants have no rational Motives, wherby their new Faith is evidenced to be so much as probable.

1. TO prove the Assertion, we here friendly de­mand, Whether, when Scripture, Fathers, and the best Authority of former ages Assert. That the Marks and Cognisances of Gods revealed Truth, are as follow. Antiquity, A Lawful mission, Vnity, Ef­ficacy of Doctrin, Vniversality, Miracles, Succession of Bi­shops, Sanctity, yes, and the very name of Catholik &c. My demand, I say, is whether our new Men will own these old Signs as lawful and approved Mani­festations of Truth, or disown them? If this la­ter; They are Compelled to shew them unfit or forceles Arguments for the evidencing of Truth, and consequently are obliged to produce others more clear and perswasive for their supposed true Reli­gion, which is impossible. On the other side, if they shall please to own them as lawful Cognisances of Truth, My Task is to prove, That they have neither the complexum of all these Motives together; nor, so much as one of them in particular for Pro­testancy.

2. Antiquity (granted to Popery, for at least aProtestants want An­tiquity. thousand years and upward) Protestants have not. [Page 97] Those two Brethren of Iniquity Luther and Calvin, first brought this Religion forth, as is evident by all known History. Before their dayes, no man can shew me, so much as one Town, Village, or Houshold of Protestants.

3. Lawful Mission (most justly and without dis­puteA lawful Mission is wanting. challeng'd by Catholick Doctors) These two wretched men had not, (no more have their fol­lowers) Enquire after it, you will find them all un­sent Preachers, contrary to the Apostles Doctrin Rom. 10, How shall They preach unles they be sent? They never had licence to talk as they did; But by their own Will and unknown Spirit, which as well au­thorized Iames Nayler to be Christ, as them to be law­ful and Apostolical Preachers. Say, I beseech you, when the blessed Apostles first taught the Do­ctrin of Christ Iesus, and by their preaching turn'd Idolatry out of the World, Did They only word it, Christ and his Apost­les were sent, and shewed their Mis­sion. or, without Commission talk of a new Gospel? No. As my Father sent me, saith our Saviour. Ioan. 20. so I send you; And They evidenced their Calling to the great Work they had in hand, by clear and undoubted Miracles, which proved forcible perswasive Arguments, and strongly wrought upon the most obdurate Harts. Yer, fifteen hundred years after, our Novellists appear, broach a new Gospel, aym at no les a matter then to pull down the Ido­latrous Babel of Popery, (so they stile our Ancient Church) and we must take their Word for all They say, though they neither shew Letter-missive, or Pa­tents to warrant their Doctrin, no, nor one mira­cle to confirm it. So destitute they are both of [Page 98] ordinary and extraordinary Mission. Some will say. Though they preach without Mission, they preach the Doctrin delivered in Scripture, and the Ancient Miracles (without need of new ones) were wrought to confirm Scripture-doctrin, which is now purelySectaries word it, without proof. taught in the Reformed Churches, and not in the Church of Rome. Thus most pittifully Mr. Poole pag. 195. where you se first, an unlearned begging the Question. 2. Every Arian licenced to assert for himself, what Mr. Poole too simply assumes here without Proof. 3. This is most falss Doctrin. For no man yet ever lawfully preached true Chri­stian Doctrin (no not Christ himself) without a Mis­sion: Sicut misit me Pater &c. For, when He Bles­sed Lord, first established the Doctrin of Christiani­ty contrary both to Iewes and Infidels, He did it not by Words only without Commission, nor proved the Verity of his Gospel by the Ancient and long since pas't Miracles wrought amongst the Jewes, as the­se men do their Doctrin by the Primitive Miracles of Christianity (which belong not to them,) But He evidenced it, and confirmed it, by new manifestProtestants obliged to show un­doubted Marks and Signs, when they preach a new Gospel. Miracles, visible Signs and Wonders. And thus our Protestants should have don, when they first publi­shed their new unheard of learning, and by it at­tempted to throw down that long standing Church of Popery. Undoubted Miracles, unquestioned Signs of Truth should, as we read of the primitive Apostles Mark 16. 20. Have followed them also. But in lieu of these what have you? Unwarran­ted talk, meer proofles Words of uncommissioned men. Miraculous words indeed, if able to subvert an Ancient [Page 99] Church, to pull down Popery, and build up Protestancy.

4. Unity in Doctrin (most known and remarkableNo Vnity of Doctrin. in the Catholick Church) they have none, witnes those innumerable Sects which now swarm amongst them, and This new Faith hath produced of Armi­nians, Zwinglians, Brownists, Independents &c. And now our late Quakers are sprouted out of it, the last spring, perhaps, (though no body knows) of this Reformed Gospel. I need not to say much on this point. A serious thought cast upon the different procedure of a Catholick and Protestant, will layThe Bles­sing of Vni­ty, and Cur­se of Divi­sion. open the great Blessing of Vnity in the one, and the contrary Curse of Division in the other. Ob­serve well. Catholicks you shall find like right Noble men, Standing upon a long continued Pedegree, on their Ancient Tradition, on their never interrupted Succession of Popes, of Princes, of Bishops, of People united in one Belief. You look on Protestants like new Vpstarts, unfortunately divided in their very first Progenitors, Luther and Calvin, that begot them in discord, And this Spirit of Division, as a Ghost, doth, and will Hant them to the worlds end, if they last so long. Catholicks you will find, like deep and silent Wa­ters running together in one Channel, concentred in one Principle, setled on one Rock, the Churches Infallibility. You se Protestants, not only destroying both Rock and Center, But also so giddily uncon­stant Sectaries uncon­stants. to their own Tenents, that you have them at a stand no where, And this often shifting hath un­don them. Once the 39. articles were points of Faith and Religion, now they are no more so. On­ce the Pope was Antichrist, now with many Pro­testants [Page 100] he is the first Patriarch. Once he was a horned Beast, now more then one of our New men take of his Hornes, and make him Rational. On­ce Rome was the Whore of Babilon, now with most, it is purer, yes, and Orthodox in fundamentals. On­ce our Bishops were all Idolaters, unlawful Pastors; now They are so Legitimate, that our new men must either derive their Ordination from them, or have none at all. And thus unsteedily they dance up and down, say and unsay, Now yea, now no, as the Fancy takes them, And they must do so, until they have a firmer ground of Vnity to set footing on.

5. Mr, Poole page 201. to impugn the Vnity of theMr. Pooles instance of Pagans and Devils against Vnity is imperti­nent. Church tell's us, That both Pagans and Devils had it; yet, in the very next page complains much of the want of Vnity in his Protestant Brethren. Methinks unreasonably enough, For if Vnity be so proper to Pa­gans and Devils, the more Protestants are devided, The better it is for them, Because further of from the Spirit of these agreeing Monsters. But, saith Mr. Poo­le, Vnity without Verity is not to be regarded. I answer. Every one knows so much; But what is that to our present purpose, where we solely treat of Vnity, and assert it, with the Nicene Fathers, to be a Grace or Dowry of the Church, a Badge or Cognisance of Truth? And this our Protestants must acknowledge, who I hope will grant some lar­ge Christian Society agreeing at least in Fundamentals,Protestants hold some Vnity laudable in the Church which they call the Catholick Church. I ask therfo­re, Whether such an Vnity, extended to all Chri­stians, be not Laudable, and a good Mark of Truth? If so; Why are Pagans and Devils introduced [Page 101] to slight the Churches Vnity? If not. We have now not one laudable united Catholick Church in the whole world. What follows in Mr. Pools 203. page, Mr. Poles simple Ob­jection. concerning Divisions between Dominicans and Iesuits &c Is so profoundly simple, that no mans pa­tience can so much as hear it. Every Puny knows these differences are not in Faith, but Opi­nions only. I pass by such trifles.

6. Efficacy in Doctrin (an undeniable Mark ofNo Efficacy in Doctri­ne. the Catholick Church) our Protestants have not. Observe my proof. It is most certain▪ That these men came but late into the Vineyard of the Church (sure after the eleventh houre) and found it, as They say, in a Sad condition, overgrown with Weeds of Popish Errors, pestered with Arian, and Graecian Haereticks, opposed by Heathens and In­fidels.What our new Zea­lots should have done. All these needed the Light of this new Gospel to shine upon them. And who would not have expected, before this day, greater Con­versions wrought among so many straying Souls by these new Zelots? Popery ere now should have been dissipated, Arians reclaymed, Thousands of Infidels converted to Christ, Davids courage long ago should have defeated some one or other of theseSectaries ill success in Conver­sions. massy bodies, chiefly that of Popery. But the ill succes they have had in such Conversions, pro­ves them, if not down-right Cowards, at least un­lucky Combatants. Popery holds still its posture, maugre their weak attempts against it; And I neverWhat one Blessed man did in the space of Eleven years. yet heard of good don upon Arians, or other Ancient Haereticks by these mens labour. Now touching the Conversion of Infidels, Strangers to Christ, the As­sertion [Page 102] of Thomas Bosius Tom. 1. De signis Ecclesia lib. 6. cap. 3. Signo 20. is Remarkable, viz. That one Bles­sed man of our age, St. Francis Xaverius, reduced more to the Catholick Faith in the space of eleven years only, Then all the Protestants in the world (add to them what other Sectaries soever) have gained of Infidels to their Haeresies, since the beginning of Christianity. My God! Had the Blessed Apostles been as slow in rooting out Idolaty, as our late Masters yet are lazy about so noble a Work, the dumb Idols of the Gentils would have preached against them, and still stood unshaken. But, God gave These first powerful Preachers and their Ca­tholick Followers, a vigorous Spirit, the Efficacy of Doctrin, an illustrious Character or mark of Truth, which to this day the Church wear's, and mani­festeth to the world. Sectaries never had it.

7. You will say they have yet gained many to theirFew Infi­dels reduced by Prote­stants. Protestant Profession. What History relates them, I beseech you, If we speak of reduced Infidels? If we mention others whose Progenitors, at least, were Catholicks, you may boldly say it. They, with the help of Secular power, have perverted many a poor Soul by preaching Liberty, which corrupted nature as easily follows as a stone fall's downward. Faith only justifies. Good works are of no value. Fasting is superstition. Mortification is Popery. The use of Pen­nace is needles. And yet worse, might modesty speak it, if the Wife will not &c. Tenents, more fit for Devils, then Doctors to preach; yet Christians ha­ve heard such Libertins talk.How Hare­sy hath gai­ned fol­lowers.

8. May I upon this occasion say my Thought [Page 103] concerning those poor souls drawn from us to Prote­stanism, since the unhappy breach began in England? I conceive it thus. A certain indifferent carelesA careles humor first brought in by Haeresy. Home-bred Education. Humor of having this or that Religion, Any or no­ne (Haeresy first brought it in, and it tend's to Atheism) got them some company. Home-bred Education, that see's little abroad (As it must needs happen to them that live in an Ileland) has broughtPénal Laws. Ignorance perverse in some, deplo­rable in others. But above all Liberty encreased the num­ber. in more. The Penal Lawes, and the fear of loo­sing a temporal Fortune, has forc'd in very many. Ignorance, peevishly perverse in Some, and deplorable in Others, greatly encreased the number. But, above all that Liberty, now mentioned, to Do, and Believe what every man listeth (a Sauce that su­tes best with unsetled Stomacks, we may call it Lu­thers Ratsbain) hath allured innumerable. In one of these Classes, you will find them, except per­haps some of the more Learned (whose consciences I touch not) God only knows, what Grypes they feel, for misleading others, and wronging Themselves. But, what will ye? 'Tis Interest. Their fat Be­nefices, that timely follow the low fortune they we­re born to, hold's them fast. It must be a powerful Grace, that can so much as stirr them, much more that can draw them from their Haeresy.

9. Set these Classes asside, the Churches in En­gland would, I think, be very Empty of company.Sew of the more able are in love with Prote­stancy. There are few or none among the Abler sort, that are much in love with Protestancy upon the account of Religion. Yet more. We find by experience, that when those First sort of men now named have some feeling of God, and Eternity, when the Second [Page 104] step out of England, and se the Practise of Catholick Religion in neighbouring Countries: When the Third, dare loos a little mammon for God: When the Fourth Hot Spirits are somewhat cooled, And the poor Be­guiled get open their eyes: When the Fifth have don with Youth and Liberty (of the Sixth I say nothing but, God help them.) Experience I say learn's us, That all of them draw neerer to Catholick Religion, so far at least, as to judge well and Honorably of it,Many at their death become Ca­tholicks, few or none turn to be Protestants and we se not a few turn good old Papists, when they come to dye (men deal then most seriously) Though I never yet heard of any, that had lived Ca­tholick, desert his Faith upon Scruple, as not being in a right Belief, or dye a Protestant.

10. Universality, which the very name of Catholick Protestant have no universa­lity, Of Time, implyes, and the Apostles Creed allows of, is no Mark of Protestant Religion. If we relate to time, Not one Age, ever since Christ came into the world, can produce so much as one slender Family of Prote­stants before Luther. This point hath been oftenNor Place. press't, but never yet had Answer. For place, it is as meanly poor; For take this Religion in the grea­test Latitude, as it is made up of all those jarring and dissenting People, that go under the notion of the Reformed Churches, it only creep's up and down in some few Corners of our Northren world, without Lustre or Glory. And if we speak more strictly of Protestants in England (I mean the 39. articl'd men) I believe a good large Village would hold most of them. Mr. Poole hath no good liking to the long Du­ration and Amplitude of Religion, and therfore dis­dainfully kik's at both with his Pagan-instance. Is it [Page 105] not pittiful to mispend time on such intolerable Tri­fles? I'll do so no more, And therfore am with good Reason forced to wave most of Mr. Pools No­objections.

11. To the Amplitude of Catholick Religion, we may here well anex the continued Succession ofProtestants have no succession of Bishops. Bishops, the Sanctity, and Purity of our Catholick Doctrin; both are marks of Truth and evident in the Roman Church. Protestants can lay no claim to succession, and therfore I challenge them as Ter­tullian did the Ancient Haereticks De praescript. Cap. 32. Edant Origines Ecclesiarum suarum, evolvant ordinem Episco­porum suorum. Let them show us the Origin of their Churches, and declare the order of their Bishops. Let them say who they were? Where they li­ved? Who knew them? What good they didNo Prote­stant Bi­shop or Pa­stor before Luther. in the Church? Sustinete me, & ego loquar. Have patience, and 'Ill tell you. They had not so much as one Bishop, one Pastor, one Doctor, or one Prea­cher, before the dayes of unfortunate Luther, wheras, the Catholick Church demonstratively gives a Cata­logue of her succeeding Popes, and Bishops, from Blessed St. Peter, to this present Pope who now sitt's in that Chair. And if you will know of what ac­count this perpetuated Succession of Pastors is, read St. Austin Tom. 6. contra Epistolam fundam. cap. 4. In Ca­tholica A conti­nued suc­cession of great ac­count. Ecclesia tenet me (saith the Saint) ab ipsa Sede Petri Apostoli, cui pascendas oves suas post resurrectionem Dominus commendavit, usque ad praesentem Episcopatum, suc­cessio Sacerdotum. The continued Succession of Priests until now, from the seat of St. Peter the Apostle, to whom our Lord after his Resurrection commended [Page 106] his Flock to be fed, holds me in the Catholick Church. And afterward. No Donatist can shew such a Succession, no more, say I, can any Prote­stant. Se more in his Book De utilitate credendi c. 17. at those words: Dubitamus nos ejus Ecclesiae gremio conde­re &c.

12. Sanctity and Purity of Doctrin (which neitherPurity of Doctrin Infidel, nor Sectary could ever yet cavil at, But upon the account that there is too much of it in the Catholick Church) is pittifully wanting to Prote­stants. I prove it. As the Tree is known by its Fruit, so Holy Doctrin is best known by the Holy li­fe of those who profess it, and the Saintly effects thatSaintly Effects follow Holy Do­ctrin. follow it. If we might insist on the first, tell me, where have our Protestants Their holy Hilarions, their retired Pauls and Antonies, their Gregories, their Bernards, their Malachies? Where have they Apostles Like St. Austin of England? Bishops of such Austerity as a St. Charles Boromaeus? Doctors so profundly learned and humble, as St. Thomas of Aquine, and St. Bonaventure? Where are their undefatigable Missioners, sent for Conversions to the remotest parts of the world with a Blessed St. Xaverius? Where are their Mortified Re­ligious,Sanctity manifest. their Solitary Monks, their Tender Virgins shut up in Cloysters without hope of enioying the world, or Friends any more? Such Holines mani­fest's it self in the Catholick Church; Protestants have nothing like it, and yet those two impure Founders of the new Gospel, Luther and Calvin, had far Les of Sanctity. Let every Conscience speak its own Thought, and say plainly, whether these Two nowA parallel. named, were Patterns of Vertue like a Renowned [Page 107] St. Benet, a Glorious St. Dominick, an Humble St. Francis, a Prudent St. Ignatius, who endeavored (not to amend the Church ever sound in Doctrin) But only to bet­ter the world by their Incessant labours, by their Cha­ritable works, and Blessed example. Heaven now crowns these Saints with Glory, and earth yet cele­brat's their Memory with immortal Praise, whilst Lu­ther and Calvin lye buried in Oblivion, only thought on for founding a Gospel upon Liberty, which makes all the Followers of it Libertins, and therfore we must acknowledge that Christianity hath been much worsProtestancy ruin's Alt. for their once being Christians. More Atheistical Prin­ciples have been setled in mens Harts, since these two new Preachers came amongst us, more Phantastick Opinions vented, more Kingdoms undon, more Com­mon-wealths ruined, more Innocent blood shed, after this Tragical Gospel got footing, than before were heard of for a thousand years together in time of Po­pery. And

13. Here we may briefly touch something on tho­seSad Effects of this new Gospel. sad Effects, which have followed Protestant Doctrin, And (setting Passion aside) friendly ask of any Impar­tial man, what good hath this new Religion don in the world? What amendment hath it made in Life and Manners? What Conversions hath it wrought amongst Heathens and Infidels? What Sanctity hath it yet shewed us in the Professors of it? What Churches hath it built? What Hospitals hath it erected? What Universities hath it founded, either comparable to our Ancient or modern Catholicks? All runn's on in a Contrary strain. Ruins, gastly ruins follow these men where ever they go, to the [Page 108] Horror of those who have Eyes to se, and Harts to deplore the sad Spectacles yet left of their impiousSectaries Sacriledge. Sacriledge, and worse then Barbarous Reformation, viz. Of our Churches defaced, of our Cloysters de­molished, of our Altars and Monuments pulled down (whilst yet they live on our Revenues) as if the very Memory of Christ and the Temples, where once he was Worshiped, were grown abominable to these new Spirits. And why all this Confusion for a new nothing? O Strange and Prodigious Spirit! what shall I sayImpiety. of thee? Thy Doings are only to undo, thy Build­ing to destroy, thy Piety is to prophane Sanctified Places. Thy Light is to bring in Horror and Dark­nes,Rebellion. thy Turning from Christ and his Church, hath Turned Kings out of their Thrones, Bishops out of their Sees, Religious out of their Cells, Nobles outConfusion. of their Estates, Sense out of Scripture, Charity out of the World, and Men out of their wits. This Turning from Christ and his Church, hath Turned Vni­ty into Schism, Peace into War, Religion into Policy, Ver­tue into Hypocrisy, Learning into Ignorance. Such are the known Effects of this late Doctrin, all upon Re­cord, reserved to the final Sentence of our most im­partial Judge in the Vale of Iosaphat, where it will appear, whether I have wronged these men in draw­ing up this dreadfull Charge against them, or They themselves for such Impieties done before God and his Angels.

14. Our Sectaries are wont to object against the Objection. Churches Sanctity, the Scandals, Pride and Luxury of Wicked men in it. St. Austin long since answered the Cavil. Amongst good Corne have Cockle, with [Page 109] wheat you have Chaff mingled, in a slorishing Kingdom you find Traytors, amongst marryed women (it is St. Austins instance) some you may have les Loyal. Are ther­fore all to be blamed upon the Account of some? 'Tis open Unjustice. Se St. Austin in his fifth BookAll not blamable upon the account of some. against Faustus cap. ultimo, and his 137. Epistle. Bles­sed be Almighty God (though the guilt of Sin lyes heavily on many) yet great Sanctity is still eminent in the Church amongst all Sorts of people, whether, Princes, Prelaets, Pastors, Religious, Seculars, Rich, or Poor. Great Conversions we se dayly, not only made from Haeresy to Faith, but also from Vice to Vertue, from a looser sensual Life to great Austerity. The Rich often voluntarily become Poor, The Proud Humble, the Avaricious Liberal, the Riotous Frugal, the Impatient Meek, the Secular Religious, and quit all they have in this tumultuous World to serve God in a quiet Cell. Such changes from Worse to Better areEvident changes from worse to better. undeniably evident in the Catholick Church, which yet Erasmus his acute Eye could never se amongst our New men. Profer mihi (saith He in his Epistle to Vul­turius Neocomus) quem istud Euangelium ex commessatore so­brium &c. Give me the Man, whom this Gospel of a Gurmandizer hath made Sober, of Fierce and cruel hath made Tractable, of an Extortioner Liberal, of a filthy Speaker fair spoken, and of an unchast liver sha­mefast, And I will shew you many, who are grown Wors, then they were before▪ Thus Erasmus.

15. Miracles, the most glorious marks of Truth,Miracles the most glorious Marks of Christs Church▪ manifested in our Saviour Iohn 15. 24. wrought by his Apostles Mark 16. 17. and amply promised to those who Believe in Christ, Iohn 14. 12. The Roman Catho­lick [Page 110] Church hath from Age to Age undeniably Evi­denced (and she only) if we speak of clear and undoubt­ed Miracles; I mean of such as answer in Analogy and Proportion to our Saviours works. The Blind se, the Lame walk, The Lepers are cleansed, the Deaf hear, the Dead rise &c. These are the Churches Miracles. Never had our Protestants, or other Haereticks any like them. Read Coccius and Bellarmin of Martin Luthers and Calvins famous Miracles. The story is noto­riously known. I wave it.

16. Of Ancient Miracles, se Irenaeus advers. Haeret. Of ancient Miracles. lib. 2. cap. 57. St. Ambros. Serm. 91. St. Austin lib. 22. de Civit. cap. 8. Theodoret in his 8. Books de curan. Graec. Affect St. Hierom against Vigilantius; Ruffinus, St. Gregory withOf Modern Miracles. others. And for the more Modern, be pleased on­ly to read Iustus Lipsius (a man of Credit and Reputa­tion) in his 3. Tome, Antwerpe print anno 1637. towards the end with these Titles Diva Virgo Hallensis, Diva Sichemiensis. It is but time cast away to say more on this Subject, most largely handled by our Writers, who produce their Proofs, answer to all contrary Ca­vils, and cite their Authors of unquestioned Authority, Both for pass't and present Miracles.

17. And here, because we mention Cavils, read first, I beseech you, those Sacred Words of our Saviour Iohn 14. 12. Amen, Amen, I say unto you, he that Believes in me, the works that I do, shall he do also, Cavils of Sectaries against Miracles. and greater works then those shall he do &c. Next he plea­sed to say whether he Cavils not, that Asserts these great Works and Wonders to have ceased after the ti­me of Christ and his Apostles, when not only approved History relates them, but Reason also pleads strongly [Page 111] for their Continuance in ensuing Ages. For, had these Glorious marks of Truth failed in the Church as our Protestants would have it (Because they have none)Why Mi­racles con­tinue in the Church? Christian Faith ere this day (believe it) would have grown cold in the Harts of thousands and thousands. Therfore to prevent Incredulity, the Wise ProvidenceMiracles still neces­sary. of God, rowseth them up, and quickens their Belief with these forcible Incitements, which neither Infidels can Deny, nor Haereticks Own. Again. Miracles were necessary in the Beginning of the Church to de­monstrate the Verity of Christian Religion against Iewes and Infidels; But there is the like Necessity of them still for these mens Conversion; All are not yet Reclaimed, nor will Believe Scripture without farther Evidence.

18. The Cavils of Sectaries against Miracles are Objection answered briefly reduced to these Heads. Some say They are done by the help of the Devil. First, how know they that? 2. Such was the cours and untrue Lan­guage of the Iewes against Christ, Luk 11. v. 15. He cast out Devils, and Devils help't him. 3. Why are not such Miracles wrought by Arians or other Hae­reticks, who surely come neerer Devillish Doctrin then Catholicks? They object again. We know not by Infallible and Certain Faith, that these Miracles, recounted in history, were done. I answer, No mo­re did the Primitive Christians, who beheld Christs Mi­racles, know them by Faith; For, they first saw them, and afterward Believed. We have therfore Indubi­table moral Assurance of these wonders, and that's enough. They say▪ 3. Many Miracles are Fained, and perhaps not truly related. To the first I answer. [Page 112] Gentils might have in like manner Cavilled at Christs The Gen­tils might have Ca­villed at Christs Miracles as Sectaries do at the Churches. own Miracles, and said they were Fained, yea, and at true Scripture also, Because counterfeit Gospels have been writ. Know then, we speak not here of either Fained, or Doubtful Miracles, But of such as are Clear, Visible, most severely examined, Attested upon oath, And manifestly proved, before they re­ceive warrant from either Church or Prelate. WeWe rely on no doubtful Miracles. have innumerable of These.

19. To the second I answer. Though Miracles on­ly recounted in History, are les assured then others approved by the Church, yet it is a degree of madnes to deny them all; And if some only of those many be True, we have our Intent. By the way, pray you, observe a pretty Humor of our Protestants. If theseSectaries believe fa­bles and deny Credit to Authen­tick Histo­ry. men read a Story (though never so Unauthentik) to the disgrace of a Pope, of a Prelate, of the Clergy or Religious, Praedicant, Clamitant, They noise it all a­broad, and vent it openly in Print, as most pretious ware, And all are bound to believe it; But when a very Saint, or a choise Historian writ's of a Miracle, Tell's the Time, the Place, the Circumstances, and make it morally Indubitable, That is decry'd as an Imposture, a Dream, a forg'd Tale, a meer Fiction and what not? Is this think ye Evangelical Since­rity? They object 4. Both Heathens and Haere­ticks had Miracles amongst them (Mr. Poole I think so­mewhere Triflles with the Wonders of Heathens and Apollonius Tyanaeus;) Ergo They are not Signs of Truths. Observe first, how the Argument (if of any Strength) strikes with equal force at Christs Miracles, as it doth at the Churches. I answer therfore with St. Austin: [Page 113] The few seeming Miracles of Heathens, or Haereticks,The Mira­cles of Hea­thens and Haereticks not compa­rable with those of the Church. are not comparable to those of the Church, either in Power, Greatnes, Continuance, splendor, or Majesty. The­se as far go beyond the other in Worth and Excellen­cy, as the raysing of a dead man to life surpasses the taking a little water in a sieve, or cutting of a whet­stone asunder with a Rasor; all sleight work fesible by Conjurers and the Devils help, and much of that nature, of those Egyptian wonders done before Moy­ses. Whence it is that Blessed St. Austin little esteem'd the Donatists Miracles, and those of other Haereticks. Aut falluntur, aut fallunt, saith the Saint, they either are deceived, or deceive. Se him in his Hom. 13. in Ioannem, and more de Civitat. lib. 10. c. 16. and in his Book de Vtilit. cred. c. 16. Concerning the name of Catholick which Protestants never had, nor Those they Nick-name Papists (a word newly coyned with their Gospel) ever yet lost, Read St. Austin contra E­pist. fondam. cap. 4. and de utilit cred. cap. 7. Christianus mihi nomen est (said the Ancient Pacianus (Catholicus co­gnomen, illud me nuncupat, istud ostendit. Christian is my Name, and Catholick my Surname, that in­deed names me, but this declares what I am, And in both these we Catholicks Glory.

CHAP. XI.
Arguments drawn from Reason against Protestants, upon the consideration of These declared Motives.

1. WE have seen already both the Weaknes andTwo Chur­ches very different. Strength, the Obscurity and Glory of two different Churches, Protestant and Catholick. The first pittifully Naked, The other richly Adorned with such Noble Marks of Truth, as force Reason to give a final Sentence, and say, If Religion be in the world, it must be found amongst those Christians who de­monstrate it Credible with most urgent and convin­cing Motives. But this Catholick Religion only doe's, and not Protestancy: For Protestants (I Assert it boldly) have not so much as one Rational Motive (much les the complexum of all now related) that works upon Prudence, and (Antecedently to their new Faith) makes them Believe as they do. If They have any such, my earnest petition is to hear of Them, or se them clearly layd forth to the Reason of other men; or, if They fail in this (as of necessity they must) let them Speak the plain Truth, Viz. That all They Write and Preach, is lost labor, whilst they go about to draw Rational men to a Religion, for which there is no Reason. And

2. Here I answer to the trivial Talk of Protestants (pretending to follow Reason in all they Believe) and [Page 115] once more Assert. They have nothing like a shadowProtestants have no shadow of Reason for their new Religion. of Reason previous to their Faith, either for their new Religion in General, or any particular Tenent in it. To prove my Assertion, We must distinguish be­tween the prudent Inducements that draw one to Be­lieve, and the Elicit Act of Faith it self. These Indu­cement Precede Faith, and are properly the Object of Discours. Faith solely relyes on Gods Revealed Te­stimony, without the mixture of Reason for its Motive, The Previous motives well pondered, bring with them an Obligation of Believing, and not Faith it self: For no man saith. I am obliged to believe, Because I belie­ve; But therfore I believe, Because antecedently to my Faith, I find my self obliged upon Prudent Reasons to believe as I do. Thus much supposed.

3. Make a search into all the Motives imaginable, that may Prudently induce a Seeker after Truth, to embrace Protestant Religion, you shall find nothing proposed to Reason, That hath the Appearance of Reason in it. For example. Ask first in General, upon what Motive Extrinsecal to their Faith, do these men own Protestancy, as the only true and pure Re­ligion? Why dare they so boldly prefer it before the Faith of the long standing Catholick Church, yea, or before that of their homebred Sectaries, of Quakers and Independents? Silence will prove the best An­swer, They can Shew no Motive at all. Perhaps we may hear them say, They reject the Ancient Church because of its Errors, and Novelties. If so, They first lamentably beg the question, and Suppose that▪ which is yet to be Proved. 2. They answer not to the Difficulty. For grant (which is utterly fal­se) [Page 116] that the Church hath erred, we ask not here for Arguments to Refute those Errors, But inquire after Rational and perswasive Motives, wherby Truth is proved to stand on the Protestant side? A poorA poor Comfort, to learn that my Religion is not good unles Secta­ries prove theirs to be better. Comfort, God know's, it is for me, To hear from a Protestant, that my Religion is not Right, unles upon weighty Reasons He convince me that his is better. For, say I, If the old Religion be naught, This new one may be worse, and more erroneous. Sectaries are therfore oblig'd to bring in palpable Evidences, wherby their Religion is positively demonstrated Credible and only the best, which shall never be done.

4. If yet, to answer the Difficulty, They take postRecourse to Scripture clear's not the diffi­culty. to Scripture for Proof of their Religion, They are out of the way, and at the Conclusion before they put the Premises. For in this place we make no inquiry after their formal act of Faith, nor the immediate Ob­ject therof, (we know well their Answer) But onlyProtestants have no Motives to believe contrary to the Church Or contra­ry to the Quakers. Ask for the Rational Motive (perceptible by all) that preced's Faith, and Prudently obligeth them to belie­ve, contrary both to the Ancient Church and their own honest Quakers; And this (if the Reply be pertinent) must be evidenced, Before they talk of a new Faith grounded on Scripture. Had the Primitive Christians, when they left of Judaism and Belei­ved Christ, been Ask't. Why they received Christs Doctrin, and preferred that before their old Religion, They would have answered: The blind se, the lame walk, the dead arise &c. We behold strange Wonders with our eyes, which powerfully work upon Reason, and cannot but proceed from God. When therfore our Protestants de­serted the Ancient Church, and taught a new Faith [Page 117] contrary to it, certainly some visible Apparent won­der,A new Re­ligion must have Signs of Truih and weigh­ty Induce­ments. some perswasive Sign of Truth should have ushe­red it in, and sounded the Trumpet before these new Preachers. All, convinced by Reason, should ha­ve cry'd out, Here is Antiquity, here is Vnity in Doctrin, here we se the Pedigree of our Ancient Church Shew'd forth. Now, and not before, our Eyes behold most glorious and un­doubted Miracles, God certainly speak's by these new men &c. But when we look about us, and find nothing to countenance this unknown Faith (which like a Stran­ger came amongst us) when we hear a Novelty preached without either Sign, Motive, or Inducement to ma­ke it Credible. When we se a new Religion broughtWords only given. in by uncommissioned men upon their bare parole, and unproved Fancies only: what can we think, But that both Arians, and Pelagians (yea, and all condemned Haereticks) have evidenced as strongly their old Errors, by a verbal venting of them, as Protestants do now their new Gospel? For beside Words you have nothing to warrant it.

5. Perhaps they will say, They are a part of Chri­stianity,Old Moti­ves no more for Prote­stants then for Arians. and Therfore the old Motives belong to them. I answer. No more then to Arians or Pelagians, who went as well under the name of Christians as Prote­stants do. O, But their Religion now professed is the Faith of the Primitive Church. I dare swear it, the Arians, and our modern Quakers will yetA claim to the Primi­tive Faith, no recei­ved Prin­ciple. say as boldly They believe exactly the very Doctrin which pure Scripture Teaches, But there is [...], a vast distance between saying and proving what is said, by a Rational satisfactory and received Principle. I say therfore, their bare Assertion of hold­ing [Page 118] the Primitive Faith (which we utterly deny) is so far from being either a probable or convincing Prin­ciple for this Religion, That it must be either further proved by Rational grounds, or, it is wholy Forceles and fall's to Nothing.

6. They say again: They have three evident Prin­ciples 3. Princi­ples of Pro­testants answered. to ground their new Faith on. First, What God speak's is true. 2. Gods pure and uncorrupted Word is in their hands. 3. They know what God speak's in this Word. I answer, the first Principle is certain. The second more then doubtful. The third, on which all Relies, and toucheth more upon their Faith, then on any Rational Antecedent Motive evidencing it, is demonstra­tively improbable: For, upon no Proof, upon no re­ceived Principle, By the light of no Rational Motive, can these men so much as meanly show, That They are better at knowing what God speak's in Scripture, then a whole ample learned Church, or, then Their own Ancestors both knew of old and believed for a thousand years together. These men long since de­ceased, held (and upon Scripture well understood) as firmly the Real Presence of Christs Sacred Body in the Eucharist, as a Trinity of Persons in one Divine Essence. The first, Protestants now Reject, theProtestants Reject and Admit at pleasure. other they Admit, And why. Upon what Convi­ction, upon what Rational Motive do they take and leave, assert and deny as they list? Press this and other like particulars home, instead of Reason or ra­tional Proofs, you shall have Their own reeling senti­ments Sectaries self-seem­ing no proof. given in for Answer. And thus, forsooth, it is. They read Scripture, and verily it seem's to them, It ought to be interpreted as they will have [Page 119] it. I Ask a Reason for this new Seeming, against the old received Sense, And that very seeming which is in question you have prooflesly returned for an answer. Observe well that I say here, and you will find Pro­testancy reduced to Fancy only.

CHAP. XII.
Protestants, for want of rational Mo­tives cannot convert an Infidel to Christian Faith.

1. IT hath often occurred to me: If by a supposedThey have no way to Convince a Heathen▪ impossibility (Schoolmen sometimes Argue so, and profitably) Popish Religion were utterly extin­guished, or, the Proofs thereof quite rased out of all mens Memory; yet, that Protestants with all they can in justice lay claim to touching Religion, should still stand in the world as now They do. This Thought, I say, hath more then once seized on me, Viz. How mean, how poor, how destitute and naked a Thing Protestancy would appear to be in the Eyes of either Iew, or learned Heathen Philosopher; For all it hath (if yet it have so much) is a borrowed Bible from others, But no Miracles, no undobted Marks of Truth, no certain Tradition, no Succession of Ancient Bishops, no Pastors, no Doctors, In fine, no Rational Motives (if this Supposition stand) can inable these new Owners of the Bible, to say with Assurance: This Book is Gods own [Page 120] Word, and in This or this Sense God speaks by it.

2. To clear the matter further, Imagin, That a learned Philosopher (no Christian) curious to learnA short Dialogue between a Philosopher and a Pro­testant. what Christian Religion is (as we now Suppose it on­ly among Protestants and other Sectaries) should for better satisfaction, Address himself to so wise a man as Mr. Poole, who I suppose will tell the Heathen, That God is to be Adored in a certain Religion. The Philosopher will Answer. I doe so; For my Reli­gion is to follow Principles of nature, to live a moral Life, to submit to the Government I am under, to do as I would be done by, And here is All. O, saith Mr. Poole: Sr, you have yet greater matters to look after, you must believe in Christ, if you will be saved. Who was this Christ, Demand's the Philosopher? Poole. He is God and Man, born of a Virgin, and one that manifested himself by a most Holy Life, wrought many Miracles, Dyed for us all, Arose from Death to Life, and afterward Ascended to Heaven. Phil. A strange Story indeed: But can you make the Story credible to my Reason? Poole. O Sr, it is un­doubted; For this, and much more, is writ in a Ho­ly Book we call Scripture, And you are bound to be­lieve it. Phil. In a Book called Scripture? Here is no Reason, for I ask upon what Motive can you make All that is writ in this Book credible to me? And here (because I shall instantly press the point farther) my Demand only is, From Whom you re­ceived Scripture, and how long since it came to your hands? We had it, saith Mr. Poole, about a hun­dredWhen, and from whom Sectaries had their Bible. years agon, partly from men that now are (sup­pos'd) forgot, (I think they were called Papists) part­ly [Page 121] from other Haereticks as Arians, Graecians of no great Credit, (for they are contrary to us.) Phil. And is it possible? Dare you admit of this strange and My­sterious Bible, upon no stronger proof, then the Au­thority of Haereticks and such beguiled men. Answ. We do so, For we have no better Testimony. Phil. What Professors of Christianity had you in the world before your time, That taught truely, and purely the Do­ctrin of your Bible? Poole. For a thousand years at least we know not of any. The best I can mention are the later Graecians, and yet They highly dissent from us in points very fundamental, as I read in Leo Alatius against Hottinger, Arcudius, and other Authors. Phil. Tell me once more. Had you no ProfessorsNo Pastors, no Prote­stant Bis­hops. of your Protestancy before these last hundred years, no Protestant Bishops, no Pastors, no Doctors, that handed unto you this Bible? Poole. None at all. Phil. That is pittiful, and makes me suspect your Religion. However, since these last hundred years, have you made any known and notable Conversions upon Infidels by Preaching the Doctrin of your Bible, or have you wrought undoubted Miracles in Confirmation of its Truth? Answ. We must Confess the want of great Conversions, and of known Miracles also. Phil. Satisfy me yet further in one doubt? When you are at variance amongst your selves, concerning the difficil passages of this Book (which are many,No cert. Iudge to reconcile differences. for I have read it) who have you to Reconcile those differences, in whose certain judgement do you final­ly Acquiesce? Answ. We acknowledge no infallible Teacher, no certain Judge on Earth, every man gives his private sentiment, concerning those difficulties, [Page 122] though not infallibly, And 'tis not in our power to do more. Phil. Here can be no unity in Doctrin. ButNo Com­mission to teach un­certain Do­ctrin. say on, I beseech you: Tell me who sent you to teach these uncertain Sentiments of your Bible, from whom had you Commission to preach such unsetled Doctrin? You know that in Civil affaires, if one uncommissioned assume to himself the Title of Legate, or any Dignity in a Commonwealth, he is either Traitor, Tyrant, or both. You call your selves Legates sent from God, you assume the Dignity of Priesthood, give me war­rant for either, show your letters Missive; For if you cannot, I may as prudently believe Arius old Haeresy, as your new learning, Truely Sr, replyes Mr. Poole, my Answer is: The Lord, I hope, senr us; I can­not say more.

3. Here the Philosopher busies his thoughts, and question's Reason, whether he may in prudence groundThe Philo­sophers re­flection. his Belief in Christ upon a Mysterious and yet unevi­denced Book, which above thousand years together, was never own'd by any true Professors of Christs, Doctrin? Whether he may do so upon the bare Word of these late men, who without Mission began their Preaching only a hundred years agon? Who have no unity, want Miracles, have made no Conver­sions, nor are able to tell him, what the Book saith in those difficil places that puzzle his understanding? It is impossible, saith he, to Acquiesce, without fur­ther Proofs drawn from Reason. Tell me therfore, good Mr. Poole, seeing Scripture, as you say, contains strange Mysteries above my Reach, and no few seem­ing Contradictions, which, standing in reason, ra­ther affright, then invite me to accept of it, can [Page 123] you give me Assurance by good Motives or Argu­mentsProtestants cannot pro­ve the Ho­ly Scriptu­re. Not from Papists. extrinsecal to the Book, That it is Divine, or writ by the holy Ghost, and not by Chance of Igno­rance or Illusion? Answ. I can. First the Pa­pists once owned this Book as Gods own hand Wri­ting. Phil. O, never mention these men, They are now, as we suppose, forgotten. Surely you are able to evidence your Book, which is the sole Ground of your Faith, without Ayde or Arguments borrowed from Papists. I'll do it therfore, saith Mr. Poole. The Spirit of God bears witnes with my Spirit, that this book is Divine, and Gods Sacred Word. I am yet an Infidel, answer's the Philosopher, Nor from the Spirit. and know little of Gods Spirit, much les of yours: my search is only after Prudent Motives, to which Reason ought to yeild and accept of this Book as Sa­cred and Divine. Which, Sr. you are oblig'd to produce, and not wink and fight it out with me, by an unknown Spirit, which in Real Truth, warrant's as well a Jew, to make good his Talmud, or a Turk his Alcoran, as you your Bible. There is yet one Ar­gument more, saith Mr. Poole, to prove the DivinityNor from the Maje­sty of Stile. of Scripture independent of Popish Tradition. viz. The Majesty of the Stile, the Sublimity of the Doctrin, the Purity of the Matter &c. These, and the great Reverence all bear to Scripture seem powerful Induce­ments to admit of it, as Gods Word. Philosop. They are strong Fancies of your own head, and how void of all Reason, I will evidently demonstrate.Scripture not like the first Princi­ples in Na­ture. First, no man can Assert that Scripture is the Pri­mam Cognitum, or, per se Notum, a Thing known Im­mediately by its own light, as the first Principles [Page 124] of Nature are, (which yet this Majesty proves or no­thing;) for if so, I should se it, yea, and All without dispute, would admit of one, and the same Canon of Scrip­ture. 2. As much Majesty appear's in the Book of Wis­dom, or Ecclesiasticus, which you Reject, as in the Song of Salomon, or, Ecclesiastes Admitted by you. 3. If contrary to our Supposition, we might once call to mind that now forgotten Church of Popery, There was no want (you know it well) either of exteriour Lustre, Glory, Majesty, Conversions, Miracles, or, of Preach­ing sublime Doctrin, to set it forth: Yet this Glo­ry and Majesty you scornfully cast of, as an Insuffi­cient Proof for that Church; and here without ei­ther Conscience or Reason, you Adore a far lesser Exte­riour Majesty, and by it will Out-brave me with a Book, the Truths wherof are yet as unmanifested to me by Arguments drawn from Reason, as those very Writings are, which you call Apocryphal.

4. And here by the way, observe your greatNor by the Purity of it, which is the thing to be pro­ved. Simplicity in arguing. You prove the Divinity of Scripture by the Purity and Majesty of it. The first is in question; For I, who have perused Scripture, and find no few seeming Contradictions in it, must have my doubts cleared, and that Purity evidenced by Proofs extrinsecal to Scripture, before I believe it Pure. Concerning the Majesty of the Stile, Learn your Error. Two things are to be distinguished inThe Exte­riour Con­nexion of words, not the Divi­nity of Scri­pture. Scripture. The Exteriour Syntax or Connexion of the words we read, which solely considered is common to other pious Books writ by Holy men, without Special Assistance of the Holy Ghost; And here is all the visible Majesty that Scripture presents, either to our [Page 125] eyes or Reason, which therfore convinceth nothing.What ma­kes Scrip­ture Divi­ne. The other is (and herein consists the Vertue and Majesty of Scripture) That God by his firm Decree, and gracious Ordinance hath pleased to seal as it were, This Book, and own it as his Sacred Word. Now this signature, because External to the Letter or Syn­tax of Scripture, is no Object of Sense, nor your reason: For you do not evidence it by AntecedentNone pro­ves the Bi­ble by his Faith, but his Faith by the Bible antecedent­ly owned Sacred. The Re­verence shewed to Scripture▪ no proof. rational motives. You may well say, it is the Object of your Faith, or Fancy; But, I hope, you will not prove the Divinity of your Bible by your Faith, but Evidence your Faith by your Bible, Antecedently proved Divine to Reason, by good Inducements. Hence I An­swer to that weak Argument drawn from the Re­spect and Reverence, which all give to Scripture, And say, it carrieth not one grain of Weight with it. For, even Christians (much more Infidels) must first know upon Prudent Inducements, That the Bible is Sacred, before they Reverence it, and not prove it Sacred Because they Reverence it. For none proves this man to be a Prince, or Prelate, because he doth him Homage; But therfore He complyes with that duty, because he is Antecedently known or owned for a Person of such quality. Here, saith the Philoso­pher, are a few Exceptions against your Religion, and my Difficulties proposed. To solve them,

5. Believe it, old Papists hitherto forgot, mustCatholicks prove their Religion. shew themselves and be remembred again. They, and only they, though we Imagin no Scripture writ­ten, are able by an Oral and never interrupted Tradition to Assure a Heathen of Christ our Lord, of the Mira­cles he wrought, of the Apostles he called to Found a [Page 126] Church, of the great Conversions they made. They,And the Scripture. and they alone, can warrant Authentick written Scrip­ture, and show who writ it, and how it was handed down by continued Professers of their Faith Age after Age, to this present day. They, and only they, do still preserve Vnity in Doctrin, Reclaim Infidels,Shew their Creden­tials. Produce their Credentials for what they Preach, and teach. They only can shew to all the World their Popes, their Bishops, their Pastors, their Doctors, who successively have taught and governed Christs Flock, since the Beginning of Christianity. They, and onlyAnd glo­rious Marks of a long standing Church. they, shew you a Church, marked, and made glo­rious by innumerable, known, and undoubted Mira­cles, a Faith seal'd with the Blood of innumerable Blessed Martyrs, Beautified with such eminent Sancti­ty and Holynes of life in thousands, as hath caused Admiration to very Infidels, and drawn in no few to follow the like Austerity. Such are the Inducements which plead strongly for the Roman Catholick Reli­gion, and no other. They fully convince Reason, and prove, That if God (as I noted above) can con­quer Infidelity and Haeresy by the force of prudential Motives, here they are seen; If ever he spoke byAs God spake an­ciently by his Prophets and Apost­les, he speak's now by the Church. the mouth of his Prophets, or Apostles, he speak's now by the mouth of this one, and only Society of Christians; yea, and he yet useth (as I may say) the same powerful Language: For if the miracles of our Blessed Lord, and of his Apostles; if their efficacious Doctrin, their Sanctity of life, their Blood shedding were Conviction enough to Infidels in those days, They are now as forceable in the Church, and as manifest to our Senses; Which caused that Blessed man Richard de [Page 127] S. Victore lib. 1. de Trin. c. 2. to exclaim: Si error est quem credidimus, à te decepti sumus. If it be error we Believe, it is you who have deceived us. Iis enim si­gnis &c. For, with such Signs this Doctrin is confir­med, which can proceed from none, but you only. If we speak of unquestioned Miracles, as are the Re­suscitation of dead men, More since the times of the Apostles have been raised from death to life, then in the Primitive Age. To deny these miracles, is is to deny all History which supplyes the want of sen­ses in Those, who saw them not. To owm them, to disown Protestancy, and profess plain Popery. Our new men Therfore speak at random, when they talk of I know not what Abstracted Evidences for Chri­stian Religion, and Tell us, that the Motives for Scripture are agreed on by all. I answered above.No Eviden­ce for Chri­stian Reli­gion in ge­neral, nor for Scriptu­re but by the Church. There neither are, nor can be Motives for Christian Religion in general, if the word Christian compriseth all professed Haereticks; For were it so, God would deceive us, and make Falshood as credible as Truth. No Motives can evidence Scripture, unles they first evidence a Church, that indubitably gives us certain Scripture; Which is to say, in other Terms: All Motives, as well for the verity of Christian Faith as Scripture, are only to be found in the Roman Ca­tholick Church, and in no other Society of Christians. If Protestants can prove their Faith, or Scripture, by so much as a likelyhood of either These now Named,Sectaries are obliged in Con­science to make their Motives known. or any better Inducements, They are obliged in Con­science to make them known, that men at last may se that clear Light of the Gospel, wherof they end­lesly talk in their Pulpits. True Candor and Sin­cerity [Page 128] cannot but speak plainly to this Point without intricate Tergiversation, if so much as a spark of zeal lives in their Harts, and Rational Motives do not fail them. We expect a candid answer.

CHAP. XIII.
Protestancy for want of Rational Moti­ves dishonor's Christ, and makes way for any new coyned Haeresy.

1. I prove the Assertion. That Religion highlyProtestancy dishonor's Christ. dishonors Christ, which must of Necessity con­fess, That a False erroneous Church is more emi­nently glorious, and better marked with all evident Signs of Truth, then that pure Orthodox Religion is, which Christ hath now established in the world. But Protestants must confess thus much, And to pro­ve my Minor ad hominem, I need no more But twoProved by their owne Principles. certain Principles of their own. One is. The Ro­man Catholick Religion hath been at least for a thou­sand years Erroneous (yea some say Anti-Christian) it still contradict's the Primitive Doctrin, Holds an Un­bloody Sacrifice, Transubstantiation, Purgatory &c. con­trary to Scripture. Such Doctrins gave Sectaries just cause, as they say, to leave this Church, and Lash us so severly as they have done, to pull down our Monasteries, to Bannish the Ancient Clergy, to Ruin those who professed our Religion▪ They were [Page 129] not meer Trifles, nor petty mistakes which made our kind harted Countrymen to use us so unkindly. Here is my first Principle granted by Protestants. The se­cond is as clear, viz. That their new Religion of Protestancy, as it stands now Reformed, is the pure, true, and most Orthodox Christian Religion; For, set this and the Primitive Church aside of three or four hundred years continuance, You never yet had (say they) any Society of men that taught pu­rely Christs Doctrin. No God wot, a Deluge of Popish Errors overran Christianity for a thousand years toge­ther, until these later men brought unto us the Joy­ful Tydings of their Refined Gospel.

2. Upon these two undeniable Suppositions, you shall plainly se what an Eternal Disgrace, what Af­fronts Protestants will needs put upon our Dearest Saviour (do what we can to hinder them.) He Bles­sed Lord founded a Church (it cost him dear, the Effusion of his Sacred Blood) and promised us an In­deficient glorious Church to be raised out of all Na­tions; yet after all these ample Promises, he hathA glorious Church promised, and an ob­scure one shewed us of Prote­stancy. given us a pittiful one indeed, no better a Thing then Protestancy, which is utrerly disgraced, obscur'd▪ dis­honor'd, and quite put down by the Majesty, the Mi­racles, the Antiquity, the Vnity, the Sanctity of that Church which must now, forsooth, be stiled False, Erroneous, and Antichristian. If this pass for cur­rent Doctrin, you have with it sport enough for theHow Christ is disho­nored. Devil (and Protestants only make it) Who upon their warrant, may most justly reproach both Christ and his Church, and thus powerfully plead at the bar of Rea­son. Saviour of the world. My false Popish Anti-Christian [Page 130] Church hath stood a thousand years in Er­ror,How the Devil may plead and most ratio­nally, if Protestants speak Truth. yours of Protestancy only a hundred in Truth. Mine both is, and hath been Universally spread the whole World over, yours yet see's little out of some few corners in Europe. My Church hath had most learned General Councils, yours never any. Mine produceth a long continued Succession of Popes, of Bishops, of Pastors; yours not a man before Luther. Mine is glorious with those very Notes and Marks of Truth, which you manifested in your own Sacred Person, and induced Infidels to Believe you. Your late Congregation shewes nothing like them. My false Church Fasteth, Prayeth, Contemplat's, Con­verts more then yours, it hath more Unity in Faith; Yours is Rent and torn apieces with Divisions. And Loe, great God; Here is that Glorious Edifice which you, after all your perfect Idea's of a Church, have erected; For this you dyed, and never shed your Blood to Establish my false erroneous Synagogue of Popery. Permit Reason to judge in this case, and say, whether the Devil be an ill Advocate, if Pro­testants avouch Truth, And stand to their professed Doctrin; That the Church of Rome (drowned in a Deluge of Errors) abandoned the first Verities of Christian Religion for a thousand years together, And that their Church, as it is now in Being, is the most choise, goodly, and only refined Religion in the world.

3. My last Argument hinted at in the Title isFounda­tions laid of new Haere­sies. thus. A new coyned Haeresy, without Motives of Credibility, may be as well, or better defended by plain speaking Scripture, then Protestancy. It is, [Page 131] believe me, the easiest thing in the world to draw Haeresy out of the Words of Scripture. To make good my Assertion, Read first St. Hierom in his Dia­logueS. Hie­roms Re­flection. Adversus Luciferianos, Paris Print, anno 1509. at the very end of the Dialogue. This great Doctor then, to reduce some beguiled by the Luciferians, who held that a Bishop, or Priest, once Deserting their Faith, could never again be admitted into the Church, (which they endeavored to prove by that text of St. Matthew cap. 5. v. 13. You are the Salt of the earth; but if the salt hath lost its savor, wherwith shall it be salted? Ad nihilum valet ultra, it is good for no­thing hereafter &c.) St. Hierom, I say, to refute the­se, hath an excellent Reflection. Nec sibi blandian­tur, si de Scripturae Capitulis videntur sibi assumere &c. Let them not flatter themselves if they seem to assume out of Scrip­ture Of Errors drawn from Scripture, what they say; For the Devil hath spoken things out of Scripture; Scripture (God know's) doth not consist in what we read, but in the sense of it. Other­wise, saith the Saint, Possumus & nos &c. I am able to coin a new Opinion out of Scripture, and say, That none are to be received into the Church that wear shoos, or have two coats; For that is Scripture.

4. It were most easy to go on with this true Re­flection of St. Hierom, and draw new Haeresies everyParticu­lars. hour from Scripture. One will say: The Sab­bath-day is to be kept Sacred in place of Sunday, and bring Scripture for it Exod. 20. 8. Another. That we are as well to abstain from Eating of Blood, or things Strangled, as from Fornication; it is a De­cree of the Apostolical Council, and Scripture, Actor. 15. 29. A third: That Infants aae not to be [Page 132] Baptized, There is ground for it Matth. 28. A fourth: That we are not to Contend in Law, but quit our Coat, if any man will take it, and Cloak also, Matt. 5. A fifth: That no Euangelical Preacher is to carry Gold or Silver with him, or, have two Coats Matt. 10. 7.

5. Suppose that a new Sect of men should rise upA new Sect of men ri­sing up. this year in whole Multitudes, and rigidly adhere to the exact letter of Scripture in these Particulars, is it possible to convince them by Scripture? It is impossible. And have they not, think ye, more plain Text's of Gods Word for these Tenents, then Pro­testants have for pure Protestancy? Yea, most evi­dently; For they produce nothing but express Scrip­ture, without Glosses. And do they not believe in Christ, and admit of every jota in Scripture? Yea, and therfore are sound in Fundamentals. Moreover. Do they not acknowledge both Christ and Scripture upon the same Tradition, or other Evidences, as Prote­stants do? Yea, and are ready, perhaps, to joyn in Belief with them, when they se Scripture as plain for any Protestant Doctrin. They only add a Superstru­ctureHave as good a Church as Luther had. of these Articles. And have They not as good a Church as Luther and Calvin had a year after their new Preaching? Yes, They swarm with multitu­des of Followers, and multitudes make a Church. Why then is not the Belief of these men (all ground­ed in Scripture) as good as that of Protestants? I think it is (of two Evils) the Better, if more Words of Scripture can more advance the Worth of either Religion. But I tell you, and truly, That neither of them is good, because unreasonable; and they [Page 133] are therfore unreasonable, Because no mans Rea­son can in this present state of Christianity (whilst God Govern's us by the Light of Prudence) fall upon a Religion, or Believe a Church which evidently Ap­pearsA Religion without prudent Motives is no Religion. naked, and destitute of all Rational motives, inductive to True Belief. Now Scripture alone, without the Interpretation of a Church evidenced by forcible Motives, is, what you please to make of it. And a Church not at all manifested by rational motives, is no Church, and Therfore cannot interpret Scripture. If you ask why we say, That Protestancy is so bare of Motives and consequently no Church? I have answered above. Because this Religion never had, nor shall have any such perswasive Inducements, or the like Signs of Truth for it, as Christ Iesus and his Blessed Apostles manifested when they first taught the World, and by virtue of those Motives, gained in­numerable Souls to Christianity. Look then about you, and find me out a Society of Christians, that is evidenced by such Signs as hold a strict Analogy with those of Christ and his Apostles, and you have the True Church. But this is the Roman Catholick ChurchWhat pro­ved Chri­stianity anciently, proves now the Roman Catholick Church. only, and no other, as I have largely proved. Da­re you therfore own the true Christ, and his Blessed Apostles who wrought Miracles, lived Holily, preached Efficaciously upon such Motives? You must also own this true Church, upon the like grounded Proofs. We­re Miracles, Sanctity, Efficacious Doctrin &c. Ra­tional inducements to Believe in Christ? They are now both powerful and perswasive to Believe this Church. To Deny, as I said above, all Miracles to this Church, even the greatest (as is the Raysing of [Page 134] dead men to life) is to Deny Sense, Reason, History, The forcea­ble Motives of Faith cannot be taken from our Church. and all Authority; And to appropriate These, and other Motives to Protestants, is only an attempted Pla­giary, which cannot be done. It is true, These men glory in a stolen Bible, (and 'tis all they can pretend to, besides the bare name of a fruitles and unevidenced Church) but the marks and Characters of a true Church They shall never have, nor take from us. And thus much of infallible Teachers, and the Motives of true Faith.

THE SECOND DISCOVRS OF SCRIPTVRE.

THE FIRST CHAPTER.
Scripture is useles, if none declare in­fallibly the sense of▪ it.

1. WHen on the one side I consider the Sacred Book of Scripture, inrich't with the deep Secrets of Gods Divine Wisdom, I mean, the great Myste­ries of our Christian Faith, which highly Transcend the Reach of human Reason: AndA Myste­rious Bible and Falli­ble Tea­chers, in­consistant. on the other side, cast my thoughts on a Thing that talks of those Mysteries all alone in an English Pulpit, Professing himself fallible in all he saith, (as He must do having no other Oracle of Truth to teach him but a Mysterious Bible, and his own weak Reason) when, I say, I consider the vast Disproportion be­tween such a fallible Master, and this infallible My­sterious Book, I cannot, for my life, Discouer what [Page 136] either He, or his Bible (as 'tis used by him) is good for. It is most apparently useles and unprofitable in his hands, at least in all points of Controversies now debated amongst Christians, And thus much I will Demonstrate.

2. To go on groundedly. Do not we see by too lamentable experience as many Strong Pretenders to Scripture, as there are or have been Sects and Reli­gions in the world? All acknowledge the Book forAll pretend Scripture. Gods Sacred Word, But, highly dissent from one another, when they come to examen the particu­lar revealed Verities therin concerning Religion. The Papists say this Book speaks for them: Protestants say 'tis on their Side: Arians deny all, and will have Scripture for them: The Donatists say it speak's Dona­tism: The Quakers Quakerism, the Puritans Puritanism, and so do all other Sects or Religions, even to the Bottom, call them yet as you please.

3. It is most evident, That These Dissenting men speak not the Truth of Scripture; For they contradict one another, and in matters of High Importance. And, 'Tis as clear, They all speak not the Truths of Scripture Infallibly. What shall we do in this Con­fusionAll deliver not the Truths of Scripture. and robbing Scripture of its Verities? Shall every one be left to his own Spirit and Judgement of Discerning? If so, The Arian may be an Arian still, the Socinian a Socinian, the Donatist a Donatist, which is to say: Haereticks may laudably Continue in Their Haeresy, without Restraint or Blame. Will you ha­ve an Arian take Mr. Pooles word, that Protestants only exactly deliver God's Verities revealed in Scri­pture? The Arian laughs at so great a folly, and [Page 137] tell's Mr. Poole: Becaus we are both fallible Men, your Word, Sr, is as forceles to perswade me, That Scri­pture speaks what you would have it, as mine is, to work in you my contrary Opinion. What is next to be done? Shall we have Recours to the very Let­ter of Scripture, and hope to find Debates clearly de­cided between these two Disputants? It is impossi­ble. For, the Letter of Scripture is the very thingScripture les clear, Occasions dissentions, and therfo­re cannot End them. they quarrel about; how then can it. when it occa­sioneth the Iarrs, be a useful means to Reconcile them? For example. The Arian allegeth for his Haeresy, that Text of St. Iohn c. 14. 28. My Father is greater then I, and concludes from thence that Christ is les then his Father, and consequently not the High God. So the Arians speak. Mr. Poole, to prove the Verity of Christs Godhead, allegeth (and thought it no robbery to be equal with God) also that of St. Iohn 1. 5. 20. This is the true God. Observe.

4. Here are two seeming Antilogies (Christ is less Two seem­ing Anti­logies. then is Father, Christ is Equal to his Father) drawn out of two certain revealed Verities, which yet Scriptu­re reconcil's not: For the whole Bible no where ex­presly saith, That Christ according to Humain nature is Inferiour to his Father, and Equal to him in his God­head; which, though a Catholick Truth, is not so fully expressed, as to gain an Arian to Believe it, who yet stands as much for Scripture as any Protestant doth. That is his Impertinency, saith Mr. Poole, Becaus he will not se Light put before his Eyes. Farwell, Sr, if you talk so idlely. The Arian will storm as much at you, in not yeilding to the Express letter of his Text, My Father is greater then I, as you do at him, [Page 138] in not yeilding to yours, He thought it no robbery &c. Fallible in­terpretation dissatisfa­ctory. O, saith Mr. Poole, I'll explicate his Text. You ex­plicate: And who are you? What is your Fallible explication worth? The Arian explicats your Text al­so. Se the wicked Volkelius in his pestiferous BookScripture explicated by Arians. entitled De verâ religione, lib. 5. cap. 10. where he large­ly discusseth St. Pauls words: Qui cum in forma Dei esset, and saith first, that particle [...], or, formâ, si­gnifies not the same nature with God; sed speciem tan­tum & similitudinem, which similitude, He deposed, taking on him the form of a fervant, Quod in Altissimum Deum cadere nequaquam potest. Next he glosseth on tho­fe other words: Esse se aequalem Deo. Dei enim est, saith He, tempestatibus, morbis, morti, daemonibus imperare, ut nutui ejus sine morâ parêre cogantur. Dei est, ab hominibus re­ligiosè coli atque adorari. Dei est, in rebus omnes hominum vires longè superantibus invocari. Vnde efficitur, Christum merito in Dei forma Deoque aequalem fuisse à Paulo dici, quod tantâ ab ipso potestate in omnes res Coelo subjectas donatus erat, ut mari, ventis, morbis, morti, denique summâ cum poten­tiâ imperaret, ideo (que) à plurimis divino honoris atque invoca­tionis cultu afficeretur, quia, videlicet, summâ hâc auctorita­te atque potentiâ quam in se perpetuò manentem, cum aliis quoque communicare poterat, signis (que) mirandis Deum tan­quam, vera ejus effigies referebat. Thus Volkelius, whose Latin (to conceil his impiety) I english not. In the 11. Chap. of his fifth book, He explicates those words: Verbum caro factum est, and in other places confesseth, that Christ is truely the Son of God, Becaus God be­got him in a particular manner by the Operation of the Holy Ghost in a Virgins womb, and Becaus he ho­nored him with a Permanent power of working miracles, [Page 139] and other admirable Gifts above all other Creatures. Nay, he saith: He is true God, and Vnigenitus Patris (but not Altissimus Deus Creator, of Heaven and Earth) Be­caus the name of God is common to creatures of a lower rank then Christ was, who by reason of his Sin­gular Dignity, and Supereminent Endowments, is to be Adored before all other creatures, whether in Hea­ven or Earth; And therfore merit's the Title of true God, yet not Dei Altissimi, of the High God.

5. I intend not, by giving you These impious Glosses of an Haeretick, any way to favor his execra­ble Haeresy (Though I profess ingeniously they are as good, if not better, then the best Interpretation that Mr. Poole gives of Scripture, against the Catholick Church) But only to shew you, how useles a Book;These im­pious Glos­ses are laid forth only, to show Se­ctaries how Scripture may be abused. sole Scripture is, with These men to end their Differen­ces, yea, and what monsters are produced out of it, by those that pretend most to Gods written Word. And what is the reason think ye? That these Sole-Scriptu­rists, These Arians, These Protestants, These Anabap­tists &c. are so various, so opposite in their Tenents, begot, as they think, out of the true written Word From whence the abuse pro­ceeds. of God? Is it for want of wit, learning, or langua­ges, They thus Differ? No. Is it for the want of Study and conferring one place of Scripture Clear as they think, with others Obscure? No, Both Arians, and Protestants have done this long ago. Is it that all these Sectaries go against their Conscience, or, wilfully draw Gods Word to a pervers sense He never spake? (let the Innocent cast the first stone at the Guilty) Truly I suspect it in Some, yet cannot judge that All are Conscious of so hideous an Impiety.

[Page 140]6. The true Reason therfore is. These Sectaries,The true reason is given. after the Rejecting of Gods infallible Church, the Oracle of Truth, will, by no more then half an Ey of Human Reason, dive into the deep Secrets of Gods Eternal Wisdom Obscurely revealed in Scripture (and herein they neither shew Judgement nor Learning:) With this pur-blind Eye of weak Reason They go to work, They steer on their cours, they judge, They Deter­min, They Define, They Pronounce their fallible Sentiments on these High Mysteries, which never the lesse Reason alone is uncapable to comprehend, or Master. Hence,Why Secta­ries vary as they do. They vary as they do. Hence it is, they weary them­selves out with opposite frivolous Interpretations of Gods Word (which is but one, whilst they are so di­vided in their Tenents.) Hence it is, That almost every year we have a new Religion broach'd in Eng­land. Such a jumbling we must expect, such end­les Dissentions amongst them; And, tis a just Jud­gement of God for their Pride, who truely are no mo­re but poor Schollers, yet Disdain to learn of a good Master, that's willing to teach them all Truth.

7. I call it a Iumbling; for, from Scripture (by Rea­son of its les clear speaking) arise these Dissentions, and though it be quoted a Thousand times, says noEndles Confusion about the sense of Scripture. more now, Then it did sixteen hundred years agon, And therfore cannot end them, They next fall upon a doubtful conferring one Passage of the Bible with another: Several Versions and Languages are examined, much Adoe they make, And all is to know what God speaks in such Texts, but without fruit; For their Differences are as High as ever, And neither Party gaines or looses the Victory, Since Scrip­ture [Page 141] alone, nor, the Comparing of Texts together, is able to draw either side, from their Preconceived Opi­nion. After the Conferring of places, They are hard at it, with Fallible Explications, when behold, ex­press Scripture is cast away by these two Combatants; And now either the One must learn of the Other, what God speaks in Scripture by a human fallible Ex­plication (which is no Scripture) or nothing is conclu­ded.Arians and Protestants equally un­certain. Who is then to be held the Master Interpre­ter, the Arian, or Protestant? Neither. And they have both Reason for it; For, neither ought to yeild in their own Principles: The quarrel Therfore goes on, and is endles. If after Their fallible Explica­tions of Scripture they proceed to Inferences: This followes, That followes &c. All is plain Sophistry, forVpon what unsteedy Founda­tions Ha­resy stands. Scripture Vitiated with a fals Explication, can never Support a true Illation. And upon such unsteedy Foundations all Haeresy stand's. Scripture not under­stood is the Ground; doubtful Collations of places, fallible Explications, fals Illations are the Superstructure: They have no more. And thus you se how useles a BookWhy Scrip­ture is use­les in the hands of an Haere­tick. A question propose, and answered. of Scripture is in the hands of an Haeretick, who neither can tell me so much as Truely, much les In­fallibly, what God speak's in These High controver­ted Points of our Christian Faith.

8. But you'l ask how then happens it, that Mr. Poo­le and Protestants hit right in yeilding an Assent to some Catholick Verities; for Example to a Trinity of Persons in one Divine Essence, and Contrary to Aria­nismProtestants acknowled­ge a Trini­ty by Over­sight. Profess the Son to be consubstantial with his Eter­nal Father in one Divine Nature? I answer. They light upon these Verities by an Oversight, or, as I [Page 142] may say, meerly by Chance. By Oversight; For be­lieve it, had Luter thought well On't, He might with more ease have denyed These High Mysteries of our Faith, then the Real change of bread in the Holy Eucha­rist. By Chance: For, as by chance, They StoleOr by Chance. a Bible from the old Catholick Church, so casually They took from her, Here and There (as it pleased Fancy) somewhat of her Ancient Tradition also. And upon This ground of Tradition, or, the infallible Doctrin of the Catholick Church, They Believe (asVnawares engaged in a Belief They la­bour in vain to find Scrip­ture for it. well as they can) These Sublime mysteries. Being thus unawares engaged in a Belief, They weary their Heads, and wear out their Bible to find expres Scripture for it, (which cannot be found) Becaus, forsooth, they will Believe nothing upon Tradition, or the Churches infallible Doctrin. I say Expres Scripture cannot be found, that Assert's Three distinct Persons in one Divine Es­sence, or, the Word to be Consubstantial with his Eter­nal Father; Therfore if they Believe these Verities, They must Ground their Faith, not upon sole Scripture, But on Scripture explicated by that never erring Oracle of Truth the Catholick Church: Or, on the Word of God not written, which we call Tradition. You seSectaries must own the Chur­ches Inter­pretation, or become Arians. therfore, how our Protestants, though in Actu signato, they seemingly Reject Tradition, and the Churches Inter­pretation upon Scripture, yet in Actu exercito They own both, and must necessarily do so, or become plain Arians. Yet here they are pinch'd again: For, if they Be­lieve these Mysteries upon Tradition, or on Scripture interpreted by the Church, They are neither Papists, In doing so They are neither Papists nor Protestants. nor Protestants. No Papists; for Papists hold Tradi­tion and the Churches Interpretation infallible. No [Page 143] Protestants; For They profess to Believe no more then God hath expressed in his written Word, Though now they must leave that Hold, and believe upon the Catholick Motive, or renounce the Faith of these Articles.

9. If Mr. Poole pretend expres Scripture for these High Verities of Christian Faith, The surest way will be to produce it, without Remitting me to other Au­thors, or, Adding his fallible Glosses to Gods Word; For every Arian knows well to Distinguish between express Scripture, and the superadditions of Mens Glosses, fallible Explications, Interpretations &c. Now, ifWhen Sec­taries inter­pret Scri­pture truely They bor­row light from Church Doctrin. in this particular Mystery of the Trinity, Mr. Poole In­terpret's Scripture truely, it is not, God knows, His skill that doth it; No. The Reason is, Becaus be bor­rows the Truth from the Churches Interpretation of Scripture, and so fights against an Arian with anothers Weapon. Where, by the way observe a strange proceeding of Protestants, who, when They disputeA strange proceeding of Prote­stants. out of Scripture against an Arian, They'l have the Churches Interpretation good against him, and His naught against them: And, when they Dispute by Scripture against Catholicks, They will have the Churches Interpretation forceles against themselves, and Their own wretched Glosses powerfully strong a­gainst the Church. Were there ever such Doings in the world before these dayes?

10. But we have not yet said all concerning Scriptu­re, Interpretations of Scripture, Inferences out of Scri­pture &c. Wherfore Becaus we are gone so far, Par­don a further trouble, of giving you a few more Notes on this Subject. They will shew you, if I mistake [Page 144] not, upon what rottering Principles the Grand Cheat of Protestant Religion stand's, for want of Infallible Teachers.

CHAP. II.
The Fallacy of Protestants concerning Scripture, and the Interpretation of Scripture, is discovered.

1. WE have almost seen enough how Sectaries, either through Malice, Ignorance, or both, make Holy Scripture a Book that proves all Religions, Like Wittingtons bells, It ring's out what Fancy will: For in Scripture, is Arianism, if we believe the Arians: Here is Protestanism, if we believe Protestants: Here is Qua­kerism, if we believe Quakers: Here is what you will, andAll Haere­ticks lay alike claim to Scriptu­re, and the sense of it. what you will not; And it must be so, whilst These men have a Bible in their hands, and Construe all as they pleas, Gloss as they pleas, Interpret as they pleas, with­out Limit or Restraint. It had been much better, Me­thinks, if such Sole-Scripturists had never read Scripture in these debated Points of Religion, then after their reading, to se it made a Book that only begets Dis­sentions; so grosly wronged and abused it is. Yet no Body is in fault: Pure Scripture cryes the Arian, pu­re Scripture saith the Protestant, nothing but Scripture saith the Puritan, And there is no Redress for these Evils. All run on in their wilful misunderstanding [Page 145] Scripture, not one of them will yeild to another, nor (which is worst of all, and plain Perversnes) Seek after a means (which is yet offered them) to come to a right understanding of it.

2. Truely, I have often wondred at our Protestants, (men, as they say, of a more Sober Temper then your Quakers and Puritans are) How it is possibleProtestants Plea for Sole Scri­pture. (after they know right well, with innumerable Holy Fathers, this Plea, or pleading sole Scripture, to be nothing els but an old Trick of all condemned Haere­ticks) That, they can lessen themselves so much (had they no other motive to retard them) as to tread the Footsteps of such unworthy Sectaries, and patronize a Doctrin which cannot but breed Dissentions to the Worlds end. This it is: Sole Scripture is the Rule of Faith. Sole Scripture speaks plainly in all things necessary to Their false Doctrin. Saluation. On these two Hinges chiefly Protestant Re­ligion turns about, and will do so, until God at his good pleasure, judge it time to turn it out of the World. Two Cheats they are, and great Ones, as I shall Demonstrate.

3. Mr. Poole to mend the matter, having supposed,Mr. Pool's three Posi­tions. that sole Scripture is the Rule of Faith; withall, That there is enough said in Scripture to end all Controver­sies, were men humble and Studious &c. Seem's in the 7. Chap. of his Nullity page 226. to ground Pro­testant Religion on these three Positions. The first is. That the Books of Scripture are and may be proved to be the Word of God. 2. That in the Substantials of Faith, those Books are uncorrupted. 3. That the Sense of Scripture may be sufficiently understood in necessary Points. There is no Arian, but will most easily admit of these three Pro­positions; [Page 146] How then (were they all True) can they more establish Protestant Religion then Arianism? For, a Principle common to two Advers parties cannot (considered meerly as a Principle agreed on by both) more Advantage the cause of One, then the Other. If therfore an Arian Assent to these Propositions, they ground no more Protestant Religion, then they do A­rianism. Mr. Poole wants a fourth Pro­position. The Truth is, Mr. Poole is highly wanting in a fourth Proposition, which, if proved, would have done him more service then the other Three. And it should have been to this Sense: Seing Scripture speak's plainly all Doctrin necessary to Saluation, Certainly it ought to teach Protestancy plainly. I mean the particular Tenents of Protestants, as these stand in Opposition to Catho­lick Doctrin: For if these be necessary to Saluation, Scripture hath delivered them plainly; or if it have not done so, We must Conclude, They are not necessary to Saluation. Thus much premised, we will shew you in the ensuing Discours how slippery and falla­cious Protestant Doctrin is, as it Relates to Scripture, and Interpretation of Scripture.

4. The first proposition. No infallible Church, no No Infalli­ble Church no certain­ty of true Scripture. Assurance of True and uncorrupt Scripture. To makes my Assertion good against Protestants, I will only propo­se this plain Question. From what men of Credit and Integrity, had the first Protestants Their Bible? ItFrom whom had Protestants their Bible? was not drop't down from Heaven into their Pulpits, with Assurance of its Purity, or Certainty, that no Change was made in it contrary to Truth since the Apostles Times. Were they Iewes, Infidels, Turks, Arians, or Graecian Haeretiks that gave them Scripture? Too perfidious to be trusted in a matter of such Con­sequence. [Page 147] Too unfaithsul either to preserve true Scri­pture by them, till Luther quit his Cell, or, then to put into his hands a Bible Vncorrupt in every Point. Were they Catholicks? Let our Adversaries shame the Devil, and speak Truth, 'Twas from them They had their Bible, together with the Originals. But these Papists, These very Catholicks (if we may creditCatholicks in Prote­stants Prin­ciples can­not be re­lyed on for Scripture. Protestants) had not only Corrupted the Writings of the Ancient Fathers; But also through Malice, or Ig­norance, Had grosly erred a thousand years together, and Changed the Ancient Doctrin of the Primitive Church. They had Secretly wrought into mens harts a fals Belief of the Chutches Infallibility, of an unbloody Sacrifice, of Transubstantiation, Invocation of Saints, and such like errors. Admit of this Suppo­sition, who is there amongst Protestants, that shall dare to look on his Bible with good Assurance of itsIf Papists erred in Doctrin, They might mo­re easily have erred in corrup­ting Scri­pture. Purity, or say, it is the Word of God, and not cor­rupted by These erring Papists? For, These men who erred in Doctrin, might as well have insinuated errors into the Book of Scripture: They had time enough to do it. These men, who changed the Ancient Primitive Faith of Christianity, might as per­fidioufly have Altered the Bible. They wrought se­cretly a fals Belief into mens harts concerning an un­bloody Sacrifice, Transubstantiation &c. And why might they not as cunningly have foisted into Scripture Words and Sentences suitable to such supposed errors? Be­lieveIt is easier to corrupt [...] dead book, then to per­vart innu­merable li­ving▪ men. it, it is much easier to corrupt a dead Book, then to pervert so many living Christians, and bring them to a Belief of so palpable, hideous, and erro­neous Novelties.

[Page 148]5. Here then is my Dilemma. Either, the Ca­tholickA Dilem­ma. Church had erred when Luther and Prote­stants took the Book of Scripture from it, or was pure in Doctrin. If pure, Most wicked were They for deserting it. If the Church had then erred, or was corrupted in Doctrin, Neither Luther, nor any Protestant can have Affurance, that they read yet True Scripture; For all the Certainty They can ha­ve of this Book, is miserably uncertain, and at last Comes to this doubtful Iudgement: It may be we have true Scripture: It may be, and more likely, not. God on­lyAn unan­swerable Argument. knows; All depend's on an Erroneous Church, that gave us Scripture, which might as well (in the vast compass of a thousand years) have guilfully chan­ged this our Book from its Ancient Truth, as cheated Christianity into a fals Belief.

6. Some may yet say. All now Agree, as well Catholicks as Protestants, upon the Verity and In­tegrity of Scripture; Therfore its needles (for many Books at least) to Question this point farther. I an­swer.Protestants destroy the very Ground of Certain­ty. Catholicks agree well, Becaus they take this Book upon the Warrant of Christs never erring Church, which cannot Deceive them. But Protestants, who Ruin this Ground of Infallibility, destroy with it all Certainty of scripture in order to themselves. Their Agreement therfore is no more but Verbal, whilst the Principle which supports a Real one, is shaken a pieces by them. Hence you se How Mr. Poole speaks atCatholicks Confession no Proof of the Truth of Scriptu­re to Mr. Poole. random, when he Tell's us, He knows Scripture to be the Word of God, Becaus Catholicks confess and acknowledge so much. I answer first, Their Te­stimony with him is worth nothing: For They had, [Page 149] before he was born, lost all Credit by introducing fals Doctrin into the Christian World (and why not, say I, as well a fals Bible?) Such Doctrins He dares not admit of upon the Testimony of Catholicks, yetWith no colour of reason do Protestants Admit of a Bible upon the Chur­ches Testi­mony, and reject her Testimony in other matters. He will Kiss their Hands, and Take from them such a Bible, as They are pleased to give him. 2. The Te­stimony of Catholicks in this particular, is with him Fallible, and may be Fals; But a Testimony that may be fals, can never give any Assurance of True Scrip­ture, which of necessity must be had, or none can ground Faith upon it. 3. Mr. Poole is pittifully out in all he saith; For, he neither Doth nor can Admit of Scripture upon the Confession or Testimony of Ca­tholicks. Why? Catholicks hold Scripture to beThe Church holds her own Testi­mony Infal­lible. Mr. Poole re­jects this, therfore he makes null the Chur­ches Testi­mony to himself. the Word of God, Becaus the Infallible Church of Christ Assures them it is Gods Word. This infallible Testimo­ny of the Church Mr. Poole utterly Disown's, and Ther­fore he must of necessity by his own Principles, Reject the Catholick Testimony.

7. Other perhaps will say, That God by Spe­cial Providence ever preserved Scripture pure in all Essentials, Though He permitted the Church to deceive Souls, and lead them into Error. What an Antiscriptu­ral Assertion have we Here? How is God Affron­ted? What a lame and half Providence is granted him?Sectaries affront God by allowing him no more Then a half Pro­vidence. What, no more but only to have care of a Book, to secure That from falshood, and in the interim to Permit his own immaculate Spouse, his Church (which Scripture should instruct) to play the Harlot, to Deceive the World, and err Damnably? O, but what er'e becom's of the Church, we must (say our Protestants) have True and incorrupt Scripture, or, no man can [Page 150] know what he is to Believe. I answer. And we must either have a True and incorrupt Church, or none can be Assured of True and incorrupt Scripture.It avail's little to ha­ve Verities shut up in a Bible, if the Church erred in de­livering them to Christians. Say, I beseech you, what doth it avail Christianity, to have the Pure letter of Scripture clos'd up in a Bible, and preserved from Error, if Christians Universally had been, as it were Deserted by Almighty God, and permitted (before Protestants appeared in the World) to Err in the very Substantials of Faith delivered in Scripture? Yet it was so. For confessedly, not only those Antient condemned Haereticks, as Arians, Protestants say all Christians erred for a thousand years. Pelagians, Donatists, and the Later Graecians, but also that great moral body of Catholicks (if our Protestants say true) Erred in the very Fundamentals of Faith, Since they Taught, as they do still, their Church to be Infallible, an unbloody Sacrifice &c. Gross errors therfore Reign'd amongst them, whether we suppose the Scripture Pure, or corrupted. Imagin then (which is utterly Fals, Though Haereticks cannot prove it fals) That our Scripture had been corrupted, They had then Erred becaus the Book was falsified. Suppo­se again (which is True) that Scripture is not cor­rupted, you have still the same Effect, which is Error in Doctrin drawn out of the very Words of pure Scripture. The Reason surely is, Becaus the Church did not rightly understand Scripture; if so, you se, how Scripture not understood, as easily begett's Errors, as Error equally pre­judicial whether it be caused by a false Church or falsified Scripture. if it were corrupted. What then matters it in Reference to poor beguiled Souls, whether these great supposed Errors arise from Scripture misunderstood, or Scripture corrupted? Er­ror is Error, and alike Prejudicial in both cases. I say therfore: It is as great an Evil to have a Church (that [Page 151] should teach Truth) to deceive the world, in bringing in a Deluge of Errors to the Ruin of the Ancient Primitive Faith, as to have a Bible corrupted. For, 'tis Error, and fals Doctrin wrought in mens Harts, That undoes them. Now whether That be caused by a fals Church, or fal­sified What Se­ctaries ought to fear. Scripture, it imports little. Our Protestants Affirm the first, and may justly Fear the second. God (say they) permitted the Church to Err, and he may (say I) as well have permitted it to Vitiat Scrip­ture. They say, Errors Insensibly grew up in the Church; And, I say, they might as Insensibly ha­ve crept into Scripture. Be it how you will, from this Old erring Church, Our New men suppose, They received pure, sincere, and uncorrupted Scripture, just as the Holy Ghost writ it. A meer Impossibility; For, never greater Chimaera was fancied, then to couple a Fals Church and True Scripture together, [...], True Scripture and a Vniversal fals erring Church.

8. Some perhaps may say: The Arians, Donatists and other Haereticks, had and have still True Scrip­ture, though they erred in Doctrin. I answer, No God a mercy to them; For, if They have True Scripture, They may thank an unerring Church that preserved it un­corrupt, before Heresy began, and after. But grant meNo assu­rance of true Scrip­ture if all Erred uni­versally. once, as our Protestants do, that both Haereticks, and Catholicks likewise universally erred in Doctrin most Fundamental, no man can now have Assurance of True Scripture. O, but the Unanimous Voice of all Christians, Affirming Scripture to be the Word of God, and pure without corruption, is a Weighty moral Proof for its Integrity. I answer none at all: For, if no Society of Christians unerrable [Page 152] and sound in Doctrin had that book in Custody, The old Papists might (for ought Protestants know) have either by Chance or Fraud changed words in Scri­pture. For example, Those words, Matt. 26. This is my body, from what they once were, This is a sign of my body, and the Cheat was to maintain their Doctrin of the Real Presence. But you will ask how could this be done? I have told you, By Malice, or Inadver­tency. But when could it be done? I answer in thatCould Se­ctaries say when Pa­pists first became Idolaters, They might be infor­med con­cerning these Cor­ruptions? very Age, Year, or Month, when these Papists first be­gan to be Idolaters, and worship a piece of Bread for God. Then it might well be don. Name that age Exactly, and you have all. Our new men Answer, This Idolatry was brought in amongst us; But they knew not When; it began with such Secrecy and Silen­ce. This Text of Scripture therfore, I say, might have been corrupted with like Secrecy, Though no man knows when. And here by the way observe a stran­ge Paradox of our Protestants. So notorious a known A Strange Paradox of Protestants Novelty, as this supposed Idolatry is, which might most justly have Struck Terror into all mens Harts, Visibly entred a Church diffused the whole World over, yet none, neither Friend nor Foe saw it, cryed out against it, or Has left it upon Re­cord. And one single Particle of Scripture cannot be changed, but all must know it. How can these two Consist together? You will say, The Primitive Church was Pure, and so preserved true Scripture. How do our Protestants know so much, if it was Fal­lible? Thus much of an Argument ad hominem, which I desire Mr. Poole to Answer, not to mistake, As he may do, if he think my endeavor is to prove Scriptu­re corrupted in any Substantial Point (no! 'Twere Blas­phemy [Page 153] to say it.) The Argument therfore proceeds from the Protestants fals Supposition (yet true with them) that the Church is fallible, and has erred; Then, I say, None of them can have Assurance of their Bible, or, of True incorrupt Scripture.

CHAP. III.
All substantials of Faith are not plain in Scripture without an infallible Teacher.

1. HEre is my second Proposition, And nothing can be more evident, might he Evidence of a known Truth prevail with Wilful men. Arians, we see, are against Protestants in the Essentials of Faith, Protestants against Catholicks, and They against Both. All of them Acknowledge Scripture to be Gods Word,Sectaries deny the Plainess of Scripture. yet every one in practise Denies the Perspecuity and Plainess of it: For if plain, Why stand they at Variance with one another about this Plainess? Pro­testants Doctrin is plainly delivered in the 39. Articles: The Arians Doctrin is plainly in Their Writings: The Catholick Doctrin most plainly in every Cate­chism. No Advers party Impugn's these Doctrins for want of a plain Expression, but for want of Truth. It is quite contrary in Scripture; for He were a Devil that should mention the want of Truth in Gods Word; yet you see most Learned men vary about this Clearnes, [Page 154] seek for it and cannot find it. Though I have partly given the Reason Hereof, yet, Becaus the matter re­quires it, I shall now add a word more for a further Explication.

2. All know that the Objective Verities writ in HolyObjective Verities, and the belief of them diffe­rent. Scripture, and the Belief of those Verities in a Chri­stians Hart, are to be distinguished. By the first God speak's to us. By the second we yeild Belief to his Word. All know likewise, That if my Belief be true Faith, it must say Exactly, and expres that in mente, which God speak's in Scripture, neither more nor les. And this is Saving Faith, not theObjective Verities not saving Faith. Objective Verity as it lyes in Scripture; For if that could save us, it would be enough to put a Bible in ones Pocket, And say here is the Faith that saves me, Though I know not what is in it, or Believe Amiss. Thus much is clear without Dispute in an Orthodox, and an Arian, whilst they turn to that passage of Scripture and Read, I and my Father are one. Both of them have the same Objective Verity before their eyes, But the One only hath the True Belief of it in his Hart. Observe now, How darkly Scripture speak's in this one great Funda­mental Article, And how easily we may swerve fromOne In­stance of Scriptures Obscurity. this Revealed Truth, without an Infallible Interpreter: For, the words precisely considered, may either signify unity in Affection, as appears Iohn 17. v. 21. 22. or a Consubstantial unity, and in this Indifferency to several Sectaries gloss; The Church Interpret's. senses lyes their Obscurity. To Clear all, and make them speak a Full sense, the Arian superadds his Gloss, and draws out of the Text (as also from that other Iohn 1. 5. 7.) no more but a Vnity in Affection only, which is Haeresy. The Catholick Interpretation teacheth a [Page 155] Consubstantial Vnity, or One-nes in Essence, and 'Tis true Faith, yet is no more formal expres Scripture, then that of the Arian; For, Consubstantiality is no where Formally read in Scripture: However, it is believed and ground's our Faith, whilst the Arians Gloss is rejected. And why hath it this Preference think ye? Why is it better then the Arians? No other Reason can be ren­dred but a most True one, Viz. That the Church doth not only fully Express the Objective Verity darkly couch'd in Scripture, But also Delivers this Full and clearer sense Infallibly: For I say, If the Churches In­terpretationIf the Churches Interpreta­tion were as fallible as the A­rians, Chri­stians might fol­low either as they please. were as fallible as the Arians, Christians might indifferently Adhere to Either, yea, and chan­geably now take one, then the other as they please. A greater Probability can ballance nothing in this or the like particulars, as I shall largely prove hereafter. In the mean while, by what is now said, we may learn first. Though Scripture in this and other Mysteries hath its Darknes, yet by the good Providen­ce of Almighty God we are provided of a Sure Inter­preter, which is absolutely Necessary: For if Every o­ne interpret according to fancy, Haeresy is easily Drawn out of Gods Word; And if none interpret Faith­fully, the Scripture still lyes hid in Obscurity, which makes it (for that part) a Useles Book to Christians.The necssi­ty of an infallible Interpreter. Learn farther, That None can ever know exactly by Human Industry, or his Sole pondering the Bible (let him be another Salomon for Wisdom) what God hath Revealed in these difficil Mysteries of our Faith, without an Infallible Interpreter. To prove my Assertion I'll give you one Instance.

3. Suppose that two or three most learned Heathen [Page 156] Philosopher, well versed in Languages, and all Hu­man Literature, had this Book of Scripture put into their Hands, and were perswaded by the extrinsecal An instan­ce of Philo­soohers reading the Bible. Authority of all Christians, that God here speak's his Eternal Verities: Withall, That if they read the Book, and by their Sole reading (without Recours to any Interpreter) possess the True sense of it, They have True Saving Faith. Well: They read it, and with as much Humility as any Protestant can do, yetIf They ask of none but Their own Iudge­ment, er­rour fol­lowes. Ask of none, But their own judgement what it means, in the more difficil Passages. Tell me, I beseech you, (And here I appeal to the moderate Iudgement of every Christian, whether Catholick, Arian, or Pro­testant) What Faith or Religion would these Philoso­phers produce out of Sole Scripture, Solely Read, and pondered by them? My Thought is ('Tis no mo­re but a Thought) That the Result of their Reading would end in Coyning a Religion different from all Others now in Christendom. I am very confident, They would never pitch upon Protestancy, no, norTheir doubts would be Endles. upon any Sect now extant. Alas, they would Doubt and Stagger at every hard passage in Scripture, yea, and by the very Instinct of Nature (if they own'd Scripture for Gods Book) would humbly Supplicate Those, who gave them the Book, to lay open the Mysteries therin, and Assure them of its meaning in a hundred Places; yet none can do this good office for them, But One only Society of Christians that layes claim to Infallibility, and proves it Demonstra­tively, if Faith be in the World.

4. Be it how you will: thus much I conclude. Our Protestants are in the very same Case without [Page 157] an infallible Interpreter, as the Philosophers are withSectaries are in the very same case with­out an In­fallible In­terpreter. no Interpreter: These make Scripture speak what They think it speaks, right, or wrong, And Protestants do the like, whilst They give their sentiment on Myste­ries above their Reach without an Infallible Teacher. Pray you Reflect. Had Christ Iesus, and his Apost­les never Taught any thing by Word of Mouth, But only thrown the Book of Scripture amongst Chri­stiansStrange Confusions Had Christ and his Apost­les given to Christians a Bible without an Interpreter. when They left the World, and commanded them to make that use of it, which every Private Iud­gement thought best, what a Religion, think ye, should we have had at this day in Christianity, any or none, or a thousand different ones as good as none? God only knows, I do not; Yet will say, This is out very present Condition, if an infallible Interpreter of Scripture be Rejected. We may wrangle to theDissentions would ha­ve followed without hope of union. Worlds end, but agree in nothing; Dispute, but conclude nothing; we may raise Difficulties one against another, But allay none. And thus the contest must run on, without Redres or Remedy. All Appellation here to Antiquity, to Councils, FathersAppellation to Anti­quity reme­dies no­thing being fallible with Pro­testants. and Tradition help's nothing, Becaus they are Falli­ble, And were they otherwise, we vary as highly about the Sentiments of Fathers in every debated point of Contro­versy, as we do about Scripture it self.

5. We se thirdly: How utterly impossible it is for a Protestant to draw, from the Objective Verities re­vealed in Scripture, the True Sense and meaning of Gods Word in any controverted point of Religion. The Reason is. Scripture never speak's plainly and expresly the Protestants Sense in these debated Con­troversies, (observe it in All, and you'll find it so.) [Page 158] What do they therfore to help themselves? They first Reject an Infallible Interpreter, and next (as the Arians do) superadd their own Fallible glosses to ma­keSectaries make Scri­pture to speak what They would have it say, not what God speak's. Scripture speak, not what it Truly says, But what They would have it say, And thus they think Scrip­ture cleared, and Their Work don. Take here one Instance for many. Catholicks and Protestants ha­ve been at Variance a hundred years and more about these Sacred Words Matt. 26. This is my Body. The different Senses drawn from them are Contradictory, And therfore cannot be True. This is my Body, Real­ly, saith the Catholick, and here is my internal Faith. No, saith the Protestant: This is my Body figura­tively, or a Sign of my Body, And this is my Belief.Arians and Pro­testants vitiate Scripture after the same man­ner. Mark I beseech. Just as the Arian saith: I and my Father are one, and superadds his Gloss, of one in Affection, so the Protestant here vitiates the Text by his Gloss, and adds to Scripture (what God never spoke) a Trope, a Figure, a Sign, and I know not what. And after This Injury don to the Words, He Believes not for Gods Express Word, But, for his own far-fetcht and dear bought Interpretations, which are no more Scripture then if he should tell me, That,An Exam­ple. That text of St. Matthew cap. 3. verse 17. This is my be­loved Son, were to be forcibly stript of its Verity, and, misinterpreted Thus: This is only a Sign or Figure of my Beloved Son. No more doth Scripture, through the whole Gospel, warrant in the least, an Improperty of speech in the one Text now cited, then in the other. I little Regard The Protestant dscourses and glosses contrary to this Mystery of Faith, (let us have plain Scripture) much les their Inferences, which [Page 159] are all Human and Fallible. O, but to say, that Christ Body is Really Present under the Species of Bread, yea and in a thousand places at Once, is an Vnintelligi­ble Mystery! Why more Unintelligible then a Trinity of Persons in one Essence, or the unchangeable Divi­ne Word seemingly Changed when he took Flesh upon him, and became an Infant? These are Higher Mysteries and greater Difficulties, If Human Reason might be judge, and give a final Sentence. But I'll tell you once for all. That man shall never be a Proficient in Christs School, that will undertake to conquer, High My­steries no to be pried into by our weak discourses. as I may say, the great Difficulties of Faith, by Exami­ning the High Mysteries of it; If he goe so to work, he is cast into a Labyrinth, and can find no Exit. All therfore he is to do, is, to Learn and Examin whe­ther God, the Infallible Truth, hath Revealed and taught us these Mysteries by any unerring Oracle: NextHow we are to sub­mit in matters of Faith. He is to Captivate his understanding, And humbly Submit to him (without further search) who neither can be Deceived, nor will Deceive us. But enough of this Digression.

6. We se thirdly: Though Protestants Anathema­tizeThe whole Religion of Protestants is nothing els but ad­dition to Scripture, or subtra­ction from it. all that Add to Gods Word, or Take from it, yet I'll tell you, Their whole Religion (as Protestancy) is either made up of no Scripture at all, or, is nothing els but a meer Addition of their own Glosses to Scrip­ture, or, finally a wilful Subtraction from it. To the Words now cited, they add a sign, a figure, and God knows what more. Is this Scripture? When St. Iames 2. cap. 24. Dogmatically teaches, that a man is Justified by Works and not by Faith only, our New men tell us, the Apostle speak's not of Justification [Page 160] before God but before Men. Is this Scripture? When St. Paul Rom. 2. 6. plainly Affirm's, That God will ren­der to every one according to his Works. Calvin and Beza Assure us, He will do so indeed, if there were any such, But the Mischief is: None can do a Good Work before God. Is this Scripture? No. These, and such like Interpretations Our Adversaries do not own for Scripture, yet They must own them as Tenents Essential to their Religion: Ergo I say: Meer Fallible Glosses, which are no Scripture, make up Protestant Religion as Protestancy. And henceDoctrin of the 39 Ar­ticles as Protestancy not Scrip­ture. it is that their Doctrin delivered in the 39. Articles stand's there with all Clearnes (that is, you know what they say) But when 'tis Brought to the Test, and is examined by Scripture, you may seek long, before ye find a word like it, as 'tis Protestancy.

7. You see lastly: That the Interpretations which Protestants give to those Texts of Scripture cited byHow Secta­ries abuse Scripture cited for Catholick Doctrin. Catholicks (for their Doctrin) are meer Human Ex­tra-scriptural and Anti-scriptural Glosses of their own Fan­cy. We cite the Apostle 2. Thess. 2. 15. For Tradi­tion beside the Written Word: For the Real Presen­ce, This is my Body Matt. 26. For Iustification by Good Works, that of St. Iames 2. 14. For a Sacrifice to be continued to the Worlds End, Malac. 1. 11. For Ex­tream-Vnction, Iames the 5. 14. For the Verity and Infallibility of the Church, that of St. Paul 1. Timot. 3. 15. And what, for Gods sake, have we from our New Men to these plain Passages speaking Popery, But a Re­turn of meer Mock-fool Glosses, Hatch't in their own Heads, which have so little Shadow of Scripture in them, That with force they drive the very life and [Page 161] sense out of Gods Word? And They proceed so unlucki­ly,Sectaries make Scri­pture clear where 'tis obscure, and obscure where 'tis clear. That where Scripture is clear, They make it obscure, and where it is obscure; They will seem to make it Clear by superaded glosses. What can be more clear for our Catholick Doctrin of the Real Presence then those words of St. Luke 22. v. 19. Hoc est corpus meum quod pro vobis datur: This is my body which is given for you? Yet with their Glosses they so Torture the Text, That every Par­ticle in it suffers Violence. In so much that Iaco­bus Scripture tortured by Sectaries. Gordonus observes, in his first Tome of Controver­sies, printed anno 1612. Controversia prima de Verbo Dei cap. 26. n. 11. pag. 121. No fewer then two hundred diffe­rent Glosses, have been added by Protestants to Ob­scure the plain sense of Christs own Words. Some, as this Author notes, abuse and misinterpret the Pro­noun Hoc, Others the Verbe Est, Others Corpus, Others meum, Others the Relative quod, Others the Proposition pro, Others the Pronoune, Vobis, Others finally the Verb Datur. Yet after all this pervert­ing and woful mangling of Gods Word, we must Be­lieve that our Protestants speak (forsooth) Scripture, and nothing but clear Scripture. On the contrary side, we have seen more then enough in the Beginning of this Chapter, how Vainly They cry up the Clarity of Scripture in Mysteries most difficil, not fully expressed in Gods Word. What man in his Wits can say, That any Scripture▪ through the whole Te­stament Speak's half so clearly of the Consubstantiality of the Eternal Son with his Eternal Father, as the Text now quoted is for the Real Presence? Yet those Scriptures must be Clear, for that Christian Verity, and this Obscure, for the Real Presence.

[Page 162]8. To conclude this point, Methinks it highly im­ports, when we deal with our Adversaries concerningHow to pro­ceed with Sectaries when They Explicate Scripture. Their Explications of Scripture, That we do not so much (at least in the first place) make it our Work Positively to Disprove them by other Texts, and Au­thorities (which our Writers usually do, and lauda­bly) as to put them to the Proof of their wild Glosses, which seem's most Reasonable: For Asserenti incumbit probatio. When therfore They go about to Obscure Scripture where it is plain, with new Interpretations (the world never heard of) bid them not only Inter­pret, but Prove Their Interpretations: For example, That the words of our Saviour now cited must be alienated from their genuin Sense, and tortured as they are by Protestants. Proceed thus with them, put them to the Proof, and you'l soon see them at a Nonplus.

CHAP. IV.
Sole Scripture without an infallible In­terpreter can be no Rule of Faith. Protestants have no Scripture for their Religion, as it is Protestancy.

1. MY first proposition Draw's Proof enough from the precedent Chapter; For if Scripture be [Page 163] Obscure, and speak not clearly all Verities revealed in the book, it cannot Regulate Faith without an In­terpreter. But 'tis more then evident, that it speaks not clearly many Verities Concerning the High­est Mysteries of Religion; Therfore it cannot Regulate Faith relating to These Mysteries, without an Inter­preter. I prove the Minor. Scripture which solely considered according to the Exterior Letter, both may, The bare letter of Scripture may and doth easily beget error. and Doth, as easily beget Error as Truth in the Intel­lectual Power of man, Speak's not clearly. (Whence it is that St. Austin Tom. 10. Serm. 70. de Tempore, stiles Haereticks Infelices, Unhappy, Who only look on the Sound of words in Scripture, which is, saith he, like a Body without a Soul.) But it is as clear, That the bare Letter of Scripture (without a sure Interpreter) beget's Errors, And therfore an Arian Becaus He Re­gulates his Belief by the meer Sound of that Text Iohn 14. My Father is greater then I, Err's damnably. And the like All other condemned Haereticks have done in their respective Errors, drawn as they thought, from Scripture. Ergo it is evident, that the Letter of Scripture speak's not Clearly in this one most High Mystery, And therfore cannot Regulate Faith, with­out an Interpreter. Now further. If this Interpre­ter A fallible Interpreter as useles as no Inter­preter in points of Faith. be fallible, He is as Vseles to Christians for the Regulating of Faith, as if he were no Interpreter, For He may Deceive them, And if we be deceived, it much imports not, whether the Error proceed from Obscure Scripture misunderstood, or mis­interpreted by an other. An infallible Interpreter ther­fore is necessary in this Weighty matter, that Assures us of what God hath spoken, of such and such Parti­cular [Page 164] Mysteries. And here we Rest securely, and have a most certain Rule which Sectaries want.

2. Again I argue. If Sole Scripture be a clear Rule of Faith, it can Regulate without Glosses, yea, and without a Preacher too. Why therfore do our Protestants charge that one Text above cited, This is my body (the like we may say of many others) with so unnecessary a burden of their Interpretations? AreAre Secta­ries affraid that Christ spoke too plainly? They affraid that Christ spoke too Plainly, and therfore Add their Glosses to Obscure his Words? None will own such an Impiety. Then I say: They are Ad­ded to Clear an Obscure Passage, consequently, TheyThey gloss to make Scripture clear. must acknowledge an Obscurity in this Scripture, be­fore their tampering with the Text, and glossing it. Well. But when They have glossed all they can, I ask what is it that Regulates their Faith in this particu­lar?Their glos­ses regulate their Faith, not the words of Christ. Do Christs Words as he spoke them, or, as They interpret, Regulate here? Not the first: For 't is most evident, that Christs own Words without the Protestant Glosses, can never beget in any Understand­ing that determinate Belief, which these men have of the Blessed Sacrament; For, the words of Christ say plainly, This is my Body that is given for you; Which pondered to the day of Judgement, can never yeild this forced, repugnant, and far-fetch't Sense, This is a Sign, or a Figure of my Body. Yet such is the Be­lief of Protestants drawn from this Sentence, by their Interpretations. Wherfore, we must conclude that They Believe not for Christs Sole Words, But for their Additional Glosses, which is to say in plain English, Their Overplus of Glosses Regulates Faith, not Gods Express and most significant Word. Some will say this Passage [Page 165] now cited, must be interpreted as They will have it, Becaus Scripture in other places seem's to favor their Interpretation. I answer candidly. Let themThey can­not cite one Text out of Scripture in favour of their Glosses. but produce so much as one plain Text out of the whole Bible, for the Alienating of this Sentence from its proper Sense, without Glosses (which are no Scrip­ture) and I'll proclaim them Conquerours. Here is plain dealing, but Remember well, I call for Scripture only.

3. I told you just now, That as these Glosses are useles, if sole Scripture be a clear Rule of Faith, so are Preachers also, yea and all the large Commenta­ries which Luther and Calvin have writ on Scripture. Why? Gods Word speak's clearly without a Preacher:If Scripture be Clear, ther's no need of Teachers. Away therfore with Preaching, and Commentaries. 'T is enough to thrust a Bible into mens Hands, And bid them read it, For there is True Doctrin, and plain Doctrin, but more is not required to Regulate Faith, then The Rea­son. Truth and Clarity; Ergo, Ministers may hereafter well spare their labor of Preaching, and 'tis better they did so, Then to be in danger of perverting Gods true Word, by their fallible Talking.

4. To conclude this matter, we have already am­ply proved, That it is not the Bare Letter of Scripture which Regulates Faith, Buth the exact and true Sense of it (Ne putemus, saith St. Hierom in cap. 1. ad Galat. v. 11. Let us not think, that the Gospel lyes in the Words of Scripture, but in their sense. Non in superfi­cie, sed in medullâ, not in the Out-side, but in the in­ward Pith and Marrow of it, non in sermonum foliis &c.) But, no Protestant, with so much as any colour of Reason, can lay a more just claim to the true Sense [Page 166] of Scripture, when He and the Church stand at Va­riance, Protestants as uncer­tain of the true Sense of Scriptu­re, as Arians are. Then an Arian, a Pelagian, or a Donatist can do, when They draw Scripture to Their Sense. All of them are alike, guided by meer Guesses, and first Read, next Think, then Iudge, and lastly Believe. Believe what? What Their Private Iudgement Tell's them, and here is the last Rule of their Faith,All of them gui­ded by guesses. Three parts of Prote­stant Reli­gion. wherof more in the next Chapter. In the interim, you may Resolve a Protestants Belief into these three broken Shreds, or Fragments. The first part is that, wherin They hold with Catholicks: And here they have the true Sense of Scripture interpreted, yet no True Faith, for want of Submission in other Points. The other part is that, wherin They agree with Ancient condemned Haereticks: And herein, They have neither the True sense of Scripture, nor true Faith. The last part is proper to Themsel­ves as Protestant; And here they have not so much as the Letter, or a Word of Scripture for them: much les any true Sense, or Faith grounded on Scripture. And

5. Upon this occasion I come to mind Mr. Poole, The want of Mr. Poo­les fourth Proposition. of the Want of his fourth Proposition, viz. That Scripture speak's plainly the particular Tenents of Protestant Religion, as Protestanism. And must Tell him: He shall never find in the whole Bible, so much as one Article of Protestant Religion (as it stands in Opposi­tion to Catholick Doctrin) grounded on Scripture. And, Becaus The man may not perhaps like of too great a burden, I'll only urge him to Prove these three Protestant Assertions. 1. That there are two Sacra­ments Three Pro­testant As­sertions for Mr. Poole to Prove. and no more; But let him not think to turn me of, as he doth the Captain, with meer empty and insignificant Words, Appendix page 34. Scripture is plain [Page 167] enough in describing the nature of two Sacraments. He should have added; And 'tis plain in describing the number also, and given good Scripture for both, which cannot be don. 2. That Faith only Iustifies. 3. That, after he hath better pondered the Text of St. Peter 2. 3. 16. He prove by Scripture, the Plainess of it in all necessary Points to Salvation. A fourth proof, concerning the Canon and Certainty of Scripture, would choak Mr. Poole: But I'll not give him so undigestible a pill, may He pleas to satisfy the three former Demands by Scripture only, without Glosses and ungrounded Inferences drawn from what he thinks to be Gods Word, But is not.

6. Some perhaps may ask why all this time, whilst we have Discoursed of Scripture, of its Certainty, of its Sense, and Regulating Faith &c. None of Mr. Poo­les Arguments against us are taken notice of? Hath he none, or do I Dissemble them? I answer. The man hath nothing like an Objection. To prove Scripture to be the Word of God, He Relyes on the Confession and Testimony of Catholicks. ThisMr. Poole hath no­thing like: Argu­ments. we have Refuted above. To prove it uncorrupt in the Essentials of Faith, He Tell's us, that by looking into the Nature and quality of those Various Lections, which are pleaded as Evidences of Corruption, we shall quickly find them to be in Matters of les Mo­ment. It seem's They are little, Becaus Mr. Poole without Proof will have them so. I could shew him great ones in the Protestant Bible, But let them pas, And be pleased to note how poorly he shifts of the Difficulty That Presses. The Difficulty is concern­ing the best Originals, which Protestants have hi­therto [Page 168] met with (none of them I believe ever yet saw the Autograph, or Hand-writing of either an Euangelist or Apostle) These Originals, I say, cannot be proved Uncorrupt, if that Church which had them in Custody for a thousand years, brought in a Delu­ge of Errors into the Christian World. Finally to prove, that a Protestant hath a Sufficient Assurance of Understanding the Sense of Scripture in things Ne­cessary to Saluation, He allegeth Gods Promise, Iohn 7. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the Doctrin whether it be of God: But Protestants do Gods will (thus much must be added, or the Proof stands on one Leg) and Papist Do not Gods will; Ergo Those have Assurance of the true Sense of Scripture, and These have not. Here is the doughty Argument, and that which follows is as weightles. Protestants, saith He, have the Assurance of Reason (Papists have no more) and if that will not do, They have the Assu­rance of the Spirit which God promiseth▪ Luk 11. Here is work enough for another Chapter: Yet in passing I cannot but reflect on a mistaken quotationMr. Poole misquotes Sixtus Se­nensis, in Mr. Poole page 230. where he cites Sixtus Senensis, And both err's in the Annotation and Doctrin of Sixtus, concerning the Clarity of Scripture. Sixtus Therfore libre 6. Annotat. 152. (not 151. as Mr. Poole Quotes, §. Quod autem, Answering an Objection of St. Chrysostom, plainly Afferts, that when Scripture is said to be clear, 'tis not to be referred to the Whole Bi­ble, but to a Part of it only, wherfore, saith He St. Chrysostom divides Scripture into two Classes; The One contains the hidden and abstruse Mysteries of Gods deep Wisdom, And this part is not clear at all [Page 169] (thus much Mr. Poole conceil's.) Altera sectio. The other Section, or Part of it, compriseth the First and chiefest Principles of all things to be Believed, and Chief Precepts of living, And so much is clear. Ob­serve well. The first and Chiefest Principles of things to be Believed, infer no Clarity in every Particular revealed Mystery: For He that believes this one Principle of Faith, That the Church is Holy and the Pil­lar of Truth, Hath a First great Principle, and may learn by it all Truth. If you please to se how Mr. Poole abuseth Sixtus, read him in the page now cited. It were most easy to Take him tripping in other Cita­tions, But that is not my task at present. This on­ly came in by Chance.

CHAP. V.
The Reason of private men, and their private Spirit, cannot interpret Scripture.

1. MR. Poole told us above, That Protestants have the Assurance of Reason for the Sense of Scri­pture. Happy They, if they were the only Rea­sonable men in the World. But why are not Pa­pists as Reasonable? Why should the Pelagians, the Arians, or Honest Quakers be left out of the list of Rational men? Or, if These would Monopolize the Assurance of Reason to Themselves for their Sence of [Page 170] Scripture, Why are They not to be Credited upon their Parole, as well as Protestants? For their proof is to say, They have it (crede quod habes & habes) and so will an Arian or Quaker say too. AdmitWere Rea­son allowed of to sen­tence the Sense of Scripture, we must know who­se reason hitt's right. therfore (which is fals) that Reason be allowed of as Judge, or an Iustrument to sentence the Sense of Scripture, where it speaks obscurely, We are no­thing Advanced, nor one whit the Wiser, unles we know whose Reason it is, that hitt's right on the Sen­se. Now, all of them, most evidently do not so (unles we impiously say, that God hath revealed Contradictions in▪ Scripture) Becaus these mens Reason draws contradictory Senses out of Scripture, and inAll do not Interpret Scripture truely. High Points of Faith also. Say then, good Mr. Poole, whose Reason must yeild, and to whom? Must an Arians submit to yours, or yours to an Arian? Whose Rea­son must yeild, and to whom whilst we vary about the sense? Must mine bend to yours, or yours to Mine? Or may we all hold on to the day of Doom, as Devided in Faith, as we are in Iudgements concerning the Sense of Scripture? Allow once of these Endles and Eter­nal jarrs in Religion here on Earth (which this one Prin­ciple of Following private Reason establisheth) and you may seek for another Heaven then Christ hath promi­sed to the Children of Peace Hereafter, That is, for none at all. God forgive these late Tumultuous Spi­rits, the True cause of our wofull Dissentions. But let us go on. And

2. Pray you tell me, when Protestants say They have the Assurance of Reason for the Sense of Scriptu­re in controverted Points of Faith, E. G. The Trinity; what signifies this word Reason with them? Doth it im­port a Formal Discours, much of that nature as School­men [Page 171] use, when they establish their Tenents in Divi­nity?Sectaries are to say what this word Rea­son signi­fies. If so; the Principle of this Discours must be ad­mitted of, and own'd by the two Advers parties, when by Reason only They plead for the True sense of Scripture, And the Conclusion of the Discours mustIf a formal Discours, two Advers parties must agree on a Prin­ciple. be drawn from Premises founded on This received Prin­ciple. Thus much supposed, I might here ask first: Upon what known and admitted Principle Do our Pro­testants ground a lawful Syllogism, wherby They pro­ve, That Their Reason hath ever the good luck, the sin­gular Priviledge to fall right on the True sense, whilstNo Princi­ciple to prove that Protestants reason hitt's right. Others as learned as They swerve from it? If here They talk of the Vnction teaching Truth, of the Spirit &c. They will be urged again for a Principle to prove, That these Favors singularly belong to Them, and not to Others who Dissent from them. But we will wave this Argument, And only note, how in all tho­se Disputes which our Protestants hold either with Ca­tholicks or Sectaries (take for an Instance the Arians) the True sense of Scripture is so far of from being aThe sense of Scriptu­re when Two Secta­ries dispute is Ever the thing in Question. received Principle by both these Litigious Parties, That it is ever the Thing in Question, and must be proved by another own'd and admitted Principle, if the Discours stand upon solid ground.

3. One example will give you more Light. Mr. Poo­le Assaults an Arian (a far weaker Adversary then a'Tis proved by an In­stance. Catholick) with a Scriptural Proof, for that High Mystery of our Faith, the Sacred Trinity, and argues thus▪ Scripture saith Iohn 1. c. 5. 7. There are Three, that bear record in Heaven, the Father, Word, and Holy Ghost, and these three are one; But the Sense of this Scrip­ture, saith Mr. Poole, is, That God is one in Essence [...], [Page 172] and Three Distinct Persons: The Father Vnproduced, the Son Produced, and the Holy Ghost Proceeding from Both. Ergo we must admit a Trinity. Observe well. The Arian Admit's the first Proposition, or the Words of Scripture, And here is the only Principle agreed on by these two Disputants; But utterly denyes the se­cond, Viz. The Sense drawn out of these Words, And tell'sThe Arian admit's of the words of Scripture, but denies Mr. Pooles sense. his Adversary, that this Sense is the very Thing in que­stion; but no received Principle, And therfore must be proved, not supposed against him: Proved I say, and by Sole Scripture, which yet cannot be done, Though we turn to all the Texts in the Bible. Most justly ther­fore may the Arian tell Mr. Poole: If his Faith fall upon such a Determinate Sense now given, He Believes it, either Becaus His private Judgement molds Scripture to that Meaning, or, Becaus He takes it upon the Authority of a Church, which he professedly Disowns, and will not Believe.

4. In reference to what is here said, note first. That as the True sense of Scripture is supposed, and not proved against an Arian by force of Scripture in this particular Mystery, so much more, it is ever suppo­sed and not proved, when Protestants dispute against Catholicks. The reason is. Their private Judge­mentProtestants first frame to themsel­ves a Sense of Scriptu­re, and then triumph. first makes what sense they please (which is no received Principle) and afterward They vapor like Conquerours, as if sole Scripture did the deed, and de­feated us. Upon the great Assurance I have of This my Assertion, I chalenge Mr. Poole (or any Prote­stant)They have not one Text of Scripture against the Roman Catholick Faith without the mixtu­re of Their private Iud­gements. to produce one Text against the Roman Catho­lick Faith, which, without the Mixture of Their private Judgements, or unadmitted Glosses, speak's [Page 173] so much as Probably against it. The more plausi­ble place they insist on, is That of St. Iohn cap. 6. Vn­les you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood &c. For communion under both kinds, which never­theles must have twenty Glosses, and as many self Iud­gements upon it, before it can put on a likelyhood of a proof against us.

5. Note 2. That whilst the Sense of Scripture lyes under dispute, and is not agreed on by the two Par­tiesWhy Pro­testants loose labour when They argue by Scripture. at Difference, For example a Catholick and Pro­testant, It is but Labour lost in the Protestant, to As­sault his Adversary with Texts of Scripture: For, the Catholick Answers, Olim possideo prior possideo, I ha­ve ever believed the sense of Gods Word to be such as you know we Catholicks own, And can you my An­tagonist, What the Catholick answer's. perswade your self to drive me out of the Possession of my Ancient Belief, by your Sole private Judgement, or, Those new Glosses you father on Scripture? If so: A worthy Gentleman, who by right of his Ancestors for a thousand years and upward now quietly possesseth his lands, May be turn'd out of House and Harbor, upon the private Judgement of some New upstart Fellow, That Tell's him, He ve­rily thinks the Ancient Writings for his Lands, are not wel Understood; Therfore he will first do him the favor to explicate them according to his private Opi­nion (though contrary to the Sense hitherto received) which done, he will drive him out a doors, and make him a Beggar. This is our very Case.

6. Contrarywise, when the Sense of Scripture isHow we may argue from Scrip­ture. agreed on, we may Argue as Schoolmen do, and draw from it Theological Conclusions; which though often Va­rious [Page 174] amongst Divines, yet the Principle admitted (I mean the Sense of Scripture) remain's unquestio­ned, and is maintain'd without Contradiction. With­out Such an agreed on sense, which either Scripture (as it often doth) Deliver's plainly enough, or, The com­mon consent of Learned men makes Highly proba­ble, or, The Church of Christ declares certain. 'Tis to no more purpose to Dispute out of Scripture, then to speak Arabick to an Illiterate Peasant. Yet, the loose Behavior of our Protestants is such, that it lead's them (without the guidance of these Lights) first to Fancy The Fancy of Sectaries a Sense of their own, and then draw strange Conclu­sions from it. So Mr. Poole. After he had by his own Interpretation, perverted that Text of St. Paul, The Church is the Pillar and Ground of Truth; might wel say, The Church is not proved Infallible. Thus much is noted, if the word Reason signify a formal Dis­cours.

7. Perhaps Protestants may reply (For in Truth itAnother Acception of the word Reason, re­futed. is the hardest thing in the world where to have them in their Answers) That Reason here imports not any Discours at all, But an immediate clear Light Transfu­sed into their Mind, when they read. Scripture (like a Beam shot from the Sun) wherby their Eyes as perspicuously discern the most Abstruse Sense in it, as men do the Sun by its Light, or the first known Prin­ciples of nature by Their own Indisputable Evidences. Is this Reply think you rational, that draws not so much as a Dram of Reason after it? For, if their new Faith hath set new Eyes in their head, It hath not, surely, pluck't out their Neighbours Eyes, who yet, I hope, may see what is discernable by All. None [Page 175] then ever questioned the Suns-shining at Noon-day, or Writ Commentaries on the first natural Principles; Yet we se These new Sectaries not only highly at Va­riance about the Sense of Scripture; but also Gods Church (which hath Eyes as well as They) as high­ly opposite opposite to them. However, the Church must be Counted Pur-blind, and They only sharp­sighted, though the Light they fancy may licence any Haeretick to say what he pleases: For, as They SetLight set up against Light. up their Light, so an Arian may set up his against it, And swear 'tis the Clearer of the two for his sense. And who can gainsay him?

8. From this Discours it follows, that the Assuran­ce of Reason, wherof our Protestants talk so much, is a most insipid Word; For it doe's not signify a Formal Discours for want of a known and received Principle, Nor, That quicker immediate Light ( [...]f all Fooleries the worst) now refuted. I'll go farther, and say,No Chri­stian by Reason on­ly can dive into the Mysteries of Scriptu­re. That no Christian by the force of Reason only, when he reads These difficil Mysteries in Scripture, can so much as once fasten a prudent certain Iudgement, ei­ther upon the Thing revealed, or the Ratio credendi: Not upon the Thing revealed, For that Transcends the Capaci­ty of Reason; nor upon the Motive, why he Believes, For by the force of Reason only, he cannot know exactly (Guess he may and miss) that God speak's expresly in such a sense. Therfore, if upon his own Half-sighted and too da­ring Conceit, He will proceed to a setled Iudgement, and say positively what God speak's, He tells the Story before he knows it, And consequently highly offends against Reason: For Reason dictates, that we must first Learn, Before we undertake to Teach, or, rashly enter into [Page 176] the deep Secrets of Gods Divine Wisdom, without a certain and infallible Doctor.

9. Therfore before we come to the Assent of Divine Faith, A master, an infallible Proponent is necessa­ry, who without Ambiguity assures us that God Speak's, and in such a determinate Sense. This once admitted, Reason hath no place at all in the very Elicite Act of Faith, or, if it enter, it spoiles Faith, as I shall present­ly declare.

10. I'll therfore Explicate my self further, andThe Diffe­rent Opera­tion of Reason in a Catholick, and in a Protestant. withall shew how Reason goes to Work in a Prote­stant, And how differently it Proceeds in Catholicks. The Protestant hath no more but the bare Letter of a Bible before his eyes, And toyl▪s hard with that one weak Instrument, his own Reason, to find out Gods Sense Therin. He Read's, he Humm's, He Paus­ses, He Expound's, He interpret's, and afterward, Belie­ves what he thinks is True. Marck well. He Sectaries know what they think, but know not why They be­live. knows what He Thinks, but yet knows not, upon any Ratio­nal Inducement, or, solid Motive Extrinsecal to his Thought, that God speaks as He Thinks. Question him in any Par­ticular, and you will find, what I say, most True. For example. Why, when He reads Those Words, This is my Body, he believes Christs Sense to be: This is a Sign or Figure of my Body. Ask him where is the Rational Inducement that lead's him to own this sense? If Rational, He is able to give an Account of it to others? If herein he show himself unacount­able, He doth not only expose his Belief to the con­tempt of Vnbelievers, but to Those thousands of be­lieving Christians that oppose it. Nevertheles 'Tis so. For he can render no other Reason for thisThe proof is given. [Page 177] new coyned Sense, But that after the reading of Scri­pture, pondering the Words, examining the Difficul­ties, and conferring places together, He is wrought into a Perswasion, That God Speak's just as he Thinks, and no otherwise; where you first se, That all the Reason he hath, walk's, round in the com­pasThe Reason of Sectaries laid forth. of his own weak Head, without Shewing so much as a Resemblance of any sutable Evidence of it to others, who notwithstanding know Reason as well as He. You se secondly, That such a man ActsHow They proceed. more the Part of a Pope, then ever any did that Sate in Peters Chair; For he positively Defines what Scripture saith, without the Extrinsecal Help either of Ancient Tradition, or the Continued Sense of the Church. Never Pope defined so at Random.

11. And upon this Occasion I say more. WhenOf the sen­timents of Fathers expounding Scripture. the very best of Fathers, whether a St. Austin, a St. Hierom (or who you will) differently (as it often hap­pens) expound and Interpret Scripture by their Pri­vate Iudgement, grounded upon Vnevidenced Principles, or upon meer conjectural Probabilities; Their private Sen­timents can Advance us no further, But to an Opi­nion only (which therfore I may, without offence, Reject) and never bring us to a setled Act of Faith. Yet, a far more Vnevidenced private Judgement in a Protestant doth all, And (as the only Light he see's by) serves him both to apprehend that God Speak's, and in what Sense he. Speaks. Upon so great a want of Evidence his whole Faith depends. Hence we se thirdly. If Faith be a discoursive Act, as some of our New men hold, That is, an Act founded on a Rational objective Inducement, which inclines the [Page 178] Mind to Iudge as they do, and Believe as They Iudge, itNo Prote­stant can say why he Believes as he doth. is impossible for any Protestant to Answer the question why he believes (that God speak's and in such a Sense) by the Strength and Light of his own Iudgement: For stead of the Rational Objective Inducement, which ought to He only return's you the subjective Light of his own Iudgement for Answer. incline him, and we inquire after; He returns only the Sub­jective Light of his own Internal Iudgement, which being on­ly a fallible Act, Clear's nothing without some kind of fur­ther Evidence, nor Answers the Question, why he Believes? Unles this be the WHY, That, becaus he thinks his own Thought true, He is pleased to believe as he think's. Where you find the reason most unrea­sonable, Becaus it is Vnresolvable into either Rational Motive, or any known and received Principle.

12. We se 4. Though we Allow to Protestants as much of the private Spirit as their Harts can wish for, wherby They are, as it were, pushed on to JudgeThe priva­te Spirit supposes, but proposeth no new Motive of Faith. and Belieue: Yet this Spirit being only (As They say) The Operation of Grace, chiefly fortifies the Power that Be­lieves; But proposeth no new, or further Rational Motive of Belief: For it must suppose the total motive, Antece­dently proposed, discernable by more then one only, Before it can either push, or work to any purpose.Protestants say it. And this is what some Protestants Assert, Viz. That the Operation of the Spirit is more by way of Efficiency (ex parte subjecti credentis) in order to the begetting Faith, then suppletory of the Rational Inducement, That objectively moves, and draws men to Believe. Be it how you willProtestants cannot pro­ve that the Operation of Grace is their peculiar inheri­tance. (though indeed our Protestants have an odd Spirit) They cannot shew probably, That the Operation of Gods Divine Grace is more their peculiar Inheritance, then others, who Believe contrary to them. But [Page 179] of this hereafter. In the Interim note, That in the Discours hitherto, we inquire not so much after the Reason of Protestants for the Canon of Scripture, as for its Sense in Points of Controversy. Wherof you will se more in the next Chapter.

CHAP. VI.
The new mode of Protestants Misinter­preting Scripture, which proves the Churches Infallibility, is more Amply Refuted.

1. WE noted above, That it much Avail's, when Sectaries take a liberty of glossing Scripture as they please, to urge them to a Proof of their Interpretations. By this close Dealing, we shall learn much of their Fallacious Spirit, and se, How they both abuse their Readers, and (which is worse) the Sacred Word of God.

2. In the former Discours we Handled that Con­troversyScripture most signi­ficant for Infallible Teachers. concerning the Infallibility of Pastors and Teachers in the Catholick Church. To prove the Verity, we allege such Express Scripture, That I dare affirm, the whole Bible speak's no where any Truth of our Christian Faith then This, in more plain, Cata­gorical and significant Terms, Might The words without patches of vain glosses, have their open and obvious Sense.

[Page 180]3. For the infallibility then of Living Teachers we cite what Christ said, Luk. 10. 16. He that Hears you, hears me, &c. (or, as the Greek read's, and perhaps more significantly, Hearing you, he Hears me) and Ar­gue thus. He who hears Christ speak, Hear's a Teacher Arguments for Infalli­ble Teach­ers. subjectively Infallible in Doctrin and Teaching, But He who Hear's those, who are pointed at by that particle, You, Hear's Christ speak (for hearing you, he hears me:) Ergo, he Hear's Teachers subjectively Infallible, in their Doctrin and Teaching.

4. To this a Grandy amongst our Sectaries Answer's.The gloss of Sectaries That Saying of Christ, He that hears you &c. was Absolu­tely true in the Apostles, who kept themselves to that which was revealed by Christ; But it was only condi­tionally true (mark the Gloss) in their Successors, id est, So long and so far, as you speak my words, and not your own. Observe, I say, the injury done the Text by a Self-conceited Glosser, And he speak's peremptorily (it was but conditionally true in their Successors) Who saith so Good Sr? Christ? Or you? Prove your Gloss, which Overreaches the Text, and All the Words which God ever spoke. Must I therfore be fooled into aHow despe­ratly falli­ble men go about to perswade that all Pastors are fallible. fals Belief, And hold all the Pastors in Christs Church Fallible, Becaus you a meer fallible Man, are pleased to tell me They were fallible, or, that All they had was only the Small allowance of a Conditional, but of no Absolute Infallibility? Evangelical Sincerity requires a proof of an Assertion so newly coyned. Produce itA new Se­ctary may say that the Apostles were only conditional­ly infalli­ble, but Their Sue­cessors ab­solutely in­fallible. then and let it be plain Scripture. Unles this be done, Any New Haeretick may give the quite contra­ry Gloss to Christs Words, And say, That the Apostles were only conditionally infallible, whilst living with Christ, They might be rightly instructed, in case they erred; But that [Page 181] the following Pastors of the Church were made Absolutely In­fallible, Becaus they had not the Personal Presence of so good a Master to reclaim them, in case they swerved from his Do­ctrin. Thus much is said, and only said without Proof; And your Gloss, good Sr, hath no better Proof to enhaunse it, But your own Saying, which is not worth a rush. O, But they are strange kind of Se­ctaries, say you, who deny the Apostles Infallibility. They are so indeed. And as strange They are, who de­ny to the true Church Infallible Teachers. But this is not what I aym at. All I now say, is, That, if such Sectaries appear (perhaps amongst you in Eng­land) They prove Their Assertion as well by venting their Fancies vented without proof by both these Sectaries. Glosses upon Christs Words, as you do yours. You say, Those words were only conditionally True in the Apost­les Successors, But prove nothing. They say, The Words were conditionall in the Apostles Themselves, But absolute in their Successors, And prove nothing. You are here both alike, unles Luthers proof help you out. Doctor Martinus Lutherus vult sic habere, sic volo sic jubeo. You have not more. You re­ply, Where the Command is for preaching, Matth. 28. the Restraint is added. What Restraint? No­ne at all. When sent as lawful Missioners to preach Christs Doctrin Then They could deliver no Other Do­ctrin sent by Him, and as Members of the Church then founded. Herein they could neither go beyond, How far the Apostles and true Pastors are Infallible. nor fall short of their Commission. I say as sent; For no man, God knows, saith that the Apostles or 70. Disciples, or the Pastors of the Catholick Church were, or are Infallible in every Ordinary matter, wherof they casually discoursed.

[Page 182]5. Well. But the Message, These 70. Disciples were sent upon, required no Infallible Assistance; For they were not to deliver fully Christs Doctrin, But only to prepare for it, By telling their Hearers, That the Kingdom of God is at hand. Here is also more then is probable, or, can be proved: For, is it pro­bable, think ye, That these 70. sent to preach, reitera­ted nothing but these few words The Kingdom of God is at hand? Is it probable that They were so Toung-tyed, as to say nothing at all of this Kingdom, of Christs Sacred Virtues, or of his Miracles, wherby He founded this Kingdom &c. Be it how you will, They were Infallible at least in the delivery of that Message: For had Christ (sent by his Eternal Fa­ther) Personally delivered the Message, He had spo­ken Infallibly; But, saith the Text, He who Hear's you hear's me; Ergo these 70. were Infallible in the Mes­sage they delivered. You reply again. Though the Apostles and those 70. Disciples were supposed infallible Be­fore An obje∣ction. Christ Ascension, yet nothing can be drawn from Hence for the Churches continuall Infallibility. First, Becaus were Sent abroad by Christ, when there were no Infallible Writings, containing Christs Doctrin. 2. They had suf­ficient Evidences of Miracles, in curing diseases and casting out Devils, to attest that Infallibility. To this second Answered. I answered above, That the Church hath the like Evidence of Infallibility by Miracles, Casting of De­vils &c. The first Objection is Proofles, Becaus In­fallible writings alone, make no man Infallible, as is evident in all known Haereticks, who have Gods In­fallible Word, yet most certainly pervert it. There is therfore as much need of an Infallible Teacher to learn us [Page 183] now infallibly, what that Written Word speaks in a hundred As great necessity now to learn us what Scri­pture speak's, as what Christ tought. controverted Points, as then was necessary to declare the Sub­stance of Christs Doctrin, which he delivered by Word of mouth. I say the substance, for without all doubt, the Apostles and the 70. said explicitely, much mo­re in thir Preaching, then meerly what Christ had implicitely, and in fewer words commanded them to Preach, yet They neither did nor could swerve in any Doctrinal Point. Therfore in the publishing his Doctrin, They had the Assistance of the Holy Ghost before his Ascension, Though it was then more amply confirmed, and promised anew, not only to the Apost­les then living, But also to their Successors for ever.

6. And this is what our Saviour DogmaticallyGods Spi­rit with his Church for ever. Teaches Iohn 14. 16. of a Comforter the Holy Ghost, who shall abide with you for ever; which words (im­plying a continual aboad) cannot bu [...] be understood in an Absolute sense. Yes, say They, He shall be with them for ever, But how? Mark the gloss, in regard of Consolation and Grace. A meer Guess.Not only for Conso­lation and Grace. The only question is whether it hitt's right or no? For, who tell's you, Sr, That this and no other is the Absolute sense of Christs Words? Why may They not as well import the Assistance of Infallibility, as that of Consolation and Grace. Prove your Gloss, and by Scripture; This we urge for. We Catho­licks say, without drawing further Proof from either Councils or Fathers, which you hold Fallible, That Christs following words Iohn 16. 13. When that Spirit of Truth shall come, he will teach you all Truth, taken in their obvious sense, warrants this Infallible Assistance for ever. Can your Fallible Spirit assure me of the [Page 184] contrary? You say, Yes: For these last Words are Restrained to the Apostles only. Here is an­other Gloss or Guess, as unlucky as the former: For who Restrains here, Christ or You? If you do it, you may as well restrain the Consolation of Gra­ce to all the Apostles Successors, as Infallible Assi­stance.

7. We prove both the One and the Other Bles­sing granted to the Church by our Saviours own Words, Matt. 28. 20. I am with you always to the end of the world; and moreover Affirm, that the Con­sol [...]tion of Grace granted the Church (whose duty is to Teach us Truth) Benefit's little in order to thatConsolation of grace nothing in a whole Church without Infallibi­lity. End, unles it be accompanied with the further Privi­ledge of infallibility. For, what comfort hath Any (whe­ther Learned or Illiterate) to Hear, that the Pastors of Christs Church, have m [...]h interiour Consolation and Grace, if this sorrowful Thought afflict his hart? All and every one of th [...]se Pastors, notwithstanding the plenty of their Grace, may cheat him int [...] damnable Error, and teach, There is nei­ther God, Heaven, nor Hell.

8. I might further show, How utterly inconsistent this supposed, and yet Vnexplicated Consolation of Gra­ceThe Conso­lation of Grace and want of Divine Assistance uncompos­sible in the whole Church. is, with the Spirit of a whole Church which may Deceive us. But the thing need's no Proof, for it is evident, That God, who hath promised to di­rect us by his Pastors, cannot comfort them so plen­tifully with Celestial Inspirations, and Permit all to de­lude and cosen us with Pernicious Errors. Will he give them grace, Think ye, to Talk only, and not to teach his Verities certainly? To live holily (for his grace serves for some end) and Leave them to a [Page 185] Possibility of Corrupting his Spouse, his own Sancti­fiedGod Courts not his Church with com­fort, and permitt's it to betray his Truths. Church with fals Doctrin? This in a word is to tell God, That he court's the watchmen of his Church with Heavenly Consolation, who nevertheles may Betray his Cause, and give up his Citty to the Devil when they please; For here in They are left to their own wills and Fancies. God you know is Truth, and He loves Truth. Truth is that which he first established in his Church, And it Answers to that first Operation of Christian, which is Divine Faith, the ground of all Sanctity. To tell me therfore, That He comforts a whole Church by A Paradox of Secta­ries. Grace, and yet leaves it so tottering upon Vncertainties, That none can with absolute Assurance say, He either teaches, or hear's Truth delivered in any Article of Christian Faith, is worse then a meer Chimaera, And makes our Bountifull Lord not only a very Niggard of his Graces, But also gives him a most high Affront. The Grace therfor [...] of Consolation,The com­fort of Grace sup­poseth the favour of Infallibi­lity. which he allowes his Church, as a Church, ever im­plyes, or supposeth that Arcb-favour of Infallible Assistan­ce. Rob it of this Priviledge, and other Graces, avail little.

9. And here by the way, I must needs propose one question to our Protestants. It is, whether God, Supposing his Promises already made, canA question proposed, whether the Church can with­stand an loose all grace? according to their Principles, permit that the whole Church (Vnassisted by his infallible Spirit) loose, with­stand, and reject what ever Grace he gives or hath given it? If they say, Yes, It is Possible. Then I Infer: God can permit that the Whole Church may turn Traitour, and become Impious; For a Church which withstands, looseth, or rejects all Gra­ce, is traiterous and impious. If they say no, it [Page 186] is against his Goodnes to permit such a Universal Im­piety. They must acknowledge, That he cannot but preserve a Church for ever (whether consisting of Elect or no, we dispute not) in his Grace and favour,Truth as necessary to the Church as Grace. and this infallibly. Ergo I say, He cannot buth Infalli­bly also (supposing his Promises) Preserve it in Truth by the special Assistance of his own Unerring Spirit, Truth being, as all know, as necessary to the Church as Gra­ce is. And thus we se in notorious great Sinners, who, although they have a thousand Incitements of Grace to amend their lives▪ yea, better themselves by it in some particulars, yet as long as Divine Truth necessary to Christians is wanting, Their state is De­plorable. To conclude then, Here is my Di­lemma. Either it is possible, That the whole Church, That is, All the Teachers, and Hearers in it, may aband [...]n all Gods Revealed Verities, and neither Teach nor Hear one Word of his Truth or 'tis impossible. If the first be granted: 'Tis not only possible, that the whole Church may revolt from God and Truth, But may loose all Grace likewise. Grant this, and say next what will become of our Protestants Elect people, who Becaus Predestinated to Eternal life, cannot but have Grace? Observe wellA Paradox of Sectaries the Paradox. They cannot Loose grace, yet 'tis pos­sible never to hear a Word of Truth; For all their Ministers are fallible. What kind of Elect are these who have Certainty of Grace, but no certainty of Truth with it? Now, if on the other side they hold it impossible, That the whole Church may desert Gods Truths, They grant what we ask, And must say it hath the infallible Assistance we plead for. The [Page 187] Reason hereof I have amply delivered in the former Discours Chap. 3. Becaus al the Human Science, Wit, or Learning in Nature alone, can no more Secure a ChurchGod preser­ves his Church a [...] Sound in Truth as Sanctified by Grace. from Error, Then give it Grace. God therfore doth, and will ever graciously prevent it with both these Bles­sings, And as Infallibly keep it Sound in Truth, as Holy and Sanctified.

CHAP. VII.
More of this Subject.

1. BY what is said in this short Digression, you se how pittifully our new men mangle the Text now Cited: I am with you Always to the End of the World. Hear their Gloss. Yes say They. This Promise was made to the Apostles and their Successors, But in a diffe­rent degree: For it was of continual and infallible Assistance to the Apostles; but to their Successors of continual and fitting assistance, but not infallible. The like is repeated after­ward,Protestants trivial Di­stinction of Fitting and infallible Assistance. when They ask, What we say to this? Marry, Sr, I say, it's nothing to the Purpose. For you nei­ther declare what this fitting continual assistance granted these Successors (as distinct from the other, allowed the Apostles) is, nor can you declare these different Degrees. And though you did so, contrary to theThey still run on in Generals. Churches sense, you only vent your own feeble and fallible Sentiments without Proof, which I neither ought, nor can in Prudence Believe. To be plain Therfore, be pleased to Answer. Hath God Reveal­ed [Page 188] to you what this fitting and continual Assistance grant­ed the Apostles Successors is? No. Doth any An­cient Council or Unanimous consent of Fathers Mince These Words, and Dogmatize here as you do, or, only mention a Presence of the Spirit of consolation and Grace, excluding infallible Assistance? No. All is contrary, as I could demonstrate, were it here my task to prove Truth against you (but this is done by others) as 'tis to force you to prove what your Fancy only vents a­gainst it. And mark how Fancy goe's to work. Christ saith, I am with you always to the end of the World: That is, saith your Fancy, He is present by his Spirit by a fitting Assistance, But not by an Assistance Infallible. This gloss, Not by infallible Assistance is your own; For neither Gods Word, nor Vniversal Church, nor Ge­neral Council, nor the Consent of Fathers, nor Anti­quity ever uttered any Thing like it. Grant therfo­re it be Vnreasonable, as you say, to put your Party to prove a Negative, Viz. That any of the Fathers denyed this place to extend to infallibility, I am sure, it is most Reasonable to force you to a Proof of your own Affirmative: For you doctrinally Teach, That Christ in this place Allows no certain Infallibility to his Church. This, because positively asserted, is positi­vely to be made good, by a more strenuous Proof then Fancy only. You say again. Those of your Party only delivered what they Conceived to be the Meaning of this, and other Places of Fathers, which do no more, then prove the Perpetuity of the Church. What They conceived weak fallible Men? Pray,Sectaries Conceipts instead of Proofs. what am I the better for their Conceipts? Must I change my Ancient Faith, for the Rowling, and ne­ver [Page 189] agreeing Fancies of a few Ministers? Why may not an Arian or Pelagian (if sole conceiving can do it) as well gain me to his party, as a Protestant to His, who Thinks that the Church is Fallible? To that of the Fathers I Answer, Their indubitable owning a Church Perpetual, Evidently (could we say no more) supposeth a Church constantly True and Holy, And the Constant Truth of it implyes infallible Assistance, as is already proved.

2. Protestants may yet reply. They deliver whatAn Obje­ction. they conceive to be the Sense of Christs Words: I am with you always &c. Catholicks can do no more, and Mark well. As the words do not explicitly exclude Infallible Assistance from the Church always, so nei­ther do They explicitly include it: For Christ saith not explicitly, I will be always with you to the End of the World by my Infallible Assistance. This then the ca­se stands. They Restrain Christs Promise, and we see to Extend it too far. They (we say) come to short of the Sen­se, by cutting of Infallible Assistance. We Catholicks (They say) go beyond the Bounds, and add more to the Text than Christ Spoke. Both of us therfore are Glossers, and why is not Their Gloss as Orthodox as Ours? Here is a better Objection then any hitherto proposed;The Solu­tion of it Ends all Controver­sies. And, the Solution might easily end all Controversies, would Sectaries pleas to wave a few Self-conceipts, and prudently Acquiesce to Reason, whilst Truth plead's againsts their Errors.

3. First then (though I press not much this Point)Sectaries have no Reason to prefer their Interpreta­tions. 'tis evident, That we Catholicks are the Elder Brothers, as Numerous at least as They, and (to speak modest­ly) as Learned. Why therfore when both They [Page 190] and We interpret Scripture, and stand as it were equally ballanced, becaus 'tis yet supposed uncertain, who guesseth better, why is not, I say, Our Inter­pretation (could we prove no more) as good as Theirs, contrary to us? If They prefer Their Gloss before Ours, something of Weight, beside meer Fancy, must turn the Scales, and Ballance more for them then us? We alwayes ask for this greater Poyse in con­trovertedTo these of Catholicks. matters, and can get no answer.

4. Secondly: I must necessarily here Note an un­worthyAn unwor­thy proceeding of Sectaries. proceeding of Sectaries with us, when we Produce Scripture, Fathers, or Councils for Catholick Do­ctrin. Their humor (and 'tis a a strange one) run's on thus. First They begin with their Glosses, and labor to pervert that Sense which the Catholick owns. And if after much Trifling they can Disguise this Sense, or Twine it of [...]om the Catholick Meaning, They hold the Work done, and cry Victory. Mark in our present matter Their Frigid way of Arguing (and it is alike in all other Controversies) That Text say They; The Holy Ghost will teach you all Truth, may be Restrained to the Apostles only. That other, The Church is the Pil­lar and ground of Faith, may have the Sense They allow, of, and no more. This Promise of our Saviour, I will be with you always &c. May exclude Infallibility▪ And when They bring the Close of a Point debated, to their own Self-seeming, it may be; They think all safe. Wheras 'tis most evident, that nothing is yet so much as probably concluded: For, as They say, The Sense of these Places now cited, May be as Protestants un­derstand; The bare Saying of Sectaries stand's for no proof. so, I say, The contradictory Proposition is every whit as good. The Sense May be as Catholicks▪ understand [Page 191] Who must Therfore, whilst we are Both yet supposed to stand, as it were, on equal Terms, Determine what God hath absolutely Revealed in these Scriptures? I say absolutely; For the question here is not what a Parti­cular man may Imagin God to have Spoken, But what He hath de facto Spoken. The Reason hereof is clear. Because God Speak's not in so weighty a Matter as this is to Try mens Wits, or to Hear Them tell him. Lord such may be the Sense of your words; Faith re­lies not on what pri­vate men think God hath re­vealed. Though I cannot say what it is; Nor can our Faith Rely on what we only Think He may have Spoken, But on what He hath actually Revealed, And we have means (thanks be to God) To know this Absolute Sense, as I shall declare in the 9. Chapter where the Objection is fully solved.

5. In the mean time be pleased to reflect first: ThatProtestants Glosses as iniurious to Gods Word as Those of the Arians. when meer Fallible men Peremptorily put upon Scriptu­re a Sense, which They cannot so much as probably prove (But by their own Erring guesses only) to be the true meaning of the Holy Ghost (and this in a matter which Highly concerns Saluation) They plain­ly Injure Gods Sacred Word. Protestants are these fallible men, and do so; Ergo, they injure Gods Word. The first Proposition is clear in the Case of Arians, who, Becaus They peremptorily give a Sense to tho­se Scriptures which relate to the Real Vnity of Three Persons in one Divine Essence (the matter is of High importance) and cannot prove it, But by the force of Their Erring Guesses only, They wrong both God and his Word. The second Proposition is as Evident; ForThe Proof. Protestants absolutely say, The Scriptures now cited, include not (yea, positively exclude a perpetual infal­libility [Page 192] allowed the Church) This sense (and 'tis a Point of highest Importance, For the clearing of it End's all Controversies) they cannot prove, But by their own Erring guesses only, And therfore injure Scriptu­re, in saying God hath spoken that, which cannot be so much as probably proved, was Spoken.

6. Reflect 2. It is not enough, that Sectaries tell us upon their own fallible Parole, That our Places ofSectaries come not home to the difficulty. Scripture May be interpreted as they please, or, co­me not home to prove the Churches Infallibility; For Admit thus much Gratis, They yet convince nothing: Because it is one thing to say (and God knows only to say it) our alleged Scriptures (for example that of St. Paul, The Church is the pillar and ground of Truth) pro­veTo say we prove not our Doctrin is not to say They prove the contra­ry. not a Church Infallible, and a quite other, positively to Teach and prove it, to be Fallible. The most they can infer out of thi [...] Negative: Such places prove not, were all granted they desire, is that They give the slip to so many Texts of Scripture, or infringe so much force of our Proofs. Alas, This only is to pull, as itTheir weak en­deavour is to pull down, not to build up the Machin of their new Doctrin. were, so much of a House down; But it doth not therfore follow, that They positively give in as good Texts to the contrary Sense, or, Build up the Structu­re of their new Doctrin concerning the Churches Fal­libility. To pull down one Proof, is not to destroy all we can say (we have more Strings to our Bow then one) much les is it to build up an opposite Doctrin. The Machin these Sectaries would fain build, lyes in this one positive Assertion. The whole Church is Fallible. This, say I, Fancy only Erect's; For it stands un­prop't,Fancy doth all with them. That is, it neither is, nor can, nor shall ever be positively proved. And hence

[Page 193]7. Reflect 3. If Protestants, who rely totally on Scripture Proof, Positively Assert, as They do, That the whole Church is Fallible, They are obliged both in Conscience and all Law of Disputation, to prove what They say: For Asserenti incumbit probatio. Observe my reason. When Luther and Sectaries came amongst us, and troubled the world, They heard the voice of a whole Ancient Church against them, owning the infallible Assistance of Gods Directing Spirit, for which we now argue. The Church pleaded thus: Olim possideo, prior possideo. This Spirit of infallibi­lity I long since have had, and yet, upon Scripture proof do Believe. Well. Now enter these Se­ctaries,They first reject Church Authority and then make Scri­pture speak as Fancy pleases. and first Reject the Authority of this Ancient Church; next They fall abord with our Scriptures, And becaus they are good at Guessing, They tell us: Verily, These Scriptures seem not to prove a Church Infalli­ble, Becaus They are able to interpret all to a contrary Sen­se. To this we have Answered. Their seeming is no proof. Withall, That Catholicks as Many and Learned as They, both can and do interpret them otherwise. Hitherto therfore, their cause is nothing Advanced. More then is necessary, And it is, That whilst They positively establish a new coyned Doctrin of a whole Christian Church fallible, contrary to what An­tiquity ever owned, I say, 'tis necessary, That they bring some Positive proof, and make good Their un­heard of Assertion.

8. And here we may have plain dealing if Secta­riesProtestant have no Text of Scripture against an Infallible Church. please. Turn then to your Bible, Gentlemen, and shew me any Text like this. The whole Church of Christ, is not the Pillar and ground of Truth. The Holy [Page 194] Ghost will not ever Teach it all Truth. God hath placed Pastors and Doctors in his Church, But such as may suffer us to be carried away with every wind of fals Doctrin &c. Such Expressions we read in our Bible for the contrary Ve­rity, Have you any thing like them in yours, to pro­ve your opposite Asserted Doctrin? I say any like them; For I Press not to have from you the same Formal Words, But will be content with one plain significant Text (and we will stand to Scripture, Or if Scripture please you not, we will accompany you to Councils and Fathers) which so much as Meanly makes the whole Church of Christ Fallible? Such a Scripture, I tell you once more, you cannot produce. Ergo, you only vent your Fancies, you talk and prove not; you believe a Doctrin which you cannot show was ever Revealed in Gods Word. You may perhaps trifle it out, and Tell us, as you are wont to do, of our er­rors de facto. It is nothing to the purpose: ForWhat we desire of Sectaries. we enquire not here after your proofles Assertions (They are Answered a hundred times over) nor ask, what you fallible Teachers say, but what God hath said in Scripture concerning the fallibility of a whole Christian Church. This we wish to hear of, before we credit your Talk, or Believe, for your saying, It hath erred de facto.

CHAP. VIII.
The new Mode of Sectaries misinterpre­ting Scripture destroyes Protestant Religion.

1. HEre we give you a fourth Reflection conse­quent to the former Discours, which follows upon our Sectaries misinterpretation of Scripture. 'Tis worth the Readers knowledge, and if I mistake not, totally Ruin's Protestant Religion. Thus it is. The whole Machin of Protestancy, as Protestancy, standsProtestancy stands top­ling on ne­gatives. topling upon supposed Objective Negatives, built up by Fancy only, without so much as one positive proof of Scripture to support it. If I evidence not this Truth (and consequently do not convince) That our Sectaries have no Faith, Deny me credit Hereaf­ter.

2. Observe well. No sooner do these Sectaries perswade Themselves, That they can Abate the force of our Scripture-proofs for Catholick Doctrin; But TheyHow They proceed farther an Negatives▪ presently lay hold on the quite contrary Doctrin, And make that an Article of their new Faith. They say, we prove not a Church infallible; Therfore the contrary Position. The Church is fallible, is with them a certain Truth. They say, we prove not a third place of Purgatory; Therfore the Belief of noMark Th [...]se In­ferences. Purgatory is an Article of Protestants Faith. We prove [Page 196] not Christs Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist; Therfore the Belief of his Not-presence constitutes part of Prote­stants Doctrin. We prove not the Popes Supremacy; Ergo, They Believe the Contrary &c. To show their Nullity of Faith, shall we here condescend to what They say, And contrary both to Conscience and ma­nifest Truth, suppose with them, the Proofs for our Doctrins to be proofles? Be it so supposed at present. Pray you say next, What are They able to infer upon such a fals Concession? Marry thus much. If we prove no Purgatory, There is surely no such Place. If we prove not the Church Infallible, it is certain­ly Fallible, and so of the rest. I answer. ThisThese Se­quels are deeply Non­sense. Sequele is Non-sense, and a pure Non sequitur. We pro­ve not; Ergo, The contrary Doctrin is true. For how many Things are there both Actual and Possible, which men prove not, and yet are so? A young student in Mathematicks cannot perhaps prove, that the Sun is greater then a Sieve; Is it therfore consequent That, that luminous body is not Greater? The Proof is naught, And here is all that follows. One thing then it is in our present Case, To say our Proofs Proofs may fall short, and yet not fall upon falsities. for Catholick Doctrin fall short, or, are forceles; And a qui­te Other to say they fall upon falsities. Ergo no absolute De­nial of these Catholick Verities is deducible from our not pro­ving them. Yet upon this fals supposed negative founda­tion, We prove not, All Protestant Religion stands tottering as it doth.

3. Be pleased to hear more of this Stuff. Let us also falsly suppose, as our Sectaries will have it, that These may be objective Truths and Verities: No Church is infallible: There is no Purgatory &c. Doth it [Page 197] follow, think ye, That they can believe These Nega­tives Every Truth is not a ma­terial Ob­ject of Faith. with Divine and stedfast Faith, upon the Con­cession That they are now supposed Truths? No. It is a lame Consequence, and a wors Non sequitur Then the other. Observe my Reason. No Objective Verity, Although supposed True in it self, can be believed by A lame Conse­quence. Divine Faith, Vnles God hath positively Revealed it, or, is at least clearly Deducible from Scripture; So Sectaries As­sert, and upon this ground, That Divine Faith besi­desTruths re­vealed by God are Objects of Faith. a Material Object Believable, requires also (and this essentially) the weight of a Formal Object, which is Gods Veracity to reveal that which is believed by Faith. Seclude this Veracity from the Motive and For­mal object of our Assent, Though we yeild to a thou­sand Verities, not one of them can be believed by Faith.

4. Now I Assume: But the fallibility of Christs who­le Church, The not being of Purgatory, The not Exi­stency That there is no Pur­gatory, no Real Pre­sence &c. is no where Reveal'd by God. of Christ Body in the Sacred Eucharist, and so of the rest, Are no where positively revealed by God; no, nor clearly deduced from any Text in Scripture. Er­go, Although these were Truths in themselves, yet they are not revealed Truths, or Truths spoken by Al­mighty God. Therfore they are insufficient to found Divine Faith. The Major is granted by Protestants. The Minor, viz, That these supposed Truths wereErgo, Cannot be Articles of Protestant Faith. never spoken by Almighty God in Scripture, is so undeniably evident, That here I am forced to cha­lenge Sectaries to produce so much as one Text, wherin God hath Positively said: There is no Purgato­ry, No real Presence &c. This they cannot do by so much as by a probable Deduction from Scripture, [Page 198] much les by plain Scripture it self. The Conclu­sionAn Evident Con­clusion against Se­ctaries. therfore follows evidently. They Believe not what God hath Revealed, and consequently want Faith in the Articles they Assent to as Protestants. Nay, I say mo­re. They cannot Assent to These Articles as evident Truths; For no received Principle either in Nature or Grace can evidence so much as the supposed objecti­ve Verity of These Doctrins. Shall I yet add a word, and say, That no Proof grounded upon weighty moral Reason, can evidence, these negative Assertions to be Truths morally known? Therfore though hitherto we have supposed them to pass for Verities, yet in real earnest They are unproved and no other, But the weak Thoughts of our Adversaries strong Fancy? Now here, If I mistake not, You se Ruin enough of Protestant Religion, And the Ruin of Protestant Religion, as Protestan­cy. which stand's upon a Fancied Opinion only, and not upon what God hath Revealed in his Sacred Word. No, nor can probably be made known by any received Principle.

5. To conclude this point, I Argue thus. These Negative Articles, No purgatory, No Church infallible &c. Are either essential Pieces of Protestant Religion, or not. If not: There is no such thing as Protestant Religion in the world; For the Reformed part of it, is wholy An unan­swerable Dilemma. made up of such Negatives, No Purgatory, No Transub­stantiation, No unbloody Sacrifice, No Praying to Saints, No Church infallible &c. Cast then these, and the li­ke away, Protestancy dwingles to nothing. Now, if on the other side, They hold these as Articles of Protestancy, And say, They ought to be believed by Divine Faith, They are obliged to shew (which is utterly impossible) that God hath Positively reveal­ed them in Scripture. Therfore I say: Though we [Page 199] Admit of such Negatives as Objective Truths in Themselves, yet, so long as they are not proved to be positive revealed Truths, or, Spoken by Almighty God, Protestancy stands like a Starveling, void and empty of all revealed Truths, Protestancy as so, hath no one part of its Do­ctrin war­ranted by God. And consequently, as it is, this New Religion, hath no one part of its Doctrin warranted by him, who up­holds all Christian Verities, I mean Gods certain Re­velation.

6. To se this Assertion more clearly Evidenced, Hear a little what our Sectaries Answer. Some tell us: They know right well, there is no Purgatory, Becaus God hath not revealed it in Scripture. There is no real Presence for the same Reason, and so they Ar­gue for the rest of their Negatives. To this and whatever els can be proposed, we have answered. Though, These Suppositions are very Fals, yet Ad­mit of them as True. Viz. Tha [...] a Purgatory, or Real Presence are not mentioned in Scripture: All that fol­lows from hence, is, That God hath been, as it we­re, Silent, and omitted to speak of such Objects. ThatProtestants inferences, Still proved improba­ble. is, as we now falsly suppose, He hath neither said the­re is a Purgatory nor Denyed it. Now this Negati­ve, God hath said nothing of such a matter, as it cannot Ground a positive Belief of a Purgatory, so it cannot Ground a positive Belief of the Contrary, or, No Purgatory. WhilstWhat both Catholicks and Prote­stants are obliged to prove. therfore the Catholick Believes a Purgatory, He is obliged to show that God hath Positively Revealed it: And if the Protestant Believe no Purgatory, He is also Obliged to show that God hath spoken Positively this Objective Truth, There is no such place. To say then: God hath made no mention at all of a Pur­gatory in Sçripture, and to infer from Thence a Be­lief [Page 200] of no Purgatory, is in plain Language to Say: I may Actually Believe that by Divine Faith, which God never Spake. The most therfore, That can be Deduced from this Negative, were it True, God hath Omitted to Reveal a Purgatory, is, That no man yet knows, nor can know upon Revelation, whether there be such a Place or no. But to draw from it an Absolute Faith of no Purgatory, is (and I can term it no better) then the last of Non­sense. For, how many Things are there known to God, Which He hath omitted to Reveal? Can I Therfore, upon that Non-Revelation, Rush on them with my Faith, and Believe them for his not Speaking at all? Yet thus Sectaries Proceed. They haveProtestants Believe Ne­gatives be­caus God hath not Reveal'd them. good store of Negatives, But not revealed Negatives, And They will Believe them, Becaus God hath not Revealed them. Here briefly is my Discours, if it Faulter, or seem Faulty to our Adversaries; my humble Petition is, That they will Vouchsafe to unbeguil' me, and Friendly shew me where the Fallacy lyes.If this Discourse be faulty, my wish is to hear of the fallacy.

7. Some perhaps will say. We have Fought all this while with Shadows, And supposed These Negatives, No Purgatory, No Transubstantiation &c. To be Objects of Protestants Faith. But we err, not knowing Their Doctrin; For, They are only Held Inferiour Truths, One Reply refuted. Approved by the English Church to mantain Vnion amongst Protestants, And not owned as Articles of Faith. Thus Two later Men, whom you may se largely Refuted Discours 3. c. 6. n. 7. All I'll say at present is: Be­cause Sectaries seldom Agree in Doctrin, it is im­possible to Confute them all at Once. To mySectaries agree not in Doctrin. purpose then. There have been Certainly, And are yet Protestants (I think These the more Numerous) [Page 201] That Hold the now named Negatives, Articles of Prote­stants Some own these Nega­tives Arti­cles of Faith. Faith, And Against such our Proofs have Force: Others, that Deny the Doctrin, And exclude them from being Articles are in a worse Condition; Because upon the Supposition, They are Forced to grant, ThatProtestancy hath no Articles of Faith. Protestancy, as Protestancy, contain's not so much as One Article of Divine Faith in it; For, the whole Reformed part of it is made up of pure Negatives. Consequently, if Any should utterly Abjure that Religion, He would not Abjure one Truth Revealed by Almighty God. Se more of this subject in the place now cited, AndBoth are Confuted. know, That our Adversaries will have Much to do, To come of Hansomly, whether They Grant These Nega­tives To be Articles of their Faith, or Disown them as Arti­cles. This is fairly spoken, without Clamours, AndMr. Stil­lingfleet in his Preface to the Rea­der. Believe it. Some who tell us, They have not Leisure Enough to kill flyes, may sweat at it (take whether part They please) before the Difficulty be solved.

8. They may Reply secondly, And Endeavor toA second Reply of Sectaries worth No­thing. Prove at least one of their Negatives Thus. There is no Purgatory; Becaus God hath Revealed in Scripture two Places only, Heaven, and Hell, which seem's Ex­clusive of a third Place. I answer, That word Only is neither Scripture, nor Revelation. Cast therfore that Particle away, and Propose the Argument as we ought to do, And it falls to nothing. Thus it is. God hath Revealed two Places, and these Eternal, it is most True. Ergo he hath Revealed the not Being of a Purgatory is Fals, and a meer Non-sequitur.

9. They may Reply thirdly. Catholicks BelieveA Third at bad. many things upon as pure Negatives; for Example: A [Page 202] Trinity of Three Distinct Persons in one Divine Essen­ce, and no Quaternity, or, no more Persons then Three; yet this Negative is not Revealed in Scripture. To Help on this worthles Argument I Grant more: That not so much as a Trinity, of Distinct Per­sons, is plainly Revealed in Scripture; Doth it Ther­foreCatholicks believe not upon Nega­tive grounds. follow, that Catholicks Believe that Mystery and Deny a Quaternity upon Negative Grounds? No such matter. They Believe a Trinity and no Quaterni­ty, upon the solid Positive Grounds of their Church Interpreting Scripture, upon a Universal Perpetuated Tradition, And the Infallible Word of God not Writ­ten. Protestants are destitute of such Proofs in the Articles they Hold. For, They neither have an Infal­lible Church, nor Tradition, Nor Written, nor Vn­written Word to Rely on. Therfore They Believe upon Fancy o [...]y.

10. To End This Matter, I will here Briefly (Be­causAn Obje­ction an­swered con­cei [...]ing Novelties introduced i [...] the Church. it is Consequent) Answer to an old Trivial Ob­jection made by Sectaries against our Present Roman Church, which They Accuse of Novelties introduced since the First Primitive Ages, And weakly, as They are wont; Argue after this manner. Your Doctrins of Transubstantiation▪ of Praying to Saints, of an Vnbloody Sacrifice▪ &c. Were not Taught for Three, or Four Ages after Christ. Therfore, say They, We may now well hold the Contrary, And Believe no Transub­stantiation, no Sacrifice &c. I answer. Admit of this most fals Supposition, These Doctrins were not Taught. Sectaries found Faith on a Nega­tive. No Faith at all can be founded on this Negative, Before (which will never be) They Prove their contrary Doctrin Positively Revealed by Almighty God in Scripture. For, this [Page 203] Principle stands irrefragably Sure, No Revelation, No Faith; Although the Object Assented to be True. All the pains Therfore, These men take to reduce Their Reformed Gospel to the Model of the Primitive Church, is upon seve­ral Respects meer labor lost; But upon this Account Chiefly it They can­not shew one of Their Negatives Revealed to any An­cient Or­thodox Church. faulters most, That They cannot show one Negative believed by them to be a Revealed Truth to any Christian Society in the world. It is pittiful to hear how they fumble in this Discours. We Ask how they prove, that the Pri­mitive Church held no Unbloody Sacrifice (put this for one example, it serves for all.) Some Answer. They find no such thing as a Sacrifice registred in those Ancient Writings. Mark the Proof. They find it not, Ergo it is not to be found. Catholicks asThe Infe­rences of Sectaries unconclu­ding. clear Sighted as others, find that Doctrin expresly Asserted; But, becaus Protestants are pleased to Deny all, They must, and, upon their Own word, be Thought the Men of more Credit. Well. But Suppose the Doctrin was not Registred in those Ancient Records; Is this Consequence good? It was not writ, Ergo it was not Taught. No certainly; Vnles They show, all Taught Doctrin was then Writ, or Registred. But, let us falsly Suppose, that the Doctrin was neither Writ nor Taught; Doth it follow, that the Contrary of no Sacri­fice, now believed by Protestants, was a Truth Revealed to that Church, or taught by it? No. Therfore they are here driven again upon the old Negative, And thus it is. That Church said nothing of an Vnbloo­dy Sacrifice, Which is Hideously Vntrue; Ergo Protestants can now Believe no Sacrifice, which is Hideously fals, and as un­lucky a Sequele as This: That Church said not, whe­ther the Moon be a watery▪ Body full of Rocks, Ergo, [Page 204] Protestants can Believe the contrary with Divine Faith. You will Say we Trifle now; For, that Church was Perfect in Faith, and either held a Sacrific [...] Denyed it. I answer in Real Truth, it Plainly and unde­niably Held a Sacrifice, yet must withal Affirm, Though we Falsly suppose (And this fals Supposition must be vigilantly regarded) that it only Negatively abstracted from such Doctrin; yet, Protestants are far of from Proving it held Positively the Contrary, That is, no Sa­crifice; which yet is Necessary to be Proved, if They believe no Sacrifice with Divine Faith.

11. They may yet Reply. They are Able at least to Produce some Ancient Fathers Clearly Enough Asser­ting no Unbloody Sacrifice; Therfore they prove this Negative, and so they can do Others. I utterly De­ny that clearly Enough, and say, They have not one Ancient Fathe [...] nor Council, nor any Approved Au­thorityNo An­cient Fa­ther against an Vnbloo­dy Sacrifi­ce. that positively Denyes a Sacrifice, (All unani­mously Taught the contrary as Luther himself confes­seth) Much less have They Any, that makes this their Doctrin a Truth Revealed by Almighty God, or, ever taught by any Vniversal Church. Were therfore these supposed Authorities of Sectaries (which are none) and Reasons also for no Sacrifice, more Numerous and Strong then what the World hath Heard of hitherto; They cannot in Conscience suppose them Proofs, weighty enough to Beat down the contrary Asserted, And Vn­deniable Doctrin not only of Fathers▪ But, of a Whole▪ Church. They cannot Suppose Them powerful enough to Build up such a new Negative of Protestant Religion, especially whilst They see before their eyes the Tor­rent of Antiquity against them, and our Answers re­turned [Page 205] to every Trivial Objection they make? O, But they can Solve all we Object. And, we must Take their Word, Becaus They say so. We also tell them, We Solve what they Object, and yet are not Believed. Do you not se here most pittiful Doings, and Controversies made Endles by this Proceeding, when each Party saith what it pleaseth, and Gain's no Credit from the Other? A Judge, my good Friends, and an Infallible Judge is here Necessary to Decide Matters between us: But, thus far evident Reason judgeth, And Tell's you; Though you could Solve all we say for the Affirmative of a Sacrifice, you are to Seek for a Positive Proof of your Vnproved, yet Believed Negative. There is no Sacrifice. And the like I say of your other Negatives.

CHAP. IX.
Of the Means left by Almighty God to Interpret Scripture Truely. One Passage More of Scripture, Pro­ving Infallible Teachers, is Quoted.

1. WE come now to Solve more fully the Ob­jection Proposed Chap. 7. n. 2. It was to this Sense. A Protestant Delivers what he Conceives to be the Meaning of Scripture. So the Catholick doth also, [Page 206] and can do no more. Both of Them therfore are Glossers, The diffi­culty propo­sed again, Concer­ning the Interpreta­tion of Scripture. the only Difficulty is, to know who Glosses better. Here is the state of the Question.

2. To go on Groundedly. We may with our Adversaries leave Suppose, That God hath not put a Bible into the Hands of Christians, to cause Eter­nal Debates concerning the Doctrin delivered in it. And if this be a Truth, We may secondly Suppose,God, desi­rous of Vnity in Faith, gave us not Scripture to cause eternal Debates. That his Wise Providence (so earnestly desirous of Unity in Faith amongst Christians) hath Afforded some Means wherby we may rightly Attain to the True Sense of his Sacred Word. For, no man can imagin that Gods Intention is, That we only Read, without Arriving to the Sense of what we Read, or, which is wors, that we fall into Error by our Read­ing. Providence hath af­forded means, wherby we may un­derstand Scripture. This therfore, Providence hath Prevented by one Means or other, if carelesly we do not re­ject it. We may thirdly Suppose, That God, regularly speaking, Reveal's to no Private man the deep Sense of Scripture (when He Reads and per­haps understands it not) By private Illustrations, new Enthusiasm's, or the Ministery of Angels, TherforePrivate Illustra­tions no usual means. some other way is Appointed by Providence to come to the True Sense of what He Reads. The Rea­son is. True Religion requires a True Interpreter of the Book which founds Religion. Otherwise, God would have only carelesly, as it were, Thrown Scripture amongst Christians, And bid them Guess as well as they can at the Sense of it; They having no other means to know his Meaning. These Things Premised.

3. I say first. The Holy Book of Scripture, neither doth, Scripture cannot in­terpret its self. nor can so Interpret▪ it self as to bring Men Dissgnting in Faith, [Page 207] to an Accord, or Acquiescency in High Points of Controver­sy. The Assertion is Evident. For, could the Book clearly interpret its own Meaning, Catholicks, Arians, Protestants and all Sectaries would as well Agree in one harmony of Doctrin, By force of that clear Interpretation (none of Them Denies The clear Sense of Scripture interpreted by Scripture it Self)If all a­greed in the Sense of Scriptu­re, There would be no dissent­ing. as they now agree in owning Scripture to be Divine. They accord not in the first, therfore Scripture is not its own Interpreter. Or, if any yet, without Proof, strongly Assert so much, Most Evidently in order to these Dissenting men, it is as useles an Interpreter, as if it were none at all; For, it Composeth no Dif­ferences. Take here one Instance. Sectaries, to prove Scripture conspicuous and clear without an In­terpreter, quote these and the like Places. Thy word is a Lantern to my feet. A Lante [...] shining in a dark place &c. We answer. Scriptures are truely a Light, when that outward cover of Ambiguous Words, wherin the Sense often lyes Enclosed, is broken open by a Faithful Interpreter, And withall we add, 'Tis vainly frivolous to make Them such shining Lamps, as to silence all Preaching and Interpretation: yet, this follows if Sectaries Gloss right▪ For it is ridiculous to interpret, or teach, that a Lantern shines, which I se bright before my Eyes. Observe well. The Pro­testant makes Scripture clear without a Teacher. The Catho­lick Interpreta­tion abso­lutly neces­sary to Scripture. saith, Interpretation is Absolutely Necessary. Scripture it self Delivers not in Formal Words, either the One or Other Gloss: Therfore it doth not ever Interpret it self Home, or declare its own Meaning. Nay, it cannot do so: For, all Interpretation (Properly taken) [Page 208] is a New, More Clear, and Distinct Light Superadded to the Formal Words of Scripture; But, no Hagio­grapher says, This Sacred Book makes any such new Addition of Glosses; Therfore it cannot Interpret it self. And this is what the Apostle 2. Petri 1. 20. Seem's to teach, Scripture is not [...] of its own Explication.

4. I say 2. No Private man whether Catholick, Arian, Protestant or Other, can (upon his own Discours or Iudge­ment only) so Interpret a Difficil Scripture with Certainty, as, to Assure any that God Speaks as He Interpret's. The Reason is. Every Private Judgement is Fallible and lyable to Error, which Truth, that of the Apostle Romans 3. Omnis homo mendax Teaches: But a Iudgement A Iudge­ment lyable to Errour cannot gi­ve certain­ty of the Scriptures sense. Fallible and lyable to errour can with no Certainty give me that Sense wich God Reveals in a Difficil Place of Scripture; Therfore I cannot Trust to it, nor, assu­redly Ground my Faith on such an Interpretation. And thus much Protestants Acknowledge; for, They say, Neither Church nor Ancient Fathers are to be Relyed on, as Infallible, in their Interpretation of Scripture; Therfore much less can a Minister, or Lay Man, As­sume to Himself the Infallible Spirit of Interpreting, or Re­solve, what a whole Vniversal Church is to Believe. Alas, such a man want's Certitude in what He saith, he want's a Perfect knowledge of both Scripture and An­tiquity (never perhaps exactly perused) He want's a Constant Stability; for what He Judgeth this Hour, He may upon after Thoughts change the next; For, as He is Fallible, so is he also Changeable in his Iudge­ment.

5. Yet More. What Private Man Dare, when he [Page 209] See's the Learned of contrary Religion at debate Con­cerning the Sense of Scripture step in amongst Them, and say: My Masters, you are to Believe me, and Acquiesce to what I judge of the Sense &c. 'Tis I, And not You, That know Gods Meaning. Would not such a Thing be cast out of all Company? Yet, This is our very Case, when a new Vpstart, Puft up with his own Sentiments; Tell's either Catholick or Protestant, what the Sense of Scripture is in Controvert­ed Points of Faith. And Hence, I say, The Catho­lick cannot Assure a Protestant, without a better Proof then His own Opinion, That the Sectary Err's in his Interpretation, nor can the Protestant, upon his own Assertion, Remove the Catholick from the Judgement He makes of the Scriptures Sense. Both As private men, Ca­tholicks and Pro­testants are both Fal­lible. of them are alike Fallible, if no other Certain Principle be laid hold on. Here then is the Difference. The Catholick for his Interpretation of such Places, pru­dently Relyes on a firmer Ground then his variable Judgement. The Protestant hath nothing to up­hold the Sense He Defends, But his own wavering, and unsteedy Thoughts, which are as changeable, asWere moral certainty sufficient, why is it to be more granted the Sectary, then the Catholick▪ the Man is fallible. Here is the best Support for his interpretation, and Faith also. If he tell you, he hath moral assurance, or Interpret's as the Primitive Church did. I answered above; He only thinks so, But Proves nothing. Let him show that the Primi­tive Church ever Interpred those words: The Church is the Pillar and ground of Truth, as he now Interprets them. If he say, He Believes as his own Judge­ment Interpret's, I grant this is too Pittifully True; But what am I the better on that Account? Can [Page 210] we Rely on a Protestants easy, fallible, and erroneous Judgement in so Weighty a matter? At last surely, he will hit On't, And say, he Interprets as the Holy Ghost Suggesteth. Happy man did He so: But we shall find it otherwise Presently. However, be­caus the Word is of comfort, let him hear it on Gods name, For it is the Resolution of our whole Question. The Holy Ghost only interprets Scripture Certainly.

6. I say therfore 3. No other, But the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Ghost Interpret's Scripture certainly. Iohn 16. 23. When that Spirit of Truth shall come, he will Teach all Truth. But one and a most necessary Truth is, to have Scripture faithfully Interpreted; Therfore this, the holy Ghost Teaches, if he Teach all Truth. Again, Iohn 14. 16. He is called a Pa­raclete, or Comforter abyding with us for ever; But he is not a permanent Comforter, unles he Solace as well by his Spirit of Truth mentioned Iohn 17. 19. as with other Interiour Consolation. To allege more Texts, obvious to all, is needles: The Assertion delivered in These general Terms is undoubtedly True, and Protestaents, I think, who endlesly talk of their Interiour Spirit, will not Deny it.The diffi­culty, by whom the Spirit in­terpret's.

7. The only Difficulty which will trouble Them, is: Seing this Al-teaching Spirit usually Interpret's not by Priva­te Illustrations, nor Assumes every Private man to be the Ora­cle wherby he speak's and interpret's: Seing also, He leaves Scripture still as Speechles in order to its own further Explica­tion, as it was 16. hundred years agon. The Difficulty, I say, is to find out that Oracle (And a Christian So­ciety it must be, for Angels are not Interpreters) wherin He Presides as Master, and by it interpret's Scripture. Find this Speaking Oracle out, and we have enough. Hear it, and we hear Truth. To our purpose then.

[Page 211]8. Doth this Spirit of Truth Reside in the late, and hardly yet well known Congregation of Protestants? Doth he Teach and Interpret Scripture by this Socie­tyThe Spirit resides no [...] in Prote­stants. of men? No, Most certainly, no: For, that Society wherin This All-knowing Spirit Presides as Ma­ster, is Taught infallibly. Those, He instructs to In­terpret Scripture, Both Teach and Interpret Infallibly (For Truth it self can make none his Instruments, and Inter­pret by them either falsly or fallibly:) But Prote­stantsBecause They pro­fess to be Fallible. profess themselves to be Fallible in what ever they Teach and interpret; Therfore they ioyntly own themselves to be No Teaching or interpreting Instruments of the Holy Ghost. Observe well the Reason. This blessed Spirit when it learn's a whole Church what it is to Believe, cannot but Interpret Infallibly by those He Teaches to interpret. Our Sectaries deny this Grace of Interpreting infallibly to All Societies of Christians; The Reason is convin­cing. Therfore they deny it to Themselves, For, they are a­mongst These All; And in doing so, They Divorce their little Company from the Infallible interpreting Spirit of the Holy Ghost. Consequently, This Spirit leaves them; For 'tis most evident He Interprets not by such, or for such, as deny and Abjure his Infallible Interpretation. God forbid (may Sectaries Reply) we Abjure it not, But only modestly say, We cannot Teach infallibly as he Interprets in our Harts. No. To what pur­pose then, doth this Divine Spirit lay up his infallible learning in your Harts, if you can never utter it, or Teach others (after your Instructions secretly recei­ved) as this Spirit speak's in you, infallibly? Here is Light indeed closely hid under a Bushel, unseen by All, Beneficial to None. This short Discours (can Pro­testants [Page 212] discover Sophistry in it, let them speak) to­tally Evert's their private Spirit, And evidences, That their Interpretation of Scripture finally comes to no more But to a Fallacy, or a self-imagined Fancy. All I would say here, is summoned up in these few words▪ Protestants confess that they neither Teach, nor can Interpret Scripture infallibly; Therfore by their own Confession, They aro neither Oracles, nor Instruments, nor Interpreters of the Holy Ghost, who Teaches and Interprets by none, when [...]e de­livers Doctrin for a whole Church, But by such as do it In­fallibly. Hence

9. I say 4. One only Society of Christians There is (HellOne only Siciety that Tea­ches Infal­libly. gates shall not prevail against it, or seduce it by Er­ror) which Teaches and interprets the Word of God Infallibly. This one Dove is Chast, This one Spouse is Loyal, This one Oracle is Infallible. He that Hear's it, hear's Christ, He wh [...] slight's it, slight's Christ, and draw's upon him the Malediction of a Separated Heathen and Publican, Matt. 18. 17. Si Ecclesiam non audierit &c. You do, I know, prevent my meaning; For, by this Spou­se and Oracle, I understand no other, But that long standing, Ancient, Holy, and Catholick Roman Church, which Which is the Roman Church. ever taught the World in foregoing Ages, before our Sectaries se [...] footing in it. Beside this faithful Oracle (I do de­monstrate in the 1. Chap. of the next Discours) There ne­ver was, is, or shall be any thing like a Catholick Holy Church. Now, as it is Ecclesia Docens, a Church Teaching, and consists of Prelates united with one Head, Directed by the Holy Ghost, it Teaches and inter­prett Scripture infallibly. As it is Ecclesia Discens, or the Church Learning, it receives, and by virtue of the same blessed Spirit, both Instruction and Interpreta­tion infallibly.

[Page 213]10. The Truth of my Assertion stand's firm upon the undeniable Grounds already laid, no less well pro­ved, then presupposed. Here is the summe of All.A summa­ry of the precedent proofs. The wise Providence of God hath left Sufficient means wherby we may know exactly the Sense of his Scripture, in matters concerning Saluation, whilst Learned men of different Sects are at endles Debates about this Sense, and persist most obsti­natly in what they have once laid hold on. God therfore, most assuredly, will not have us run on thus in jarr's to the worlds end, and conclude nothing. There is means then of a Recon­ciliation afforded, if we please; But that's not Scripture alone, which cannot interpret it self, but lyes still in that ancient darknes, as it was first writ; nor can it be mans Private Iudgement, for that is both Various and Fallible. Certainly it is not the Protestants Spirit, For this we se changes every year, And, con­fessedly, is Destitute of the Holy Ghosts Infallible directing Spi­rit. It is no condemned Sect of Ancient Haereicks, acknowledged for such both by Catholicks and Protestants. Enthusiasm's no man believes, Angels interpret not Scripture. What then Re­mains, but that we have recours to that One, Ancient, Holy, and Vniversal Roman Church, as wel for Instruction, as In­terpretation. By this sole Oracle the Holy Ghost in­terpret's and teacheth, or we must grant (which is lamentable) that we are turned loos into an inexplica­ble Labyrinth of Gods deep Secrets revealed in his Word, without hope of finding any Exit.

11. To prove my Assertion further positively by Scri­pture, and the Authority of Fathers, would be both tedious to a Reader, and little avail with Sectaries (And I wave as much as may be the useles Repetition of so often quoted Authorities) who turn of Scripture by far-fetcht Glosses▪ and undervalue Fathers as being [Page 214] fallible: Yet while they do so, know well enough their own misery at home, within their brests, which is nothing but a Spirit of Fallibility. You find Proofs am­ply alleged out of Scripture, Councils, and Fathers to our present matter, in our Polemical writers, chiefly when they treat of the Iudge of Controversies. How­ever one Text, though often quoted, I will here give you. Sectaries may tamper long enough with it, be­fore they return a probable Answer.

12. The great Apostle of the Gentiles writing toA solid proof from Scripture. the Ephesians Cap. 4. after he had warned them of keep­ing unity in Spirit, and Faith also, vers 11. Add's: And he gave some Apostles, and some Prophets, and other some Evangelists, and other Pastors, and Doctors &c. And why gave he these Teachers? The following words An­swer, For the consummation of the Saints, unto the work of the Ministery, unto the edifying of the Body of Christ. How long are these to continue? To the Worlds end, until, saith Scripture, we meet into the unity of Faith, and knowledge of the Son of God &c. What intention had God in establishing These Apostles, Evangelists, and Pastors in his Church? That now, we be not Children flu­ctuating, and carried away [...], that is, turned about with every wind of Doctrin, in the wickednes of men, in craftines to the circumvention of error. Thus the Hierar­chyThe Hie­rarchy of the Church that Teaches. of Christs Teaching Church is constituted, And by no other then Truth it self. Now I say: No Society of Christians, since St. Paul writ These words, can so much as probably show it self permanently blessed with an Apostolical Teacher, but our Ancient Roman Church only, where the Prince of the Apostles, St. Pe­ter yet lives in every lawful succeeding Pope. No [Page 215] Society of Christians can lay claim to such continuedThe Roman Catholick Church only shew­es through every Age. Prophets as this Church hath had in it Age after Age, whether by Prophets we understand with Scripture 1. Cor. 14. 1. Holy Men praying and Prop [...]cying, or such as Foretel Future things, our Church hath had abundance of these, if undoubted History may gain credit. NoProphets laborious Evange­lists. Society of Christians can shew so many laborious Evan­gelists as this one Church alone; and St. Paul points at, 2. Timot. 4. 5. They are Those who have indefatiga­bly, through every Age without Cessation, Preached, and carried Christs Sacred Gospel to Vnconverted, and most remote Nations. Thus St. Austin sent by St. Gre­gory Pope, Anciently was an Evangelist to our English, St. Boniface to the Germans, Blessed St. Francis Xavier and many other Evangelical men, were so also to the furthest part of the world. No Society of Christians But our Ancient Roman Church only can reckon up so long a perpetuated Hierarchy of lawful commission­edPastors and profound Learned Doctors. Pastors, so many profound and learned Doctors, who labored unto Death in Christs Sacred Vineyard, and innumerable shed their Blood in Defense of it. These being undeniable Truths,

13. I Argue thus. This known, visible, and ne­ver interrupted Society of Evangelists, Pastors, and Do­ctors, This Ecclesia Docens, or Teaching Church, consti­tutedThe Argu­ment. by Christ himself, was ever, and is still Infalli­ble, and, Becaus Directed by the Holy Ghost, Teaches and Interpret's Scripture infallibly: or, It can err, And cheat that ample Flock of Christians, committed to its charge, into damnable Falsities. If the first be granted, we have all we wish, Viz. An infallible Hierarchy of living Pastors, who shall Successively instruct us [Page 216] infallibly to the worlds end. If contrarywise, this whole Hierarchy can Deceive and lead us into damnable Er­ror, These two woful Sequels Undeniably Follow.Fearful Se­quels from Sectartes fals Do­ctrin. The first. That the Holy Ghost Directs not, Teach's not that living Hierarchy of Pastors, which Christ ap­pointed to Teach us here on Earth; For, both This and every other Society of Christian Teachers, may Beguile us with fals Doctrin, and misinterpret Scripture? Grant so much, and it followes, 2. That our Learned St. Paul Mistook himself, and Uttered not one word of Truth in the place now cited. For, if the­se Pastors and Teachers appointed by Christ to Teach, and so specifically here noted, can Delude us (yea, and have de facto erred as Protestant Assert) 'Tis possible. That They neither comply with the Work of their Ministery, nor Edify the moral Body of Christ (but destroy it) nor perse­ver in teaching Truth, until we all meet together in a Vnity of Faith (that happy day is not yet seen) nor, finally, after all Their Endeavours, Afford means to persever sted­fast in Christs Sacred Doctrin. They find yet a great Part of People called Christians, like wilful Children resting on Self-opinion only: They see them tossed and turned about with every wind of new Learning. Such is the Fault and unlucky fate of Novellists, who will be so wantonly Childish, as to slight an Ora­cle Undeceivable. Here then is the Conclusion. The Apostles Words are True, Therfore Sectaries vent a hi­deous The Con­clusion. Vntruth, whilst they say, these now named Evangelists, Pastors, and Doctors may Deceive, and lead us into Errour.

CHAP. X.
Objections are answered.

1. PErhaps they will reply: We mistake St. Pauls meaning; For, the Apostles, Euangelists, Pro­phets, and Doctors &c. Wherof he speaks, are long since dead an gon; They were those, who Preached whilst Christ lived on Earth, or soon after, and Teach us still by the written Word now in our Hands. Since those days we have had no Other Euangelists and Pastors continued in any Christian Society, that either taught, or interpreted Infallibly. Roundly spoken; But without book, and as Falsly as fallibly. Let Secta­ries prove this gloss contrary to the ex­press words, and bring their proof to a received Principle. For, who see's not the Obvious Sense of St. Pauls Te­stimony plainly perverted, whilst He points at Tea­chers Successively abiding in the Church to the Consumma­tion [...], That is, to the coagmentation of Saints, or, until they be joyned together in one Faith, and all meet in a Unity of Belief, and know­ledge of the Son of God? The Deceased Apostles now in Heaven will ('tis true) se this last Day; But are not now with us, nor, Teach until that Consum­mation be. Therfore Others Succeed and teach in their Place (so God hath ordered) to the End of all things. I have Answer'd to what is added of their present Instruction by the Written Word. The Bi­ble,The writ­ten Word insufficient to reconcile differen­ces. I said, cannot (Because it interpret's not if self) Reconcile our Differences, And no deceased Euange­list appear's now, either to Arian or Protestant, to [Page 218] instruct them when they Fail, or mistake Gods True Sense. This very Scripture therfore requires an Interpreter, in whom all must Acquiesce, or we may run on in endles Dissentions to the day of Jud­gement. But yo will ask, Who is in fault, Seing no man blames himself nor the Bible He read's? Christ Answer's▪ He who hears not the Church, is both the accused and faulty Person. And upon this Occa­sion I answer to a second Objection.

2. Our adversaries may say. All Appellation from a Lower Tribunal to a Higher is lawful. And they do so: For, they Appeal from the Church (which only consists of men) to God and his Word, the High­est Sectaries by appea­lign from the Church to Scrip­ture, Tribunal imaginable; therfore their Procedure is blameles. I answer, It were most blameles, could They know Infallibly what God certainly saith in his Word; But this they cannot know in controverted Points, But by the Infallible Oracle of his Church. To this Tribunal Christ sends us for Satisfaction in allIn real Truth ap­peal not to Scripture, but to Fancy only. our Difficulties; If we reject or forsake this Oracle in real Truth, we appeal not to the undoubted Sense of Gods Word, But to our own unsteedy Sentiments; which are Fancies only, and nothing like Gods Word. Will you se this clearly? Imagin only a new sort of Sectaries, who will both Appeal from Church and Scripture to Gods interiour and eternall infallibleThis in­stance pro­ves the Assertion. knowledge of Truth: They Appeal from the Church, Becaus it is made up of men; from Scripture, because They understand it not in a hundred Passages. Ther­fore they will rely on what God knows to be True, and guess at it as well as they can. Would you not esteem such Men mad, and upon this Account, That they cannot certainly know without a Teacher, what [Page 219] this Infinite Wisdom judgeth of the Truth they seekObserve the proof. after? This is the very case of Sectaries. No more do they certainly know in their Principles, what God hath al­ready Revealed in that one Text: This is my body (and the like is of innumerable others) then if he had never Registred those Words in Scripture. They may guess at the Sense and miss, more they cannot do. Now if they tell me of no man knows what Moral Certainty, or of Fundamentals clearly enough made known in Scriptu­re, we Answer fully to both in the next Discours.

3. They may thirdly object. If a Protestant can­not depose his Judgement, nor, think that the Church and Scripture say one thing, Becaus his Rea­son finds them Opposite to one another, He may stand for Gods Word, against the Church. To confirm this, He may tell us also, that the Church, whichAn Obje­ction con­taining the ground of all Haresy, seem's to engross all Judicature and right of Interpret­ing Scripture, is no more but a Party, and a Party cannot in Reason be Iudge for it Self, when the Pro­testant stands out, and is in Controversy with the Church. Here briefly is the Ground of all Haeresy, and the old Plea of all Condemned Sectaries.

4. To Answer the first. I Ask what is this Prote­stantIs answer­ed. that cannot Submit his Iudgement? Is he an Angel from Heaven, or one immediatly Taught by the Holy Ghost? No. He is a poor, simple, falli­ble, and erring Man. Why then may not he yeild to the Church, as well as his Ancestors have done be­fore him, and the Wisest part of Christianity doth now? The true Reason is, Becaus he perversly will not submit, And, though he palliat's his Pertinacy with a Specious Pretence of Gods Word, yet he hath not one Syl­lable [Page 220] in Scripture for him: The most He can know (if yet so much) is, that what he reads is Scripture, but what God saith in that Scripture he cannot know at all but by Fancy only, when he judgeth contrary to the Church. O, but God Illuminates him aboutA paradox of Prote­stants illuminated. the Sense. Why you, my Friend, more then an Arian, as Strong in Fancy as you are? But, why you more then a whole Ancient Church? Doth God tender you so dearly, and not his Church? Will he And of a whole Church left in Darknes. Illuminate you, and leave his Church in Darknes? Will he give you the Spirit of Infallibility, and take it from his Church? Away with these Trifles, not worth Refu­ting, neither God, nor Scripture, nor Church is here stood for, But a Self-conceipt only. The Church no Party, but Iudge.

5. Now to what is Added of the Church being a Part, and therfore no Iudge, I'll say one Word, and first ask what is the Sectary that opposeth himself to the Church? Is not he a Party also? Will He then take upon him to Iudge and censure the Church. And cry out against it (as partial) if it meddle with him? The Church is already impowred by Christ to Iudge in Spiritual Causes, as I have proved; But no Particular man is more 'Tis pro­ved. Authorized to Iudge the Church, then a Vassal is to Iudge his Sovereign after Treason committed. And the Instance is fit, as you may se; If some in a Kingdom tumul­tuously rise up against both King and Country, as Sectaries have done against the Pope and Church. They are accused and brought to a Trial, before their lawful Sovereign; the Fact is examined, whether Treasonable or no. Will these impeached Men, think ye, fly from the Judgement of their Sovereign, or plead He is a Party, and therfore seek for Justice [Page 221] to a Forreign Prince? No most certainly. The KingThe Church the high Tribunal from which there is no appeal. and Country where they offend have Power to Iudge them; And so hath the Church in Spiritual matters, from which there can be no Appeal. And the Case is most Evident for the Church: Becaus, whilst Se­ctaries by their Schism or new Doctrin contrary to it, become Rebels, They have no Tribunal imaginable left them to Appeal to, secluding this Iudge, But their own Self­judgement, which is the Delinquent. The Church thusSectaries make the Delinquent Iudge. rejected; Neither God Immediately, nor Scripture more ex­plicitly, nor Angels Ministerially judgeth for them; Therfore their last Appellation is to a very Friendly and too partial a Iudge, Too partial a Iudge. Their own what they Please. And this is most evident in every debated Controversy, where no other Judge is allowed of by them but Scripture (and it were well would they stand to it) But it is Scripture, as They are pleased to Interpret.

6. They may Object fourthly. Those Apostles, Pro­phets, Euangelists, Pastors, and Doctors mentioned in the Text, Though granted Infallible, are against all Rea­son supposed to be the Teachers of the RomanThe pre­tense of other Law­full Pa­stors, beside those of the Roman Catholick Church, Church: For most surely, There were other Ortho­dox Teachers beside these, continued Age after Age in the world. Why therfore doth the Church of Rome draw all that's good to it self, and Allow no other Christian Society at least a share of these Doctors and Teachers &c? Mark the Objection which ac­knowledges a Succession of other Orthodox Pastors and Teachers in the Christian World, Age after Age,Shewed Null. And take with it my plain Answer. If Sectaries lay claim to such, They are obliged plainly to point them out, And say where, or when they lived, who they [Page 222] taught &c. But they are not designable, Becaus, from Luthers days upward There were none (except the Ro­man Pastors) in the Christian world, But known con­fessed and condemned Haereticks, And They were no Orthodox Teachers, as I largely prove in the first Chap. of the next Discours. Be pleased to read it. They may Reply fifthly. This Argument: Such Pastors are not A Reply answered. designable, therfore were not, is purely negative and pro­ves nothing. Well. But I hope this Proposition Asserted by Protestants. Such Pastors and Doctors distinct from the Roman Clergy, were Successively found to have been in the World, is Positive, And therfore must be proved. However, Negative Arguments in such matters, and of the like nature with this (That is, when things are of themselves Perceptible, and yet not Seen) Are both strong and Convincing. For Exam­ple:When ne­gative Ar­guments have force. If a company of quick sighted men stand up in a tower set before a plain, and look round about them, yet se nothing within the compas of the eye like a high Mountain; They may well conclude, The­re is no such Mountain within their sight. Now I say: A Church consisting of such Supposed Orthodox Pastors, as Protestants imagin, Distinct from the Ro­man, is as visible, and discernable as a Mountain in this present Case, Yet, were never seen by Protestants nor others. Therfore it follows They were not at all, unles we recurr to an Invisible Society of such men, now as well exploded by later Protestants, as Catho­licks.

7. A fifth Objection flow's from the pen of a LateMr. Stil­lingfleet. Writer after this manner. Cannot you conceive that there should be a Number of men professing Christianity, with­out [Page 223] Infallibility? If not (saith he) I'll help your Vnder­standing a little. Suppose (And it's only a Supposition) That all the members of the Roman Church should be destroyed in one Age, do not you think that there would be still a num­ber remaining, who profess Christianity of the Greek and Pro­testant Churches, sound at least in the Belief of Funda­mentals, without Infallibility? I have answered alrea­dy, No. And given my Reason: Becaus a ChurchA Church separated from Divi­ne Assistan­ce, cannot persist sta­ble. divorced from the Infallible Assistance of the Holy Ghost, is pulled from the Center of Truth, which supports it; and consequently the Doctrin of it must needs reel and totter (now as is supposed) to rely on no firmer a Hold then on mans unsteedy, fallible Reason, or on a Testimony meerly Humane, and therfore Uncertain. Neither have we without this Assistance, more Securi­tyWithout Infallible Assistance no security of funda­mentals. of true Belief in Matters called Fundamental then others, As is clear in condemned Arians, who no sooner left the Church directed by this Spirit of Truth, But Errours followed them in points most Fundamental. And yet, like black Ghosts do, and will haunt them without Repentance, to the Worlds End.

8. Before we end this matter, I have one Question to propose. It is. Whether, If all the Ancient Fathers A Que­stion propo­sed to Se­ctaries. that ever lived, Had plainly interpreted Scriptures as the Roman Catholick Church now interpret's them contrary to Pro­testants; They would then Disavow Their own Glosses▪ And submit to the undeniable Authority of so many worthy Fathers? Might Reason or Religion (set one unlucky Adversary aside called Prejudice) make the Answer, Sectaries would say, Yes, And do so, were The unanimous consent of Fathers against them. Grant thus much, [Page 224] And say boldly: The Authority of The whole Antecedent The Autho­rity of a whole Church, more weighty then that of Fathers. and this present Roman Catholick Church, is in true prudence of greater Force to withdraw Sectaries from their new invent­ed Glosses, contrary to it, Then if all the Fathers To­gether Had plainly interpreted Scripture as the Church interpret's. Why? Nothing on earth can Parallel this Churches Authority, much les make it Inferiour toThe Fa­thers only part of the Church. the universal consent of Fathers. The Reason is. These Fathers were only a part of it, particular men, and Singly considered, Fallible. But a whole Church Em­braceth a greater number, and cannot be misled into Errour. Nay I say: Though we Impiously suppo­se,Were the Church supposed Fallible the Autho­rity of it is as great as the Fa­thers. That this whole Church might swerve from Truth, yet the Testimony of it is as great as that of the Fa­thers, who, as Protestants say, may all err, and swer­ve more easily. This Reason is Reinforced, if we re­flect on one undeniable Truth, which is: In all con­troversies now between us, Sectaries can pretend no more, But thus much only: That the sense of some few Fathers only (They never pretended all) whilst they interpret Scripture, is, (though often obscure) more against the Churches interpretation, then for it. Here is the most they can say with any Conscience, Though we grant not so much, when the whole Do­ctrin of a Father is well examined. However Gratis Admit of the Supposition at present, And se what fol­lows.A clear Testimony, Though Fallible, hath more weight then another that's Ob­scure and Fallible. Thus much only: The Sense of such and such Fathers is doubtful, and Sectaries say, Fallible; The Churches Sense is clear (That is, you know what it Teaches) and Though falsly supposed fallible, is yet far more firm then the other Testimony, That's confessedly both obscure and Fallible.

[Page 225]9. This Discours convinceth that Sectaries cannotIf Sectaries say the mo­re clear Church Doctrin is, the more manifest is its Errour, They speak without Principles, and suppose what is to be proved. impugn the Churches sense given of Scripture by any thing that hath the look of a probable Principle. For, the Church Defend's it self upon two undeniable Grounds. The first, Positive; And 'Tis The Churches own Au­thority (nothing can be greater) The other Negative. Viz. Never any of known credit, neither Fathers generally, nor Oecumenical Councils, much less, Scripture Probably, clearly contradicted that sense which the Roman Ca­tholick Church Gives of Scripture. And here by the way, You may se to what an Exigency our newNone of undoubted credit Ever clearly con­tradicted the Chur­ches sense of Scriptu­re. men are Driven for want of Principles. They say, The Roman Catholick Church is Fallible, The Fathers are fal­lible, All condemned Haereticks are fallible. They them­selves are fallible. Thus much supposed, Tell me, I beseech you, by what probable Principle, can They so much as seemingly show, That either They inter­pret Scripture better then we, or, That Any of us all ever yet arrived to the True sense of it in controvertedIf all are Fallible, by what Prin­ciple can Sectaries prove their Interpreta­tion to be the best? matters? Which yet is absolutely necessary; For, we can have no true Faith without the true sense of Scriptu­re. You know, if the blind lead the blind, There is no safe conduct; And if the Fallible man Guides the Fallible, both may mistake Their way, and err grosly. You will have no Answer returned to this Difficulty, But Sectaries Fancy, and Fancy only.Or shew that Any had the true sense of Scriptu­re?

10. Some may Reply. Protestants have the words of Scripture as clear as the Holy Ghost was pleased to Write them in Fundamentals; As also the consent of Fathers, at least for those Fundamentals: They wave other By-Passages of Scripture, and care not muchA Reply of Sectaries. whether their Interpretations be right or wrong. I An­swer [Page 226] first, (To say nothing of many Others) TheyThey can­not wave all Diffi­culties. cannot wave one Difficulty concerning the Real pre­sence of Christ in the Sacred Eucharist, which is either a Fundamental Doctrin, or none is. Both Scripture and Fathers are in this particular most expresly against them, as is proved Hereafter.

11. But let this pass. I Answer 2. We have as good Scripture as Sectaries can lay claim to in every Point, which they call Fundamental, And with it theIn Funda­mentals we are at least equal, and in contro­verted matter far superiour. consent of Fathers also. In other controverted mat­ters we own the same Scripture they own, And mo­reover have the sense of it Declared by this long stand­ing Church, wherin we infinitly surpass them. Speak therfore of matters out of controversy, or, wherin all Agree, we are at least equal with them, And, for others in controversy, Because the Church stand's for us, thereNo Autho­rity Alle­geable con­trary to the Church, can be comparable to it. can be no Competition, Unles They render our Churches Testimony of no Force by substituting a greater in its place, For their sense, which is impossible. Alas, They want Principles to go about such a work, And Therfore must Reduce all they talk against us to Fancy only.

12. What I would say here, may perhaps be more clearly Expressed Thus. If Sectaries have plain Scri­pture for Fundamentals, we have it also, and take along with it Those Fathers They Admit of. If inIudgement against Iudgement; Spirit against Spirit. other Matters now in Controversy, They rely on their private judgement when they interpret Scripture, our judgement That's opposit, is (to say no more) as good as Theirs. If they plead by the Spirit of Truth, working in them, we might set our Spirit against Theirs, And Ask whether's better? Thus far we stand most evidently upon equal Terms with them. [Page 227] Now be pleased to observe what I say. They have not one plain text of Scripture, nor one plain Testi­mony of any Council or Ancient Father, wherby they can so much as Probably offer to Prove, ThatProtestants have No­thing for Their sense of Scripture but Fancy. the sense of Scripture owned by Catholicks is Erroneous in points debated between us, And Beside the judge­ment of innumerable Fathers, We have also The Au­thority of a whole learned Church that Approves our sense; They have neither Church, nor Scripture, nor Coun­cils, nor Fathers for Theirs. Let therfore the world Judge, How far they are from convincing our sense of Scripture, to be erroneous by any known or received Principle, unles their Fancy enter in, and pass for a Proof, which we utterly Reject. You will say: If in all controverted matters we make so much of ChurchWhy Church Authority is to be highly esteemed. Authority, There is no Disputing Against us; For, the Church will ever stand for its own Doctrin: I answer: And, if we Value not of it so Highly, But Admit of our Sectaries Glosses upon Their bare Word, We are worse then mad; when 'Tis evident, They cannot prove that sense to be erroneous by a stronger Principle Then our Church Authority is, that denies the Errour. The Church Therfore fortified with most solid proofs, drawn from Scripture, Councils, Fathers, and Tradition, most just­ly stand's for it [...]s own Interpretation. And hence I say:Whatever Sectaries can allege against it, will show it self an imperti­nency. Though Cavils may be raised, There is no Rational Dispu­ting against it. You have the Reason hereof already: Because what ever Sectaries can lay hold on like a Principle, or, That, wherby They may Attempt to prove the Catho­lick Interpretations fals, will Appear more then feeble to stand against The long standing Authority of this one Holy and Catholick Church. But of this subject [Page 228] more afterward in the following Discours.

13. And thus much of our Protestants strange un­setled Religion, And Vndeniable Apostasy, both from Church and Scripture. We shall se in the next Discours, How They recede from Reason also. In passing, be pleased to take these few Considerations along with you.

14. A Religion destitute of all Appearance of any Ancient A Recapi­tulation of the enormi­ties of Pro­testant Re­ligion. Church to side and symbolize with, As Protestants most evidently are: (Their Recours to the third of fourth first Ages, is Ignotum per ignotius, and no less and Vn­proved, then a Supposed whimsy) A Religion which hath not one syllable of Scripture for it, as 'tis evident men of this Profession have not, And because they ever glory in Scripture-proof, I am forced to tell them, They can­not produce one text for Protestancy without Their fal­lible Glosses (if I wrong their cause let them speak out, and shame me, I'll suffer the Affront, yet fear it not: But Remember I call for plain Scripture.) A Religion which never yet had one General Council to Confirm it, no Vniver­sal Tradition to Warrant it, not one Professour before Luther to Own it. A Religion which holds the Belief of all Christians to have been Fals for a thousand years together, And the Pre­lates misled by Errour, who taught Christians for so vast a time. A Religion, whose Professours take upon them to Reform others, Before They find Their own pretended Reformation arriv'd to any Shadow of Perfection; who espy errors in a Church never Discovered Erroneous, By Thousands more Ancient and Learned then They. A Religion which hath the very look of Haeresy (turn it which way you will) which opposeth all men, And is opposed by the Rest of Christians; which is setled on no other Ground, But the bare Vnproved Word of those Vncommissio­ned [Page 229] Men that Teach it; which Changes every year, and hath no seeming Principle for a Ground of Constancy; not one Mo­tive to make it Rationally credible. Such a Religion, I say, Dishonors God, Injures Iesus Christ, seduceth poor Souls, and as unworthily, as weakly, stands out against that Ancient Roman Catholick Church, which is every way Blamles, unless faulty in This, that it made Protestants Their Progenitors, And the Rest of the world Christians. If I here overlash in As­serting too much, let our Adversaries come closely to any one Particular, and vouchsafe fairly, and rational­ly, to make my Errour known.

THE THIRD DISCOVRS OF The Vnreasonable Proceding of Prote­stants in some chief Handled Points of Controversy.

Be pleased to observe what I shall Note Hereafter. You shall ever find our Sectaries either sculking in Generalities, or sup­posing what is to be proved, or wording it by Scripture misin­terpreted, or finally making Con­troversies endles, without Ap­pealing to any other Iudge, but Themselves.

THE FIRST CHAPTER.
Protestants are Vnreasonable, whilst They seemingly hold a Catholick Church Distinct from the Roman, neither known nor Designable by any.

1. THis is an Article of the Apostles Creed: I believe the Holy Catholick Church, And wasSectaries are requi­red to point at a Ca­tholick Church before Lu­ther. so three dayes before Luther deserted the Roman Faith. My humble sute is, That our New Men will pleas by a plain Designation (I ask not for a Definition of the Church) to point me out the True Church, which then was (or now is) Holy, and Catholick. Prote­stants, as I here suppose, were not then visible in the world. There were ('Tis true) Arians, Pelagians, Abyssins, Graecians, And perhaps some Remainder of Donatists with other Haereticks (whether more or fewerKnown Haereticks constituted not the Ca­tholick Church, yet the Ar­ticle of our Creed was then true. it import's not to our present Question.) Notwithstan­ding it is Evident, That some Christians then living, unanimously Professed Their Belief in a Holy Catho­lick Church. My demand therfore is, whether, That Believed Article was then True or Fals? If fals, for want of a true Catholick Church, Speak out plainly, And say that Christians Believed a Church, which then Really was not in Being. If True. The then Holy Catholick Church; which Verified the Belief of [Page 232] that Article, can be plainly and without fumbling De­signed. Say then, on Gods name, what Christians had we, who constituted the Holy Catholick ChurchNor Pa­pists accor­ding to Protestants, nor the la­ter Grae­cians. in Those Dayes? Papists, you say, were all in a Deluge of Errour, which made Luther to leave them. Our later Graecians held, and hold still, a True Mass, Sacrifice, the Real Presence, Praying to Saints, Prayers for the Dead &c. They therfore, contrary to our Se­ctaries, were neither the Holy nor Vniversal Church;None, say Sectaries, but gross erring men were in the world befo­re Luther. Much les were Arians, Abyssins, Pelagians, Monotbe­lits, or all of them together. Now besides such er­ring men, There were no other in the World. If Therfore the Vniversal Church be Essentially made up of Particular Churches, as truely it is (For there is no Vniversale à parte rei) And all Particular Churches Na­meable in those dayes, grosly Erred; it follows evident­ly, That then no Holy Catholick Church could be Belie­ved. Since Those times Our Protestants came in,Protestants only are not the Holy Vniversal Church. And will They, (if That Article of our Creed was Fals in the last Age) verify it now, and stile Them­selves the only Vniversal Church? I am Confident They will not Donatize so far, or dare to do so. The Que­stion Therfore Proposed deserves an exact Answer. Viz. Where, or amongst what Christians shall we find the The Que­stion propo­sed deserves a clear Answer. Holy Vniversal Church, Then free from notable Errour?

2. Can our Novellists Rationally say, That All tho­se who rightly Believed in Christ constituted the Holy Vniversal Church? If so, The Reply is too general;An abstract belief in Christ in­sufficient to constitute true Catho­lick Faith. and we ask again, Who Those were, and urge to have the Particular Communities Specified, That Ca­tholickly Believed in Christ? We demand moreover, what they mean by that Belief in Christ, Was it enough [Page 233] to Confes Him to be the True Messus, Our Redeemer, our Master, or, to acknowledge his Death, his Resur­rection, without Believing more of his Doctrin? SurelyMore is required and neces­sary to Saluation. no. For, first God never spake those other Excel­lent Verities registred in Scripture (whether Dogmati­cal or relating to manners) in vain, But to good Pur­pose, And with Intention That They should (besides that abstracted Faith in Christ) both be harken'd to, and Believed, after a Sufficient Proposal. Again: Were the later Graecians, who firmly Believed in Christ, and held never the les Almost all the Tenents of the Ro­man Catholick Church, Catholick Believers also? If so. Papists can in no Iustice be excluded from that Communion. Perhaps you will say, you do not exclude them. No. Why then have you hanged them upon Gibbets, meerly for being Papists? If you Answer, you do so upon the Account of their Particu­lar Errors, then hang up a number of your own Mini­sters, who confessedly have more Errors among them; Or, if petty Differences in Points of Faith, may be pardoned in the One, why are they so severely pu­nished in the Other? But ad rem,

3. Say plainly, And Answer Categorically withoutArians and Pelagians believed in Christ, Shuffling. Were Arians, Pelagians, Nestorians, Mono­thelits, Parts and Members of the Holy Catholick Church; For they believed in Christ, and owned him for their Redeemer, Master and Doctor, yea, and ad­mitted of Scripture also? If you Affirm it; Then there never were, nor can be Haeresies in the Chri­stianYet were cast out of the Church as Hare­ticks. world, whilst Christ is acknowledged in this Ge­neral Way, and consequently, the Ancient Councils Dealt most unjustly with these men in casting them out [Page 234] of the Churches Communion, And proclaiming them Hae­reticks. Beside observe, I pray you, what a pretty Church is here, made up of men irreconciliable in their Disputes. Is this think ye, that Holy, Vni­versal,A Church compound­ed of hi­deous dis­senting Members is not Christs Church. and Vnited Society of Christians, which Christ Iesus cimented together in one Faith, who do nothing but clash one with another? And will he own this for his Spouse, when he comes to Iudge the World? Yet farther. No Doctrin proper to Particular Secta­ries, as Arianism is to Arians, Pelagianism to Pelagians, Protestanism to Protestants, can (Becaus bound up with­in the narrow compass of these Communities) deser­veNo Doctri­ne peculiar to Sectaries can be Ca­tholick. the Name, or Notion of either Holy, Vniversal, or Catholick Doctrin. Prescind therfore from these par­ticular Doctrins, or lay them aside (which, as Prote­stants must say, did not Vnchurch them) my Demand is (and it shall never be Answered) wherin Consists the Protestants cannot an­swer the Question. Remainder of that Doctrin, which implyes the pure Essentials of Christian Religion; joyns men together in one Faith, and makes them true members of the Holy and Vniversal Church?

4. Will You hear, as I think, the best Answer of some newer Protestants? They may say: Who ever Believes in Christ and Scripture, and ioyns in that Belief, which was Vniversally owned by the whole Christian World be­fore Luther, is right in Faith, and a Member of the Holy Vniversal Church, Though, perhaps, He Believes, with his tainted Church, some Errours. A most wret­chedThe first Answer refuted. and unproved Assertion. For, who, ever yet maintain'd, That a Society of Christians, owning some Doctrin True (as all have don) and more perhaps Fals, is a part of the True Holy Catholick Church? We say, Bonum ex integrâ causâ, malum ex quolibet defe­ctu: [Page 235] A Faith Therfore Truely good, is Intierly good, Any Falsity Spoil's it, And then most, when 'Tis vitia­ted with notable Errours. Tell me, if ScriptureA Church vitiated with gross errours is no more a Church Then the Bible nota­bly corrupt­ed is Gods word. were Corrupted in some Points of Consequence, would you own the whole Bible for Gods Word? No cer­tainly. How then can we own That for Christs True Church, which is corrupted with Fals Doctrin? You will say: We must take the Good without the Bad, And Believe as much as is necessary to the Es­sential Being of a Church, And that makes us Catho­licks, Though we ioyntly Believe some errors with it. An­swer. This is wors then before, And more confu­sed stuff. Who are those WE, that can chuse thus;None can separate Truth from falshood, if I live in an Erring Church. Or, Tell me, if I live in an Erring Church, where Fals Doctrin is Secretly mingled with Truth, what I am to chuse, or, what is Good or Bad? If a poor simple man, Deceived by his Pastor▪ fall into an Er­rour, There are others ready to unbeguile him, ButBecause He who endea­vours to unbeguile me, may then most err himself. here are none to do this Service, Becaus none can certainly Iudge of the right or wrong. Will you say, That Scripture is to decide in such Doubts? Pray you Tell me, if (by a supposed Impossibility) Scripture it self were Corrupted in certain great mat­ters, And no Body knew where, on whose Iudgement should we Rely to single out those Corruptions? This Case only supposed, is a Real one in the Churches Before Luther (if the Roman fail us;) For all other were cor­rupted,Neither Scripture nor mans own priva­te Iudge­ment can help in such an Exigency. and no Protestant can certainly say in what. However, Take Scripture, as it is most pure, And plead with it against an Arian, He laughs at you, and says he hath more clear Scripture for his Particu­lar Tenents, then Protestants have for Theirs. What [Page 236] then is next? Every Private man must in such Exi­gencies Judge for himself. The Arian Answers He doth so, And thinks his Judgement as good as yours, yet still remain's in his Errour. Well, at last you shall hear the right Solution.

CHAP. II.
Of a late VVriters Doctrin.

1. WHen all Christian Societies (saith he) consent to such Mr. Stil­lingfleet. things, as by the Iudgement of all those Societies, are necessary to the Being of the Catholick Church, Then we are Right in Faith: And this Judgement is best made,A second Answer refuted. when we regulate our Belief by the Catholick Doctrin of the first Ages. Here is, no man knows what, and not only a Generality, But Impossibility upon Impossi­bility. Say therfore. Shall we ever se that day, when all Christian Societies will stand thus United in one Judgement concerning the Being, or the Essentials These men propose im­possibili­ties. of a Church? Never. Unles every Particular So­ciety first lay down its own supposed Errour, and say: So much is not essentially necessary. 2. Do you think, That Catholicks will ever come in, And ac­knowledge either Their Belief of an Vnbloody Sacrifice or Transubstantiation to be errours? No. They hold these Doctrins as Essential, as to Believe a Trinity. Do you Think that Arians, Pelagians, and other Hae­reticks, will so far Disown their Particular Tenents, as to lay them down, or grant They make not up a Church? No certainly. This Confent of Judge­ments [Page 237] Therfore, in all Christians Societies, for theThe suppo­sed consent of Iudge­ments for owning so much pre­cise Do­ctrin Essen­tial is a Chim [...]ra. Sectaries cannot pro­pound that precise Do­ctrin wher­of God re­quires ex­plicite Be­lief. owning of so much precisely as is Necessary to the Essential Being of a Church, is a most unlearned Specu­lation. Neither do we mend the matter, in saying as some do, That nothing is Essential to a Church, But what may be Evidently propounded to all Persons, as a Thing wherof God requires Explicit Belief. For, upon whose Proposition made evident to us, may we Assu­redly rest, and Hold That God requires an Explicit Belief of so many Articles, and no more? If you an­swer, 'Tis so much as The Catholick Church in all Ages received, you still lurck in Darknes, And prove igno­tum per ignotius; For you never yet told us, nor can tell us, where this Catholick Church is, or what it Taught. You will say it is That Church, or the a­greed-on Doctrin, which all, who went under the No­tion of Christians, owned as Holy and Catholick. Answ. There never was any such Church, nor such Doctrin owned by all in the World: For Christs True Doctrin always met with opposition, and had Fals Doctrin against it. You will say the PrimitiveArians op­pos'd as much the Ancient. Church and Doctrin was pure, let us stick to That, And all is well. I answer first: It was most pure, yet both Arians and others opposed it; They therfore will not Agree to it. And here by the way I might Ask, Why their Authority was not then every whit as good, to Vncatholick that first Church, as SectariesAs Prote­tants do the Present Church. is now to Uncatholick the Roman? 2. It is a meer Subterfuge, Thus to run up to the Primitive Church, whilst you and we Agree not (though 'tis your Fault) what that Ancient Church Taught in ma­ny Particulars. If you say, We must read, and [Page 238] judge. Alas! We have All been Reading these hundred years, And yet are at Variance about that Doctrin. You se then how Controversies are made Endles, by this Proceeding. But what will ye? It is an old Fallacy of our New men, who first Sup­pose, And then go on to Prove. They suppose the Primitive Doctrin to be known and agreed on by Themselves and Us, and then Appeal to it. ThereWhy Secta­ries recur to the pri­mitive Church. is no such thing. The Real Truth therfore is, They take up shelter here, Becaus Controversies that are now most handled, were in Those days the least exa­mined.

2. Some of our Later men may perhaps pretend, That we have not been able hitherto to understand their meaning, or to dive into the Speculative Con­ceitsA third Answer resuted. of the Church Catholick, And therfore teach us thus. That Doctrin wherin all Churches have Agreed on, ever since Christs time, can be no matter of Discord; for where all Agree, there can be no Disagreement. Take ther­fore that Precise and Vniform Doctrin which all Christians have (Antecedently to particular errors) Vniversally owned, as unquestioned Christian Doctrin, Therin consists the Essentials of Saving Faith, or the very Quintessence of the Catholick Church, and in no more.

3. Mark well a strong Speculation about nothing. You must Prescind one Vniform, Vnivocal, True Religion, from The ab­stracting true Do­ctrin from fals, is a speculation worth No­thing. all Fals Religions in the World, And then you have the True Religion. That is, you must cut of from Arianism, from Pelagianism, from Donatism, from Protestanism, from Popery (For here is also some thing supposed Amiss) what is Errour, And the Remainder of Doctrin, wherin all Agree, constitutes the Essence of Saving [Page 239] Faith. Believe it, it will prove a mighty Diffic [...] ty, to cut and carue right in so Weighty a matte [...]. Pray you, who must Go above this work? Prote­stants?Protestants ought first to lay down their own Errours. Toyes. Let them on Gods name, who are so much upon Reformation, first lead the way, and lay down their own Errors, next we shall se who fol­lows them. I am sure Catholicks will not Disown theCatholicks will abute Nothing of their Be­lief. least Article of their Belief; For they, as I told you just now, Assent with equal Assurance, to all Points of Faith. And so do also, I think, The Arians and other Sectaries to their Particular Errours. But sup­pose,Admit of the suppo­sition no­thing is concluded. That we mentally conceive one agreed-on Har­monious Doctrin, Vniversally held by all Christians, who can Assure me, that so much precisely is enough for Saving Faith? You may say, that, That Do­ctrin wherin all Christians Agree, cannot but be True, Becaus all own it: But, you shall never soo much as pro­bably show, That saving Faith requires no more, or, stand's safe upon such a Generality. The Arians believed in Christ, that is General Doctrin, But denyed his God­head. Cerinthus and Ebion Believed in Christ, But held that he was Man only. The Monothelits Belie­vedThat which all Christians agree in, though true, is not enough for saving Faith. in Christ, But denyed his two Natures, his two Wills Humane, and Divine. The Apollinarians Belie­ved in Christ, and held that the Word assumed True Flesh, But without a Created Soul. Tell me now, can you Abstract a Belief from these Erring Christians, Common to all other, That is, safe, sufficient, and enough to constitute Saving and Catholich Faith? Is it enough to say, I do Believe in Christ, without descend­ing with my Faith, to an explicit Belief of his Divinity also? Hath one that saith, I believe in Christ; But I will ab­stract [Page 240] from a Belief of his two Natures, from his having a Rational Soul, from His Being God and Man? And Be­caus others have positively Disbelieved these Articles, I will only Prescind from the Verity of them (to pre­scind is les, then expresly to deny them) hath such an one, I say, Saving Faith enough to make him aPlain Ha­resy follow [...] from these Sectaries Doctrin. Member of the Holy Catholick Church? No. For if so, He needs not to believe at all the Divinity of Christ, or his two Natures; after Scripture is Red, and Proposed unto him, which obligeth him, if He own it for Gods Word, not to Abstract from the Belief of these Articles, But positively to yeild an Assent to them with True Faith, as most Fundamental Verities of Christian Religion. You se Therfore, how Impossible it is to draw one true Vniform, Vniversal Doctrin, From all erring Christians, And to hold that, on the one side sufficient for Catholick Faith; And on the other, to comply with that strict Obli­gation which express Scripture (clearly proposed) for­ceth us to Believe.

4. This Point I insist on, Becaus I know, Prote­stants cannot so much as probably Name any Thing like a Holy united Catholick Church before Luther; unles, They first Answer (as some of them seem to do) by the Abstract Doctrin of all Christians, now evidenced no Faith, And say, That particular Errors did Vn­catholick none. Or, Secondly run to an invisible Church, not at all Designable. Or, thirdly (as TheyProtestants ought to acknowledg the Roman Catholick Church as True &c. ought to do) Acknowledge that the Roman Catholick Church was then, and now is, not only a Church, But the Sole, Holy, and Catholick Church of Christ through the whole World. With this Catholick Society, I could show (were it not amply don by others) How [Page 241] all, who Age after Age merited the Name of Catho­licks, have ioyned in Faith, And all, who parted from it, Have been Branded with the ignominious Note ofOr can find none. Haereticks. If I speak not Truth, Name any Socie­ty of Christians before Luther, That ever gained theNone ever had the Name of Catholick but those of the Roman Faith. Repute of Catholick, But such only as were United in Faith with the Roman Church? Name any one Society That Divorced it Self from this Church which Forthwith lost not that Ancient Title of Catholick, Or, was not upon That Separation, Stiled Haeretical, Schisma­tical, or Both. If you say first, the Roman Church wron­ged them; I Ask. Quis te constituit judicem? Who made you judge in this Case? Name the injured Parties. Were the Arians, Pelagians, Nestorians, Donatists wrong­ed, when they left Communion with this Church?The Gra­cians, Wal­denses &c. No more wronged then A­rians. No. But the Waldenses, the Albigenses, the Hussits, And most of all, The later Graecians had Injury Don them. And why so more Then Pelagians? Is your bare Assertion Proof enough to Declare Those Guilty, and These Innocent? When you, your selves, as much condemn them as Catholicks Do, For You ut­terly Disavow Their Doctrin. Was ever General Council Convened, That did more Patronize the Er­rour of these Waldenses, Then those other of the Arians, or, That blamed the Roman Church, for casting them out of Her Communion? No. Why therfore do you Plead [...]o much, for a Bad cause, when you have no more [...]o Defend it, Then your own Proofles Talk; which Had you spent in an Apology For any Old Condem­ned Haeretick, would have Help't as much (That's nothing at all) as now you Advantage These later Men? And Observe, I Beseech you, How weakly [Page 242] you, Go to work. You say, the Hussits, Waldenses, Sectaries plead for condemned Hereticks▪ without any Prin­ciple but their own Talk. and Others were good Catholicks. We deny it, And Demonstrate their Vncatholick Doctrin. To what Tribunal shall we Appeal for a just Sentence to your Saying, I; or to our, No. To None? And Thus you Proceed with us in all your Controversies. We must either take your Word for your Assertion, or Dis­pute without end upon nothing that hath the Appea­ranceAnd make Controver­sies Endles. of a received Principle.

5. You Say Again. The Later Graecians were Ca­tholicks, Before they Recanted their Errours in the Council of Florence. How Prove you That? By a glorious Empty Title: A Defence of the Greek Church, By Far fetch'd, Vncertain Conjectures, And meer Negative Ar­guments, which are so slight, That if all were put to­gether in a Iust Ballance, They would not weigh one Straw, much [...]es Out-weigh the Definition of a most Learned General Council against the Greeks. Yet such Talk, and Talk only lengthen's these new Books, And makes them so Voluminous as They are. AndThey De­fend Do­ctrin de­nyed by the English Church. by the way Note here a Pretty Humour. The Greeks must be Defended in that Point of the Holy Ghosts Procession from the Father Only, whilst the Church of England Anathematizeth the Doctrin. Is not this Right, think ye, And well done by a Protestant?

6. Well. You shall se my plain Dealing withGraecians, Hussits, and Waldenses could not make the Catholick Church. you. I Licence you to take These Graecians, Those Hussits, Those Waldenses &c. to make up a Church be­fore Luther, yet must Tell you, They Do not the deed without more Company, which cannot be found. That These we have named, make not the Church Catholick, is Evident: For, first they were never [Page 243] Vniversal, either in Time or Place. Their late Be­ginnings, and little Extent, are known and upon Record. 2. They were never United in one Doctrin, But mo­re at variance with One another, Then you and Ca­tholicks are, This they only Agreed in to Oppose the Catholick Faith; And if so much made them Prote­stants, or good Catholicks, You may call in Turks and Iewes to bear them Company. 3. They were most contrary to Protestant Religion, and not in Trifles on­ly. Why therfore have you recours to a People so Blasted, Scattered, and almost now Forgotten? Alas,Protestants Every way Churchles. The Reason is clear: Becaus without them you have nothing to make a Church of, And yet with them you are Churchles. I say therfore. No Roman Catholick Church, no Church No Roman Catholick Church, no Church at all. at all. If no Church at all, There was then no Truth in that Article of Our Creed. I Believe the Holy Catholick Church. To Evidence further what I now Asser [...]. Do no mo­re, But Forget, as it were, or, cast out of your mind all Thought of Roman Catholicks, from Luther upward to the fourth Age. Then Look About you, And Con­siderExclude the Roman Catholick Church, Haereticks only re­main. well the Remainder of other Christians For that Vast Interval of Time; You will find none but Profes­sed Haereticks, Schismaticks, or Both, as Arians, Ne­storians, Pelagians, and such a like Rabble of men. A­gain: Forget these, as much as if They had never Been, And only Think of the Roman Catholick Church, Diffused the whole World over, continued Age after Age; Will you not have a Holy, and Vniversal Church Pre­sentedExclude Haereticks, you yet have a glorious Church. to your Thoughts? Yea most assuredly, And a Glorious Church too. It is therfore Evident, That the Roman Catholick Society, was not only Ne­cessary to make Vp the Church▪ But was Moreover the [Page 244] Sole, and only Essential Church of Christ, as I have alrea­dy Proved.

CHAP. III.
The Pretended Reformation of Prote­stants is Vnreasonable, if Faith in Christ Only Suffice for Saluation. A more Explicit Faith is proved Necessary.

1. I Must Needs have a Word more with our Ad­versaries upon this Subject, and Note: That if a General Belief in Christs Sacred Person, Office, and Dignity, be Saving Faith enough for a Christian, which some endeavour to Prove by that Text of St. Iohn 20. 31. 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. If such a General Faith, I say, makes us all, as well Catholicks, as Christians, without more; Our Protestants need not to storm at us as They do, for want of True Faith; For we Ca­tholicks Agree and Believe in Christ, God, and Man, as firmly as They do; And in this one Article only (may we credit them) All Necessary Essentials of Chri­stian Faith are included. It is true, Catholicks say, a more Explicit Faith is required, as I shall present­ly [Page 245] Declare; But Protestants, who do not, May restProtestants slight work about things not Essentials, contented; And withall confess, That the great Coyle They have kept in Reforming Catholick Doctrin co­mes to no more, But to a slight Pidling about Non-Essentials, which, for ought is yet known, Hath done more hurt then good, And made Things wors then They May have don more hurt then Good▪ were Before.

2. To Drive the Difficulty home; I Ask seriously, Whether any one Article Peculiar to this Religion, asIf Prote­stants hold their parti­cular Do­ctrin neces­sary to Sal­vation, other Ha­reticks will pretend the like. Protestancy (That is beside the General Belief in Christ, and owning Scripture &c.) Be necessary to Salua­tion? If yes; Then will Arians, Pelagians, Donatists, and other Sectaries say also; what they hold Particu­lar is also Necessary. And Therfore Doctrin Abo­ve, or Beyond the Belief in Christ, or, not Vniversal, is of like Necessity. If Protestants answer, No; or, Assert that nothing Particularly held by them (be­cause not Vniversal Catholick Doctrin) implyes thisAnd if not, two strange S [...]qu [...]ls un­deniably follow. Necessity, But a Belief in Christ only. Two rhings follow. The One is, as I have now Noted, That, without Fruit at all, They have made a shamfull stir with their Schism in Blustering all this while about non-Essentials and petty Differences, which may be Believed or Not, without Danger of loosing Saluation. 2. It follows, That, as Protestants here Acknowledge, a Church so Vniversal, wherin all may be Saved that Believe in Christ, in like manner, Any one, and upon as good Reason, May make it Wider, and allow SaluationA large Church must be allowed of by Prote­stants▪ to all, whether Iews or Turks, that Believe in God only, without Explicit Faith in Christ, Vnus Deus, Vna Fides. Therfore, in Place of Christs Church we may have a Gods Church, more large and ample erected in the world.

[Page 246]3. You will say, Scripture is most Evident for a Belief in Christ; Might a Defender of the now large Imagined Church (which affords Salvation to all that Believe in God) Answer, He would tell you, That the Explicit Belief in God implyes some kind of Implicite Belief in Christ, And that is enough, which He is ready to Make good, when you have proved your Abstract Faith in Christs Sacred Person to be Sufficient to Salva­tion. A better Answer is. Scripture most Certain­ly Obligeth us to Believe in Christ Explicitly; But doth it leave of there, and not joyntly oblige us toMore ne­cessary to Salvation then Belief in Christ only. Believe other Articles also Explicitly, when they are plain in Scripture, And sufficiently proposed? Such are the Sacraments of Baptism and the Holy Eucharist &c. Can we therfore, after we Own these Truths Delive­red in Gods Word, hope for Salvation without an explicit Belief of them? If so, St. Iohn c. 6. 53. saith not True: Vnles ye eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his Blood, you have no Life in you. Surely we cannot do this like Christians, Unles we believe it.The Belief of Sacra­ments ne­cessary. If no; The Belief of these Sacraments constitute the Essentials of Saving Faith, and so doth also the Be­lief of much Moral Doctrin set down in Scripture. Read what St. Paul Writes Cor. 1. 6. 9. concerning the Vnrighteous, Idolaters, and Fornicators &c. And tell me, if you Own Gods Word, whether the Apostle dothAnd of other Mo­ral Do­ctrin. not Disinherit all Vnbelievers of his Doctrin? Ther­fore something more is Necessary for Christians, uni­ted in one Faith, to Assent to, Then only to Believe in Christ.

4. The true Fundamental Ground of my Assertion is This. What ever God Speaks in Scripture (who never [Page 247] spake Idle word) whether the Matter may seem to our weak Capacities little or great, is, after a Sufficient Proposal, of the same Weight and Authority. To Believe rher­fore in Christs is a Fundamental Article, and (in one Sence Known to every One) most Fundamental; But to Reject, or Abstract from His other Verities Revealed in Scripture, or to make les Reckoning of them, Becaus they Appear little to us, is to Affront God, And Tell him, That we will Believe him so far as we pleas, But no farther, Wheras on the contrary side he Assures us, That his Word is equally engaged in all He Saith, AndAll Truths in Scriptu­re are of equal Au­thority. that his Eternal Truths, whether little or great, are not to be Valued of by what is spoken, But by the certain Authority of him that Speak's them. Hence Divins As­sert, and most Truely, That no man can Believe so much as one Article of Christian Faith upon the Mo­tive of Gods Revealed Testimony, unles He readily Em­brace All other alike, as equally Proposed, upon the same Authority. For where we have the Same Mo­tive, we must yeild the Same Assent, and with likeThe Center of Faith. Reverence. Upon this Motive of Gods Revealing Word, True Christian Faith Relies, Mille Clypei pendent ex eâ, omnis armatura fortium, Here they meet together, Con­centred, as it were, in This One Vndeceived, and Vn­deceiving Verity. Do I therfore Believe Christ to beWe Believe all [...]like upon Gods Word. the True Messias, Becaus God saith it? I must also Believe Baptism, the Eucharist, and other Revealed Truths, when after a sufficient Proposal, I know, That the same God Speak's Them. For if his Word Pre­vail with me to Credit him in the one, It is as Power­ful and pressing to force, as I may say, Faith from me in the Other. A further Reason is: Because a Another Reason▪ [Page 248] right Act of Faith, setled on this Motive, is a Virtual and Implicit Belief, not of one Article, But of all other which the Motive Own's, or Vphold's. You se therfore, none can truly Believe in Christ, who Denies the least Ve­rity (Sufficiently proposed) that God Reveals: For, as the True Belief of one Article implyes a Belief of All, so Believe all, [...] none at [...]ll. the Denial of One, implyes a Denial of all Other. And thus Christian Faith consists in INDIVISIBILI, And is either Wholy had, or Wholy lost, which is the True Cau­se why Protestants have no Faith, And must Iumble as They do Why Pro­testants have no Faith and stagger in their Do­ctrin con­cerning fundamen­tal's. in Their Doctrin concerning the Essentials of it; And finally have never yet discover'd, nor shall hereafter (if we seclude the Roman) Any Thing like a Catholick Church be­fore Luther.

5. For These Reasons now alleged, Perhaps Some will say, That, After a Belief in Christ, and a General owning of Scripture, we must Descend to more Par­ticulars,A Reply to little pur­pose. And explicitely Assent to all that Express Scripture plainly Delivers (And we will Adhere to the very Words) without Dispute. If we do so▪ We Admit of all That God clearly Reveal's, and Take it upon his Authority without Interpretation. An­swer. Here is a fair Promise of Nothing; ForWho can tell when Scripture speaks plainly? who can Assure us, without Dispute, when Scrip­ture speak▪s plainly? Both Catholicks and Prote­stants Dissent in this very Principle. Those say it Speak's plainly for the Real Presence of Christs Sacred Bo­dy in the Eucharist, For Remission of Sins by a Priest,The mat­ter still in Dispute. For Iustification by Good Works, For Extream-Vnction, For the Infallibility of the Church &c. These Deny all, And (do what we can to hinder them) will upon their own Fancies Force into Gods Word certain violent [Page 249] Glosses, which God never Spake. You se Ther­fore, That, when we Descend to the Particular Ex­pressions of Scripture Concerning the Particular Do­ctrins of it, we are at a stand, and cannot go for­ward; For Sectaries will have no Judge on Earth to Appeal to in These Doubts. If they say the AncientA Iudge necessary to determi­ne &c. Church shall Judge. We are, as I told you, as Far from Home as Before, And as much Differ about the Sentiments of that Church, as we do about the Sense of Scripture. And thus it ever fall's out;Otherwise Controver­sies are Endles. Either we must Drive Controversies Between us to Endles Quarrels, or, yeild to what our Protestants say, or Finally Commiserate their sad Condition, Becaus they will not Acquiesce in a Judge upon Earth, that as well Ascertain's us of the Meaning, as it doth of the very Books of Scripture. Without this Judge we may contract to the Worlds End, and never be Wiser.

6. You se this plainly in that Instance Proposed above out of St. Hierom. For, according to plain Scripture, if one strike us on the right cheek, we must Turn to him the other also. We are to Abstain from eating of Blood and Things strangled: We are not to have two Coats nor carry Money with us &c. None can Deny But that God Speaks These Verities, Although they seem light to us; Buthow to understand them, is to be learn­ed from some Infallible Interpreter of Scripture (whichScripture obscure when Seemingly Clear in Words. Protestants Reject) when all know that very often, where Scripture seem's Clear in Words, There it is more deep in Sense, and most Obscure.

CHAP. IV.
The Ambiguous Discourses of Prote­stants, concerning Fundamentals in Faith, are Proved Vn­reasonable.

1. WE need not here to Discuss too largely This Point of Fundamentals (most Learnedly exa­mined by Catholick Writers) For if we Reflect well on what is Proved in the precedent Chapter, There is enough said to Silence All Adversaries, and to satis­fy every Rational Mans doubts in This Question.

2. We Catholicks Speak plainly, and Assert. Al­though an Explicit Belief in God, as a Rewarder of Good and a Punisher of Evil (yea, as some Divines hold ofThe Ca­tholick Do­ctrin. Christ also, After the Promulgation of the Gospel) Be Primary Fundamental Points of Faith, Becaus (Necessitate me­dij) Every one is obliged to Believe Them Explicitly; Yet withall we say, That the Least Article Revealed by Almighty God, when it is Sufficiently Proposed, grows to be so far Fundamental, That none can Deny or Doubt of it, without Damnable Sin. And in this Sense there is no Distinction between Points Fun­damental, and not Fundamental. The reason here­of (Already given) Relies upon this Certain Principle.What ever God Re­veal's, is equally to be believ'd. What God Speak's, whether the Material Object be little or great, After the Charge laid on us to Believe, is to be Ad­mitted [Page 251] of with equal Certitude and Reverence: For, it is not The less or more Weight of Things Revealed, That distinguishes Submission to Gods Veracity gives true value to Faith. our Faith, or makes it less or more Valuable; But, that which set's the true Price upon it, is the Submission we yeild by it to Gods Veracity. Now because this Veracity is one and equally the same in what ever is Revealed, By consequence we Say, That Faith upon the Ac­count of that Submission is equally Good, Solid, and Valuable. This I Note in Opposition to Sectaries,Faith not to be mea­sured by the Diver­sity of Things re­vealed. Who, For ought I can yet learn, Measure their Faith, not so much By the Excellency of the FORMAL OBJECT, as by the different Nature of Things Revealed: Which, Be­caus considered in themselves, They often vary in worth; Protestants Think, that the Degrees of their Faith may answerably be less or more various, ac­cording as the Object requires. It is an Errour. The Rea­son. For, as it is certain, That when God Speak's to us, The Highest Truth imaginable Speak's; so it is as certain, That He is to be Heard by us with Highest Respect and Reverence, whether the Matter be great or Small.

3. What is here said, supposeth a Sufficient Pro­position of Revealed Verities, which without doubt are not equally Clear to all Capacities, if we Descend to the Explicit Belief of particular Mysteries; But this is no hindrance to Catholick Faith in the mostHow the unlearned believe all that is revealed. unlearned man in the World; For such an one Belie­ves Explicitely as much as he knows is Proposed, And is not only in Praeparatione animi ready to embrace more, when more is Proposed, But even now in eve­ry Act of Faith He Elicit's (as I noted above) Impli­citly, and Virtually Submits to All That God hath explicitly Revealed. That Distinction therfore [Page 252] which some of our New men here Introduce, Viz. A Distin­ction of Sectaries, unneces­sary. Of Things Necessary to Salvation, respectively to such as are of weaker Capacities, and of Things Necessary to be owned in order to Salvation by Christian Societies, as Bonds of Eccle­siastical Communion, is to no Purpose (unles we Speak of a less or more Explicit Belief, which may be Various according to a Dark, or Clearer Proposition.) The Reason is; Becaus All that God Reveals (and nei­ther more nor less) is One, and the same Respectively to All, to the Learned, to the Unlearned, to weak and Strong Capacities; Yea, And to the whole Church also, and this All Acknowedge in every Act of Faith They have, Though, perhaps, it be less extended to particular Articles. But know, as isThe worth of Faith not in the Extension but in Sub­mission. now noted, That the true Worth of Faith Consists not so much in the Extensive Reach of it to more Material Objects, As in an Intensive and Equal Submission to Gods Veracity in the things He Speaks, which now I yeild to by the explicit Faith I have, And am ready to do more when a Clearer Proposition, and Gods Command Require it. Whence you se, Though aHow far the Faith of the un­learned is extended. Rustick hath less of the Explicit Belief Then a Learned Clerk; Yet, He want's not therfore One Grain of Su­pernatural Faith that Saves all Christians: For His Faith is, Virtually, as far Extended as any Doctors, And his Infused Habit, Every whit as Good. If any one cavil at the Distinction of Explicit and Implicit Faith, He may Correct his Errour by this one Exam­ple. Give me One that hath read over Holy Scrip­ture, and Descend's by Explicit Faith to every Verity in it▪ He Believes well▪ Another far from That Ex­tensive knowledge, knows some Verities Revealed There, and Believes them: nevertheless, He Owns All and [Page 253] every Iota in the Book for Gods Sacred Word. TellSaving Faith as well found in an im­plicit as in an Explicit Belief. me, I Beseech you; Hath not this more Ignorant Man with his less Explicit Assent, As true Saving Faith as the Other? Yes, most Assuredly, And in the Sense now Declared, as Far Extended. This is our very Case. Could we Therfore once Agree about the Proponent of Faith, most Difficulties were ended. These few Considerations Premised.

4. My first Assertion is. The Distinction usually ma­de Protestants Distinction of Points more or less Funda­mental is fals. by Protestants of Points more or less Fundamental in order to Christians, is not only Vnreasonable, but also very Fals, if we consider the Articles of Faith subsisting, as it were, or, Essentially Depending upon Gods Eternal Revealing Verity: For as They are Here, All stand firm alike, And equally sure upon this Verity. If therfore I AnswerAll Faith stand's firm upon Divi­ne Revela­tion. with my Faith to what this Motive firmly requires, And as undoubtedly Believe, as God Speak's, I must Assent to all with equal Assurance; nor, can I Believe some and Disbelieve others, when all are Proposed alike: No, nor make Less, or more Degrees of Certitude in my Faith. From whence I Infer, That no man, by any Means or Search whatever, can find out what Articles are Fundamental, what not, Be­cause There is no Means possible to find that whichThere is Nothing of the less or more certitude when God Speak's. is not to be Found, But Fundamentals and not Fun­damentals are not to be found, And I prove the Minor. Every Revealed Article, is Asserted by an Infinit Veri­ty; But an Infinit Verity Deliver's all it Speak's with one and the same Infinit Certainty (where no Degrees of more or less Certitude can have Place) Ergo, All Ar­ticlesAll reveal­ed Truths therfore are equally certain. of Faith have one and the same like Infinit As­surance, as They are Spoken by an Infinit Verity. [Page 254] Consequently one is as Ponderous as another, And Equally Fundamental, if We (which is only to be Regarded) do Respect the Motive. Again. If some Articles be Fundamental and others not, it is either Becaus the Fundamentals Rely on a Greater Verity, and the Non▪ Fundamentals on a Less (which is utterly Fals, for the same Infinit Truth Speak's them all;) Or, Becaus, though He delivers all, yet His Plea­sure is, That we Esteem of some more Fundamental Then others, And this is Impossible, Viz. That an Infinit Verity takes, as it were, the pains to Speak to us and for our Eternal Saluation, And yet doth not Oblige us to Believe Him in what He saith, with the wholeIt disho­nours God not to Be­lieve All He speaks equally, forces of our Soul. It is, as I have shewed, Highly against the Dignity of God, To engage his Eternal Truth in Speaking to us, And yet have Those He speak's to, Talk, as if it Matter'd not, whether He be Heard or no.

5. You may Reply. Some Things Revealed to us seem light in regard of the Material Object: For who can Own it as Fundamental an Article of Faith to Believe that St. Paul left his cloak at Troas, as to Believe the Procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and Son also? I Answer. God (as weWe cannot believe the greater Matter, and Disbe­lieve the lesser with­out Forfei­ture of Faith. now Suppose) Speak's both these Verities, Therfore both are Equally True; And if equally True, I cannot Believe the one upon the Motive of Gods Veracity, and Disbelieve The other (when Propounded) without a Forfeiture of all Faith. The Disparity therfore, which Ariseth here From the Matter Revealed, Imports nothing to the present Question.

6. You may say Again. The Necessity of Things, which ly in Gods great Design, and are Absolutely to be Believed, must [Page 255] be taken from the Reference They have to our last End, which is Eternal Saluation. Answ. I say so too. ButGeneral Talk. This is only general Talk, and comes not Home to the Question; For, the Question rightly stated Drives at Particulars, and Ask's how many of those Precisely have Reference to this last End, or, are Necessary to Sal­vation Respectively to All, after a Sufficient Proposition. No Article Revealed can be Dis­believed. Catholicks Say, the Belief of all is so far Necessary, That not one of All those revealed Articles can be Dis­believed. Protestants make their Exceptions, Yet hitherto Sectaries cannot say what Arti­cles are to be excluded as unneces­sary to Sal­vation. never Dared to give in a Catalogue of what They except, nor can say, That the Belief of such and such Articles, are to be excluded as Vnnecessary to Saluation.

7. Nay I Affirm more. It is Impossible for Them by their own Principles to Exclude any. To prove my Assertion. Observe First. They can no more say by a true general Proposition: This whole Bible, I have now Sectaries cannot by their Prin­ciples di­stinguish between Funda­mentals and others. in my Hands, is Gods own Word, and exclude the least Ve­rity in it from being Gods true Word; Then, They can say by a true general Proposition: All men are by nature Mortal, and exclude any particular Man from being Mortal. For, as the Mortality of every particular man makes so far forth This Proposition True, That if One be by natu­re Immortal, it is Fals; so the Truth of every particu­lar Article in Scripture Verifies so far the other Propo­sition,To believe Scripture in a gene­ral way, that im­plyes the Covenant of Grace, is necessary to Salua­tion. That if one Article be not Gods true Word, the General Proposition is Fals also. Now I Assume. But Protestants say, to Believe Scripture to be the true Word of God, at least in a General way (which implyes the Covenant of Grace and Faith in Christ) is Indispensably necessary to Saluation; Therfore They must also Say, To belie­ve every particular Article contained in Scripture, as being [Page 256] truely Gods Word, is in like manner Indispensably Necessary to Salvation, Becaus this General Belief carries as well inThe Rea­son. it an Owning of every particular Truth in Scripture, as the General Assertion of All mortal Ascrib's Mortali­ty to every particular man. The Reason is clear. For as Scripture is not made up of Generalities, But Es­sentiallyScripture Cansist's of particu­lar Veri­ties. is constituted of the particular Verities con­tained Therin; so, if my Faith truely and intierly Own Scripture for Gods Word, it is Extended to no Generality in the Object (For there is none) But to par­ticular Verities, Though the Mode or Tendency of the Act be Faith must be of Parti­culars. nos always perfectly Explicit.

8. If you Say. The Argument Here proposed seem's Fallacious, Becaus it Proves at most, That every little Matter in Scripture may be an Object of Faith, But no way Inferr's the Belief of them Necessa­ry to Saluation (For 'tis very different To Affirm, Such a Thing I may Believe, And another to own the Belief of The Belief of Every particular in Scriptu­re relates to Eternal Happines. it Necessary to Saluation) if this, I say, be the Reply, my Answer is: That, as well the Belief of every particular Ve­rity in Scripture, hath the same Relation to mans Eternal Hap­pines, as the general Belief of owning Scripture for Gods Word hath, not only Becaus the Particular is included in the General, But chiefly on this other Ac­count, That being a Supernatural Elicit Act of Faith, it can aym at no other End But mans Supernatural Happines; For under this Notion of Supernaturality it Leaves; as it were, the Limits of Nature, and raiseth a Soul to Eternal Bliss. Where you se, That, Both the Means and End Vnivocally Agree in being Super­natural, and are alike suitable To one another. Per­mit me to Evidence this Truth further, and Ask, [Page 257] Whether the Denial or Disbelief of the least TruthThe Disbe­lief of the least mat­ter in Scri­pture ma­kes one an Haeretick. That God Speaks in Scripture (once Owned for his Word, and Sufficiently Propounded) makes not a Man an Haeretick? Yes most assuredly. For by Denying That to be True, which He knows God Saith is True, He pertinaciously Opposeth himself to an Infinit Veracity. Ergo, The True Act of Faith contrary That which ma­kes one a Faithful Believer hath refe­rence to Saluation. to this Infidelity of Necessity makes him a Faithful Believer. But that which necessarily makes him a Faithful Be­liever hath not only Reference to his last End, But is also necessary to Saluation (for as Infidelity looseth Heaven, so True Faith is Necessary to gain it) Ther­fore the Belief of every little Article is not of little, But, in this Sense, of as main Consequence, as the Greatest.The Belief of Every little mat­ter in the sense now explicated is not Little And here by The way you may well Reflect upon the Desperate Talk of some Later Men, who Tell us: That All things contained in Scripture, are not so Necessary in order to our End, some being at so great a Remove from this End, That the only Reason of Believing them, is Becaus they are Contained in Scripture. A most unworthy saying,Mr. Stil­ling fleet's Doctrin re­futed. which makes God to have Spoken a Thousand idle Words in Scripture; For, there They stand uselesly in the Book, without Benefit, without Subserviency or Relation to any further good, But only to be looked on. You may Read them, and pass by them as Things wholy Vnnecessary to our Final End. A strange Conceipt They frame of Scripture, that make it up (as Ill Apothecaries do sometimes Physick) of Vnnecessary Ingredients.

9. You may Reply. Some Catholicks seem toThe sense of Divines Concerning Matters Necessary. per se, and secundarily Necessary. Divide the Object of Faith into that which is Per se, By it Self Necessary, And By Accident or, Secondarily [Page 258] Necessary. Ergo, They Acknowledge Fundamental, and not Fundamental Doctrins in the Sense of the Que­stion now Proposed. I Deny the Consequence: For, They only hold some Verities to be so Principally Ne­cessary to the Essence of Christian Faith, That if They had not been Revealed at All, or, Now were unknown, Christian Religion would absolutly Perish; But it is not so in Others. For example: Had God never Reveal­ed any thing Touching Christ our Lord, the Sacred My­stery of the Incarnation, or a Trinity &c. The very Es­senceWhy called Primacy Objects of Faith. of our Religion would not have been, And ther­fore These are called Primary Objects (Ratione materiae) Becaus if we have no knowledge or Faith in Christ, we have no Christian Religion. Contrarywise. Had the Holy Ghost not at all Inspired the Hagiographers to write much of the Historical part in Scripture (which is writ) or never Told us that Abraham had two Sons, yet we might have Known Christ, and perfectly Believed in Him: SuchSomethings in regard of the Matter are not ne­cessary. Though being writ become Ne­cessary. Verities then, Becaus of the Matter, are not Per se so Necessary. However, Being now writ, They are True Objects of Faith, Becaus God Speak's Them. It is Ther­fore one thing to say: These lesser matters (if not writ at all) had not been necessary to constitute Religion; And another thing to say, Now when They are writ, and spoken by Almigh­ty God, They do not integrate the total Object of Faith, But They least matter in Scripture is an Object of Faith. may be looked on as Parergons, or, as Things void of all Re­ference to our Eternal Happines. It is, I say, Impossible to own them with so poor a Belief, which, if it be Re­solved, Proves No Faith at all. And therfore it is Im­possible, Becaus, when I say by a General Proposition, I am bound to Believe firmly All that God Speak's, I cannot but Believe also every Particular comprised under [Page 259] that General at least implicitly as is Already both Declared and Proved.

10. My second Proposition is: Although contrary to Sectaries, though we Admit of the Distin­ction be­tween Fun­damentals and others, cannot ma­ke their Doctrin Good. Truth, we gratis Permit Protestants to Distinguish between Points Fundamental, and not-Fundamental, yet They are so unprovided of all means to make good the Distinction, or to Sever the Fundamentals from the Other, That They shall never Speak so much as one Word probably on this Subject.

11. Some fraudulently shuffling all of with Genera­lities, Think They say much, when nothing is tou­ched on to the Purpose, and Define, First, What ever Appear's to me upon sufficient Enquiry to be Revealed by God, Mr. Stil­ling fleets shuffling. I am bound to Believe it by Virtue of Gods Veracity. First Why am I bound to Believe twenty Verities in Scri­pture, when the Belief of them hath, as you Say, no Reference to Eternal Saluation? Why should God oblige me to Believe that now, which will do me no good Hereafter? Yet farther. You Talk of Enquiry. TellHe send's us to enqui­re and sayes not of whom. me of whom must we Enquire; of our own Fancies? These lead us, as we se in the Quakers, to a Thou­sand Fooleries. Of an Vnerring Church? You own, none to Enquire of. Of Scripture? This Occa­sion's Errour upon Errour, And, as Appear's by the Endles Dissentions of Haereticks, may as well lead us to Deny Fundamentals, as rightly to acknowledge them. They define Pope-like. Secondly: All things, not equal­ly appearing to all Persons to be revealed by God, the same measure of necessity cannot be extended to all Persons. TheAll have not alike the same Explicit Faith. Assertion only show's what is Evident, That all Per­sons cannot have alike the same Explicit Faith; But 'tis far of from Proving, That all Gods Verities, when pro­pounded, have not Relation to Belief, and Saluation Also. [Page 260] Yet this is the true State of the Question concerning Fundamentals, as Appears by These men, who put a Difference between some Revealed Points and Others.True Faith believes all Implicitly. Those, upon the General Account of Divine Revelation are Necessary; These, of lesser Reckoning, stand at a great di­stance from absolute Necessity, We say all are Necessary when Proposed, yea, and all are Implicitly Believed in every True Act of Supernatural Faith. 3. They say: An universal Assent to the Will of God, and Vniversal Obedience to it, are absolutely and indispensably Necessary to all Persons, Perfect Obedience is resolved into parti­cular Com­pliances with Gods will▪ to whom Gods Word is Revealed. The Assertion (though most true) run's on in Terms too Vniversal, And must, if it speak of an Efficacious Obedience, be Resolved into particular Compliances with Gods Will, Otherwise it Destroyes it self: For no Man can say: I now Pur­pose to yeild Obedience to Gods Will, And, in Sensu Composito of this Volition, Resist his Will in any parti­cular.Otherwise it destroyes it self. Therfore if it be his Will (as most certain it is) That I Hear Him and Obey Him in every Particu­lar He Speak's; my Purpose also of Compliance with his Will, cannot but joyntly Embrace, and Extend it self to those Particulars, either Implicitly, which is don in every due Submission to God, Or, more Expli­citly, when I Hear his Will Propounded in such and such particular Matters.

12. I have already given the Reason hereof. Be­caus,No Genera­lity in Ob­jects. The Object therfore of Faith in­cludes so many Par­ticulars. there is no Generality in Objects, The total Ob­ject Therfore of my Faith, as condistinguished from my Act of Believing, includes à parte rei, nothing els, But so many Particulars as God hath Revealed. In like manner the Object of my Obedience, implies a Sub­mission to so many Particular Commands. He Therfo­re, [Page 261] who saith by a General Act, I Believe all that God And a da­tiful Obe­dience ex­tend's to so many Commands Speak's, I Obey him in all He Command's, Fasten's upon nothing à parte rei, But on Particular Revealed Veri­ties, and Particular Intimated Commands, nor can He, by a General Act, more Believe All, and exclude So­me, then exclude All and believe Some. For want of well Pondering this Truth, our Protestants (whilst they own an Vniversal Belief of Scripture necessary toHe that Believe's Scripture in General, Believe's every Par­ticular. Saluation) shall fumble as long as they live in Their Specifying Particular Fundamentals, Becaus the Vniver­sal owning of Scripture, owns likewise all Particulars in it. Exclude Particulars, And you make Null the Vniversal Proposition.

13. Others Lay this charge on us, to Believe All that God Reveal's in Scripture, and there we shall surely meet with the Fundamentals of Faith. Answ. Though we Gratis admit, That all Necessary Points are contained in Scripture, yet it is too great a Task, Yea, and impossible also, for every Simple Man to read the Book over. But Suppose this be don, He may not only fall into twenty Errours concerning Scri­pture. But also most easily judge that to be Fun­damental which is not, and that not to be Funda­mental which is; And if He do so, He hath nei­ther Doctor, nor Prompter at hand, to Vnbeguile him.

CHAP. V.
An Answer to one Reply. More of this Subject.

1. HEre briefly I Answer to a trivial Objection of our Adversaries, who esteem us Catholicks, Though we own an Infallible Church, as far of fromAn Obje­ction grounded on a mista­ke. knowing the Fundamentals of it (or giving in a Di­stinct Catalogue of them) as They are after their Read­ing Scripture. The Objection (grounded on a Mi­stake) is Forceles: For, with one Unanimous and equal Submission We Believe all That the ChurchThe Church can Decla­re it self farther, when doubts oc­curr, Scrip­ture can­not. Proposeth, which, when Doubts occurr, is Ready, Able, and Sufficient to Declare it self. Scripture can not do so, As is Manifest by the endles Dissentions of Protestants in this very Question of Fundamentals. Now, He That believes All that the Church Propo­feth as Points of Faith, Admits likewise of every Par­ticular, and with the same Certitude, Though, Per­haps, He clearly Distinguishes not: between Matters of Faith, and Others; But this Distinguishing (when exactly don) only Perfect's Explicit Faith, And therfo­re, as it Gives no Addition of more Faith absolutely Necessary to Salvation, so the Want of it Deprives us not of any thing necessary to that End of Happines. The Reason hereof is clear out of the Precedent Dis­cours: For, He who by an Universal Assent Admits of all that the Church Teaches as Faith, cannot but [Page 263] Implicitly Believe This Particular, if it he of Faith, One may doubt whe­ther the Church proposeth such a matter as Faith, and yet believe it implicit­ly if it be of Faith. Though He yet know's not so much, yea, and may sometimes rationally Doubt, whether the Church Pro­poseth it or no, as a Matter of Faith. So Schoolmen, of different Judgements, often Dispute whether such and such Points are de Fide, And becaus They are contrary in their Positions, either These or Those Contendents (light where it will) err Materially; yet, I say, The Erring Party, who Admits of All that the Church Proposes, as Faith, to be de Fide, Believes Implicitly (upon his Universal Assent to All) The very A man may belie­ve Impli­citly what by Error he denyes Ex­plicitly. Matter, which He by Error Explicitly Denyes, yea, and hath as True Faith as the Other That Hitt's on Truth. Nei­ther is there so much as a seeming Contradiction be­tween These two Judgements, of True Implicit Faith, and an Untrue Material Explicit Error: For the one isNo Con­tradiction between true impli­cit Faith and untrue material Explicit Error. so far from Opposing the other, That the Erroneous Judgement in Actu exercito yeilds to Truth, and re­solved into all the strength it Hath, saith no more but This, by a Conditional Tendency. If what I Affirm be not contrary to the Churches Doctrin. And hence it is, that Catholicks (God be ever Blessed) do not only easily lay down their material Errors, when theThe Rea­son. Church Declares against them, But most usually also, in Their learned Volumes, submit All They write toLearned Catholicks submit to the Chur­ches Censure. Sectaries submit to nothing but Fancy. the Judgement of the Church, which Implyes a ta­cite Retractation, or an unsaying of whatever shall be Censured, or, Sentenced to be Amiss. O, would our Protestants Acknowledge such a Living Judge of Controversies, They might make excellent good Vse of Their Bible; But to snatch that Pure Book from Catholicks (as they have Don) And afterward to De­base [Page 264] it, to Prostitute it to every Wild Fancy, That shall pleas to meddle with it, is plainly to Abjure and Renounce all Possibility of either knowing what Fun­damentals are; Or, of ever Arriving to better Settle­ment in Faith, then now we se, which indeed is none at all. Therfore though they Protest a Thou­sand times, That they Believe every Thing in Scrip­ture with the like Implicit Faith, as we do the Church, it Avail's nothing, whilst every Private man makes that Book to speak what he would have it, That is, what his Fancy Pleases.

2. Others finally have Recours to the Apostles Creed, and say All things there (as They Relate toThe Belief of the A­postles Creed not Sufficient for Salva­tion. Scripture) and no more, are Fundamental Points of Faith. First: Admit of the Assertion, without any likelyhood of Proof, Protestants have little to glory in; For, There is not so much as One Article of their Religion, as Protestancy (Observe it well) contained in the Apostles Nothing of Protestan­cy in the Apostles Creed. Creed, Therfore nothing of their Religian, as Protestancy, can be Accounted Fundamentally Necessary to Salvation. 2. One may Admit of All those Express Words in the Creed. I Believe in Iesus Christ His only Son, and be an Haere­tick; For the Arians grant this, and yet are Haere­ticks; Becaus They Deny the High Godhead of Christ, and Consubstantiality likewise with his Father, which are not evidently deduced out of those Words. And Here, I would gladly know of Protestants, when either Arian Let it plea­se Sectaries to answer this Que­stion plain­ly. or any Sectary That doth not only Abstract from Christs supream Divinity, But Positively also Abjures it, yet in some manner frigidly own's Christ for the only Son of his Father, whether, I fay, such an One may be Reckoned of as a True Believer in Fundamentals?

[Page 265]3. Though the Creed Compriseth much in that One Article, I believe the Holy Catholick Church (And ther­fore some Ancient Fathers most Deservedly Magnify theProtestants cannot plainly point at the Church which the Creed Call's Ca­tholick. compleatnes of it, as an Excellent Summary of Christian Faith) yet Protestants for their lives, cannot say, what or where this Catholick Church is, And it is very hard to oblige me to the Belief of a Church, which is neither known nor can be Pointed out. Now were it known, a great Difficulty yet remain's to be Examined, Viz. Whether God will ever Preserve this Church Infallible in the Delivery of Fundamental Doctrin, or (supposing His present Decree) Whether He can so leave it to a Possibility of Erring in Fundamentals, That Christians may absolutely loos all Faith, both of Christ and Creed? If This Second beSectaries are pressed whether They grant or Deny a Church in­fallible in Funda­mentals. Granted, We have no Assurance, after all Christs Pro­mises to the contrary, But that Christianity may totally Perish before the Worlds End. If they Say, God will ever Preserve a Church Infallible in Fundamentals, They must joyntly Acknowledge a Continued Vnextin­guished Society of Christians, wherof some are Pastors, and Teach Infallibly these Fundamentals, and someSectaries must solve their own Difficul­ties. Hear them also Infallibly. I would have these plainly Marked out, And withall have Sectaries know, That All their Difficulties Proposed against an Infallible Church must be solved by them, if they grant such In­fallible Teachers of Fundamentals, as is largelyBaptism and the Eucha­rist not in the Creed. Proved Above. 4. To Omit, that the Creed De­livers no Explicit Doctrin concerning Baptism and the Eucharist (Though the Belief of these are also Neces­sary to Salvation) Thus much I observe, That Catho­licks,Catholicks Admit of the Creed without Glosses. without Glosses and Interpretations, own the candid and plain Obvious Expressions of the Creed in [Page 266] All, and Every particular Article of it: Therfore They are at least (if not more) as good Believers of the Creeds Fundamentals as Sectaries, And, if (which we Deny) They Err by Ignorance in lesser Matters, as Protestants May, and Do Err in Greater, They must yet grant, that the Belief of Fundamentals is Faith enough to save both Parties. This Supposed,

3. I must Needs have a word with my long forgot­ten Friend Mr. Poole, and Ask why He Deem's it suchA word with Mr. Poole. a Strict piece of Justice, to chafe, as He Doth, at a converted Captain, upon the Account of his changing Religion, as if he were a Lost and Perished Soul? An Instrument (forsooth) He will Prove (Append. p. 2.) if not of Gods Mercy to reduce him to the Truth, from which he is revolted, At least of Gods Iustice, And a Witnes on Gods Behalf, to leave him without Excuse. What needed, I say, so much Ado about Nothing? For both the Captain and all Catholicks, whilst they Be­lieve the Creed Relating to Scripture, are very secu­re, and Confessedly right in Fundamentals; Which being Supposed, It is more then Impertinent in the Protestant, to Keep such a Coyl about lesser Matters,Protestants keep a Coyl to no Purpose about mat­ters not Essential. or, to Reduce the main Controversy between us, to a Trial of That which least Concern's us, and cannot, as they think, be Decided by any Received Principle. Viz. Whether They or we, are better setled in non-Fundamen­tals, which imports so little (if our Protestants say true) That the Knowing of them is scarce worth our Know­ledge, Becaus They are wholy Vnnecessary to Salvation, and Make us neither more, nor les, Essential Members of Christs my­stical Body, The Catholick Church.

4. From this Concession of our Adversaries I infer, [Page 267] That no Protestant can probably go about to Draw anyIf the Be­lief of the Creed be Sufficient, Protestants cannot draw Ca­tholicks from their Religion. Superflui­ties, though granted, hinder not Salvation. Intelligent Catholick from his Religion. First: Be­caus He is as Firm in the Belief of Fundamentals as Any Sectary whoever, And that will save his Soul. Now, If they say we Want no Fundamentals, but abound in Superfluities, It is only said, and not Proved: However grant all, though contrary to Truth, These Redundancies Hinder not Salvation, and may well be Listed amongst Non-Necessaries. 2. No Catholick voluntarily Opposeth Himself to so much as to one Iota of Gods Word Sufficiently Proposed, nor, can He, and Remain Catholick. 3. He cannot Thwart his Judgement of Discerning, or, go Against his Con­science in Believing Catholick Religion; For by Doing either, He looseth Faith. 4. As long as He is A Cordial and Sincere Believer of the Roman Catholick Faith, He can have no Evident Demonstrations against it, Or Tax this Church of Errour, or, if in Conscience He Do so, eo ipso, He cease's to be a Member of This Church, And is no longer Orthodox.

5. Yet I say More. It is impossible for a PrudentA Prudent man can­not but se the great Evidence of Catho­lick Reli­gion. Man (secluding Gross And most culpable Ignorance, which makes him Imprudent) to Shut his Eyes, or, not to Se Those clear Evidences, Those visible No­tes, Those glorious Marks and Characters of Truth, wherby the Church of Christ is made manifest to the View of All. The wise Providence of God will have this Discernibility or Perspicuity of it both Apparent, and obvious To Ordinary Prudence. Otherwise (which is impious) We might blame His Goodnes, and Tell Almighty God. You, O Lord, Assure us in Scripture of our Final Beatitude, But you have (with it) left us [Page 268] in Darknes concerning the Way and Means to FindHow one of Prudence may plead. it out, And to Attain this Happines. What Avail's it to know the End, And to be Invincibly Ignorant of the Means? All, who profess Christianity are not True Believers. How shall we Discern the Haeretical Societies from O­ther? Christ Answers: Your Way, By the Light and What An­swer Satis­fies. Guidance of Those Marks of Truth which manifested me, when I first Taught Christianity, and yet Beautify my only Church, is so Clear, and Evident without Dispute. Vt nec stulti er­rent per [...]am, That is hard For the most Ignorant To miss of it, much more For the Prudent.

6. No Conviction therfore, No evident Demonstra­tion can so forcibly Press upon a Catholick, As to make him to Desert His Faith, And if He stand not evident­lyCatholicks cannot, un­les Evi­dently con­victed of Error, which is impossible, Desert Their Faith. convicted of manifest Errour, it were wors then Madnes in him, yea, and Damnable also to Change his Religion. Let Sectaries therfore Stentor-like Cry out, Till They grow Hoars again (Mr. Poole all along smooth's his Discours with such Harsh Eloquence) O ye blind Papists, O ye Seduced Men, when will ye open your Eyes &c? The Solid Catholick Answers. Railing is no Reason: Your Ancestors and mine were Papists Before You, or, Your Haeresy were in Being. I believe my Creed as Their solid Answer to All Oppo­nents. well as you, I Admit of every Word in Scripture as well as you, I go no more against my Iudgement, or Conscience (nor perhaps so much) as you Do. Wherin then am I faulty? Nay, I must yet Tell you More. Though (by a Supposed Impossibility) The Church wherof I am a Member should err, and I ioyntly be in Errour with it, Yet as long as the Errour is unavoydable And in­vincible in me (wherof my Conscience Reproves me not) it is, in your own Principles, no matter of Dam­nation, [Page 269] Becaus Ignorance excuses me. Therfore, as The Catho­lick Every way with­out blame. I am every way without blame in my Belief, so I cannot be re­claimed from it by you.

7. But, saith the Catholick: Give me a Company of men who Admit of Christ, and so far Deny His Church, That He Evi­dently Con­vinces Se­ctaries of Their Er­rors and most un­happy for­saking the Ancient Church. They cannot say where it is; That will Reform Their Elder Brethren, Before They have Certainty of Their own Half well made Reformation; That think Themselves wiser then all the now Living, And the Ancient deceased Defenders of the Ro­man Catholick Church; That have causlesly Separated Them­selves from an Ancient Church, And Yet are not ioyned to Any Society of Christians, which Beares the Resemblance of a Catho­lick Community: Who, never yet had so much as one General Council to Direct Them, no Infallible Oracle to Teach them, Protestancy described, as it is. No Motives, No Miracles, to Evidence their new Faith: Who make every private Person a Church, Every mans Reason Iud­ge of High Mysteries, that transcend Reason: Who Take and Leave what They list in Matters of Faith upon no other War­rant, But their own wilful Choise: Who seemingly own an Vniversal Church, But yeild Obedience to None: Who are Al­ways seeking for Truth, without Hope of finding it; Always Teaching more Learned Then Themselves, And yet to this day, Know not what they Teach: Who Too unluckily spend the few Days of Their Life in Scribling Controversies, Though they se it is to no Purpose (For besides a high Offence given to God) All The Credit They gain in the Christian World Abroad, (And their Repute at home, amongst intelligent Persons is no better) Amounts to This Ignominy, That unfortunatly They Patronize a late invented Haeresy. which at last They must quit, or quite Despair of Saluation. Give me, I say, such a sort of Men, They are not only battered and Bafled, But Also by most Pressing Arguments (Drawn [Page 270] both from Authority and Reason) May be evidently convinced; yea, And (if Gods Grace want not) easi­ly Reclaimed from Their Errors, If Perversnes in some, and Ignorance in others (I mean the Ignorance of Pride) Hinder not Their Conversion. But to Withdraw a Knowing Catholick, upon Rational Inducements FromHow They have gain­ed some Prosylits. his Religion, is Impossible. It is true, They have Gained some Prosylits (Vnnatural Children to Their Ancient Mother Church) But how? Alas Too in­dulgent to Flesh and Blood, they were allured by Sen­sual, not Rational Motives. The Truth is Evident. I say no more.

8. To End this Chapter of Fundamentals, BeThree things to be noted in this Que­stion of Funda­mentals. Pleased to Observe these Three Things. 1. If we Consider the Motive of Faith, which is Gods Veraci­ty; what ever He Speaks little or great, is with one and the same Respect and Profound Reverence to be Assented to, And here is no Difference between Fun­damentals, and Others. 2. If we speak of the Pro­position One con­cerns the formal Object of Faith. of Faith; Herein also There is no Difference: For, no man can Believe a Fundamental, Doctrin Soo­ner Then Not Fundamental, unles the one as well as the Other be Sufficiently Proposed. 3. If weThe other relates to its proposal. Speak of the Matter Revealed, I have shewed Above, That some Points in Themselves, or Per se, More Essen­tially Constitute, Yea, And more Conduce to Piety Then others: But, This makes no Distinction betweenThe Third to the mat­ter belie­ved. Fundamentals, and not Fundamentals in the true sen­se of our Question, Because the lesser as well as the greater, Are upon Gods Testimony Equally Believed, in every true Vniversal Act of Supernatural Faith, wherby we say, All is to be Assented to, That God Reveal's.

CHAP. VI.
Some Few Propositions of A late VVri­ter are Briefly Examined. His Discours of Fundamentals Destroy's Protestant Religion.

1. I Say Briefly: For, I leave much to be Answer­edMr. Stil­lingfleets Propositions refuted. by more Learned Adversaries. One Pro­position is. The very Being of a Church▪ doth suppose the Necessity of what is required to be Believed in order to Salua­tion. Very good, but what then? Marry This fol­lowes. If't was a Church, it Believed all Things Necessary be­fore it Defined; How comes it Therfore to make more Things Necessary by its Definition? First, A word ad Hominem. Protestants Add to what They conceive Essential to a Church, a company of new un­proved Ne­gative Ar­ticles. They pro­ceed not consequent­ly to their Principles. Protestants, Have now a Church Essentially Constituted, or Have not: If not, Protestancy is no Christian Reli­gion. If They have such a Church, why do They Add to that which They Conceive to be the Essentials of it, A Cluster of new Articles never owned by any Orthodox Society? For example: No Sacrifice, no Purgatory, no Transubstantiation &c. Could they pro­ceed Consequently to their Principles, they should neither Deny a Sacrifice, a Purgatory &c. nor Assert them, But hold them meer Parergons, Because They have a [Page 272] Church Essentially founded without them. Why therfore, Do They either Deny or Affirm? Why medle They at all with these Articles? Why load They Pro­testancy with the Vnnecessary Burden of so many un­proved Negatives, when their Church hath its whole Being, before these Negatives can be thought of?

2. In Catholick Principles, both the Proposition and Question are most Simple: For, we own more Es­sentials In Catho­lick Princi­ples The Proposition and Que­stion are more then simple. then Sectaries Do, and Therfore say: As there was a Church in Being before any Word of Scripture was writ, and consequently the Writing of Scripture Added no new Being to it, Though it declared Things more Explicitly; so in like manner, The present Definitions of the Church Alter nothing of the Ancient Foundations of Faith, But only declare more As Scriptu­re when first writ, altered not the Antece­dent Churches Doctrin, So the Church now Alters nothing of the Ancient Faith. explicitly Christs Verities contained in Scripture and Tradition. And this Power the Church ever Had in all Ages. Mark well what is said here; For it Clear's All the following Fallacies of our Adversaries Discours.

3. A Second Proposition. What ever Church own's, those things which are Antecedently Necessary to the Being of a Church, cannot so long cease to be a true Church. And here, They say, we must Distinguish those Things in the Catholick Church which give it Being, from those Things which are the Proper Acts of it, as the Catho­lick Church. Very true. But the only QuestionThey wave the Diffi­culty. is, How much precise Doctrin That is, which gives Being to the Catholick Church? This our Adversaries (Content with a general Word of a Churches Being) wave, whilst Catho­licksCatholicks say, All that God Reveal's is Necessary to the Being of the Church. say plainly, All that God Reveal's, and is taught by the Church as Revealed, is so Essentially necessary to the very Being of it, That not one Article can be rejected af­ter a Sufficient Proposal. Dare Protestants say thus [Page 273] much of Their Negative Articles? No Purgatory, no Real Presence, no Sacrifice &c. Or, own these as Essen­tials of Their Church of Protestancy? To that Di­stinction of the proper Acts of the Church (And One is the due Administration of Sacraments) from theFaith con­naturally precedes the use of Sa­craments. Being of it, I answer the Faith of Sacraments, which Connaturally Preced's the use or exercise of them, is most Essential to the Being of a Church, and This Be­lief every true Christian Hath.

4. A third Proposition. The Vnion of the Catholick Vnity of the Church, and the Agreement are the sa­me. Church depend's upon the Agreement of it in making the Foundations of its Being to be the Grounds of its Communion. For, the Vnity being intended to preserve the Being, there can be no reason given, why the bonds of union should extend beyond the Foundation of its BEING, which is, the owning the Things necessary to Saluation. It is not worth the whi­le to catch at these improper Expressions. The Vnion of the Church Depend's upon the Agreement of it: For, No­thing certainly Depend's on it Self▪ now, the Vnion of the Church whether we speak of the Objective Do­ctrin, or of Faith tending into that Doctrin, is Essen­tially its Agreement. Therfore Properly it Depend's not on Agreement, But really is Agreement, As truely as Vnum, Verum, and Bonum Are Ens, à Parte rei. Whence I Say: Vnity is not intended to Preserve the Being of the Church, as a Cause preserves its Effect; For Vnity essential to the Being, is The very Thing Pre­served Vnity essen­tial to the Being of a Church is the Thing pre­served by Almighty God. by Almighty God, And therfore cannot Preserve an Antecedent conceived Being without Vnity. But let this pass. Consider what follows. They say: The Bonds of Vnion should not extend beyond the Foundation of the Churches Being &c. Very good. [Page 274] What is next? This it is: Whatsoever Church impo­seth the Belief of other Things necessary to Saluation, which were not so Antecedently necessary to the Being of the Catholick Meer Talk without proof. Church, Break's the Vnity of it; and those Churches, who de­sire to Preserve Vnity, are bound therby not to have Commu­nion with it, so long as it doth so. Here is little said, less explicated, and least of all Proved. First, they say not: How much Doctrin precisely makes up theCatholicks extend not the unity of the Church beyond its Founda­tions, for They Be­lieve so much as God hath revealed, and no mo­re. Churches Being, nor shall ever tell us by their Prin­ciples. 2. They name not the guilty Persons that Extend the Vnion of the Church beyond its Founda­tions. Are they Catholicks who Believe all that God Reveal's, and is declared by the Church to be Revealed? Or Sectaries, That have neither Church, nor Scripture for any Article of their Protestancy? 3. If they Hold themselves to be the Preservers of the Churches Vni­ty, They must prove it by strong Principles, And first shew Positively by Scripture, That they have just so much as is Necessary and sufficient to Saluation, Be­foreSectaries who have neither Church nor Scripture for one word of Prote­stancy, Most un­reasonably pretend to be the Pre­servers of the Chur­ches Vnity. they make us Guilty of any Breach of the Chur­ches Vnity. This will be a hard Task: For if they say, We Break the Churches Vnity in believing a Sa­crifice, a Purgatory &c. They are obliged to prove, and by plain Scripture, That either their contrary Ne­gatives are to be Believed, or, That neither our Positives, nor their Negatives merit an Act of Faith, which is Im­possible. For, What Scripture saith we are neither to Believe a Sacrifice, nor the Contrary.

5. In the next place they come to Solve the Enig­ma, to explicate the main Subject of the present Dis­pute, And 'tis to Tell us what those Things are,Their own saying is the only Proof. which ought to be Owned by all Christian Societies as Necessary [Page 275] to Saluation, on which the Being of the Catholick Church De­pend's. Happy were they could they Unridle the My­stery, Protestants cannot Shew what things are Necessary. And say what Things are thus Necessary; But our Author still run's on in Generals, and Determin's nothing. Be pleased to hear his Resolution.

6. Nothing ought to be owned as necessary to Saluation by Christian Societies, But such things which by the Iudgement of all those Societies, are Antecedently necessary to the Being of the Catholick Church. No man, I think, knows to what that word, Antecedently, relates, nor can this Author make sense of it. One may Guess what he would be at. He will Perhaps Say: When all Chri­stian They fall upon im­possibilities. Societies stand firmly united in one Iudgement concerning the Being and the Essentials of a Church, then we are right in These Essentials. Answ. But this was never yet seen, nor will be seen as is more largely declared Chap. 2. n. 1. whither I remit the Reader for further Satisfaction. He Adds two Things more. One is, There cannot be any Reason given, why any Thing els should be judged Necessary to the Churches Communion (He meansWho is to Iudge him that sayes He Dissents not? in Necessary Articles of Faith) But what all those Chur­ches, who do not manifestly Dissent from the Catholick Church of the first Ages are agreed in, as Necessary to be Believed by all. My God! What Confusion Have we here? Where is the Protestant that can Assure us, withoutProtestants cannot shew what the Primi­tive Church be­lieved. Dispute, what the Catholick Church of the first Ages positively Believed and positively Rejected? Could this one Point be clear'd without Endles Debate, A better Vnion might be Hoped for; But herein both We and Sectaries Dissent, as is Proved above. Therfore byNo Appeal­ing to the primitive Church without the Tradi­tion of the present Church. their Appealing to the Ancient Church, (whilst They Abstract from the Tradition of a present Catholick [Page 276] Church) They go about to Prove, Ignotum per ignotius, And convince nothing.

7. They Add a second Consideration which may be reflected on. Ad perpetuam rei memoriam, And 'tis toMemorable Doctrin. this Sense. After Their Telling us, That in Case of great Divisions in the Christian World, any National Church may Reform it self (as is Supposed, EnglandMen un­certain in all They say, take on to Teach, wherin Faith is abused. Hath don) and Declare its Sense of those Abuses in Ar­ticles of Religion; yea, and Require of Men a Subscription against those Abuses &c. They go on: We are to consi­der that there is a great Difference between the Owning some Propositions in order to Peace, and the Believing of them as Necessary to Salvation. Now Mark what Followes.No Ortho­dox Church Ever excep­ted against our Church Doctrin. The Church of Rome Imposeth new Articles of Faith to be be­lieved (A most unproved Assertion) which Articles are excepted against by other Churches (name the Orthodox Church that ever excepted against them, it cannot be don) But the Church of England makes no Articles of Faith, Mark the Doctrin. But such as have the Testimony and Approbation of the whole Christian World of all Ages, and are acknowledged to be such by Rome it self, and in other things she requires Subscription to Protestant Religion reduc'd to Inferiour Truths. them, Not as ARTICLES of Faith, but as inferiour Truths, which she expects Submission to in order to Her peace and tranquillity. And thus much the late Primate of Ire­land expresseth to be the Sense of the Church of En­gland as to her thirtynine Articles.

8. Be it known to all men by These Presents, That the Church of England, so far, as it maintains theseThe En­glish Church consisting of Negati­ves is no Church. Negatiue Protestant Articles of No Sacrifice, No Real Presen­ce, No Purgatory, is here confessedly owned to have no Articles of Faith Revealed by Almighty God, And therfore so far, 'Tis neither any Christian or Catholick [Page 277] Church, Because these Negatives (the very marrow of Protestancy) are now Degraded, And Thrown down from their Ancient Height of Articles, to the low Rank of a few Humble, and inferiour Truths.

9. But let us go on. Who Assures you, Sir, ofInferiour Truths are none of Gods Truths. Their being Truths at all? God, you say, that Reveal's nothing but most Supream Truths, Own's none of Them. No Orthodox Church, no Ancient Council, no Vnanimous Consent of Fathers, no, nor your own Synods in England, (Though without Proof They Suppose them to be Truths) ever yet Defined them, as you Two yong Popes do (Doctor Bramhal and your Self) to be Truths of an Inferiour Rank and Order. Be it how you will, I am sure, the Declaration be­fore these Articles says, they are Articles of Religion,These Au­thors clash with the 39. Arti­cles. and contain the true Doctrin of the Church of England Agreable to Gods Word. If so, Gods, Word is Agrea­ble to these Articles, and Proves them. Again. Some of your own Coat, and perhaps as Learned as you, Call them Articles of Faith. Certainly theyThese Ne­gatives of the 39. Ar­ticles are neither Ar­ticles of Faith, nor Inferiour Truths. are none of our Faith, Ergo they are yours, or no Bo­dies. Vpon whom then shall we Rely for the last Definition? I'll tell you. Both the Assertions of their being either Articles of Faith, or Inferiour Truths, stand tottering without Proof or Principle, upon the sole Fancy of those who say so.

10. 3. If these Dull Negatives be only Voted for Peace among you, without Reference to your Faith, your Church is Essentially Hypocritical, which may Be­lieveThe English Church is essentially Hypocriti­cal. one Thing, And must Profess an Other. I now say no more, having Told you enough to this Sense in another place. Though all the Protestants in England [Page 278] do not only Dissent in Iudgement from the owning of These Protestants may curse These Ne­gative Ar­ticles, and yet besound in Faith. Negatives; Though they are plain Papists in Hart, yea, and Interiourly curse and Anathematize all your new Articles (if the exteriour Demeanour be fairly good, All is Fine) They may be still looked on, as Blessed Children of your new Negative Church. The sequel is undeniable; For, They may Believe all that Scripture saith (And this is Faith enough to Saluation.) And yet Anathematize your Negatives, not at all contained in Scripture, And wholy unnecessary to Saluation.

11. Yet farther. You Protestants Endlesly TalkA hard Question proposed to Sectaries. of Reforming us Papists by Scripture. Speak once plainly and Tell us. How can you go about such a work as to reclaim us by Scripture, To a Belief of your Negatives, when you have not one Syllable of Gods Word for Them? For, if you have Scripture, They are Supe­riour Truths Revealed by God, and consequently Arti­cles of Faith: If you have no Scripture, why Preach you fals Doctrin, why Teach you that you can draw Vs from our old Faith to your New Negative Religion, by plain Scripture? No Protestant shall Answer toIt cannot be An­swered. this short Demand. 4. You cheat the World when you Offer to Resolve Protestants Faith, which is no more Resolvable into Divine Revelation then A­rianism Protestants resolving Faith, a meer Cheat. is, Because you must now confess that God never spake Word of Protestancy, as Protestancy, in the whole Bible. Let therfore the world Iudge, whether it be not a pure Cheat to give a Title of the Protestants way of Resolving Faith, and then leave that, which the Title Promises, To talk of Resolving a Faith in Communi, which stand's in no need of your Resolution.

12. To see this more Evidenced, And to end with [Page 279] these meer Nothings of Sectaries. Our now Author Tell's us, That the English Church, makes no Articles of Faith, But such as have the Testimony and Approbation of the whole Chri­stian world of all Ages, yes, And are Acknowledged by Rome Protestant Church no more a Church then an Arian &c. it self. If this be so, it is no more an English, then a Church of Arians, of Pelagians, And of all condemned Haere­ticks. For, this man would say, That a Faith common to All called Christians, without Believing more, is the English Faith, and Sufficient to acquire Heaven. Mark the Proposition; And ask first, what is now become of the The Arian and English Faith a­gree in Doctrin common to all Chri­stians. Protestants way of Resolving Protestants Faith? Next, (and most justly) call it a meer Fancy, A new coyned Haere­sy contrary to the whole Christian World; For, neither Scripture, nor Councils, nor Fathers, nor any particular Orthodox or Haeretical Church, much less the consent of the whole Christian World, Owned the Belief of that Abstract Doctrin, wherin all Haereticks Agree to be sufficient to Sal­vation. A new coyned Hae­resy, con­trary to All. The whole Christian World never yet said to Believe in Christ, Abstracting from His Godhead, and Two Natures, is Sufficient. Catholicks hold the Belief of a Sacrifice and Transubstantiation &c. Necessary to Sal­vation; And all condemned Haereticks as Arians, Mo­nothelits No Haere­ticks much less Catho­licks Ever yet defend­ed, what our Secta­ries here vent upon Fancy only. and Others, as firmly Adhere to their Particu­lar Haeresies, as to the Abstract Doctrin of all Chri­stians. Otherwise, they had been wors then mad, to have Abandoned an Ancient Church for a few sup­posed Inferiour Truths, which, neither can Vncatholick any (if the common Doctrin of all Christians be enough) nor make Them in Reaelity wors, or better Christians. And here by the way, you se the Hideous sin of Se­ctaries, who meerly for a Company of Inferiour Truths (if yet They were Truths) have shamefully Deserted [Page 280] The true Mother Church that made Their ProgenitoursThe sin of Sectaries, who have troubled [...] the world for a com­pany of sup­posed Infe­riour Truths. to be Christians. I say, If They were Truths: For, I utterly Deny the Fals Supposition, And therfore press our Adversaries to speak to the Cause: That is, to co­me to Proofs and Principles wherby it may Appear That These Negative Doctrins, No Sacrifice, no Praying for the Dead &c. Merit so much as the very name of Inferiour Truths. These Negatives cannot be proved even by Their wonted weak way of Arguing Negatively. We Read not of a Sacrifice, or praying for the Dead. For there is no man that Reads Antiqui­ty, But he Find's these Doctrins positively Asser­ted.

13. From what is now said, These Sequels unde­niably follow. First, that Protestants cannot Re­solveProtestants Faith but Fancy. The Rea­son. their Faith But into Fancy only; For, if they make the common Doctrin of all Christians only to be Their sufficient Faith for Saluation, and Resolve that into its Principles, both Fancy and Haeresy lye at the very Bottom of the Resolution. And if they Go a­bout to Resolve Their Negative Articles, The whole Analysis, the Regress, the Reduction of Them, will come at last to no other Principle, But to the sole Fancy of Sectaries, who call them Articles of Faith, or Inferiour Truths. It followes 2. If the English Church ma­kesThe English Church contradicts the whole Christian World. no Articles of Faith, But such as have the Appro­bation of the whole Christian World of all Ages (Exclu­ding others) It doth not only Contradict the whole Christian World, whose particular Communities owned the Belief of more Doctrin necessary; But hath nei­therAnd Ther­fore hath no Faith at all. Faith of those Abstract Articles now Believed, nor any Faith at all Sufficient to Saluation, as is largely [Page 281] proved in the 2. Chap. If Finally, to Assoil These Difficulties, Sectaries will Restrain that Ample Term of the whole Christian World to their imagined Catholick Church in the Ayr, They are to specify the Particu­lar Societies of this vast Church, And when that's Don, They will find no Abstract Doctrin common toThere ne­ver had been Haere­sy in the world, might Faith com­mon to all be sufficient to Salua­tion. all Christians Admitted of By any, Sufficient to gain Heaven: For, were this true, There had never been Haereticks or Schismaticks in the World, whilst Christ only (Though his Divinity be denyed) is owned in a general Way. Wherof more in the 3. Chap.

14. Here I'll only propose one Question to our Ad­versaries. When they positively Teach, That, that which our Saviour gave his Apostles in his last Sup­per, and Priests now consecrate Dayly, was, and is no more But a Sign, a Figure only of Christs Body, My Question, I say, is. Whether, Their Positive own­ing of a Sign, or Figure only, Be an Article of their Faith, or no more, But One of their Inferiour supposed Truths? If this later; They never Had nor can have any deter­minateA Dilem­ma that cannot be answered. Faith of this Sacred Mystery, which yet God hath most certainly Revealed unto us in Holy Scriptu­re; And consequently They believe nothing of the Blessed Sa­crament by Divine Faith, For, Inferiour Truths are no Arti­cles Inferiour Truths are not Arti­cles of Faith. of Belief with Them. Contrarywise, if They say the Belief of a Sign, or Figure only, is one of their Ar­ticles of Faith, And the Thing Believed an Object of Faith: They must certainly eat their own Words, and confess, That the English Church makes new Articles of Faith, And such, as never Had the Approbation of the whole Christian World, much less of Rome it Self; For the whole Christian World of all Ages never Believed so. Some perhaps [Page 282] will Answer: They Believe in General Christs own Words Some Se­ctaries be­lieve they know not what. to be true, Though They know not well what he meant, when he said. This is my Body. Answer. If they know not what he spoke, why do They char­ge Idolatry on us. By the force of their Inferiour suppo­sed Their in­consequen­ces. Truths, for Adoring Christ in the Sacrament? I am sure Arius of old was an Haeretick, For Denying the High Godhead of our Saviour, upon the Vncertainty of his suppo­sed Superiour Truths; And Sectaries are now in a worsThey are in a wors Condition Then A­rians. Case, whilst they contradict all Orthodox Churches in the Belief of this Sacrament, And make us Ido­laters, Meerly upon the Vncertainty of their imagined In­feriour Truths.

15. Another Proposition is Thus. Nothing ought to be imposed as a necessarij Article of Faith to be believed by all, but what may be evidently propounded to all Persons, as a Thing which God did require the explicite belief of. Ob­serve the Vnexplicated words, Evidently Propounded to all Persons. Who must propound these Articles of Faith? Must God, Angels, or mens private Fancies Do it? No. The Oracle of Truth Christs ownChrist Church Can only propose Faith unto us. Church (find it where you can) is both to Propo­se Faith to us, and to Decide all Difficulties when they Arise among us, as is Already Proved. Sub­mit to This, and all Controversies are Ended. He­re is also another loos Proposition. Nothing ought to be required as a necessary Article of Faith, but what hath been believed and received for such by the Catholick Church of Another Proposition too Gene­ral and in­significant. all Ages. Sr, say you plainly where this Catholick Church was in all Ages, and tell us exactly How many Articles it Held Necessary, and sufficient to Sal­vation, And we shall Drive you out of your Generalities, [Page 283] which Prove just nothing, To a more open and PlainThey run on in Ge­neral's. Doctrin, wherof you are as much afraid, as the Divel of Holy water. We know not what you mean by the Catholick Church.

16. Well. But the next Assertion will clear all It is sufficient Evidence, that was not looked on as a ne­cessary Article of Faith, which was not admitted into the An­cient Creeds. Pray you, prove This sufficient Evidence, by a clear Principle. Vpon what Ground doth theThe Belief of the Creed not Sufficient &c. Assertion stand, Distinct from your own Fancy? The Baptizing of Infants, The Admitting of so many Books for the exact Canon of Scripture, The Belief, all ought to have of the Holy Eucharist, Are not Explicitly set down inNecessary Particu­lars, not Expresses in the Creed. the Ancient Creeds; Therfore we must have Recours to the Catholick Church both for the Faith of the­se, And many other Articles. But we have said enough of this Subject.

17. You go on. Nothing ought to be judged a neces­sary Article of Faith, but what was universally believed by the Catholick Church to be delivered as such by Christ and his Apostles. Sr, Before this Proposition be cleared youThese Au­thors say not what is meant by These dark Terms, Be­lieved by the Ca­tholick Church. are to Declare, what you Mean by those Terms, Believed by the Catholick Church. For, if Rightly Sup­pose, There was never any True Church, But the Roman Catholick only continued Age after Age, And upon This Supposition Reply (which is easy) to your Assertion, and the Ten following Points. You'l say, I mistake your Meaning concerning the very No­tion of that Church, which your Fancy makes Catho­lick. And, if I licence you to Enlarge The Catho­lick Church as far as you Pleas, or, To comprise in it All who have had the Name of Christians, Though [Page 284] otherwise known Haereticks, your, Proposition to us, is de Subjecto non supponente, of a Subject not Suppo­sable, And the annexed Points are highly Imperti­nent.They are to specify what and where This Catholick Church is. Name Therfore Exactly The Catholick Church upon grounded Principles, and all is don.

18. After the ending these Negatives, They inquire what we ought Positively to Believe as Necessary to Saluation, And remit us (without any further Proof but their own saying) to the Articles of the Ancient A question proposed. Creeds. This is largely refuted already. Next they propose a question, Whether any thing, which was not Necessary to Saluation, may by any Means whatsoever afterwards become Necessary, so that the not Believing it Whether The Church Can Defi­ne any Thing a­new neces­sary to Sal­vation, so that the not belie­ving of it becomes Damnable? becomes Damnable. The Question, If I mistake not, Drives at This, To shew that the Church can make no new Definitions of Faith Necessary to Saluation, Becau­se all Faith Necessary is Antecedently supposed, as it were, laid in The very Churches Foundation before it Defi­nes, Which Foundations were both Fully and Solidly laid, when Christ and his Apostles Taught the World; For, the Earth was full of his Knowledge. He taught his Disciples all things he had heard of his Father. The Mes­sias when he came would tell them all things &c. Ther­fore a Church solidly Founded, and, before it Defi­nes,The reason of the Doubt. full of Truth, can make nothing so Necessary to Saluation by a new superadded Definition, that the not Believing of it, Becomes Damnable.The grounds of Sectaries shewed Null, though the Church made new Definitions

19. Before we Answer the Question, it will be good to shew you the Nullity of our Adversaries Grounds▪ and the Inconsequences of them. Here­in lyes the chief strength of all That's said. A Church must be a Church before it can Define, and Conse­quently [Page 285] There must be a Vnion in Belief by which The Church is Constituted in Being, Antecedently to its new De­finitions. Very Good. All this in True, but ma­kesThe Rea­son. Nothing Against the Church, though it Define anew. I'll prove it, and Explicate my self by one Instance. In a Kingdom, or Commonwealth, There is always an Agreement, or Settlement in some great Matters before it Proceed to make new Laws; yet, 'Tis notCommon­wealths though an­tecedently setled may make new Laws. consequent to say, That the Agreement ought to be so Explicit in all Things, in all Points, in all particular Matters, that nothing afterward can be Decreed anew. It is Therfore sufficient, That these new Laws Arise from some first solid Principles of that Common­wealth, Antecedently setled in Being, And if this be so, They oblige as Much as the former Conventions Did, when it was first setled: Though they were not at all mentioned, at the first Founding of the Common­wealth.

20. Answerably Hereunto, One may say. Christ founded a Church Assisted, as is here Supposed, by a Spirit of Truth, the Holy Ghost, and first setled it upon some fewer Principles, from which All other after-Definitions might Proceed, or be Derived. TheThe Church as­sisted by the Holy Ghost De­rives new Definitions from its first Setle­ment. Church thus Assisted, Defines anew upon the former Setlement, just as the Commonwealth makes new Laws, upon its first Agreement. Such Definitions Therfore, because they Proceed from an Infallible Oracle (call them yet new, or old as you pleas) Are as certain, and of as great necessity to be Believed, As those new Laws are Obligatory, and of necessity to be Obeyed. Here is one Disparity which is not to the Purpose, Viz. That the Commonwealths Laws proceed [Page 286] from Human Authority, The Churches Definitions from Divine Assistance. Those oblige under a tem­poralThe parity holds exact­ly. Punishment, These under Eternal. But the Parity exactly Hold's thus far. Those Laws were im­plicitly and virtually contained in the first grounded setle­ment of the Commonwealth, These of the Church in the first setlement of Christianity. Those may be cal­led New; These may be also called so. Those be­come Necessary to be Obeyed; These become Neces­saryNew Laws are to be obeyed, and new Defi­nitions, if any were, are to be believed. to be Believed. Now further. As no man Doubt's, But, That the Church may make new Laws in order to Obedience; so none can but most Vnreasonably Doubt of its Power in Setting forth new Definitions. It is very True: Here may be much of a Quaestio de Nomine, Whether They are to be called Old or New, Because of their different Respects. Relating to the first set­ledVpon diffe­rent respects these Defi­nitions may be called either new or old. Foundations of Christian Doctrin, from whence They Proceed, They may take a Denomination and be called Old, Because Radicated in Those old certain Principles. But, if we consider them as more Ample, Express, and significant Declarations of Gods Eternal Truths, They may, without Offence, or Clashing, in the least with Church-Doctrin, be called New Definitions. Thus much is Briefly said, to show how groundles our Adversaries Grounds are.

21. But we will not leave the Difficulty Thus. To Answer therfore with more satisfaction, Be pleased to note. It is one Thing to own a Church perfectly Founded, Two things to be noted. and fully Instructed in all things Necessary to Salvation: And an Other, to suppose that all know explicitly what That Perfect founded Doctrin is, which God will have to be belie­ved, as Necessary to Salvation. This later Requires a clear [Page 287] Proposition made by some Oracle of Truth of the neces­sary Doctrin, As is evident in Scripture it self: For, though I own all that Scripture saith to be True in the Sense intended by the Holy Ghost, yet, I must learn by a sure Tea­cher, what it saith in a hundred difficil Passages.

22. Now to Question, Whether any thing which was not Necssary to Saluation, may Afterwards become so Neces­sary, that the not Believing it is Damnable &c. I Answer.The Que­stion an­swered. Nothing is now Necessary to Saluation, After the Churches Definition, which was not Necessary Before, yea, and Be­lieved by the Apostles Themselves. The ground of my Assertion is: Because the Apostles immediatly Illu­minatedThe Apost­les the first and best knowing Masters of Divine Mysteries. by Christ our Lord, were made Partakers of His Divine Mysteries; They had Primitias Spiritus, the First Fruits of the Spirit; Believed as we believe, Taught as we Teach, and never Delivered Doctrin contrary to the Church in After-Ages. Hence Di­vines commonly Hold, That the Church properly speak­ing The Church makes no new Arti­cles of Faith, but only decla­res more explicitly, what was Anciently of Faith. makes no new Articles of Faith, But only Decla­res more Significantly and Expresly what Those well In­structed Masters of the Church (Christs own Disciples) Both Believed, and upon several Occasions Taught others. And here, one Grand Cheat is to be taken Notice of. Sectaries Think that All those Christian Truths which the Apostles Believed Explicitly, are now Explicitly enough upon Record in Holy Writ. It is an Errour. Our Saviour, as St. Iohn TestifiesAll that the Apost­les believ'd is not ex­plicitly in Scripture. Cap. 21. v. 25. Did many Things, which if writen in particular, the whole World would not contain. Might not then the Apostles also Believe many Things, As a Sacrifice of Mass, Transubstantiation, Purgatory &c. yea, and Teach those Verities, Though they were not so [Page 288] plainly Delivered in Holy Writ (yet expresly enough) But, that Haereticks might Cavil at them.

23. Here then is my Resolution which is most Ca­tholickThe Reso­lution. Doctrin. Christ our Lord Established a Church, that is to Tell us Truth to the end of Ages. This Oracle which Relies not on Gods written Word only, But on the Vnwritten also, (undoubted Tradition) answerable to Necessary Oc­sions of new Haereticks rising up, Or, of Schism made in Christian Societies &c. Often Proposeth moreThe Church useth clear­er Terms in her De­finitions. Explicitly what the Primive Faith was, And the A­postles Believed, Not that it makes new Articles, if we speak rigourously, But proposeth the old ones again, in more Clear and Significant Terms. And how can Sectaries blame this Procedure, when They, without the War­rant of Gods Word (written or unwritten) Propose and Declare, as They think, the Ancient Sense of Scripture it self to their Hearers, in a Hundred Passa­ges?Sectaries without Gods Word written or unwritten make new Definitions For example Christ said. This is my Body. They, by A new Proposition Define: This is a Sign of my Body. Will they licence Themselves to Propose what they please out of Gods Word Already writ, and Storm at a whole Church if it do so: or, Further De­clare what was not Writ, yet ever Believed; Though per­haps not by all so explicitly, as 'Tis after the Churches clearer Definition? The Church in this Proceeds upon a certain Principle (indubitable Tradition) Sectaries Ha­ve neither Tradition, nor Scripture, For what they Pro­pose anew. You se therfore, whoever PertinaciouslyWhoever Denies the Churches Definitions Denies the old believed Articles. Denies the Definitions of the Church, Denies not only the new Declared, But the old Believed Articles, And con­sequently is lyable to Damnation.

24. You se moreover. It is not only suitable to [Page 289] Reason, But necessary also for the very Preservation of Christian Religion, That the Church to whom the Mysteries Necessary For Chri­stian Reli­gion. of our Faith were committed, Though it makes no new Articles, nor Supposeth any other Foundation then what was laid by Christ and his Apostles, May yet asThat the Church de­clare more explicitly. Necessity requires, Declare more Explicitly the Primi­tive Doctrin of Christianity: For, by what better Means can we possibly arrive to the Knowledge ofPrimitive Doctrine. those Necessary Truths which the Apostles either Be­lieved or Taught, Then by their Heirs and Succes­sors?The Suc­cessors of the Apost­les Teach in the place of Those deceased Masters. I mean The vigilant Watchmen, who were, and Still are substituted in the Place of those First Infallible Deceased Masters. They, Blessed Men, ran up and down the World from Country to Coun­try, from House to House, Testifying the Faith of our Lord Iesus Christ, yet neither committed all the Truths Delivered by them, to Holy Writ, nor sup­posedThe Apost­les writ not all They taught. the Ignorant and Vulearned fit Instruments to Teach, as They had Taught. The Legacies Ther­fore of our Christian Truths were left in surer Hands, I mean, Chiefly in the Custody of the Successors of those first great Masters. Whence it is, That theDeposited Doctrin commended to Timo­thy. Apostle commend's to Timothy more then once the Keeping of a Depositum of mighty Value. which the Fathers, and none more expresly then Vincentius Liri­nensis call, the Common Catholick Doctrin: Or, to speakTalentum Catholi­cum saith Vinc. Lir. in this worthy Authors words upon the Text 1. Tim. 6. 20. lib. contr. prof. Hae. Novit. Biblioth. Patrum, Tom. 4. cap. 27. Talentum Catholicum Fidei, The Catholick Ta­lent of our Faith. Aurum accepistis, Add's Vincentius aurum redde. Thou O Bishop, Pastor, and Doctor, hast received Gold, render as pure Gold again &c. [Page 290] What things thou hath learned, so Teach, Adorn, and Illu­strate (and mark Here a further Declaration of the De­positedA further Declara­tion of De­posited Do­ctrin allow­ed of. Doctrin Allowed of) ut cum dicas Novè non di­cas Nova, That when Thou proposest Things anew, Thou Teach not new Things, but the old Doctrin. And hence it also is, That the Church of Christ is stiled by most Ancient Fathers Depositorium Dives, a Rich Trea­sury,The Church called by most An­cient Fa­thers De­posito­rium Di­ves. wherin the Depositum of Apostolical Doctrin is Kept, And not only once Kept▪ and then lost, But (as a Depositum ought to be) its Handed down from Age to Age, from Church to Church, Successively continued to the Worlds End. If therfore you look for the Apostolical Depositum, Leap not, I Beseech you, over the Heads of all those Chri­stians, who have been betwixt Us and the first 3. orThe Aposto­lical De­positum is in the Churches hands. 4. Ages, As if it were to be found There, and no whe­re els. But Demand of this present Church now in Being, 'Tis She that Knows better, And Inform's us more exactly of Apostolical Doctrin, Then all the lost Writings of theThe present Church best inform's us of Apostoli­cal Doctrin Ancient Church could have done, or, those that are hitherto preserv'd can do; Because they are all lyable to endles Disputes, and Consequently can absolutely Deci­de no controversy. Now if any one Boggles at this Assertion, as if we could not have sufficient Certitude ofThe most Ancient writings are lyable to Dispute. what the Ancient Church Delivered, by the Testimo­ny, or Tradition of the Present Church, But further Requir's Express Records to be Produced of all that was ever Taught; Let him correct his Errour and know, That, what is Carved in Brass, or Writ in Velume cannot be more securely Kept, then Aposto­lical Doctrin, Deposited in the Hands and writ in theApostolical Doctrin better pre­served in the hands of Christs Pastors, thenif't had been carved in Brass. Harts of Christs faithful Pastors, is now Preserved. For, what's in Brass or Partchment, Time may wear [Page 291] out and blemish; But that which God hath committed to his Church and Chief Pastors therof, who are to Teach Christians Age after Age, shall never Perish, never Pass, or be put out of Remembrance. And this Doctrin the Church Deliver's more Explicitly in her Definitions, chiefly when she Declares Truth a­gainst Haereticks.

CHAP. VII.
More of this Subject. Objections are Answered.

1. TO go on with our Discours, I would wil­lingly Know, when the Apostle Exhort's the Galatians cap. 1. vers. 8. 9. Not to Believe an Angel, Preach­ing contrary to what He had Preached, and They had for­merly Received; As also the Thessalonians 2. c. 2. 14. to Hold the Traditions learned by Word or Epistle. Whe­therAll that the Apost­les Orally taught was neither writ, nor can be sup­posed lost. we can Imagin, that, all the Apostles Orally De­livered was Either Expresly Registred in Scripture, or the whole Substance of that Divine Doctrin (of equal Cer­titude with Gods written Word) is now Totally lost? Nei­ther is Probable. The Essentials therfore of that Doctrin, laid up sure in the rich Treasury of theThe Essen­tials of it remain in the Chur­ches Trea­sury. Church, still Remain with Christs own Faithfull Pastors. And this is the Depositum mentioned in Scripture, wher­by the Church (Assisted by the Holy Ghost) Regu­lates Her self when She Defines. Therfore great Di­vines Assert, That the Church, never Teaches, or, will [Page 292] Teach any new Verity that was unknown to the Apostles.The Do­ctrin of Divines. Se Greg. de Valentia, De Fide Disp. 1. Quaest. 1. Puncto 6. §. Illud vero. And §. Hinc quoque. Suarez Disp. 2. De Fide Sect. 6. n. 18. Tanner. Disp. 1. de Fide Quaest. 1. Dub. 7. n. 211.

2. St. Paul Methinks confirm's this Doctrin, Roman. 12. 6. According to the Rule of Faith; Wherupon ourWhat is meant by the Ana­logy of Faith. Sectaries, Because the Greek reads [...], Endlesly talk of the Analogy of Faith. Let us bring Words to Sense, and Sense to Principles. What is This Analogy, This Measure, or Proportion of Faith? Is that, which every Mans private Fancy fall's upon to be Faith, the Measure and Analogy of it? God forbid. If so; Faith would be as Various, as Fan­cy is Changeable in Haereticks. We must therfore find out a better Analogy. And if you say it is Scri­pture. I Answer. Before the writing of Scriptu­re,A perfect Rule of Faith, be­fore Scri­pture was writ. There was a true and perfect Rule of Faith, Other­wise These words of St. Paul, Presupposing the Rule He mentions before he writ This Epistle, are insignificant. Again. When He Tell's the Thessalonians Epist. 1. c. 1. of Their being a Pattern to all that Believed in Macedonia and Achaia: Of the Word of our Lord sounded out by them Scripture proves it. in every place: Of their Faith Spread abroad &c. What Think ye, was this not yet written Word of our Lord, or the true Analogy of the Thessalonians Faith, As well Di­lated as Approved of? What Finally was that Form of Doctrin commended in the Romans cap. 6. 17? Why Did the Apostle blame the unsetled Galatians for Being so soon Transferred into another Gospel, and De­nounce Anathema, cap. 1. 6. if they believed an Angel Preaching contrary to his former Doctrin? All these [Page 293] and many other Passages of Holy Writ manifestly De­clare,Before the writing of Scripture there was a plat-form of Chri­stian Reli­gion. That there was Divine Doctrin Taught by the very Founders of Christianity before the Writing of Scripture. There was a Plat-form of Christian Re­ligion made by the very Apostles before they Separa­ted Themselves, and began their Preaching to several Nations. And to comply with this Rule or Form of Faith, Blessed St. Paul, Though full of the Holy Ghost, went to confer with St. Peter and the rest Gal. 2. 2. Act. 15. 36. Upon it, The Apostles Held Councils, yea,Councils held upon that plat­form, and Scripture writ. and as some Grave and Learned Doctors Affirm by the Measure therof, the Holy Scriptures were written. Se the notes on the Rhems Testament, Rom. cap. 12. v. 6.

3. Be it how Sectaries will: There was Faith in the World before written Scripture. The Apostles who taught it, Had their Rule of Doctrin prescribed by aThe Apost­les had their Rule of Doctrin from a certain Master. good Master the Holy Ghost, for they Taught not Christian Doctrin upon their own frail Iudgements (considered as Men.) No, they had ever the Gui­dance and Direction of this Blessed Spirit with them, and as His Instruments Delivered so much as this Ma­ster (according to Christs Promise) gave Assistance to, and neither more nor less. Now, those Pious Chri­stiansThe first pious Chri­stians had their Rule from the A­postles. who heard this Apostolical Learning, made it most certainly Their Rule, Their Measure of Faith; Their Analogy, and Form of Doctrin. Whence I argue This Form or Rule of Oral Doctrin First laid up in the Brests of the Apostles, and afterward Delivered to different Nations, was neither All set down in Holy Scripture (for Volumes would not contain it) nor All intierly lost, 'Tis pitty such a rich Depositum should Pe­rish, [Page 294] Therfore it yet Remains somewhere in safe Cu­stody,That Do­ctrin is yet preserved in the Church. But no Place is fitter for it, then that which the Fathers call Thesaurarium dives, the Rich Treasury of the Church: where 'Tis still Preserved, and Those Timothies (I mean those Evangelists, Those Pastors, Tho­se Doctors mentioned Ephes. 4. 11.) Appointed by Pro­vidence to Edify the Mystical Body of Christ, The Chief Preservers of this Legacy and Noble Depositum, are as Necessity Requires, to impart it and make it known to the World by their Definitions, Least like Children we be carried away with every Wind of fals Doctrin. And The Ground of Tradition. herein lyes the very Ground of all Apostolical Tradition. This is not mine, but the Great Vincentius Lirinensis own Do­ctrin now cited. Where pondering that of the A­postle: O Timothy Keep thy Depositum; He Asks, Quis Est bodie Timotheus, nisi vel universa Ecclesia, vel specialiter totum corpus Praepositorum &c.? Who is now, or, at this The whole Church, or Rulers of it preserve this De­positum. Day our Timothy, But either the Vniversal Church, or more, specially the Whole Body of those Guides and Rulers set over it, that are Themselves to have the intire knowledge of Divine Wor­ship, or, to infuse it into others &c? Afterward: Quid est hoc Depositum? What is this Deposited Doctrin? He Answers: Id quod tibi creditum est: 'Tis that which is com­mitted to Thee, not that Thou Invent's, that which thou hast Received, not what Thou hath Fancied of thy own Head. It is a thing not of Wit, but of Doctrin. Non usurpationis propriae, not of thy Private Vse, Fashion, or Practise; Sed The Church no Author but Keeper of Divine Doctrin. publicae Traditionis, But of publick and known Tradition, brought to Thee, handed to Thee, wherof thou art not to be Author, sed Custos, But a Keeper and Preserver. Then he goes on: Depositum Custodi Catholicae Fidei Talen­tum &c.

[Page 295]4. And thus you Se, we have a Church, a Catho­lik Principles wheron the Church proceed's. Talent of Faith committed to it. A Depositum of Apostolical Doctrin laid up in its Treasury. We have a Moral body of Timothies of Teachers, united with one Supream Head and Pastor, That Assures us mo­re Explicitly by its Definitions what the Ancient De­posited Doctrin is, And Reclaim's us if we swerve from it. We have Express Scripture, that bothA Mystical body of Teachers. Gods writ­ten and unwritten word. Sectaries want all. Proves and Approves the Churches Proceeding in Doing so, And this Sacred written Word faithfully Inter­preted, And the unwritten Deposited Word also most In­fallibly Proposed, is our Form, our Rule and perfect Analogy of Faith. O, Had Sectaries but Half as much For what They boldly Assert contrary to us. (And because every Man is a Chutch with them, They Define more then our Church Defines.) The Con­secrated Host is Bread only, a Figure of Christs Body only. There are two Sacraments only. Works Iustify not, but Faith only &c. Had, I say, These men but halfProtestants have no Authority for their Definitions. so much Authority for their Definitions, How would they warble out the Notes of their Novelties? But God hath Silenced them; For they have neither Church, nor Scripture, nor Ancient Depositum, nor Tradition, nor Analogy, nor Rule of Faith, nor Motives to Make Talk only of a Nulli­ty, and an unproved Negative Religion. what They Define probable, nor Any other Thing to talk of, But of a meer Nothing, I mean the Nullity of Their unproved Negative Religion.

5. What hitherto is said of Catholick Definitions made by Pope and Councils, Chiefly Relates to such Matters as have been Anciently without Dispute Revealed, yea, And believed also, Though not perhaps in or­derOne way of Defin­ing. to all so Explicitly. And this way of Defining, [Page 296] some Divines call Propositionem: That is, a Reproposing of Mysteries formerly Believed, whether clearly DeducedGods un­written word of equall Au­thority with his written word. out of Gods Word, or drawn from undoubted Tradi­tion, 'Tis the very same: For, as the Oral Taught Doctrin of the Apostles was, and is certain as Doctrin Registred in Scripture; so all that really is Gods Vnwrit­ten Word, when proposed to us by the Church as such, is in Substance of equal Authority and Credit with the Written; For, it is not the setting down of Truths in Velume or Partchment that Add's more Weight to them, or makes them higher Verities. And here by the way, I cannot but Reflect on the inconsequent Pro­ceeding of Protestants, who must Trust our Church for the Handing down to them Gods written Word, Sectaries ill Conse­quences. whilst most Vnreasonably They Reject Her Authority, when she Declares what the unwritten Word is. I say, most Vnreasonable, For if it can Deceive in this later, it may as well have deceived Christians in the first, and given them fals Scripture. Wherof se more in the second Discours.

6. 'Tis true, There is Another way of DefiningAnother way called by Divines Assevera­tion. called by some Divines Asseveratio, or, The Asserting of a Truth, not so Explicitly at least Believed before (as when the Church Defines against open Haereticks what was Antecedently of Faith.) And Herein the Church Proceeds, not so much upon a Previous Known Act of Faith, as upon the General Owned Principles of Catholick Belief, wherunto Theological Discourses drawn from sound Divinity, And other Principles, partly Evident, and partly in a high Measure Moral­ly Certain, have Access, And are most Prudently Ioined, Not That the Definition in it self, Relies on those [Page 297] lower Principles, But on Gods Gracious Assistance ever with his Church in the Delivery of Truth. However, Providence will have this way followed, as a Vsual and Necessary Condition, Because men of Reason, in so weighty Matters are not (as Sectaries do) to Define at random, but industriously to use Reason, And Pro­ceed on rational Principles. But This belongs more to Divinity, then to Controversy: For I think the Church never yet Defined any thing against Hae­reticks, that was not Antecedently a known and own­ed Truth of Faith, Though not so fully expressed, as it often is, by the Churches clearer Proposition. Thus we say: The Real Doctrin of Transubstantia­tionThe Real Doctrin of Transub­stantiaton as old as that of the Trinity &c. is as old as the Doctrin of The Trinity, or the Consubstantiality of the Son with His Eternal Father, Though the Words Expressing these Mysteries more significant­ly and clearly, are of a later Date.

7. Now to the Objections. And one Hinted at above is. The Church was solidly Founded in theAn Obje­ction. Apostles time in all Things necessary to Salvation. Therfore These Post-nate Definitions of it are to no Purpo­se. To confirm This, Our young Antagonist Ask's; Whether the Apostolical Declarations of the Ancient Primitive Of Aposto­lical Decla­rations lost. Faith were lost in the intermediate Ages, or no? If not lost, Shew them, saith He, And There is no Need of new Definitions, If they were lost in their Passage down, the Church now wants them, And therfore can Define nothing. Were the Play worth the can­dle, I might here Demand of Protestants whether Their Declared Sense, This is a Sign of my Body AddedIs retorted. to Christs Words, This is my Body, which Sense They suppose to be Apostolical, was lost in the intermediate [Page 298] Ages, or no? If not lost, shew us that Apostolical Declaration, and 'Tis enough. (But this is impos­sible.) If't was lost (or rather never in Being) How dare Sectaries make such a Declaration on their own Heads without Producing the Apostles Warrant? I AnswerThe An­swer. The Church was solidly founded as 'Tis now. That which is sufficient in one Age Serves not always. briefly to the Objection. The Church then was so­lidly Founded just as 'Tis now, the Doctrin is one and the Same, And every Article of it was ever, and is now still either explicitly, or implicitly Belie­ved; Yet, These new Declarations are Necessary, Because the Proposition of a Doctrin sufficient in one Time, or Age, Serves not for all Times and Ages, when New Diffi­culties occurr, And Haeresies rise up against it. The Church therfore ever vigilant, and Desirous to quiet all, speak's Again more clearly the old Received Verities, Causlesly too often Bogled at by Sectaries. I say, more clear­ly, For, 'tis one thing to Assert: Such a Verity is not at all contained in Scripture, or in the Ancient Deposited Different Circum­stances re­quire clea­rer and more ample Declara­tions. Doctrin of the Church: And another, To say it is so clearly There, That in order to us and different Circumstan­ces, it needs not at all a further Declaration. Sectaries continually Declare Their Sense of Scripture (For They have no other Deposited Apostolical Doctrin to Talk of) And why may not the Church, Authorized by Christ, with Better Reason do so too? To what is Added to Help on the Objection, I have answer­ed.Deposited Doctrin, following the Church through all Ages, is securely preserved. The Deposited Doctrin Orally Delivered without writing is not lost, But still remain's in the Churches Treasury: 'Tis, as it were, Handed down from Age to Age, and Inseparably accompanies the Church through all Ages. Yea, and is kept there (Though not in Chists or Coffers) as securely as if't Had been engraven in [Page 299] Brass or Marble. And Sectaries must say thus much,Sectaries must grant This. if They own Scripture for Gods Word. For, are not They now as well Assured upon the Churches Testimony, or Vnwritten Tradition, That St. Iohns Gospel was Indited by the Holy Ghost, As if the Church pro­duced a Hand-writing to Evidence that Verity? Yes most Assuredly. Whoever therfore Dare call intoTheir urg­ing for a hand wri­ting of A­postolical Doctrin is proved fri­volous. Question the Churches Authority Asserting a Doctrin, Though it Produce no Manual Writing For it, May as easily Doubt (if it show you One) Whether that very Ex­hibited Evidence be Authentical, or no. Let us only I­magin that the Apostle, that writ the last Part of the New Testament, had exactly set down the whole Ca­non of Scripture, which the Church now Receives. Let us Suppose again, That very copy to be left in the Hands of some Pious Christians Living in those Days,No hand­vvriting distinct from Scri­pture is comparable to the Churches ovvn Au­thority. and so long Preserved, Vntil After Haereticks excluded from the Canon such and such Books of Holy Scriptu­re, as Luther lately Did St. Iames Epistle. Both they, and Luther might more Rationally have doubted of that very written Instrument, then any can now Doubt of a whole Chur­ches Authority, owning the Canon of Scripture to be as it is. No Charter Therfore, no written Instrument, Though on­ce truly made, when the Author is gon, can Parallel the Churches Testimony in what it Asserts. TheThe Rea­son. Reason is: Because a Manuscript only Tell's you what it Contains, but, not Whose it is, and though it did so, Men might yet question the Forgery of it, unles an Authority beyond Exception (extrinsecal to the writ­ing) take away all Fear of Cozenage, and make it Vn­doubted.Tradition surer then any Manu­script. This Reason proves Tradition Necessary in the Church as well for the owning of Scripture, as other Verities.

[Page 300]8. I have said thus much to show How neer to a Piece of Non-sense our Adversaries Draw, when, To Cancel the later Definitions of the Church, They ur­ge us to produce the old Apostolical Declarations, whereby these later Definitions are proved Authentick. Can you Imagin what They would be at? WouldThese men would have They know not what. they have an Authentick Attestation, to prove what the Church hath Defined ever since the Apostles Time, is the Ancient Apostolical Doctrin? The Church Tell's Them it is so, but That's not enough. Would they have a Register Distinct from the Churches Decla­ration containing the Summ of all Apostolical Doctrin? Yes sure this They seek for, if their Demand of having the Apostles Declarations shewed them carry Sense with it. For example, we must shew them by some written Record more Ancient then all the Definitions of the Church are, That the Apostles held a Purgatory, Transubstantia­tion, a Sacrifice &c. Or, at least Prove these Doctrins to be grounded on [...]ndoubted Received Tradition. I have answered. Suppose the Roman CatholickThey are clearly con­futed. Church (And here we speak of no other, For I hope Sectaries will not urge us to shew Them writings Re­ceived from Ancient Haereticks) should Produce a Re­cord containing a Summary of Apostolical Doctrin, Our Adversaries might more justly except against that as an old unproved Legend, then They are now able Rationally to ex­cept against the Churches Definitions: Because such an Ima­gined Record must either be Approved by as great an Authority as the Churches is to gain it Credit, or by a Greater. There cannot be a greater in this present State of Things, then the Churches own Authority; But Sectaries Reject this Authority when the Churck De­fines, [Page 301] Therfore they would much more easily Reject that sup­posed written Instrument, though it told them exactly what She now Defines is Apostolical Doctrin. As much Ther­foreThe Church can do as much with­out the Imagined Hand­writing as with it. as the Church can be supposed to do by the Help of such an Imagined Writing, it can do without it: For if it have Authority to Legitimate, as it were, such a Writing, its own Authority is as worthy of Credit, when it Defines without the Writing. You se Therfore how Unreasonably these men require a Co­dicil containing the old Apostolical Doctrin, which ought, Forsooth, to be Exhibited and shewed them, Before they can be perswaded that the Church fairh­fully Proposeth, or Defines a Doctrin to be Apostoli­cal.

9. Now if They be convinced, that, to Require such a Manuscript from us is as Vnreasonable, as if we should Press them to produce one for Their late Novelties, And ther­fore urge the Church to prove her Defined Doctrin by undoubted Tradition. I answer, The Church doth So, whilst They, God knows, Allege nothing like Tradition, for so much as one of their New Articles.A Fallacy of Sectaries about Tra­dition. And here because we have a fit Occasion, I'll Disco­ver in a Word the Fallacy of Sectaries in this matter of Tradition. I say in a Word, For 'tis not my Task now to Handle that Question largely. Thus it is. Sectaries ever suppose, when the Church De­fines a Doctrin upon the Tradition of former Ages, it is obliged to shew them, the very Doctrin, in ex­press Terms (Antecedently to the Definitions) own­ed, and writ down in the Volumes of some one or more Learned Fathers. Whence it is They Argue:How Secta­ries argue. No man heard of a Purgatory before St. Austins Time, and He [Page 302] only hints at it slightly; nor of Transubstantiation before the Lateran Council &c. Therfore those Doctrins are Novelties la­tely introduced. I Answer. Were all this True, The Argument is an unconcluding Negative, and run'sBy unclud­ing Nega­tives. limping thus: Antiquity, or the Ancient Fathers have not Expressed every Defined Doctrin of the Church in the like Ex­plicit Terms as the Church useth, Therfore such Doctrins were not really Received by the Church. Observe well. From the want of an Expression suitable to Sectaries Fancy, They In­fer The Fa­thers ex­pres Things sometimes one way, and the Church another. the Doctrin was never Taught by Antiquity. Alas, the Fathers had their Expressions one way, and the Church, after mature Deliberation, another (often more significant) Yet, Both Aymed at the same Ve­rity, though differently set forth in Words, as is clear in the Doctrin of Transubstantiation, called by the Fathers a Real Change of Bread into Christs Body, By the Lateran Council, as you here se, otherwise. I say yet Farther. Had the Fathers not at all so much as Hinted at a Doctrin Defined by the Church, the Ar­gument is yet Purely Negative, and worth nothing.Sectaries Discours highly im­probable. But is here all? No. Their Discours upon an­other Account is highly Improbable. To prove what I say, Do no more, but only Imagin, That Three or Four of the most Ancient and Learned Fathers, Had in express Terms Owned and Registred in Their Writ­ings the Lateran Councils Definition concerning Transub­stantiation, as received, Orthodox, and Catholick Do­ctrin, just as that Council Defines it; would Sectaries then have owned it as Ancient, and Orthodox, upon thoseThe Defi­nition of a General Council gi­ves Securi­ty. Fathers Testimony? If they say, Yes, They are Evidently convinced: For the sole Authority of a most Ample Learned Council, is in true Prudence a Firmer Principle, [Page 303] and a better Proof to Rely on, If we enquire after known and received Orthodox Doctrin ever held in the Church, Then the very best Assurance, That one or more Fathers can give Vs of it. For, who see's not, But that the very Definitions of the Nicene, of the Council of Ephe­sus, or Chalcedon &c. Are more weighty to beget in us a Belief, That, what Those Councils Defined (to be received Truths) were so indeed, Then if twenty o­ther Fathers had Antecedently writ them in theirCouncils Represent­ing a whole Church know more then parti­cular Fa­thers. learned Volumes? The Reason is: Because Gene­ral Councils Representing a whole Church, Spread all the World over, cannot but know more Exactly what Tradition, and the Received Doctrin of Chri­stianity is, Then Private Men can be Supposed to know, who lived in several Parts of the World, And bad no Obligation to Register intierly the Churches Doctrin in every Particular. Thus much is said, if the Church at any time Defines upon Tradition only: Fo [...] 'Tis most cer­tain, that beside Tradition, it Relyes on Scripture al­so; and Hitherto never wanted the Authority of most Worthy Fathers that undubitably Taught as it Defined, Though not always perhaps in such Express and significant Words.If Sectaries Reject both Church and Fa­thers, when they have not a word of Scripture for them,

10. Now on the other side, If Sectaries will neither Allow of the Fathers Doctrin, Susiposing it were Express for our Catholick Verities (as most evidently 'tis in twen­ty Controversies) nor, of the Churches Definitions Al­ready Declared in Eighteen General Councils, We are out of the Reach of all Principles, And must leave them to their unsteedy Fancies, or wilful Obstinacy, And pitty Their Deplorable Condition.They are more to be pittied then Disputed against.

11. One word now to a Tedious Harange of Ieers, 'Tis a mile long at least, and Wearies one out, be­fore [Page 304] He run's it half Over. After our Adversary hadAnswer to our Adver­saries Ieers of Mil­stones. Talked of Milstones hung about our Necks, of the Popes Supremacy, Transubstantiation &c. He Tell's us: When the Apostles were sent to Preach all that Christ Command­ed, This must be Vnderstood, that the Church had Power to Teach more if She pleased.—Alas, the Apostles were only Tutors to the Church in its Minority, But the great Di­vine Mysteries of the Seven Sacraments, Indulgences, Sacri­fice of the Mass, were not fit to be Declared till the Church was at Age—VVhat not one VVord of Necessary Points all this while?—Nothing of the Church of Rome, nor Christs Vicar on Earth &c? Thus our young Tully Tat­tles. To Retort his Argument, I might here load him with the lesser Milstones of his Inferiour Negative Truths; For these hang about his Submissive Neck, if He be a Child of the Church of England, And are as numerous as our contrary Positives. But he will say, they weigh little, Because They are light Negatives. Be it so. Were the Apostles, Think Ye, so Tongue­tyed, so Sparing of their Words as not once to Hint at one of these Inferiour Truths? What not a SyllableThe Apost­les strange­ly sparing of Prote­stants Do­ctrin. Through the whole Bible of two Sacraments only, of no Purgatory, of no Sacrifice, Nor, of a Sort of New Men that were to Peep out sixteen Ages after, and Reform the World? O, were They alive Again, how would Sectaries storm at their Silence, And utter Forgetfulnes of These New Nothings, which yet are the very best Es­sentials of Protestancy, or it hath no Essence. Thus men might Talk. But, Ad Rem.

12. This whole wordy Argument, is just like Protestant Religion, purely Negative, And brought to its best Sense Draws apace towards Non-sense Thus: [Page 305] Christ and his Apostles Declared not to the VVorld These Do­ctrins of the Popes Supremacy, of the Sacrifice of the Mass, of Purgatory &c. Therfore they are no Foundations of Faith. I first Deny the Antecedent. How willScripture Speak's more ex­presly of the Popes Su­premacy, then of a Trinity. you prove it? Marry Thus. Scripture saith no­thing of them. I Deny that also: It speaks more Expresly of the Popes Supremacy, And of a Sacrifice, Then of a Trinity of Persons in One Divine Essence, or of Infant Baptism. But let us Gratis suppose, it do not so. Here lyes the Strength of your Objection, which is Improbably Negative. Scripture saith not, that the Apostles The Obje­ction Im­probably Negative. Believed, and Taught a Sacrifice, the Popes Supremacy &c. Ergo, They neither Believed, nor Taught them. Obser­ve well your Negative. From the not Registring of all in Scripture that the Apostles knew, Believed, and Taught, you infer: They knew no More, or, at least Believed, and Taught no More. Which is as Vnlucky a Sequel as this. You, Sir, have not Writ Down in your Ratio­nal Account of Protestancy All that your Learned Head hath in it, All you Believe, and Teach Others. Ther­fore you Know Nothing, Believe Nothing, Teach Nothing, But what is Expressed in that Book. In a Word I have An­sweredThe Suc­cessors of the Apost­les Teach what is Apostolical Doctrin. above n. 22. The Church of Christ, that is. The Heirs and Successors of the Apostles with whom the Mysteries of Faith were Deposited, Teach us what Apostolical Doctrin is, and This Positive, Approved by Scripture, And all Antiquity, hath more Weight in it, Then twenty of your weak Negative Discourses.

13. But we must not Part thus. I said just now. Your Objection Against us is an Improbable Negative; And I Appeal to your own Conscience, whether it be not so? For, can You or any Prudent Man Imagin, [Page 306] that all the exact Words, or Express Doctrin Delivered by It is impro­bable to say, all that the Apostles taught, is registred in Scriptu­re. the Apostles in their laborious Sermons, when They Preached to Iewes and Gentils, are Recorded in Holy Scriptu­re? No. I may well say in St. Iohns Sense, speak­ing of our Saviours Works, the whole World, or whole Volumes would not contain them. Therfore All They taught cannot be Supposed to be either lost, or Shut up in Scripture. Take here your own Instan­ce of St. Paul, it Vndoes you. He Blessed Man Act. 20. 20. 21. Kept nothing back that was profitable to them, But shewed them and taught them publickly from House to House, Testifying to the Iewes and Gentils Penance towards God, and Faith in our Lord Iesus Christ. You, upon this Testi­mony too simply Demand. What not one Word all this while of the Necessary Points, nothing of the Church of Rome, nor Christ Vicar on Earth? I might Ask you, No­thing all this whole of Infant Baptism, of the Eternal Consubstantiality of the Son with God His Father? Good, Sir, Reflect, whilst the Apostle spak of Faith in our Lord Iesus Christ, He might well have Declared both these now named and many other Particular Christian Verities: I do not say He did so at that Pre­sent, But This I'll Defend Against you. Because Scripture only relates in a General Way what St. Paul Preached, A weak Inference of This Adversary. You can neither Probably nor Positively Infer, That he omitted to speak of These, and other Necessary Doctrins. I say in a General Way. For, Do you think that St. Luke Re­counts in Particular all the Doctrinal Points, that the Apostle Delivered, when he went Preaching From Hou­se to House? Or, can You Perswade your Self that All the Hagiographers put together, have Recounted all the Doctrinal Matters (not one omitted) That [Page 307] Christ our Lord ever Spoke, and the Apostles Taught upon several Occasions? Pray you ask your Con­science, whether you can Iudge this Probable? IfIt does not follow that what Scri­pture rela­tes not, is not to be Believed. not; The Argument. Scripture Relates not those par­ticular Doctrins, wherat you Cavil, (which is yet un­true) Ergo They were neither Believed nor Taught, is not only a Negative, But an improbable Negative.

14. To conclude, Let me Friendly ask you, whe­ther this your Positive Assertion. The Apostles never Be­lieved nor taught a Sacrifice, or the Popes Supremacy, Be an Article of your new Faith, or only one of your Inferiour Truths? If you Affirm the first; You are Obliged to produce Positive Scripture for it, And then it will be aA Dilem­ma that cannot be Answered. Superiour Truth Revealed by God, Though, perhaps in your Principles, not Necessary to Saluation. Grant thus much, And you too Clearly own Revealed Articles over and above Those, which the whole Christian World, and Rome it Self Believes. Now if it be only an Infe­riour Truth, And not in Gods written Word: With what Sectaries offer to re­claim us by Scripture, and have not one Text to that purpose. Conscience, or Countenance can you Protestants, who Always Pretend to Reclaim us from our Errors by pure Scripture, Ven­ture probably on such a VVork, when you bave not so much as one VVord of Scripture that inables you to Advance a Proof against us? Relying on these Grounds, and firm Prin­ciples,

15. We easily Solve another trivial Objection ofAnother objection solved of Scripture containing all Things Necessary. Sectaries; which is. Scripture contains all Things Necessary to Saluation, Therfore we need no new Definitions made by the Church. I might say, much less do we Stand in need of Protestants new Declarations, forced on Scripture, with­out a Church. But y'le Answer in a Word. Though Scripture contained all the Oral taught, Apostolical Do­ctrin, [Page 308] and, what ever els is Necessary to Saluation (which is Fals) yet, when we se with our Eyes, that Sacred Book pittifully Abused by Haereticks, not on­lyHaereticks make Scri­pture useles in lesser Matters (as They account of Them) But in the very Highest Mysteries of our Christian Faith; it must needs be a useles Book in Their Hands without an Infallible Interpre­ter, And therfore cannot Decide Controversies, nor Tell us what is Necessary to Saluation, as I have largely proved, Disc. 2. Nay farther. Some may justly Question,It may be doubted whether an Angel could write a Book so plain of other High Mysteries, which the vulgar would not misunder­stand. Whether, if a very Angel writ a Book as full of other High Mysteries, yet unknown to the World, as the Bible now Contains, And used his best Skill to Ex­press Those Vertties in the most Clear and significant Langua­ge Imaginable; Some, I say, may Doubt, whether such a Written Book, left only to the Private judge­ments of Those whole Multitudes, who now read Scriptu­re, would not be misunderstood in a hundred Passa­ges, if no After▪ Teacher Regulated the weak Readers of it in Their Difficulties, or did not comply with the Duty of an Infallible Interpreter. Therfore the Bible which is now Extant, And contains the High Mysteries of our Faith (often less clearly expressed) much more need's an Interpreter. And, perhaps, the wise Providence of God would have it writ so on set Purpose, that Christians should have Recours to a Living Oracle of Truth, and Learn of it, what They cannot Reach to by their own simple Reading. YouChurch Doctrin is repeated again and Again, No­ne can be ignorant of it. will say an Angel can write a Book as clear to all Ca­pacities, as the Churches Definitions are. Very True. What then? That Book only once writ, is left, as we now Suppose, to the Sentiments of private Igno­rant Men (as the Bible now is in Their Hands) But God [Page 309] hath provided that the Churches Doctrin be not only once Delivered, No. It is Laid forth anew, it is im­planted anew; it is repeated and cast, like good seed, Again and Again into mens Harts and Memories by Faithful Pastors and Teachers, who shall never fail the Church to the End of the World.

16. A third objection. The Churches Definitions, Because Men declare them (and all Men are Lyars) cannot be Infallible, and Therfore Ground no Faith. Contra 1. Ergo, Neither Sectaries Novelties, Nor the General DoctrinA cleur Conviction of Secta­ries. owned by all Christians (of one God and one Christ, Be­caus men Teach them, And all are Lyars) may yet be Fallible, and Fals also. Grant, or Deny the Sequel, you are Silenced. Contra 2. If All are Fallible, and consequently may be Lyars in what they Teach, why Vent you, my good Friends, So many Negative Do­ctrins, which may all be fals? Truely▪ if There be no Infallibility in the World, you neither ought to Vapor, as you do, with your Inferiour Negatives, not Blame ourThey Con­demn Themselves whilst their Censure is Fallible. Contrary Positives; For in Doing so, You condemn your own Iudgement, and Advance no Proof against us. Your Fallible Censure (were our Church Fallible) Goes not one Step above a tottering Fallibility, And therfore is too faint to Oppose the Churches contrary Doctrin, Though falfly Supposed Fallible. Mark well. IOur Chur­ches Do­ctrin, Though supposed fallible, is as Good as Sectaries Confessed Fatli [...]e Doctrin. must say it once more. You Fallible men tell me That my Churches Doctrin is Fallible. Admit of the Fals Sup­position, it is yet, upon all Accounts as Good as yours, or as This very fallible Affirmation is, That says it's Fallible, And, if in real Truth it be Infallible, it is much Better.

17. One word more. If Any People on Earth ought to stand for the Infallibility of a new Invented Religion, The Abetters [Page 310] of Protestancy (could they Proceed consequently) should Do it. Why? They Deprive Men of their Esta­tes, cast them into Prison, Bannish some, Hang upWhy Se­ctaries per­secute Ca­tholicks, while Ie­wes are tolerated. others, And All this is Don, Becaus poor Catholicks can­not in Conscience conform to a Religion that is Professedly Falli­ble, and Vncertain. Now, if such Crueltly can be practized on Christians (whilst Iewes, And the worst of Haereticks are Tolerated to live quietly) For a Thing, that's only Fallible, and may as well be Fals as True, we are The Reason is, because we▪ cannot believe a Religion, That may be as likely Falsas True. surely at an End of all good Discours, grounded on Christian Principles. What? To Bannish us, to Confiscate Mens Estates, To Shed our Blood, For a Religion That may be Fals, when we Believe our Creed, And Profess as much as these newer Sectaries make Essential to any Reli­gion of Christians, is, to speak moderately, an unheard of Severity. Yet so it is. They Do not Harrass us as they do, Because we Believe in one God, and one Christ, or own a Doctrin common to all Christians; For themselves Believe so much. But Here is our suppo­sedMark well our suppo­sed Crime. Crime. We cannot Assent to a Religion that may be Fals, we cannot Subscribe to a Company of new Negative No­things, And Therfore we are lashed and Persecuted. Nay (and I'll tell you a Wonder) our Guilt goes not so High: A wonder never enough to be admi­red. For, though we were in our very Harts Arians, or, As we are Catholicks, yet, if in the Exteriour we do as Sectaries do, we are still lovely Children of the Church of England. Learn Therfore this Truth; it is Vndeniable. All the Storms of Persecution Raised against us, Are not upon anyIn real Truth we are persecu­ted because we will not be plain Hypocrits. Account of want of True Faith; But, for this Sole Reason, That we will not Believe one Thing, and Force our Consciences to Profess an Other, Which is to say: We are Handled thus roughly, Because we will not Dissemble with [Page 311] God and Man, and become plain Hypocrits. Herein only Lies our Trespas. Iustus es Domine, & recta Iudicia tua. Iudge you, my God, whether that no-offence Merit's These Scourges.

18. By what is now said, You may easily Perceive, That, when Sectaries seemingly Bemoan our Blind­nes (God knows how much of The Grief lies at their Harts) And Tell us, They have Done what is possible to Convert us, to Drive us from Superstition,Sectaries cannot say, to what they would convert us. And Draw us to the Purity of Their New Gospel, They on­ly give Words without Substance: For, to What would they Convert us? Will They have us Believe the General Received Doctrin of all Christians? We were Converted to this before Protestants Appeared in the World. Do they desire to Convert us to a Belief of their New Negatives? These are, at most, uncertain Inferiour Truths, no way Essential to Christian Religion. PutOur positi­ve Doctrin weighed with Se­ctaries Ne­gatives. the case, by a supposed Impossibility, that our Contra­ry Positives, were only Inferiour Truths like Protestants Negatives, They might notwithstanding most justly hang in the Ballance with Them, and would certain­ly outweigh Them, Because a more Ample and Vniversal Church own's Them. All therfore They can Drive at, when They Pretend to convert us, is, That We carryThey only careser the exteriour form of Protestancy about Vs, The Exteriour form of Protestancy in our Demea­nour, Though we still remain Catholicks in Hart, They care not. That is, as I said now, They would Convert us to be plain Hypocrits.

19. From this and the precedent Discours it follows,A Fallible Religion cannot de­fend it self. That whosoever Embraceth a Fallible Religion, which may be Fals, can neither Defend his own, nor impugn another upon any grounded Principle, much less can He Persecute [Page 312] his Adversary to Death or Imprisonment, Though HeNor the Professors of it perse­cute others. mantain's a contrary Religion, in like manner Fallible. The Reason hereof is Clear. Because, The Defense of a Re­ligion That's Fallible, And the opposition made against another Answerably weak, and Fallible, cannot go beyond the Strength The Reason is Evident. of that last Ground wheron the Defense, or Impugnation (ul­timatly resolved) have their Footing. But, if the Reli­gion be Fallible and uncertain, The last Ground wher­on the whole Machin (either of Proof, or Opposition) stand's, must needs be A Distastful, opinative Conjectu­re, Which, without Certitude, or Satisfaction, is as A Defend­er of a Fallible Religion, cannot pre­serve him­self from Scorn. unfit and forceles to Convince another of a contrary Belief, as to preserve it self from the Scorn and Contempt of him, though he profess no more but a Faith that's Fallible. Put the Ca­se, That a Pelagian and a Protestant are hard at a hot Dispute: The Question proposed is, Whether of the­se two Religions (we suppose them both Fallible) is the better? With what Proof, or Principle can this Fallible Protestant Assault his Fallible Adversary, when He knows he cannot go one Step further then to what is purely Fallible? If he interpret Scripture, that's Fallible, if he Quote Fathers, both They and He are Fallible, if He cite Councils, the Definitions (with him) are Fallible, if He cry up his own Religion as ha­ving the Vpperhand in Probability, He only throws his single vote into the Vr [...], which when 'tis examined, comes to no more But his Own Sic videtur, or Self Fal­lible He can nei­ther con­vince his Adversary, nor persecu­te him, but most un­justly. Conceipt. And Hence it follows, That, as He cannot Prove his Religion against his Adversary, so He cannot, but must unjustly Persecute him, if he Refuse to Embrace that which cannot be Proved. But most certainly his Proofs go not beyond the Bounds of Vn­certainty, [Page 313] and Therfore cannot oblige his Adversary to Believe him. And Thus these two Combatants may wink, and fight to the day of Iudgement, without end­ing one Controversy, or falling on any Thing like a certain Principle.

20. I'll say here a strange Word, And think it very True. Would A Learned Atheist write a large Volu­meAn Atheist might say as much against God as. against the Existency of God, or, A Learned Iew against Iesus Christ; They might prove as much, by a Roving, fallible Talk, Grounded on no Principles, against These great Verities of Christian Faith, as ever Protestant hath yet Proved against the Roman Catholick Church.Protestants can say against the Roman Catholick Church. For, Their new Mode of writing is a long, loos, weari­som Discours, without Reducing either Proof for their own Religion, or Opposition made against Catholick Doctrin, to Any Thing like a received Principle. Mark this in all par­ticular Controversies, you will find meer uncertain Conjectures to be the last ground, wheron, either Their Proofs or Arguments Against us stand, most unsetled. Yet it should be Otherwise: For, whoever will venture to impugn a Religion That's Held by the greatest part of Christians Infallible, must strike Home, and Reach to sound Principles Before He Touch it, much less break it a Pieces. Sectaries may say, They are able at least to Defend Christian Religion in General, ownedTheir De­fense of Christian Religion in in general is to no purpose. by all the World; For the rest of Protestancy it may go whether you will, Nec seritur nec metitur, They are not solicitous. My God are we come to this Pass now? What must all the Disturbance of Sectaries, their Schism and Rebellion made Against a Church, their Glosses on Scripture, And the whole Machin of Protestancy End thus in a Non Probatur, it cannot be [Page 314] proved? Is that only, now asserted Defensible (to wit the common Doctrin of all Christians) That preci­sely taken is no mans Religion, And Needs no Defen­se?

21. Some other Objections yet remain, But are all Solved upon the Principles now established. One is. If every Doctrin Defined by the Church be Fundamental, the Church layes its own Foundations. Contra: There was Fundamental Faith in the Church before Scripture was writ: Did Scripture Therfore lay New Foundations ofScripture Declared anew the Antecedent believed Doctrin of the Church Faith, Because it Declared anew that Antecedent own­ed Doctrin? Thus we Say, the Church Declares the Ancient objective Faith of foregoing Christians, ever implicitly at least Believed, And not otherwise. A second Objection less to the Purpose. The Teaching Church either Believes in that Instant Sht Defines a thing Ne­cessary to Saluation, or doth not. If She doth, It was Ne­cessary before the Definition newly made; If not, She Defines something Necessary to Saluation which was not before Necessary. To answer the Objection, I might ask whether St. Iohn when he writ this Proposition. The Word is made Flesh, Believed that Article of Christian Faith before he writ it, or no? If yes, it was of Necessity to be Believed before. If not, He delivered something Necessary to Saluation which was not so before. In one short Word, Here is the solution to No Real Difficulty. The Church at least Implicitly Believed before, whatThe Church Believ's Implicitly before She Defines, but more Expli­citly after for her own Definition. it Defines, yet may and doth more Explicitly Believe the same Mystery in that very Instant She Defines, Because God Speak's that Truth more clearly by Her Definition. So St. Iohn Believed the Incarnation of the Divine Word for His Definition. Verbum Caro fa­ctum [Page 315] est. The Word is made Flesh, Though with­out Doubt He Assented to the Mystery, (and by Di­vine Faith also) Before He writ His Gospel. But enough of these Forceles Arguments, long since Pro­posed and solved, which only give a Testimony of Se­ctaries ready will (to offer at something) and weak­nes with it (to do nothing.) For, you se clearly, They cannot press us with a real Difficulty.

CHAP. VIII.
Protestants are Vnreasonable in the De­fense of Their late Manifest and Vndoubted Schism.

1. SEctaries Are no where more unluckily out of the Compass of Reason, Then in Their Discourses of Schism. I shall endeavor to make The Assertion good in the ensuing Chapters.

2. To Proceed clearly. First, it is most certain,Martin Luthers first Sepa­ration. That Martin Luther, And His Associats, once Roman Catholicks, Separated Themselves from the Commu­nion of that Ancient Church, which gave rhem Ba­ptism About the Year 1517. 2. It is as Evident, that our following Sectaries Vphold still, And Stifly Defend that Actual Separation made by Luther, as a Ne­cessarySectaries Defense of it. lawfull Fact, And well Don. 3. It is no less clear, That as Luther, when He first began his Revolt from the Church, stood all Alone, without ioyning [Page 316] Himself to any visible Society of Christians then ex­tant in the Christian World; So, it is now as Mani­fest, That our Protestants to This very Day, standSectaries yet stand solitarily Alone, not united with Any Chri­stian So­ciety. also a solitary Society alone, owning no Fellowship, Vnion, or Communication of Lyturgies, Rites, or Sacraments with any Church Through the Vniversal World. They forsake Ca­tholicks, They forsake Graecians, Arians, Abyssins, Ne­storians, Socinians, and All the rest of Christians.

3. My first Proposition. If ever Schism was in the World, or, can Possibly be conceived, Protestants are most The first Proposition. Evidently guilty of a Formal Seperation from all other Christian Churches, which Denominates them Formal Separatists, or, in plain English; Schismaticks. The Assertion is so clear that it needs no Proof: For, say, I beseech You; If any man in England (now Starting up with a few Followers at his heels) should utterly Deny our Gra­cious Sovereign to be Supream Head of that Kingdom, as also Abjure the Salutary Laws there in Cours; Or Finally, should So make Himself and Associats a Body a part, That all Obedience and Submission we­reThe case of Rebels in a Kingdom compared with Pro­testants Schism. shaken of, Respectively, to both King and Gouvern­ment &c. Would not this Man, Think ye, Highly Merit the Title of a Rebel, or (in Civil Affairs) of a most Uncivil and ungracious Schismatick? Yes, most undoubtedly. This is our very Case. Eng­land, All the World Know's, Once owned The Po­pe of Rome, not only For the first Patriarch, But Supream What En­gland an­ciently was. Head of the Vniversal Church: It Admitted of this Chur­ches Disciplin and Laws, And yeilded Obedience to Them: It communicated with the Roman Church, As▪ well in Points of Faith, as in the use of Rites, Litur­gies, and Sacraments. Yet All These, And, in a short [Page 317] Time, were Shaken of. Luther And our Late men toHow it Re­voked from the Church, this Day, make Themselves a Body a Part; And, to Add more to the bargain, as yet, joyn with no other Society of Christians, either in Faith Disciplin, or,And yet is joyned to no other Society of Christians. The like Communion of Rites, and Sacraments. Ther­fore, if a Schism can be conceived (Define Schism how you Will) This both was, And is still the highest Degree of a plain Formal Schism, and Separation from an Ancient Church, that Ever yet appeared in the World.

4. To Solve this unanswerable Difficulty, Our Later men are pleased to Play, in a Matter most serious,Sectaries play in a serious Matter with an ungrounded Distin­ction. with a Pretty Distinction, which Intricates Them mo­re, Then they are aware of. First then, Distinguish, Say They, between an Actual and Causal Separation, next Apply it thus, And you have the Truth. We Protestants made an Actual Separation from the Church of Ro­me ('Tis granted) And so are (Though the word is Harsh) the Formal Schismaticks: But you Papists, are the Cau­sal Separatists, That is, Ye gave the true Cause of our Part­ing from you, And Therfore are the Schismaticks before God; For Schism is Theirs, who give the first Cause of it, And not Theirs, who make the Actual Breach upon a Ground­ed And most just Cause, as We have Don. Thus our new Doctors Discours, But how Vnreasonably, We shall Declare presently. In the mean while, YouIntolerable Boldnes in Luther and▪ His Followers, to accuse and con­demn an Ancient Church without Power o [...] Iurisdi­ction. se one wretched Luther, And a mean Handful of Fol­lowers so pertly Bold, so Audacioufly Impertinent, As not only to Accuse a whole Ample, Ancient, and Learned Church, But more, without Power, Authori­ty, or any Iurisdiction over it: You Se Them also sit as Iudges in a Cause They Had nothing to Do with; And Then, Inauditâ causâ, Proceed to a Sentence, And condemn [Page 318] it of Errours And Causal Schism. And can Reason, Think ye, Enter here, or ever Countenance such a Pro­ceeding? It is Impossible. Had But a spark of Reason lived in These Novellists, They Ought to ha­veSuch su­spected Ac­cusers could not be Iudges. known, that Accusers (so Vnvaluable, so few, and so Rationally Suspected of Malice) Could be no fit Judges in so Grave and Weighty a Matter: They ought to have owned this very Fact a most Desperate one, First, Openly to Rebel, And then without any Other A most Desperate Fact first to Rebel, and then to suppose without Proof, They had Reason for their Re­bellion. Proof, But Their own Proofles VVord, Tacitly to Suppose They had great Reason For their Rebellion. Had reason Regulated Here, They should have Laid forth the sup­posed Evidences of their Charge against our Church to a Third Impartial Judge (They Talk of an Vniver­sal Church Distinct from the Roman) why did They not Appeal to This, And then Acquiesce in some other Sentence and Judgement Better then Their own? But to Accuse so vast a Society of Ancient Christians as we are, And know not WHY; To Condemn it of Errour, and know not WHERFORE; And, This before no other Tribunal but Themselves, who were the Rebels, Savor's so strongly of Saw­cin [...]s The very Method held in our Protestants condemna­tion, was Illegal and contempti­ble. and Selfconceipted Pride, That the very Method Held in the Condemnation, Makes all to look upon it as Naught, Foul, Illegal, and Contemptible.

5. To Prosecute further this most Necessary Point, Thus much I will Say, and wish All may well Con­sider it. It is most Evident, That This Actual Breach with Rome, This Rupture, This Rent, This Rebellion, This The For­mal Sepa­ration of Sectaries from an Ancient Church is Evident. Divorce from an Ancient Church, This Formal Schism (Cover all as much as is possible under the smoother Term of an Actual Separation) is as clear on our Protestants Side, As the Suns Shining at Noon▪ day, like Dirt it lyes at their [Page 319] Doors, and They will never be Able to Sweep it away. But to Say, That Catholicks laid such Nastines The­re,But to say that Rome was cause of it, is a meer un­proved Ca­lumnie. or, That Rome caused This Sehism, neither is, nor shall be any more, then a meer Supposed Whimsy, An Vnproved Calumny, As long as Truth is in the World.

6. Say therfore, I Beseech you, Good Dear Coun­trymen, Why was the Roman Catholick Church the Cause of your Schism; Why Separated you your Sel­ves from it? You Answer. A multitude of Corrup­tions, What Se­ctaries al­lege, as cause of their breach. of Superstitions, of new Forged Articles in Faith, of Innovations, and I know not what more, made you leave this Church, so Far as it had receded from its Ancient Purity. Very good: The Charge Drawn up, goes High, And is evidently Hainous. But Say on: Are yourThe Que­stion is whether Proofs answer to the Char­ge? Proofs Answerably as Strong, or Equally Evident To ma­ke the Charge good Against this Church, Both Accused, and Condemned by you? Or, which Comes much to one, Are these Proofs as Manifest To justify your Formal Schism, as 'Tis evident, that you Made it? Such an Evident char­geOr are as manifest to justify that Formal Rupture as 'Tis Evi­dent, it was made? against a Church, and so Tragical a Separation▪ from it, Acted by you, Must both in Law and Conscience Be Supported and Born up by Evidence. The Weightines of the Matter Requires it. Weak feeming Probabi­lities, meer crazy and Conjectural Arguments (Atheists Vent such against God and Jewes against Christ are Here too Slight, and Forceles, Either to Acquit you of your Weak cra­zy Con­jectures prove No­thing. most sinful Formal▪ Schism, or, To make us Guilty of the Causal.

7. Come therfore, Let us not word it Longer, But go closely to Work. We Appeal to Reason and undoubted Principles in this Controversy. These (and not Talk, nor meer Conjectures) must Vphold your [Page 320] Proofs, if you have any Against our Ancient Church. To Proceed Therfore clearly,

8. Note first, That the Supposed Errours, charged on Errours charged on our Church are not E­vident ex Terminis. the Roman Catholick Church by Protestants, are not like the first Principles in Nature, Evident ex Terminis, By their own Light. Their Evidence Therfore, if any be, must be laid forth in a Solid and Convincing Discours, And This Discours, if Convincing, is to be Driven on by a Me­dium, which either by it self is, or doth at last Rest on some Therfore must be proved by Discours reduced to owned Principles. Known and Owned Principle; Owned, I say, and Admit­ted of, not by the One or Other Dissenting Party, But Common to them Both. If such Principles Fail, or the Discours, which is carried on, Derives not Strength and Certitude from Them, The Force of Arguing (tur­ned either into a Roving Talk, or Clamours) is Lost, Becomes Lame, Deficient, and Vnconcluding.

9. Note 2. Whilst Sectaries, by Imputing Errour to the Roman Catholick Church, make it the CauseThe Self­saying of Sectaries is excluded from being a Proof. of Their Formal Schism, They are not to Suppose, That Their own bare Assertion, or, Saying, We have Er­red, can be either Proof strong enough, Or any Thing like a satisfactory Reason in This matter: For their Say­ing is no▪ Received Principle. I Note thus much on set Purpose, Becaus I really Perceive a strange Humour in our Protestant Writers. You have in their BooksProtestants Humor In Writing Controver­sies. ('Tis true) Difficulties now and then hinted at, Words multiplied, Much Talk in General, Intricate Discourses carried on in Darknes (And This to Amu­se a vulgar Reader) weak Conjectures Enough, now Drawn from This, now from That Vnevidenced Au­thority, Margents charged with Greek and Latin, And Learned Margents They are, or must be Thought [Page 321] so. But after All, you se the main Difficulties waved, you Find Nothing Proved, Nothing clearly Reduced toThey bring nothing to undoubted Principles. any other Owned Principle, But Their own Proofles word, and Bare Assertion: In so much, that I am Apt to Believe (if I think Amiss God forgive me) All that Protestants Aym at in their Polemical Writings, is only to Keep up Talk in the World, And Glory when They have the last Word in a Controversy, whether a Proved Word, or no, it Imports not, so it can be said, They have Answered.

10. Note 3. If, As we Both must and will exclu­deThe Prin­ciples They are to Rely on, whilst They con­demn our Church of Errour. the Self-saying and Own-voting of Protestants from the Nature of a Rational Proof, whilst They Accuse and Condemn our Church of Errours, They are Necessi­tated to have Recours to other Principles, And, I think, There can be none better, nor more Free from all Exception, Then These I now Name. 1. Plain speaking Scripture. 2. The Vnanimous Consent of Fathers, Add to These, if you Pleas, the Indubitable Definitions of An­cient Councils. 3. Vniversal Tradition. Proofs, which run on in good Form, and Finally Rest on These, or the like Foundations, are Solid, Undeniable, and con­cluding. If They swerve from such Grounds, They Become both Faint, and Forceles, And cannot But Participate much of Fancy, which we utterly Reject.

11. By the Recours to Plain Scripture, We Exclude All weak and unproved Glosses of Sectaries. By Recur­ringExceptions justly made Against Protestants. to the Vnanimous Consent of Fathers, we High­ly Except Against an Vnworthy Proceeding of Protestants, who, if by Chance They meet with a Patch, or mai­med Sentence of a Father, which, because Dubious, seemingly Makes for Them, They Triumph, as if the [Page 322] Victory were Theirs. Soft and fair, Say I, There is no such matter: For no Doctrin Doubtfully Delive­red by a Father (and 'Tis then doubtful, when it just­ly may Admit of Different Interpretations) Can Pass For a Received Principle (Principles are clear) Much less hath it force to Blemish the Purity of an Ancient learned Church, whose sole Authority is greater ThenThe Du­bious senti­ment of a Fatherless, then the clear Iud­gement of the Church can be the Dubious Sentiment of any one Father. And Thus much our Adversaries must Acknowledge; For, Though a whole Torrent of Fathers undeniably Comes against Them (As is most evident in Twenty Contro­versies, Take for Example that one of an Vnbloody Sa­crifice Dayly Offered up in the Church, Or the Real Presence) They Answer (Forsooth) the Fathers wereSectaries Reject the Evident Testimony of Fathers. when most clear a­gainst them, and fight with a dubious Testimony of one or two Fa­thers a­gainst the Church. men and Had Their Errours &c. Why then, I Be­seech you, when One or Two of Them Speak only Doubtfully in a Controversy (I Grant no more) should Their Authority have force to weaken our Churches Doctrin? Nothing Therfore less, Then The Clear and Vna­nimous Consent of These Ancient Worthies, truly Pillars of our Church, can be Admitted of as a Received Principle. We stand to this, and the other now named Principles. Thus much Premised, we pass on to the Trial of Pro­testants Proofs.

CHAP. IX.
Protestants Cannot make Good Their Charge Against the Roman Ca­tholick Church, Concerning Causal Schism.

1. THe Assertion saith thus Much. There nei­ther is, nor can be Proof against the Roman Catho­lick Church, wherby it is made Guilty of Errour, And Ther­fore none can Rationally Say, That this Church was, or is, The cause of Schism in Protestants. The Reason Hereof is best laid forth in these Few Words Proofs againstProofs fail when Prin­ciples are wanting. this Church cannot But Fail, when Received Principles are wanting to Support Them: But Received Princi­ples are Here evidently wanting To Sectaries in Their Charge Against our Church. Therfore Their Proofs must Fail, and Consequently, when they are Resol­ved, can come to no more, but to meer Proofles Ca­lumnies.

2. To Show you, That all Principles Fail them in This Matter, You shall Se how Ingeniously we Pro­ceed. We Licence our Adversaries to make Vse of all the One plain Dealing with Se­ctaries. Principles, which the whole Christian World Own's, as Vn­doubted. Will They Please to have Recours to well Grounded Reason, to plain speaking-Scripture without Glosses, to the Vnanimous consent of Fathers, or Definitions of Coun­cils, [Page 324] and Vniversal Tradition? We are contented, And will Acquiesce. All we seek For, is to Ex­clude Their own Proofles Word from entring in, as a Recei­ved Principle. You Se here is Liberty Enough, AndThe Liber­ty given Them, we Allow it, withall Petition Them for Almighty Gods sake, That they will Vouchsafe to Deal candidly with us, And take to any One, or More of These now na­med Principles, and Dispute closely in Form, EitherProvided, they will Dispute in Form. by Syllogisms, or, That known shorter way of Enthy­mems. By this Procedure we shall se the Rise, and Progress of their Discours, the Validity of Their Ar­guing, whether it be Convincing, and Finally rest on a Received Principle, or contrarywise Lame, and Defi­cient. Reason is reason to all sorts of men, and Though we are Papists, we yet know well what Rea­son and Evidence is. May it therfore Pleas our new Doctors to Begin with that Common Principle to us both, of Holy Scripture: Their Argument (if to the Purpose) cannot But be much to this Sense. What Scripture saith is true; But Scripture saith, The Roman Ca­tholick Church is at least, lyable to Errour: Ergo, it may Their Ar­gument from Scri­pture Ends after the First Syllo­gism. err. We deny the Minor, And Expect a Second Syllogism to Prove it, which Shall be more Fumbling, and Proofles Then this very Minor, that is Fals. I am so confident of this my Assertion, That I in treat our Adversaries to Go on in Form, And Prove Their Mi­nor, (if Their Cause be good the Labour is not great) And let us have the Honor to Answer Them. Again. They may Argue: What Ancient Councils Define, And And will be as For­celes if drawn from Fa­thers. Holy Fathers unanimously Teach is True; But These Say the Catholick Church of Rome Hath Erred, or can err: Ergo. We here Deny The Minor Also, which shall never be [Page 325] Proved by a second Syllogism either Evidently, or Proba­bly. In the mean while (And let Them Remember so much) Their Formal Schism is not only probable, But Evident, Though the Proofs fall short to Evidence the Pretended Cause of it.

3. Some Perhaps will Say: This way of Arguing doth not the Deed. No. They will go Other­wiseIf they will come to particular Controver­sies, to work, and Descend to Particular Controversies, And shew us how Council hath Contradicted Council, How Transubstantiation, Purgatory, Praying to Saints, worshiping of Images &c. are late Novelties Introduced into our Church. Here, They Hope to have us upon an Advantage, And With such Doughty Doings, They are able to make our Church Guilty of Causal Schism, And Acquit Themselves of the Formal Crime. Observe a Shuffling, And Know; Before we Catholicks are like to get a Sight of our Evidenced Errours, We must Travel far, And run over All those long Worn-out Controversies which have Troubled the world, And to no Purpose, For a Hun­dred years and More. However we are Content,We are willing, may it pleas them to Dispute in Form, and bring Arguments to Princi­ples. May it Pleas our Adversaries first to begin with one particular Controversy, And so closely to follow the Matter by a continued Arguing in Form, That at last, They bring their Discours to a sure Owned Principle. But, I well Foresee (Because Conscious of their want of Principles to ground a Convincing Discours on) They'l not Hear to this Proposition. Therfore to leave Them without Excuse, I'll Propose another way,Another way propo­sed. Which every man shall judge most Reasonable, Let them vouchsafe at least, to Set down Plainly one of Their Protestant Tenents conrrary to our Catholick Doctrin, For Example. Transubstantiation is a New [Page 326] Invented Opinion lately brought into the Roman Church. And then So closely to Give us the last and strongest Grounds They have for the Assertion, without long tedious, Discourses that nothing Appear superfluous, (Much may be said in a little compas.) Their Vn­doubted Scriptures, if any be a [...] Hand, Their Ancient Coun­cils, Their consent of Fathers, Their Ancient Tradition, And, which I highly Value of, some Ancient Orthodox Church Autho­rity. Must of Necessity enter here, to Vphold their Asser­tion if 't be Defensible. This Don. I'll Engage toThe Au­thors En­gagement. Place against what ever Sectaries Allege, The contra­ry Proofs of our Catholick Religion, for Transubstantia­tion; And Add to them, the Testimony of our Learned Church, And, if These put in just Ballance, or, compa­red with the Other, Do not (in the Judgement of eve­ry Disinteressed Scholler) Quite Outweigh all that Protestants can say Against us, I'll here Promise, never to Trouble them more with Controversies. But, if on the Otherside you evidently find These men, after all their Noise of introduced Novelties, so cut of from Proofs, so profoundly silenced, That, They cannotWhat will appear by this way of trial. bring to light so much as one Passage of Scripture, nor one Ancient Council, nor, the Vnanimons consent of Fathers (no, nor one clear Sentence of a Father) And, least of All, Any Ancient Orthodox Church contrary to our Doctrin, or, that Plainly and Positively Defends Theirs, You will, I Hope, Bear with me, if I say once mo­re. Their new Opinion Relies on Fancy, And, that I Mistook not when I called this Treatise. Protestancy without Prin­ciples. I say that Positively Defends their Doctrin: For, I would have Them Know, Their Negative way of Ar­guing We Read not (forsooth) of the Word Transubstan­tiation, [Page 327] will, if it Appear once more on Paper, lookSectaries Negative way of Ar­guing, out of Fashion. like an old cast Garment, no less out of Fashion, Then quite worn out to nothing. When this Controver­sy is Ended by Close Proofs and Principles, without wan­dring into long dark Discourses, We, on our part, are Ready to Engage in Any Other, as shall best like our Adversaries, And will Endeavour, to make this Great Truth known to the world. That Sectaries, are as Vn­fortunate in Proving their Own, As unlucky, in Opposing our Catholick Doctrin.

4. Beside what is said, Here is another Proof, thatA further proof, of Sectaries not pro­ving. showes They can convince nothing unles Hereafter, They manage Their Cause better then is Don Hither­to. In All Debated Controversies, We Have no more But our Adversaries Objections, And the Catholick An­swers. The evidence of our Errours cannot Appear in our Answers, For These All along, g [...]on in Clearing us from Their Cavils. Neither can the Evidence Arise, like a Beam of light, out of the Objections of Prote­stants, Vnles They lustily Vainquish us with a Demon­stration in good Form, Supported by an owned Principle, and Force us, and other Intelligent Persons to Acknow­ledge, That these Objections are plain Convictions of our Errours; wherof there is no great Danger, for We Catholicks Profess, And say it with all candor, That we look on These Objections against us as Slight, Tri­vial, While we return a Rational Answer, Their Ar­guments Recede from all li­kelyhood of Evidence. Defeated and worn-out to Nothing. Be it how you will; They cannot be Supposed owned Principles Between us, Vnles we are mad, And Grant, That, what our Prote­stants Vent and Vote against us, is Vnanswerable. As long Therfore, as we give a Rational Reply to Their Arguments (And let us have an Indifferent Judge to Decide the [Page 328] Controversy, whether our Answers be Rational or no) so long Their Objections will Recede From Evidence, And Loos the Force of clear Demonstrations Against us. Yet Their Schism is Evident. That cannot be Denied.

5. They may say first. This Recours to a Judge is only a Put Of, And makes Controversies endles, BecausIf a Iudge be rejected, Controver­sies are Endles. They Acknowledge none But Themselves. And, I An­swer, This want of a Judge, makes Controversies endles; For seclude a Judge, we may wrangle to the Worlds end, and Stand still at as great a Remove from com­posing Strifs, as we were when we began Them. Pray you, what do They think, That without a Jud­ge, or clear Evidence, which needs no Judge, we must submit to their wordy Objections, as if Oracles Pronounced Them, when They Acknowledge Themselves both Fallible and Erring men in all they say? No certainly. Hitherto Therfore We have no Evidence, yet Their Schism is Evident, Remember That.

6. They may Reply Again. It is Plain Perversnes in us, not to se the Evidence of Their Arguments Against our Errours. Pittiful. I Retort the Argument, And Tell them: It is wors then Perversnes in Them toSectaries suppose what is to be proved. make That Evident, which Hath not so much as Pro­bability in it. Alas! To Talk thus, is Scholding, no Schollership, a Clamor, no Close Disputing. Be plea­sed to Put your Arguments in Form, Unles This be don, it is but Vain to Suppose Evidences which can­not be Proved. Yet your Schism is Evident.

7. They may thirdly Reply, Their Objections against The self­seeming of Sectaries no Proof. our Errours seem at least Evident to Them. Observe a Strenuous Proof. We urge to have Arguments against our Errours Reduced to Vndubitable Principles, And here [Page 329] They give in Their own Self-seeming, which is Fancy, and True Evi­dence hath force with all. Nothing like a Received Principle. I say therfore They have No Evidence; For, This Works upon all mens intellectual Faculties alike, And equally Necessitat's Them to Assent. It is true, The Perversnes of mans will, may either make him to cry up That For evident, which is not, Or, To Deny That to be Evident which is; But it never makes him not to se what is clearly Discernable by its own manifest Light. Thus then it is. Neither we Ca­tholicks,Neither Catholicks nor Others Ever saw any thing like Evi­dence in the Argu­ments of Protestants. nor the rest of the Christian World, ever yet saw any Thing like Evidence in those Arguments of Protestants: Why Therfore should we take Their word For it, Or Believe, that They have better Intel­lectual Eyes then Their Neighbours? Alas, if an Arian would lay Claim to such an Evidence For his Heresy, He might do it upon Fancy, and every whit as Groundedly as Protestants. No Evidence is yet seen, But the Schism is Evident.

8. They may fourthly Reply. Though they have no expres Definitions of Councils, or Unanimous con­sent of Fathers Assertive of our Churches Errours (Be­caus all of them Sided with Rome, and were no little Flatterers of that Sea) Yet, They Cite Scripture Against us, which is a Principle owned by all. Answ. So do Arians Also, and to as little Purpose. But ad rem. Produce plain Scripture without your own un­evidentced Their Ar­guing from Scripture is Forceles Against us. Glosses (which we Reject as Extra-scriptural) And put your Arguments grounded on Scripture in good Form, You Shall se All, in the First, or Second Syllo­gism Decaied, Faint, Forceles, And out of all Fashion of an Argument. For Example, you have not one Syllable in Scripture Against our Doctrin of Transubstantiation, or [Page 330] Purgatory, or any other controverted Point; Therfore Arguments built on Scripture, must needs fail you. All you can Allege is, That the Word Purgatory, or Transubstantiation is not in Scripture, And you know, no more is the Word Trinity and Consubstantial. O, But the Reality is not in Gods Word. How proveTheir Ne­gative way of Arguing Proofles. you that in Form? We Deny it: But Admit it be not, your Proof is Poorly Negative, and without legs runn's Thus: What Scripture Expresly contains not, is an Errour; Scripture Expresly contains not Transubstantiation, Ergo it is an Errour. We Deny the Major, and give you Twenty Instances to blunt and Dead the Force of it. Go on Therfore to prove That, yet Vnproved Major. It is Impossible. Here, you will have ThemSectaries are urged to Dispute in Form. at a Stand, They cannot Advance. However, Grant They Offer at it; Our Answers still closely Follow Them, And Enervate Their Proofs, as They are Driven on in the Cours of Arguing. Believe it, They Shall be sooner out in Arguing, Then we in Answering: And to Shew you, That I do not vainly Vaunt in Saying Thus much, Let it Pleas our Ad­versariesAnd to bring Their Proofs to an Vndeniable Principle. to come to a just Trial of Disputing in Form upon this particular Matter of Transubstantiation, or, of any other where They Think to have most Advanta­ge, And Press on us Proof after Proof, Till at last They bring us to a Propositio quiescens, That is, to an Intelle­ctual Light, which by its own Clarity Evidenceth it self So­lid (not To you, or to me, Mr. Poole) But to All Rational men, who know what Evidence is, An now we need not go to School and learn That, For nature with a little Logick, Teaches sufficiently what Evidence is. This Evidence Ther­fore, drawn out in a close continued Arguing in Form [Page 331] will Do the Deed, and Show whether we are Foyled, or you Fight Vnluckily. Vnles This way be taken toThe loos and unclu­ding way of Arguing in Secta­ries, is most insi­pid and Blamable. (whilst you run on in a loos Vnconcluding Talk, And Own No Infallible Iudge to Decide between us) We may stay till Dooms day (which is pittiful) And End our Lives Before we end so much as one Controversy. Study Therfore well For this Propositio quiescens, which by the Evidence of its own Light, Apparent to all, makes us to Yeild up the Cause. If you can do this, you are Gallant men; if not, Know That your Shism is Evi­dent (This is the burden of the Song) But the Pretended cause of it laid on us, lyes yet in Darknes Vnevidenced, And Therfore is Vnjustifiable.

9. What will you say, if a new Zelote of Our En­glish Schism Argues Thus? Most surely, Protestants wise and learned men, cannot All (so numerous as They are) Be Supposed to have made a Bustle in the World about Nothing. They cannot be Supposed to have left an Ancient Church, But, upon the Sight of great Difficulties, which frighted many, and Finally withdrew Them from Holding Communion with it lon­ger. I shall Answer the Objection largely Hereafter; Now I only Say: When a Rebellion is manifest, and Decryed A known Rebellion in King­dom, Or a clear Schism in the Church, Cannot be Iustifyed by The Au­thors, or Abbettors. by all Indifferent and Vnconcerned men, The sole Authority of Those who Began it, can never make it Iustifiable. The Case is clear in Civil Affairs: For example, In that ungod­ly Rebellion raised in England Against our lawful So­vereign; as also in Ecclesiastical, Witnes, the Arians Schism Against the Church. These Partisans Autho­rity alone, it is well known was Too Weak, and Insuf­ficient to Iustify either of these impious Facts.

10. To that Talk of a Sight of difficulties, I Answer: [Page 332] He, who for seeming Difficulties will leave an Ancient Church, Whoever leaves an Ancient Church for seeming difficulties, may as Easily Relinquish all Chri­stian Reli­gion. Shall at last be forced to Abandon all Christian Religion, which certainly hath its Difficulties: (And, are there none, Think you, against our Protestants Novelties?) I say therfore, supposing we once Digest the hard Mysteries of Chri­stian Faith common to us all: So Few, So Slight, so Vn­valuable are the Difficulties Against our Church, That when One seriously Reflects on this Churches long Conti­nuance, on the several Councils convened in it, on the different Judgements of learned men, on the various Dispositions of People and Nations, which make it up &c. (All apt enough according to nature to breed Endles Dissensions) He must say, if a spark of It is a spe­cial Provi­dence That Difficulties are no Greater in the Church. Reason live in him: Digitus Dei est hic. The work of God and a Special Providence over his Church Appears in this alone, That Difficulties are no more, nor greater in so long standing a Moral Body, Than those slight ones are, which causelesly Affright our Adversaries. Do not then, I say, Desert Christian Religion Totally, upon the Account of those difficil Mysteries, it Teach­es: You can never in prudence Relinquish this An­cient Church, For Pretended Contradictions in Councils, for supposed Superstructurs, Innovations and such like Trifles, which (Though stumbling Blocks to Sectaries) are no sooner look't on, then removed, And put away By Most Satisfactory Answers.

CHAP. X.
The Roman Catholick Church, whilst Evidence comes not Against it, Stands Firm Vpon Its Ancient Possessed Right. This long Possession Proves the Church Orthodox.

1. SOme perhaps may Object against the former Discours. We Catholicks do not so clearlyAn Obje­ction. Acquit our selves of Errour, Nor consequently of the Charge in being Cause of Protestants Scbism, as we Rigou­rously Exact of them to have these Errours laid evi­dently Forth against us. For, if One should Ask: How we Prove our Church to be free from Errour, and this clearly? Or, That by our Errours we Occa­sioned not Protestants Separation from us, what shall we say? I Answer. Though we have De­monstrations for the Truth of our Religion (supposing Christ once Established a Church in the World) And Can shew This Truth, by a close Order of Ar­guing in Right Form, Yea, And we will Do it, when Sectaries have Satisfyed our Difficulties▪ Yet, to Solve This present Argument, We are not Obliged by the Law of Disputation to Prove any Thing, Nor To do more Then only [Page 334] to Stand upon our Guard and Defense. The Reason is. Our Protestants are here the Actours, the Aggressors;Protestants because Aggressors are obliged to prove their char­ge. 'Tis Therfore Their Task to Prove, ours only to De­fend, which is Easy; if you Mark How strangely in Vain They make Their Attempts Against us. Ob­serve it. After our Church, had stood a Thousand years and more in the quiet Possession of Truth, They Accuse it of Their weak Attempts. Errour: After, so many Thousands of Learned and Virtuous men, that lived Holily, And Dyed Happily in it; Yes, And Had Eyes as Quick, Iudgements as Deep, and Wills as good to Find out These Errours (Had any been) As the best of Se­ctaries, yet found none; They, forsooth, Espy Them: After The Chur­ches Purity and Inno­cency, This Church had its Purity and Innocency Signed and Sealed by the blood of innumerable Martyrs, Evidenced by undoubted Mi­racles, Manifested by so many Glorious Conversions wrought on Aliens, Drawn to Christ, And Finally Demonstratively Proved by All Those Illustrious Marks of Truth, wherof we Treated Above▪ Our Protestants Rise up, And Calum­niate This great Society of Christians, Lay a foul As­persion of Heresy on it. Are not They, Think ye, as Actors, Obliged in Justice to make Their Charge good Against us By Evident Proofs? And, are not WeProved by a long Possession, Exempted from all Further Obligation of Pleading, Then only to stand upon our Ancient, Blamles, And Quiet Possession? Believe it. This OLIM POSSIDEO, PRIOR POSSIDEO, is Warrant sufficient, And our Wall of Defense against such weak Aggressors: And yet we Strengthen our Hold with Canon Proof (it is Evident Reason also) Nemo praesumitur malus nisi probetur, No Man, upon vain And Evi­dent Rea­son also. Presumption, ought to be accounted Naught, unles Reason Prove him a Delinquent.

2. For Example. Give me a Loyal Subject That [Page 335] hath Don wonders and great Service for his Prince;An Instan­ce. That hath Enlarged His Kingdom, Gained Him Friends, Defeated His Enemies, And yet is Struggling, to Do him More Service, Whose Repute was never Stained, nor Fame Blemished &c. Suppose now, That a little Knot of unknown Men should Offer at some Small or Vnconsiderable Proofs, And with These Endeavour to Impeach him of Treason, would not the Prince, Think ye, Either Re­quire Evidences to be brought in against so worthy a Subject, or Reject These Accusers as unworthy of Credit? Yes most Assuredly. This is our Case (Though no Instance, taken from Private men, canThe Church Evidently hath pro­ved her Fidelity to Christ. Parallel the Fidelity of the Church Towards Christ) The Roman Catholick Church (I speak of no other, For there is none) Hath Faithfully Don Great Service For the King of Kings Christ Iesus, It Hath Dilated His Empire Far and Neer, It hath Defeated His Enemies (Perfidious Hea­thens) Gained him Friends, and Innumerable Servants. It yet Struggles (Maugre all Attempts Against it) to Promote Hitherto of unspotted Fame be­fore Secta­ries im­peachment. his Honor, and Gain him More. So long it was of an Vn­spotted Fame, and Accounted Pure without Blemish, Till now at last a Little Inconsiderable Knot of Protestants Impeach it of Treason, and Makes it a Rebel Against that King, For whom it hath Served so long and Faithfully. What then, doth our Lord Iesus, And All Iustice Too, Require of The­se Accusers But Evidence? Yes, And (if possible) More then Evidence is necessary, to make Their charge good against This Church. It Hath Evident Proof enough of its Fi­delity,Iustice in this charge requires Evidence, not unpro­ved Cavils, by its Faithful long Service, By its hitherto Ir­reprehensible Purity, Allowed for a Thousand years and upward, And Therfore cannot be Supposed a Delinquent upon meer Cavils, or For Things which look like Proofs, But when [Page 336] Examined, are no Sooner seen then Slighted, no Sooner Weighed, then cast away as Weightles.

3. Take one instance more (Though none of theAnother Instance Ad Ho­minem. Best, it may yet best serve for Protestants.) Suppo­se, That another Kind of Luther with a few Followers, on­ce Protestants, as These were Anciently Catholicks, should now Separate from the Church of England, and Open­ly Accuse all the Ministers within that Iland of Errour in Doctrin, of Injustice, of Schism, of Their Forcing Scripture by Vnproved Glosses, to say what God ne­ver Spake, &c. The Accusation certainly would be looked on by Ministers As a Hainous Calumny. What is to be Done? Would not they, After a sa­tisfactory Answer returned to the Objections of these Supposed Calumniators, Hold Themselves Vnblemished, upon the Account of their supposed Ancient good Fa­me,Thus much is only sup­posed to gi­ve force to the Instan­ce. And (we must now Imagin it) of Their Vnquestioned Integrity both in life and Doctrin, wherof They have had Pos­session in mens Opinion for a hundred years Together? Would they not All Vnanimously say, That, by this very Maxim grounded in Nature: Nemo praesumitur malus, nisi probe­tur, None, who had the Repute of an Honest man is to Loos it, Vnles Evidence com's against Him, And Blemish his Honesty? Yes, All of them would swear it. They need not Therfore to Preach to These Accusers, or, To show By Positive Arguments, HowThis is also only suppo­sed in their behalf, though not True. Purely They Teach Christs Doctrin, How Innocently They have lived, How free from all Injustice, How Their Hearers have hithertho Reverenced them as Saints, And Laborious Workmen in Christs Vineyard. No. This (were it so) Proves it Self. The very ha­ving Don Well in the Eyes of All, And so long, Carries with [Page 337] it its own Evidence, And is Argument Enough. WashThey are not in Real Truth Ca­lumnies, but Veri­ties. then Away the Objected Calumnies (if yet Calumnies) And the Work is don, They are Sound in Doctrin, Clear, Innocent, And Blamles, upon this Fals Supposition.

4. The Application of this Instance to our PresentThe Appli­cation of the Instan­ce. Case, is easy. The first Luther accompanied with a handful of Men Accused not only A Few Ilanders of Errour, But a Church of a far larger Extent, Renowned the whole World over. We have Answered to all Their Calumnies, not one Objection is Omitted; If there be Any new Ones, For Gods sake, let us Hear them. This Don, we stand still upon our Ancient Possession of Truth, and Prepossessed good Fame in Teaching it. These What Evi­denceth it self needs no Farther Evidence. Evidence Themselves, And need no further Proof; For This Argument is Good. Once we were Honest men, And therfore are so now, Once Right in Faith, and we are Right still, Vnles Evidence Drive us out of our An­cient No less then Evi­dent Proofs can Drive us out of our An­cient pos­session. Right, and Honesty. Solve then a few Objected Calumnies, The Work is don, we stand upon Clear Ground, which is, The yet Vnshaken Hold of our long Olim Possideo, prior Possideo.

5. You will say. The whole force of this Instan­ce comes to one Trial. Viz. Whether we Catholicks What Se­ctaries may Reply. Have Already Solved, or can Solve as well the Objections of Protestants Against our Church, As They are able to Vainquish what ever This now Supposed Sect Proposeth Against their new Doctrin. If The Parity Hold here, the Instance Presses; If no, It is Forceles. Answer. Here, were it worth the While, We might have Sport, and se How our Adversaries Either Pittifully Beg the Que­stion in what They say, Or Licence Every Man to be His own Iudge, Though he Vent Plain Haeresy, [Page 338] or Finally Draw Controversies into endles Cavilling. Observe it. They say, They can better Solve the Arguments of These new Sectaries against Themselves, Then we are Able to solve Theirs against us. Is notThey beg the Que­stion. this a meer Proofles Petitio Principi? Most Assured­ly, Yes. And Mark how It Goes on. Iust as Pro­testants Tell us Catholicks, That we solve not their Arguments, These new supposed Sectaries Argue strongly against Protestants so these New men stand stiffly to it, And Tell Protestants They Solve not Theirs: And They Instance strongly Thus. You Think your Selves safe, And all clear For you, when you say, Papists Answer not to what you Object Against Them, And our Reply is the Same. We are as safe in saying Boldly, you Answer not Our Objections Against you.. You say, you Solve our Arguments, We say, No. Will you be Iudges in your own Cause for the Affirmative? Per­mit us then to be Iudges in Ours, for the Negative. If you Say Again, you give a Probable solution to our Objections; So Catholicks Answer you. If you say, our Objections do not so Evidently conclude Against you, But, That still you are Able to Solve Them Ne­gatively, That is to show, They do not force your Vn­derstanding to yeild to Them; So Catholicks Answer you, with this Advantage, That They can Enervate All you Object Positively by contrary valid Proofs, And when This is don, Have Twenty for one as learned against you (Besides the Infallible Church They Pretend to) That Vote and Voice for Them, and Pitty your Folly in Objecting. Now, if After all (Say These new Sectaries) you Protestants Blame us for our late Sepa­ration made from the English Church, And therfore Charge Schism on us, know, That Clodius accusat moe­chos, You Led the Danse, And first Schismatiz'd from a more [Page 339] Ancient Church then we have don. You yet, Though Formal Separatists, were not the Schismaticks, But Rome that Gave you Cause,) And just so we say. We are indeed the Formal Separatists from you, But your Errours gave us just Cause to Part from you, And therfore the sin of Schism is on your side. And thus, These Two Dissenting PartiesTheir Dis­pute is Endles, be­cause Nei­ther own's a Lawful Iudge, nor can come to certain Principlet. may Dispute until They both are Breathles, And stand gazing on One an Other without further Progress, Vn­les They bring Their Discours to Vndubitable Principles, or ha­ve Recours to some Third Equal Iudge between them, or, Fi­nally Grant, which Evidently follows, That without a Iudge, or Certain Principles, The worst of Haeresies may be Defended, if every one may first Accuse his Adversary, And then give sentence for himself: For there is no Arian, no Nestorian, But Every one Thinks well of his Heresy, and will pretend as Prote­stants do, that his Arguments are not sol­ved. Thinks well of his Errours, And will, at least, Pretend (as our Protestants do) that his Arguments for them Are not solved.

CHAP. XI.
Of a late VVriters Exceptions Against our Pleading Possession.

1. IT is very True, Did not I se the Strain of Secta­riesMr. Stil­lingfleet. Arguing to be Every where like it self, weak, and deficient, I should scarsly have thought, that a man of parts could Have missed so enormously, as one doth in this Controversy, whilst He gives you hints, of hitting the nail on the Head, and saying much to the Purpose. Thus it is.

[Page 340]2. We Plead a lawful Succession from the Apostles times, And a quiet Possession of Truth with it, by vertue of an Immemorial Tradition. Our Adversary Tell's us. The Obligation of Proving lyes upon us. Of proving what for Gods sake? Marry that, whichWe are ur­ged to pro­ve, what is by it self, an Evident proof. Immemorial Tradition most Evidently Proves; in so much that we are now urged to prove that Proof, which is alone its Own most clear Light, and undeniable Evidence. They Proceed here, just as if One should bid me Prove, that All Mankind Descended From A­damIf Scriptu­re were not, un­doubted Tradition, would pro­ve, we all came from Adam. (Had we no other Argument to Convince the Truth but immemorial Tradition) Because, some (for­sooth) may Imagin, without proof, that God in One Age or other (though they cannot say when) broke of this lineal Descent, By creating a new sort of men from whom we come, and not from Adam, which is Sensles. For the Very Tradition alone has more weight in it to convince the Affirmative. We all came from Adam, then, A pure Imagination without proof, to perswade the contrary Negative. Take one Instance, perhaps more pressing, and significant. A Kingdom, or, Commonwealth Proves the Succession of its Mo­narchs, or Princes, for so long a time, by a Constant Tradition, never called into Doubt, or questioned by Any. Suppose, some Zelots should begin to Quar­rel with the states of the Kingdom, And Tell them. Gentlemen, you are all Mistaken. Believe us. InAn Instan­ce. one Age or other, (though we know not when it hap­pened) The lineal Race of your supposed Kings, Fail­ed. A Vsurper Got to the Throne, by force, fraud, or both, And it was He (it's true we cannot name the man) that brought in Novelties, strange Opinions, [Page 341] Dangerous Maxims, contrary to your Ancient Lawes and Customes. Imagin, I say, thus much, would not these Novellists, think ye, after no Smal contempt, be put to their Proof, or be scornfully laughed at, should they urge the Kingdom to Prove what is proved by certain Tradition? This is our very case. We pro­veWe prove as clearly the lawful succession of Popes, and Catho­lick Pa­stors, as A­ny King­dom the succession of their Monarchs. the lawful succession of our Popes, of our Prelates, of our Pastors, and People, by Vndeniable Tradition from St. Peter to this present Age, And we are now cal­led on, To prove that, which the very strength and Efficacy of Tradition Proves by it self, without more Adoe. A most impertinent Demand. For, if He that Denies the lawful lineal succession of Monarchs in a Kingdom, warranted by undubitable Tradition, must, if He stand to it, be put to His Proof (the Kingdom Proves enough by its immemorial Tradition) Much more are these men forced to Prove in our Ca­se, if they Oppugn the Tradition of a whole VniversalThe Chur­ches clear Evidence. Church: For the Church gives in Her last and clear­est Evidence, when she Pleads undeniable Tradition, No man can require more.

3. You May say First. Beside Tradition, wher­by the lawful Descent of Monarchs is Proved, There are also Records at hand, to Confirm the Truth of the Tradition. I Answer. The Church hath as GoodThe Chur­ches Re­cords, as Ample, as any in a Kingdom. Records, wherby she manifesteth the lawful succession of Her Popes, Prelates, and Pastors, as any Kingdom on Earth produceth for the lineal Descent of its Mo­narchs. Therfore it is you, that must show (And by sound Principles) as well these Records to be for­ged, or Vnauthentick, as Oral Tradition (which is a Distinct Proof) to be Fals, and Fallible. Both are [Page 342] above your Power, Skill, and Learning. Be it other­wise, the Proof Certainly lies on your side. And 'Tis all I Intend at present.

4. You may Reply secondly. The Instance ofRecords contrary to the Church cannot be produced. Monarchs succeeding in a Kingdom, Vpheld by Tradi­tion is Forceles, if Contrary Records be produced, and Prove that a Vsurper Got in, and interrupted the right line of Succession. The like, may have been in the Church, when Her Popes and Prelates became Vsur­pers, and changed the Primitive Doctrin of it. Mark a Supposition For a Proof, and, withall Observe How you cast the Obligation of Proving on your Self. For,The Obli­gation of Proving is incumbent in our Ad­versaries. Now it's your Task to Produce These supposed Re­cords Contrary to the lawful Succession we Plead for. Shew them therfore, And Argue by them, or, if you fail in this, as you must Fail, The Tradition from our Ancestours stand▪s still in its Ancient vigour unshaken, against meer unproved Cavils, and Calumnies.

5. You may Thirdly Reply. That Instance of Monarchs lawful Succession in Their respective King­doms, when warranted by undoubted Tradition, seem's good and convincing, because no Man Questions the Right, no Man within the Kingdom Doubts of the Acknowledged Succession. But all is contrary in our present Controversy; For, innumerable called Christians, do not only Doubt, But, expresly Deny that Right, and lawfulnes of Succession which we At­tribute ro our Church, to our Popes, and Catholick Pastors; Therfore, because the party Fail's, The in­stance is forceles. First a Word Ad Hominem. Let it Pleas our Adversaries to Declare plainly the Succes­sion of Their Church, of Their Bishops, of Their Pa­stors, [Page 343] by virtue of any Immemorial Tradition. LetSectaries must solve Their own Argument. them also Vouchsafe to give in that Title, wherby They lay claim to a Possession of Truth. What ever is Allegeable for the One, or Other, whether it be Tra­dition, Scripture, or Fathers, will suffer more Contra­diction from innumerable Called Christians, then the least Article (if any were little) of our Catholick Faith, Therfore they must Solve their own Argument. The Reason is. If they plead Traditioin for a continued Succession of a Protestant Church ever since Christ, the whole Christian World, yea, even Protestants them­selves, Oppose the Paradox. If Their Plea for Pure Protestancy, be Scripture, They'l meet with as many Adversaries, Having not one Syllable for it in Gods Word. If finally They make a Belief Common to all Christians to be Their Essential Faith, None likes the Doctrin. Both Friends and Enemies, Catholicks and Haereticks, stand against them. Therfore I say once mo­re, They must solve Their own Objection.The Argu­ment is solved.

6. Now you shall have my Answer, And I say, An Argument, That Drawes all the Force it has from the Opposition of Enemies, (And They were all knownOpposition of Here­ticks no proof against it. Haereticks, that Opposed our Catholick Tradition) Destroys not only Evident Truths, but also Impugn's Christ, and Christian Religion. Atheists make Ob­jections Against God, Jewes Against Christ, yea, And the very Instance now allowed of, supposeth some wil­ful Zelots contrary to the common received Tradition, of so many Monarchs undoubted Succession. YouChristian Truths meet with Adversa­ries. He that will side with such Oppo­nents, shall at last de­sert Chri­stianity. se Therfore, How weak this way of Arguing is. Be­lieve it, There is no one Christian Verity, but hath its Adversaries, Therfore, the Man that will Side with such [Page 344] Opponents, and Cavil also, Because a Company of Dismembred, and jarring Sectaries Do so, must look how He striks, lest he cut to deep, and Wound those, He would not hurt. For at last, He shall be forced to sha­ke of the very name an Notion of a Christian. I'll say in a word, what is more amply laid forth Disc. 1. Chap. 7. n. 4. 5. We have an Ancient Church against the­se Scattered Companies of Novellists, A Church uni­ted in Doctrin, Against their Iarrs and Endles Dissen­tions. A Glorious Church manifested by such Marks and Motives, as made the world Christian, And these plead against Their Vnevidenced Opinions. Finally we have most certain Tradition, against their uncertain Gues­ses. Vpon such Proofs, which cannot be shaken, we stand; Therfore, unles our Adversaries, beside the Multitude of Opponents, bring rational Proofs against our Possession, which Rest at last upon undeniable Prin­ciples, We are safe, and cannot be Danted. Alas, The meer Number of known Enemies, without Evi­denceClamours of known Enemies, without a rational Trial. Proofles. to warrant what is Pretended, Seem's much like unjust Clamours in a Disordered Common-wealth, Loud 'Tis true, but as Sensles as Loud, when Reason ought to have place, and plead the Cause, by Proofs and Principles. Therfore, we Appeal to Principles; may They bear Sway, we are content, if not, We told you Above, Though as many Hereticks rise up against us, As there are Atheists opposite to God, And Iewes to Christ, We Regard them not, if they come Vnarmed, and only Fight by the Votes of their own Scattered and Devided Companies. But enough is said of this Subject, in the Discours now Cited.

7. Here, I'll only Add one Consideration more, [Page 345] And it is to Assure our Adversaries Though, They run to pass't Ages, that is, the whole world Over, and Gather all the Votes of Enemies, either against the Possession, or, the Ancient Tradition of our Church, They only give us a Number of jarring Suffrages, which bound up together, cannot Amount to a weak Probability. A weak probability, though granted, cannot clear Sectaries from Schism. However, Let Truth suffer: Suppose them weakly Probable, is this enough, think you, to warrant Sectaries Foule Schism? Is here Ground enough to Iustify an Evident Divorce made from an Ancient Church, wherin Their Ance­stours Lived peaceably time out of mind, Age after Age, with­out Trouble, and Disturbance? No. All is impro­bable, For, what ever is less, then Evidence Ground­ed on sure Principles, will shew it self to be, as it is, a Proofles Cavil Against so long prescription, and immemorial Possession of our Ancient Faith.

8. Some may yet Reply. All that's Said hither­to,An Obje­ction. Shows only a Personal Succession of Popes, Prelates, Pa­stors, and People in foregoing Ages, But is far from Proving the main point in Controversy, (They mean) a full and quiet Possession of Truth, which we make so Hereditary to These Popes, and Bishops Descending from St. Peter, That it was never lost. This, They say, is to be Proved. I Answer, We are yet obliged to prove nothing: For, the very Testimony, the Vnanimous When the Church gives in Her Evi­dence. Se­ctaries are to Disprove it. Consent, the Constant Tradition of our united and learned Church without more, are most pregnant Arguments, as well for the Possession of Apostolical Truth laid claim to, as, For the Personal Succession of our Catholick Pastors. Ther­fore, unles Sectaries can weaken this Plea by a Contrary Evidence, more strong then our Churches Tradition is (and then the Proving is incumbent on them) we stand firm [Page 346] upon our Olim Possideo, which cannot be shaken. I say by a contrary Evidence, Stronger then our Churches Testi­mony and Tradition. Speak now, it's your time of Proving. What have you to Alledge against This so­leWant of Principles makes Se­ctaries Ca­vils impro­bable. Consent and Tradition? Is it Scripture? Produce it, And we are silenced, if not, Vouchsafe to Hold your Peace Hereafter. Have you the Consent of Fathers, or Ancient Councils to make your cause Good against our Pleading Tradition, and the Ancient Pos­session, of Truth with it? No. Examen These learned Volums you'l not find one clear sentence, fa­voring your unjust Process Against a Church, That made your Progenitors Christians. What then Re­mainsSectaries own Votes as weight­les, as the Arians to Scare us with, But your own-self Simple Vo­tes; and if these Cast, as it were, in A ballance Against our Ancient Possession, can out weigh it, and so De­prive us of our Right, The Arians long since had De­stroyed us all; for, Their Votes were as weighty, as united as yours, Yes, and more numerous.

9. Well. Though we are not Obliged to prove,A Few Proofs briefly hinted at, though we are not obli­ged to pro­ve. what both Tradition and our Ancient Possession Convince, I'll yet Hint, most briefly, at a few Proofs in Behalf of our just Possession. First, it is an undeniable Verity, that Christ founded a Catholick Church, And 'Tis as Evident (Sectaries Confess it) that He invested the Roman Catholick Church in an Ancient Possession of Truth. 2. It is an undoubted Verity, that Christ Christ Abandoned not the Church He Founded. never abandoned the Church He founded, For He told us: Hell gates should not Prevail against it. He gave Assurance of his being with us to the end of the world. The Church is the Pillar and ground of Truth &c. If ther­fore Christ stood to his Word, and once established the [Page 347] Roman Catholick Church in Truth, it is Orthodox still, and Preserved in Truth by His special Assistance. 3. It is an Evident Verity, that God, whose Providen­ce never Failed his Church, could not permit this Ample, and Ancient Moral Body of Catholicks to Cheat the world by its pleading a Possession of Truth; if 't had none, for a thousand years together, when, (which is deeply to be Pondered) there was not any A Truth well to be Pondered. other sound Church on Earth, for so vast a time, to Teach Christians the Orthodox Faith of Iesus Christ. 4. We ha­ve our quiet Possession Acknowledged by innumerable Votes of most learned Fathers. 5. And 'Tis a Grea­ter Proof (For nothing, Scripture excepted, can Pa­rallel it.) The Testimony and warrant of this Ample Catholick Society carries with it our Evidence, no less, for an actual Prescription, Then for the Right, and Title of our long pleaded, and enioyed Possession. And who can suppose that all those Innumerable Professors of this learned Church, by whom this Evidence was conveyed Age after Age, were all besotted or deluded with Errour? 6. And 'Tis an Evident Demonstra­tion. No Ancient or modern. Church reputed Or­thodox by the Christian World, ever so much as Quar­relled with the Roman Catholick Church, or onceNo Ortho­dox Church Ever cen­sured us for the want of a just Pos­session. Questioned the Right of Her Possessing Ancient Truths, delivered by Christ and his Apostles, none Censured it, none Condemned it, upon any supposed want of a most just Possession, but only Known, and Professed Here­ticks, And to these our English Schismaticks Adhere;An Infe­rence grounded on these Proofs. with these, And no other, They side. If therfore The Foundations of our Church were once laid firm by Christ. If He stand to his Promise Expressed in Scripture. If his [Page 348] Assistance Fail not the Church, Once Established by him. If God could not [...] this great Moral Body to Deceive Christians, by Pleading a Possession of Truth when it had none, And when there was no other Orthodox Church to deliver Christian Verities to the world. If Finally, The Authority of our Church, And the Testimonies of most Ancient Fathers may speak in our Cause, And this Convincing Proof also ha­ve place. None (Ever Gainsaid our Ancient Possession But know and condemned Hereticks. We may well Hope to si­lence our Adversaries at present, or, if these Perswa­sive Reasons, with many other, Insisted on Hereafter, Become insignificant to Their Obdurate Harts, when They can not speak a Reasonable word Against our Evidences, what shall we Do, But Commiserate Their Condition? You se, How roundly I deal withSectaries cannot An­swer our Proofs. Them, And say, They cannot speak a probable Word Against These Positive Proofs, Though, (whilst we plead Possession) it is their Task to Prove, who are the Accusers, And Charge Heresy on us.

10. Observe therfore. If they say, our SaviourWhat They are to Pro­ve. once setled not the Roman Catholick Church in Truth, They are to Prove it. If they say, He violated His Promise, And preserved not the Church, He founded in Perpetual Truth, They are to prove it. If They say, We misunderstand the Scriptures now cited, They are to Prove. If They say our Catholick Church cheated the world for ten whole Ages together by pretending Possession of Apostolical Verities when it had none, They are to Prove. If they say our Church was once Sound in Faith, but failed After­ward, They are to Prove, And withal, Distinctly to point at some other Orthodox Christian Society, that Suc­ceeded [Page 349] in the place of the Roman Church, now (falsly) Suppo­sed Fallen into Errour, And This will give Sectaries work enough. Again: If They Slight The Authority, and Testimony of our Church, Evidenced by most glorious Miracles, And other Illustrious Marks of Truth, They are to give, in Lieu of that, a more Valid Testimony, a stronger Authority For Their Pretenses, which is impossible. If Finally, They Talk of any Orthodox Church. That plainly Censured, or, Condemned the Roman of Errour and Heresy, (And Herein we Vrge Them to speak to the Cause) the Proof lies still on their side: or, if they Prove not. Believe it, our OLIM POSSIDEO, is impregnable; The Presciption, and clear Evidence of a long quiet Possession, are our wall of Defence, not to be battered, or Beaten down by Ca­lumnies.

11. Thus much premised. You shall se in Brief, HowThe Obje­ctions of our Adver­sary, shew­ed forceles. all comes to Nothing, Wherwith This late Writer too weakly Oppugn's our Ancient Possession, who, After His Telling us Part 3. c. 5. Page 627. That the Proof lyes upon us, He gives this Reason, And let it be His first Objection.

12. They who Challenge full and quiet Possession, by vertue of immemorial Tradition, and succession from Their Ancestours, ought to produce the CONVEYANCE of that Tradition from him, who alone could invest them in that Possession. Mark these Mysterious Words. Ought to produce the Con­veyance of that Tradition from him &c. What signifies This? Had He said. They ought to Produce a Con­veyance, warranting the Possession of Truth to be in their Church, we would have sent Him back to the Proofs Already Alledged, And Here only Insisted on our Tra­dition: [Page 350] But to Demand for a Conveyance of our very The Effica­cy and for­ce of Tradi­tion. Tradition, which is either by it self, its own most ma­nifest and clear Conveyance, or must be proved by ano­ther clearer Tradition, (And so in Infinitum) Tend's, Methinks, a little towards Non-sense. Truely I know not what the man would be at. Would He Have us, Think ye, to Produce a Letter written by Christ Iesus (for, Conueyance Here must Signify, Charta, or,No Charter or writ stronger then Tradi­tion. Instrumentum) wherby it may Appear, that the Tradi­tion of our Church is Sound and Orthodox? This would signify just Nothing. Becaus Sectaries might more justly Cavil at such a writing, And say it is For­ged, Then they can now Except, against the greatest Testimony Imaginable of a whole Learned Church that must Give Credit to this Writing, if 't have Any. Therfore, He who can Doubt of this Attestation of aThe Rea­son. far Extended Church, May more Rationally Doubt of the Writing it self, Though it were now actually laid before our Eyes to Read. Se more of This Subject Above Chap. 7. n. 7. 8. Perhaps, our Adversary will say we are to produce Scripture, if not for The Convey­ance of our Tradition, at least for the Possession of Truth we pretend to. I Answer, This is now Don,Our Proofs are Already given. n. 9. 10. where I Tell you that Christ founded the Roman Catholick Church in Truth, And promised to be with the Church He Founded to the End of the World: Withal, that no Orthodox Church Ever op­posed this just Possession &c. It therfore lyes on our Adversaries to Disprove These Scriptures, And to Weaken those Reasons by sound Principles, or, at least to Offer at an Answer, which, I Think, will be Difficil to Do by Any Proof. That's weakly Probable.

[Page 351]13. In the Interim you se the Strain of Sectaries Writ­ingThe Strain of Sectaries writing Controver­sies. Controversies. It is Ever to be Cavilling at our Tradition, at our Possession, and Prescription. And Thus they run on as if their Cause were not at all Concern­ed, Though it should be otherwise; For, do not Prote­stantsProtestants pretend to a Possession of Truth. as wel pretend to a Possession of Truth, as Those They call blind Papists? Yes. And will They not say, that the Truth they Lay claim to, is either a Belief Common to all Hereticks, or, the Particular Doctrins of the English Church? Yes, For they'l have no Mixture of Popery with it. Well. Now we Vrge them to produce a Conveyance From Him alone But can produce no Conveyan­ce from him that could invest them in it. who could invest them in the Possession of Either the One, or other Doctrin. Here You'l have them Silent, For, not so much as a Syllable of Scripture, nor one clear Sentence of a Father, least of All, Any Ancient Tra­dition, Ever Favoured such Extravagancies. How­ever, you must have patience, And Hear Sectaries Loud in Their Complaints Against our Tradition and Ancient Possession, And 'Tis no wonder; For, 'Tis easier to Cavil at Truth, Then to speak sense For Fals­hood.

14. A second Objection. It is Plain in this Case (viz. Of Prescription, or Possession) The full Right depend's not upon meer Occupancy, But, a Title must be pleaded, to Shew that the Possession is Bonae fidei; so that the Question Comes from The Possession, to the Goodnes of the Title. Answ. By This Word, Right, or, Title, I understand a just and meet Reason, Allegeable ForWhat's meant in this place by Right and Title▪ that, wherunto a man layes Claim, And, wherof He had Possession for long a Time. As if One should Ask an Ancient Gentleman by what Right He Hold's [Page 352] His lands, And How long He hath Had Them? He Answers. They were setled on Him by His An­cestours, (And here is His Title.) Both they And He, have quietly Possessed Them, without Cavils,Cavils Against known Right Proofles. for a thousand years &c. Suppose now, A wran­gling Lawer should Tell the Gentleman. Sir, what­ever becomes of your long Possession, I Question your Right, or Title, And therfore say, your Possession is not Bonae fidei, But a meer Occupancy. Would not This busy Fellow, think ye, if He said no more, be put to His Proof, when the Gentleman shewes His Right, and justly plead's his long Possession? Yes, most Assuredly. Here is Our very Case. It is moreThe Right and Churches Title. certain, that the Roman Catholick Church was Once most lawfully invested in the possession of Truth by the Gracious Goodnes of Him that founded it, (Then ever Any was lawfully setled in Right of His lands) For so much [...]he whole World, and Sectaries also Acknowledge, as undoubted: And Here is The Chur­ches First Right, or Title. It is Again most Evident, That Innumerable of unspotted Fame, of Great Lear­ning, Sanctity, and Vertue Have not only Avouched This Blessing to be once Conferred on the Church, But Moreover, have professed Themselves, to beThe Heirs and Pro­fessors of it. Heirs of this Ancient Right, And so Far, the Profes­sors of Those Primitive Verities, That They [...]on­veyed them Age after Age to posterity (I say No more yet, but only what they Professed.) Now Starts up a Minister, And Tell's the Church (just as the LawerIt's Tacitly supposed by our Adver­sary an Oc­cupancy, but not Proved. Doth the Gentleman) She hath no Right nor Title, But a meer Occupancy, That's no Possession. The Church proves this Right first to have been Conserted by one [Page 353] that could give it. Then She shewes it, to have Re­mained with Her in Every Age By sure Witnesses of Vertue and Integrity. Must not therfore this Minister, Think you, that Contrast's with such Witnesses, And Encounters such an Army of old Tryed Souldiers be put to His Proof, and Fight lustily by Evidence, And, if possible, with Stronger Proofs? Is All manfully Don (Pray you Judge) when He wholy supposeth, what Should be proved, And is pleased to Miscal our Ancient undoubted Right, our just Title, and Vnque­stioned Possession by a new Coyned word of Occupan­cy; Let him Keep the Occupancy to Himself, and Apply it to His Protestant Religion, That Hath neither Right to plead by, nor Title, nor any Ancient Pos­session.

15. A Third Objection. If we plead Possession by im­memorial Tradition from Ancestours many things are to be Contested, and this is one, That no Antecedent Law hath determin'd Contrary to what we challenge by vertue of Possession. Very Good. When you, Sir, Shew us this Antecedent Law, Contrary to what Our Ad­versary is to Show an Antecedent Law con­trary to our Posses­sion. we Challenge by vertue of our Possession, wee'l yeild. But you are to make this Evident, And, Consequently the Proof Lies on you, which will be a hard Task, For we Know, There is no such Law against us.

16. A fourth Objection. Christs Law hath Deter­min'd Matters of Difference between us one way or other: For Example, Whether the present Church be Infallible, or no. If the Law has Determined A­gainst us; Possession, And Prescription signify No­thing, If for us, The Question must be wholy Re­moved from the Plea of Possession, And be tryed on This [Page 354] Issue, whether Christ by his Law hath determined on The Legis­lators De­termina­tion. your side or Ours. I Answer. The Legislator hath most plainly Determined for the Infallibility of that Church which He founded, And though you slight those Sa­cred Texts, Super hanc Petram. Pasce Oves. E [...]o Vobis­cum, or what Els you pleas, They are yet Vigorous Proofs Against your meer Cavils. Therfore, Becau­se you Offer to be Tryed upon this Issue. Whether Christ We like our Adversa­ries Offer. hath Determined for you or us, we Accept of the Challenge, And are ready to Dispute by Scripture only. Produce then your Texts, as plain and significant for the Fal­libility of the Roman Catholick Church, Once Confes­sedly True, As these now Hinted at, and many more Cited Above, are for Her Infallibility. This don you may Vapour as much as you Pleas, And Offer to be tryed by Law, &c. But we know your Want; you have not, after All this Talk, a Syllable of ScriptureSectaries Have no Scripture Against the Chur­ches Infal­libility. Against our Churches Infallibility. Now, to the other Horn of the Dilemma where you Say, (if Christs Law has Determined on our side, the Question must be re­moved from the Plea of Possession, and be tryed by the Law.) I Answer, It's a strange Piece of an Argument,The Que­stion ought not to be removed from the Plea of Possession. And say, it must not be removed, Vnles you can Show by your Logick, That, when A Man hath two Good Proofs for a Verity. He ought not to make use of both, but, is to Content Himself with the one only. Thus it is. We prove the Churches Infallibility by significant Scripture, as a Possessor Bonae Fidei proves the Right to His Lands by his Ancient Writings. And,An Instan­ce. as He Add's to His Writings, a just Possession: So we plead Also Possession in our Case, Why therfore should we throw Away this second proof taken from [Page 355] Possession, unles An Evident Law Come Against it, which we expect from you, but Fear it not. Sir, you Possess a Benefice, And can, if need be, show How you came by it; whether it be a Writing, or, some Thing equivalent, it Imports not; You have besi­de, the Possession of it. Suppose now, Any One would Endeavour to Disturbe you, or Doubt of your suppo­sed Right, You would Plead both These Titles, Would you not? Answer This and, your Objection is solved.

17. A Fifth Objection page 628. Lyes I know not How, wrap't up in twenty Obscurities. It is much to This sense. We must prove, that there is no other way to Interpret the Law of Christ, but by our Church. With­all, That the Church cannot come into a Possession of Any Thing, but what was Originally Given Her by the Legislator. Mark upon what Duties we areSectaries put us on Duties which they cannot Comply with. Put. We must prove, And by the [...]aw (For Here is the last Trial with These men) that our Church Inter­pret's faithfully, whilst They sit Down speechles, as it were, in their own Cause, And must not prove, That their Church Interpret's better. Moreover; Note also by the way, How the whole Question isThe Que­stion is re­moved from the Law to In­terpreta­tions. now removed from the Law, and comes to This Issue, whether Our Interpretation or Theirs, be more Confor­mable to Gods Word. Most certainly, Their In­terpretation is worth little, becaus confessedly fallible, And Therfore, Proceed's not from the Infallible Assi­stance of the Holy Ghost, As is Amply DeclaredThe proof lies on our Adversa­ries. Disc. 2. c. 9. n. 7. 8. 9. where we propose the Difficul­ty, And Prove, That One Only Oracle, Christs own Spouse, which is Assisted by the Holy Ghost, Inter­pret's [Page 356] Scripture Infallibily. Now, if our Adversary Except's Against our Scriptures And Reasons there Al­leged, The Task of Proving will ly on Him; For He must either Prove, That our Proofs are Proofles, or That His, Far surpass them in worth, And a clearer Evidence, And He will find an Insuperable Difficul­ty in Both. All I say now, is. Though the In­terpretation of our Church were Fallible, it is as good as yours; And if we respect its Age, which gives so­me Preheminence, it may be Accounted much better. We have largely Answered to the other part of the Objection, in the whole first Discours, And Proved, that the Church cannot Come into the Possession of Any Doctrin, but what is Allowed of by the Legislator. It's otherwise,A fallible Church may boldly Err. I am sure, with your Church, which, becaus Fallible, may Alter, when, and as often As Sectaries Pleas. To end, Our Adversary Should have known that the Matter now Debated, Depend's not Immediatly on the Churches Infallibility, for Here is our Immediate Plea. The Church was Once true, And ever since its first Foundation, Pleaded Constantly this quiet Possession of Truth. Ergo unles that first ground be shaken, And this Pleading Possession be Evidently Disproved, it ought to be supposed true still: And thus You se how the obligation of Proving, lyes irre­movably on our Adversaries.

19. There yet Remain some other wordy Obje­ctions, but I wave them, becaus They are solved, And in real Truth, are meer Suppositions, and no Proofs. Sometimes, They will Have Tradition to be Proved, which is its Own manifest Proof. Sometimes They tell us, that a bare Possession in matters of Religion is a [Page 357] sensles Plea (They suppose we have no more.) Som­times, that we are plainly the Imposers, And They Not Aggressors, And both are supposed. I pass these, and now hasten to one Objection more, solved in a Third Proposition.

CHAP. XII.
An other Objection. And whether Pro­testants can Acquit themselves of Schism.

1. SOme may Argue further, And say, we haveA simple Objection. hitherto Supposed a Wrong Principle, Viz. That our Errours are to be shewed us Evidently, which is not so. For, it is Enough to make them known by strong Moral Proofs, These sufficiently Convince us as Guiltly, And Clear Them of the crime of Schism. Neither can we have stronger Arguments Then moral in this Matter, Becaus Principles of Faith are not Evident in Themselves; All Discours Therfore built on Them, must Fall short of Metaphysical Evidence. Observe in Passing. If our Protestants (As They think) Bring strong moral Arguments Against our Supposed Errours, We give Them As Good as They Bring, And clear our Cause by as strong good moral Solutions to those Arguments (They say the one, and we the other) Who must be Believed? Or, Who must Judge here? And, if Again, They [Page 358] hold themselves, by Force of such moral Proofs, Ac­quit of Schism (which all Sectaries Pretend to) we Charge it again on them, By far more valid Arguments. Who Iudges now? Who is to be Believed? Neither of us yet, For Hitherto we only Talk without Princi­ples. Yet the Catholick hath his Principle in Rea­dines: A LONG ANCIENT POSSESSION now insisted onThe Catho­lick An­swer found­ed on a certain Principle. (which is eleven Points of the Law.) But By what good Law do our Protestants take this Right from him, or Turn him out of Possession? By what strong moral Proof, ground­ed on an undubitable moral Principle, can They con­vince us of Errours, and clear Themselves of Schism? I'll Tell you (and 'tis a Truth) They have neitherWe would Gladly Hear of Protestants Proofs a­gainst us, reduced to sound Prin­ciples. Proof nor Principle to rely on, But their own Proofles word. If I wrong them, They can Right Themsel­selves, and convince me by good Arguments in Form. To what is Added of the Vnevidence of Faith, I Answer: Though the Principles Therof, For example, the Words of Scripture, or the Definitions of Councils want Me­taphysical Evidence in themselves (Becaus only reveal­ed Principles of Faith once ad­mitted of may ground a certain Conclusion. Truths) Yet They are certain, And, once Admitted of as Certain, can Ground a Discours, which (if well Deduced) need's no more to Faulter, or Deviate from good Form, then if we Argued out of Euclid's Principles. Thus much per transennam. Now to answer the Argu­men Home, Here is

2. My Third Proposition. Protestants Cannot so much as Probably Acquit Themselves of Schism, nor Probably impeach the Roman Catholick Church of Errour Causal of Their Schism. I prove the first part of my Assertion. No Probability can Acquit them of Schism, when Eviden­ce layes That crime on them, But this is True; And [Page 359] to prove the Assumption, I will not Here Tell Them,Evidence layes the Crime of Schism on Protestants. How Improbable it is, That This Schism, which took its Rise from one Discontented Luther, and a Disgusted Prince, can have any Good in it; The cause from when­ce it came look's like naught, And the Doleful Effect which Followed, wors. Nor, will I urge Again How Improbable it is, That this one Prince, and one Fryar (of lives confessedly Vicious) can be Supposed to ha­ve gon About any Work of God or Piety, when meer Passion Hurried them on to struggle Against Their own Consciences, Against a whole Church, And the Faith of their Deceased An­cestours. These Considerations I'll wave.

3. Yet, I cannot But Note how improbable it is, To Suppose, That All those learned Councils which Anciently Taught Christianity; All those Learned Bis­hops, Those Doctors, Those Religious, who like Stars Beautified the Terrestrial Heaven of the Roman Catho­lickIt is impro­bable to say that Sectaries Discovered Errours in the Church unseen by Thousands more learn­ed and nu­merous then They. Church for a Thousand years Together, Had, not­withstanding Their Vigilancy, such a Mist cast before Their Eyes, as not to Discover Those Palpable Gross Errours which our Pro­testants have now so lately Espied. Say Therfore (the Question is worth Answering) How came it to pass, That our Protestants first saw these Errours, And upon that Monstruous Sight Quitted Rome, whilst Others As Sharp-sighted, as Numerous, And learned as They, Saw none of them for many Ages Before? Speak probably. Why, for example, Did not so Emi­nent a Saint and Doctor, as St. Gregory the Great was, or his Clergy, so many following Innocents, so many Clements, so many Vrbans se these Errours, and upon the Discovery, Separate themselves long since from this supposed Erring Church? I would hear their An­swer. [Page 360] If they except Against These, Becaus They we­re Popes, I Ask, Why at least Did not so many Ber­nards, so many Malachies, so many Bennets, so many An­selms, so many Kings, so many Princes (whose Tempo­ral interest, God knows, lay not in Adoring Rome) with innumerable Others long Agoe Desert This Sup­posed Erring Church, and Revolt from it as Luther did? Is it not a Degree of Madnes to Suppose. That AllThese Learned and innu­merable Professors must either be supposed stupidly blind or wickedly Hypocriti­cal. These Worthy, Powerful, and Learned Professors of the Catholick Faith, were either so Stupidly Blind, as not to have seen Such Errours, or so Wickedly Hypocritical as, to Have Winked at them, After a clear Discovery? I say mo­re. The Professors of this Church were so far of from not Seing those Doctrins which Protestants now call Errours: For example, The offering up of Sacrifice For the Dead, Praying to Saints &c. That the Denial of them was Positively condemned as Heretical, in Foregoing Sectaries. None shall ever Probably An­swer this Question no more, then give Satisfaction to an Other, Viz.

4. When this Schism was first made by a few Dis­gusted men in England, Why did so many, not only in that Iland, Though temporally Vndon for theirThe Oppo­sition made so Vniver­sally against this Schism proves it monstruous. pains, But innumerable more in the Christian World abroad Stand up Against it, and Oppose it on its first Appearance, as a most Pernicious Novelty? All these condemned it as Heretical, and Held the Broachers of it for Hereticks. Now, had either Goodnes, Rea­son, or Religion accompanied this Schism, it should have rather Gained an Vniversal Applaus from Others, more numerous and learned then those were, who Be­gan it. But all was contrary, it Appeared like an­other [Page 361] Ismaël. Manus eius contra omnes, & manus omnium contra eum, as Opposit to All, so Vniversally Opposed by All; And how could these few Abberters of it, WhenThe intole­rable Pride of Sectaries this foul Work first Began, without intolerable Pride, Think Themselves Wiser in Patronizing it, Then the Rest of the Christian World in Condemning it?

5. Here then is my first Argument Against this Schism. A new Sect, Schism, or Heresy (call it whatA new Do­ctrin never heard of before, and so Vniver­sally Oppo­sed, cannot be sound and Catho­lick. you will) which was never Heard of before in the World, And on its first Appearance, met with an Vniversal Opposition made by All other Christians, who then Lived, Cannot be from God, or Sound and Approved Doctrin. But thus the Schism of Protestants was, at its first Rise, Vniversally Oppo­sed, And is so yet: Ergo, it cannot be from God, or sound Doctrin. The Major is Evident in the cases of Arius, Pelagius, and other Hereticks: For the universal Disli­ke As is clear in the cases of former Hereticks. and Opposition Raised Against These Schisms and He­resies were, even Antecedently to Their Condemnation in Councils, Proof enough against them. And if our Adversaries Require more; to wit a Council condemnation, We have it Also. They cannot in Justice make Any more Exception Against the Council of Trent, Then Arius made against the Nicene Council. The Mi­nor is as clear; for all Christians, who then were in being, Condemned the English Heresy and Schism. Graecians Disliked it, and do so to this Day: Arians, Abyssins, Nestorians &c. And, most of all Catholicks oppose it so far, That not one will Believe as Protestants Do. So True it is: Manus omnium contra eum, All banded against this Novelty; Therfore it cannot be from God or approved Doctrin. Now. That our Protestants since their first Rise, have Gain­ed [Page 362] the company of some few Iarring and Dissenting Brethren, Proves Nothing; For Arius in time Got more, and I believe, had them better united in Do­ctrin, Then These ever will be.

CHAP. XIII.
A Second Argument Against this Schism. Of Sectaries Cavils Con­cerning Errours, Entring the Church Insensibly.

1. I Argue 2. Protestants, seemingly at least, OwnAn Argu­ment ad Hominem against Se­ctaries. a Holy Vniversal Catholick Church before Luther of a very large Extent, which comprised a Generality of Christians Over and Above the number of Roman Catholicks. This Church was surely that Hierusalem (mentioned by the Prophet) upon whose Wales Watchmen were placed, And were by Duty to Speak in Gods Cause, when his Honor was Concerned. In this Church we shall Certainly find Those Vigilant Pastors, Doctors, and Teachers, Ephes. 4. Who Perfect Saints, and still Edify the Mystical Body of Christ, to the end, That we beProtestants highly Dis­grace that large Ca­tholick Church which They own, not carried Away by every wind of Doctrin &c. Now I Assume. But, with our Protestants leave, All the Watchmen, all the Pastors, all the Teachers of this Ample and far Extended Church, were so Careles­ly asleep, so Negligent and Forgetful of their Duty,

For the vast interval of a Thousand years Together, That they took no notice of These (now Imagined) Roman Errours by any Publick Censure, or Condemnation; But contrarywise Permitted Rome to Revel, to Coun­tenance Errour, Yea, and to be quite carried Away with the Slight Doctrin (as They suppose) of an Vn­bloody Sacrifice of the Real Presence, of Purgatory &c. On­ly, Forsooth, one Martin Luther, and our Protestants, had such quick eyes as to Se Them, and upon the sight to Hold themselves Obliged in conscience, to make an eternal Divorce from this Church, wherin they were Baptized. Observe here not only Para­dox upon Paradox, But also a whole Heap of Impossi­bilities pack't together. Our New men saw These too plain and visible Errours; But this large Vigilant Church saw Them Protestants make Themselves more wise, vigilant, and zealous then then their large Catholick Church. not. They were so Sensible of the Honour of Christian Faith as to Condemn Them; But this great Church was so Sensles as to Dissemble All. They now Separate, Spurn, and Kik at this Church As Antichristian, But That Ample Catholick Society did never so much as put a Mark of Dishonour on Rome, For want of true Doctrin. If ever such a Mark, Note, Censure, Private or Publick Act, Issued out from an Vniversal Church Against the Church of Rome, Let them speak, And I'll be silent Hereafter: If not, it is A Strange Boldnes To make Themselves more Wise, Zealous, and Vigilant, then that Vniversal Church was (which Here to their Prejudice They own) Be­caus, forsooth, Rome must loos the Title of the Church Vniversal.

2. Our Protestants therfore must grant (there is no Denying it) That, Either This Vniversal Church had lost Her Eyes, or was more then Impiously. Negli­gent [Page 364] over the Charge committed to Her, which was to Teach, to Instruct, to Reprehend, and Crush Heresies as They Appeared; Or (which is the Real Truth) That They find Fault with Errours which never were. Now Here Observe, an Other great Advantage given against Themselves, And How They Honor Rome, and Disgrace Their own imagined and more Vniversal Church. The Dili­gence of the Roman Church compared with the Negligence of Their great Ima­gined Ca­tholick Church. The Church of Rome was Vigilant, And (as the World knows) Ever Ready, Age after Age, to Suppress He­resies as they Rose up, and Declare Against Them (Wit­nes the Condemned Arians, Nestorians, Monothelits &c.) But this imagined Vniversal Church was so Sleepy and Vncon­cerned, as to Permit one Particular Church (For Rome, They say, was no more) To Own, and strongly to Foment Those very Errours (And this without so much as a word of Reproof) which Caused our Conscionable, and tender Hearted Protestants to Schismatize as they did, and Bid Adieu to Rome For ever. A strange Tendernes of Conscien­ceThe tender Conscience of Prote­stants. Indeed, which (to take of the Guilt of Schism from Themselves) doth not only cast an Eternal Ignominy upon this Vast Imagined Church, But makes it also Sinful and Damnable, For Dissembling so long with Errours, which caused at last our Protestants Schism.

3. What can they reply to this Argument? Will they say, This Great Society of Christians had not power to contrast with the Roman Church? The whole is greater then a Part, and Rome, They say (If Yet so much) Was only Part of that Vniversal Socie­ty. However, If Power was wanting, where wasA vast im­probability, That one Luther can be sup­posed to ha­ve had more know­ledge and Zeal then this whole Church. the zeal of this Church? Can one Luther, and His few Associats Be Supposed to have had more zeal, Then flamed in the Harts of so many Pastors and Doctors For ten Ages To­gether? [Page 365] They may Reply. The Church of Rome was ever Held sound in Fundamentals, Though not every way Right in Faith, Therfore this great Church Thought it better patiently to wink at these lesser Faults, then to raise a Tempest in the Christian World, notA Reply. easily calmed. Observe first: How These men, when They have said much, and Proved nothing, know every Thing without new Revelations. First, They know where this vast Church was, Though no body ever yet Heard of it. 2. What it Thought. 3. Vpon what Motives it Dissembled so long &c. But let all this Pass. My Answer is. Ex ore tuo te judi­co. Did this Church Prudently wink at these lessProtestants ought to have pro­ceeded as Their Ima­gined Church Did. Supposed Errours, Becaus not Fundamental, nor Destructi­ve of Saluation? Why did not our good Protestants do so also? Did it Hold it safer to sit down Quietly, Then to raise a Tempest amongst Christians? Why did not our Protestants take to the far [...]e Cours also? In Doing so, They had made Themselves as well Inheritors of their Fore-fathers Peace and Wisdom, as They now are of their Lands. But to Disown the better Inheritance, to Con­demn their Ancestours, and a whole Church beside of Errour, To make a violent Bustle, a hideous Tumult in the Christian World, upon Little Causes, is in aTheir open Injustice and plain Rebellion is undeniable. word open Injustice, And flat Rebellion. I say up­on Little Causes: For in Kingdoms and Common­wealths, where the Laws are without Exception good, it is hard to find the Practical Government so free from all Misdemeanours, But that you will have Eyes enough to Espy Them, and Harts ready, upon very Little Feeling, to Clamour against Them: Yet Licen­cence once these Malcontents to Rebel when they feel a [Page 366] little Smart, and Adieu, say I, to all Loyalty: Civil Go­vernmentLicence Malcon­tents to re­bel upon little A­grievances, and all Go­vernment is destroyed is Destroyed, both Regal, and Other. Admit therfore, That, there Had been Abuses in the Church of Rome, as also (which is Fals) it had Fail­ed in Non-fundamentals of Faith, Yet Evident Reason shewes the Schism made by Protestants to be Vnex­cusable. For, as that man Commit's an Vnexcusable Crime, who for little Agrievances in a Kingdom wher­in He is born, Openly Rebels against it, So He Com­mits a higher Offence, if for petty Faults, He Rebell's against an Ancient Church, wherin he was Baptized. Now it was as Clear to the First Schismatizing Pro­testants, That the Church of Rome was the Mother Church that gave them Baptism, as it is clear to any Subject in the World, That such a Kingdom first gave him Life. Vnpardonable Therfore is the Crime ofSchism i [...] cannot sup­pose a just Cause. Schism in Every one, which can never Suppose a just Cause. And thus much not only the Holy Fathers do, but our Protestants also, Must Confess: For, to Tell me on the one side, That the Church of Rome hath All A Paradox. The Church of Rome want's No­thing Ne­cessary to Saluation, yet it is Necessary to Salua­tion to lea­ve it. Things Necessary to Saluation, And yet on the Other, to Assert, It is Necessary to Saluation to leave it (when it want's nothing Necessary) is Implicatory in Terms, Yea, and Gives Liberty to Protestants to Leave their own Church when they list; where there is Danger enough of more then little Errours, which Prejudice Saluation.

4. And here is Proof enough of the other Part of my Assertion, which was: Protestants cannot probably Impeach the Roman Catholick Church of Errours, Causal of their Schism. You have already the Reason. For if Faults, less or more Usually seen, even in well ordered Commonwealths, can not give just Cause of publick Re­bellion, [Page 367] much less could These Supposed Faults And unproved Sectaries must either Convince us of Er­rours high­ly Funda­mental, or They are plain Schis­maticks. Errours, not Fundamental in the Church of Rome, give just Cause to our Protestants of Their shameful Schism against it. Therfore They ought to convince us of Errours highly Fundamental, And so make us no True Christian Church, or, They must sit Down Branded with the black Note of both Causal and Formal Schismaticks. There is no avoiding it.

5. Again I Argue. If Errours Causal of Prote­stants Schism Invaded the Church of Rome, They en­tred After the first 4. or 5. Hundred years; For so long (say They) That Church was Orthodox: But it is more then Improbable, That such a Deluge of them, as our Adversaries Charge on us, Invaded that Church, and Diffused Themselves all Over. I prove the Mi­nor. The high improbabi­lity of Er­rours, En­tring the Church, laid forth. They could not Enter this Church without Publick De­fense, and Publick Resistance. Defense, in Those who first Heretically Vented Them: Resistance in others, who Catho­lickly Opposed Them. But there was never since Christs Time, Any such first Publick Heretical Defense, nor first Publick Catholick Opposition of These Supposed Errours. The Real Presence; The Sacrifice of the Mass, Prayers for the Dead, Prayer to Saints &c. Only Hereticks Con­demned for their Pains Opposed them, But no others. Let us therfore Appeal to Reason, and Ask. How itA clear Conviction of Secta­ries. was Possible, That such lowd Clamorous Novelties could so silently, And as it were by night, Creep into a Church, and no Body Discover Them on their first Appearance? How was it Possible, That they could become Publick Owned Objects of mens Fairh, and Gain an Vniversal Belief through a whole Ample Church, And no Body yet know when this new Belief (or, Unheard of Professed Faith) first began? No­thing [Page 368] can be more Improbable, Paradoxal, and moral­lyDr [...]wn from the Moral Im­possibility of the En­trance of these sup­posed Er­rours. more Impossible. And

6. To shew you further the Impossibility of this Clandestine Entrance of publick Errours into a Church, without Publick Notice or Clamours against Them, Be pleased to Reflect here upon one Instance. Suppose, That a new sort of men should now begin to Broach an Impious Doctrin, And openly TeachAn Instan­ce confirm's all that is said. that the water in Baptism, which washeth away sin, is [...]s Really the True Blood of Christ, And Therfore worthy of Adoration, as Catholicks Hold a consecrated Host to be his Sacred Body, and upon that Acount Adorable. Would not such a Novelty (Think ye) where it Pu­blickly Begins, be Publickly also Clamor'd against by Sound and Orthodox Christians? Yes. And if it Gra­dually got ground, or more Followers in Time (not easily Suppressed) Would it not, as well As all other Heresies, which have troubled the World, Remain upon Clear and Undoubted Record for Posterity to read? Certainly yes. Yet more: Can this Per­suasion live in any rational Man, That such a Novelty might in time be so Held an Article of Faith by a Most Ample and Learned Church, That The Professors Therof would Dy for it? The Seven Wonders of the world are not Comparable to this one. Observe the Application. There was a time (sayThe Appli­cation of the Instan­ce. Protestants) to wit For the 4. or 5. first Ages after Christ, When the whole pure Primitive Church, no more Be­lieved Christ Sacred Body to be Really and Substantially under the Species of Bread, Then now we Believe His Sacred Blood to be under the Species of water in Baptism. There was a Time when the One as little Deserved Worship, or Adoration as the Other. For, both were only Holy Signs, and no More. [Page 369] There was a Time when this whole Church grew Mad, and Brought in the most Palpable and Erroneous Novelty that ever the World Heard of, or Record Preserved, What? A pie­ce of bread before not Christs Body, was then (O Strange Time!) Believed to be his Body; A whole Ample Learned Church was then Cheated into that Belief; And wheras, it once Deserved no Worship (say our Protestants) All at last fell down and Adored it in the Open View of the World; And to Testify that They did so in Earnest▪ Innumerable have shed their blood in Defense of what they Believed. Yet (and here is the Wonder of Won­ders)Evidences Against Sectaries. no man can say: Who those were that first in­troduced this supposed Monster of Novelties. No man can say in what Age, under what Pope This Errour First got Growth, and Patrons for it. No man can Tell me, what Orthodox Christians first stood up in Gods cause, and Opposed it. No man can Tell me, when this Visible and Publick Adoration of an Host Be­gan. No man can Tell me, How, or when this new supposed Coyned Doctrin (Serpent like) first crep't into mens harts, And at last Poysoned A whole Vniversal Church. Hideous were these Novelties, Prodigious these Visi­bleNo Author ever men­tioned the­se Noto­rious, visi­ble, suppo­sed Chan­ges. Sectaries trifle whilst They oppose the Strength of our Argu­ment. supposed Changes, Yet Hush! All passed in si­lence, no Body saw them, No body mention's them, Not one Author (neither Friend nor Enemy) Writ them, or left them upon Record. Is not this, Think ye, (whilst all other Heresies are most exactly Registred) more then a Pythagorean and Prodigious Silence?

7. It is Pittiful to se with what petty Trifles, our Adversaries Oppugn the Strength of this most Convin­cing Argument. Some tell us of a Beard growing gray Imperceptibly, of the Index of a Clock moving Insensibly, of [Page 370] Tares peeping up in a Field when men are asleep. And who can Question (saith one very Profoundly) the birth of an Infant, Becaus He knows not the time of its Conception? Errours Therfore might grow up with like silence in a Church, and as Insensibly. Observe this Trifling. We speak in the Instance now given of a Visible Mountain, and our Adversaries Send us to seek for Invisible Moaths in an old wasted Garment. Say, I Beseech you: Can they sup­pose That all Obiects are alike Discernable by our Senses? Or, is it as easy to find a needle in a Bundle of straw, As to se Towers and Castles before our eyes in a fair Sun shin day? The Supposed Novelty nowSectaries Parallel Things of their own nature not perceptible, with O­thers most Visible and Manifest. mentioned, the Supposed Change of a whole Church into another Belief, the Imagined New Publick Adoration of A Sacrament, were more Discernable and Visible then Mountains and Castles, And cannot be Parallell'd with the Im­perceptible Graynes of a beard, with Tares peeping up &c. However This we can say. Certainly so many years since, the beard was not gray, now it is, So many Months since, Tares were not, now they are. Let our Adversaries Proceed with like Evidence against us, and say Certainly (not doubtfully) such Supposed Errours Then were not in the Church, but afterward Began, and with­in the precise Compass of so many years. But This They cannot probably Hint at. The last Instance of a childs Conception is the worst of All; For if you know its Birth, you know the conception was nine Months before, according to the ordinary cours of na­ture; Though if both were hid from us, it is a Forceles instance, Vnles we suppose that all Trivial Matters must as well be known, and stand upon Record, as Things of greatest Concernment. The late woful [Page 371] Burning of London, will (I'll warrant it) be Exactly Recorded, when the birth of twenty Infants is never thought on, and so should the General Ruin of Faith in a whole Church, have stood Registred.

8. One word more. Though These Examples we­reCould Se­ctaries shew how such chan­ges might enter the Church that proves not they entred. to the Purpose (as indeed They are not) at most they would only shew, and Pittifully enough, How such supposed changes might perhaps be made: But are far from Proving, They were made so De facto: For this carries no likely-hood of an Argument with it. I'll Shew you how These Errours might Enter the Church insensibly, How these Changes might get in with Silence. Ergo it was so, Thus they were made, De facto. A Potentiâ ad actum non valet Consequentia. No man can Argue from aAn Infe­rence from a meer Pos­sibility to The Act is Null. meer Possibility of their Clancular Entrance, that in real Truth They entred in Such a manner. Sectaries may say, They Suppose these changes made upon other Princi­ples, And now only shew by Insta [...]es, How They might get in without Noise, and publick Notice. Here, we may have plain Dealing, if it please our Ad­versaries. Shew you Therfore, My Good Friends, by any Thing like a Solid Proof or Principle, That the chan­ge we now speak of was Actually made in the Church: Say plainly, This Supposed Novelty was not in such an Age, but afterward, And let a solid Proof make good bothTheir examples neither Prove these pretended novelties introduced, nor suppose them pro­ved by any known Principle. Assertions; And then Your Instances of Tares and Beards growing gray will be to no purpose, Because the Changes which you say were made, are now upon your Supposition strongly proved Aliunde, That is, By other solid Grounds, and this without the help of these weak instances. Here therfore is an Vnanswerable Dilemma for you. You either endeavour to show that the [Page 372] Supposed Novelty of the Real Presence entred the Church, Be­cause your Examples of Tares, and a clock index convinceth the Actual Entrance of it, And This Inference, as I said now, is Non-sense, Thus it might Enter, Ergo thus it did Enter. Or, Contrarywise, You can clearly Prove that the Church began such a Novelty by undeniable Grounds, with­out Protestants make their own In­stances im­pertinent and force­les. depending of these Instances. If you do this solidly, your instances are worth nothing. For, if you Con­vince by an undeniable Principle, that the Church brought in this new Doctrin in any Age, you need not at all to talk of a gray beard, or, of Tares peeping up insensibly, Because you must now suppose the pretended innovation clearly Proved, by other far better and undeniable Grounds. Do this, and you make your own Instances, Eo ipso, Null, and as impertinent, as Forceles. For, MostAn Instan­ce against Them. surely, No man in his wits will go about to prove that Protestancy, for Example, came into the world in­sensibly as a board grows Gray, when he can evident­ly Demonstrate by other undeniable Principles the Pal­pable Beginning of it. And thus it is in the present Controversy.

9. One may yet say. They cannot, 'Tis true, Demonstratively Evidence the supposed change now in Controversy, yet are able, upon strong MoralTheir pre­tense to make No­velties in the Church to be highly probable, is more then improbable. Proofs, to make it highly Probable. Contra 1. If you make it highly Probable, Talk no more of Tares and Beards; For one Proof of this nature will be of more Advantage to your cause, then the secret peeping up of a Thousand weeds in a garden. Contra 2. If this your Assertion be made probable, it must stand upon a strong Moral certain Principle, wherof none can but most imprudently Doubt. Deal Candidly, Give us in plain [Page 373] language this High Moral certain Principle, wheron your Assertion hath Footing, and you'l Gain much. But if after the Offer, you Turn us of with words, or lead us by a loos Discours to what you may say is Morally Certain, Though thousands more learned vow the Con­trary, you'l only First Discredit your self, and next your Cause much more. Speak plainly on Gods Name, Here is place for it. Make your undoubted Principle known, wherby your Assertion is proved, And you will do more then Ever Protestant did yet, or, shall do Hereafter. Contra 3. It is a meer whimsy, to suppose Proofs highly probable against This ever Taught and unchangeable Doctrin of the Catholick Church, which stand's Firm, First, upon Christs own Express words,No proof can be pro­bable that stands a­gainst un­deniable Principles▪ This is my Body. 2. On the Irrefragable Authority of so many most Ancient Fathers, that speak not only Du­biously of the Mystery, But as clearly Defend it, as the Council of Trent Defines it, wherof more largely Here­after. To These Principles, We Add the Testimo­ny and Express Belief of our whole Learned, both pass't and present Roman Catholick Church, Too strong a Proof, to be Battered or shaken by Empty words. Wher­fore Every one may Consider what a hard Task Sectaries have in hand, if They go about to make Their Contrary Assertion highly Probable. First. They are ObligedIt will be hard to find an Ortho­dox Chri­stian Socie­ty of greater Authority then the Roman Catholick Church. to Prove, and by a sure Principle, That Christ spake im­properly, or, according to Their sense. 2. That all, or at least most of the Fathers Erred in their Doctrin of the Blessed Sacrament. 3. That They quite Over­throw the Roman Catholick Doctrin by the Authority of some other Church, that was ever Held by Christians more Ortho­dox, and Apostolical then our Roman Church is. All this is [Page 374] to be don not by Talk, But by Sober, Solid, and Vndeniable moral Principles, which, both Friends and Enemies ought, if They be Rational, to acknow­ledge as Principles Morally Certain. When Sectaries shall pleas to do what is here plainly required (And it must be performed if they speak pertinently) Then I shall begin to think, That, They meer Fallible men may speak more boldly and Say. Our Church is Fallible, and hath brought in, both this new mentioned, and many other In­novations. Therfore, I deeply Charge their Con­sciences,The Consciences of Sectaries are press [...]d to prove what They teach of Errours in the Church, as They will Answer it at the day of Iudge­ment, not to Trifle in a most serious matter; But, without Ambiguity, plainly to touch the Difficulty, And to make known to the whole World, what that own­ed Principle is, wheron this Their Proposition stand's: The whole Church is Fallible, and hath introduced This Novelty of Christs Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. I speakNot by Empty words, but certain Principles. boldly. And dare say: It is a Flat Heresy, And, ther­fore Sectaries have nothing like a Principle Morally certain, wherby the strength of the contrary Verity, mantained by Scripture, Church, and Fathers, can be meanly Quar­relled with, much les solidly Reproved, unles the too simple talk of a Few Novellists be able to Evert, and Over­turn what God hath Revealed, And a whole ample Church Defends upon Revelation.

10. Perhaps it will be said first. The Fathers that Defend the Real presence were fallible and might Err.what Sec­taries may plead, but 'Tis more then highly improbable. I answer. Our Protestants who Deny it, are Fal­lible also, and may Err more. By what undoubted Principle Therfore, can They Convince, that Their fallible rejecting the Fathers Hath weight enough, to make Null the Testimony of so many Blessed Saints, against Their [Page 375] Doctrin? We call here for Principles, and are not content with Empty words. They may Reply 2. They can Explicate both Scripture and Fathers contrary to the Churches Sense, And so ridd them­selves of that Burden. I answer, This Riddance is none, Unles, when they have explicated, They prove by a more sure Principle, Then the Express Words of these Fathers are, That Their Glosses hit right, and that the Fathers were Deceived, which shall never be so much as Probably Convinced. If They lastly talk of Citing Fathers for their Heresy: I answer, They have not one, As will be amply Proved hereafter. In the mean while let them know, it will be the safest Cours to talk no more of Changes ad Novelties introduced into our Church without proof and Principles, to up­hold Their ill Supposed, and wors Proved Calumnies. But enough of this Digression. We return now to other Objections.

11. Some again Tell us. The corruptions of our Church came in, in time of greatest ignorance, when little notice was Still Empty Talk with­out proofs or Princi­ples. taken, and few Records were Preserved of them. Here is more Talk without Principles. For, where Read They of so great Ignorance in the Church that Disina­bled all Writers to Register such vast Changes? Or, where find they Records of those lost and Vnpreserved Records? This is only Proofles talk; if They have Records, let them be produced; if they have none, let themSectaries Guesses re­jected. Hereafter Wave such blind Guesses, whilst Proofs are Expected. It would anger our Protestants, if I should tell them without Proof or unquestioned Records, that the Beard of Their Religion is Insensibly Grown gray since their new Faith came in, Or, that Tares were cast [Page 376] into Their Church, whilst They Slept &c. Yet They, it seems, Are licensed to run on with such poor Guesses, And no body must Check Them.

12. Next they Argue. We cannot show, when the Were these Things un­kown, it follows not that other of greater monent are unknown also. Necessity of Communicating Infants, and the Rebaptizing of Hereticks, or, That Doctrin of Souls not seing God before the Day of Iudgement First entred the Church: Yet These were Errours, And their Beginning is unknown. Here I answer briefly. The Communicating Infants was only To­lerated for a time, But never was held a necessary Do­ctrin of the Church; Much less were those Two otherThese Ex­amples touch not the Diffi­culty. Points (condemned by the Church) ever Owned as Her Doctrin. Such Examples therfore (no Church-Doctrin) are to no Purpose, in this place.

13. Lastly they Tell us. Scotus thought Transub­stantiation to be of no elder Date, then the Council of Lateran, And Bishop Fisher saith the Doctrin of Pur­gatory was not much heard of in the Primitive Church. I would willingly se in Scotus his own works the Distin. and Quest. Where He Asserts what these men Say: Some Protestants cite him in 4. Distin. 11. q. 3. where He only saith (in different Editions) that Transubstan­tiation was more explicitly Defined in the Lateran Council, which is far from making it no older a Doctrin, Then that Councils Definition is. But, Admit Scotus said so, and Bishop Fisher (unquoted) wors then they pretend, The Church of Christ Teaches no such Thing; Yet, from this Oracle of Truth, we must Learn, and not from particular Do­ctors (who may err) what Church Doctrin is. And, for this Reason I told you above, of much foul Play in Protestants, Who (Becaus they want Antiquity) take no little Pains to run up and down our Authors, and [Page 377] if by chance a Word be found less warily spoken, They tri­fle with it, and presently make that Popish Doctrin: It is an Errour. Catholick Doctrin is not one Mans singular Opi­nion, Catholick Doctrin is no Mans singular Opinion. But the Vniversal received Doctrin of the Church. And thus much our Adversaries must assert for Themselves; Otherwise (when one of great Renown amongst them Tell's Protestants Plainly) It is but labour in vain to talk of union with One Another, Vnles They ioyn a­gain to that moral Body, from which they once Sepa­rated, that is to those, who are in union with the Sea Apostolick; The whole English Church must here Subscribe, and say it is Protestant Doctrin. Will they Do so? The Voice therfore of One, is not the voice of All, nor one mans Opinion more mens Opi­nion, Much less the Sentiment of a whole Church.

14. It is but time lost to follow these Men, whilstBlind Guesses no Proof of Novelties, brought in­to the Church. They Blindly run on Guessing at the Rise and Origin of our Supposed Errours, and Tell us. All our Corru­ptions came not in on a sudden. They were first practised freely, and then urged as Necessary. Persons of great esteem first held them, and Others soon followed their Example. If one would take the Pains and trace it, He might find the Head of these Corruptions at last &c. Pittiful slight Talk, un­worthy a Scholler, And vented at random against the Primitive Church, would even Blemish that as much as any Other, yea, And Protestancy more. I wa­ve such stuff, Because nothing like a proof follows it.

15. My last Proposition is. Though Protestants should con­vince Though Errours were falsly supposed to have entred the Church, yet Prote­stants can­not Prove that They have set Faith right again on its old Foun­dations. (which is impossible) That the Roman Catholick Church hath Swerved from the Primitive Doctrin, yet, They cannot so much as Probably shew, That They have mended the Matter; [Page 378] or set Christian Faith right again on its old Foundations, as it once stood pure. It is therfore a most Discomfortable Reformation, which only Tell's us of our being Out of the high Rode of Truth, Vnles the Reformers lead us (and this with Assurance) into the unerring way, from whence we Strayed. If This be not Don, it follows (upon the Supposition) That both They, and Their pre­tended Re­formation most dis­comforta­ble. We are yet pittifully Out, and Therfore both of us, must look after some third Guide to Reduce us.

16. Now, that Protestants are utterly unable to per­swade any Rational man, That they have exactly brought Christian Faith to its Ancient Purity, is more then Evident:Sectaries have no­thing like a Principle wherby their Refor­mation is proved Probable. It is one thing to say we have Erred, and an Other to prove, that they are Right. For, beside Their own bare Word (which is worth little) They have nothing like a Principle (neither Scripture, Councils, nor Fathers) to Ground a probable Discours Pertinent to that Purpose; For None of These ever Knew what a Protestant was. It is True, They Pretend (Though God knows to little Purpose) That Scriptu­re, Councils, and Fathers are against our Errours; But it is one Thing, slightly to tell us we have Erred, and an Other solidly to Prove, that They are Right, and have broughr Christian Faith, hitherto much Tainted to its Ancient Purity. This last is the only Difficulty. And I Conjure Them, as They will give an Account of their Religion to Almighty God, without Tergiversation, or Far-fetch't Discourses, Directly and Clearly to Solve it. The Proposition to be Proved, and PositivelyWhat They are obliged to prove. is Thus. Protestants (Becaus they will be Reformers) are every way Right in Their Faith, from which Faith, Catho­licks have Swerved. Observe it. You shall never have They can give no di­rect An­swer to the Difficulty. a direct Answer to chis Difficulty. They may tell you, Catholicks have Erred: They follow Scripture: Their Rule of [Page 379] Faith is what was Delivered in the first Primitive Ages, and They know that better then Papists Do. They Hope all is well with Them &c. And thus They I put you of, with Empty Words: But to Prove Solidly that Proposition is im­possible. Believe it, Those Bonzies of Iapan had more Plausible Proofs to defend their Pagods, and Impugn Christianity, Then our Adversaries have to Eviden­ce Protestancy to be the Primitive Faith, and impugn, the Now-standing Catholick Roman Religion.

CHAP. XIV.
A VVord to a Few Supposed and Vn­proved Assertions, VVherby Some Endeavour to clear Protestants of Schism.

1. THeir first Proposition. There is no Society of Mr. Stil­lingfleet. Christians of any one Communion, but may impose some things to be believed or practised, which may be repugnant to The Asser­tion is Fals in Prote­stants Prin­ciples, unles it be grant­ed that their ample Catholick Church can destroy Christiani­ty. the general Foundations of Christian Society. I Answer. If the Assertion fall on That Imagined Vniversal Ca­tholick Church, more Ample then the Roman (which must be a Society of Christians of one Communion) it is Fals in Protestant Principles, Vnles they say, That this great Catholick Church can Impose Things to be Belieued, or repugnant to the general Foundations of Christianity. A­gain, if it Relate to the Roman Catholick Church, it [Page 380] is a meer unproved Fancy of their own; For This Church, as is largely shewed, Defends its Infallibility by Proofs as Certain, as the Common Grounds of Christianity are. Be it how you will; You have here our Adver­saries Acknowledgement, That their particular Church of Protestants may impose Things Contrary to the Grounds of Christia­nity. Protestancy (becaus Fallible) may Impose Things repu­gnant to the Grounds of Christianity, And this I easily Believe without further Proof.

2. The 2. Proposition. There being a Possibillity ac­knowledged, that particular Churches may require Vnreasonable conditions of communion; the Obligation to communion cannot be absolute and indispensable, But only so far as nothing is re­quired Destructive to the ends of Christian Society. TheThe Au­thor of the proposition, sure enough, supposeth himself fit to judge what is Destructi­ve. No Prote­stant can avouch so much as probably wherin the Church hath im­posed Vn­reasonable Conditions. Protestants Profess them selves Fallible in all They Teach. Assertion, if I mistake not, Supposeth the Roman Ca­tholick Church to be only a particular Church, Deficient, and lyable to Errours, which is not yet so much as proba­bly Proved, and Therfore I say, the Obligation to Commu­nicate with it is Absolute, and Indispensable. But let us wave this at Present, and contrary to Truth Imagin, That this Church hath imposed Vnreasonable conditions, De­structive of Christian communion &c. We Ask Again, and very seriously, who are They that can Mend the mat­ter, in case it hath Don so? Or, who dare Avouch by the Force of any received Principle, that Such and Such particular Conditions imposed on Christians, are Vnrea­sonable? Where are the Equitable and infallible Iudges appointed by Almighty God to Decide in so weighty a Matter? Are they Protestants? No. It is impossible. Hear my Reason. If the Church hath Erred by imposing such Vnreasonable Conditions, Protestants, who Profess themselves Fallible in All They say, may Err More, Yea, And spoil all, whilst They go about to set Things Straight. [Page 381] However, if They dare Venture▪ on so difficile a Work,And ther­fore may more likely spoil Then mend what they Con­ceive Amiss. They are First obliged to Prove (And this not by Talk) But by undeniable Principles, That just so Far our Church Err's, so Far it requires Vnreasonable Conditions of Commu­nion, And next, That They, the Illuminated men of the World, have don no more, But exactly Can­celled the Errours of our Church, leaving all untouched, that is, not Destructive to the ends of Christian Society; For, we must believe, They are the skilful Masters that always hit Right, Though confessedly Fallible. You shall sooner draw pure Gold out of meer dross, Then get any Thing like a Tolerable Proof from these men, to countenance One of these Desperate Assertions. Alas, They only Word it without Proof, As Arians and Ne­storians Do. And here is All you Have from Them.

3. The 3. Proposition. Nothing can be more un­reasonable, The propo­sition sup­poseth what is to be proved. then that the Society imposing such conditions of Communion, should be judge, whether those conditions be just and equitable, or no. I Answer. And nothing can be more Vnreasonable, then to make a Receding Party from an Rebell's are not to be Iudges in Their own Cause, Ancient Church, a few Rebellious People against it, Iudges in their own Cause. The Arians judged thus for Themselves, and so do Protestants. All rebellion in Kingdoms and Commonwealths is Patronized, if those who Revolt may Clear Themselves from Guilt, upon their own Votes and saying: Such conditions im­posed Nor Prote­stants of Their Schism. on us are Vnequitable and Grievous; We therfore, who Rebel, will sit upon the Bench and Iudge so. The Kingdom (Believe it) is to Decide in such Cases, and not theThe Church is to Iudge in this Cause of Schism. Rebel's, And so the Church is to Judge you, As it did the Arians, And not you The Church. Your Com­plaint of unequitable Conditions imposed on you. is [Page 382] only an Unproved Fancy, begot in your Non-age, when you never Heard good Word of Rome; Passion still foment's it, Sophistry Advanceth it, but All will not Do. Most truely, That Talk of unjust Conditions The Plea of unjust Conditions only a Mask of an injustifia­ble Schism. is Meerly a mask to Cover an Unjustifiable Schism, a Pretense to Defend what cannot be Defended. Pull the Visard of, which is don by putting you to the Proof of your Talk, and the Proposition Appears in its own Likenes, Ugly, and Deformed.

4. The fourth Proposition. Where there is sufficient evidence from Scripture, Reason, and Tradition, That such things, which are imposed, are unreasonable conditions of Chri­stian Communion; The not communicating with that Society, which requires those things, cannot incurr the guilt of Schism. Here wants a Minor, which I shall supply with a con­tradictory Proposition thus. But there is no sufficient Evi­dence from Scripture, Reason and Tradition, That such Things Imposed on Protestants by the Church of Rome, are Vnreasonable Conditions of Christian Communion; Therfore Protestants not A General task of un­reasonable conditions, Proofles. Communicating with that Ancient Society, which justly requi­res those Things, cannot but make them Guilty of Schism. Who must now judge between us? Or, Finally say, whether that Major, or, This contrary Minor carries the greater weight of Truth with it? The first isWhat Se­ctaries say in this Pro­position, Any Here­tick may Assert and as probably only a Supposed and an unproved Assertion, That both Arians and all condemned Hereticks may vent against us. The Minor is Grounded upon the ac­knowledged Ancient Purity of our Church, Which, Vn­les clear Evidence Overtrow it, cannot but Defend it self as strongly Against such Calumnies (upon its own Prepossessed Right and Innocency) As the best of King­doms doth against a company of known Rebels. [Page 383] When Therfore These Novellists Pretend to have sufficient Evidence from Scripture, Reason, and Tradi­tion What Se­ctaries are Obliged to do, by more then Talk only. for▪ Vnreasonable Conditions imposed, They are Obli­ged, to Descend to Particulars, And make the Charge Good by valid Proofs, reducible at last to Ovvned, and allovv­ed of Principles amongst Christians. If this be not Don, They may Vapour against our Church, as the Iews Do against Christ, But shall never Advance so far,They make Controver­sies Endles. as to a vveak Probability, or make an End of one sole Con­troversy. And mark what Doings we have Here. They vvill have no Iudge on Earth; Clear Principles Fail Them in every Controversy, And yet we must Hear (and only in a General way) Of sufficient Evidence Dravvn from Scripture, Reason, and Tradition, Against our Vnreasonable Conditions. If there be such Evidence, Shew it, And let us se the Ovvned Principles, wheron it lastly Relies. But truely, So much Ill luck Follow's them, ThatTheir want of Principles, only Cau­seth Proo­fles Talk. you never find a Controversy solidly handled, or brought (when They go about to Prove their own Do­ctrin Positively) to any thing like a Proof, or Principle, And They are as unfortunate, when They Oppugn Ours.

5. The fifth Proposition. By how much the Societies are greater, which are agreed in not Communicating with a Church imposing such conditions, By how much the power of those who rule those Societies so agreeing is larger; By so much Suppositions without Proofs. What are these Abu­ses? Who is to reform? the more justifiable is the Reformation of any Church from tho­se Abuses, and the setling the bonds of Christian Communion without them. Here is the Thesis, And a Thing, like an Hypothesis, comes limping After, as well as it can, Thus. On these grounds, the Church of Rome Imposing unlawful con­ditions of Communion, it was Necessary not to communicate with [Page 384] her, and on the Church of Englands power to reform it self by assistance of the supream power, it was lawful and justifiable not only to redress those Abuses, but to settle the Church upon its proper and true Foundations. So that the Church of Rome's imposing unlawful conditions of communion, is the reason why we They pre­tend to sett­le, and have no Ground to build on. do not communicate with Her; and the Church of Englands po­wer to govern and take care of her self, is the Reason of our ioyning together in the service of God, upon the Principles of our Reformation. Did you ever Hear men Vapour much,What are these Prin­ciples? Na­me one. Talk much, Suppose much, and Prove just nothing? Here you have them. Observe it. We Hear a Noise of Vnlawful imposed Conditions, of great Abuses in our Church, of the English Churches Power to Redress the­se Abuses, Yet, no man Knows, nor shall ever know by any solid Proof, what these Conditions and Abuses are▪ Much less, That a few Protestants have power to Re­dressWere the­re Abuses in the Church, Protestants have not Principles to redress them. them, were there any such in the Church, wher­of more Hereafter.

6. At present, to Answer the Difficulty, I will say two Things. The first. If the Power, Number, or Largenes of these pretended Reformers justify Their Reformation, it's more then evident, That a Far greater Power, Number, and Largenes of those who Oppose it, makes More Op­pose these Sectaries Reforma­tion, then approve it. it Vnjustifiable. Now not only Catholicks, But all the Christians in the World (Altogether more Powerfull, Larger, and Learneder then a few Protestants) Stifly Oppose this late Reformation, as an Heretical and Schismatical Novelty. Therfore, that little Justification, which their own Power and Largenes Gain's to Protestancy, is not only much weakened, But made Null, by a greater Power, that withstands it. I say 2. This Proposition is utterly Fals, and Becaus Fals, cannot [Page 385] be Proved: Viz. That, by how much Societies are greater, It is not true, that by how much Se­ctaries are more Nu­merous and greater, by so much more Their Schism is Iustifiable. and their Power larger in Agreeing, not to Communicate with an Ancient Church, wherin They vvere Baptized; By so much more Iustifiable, is their Pretented Reformation. For, the Society of Arians, which Agreed in not Communica­ting with the Church of Rome, was more Numerous, Greater, and Powerful then ever Ptotestants were in England; They had their Emperours, Their Bishops, Their Councils, Their Churches, and a World of Followers. Say therfore, I Beseech you, did theirThis Truth is clear in the Arians. Number, Power, or Greatnes Iustify either their He­resy or Schism? Or, doth the greater Power, and Number, of Agreeing Rebels in a Kingdom against Their lawful Sovereign, Justify that Treason? YouAnd in Re­bels also of a Common­wealth. will Say. The Arians Erred, But Protestants hit right on the Roman Abuses, and this makes their Re­formation Iustifiable. Meer Proofles, empty Words;The Proofles Talk of Sectaries. For, do you not se (and evidently) That all you Speak to this sense, is a wretched Supposition, and a pure Begging of the Question? And Becaus it is so, can either We, or any third Indifferent Judge Believe you sooner, speaking in your own Cause, then credit an Arian that will say the very same For his Heresy? O, But Confessedly both Catholicks and Protestants ac­knowledge the Arians to be Hereticks. And as Con­fessedly both Catholicks and Arians, yes, And all other Sectaries Say also, you are Hereticks. What Ther­fore get you by this Reply? Will you Tell us next, That you are Better at your Proofs against us, then the Arians are? The Arians laugh at you, And say, with Truth, This very Assertion is Proofles. Belie­ve it. Though the Arguments of Arians against our [Page 386] Ancient Church, wherof they were once Members,The Argu­ments of Arians are more diffici­le Then ever Protestants yet Proposed against our Church Doctrin. are both Deficient and Strengthles; yet They go far deeper into Difficulties, vvhich look more manly On't, then vv [...]at hitherto any Protestant hath Proposed against us. If you say: This is my own unproved Assertion, I will first Appeal to the Iudgement of any Indifferent and Vncon­cerned Scholler for sentence in the case: Next (if this like you not) Be you first Pleased, to Propose one of the strongest Arguments you have, Against any par­ticularThe Grounds of the Asser­tion are declared. Doctrin of the Roman Catholick Church (One I say, and in Form) which may at last be Driven to an ovvned Principle, And then (Though I do Anathema­tize The Heresy) I shall Advance an Other in Behalf of the Arians; And if this, in the Judgement of every good Scholler, do not more Puzzle you in your own Principles, then yours me, against the Church, I'll Sectaries cannot solve the Arians Arguments without re­curring to our Chur­ches infal­lible Inter­pretation of Scripture. yeild up the cause. Here is fair Play offered. The ground of my Assertion is first. Becaus Protestants cannot so much as Probably solve the Arians Difficul­ties, without Recurring to the Churches infallible Interpreta­tion of Scripture, vvhich they Reject. 2. Neither Ca­tholicks nor any, can solve them Otherwise (then on­ly Negatively) That is by shewing they do not Con­vince, But to Infringe their Force Positively, Or, To Evidence them fals, Abstracting from Tradition andThe Reason why Arians Difficulties are harder then those of Protestants. Negatively and Positi­vely Prote­stants Ar­guments are Solved. the Authority of the Church (which is more the Proof of Catholick Doctrin, then a Direct Solution to diffi­culties) is Impossible. Now, on the Other side, Protestants can Propose no Difficulty Against us for Protestancy; But we will first Shew it Negatively Vn­concluding, And next by Positive Proofs break in pieces the Seeming Force of it. For example. They [Page 387] Argue against the Real Presence: A body cannot be in One Ex­ample Hereof. tvvo places at Once. We Show first Negatively, that their Argument concludes not, and then Introduce Positive Proofs, partly drawn from Gods Omnipotency, partly from other Undeniable Grounds, Which both weaken and Dead the Argument. And thus we Pro­ceed with them in Other Controversies, Concerning the Popes Supremacy, Praying to Saints, Purgatory &c.

7. I have Complained all along, of our Adversaries Asserting much, and Proving Nothing, You will yet se more of this Proceeding in some, who Think They strongly Vindicate the Church of England from the Guilt of Schism.

CHAP. XV.
More of These Authors Confused Do­ctrin, is Refuted.

1. IN a Chapter Intituled: Protestants not Guilty of Mr. Stil­lingfleet. Schism. The Catholick Opponent Argues. If the Roman Church was corrupted in Doctrin, it Follow's, That for many Ages before Luther, there was not one Visible and Orthodox Church throughout the whole World. And conse­quently, during that Time, Every good Christian was obliged in some point or other to Contradict the Doctrin, and Desert the Communion of all Visible Churches in the World. WhichIf all parti­cular Chur­ches were corrupted in Doctrin, the whole Ca­tholick Church was also corrupted. I say cannot but Imply a Leaving of, And also a strong Opposition Against the Church Catholick, What ever this [Page 388] Catholick Church be; For, this Catholick Society is not a Chimaera in the Ayr, But is Essentially Constituted of either Pure, or Particular tainted Churches. Now our Adversaries say, All particular Churches throughout the whole World, were tainted; Ergo, what ever is meant by the Catholick Church, was also corrupt andTherfore upon the Supposition men are obliged to desert the Commu­nion of the Catholick Church. He Grant's no particular Church was free from Er­rour. They say▪ all Churches had erred. It is neces­sary to se­parate from all erring Churches, therfore as necessary to separate from the whole Ca­tholick Church. What Se­ctaries Re­ply. Tainted. Yet more. I am Obliged to Desert all Corrupted Churches, Therfore I am obliged to Abandon the Communion of the Church Catholick. After much Talk and Quibling about the Meaning of one Visible Church, and the Errours of particular Churches, whether Several, or the same in particular Societies of Christians, &c. The­se men Grant, That there was not One Church, of any Di­stinct Communion from others, free from Errours. The Arians, the Nestorians, the Eutychians, the Greeks, the Abyssins, Hussits, And finally Catholicks Had Erred. Therfo­re all the Churches in the World, consequently the Catholick Church, had erred before Luther: But it is Ne­cessary to Separate from the Communion of all Erring Churches, Therfore, 'Tis as Necessary to Separate from the Communion of the whole Catholick Church.

2. To This Argument They Answer. There can be no Separation from the whole Church, But in such Things, vvherin the Vnity of the vvhole Church lyes &c. Novv, vvhen men Separate from the Errours of all particular Chur­ches, They do not Separate from the vvhole, Becaus those Things, vvhich one Separates from those particular Churches for, are not such as make them, all put together, to be the vvhole, or Catholick Church. For a further Explanation They tell us: Two Things may be Considered in all particular Churches; One, that Belongs to them as a Church, The other, that belongs to them as a particu­lar [Page 389] Church. What belongs to them as a Church, Implyes the Common Ligaments or grounds of Vnion betvveen all particular Churches, vvhich taken all Together make up the Catholick Church: Novv these vvhich belong to it as a parti­cular Church, are such, as it may retain the Essence of a Church vvithout them. And therfore supposing, That I should Separate from all particular Churches, I do not Separate from the communion of the whole Church, Vnles it be for something, without Which, those could be no Churches.

3. Here in brief is their Confused, Vnproved, andThis Do­ctrin of Se­ctaries con­fused, un­proved, and fals. Fals Doctrin. I call it confused, Becaus, when They Tell us: There can be no Separation from the vvhole Church, But in such Things wherin the Vnity of the whole Church lyes, They should Declare Expresly, and Particularly, Wherin that Vnity of the whole Church Consists: But to leave us in Darknes Concerning no man knowsThey speak confusedly of unknown Ligaments, and of as unknown Vnity. what Ligaments, and Pretended Vnity of a Strange Ima­gined Catholick Church, without Saying How far these Ligaments reach, or, Wherin Precisely This exact Vnity lyes, is only to Turn us of with Talk, and Teach just no­thing. If They Answer: The Vnity of this Doctrin is found in the Fundamentals of Faith, we are yet asNo man can Ima­gin what They will make Fun­damental. far to seek as Before; For, who Knows what these new Protestants will make Fundamental, and Vnfunda­mental Doctrin? They may say one thing to day is Fundamental, and change it to morrow. However, Admit that They Declare Themselves, and Tell us Punctually, so much and no More is the Fundamental And if we could it would only be their own unpro­ved Fancy. and Necessary Doctrin of the Catholick Church, it will be on­ly their Own Supposed, and Vnproved Assertion, and Occasion anew as hot a Dispute, as Any other Con­troversy [Page 390] between us. Vnfortunate are These Men in every Thing they Say (and it cannot be otherwise) for wanting Ground to Build on, and a Church to regulate Their Faith, Whatever They Vent against our Catholick Doctrin, must of Necessity be as Much Their own Supposed and Vnproved Fancy, As if an Arian Disputed Against us.

4. Observe Yet, How They Still run on with the­se unproved Suppositions. When men, Say They, separate Themselves from the Errours of all Particular Churches▪ They do not Separate from the whole &c. Blessed are suchProtestants Separated and Poorly suppose, that they run away with Truth only, and left all the Errours be­hind Them. Men, But who are They for Gods sake? Prote­stants? Yes. And I must take their Word for it, we have no other proof. Pray you Tell me, When that first Protestant Gyant, Martin Luther, stood up, and Separated from all the Societies of Christians Throughout the whole World, from Catholicks, from Arians, Abyssins, Graecians &c. Who Assured him ( [...]nd here we urge for a Satisfactory Principle) or, VVho can yet Assure our Protestants, That both He andWho As­sur's them so much? or, that they are not more deeply in Errour by their own wilful Separation? They are not More Plunged into Gross Errours, by this wilful Divorce, Then if They had remained, as once They were, Honest Catholicks? Can, in Reason, Suppose That All, and every One of these Societies that Quitted Rome were Corrupted in Do­ctrin, And without so much as a seeming Probability, Hold Luther and his Followers, the only Pure and Vn­tainted Christians of the World? These are Paradoxes, and vast improbabilities; For if All These Erred, when They left the Roman Catholick Church (As evidently They did) what God, or Angel, was it, That Directed Pro­testants to hit right every way, and to Avoid all Errour? [Page 391] These Hereticks, when They Separated, were Falli­ble men, and actually Erred; our Protestants are as Fallible, and may have don wors. TheseProtestants Separation parallelled with that of other Hereticks. Protestants proof is their own word, and nothing Els. Whether Protestants dare assert that Their reformed Protestancy is so Right that it can not be ma­de better? If They Affirm, we urge for Principles to prove it. All that formerly deserted the Roman Catholick Church er­red, upon what proof are Prote­stants Ex­empted from the like Er­rour? followed their own self Judgement in making that Divorce, Yet Missed of Truth; Protestants can only Say so much, And therfore very likely may have Missed more. How then shall we know (and by a satisfactory Proof) That this rare Reformation, which Op­posed all Religions, is Vntainted, and Orthodox? I'll tell you. Protestants (after an Infamy cast on all the Churches in the world) Say so, And what They say (Though whole Armies of Christians, more learned and nume­rous Stand against them) must be thought True. Is not this a Jolly Proof? In a word, Here is my Dilem­ma. Either They must Assert, that Their whole Pro­testant Doctrin now Established, is without Blemish, Pure, and Orthodox; or, yet Hath its Errours: if this last, it needs another Reformation: If they make it so Pure that it cannot be made better, They only say without proof, what All the Condemned Hereticks in Christendom Assert for Themselves, and Moreover will have Christians Believe The greatest Paradox ever Heard of, viz. That They Only had the good Luck to hit Right, whilst All Foregoing Sectaries, who Abandoned the Roman Church, Were, and, yet Are tainted with gross Corruptions. The Reason why both They, and All other Hereticks that left the Mother-Church, are in Errour, is drawn from the Impossibility of doing the Work They have gon about: For, it is not in mans power to change or Re­form Religion. No. Only one High Priest (God and man) Once made a change, who was Holy, Innocent, Vndefiled, Separated from sinners, and made Higher then the [Page 392] Heavens. Men Therfore wicked, as Luther was, Guil­tyOne Only High Priest had Power to Reform Religion. of high Crimes, Born and Brought up in sin, and now buried in Contempt, Are unfit Instruments for such a work: They may marr Religion, but to mend it, is Impossible.

5. Again. That Distinction (made Above) between the Common Ligaments of a Church, and particular Er­rours in all Churches, Which yet do not Vnchurch Them, is Frivolous, Vnproved, and most Fals. For, first the­re neither are, nor can be any Common Tyes, or Grounds of Vnion amongst all Christians now in Being, which considered by an Abstract Notion, sufficiently Conslitute the Necessary Doctrin of the True Catholick Church. My Reason is: No Doctrin CommonDoctrin Common to all Chri­stians is not Sufficient to Saluation. to Arians, Nestorians, Catholicks, and Protestants, or Vniversally held by all Christians, can be more Proved to be saving Faith enough for Christians, Then if we Gratis Assert, That a belief in one God only, common to Turks, Iewes and Christians, is full Faith enough for us all. Scripture, as I have largely proved in a foregoing Chap­ter, Requires yet more Explicit Faith of many Particu­lars. 2. It is utterly Fals, That the True Catholick The True Catholick Church is not found amongst Christians That Err in Faith; Church may be found amongst all Particular Erring Churches. The Primitive Christians were a Body apart, and as Distinct from the Arians in those Days, as We are now from Protestants. And therfore no Doctrin Common to that Church and Arians, was ever Thought sufficient Catholick Doctrin. Otherwise, Arius might have Told the Ni­cene Otherwise Arius would not have Erred in matters of Faith. Fathers: (yes, And These should have Assented to him) You unjustly Condemn me, For Admit, That I have my Particular Errours, you may have Yours Also, We are all yet of One Church, and Need not to break [Page 393] of any Catholick Unity, Becaus, though both you, and I, err, We may yet retain the Essence of a Ca­tholick Churck. Hereticks hitherto Never Plead­ed thus for their Cause, But as Pertinaciously Defend­edHereticks as strongly defend their parti­cular Er­rours as the Common Doctrin of Christia­nity. their Private Opinions, as They did the Com­mon Doctrin of all Christians. Only our Prote­stants, now Pressed with Vnanswerable Arguments, concerning the plain Naming of a Catholick Church befo­re Luther (like men living by shifting) Seek out a woful Subterfuge, and make all Erring Churches part­ly good, and Catholick, in the Common Ligaments of Christianity; And partly Naught and Heretical, in Their particular Errours, Wheras the Spouse of Christ, is but One Immaculate moral Body, and can be no More Tainted with Errour, then the pure Primitive Church was; No, nor more Corrupted then the whole BibleThe entire purity of the Church Necessary. now is, and yet remain Purely Gods Word. 3. Grant (which is the greatest Chimaera Imaginable) That the Common Ligaments and Grounds of Catholick Faith, are to be found amongst all the erring Societies of Christians, Protestants have yet an endles Task in hand, Which is to Perswade All men Opposit to them, That They, by their Discerning Spirit, Have justProtestants cannot pro­ve that they have taken so much Do­ctrin to themselves as is purely Catholick. hit the nail on the Head▪ And taken so much to Themsel­ves as is Purely Catholick Doctrin, without Mixture of Errour with it. Believe me, it will be hard to pro­ve so much done; And if They Prove it not by Vnde­niable Principles, Farwell Protestants say I: For They may be more in Errour by Their late Reformation, Then all those Erring Churches together, Which They have gon about to Reform.

6. In another Chapter Intituled the Reformation of the [Page 394] Church of England justified. These very men (after they had made the Catholick Church like a Common field layd open to all those Inhabitants (who own the Funda­mentals of Christian Faith) Tell us, That the Roman Church stand's Guilty of the violation of Publick Right, and Add's Neither Proof nor Inference Good. many Particular Doctrins, many Superstitious Practises which have no Foundation in Scripture, or Consent of the Primitive Church; Therfore this Roman Church is Separated from the Communion of the Catholick Church, And so is become Schis­matical. But their Church of England hath hit Right, and is only so far Separated from Rome, as Rome hath Devided Her self from the Belief of the Vniversal Church. What have we here? A Cluster of meer superfluous Words. I am Astonished to Se men run on, with such proofles Generalities. However, We will have Patience, and friendly Ask: How far is that large field of the Catholick Church to be extended? Point out the Limits of it? Name those Christians and Them on­ly, Not one of These par­ticulars can be proved by certain Principles. who Inhabite that large field? What are those Fundamen­tals of Faith? How many are there of Them, ninty nine, or a Hundred? Specify, with a Proof at the end of it (but Proofs are now out of fashion with Protestants) Those parti­cular Fals Doctrins of the Roman Church so contrary to Scri­pture. Say once Plainly, what that Catholick Church is, From which Rome Separated, and something is Don? But abo­ve all, make good your wild Assertion, That just so far you are Devided from Rome, (not one Inch more or less) as Rome is Separated from the Vniversal Catholick Church. To do this, justice Requir's an exact Proof of these three Things. First, That you particularly Shew us,Three Pro­positions to be proved. What, or how much the Precise Doctrin of that imagined Ca­tholick Church is, which dwell's in your Fancy. 2. Wherin [Page 395] the Roman Church hath Swerved from that true Doctrin. 3. And this will cost you some pains, make good upon any Re­ceived Christian Principle, That you are right in your Faith, And have just Divided your selves so far from the Roman Church, as this is from Another Church, more Vniversal and Catholick. Could these men live to Mathusalem's Age, They would never come neer to the likelyhood of a rational Proof for any one of these Particulars. I say of a Proof; For, I would have Them know, That to talk at random, and vent their own fancies as They do here, will weigh but little, when Reason comes to Ballance all with a close Arguing in good Form.

7. When again They are Told in the same Chapter, That the Separation of Protestants was not only from the Church of Rome, But, as Calvin Confesseth, from the whole Christian World, which necessarily Implyes a Sepa­ration from the True Catholick Church. They Answer. We have not separated from the whole Christian World in any thing, wherin the whole Christian VVorld is Agreed▪ Is this so greatNo Here­tick Sepa­rated from the Vniver­sal Doctrin believed by all Chri­stians. a matter to be Praised for? Not to Separate from what men cannot Separate, if they Own Christ, and Deserve the name of Christians? Mark well, I beseech you. Neither the Arians, nor Nestorians, nor Donatists, Nor any other condemned Hereticks Separated from any Thing, wherin the whole Christian World Agreed in; For They Believed in Christ a Saviour and Redeemer, and Thus much all Christians Hold: But is This Faith enough to save us without Believing more? Pray you Answer. Again. These Hereticks Added somethingwhat got Them the Name of Separatists or Here­ticks. to that General owned Belief of All, And this got them the name of Separatists, or Hereticks, not Becaus they Deserted the Common Doctrin of the whole Christian [Page 396] World, But, becaus They Abandoned that Ancient Church, wherin they were Baptized. Protestants ha­ve Don the like in leaving the same Ancient Church, And have Added That to Their Specifical Religion, which was neither the Common Doctrin of All Christians, no, nor Held by any Christian Society in the World. Vpon this Account Therfore, They as justly Deserve the Name of Hereticks and Separatists, as either Arian or Nestorian. And thus much I Prove by their own Con­cession;Protestants proved Schisma­tichs by Their own Doctrin. For They grant, that the Donatists were Sepa­ratists and Schismaticks, Becaus they confined the Catholick Church within their own Bounds of Africa; Yet, by Their good leave, These very Donatists Dissented in nothing that was held all over Common Christian Doctrin; For, they Acknowledged the same Christ as we Do, yet were Hereticks Vpon the Account of their particu­larThe Dona­tists no Schisma­ticks in Protestants Principles. Doctrin, Though They clashed with nothing held Vniversally. You will say, But They did Clash; For without all Proof They Confined the Church to one place Only. Contra. And you, my good Friends, without all Likelyhood of Proof, make the Church a migh­ty wide One; You give it Arms which embrace all called Christians, Though Hereticks in their particular Tenents. Did therfore the particular Doctrin of the Donatists (confining the Church to one place) Vnchurch Them; Believe it, yourThe Dona­tists were Schisma­tichs for making the Church too strait, and so are Protestants for making it to wide. Particular Doctrin in making it too Large, will Vnchurch you also. I call both these Doctrins Particular, and He­retical. For, as never men before the Donatists, made the Catho­lick Church so strait as They did, so never Christians before these later Protestants, made it so large as to hold in it all the Here­tckis in the World. I say expresly: This Doctrin of the Donatists was only their particular Errour, and not Then [Page 397] Vniversal, or, Common to all Christians; For, Their very Denying the Church to be Spread the whole world over, ma­de that Doctrin not Vnuniversal, or, not Held by All. And thus much Protestants must Say; For, whilst They (or any other Sectaries) Maintain Tenents particular to themselves (for example two Sacraments only) A Do­ctrinIn the Principles of Prote­stants the Arians and Nestorians were not Hereticks. so limitated, cannot be called Vniversal. Out of what is hitherto Said, we must conclude: If no Doctrin can make a man an Heretick, but the Denyal of That, which the whole Christian World Own's, The Arians, and Ne­storians were not Hereticks.

8. These Novellists go on Trifling in a most serious Matter, And first Tell us. Though a man Differ'sA frivolous Instance. Every one knows what is essential to a Man; But Prote­stants know not, how much Do­ctrin is Es­sential to Christian Faith, and how much is meerly Accidental. from all other in Accidents, for Example in Feature, yet he leaves not of to be Essentially a man; Therfore, though Protestants Differ from all other Christians in Doctrin Acciden­tal, or, wherin these Dissenting Societies Disagree from one another, Yet, as long as They stick to the Com­mon owned Faith of all Christians, so long they are Sa­fe, and Members of the Church Catholick. A mise­rable Put of. It Seem's, a very Vniversal Doctrin suf­fiseth Protestants to be good Catholicks. All we Desire, is, That they will exactly say▪ How much Precisely of this Doctrin will Serve the turn (as both Necessary and Sufficient) to make us all Catholicks? Or, whether the Arians, Nestorians or Donatists Had enough of it, to be good Catholicks? If Yes. They were both Good Ca­tholicks and Hereticks at once; Catholicks, upon theArians and Protestants Symbolize. Account of Common Christian Doctrin owned by them; and Hereticks, for their particular Erroneous Tenents. And it's more then probable, that Protestants are like Them: Secundum quid, Catholicks; Because of Their [Page 398] Common Doctrin; But, Simpliciter, Hereticks, by Rea­son of Their late introduced Novelties.

9. They tell us Again. The Communion of the Church Catholick, is not to be measured by the particular Opinions ei­ther of All, or any particular Church, But by such things, which are the proper Foundations of the Catholick Church; For there can be no Separation from the true Catholick Church, but in such things, wherin it is Catholick; And it is not Ca­tholick in any thing, But in what Properly relates to its Being, and Constitution. Let the World Iudge, whether this be not meer Confused Talk? For the only Dif­ficultySectaries wave that only Diffi­culty, which re­quires Ex­plication. in this Matter is, to know of these new Do­ctors, How much Precise Doctrin is Necessary and Suffi­cient to be believed, How much of it Constitut's The Being and Foundation of the Catholick Church, And what is Accidental, or Vnnecessary? You se They wave This, And content Themselves with telling us of no man knows what Being, of no man knows what Founda­tion of a Church, without Descending to Particulars, or Proving what these Essentials are; Or, Finally who Those Christians were, that were Right in the Essen­tials of Faith before Luther, or, had the Being of a Church amongst them. They Proceed here, as ifProtestants inioyn us to learn that Do­ctrin which is Essential to a Church, and allow us neither Master, nor Rules to learn it by. a Master should tell a young Beginner with Grammer: You must learn your Rules well, and understand them perfectly; But you shall have neither Book, nor Precepts from any, wherby to Learn them. I Profess before Almighty God (and I think Thousands not only Ca­tholicks, But others, are of my opinion) I am yet as wholy Ignorant of what These Newer Protestants will make the Essentials of Faith, the Necessary and suffi­cient Foundations and Being of a Church, as ever Boy [Page 399] was of Grammer Rules, when he first went to School. I may perhaps Guess better at their Doctrin, And my Thought is: They Hold All the Hereticks in theThe world would Cry Shame if they Expli­cated their sense. world, whether Arians or Others, to be good Catho­lick Christians; Yet, dare not Publish so much in Writing. And this is the true Reason why they Schulk in Generalities, And hide Themselves under these universal Vnexplicated Terms of the Essentials of Faith, of the Being of a Church, the Foundations of it &c. Well, I will say it once more. If the Do­ctrin common to all Christians, be the Essential, Neces­sary, No Here­ticks ever were, if Doctrin Common to all be suffi­cient to Saluation. and Sufficient Doctrin of the Church truely Catholick, it Follows evidently, That no Heretick was ever yet Vnchurched by His particular Heresy. But,

10. Woe be to Catholicks, what ever becomes of Others, They must be Vnchurched. For, These men Assert (and very wisely, as they Think) Although nothing Separates a Church properly from the Catholick, But what is contrary to the Being of it; yet a Church (And this is the Roman) may Separate Her self from the Commu­nion of the Catholick Society, By taking upon Her, to make such things Necessary Conditions of Communion, which never were the Conditions of Communion of the Catholick Church. Observe first. A Supposition for a Proof, of stran­ge imposed Conditions. Observe 2. A SuppositionMeer Sup­positions pass for Proofs with Sectaries. for a Proof, of no man knows what Catholick Church, Wider and larger, then the Roman. But above all,

11. Observe 3. Their unlearned Discours. The Roman Church (say They) Draws the Bounds of Catholick Commu­nion within Her self, and so Divides from the true Catholick [Page 400] Church. I Ask, From what true Catholick Church didThey can­not name the Ortho­dox Church, from which the Roman Church Separated. she Divide Her self? Speak out, And name that Church, De­sign it Plainly, which was Actually Orthodox, and in Being when Luther Apostated, and something is said to the Purpose. If you fail to Shew us that Imagined Church, from which you Suppose the Roman Separated, All you Assert is a meer Calumny. We say, and can Ju­stify it, There was no such True Church in the whole World to Separate from, Vnles Arians, Nestorians, Eutychians, Graecians &c. constituted that great Imagined moral Bo­dy. But These, as is Evident, (once Catholicks) Se­parated from the Roman Church, not She from them; Therfore this supposed Separation, is only an unproved Fancy.

12. Yet more: And this is to Show you the stran­geGrant, what Se­ctaries would ha­ve, Nothing is Proved. weaknes of our Adversaries whole Discours. Let us suppose, this falsity of a true Catholick Church in Lu­thers Days much wider Then the Roman; withal, that the Roman was only a corrupted Part of that more Ample Church. Believe it, These men are yet far enough from Proving their Intent: For Admit, upon the Supposition, That the Church of Rome Draws the bounds of Catholick Communion within Her self, and Confin's all Truth within Her own Community: This is only Her own particular Opinion, which Draws no more, Confines no more, Then Protestants do now. For, doProtestants pretend as much, to have Christs verities taught by Them, as Catholicks Do; not They Prosess, that the Doctrin of Christ is mo­re Purely, and less Erroneously taught in England at this Day, Then in any other Society of Christians, That Dissent's from Them? Yes. Here then is as much Drawing of Truth to Themselves, and this Drawing con­sequently [Page 401] implyes a great Division from that Fancied And conse­quently They Divi­de Them­selves from their Ca­tholick Church. Catholick Church, Which, I am sure, Never Taught, that the Gospel of Christ is Preached most purely and without Errour, amongst a few English Protestants. Meer Opi­nions Therfore of particular Churches (as long as the General Doctrin of all Christians Stand's unshaken) Cannot, in these mens Principles, Vnchurch any Christian Society; or, if They can, both They (I mean our Protestants) And all other Sectaries are Vn­churched, Becaus all of them Believe more, then the General Essentials of Faith Exact of any Christian.

13. It may be Answered. Though they believe more, Yea, And particularly hold, That Christs Do­ctrin is more purely Taught and believed in England, Then in other places, Yet this is not a Necessary Condi­tion of Communion with them. No? I hope it is aTo have Communion with Protestants is, without Doubt, ne­cessary to Believe so­mething of pure Prote­stancy. Necessary condition of Communion with Protestants, Though Vnnecessary for Communion▪ with that other Fancied Vniversal Church, and the General Doctrin Therof. The Reason is. No man can be more a Pro­testant, unles He Believe All particular owned Articles of that Religion as Pure, and Orthodox, Then a good Papist, and, not Believe what that Church particularly Teacheth.

14. Now, Becaus we are got thus far into a Matter, wherin I Hold our Adversaries much Overseen; I wouldA Question proposed not to be An­swered by Sectaries. gladly have a clear Answer to this one Question, Viz. Whether (after a due Proposal) it be absolutely Ne­cessary to Saluation to Communicate with Protestants, That is, Firmly to Believe any one Article of our Prote­stants Reformed Faith, as it is Protestancy? For example: Two Sacraments only, no Real Presence, no Sacrifice, or, what els you will? If they Answer, Yes. Then [Page 402] I Infer: The Belief of that Doctrin Vniversal andIf Doctrin Common [...] all be not sufficient, something of Prote­stancy must be owned necessary. Common to all Christians, is not Enough to Salua­tion; For now They require more, Viz, a Belief of some Doctrin peculiar to Protestancy, as it is reformed. Con­trarywise, if they Grant, nothing within the Bounds of pure Protestancy to be a Doctrin of such absolute Ne­cessity to Saluation, it follows Evidently: Though a Protestant, after a perfect knowledge had of his Religion, as Reformed, doth both Abjure, and Anathematize that particu­lar If Nothing of Prote­stancy be accounted of as Ne­cessary, one may abjure all that Religion, and yet be a Faithful Believer. Doctrin, And Believ's only with a General Faith, Com­mon to Arians and all other Hereticks, He may yet be saved, Becaus the Belief of no one Article within the Compass of Protestancy, Avail's him one whit to Saluation. If so: Tell me, I beseech you, what a Religion have we Here? Shall we say, That the Authors and Professors of Protestancy have made a shameful Bustle to bring in a Novelty, which must be called the true Reformed Religion, And now Hear the [...] Teach, That is Teaches nothing Necessary to Saluation? Grant thus much, and Throw Prote­stancyA shame­ful Schism about Pro­testancy, that Teach­es nothing necessary to Saluation. out of the World, Men may be saved without it.

15. Some, Perhaps, will Reply. Protestants, at least, judge, That amongst the many Religions, which now swarm in the World, Their reformed Novelty is one of the best, and the Securest way to Heaven. Alas, WeWe Ask not what Pro­testants Iudge, but demand for a Proof of that Iudgement. enquire not what They, Meer fallible Men, Judge (Every Heretick speak's favorably in his own Cause) But we go further, and Ask into what Vndoubted Prin­ciple that Judgement is finally Resolved, or, Whether These men, withall the Judgement and Learning They have, are able, Solidly, and Rationally to Prove, that Their particular Articles of Protestancy rest firmly, and [Page 403] Rely upon the Object of all Faith, Which is Gods certain and If Prote­stants can resolve the Belief of their parti­cular Arti­cles into Divine Re­velation, it will be Necessary to Salua­tion. Divine Revelation? If this can be Don, the particular Tenents of Protestancy are as Certain, and consequently the Belief of Them as Necessary to Saluation, As is the belief of that General Doctrin, which all Christians Own. The Reason is clear: Becaus, the Testimony, the Authority of the same God and the same Eternal Veri­ty (as now we must Suppose) Warrant's as well the One, as the Other. Again. If They say (And They must say it.) God hath not revealed in the whole Bible one Article of Protestancy, and therfore the Be­lief of not one reformed Article is Necessary to Salua­tion; It follows, That this Religion, Thus Separated If not, Pro­testancy is no part of Christian Religion. from the true center of Divine Faith (Gods infallible Re­velation) is no Christian Religion at all, But stands tottering on Fancy, and fancy only; which is a great Verity.

16. Occasionally, I here Answer to a Trivial Obje­ction of others, that much Extol the Clemency of Pro­testants, who (like Papists) do not Excommunicate all that believe not as They Believe. Good Reason (say I;) For why should they Excommunicate any, for not Believing a Religion, which is built on Fan­cy? Could they judge in Conscience, or Assure us, That, what they hold, as Sectaries, were Revealed byThe want of Zeal in Sectaries for Prote­stancy. God, Necessary to Saluation, or worth Believing; They should so far stand for Gods Cause, and set so great a Value on it, as to Induce all, even by spiritual Me­naces (it is a Sweeter way Then to Deprive Men of their Lives and Fortunes) to embrace Their Novel­ties. But Alas, The real Guilt of Schism, which lyes like lead at their Harts, makes them most frigid in Advancing a Religion, laid hold on by meer chan­ce, [Page 404] and a most unfortunate Casuality. Almighty God soften these concealed Harts by sorrowful Repen­tance, and Forgive all Sectaries Their double great sin, both of Schism and Heresy.

THE FOVRTH DISCOVRS THE CHVRCHES EVIDENCE. OF THE IMPROBABILITY OF PROTESTANT RELIGION.

THE FIRST CHAPTER.
Christs Church is Proved to be no Other, But the Roman Catholick. Sectaries are Convinced.

1. WE have often made a just Exception against Sectaries in the fore-going Di­scourses,A just Ex­ception against Sectaries mare fully laid forth. And you Shall have it here Again in plain Language. Protestants, as They Prove not their own Religion of Protestancy, so, They never Impugn the Roman Catholick Faith by Rational Arguments, at last reducible to Vndoubt­ed Principles. Catholicks Contrarywise, Make good [Page 406] Their Churches Doctrin by undeniable Principles, And, by ma­nifest Proofs Evidence the Nullity of Protestants Faith. Though both these Assertions are already Demonstra­ted in the precedent Treatise, Yet, Becaus of the Weightines of the Matter, it will be necessary to Epi­tomize some Points, largely Declared above, And bring much to a Clearer view, and a more Compen­dious Form.

2. To do this we may Suppose. If True Reli­gionGod esta­blished Re­ligion with intention to have it known, not to hide it from us. be in the World, the wise Providence of God hath made it so Manifest to Reason by force of Ratio­nal Motives, That All may know it; For certainly God never established Religion amongst Christians with Intention to Hide it from Them, or to put it out of their Sight, if men will follow Reason. Proofs ther­fore for it, can no more Fail, Then Religion it self, VnlesProofs therfore, for it cannot fail. an Infinite Goodnes (which is impossible) obliges us Vnder pain of Damnation to Embrace a Religion, which no man, after a diligent Search made by all the reason He hath, can find out.

3. Vpon this Principle let me tell our Protestants,Wordy Ca­vils end no Contro­versy. That They and We, are not (in so important a matter) to mispend our time, or to wrangle it out with Words. No. Proofs must enter, if They Hold their Religion True and ours Fals; And so They must also, if We say the Con­trary. Again: Neither of us can here proceed as Schoolmen Do, when They Oppugn One an Other,Solid proofs must sway here, and not weak Con­jectures. and Defend their Different Opinions upon weak and Doubtful Grounds▪ For, if the Proofs for Christs Reli­gion be not stronger then Schoolmens often are for meer Vncertain Opinions, We may as well, and without Offence, Reject a weak Proved Religion, as we do a weak pro­ved [Page 407] Opinion. The Arguments therfore for Religion, wheron Saluation Depend's, Are to Stand firm upon Vndeniable Principles, Or, This follows: That, though God hath most clearly evidenced Religion, yet proofs are want­ing to make it known, And this, whilst He will have it Known, And manifest to All. Thus much Supposed,

4. We will First briefly Touch on a few Arguments for the Roman Catholick Faith, which are amply laid forth upon several occasions in this Treatise (I cannotA brief Repetition of some few Arguments Repeat All in a short Compendium, yet, you Shall have Enough to silence Sectaries) And Remember, VVe speak now of the Antecedent Evidence, which clearly shews us Christs True Church, and makes it indubitably Credible; For no Religion, As I noted above, is, Ex Terminis, with­out convincing Proofs, either Evidently Credible, True, or Fals.

5. I Say then, First. A Church▪ or Religion, which Manifesteth it Self, and Proves the Doctrin it Professeth by the same Signs, Notes, and Characters of Truth, wherby the The Roman Catholick Church is Evidenced as The A­postolical or Primiti­ve Church was. Apostolical and Primitive Church was Marked and Evidenced, is Vndoubtedly True: Or, if this Proof be not valid, we may ea­sily Deny Truth to that Apostolical and Primitive Church. Now, the only Church in the VVorld thus Marked and Evidenced, is no Other, but the Roman Catholick Throughout all Ages. This Principle is undeniable. Deny these Marks and Signs to the Roman Catholick Church, you Deny what is Evident, Grant them, And you Admit of Popery. Se Disc. 1. c. 9. 10.

6. 2. A Church, or Religion, which in every Age after Miracles, Christs own Marks Evidence the Roman Catholick Church. Christ, Hath had a most clear, Assured, and Vndubitable E­vidence of Truth, which is the Glory of Miracles (Christs own Marks and cognisances) makes known the Absolute Power of God Cooperating with it, And therfore cannot but be True, Vn­les [Page 408] we Think that his power Alone Divorced, as it we­re, from Goodnes, Did set his Hand and Seal to meer Forged Signs, and wrought these Wonders to Deceive the World. But the Roman Catholick Church, And She only, Clearly Demonstrat's Vnparallelled Miracles, not in One, But in every Age, As is without Controversy Proved by undoubted Re­cords, They are undeniable. (which Truth I engage to make Good, if any Doubt of it) Therfore, either This Church, or None, is Christs True Church. I call Miracles rhe most Forceable, and Perswasive, Arguments of Truth, that can be Proposed. All otherAnd above all other Proofs most Convin­cing. Proofs, Though clear and Convincing to Disinteressed Iudgements, being lyable to Cavils: For, cite Scriptu­re▪ against Sectaries, wilful Misinterpretations Abuse it. Produce Fathers and Councils, They are either Reje­ctedOther Proofs mo­re lyable to Cavils. by these men, as Fallible, or Drawn to a Sinister Sense, as Fancy will have it. Tell Them of the Sanctity of our Church; They Answer, Much of it may be Hy­pocrisy. Insist upon that great Work of Conversions, some reply, Policy and Humane Industry had a strong hand in Them. But, when we Come to the Proof of Proofs, And plead our Cause by Known and most Evidenced Miracles, all Mouths are stopped, Envy it self is Silenced, And cannot speak a Probable word against us: VnlesNone can require, that All and Every one of this Church work Mi­racles. Perhaps some require (and most unreasonably) That eve­ry One within this Moral body should work Miracles, which is meerly to cavil; For, in the Primitive times, All had no such Priviledge. It is Therfore sufficient, That there be some Chois and Selected Persons, Vnited in Faith with this Church, to whom God Communicat's the Grace, and Do The­se Wonders. Se more of this Subject, Disc. 1. c. 10. n. 15. 16. 17.

7. 3. A Church, which hath Converted whole Kingdoms [Page 409] and Nations from Infidelity to Christ, And Drawn Innumerable Admirable Conver­sions wrought by the Roman Catholick Church, as well prove it Orthodox as the Pri­mitive Church. Souls from a Tepid life to Pennance and Austerity, From the Contents of the World to a Contempt of it, From Self-love to a Perfect Self-Abnegation, Must either be deservedly named the True Church of Christ, Or, the Apostolical Church Proved not its Truth, by such Admirable and Miraculous Conversions. The Church of Rome only, Hath, by the Assistance of God Don these Wonders; Therfore, it is the True Church, or, there was never any true upon Earth. Deny these Conversions made by our Catholick Society, you Deny what is most▪ Evident; Grant Them, You subscribe to Popery. Se The Ro­man Ca­tholick Church Opposed all known Se­ctaries. And us Orthodox Society ever oppo­sed it. A mani­fest Proof of Truth. The Marks of Truth more ma­nifest in the Roman Catholick Church, then in any other So­ciety, Could not be permit­ted by God to cheat the world. Discours 1. c. 7. and chap. 9. n. 10.

8. 4. A Church which Opposed All the Sectaries in the World since Christianity Began, And was never Opposed by any Author of credit, or, Orthodox Society of Christians, But on­ly by Known Condemned Hereticks, most Evidently Professeth True Religion: The Roman Church only hath▪ Age after Age made this Opposition against Sectaries, and never was Opposed by any, But known Hereticks. This is an Vndeniable Proof, for the Truth it Mantains. Disc. 1. c. 7. n. 5.

9. 5. A Religion, which hath Had in all Ages, most In­dubitably, more Illustrious marks and signs of Truth Accom­panying it, Then all the other Sects in the World put Together, Either ought to be Owned for Christs Sole and Pure Religion, or, We must say, That God can make a Fals Heretical Sect more Credible, Clear, and Evident to Reason, by Signs of Truth and Sanctity, Then his True Orthodox Religion is. Reflect seriously. Can We Think that Miracles, Con­versions of souls, Casting out of Devils, Great Austerity of life, Efficacy of Doctrin &c. Once convincing Arguments of Truth in the first Ages, are now▪ Shewed us in the Roman Catholick Church to favor such Errours as Sectaries impute to it, or, to [Page 410] Countenance any thing like Antichristian Doctrin? To judge so, is an Improbable Paradox, And here you have an Other most evident Proof, and Principle, For the Truth of Catholick Religion. Disc. 1. c. 7. n. 8.

10. 6. A Church, which hath manifestly Don great Ser­vice The Evi­dent Servi­ce don for God by the Roman Catholick Church, Without Note of Dishonor put on it by any Ortho­dox Socie­ty, Proves it Pure and Holy. A Church Once True is still True. for God, by defeating his Enemies, And gaining him Friends, And yet Labours to Do him more Service: A Church, which never had Note or Mark of Dishonor put on it, Censure, Priva­te or Publick, Issuing from any Vniversal Church, is Blame­les, Pure, Holy, and Vncorrupt in Doctrin. In all, The Roman Catholick Society justly Glories, which, No other Sect called Christian can Do. And, 'Tis an Vndenia­ble Proof For its Integrity. Disc. 3. c. 8. n. 2. 3.

11. 7. A Catholick Church Established by Almighty God, And therfore Once True, must (upon the same Grounds which then Proved it Orthodox) ever after be Acknowledged as True. Hear my Reasons, 1. That infinite wisdom which Founded this Once True Church, made it a School, not to Teach a Few first Christians, Or For a Time only, But to Instruct All, And for ever. The Word of our Lord Remains for ever, And It taught not Chri­stians for a time only, [...] then left of to be true. Reasons of the Asser­tion laid forth. this is the Word, that is Evangelized among you, 1. Pet. 1. v. 25. That Word then, which Those Primitive Christians learned yet Remains, And is now Taught by the same true, and Indeficient Church, Founded by Christ. 2. The Gifts of God, Rom. 11. 29. are without Repentance (That is unchan­geable;) What ever Therfore Moved an Infinite Wisdom to make a Church once True, or, for a time, Evidently Shewes that Mercy farther Extended, and Continued to the end of the VVorld. 3. The Necessity of Having Chri­stians Instructed in Truth, (Souls are now as Dear to God, and as well Provided of means to Attain Sal­vation, [Page 411] as the Primitive Christians were) Requires the Continuance of Truth in that Church, which Christ first Founded. He VVill's All to be saved, and come to the knowledge of Truth, 1. Tim. 2. 3. If All; None at this very Day, are Excluded from the Means of learning Christ's Verities, Taught only in that Church, which He established. Grace Re­mained with this Church, Therfore Truth also. 4. The consolation of Grace (Sectaries say it) Perma­nently Remain's with Christs Church For Ever; Therfore, Truth also is as Permanent, And as Inseparable from it; Truth being as Necessary to a Church as Grace is. 5. The Rock which is Christ, Stand's Immovable and Vnshaken; Ther­fore the true Church Built upon this Rock and Corner-stone, 1. Cor. 10. Can no more Fail, or fall from Truth, Then Christ can leave of to be an Indeficient Verity. To say then, That God once Founded his true Church up­on the Rock Iesus Christ, And grant, That after­ward He Permitted either Men or Devils to Pull it down, to Deface it with Errour and fals Doctrin, is so Desperate a Paradox, That, I think, no Chri­stian dare Avouch it in such Terms.

12. Now mark my Inferences, upon Thes