THE PRETENSIONS OF THE Triple Crown EXAMINED: IN Thrice Three Familiar Letters, Upon so many Controverted Points, which require more than a single Consideration.

Written some years ago By Sir Christopher Wyvill Baronet.

With certain later Reflections on the same Subjects

LONDON, Printed by E. T. and R. H. for Matthias Walker, under St. Dunstan's Church in Fleet-street. 1672.

To all my near RELATIONS, AND Esteemed ACQUAINTANCE OF THE Romish Persvvasion.

THose that have the Fancie, or the Fate to come under▪ the Press, have (for most part) the Wit, in their Dedications, to cull out such persons whose Inclinations, they know, are well set towards the subject matter of the Book; and who are, they hope, willing to afford it their Patro­nage. By this Address, I have depriv­ed my self of those Advantages: Instead of Favour, (which I cannot antecedent­ly [Page] expect) I request, only, that you will not bring Prejudice, and, in the room of Protection, I court you but for fair Perusal.

I know not whether any of you may be convinc'd or no; yet, at the least, I am desirous (as never affecting Fire-side or Table-disputes of this Nature) to let you see, upon what Grounds my Judgment leads me to stand off from you, in those Principles, which admini­ster sad occasions of Contention to all the (Christian) World, and wherein only, you can, at any time, be disagree­able unto him, who is

Yours, with sincere and real Love, to serve you, Christopher Wyvill.


FInding all those little Sophisms which laid hold on me, when I was a Child, (or thought as a Childe) new-vampt, for the seduction of the growing Generation; I am not unwilling (nay, methinks, I am in a manner obliged) to communicate what Antidotes I found most effectual.

What is offered here, is, I hope, fully consonant to the true Standard of the Reformation, and genuine Sence of our English Church. If the Antinomian in his impetuous flights from Rome, have [Page] run quite out from any habitable Zone; If the rigid Anabaptists, or Quakers, have, in their heady, and heedless Course, brought back the Quintessence of Popery, by a side-wind, into the Body of their Belief; If the Socinian, or his younger Brother, have warpt aside from once e­stablish'd Truths, I have not a word to say for them: nor, will I add more to you, save Farewell.

Part I.

YOU have now spent a Lustre and an half, or thereabout, in that Adventurous Calling, which hath let you see the Wonders of the Deep; and acquainted you with the Ad­mirably various Dispositions and Customs of several People and Places: It has been a Joy to my self, with many others of your Friends and Well-wishers, to hear that in your Im­ployments abroad, you have gone through much, both with Reputation and Success. Of late a Rumour (for I would not willingly think it any more) hath arrived here, as if you should have made Shipwrack of your Religi­on, and not past Scylla and Charybdis in safety, without drinking in, or rather being swallow­ed up of, the Italian Delusions.

I am no affector of scurrilous or foul Lan­guage; yet, if I should enquire of you, with what deceitful tincture that Roman Curtizan [Page 2] had washt over her Deformities so, as you could become inamoured on her, the nature of her Apostasie would, perhaps, justifie the Term. I shall endeavour in this Address, to wipe off the Varnish (whereby, I know well, she allures a great Part of the Prejudiced or Interessed World) and discover to you Ble­mishes of too large a Size to pass for Beauty­spots.

And, whilst I declare unto you what Con­siderations they were, which, by God's bles­sing, removed out of my way all those stumbl­ing Blocks that I found cast in it, and whereby I was reduced into the right Paths, even when my feet had almost slipt; I do humbly sup­plicate the Father of Mercies, That it may please him to inable you, and all that desire to seek him in Truth, to see through the dark Mist which Popery draws before the eyes of its Proselytes, stuffing the Phancies even of her Babes and Sucklings (in stead of wholsom food drawn from the sincere Milk of God's Word) with I know not what Conceits of Romes In­fallibilitie, Perspicuity, Succession, Supremacy, Perpetuity and the like, till she have brought them under a gross and blind Submission to all her Dictates; and, before they understand things that differ, made them ready to swear to all the words of that most Imperious Mistress.

[Page 3] Thus it was, that a Young Lady within my knowledge, being in Discourse brought to such a point of Convincement, as compelled her Reason to go over into the Tents of her Antagonist; at the last, clapt her self down upon her Knees, made the Sign of the Cross, and rejected all as a Temptation.

But let us remember we are advised to be able to give a reason of the Faith that is in us; and take Courage to Examine how sufficient the Foundation is, whereupon the Church of Romè would build so vast a Claim to Perpetual Ex­emption from Error, and fix the Pillars of Truth within her Territories only: Yet first I think it necessary to desire you not to de­spise the Animadversions I offer you, because they are transmitted from an hand which you know weak and insufficient for the Underta­king. There is here little of mine besides what is, indeed, the only Culpable part, the Composure, or lying together; the Materials being decerped from many Learned and Pious Authours, who now, most of them, rest from their Labours, and enjoy that Crown of Righ­teousness, which they strove for in their seve­ral Generations.

That minatory Admonition,Rom. 11. 20. to the whole Church of theMr. Reynolds upon the 110. Psal. Gentiles, and particularly direct­ed to that of Rome (wherein the Apostle bids [Page 4] her beware of High-mindedness, (as if he had foreseen what would be her ruine) makes it clear to me, That her standing was not assured to her less-conditionally, than that of the Temple of Hierusalem, whereofMorney Lord du Plessys. it was said 2 Chron. 33. 4. 7. The Lord would dwell for ever in it; as in Psal. 132. 14. This is my Rest for ever: here will I dwell.

When did the great Disposer of all things devest himself of that Prerogative, whereby he usually punisheth the sins of any Nation, by removing his Candlestick from thence? Doth not the very appellation of Catholick (given to the Gospel Church, in opposition to that Administration, whereby it was con­fined within the Pale of the Jews Synagogue) strongly intimate, That all the Climates of the World are equally Gods Temple? What reason I pray to terminate all the Promises at Rome? If you will argue, as I know those of that Communion do, from the words of our Saviour to St. Peter, Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock, &c. This Quaere will arise, Whether the Promise relate to Peter's preceding words, which had newly poynted out the Chief Cor­ner Stone; Or, whether the Design of it were to fasten an Infallibility of Judgment, not on­ly upon Peter, but to convey it even to his Heirs and Successors till the end of time? It [Page 5] has, long since, been observed, that in the Original there is an apparentThe saine du Plessys. Distinction betwixt the name and the person, interwoven in Christ's answer: Tu es Petrus leads up the Van; but then, not in te Petrum, but super hanc Petram marches next; and so that Interpretation which would seem to interess the Pope in the Place, is left in some disorder. But it may be you are apt to think this a new sence put upon the words; I will therefore bring you Doctors, ancient e­nough, that were satisfied with this Exposition. St. Hillary thus; This Faith is Lib. 2. de Trinitate. the one unmoveable Foundation, the alone happy Rock, confessed by the mouth of Peter, Thou art the Son of the living God: And again, This is the Foundati­on Lib. sexto. of the Church, by it the Gates of Hell are made weak against her. Ambrose in his Epistles is of the same mind; so is Hie­rom in many Places; as upon Psal. 40. Math. 18. and Amos 9. So is St. Au­gustin Gregory on the 5. Penitent. Psal. on John in his 6th. Ser­mon de Verbo Dom. And having in a certain place, slipt into the other acception of the meaning, he solemnly retractsVid. the Primate of Ireland's Answer to a Jesuit's Challenge. the same; and notes, besides, the (it seems) then usual mis­take in singing the Verses of St. Ambrose con­cerning the Cock.

[Page 6] The Truth is, when any of them seem to favour that sence which we oppose, they do it in a certain Rhetorical wayIn Sacriloquio, quando in singulari numero fundamen­tum dicitur, Nullus alius nisi Christus designatur. Greg. lib. 28. in Cap. Jo­suae 6. (whereby they were accustom­ed to give high applauds to the Bishop of Rome, sitting in the then Imperial City, and there­fore accounted Chief) rather than seriously and dogmatical­ly. Yet will it not at all disadvantage us, to grant that St. Peter was a Rock, that is, a main Pillar, and a Master-builder in the Church of God: Nay, what would it harm our Cause, if we should confess that it was promised to Peter, he should become the Founder of an eminent Church? And that the Faith he was to Preach should surmount the power of Hell? Yea let us further suppose, what we will not grant; That there is some particular Place or Succession of men, whereto, by vertue of the Promise made to Peter, perpetual Truth were to be affixed: Why may not Antioch in Syria (within the Verge of his peculiar Charge) or Babylon in AEgypt (the firstGal. 2. 7. The Jews and such as were Circumcised. Place of his residence amongst the Gentiles) put in for a right of Succession to that Grand Privilege, rather than Rome; since, whether ever he came there or no, at most, whether any otherwise than to suffer, is a Controversie not yet decided? but [Page 7] that he could sit 26. years Bishop (as some of them affirm) is a thing utterlyVide Bunting his Itinerarie in the Tra­vels of St. Peter. impossible, if we regard the Computation of times, and re­flect upon those years, he must necessarily have spent in other places. Vid. Bunting's Itinera­rium totius Scripturae, pag. 496.

As for that other place, weakly enough urg­ed by some, I prayed for thee that thy faith fail not: It's clear that was spoken only to fortifie St. Peter against the approaching time wherein Satan had desired to winnow him, and cannot with any front be transferred beyond his own person in the Application.

Next you may, I suppose, put a Question to me which I have, not unfrequently, put to my self; Where was the Truth, if not at Rome? Have patience, but a little, and I hope I shall return you an answer more satisfactory and ra­tional than I could ever haveJesuites and their followers. from any of those Papists, who make the Decision of all Controversies, a Pri­viledge fitted only to the nar­row Dimensions of the Pope's Breast: when I have demand­ed of them what Course they would have taken to have found out Truth in a disputable point, if they had then lived when there was sometimes Europe for more than 40. years was almost equally divid­ed in their judgments as well as in cruel hatred, one part a­gainst the other, about the Right of Clement and Urbane 6. to the Infallible Chair. two, once [Page 8] three, and more than once no Pope at all for many years together, a thing evident enough in History.

Now for the solving of your doubt; We willingly do acknowledge, That at Rome there was a very early and famous Church; her Faith was spoken of through the whole World: And when it pleased God by the Conversion of the Emperour Constantine, to clear a way for the farther Increment of the Gospel, she grew in Eminency and Splendour; till over­set, as it were, with the Indulgence and Boun­ty of him and some of his Successors, she be­gan to recoyl, and study Grandeur, more than Grace. We do not imagine that all in one day, or year, or age, she became so infected, that it was presently necessary to separate from her: But we think the manner of her Defection was well foreshewen (and perhaps aimed at) in that Parable of the Tares, injected by night, and hardly discerned in their growth; yet increasing still, as the Negligence, Avarice or Ambition of the Priests and People did serve­in an opportunity. Thus, the Wisdom of the Primitive Church, dispensing her Admo­nitions, her Suspensions, Excommunications, her Pennances, Relaxations, Absolutions, &c. in such manner as the Condition of her refra­ctory, or penitent, Delinquents might require, (things conducing meerly to the outward Re­giment [Page 9] & Discipline of those times) degenerated at last into such Conceits, as kindled the Fire of Purgatory, and gave birth to Pardons and Indul­gences prodigally extended to whole Families and their Descendants, for many Ages yet to come: And by this means were the Purses, in a manner, of the whole World opened, and their owners made inclinable to pour out their Treasure into the Popes Lap. For, who would not, both easily be perswaded to taste the tempting Sweets of Sin here, and to part with a good proportion of his worldly Goods at his death, under the Notion of bringing so much health to the Estate of his Soul in the next Life?

Thus the Stile which the Ancient Fathers thought fit to use when theyThe Authors of France painted to the life, pag. 16. treated of the Lords Supper, wherein they often held to the Tropes and Metaphors of the Institution, was at length perverted into the opinion of abso­lute Transubstantiation; a Pyx commanded to be made for a Cover to the Bread, and a Bell to ring before it, Anno 1215. Adoration of it enjoyned, Anno 1226. Corpus Christi Day instituted, Anno 1264. and further confirmed in the Council of Vienna, Anno 1310. All which served well to settle in the people a greater Ve­neration towards the Workers of such Mi­racles, the Priests. And that such a thing was [Page 10] much in the business may surely seem not im­probable to any, that will impartially Eye the Posture and Inclination of those times, For if ordinary Priests could do such things; what submis­sions could be thought enough, towards the supreme Bishop, as Men were then lear­ning to call him. Ep. fol. 885. when the Bishop of Rome had his great design on foot to Exalt himself above all Civil Magistracy. When I find Erasmus making this re­turn to our Tunstall, who had provoked him to write against Luther; That he ought to take heed, lest he had a Zeal not according to knowledge; and that there was a sort of men too tenacious of some things unluckily crept into the Church. When I over-hear him complaining to his Freind Stephanus Rhodericus, Fol. 859. That the Vulgar sort of Divines examined all Scripture by the Text of certain School-disputes, attributing very little to the ancient Doctors of the Church; When I ob­serve him going on, with a kind of indignati­on, thus; Now (and therefore but newly) We learn, That Christ in the business committed to him by the Father, owed to his Mother Obe­dience; That, now in Heaven, she may command him, according to a Form of Invocation (it seems then usual) Shew thy self A further strange In­stance of this I shall hereafter give you. a Mother; That Heaven is a Debt to our Works of Condigni­ty. When, I say, such a man as he groans, as [Page 11] it were, under the burthen of the Innovations in his time, it's enough to establish in me this belief, That, ab initio non fuit sic. The first divinely inspired Workmen, upon a good foun­dation, built up a Noble Structure of Gold and Silver; but their degene­ratingDoctor Chalanours Unde Zir. in a Prentices laid thereupon rows of Stone, Brick, Lome, Slime, Rubbish.

Yet, though the Church of Rome was, in respect of many of the chief Prelates, and a Predominant Faction, guiltyThe Primate of Ire­land, lib. citato has their names. of Errors; there were divers disliked them, and desired a Reformation; though not holding themselves obliged to refuse her Communion, till she with open face, owned some grosser Tenets, and enjoyned them to be re­ceivedChalanours Credo Eccles. pag. 215. under a Curse, about the year 1160. and then came out from her a People professing the same Affirmatives and Negatives with us. And there wanted not some, who may be said to have even Prophe­sied, long before Luther, of that Restauration of Primitive Truth, which wePrimate of Ireland, as before. and our Fathers have seen. I suppose those mens Faith (which eyes onely the splendour and outward glory of Profes­sors) if they had been to chuse their Religion, when God was pleased to support his almost despairing, because (to his own sight) single [Page 12] Prophet, with an assurance, That there were seven thousand who had not bowed the knee unto Baal, would have been at a sore loss. And, however those who sat in Moses's Chair had, at our Saviour's Coming, made the Law of God of none effect by their Traditions; yet many believed on him (old Simeon, Za­chary and Elizabeth &c.) who Communicated in the outward Sacraments, and Discipline of the Church, but were the Flock of another Fold.

You will reply here, perhaps, The Word of God is large in Promises concerning the great Extent, and flocking of the Gentiles to the Church of Christ. How are they fulfill'd? The very taking down the Partition-Wall, when the whole World was cried free to come to God; and the enlarging of the Churches Bounds (till then impaled within the Confines of Ju­ry) even to as many as the Lord our God shall (before his second Coming) call, was certain­ly a very glorious Work, and the main end of such Predictions. Thus St. Paul affirms the Gospel to have, in his time, been preached to every Creature under Heaven; and doubt­less there was grand access to the Church by the Labours of the Apostles and their Suc­cessors: Yet we are told of a Mystery of Ini­quity, beginning to Creep even then; and ought not to forget, that we are fore-warned of a [Page 13] season, when the Woman was to be forced into the Wilderness. The Estate of the Church is like that of the Moon, sometimes in the Wane, and sometimes, by God's permissi­on, suffering grievous Eclipses: but since by his goodness she can again, at other seasons, elevate her head, the Gates of Hell cannot be said to have prevailed against her.

Next, let me intreat you to put one Que­stion to those ne'er-erring Doctors; and, if they give you a positive Answer, it may in­courage you to take more ofStrongly disputed e­very way, as may be seen in Bellarmine de Concil. & Ec­cles. Milit. Yet he boldly resolves all by the Determinations of Trent. their advices: Is it the Pope, is it a Councel, or both together; or, which of them severed is it, upon which you ought to Pinn your Belief? Believe me, and that were a thing worth know­ing: But let not the Romanists vaunt so much of their Unity, so long as in this Cardinal Point, (for, no less than the whole Frame of their Religion turns with it)Eugenius was de­posed by a General Council; and it was declared impossible for those to be saved that held him Pope. Yet he continued in by force, and from him is the so much vaunted of Succession. they are at variance amongst themselves. The Jesuits for the most part cry up the Pope, ma­ny others, both ancient and modern, stand for the Councils; in my judgment, the third sort, who plead for them conjoin'd, are the least irrational; though 'tis evident [Page 14] enough, that even their United Results have deviated; for we discover them Poynt-blank thwarting one another, and that of Trent (pro­tested against even by the French) domineer­ing over them all.

Sixtus the Fifth, and Clement the Eighth authorized both their very much disagreeing Editions of the Bible; both injoyned their own, and only that, to be used under an A­nathema; both were back'd with the Autho­rity of a Council. What stir has been about the introducing and rejecting Images? What Animosities and Bickerings be­tweenBaxter's Winding sheet, pag. 10. Stephen the Sixth, For­mosus, Theodorus the Second, Romanus, John the Tenth, and Sergius? Even such as would not suffer them to rest in their Graves, with­out being taken thence dismembred, and thrown into Tyber. The first Nicene Council allowed the Marriage of PriestsSundry General Councils obtruded A­rianism upon the World, and Liberius Bishop of Rome con­firmed it. and Communion in both kinds: The later Councils of Constance and Basil forbid the Laity the use of the Cup; and Trent in­terdicteth both Marriage to the Clergy, and the Cup to the People. TheDavenant de Judi­ce & Normâ Fidei. cap. 21. fol. 125. General Council of Constanti­nople overthrows Images, the second Nicene decrees for them; again, that of Franckford under Charles the Great deter­mines [Page 15] them Idolatrous, and goes so far as so­lemnly to accurse the Council of Nice. The third Council of Carthage pronounceth him accursed that shall call himselfThe calling of Coun­cils formerly, was the right of the Emperour undeniably, now u­surped by the Pope. Universal Bishop, and terms such an one the Forerunner of Anti­christ. The Tridentine Assem­bly threatens in no lower Phrase, all, whosoever do deny the Pope that Title; which he could never scrue himself in­to, till (the Eastern PatriarchsThat he had no such universal Dominion, may strongly be prov­ed out of Sir Roger Twisden's Vindi­cation of the Church of England, cap. 2. and their Jurisdiction, now swallowed up by the Turk, and the Western Empire weakned by its own divisions, gives him lieve still to think himself se­cure in it) he drove on his Ends, by striking such a Bargain with Phocas that Murthering Usurper.

Lastly, to draw off something from the opi­nion which may, I suspect, possessBy the Abbot of Bangor's Reply to Augustin the Monk, who demanded their obedience. you of their perfect Unity at present (though their Religion, consisting much in the Shell of Outward Rites and Perfor­mances, is more easily conspired in) I shall let you see, how even since the Famous Definition of Trent, as Vasquez phrases it, their disagree­ments and differences are not inconsiderable. Else, why could not that Council declare what [Page 16] was its own meaning, when it was called on to arbitrate betwixt Dominicus Soto, and Am­brose Catherinus, who both were present at the drawing the Canons, yet Writ (in Books now Extant) irreconcileably concerning Original Sin, and the Doctrine of Justification. But those Fathers had it certainly in design to speak ambiguously in most ofGelasius the Pope said, The Sacrament without the Cup, is a grand Sacrilege, but half Commu­nion. their Decrees, framing them so as every one might take them in a sence best suting to his own apprehension, and then forbad all manner of Commen­taries to be made upon them; so their words were Unisons, not regarding what differing Crotchets were retained in their Opinions, &c.

Now, for our selves, though I do infinitely bewail the differences amongstWhat means the pre­sent bussle in France betwixt the Janse­nists and Jesuits a­bout Efficacious grace and the next power? us; it lessens my Scandal at them every time I read the Tenth chap. of S. Matthew, since I am there told, what is (through the fault of Gain-sayers) an ordinary Consequence of the Truths presence. Perfect Unity in Opinion is the Privilege of Minds triumphant above, and the Churches of the Apostles themselves were some of Paul, some of Cephas, &c. If you will strain at a Gnat, because you hear there are dissentions a­mongst us, and yet swallow such a Camel as [Page 17] this, That the Creed of every Christian must be resolved into the present Dictates of the Roman Church; and that you ought not to question whether she tread in the good old Paths (a shift that some of her Champi­ons are driven to) I must confess I am at a stand what to say to you. But let us by one particular, make a ghess what her posture hath been in the rest. The Fathers of the first five Centuries may, I think, with a safe Confidence be affirmed to have intended nothing by their Merita, but such a Title to the Recompence of Reward, as is plainly co-incident in its mean­ing with our expectation of that Crown which God, the Righteous Judge, hath laid up a­gainst the last day, for them that have finished their Course, and kept the Faith; therefore are they well called by some Certain Semina­ries of Hope. And they were so far from any thought of a Proportionate value or Condi­gnity, as they every where speak against it. When the high-soaring School­menBernard of Clareval de Grat. & liber. Ar­bitr. hatcht that Opinion (since fledg'd and much improved by the industrious care of the Jesuits with their adherents) how unhandsome it appeared to men of sober minds, you may observe from that place of Erasmus given you before; two others the next Epistle shall acquaint you with, and abundance more cited by the Pri­mate [Page 18] of Ireland, and Davenant, in the Point. We will here lay together the Judgment of Theodoret and Cyril of Alexandria; with the late Positions of the Rhemists; then judge whether there be such a Consonancy and Iden­titie betwixt Antiquity and Rome at this day, as is pretended: The former tells us, that the Salvation of men dependsTheodoret in So­phon. cap. 3. upon the sole Mercy of God: For we do not obtain it as a Reward and Wages of our Righteousness; but it is the Gift of God's goodness. The Crowns do excel the Fights; the Rewards are not to be compared with the Labours, &c. And therefore (says he) the Apostle called those things that are look­ed for, not Wages, but Glory, Rom. 8. 18. and again, not Wages, but Grace, Rom. 6. 23. Although a man should performSay not, this means Natural works only, for the contrary is evident. the most absolute Righteous­ness, Things Eternal do not an­swer Temporal Labours in e­qual poyse. The same is Cyril's mind too: for he tells us, The Crown doth much surpass the pains which we take. Not a paying a price for labour, but pouring out the Hom. Paschal. 4. riches of his goodness, saith Prosper.

Well, now hear the Rhemists in another Note. All good works done by God's grace af­ter the first Justification, be truly and properly [Page 19] Meritorious, and fully worthy of Everlasting life: and thereupon Heaven is the just Annot. upon 2 Tim. 4▪ 8. Stipend, Crown, or Recompence, which God by his Justice oweth Upon 1 Cor. 3. 8. to the Persons so working by his Grace, &c. And in another place they there­fore will have us to think, that the word Re­ward (which in our English may signifie a vo­luntary, or bountiful Gift) is not expressive e­nough of the Original which they will render better by a very Stipend that the hired Work­man or Journey-man covenanteth to have of him whose work he doth; and is a thing e­qually and justly answering to the weight and time of his Travels, rather than a free Gift. But let them answer St. Paul who calls it so, Rom. 6. 23. and it were their best, in their next Edition of their Expurgatory Indexes, to wipe out such pestilent places (of former Wri­ters) as will not suffer them to hugg their Diana in quietness.

Thus you may discern in part, how unsafe it will be to take up Religion upon trust, without laying the several poynts thereof to the Square of Gods word; a course which the Commen­dation fixed upon the Bereans may incourage all men unto, and which I do (God willing) in­tend to make the Subject of some future Letters.


ALthough it be an old received Truth; That Discords in Religion are the most bitter, and for the most part prosecuted with most violence; I shall desire to contract, ra­ther than widen, the Differences betwixt us; and (leaving the Out-works which fortifie our Cause in other points we hold in Oppo­sition to the Roman Church, to stand a while upon their own Guard) set my self, at present, to the defence of that which is most oppugn­ed by Papists, against which the Jesuites have raised their fiercest Batteries; I mean our Do­ctrine of Justification. Our answers are so Con­sonant in the first Quaere, that, one would think we were almost agreed, and Dispute at an end; for this Maxim is, as I conceive, imbraced on both sides, We are saved by Grace. But, alas! they have framed such strange Comments, and affixed so perverse a Defi­nition to the nature of their Grace, as will, and must needs, keep us at a grand and perpe­tual distance: With them, it is no­thing else, but an A­bility to perform, in our own persons (af­ter we have received to believe the Word of God) such obedience to the Law, as, for that, we become righteous, and deserve, by equal Compensation, the Kingdom of Heaven. Forasmuch as I have observed most of the Objections brought in against [Page 21] us, to arise merely from a mis-understanding of that Faith to which only we dare trust our Justification; I will in the first Place sub-joyn it's Nature and Office in three Propositions.

First, the Faith we desire to establish, is not a bare Opinion, is not a mere Notion, but it is a Grace, a purifying, a cleansing, reforming Grace of God's Spirit. And though the Principal and main Act of Faith be an Accepting, Receiving and Resting upon Christ alone for Justification, by vertue of the Covenant; Yet they who are Effectually called and Regenerate, have a new heart Created in them, and are farther Really and Personally sanctified; the Domi­nion of the whole Body of Sin destroyed, the several Lusts thereof by degrees mortified; and they more and more strengthned in all saving Graces to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Nor do we say that good Works done by such an one are, of their own Nature, sins (as we are slanderously reported to do;) No, so far as they are good, they are the Product of God's own Spirit, and he approves them: But because of a mixture of Imperfections, adhering to the best of men, in this Life, and their Works; We think they are no better than the Reeds of Egypt, which if a man lean on them, with hopes of Justice from them, will break and wound his sides. We are Justified by Faith alone [Page 22] without Works; Not that Works are sepa­rated from Faith, or can be; But only exclud­ed from the Act of Justifying. AMr. Allen. Dead Faith cannot Justifie; a Living Faith cannot be Idle. The Concur­rence of Works is Certain, their Agreement Amiable, in the Life of one Justified: Yet their Contrariety irreconcileable in the procurement of Justification. Those termsJustifying Faith is, When a man does, practically, believe the two great Do­ctrines of Justifica­tion and Sanctifica­tion. Rom. 4. 5, 6. of Justifying the Ungodly, and of Imputing Righ­teousness without Works, are not so to be taken, as if God ever did, or ever would, save any Person, who resolved to continue impious, or contemn the practice of good Works; but they stand in opposition to all conceit of any Justifying power in good Works; and may teach us, That no man's holiness can be such in this Life, but he will at God's Tribunal, stand in need of that Covering, which St. Paul fetcheth out of the 32. Psal. and points out to us in ver. 7. Ponder too ver. 8. and tell me then, whether you can conceal from your self the whole Plat-form of the Protestant Doctrine in this point: For, the not Impu­ting of Sins, and the Imputing of Righteous­ness without Works, make up the Whole of our Belief.

[Page 23] Secondly, a Sinner is not Justified by Faith, as it is a Quality which deserves remission of Guilt, and the Glory of Hea­ven;Paul the Apostle in the terms of, toward God Repentance, and Faith toward Christ, clearly points out this Office of Faith, Acts 20. 21. nor as it is by God's fa­vourable acceptance, taken for the whole and perfect Righte­ousness of the Law; But it ju­stifies only with reference to its Object Christ; Faith being that Grace which the Soul makes use of to close in with him, receive, and imbrace the Promises; by it we are ingrafted into that O­live-tree,It's strange how those that hold a Treasury of Saints Merits, can term our Doctrine of Imputation an em­pty Speculation: For, Is there a Communi­on of the Members one with another, and not with the Head? and are made Mem­bers of that glorious Head. We do not here (as some traduce us) erect a Justification merely supposititious; or state, be­twixt Christ and the Believer, only an imaginary Relation; But we hold the Interest we have in him to be of most real and true Partici­pation; Forasmuch as (having by God's effectu­al and gratious Ordination, taken upon him the Humane Nature, so entirely put on) he communicates (by vertue of the Mystical U­nion through the Covenant, whereto God the Father, the Son, and Man, are Parties) really, his Satisfaction and Merits to all Be­lievers, Joh. 6. 27. Isa. 42. 1. Heb. 5. 4▪ 5. Jer. 31. 31. Thus he who knew no Sin, was [Page 24] made Sin for us, and we notBearing by Imputati­on, and no otherwise, the Iniquities of us all. having any Righteousness in our selves are made the Righte­ousness of God in him, Rom. 3. 26. Who rose again for our Justification, as he died for our sins. Thus he isFinis Legis Christus omni Credenti. Ber­nard. ad Innoc. 190. the Justifier, and thus the end of the Law for Righteousness to eve­ry one that believes, Rom. 10. 4.

Let but Faith be the Substance of things hoped for, the Evidence of things un-seen; whereby we Receive and Imbrace, as well as are Perswa­ded of, the Promises, Heb. 11. Suffer us but to draw Consolation, by laying hold on the Hope set before us, Heb. 6. 18. Let it be an Eying of Christ offering his Body, shedding his Blood, and fulfilling the Law perfectly, as the Church of England speaks in the Homilies of Salvation, very clearly; Let it be a Fidu­cial Recumbence upon our Saviour in his whole Mediatorial Office; which is, certain­ly, our Duty, as well as Privilege; And we desire no more. Heb. 12. 1, 2.

The Free Gift, which is said to come upon all men to the Justification of Life, is held forth as the immediate Consequence and Ef­fect of that exact and complete Justice which was in our Saviour Christ only, and the word [...] there used, imports the very Act of Justifyng, or judicially pronoun­cing [Page 25] Just, and not infusi­onDavenant de Justi­tia habituali, fol. 373. into the Soul of any Ha­bit of Justice. We have no obscure Intimation what Righteousness is able to appear before God, in all those Places where the Scriptures (treating of Man's Ju­stification in his sight) points out [...], The Righteousness of God, affixing it to the very Person of Christ, and not [...], as it were only derived from him, into the Regenerate.

Thirdly, We are Justified by Faith in Op­position to the Righteousness of Works, by fulfilling the Law in our own persons, or else making Satisfaction for what we come short. Paul's Disputations are levelled against the Moral Law, as well as the Ceremonial, for in the point of Justification he waves even that Law, Rom. 7. 12, 13. which he terms Holy, and Just, and Good, and which to other uses he is careful to establish. Here again, if we con­sult the Original, where the Righteousness of the Law is said to be fulfilled in us, we may (by the word [...], Rom. 8. 4. (never applied to that inherent Righteousness, which is our San­ctification, but to that Righteousness of Christ whereby he satisfied the utmostDavenant, ut supra, cap. 28. Demands of the Law) be guid­ed through the Labyrinth of Disputes, to a right understanding of this Unum Necessarium: [Page 26] wherein having expatiated a little more than the Brevity I at first proposed to my self would permit; let me now represent to your view these three former heads, copied out in Little.

  • 1. Faith is not an Empty Speculation, but an Operative Grace of God's Spirit.
  • 2. The Righteousness wherewith we shall be clothed in the World to come, is both Per­fect and Inherent. The former in Christ, the latter in us.
  • 3. The Righteousness which is our Sancti­fication is, indeed, Inherent but not Perfect.


  • 1. Justificatio apprehensiva, called often Justi­fying Faith, is not properly Justification, but an apprehension or knowledge of it.
  • 2. Justificatio Effectiva, termed Causal Justi­fication, none but Christ can have a Claim unto.
  • 3. Justificatio declarativa is by St. James sty­led Justifying by Works, as it is the manifesta­tion or testimony of true Conversion.

Thus those Scriptures do sweetly agree, which say we are Justified, sometimes by Grace, sometimes by Faith, sometimes by Christ; and, that once, by Works. Let us do Evil that Good may come thereof, Rom. 6. 1. was the Devil's Rhetorick, in the mouths of licen­tious men, to bring an obloquie upon St. Paul's Doctrine of free Grace: But, doubtless, Satan is a more cunning Sophister than to frame [Page 27] an Argument of so much Inconsequence as to say, Continue in Sin, that inherent Grace may abound. Whence I think, we may, not im­probably, conclude, That nothing else is intend­ed by all the preceding Discourse, but the Gracious Act of Almighty God, whereby he absolves a believing Sinner at the Tribunal of his Justice, Pronouncing him Righteous, ac­quitting, and accepting him to Glory only for Christ's sake. Thus when he had assigned to sin, its proper Effect, due Wages, and Merit, Death; coming to speak of Life Eternal, we find no such terms in his mouth; but he sud­denly cuts off the File of hisHow insincerely the the Rhemists do ren­der this place see in Dr. Fulk. Contexture, and calls it Rom. 6. ult. [...], The Free Gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. There is Justification by Remission of Sins; there is Justification, by having the Righ­teousness of the Law fulfilled in us; there is the Justification of Life, or the Receiving that Crown of Life. All these are laid up in the Person of Christ for the use of his Church; and brought home to every true mem­ber by the hand of Faith. There is, too, an­other Sort of Justification, viz. At the Bar of Conscience, and in Foro Humano, by Works of Righteousness which we are to do, after the Pattern, but cannot do up to the measure shew­ed in the Mount; not for these, nor yet with­out [Page 28] these, can we have Entrance into the desir­ed Rest. According to which we draw forth this Abridgment of our Belief and Practice.

  • In Sanctification we renounce all Our Sins.
  • In Justification we renounce all Our Graces.

In stead of this most holy Faith once deli­vered to the Saints, Jude 3. and for the Pro­fession whereof Rome was spoken of through­out the World, she has now introduced such a Doctrine of Works foreseen, of Free-will, of Works having Merits of several Sizes, before and after Conversion, of Works of Penance and Satisfaction, of suffering to the last Mite in Purgatory, of Indulgences, Pardons, and the like, of Opus operatum, or the very Doing the work, in holy Duties; as gets their Entertain­ment in the World, by their Consistency with the Pope's Ends of Gain and Power; and by their obviousness and sutableness to the proud Nature of Man.

1. Bellarmine and the Rhemists go far, when they tell us, That the goodDe Justifie. lib. 5. cap. 17. The Arguments are good against all Works. Works of just Persons do merit Eternal Life Condignly, not one­ly by reason of God's Covenant or Acceptation, but also by rea­son of the Work it self.

[Page 29]2. Maldonat a little more roughly affirms, That we do as properly and truly Merit Re­wards, when with the Grace ofUpon Ezech. 18. 20. God we do well, as Punishments when we do ill. So the Progeny of Catho­licks and Hereticks, a Book full of cunning mistakes, and slander, gives us these as their Tenents, That good Works doProgeny of Cathol. &c. lib. 2. cap. 21. pag. 86. truly merit and deserve Grace in this World, and Glory in the next; That a Man may perfectly fulfil and keep all God's Commandments. Which sure­ly stands need of Bellarmine toLib. 2. de Monach. cap. 13. help it out, who hath this fine Phansie. If, says he, I sin not when I love God no otherwise than in the first Degree of Love; then I am not, in strictness, bound Rom. 8. 4. 2 Cor. 5. 21. to love him more than so; there­fore if I do adde one farther degree of Love, I love God more than I am bound to, and perform an Act of Supererogation. But we will think (having so good a Warrant for it, Math. 5. 17, 18. and 22. 37, 38.) that we are obliged to Love the Lord our God, with all our might. The Terms of the Gospel do not at all alter or mollifie the Demands of the Law; only it shews how they are fulfilled by Christ: who having the Law transferred from us (in our own persons) unto his most sacred Person, as Mediator, per­formed (for so it behoved him to do) all [Page 30] Righteousness, Matth. 3. became the End of the Law, for Righteousness, Rom. 10. and makes his true Members just, by his obedience. Ber­nard tells us, the Law (even under the Gospel) requires no less than Obedience [Rectam] ac­cording to Rule; all that isBernard. de Verb. Esa. Serm. 4. prescribed, and only what is prescribed; [Puram] free from blemish in man­ner and measure; [Firmam] steady for conti­nuance without intermission. A Yoak that neither we nor our Fathers are able to bear. And August. in Epist. 29. ad Heron. Charitas in aliis major, in aliis minor, in aliis nulla; ple­nissima verò, quae jam non potest augeri, quam­diu hîc homo vivit, in nemine est; quamdiu autem augeri potest, profectò illud quod minus est quàm debet, ex vitio est.

The full Mystery of their Iniquity is held forth at large by the Audacious Vasquez, pre­tending fully to know the minds of the Trent Fathers, Thus; That Good In his Com. Disp. 214. cited by the Pri­mate of Ireland, ut suprà; and by Dave­nant, de Justitia ha­bituali & actuali. Works of Just Persons are, of themselves, without any Cove­nant or Acceptation, worthy of the reward of Life Eternal, and they have an equal value of Con­dignity to the obtaining of Everlasting Glory: That no accession of Dignity doth come to the Works of the Just by the Merits or Person of Christ, which the same Works should not have [Page 31] otherwise, if they had been done by the same Grace, bestowed, liberally, by God alone, without Christ: That God's promise is annexed indeed to the Works of Just men; yet it Paul declares his whole Justification, both in his first Con­version, and in the time of his writing, and at the Resur­rection, to be wholly absolved in Faith. Phil. 3. 9. belongeth not to the Reason, or Cause why they become Merito­rious, but cometh rather to the Works themselves, which are al­ready so: That, after Grace in­fused, our Works are so perfectly Meritorious of Life, that it can­not be denied them; Therefore (going on in Terms wherewith I am almost afraid to black my Paper) says he, In vain do we require a Con­tinued Imputation of Christ's Merits, or Justice, after the receipt of inherent Grace. Agreeable hereto, is, what he tells us far­ther.Disp. 222. cap. 3. They never request of God by the Merits of Christ, that the reward of Eternal Life may be given to their If the Works of Righteousness which we have done must be our Justification, though Grace receiv­ed from above, be con­ceived to enable us thereto; yet are we under the Covenant of Do this (whol­ly, purely, constant­ly) and live. Which if any man say, he deceives himself, 1 Jo. 1. 8, 9, 10. worthy and meritorious Works; but that by Christ, Grace may be given them, whereby they may be inabled worthily to merit that Reward. That besides that Im­putation of Christ's Merits for the obteining of Grace; it's not needful for atteining of Life in Heaven: and from that time forward, they do not expect any [Page 32] any other Imputation, than what Bernard de Verbo Esa. Serm. 4. at first they did receive, viz. Grace to keep the Commandments and thereby become just. We will leave this man to his own Inventions, when we have viewed him a while, fallen foul upon both the Ancient and Modern Doctors, because they run not with him to the same Excess in this business. I cannot but wonder, saith he, at Disp. 204. cap. 2. those ancient School-men, whom I have named, that thought so meanly of our in­herent Justice, as that they were afraid to ascribe thereto, such a true Existency of Justice, as must, of its own Nature, needs be pleasing to God. But (goes he on) I do much more admire the later Divines, who after the famous definition of the Council of Trent, afford to the Just so The Phariseo himself (by thanking God that he was not as o­ther men) may seem to acknowledge his works to have been from Grace infused, yet we know how he was dismist. diminutive an inherent Righte­ousness, as hath not, of it self, power to wipe off the stains of sin, unless they be eased or lightned by the favour and condonation of God: They both, adds he, if they be well weighed, do destroy the true Essence of inherent Justice, which the Council, so much, set it self to hold forth and maintain.

This Confession, or rather Complaint, of the Jesuite, might save us a labour of culling out the Testimonies of such Learned men as, even [Page 33] through the Umbrage of Popery, had Glim­pses of so pure a Truth; since he grants, That if our Works (before or withoutCap. 3. the Promise, Covenant, or Ac­ceptation, of God) were not worthy; and (af­ter such promise) became worthy; it would thence follow, That to this Dignification, ari­sing from the Promise, the Application and Im­putation of Christ's Merits must, of necessity, in­tervene: A thing, it seems, he is afraid to dis­cover. We are thus far of Vasquez his mind, rather than of those other Romanists; That the Promise of God does not affix any Condi­gnity to the Works of the Regenerate, by changing their Quality, so as to render them, in themselves Meritorious: but whereas he will have them not need such Indulgence, we know they need much more; and the Tenour of God's Promise to be this, That he will look upon Christ, our Mediatour (who is the End (or chief aim) of the Law, Rom. 10. 4. for it was given with a Design to drive us to him, Gal. 3. 24. and is a Yoak, which we nor our Fa­thers were able to bear, Acts 15. 10.) and (in Contemplation of that Righteousness he per­formed, in our Nature, for us) by vertue of the Covenant of Grace, deal with us and our Works, so as the Imperfections, which we ac­knowledge, and bewail in them, shall never come in sight. Well-fare those men, (if they [Page 34] can) for the Condignity of their Services: It is enough for us (under the sense of the Skars and Blemishes in our, too often, lame Obedi­ence) to look up to the Hills, from whence cometh our Help; and to shelter our selves under his Feathers who hath Healing in his Wings.

We will now hear what the old Fathers of the New (I mean the Primitive) Church will say to this business. But let us take along with us the Advice of Vincentius Lirinensis, who highly commends this way of confuting Er­rors; yet with this Caveat: Neither all ways, nor all kinds are to be impugned after this man­ner; but such only as are new, and lately sprung; whilst, by the straitness of time, they be hindred from falsifying the Rules of the ancient Faith, and before their poyson spreading farther, they attempt to corrupt the Writings of the Elders, &c. Which I mention, not because I am diffident of their Testimony, but to give you an hint that the Policy of Rome has been notorious in Curtaling, Expunging, Depraving the Fathers, yea, and foysting in new Matter to many of their Works.

Note, again, in what sence the word Merit (often indeed occurring in their Writings, before ever that Acception the Jesuits, now, have it in, was dream'd of) was used by them. It Ordinarily imports no more, when [Page 35] they say Merita, than if they had said Opera; and to merit, no more thanPrimate of Ireland's Answer to the Je­suite. simply to attain unto, or pro­cure, without any Relation, at all, to the Dignity either of the Person or the Work. Thus St. Augustin saith; Paul for his Persecutions and Blasphemies, Merited to be made a vessel of Election: and Cypri­an, In Tim. 1. 13. Misericordiam merui, I ob­tained Mercy. So Gregory; Paul, when he went about to extinguish the name of our Redeem­er upon Earth, Merited to hear his Words from Heaven: and lest you have a Conceit that he means of Paul's Works fore-seen: See the same manner of Rhetorick concerning Adam's Sin, O happy Sin that Merited to have such and so great a Redeemer! meaning, that gave the oc­casion of his Coming.

And now I am to acquaint you with a Se­cret has been hid from yourIt is not said, He has made us wise, just▪ and holy; but He is made unto us Wis­dom, &c. which is as if he had said. He hath given himself unto us. So Chrysost. on 1 Cor. 1. 30. Homil. 2. on Colof. Eyes, by the Cunningness of those you build your Belief up­on: St. Chrysostome, Cyprian, Augustin, and the rest, will, I think in my Conscience, prove as arrant Hereticks as we▪ For the first, peremptorily, affirms, against Vasquez, That no man can shew such a Conversation of life, as may be worthy of the Kingdom, but this (Kingdom) is wholly [Page 36] the Gift of God: and in another place, Although we did die a Thousand Deaths, De Compunct. Tom. 6. and perform all Vertuous A­ctions; yet we should come far short of ren­dring any thing worthy of those honours which are conferr'd on us by God. Take one more of his: That one destitute of Works should be justi­fied by Faith, might, perhaps, In Rom. 4. Hom. 8. seem well to be; but that Viz. Abraham. one, ad­orned with Vertues and good Works, should yet not be Justified by them, but only by Faith, is admirable. Who would have thought good old Chrysostom had so much dissented from the reverend Society at Rhemes? who teach us an­other Lesson: That good Works are Meritorious, and the very cause of Salvation; Annotat, on Heb. 6. so far, as God should be unjust if he rendred not Heaven for them. Take the next Testimony out of Gregory, in the Ori­ginal, because there's one word, whose just force and Emphasis, as it stands, here, our En­glish can, I think, but hardly reach. Justus noster Advocatus nos defendet in Judicio, quia nosmetipsos & cognoscimus & accusamus Inju­stos: Non ergo in fletibus, non in actionibus nostris, sed in Advocati nostri Allegatione con­fidamus.

When the day of Judgment or our Death shall come, saith Hierom; all hands In Isa. lib. 17. shall fail, because no work shall [Page 37] be found worthy of the Justice of God. That is a known place of Augustin: Enchirid. cap. 41. He (viz. Christ) is Sin as we are Justice, not our own but God's, not in our selves but in him; as he is Sin not in himself, but in us: And remarkable that of Athanasius; Impossibile est puritatem & innocentiam in humana Natura exhiberi, nisi Deus credatur in Carne fuisse, qui Justitiam omni ex parte liberam in mundum in­troduxit. Cujus quia participes sumus vivemus & salvabimur. Illud enim, Non est justus in terra, &c. in Commune ad omnes pertinet; Un­de ex Coelo descendit qui immaculatam Justitiam, ex se, daturus erat: No less this of Gregory Nyssenus in his Oration uponMath. 5. 6. and 1 Cor. 1. 30. Ex­pounded by Gregor. Nyssen. Beati qui esuriunt Justitiam. It seems to me (saith that Father) That our Lord by mentioning Ju­stice, doth propose to the appetite of his hearers, his own self, who is made unto us Wisdom from God, Justice, Sanctification, &c. That Pro­verb, Bernardus non videt omnia, may perhaps be true; yet in this, Omne tulit punctum; he has hit the right Nail on the Head, and rivet­ted it in, so strongly, as not even the Teeth of Time shall be able to pull itSerm. 61. in Can­tic. out. We find in him, these words, fit to be writ in Letters of Gold; I will make mention of thy Righteousness only, for even that is mine too; to wit, thou art [Page 38] made unto me Justice; I need Quoted by the in­comparable Dave­nant, de Justitia ha­bituali & actuali, cap. 28. fol. 369. not fear but it will serve us both; It is not a short Cloak that will not cover two, &c. We will; here, take lieve of these Stars of the first Magnitude; and come to those of later Note in the Church's Constellation, that lived after the light of this Doctrine had been clouded; and set themselves to enquire how it came so, and to deliver their opinions more distinctly and apposite to the present Questi­on, than the ancient DoctorsWhy must Jacob stand before his Fa­ther in the Garments of his elder Brother, before he could have the blessing? but to typifie the necessity of our being covered with Christ's righte­ousness, who is the first born of his Fa­ther. Serm. 1. de Annun­ciatione. could do, who had finished their Course, before the Cor­ruption was discoverable, or the Controversie started. But take in, as we pass, another In­stance or two out of the last named Doctor; It's necessary, first of all to Believe, That we can­not have remission of sins, but by the▪ Mercy or Condonation of God. 2. Then, That we cannot, at all, have any whit of good works, unless he give it. Lastly, That by no good works we can merit Life Eter­nal, Nisi gratis de [...]ur & illa. In another place thu [...]. If we must speak properly of that which we call Merits, they are certain Seminaries of Hope, Incitements of Love, Signs of secret Pre­destination; the way to the Kingdom, not the [Page 39] Cause of Reigning: Dangerous is the way and dwelling of those that trust in their Merits; dan­gerous, because ruinous.

Thomas Waldensis, our Compatriot, and the others Contemporary, professes his utter dis­like of that saying, That a man Tom. 3. de Sacra. cap. 7. may by Merits be worthy of Hea­ven, or this Grace, or that Glory: however (loe here their rise) certain Schoolmen had in­vented the Terms of Condignity and Congruity. I do repute him, (adds he) the more faithful Ca­tholick, and more sound Christian, more conso­nant to the holy Scripture, who doth simply de­ny such Merit; and confesseth, That no man Me­rits Heaven, but by the Grace of God, or will of the Giver. As all the former Saints, and whole Church (until the late Schoolmen) have written. Here's even enough to end withal; yet wee'l have one Instance more of our Truth, but Romes falshood, and departure from the Faith of her fore-fathers: We will bring it thus. Our Li­braries were ordinarily stored with certain old Instructions, and Consolations to be used to departing sick Persons; out of which the Spa­nish Inquisitors thought fit to expunge these dangerous Interrogations. Dost Primate of Ireland, ut suprá. thou believe to come to Glory, not by thine own Merits, but by the Vertue and Me­rit of the Passion of our Lord? Dost thou be­lieve that our Lord Jesus Christ did die for our [Page 40] Salvation; and that none can be Johannes Pi [...]us the Bishop, Interpreter of Mareus the Eremite, rendring Not by the Proportion of works of Nature, where the Original is Not by the Propor­tion of works of Faith, is a gross fal­sifier. saved by his own Merits, or by any other Means but by the Me­rit of his Passion? Uincentius his Rule now appears prudent, when we have to deal with a sort of men that care not how they deal with old Records, and endeavour, all they can, to make the Tongue of An.Primate of Ireland pag. 502. Simpson of the Church, Cent. 5. So Zosimus pretend­ed a Decree of the Council of Nice, which could never be found. tiquity to have a Tangue of their Novelties: and can frame new Decrees, father­ing them on old Councils, as both hath, and may be proved.

I shall shut up all with the result of two As­semblies, and the astipulations of two Eminent Persons. The Canons of Colen in a set meeting e­stablish the Imputed Righteousness of Christ, as the formal Cause of Justification.Davenant de Justit. habituali, cap. 29. Noted by Bellarmine himself, lib. [...]2. de Justifie. cap. 1 & 2. pag. 124. We are Justified, say they, two ways; The one and first of which, is that absolute Righteousness of Christ; not as it is clearly without us in him, but as, when it is, whilst apprehended by Faith, Imputed to us for Righte­ousness; this very same so imputed, is the chief and great Cause of our Justification. This was much, considering the time they lived in; [Page 41] but better explained in that Colloquy of Ra­tisbon, whose words are; Though Idem ut suprá. he who is Justified, does receive inherent Justice; yet a faithful Soul rests not upon that, but only upon the Justice of Christ, given to us, without which there can, clearly, be no Justice at all. I mention these (being soon after the Reformation begun) not as entirely Reformed; but as such unto whom, in this great point, the light of Truth (even to a good Degree) could not be hid. The next is a remarkable passage concerning Ernestus Arch-Bishop of Magdeburge, witnessed by his own Chaplain Clement Schaw, who was pre­sent at his Death, about five years before Lu­ther. A Friar Minor offeredDr. Twisse his Reso­lutions of Conscience, &c. him Consolation, thus; Take good heart, most worthy Prince; We do Communicate to your Excellence all the good works, not only of our selves, but of our whole Order; and therefore doubt not but re­ceiving them, you shall appear before the Tribu­nal of God, blessed and righteous. He replied; I do not desire your Works to any thing; The Works of my Lord Christ must wholly do it; On these I relie. And Bellarmine himself (who spent so much Time and Sweat, in oppugning Imputed, and propugning Inherent Grace, un­der the Notion of Condign Merit) was at last brought to say; Propter incertitudinem, &c. [Page 42] For the uncertainty of our Works, De Meritis bono­rum operum. it is the safest to put all our Con­fidence in the sole Mercy and Bounty of God, and relie upon Christ. Which totally unravels again the thinn wrought Covering, he had before (with other Jesuits) patch'd up.

Thus have we followed this pure stream of li­ving water, through the Meanders of many Ages of several Constitutions, even to the confines of our own; Wherein, if you look at the pre­sent outward face of things, we may almost say, the Enemy has got the upper hand. Yet, praise be to God, We are not without many Eminent and Faithful Labourers in his Harvest, who, I hope, will leave it upon Record, that the Truth is not left without Witnesses. And thus too, if you take it (as we say) at the right End, I have given you a Testimony that I am, &c.


ARising from, depending on, and subser­vient to the Doctrine of Meritorious inhe­rent Justice, are all those Opinions of Free­will, Satisfactions, here and inLeofwin, a Noble man, gave two Towns in Essex to the Church of Ely; to Expiate, and make Satisfacti­on for the Murther of his own Mother, Cambden, fol. 440. The large English Impression. Purgatory; Prayer and Sacrifi­ces for the Dead, Indulgences; and Vendable Pardons; from the Extreme grossness whereof (when he saw those goodly Advantages made the Wager in a Game at Dice) Luther firstSo Alfrida, the Re­lict of King Edgar, built a Nunnery near Ambursbury, have­ing murthered Ed­ward. took occasion to discounte­nance them. We think they are but as super-structures rear­ed with untempered Mortar,Cambden, ut suprá, fol. 254. which we are sure will all as Wood, Hay, Stubble, perish and be consumed by that Fire, the Spirit of Burning, mentioned, Isa. 4. 4. Matth. 3. 11. 1 Cor. 3. 13.

And therefore, waving them; the next Point wherein I shall endeavour, if it may so please God, to rectifie your Judgment, is that much Controverted business of the Sacra­ments. Which are visible Signs of invisible Grace given, and conferred unto us; Instituted [Page 44] by Christ himself, and ordained to be a means to Receive, and a Seal to Confirm the same. Let us review this Definition, and draw from it some Observations in the words of a Learned Author. Many things do hereThe. Trent Faith is, That Sacraments cause Grace, not by the Devotion of him that worketh, nor of him that receives the work, but by virtue of the work it self, Hist. of that Coun­cil, fol. 230. occurr, which require a deep and serious Consideration by those who desire throughly to understand the Nature and Es­sential parts of Sacraments: For first, there must be a Conferrence of Grace, of which the Sacra­ments are termed Seals: (yet this Conferrence of Grace, is not causatively, but instrumentally, not Physically, but Metaphysically in them.) Therefore those are not properly Sacraments, which relate to any thing but matters of Reli­gion. By this Argument is Matri­mony Matrimony▪ excluded from the List, as not being in it self considered a Religious Work, neither is any Grace at all conferred or exhibited thereby. So that (though Marriage doth Legitimate many) one may say, it self is but a Bastard Sacrament.

2. Next, these Signs of Grace ought to be subject to the Senses: For so it seemed good to God, by sensible and external things, to lead by the hand, as it were, us who, for the most part, live by sense, towards Intelli­gible, Internal and Spiritual matters: They [Page 45] must, farther, be visible and subject to the Eyes; Hence Absolution and Ordinati­on Absolution and Or­dination, cannot fall within the num­ber of Sacraments, not having any visible Ele­ment or Material Sign.

Thirdly, They are said to be ordained, and instituted by Christ: Signs they are by the Institution of him, and not of their own na­ture; He only, who created the Elements, can by his word make of them Sacraments: nor is it from the choice of Men that the Signs become Sacraments; but by the Ordinance of God, who super-added the word to the sign. The Relation is mutual, betwixt the Word and the Sign, as betwixt the Form and the Matter. The Word as the Form, the Sign as the Matter: Conjoyn them, and they are a Sacrament: By the Word we are to understand the Mandate of Christ, enjoyning us to use them, and to ex­pect spiritual Grace thereby. So we think, we have good right to root out the other two, and whole five supernumerary Sacraments: since Confirmation and Extreme Un­ction Confirmation and Extreme Unction no Sacraments. have, indeed, the Element but, wanting the Word, ought not to be accounted Sacraments; since Absolution and Ordination have no Element; since Matrimo­ny has no promise of Grace. And thus we may more than ghess at the just number of Sacra­ments. Wherefore laying aside the Supposititi­ous, [Page 46] we find but two Sacraments of the Gospel, Baptism, and the Lord's Supper.

In the first of these we have no Dispute with the Church of Rome, but will I hope in some sort be cleared by our Disquisitions con­cerning the latter, save about such trifles, as their mixing of Salt and Spittle, their Exorcisms, their suffering Women sometimes to admini­ster it, &c. Come we then to that which is, commonly, called the Communion. How far the real Presence of Christs Body is allowed by us, I shall in the first place declare. We are, then, to distinguish betwixt the outward and in­ward Act of the Communicant:Primate of Ire­land's answer to the Jesuit. In the outward, with our bodily mouths, we receive really the Elements of Bread and Wine; In the inward we do by Faith, really receive the Body and Bloud of the Lord; that is, We are, truly and indeed, by Vertue of the Covenant, where the Sacra­ment is a Seal, made partakers of Christ cru­cified to the spiritual strengthening of our souls. Our Adversaries of the Roman And since we find our Saviour himself, Joh. 6. 63. affirming that the flesh profiteth nothing; I shall not at all fear to say, We ought to be satis­fied with a spiritual Manducation. Perswasion have made such a confusion of these things, that▪ for the former, they deny that after Consecration, there re­mains any Bread or Wine at all to be received; though Paul does in my mind▪ give a strong [Page 47] intimation, 1 Cor. 11. 26.—10. 16. That it is Bread at breaking or distribution, at eating or participation. Then for the second, they affirm, That the body and blood of Christ is in such a manner present under the outward shewes of Bread and Wine, asIdem. ibidem. whosoever receives the one (be he good or bad, Believer or Infidel) does therewith really receive the other. A Te­nent not consistent with that place in John 6. where our Saviour saith, He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath Eternal life abiding in him; and I will raise him up at the last day. Hence hath that Reverend Usher, (often before quoted, in that Answer to the Jesuits Challenge, where you may find many clear testimonies out of the Fathers to this pur­pose) framed this Syllogism.

  • The Body and Blood of Christ
    Qui discordat à Christo, nec Carnem ejus manducat, nec Sanguinem bibit, &c. Prosper ex Aug. Sent. 341.
    is received unto Life, by all that do receive it; and by none unto condemnati­on.
  • But that which is outwardly delivered in the Sacrament, is not received by all, un­to Life; but by many unto Condemna­tion.
  • Therefore, that which is outwardly de­livered [Page 48] in the Sacrament, is not really the Body and Blood of Christ.

What was his last shall be my first proof out of St. Augustin, handl­ingTract. 26. this very place. The Sacrament of this thing (viz. of eating the flesh of Christ) is taken from the Lord's Table; by some unto life, by some unto destruction: but the thing it self, whereof it is a Sacra­ment, is received by every Man that doth re­ceive it unto Life, and by none that is made Partaker thereof, unto destruction. Now, seri­ously, if Protestants could adde no more Ar­guments to this, and my self were as much an Adorour of that Way and Church as e­ver I was; I am perswaded that it alone had been sufficient (by the blessing of God) to have gained me to the Reformed Be­lief.

But let us ponder well the Words of In­stitution. 'Tis true This is my Body, and This is my blood, is the Phrase used. But were not the Sacraments of the Old Testament insti­tuted with the same manner of Speech? This is my Covenant; and the slaying of the Lamb called the Passover? The former is presently expounded by God himself, when he says, It shall be a Sign of the Covenant. The o­ther is known to have been the Commemo­ration [Page 49] of passing by the Israelites when the first­born of Egypt were slain. Thus our Saviour having said, This is my body; goes on, This do, in Remembrance of me, Luke 22. 19. The Di­sciples (having been trained up to the mean­ing of the Old Sacraments) could not; and we (if we will compare them with the New) need not think the Expression at all obscure. As the Lamb was the Passover, As the Sign of the Covenant was the Covenant, As the Rock was Christ: So we acknowledge the Bread to be his body. In the Institution of the other part of this Sacrament, the Words are clear, Matth. 26. He took the Cup, blessed, and gave it them, saying: Drink ye all of this, for it is my This must needs be a figurative speech; why then not the o­ther? Blood of the New Testament, or, (as St. Paul and Luke re­late it) This Cup is the New Testament in my Blood. How is the Cup, or that conteined therein, the New Testa­ment, otherwise than as a Sacrament of it? And, generally, for all Sacraments the Rule is thus laid down by St. Au­gustin: Epist. 23. If Sacraments did not, some way, resemble the things whereof they are Sacraments, they should not be Sacraments at all; for this resemblance they do often bear the names of the things: As therefore the Sacrament of the Body of Christ, is after a cer­tain [Page 50] manner the Body of Christ, &c. In an­other place he tells us the se­ven Quaest. 37. in Le­vit. Ears of Corn were seven years, and the Blood is called the Soul of Man, after the manner of Sacraments.

It's Evident, the Fathers though they de­lighted to imitate our Saviour's manner of locution, yet their meaning (even when they followed the Metaphor through large dis­courses) were not dissonant from that of Ori­gen who, after he had playd the Rhetorician, in this sort concludes: Et haec Upon Matth. 15. quidem de typico symbolicóque Corpore. If you will but observe what strange relations my Authour givesPrimate of Ireland, pag. 67, 68, 69, 70, (you have full lieve to exa­mine the truth of them, though for my part, I believe them;) What can you think? but that some by-ended Priests, the better to increase their esteem with the People (such as Marcus Radbertus, Damascen and Amala­larius, there named) wrought up the Vul­gar Ignorance to an amazed Admiration of those mens power, who could perform such great wonders, and were the Makers of that they were taught to adore. In Charles the Bald's time, this Phansie had got some ground, and several Questions and Debates arose a­bout it: That Emperour required Ratrannus to deliver his thoughts upon it; whereunto [Page 51] he obeyed, in such terms, as Turrian the Jesuite is forced to say, That to cite Ber­tram (so is Ratrannus more usually named) What is it else, but to say, The Heresie, (so he thinks fit to phrase it) of Calvin is not New? One Allfrick of Malmesburie, in an Homily writ 650 years ago, and publickly read on Easter Dayes before the Communi­on, fully consents with the Reformed Churches herein: And in another Book Dedicated to Woulstan Arch-bishop of York, he says, The Bread is Christ's Body, and the Wine his Blood, as Manna, and the Water out of the Rock, men­tioned by Paul 1 Cor. 10. 3, 4. were of old to the Israelites. By these and some others, was the right and true Doctrine contended for, and in good measure held-forth; (though in the midst of those times, wherein Knowledge, both as to the concernments of Religion, and of humane Literature, was at a low Ebb) till at length that Council atIn the time of Inno­cent 3. who made Otho Emperour, and put by Frederick left to his Care by Hen­ry his Father. Simpson's Hist. fol. 371. Lateran, Anno 1215. Decreed, That the Body and Blood of Christ must be believed to be in the Sacrament by Transub­stantiation. I know they will to this answer; This Council did but invent a significant word to express, what was before the Tenent of the Church: But I am in some hopes, what has been said, [Page 52] will convince you of the contrary: If not; I wish I could prevail with you, laying aside Prejudice, to peruse the never enough ho­noured Primate, and a lateFol. 44. &c. well writ piece of Doctor Tay­lor's. But what need we go farther for the Sence of the words of Institution, than that place, Joh. 6. ver. 35. whereby our Lord himself had prepared his Disciples to receive them, plainly attributing the quenching of that Appetite he desired to excite in them, unto Faith, or Believing.


LET us, in the next place, use what means we can, to discover that fitting Esteem, and Value we ought to put up­on the Heavenly Hoste; I mean the blessed Quire of Angels and Saints, who now rest from their Labours, and reign with God. You shall find us ready, to afford them as much reverence and respect, as the Word of God doth either Commend or Command; and to de­ny them no honor, which the purest, or Primi­tive times thought requisite to give them. We read, in the New Testament, of divers who [Page 53] made supplications immediate­lyDavenant in Col. [...] naturâ & amore nobis conjunctior. to Christ, Rom. 5. 2. Ephes. 3. 12. Heb. 4. 16. John 2. 1. (for he is by the Wisdom of the Father, appointed to be our Intercessor and Advocate) but not of one that prayed to the blessed Virgin Mary, or other Saint: and, with Hierom, we fear not to say, Non Credimus, quia non Le­gimus. Tome 3. c [...]nra H [...]l­vidium. We read farther of some who being forward to prostrate themselves before appearing Angels, were pre­vented by a See you do it not, Revel. 22. 9. We cannot but take notice of that interdictive Precept which disswades us from voluntarie hu­militie, &c. Col. 2. 18, 23. And, Origen bids us not to doubt, but when we commit our selves to him, who is God over all, through Jesus Christ, and desire of him the help and protecti­on of those mini­string Spirits that do his pleasure, they shall all be propitious unto us. therefore, though we doubt not but those glorious Spirits do re­joyce at any access of happiness that befals the Church Mili­tant, or any Member thereof: Though we should grant that they are instant with God for the consummation of the felicity of his Elect; and that, perhaps too, they sollicite him, for the particular concernments of his Servants here below: Yet, Invocation being a Prerogative belonging to the great Creator only, and In­tercession being an Office affixed so clearly to the person of Jesus Christ only, We hold it safe [Page 54] for us, and no way derogatorie from them, to propose them to our selves, for our Imitation, but not for our Adoration. 2 Chron. 6. 30. For thou (Lord) only knowest the hearts of the chil­dren of men.

If I had an express Precept for it, really I would do it with all my heart, and I am per­swaded I could be a great Zealot in the way; but in Religious, as well as other affairs, Sunt certi fines, Quos ultra citrá (que) nequit consistere Rectum; and Will-worship is no venial Ido­latry.

The Church of Rome has attributed so much of Merit to the Devotions, Vows and Pilgri­mages made to Saints, and their Shrines; that they have almost justled all other Piety out of door, and drawn a dark cloud betwixt the eyes of the Vulgar, and the Offices, and Fun­ctions of our Saviour. Whatever Artifice is used by the great Ones, to usher in this very gainful Tenent unto the well-meaning sort of Papists under the Notion of Dulia, a sort of worship, which they will have to consist of an under-qualification, to their Latria; Yet the reverend Davenant hath madeIn Col. 2. 18. it apparent enough, That the Orisons, Vows, Dedication of Churches, with Altars, as they are, by Romanists di­rected to them, are inconsistent with Truth, Reason, or Practice of Antiquity. [Page 55] And here I shall insert, what I promised in my first Letter, an EjaculationRecorded by Famia­nus Strada▪ de Bello Belgico. so strange, that, methinks, it is sufficient to turn the stomachs of any, and make them (nauseating so absurd a practice) not swallow down all that's offer'd to them as wholesome food. Mary of Portu­gal, wife to Prince Alexander Farnezes, calls upon her Husband in the Church of Scala to joyn in Prayer to the blessedStrada de Bello Bel­gico. Virgin, supplicating Christ, That in Obedience to his Mother he would give them another Son. This yet hath more of Modesty in it than those parti­cularLetter 1. Applications to her in terms which Erasmus (a man that stood enough in awe of the Churches Name) hath, as before is hinted, taxed of both vanity and novelty. Such as this found in their Psal­ters,Psalt Bonavent. E­dict. Paris. 1596. Compel him to have Mercy upon us.

I am resolved before I end this Letter to rake together a huge bundle of such Applicati­ons made to, and Appellations obtruded upon her (out of Authors you will not disown) as the wisest Papists will, I believe, not approve, and the learnedst of them never can prove to be rightly used towards her. Which may extenuate, if not excuse, the tartness of some of ours, who seem to have mingled a great deal [Page 56] of Vinegar into their Ink; when they inveigh, not against her Person, but the performance of such Devoyrs as are not due unto her.

Yet first I will give you in a few places out of the Fathers which speak my very thoughts, to the full, as to this point. Epiphanius askes; What Scripture hath delivered any thing concerning this? Which of the Prophets have per­mitted a man (that I may not say a woman) to he worshipped? For a choice vessel she is indeed, but yet a woman. Let Mary be in honour; but let the Father, Son and holy Ghost be worshipped: This Mystery is appointed, I do not say for a wo­man, nor for a man, but for God: The Angels themselves are not capable of such kind of glorify­ing: Although Mary be most excellent, and holy, and to be honoured, yet she is not to be worshipped; the Virgin, indeed, was a Virgin, and honoura­ble, but not given unto us for Adoration, &c.

Next Origen against Celsus, exhorts us to en­deavour to please God, and to have him pro­pitious unto us; and if Celsus will yet have us to procure the good will of any other, after him that is God over all; Let him consider, That as when the body is moved, the motion of the shadow follows it; So, having God favoura­ble, we shall have all his friends both Angels and Spirits so too. And in another place, thus: A­way with Celsus his counsel that we must pray to Angels; for we must pray to him alone, who is [Page 57] God over all, and we must pray to the Word of God his only Son: We must intreat him, that he, as high-Priest, would present our prayers unto his God, and our God. Consonant to these (be­sides a number more) is St. Am­brose; Tom 5. in Rom. 1. A miserable excuse, says he, have they that think to go to God by these, (viz. Angels) as men go to a Prince by an Officer: Men go to a King by Officers, because he is but a man, &c. But to procure the favour of God, from whom is nothing hid, we need to no spokes­man, but a devout soul. Behold See many more, and very pregnant proofs in the Primate of Ireland, p. 377. &c. here a three-fold Cord so firmly twisted by the hands of three eminent Doctors, as the strongest Arm, no nor the united forces of the Romish Synagogue can untye, or break asunder. It's true, that in the times of Persecution, some men were so exemplary for their active Zeal, and passive Fortitude in the cause of God, and their memory was so precious to their surviving Friends, Scholars and Auditors; as, they con­ceived, it heightned their Devotions to pray, and perform their religious services near their Monuments, which sometimes they did; yet addressed them only to God. And in their commemoratory Orations (such as, now, we have divers on the Anniversary days of the dissolutions of certain extraordinary persons, especially in our Universities) recorded their [Page 58] praises in expressions, whereby the Martyr was vocatus, but not invocatus; where, the Lord being pleased to give a gratious answer to their prayers, and to honour that Christian Profession, which those Worthies had main­tained unto the death; Men began, after­wards, to conceive that it was at their suit and mediation those things were effected; and that therefore they were themselves to be prayed unto. The former part of which conjecture we need not much oppose, but with Origen: We do think, That all those Fathers In Josue, Hom. 16. who are departed this life before us, do fight with us and assist us with their prayers: And yet with the same Origen hold fast the Truth in opposition to the latter part, thus: All Prayers and Supplications, Idem ibidem, pag. 239. Intercessions and Thanksgivings, are to be sent up to God the Lord of all, by the high-Priest who is above all; being the living Word and God: For, to call upon Angels (we do not comprehend the knowledge of them, which is above the reach of man) is not agree­able to Reason: And if by supposition it were granted, that the knowledge of them might be comprehended; that very knowledge, de­claring their Nature, and the charge over which every one of them is set, would not per­mit us to pray unto them, or any other but God. Now for those strange Apparitions [Page 59] and Cures, said to be made at the places of their Sepulture, or otherwhere; whether it was so and so, or how it was, I am content with St. Augustin (knowing the way of God, in per­mitting such Events to be inscrutable, and the wisdom of man, in making application thereof to be often meer foolishness) they should re­main the Objects of my Admiration, rather than the Subjects of my Scrutinie; and I hold them, in some sort, able (especially in the eyes of young Believers) to confirm a point which is consonant to the Word of God; but no proofs of any thing without or against it. Deut. 13.

And here it will be no unseasonable enquiry; How it can be lawful for any sort or Calling of men, to vaunt themselves, at all times impower­ed, to command unclean spirits; Or, by Ex­orcisms, at their own arbitrement, to pre­tend to order them? A device whereof the Factors of Rome do, at this day, make great ad­vantage, and insinuate strangely into the minds of unstable people. We know the arm of the Lord is not shortned, nor infeebled from what it was: We acknowledge, that he may, and sometimes does, exert his own Almighty Power, in a wondrous manner. We are not ignorant, That in the Apostles days there were many ex­traordinary gifts, of which that of doing Mira­cles, for the better settling of the infant Church [Page 60] was one; nor that their is a certain miraculous Faith, which, pitching only uponSt. Hierom assures that the power of Mi­racles may be per­mitted to them that profess not the truth of the Gospel. In Epist. ad Galat. Tom. 9. the Power of God as it's Object, may be where there is neither truth of Piety nor Principles. But withal, We have observed that our Saviour has told us how, at the last day, some should come before him and allege, They had cast out devils in his name, whom yet he would not own, Matth. 7. 22. Revel. 13. 14. We cannot forget that we are fairly warned of him, whose coming was to be in great deceiveableness of Signs and lying Wonders, 2 Thess. 2. 9, 10. and therefore think such unfit to be the Over­rulers of our Faith, especially where (in the things they would perswade usTertullian in Prae­scriptionibus, cap. 24. unto) they have not a, probable at least, concurrence of the written Word. We cannot understand how those Pretenders (by vertue of any calling whereto it is always affixed) appropriate to themselves the gift of doing such Miracles, in the Truth thereof, unless they will lay their claim to All; and see, if they can perswade the world, they have the gift of speaking with strange Tongues too. To Enervate all Argu­ments drawn from their practices in this; there needs no other convincement than the fre­quent Discoveries of most gross Forgeries: Of [Page 61] this sort (to give in one for instance, omitting many that are of unquestionable Record) was that, accidentally made by Bishop Morton, in his journey towards London, when he found, the Boy of Bilson had been long trained up by the Popish Priests, and become a fit subject for those Impostors to shew feats upon. But if we should say, Satan himselfDu Moulin in his accomplishment of the Prophecies. may submissively comply with their Designs, that go about to introduce a belief in others, suitable to the interests of his own Kingdom: Who could ei­ther question his forwardness to act in, or Gods Justice in permitting such a fraud upon those (Revel. 13. 14.) who, neglecting the wells of Sal­vation, whence flows the Water of Life, have merited to see strong Delusions, That they may believe a lye, 2 Thess. 2. 10, 11. One, known to my self, altered his Religion upon no better ground, than because, going in company with a Papist, and a friend of his, thought to be possest; the suppos'd Demoniack imbraced him, and would not come near the Papist. Both St. Augustine puts us inDe cura pro mor­tuis, cap. 10. mind that men are sometimes led into great errours by deceiptful Dreams, and that it is just they should suffer such things: And St. Chrysostome giveth a good Admonition that little heed should be givenDe Lazaro conc. pag. 235, 236. to the Devil's sayings, in a Case [Page 62] of the same Nature with this we have been in hand withal. These are his words: What is it, then, that the Devils do say? I am the Soul of such a Monk: Surely, for this I will not believe it, because the Devil says it, for they do deceive their hearers; and therefore Paul silenced them, though they spake truth, Acts 16. 18. lest taking oc­casion from thence they might Primate of Ireland, pag. 396. mingle false things again with those truths, and get credit. And in another place. If this once were setled in mens minds, that many of those that are departed did come a­gain to us; for this cause God How common is the conceipt now, that departed souls do ap­pear? has shut up the doors, and doth not suffer any of the deceased to re­turn; lest he, taking occasion from thence, should bring in all his own De­vices.

Who can digest such Relations as are made of St. Theclae, that she may be yearly seen driving a FieryBasil. Seleuc. de mi­raculis Theclae, cap. 10. Chariot, &c? Such was the plea­santness of Dalisandus Scituati­on, as both she in that, and other Saints de­ceased, rejoyced much in the like solitary places. That she was after her DeathIdem. cap. 21. much delighted with Oratory and Poetry; rewarding Alipius, a Gramma­rian (for aptly answering her in a Verse of Homer, which seemed to ascribe to her an all­discerning [Page 63] and universal know­ledge)Idem, cap. 24. all quoted by the Pri­mate of Ireland in his Answer to the Jesuit. pag. 397. with the present cure of his desperate sickness. Can these be lookt at any otherwise than as the froth of an idle brain, writ on purpose, to help forward those superstitions, whereof the Pope has since made very advan­tagious uses? The Primate ofChapt. 9. pag. 337. Ireland hath evidenced how clear the first Ages of the Church were herein; by what steps the errors received growth; and how much, and how long the difference was betwixt the former (even when declining) times, and the stupendious height the Romanists now have flown to in these later days. When Bonaventure in his Psalter (amongst his works) printed at Rome, Anno 1588. could think it reasonable where David advances the honour of our Lord, to turn all (by a simple conversion indeed) unto the honour of our Lady. Out of which I thought to have given you a long bead-rowel; but this Letter having out-grown my first purposes, I'l only call out some of the most notorious expressions. We will begin with the first.

Blessed is the man that loveth thy Name, O Vir­gin Mary: thy Grace shall comfort his Soul.

Judge me, Lady, for I have not departed from mine innocencie; but because I will trust in thee, I shall not be weakned.

[Page 64] Blessed are they whose hearts do love thee, O Virgin Mary: their sins by thee shall be mercifully washed away.

Have mercy upon me, O Lady, who art called the Mother of Mercie, and according to the Bowels of thy mercie, cleanse me from all mine iniquity.

Lady, the Gentiles are come into the Inheri­tance of God; whom thou by thy Merits hast confederated unto Christ.

God is the Lord of revenges; but thou, the Mother of mercie, dost bow him to take pitty.

And what will you say to him that quotes the places in your own Authors, which affirm that the blessed Virgin appear'd twice in the place of two Nuns, the fruit of whose wanton­ness would not suffer them to endure the pro­bation? 'Tis Dr. Du Moulin, in his Accomplish­ment of Prophecies. Till you disprove him, suf­fer me to stand amazed at so prodigious a re­lation.

If here be not enough to fright away your affection; I shall think, that Religious love is blinder, than (we use to term) Carnal.


WHat hath been said, as to the Invocati­on of Saints, will necessarily lead us on to make some Enquiries into the lawful­ness of the Adoration of Images; a Practice, which seeing it is every where spoken against in the Old Testament, and has not so much as one syllable to countenance it in the New, we may justly wonder, how it could gain so much ground, even as to set a foot on, in the Christian Church; especially since the anci­ent Champions and Defenders of the Faith did so strenuously oppose it.

When Adrian the Emperour had command­ed, that Temples should be made in all Cities without Images, it was presently conceived, he did prepare those Temples for Christ (as the Primate of Ireland notethAnswer to the Je­suit's Challenge, pag. 504. out of AElius Lamprid. in the life of Severus) which is an E­vidence, That it was not the use of Christians, in those days, to have Images in their Churches. And soon after, in the time of the great Con­stantine, the voice of a whole Council, that of Illiberis in Spain, decries them; which hath so troubled the Minds of our late Ro­manists, that Melchior Canus sticks not to [Page 66] charge them, not only withLoc. Theol. lib. 5. cap. 4. prope finem. Imprudence, but also with Im­piety, for making such a Law as this. Ambrose in his Epistles to Valentinian tells him, and us, That God would not have himself worshipped in Stones. In another place, That the Church know­eth no vain Idaeas, nor divers figures of Images; but the true Substance of the Trinity. What Amphilochius said, to this purpose, is memor­able: We have no care to figure by Colours the Visages of the Saints in tables, because we have no need of such things, &c. WhatEpist. ad Johan. de Hierusalym. Tom. 1. Oper. Hieronym. E­pist. 60. Epiphanius did, more remark­able; take it in his own words. I found there, viz. in the Church of Anablatha, a Veil hanging in the door, dyed and painted, having the Image as it were of Christ, or some Saints; for I do not well remember whose Image it was. When, therefore, I saw this, that contrary to the authority of the Scriptures, the Image of a Man was hanged up in the Church of Christ; I cut it, and gave counsel to the Keeper of the Place, that they should rather wrap or bury some dead man in it. And after­wards he entreats the Bishop, under whose government that Church was, that no such Veils might be suffered. That we may not leave Epiphanius alone, let us joyn to him Se­renus Bishop of Marseiles (who brake down the Images in his Church, because he found [Page 67] they drew the People to Idolatry) and then view the fierce Contentions that arose a­bout this matter; Three hundred thirty and eight Prelates at Constantinople, solemnly con­demning all Image Worship, anno 754. And about Thirty three years after, something more in Number, that advanced it, at Nice; though to the dissatisfaction of the best part of the Christian World, as was demonstrated by the Resolutions of the Council at Franck ford, An. 794. In France the Doctors declared as much, An. 824. as our English had before done. We can­not here sufficiently wonder at the frontless im­pudence of that double Renegado, Mar. Anton. de Dominis, aliàs the Bishop of Spalato, who would bear the World in hand, that the Chri­stian Church, even the most ancient, the whole, and the universal, without any opposition, or contradiction, did with wonderful Con­sent worship Images. By many passages, as well as this, you may, if you please; or, to speak better and more near the Truth of the Case (for it's a strange slavish Credulity un­der which the Church of Rome would yoke up her Disciples) if you dare, easily see, they care not with how many Untruths they tem­per the Lime, wherein they mean to catch their deceived Proselytes.

If yet you will plead for the use of Images, as not Worshiping them, but God, or the [Page 68] Saint they do represent; and argue for them, under the Notion of instructing the ignorant by the Eye: Be intreated to consider, whe­ther what has already been said, doth not quite overthrow that end; and whether, in the Judgments of those, whose sentence we have laid before you, the Ignorant would not be in more peril of Idolatry by them, than o­therwise. Indeed they had never been tole­rated so much as they were, unless they had crept in by that pretence of being Lay-mens Books; but, because they proved rather their bane, they are, with Justice enough, reject­ed. There is one Consideration which relates to our Saviour alone, from whence I cannot but think it's very absurd to make his Image. As he is to us a Jesus, it was necessary to u­nite both the Natures, Divine and Humane; Why then should we hold it convenient, to fix him before our eyes, and consequently in our minds, by halfs, when we go to speak to him, to perform his Office of Mediator to the Father for us?

The Custom of representing God the Fa­ther like an old Man, is so gross, as, I hope, you will not put me to disprove it; If you do, I shall only mind you, It was he asked Moses, whether he had seen any Image in the Mount, and so left him with Cave ne facias.

How fair soever you may think the Inten­tions [Page 69] of Papists may be in their use of Images, I am sure 'twas fowl play to leave the Se­cond Commandement quite out, and the fourth reduced to, Remember thou sanctifie the holy Days, as my self have, toHe had sure been in­structed out of such Catechisms, who re­fused to shoot at Buts on May day, because it was, he said, a dear holy day; and yet I found him the next Lords day with others at Slide-Groat. my amazement, seen it in some of their Catechisms. Speak truth, and tell me, does it not smell rank of some Design? But, I think, I was once inform­ed, it was for brevities sake. Alas, within two small leaves after, or not many more, I found, I know not how many Commandements of the Church, laid in equal Ballance with those of Sinai. Doubtless they had a mind to instill into the apprehensions of the Vulgar, such Notions of Image Worship, and Saint Adoration, as the too common sight of those Precepts would not a little have discountenanced. But I will leave this under your Consideration, to ask the Ro­mish Church, how she will piece together those Rents, which her Members (by the Ears, about the Manner and Nature of that Worship due, as they say, to Images) have made in her Coat, which she would have thought to be seamless: and she must be careful too, since it is a main Article of her Faith, to draw it up so dexterously, as Protestants may not discover where the Slit was, lest they get an hole in't, do [Page 70] what she can. Durand and his followers, not a few, could be content (honest men!) only to worship God, or the Saint, represented by the Image: But, for this, Friar Pe­dro Upon Tho. in his 3d. part quoted by the Primate, pag. 499.▪ has mark'd them with the black Coal of parcel Heresie; and Francis Victoria minceth it not at all, call­ing it plain Heresie. I shall conclude this dis­course in wonder, what is meant by granting pardon of Sins to all who wore a Medal of the Queen of Heaven, as Famianus De Bello Belgico, lib. 5. Strada tels us, the Pope did; and what they meant, whom Erasmus blames for placing confidence in the wearing of St. Chri­stopher's Image to prevent sudden Death. The naming of that Author brings to my memory a sad story of his; and I cannot end, before I have help'd him to lament the Fate of his Ac­quaintance, Ludovicus Berquinus, who after a long imprisonment at Paris, was at the last burnt, I know not, whether for any greater Crimes, than because he had taught, That it was necessary for the increase of Piety, to have the holy Scriptures in the Vulgar Tongue, read by the People. That it was incongruous to invoke (a thing it seems usual in those times) the assi­stance of the Virgin Mary, instead of the Holy Ghost, by those that were going to Preach. That she could not fitly be called the Fountain of all Grace; nor (as they had it commonly in their [Page 71] Evening Songs) our Hope, and our Life, since those Eulogies were more properly the right of her Son. Certainly that blessed Mother of Christ, if she now at all resent things below (for you must suffer me to hold it disputable, since I find Nazianzen doubtful in the Case) is far from taking any pleasure in Addresses of this na­ture. This last, it's true, ought to have come in more seasonably in the former Letter: but it's no matter what place it have here; so that it may gain so much room in your thoughts, as to keep thence such vile Guests, these Opinions. And, me thinks, if you weigh these things well, you must needs either become no Papist, at all, or hold your self, not yet Popish enough.

Thus you have it laid before you, how,

  • 1. We look at Rome as sometime a Famous, but now a miserably depraved Church.
  • 2. We account Good Works necessary in the person Justified, but not to his Justifi­cation.
  • 3. We, in a sound sence, retain the Real Presence, but reject Transubstantiation.
  • 4. We reverence the Saints departed, but dare not adore them.
  • 5. We forbid not absolutely the making of all sorts of Images, but cannot be perswaded to worship any.

[Page 72]Christ himself hath, Luke 4. 8. told me (and I dare not but take his Word for it) that I must worship and serve God only; and that not represented by any Similitude, Deut. 4. 15.


SInce his Word, who was from the begin­ning both the Word and God, is our ear­ly Warrant for it, whatsoever the Church of Rome can say to the contrary, we hold it our Duty (and rejoice in the Privilege) to search the Scriptures; for those, he hath told us, are they that testifie of him, John 5. 39. and in them we look to have Eternal Life, 7. 17. Though the Well be deep, lett-down the Bucket of a Conscionable, Fervent, Unbyassed, Pious, Humble Address to the Almighty, and, my life for yours, you need not fear miscarrying. It must needs be confest, and had no less need be lamented, that many, of impertinently-curious, contentiously-inquisitive, politickly-subtil, and unstable minds, do daily wrest some things to their own Destruction, and the Perversion of others; but this is a personal deviation, and ought to increase our Care, not to abate our [Page 73] Constancy in doing that which is an absolute and positive Command. If it had not been so, I cannot believe that the Bereans would have had such a mark of Nobleness put upon them for their searching the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so; nor would St. Chrysostome, applying his speech even to the Shop-keepers and Mechanicks of his time, have lifted up his voice like a Trumpet in this inge­minated Note, Get you Bibles, O ye people, Get you Bibles.

So that all that will fall within our pre­sent Dispute, is concerning the number of those Books which are to be held for Canoni­cal; wherein we must necessarily suffer our selves to be ruled much by the Usage and Custom of the Primitive Church, not ha­ving any clearer certain Enumeration of them in holy Writ; though the last little Chapter of Malachi, pointing so directly to the Sun of Righteousness, who was the Expectation of all Nations, and to his Fore-runner, the Ba­ptist, may seem to have been designed for the period of those that were to be before his coming. Our Saviour himself divides all Scri­pture into the Law and the Prophets, Luke 16. 29. but none of the Apo­cryphalAllen's Antidote, pag. 13. Books were writ by either. We retein the same Canon of Scri­pture which the Christian Church received [Page 74] from the Jews, unto whom were committed the Oracles of God, being therein, as St. Au­gustin terms them, our Library-keepers. They never had deposited to them those Books which are called Aprocryphal; whereof Epipha­nius saith, They are profitable, but yet not reckon­ed amongst those that are by the Church held Canonical; and were not laid up with Aaron's Rod, nor in the Ark of the New Testament▪ Isidore flies as high as I would desire any man to do, where he tells us; Although there is some Truth to be found in them, yet propter multa falsa, for many things that are not so, they are not of Divine Authority. Melito Bishop of Sar­dis, having drawn, at the instance of Onesimus, a Catalogue of the Books of the Old Testa­ment, makes no mention of Judith, Tobit, Ec­clesiasticus or the Maccabees; though he pro­fesseth to have made a veryLib. 4. Cap. 26. diligent search; as witnesseth Eusebius; who affirms too, that Origen, as he received the Canon of the Jews,Lib. 6. cap 24. viz. 22 Books, so he rejected those that we admit not of. So St. Hierom, who was a great Linguist, and was not with­out the best helps to further his Quest, after he had laboured much, nominates all those Books which we make use of;In his Prefaces be­fore the Kings and Proverbs. and afterwards denies that any but they are impowered to [Page 75] prove or confirm a point of Doctrine. That Council of Carthage, where Augustin was pre­sent, commanding that none should be read in the Church, as Canonical, but such as were indeed so, leaves out the Maccabees; and as for Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Judith, &c. that Father gives us to understand, theyDe Civitate Dei. were reputed no part of the Jews Canon, which he determines to be most Authentick. Peruse, I pray, and believe, if you cannot confute, what Doctor Cosin has lately held forth unto us, that theIn his Scholastical Hist. &c. Epist. to the Reader. Council of Trent first drest up a new additional Canon, where­on to build their Religion; equalling the A­pocryphal Writings and Traditions of Men, to the sovereign Dictates of God, and allow­ing them the same power in Fideal Con­tests. With how much reason we deny to the Bishop of Rome the sole Superintendency, and in what sort we decline all humane Wri­tings, and Councils (whilst yet we willingly subscribe to this, that they are of singular use) for the absolute decision of such like Con­troversies, you may best learn out of the right Reverend Davenant his Tractate De Ju­dice & Norma Fidei: And I forbear to quote any thing from thence here, because I would put you upon the perusal of the whole; which you may do at a small and wise Expence, both [Page 76] of money and time, I will take lieve at pre­sent of you, when I have told you in the words of that Golden mouth'd Father: That whatever is necessary, is in the Chrysost. upon 2 Cor. Homil. 13. holy Scriptures manifest, and they are the most exact Ballance, Rule and Square of Divine Verity. In them the Lamb may with no less safety wade, than the Elephant swim.

Though it may seem to stand like an Inde­pendent to this place, I shall here lie before the Reader, a Collect (which came to my Eye, in a Missal, or, at least, an authorized Prayer-Book) so gross, as I could not have imagined: Thus it runs,

Per Thomae sanguinem, quem pro te impendit,
Fac nos ascendere quò Thomas ascendit.

And all this of our Becket, who surely does not merit, either to be concluded a fit Saviour, or a good Subject; however odious their part was, who slew him (with that aggravating cir­cumstance) in his own Church.


MY Task in this is not so much to make good our Doctrine (which so soon as un­derstood aright, stands clear upon its own Ba­sis) as to wipe off the Calumnies which our Ad­versaries do very disingenuously endeavour to load us withal; whilest they frame themselves, and would obtrude upon us, such Positions, as have indeed no being at all, but in the ap­prehensions, and mouths of those bitter An­tagonists; and if one of their great Accusati­ons could be justly fastened upon us, it would certainly stop our mouths for ever, and spread our faces all over with Confusion. But, if there be any, in these worst, andSin is not a Being, but rather a defect of what should Be, and hath for its efficient Cause, nothing but a deficient Will. giddy Times, that dare flatly say, God is the Author of Sin, 'tis a poyson they have like enough suck'd even out of the Popish Volumes; for they were the first (though only with design to make Prote­stants odious) that brought the World ac­quainted, and that in Print, with such Con­ceits: Their own hands havePreston of Convert­ing Grace, pag. 15. both put on, and scrued up (e­ven to a Note beyond Ela) those strings which are of harsh Sound, and make a jarring Dis­cord [Page 78] in our Ears. If you turn over our pub­lish'd Authors, weighing their greatest Lati­tude of Expression in an equal ballance, you may, I believe, observe the Word of God him­self running parallel with them. For which of them has gone about to interess our ever holy Creator in the sinfulness of any Action, otherwise than as they cannot be perswaded, that the most remote Event doth escape the all-discerning Eye of his Prescience, or out­reach the Arm of his Almighty Power? Com­pare 2 Sam. 24. 1. with 1 Chron. 21. 1. You may then discover, how God is said to move, and Satan to provoke David unto that Act of numbring the People, in a forbidden, and therefore sinful way: The first did it only permissively (forasmuch as he did foreknow it, and, if it had stood with his Will, could have prevented it) the other so, as heIf our Saviour knew that Sodom and Go­morrah (had they en­joyed the same means as Chorazin and Bethsaida) would have repented; what can be said but their Final impenitencie was according to God's Will? really had an hand in its pravi­ty, and a partnership in the Guilt. It's here, I confess, that we ought to put on abundance of fear and trembling; that we must cloath all our words, and our very thoughts in a pro­found and cautious reverence. But since the Protestant Doctrine of Prede­stination, rightly understood, makes very much for the consolation and establishment of a Chri­stian; [Page 79] Let us not refuse to make such modest enquiries thereinto, as may repel those in­venomed Arrows, even bitter words, where­with some (who will needs pervert our Order in handling this point) do incessantly molest us, and strive to fasten a sad Reproach upon an innocent Cause. We are far, even as far as any Papist or Arminian can be, from think­ing that the Motions of Sin invade the Soul by the Impulse of our holy, merciful, and good God; yet we do so much adore his Wisdom, and Power (Attributes no less Essential in him than the other) as we know all Events are within the Verge of his Cognisance, and do not fall out otherwise, than as it seemed good unto him. Adam, who laidThe Fall of Adam was not praeter Vo­luntatem Dei, that were to make a lame Providence; nor con­tra, that were to make a weak Omnipotence; but it was juxta, and that leaves all the Attributes of God (wrapt up by his Wisdom) in their full power. not, as we, under Original guilt and stain, might blame his wifes perswasion, she, the deceit of Satan; but his deviation could no way reflect upon God; for it was not by nor through the Divine Decre, but only accord­ing to it: And though it can­not be denied, but God did permit the Fall (because he foreknew, and if it had stood with his de­terminate Counsel, could have prevented it) yet the Delinquency of that common Root of mankind (in whom we all have sinned) was a volun­tary, [Page 80] free and uncompelled Action: He came out from under the hand of his Creator, up­right and undefiled; but he sought unto himself vain Inventions: He tasted sowr grapes, and our teeth are set on edge; and it's now true (what Augustin, I think it was, affirmed long ago) Man sins necessarily, yet freely.

Thus far, even as far as to, and beyond the beginning of Time, we are to look back, if we must have a Reason for the Almighty's Dis­pensations to the Children of Men; and there we shall presently find (I use the words of the last named Father, quoted byAugustin. Mr. Yates, in his Model of Divi­nity, pag. 257, 258.) That we all are, as it were, one mass or heap of Sin, liable to Divine wrath; which whether God exact or remit, there is no Iniquity with him: Of the Twins, Esau and Ja­cob, the one is taken and the other left; their ends are different, their deserts alike: Let none argue God of Injustice, if he ren­der John 5. 21. to one his merited punish­ments, and do bestow upon the other immerited favour.

That there is an Election, no body will, I think, gain-say; that that Election is not ground­ed upon foreseen Faith or Obedience, I shall, I hope, before I end this Letter, demonstrate; and that it is the exceeding greatness of God's own mighty power, (Ephes. 1. 19.) whereby [Page 81] any man is brought from being dead, in Tres­passes and Sins, to become alive unto God. The Wisdom of the Church of England, in her 17. Article, layeth down the Doctrine of Pre­destination thus far very clearly; and doth not so much as name that other part, which the Disputes of Men call Reprobation, leaving us to conceive, that the one is the meer just ne­gation or denial of the special Grace, and im­merited favour, which is mercifully bestowed on the other. Faith is the Effect of Election, but Infidelity not so of Repro­bation; That is, the Will of the Creature failing in Obedience. for there is no efficient, but deficient cause of Unbelief. God's eternal Purpose, his Foreknowledge, his E­lection are Acts of his all at a time and before all time: The first news that comes Mr. Case in a Ser­mon on Rom. 8. 28. to us of these things, is in his Effectual Calling; here, and here only, it will be­come us to prove and examine.

  • Is an Action of the Father, Means.
  • In the Son, according to the Dispensation of Means.
  • By the holy Ghost, for the Consummation of Means.
  • To Faith the Instrument of applying those Means.
  • Upon Man the Object of his Mercy through Means.

[Page 82] By the same Decree, and from the same Eter­nity hath God ordained all theAnd this is it which frees our Doctrine from all danger of working in men a se­cure or careless Pre­sumption (as it is no less ignorantly than maliciously aspersed by some) since our e­vidence doth so much consist in the sincerity tho: not in the perfe­ction, of Obedience. means to every End, respective­ly, and those Means to lead unto that End; So that none can fur­ther assure themselves of the End, than they are careful to use the Means. He that takes his aim by the Means need not fear to fail of the End; but he that by a preposterous haste to see the End, looks and leaps over the means, can expect nothing but a fearful and destruct­ive end.

In Reprobation (the reverend Davenant choseth rather to term it Non­election)Election may, at length, come to be known, and thence assurance; but Re­probation never. Mr. Sheffeild. none of the sacred and undivided Trinity are interessed farther, than that God contracts his hand, and suffers man to re­main overwhelmed under the ruine he hath brought upon himself. Election communicates good things to the Creature im­mediately; Reprobation onlyPrimate of Ireland in an Epistle publisht by Dr. Bernard. forbears to confer those good things upon some men; yet brings not upon them the evil of punishment but in contemplation of intervening Sin. Man as fallen is the proper Object of Predestination, and the fall of Man is an annexed Conditi­on [Page 83] which God looks at, both in the Elect whom he snatcheth, by his free mercy, as brands out of the fire, and in the Reprobate, whom he leaves under a Conviction as great as their Crimes or Sufferings. Of this we draw a Resemblance, not from an Horse already la­med by his owner, and then beaten for not going sound (as our Adversaries, the more to facilitate to themselves an imaginary victory, will have it) but from a Man holding a Grey­hound in a Slip, and sufferingMr. Birkbeck in his Protestants Evi­dence. him to pursue an Hare; the man, sure, did not plant in the Dog his rapacity or thirstiness after the blood of that Animal; neither did he endue him with the faculty of running; only he did not with-hold him. Thus, say we, was it the voluntary Transgression of Adam, arising from his own free choice (for he was created Upright, and left by God capable of conti­nuing so) which introduced upon the whole World, his successors (since in him we all have sinned) such an Enmity, as God was no way bound to restrain; and out of this per­did and lost heap none, we think, can come, but such as the Father is pleased to draw, according to the good pleasure of his Will.

When we come to Heaven, we shall know even as we are known, and perhaps see into [Page 84] the Bottom of this Abyss: in the mean time we must rest content with our partial know­ledge; yet acknowledge this for truth, Ignota possit esse, non injusta causa.

Our Saviour Christ's Satisfaction takes in the common Lump of Humane Nature, making it capable of redintegration with God, and a fit subject for mercy; a thing denied to the fal­len Angels, whose Nature he assumed not; and, without which, none of Humane race, no more than they, had been within possibility of Salva­tion. His Intercession (that other part of his Priestly Office) makes particular application of that benefit, and brings it home to those the Fa­ther hath given him, even to as many as the Lord our God shall effectually Call. These know, they are to give him the Glory of his Works in them and for them: whilest those that are left to their own devices know too, they justly suffer (for those wickednesses they have adhered to, and perpetrated of their own accord, and with full bent of Will, so as they must needs say, Ex me perditio mea, Hosea 13. 9.) Let those whom this will not satisfie, ponder what is written for their learning, and to stop their mouths, Rom. 9. 20. We willingly grant, we are so much dissatisfied with their Doctrine of Ju­stification, which they place in inherent righ­teousness, that we think we do well when [Page 85] we oppose it in the first Seeds thereof, the opinion of Free-will. Is it not enough to say, that when God hath, in the first Act of Conversion, made the Will free in­deed, by quickning, enabling, rectifying, reforming it, then it acts, and operates, ac­cording to its true, proper, and original Principles, in some good measure, and is, forthwith, not meerly passive? Or must we hold, that he only proposes to the depra­ved Will of Man, the choice of Life, or Death, and leaves him roomMan is not active but passive in rege­neration: In repen­tance man is the doer, complies with God in it, and turns him­self. Ephes. 2. 1. Phil. 2. 13. to Sacrifice to his own Net, in Case he miscarry not in the Election? Is't not safe to hold, that, in the Com­mission of Sin, Man's will acts of it self (as never since the Fall of Adam in a posture to do other­wise:) But in the performance of Good, God acts by it, effectually restoring its lost faculty? Or shall we take out of the Crown of the Almighty's Prerogative, so fair a Flower as that of Election, by saying, He offereth the means of Salvation alike, to all, both in their sufficiency and efficacy? UUe all know that Man is not drawn up to Heaven (as the bulk of a Tree from the place where it grew, with a Team and strength of Oxen) by the Cords of an ab­solute [Page 86] Violence; We thinkThat power of God which subjects a man to Christ, comes not by moral perswasi­on only, or violent impulses; but is tempered to the dis­position of the Will. not, that God so compels him to come in, as he has (through the whole) neither Sense, nor Motion, or acts not in the Duty: But we say with Saint Augustine: To will, God works without us; Lib. de gratia & libero arbitr. cap. 27. but when we do will, and so will that we Act, God co-works with us. UUe say not that any is made a Believer without Free-will; yet are we made Believers only by his Grace that freed the Will. We do not absolutely deny the freeness of the Will; but we deny that the Will is free of it self. For, whether out of a true Judgement it move one way, or out of a false another; yet, in both, it moves naturally, in a manner sutable to its own Condition; either as depraved in it self; or freed by God's effectual Operation. Those very things which he himself works in the Soul, he produceth in it by such Allure­ments and Threats, Expostulations and Ad­hortations, as are sutable unto, and fit to move a rational Creature, and make the Will follow without Constraint. For that power of God which subjects a man to Christ, comes not by moral Perswasion only, nor yet by violent Impulses; but is sweetly tempered to the dis­position [Page 87] of the Will it self; which is so drawn with these Cords, as that it cannot resist, be­cause it cannot but yield. None of those Scriptures (usually brought in opposition) are such Conditions, whose Effects stand deter­minable by Man himself: but they are such Motives as God makes instrumental, to accom­plish his own purposes, and manuduct us to our Duties. This obviates all contrary rea­sonings, drawn from some passages in holy Writ, clearly reconciles those with other parts of the same undoubted Verity (unpossible to be done by any other Doctrine;) and ascribes most Glory to God, bottoming all our Re­joycing only in him, wherein there is no dan­ger. Mr. Gery, a late Writer, explicates this in a fivefold Order.

  • First, saith he, though we have no power, now, to turn, since we are fallen in our first Parent, yet he, and we in his loins, might have stood: And there­fore it's no Severity in God to require that at our hands, which he once gave us, both a Command, and power to do.
  • 2. God's Commands, as (since that) directed to us, do not alway import what we can do, but what we should; they do not argue, ever, our abi­lity, but our duty.
  • 3. God requires it, though we cannot perform it of our selves, to put us in mind of craving his Aide.
  • [Page 88]4. God's end in this proceeding is to excite us to joyn in with such Means as are by his appoint­ment conducible and available thereunto.
  • Fifthly and lastly, such Commands aim not only at our first Conversion; but at our secondary and subsequent returns to God, upon our prevarications from him, and after the first Infusion of his Grace; when, we grant, the Will hath some power and a­bility to co-operate, but not at all before.

They who would introduce that Free-Will, which will not down with us, besides many other pernitious Consequences, put up­on themselves a necessity of holding; That sufficient Means is afforded to all, whereby they may come to Salvation if they list: than which, what can be uttered more alien to Truth? For, how great a part of the World do we know not to have any Means at all; not any, either Notional as to the Adult, or Foederal Interest as to Infants, amongst them. If you admit of Original Sin ei­ther in the Guilt, or Contagion it brings up­on Mankind, we have there a sufficient ground for God's Election of some, and Derelicti­on of others; since the whole Lump being equally subject to Wrath, it's Mercy and mere Grace that saves any. If you deny it, why are Children, who have not yet sinned ac­cording to the Similitude of Adam's trans­gression, subject to Death, which had never [Page 89] invaded the world, but for sin? I use St. Paul's way of arguing, in a Case much like this, Rom. 5. 13, 14. where he proves the Obligatory power of the Law to antecede the promulga­tion of it by Moses, from this very ground: Or, how would such children be under a neces­sity of Regeneration, as all are declared to be? John 3. 5, 6. But, if it be true, as needs it must, even by this last proof, That we have a delinquencie and vitiousness of Nature too a­bout us, even from, and in the Womb; How can the Will be free to any thing but evil, till it be healed, rectified, and made-a-new by God. There is no hope, that a sinner of him­self, no nor by any arguments (and, as I con­ceive, the Papists with the Ar­minians,Mr. Gurnal's Chri­stian in Compleat Armour, part 2. pag. 526, 527. 530. allow to the Grace of Vocation no more but a Moral Swasion, or probable inclina­tion of the Will, which they say, the outward preaching of the words may effect) should be won over to like the Motion that Christ makes, so long as the ground of the dislike remains in Man's earthly, sensual, and devilish Nature, James 3. 15.

First therefore, God, by his Spirit, makes approach to the Understanding, and on it puts forth an Act of Illumination; he beats out a Window in the Soul, and lets in light from Heaven, renewing the spirit of the mind in [Page 90] knowledge, Ephes. 4. 23. with Coloss. 3. 10.

Secondly, an Act of Conviction, which is a reflection of that light, formerly wrought, in the Understanding upon the Conscience: by it we feel the weight and force of those Truths we know.

Thirdly, an Act of Renovation, whereby he doth both powerfully and sweetly incline the Will to accept of Christ, and to make a free, deliberate choice of him: without any com­pulsion, other than such, as wherewith the Soul cannot chuse but most willingly go along. And certainly, they stand upon very hard terms with God Almighty, who are loth to ascribe to him as much as this comes to, in a work which is not brought to pass without his ex­ceeding great and mighty Power, Ephes. 1. 18, 19. And take the sum of all, that I desire should be lookt at as my belief, in reference to those points here touched, from no less Ortho­dox a Pen than St. Augustins: Many hear the Word of Truth, De Praedest. San­ctorum. but some believe, others do con­tradict. Therefore these have a will to believe, the others have not. Who is ignorant of this? who would deny it? But seeing the Will is to some prepared by the Lord, to others not; We are to discern what doth proceed from his Mercie, and what from his judgement. That which Israel did seek, saith the Apostle, he obtained not: but [Page 91] the Election hath obtained it,Cyrus, who was Christus Domini, and therein but a sha­dow of Christus Do­minus, in this man­ner published his Pro­clamation. Who is amongst you of all his people? the Lord his God be with him: let him go up, Ezra 1. 3. Now they alone did follow this Call, whose Spirits God had raised to go up. But could those that stay'd still behind plead any thing but their love of slavery and idleness, why they also went not up? Vers. 5. and the rest were blinded. Be­hold Mercy and Judgement; Mercie in the Election, which hath obtained Righteousness of God, but judgement upon the rest that were blinded: because they would not, did not believe, Mercy, therefore, and Judgement were executed even upon the wills themselves. Thus far he.This instance is by the Primate of Ireland brought in, and ap­plyed to our purpose in a Letter published by Doctor Bernard.

But because a verse may take him, that has not patience for a long discourse, hear Prosper, astipulating this Truth, That God powerfully leads Man in the first Act of Conversion.

Non hoc Consilio, tantùm, hortatú (que) be­nigno
Suadens, at (que) docens, (quasi norman legis ha­beret
Gratia) sed mutans intus mentem at (que) refor­mans:
Vás (que) novum ex fracto fingens, virtute Cre­andi.

[Page 92] Till I considered upon what foundation the Doctrine of Perseverance was built, and with how many Cautions it is strongly impaled, I was as forward as any to cry out, There was by it an open gap made for men to leap out at, and beyond the bounds of that fear and trembling, with which we are exhorted to work out our Salvation. But when I found that there were many Cases wherein a Christian must needs lye down in darkness, sorrow, and despair too; notwithstanding all the sparks of Com­fort, which can any way arise from the Colli­sion of his own thoughts with his greatest measure of Charity and Obedience; or, from any support offered from a weaker arm, than that of the Almighty: And especially, when I find so many places in theJer. 32. 40. Rom. 8. 15, 16. 2 Cor. 1. 22. 5. 5. Gal. 4. 6. Ephes. 1. 14. 1 John 2. 19. Word of Truth to countenance it; I am almost induced to make a Question, whether he that que­stions the Truth of this Tenent, did ever truly know what it means. Those that may seem to make against it, are either di­rected to whole Churches (which in the future succession of Professors, may fall away) or do speak of common Illuminations, or outward works of Righteousness. To say, that one may at this instant be truly a member of Christ, and, dying now, received into Glory; yet, living but a while longer, may drop off [Page 93] from that Incorporation, and perish for ever, hath, surely, in it something of Derogation from him, whose Gifts and Callings are said to be without repentance, Rom. 11. 29. Isai. 54. 8. John 15. 16. It's true, if the Spring-head of our Adoption were laid in our Free-will, our Assurance could mount no higher, than a le­vel proportionable to that: but we have this Aqua perennis, this Water of Life given us to drink, by one who hath annexed thereto a pro­mise, Joh. 4. 14. And whoever eateth that Manna which came down from Heaven, hath eternal Life, and shall be raised up, at the last day, John 6. 54. Here is both meat and drink pre­pared and fitted to become the Nutriment of an immortal Soul; and in case of accidental wounds or distemper (such as wherewith our common Enemy, and many inbred Traytors do conspire to infest us) the good Samaritan, and great Physician (able, willing, and ever at hand, near to all such as call upon him) can cure our imperfections, heal our back-slidings, and re­ceive us graciously. Why ought we not then to be perswaded that he who hath begun a good work in us, will perform it until the day of his coming? Heb. 12. 2. He is the finisher as well as the Author of our Faith; (and in his power, onely, it is that we found our confi­dence of being kept unto Salvation.) Since we are often call'd upon, to examine our selves, [Page 94] whether we are in the Faith;2 Pet. 1. 5. 1 Joh. 5. 10. Rom. 8. 15. Jude vers. 1. and may know the things that are freely given us of God; I cannot but wonder at those men, who hold it either impossible (without an extraordinary Revelation) or unnecessary to discover whe­ther a man be, at any time, himself in God's favour or no. Indeed the fulness of perswa­sion is more commended, than commanded: It is not absolutely necessary to the very being of a Christian, but it is of great importance to his well-being. It's not an absolute Precept, but a gracious privilege: without it a Christi­an may dye well; but without it he cannot dye so comfortably: Neither, if he seek it right, can he be too covetous of it. What if some vain persons, by a preposterous haste (never staying to take in truly those Principles where­of the Ladder is framed that should help them to ascend) will yet pretend to have reach'd the top of this excellent knowledge, (which is too hard for the most, yea, scarce atteined by any, but after long experiences of the ways of God) if such will needs perish in, because they are, no better than players with, these flames? Shall, for this, the Doctrine of the Saints per­severance be thought criminal? without which I cannot see, how in certain cases and exi­gencies, any Balm can be found that's likely to heal a wounded Conscience. Every one that [Page 95] has been present at the pressing of this Point, might hear the Preacher say, In seeking after the Grace of Assurance, you must not begin where God begins, but where God ends; you must not begin at the root to find the branch, but by the branch and fruit to descry the root; you must not, at first dash, eye Gods Decree in Predestination, but through Regeneration take view of, and judge your interest. The truth is; He that will not believe, untilA late Treatise pub­lished by Mr. Ca­lamy. he reads Gods Decree in Hea­ven, must never look for any assurance of Heaven here, nor fruition of it hereafter. It's more possible for the Sun to co-habit with undissolved Ice, than for true Faith to lodge in an heart hardned to sin: Every right Believer applies Christ to himself, and himself to Christ; the Promises to himself, and himself to the Condition of those Promises. If thy hearing of free-Justi­fication by Christ, Rom. 3. 24. of Gods good pleasure to give thee a Kingdom, and of his promise to keep thee by his power, through Faith unto Salvation, 2 Thess. 2. 13. make thee not to stand in awe, and not sin, because his Mercy is great; thou hast not yet, either part or share in any of them. But if upon good and infallible grounds, thou hast arrived at the blessed knowledge, that God in Christ is at peace with thee; yet take heed of slipping in­to [Page 96] sin, or growing careless of duty; lest he hide the light of his Countenance, withdraw from thee the Testimony of his Spirit (that main part of thine evidence) and leave thee to roar day and night, for the very disquietness of thy Soul, till thou becomest like a Pelican in the Wilderness, or an Owl in the Desert. If such a Night of Desertion come, if a dark cloud be quite drawn over thy once-enjoyed comforts, thou wilt soon confess, thy best pleasing, or most gainful sin, to have been full dear bought, and that sweet condition of peace and joy in believing far to fetch. So that thy self shall, e­ver after, be a witness, That the Doctrine of Perseverance, rightly understood, brings along with it, what is as proper to the repelling of sin, as it is to the establishing of Consolation: Since the fear of losing Gods favourable A­spect, hath something more of terrible in it, than the unconverted, who never had any feeling of such matter, can apprehend.

I will fold up this sheet with the words of St. John, Whosoever is born of God, sinneth not, for his seed remaineth in him, 1 Joh. 3. 9. And leave it to you to find out his meaning, if it import any thing less, than the being sealed un­to the Day of Redemption, Ephes. 1. 13. 4. 30.


HAving made some reflections upon those words of yours, when in our last dis­course (we rambled over many things very im­methodically) you named a great and pious Doctor of the ProtestantDoctor Sibbs at Grays-Inn Chappel. Church, who, from the Pulpit, had long since told you; that the difference betwixt the Papists and us lay principally in this, That we believed not so much as they. So great an inadvertencie was then upon me, that I made but little reply, not indeed reaching so far as to deduce any objection which might concern us, from the Do­ctors words; nor, I dare answer for him, did he dream of such an acception of them, as might represent the choice betwixt the Religions any way indifferent. But by the manner of your speech I have since conjectured, you perhaps thought there might be some weight in a sur­mise which would flow from the assertion, as if they went beyond us in credible things; or that our belief, consisting more in Negatives, were not sure, but it might come short of what it ought to be; whilst theirs, taking in all, might be look'd upon as safe.

I hope the former Letters, if you please to [Page 98] re-view them, will give you some satisfaction, and may serve to demonstrate that we, who dare not go beyond the Pillars set up by God himself, in the holy Scriptures, to bound our Faith, are in a far safer way and posture, than they who leap over, or trample them down at their pleasures; And, that if we leave not them till they forsake the guidance of Gods Word, and primitive practice of his Church, we run no hazard at all, nor ought to find less esteem upon that score; but do indeed shun and a­void the danger of Will-worship, than which there is nothing more prejudicial to man, nor more displeasing to God, because of ill conse­quence to his Truth.

1. We do know, That no man is made a Be­liever without a freeness of Will; that is, he is not drawn up to Heaven, whether he will or no, and all along by meer compulsion, or without acting in the Duty (as the Papists, with other adversaries of the Protestant Do­ctrine, seem to mistake us:) But he is made a Believer, by Gods Grace, that frees the Will, and inables it to act according to the motions of the Spirit, and to follow him in the way of his Precepts, Promises, Threats and Exhortati­ons. But, we acknowledge not, That the will of man (on which, in its natural capacity, the Apostle James hath fixt the Appellations of Sensual and Devilish) can of it self, chuse the [Page 99] better part, being only help'd forward by some perswasions, or probable inclinations, such as the outward Preaching of the Word may ef­fect, till God by an act of Renovation, with­out any compulsion, other than such as where­with the Soul cannot chuse but willingly go along (so sweetly are his operations tempered and suitable to the disposition of the Will) hath brought to pass a work, which never would be effected, but by his exceeding great and mighty power. Ephes. 1. 18, 19.

2. We do know, That in the Lords-supper all Christ, with all the benefits of his Life and Passion, are (not barely represented but) re­ally and truly, yet spiritually exhibited to eve­ry Faithful, Penitent, Humble, Charitable Communicant. But we acknowledge not, That all Receivers do, in a corporal and car­nal manner (John 7. 37, 38.) tear their Re­deemer with their teeth; since the Sacramen­tal way of locution in the Old Testament leads us to the true understanding of This is my body, in the New. Compare Gen. 17. 10, 11. Exod. 12. 11. with John 6. 47, 48. & 63.

We do know, That the act of Justification passeth not upon the Soul, without a work of Sanctification in the Soul. That good works are of such necessity in the business of Justifi­cation, that there can be no Justification where the practice of them is contemned. That the [Page 100] good works of the Regenerate (so far as they are good, and the product of Gods own Spi­rit) are not displeasing to him, nor of their own nature sin: yet, that in regard of much imperfection (which the best of men will con­fess is adherent to their works, in this life) we take a safe course not to place confidence, or set any value upon them; but on him, who is the Lord our Righteousness, and our Advocate with the Father, Jer. 23. 6. 1 John 2. 1. But we acknowledge not, That the good works of just persons do truly merit, and deserve Grace, in this world, and glory in the next: Nor, that such good works are of themselves, without any Covenant or acceptation on God's part, worthy of Eternal Life, andVasquez Disput. have an equal value of condig­nity to the obtaining of everlasting Glory: Nor, that that is the just stipend, crown or re­compence, answering to the weight and time of our labours, rather than a free gift: Nor, that no accession of Dignity comes to the works of the Just by the Merit or Person of Christ, which they should not have, if they were done by the same Grace bestowed, libe­rally, by God alone without Christ: Nor, that it's vain, after Grace received, or infused, to expect a continued imputation of Christs Righteousness.

According to the best Definitions of that [Page 101] Grace which the Romanist allow to be pro­cured for us by Christ, their plea for Hea­ven must run after this manner: Lord, by the strength of that Grace, which (because thou didst foresee, I would use it well) thou hast ex­tended to me, I have so performed my duty in doing or suffering for thee, as thou canst not in justice deny me (for that) the Kingdom of Hea­ven. See the Rhemish Annotations upon 2 Tim. 4. 8. 1 Cor. 3. 8.

But let them consider what Reply they could make, if God should enter the lists with them, and say: I have a Law that requires perfect, unerring, universal, constant, perpetual obedience; a Law that exacts Truth in the in­ward parts, that is a discerner of the thoughts and spirit, that is not satisfied without the whole heart: I have said, not one jot or tittle of it shall pass away, till all be fulfilled, Matth. 5. 17, 18. 22. 37, 38. These habits and acts of righteousness which thou seemest to relye upon, e­ven thine own conscience will tell thee have been imperfect, unconstant, partial, yea, sometimes, none at all, but thy soul hath frequently been inslaved to contrary vices; therefore, thou must have some­thing of more integrity, a more immaculate and spotless obedience, to present me withal, and make out thy interest therein too, before thy claim be just.

Now let us see what answer the Protestant [Page 102] Principles will put into our mouths; and let the safer, the truer, the modester carry it.

Thus then:

Lord, I know thy Law is holy just and good, 'tis likewise eternal: by the righteousness of this Law, Justification is to be had even yet, as well as in the Covenant of works, made with Adam, before his fall; onely here is the difference: It's now accepted in the hands of a Mediator, The Lord our Righteousness, who, as surety of a bet­ter Covenant, and as Head of his Body the Church, hath fulfill'd the Law in its utmost De­mands. My faith, my obedience, my charity, are all weak, poor inconsiderable things; Eternal life, and the whole of my salvation from the one end to the other, is purely a free gift. Though I have had some Graces of thy Spirit, in such a measure as have been a comfortable evidence, that my heart was set aright to serve thee (for without a conformity to thy Son in holiness, begun in the life below, no flesh may hope with joy to see thy face above) yet I dare not, I ought not, to pre­sent these unto thee as the matter of my justifi­cation; I have through thy mercy been sincere, but it is in Christ only that I am compleat.

We do know, That we ought to have in ho­nour the Saints departed; and not to think meanly of the Angels, those ministring Spirits. But we do not acknowledge, that we ought to invocate them, or direct our prayers or vows [Page 103] unto them, much less place confidence in the wearing their Reliques or Pictures, to prevent lightning, sudden death, &c.

5. We do know, That an high and profound reverence is due to Fathers, Councils, voice of the Church. But we acknowledge not, That any particular place, or succession of men, is exempt from all possibility of Error: Nor, that Rome keeps her first Principles.

6. We do know, That men of ungodly, unstable, contentious dispositions, do not look upon the Bible, without danger to their own souls, and pervert many things therein to their destruction. But we acknowledge not, That, therefore, the sincere milk of the Word is to be lock'd up from those that might grow thereby: Nor, that meat is to be kept from the children, because it is sometimes abused to excess and riot, by dissolute and licentious men.


THat Person (to me yet unknown) whom you did, some years since, substitute to shape me an answer unto a few Lines I then hastily offered to your view, cut his Work into a very uncourtly Mode; and takes it for granted, that I have not so much understand­ing as to know, they would be understood to place the Condignity of Merit in works done by Grace not by Nature; nor so much Learn­ing, as to English Opus Operatum. For the first, I would have both him and you to know, that we oppose, as to Justifying before God, all Works both of Nature and Grace. For cer­tainly, if we consider the Testimony alledged; Rom. 4. by Paul out of Genesis Sasbout, upon the place, confesseth it's meant of Abraham's second Justification, (that is) of his Works done in Faith. See Selater, pag. 29. 15. to prove that Abraham was not then Justified by Works; it will appear he was (long be­fore that) Regenerate, and had sundry Works of Faith. It was a Work of Faith that he followed God's call out of his Countrey: Compare Gen. 12. 4. with Heb. 11. 8. Other Works of Piety and Love see recorded, Gen. 12. 8. and 13. 8, 9. and 14. 16, 20. Yet none of these, but after them all, Gen. 15. Faith was imputed to him [Page 105] for Righteousness; and he obtained the Pro­mise, (that is, saw Christ afar off, and had his share in him) not by Working, but Believing. And if Works merely Natural had been in Question, why comes in the Example of A­braham, rather than of Abimelech, Socrates, or the like. That St. James meant not to reach beyond Justification in Foro Humano, by that which he attributes to Works, is evident from what he subjoyns, ver. 18. Shew me thy Faith by thy Works. He denies a saving power, only, to such a Faith as is not Operative; and to such a one, neither do we ascribe any thing at all. The two Apostles both instancing in him, to confirm their seeming contrary assertions, makes it evident, they are to be referred to the several Tribunals, of God, andOr the Eyes and Judgments of others of Conscience. But if he will give me lieve to mind him, that the Francis­cans in the Council of Trent were of opinion, that Works done before Faith, were truly me­ritorious in the sight of God; and how Sir Ke­nelme Digby doubts not to say, The old Philo­sophers (without Christ, for soHistory of that Coun­cil fol. 197. In his Observations upon Religio Me­dici. we all know they were) if any of them followed the Dictates of right Reason (no Grace is there mentioned) might attain Heaven; it may abate his anger at the Expres­sion I there used.

[Page 106] I have set my self to School again, that I might improve my knowledge in the Romane, as well as the Latine Tongue; and have learnt from those Doctors at Trent, History of that Coun­cil, fol. 237. That there are some actions which cause Grace, not by the devotion of him that worketh, or of him that does receive the work; but by virtue of the work it self. And, That Prayers in absolution are Fol. 349. only laudable, not necessarily ad­ded to, I absolve thee: So making the Efficacie to flow, ab Opere Operato. Thus I conceive is to be understood what I have more than once read in their Books; That to the merit of Prayer, it suffices that the words be repeated; but, if a man have a particular request to put up, it's neces­sary the heart and affections accompany them in that desire. I think now, there's no great diffi­culty in construing Opus operatum; nor was I much out of the way, when I applied it to their practice in their Sacraments. I do not con­clude, that all those who delight to be styled Roman Catholicks (making light of the latter ap­pellation, if not ushered in by the former) are guilty of all this high Treason against God's Truth; nor of Misprision of that Treason nei­ther: for I am confident, very few of the Laity amongst them are privy to such bold Positions as are maintained by Vasquez, with the now predominant Faction of the Jesuits, [Page 107] and their adherents; yet it were well they would consider, whereunto their implicite cre­dulity would lead them.

I once had from the mouth of a Romanist, (whose memory has all the reason in the world, to be ever dear to me) an expression where­with I was much taken, as neighbouring very near unto Truth, and far from the malignity of some I have before cited. When I insisted upon the Righteousness of Christ, as our justification; it was answered, The difference laid only in the means of applying it; and, that, not only faith, but the exercise of all other vertues was that means. I have already declared, how this is attributed to the instrumentality of Faith; it alone being that Grace which is capable of laying hold upon Christ, held forth to the Soul, in the promises of the Gospel; and as it is a quality inherent, it does not ju­stifie,Faith does not consist in a belief that we do believe; but in an affiance bottom­ed upon such Tri­als as Scripture holds out. no more than other Graces. Now, if all Papists would grant, that only the Righteousness of Christ is to be brought before the Tribunal of Gods justice; I should, without any difficulty, yield, that all other vertues are inseparable ad­juncts to Faith, and admit them to the Of­fice of applying (as without which Faith has no such power, nor indeed can at all subsist) though not to the Office of justifying. Cloath [Page 108] me but with the Garments of our Elder Bro­ther, so that nothing of my own may come in sight, & I shall be less sollicitous after what man­ner it be got on. The Pelagians, for all their Con­fession that they had their Souls, and all the fa­culties of them, their wills, and all the abilities thereof from God, yet could not free their Opi­nions touching free-Will from the just imputati­on of Heresie: So the Church of Rome, though she draw the fairest colours she can over her Do­ctrine of inherent Righteousness & Merit there­by (acknowledging the first rise of that power to be from God) yet (for as much as she places the formal Cause of Justification in a wrong place, whilst that is made a quality within man) can­not wipe off the Error of their Tenent, which puts them under the Condition of, Do this and Live, never since the Fall, required by God, in the full extent thereof (the perfect fulfilling and keeping all his Commandments, yet this all Papists are obliged unto)Progeny of Catho­licks and Hereticks, lib. 2. cap. 21. pag. 80. from any meer man. For the Gospel, in its Epitome, was early preacht to Adam presently after his defection, and so ran through the Admini­stration under Moses (whose Ordinances, Sa­crifices, and Ceremonies were full of Represen­tations of Christ) as Believers are truly said to have imbraced the Promises, Heb. 11. 15. to have drank of him (1 Cor. 10. 3, 4.) in those [Page 109] times; and were not under the Covenant of Works. But I am almost driven back into the Ocean, when it's time to bring my Bark to shore; I will therefore draw in the Sails, and strike Anchor, only adding this Advertisement.

They have long since been invited by the Pen of a very modest and temperate Adversa­ry to demonstrate, That certain Articles of their Creed, which surely are main ones in their esteem (for they proclaim every Op­pugner of them no less than Heretick) were held for Orthodox during the first five hundred years after our Saviour, Viz.

  • 1. That there is a Treasury of Saints Merits, and superabundant satisfactions to be disposed of by the Pope.
  • 2. That private Masses, wherein the Priest says, Edite & bibite ex hoc omnes, Eat and drink ye all of this, yet eats and drinks only himself, have their Authority from the practice of Christ or his Apostles.
  • 3. That the Laity are excluded from receiving the Sacrament of the Lords Supper in both kinds by Christs Institution.
  • 4. That the publique worship of God in the Church, may, or ought to be celebrated in an un­known Tongue.
  • 5. That the Popes Pardons are useful or neces­sary to release souls out of Purgatory.
  • 6. That extream Unction is a Sacrament, properly so call'd.
  • [Page 110]7. That we may adore God by an image.
  • 8. That the Pope cannot Err, in matters of Faith.

If they have already made this out; I pray you inrich me with the knowledge of it: if they have not yet gone about it; put them up­on it, and suspend your compliance with them till they have effected it: But if they fail, as I suspect they must, ofFor we will expect from them proofs both full, and legitimate; beyond those usually brought. performing it; what excuse can you have, if you disclaim not their Communion, who have so grosly abused the world, with glorious nothings, and meer pretences?


Part II.

Some Rubs laid in the way of those Jehu's, who at this time seem to drive-on so furiously; which they must, necessarily, either remove, or leap-over, before they can arrive at the Supremacy, or Infallibili­ty of the Roman Church.

1. IF those words, Tu es Petrus, ve­sted him in an absolute prehe­minency over the rest; Why did the Apostles afterwards ask, which of them should be Chief? And why did not our Saviour thereupon plainly satisfie them; but chose so to determine the Question, as to [Page 112] convince them of the vanity in that Enquiry? Mark 9. 34, 35. But if an infallible Judge, in all Controversies, were thereby to have been for ever introduced, the Wisdom and Good­ness of Almighty God would not have left a Point of so vast concernment to the whole World (in all its successive Generations) with­out a clear and evident Precept.

2. From that minatory Exhortation (Rom. 11. 18, 19, 20, 21.) we collect a possibility (for it's indifferently level'd at all Gentile Churches) and particularly directed to Rome) that no less She, than any other, may be cut off.

3. Where St. Paul, Gal. 2. magnifies his Office in reference to his Apostleship over the uncir­cumcision, and seems to confine the jurisdiction of St. Peter within the limits of the Jewish Pale; he ought, rather, without more to do (if a succession of infallible truth, to be derived from Cephas, to the Chair of Rome, had been foreknown by him) to have directed our Eyes thither.

Again, where Acts 20. 29, 30, 31, 32. he sadly foretels the Church, that after his de­parture, grievous Wolves should enter in, and amongst them many should arise speaking per­verse things: He adviseth them, not to make (in that case) their addresses to him, that should then happen to be St. Peter's Successour at [Page 113] Rome; but commends them to the word of God's Grace to be built up and established by it.

4. St. John an Evangelist and the beloved Disciple (out-living Peter about thirty years) should have ought subjection and obedience to Linus or Cletus, if the primacy of Rome had risen out of St. Peter's ashes.

5. The Apostles send from Jerusalem to Sa­maria, Peter, and John, Acts 8. 14. which is not, certainly, any great sign of St. Peter's jurisdicti­on over the rest; since the very best in a Na­tion, are never sent out, be the Embassage ne­ver so great or honourable; and where those that seemed Pillars are named, Cephas has but the second place.

6. When that Article which relates to the Catholick Church was made a part of the Creed; there was not a Bishop, nor a form'd Church, nor peradventureso much as any par­ticular Christian at Rome.

7. Ere ever Rome durst be so hardy, Constan­tinople (in the person of John her Bishop) grasp­ed at the Title of Universal; which, then, was lookt at as so prodigious a Claim, that for it Gregory the First pronounced whom­soever should aspire towards it Anti-Christian. And good reason had he so to do, since the third Council of Carthage, Canon 26. provides, The Bishop of the first should not be termed [Page 114] Head or Prince of Priests. And when after­wards Rome would needs challenge an autho­ritative Supremacy (not from the Emperours Laws or Presence, which, indeed, was the true foundation of all the preheminency the Anti­ents do at any time give her; but) from St. Peter; She should have remembred that St. Basil, in his Epistle 32. gives to Alexandria, and in his 50. to Antioch, the better right: Which yet he speaks not as conceding to any of the Seats of St. Peter's Infallibility or Su­premacy over the Rest: But to convince the Western great Pretenders, by their own way of Argument, (as St. Paul does the de­nyers of the Resurrection, 1 Cor. 15. 29.) having in his 10. left something of another nature for the Westerlings to chaw upon. And in truth that smoaky Pride he there mentions, could never ascend to its heighth, or any fixation, till in the midst of the distractions that fell upon the Empire, the bargain was (add fairly, if you can) struck up with Phocas that murthering Usurper of his Masters dignity; and the pos­session continued by the weak Concessions upon strange Interests, and Perswasions, of some late converted, and but lately Catechised Princes.

8. The contradictory Sentences of Pope Sextus the Fifth, and Clement the Eighth, as to the use of their different Editions of the Bi­ble; [Page 115] The inconsistent results of Councils, the First of Nice, and those Later of Constance and Basil, as to the Priests marrying, and the Cup to the Laity; That general one, the Seventh of Constantinople, as well as that of Frank ford compared with the Second of Nice, as to the use of Images; Nay, the undoubted mistakes of the Roman Council approved by Nicholas the Second (vide Daven. de Jud. cap. 23.) of that held at Neocaesaria, confirmed by Leo the Fourth, do clearly speak out thus much, That Infallibility is not to be expected below the Moon. During the great Arrian deluge, seve­ral General Councils obtruded their Errours upon the World; and at last, Liberius subscrib­ed to them; whether through fear, infirmity of old age, tediousness of Banishment is not material, done it was; and what hath been, may be.

9. The Contests betwixt Councils and Popes for Superiority, could never have hap­ned; nor would so many learned men have militated, with their Pens, so freely on the Councils part, if then, or in the Ages before them, the Popes Infallibilitie had been setled an Article (yea the chief Article, as now 'tis held forth) of the Christian Faith: Nay sure those of Constance, and Basil, durst not have de­creed themselves above the Pope.

10. If his Holiness have indeed the un­doubted [Page 116] Privilege of never erring Decision, he might do well to exert its vertue in those Points of the Seat of Supremacy, the power of the Will, and the reason or ground of Merit. Why will he suffer, for want of clear speaking, his own great Doctours to clash, and the whole World to fluctuate in uncertainties, and under dis-satisfactions?

11. If we had lived when two or three Popes were up together, each one Anathema­tizing the Adherents of his Antagonist (which was once and more for a long time the case) what course could we have taken to discern the infallible Head?

12. Since Hieroine informs us, Si authoritas quaeratur, orbis major est urbe, in his Epistle to Euagrius, Printed at Basil, Anno 1565. Since Cyprian assures us, Pari omnes inter se fuisse au­thoritate Apostolos, Tract. de Simplicitate Praet. Printed at Colen, Anno 1544. (neither was St. Peter himself, if we consult his first Epistle Chap. 5. ver. 2. and 3. at all ambitious of being Chief amongst his Fellow-Elders, or a Lord over God's Heritage.) Since Amb. de Poen. hath taught us to say, Non habent Haereditatem Petri qui fidem Petri non habent. But especially since we find the Bereans not only approved but commended for searching (even in case of the Apostles own Doctrine) the Scriptures, whether these things were so; we are bold to [Page 117] call them (our Adversaries) to that Test. And since the value of this Cardinal Point (for no less than the whole Frame of their Religion, as it is distinguished from ours, turns with it) must stand or fall, according to the success of the several Controverted Heads; I shall single out one which seems to me to be more considera­ble than any of the Rest, and give a short, but, I hope, a clear prospect, into the grounds whereupon we build our Dissent from them, in the great Doctrine of Justification. And if that Church may be discovered to have trod awry in one particular, the more than stupendi­ous Fabrick of her Infallibility, Mole ruet suâ, must fall of it self. Reflect then upon it un­der the notion (for I desire rather to contract than widen our differences; though I have not a few things to say against that congruous kind of merit, which they'l have to deserve the Grace which makes their after good works meritorious) of that by them termed the se­cond Justification, that inherent Righteousness, whereby, they say, they may perfectly fullfil and keep all Gods Commandements, truly deserve Grace in this World, and Glory in the next, together with remission of sins (Prog. of Catho. lib. 2. cap. 21. which their Rhemists rather chuse to say is recompensed than re­warded (because that word is sometimes ap­plied to the Alms we bestow upon a meer [Page 118] Beggar, who deserves nothing at our hands) with eternal life; Justly and equally answer­ing to the weight and time of our travel; a Debt, but by no means a free gift, on 1 Cor. 3. on 2 Tim. 4. In respect to which Vasquez is not afraid to affirm, Post infusam Gratiam, after Grace infused our Works are so perfectly meri­torious of eternal life, that it cannot in Justice be denied them.

Frustra igitur, In vain therefore after such in­herent Grace were it to expect a continued imputation or application (by faith) of Christ's merits. Yea so violent is that Jesuite, in pro­pugning these audacious Expressions, that he lets flie on all sides against both antient and modern Divines, that flie not to the same height, calling in the definitions of the Trent Council to bear witness, That inherent Righte­ousness has (of it self, without being eased or lightned by the favour or condonation of God) power enough to wipe off the staines of sin. And to clear all, he will have us to un­derstand, that they never request of God, that by the merits of Christ the reward of life may be given to their worthy and meritorious Works, but that Grace may by Christ be given them, whereby they may be inabled worthily to merit that reward; and, that no Accession of dignity does come to the Works of the Just by the Merits or Person of Christ, which [Page 119] should not have had, if done by the same Grace bestowed by God alone without Christ. These are duri sermones, hard of digestion; and yet they would have us by one strenuous Act of implicit Credulity, to down with them, and to suspend our whole Belief, upon the most imperious dictates of their supposed in­fallible Church: But we have not so learned Christ. And (as to my part) after a long and diligent search (whereto never any could be more ingaged than my self) I despair of ever finding any more sure, or near way to Hea­ven,

Than by re­nouncing in

  • Sanctification all my Sins 1 John 8. 3.
  • Justification all my Graces Dan. 9. 18.

Than by hav­ing unfeigned

  • Repentance towards God Acts 20. 21.
  • Faith towards Christ Isaiah 64. 6.
  • Matth. 5. 17, 18.
    • Matth. 22. 36, 37.
    • Luke 10. 27, 28.
    • Rom. 3. 31.

We find that Law which, had it not been weak through the flesh, should have given Life, both declared and established: Expound­ed too we find it by Bernard de verb. Es. Serm. 4. who reminds us, That it requires (even yet) Obedientiam rectam, according to the Rule; [Page 120] all that is, only what is prescribed; puram, free from all blemish in manner and measure; fir­mam, steady, and without any intermission. Chrysostome, upon 2 Cor. 5. holds out, as requi­site to our Justification, a Righteousness where­in there must not be either Spot or Stain. The Law, thus applied and understood, is still (be­fore God's Tribunal) the Matter of our Justi­fication, and there to be pleaded: but where to be found? If we confine our search to with­in our selves, and fall seriously to ponder our best Works, either of Nature or by Grace; we shall find it a Yoak, which we (no more than our Fathers were) are not able to bear. Hath God any where discovered that he has drawn off something from its expectation, in or­der to its giving us Justice (in his sight) upon more facile Terms? I think not. If then, a ful­filled Law, and that the same was first given, must be presented to God for our Justification, that we may appear faultless before the pre­sence of his Glory, Jude, ver. 24. Where may we seek it, and not lose our labour? Let them that have a mind look amongst the Rubbish of their Performances; whilst we, with a thankfully-humble boldness, do con­template

[Page 121]What it is,

  • Dan. 9. 24.
  • Jer. 23. 6.
  • Rom. 10. 4.
  • Isai. 45. 25. 46. 13.


  • Col. 1. 19.
  • Joh. 1. 16.
  • Rom. 5. 17.
  • Col. 2. 10.
  • 2 Cor. 5. 21.
  • 1 Joh. 5. 11.

How had,

  • Joh. 3. 14, 15.
  • Rom. 3. 22.
  • Gal. 3. 24.
  • Phil. 3. 9.

Let us now call in some Evidence, and en­quire whether the Protestant Cause be so al­together unbefriended by Antiquity, as some of our Adversaries are desirous the World, should believe: And 1. what we meet with in Athanasius. We find Tom. 2. That the fulfill­ing of the Law wrought by the first fruits, Christ, is imputed to the whole Lump.

2. Gregory upon Ezek. Hom. 8. I will give it you in the Original; because there is one Word, the just force and importance where­of our English can, I think, but hardly reach: Justus noster Advocatus nos defendet in judicio; quia nosmetipsos & cognoscimus, & accusamus injustos: Non in Fletibus, non in Actionibus no­stris, sed in Advocati nostri Allegatione consi­damus.

3. Chrysostom upon 1 Cor. 1. 30. It is not said he made us Wise, Just, and Holy; but he is made unto us, Wisdom, Righteousness, Justification, &c. Upon Rom. 10. There is no cause thou shouldest fear as a Transgressor of the Law, if thou believest in Christ; because thou hast fulfilled it, and received a far greater Righteousness.

[Page 122]4. Basil. de Humil. Hom. 51. This is perfect and full rejoycing in God, when a man boasts not of his righteousness; but knows himself void of true Sanctity, yet justified by Faith.

5. Gregory Nyssen, on those words of our Saviour, Beati qui esuriant justitiam. It seems to me, saith he, that our Lord, by mentioning Justice, doth propose to the appetite of his hear­ers his own self, who is made unto us wisdom from God, Justice, &c.

6. Another from Chrysostom upon Rom. 4. That one destitute of Works should be Justified by Faith, might, perhaps, seem well to be: But that one adorned with vertues and good works should, yet, be justified not by them, but by Faith only, is admirable.

7. Bernard, who every where gives us clear glimpses of this light, lets it shine broad out in his 61. Sermon on Canticles, where he calls us under shelter of that Long, Large Eternal Righ­teousness of Christ; professing, He will make mention of that only. And why must not Ja­cob attain the blessing without the garments of his Elder Brother? but to impart to us the knowledge, that we must have ingress into Heaven, no otherwise, than under the Tegu­ment of Christ's Merits. I may well, says he again, Ep. 190. call my self Just, but 'tis by his, Christ's, Justice; and what's that? even Christ the end of the Law, for Righteousness, to all Believ­ers. [Page 123] It is not a short Cloak (adds he further) that cannot cover two.

8. Besides Augustin's Non nobis, and his Si­cut found and usually observed in his Peruse his 45th. Sermon de Temp. and you will find by him, that it's the fulness of Vertue which the Law means, when it says, Thou shalt not Covet; then adds he after this manner, It cannot be fulfilled.

9. But Sedulius, on Rom. 10. shews how it may; saying, Perfectionem Legis habet qui credit in Christo.

10. Both Irenaeus and Augustine do most clearly design that particular Act and Office of Faith, which respects our Saviour, whilest they expound John 3. 14.

11. Ambrose de vita beata, lib. 2. cap. 2. up­on these words, Odoratus est odorem vestimen­torum: Peradventure (he saith) it's meant, that we are not justified by Works, but by Faith; be­cause the weakness of our Flesh is an impediment to our Works; but the Excellency of Faith doth cover the errors of them.

12. As we begun, so we will end (though it were easie to bring a whole Cloud of reve­rend Authors to attest this thing) with Atha­nasius, de incarnatione Verbi: It's impossible that Purity and Innocence can be exhibited in humane Nature; unless it be believed that God was in the Flesh, who brought into the World a Justice [Page 124] free from all sin: Because we are made parta­kers Hujus, (render it how you will of him, or of this) we shall live, and be saved: For, illud, non est justus in terra (adds he) belongs equal­ly to us all; and for that reason, he descended from Heaven, who was to impart Righteousness (ex se) out of himself.

These proofs are not cited in order of time, as they were writ; but in course, as they seemed best to make out, what I have said be­fore in this Point.

13. Ambrose upon Rom. 10. He that believes on Christ hath attained the perfection of the Law: For; seeing (of old) none were to be justified by the Law, because none fulfilled it otherwise than by hoping in Christ promised; Faith is introdu­ced to believe the Law fulfilled: That, all things else laid aside, Faith might satisfie, both for the Law and Prophets.

14. Augustine again, in his 200. Epist. The Law says, Thou shalt not covet, and it says so, not for that here we are absolutely able to perform that Command; but to shew towards what our Endeavours are to bend themselves.

15. Theophylact on Gal. 3. No man can do what is prescribed in the Law; and by its Sentence he that does it not is accurst: So it comes to be the Office of Faith to give the Blessing.

16. To all such as esteem the Law so easie or possible to be fulfilled, let me recommend [Page 125] Bishop Davenant's Treatise de Justitia Habitu­ali & Actuali; and particularly the 49th. Cap.

17. Hierom on 2 Cor. 5. 21. Christ being offered for our Sins, received the name of Sin; that we might be made the Justice of God in him, not our own, nor in our selves.

18. Origen on Rom. 6. 23. Well does the Apostle here continue the Metaphor he had before taken up, that he might affirm Death, the due pay of such as fight under the Standard of the King of Sin, to be their Wages: But it would have been as much unfit to say, God gives Sti­pends to his Souldiers, but a free Gift and Grace.

19. Theodoret in Sophoniam cap. 3. The sal­vation of men dependeth upon God's mercy alone, for we do not attain unto it as Wages. And on this very place (viz. Rom. 6. 23.) his words are: Hic non dicit Mercedem, sed Gratiam.

20. Lastly, our venerable Country-man Bede on Psal. 23. And thus, that the godly man shall be well rewarded, non ex meritis, sed ex sola gratia. Anselm, once our Archbishop, has left behind him this great Truth (inconsistent, sure, with those Rhemish Annotations I for­merly touched, or the bold dictates of Vasquez) That if a man should serve God, and that most fervently a thousand years, he should not con­dignly merit to be half a day in the Kingdom of [Page 126] Heaven. And more fully to our purpose in his Book de modo visitandi infirmos; If Satan say, thou hast deserved damnation; answer thou, I set Christ's death betwixt me and my evil merits; and I offer his merits for that merit which I should have had, but do want now. Lest we should apprehend (as the confident and dili­gent Factors for the Roman Cause could be con­tent to have us) that their Opinion in this Point, had been derived to them through the long Current of 1600 years, let us ponder the words of Thomas Waldensis, who lived a man of great learning (even when the thickness of this darkness began to overspread the face of the earth) Tom. 3. de Sacram. He professeth his utter dislike of that saying, A man may by merits be worthy of Heaven, of this Grace, or that Glory: However, says he, (lo here their rise) certain Schoolmen have invented the Terms of Congruity and Condignity. I do repute him (adds he again) the more faithful Catholick, more sound Christian, and more consonant to ho­ly Scripture, who does simply deny such merit: And confesseth; That no man merits Heaven, but by the Grace of God, or will of the Giver; as all the former Saints and whole Church have written. The same may be collected from Eras­mus, who may certainly pass for a sufficient witness in Matter of fact, Epist. ad Stephanum Rhodricum.

[Page 127]From these premises we, I hope, may with safety and confidence (after it is past for Law, upon the venerable Bench of Primitive Anti­quity, and veritas, truth, is, non quod antiquum, not what had got a prevalence in our Grand­fathers or Great-grand-fathers days; but, quod antiquissimum, what from the beginning was so) affirm, That even now, under the Gospel, Ju­stification cannot be absolved towards a Sinner, but in the contemplation of Christ's Righte­ousness, whereby he, and none but he, fully answered all the demands of the Law. Nor is it any prejudice to our Cause at all, that in the writings of the Latin Fathers. the Terms Me­rita, mereri, and Justificationes do frequently occur; since their importance with them for the most part is, singly, works, not the desert of working, but particular Acts of Justice; and mereri, to attain unto, or procure (as the way whereby, not the cause wherefore) the Re­ward of Heaven: which is largely, as well as clearly manifested by our Bishops, Usher, Dave­nant, and Downham; their true sence and meaning being not contrary, but subordinate to our Doctrine. We shall not fear therefore to say with St. Paul (compare Rom. 4. 3. Ja. 2. 21.) That the best man living must expect Blessedness without Works, by Faith alone; and yet that Faith must not, nor indeed can, be alone in any good man: For it is as infal­libly [Page 128] true, which St. James tells us cap. 2. That Works do in the sight of men, and to our own Consciences justifie us: supposed or mistaken Faith alone, being dead and ineffectual, can do nothing at all thereto. How this goodly Building of condign merit, or Justification by the desert of inherent Righteousness, hath a very congruous foundation on the doctrine of Free-Will, Alphonsus à Castro gives us to understand, Lib. 7. de haeres. when he says; For this, even because we consent to God's Monition, when we might have dissented, Wages are ow'n to us, and from thence is our merit. If by this Monition they intend but a bare in­effectual swasion, and then leave Nature to determine in that work, which is not brought to pass but by the mighty power of God, Eph. 1. 19. the difference betwixt them and the Pe­lagians of old, is sure but very minute, and scarce perceptible: The one (though they would not hear of the energy of Grace, yet) acknowledge, that Nature, which they so much exalted, was the gift and work of God: The other (though they seem to assign a kind of Grace to the Conversion of a sinner) coarct its operation under such Terms as render the whole business, in a manner, the Fruit of a man's own acquisition.

Three Questions there are very pertinent to this [...], which being resolved, are [Page 129] so determinative of the Point, as leaves the Judgement no more room further to he­sitate.

1. What state the Father of the Faithful was in, whenas St. Paul, Rom. 4. assures us, he was Justified without Works? The Romanists al­lege, that this is to be understood of Natural Works, done before, or without Faith. Well, but Abrahani was called of God, and an­swered his call, had received and imbraced the Promise, Gen. 12. built an Altar, and twice thereat invoked the Name of the Lord, Gen. 13. had solemnly been blessed by Melchizedek, Gen. 14. had a Testimony given by God, that he was his particular care, Gen. 15. had per­formed several Acts of Righteousness in Faith, as is apparent from Heb. 11. 8, 9. and was now about an hundred years old, Rom. 4. 19. yet after all this, of him it is spoken, and by St. Paul drawn to general application, That by Faith without Works, (this is without any con­sideration had on God's part to their merit) he was Justified.

2. What Law is it whereby St. Paul affirms, Rom. 3. 20. that no Flesh can be justified? Even that Law which to other necessary uses he was careful to establish, ver. 31. by which cometh the knowledge of Sin, Rom. 7. 7. which is holy, just, and good, ver. 12, Spiri­tual, ver. 14. Encomiums that cannot be given [Page 130] to the Ceremonial, and therefore must be of force against that Doctrine, whereby Justifica­tion is made to consist, in either habitual, or actual holiness; all which is nothing but con­formity to the Moral-Law, too weak, through the flesh, for such an end.

3. What sort of Grace is there designed, where St. Paul (having by all his preceding discourses, thereto ascribed Justification) sub­joyns, Rom. 6. this caution, What then? Shall we continue in sin, that Grace may abound? It's not at all possible, or imaginable, that any body, how egregiously wicked, or how stu­pidly gross and dull soever he were, should be of opinion, that by continuing in sin Grace inherent could abound. By infallible deduction, then, it follows, That the power of justifying is not by the Apostle left in the hands of such Grace, but rests in that gratious imputation of Righteousness through Faith, which makes our Salvation from one end to a­nother, the free gift of God; as we find it contradistinguished to the wages of sin, Rom. 6. 23. Let not any Romanist, here, think to come off by alleging, that they hold the eternal pu­nishments of sin to be remitted by the Sacri­fice of Christ; which being done, there then remains their good deeds to merit glory in Heaven: For, pardon relates only to the per­son of the repenting sinner, not at all unto the [Page 131] devious works, so as to render legitimate what was in the commission criminal. But the Law, which takes no notice of Pardon, remains un­fulfilled by the party absolved, still: And a righteousness, adequate to that, must be found, before we can claim the rewards of life. Nor let them imagine the business is salved, because some of them build the reason or ground of merit on the promise and acceptation of God: for neither can they shew that ever God made his promise of such a Tenure; nor yet will Vasquez (and therein he pretends fully to know the mind of the Trent Council) suffer that to pass as Catholick Doctrine: for he tells us, If our works be not of themselves, before the Pro­mise, worthy; and after the Promise do become worthy; it must follow, that for their dignifica­tion, or to make them acceptable, the Merit of Christ must needs intervene, and be imputed▪ Disp. 214. Chap. 6. That what I have delivered in this Point, is the very Mind, Sence and Pre­cept of the English Church, whereto I desire to approve and submit my self, is manifest by her eleventh Article, thus made up: That we are justified by Faith alone, is a most wholesome Do­ctrine; referring us for farther explication to her Homilie of Salvation: and there we are directed to the right Object of Faith, as it ju­stifies, viz. Christ suffered death for us, Christ fulfilled the Law for us.

[Page 132]As Utensils, or a kind of hang-by's on to their main Point of Justification by the merit of works, follow an whole Legion of vendible Pardons, Indulgences, Dispensations; Termes which in the Primitive Church signified no more than certain relaxations of Penances imposed upon Delinquents, and upon evident signs of their amendment mitigated to the persons yet living: Whereas, in the after practice of the Romanists, they degenerated into such notori­ous superstition (as applyed to the dead,) and into so great impiety (as extended to the living,) that they have left skars upon the face of their Church, which cannot pass for beauty-Spots. Of this we have all Germany for a wit­ness: for not onely Luther (from the extream grossness thereof (when he saw those good­ly advantages made the wagers in a game at Dice) took occasion to write against them: But the whole Imperial Dyet at Norimberg, Anno 1522. gives them a chief place among their 100 grievances represented to the Popes Nuntio then amongst them: So that we doubt not but we do well, in accompting them but as superstructures reared with untempered Mor­tar, which we are sure will (as Wood, Hay, Stub­ble) perish, and not abide the fire, that spirit of burning mentioned, Isai. 4. 4. Matth. 3. 11. Cor. 3. 13. It will be worthy the while to hear­lien (perhaps with more attention than the Le­gate [Page 133] Franciscus Theregatus did, for I do not find there was any present redress) to the com­plaints of those Germans. You shall have them then, out of a Copie printed 141 years since, and published by Authory, faithfully done into English. They usher in all the rest by this comprehensive one, which might have indeed a great many in the belly of it: And, as we pass the threshold, we cannot but take up this Note, They fix the blame not upon the ir­regular exorbitant actings of some particular ill-governing Minister. But the Preamble runs thus: ‘An hundred grievances of the sacred Roman Empire, Princes and Nobles, which they put up to his Holiness his Legate against the Roman Chair, and the whole Ecclesiastical Order. Anno 1522.

First, ‘This is not the least, nor the last to be mentioned, that many things are prohibited, many things imposed, by humane constituti­ons, which are not commanded or forbid by any Divine Precept: Of such sort are, The innumerable obstacles invented for the pro­hibition of Marriage, drawn through so ma­ny degrees of affinity, and consanguinity: The injunction to forbear meats, which God, notwithstanding, has created, indifferently, [Page 134] for the use of Man; and the Apostle so teach­eth, They may be taken with thanksgiving: These and the like stand in force, till money (which thus makes the same thing lawful to rich, and criminal to poor) procure a Dispen­sation. By the casting of such illegal nets, not only a vast quantity of Treasure is caught in Germany, and hoysted over the Alpes; but a most unreasonable iniquity is exercised upon persons equal in Christianity: Whence arises great scandal, and heart-burn­ing, whilst the less able sort do find them­selves intrapped and held fast, only because they have not those Thornes of the Gospel riches; as Christ more than once terms them.’

2. ‘Of the same stamp are the proceedings as to set times for marriage; done it must not be at such and such seasons; that is to say, if the parties think to do't for nothing; though in the mean time both Ecclesiasticks and Se­culars live most luxuriously: but if Coyn e­nough appear, that makes all pass into just and right: this likewise is a cunning pick­lock to the German Coffers.’

3. They tell him how long this unsuppor­table burthen has laid upon their backs; that, ‘Whensoever some Church is pretended to be in building at Rome, or an expedition to be made against the Turk, then, under the no­tion [Page 135] of a pious Contribution, the very bot­tom of the German bags must be turned out; and, what is more considerable, by these Im­postures managed by a sort of Preachers for the carrying on that work purposely set, true Christian Piety is almost justled out of the Nation. For, (that they may to most ad­vantage put off that sort of Ware) no end is made of crying up those Bulls, ascribing thereto a wonderful and unutterable power of pardoning sins, not only past and to come unto the living, but also, unto the dead, who are, as they call it, in the fire of Purgatory; yet not unless something jingle from the fist. By these mercenary Indulgences, not only our Country is drayn'd of Treasure, but the fear of God extinguished, when every one must needs frame to himself a perswasion, that he has purchased a secure liberty of sinning. Hence are Whoredoms, Adulte­ries, Perjuries, Slaughters, Thefts, Rapines, Extortions, and the whole kennel of such­like wickedness. For who will any more be aw'd from evil, when once he is brought to think, that for money he may have a li­cense to sin here, and impunity in the world to come? Especially (add they) our Germans, who are behind none in forwardness to im­brace any thing, that has the countenance of Piety.’

[Page 136]4. But they assure him, ‘The people are now grown by use so knowing of those de­ceipts, (since they discern the Corn goes to the wrong Mill) that now when there is re­ally a need of their aid, they will not part with it.’

Next is represented, how ‘particu­lar Causes are referred to Rome it self, and there, if the just have no money, he cannot be quit; if the unjust have, he may return home not freed from censure, but fenced with a Dispensation for the future: and then, what cares he how flagitiously he live, since every Hedge-Priest has power by the already procured Indulgence to absolve him?’

Then they follow another sort of Indulgence­mongers (their Stationary Preachers of them) through all sorts of Villages and Habitations of men; standing amazed to hear how confident­ly they bear the vulgar in hand, that it will make highly for the thriving of their Families, if they give somewhat yearly to such a Saint, whose prayer they set forth (suppose St. Va­lentine, St. Hubert, &c.) but this Pension must go through the hands of those Priests. A­gain, they inroll every one of these poor men for a reward, under the protection of some Saint, making them believe an immunity from some disease or other, which would for the year be the consequent thereof. In all which there is no greater design, than to ex­haust [Page 137] their wealth. This custom taking its rise from St. Anthony, has now got an universal in­fluence upon all maladies; for you cannot name one, over which these Stationaries do not assign some such Saint to superintend: by this, sucking the very heart-bloud from these credulous persons, and eating the very bread out of their Childrens mouths. Then they lay open all the practices of another sort of beg­ging-Fryars Terminarii, who play their pranks too, and put in for a share of the Peoples suste­nance. Next they travel forward into a large Field, fruitful beyond measure, in Enormities of various kinds, as abuse of Church-Censures, Multitude of holy days, &c. At length bring­ing us to the sight of one, which though I had formerly heard of from Authors of unquesti­onable credit, yet could not take root with me, till I viewed it irrefragably made out by this authentick Copy of so solemn and great a Transaction, viz. That the Church of Rome (for it's not to be considered singly as a pre­varication, in the managements of some pri­vate persons) could suffer a Weed of so vile and poysonous nature, to spread its branches so far and so thick: We see it full blown, and bearing fruit too, where their complaint is thus renewed.

75. ‘Furthermore, the Officials, drawn with infamous and insatiable thirst after Gold, [Page 138] not only not discountenance Usury and un­lawful Gain, but do every where advance it. They suffer Clergy-men and Religious of all sorts, (for money still) freely to enjoy Concubines, Whores, Strumpets, and on them to beget Children.’ But,

91. This Grievance is superadded, ‘That in most places, even chaste Priests, such as had no intent to use Concubines, are, never­theless, compelled to pay the Rate that such Dispensation would come to, and then let them chuse whether they will take it out or no.’

These are Corruptions that naturally, and almost necessarily flow from the Doctrines of Indulgences, Pardons, Dispensations, of Ca­tholick (I mean Universal) practice amongst the Pontificians; for, with us in England, we find Grants of the same frame, nay worse, if worse can be: Two Towns in Essex given to the Church of Ely, by Leofwin, to expiate and satisfie for the murther of his Mother. (Cambd. fol. 440. of the large English Edition.) And Alfrid, the relict of King Edgar, founded a Nunnery near Ambersbury, having made away Edward, who was by the former Wife, that her Son might succeed, Cambd. fol. 254. These are deeds of darkness acted in the light: And must we have the Gate of Heaven shut against us, because we cannot but believe, That the Pope, [Page 139] who interdicteth marriage to men in Orders, and yet by a Law establisheth the Iniquity of Concubination, who winked at such things as these, might, at length, fall asleep, and give the envious Man large opportunities to sow Tares, Matth. 13. and 25. or because we can­not swear to all the words of that most imperi­ous Master.

Let us now crave, or if that will not be grant­ed, take lieve to examine how well they have stated this business amongst themselves; how, or whether at all, they agree therein. Some would have us to think (for so 'tis often pro­posed in gross, and so the greatest part of their own, especially Laicks, understand it) That the high-Priest of Rome is no way subject to mistake. But that's not to be defended. Then they inform us, That in Matters of Faith, he cannot err. When they are driven by the Testimony of their best Historians, in the ex­amples of Liberius, Honorius, and many others, to confess, that this has come to pass: Then; Not when he undertakes to teach the Church. Which likewise being demonstrated by the instance of John 22. who both believed, and proposed to others a notable Error about the Souls of the departed: And of John 23. who publickly taught, that there was no life after this: Oh then; Not in a General Council. But where is then their always visible, easily [Page 140] to be consulted, continually necessary Judge of Controversies: for under these Notions they commonly infer the reasonableness of their Tenent. The 300 years next to the Aposto­lick times knew no such thing as an Oecume­nical Assembly: the first that ever was would not (if all truth had been to be fetch'd, if all power had been to be derived, from Rome) by their quadripartite division of Jurisdiction, have limited Sylvester, as well as the other three, to his proper bounds. The third of Carthage would not have made a Decree to the contrary: Nor that of Milevetum have de­nounced Excommunication against all such as should appeal beyond their Sees. Neither would the sixth Carthaginian Council, so stifly, have opposed Zosymus, then Bishop of Rome, and his successour Boniface; till at last they e­videnced his pretensions to be false, by the at­testation which Cyrillus Bishop of Alexandria, and Atticus of Constantinople gave to the Ni­cene Canons. The Pope had his Deputy at the Council of Basil: Its Decrees, toge­ther with those of Constance, confirmed by A­postolick Letters of Eugenius, Anno 1449. ra­tified by Nicholas 5. In them the Authority of a Council is set above the Pope, and he is sub­jected to it. This is certainly to them a very pungent Dilemma: Either let them confess that a Council confirmed by the Pope may err; or [Page 141] let the Decrees pass for Catholick Doctrine▪ For our parts, we think, we can bring an in­fallible instance from this Council, I mean of Constance, that they may err: Since in that very Decree which they dared to make against the Communion in both kinds, they acknow­ledge that they went against the first Institution. But the Jesuites now at last (for what reason they know best) will, after all this poother, have the whole privilege fitted to the narrow di­mensions of the Pope's Breast. Bellarmine lib. 2. de Conc. cap. 12. & 18. Thus at last, all Coun­cils must be brought back to the Bishop of Rome's Examination, that what he approves may pass, what he is not satisfied in may fall to the ground: Gregory de Valentia Ann. lib. 8. cap. 3. Thus the Pope indeed ought to use all good means and diligence to find out Truth: But whether doth he so or no? If he undertake to determine, in a Controversie, he always does it infallibly. This is well and soundly to the purpose: yet before they do vest him with that Prerogative, or ascertain it to him, they put such conditionary Qualifications upon him (he must be duly elected, whereto abundance of odd things must concur: he must not open­ly nor in his heart, which no body can ever understand, be a favourer of Heresie, and the like) as 'tis the hardest thing in the World to know when it is fix'd, and therefore no [Page 142] competent ground-work to rear our Faith upon.

Popery has its several Depths, wherein the Members of the Romish Communion (however they would bear others in hand, and divers of them may themselves believe, that there's nothing but Unity among them) are more or less immers'd. Yet from a concession made by their daring Vasquez, though not made with any design of reconciliation, but upon grounds that must perpetuate the Breach, I can (me­thinks) bring the most of our English Papists, and a great part of their more ancient and more modest Writers, within the comprehen­sion of true, though not in all regards sound, Belief. That bold Jesuite, where he so eager­ly contends for the condigne Merit of Works done by infused Grace, and scorns to derive it from any Covenant or Acceptation, on God's part made, thus argues: (And indeed the con­sequence is very strong, though the use he would make of it be very impertinent.) His words are: If our Works were not (of them­selves) before any Promise worthy, but became so by vertue of a Promise; the Merits of Christ must necessarily be applied, and imputed, to bring such Dignification to them. (Quaest. 1, 2. Disp. 3. cap. 6.) Now for such among them, as do owne a Tenent that will undeniably fetch in the Merits of Christ (though it be not in a [Page 143] way so explicit as is proper for the raising the Soul to those discoveries of strong Consolati­on, which may flow from the Doctrine right­ly understood) I dare not but be so charitable as to think, That if they joyned a sincere Pi­ety to that measure of Faith, they shall have their share in the Resurrection of the Just, at the last Day. Their Notions seem (as to this great business) to run into disorder upon a supposition, That the Merits of Christ are applied to the Works, not to the Persons of the Regenerate.

To sift, therefore, these things a little; Con­sider:

1. That the gratious Condonation, where­by God is pleased not to animadvert the Ob­liquities, nor the gratuitous acceptation, which he vouchsafes to our best Actions, can neither of them relate to the Works themselves, nor have such influence upon them, as to render them (now) Legitimate, which were (before) Anomious. Will any body say, or think, That those illegal proceedings, whereof many in England were guilty, ceased to be Treason, as soon as the King's Grace had, by the Act of Ob­livion, quitted their Persons from punishment? Though God, in like manner, through the greatness of his mercy, do let all our guilt pass into the Land of forgetfulness; yet, there is an holy, just, good, eternal, exceeding broad [Page 144] Law, which must not pass away till all be fulfill­ed, which requires the whole heart, and reaches the very inmost thoughts. Notwithstanding Re­mission, this Law remains unfulfilled still; and poor Dust and Ashes (in whose hands, through the weakness of the Flesh, it fail'd of its End) would be left groveling on this side heaven, if the glorious light of the Gospel did not ma­nifest a new way thither; not by patching up or ekeing out the rags of our Works, but by putting on us the Garments of our elder Bro­ther, and by directing us (when we plead with our Maker, for the blessing) to make mention of his Righteousness only. The clearest intima­tion of this is had from Jer. 23. 6. and 33. 16. laid together; where the Spouse and her Hea­venly Bridegroom are united, and put toge­ther under one Appellation, He shall be called, yea and She shall be called too, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. 'Tis prodi­giously strange, it should seem strange to any, that there should be a Communication betwixt the Head and the Members, such as may de­rive the fulness which is in the one (purposely for that end) unto the other (see Colos. 1. 19. John 1. 16. Colos. 2. 9. 10.) especially when they admit of a Communication of the Mem­bers, one with another, by Supererrogation, whereof Scripture is absolutely silent.

Of Prayer to Saints.

THE Agents for the Church of Rome (who have, indeed, a singular Dexterity in adapting their Discourses to the frame of the times wherein, and to the temper of the persons wherewith, they are conversant) do think fit to assault this Generation (train'd up to a de­plorable inadvertency, through the unsetled­ness, and discomposure, which lately was upon us) by mincing, or veiling those Doctrines and Practices, most lyable to exception; putting upon them such a varnish as may look best to the eyes of transient, slight beholders. Thus they bear us in hand, that the Adoration paid by them to Saints and Angels, is an innocent, humble, safe thing, whereby they only bespeak (and who will not desire to make a friend in the Court?) those favourites of Heaven to be on their side.

If this were all; yet, since we are sure, that he with whom we have to do, perfectly discerns all the desires, all the necessities of his Sup­plicants: (a Prerogative noAmbrose on Rom. 1. Potentate on Earth is capable of, and therefore several Patrons are there sought out, the more effectually to inform them:) Since we are sure, there's no Media­tor [Page 146] betwixt God and man, but the Man Christ Jesus: Since to be adored is so peculiarly due to our great Creator: Since to intercede, is, exclusively to all others, in things pertaining to God, the Office of our Saviour: We dare not make the Angels or Saints departed the Objects of our Devotions; especially since it is written (certainly for our instruction) See thou do it not, Revel. 22. 9. But they will give us (or at least we must take) lieve to view a little, by the perspective of their own Au­thors, those immediate, down-right Applicati­ons, they would have it believed, St. Hierom, (for they are publisht with the third part of his Epistles, though the style plainly speaks them five hundred years younger) had not only ac­cepted, but rewarded; being now in Heaven a favourite.

1. Therefore we must make no question, but St. Hierom is equal to any of the Apostles; John the Baptist having accompanied him (soon after his departure out of this life) unto St. Augustine's Cell, purposely to assure that Fa­ther, he would not take it ill, if St. Hierom were as much venerated as himself, and to be feared above the rest of the Saints, having more power to prevail with God for whatsoever he please, than almost any other has. We must understand too, that Christ himself, with all the glorified Souls, and the Blessed Virgin, [Page 147] went out to meet the Spirit of St. Hierom, the same instant it left the flesh, to conduct it with more honour into Heaven.

2. Where it had not been long, before, three men, dying all about a time, were brought be­fore the Judgement Seat of God, and were up­on the point of being condemned to everlast­ing Chains; when St. Hierom (accompanied by John Baptist and St. Peter) desired those three might be given back to him, for the reve­rence and devotion, (I use the very words I find) they had always born him. His suit would not be denyed. He then takes them, shews them Heaven, Hell, yea and Purgatory; then joyns them to their bodies again, and sends them unto earth for twenty days, under this condition, that, if in that space they could perform the Penance due to their sins, they should then be admitted into Heaven.

3. During which twenty days, they con­versed with several persons here, told many strange and wonderful things (particularly one of them said, That whilst he was dying, many Devils beset his bed, till St. Hierom came to send them away, and gave him a better guard of Angels) at the time prefixed departed this life over again, and were buried together in the Yard of that Church where St. Hierom's bo­dy lyes: And our Author is confident of their Salvation.

[Page 148]4. Thither, upon a certain day, when his body was to be removed from its first earthy into a Marble Tomb, an innumerable compa­ny of people came crowding: The restoring of sight to the blind; the freeing of Demoni­acks, upon the touch of his Reliques, were at that time nothing: But a certain poor Widow, having one only little Son, was there, and the Child pressed to death in the throng: In a sad ta­king she carries her lifeless darling to the Grave, whence St. Hierom had been taken; with these words: Holy, Glorious Hierom, I will never go hence, till thou restorest me my boy: As soon as ever his body touch'd the ground, the Soul re­turn'd again. And the like befel another also, that had been no less than three days before buryed, whom his father took up and cast in­to the Sepulchre of St. Hierom, receiving him immediately from thence alive, whole and sound.

5. We are reminded that St. John the Bap­tist made one expedition more, on his Birth­day, into the Church of Alexandria, accompa­nied by St. Hierom, both clad alike in rich and precious Garments: In great State and Maje­sty they came hand in hand through the body of the Church, top-full of people, and in two golden Chairs (placed there, by something like two most beautiful Youths, for the very nonce) set themselves directly before the Altar; a good [Page 149] while they remain'd silent, civilly offering to each other the precedence of speech; at last it was agreed, that because the day was solemn for St. John's Birth, the other should first chaunt his Praises, which he did succinctly and elegantly beyond humane expression: But then St. John fell to work, and so extol'd his Companion, that he left in the good Bishop Cyril (whose Vision this was) a great deal of joy and admiration; and he published what he had seen unto all the people.

6. A certain man was infinitely troubled to think what condition his Nephew's soul (a fine, but wild, young man lately dead) was in: at last, by importunities, St. Hierom set him be­fore his eyes, manacled all in burning fetters; because he had forgot, at his last Confession, to acknowledge how vainly he had been ad­dicted to Plays.

7. Subjoyn to this another story of an ex­cellently featured young man, who had entred into the Monastical life, but was by his elder Brother over-perswaded to marry; which having done, the same brother of his abused his Bed, and both he and the offending wife were slain by the hand of this youngster: After which he fled the City, turn'd High-way-man, committed many flagitious Acts; but in the midst of all, forgot not to recommend himself to St. Hierom, and let scarce any day go over [Page 150] his head, but, once before night, he would per­form something that was good to his honour. Well, at last St. Hierom catcht him, by this de­vice; He put himself on the way, where this Votary of his used (with his Compani­ons) to play his pranks, habited like a travel­ling Merchant; is assaulted by him; but the lifted-up arm, and drawn sword, both remain'd unmoveable in the Air: at which being strange­ly inraged, the Robber call'd his fellows to fall on: The seeming Merchant besought him (even for St. Hierom's sake) to hear him, which words, being uttered by St. Hierom himself, wrought so, as they all listned to his advices, and became new men.

8. Let us fetch our next remarque (as my Au­thor has done) out of Egypt. One of the same long Robe, a Monk I mean, had, for twelve years, been an example of singular Piety to all his fellows, and so chaste he was, that he ab­hor'd the sight of a woman, worse than of a Toad: The Devil though, that old Serpent, made many assaults upon, and grievously tempted, him night and day; for two months he valiantly resisted him by fasting, prayer, and providently putting himself under St. Hierom's protection: At length, it so fell out, that his Father fell desperately sick, and above all things desired to have one sight of this long ab­sented son before his death, which would infal­libly [Page 151] be hastned and ascertained to him, if he had it not. The scrupulous vertue of the man was such, as (had not all the Convent per­swaded him) he would sooner have suffered his father to dye for sorrow, than run the hazard of coming where a Female might happen to be: Over-ruled, home he went: After a while, a Sister of his (who, at his going away, had not age enough to bear a Temptation about her, but was now a very Miracle for beauty) and he, from adverse-sides of the sick mans bed, met with their bare hands, whilst they were performing some necessary office about him: the touch set him all in a flame, and that so burnt up all devout inclinations in him, as, after their Fathers recovery, he lingred there a long time without thought of returning to the Monastery, till as well shame, as his Parents commands, drove him back: But, alas! he was there so perdidly given up to that new and vile affection, as after some while, he, knowing where the Keys lay, resolved to steal out by night, and run all hazards for its satisfaction: This he attempted several times, yet was still so led in a maze, that he could never light on the place where the Keys were, but run from place to place, till morning overtook him. And what, think we, was the cause of this? He had in his Cell the Image of St. Hierom, and every day on bended knees before it, did [Page 152] commend himself to the protection of that Saint; and therefore, that his admirable cle­mency might be known to all, he kept him from perpetrating the evil he intended: Till seeing him obstinately bent, he appeared to a­nother holy man of that fraternity, and sent him to tell this erring sheep, that (for the re­verence he accustomed to do him) he had hi­therto secured him: but, if he gave not over his folly quickly, he would throw him out of his protection. The admonition was scorn'd, the poor Monk derided as an idle dreamer, and the next night the Keys were found, and the man let loose to reap the shame and danger of his attempt: But yet St. Hierom (for he still kept some kind of Devotion towards him) for­got him not; he suffer'd him to make this ex­periment of his folly for his own good: By his intercession it was, the man came afterwards to true penitence, and underwent such auste­rities for years almost two, as is not to be be­lieved; dying, at length, very happily.

9. Take notice of a certain Priest-Cardi­nals story, Andreas by name. He, dying at Rome, was accompanied to his Grave by the whole Clergy, people, and his Holiness to boot; all on a sudden the Corps stood up, as from sleep. Whereupon, the Pope (which of them, tell you that can, for my Author fails me here) puts all out, and enters into conference with [Page 153] revived Andrew, who tells him, That whilst he stood at Gods Tribunal, and was even go­ing to be transmitted into everlasting torments, for the excess in meat, drink, and fine clothes, he had given himself unto, a certain man more glorious than the Sun, and whiter than Snow, whom he understood by others that stood by to have been St. Hierom, came, and with bend­ed knees supplicated the Judge, that his soul might return again into the body, which was granted and done, in the twinkling of an eye.

10. Worse fared poor Cardinal Caelestinus, who being (it seems) an emulator and despi­ser of St. Hierom, on a day when they had a great meeting (in the Conclave, I suppose) used some rash and audacious expressions con­cerning him; upon which he was suddenly taken with horrible pain in his Bowels; and thinking to get ease, by the ordinary way of evacuati­on, retired himself, where he extruded guts and life together, never more returning to his Companions.

These are, doubtless, Phancies of too gross and course a thred, to work up an acceptable Devotion, or a reasonable service withal: But we'l go a little farther, and see whether those Ejaculations, and Orasons, they bestow on (or rather throw against) the Mother of our Savi­our, be such, as she is at all like to take in good part.

In a Psalter termed by them Bonaventure's, printed at Rome, An. 1588.

They think it reasonable, where David ad­vanceth the honour of our Lord, to turn all (by a simple Conversion indeed) to the ho­nour of our Lady. For, thus they invoke her.

  • 1. Blessed is the man that loveth thy Name (O Virgin Mary) thy Grace shall comfort his Soul.
  • 2. Judge me (Lady) for I have not departed from mine innocencie; but because I trust in thee, I shall not be weakned.
  • 3. Blessed are they whose hearts do love thee, O Virgin; their sins by thee shall be mercifully washed away.
  • 4. Have mercy upon me, O Lady, who art call­ed the Mother of Mercy; and according to the bowels of thy mercy, cleanse me from all mine Iniquity.
  • 5. Lady, the Gentiles are come into the Inhe­ritance of God; whom thou, by thy Merits, hast confederated unto thee.
  • 6. God is the Lord of revenge; but, thou, the Mother of Mercy, dost bow him to take pity.
  • 7. We are informed (by Sir Robert Stapyl­ton in his translation of Famianus Strada) That Mary of Portugal, wife to Prince Alexander [Page 155] Farnezes, called upon her husband, in the Church of Scala, to joyn with her in prayer, to the Blessed Virgin; supplicating Christ, that, in obedience to his Mother, he would give them another Son.
  • 8. Which, yet, hath something more of Mo­desty in it than what Erasmus (one that stood enough in awe of the Roman Church) com­plains of in his time, and taxes both with vani­ty and novelty, (Epist. ad Steph. Rhodricum) That it was then customary to beseech her to compel her Son, &c.
  • 9. And what will they say to him that quotes the places, in their own Writers, which affirm, That the Blessed Virgin appeared, twice, in the place of two Nuns, the fruit of whose wantonness would not suffer them to endure the Probation? Till they disprove it ('tis Dr. Du Moulin has it in his Accomplishment of Pro­phesies) I can do no less than stand amazed at so prodigious a relation.

In a Missal I have now by me, I find (besides many other strange things) the Petition direct­ed immediately to Thomas Becket, whom they hold a Martyr, because he stifly maintained the incroachments of Rome, made, about that time, upon all Princes; but our Histories hold forth as a Rebel.

[Page 156]
Opem nobis, ô Thoma, porrige; rege stantes;
Jacentes erige; mores, actus, & vitam
Corrige; & in Pacis nos viam dirige.

What can be said more to Christ him­self?

Let them be ashamed of what they some­times affirm (when they would captivate the judgments of those they fear would be scan­dalized to hear the utmost, at first) viz. They tell such; Prayer to Saints they may chuse whether they will use or no, it's but recom­mended to them: I say, let them for shame forbear insinuations of this Nature: They know their Council of Trent has commanded the Belief of it under an Anathema.

After all this, deserves it not a full Conside­ration, That it is expresly hinted (2 Chron. 6. 30.) that God only knows the hearts of the Chil­dren of men? and this spoken in direct reference to the Duty of Prayer.

We have good information from Matthew, our honest Monk of St. Albans, in what chan­nel the Zeal, Devotions, Pietie, Learning, and Studies of that Age (viz. in the dayes of Henry the Second) did run. To say nothing of all that bustle and disquiet this Kingdom suffered about the Rights, Privileges, Exem­ptions, Jurisdictions of Abbies and Bishopricks, [Page 157] whereby he renders the Designs, Encroach­ments, and Imperiousness of Rome so plain, that one who runs may read, and discover, That they were both new and unjust. Let us here transcribe, as near as we can to his own sence, a Story or two, ejusdem farinae, of the same frame with those already noted.

It was in those days that one Godric, brought up at first a Pedlar, then a Merchant, would leave all and go a Pilgrim to Jerusalem; return'd from thence, he must foot it to Rome; his Mo­ther also will not stay behind; whom he dutiful­ly carried upon his back as often as any rugged or uneasie way opposed it self. This journey happily effected, he brings back to his aged Father his long absent Wife again: But im­mediately betakes himself to an Hermit's Life. Passing therefore out of Northfolk (for there he had his Nativity) Northward, he comes at length to Carlisle, and there by a Kinsman was presented with a Hierom's Psalter; which in a short time, he was able not only to read, but say all without Book. Then he slips from all his acquaintance, and to the wild Woods he goes, which afford him herbs and fruit, his only sustenance for a great while. The ravenous wild Inhabitants of Desarts, (that is, Wolves, Serpents, &c.) would often come and look him in the face, and so quietly pass away. On a certain day, he stumbled upon a [Page 158] certain Den or Cave, into which as he was en­tring, he heard one bid him, by name, Welcome; whilest he returned the salute, by name too, to old Ailric, though they had never seen, or heard of one the other, in their lives before. Well; the space of two years, these two made a shift to live together: And then Ailric grow­ing near to his departure, Godric solemnly ad­jures (by what warrant is worth a Quaere) the Soul of his Comrade, that it should not leave that feeble Body, without giving him notice. Very shortly after Ailric breathes his last, and something of a round form, after the Simili­tude of a fervid, burning wind (this is the first time I have ever noted a Similitude given to wind) all shining like clear glass, and encircl­ed round with incomparable white, appeared to Godric: But yet (as our Author with great modesty and prudence adds) it is beyond any man's reach absolutely to explicate Modum Qualitatis Animae. Ailric is now committed to the Dust, and Godric comes back again in­to the Cell, to listen what God will farther re­veal unto him, as to his future Course of life. After many Prayers, not only a Voice, but St. Cuthbert, appearing, tells him, It will be expe­dient to go the second time to Jerusalem, and promises he will be his Adjutor and Patron, not only in all things during that journey, but afford him a safe place to serve God [Page 159] in (viz. at Finchale) upon his return.

Let us briefly post over that Peregrination, which cost him many a weary step, and meet him again in Esk-dale, where he had (forgetful, as should seem, of St. Cuthberts invitation) an huge mind to settle; for he built him a little Hut of Boughs and Sods, where he continued a year and some months; till the rough-hewn Lord of the Soyl gave him Disturbances so many, that he removed to Durham. There he again conn'd his Psalter with other Hymns and Prayers, till he had got learning even to his own Wish. He took a walk, on a certain time, to a Neighbour Grove, and heard a cer­tain Shepherd calling his fellows, to go water their Flocks at Finchale. Godric, hearing this, gave the poor fellow all he had (an half-penny) to be his guide to that place: got thither, he ha­stens into the thickest of all the Wood, and is encountred by an huge fierce wolf, which me­naced the tearing him to pieces: But Godric well aware that it was the Project of the old Serpent (shewing him the sign of the Cross) adjured him, in the name of the Trinity, to de­part, which the Beast did, crouching on his im­pious knees, as if he had begged pardon. Thus far well: But let us now see at what rate this Man of God sets himself to do him service at Finchale. Upon those banks of Were the Bi­shop of Durham gave him lieve to erect a little [Page 160] Cottage, where he inhabited among wild Beasts only; not unfrequently the Devil presented himself to his view, in the shape of a Bear or Lyon (the only mention that I find of wild ones in England, but take it as it comes to me) of a Bull, or a Wolf. He laid, to tame his flesh, not upon any bed, but on an hair-Cloth upon the cold ground: Nay, (because Satan tempted him often that way) to suppress the burnings of lust, he would (besides other severe remedies) on frostie snowie nights stand up to the neck in the River, offering himself (in that manner) a Sacrifice to God, and reciting Prayers and Psalms. Yet, even in this posture the Devil was often busie about his (only not immersed) head; but, when he seemed ready to rush up­on, and overwhelm him, he was sure to set him packing by the sign of the Cross.

On a certain day (for I must needs keep to our Author's words) whilst he was sitting in his Oratory, and ruminating on (this is the ve­ry phrase) his Psalter; a little boy seemed to come out at the mouth of his Crucisix, and go straight into the lap of the Virgin's Image, which was placed on the North-side, and bow'd it self so much to help her child up, that the beam it stood on seemed to threaten a fall, and ruin to the whole Structure, both at his ascent and descent; but after three hours time, he crope quietly in again, whence he had come out.

[Page 161]At another time he saw two fair persons of the female Sexe standing at the corners of his Altar: He stood amazed, yet observed them well, and sometimes bowed himself, and said his prayers. At length they drew near to him, and she that had stood on the right hand, said; Godric, knowest thou not me? He replying; Lady, that's a thing none can do, but he to whom thou wilt reveal it. The Virgin answered; Thou hast said right: I am the Mother of Christ; and by my aid thou maist obtain his favour: That other is Mary Magdalen, the Apostoless of the Apostles. God­ric did all his Devoyrs, committed himself for ever to her Patronage: They went off stroking his head, and leaving an admirably sweet Scent behind them.

Whether it were at this time or no, I do not certainly find; but the blessed Virgin did not only present to Godric, but sang to him, as well as taught him to sing, a short Song; which he by often repeating, committed to safe memo­ry, and thus it went:

Seint Marie, clane Uirgine,
Moder Jesu Christ Nazarene,
Onfo seild thin Godrich
On fang haali widh the in Gods rich:
Seint Marie, Christs burr,
Meidens clenhad, Moders flur;
[Page 162]Dielie men sinnen, rixe in min mod,
Bringe me to pinne widh self God.

He that would master the Original must stu­dy Chaucer a long time; but in our Matthew's plain Latin it sounds thus:

Sancta Maria, Christi Thalamus,
Virginalis Puritas, Matris Flos;
Dele mea Crimina, regna in me,
Due me ad foelicitatem Cum solo Deo.

And in my plainer English thus:

Holy Mary, Christ's Bed,
Virginal Purity, Flower of thy Mother;
Blot out mine Offences, reign in me
Guide me to Felicity, where God only is.

Whether this were likely to be either sent from Heaven, or fit to be sent towards Hea­ven, let the Reader judge: We must return to our Hermite. The Parents of one only Daughter, his Neighbours brought (in a sack) their dead Child, beseeching him to trie if he could not restore its life. The humble man (far from holding himself worthy to work such a miracle) seemed not to heed, and went out to his accustomed work. They had shak'd [Page 163] the Corpse out on the floor: finding it at his return, he fell to his Prayers, and continued his importunities, till on the third day he per­ceived the Girl coming towards him, as he was prostrate at the Altar, and delivered her to her joyful Father and Mother. This was done at our Lord's Altar; but, lest our Ladies Al­tar be thought to come short, know, that hav­ing laid another dead male Child on it, their Son came smiling off to the admiring old people.

Poor Godric (having lived threescore long years in this Wilderness) had two sore bouts more with Beelzebub. He betook him to his Bed the last eight; not able to stir without lifting: Two Divels come suddenly, and (hale­ing his bed and all) said, they would hurry him into Hell for a doting old man, that had out-lived all his wisdom, and was become a fool. But he fortified himself with the sign of the Cross, and upon his prayer they quit the place.

The last Encounter I find recorded was thus. He laid, one day, all alone upon his Bed; those that used to be about him, heard him (though then at some distance) calling aloud: They found him, lying all along on the floor naked; after they had laid him in bed again, they askt him, Why he would do so? He replied; The Devil came on me so suddenly that I had not [Page 164] time to hold up my Cross; shewing them a lump upon his head, which he had got by that Malignant's so violent thrusting him against a Block. At length, he found Death there, and lies buried in the North-side of his Oratory, below the Steps of St. John Baptist's Altar.

The same Author affords us a trim relation, concerning a certain Monk of Evesham, who (having by a voluntary abstinence and watch­ings, not only neglected, but done outrage to his body) fell at last into a Temptation, (as Matthew styles it, and so he might well.) He must needs know, by some extraordinary Re­velation, what the treatment of Souls was presently upon their dissolution. To this end, he makes importunate Applications to Christ, to the blessed Virgin, but with special expecta­tion from St. Nicholas his intercession. At length, that Saint manuducts him into three or four sorts of Purgatories, where he finds se­veral of his known friends, under divers sorts of inexpressible Punishments, which (as some of them said) they must undergo till the day of Judgment, unless (before that) either the Justice of God were fully satisfied by their sufferings, or the munificent Devotions of the living gave them freedom. Then going on to de­scribe (for such as had attained that immuni­ty) pleasant Fields &c. just like those the Phi­losophical Poets, or Poetick Philosophers [Page 165] (long since) made for the old Heathen. But in order to this Discovery, and to confirm the poor delirous Monk in a belief, that what he should see (touching this) was infallible, he must first find, behind the Altar dedicated to St. Laurence, in their Oratory, a Cross, which they used to adore, on such a day: With joy enough, it comes to pass even so: He falls a kissing the mouth and eyes of this Crucifix: when (by and by) he felt something (with a grateful warmness) trickle down upon his face, and wiping it off with his hand, he found it Pure blood. Well; beyond measure (now) transported, he saw flow from the Image full as much as a Phlebotomist would ordinarily take, when he had struck a Vein: Whereupon (though he were not sure whether he might sin in so doing, yet) he could not chuse but swallow down a little thereof; but the rest he carefully preserved. What is (let me tell you) very strange, this weak decrepid Man could not merit to have all these Celestial discove­ries, till he had not only undergone the usual Discipline of Rods, from the Fraternity; but, not till he had received (I know not how many) lashes (six times over) from the hands of St. Nicholas himself, who, it seems (or else the Monk was mistaken) afforded him both Instruction and Correction, in manner and form aforesaid. Vide Matth. Paris circa Annum [Page 166] 1196. Regis Richardi Primi Tempore.

I cannot but here insert what I find our Au­thor very intent upon in two several places; The Fate of William Rufus. This King had (indeed) not only a close hand, but something an heavy hand towards the Clergy, especially Abbots, and in time of their Vacancies would often keep them long in his own hands (indu­ced perhaps thereto by what he had seen in the days of his Father, when he of St. Albans put fair for the depriving William the first of his newly setled Royalty.) For this, these Men, from whom nothing of God's secret Judgment must be concealed, tell us; That the very night before Rufus received his deaths wound (by the glance of an Arrow from a Tree) in the new Forest, Anselm the Arch­bishop had an admirable Vision; and thus it was. All the English Saints in Heaven put up a complaint against the King; Almighty God (in wrath) bids St. Alban draw near, gives in­to his hand a burning Dart, and bids him take revenge (for himself and all the rest) upon the Tyrant. He takes it, throws it down to the Earth, and gives Satan commission to put all in execution. Well, William is slain, and his dead Body, at the same hour, met two days journey from the place by the Earl of Corn­wal (I do not remember any such Title on foot at that time) on the back of a shag-hair'd, [Page 167] ugly, black Goat. The Earl adjur'd the beast to speak what that was: It replied; He was carrying William Rufus to his Judgment. Yet, we are informed too (by honest Matthew as well as by all other Historians) That his bo­dy was solemnly interr'd (the very next day after he was slain) at Winchester. Do but lie all this together, and you will find somewhat (I can tell you) worth your noting.

Oratio ad M. V. Mariam pro Cordis Puritate.

Per sanctam Virginitatem & immaculatam Conceptionem tuam, Purissima Virgo; Emunda Cor & Carnem nostram; In nomine Patris ✚ & Filii ✚ & Spiritus sancti ✚. Amen.

Juxta Exemplar Romae incisum.

This is subscribed to a Cut (black and white) which serves for a Chimney Piece, at a Gentle­man's house I know very well.

Touching it, I cannot but make two Ob­servations.

1. That it is not true, what some Papists (when they would insinuate (to such as they endeavour to make Proselytes) that their Do­ctrine concerning Prayer to Saints is an inno­cent safe thing) do affirm: viz. That they [Page 168] never pray to them for spiritual Grace, im­mediately.

2. That it is a strange thing they should publickly authorize, in a prayer, such a Clause, as is very stiffly denied by one half, I believe, of their Church; viz. That the blessed Vir­gin was not born with Original sin: or, That her own Conception was immaculate.

Such a Reverence towards the Saints de­parted, as exerts it self in thanks to God for them, and excites in us a desire to follow their good examples, all Christians, doubtless, are bound to retain: But with such Sacrifices as the voluntary and culpable humility of Multitudes, have, it seems, obtruded on them, 'tis as certain, they themselves are far from being well, or at all, pleased.

If the present Romanists will owne practices, like these above; their next Task is to defend them: If they disclaim them, they must disprove the relations: In both Cases, we are not without something more to say.

Of Prayer for the Dead.

THere is no Controversie, wherein I found it more difficult to give my thoughts a settlement, than this. It was, strongly, the dictate of my Nature, not to omit any Office, which might possibly avail a dear departed friend: It was, hugely, my inclination to sub­ject my Judgment to the Dictates of Antiquity: And, indeed, the Writings of some, justly to be reputed Fathers old enough, are not without Expressions, such as, taken in gross, and at first view, may seem to lean towards the pra­ctice of the Romish Church.

But, upon the most sollicitous scrutinies I have been able to make, little is the Confor­mity, betwixt its Doctrine, and the Notions of those Venerable Persons. Bellarmine (in his second Book and 18th. Chapter of Purgatory) will have it to be most certain, that Prayers bring no advantage either to the blessed or damned; only, then, to such as he places in Purgatory. But a man with half an eye may discover, That those laudatory Nominations, those gratulatory Commemorations, those be­nevolent Options, which, here and there, oc­curr in the Antient Doctors, with reference to the deceased, had no design to kindle that [Page 170] imaginary Fire, which hath, since, been made so terribly to Flame in the faces of departing Souls; unless, by a liberal Donation, they would make the Pot to boil lustily in the Pope's Kitchin.

St. Augustine seems (lib. 9. cap. 13. of his Confessions) rather to indulge himself (newly got from under some extraordinary transports upon the death of his Mother) than to give determinate Laws for a necessary rite: For having signified his full belief, that the thing he prayed for was done already; He intreats Almighty God (not without something of he­sitancy) to approve Voluntaria cordis sui, words too feeble to sustain half the super­structures that Rome would rear thereupon. In another place he solemnly professeth, That having wearied themselves to find out what manner of sins those could be, which should impede our Admission into Heaven, and yet receive pardon by the Intercessions of our friends remaining on this Earth, he was not able to attain the knowledge thereof; and gives us lieve (elsewhere) to dissent from him, where there is not evident Scripture to re­solve our Faith into: of which sort their own Bredenbachius doth acknowledge, the Oblati­ons and Sacrifices for the dead to be. Vide Mor­ton's Appeal, lib. 2. cap. 8.

Since Nazianzen, praying for Caesarias, since [Page 171] Ambrose, praying for Theodosius, do at the same time profess a confidence that the Persons did possess Christi requiem: Nay since we read of certain Liturgies wherein, not only Suppli­cations for Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, but even for the blessed Mother of our Lord were inserted (yea and termed Sacrifices too;) what can we judge, but that those addresses were either merely gratulatory, or proceded more from the Zeal they had of expressing their Af­fections to those parties, than from any settled opinion of their necessity. The truth is, a Phancie had then got some footing, which will not now generally pass for Orthodox, either with them or us, viz. That Souls (of best Saints) departed were reserved in an out­ward Court of Heaven (not in the Verge of Hell, nor under Satan's Jurisdiction, let this be noted by the way) before they were ad­mitted to the full fruition of God, nay even till the Resurrection of the Body. This might occasion some modes of Prayer, which yet do not at all justifie that sort of Orasons, Oblati­ons, Sacrifices, Indulgences, which we con­demn in the present Romanists. To conclude; Though we should suffer it to pass among the Credibilia, That some access of Felicity might accrew to a dead Relation; though I need not disclaim that Opinion which tells me, a better Resurrection may be procured for him, [Page 172] by the multiplied prayers on his behalf made, against that time when his Body, now in the dust (or dust it self) shall be reunited to the Soul: Yet can I not think well of that Do­ctrine, whereby so dark a Cloud is drawn, be­twixt the Eye of my Faith, and him, in whose blood I must be cleansed from all Sin; or whereby I may be seduced, by a deceivable hope of succour from other hands, after death, to venture upon the pleasures of Sin, for a season; under that most deluding expectati­on, of having my Lamp lighted with the Oyl of such Devotions as are not at all mine own.

Of Purgatory.

BEcause we find not (in sacred Writ) a Fire penal, after this Life, but what is kindl­ed with Brimstone for evermore; Therefore we exhort all men to beware, they entertain not a vain hope of escaping everlasting Burn­ings, by dwelling in an imaginary Flame for a time.

Of Penance.

WHether it be a Sacrament or no is not here the Question. The Learned, on our side, have drawn many Arguments, both from its Constitution and Institution, which suffici­ently evince, that it cannot (properly) be so e­steemed, nor come within either the nature or number of Sacraments.

Amongst the Genuine Concomitants of Re­pentance St. Paul enumerates (with godly sor­row, indignation, fear) also Revenge: And, in some other places, and cases, we understand Restitution, Reparation, Satisfaction to take place; but, in reference to all these, there may be a dead flie, to make them justly stink in the nostrils of God; yea, there may be (and 'tis to be feared the thing falls out too often) Death in the Pot. Where the conscience is guilty of, and the Church scandaliz'd by enor­mous crimes, it is absolutely necessary (so far as means or opportunities are given) to be much in exercise of such good works and ver­tues, as are contrary to the vices we were for­merly given up unto; both to ascertain peace at home, and to cause others to say of us, as 'twas said of Mary Magdalen; Our sins that were [Page 174] many are shewn to be remitted, for we love much. But, if Queen Alfrida, or Leofwin (who were both deep dyed in bloud guiltiness) give liberally to build Monasteries, under a belief that by the merit of the work, they might leave this world in safety, and escape the punishment due to those crimes, after dissolu­tion; or that the Prayers, there to be ratled over by the living Monks, should merit remis­sion for them, being already dead: There was, sure, an horrible indignity offered to our great High-Priest, who, by once offering himself, hath perfected for ever, those that are sanctified (Heb. 10. 12, 14.) There's no doubt, but it's universal­ly a duty, to curb the flesh, to keep under the body, and so to bridle the appetite, as to bring them under the yoke of obedience; yet, if any Monk, Anchorite, or other person (where­of you may see many Examples in Matth. Paris) should macerate his carcase, and deny himself all use of wholesome food, till he becomes fit for no­thing but Enthusiastical dosings; at last (when he felt the infallible prodromes of approaching death) engaging the whole Convent to flea him unmercifully with Rods; from a conceipt, that (merely) for such Penances here, he should escape wrath to come, or deserve a greater de­gree of Glory; what can we say, or think, but that he was, in a manner, Felo de se; and that the best he shall, at any time, hear from [Page 175] the Great Judge will be; Who required this at thy hands?

For the real presence, but not Transub­stantiation.

I Perceive, by my Saviours own Words, re­corded Joh. 6. 23. that I am under an ab­solute necessity of eating his Flesh, and drink­ing his Bloud. In the first place (having there­fore considered of how great concern it is to arrive at the true meaning of them) I do hum­bly supplicate the Divine Majesty (in St. Au­gustine's phrase) that he will give me ever to think, comprehend, speak of, and to go about that great Mystery, so, as may be best pleasing to him, and most expedient for my soul.

His own Paraphrase, on what he had said, cannot deceive me, in the sence I ought to give them. I dare believe (since he so told his inquisitive Disciples (vers. 63.) that the life of them is wrapt up in a spiritual acception. And, since he declares (vers. 35.) after he had termed himself the Bread of Life, that whoso cometh to him (which is the peculiar act of Faith, Joh. 1. 12.) shall never hunger; and, at­tributes most clearly, in pursuit still of the same Metaphor, the quenching of thirst to believing, as well in that place, as in Joh. 7. 37, 38, 39. I [Page 176] can doubt no more concerning the matter. He takes not off their amazement, nor gives stop to their murmurs (vers. 61.) by assuring them; That, though they were to see him ascend up where he was before; yet they were ere long to have him corporally present, in the form of Bread, upon ten thousand Altars at once; nay, in the very jaws of every person (how wicked soever) that comes but to eat there: He does not, I say, make his return, at this rate, but instructs them how to spiritualize the whole business, in their apprehensions; as is evident from vers. 62, 63. Neither would any thing obscure or difficult be found in the words of institution, afterwards; for (besides that Christ had, as we see in this Chapter, in­formed and pre-instructed his hearers) there was almost nothing among the Jews, which had Type, or significancie in it, but was expres­sed in this manner: Circumcision, the Pascal Lamb, Manna, the Rock were all sufficiently known to carry the names of those things they did but adumbrate. If we may believe St. Au­gustine (in Psal. 98.) with the most holy Sacra­ment, Not the flesh which was crucified, is carnally eaten; but the vertues of that flesh are, really, eaten by the Soul, in such manner as the soul can eat; that is, spiritually, by her affections, and o­ther immanent real Acts, or internal Operations.

Of Images.

ALL that dust, wherewith the Church of Rome would blear our eyes, in reference to the use of Images, is easily blown away by the breath of that one Text, (Deut. 4. 15) which plainly speaks no less, than that it is mainly the mind and intent of God, by the se­cond Commandment, severely to prohibite all representations of him in his worship. The well-meaning Papist makes, perhaps, full ac­compt, that he worships not the Image, but God (or some Saint) by the Image: But, let them know, that most of their great Doctors have determined it lawful (yea, absolutely ne­cessary) to terminate a religious worship in the Image it self; and that even it is to be wor­shipped with the same sort of Devotion, as is due to the Anti-Type: For instance; If it be the Image of a Saint, I must adore it with Doulia; If of God, with Latria. In this doughty dispute, they have been so keen and eager, as whoever notes it, can be no more, surely, of opinion that Romanists are (more than Pro­testants) at unity amongst themselves.

Since I have so good an Author for what I am about to say, as Della Villa, that noble Ro­man, [Page 178] let none be offended, if I insert here a (pleasant, shall I say, or deplorable) story; however, it will evince, that there is abun­dance of grossness in the vulgar practice. Thus it was: ‘Upon the Persian Gulph (as I remem­ber, and not very many years since) the Portugnise Ship, he had taken his passage in, was in great stress and imminent dan­ger; the Mariners having now no confi­dence in the Sails or Rudder, ply'd St. An­thony with their Orasons and Vows; but, all in vain, the storm still rages▪ at last they tyed the Image to the main Mast, and whipt it most grievously; because, they said, he would often do what they required of him for blows, when he could not be prevailed with by supplications.’

Of Miracles.

COncerning which, and more especially the dispossession of Daemoniacks, our present Romanists are got to so great a degree of con­fident boasting, that no place almost is free from the noise. We ought to regulate, and bound our Notions

  • [Page 179]By The light of Scripture,
  • By The light of History,
  • By The light of Reason,
  • By The darkness of their practice.

1. In the Book of God we have▪ a direct Prohibition, we must not make them the sole or principal rule of our Faith; yea, not though the sign or wonder should come to pass (Deut. 13. 1, 2.). We have, farther, a clear caution, that we expose not (by too easie a credulity) our selves to such deceptions (Mark 13. 22. Matth. 24. 11.). We have, too, an evident De­claration, that it should so fall out; the great­est part of the Earths inhabitants should be led away by the prevalencie of certain stupendi­ous works done by such as were, nevertheless, great Impostors (Revel. 13. 13, 14, 15.). We read again, of some that were casters out of Devils, yet followed not Christ (Mark 9. 38, 39.) And if we should follow them into Do­ctrines, which are without the concurrence of his Word (whether this be the case or no, betwixt Rome and us, may be decided elsewhere) we might easily go astray. St. Augustine tell us, (cap▪ 8. de Civit. Dei) He that, yet, requires won­ders, in order to his believing, is himself a great wonder▪ And this leads us on to enquire after Historical discoveries.

[Page 180]2. Whence, it will not be hard to learn what the Church, in times ancient enough, held as to this question. It was, evidently, the o­pinion (of old) that the ordinarie working of Miracles ceased, when the Apostles deceased: That they were of use to allure Heathens, and Unbelievers then; but, not to be expected, or singly relyed on, for the determination of a controverted Point, where Christianty has al­ready been setled: That they have been done by some persons (in justification of their Te­nents) when Truth was not on that side: That they may, indeed, soberly be eyed, as a concur­rent Testimony (where it pleases God they happen) for establishment of a Truth, con­tained in the Scriptures; but, not for the Intro­duction of any belief or practice, without or against it. As to the former of these, Gregory, commonly called the Great, Bishop of Rome, about an. 600, hath affirmed; That, as water­ing to young Plants is necessary; but not to root­ed Oakes: so Miracles to the infant Church, but not when grown up (Hom. in Evang. 43.) And St. Augustine, about two Ages before, makes a wonder, not only at, but of those that pinn'd their faith on wonders. That reverend Afri­can has taught me to say after him; Against the Miracle-mungers (he meant the Donatists) the Lord hath made me cautious by saying, In the [Page 181] last times, false Prophets shall arise, and shall shew signs and wonders, but take heed, be­hold I have told you (Tom. 29. Tract. 13. in Jo.) Mark 13. 22, 23, 24. The false Prophets there said to do signs and wonders, were not to be Ethnicks, without Christ, but only to obtrude false Christs, or a fallacious way to him. What need we say more, than what we have full and clear authority for, (1 Cor. 14. 22.) signs are not to them that do believe, but to them that believe not?

That great wonders have been done, or at least undeniably urged, by some that had not right on their side, may visibly be made good, from the Testimony of Bede, who informs us, that the argument from Miracle-working was very rife, on both parts, in that grand contest about the time of celebrating Easter, lib. 2. cap. 15. 16, 29. This may serve, as to the two first enquiries: and so let us pass to the third Dis­quisition, viz. by Reason.

3. I would know, since sundry other miracu­lous operations, as well as casting out Devils, are enumerated, in Mark 16. and said to accom­pany those that were sent; why do not our Romish Priests appropriate and take to them­selves all the rest, as well as that domination over unclean Spirits? Let us hear them, having never been taught, speak with strange [Page 182] Tongues; let us see them, unhurt, touch all sorts of venomous Creatures, &c. let them shew us that, immediately and infallibly, they can cure all manner of Diseases. For, I see not any differences in the Grant, in the in­tentional end, or in the time of continuance. Again, the Promise may seem made to all true Believers, not restrain'd to Priests only: and it's more than probable, that those Exorcists (Mark 9. 38.) were not in Orders; Why then do they monopolize it, and think themselves as sure of it as the Coats on their backs? We acknowledge, there was, in the infant-Churches, a sort of Faith sometimes found, even amongst miss-believers, which was productive of ad­mirable events; (not of Satan's operation nei­ther.) This Faith having for its object only that essential Attribute of God, his Power, and relying thereon by a strenuous Act of Cre­dence, particular to that business, impetrated frequently then (and may peradventure do so yet sometimes) wonderful things at his hands; though neither the Person, nor the Cause stood upon a right foot. St. Augustine, not denying but the Hereticks of his time might do true Miracles (I mean, things strange be­yond understanding) forbore not though to dehort his people from listening to them upon that accompt, as may be seen, Tract. de Unit. Eccles. cap. 9. Tom. 7. Why may not we [Page 183] also, though we should see wonders done, (even such as are mentioned, Revel. 13.) bring them to the Test of Gods Word, and require proof from thence, that those Do­ctrines designed for establishment thereby are true?

4. But let us in the last place do what we can to see through the darkness of their practice. And, seriously, we can hardly be brought to think, that to out the Devil of his hold, is the common, usual effect of their Sprinklings, Fumings, Crossings; of their Beatings with the Priestly stole, repetitions of Latin Words, &c. since we find not any of all these used by Christ, nor instituted to any such end. Again, we must not, nor can forget, what palpable collusions and de­ceipts they have been found to use in al­most every place, where they met with any body that durst but peep under the veil, they at such times do hang before the eyes of the vulgar. Let the boy of Bilson (as yet, I think, living a Shooemaker in North­hampton) speak. And it is not so very long ago (about a dozen years) since a most gross cheat, of this sort, was re-acted, and fully discover'd at New-Castle upon Tine. But, whoever shall peruse the twenty fourth Chap­ter [Page 184] of Dr. Du Moulin's Answer to Cardinal Perron, as it's publisht, Anno 1662. cannot, certainly, but discover what he ought to think, and how to demean himself upon such Rancounters. What shall we conceive of their giving a solemn Oath to Satan, and then questioning him about contro­verted Points (as they did in the case of the Boy of Bilson) Oh! he would tear (he told them, or made signs thereof) a dying Protestant; but a good (that is in their sence a Roman) Catholick departing, he would be as quiet as a Lamb. Does not this smell rank of design?

Spectatum admissi.

A Conjecture, how it is come to pass that the Church of Rome hath partly been plundered, and partly has cheated her self of so much Primitive Truth.

THe bitter Contests which had arose, and for some Ages continued, betwixt the Or­thodox, and Manacheean, Pelagian, but especially the Arrian Hereticks, had now alienated the minds of men, one from another, interrupted the correspondences they used formerly to hold, and so shaken the Foundations, laid by the first Master-Builders; when the sudden rise of the Sarazen in the East, and the violent rush­ings of other Barbarians upon the Western Empire, had either induced or compelled the most (for the sense of danger is more pun­gent, ordinarily, in temporal than in spiritu­al Concerns) to suspend the care of Religion, and lay it out more sedulously about their out­ward Condition. It pleased the most High to permit those Infidels to prevail to such a degree, as the World was (in a manner) turn'd up-side down: And, amongst those violent A­gitations, Theology was forced to seek Cor­ners (a thing that might happen to the greater part, since we know, 'twas so here in this Island, [Page 186] upon the Invasions of Danes and Saxons) so, as it was not easie to retain, either Principles or Practices right. It's, beyond exception, certain, That by those Perturbations, Barbarism got so much the upper hand in the Common-wealth of Learning, that what we have in writing, from that time till Erasmus, is (the most of it) very litte above Pedantry; and it's probably true, That the marrow of Religion was (so far) consumed, amidst these broils, as the drie Bones thereof were much without life.

From the days of St. Augustine, downward, a kind of Lethargick Temper, as to the more Spiritual part, did strangely, by little and little, insinuate it self; till at last, the total of the Credenda was summed up in the Romish High Priest's supposed Infallibility: And, ve­ry agreable thereto, the Agenda consisted in Pilgrimages, made Meritorious by his Institu­tion, in Offerings, paid to Saints of his Cano­nization, in Prayers to relieve Souls out of a Purgatory of his Erection, in seeking after Par­dons for Sin and Indulgences, of his Invention. It was not hard to rivet these perswasions in­to the minds of a People, the main body of whom was either lately converted, or la­mentably perverted. Neither yet do I believe that every particular Bishop of Rome, or eve­ry singular great Man, who cooperated to­wards the Introduction of these things, did [Page 187] act absolutely contrary to their Consciences, or merely by Rules of Policy (though the course of story informs us sufficiently, that many of them were of such Frame) but, one may, without violence (I hope) offered to Reason, Truth, or Charity, entertain a Conjecture, That, after their hold of right Notions was lost, their very Judgment might suffer depravation, and lead them to build with Hay, and Stubble, in­stead of more precious and durable Materi­als. However it came to pass (letting the contract with wicked Phocas, the Forgery of Decrees and Donations alone, till the review of the last day) we find the Pontifical See, in the 9th. and 10th. Century, arrived at this height, to tread upon the Necks of Princes, to suffer them to hold his Stirrop, to dispense with Oaths of Allegiance, to arm not only their Subjects, but their Sons against them, and, by an unheard of Example, to kick off, or trample on their Crowns and Scepters; whilest the Parish Priests stuff'd their Audi­tors, with wonderful relations of Visions, Ap­paritions, Revelations, which solitary Monks or voluntary Hermites (those first Enthusiasts) obtruded on the World; all tending either to advance the Reputation, or inhance the Revenues of the Clergy. For, who would not lie at the feet of such men, as (as they conceived) did, ever and anon, bring them [Page 188] News from Heaven? Or, who would not lie out their worldly Substance in such ways as (those men taught them) were available to the Redemption (out of a firie Lake) of their own and all their Friends Souls? Nay, who would stick at a liberal distribution of his Coyn, even here, for such large Indulgen­ces, as then went a begging? During the dis­orders brought upon Christendom (touched before) the Writings of the Primitive Fathers were lock'd up in the privatest retirements of Monasteries, rarely seen by the Sun; where they suffered a greater Corruption than of Moths, and were taught (in several things) to speak the Language of Ashdod, after the Tone, and in the Tune of the Superstitions growing more and more Epidemical: A great Instance whereof I have, now, by me, an Episte pre­tended to be St. Augustin's (bound up with the 3d. part of St. Hierom's) but without any thing that savours either of his Style, Spirit, or Do­ctrine.

One word, by way of Return, to se­veral Discourses I have met with.

OF all the Rules that ever were given to judge of Religions by, you offer me the most fallacious, The Examples of Professors: For, if the Austerity and strictness of Disci­pline be it, we must look after; the Bonzi amongst the Chinoyse carry it away from all I read of. If we must go to preciseness of Conversation, or demure carriage, our pre­sent Quaker might lay before us a great temptation. But, to speak seriously, Holi­ness of life, being the great Duty of eve­ry Christian, is, doubtless, too, a grand Glo­ry to any Church; and that Religion, the Principles whereof do most effectually lead to sincerity therein, does deserve to bear away the Bell. Yet to constitute the sancti­ty of any man (the outside whereof only is to us descernible) the main Guide in Religious Elections, cannot be other than a most unsafe course.

[Page 190]'Tis the Roman Examples of Life (not the Controvertists) you would have me to Con­template: Well! But here you must not be allowed, to appropriate in gross to your side (a Conceit I have always observed you apt to take up at adventure) the Fathers of the Primitive Church, who had served their Ge­nerations, before you put your Tenents (those, I mean, wherein we do not, nor dare go along you) as a Law upon the World: No! You may find them, in a matter of Twelve or Thirteen Points, wherein we think you Innovators, more Ours than so.

I suppose, then, the best way, to apply your Directions to our purpose, will be, by examining the Lives of Popes, to discover, whether they have been universally endued with Cardinal Vertues. Inform your self, I pray, by your own Historians (for such words from my pen might look like Calum­nies) what pretious men your Church was headed with, in the Persons of John the Thirteenth, Julius the Third, Boniface the Eighth, John the Twenty third, Sixtus the Fourth, Alexander the Sixth, Leo the Tenth. What great Scholars, the late Innocent the Tenth, and before him many others of them were? Is there any Credit to be given Plati­ná, [Page 191] who acquaints us freely, That all the Popes, from Sylvester the Second, to Grego­ry the Seventh, in number about eighteen, were, What? heark in your Ear, and I'le tell you, Magicians. Can we stop our Ears against the out-cries of all Germany, about the Hundred Grievances (some of them thwackers?) We cannot hood-wink our selves so much as not to discover, a little, how things have gone, seeing we find Cardinal Julian telling Eugenius the Fourth, That all Councils, since that of Chalcedon, have been instituted, Not for the Investigation of Truth, but for the defence or increase of Power to Clergy-men.

Will you suffer us to put any weight up­on a known Saying of St. Basil's; where, in his Tenth Epistle, he tells Nazianzen thus; If the Wrath of God continue, what help shall we have from those Westerlings (so he terms them of Rome) who neither know the Truth, nor can endure to be taught it? If this be the case, and I were to chuse a Religion; I do seriously think, I might close in with any, now upon the face of the earth (that does not in plain Terms deny the Lord who bought us) less timorously than with Rome.

[Page 192]I am somewhat confident, and do hold it for a great Truth (which I speak nei­ther timorously, nor temerariously) That the Arrian Heresie, and the Turkish Arms, which pull'd all other things, where they came, down; lifted up the Pope (by ac­cident, and Divine Permission) into his Chair.

For the Eastern Prelates, and men of E­minency, being under persecutions at home, had a safe retreit into the West: And therefore made that Patriarch their Asylum: In order to which, or by way of grati­tude for benefits received, they often made the frame of their addressive Epistles to con­sist of complemental Elogies; these (being no more than what the kindness and hospi­tality, wherewith they had been entertain­ed did seem to deserve) were yet due only to the Persons, then sitting at the Stern (nor farther intended:) But, after­wards, cunningly made use of, and represented to the Credulous World for the Popes Ad­vantage.

One Observation more, and I have done.

The Church of Rome (or at least her darling Sons the Jesuites) will have the Pomise of Christ, That the holy Spirit shall [Page 193] lead his People into all Truth, to be sus­pended unto that very Moment, wherein their Bishop shall assent to the Results of a Council; and the performance to depend on this Contingency (amongst a many more) whether he will (at all) confirm them or no: Then, at last, they judge them in­fallible, when the Pope, either present or absent, signifies his pleasure so to declare them. Well! But Liberius (as above hint­ed) himself confirmed the Arrian Con­clusions of the Council at Sermium. And the Pope had his Deputies at Basil and Constance, those Decrees were confirmed by the Apostolick Letters of Eugenius. Yet I suppose few Romanists will grant, these were infallible: And I think we may continue our Opinion upon good ground, That the Roman Bishop's Vote is but a sandy Foundation to build our Faith up­on.

I shall, last of all, request you, not to refuse your joyning with me in those Words of our (and I think too of your) Liturgy:

[Page 194] That Almighty God will Grant, All who Confess his holy Name, may agree in the Truth of his holy Word; and Zion become a quiet Habitation.


To the most Reverend; the right Reverend, Prelates; and all the Learned Clergie in this King­dom.

THat I have, without a word of command, presum'd to engage in this war-fare, requires (I confess) a sub­miss Apologie; but, since I go upon that general Precept, which bids us be ready to give a reason of our faith (and it is as importunately demanded, now, as if never any thing had been done (by your worthy Predecessors) for the Prote­stant Cause) I will not despair of Par­don. There may be need, I fear, not [Page] onely of the Chariots and Horse-men, but of the Infantry too; amongst whom he desires but to trail a Pike, who is

Your just Adorer, and humble servant, Christopher Wyvill.

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