Addressed By way of Letter to M. St. IOHN, a ROMISH PRIEST, By that Eminent Author and worthy Patriot, Dr. JOHN BASTWICK, Now PRISONER under the POPISH Tyranny at YORKE.

Imprimatur, JA. CRANFORD.

LONDON, Printed for John Wright, Junior, at his Shop at the upper end of the Old-Bailey. 1643.

A Learned, Vsefull, and Seasonable Discourse, concerning the Church of ENGLAND, and the Church of ROME. To the most accomplisht and learned, Mr. St. JOHN.

Most worthy Sir,

FAme doth not ever delude us. She proclaimes you not onely for a Scholler, but celebrates you as a profound Divine and Phi­losopher. It seemes yet to me, by her sparing Relation, that she was loth to offend your Modesty. For, after our acquaintaince, you appear'd to me far greater then your Fame. Verily, you have so temper'd Excellent Learning, with sweet Conversa­tion, that your Demerits exceed the praises even of an eloquent Lover.

This rare Elogy is the more illustrious in you, as tis most seldome to be found in Others of your Rank and Roman profession: (to deale freely with you, as your Curtesie invites me.)

Being both of us cast into the same Prison, but for different Causes, you for defending the Pope, I for impugning him; I confesse, that (at first) I purposly shun'd your Acquaintaince; not in hate to your Person, but out of feare of your Party, which after some private Colloquies had wrong'd me and the Truth, dearer to me then my selfe: reporting, that the Defenders of our Re­ligion were unlearned and dishonest: and absurdly caluminating our Doctrin, as false and Hereticall. It happened likewise, that after we had casually met to­gether in company, (but had then no leisure to enter into any Dispute) it was bruited abroad, (I know not by whom) that being challeng'd by you to a Scholasticall Combat, I had cowardly declin'd it. As my credit is not so weak, to be wounded with such silly Rumors, so I hold it not fit to let them passe without Comptroll. Your Conference (indeed) I refus'd, for this reason, be­cause I conceiv'd, there was small hope to win you to our fide, by any evi­dence [Page 3] of Truth, being such an old Souldier of the Popes, and now growne a­ged and gray hair'd in Popery. But when (after) I had learnd by experience, that you were a Gent. of singular Ingenuity and Candor, and perceiv'd like­wise how affectionately you lov'd me, and how zealous you were of my Soules-health: I began to be much inflamed with desire of your Society. For, ‘Civility and Curtesie is of so winning a nature, that it is a stronger Allure­ment then the strongest Enchantment.’ You were often heard to say, that you would give any thing to procure my Conversion, yea, goe to Rome bare­footed, if such a painfull journey might reclaime me to the Roman-Church. How much am I obliged for so eminent a Favour? I confesse, I was (now) as zealously desirous of your wel-fare. For how could I retaliate so solicitous a Love, but by a reciprocall Solicitude of your Salvation?

Nor did your Curtesie and good will, rest onely in good wishes; but you promis'd also very kindly to lend me your helping hand to rayse me from my Fall, and gently to shew me the way after my wandering. I began therefore to perswade my selfe, that if haply (like a straid Sheep) I had gon out of the way into the Mazes and by-pathes of Error, I could not possibly find out a better guide to conduct me to the Temple of Truth. Your Sufficiency, for Learning, was well known to me: and your Humanity so apparent, that it was still ready to seize on me, even against my will. I saw, we had (Both) leisure more then enough, and that we could not better bestow our Time, nor find a more pleasant Recreation during our Imprisonment. I was desirous therefore to heare your Instructions, and to be better informed by you; not by any interlo­quntory Conference (which is subject to inconveniencies, and not so safe for either of Us) but by this silent and temperate way of Writing, which is more considerate, and not unbecomming our present condition.

I remember, at our last Parley, you most confidently affirmed, the Roman Party to be the onely true Church, renowned for Antiquity, Succession, Con­spicuousnesse, Amplitude, and Unity. That in her Faith our Ancestors liv'd and dyed; of whose salvation, should their Posteity doubt, it were grosse impiety. That she is reputed a true Church by her profest and Capitall Ene­mies: and that eternall Woe will be the Reward of them that erre or deviate from her.

Lastly, you wisht, out of your hearty desire of the common salvation of all that all differences being accorded, and all Factions abandon'd, all men would returne to the Roman Church, casheering the dull and droway Religion of Luther and Calvin: concluding (withall) that you could easily coine (if you were disposed) one far better and more tolerable.

I, as confidently urged, that our Church wanted neither Divine-Truth, nor saving-Faith. Thus, all our talke, at that time, ended in your Yea, and my No. [Page 4] But because the matter in controversie, was of such important consequence, I conceiv'd that it ought to be asserted, not by bare words, but forcible argu­ments: yet, not with pride or pertinacy, but with Christian Humility, and a mind prepared to imbrace the Truth.

The principall and most impregnable Reason, inducing me to beleeve, that ours is the true Church, is because I cleerely see, it hath all those Requisits that constitute the essence of a Church. For, when our Saviour Christ sent forth his Apostles to instruct the whole World, he gave them onely this Commis­sion, to preach the Gospell, and administer the Sacraments, promising his Peace (which includes all happinesse to all Nations, Cities, and people that resisted not their Evangelicall Legation. Wherefore, since the sincere preach­ing of the Word, and beliefe of that Word preached, together with the in­corrupt administration of the Sacraments, containe the summe and substance of our Religion, and are the very essentials of the Church, why should we not not both hope and judge most worthily of ours, that hath neither corrupted the Doctrine of the Gospell, nor adulterated the Sacraments?

Contrariwise, your Church, having polluted the Fountaine of the Gospels with the mire and dirt of humane Inventions, and having corrupted the puri­ty of the Sacraments with a number of trifling Ceremonies, it seemes to me, to have declin'd far from Truth, and to have no right to challenge to it selfe the Title of Catholik, [...]ver. [...]gi. c. 5. to which she vainly pretends. S. Augustin defines them to be Christian Catholikes, that are keepers of Integrity, and follow those things that are right.

And now you may see how weakely done it is of our wilfull Adversaries, to cry out and calumnate us, for Heretiks: For, if men would be pleased to try our Doctrine and yours by the Rule and Canon of the Gospell, 'twere no hard matter to judge whether Church were the preserver of Integrity, and the Vassall of Hereticall impiety.

Thinke not (most curteous Sir) that I say thus, to object to you the Faults of others, which out of over-zealous Piety (as they conceit) regard not to vi­olate Charity; truely, when I reflect on such kind of men, the Image of the Sa­maritan Church comes into my mind: For that also was ancient, splendid, rich in Rites, and shining with Ceremonies; yea, it honour'd Moses, and ea­gerly expected the Messias: notwithstanding all this, the Author of Salvati­on, sentenced Her (from his owne mouth) not to be in the state of Salvation. This I am the more confident to say to you, whom I know to be a person of excellent moderation, and not to be taken with specious Toies and empty Ti­tles. For, what a brainsick piece of Braggardisme is that; The Roman Church is ancient? Admit it be so: yet is it (withall impious and Superstitious. But, she is brave and Magnificent. Who denyes it? yet is she falne into Idolatry. [Page 5] Tis the most pernicious policy of Satan, to gild most execrable Errors with the false (but glittering) shew of Titles. By these artifices, how fouly hath he defil'd your Church? The very Rites of Pagans, condemned and exploded by the Apostles, he hath revived and obtruded, having painted and varnisht them with new names. But, Christ himselfe he hath banisht from the Church and Soules of men, retaining onely his Name, for a shew. This was Satans sub­tilty, that he might place Antichrist in the Throne of Christ. By these tricks, that Man of Sin mounted to the height of his Ambition. For, openly to have attempted to dethrone the Majesty of Christ, had beene Folly and Madnesse: as appeared (long before) in those frantick Hereticks, Arius, Samosatenus, Valentinus, and Nestorius, scornd, contemnd, and plagu'd for their Blasphemies. For, who is so desperately hopelesse of Salvation, that could endure to heare an open Blasphemer of Christ? They which deny the Godhead, or the Trinity, or which rage. and rayle at Christ, are by the common consent of Christians, adjudged to Death. But the mystery of Iniquity was (by secret engines) to be contrived more cleanly. The Name of Christ was to be kept, and Adoration to be given at the naming of Jesus, but the vertue and efficacy of his Merits, to be abolisht. By this Stratagem, was Christ to be exterminated, that roome might be made [at Rome] for the seat of Antichrist in the Temple of God. Horrible impiety! to deny that underhand, which openly dare not be at­tempted. Excellently was it said of Seneca: What difference is there betwixt denying and defaming God? So, what matters it, whether you deny Christ, as a Renegado, or whether you strip him of his Offices? For if Christ be not vested and dignified with his Office, he is no Christ to us. Since then, under the Name Christ, his Regall, Sacerdotall, and Propheticall Offices, and un­der the Word Jesus, all the saving Benefits flowing from that triple Office are comprehended: there is no doubt, but, that is a corrupt Church, which hath corrupted those Offices. Not to aggravate the atrocity of the Fact, with words: I say impassionately: The Roman Church erres grievously about Christs Offices; which she hath corrupted, destroyed, and violated. Of this hainous and hideous Crime our Church was never guilty, but ever maintained and defended them.

Intending to make a Parallel of the Doctrines of both Churches, I first say, by way of Preface, that in all your Doctrinall Additions and Corollaries, which (as so many unsound Fringes) you have sewed to our Assertions, theres nothing which is not superfluous, and which without any hazard of our Soules, may be canceld, exploded, and rejected. But, let us now beginne this parallel-collation of Doctrines, from Christs Regall Office.

This is the Faith of the Reformed Chrurches. That Christ Jesus is the onely Monarch, Moderator, Defender, and Governor, both of the whole World, [Page 6] and of his Church in the World, [...]ol. 2: [...]ac. 28 [...]eb. 7. [...]ay. 9. [...]oc. 17: as being set by God upon his Holy Moun­taine, who hath given him all power in Heaven and Earth: and as being the King of Righteounesse, the King of Eternity, and the King of Kings. That he hath a provident care of all things, but watches over his Church with a speci­all eye of Providence, as having bin sought & bought with his owne most pre­cious Bloud, & rescu [...]d from the Usurpation of Satan. That into this Church there is infus'd from Christ her Emperor, Righteousnesse, Peace, Joy, Hap­pinesse, Light, Knowledge of God, Certainty of Salvation, and whatever other Benefits may redound to loyall and faithfull Subjects, from so Great and Gracious a Prince. That this Kingdome and Empire is of Divine and Celestiall nature, [...] 18.38. [...]k. 1.33. not of a Worldly or vanishing splendor, as being governd and guided by the Scepter of the Word and Spirit, not by the Authority of Humane Power. That this Regiment had never any Vicar or Deputy assign'd to it. That to call Peter, the Monarch of the Church, and the Popes, his Suc­cessors, are meere Toies and Fopperies of Puff-paste Ambition. That after the Apostles times, no infallible Guides or Doctors are to be found. That Multi­tude, Miracles, Riches, and worldly Pompe, are no Markes of the true Church. That the Church is not at all times (alike) conspicuous and visible. That we are not to follow Fathers and Councells, decreeing any thing dissonant from Christs Edicts.

But, your Papall Church teacheth otherwise: viz. That Christ is a King, but a worldly one: and not King alone neither, but the Pope his Vicar, shares with him in Raigne and Regiment. That in this Vicariat, there is a long Se­ries and succession of Popes, which are the Heads and Foundations of the Church. That the Church must be regulated & governd not by Christs Lawes onely, but by the Canons also, and Constitutions of Councells and Fathers: and that the Violaters of such Decrees are more severely to be punisht, then the Transgressors of Gods Law. That she is to be ruled by Traditions, not by Scripture onely. That those Traditions (of straw) are equall to that Sacred Scepter. That the genuine Notes and surest signs of the Church, are multitude of Men, a continued Succession, Worldly Pompe and Magnificence, Miracles, Antiquity, Unity.

Here, I appeale to your Candor and Ingenuity, that setting aside Partiality (for a while) and considering well what both sides affirme, you would be pleased to judge, without Hate or Love, whether of us teach and deliver the Doctrine of Christs Princely Office, more soundly and sincerely?

Our Divines leave to Christ alone, his Priviledges, Prerogatives, Honour and Glory, inviolate: yours either ascribe all these to Men, or associating M [...]n with Christ in his Regiment, contaminate his Crowne and Dignity, with the contagion of most sordid company.

[Page 7]But perhaps you are loth to condemne that Doctrine as impious, which you have bin so long used to, consider yet, whether at least, it be not superflu­ous and needlesse. For tell me if any man utterly ignorant of Pope, Fathers, and Councells shall submit only to Christs Scepter, and obey his Lawes, in beleeving in him alone, as his only comforter, and protector in Adversity, and his sole patron in prosperity: shall this man (thinke you) on his death­bed, need to feare any Doome for his premention'd ignorance? I know, you are not so harshly opinionate. Againe, if any man that knowes there is a Pope, shall confidently beleeve that Christ hath no Vicar on earth, that the Pope is very like Antichrist: that Rome is Heriticall, that we must rather obey Christs Lawes, then Decrees of Fathers, and Councells, that no mortall man is inerra­ble; Multitude, Antiquity, Vnity, and worldly Felicity, have bin oft found In a false & Malignant Church, will you take from this man so beleeving, and dying in this beleif, all hope of Heaven? Far be such Immanity from your Hu­manity. For, wherein hath he offended? what crime is he guilty of, that so be­leev'd? This I would faine know, what Law (by that Faith) he hath broken. For, without transgression of a Law, no man is a Delinquent. I suppose there­fore (most learned Sir) you will grant me, that the Pope and his Gew-gawes may either be unknowne, or unacknowledg'd, without losse of Salvation.

The Reformed Church beleeves, that Christ only is the sole Mediator be­twixt God and men, that he only hath made satisfaction to God, fulfil'd the Law, paid our Ransom, offer'd himselfe in Sacrifice, that he alone is our in­tercessor to God the Father, opens the passage for our prayers to the throne of grace, and emboldens us with confidence to addresse our supplications to God, and (therefore) that he alone is Mediator both of Redemption and In­tercession: whence it followes that we ought not to pray to the Saints depar­ted (nor to the Angels) as being ignorant of our present State of calamity or infirmity, and not able to penetrate the secrets af our hearts, as also, that this Mediator-ship is impiously assign'd to the Virgin Mary, who though she were indeed of all Women the most blessed, yet had she need (her selfe) of this Mediator. That this our Priest offer'd himselfe a Victime for his chosen flock and people, not promiscuously for all men whatsoever. That he is the Sacrificing Priest of the New Testament, and that there are on Earth no other Priests to offer daily a propitiatory sacrifice for the sinnes of quick and dead. That this Priests Sacrifice being of infinite vertue and value, is applied to the Faithfull, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, the preaching of the Gospell, and administration of the Sacraments: which Sacrifice having bin once con­summate on the Crosse by himselfe, is not to be reiterated by any man on Earth. That wee are clad with the Righteousnesse of this Priest, and by vertue thereof, absolvd from guilt and punishment. That beside his blood, there it no [Page 8] Purgatory that can cleanse the spots and blots of our soules. That there are no torments or tortures, by the suffering whereof, any man can satisfie divine Justice, much lesse can there be any workes of super-erogation, which being laid up in the Granary or Treasury of the Church, may by the sale of Indul­gences, be dispens'd to others of lesse desert or merit. That our workes being far from perfection, cannot purchase eternall life. That remission of sinnes, is concredited and consign'd to Ministers, as Preachers, or Proclaimers of it, not as Iudges.

But your Churches Creed runs thus, viz. That Christ is indeed Mediator of Redemption: yet Saints and Angels act likewise their parts in mediating: but most of all, the Virgin Mary, the Gate of Paradise, and Queene of Heaven, and that (therefore) Wee ought to addresse our Vowes, Prayers, & Petitions, to them that so well, knowe our Wants. That there must be on Earth other Priests after the order of Melchizedek, to offer Christ daily as a Sacrifice pro­pitiatory for dead and living. That the Righteousnesse of this Sacrificing Priest is not imputed to us. That by his Merits, we are indeed delivered from the guilt of Sin, not from the punishment, to which we are still liable. That the soules departed are purg'd and cleans'd by the Fire of Purgatory. That by our owne sufferings, wee may make satisfaction to God. That there are works of supererogation in the Churches Magazine, which the Pope may sel to lewd and loose persons. That life eternall is due to our workes, as wages are to a labourer. That to the goodnesse of a worke, tis sufficient, if the mind and intendment of the worker be good: Lastly, that Ecclesiasticall ministers have Iudiciall power and authority, to forgive Sinns.

Is not this (most worthy Sir) a grosse Collusion, to acknowledge Christ to be a Priest, in word, but to deny him indeed? To leave a shew only, and evacuate the vertue and substance of his Priest-hood. This mighty masse of Blasphemous contumelies against Christ, may it not be unknowne without de­triment to our faith. Can it hurt or prejudice a Christian to disbeleeve such fainged devices? Admit, there be a good man, and carefull of his Salvation, which reposes his confidence in Christs only Mediation, offers his prayers in his only Name to God, seekes for righteousnesse by his bloody Sacrifice alone, being utterly ignorant of other sacrificing Priests, of any other Mediator, Sacrifice, Merit, or Purgatory: thinke you, that this his ignorance, shall be any impeachment or prejudice to him at Gods Tribunall? I trow you are not so unwise, to thinke so. Imagine now, there is one that is rooted and strongly grounded in this belief. That beside Christ, there is no Mediator or Sacri­ficer, that the Dignity of Mediation is not to be communicated to Angels, Saints, or the Virgin Mary. That our affaires are to them unknowne and vnre­granted. That to them we are neither to make Vowes, nor Prayers. That soule tor­menting [Page 9] Purgatory is no where to be found, but in the crackt braines of Lu­naticks, or the jugling knavery of cozening Priests. That the Saints of God, are freed both from guilt and penalty. That Christs Righteousnesse is imputed to the Faithfull. That our sufferings can effect nothing towards satisfaction, nor our doings conduce ought to salvation, by way of merit. That superero­gation, is a Bravado and Braggardisme, and a device of Avarice to draw on filthy lucre. That good intents are not sufficient for good works. That the minister hath no judiciall Authority to remit Sinns. What? doe wee thinke this man in danger, for this his confident persuasion? this belief breakes no Law nor Commandement. What danger then can there be where is no De­linquency?

The Reformed Church beleeves: That Christ is constituted by God, a Pro­phet, Pastor, Doctor, and Preacher of Peace: that he promulgated Gods secret and cabinet-counsell of the redemption of mankind, that he publikly preached this good tydings and gospell,Deut. [...] 18. confirming and strengthning it by his spirit in the use of the Sacraments, that this Prophet declares to us all that God commanded him. That in him, God was well pleas'd, and that we were to heare him. Mat. 17.5. That from this Prophet, Gods perfect will was manifested to the World, and the same (by his Order) written in the Old and new Testament, not in darke or doubtfull termes, but plainely and per­spicuously, as far as was necessary for our Salvation. That these sacred Scrip­tures, being the Iudges of all controversies, need not the addition of humane Traditions. That we are to serve and obey God, not according to the Com­mandements of men, but his owne celestiall sanctions: and that (therefore) the worship of Images, is to be abolisht out of our Churches and minds, not commanded by God. That Holidaies, not appointed and sanctified by the Lord, need not be observed. That the use of all kind of Meates, is at any time lawfull, being frugally and moderately taken. That divine service is mis-cele­brated in a language unknowne to the people. That ther's no inherent sancti­ty in some place, more then other, nor in any Church: and that our prayers are no sooner heard in some one place, then another.

Thus beleeves the Reformed Church. But she gives no credit to those pro­digious paradoxes, viz. That iustifiing faith, may be without charity and good workes. That faith may be without knowledge of what is to be beleeved. That men drown'd in their owne corruptions, are indued with certaine pre­paratives to grace, or furnisht with merits of congruity. That our conversion to God is not wholly to be ascrib'd to grace, but in part to Natures endeavour. That election depends of faith fore-scene & the motion of our free will. That the faithfull may: Apostatize, and fall from grace. That concupiscence is void of sinne. That Kings have not their preheminence by divine Right. That the [Page 10] Clergy are exempt from the subjection and jurisdiction of Kings. That faith is not to be kept with Hereticks. That blind Monastick obedience is lawfull and laudable. That children may lawfully make and breake vowes without their parents consent. That a Clergy mans marriage is more detestable then adultery or murther. That the gift of continence is given to all that refuse it not. That the Pope may lawfully take tribute of stewes. That Sacraments confer grace by the worke wrought. That infants baptised are not tainted at all with sinne. That Christs body is in divers places at once, yet neither visible nor tangible. That Bread and Wine are transform'd into the very sub­stance of Christs Flesh and Blood. That wicked men eat the flesh of Christ in the Eucharist. That tis not lawfull for Laicks to drinke of the Sacramentall Cup. These and the like monstrous opinions, since Christ the Prophet of the Church hath not taught, the Reformed Churches doe not beleeve. But concer­ning Christs Prophetick office, your Doctors teach most insincerely, viz. That Christ indeed is given by God as a Prophet, yet hath he not declar'd to the Church all the will of God, nor purposely caus [...]d it to be written in the Scrip­ture for the decision of controversies of Faith by its Light and Evidence. That Scriptures are obscure, perillous, & not to be permitted Laymen to read. That Authority of Traditions, Fathers, and Councels, are necessary to the Church, to supply the Scriptures imperfection. That God is to be worshipt according to the prescript of Mens Lawes. That Images are to be set in Chur­ches, as instructers of the Ignorant. That God may lawfully be effigiated and represented in humane Forme. That Holidayes are religiously to be observed and celebrated. That we ought to obstaine from Meats, at Times appoynted by the Church or Pope. That tis no prejudice to our prayers, to use an un­knowne Language in the publike Lyturgy. That one place is more holy then another. That a man may beleeve, and yet be ignorant: and that Faith is best defined by Ignorance. That charity may be wanting to justifying Faith. That men swallowed up in the Whirpoole of corruption, retaine yet certaine pre­paratories to Grace. That our Conversion is to be ascribed both to Nature and Grace. That Election depends of Faith and the right use of our free Will. That Concupicence is not to be reputed sinne. That Kings raigne not by the Authority of Scripture. That Clergymen are not bound to any Secular Au­thority. That blind and foolish Obedience in Monks, is commendable. That the Marriage of Clergymen is equall to Sacrilege, or worse. That the Bond of Ma­trimony is not dissolved by Adultery. That the Gift of Continence is given to all promiscuously. That the Pope may well exact Tribute from Strumpets. That children may vow against the will of their parents. That Sacraments confer Grace by the work wrought. That children once washt with Baptismall water, are utterly voyd of sin. That all unbaptized persons are condemned to [Page 11] eternall Death. That Christs Body, is in many places at once, yet not subject to sight or touch. That Bread and Wine are transubstantiated into Christs Body and Blood. That our Lords Body is swallowed by impious persons. That Christian people ought not to communicate of the Chalice in the Sacrament. Thus, they attribute indeed the name of Prophet and Doctor to Christ, but all the force and power of his prophetick Office is translated to the Pope, Coun­cells, and Fathers.

Now (Worthy Sir) suppose some wel-affected Christian, to be of this Be­liefe: that he will wholly give eare to, and be instructed by Christ, our Pro­phet: that he will obey onely the Scripture and Gods will therein revealed: suppose this man to beleeve that the Scripture is perfect, perspicuous, the Judge of all controversies and determiner of all doubts: that Laicks ought to read it, and regulate their lives and manners by it. Doe yee thinke, the high honour which this man gives to Christ as to our Chiefe-Prophet, shall or can prejudice him? Far be so wide and wilde a conceit from your ingenuous Candor. For, what crime hath he committed, which being ignorant of Tradi­tions, Holidayes, Images, Fasting-dayes, and a number of the like Ceremo­nious observances, doth soly imbrace those Doctrines which Christ hath taught for the Churches comfort and edification? Adde now hereto, that the same man is fully confidenced, that Scripture cannot (without extreme impiety) be charged with imperfection or obscurity: that tis a great crime to debar the people from reading Scripture: and no lesse sin, to traine them to the beliefe of Traditions: that tis impious, to worship God in the shape or likenesse of Man, or to expose Images to the peoples Adoration: that tis Tyran­ranicall to obtrude the observance of Holidaies (under the terror of Penalties) which are instituted by men; as also to forbid Meats, to sober men at certaine Seasons. That tis unlawfull to mumble & mutter prayers in a strange Tongue. That tis absurd to thinke one place holier then another. That tis impossible, at once to beleeve, and yet to be ignorant: or that justifying Faith should subsist, without charity: or, that man wallowing in his corruption, should be able to prepare himselfe for Grace: or, that concupiscence should be put out of the catalogue of sins. That they are most execrable Miscreants, that deprive the Kings Crowne of its divine Right, or exempt the Miter from obedience to the Scepter: or breake their Faith with Hereticks; or draw monastick persons to a blind obedience: or calumniate the Marriage of the Clergy, as worse then Adultery. That they are absurd and senselesse, that teach, the Gift of conti­nence to be promiscuous and obvious to all: which approve of tribute taken from mercenary Prostitutes: which think that children may vow or dis-avow against their parents wils: which hold that Matrimony is not violated by A­dultery. That they erre grievously, that pretend, the Sacraments collate [Page 12] Grace by the bare worke done: that all baptized persons are without all Sin, and all unbapatized liable to eternall Damnation. That they are the maddest Bedlams that (like Corybanticall Priests) teach, Christs Body to be in many places at once, unseene, and insensible: which dreame of a Metamorphosis, and change of Bread and Wine into his Body and Blood: which dote that our Lords Flesh may be swallowed and devoured by impious Wretches: which preclude the Cup from the people, though Christ himselfe reach it to them in the Scripture: which adore a Wafer in stead of Christ: which vainly imagine his corporall presence on earth, being consign'd to Heaven till the end of the World. Can such a mans ignorance of these Romish Trumperies, or his beliefe of Christs sincere Doctrine, hurt him when he is alive, or damne him for ever being Dead? What cruell Rhadamanth (or Judge of Hell) can passe such a Sentence? For; what crime is there here? What Law hath he transgrest? shall any man be blam'd, for being afraid to Idolatrize, or to wor­ship God after his owne voluntary invention? shall he be condemn'd for a­bandoning the impious and absurd Traditions of Men, and obeying the Do­ctor and Prophet that is given us from Heaven?

Thus, if we collate and parallel the adverse Opinions of the Romish and Reformed Churches, it will soone appear which Party is most Zealous of Re­ligion, and Piety, which is its proper Fruit and product.

And now (most Worthy Sir) if I seeme to you to be of a dull understanding and weake judgement, pray be pleased to helpe me in this exigent: which as it will be a worke worthy of you, so most welcome to me. Take the Lanthorn of Gods Word in your hand, & enlighten my Darkenesse, shew me the way of God, and reduce me from the By-pathes of Error. I promise you to banish from me all pertinicious opinionativenesse, if I shall see you compleately arm'd with Scriptures proofes. But if should attemt to cry downe our Churches Doctrine, with clamors onely, and Great words and brags of Eminent (but Humane) Authorities, We shall easily sleight such braving Arrogance, your rare curte­sie commands me to be confident, that you will not faile to doe me this good Office. For it is not credible, that you who are reported to have challeng'd the chiefe of our Champions, to the Combate; will now refuse, as a Master, to instruct in the wayes of God, so willing a Scholler.

Adieu (most Learned Sir) and love
Your most affectionate IOHN BASTWICK.

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