The Pillar and Ground of Truth.

A TREATISE SHEWING That the ROMAN CHƲRCH falsly claims to be That CHURCH, and the PILLAR of That TRUTH, mentioned by S. Paul in his First Epistle to Timothy, Chap. III. Vers. 15.

Which is explained in THREE PARTS.


May 9. 1687.

LONDON, Printed for Richard Chiswell, at the Rose and Crown in S. Paul's Church-Yard. MDCLXXXVII.


AMONG all the places of Scripture, which they of the Church of Rome are wont to alledge for a proof of their pretended Infallibility, I find none whereon they more rely, than that of S. Paul to Timothy 1 III. 15. That thou may'st know how thou oughtest to behave thy self in the house of God, which is the CHURCH of the living God, the PILLAR AND GROUND OF THE TRUTH. Which place, say the Rhemists, pincheth the Hereticks wonderfully, and so it ever did: and therefore they oppose themselves directly against the very letter and confessed sense of the same.

I have thought it therefore worth my pains, to show how unjust this accusation is; by opening the plain and evident meaning, the literal and confessed sense of those words: whereby it will appear that we are far from being Hereticks; and that they, not we, are pinched by this place; and that there is no ground at all in it for their Infallibility; nor for their vain flourishes, that the very Name of CHURCH terrifies us, and makes us pale with fear (as Campian insolently vapouredRatio III.,) and that we not only fear, but al­together abhor the word CATHOLIQUE, so as to leave it clean out of our Bibles, as the fore-named Rhemists Preface to Epistle of S. James. most senslesly misrepresent us.

For as I have proved, in the following Book, that we, not they are the true CATHOLIQƲES, so there is [Page]nothing further from truth, (I have likewise shown) than that the Apostle here speaks, with any particular respect, to the Church of Rome. Which is so far from striking any terror into us, when it appropriates to it self the name of CHƲRCH; that we look upon the pretence to be as ridi­culous, as the proof is, they give us of it. Which is the sole Authority of a false S. Ambrose his Commentaries up­on this place; who thus glosses: All the World being God's, yet the Church only is his House: the Rector (or Ru­ler) whereof at this time is DAMASUS. Where the Rhemists Annot. in 1 Tim. III. 15. desire us to note, How clear a case it was then, that the Pope of Rome, was not the Governor on­ly of one particular See, but of Christ's whole House, which is the Universal Church, &c. And further im­prove this conceit, in these words, The Church which is the House of God, whose Rector (saith S. Ambrose) in his time was Damasus, and now Gregory the thirteenth; and in the Apostles time S. Peter, is the Pillar of Truth, the establishment of Verity: and therefore it cannot err.

And truly it is worth our noting how clear a Case it is, that they were sorely pinched (to use their own word again) for want of proofs; when they betook themselves to such as this. For it is hard to think that Men of their education (whom we will not despise, as they do the Hereticks, a little beforeAnnot. in 1 Tim. I. 7., as most ignorant of the Word of God, not knowing the very Principles of Divinity) should not know that S. Ambrose was not the Author of those Com­mentaries: they being acknowledged by the greatest Men in their Church to be spurious Brats of some other Writer. Baronius Annal. Tom. V. ad an. 397. n. 38. for instance saith, The Exposition of Am­brose, upon all Paul's Epistles, began to be wanting in the time of Cassiodorus: but being plainly lost, it is ap­parent, the work of another Author, was foisted in its room. And their other great Cardinal, Bellarmine, con­fesses [Page]as much in several places; but in one more fullyL. I. de Mitrimonio, cap. 17., where he assoils an Objection of Chemnitius (who follow­ing the rule of the Civil LawTistem quem quis in­ducit prose, tenetar reci­pere contra se., [the witness which any Man produces for himself, he is bound to receive against himself] quotes this Book, as Bellarmine oft had done, in a Case of Marriage) by this Answer, That the Au­thor of these Commentaries is not S. Ambrose, as learned Men know: and more than that, whosoever was the Author, he was none, ex celebratis patribus, of the famous or eminent Fathers. And indeed there is great reason for what these, and many others of that Church, say; as I might show out of the Commentaries themselves, which contradict the very words of the true S. Ambrose.

But suppose he had been the Author, or these the Work of some celebrated Writer, it is a clear case (and I desire it may be noted) that these Rhemist Annotators were not so knowing as they would be esteemed, or not so conscientious as they ought to have been; when they gather from these words that Damasus was Ruler over more than his own See, even over the Universal Church, as S. Peter, they say, was in the Apostles times. For S. Ambrose himself saith, in his Book of the Priestly Dignity Tom. IV. de Sacerdotali dignitate, cap. 2., (which Priests one would think should read) that when Christ said, Feed my Sheep; those Sheep, and that Flock, not only bles­sed Peter then received; but both he received them with us, and with him we all have received them. And it is an unusual thing in Ancient Writers, to say the same of other Bishops, that this Writer doth of Damasus, when they mean no more, but that they were Rulers of that part of the Catholique Church, which was committed to their charge.

Thus Arsenius, for instance, writes to Athanasius, as he himself hath set down his Letter, which begins thus, We loving Peace and Unity with the Catholique Church, over which thou, by the Grace of God dost [Page]preside or rule,Athan. Tom. 1. Apo­log. 2. p. 786. [...]. &c. And more than this, such great Clerks as they should not have been ignorant, being also such lofty Censurers of the Hereticks, that Gregory Na­zianzene (called the Divine, whom they read, it is to be supposed, to learn the principles of Divinity) saith, S. Cyprian was made not only a Pastor, but a Pastor that had the largest dominion: [...], &c. Orat. XVIII. p. 281. being set over not the Church of Carthage only, or Africa, but all the West, and almost all the East it self, and the North and South, unto whom his fame reached. But if these things escaped their observation, or they studiously concealed them, they must have been most ignorant of the word of God, as they say the Hereticks are, if they did not know, that S. Paul saith the same of the Elders of Ephesus, that this Wri­ter doth of Damasus, XX. Act. 28. that the Holy Ghost had made them overseers, to feed, that is, to rule and govern, the Church of God, which he hath purcha­sed with his own Blood. And if they knew this, why were they not so honest as to interpret the later by the for­mer? for there is no difference between S. Paul's words, and the counterfeit S. Ambrose's. S. Paul saith, the Elders of Ephesus were appointed to rule the Church of God (for that's the office of a Shepherd, that feeds the Flock) the other saith, Damasus was the ruler of God's Church. If the Ʋniversal Church be thereby meant, and not his part of it only, why should it not be so expounded in the words of S. Paul? and then Damasus his title to this office is crackt; for there were Rulers then set over the Church Ʋniversal by the Holy Ghost, before he (or his Church of Rome, perhaps) was in being. But if S. Paul's words must have a more limited meaning; then with what conscience do they give their S. Ambrose's words, an unlimited; and not restrain them, as they must do S. Paul's, to the particular See, committed to his Go­vernment?

And it was not easie for them to be ignorant that S. Paul, in these words to Timothy, speaks of the Church of Ephesus, and not of Rome, and was so far from ha­ving any thought of S. Peter (whom these Annotators make the Ruler at that time of this House of God) that it is evident, Timothy was the person who presided in it, and was the chief Pillar and Ground of Truth here spoken of; as I doubt not I have proved in the insuing Discourse. Wherein I have also shewn, that other suc­ceeding Bishops, in other Churches, had the same title; nay, many persons in the Church, that were no Bishops: who were far from thinking themselves, or being thought by others, infallible; as these Annotators imagine they must needs be, who are the Pillar and establishment of the Truth. That's an inference from these words, for which they had no more warrant; than they had to intitle S. Ambrose to those Commentaries.

The Author of which also did so little dream of the Infallibility of the Church, when he glossed upon these words; that he doth not so much as make the Church, the Ground or establishment of the Truth: But saith in plain terms, Firmamentum (as the Vulgar Latine translates [...]) hujus veritatis signa sunt & prodigia; the establishment of this Truth (left in the Church) are signs and wonders which the Apostles, that is, wrought to bring Men to the firm belief of that truth which they preached. Which doth not rely, therefore, upon the credit of the Church; but upon the credit of the Apostles, and of those Divine Works, whereby God bare Witness to them: which are recorded in the Holy Scriptures.

From whence alone we ought to derive our knowledge of the Truth, the Apostle here speaks of: as is most clearly resolved by S. Cyril of Hierusalem, in these memorable words.Catech. IV. Sect. de Spiri­to Saycto. Concerning the Divine and Holy Mysteries of [Page]the Faith, we ought not to deliver any thing, though never so small, without the Divine Scriptures, &c. neither shouldst thou believe me barely saying these things to thee; unless thou receivest the demonstrati­on of the things, published, out of the Divine Scri­ptures. For this is the safety, or security of our Faith, which depends not upon words that we invent, but upon the demonstration of the Divine Scriptures.

In which we hear our Lord Christ himself speaking to us: who is more to be believed than the Church. For the Church, as S. Paul speaks, is subject unto Christ (they are the words of S. Augustine Tom. VII. Coura Cris­conium Gram. l. 2. c. 21.) and therefore the Church ought not to set her self above Christ: so as to think that they who are condemned by him may be bap­tized, but they that are condemned by the Church, may not be baptized: when he always judges truly; but Ec­clesiastical Judges, being Men, are oft-times deceived.

From them therefore, who are fallible, we appeal to Him, who is infallible; and hath delivered his sentence in the Holy Scriptures: or from a Church particular, we ap­peal to the Church Catholique: nay, from the New Church of Rome, to the Old. For we are not, as they would make the World believe, affrighted with the Name of the Church; whose judgment we truly honour, as will appear in this Treatise: while they dishonour it, by confining the Church to themselves; and then exalting it above the Scriptures of Truth; and making its mere Name serve to dazzle the eyes of their own People, and to keep them in profound ignorance: teaching them [...]. in. XII. Luke 11. to op­pose the Name of a Catholique Man, and the Catholique Church, as a sufficient answer to all that we most reason­ably object against them. Thus in their own conceit, it is a kind of Gorgon's head, which they fansie will immediate­ly stupify us, when it is opposed to us: but, blessed be God, we are still in our Wits, and understand very well, that [Page]this is no better than his old Artifice, who invented this cheat (as S. Cyprian L. de Ʋni­tate Ecclesie. speaks) of deceiving unwary Souls by the very Title of the Christian Name. For just so they now abuse the Name of Church, and the name of Catholique; and by good words, and fine speeches, (as S. Paul writes XVI. Rom. 18.) deceive the hearts of the simple.

Whom I have endeavoured in this small Treatise, to un­deceive, and direct in the way of that TRƲTH, of which every Church ought to be the Pillar and Ground. If any one be not, but in stead of the certain, constant, uni­versally received Christian Truth, set up uncertain, nay false, lately invented, and particular conceits of its own; it is not to be relied on, but rejected: though it hath been formerly a Church of never so great Authority. Such the Church of Rome once was; but now ceases so to be: having by taking upon her too much, lost that regard, which other­wise it might have had in the Christian World. It is not the same Church it was in the Apostles times, no nor in the days of Gregory the Great: as hath been unanswerably de­monstrated by Bp. Morton heretoforeCatholique Appeal, L. 1. cap. 2.; and lately by the Author of the Vindication of the Answer of some late Papers; to which there will never be an ingenuous Reply. Great and many alterations have been made therein, to the manifest prejudice of the Christian Faith: of which that Church should have been, as well as others, a Pillar and Establishment; but hath notoriously failed in her duty, by inventing another Faith, which undermines and endangers that Faith which was once delivered to the Saints.

Of this I have given so full and so clear an account in these Papers, that I fear not to expose them to the examina­tion of them that are of a contrary mind: hoping, though they do not convince them of their errors yet, they will help to establish the People of our Church, in the present Truth. Which, I doubt not, they will see to be the truly Catholique, [Page]Apostolique Faith; which they ought not to part withal, but preserve as carefully as they do their life.

And so the cannot fail to do, if they add to Faith, Ver­tue. In order to which, I have endeavoured to make this Treatise as practical as I could: that we may not fall into that grand error, of thinking it enough to hold the Truth, though we hold it in unrighteousness.

God of his infinite mercy, deliver us all from that dam­nable delusion, and establish our hearts unblameable in Holiness, before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, with all his Saints. 1 Thess. III. 13.



IT is a pious reflection which Clemens Alexan­drinus makes upon a saying of Plato, that if truth could never have been learnt, L. VI. Stro­mat. p. 675. but either from God himself, or from his dependents; then we, who have the testimonies of the Divine Oracles, do justly boast, that we are taught the truth, by the very Son of God. Which he hath revealed unto us so plainly in all things necessary to our Salva­tion, and transmitted unto us so intirely in the Holy Scriptures; that it cannot but be a great trouble to all those who love him and his Religion, to see such wranglings about it in his Church, as if there were no more certainty among us, what is truth; than there was among the Philosophers.

The contention about this is so sharp and fierce, that while Men seek after Truth, they are in danger to lose the very aim and scope of it, which is Charity: the love of God and of one another. This S. Paul determines to be the very drift of the Gospel, when he tells Timothy, the end of the commandment is charity, 1 I. 5.

Nay, they have raised so many doubts about this matter, that poor People are many times to seek for Truth it self, even in the clearest light thereof. It be­ing some Mens business, so to confound their thoughts, [Page 2]that they know it not when they see it: but are still in great trouble about it, even when they have it.

And where to seek for it, is now grown a great question also. It is to be found, no doubt, in the Church; but about that there are so many disputes, that Men are to seek as much as before, if they go to find it there. In short, there are no words more abu­sed than these two; Truth, and Church: and therefore I hope it will do some service to Souls, if for their plain and safe direction in these matters, I rescue those words of S. Paul to Timothy, 1 III. 15. [the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth.] from those false glosses that are put upon them, to the great dishonour of our blessed Lord, and of his Holy Truth.

And for that end, I shall distinctly treat of these four things:

  • First, What that truth is, of which either the Church, or Timothy, or both, were the Pillar and Ground.
  • Secondly, What it is to be a Pillar and Ground of the Truth.
  • Thirdly, Who it is, to whom this Office and Ho­nour belongs, of being the Pillar and Ground of the Truth: or what we mean, when we say, the Church is intrusted therewith.
  • Lastly, How it discharges this Office.

I. What is the Truth?

Here we must begin; because we must first know what the Truth is, before we can know a Society of Men to be the Church: which is constituted and made by believing and professing the Truth.

And this in effect, is a resolution of that question, which Pilate askt our Saviour, but would not stay for an answer, What is Truth?

Which though it be made a great difficulty by those, whose interest it is to make things intricate and per­plexed; yet, in my opinion, it is very easie to give sa­tisfaction to it; and we need not go far neither, to seek it. For the Apostle himself immediately explains what he means by Truth in the words following; and without Controversie great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifested in the Flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of Angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the World, received up into Glory.

Where we learn two things in general, concerning this matter. First, that the truth here spoken of, is that which was formerly a Mystery or Secret, which lay hidden for many Ages and Generations, in the unknown purpose of God, but now is revealed and manifested, by the Son of God, and his holy Spirit, to make Men godly.

Which is the other thing we learn from thence, that the truth, which the Apostle intends, is the Mystery of Godliness, or as he he speaks in the VI. Chapter v. 3. the Doctrine which is according to Godliness. And therefore whatsoever doth not tend to better Mens lives, by making them do their duties faithfully both towards God, and towards Men (to some of which the duties that are owing, are in this very Epistle called shewing Piety or Godliness, v. 4.) we are not to rec­kon it among the truths, which were deposited with Timothy to be preferred and upheld in the Church. For God did not design by the discovery he made of his Mind and Will, in the Gospel, merely to enlarge our knowledge: but to rectifie our wills and affections, by the right information of our minds, and by acquainting us with such weighty truths, espe­cially such wonderful revelations of his love, as can­not but irresistably sway us, if we lay them to heart, unto his Obedience.

But, that we may not be left to guess at this truth, or mystery of Godliness, without any certainty, he sets down a particular of it: and reduces the whole mystery of Godliness, to these Six heads.

I. The principal is this, that the eternal Son of God, came down from Heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made Man; that he might suffer for us, and make himself an offering for our sins. All this I take to be included in these words, God was manifested in the flesh. Which cannot be meant of God the Father, for it is ex­pressly said in other places, that it was Jesus Christ who came in the flesh, 1 Joh. IV. 2. and is here declared to be God, that is, the eternal Son of God, the Word made flesh, 1 Joh. 14. Which doth not de­note merely his being made Man, but likewise his suffering for us: he taking our flesh on purpose, for this very end, that therein he might, by his Death, make an atonement for Sin. And so the very phrase flesh and blood signifies in Scripture (as it doth com­monly in the Hebrew Writers) this weak, frail, mor­tal, suffering State, wherein we are at present: into which our blessed Lord put himself, when he manifested himself in our flesh. So we read ex­pressly, II. Hebr. 14. where to take part with us, in our flesh and blood, is to make himself liable to suf­ferings and death. In these few words therefore, are contained many principles of Christian truths, viz. that Jesus Christ was really God (not God the Father, whose being is here supposed, but God the Son) and that he was incarnate, and really made Man, of the Substance of his Mother: being perfect God, and perfect Man: and as really suffered for us in the flesh, as S. Peter speaks, 1 IV. 1. Which were [Page 5]the Doctrines that were first assaulted by the Devil, and his Agents in the beginning of our Religion (such as Simon Magus and the rest of that Tribe) but proved to be undoubtedly true, by the mighty power of his Spirit.

II. Which is the second part of this Mystery, justified in, or by the Spirit. Which sufficiently con­vinced all gain-sayers, that he was no less than the Son of God, though in the likeness of sinful flesh; and that by a Sacrifice for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh. VIII. Rom. 3. For as he was conceived in his Mothers Womb, by the Holy Ghost, I. Luke 35. So at his Baptism he was anointed with the Ho­ly Ghost and with power (X. Act. 38.) there being then a visible descent of the Spirit of God, in a Glo­rious manner upon him, together with a voice from Heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, III. Matt. 17. And as it then lighted on him, so it abode, and remained on him, I. Joh. 32, 33. as appeared by the power of such Miracles, as neither Men nor Devils could work, but only the Spirit of God. Which was so evidently true, that to ascribe them to the Devil, was the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, XII. Matt. 28.31, 32. III. Mark 29, 30. by whose power not only Devils were cast out, but even the Dead were raised: whereby he was manifested to be the resurrection and the life, XI. Joh. 25. By the same Spirit he himself also was raised from the Dead, and declared again the Son of God with power, I. Rom. 4. And having all power in Heaven and Earth given him, he sent the Holy Ghost upon his Apostles on the day of Pentecost, as a fur­ther Justification of him, XV. Joh. 26. V. Act. 32. Nay, more than this, by the laying on of their hands [Page 6]poured it out upon others, who believed on his Name, II. Act. 38. VIII. 17. Which was the unction from the Holy One, whereby they knew all things, as St. John calls it 1. II. 20. i. e. were assu­red of all the Christian Truth, revealed unto them. For all these, were illustrious witnesses unto Christ, and justified this grand truth that he was God ma­nifested in the flesh (for such ends and purposes, as he pretended) against all opposers, who accused it of falsity.

And who is there that doth not see several other principles of God's holy Truth, contained in this? particularly that the Holy Ghost is God, the third per­son in the Holy Trinity, being the Spirit of God: which knows the things of God (as the Spirit of Man doth what is in him, 1 Cor. II. 11.) and led or gui­ded the Apostles into all Truth, XVI. Joh. 13. and dwells in the whole body of the Church, as his Tem­ple, 1 Cor. VI. 19. (which no created Spirit can do) and gave such a Divine testimony to our Saviour, that to speak against it, was unpardonable blasphemy.

That other great article of our Faith also is inclu­ded in this, which S. Paul declares in these terms: Though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God, 2 Corinth. XIII. 4.

III. This was a thing notorious to the Angels them­selves: which is the third particular in this Mystery; Was seen of Angels: both at his birth, III. Luke 9, 10, 13. and in several passages of his life, IV. Matt. 11. XVII. 5. I. Joh. 51. and at his death, XXII. Luke 43. and at and after his Resurrection, XXVIII. Matt. 2. XX. Joh. 20. and also at his Ascension, I. Act. 10, 11. when they testified to the Apostles that this same Jesus who was taken up from them into Heaven, shall [Page 7]so come, in like manner as they had seen him go into Hea­ven. Where when he came, they all Worshipped him, I. Hebr. 6. and admired at the wonderful Wisdom of God, which was made known to them by the Church (1 Pet. I. 12.) especially this Mystery of Christ, as the Scripture calls it, which is the fourth particular in this Catalogue of Christian Truths.

IV. That this Doctrine, thus confirmed and attested, was preached unto the Gentiles: who were assured, that they should be made fellow-heirs with the Jews, and partakers of God's Promise in Christ, by the Gospel, as S. Paul speaks (III. Ephes. 6.) Ʋnto whom this grace was given, to preach among the Gentiles the unsearcha­ble riches of Christ; and to make all Men know, what is the fellowship of the Mystery, which from the beginning of the World was hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.

An astonishing Grace this was; declaring the infinite love and kindness of God: that they who thought not of it, who had no promises to make them expect it, who were strangers to God and the Covenant of Promise, were on a sudden surprized with the revelation of God's good will to them in Christ; and by belief of it, were made fellow Citizens with the Saints, and of the Houshold of God. That is, the Church was made truly Catho­lique; all the World being taken into fellowship with the Apostles, whose fellowship was with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ, 1 Joh. I. 3.

V. And another great wonder was, that notwithstand­ing all the opposition which was made by the Potentates, by the Philosophers, and Disputers of the World, by the Devil also and his Angels (who though they also saw [...] and could not but confess him, yet set themselves [Page 8]against him with their whole power) and notwithstand­ing all the strong prejudices that were in Peoples minds against it, this whole Mystery of Godliness was enter­tained and received with great joy every where. Which is the fifth particular, seen of Angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the World. So mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed, as S. Luke speaks Act. XIX. 20. The reason was, because Christ the Head of the Church, being raised from the dead, was exalted at God's right Hand, far above all Principality and Power, and every name that is named, either in this World, or in the other: so that neither Men nor Devils, could hinder the propagation of the Gospel, by the working of that mighty Power, which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the Dead, and set him at his own right hand in the, Heavenly places.

VI. For that is the last part of this Mystery of God­liness, he was received up into, or in Glory: that is, in a glorious manner received up into Heaven. And being gone into the Heavens (as S. Peter writes, 1 III. ult.) is on the right hand of God; angels, and authorities and powers being made subject to him. So subject, that from henceforth he expects, till all his enemies be made his foot­stool, X. Hebr. 13. and having vanquished Death, which is the last Enemy, and raised Men out of their Graves, he will judge them according to their Works. For he was received up into Glory, to be the Judge of quick and dead.

These are the Principal Points of that Truth, which ought to be supported and maintained in the Christian Church: being the substantial and necessary Articles of our Faith, without the belief of which we cannot be Christians.

For the fuller Explication of which I shall make Six observations: the first of which the Apostle himself here suggests; and the rest will fairly follow from thence.

  • 1. First the Apostle notes them to be such Truths as were without Controversie: about which there was no di­spute among serious Christians.
  • 2. And therefore these are the truly Catholique Do­ctrines, and these alone.
  • 3. The fundamental Truths, upon which our Religion and the Church it self is built.
  • 4. And therefore he that holds close to these, cannot be a Heretick.
  • 5. But they that call Men so, because they believe not other things, which they have made necessary, have rent the Christian Church, and are guilty of that sin, of which they falsly accuse others.
  • 6. Which guilt is the greater, because the best and most learned Men among them, have confessed those Doctrines, which they have superadded to the Ancient Truth, to be doubtful, superfluous, and unknown to the first Ages of the Church: that is, not truly Catholique Doctrines.


The first of these ought to be well weighed: that the Truth, which is to be supported and maintained in the Church, is so evident and so abundantly attested, that it is confessed by all Christians. Thus that word [...], without controversie, or confessedly signifies, as we may learn from the use of it among the Ancient Greeks; one of which [Diodorus Sinopensis] speaks of their Supreme God, just as the Apostle doth of the My­stery of Godliness Apud Athenaeum, Lib. VI. cap. 9.


Jupiter the Friendly is, without controversie, or by com­mon consent agreed to be, the greatest of the Gods. In like manner the Apostle is to be understood, when he saith the same of these great and venerable Doctrines of Godliness: Which are such, as are confessed by all, by a common agreement; and doubted of by none. For they are no other, than those which are contained in the Apo­stles Creed; about which there is no question among Christians, but they all consent unto it, being baptized into the belief of those Truths: in which the whole Church hath agreed, every where, in all times, down from the Apostles days, to this present Age.

For the Church, saith Irenaeus L. I. Con­tra Haeres. c. 2., though dispersed throughout the World, to the ends of the Earth, re­ceived from the Apostles and their Disciples the Faith, which is in one God, the Father Almighty, who made the Heaven, and the Earth, and Sea, and all that is in them: and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who was Incarnate for our Salvation: and in the Holy Ghost, who preached by the Prophets the dispensations, and approaches of God, and the Birth of the Virgin, and the Suffering, the Resurrecti­on from the Dead, and the Bodily Ascension of our Dear Lord Christ Jesus into the Heavens; and his coming from thence in the Glory of the Father, to gather together all things, and to raise all humane flesh; that, according to the good pleasure of the Father invisible, every knee of things in Heaven, or Earth, or under the Earth, may bow to Christ Jesus; our Lord, and God, and Saviour, and King, and every Tongue may confess him; and he may do Righte­ous Judgment upon all; and send the Spirits of wickedness, and the Angels that transgressed and apostatized, together [Page 11]with ungodly, unjust, lawless, and blasphemous Men, into eternal fire; but to the just, and the holy, and such as observe his Commandments, and persevere in his Love, either al­ways or by Repentance, graciously bestow life, give immorta­lity, and put them in possession of eternal Glory.

This is, [...] (as he calls it) a little Body of Truth; the Rule of Faith, (as Tertullian often speaks) instituted by Christ; which nullas habet apud nos quaesti­ones L. de prae­script. cap. XIV., is not doubted of, nor hath any questions about it among Christians, but such as Heresies have brought in, and which make Men Hereticks.

And therefore this is the Truth, of which the Church ought to be the Pillar and Ground to the end of the World: but not presume, as I shall show anon, to bind all Christians, upon pain of perishing everlastingly, to believe what is not contained in this Rule of belief. For it alone is sufficient, as appears by this; that into it, all the Articles or Parts (as a learned Man of the Roman Church speaksRigaltius Ib.) of which a Christian consists, are di­gested, as it were, into one Body.


From whence it follows that these are the true Catho­lique, and the only Catholique Doctrines. Catholique they are, because spread every where: and the only Ca­tholique, because none besides these, till very lately, were received as part of the Christian Truth, which must necessarily be believed, if we hope to be saved.

Hear how Irenaeus L. I. cap. 3. proclaims this, immediately after the foregoing words: whichHaeres. XXXI. n. 30, 31. Epiphanius thought so considerable, that he hath transcribed both these Chap­ters into his Book against Heresies.

The Church, as we have said, having received this Preach­ing (or Doctrine) and this Faith, preserves it most care­fully, [Page 12]as if it inhabited but one House; though it be dispersed through the whole World. And with unanimous consent, Preaches, and Teaches and Delivers these things, as having but one Mouth. For though there be different Languages in the World, yet the force of that which is delivered is one and the same. So that neither the Churches situated in Germany believe otherwise, or have any other Tradition, nor those in Spain, nor those in France, nor those in the East, nor those in Egypt, nor those in Libya, nor those in the midst of the World; but as the Sun, that Creature of God, is one and the same in the whole World, so the [...], the Preaching, or Doctrine of the Truth shines every where, and inlightens all Men, who are willing to come to the knowledge of the Truth. And neither he, among the Governors of the Church, who is most power­ful in Speech, teaches different things from these (for no Man is above his Master) nor he that is weak in Speech diminishes the Tradition. For there being one and the same Faith, neither he that is able to speak a great deal concerning it, doth inlarge or exceed: nor he that can say but a little, doth take away, or make it less.

Which is such a plain declaration that the Creed contains the whole Apostolical Tradition (or Faith, for they are the same in his Language) and the on­ly Catholique Doctrine; that if we were at this day to contrive words on purpose, for the asserting this Truth, we could not invent any more full or express than these. Which show us that this Faith is sufficient not only for the ignorant, the Catechumens, and begin­ners in Religion; but for the most improved in Chri­stian knowledge; for those that instructed and ruled the Church, who had no Authority to preach or impose any other belief.

This is a thing that runs through his whole Book: for he repeats it again, in fewer words, in the latter end of the next Chapter, that the true Church hath but that one and the same Faith (before mentioned) throughout the whole World. Which in the 19th Chapter, he calls the Rule of Truth, by which all error was discovered: for holding this rule, though they speak very various and many things, we easily evince that they have deviated from the Truth.

And again, in the third BookL. III. Chap. 3., he hath recourse to the same Rule of Truth, unto which whosoever will hear­ken, may see what is the tradition of the Apostles, manife­sted in the whole World, in every Church. Where he saith they were able to tell what Bishops were settled by the Apostles and their Successors, untill his time: who nei­ther taught nor thought of any thing like to the do­tages of the Hereticks of those days. And because it would have been too long to reckon up all the Churches, he instances in the Church of Rome, (to which all had occasion to go, upon some business or other, because it was the Imperial City) by whose Bishop he saith, that Tradition, and that Preaching, or Doctrine of Truth, which was from the Apostles in the Church, is come to us; and is a most full proof, that one and the same life giving faith, which was from the Apostles in the Church, is conferred to this time, and delivered in Truth. The very same, which Polycarp wrote to the Philippians (mark these words, which they of the present Roman Church are wont to conceal, that they may make the World believe Irenaeus thought the Tradition of the Apostles, that is the Chri­stian Faith, was to be sought only in their Church) and which was in the Church of Ephesus, founded by Paul, and having John continuing in it, till the time of Trajan: which Church is a true witness of the Tradition of the Apostles.

And that there may be no mistake about this Tradi­tion, L. III. Cap. 4. he repeats it again in the next Chapter, and in­forms us (in very remarkable words) it was nothing else but the Doctrine contained in the Creed.

Since these things are so plain, we ought not to seek fur­ther, among others, for truth; which we may easily find in the Church: For the Apostles left most fully in it, as in a rich Repository, all things that belong to truth: So that every one, who will, may take from thence the Water of Life, &c. (out of the Holy Scriptures, he means, as appears by what follows); And suppose the Apostles had not left us the Scriptures, shall we not follow the Order of the Tradi­tion, (or Rule of Faith) which they delivered to those, unto whom they committed the Churches? To which Ordi­nation many barbarous Nations, who believe on Christ, as­sent, having the Doctrine of Salvation, without Paper and Ink, written by the Spirit in their Heart, and dili­gently preserving the ANCIENT TRADITION: believing in one God, the maker of Heaven and Earth, and of all things which are therein, by Christ Jesus the Son of God; Who out of his most eminent love to his Creature vouchsafed to be born of the Virgin, uniting Man to God by himself; and suffering under Pontius Pilate, and rising again, and being illustriously received in glory, shall come again, the Saviour of those that are saved, and the Judge of those that are judged: Sending into eternal fire, the mis­shapers of Truth, and the contemners of his Father, and of his coming. Those that have believed this Faith without Let­ters, we, in our Language, call barbarous: but as to their opinion, and custom, and conversation, they please God, because of their Faith, by which they are most wise: living in all Righteousness, Chastity, and Wisdom. Ʋnto whom, if any one should speak in their Language, those things which Hereticks have invented; they would presently stop their ears, and run away, not induring to hear the blasphe­my. [Page 15]Thus by that OLD TRADITION of the Apostles (viz. the Creed) they do not so much as admit into their thoughts, the portentous talk of those Hereticks in his days.

These things I have thought fit to set down, the more largely, because they are an evident demonstrati­on, what the OLD TRADITION of the Apostles is; which is nothing else, but that summary of Christi­an Truth contained in the Creed: unto which they would suffer no other Tradition to be added; but con­tented themselves with this, as fully sufficient: and by this judged of all other things, that pretended to come from the Apostles: and were every where so well in­structed in this, that in those Churches which as yet had not received the Apostolical Writings (the Holy Scri­ptures of the N. T.) they had this Doctrine, as the con­tents of those Scriptures: and were thought most wise (be­ing wise enough to salvation) in this faith alone, with­out any other.

But because this is such a very important Truth, I shall take a little more pains, to set down the sense of the Church in all Ages, concerning it: that the Reader may be satisfied, there is no other Truth, but this alone, which is absolutely necessary to his Salvation. Which they sometime comprehend in fewer words; but never add any one article, beyond those in the Creed.

If we had the Letters of Ignatius intire and sincere, we should be able to tell what he took for Truth, im­mediately after the Apostles were dead. And thus much is evident from them as they now are, that they or he who contrived the Epistle to the Philippians under his name (for it is not thought to be his) took this to be the Doctrine of that Second Age: when after the mention of the Doctrine of the Trinity, and that the Son of God was truly made Man, truly born, and truly crucified, dead, [Page 16]and rose again (not seemingly, not in appearance only, but in Truth) they make him conclude [...]. He that believes these things, as they are, and were really done, is a blessed Man. Which is an undoubted testimony they took this Creed to be sufficient to salvati­on: which Ignatius in an unquestioned Epistle of his to the Church of Smyrna, calls the unmoveable Faith, wherein he blessed God, they were perfected, or knit together; mentioning no other Articles, but those be­fore named.

Polycarp also, in the same Age, wrote an Epistle to the Philippians, wherein they that had a mind and took care of their salvation,L. III. Cap. 3.4. & Euseb. Hist. L. IV. c. 14. might learn, the character of his Faith and the Doctrine of Truth: which was the very same as Irenaeus relates in the forenamed Chapter, with that set down by him, which he calls that one and only Truth which he received from the Apostles, and delivered to the Church.

And what they taught in Asia, and Irenaeus in France, that Tertullian, in the latter end of the same Age, taught in Africk; that there is but one only immoveable, irreform­able Rule of Faith L. de Velandis Virg. C. 1. (that is, there is no other form of believing but this, as de la Cerda honestly interprets the word irreformabilis) in one God, Almighty, the Creator of the World, and in his Son Jesus Christ, born of the Vir­gin Mary, crucified under Pontius Pilate, raised the third day from the dead, received up into Heaven, and sitting now at the right hand of the Father, and shall come to judge the quick and the dead, by the resurrection also of the Flesh.

This he calls in that place, the Law of Faith: which he sets down, in more words, in another Book; where he Prefaces to it by this remarkable proposition as he calls it,L. de prae­scription. c. 9. that there is one, and the same certain Doctrine institu­ted by Christ, which all people ought to believe; and con­sequently [Page 17]to seek, that, when they have found it, they may believe. Now the inquisition of one certain appoint­ment cannot be infinite: which is an incouragement to seek till one find, and believe when he hath found; be­cause there remains, saith he, Nothing more but to pre­serve and keep, what thou hast believed. For thou believest this also, that there is nothing else to be believed. And therefore no further inquiry to be made, when thou hast found and believed, that which was appoin­ted by him, who did not command thee to enquire af­ter any thing, but what he appointed.

Upon which principle having a little further enlarged, he proceeds to lay down theIb. Chap. XIII. Rule of Faith (that one certain appointment, which if one believe, there is no­thing else to be believed) whereby we believe there is one God alone, and no other but the Creator of the World, who made all things of nothing, by his Word, emitted be­fore all things. That Word called his Son, seen variously in the name of GOD by the Patriarchs, heard in the Pro­phets, and at last brought down by the Spirit and power of God the Father into the Virgin Mary, made flesh in her Womb, and born of her, became Jesus Christ: and thereup­on preached the new Law, and the new promise of the King­dom of Heaven; wrought miracles, was crucified, rose the third day, was taken up into Heaven, sitteth at the right hand of the Father, sent the vicarious power of the Holy Spirit, who works in believers: shall come in glory, to take holy persons to the enjoyment of eternal Life, and the ce­lestial promises, and to condemn the prophane to everlasting fire: both parties being raised up again, with the restoring of the flesh.

This is the Rule, about which, he there saith, there are no questions: the Rule, in which Faith intirely consists; that Faith which will save a Man: unto which curiosity ought to yeild: for to know nothing against the Rule is [Page 18]to know all things. And beyond this Rule, he there expres­ly argues,Ib. Cap. X. XIV. Ʋbi enim erit finis quaerendi? Ʋbi statio cre­aendi? &c. . there is nothing to be believed: for if we still be to seek for Faith, where shall we rest? Where shall we make an end of seeking? Where shall we make a stand and stay our believing? Or where shall a full st p be put to finding?

And that this was the constant Doctrine of those times and places, it appears from hence, that as Irenaeus often repeats this Rule and this alone, so doth he a third time insist upon this, even after he became a Montanist; as the only Rule that had run down to their times from the beginning of the Gospel: which he had always pro­fessed, and now much more, being more fully (as he fancied) instructed by the Paraclete, the leader into all Truth. Who durst not (it seems) though he pretended to Revelations, adventure to alter this Rule: which Ter­tullian recites again,Adv. Praxeam, Cap. 2. in the same terms, without any inlargements, as he had done in his former Books.

And thereby satisfies us, that he did not casually make this the Rule of Faith, but that it was his constant sense: which though he do not express in the very same words and syllables, it only shows they had no other sense, but this in their minds. And, as Vigilius L. IV. adv. Entychi­ [...]nos. speaks about this very matter, nec praejudicant verba, ubi sensus incolu­mis permanet, the words do not make a wrong opinion, where the sense remains safe and sound. Which may be applied to all the forms of belief, which were in the Church of Rome, of Aquileia, and in the Churches of the East, before the great Council of Nice: none of which differ in sense (though in some words they do) nor have one Article of Faith more, than the Creed now contains: which Tertullian Apolog. Cap. 47. once more calls the Rule of Truth, which comes transmitted from Christ, by his compa­nions, or Apostles: and in another place, most significant­ly, that ONE EDICT of GOD, which hangs up (as the Edicts of the Emperor did in a Table) to be read by all De Resur­rect Carnis Cap. 18. .

Nor was there any other Faith in the next Age to this (in the third Century) as we may be satisfied from Origen, who in his Preface to his Books [...], think­ing it necessary first to lay down a certain line, and mani­fest rule, by which to inquire concerning other things, and having distinguished between things necessary to be believed, and those which are not necessary; he gives the summ of those things, which were manifestly deli­vered by the Apostolical Preaching: and it is nothing else, but the present Creed: about which, he saith, there is one sense of the whole Church.

And in his first Book against Celsus, who said the Christian Religion was [...], a clancular Doctrine, which they hid and concealed, he avows that the Chri­stian Doctrine was as well known in the World, as the Opinions of Philosophers. For who doth not know that we believe Jesus was born of a Virgin, was crucified, rose again from the Dead, will come to Judgment, and punish Sinners and reward the Righteous according to their Deeds? Nay, the Mystery of the future Resurrection is divulged, though laught at by unbelievers. These were the great things which were commonly taught, and all obliged to be­lieve; as for others, which were not common, the Philo­sophers, he tells him, had their abstruse Doctrines as well as Christians. To this purpose we meet with a notable passage in Epiphanius (in the succeeding Age) which shows that the substance of the Christian Faith concer­ning our Saviour was commonly known, even by those who did not profess it; and understood to be this which Origen mentions. For a Jew coming to see an emi­nent Man of his Nation who was sick, whispered this in his Ear, when they despaired of his life,Hares. XXX. n. 9. Believe in Jesus who was crucified under Pontius Pilate the Governor, being the Son of GOD, and afterward born of Mary, the Christ of GOD, and raised from the dead, and that He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

S. Cyprian Epist. ad Magnum de bapt. Novat. edit. Rig. p. 152. also plainly shows there was no other Faith in his Church: when he answers those who said, the Novatians, held the same Law that the Catholick Church held, and baptized into the same Creed; belie­ving the same God, the Father, the same Christ the Son, the same Holy Ghost; that this would not avail them (for Chore and Dathan and Abiram, believed the same God with Moses and Aaron); and besides, they did not believe remission of sins, and eternal life, by the holy Church; since they had left the Church.

Lucianus also a famous Presbyter of the Church of Antioch, and a Martyr for the Faith of Christ, left a form of believing, written with his own handSozomen. L. III. c. 5., if we may believe the Bishops assembled at Antioch, who sent it about in the time of the Arian Controversie, to prove they were none of his followers, but held [...], the Faith which had been set forth from the be­ginning: and it is this, as Socrates reports itL. II. Eccles. Hist. c. 10.; We have learnt from the beginning to believe in one God of the whole World, the maker and preserver of all things intelli­gible and sensible; and in one Only begotten Son of God, subsisting before all Worlds, and being together with the Fa­ther who begot him; by whom all things were made, whether visible or invisible; who in the last days came down, by the good pleasure of the Father, and took flesh of the Holy Vir­gin, and having fulfilled the whole Will of his Father, suf­fered and rose again, and returned to Heaven, and sitteth at the right Hand of the Father, and shall come to judge the quick and dead, and remaineth King and God for ever. And if it be needful to add it, we believe the Resurrection of the flesh and life everlasting.

I will not trouble the Reader with a larger Creed of theirs which there follows, more fully explaining the Doctrine of the Trinity; because it belongs to the fol­lowing Age, Cent. IV.

In which, it is known the Nicene Fathers met to set­tle the Controversie about the Son of God: but did not make any new Creed, or add one Article to what had been believed before; but only explain'd one Article, the sense of which the Arians perverted. No, they were so far from inlarging the Christian Faith, that when they met together they recited no other Creed, but that of the Apostles: as Laurentius Valla affirms he had read in some ancient Books of Isidore; who collected the Canons of old Councils. And accordingly when they had drawn up that Creed, which they published, they did not think they had made the least change in the matter of Faith; but declared that, this Epiphanius in Anchorat. was the Creed delivered by the Holy Apostles. Which S. Ambrose Serm. 38. Hieron. Epist. ad Pammach. in that Age calls clavem the key, S. Hierom indicium the mark or sign of Faith: in which after the confes­sion of the Trinity, and of the Ʋnity of the Church, the whole Mystery of the Christian Religion is conclu­ded, in the Resurrection of the flesh. And which Greg. Nazianzen, in his second Letter to Cledonius, calls,Orat. L. II. beginning. [...], a short bounda­ry and rule of our sense or judgment: i. e. of the Faith of Christians.

S. Austin especially in a great number of places, de­clares, that this is the only Faith required to make a Man a Christian. Particularly in hisL. de Fid: & Symbolo. Tom. III. Book he wrote on purpose about this matter; which he begins thus, Since the just live by Faith, the greater care must be taken that Faith be not corrupted; and then adds, Now the Ca­tholique Faith is made known to the faithful, in the Creed. Which having explained, he concludes his Book in these words; which few words are known to the faithful, that believing they may be subdued to God; and being brought under his Yoke may live aright; and living aright, may cleanse their Heart; and their [Page 22]Heart being cleansed, they may understand what they be­lieve.

In like manner before he begins the Explication of the Book of Genesis De Genesi ad literam L. imperfectius., he sets down what the Catholique Faith is; because Hereticks were wont to draw the Scri­ptures to their own sense, against the Catholique Faith. And the Catholique Faith, by which he considers all things, is nothing else but that in the Nicene Creed: beginning with the belief of God the Father Almighty, and concluding with the belief of eternal Life, and the promise of the heavenly Kingdom.

Which is agreeable to the direction he gives to others, in his Book of Christian Doctrine L. III. c. 2.; that in all ambi­guous things, the rule of Faith be consulted, lest any sense, that is contrary thereunto, be admitted. Which, he elsewhere saithEpist. LVII., is the rule of Faith common to little and great in the Church.

It is needless to add any more out of that Father; and I shall but briefly mention the Creed of Pope Damasus in the same Age (among S. Hierom's WorksTom. IV.) which is only a confession of the blessed Trinity, with the rest of the Articles concerning the Conception, Birth, Death, Resurrection, Ascension, Exaltation, and coming again of our blessed Saviour, to raise us from the Dead, and to give to every Man according to his works: conclu­ding with these observable words; Read these things, be­lieve these things, retain these things: subjugate thy Soul to this belief, and thou shalt obtain life and reward from Christ.

But the words of the great Athanasius alone are suffi­cient to this purpose: in the Letter which he, and the Bishops with him, sent to the Emperor Jovinian Tom. I. pag. 245. & [...]., where they tell him the Faith confessed by the Nicene Fathers, is that which was preached [...], from the very beginning: unto which all the Churches every [Page 23] where consent, whether they be in Spain or Britain, or France, or all Italy: with those in Dalmatia, Dacia, My­sia, Macedonia, and all Greece, all Africk, Sardinia, Cy­prus, Crete, Pamphylia, Lycia, Isauria, Egypt, Lybia, Pon­tus, Capadocia, and their next Neighbours, with all the Churches of the East (a few excepted who were Ari­ans) whose minds they knew, and whose Writings they had to produce. And then having set down the Nicene Creed, they conclude: In this Faith it is neces­sary for all to remain, as Divine and Apostolical: and not to change it. For which he gives this reason, in another account of it, to Epictetus Tom. I. pag. 582. Bishop of Corinth: because it is sufficient for the overthrow of all ungodliness, and for the establishment of a pious Faith in Christ.

Which is a plain declaration, that this Faith is not de­fective: and that in the Creed, commonly ascribed to him, there was no intention to add any new Article of Faith, but only to explain the old. For a whole Synod (viz. that at Sardis) forbad, he tells us in another placeEpist. ad Antioch. p. 576.; any other Faith to be written but this, with which all should rest contented, [...], &c. because there was nothing wanting in it, but it was full of godliness: and that there ought no new Faith to be set forth, lest this should seem to be imperfect, and occasi­on should be given, to them that had a mind, to be often writing and defining concerning Faith.

I omit that Confession of Faith which S. Basil makes, in his Book of the true Faith Tom. II. pag. 354. : and two others in Epiphanius; of both which he saith, that the Faith of the Holy Church In Anchor., and that they were delivered by the Apostles. Which is a further confirmation, that though they added many more words to the Apostles Creed, yet they added no new Article of Faith: but only ex­pounded more largely the meaning of some part of it, upon the occasion of some Heresies, which troubled the [Page 24]Church in those times. When it was so far from their thoughts to add any new thing to the first Creed, that among the numerous Creeds, we find, in Athanasius Epist. de S [...]d [...]s Arim. & Sel [...]ciae., in Eusebius, and others, there is not one of them, that makes any such attempt.

Nor did the Second General Council of Constantino­ple design any more; but only [...] to strengthen and confirm the Nicene Faith, as Socrates L. V. cap. 8. speaks. Which Constantinopolitan Creed, or one very like, Cyril of Hie­rusalem expounded in his Church: and saith it was the only Faith delivered by the Church, and fortified by all the Scripture Cateches. V. p. 44. . For since all are not able to read the Scriptures, and some by their want of understanding, others by their business are hindred in acquiring that knowledge, therefore, lest Mens Souls should be lost by ignorance, we have comprehended, in a few sentences, [...], the whole Doctrine of Faith. Which he carnestly presses them to have written not in Paper, but in their Heart: and to carry it about with them as their Viaticum in the whole course of their life: and be­sides this to receive no other. No, saith he, if I should change my mind, and teach the contrary, do not be­lieve me; no nor an Angel from Heaven, as the Apo­stle speaks, if he should Preach any other Gospel, but that you have received. For these Articles of Faith were not, as it seems, composed by Men: but the principal things being gathered together out of the SCRIPTƲRE, they fill up one Doctrine of Faith.

But it is more than time to proceed to the Fifth Age, in which we find them so stedfast in this perswasion (that the ancient Creed contained all things necessary to be believed) that the Fathers assembled in the Third General CouncilCan. VII. at Ephesus, expresly decreed, that it should not be lawful for any Man to produce, or write, or compose [...], any other Faith, besides that defined by the Nicene Fathers.

And that, if any durst be so bold as either to compose, or offer any other Faith, to those that would be converted, from Heathenism, or Judaism, or whatsoever Heresie; if they were Bishops, or Clergy-men, they should be deposed; if Lay­men, they should be anathematized. By which we may learn what would have become of the Pope himself, if he had attempted then, what his Successors in these lat­ter times, have done.

For so sacredly did they keep to this, that S. Cyril of Alexandria Tim. V. pars 2. p. 103. tells Joh. Antiochenus, they could not in­dure that the Faith defined at Nice, or the Symbol of Faith there made, should by any means be shaken: nor do we suffer our selves or others to change one word of what is there, or to go besides it, so much as in one syllable; remembring him that said, remove not the ancient Land­marks, which thy Fathers have set thee: for it was not they that spake, but the Spirit it self of God, and the Fa­ther. Which he confirms by the fore-mentioned Letter of Athanasius to Epictetus: which some, he saith, had set forth adulterated and depraved, and therefore he trans­mits it to him sincere and uncorrupted, out of ancient Copies. And he had the greater reason to say, they could not alter one word of it; because the Council of Ephesus it self, though it decreed against Nestorius, that the blessed Virgin was [...], the Mother of God, yet they would not add that word to the ancient Creed: but thought it sufficient to determine the point against him. This Cyril further declares in an Epistle to Aca­cius Ib. p. 112.; where he confutes those who accused him of receiving a new Creed, in these words: None ever re­quired of us a new Exposition of Faith, nor do we admit of any from others; [...], &c. for the divinely-inspired Scripture sufficeth us, and the vigilance of the Ancient Fathers, and the Symbol of Faith; which is exactly conformed to all right opinions.

And it is well known that the next General Council at Chalcedon renewed this Canon of the Council of Ephesus: Decreeing in the very same words, with very little alteration, that no Man should produce or write any other Faith, nor think or teach otherways: under the pe­nalties before-mentioned; only, with this difference, that to Lay-men are added Monks, against whom the Synod decreed an Anathema, if they presumed to teach any other Faith.

In the Sixth Age, the same was again repeated in the Fifth General Council at Constantinople, under the Em­peror Justinian: they solemnly professing, in their Third Session, that they embraced all the Four foregoing Ge­neral Councils; which is renewed in their Eighth Session, and all their Decrees confirm'd, with a particular de­fence of the last Council at Chalcedon; concluding with the same solemn Decree, that none should dare to teach or write any thing contrary to those constitutions, but if he were a Bishop or Clergy-man he should be deposed; if a Monk or Laick, anathematized.

Justinian himself also in his Epistle to the Bishops at Constantinople In Colla­tione I. quintae Syn. takes special notice, how the Fathers in the Council at Chalcedon anathematized those who had delivered, or do deliver any other Creed, but that which was expounded by the 318 Holy Fathers, and explained by the 150 Fathers; that is the Apostles Creed, expounded by the two first General Councils at Nice and Constantino­ple. For we Tom. V. Labb. Edit. p. 422. would have you know (saith he) that those things which were expounded and defined by the four holy Councils of Nice, Constantinople, Ephesus the first, and Chalcedon, concerning ONE AND THE SAME FAITH, we keep and defend and follow them, and all that are consonant to them. And whatsoever is not con­sonant to this, or may be found by any person written against those things, which were defined concerning ONE AND [Page 27]THE SAME FAITH in those four Councils, or in one of them, that we execrate, as altogether abhorrent from Christian piety. And this Emperor was no mean Di­vine (though Baronius is pleased to slander him as illi­terate, and presumptuous for medling in matters of Faith) for Pope Agatho himself, and the whole sixth General Council, who approved of Agatho's LetterCont. VI. Act. 4. put him in the rank of the most excellent Fathers and Ecclesiastick Writers. For to prove out of the Fathers, two Natures in Christ, he tells Constantine Pogonatus, that S. Cyril, S. Chrysostome and a great many other Bi­shops, whom he names, taught this, & praeomnibus, &c. and above all these, that zealous defender of the true and Apostolick Faith, Justinian the Emperor of pious memory, whose integrity of Faith did as much exalt the Christian Commonwealth, as by the sincerity thereof, it was pleasing to God, &c. which is enough to make the defenders of the present Roman Church, blush at the insincerity of their great Annalist who makes this Emperor to have been a perfect block, not past his A. B. C.Ad At. 528. n. 2.551. n. 2. and many other places. whom one of their own Popes, (who lived in the next age to him, and is Sainted by them) makes equal (to say no more) unto S. Chrysostome, and the greatest Bishops that had been in the Church.

I might add the praises which Pope Gregory the great gives of him in many places: but I shall rather observe how he in the later end of this Age, concurrs with him, and with the forenamed Councils, in this opinion; that no other Faith but this was to be admitted. For giving an account of his FaithL. I. Epist. 24. as the manner was, upon his advancement to the Papacy, and speaking of the four first General Councils, in so high a Style, that he pro­fessed to receive and reverence them, as the four Books of the Holy Gospel; he gives this reason for it: because on these, as one a square stone, the structure of the Holy [Page 28]Faith ariseth, and the rule of every ones life and action consists. So that whosever doth not hold this solid ground, although he appear a Stone, yet he lies out of the building: After which words, he also professes his veneration of the fifth Council, and approves of all that they ordained.

This custom (in the Roman Church particularly) of giving an account of their Faith, to their Brethren when they were newly advanced to the Priesthood, is mentioned by Pope Gelasius Epist. 2. ad Laurentium Epise.; and seems to have been begun, upon occasion of the great factions which were raised against the Council of Chalcedon. Whereupon Childerick King of France, as soon as Pelagius was advan­ced to the See of Rome, upon the death of Vigilius (whose sentence had been condemned as heretical in the 5th Council) desired to know if he held the defini­tion of the Council of Chalcedon (which contained the Nicene, Constantinopolian, and Ephesine Faith:) unto which he answered in a Letter, which is in the body of the Canon Law Decret. pars 2. Causa XXV. q. 1. c. X., that he received the definitions of the 4. General Councils concerning the Catholique Faith; and then having rehearsed the Creed, I believe in one Lord, Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost, viz. the Father Almighty, &c. he thus concludes. This therefore is my Faith, and the hope which is in me by the gift of the mercy of God: of which S. Peter commands us to be rea­dy to answer to every one who asks a reason, or an account of us.

From which it appears sufficiently, that they had no other account to give of their Faith, in those days, than that which we now give in our Church: who be­lieve all that they did then, and believe, as they did, that nothing more is necessary to be believed.

But it will be usefull if I give a brief account also of the sence of the following Ages in this matter. And [Page 29]in the VII. Age Pope Agatho, before mentioned, sent a Sy­nodical Epistle (from himself and 125 Bishops assembled at Rome) to the 6th General Council, held also at Constantinople, in which there is a confession of their Faith (which they say they were taught by the Aposto­lical and Evangelical Tradition:) which consists of no more Articles than are in the foregoing Creeds. It is in­serted into the Acts of that General CouncilSess. IV. Sextae Syn., where­in those Creeds were again recited and confirmed, in the same words and under the same penalties, as in the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon: with a severe pro­hibition of so much as a [...] a new manner of speech, or invention of a word, to the subversion of what was then determined.

Which was done more largely, in the Council imme­diately following, called [...] (being a kind of sup­plement to the former sitting in the same place) where it was decreed, in the very first Canon, that the Faith delivered by the Ministers of the Word, [...], the divinely chosen Apostles, who were eye witnesses to him, should be preserved [...] without any innovation, im­mutably and inviolably. And then they ratify distinctly the Decrees of the Nicene Council, and the other five following General Councils, which they name in order, with the occasion of them: and conclude with these words. We neither intend to add any thing at all to what was formerly defined, nor to take away any thing: nor can we, by any means do it.

In these two Councils Pope Honorius was condem­ned as an Heretick: which I mention only for this rea­son; that the ground of his condemnation was, because he had consented to the defiling of the undefiled Rule of Apostolical Tradition, viz. the Creed. They are the words of Pope Leo the second; who receiving the Acts of the sixth Synod, which were transmitted to him, [Page 30]anathematized Honorius, because he had not adorned that Apostolical Church, with the Doctrine of Apostoli­cal Tradition.

In the next Age (which was the VIIIth after Christ) the second Council at Nice, which set up the wor­ship of Images, past the same condemnation upon him: and making mention of the six Act. VII. foregoing Councils, they confirm and establish all that had been deli­vered from the beginning: only they fraudulently add, to bring in their Image worship, whether written or un­written. Which made the first alteration in the Do­ctrine of the Church: all the foregoing Councils, ha­ving derived their Faith, wholly from the Scriptures. As the following Council at Frankfort did, where as the worshipping of Images was condemned; so the Holy Scriptures were highly extolled, in words which signifi­ed they thought them their only safe Directors. The thirtieth Chapter of the second Book of the Capitulare of Charles the Great, abounds with such expressions as these, the Scripture is a Treasure that wants no good, but is re­dundant in all that Good is. And in the beginning of the Third Book, he and the Fathers there assembled, give an account of their Faith, in a Creed, which they inti­tule, A Confession of the Catholique Faith, which we have received from the Holy Fathers, which we hold and believe with a pure heart. It is that in S. Hierom's Works, in­scribed, Symboli explanatio ad Damasum I. which they thus subscribe, This is the true integrity of the Catholique tradition of Faith, which we believe and confess with a sin­cere heart, &c. This is the true Faith, this confession we preserve and hold: which whosoever keeps whole and unde­filed, he shall have everlasting Salvation.

Thus far therefore, they were not got beyond the first Creed, of which this is the explanation. Nor was John Damascen himself advanced any further; but con­fined [Page 31]his belief to what is contained in the Law and the Prophets, Apostles and Evangelists, [...] L. 1. Or­thod. Fid. cap. 1., seeking for nothing beyond these. For since God is good, and envies no body, he concludes that he hath revealed there all that is profitable for us, and con­cealed only those things we are not able to bear. And therefore let us love, saith he, these things, let us abide in them: not removing the Eternal Boundaries, nor going beyond the Divine Tradition.

Which they seem to have preserved, without excee­ding the ancient limits, in the beginning of the Ninth Age. For in a Council at Mentz An. 813. Can. XLV., care is taken for teaching the People the Creed, (which they call signacu­lum fidei, the seal of Faith) and the Lords Prayer; for which end they are required to send their Children to School, or to the Monasteries, or their Parish Priests, that they might rightly learn the Catholique Faith and the Lords Prayer.

Hitherto therefore the Catholique Faith was contain­ed in the common Creed, which had been from the be­ginning. But towards the latter end of that Age, the Council ofAn. 859. Act. 10. Can. 1. Constantinople (which the Roman Church calls the the VIIIth General Council) began to talk of the Regulae Patrum, the Rules of the Fathers (in stead of the ancient word Regula fidei, the Rule of Faith, which is the Apostles Creed) and called them the Se­condary Oracles. And therefore professed not only to hold all that the Catholique Church received from the A­postles, and the General Councils: but from any Father or great Doctor in the Church. Which was the ready way to change the Faith of the Church; and to turn par­ticular Mens Opinions, into matter of common belief: though no new Article was as yet put into the ancient Creed.

The two next Ages are acknowledged to be so bar­barous, by the Writers of the Roman Church, that they are ashamed of them: and in some Collections they have made of the Councils, there is not so much as one mentioned in the Tenth Age.

And in the following, there were so many frivolous things debated, and such Corruptions crept into the Christian Doctrine, that they run on very fast, to the introducing a new Creed into the Church.

Yet this is remarkable that in the time of Thomas Aqui­nas, who flourished in the XIIIth Century, the Scripture still continued the only Rule of Faith; and the Apostles Creed, a sufficient summary of the Faith therein contain­ed. For in the resolution of this doubt, Why should Articles of Faith be put in the Creed, since the Scrip­ture is the Rule of Faith, to which it is not lawfull to add, or from it to substract; his Anwer isSecunda 2 [...]ae. Q. 1. Art. IX. ad primum., that the Truth of Faith is diffusely, and after divers manners, and some­times obscurely contained in Scripture: so that long study and exercise is required to find out the truth of Faith there, which they that have abundance of busi­ness, have not leisure to use. And therefore it was necessary that out of the sentences of Holy Scripture, something manifest and clear should be summarily gathe­red, which should be propounded unto all to be believed: Which truly is not added to the Holy Scripture, but ra­ther taken out of the Holy Scripture.

And resolving next of all, that doubt, There is one Faith (as the Apostle saith IV. Ephes.) but many Creeds, his answer isIb. ad [...]., that in all the Creeds the same truth of Faith is taught. But it was necessary the people should there be instructed more diligently in the truth of Faith, where errors sprung up, lest the Faith of the simple should be corrupted by Hereticks. And this was the Cause why it was needsul to set forth more Creeds: which differ in [Page 33]no other thing but this; that those things are explained more fully in one, which are contained implicitly in an­other.

To the same purpose, many other of that sort of Writers declare their sense, in the following Ages.

And this also is worthy of great remark, that no longer ago, than at the Council of Florence begun 1438 (which the Greeks call the VIIIth General Council) the Authority of the above-named Ephesine Canon, about holding to the Nicene Creed, was pressed with great earnestness by the Greeks, upon the Latins there as­sembled. For they said it was by no means lawful to add [...] Tom. XIII. Lab. Sess. X. p. 162., not so much as a syllable, nor a phrase, nor a word: and laid such a weight upon it, as to affirm, No man will accuse that Faith of imperfection, unless he be mad. Ib. p. 163. And they likewise backt it with a passage in a Letter of Pope Celestine to Nestorius Ib. p. 167., where he saith, who is not to be judged worthy of an Anathema, that either adds, or takes away? [...]. For that Faith which was delivered by the Apostles, requires neither addition, nor diminution.

Unto which the Roman Bishops had nothing to re­ply, but that the Canon did not forbid another expo­sition [...], consonant to the Truth in that Creed: Ib. p. 167. but only [...] any thing that was different, or contrary to it. Both these they acknowledge to be prohibited, in those words [No man shall bring in another Faith than that at Nice] [...], that is, contrary, or opposite, or different, or diverse, or strange from the true Faith. Where it is remarkable, a different, another Faith, is acknowledged to be forbid­den, as well as a contrary. Nay, they acknowledge that none but a General Council could make so much [Page 34]as [...] another explication of the Articles of that Creed, though not different from it.

In the Creed of the Apostles that is, there are some things contained implicitely (as Thomas Aquinas you heard speaks) and being virtually there, either in the Letter or the sence, may be drawn from thence by evi­dent consequence (such as the Deity of Christ, his two Natures, the Catholique Church, which was included in those words I believe the holy Church, as this Article is exprest in the old Roman Creed, and the like) and yet such an explication, these Fathers confessed, could by no Man, no assembly of Men, less than an Oecume­nical Council, be lawfully made and imposed upon the Church. For which they quote Aquinas (whomIb. p. 163. they call [...]) that there never was [...] an explication of the Creed, but in an Oecumenical Council, and he speaks of any Creed whatsoever, which was common in the Church.

And therefore in conclusion they absolutely deny that the Latine Church had added any thing to the Creed. For the Nicene, and the Constantinopolitan Creed are both one: So that the one being read, the other is un­derstood: For though they differ in words, they agree in sense and in truth. And the like they affirm of all other Creeds: and thereby answer the objection that they had added a word to the Creed, about the pro­cession of the Holy Ghost, from the Father, and the Son: which is true, they confessed, with respect to the words, but not with respect to the sense. For still the Creed remains [...] Ib. p. 170. one and the same; though it differ in the words. And there­fore it follows it was not properly an addition, but one and the same thing, [...], or the exposition of the very self same thing.

All which I have set down thus largely, to show that thus far therefore, all things continued as they had done from the beginning: that is, notwithstanding the new Opinions there were in the Church; there was no new Creed made, no new Article added to the Creed; no­thing, but what had been so at the first, made necessary to Salvation.

Which is the last thing I observe, that till the con­clusion of the Council of Trent, that is, till a little more than an hundred years ago; there were no other Creeds, but those which we confess and believe in this Church: which are the Apostles Creed expounded, not inlarged by any new Articles. But then indeed, Pope Pius IV. in pursuance of the Councils Order, framed another Con­fession of Faith, consisting of no less than XII. new Ar­ticles, added to the old: never heard of in any Creed, throughout the whole Church, till this time. And it must be called and esteemed a New Faith: and it makes that to be a New Church; which falsly calls it self the Ancient Catholique Apostolique Church of Christ. For it is none of these, neither Ancient, nor Catholique, nor Apostolique: but New, Roman, Tridentine Church; deri­ved I mean from the Roman Bishops at Trent.

It will be fit I think to set down this New Creed; that the Reader may compare it, with those I have shown were hitherto the intire Faith of the Catholique Church. It may be found in several of our Writers; but I wish it were in every bodies hand, and therefore take the pains to transcribe it, for the benefit of those into whose hands this Book shall come.

Pope PIƲS his Creed.

IN. Believe and profess with a firm Faith, all and every thing, contained in the Symbol of Faith, which the holy Roman Church uses, viz. I believe in one God the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth, &c. to the end of that we call the Nicene Creed. After which immediate­ly follow the New Articles, in these words:

The Apostolical and Ecclesiastical Traditions, and the rest of the Observations and Constitutions of the same Church, I most firmly admit and embrace.

I also admit (or receive) the Holy Scripture according to that sense, which the holy Mother Church (to whom it belongs to judge of the true sense) hath held and doth hold: nor will I ever understand and interpret it, other­wise than according to the unanimous consent of the Fa­thers.

I profess also that there are truly and properly, Seven Sacraments of the New Law, instituted by Jesus Christ, our Lord; and necessary to the Salvation of mankind, though not all of them necessary to every Man, viz. Baptism, Con­firmation, the Eucharist, Pennance, Extreme Ʋnction, Or­ders, and Matrimony: and that they confer grace; and that, of these, Baptism, Confirmation, and Orders cannot be re­peated without Sacriledge.

I likewise receive and admit, all the received and appro­ved Rites of the Catholique Church, in the solemn Admini­stration of all the above-said Sacraments.

All and every thing, which was defined and declared about Original sin, and Justification, by the most holy Council of Trent, I embrace and receive.

I profess likewise, that in the Mass is offered to God a true, proper, and propitiatory Sacrifice for the quick and dead: and that in the most Holy Sacrament of the Eucha­rist [Page 37]there is truly, really, and substantially the Body and Blood, together with the Soul, and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ: and that there is a conversion made of the whole substance of Bread into his Body, and of the whole substance of Wine, into his Blood; which conversion the Ca­tholique Church calls TRANSUBSTANTIATION.

I confess also, that under either kind (or species) only, whole and intire Christ, and the true Sacrament is received.

I constanly hold there is a Purgatory; and that the Souls there detained, are helpt by the suffrages of the faithful.

As also that the Saints who Reign together with Christ, are to be worshipped and invocated; and that they offer Prayers to God for us: and that their Reliques are to be venerated.

I most firmly assert, that the Images of Christ, and the Mother of God, the always-Virgin, as also of other Saints are to be had and retained: and due honour and veneration to be bestowed on them.

I affirm also, that the power of Indulgences was left by Christ in his Church, and that their use is most wholesom to Christian People.

I acknowledge the holy Catholique, and Apostolique Ro­man Church to be the Mother and Mistress of all Churches: and I promise and swear true Obedience, to the Bishop of Rome, Successor of S. Peter the Prince of Apostles, and Vicar of Jesus Christ.

All the rest also, delivered, defined and declared by the sacred Canons, and Oecumenical Councils, especially by the most holy Synod of Trent, I receive and profess without doubt: and likewise all things contrary, and whatsoever He­resies condemned, rejected and anathematized by the Church, I in like manner condemn, reject and Anathematize.

This true Catholique Faith, without which no Man can be saved, which at present I freely profess, and truly hold, I will most constantly retain and confess intire and inviolable (by God's help) to my last breath: and take care, as much [Page 38]as lies in me, that it be held, taught, and preached by my Subjects, or those, whose care belongs to me in my Office.

I the aforesaid N. Promise, Vow and Swear: So help me God, and these holy Gospels.

This Bull (as they call it) bears date on the Ides of November, 1564. and concludes in the usual manner, with threats of the indignation of God, and of his blessed Apostles S. Peter and Paul, against all that shall inrringe or oppose it.

And every Reader, I suppose, discerns that this is not meerly a confession of Faith, but likewise a solemn Oath. And so the Title of it bears, A Bull concerning a form of an Oath of profession of Faith. Which Oath all Ecclesi­astical Persons, whether Secular, or Regular, as they di­stinguish them, and all Military Orders are bound to take.

And it is as easie to observe, that this is perfectly New, both as an Oath, and as a profession of Faith. Never was there any such Creed imposed before, or so much as fra­med: much iess tyed upon Men by an Oath. For when these Fathers met at Trent, and were to make a profes­sion of Faith, by rehearsing the Creed which the Roman Church uses Sess. III., (so the words are) they could find none to profess, but the Nicene Creed; no larger Creed was in use; no not there, in the Roman Church: but these very Men who afterward turned New Creed-makers, were forced to be content with that.

And therefore this new Profession, is most impudently pretended to be the true Catholique Faith: being in no sense Catholique, neither as to place, nor time. For it was no where used, till they made it, no not there; nor is now every where believed; and was not at all be­lieved, in any Church, for above 1500 Years; nor now used in that Church it self, when they admit Members [Page 39]into the Catholique Church, by Baptism: but they are put into a state of Salvation, by believing, as before, the old Nicene Creed alone.

Which is direct contradiction to their new Creed, which they make necessary to Salvation: but can never show to be contained implicitely in the old. For it is as impossible to draw Water out of a Pumice, as to ex­tract out of the Apostles Creed, the Doctrine of Tran­substantiation, Worshipping of Images, Seven Sacraments, the Traditions and other Constitutions used in the Roman Church. Which was never so much as thought to be the Mother and Mistress of all Churches; or to have power to impose new Articles upon the whole Church: espe­cially such large ones, as take in all the definitions of that Council of Trent; which they themselves are not agreed to this day, how to expound.

Nor had that Synod, if these Articles could have been shown to be contained in the old Creed, any power to explain it, and declare them (according to what they confessed at the Florentine Council) being far from a Gene­ral Council; no, not of these Western parts of the World.

And clearly showed it self to be but a factious Party in the Church, by that very Explication which they made of this Article, the holy Catholique Church: which they thus expound, the holy Catholique, Apostolique Roman Church, the Mother and Mistress of all Churches. For it is certain the Apostles could not intend the Roman Church should be comprehended under the Catholique Church, any more than every other Church, which was then, or should be hereafter; because it was not in being: there was no Roman Church at all, when notwithstanding, the Church was Catholique.

And hereby Salvation is impiously confined to the Ro­man Church alone, by making the Catholique Church of no larger extent than that.

And this against the resolution of their greatest Do­ctors, who think it no matter of Faith, to be perswaded that the Apostolique See is fixed to Rome. Which Bellar­mine L. IV. de Pont. Romano cap. 4. proves from hence, because neither Scripture nor Tradition affirm it. Nay, if Christ had bidden Peter to place his See at Rome, he doth not think it would fol­low, that he placed it there immoveably. And there­fore no Man, according to their own sense, is bound to believe the Apostolical Church cannot be separated from the Roman; which if it should happen, and the Aposto­lick See be removed, suppose to Paris; the Creed must be altered again, and it must run thus: I believe the holy Catholique and Apostolique Parisian Church, the Mother and Mistress of all Churches.

In which latter part of the Exposition to this Article, they force Men to swear to a downright falshood. For if the Roman Church be the Mother of all Churches, she must be the Mother of her Grand-mother, the Church of Jerusalem. And it is no truer that she is the Mistress of all Churches: For all Churches were not taught the Faith by her; nor do they own her Authority over them.

But it is time to draw to an end of this matter.

We in this Church of England, have always professed and preserved a true reverence to the IV. first General Councils. One, or rather two, of which hath forbidden under the greatest penalties, any Man to produce, or compose, or offer, any other Faith, besides that established by the Fathers at Nice: which Theodoret L. I. Hist. Eccla. c. 7. L. II. c. 22. L. IV. c. 2. in innu­merable places calls [...] the Exposition of Faith, and [...], the Faith expounded, the Apostolical Faith explained.

And therefore, even for this reason alone, we cannot receive the Creed of this Council at Trent, which is manifestly another Faith; added to the Confession of the [Page 41] Nicene Creed: which old Creed, it is madness (as the Greeks at Florence said) to think insufficient. For it is to think they were all damned for 1500 Years and more, who knew nothing beyond this, necessary to be believed: which no Man in his wits can believe.

For it is contrary to the very Faith it self; which teaches us, as Tertullian speaks, to believe this in the first place, that there is nothing to be believed beyond this. And we believe so, with the greatest reason, because to ad­mit any other Articles of Faith, is to make endless Schisms in the Church; as to believe contrary Articles, is to fall into dangerous Heresies. We know not where to stay, if we rest not here: for by the same Authority, that made these, more additions may be made continually, without end.

There is therefore no such Authority in the Church, that can do this: but that Church which pretends to it, hath thereby forfeited the Authority, which other­wise it might have had. As the Church of Rome hath done: which in the conclusion of that Council, con­tradicted what it asserted in the beginning. For there, in its entrance, as I observedSess. III. Decretum de Symbolo fidei., they thinking it ne­cessary, according to the example of the Fathers, to make, in the very first place, a confession of their Faith; and pretending to arm themselves thereby, as with a Shield, against all Heresies, they repeat the Creed, quo Sancta Romana Ecclesia utitur; which the holy Roman Church useth, as that Principle in which all that pro­fess the Faith of Christ, necessarily agree; and the firm and ONELY Foundation, against which the Gates of Hell shall not prevail. And they think fit to express it toti­dem verbis, in so many words, as it is read in all Churches: And then they say, the Nicene Creed, and not one word more.

Which is a plain Confession, that this was the Faith of all Christians, and no more, till that time; that it was the Only firm Foundation; that which was read in all Churches; in which all agree; the Shield against all He­resies; the whole Faith then used in the Roman Church. And therefore with what Conscience could they make such a division, and miserable destruction, in the Chri­stian World, as they have done; by a vast number of new Articles, in which all Christians neither do, nor can agree; and which were not to be found in their own Creed before?

No reason can be given of this, but the immense am­bition of that Church, to give Law to all others. Un­to which we cannot with a good Conscience submit: especially when they impose such a heavy Yoke, as this belief. Which is the true Makebate between them and us; the manifest cause of that fearful Schism, which they, not we, have made, by altering the true Catho­lique Faith, and Church, and Communion into a Ro­man.

This is the true distinction between them and us. We are Catholiques; they are Romans. We believe the Catholique Faith of all Christians; they (as distinguisht from us) believe the Roman Faith, which none believe but themselves. We believe that which hath been ever believed; they believe that which was never believed, till yesterday, in comparison with the Ancient Faith. Ours is the belief of the whole Body of Christian Peo­ple; theirs the belief of a Sect.

For the Truth I have shown, which ought to be sup­ported in the Church, in nothing else but those uncon­troverted mysteries of godliness, contained in the Apostles Creed: which I have proved to be the only Catholique Doctrines, embraced by all Churches whatsoever. They being not the Doctrines of a Sect meerly, but in which [Page 43] we, the Roman, the Greek, the Ethiopian, the Syrian, and all other Christians are perfectly agreed.

There are particular Men, and some small companies of them, here and there, who understand some few of these Doctrines otherwise than they ought; but there is no national Church, of any Country, but entertains all these intirely and sincerly, as they have been expound­ed from the beginning, according to the Nicene Creed (which by the way, is the only Creed the Abassines have, that Creed called the Apostles, being not found among themLudolph. Histor. Ae­thiop. l. 3 c. 5. num. 20.) and therby are members of Christ's Body, though they do not believe other Doctrines; which are only boldly called Catholique, by the Roman Church, but are not truly so: but only particular Do­ctrines of their own Church in which the Catholique Faith and Church is not concerned. As they themselves confess, by admitting persons into the Catholique Church (which I noted before) unto remission of sins, and eter­nal life, without any other belief, but that which we profess.

Which makes us think that we might more safely swear, they themselves believe this to be sufficient; than they swear, as they do, that none can be saved without the new Faith, which they have added to the ancient Creed.

I have been the larger in this second observation, be­cause it is of great moment for the setling of our minds in peace, about right belief: and this being setled, I may sooner dispatch those that follow.


And the next is, that these therefore, and these alone are the fundamental Truths, upon which our Religion, and the very Church it self is built.

By fundamental Truths or Doctrines, we mean such Catholique principles, as are necessarily to be distinctly believed by every Christian: whereby they being built as it were, upon them, become a Church.

Such truths no doubt there are; for the Church be­ing called here the House of God, must have a Founda­tion. Which Foundation is either Personal or Doctri­nal. The personal foundation is Christ, the chief Cor­ner-stone, and the Apostles and Prophets, as Ministers of his, who laid this foundation. Ephes. II. 20. The Doctrinal are those grand Truths, taught by them; which make up our Faith in Christ. That Common Faith, as it is called Titus I. 4. that Faith, which is alike precious, in all 2 Pet. 1.1. the first principles of the Oracles of God, Heb: V. 12. (or as it is literally in the Greek, the Elements of the beginning of the Oracles of God) the principles of the Doctrine of Christ, or the word of the beginning of Christ, Hebr. VI. 1. the form, or draught, the breviate or summary (as it may be translated) of sound words or doctrines, 2 Tim. I. 13. the Faith once, or at once delivered to the Saints, Judge 3. and particularly committed to the trust (1 Tim. VI. 20.) of those who were to instruct others, in the common Sal­vation.

And what can those truths be, but those great Do­ctrines contained in the Creed; which, it appears from what I have said, the Apostles left in all the Churches which they planted? For we find these were in every Church, as Irenaeus assures us; and these altogether one, as Tertullian speaks, and the immovable, unreformable Rule of Faith: and therefore may thence conclude, they were that [...] which S. Paul deposited with Timothy 1. VI. 20. that good, or that fair, most ex­cellent thing deposited with him, or commended (as an ancient Writer translates it) to his trust, to be preser­ved [Page 45]by him: the Creed, as Cyril Catech. IV. p. 24 edit. Paris. 1640. of Hierusalem pithily speaks, being [...], a brief summ of necessary Doctrines.

In some sense, it is true, there is nothing revealed in Holy Scripture, but it may be called fundamental; if we respect only the divine Authority, by which it comes unto us: upon which account nothing there delivered may be denyed, but ought to be believed, with all humi­lity, when the knowledge of it is offered to us. But if we respect the matter and moment of all things con­tained therein, we cannot but see there is a great diffe­rence; and that the knowledge of every thing there is not equally necessary, but we may be truly pious though we should be ignorant of some of them. For who can think, for instance, that it is of the same necessity, to be able to give an account of the Genealogy of our Sa­viour (mentioned I. Matth. III. Luke) and to be­lieve that he is the Son of God, made flesh for our Sal­vation?

That foundation therefore which was laid in every Church (as it was at Corinth 1 III. 11.) were such Doctrines concerning Jesus Christ, as every Christian was bound to learn, and actually believe: in other points it sufficed, if they had a pious preparation of mind to learn and believe any thing revealed in the Scriptures, when it was sufficiently cleared to them.

Now these two things, that there are such fundamen­tal truths, or first principles, and that they are no other than those contained in the Creed; ought to be asserted and maintained for the honour and glory of God our Saviour: which is much concerned herein. For it tends much to the glory of the Almighty lover of Souls, that it should be believed he doth not lay equall weight up­on all truths, nor made them alike necessary to be recei­ved, for the obtaining his favour and grace: and that it [Page 46]should be certainly known, and be without Controver­sie and question, what those truths are, which he ex­pects should be received and heartily embraced, in or­der to our Salvation. For otherwise, the most of Chri­stian people must necessarily perish: who either are not capable of knowing more than these great things, or have not the means of knowing more, or not with any certainty: but must be content to rest here. As well they may; for why was the Creed called by the name of the Symbol of Faith, but because it was the mark, or sign, which might serve to distinguish true Christians, who embraced it, from Infidels, or misbe­lievers, who did not receive it, or were defective in it?

This is the true reason of the name of Symbol which is as much as tessera & signaculum, quo inter fideles & persid s secernitur Maximus Taur. de Trad. Synb., the token, mark, or badge, whereby the faithful were known and distinguisht from the persidious. And therefore it comprehends briefly all the Fundamental points of Faith: else it could not be a di­stinctive note or character, sufficient to sever right Be­lievers from Infidels, Hereticks, and Apostates.

But so it was, that they who owned this Creed, were owned for Christians; they who did not confess it, were rejected: for by a Man's answer to this, who was exa­mined, he was discovered (just as a Soldier is by the Word) si hostis sit, an socius (as both Isidore, and Ruffinus before him speaks) whether he were an Enemy, or a fellow Souldier of Jesus Christ. To this Test alone every one was brought, by this touch-stone he was tried, whether he were a Christian of the right Stamp, or a false adul­terate coyn (as the Ancients speak) which is a demon­stration that they lookt upon this as a perfect summary of the Catholique Faith: sufficient of it self (as you heard Athanasius [...]. speaks) for the overthrow of all impiety, and for the establishment of piety in Christ. Nay, this [Page 47]sense of the word Symbol, is owned by the Roman Ca­techism it self. Cap. 1. Quaest. 3.


From whence it necessarily follows, that no man can justly be called an Heretick, who heartily embraces, and stedfastly holds to this Faith. How should he, when there is no Catholique, no Fundamental Article of Christian Truth; but he is perswaded of it, and professes it? No part of that Creed, which is the Sign, the Mark, and Note, as you have heard, whereby Christians are approved, and discerned from misbelievers, as well as unbelievers, which he doubts of, and doth not ac­knowledge.

It is a very lamentable thing, that the imputation of Heresie should be so frequent and familiar among Chri­stians; upon the account of different Opinions only, which they are passionately in love withal, though no parts of the Catholique Faith. They of the Church of Rome especially are so foully guilty of this, and so strange­ly fiery, that they not only account us Hereticks; but look upon us as little better than Infidels, nay seem to have more kindness for Jews, which they tolerate among them, when they will not suffer us: who believe all the Creeds that were known in the Church, for above 1500 years. For they call themselves Catholiques, in distin­ction from us: whom they will not allow to be mem­bers of the Catholique Church; though we have a clear­er title to it than themselves. For I have shown that we unfeignedly believe whatsoever is truly Catholique, and reject nothing but what is merely Roman.

We embrace that form of Faith, which they themselves sayCatech. Rom. pars 1. cap. 1. Q. 2. was composed by the Apostles for this very end, that all might think and speak the very same thing; and that [Page 48]there might be no schisms among them, whom they had called to the unity of Faith: but they might be perfectly joyned to­gether in the same mind and in the same judgment.

It is not our fault, then, that there is not this unity and perfect agreement; for we stedfastly hold that which should thus link us all together: but it is their fault; who have forsaken this Apostolical method, by making another form of Faith, which instead of uniting hath broken Christians all in pieces. For we cannot agree to that, because it doth not contain Catholique truths, which according to Vincentius his rule, have been held every where, always and by all: but are the Tenents only of a particular Church; which hath no power to lay any other Foundation than that which was long ago laid, in the truly Catholique Church.

Which Catholique Church we believe better than them­selves, who appropriate the name of Catholiques to their own party: and thereby restrain the Catholique Church, to those of their opinion. This certainly was the He­resie of the Donatists: who esteemed all other Christians to be no better than Pagans Optatus L. III. tait. Parn. 1631. : and were reproved, by the true Catholiques, just as we now answer for our selves, in such words as these, Do you call one a Pagan, after the profession of the Faith? Can he be a Pagan who hath believed in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? For that is a short Creed, which comprehends all the Articles of the Christian Faith, as S. Hilary L. 2. de T [...]itate. dis­courses; who not only calls this forma fidei certa, the certain form of Faith: but (having mentioned those words, Go baptize them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost) asks this question, what is there, that is not contained in that same Sa­crament, of humane Salvation? or what is there, that remains or is obscure? All things are full and perfect, as coming from him that is full and perfect. And thus he con­cludes [Page 49]all his Books on that Subject, with this PrayerL. XII. de Trin. . I beseech thee, preserve this undefiled Religion of my Faith, and grant me this voyce of my Conscience to the last breath: that what I professed in the Symbol of my Regeneration, being baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, I may always obtain, viz. I may adore thee our Father, and thy Son, together with thee; and do honour to thy Holy Spirit, who is of thee by thine only begotten. For he is a sufficient witness to Faith, who said, Father, all mine are thine, and thine are mine, my Lord Jesus Christ, who remains in thee, and from thee, and with thee al­ways God: who is blessed for ever and ever.

Which I the rather mention because it serves to illu­strate the prudence and charity of S. Austin and the rest of the Christian Bishops of those days, who though they looked upon the Donatists as Hereticks (in deny­ing the Church to be Catholique by confining it to them­selves) yet distinguished them from such Hereticks, as erred in the prime, and most Fundamental truths of our Religion; about the Divinity, and the Incarnation of our Christ and such like. That is, they made a diffe­rence even in the Articles of Faith, and lookt upon some as more Fundamental than others: being of more importance, and of greater weight and moment: and therefore judged more mildly of them, than they did of such, as denyed the Holy Trinity; or held any Do­ctrines which impeached the glory of the Father, or of the Son, or of the Holy Ghost. And therefore they still called these Donatists, Brethren; they pitied them as Men seduced by their Guides, and professed sincere love and affection to them, whether they accepted it or no. Though such was the peevishness of that Sect, that they abused this charity of good Catholique Christians to­wards them; just as they of the Church of Rome do our charity now. For from thence they took occasion to [Page 50]argue that they were in the right, even by the Conces­sions of their Adversaries; which justified both them and their heretical Schism. For you, said they,August. L. 2. contra lit. Petiliavi. cap. ult. can find no faults in our baptism, nor consequently in our Faith, into which we baptize; for if you could, you would baptize those over again who come from us to you, as we baptize those again who come from you to us. Which is as much as to say, you allow there is a Church and Salvation among us, but we allow no Church, no Salvation among you; therefore it is safest for all to joyn with us, not with you.

Which is the very Charm whereby they of the Church of Rome endeavour now to work upon the spirits of simple people among us: though no wiser, than this argument of a company of mad men would be if they had so much cunningremaining as to say to us, we deny you to be Men, but you allow us to be Men, therefore we are fit for all Mens society, not you, who are but a herd of Beasts. And what S. Austin answers to the Donatists, is a full answer to the present Romanists; which is this in shortL. 1. de Baptisino contra [...] Do­natistas C. X. (for it is besides my business, to do more than mention these things) when we speak favourably of you, it is for the sake of What you have of ours, not for what you have of your own: let that which you have of ours be set aside, and we approve of nothing at all among you.

But I will not further enlarge upon this, nor say much of the next: which is very plain.


They therefore, who condemn those as Hereticks, who Excommunicate them and pronounce Anathema's against them, that believe the whole Catholique Faith; are the great disturbers of the Christian World, and the true cause of the Divisions and breaches that are in the Body of Christ. And who they are that do thus, [Page 51]is visible to every eye: the Church of Rome having thought fit not to rest satisfied, with the simplicity of those often mentioned Catholique fundamental Truths, which are without Controversie and unquestionable; but, as if that Faith which the old Christians thought compleat, they take to be defective, have adjoyned as many more n [...]w Articles, to the old body: and that under the pain of damnation, if we do not believe them.

I have told you what they are, and if you look them over again, you will find that upon those have all the Contests risen between us and them. The necessary fundamental Truths, which constitute the Church (which was built upon no other for many Ages) are on both sides unquestioned: but because we question, or rather deny those which they would impose, which we are certain are no part of the Christian Doctrine, they call us Hereticks. That is, because we will not yield Obedience to their usurpt authority; because we cannot believe their new inventions, to be Catho­lique, and fundamental Doctrines. Here is the true reason of all the miserable ruptures that are in this part of the World: nay, this is the just grievance and com­plaint of all Christians (who know any thing of these matters) but themselves alone.


And their guilt is herein the greater, because the best learned among themselves have confessed these Addi­tions to the Creed, to be doubtful opinions; unneces­sary and superfluous Doctrines; Novelties unknown to the ancient Church. Concerning every one of which (three things) our Authors have given the clearest evidence.

1. The first of them (the doubtfulness of those Do­ctrines) appears in this, that there is not only variety, but contrariety of judgment about them, in their own Church: which argues plainly great perplexity and uncertainty. Of which there needs no other proof (as Doctor Potter Answer to Charity mistaken, p. 69. observes) but the famous Books of Bellarmine; who in the entrance upon every Questi­on there stated, gives an account of the Contentions and Contradictions of those, who have-written up­on it among themselves. And at this day they are not better agreed in the Explication of several Points in difference between us:See the late Answer to the Bishop of Meaux's Ex­position of Faith. particularly about the Wor­ship given to Images, and the Invocation of Saints; which some of their greatest Doctors, mollifie and sweeten (as they do other points) into downright Heresie, as such Explications are accounted by o­thers.

2. The very same may be clearly shewn out of their own Authors, and hath been demonstrated by our Divines concerning the Second thing, that those Do­ctrines are not necessary, but superfluous. For the Ro­man Catechism Praefat. S [...]ct. 12. it self having observed that their Ancestors had most wisely distributed all that belongs to saving Doctrine, into these four heads (for the help of the Peoples understanding and memory) the Apo­stles Creed, the Sacraments, the Decalogue and the Lord's Prayer; immediately confess, concerning the first, that all things which are to be held by the Discipline of the Christian Faith, whether they have respect to the knowledge of God, or to the Creation and government of the World, or to the redemption of Mankind, or belong to the rewards of the good, and the punishments of the bad, are contained in the Doctrine of the Creed. From whence this question naturally arises, how come so many new Articles to be made necessary, if all things [Page 53]belonging to the Christian Faith be contained in the Apostles Creed? I can see no reason for it, but only to maintain the grandeur of the Roman Church: for there is no more simply necessary for all to be be­lieved (as Bellarmine himself confessesL. IV. de Ver [...]o Dei, C. XI.) but the Articles of that Creed; and therefore the rest are superfluous, and ought to be discarded, as not so need­ful but that Men may be saved without them.

3. And for the Third, that they are mere Novel­ties unknown to those in old time, there are the like confessions of ingenuous Men amongst them. Aeneas Sylvius afterward Pope Pius II. confesses,Epist. 288. that be­fore the time of the Council of Nice, little regard was had to the Roman Church. Which is a plain con­tradiction to Pope Pius the fourth's Article of New Belief, that she is the Mother and Mistress of all Churches: for none can doubt but they understood their duty in those days, and practised it also, to their Betters, espe­cially to a Parent.

The same may be said of the Doctrine of Transub­stantiation, which some School-men have said not to be very ancient: among which are Scotus and Gabriel Biel. They are the words of Suarez, Disput. Tom. 3. Disp. 30. unto whom many other testimonies may be added of the Doctors of that Church: particularly Alphonsus à Castro, who saith the ancient Writers spake very seldom of Transubstan­tiation: he should have said, Not at all, for Cassander honestly acknowledges it to be a Novelty. See a late Treatise of Transubstanti­ation, by an Author of the Roman Com­munion, Part I.

The like is acknowledged of the Sacrifice of the Mass: which neither Thomas Aquinas nor Gabriel Biel, long after him, believed to be proper, or propitiatory; but give the same account that we do, why the cele­bration of this Sacrament is called a Sacrifice of Christ, viz. because the Images of things are called by the names of the things which they represent, (for which S. Austin is [Page 54]quoted) and because by this Sacrament we are made par­takers of the benefits of Christ's Passion Summe Par. III. Q. 83. Artic. l. Respond.

That Purgatory was for a good while unknown, and but lately known to the whole Church, is confessed by our Bi­shop Fisher Ross. con­tra L [...]t [...]. Art. XVIII. : who by the whole Church, means only the Latin Church; for in the same place he saith, to this day it is not believed by the Greeks. The same he saith of Indulgences; which began with Mens fears of Purgatory.

The same I might observe of the Seven Sacraments and the rest of their Articles; but I will only observe the contradiction to which they swear in the very first new Article, wherein they declare that they embrace Aposto­tical and Ecclesiastical Traditions: and yet consent at the same time (by swearing to all that is decreed in the Council of Trent) to administer the Holy Communion but in one kind; which for a thousand Years and more (in some places for 1300 Years) was administred in both kinds every where, even in the Roman Church, by an undoubted Apostolical Tradition, and Ecclesiastical custom and practice: which continues in all other Churches to this day.

Which observation evidently convinces them to be guilty of the most fearful sin, in cursing and damning those, who do not receive these Novel Doctrines: though they faithfully embrace all the Doctrines of the truly Catholique Faith; and had rather die than deny any part thereof.

But let us be of good comfort; we are safe enough, notwithstanding all these Anathema's, which they thun­der out against us: For I have proved, that were these Doctrines true, as they are certainly false, which they press upon us; yet we should not be Hereticks, if we did not believe them; and so not fall, upon this account, under the sentence of damnation. Because it is only the denial of the great and fundamental Truths, that can [Page 55]make us incur such a danger: other Truths there are of which we may be ignorant, without danger of perish­ing; provided we still hold the Foundation, and keep the Faith, as the Apostle speaks, with a life according to it.

They themselves therefore knew that these terrible Anathema's, are but bugbear words, which they use to affright Children withal: For they who can read what the wisest and best of them write, will find that they confess, these new Articles to be superfluous; while they plainly say the Apostles Creed contains all things necessary to Salvation.

Thus Gregory of Valentia In secunda secundae Disp. 2. Q. 7., The Articles of Faith contained in the Creed, are as it were the first Principles of Christian Faith — in which are comprized the summ of Evangelical Doctrine, which all are bound explicitely to be­lieve. — Thus the Fathers judge when they affirm this Creed was composed by the Apostles, that all might have a short Summary of those things which are to be believed, and are scatteredly contained in the Scriptures. Thus also writes Filiucius and a great many more: even the Trent Cate­chism it self, as I have shown before. So that we have nothing to do; but to hold fast that which we have been taught from the beginning, and to make it the Rule of our Lives, as well as of our Faith.

And that now, I must tell you, for a Conclusion of this part of my Discourse, is the Grand Truth of all; the main point of the Christian belief: that the intenti­on of all Divine Truths, and of Faith it self, is to make us truly godly. They can do us no service, if they do not produce this effect.

Whence it is that in this very Epistle of S. Paul, he calls Christianity the Doctrine that is according unto god­liness, 1 Tim. VI. 3. and a little after, calls it godliness, v. 6. But Godliness, that is the Christian Religion, with [Page 56]contentment is great gain. And indeed we may well be contented, with the Christian Faith and Hope, and think our selves happy in such glorious expectations hereafter: nay look upon our selves, as exceeding great gainers, whatsoever we lose here upon this account, if we lose not the hope of immortal life.

In the Epistle to Titus also, in the very first Verse, he calls it the truth which is after godliness: which is the very Truth, that is the subject of my Discourse; as ap­pears by what follows, when the Apostle saith it is a mystery of godliness. Not a cunning device to get Mo­ny, to advance our wordly Grandeur and Pomp; much less a crafty Artifice to excuse us from living well, or to palliate wickedness, and show us a way, how to be sa­ved though we live ungodly (which is the great drift of too many Doctrines, wherewith the World is trou­bled) but a wonderful contrivance of the Wisdom of Heaven, effectually to root out all Impiety, to plant all manner of Vertue in our Hearts; and to take all kind of excuse from us, if we do not become truly good.

Whence it is that the Apostle describes Christian Wo­men, in this Epistle to Timothy II. 10. by this Cha­racter, that they profess godliness. Let them be adorned, saith he, as becomes women professing godliness, with good works. Not meerly professing the Truth, or the Faith, but Godliness; which comprehends all Christian Ver­tue: though if he had said, professing the Truth, it had been of the same import; because that truth, is godliness.

Hence all the Truths I have mentioned, are called Fundamental; not only because the Church is built upon them, but because they are the Foundation of all Chri­stian practice, which ought to be superstructed upon them. And therefore let us neither be i [...]norant of this; nor let our knowledge of it be empty and idle, without effect. That is,

First, Let us not be so foolish as to imagine we shall obtain Salvation meerly by being of a right Belief; and holding the right Faith. Which is not an unnecessary caution; for this seems to be the very business of a great many Men in the World, to put Men in hope of life eternal; if they do but quit that, which they call He­resie, and embrace the Faith they propound unto them: though their hearts and lives remain just as they were before, without any real amendment. This is certainly not a Mystery of Godliness, but the very Mystery of Ini­quity: not the Wisdom of God, but the Witchcraft of the Flesh, the World, and the Devil, to lead them secure­ly into destruction.

But we have not thus learned Christ, as the same Apo­stle speaks elsewhere, (IV. Ephes. 20, 21.) if so be we have heard, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: that we put off, concerning the former conversa­tion, the old man, which is corrupt, according to the deceit­ful lusts; and that we be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness, and holiness of truth. Mark here what the Truth is, as it is in Jesus, (that we may not be deceived by our own, or others lusts) that is, in the Christian Re­ligion: it is that which teaches us to abandon all wick­edness, and not to think of throwing a covering over it to hide it, but to put it off: that which renews us in the very spirit of our minds; which makes us new Crea­tures; and really restores the Divine Image in us, in Rightousness and sincere Holiness.

Thus we have learned Christ, thus we are constantly taught, in this Church: And therefore,

Secondly, If the Truth hath not this effect upon us, in vain do we pride our selves in the name of Orthodox belie­vers. Upon such S. John hath passed this censure, 1 I. 6. If we say we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we [Page 58]lye, and do not the truth. Where you may observe, by the way, there is a doing of the truth expected from us, and not meerly believing it.

It was expected from the very Heathen, proportiona­ble to what they knew: for they are accused by S. Paul upon this score, that they held the Truth of God in unrighte­ousness, I. Rom. 18. Some Truth they knew, and it taught them to do better than they did: and their not doing so, was their condemnation. And if natural Truth, taught them righteousness of life, much more doth this Divine Revelation which God hath made in Christ Jesus, instruct us therein: and if they were found guilty for holding that Truth in unrighteousness, much more shall we be found so for holding, in the like wick­edness, these supernatural Truths; which we know on­ly by a special Grace of God; which hath revealed them unto us for this very purpose, to teach us, that de­nying ungodliness and all worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world, 2 Tit. II. 12.

Which if we do not, mark the consequence: either we shall not hold the Truth; or if we do, the Truth will not save us, but only serve to condemn us.

Sometimes by living wickedly Men lose the very Truth, either in whole, or in part: as the Heathen, S. Paul there shows, did, I. Rom. 21, 22, 23. Read the words, and you will not wonder if the same sad fate at­tend Mens Impiety now: which the Truths of the Go­spel so directly oppose; that if they cannot prevail with Men to leave their wickedness, their wickedness will prevail with them to leave the Truth.

This belief, for instance, that Jesus Christ, the Eter­nal Son of God, who died for us, and rose again, will come to judge us (which is the summ of Christianity) is so manifestly against those sins which Men commit against his Laws, that, if they be perswaded they shall [Page 59]be judged according to his Gospel, it must needs make them very uneasie in their sins. Which therefore if they will not quit, their sins will tempt them to be rid of this belief; which disquiets and disturbs them in the enjoy­ment of those Lusts, on which they have set their Heart.

Or if it have not this effect, to make them wholly disbelieve, the life and judgment to come, yet it tempts them to adulterate the Christian Faith (as too many Christians have done) and to devise easier terms of hap­piness than the Gospel propounds: inventing such a Re­ligion, as will favour them in their sins, and comply with their inclinations to follow their foul Lusts, and yet not perish eternally. And it is not hard to show, if this were a proper place for it, that abundance of false noti­ons, if not all, which Men have about Faith, have sprung from this cause.

But suppose Men do still hold the Truth, though in unrighteousness, what will they get by it? since it will not save them, but only serve to condemn them. For this is a part of the Evangelical Truth, as you read in the place now named. (I. Rom. 18.) that the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness, and un­righteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness. And again we read in the next Chapter of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well­doing, seek for glory, and honour, and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, (or will not yield to evident convictions) and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doth evil, &c. v. 6, 7, 8, &c.

Where you see there is an obedience to the truth, ex­pected from us: unto which if we will not submit, but [Page 60] obey unrighteousness; then that very Truth tells us we must expect nothing, but the inexpressible displeasure of the Almighty, against every such refractory opposer of the Truth, which he should obey. There is no excepti­on from this Rule; for (as it there follows, v. 11.) there is no respect of persons with God.

Would to God they would seriously lay this to heart, who now seem to be possessed with a mighty Zeal for Truth, and for a right Faith: that they be not so de­ceived by this warm Zeal, as to miss the end of Faith, the Salvation of their Souls; which can by no means be obtained, no not by Faith it self, without an Holy Life.

What it is to be a Pillar and Ground of Truth: and to whom this Office belongs.

HAving shown with some care what the Truth is of which S. Paul speaks (which was the first thing I propounded) the two next may be explained to­gether with less pains: viz. what, and who is the Pillar and Ground of these great Truths, which are necessary to be believed by all, that will be saved.


And as for the first of these, they of the Church of Rome would have us by a Pillar and Ground, to under­stand that which is the very Foundation of our Faith: that upon whose Credit and Authority all Christian Truth, and the certainty of our Religion depends. For ta­king it for granted that the Church is this Pillar, and presuming also that they only are the Church; they thence infer that we can be sure of no Truth, but from them: and that they give authority and certainty, to the very Word of God it self: and likewise, whatsoever the Church, i. e. they declare to be Truth, is therefore to be received: insomuch that if they make any new Articles or Faith, we are to give a full assent to them; because all Truth depends upon the credit of their Church. [Page 62]This sounds strangely in the Ears of those that are not accustomed to such Language: and may be thought perhaps a misrepresentation of their Doctrine. But [...] ­larmine (to name no more) vouches this to be the Ca­tholique sense of this place: and from the words Pillar and Ground of Truth, proves that the Church cannot err, either in Believing, or in Teaching L. II. de Concil. [...] c. 2. : and again, that whatsoever the Church approves is true, and whatsoever it disapproves is false L. III. de [...] Milit. c. 14. .

But this only shows that they are hard put to it, to find proofs for their high pretences. For it will appear, in the process of this Discourse, first, that it can never be proved, the words Pillar and Ground, have respect to the Church, and not rather to Timothy: for which there is good Authority as well as Reason. I shall let the Authority alone, till its proper place, and only note, Secondly, That there is good reason not to refer this to the Church; for having called the Church a House, it doth not seem a congruous speech, immediately to call the same Church a Pillar: as on the other side it is very agreeable, to call Timothy a Pillar, in that House; and to wish him to behave himself therein, like other great Persons, to whom, in other places, he gives the name of Pillars. But, Thirdly, if it do relate to the Church, it no more concerns the Church of Rome, than any other Church: and immediately relates to the Church of Ephe­sus, in which Timothy presided. Which Church of Ephe­sus Concil. Floreat. [...] ult., with other Churches of the East, condemned this Headship of the Bishop of Rome, upon which they build a Soveraignty over our Faith. And further, if we should suppose Fourthly, That the Apostle respects the Church Universal; and likewise that it is not only bound in duty to be, but also actually is, the Pillar and Ground of Truth; yet, Lastly, it can never be proved that he speaks of any other Truth, but those grand Fundamental [Page 63]Articles of Faith, those Catholique Doctrines which were once delivered to the Saints, and which, bles­sed be God, are maintained in every Church to this day: not of all truth whatsoever; much less of an ab­solute freedom from all manner of error.

For, letting these things alone at present, I shall shew that this is all that can be meant by the Pillar and Ground of Truth, if it refer to the Church (as I am content to admit) not that the Church (as they absurdly affirm) is the very foundation of our Faith, upon which it re­lyes: but that it firmly retains, upholds, and professes the Christian Truth, against all the force, violence and op­position, of Earth and Hell, of Men and Devils, that indeavour to overthrow it.

That this is the natural import of the phrase I will manifest, First, from the propriety of the words; Se­condly, from clear reason and the Holy Scripture.

I. First from the propriety of the words in the Greek Language. In which [...] frequently signifies, such a Pillar as stood before their common Halls and Courts of Judicature: upon which the Decrees and Orders of the Court, were wont to hang or be fixed. Unto which Tertullian alludes, when speaking of an Article of the Creed (in the place above namedL. de Resur­rect. Carnis, C. 18.) he saith, Ʋnum opinor apud omnes EDICTƲM DEI PENDET, I suppose one Edict of God hangs up among all, viz. to be read by them: having just askt before, quonam ti­tulo Spes ista proscripta est: by what TITLE this hope (viz. of the resurrection) is proposed and held forth to all. And the word [...] ground signifies not the foundation, but the Seat where any thing is placed; so as to be settled and laid up, to remain and abide there. And, at the most, can mean no more, than the stay, or establishment, the seat or settlement of Truth: [Page 64] [...], Oecumenius renders it, the confirmation of truth; or if we will have these words allude to a building, because the Church is here called the House of the living God, as elsewhere the Temple of God, (which is the same) they signifie no more but supporters and up­holders, without which the edifice would fall to the ground. And the most we can make of them when they are applied to the Church, with respect to the truth, is this; that the Church sustains and keeps it from sinking, or falling, as a Pillar firmly setled up­on a Basis, sustains and upholds the fabrick laid upon it. This consists in these three things, which I shall distinctly, though but briefly, mention: for the Reader's clear information in this matter.

First, The Church is that Body of Men, which pre­serves and keeps, which maintains and holds up the Christian Faith: which God hath committed to its care, as he did to the Jews the Divine Oracles, delivered in old times. And as the Church will answer it to God, and not be guilty of betraying its trust, it must constantly preserve the truth committed to it; that it be not lost and do not perish. This might be divided into two, that the Church is the keeper and Conservator of all the Holy Scriptures, and the Divine Truths contained therein: and that by faithful keeping them, it upholds and supports the Truth, as a Pillar doth the building which rests up­on it. But this is sufficiently included in what follows.

Secondly, the Church is not only to preserve the Truth, but to profess it, and to give attestation to it: that is, to bear witness that this is the Truth of God, and this alone, which he hath revealed for the Salva­tion of Mankind. By which means it doth not only hold up the Truth, but hold it out to others; as the Sacred Edict or Decree of God; which all are to take notice of and observe. And so,

Thirdly, It is by this means to promote and propa­gate the Truth, and not let it fall to the ground: as a building doth, when the Pillars, that supported it, are removed.

In brief; As Heretical Churches were the Pillars and Stays of falshood; they maintained and defended it, they testified to it, and indeavour'd to continue it, and leave it to Posterity: just so is the Church of Christ, the Pillar and Ground of Truth; it professes the Chri­stian Faith, it maintains it as the Truth of God; and notwithstanding all the persecutions, troubles, losses, torments, whereby its Enemies would shake the con­stancy of those who maintain the Truth, they testifie to it, and declare to future Generations, that this, as S. Peter speaks, is the true grace of God, wherein we stand.

This is the first consideration, to assure us of the true meaning of these words.

II. The Second, is as strong; for plain reason makes it evident, that this, not the other, is the sense of them. The Church, that is, cannot be the very foundation upon which the Truth is built, not that which gives it authority, and makes it to be Truth: for the quite contrary is declared by Truth it self; that the Truth is the foundation upon which the Church is built, and which makes it to be a Church. So S. Paul instructs this very Church of Ephesus, who were built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner Stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together, groweth into an holy Tem­ple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded toge­ther, for an habitation of God through the Spirit, II. E­phes. 18, 19, 20. It was therefore a Church of Christ, because it held the Truth, which He and his Apostles [Page 66]taught. And so a great number of the Ancient Fathers expound those words of Christ to S. Peter, Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock; i. e. upon the confession of Faith which thou hast made, upon that Truth thou hast confest, I will build my Church. Matth. XVI.

We can own no Society of Men to be a Church of Christ, unless they profess the true Faith of Christ. And therefore the true Faith must be known before we can know whether they be a true Church or no, who call themselves by that Name: and consequently they do not give authority to the Truth, but the Truth to them; because the Truth must be supposed, before they can have any authority.

Observe the above recited words I beseech you; which say, the Church is built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, &c. i. e. upon the Truth re­vealed by them in the Gospel. It is a Church by hold­ing and believing this: for if this be not the thing which makes a company of Men to be a Church of the living God; tell me, why the Mahometans are not his Church? They are a society of Men professing some belief, and having some truth and devotion, and being governed by Laws as well as we. There is no reason why they belong not to the Church of Christ, but because they have not the Truth as it is in Christ. Therefore the Church doth not make the Truth; but the Truth makes the Church: the Truth doth not rely upon the Church, because it is before the Church, which relies upon it.

Which was the Doctrine of the Church it self in after Ages; as it were easie to shew, if I intended to write a great Book. I will content my self with two Testi­monies in ancient times, the one is of S. Chrysostome, who thus expounds these very words, the Church of the living God, the Pillar and Ground of Truth. Not like that Judaical Temple: (saith he) for this is it, which [Page 67]keeps together and contains the Faith and the preaching (or Doctrine) [...]. For the Truth is both the Pillar and the Ground, or foundation of the Church: The other is S. Austin in his third Book upon the Creed, to the Catechumens Tom. IX., which begins thus, You know this (viz. the Creed) to be the foundation of the Cath­lique Faith, upon which the edifice of the Church arose, being built by the hands of the Apostles and Prophets. And with this of Gabriel Biel in latter Ages,L. 3 in sentent. Dist. 25. Dub. 3. Catholique truths, without any approbation of the Church, are in the nature of the thing immutable, and immutably true: and so are to be ac­counted unchangeably Catholique. Which brings to mind another remarkable saying of S. Austin, who after he had produced in his first and second Books against Ju­lian the Pelagian, the testimonies of XI. great Doctors, viz. Irenaeus, Cyprian, Reticius, Olympius, Hilarius, Ambrosius, Innocentius (where, by the way, it is obser­vable he mentions the Bishop of Rome only as one of the eminent Bishops, not as Head of them all) Gregory Nyssen, Basil of Caesarea, John Chrysostom, Hierom, makes this reflection upon their consent (which he lookt upon as the voyce of the Catholique Church) Qui tamen veritati auctoritatem non suo tribuêre consensu, &c. who notwithstand­ing did not give authority to the Truth by their consent; but received testimony and glory by partaking of the Truth.

They endeavour indeed to put by such evident con­viction as this, by a little distinction; that though in it self the Church is built upon the Truth, yet in respect to us the Truth is built upon the Church. Which appears already to be a vain conceit, unto those who consider; that the Church cannot be the foundation of Truth to us, unless we first know it to be the true Church of Christ; and indued with this priviledge from God to be the Ground of Truth; in this sense which I am now con­futing. But whence should we know this? If it be said, [Page 68]from the Truth which it professes; then the Church is not the Foundation of the Truth to us, for we must know the Truth, before we can know that to be the true Church, which calls it self the Foundation. If we say from the Church; then the Church is the Pillar and Ground of it self; and we believe it to be the true Church, because it says it is. Which is so absurd and dangerous, that the Mahometans, as I said, will be as true a Church as any else: they may boldly put in for their share of this priviledge: Nay, if confidence, and power can carry it, ingross it wholly to themselves.

It remains therefore that this is the true sense of the words which I have given. The Church keeps the Truth, and keeps it up: It is the Conservator of it, and preserves it from falling to the ground: it proclaims it, and holds it forth to others: it continues the truth in the World, and settles it in mens minds: but it self is built upon this Truth, not the Truth upon it. Which derives its authority from God, who sent Jesus Christ into the World to teach us his will, and gave him power to send his Apostles, as he had sent him: God bear­ing them witness, with signs and wonders, and with divers mi­racles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will.

This will be the more plainly laid open, if I spend a little time, in showing what is here meant by the Church, which is commonly thought to be the Pillar and Ground of Truth; and was the third thing propounded in the beginning to be explained.


The Church or House of God, signifies every where a company of Christians united under their Pastors, un­to Christ their Head, by a sincere Faith; and joyned one to another by Brotherly love and communion. [Page 69]Where ever we find such a Society of Men and Women, there is a Church: and all the Societies of this kind, throughout the World, make up that which we call the Catholique, or Ʋniversal Church; the whole body of Christ, or Christian Church. Of which the Church of Ephesus here spoken of was a part: one eminent com­pany of Christians professing the truly Catholique Faith, and joyned to Timothy as their chief Pastor, for the worship and service of Christ; and for to be the Pillar and Ground of Truth, as these words must be interpreted, if they relate unto the Church.

They indeed, who are now of the Roman Commu­nion, understand by the Church, only the Pastors of the Church. And some of them, this Church representative, as it may be called; that is, the whole assembly of Chri­stian Bishops, as many as can meet together, represent­ing all the Churches under their care. But others un­derstand only one Bishop alone, the Pope of Rome; who is then the Church Virtual, in whom all the power of all the Bishops in the World is united. But as there are no such notions of the Word Church in Scripture; so, if they be applied to this place, they will appear very wild fancies, unto any Man who will soberly consider the scope of it. For it is very evident, that the Church is here mentioned as distinct from Timothy, who was the prime Pastor of it, and who is directed how to behave himself in it. Therefore if this Church was the Pillar of Truth, the whole multitude of Believers at Ephesus, uni­ted under him and the rest of their Pastors, must be lookt upon as having an interest in this great priviledge and honour, as well as duty, to be the Conservators and Sup­porters of the Christian Faith, which they had received. For S. Paul, as I said, is instructing Timothy how to demean himself, in this Society, which he calls the House or family of God: that is, among true Believers [Page 70]in Christ, formed into a Society under the Government of their Guides: who were to take the greater care, that every one in the Church was well taught, in­structed and ordered, because they were the Pillar and Ground of Truth.

This made S. Paul very solicitous, that Timothy should carry himself well, and be a good Pastor in that Church, of which the Holy Ghost had made him chief Overseer. And not knowing when he might have opportunity to see him, and give him personal instruction by word of mouth, he wrote this Letter to him for his direction; that he might fully understand how to discharge this Office. And therefore these words, it appears by the verse foregoing (v. 14.) relate partly to what went be­fore, and partly to what follows. These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: but if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thy self in the House of God, which is the Church of the li­ving God, the Pillar and Ground of Truth. And without controversie, great is the mystery of godliness, &c. Which whole Paragraph is to be understood as if he had said, in more words. Though I hope shortly to discourse with thee face to face, yet not knowing what may hinder and retard my hopes, I have sent the above written instru­ctions to thee; not to trouble the Church with vain dis­putations, about the rites of the Law, and such idle questions as the Jews are apt to raise: but, to remem­ber (as I have said in the beginning of this Letter v. 4, 5. of the first Chapter) that the end of the Commandment is charity, the love of God and of our neighbour. This therefore teach them; and instruct them also to make prayers, supplications and intercession, with giving of thanks for all Men: for Kings, and all that are in au­thority (Chap. II. 1, 2, 3, 4.) teach them all likewise how to pray (v. 8.) and instruct the Bishops and the [Page 71] Deacons and all the rest in their Office and Duty: for it is of great concernment, that they be well informed; because this Church, over which thou art set, is the very Seat of Truth, which is not to be found in any o­ther place, but in such a company of Believers. Who ought to uphold and defend it, when thou art dead and gone; and therefore had need be well setled and established in it: especially in the great mystery of godliness, wherein all Christians agree, and about which there is no Controversie. That so the Church may never let it go, and this Truth may not dye and fall to the Ground, when we are laid in our Graves; but be delivered to those that come after, as the very Oracles of God.

Who now is there so blind, as not to be able to see, that by the Church is meant, not merely the supream Governour of the Church, which was Timothy; but all that company of Christian people, under their several Bishops and Teachers, who belonged to Ephesus. All of which S. Paul left Timothy, when he himself went into Macedonia, to take care of, and to charge that they taught no other Doctrine (as you read, 1.3.) and in this House, or Family he was, when S. Paul wrote this Epistle to him; not in a General Council, for there was none, in three hundred Year after this time. There­fore he doth not speak of the Church Representative, as it is called; much less of the Church Virtual, as they term it; that is, the Pope. For then, mark what sence the words will make; I have wrote to thee (not know­ing when I shall see thee) how to behave thy self in the Bishop of Rome: as if he would have us fancy Timothy in the Popes Belly; and himself gravely instructing him, how to carry himself with great circumspection and discretion there.

I do not love to use such words; but there are no o­ther I can find so apt to represent the gross absurdity of their Doctrines, who take upon them to give infalli­ble interpretations of Holy Scripture, from the Uni­versal Bishop, the grand and only Oracle of Christen­dom, as they would have him esteemed: or from such Councils as they are pleased to call General, and can obtain their approbation. You see what godly ones we are like to have, if we give up our Faith to them: how they will pervert the plain words of God, to serve their own interest; and wrest them from their natural and easie sence, to another which is so forced, that there is no Man so rude but would readily discern the absurd­ness of it, if he were permitted to read, and did consider, the Holy Scripture. For their great Cardinal Bellarmine alledges these very words to prove that General Councils, confirmed by the Pope, cannot err Lib. 2. de Contil. Au­ctoritate C. 2. Class. 2da.: nay, that particular Councils, approved by the Pope, have the same privi­ledgeIb. cap. 6. Denique.: where it is evident to the weakest under­standing, that the whole company of Christians, that were at Ephesus united to their Pastors (without which they could not be a Society or Company) are the Church here spoken of: and therefore are the Pillar and Ground of Truth, (if this relate to the Church) and not merely some particular person in that Church: much less a Ge­neral Council of all the Bishops in the World; and least of all, one Bishop; in whom Timothy could not be said, in any sense, to be; as he is here said to be in that Church, which is the Pillar and Ground of Truth, viz. in that Church whereof he was the chief Governour: which was the Pillar and Ground of Truth in that part of the World. For this is not an Office appropriated to any particular Church, but belonging to the Catholique Church, and to every single Church, as it is a Member of the Whole.

And here it will be very profitable, I think, to note these six things, for the full explication of this place of Scripture.

I. The first of them is that which I now mentioned; that every particular Church, one as well, and as much as another, is a Pillar and Ground of Truth; in that sense which I have declared. This is not a prerogative which belongs to some one Church; but a priviledge, appertaining to the Universal; and to every particular, as a part of it. For if the Church at Ephesus, was a Pil­lar of Truth, as S. Paul here affirms; then by the same reason, the Church of Antioch, the Church of Corinth, the Church of Rome, and the Church of Jerusalem, had the same authority. For that which made any one of them a Church, made the other so, viz. the true Faith of Christ there professed, and union with their Pastors, for the Divine service: and therefore that honour or Office, which belong'd to one of them, must of necessity belong to another; because they were but so many members of one and the same Body. That is, every one of them, in their several Countries, wherein they were planted, had the truth of God committed to them; which they were to maintain and support unto the very death: and endeavour that every one, who was a Stranger to the words of eternal life, might by their means know and believe them.

And accordingly every Church hath contributed unto this, and no one Church, could ever with any reason pretend to be the sole supporter or defender of the Chri­stian Truth. Of which there is this plain demonstrati­on, that then the Church is most of all the Pillar and Ground, or Buttress, as some translate it, of Truth, when it is assaulted by Heresies; and not only beats them off, but beats them down and suppresses them. Now all Heresies were not quasht and confounded by S. Peter [Page 74]and his Successors in the Church of Rome; but by other Apostles and Evangelists, and their Successors in other Churches. This is demonstrated by a learned Man, of the Roman CommunionJoh. Launoii Epist. pars Quinta Antonio Varillao p. 35. &c., by XII. famous instances, out of a far greater number. S. John for example, not Peter or any of his Successors, struck down the Nicolaitans, S. Paul the Nazarens and Cerinthians, S. Luke the Ebi­onites, as he proves out of good Authors, particularly Hyginus: who relates how the Bishops of other Sees (not the Bishops of Rome) quasht the Ptolemaites, the Noetians, and divers other Hereticks: as the Synod of An­tioch did. Paulus Samosatenus Enseb. L. VII. Eccles. Hist. c. 22. and the first Gene­ral Council of Constantinople (where Damasus Bishop of Rome, was not present, either by himself or his Le­gates) did Eunomius and other Hereticks. Which leads to the second thing I would have observed.

II. That every eminent Pastor in the Church, who laboured in the word and Doctrine, as S. Paul speaks in this Epistle, V. 17. had these very titles anciently bestow­ed upon him, of the Pillar and Ground of Truth, because the Bishops were the principal Trustees with whom the Faith was deposited (as may be observed in the words of Irenaeus before mentioned, and many other ancient Writers, and in S. Paul's words to Timothy, when he bids him to keep the depositum he had committed to him, and commit the same to other faithful or trusty persons, who should be able to teach it to others, 2 Tim. I. 14. II. 2.) and because they were principal Instruments in defending the Truth against opposers; in propagating the Christian Faith to those who were ignorant of it; and in preserving the rest of the Church in the belief of the Truth, which they had entertained, by their constant instructions, and zealous exhortation, to hold fast what they had received.

Nay, we shall rarely, if at all, find any Bishop of Rome, called the Pillar and Ground of Truth, but several other Bishops are frequently called by this name. S. Ba­sil for instanceEpist. LXII. Tom. II., writing of the Bishop of Neocaesarea newly dead, bewails his loss very much, because he was [...], the Ornament of the Churches, [...], (the very words of the Apostle here in this place) the Pillar and Ground of Truth; [...], a strong and firm establishment of Faith in Christ, &c. And upon the same occasion writing to the Church of Ancyra Epist. LXVII. whose Bishop was called Athana­sius, it appears by some of the foregoing Epistles) he saith, [...], a Man is faln, who was indeed a Pillar and Ground of the Church. And complaining in another EpistleEpist. LXX. of the misera­ble estate of their Churches, he says, among other things, [...], the Pillars and Ground of the Truth are dispersed: the Bishops, he means, were banished from their Flocks. Which he bewails in another place in the very same Language, only put­ting both the foregoing parts of their Character toge­ther, [...],Epist. CCCXLIX. &c. whom I account the Pillars and Ground, both of the Truth and of the Church: and honour them so much the more, the further off they are ba­nished from their Churches, and account that separation the greatest punishment.

In the very same Language S. Gregory Nazianzen addresses himself to S. Basil Orat. XIX. beginning., whom he calls, [...], the Pillar and Ground of the Church, the prop of Faith, the habitation of the Spirit. And so he calls Athanasius, [...] Orat. XXI., the Pillar of the Church: and in ano­ther placeOrat. XXIII., [...], the prop, or stay of the Faith. And writing to Eusebius, Bishop of Samosat Epist. XXIX. Tom [...]., he thus begins, What shall I call thee, [...], &c. [Page 76] Shall I call thee the Pillar and Ground of the Church, or a Light in the World, &c. or the Stay of thy Country, or the Rule of Faith, or Embassador of the Truth, or all these together, and more than all these?

But that which is most worthy to be noted under this head is, that S. Gregory Nyssen De vita Mosis. Tom. I. p. 226. expounds this very Text of Timothy, and makes him, not the Church, the Pillar and Ground of Truth. For discoursing concerning the Ministers of the Divine Mysteries, as Pillars of the House of God, he saith, [...], &c. S. Paul wrought and fashioned Timothy to be a goodly Pillar, making him (as he speaks, with his own voice) [...], the Pillar and Ground of the Church, and of Truth. As if he took the sense of these words to be this, But if I tarry long, that thou, who art the Pillar and Ground of Truth, maist know how to behave thy self in the Church, &c. And indeed the Apostles are called [...], Pillars in the II. Gal. 9. not only S. Peter, but James and John also. And here we are taught, as he truly ob­serves, that not only Peter, James and John were Pil­lars, not only John the Baptist was a burning Lamp: [...], but all that by them­selves support the Church, all that by their work are shining lights, are called both Pillars and Lamps.

Which names were afterward applied to Christian Bi­shops, by the most eminent Persons in the Church; who hereby plainly declared, what they understood by these words of S. Paul: and that they lookt not upon this as a priviledge peculiar to any one Bishop, or any one Church; but common to all Churches, and especially to the principal Persons in the Church, who were the Leaders and Guides of the rest: and so more peculiarly intrusted with the preservation of Divine Truth, and the chief Pillars and Supporters of the Faith. And thus Origen (or whosoever he was that wrote the Homilies [Page 77]upon the Song of Songs Hom. III. Basil. p. 598.,) seems to have understood this place; for having observed from hence that the Church is God's House, and applied these words to the explication of the last Verse of the first Chapter of the Canticles, where it is said, the beams of our house are Ce­dar, he concludes that hereby are meant those who are validiores, of greatest strength in the Church: Et puto quod convenienter hi qui episcopatum bene ministrant in Ec­clesia, &c. And I think that they who well discharge the Office of a Bishop in the Church may conveniently be called Beams, by which the whole Building is born up, &c. viz. by supporting and defending the Christian Faith, upon which the Church is built. And thus the Abyssine Chri­stians, at this day call not only S. Mark, but their great Doctor S. Cyril by the name of Columnae Ecclesiae Alexan­drinae Ludolphi Histor. Ae­thiop. L. III. c. 12. n. 51., the Pillars of the Church of Alexandria: be­cause Cypril was a mighty assertor and defender of the Truth, against the assaults of Hereticks. Upon which account, Rupertus Tuitiensis L. VII. oper. de Sp. Sancto, cap. 19. calls S. Austin by the same name, that S. Paul here calls Timothy, columna & firmamentum veritatis, the Pillar and Ground, or strong stay, of Truth. Which Language is common among the Jews, who call Abraham, for instance, the Pillar of the World Maimon. de cultu stell. c. 1. n. 5. & More Nevohim, Pars III. c. 29., with respect to the true Religion which he maintained: which is the very Language of Ignatius, concerning the Apostles, of whom he thus speaks, [...] Epist. ad Philadelph., the Pillars of the World, the Apostles; mentioning together with them, the Spouse of Christ, viz. the Church.

I have been the more copious in this, because it shows that the ancient Doctors thought all Bishops to be equal­ly concerned in this Office, and Honour; it never enter­ing into their minds that any one had an interest in it more than the rest; much less that one (the Bishop of Rome) had it solely to himself.

III. But further I observe that the Martyrs, though not Bishops, are frequently called by this name. So the Churches of Vienne and Lyons, in their Letter to the Churches of Asia and Phrygia, concerning the blessed Martyrs who had suffered among them, say that God delivered the weaker sort, and opposed to the fury of the Enemy, [...], those who were firm and steady Pil­lars, able by their Patience to draw all the violent assaults of the Devil upon them Apud Eu­seb. L. V. Histor. Eccles. cap. 1. p. 155. edit. Vales. . Among whom they mention Sanchis a Deacon, and Maturus a meer Novice, and At­talus, born at Pergamus, [...] Ib. p. 157.: Who had always been the Pillar and Ground (or stay and strength) of Christians in this place: that is, settled and sustained others in the Christian belief. And so Eusebius speaks of other Martyrs at Alexandria in the time of Decius, [...],L. VI. Ec­cles. Hist. cap. 41. &c. firm and blessed Pillars of the Lord, who strengthned by him, and having might and power answerable to the strength of their Faith, became admirable witnesses of his Kingdom. For they could not be shaken with the fear of death and torment; and so by their stedfastness confirmed and esta­blished others in the Christian Faith; and were eminent Instruments likewise of converting strangers to our Reli­gion: who saw their pious and meek constancy under the greatest sufferings, joyned with the greatest charity, bowels of mercy and compassion, towards their bloody persecutors. For whom they beg'd pardon and forgive­ness of God, desiring nothing more than they might come to that heavenly Kingdom, which they testified to them; by parting with life it self for the sake of it.

Neither is this meerly the Ecclesiastical Language, but the Holy Scripture it self gives those this honourable ti­tle; who constantly indured tribulation for the Gospel sake, though it did not cost them their lives. Thus [Page 79]our blessed Lord speaks to the Church of Philadelphia, III. Revel. 12. Him that overcometh, will I make a Pillar in the temple of my God. Which signifies partly, that he should be an eminent Instrument of upholding the Church, and preserving many in the profession of Chri­stianity, by his constancy and firmness in it: and partly, that he should be so established himself by the grace and power of God, that he should never fall (according to that of S. Peter, 1 V. 10. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory, after that ye have suf­fered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, set­tle you): and partly, that he should be made in the highest sense, a PILLAR, that is, an Apostolical Man, who should be advanced to the most eminent imploy­ment in the Church; of teaching and instructing, of Go­verning and Ruling, as a principal Pastor, in the Tem­ple of God. In one word, be an Angel of the Church, (as he speaks in the beginning of this Letter, v. 7. and in all the rest) an illustrious Minister and Messenger of God, to publish the glad tidings of Salvation to the World.

Such the Apostles were: whom Theodoret calls the Pillars of the Truth, with peculiar respect to their suffer­ings. Behold, saith he,Orat. de providentia, Tom. IV. p. 441. Peter and John, [...], &c. the Towers, or Bulwarks of Godliness, the Pillars of Truth, supporting the Stru­cture of the Church: being scourged by the Jews, but rejoycing and glorying, (V. Act. 41.) that they were counted worthy to suffer shame, or to be disgraced, for his Name. And such like were these victorious Souls, as Arethas Comment. in III. Rev. 12. expounds our Saviour's words to this Church; For he that conquers, saith he, the adverse powers, [...], is constituted a Pillar and Ground of the Truth; rejoycing himself im­mutably (so he interprets in the temple of my God) and [Page 80]establishing others in goodness, that they may not fall from their stedfastness.

IV. Any eminent person also in the Church, though not a Martyr, is sometime called by this name in Ec­clesiastical Writers. For instance, Jo. Damascen thus addresses himself to Jordanes the Archimandrite, [...],Epist. ad eu [...]n de Tri [...]a­gio. O most Divine Fa­ther, the Pillar and Ground, or stay, of Truth. Nay, thus zealous persons in the Laity, especially if they were of great quality, contributed to the support of the Faith, by supporting these Pillars of it. So S. Basil, in one of the forenamed Epistles, having be­wailed the banishment of their Bishops, whom he calls the Pillars and Ground of Truth, prays Terentius (a Count of the Empire) to preserve himself safe, that they might have some to rest upon; God having gra­ciously made him [...],Epist. 345. a sup­port and a prop in all things to us. But they of the Clergy more particularly, though of the Order below Bi­shops, were lookt upon as having no small share in this Office. For S. Cyril of Alexandria Lib. V. in Esaiam, Tom. 2. p. 768. having menti­oned Christ as the foundation, and believers in him, as pretious Stones built upon him, unto a holy Tem­ple; compares their instructors in the Mysteries of Religion to the most pretious Stones (such as those men­tioned, LIV. Isa. 11, 12.) which God uses, some in laying the foundation, others as buttresses; some for the Gates, others for the Walls, of the holy City, that is, the Church: that all her Children may be taught of God.

V. Nay, one of the forenamed great Doctors of the Church warrants me to add, that every pious member of the Church, in his place and calling, hath his share [Page 81]in this great trust. For whosoever, saith S. Gregory Nyssen, Hom. XIV. in Cant. Can­ticorum, p 684. is perfected in these two great Command­ments, to love God, and to love his Neighbour, he is framed to be [...], a Pillar and Ground of Truth, according to the language of the A­postle. By both these, we may become such Pillars, as Pe­ter, and James, and John; or if there be any other, since them, that hath been or shall be worthy of this name. And he doth, in effect, say the same in the place before named;De vita Mosis. where he observes the A­postle requires others to be Pillars, as well as himself, when he saith, [...], 1 Cor. XV. 58. be ye stedfast (or stable) unmoveable, abounding always in the work of the Lord. For he that is thus firmly fixed and setled (as the word [...] signifies) and di­ligent in well doing, whatsoever trials he hath to shake him, he supports Religion, he maintains the credit of it in the World, he doth great service to the Truth, by shewing how good, how useful, how labo­rious, it makes those that embrace it.

And I am sure it lies upon every one of us, as an in­dispensable duty to hold fast the Truth, and to profess it, and practise it; and, notwithstanding any danger or trouble unto which it may expose us, to testifie unto it, if need be, by constant, patient, peaceable suffering for Christs sake. And he that doth thus, is according to his measure, though never so mean a person in the Church, a Pillar and Ground of Truth. And thus The­odoret expounds these words, he calls [...] the assem­bly or congregation of those that believe, the House of God and the Church: and these, he saith, are the Pillar and support of Truth. For being founded upon the Rook, they both remain unshaken, and preach by their deeds the truth of their Doctrine. And Theophylast also, [...]. The Church is a constitution, [Page 82]or an assembly of truth: For all things that are done in it, are true, nothing shadowy, as under the Law, &c.

VI. I have but one thing further to add; That the more and the better they are, who joyn in this work, the greater support they give to the Truth.

First I say, the more, the greater number there are of those who maintain the truth, by preaching, wri­ting, suffering, or well doing, and the greater credit they have in the World; the stronger Pillars they are, and the surer doth the truth seem to be in the eyes of those to whom they represent it. Upon which account the Doctrine of S. Paul and Barnabas, which he had re­ceived by revelation as well as other Apostles, yet be­ing communicated to James and Cephas and John, who were eminent Pillars, and been approved by them, recei­ved the more strength by their concurrent testimony, II. Gal. 2, 5, 9. And it was still more confirmed by the whole Council of Apostles and Elders at Jerusalem (XV. Act. 2.25.) so that it was received joyfully at An­tioch (V. 31.) and the Churches in other Cities were established in the Faith, and increased in number daily. XVI. 4.5. For which reason the testimony of a great assembly of Bishops, was a greater support and strength­ning to the Faith, than the testimony of single persons. They were the principal Trustees, as I observed before, to whose fidelity the truth was committed: and when they met together in a Council to discharge this trust, it gave great force to the truth declared by them. Which they knew so well, that in ancient times, such Councils were wont to desire the consent of other Bishops, who were not there, for the greater establishment and confirma­tion of the Faith, as Theodoret L. 2. Hist. Eccles. C. 6. relates of the Council of Sardica, whose Letter he hath set down to all the Bishops in the World; desiring them, [...], as [Page 83]present in Spirit with them, to consent to their Sy­nod, and by their subscription to decree, that concord might be preserved, among all their fellow Bishops every where. Nay, the great and first general Coun­cil of Nice it self,Theodoret. L. 1. Eccles. Hist. Cap. 8, 9. wrote to the Church of Alex­andria, and the rest throughout Egypt, Libya, and Pen­tapolis, to give them an account of their decrees. And Constantine also certified all absent Bishops, who could not come to the Council, of their proceedings: That there might be one Faith (as his words are) and sincere charity, and a concording Religion, or Piety, preserved among them all.

It was upon the same score that sometime they sent particularly to the Bishop of Rome for his con­currence (as the Council of Carthage, August. E­pist. XC, XCI, XCV. and others did in the business of Pelagius) not because they ima­gined their decrees would be of no force without his consent (that's an ungrounded fancy) but because he was an eminent Bishop in the Church of Christ; by whose concurrent testimony the Truth would be still more confirmed, and their Churches would have the greater comfort de communi participatione unius gratiae, from the common participation of one grace: by knowing, that is, that they were of the same belief.

The like may be said of the Martyrs, who, when they suffered in great numbers, gave the more ama­zing testimony to the Truth, which terrified the De­vil himself, and staggered their very Judges: as S. Basil speaksTom. 1. Hom. XX. of the XL Martyrs, who all together, as if they had had but one Mouth, cryed out, when they were examined, I am a Christian. By such resolution as this our Religion was not only upheld, but mightily increased: And the more the number of Christians in­creased, the more was Truth spread abroad, till it grew to be the prevailing Religion; and the Kingdoms of [Page 84]the World became the Kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ.

2. But it was not mere numbers that did the busi­ness; for their extraordinary Piety and Purity in those early days, had the greatest hand in it. Which was the second thing I desired to be noted under this last head, that the better the Pastors and the People are, the greater service they do to the Truth; and the more prevalent their testimony is, when it appears by their lives, that they have no other interest to serve, but that of Truth and Godliness.

And when all is done, it will be found that the san­ctity of those who assert God's holy Truth, their pure and undefiled Religion which keeps them from being spotted by the World, is that which will be the most powerful to move Mens minds, and will make the easiest way for its entertainment in Mens Hearts. Nothing can give a Church such authority, and make its testi­mony so credible, as its integrity and sincere Devo­tion; its study of purity in Heart and Life; its de­signing clearly the good of Souls, and not worldly ad­vantages; its universal charity and kindness: which invites even strangers to attend unto it, and much more its own Members.

And therefore I must note for a conclusion of this part of my Discourse, that when we speak of the Church, i. e. the whole company of believers, and say that it is the Pillar and Ground or establishment of Truth, it is meant principally of those, whose Faith brings forth fruit and works by love. These are the main supporters of the Christian Religion; who do not mere­ly profess it; but are acted and live by their Faith, in all holy obedience to Christ. For they are living Stones built upon him the foundation of all; the true living Body of Christ, who are animated by his Spirit, [Page 85]and with whom he hath promised to make his abode: and consequently are the only persons, who to purpose support and maintain, and defend the Truth. Which would in a little time, be suppressed or obscured, de­praved or varied, concealed or misinterpreted; if the wicked only had the conduct of it. Who are no more to be accounted Pillars of the Truth, i. e. can no more alone support and uphold it, than a Reed, a Straw or a rotten Stick, can support a building. This is the ancient Doctrine of the Church it self, as appears by what S. Au­stin saies, in his Preface to the Exposition of the XLVIII. Psalm Tom. VIII. Enarratio in Psal. XLVII. . Where taking the firmament, which was made the second day, to be an emblem of the Church, he saith by the Church we ought to understand Ecclesiam Christi in Sanctis, &c. the Church of Christ in his Saints; the Church of Christ in those whose names are written in Heaven, the Church of Christ in those who do not yield to the temptations of this World. Ipsi enim digni sunt nomine FIRMAMENTI, for these are worthy the name of Firma­ment, or strength. Therefore the Church of Christ in those qui firmi sunt, who are strong (concerning whom the Apostle speaks, we that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak) is called the FIRMAMENT. For hearken and acknowledge, how this Church is called by this name in the Apostolical writings (and then he quotes this place to Timothy) which is the Church of the living God, columna & firmamentum veritatis, the Pillar and sup­port of Truth.

By these principally the Truth is maintained: For it is most plainly delivered by the Apostles themselves, that Men and Women, by their wicked lives, did turn Apostates from the Faith. And we find by experience, as well as their instructions, that nothing doth more quench the Spirit of God, nothing is more contrary to true Wisdom, than filthiness and impurity, which we [Page 86]must abandon therefore, and not think we can do very considerable service to the Truth, by the bare profession of it: but upon the foundation Christ Jesus, we must seriously indeavour to raise the superstructure of a holy life, whereby we shall adorn, recommend, and effectual­ly promote our Religion.

It must not be denyed indeed, that a multitude professing true Faith in Christ, though their lives be not so regular as they ought to be, are not unserviceable to our Religi­on: Nay, in some cases, by their steadiness in the Truth, give no small support unto it. Especially, when they likewise continue united together, by partaking constant­ly of the same Sacraments. Whereby they are joyned to those who are truly good, and remain a part of the Christian society; till their lives be so bad that they are thrown out of the Church, as not fit to have Commu­nion with it. And therefore out of such a Church, con­sisting of those that profess the Faith of Christ intirely, and worship him purely, without any dangerous mix­tures, no Man ought to depart; merely because every one therein is not knit to Christ by such hearty love and obedience as that Faith ought to produce. For they that are only in outward Communion with such a Church, are in a good way to something more: and therefore ought not to be rejected, as no Christians. For by external Communion, the inward lively Communi­on with God our Saviour, is produced, set forward, and promoted: and it is something to own Christ, and ac­knowledge him for our Lord and Master; and receive constant instructions from his Ministers, whereby we are convinced of our duty. Which though it doth not at present make them good and faithful Servants, yet they may be so in time: and the way to make them so, is not to leave them to themselves, by separating from them; but to admonish, reprove and exhort them [Page 87]to become living Members of Christ's Body, that they may do him greater service, by recommending his Re­ligion effectually to the World. As all those do, who separate from the wickedness of the World, though they continue mixed with the wicked that are in the Church; till they can, in an orderly manner and after regular proceedings, be thrown out of it. Whereas, on the contrary, they who upon pretence of the wick­ed being mixed with the godly, depart from the external Communion of the Church; have very much dishonoured Religion, and help to destroy the Church by endless se­parations.

For when they have so departed from the Church, they are not sure they depart from the wicked: though it be sure they have left the Communion of a great ma­ny good Men and Women, who are mingled in com­mon, with the bad. And what advantage can such Men propound unto themselves, or unto true Religion and godliness: when they certainly forsake the society of a great many truly good Men, for an imaginary de­parture from the wicked? Because after all the care they can take, they cannot be sure there are no wicked among them: but they leave a Church, in which it is notori­ous there are a great number of holy People, and erect Congregations, for ought they can certainly know, of such as conceit themselves Religious, merely from this separation.

This is not the means therefore of upholding Truth, and of promoting godliness. But if we be seriously bent on that, the Apostle hath shown us the way in the next Epistle, 2 Tim. II. 19. Let every one that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity. Who­soever doth so, he is an excellent Servant of Jesus Christ, and of his Truth: which was promoted by no­thing more, I might say by nothing so much, as by the [Page 88]eminent Piety and Vertue of the first Preachers of Chri­stianity, and of the generality of those who were called by Christ's name. Some bad people there were among them (as we learn by the Church of Corinth) which did not unchurch them, nor make them unfit for com­munion with them. For in a great House (as the Apostle there speaks in the next verse, 2 Tim. II. 20, 21.) there are not only vessels of Gold and Silver, but also of Wood and of Earth; and some to honour, some to dis­honour. But if a Man purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for his Master's use, and prepared unto every good work. Thus the Apo­stle writes immediately after these words, Let every one that names the name of Christ, depart from iniquity. Whatsoever becomes of others, he shall become an use­ful Servant of his Master Christ, a vessel of Honour, or an instrument to do him honour, by being fitted to every good work.

There are eminent testimonies of this, not only in Chri­stian but in Pagan Writers also, that hereby the Truth of Christ prevailed and got the upper hand in the World. For Julian Epist. XLIX. a [...] Ar [...]arium, & in fragm. p. 557. himself upbraids the Priests of his Religi­on, with the marvellous piety of the Galilaeans (as he calls Christians) whose singular Humanity, and Charity even to Strangers, nay to Pagans, when those of their own Religion neglected them, together with the gravity of their manners and composed behaviour (though he call it feigned) had such great effect, that by this means, as he acknowledges, Christianity so increased, that its growth could no way be hindred, but by their outdoing Christians in these worthy qualities.

And such an eminent vertue it must be, and that alone, which can restore our Religion to its primitive lustre: Nay, that which will preserve it from being lost, where it is planted. For as fast as true piety and vertue de­cays, [Page 89]so fast doth the Church go to ruin. And there­fore if we have an hearty love to our own Church, and the saving truth of God, which is there professed and as­serted, we must study to uphold it by this means. Not by seeking for a purer Church (which is impossible, as to Faith and Worship, and Manners too, to be found) but by endeavouring to amend one another, by purify­ing our selves in the first place from all filthiness both of the flesh, and of spirit; and then by admonishing others that do not live as they ought, of the error of their ways, and calling them to Repentance.

Which course I wish all they who have separated from our Communion, would consider whether they ever took? Did they not first forsake us, and then say, before they tried, that we have people incorrigibly wicked a­mong us? This is not the way (to say nothing of what sort of people they have among themselves) of saving us all from perishing: but, as it proceeds commonly from too much pride, and conceitedness, and from great want of Charity; so it produces lamentable effects. For under a pretence of making the Church more holy, it destroys both holiness and the Church: by breaking the unity of it, by disgracing Religion, by turning it into disputes and vain jangling, by endless separations under the notion of great and more refined purity; till the Church be crumbled into so many little bits and fra­ctions, that little more than the name of a Church remains.

Let us therefore preserve Union among our selves as much as is possible, that we may preserve the Church and Truth. And then there may be the more hope of reclaiming the ungodly: who will receive an admonition or reproof far better from one of their soci­ety, who calls them brethren; than from one that se­parates from them as mere Strangers and Foreigners, with whom they have nothing to do in matters of Religion.

Would to God this were more seriously practised a­mong us; that we would be as forward, charitably to reprove Men for their wickedness, as we are even to re­proach them, perhaps uncharitably, for their false opinions. It might be a means of their cure, an effectual remedy for their amendment, when piously and prudently admini­stred: and a means of bringing those back, who are gone astray from us, that there may be no divisions among us, but we may be perfectly joyned together in the same mind, and in the same judgment.

How the Church discharges this Office, of a Pillar and Ground of Truth.

WHAT the Psalmist saith concerning Jerusalem, or the Church of the Jews, which was wont there to assemble, is more fully verified in the Christian Church: Great and glorious things are spoken of thee, O thou city of God, LXXXVII. Ps. 1. This great City, S. John saw descending out of Heaven, having the glory of God, XXI. Rev. 10, 11. And in the Verse before, calls this Church, the bride, the lambs wife. There is a special presence, that is, of God in it; and a special love of the Lord Jesus to it. For it is, the body of Christ, and the fulness of him that fills all things. To this, S. John saith, they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations: against this, our Saviour promises, the gates of hell shall not prevail. The pure water of life, clear as crystal runs therein: here grows the tree of life, (XXII. Rev. 1, 2.) and it is, as it were, the paradise and garden of God.

Which things show what an honour, what an happi­ness it is, to be a Citizen of this Holy Jerusalcm. Who­soever they be, that by a cordial Faith in Christ, and sincere love to him, joyn themselves to this Body, are made Members of Christ, Children of God, Compani­ons of Angels, and Inheritors of the Kingdom of Hea­ven. They are under the protection of the Almighty; [Page 92]under the guidance of his Holy Spirit; under the care and tender love of that great and glorious Lord, who is the Prince of all the kings of the earth, and hath all power in heaven, as well as earth, invested in him. For the Church is the house and family of God, nay the temple of the living God, (2 Cor. VI. 17.) for he hath said, as it there follows, I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and will be their God, and they shall be my people: I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord God Almighty.

These things are great indeed, and exceeding glorious.

But not content with these priviledges, which are as a Royal Diadem, and Crown of Glory, on the Head of the Church; there are those who would adorn her with prouder Titles: and set her forth in an adulterous dress, and a presumptuous glory; making her, in a manner, equal to her Head, the Lord Christ. For they have snatcht one of the incommunicable properties of God, and fixt it, as a Jewel, on the top of the Churches Crown: telling us that she is an infallible Guide, who cannot mislead us. That is, though she may go astray, and play the Harlot, in life and practice, yet she cannot err, nor mistake in her judgment: So that if we listen to what she says, we shall never wander, but always be in the right.

For the proof of this, they first suppose themselves to be the Church of Christ, and they alone: and then they abuse this place of Holy Scripture, to assert this Divine Prerogative to be in his Church; that is, in themselves. But I have exposed the bold folly of these pretences, by showing, that the Church here spoken of is the Church of Ephesus; and that Timothy was the principal Pillar and Ground of Truth in this Church. Which doth not signifie, I have shown, that either the Church, or Timo­thy, were the very Foundation of the Christian Faith, [Page 93]upon whose credit the Authority, the Truth, and Cer­tainty of all Religion depends: but the Supporters of the Truth; who testified, maintained, upheld, and propaga­ted the Faith of Christ.

For the more full understanding of which, I shall briefly show (before I proceed to the last thing propoun­ded) first what power it is that we herein ascribe to the Church; particularly to the Bishops and Governors thereof: Secondly, what power it cannot pretend unto, nor ought to be yielded to any Church, or Person what­soever.

I. As for the first of these, what the power is we al­low the Church, when we say it upholds, maintains and testifies to the Truth, it is as much as to enquire of what Authority the Testimony of the Church is, how much it ought to weigh with us, and how far we ought to yield to it: to the Testimony, for instance, of the pre­sent Church of which we are Members (for it hath as much Authority as any other) when it propounds Truth to us, and presses it upon our belief. Are we to believe it, meerly because the Church saith it?

In answer to which we affirm, that the Testimony of the Church, is that whereby we are both informed of the Truth, and induced, as by the first external motive to Faith in Christ. Mr. Hooker calls it the Key, as others do the Door, which lets us into the knowledge of the great Mystery of Godliness, which is preserved in this House of God.

If we allow it not this, we allow it nothing: nor can it, or any Person in it, be said to be a Pillar and Ground of Truth, unless it do something to the bringing us ac­quainted with the Truth; which it propounds and sets before us, and testifies to be that which Christ hath left with his Church, to be delivered down to all Generati­ons. [Page 94]For it conveys the Holy Scriptures to us, and calls upon us to consider and study them: that therein, by the help of the Pastors of the Church (to whom this Of­fice, I have shown, principally belongs) we may find all necessary Truths, in order to our Salvation. Which Testi­mony being the Testimony of Men, that profess Faith­fulness, Honesty and a good Conscience, as the great thing in their Religion, is the highest of all humane Testimo­nies: and cannot but work very strongly and powerfully upon Mens minds, when Christians are such as they profess to be: and as they are, it ought to work thus far upon all sorts of Men, even upon those who are out of the Church; as to incline them to have a reverend re­gard to that Faith and those Scriptures, and to look into them and consider them; which they see such multitudes of People, and some of them very wise, as well as devout, constantly esteem as the very Truth of God, transmitted to them from his Son, by the Apostles, who attended on him from his first appearing, till he went to Heaven.

This moved S. Austin when he was yet in part an In­fidel, being a Manichee, to believe the Gospel, according to that famous Discourse of his, in answer to the Epi­stle of Manichaeus, which contained in a manner the whole Belief of that party; Ego non crederem Evangelio, nisi me Ecclesiae Catholicae authoritas commoveret Tom. VI. contra Episto­lam Fandamen­ti, Cap. 5.; which is to be thus translated, according to the Phrase of the Asricans, I had not believed the Gospel, unless the Autho­rity of the Catholique Church had moved me thereunto. For it is evident (as hath been shown by our Writers, since the beginning of the ReformationD. Whita­keram de sa­ [...]a Sc [...]i [...]t. Q. 3. cap. 8.) he speaks of himself when a Manichee, as the words immediately fol­lowing declare, Those whom I obeyed when they said, Be­lieve the Gospel; why should I not obey when they say, Do not believe Manichaeus? Which doth not signifie that the credit of the Gospel, is founded upon the Churches Au­thority, [Page 95]but that this was the first motive to incline him to look into the Gospel, and consider it as a Divine Book, which would inform him in the way of Salvation. Thus he explains himself in the very foregoing Chapter, where setting aside the sincere Wisdom taught in the Church, which they would not believe, he reckons up abundance of other things, which might serve to keep him in the Catholique Church, viz. the consent of People and Na­tions, &c. and then thus concludes: These numerous and great, and most dear tyes of the Christian name, may very well hold a Man that believes in the Catholique Church; although by reason of the slowness of his under­standing, or the defects of his life, the truth do not yet show it self most openly unto him. Whereas among the Manichees there were none of these things to invite, or to hold him, but a bare promise of Truth wherewith they made a noise: which if they could have shown so manifestly that it could not be doubted, he confesses it was to be preferred before all those things, whereby he was held in the Catholique Church.

Which words are an evident proof that he speaks of the Authority of the Church, as only moving and in­ducing him to believe the Scriptures, and to joyn him­self to their Society, before the TRUTH was mani­fested to him; which he was to sind there (in the Scri­ptures) and which he preferred before the Authority of the Church. Which he, elsewhere, tells the Donatists was not to be believed upon its own credit;L. de unitate Ecclesie, cap. 16. But whe­ther they hold the Church, let them not show but from the Canonical Books of the Divine Scriptures: for we neither do not say that we ought to be believed, because we are in Christ's Church, because that Church which we hold was commended to us by Optatus, or Ambrose, or other innumerable Bishops of our Communion, or because it is approved by Councils, or because Mira­cles [Page 96]are every where wrought in it: These and such like things, are therefore to be approved, because they are done in the Catholique Church: but it is not therefore ma­nifested to be the Catholique Church, because these things are done in it. Our Lord Jesus himself, when he rose from the dead, and offered his Body to be toucht as well as seen by his Disciples, lest they should think there was any fallacy in it, judged it meet rather to con­firm them by the testimonies of the Law, and the Prophets and Psalms; showing how all things were fulfilled, which were predicted. And so he commanded his Church, saving, that repentance and remission of sin should be preached in his Name, beginning at Hierusalem. This he testified was written in the Law, the Prophets and Psalms: this we hold commended from his Mouth. These are the Documents, these the Foundations, these the strong Grounds of our Cause. We read in the Acts of the Apostles of some Believers, that they sought the Scri­ptures daily, whether those things were so. What Scri­ptures? but the Canonical Books of the Law and the Prophets: to which are added the Gospels, the Apostoli­cal Epistles, the Acts of Apostles, and the Revelation of S. John. Search all these, and bring forth something manifest, whereby ye may demonstrate the Church, ei­ther to have remained only in Africa, or to be to come out of Africa, &c. This is an illustrious Testimony, he thought the Church it self was to be warranted by the Scriptures, which did not therefore receive their Au­thority from the Church, but give it all the Authority it hath. And after all, it was not the Authority of the present Church barely that moved him when he was a Manichee; but of the Catholique Church from the be­ginning. Occham Fr White's Answer to Fisher's se­cond Con­ference, p. 24. thinks he speaks of the Church in the Apostles times alone, which moved him to Believe. And others (as Gabriel Biel) confess he speaks of the [Page 97]Authority of the Church, à tempore Christi & Apostolo­rum, &c. from the time of Christ and of the Apostles down to his days.

Such Authority cannot but weigh [...] much, even with those that do not yet believe, if [...] [...]eriously pon­dered: but much more with those, that are already Chri­stians. Whether they be Novices and weaklings, who are as yet doubtful in the Faith, though in the Church: the Testimony and Authority of it, ought to confirm and quiet their minds (as it did S. Austin's, it appears by the place before-named) and keep them close to the Christian Society, till they may themselves come better acquainted with the Truth, and more fully understand the Holy Scriptures, which the Church delivers to them, and puts into their hands, as the Word of God. Or whether they be more grown Christians (and indeed all sorts of Persons in the Church) who ought to be so far wrought upon even by its Authority, as to be perswa­ded thereby to read constantly, to consider and ponder seriously, and to practise those plain Lessons faithfully, which the Holy Scripture teaches them; till it work ef­fectually upon their hearts, and purge them so through­ly from all bad affections, that they may more perfectly understand the Truth.

Thus much is indisputable; for God hath appointed outward means for the conveying Divine Truth, to our Belief; and this means is ordinarily the Church: to which we ascribe these two great things, in this business.Answer to Charity mi­staken, Sect. V. First, the office of a Witness, testifying the Autho­rity of Holy Scripture to us: Secondly, of an Instrument in Gods Hand, to lead us into the understanding of the Scriptures, and by its Ministry, in preaching and ex­pounding them, to beget a Divine Faith in us.

But further than this, we cannot, we must not go. For the last resolution of our Faith is not into the Testimony [Page 98]of the Church, but into the Testimony of God himself, which we find recorded in the Holy Scripture, delivered by the Church unto us. Thus S. Austin most admirably discourses in that very Book against Manichaeus Cap. XIV. contra Epist. quam vocant Fundamenti. his Letter, from whence the fore-named saying, (I had not believed the Gospel, unless the Churches Authority had mo­ved me to it) is wont, at every turn, to be objected to us, by those of the Romish perswasion. Thou dost nothing, but praise what thou believest, and deride what I believe. Now since I can be even with thee, and do the very same, praise what I believe, and deride what thou believest; what is to be done? but that we leave and relinquish those, who in­vite us to know things certain; and afterwards require us to believe things uncertain (let those of the Roman Church mark this) and that we follow them, who invite us first to believe, that which we cannot yet see into; that being made stronger in the Faith it self, we may come to understand what we believe: NOT MEN NOW, BUT GOD HIM­SELF INWARDLY ESTABLISHING AND IL­LUMINATING OUR MIND.

It is impossible to read this passage, and not see that this Father thought our Faith is not ultimately resolved into the Testimony of the Church: but by that, being invited to believe the Holy Scriptures, we are established (upon the serious reading of them) in the Christian Faith, and Knowledge of the Truth, by God himself. Upon whose Word, in the Holy Scripture, and not upon Men, we bottom our Faith. Upon the Testimony and Authority of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: and the Testimony of divine Men, inspired by them; who by Miracles, and Signs, and mighty Deeds, and a prophetical Spirit, proved themselves to be sent of God; and have left his Mind and Will upon Record in the Scriptures of Truth. Which the Church indeed, in all parts of the World hath kept and preserved, and faithfully [Page 99]transmitted down to us; and now propounds to our Faith: but it is not merely what the Church saith, that makes us believe; but what God himself saith in the Holy Scriptures, concerning his Son Jesus Christ; and what Jesus Christ saith, concerning his rising from the Dead, and sending the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles. Which being fulfilled, evidently proved him to be the Son of God, the Saviour of the World: and them to be his Apostles, and Ministers, who declared to Men the true way of Salvation.

So the Church directs and guides us to the Scriptures of Truth; but they resolve and assure our Faith, being the very Word of God. The authority of God's Church is the first motive, which leads us to esteem the Scri­ptures: but being led thither, we find in the matter of them that which gives us full satisfaction, by bestowing our pains in reading, or hearing, and considering the My­steries contained therein. The Church holds out this light to us; but it is by this light that we see what is the mind and will of God. To this the Church points us, and bids us attend to it; for this it disposes and prepares us; it leads us by the hand to this as the on­ly sure foundation of our Faith; (because herein we find God himself speaking to us) and moreover by the Ministery of the Church we are assisted in under­standing the sence of the Holy Scriptures: but they contain in themselves that Divine Authority and Truth, whereby we come to a certain Faith. The Church tells us such and such things are true; and we find them to be so, by examining the Scriptures. Which the Beraeans searched daily, whether those things were so, which the Apostles preached: and therefore many of them believed; not merely because the Apostles told them they ought so to do, but because they found what they said, in the Holy Scriptures, XVII. Act. 11, 12. [Page 100]And so far as any Church speaks according to the truth contained therein, it is to be believed and follow­ed. But if it bring no Divine word for its warrant, if it propound other Doctrines, which are not there, it hath no authority to make such Doctrines, the matter of our Faith: much less, to set up its own authority above the Scriptures; as they do who say, The Scriptures re­ceive their authority from the Church Which is the Doctrine of no less Men than Baronius and Bellarmine, to name no more.

The former ofAd Annum 53 [...] X, XI. which argues, that because we receive these Holy Books, to be writings of the A­postles and Evangelists, and not forged under their Names, upon the testimony of the Church; therefore all the writings of the New Testament, received their authority from the Churches tradition; which is fun­damentum Scripturarum, as he ventures to say, the foun­dation of the Scriptures. The otherL. 2. de Sacrament. C. 25. Tertium. is no less po­sitive, that if we take away the authority of the pre­sent Church, and the present Council, we call in doubt the whole Christian Faith. For the firmness of all an­cient Councils, and of all Doctrines, depends upon the au­thority of the present Church.

This is very presumptuous talk: for by the Church they mean themselves; and then by the testimony of the Church (that is their own testimony) they mean such a Divine witness, as assures us by its own autho­rity, without any other proof. Which are the great points of difference between us, in this matter. For we assert, first, that the office of leading Men to the Holy Scriptures, and so to Faith, belongs to every Church as much as to them: and, secondly, that no Church can bring People to Faith by its own testi­mony and authority, but by the Doctrine of the Ho­ly Scriptures: nor is any Church whatsoever to be [Page 101]heard in matters of Divine Truth, further than it can prove its Doctrines by the authority of God's Word, and teaches things agreeable thereunto.

II. Which leads to the Second thing; briefly to shew what power and authority the Church cannot pretend unto in matters of Faith.

1. And, first, it appears by what hath been said, that it hath not a Soveraign, Absolute, Prophetical au­thority, independent upon the Rule of the Holy Scri­ptures: so that we must take whatsoever it saith for true, without consulting them. This is the ambitious pre­tence of the great Doctors of the Roman Church, who give the Church (meaning thereby the present Roman Church) an authority over all things, not depending on the Scriptures; but upon which the Scriptures themselves depend: So that without the authority of this Church, all truth is doubtful. Which is a manifest principle of Infidelity; making all Religion stand to the courtesie of a company of Men, who in such matters are the least to be trusted of all other Christians that we are ac­quainted withall.

2. The Church hath no authority to propound any Doctrine, as necessary to Salvation, which is not deli­vered in the Holy Scriptures; but depends solely on the authority of its own Tradition. This is another of their ambitious attempts, who having arrogated to themselves alone the whole power of the Church; make that power so unlimited, that it can supply the defects of the Scri­pture; and make things unwritten to become matters of Faith. Which is such an unbounded Prerogative, that we may have a new Faith, as often as they please to pretend a Tradition for it; though they cannot prove it. For we must rest in the authority of the present Church which affirms it; and that against the very Scripture it [Page 102]self, which tells us it is able to make a Man of God per­fect; and against the testimony of the Universal Church, which, I have shown, forbids the producing of any other Faith but that which was evidently delivered by the Apostles there.

3. We cannot allow the Church an Infallible authori­ty, that is, such an assistance in her Doctrines and pro­posals, that she cannot err in any thing she defines. In Controversies indeed arising about matters of Faith, we own and reverence the authority of the ChurchArtic. XX.; so as not to contest the publique judgement, but to prefer it before our own private conceits, in doubtful things. But as it ought to proceed in its determinations by the Rule of Gods word; So we think it possible it may mi­stake in the application of this Rule: and therefore we do not blindly resign our selves to its authority, with­out all regard to the Holy Scriptures; unto which the Church ought to have a respect in all its determinations. No, that's another proud pretence of the present Roman Church, that they cannot mistake in their definitions: and therefore we must submit unto them without exa­mination. From whence this intollerable mischief hath insued, that it hath made them both insensible of their errors, and careless to seek any cure of them, nay utter­ly incapable of a remedy. For as one of our own Di­vines excellently speaksDr. Petter's Answer to Charity mi­staken, Sect. 5. (whose words those are) this conceit of their Infallibility is to them both a suffi­cient reason for that which is most unreasonable; and a suf­ficient answer to that which is most unanswerable. To this they retreat upon all occasions, when they are not able to maintain their ground: they have no other way to defend their errors, when they are plainly set before their eyes, but to tell us confidently they cannot err. Which is a very strange boldness; for we demonstrate, in ma­nay instances, that they have erred; erred most grosly: [Page 103]particularly in this, that they have added new Articles to the old Creed, to be believed under pain of Dam­nation; and added a new Canon of Scripture to the Old Testament, against the clearest evidence in the Re­cords of the Universal Church, that the Books they have newly received, were never acknowledged for Ca­nonical Scripture.

If by the Church indeed, they would understand, the Church truly Catholique, the whole Body of Christ in all times, places and ages; and if by matters of Faith, they would understand those grand Articles which I have mentioned in the first part of this Discourse; and if by being Infallible, they would understand not an ab­solute impossibility of erring (which humane nature is not capable of) but not actual error: there are none of us make any question, but the Church is Infallible. That is, the whole Church hath not erred, nor shall not err, in the whole Faith, or in any necessary part there­of: for such error would cut Men off from Christ, the head; and so leave him no Church at all; which is impos­sible. It hath been the very scope of first my Discourse, to show that the Church hath always kept the great fun­damental truths of our Religion, and not erred in them; but transmitted them down to us, whole and undefi­led: till the Church of Rome, in the Council of Trent, corrupted the Faith, by their errors, which they have mixed with it.

For to a particular Church, such as that of Rome is, we cannot allow this priviledge of not erring: because we know they have erred, even in fundamental Truths, and thereby ceased to be Churches. Witness those glo­rious Churches, to which Christ himself sent his Letters, by S. John the Apostle.

These Prerogatives therefore not belonging to any Church: every one must be content with those two Of­fices before mentioned; which are sufficient. First, The Office of a Witness testifying the authority of the Holy Scriptures, unto its members: Secondly, of Gods instru­ment, by whose Ministry, in opening, expounding, and urging the Holy Scriptures, the Holy Ghost begets a divine Faith in us. And by performing these Offices, it supports, and continues, and propagates the Truth; and so may be called the Pillar and Ground thereof.

The meaning of which I shall now distinctly set be­fore the Readers eyes; that I may give a short account of the fourth and last thing propounded in the begin­ning.


How the Church may appropriate to it self this Title.

1. First, Every Church, and every person in it, es­pecially the Bishops and Pastors, are the Pillar and Ground of Truth, officio, by Duty and Office: whereby they are obliged to keep, maintain and uphold the Truth. This always was, and always will be incumbent on them; which is sufficient to fill up the sense of such attributes as these: which do not always note performance of Du­ty, but only obligation to it. As when our Saviour saith to his Disciples, Ye are the salt of the Earth: it doth not signifie that they were necessarily so (for he supposes immediately the salt might lose its savour) but that they ought to be so; and if they were not so, would be good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot. Matth. V. 13.

2. But Secondly, The first Churches of Christ, in the Apostles times, were actu & effectu, actually and effe­ctually the Pillar of Truth: that is, they faithfully dis­charg'd [Page 105]this Office, and perform'd their Duty, constantly maintaining the Truth as it is in Christ, in its purity and simplicity. For the Apostles were a part of those Churches, whom God led into all Truth: which they taught sin­cerely and intirely while they lived; and do at this day, instruct us, in the Holy Scriptures, in the whole Truth, necessary to our Salvation.

3. But we cannot say the same of all succeeding Churches, that they did faithfully perform this office, though in duty they also were bound so to do. No, some of them were so far from being Pillars of the Truth, that they let it fall to the ground. We have strange in­stances of it, with which I shall not fill these Papers, in the History of the Church: which show us that if we take not heed to our selves, and the Doctrine that is delivered to us, we have no security, that we, or any other parti­cular Church, shall continue firm and stedfast supporters of the Truth. For Pillars themselves may decay; and, if they be not well lookt after, will go to ruin, and fall to the Earth.

4. Even this very Church of Ephesus, which was a Pillar and Ground of Truth, while Timothy presided in it, afterward began, before all the Apostles were dead, to remit its first love and zeal for the Truth (II. Rev. 4.) and now is utterly subverted and not to be found. Which is a demonstration the Apostle did not in these words, intend to teach that the Church cannot err, but that (as I said) it is in duty bound, by its calling and Office, to preserve the Truth pure and intire. For he himself foresaw this Church would be haunted with grievous Wolves, after his departure (Act. XX. 29, 30.) who no doubt came in Sheeps clothing: as they also among themselves did, who he foretold would arise speaking perverse things to draw Disciples after them. And immediately after he had here called the Church or Ti­mothy, [Page 106]the Pillar of Truth; he admonishes him (in the beginning of the next Chapter, IV. 1, 2.) that there would be an apostasie from the Faith, as the Spirit ex­presly declared. For according to what our Saviour pre­dicted, there was scarce any Church, but the Enemy sowed Tares among the Wheat: which very much hindred the growth thereof. So we are informed by Hegisippus, a very ancient Christian Historian; whoFu [...]b. L. III. Eccles. Hist. c. 32. saith that as soon as the sacred Quire of Apostles were dead, and that Generation was gone, who had heard the inspi­red Wisdom with their own ears, then begun [...], a Conspiracy or Combination of impious or atheistical error, by the deceit of false teachers; who make a bare-sac't opposition to the Truth of the Gospel.

And yet for all this, the speech of the Apostle is pro­per enough: For a Church or its Pastor may be the Pillar of Truth, in regard of their duty, as I have often said, though they prove negligent in their Office. Just as the Priest among the Jews was called, the messenger of the Lord of Hosts, whose lips should so preserve knowledge, that the people should seek the Law at his mouth; because this was the end of his Office, for which he was ordain­ed: though at the same time, the Prophet complains, that they were departed out of the way, and caused many to stumble at the Law: and had corrupted the Covenant of Levi, Mal. II. 7, 8. The like we read in other places of the holy Book, that the Prophets were not true to their trust, but declared the visions of their own heart, not the Word of the Lord: and lead the people into error and falshood; feeding them with lies, instead of Truth.

5. Further I must observe, that there is no promise made to any particular Church, that it shall always be a Pillar of Truth: no not to the Church of Rome, which [Page 107]now so boldly lays claim, and that solely, to this priviledge. But quite contrary there is a terrible threatning to this very Church, included in that admonition which this very Apostle gives them. Which is sufficient to show that Christ gave no such priviledge to this Church, as that it should never err: but directly contrary, suppo­sed it might err, and err even to Apostasie; when he bids them take heed lest they were cut off by unbe­lief, as the Jews were, from the fellowship of the Saints. Read XI. Rom. 20, 21, 22. They (speaking of the Jews) were broken off by unbelief: and thou (speaking to the Roman Christians) standest by faith. Be not high minded, but fear. (hearken to this, O ye of the present Roman Church). For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but towards thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: OTHERWISE THOƲ ALSO SHALT BE CƲT OF.

From whence we may thus argue; if God had gran­ted to the Roman Church, the priviledge of being a Pillar of Truth, infallibly and immutably, unto all Ge­nerations; all these suppositions were vain, and these ex­hortations utterly needless and frivolous: for it would have been absolutely impossible, it should be cut off, and absolutely necessary it should continue. And yet the Apostle plainly supposes otherwise, and took it for granted it might fail. For these two are directly op­posite, to stand and to fall; to continue, and to be cut off; to be an Everlasting Pillar, and to be broken off. For it is proper to a Pillar to stand and support: but to be cut off, (as he supposes they might be) is to fall to the Ground, and not to be able to support ones self, much less others.

Now that they of that Church have gone far towards this condition (according to the Apostles supposition) by falsifying the Truth of Christ, even part of the Apo­stolical Faith (and so have not continued a firm and stedfast Pillar of Truth, but maintained and supported dangerous Errors and Heresies) is apparent from this alone, if there were no more: that they limit and con­fine the Catholique Church to themselves alone; and exclude all other Christians from it, who will not sub­mit to their Bishop and Decrees. The Impiety of which is so great, that it is not easie to be expressed: for it is in Truth, to make the Church not Catholique but Parti­cular. How new, false, sacrilegious, scandalous, schis­matical and heretical, this one Article of the Roman Creed is; one of our ownBishop Morto.. Bishops hath demonstrated evidently in a Book on purpose (to which I refer the Reader) which he had reason to call the GRAND IMPOSTURE.

It would inlarge this Treatise too much beyond my intention, or else it would be easie to show, both when they began to let Truth fall to the Ground, and how they proceeded to fail in their duty, and to betray their trust; till they quite altered the ancient Catholique Faith, in the Council of Trent. Which now they cry up as the great Pillar of Truth: when it did nothing but lend a lame support to the most notorious falshoods; which it established as Doctrines of Faith, when they were before but erroneous Opinions in that Church. I call it lame, be­cause of the numerous flaws that there were, both in the constitution, and in the proceedings of that Council; which make it of no Authority. For in the very begin­ning of itSess. IV., they decreed that no Man should wrest the Scripture, to a sense contrary to that which the holy mother-Church (i. e. themselves) hath held and holds. And so established all the Tenents of that Church, be­fore [Page 109]they examined them by the Scripture: and engaged themselves to contradict their own Decree, by wresting the Scriptures to their own sense, for the maintenance of what their Church then held. All the Bishops like­wise, there assembled, were sworn to support the Pa­pacy of the Roman Church, and the Rules of the holy Fa­thers: whereby they were obliged to maintain the Usur­pations of that See upon all the Bishops in the World; (whose Authority was thrown down, and thereby the Pillars of the Truth (as I have shewn them to be) trampled under foot, when Boniface was declared Uni­versal Bishop) and upon Kings and Princes, whom Hil­debrand trod under foot: yea upon the whole Church; over which Pope Leo exalted himself, when he got it declared in the Lateran Council, that he was above a General Council, and the Universal ChurchSess. XI.: being blasphemously called, by his flatterers, the Spouse of the Church, the Lyon of the Tribe of Judah. From which very Phrase of Spouse, no less Man than Bellarmine L. II. de Concil. Auctor. c. 17. himself labours to prove the Pope to be absolutely above the Ʋniversal Church, and above a General Council: be­cause it is contrary to the Apostle, and to the order of Nature, that the Wife should be above the Husband.

This is sufficient to show what we ought to think of the present Roman Church; which is so far from be­ing Infallible, that it hath erred more than any other Church.

6. But though there be no promise either to that or any other particular Church, of being preserved from Error, yet the Universal Church, in some part or other of it, we are sure will always be a Pillar and Ground of the whole Truth, necessary to Salvation: because our Saviour hath promised the gates of hell shall not pre­vail against it. That is, the Church shall be perpetual: which it cannot be, unless it hold the Truth intirely [Page 110]it is joyned to Christ its Head. And thus one of their own Cardinals [...] de [...] L. II. c. [...] L. III. [...]. understood the Infallibility of the Church, with which they now make so much noise. When we say, The Church cannot err in Faith or Man­ners, it must be thus taken, according to the Doctrine of the Fathers; that God doth so assist his Church to the end of the World, that the true Faith shall never fail out of the same. For to the World's end, there shall be no time, wherein some, though all, shall not have true Faith working by Love. Unto this exposition we heartily submit: but that the present Church of Rome, or indeed any other particular Church, cannot degenerate, and depart from the right Faith, we can by no means al­low; but think our selves bound by the most sacred tyes, to oppose these arrogant pretences, that the Church is Infallible, and that they are the Church. They are no more the Church, than any other company of Men, professing the Christian Faith: nor so much neither, for there are truer Believers than they. I have proved also that other Churches have erred, and therefore so may they: nay, they have erred, and that so grosly, as to be able by no other means to maintain their errors, but by pretending they cannot err.

And therefore let no Man be so forgetful of these things as to trust them to be his Guides; fancying they cannot mislead him. They have misled those that rely upon them; and have led them into a maze, or laby­rinth, in which it is impossible for them to find their way, and know what is the Truth. For if we should grant them their Church cannot err, they are not agreed, nor ever will, what they mean by the Church. Whether the whole body of Christian People (which is the new Heresie among them, as some of themselves call it) or a General Council, (which the learnedst and best Men among them maintain) or the Pope: who hath a [Page 111]great many on his side; but they cannot agree, about the manner of his definition (whether alone, or in a Ge­neral Council), nor about the time (whether at any time, or only when he resolves to publish Doctrines, as matter of Faith), nor about the matter (whether all things, even matters of fact, or only matters of Faith); and after all, no body can tell, when there is a true Pope. So that all their Faith falls to the Ground, and they cannot be certain of any thing they believe; be­cause they cannot be certain of the very Ground and Foundation of their Faith: which is their Church.

These things I have only briefly toucht (which are more largely handled in other Books) that the Readers may be sensible how happy they are who are freed from these Impostures. And that our People may know their duty, in this Church of England, whereof by the Grace of God they are Members; I shall conclude this Treatise with Six Considerations more: whereby the whole, I hope, will be made more useful.

I. First, I desire every one, to consider, from what I have said, that this Church, in which we are, is cer­tainly as much a Pillar and Ground of Truth, as any other: nay, more than many other Churches. For we openly profess and recite twice a day in our own Language, that every one may understand it, the whole Christian Faith, comprised in the Apostles Creed: with the explication of some part of this Faith, by the Ni­cene Fathers, once every week or more: and a more distinct Explication of the same Articles, by Athanasi­us, once a month. That is, we hold, and assert, and maintain, all those things which have always been, and are confessed by all Christians: the True, Ancient, Ca­tholique and Apostolique Faith; and the Holy Scriptures, wherein this Faith is Originally contained. And if [Page 112]we knew any thing else to be the mind of God, deli­vered to us from Christ and his Apostles, by the Uni­versal Church, we are prepared to receive it; and, did it appear, would immediately embrace and propagate it. But the Ʋniversal Church, as I have shown, hath declared this to be sufficient, nay full and perfect: and moreover, forbidden any other Faith to be either com­posed, or offered, to those who would become Chri­stians. To all which (that I have said in the First Part) this memorable saying of Pope Leo Epist. ad Pulcheriam Augustam. the Great may be added: The short and perfect Confession of the Catholique Symbol (or Creed) it self, which is sealed in as many sentences, as there were Apostles, (i. e. XII. Articles) is so instructed with Caelestial munition (or defence) that all the opinions of Hereticks, with this Sword alone, may be cut in pieces.

II. And therefore, Secondly, every one of us is bound, [...]nless we will betray our trust, and as we will answer it to our Lord Christ, the Author of our Faith, to hold fast this Faith, to preserve it intire, and to defend it: not suffering any of it to be lost, or any addition to be made to it, as if this were not sufficient to Sal­vation. Take fast hold of instruction, (of those great substantial, unquestionable Truths, mentioned in the be­ginning) let them not go, keep them, for they are your life: as Solomon speaks of Wisdom, IV. Prov. 13. They are the Wisdom of God our Saviour; the Rule which the Apostles preached equally among all Nations (as Ve­nantius Fortunatus Praefat. in Symbol. speaks) the comprehension, and perfection of our Faith (as S. Austin S [...]rm. CXV de Te [...]p., or an Ancient Au­thor under his name) the Test (as I have shown) and Mark, whereby the Faithful are distinguisht from Un­believers and Hereticks. And having this Note of a Christian; you ought neither to seek for, nor to admit [Page 113]of any other: being indued with this Wisdom, you ought to think your selves wise unto Salvation. And not be in the least moved with the bugbear name of Hereticks, or the empty noise of Damnation, which they of the Church of Rome thunder out against you. For they signifie nothing but the wrath-of those, who would drive you into the belief of that, by frights and terrors; into which they cannot draw you by solid proofs and arguments. Turn away your Ears both from the one and the other: for as the former is an in­significant sound, so the latter (all their Arguments) are but confident Sophistry. Which hath been, and is at this day, so evidently demonstrated by our Wri­ters: that they can have no excuse who are deceived by them.

III. And thus every one is bound to teach his Chil­dren diligently; instructing and confirming them in these main Points of Christianity: that so the Truth may live, when we are gone.

Consider, I beseech you, what a necessary duty this is. How should the Truth be preserved and supported, but by those that believe it? And how should they be­lieve it, who do not understand it? And how should they understand it, unless they be taught and instructed in it? And who so much concerned to instruct their Children, as they that brought them into the World? Their God-fathers and God-mothers indeed are engaged to see this done; but their Parents have a further, even a natural obligation to it. And therefore ought first of all diligently to inform themselves; and by attending to all the means of instruction, which they have in this Church, to increase in true Christian know­ledge: that they may be able to teach those who are committed to their care, and prepare them to be cate­chised [Page 114]and further instructed by those whom God hath set over them.

We are not Pillars and supporters of the Truth, but the betrayers of it; if we take no care about this. Which is one great reason why some have easily forsa­ken the true Religion here taught and professed, and condemned this Church (an horrid crime, if you serious­ly weigh the consequents of it) by renouncing Com­munion with it, as no part of the Body of Christ. Men may be soon perswaded, by confident talkers, to part with that, which they do not understand: es­pecially if they apprehend any danger in keeping it, or hope to gain by letting it go. Why should they haz­zard the least hair of their Head, for they know not what? Nay, why should they be at all concerned for it, any more than a Man is for the seed that is scattered in the High-way, from which he expects no Crop? To that, you know, our blessed Lord compared him that heareth the word of the Kingdom, and understandeth it not: for then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart, Matth. XIII. 19.

IV. You must endeavour therefore to profit by all such instructions as these: and to grow in the know­ledge of the Holy Scriptures; where God hath revealed his whole mind and will to you, and plainly publi­shed all those Truths, which belong to the great myste­ry of godliness. You ought, for instance, to take heed, how you wantonly and loosely interpret, or apply them, according to your own sudden or careless fancies (that's a great profanation of the Sacred Books) and yet you must not, for fear of this, be perswaded to throw them out of your hands; but rather with the more solemn, humble and reverend awe of God, upon your Souls, ponder and weigh what you read therein: especially [Page 115]those things which are plain and evident to every un­derstanding, that by the help of them, and of those whom God hath set over you to guide and direct your minds; you may either inform your under­standing in what appears to have difficulty in it, or satisfie your selves that it is not necessary you should understand it.

For they that would drive you from this hold of the Holy Scriptures, intend to deceive you; and would have you depend on that which is far more uncer­tain, than the meaning of any place of Scripture can be. There is no firm ground for us to stand upon, but on­ly this: which all acknowledge is the very word of God, and delivers that, which hath been ever accounted the substance of Christian Doctrines; in such words as every one may understand them.

And therefore this is, as I have said, the very foun­dation upon which the Church is built. Which is the Pillar of Truth, as it defends the Truth out of the Scrip­tures, and by the Scriptures, against all Hereticks and other opposers: and as it establishes and supports it, in the hearts of Men, by this means, that it may be con­tinued to Posterity. This must be added, for the ex­plication of all that hath been said; that the Church, and every person in it, great or small, are Pillars not by themselves, but by the Holy Scriptures. For we know those things that belong to our Salvation (as Irenaeus Adv. He­reses L. III. C. 1. begins his Third Book) by no other persons, than those by whom the Gospel came to us: which then truly they preached, but afterwards, by the will of God deliverd to us in the Scriptures, fundamentum & Columnam fidei nostrae futurum, to be the FOƲNDATION and PILLAR of our Faith. Upon these our Faith rests and relys: so that they who take the Scriptures from you, take away the Foundation and Pillar of that Truth, [Page 116]which is or ought to be taught in the Church, and that alone. They contain the mind and will of our Lord Christ: who himself being the first Foundation, and chief Pillar of all, Epiphanius Heres. LXIX. N [...]m. 35. applies these words to him. When he saith our Lord is called the door, because by him we enter in; and the way, because by him we walk; and the Pillar, because [...]; (the very words of S. Paul in this place) the ground, or settlement and stay of Truth. And in like manner S. Cyril L. III. de Adoral. in Sp. & Veritate. of Alexandria, saith the Pillar of a Cloud, and the Pillar of Fire, each of them represen­ted Christ, because first of all, [...], he is the Pillar and Ground of Truth; and then be­cause he cannot be shaken or disturbed, &c. which he repeats again upon another occasion, speaking of the pillars which supported the Curtains of the Tabernacle; Christ is to be understood, saith he,Ib. Lib. IX. in each Pillar, [...], &c. the prop of the Church, the Ground of Truth, according to the words of Paul. And in the next BookL. X. speaking of the four pillars which supported the Vail before the holy place; he saith that Vail was a figure of Christ, who was lifted up on high by the preaching of the Evangelists: and therefore he saith, the four Evangelists were typifi­ed by those four pillars: being equally eminent and pre­tious, more valuable than Gold and Silver.

Which shows that the Ancient Christians lookt upon the Church as the Pillar and Ground of Truth, no other ways, but as it professes, preaches, establishes, and keeps up, the Doctrine of Christ and of his Apostles, record­ed in the Holy Scriptures: unto all which they indiffe­rently apply these words of S. Paul, which are thought immediately to speak of the Church; which supports the Truth delivered in the Holy Scriptures, from Christ and from his Apostles.

Upon which account the Creed also, which is a com­prehensive breviary of the great Scripture Doctrines, is wont to have the same attribute given to it. Particu­larly by Epiphanius, In Ex­posit. fidei Ca­thol. n. 19. who calls it, [...], the Pillar (as the Greek word signifies in good Authors) or prop of Truth, &c. our life, our hope, and the assu­rance of immortality. And by S. Austin De Symbo­lo ad Catechum. L. III. C. 1., who tells the Catechumens in his Exposition of the Creed to them, that it is fidei Catholicae fundamentum, &c. the Foundati­on of the Catholique Faith, upon which the edifice of the Church arose, built by the hands of the Apostles and Pro­phets. Which hath made some learned MenJo. Camer. Jac. Ca­pellus. refer these words of S. Paul not to what goes before, but to the words following: making a full stop at God; and then beginning a new sentence, in this manner. The Pillar and Ground of the Truth, and without Controversie great is the mystery of godliness, &c. which reading is countenanced by a Greek Edition of the New Testament at Basil 1540. where the words are so pointed; as if the sence were this. God incarnate, and the great Truths de­pending thereupon; ought to be the very Foundation of the Doctrine thou preachest. The Doctrines of the Creed, that is, are the very Foundation and Pillars of the Christi­an Faith: as the Jews, it is known call, the great princi­ple of their Religion, the Foundation of the Foundation, the Pillar of Wisdom, as Maimon speaks when he treats of this matter.

Stick close therefore to the Holy Scriptures, and to these Articles of the Faith in the Apostles Creed, which are the fundamental truths of Christianity (it appears by what I have now said) by which the Church main­tains and defends the Truth, and the Truth upholds the Church, and we defend both.

Hold this fast, as the ground of all; and likewise lay up the word of God in your heart, that it may setle there, and take root, and bring forth fruit unto Holiness, that your end may be everlasting Life.

Make the Holy Scriptures your Rule, and trust to them, according to what the Son of Sirach saith of its ancient Books, Ecclus. XXXIII. 3. A Man of understand­ing trusts in the Law; and the Law is faithful to him as an Oracle, or, as the asking of Ʋrim. That is, here he may enquire, and have a certain answer which will not deceive him.

Show your selves such Men of understanding, as to enquire no where else. And if any Church or Person would have you enquire of them only; take that for an undoubted proof, they are not to be trusted. If they would not guide you by the Holy Scriptures, (that is, by Christ, the way, as you have seen, who hath shown us, no where else that we know of, what we ought to believe) if they would have you follow their unground­ed Traditions, whereby they would inlarge your Creed, beyond the ancient bounds: know that you ought not to follow them, nor be led by them. For such may soon cease to be the pillars and supporters of the Truth; because they leave that whereby they should support it, and place themselves (whom they call the Church) in the stead of it.

An evident sign they are not what they pretend: for the Church it self ought to be demonstrated by the Scri­ptures. So S. Austin L. de Ʋni­tate Ecclesiae, cap. XVI. tells the Donatists in those known words, which are worthy to be preserved in remem­brance. Setting aside all such things as these (which he had said they could likewise alledge) let them demon­strate their Church if they can, not in the discourses and rumours of the Africans, not in the Councils of their Bi­shops, not in the Letters of any disputers whatsoever, not [Page 119]in signs and fallacious wonders (for we are prepared and rendred cautious against these by the word of the Lord) but in the prescript of the Law, in the predictions of the Pro­phets, in the Songs of the Psalms, in the words of the SHEPHERD himself, (i. e. Christ) in the preach­ings and labours of the Evangelists; that is in all the Cano­nical authorities of the holy Books. Let this be done so, as not to gather and relate those things, which are obscurely, or ambiguously, or figuratively spoken there; which every one may interpret, as he pleases, according to his own sense. For such things cannot be rightly understood and expoun­ded; unless those things which are most clearly spoken, be first held by a firm Faith.

This is the very sense of the Church of England; which teaches all her members, first to hold by a firm Faith those things which are clearly revealed in the Holy Scri­ptures; and by them to understand and expound those things that are more obscurely delivered: believing no­thing to be necessary which is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby: nor receiving the Doctrines and De­crees of any Church, unless it may be declared that they be taken from thence. For haec sunt causae nostrae documenta, haec fundamenta, haec firmamenta (as he there speaks, you heard before) These are the proofs of our Cause, these are its foundations, these are its supports. And therefore, as he also speaks in another Chapter of the same BookCap. III. de Ʋnitate Ec­clesiae., which he begins thus. Let us not hear such speeches as these, These things say I, Those things sayest thou: but let us hear, These things saith the LORD. These are certainly Books of the Lord, to whose authority we both con­sent, we both believe, we both obey. There let us seek the Church, there let us discuss our Cause. And let us not so much as think of looking after any other Articles of Faith, but those which were from the beginning, [Page 120]which our Church firmly believes, in the three Creeds, Nice-Creed, Athanasius, and that commonly called the Apostles Article VIII. because they may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture. For after the Faith confessed and sworn in Baptism (as S. Hilary Ad Con­stantium Au­gust. speaks) we ought not quicquam aliud vel ambigere, vel innovare, ei­ther to doubt or innovate any other thing. It is absurd, that is, to doubt whether this be sufficient; or to add any other to it, as if this were not enough. So he interprets it a little after. Faith is still inquired after, as if there were no Faith already: Faith is to be written, as if it were not in the heart: being regenerated by Faith, we are now taught what to believe, as if that Regeneration were without Faith. We learn Christ after Baptism; as if there could be any Baptism, without the Faith of Christ. It is most safe for us (as it follows a little after) to retain that first and only Evangelical Faith, confessed and understood in Baptism.

V. And that a good and righteous cause may have good defenders and supporters; let us read the Holy Scriptures wherein this Faith is contained chiefly for this end, that we may order our steps, that is, our Lives and Conversation, according to the rule of God's word. Let us always remember, that our Religion is a mystery of godliness, as was shown before; in which we are not well instructed, if it do not teach us, to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously and godly in the World. Which is the best way also to continue in the Faith, [...] (as the Apostle speaks, most agreeable to these words, which he writes to Ti­mothy) grounded and setled, or stable and stedfast. Colos. I. 23. For they are the good ground, in the Church, who in an bonest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, [Page 121]and bring forth fruit with patience. Luk. VIII. 15. As much as to say; if we would stand fast in the Faith, and not fall away (as our Saviour saith, others would do in time of trial, v. 13.) we must, first, come to hear and read the word of God, with unprejudiced minds and upright hearts; desiring to know the Truth, and resolved to receive it, though never so contrary to our present inclinations and interests.

This is the honest and good heart, which (secondly) must keep and preserve in mind and heart, what it hath thus received: and not presently let it slip, or lay it aside, as a thing never to be thought of more, after we have heard it. And (lastly) we must, not only in a warm fit of zeal begin to put in practice what we learn, but, bring forth fruit with patience or conti­nuance.

This is the way both to draw others into the Church, and to continue our selves in it, and to make us con­stant defenders of the Christian Faith: That is, to do our part in this great Office, of being the Pillar and Ground of Truth. Which is a thing incumbent upon the whole Church, and consequently upon every one of us, who are members of it. And therefore re­member, that the Christian Religion, for which we are to be Zealous, is the acknowledgement of the Truth after godliness, as I said before, Tit. I. 1. It is the Doctrine of piety; to the study of which if we seri­ously and heartily apply our selves, it will be our best security against all impostures: and preserve us from the subtil and crafty insinuations of those who corrupt or pervert the Christian Doctrine: and finally be the most powerful means to make Christianity pre­vail in the World.

Remember the advice of S. Paul to this Church of Ephesus, Ephes. IV. 14.15. where you may find the true way to continue firm and stedfast, and not to be tossed about, as Children, with every blast of Doctrine, &c. and that is [...], by speaking, or rather fol­lowing the Truth in love: or (according to the Hebrew Dialect) being fixed and established, in the love of God and of one another. For the Hebrew word Aman (to which [...] answers) signifies not only to speak Truth, but likewise, to be firm and constant, fixed and establi­shed: which if we be, we shall have a settled, unmove­able confidence of God's Love and Favour towards us. For he that heartily loves God and his Neighbour, will never be startled, much less shaken, by their bold A­nathemas, though all the World should tell him, he shall be damned, if he do not believe this or that proposi­tion which they say is absolutely necessary to his Sal­vation: because there is something within him that gives them the lye, and assures him there is no truth in them, who say that God hates and will reject him, who be­lieves all the ancient Faith, which works by Love. God himself testifies the contrary, by making the Truth ef­ficacious in his heart, to purge him from all filthiness both of Flesh and Spirit: and by changing him into his own likeness, in Holiness, Love, and Goodness. And the more thoroughly any Man is renewed in the spirit. of his mind; the more perfectly will he be assured, that they pronounce a false judgment upon him: and consequently be the more heartily resolved against that Religion, which makes men so liberal in pouring out Curses upon all them that do not embrace its novel opinions.

Which brings me to the last thing I would have con­sidered, that,

VI. We do not perform our duty, (I may safely af­firm, nay, confidently aver) we are not the Pillar and Stay of Truth, as we ought to be; unless every one of us in our several Places and Stations, oppose, with a be­coming Zeal, the Errors, Innovations, and Incroach­ments of the Church of Rome: who are the Men that are, of all other, most guilty of the, just-now named, Uncharitableness, or rather Pride and Cruelty. For they utterly un-Church us; and, as much as in them lies, cut us off from the Body of Christ; and bar the Gates of the Kingdom of Heaven against us. By this alone, if there were nothing else, we are sure they have grosly erred, and live in error; that they deny us to be a part of Christ's Church: who believe and confess with Heart and Mouth the whole Catholique Faith; every thing that is [...], confessedly, and by Uni­versal consent, the Ancient Christian Belief; in which the Apostles and Martyrs died, by which alone Righte­ous Souls, for many Ages, went to Heaven; know­ing nothing of the Pope's Supremacy, of Transubstantia­tion, of the Propitiatory Sacrifice of the Mass for quick and dead, and the rest of their new inventions.

We deserve not the name of Christians, no nor of Men, if we stand not up resolutely, against such usur­pations and corruptions of the Christian Doctrine, and maintain that Faith, which we profess and wherein we stand, to be the true Grace of God; the Faith once delivered to the Saints. Which is incumbent chiefly upon the Bishops and Pastors of the Church, who, I have shown, are the Principal Pillars of the Truth, (as Timothy was in the Church of Ephesus) and therefore ought to appear, with all their might, for the sup­port of God's true Religion here established: instru­cting, [Page 124]teaching, exhorting, all committed to their charge to be stedfast and immoveable in it to the death. And every honest hearted Christian ought to do the same, in his rank and condition, by following those instructi­ons, by fortifying himself against Romish delusions; by indeavouring to understand the Truth, and to detect their Errors.

Which are the more earnestly to be opposed, because the new Articles of their Creed, are not a Mystery of Godliness; but tend, many of them, to nurse Men up securely in their sins: such as the Doctrines of Pur­gatory, of Indulgences, of Penances, and (to name to more) of Infallibility: which being presumed, as an unquestionable Principle, is apt to lead Men in the most dangerous errors, and the foulest sins, without any re­medy or possibility of recovery, whensoever the Infalli­ble Guide shall propound them.

This pernicious Doctrine, I may add, seems also to be deeply rooted in all their minds; that an Orthodox Be­lief will save them. For this they make the great busi­ness of Christianity, to bring Men, as they think, to such a Faith: as appears by this, that let Men be ne­ver so bad, their labour is not bestowed to make them quit their Sins, but to bring them to their Belief; where, for any thing I can see or hear, they may quietly enjoy them. Nay, there are a number of lit­tle devices, to put them in hope of Heaven, without reforming their lives; provided they Believe as the Church Believes.

And in this let me beseech all that read these Pa­pers, to take a special care, that they do not imitate them. Let us be watchful, that we do not put a grea­ter Cheat upon our selves, than they would do: by imagining our selves good Christians, meerly because [Page 125]we Zealously oppose the Errors of Popery. That we ought to do; but not leave the great Thing, the amend­ing of our Lives, undone. For may we not destroy and pull down by a wicked life, as much as we build up by contending for the Faith? How can others think that we are so much concerned, as we seem to be for Truth; when we make no use of it; but let it lie dead in our minds? What pitty is it, that their hearts should not love that which is good, whose minds are inlightned to discern that which is true? That their understandings being convinced, their wills should not also be converted? It is a lamentable thing, to profess that we know God, but in our Works de­ny him. This makes us look as if we were of a Faction, rather than of the Faithful: who oppose o­thers rather as our Enemies, than as Christ's; as those that differ from us, rather than as those that differ from the Truth.

For if it be the Truth, that we Reverence, why do we not let it Rule and Govern us? Why do we not love to have it nearer to us, than in our Brains? even in our Hearts and Affections. For there is no greater Truth than this, that Ʋngodliness is the worst of Heresies; a wicked life the most opposite, of all other things, to the Christian Faith.

Let us never forget therefore that Admonition of the Apostle in the First Chapter of this Epistle to Timo­thy, v. 19. Hold faith and a good conscience: which he repeats again, in the Third Chapter to the Deacons, whom he exhorts, to hold the mystery of saith in a pure conscience, v. 9. For if we put away a good conscience, we may easily make Shipwrack, even of our faith. Which we have just cause to think, is the reason why some have fallen from this truly Apostolick Church of ours, [Page 126]Concerning which, and concerning whom, I may say, as Epiphanius Haeres XI. [...] 8. (putting this place, I have been expounding, and some others together) makes the A­postle speak to Timothy: It is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth: which many for­saking, are turned [...], to fables and foolish bablings: neither understanding what they say, nor whereof they affirm.


Books lately printed for Richard Chiswell.

THE History of the Reformation of the Church of England. By GILBERT BƲRNET, D. D. in two Volumes. Folio.

The Moderation of the Church of England, in her Reformation, in avoiding all undue Compliances with Popery, and other sorts of Phanaticism, &c. by TIMOTHY PƲLLER, D. D. Octavo.

A Dissertation concerning the Government of the Ancient Church: more parti­cularly of the Encroachments of the Bishops of Rome upon other Sers. By WILLIAM CAVE, D. D. Octavo.

An Answer to Mr. Serjeant's [Sure Footing in Christianity] concerning the Rule of Faith: With some other Discourses. By WILLIAM FALKNER, D. D. 4o.

A Vindication of the Ordinations of the Church of England; in Answer to a Paper written by one of the Church of Rome, to prove the Nullity of our Orders. By GILBERT BƲRNET, D. D. Octavo.

An Abridgment of the History of the Reformation of the Church of England. By GILB. BƲRNET, D. D. Octavo.

The APOLOGY of the Church of England; and an Epistle to one Signior Scipio, a Venetian Gentleman, concerning the Council of Trent. Written both in Latin, by the Right Reverend Father in God, JOHN JEWEL, Lord Bishop of Salisbury: Made English by a Person of Quality. To which is added, The Life of the said Bishop: Collected and written by the same Hand. Octavo.

A LETTER writ by the last Assembly General of the Clergy of France to the Protestants, inviting them to return to their Communion. Together with the Me­thods proposed by them for their Conviction. Translated into English, and Exa­mined, by GILB. BƲRNET, D. D. Octavo.

The Life of WILLIAM BEDEL, D. D. Bishop of Kilmore in Ireland. Toge­ther with Certain Letters which passed betwixt him and James Waddesworth (a late Pensioner of the Holy Inquisition of Sevil) in Matter of Religion, concerning the General Motives to the Roman Obedience. Octavo.

The Decree made at ROME the Second of March, 1679. condemning some Opinions of the Jesuits, and other Casuists. Quarto.

A Discourse concerning the Necessity of Reformation, with respect to the Er­rors and Corruptions of the Church of Rome. Quarto. First and Second Parts.

A Discourse concerning the Celebration of Divine Service in an Unknown Tongue. Quarto.

A Papist not Misrepresented by Protestants. Being a Reply to the Reflections upon the Answer to [A Papist Misrepresented and Represented]. Quarto.

An Exposition of the Doctrine of the Church of England, in the several Articles proposed by the late BISHOP of CONDOM, [in his Exposition of the Doctrine of the Catholick Church.] Quarto.

A Desence of the Exposition of the Doctrine of the CHƲRCH of ENGLAND, against the EXCEPTIONS of Monsieur de MEAƲK, late Bishop of Condom, and his VINDICATOR. Quarto.

An Answer to THREE PAPERS lately printed, concerning the Au­thority of the Catholick Church in Matters of Faith, and the Reformation of the Church of England. Quarto.

A Vindication of the Answer to SOME LATE PAPERS concerning the Unity and Authority of the Catholick Church, and Reformation of the Church of England. Quarto.

An Historical Treatise written by an AUTHOR of the Communion of the CHƲRCH of ROME, touching TRANSƲBSTANTIATION. Where­in is made appear, That according to the Principles of THAT CHƲRCH, This Doctrine cannot be an Article of Faith. Quarto.

A CATECHISM explaining the Doctrine and Practices of the Church of Rome; with an Answer thereunto. By a Protestant of the Church of England. Octavo.

A Papist Represented and not Misrepresented: Being an Answer to the First, Second, Firth and Sixth Sheets of the Second Part of the [Popish Repre­senter]; and for a further Vindication of the CATECHISM, truly re­prsenting the Doctrine and Practices of the Church of Rome. Quarto. In 3. Discourses.

The Lay-Christian's Obligations to read the Holy Scriptures. Quarto.

The Plain Man's Reply to the Catholick Missionaries. 24o.

The Protestant's Companion: Or an Impartial Survey, and Comparison of the Protestant Religion as by Law established, with the main Doctrines of Po­pery. Wherein is shewn, that Popery is contrary to Scripture, Primitive Fa­thers and Councils; and that Proved from Holy Writ, the Writings of the Ancient Fathers, for several hundred Years, and the Confession of the most Learned Papists themselves. Quarto.

A Discourse of the Holy Eucharist, in the two great points of the Real Presence and the Adoration of the Host. In Answer to the two Discourses lately printed [Page]at Oxford on this Subject. To which is prefixed a large Historical Preface rela­ting to the same Argument. Quarto.

The Pillar and Ground of Truth. A Treatise shewing that the Roman Church falsly claims to be That Church, and the Pillar of That Truth, mentioned by S. Paul in his First Epistle to Timothy, Chap. III. Vers. 15. Quarto.

A Brief Discourse concerning the Notes of the Church, with some reflections on Cardinal Bellarmin's Fifteen Notes. Quarto.

An Examination of the Cardinal's First Note, concerning [The Name of Catholick].

  • —His Second Note, [Antiquity].
  • —His Third Note, [Duration].
  • —His Fourth Note, [Amplitude or Multitude, and variety of Believers].
  • —His Fifth Note, [The Succession of Bishops].
  • —His Sixth Note, [Agreement in Doctrine with the Primitive Church].
  • —His Seventh Note, [Ʋnion of the Members among themselves, and with the Head].

(The rest will be published Weekly in their Order).

A Defence of the Confuter of Bellarmin's Second Note of the Church [Antiquity] against the Cavills of the Adviser. Quarto.

In the Press.

THE Peoples Right to read the Holy Scriptures asserted. In Answer to the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th Chapters of the [Popish Representer].

Two Discourses: Of Purgatory and Prayers for the Dead. Quarto.

A Short Summary of the Principal Controversies between the Church of Eng­land, and the Church of Rome. Being a Vindication or several Pr [...]testant Do­ctrines, in Answer to a late Pamphlet intituled [Protestancy destitute of Scri­pture Proofs].


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