Imprimatur Liber cui …

Imprimatur Liber cui Titulus, A Preservative against Popery, &c.

Guil. Needham, R. R. in Christo P. ac D.D. Wilhelmo Archiepisc. Cant. à Sacr. Domest.

A Preservative AGAINST POPERY: Being some Plain DIRECTIONS TO Vnlearned PROTESTANTS, How to Dispute with Romish Priests.

THE FIRST PART.

By WILL. SHERLOCK, D.D. Master of the Temple.

LONDON: Printed for William Rogers, at the Sun over against St. Dunstan's Church in Fleet-street. M DC LXXXVIII.

A PRESERVATIVE AGAINST POPERY.

The Introduction.

WHile so many Learned Pens are employed to such excellent purpose, in answering the Writings, and confuting the Doctrines and Practices of the Church of Rome, I cannot but think it a very useful Work to give some plain Directions to those, who are Vnlearned, who have neither Time to Read, nor Money to Buy, nor Abilities to Vnderstand more Learned Contro­versies. Our Divines indeed have taken great care to write short Tracts, with great Plainness and Perspicuity, and with as little unnecessary shew of Learning as may be, to fit them the better for Vnlearned Readers; and they have had, by the blessing of God, wonderful Success; Popery was never so generally understood, as it is at this day; the meanest Trades­men can now dispute against Popery with sufficient Skill and Judgment, and need not be beholding to the prejudices of Education to secure them: and therefore my business shall [Page 2] not be at present downright to state any one Controversie be­tween us, and the Church of Rome, but to direct our people, how to secure themselves against the Attaques of our Roman Adversaries, to check their conferring and disputing humour, or to baffle them. I shall reduce all into as plain a Method and as short a compass as I can, and show.

First, How to stop them at the beginning of their Dispute.

Secondly, Give some Rules about the Topicks, from which they dispute, such as Reason, Scripture, and the Authority of the Ancient Fathers and Writers of the Church.

Thirdly, How to answer some of their most popular pre­tences, such as the Vncertainty of the Protestant Religion, the Misrepresentations of Popery, &c.

Fourthly, To give some short Directions as to particular Controversies.

CHAP. I. How Protestants may prevent Disputing with Papists.

NOw I do not by this mean, that they should always avoid their company, and run away from them where-ever they meet them, which is very ill Manners; though it is not adviseable neither to court such acquain­tance, or to make them our Intimates, when neither the obligations of Nature, nor other Civil or Political Rea­sons make it necessary; for Conversation many times prevails more than Arguments can do, and will as soon corrupt Mens Faith, as Manners.

Nor do I mean, that Protestants should obstinately re­fuse to discourse with Papists when they meet them; to [Page 3] hear what they have to say for themselves, and to give a Reason for their own Faith; this is not agreeable to Protestant Principles, to prove all things, and to hold fast that which is good; and yet this ought to be done with great prudence and caution too; for there are a sort of perverse Disputers, who are to be avoided according to the Apostolick Precept, if any man teach otherwise and con­sent not to wholsome words, even the words of our Lord Je­sus Christ, and to the Doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strife of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmizing, perverse disputing of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing, that gain is godliness, from such withdraw thy self, 1 Tim. 6. 3, 4, 5.

Men of weak judgments, and who are not skilled in the Laws of Disputation, may easily be imposed on by cunning Sophisters, and such as lie in wait to deceive: The Church of Rome is very sensible of this, and there­fore will not suffer her people to dispute their Religion, or to read Heretical Books, nay not so much as to look into the Bible itself; but though we allow all this to our people, as that which God not only allows, but requires, and which all considering men will allow themselves, whoever forbids it; yet we do not allow them to be per­petual Seekers, to be always doubtful of their Religion, to be like children tossed too and fro with every wind of Do­ctrine. And therefore the liberty of Judging and Inqui­ring, which we allow, is only that they may understand the true Reasons of their Faith, and be well grounded in it, which Men may be, who are not able to answer eve­ry cavilling objection; but it is an abuse of this liberty, when men have itching ears, and hearken after all No­velties of Opinions, and grow wanton and Seeptical Dis­puters; and therefore it is very consistent with that liber­ty, [Page 4] which Protestants allow, to advise Christians to be very careful, how they, hearken to such, as Preach any new Doctrine, which they have not been taught, that the weak in Faith and knowledge, should not venture upon doubtful Disputations: that they should not be hasty to question, what they have believed, nor to give heed to new Doctrines; that they should not rely on their own understanding in these matters, but when they meet with any difficulties, should consult their Spiritual Guides, not to be finally determined by their Authority, as the Church of Rome requires, but to hear their Reasons, and what Answers they can give to such difficulties, as they them­selves cannot answer: with such cautions as these, we dare venture our people to hear and read, and enquire, as much as they please, and have not found yet, that our Roman Adversaries have been able to make any great impression upon such honest and prudent Inquirers. But that which I intend at present is of another nature, to teach our peo­ple a way to make these men sick of Disputing them­selves, to make them leave off those Impertinent and noisy squabbles, with which they disturb all company they come into: and this is no such mighty secret neither, as may be expected, but is very plain and obvious at the first proposal.

For when you are assaulted by such troublesome Dis­puters, only ask them, whether they will allow you to judge for yourselves in matters of Religion; if they will not, why do they trouble you with Disputing? for the end of Disputing is to convince, and you cannot be con­vinced, unless you may judge too: would they Dispute with a stone, that can neither hear, nor understand? or would they make a Speech to convince a Horse, that he is out of his way, and must take another Road, if he would return home? and do they not talk to as little purpose, [Page 5] and spend their breath as vain upon a man, who can hear indeed, and understand somewhat, but must not follow his own understanding? if they say, that you must judge for your selves, ask them, whether this be the Doctrine of their Church, that private men may judge for them­selves? whether this do not resolve our Faith into a pri­vate Spirit, which they say, is the Protestant Heresie, and the foundation of Protestant uncertainty? if they once open this gap to Hereticks into the Church, there is great danger, that more will run out at it, than will come in; and it is well if the Church itself staies behind; for what becomes of the Church of Rome, if all their glorious Cant of the Infallibility of Church, and Popes, and General Councils, be at last resolved into a private Spirit! while these men go about to Dispute Hereticks into their Church, they unavoidably give up the Cause of the Church, and of Infallibility, which is the way to Dispute a great many good Catholicks out of it, who are kept there only by the power of a blind and implicite Faith. Here then let our Protestant fix his foot, and not stir an inch, till they disown Infallibility, and confess, that every man can and must judge for himself in matters of Religion, according to the proofs, that are offered to him. For will a wise man Dispute with one, who, he knows, ban­ters him all the while? who appeals to his private judg­ment (as all men do, who dispute with one another) and at the same time cries down this private Spirit as the cause of Schisms, and Heresies, and Blasphemies, and every thing that is evil: no man of any spirit, but will scorn to dispute with one, who intends only to put a trick on him, and to out wit him if he can; and in truth it is no more to endeavour to dispute a man into Popery, when the Fundamental Principle of Popery is, that we must not Reason and Dispute, but believe; that we must take [Page 6] our Faith upon the Authority of the Church, without asking any questions about it. There are two or three things, which may be answered to this.

1. That though Disputing be not a proper way for Papists to take, yet it is the only way, that can be taken with Protestants, who are all for Disputing, and will believe nothing without a Reason, and therefore Prote­stants ought not to blame Papists for Disputing, unless they would be good Catholicks without it. Now in answer to this, I have something to say to Papists, and something to Protestants.

1. As for the Papists, what necessity soever they be in of Disputing, I desire to know with what face they can reproach Protestants with adhering to their own private judgments, when they themselves are such zealous Dis­putants, which is an Appeal to every private mans judg­ment: if ever they make any Converts, they must be beholden to mens private judgments for it, for I think men cannot change their Opinions without exercising a private judgment about it; and I suppose when they dis­pute with men to make them Papists, they intend to con­vert them by their own private judgments. Now what difference is there between mens using their private judg­ments to turn Papists, or to turn Protestants: one in­deed may be false, and the other true, but private judg­ment is private judgment still, and if it be so great a fault for men to use their own private judgments, it is as great a fault in a Papist, as it is in a Protestant. So that at least as to Converts, the Church of Rome has no ad­vantage in this particular over Protestant Churches; some by the exercise of their own Reason and judgment go o­ver to the Church of Rome, and some to the Church of England; some are disputed into Popery, and some into Protestantism: and therefore for the sake of their beloved [Page 7] Converts, and their beloved Disputations, they ought to be more favourable to a private Spirit: The truth is, by Disputing with Hereticks, they give up their Cause, and confess, that in all Disputes of Religion, there lies an Ap­peal to every mans private Judgment and Conscience; and should they lose this point by their Disputing, all the Converts they make, cannot recompence such a loss.

2. As for Protestants, though they have no other way to satisfie themselves, or to convince others, but by Reason and Discourse; yet this is no reason why they should Dispute with those men who disown the judg­ment of Reason, as a private Spirit. For why should I Dispute with any man who uses such Arguments to con­vince me, as he himself does not think a sufficient Reason of Faith? Ask then one of these Disputers, who alledges Scripture, Reason, and Antiquity, to prove any Do­ctrines of the Romish Faith; Do you, Sir, believe Tran­substantiation, the Worship of Images, the Invocation of Saints, Purgatory, Mass for the Dead, upon the bare Au­thority of these Scriptures and Fathers, you have pro­duced for them? If these Doctrines were not Defined by the Church, should you think these Arguments suffi­cient to prove them? or could you suppose, the Church had Defined the contrary, should you think the Argu­ments good still? In short, can any Reason, any Authori­ty of Scripture, or Fathers, be any Foundation for a Di­vine Faith, but onely the Authority of the Church? He that says, they can, is no Papist; and he that says, they cannot, confesses, that he uses such Arguments, as he him­self does not build his Faith upon: If you will believe them, you may; but though you do, you are no sound Believer, without resolving your Faith solely into the Authority of the Church. And, I think, he must love [Page 8] Disputing well, who will Dispute with such men as these; and those must have a good degree of assurance, who will be troublesome with their Disputes, after such a dis­covery. The end of Disputing, I suppose, is either to­convince, or to be convinced: but should you Answer and baffle all such a man's Arguments, if he be modest, it may be he may blush a little, but is not to be moved; for his Faith, after all, is not built upon these Arguments, but upon Church-Authority: and it is to no purpose for you to suffer your self to be convinced by these Argu­ments, for it will not make you a good Catholick, with­out resolving your Faith wholly into the Authority of the Church. It is certainly a very surprizing thing for a Protestant to be disputed into Popery; for as soon as he is converted, he must renounce the very means of his Conversion: He must use his own Judgment to turn Papist, and as soon as he is turned, he must renounce his own Judgment, and confess it to be of no Authority: Now though it may be such a private Judgment as leads a man to Popery, may as well deserve to be renounced, as any; yet it is an odd kind of contradiction, to re­nounce our own private Reason and Judgment, and yet to own our Conversion; methinks such men should re­nounce their Conversion too at the same time they re­nounce their Reason: for if their Conversion be good, it is a sign their Judgment was so; but if their Judgment be not fit to be trusted, methinks this should make them question their Conversion: And therefore they should either maintain the Reputation of their Judgment and Conversion together, and then they cannot be good Ca­tholicks, while they adhere to their own Judgment, or they should renounce them both together: nay, they must not onely renounce their own Judgments, as soon as they are Converted, but they must renounce the Authority and [Page 9] Validity of those very Arguments whereby they are Con­verted, whether from Scripture, Reason, or Fathers; they must confess, that these Arguments are not a sufficient Foundation for a Divine Faith, without the Authority of the Church; for it is a dangerous thing to allow any Authority to Scripture or Fathers, without the Church, for that may make men Hereticks; and yet, I suppose, when Hereticks are converted by these Arguments, it must be the force of the Arguments, and not the Au­thority of the Church, which converts them, unless they believed the Authority of the Church before they were converted; and that was a little to early for it. Now methinks when Protestants turn Papists, as they pretend, from the conviction of their own Reason and Judgment, and as soon as they are converted, are taught, that there is no relying upon their own Judgment, and that the Reasons whereby they were converted, are not good in themselves without Church Authority; if it were pos­sible for them ever to use their Reason more after such a change, it would certainly make them disown their Conversion; which, it seems, was the effect of a very fallible Judgment, and very uncertain and inauthentick Reasons.

2. There is another pretence for these Disputes, which may seem to answer this difficulty, that the intention of these Disputes, is onely to lead you to the Infallible Church, and set you upon a Rock; and then it is very natural to renounce your own Judgment, when you have an Infallible Guide. Our own Judgment then must bring us to the Infallible Guide, and when we have found him, we have no farther use for our own Judgment. I an­swer,

1. Should we grant this, it puts an end to all the par­ticular Disputes of Religion between us and the Church [Page 10] of Rome: We may Dispute on about an Infallible Judge, but they cannot, with any sence, Dispute with us about the particular Articles of Faith, such as Transubstantia­tion, the Sacrifice of the Mass, the Worship of Images, and the like; for these are to be learnt onely from the Church, and cannot be proved by Scripture or Fathers, without the Authority of the Church. And if they would confess this, they would save us, and themselves, a great deal of trouble: For why should they be at the trouble of writing such Arguments, or we to answer them, when they themselves confess, that the Arguments are not good, unless they be confirmed by the Churches Authority? I confess, I have often wondered to see such Volumes of Controversies written by the Roman Di­vines, for I could never imagine to what end they are writ. Is not their Faith wholly resolved into the Au­thority of the Church? what need Reasons and Argu­ments then, which cannot work Faith in us? Either these Arguments are sufficient to confirm the Articles of their Faith without the Authority of the Church, or they are not: If they are, then there is no need of Infallibility, since all the Articles of Faith are confirmed by such Rea­sons, as are a sufficient Foundation for Faith without it: And thus they give up all their Arguments for an Infal­lible Judge, from the necessity of such a Judge. If they be not, of what use are they? does the Decision of the Church need to be confirmed by such Arguments? If they are not good Arguments without the Authority of the Church, they can no more give Authority to the Church, than an Infallible Church can want any Autho­rity, but its own: Are they to convince Hereticks? but how if Hereticks should confute them? If they be not in themselves good Arguments, they may be confuted; and they know, by sad experience, that there are Here­ticks, [Page 11] as they call them, who have Wit and Learning e­nough to confute, what is to be confuted; and if they fall into such hands (which has been their hard fate of late) they are sure to be confuted: And, I doubt then, they had better have let them alone; for the Catholick Cause may suffer much in the Opinion of the World, when all their Arguments are confuted. All then that they can design by such Arguments, is to impose upon the Weak and Ignorant, when Learned Men are out of the way, which is no very commendable design; and that design will be spoiled too, if Unlearned Men do but learn to ask them the Question, Whether they build their Faith upon such Arguments? For then they must either quit the Authority of their Church, or the strength of their Arguments: The first reduces them to Protestant Uncertainty, for then they have no other Foundation for their Faith, than Protestants have; which resolves it self into the Reasons and Arguments of Faith: The second puts an end to Disputing about these matters; for no man needs answer any Arguments, which the Disputant himself acknowledges not to be good.

2. There is nothing left then for Dis [...]utation, and the Exercise of our private Reason and Judgment, but the inquiry after an Infallible Judge. And here also, before you dispute, it will be necessary to ask them, Whether the belief of an Infallible Judge, must be resolved into e­very mans private Judgment? whether it be not neces­sary to believe this with a Divine-Faith? and whether there can be any Divine Faith without an Infallible Judge? Certainly if ever it be necessary to have an Infallible Faith, it is so to be infallibly assured of an Infallible Judge, because this is the Foundation of all the rest: for though the Judge be Infallible, if I be not infallibly assured of this, I can never arrive to Infallibility in any thing; for [Page 12] I cannot be more certain, that his Determinations are Infallible, than I am, that he himself is Infallible; and if I have but a Moral assurance of this, I can be but moral­ly assured of the rest; for the Building cannot be more firm than the Foundation is: and thus there is an end to all the Roman Pretences to Infallibility. Now if we must believe the Infallibility of the Church, or Pope of Rome, with an Infallible Faith, there is an end of Dispu­ting; for no Reasons or Arguments, not the Authority of the Scripture it self, without an Infallible Judge, can beget an Infallible Faith, according to the Roman Doctors: For this reason they charge the Protestant Faith with Un­certainty, and will not allow it to be a Divine, but Hu­mane Faith, though it is built upon the firmest Reasons, the best Authority, and the most express Scripture that can be had for any thing; but because we do not pretend to rely on the Authority of a Living Infallible Judge, therefore, forsooth, our Faith is Uncertain, Humane, and Fallible: and this, they say, makes an Infallible Judge necessary, because without him we have no Infallible Cer­tainty of any thing.

Now if nothi [...] but an Infallible Judge can be the Foundation of an Infallible Faith, then it is to no purpose to dispute about such a Judge; for Disputing is nothing else but weighing Reason against Reason, and Argument against Argument, or Scripture against the pretence of Scripture; but whoever gets the better of it this way, no Reasons, or Arguments, or Scripture Proofs can beget an Infallible Certainty, which is necessary in this case; and therefore this is all lost labour, and they do but put a trick upon you, when they pretend to dispute you in­to the belief of an Infallible Judge; for they themselves know, and must confess, if you ask them, that the best and must convincing Arguments cannot give us an Infal­lible [Page 13] assurance of this matter; and yet unless we are in­fallibly assured of an infallible Judge, it is all to no pur­pose.

3. I can think but of one thing more, that can be said in this cause, viz. that it is manifestly unreasonable not to grant to the Church of Rome, that Liberty which all men and Churches challenge, to dispute for them­selves, and against their Adversaries: for when two men, or two Churches differ in matters of Faith, there is no other way to end the Controversie, but by disputing it out; whereas this Discourse will not allow them to dis­pute, nor any Protestants to dispute with them.

In answer to this, I grant, that the Charge is in a great measure true, and shews the absurdity of that Church and Religion, but does not disprove the reason­ableness of this method. If men will embrace such a Religion as will not admit of disputing, it is their own and their Religions fault, not the fault of those men who will not dispute with them. Now a Religion which leaves no room for the exercise of Reason and private Judgment, leaves no place for Disputes neither; for how shall men dispute, who must not use their own Reason and Judgment? They ought not to dispute themselves, if they be true to their own Principles; and no man ought to dispute with them, who will not be laugh'd at by them, and by all the World: For to dispute without Reason, is a new way of disputing, (though it is the only thing that can justifie the Romanists, and our late Disputants have been very careful to observe it;) and to dispute with Reason, is to use our private Reason in Religion, which is Protestant Heresie. Infallible men ought not to dispute, for that is to quit their Infallibili­ty; and fallible men are very unwise to dispute with them, because no good can come of it: for Reason can [Page 14] never confute their infallible Adversaries, nor make themselves infallible Believers.

But for the better understanding of this, I have two things to say. 1. That Papists may dispute against Protestant Heresies, as they call them, but cannot dis­pute for their own Religion. 2. Protestants may dis­pute against Popish Doctrines, and to vindicate their own Faith, but cannot reasonably be disputed into Po­pery.

1. That Papists may dispute against Protestant He­resies, but cannot dispute for their own Religion: And the reason of this difference is plain, because Protestants allow of Reason and Discourse in matters of Religion; and therefore they may be confuted, if good Reasons can be produced against them: And here the Roma­nists may try their skill; but the Religion of Rome is not founded on Reason, but on Infallibility; and there­fore is not the subject of a Dispute, because the truth and certainty of those Doctrines, is not resolved into the Reasons of them. They ought to alledge no other ground of their Faith, but the Infallibility of the Church; and they ought not to dispute about this neither: but those who will believe it may, and those who won't, may let it alone, because Infallibility is not to be proved by Reason; for Reason proves nothing infallibly, and therefore cannot give us an infallible certainty of the Churches Infallibility.

But you will say, if they have other Arguments for the truth of their Faith, besides the Infallibility of the Church, why may they not urge those other Reasons and Arguments to convince those, who will not own the Churches Infallibility? I answer, Because whatever other Reasons they have, their Faith is not resolved into them; and therefore it is not honest in them to urge [Page 15] those for the Reasons of their Faith, which are not the Reasons why they believed: For let me ask them, Sup­pose they may have very good Reasons for some of their Doctrines, do they believe them meerly because they are reasonable? If they say they do, then they be­lieve just as Protestants believe; and there is no need of Infallibility, when men believe nothing but what is reasonable; and it is pity that so good a thing as Infal­libility should serve only to support an unreasonable Faith.

Let me ask them again, Can they have a sufficient certainty, that these Reasons are good, without an in­fallible Judge? If they can, then the Faith of Protestants, which is grounded upon rational Evidences, may be very certain too, though it be not infallible; if they cannot, then their Reasons are none, since the very cer­tainty of them is resolved into an infallible Authority; and therefore they are no certain Reasons, that is, not such as a man may rely on, when they are separated from Infallibility; and consequently they ought never to be urged apart from Infallibility, because they them­selves do not think them good Reasons, that is, not a sufficient foundation of Faith alone: and then I know not why they should be urged at all; for Infallibility can stand by it self, without the support of any Reasons.

I ask them again, Would they reject those Doctrines which they think they can prove by such evident Rea­sons, did they see those Reasons as evidently confuted? If they would not, then it is plain, they do not believe them for the sake of those Reasons; for if they did, they would reject them, when all their Reasons were confu­ted: They only impose upon the World with a pre­tence and flourish of Reason, and set up a Man of Straw for Protestants to shoot at; but whatever be­comes [Page 16] comes of their Reasons, they have a safe Retreat into Infallibility.

If they believed any Doctrine because it is reasonable, if they will be true to themselves, they ought to reject all Doctrines, which are unreasonable, or contrary to Sense and Reason: He who believes for the sake of Rea­son, can never believe against it; for if Reason makes a thing credible, then what is unreasonable is incredible too; and we may as reasonably dis-believe what is con­firmed by Reason, as believe what Reason contradicts: and therefore it is not very modest to hear men talk of Reason in any case, who can believe such an absurd and unreasonable Doctrine as Transubstantiation.

Now whatever Opinion Protestants have of Reason, Papists ought not to pretend to it, because their Faith has nothing to do with Reason: it is a Reproach to an infallible Church and infallible Faith, to need the sup­ports of Reasons. And the truth is, those who will have nothing to do with Reason, Reason commonly has as little to do with them, but owes them a Shame, when­ever they pretend to her; and therefore they had as good let her alone.

2. Protestants may dispute against Popish Doctrines, and to vindicate their own Faith, but they cannot rea­sonably be disputed into Popery. When Papists alledge Scripture, Reason, or humane Authority for any Do­ctrines of their Religion, Protestants, who allow of the use of Reason in Religion, may examine and confute them: when Papists dispute against Protestant Do­ctrines, Protestants are concerned to vindicate their own Faith, or to renounce it; but if a Protestant understands himself and his own Principles, all the Disputes in the World can never make him a Papist. For to be a Pa­pist does not signifie meerly to believe Transubstantia­tion, [Page 17] or the Worship of Saints and Images, and such­like Popish Doctrines; but to resolve our Faith into the Infallible Authority of the Church, and to believe whatever the Church believes, and for no other reason, but because the Church teaches it. This is the peculiar and distinguishing Character of the Church of Rome, which divides it from all other Churches and Sects of Christians; and therefore our late Popish Writers are certainly in the right, to endeavour to bring the whole Controversie to this issue; not to dispute about particu­lar Doctrines, which follow on course, when once you believe the Church to be Infallible; but to perswade men that the Church is Infallible, and that the Church of Rome is that Infallible Church. Now I say, no un­derstanding Protestant can be disputed into this kind of Popery, and that for two plain Reasons. 1. Because no Arguments or Disputations can give me an infallible certainty of the Infallibility of the Church. 2. Because it is impossible by Reason to prove, that men must not use their own Reason and Judgment in matters of Re­ligion.

1. No Arguments can give me an infallible certainty of the Infallibility of the Church. The great Motive to any man to forsake the other Communions of Chri­stians, and to go over to the Church of Rome, is to attain an Infallibility in Faith, which is a wonderful good thing, if it were to be had; but though the Church of Rome were Infallible, and I should be convinced that there were some reason to think so, yet unless I can be infal­libly assured of it, my Faith is still as fallible as the Pro­testant Faith is; and I am no nearer to Infallibility in the Church of Rome, than in the Church of England. For as I observed before, unless I can have an infallible certainty of the Infallibility of the Church, I can have [Page 18] no Infallibility at all: Though the Church were infal­lible in all her Decrees, I can never be infallibly certain of the truth of her Decrees, unless I be infallibly certain that she is Infallible. It is a known Rule in Logic, that the Conclusion must follow the weaker part, and there­fore it is impossible to infer an infallible Faith from the fallible Belief of the Churches Infallibility.

And yet the best Reasons in the World (which is all that disputing can do, to offer Reasons for our Faith) cannot give us an infallible certainty, because Reason it self is not an infallible Principle, at least the Church of Rome dares not own, that any mans private Reason and Judgment is infallible; for then Protestants may set up for Infallibility as well as Papists. No man, by Reason and Argument, can arrive at a greater Certainty than Protestants may have, and yet no man can arrive at greater certainty in the way of disputing, than Reason and Argument can give him; and then a Popish Con­vert, who is reasoned into the belief of Infallibility, though he has changed his Opinion, yet has no more Infallibility now, than he had when he was a Prote­stant. Protestants, without an Infallible Church, may have all the Certainty that Reason and Argument can give them; and a Convert has no greater Certainty (if he have no more than what Disputing could give him) for his Infallible Church: And how is it possible then, that a reasonable man can be disputed out of the Church of England into the Church of Rome, upon such vain hopes of a more infallible certainty? for let him go where he will, if he be lead to Rome it self by his own fallible Reason and Judgment, (which is the only Guide he has in disputing) he will be the same fallible Crea­ture that ever he was. But to represent this the more familiarly, let us hear a short Conference between a sturdy Protestant, and a new Convert.

Prot.
[Page 19]

O, my old Friend! I am glad to meet you, for I have longed to know what change you find in your self, since you are become an Infallible Believer.

Conv.

I find, Sir, what I expected, very great ease and satisfaction of mind, since I am delivered from all doubt­ful Disputes in such an important concernment as the salvation of my Soul, and have a firm and sure Rock to trust to, such an Infallible Church as cannot err it self, nor mis-guide me.

Prot.

This, I confess, is a very great advantage; and therefore as we have been formerly of the same Church and Communion, I would be glad to keep you compa­ny also in so advantageous a change. Pray therefore tell me, how you came to be so infallibly perswaded of the Infallibility of your Church.

Conv.

With all my heart; and I shall be very glad of such company: and indeed there are such powerful Rea­sons for it, as I am sure must convince so free and inge­nuous a mind, as you always carry about with you. For Christ has promised to build his Church upon St. Peter, and that the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it—

Prot.

Hold, good Sir! Reason! Are you got no far­ther than Reason yet? Will Reason ever make a man infallible? I have considered all the Reasons that are used to this purpose, and know what to say to them, if that were our business; and the truth is, I have a great deal of unanswerable Reason, to stay where I am; and am a little surprized, to think that you, or any man, should leave the Church of England for want of Reason, or go to the Church of Rome for it: and therefore pray tell me the Secret, for there must be something else to make Converts, besides Reason.

Conv.

Then I perceive you take me for a Knave, who [Page 20] have changed my Religion for base secular Ends, with­out Reason.

Prot.

You know that best; but that was not my meaning: but the reason of my Question was, because you changed for an infallible Faith. Now if you rely still upon Reason, I don't see how your Faith is more in­fallible than mine: for I am as confident, as you can be, that I have as good Reasons for my Faith, and in my o­pinion much better, than you have for yours.

Conv.

I beg your pardon for that: I rely upon the Authority of an Infallible Church, you trust to your private Reason.

Prot.

And I beg your pardon, Sir: for I rely on the Authority of Scripture, which is as infallible as your Church.

Conv.

But you rely on your own Reason for the Au­thority of Scripture, and those particular Doctrines you draw from it.

Prot.

And you rely on your own Reason and Judg­ment, for the Infallibility of your Church, and conse­quently of all the Doctrines of it; and therefore your infallible Faith is as much resolved into your own fallible Judgment, as the Protestant Faith is: so that the diffe­rence between us is not, that your Faith is infallible, and ours fallible; for they are both alike, call it what you will, fallible or infallible; but the Dispute is, whe­ther your Reason and Judgment, or ours, be best: and therefore if you think your Reason better than ours, you did well to change; but if you changed your Church, hoping to grow more infallible by it, you were miserab­ly mistaken, and may return to us again: for we have more rational Certainty than you have, and you have no more infallible Certainty than we. You think you are reasonably assured that your Church is infallible, and [Page 21] then you take up your Religion upon trust from your Church, without, and many times against Sence and Rea­son, according as it happens; so that you have onely a general assurance of the Infallibility of your Church, and that no greater than Protestants pretend to in other cases, viz. the certainty of Reason and Argument; but have not so much as a rational assurance of the truth of your particular Doctrines: that if you be mistaken about the Infallibility of your Church, you must be miserably mi­staken about every thing else, which you have no other evidence for. But now we are in general assured, that the Scriptures are the Word of God, and in particular are assured, that the Faith, which we profess, is agreeable to Scripture, or expresly contained in it, and does not con­tradict either Sence or Reason, nor any other Principle of Knowledge. So that we have as much assurance of eve­ry Article of our Faith, as you have of the Infallibility of your Church; and therefore have at least double and trible the assurance that you have. But if you know the Reasons of your Conversion, I desire to know of you, What made you think, that you wanted Certainty in the Church of England?

Conv.

Because with you every man is left to his own private Reason and Judgment, the effects of which, are very visible in that infinite variety of Sects among you, which shews what an uncertain thing your Reason is, that so few judge alike of the power and validity of the same Reasons.

Prot.

And were you not sensible at the same time, that you were left to your own Reason and Judgment, when you turned Papist? Are you not sensible, that men do as little agree about your Reasons for Infallibili­ty, as they do about any Protestant Reasons? Do not I know the Reasons alledged by you for the Infallibility of [Page 22] your Church, as well as you do? And do we not still dif­fer about them? And is not this as much an Argument of the uncertainty of those Reasons, which make you a Papist, that they cannot make me a Papist, as the dissent of Protestants in other matters, is of the uncertainty of their Reasons? Could you indeed be infallibly assured of the Infallibility of your Church, I grant you would have the advantage of us, but while you found your belief of Infallibility upon such an uncertain Principle, as you think Reason is; if certainty had been your onely aim, you might as well have continued in the Church of England, as have gone over to Rome.

This abundantly shews what a ridiculous thing it is for a Protestant to be disputed out of his Church and Religi­on, upon a pretence of more infallible certainty in the Church of Rome: Were they indeed inspired with an in­fallible assurance, that the Church of Rome is Infallible, there might be some pretence for this; but an Infallibili­ty which has no better foundation than mens private Rea­son, and private Judgment, is no Infallibility, but has all the same uncertainties, which they charge on the Prote­stant Faith, and a great deal more, because it is not found­ed upon such great and certain Reasons.

The plain truth is, men may be taught from their In­fancy to believe the Church Infallible, and when they are grown up, may take it, without examination, for a first and self-evident Principle, and think this an infallible Faith: but men who understand the difference between the evidence of Reason and Infallibility, can never found an infallible Faith on Reason, nor think that a man who is reasoned into the belief of the Infallibility of the Church, is more infallible in his Faith, than a Protestant is: And such a man will see no reason to quit the Church of England, for the sake of an infallible Faith; for though [Page 23] they had an infallible Guide, yet Reason cannot give them an infallible assurance of it, but can rise no higher at most than a Protestant certainty.

2. It is impossible also by Reason to prove, that men must not use their own Reason and Judgment in matters of Religion. If any man should attempt to perswade you of this, ask him, Why then he goes about to dispute with you about Religion? whether men can dispute without using their own Reason and Judgment? whe­ther they can be convinced without it? whether his of­fering to dispute with you against the use of your Rea­son, does not prove him ridiculous and absurd? For if you must not use your Reason, why does he appeal to your Reason? And whether you should not be as ridi­culous and absurd as he, if by his Reasons and Arguments you should be perswaded to condemn the use of Reason in Religion? Which would be in the same act to do, what you condemn, to use your Reason when you condemn it. If you must not use your Reason and private Judg­ment, then you must not by any Reasons be perswaded to condemn the use of Reason; for to condemn is an act of Judgment, which you must not use in matters of Re­ligion. So that this is a point which no man can dispute against, and which no man can be convinced of by di­sputing, without the reproach of self-contradiction.

This is an honourable way of silencing these trouble­some and clamorous Disputants, to let them see, that their Principles will not allow of Disputing, and that some of their Fundamental Doctrines, which they impose upon the World, are a direct contradiction to all Disputes, for the very admitting of a Dispute, confutes them; and the meanest man may quickly say more in this Cause, than their greatest Disputants can answer.

CHAP. II. Concerning the several Topicks of Dispute.

SECT. I. Concerning Arguments from Reason.

2. THe next Direction relates to the Topicks from which they Dispute; which are, either Rea­son, Scripture, or the Authority of the ancient Fathers and Writers of the Christian Church; for the infallible Authority of Popes, or General Councils, is the thing in dispute between us, and therefore can prove nothing till that be first proved by something else.

1. To begin then with Reason: Now we do allow of Reason in matters of Religion; and our Adversaries pre­tend to use it, when they think it will serve their turn, and rail at it, and despise it, when it is against them.

Not that we make Natural Reason the Rule or the Measure of our Faith; for to believe nothing but what may be proved by Natural Reason, is to reject Revelati­on, or to destroy the necessity of it: For what use is there of a Revelation, or at least what necessity of it, if nothing must be revealed, but what might have been known by Natural Reason without Revelation; or at least what Natural Reason can fully comprehend, when it is reveal­ed? But though we believe such things, when they are revealed by God, which Natural Reason could never have taught us, and which Natural Reason does not see the depths and mysteries of; and therefore do not stint [Page 25] our Faith, and confine it within the narrow bounds of Natural Reason; yet we use our Reason to distinguish a true from a counterfeit Revelation, and we use Reason to understand a Revelation; and we Reason and Argue from revealed Principles, as we do from the Principles of Natural Knowledge: As from that Natural Principle, that there is but one God, we might conclude, without a Re­velation, that we must Worship but one God: so from that revealed Doctrine of one Mediator between God and man, we may as safely conclude, that we must make our Applications, and offer up our Prayers and Petiti­ons to God, onely by this one Mediator; and so in other cases.

Now to direct Protestants how to secure themselves from being imposed on by the fallacious Reasoning of Ro­man Priests: I shall take notice of some of the chief faults in their way of Reasoning; and when these are once known, it will be an easie matter for men of ordinary understandings, to detect their Sophistry.

1. As first, we must allow of no Reason against the Authority of plain and express Scripture: This all men must grant, who allow the Authority of Scripture to be superiour to Natural Reason; for though Scripture can­not contradict plain, and necessary, and eternal Reasons, i. e. what the universal Reason of Mankind teaches for a necessary and eternal truth; yet God may command such things, as we see no Natural Reason for, and forbid such things as we see no Natural Reason against; nay, it may be, when we think there are plausible Reasons a­gainst what God commands, and for what he forbids: But in all such cases a Divine Law must take place against our uncertain Reasonings; for we may reasonably con­clude, that God understands the Reasons and Natures of things, better than we do.

[Page 26]As for instance, when there is such an express Law as, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him onely shalt thou serve: No reason in the World can justifie the Wor­ship of any other Being, good or bad Spirits, besides God, because there is an express Law against it, and no Rea­son can take place against a Law. The like may be said of the second Commandment, Thou shalt not make to thy self any graven Image, nor the likeness of any thing which is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the wa­ters under the earth, thou shalt not bow down to them, nor worship them. Which is so express a Law against I­mage-Worship, that no Reason must be admitted for it. No man need to trouble himself to answer the Reasons urged for such Practices, for no Reasons ought to be al­lowed, nor any Dispute admitted against such express Laws.

This, I suppose, all men will grant: but then the diffi­culty is, What is an express Law? For the Sence of the Law is the Law; and if there may be such a Sence put on the words, as will reconcile these Reasons with the Law, we must not say then, that such Reasons are a­gainst the Law, when, though they may be against the Law in some sence, yet they are consistent with other sences of the Law; and it is most likely, that is the true sence of the Law, which has the best reason on its side.

It must be confessed, there is some truth in this, when the words of the Law are capable of different sences, and reason is for one sence, and the other sence against rea­son, there it is fit, that a plain and necessary Reason should expound the Law: but when the Law is not cap­able of such different sences, or there is no such reason as makes one sence absurd, and the other necessary, the Law must be expounded according to the most plain and [Page 27] obvious signification of the Words, though it should condemn that, which we think, there may be some rea­son for, or at least no reason against; for otherwise it is an easie matter to expound away all the Laws of God. To be sure all men must grant, that such Reasons as de­stroy the Law, or put an absurd or impossible sence on it, are against the Law, and therefore must be rejected, how plausible soever they appear: As for instance, Some there are, who to excuse the Church of Rome from Ido­latry in Worshipping Saints, and Angels, and the Virgin Mary, positively affirm, that no man can be guilty of I­dolatry, who Worships one Supreme God; as a late Au­thor expresly teaches: As for the Invocation of Saints, Reasons for Ab­rogating the Test, p. 133. un­less they Worship them as the Supreme God, the Charge of Idolatry is an idle word; and the Adoration it self, which is given to them as Saints, is a direct Protestation against Idolatry, because it supposes a Superiour Deity; and that supposition cuts off the very being of Idolatry. Now, not to examine what force there is in this Reason, our present inquiry is onely, How this agrees with the first Com­mandment, Thou shalt have none other Gods before me? be­fore my Face, as it is in the Hebrew: Which supposes an acknowledgment of the Supreme God, together with o­ther Gods; for otherwise, though they Worship other Gods, they do not do it before the Face of God, while they see him, as it were, present before them: to wor­ship other Gods in the presence of the Supreme God, or before his Face, as that Phrase signifies, is to worship them together with him; and therefore this is well ex­pressed by the Septuagint, by [...] besides me; which supposes that they Worshipped him too. And our Savi­our expounds this Law by,Matth. 4. 10. Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him onely shalt thou serve. So that this Reason, That there can be no Idolatry, where the Lord [Page 28] Jehovah is Worshipped as the Supreme God, contradicts the very letter of this Law.

How then does this Author get rid of the first Com­mandment? Truly by laying it all aside: for he gives this as the whole Sence of the first Commandment, That God enjoyns the Worship of himself, Ibid. p. 80. who, by his Almighty Power, had delivered them from their AEgyptian Bondage. But is this all that these words, Thou shalt have no other Gods before me, signifies? The Worship of God indeed is supposed in them; but the express words of the Law, are not for the Worship of the Lord Jehovah, but against the Worship of any other Gods, before him, or besides him: But according to our new Expositor, this is no part of the Law, though according to the express words, it is the principal, if not the whole meaning of it.

If this Argument be good, viz. That Idolatry is no­thing else, but the Worship of other Beings besides the Lord Jehovah, as Supreme Gods, then other Gods, in this Commandment, must signifie other Supreme Gods; and then the Commandment runs thus: Thou shalt have no other supreme Gods before me. Now this is a very absurd sence, because it supposes, that men may Believe and Worship more Supreme Gods than one; for if there can be but one Supreme God, and by Gods in the Com­mandment, be meant Supreme Gods, then it is absurd to forbid any man to have other Supreme Gods, because no man can acknowledge two Supremes: It should have been, Thou shalt not have any other God besides me, not Gods: For though it had been possible for them to have acknowledged some other God to be Supreme, and reje­cted the Lord Jehovah from being Supreme, yet they could not have other Supreme Gods. But it is evident, that God here forbids the Worship of a Plurality of Gods, of other Gods; and therefore they could not all be Su­preme Gods.

[Page 29]But suppose it had been any other God in the single number, yet to understand this of a Supream God, is very absurd; because there is no other supream God, but the Lord Jehovah, and those who worship but one Supream God, worship him, and none else. For a su­pream God is not to be pointed at, is not to be distin­guished by his Person or Features, as one man is distin­guished from another: indeed a Prince may properly say to his Subjects, You shall own none but me for your King, because they know his Person, and can distinguish him from all other men. But the Jews never saw God, nor any likeness or similitude of him; they were not acquainted with his Person, nor could they distinguish him from other Gods, by any personal Characters; they knew him only by his Notion and Character of the Supream Being, who made the World and all things in it, and brought them by a mighty hand out of the Land of AEgypt. Now does it not found very strange, that the Supream God, who is known only by this Character, that he is Supream, the great Creator and So­veraign Lord of the World, should make a Law, that we should worship no other Supream God but himself; when it is absolutely impossible, that he who worships a Supream and Soveraign God, should worship any o­ther God but himself▪ because he alone is the Supream God; and therefore those who worship the Supream God, under this Notion as Supream, worship him, and no other Being. So that if we will make sense of it, the meaning of the first Commandment is plainly this: Thou shalt not give Divine Honours to any other Be­ings, as to inferiour Gods, as the Idolatrous Practice of the World now is, which worships a great many things for Gods; but thou shalt worship only one Supream and Soveraign Being, the maker and Soveraign Lord of [Page 30] the World, which is I my self, the Lord Jehovah, who brought thee out of the Land of AEgypt, out of the House of Bondage. When the Supream God com­mands us to worship himself, the meaning must be, that we pay our Worship and Adorations to a Supream Be­ing, considered as Supream; and he who worships such a Supream Being, worships the true God, whom we can distinguish from false Gods only by this Character, that he is Supream: And when this Supream Being forbids us to worship any other Gods, it must signifie, that we must worship nothing which is not Supream, not that we must not believe that which is not Supream to be the Supream God; which would be ridiculous Nonsence, to command them not to own that Being for the Su­pream God, which they know not to be Supream.

But it may be said, that the Heathens did worship some Beings, who were not the Supream God, as Su­pream, as this Author tells us, they did the Sun, though no body told him so, that I know of; for Macrobius, whom he cites in this Cause, does not say, that they worshipped the Sun as Supream God, though he says that most of the Gods they worshipped did signifie the Sun: But suppose the Sun were the chief Object of their Worship, and look'd on as the greatest and most prin­cipal God, this does not prove that they worshipped it as the Supream God: for these are two very different things to be worshipped as the chief God, which such a People have, and to be worshipped under the Notion of Absolutely Supream. Some Pagan Idolaters might worship a Creature as their chief and greatest Deity, and might call it their great, their greatest God, because it is the greatest God they have; their King and Prince of Gods, as Mr. Selden tells us, they called the Sun, as being the chief Planet who directed and governed the [Page 31] Influences of the rest, not as the Maker of the World, as this Author asserts: But those who direct their Worship to a Supream and Soveraign Being, considered as absolutely Supream, infinite in all Perfections, the Maker and Governour of the whole World, can under this Notion worship no other but the Lord Jehovah, be­cause there is no other Supream God but he. Which shews that the first Commandment is so far from for­bidding the Worship of other Supream Gods, besides the Lord Jehovah, that to make sense of it, these other Gods must be expounded not of Supream, but inferiour Dei­ties; and it is so far from being the Notion of Idolatry, to worship other Supream Beings▪ besides the Lord Je­hovah, that it is Nonsence to suppose it. The true No­tion of Idolatry in the first Commandment, is to wor­ship some Inferiour Beings, together with the Supream God: It is a grosser sort of Idolatry, when men wholly neglect the Worship of the Supream God, and worship some Creature for their greatest and chiefest God; and it is worse still, when men worship bad Spirits, than when they worship good Spirits, together with the Supream God: but it is evident this Law condemns the Worship of any Inferiour Beings, though we do also worship the Supream God.

I shall give but one Instance more of this nature, and that is, the second Commandment, which in such ex­press words forbids the Worship of all Images, of what kind or nature soever. Now whatever Reasons men may imagine there are for the Worship of Images, they can be of no force against an express Law: And if these words be not express, Thou shalt not make to thy self any graven image, &c. I despair of ever seeing an express Law▪ For had God intended by this Law to forbid the Worship of any Images, under what notion or respects [Page 32] soever, I would desire to know what more significant and comprehensive words could have been used to have declared his mind, unless he had expresly rejected those false Interpretations, which the Patrons of Image-Wor­ship have since invented, but were never thought on at that time.

The same Author,Ibid. p. 30. whom I have so often mentioned, having expounded the first Commandment only to a positive sence, not to forbid the Worship of other Gods, but only to command the Worship of the Lord Jehovah, expresly contrary to the very letter and plain sense of the Law; agreeably to this, he makes the second Command­ment only to forbid the Worship of Idols or false Gods, and not that neither, unless they take them for the Su­preme Deity. His words are these:

‘In the next place, he forbids them the Worship of all Idols, i.e. as himself describes them, the likeness or simili­tude of any thing that is in Heaven above, or in the Earth beneath, or in the Water under the Earth. A plain and indeed a logical definition this, that Idolatry is giving the Worship of the Supream God to any created, corporeal, or visible Deity, or any thing that can be represented by an Image, which nothing but corporeal Beings can, and to sup­pose such a Being the Supream Deity, is the only true and proper Idolatry.’ Now let any man judge, whether this be not such a gloss as utterly destroys the Text.

As for his Worship of Idols, there is no such word in the Law, but Images, Likenesses, Similitudes; but yet I will not dispute about this, for an Idol does not only signifie a false God, but the Images either of false Gods, or false and corporeal Images of the true God. For the Idols of the Heathens, 135 Psal. 15. as the Psalmist tells us, are silver, and gold, the work of mens hands; which can relate to nothing but Images and Pictures: for corporeal Deities, [Page 33] which were made by God, are not the work of mens hands.

Now Idolatry, he says, is giving the Worship of the Supream God to any created, corporeal, or visible Deity, or any thing which can be represented by an Image, which nothing but corporeal Beings can. Now how plain and lo­gical soever this definition of Idolatry be, there is not a word of it in the Text. That forbids not the Worship of any created, corporeal, or visible Deity, (which is forbid in the first Commandment) but only the Wor­ship of Images, the likeness of any thing in Heaven, or Earth, or in the Water under the Earth. Now an Image differs from the thing whose Image it is. And it is a very strange Exposition of the second Commandment, which forbids nothing else but the Worship of Images, to take no notice of the Worship of Images as forbid in it. According to this gloss upon the Law, a man may worship ten thousand Images and Pictures, so he do not worship any visible and corporeal Deity, and not break this Commandment; which I think is not to give the sense of the Law, but to expound it away.

But how does the Worship of corporeal and visible Deities, and nothing else, appear to be forbid by this Law, which mentions nothing at all but the likeness of things in Heaven, and Earth, and Water? Why, our learned Author imagines that no Images can be made, but only for corporeal and visible Deities, because no­thing but corporeal Beings can be represented by an I­mage: which Conceit is worth its weight in Gold; for it evidently proves, that there are no Pictures of God the Father, nor of the Trinity, in the Church of Rome, because they are not corporeal Deities, and therefore can­not be represented by an Image: so miserably have all Travellers been mistaken, who tell us of a great many such Pictures, and not very decent ones neither. There [Page 34] can indeed be no Picture or Image to represent the like­ness and similitude of an incorporeal God, but yet the visible parts of Heaven and Earth, and the visible Crea­tures in them, may be represented by Images, and the Images of such visible things may be made the symbo­lical representations of invisible and incorporeal Deities; and such invisible and incorporeal Deities may be wor­shipped in the likeness and similitude of corporeal things; and then I am sure to forbid the Worship of Images may signifie something more than meerly to forbid the Wor­ship of some visible and corporeal Deities; for it may signifie the Worship of invisible and incorporeal Deities, by visible Images. But I perceive he imagined, that when God forbad them to make and worship the like­ness of any thing in Heaven, in Earth, or in the Waters under the Earth, he only forbad the Worship of those Beings, whose likeness or Images they made; whereas all men know, that those very Idolaters who worship­ped these glorious parts of the Creation, did not repre­sent them in their proper likenesses and figures; and that those who worshipped invisible and incorporeal Beings, did it by material and visible figures: which plainly proves, that when God forbad the Worship of Images, he had not respect meerly to visible and corporeal Dei­ties, but forbad Image-worship, whether they were the Images of visible and corporeal, or of invisible and in­corporeal Deities.

Our Author durst not say (as the Roman Advocates do) that God in the second Commandment only for­bids the Worship of Images as Gods; which is such glo­rious Nonsence, that he could not digest it: and there­fore he supposes, that God does not forbid the Worship of Images at all, but only of such corporeal Deities as may be represented by Images; which is a more gentile [Page 35] way of discarding the second Commandment, than to leave it out of their Books of Devotions. But if he will stand to this, he condemns the Popish Worship of dead Men and Women, for they are corporeal Deities; nay, of Christ himself, considered as a man, who might be represented by an Image or Picture. And thus I doubt he has done the Church of Rome no kindness at all: for this is a Demonstration against the Worship of Saints, and the Virgin Mary, because they are created, corporeal, and visible Beings, who may be represented by Images; and he has thought of an Argument against Images, which neither the Scripture, nor the Church of Rome, know any thing of: The Church of Rome thinks it a good Argument for the Images of Christ, and the Saints, and the Virgin Mary, that they are representable by I­mages and Pictures; and therefore there can be no hurt in such Images: And the Scripture perpetually urges that Argument against Images, that the Deity cannot be represented by an Image; but neither of these Argu­ments are good, if our Author's Notion be good: For then to worship such corporeal Beings, as may be re­presented by Images, is to worship corporeal Gods, which is Idolatry. And there is no danger in the Ima­ges of an incorporeal Deity, which cannot represent the God for which they are made; for whatever the Image be, this is not to worship a corporeal God, since we know him to be incorporeal, and therefore it is not Ido­latry.

But he has one Salvo still to excuse those from I­dolatry, who worship even corporeal Gods, (for he speaks not a word of worshipping the Images of any Gods) that they are not Idolaters, unless they worship such corporeal Gods, supposing them to be the Supream Deity; whereby he explains what he means by giving [Page 36] the Worship of the Supream God to any created, corporeal, or visible Deity; viz. to think such a God to be the Su­pream God, is to worship it as Supream. And thus those who worshipped the Sun, not thinking him to be the Supream God, but the chief Minister of Providence un­der the Supream God, with reference to this Lower World, as most of the Sun-Idolaters seemed to do, were not Idolaters. Nay, very few of the Philosophers, though they worshipped their Country Gods, were I­dolaters, because they either did not believe them to be any Gods, or at least not to be the Supream; as it is certain Socrates, and Plato, and Tully, and many others did not.

But it is plain, that to worship the Supream God, is not meerly to suppose him to be Supream; for St. Paul tells us, that there were some, who knew God, but did not worship him as God; and therefore there is an external and visible. Worship, which is due to the Supream God, as well as the belief, that he is Supream: And if this Worship which is due to the Supream God, be given to any Being which we our selves do not be­lieve to be Supream, we are Idolaters; and then though we do not believe the Gods we worship to be Supream, any kind or degree of Religious Worship, (or which is used as an Act of Religion, not as common and civil Re­spects) is Idolatry. This Commandment brings it as low as meerly bowing to an Image, and then I doubt no other Act of Religious Worship can escape the Charge of Idolatry.

But though it is not my business to persue this Au­thor, I cannot pass over the very next Paragraph, where he observes, Though there may seem to be two sorts of it, (this Idolatry in worshipping corporeal Beings) first ei­ther to worship a material and created Being, as the Supream [Page 37] Deity: Or secondly, to ascribe any corporeal form or shape to the Divine Nature, yet in result, both are but one; for to as­cribe unto the Supreme God any corporeal form, is the same thing as to worship a created Being, for so is every corporeal Sub­stance. Which is a very wonderful Paragraph: for thus some of the Ancient Christians, who believed God to be Corporeal, (as Tertullian himself did) but yet did not be­lieve that he was created, but that he created all things, were as very Idolaters, as those who Worshipped the Sun or Earth: And I would gladly know, who those men are, who ascribe unto the Supreme God, a Corporeal form, and yet think, that he was Created. I am apt to think they differ a little in their Philosophy from our Author, and did believe that a Corporeal Supreme Deity might be uncreated; and then, I suppose, there may be some difference also between their worshipping a Corporeal Created, and a Corporeal Uncreated God, at least if mens Belief and Opinions of things makes a difference, as this Author must allow; for, if I understand him, to Worship a corporeal Being, without believing it to be Su­preme, does not make them Idolaters, but if they be­lieve it Supreme, it does; and by the same reason, thô to Worship a Supreme Corporeal Created Deity (if that be not a contradiction) be Idolatry, yet to Worship a Corporeal, which they believe to be an uncreated Deity, is no Idolatry: For though I believe with our Author, that all corporeal Beings are Created, yet, I suppose, those who believed God to be Corporeal, did not believe, that every thing, that is Corporeal, was Created.

So that the first and second Commandments are very plain and express Laws, the one forbidding the Religious Worship of all inferiour Beings, corporeal or incorporeal, with or without the Supreme God, or forbidding the Worship of all other Beings but the Supreme God; the [Page 38] other forbidding the External and Visible Worship of a­ny material Images and Pictures: And though I am cer­tain, there can be no good Arguments to justifie such Practices as are forbid by these Laws, yet no Christian need trouble himself to answer them, for be they what they will, it is a sufficient answer to them, to say, That they are against an express Law.

2. Another Rule is, in matters of Faith, or in such things as can be known onely by Revelation, Not to build our Faith upon any Reasons, without the Authori­ty of Scripture. That this may be the better under­stood, I shall briefly shew what these things are, which can be known onely by Revelation, and therefore which every Protestant should demand a plain Scripture Proof for, before he believes them, whatever Reasons are pre­tended for them: As,

1. Whatever depends solely upon the will and ap­pointment of God, which God might do, or might not do, as he pleased. In such cases our onely inquiry is, What God has done? And this can be known onely by Revelation; for Reason cannot discover it, because it de­pends not upon any necessary Reason, but on the free and arbitrary appointment of God: as St. Paul tells us, That as no man knows the things of a man, 1 Cor. 2. 11. but the spirit of man, that is in him; so no man knoweth the things of God, but the spirit of God: That is, as no man can tell the se­cret thoughts and purposes of a man, nor how he will determine himself in matters of his own free choice and election: so what depends purely upon the will of God, is known onely to the Spirit of God, and therefore can be made known to us onely by Revelation.

Many such things there are in dispute between us and the Church of Rome, which depend so intirely upon the Will of God, that they may be, or may not be, as God pleases. As for instance,

[Page 39]No man, nor company of men, can be Infallible, un­less God bestow Infallibility on them; for Infallibili­ty is not a natural Endowment, but a supernatural Gift; and therefore no Reason can prove, the Bishop of Rome, or a General Council to be Infallible. God may make them Infallible, if he pleases, and if he pleases, he may not do it: and therefore our onely inquiry here is, What God has done? And this can be known onely by Re­velation.

Thus that the Church of Rome onely, and those Chur­ches that are in Communion with her, should be the Ca­tholick Church, and the Bishop of Rome the Oecumeni­cal Pastor, and the Center of Catholick Unity must de­pend wholly upon Institution, for nothing but the Will and Appointment of God, can give this Preheminence and Prerogative to the Church and Bishop of Rome, a­bove all other Churches and Bishops. No Reason then can prove this without plain and express Scripture to prove such an Institution.

Were there nothing in Scripture or Reason to prove, that the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is not a propiti­atory Sacrifice for the Living and the Dead, yet no Rea­son can prove, that it is: For the vertue and acceptati­on of a Sacrifice, intirely depends upon the will and ap­pointment of God, at least so far, that no Sacrifice can be Propitiatory without it: And therefore there can be no other proof, that the Mass is a propitiatory Sacrifice, but the declaration of God's Will and Institution, that it shall be so.

2. Those things also can be proved onely by Scripture, which are done in the other World, which is an unknown and invisible State to us, any farther than the Scripture has revealed it: and men may more reasonably expect to find out, by the power of Reason, what is done every [Page 40] day in China, or the most remote and unknown parts of the Earth, than what is done in the other World. And then there are a great many things wherein you must reject all pretences to Reason, any farther than it is supported by plain and evident Scripture. As to give some instances of this also:

1. No Reason can prove, that there is such a place as Purgatory, for that is an invisible place in the other World; if there be any such place, no man living ever saw it; and then how can any man know, that there is such a place, unless it be revealed? To attempt to prove, that there is such a place as Purgatory, meerly by Rea­son, is just as if a man, who had some general notion of an Inquisition, but never had any credible information, that there actually was any such place, should undertake to prove, by Reason, that there is and must be such a place as the Inquisition; though he would happen to guess right, yet it is certain his Reasons signified nothing; for some Countries have the Inquisition, and some have not; and therefore there might have been no Inquisition any where, how strong soever the Reasons for it might be thought to be. We may as well describe, by the power of Reason, the World in the Moon, and what kind of Inhabitants there are there, by what Laws they live, what their Business, what their Pleasures, and what their Punishments are, as pretend to prove, that there is a Pur­gatory in the next World, for they are both equally un­known to us; and if Reason cannot prove that there is such a place as Purgatory, nothing else which relates to Purgatory, can be proved by Reason.

2. Nor can we know what the State of Saints in Hea­ven is, without a Revelation, for no man has been there to see: the State of the other World is such things as nei­ther Eye hath seen, nor Ear heard, neither hath it entred [Page 41] into the Heart of man to conceive. And then I cannot understand how we should know these things by Rea­son.

The Church of Rome teaches us to Pray to Saints, and to flie to their Help and Aid: And there are a great ma­ny things which a wise man would desire to know, be­fore he can think it fit to pray to them; which yet it is impossible to know, without a Revelation: as, Whether the Saints we direct our Prayers to, be in Heaven? Which is very fit to be known, and yet can certainly be known but of a very few of that vast number, that are worshipped in the Church of Rome; the Apostles of Christ, and the Virgin Mary, we have reason to believe are in Heaven, and we may hope well of others, but we cannot know it: No man can see who is there, and bare hope, how strong soever, is not a sufficient founda­tion for such a Religious Invocation of unknown Saints, who, after all our perswasions that they are in Heaven, may be in Hell, or at least in Purgatory, where they want our Prayers, but are not in a condition to interceed for us.

Thus it is very necessary to know, what the power and authority of the Saints in Heaven is, before we pray to them; for it is to no purpose to pray to them, unless we know they can help us. The Council of Trent re­commends to us the Invocation of Saints, as of those who reign with Christ in Heaven, and therefore have power and authority to present our Petitions, and procure those Blessings we pray for. And if I could find any such thing in Scripture, it would be a good reason to pray to them; but all the Arguments in the World cannot prove this without a Revelation: they may be in Heaven, and not be Mediators and Advocates.

Thus, whatever their power and authority may be, it [Page 42] is to no purpose to pray to them, unless we are sure, that they hear our Prayers; and this nothing but a Re­velation can assure us of; for no natural Reason can assure us, that meer Creatures, as the most glorious Saints in Heaven are, can hear our soft, nay mental Prayers, at such a vast distance, as there is between Heaven and Earth.

Such matters as these, which Reason can give us no assurance of, if they be to be proved at all, must be pro­ved by Scripture; and therefore as the pretence of pro­ving these things by Reason is vain, so no Protestant should be so vain, as to trouble himself to answer such Reasons.

But you'll say, The Papists do pretend to prove these things by Scripture. I answer, So far it is very well; and I onely desire our Protestant to keep them to their Scripture Proofs, and to reject all their Reasons; and then let them see, what they can make of it. As for Scri­pture-Proofs, they shall be considered presently.

3. More particularly you must renounce all such Rea­sons, as amount to no more than some May-bes and Pos­sibilities; for what onely may be, may not be, and every thing that is possible, is not actually done. As for in­stance: When you ask these men, How you can be as­sured, that the Saints in Heaven can hear our Prayers? They offer to shew you by what ways this may be done: They may see all things in the Glass of the Trinity, and thereby know all things, that God knows. Which is but a may-be; and yet it is a more likely may-be, that there is no such Glass as gives the Saints a comprehen­sive view of all that is in God. Well, but God can re­veal all the Prayers to the Saints, which are made to them on Earth. Very right! we dispute not God's power to do this, but desire to know, Whether he does [Page 43] it or not; and his bare power to do it, does not prove that: But the Saints in Heaven may be informed of what is done on Earth, by those who go from hence thither, or by those Ministring Angels who frequently pass between Heaven and Earth: but this may not be too; and if it were, it would not answer the purposes of Devotion: for in this way of intercourse the News may come too late to the Saints, to whom we pray, for the Saints to do us any good: As, suppose a man pray to the Virgin Mary in the hour of Death, or in a great Storm at Sea, the man may be dead, and Ship wrackt before the Virgin knows of his Prayers, and may carry the first news of it into the other World himself. Such kind of May-bes and Conjectures as these, are a very sorry Foundation for an Infallible Church to build her Faith on.

4. You must reject also all such Reasons in Divine and Spiritual things, as are drawn from Earthly Patterns. A considering man would a little wonder, how a Papist should so punctually determine what is done in the o­ther World, without speaking with any one who has seen it, and without having any Revelation about it, as I have already observed; but whoever considers many of their Arguments, will soon find that they make this World the Pattern of the next, and reason from Sensible to Spiritual things.

Thus the true Foundation of Saint-worship is, that men judge of the Court of Heaven by the Courts of earthly Princes: The most effectual way to obtain any Request of our Prince, is to address our selves to some powerful Favourite; and they take it for granted, that all Saints and Angels in Heaven are such Favourites, and can obtain whatever they ask; and therefore they pray very devoutly to them, and beg their Intercession [Page 44] with God and their Saviour. Especially in earthly Courts the Queen Mother is supposed to have a power­ful influence upon the young Prince her Son; and there­fore they do not doubt but the Virgin Mary, the Mo­ther of Christ, can do what she pleases with her Son; And since it is generally observed, that Women are more soft, and tender, and compassionate, than men, they hope to gain that by her Intercession, which He, who died for them, would not grant without it; and there­fore they beg her to shew her self to be a Mother, that is, to take the Authority of a Mother upon her, and command her Son. Thus Princes and Great Men love to have their Pictures set up in publick places, and to have all civil Respects paid to them, which redounds to the honour of those whose Pictures they are; and there­fore they imagine that this is as acceptable to Christ and the Saints, as it is to Men; as if the other World were nothing else but a new Scene of Sense and Pas­sion.

Mankind is very apt to such kind of Reasonings as these; and indeed they can have no other, when they will undertake to guess at unseen and unknown things: But if there be any difference between the Court of Hea­ven and Earth, if pure Spirits, who are separated from Flesh and Sense, have other Passions and Resentments than Men have, that is, if we must not judge of spiritual things by Sense, of the Government of God by the Pas­sions of men, then such Reasonings as these may betray us to absurd and foolish Superstitions, but are a very ill foundation for any new and uncommanded Acts of Worship.

5. Never admit any Arguments meerly from the usefulness, conveniency, or supposed necessity of any thing, to prove that it is. As for instance: A Supream [Page 45] Oecumenical Bishop, and an Infallible Judge of Contro­versies, are thought absolutely necessary to the Unity of the Church, and certainty of Faith, and confounding of Schisms and Heresies. If there be not a Supream Pa­stor, there can be no Unity; if there be not an Infallible Judge, there can be no certainty in Religion; every man must be left to his own private Judgment, and then there will be as many different Religions, as there are Faces. Now if I thought all this were true, (as I believe not a word of it is) I should only conclude, that it is great pity that there is not an Universal Pastor and Infallible Judge instituted by Christ; but if you would have me conclude from these Premises, Ergo, there is an Universal Bishop and Head of the Church, and an Infallible Judge of Controversies, I must beg your pardon for that; for such Arguments as these do not prove, that there is such a Judge, but only that there ought to be one, and therefore I must conclude no more from them. Indeed this is a very fallacious way of Reasoning, because what we may call useful, conveni­ent, necessary, may not be so in it self; and we have reason to believe it is not so, if God have not appointed what we think so useful, convenient, or necessary: which is a truer and more modest way of Reasoning, than to conclude that God has appointed such a Judge, when no such thing appears, only because we think it so useful and necessary, that he ought to do it. These Directions are sufficient to Preserve all considering Pro­testants from being imposed on by the fallacious Reason­ings of Papists.

SECT. II. Concerning Scripture-Proofs.

2. LEt us now consider their Scripture-Proofs, though it is not choice, but necessity, which puts them upon this Tryal: When they have good Catholicks to deal with, a little Scripture will serve the turn, but He­reticks will be satisfied with nothing else; and therefore in disputing with them, they are forced to make some little shew and appearance of proving their Doctrines by Scripture; but they come very unwillingly to it, and make as much of a little, as may be. The truth is, there is Evidence enough, that they have no great confidence in the Scripture themselves, and therefore do not deal honestly and fairly with poor Hereticks, when they make their boasts of Scripture.

For did they believe that their Doctrines which they endeavour to prove from Scripture, were plainly and e­vidently contained in them, why should they deny the People the liberty of reading the Scriptures? If the Scri­ptures be for them, why should they be against the Scri­ptures? The common Pretence is, that those who are unlearned, put very wild sences upon Scripture, and ex­pound it by their own fancies; which in many cases in­deed is too true: but why should the Church of Rome be more afraid of this, than other Protestant Churches? If they think the Scripture is as much for them, as we think it is for us, why dare not they venture this as well as we? We are not afraid men should read the Scripture, though we see what wild Interpretations some put on them, because we are certain we can prove our Faith by Scripture, and are able to satisfie all honest men, who [Page 47] will impartially study the Scriptures, that we give the true sence of them; and if they believed, they could do so too, Why do they avoid this tryal, when ever they can? For though they admit People to dispute from the Scripture in England, where they cannot help it, yet they will not allow them so much as to see the Scriptures in Italy or Spain, where they have power to hinder it: Nay they themselves do in effect confess, that the peculi­ar Doctrines and Practices of their Religion, wherein they differ from all other Christian Churches, cannot be proved by Scripture. And therefore to help them out, where the Scripture fails, they fly to unwritten Tradi­tions, which they make of equal authority with the Scri­ptures themselves; which they would never do, were they not convinced, that the Scriptures are not so plain on their side, as to satisfie any man, who has not already given himself up to the Church of Rome with an impli­cite Faith.

And therefore, before you enter into any debate about the sence of any particular Texts of Scripture, and their way of proving their particular Doctrines from Scripture, ask them two Questions, without a plain Answer to which, it is to no purpose to dispute with them out of Scripture.

Ask 1. Whether they will allow the Holy Scriptures to be a complete and perfect Rule of Faith; that no Christian ought to receive any Doctrine for an Article of Faith, which cannot be proved from Scripture? This to be sure they must not allow, unless they will reject the Council of Trent, which gives as venerable an Authori­ty to Tradition, as to Scripture it self: Since then they have two Rules, Scripture and Tradition; when they pretend to dispute from Scripture, it is reasonable to know of them, whether they will stand to Scripture, and [Page 48] reject such a Doctrine if it cannot be plainly proved out of Scripture: For if they will not stand to this, they give up their Cause, and there is no need to dispute with them: For why should I dispute with any man from Scri­pture, who will not stand to the determination of Scri­pture? We Protestants indeed do own the Authority of Scripture; and what we see plainly proved out of Scripture, we must abide by: which is reason enough for us to examine the Scripture-proofs which are produ­ced by our Adversaries. But it is sufficient to make them blush, if they had any modesty, to pretend to prove their Doctrines from Scripture, when they themselves do not believe them meerly upon the Authority of Scri­pture, and dare not put their Cause upon that issue; which gives a just suspicion, that they are conscious to themselves, that their Scripture-proofs are not good, and should make Protestants very careful, how they are im­posed on by them. To dispute upon such Principles as are not owned on both sides, can establish nothing, tho' it may blunder and confound an Adversary; it is onely a tryal of Wit, where the subtilest Disputant will have the Victory; and it is not worth the while for any man to dispute upon these terms.

This is not to reject the Authority of Scriptures, be­cause the Papists reject it, which no Protestant can or will do, but it is an effectual way for men, who are not skil­led in Disputations, to deliver themselves from the troublesome Importunities of Popish Priests, when learn­ed men, who can detect their Fallacies, are out of the way. Let them but ask them, Whether all the peculiar Do­ctrines of the Church of Rome can be proved by plain Scripture-evidence? If they say, they can; then they must reject the necessity of unwritten Traditions, and acknowledge the Scripture to be a complete and perfect [Page 49] Rule of Faith. A point, which I believe, no understand­ing Priest will yeild. If they say, they cannot; ask them, With what confidence they pretend to prove that from Scripture, which they confess is not in it? Why they go about to impose upon you, and to perswade you to believe that upon the Authority of Scripture, which they themselves confess, is not, at least not plainly, con­tained in Scripture.

2. Ask such Disputants, who alledge the Authority of Scripture to prove their Popish Doctrines, How they themselves know what the sence of Scripture is, and how you shall know it? For it is a ridiculous undertaking to prove any thing by Scripture, unless there be a cer­tain way of finding out the sence of Scripture. Now there can be but three ways of doing this, either by an infallible Interpreter, or by the unanimous consent of Pri­mitive Fathers, or by such Humane means as are used to find out the sence of other Books.

I. If they say, we must learn the sence of Scripture from an infallible Interpreter: Tell them, this is not to dispute, but to beg the Cause. They are to prove from Scripture, the Doctrines of the Church of Rome; and to do this, they would have us take the Church of Rome's Exposition of Scripture. And then we had as good take her word for all, without disputing. But yet,

1. They know, that we reject the pretences of an in­fallible Interpreter: We own no such infallible Judge of the sence of Scripture. And therefore, at least, if they will dispute with us, and prove their Doctrines by Scri­pture, they must fetch their Proofs from the Scriptures themselves, and not appeal to an infallible Interpreter, whom we disown: Which is like appealing to a Judge in Civil matters, whom one of the contending Parties tlhinks incompetent, and to whose Judgment they will not [Page 50] stand; which is never likely to end any Controversie: and yet they cannot quit an infallible Interpreter, with­out granting, that we may understand the Scriptures without such an Interpreter; which is to give up the Cause of Infallibility.

2. One principal Dispute between us and the Church of Rome, is about this infallible Interpreter; and they know, that we will not own such an Interpreter, unless they can prove from Scripture, that there is such an one, and who he is. The inquiry then is, How we shall learn from Scripture, that there is such an infallible In­terpreter? that is, who shall Expound those Scriptures to us, which must prove that there. is an infallible Interpreter? if without an infallible Interpreter we cannot find out the true sence of Scripture, how shall we know the true sence of Scripture, before we know this infallible Inter­preter? For an Interpreter, how infallible soever he be, cannot interpret Scripture for us, before we know him; and if we must know this infallible Interpreter by Scri­pture, we must at least understand these Scriptures, which direct us to this infallible Interpreter, without his as­sistance. So that of necessity some Scriptures must be understood without an infallible Interpreter, and there­fore he is not necessary for the Interpretation of all Scri­pture: And then I desire to know, why other Scriptures may not be understood the same way, by which we must find out the meaning of those Texts which direct us to an infallible Interpreter? There are a hundred places of Scripture, which our Adversaries must grant, areas plain and easie to be understood, as those: And we believe it as easie a matter to find all the other Trent-Articles in Scripture, as the Supremacy and Infallibility of the Bishop of Rome. If ever there needed an infallible In­terpreter of Scripture, it is to prove such an infallible [Page 51] Interpreter from Scripture; but upon this occasion he cannot be had, and if we may make shift without him here, we may as well spare him in all other cases.

3. Suppose we were satisfied from Scripture, that there is such an infallible Interpreter, yet it were worth knowing, where his infallible Interpretation is to be found; for if there be such an Interpreter who never In­terprets, I know not how either they or we shall under­stand Scripture the better for him: Now, have either Popes or General Councils given us an authentick and infallible Exposition of Scripture? I know of none such: all the Expositions of Scripture in the Church of Rome, are writ by private Doctors, who were far enough from being infallible; and the business of General Councils, was not to expound Scripture, but to define Articles of Faith: and therefore we find the sence of very few Texts of Scripture Synodically defined by any General Coun­cil; I think, not above four or five by the Council of Trent. So that after all their talk of an infallible Inter­preter, when they undertake to expound particular Texts, and to dispute with us about the sence of them, they have no more Infallibility in this, than we have; for if they have an infallible Interpreter, they are never the better for him, for he has not given them an infal­lible Interpretation, and therefore they are forced to do as Protestants do, interpret Scripture according to their own skill and understanding, which, I suppose, they will not say, is infallible.

But you'll say, though the Church has not given us an infallible Interpretation of Scripture, yet she has given us an infallible Exposition of the Faith, and that is an in­fallible Rule for expounding Scripture. I answer, there is a vast difference between these two: for our dispute is not about the sence of their Church, but about the [Page 52] sence of the Scripture; we know what Doctrines their Church has defined, but we desire to see them proved from Scripture: And is it not a very modest and plea­sant proposal, when the dispute is, how their Faith agrees with Scripture, to make their Faith the Rule of expound­ing Scripture? Though, I confess, that is the only way I know of, to make their Faith and the Scriptures agree; but this brings the Scriptures to their Faith, does not prove their Faith from Scripture.

II. As for Expounding Scripture by the unanimous con­sent of Primitve Fathers: This is indeed the Rule which the Council of Trent gives, and which their Doctors swear to observe; how well they keep this Oath, they ought to consider. Now as to this, you may tell them, that you would readily pay a great deference to the una­nimous consent of Fathers, could you tell how to know it; and therefore in the first place you desire to know the agreement of how many Fathers makes an unani­mous Consent: for you have been told, that there have been as great variety in interpreting Scripture among the ancient Fathers, as among our modern Interpreters; that there are very few, if any controverted Texts of Scripture, which are interpreted by an unanimous con­sent of all the Fathers. If this unanimous Consent then signifie all the Fathers, we shall be troubled to find such a Consent in expounding Scripture; must it then be the unanimous Consent of the greatest number of Fathers? This will be a very hard thing, especially for unlearned men to tell Noses: we can know the Opinion onely of those Fathers who were the Writers in every Age, and whose Writings have been preserved down to us; and who can tell, whether the major number of those Fa­thers who did not write, or whose Writings are lost, were of the same mind with those whose Writings we have? [Page 53] and why must the major part be always the wisest and best men? and if they were not, the consent of a few wise men, is to be preferred before great numbers of other Expositors.

Again, ask them, whether these Fathers were Infalli­ble or Traditionary Expositors of Scripture, or whether they expounded Scripture according to their own pri­vate Reason and Judgment: if they were Infallible Ex­positors, and delivered the Traditionary sence and inter­pretation of Scripture, it is a little strange, how they should differ in their Expositions of Scripture, and as strange how private Doctors and Bishops should in that Age come to be Infallible, and how they should lose it in this; for now Infallibility is confined to the Bishop of Rome, and a General Council. If they were not Infalli­ble Expositors, how comes their Interpretation of Scri­pture to be so sacred, that it must not be opposed? Nay, how comes an Infallible Church to prescribe such a fal­lible Rule of interpreting Scriptures? If they expound­ed Scripture according to their own Reason and Judg­ment, as it is plain they did; then their Authority is no more sacred than their Reason is; and those are the best Expositors, whether Ancient or Modern, whose Ex­positions are backed with the best Reasons. We think it a great confirmation of our Faith, that the Fathers of the Church in the first and best Ages did believe the same Doctrines, and expound Scripture in great and concerning points, much to the same sence that we do; and therefore we refuse not to appeal to them, but yet we do not wholly build our Faith upon the Authority of the Fathers; we forsake them where they forsake the Scriptures, or put perverse sences on them; and so does the Church of Rome too, after all their boast of the Fa­thers, when they contradict the present Roman-Catholick [Page 54] as they do very often, though I believe without any malicious design, because they knew nothing of it.

However, ask them once more, whether that sence which they give of those Texts of Scripture, which are controverted between us and the Church of Rome, be confirmed by the unanimous consent of all the ancient Fa­thers: whether, for instance, all the ancient Fathers did expound those Texts, Thou art Peter, and on this Rock will I build my Church, and feed my Sheep, &c. of the personal Supremacy and Infallibility of Peter and his Successors the Bishops of Rome? Whether they all ex­pounded those words, This is my Body, of the Transub­stantiation of the Elements of Bread and Wine into the natural Flesh and Bloud of Christ? and those words, Drink ye all of this, to signifie, Let none drink of the Cup but the Priest who consecrates? and so in other Scriptures. If they have the confidence to say, that all the Fathers expounded these and such-like Scriptures, as the Doctors of the Church of Rome now do, tell them, you have heard and seen other Expositions of such Scri­ptures cited from the ancient Fathers by our Divines, and that you will refer that cause to them, and have it tried whenever they please.

III. There is no other way then left of understanding Scripture, but to expound it as we do other Writings; by considering the signification and propriety of words and phrases, the scope and context of the place, the rea­sons of things, the Analogie between the Old and New Testament, and the like: When they dispute with Pro­testants, they can reasonably pretend to no other way of expounding Scripture, because we admit of no other; and yet if they allow of this, they open a wide Gap for all Heresies to come into the Church; they give up the Authority of the Church, and make every man his [Page 55] own Pope, and expose themselves to all the senseless Rallery of their admired Pax Vobis. By this they con­fess, that the Scripture may be understood by Reason, that they can back their Interpretations with such pow­erful Arguments, as are able to convince Hereticks, who reject the Authority of an Infallible Interpreter; and then they must unsay all their hard Sayings against the Scriptures, That they are dark and obscure, dead Letters, unsenced Characters, meer figured Ink and Paper; they must recant all their Rallery against expounding Scri­pture by a private Spirit, and allowing every man to judge of the sence of it, and to chuse what he pleases: for thus they do themselves when they dispute with Hereticks about the sence of Scripture; and I am pret­ty confident, they would never speak against Scripture nor a private Spirit more, if this private Spirit would but make us Converts; but the mischief is, a private Spirit, if it have any tincture of Sence and Reason, sel­dom expounds Scripture to a Roman-Catholick sence.

So that in truth it is a vain, nay a dangerous thing for Papists to dispute with Protestants about the sence of Scripture; for it betrays the Cause of the Church, and vindicates the Scriptures and every mans natural Right of judging from the Usurpations and Encroach­ments of a pretended Infallibility: but yet dispute they do, and attempt to prove their Doctrines from Scripture. And because it is too large a task for this present Under­taking, to examine all their Scripture-Proofs, I shall only observe some general faults t [...]y are guilty of, which whoever is aware of, is in no danger of being imposed on by their Pretences to Scripture: and I shall not industriously multiply Particulars, for there are some few palpable mistakes, which run through most of their Scripture-Proofs.

[Page 56]1. As first, many of their Scripture-Proofs are foun­ded upon the likeness of a word or phrase, without any regard to the sense and signification of that word in Scripture, or to the matter to which it is applied: As for instance, There is not a more useful Doctrine to the Church of Rome, than that of unwritten Traditions, which are of equal Authority with the Scriptures; for were this owned, they might put what novel Doctrines they pleased upon us, under the venerable name of an­cient and unwritten Traditions. Well, we deny that there are any such unwritten Traditions, which are of equal Authority with the Scripture, since the Canon of Scripture was written and perfected, and desire them to prove that there are any such unwritten Traditions. Now they think it sufficient to do this, if they can but find the word Tradition in Scripture; and that we confess they do in several places: for Tradition signi­fies only the delivery of the Doctrine of the Gospel, which we grant was not done perfectly in writing, when those Epistles were written, which speak of Traditions by word, 1 Thess. 2. 15. as well as by Epistle. But because the whole Doctrine of the Gospel was not written at first, but de­livered by word of mouth, does it hence follow, that after the Gospel is written, there are still unwritten Tra­ditions of equal Authority with the Scripture? This is what they should prove; and the meer naming of Tra­ditions in Scripture, before the Canon was perfected, does not prove this: for all men know, that the Gospel was delivered by word of mouth, or by unwritten Tra­dition, before it was written; but this does by no means prove, that there are unwritten Traditions, after the Gospel was written. To prove this, they should shew us where it is said, that there are some Traditions which shall never be written, that the Rule of Faith shall al­ways [Page 57] consist partly of written, partly of unwritten Traditions.

Thus we know how zealous the Church of Rome is for their Purgatory-fire, wherein all men, who are in a state of grace, or delivered from the guilt of their sins, must yet undergo that punishment of them, which has not been satisfied for by other means. As profitable a Doctrine as a­ny the Church of Rome has, because it gives great Autho­rity to Sacerdotal Absolutions, and sets a good price upon Masses for the Dead, and Indulgences: and yet the best proof they have for this, is that Fire mentioned, 1 Cor. 3. 13, 14, 15. Every mans work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire, and the fire shall declare every mans work of what sort it is.—If any mans work shall be burnt, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, but so as by fire. Now here is mention of fire indeed; but how does it appear to be the Popish Pur­gatory? Suppose it were meant of a material fire, though that does not seem so proper to try good or bad Actions, a true and Orthodox or Heretical Faith, yet this fire is not kindled till the day of Judgment, which is eminent­ly in Scripture called the day, and is the only day, we know of in Scripture, which shall be revealed by fire, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, 2 Thess. 1. 7, 8. So that here is nothing but the word fire, applied to another Fire, than St. Paul ever thought on, to prove a Popish Purgatory.

Thus they make Confession to a Priest ordinarily ne­cessary to obtain the Forgiveness of our sins; and have no better Scripture-Proofs for it, but that we are often commanded to confess our sins, sometimes to God, and sometimes to another, but never to a Priest.

They have made a Sacrament of Extream Unction, [Page 58] wherein the sick Person is anointed for the Forgiveness of sins; and though a Sacrament ought to have the most plain and express institution, both as to the matter, and form, and use, and end of it, yet the only Proofs they produce for this, is the Disciples working miraculous Cures by anointing the sick with Oyl, 6 Mark 13, which methinks is a little different from the Sacrament of extream Unction, which is not to cure their sickness, but to forgive their sins; and St. James his Command, Is any sick among you, let him call for the Elders of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oyl in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up;5 Jam. 14, 15. and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Where anointing with Oyl, joyned with servent Prayer, is prescribed as a means of restoring the sick person to health again; and therefore is not the Popish Extream Unction, which is to be administred only to those who are dying: And though St. James adds, And if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him; yet, 1. This is not said to be the effect of Anointing, but of the servent Prayer: and 2. This very Forgiveness of sins does not refer to a ple­nary Pardon of sins in the other World, but signifies the removal of the visible and sensible punishments of sin, in restoring the sick person to health again. That though such sickness was inflicted on him for his sins, and possibly were the effects of Church-censures, which in those days were confirmed and ratified by bodily pu­nishments, yet upon his reconciliation to the Church, and the Prayers of the Elders, and the ceremony of A­nointing, he should be restored to health again, which was an external and visible remission of his sins, and should be a plenary pardon, if he brought forth the true and genuine fruits of repentance: This is very natural, [Page 59] and very agreeable to the scope and design of the Text, and differs as much from the Popish Extream Unction, as their greatest Adversaries could wish. Such kind of Proofs as these, are meerly the work of fancy, and ima­gination, and can impose upon no man who will but attend to the different use and signification of words.

2. Another grand fault our Roman Adversaries are guilty of is, that their Scripture-Proofs are always very lame and imperfect, that is, that they never prove their whole Doctrine from Scripture, but only some little part of it: They draw very fine and artificial Schemes, and if they can find some little appearance in Scripture to countenance any one part of it, they take that for a Proof of the whole. As for instance:

Thus they tell us, that Christ made Peter the Prince of the Apostles, and the Head of the Universal Church, his own Vicar upon Earth; and that the Bishops of Rome, who are St. Peter's Successors, succeed not only to his Chair, but to all the Rights and Prerogatives of St. Pe­ter; and therefore the Bishop of Rome also is the Head of the Church, the Oecumenical Pastor, who neither wants St. Peter's Keys nor Sword. This is a very nota­ble point, if it were well proved; but as I observed be­fore, this being a matter of pure institution, which de­pends wholly upon the Will of God, it can be proved only by Scripture: How much then of this do they pre­tend to prove from Scripture? Why, they will prove by Scripture, that St. Peter was the Prince of the Apostles, because Christ said unto him, Thou art Peter, and on this Rock will I build my Church: and I will give unto thee the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; and seed my Sheep: which indeed are lamentable Proofs, for the same Power was given to all the Apostles, 20 John 21, 22, 23. Then said Jesus unto them, Peace be unto you, as my Father sent [Page 60] me, even so send I you, all of you; and therefore not one in subjection to another, but all with equal Power: and when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whosoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosoever sins ye retain, they are retained: Accordingly on the day of Pentecost the Holy Ghost fell on them all, they were all endowed with the Gift of Tongues, and Miracles, and Prophesie; they all had the same Infallible Spirit, and therefore needed no superiour Head over them: They were to be separated into all parts of the World, where they could have no Communication with each other, and therefore could have no Universal Head. The History of the Acts of the Apostles gives not the least intimation of a­ny such Superiority, which either St. Peter challenged, or the other Apostles paid him; which are strong Pre­sumptions against such a Supremacy of St. Peter: and I suppose they themselves will grant, that all the rest of the Apostles were as Infallible as he.

But suppose we should grant them, that St. Peter was the chief of the Apostles, and had a kind of Primacy not of Government, but Order, how do they prove from Scripture, that the Bishop of Rome succeeds in all the Rights and Prerogatives of St. Peter? for unless this be proved, whatever Prerogative St. Peter had, it signi­fies nothing to them: and yet this cannot be proved, but by institution; for though Christ had bestowed a Primacy on S. Peter, yet unless he expresly grant it to his Successors too, nay to his Successors in the See of Rome, his Pramacy, as being a Personal Prerogative, must die with his Person: As a Prince may grant a Priority to Persons in the same Office and Power, may make a first Colonel, or a first Captain, but if these men to whom the Precedency is given, die or are removed, those who succeed in their Office and power, [Page 61] to the same Regiment or Company, do not therefore suc­ceed to their Priority too; for this did not belong to their Office, but to their Persons: and the King may give the Priority again to whom he pleases, or appoint them to suc­ceed in course, according to their admission into such Offi­ces. And by the same reason the Primacy of the Roman Bishops, who are St. Peter's Successors, does not follow from the Primacy of St. Peter, unless they can shew, that Christ has given them the Primacy also, as well as St. Peter; and this must be proved from Scripture, because it is matter of Institution, and no Arguments in the World can prove any thing, which depends solely upon an In­stitution, without proving the Institution: But this the Roman Doctors never pretend to, for they know, that there is not one word in Scripture about it; and nothing but the Authority of Scripture can prove a Divine Insti­tution. So that could they prove the Primacy of St. Pe­ter from Scripture, they prove but half their point, and that the most inconsiderable half too, for it does them no good. And therefore when they make a great noise about St. Peter's Primacy and Prerogatives, never trouble your selves to dispute that point with them, which is no­thing to the purpose; but require them to prove, from Scripture, that the Bishop of Rome, as St. Peter's Succes­sor, is appointed by Christ, to be the Supreme Oecume­nical Bishop, and the Prince of all Bishops. And if you stick here, as in reason you ought, there is an end of that Controversie.

Thus there is nothing the Church of Rome makes a greater noise about, than Infallibility, though they are not agreed where to place this Infallibility, whether in the Pope or a General Council: But let it be where it will, this being a matter of Institution, must be proved by Scripture: how then in the first place do they prove [Page 62] the Pope to be Infallible? That they think is very plain, because Christ says, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail a­gainst it. But how does this prove, that the Bishop of Rome is Infallible? For here is not one word of the Bi­shop of Rome. Yes, this proves St. Peter to be infalli­ble, who was afterwards Bishop of Rome, and therefore all his Successors are infallible too. Now that St. Peter was infallible, as all the other Apostles were, we readily grant; though, I think, this Text does not prove it: But does this prove the Bishop of Rome's Infallibility? Just as St. Peter's Primacy proves the Pope to be the Oecu­menical Primate: They themselves must grant, that an infallible Apostle may have a fallible Bishop for his Suc­cessor; or else they must either deny, that the rest of the Apostles, as well as St. Peter, were infallible, or they must grant, that all the Apostles Successors, that is, all the Bishops, who succeeded any of the Apostles in their Sees, must be as infallible as the Bishops of Rome, who succeed­ed St. Peter; and then there will be so much Infallibili­ty, that it will be worth nothing: If then there be not a natural and necessary entail of Infallibility upon the Suc­cessors of infallible Apostles, they must shew us an ex­press Institution, which makes the Successors of Peter at Rome infallible. And let our Protestant demand this, before he owns the Infallibility of the Pope of Rome, and then, I believe, they will not think him worth Conver­ting.

Thus as for those who place Infallibility in a General Council, demand a Scripture-proof of it, that they would produce the General Council's Charter for Infallibility: This they can't do; but they say the Church is infallible, and the General Council is the Church Representative, and therefore a General Council must be infallible too. [Page 63] So that here are several things for them to prove, and to prove by Scripture too; for there is no other way of pro­ving them, before they can prove the Infallibility of Ge­neral Councils: As, 1. That the Church is infallible. 2. That a General Council is the Church Representa­tive. 3. That the Church Representative, is that Church to which the promise of Infallibility is made. And then they might conclude, that a General Council, as being the Church Representative, is infallible. Now instead of proving every particular of this by Scripture, (as they must do, if they will prove by Scripture, that General Councils are infallible) they pretend to prove no more than the first of the three, that the Church is infallible; and that very lamely too, as may appear more hereafter: and then they take all the rest for granted, without any proof: which is just as if a man, who in order to prove his Title to an Estate, is required to prove, that this E­state did anciently belong to his Family, that it was en­tailed upon the Heir Male, that this entail was never cut off, nor the Estate legally alienated, and that he alone is the true surviving Heir; should think it enough to prove onely the first of these, that the Estate did anciently belong to his Family; which it might have done, and yet not belong to it now, or if it did still belong to it, he may not be the true Heir.

Thus if we consider, what it is they teach about Pur­gatory, we shall quickly perceive, how little it is, they pretend to prove of it: they tell us, that there is a Pur­gatory-fire after this life, where men undergo the punish­ment of their Sins, when the fault is pardoned: that the Church has power, out of her stock of Merits, which consists of the supererogating Works of great and eminent Saints, to grant Pardons and Indulgencies to men while they live, to deliver them from several thousand Years punish­ment, [Page 64] which is due to their Sins in Purgatory; that the Souls in Purgatory may be released out of it by the Prayers, and Alms, and Masses of the living; which is the very life and soul of this Doctrine of Purgatory: Now of all this, they pretend to prove no more from Scri­pture, but that there is a Purgatory-fire after this Life; and how they prove it, you have already heard: But that either Penances or Pilgrimages, and other extraordi­nary Acts of Devotion, while we live, or the Pope's Par­dons and Indulgencies can either remit or shorten the pains of Purgatory; or that the Prayers and Alms of our living Friends, or Masses said for us by mercenary Priests, can deliver us out of Purgatory, which we are principally concerned to know, and without which, Pur­gatory will not enrich the Priests, nor the Church; this they never attempt, that I know of, to prove by Scripture: whether there be a Purgatory or not, in it self consider­ed, is a meer speculative point, and of no value: But could they prove, that the Pope has the Keys of Purgatory, and that Alms and Masses will deliver out of Purgatory; this were worth knowing, and is as well worth proving as any Doctrine of the Church of Rome, for there is no­thing they get more by. But if you will not believe this, till they produce a Scripture-proof of it, you may let them dispute on about the place of Purgatory, and keep your Money in your Pocket. Thus it is in most other cases, if you take their whole Doctrine together, and de­mand a Proof of every part of it, and not take a Proof of some little branch of it, for a Proof of the whole, you will quickly find, that they will not be so fond of dispu­ting, as some of them now are.

3. Another way our Roman Adversaries have of pro­ving their Doctrines from Scripture is, instead of plain and positive proofs, to produce some very remote and in­evident [Page 65] consequences from Scripture, and if they can but hale a Text of Scripture into the premises, whatever the conclusion be, they call it a Scripture-proof. There are infinite instances of this, but I can only name some few.

Thus they prove the perpetual Infallibility of the Church, because Christ promises his Disciples to be with them to the end of the world, 28. Matth. 20. which pro­mise cannot be confined to their persons, for they were to die long before the end of the World, and therefore must extend to their Successors. Suppose that, and does Christ's being with them, necessarily signifie, that he will make them Infallible? Is not Christ with every particular Church, with every particular Bishop, nay with every particular good Christian, and must they all be In­fallible then?

Thus Christ promises that the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against his Church; Ergo, the Church is Infal­lible; for if Error and Heresie prevails against the Church, the Gates of Hell prevail against it: And I add, if Sin and Wickedness prevail against the Church, the Gates of Hell prevail against it; Ergo, the Church is Impeccable, and cannot Sin; which is to the full as good a conse­quence as the other: And therefore the Gates of Hell prevailing, can neither signifie the meer prevalency of Errors or Sin in the Church, but such a prevalency as destroys the Church; and this shall never be, because Christ has promised it shall never be; and it may never be, though the Church be not Infallible; and therefore this does not prove Infallibility.

Thus they prove there is such a place as Purgatory, where Sins are forgiven and expiated, because our Savi­our says, That the sin against the Holy Ghost, shall nei­ther be forgiven in this world, nor in the world to come, [Page 66] Matt. 12. 32. and therefore there are some Sins which are forgiven in the next World, because there is a Sin which shall not be forgiven there. Now not to consider the ordi­nary use of such Phrases to signifie no more, than it shall never be, without distinguishing between what is to be done in this World, and what in the next; nay, not to consider how contrary this is to their own Doctrine of Purgatory, that men who go to Purgatory have all their Sins already forgiven, though they must suffer the pu­nishment of them there; which how absurd soever it is, yet shews, that Purgatory is not a place of forgiving Sins; and therefore cannot be meant by our Saviour in those words: yet supposing all they would have, that there shall be some Sins forgiven in the next World, which are not forgiven in this; How does this prove a Popish Purgatory, where Souls endure such torments as are not inferiour to those of Hell it self, excepting their duration? That some Sins shall be forgiven in the next World, I think, does not very evidently prove, that men shall be tormented, it may be for several Ages, in the Fire of Purgatory.

Thus they prove the necessity of Auricular Confession to Priest, from the power of Judicial Absolution. Christ has given the Priest power to forgive Sins, and hereby has made him a Judge, to retain or remit Sins, to ab­solve and inflict Penances. Now a Judge cannot judge right, without a particular knowledge of the Fact, and all the circumstances of it; and this the Priest cannot know without the confession of the Penitent: and therefore as Priests have authority to absolve, so a Penitent, who would be absolved, must of necessity confess. But now I should think it a much better consequence, that the Priest has not such a judicial authority of Absolution, as requires a particular confession of the Penitent, because [Page 67] Christ has no where commanded all men to confess their Sins to a Priest, than that the Priest has such a judicial Authority, and therefore all men must confess to a Priest: for though our Saviour does give power to his Apostles to remit and retain Sins, yet those words do not necessa­rily signifie a judicial Authority to forgive Sins, or if it did, it may relate onely to publick Sins, which are too well known without a private confession; or however, it is not the particular knowledge of the Sin, with all the circumstances of it, but the marks and characters of true Repentance for publick or secret Sins, which is the best rule and direction whom to absolve; and therefore there is no need of a particular confession to this purpose.

But the Sophistry of this is most palpable, when they draw such consequences from one Text of Scripture, as di­rectly contradict other plain and express Texts. Thus because St. Peter tells us, That there are many things hard to be understood, in St. Paul's Epistles, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the o­ther scriptures to their own destruction, 2 Pet. 3. 16. From hence they would conclude, that People ought not to be allowed to read the Bible: as if St. Peter had intended to forbid them to read those Epistles, which St. Paul had written to them; nay, to read this very Epistle which he himself now sent to them. For these Epistles which were sent to the Churches, that they might be read by them, make a considerable part of the New Testament, which the People must not be allowed to read now. But setting aside this, this consequence, that the People must not read the Bible, is directly contrary to a great many other Texts, which expresly command them to read, and search, and study, and meditate on the Laws of God, and the Holy Scriptures, as every body knows. I confess it amazes me to hear men argue at this rate: when they can­not [Page 68] produce any one Text which forbids People to read the Scriptures, and there are a great many express com­mands, that they should read the Scriptures, they think it sufficient to oppose against all this Authority, a conse­quence of their own making, and a very absurd one too, and call this a Scripture-proof.

I would not be thought wholly to reject a plain and evident consequence from Scripture; but yet I will never admit of a meer consequence to prove an Institution, which must be delivered in plain terms, as all Laws ought to be; and where I have no other proof, but some Scri­pture-consequences, I shall not think it equivalent to a Scripture-proof: if the consequences be plain and obvi­ous, and such as every man sees, I shall not question it; but remote, and dubious, and disputed consequences, if we have no better evidence, to be sure are a very ill foun­dation for Articles of Faith. Let our Protestant then tell such Disputants, that for the Institution of Sacraments, and for Articles of Faith, he expects plain positive Proofs: that as much as the Protestant Faith is charged with un­certainty, we desire a little more certainty for our Faith, than meer inferences from Scripture, and those none of the plainest neither.

4. Another false pretence to Scripture-proofs is, to clap their own sense upon the words of Scripture, without a­ny regard to the use and propriety of words, to the cir­cumstances of the place, to the reason and nature of things; and to call this a Scripture-proof of their Do­ctrine, when their Doctrines do not naturally grow there, but are onely engrafted by some cunning Artists, upon a Scripture-stock. I shall give you onely one instance of this, their Doctrine of Transubstantiation.

As for Transubstantiation, they teach, that the Ele­ments of Bread and Wine are converted into the natural [Page 69] Flesh and Bloud of Christ, which was born of the Virgin Mary: That after Consecration there is nothing of the substance of Bread and Wine, but the Accidents subsist without a substance: That the natural Body of Christ his Soul and Divinity, are present under the species of Bread; nay, that whole Christ, Flesh and Bloud, is un­der the species of Bread, and in every particle of it, and under the species of Wine, and every drop of it: That the Body of Christ is not broken, nor his Bloud shed in the Sacrament, but only the species of Bread and Wine, which are nothing: That it is only this Nothing which we eat and drink in the Sacrament, and which goes down into our stomachs, and carries whole Christ down with it. Now this Doctrine founds so very harsh, is so contrary to all the Evidence of our Senses, and has so many Absurdities and Contradictions to Reason, that it ought to be very plainly proved from Scripture in e­very part of it: for if a man might be perswaded to re­nounce his Senses and Reason to believe Scripture, yet it ought to be equally evident to him at least, that Scri­pture is for it, as it is, that Sense and Reason is against it: and yet there is not one word in Scripture to prove any one part of this Doctrine of Transubstantiation; neither that the natural Flesh and Bloud of Christ is in the Sacrament, nor that the substance of Bread and Wine does not remain after Consecration, nor that the Acci­dents of Bread and Wine, such as colour, smell, tast, quantity, weight, subsist without any substance, or sub­ject to subsist in. These are such Paradoxes to Sense and Reason, that they ought to be very well supported with Scripture, before they are received for Articles of Faith, or else our Faith will be as very an Accident, without a­ny substance, as the sacramental species themselves are. But though they have no Text which proves the least [Page 70] Tittle of all this, yet they have a Text whereon they graft this Doctrine of Transubstantiation, viz. This is my Body, which they say, signifies every thing which they teach concerning Transubstantiation; but then I hope they will prove that it does so, not expect that we should take it for granted, because they say it. Now, not to insist upon those Arguments, whereby our Divines have so demonstratively proved, that Transubstantiation, as explained by the Church of Rome, cannot be the sence of This is my Body, my advice to Protestants is to put them upon the proof, that this is the sence of it, which in rea­son they ought to prove, because there is not one word of it in the Text; and I shall only tell them what Proofs they ought to demand for it.

Now I suppose all men will think it reasonable, that the Evidence for it, should at least be equal to the Evi­dence against it, though we ought indeed to have more reason to believe it, than to dis-believe it; or else we must hang in suspence, when the Balance is equal and turns neither way. Now I will not oppose the Evi­dence of Sense and Reason, against the Authority of Scripture; for I will never suppose that they can con­tradict each other: and if there should appear some contradiction between them, I will be contented at pre­sent, without disputing that point, to give it on the side of Scripture; but I will oppose the Evidence of Sense and Reason against any private man's, or any Churches Exposition of Scripture: and if that Exposition they give of any Text of Scripture, as suppose, This is my Body, contradict the Evidence of Sense and Reason, I may modestly require as plain proof, that this is the meaning of the Text, as I have, that such a meaning is contrary to all Sense and Reason: for though Sense and Reason be not the Rule and Measure of Faith, yet we must [Page 71] use our Sense and Reason in expounding Scripture, or we may quickly make a very absurd and senseless Reli­gion.

Now this shews us what kind of Proof we must re­quire, that Transubstantiation is the Doctrine of the Gospel, viz. as certain Proof as we have, that Transubstan­tiation is contrary to Sense and Reason. And there­fore,

1. We must demand a self-evident Proof of this, be­cause it is self-evident, that Transubstantiation contra­dicts Sense and Reason. Every man, who knows what the word means, (which I believe men may do, with­out being great Philosophers) and will consult his own Senses and Reason, will need no Arguments to prove, that Transubstantiation contradicts both. Now such a Scri­pture-Proof, I would see for Transubstantiation, so plain, and express, and self-evident, that no man, who under­stands the words, can doubt whether this be the mean­ing of them; I mean, a reasonable, not an obstinate, wilful, and sceptical doubting. Now I believe, that our Adversaries themselves will not say, that This is my Body, is such a self-evident Proof of Transubstantiation; I am sure some of the wisest men among them have not thought it so, and the fierce Disputes for so many Ages about the interpretation of those words, proves that it is not so: for men do not use to dispute what is self-evident, and proves it self without any other Arguments. Now it is very unreasonable to require any man to be­lieve Transubstantiation against a self-evident Proof, that it is contrary to Sense and Reason, without giving him a self-evident Proof, that it is the Doctrine of Scripture; which is to require a man to believe against the best Reason and Evidence.

2. We must demand such a Scripture-Proof of Tran­substantiation, [Page 72] as cannot possibly signifie any thing else; or else it will not answer that Evidence which we have against Transubstantiation? for Sense and Reason pro­nounce Transubstantiation to be naturally impossible; and therefore unless it be as impossible to put any other sense upon Scripture than what signifies Transubstantia­tion, as it is to reconcile Transubstantiation to Sense and Reason, there is not such good Evidence for Transub­stantiation, as against it. Were the Scripture-Proofs for Transubstantiation so plain and evident, that it were im­possible to put any other sense on the words, then I would grant, that it is as impossible for those who be­lieve the Scriptures to disbelieve Transubstantiation, as it is for those, who trust to their own Sense and Reason, to believe it. Here the difficulty would be equal on both sides, and then I should prefer a Divine Revelation (if it were possible to prove such a Revelation to be Di­vine) before natural Sense and Reason; but I presume, no man will say, that it is impossible to put another, and that a very reasonable, interpretation upon those words, This is my Body, without expounding them to the sense of Transubstantiation.

Our Roman Adversaries do not deny, but that these words are capable of a figurative, as well as of a literal sense; as when the Church is called the Body of Christ, Flesh of his Flesh, and Bone of his Bone, it is not meant of his natural, but his mystical Body: and thus when the Bread is called the Body of Christ, it may not signi­fie his natural, but sacramental Body, or his Body to all the ends and purposes of a Sacrament. Now if there be any other good sense to be made of these words, be­sides Transubstantiation, there cannot be such a necessity to expound them of Transubstantiation, as there is not to expound them of it; for I do not reject Scripture, if [Page 73] I deny Transubstantiation, when the words of Scripture do not necessarily prove it, but I renounce Sense and Reason, if I believe it. Now though I were bound to renounce my Sence and Reason, when they contradict Scripture, yet sure I am not bound to deny my Sense and Reason, when they do not contradict Scripture; and Sense and Reason are never contrary to Scripture, nor Scripture to them, when the words of Scripture are capable of such an interpretation as is reconcilable both to Sense and Reason: In such a case to expound Scri­pture contrary to Sense and Reason, is both to pervert the Scripture, and to contradict Reason without any necessity. An unlearned man need not enter into a large Dispute about Transubstantiation; let him but re­quire his Adversary to give him as plain Evidence, that Transubstantiation is the Doctrine of the Gospel, as he can give him, that it is contrary to Sense and Reason, and the Dispute will quickly be at an end. It had been very easie to have given more instances under every head, and to have observed more false ways of expound­ing Scripture, which the Doctors of the Church of Rome are guilty of; but these are the most obvious, and therefore the best fitted to my design to instruct un­learned men; and I must not suffer this Discourse, which was at first intended much shorter than it already is, to swell too much under my hands.

SECT. III. Concerning the Antient Fathers and Writers of the Christian Church.

THough Learned men may squabble about the sense of Fathers and Councils, it is very unrea­sonable, that unlearned men should be concerned in such [Page 74] Disputes, because they are not competent Judges of it; and yet there is nothing which our Roman Disputants make a greater noise with; among Women and Chil­dren, and the meanest sort of People, than Quotations out of Fathers and Councils, whom they pretend to be all on their side. Now as it is a ridiculous thing for them to talk of Fathers and Councils to such People, so it is very ridiculous for such People to be converted by Sayings out of the Fathers and Councils: I confess, it has made me often smile, with a mixture of pity and in­dignation, at the folly of it; for what more contempti­ble easiness can any man be guilty of, than to change his Religion which he has been taught out of the Scriptures, and may find there if he pleases, because he is told by some honest Priest, (a sort of men who never deceive any one) that such or such a Father, who lived it may be they know not where nor when, and wrote they know not what, has spoke in favour of Transubstan­tiation, or Purgatory, or some other Popish Do­ctrine.

And therefore let me advise our Protestant, who is not skilled in these matters, when he is urged with the Authority of Fathers, to ask them some few Questi­ons.

1. Ask them, How you shall certainly know what the Judgment of the Fathers was? and this includes a great many Questions, which must be resolved, before you can be sure of this: as, how you shall know that such Books were written by that Father, whose name it bears? or that it has not been corrupted by the igno­rance or knavery of Transcribers, while they were in the hands of Monks, who usurped great Authority over the Fathers, and did not only pare their Nails, but altered their very Habit and Dress, to fit them to the modes of [Page 75] the times, and make them fashionable? How you shall know what the true meaning of those words are, which they cite from them? which the words themselves ma­ny times will not discover, without the Context: How you shall know that such Sayings are honestly quoted, or honestly translated? How you shall know whether this Father did not in other places contradict what he here says? or did not alter his opinion after he had wrote it, without writing publick Recantations, as St. Austin did? Whether this Father was not contradicted by other Fathers? And in that case, Which of the Fathers you must believe?

You may add, That you do not ask these Questions at random, but for great and necessary Reasons: for in reading some late English Books both of Protestants and Papists, you find large Quotations out of the Fathers on both sides; that some are charged with false Transla­tions, with perverting the Fathers sense, with mis-citing his words, with quoting spurious Authors, as it seems many of those are which make up the late Speculum, or Ecclesiastical Prospective-glass; to name no more. Now how shall you, who are an unlearned man, judge of such Disputes as these? What Books are spurious or genuine? whether the Fathers be rightly quoted? and what the true sense of them is? For my part, I know not what Answer such a Disputant could make, but to blush, and promise not to alledge the Authority of Fathers any more. It is certain, in such matters, those who are un­learned, must trust the learned; and then, I suppose, an unlearned Protestant will rather trust a Protestant than a Popish Doctor, as Papists will rather trust their Priests that Protestant Divines; and then there is not much to be got on either side, this way: For when a Protestant shews an inclination rather to believe a Popish than a [Page 76] Protestant Divine, he is certainly three quarters a Papist before-hand.

Indeed unlearned Protestants, who are inquisitive and have time to read, have such advantages now to satisfie themselves even about the sense of Fathers and Councils, as it may be no Age before ever afforded: There being so many excellent Books written in English, as plainly confirm the Protestant Faith, and confute Popery, by the Testimonies and Authorities of ancient Writers; and such men, though they do not understand Latin and Greek, are in no danger of all the Learning of their Po­pish Adversaries: and any man who pleases, may have recourse to such Books, and see the state of the Controver­sie with his own Eyes, and judge for himself; but those who cannot do this, may very fairly decline such a trial, as improper for them. For,

2. Let our Protestant ask such Disputers, whether a plain man may not attain a sufficient knowledge and certainty of his Religion, without understanding Fathers and Coun­cils? If they say he cannot, ask them, how many Roman-Catholicks there are that understand Fathers and Councils? Ask them, how those Christians understood their Religion, who lived before there were any of these Fathers & Coun­cils? Ask them again, whether they believe that God has made it impossible to the greatest part of Mankind, to understand the Christian Religion? For even among Christians themselves, there is not one in an hundred thousand, who understands Fathers and Councils, and it is morally impossible they should: and therefore certain­ly there must be a shorter and easier way to understand Christian Religion than this, or else the generallity of Mankind, even of profest Christians, are out of all pos­sibility of Salvation. Ask them once more, whether it be not a much easier matter for a plain honest man to [Page 77] learn all things necessary to Salvation, out of the Scri­ptures themselves, especially with the help of a wise and learned Guide, than to understand all Fathers and Coun­cils, and take his Religion from them? Why then do they so quarrel at Peoples reading the Scriptures, and put them upon reading Fathers and Councils? I suppose they will grant, the Scriptures may be read a little soon­er than so many Voluminous Fathers, and Labbe's Coun­cils into the bargain; and, I believe, most men, who try, will think, that they are more easily understood; and therefore if Protestants, as they pretend, can have no cer­tainty of the true sense of Scripture▪ I am sure there is much less certainty to be had from the Fathers: A short time will give us a full view of the Scriptures, to read and understand all the Fathers, is work enough for a man's life: the Scripture is all of a piece, every part of it agrees with the rest; the Fathers many times contra­dict themselves and each other: and if men differ about the sense of Scripture, they differ much more about Fa­thers and Councils. That it is a mighty Riddle, that those who think ordinary Christians not fit to read the Scriptures, should think it necessary for them to under­stand Fathers and Councils; and yet they are ridiculous indeed to dispute with every Tradesman about Fathers and Councils, if they do not think they ought to read and understand them.

The sum is, such Protestants as are not skilled in Book-learning, may very reasonably tell these men, who urge them with the Authority of Councils and Fathers, That they do not pretend to any skill in such matters, and hope it is not required of them, for if it be, they are in an ill case: the Holy Scriptures, not Fathers and Councils, is the Rule of their Faith; if they had read the Fathers, they should believe them no farther, than what they [Page 78] taught was agreeable to Scripture; and therefore what­ever Opinions any of the Fathers had, it is no concern of theirs to know, if they can learn what the Doctrine of Christ and his Apostles was, without it: learned men may dispute about these things; and they have heard learned Protestants affirm, that the Church of Rome can find none of her peculiar Doctrines in the Writings of any of the Fathers for the first three hundred Years; and its cer­tain, if this be true, all the later Fathers are of no Au­thority to establish any new Doctrine; for there was no more Authority in the Church, to bring in any new Do­ctrines after three hundred Years, than there is at this day.

Unlearned men may very honourably reject all dispute about Fathers and Councils (though learned men cannot, and indeed need not,) for if they are not bound to read Fathers and Councils, I think, they are not bound to un­derstand them, nor to dispute about them; and it is very unadviseably done, when they do: for it is past a Jest in so serious a matter, though otherwise it were comical e­nough for men to be converted by Fathers and Councils, without understanding them.

CHAP. III. How to Answer some of the most popular Preten­ces urged by Papists against Protestants.

SECT. I. 1. Concerning the Vncertainty of the Protestant Faith.

OUr Popish Adversaries of late, have not so much di­sputed, as fenced; have neither down-right oppo­sed the Protestant Faith, nor vindicated their own, but have betaken themselves to some tricks and amusements, to divert and perplex the Dispute, and to impose upon the ignorant and unwary. One of their principal Arts has been to cry out of the Uncertainty of the Protestant Faith. This every body is nearly concerned in; for there is nothing wherein certainty is so necessary, and so much desired, as in matters of Religion, whereon our e­ternal State depends. This has been often answered by Protestants, and I do not intend to enter into the merits of the Cause, and shew upon what a firm and sure bot­tom the Protestant Faith stands: this is a Cavil easily e­nough exposed to the scorn and contempt of all consider­ing men, without so much trouble:

For 1. Suppose the Protestant Faith were uncertain; How is the cause of the Church of Rome ever the better? is this a sufficient reason to turn Papists, because Prote­stants are uncertain? does this prove the Church of Rome to be Infallible, because the Church of England is Fallible? must certainty necessarily be found among them, be­cause [Page 80] it is not to be found with us? is Thomas an honest man, because John is a Knave? These are two distinct questions, and must be distinctly proved. If they can prove our Faith uncertain, and their own certain, there is reason then to go over to them; but if they cannot do this, they may, it may be, perswade men to renounce the Protestant Faith, but not to embrace Popery. Ask them then, What greater assurance they have of their Faith, than we have of ours? If they tell you, their Church is Infallible; tell them, that is another question, and does not belong to this dispute. For the Infallibili­ty of their Church, does not follow from the Uncertain­ty of our Faith; if they can prove their Church Infallible, whether they prove our Faith uncertain or not, we will at any time change Protestant Certainty for Infallibility: And if they could prove our Faith uncertain, unless they could prove their own more certain, (though we bate them Infallibility) we may cease to be Protestants, but shall never turn Papists.

2. Ask them, What they mean by the uncertainty of the Protestant Faith? For this may signifie two things: either, 1. That the Objects of our Faith, are in them­selves uncertain, and cannot be proved by certain Rea­sons: Or 2dly, That our Perswasion about these matters, is uncertain and wavering. If they mean the first, then the sense is, that the Christian Religion is an uncertain thing, and cannot be certainly proved; for this is the whole Protestant Faith: We believe the Apostles Creed, and whatever is contained in the Writings of the Evan­gelists and Apostles, and this is all we believe: And I hope, they will not say these things are uncertain; for then they renounce the Christian Religion, and In­fallibility it self cannot help them out: for Infallibility cannot make that certain, which is in it self uncertain: [Page 81] an infallible man must know things as they are, or else he is mistaken, and ceases to be infallible; and therefore what is certain, he infallibly knows to be certain, and what is uncertain, he infallibly knows to be uncertain: for the most certain and infallible knowledge does not change its Object, but sees it just as it is: And therefore they must allow the Objects of our Faith; or the Prote­stant Faith, as to the matter of it, to be very certain, and built upon certain reason, or else their infallible Church can have no certainty of the Christian Faith.

If they mean the second thing, that we have no certain perswasion about what we profess to believe: This is a great abuse to Protestants, as if we were all Knaves and Hypocrites, who do not heartily and firmly believe what we profess to believe: and a Protestant, who knows that he does very firmly and stedfastly believe his Reli­gion, ought to reject such a Villanous Accusation as this, with indignation and scorn. Indeed it is both impu­dent and silly for any man to tell a Protestant, that his Faith is uncertain, (as that signifies an uncertain and doubtful Perswasion) when he knows and feels the con­trary; and no body else can know this but himself: In what Notion then is the Protestant Faith uncertain? what can Faith signifie, but either the Objects of Faith, or the internal Assent and Perswasion? The Objects of our Faith are certain, if Christian Religion be so, that is, they have very certain Evidence: our Assent and Perswasi­on is very certain, as that is opposed to all doubtfulness and wavering: And what certainty then is wanting to the Protestant Faith?

When they you hear any of these men declaiming a­bout the uncertainty of the Protestant Faith, onely ask them, What they mean by the Protestant Faith? whe­ther the Articles of your Faith, that they are uncertain, [Page 82] or the Act of Faith, your internal Assent and Perswasi­on? If they say, they mean the Act of Faith: Tell them, that it is a strange presumption in them to pretend to know your Heart; that you know that best your self, whether you do firmly and stedfastly believe your Religion; and to give them satisfaction in that point, you assure them, that you do: As for the Objects of your Faith, or what is you believe, tell them, you are a Member of the Church of England, and embrace the Do­ctrine of it, and there they may find your Faith both as a Christian, and as a Protestant; and may try their skill on it, when they please, to prove any part of it uncertain, and you are ready to defend it. This is a plain and fair An­swer, and I believe you will hear no more of them.

For as for their common Argument to prove the un­certainty of the Protestant Faith, That there is a great variety of Opinions among Protestants, and that they condemn one another with equal confidence and assurance: Ask them, How this proves your Faith to be uncertain, either as to its Object, or as to its Assent? May not what you believe, be very certainly true, because some men believe the contrary? Tell them, you do not place the certainty of what you believe, upon any man's belie­ving, or not believing it, but upon the certain reasons you have to prove it; and therefore if they would convince you, that what you believe is not certain, they must disprove your Reasons, not meerly tell you, that other men think it false or uncertain, and be­lieve otherwise: Thus does it prove, that you give an uncertain and doubtful Assent to what you profess to believe, because other men are very fully perswaded of the contrary? Pray tell them, that you do not build your Assent upon other mens Perswasions, but upon the Reasons of your Faith, and while they are unshaken, [Page 83] you shall believe as you do, and with the same assurance, whoever believes otherwise.

There are two things indeed, which this Argument proves, but they signifie nothing to weaken the Prote­stant Faith.

1. That all the Doctrines which are professed by some Protestants, are not certain; for some of them must be false, when there are contradictory Doctrines maintain­ed and professed by several Sects of Protestants; but then no man, that I know of, ever said, that all Prote­stant Doctrines were certain, which I hope does not hinder but that some Protestant Doctrines may be cer­tain; and then the Doctrines of the Church of Eng­land may be certain, though some other Communions of Protestants have erred.

2. This Argument proves also, that men who are mistaken, may be very confidently perswaded of their mistakes, and therefore the confidence of perswasion does not prove the certainty of their Faith; and I never heard any man say that it did: But I hope this does not prove that a man, who is certain upon evident Reasons, must be mistaken too, because men, who are certain without Reason, may mistake.

And yet this very Argument, from the different and contrary Opinions among Protestants to prove the un­certainty of the Protestant Faith, signifies nothing, as to our Disputes with the Church of Rome: For ask them, what they would think of the Protestant Faith, were all Protestants of a mind? Would their Consent and Agree­ment prove the Certainty of the Protestant Faith? Then the Protestant Faith, in opposition to Popery, is very certain; for they all agree in condemning the Errors and Corruptions of the Church of Rome; and thus I think they get nothing by this Argument: for if the [Page 84] Dissentions of Protestants proves the uncertainty of their Faith, as to such matters, wherein they differ, then by the same Rule their Agreement in opposition to Po­pery, shews their great certainty in such matters: And this I suppose is no great Inducement to a Protestant to turn Papist.

SECT. II. Concerning Protestant Mis-representations of Popery.

THis has been another late Artifice of our Roman Adversaries to amuse ignorant People with a great noise of Mis-representing: That Protestant Di­vines have painted Popery in such horrid shapes, as to disturb the Imaginations of People, and to beget an in­curable Aversion in them against Popery, without un­derstanding what it is. I shall not now dispute this matter over again: There has been so much of late said of it, and this Pretence so shamefully baffled, in answe [...] both to the Representer, and to Monsieur De Meaux's Exposition, that I am apt to think, they them­selves could be very glad that it had never been men­tioned, or could now be forgot; and therefore refer­ring the inquisitive Readers to those late Books, where­in they will find this Controversie fairly stated, I have some few things to add, which are plain and obvious to every body; and that both with reference to the Probability of this Charge, and to the Consequences of it.

First, As to the Probability of this Charge. Now, 1. Ask them, Whether the first Reformers charged the Church of Rome with such Doctrines and Practices as they were not guilty of? We have not, that I know, [Page 85] of, increased our Charge against the Church of Rome in this Age; if there has been any difference, we have rather been more favourable and candid in our Cen­sures of some of their Doctrines, than the first Re­formers were. Now is it likely that the first Refor­mers should charge the Church of Rome wrongfully? No man can be a Mis-representer, but either out of ignorance or design; which of these then can we, with any Probability, charge the first Reformers with?

As for Ignorance, is it a probable thing, that Luther, Melancthon, Oecolampadius, Zuinglius, Bucer, Calvin, or to come to our own English Reformers, that Arch­bishop Cranmer, and others, who had all been Papists themselves, should be ignorant what was taught and practised in the Church of Rome? It is now thought in this very Cause a very considerable Proof, that Pro­testants do Mis-represent Papists, because some Papists deny such Doctrines and Practices as Protestants charge them with; and, say they, can you think that Papists do not understand their own Religion better than Pro­testants do? Now though this may be made a Que­stion, and I am very apt to think, that compare the Learned and the Unlearned Protestants and Papists toge­ther, there are more Protestants than Papists, who un­derstand Popery; and not only Experience verifies this, but there is a plain reason why it should be so; because it is the Principle of Protestants, that they must neither believe nor disbelieve any thing, without under­standing it; but an implicite Faith in the Church go­verns the unlearned Papists, and many of those who should be learned too.

But let that be as it will, this Argument signifies no­thing to our first Reformers: for if Papists may be pre­sumed [Page 86] to understand their own Religion, the first Re­formers, who were all educated in Popery, might be as well presumed to understand what Popery then was; and therefore there can be no reason to suspect that they Mis-represented Popery out of Ignorance.

Nor is it more probable, that they should Mis-repre­sent Popery out of Interest and Design: for if they were conscious to themselves, that Popery was not so bad as they represent it to be, why should they them­selves have set up for Reformers? and what hope could they have, that at that time, when Popery was so well known, they should perswade the World to believe their Mis-representations?

Was it so desirable a thing for men to bring all the Powers of the Church and Court of Rome upon them­selves, meerly to gratifie a Mis-representing humour? Do these men remember what our Reformers suffered, for opposing Popery? the loss of their Estates, their Li­berties, their Lives, all the Vengeance of a blind and enraged Zeal? And did they undergo all this with such constancy and Christian patience, only for the sake of telling Lyes, and raising scandalous Reports of the Church of Rome? We think it a very good Argu­ment, that the Apostles and first Preachers of Christia­nity were very honest men, and had no design to cheat the World, because they served no worldly Interest by it; but chearfully exposed themselves to all manner of Sufferings in Preaching the Gospel: and why does not the same Argument prove our first Reformers to be honest men, and then they could not be wilful Mis-re­presenters?

Nay, if we will but allow them to have been cunning men (and it is evident, they did not want wit) they would never have undertaken so hopeless a design, as to run down [Page 87] Popery meerly by Mis-representing it; when, had their Exceptions against Popery been onely Mis-representati­ons of their own, all the World could have confuted them: had the first Reformers been onely Mis-represen­ters, can we think, that they could have imposed upon such vast numbers of Men, Learned and Unlearned, who knew and saw what Popery was? They were no Fools themselves, and therefore could not hope to impose such a Cheat upon the World.

2. Ask them again, How old this Complaint is, of Protestant Mis-representations of Popery? how long it has been discovered, that Popery has been thus Abused and Mis-represented? were the first Reformers charged with these Mis-representations by their Adversaries in those days? did they deny, that they gave Religious Worship to Saints, and Angels, and the Virgin Mary, to Images and Reliques? did they cry out of Mis-represen­tations, when they were charged with such Doctrines and Practices as these? or did they defend them, and en­deavour to answer those Arguments which the Reform­ers brought against them? And yet methinks if Pope­ry had been so grosly Mis-represented by the Reformers, this would as soon have been discovered by the Learned Papists of those days, as by our late Representer; but it is most likely they did not then think Popery so much Mis-represented, for if they had, they would certainly have complained of it: So that the high improbability of the thing, is a sufficient Reason to Unlearned Prote­stants, to reject this Charge of Protestant Mis-repre­sentations of Popery, as nothing else but a Popish Calum­ny against Protestants; and to conclude, that if Popery be Mis-represented now, it is onely by themselves, and that is the very truth of the Case.

[Page 88] Secondly, Let us consider this Charge of Mis-represen­tations in the Consequences of it: It would a little puz­zle a man to guess, what service they intend to do the Church of Rome by it. For,

1. By complaining of such Mis-representations of Po­pery, they plainly confess, that those Doctrines and Pra­ctices, which we charge the Church of Rome with, are ve­ry bad, and fit to be rejected and abhorred of all Chri­stians. This the Representer himself confesses, and is ve­ry Copious and Rhetorical upon it. Now this is of migh­ty dangerous consequence; for if it appears, that we have not Mis-represented them, that the Doctrines and Pra­ctices we charge them with, are truly the Doctrines and Practices of the Church of Rome, then by their own con­fession, Popery is a very bad Religion, and to be rejected by Christians: Then there was a very just reason for our Separation from the Church of Rome, and we are no longer either Schismaticks or Hereticks; and if the Cause be put upon this Issue, we need desire no better Vindi­cation of the Church of England: for if they cannot prove us Hereticks or Schismaticks, till they can prove us Mis-representers, I believe, we are pretty secure for this Age.

2. These men, who complain so much of Mis-repre­senting, endeavour to make the Doctrines of the Church of Rome, look as like Protestant Doctrines, as possibly they can, as if there were little or no difference between them: Now methinks this is no great reason for a Pro­testant to turn Papist, that the Popish Faith is so much the better, the nearer it comes to the Protestant Faith. The truth is, the chief Mystery in this late Trade of Re­presenting and Mis-representing, is no more but this, to joyn a Protestant Faith with Popish Practices; to believe as Protestants do, and to do as Papists do. As to give [Page 89] some few instances of this in the Papist Mis-represented and Represented.

The Papist Represented, believes it damnable to Worship Stocks and Stones for Gods, to Pray to Pictures or Images of Christ, the Virgin Mary, or any other Saints. This is good Protestant Doctrine: but then this Papist says his Prayers before an Image, Kneels and Bows before it, and pays all external Acts of Adoration to Christ and the Saints, as represented by their Images; though it is not properly the Image he honours, but Christ and his Saints by the Images. Which is down-right Popery in Practice.

Thus he believes it is a most damnable Idolatry, to make Gods of men, either living or dead. Which is the Prote­stant Faith: but yet he prays to Saints, and beggs their Intercession, without believing them to be Gods, or his Redeemers; which is Popery in Practice.

He believes it damnable, to think the Virgin Mary more powerful in Heaven than Christ. Which is Protestant Do­ctrine: but yet he prays to Her ostner than either to God or Christ, says ten Ave-Maries for one Pater Noster; which is a Popish Devotion.

He believes it unlawful to commit Idolatry, and most damnable to Worship any Breaden God. Which is spoke like a Protestant; but yet he pays Divine Adoration to the Sacrament, which is done like a Papist. And thus in most of those thirty seven Particulars of the double Cha­racters of a Papist Mis-represented, his great Art is to Re­concile a Protestant Faith with Popish Practices.

So that this new way of Representing Popery, is no reason to a Protestant to alter his Faith, because, it seems, they believe in many things just as we do; but, I think, it is a very great reason for a Papist to alter his Practice, because a Protestant Faith and Popish Worship do not very well agree. Those who would not make Gods of [Page 90] Stocks and Stones, of dead Men and Women, had certain­ly better not Worship them, which is the most certain way not to make them Gods; and those who think it such damnable Idolatry to Worship a Breaden God, in my Opinion, are on the safer side not to Worship the visible Species of Bread in the Eucharist. Let but our Prote­stant observe this, That when they would Represent Po­pery most favourably, they either say what Protestants do, or something as like it, as they can, and he will see no reason, either to change his Faith or his Practice.

The END.

Books lately Printed for Will. Rogers.

THE Doctrines and Practices of the Church of Rome, truly Repre­sented; in Answer to a Book intituled, A Papist Misrepresented, and Represented, &c. Quarto.

An Answer to a Discourse intituled, Papists protesting against Protestant Popery; being a Vindication of Papists not Misrepresented by Protestants: And containing a particular Examination of Monsieur de Meaux, late Bishop of Condom, his Exposition of the Doctrine of the Church of Rome, in the Articles of Invocation of Saints, Worship of Images, occasioned by that Discourse. Quarto.

An Answer to the Amicable Accommodation of the Difference, between the Representer and the Answerer. Quarto.

A View of the whole Controversie, between the Representer and the Answerer; with an Answer to the Representer's last Reply; in which are laid open some of the Methods, by which Protestants are Misrepresented by Papists. Quarto.

The Doctrine of the Trinity, and Transubstantiation, compared as to Scripture, Reason, and Tradition; in a new Dialogue between a Prote­stant and a Papist, the first Part: Wherein an Answer is given to the late Proofs of the Antiquity of Transubstantiation, in the Books called, Consen­sus Veterum, and Nubes Testium, &c. Quarto.

The Doctrine of the Trinity, and Transubstantiation, compared as to Scripture, Reason, and Tradition in a new Dialogue between a Protestant and a Papist, the Second Part: Wherein the Doctrine of the Trinity is shewed to be agreeable, to Scripture and Reason, and Transubstantiation repugnant to both, Quarto.

An Answer to the Eighth Chapter of the Representer's Second Part, in the first Dialogue, between him and his Lay-Friend.

Of the Authority of Councils, and the Rule of Faith. By a Person of Quality: With an Answer to the Eight Theses, laid down for the Tryal of the English Reformation; in a Book that came lately from Oxford.

[Page]Sermons and Discourses, some of which never before Printed: The Third Volume. By the Reverend Dr. Tillotson Dean of Canterbury, Octavo.

A Manual for a Christian Souldier, Written by Erasmus, and Trans­lated into English, Twelves.

A new and easie Method to learn to Sing by Book; whereby one (who hath a good Voice and Ear) may without other help, learn to Sing true by Notes. Design'd chiefly for, and applied to, the promoting of Psal­mody; and furnished with Variety of Psalm-Tunes in Parts, with Dire­ctions for that kind of Singing.

A Perswasive to frequent Communion in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. By John Tillotson, Dean of Canterbury, in Octavo, Price Three Pence.

A Discourse against Transubstantiation. In Octavo. Price Three Pence.

The State of the Church of Rome when the Reformation began, as it appears by the Advices given to Paul III. and Julius III. by Creatures of their Own. With a Preface leading to the matter of the Book. Quarto.

A Letter to a Friend, Reflecting on some Passages in a Letter to the D. of P. in Answer to the Arguing Part of his first Letter to Mr. G.

The Reflecter's Defence of his Letter to a Friend, against the Furious Assaults of Mr. I. S. in his second Catholic Letter. In four Dialogues. Quarto.

A Sermon Preached at the Funeral of the Reverend Benj. Calamy, D.D. and late Minister of St. Lawrence-Jury, Lond. Jan. 7th, 1685/6. By W. Sherlock, D. D. Master of the Temple.

A Vindication of some Protestant Principles of Church-Unity and Catholick-Communion, from the Charge of Agreement with the Church of Rome. In Answer to a late Pamphlet, Intituled, An Agreement be­tween the Church of England and the Church of Rome, evinced from the Concertation of some of her Sons with their Brethren the Dissenters. By William Sherlock, D. D. Master of the Temple.

Imprimatur Liber cui …

Imprimatur Liber cui Titulus, The Second Part of the Preservative against Popery.

Guil. Needham, R. R. in Christo P. ac D.D. Wilhelmo Archiepisc. Gant. à Sacr. Domest.

The Second Part OF THE Preservative AGAINST POPERY: Shewing how Contrary POPERY is to the True Ends OF THE Christian Religion. Fitted for the INSTRUCTION OF Vnlearned PROTESTANTS.

By WILLIAM SHERLOCK, D.D. Master of the Temple.

LONDON: Printed for William Rogers, at the Sun over against St. Dunstan's Church in Fleet-street. M DC LXXXVIII.

Part II. THE PRESERVATIVE AGAINST POPERY.

CHAP. IV. Some Directions relating to particular Controversies.

THose who would understand the particular Disputes be­tween us and the Church of Rome, must of necessity read such Books as give the true State of the Contro­versie between us, and fairly represent the Arguments on both sides; and where such Books are to be met with, he may learn from a late Letter, Entituled, The Present State of the Controver­sie between the Church of England and the Church of Rome, Or an Account of Books written on both sides. But my present Design is of another nature, to give some plain and easie Marks and Cha­racters of true Gospel Doctrines; whereby a man, who has any relish of the true Spirit of Christianity, may as certainly know Truth from Error in many cases, as the Palate can distinguish Tasts. There are some things so proper to the Gospel, and so primarily intended in it, that they may fitly serve for distinguish­ing marks of true Evangelical Doctrine: I shall name some of the chief, and Examine some Popish Doctrines by them.

SECTION 1. Concerning IDOLATRY.

1. ONE principal intention of the Gospel, was more per­fectly to extirpate all Idolatry;1 John 3. 8. For this purpose the son of God was manifested to destroy the works of the devil, that is, not only all Sin and Wickedness, but the very Kingdom of Darkness; that Kingdom the Devil had erected in the world, the very Foun­dation of which was laid in Idolatrous Worship.

To this purpose Christ has expresly taught us, that there is but one God, and has more perfectly instructed us in the nature of God:1. Joh. 18. For no man hath seen God at any time, but the only begotten son, who is in the bosom of the father, he hath declared him. Igno­rance was the Mother of Pagan Idolatry, because they did not know the true God, they Worshipped any thing, every thing, for a God; and therefore the most effectual course to cure Ido­latry, was to make known the true God to the world: for those men are inexcusable who know the true God, and Worship any thing else. Tho' indeed according to some mens Divinity, the knowledge of the true God cures Idolatry, not by rooting out Idolatrous Worship, but by excusing it; by making that to be no Idolatry in a Christian, who knows God, which was Idolatry in a Heathen, who did not know him: for if (as some say) none can be guilty of Idolatry, who acknowledge one Supream Being; then the Heathens, when once they were instructed in the know­ledge of the one true God, might have Worshipped all their Country Gods, which they did before, without being guilty of Idolatry; which is, as if I should say, that man is a Rebel, who through mistake and ignorance owns any man for his Prince, who is not his Prince; but he, is no Rebel, who knows his lawful Prince, and pays Homage to another, whom he knows not to be his Prince.

And therefore our Saviour confines all Religious Worship to God alone:Mat. 10. Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve: It is his Answer to the Devil, when he tempt­ed [Page 3] him to fall down and worship him, but he gives such an an­swer as excludes all Creatures, not only bad but good Spirits, from any share in Religious Worship: Our Saviour does not deny to worship him meerly because he was the Devil, (tho' that a man may do without the guilt of Idolatry, who knows him to be the Devil, if those men are in the right, who allow nothing to be Idolatry, but to worship some Being for the Supreme God, who is not Supreme; for then you may worship the De­vil without the guilt of Idolatry, if you do not believe him to be the Supreme God) but our Saviour's reason for not worship­ping him was, because we must Worship none but God. Which is as good a reason against the worship of the most glorious An­gel, as of the Devil himself: Nay, our Saviour denies to worship him, though the Devil made no terms with him, about the kind or degrees of Worship: He does not require him to offer Sacri­fice to him, (which is the only Act of Worship the Church of Rome appropriates to the Supreme God) but only to bow down before him, as an expression of Religious Devotion; he did not demand that degree of Worship, which the Church of Rome calls Latria, and appropriates to the Supreme God: nay, he confesses that he was not the Supreme God, for he does not pretend to di­spose of the Kingdoms of the World in his own right, but says, they were given to him, and he had power to give them to whom he pleased; in which he acknowledges, that he had a Su­periour, and therefore could not in the same breath desire to be owned and worshipped as the Supreme. But our Saviour denies to give him this inferiour degree of Worship, and thereby teaches us, that no degree of Religious Worship must be given to any Be­ing, but the Supreme God.

And because Mankind were very apt to worship inferiour Dae­mons, as believing them to have the care of this lower World, and that it was in their power to do great good to them, to an­swer their Prayers, and to mediate for them with the Superiour Deities, or with the Supreme God, if they believed one Supreme, which appears to be a received Notion among them: to prevent this kind of Idolatry, God advances his own Son to be the uni­versal [Page 4] Mediator, and the Supreme and Soveraign Lord of the World; that all Mankind should make their Addresses and Ap­plications to him, and offer up their Prayers only in his Name; that in him they should find acceptance, and in no other name. Which was the most effectual way to put an end to the Worship of all inferiour Deities, and Creature-Patrons and Advocates; for when we are assured, that no other Being can Mediate for us with effect and power, but only Christ, it is natural to Worship no other Mediator but him, who being the eternal Son of God, may be worshipped without danger of Idolatry. Thus St. Paul tells us, That tho' the Heathen world had Gods many and Lords many, 1 Cor. 8. 5, 6. yet to us there is but one God the Father, and one Lord Je­sus Christ: One Supreme and Soveraign Deity, and one Medi­ator between God and men.

Now this being so apparently one end of Christ's coming in­to the World to Suppress the Idolatry of Creature-Worship, and to confine all Religious worship to one Supreme Being, in oppo­sition to the many Gods of the Heathens, and to teach us to make our Applications to this one God by one Mediator, in opposition to the worship of inferiour Deities; can any man i­magine, that the worship of Saints and Angels, and the Virgin Mary, can be any part of the Christian Religion? For how dear soever they are to God, they are but his Creatures, and if Sove­raign Princes will not receive their greatest Favourites into their Throne, much less will God.

If God under the Gospel dispensation has taken care to prevent the Worship of inferiour Beings, by appointing his own Son to be our only Mediator and Advocate, can we imagine, that he ever intended we should offer up our Prayers to other Mediators? If he had liked the Mediation of Creatures, would he have given his own Son to be our Priest and our Mediator? Whatever fair pretences may be made for this, it apparently contradicts the Gospel-dispensation; for if we must own but one God, he alone must be worshipped; if we have but one Mediator, we must of­fer up our Prayers only in his Name and Intercession. The Re­ligious Worship of Creatures is Idolatry, and if God intended to [Page 5] root Idolatry out of the World, by the Gospel of Christ, he could never intend to set up the Worship of Saints, and the Virgin Ma­ry, which tho' it have not all the aggravations of Pagan Idolatry, yet is Creature-worship.

Thus we know, how fond the Heathens were of material Ima­ges and Pictures, to represent their Gods as visibly present with them; and to receive Religious Worship in their stead: not that they did believe their Gods to be Corporeal, or that their Cor­poreal Images were proper Likenesses of their Gods, in which a late Author places the whole of Idolatry, which I confess was a­greeable enough to his design, to find out such a Notion of Ido­latry, as it may be no Persons in the World were ever guilty of, and then he might excuse, whom he pleased from Idolatry: But the Heathens were not such great Sots, as this account makes them, as the Learned Founder of all Anti-Catholick, Dr. Stillin. Defence of the Dis­course concern­ing Idola­try. and Anti-christian Principles (as this Author is pleased to stile a very great man, whose Name will be Venerable to future Ages) has abun­dantly proved. But they wanted some material Representati­ons of their Gods, in which they might as it were see them pre­sent, and offer up their Petitions to them, and court them with some visible and sensible Honours. Now to cure this Idolatry, tho' God would not allow any Images or Pictures for Worship, yet by the Law of Moses he appoints them to build an House or Temple for himself, where he would dwell among them, and place the Symbols of his Presence; there was the Mercy-seat, and the Cherubims covering the Mercy-seat, and there God promi­sed Moses to meet with him, and to commune with him from between the two Cherubims, which are upon the ark of the testimony. 25 Exod. 22. Now this was a Symbolical Representation of God's Throne in Hea­ven, where he is surrounded with Angels, as we know, the Holy of Holies itself was a Figure of Heaven; and therefore the Jews, when they were absent from the Temple, prayed towards it, and in the Temple (as is thought) towards the Mercy-seat, as the place of God's peculiar Residence; as now when we pray, we lift up our eyes and hands to Heaven, where God dwells: So that under the Law God had a peculiar place for Worship, and peculi­ar [Page 6] Symbols of his Presence, but no Images to represent his Per­son, or to be the Objects of Worship: I know some Roman Do­ctors would fain prove the Cherubims to have been the Objects of Worship, and which is more wonderful, a late Bishop of the Church of England has taken some pains to prove the same, and thereby to justifie the Worship of Images in the Church of Rome;Reasons for abrogating the Test, p. 124, &c. and before I proceed, I shall briefly Examine what he has said in this Cause.

One would a little wonder, who reads the Second Command­ment, which so severely forbids the Worship of Images, that God himself should set up Images in his own Temple as the Ob­jects of Worship; and a modest man would have been a little cau­tious, how he had imputed such a thing to God, which is so di­rect a contradiction to his own Laws. That the Cherubims were Statues or Images, whatever their particular Form was, I agree with our Author, and that is the only thing I agree with him in: For,

1. That they were Sacred Images set up by God himself, in the place of his own Worship, Ibid. p. 127. I deny. For the Holy of Holies, where the Ark was placed, and the Mercy-seat over the Ark, and the Cherubims at the two ends spreading their Wings, and covering the Mercy-seat, was not the place of Worship, but the place of God's Presence. The place of Worship is the place wherein men worship God; now it is sufficiently known, that none of the Jews were permitted to go into the Holy of Holies, nor so much as to look into it, and therefore it could not be the place of their Worship: the Holy of Holies was the Figure of Heaven, and therefore could be no more the place of Worship to the Jews, than Heaven now is to us, while we dwell on Earth. The High Priest indeed entered into the Holy of Holies once a year, with the Blood of the Sacrifice,9 Heb. 21, [...]2. which was a Type of Christ's entring into Heaven with his own Blood, and yet the Priest went thither not to Worship, but to make an Atonement; which I take to be two very different things; however if you will call this Worship, it has no relation to any Worship on Earth, but to what is done by Christ in Heaven, of whom the High Priest was a Type. And [Page 7] this, I think, is a demonstration, that the placing of Cherubims to cover the Mercy-seat in the Holy of Holies, does not prove the lawful use of Images in Temples or Churches, or in the Wor­ship of God on Earth; if it proves any thing, it must prove the Worship of God by Images in Heaven, of which the Holy of Ho­lies was a Figure; and if any man can be so foolish as to imagine that, let them make what they please of it, so they do but ex­cuse us from worshipping God by Images on Earth.

2. That these Cherubims were the most solemn and sacred part of the Jewish Religion; that nothing is more remarkable in all the old Testament, than the honour done to the Cherubims, that an outward worship was given to these Images, as Symbols of the Divine presence, that the High Priest adored these Cherubims once a year, as this Au­thor asserts, I utterly deny; and he has not given us one word to prove it.

For the Cherubims were so far from being the most solemn and sacred part of the Jewish Religion, that they were no part at all of it, if by Religion he means Worship; for there was no regard at all had to the Cherubims in the Jewish Worship; and it is so far from being remarkable in the Old Testament, that there is not the least footstep or intimation of any honour at all done to the Cherubims: There is nothing in Scripture concerning them, but the command to make them, and place them at the two ends of the Mercy-Seat; and that God is said to dwell between the Cherubims, and to give forth his Oracles and Responses from that place: but I desire to learn, where the Jews are commanded to direct their Worship to or towards the Cherubims? where the High Priest is commanded to adore the Cherubims once a year? or what Protestant grants he did so, as this Author insinuates?

He supposes the Cherubims to have been the Symbols of Gods presence, and his representations, P. 130. and that the Jews directed their worship to them as such, and that is to worship God by Images, or to give the same Signs of Reverence to his Representations, as to him­self: but how does it appear, that the Cherubims were the Sym­bols of Gods presence? God indeed is said to sit between the Cherubims, and he promised Moses to commune with him from [Page 8] between the Cherubims, but the Cherubims were no Symbols of Gods presence, much less a representation of him: if any thing was the Symbolical presence of God, it was the Mercy Seat, which was a kind of Figurative Throne, or Chair of State; but the Cherubims were only Symbolical representations of those Angels, who attend and encompass Gods Throne in Heaven, and were no more representations of God, or Symbols of his presence, then some great Ministers of State are of the King; as this Au­thor himself acknowledges, when he makes the four beasts in the Revelations (Rev. 4.6, 7.Page 127.) which stood round about the Throne, to be an allusion to the representation of the immediate Divine Presence in the Ark by the Cherubims; if he had said to the Cherubims co­vering the Mercy Seat, which was his Figurative Throne, and where he was invisibly present, without any visible Figures or Symbols of his presence, he had said right: for the Cherubims which covered the Mercy Seat, were no more Symbols of Gods Presence, than the four Beasts, which stood before the Throne, are the presence of God; or then some great Courtiers or Mini­sters of State, who attend the King, are the presence of the King; They attend the King, where ever he is, and so may be some sign of his presence, but are not a symbolical presence, as a Chair of State is. But it seems our Author imagined, that the Cherubims were such Symbols of Gods presence, and such representations of him, as Images were of the Pagan Gods, and therefore might be worshipped with the same signs of reverence, as God himself was; according to Thomas Aquinas's Rule, that the Image must be wor­shipped with the same Worship, which is due to the Proto-type, or that Being whose Image it is, which is such old Popery, as Monsieur De Meaux, and the Representer cry shame of; well, But how does he prove, that any Worship was directed to these Cherubims? I can find no proof he offers for it, but David's Ex­hortation (as he calls it) to the People, [...] Page 130. to honour the Ark (he should have said worship) [...], bow down to, or worship his Footstool, for it, or he, is holy. Now suppose this did relate to the Ark, What is that to the Cherubims? When but four Pages be­fore, he tells us, that the Ark is called God's Footstool, and the [Page 9] Cherubims his Throne; How then does David's Exhortation to wor­ship the Ark, which is God's Footstool, prove that all their Wor­ship, must be directed to the Cherubims, which are his Throne? It is pitty, that great Wits have but short Memories.

And yet I fancy, our Author would have been much troubled to prove the Ark to be meant by God's Footstool; for the Ark was in the Holy of Holies, which was a figure of Heaven; and neither the Heaven, nor any thing in it, but the Earth, is in Scri­pture called God's Foot-stool; and the Psalmist expresly applies it to Zion, and to the Holy Hill, which, I will not prove,99 Psalm 2, 9. was not the Ark.

And this I suppose is a sufficient confutation of his Exposition of the words, To bow down to, or worship his foot-stool; for I be­lieve he did not think that Mount Zion, or the Holy Hill, was the object of worship, or the symbol of God's presence; but there God was present, and that was reason enough to worship at his foot-stool, and at his holy hill; as our English Translation reads it.

But now suppose the Jews were to direct their Worship to­wards the Mercy-seat, which was covered with the Cherubims, where God had promised to be present; how are the Cherubims concerned in this Worship? The worship was paid only to God, though directed to God, as peculiarly present at that place; which is no more, than to lift up our Eyes and Hands to Hea­ven, where the Throne of God is, when we pray to him: I grant, that bowing to, and bowing towards any thing, as the Object of Worship, is the very same, as this Author observes; and there­fore had the Jews either bowed to or towards the Cherubims, as the Objects of their Worship, as the Papists bow to or towards their Images, they had been equally guilty of Idolatry, and the breach of the second Commandment; but when bowing To sig­nifies bowing to an object of Worship, and bowing towards sig­nifies bowing to this Object of Worship, only towards such a place, where he is peculiarly present, this makes a great difference; and this was all the Jews did at most, if they did that; they bowed to God towards the Mercy-seat, where he dwelt, without any regard to the Cherubims or Mercy-seat, as the Object of Wor­ship, [Page 10] which was as invisible to the Jews then, as the Throne of God and the Angels in Heaven are now to us; and we may as well say, that those who lift up their eyes and their hands to Hea­ven, when they pray to God, worship the Angels, who incircle his Throne, because they know that the Angels are there; as say, that the Jews worshipped their invisible Cherubims, because they knew that the Cherubims were there: For is there any necessity that the Jews must worship whatever they knew, was in the Ho­ly of Holies, because they worshipped God towards that place, any more than there is, that we must worship whatever we know to be in Heaven, when we direct our Worship to God in Heaven?

Men, I grant, may worship an unseen Object, for so we all worship God, whom we do not and cannot see; but it is a good argument still, that the Cherubims were not intended by God for the Objects of Worship, because they were concealed from the Peoples sight; for I believe the World never heard before of worshipping invisible Images: The original intention of Ima­ges, is to have a visible Object of Worship; for an invisible I­mage can affect us no more than an invisible God; and if our Author had consulted all the Patrons of Image-worship, whether Pagan or Popish, he would have found most of the reasons they alleadge for this Worship to depend on sight, and therefore what­ever he thought, are all lost when a man shuts his eyes. A man who directs his worship to an Image, may be an Idolater in the dark, and with his eyes shut; but as blind as Idolaters are, there never had been any Image-worship, had their Images been as in­visible as their Gods; and therefore sight has more to do in this matter, than our Author was aware of.

But it seems the High-Priest once a Year did see these Cheru­bims, and adore and worship them. But this is another mi­stake: for the Jews did believe, that the High-Priest never saw the Cherubims or Mercy-seat, even when he went once a Year into the Holy of Holies; and they have great reason for what they say, since God expresly commanded, That when he went into the Holy of Holies, he should take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of [Page 11] sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the veil: And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy-seat, that is upon the testimony, that he die not, 16. Levit. 12, 13. which shews that the Cherubims and Mercy-seat were to be covered with a Cloud of Incense, and to become as invisible to the High-Priest within the Veil, as to the People without it.

But suppose the High-Priest did see the Cherubims, when he entred within the Veil, I have one plain Argument to prove that he did not worship them, not only because no act of Worship was commanded him when he went into the Holy Place, but be­cause as the Holy of Holies was the figure of Heaven, and the Cherubims the types of Angels, who stand about the Throne of God; so the High-Priest entring into the Holy of Holies, was the type of Christ ascending into Heaven with his own Bloud; and therefore the High-Priest must do nothing in the Holy of Ho­lies, but what was a proper figure and type of what Christ does in Heaven: and then he must no more worship the Cherubims, which covered the Mercy-seat, or the Typical Throne of God, than Christ himself, when he ascended to Heaven, was to wor­ship the Angels, who stand about the Throne.

So that notwithstanding God's command to make two Che­rubims, and to place them at the two ends of the Mercy-seat in the Holy of Holies, all Image-Worship was strictly forbid by the Law of Moses; and God has provided the most effectual remedy against it by the Incarnation of his Son: Mankind have been al­ways fond of some visible Deity, and because God cannot be seen, they have gratified their Superstition by making some visible I­mages and Representations of an invisible God: now to take them off from mean corporeal Images and Representations, which are both a dishonour to the Divine Nature, and debase the minds of men, God has given us a visible Image of Himself, has cloathed his own eternal Son with Humane Nature, who is the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his per­son, 1. Hebr. 3. And therefore St. John tells us, That the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glo­ry [Page 12] as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, 1 John 14. And for this reason when Philip was desirous to see the Father, Shew us the Father and it sufficeth; Christ tells him, that the Father is to be seen onely in the Son, who is his visible Image and Glory; Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not seen me Philip? He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father, and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? 14 John 8, 9. This was one end of Christ's In­carnation, that we might have a visible Deity, a God Incarnate to represent the Father to us, who is the living and visible I­mage of God; and there could not be a more effectual way to make men despise all dead material Representations of God, than to have God visibly represented to us in our own Nature.

It is true, Christ is not visible to us now on earth, but he is vi­sible in Heaven, and we know, he is the only visible Image of God, and that is enough to teach us, that we must make and adore no other. He is as visible to us in Heaven, as the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies was to the Jews, and is that true propitiatory of which the mercy seat was a Type and Figure, 3 Rom. 25. Him hath God set forth to be a propitiation through Faith in his blood [...] the Mercy-seat, as that word is used, 9 Heb. 5. He is the natural Image of God, and his Mercy-seat, or Presence and Throne of Grace, he is his visible Image, tho' he cannot be seen by us, for the Typical Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies, did prae­figure, that his residence should be in Heaven, and therefore invi­sible to us on earth, but there we may see him by Faith, and there he will receive our Prayers, and present them to his Father.

Now then to sum up this Argument: since it was one main design of Christs appearance, to root all the remains of Ido­latrous Worship out of the world, is it credible, that the Worship of Saints and Angels, and the Virgin Mary; the worship of Ima­ges and Reliques, as it is practised in the Church of Rome, should be any part of Christian Worship, or allowed by the Gospel of our Saviour? If Creature-worship, and Image-worship were so offensive to God, here is the Worship of Creatures, and Images still, and therefore all the visible Idolatry, that ever was practised [Page 13] in the world before: All that they can pretend is, that they have better Notions of the Worship of Saints, and Angels, and Images, than the Heathens had: but whether they have or no, will be hard to prove: The Pagan Philosophers made the same Apologies for their Worship of Angels, and Daemons, and Images, which the Learn­ed Papists now make, and whether unlearned Papists have not as gross Notions about their Worship of Saints and Images, as the unlearned Heathens had, is very doubtful, and has been very much suspected by learned Romanists themselves: But suppose there were some difference upon this account, can we think, that Christ, who came to root out all Idolatrous Worship, intended to set up a new kind of Creature-Worship and Image-Worship in greater pomp and glory than ever, and only to rectifie mens Opinions about it? Suppose the Idolatry of Creature-Worship and Image-Worship, does consist onely in mens gross Notions about it; yet we see under the Law to prevent and cure this, God did not go about to rectifie their Opinions of these things, but absolutely forbids the Worship of all Images, and of any other Being but himself, which methinks he would not have done, had there been such great advantages in the Worship of Saints, and Angels, and Images, as the Romanists pretend: and when God in the Law of Moses forbad all Creature and Image Worship, can we think, that Christ who came to make a more perfect Refor­mation, should only change their Country Gods into Saints and Angels, and the Virgin Mary, and give new names to their Sta­tues and Images? Which whatever he had taught about it, in­stead of curing Idolatry, had been to set up that same kind of Worship, which the Law of Moses absolutely forbad, and con­demned as Idolatry.

When God to cure the Idolatrous Worship of inferiour Dae­mons, as their Mediators and Advocates with the Supreme God, sent his own Son into the World to be our Mediator, can we think, that he intended after this, that we should worship Angels, and Saints, and the Virgin Mary, as our Mediators? When God has given us a visible Image of himself, his Eternal and Incarnate Son, whom we may Worship and Adore, did he still intend, that [Page 14] we should worship material and sensible Images of Wood or Stone? By the Incarnation of his own Son, God did indeed take care to rectifie mens mistakes about Creature-Worship, and to cut off all pretences for it: Those who pleaded that vast distance between God and men, and how unfit it was, that Sinners should make their immediate approaches to the Supreme God, and therefore worshipped inferiour Daemons as middle Beings between God and man, have now no pretence for this, since God has appointed his own Son to be our Mediator: Those who worshipped Images as the visible Representations of an invisible God, have now a vi­sible Object of Worship, a God Incarnate, a God in the nature and likeness of a Man; and though we do not now see him, yet we have the notion of a visible God and Mediator to whom we can direct our Prayers in Heaven, which is satisfaction enough even to men of more gross and material Imaginations, without any artificial and senseless Representations of the Deity: And was all this done, that men might worship Creatures and Images with­out Idolatry? or rather was it not done to cure mens inclinati­ons to commit Idolatry with Creatures and Images? Whoever believes that the Gospel of our Saviour was intended as a Reme­dy against Idolatry, can never be perswaded, that it allows the Worship of Saints and Images; which if it be not Idolatry, is so exactly like it in all external appearance, that the allowance of it does not look like a proper cure for Idolatry.

SECT. II. Concerning the great Love of GOD to Mankind, and the Assuran­ces of Pardon and Forgiveness which the Gospel gives to all Peni­tent Sinners; which are much weakned by some Popish Doctrines.

2. THe Gospel of Christ was intended to give the highest demonstration of God's Love to Mankind, and the greatest possible Security to all humble penitent Sinners, of the Forgiveness of their Sins: Hence the Gospel is called the Grace of God, and the Gospel of Grace, as being a Dispensation of Love and Goodness; and therefore whatever lessens and disparages the Go­spel-Grace, [Page 15] can be no Gospel-Doctrine. As to consider this par­ticularly.

The Gospel magnifies the Grace of God in giving his own Son for us: God so loved the world; that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlast­ing life, 3 John 16. In this was manifested the love of God to­wards us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins, 1 John 4.9, 10. And St. Paul assures us, that this is such a glorious manifestation of God's love, as will not suffer us to doubt of any other expressions of his Goodness: He that spa­red not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 8 Rom. 32. So that the Gospel of our Saviour gives us much higher demonstrations of God's love and goodness, than either the Light of Nature, or the Law of Moses did. Love is the prevailing Attribute of God un­der the Gospel-dispensation, For God is love, and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him, 1 John 4.16.

Thus the Gospel of Christ gives a humble Penitent as great as­surance of Pardon, as his own guilty Fears can desire; for Repen­tance and Remission of Sins is preached in the Name of Christ: He has expiated our Sins by the Sacrifice of his Death, God com­mendeth his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, much more then being justified by his bloud, we shall be saved from wrath through him; for if when we were enemies we were reconciled unto God by the death of his Son, much more being recon­ciled we shall be saved by his life, 5 Rom. 8, 9, 10. For as he was delivered for our Offences, so he was raised again for our Justification; And him hath God exalted to be a Prince and a Sa­viour to give repentance unto Israel, and remission of sins. 1 John 2.1, 2. So that if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, who is able to save all them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them, 7 Heb. 25. These are the fundamental Doctrines of Chri­stianity, and therefore nothing can be a Gospel-Doctrine, which [Page 16] weake [...]s or overthrows them. Let us then examine the Po­pish Doctrine of Purgatory, and the Invocation of Saints and An­gels as our Mediators with God, and see how they are reconcile­able with the Gospel-notion of God's love, and that security it gives us of Pardon through the Merits and Intercession of Christ.

1. Let us consider the Doctrine of Purgatory, which is but the outward Court or Region of Hell, where the Punishments are as severe as in Hell itself, only of a less continuance; and yet as short as they are, they may last many hundred, nay thousand Years, unless their Friends and the Priests be more merciful to them, or they themselves have taken care before Death to pay the Price of their Redemption. This is a barbarous Doctrine, and so inconsistent with that mighty Love of God to penitent Sinners, as it is represented in the Gospel of Christ, that it is not reconcileable with any notion of Love and Goodness at all; you may call it Justice, you may call it Vengeance, if you please, but Love it is not, or if it be, it is such a Love as no man can di­stinguish from Hatred: for my part I declare, I do not desire to be thus loved; I should rather chuse to fall into nothing, when I die, than to endure a thousand Years torments to be happy for ever; for Humane Nature cannot bear the Thoughts of that: And is this, that wonderful Love of God to Sinners, which is so magnified in the Gospel, to torment those, who are Redeemed by the Bloud of Christ, some hundred or thousand Years in the Fire of Purgatory, which is not cooler than the Fire of Hell?

The Light of Nature, I confess, never taught this, for Mankind never had any Notion of such an outragious Love; they always thought, that the Love of God consisted in doing good, not in damning those, whom he loves, for so many Ages: And if this be all the Discovery, the Gospel has made of the Love of God, we have no great reason to glory in it. He who can believe, that God, who so loved the World, as to give his only begotten Son for the Redemption of Sinners, will torment a penitent Sin­ner so many Years in Purgatory, till he has either endured the punishment of his Sins himself, or is released by the Charity of his Friends, or the Masses of some Mercenary Priests, deserves to lie [Page 17] in Purgatory, till he thinks more honourably of the divine good­ness, and be convinced, that it is no such extravagant commen­dation of the love of God, to send penitent Sinners to Purga­tory.

There are two extravagant Notions whereon the Doctrine of Purgatory is founded, which overthrow all the natural Notions men have of Goodness, and destroy all the hope and confidence of the most penitent Sinners in the goodness of God. As,

1. That God may forgive Sins, and yet punish us for them; for no man can go into Purgatory according to the Doctrine of the Church of Rome, whose Sins are not already forgiven: but though his Sins are forgiven, he must make satisfaction for that temporal punishment, which is due to them, either in this World, or in Purgatory: Now how reconcilable these two are, to for­give, and to punish, let all mankind judge. I believe, very few men think, they are forgiven, when they are punished; for that which all men desire should be forgiven them, is the punishment, they have deserv'd. What is it, men are afraid of, when they have sinned? is it not, that they shall be punished for it? What is it men desire, when they desire Pardon? is it not, that they may not be punished? And is it any comfort to a Malefactor to be pardoned, and to be hanged? Does any man boast of his love and kindness, or take any comfort in it, who freely forgives him, but exacts the payment of the Debt, or the punishment of his fault? And if this be so contrary to the very notion of good­ness and forgiveness among men, how comes it to be the notion of goodness and forgiveness in God? How comes that to be love and goodness, which the Sinner receives no benefit by? for love and goodness, I think, signifies to do good; or if this be good­ness, let those take comfort in it that can.

If it be said, that it is an Act of goodness to exchange the eter­nal punishment of Hell, which is due to sin, into the Temporal punishment of Purgatory, I grant, this is something, but only ask, whether it would not have been a more perfect expression of love and goodness, to have remitted the Temporal Punishment also of, it may be, some thousand years Torment in Purgatory? [Page 18] whether this might not have been expected under a dispensati­on of the most perfect love? and from that God, who sent his only begotten Son into the World to save Sinners? Whether those sins are perfectly forgiven, which shall be avenged, thô not with Eternal, yet with long Temporal Punishments in the next World? Whether any man thinks himself perfectly forgiven, who is punished very severely, tho' not absolutely according to his de­serts? And consequently, whether the Doctrine of Purgatory be not a very great diminution of the Love of God, and the Grace of the Gospel? And whether that can be a true Gospel Doctrine, which represents the Love of God, much less then the Love of a kind and good man, who when he forgives the Injury, forgives the whole Punishment of it? Nay, Whether that can be a Gospel Doctrine, which represents the Love of God less than infinite? and I suppose an infinite Love may forgive true Penitents the whole Punishment of their Sins; and then there is no need of Purgatory.

2ly. In Purgatory, God does not only punish those, whom he has pardoned, but he punishes for no other reason, but pu­nishment-sake. For thus the Roman Doctors tell us, that the Souls in Purgatory, are in a state of Pardon, and in a state of Per­fect Grace; and they suffer the pains of Purgatory, not to purge away any remains of Sin, or to purifie and refine them, and make them more fit for Heaven, but only to bear the punishment due to Sin, for which they had made no satisfaction, while they lived. Now I dare boldly affirm, this is irreconcileable with any degree of Love and Goodness: to make any Punishment just, it must have respect to the guilt of sin, to make it an act of goodness, it must be intended for the reformation of the sinner; but when sin is pardoned, the guilt at least is taken away, and therefore such punishments can have no relation to guilt; and when the sinner is in a perfect state of Grace, and needs no amendment, such pu­nishments can have no respect to the good and reformation of the sinner, and therefore such punishments are neither just nor good, and this is the exact notion of Purgatory; and methinks we should consider, whether this agrees with that account the [Page 19] Gospel gives us of the love and goodness of God: should a Prince have a Jayl of the same nature with Purgatory, where for seve­ral years he torments those whom he pretends to have pardoned, and who are grown very good men, and good Subjects, and need no correction, or discipline, I believe all the World would laugh at those, who should call this, love and goodness, pardon and mercy. Hell is very reconcileable with the goodness of God, be­cause it is prepared only for those, who are the Objects of a just, a righteous Vengeance, and a very good God may be very just; but Purgatory can never be reconciled with the superabundant goodness of God to sinners, through Jesus Christ, unless men think it a great kindness to suffer the pains of Hell for several Months, Years, or Ages for no reason, which makes it either just or good to suffer them. So that a Popish Purgatory is in­consistent with the belief of God's great Love and Goodness to sinners, in Jesus Christ, and destroys the hope and confidence of sinners: for if they may lie in Purgatory for some thousand years, as they may do, notwithstanding the Love of God, and the Merits of Christ, if the Pope, or the Priests, or their Mony be not more merciful unto them, they have no great reason to glory much in the Goodness of God, though they should go to Heaven at last: so that our Protestant need not dispute much a­bout Purgatory: let him only ask a Popish Priest, How the Do­ctrine of Purgatory can be reconciled with that stupendious Love of God declared to penitent sinners, in his Son Jesus Christ? for it is a contradiction to the Notion of Goodness among men, to inflict such terrible punishments in meer Grace and Love, even when the sin is pardoned, and the sinner reconciled, and no lon­ger in a state of Discipline and Tryal.

Secondly, The Doctrine of Purgatory destroys, or weakens, that Security the Gospel hath given Sinners of their Redemption from the Wrath of God, and the just punishment of their Sins. One great Security, is the Love of God declared to the World by our Lord Jesus Christ, but if the Love of God to penitent Sinners, who are Redeemed by the Blood of Christ, be consistent with his tormenting them in Purgatory so many thousand years, as you [Page 20] have already heard, it will be a very hard thing to distinguish such Love from Wrath, and a Sinner, who is afraid of so many thousand years punishment, can take no great comfort in it: but besides this, the Doctrine of Purgatory destroys mens hope and confidence in the Merits and Intercession of Christ, and in the express promises of Pardon and Remission of Sins in his Name.

1. It destroys mens hopes in the Merits of Christ, and the a­tonement and expiation of his Blood; For if the Blood of Christ does not deliver us from the punishment of Sin, what security is this to a Sinner? Yes, you'll say, Christ has Redeemed us from Eternal, tho' not from Temporal Punishments, and therefore penitent Sinners have this security by the expiation of Christ's Death, that they shall not be eternally Damned: This I know the Church of Rome teaches; but I desire to know, How any man can be satisfied from Scripture, that Christ by his Death has delivered us from Eternal Punishments, if he have not delivered us from Temporal Punishments of Sin in the next World? I thank­fully acknowledge, and it is the only hope I have, that the Gospel has given us abundant assurance of the expiation and atonement made for Sin by the Blood of Christ; but what I say is this, that if these Texts which prove our Redemption by the Death of Christ, do not prove, that Christ has redeemed us from the whole punishment due to Sin in the next World, they prove no­thing, and then we have not one place of Scripture to prove, that Christ by his Death has redeemed us from Eternal Punish­ments; which is enough to make all Christians abhor the Do­ctrine of Purgatory, if it destroy the Doctrine of Salvation by Je­sus Christ. As to show this briefly:

The hope and security of Sinners depends upon such Scripture expressions as these: that Christ has died for our sins, that he has made atonement for sin, that he is a propitiation through faith in his blood, that he has redeemed us from the curse of the law [...] being made a curse for us: that remission and forgiveness of sins is preached in his name; that by him we are justified from all those things, from which we could not be justified by the Law of Moses, that being justi­fied by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; [Page 21] that we are reconciled unto God, and saved from wrath by him. Now I desire to know, Whether all these expressions signifie, that for Christ's sake, and through the atonement and expiation of his Blood, a penitent Sinner shall be delivered from the punishment due to his sins? If they do not signifie this, how is a Sinner secu­red, that though his sins are pardoned, and he is justified, and reconciled to God, and redeemed from the Curse of the Law, and saved from Wrath, he shall not after all this be damned for his sins, since [...]t is the punishment of sin, which it seems is not re­moved, when the sin is pardoned, and the Sinner justified and reconciled to God? If these expressions do not signifie taking away the punishment of sin, I desire one Text of Scripture to prove, that a Sinner, who is pardoned and justified, shall not undergo the Eternal Punishment of his sins. If to be pardoned and justified, &c. does sig­nifie to be delivered from the punishment of sin, I desire to know, How a sinner, who is pardoned and justified, can be punished for his sins? that is, How a sinner, who is released from the Pu­nishment of his sins, should be bound to suffer the punishment of his sins in Purgatory?

Our Roman Adversaries do indeed distinguish between the Tem­poral and Eternal Punishment of Sin; the Eternal Punishment of Sin, they say, Christ has made satisfaction for, and that is re­moved by his Death, that no penitent Sinner shall be Eternally damned; but a Sinner must make satisfaction for the Temporal punishment of Sin himself, either in this World, or in Purgatory: and consequently that forgiveness of Sins, signifies the remission of the Eternal Punishment of sin, but not of the Temporal: now I shall not put them to prove this distinction from Scripture, which is a very unreasonable Task, because there is nothing in Scripture about it; but yet I would gladly be secured, that I shall be saved from Eternal Punishments; and therefore I would gladly know, how forgiveness of Sins, and our Redemption from the Curse of the Law, signifies our deliverance from Eternal Punishments, if they do not signifie our deliverance from the Punishment of our sins? And how they can signifie our deliverance from the punish­ment of our sins, if notwithstanding this we must suffer the pu­nishment [Page 22] of our sins in Purgatory? If they signifie, that we shall not be punished for our sins, then indeed they may signifie, that we shall not be Eternally Punished; but they cannot signifie, that we shall not be Eternally punished, unless they signifie that we shall not be punished, and therefore not in Purgatory neither; if that be the Punishment of sin. The truth is, this is a very senceless distinction between the Temporal and Eternal Punish­ment of sin: for I desire to know, Whether the Temporal Pu­nishment be not the Punishment of sin? be not the Curse of the Law? if it be, then forgiveness of sin, if it remits the Punish­ment, remits the Temporal Punishment, for that is the Punish­ment of sin; then our Redemption from the Curse of the Law, redeems us from Purgatory, for that is the Curse of the Law too, if you add, and from Death, for that is the Curse of the Law too, and yet those who are redeemed and justified, die still; which shows the fallacy of this Argument, for it seems Redemption from the Curse of the Law, does not signifie our Redemption from the whole Curse, for then a justified Person must not die, since bare dying is part of the Curse. I answer, this had certain­ly been true, had not the necessity of dying been expresly except­ed out of this Redemption; for in Adam all die, and it is appoint­ed (by a Divine Decree) for all men once to die, and could they show, where Purgatory is excepted too, then I would grant, that those who are redeemed from the Curse of the Law might fall into Purgatory, if that be any comfort to them: and yet the case is vastly different between Death and Purgatory: for though Death be the Curse of the Law, yet we may be delivered from Death as a Curse and Punishment, without being delivered from the necessity of dying: and thus good men are redeemed from Death: for their Sins are expiated and pardoned, and then the Sting of Death is gone; for the sting of death is sin, and therefore when our Sins are pardoned, Death cannot sting us, can do us no hurt; because it does not deliver us over to Punishment, but transplants us into a more happy State. The fears of Death are conquered by the promises of Immortal Life, and Death itself shall at the last day be swallowed up in Victory, when our dead Bo­dies [Page 23] shall be raised immortal and glorious, so that tho' good men still die, yet they are redeemed from the Curse of the Law, from Death itself as a Curse and a Punishment. But the Popish Pur­gatory is a place of Punishment, and nothing but Punishment; and therefore is not reconcileable with the remission and forgive­ness of sin.

Again I ask, Whether there are two kinds of Punishments due to sin, Temporal and Eternal, of such a distinct nature and con­sideration, that the Promise of forgiveness does not include both? Nay, that God cannot forgive both; that only the Eternal Pu­nishment can be forgiven, but the Temporal Punishment must be satisfied for, or endured by the Sinner: if this were the case indeed, then I would grant, the Promise of forgiveness could ex­tend only to Eternal Punishments, because God can forgive no other; and the forgiveness of Eternal Punishment, does not in­clude the forgiveness of the Temporal Punishment. But if the Curse of the Law be Eternal Death, and all other Punishments, which can properly be called the punishment of sin (for Correcti­on and Discipline is not the Wrath of God, and the Curse of the Law) are only parts of the Curse, and a partial execution of it; if the only thing, that makes Sinners obnoxious to Temporal Punishments is, that they are under the Sentence of Eternal Death, which God may execute by what degrees he pleases; then to forgive Eternal Punishment must include the forgiveness of Temporal Punishments, as parts or branches of it. As sup­pose there were a Law, that no man should suffer any Bodily Punishments, but such a Malefactor as is condemned to die, but when the Sentence of Death is past upon him, it should be at the Prince's pleasure to defer the Execution of this Sentence, as long as he pleased, and in the mean time to inflict all other Pu­nishments on him, whatever he pleased; in this Case to Pardon the Sentence of Death, would deliver such a man from all other Punishments too, which by the Law are due only to that man, who is under the Sentence of Death: and in such a Constitution for any man to say, that the Prince's Pardon extends only to Life, but does not excuse from Whipping and Pilloring, and per­petual [Page 24] Imprisonment, would be to make the Pardon void, since no man by the Law can suffer those other Punishments but he who is Condemned to Die, and therefore he who is pardoned the Sentence of Death, in consequence of that is pardoned all other Punishments too.

Thus it is here, the original Curse against sin was, in the day, that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die, which by the Gospel of Christ is expounded of Eternal Death, and there is no other threatning in all the Gospel against sin, but Eternal Death; and therefore all other Punishments are inflicted by Vertue of this Law, and consequently he who is delivered from this Curse of the Law, from Eternal Punishments, is delivered from the whole Punishment due to sin; unless they can find some other Law in the Gospel, besides that which threatens Eternal Death, which obliges a Sinner to Punishment.

Again, since they acknowledge, that Christ by his Death has delivered us from Eternal Punishments, I do not think it worth the while to Dispute with them, whether those Sufferings and Calamities, which good men are exposed to in this World, may properly be called Punishments, or only Correction and Disci­pline; but I desire to know, Why they call Purgatory, which is a place of Punishment in the other World, a Temporal Punish­ment? for this is an abuse of the Language of Scripture, which makes this World Temporal, and the next World Eternal, as St. Paul expresly tells us; the things, which are seen, are temporal, but the things, which are not seen, are eternal, 2 Cor. 4. 18. And therefore Temporal Punishments signifie the Punishments in this World, but the unseen Punishments, as well as the unseen Rewards, of the next World are Eternal: which is a demonstration, that there is no Purgatory, unless it be Eternal, and then it is but another Name for Hell, and therefore the State of the next World is called either Life or Death, eternal life, or eternal death: those who believe in Christ shall never die, 11 John 25, 26. Now I desire to know the diffe­rence between Living, and Dying, and Perishing in the next World; for bad men do not cease to be, nor loose all sence in the next World, no more than good men; and therefore Life can [Page 25] only signifie a state of Happiness, and Death a state of Misery, which is much worse than not being: now if good men must not perish, must not die, but live, in the next World, they must not go to Purgatory, which as much perishing, as much dy­ing, as Hell, though not so long; but if they must never die, ne­ver perish, they must never suffer the pains of Purgatory, which is a dying and perishing, that is, a state of Torment and Misery, while they continue there.

Let us then see how a Papist, who believes a Purgatory-fire in the next World, wherein he shall be tormented (God knows how long!) for his Sins, can prove that a penitent Sinner shall not be eternally damned: Oh! says he, Christ has died for our Sins, and made attonement for them, and we are pardoned and justified through Faith in his Bloud; and what then, may we not still be punished for our Sins? If not, what becomes of Purgato­ry? If we may, prove, that we shall not be eternally damned for Sin, which is the proper punishment of it: For if to be pardoned and justified, signifie to be delivered from punishment, it signifies our deliverance from the whole punishment of Sin, since the Scri­pture does not limit it: if they do not signifie our deliverance from punishment, then we may be eternally punished for Sin, though we are pardoned and justified.

But we are redeemed from the curse of the Law, and saved from wrath. But if such a man may go to Purgatory, why not to Hell? Or if the Curse of the Law, and the Wrath of God be in Hell, but not in Purgatory, though the torments are equally great, why may not he lie for ever in Purgatory, as well as a thousand Years, with this comfort, that though he be infinitely tormented, yet it is not the curse of the Law, nor the wrath of God.

Well, but Christ has promised, That those who believe in him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life: And that proves that the pains of Purgatory cannot be for ever, for then Christ could not make good his promise of bestowing everlasting Life on them: so I confess one would think, and so I should have thought also, that when Christ promised, that such Believers should not perish, [Page 26] and should never die, that he meant, such men should not go to Purgatory in the next World; but if falling into Purgatory be not perishing, and not dying, it may be everlasting life too. for ought I know, and then the pains of Purgatory may be eternal.

Whoever would not forfeit all the assurance the Gospel has gi­ven us, of our Redemption from Hell, and a glorious Immortali­ty, must reject the Popish Doctrine of Purgatory, as a flat con­tradiction to all the gracious Promises of the Gospel: for Hell, or an eternal Purgatory, is as reconcileable with the Promises of For­giveness and immortal Life, as the Popish Purgatory is.

2. This Doctrine of Purgatory destroys our hope and confi­dence in the Mediation and Intercession of Christ, and that for these two plain reasons: 1. As it represents him less merciful and compassionate; And 2. less powerful, than the wants and neces­sities of Sinners require him to be. For

I. After all that is said in Scripture of his being so merciful and compassionate an High-Priest, a Sinner who hears what is told him of Purgatory, could wish him a great deal more compassio­nate than he is: for it is no great sign of tenderness and compas­sion to leave his Members in Purgatory-fire, which burns as hot as Hell. Could I believe this of our Saviour, I should have very mean thoughts of his kindness, and not much rely on him for a­ny thing: We should think him far enough from being a merci­ful and compassionate Prince, who can be contented to torture his Subjects for a year together; and it is a wonderful thing to me, that when a merciful man cannot see a Beast in torment with­out relieving it, it should be thought consistent with the mercy and compassion of our Saviour, to see us burn in Purgatory for Years and Ages. To be sure this destroys all our hope in him in this World; for why should we think, he will be concerned what we suffer here, who can contentedly let us lie in Purgatory, to which all the calamities and sufferings of this life are meer trifles? O Blessed and Merciful JESU! pardon such Blasphemies as these. For

II. If he be compassionate, he must want Power to help us; and that destroys the hope of Sinners as much as want of Com­passion. [Page 27] It must be want of Will or Power in him, that he does not deliver us from Purgatory as well as Hell: and if he want Power to deliver us from Purgatory, for my part I should more question his Power to deliver from Hell, for that is the harder of the two: if his Bloud could not expiate for the Temporal punish­ment of Sin, which the Merits of some Supererogating Saints, or the Pope's Indulgence, or the Priests Masses can redeem us from, how could it make expiation for Eternal punishment? If his In­terest in the Court of Heaven will not do the less, how can it do the great? There is no Doctrine more irreconcileable with the perfect Love and Goodness of God, and the Merits and Interces­sion of our Saviour, which are the Fundamental Doctrines of the Gospel, which is a Dispensation of Love and Grace, than this of Purgatory, and therefore we may safely conclude, that this is no Gospel-Doctrine.

2. Let us now examine the Doctrine of Invocation of Saints and Angels as our Mediators with God, and see whether it does not disparage the Grace of the Gospel, the Love of God, and of our Mediator and Advocate Jesus Christ, to penitent Sinners. Now a very few words will decide this matter.

1. With respect to God; now can that man believe, that God is so very gracious to Sinners for the sake of Christ, who seeks to so many Advocates and Mediators to interceed for him with God. To imagine that we want any Mediator to God, but on­ly our High-Priest, who mediates in Vertue of his Sacrifice, is a reproach to the Divine Goodness. The Wisdom and Justice of God may require a Sacrifice, and a High-Priest to make Attone­ment for Sin, but Infinite Goodness needs not any Entreaties, and meer Intercessions to move him. A truly good man, who knows a proper Object of his kindness, needs not to be asked to do good. The use of such Advocates and Mediators among men, is either to recommend an unknown Person to the favour of the Prince, or fairly to represent his cause to him, which has been mis-represented by others, or to procure favour for an unde­serving person, or among equal Competitors, to procure some one to be preferred; this is all the use of Intercession among men▪ [Page 28] for a good, and wise, and just Prience, will do what is wise, and just, and good, not only without Intercessors, but against all In­tercessions to the contrary. Now I suppose no man will say, that God wants Mediators and Advocates upon any of these ac­counts; for he knows every man, understands perfectly his cause, will never be perswaded by any Intercessions to shew kindness to unfit Objects, that is, to impenitent Sinners; and his Goodness is so unconfined, and so extensive to all, that there can never be a­ny competition for his Favour; and therefore to multiply Advo­cates and Mediators to God, must argue a great distrust of his Mercy and Goodness, which a kind and good Prince would take very ill of us.

God indeed has commanded us to Pray for one another in this World, as he has to pray for our selves; but this is not by way of Interest and Merit, as the Church of Rome pretends, the Saints in Heaven pray for us, but by humble Supplications, which is ve­ry reconcileable with the goodness of God, to make Prayer a ne­cessary condition of granting Pardon and other Blessings we want: but as the use of Prayer for our selves, is not to move God meer­ly by our importunities to do good to us, for we must pray in Faith, that is, with a humble assurance and confidence that God will hear us, which includes a firm Belief of his readiness to grant, what we pray for; so neither are our Prayers for others to move God by our interest in him, that is, they are not the Intercessions of Favourites, but of humble Supplicants.

There was great reason why God should make Prayer the con­dition of our receiving, though he wants not our importunities to move him, because there are a great many excellent Virtues exercised in Prayer; such as great sorrow for Sin, great humility of Mind, faith in God's Promises, the acts of Love, and affiance and trust in God, and a constant dependance on his Grace and Providence for all spiritual and temporal Blessings: and there was great reason why he should command us to pray for others, tho' he wants none of our Intercessions for them; because it is a mu­tual exercise of Charity, of Love to our Brethren, and Forgive­ness to our Enemies, and is a mighty obligation to do all other [Page 29] acts of kindness; for those who know it to be their Duty to pray for one another, will think themselves bound to do good to one another also: This becomes those, who live and converse toge­ther in this World, because it is a great instrument of Virtue, and that is a reason why God should encourage the exercise of it by promising to hear our Prayers for each other.

But as far as meer goodness is concerned, the Gospel represents God as so very good to Sinners, that there is no need of any In­tercessor for them: For God so loved the world, that he gave his on­ly begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life, 3 John 16. This was an act of goodness an­tecedent to the Incarnation and Death of Christ, and the highest act of goodness that God could manifest to the World, and there­fore secures us of God's love and goodness to Sinners without a Mediator and Advocate; for that love which provided a Media­tor for us, was without one, and proves, that it was not for want of goodness, or that he needed entreaties, that he gave his Son to be our mediator. And therefore hence S. Paul proves, how ready God is to bestow all good things on us: He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things, 8 Rom. 32. And our Saviour him­self represents the goodness of God, by the tenderness and com­passion of an earthly Parent: If ye then being evil (that is, less good than God is) know how to give good things to your chil­dren, how much more shall your heavenly Father give good things to them that ask him, 7 Matth. 11. especially in the Parable of the Prodigal, where our Saviour describes the goodness of God to Sinners, by that passion and joy wherewith the Father received his returning Prodigal; nay, he assures his Disciples, that there was no need of his own Intercession to incline God to be good and kind to them: At that day ye shall ask in my name, and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you, for the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and believed that I came out from God, 16 John 26, 27. God is so infinitely good, that he needs no Mediators or Intercessors to incline him to all acts of goodness; but as he is the wise and just Governour of the World, [Page 30] he requires a Sacrifice for Sin, and a High-Priest to make At­tonement for it, and to interceed in vertue of the Sacrifice. Such a Mediator Christ is, who alone is both our Sacrifice and our Priest, and therefore our only Mediator; not to incline God to be good, for that he was before, infinitely good, or else he had not given his Son to be our Sacrifice and our High-Priest, but to make Attonement for our Sins, and thereby to reconcile the ex­ercise of God's goodness with his wisdom and justice in Govern­ing the World. Such a Mediator and High-Priest does not les­sen the Divine goodness, for the intention of his Mediation is not to make God good and kind, but to make it wise and just in God to do good to Sinners; but all other Mediators in Heaven, whose business it is by Prayers, and Entreaties, and Interest, and Favour to incline God to be good to such particular persons as they inter­ceed for, is a real disparagement to the Divine goodness; as if he would not be good unless he were conquered by Entreaties, and over ruled by the prevailing Intercessions of some great Favou­rites: and yet such Mediators as these the Saints, and Angels, and Virgin Mary are, if they be Mediators at all; and therefore to pray to them as to our Mediators, argues such a diffidence and distrust of God's goodness, as does not become the Gospel of our Saviour; this can be no Gospel Doctrine, because it is irreconcileable with that account the Gospel gives us of the Love of God.

2. Nor is it less injurious to the Love of our Saviour, to flie to the Prayers and Aids of Saints, and Angels, and the Virgin Mary her self. I shall not now dispute, what encroachment this is up­on the Mediatorship of Christ, to make our Addresses and Appli­cations to other Mediators; but whoever does so, must either think that Christ wants Interest with God, without the joynt In­tercession of Saints and Angels, or that he wants Kindness to us, and either will not interceed for us at all, or will not do it unless he be prevailed with by the Intercession of Saints, or the Entrea­ties or the Commands of his Mother. I suppose they will not pretend, that he wants power to do, what we ask of him, when he himself has assured us, That whatsoever we ask of the Father in his name, he will give it us, 15 John 16. 16 John 23, 24. Does [Page 31] our Mediatour then need other Mediators to interceed with him for us? What! he who became man for us? who lived a labori­ous and afflicted life for us? who loved us so, as to give himself for us? who is a merciful and compassionate High-Priest, and touched with a feeling of our infirmities, being in all things tem­pted like as we are, yet without Sin?

What a change does this make in the whole Gospel? Had not the Church of Rome found out some better security for Sinners, in the Mediation of Saints, and Angels, and the Blessed Virgin, what a hopeless State had we been in? For all that the Gospel tells us is, That God in great love and goodness to Sinners, sent his Son to be our Saviour; and that we might have the greater assurance of his pity and compassion for us, he became Man, Flesh of our Flesh, and Bone of our Bone; and not only so, but submitted to all the weaknesses and infirmities of our Natures, to the greatest shame and reproach, to the sharpest pains, and the most infamous Death, that he might the better know, what our temptations and sufferings are in this World, and might be more sensibly affected with our condition in all our sufferings: This one would have thought, should have given the greatest security to Sinners of his readiness to help them, who did and suffered all this for them; and this is the onely security which the Gospel of our Saviour gives us. But it seems Christ is not merciful and pitiful enough; his Virgin Mother has softer and tenderer passions, and such an interest in him, or authority over him, in the right of a Mother, as some of them have not without Blasphemy represented it, that she can have any thing of him; and thus they suppose the other Saints to be much more pitiful than Christ is, and to have inte­rest enough to protect their Supplicants, or else it is not ima­ginable why they should need or desire any other Advocates. Now let any man who understands the Gospel, and finds there how the love of Christ is magnified, not only in dying for us, but in his being a merciful and compassionate High-Priest, that this is the only hope of Sinners, That if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father Jesus Christ the righteous, who is also a pro­pitiation for our sins, think the Invocation of Saints, as our Patrons and Advocates, to be a Gospel-Doctrine, if he can.

SECT. III. Concerning the Nature of Christian Worship.

3. ANother manifest design of the Gospel, was to reform the Worship of God, not only by extirpating Idolatry, but by purging it from all Pagan and Jewish Superstitions, and to ap­point such a Worship as is more agreeable to the Nature both of God and Man. And whoever will take the pains to compare the Worship of the Church of Rome, with that Worship which our Saviour has prescribed in the Gospel, will easily discover how un­like they are. Let us then consider what Christ has reformed in the Worship of God, and what kind of Worship he has pre­scribed to his Disciples.

I. What he has Reformed in the Worship of God; and that may be comprehended in one word, he has taken away all that was meerly External in Religion. By which I do not mean that our Saviour has forbid all External Acts of Worship, or such Ex­ternal Circumstances as are necessary to the decent and orderly performance of Religious Worship, which the nature and reason of things requires under all Dispensations of Religion; but that he has laid aside all such External Rites as either were, or were thought to be in themselves Acts of Religion, and to render such Worshippers very acceptable to God. A great many such Rites there were in the Pagan Religion, and a great many in the Jewish Worship of God's own Institution, and a great many more which the Tradition of the Elders, and the Superstition of the Scribes and Pharisees had introduced.

We know the Jewish Worship consisted of External Rites; in their Temple, and Altars, and Sacrifices, and Washings, and Pu­rifications, in New Moons and Sabbaths, and Festival Solemni­ties, in Consecrated Garments and Vessels for the Service of the Temple, in distinction of Meats, &c. the very External obser­vance of these Rites, were Acts of Religion, and necessary to make their Worship acceptable to God; and the wilful and presumptu­ous neglect or contempt of them, was punished with Death.

[Page 33]Now our Saviour has abrogated all these Jewish Rites, and has Instituted nothing in the room of them, excepting the two Sa­craments, Baptism, and the Lord's Supper, which are of a very different Nature and Use, as we shall see presently: He did not indeed, while he was on Earth, blame the Observation of the Law of Moses, which till that time was in full force, and which he observed himself, but he blamed the External Superstitions of the Pharisees, in washing Cups and Platters, and making broad their Phylacteries, and thinking themselves very righteous per­sons, for their scrupulous observation even of the Law of Moses, in paying Tithe of Mint and Cummin, &c. while they neglected the weightier matters of the Law, judgement, mercy, and faith, 23 Mat. 23. But when our Saviour was Risen from the Dead, and had accomplished all the Types and Shadows of the Law, then the Apostles with greater freedom opposed a Legal and External Righteousness, and though they did for a time indulge the Jews in the Observation of the Rites of Moses, yet they asserted the Liberty of the Gentile Converts from that Yoke, as we may see in the first Council at Antioch, and in St. Paul's Disputes with the Jews, in his Epistles to the Romans and Galatians, and else­where. And indeed whoever considers the Nature of the Chri­stian Religion, will easily see, that all those ends, which such External Rites served either in the Jewish or Pagan Religion, have no place here, and therefore nothing that is meerly External can be of any use or value in the Christian Worship. As to show this particularly.

1. There is no expiation or satisfaction for sin under the Go­spel, but only the Blood of Christ, and therefore all External Rites are useless to this purpose.3 Rom. 23. Him and him only God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood. Death was the punishment of sin, and Death is the only expiation of it; and none else has died for our sins but Christ alone, and therefore he only is a propitiation for our sins; and yet we know, how great a part both of the Pagan and Jewish Religion was taken up in the expiation of sin: all their Sacrifices to be sure were designed for this purpose, and so were their Washings and Purifications in [Page 34] some degree, and many other voluntary Severities and Supersti­tions, this being the principal thing they intended in their Reli­gious Rites, to appease God and make him propitious to them; since then Christ has made a full and compleat satisfaction and atonement for sin, and there is no expiation or satisfaction requi­red of us, all external Rites for expiation and atonement can have no place in the Christian Worship, without denying the atone­ment of Christ, and this necessarily strips Christian Religion of a vast number of external Rites practised both by Jews and Hea­thens.

2ly, Nor does the Gospel admit of any legal Uncleannesses and Pollutions, distinction between clean and unclean Meats, which occasioned so many Laws and Observances both among Jews and Heathens; so many ways of contracting legal Uncleanness, and so many ways to expiate it, and so many Laws about Eating and Drinking, and such Superstition in Washing Hands, and Cups, and Platters, but our Saviour told his Disciples, Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth the man, but that which cometh out of the mouth, 15 Matth. 11, 17, 18, 19, 20. this defileth the man. For whatsoever entreth into the mouth, goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught, but those things, which proceed out of the mouth, come forth from the heart, and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witnesses, blasphemies, these are the things which defile a man; but to eat with unwashen hands, defileth not a man. And this also delivers Chri­stian Religion from all those Rites and Observances, which con­cerned legal cleanness, which were very numerous.

3ly, Nor is there any Symbolical Presence of God under the Gospel, which puts an end to the legal Holiness of Places and Things. God dwelt among the Jews in the Temple at Jerusa­lem, where were the Symbols and Figures of his Presence: it was God's House, and therefore a holy place, and every thing that belonged to it had a legal Holiness: for the Holiness of Things and Places under the Law, was derived from their relation to God, and his Presence: this was the only place for their Typical and Ceremonial Worship, whither all the Males of the Children [Page 35] of Israel were to resort three times a year, and where alone they were to offer their Sacrifices and Oblations to God: the very place gave Virtue to their Worship and Sacrifices, which were not so acceptable in other places; nay, which could not be of­fered in other places without sin, as is evident from Jeroboam's sin, in setting up the Calves at Dan and Bethel for places of Wor­ship, and the frequent Complaints of the Prophets against those, who offered Sacrifices in the High Places; and therefore the Di­spute between the Jews and Samaritans was, which was the place of Worship, whether the Temple at Jerusalem or Samaria: but Christ tells the Woman of Samaria, that there should be no such distinction of places in the Christian Worship: Woman believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem worship the father. —But the hour cometh and now is, 4 John 21, 23. when the true worshippers shall worship the father in spirit and in truth. Not as if the Father should not be Worshipped, neither at Jerusalem nor Samaria; but that neither the Temple at Jerusalem nor Samaria, should be the peculiar and appropriate place of Worship; that God's Presence and Worship should no longer be confined to any one place; that the Holiness of the place should no longer give any value to the Worship; but those who wor­shipped God in spirit and in truth, should be accepted by him, where-ever they worshipped him. Such Spiritual Worship and Worshippers, shall be as acceptable to God at Samaria as at Je­rusalem, and as much in the remotest Corners of the Earth, as at either of them: for God's Presence should no longer be confined to any one place, but he would hear our devout Prayers from all parts of the World, where-ever they were put up to him, and con­sequently the Holiness of places is lost, which consists only in some peculiar Divine Presence, and with the Holiness of places, the external and legal Holiness of things ceases also: for all other things were Holy only with relation to the Temple, and the Temple Worship. For indeed God's Typical Presence in the Temple, was only a Figure of the Incarnation: Christ's Body was the true Temple where God dwelt: for which reason he calls his Body the Temple, Destroy this Temple, and I will raise it up [Page 36] in three days: And the Apostle assures us, that the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in Christ Bodily, [...] really and substantial­ly, in opposition to God's Typical Presence in the material Tem­ple: and therefore when Christ was come, who was the true Em­manuel or God dwelling among us, and had by his Incarnation accomplish'd the Type and Figure of the Temple, God would no longer have a Typical and Figurative Presence.

I will not quarrel with any man, who shall call the Christian Churches, and the Utensils of it, holy things; for being employ­ed in the Worship of God, they ought to be separated from com­mon uses, and reason teaches us to have such places and things in some kind of religious Respect, upon the account of their relati­on, not to God, but to his Worship; but this is a very different thing from the Typical Holiness of the Temple and Altar, and other things belonging to the Temple, and there are two plain differences between them, the first with respect to the cause, the second with respect to the effect: the cause of this legal Holiness, was God's peculiar Presence in the Temple, where God chose to dwell as in his own House, which Sanctified the Temple, and all things belonging to it: the effect was that this Holiness of the Place Sanctified the Worship, and gave value and acceptation to it: the first needs no proof, and the second we learn from what our Saviour tells the Scribes and Pharisees. Wo unto you,-ye blind guides, which say, whosoever shall swear by the temple it is nothing, but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor; ye fools and blind, for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple, that sanctifieth the gold? 23 Matth. 16, 17, 18, 19. And whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing, but whosoever sweareth by the gift, that lieth upon it, he is guilty: ye fools and blind, for whether is greater, the gift, or the Altar that sanctifieth the gift? So that it seems, there was such a Holiness in the Temple and Altar, as conveyed a Holiness and Sanctity to other things, even to the Oblations and Sacrifices, which were offered there. But now whatever Holiness there is in Christian Churches and Oratories, they are sanctified by the worship, that is performed there, not the worship sanctified by them. It is the Assembly of Christians themselves, that is the [Page 37] Church, the House, the holy and living Temple of God, not the building of Wood or Stone wherein they meet: God and Christ is peculiarly present in the Assemblies of Christians, though not by a Figurative and Symbolical Presence, and thus he is present in the places, when Christians meet, and which are Consecrated and Separated to Religious Uses, and there is a natural Decency in the thing, to shew some peculiar Respects to the places, where we solemnly Worship God; but the presence of God is not pecu­liar to the place as it was appropriated to the Temple of Jerusa­lem, but it goes along with the Company and the Worship; and therefore the place may be called Holy, not upon account of its immediate relation to God, as God's House, wherein he dwells, but its relation to Christians, and that Holy Worship, which is performed there; and I suppose every one sees the vast difference between these two: and thus all that vast number of Ceremonies, which related to this external and legal Holiness of Places, Vessels, Instruments, Garments, &c. have no place in the Christian Wor­ship, because there is no Typical and Symbolical Presence of God, and consequently no such legal Holiness of places and things, un­der the Gospel.

4ly, Nor are material and inanimate things made the Recepta­cles of Divine Graces and Vertues under the Gospel, to convey them to us meerly by Contract and external Applications; like some Amulets or Charms, to wear in our Pockets, or hang a­bout our Necks. There was nothing like this in the Jewish Re­ligion, though there was in the Pagan Worship, but under the Gospel Christ bestows his holy Spirit on us, as the principle of a new divine Life, and from him alone we must immediately re­ceive all Divine Influences and Vertue, and not seek for these heavenly Powers in senceless things, which can no more receive, nor communicate Divine Graces to us, then they do Wit and Understanding to those who expect Grace from them; For can Grace be lodged in a rotten Bone, or a piece of Wood; or con­veyed to our Souls by perspiration in a kiss or touch?

5ly, The Christian Religion admits of no External or Ceremo­nial Righteousness. In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth [Page 38] any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature, and obedience to the commandments of God,5 Matth. 20.and faith which worketh by love: The great design of the Gospel, and of all our Saviour's Sermons, be­ing to make us truly holy, that we may be partakers of the Di­vine Nature, having escaped the corruption, which is in the world through lust. There is nothing our Lord does more severely con­demn, than an External and Pharisaical righteousness, which con­sisted either in observing the External Rites of the Law of Moses, or their own Superstitions received by tradition from their Fore­fathers, and expresly tells his Disciples, except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the Kingdom of Heaven: Now this cuts off every thing, which is External in Religion at a blow, because it cuts off all hopes and relyances on an External Righteousness, and I be­lieve men will not be fond of such Superstitions, when they know, they will do them no good.

6ly, And hence it appears, that there can be no place for any thing, that is external, in the Christian Religion, but only for some foederal Rites; such as the two Sacraments of the Gospel are, Baptism and the Lords Supper; the first of which is our admissi­on into the new Covenant, the second the exercise of Commu­nion with Christ in this Gospel Covenant. And such Rites as these are necessary in all Instituted Religions, which depend up­on free and voluntary Covenants: for since Mankind has by sin forfeited their natural right to Gods favour, they can challenge nothing from him now, but by promise and Covenant; and since such Covenants require a mutual stipulation on both sides, they must be transacted by some visible and sensible Rites, whereby God obliges himself to us, and we to him; but these being only the signs or seals of a Covenant, are very proper for a Religion, which rejects all External and Ceremonial Righteousness and Wor­ship: for it is not our being in Covenant with God, nor the Sa­craments of it, that can avail us, without performing the con­ditions of the Covenant, and therefore this does not introduce an External Righteousness.

[Page 39]Now whoever has such a Notion and Idea of the Christian Worship as this, (and let the Church of Rome confute it if she can) will easily see without much Disputing, how unlike the Worship of the Church of Rome is to true Christian Worship.

For whoever only considers, the vast number of Rites and Ce­remonies in the Church of Rome, must conclude it as Ritual and Ceremonial a Religion as Judaism itself; the Ceremonies are as many, more obscure, unintelligible, and useless; more severe and intollerable, then the Jewish Yoke itself, which St. Peter tells the Jews, neither they nor their Fathers were able to bear; it is indeed almost all Outside and Pageantry, as unlike the Plain­ness and Simplicity of the Gospel-Worship, as Show and Ceremo­ny can make it.

It is true, external and visible Worship, must consist of exter­nal Actions; and must be performed with such grave and decent circumstances of time and place, and posture and habit, as become the Solemnity of Religious Worship; this Reason and Nature teaches, and this the Church of England prudently observes, whose Ceremonies are not Religious Rites, but decent Circumstances of Worship, few in number (as the necessary Circumstances of A­ction are but few) and Grave and Solemn in their use: but this is not to place Religion in any thing, that is external, but only to pay an external Homage and Worship to God, which differ as Worshipping God in a Decent Habit, differs from the Religion of Consecrated Habits and Vestments; or as praying to God with an audible Voice, differs from placing Religion in Words and Sounds which we do not understand, or as Kneeling at receiving the Sacrament, differs from a Bodily Worship of the Host in bow­ing the knee.

But though the bare number of external Ceremonies, which are always the Seat of Superstition, be a great corruption of the Christian Worship, yet the number of them is the least fault of the Ceremonies of the Church of Rome; as will appear, if we con­sider a little their nature.

For 1. Most of their external Rites are professedly intended as Expiations and Satisfactions for their Sins. This is the Doctrine [Page 40] and Practice of the Church of Rome, that notwithstanding the satisfaction made by Christ, every Sinner must satisfie for his own Sins, or have the satisfaction of other mens applied to him, out of the Treasury of the Church, by the Pope's Indulgences: this is the meaning of all external Penances in Whippings, Fastings, Pilgrimages, and other superstitious Severities; their Backs, or their Feet, or their Bellies must pay for their Sins, unless they can redeem them out of their Pockets too: now it is plain, that these are such external Superstitions, as can have no place in the Chri­stian Religion, which allows of no other expiation or satisfacti­on for Sin, but the Blood of Christ.

2ly, Those distinctions between Meats, which the Church of Rome calls Fasting, (for a Canonical Fast is not to abstain from Food, but only from such Meats as are forbid on Fasting Days) can be no part of Christian Worship, because the Gospel allows of no distinction between clean and unclean things, and therefore of no distinction of Meats neither: for meat commendeth us not to God, 1 Cor. 8. 8. The Church of Rome indeed does not make such a distinction between clean and unclean Beasts, as the Law of Moses did, and therefore is the more absurd in forbidding the eating of Flesh, or any thing that comes of Flesh, as Eggs, or Milk, or Cheese, or Butter, on their Fasting Days, which is to impose a new kind of Jewish Yoke upon us, when the reason of it is ceased. For there is no imaginable reason why it should be an Act of Religion meerly to abstain from Flesh, if Flesh have no le­gal uncleanness; and if it had, we must all turn Carthusians, and never eat Flesh; for how should it be clean one day, and unclean another, is not easie to understand. I am sure St. Paul makes this part of the Character of the Apostacy of the latter days, that they shall Command to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them, which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be re­fused if it be received with thanksgiving. 1 Tim. 4. 3, 4, 5. For it is sanctified by the word of God, and prayer. And let no man judge you in meat or drink, —wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudi­ments of the world, why as though living in the world, are ye subject [Page 41] to ordinances: touch not, tast not, handle not, 2 Col. 16' 20, 21, 22. which all are to perish with the using, after the Commandments and Doctrines of men?

And yet, though they do not own the legal distinctions be­tween clean and unclean things, their Consecrations would per­swade one, that there were something more than a meer legal uncleanness in all Creatures, viz. that they are all possessed by the Devil and wicked Spirits; for when they Consecrate Salt and Water to make their Holy-water, they first exorcise both the Salt and Water to cast the Devil out of them: and if such inno­cent Creatures are possessed, I doubt none can escape; which has made me sometimes wonder, that they durst eat any thing before it was first exorcised, for fear the Devil should take possession of them with their meat. It is certain, if the Christian Religion takes away all such distinctions between Meat and Drinks, the meer abstaining from Flesh can be no part of Christian Wor­ship, much less so satisfactory and meritorious as the Church of Rome pretends, when such Abstinence is appointed as a satisfacto­ry Penance.

3dly, As for the Religion of Holy Places, Altars, Vestments, Utensils, the Church of Rome has infinitely out-done the Jewish Laws: instead of one Temple at Jerusalem, they have thou­sands to the full as Holy and Sacred as that, as may appear from their Rites of Consecration. Though herein, I confess, they differ, that the Temple of Jerusalem was only God's House, and that alone made it a Holy Place, because God was there peculiar­ly present; but the Popish Churches derive their Sanctity, not so much from the presence of God, (for then they would be all e­qually Holy) as from some great and eminent Saint, who is pe­culiarly Worshipped there. It is a great argument of the opini­on men have of the Holiness of any place, to go in Pilgrimage to it, not meerly in Curiosity, but Devotion; as if either going so far to see the place, were in itself an act of Religion, or their Prayers would be better heard there, than if they prayed at home: Thus they travel to Jerusalem to visit the Holy Land and the Se­pulchre, and this may be thought in honour of our Saviour who Lived, and Died, and was Buried there: but otherwise I know [Page 42] not any Church or Chappel, which the most devout Pilgrims think worth visiting meerly upon the account of God or Christ: The several Churches or Chappels of the Virgin, especially those which are the most famed for Miracles, or the Churches where the Reliques of some great and adored Saints are lodged, have their frequent Visits, for the sake of the Virgin, or of the Saints; but without some Saint Churches lose their Sacredness and Vene­ration, which I suppose is the reason why they always take care of some Reliques to give a Sacredness to them, without which no Church can be Consecrated; that is, its Dedication to the Wor­ship of God, cannot make it Holy, unless some Saint take possessi­on of it by his or her Reliques.

This, I confess, is not Judaism, for under the Jewish Law, all Holiness of things or places was derived from their relation to God; now the Names, and Reliques, and wonder-working Ima­ges of Saints and the Blessed Virgin, give the most peculiar and ce­lebrated Holiness; and whether this be not at least to ascribe such a Divinity to them, as the Pagans did to their Deified Men and Women, to whom they erected Temples and Altars, let any im­partial Reader judge. Those must have a good share of Divini­ty, who can give Holiness to any thing else.

But since they must have Holy Places, and something to an­swer the Jewish Superstition, who cried, The Temple of the LORD, the Temple of the LORD, I cannot blame them for making choice of Saints to inhabitate their Churches, and sanctifie them with their presence, since under the Gospel God is no more present in one place than in another: He dwelt indeed in the Temple of Jerusalem by Types and Figures, but that was but a Type of God's dwelling in Humane Nature: the Body of Christ was the true Temple, as he told the Jews, Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up; which he spake of the Temple of his Bo­dy: And now Christ is ascended into Heaven, there is no Temple on Earth; and therefore if they will have Temples, they must have the Temples of Saints, for the Presence of God is now no more confined to a House, than his Providence is to the Land of Judaea, as it was in a very peculiar manner, while the Temple [Page 43] stood there. God dwells not on Earth now, as he did among the Jews, but his Presence, viz. our Lord Jesus Christ, is remo­ved into Heaven, and therefore he has no House on Earth to an­swer to the Jewish Temple, as the Ancient Fathers asserted that the Christians had neither Temples nor Altars: The Christian Church indeed is a holy and living Temple, wherein the Holy Spirit dwells, but that is built not with Stones or Brick, but of living Saints; and therefore the Holiness of Places, and Altars, and Garments, &c. which makes up so great a part of the Roman Religion, is a manifest Corruption of the Simplicity of the Chri­stian Worship. The Jewish Temple made that Worship most ac­ceptable to God, which was offered there, because it was a Type of Christ, and signified the acceptance of all our Prayers and Reli­gious Services, as offered up to God only in the Name of Christ; but to think that any place is so Holy now, that the bare visiting it, or praying in it, should bestow a greater holiness upon us, and all we do, should expiate our Sins, or merit a Reward, is no bet­ter than Jewish or Pagan Superstition.

4hly, That the Church of Rome does attribute Divine Virtues and Powers to senseless and inanimate Things, is so evident from that great Veneration they pay to the Reliques, and those great Vertues they ascribe to them, from their Consecrations of their Agnus Dei, their Wax-candles, Oyl, Bells, Crosses, Images, Ashes, Holy-water, for the Health of Soul and Body, to drive away e­vil Spirits, to allay Storms, to heal Diseases, to pardon Venial, and sometimes Mortal Sins, meerly by kissing or touching them, car­rying them in their hands, wearing them about their necks, &c. that no man can doubt of it who can believe his own eyes, and read their Offices, and see what the daily Practice of their Church is. Whoever has a mind to be satisfied about it, needs only read Dr. Brevint's Saul and Samuel at Endor, Chap. 15. These things look more like Charms than Christian Worship, and are a great Profanation of the Divine Grace and Spirit; indeed they argue that such men do not understand, what Grace and Sanctification means, who think that little Images of Wax, that Candles, that Oyl, that Water and Salt, that Bells, that Crosses, can be sancti­fied [Page 44] by the Spirit of God, and convey Grace and Sanctification by the sight, or sound, or touch, or such external applications. Christ has given his Holy Spirit to dwell in us, which works immedi­ately upon our minds and rational powers, and requires our con­currence to make his Grace effectual to cleanse and purifie our Souls, and to transform us into the Divine Image; the grace of the Spirit is to enlighten our Minds, to change our Wills, to go­vern and regulate our Passions, to instruct, to perswade, to admo­nish, to awaken our Consciences, to imprint and fix good thoughts in us, to inspire us with holy desires, with great hopes, with di­vine consolations, which may set us above the fears of the World, and the allurements of it, and give greater fervour to our Devo­tions, greater strength to our Resolutions, greater courage and constancy in serving God, than the bare powers of Reason, tho' enforced with supernatural Motives, could do. This is all the Sanctification the Gospel knows, and he who thinks that inani­mate Things are capable of this Sanctification of the Spirit, or can convey such Sanctification to us by some Divine and Invisible Ef­fluviums of Grace, may as well lodge Reason, and Understand­ing, and Will, and Passions in senseless matter, and receive it from them again by a kiss or touch. To be sure men who know what the Sanctification of the Spirit means, must despise such Fooleries as these.

5ly, That all this encourages men to trust in an External Righteousness, is too plain to need a proof; and therefore I shall not need to insist long on it.

For 1. such External Rites are naturally apt to degenerate in­to Superstition, especially when they are very numerous: The Jewish Ceremonies themselves, their Circumcision, Sacrifices, Washings, Purifications, Temple, Altars, New Moons and Sab­baths, and other Festival Solemnities, were the Righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, and a cloak for their Hypocrisie and great Immoralities, though they were never intended by God for the justification of a Sinner. For such External Rites are so much ea­sier to carnal men, than to subdue their Lusts, and live a holy and vertuous Life, that they are willing to abound in such External [Page 45] Observances, and hope that these will make Expiation for their o­ther Sins; and therefore when the Typical use of these Ceremo­nies was fulfilled by Christ, the External Rites were Abrogated, that men might no longer place any hope or confidence in any thing which is meerly External: And therefore that Church which fills up Religion with External Rites and Ceremonies, were there no other hurt in it, laies a Snare for Mens Souls, and tempts them to put their trust in an External Righteousness, without a­ny regard to the Internal Purity of Heart and Mind.

Especially 2. when such External Rites are recommended as very acceptable to God, as satisfactions for our Sins, and merito­rious of great rewards; and this is the use they serve in the Church of Rome, as you have already heard. They assert the necessity of Humane Satisfactions; And what are these satisfa­ctory Works wherewith men must expiate their Sins? The prin­cipal of them are Fastings, that is abstaining from Flesh, and o­ther Acts of Penance, as Whippings, Pilgrimages, and some Bo­dily severities, or Prayers, that is saying over such a number of Ave-Maries; or Alms, that is to pay for Indulgencies, or to pur­chase Masses for themselves, or their Friends in Purgatory, or to found some Religious Houses, or to enrich those that are; which are much more satisfactory and meritorious than common acts of Charity to the Poor: All which men may do, without the least sorrow for Sin, without any true devotion to God, without mor­tifying any one Lust. They mightily contend for the Merit of Works; but what are their Meritorious Works? Whoever reads the Lives of their Canoniz'd Saints, will easily see what it was that made them Saints: their Characters are usually made up of some Romish Superstitions, of their Devotions to the Virgin Ma­ry, and their familiar Conversations with her, the severities of their Fasts, and other external Mortifications, their frequenting the Mass, the great numbers of their Ave-Maries, pretences to Raptures and Visions, and such wild Extravagancies as made them suspected of Madness, while they lived, and Canoniz'd them for Saints, when they were dead: Other things may be ad­ded to fill up their Stories, but these are the glorious Accomplish­ments, [Page 46] especially of the more Modern Saints: for no man must be a Saint at Rome, who is not a famous Example of Popish Su­perstitions.

Monkery is thought the most perfect State of Religion among them, and has even Monopolized the Name, for no other per­sons are called the Religious, but those who belong to one Order or other: And wherein does the Perfection of Monkery consist? 1. In the Vows of Caelibacy, Poverty, and Obedience to the Su­periors of their Order, which are all External things, no Virtues in themselves, and very often the occasion of great Wickedness. 2. In the strictest Observance of the External Rites and Ceremo­nies of their Religion; of Masses, and Ave-Maries, and Fastings, and Penances, and many of them would be glad, if they could go Pilgrimages too. These things are in perfection in their Mona­steries and Nunneries, with such additional Superstitions as are peculiar to particular Orders. As for other true Christian Ver­tues, they may as soon be found without the Walls of the Mona­stery, as within.

Now when such External Rites and Observances shall be judg­ed Satisfactions and Expiations for Sin; shall be thought the most highly meritorious, shall be made the Characters of their great­est Saints, and the most perfect state of Religion; I cannot see how any true thorough-paced Romanist, can aim at any thing but a Ceremonial Righteousness.

Indeed the true reason why any thinking men are so fond of an External and Ceremonial Righteousness, is to excuse them from true and real Holiness of Life: all men know that if they mor­tifie their Lusts, they need not afflict their Bodies with Fastings, and other severities: that if they have their Conversation in Hea­ven, they need not travel in Pilgrimages to Jerusalem or Loretto; that if they take care to obey the Laws of the Gospel, they need no satisfactions for their Sins, nor no works of Merit or Supere­rogation, which are nothing else but meritorious and supereroga­ting satisfactions; for all men know, that in the Offices of Piety and Vertue, they can never do more than is their Duty; and therefore as nothing can be matter of Merit, which is our Duty, [Page 47] so the true intention of all Merits and Works of Supererogation, are to supply the place of Duty, and to satisfie for their Sins, or to purchase a Reward, which they have no title to, by doing their Duty; but a good man, who by believing in Christ, and obeying him, has an interest in his Merits, and a title to the Go­spel-Promises of Pardon and Eternal Life, needs none of these Sa­tisfactions, Merits, or Supererogations. Now would any man who believes that he cannot be saved without mortifying his Lusts, be at the trouble of Whippings and Fastings, &c. not to mortifie his Lusts, but to keep them, and to make satisfaction for them? Would any man travel to Jerusalem, or the Shrine of a­ny Saint, who believes he shall not be forgiven, unless he leaves his Sins behind him, which he might as well have parted with at home? The true notion of Superstition is, when men think to make satisfaction for neglecting or transgressing their Duty, by doing something which is not their Duty, but which they believe to be highly pleasing to God, and to merit much of him: Now no man who believes that he cannot please God without doing his Duty, would be so fond of doing his Duty, and doing that which is not his Duty, nor pleasing to God, into the bargain.

3. And yet these meritorious and satisfactory Superstitions are very troublesome to most men, and though they are willing to be at some pains rather than part with their Lusts, yet they would be at as little trouble as possibly they can; and herein the Church of Rome, like a very indulgent Mother, has consulted their ease; for one man may satisfie for another, and communicate his Me­rits to him: and therefore those who, by their Friends or Mo­ney, can procure a vicarious Back, need not Whip themselves; they may Fast, and say over their Beads, and perform their Pe­nances and Satisfactions by another, as well as if they did it themselves; or they may purchase Satisfactions and Merits out of the Treasury of the Church, that is, they may buy Indulgen­cies and Pardons; or it is but entring into some Confraternity, and then you shall share in their Merits and Satisfactions. This is an imputed Righteousness with a witness, and I think very Ex­ternal too, when men can satisfie and merit by Proxies.

[Page 48]4. And I think it may pass for an External Righteousness too, when men are sanctified and pardoned by Reliques, Holy-water, Consecrated Beads, Bells, Candles, Agnus Dei's, &c. And how unlike is all this to the Religion of our Saviour, to that purity of Heart and Mind the Gospel exacts, and to those means of San­ctification, and methods of Piety and Vertue it prescribes? Who­ever considers what Christian Religion is, can no more think these Observances Christian Worship, than he can mistake Po­pish Legends for the Acts of the Apostles.

II. Let us now consider what kind of Worship Christ has pre­scribed to his Disciples: And the general account we have of it 4 John 23, 24. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true wor­shippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Fa­ther seeketh such to worship him: God is a spirit, and they that wor­ship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth. Now there are three things included in this description of Gospel-Worship: 1. That we must Worship God under the Notion of a Pure and Infinite Spirit. 2. That we must Worship him under the Cha­racter of a Father. 3. That we must Worship him with the Mind and Spirit.

First, We must Worship God under the Notion of a Pure and Infinite Spirit, who has now confined his peculiar Presence to no place, as he formerly did to the Temple at Jerusalem; for this was the present Dispute, Whether God would be Worshipped at the Temple at Jerusalem, or Samaria; as I observed above: In opposition to which, our Saviour tells the Woman, that God is a Spirit, and therefore not confined to any place; he is every-where, and present with us every-where, and may be worshipped every­where by devout and pious Souls: that though for Typical Rea­sons he had a Typical and Symbolical Presence under the Jewish Dispensation, yet this was not so agreeable to his Nature, who is a Spirit, and therefore he must not now be sought for in Houses of Wood and Stone.

And indeed the Reformation of the Divine Worship must be­gin in rectifying our Notions and Apprehensions of God; for such as we apprehend God to be, such a kind of Worship we shall pay [Page 49] him; as is evident from the Rites and Ceremonies of the Pagan Worship, which was fitted to the Nature and History of their Gods; for where there are no Instituted Rites of Worship, all mankind conclude, that the Nature of God is the best Rule of his Worship, for all Beings are best pleased with such Honours, as are suitable to their Natures, and no Being can think himself Honoured by such Actions as are a contradiction to his own Na­ture and Perfections.

Now if God will be Worshipped more like a pure and infinite Spirit under the Gospel, than he was under the Law; if this be the fundamental Principle of Gospel-Worship, that God is a Spi­rit, and must be Worshipped as a Spirit, I think it is plain, that nothing is more unlike a pure Spirit, then a material Image; no­thing more unlike an infinite Spirit, which can have no shape or figure, then a finite and figured Image, made in the likeness of a man, or of any thing in Heaven and Earth; nothing more unlike an infinite Spirit, which is Life, and Mind, and Wisdom, than a dead and senceless Image; and if under the Law, where God suited his Worship more to a Typical Dispensation than to his own Nature, he would not allow of the Worship of Images, much less is this an acceptable Worship to him under the Gospel, where he will be Worshipped as a pure Spirit, for there is nothing in the World more unlike a Living, Infinite, Omnipotent, Omniscient Spirit, than a little piece of dead senceless figured Gold or Silver, Wood or Stone, whatever shape the Carver or Engraver please to give it, since God has none. Now would any man, who un­derstands this, that God is a Spirit, and will under the Gospel be Worshipped as a Spirit, should he go into many Popish Chur­ches and Chappels, and see a vast number of Images and Pictures there, and People devoutly kneeling before them, suspect that these were Christian Oratories, or this Christian Worship, unless he knew something of the matter before? For there you shall find the Pictures of God the Father, and the ever Blessed Trinity, in different Forms and Representations; the Pictures of the Blessed Virgin, and other Saints and Martyrs devoutly Adored and Wor­shipped, and would any man guess, that this were to Worship [Page 50] God as a pure and infinite Spirit? A Spirit cannot be Painted, and then to Worship God as a Spirit, cannot signifie to look upon any Representation of God, when we pray to him, which to be sure cannot give us the Idea of an infinite Spirit. He who Wor­ships God as a Spirit, can have no regard to Matter and Sense, but must apply himself to God as to an infinite Mind, which no man can do, who gazes upon an Image, or contemplates God in the art and skill of a Painter; for to pray to God in an Image, and in the same thought to consider him as a pure and infinite mind, is a contradiction; for though a man, who believes God to be a Spirit, may be so absurd, as to worship him in an Image, yet an Image cannot represent a Spirit to him, and therefore ei­ther he must not think at all of the Image, and then methinks he should not look on an Image, when he worships God, for that is apt to make him think of it; or if he does think of the Image, while his mind is filled with such gross and sensible representati­ons, it is impossible in the same act to address to God, as to a pure invisible, and infinite Spirit. Which shews how unfit and impro­per Images are in the Worship of God; for they must either be wholly useless, and such as a man must not so much as look or think on, (which is very irreconcileable with that Worship, which is paid to them in the Church of Rome) or while he is intent up­on a Picture or Image, his mind is diverted from the contemplati­on of a pure and infinite Spirit, and therefore cannot, and does not Worship God as a Spirit.

And the same is true of the Images of Saints and the Blessed Virgin: for though to makes Pictures of Men or Women, is no reproach to the Divine Nature, since they are not the Pictures or Images of God, who is a Spirit, but of those Saints, whom they are intended to represent, yet if all Christian Worship be the Worship of God, it is evident, that the Worship of Images, though they be not the Images of God, but of the Saints, can be no part of Christian Worship, because God must be Worshipped as a Spirit, and therefore not by any Image whatsoever.

Now the Church of Rome will not pretend, that the Worship of Saints and their Images, is a distinct and separate Worship [Page 51] from the Worship of God, but to justifie themselves, they con­stantly affirm, that they Worship God in that Worship, which they pay to the Saints and their Images; for they know, that to do otherwise, would be to terminate their Worship upon Crea­tures, which they confess to be Idolatry, since all Religious Worship must terminate on God; and therefore should they give any Religious Worship to Creatures distinct and separate from that Worship they give to God, it were Idolatry upon their own principles.

Now if they Worship God in the Worship of Saints and their Images, then they Worship God in the Images of Saints, and that I think is to Worship him by Images: the Worship of a pure infinite and invisible Spirit will admit of no Images, whe­ther of God or Creatures, as the Objects or Mediums of Wor­ship.

But it may be said, that this is to graft our own Fancies and Imaginations upon Scripture; for though Christ does say, that God is a Spirit, and must be Worshipped in Spirit, he does not say, that to Worship God in Spirit is not to Worship him by an Image; but to Worship God in Spirit, in our Saviour's Discourse with the Woman of Samaria, is not opposed to Image-Worship, but to confining the Worship of God to a particular place, such as the Temple at Jerusalem and Samaria was; as I observed above. Now to this I answer:

1. To Worship God as a Spirit, does in the nature of the thing signifie this; for to Worship God by any material or sensible Re­presentations is not to Worship God as a Spirit; for an infinite Spirit cannot be represented by matter, nor by any shape and figure, because it neither is material, nor has any figure.

2. If God will not have his peculiar Presence confined to any place under the Gospel, much less will he be Worshipped by Ima­ges and Pictures, for it is not such a contradiction to the nature of an infinite Spirit, to shew himself more peculiarly present in one place than in another, as it is to be Worshipped by sensible Images and Pictures. Though God fills all places, there may be wise Reasons, why he should confine the Acts of Worship to [Page 52] some peculiar place, and such Typical Reasons there were for it under the Law, but there never can be any Reason, why a Spirit should be Represented and Worshipped by an Image, which is such a contradiction and dishonour to the nature of the Spirit; and therefore when God confined his Symbolical Presence to the Tem­ple at Jerusalem, yet he strictly forbad the Worship of Images, and much less then will he allow of Image-Worship, when he will not so much as have a Temple.

3. For we must observe farther, that what our Saviour here says, God is a Spirit, and will be Worshipped in Spirit, is not a particular Direction, how to Worship God, but a general Rule to which the nature of our Worship must be conformed, and therefore it is our Rule, as far as the plain Reason of it extends. Under the Law they were not left to general Rules, but God de­termined the particular Rites and Ceremonies of his Worship himself; for under the Law God had not so plainly discovered his own nature to them, as he has done by his Son in the Gospel. For no man hath seen God at any time, but the only begotten son, who is in the bosom of the father, he hath declared him. And therefore the nature of God was never made the Rule of Worship before. Tho God was as much a Spirit under the Law, as he is under the Go­spel, yet this was never assigned as a reason against Image-Wor­ship, that God is a Spirit: but either that they saw no Likeness or Similitude in the Mountain, when God spake to them, 4 Deut. 15, 16. or that he is so great and glorious a Being, that nothing in the World is a fit Representation of him: To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him? —It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grashoppers, 40 Isa. 18. &c. that stretcheth out the heavens as a cur­tain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in, &c. But that God is a Spirit, who has no shape and figure, is a much better Argument against Image-Worship, than all this; but this God had not so plainly declared to them; and if God forbad the Worship of Images, when he thought fit to give no other rea­son for it, but that he had never appeared to them in any Like­ness or Similitude, or that he was too great to be Represented; [Page 53] we our selves may now judge, how unfit it is to Worship God by an Image, since our Saviour has declared, that he is a Spirit, who has no Likeness or Figure, and that now he expects to be Worshipped by us as a Spirit, and therefore without any Image or sensible Representation.

4. And yet some Learned men think, that our Saviour in these Words, had as well respect to the Worship of God by Images, as to his Worship in the Temple: for that he had respect to the Ob­ject as well as Place of Worship, is evident from what he adds, ye worship ye know not what, we know what we worship, 4 John 22. for salvati­on is of the Jews; wherein he informs the Woman, that though she inquired only of the place of Worship, the Samaritans were guilty of a greater fault than setting up the Temple at Samaria in opposition to the Temple at Jerusalem, viz. in a false Object, or an Idolatrous manner of Worship, they Worshipping a Dove as the Symbol and Representation of God: and thus to Worship God in Spirit, is expresly opposed to Worshipping God by Images.

5ly, However this comes much to one; for if God being a Spi­rit his Worship must not be confined to any place or Symbolical Presence; then he must not be Worshipped by an Image, for an Image is a Representative Presence of God, or of the Saints; for the use of Images is to represent that Being whom we Worship as present to us: and therefore if men consider what they do, they go to Images, as to Divine Presences, to Worship. Images, which are set up in Churches and Chappels for the Worship of God, or of the Saints, are confined to places, and make those places as much appropriate and peculiar places of Worship, as the Jewish Temple was, excepting that the Temple was but one, and they are many. Heathen Temples were the Houses of their Gods, or of their Images, which were the Presence of their Gods; and if we must not appropriate the Presence of God to any place, then we must not Worship him by Images, which are of no use but to represent God as sensibly present, with the Image, or in the place, where the Image is. If God be better Worshipped before an Image, than without one, then the Worship of God is more confined to that place, where an Image is, than to those places, [Page 54] which have no Images. I cannot see how to avoid this, that if God must be Worshipped by Images, than there must be appro­priate places of Worship, viz. where the Image is, if there be no appropriate places of Worship under the Gospel, like the Temple at Jerusalem, then God must not be Worshipped by Images; for an Image must be in some place, and if God must be Worshipped at, or before his Image, then that is the proper and peculiar place of Worship, where his Image is; nay, though the Image be not fixt to any place, but be carried about with us, yet if we must Worship God by Images, the Image is not only the Ob­ject, but makes the place of Worship, for there we must Wor­ship God, where his Image is, if we must Worship him before his Image. It is impossible to separate the Notion of Image-Worship, from the Notion of a peculiar and appropriate place of Worship; for the Image determines the place, as the Presence of the Object; does and as under the Gospel we may Worship God any where, because he is an infinite Spirit, and fills all places, and is equally present with all devout Worshippers, where-ever they Worship him: So where the Image is Consecra­ted for a Divine Presence, it is not only the Object, but the pe­culiar place of Worship, because God is peculiarly present there, or more acceptably worshipped there, than where there is no I­mage. So that if a peculiar and appropriate place of worship be contrary to the notion of an infinite Spirit, the worship of Ima­ges is much more so, for besides that they are gross and corpore­al representations of a Spirit, they are Divine Presences too, and appropriate places of worship.

Secondly, As God must be worshipped under the notion of a Spirit, so under the character of a Father: as our Saviour expresly tells us; The hour cometh and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and truth, for the Father seeketh such to worship him, 4 John 23. and therefore he taught his Disciples to pray, Our Father which art in heaven. Under the Law God was worshipped as a King, and that not so much as the King of the whole world, but as in a peculiar manner the King of Israel. The Lord reign­eth, let the people tremble, he sitteth between the Cherubims (in his Tem­ple [Page 55] at Jerusalem) let the earth be moved. The Lord is great in Zi­on,99 Psal. 1, 2.and he is high above all people. But under the Gospel the pe­culiar character of God is a Father, and that not only as he is the maker of all men, and so the Father of all, but as he is the Fa­ther of Christ, and in him the Father of all Christians. Now this makes a vast difference in our worship, from what is daily practised in the Church of Rome. For,

1. When we pray to God as our Father, we must pray to him as dwelling in Heaven: as our Saviour teaches us to say, Our Fa­ther, which art in Heaven. For as a Father, Heaven is his House and Habitation; in my Fathers House are many mansions, that is,14 John 2. in in Heaven, which is his House as a Father, as the Temple at Jeru­salem, was his Palace considered as the King of Israel; and this is one reason our Saviour intimates, why the presence of God shall no longer be confined to any particular place or Temple, because he shall be worshipped as the universal Father, not as the King of Jury; Now when he is to be worshipped as a Father from all parts of the world, he must have such a Throne and presence to which all the World may equally resort, and that can be no other then his Throne in Heaven, whither we may send up our Prayers from all Corners of the Earth; but had he confined his Presence to a­ny place on Earth, as he did to the Temple of Jerusalem, the rest of the World must have been without God's peculiar Presence, could have had no Temple nor place of Worship, but at such a distance that they could never have come at it: for though God fills all places, it is a great absurdity to talk of more Symbolical Presences of God than one: for a Symbolical Presence confines the unlimited Presence of God to a certain place in order to cer­tain ends, as to receive the Worship, that is paid him, and to an­swer the Prayers, that are made to him; and to have more than One such Presence as this, is like having more Gods than One.

So that all our Worship under the Gospel, must be directed to God in Heaven; and that is a plain argument, that we must not Worship God in Images on Earth, for they neither can represent to us the Majesty of God in Heaven, nor is God present with the Image to receive our Worship there: if God must now be Wor­shipped [Page 56] as dwelling in Heaven, it is certain there can be no Ob­ject of our Worship on Earth; for though God fill all places with his Presence, yet he will be Worshipped only as sitting on his Throne in Heaven; and then I am sure he must not be Worship­ped in an Image on Earth, for that is not his Throne in Heaven. This the Mercy-seat in the Holy of Holies was an Emblem of; for the Holy of Holies in the Jewish Temple, did signifie Heaven, and the Mercy-seat covered with Cherubims, signified the Throne of God in Heaven, whither we must lift up our Eyes and Hearts when we pray to him: for though it is indifferent from what place we put up our Prayers to God, while we have regard to the External Decency of Religious Worship, yet it is not indifferent whither we direct our Prayers; for we must direct our Prayers to the throne of grace, 4 Heb. 16. if we would obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Now the Throne of Grace is only in Hea­ven, whither Christ is ascended to make Atonement for us; for he is the true Propitiatory or Mercy-seat: And therefore if to di­rect our Prayers to God, to his Picture or Image, or to the Ima­ges of the Virgin Mary, or any other Saints, did not provoke God to jealousie, yet it would do us no good, unless such Images are God's Throne of Grace, for all other Prayers are lost, which are not directed to God on his Throne of Grace, where alone he will receive our Petitions. If a Prince would receive no Petitions but what were presented to him sitting on such a Throne, all men would be sensible how vain a thing it were to offer any Petition to him else-where. And yet thus it is here: A Sinner dare not, must not approach the Presence of God, but only on his Mercy­seat and Throne of Grace; for any where else our God is a Con­suming Fire, a Just and a Terrible Judge: now God has but one Throne of Grace, and that is in Heaven, as the Mercy-seat was in the Holy of Holies, which was a Type of Heaven; thither Christ ascended with his Bloud to sprinkle the Mercy-seat, and to cover it with a Cloud of Incense, which are the Prayers of the Saints, as the High-Priest did once a Year in the Typical Holy Place. Which is a plain proof, that all our Prayers must be im­mediately directed to God in Heaven, where Christ dwells, who [Page 57] is our true Propitiatory and Mercy-seat, who has sprinkled the Throne of God with his own Bloud, and has made it a Throne of Grace, and where he offers up our Prayers as Incense to God.

2. To Worship God as our Father, signifies to Worship him only in the Name and Mediation of his Son Jesus Christ: for he is our Father only in Jesus Christ, and we can call him Father in no other Name. By the right of Creation he is our Lord, and our Judge, but he is the Father of Sinners only by Adoption and Grace, and we are Adopted only in Christ: so that if Christian Worship be the Worship of God as a Father, then we must pray to God in no other Name, but of his own Eternal Son: The Vir­gin Mary, though she were the Mother of Christ, yet does not make God our Father; and then no other Saint, I presume, will pretend to it: which shews what a contradiction the Invocati­on of Saints is to the Nature of Christian Worship, and how un­available to obtain our requests of God. If we must Worship God only as our Father, then we must Worship him only in the Name of his Son, for he owns himself our Father in no other Name; and if he will hear our Prayers, and answer our humble Petitions only as a Father, then he will hear only those Prayers which are made to him in the Name of his Son: How great Fa­vourites soever the Blessed Virgin and other Saints may be, if God hear Prayers only as a Father, it is to no purpose to pray to God in their Names, for he hears us not.

3. To Worship God as a Father, signifies to pray to him with the humble assurance and confidence of Children:8 Rom. 15. This is the spi­rit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba Father. For because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts, 4 Gal. 6. crying Abba Father. A dutiful Son does not question his Father's good will to him, nor readiness to hear and answer all his just requests, he depends upon the kindness of his Father, and his interest and relation to him, and seeks for no other Friends and Favourites to recommend him: And upon this account also the Invocation of Saints is a contradiction to the Gospel-Spirit of Prayer, to that Spirit of Adoption, which teaches us to cry Abba Father; for surely those have not the hope, and assurance, and [...] of Chil­dren, [Page 58] who dare not go to their Father themselves, but must send their Petitions to him by the hands of Favourites and Interces­sors. To pray to God in the Name of Christ, is onely to pray to him as Sons, for it is in his Name only that he owns us for Sons; and this is the true Spirit of Adoption, in the Name and Media­tion of Christ, to go to God, as Children to a Father; but to pray to him in any other Name, how powerful soever, is not to go to him as a Father, but as to our Lord and King, who must be Ad­dressed to by the Mediation of some great Favourites. To pray to God in any other Name, which does not make us his Sons, is to distrust our Relation to him, as our Father in Christ; and this is contrary to the Spirit of Adoption, which teaches us to call God Father, and gives us that assurance of his Fatherly goodness to us in Christ, that we need and desire no other Advocates.

Thirdly, To Worship God in Spirit, is to Worship him with our Mind and Spirit; for that is most agreeable to the Nature of God, who is a Spirit. God cannot be Worshipped but by a rea­sonable Creature, and yet a Beast may Worship God as well as a Man, who Worships without any act of Reason and Understand­ing, or devout Affections. To pray to God without knowing what we say, when neither our Understandings nor Affections can joyn in our Prayers, is so absurd a Worship of a pure Mind, that Transubstantiation it self is not more contrary to Sense, than Prayers in an unknown Tongue are to the Essential Reason and Nature of Worship. I suppose no man will say, that to pray to God, or praise him in words which we do not understand, is to Worship God in Spirit, unless he thinks that a Parrot may be taught to pray in the Spirit: What difference is there between a man's not speaking, and speaking what he does not understand? Just so much difference there is between not praying, and praying what we do not understand: and he honours God to the full as much, who does not pray at all, as he who prays he knows not what, and, I am sure, he affronts him a great deal less: However, if Christian Worship be to worship God in Spirit, Prayers in an unknown Tongue, in which the Mind and Spirit cannot be con­cerned, is no Christian Worship.

SECT. IV. Concerning the Reformation and Improvement of Humane Nature, by the Gospel of CHRIST.

4. ANother principal end and intention of the Gospel, was to cure the Degeneracy of Mankind, and to advance Humane Nature to its utmost Perfection: for as Man fell from his original Happiness, by falling from the purity and integrity of his Nature, so there was no restoring him to his lost Happi­ness, much less no advancing him to a more perfect state of Hap­piness, not to an earthly, but to an heavenly Paradise, without changing and transforming his Nature, and renewing him after the Image of God. And therefore our very entrance into Chri­stianity, is a new Birth: Except a man be born of water, 3 John 5, 6 and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God: That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. And such a man is called a new Creature; and a Christian Life is a newness of Life, and living after the Spirit, and walking after the Spi­rit: and this new Nature is the Divine Nature, the Image of God, 8 Rom. 1. the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holi­ness, 4 Eph. 24. 3 Colos 10. which is renewed in knowledge after the Image of him that crea­ted him.

So that there are two things, wherein this new Nature con­sists, Knowledge, and Righteousness, or true Holiness, and I doubt it will appear, that the Church of Rome is no great Friend to either.

I. Knowledge: Now I suppose neither the Church of Rome, nor any one for her, will pretend that she is any great Friend to Knowledge: She is so horribly afraid of Heresie, that she endea­vours to nurse men up in Ignorance of their Religion, for fear they should prove Hereticks; and indeed she has some reason for it: for the Church of Rome was never so Triumphant as in the most ignorant and barbarous Ages; but as Knowledge broke in upon the World, so men turned Hereticks apace.

If there be any knowing Papists (and it would be very hard, if there should be none) they are not beholding to their Church [Page 60] for it, which deprives them of all the means of Knowledge: for she will not allow them to believe their Senses, which is one way of knowing things, and the most certain we have: and yet she commands us to believe Transubstantiation, which no man can do who believes his Senses: and if I must not believe my Senses in so plain a matter, as what is Bread and Wine, I know no rea­son I have to believe them in any thing, and then there is an end of all Knowledge, that depends on Sense; as the proof of the Christian Religion itself does: for Miracles are a sensible proof, and if I must not trust my Senses, I cannot rely on Miracles, be­cause I cannot know, whether there be any such thing as a real Miracle.

The Church of Rome also forbids men the use of Reason in mat­ters of Religion, will not allow men to judge for themselves, nor to examine the Reasons of their Faith, and what knowledge any man can have without exercising his Reason and Understanding, I cannot guess; for to know without understanding sounds to me like a contradiction.

She also denies Christians the use of the Bible, which is the on­ly means to know the revealed Will of God: and when men must neither believe their Senses, nor trust their Reason, nor read the Scripture, it is easie to guess what knowing and understand­ing Christians, they must needs be.

But it may be said, that notwithstanding this, the Church of Rome does Instruct her Children in the true Catholick Faith, though she will not venture them to judge for themselves, nor to read the Scriptures, which is the effect of her great care of them, to keep them Orthodox: for when men trust to their own fallible Reasons, and private Interpretations of Scripture, it is a great hazard that they do not fall into one Heresie or other: but when men are taught the pure Catholick Faith without any danger of Error and Heresie, is not this much better, then to suffer them to reason and judge for themselves, when it is great odds, but they will judge wrong.

Now this would be something indeed, did the Church of Rome take care to Instruct them in all necessary Doctrines, and to [Page 61] teach nothing, but what is true, and could such men, who thus tamely receive the dictates of the Church, be said to know and to understand their Religion. How far the Church of Rome is from doing the first, all Christians in the world are sensible but themselves, but that is not our present dispute; for though the Church of Rome did instruct her people into the true Christian Faith, yet such men cannot be said to know and understand their Religion; and to secure the Faith by destroying knowledge, is a direct contradiction to the design of the Gospel, which is to make men wise and understanding Christians. For no man un­derstands his Religion, who does not in some measure know the reasons of his Faith, and judge whether they be sufficient or not; who knows not how to distinguish between Truth and Error, who has no Rule to go by, but must take all upon trust, and the cre­dit of his Teachers; who believes whatever he is told, and learns his Creed, as School boys do their Grammar, without understand­ing it: This is not an active, but a kind of passive knowledge; such men receive the impression, that is made on them, as wax does, and understand no more of the matter; now will any one call this the knowledge and understanding of a man, or the Discipline of a Child?

But suppose there were some men so dull and stupid, that they could never rise higher; that they are not capable of inquiring into the reasons of things, but must take up their Religion up­on trust; yet will any man say, that this is the utmost perfection of knowledge, that any Christian must aim at? is this the mean­ing of the word of God dwelling in us richly in all wisdom? 3 Col. 16. is this the way to give an answer to any one, who asks a reason of the hope that is in us? the perfection of Christian knowledge is a great and glorious attainment; to understand the secrets of God's Laws, those depths and mysteries of wisdom and goodness in the oeconomy of Mans Salvation; to see the Analogy between the Law and the Gospel, how the Legal Types and ancient Prophe­cies received their accomplishment in Christ, how far the Gospel has advanced us above the state of Nature, and the Law of Mo­ses; what an admirable design it was to redeem the world by the [Page 62] Incarnation and death and sufferings and intercession of the Son of God; what mysteries of Wisdom and Goodness the Gospel contains; the knowledge of which is not only the perfection of our understandings, but raises and ennobles our minds, and trans­forms us into the Divine Image: These things were revealed, that they might be known, not that they should be concealed from the world, or neglected and despised; but this is a know­ledge, which cannot be attained without diligent and laborious in­quiries, without using all the reason and understanding we have, in searching the Scriptures, and all other helps which God has afforded us.

Now if Christian Knowledge be something more than to be a­ble to repeat our Creed, and to believe it upon the authority of our Teachers, if the Gospel of our Saviour was intended to ad­vance us to a true manly knowledge, Christ and the Church of Rome seem to have two very different designs, our Lord in cau­sing the Gospel to be wrote and publisht to the world, the o­ther in concealing it as much as she can, and suffering no body to read it without her leave, as a dangerous Book, which is apt to make men Hereticks; for it is hard to conceive, that the Gospel was written, that it might not be read, and then one would guess, that he by whose authority and inspiration the Gospel was written, and those by whose authority it is forbid to be read, are not of a mind in this matter.

1. This I think in the first place is an evident proof, that to forbid Christian people to read and study and mediate on the word of God, is no Gospel Doctrine, unless not to read the Bi­ble, be a better way to improve in all true Christian knowledge and wisdom, than to read it: for that is the duty of Christians, to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; this was one great end of publishing the Gospel to the world, to enlighten and improve mens understandings, as well as to govern their Lives; and though we grant, men may be taught the principles of Christian Religion, as Children are, without reading the Bible, yet if they will but grant, that stu­dying and meditating on the holy Scriptures, is the best and on­ly [Page 63] way to improve in all true Christian knowledge, this shows how contrary this prohibition of reading the Scriptures is to the great design of the Gospel, to perfect our knowledge in the my­steries of Christ.

2ly. This is a mighty presumption also against Transubstan­tiation, that it is no Gospel Doctrine, because it overthrows the very Fundamental Principles of Knowledge, which is a direct con­tradiction to the design of the Gospel, to advance Divine Know­ledge to the utmost perfection it can attain in this world.

Whoever has his eyes in his head must confess, that the Do­ctrine of Transubstantiation is contrary to Sense; for were our senses to be Judges of this matter, they would pronounce the Bread and Wine after Consecration, to be Bread and Wine still; and therefore what ever reason there may be to believe it not to be Bread and Wine, but Flesh and Blood, yet it must be confessed, that our Faith in this matter contradicts our sense; for even Ro­man Catholick Eyes and Noses and Hands, can see and feel and smell nothing but Bread and Wine: and if to our senses it appears to be nothing but Bread and Wine, those who believe it to be the Natural Body and Blood of Christ, believe contrary to what they see.

Thus there is nothing more contrary to the natural notions we have of things, than the Doctrine of Transubstantiation: for if this Doctrine be true, then the same individual body of Christ is in Heaven at the right hand of God, and on ten thousand Altars, at a great distance from each other on earth, at the same time. Then a humane Body is contracted into the compass of a Wa­fer, or rather subsists without any dimensions, without extension of parts, and independent on place.

Now not to dispute, whether this be true or false, my only in­quiry at present is, whether this do not contradict those natural notions all men have of the properties of a Humane Body: let a man search his own mind, and try, whether he find any such no­tion of a Body, as can be present at more places than one at the same time: a Body that is without Extension, nay that has parts without Extension, and therefore without any distinction too: [Page 64] for the parts of an Organical Body must be distinguished by place and scituation, which cannot be, if they have no Extension; a Body, which is present without occupying a place, or being in a place: if we have no such natural notion of a Body, as I am sure I have not, and I believe no man else has, then let Transubstan­tiation be true or false, it is contrary to the natural notions of our minds, which is all I am at present concerned for: Thus let any man try, if he have any notion of an accident subsisting with­out any substance, of a white and soft and hard nothing; of the same body, which is extended and not extended, which is in a place, and not in a place at the same time: for in Heaven, I sup­pose, they will grant, the Body of Christ fills a place, and has the just dimensions and proportions of a Humane Body, and at the same time in the Host the very same body is present, without any extension; and independent on place; that is, the same body at the same time is extended and not extended, fills a place and fills no place, which, I suppose, they mean by being Independent on place; now is and is not, is a contradiction to natural Reason, and I have no other natural notion of it, but as of a contradicti­on, both parts of which cannot be true. Let us then briefly ex­amine, whether it be likely, that Transubstantiation, which con­tradicts the evidence of sense, and the natural notions of our Minds, should be a Gospel Doctrine, considering the Gospel as the most Divine and excellent Knowledge, and most perfective of Humane understandings. For,

1. This Doctrine of Transubstantiation, is so far from perfect­ing our Knowledge, that it destroys the very Principles of all Humane Knowledge: All natural knowledge is owing either to Sense or Reason, and Transubstantiation contradicts both, and whoever believes it, must believe contrary to his Senses and Rea­son, which if it be to believe like a Catholick, I am sure, is not to believe like a man; if the perfection of knowledge consist in contradicting our own Faculties, Transubstantiation is the most perfect knowledge in the world; but however, I suppose no man will say, that this is the natural perfection of knowledge, which overthrows the most natural notions we have of things: and yet

[Page 65]2. All supernatural Knowledge must of necessity be grafted upon that which is natural; for we are capable of revealed and supernatural Knowledge, only as we are by nature reasonable Creatures, and destroy Reason, and Beasts are as fit to be preach­ed too as Men: And yet to contradict the plain and most natu­ral notions of our minds, is to destroy Humane Reason, and to leave Mankind no Rule or Principle to know and judge by. No man can know any thing, which contradicts the Principles of Na­tural Knowledge, because he has only these natural Principles to know by; and therefore however his Faith may be improved by it, he forfeits his natural Knowledge, and has no supernatural Knowledge in the room of it: For how can a man know and un­derstand that which is contrary to all the natural Knowledge and Understanding he has? There may be some revealed Principles of Knowledge super-added to natural Principles, and these things we may know to be so, though we have no natural Notion of them, and this perfects, because it enlarges our Knowledge; as the Knowledge of three Divine Persons super-added to the natural Belief of one Supreme God; which does not overthrow the belief of one God, but only acquaints us, that there are three Divine Persons in the Unity of the Godhead, which, whatever difficulty there may be in apprehending it, yet overthrows no natural No­tion: this is an improvement of Knowledge, because we know all we did before, and we know something more, that as there is one God, so there are three Persons, who are this one God; and though we have no natural Notion of this, how three Persons are one God, because we know no distinction between Person and Essence in Finite Beings, yet we have no natural Notion, that there cannot be more Persons than one in an Infinite Essence; and therefore this may be known by Revelation, because there is no natural Notion against it. But now I can never know that which is contrary to all the Principles of Knowledge I have; such men may believe it, who think it a Vertue to believe against Knowledge: Who can believe that to be true, which they know to be false? For whatever is contrary to the plain and necessary Principles of Reason, which all Mankind agree in, I know must [Page 66] be false, if my Faculties be true, and if my Faculties be not true, then I can know nothing at all, neither by Reason nor Revelation, because I have no true Faculties to know with: Revelation is a Principle of Knowledge as well as Faith, when it does not con­tradict our natural Knowledge of things, for God may teach us that which Nature does not teach; and thus Revelation im­proves, enlarges, and perfects Knowledge: in such cases Faith serves instead of natural Knowledge, the Authority of the Revela­tion instead of the natural Notions and Idea's of our Minds; but I can never know that by Revelation which contradicts my natu­ral Knowledge; which would be not only to know that, which I have no natural Knowledge of, which is the knowledge of Faith, but to know that by Revelation, which by Reason and Nature I know cannot be; which is to know that, which I know cannot be known, because I know it cannot be:

So that Transubstantiation, which contradicts all the evidence of Sence and Reason, is not the Object of any Humane Know­ledge, and therefore cannot be a Gospel-Revelation, which is to im­prove and perfect, not to destroy Humane Knowledge: I can ne­ver know it, because it contradicts all the Notions of my Mind; and I can never believe it without denying the truth of my Fa­culties, and no Revelation can prove my Faculties to be false; for I can never be so certain of the truth of any Revelation, as I am, that my Faculties are true; and could I be perswaded, that my Faculties are not true, but deceive me in such things, as I judge most certain and evident, then I can no more believe them as to any Revelation, than I can as to their natural Reasonings, for the same Faculties must judge of both, and if the Faculty be false, I can trust its judgment in neither.

3ly, The Doctrine of Transubstantiation destroys all possible certainty, what the true sence and interpretation of Scripture is, and thereby overthrows all supernatural Knowledge. The Scri­pture we know is Expounded to very different and contrary Sen­ces, and made to countenance the most monstrous and absurd Doctrines; Witness all the ancient Heresies which have been Fa­thered on the Scriptures. Now what way have we to confute [Page 67] these Heresies, but to shew, either that the words of Scripture will not bare such a sence, or at least do not necessarily require it; that such an Interpretation is contrary to Sense, to Reason, to the natural Notions we have of God, and therefore is in itself absurd and impossible? But if Transubstantiation be a Gospel-Doctrine, I desire any Papist, among all the ancient Heresies, to pick out any Doctrine more absurd and impossible, more contrary to Sense and Reason, than the Doctrine of Transubstantiation is; and then it is no Argument against any Doctrine, or any Expo­sition of Scripture, that it is absurd and impossible, contrary to Sense and Reason, for so Transubstantiation is; and if we may believe one absurd Doctrine, we may believe five hundred, how absurd soever they be: And then what defence has any man a­gainst the most monstrous Corruptions of the Christian Faith? Is this the way to improve Knowledge, to destroy all the certain marks and characters of Truth and Error, and to leave no Rule to judge by? If the design of the Gospel was to improve our Minds by a knowing and understanding Faith, Transubstantiati­on, which overthrows the certainty both of natural and revealed Knowledge, can be no Gospel-Doctrine.

3. The Authority of an infallible Judge, whom we must be­lieve in every thing, without examining the reasons of what he affirms, nay, though he teaches such Doctrines as appear to us most expresly contrary to Sense, and Reason, and Scripture, is no Gospel-Doctrine, because it is not the way to make men wise and understanding Christians, which is the great design of the Go­spel, for to suspend the exercise of Reason and Judgment, is not the way to improve mens Knowledge: an infallible Teacher, and an infallible Rule do indeed mightily contribute to the improve­ment of Knowledge; but such an infallible Judge, as the Church of Rome boasts of, can only make men ignorant and stupid Be­lievers: For there is a vast difference between an infallible Teach­er, and an infallible Judge, which few men observe, at least have not well explained; for an infallible Teacher is onely an external Proponent, and while men only teach and instruct, how infalli­ble soever they are, every man is at liberty to use his own Rea­son [Page 68] and Judgment; for though the Teacher be infallible, he that learns must use his own Reason and Judgment, unless a man can learn without it: But now an infallible Judge is not contented to teach and instruct, which is an appeal to the Reason of Mankind, but he usurps the office of every mans private Reason and Judg­ment, and will needs judge for all Mankind, as if he were an V­niversal Soul, an Vniversal Reason and Judgment, that no man had any Soul, any Reason or Judgment but himself: for if every man has a private Reason and Judgment of his own, surely every man must have a right to the private exercise of it; that is, to judge for himself; and then there can be no such universal Judge, who must be that to every man, which in other cases his own private Reason and Judgment is, which is to un-Soul all Man­kind in matters of Religion. And therefore though there have been a great many infallible Teachers, as Moses and the Prophets, Christ and his Apostles, yet none ever pretended to be infallible Judges, but the Church of Rome; that is, none ever pretended to deny People a liberty of judging for themselves, or ever ex­acted from them an universal submission to their infallible Judg­ment without exercising any act of Reason and Judgment them­selves. I am sure Christ and his Apostles left People to the ex­ercise of their own Reason and Judgment, and require it of them; they were infallible Teachers, but they did not judge for all Mankind, but left every man to judge for himself, as every man must and ought, and as every man will do, who has any Reason and Judgment of his own: but an infallible Judge, who pretends to judge for all men, treats Mankind like Bruits, who have no reasonable Souls of their own.

But you'll say, this distinction between an infallible Teacher and an infallible Judge, is very nice and curious, but seems to have nothing in it; for does not he who teaches infallibly, judge infallibly too? And must I not submit my private Judgment, which all men allow to be fallible, to a publick infallible Judg­ment, which I know to be infallible? If I know that I may be decei­ved, and that such a man cannot be deceived, is it not reasonable for me to be governed by his Judgment, rather than my own? [Page 69] I answer, All this is certainly true as any demonstration, but then it is to be considered, that I cannot be so certain of any man's Infallibility, as to make him my Infallible Judge, in whose Judg­ment I must acquiesce, without exercising any Reason or Judg­ment of my own: and the reason is plain, because I cannot know that any man teaches infallibly, unless I am sure that he teaches nothing that is contrary to any natural or revealed Law. Who­ever does so, is so far from being Infallible, that he actually errs; and whether he does so, I cannot know, unless I may judge of his Doctrine by the Light of Nature, and by Revelation: and therefore though there may be an Infallible Teacher, there never can be any Infallible Judge, to whom I must submit my own Reason and Judgment, because I must judge of his Doctrine my self, before I can know that he is Infallible.

As for instance, when Moses appeared as a Prophet and a Law­giver to the Children of Israel, there was no written Law, but only the Law of Nature; and therefore those great Miracles he wrought, gave authority to his Laws, because he contradicted no necessary Law of Nature: but had any other person at that time wrought as many Miracles as Moses did, and withal taught the Worship of many Gods, either such as the AEgyptians, or any other Nations worshipped at that time, this had been reason e­nough to have rejected him as a false Prophet, because it is con­trary to the natural Worship of one Supream God, which the Light of Nature teaches.

When Christ appeared, there was a written Law, the Writings of Moses and the Prophets, and all the Miracles he wrought could not have proved him a true Prophet, had he contradicted the Scriptures of the Old Testament; and therefore his Doctrine was to be examined by them, and accordingly he appeals to Moses and the Prophets to bear testimony to his Person and Doctrine, and exhorts them to search the Scriptures, which gave testimony to him: and how the Miracles he wrought gave authority to a­ny new Revelations he made of God's Will to the World, since he did not contradict the old. The Law of Nature, and the Laws of Moses, were the Laws of God; and God cannot contra­dict [Page 70] himself: and therefore the Doctrine of all new Prophets, e­ven of Christ himself, was to be examined, and is to be examined to this day, by the Law and the Prophets; and therefore though he was certainly an Infallible Teacher, yet men were to judge of his Doctrine, before they believed him; and he did not require them to lay aside their Reason and Judgment, and submit to his Infallible Authority, without Examination.

So that all this while, there could be no Infallible Judge to whom all men were bound to submit their own private Reason and Judgment, and to receive all their Dictates as divine Oracles, without Examination; because they could not know them to be such Infallible Teachers, till they had examined their Doctrine by the Light of Nature and the Law of Moses: and we cannot to this day know that Moses and Christ were true Prophets, but in the same way.

Since the writing of the New Testament, there is a farther Test of an Infallible Teacher, if there be any such in the world; that he neither contradicts the Light of Nature, nor the true in­tent of the Law of Moses, nor alter or add to the Gospel of Christ; and therefore there can be no Infallible Judge, because be he never so Infallible, we can never know that he is so, but by the agreement of his Doctrine with the Principles of Reason, with the Law and the Prophets, and with the Gospel of Christ; and therefore must examine his Doctrine by these Rules, and therefore must judge for our selves, and not suffer any man to judge for us, upon a pretence of his Infallibility.

Could I know that any man were Infallible, without judging of his Doctrine, then indeed there were some reason to believe all that he says, without any inquiry or examination; but this never was, never can be: and therefore though there may be an Infallible Teacher, there can be no Infallible Judge to whom I must submit my own Reason and Judgment, without asking a­ny Questions. Which by the way shews, how ridiculous that Sophism is, The Church has not erred, because she is Infallible, when it is impossible for me to know she is Infallible, till by exa­mining her Doctrine by an Infallible Rule I know, that she has not erred.

[Page 71]And the truth is, it is well there can be no Infallible Judge; for if there were, it would suspend and silence the Reason and Judgment of all Mankind: and what a knowing Creature would Man be in matters of Religion, when he must not reason, and must not judge? just as knowing as a man can be without exer­cising any Reason and Judgment. And therefore not only the reason and nature of the thing proves, that there can be no In­fallible Judge, but the design of Christ to advance humane Na­ture to the utmost perfection of Reason and Understanding in this World, proves that he never intended there should be any: for to take away the exercise of Reason and private Judg­ment, is not the way to make men wise and knowing Christians; and if Christ allows us to judge for our selves, there can be no In­fallible Judge, whose Office it shall be to judge for us all.

4ly. To pretend the Scripture to be an obscure or imperfect Rule, is a direct contradiction to the design of the Gospel to im­prove and perfect Knowledge: for if the Scripture be so obscure in the essential matters of Faith and Christian knowledge, that we cannot have any certainty what the true sence and interpre­tation of it is, without an Infallible Judge, then the Scriptures cannot improve our knowledge, because we cannot know what they are, we cannot understand their meaning, and therefore can learn nothing from them.

Yes you'll say, we may know their meaning, when they are expounded to us by an Infallible Judge: though the Scriptures are so obscure, that we cannot understand them without an In­fallible Judge, yet we may certainly learn what the sence of Scri­pture is from such a Judge.

Now in answer to this, I observe, that though such an Infal­lible Judge should determine the sense of all obscure Texts of Scripture, (which neither the Pope nor Church of Rome have ever done) yet this would not be to understand the Scriptures, or to learn from the Scriptures, but only to rely on this Infalli­ble Judge for the sense of Scripture: To understand the Scri­ptures, is to be able to give a reason, why I expound Scripture to such a sense, as that the words signifie so, that the circumstan­ces [Page 72] of the place, and the context and coherence of the words re­quire it; that the analogy of Faith, and the reason and nature of things, will either justifie such an interpretation, or admit no o­ther: and an Expositor, who can thus open our Understandings, and not only tell us what the sense of Scripture is, but make us see, that this is the true sense and interpretation of it, does indeed make us understand the Scripture. Thus Christ himself did, when he was risen from the dead, He opened their understandings, that they might understand the Scriptures, 24 Luke 45. But to be told that this is the true sence of Scripture, and that we must believe this is the sense, though we can see no reason why it should be thus expounded, nay, though all the Reason we have tells us, that it ought not to be thus expounded, no man will say, that this is to understand the Scriptures, but to believe the Judge: No man can learn any thing from a Book, which he does not and cannot understand; and if men neither do nor can understand the Scriptures, it is certain, they can learn nothing from them: an Infallible Judge would teach as well without the Scri­ptures as with them, and indeed somewhat better, because then no man could have a pretence to contradict him; and therefore if this be true, the holy Scripture deserves all those contemptible Characters which the Romanists have given it; for it is so far from improving and perfecting our knowledge, that it self can­not be known, and therefore is good for nothing. So that the obscurity of the Scripture makes it wholly useless to the great ends and purposes of the Christian Religion, viz. to improve and perfect the knowledge of Mankind in the necessary and essential Doctrines of Faith, and therefore this can be no Gospel-Doctrine, because it makes the Gospel it self, considered as written, of no use.

Thus if the Scripture be an imperfect Rule, as the Romanists affirm, that it does not teach us the whole mind and will of God, but that we must learn even some necessary Doctrines of Faith from unwritten Traditions, which no body has the keeping of but the Church of Rome: This I say contradicts the great design of the Gospel, which is to improve and perfect knowledge; for [Page 73] an imperfect Rule of Faith is, I think, as bad as no Rule at all, because we can never trust it.

If you say, that though the Scripture in it self be an imperfect Rule, yet we have a perfect Rule, because the defects of the Scri­pture are supplied by unwritten Traditions; and therefore we have the whole Gospel and all the Christian knowledge deliver­ed down to us, either in the written or unwritten Rule. I answer,

1. If the Scriptures be an imperfect Rule, then all Christians have not a perfect Rule, because they have not the keeping of unwritten Traditions, and know not what they are, and never can know what they are, till the Church is pleased to tell them; and it seems, it was a very great while, before the Church thought fit to do it. For suppose that all the new Articles of the Council of Trent, which are not contained in Scripture, were unwritten Traditions, fifteen hundred years was somewhat of the longest to have so considerable a part of the Rule of Faith concealed from the World; and who knows how much of it is concealed still, for the Church has not told us, that she has published all her un­written Traditions; there may be a Nest-egg left still, which in time may add twelve new Articles to the Trent-Creed, as that has done to the Apostles Creed.

So that if the Scripture be an imperfect Rule of Faith, the Church never had a perfect Rule, till the Council of Trent; for a Rule which is not known, is none at all, and no body can tell whether our Rule be perfect yet: whether some more unwritten Traditions may not start up in the next Age to make our Faith more perfect, than the Council of Trent it self has made it. Now if the design of the Gospel was to instruct men in all divine knowledge, can we think that our Saviour has given us such an imperfect Rule, as needs to be supplied by unwritten Traditions in every Age? especially when we consider that some of the greatest Mysteries and most useful Doctrines of the Christian Religion, (if the Church of Rome be in the right) were not written, or so obscurely, that no body could find them in the Scri­ptures, till they were discovered by the help of unwritten Tra­ditions; [Page 74] such as the Supremacy of the Pope, the Infallibility of Popes and General Councils, the Worship of Images, the Invoca­tion of Saints, and the great Glory and Prerogatives of the Vir­gin Mary, the Doctrine of Purgatory, Indulgences, the Sacrament of Penance, &c. as necessary Doctrines as any that are recorded in Scripture, and the denial of which makes us all Hereticks and Schismaticks, as the Church of Rome says. Though thanks be to God, as far as appears, we are no greater Hereticks and Schis­maticks, than the Apostles were, unless they are excused for not knowing these necessary Articles of Faith, and we are Hereticks for denying them, since the Church of Rome in the Council of Trent has decreed and published them.

2. These unwritten Traditions cannot supply the defects of a written Rule, because they are of uncertain Authority, and therefore not the Objects, much less the Rule, of a certain Faith and Knowledge. What is not written, but said to be delivered down from Age to Age by oral Tradition, and kept so private­ly, that the Church of God never heard of it for several hundred years, can never be proved but by Miracles, and they must be more credible Miracles too, than the School of the Eucharist, and the Legends of the Saints furnish us with; and yet I know of no bet­ter the Church of Rome has. It is impossible to prove, that a private Tradition cannot be corrupted; it is unreasonable to think that any thing which concerns the necessary Articles of Faith or Rules of Worship, should be a private and secret Tradition for several Ages. Miracles themselves cannot prove any Tradition which is contrary to the written Rule, and the Catholick Faith of Christians for several Ages, as several of the Trent-Doctrines are; nay, no Miracles can prove any new Article of Faith, which was never known before, without proving that Christ and his Apostles did not teach all things necessary to salvation; which will go a great way to overthrow the truth and certainty of the Christian Faith: for Miracles themselves can never prove, that Christ and his Apostles taught that which the Christian Church never heard of before; which is either to prove that the whole World had forgot what they had been once taught, which I doubt [Page 75] is not much for the credit of Tradition, or that the Church for several Ages did not teach all that Christ taught, which is no great reason to rely on the teachings of the Church; or to prove against matter of fact, that Christ and his Apostles taught that, which no body ever heard of, and I do not think a Miracle suffi­cient to prove that true, which every body knows to be false, or at least do not know it to be true, though they must have known it, if it had been true.

And does not every body now see, how improper unwritten Traditions are, to supply the Defects and Imperfections of the written Rule? for they can never make one Rule, because they are not of equal Authority. A Writing may be proved Authentick, an obscure unwritten Tradition cannot: and can any man think, that Christ would have one half of his Gospel written, the other half unwritten, if he intended to perfect the knowledge of Christians: for they cannot have so perfect a knowledge, because they cannot have so great certainty, of the unwritten, as they have of the written Gospel. Writing is the most certain Way to perpetuate Knowledge, and if Christ in­tended, that his Church in all Ages should have a perfect Rule of Faith, we must acknowledge the perfection of the written Rule. The truth is, I cannot but admire the great artifice of the Church of Rome, in preaching up the Obscurity and Imper­fection of the Scriptures, for she has hereby put it into her own power, to make Christian Religion, what she pleases; for if the Scriptures be obscure, and she alone can infallibly interpret them; if the Scriptures be imperfect, and she alone can supply their defects by unwritten Traditions, it is plain, that Christian Religion must be, what she says it is, and it shall be, what her interest requires it to be. But whether this be consistent with our Saviour's design in publishing the Gospel, or whether it be the best way of improving the knowledge of Mankind, let any impartial man judge.

5ly. An Implicit Faith, or believing as the Church believes, without knowing what it is we believe, can be no Gospel-Doctrine, because this to be sure cannot be for the improvement of know­ledge. [Page 76] Some of the Roman Doctors think it sufficient, that a man believes as the Church believes, without an explicite know­ledge of any thing they believe; but the general opinion is, that a man must have an explicite belief of the Apostles Creed, but as for every thing else it suffices, if he believes as the Church be­lieves, without knowing, what the faith of the Church is: that is, it is not necessary men should so much as know, what the new Articles of the Trent Faith are, if they believe the Apostles Creed, and resign up their Faith implicitely to the Church.

Now this is a plain confession, that all the Doctrines in dispute between us and the Church of Rome, are of no use, much less necessary to salvation; for if they were, they would be as ne­cessary to be known, and explicitely believed, as the Apostles Creed: and I cannot imagine, why we Hereticks, who believe the Apostles Creed, and understand it as orthodoxly as they, may not be saved without believing the new Trent Creed; for if we need not know what it is, there seems to be no need of believing it; for I always thought, that no man can, and there­fore to be sure no man need, believe, what he does not know. So that it seems, we know and believe all things, the explicite knowledge, and belief of which, by their own confession, is ne­cessary to salvation, except that one single Point of the Infalli­bility of the Church of Rome: believe but that, and ye need be­lieve or know nothing more but the Apostles Creed, and yet go to Heaven as a good Catholick: which makes an implicite Faith in the Church of Rome, as necessary as Faith in Christ is.

But if the intent of the Gospel was to improve our Know­ledge, then Christ never taught an implicite Faith, for that does not improve Knowledge: and if the Faith of the Church of Rome, excepting the Apostles Creed, which is the common Faith of all Christians, need not be known, then they are no Gospel-Doctrines, much less necessary Articles of Faith, for Christ taught nothing, but what he would have known; and though the knowledge of all things, which Christ taught, is not equally necessary to salvation, yet it tends to the perfecting our know­ledge, [Page 77] and Christ taught nothing which a man need not know; which I think is a reproach to meaner Masters, and much more to the eternal and incarnate Wisdom.

Secondly, The improvement and perfection of Humane Na­ture consists in true Holiness and Virtue, in a likeness and con­formity to God, and a participation of the Divine Nature: and this is the great end of the Gospel to advance us to as perfect Holiness as is attainable in this life: Christ indeed has made ex­piation for our sins by his own Bloud, but then this very Bloud of Atonement does not only expiate the guilt of sin, but purges the Conscience from dead works, that we may serve the living God: for no Sacrifice, not of the Son of God himself, can recon­cile an impenitent and unreformed Sinner to God, that is, can move God to love a Sinner, who still loves and conti­nues in his sins; which an infinitely holy and pure being cannot do: Indeed the expiation of sin is but one part of the work of our Redemption; for a sinner cannot be saved, that is, cannot be advanced to immortal life in the Kingdom of Heaven, without being born again, without being renewed and sanctified by the holy Spirit, after the Image and likeness of God. For this new Nature is the only Principle of a new immortal life in us; an earthly sensual mind is no more capable of living in Heaven, than an earthly mortal body. In both senses flesh and bloud cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, neither can corruption inherit incorruption.

The Church of Rome indeed has taken great care about the first of these, and has found out more ways of expiating sin, and making satisfaction for it, than the Gospel ever taught us; whe­ther they are so effectual to this purpose, let those look to it, who trust in them: but there is not that care taken to inculcate the necessity of internal holiness and purity of mind, and one would easily guess there can be no great need of it in that Church, which has so many easie ways of expiating sin.

The true character of Gospel-Doctrines is, a Doctrine accor­ding to Godliness, the principal design of which is to promote true goodness; all the Articles of the Christian Faith tend to this end, to lay great and irresistible obligations on us to abstain from [Page 78] every sin, and to exercise our selves in every thing that is good, as we have ability and opportunity to do it: and therefore all Doctrines which secretly undermine a good life, and make it un­necessary for men to be truly and sincerely vertuous, can be no Gospel-Doctrines. That there are such Doctrines in the Church of Rome, has been abundantly proved by the late Learned and Reverend Bishop Taylor in his Disswasive from Popery; which is so very useful a Book, that I had rather direct my Readers to it, than transcribe out of it: My design leads me to another me­thod; for if I can prove that the Doctrines and Practices of the Church of Rome naturally tend to evacuate the force of the Gospel it self, to make men good and holy; every one will easily see that that can be no Gospel-Faith and Worship, which sets aside the Gospel it self.

The whole Doctrine of the Gospel either consists of the Rules of Holiness, or of the Motives and Instruments of it; for the Ar­ticles of the Christian Faith are all of them so many Motives to a good life: let us then consider how the Faith and Worship of the Church of Rome has made void the Gospel of our Saviour, as the Pharisees made void the Law of Moses by their Traditions.

1. Let us begin then with the Gospel-Rules of Holiness. It would be an endless thing here to take notice of the loose Deter­minations of their famed and approved Casuists, of their Do­ctrine of probable Opinions, of the direction of the intention, by which means the very Laws and Boundaries of Vertue and Vice are in a great measure quite altered; and it may be this would only make work for the Representer, and furnish out a fourth part of the Papist Misrepresented, if we venture to tell the World what has been the avowed Doctrines of their great Divines and Ca­suists. But whether such Definitions be the Doctrine of their Church or not, I am sure they are equally mischievous, if they be the Doctrines of their Confessors who have the immediate dire­ction of mens Conscience. Those who have a mind to be satis­fied in this matter, may find enough of it in the Provincial Let­ters, the Jesuits Morals, and Bishop Taylor's Disswasive. It suffi­ciently answers my present design to take notice of some few plain things, which will admit of no dispute.

[Page 79]I have already shewn what a great value the Church of Rome sets upon an external Righteousness, which is much more meri­torious than a real and substantial Piety and Virtue. Now let any man judge whether this be not apt to corrupt mens notions of what is good; to perswade them that such external observan­ces are much more pleasing to God, and therefore certainly much better in themselves, than true Gospel-Obedience, than Moral and Evangelical Vertues; for that which will merit of God the pardon of the greatest immoralities, and a great reward, that which supplies the want of true Vertue, which compensates for sin, and makes men great Saints, must needs be more pleasing to God, than Vertue it self is: and if men can believe this, all the Laws of Holiness signifie nothing, but to let men know, when they break them, that they may make satisfaction by some meritorious Superstitions.

Thus the Doctrine of venial sins, which are hardly any sins at all, to be sure how numerous soever they are, or how frequently soever repeated, cannot deserve eternal punishments, is apt to give men very slight thoughts of very great Evils: For very great Evils may come under the notion of venial sins, when they are the effects of Passion and Surprize, and the like. Indeed this very Doctrine of venial sins is so perplexed and undermined, that the Priest and the Penitent may serve themselves of it to good purpose: I am sure this distinction is apt to make men careless of what they think little faults, which are generally the seeds and dispositions to much greater; such as the sudden erup­tions of Passion, some wanton thoughts, an indecorum and unde­cency in words and actions, and what men will please to call little venial sins, for there is no certain Rule to know them by: so that while this distinction lasts, men have an excuse at hand for a great many sins, which they need take no care of; they are not obliged to aim at those perfections of Vertue, which the Gospel requires; if they keep clear of mortal sins, they are safe, and that men may do, without any great attainments in Vertue; which does not look very like a Gospel-Doctrine, which gives us such admirable Laws, which requires such great circumspection [Page 80] in our Lives, such a command over our Passions, such inoffen­siveness in our Words and Actions, as no Institution in the World ever did before. Whatever corrupt mens Notions of Good and Evil, as External Superstitions, and the distinction be­tween Venial and Mortal Sins is apt to do, is a contradiction to the design of the Gospel, to give us the plain Rules and Precepts of a perfect Vertue.

Secondly. Let us consider some of the principal Motives of the Gospel to a Holy Life, and see, whether the Church of Rome does not evacuate them also, and destroy their force and power.

Now 1. The Fundamental Motive of all, is the absolute ne­cessity of a Holy Life; that without holiness no man shall see God, for no other Argument has any necessary force without this. But the absolute necessity of a holy life to please God, and to go to Heaven, is many ways overthrown by the Church of Rome, and nothing would more effectually overthrow the Church of Rome, than to re-establish this Doctrine of the absolute necessity of a good life. For were men once convinced of this, that there is no way to get to Heaven, but by being truly and sincerely good; they would keep their Money in their Pockets, and not fling it so lavishly away up Indulgencies, or Masses; they would stay at home, and not tire themselves with fruitless Pilgrimages, and prodigal Offerings at the Shrines of some powerful Saints, all external, troublesome and costly Superstitions would fall into contempt; good men would feel, that they need them not, and if bad men were convinced, that they would do them no good, there were an end of them, for the only use of them is to excuse men from the necessity of being good.

But this is most evident in their Doctrine about the Sacra­ment of Penance, that bare Contrition with the Absolution of the Priest, puts a man into a state of Salvation; I do not lay it upon Attrition, which is somewhat less than Contrition, though the Council of Trent, if I can understand plain words, makes that sufficient with the Absolution of the Priest; but because some men will unreasonably wrangle about this, I shall insist only on [Page 81] what is acknowledged by themselves, that Contrition, which is only a sorrow for sin, if we confess our sins to a Priest, and re­ceive absolution, puts us into a state of Grace: now contrition, or sorrow for sin, is not a holy life, and therefore this Doctrine overthrows the necessity of a holy life, because men may be sa­ved by the Sacrament of Penance without it, and then I know no necessity there is of mortifying their Lusts: for if they sin again, it is only repeating the same remedy, confessing their sins; and being sorry for them, and receiving absolution, and they are restored to the favour of God, and to a state of salva­tion again. Nay, some of their Casuists tell us, that God has not commanded men to repent, but only at the time of death, and then contrition with absolution will secure their salvation, after a whole life spent in wickedness, without any other good action, but only sorrow for sin: and if men are not bound by the Laws of God so much as to be contrite for their sins, till they find them­selves dying, and uncapable of doing any good, all men must grant, that a holy life is not necessary to salvation.

2. More particularly. The love of God in giving his own Son to die for us, and the love of Christ in giving himself for us, are great Gospel Motives to Obedience and a Holy Life; but these can only work upon ingenuous minds, who have already in some measure conquered the love of sin; for where the love of sin prevails, it is too powerful for the love of God; but the holiness and purity and inflexible justice of the Divine Nature is a very good argument, because it enforces the necessity of a holy life; for a holy God cannot be reconciled to wicked Men; will not forgive our sins, unless we repent of them, and reform them: which must engage all men, who hope for pardon and forgiveness from God, to forsake their sins, and reform their lives: but the force of this Argument is lost in the Church of Rome by the judicial absolution of the Priest: for they see daily the Priest does absolve them without forsaking their sins, and God must confirm the sentence of his Ministers, and therefore they are absolved, and need not fear, that God will not absolve them, when the Priest has; which must either destroy all sence of God's [Page 82] essential holiness and purity, and perswade them, that God can be reconciled to sinners, while they continue in their sins, or else, they must believe, that God has given power to his Priests, to absolve those, whom he could not have absolved himself: To be sure it is in vain to tell men, that God will not forgive sin­ners, while they continue in their sins, if they believe the judi­cial authority of the Priest to forgive sins; for they every day absolve men, who do not forsake their sins, and if their absolu­tion be good, God must forgive them too; and thus the holi­ness and inflexible justice of God loses its force upon good Ca­tholicks to reform their lives; and therefore were there no other arguments against it, it is not likely that the judicial absolution of the Priest, as it is taught and practised in the Church of Rome, should be a Gospel-Doctrine.

3. The Death and Sacrifice of Christ is another Gospel-Mo­tive to Holiness of Life; not only because he has now bought us with his own Blood, and therefore we must no longer live unto our selves, but to him, who died for us; but because his Blood is the Blood of the Covenant, and the efficacy of his Sacrifice extends no farther than the Gospel-Covenant, which teaches us to deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live so­berly, righteously, and godly in this present world. That is, no man can be saved by the Blood of Christ, but those who obey the Go­spel, which obliges all men, who hope to be saved by Christ, to the practise of an universal righteousness.

This the Church of Rome seems very sensible of, that none but sincere Penitents, and truly good men can be saved by the Sacri­fice of Christ upon the Cross; which gives no hope to Sinners, who do not repent of their sins and amend their lives; and therefore she has found out a great many other ways of expia­ting Sin, which give more comfort to Sinners. The Sacrifice of the Mass has a distinct vertue and merit from the Sacrifice upon the Cross; it is a propitiatory Sacrifice for the living and the dead, to expiate especially the sins of those, for whom it is particular­ly offered; and thus those sins which are not expiated by the Death of Christ upon the Cross, are expiated by the Sacrifice of [Page 83] the Mass, and that by the bear opus operatum, by the offering this Sacrifice of the Mass itself, without any good motion in the per­son for whom it is offered: and thus the Sacrifice of the Mass destroys the vertue of Christ's Sacrifice upon the Cross, to oblige men to holiness of life; for though none but sincere and reform­ed Penitents are pardoned by the Sacrifice of the Cross, the Sa­crifice of the Mass will expiate the sins of unreformed Sinners, and then there is no need to reform our lives. Thus I am sure all men understand it, or they would never put their confidence in the Mass-Sacrifice; for if it does no more for us than Christ's Death upon the Cross, it might be spared, for it gives no new comforts to impenitent Sinners.

They are very sensible, that holiness of life is necessary to in­title us to the Pardon and Forgiveness purchased by the Death of Christ; but then the Sacrifice of the Mass, Humane Penances, and Satisfactions, and Merits, and Indulgences, seem on pur­pose contrived to supply the place of Holiness of Life; for no body can imagine else what they are good for. Christ has by his Death upon the Cross, made a perfect Atonement for the sins of all true penitent and reformed Sinners; and therefore a true Penitent, who according to the terms of the Gospel, denies all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and lives soberly, righteously, and godly in this pre­sent world, needs no Expiation but the Death of Christ: Will they deny this? by no means! They grant, that all our sins are done away in Baptism, meerly by the application of Christ's Death and Passion to us; and therefore the Death of Christ is a complete and perfect satisfaction for all Sin, or else Baptism, which derives its whole vertue from the Death of Christ, could not wash away all sin: What use can there be then of the new propitiatory Sa­crifice of the Mass, of humane Satisfactions, and Merits, and In­dulgences? Truly none but this, that when our sins are expia­ted by the Death of Christ, and the pardon of all our sins ap­plied to us in Baptism, the Gospel exacts a holy life from us, and therefore men forfeit the baptismal Pardon of their sins by the Bloud of Christ, unless they either live very holy lives, or make some other satisfaction for their not doing so: And for this purpose [Page 84] the Sacrifice of the Mass, humane Penances, and Satisfactions serve. It will not be unuseful, nor unpleasant to draw a short Scheme of this whole matter, which will explain this great Mystery, and make it intelligible, which now appears to be nothing but non­sence and confusion.

Christ then has made a perfect Atonement and Expiation for sin; this is applied to us at Baptism, wherein all our sins are for­given; and while we continue in this state of Grace, we cannot be eternally damned, though we may be punished for our sins, both in this World and Purgatory. But every mortal sin puts us out of the state of Grace, which we were in by Baptism, and till we be restored to the state of Grace again, we must be eternally damned, because we have no right to the Sacrifice and Expiation of Christ's Death: the only way in the Church of Rome, to re­store us to this state of Grace, is by the Sacrament of Penance, and the Absolution of the Priest, which restores us to the same state which Baptism at first put us into, and therefore very well deserves to be thought a Sacrament: And thus we recover our interest in the Merits of Christ's Death, and therefore cannot be eternally damned for our sins; but still it is our duty to live well, for the Death of Christ does not excuse us from Holiness of Life, which is the condition of the Gospel; and therefore if we are in a state of Grace, and thereby secured from eternal damnation, yet if we live in sin we must be punished for it, unless we can find some other expiation for sin, than the Death of Christ upon the Cross, which still leaves us under the obligations of a holy life, and therefore cannot make such an Expiation for sin, as shall serve instead of a holy life: Now here comes in the Sacrifice of the Mas, Humane Penance, Satisfactions, Indulgencies;

For the sacrifice of the Mass, as I observed before, does not serve the same end, that the Sacrifice of the Cross does: the Sa­crifice of the Mass is a propitiatory Sacrifice for the living and the dead; But what sins is it a Propitiation for? For such sins for which men are to satisfie themselves; that is, for all sins the e­ternal punishment of which is remitted for the Sacrifice of the Cross. This is evident from their making the Sacrifice of the [Page 85] Mass a propitiatory Sacrifice for the dead; that is, for the Souls in Purgatory, who suffer there the temporal punishments of sin, when the eternal punishment is forgiven: the Souls in Hell are capable of no Expiation, and therefore an expiatory Sa­crifice for the dead, can be only for the Souls in Purgatory, and that is for the temporal punishment of sin, for which the Sacri­fice of the Cross is no Expiation; and the Mass is in no other sence made a Sacrifice for the living than for the dead; and there­fore is not to expiate the eternal, but the temporal punishments of sin, as appears from hence, that the saying Masses, or hearing Masses, or purchasing Masses, is reckoned among those Penances men must do for the Expiation of their sins, and yet they can, by all they do, only expiate for the temporal punishment of sin; and therefore Masses for the living are only for the Expiation of those temporal punishments of sin, for which the Sacrifice of the Cross made no Expiation. And I shall be so civil at present, as not to inquire, how the Sacrifice of the Cross, and the Sacrifice of the Mass, which are the very same Sacrifice of the Natural Body and Bloud of Christ, come to serve such very different ends: that when Christ was Sacrificed upon the Cross he expiated only for the eternal punishment of sin; when Sacrificed in the Mass, only for the temporal. I need add nothing to prove, that Hu­mane Penances, Satisfactions, Merits, Indulgencies, are onely to expiate temporal punishment of sin, because it is universally ac­knowledged. Now if these temporal punishments be only in lieu of Holiness and Obedience which the Gospel requires to intitle us to the Expiation of Christ's Death upon the Cross, as I have al­ready shewn; then it is evident to a demonstration, that the Church of Rome has overthrown the Death and Sacrifice of Christ upon the Cross, consider'd as an argument of a holy life, by setting up the Sacrifice of the Mass, Humane Penances, Satisfactions, Merits, Indul­gencies, instead of the Gospel-terms of obedience and holiness of life.

4. The Intercession of Christ for us, at the right hand of God, is another powerful motive to Holiness of Life: It gives all the encouragement to true penitent Sinners, that can be desired; For if any man sin, 1 John 2.2. we have an advocate with the Father Jesus Christ [Page 86] the righteous, who is also a propitiation for our sins. But then Christ mediates only in vertue of his Bloud, that is, only upon the terms and conditions of the Covenant of Grace which was sealed by his Bloud; that is, he mediates and intercedes only for true penitent sinners; which obliges us, as we hope to be heard by God, when we pray in the Name of Christ, truly and heartily to repent of all our sins, and to live a new life.

This the Church of Rome also seems very sensible of, that Christ of his own accord will not intercede for impenitent and unrefor­med sinners; that he who is the great Example and the great Preacher of Righteousness, will not espouse the Cause of incorri­gible sinners, who are very desirous of pardon, but hate to be re­formed; and therefore they seem to think it as hopeless a thing to go immediately to a holy Jesus, as to appear before the Tribu­nal of a just and righteous God, without a powerful Advocate.

For this reason they have found out a great many other Ad­vocates and Mediators a great deal more pitiful and compassio­nate than Christ is, who by their interest in him, or their great favour with God, may obtain that pardon which otherwise they could not hope for; such as the Virgin Mary, who is the Mother of Christ, and therefore, as they presume, has as great interest in and authority over him, as a Mother has over her Son; besides those vast numbers of meritorious Saints, whose Intercessions can­not but prevail for those sinners whose Cause they undertake.

And that this is the true reason of their Addresses to Saints and the Virgin Mary, though they will not speak out, is evident to any considering man: For will they say, that Christ, who be­came man for us, who suffered and died for us, who was in all things tempted like as we are, yet without sin; who did and suffered all this on purpose that he might be a merciful and com­passionate High Priest, and might give us the highest assurance of his tenderness and compassion for us. I say, can they suspect that such a High Priest will not undertake to plead our Cause, if we be such as according to the terms of the Gospel, it is his Office to interceed for? No Christian dare say this, which is such a reproach to our common Saviour, who hath bought us with his [Page 87] own Bloud; and therefore no Christian who thinks himself with­in the reach and compass of Christ's Intercession, can need or de­sire any other Advocate: but those who are conscious to them­selves of so much wickedness, that they cannot hope the holy Jesus will intercede for them for their own sakes, have reason to procure some other Favourites to intercede for them with their Intercessor; and to countenance the matter they must recom­mend it to the practice of all Christians, and more than so, make it Heresie to deny it. There is but one Argument I know of a­gainst this, that any man should be so stupid as to think that the Intercession of the Virgin Mary, or the most powerful Saints, can prevail with our Saviour to do that, which according to the Laws of his own Mediation, they know he cannot and will not do: and this I confess I cannot answer, but yet so it is. And thus the Intercession of Christ is made a very ineffectual Argu­ment to make men good; for though Christ will intercede for none but true Penitents, the Church of Rome has a great many o­ther Advocates that will, or at least she perswades people that they will.

5. Another great Gospel-Motive to a holy life, is the hope of Heaven, and the fear of Hell. As for the hope of Heaven, that is no otherwise a Motive to holiness of life, but upon a supposi­tion of the necessity of Holiness, that without holiness no man shall see God; but this you have already heard, is overthrown by the Church of Rome: and if men may go to Heaven without holiness, I know no need of it for that purpose in this World.

But Hell is a very terrible thing, to be condemned to endless and eternal torments with the Devil and his Angels; but then the Doctrine of Purgatory does mightily abate and take off this terror: for though Purgatory be a terrible place too, not cooler than Hell it self, yet it is not eternal; and men, who are mighti­ly in love with their sins, will venture temporal punishments, though somewhat of the longest, to enjoy their present satisfa­ctions: especially considering how many easie ways there are for rich men to get out of Purgatory; those who have money enough to buy Indulgences while they live, and Masses for their [Page 88] Souls when they die, need not lie long there, if the Priests are not out in their reckoning: and yet it is so easie a thing for a good Catholick to get into Purgatory; especially if he take care fre­quently to confess himself, and receive absolution, or do not die so suddenly as to be surprized in any mortal sin, that Hell seems to be very little thought of, or feared in the Church of Rome. Now I desire no better Argument, that all these are not Gospel-Doctrines, than that they destroy the force of all those Arguments the Gospel uses to make men good; that is, they are a direct contradiction to the Gospel of Christ.

6. I shall name but one Motive more, and that is the Exam­ples of good men;12 Heb. 1. To be followers of them, who through faith and patience inherit the promises; that being incompassed with such a cloud of witnesses, we should lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and run with patience the race which is set before us. Now this is a powerful Argument, because they were men as we are, subject to the same temptations and infirmities; and therefore their Examples prove, that Holiness is a practica­ble thing; that it is possible for men to conquer all the difficulties of Religion, and all the temptations in this life; and many times in them we see the visible rewards of Vertue in great peace of mind, great assurances of the divine favour, great supports under all ad­versities, and such a triumphant death, as is a blessed presage of a glorious Resurrection.

But now in the Church of Rome, if there be any great and me­ritorious Saints, as they call them, their extraordinary Vertues are not so much for Imitation as for a stock of Merits. The more Saints they have, the less reason other men have to be Saints, if they have no mind to it, because there is a greater trea­sury of Merits in the Church to relieve those who have none of their own. The extraordinary Devotion of their Monasteries and Nunneries, (for so they would perswade the World, that there is nothing but Devotion there) is not for Imitation, and it is unreasonable it should, because no body sees it; and it is im­possible to imitate that recluse life, without turning the whole World into a Monastery: but these Religious Societies furnish [Page 89] the Church with a stock of Merits, out of which she grants In­dulgencies to those, who are not very religious; and it is plain, that if one man can merit for twenty, there is no need, there should be above one in twenty good. Herein indeed the Mem­bers of the Church of Rome, have the advantage of all other Churches, (especially if they enter themselves into any religious Confraternity, to partake in the Merits of the Society) that o­thers can merit for them; and then if we can share in the Merits of the Saints, we need not imitate them: a Church which has Saints to merit for them on Earth, and to intercede for them in Heaven, if she can but maintain and propagate a Race of such me­riting Saints, (which is taken care of in the Institution and En­couragement of Monastick Orders and Fraternities) may be ve­ry indulgent to the rest of her Members, who do not like meri­ting themselves. So that the principal Motives of the Gospel to Holy Life, as appears in these Six Particulars, lose their force and efficacy in the Church of Rome, and certainly those cannot be Go­spel-Doctrines, which destroy the great end of the Gospel to make men Good.

3ly, Nor do the Gospel-means and Instruments of Holiness and Vertue escape better in the Church of Rome: as will appear in a very few words.

Reading and Meditating on the Holy Scriptures, is one ex­cellent means of Grace, not only as it informs us of our Duty, but as it keeps a constant warm sense of it upon our Minds, which nothing can so effectually do, as a daily reading of the Scripture, which strikes the mind with a more sacred authority, than any Humane Discourses can do: but this is denied to the People of the Church of Rome, who are not allowed to read the Scriptures in the Vulgar Tongue, for fear of Heresie, which, it seems, is more plain and obvious in the Scripture than Catholick Do­ctrines: but they should also have considered, whether the dan­ger of Heresie or Sin be the greater; whether an orthodox faith or a good life be more valuable; and if denying the people the use of the Bible be the way to keep them orthodox, I am sure it is not the way to make them good; True Piety will lose more by this, than the Faith will get by it.

[Page 90]Thus constant and servent Prayer, besides that supernatural grace and assistance it obtains for us, is an excellent moral in­strument of holiness: for when men confess their sins to God with shame and sorrow, when with inflamed Devotions, they beg the assistances of the Divine Grace, when their souls are eve­ry day possessed with such a great sence awe and reverence for God, as he must have, who prays devoutly to him every day; I say, it is impossible such men should easily return to those sins, which they have so lately confessed, with such shame and confu­sion and bitter remorse; that those who so importunately beg the assistance of the Divine Grace, should not use their best endea­vours to resist Temptations, and to improve in Grace and Ver­tue, which is a prophane mockery of God, to beg his assistance, that he will work in us, and with us, when we will not work: that those who have a constant sence and reverence of God, should do such things, as argue, that men have no fear of God before their eyes.

But this is all lost in the Church of Rome, where men are taught to Pray they know not what, and when men do not understand their Prayers, it is certain such Prayers cannot affect their minds, what other good soever Latin Prayers may do them; and thus one of the most powerful Instruments of Piety and Vertue is quite spoiled by Prayers in an unknown Tongue, which can no more improve their Vertue than their Knowledge.

Sorrow for Sin is an excellent Instrument of true Repentance, as that signifies the reformation of our Lives; for the natural effect of Sorrow is, not to do that again, which we are sorry for doing; but in the Church of Rome, this contrition, or sorrow for sin, serves only to qualifie men for absolution, and that puts them into a state of grace, and then they may expiate their sins by Penances, but are under no necessity of forsaking them.

The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, besides those supernatu­ral conveyances of Grace, which are annexed to it, by our Savi­our's Institution, is a great Moral Instrument of Holiness; it re­presenting to us the Love of our crucified Lord, the Merit and Desert of Sin, the Vertue of his Sacrifice to expiate our Sins, and [Page 91] to purge our Consciences from Dead Works, and requiring the exercise of a great many Vertues; an abhorrence and detestation of our Sins, great and ardent Passions of Love and Devotion, firm Resolutions of Living to him, who Died for us, Forgiveness of Enemies, and an Universal Love and Charity to all Men, espe­cially to the Members of the same Body with us; but in the Church of Rome this admirable Sacrament is turned into a dumb shew, which no body can be edified with, or into a Sacrifice for the living and the dead, which expiates Sin, and serves us instead of a Holy Life, as I observed above.

External Mortifications, and Severities to the Body, Fastings, Watchings, hard Lodging, &c. are very useful Instruments of Vertue, when they are intended to subdue the Flesh to the Spirit, and to wean our Minds from Sensual Enjoyments; but when they are intended to satisfie for our Sins, not to kill them; to punish our selves for our sins, that we may commit them more securely again, this is not a means to break vicious Habits, and to con­quer the love of Sin, but only to conquer the fear of commit­ting it.

This is enough to shew, how far Popery is from promoting the great design of the Gospel to improve and perfect Humane Nature and Holiness, and were there no other Argument against it, this were sufficient to me to prove, That it cannot be the Religion of the Gospel of Christ.

FINIS.

ERRATA.

PAge 27. line 10. for great, read greater. p.37.l.5.f. when, r. where.l.23.f. contract, r. contact. p.40.l.27.f. should it, r. it should. p.79.l.22.f. undermi­ned, r. undetermined. p.80.l.3.f. corrupt, r. corrupts. l.22.f. up, r. upon. p.91.l.22.r. in knowledge and holiness.

Books lately Printed for W. Rogers.

THE Doctrines and Practices of the Church of Rome, truly Represented; in Answer to a Book, intituled, A Papist Misrepresented, and Represented, &c. Quarto.

An Answer to a Discourse, intituled, Papists protesting against Protestant Popery, Quarto.

An Answer to the Amicable Accommodation. Quarto.

A View of the whole Controversie, between the Representer and the Answe­rer. Quarto.

The Doctrine of the Trinity, and Transubstantiation, compared as to Scripture, Reason, and Tradition; 1st and 2d Part. In two Dialogues, between a Protestant and a Papist. Quarto.

An Answer to the Eighth Chapter of the Representer's Second Part.

Of the Authority of Councils, and the Rule of Faith. By a Person of Quality: With an Answer to the Eight Theses, laid down for the Tryal of the English Re­formation.

Sermons and Discourses: The Third Volume. By Dr. Tillotson, Dean of Can­terbury. 8o.

A Manual for a Christian Souldier, Written by Erasmus.

A new and easie Method to learn to Sing by Book.

A Book of Cyphers, or Letters Reverst: Price bound 5s.

A Perswasive to frequent Communion in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. By Dr. Tillotson, Dean of Canterbury. In Octavo. Price 3 d.

A Discourse against Transubstantiation. In Octavo. Price 3 d.

The State of the Church of Rome when the Reformation began.

A Letter to a Friend, Reflecting on some Passages in a Letter to the D. of P. in Answer to the Arguing Part of his first Letter to Mr. G.

The Reflecter's Defence of his Letter to a Friend: In Four Dialogues.

A Discourse concerning the Nature of Idolatry: in which the Bishop of Ox­ford's true and only Notion of Idolatry is Considered and Confuted.

The Protestant Resolv'd: or, a Discourse, shewing the Vnreasonableness of his Turn­ing Roman Catholick for Salvation. Second Edition.

The Absolute Impossibility of Transubstantiation Demonstrated.

A Sermon Preached at the Funeral of the Reverend Benj. Calamy, D.D.

A Vindication of some Protestant Principles of Church-Unity and Catholick-Communion, from the Charge of Agreement with the Church of Rome. In Answer to a late Pamphlet, Intituled, An Agreement between the Church of England and the Church of Rome, evinced from the Concertation of some of her Sons with their Brethren the Dissenters.

A Preservative against Popery; being some Plain Directions to Unlearned Pro­testants, how to Dispute with Romish Priests. The First Part. The Fourth Edition.

These three last by William Sherlock D.D. Master of the Temple.

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