To the Reader.

AMongst all the Miseries that at­tend our Humane Frailty, there is none to be so much bewailed, as the stupidity of our mindes, which renders us worse then beasts, and deprives us of that felicity for which we were Created, which was to fill up the glorious places of the Lapsed Angels, and so have been happy to all eternity: the verity of this will plainly appear, when we consider the madness of this our pre­sent Age, where People suck in Errour, as Children do Milk from their Mothers Breasts; and unadvisedly repel Truth, as one would do a Serpent that attempts their ruine; they hiss at those that invites them to Happiness, and hug the Preach­ers of their Misery, that imbrace all kindes of Novelties, and kick against [Page]ancient verities; that cry out the Bible, the Bible, and yet believe nothing in it, more then their own Fancies dictate to them: Now that these people (of which there is too many) may a little see, and know their own Errours, I shall in this following Discourse, prove that their own Bibles, which they pretend to confide in, both is, and shall be, their assured Judge, to condemn their erroneous opinions, as al­so their guide (being rightly understood) to the knowledge of the Truth; as also make it appear, that all the chief points of Religion, which Protestants deny, and Roman Catholicks practice, is found and commanded in their own Bibles; by which will appear with what partial eyes they have looked upon Scripture, that read it over so often, and cannot see those places which pointeth Gods Church, and the Faith thereof so plainly to them; for it is indeed with these kinde of people as it is with the Jews to this day, who though they read in the Old Testament the Prophecies which plainly foretold Christs coming, his Life, and dolorous Death, yet are so blinded with unbelief, that they cannot understand the same; so all that [Page]are now out of Gods Church, read and tumble over the Old and New Testa­ment, and yet cannot see the plain places, which all Christians are bound to believe, under the peril of damnation; and all this is, because men have presumptuous mindes in trusting to their own under­standings, and will not relye on Gods Church, which plainly shews them to her Members, when none else can, because she onely is guided in all truth, by the Holy Ghost, to the end of the world. All there­fore that I shall desire of every Protestant Reader, is onely this, that he minde and look closely to every Text of Scripture here quoted, and what is said, with an impartial eye, and observe well how Scri­pture and reason concur in the truth of what is treated of, concerning our Faith (which is so much slandered by their teachers and others) for though it be light­ly made on by some, yet they shall one day finde, that the diligent search after truth was one of the main things for which we were sent into the world: which truth be­ing practised in Gods Church, is here plainly proved; which though not deli­cately dressed with crafty Sentences, but [Page]in poor and simple style, may I hope pro­duce the desired effects, for which it was intended; that is, that all deceived people may finde the way to Gods Church, that all Ignorance and Errours may be banish­ed, and Truth take place; that true Re­ligion may flourish, as a green Bay-Tree, and Heresies and Factions wither as Plants without rain; that living all our lives in communion with Gods Church, we may at last enjoy that blessed end, for which we were created.

THE Catholick Mirrour.

Chap. 1. This is to prove the Verity of the Blessed Sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Saviour, and that it is really so, contrary to Protestants Opinion.

THe Misbelief of these times is such, that it may give a just astonishment to all true Chri­stians; especially when they consider how little Faith many have in this most Blessed Sacrament: and that there is no one thing our Blessed Savi­our did so much inculcate to us (in his whole life) concerning any point of Faith as this; he very well knowing [Page 2]the greatness of the Mystery, and the smallness of our Faith: it is in Ho­ly Scripture often mentioned to be really his Body and Blood, because we may plead no excuse by any mistake of one place alone; and first you shall see how this Blessed Sacrament was prefi­gured to us in the Old Testament, by the holy men of God, and his Pro­phets, as in Exodus 16.15. concerning the Manna which came down from Heaven to the Israelites to feed their Bodies; so that foretold of this Spiri­tual Manna which feeds our Souls: for should not this Blessed Sacrament be of greater value then Protestants make of it, who say it is barely Bread, and a Figure onely of Christ his Body, then this Manna, which was indeed a Figure, would be of greater validity then that which it prefigured, which is very ab­surd to think. A second Figure we finde in Scripture, is that Holy Bread of Proposition,Exod. 25 & Lev. 24. v. 5.6, 7. or Shew-Bread; which because it was a Figure of this most Ho­ly Sacrament, was to be made and eaten with such purity, that none but sancti­fied persons was to eat of it; to shew [Page 3]with what purity and reverence we ought to approach these Holy Myste­ries. The third Figure in Holy Writ is the Paschal Lamb,Exod. 12. v. 3.4, 5, 6, &c. an eminent Figure of this Sacrament; wherein you may observe what Ceremonies God exacted from the Jews in the eating of it, al­though but a Type of this: from whence we may gather, that this which Christ hath Instituted is to be had in a far higher esteem amongst Christians, as requiring greater Faith in the belie­ving of it, and reverence in the recei­ving. The fourth Figure was the Ark,Exod. 25.10.11, 12. whereof the Holy Doctor Saint Tho­mas saith,1.2. q. 102. ar. That even as the Ark was made of the Wood of Sethim, that is, of pure and shining Cedar; even so the Body of our Lord consisteth of most pure Members. Again, the Ark was gilded both within and without, the which gilding signifieth the Wis­dom and Charity of Christ our Lord. In the Ark were three things. 1. There was a golden Pot, wherein was kept Manna, and was a figure of the Soul of Christ, which containeth all plenitude of Sanctity and Divi­nity. [Page 4]2. There was the Rod of Aaron, which signified the Priestly Power of Christ; and as the Ark stood in the Tabernacle covered with a Vail, even so Christ lyeth hidden in this Divine Sacrament, under the Forms and Accidents of Bread and Wine, which we must discover with the eyes of Divine Faith, according to Saint Paul, That Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 3. There was in the Arke the two tables of Stone, to signifie that Christ should be a Law-giver; and this being one of his greatest Laws, to believe in him, let us take him at his word, and thank him for so great a good, as is this pure Sacrament of his Body and Blood. I shall now begin to forsake the Shadows, and let the Sun­shine of our happiness appear, in clear­ly proving by the Holy Word of God, that we now injoy in reality what they did but prefigure to us. And first from the words of Christ himself, by Saint Matthews Gospel,Mat. 26. v. 26.27, 28. where he saith in private to his twelve Disciples onely; Take, eat, this is my Body, and drink ye [Page 5]all of it, for this is my Blood; he names here no Figures, but in plain tearms, This is my Body; and had not our Bles­sed Saviour meant what he here said, he would have expounded his words, both for the benefit of his Apostles, and all us besides, who have no better assu­rance in any thing (for our salvation) then his word, which is truth it self. The second Text is from Saint Marks Gospel, where he saith, Christ took bread and blest it, and said, Take, eat, Mark 14. v. 22. 23, 24. this is my body, which shall be given for you; and so of the Cup, he said to them, This is my Blood of the New Te­stament which shall be shed for you; now I leave it to all reasonable Christians (that are not partial to their own Souls) to consider, whether Christ did onely in Figure give his Body to dye for us, and his Blood in Figure to be shed, or his real Body and Blood; if he gave them really for us to death, he saith here, that this is that Body, and that same Blood in this Sacrament; so that to deny this, is to give our Blessed Sa­viour the flat lye; and in refusing of Christs words here, may as well shake [Page 6]hands, and bid adieu to all points o [...] Christian Faith; for that Saint James his Apostle saith, That he which break [...] one Commandment is guilty of all, meaning, in the not believing of one, he may as well not believe any. Our Saviour to confirm to us, what he told us by the two precedent Apostles, hath inspired Saint Luke to publish this great mystery,Luke 22. v. 19, 20. where in the Text you may finde the same words recited, as was before by Saint Mark; but above all, you shall finde the beloved Disciple more ample in declaring the words of his Master,John 6. v. 50, 51, 52, &c. where he saith, That the bread which I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world: now the Jews wanting faith (as too many now adayes do) said, as Hereticks now do, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? not understanding what manner Christ meant to bestow it on us. Our Saviour who came into the world to lead us into all truth, would have open­ed undoubtedly his meaning to them, if he had had any other; but he was so far from shewing any other meaning of his words, that he reiterates them [Page 7]over and over again, saying, Except you eat the Flesh of the Son of man and drink his Blood, ye have no life in you; and so proceeds in the confirmation of what he said before: and which is very remarkable, his Disciples which follow­ed him, and had frequently heard his Doctrine could not comprehend how this great mystery should be brought to pass; so distrusting his Godhead,Ver. 60, 61. (wherein his power lay to accomplish it) They went away (saith the Text) and walked no more with him. By which every Christian may easily understand, that if our Saviour had not meant what he said concerning this Sacrament, he would not have suffered his Disciples which he loved so well, to have gone away and left him; but would have then, as he did at other times when he spake parables, expounded the meaning: but you see he had no other meaning, for he sweetly complains to the others, and will ye also go away; Ver. 67. but St. Peter answers for them that stayed, To whom shall we go, Ver. 68. thou hast the words of eternal life: so that we may under­stand that they believing in his words, [Page 8]stayed behinde with him, and would, not leave our Saviour as the rest did; therefore it concerns every Christian, as they tender their salvation, to con­sider what hath been said by our Bles­sed Saviour concerning this grand My­stery of Christian Religion, and not any more to question Christs meaning: for since we know, he hath often said, it is his Body and Blood, and we like­wise know that it was in his power to make the Bread and Wine so, by his Divine Benediction: there remains nothing for us to doubt, but to hum­ble our Spirits, in submitting to our Blessed Saviours Doctrine, and to say as Saint Peter did, Lord, thou hast the words of eternal life. And that you may in this great point of Faith, re­ceive further satisfaction, I shall reduce to your memory the opinion of Saint Paul, who you shall see verifies what hath been said before; for faith he, The Cup of blessing which we bless, 1 Cor. 10. v. 16. is it not the Communion of the Blood of Christ; and the Bread of blessing which we break, is it not the Communion of the body of Christ: he names no Figures here, nor [Page 9]fancies of we know not what, but of Communion of Christs sacred Body and Blood: who came into the world to abolish all Figures, and out of his immense goodness to leave us his divine self for the consolation of our souls. And for our further assurance, Saint Paul in his next Chapter treateth more amply and telleth the manner of the institution,1 Cor. 11. v. 24, 25, 26, 27. as you may read in the pla­ces cited in his Epistle, where likewise he saith, That by frequent partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, we shew forth the Lords death. Perhaps some will answer, it is meant for a re­membrance of his Death; and of them I would demand, what better memo­rial can there be of any person, then to have the said person present: for example, when our Saviour appear­ed to Saint Thomas, and shewed him his sacred wounds, then he remembred him, and cryed, Thou art my Lord, John 20. v. 27, 28. and my God? and so it is frequently amongst friends, that hath been long absent, that are forgot one by another, till frequent conversation reduces to their memory the knowledge of each [Page 10]other, and do commonly say in such cases, O! now I remember you. So by frequent Communion with Jesus Christ in the Sacrament, we have the best memorial his goodness could leave unto us. Again, he saith, That whosoever eateth and drinketh these my­steries unworthily, eateth and drinketh his own damnation, not discerning the Lords Body; so that by these words it is plain, there is a Body to be discerned by the eyes of our Faith; and as plain, that damnation would not follow by eating bare bread and Wine. From these so evident places of holy Scri­pture, I hope every good Christian will be induced to the belief of this great Sacrament, and no more question the works of God, but conclude with that holy man, Thomas de Kempes, That if the wonderful works of God were to be understood by our reason, they could not be said to be wonderful and unspeakable. Thus have I shewed the truth of this Sacrament by the Pro­testants own Bible, which though it work not my desired effects in the be­lief of it, yet I hope it will reduce them [Page 11]to a more charitable opinion of us, who think our selves bound to believe it, because it is inserted in Holy Scripture; according to that of our Saviour, Search the Scriptures, for therein you shall finde eternal life.

Chap. 2. Proving Sacramental Confession, both by Holy Scripture, and Reason; against the Opinion of Protestants.

HAd we the prudence of our Pre­decessors, in submitting our Judgements to Gods Church, both as concerning this verity, and all others; we should not have so much peevish wrangling continually as we have, in points of Faith; but contrariwise we should joyn hand in hand in one uni­form Doctrine of Christian Religion: but being far from that happiness, in this age we are possest with quite con­trary, for every one will be his own Judge, and pass sentence, though it be against Scripture and Reasont too: and [Page 12]this will plainly appear, when we consi­der that Confession hath been the pra­ctice of all Ages since Christ to this day. I shall not need to produce the Autho­rity of every Age, (which might easily be done) it being out of my design; because it is so plainly commanded in Holy Writ, which ought not by any that professeth himself a Christian to be denied: and if not so, of necessity to be put in practice. The first place I shall prove it from, is out of the Gos­pel of Saint Matthew; who speaking of Saint Johns Baptism,Mat. 3. v. 5.6. saith, They came from Jerusalem, and Judea, and were Baptized of him, confessing their Sins. Now to evade this Text, the Protestants say, That the people con­fessed themselves in general to be sin­ners. But how poor this shift is, let every one judge, that hath a minde to know the truth; for St. John knew, and we all know, that every man in general is a sinner without their saying so; but the Text saith, They confessed their sins: which plainly argueth every ones parti­cular sins. Again, you shall see what another Evangelist saith to the same [Page 13]purpose;Mark 1. v. 5. And there went out to him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the ri­ver of Jordan, confessing their sins. It may justly bring an asTonishment on the souls of true Christians, to consider that those people which say they will believe nothing but the Bible, yet when they come to the touchstone of it, will believe never a word more then what their own fancies please. But now as I have shown you how this was practised amongst the Jews in our Saviours time, so now you shall be shown how Christs Apostle, from him, doth command the same. Saint James saith,James 5. v. 16. Confess your sins one to another; and in all reason and duty, since it is thus commanded, we are bound under the penalty of damna­tion, to do all the commands of the New Testament, at least, to believe them to be lawful. Many examples of this practice have we in the Old Testament commanded by God himself, as in Numbers, he saith,Numb. 5. v. 6.7. That if any man or woman had committed any sins, that then they shall confess their sin, and he shall recompence his trespass committed. [Page 14]So David used Confession to Nathan the Prophet;2 Sam. 12. v. 13. and if there were no Scripture at all, Reason might tell us, that it is a Divine Institution: First, in regard of the goodness that is in it self; for we finde nothing more repugnant to our corrupt natures, then to confess our sins to a Priest: from which we may gather, that the more it is against our frail natures, the more it hath con­formity to Gods will; in regard, by sad experience we all finde, how difficult it is for us to comply with Gods will, in those things that concerns our salva­tion. Secondly, The thought of con­fessing our sins to a Priest oftentimes hinders our design, in committing sins. Thirdly, by confessing our sins to a Priest (to whom God hath given our souls in charge,Heb. 13. v. 17. and must give an ac­count for them) he knows what sins we are infected with, and knows the better what Doctrine to preach to us, for the remedy of our spiritual distempers: And can any reasonable man think, that if it were not a Divine Law, that so many Emperours, and Kings, and Princes as are, and have been, would [Page 15]stoop on their knees to a poor Priest in a gray course Gown, to make their Con­fession? No, we may well imagine they would not (being men that com­monly follow the dictates of their own will) did not their consciences tell them it was from God, and not of mans in­vention. Now by this you may plain­ly see what reason the Catholick Church hath to propose Confession to her Children; and likewise what mad­ness 'tis for Protestants and others to impugne so naked a Truth, and so good a principle of Faith as Confession is. My advice therefore is to all, that en­joy not this benefit, That they would beseech the giver of all goodness, to unite them in communion with his holy Catholick Church, and make them obe­dient Members thereof, if they expect salvation from his hands; according to that of Saint Augustine, That he that will not acknowledge the Church for his Mother, cannot lawfully call God his Father: and that out of the Catholic Church there is no salva­tion.

Chap. 3. Proving Purgatory, or a temporal satis­faction to Gods Justice for our sins com­mitted here, against the Belief of Pro­testants.

DId we not by the irregular passi­ons of our mindes throw down Reason, the Queen of our souls, and set up an Idol in her place, called Opini­on, we should with much facility im­brace this verity so long practised by Gods Church; though it were for no other reason, but because it is practised there: but since nothing but Scripture will serve the turns of many in the world, I shall plainly set it forth by that rule, that they may have no excuse to deceive themselves: But first it is necessary to let you know, that as God hath these two Attributes, (to wit) Mercy and Justice; so he is to have them both satisfied. As to the first he satisfies himself in pouring down his Spiritual and Temporal Blessings into our Souls and Bodies, for the good of [Page 17]both. And the second must be satisfied, either in our doing or suffering accord­ing as our sins deserve. Agreeable to this truth is that satisfaction which God hath required in Scripture so of­ten: for example,Gen. 3. that of our first Pa­rents; for so soon as they had abused the mercy of God, which placed them there, presently his Justice expected satis­faction by repelling them from thence; and yet for that sin, many thousands have, and shall be damned: and for the sins of the world, we know Gods Justice was so urgent for satisfaction, that he drowned the whole world, ex­cept those in the Ark: he satisfied his Justice also many times in the punish­ing of the Israelites in the desert; and for the sins of Corah, Dathan, and Abi­ram, we all know what satisfaction God gave to his Justice,Num. 16. v. 31.32. when he caused the earth to open and swallow them up alive. Now is it not strange to think how little reason we have to flatter our selves as we do, and think we shall get to heaven in a dream, without any sa­tisfaction on our part at all. If we did but truly consider our own state, we [Page 18]should not have so good an opinion of our selves as to think God should pu­nish so many to satisfie his Justice, and we should scape scot-free: Nay, those whom he dearly loved, as Moses in de­priving him of entrance into the land of Promise.2 Sam. 12. ver. 10. But more to our purpose is that of holy David, where for his sin with Bathsaba, God told him the Sword should never depart from his house. Now here Davids sin was par­doned (as to the eternal punishment) but yet Gods justice requiring from him this temporal satisfaction, as the sword cleaving to his house, and the death of of his Childe.Ver. 14. A plainer place cannot be to prove what is here treated of, and I hope it is good Scripture: But to let you see further, that you may be totally undeceived, conform to this place, is another concerning the same man; where for his sin in numbring the peo­ple,2 Sam. 24. ver. 14.15, 16, &c. though God told him (by the Pro­phet Gad) he had pardoned him his sin; yet he to satisfie his Justice caused his Angel to destroy seventy thousand of them, which to Davids heart was a hot Purgatory, or temporal punishment. [Page 19]Thus you see many times God hath been pleased to be so favourable to some of his dearest friends to purge them here (by the fire of tribulations) as Adam, Moses, and David, with many others which might be shown; but this to rea­sonable men will suffice, since it is so plain by the holy word of God And now it will concern me to shew you (by the fame word) that there is a tempo­ral punishment, or Purgatory after death: I will onely give you this rea­son for it before I quote my Text, which is, that since there be many ser­vants of God which dye unpunished here in this life, for their sins commit­ted, and so have not satisfied Gods Justice, must of necessity do it, by be­ing purified before they can go to hea­ven; for the Scripture saith plainly, that no unclean thing can enter in there; and if so, we may easily judge, how unclean thousands are which dye Christians, and in communion with Gods Church, but yet not jump just to heaven, but are purged by fire.

And to satisfie you in this, you must observe what Saint Paul saith in his [Page 20]Epistle to the Corinthians; 1 Cor. 3. v. 12.13. where first he tells us the different sorts of works, by the similitudes of Gold, Silver, pre­cious Stones, Wood, Hay, Stubble, and then how this fire shall try them; for saith he, Every mans works shall be made manifest, and the day (of our Lord) shall declare it, because it shall be reveal­ed by fire, and the fire shall try every mans work of what sort it is. Again, saith he,Ver. 15. If any mans work shall be burnt, he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, yet so, as by fire; by which it is plain, that we must pass through this fiery tryal (before we get to heaven) ei­ther by great crosses here in this life, or else in the purging place of the life to come. It would be worth our time, did we but seriously consider, how that ma­ny persons which have been the dearly beloved friends of Christ have had in this life the greatest share of temporal punishment, as his ever Blessed Mo­ther (though I will not say for her sins) the twelve Apostles, and many thou­sands of Martyrs, which have satisfied Gods Justice, with the loss of their blood; and yet we now adayes hug [Page 21]our selves in a sottish security, and think we shall be conveyed to heaven in Beds of Roses; as if God were so partial to mankinde to punish those that were good and holy, and spare us that have much more deserved it. But now again to the Scripture, to let you see what our Saviour saith, concerning paying our debts to God, and remissi­on of sins in the next life; as in Saint Matthew, he saith,Mat. 5. v. 27. We should be at agreement with our adversary, lest he de­liver us over to the Judge, and the Judge throw us into prison, from whence we shall not get out, till we have paid the ut­most farthing. Now in respect of our sins, God is our adversary, and if we agree not with him here; that is, to satisfie his justice by Alms-deeds, tears, and suffering in this life, he will throw us into the prison of Purgatory, till we have satisfied the debt there. Again, saith our Saviour,Mat. 12. v. 32. Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost shall never be par­doned in this life, nor in the world to come; by which it is plain, that as Gods justice is satisfied here by the par­don of sins, so there is sins to be par­doned [Page 22]in the life to come, which must be in Purgatory; for out of Hell is no redemption, nor no expectation of par­don of sins. Did there not want a right understanding in the hearts of men concerning Scripture, there could not be so much errour and blindeness in the reading of it as there is, for all those places which plainly show Chri­stian Religion, and the Catholique Faith, are past by, and no more minded then if they had no relation to Gods word at all. If most Protestants that hap­pens to read this book, should but ex­amine their own consciences, they could not but confess that most places here cited (to prove our faith) was so little taken notice of, that they knew not whether they were in the Bible or no: And now after all these Texts here mentioned out of holy Writ to prove this point, if any Protestant will or can shew me but one place in all the Bible, that any one went, or was con­veyed to Heaven, as soon as they dyed, I do assure them I will (as once I was) be of their Faith; but if they cannot, then are they obliged in conscience to [Page 23]believe what is said, or be guilty of In­fidelity to God and his Holy Word: and to the intent that I may plainly dis­cover the errour of those that believe there is, nor before Christs coming was, any other places then Heaven and Hell after death; it is my purpose therefore in the next Chapter to prove that there is a third place wherein the Fathers of the New Testament were, which could not obtain Heaven till Christ had shed his Blood for them; according to that of Saint Paul, speaking of the Faith of those holy men; yet he saith,Heb. 11. v. 39.40. All these having obtained a good report, by faith, received not the promise (which was Heaven) God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. But the com­mon objection and deceit against this, which takes so much is, that Christ hath satisfied Gods Justice for our sins, what need we do any thing at all; and this is the usuall juggle of those that teach against this point of satisfaction; but we are to consider how far Christs sa­tisfaction extends to us, that is, he dy­ed for the pardon of our original sins, [Page 24]and not for our actual transgressions, (though they be the easier pardoned by the merits of his Death too) for if all our actual sins were pardoned and sa­tisfied for, by the Death of Christ, why then all Heathens, and Turks, and Whoremongers, and Murderers, and Blasphemers should be saved; which, Saint Paul saith, Shall never enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; so that this is but a trick of our Adversaries ma­king the people believe that they attri­bute all to Christ, when indeed, if justly considered, they load his shoulders with their actual sins, that hath suffered enough already for our original ones; and so they would fain free themselves from all kinde of sufferings, here and hereafter; when our Saviour saith, We cannot enter into life eternal without much tribulation: but as I said, God is merciful to save, so he is just to punish; and it is not good for us to presume too much upon hhis mercy, lest we fall into a provocation of his Justice, and so pe­rish everlastingly. And since it is so plain both by holy Scripture and Rea­son, that there is a purging place, or [Page 25]temporal punishments in the life to come (proportionable to every ones sins) let every man consider what obli­gation he hath, first, to believe it to be so; secondly, to live so holily in this life, that God may be pleased to spare us, by extenuating our sufferings in those purifying flames, agreeable to that of B. St. Bernard; Serm. 6. tribulat. in fine. Oh would to God some man would now before­hand provide for my head abundance of water, and to mine eyes a fountain of tears; for so haply the burning fire should take no hold, where run­ning tears had cleansed before.

Chap. 4. Proving that none of the Holy Fathers of the Old Law enjoyed Heaven till Christ came, and that there was a di­stinct place where they waited for their Redemption by his coming.

REason doth tell us, and experi­ence will justifie the same, that all the glorious and splendid things of this [Page 26]world are obtained with much difficulty and travel, so that scarce the tythe­part of men have the fruition of them: and is it not to be lamented, that we have so poor and beggerly apprehen­sions of heavenly glory, as to think it requires no difficulty, no patience, nor no suffering to obtain that King­dom; the contrary will plainly appear when I shall prove by Scripture, that no soul from Adam till Christ dyed, en­joyed heavenly Glory, but suffered with long patience and expectation, till they were redeemed by the precious Blood of our Saviour, and so freed from their long captivity; conformable to Saint Paul, who writing of our Sa­viour Christ,Ephes. 4. v. 8.9. saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. And again, Now that he ascended, what is it, but that he descended first into the lower parts of the earth. Now I would from these words have every Protestant consider these two things: First, to what place Christ descended after his Death, and second­ly, who they were that he led with him captive at his ascension from that place. [Page 27]It is clear to all Christians that Christ did not descend to the Hell of the dam­ned, to release them from any captivity; for as I said before, there is no redem­ption for them: what other thing can be concluded, but that he went to re­lease them which could not be saved till then, for is it not madness to think that any people went to Heaven before Christ had redeemed them with his pre­cious blood: next you shall see what St. Peter saith concerning this point;1 Pet. 3. Ver. 18. Ver. 19. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the Flesh, but quickned by the Spirit: by which also he went and preacht unto the spirits in prison. Now what can be desired more plain then this, showing so plainly, that when Christs flesh lay dead, his spirit preacht to those that were long in ex­pecting of him in a prison, to them that sighed so long for his coming: the same did the Prophet Zachariah fore­tel, where speaking to Sion, Behold, Zach. 9. ver. 9. saith he, thy King cometh, he is just, and having salvation, lowly, and riding upon an Ass, and upon a Colt, the foal of an [Page 28]Ass: here he speaks of Christs coming; and in the other verse,Ver. 11. As for thee also by the blood of thy Covenant, I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein was no water: Now what pit can this be imagined to be, but this place where these holy men were, in which he pro­phesies, that Christ at his coming to Sion would deliver them out; and if we consider this point as we ought to do, we shall finde it to be an Article of our Creed;Article 4. of our Creed. which saith, He descended into Hell, the third day he rose again: Now some object, by this Hell is meant the grave, but how absurdly let every one judge, that considers how ri­diculous it is to think Christs soul should remain in the Grave; his Body we grant did so, but his glorious Spirit went to perform what before had been said of him, according to his own most blessed words, when he said, That as Jonas was three dayes and three nights in the belly of the whale, so shall the Son of man be three dayes and three nights in the heart of the earth: so his body, as I said, was in the Grave, and his Soul in the other place, which is commonly called Hell, [Page 29](because it is believed to be under the earth as the Hell of the damned is.) Now this place may suffice to any rea­sonable Christian, yet I shall propose one or two things more to your consi­derations, as first concerning Lazarus, John 11. v. 42, 43. who was dead and buried four dayes, and was raised to life by our Saviour: I hope none will say he was in Hell with the damned; and had he been in Heaven, you may be sure his Sisters had a better sense of that Glory, then to wish him upon earth again; and if he had been in either place, we know there is no coming out, as Saint Luke saith,Luke 16. v. 26. speaking of Dives and the other Laza­rus; so that we must conclude his soul to be in that temporal Hell, spoken of in our Creed, or no where at all: and Holy David cryes out to God, saying, Thou wilt not leave my soul in Hell, for Lord thou lovest me, &c. Now this may be objected two wayes against Prote­stants: First (that if it meant the Grave) what should his soul do to be left there: And secondly, if it means that temporall Hell (as undoubtedly it doth) then it plainly shows that his soul [Page 30]was there, because it saith, Thou wilt not leave it in Hell: We may gather much to our present purpose from the last Text mentioned in Saint Luke, where Dives being in Hell lift up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, ver. 23. and La­zarus in his bosom, which plainly proves Abraham and Lazarus not to be in Heaven; for could the damned in Hell see the Saints in Heaven, it would be no Hell to them, since the sight of Heaven is so glorious, it would take away the sense of Hell, and so make them happy in that unhappy place. Again, if Abraham had been in Hea­ven, according to Protestants opinion, they could not hear one the other speak, being at that vast distance as Heaven and Hell is; for they say how can the Saints hear our prayers on earth, much less (if not so) could they hear them in Hell. We may again ob­serve that the place where Abraham and the Fathers were, was not far from the local Hell of the damned, but (as St. Augustine saith, The upper part, or over it some distance; where holy Abraham saith,ver. 26. there was a gulf that [Page 31]separated the passage one to the other, because they could both see and speak one to the other. And thus, having made it so manifestly appear I hope none that professes the truth of the Bi­ble will now any more defile their souls with envy to the holy Catholick Church, which teacheth all truth, and nothing but the truth (if you had but as right an understanding of all that is there taught as you have of this) but be rather induced to the practice of it, and with Saint Augustin, to conclude, Who is there but an Infidel,August. 99. Ep. in prin. will deny that Christ was in (this temporal) Hell.

Chap. 5. Proving that Angels, and Saints in Heaven, do know what passeth here on Earth; and so consequently may be prayed to by us, for their mediation to God in our behalf.

THe mindes of men, being natural­ly inclined to search, and know [Page 32]the nature of hidden things, doth of­tentimes take indirect wayes to accom­plish the knowledge of them, and yet come short in their designs too: This thing as it was the sin of our first Pa­rents, so is it a great corruption in this present age, amongst many thousands, which would make us believe they know on earth, what power and happiness the Blessed Angels and Saints have in heaven, and will grant them no more priviledge then what their shallow brains can comprehend they have; quite contrary to that saying of Saint Paul, 1 Cor. 2. ver. 9. Eye hath not seen, nor ear hath not heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love him: so in­finitely out of our understanding are the qualities of glorified souls, which Angels and Saints are. But to let those people know how much they deceive themselves in fostering such pernicious opinions, I will prove both by Scri­pture and Reason that they do know all our actions here on earth, and that it is agreeable to the nature of Angels to know them; my first place is from [Page 33]Saint Lukes Gospel,Luke 2. ver. 13. where so soon as our Saviour was born on earth, the Angels came from heaven to the Shep­heards to anounce it to them, and sing­ing with great joy; a little before, one in particular told them,ver. 10. that he preach­ed to them great joy, for a Saviour was born to them; by which it is plain, that the Angel knew when he was in heaven, that he was born: so likewise our Saviour when he was in the Wilder­ness, after his temptation, the Text saith,Mat. 4. ver. 11. The Angels came and ministred unto him; by which you may see how ready those blessed Spirits are in all things and occasions to assist in our sal­vation. Again, when our Blessed Sa­viour was in his direful Agony in the Garden, sweating drops of Blood for us, Saint Luke saith,Luke 22. ver. 43. There appeared an Angel to him from heaven, and strength­ned him; from which words we may gather, 1. That if Angels lent their assistance to strengthen Christ, who is the God of strength, much more will they to us (by Gods permission) who are of our selves nothing but weakness. 2. That if they knew not what passeth [Page 34]on earth, how could they so readily as­sist us, as we read in many places of the Bible they have done, and as I shall prove hereafter: Our Saviour saith likewise by the same Evangelist,Luke 15. ver. 13. That there is joy in heaven of the Angels at the conversion of a sinner, by which it is clear, that they must know when every sinner is converted; or how should they know when to rejoyce: So like­wise in the tran figuration of our Sa­viour Christ, Moses and Elias appear­ed to him and talked with him; so that if they (being out of this world) had not known of his being on Mount Thabor, Mark 9. ver. 4. how should they have waited upon him: And again, our Saviour saith. That his Apostles shall sit with him in judgement,Mat. 19. ver. 28. and judge the twelve Tribes of Israel: and Saint Paul saith, The Saints shall judge the world, 1 Cor. 6. ver. 1.2. which could not be, if they did not know what passeth in the world; for in rea­son, no Judge can or will pass Sentence upon any man before he knows what he is guilty of: by all which it is as manifest and clear (as to see the Sun when it shines in the Firmament) that [Page 35]Angels and Saints know what passeth here on earth.

Again, it is very much to our pur­pose, to consider what passed at the Death of Saint Stephen, where the Text saith, He looked into heaven,Acts 7. ver. 54, 55, 56. and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, Be­hold I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God; from whence it is evident and plain, that if Saint Stephen could upon earth see into heaven, where God him­self was, that he can now, being glori­fied in heaven see and know what pas­seth upon earth, in a far larger mea­sure, and so may be prayed unto for his assistance;Ver. 60. for if he at his Death had so much charity to pray for the pardon of his enemies, that did not desire it, we need not question but his charity is much more now, and will be infinitely more ready to pray to God for those that are his friends and Mem­bers of the same Church, which do heartily beg it of him; and as we see his prayer then took effect with God, for the conversion of his chiefest enemy, [Page 36] Saul, which was presently after; so we may justly hope, that God will be­stow his graces upon us, by his holy In­tercession.

But for your further instruction, con­sider, what knowledge God gave to all the Prophets of old time, to foretell all those great things that happened in the world in our Saviours time, and since, which we know were all true; and if God gave such power to men when they were upon earth, do we think that God deprives Angels, or those Prophets that are now in heaven­ly glory, of that power; or that Christs blessed Mother, which prophe­sied that all generations should call her blessed, Luke 1. ver 48. doth not know that she is so called by all generations; it were a madness beyond compare to imagine such a foolish thing, which is so con­trary to the express word of God. I shall now conclude my discourse of this subject with one example, which I think, had there been no Scripture to have proved what I have said, would be of force enough, with any reason­able person to induce them to the belief of it.

We all know by our faith, that the Devil was once an Angel of heaven, and since his fall from that happy place, it is all his design to make us miserable; and we all by sad experience know, that he knows all our actions, as when we would do good he strives to hinder us, and when we intend to do evil, he sets us forward in the performance of it: Nay, when we do not intend evil, he puts it into our mindes to do it, and all the sins we commit is from the Devil; and I pray, how came he by this power, but only as he was once an Angel of hea­ven? let us not think God gave him this power since he was a Devil of Hell; or that God which dearly loves our salva­tion (as is plainly shown by him in the Death of his Son for us) would give more power to the Devil to work our destruction, then he doth to the good Angels which desire and assist us in our salvation; we know too well, that he leads thousands to sin at one time, and do we not think the holy Angels endea­vour the same to lead us to vertue; we know, or may know to our costs, that he is watchful and diligent to bring us to [Page 38]ruine, and do we not think the Angels are as careful to guard us from it; so that for any one to deny this truth, must certainly be possest with an hea­thenish spirit, which will shut its eyes against all Christian verities. Now what hath been said chiefly of the Angels is the same of the Saints in heaven, which are in the same place, and glory, and esteem with God, according to that of our blessed Saviour, speaking to the Sadduces about the Resurrection,Luke 20. ver. 36. That they which should be worthy to obtain heaven should dye no more, but should be equal to the Angels. Thus having as I think shown sufficiently the truth of this point, I shall next proceed to shew you how we may lawfully (without de­rogation to Christs Intercession) desire them to pray to God for us; and with this conclude, that certainly God will never permit those the society of An­gels, that live and dye in so poor and beggarly esteem of those glorious spirits.

Chap. 6. Proving, that since it is evident that An­gels and Saints can hear our prayers, we may lawfully pray to them as In­tercessours for us to God.

IT is a thing not a little to be admi­red, when we consider that man which by nature loveth those things which may make him happy, should yet himself be the onely obstacle of his not being truly so; we all naturally de­sire heaven, but through the corrupti­on of that nature in us, we take the wrong course to obtain it; for what wise man can think that they which hate society with Angels and Saints whilst they are on earth, can ever at­tain that happiness in heaven, since those that touch at the honour of them, touches the apple of Gods eye; as our Blessed Saviour said to his Disci­ples when they were upon earth, He that hateth you, hateth me; and he that loveth you, loveth me: Mat. 10. v. 42. And if any one give but a cup of cold water in the name [Page 40]of a Disciple, he should not lose his re­ward; so dear are all his servants to him, and if so while they are on this dunghill earth, sure they are much more dear to him in his Palace of Heaven; and we can no wayes bonour God more (next to the Worship of himself) then by respecting and having communion with his heavenly Citizens, whilst we are on earth; and besides it is an Arti­cle of our Faith in the Creed, I believe the Communion of Saints, which we that are on earth can no wayes do, but by our praying to them, and their praying for us; and this is the true Communion of Saints.Gen. 48. v. 16. Agreeable to this shall you finde in Holy Scripture, how Jacob, after he blessed his Son Jo­seph, he invokes an Angel to bless Jo­sephs Sons, saying, The Angel which re­deemed me from all evil bless these lads; so here you see it was the practice of this holy man, by which we may have the less reason to scruple it: but ob­serve what he saith more, And let my name, and the names of my Fathers Aba­ham and Isaac be named by them; which infers, that they should invoke their [Page 41]names in the behalf of their obtaining any thing from God; and it is fre­quently mentioned in Scripture of de­siring mercy from God for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacobs sake, and for thy ser­vant Davids sake; all this we know to be true, and will it think you displease God to desire mercy from him, for the Blessed Virgin Maries sake, or St. Pe­ter, or St. Pauls sake,Job 5. v. 1. who were as ho­ly persons as ever the other were: so we may see in holy Jobs time it was practised, for Eliphaz upbraiding of him, saith, Call now, Zach. 1. ver. 1. if there be any that will answer thee, and to which of the Saints wilt thou turn? so in the Prophet Zachariah, we finde an Angel praying for Jerusalem, Then the Angel of the Lord answered and said, O Lord of Hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Je­rusalem, and on the Cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years: now what can be desired more plain then these places are, if we are not wilfully blinde. It will cause every one both to the be­lief and practice of this sacred Com­munion with those blessed spirits, which [Page 42]is in some measure an anticipation of the fruition of heaven. But yet to make it more manifest (to the intent that either you must deny Scripture or confess this truth) see what Saint Luke saith in his Gospel, that the rich man being in hell, prayed to Abraham, which I hope you will say is a Saint, And he cryed, Luke 16. v. 24. and said, Father Abra­ham, have mercy on me, and send Laza­rus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water to cool my tongue, for I am tor­mented in this flame; from which we may gather, that if this damned man prayed and hoped for mercy, to be ob­tained for him by Abraham (to whom he chiefly applyed himself) is it not un­reasonable to think that Christians which are in hopes of heaven, and in the state of Grace may not do the same to Abraham, or any the other Saints,Ver. 25. with more hopes then he could have, and better success; and you may read here that Abraham heard him (where ere he was) and told him it could not be done, because he had en­joyed his pleasures in this world, and the other pains: so by this we may see, [Page 43]that the practice of this Article of Faith is not grounded upon weak foun­dations, but on the Infallible Word of God which cannot deceive us, unless we deceive our selves by the misapply­ing of it.

Besides let every Christian consider what a great folly they are guilty of, when they say the Angels do not know this, nor the Saints do not know that, (and so must not be prayed to) when we do not know the nature of our own sinful souls, that is within us, and yet will be so vain, as pretend to know the power and nature of those glorious Spirits, who in knowing God do know all things; and by our having Com­munion with them, we have fellow­ship with the Blessed Trinity; by our praying to them God is so much the more honoured, as they are in Dignity and Desert above us; and as we know by experience that a King granteth sooner the desires of a mean Subject by the Mediation of his grand Favourite; so in reason we may believe that the King of Heaven will do the same to us, by the Mediation of his Saints in Hea­ven: [Page 44]The common objection by Pro­testants and others is, that our Saviour faith, Come unto me all ye that are la­den, and I will refresh you. This was Christs goodness to invite us to come to him; and how poor a shift this is for them to prove that we must not pray to Angels and Saints shall appear plain­ly; for if because Christ invites us to come to him, we must not apply our selves to any others, then we must not pray one for another as Saint James commands us:Jam. 5. v. 16. then why do we desire Priests, or Ministers to pray for us when we are sick, and upon many other oc­casions wherein we have need enough? onely because we think their prayers to God is more acceptable then our own: now, all this is done without derogation to Christ; nay, you know it is to his ho­nour and glory to pray one for another, & we all account it a great charity; and if it be so, then there is no doubt but that we may desire the blessed Saints to pray for us to God, through the merits of Christ, and it will redound more to his glory then our praying one for an­other can possibly do.Rev. 5. v. 18. One Text more [Page 45]I shall shew you, and not of small con­cern as to this point; in Saint Johns Revelations, where he saith, the four and twenty Elders fell down before the Lamb (or Christ) having their harps and golden vials full of Odours, which are the Prayers of Saints: by which it is plain that they offered up their Pray­ers to Christ;Ver. 3.4. for so Saint John ex­pounds it himself, that these vials full of Odours were the prayers of Saints: and in the eighth Chapter he saith, And another Angel came and stood at the Altar, having a golden Cen­ser, and there was given to him much In­cense, that he should offer it with the Prayers of all Saints, upon the golden Altar which was before the Throne; and the smoke of the Incense which came with the Prayers of the Saints ascended up be­fore God out of the Angels hand: so by this it is apparent, that we may pray to them, and that they do offer up our prayers to God, and pray for us. Now it will be necessary to clear that mistake in Protestants, who think we make no difference between our praying to Christ, and our Intercession to Saints.

It would be a great Heresie for any one to hold,1 John 2. v. 1. that the Power and Me­diation of Christ should not be far above all that of Angels or Arch-Angels and Saints in heaven;Rhem. Test. on this place. there­fore we are to understand what kinde of Mediatour Christ is, and how he is our Advocate to the Father; The Calling and Office of an Advocate is in many things proper to Christ, and to him onely it appertains to procure us Mercy from his heavenly Father, by the general ransome, price, and payment of his Blood for our delive­ry, as is in the Sentence following, He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for our sins onely, but for the sins of the whole world; in which sort he is our onely Advocate, because he is our onely Redeemer; and hereupon he alone immediately by his own Merits, without the aid or assistance of any man or Angel in his own Name, and right, confident­ly dealeth in our Causes before God our Judge, and so procureth our pardon; and this is the highest de­gree of Advocation that can be: by [Page 47]all which you may see that we Catho­licks attribute to Christ in a more ex­cellent sort his power in his Mediator­ship, then Protestants do, or imagine, who make poor ignorants believe that none must mediate for us but Christ, thinking meerly by a bare show of zeal to Christ, to null all other mediations, when by that means they dishonour him, by comparing or valuing his Me­diation at no higher a price, then we do Angels, Saints, and Mens. Now when we pray to an Angel or Saint, we desire them to pray for us to God the Father, or the Blessed Trinity, that they would obtain for us of God, this, or that fa­vour, through our Lord Jesus Christ; so that all is desired through the Merits of our Saviour: And when we pray to Christ for any thing, we ought to pray to him as he is God, and not to say O Christ pray for me, (as we do to an Angel or Saint) for that were a disho­nour to him in making him of less pow­er then the two other Divine persons of the blessed Trinity, who is equal to both; and who in three persons makes but one true and ever-living God, bles­sed [Page 48]to all eternity. Should I produce the Authority and Practice of Gods Church, and the ancient Fathers, I might fill a large volume to confirm you; I will onely conclude with that of Saint Augustine, Aug Med. 40. where invoking the Saints, he saith, O holy and Imma­culate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and of our Lord Jesus Christ, vouch­safe to intercede for me to him, whose Temple thou was deserved to be made, holy Michael, holy Gabriel, holy Raphel, holy Quire of Angels, and Arch-Angels, Patriarchs, and Prophets, A postles, Evangelists, Mar­tyrs, Confessors, and all the Just; I humbly crave that you would vouch­safe to intercede to God for me a poor Sinner, that I may be delivered from the Jaws of the Devil, and from Eternal Death. Amen.

Chap. 7. Shewing that in all Ages, Angels have been assistant to Man for his good, and that we ought to reverence the Me­mory both of Angels and Saints, as they are the chief Attendants on the living God.

IT is no wonder we are so little ac­quainted with those glorious Citi­zens Angels and Saints, when we con­sider how the memory of them is slighted and contemned in this our un­happy Age, and that men now adayes desire no more society with them, then they would do with those that designs their ruine: so miserably hath Satan depraved our natures, and suggested to us a slighting of those. Blessed Spirits, to the intent he may draw us the more to his hellish service, and so consequent­ly to our utter destruction. But to un­deceive a little those that are thus cor­rupted with this principle, I shall plain­ly show you many examples from holy Scripture, both of the great good they [Page 50]have done to many holy men, and al­so what Worship and Reverence they have done to the Angels.

The first is from that of holy Abra­ham, Gen. 18. v. 2. when the three Angels appeared to him, to let him know the good news of his having a Son; the Text saith, He ran to meet them from the Tent­door, and bowed himself toward the ground. The second place that of holy Lot; Gen. 19. v. 1. And there came two Angels to Sodom at even, and Lot sate in the gate of Sodom; and Lot seeing them, rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face to­wards the ground, and said, My Lords turn in I pray you, Ver. 2. &c. Now here I may demand, why the holy Scripture should instance to us, their bowing with their faces to the ground, but onely to show us, that as they are the heavenly Am­bassadours that kinde of reverence is due to them. Thirdly, when the An­gel appeared to Joshua by Jericho, Josh. 5. v. 13.14.15. he demanded who he was for; and the An­gel said, Nay, but as Captain of the host of the Lord am I come; and Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship; and the Angel bid him pull [Page 51]off his shooes, for the place where he stood was holy ground. So here you see is, first the Angels assistance in com­ing to fight for them; and secondly, a high worship done to him, and the place where he stood, by pulling off his shooes: and yet so miserably blinded are people now adayes, to think and say that these kinde of things are Super­stition, not at all considering that it ever hath, that it is, and ever will be the practice of all holy men, to do this homage to them. Fourthly, an Angel appears to the Israelites at Gil­gal, Judg. 2. v. 1.4. and for their good, tells them of what things God had done for them; which when he had done, all the peo­ple lift up their voices and wept. Fifthly, an Angel appears to Gideon, to com­fort and strengthen him against the Mi­dianites;Judg. 6. v. 12.22, 23. and when he perceived it was an Angel of God, he was afraid he should dye; till God told him he should not: by which we may see what a reverend apprehension he had of the Angel Sixthly, an Angel appears to Sampsons Mother; and tells her (be­ing barren) the glad news of a Son: if [Page 52]you read the whole Chapter,Judg. 13. v. 3. it is much to our purpose, both to see how the ho­ly Angel conversed with his Father and Mother both; as also with what reve­rence they treated with him. Seventh­ly, we read that the holy Prophet Eli­jah being a sleep under a Juniper-tree,1 Kings 19. v. 5. an Angel awaked him, which brought him both to eat and drink in the Wil­derness where he was, and where no bread was to be had; and the Angel appeared to him the second time,Ver. 6. and he rose and eat what the Angel brought him; and by vertue of that went for­ty dayes and forty nights on his jour­ney. A ninth place is of an Angel as­sisting the people of God, in the slay­ing of the Assyrians,Isa. 37. v. 36. 185000. men, which came against them, and Heze­kiah their King. Again, in the Book of Tobias we read of many good things done by the Angel Raphel, as to young Tobias in guiding of him in his journey from all dangers,Tobit. 3. v. 17. in chasing away, and binding the Devil Asmodius, in curing of old Tobias, and many others of that kinde;Chap. 12. v. 15. and at last he tells him who he was, and how he was one of the seven [Page 53]Angels that presents the Prayers of the Saints,Ver. 16. and goes in and out before the holy One; then they were both trou­bled and fell upon their faces for they feared; which trouble we may conceive was, because they had not done him before the worship due to an Angel. I could produce many other places out of the old Testament to prove this; but I will now proceed to the new: and first of that most happy and ever blessed news of our Redemption, where the holy Angel Gabriel was imployed for our eternal good, to declare to the Blessed Virgin Mary the Incarnation of the Son of God in her Virginal Womb;Luke 1. v. 26.27, 28. we may devoutly imagine there passed much reverence between two such creatures as they, which were in so high esteem with God, the one to be his Mother, and the other his Ambas­sador. Secondly, the same Angel came to Zacharias the Priest, and told him the glad tydings of his Son John; yet when he saw him he trembled, and was afraid, for very reverence to the An­gel. So again thirdly, two Angels ap­peared to St. Mary Magdalen, Luke 20. v. 12. and the [Page 54]Disciples to tell them the good news of our Saviours Resurrection, which was no small comfort to them; and after that an Angel visits St. Peter in prison, and breaks his gives, and chains, and opens the doors,Acts 12. v. 7.8, 9, 10. and the City Gates, and lets him free. Again, an Angel appears to Cornelius and assists him, by coun­selling him to send for Peter about his salvation;Acts 11. v. 3.4. and when he saw the Angel he was afraid: nay, when Saint Peter came he fell down before him, as being a holy man; but his humility would not suffer him to continue so. In like manner the holy Apostle Saint Paul was comforted by an Angel, when he was in his Shipwrack, as he himself wit­nesseth,Acts 27. v. 23.24. And there stood by me this night the Angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, Fear not Paul, &c. by all which so plain and innumerable places of Scripture, it is made so mani­fest, that I think no person that reads this Book can for shame any longer resist so infallible a truth; for if he do, he must lye under the heavy censure of an un­believer; who, as St. Paul saith, is judged already. I hope that the con­sciences [Page 55]of those (which say they will believe nothing but the Bible) will now fly in their faces, and blush for shame and confusion, when they consider how little of it they practice, and pretend to the Bible, barely for a show of Re­ligion, to deceive themselves and others. But further to prosecute this point (to the intent none but Heathens may deny it) we will consider how Christs beloved Disciple Saint John de­meaned himself to the Angel that came to him so often in his Revelations;Rev. 19. v. 10. And I fell at his feet to worship him, and he said unto me, Do it not, I am thy fellow servant; which words of the Angel, Do it not, is the main Argument against this practice, which Protestants have: but how poor an one it is, shall be seen; for I hope no man will think that Saint John, which was so great a Divine, and so eminent with Christ, could be so ig­norant as not to know what Worship was due to an Angel, but rather con­clude that the Angel said, Do it not, because he knew that St. John was in as high esteem with God as himself was; and besides, St. John did do it again to [Page 56]the Angel,Rev. 22. v. 8. that is, fell down and wor­shipped him; which we may be sure he never would have done, being told of it before, if it had not been lawful; for then he would have been guilty of ob­stinacy, which I hope no good Christi­an will tax him with: But this business between the Angel and Saint John, is just as when two special friends meet, for they strive who shall give the great­est respect to each other, yet will not seem to admit of any worship extraor­dinary from each other: so we see by the first Text, that the Angel would not admit of Saint John to worship him, because his humility thought him his equal, and as he saith, his fellow ser­vant: and b the second Text we see St. John would not forbear worship­ping him, because his humility thought him superiour. So hoping that I have sufficiently satisfied the Christian Read­er in this point, I will now briefly show thee how vast a difference there is in the Worship that is due to God, and in that which is due to Angels and Saints.

And first we are to consider that [Page 57]there is a Divine Adoration, and Wor­ship due to God, which if it be given to either Angels, or any thing created, it is flat Idolatry; for since God is the Creator of us all, it is fit that he should have a Worship given to him above all that he hath created; and therefore it is a most strange abuse that is put upon the holy Catholick Church, by those that say (by our Worshipping Saints and Angels) Christ is robbed of his ho­nour, when indeed Christ is honoured by it (as is before plainly proved) since we acknowledge and give to him a far higher Worship then to all the Angels and Saints in Heaven; for what Wor­ship we give to them is as they are glo­rious spirits, and have so near relation to God, which would plainly appear to every ones experience, if once this sub­till juggle of Satan were laid open to our eyes, which is the bare pretence onely of giving all to God, which takes much with common understand­ings, without considering that God is worshipped by us, in a far higher man­ner, and that Gods Worship is exalted in our respect, and reverence to them: [Page 58]as for example, this now is plain to eve­ry ones experience, that we reverence the Kings Chaires of State, his Cham­bers where they are, and the like; now these do not receive this worship, be­cause they are Chairs, or because they be Chambers, but onely as they have so near relation to the King; and what we do to them is done to the King, and he that doth not so is accounted a vil­lain, and turned out of Court as a con­temner of the King; and if this will happen for the contempt of insensible things, which have relation to the King, what may we think will happen to those that live and dye in the con­tempt of those glorious Creatures, which are so near God, praising of him to eternity.

So not questioning but this that hath been said, will sufficiently satisfie every impartial Reader, and induce him both to the Faith and Practice of so holy and reasonable a thing, that so at last he may enjoy the blessed Society of the Principalities, Powers, Vertues, Domi­nations, Thrones, Angels, Arch-An­gels, Cherubins, and Seraphins, with [Page 59]the holy Apostles and Disciples of Christ and all the Saints in heaven, with whom we had society here on earth.

Chap 8. Proving that the Images of Christ and his Saints may be lawfully made and reverenced, as they have relation to the first Figure, contrary to the Opini­on of Protestants.

AMongst all the bundles of errours that tumbles up and down in the mindes of men, and strives to stifle truth, there is none more maliciously and publickly published, then is this against holy Images, whose bad Au­thors make too many believe, that it is no less then Superstition to look up­on them, much more to show any re­spect to them: but to the intent that their eyes may be illuminated that are blinde for want of seeing them, I shall prove the quite contrary, as that it is a holy and good custom, and very pro­fitable [Page 60]to our souls: but first I will clear that main objection, by which they say we are breakers of the Law, and so Ido­laters; which is indeed so buzzed in the ears of the common people, that they have nothing more to say, but (Doth not the Lord say; thou shalt not make to thy self any graven Image;) I could tell them, and truly enough, that he never did say so; for though their Bi­bles do say, Thou shalt not make to thy self any graven Image, the Translator did but cobble it; for the meaning is plain, Thou shalt not make to thy self any graven Idol, or painted, or any way at all to adore it as God, for that were plain Idolatry and Heathenish; for do we think that in the twentieth Chapter of Exodus, God would for­bid Images, and in the five and twen­tieth Chapter command them again to be made, as is plain to be seen; where in the command that God gave to Mo­ses, he saith,Ver. 18 19, 20. And thou shalt make two Cherubims of Gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them in the two ends of the Mercy-seat. And again, God saith to him, That there he would meet and com­mune [Page 61]with him: now these Cherubims were the Images of the highest Order of Angels, and sure they think God knew not what he did, in commanding these Images, if he had forbid them be­fore. And further, to shew you that absurdity, observe that God likewise commanded Moses to make the Image of a Brazen Serpent, and set it up up­on a pole, that those which were stung with Serpents (as many were) should look up to that image and be cured; And Moses made a Serpent of Brass, Num. 21. v. 8 9. and set it upon a pole, and if a Serpent had bitten any man, he looked upon the Serpent of Brass and lived: now one would think that this should be Idolatry, so to look up to this Image, and be presently cured, or cause them another time to do so, that were so prone to it, as the Jews were; but that they are we know it was God and not the Image that cured them. But now I would fain know from our Adversa­ries, who was the first commander of Images to be made and set up? I hope they will say now that God was; for if they do not, they must belye Gods [Page 62]word which must be truth, and their own Consciences which may be false. It is enough to amaze a serious man when he considers the grand cheat that is put upon thousands of poor souls, and the continual thundring out of Pulpits against Images. Oh these Ido­latrous Images! when God knows they adore an Idol, which is their giddy fancy, by offering up their will, memo­ry, and understanding, on its prophane Altar: for observe that if God had forbid Images, why do they picture Deaths Image in their Churches, and Queen Elizabeth's lying in her Tomb, and the Marble Statues and Tombs of Kings, and other persons, with Flags, Streamers, and Images of some Bene­factors, and the like; let every Christi­an judge, were these better then Christ, or his blessed Mother, or the Apostles; or were they better Benefactors to the Church then Christ hath been and his Discriples? for if it be no sin, nor Ido­latry to set up those in Churches, sure it is none to set up Christs and his Saints Images. But perhaps you will say, we do not adore them as Gods, nor [Page 63]pray to them, nor trust in them; and I do assure you, that I will say, nor Ca­tholicks neither, but do denounce a curse against them that do adore, or pray, or trust in them as Gods; for can any but senseless creatures think, that we which adore God in spirit and in truth, and confess him to be three distinct Persons, and one God, can be so sottish as to think, that an Image or Picture can either hear, speak, or see, much less to be trusted in as a God. Again, If Images were forbid, why do Protestants, nay, the Ministers them­selves desire to have their own Pictures, and Wives, and Childrens, which are onely for Vanity, and not for Devoti­on at all, as Christs and his Saints Ima­ges are? as I shall show hereafter:) and besides, there is no Protestant of the Profession of Carving and Painting, but will make an Image of Christ, and his Apostles, or any else for money, and do daily sell them, as we all know; which if it were Idolatry, then were you guilty for making, selling, and keeping them too, which is as foolish to think as the other. And now having [Page 64]sufficiently proved the lawfulness of them, I will now show what good use we have, and may have by them: as for example, I would fain know why an ignorant person or any other, may not receive knowledge and in­struction, by seeing our Saviours bit­ter passion painted, and plainly set forth, as to read it Printed upon Paper; for in that way we receive our know­ledge by the eye, and so do we by the Pictures: and I am sure it is more do­lorous and piercing to see the perfect manner of his sufferings Painted, then to read them Printed; though both be very good: besides many times when our mindes are wandering after world­ly business, yea, in our prayers too of­ten; then if we reflect our eyes upon those heavenly Figures, as our Saviour and his Saints, it reduces our strayed thoughts to God, and heaven, and to what our Blessed Saviour hath suffered for us; and so they are books to those that cannot read, and great helps to Devotion, to them that can; and I am very certain, that if the greatest ene­mies of them in the world did use and [Page 65]practice them the same manner as Ca­tholicks do, it would (as justly it might) convert their hatred to a perfect love of them, and be much ashamed that they have so long slandered Gods Church, and deprived themselves of so great a good, by believing such abomi­nable untruths, wherewith she hath been falsly charged withal; and there­fore that I may totally root out of mens mindes those common aspersions cast upon her, I shall adde a little to de­clare, how and in what manner they are to be used, according to that of the Councel,Coun. Trent. We command all Bishops and others who have the Office and care of Teaching, that they diligent­ly instruct faithful people, teaching them that the Images of Christ, of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and of other Saints, are to be had, and retained, especially in Churches, and that due reverence be given unto them; not that there is any Divini­ty to be believed to be in them, or power, for which they are to be wor­shipped, or that any thing is to be asked of them, or that confidence is [Page 66]to be put in them, as anciently the Gentiles did in their Idols: but be­cause the honour which is done to them is referred to those who they represent. Now by this alone you may see what this supposed Mountain of Image Worship is come to, which is so untruly thundered out in Pulpits against us; so that when we pray be­fore an Image, we do not pray to the Image, nor when we look with reve­rence upon them, we do not adore them: but as I said before in the other Chapter, what respect is done to the Kings Chair of State, or Chamber of Presence, or Picture, is referred to him and his Honour; so is it the self same to christs, and his Saints Images: and as no man would take him for the Kings friend (but his enemy) that should con­temn, break, or burn his Picture, or his Mothers, or his Favourites; so justly may we think them to be Christs enemies that have done all that to his, and his holy Mothers, and Saints, with as great scorn and contempt as might be, and all under the pretended zeal for the word of God, by which they [Page 67]have deceived many thousands of poor souls; but now having as I hope suffi­ciently proved the verity of our pra­ctice herein, and the impostures of those that profess the contrary, I leave it to every reasonable man to judge whether it be lawful or no, and so con­clude with the Council,Nice. We do not offer worship to the matter, as Wood, or Stone, or painting in colours, but through these, being brought to the person represented by them, we give due honour to him, knowing accord­ingly that the respect to the Image passes to him who is represented by it.

Chap. 9. Proving that Man hath Free Will to do Good, or not to do it, contrary to the Opinion of Protestants.

DId those men which deny this point of Faith, but admit (in the height of their passions) either of reason or consideration, they would [Page 68]blush for shame, when they shewed them what Traytors they are to them­selves in robbing their natures of one prime quality which God hath given them for an ornament to the same; for take from man his free-will, and you may turn him, like a Nebuchadnezzar, amongst the beasts; for God (by Mi­racle) can make him do good actions in that form and nature; but for the want of prudent considering the actions of their lives, they run into as many dis­orders, as their giddy fancies pleases to suggest to them: but this is the misery of most men, that when the Devil tempts them to these evils they will not resist, but entertain all; and amongst al his hellish deceits he hath none that takes more with weak understandings, then this sly trick of his seeming to at­tribute all to God, as he tempts Here­ticks to believe, that Angels must not be reverenced, nor Saints respected, nor prayed too, but all to God, which is his devillish slight, to hinder that ser­vice to God (as I proved before) and that all mens good works, done by Gods holy Grace, are sinful and me­rit [Page 69]nothing, onely to hinder and make men carefuless to do such good works; and that man hath no free-will, onely to make man idle, and not strive to im­ploy those graces that God hath been pleased to bestow upon us: so that did all men but once discover these tricks of Satan, we should easily see, that God is honoured by these things, be­cause they are his gifts and benefits which he hath been pleased to bestow on us to enrich our souls, and make us more capable of serving him. The truth of this shall be as plainly proved by Scripture and Reason, as any thing before treated of; that so we may lay open the shameful hypocrisie of those that work their self-ends, from igno­rant people, meerly through the blinde pretence of Scripture; which being so done, you will finde hem rotten at the very heat. And first of all, con­cerning Cain, where God tells him,Gen. 4. v. 7. If thou do well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou dost not well, sin lyeth at thy door: so here it is plain, that God left it to his choice to do well, or not to do it. Again, God said unto Moses, Be­hold, [Page 70]I will rain bread from Heaven, Exod. 16. v. 4. and the people shall go out and gather it every day, that I may prove them whether they will walk in my way or no: now if they had not had a free-will, why should God say he owuld try them; so that you see God left them to their free-will, to see whether they would serve him better or no. Again, God saith to them in Deuteronomy, Deut. 11. v. 26. Behold I set before you a blessing, and a curse: a blessing if you will obey the Command­ments of your God, and a curse if you will not obey. Now consider, that as this is plainly and truly, Gods word, so plainly and truly doth it show free-will to be in man. Again, God saith to them in the same Book,Chap. 28. v. 1.2. If you will hearken diligently to the voice of the Lord, thy God, to keep all his Commandments, I will set thee on high above all the Na­tions, and so tells them how many sorts of blessing he will bestow upon them, if they will keep his Commandments; but if they would no,Ver. 15. he tells them how many curses should light upon them. And in the same Book again he saith to them in a very strange manner, I call [Page 71]heaven and earth to record this day against you, Chap. 30. v. 19. that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life that thou and thy seed may live: I might justly stand amazed here at these Texts of Gods word, and ad­mire with what face men can say they believe the Bible, and not tremble when they say so; considering how they de­ny this free-will in man (which God hath given him) and other principles of Christian Religion proved before; for here we see God himself layes it be­fore us, and leaves it to us; and what would we have God do more, unless he should work Miracles daily, and we lye like beasts or stones and do nothing. The same did God offer to David by his Prophet Gad, saying,2 sam. 24. v. 12. God and say unto David, thus saith the Lord, I offer thee three things, choose the one of them that I might do it unto thee: Now here, God would not execute his Justice on David till he had chosen what punishment he would himself, that might be most for his good. And to his Son Solomon God saith likewise,1 King. 6. v. 12. If thou wilt walk in my Statutes, and execute my Judgements, [Page 72]and keep all my Commandments, then will I perform my word with thee: by all which is still more plain, that Solomon had a free-will. Now though this that hath been said might serve suffi­ciently to convince those that have held the contrary, and desire to imbrace the truth of Gods word in reality; yet I will proceed for their further satisfacti­on and knowledg of the truth in this point; and first out of the Gospel of Saint Matthew, where our Saviour cryes out,Mat. 23. v. 37. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered you to­gether, as a hen doth her Chickens, but you would not; see here how Christ complains of them, because they would not imploy their wills in his holy ser­vice, as he would have had them done; for saith he, I would, but you would not. and in another place he saith, I thou wilt enter into life keep the Command­ments: so that in every place it is re­ferred to our free-will, to do and not to do any good action, as is plain by all these places of Scripture; by which you may see what folly they are guilty of, that say we have none, or that it [Page 73]takes away the honour from God, which can no wayes be; for since we say that free-will in us is a gift from God, and the good actions we do by that will, is inspired into us by God, then is God the Original of all, and we onely the instruments of doing it, or not doing it; for we all know that God often inspires us to good actions which we never do (to our shame we may say it) and that he would have us to do them is clear, or else he would not inspire us. Now God having done his part in inspiring of us, he leaves us then to our free-wills, to do it, or not to do it; as Saint Paul saith con­cerning his chastity, I could wish that all men were as I am: but if men had not free-wills to be so, it were in vain for him to wish any such thing. Of all the evil opinions that are held by men, there is none so sensless and un­reasonable as this; for I would de­mand of them that deny it, wherefore they go to hear Sermons, if they have not a free-will to do what is there ur­ged to them by the Preacher; and wherefore they read the Bible if they [Page 74]have not a will to do what is there commanded (for it is not the bare reading of it will save their souls) why do they chide and beat their Children and Servants, for not going to Church, and serving God, if they have not a free-will to do it? why have they per­secuted Catholicks for not coming to their Churches, if they had not a free-will to do so; and to what purpose should God give us his Laws to keep, and threaten us with damnation if we keep them not, if we had no free-will to keep them; and no man would think it otherwise then unreasonable, if a King should command him to do a thing, and threaten him with death if he did it not, and he had no will nor power to do it: But I would have those men know, that God is too mer­ciful in his nature, then everlastingly to punish us, for that which lyes not in our power to do, and that at this rate they would make God a Tyrant over us, that is so infinitely good to our souls and bodies. And lastly, why are men punished, and hanged, and quar­tered by the Law of Justice for their [Page 75]evil deeds, if they had not had a free-will to have done otherwise, all these punishments would be unreasonably inflicted; and no man deserves any pu­nishment for the worst of crimes, if he had no free-will to do that which is good: and the greatest sinner in the world, might at the Day of Judgement demand of God what reason he hath to damn him for doing ill, if he never had enjoyed a free will to have done good. And now having as I think ful­ly proved this verity, I shall proceed to another subject, as plainly declared in Scripture as this, and so conclude with this truth, that certainly God would never have commanded us to walk in conformity to his will, if we have not free-will to perform it.

Chap. 10. Proving that good Works done in the state of Grace are Meritorious, contrary to Protestants Opinion.

WEre the mindes of men to be searched into, and known one by the other, it would plainly ap­pear that the tongues of many speak far contrary then what nature hath im­printed upon their hearts, and that for some interest or other they give their consciences the lye, rather then they will yield from their obstinate opini­ons; for to contradict the merit or de­sert of good works, plainly showes they speak against that which they would not be deprived of themselves: so plainly is it agreeable to our natures to expect it, and in Scripture often pro­mised to us, as shall be made appear. And first from our Saviour himself in Saint Matthews Gospel, where show­ing to us how we should deal our almes in secret,Matth 6. v. 4. And thy Father, saith he, which seeth thee in secret, himself shall [Page 77]reward thee openly: so here is a promise of our Saviour, that almes done in se­cret shall be rewarded, if we dare to take his word for it; by which it is plain that they merit that reward from God, yet not as they barely proceed from us neither, for it is Gods godness to inspire the doing of them in us, and his gift too in making them meritorious; and in the want of this distinction lies the subtilty of Satan, and our adver­ries, who make poor souls believe that Papists (as they call them) trust to their merits so far, as not having any need of Christs Merits, think to be saved barely by their own: but when such untruths as these are be-preach [...] to the people from pulpits (as my own know­ledge can verifie, and many thousands more) it is no wonder the common people have prejudicate Opinions against Catholicks: But to undeceive them again, I will set down the gene­ral Decree of Gods Church concern­ing this point;Coun. Trent. God forbid that any Christian should hope in trust in his own Merits, but in the Merits of Je­sus Christ, whose goodness is so great [Page 78]to mankinde, that those things that are his Benefits he will have to be our Merits: by which it is apparent, that we do not, nor ought not to attribute any merit as they proceed from us barely, but as being the gifts of God, which is pleased to accept of good works from us, and out of his good­ness reward them, as he hath promised he will. But now to Scripture, and see what we can gather more from thence; where in Saint Matthew, our Saviour showing how hard it was for a rich man to enter into heaven, because he could not leave the things of this world,Matth. 19. v. 27.28. Saint Peter cryes out, Behold, we have forsaken all, and when shall we have; so that it is evident, he expected a reward from our Saviour: and in the next verse he tells them what their re­ward should be, That when the Son of man comes to sit in his glory, they should sit upon twelve Thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel: and as this shows the bounty of Christ in reward­ing them so highly, so it shows like­wise that their good works in follow­ing of Christ, and suffering for him, had [Page 79]served it, so far as was possible in men to do. Again, we read of St. Mary Magdalen pouring a box of Oynt­ment on our Blessed Saviours head; which being murmured at by his Disci­ples, he said unto them,Matth. 26, v. 7, 10. Why trouble ye the woman, she hath wrought a good work upon me; and then he declares her reward, which was, that so far as the Gospel was to be preached,Ver. 13. should her fame be spread: conformable to this our Saviour in Saint Marks Gospel saith to his Disciples,Mark 9. v. 41. that whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, Verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. Now what can be more true then this, when our Saviour himself so often doth promise rewards for good works done in his name, and for his sake; and let every Christian consider, whether they are not bound to believe him, before those that tell them the contrary, who plainly contradict Christ and his holy Gospel; and yet forsooth these men make you believe their zeal is so hot to Christ, that they will give all to him, to make you believe they [Page 80]deny themselves: but these are such, who as our Saviour saith, are ravening Wolves. But again, our Saviour saith in Saint Marks Gospel,Mark 10. v. 29, 30. There is no man that hath left house, or lands, or Wife and Children for my sake and the Gospels, but he shall receive an hundred fold here, and in the world to come eter­nal life. Thus in many places is this truth made so clear to us by Christ him­self, that I hope none will be so much an Infidel as to practice the contrary. But further to show you this truth, ob­serve this notable place concerning this point, where our Saviour speaking concerning the general day of Judge­ment, declares for what causes some are saved and some damned; for to the just he saith,Mat. 25. v. 34. Come ye blessed of my Fa­ther, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you; and then in the next verse he tells them for what causes they are made eternally happy;Ver. 35. For I was a hungry and you gave me meat, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, naked and you clothed me, &c. And the reasons why them on his left hand received the sentence of hell fire, was because they did not do [Page 81]these good works which the other had done;Ver. 41, 42. and so as the just by good deeds had obtained heaven, so the wicked by their evil ones had obtained hell. Now I verily think that if a Heathen, or Jew should read this Book, they would say it was rather made for instructing them in the Faith of Christ, then for those that profess themselves Christians, and to believe the Bible, and yet to deny all this thus proved by the Bible. Now having proved this by the words of Christ, we will see what Saint Paul his Apostle saith, who I will warrant you is of the same minde, as you shall see by his words to the Corinthians,1 Cor. 3. Now he that planteth and he that water­eth are one, and every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own la­bour: by which words it is plain, that every man shall receive his reward, ac­cording as he hath himself deserved. And in the second to Timothy he saith, I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith; Chap. 4. v. 7.8. henceforth is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which God the righteous judge will give me at that day, and to all [Page 82]that love his appearing. Now here we see that Saint Paul knew his reward for those good works, and declares that all that loves Gods appearing shall be re­warded at the last day. And more in his Epistle to the Hebrews,Heb. 6. v. 10. he speaks to the purpose in this point, That God is not unrighteous to forget you work, and labour of love which ye have shewed to­wards his name, in that ye have ministred to the Saints. Now you may perceive St. Pauls Opinion, which was, that it would seem unjust in God if he should not reward our good works: but as certain it is that God cannot be unjust, so is it as certain that he will reward our good deeds done in communion with his Church; which if our works did not deserve or merit, we should re­ceive no reward at all; but on the con­trary receive an eternal punishment. Again, Saint John Evangelist saith in the Revelation.Rev. 3. v. 4. To him that shall overcome shall thus be invested in white Garments, and I will not put his name out of the Book of Life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his An­gels. And again,Ver. 12. He that shall overcome [Page 83]I will make him a pillar in the Temple of my God, and he shall go out no more. And in another place he saith,Ver. 21. To him that shall overcome will I grant to sit with me in my Throne. I might and could produce many more places out of holy Scripture to this purpose; but they that will not believe these, will not care for ten thousand proofs made against their perverse principles: but I will onely advise those that have any care of their salvation, to consider, first what Gods word (which is truth it self) declares to them. And secondly, what the practise of our Church is in this and other points of Religion, and how agreeable to the same word, as is clear­ly shown: for in reason onely, is this apparent to all Christians, that if God (as he doth) inspire us to do all our good works, then must needs those works be meritorious, because God inspired them to be done, and hath promised to reward the doing of them, according to that of Saint John, Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life; Rev. 22. v. 12. And behold I come quickly, and my reward is with me, [Page 84]to give every man according to his work.

Chap. 11. Proving that Gods Church cannot Erre in her Doctrine of Religion, and so may be trusted in by every Christian, contrary to Protestants opinion.

DID the Adversaries of Gods Church but consider with them­selves, what authority, and courage, and order it hath exercised for this six­teen hundred years, they would surely conclude that no government but that of Gods holy Spirit could ever per­form the like; for by its authority it hath alwayes supprest, and beaten down Heresies, and by her courage overcome all the torments and suffer­ings, her enemies could invent to lay upon her; and by her Order, hath ever retained in her Members one uniform Faith and Obedience, in all places where her Doctrine hath been spread: which if it be granted, or can be pro­ved, that Gods Holy Spirit is at all times with his Church, to direct her in her Doctrine, I hope none will deny [Page 85]but that then she is infallible, and so cannot possibly be capable of Errour; and that it is so shall be made manifest­ly to appear, if you will believe Christ himself, who cannot deceive us; where in Saint Johns Gospel telling his Disci­ples that he must go to his heavenly Fa­ther to prepare them places, at length he gives them and his whole Church this Consolation, And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you for ever. John 14. v. 16. Now we all know that the Apostles were not to remain for ever upon earth, for they are dead and gone; so that this promise of Christ was to them, and his Church after them, which is to remain to the end of the world: and in the next verse he tells them who this comforter shall be, Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive. Now I would fain know how Gods Church can Erre in what she declares to us of Faith,Ver. 17. when Gods Holy Spirit is with it. And again, But the Comforter, Ver. 26. which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my Name, he shall teach you all [Page 86]things. Now we may be sure, that since the Holy Ghost is to teach the Church all things, there can be nothing but Truth taught in the same Church; and I pray then where will your Errours re­main, but in your own bosoms. But see further the truth of this, our Saviour parting out of this world, tells his Apostles, That he would be with them, even to the end of the world; so that we have two Persons of the Blessed Tri­nity promised to assist the Church of God for ever,Matth. 28. v. 20. besides God the Fathers Divine aid; and if this Church Erre with their guiding, then there can be no truth at all for us to be guided by; for this is as clear as the Sun, that if the Church of God be guided by an Infal­lible Spirit it cannot Erre: And the Church of God is guided by an Infalli­ble Spirit; therefore the Church of God cannot Erre. And though I have made this good already, yet I will make it more plainly appear from Christs own words, where he exhorting Brethren to be reconciled one to an­other; which if they will not do by reasonable perswasions, they should [Page 87]tell the Church,Matth. 18. v. 17. and if they will not hear the Church, let them be as Heathens and Publicans: by which it is plain, that if the Church were not Infallible, Just, and free from Errour, our Saviour would never have tyed us to her Judge­ment in our Faith and Manners, under so sad a penalty as being a Heathen, if we do not hear and submit to her; and therefore it is very necessary for every one to submit to Gods Church, which is infallibly true, lest they be Heathens in the esteem of God, and Man; and consequently out-lawes to the Kingdom of Heaven. Again, see what our Sa­viour saith to this purpose, in the same Gospel, And I say unto thee, Matth. 16. v. 18. that thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church, and the Gates of Hell shall never prevail against it: now if the Church could be erroneous, then you must deny this Gospel to be true; for no Errours can be in the Church but by the prevailing power of the Devil, which is meant by Hell-Gates, and which our Saviour saith, shall never prevail against it: so by this we are certain the Church cannot Erre; and [Page 88]we may confidently confide in her in all matters of our Salvation. But for your further assurance, if our Saviour be not enough, I will show you what St. Paul saith concerning this truth, where he confirms all that hath been said of it, speaking to holy Timothy; 1 Tim. 3. v. 15. But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave they self in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. Now here I might stop and say no more, for Saint Paul hath said enough; for if it be the piller, or sup­port of truth, and the ground from whence truth is derived, is it not mon­strous to think of Errour; and I would fain know in what place Christians should ever be free from errour in their Faith, if not in the Church of God; and for to say that there is no way to be free from it would be very strange, for then all men would grope in dark uncertainties, which is quite contrary to the Qualities and Excellencies of Gods Church, as was foretold by the Prophet Isaiah, speaking of the Church of Christ;Chap. 35. v. 8. And an high way shall be [Page 89]there, and it shall be called the way of holiness, and fools shall not erre therein; now if there be no possibility for fools to erre in it, certainly wise men can­not. But this is no small subtilty of our Adversaries to hold this opinion, well knowing that their Church hath been, and is full of errours; and that the gates of Hell hath prevailed against it, hath manifestly appeared, and doth now appear, when all that they can do cannot allay the furious spirits of one Kingdom, nor reduce them to any Obedience to their Church; so that if they did not hold this Opinion as an Article of their Church, all the world would see theirs was not the Church of God, because it hath errours, by which they are forced to maintain it as well as they can, though it be against both Scripture and Reason too. Now that this Church of God is onely the Roman Catholick, is plainly shown al­ready, by her conformity to, and pra­ctice of Gods holy word, in all her points of Faith, which she teacheth Christians to believe; and therefore all her enemies wrong her and them­selves [Page 90]too, in saying the contrary; for wheres they cry out the Roman Church was once the true Church of God, but she is fallen from it: now as they never could prove the time when, nor the occasion how, so is it impossible it ever should, because (as I have al­ready shown) Gods Holy Spirit guides and directs it, that the Gates of Hell can never prevail to overthrow it, nor bring it to errour. And now having sufficiently proved the Infallibility of Gods Church, I cannot but advise eve­ry one that hath any care of their eter­nal welfare, to imbrace and believe what she preacheth concerning the same, and so conclude with that of St. Augustine, Many things (saith he) with much reason, kept me in obe­dience to the Catholick Church; the consent of people and Nations holds me, the Authority of the same Church which is risen up by Miracle, nourished with Hope, augmented by Charity, established by its Antiqui­ty, the succession of Bishops holds me therein; wh [...]ch beginning in the See and Authority of Saint Peter, to [Page 91]whom God recommended the care of his Flock, is maintained to this pre­sent time: lastly, the name of Ca­tholick holds me in it; and addeth, he would not believe the Gospel it self, if he were not assured of it by the Catholick Church.

Chap. 12. Proving the Doctrine of Remission of Sins, as commanded by Christ, and practised by his Apostles, contrary to the Opinion of Protestants.

WEre not the mindes of many men corrupted with imperi­ous principles, they could not be so evil as to question, yea deny the gifts both of Grace and Nature, that God hath given both to Angels and Men, when we have much reason to adore and praise him, that he hath so much esteem of any of our Nature, as to be­stow such prerogatives upon them: amongst which, this is not the least that I am to treat of, concerning remission [Page 92]of Sins by a Priest: which though there be a grand mistake in this Point amongst Protestants, and we are abused in it; yet I shall by Gods assistance, and by his holy word, clear the mistake, which may easily remedy the abuse: for in all Mysteries of Christian Reli­gion, we are to consult with Gods word, which (if rightly understood) cannot deceive us, and not with our own shallow understandings which ea­sily may: neither are we to be led away with aiery fancies of our own, nor with a giddy multitude, nor ought the slanderous tongues of men to be trust­ed in; but if you finde it plainly de­clared in Scripture, then are we bound to believe it: for this is a general crime in this Age, that men think nothing can be true if their narrow capacities cannot comprehend it; as if all the mysteries of our Faith were so open, for every ones understanding to enter the knowledge of them; which if they were so, then there were no need of Faith, because Faith is onely required in those things our natures cannot com­prehend, and so might every Turk and [Page 93]Pagan be as good a Believer as a Chri­stian: therefore for the redress of this evil we are to understand whether Christ gave this power to his Apostles or no; for if they had the power to pardon sins, as being the Heads of his Church, the same power must remain to their Successours in that Church; because otherwise all succeeding Ages would receive no benefit by that gift, which our Saviour gave for the good of us all that lay hold of it. And to prove that they had this power is plain and easie enough; first, from Saint Mat­thews Gospel, where our Saviour tel­ling Saint Peter he would build his Church on him, he saith,Mat. 16. v. 18, 19. And I will give thee the Keyes of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt binde on earth, shall be bound in Heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven: by which it is clear, that he had a great power given him to pardon or not to pardon, and that those which he did not pardon on earth, should not be pardoned in heaven, which is the same in Gods Church to this day; and therefore let every one [Page 94]consider what reason they have to be members of it, by which consists our eternal salvation. Again, our Saviour tells his Disciples in general, saying, Whatsoever ye shall binde on earth shall be bound in heaven, Mat. 18. v. 18. and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in hea­ven: by which it is plain, that they had this power of remission of sins, and to deny the same power to their Succes­sours in Gods Church would in my esteem be very unreasonable: And as in all other points of Faith, the con­tempt of them proceeds from a want of a right understanding of them, as I have shown elsewhere, so is it the same in this; for it is buzzed in poor peoples ears, Can man pardon sins, or can Priests forgive us, or the Pope absolve us, without any consideration of the nature of it at all; for if we rightly understood our selves, or did but con­sult with reason, we should soon be un­deceived in this mystery: For in the first place know, that it is the gift of Christ himself, and therefore not to be que­stioned by any man. Secondly, Priests cannot pardon sins by any natural [Page 95]power they have more then other men, but by a supernatural grace from God; we know and confess, that it appertains to God onely by nature to pardon sins; and so doth many other things, as working of Miracles, and casting out of Devils, and healing the sick, and the like, which power we know God hath given unto men, as well as the other, proved by Christ himself, where he speaking of all that truly believed in him, saith he, These signes shall follow Mark. 16. v. 17, 18. in my name shall they cast out Devils, they shall speak with new tongues, they shall take up Serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover: now it is certain, all these ex­cellencies appertains to God by nature; but if he is pleased to give this power to men, what reason have we to que­stion, or be offended with it; which power is equal to that of remission of sins, and we see are both given to men by God. Thirdly, we are to consider, that Priests do not pardon our sinnes immediately from themselves, but Mi­nisterially, as when they apply the [Page 96]words of Absolution on us; God hath promised to pardon us, otherwayes he will not,John 20. v. 23. as Christ saith, Whose sins ye remit, they are remitted; and whose sins ye retain, they are retained: so that you see this is plainly true, if you dare believe Christ himself. Now that this may not seem strange to you, do but consider that great vertue that is in Baptisme; where by the application of water, and a few words by the Priest, or Minister, the childe is pardoned of all its original sin: now it is not the Minister, nor Water, nor words, that pardons the Childe, but God himself, who is pleased by them, and that means, to do it; and yet it is so far from dishonouring God, that he is honour­ed by it, because it is his holy will it should be so; and this all Protestants believe, which is as great a gift of God to mankinde, as is the other; and by all people thus plainly understood, will not appear so strange and monstrous, as they are made believe it is: now we may plainly see how far those kinde of men are from being in Gods Church, that do not onely not practise this [Page 97]truth, but rail against and contemn it, though it be published by our Blessed Saviour himself, for the good of the whole world Again, consider, if God had not ordained this in his Church, how should we know that our sins are pardoned by God at all, or when they are so pardoned, but that he hath pro­mised when they do it on earth, he will do it in heaven; and this is our onely assurance, and as it were, a mark, by which we know our sins are pardoned, that we may thank his Divine Name for it, which otherwise we should be very uncertain when to do. I shall con­clude this Chapter with that whole­some Counsel of St. Augustine, who desireth, That none make doubt of the Priests right in Remission of Sins,Aug. No. Test. q. 53 seeing the Holy Ghost is purposely given them to do the same; in which case if any be yet contentious, he must deny the Holy Ghost to be God, and not to have power to par­don sins: And onely adde that of St. Ambrose, who saith,St. Amb. (lib. 1. c 7. de peui­tent.) Why should it be more dishonour to God, or more impossible, or inconvenient for [Page 98]men to forgive sins by Pennance, then by Baptisme, seeing that it is the Holy Ghost that doth it by the Priests Office and Ministery in both.

Chap. 13. Proving the Churches Ʋniversality, and that no Church is, or can be Ca­tholick but the Roman, against the Opinion of Protestants.

OF all the great actions that God hath openly done for mankinde, there is none that he hath declared more apparently, then that his Church should be spread in all parts and cor­ners of the whole world: to the intent that all Nations hearing the sound of the Gospel, there could be none that might plead any ignorance in the not hearing of it. Now as this shall be proved by the words of Christ himself, so I will first show it you by the Infal­lible Prophesies of the Prophets of God,Isa. 2. v. 2. and first of Isaiah, And it shall come to pass, in the last dayes, that the [Page 99]Mountain of the Lords house shall be established in the top of the Mountains, Christs Church. and shall be exalted above the hills, and all Nations shall flow unto it; so here is one true testimony, that the Catholick Church shall be spread in all parts, and all Nations shall partake of her holy Doctrine, and not to lye hid in a cor­ner, as in one Kingdome, or City, or Congregation, or this mans Church, or that mans Church, as all Sectaries do: by which I shall plainly prove they cannot be any thing like Gods Church. And again, the same Prophet saith, (speaking of the many benefits that we shall enjoy under Christs Church) That the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, Chap. 11 v. 9, 10. as the waters cover the Sea; Now as we know they are spread in all parts of the world, so is the knowledge of Gods truth spread by his Church in the same manner; which quality agreeth to no other Church but the Roman Catholick. The same Prophet declares further,Chap. 49. v. 22, 23. That Kings shall be thy nursing Fathers, and Queens thy nursing Mothers; (and to show the great reverence they should [Page 100]bear to this Church of God, (saith he) They shall bow down to thee, with their faces toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet. Now I would demand, what Church or Sect in the Christian world, that hath Kings and Queens for their nursing Fathers and Mothers, but the Roman Catholick; and so by con­sequence cannot be the Church of God, but are as wandering sheep having no true shepherd, and so are daily exposed to the rage and fury of that ravening wolf,John 10. v. 12. the Devil. Again, the same Pro­phet speaking how largely Gods Church should be stretched forth under the Gospel,Isa. 54. v. 2, 3. saith, Enlarge the place of thy Tent, let them stretch forth the cur­tains of thine habitation, spare not, lengthen thy Cords, and strengthen thy stakes; for thou shalt break forth on the right hand, and on the left, and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate Cities to be inhabited. Now let the understanding Reader judge, where this Prophesie is fulfilled, in Protestants, and Sectaties, or in the Roman Church, which is thus stretched out, and hath her Members in the West-Indies and [Page 101] East-Indies, in China, in Tartary, in Egypt, in Assyria, in Africa and Asia, in Turky, and all parts of Europe, as the Empire of Germany, the King­doms of Spain, France, Poland, Eng­land, Dominions of Italy: and every Land in Christendom, is either all, or a considerable part of this Church, which none in the world can say be­sides, and so are very far off from ful­filling this Prophesie. And in another place he saith,Chap. 66. v. 18. And it shall come to pass that I will gather all Nations and Tongues, and they shall come and see my glory. Thus hath this holy Prophet by Gods inspiration foretold clearly the Universal or Catholick State of the Church of God in the time of the Gospel; and Jeremiah the Prophet hath not been silent in Prophesying the fame, for saith he,Jer. 31. v 37. If heaven above can be measured, and the foundation of the earth searched out beneath, then will I cast off the seed of Israel, and the mea­suring line shall go forth from Gareb to compass about Goath; all which do de­clare the large extent of Christs Church. And for confirmation of these Prophe­sies, [Page 102]and what else hath been said, I shall produce now the words of our Blessed Saviour himself, who telling his Disciples of all the troubles they were to suffer for his name before Kings and Judges;Ma k 13. v. 10. but saith he, The Gospel must first be published among all Nati­ons; which plainly shows that Gods Church must be Catholick or Univer­sal: and I would fain learn from our Adversaries, what Church hath taken the pains to publish the Gospel to all Nations (and so fulfil these Prophesies) but the Pastors of the Church of Rome? for this may be urged to the shame of all Sects, that if none took more pains in converting of Heathens, Jews, and Infidels then they do, many millions of souls might perish for want of the knowledge of the living God: but they instead of labouring to convert forreign Nations, and so make the Church Universal lie at home in a cor­ner of the world, jangling one with another, and sleeping on beds of Doun in Ladies bosoms; and yet by all means theirs is the true Church, and they the onely Pastors sent to convert the world, [Page 103]and yet never intend to go about any such matter. It is a wonderful thing to consider, that men that read the Bible, and all these Prophesies, can be so ig­norant to think that Gods Church should be pinn'd up in so narrow limits as any one Sect, or Congregation: did Christ himself preach for that, and command his Apostles to publish the Gospel to all Nations? who did so, and lost their lives in that work? was all this done, I say, to have his Church thrust up in a corner, and to be no where else? how then shall all Nations come to know God, how shall they be Baptized, in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? how shall they partake of any Sacraments? how shall the Church hear their differences,Mat. 18. v. 17. and decide them, as our Saviour saith it shall? how I say shall all this be done, if it were so straitned? but since she is a Catholick Church, she is every where: and so all persons (inspired by God) in all places may receive, if they will, the foresaid benefits, which otherwise can never be done. And thus is plainly shown you that there is an Universal [Page 104]Church; and that it is the Roman Ca­tholick, is as plain in its agreement with Gods Word, according to Saint Paul, who highly commends the same Faith,Rom. 1. v. 7, 8. in these words, To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be Saints, grace to you, and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord Je­sus Christ: First I thank my God for you all, that your Faith is spoken of through­out the whole world: from which words we may gather, that if the Faith of the Romans was so inlarged in the world sixteen hundred years ago, that now it is much more; for then Gods Church was but in her Infancy, and now she is in her flourishing State; she was then under most cruel persecutions by Tyrants, and now (praised be God) she is at rest with her friends: so that now we may clearly see, that all those that are shut up in such narrow Cor­ners, are meerly Sects and Heresies, and are clean shut out from the bosom of the Spouse of Christ, which is his Ho­ly Catholick Church; and so conse­quently are in a very dangerous state, as to the salvation of their souls. Our [Page 105]Saviour doth further demonstrate this extent of his Church by the similitude of a grain of Mustard-seed,Mark 4. v. 31, 32. which be­ing at first very small, it groweth to a great tree; so that the fowls of the aire makes their nests therein: even so the Church was at first very small, but now it is so spread over the face of the earth, that all men may make their nests, that is, come into her Commu­nion, and be secure of their salvation, living according to her holy com­mands, which you see are agreeable to the Divine Word of God. Again, Christ saith (speaking of the visibility of his Church in the world) A City set upon a hill cannot be hid;Mat. 5. v. 14, 15. neither do men light a Candle, and put it un­der a Bushel, but on a Candlestick, and it giveth light to all in the house: Now this light that Gods Church was to give by this here spoken by our Sa­viour, is not at all seen to forreign parts, by any Church, but the Roman Catholick, who hath the light of her Doctrine as far extended, as the Sun hath his beams; when all others being but in Corners at home, can give no [Page 106]light at all to any; which clearly shows none of them can be Gods Church, but of the Synagogue of Sa­tan; for they have none of the marks of the true Church, so plainly set down in Scripture as to be Catholick or Universal, and to be visible in all Ages, to be at union and peace one with an­other, to convert Nations, and several others, which they have none; for in­stead of universality, and being spread all over the world, many of them will not make ten Parishes in ten King­doms, and the best of them scarce a whole Kingdom in the whole world: and instead of being visible to all ages, the names of Protestants, Presbyterians, Independents, Anabaptists, and the rest, were never heard of a hundred and sixty years past: and as for their uni­on in Faith, which Christ left his Church as a mark, I leave to all people to judge, how much that belongs to any of them, that have seen and known these twenty years confusion about Re­ligion; for Saint Paul saith of the Church of God, If any man be conten­tious we have no such custome. And for [Page 107]their converting of Nations, I am sure they will not boast of that themselves, since they never did any. By all this it is plain, that as the Roman Church hath all these properties, so she must be, and is this onely true Catholick and Apostolick, (or none at all) and from her must we receive our Faith, accord­ing to that of our Creed; I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholick Church; so that they that deny the Church to be Catholick, or the Catho­lick Church, do plainly deny their own Bibles, and the Apostles Creed; which are the Articles of our Faith. But ha­ving said enough on this subject for all reasonable people, I will conclude with that saying of St. Augustine, Augustin. tract. 1. in Ep. Jo­an. For albeit particular hills in one Countrey may be unknown in another, (yet saith he) a Mountain that passeth through­out all Countreyes, and filleth up the whole world, (as Daniel Prophe­fied the Church of Christ should do) cannot but be apparent to the sight of all men,Dan. 2. v. 44, 45. but onely of such as illingly shut their eyes from the sight thereof.

Chap. 14. Proving that Fasting on certain Dayes commanded by Gods Church to be lawful and good, contrary to the Opi­nion of Protestants.

HAd Almighty God when he cre­ated man a reasonable creature, to do his will, and to live in sobriety and temperance, made him an Epicure, and designed him for no other purpose, he could not have lived either in more contempt or less practice of this Di­vine Vertue, then the people of our Age do; who indeed look upon all the rare Examples and holy Instituti­ons of our Blessed Saviour, as things indifferent, and of no concern at all to them; nay, are so far from the pra­ctice of them themselves, that they de­ride and scorn those that do; as if it were a crime to be vertuous, or to fol­low the examples and, commands of our Saviour, who in many places of his holy word hath exhorted us to the good work of Fasting, as very neces­sary [Page 109]to subdue our sensual appetites, and to obtain heaven. This will evidently appear, if you confult with Holy Writ, where we shall first see our Saviours great example in fasting forty dayes and forty nights;Mat. 4. v. 2 and I would gladly know wherefore he did so, if not for our ex­ample of a good life; for he never committed sin, and therefore did not require to do any such thing for punish­ment; and I think no man will say he did it for pleasure, by which it is plain that he fasted for our example: but the common objection is, can you fast as Christ did, if not, to what purpose is yours done? he fasted forty dayes, can you do so? and thus people would fain slip their necks out of the nooze: for I would ask them, wherefore was Christ humble and meek? why did he pray, and watch, and weep? why was he patient, and courteous to all, but onely for our example, that we should imitate him; and shall we not strive to do any of these vertues, but slight them all, because we cannot do them with that perfection as Christ did them, is not this meer madness to think? but [Page 110]let such people know, that as it is im­possible for the best of us to do them with exactness, as he did, so God doth not require it from us; but to the ut­most of our powers we are bound to practise them, and so we are this Chri­stian act of fasting; the force and pow­er of which,Mat. 17. v. 21. as our Saviour saith, Cast­eth out some sorts of Devils; which being so, we may very well think that God cannot but be pleased with the doing of it; and we may justly ima­gine, that the Apostles were strict ob­servers of this rule: for Saint Paul in his counsel that he gave to Timothy, bids him to mingle a little wine with his water for his healths sake:1 Tim. 5. v. 23. which plain­ly shows, that he chiefly abstain'd from strong drink, drinking onely water: and so it is said of St. John Baptist, that his meat was locusts and wilde honey; which was very hard food for nourish­ing the body in any delights, but rather served as they designed them, for mor­tification; and that is the onely cause that Gods Church commands her Chil­dren to fast and abstain from meat that they may in some measure break their [Page 111]own wills, and mortifie their fleshly members, that they may be more con­formable to Gods will, and better dis­posed to his holy service. It would be too tedious to set down all places of holy Scripture to prove this, as the of­ten fasting of the Israelites, and of King David, who mourned, and wept,2 Sam. 1. v. 12. and fasted until evening: and of Nehe­miah that mourned and fasted certain dayes,Nehem. 1. v. 4. and prayed before the God of heaven; and in another place the Jews fasted and prayed with earth upon their heads:Ch. 9. v. 1. and as it was a practise by all our fore-fathers, so it is, and ever will be in Gods Church. Again, we read that all the City of Nineveh at the preaching of Jonas put on sack-cloth,Jonah 3. v. 7. and fasted, both man and beast: now in my opinion these proofs might have been omitted, for the proof of this point, since reason and Christianity might induce us to practice that which in it self is the occasion of much good, both for soul and body: It hath been so general a practice in all ages by Gods Church, that Saint Augustine said, They were guilty of a mortal sin that [Page 112]did not saft the holy time of Lent; and certainly there is none that is thus sick of that disease, but those, that re­lye wholly upon kitching physick, and so take so much care to preserve and feed the body that they totally neglect the medicines and food for the soul. And besides, what hath been said as to the example of Christ, and the good it procures to our souls, let us consider what holy intents the Catholick Church hath in the keepign of some particular dayes of fasting, and as for the time of Lent, she hath ordained the keeping of it forty dayes before the Passion and Resurrection of our Saviour; first, to imitate to the utmost of our power, his holy example. Secondly, that we should by Fasting and Praying then, more then ordinary, have a dolorous resentment of his bitter Passion, which he suffered for us. And thirdly, that we might with true prepared hearts ce­lebrate the happy time of the Resur­rection of his glorious body, and with reverence approach to the holy Sacraments of Gods Church; and for our Fasting on Friday every week, it is [Page 113]that we may all cease from the pleasures of our taste, that day our Saviour ta­sted Gall and Vinegar; and a little to punish our bodies by fasting, when our Saviour suffered so many dolorous wounds for us, in his tender and de­licate Body, for the salvation of the world. Now if any one can finde any evil in these intents and practices of the Church, let them quarrel with them still; but if not (as I am sure justly they cannot) then are they bound in conscience to follow the practice of so holy an Institution. I will a little di­gress from my first purpose, by quoting an ancient Father or two for confirma­tion of this point, and so conclude this Chapter; as first, St. Jerome, Elias and Moses (saith he) by fasting forty dayes were filled with a familiarity with God;In c. 58. Isa. and our Lord himself fa­sted as many in the Wilderness, to leave unto us the solemn dayes of Fast, that is Lent. And again (saith he) We fast forty dayes,Ep. 54. ad Marcel. or make one Lent in a year, according to the Traditions of the Apostles, in time convenient: And grave St. Ambrose [Page 114]saith plainly, That it was not ordain­ed by men, but consecrated by God, nor invented by any earthly cogita­tion, but commanded by the Hea­venly Majesty: thus is it plainly pro­ved that this practice is no new inven­tion, but what hath been generally pra­ctised by all holy men who have been Members of the Roman Catholick Church, and so will it continue, as long as God hath a Church upon earth, which we are sure will be until the consummation of the world.

Chap. 15. Proving that Scripture is very hard to be understood, and that we cannot right­ly know the meaning of it, but by re­lying upon the Church of God, which is infallible; contrary to Protestants Opinion.

IT would not seem a little strange, did we but consider the folly of ma­ny men who have such low thoughts of Angels and Saints, as that they know [Page 115]nothing; and yet are so grosly arro­gant of their own knowledge, that none of the grand Mysteries of the Bi­ble (as they think) are unknown to them, and that the whole Church of God is less to be trusted in then they; and so by this demy Devil, self-conceit, they wrong themselves, and strive to deprive Gods Church of that privi­ledge which Christ hath given to her alone, with commands to us, to hear and obey her in all things concerning our Salvation: but had these men been acquainted with St. Augustine, he would have told them another story, who cryes out concerning Scripture, O wonderful profoundness of thy words, wonderful profoundness, my God, wonderful profoundness, it ma­keth a man quake to look on it, to quake for reverence, and to tremble for the love of it; and those places (saith he) which I know not, are ma­ny more then those that I know: by which every considerate man may judge with himself, that if this great Doctor and light of Gods Church had this opinion of Scripture, and of his [Page 116]weakness in expounding it, what little reason every particular man hath to think it easie for him to do, that never was so learned, and inspired of God as he was, as all the Christian world know­eth; and that his opinion then, is agreeable to the Catholick Church now; and that to Gods holy word, shall be made most manifest; and first from St. Peters own testimony, who though he was an Apostle of Christ, yet apprehended Saint Pauls Epistles to be very hard in the understanding of them: as also in all his Epistles (saith he) are many things hard to be under­stood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own de­struction. And if there be so many places hard to be understood, how ma­ny may be justly conclude there is in the Revelations, where, as St. Jerome saith, every sentence is a Mystery; and how many in the Canticles, and in the Prophesies of Daniel, and many other places; and I would know how any particular man can tell what Christ meant in many Mysteries he spake, and [Page 117]how he knows what the Angel meant when he revealed those high Mysteries to St. John, and what Solomon meant when he declared these excellent simidi­tudes of Gods Church, and what St. Paul meant when he writ those hard places spoken of: if they answer me, Gods Spirit tells them the meaning, and that they are perswaded 'tis so, let every one judge how poor this answer is (which is common amongst them) for cannot every Sectary plead the same; a Cobler may alledge that as well as a Doctor, and a Tinker as well as a Divine: and this presumption of interpreting the Bible by private spi­rits, hath been the cause of all these Sects and Opinions that are now in the world, which would rend the seam­less Coat of Christ, which is his Church, in pieces if they could. If God had ordered every one to be his own Interpreter, he would never have caused Saint Paul in his Epistle to com­mand us to obey our Pastours whom he hath placed to rule over us: and (saith he) Submit your selves, Heb. 13.17. for they watch for your sols, and shall give an account for [Page 118]you. It is a wonder that this Text i [...] not blotted out by all self-conceite [...] people, or that they do not deny it to be good Scripture (as they do many other places) for if, as St. Paul saith here, we must obey our Pastours, (that is those that teach the true Faith of Gods Church) why then we must for­sake our own fancies in expounding hard places of Scripture, because God hath given it in their charge to do that, and put us into their charge too to be guided by them; for saith the Text, Submit to them, and how do we that when we scorn them, and submit to none but our own will, quite contrary to Gods holy word, which one day will be the onely witness against such kinde of men: and since Saint Paul tells us that they watch over our souls, and shall give an account for us; who is it but those that are blinde, doth not see that we are bound in conscience to sub­mit to their judgements. But the com­mon peevish objection by many people is, shall I pin my faith upon any mans sleeve, or cannot I know and under­stand the Bible my self, it is plain [Page 119]enough: and thus poor souls are mi­serably cheated by the subtilty of Sa­tan, for this snare catches thousands; for it is the very same that caught our first Parents; for he made them believe that they should be as wise as God,Gen. 3. ver. 5. to know good and evil; and so he leads these kinde of men to their desruction, by telling them they may be as wise as their Pastors, if they read the Bible they shall know the meaning as well as they: and so these hellish suggestions passeth currant with them, for the spi­rit that telleth them the meaning of all; for the Devil well knoweth, that if he possesseth any with self-conceit, he has done his work: And now I have discovered this great abuse that is put upon many men, I will prosecute the re­medy, and declare what we is best to be taken, to know those hard places in Scripture, and the true sense of them; First, we are to renounce our own judgements, which may easily deceive us, and resign our selves to Gods Church which cannot; for since we are sure that God ever had in the world a Vi­sible Church, and that this Church can­not [Page 120]not erre, as I have proved before, be­cause the Holy Ghost is the guider of it; what better way can any man pos­sibly devise, then by submitting his Faith to Gods Church, for if we do so we do what God commands us, and then we discharge our duty; which if they that are in the visible Government of it teach us any thing that they ought not to do, they shall answer it it to God, and not we, for we are in their charge, and they must give an ac­count for us, as St. Paul before tell us; and let any man in reason judge, (if there were no command for it by God) whether it be not more secure to stand to the uniform judgement of one hun­dred thousand grave Doctors in Gods Church, which all agree in one expo­sition of the Bible now, and with all that hath gone before, that were of the same Church, then with their own pri­vate spirit, or to relye upon those that cannot agree amongst themselves, but ar ein continual contest one with an­other. And for our further assurance and security we shall have, by resigning our selves to the Church, we are to [Page 121]consider, that as Gods Church is guard­ed by his power from the Gates of Hell ever having any power over it, so we as Members of it can never fall from our Faith, as long as we are so resign­ed, for till then we are continually wa­vering and unconstant in our mindes, as too many by experience findes it true; but when we are so settled we have perfect freedom to serve God, in that second principle of Christian Reli­gion, which is good works. I shall onely add one thing to all serious peoples con­siderations, that is, why there is so ma­ny sorts of Bibles amongst Protestants, and all Sectaries, and what their design is in it: as for example, some have all the Books of Scripture, and some leave out the Apocraphy (as they call it) some have Contents to their Cha­pters, and some have not, and every translation differs in a thousand places at the least; and the reason of it is clear to those that are not willing to be cheated in their souls, because every Translator makes them dance after his Pipe; that is, the Bible he translates, shall be sure to favour his pernicious [Page 122]opinions; and being taxed with it, they all cry, the meaning is the same: but I would demand of those presumptu­ous persons, how they dare to alter the Scripture, either by adding or dimini­shing, since there is a curse pronounced against them that do,Rev. 22. v. 18, 19. by God himself: for since we are all surek, that the first Bible that we had for our instruction,Deut. 4. v. 2. was writ by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost; is it not a high presumption for any man to vary from that, and then pretend that the meaning is the same, when many times the altering of one Letter mars the sense of a whole Sentence; much more when they alter a word, nay Sentences themselves, to work their own designs; as if, what God ordained at first had need to be corrected by their wisdoms: by which it doth appear, that if every Heretick could have his will, he would trust out of Scripture all places that make against his principles; and yet it would (with them) be as good Scripture as any: and then to interpret that by their own private spirits, must needs bring strange confusion, both in the knowing which [Page 123]is the true word of God, and what the meaning of it is. If we consult with ho­ly David we shall finde that he appre­hended more difficulty in knowing the word of God then these kinde of men do; who saith, Give me understanding, Psal. 119. v. 34. O God, and I will search thy Law: sure he was as wise as any that pretend so much of the Spirit, and yet he would not so much as search into those Myste­ries without particular assistance from God. So we read that the Eunuch which was a man of great authority un­der the Queen of Candice, and so con­sequently of great knowledge; yet when Saint Philip the Apostle asked him whether he understood what he read out of Isaiah concerning Christ, he answered, How can I, Acts 8.30, 31. except some man should guide me? and then Philip (whose charge it was) declared the meaning to him; by which we may see that he, though a great man, was not so presumptuous to interpret Scripture of himself, as many do now; and yet might as well have pretend­ed the spirit as they: since we see, he was so well given, as to go so far [Page 124]from his own Countrey to worship God in Jerusalem, and to read the Bi­ble in his going home. In like manner our Saviour meeting with two of his Disciples going to Emaus, Luke 24. v. 27, 45. after his Re­surrection, it is said he expounded to them all the Scriptures; and when they were altogether he appeared to them, and opened their understandings, that they might know the Scriptures: from whence we may justly gather, that if his Disciples and Apostles (which were so conversant with Christ in his life­time) were so ignorant of Scripture, as not to know the meaning of the Pro­phets which foretold his Resurrection, the third day, and other Mysteries of his Death and sufferings, what igno­rance then have we (or at least we ought to think so) that never had those large means that the Apostles had: but such is the miserable state of these unhappy times, that many think them­selves more wise, and more holy, then the Apostles were, or then the whole Church of God is now; and I think in time they will like Lucifer, suppose themselves equal to God himself. Thus [Page 125]having sufficiently proved the difficulty of understanding the Scripture, with the danger of expounding it, to our own private sense; together with what course to follow in knowing the true meaning, which is by adhering to Gods holy Church: I will conclude with that saying of Saint Augustine, Augustin. l. 1. cont. Crescon. Then do we hold (saith he) the verity of the Scriptures, when we do that which now seemeth good to the Universal Church, which the authority of Scripture themselves do commend; so that forasmuch as the holy Scri­pture cannot deceive, whosoever then is afraid to be deceived with the ob­scurity of questions, let him therein ask counsel of the same Church, which the holy Scripture most cer­tainly, and evidently pointeth and sheweth unto us.

Chap. 16. Proving the necessity of the Churches Divine Servince to be said in the Latine Tongue, or in one Language, in all places of the world where it is exer­cised; contrary to Protestants Opi­nion.

DId all Christians follows the coun­sel of our Blessed Saviour in his commanding us to submit and adhere to Gods Church, there would not be such quarrellings in our mindes, nor bad speeches from our mouths, against her holy Institutions; which though sometimes have not an apparent rise from Scripture, yet are ordained in the Church by the instinct of the Holy Ghost; who (as I said) is alwayes with her to direct her in all her proposals to us concerning our Salvation: and as we may reasonably think, that as God hath committed to her charge the dis­pensation of the holy Sacraments to us, and other high qualities, so he hath invested her with power to Ordain, [Page 127]Constitute, and Decree, any thing that may be to the good and benefit of the same Church; which Decrees and Con­stitutions we are bound to observe, and without any difficulty in Conscience may, so long as it is not against Gods word, but rather agreeable to the same: amongst which things that are thus constituted by the Church, this of the Latine Service is one, which I shall prove to be somewhat agreeable to Scripture, and altogether to Reason, and the practice of the Church of God in all Ages. First, we will observe something pertinent to this in Saint Lukes Gospel, wheere he declares,Luke 1. v. 10. that when Zacharias the Priest was offering and praying to God in the Temple, for himself and all the people, that the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of his of­fering Incense; by which it appears, that they knew not what he said, nor understood any thing of it; which is now the main objection against us in this point by our Adversaries: but to satisfie these people, we are to take no­tice, that the publick or common Ser­vice [Page 128]of Gods Church, being compos'd of Sucrifice, Prayers, and Thanksgi­vings, is therefore chiefly designed for the honour and glory of God, as be­ing every day offered up to him by the Priests, and not for the edification of the people; so much by understanding it, as by the benefit they receive and partake of, being present at it; for when the Priest saith the service of the Church he offers it to God for himself,1 Cor. 14 v. 2. Heb 5. v. 1.2, 3. for the people present, for the whole Church, or for any other necessities of people that are absent; so that it mat­ters not whether they understand him or no, since they have as much benefit of his Prayers as if they did; for if they heard him not speak a word it were the same thing, so long as God both hears him and understands him, to whom it is offered and designed; for in Sacrifice, Prayer, and Thanks­giving, the Priests spak to God, and not to the people: for example, when any man lies sick, or in distress at home, he sends to the Church to be prayed for, by the Minister and Con­gregation, now shall we think because [Page 129]he hears nor understands not those which pray for him, that he hath no benefit by their prayers, this were ab­surd to think; for then we should be never the better for our Saviours Inter­cession to his heavenly Father for us, whom we understand not, nor know when, nor for what he intercedes to him, and yet we all receive much good by it; and so we do in the Priest [...] say­ing the Divine Service, who repre­senteth the place of our Saviour on earth to mediate for us; and we are as­sured that the effectual servent prayers of a righteous man prevaileth much,James 5. v. 16. whether we hear and understand them or no: but yet to discover the folly of those that impugne this practise, they may please to take notice, that the La­tine tongue is not so much unknown or understood, as it is thought it is; for if there was any need to understand the Service (as I have proved there is not) there be many thousands of our Church and others that under­stand the Latine Tongue, and those people that do not, are so well instru­cted by the Church, that with the in­struction [Page 130]and the custom of hearing Mass, they know when to kneel, and when to stand, when to pray, and when to give thanks; when to do reverence, and when not: besides most of the Service they have in their English Books, and may know any part of the rest when they will, if there were any need, as there is none; so that it is not said in Latine because the common people should not understand it, (as He­reticks falsly report) but for a great ne­cessity and convenience in the Church (as I shall suddenly prove:) but first it is observable, that though the common people in England read th Bible in English, yet they understand not half of it; nor which is worse, are never made to understand it; yet Protestants will say they must not therefore leave the read­ing of it quite, because the understanding of some parts is beneficial to them; so their Common Prayer being read and sung in Cathedrals and other places, is not understood by many of the wiser sort, much less by the common people, and so is all one, as if it were in La­tine; yet if there were any benefit to [Page 131]be had, it would be never the less to them, because they understood it not; since as I said before, it is offered to God onely for all the Church, and not to us. And since it is so in these practices amongst them, I hope they will not but think that those that are ignorant amongst us, may, and do receive much comfort by our Churches Service; since by being so often at it, and good instructions from Priests, they come in short time to the knowledge and mean­ing of it: but perhaps some may ob­ject, that since we cannot understand them perfectly, why should we go to Church to hear the Servince? to which I anser, that it is without complare bet­ter to go to Gods Church to offer our Devotions by every ones praying to God, by being present at the Institui­on of the Blessed Sacrament, by seeing devout people receive it, with true de­votion: besides, none but Atheists will deny, but that it is better to do any act of Devotion in a Church dedicated to Gods holy Service and nothing else, then in a prophane house, which is chiefly designed for temporal business: [Page 132]but indeed, as Protestants do their De­votion in Churches, there is no great difference, who sit on their tails, staring about them when their Com­mon-Prayer is said, and have more regard to the manner, then to the matter performed. But it is far other­wise with Catholicks in the Church, for there every one is on their knees, pray­ing to God for such things as they stand in need of, and the Priest prayes for them all; so that were it in the Mother Tongue it signified nothing more, and if they heard him not speak a word it were the same: for why? the Priest is bound to say the Divine Service every day, if there were no per­son present but himself; and yet we may receive benefit by his Prayers too, that neither see, hear, nor understand him, because the prayers of any good man prevailes with God, though the persons prayed for were a thousand miles off. This now that hath been said may suffice any moderate person, as to the belief that there is no neces­sity of understanding the Common Service (as there is in the hearing of [Page 133]Sermons, for those are alwayes preached in the Mother Tongue to common people) because when the Priest saith Mass, or Divine Service, he speaks to God, and when they preach, it is directed to man onely. But now I will show the reason why it is said in Latine in all places of the world, and the convenience of it: First, we are to consider that the Catholickd Church is not pinn'd up into one Kingdom, or Dominion, as other Churches are, that say their Service in the Mother tongue; for which reason, since that all Nations from her receive one uniform Faith, so they have all one Service, in one Language, which hath many conve­niences with it (and no incommodity at all) for by that maeans Priests that are sent into Forreign Countreyes, where they speak never a word of the Language when they come there, yet may do that for which they were sent and commanded there; that is, say Mass and administer the Sacraments, as well as if they did, and those in those Countreyes where they are sent, can as well understand them as their [Page 134]own Priests they had before, being Na­tives: Besides many thousands of Catholicks travel from one part of Christendome to another, and come where they will in any of their Churches, they understand and hear the same Service that they do at home; which if it were not said in all places in one Language they could not; for since the Catholick Church is compo­sed of so many Nations, and are con­tinually travelling and mixing one with the other, it would be barbarious to all strangers to hear that Service which none of them understood: (If there were any necessity for the under­standing of it) as for example, the French, Spaniards, Italians, Dutch, [...]sh, &c. come all at one time to our Service, here in England; now were it said in English, it would be barba­rous to them all; but being in the same Tongue, as it is in their own Countreyes, they understand it as well as if they were there: so that the discreet Reader may see what ne­cessity and convenience the Church hath in using the Latine service; which [Page 135]if it were confined to so narrow limits as others are, would use none but the Mother Tongue as others do: so that all Christians may, see the integrity of Gods Church, which in this and all other points, orders every thing for the good and convenience of all her Members; & which is done with so much wisdome and prudence, that it plainly appears to be guided by the Spirit of God: as also the malice of our ene­mies is shown, who make people be­lieve that Papists are kept in gross ig­norance, and must not read the Bible, nor must not understand the Common Service, because they shall not (as they say) know what the evil of it is: and such fooleries in continually buzzed in their ears, but bow slanderously let every Christian judge. Now that this hath been the practice of the whole Church for this sixteen hundred years, and the belief of all the ancient Fathers, our adversaries themselves know suf­ficiently, yet for the love of their large Revenues will not discover it (nor other points as true as Gospel) to the people that want understand­ing; [Page 136]for which one day they must be sure to give a severe account to God, whom they cannot deceive. And for to bring in the Sentences of the Fathers to prove this, would swell this Book into a larger Volume then is designed; I will quote them where they are to be found, that every one may know their practice in this point, (and first see Saint Cy­prian, Expo. orat. domn. 13. Saint Gre­gory, Lib. 7. Ep. 65. Jerome, Prefat. in Psal. ad Sophron. Chrisos. lib. 2. c. 13.) and conclude with Saint Paul, 1 Cor. 11. v. 16. that if after all this that hath been said, any man be contentious, we have no such cu­stome, nor the Church of God.

Chap 17. Treating in general of both Churches.

NOw having plainly proved all the chief points of our Faith by the Protestants own Bible, I shall pro­ceed a little to speak in general con­cerning both Religions, that all men may consider and see, by their Anti­quity, Rise, Practice, and Proceedings, which is the likeliest to be the Church of God, if it had not been, or were not to be proed by Scripture: for in the first place we shall finde all Reli­gions (but the Roman Catholick) so like innocents for Age,They are all Novel­ties in compari­son to Gods Church. that they have not yet left their Cradles, that is, they are rocked up and down by their new opinions, and so far from being settled, that it is to be feared they never will; for what wise man can be so much an enemy to truth, as to think Gods Church was not spread in the world before Henry the Eighths time, or Martin Luthers, or John [Page 138]Calvins, The rise of all Se­ctaries. who were the first bringers in of all Religions, but the Roman, (as every one knows which hath read any thing) and for such men who were known to be leud, and evil li­vers, to pretend new lights, and dis­coveries from God, for the alteration of Christian Religion, who seeth not, but that it was preposterous (as it hath proved) for I would demand, why did our Blessed Saviour preach Christian Religion, and send his Apo­stles and Disciples to preach the same to all Nations in the world, that they might plant true points of Faith, and they did do it, and watered it with their Blood; was this done for nothing, that when these pretended Reformers came, they must make the world believe, that God would undo all again (what had been pra­ctised so long in all Christendome) to have new Religions of their ma­king set up; sure these men thought, that either God knew not what he did, when he planted the first, or that all people but themselves were [Page 139]very simple, to receive a second Faith from them, of their own invent­ing, as plainly appeared soon af­ter, and doth still; for no sooner were they severally grown to any authority with silly people, but they began to rail and revile one against the other just as we see their suc­ceeding followers do to this day, (which indeed is proper to all Secta­ries and Hereticks to do) which shew­ed then, and now, of what far di­stance their doctrine was from plea­sing God, who is the God of peace, and hareth contention; as also far from being of his Church, since there is no such custome (as Saint Paul saith) and yet we see by wo­full experience in this Kingdome, how these Sects (which are the spawn of Heresie) still grow more and more amongst us; and in their increasing are still more monstrous then at first, in their opinions against God, and Christian Religion; and yet they say (as the first of them did) that God hath sent them to [Page 140]convert and purge the world, and bring in new Relgions; and so all Hereticks that come after this Age will say the like; and so it seems by them that God will never settle any, but have every Age a new Religion. And thus we may see what a tempe­stuous sea Heresie is, which tumbles them up and down that follow it, and never are at rest here, till they imbarque themselves in the secure Ship of the Catholick Church, where God himself is the Pilot; from whence those unhappy souls that went out (and were the cause of these prodigious storms) have suf­fered shipwrack on the quick-sands of their own giddy fancies. Again, let us observe further, how monstrous these Heresies and Factions are, and how destructive both to mens souls, and to Monarchy, in the Civill Go­vernment of our Bodies: First, we may easily perceive what ruine it hath brought to many souls,Their bad practices and pro­ceedings when they are taught to deny all these Princi­ples of Faith, proved in this Book [Page 141]by the word of God, and other high points by some of them, as the God­head of Christ, and the Holy Ghost, is denyed by Antebaptists, and Qua­kers, and too many others, and Baptisme of Infants: and amongst them altogether, is practised such a furious contempt of Gods word, and all the Sacraments and Divine Mysteries of Christian Religion, as never was yet known or heard of in the Christian world before; so that some people are even distracted, and know not where to go for to finde rest for their souls, because so many Sects pretend for the truth, and are all false; because as Saint Paul saith, there is but one Faith, one God, and one Baptisme; and the Catholick Church is the onely Haven for all those troubled spirits (that seek for truth) to finde repose in. And how destructive they are to Civill Government, I need not quote any Authour to prove it, since our King and Kingdome at home, as well as others abroad, have felt [Page 142]the hellish hands of Heresie and faction, in such sort, that Rebelling against our (deceased) lawful Sove­reign, they did not onely spill his Royal Blood, but thousands of his Subjects, and this under the appea­rance of Religion too as well as any: but they that see not these to be snares and pits of the Devil, deserve to fall into them, since none but those that are wilfully blinde can be caught in such visible ginns.

And now as I have briefly shown you the rough and stormy Seas of Heresie and Factions, so I will open the gate to let you see the smooth and pleasantest Waters of Gods Church, which runs through every vein of the world peaceably, without noise or disturbance, agreeable to his Word, wo said, My peace I leave with you, and that you love one another as I have loved you; which words of our Saviour is no where observed (as I have shown by the malice and contenti­ons that is amongst Hereticks) but [Page 143]in the Catholick Church,The Churches Antiquity and rise. which hath had this peace which Christ left ever since he left it; and as it began then in his time, and the Apostles, to be a famous Church throughout the world, so hath it continued in the same splendor and purity to this day, as is plainly seen; first, by her being so conformable in her Do­ctrine she now teacheth, to the true and infallible word of God (as I have proved.) Secondly, in her con­tinuance of her lawful Line of Pa­stours. Thirdly, in her Apostolical care for the Conversion of Nations, that know not God, which other­wise might perish. Fourthly,The Churches practice. by her Miracles famed throughout the world, as our Saviour said, who ever did believe truly in him should have power to cast out Devils,Mark 16. v. 17, 18. and take up Serpents, and drink poison and not hurt them; so his Church which hath onely truly believed in him, hath onely had many Members that hath truly done those Miracles (as many Protestants themselves confess.) Again, [Page 144]if we consider the different order that is in both Churches, it may justly amaze all reasonable men; the Priests of the Catholick Church never marry, nor enjoy any great Estates, that so they may be freely divested from the worlds interests (as the Apostles were) to attend wholly to perform their charge in Gods Church, and the con­version of souls; on the contrary, the Ministers of all other Churches do ge­nerally marry, and enjoy very great Possessions, and Riches; by which they are so incumbred with the world, as very few are more, as we daily see by their continual Suits of Law, and griping cares to advance themselves from one great Benefice to another; not at all considering, that if they were true Pastours, they should feed Gods Sheep; that is, go preach in re­mote places of the world amongst Pa­gans that know not God, as the Apo­stles did, and as Catholick Priests do to this day; and as all must do that follow the examples and commands left by Christ, or else they cannot be [Page 145]of his sending; by which we have ve­ry great reason to suspect all these new teachers that lie at home at ease and pleasure, and are so far from ta­king the toil and pains of converting Pagans,This is too truly proved by many that dye and never have either Sa­craments nor any other com­fort from them in their ago­ny of Death. that many of them will not stir to a poor person that lies a dying, because they cannot receive a golden Recompence. Again, in the Catho­lick Church there be many thousands of her Members that are Royally and Nobly Born to great Possessions, that quit them all to serve God in strict courses of Religion; as Fasting, Watching, Praying, giving Almes, and many other bodily Mortifications, in Religious Houses, where nothing but the Service of God is exalted.The vast difference of the two Churches practice. Now I would fain know from whence the doing of so much good doth proceed, but from the inspiration of God; and for to finde one now of any other Religion, nobly born, or of mean quality, to forsake an Estate for the Service of God in their way, would be such a miracle, as was yet never heard of amongst them, nor never [Page 146]will be: but on the contrary, all peo­ple of all conditions take their full career in doing what they please them­selves; for they will not hear the Church, nor Fast, nor Pray, nor receive the Sacrament but when their fancy pleases, and so are let run in a negli­gent state never to give an account for their sinful actions to the Church at all; (as God commands we should) and so by tis means the flood-gate of all evil is opened, for all manner of people to plunge themselves over head ad ears in misery and utter calamity. I could enlarge my self in showing the vast difference in many other practices, as the beauty and ornaments of Catho­lick Churches, when others are like Barnes in comparison of them; the Reverence and Devotion of the Ca­tholick people in them, who on their knees adore God whilst others sit at ease, some gazing, and some asleep, with many other practices of the like kinde: but this may, and will suffice (for all those that desire to entertain truth, and to minde the salvation of [Page 147]their souls) to show clearly which is Gods Church, and which is not; so that which the Prophet Isaiah foretold is here made good, that the Church of God should be a plain way, and a direct way, so that fools could not erre therein; so that all those that itnend at the last day to be separated from the goats, must now in this life graze with Gods Sheep; that is, they must enter into communion with his Catholick Church, whereof Christ Jesus is the Head.

The Conents of the Chapters.

Chapter 1.
Proving the Blessed Sacrament. page 1
Chap. 2.
Proving Confession to a Priest. page 11
Chap. 3.
Proving Purgatory. page 16
Chap. 4.
Proving that none went to Heaven before Christ dyed. page 25
Chap. 5.
Proving that Angels and Saints know our actions on earth. page 31
Chap. 6.
Proving it lawful to pray to them. page 39
Chap. 7.
Proving it lawful to worship them. page 52
Chap. 8.
Proving the lawfulness of Images. page 59
Chap. 9.
Proving Free-will in Man to do good. page 67
Chap. 10.
Proving Good Works to be Meritorious. page 76
Chap. 11.
Proving that Gods Church cannot Erre. page 84
Chap. 12.
Proving the Churches Authority in Re­mission of Sins. page 91
Chap. 13.
Proving the Churches Ʋniversality. page 98
Chap. 14.
Proving the lawfulnesse of Fasting. page 108
Chap. 15.
Proving the difficulty of understanding Scripture. page 114
Chap. 16.
Proving the necessity of the Churches Service in one Tongue, in all King­doms. page 126
Chap. 17.
Shewing in general the vast difference of both Churches. page 137

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