A retentiue, to stay good Christians, in true faith and religion, against the motiues of Richard Bristow Also a discouerie of the daungerous rocke of the popish Church, commended by Nicholas Sander D. of Diuinitie. Done by VVilliam Fulke Doctor of diuinitie, and Maister of Pembroke hall in Cambridge.
Fulke, William, 1538-1589.

The 36. motiue is the 46. demaund.

The state of our predecessors. Prayer for the deade, the ground of building Christian monuments. Vniuersities of here∣tikès * and Catholikes, Protestants be ashamed of their fa∣thers.

The demaund serueth to be contrary to the motiue, * for in the motiue he confesseth, that we will not con∣demne our auncestors that haue dyed these many hun∣dred yeares in popish ignorance, nor the auncient do∣ctors which haue held some errors which the Papistes doe hold, but in the demaund he asketh, if all these are damned in hell, if not, then theirs is the true Church, & those errors are truth. I aunswer we deale not with con∣demnation of men, for lacke of two causes, which make a Iudge, the one austeritie, the other is knowledge. Concerning the first, it pertayneth onely to Christ, to be the Iudge of the quicke and the deade, whose office we dare not vsurpe, otherwise then he hath commaun∣ded vs, to pronounce sentence out of his word: concer∣ning the latter, we take not vpon vs to knowe ether the faith or repentance of them that dyed before our time, and therefore we commit their iudgement to God. But generally we are taught by the Scriptures, that such as Page  101 holde the onely foundation which is Iesus Christ, in a true faith, shall be saued although they build vpon this foundation chaffe, straw, wood, &c. 1. Cor. 3. And there∣fore we doubt not but S. Augustine, Chrysostom, Hie∣rom, Gregory, Bernard, & many thowsands, euen in the tyme of great blindnes, holding the same only founda∣tion, may be saued, notwithstanding the chaffe and stubble of a few errors which the former sort did hold, or a number of errors and superstitions wherewith the later sort were defiled. As for Fraunces and Dominike such late leaders of the locustes, we rather thinke they are returned into the bottomlesse pit from whence they came, then that they be Saincts in heauen. But if we ex∣cuse the rest by ignorance, Bristow asketh why we con∣demne not Augustine, which was not ignoraunt of our doctrine, because he condemned it for most wicked he∣resie in Aerius, Iouinian and Vigilantius, who although they be our fathers, he sayth we are ashamed to blesse their memorie. First concerning Iouinian, although he helde an heresie, in not preferring virginitie before ma∣riage in some respect, yet haue we nothing to doe with him, for we hold not that opinion, which if we did yet were it no damnable heresy. Touching AErius he is cō∣demned of Augustine for an Arrian, his opiniō of pray∣er for the deade although it were not liked of Augu∣stine, yet doth he in no place condemne it for most wic∣ked heresie, as Bristow calleth it, but that he did allowe prayer for the deade, it was an error of ignoraunce, e∣uen in S. Augustine, as that he thought the communion necessary for infants. Cont. duas ep. Pelag. lib. 2. cap. 4. As for Vigilantius I finde him not reckened ether by Epi∣phanius or Augustine for an heretike, or for one that erred in doctrine, although Hierom did write so bitter∣ly against him, who likewise did write against Augu∣stine and Ruffinus, yet are nether of both accompted for heretikes. And AErius as he helde some truth with vs against prayer for the deade, so helde he also much popishe superstition and errour, for like the order of Page  102 Carthusians, they of his sect admitted none to their fe∣lowship, but such as professed continence, & so renoun∣ced the world, that they possessed nothing in proper. As testifieth Epiphanius and Augustine. And Philaster af∣firmeth, that they absteyned also from cating of flesh. So that all thinges considered, Aerius mainteyned the do∣ctrine of the Papistes, as much as of the Protestantes. That our preachers in pulpits, praise God for the foun∣ders of colledges and schooles, of learning, by name, what maketh this for allowance of their religion. God is to be praised for such benefits as he hath bestowed v∣pon his church or any members thereof, euen by Turks and Heathen men. Wherfore this is a very slow motiue vnto Popery. For whether the founders were good or euill men, and what intent soeuer they had, their bene∣fits are now vsed to the glory of God, & therefore God for them and their benefits is greatly to be praised.