A Sermon preached, by M. D. Fulke.
THe place of Scripture, which I haue chosen to speake of at this time, and vpon the present occasion, is written in the 17. Chapiter of the Gospel after Saint Iohn, and the 17. verse of the same, being part of the wordes of our Sauiour Christ, vnto his heauenly Father, in that most ve∣hement and heauenly prayer, which hee maketh for his disciples and his whole Church, a litle before his Passion.
Iohn. 17.Sanctifie them in thy trueth, thy word is the trueth.
AFter that our Sauiour Christ had accomplished his office of preaching, and sealed the doctrine of his redemption, by insti∣tution of his holie Sup∣per, & finally, as it were taking his leaue of teaching his Apostles, had instructed them of pacient bearing of his Crosse, by setting foorth such comforts, whereunto they should leane, and by pro∣mising Page [unnumbered] the comming of his spirite, lifted them vp to a better hope, then the present miseries did portende, discoursing of the glorie and Maiestie of his kingdom wher∣of they should be partakers, as is contei∣ned at the full, in the thrée Chapiters go∣ing immediately before: The Euange∣list declareth in the beginning of this se∣uenth Chapiter, howe hée conuerteth him¦selfe to prayer, that this his most heauen∣ly doctrine might be made effectuall: first in the heartes of his Apostles which then were his hearers, and afterwarde in all true members of his Churche, which by their Ministerie shoulde bée gathered in his name. Wherfore among other re∣questes that hée maketh for his Disciples in this prayer, this is one especially, that his father would sāctifie them in his truth, which is his holie worde, the only out∣warde witnesse of his will: which is as much in effect, as that it woulde please his Maiestie, of his infinite goodnesse, and for his sake, who sanctified him selfe for them, to be a sacrifice propitiatorie to dedicate them vnto his father: to conse∣crate or hallowe them, by his holie spi∣rite, Page [unnumbered] vnto him selfe, as his chosen and pe∣culiar possession, according to that most holy trueth, which hée hath reuealed in his worde and doctrine of saluation, con∣teined in the Gospell of his sonne, that béeing truely vnited vnto him, hée may be glorified in them, and they made by him partakers if eternall felicitie. Sancti∣fie them O Father (saith hée) in thy truth, thy worde is the trueth. There are two speciall reasons, why our Sauiour Christ commendeth his Disciples, vnto the holie and sanctifying protection of God his hea∣uenly Father: the one conteined in the verse going immediately before, the o∣ther in the verse that followeth immedi∣atly, the one being the great daunger they stood in, the other the great and high office also, that they were called vnto. Concer∣ning the former he said: they are not of the world, euen am I am not of the worlde. In that they were not of the worlde, it could not be auoided, but that they should be ha∣ted of the world, as he said also in expresse wordes. They therefore that shoulde be hated of all the worlde, had néede to bée mightily protected.
Page [unnumbered] They that had so many enemies, must needes haue a strong defender, and where should they haue any rest, that had all the worlde against them, but in God, who is greater then the worlde? And therefore in consideration of that great perill they were in, which must remain in the world, although they were not of the worlde, although they were hated and persecuted of the worlde, our Sauiour Christ com∣mitteth them in this prayer to his fathers holie tuition: Forasmuch as they are not of the worlde, but inheritours of heauen, Sanctifie them in thy trueth. Againe, cōsidering how waightie a charge is laide vpon them, as hée sheweth in the nexte verse. As thou hast sent mée into the world, so haue I sent them into the world, hée desireth his Father, to make them a∣ble to execute that charge, saying, Sancti∣fie them in thy trueth, thy worde is the truth. As though hée should say, Knowing that they are men in whom naturally dwel∣leth the spirit of errour, and not of trueth, and yet such men, as I haue chosen to te∣stifie vnto the worlde, the same trueth, which thou O heauenly Father hast sent vnto them by mée, I confesse they are not Page [unnumbered] able of them selues to know the trueth, to speake the trueth, to loue the trueth, for that mueterate corruption, that beareth the sway in all the children of Adam, ther∣fore I beséech thee holy Father, to sanctifie them in thy trueth, euen in thy holy word which is the witnesse and expresse decla∣ration of thy reuealed trueth, that by thy sanctification, they may be renued in the inner man, to will and loue those things, which thou commaundest, by thy trueth they may be deliuered from errour, blind∣nesse, and ignoraunce, in which they are holden Captiues, and by thy holy worde they may be instructed from time to time, that no forgetfulnesse of thy truth do take them,* but hauing recourse alwayes vnto it, as to a light shining in a darke place, they may be méete to accomplish the work of so high a calling. And this is generally the summe and effect of the wordes of our Sauiour Christ in this his praier. Sancti∣fie, them in thy trueth, thy word is the trueth.
But that I may speake of them more particularly, I will diuide my Treatise vpon this text, into two parts: In the for∣mer I wil set foorth the request of our Sa∣uiour Page [unnumbered] Christ, vttered in these wordes, Sanctifie them in thy trueth, in the other, the exposition whiche hée maketh of the trueth, when hée saieth, Thy word is the trueth. Concerning the request which hée maketh for their sanctification, wée haue to cōsider, first that it is neither law∣full, nor possible, for any man, to haue any accesse vnto God, to stand before his pre∣sence, to looke for any benefit at his hands without true holinesse. For the Lorde béeing holie, abhorreth all that is pro∣phane, polluted and defiled, testifiyng both by Moses and by the Apostle Peter, that if wée will approch or come neare vntoo him,* wée must be sanctified, wée must be holie,* be you holie or sanctified saieth the Lorde, for I am holie. According to him which hath called you, which is ho∣lie, be you holie, saieth the Apostle. To shewe that sanctification is necessary, the Lorde ordeined all the sanctifying rites of the lawe, by which the Tabernacle, the Altar, the Priestes, the sacrifices, and all the people were, first sanctified, and made holie, before they coulde be accep∣ted of him, to be the Lordes Tabernacle, Page [unnumbered] his Altar, his Priestes, his sacrifice, his people. Yea, this light of God shined euen in the darknesse of naturall vnderstan∣ding, so that without reuelation from heauen, the Gentiles acknowledged, that no man coulde come neare vnto God, no man coulde please God, no man coulde looke for rewarde of God, without holi∣nesse. And this they testified, euen in their manner of worshipping of GOD, which although it were cleane contrarie to Gods expresse commaundement, in visible shapes, and bodily images, yet they declared by their maner of consecra∣tions, dedications, purifications, and o∣ther lyke ceremonies of their owne deui∣sing, that such as will haue any thing to doe with God, must be hallowed as God is holie, and all thinges that apperteyne vnto him. The Papistes also, euen as the heathen, whose religion and ceremo∣nies in many thinges they followe, in so many consecrations and sanctifications, as they vse in their Idolatrous seruice, meane to signifie euen so much. And hereof commeth all that preparation, pompe, and furniture, whiche they vse in woorshipping of their Images Page [unnumbered] which they defende by the same reasons, and worshippe after the same maner as the Heathen did their Images, although nothing be more directly contrarie to the expresse commaundement of God. The Papistes thinke their idolatrie to bée de∣fended, when they say that they worship not the stockes and stones, the matter and fourme of their Images, as Gods, but worship God in them. And did not the wi∣ser sort of the Gentils bring the same rea∣son to defende their Idolatrie? Yes verely. S.*Augustine testifieth, that one of them saide:
There canne no greater honour bee giuen vnto Sayntes, then to ho∣nor their Lorde, their Sauioure, their Redeemer, their God, their Father, their sanctifyer. And it is greate con∣tumely and iniury to the blessed Saintes, to robbe God of his glorie, to bestow vpon them. Wherefore if the Papists woulde truely honour them, then they woulde follow their faith, their obedience, their Page [unnumbered] humilitie, and all their godly vertues. Whereby they should be sure, to honour and worship none, with spirituall and re∣ligious worship, but God only, whome they alone honoured and worshipped, if they were not deceiued, as Saint Iohn was in worshipping the Angell. Well it is plaine enough, by that which hath béen spoken, that no man can haue accesse vn∣to God, no man can please God, no man can be ioyned vnto God, without holines, without the which, as the Apostle saieth, that no man shall sée God.* Séeing ther∣fore that sanctification is so necessarie, we must séeke from whence it is to bee had. Our Sauiour Christ in the words of this prayer, doth plainly teach vs, from whēce all true holinesse doeth flow, and by what meanes wée may bée consecrated, from whence sanctification is to bée receiued, namely from God only, the only fountain of all holines, as of all good things.* Sancti∣fie them (saith hée) in thy trueth. In vaine therefore doe men séeke sanctification, but in him that is all holines. Our Sauiour Christ by this his prayer, teacheth vs, not only that holines is necessarie for all the Page [unnumbered] children of GOD, but also from whence they must obteine the same. For he de∣sireth not at the handes of God, that thing which men may either haue of thēselues, or of any other Authour then of God only: Whereof it followeth, that God only san∣ctifieth his elect, by this holy spirite of san∣ctification, through the meditation of his only sonne our sauiour Iesus Christ, who as S. Paule saieth, is made vnto vs by* God, wisedome, righteousnesse, sanctifica∣tion, and redemption. Therefore they that seeke sanctification in themselues, or by a∣ny meanes of their owne, labour all in vayne, neyther is it possible for them to approach neare vnto God. Wherefore the Gentiles although they did know that holinesse was necessarie, for them which should haue to doe with God, or thinges apperteyning to God, yet whilest they sought it in themselues, they came not nearer, but departed further from God. The Pelagians also, which boasted that there was matter enough in them selues, which being stirred vp by their frée will, might cōsecrate them vnto God, bewray∣ed nothing but their intollerable pryde, Page [unnumbered] and shamefull ignorance, as for sanctifica∣tion it was not possible for them to attein to any parte thereof. For by that Hea∣thenish heresie, they placed holinesse in such thinges, as were in our power, euen as the Gentiles doe. For all the cere∣monies whiche the Gentiles deuised to consecrate them selues, or any thing that they woulde dedicate vnto the seruice of God, are in the power of men to performe euen as they were of erronious imagina∣tion of men inuented and deuised. But the Pelagians although they differed frō the Gentiles in that they confessed, that not by externall ceremonies and bodely rites, a man could be sanctified, but by in∣warde vertues and spirituall puritie, not by voluntary obseruations and imagined practises of mens deusing, but by obedi∣ence and practise of Gods lawe and com∣maundements: yet in this pointe they a∣greed wholly & altogether with the Gen∣tiles, in that they held that obedience and practise of Gods lawe, was in our power: and might be attained vnto by the natu∣rall strength of frée will, without the aide of Gods grace, although with the aide of Page [unnumbered] Gods grace they saide a man might more easily kéepe Gods commaundementes. The papists also will séeme to depart frō the Pelagians, in that they ascribe not all vnto the frée will, and the power of natu∣rall strength as they did. But they goe not so farre from the Pelagians, as they come néere vnto ye Gentiles, in such points as the Pelagians did iustly differ from the gentiles. For with the gentiles they attri∣bute some power of sāctificatiō, vnto out∣warde Elements, and bodily ceremonies, and that not onely such as God hath ap∣pointed to testifie his grace of sanctifica∣tion by them, as are the holy sacraments, but also such, as they themselues haue in∣uented, they themselues haue sanctified, they themselues haue giuen power of san∣ctification vnto them without any pre∣scription, commaundement or allowance of God, in his holy Scriptures, such are these bables, they call their Agnus Dei, Hallowed graines, hallowed beades, cōming from his owne holinesse, who is the foun∣taine of Popish holinesse, beside an̄ hun∣dred of other hallowed creatures, the con∣secration of which, is described in their ri∣tuall Page [unnumbered] bookes of Agends and pontificals, & practised in their Idolatrous synagogues. yea and to the Pelagians them selues they approch, while they teache workes prepa∣ratorie vnto the receiuing of grace. which being such as are able to dispose men, and make them apt to obteine the grace of God, of a certaine congruity, they hold to procéede of the pure naturals, without the grace of God, or assistance of his holy spi∣rite.* Forgetting vtterly that the Apostle saith, Wée are not able of our selues, as of our selues to thinke any thing which is good, but our aptnes or ablenes 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is of God.* Forgetting also what the Lord testifieth of all the sonnes of Adam. That the imagination of mans hearte,* is euill euē frō his youth. And all the imaginatiōs of the thoughts of mans heart, are onely euil continually. Forgetting also yt which our Sauiour Christ saith to his disciples,* by which saying the Pelagians of olde time were knocked in the head. Without mée (saith Christe) you are able to do nothing: yet some of the Popish Doctors, I meane the schoole men, are neither ashamed, nor Page [unnumbered] afraide to affirme, that without grace, that is without Christ, we are able of our pure naturals to doe some thing, that is, to prepare our selues, dispose our selues, vnto a certaine aptnesse to receiue sancti∣fication. And the late Councell of Trent, accurseth y• man.*
Nowe touching the seconde parte, the wordes are these. Thy word is the trueth:* Which words are néedfully added, by our Sauiour Christ, that séeing hée prayeth, that his Disciples might bee sanctified in ye trueth, they might know precisely, what is the trueth. For such is the blindnes, ig∣norance, and errour of mans corrupt na∣ture, that although it be confessed, that GOD requireth trueth in the inwarde partes, as the Prophete sayeth: yet can not man sée, knowe, or finde out,* what is that trueth of holinesse which pleaseth God. And yet such is his arrogance, that notwithstanding it be Gods truth, wher∣in wée must be sanctified: man will pre∣sume, to assigne it and determine it, with∣out reuelation from God, euen out of the visions of his owne brayne, euen out of Page [unnumbered] his owne imagination. So that if hée once conceiue an opinion, hee will haue it to bee taken for a certaine trueth, and vndoubted knowledge. Therefore our Sauiour Christ, that neither the worlde should triumph in their blinde errors, nor his Disciples whom he had chosen out of the world, should be ignorant of the truth: doeth in verie plaine termes decyde the matter, and taketh away all ambiguitie and doubt, saying. Thy worde is the trueth.
By which saying wee learne, that there is no truth in matters appertaining to saluation, to Gods glorie, to our sancti∣fication, but that which is reuealed by God. For although in matters pertai∣ning to this worlde, and this present lyfe of man, much truth may be founde out by studie and sharpenesse of wyt, by ex∣perience and by demonstration, as in the sciences of Arithmetike, Geometrie, Phi∣losophie, and other Artes: yet this trueth, whereof our Sauiour Christe speaketh, wherein hée prayeth, that his Disciples might bée consecrated, that they might please God, by no sharpnesse of witte, by Page [unnumbered] no diligent search, or studie, by no experi∣ence, or demonstration of any science can be founde out, without the reuelation of God, and the authoritie of his holy word. And therefore the Apostle Saint Paule* testified of all the wise men and Philoso∣phers of the worlde,* that they became vaine in their disputations, and their ig∣norant heart was full of darknesse, and they became starke fooles. Also that the worlde by wisedome, knewe not the wis∣dome of God, as it is written, where is the wise? where is the learned? where is the disputer of this worlde? Yea GOD hath turned the wisedome of this worlde into foolishnesse: So that although it swel neuer so greatly in opinion of knowledge, yet it can not attaine to the knowledge of this trueth. Wherefore the reuelati∣on of Gods worde, is necessarie for all them, that shall bée made partakers of the trueth, of the lyfe to come. The trueth of matter perteining to this life, is ope∣ned by GOD in the worlde, and in the men of this worlde: but the trueth of the life to come, is not in the power of man to finde out, but commeth al∣together Page [unnumbered] by the reuelation of God. For it is hidden in God, vntill it be vttered by him, therefore it is only his goodnesse and mercy to disclose, those secret hidden my∣steries of his kingdome vnto his elect and chosen children outwardly by his worde, and inwardly by his spirite: of which the one beareth mutuall testimony vnto the other, that wée may knowe the worde of God by his spirite, and his spirite by his worde. Now séeing the Lord God hath opened his holie mouth to speake vnto vs, & declare vnto vs by his holie worde those thinges, that wée by our wittes could ne∣uer haue sound out: wee must giue this honour to his holie worde, that as he hath vttered thereby nothing but the trueth: so hee hath vttered thereby the whole & per∣fect trueth. So that whatsoeuer is neces∣sary for vs to be sanctified vnto gods plea∣sure and our eternall felicitie, all that is conteined in the trueth of God, and that trueth of God is none other but euen the same, which is reuealed by his holy word. Wherefore as it is damnable curiositie to enquire of the trueth of God further then God hath reuealed and shewed by Page [unnumbered] his worde: so is it execrable blasphemie, to accuse his worde of imperfection, as to say, all trueth is not reuealed thereby. For what great commendation shoulde our Sauiour Christ in this declaration, giue vnto the worde of God? if when hée sayeth. Thy worde is the trueth: hée shoulde meane no more but that Gods worde is true, whereof no man that ac∣knowledged God did euer doubt. But when hée saieth, vnto his Father, Thy worde is the trueth: vndoubtedly hee meaneth as much, as though hee had said: There is no trueth in the worlde concer∣ning sanctification, but only in thy truth: and in thy holie worde, is conteined all trueth, necessarie for mans sanctificati∣on, and consequently for his eternall sal∣uation. The worde of God therefore is a perfect trueth, conteining all trueth, and teacheth the whole trueth. And whatsoeuer is not conteined and taught in the worde of GOD, it is no trueth, but falshood and errour: which thing the wise man verie well considered, when hée saide. Adde nothing vnto his wordes, left hée reprooue thée,* and thou be found Page [unnumbered] lyar. For seeing euerie man by nature infected is a lyar, except hée speake agrée∣able to the worde of trueth, hée can speake nothing but a lye. Wherefore no man can speake the trueth, but hee whiche speaketh the worde of trueth: So that to adde vnto the trueth, which is perfect in it selfe, is to inuent a lye, and to pro∣uoke the wrath of God. The wise man therefore, did wisely ponder the nature of Gods worde to bée most absolute & per∣fect, wherevnto nothing coulde be added, but that shoulde deserue reproofe of God, and argue the Authour of that addition to be a lyar. So that it is nowe cleare and out of controuersie, with all them that haue any sparke of the feare of God: that the worde of God is most perfect in it self, and containeth all truth necessarie or con∣uenient for men to knowe. Yea, the Pa∣pistes them selues will not greatly sticke with vs, in this point, but that all trueth is taught by the word of God.
But what vndoubted testimony wée haue of the worde of GOD, there is the chiefe pointe of the controuersie Page [unnumbered] betwéene vs. The Papistes them selues will not nowe greatly striue with vs, that the worde of God is perfect, and that all trueth is taught by the worde of God on∣ly: but they will not acknowledge, that the holie Scripture of GOD is the only vndoubted externall testimony of his worde. And hereof arise contentions and controuersies, about so many questi∣ons as bée in variance betwéene vs. Be∣cause wee holde that the holie Scriptures inspired of God, doe containe a full and perfect enstruction of all things necessary for vs to knowe, to the attaining of euer∣lasting lyfe. The Papistes holde the contrarie, that all trueth necessarie to saluation is not taught, by the worde of GOD: but that wée haue other testi∣montes of the worde of GOD beside the holie Scriptures.
And herein they are so confident, that vnder colour of some thinges taught by other reuelation, then that which is con∣tained in the scriptures, they doubt no∣thing at all, to thrust vpon vs suche doctrines as are cleane contrarie to Page [unnumbered] the scriptures, as the religious vse and worshipping of Images, the forbidding of marriage and meates, the robbing of the laye people of the one halfe of the Lordes Supper, I meane the Sacrament of his blood, and suche lyke matters as bée most directly contrarie, to the word of God, expressed in the holie scriptures. As though it were possible, that GOD shoulde haue one worde written, and an other vnwritten, which is contrarie to that which is written, whiche gappe béeing once layde open, what certeintie of trueth can wée haue in the worlde? In vayne was it saide by our Sauioure Christe, vnto his Father, for our instruc∣tion. Thy worde is the trueth, if there bée not a certayne and perpetuall testi∣mony of that worde, which is alwayes lyke it selfe, alwayes the same, and wherevnto all thinges that are good doe agrée. For vnto trueth all thinges are consonant in it selfe, but falshoode by and by is contrarie vnto trueth, and of∣ten times vnto it selfe. The worde of God written, saieth expresly, Thou shalte Page [unnumbered] not make to thy selfe) in the vse of religiō, because it is a commandement of the first Table) Any grauen image, or likenesse of any thing, thou shalt not fall downe to them, and worship them. This notwith∣standing the Papistes will beare vs in hand, the worde of God vnwritten saieth the contrary, thou shalt make to thy selfe grauen images, for religion, thou shalt fal downe to them, and worship them. The Scripture telleth vs, by a cléere renelati∣on of the spirit, that it was the doctrine of Diuels to forbidde meate and marriage, for holinesse, and religion. The Papistes tell vs that it is the Churches authoritie, which is equal with the scriptures, which forbiddeth meats & marriage. The trueth written saith: Drinke yée all of this, & they dranke all of it, Let a man examin himself and let him eate of this bread, & drinke of this cup: But the vnwritten veritie of the Papists, saith in the Constantian councell. The laye people shall not drinke of that cuppe at all, but the Priestes only. These contradictions cannot possibly bée both true, wherfore wée must néedes hold it for an vndoubted principle, yt whatsoeuer is Page [unnumbered] contrary to the word of god, writtē is not the worde of God, because it is not true. For although Papists are not so courte∣ous, to the holy scriptures, to acknowlege that they are perfect, and doe containe at the full, all truth neccssary for vs to bée knwne for our saluation? yet nature her selfe denieth vnto them this horrible ab∣surditie, that any thing contrary to truth, shoulde bée true. Seeing therefore they dare not for shame say, the scripture is vn∣true: let them bée ashamed to auouch any thing for truth, which is contrary to the Scripture. And albeit it were (as they say) that they had another worde of God, beside that which is written in the bookes of the Canonicall Scripture: yet were it madnes to make it contrary to the Scrip∣ture, and blaspemie to make it of greater authorie then then the Scripture. For the worde of God howe euer it bée expressed, is alwayes of equall authoritie. Ther∣fore to boast of suche a worde of God vn∣written, as shoulde bée of authoritie to ab∣rogate the worde of GOD written, or to controul the same, or to dispēse with any commaundement of the same, otherwise Page [unnumbered] then the same written word alloweth: is a blasphemous bragge of satanicall pride, and can bée no suer testimonie of ye truth of Gods worde. Such is the presumptu∣ous boasting of the Papistes, concerning the authorie, of their tradition, of their church, of their Pope, which they aduance so highly, as yt they bée of power to change what pleaseth them in the worde of God written, to dispose with what preceptes they list, yea euen those, that nature her self will not dispense withall: which brag, what other thing doth it import, but that they haue a worde of God in their traditi∣on, Church, or Pope, which is of greater authoritie then the word of God writtē in the holy scriptures, which is plain in that they challenge authoritie, not only of in∣terpreting of Scriptures, as they liste, a∣gainst grāmer, against the propertie of the tongue, against reason, against ye scripture it selfe, in other places, against the plaine circūstāces of the same places: but also to giue credit & alowāce, euer to ye holy scrip∣tures thēselues, wt should haue no credite of thēselues, but by meanes of their appro¦bation and authoritie: which is so great, Page [unnumbered] that it is of power, to giue equall credite vnto ye Apocrifall writings of men, which the holy Scriptures inspired of God, vpon which ground they haue receiued into the Cannon of the holy Scriptures, the Apo∣crifall bookes of Ecclesiasticus, Tobye, Iu∣dith, Machabees, and such like, to bée of e∣quall authorie and credite, with the bookes of the Lawe, the Prophetes, and the Psalmmes, and with the Gospels, and E∣pistles of the new Testament: although they confesse that the Church of God be∣fore the incarnation of Christ, did alwaies take them for the Apocrifall, and none o∣therwise were they taken of the Churche of Christe, for many hundred yeeres after his passion. But this is to farre out of square, that they are not content most in∣iuriously to accuse the holy Scriptures of imperfection and vnsufficiencie, but they will glory of Gods worde to be in their possession, of greater authoritie, then that which is contained in the holy scriptures. Well, let that passe, and let vs sée whether wee haue not sufficient testimonie in the holy Scriptures, to prooue that they are perfect and sufficient and that the Page [unnumbered] word of trueth contained in them, is a full and absolute rule of all doctrine necessarie to eternall saluation. The Lorde by Moses chargeth,* that only which hée com∣maunded, & Moses did write, to bée practi∣sed. Therefore the worde written was a sufficient instruction for any thing that shoulde bée doone to the pleasure of GOD and peoples saluation,* Also hée forbid∣deth them to adde any thing to it, or to take any thing from it, which hée had de∣liuered in writing, wherefore there was no want, there was no superfluitie in that written worde. The Prophet Dauid in an hundred places of his Psalmes, ex∣tolleth the vtilitie, sufficiencie, and perfe∣ction of the same lawe of God written. Euery verse almost of the 119. Psalme doth set out the excellencie of that doctrine The prophet Esay sheweth yt the people of god for al questiōs must resort to the law* and to the testimonie. The Prophet Ma∣lachy, which was the last of the Prophets that god sent to teach by reuelation extra∣ordinary, referreth the people vnto ye law of Moses, as sufficient to direct them vn∣till the comming of Christe. AbrahamPage [unnumbered] in the parable of Luke 16. sendeth the rich mans fiue brethren vnto the Lawe and Prophets, as sufficient to teach them, that they come not into the place of torments. Our Sauiour Christ himself, willeth the Iewes and all them that will know him, to search the Scriptures. Search the scrip∣tures (saith he)* for in them looke to haue e∣ternall life, & the same are they that beare witnesse of me. But perhaps you wil say, they were deceiued in that they thought to attaine eternall life, by the doctrine of the scriptures, as alone being sufficient. Thē heare what our sauiour Christ affirmeth in this samepraier,* This is eternall life yt they may know thee the only true God & Iesus Christe whom thou hast sent. But the knowledge of God & Christ are suffi∣ciently to bée learned out of the holy scrip∣tures: therfore ye doctrine of the holy scrip∣tures is sufficiēt, to the attaining of euer∣lasting life. S. Paul saith, yt what thinges soeuer are written before, they are writtē for our learning, yt through patience and comfort of the scriptures wée might haue hope. This is little to the purpose, will some Papist say, that all the scripture is for our learning, séeing it is not thereby Page [unnumbered] prooued, that it is sufficient for our lear∣ning. No sir, but mark the end of this lear∣ning, that wée may heare by the scripture this, that we may haue hope. And know you not, that hope maketh not ashamed? That by hope we are saued? Séeing then wee may haue sufficient learning by the* scripture to haue hope, & by hope wée may haue saluatiō: is it not manifest, yt by holy scriptures we may be abundantly instru∣cted vnto saluatiō. And what neede we any far fetched arguments, when the Apostle saith in expresse words, the scriptures are able to make vs wise vnto saluatiō. They are the very wordes of the holy Ghost, vt∣tered by S. Paul vnto Timothie,* when he cōmendeth, yt from his infancie, he had learned ye holy scriptures, which are able (saith he) to make thée wise vnto saluatiō, through the faith of Iesus Christ•. Would any mā think after so manifest a testimo∣nie of ye holy scriptures brought foorth for the sufficiēcie of ye holy scriptures, that the papists durst for worldly shame, although they be void of the feare of god, to cōtinue in their impudēt paradoxe yt all truth is not taught in the holy scriptures? That the holy Scriptures, doe not containe the whole truth of gods word in such perfectiō Page [unnumbered] but that wée must receiue some parte of the worde of God, out of some other testi∣monie, which cannot bée proued out of the holy scriptures. There is none so blind as the obstinate that will not sée. But who so hath a care of eternall saluation, will séeke it in none other word, then that which is comprehended in the holy Scrip∣tures, séeing by witnesse of Gods spirite, they are able to make vs wise vnto salua¦tion, which coulde not bée truely saide, if there were any trueth necessarie to salua∣tion, which were not to bée found and suf∣ficiently proued by the onely authoritie of the holy Scriptures.
Finally, the same Apostle saith in the same place.* All the scripture is inspired of God, & is profitable to teach, to improue, to correct, and to instruct, in righteousnes, that the man of God may bée absolute, being made perfect vnto euery good work. Coulde any thing be said more fully to ex∣presse the perfection of the holy scriptures, or to proue that all true doctrine is contai∣ned in them. Tush say the Papistes: this is nothing to prooue that the word of God, or all true doctrine is perfectly contained Page [unnumbered] in the Scriptures. Hée saith the Scrip∣ture is profitable to teach, hée saith not, it is sufficient to teach. Many thinges are profitable and good helpes, which yet bée neither necessary, nor sufficient, and suche a thing is the scripture without the which the Church hath cōtinued néere two thou∣sande yéeres, and so might haue continued still, but that God hath added the aide of the Scriptures as profitable to teache, to improoue, to correct, and instruct, and yet it followeth not, that the Scriptures a∣lone, are sufficient and able to instructe, a Christian man in all thinges that it is néedefull for him to knowe. But there bée other testimonies of Gods worde, where∣by many thinges are taught, which are taught in the scriptures, and yet bée as ne∣cessary to bée knowne & practised of Chri∣stians, as any taught in the Scriptures. What things are these I pray you? They will answere the misterie of the blessed Trinitie, the sacraments of the Church, the baptisme of infants, the perpetual vir∣ginitie of Mary and such like. Concerning the inysterie of the blessed & euerlasting Trinitie, if it were not plainely taught, & Page [unnumbered] inuincibly prooued by the holy scriptures: the Church in old time labored in vaine to prooue it and defend it out of the Scrip∣tures against so many heresies as Satan raised vp against it. But they wil vrge vs to shew, where we finde the Trinitie once named in the scriptures? A perillous que∣stion, wee finde thrée persons of the God∣head plainly and perfectly distinguished by the holy Scriptures: then what vnreaso∣nable beast is hee that will contend of the name, whē the thing is certain? Likewise I say of the name of sacramēts, although it be not applied in the Scripture vnto bap∣tisme & the Lords Supper: yet that which is the definition of a sacrament, is cléerely in the scripture aduouched of these misti∣call actions. The name of Sacrament is borrowed of the Latine spéech, in which no part of ye scripture was first writtē. As for ye baptism of infāts, I shal haue occasiō to speak of it héereafter, In ye meane time, I say, the papists are very fauourable vn∣to yeAnabaptists, which affirme ye baptisme of infants, cannot be prooued out of the ho∣ly scriptures, & so strengthen them in their heresie. Touching the perpetuall virgini∣tie of Mary, if it be néedful to saluatiō that Page [unnumbered] it should be knowne of euery Christian, it is vndoubtedly taught in the scriptures if it bee not taught in the scriptures, it is nothing necessary to euerlasting sal∣uation. For to stop the mouth of this im∣pudent and arrogant cauiller, against the sufficiencie of the holy scriptures, the holy Ghoste had immediatly before prouided: where the Apostle shewing what vtilitie he spake of, namely that which is both ne∣cessarie and sufficient, said that the scrip∣ture was able to make a man wise vnto saluation. Therefore the Scripture is so profitable, that it is also necessary to giue knowledge of saluation. And it is so profi∣table yt it is also sufficient, & able to mini∣ster abundance of heauenly wisedome, to the attainment of eternall saluation. O blinde & shamelesse cauillers, yt cannot or will not sée yt is written in the verse im∣mediatly going before, able to put ye whole matter out of cōtrouersie. But let vs yet cōsider more of their shameles shifts. Ad∣mit the papists see not these wordes going before & shoulde not bee vrged with them. Doth not this very text in wt the apostle cōmendeth ye vtilitie of ye holy scriptures? set foorth also the sufficiencie of the same? Page [unnumbered] Doth not the Apostle say, the Scripture is so profitable, that the man of God ther∣by may bée perfect and throughly instru∣cted vnto euery good worke? Who woulde require greater perspicuitie or plainnes, if hee meane to set his beleefe, and not to maintaine his error? Yet see what Cob∣webs the spider weaueth to couer ye light, of this text from the eyes of the ignorant, and such as wilfully bée obstinate. The man of God saith hée, in this place is not taken generally for euery godly man, but specially for the Minister of the Churche, the Minister of God. Therefore although the Minister of God may bée made perfect by the doctrine of the Scriptures, it follo∣weth not that euery man may bée so like∣wise. Albeit the Minister hath his whole duetie taught by the holy Scriptures, yet hath not euery one of the people his dutie throughly taught in the Scriptures, that hée may bée made perfect and prepared to euery good worke. For euery good worke in that place, doeth signifie the whole worke or office of the minister on∣ly, and not of the people also. What can wée answere to this? Page [unnumbered] First I am content to vnderstande the man of God in this text, specially for the minister of God, as the quarreller saith: and what haue wée lost therby? The scrip∣ture is sufficient to make the minister of god perfect, which hath ye charge of all the people, to make them perfect, and there∣fore, yea much rather it is sufficient, to make euery one of the people perfect and throughly instructed to euery good worke. For what is the office of the minister of God, is it not to teach, to improoue, to cor∣rect, to instruct in righteousnesse. The scripture is profitable for al these purposes euen vnto the perfection of the man of God, therefore there wanteth nothing of sufficiencie in the holy Scriptures. For what shall hée teach, but true doctrine? and howe is the Scripture profitable to make him perfect vnto doctrine, except it bee able to teache him all true doctrine? What shall hée reproue but errours, & he∣resies, if the Scripture bee not able to con∣uince all heresies and false opnions tou∣ching religion, how is it able to make him perfect to that part of his office, which cō∣sisteth Page [unnumbered] in reproouing and conuincing of er∣rors, and Heretikes. Againe, what shall hée correct, but vices and sinnes, that are commmitted against Gods commande∣ments? But howe shoulde hée bée able to correct them by the Scriptures, if whatso∣euer is sinne may not be reprehended and condemned by the authoritie of the scrip∣tures?
Finally, howe shall hée instruct in righteousnesse, to the perfect discharge of his office, by the proper, ablenesse of the scriptures, if there bee any works of righ∣teousnes acceptable vnto God, which are not commanded or cōmended in the holye Scriptures. Thus you sée, the myst easily driuen away, & the cléere light of the truth gloriously shining to the shame & confusi∣on, of al the enimies of the holy scriptures among whom the papists are not the lest, which in no sauce can abide, that the holy scriptures inspired of god should bée suffi∣cient to testifie so much of Gods worde vnto vs, as should be necessary to saluati∣on of our soules. but being thus shameful∣ly ouerthrowne, & put to flight, will they giue ouer and yéelde to the truth? No Page [unnumbered] they are frozen in the dregges of their er∣ror. They will not cease to quarrell, vn∣til they leaue to liue. For what other star∣ting hole haue they now trow you, to a∣uoide the force of the truth, inforcing the sufficiencie of the scriptures by this testi∣monie of the holy Ghost? For sooth they say that Saint Paules wordes are not to bée vnderstood of all the whole Scripture, but of euery booke, yea of euery text and sentence of the Scripture, which is profi∣table to teach, to improoue, to correct, to in∣struct: but all true doctrine is not taught in euery booke or sentence of the Scripture. therefore the sufficiencie of the scripture is not taught by this text. I maruell they say not that Saint Paule speaketh of e∣uery worde, sillable, or letter yt is written in the Bible, in which is some profite to teach, to improoue, to correct, and instruct, but not to teache all thinges needefull to bee knowne. They might as well say, that Saint Paule speaketh of, euery singular worde, as of euery particu∣lar booke, & seuerall sentence of the scrip∣ture. But howe can it bée prooued that he speaketh not of euery booke or sentence Page [unnumbered] seuered from the rest, but of the whole body of Scripture? Nay, what is more easie to prooue then that? When hée spea∣keth of the Scripture, so as it is able to make the man of God absolute, and per∣fectly instructed vnto euery good worke, or vnto the whole good worke of his ministe∣rie. Euery seueral booke, and much lesse e∣uery sentence of the scripture is not able to make the man of God perfect in all partes of his office, nor throughly prepared vnto euery good worke, therefore it is most eui∣dent, that the Apostle speaketh not of eue∣ry seuer all booke or sentence, but of the whole body of the holy Scriptures, in which Timothy was instructed, and which he said before, was able to make him wise vnto saluatiō. For neither euery sentence nor euery booke of the holy scripture, doth containe sufficient wisedome vnto eter∣nall saluation, but the whole body of scriptures is able to make any man wise vnto saluation, through faith in Iesus Christe. Therefore it is certaine, that this text is to bée vnderstood of the whole Scripture, and that worde 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, is so to bée translated, the whole scripture Page [unnumbered] or all the scripture, and not euerie scrip∣ture. But yet blinde malice, cannot cease to rayse a dust, to blemishe the glorie of Gods truth perfectly expressed, in his ho∣ly scriptures. This text (saieth the Pa∣pist) was written by S. Paule, before the new Testament was put in writing, and receiued in the Church. Therefore it must néedes be vnderstood of the scripture of the olde Testament only. Wherefore it is not like, that Saint Paul would affirme, the olde Testament sufficiently to cōtain the worde of God. For then the additi∣on of so many bookes of the newe Testa∣ment, were altogether superfluous, which absurditie that wée may auoide, wée must néedes say, that Saint Paules meaning was to teache vs that euerie scripture is profitable, but not that the whole scrip∣ture as it was at that time, was suffici∣ent. So that there is no text, to prooue, that the whole scripture as it is now, con∣taining both the old and new Testament, is sufficient for a Christian mans perfect instruction, but that hee must receiue the worde of God from the Churches mouth, although it be not registred in the old Te∣stament Page [unnumbered] or the newe. This argument be∣ing of a late inuention, pieaseth the Pa∣pistes out of measure, insomuch that they clappe their handes at it, and thinke them selues clearly discharged of that Terte. But howe vayne, howe foolishe, howe ridiculous it is, and vnworthie of any mans estimation, I will plainly open vnto you. First it is not denyed but Saint Paule in this texte, speaketh espe∣cially of the scripture of the olde Testa∣ment, not only because all bookes of the newe Testament were not then written, although many were, but also because the apostle speaketh of that scripture in know∣ledge wherein Timothie had béen brought vp from his infancy, which should be none other but the lawe and the Prophets, the scriptures of the olde Testament. But if it may bée prooued that the scripture of the olde Testament did sufficiently containe the worde of God, as it hath béene proo∣ued alreadie, to make men wise vnto sal∣uation, then much more abundantly the scripture both of the olde and new Testa∣ment, containeth the whole counsell of Page [unnumbered] God, a perfect truth, euen that worde of God, which our Sauiour Christ in this his prayer affirmeth to be the truth. For of all the reasons that euer I heard, this that nowe pleaseth them so much, is most worthie to be laughed at, and hissed out of all Christian Schooles, not only by lear∣ned men, but euen by women and chil∣dren. If the scripture of the olde Testa∣ment be sufficient (say they) the new Te∣stament is superfluous. Is there no mean betwéene sufficiency and superfluitie? A man that hath wherewith to prouide him selfe of meate and drink, apparell and lod∣ging of the meanest sorte, hath sufficient for his liuing. But if any thing be added to this sufficiency, wil you say it is super∣fluitie. Is there no vse of riches, or abun∣dance aboue sufficiency, but it is by & by superfluitie. The scripture of the olde Te∣stament cōtaineth the word of God suffi∣ciently for mens saluation, but the newe Testament added therevnto, containeth no new substance or matter of doctrine, or article of beliefe, necessarie to saluation, but the same auncient and eternall worde of God most richly, most plentifully, most abundantly.
Page [unnumbered] Wherefore that the Apostle giueth the commendation of sufficiency, vnto the scripture of the old Testament, yet so far of, that it should hinder the credite of the whole scripture, which nowe the Church enioyeth, that it doeth a great deale more magnifically set foorth the vnsearchable treasures of Gods wisdom and holy word, reuealed more at large, more plainly, and openly set foorth in the time of the Gospel, then it was reuealed or set forth vnder the law. Wherfore we may not reason wt the papists if the scripture of the old testamēt had béen sufficient, the newe should haue béene superfluous, but contrariwise, if the olde Testament were sufficient, the scrip∣ture of the newe and olde together must néedes be abundant. That the scripture of the old Testament contained sufficient instruction, vnto eternall life, hath béene prooued alreadie sufficiently, and yet for more clearnesse, I will adde other reasōs and authorities, to prooue the same richly and abundantly. The whole doctrine of the Gospell of Christ, is contained in the scriptures of the olde Testament, which is sufficient for a Christian mans instruc∣tion, therefore there is no want, nor im∣perfection, Page [unnumbered] no vnsufficiency, of the sub∣stance of doctrine, in the scripture of the olde Testament,* Saint Paule in this ve∣rie place, exhorteth Timothy to continue in those thinges whiche hée had learned, and whiche were committed vnto him: knowing of whome hée had learned them, namely of the Apostle, and secondly of the holy scriptures, in which hée had béene instructed from an infant, which were a∣ble to make him wise vnto saluation. Sée you not here most plainly, that the same thinges which Timothy had learned of Paule, and which were committed vnto him, that hée might perfectly fulfill the worke of an Euangelist (which cannot be except hée preache the Gospell perfectly) were contained in the scripture of the olde Testament, which hée had knowne from a childe, which Scriptures were not able to make him or any man wise vnto salua∣tion, excepte they contained all articles of Christian doctrine, which a christian man is bound to know and beléeue. And ther∣fore vpon this ground, hée inferreth, that the whole scripture is profitable to furnish the man of God vnto all partes of his of∣fice, and to make him perfect vnto euerie Page [unnumbered] good worke. Beside this, the holy Ghost in the Actes of the Apostles,* commendeth the Berhaeans, that they receiued the word of God, with all readines of mind, daily sear∣ching the scriptures, if these thinges were so as ye Apostles preached. Mark this text diligently, they receiued the word of al re∣dines, as it was preached by the Apostles: but they admitted nothing for the word of God, but that they found, to haue grounde and cōfirmation in ye scriptures, in ye law, & the prophets: wherfore the apostles prea¦ching ye Gospel, preached none other word of god, but that which was cōtained in the scriptures of the old Testamēt. For if they had preached any vnwrittē verities, howe should the Berhaeans haue found the same in the scriptures? And what speak I of the Apostles: euen their lord & maister, ye sonne of God, the word of God, the truth of God, offereth his whole doctrine to be tried by the scriptures of the old testamēt.* Search ye scriptures (saith hée) for in thē you think to haue euerlasting life, they are the same, yt beare witnes of mée: Hee testifieth also, yt all things that are writtē of him in ye law, & the prophets, & in the psalmes, must be & were fulfilled.* And whē he authorized his Page [unnumbered] Apostles to preach ye Gospel, & performāce of all things that were written in the law & the prophets. He openeth their vnderstā∣ding that they might vnderstād the scrip∣tures, which contained the worde of God perfectly & sufficiently, although the same in the new testament & doctrine of fulfil∣ling, be set forth more richly, more plenti∣fully, & more plainly. And lest you shoulde think this sufficiency of the scriptures, to haue béen only after all the bookes of ye old testament were written, which were ma∣ny hundreth yéeres frō the first to the last. So that from Moses vntill Malachy, or from the beginning of the worlde vntill Malachies prophecy, was receiued, there was no sufficiency of true doctrine contai∣ned in the scripture: I will plainly prooue vnto you, that frō the time that the worde of▪ GOD was first deliuered in writing, there was sufficiency in that scripture for the perfect instruction of the church of that time. And what soeuer bookes of scripture were afterward added, was but a larger opening, and playner demonstration of the same, as GOD in wisedome and mercy dyd sée it conuenient and necessary, Page [unnumbered] for euerie age of the Church, and his peo∣ple liuing in those times. The fiue bookes of Moses was the first scripture, that was deliuered vnto the Church, which contai∣ned a perfect and most sufficient doctrine of all thinges to be knowne and done, of that people, for the attainment of eternall life: the other bookes that followed, were but enlargementes and interpretations of the same doctrine, that was contained in those fiue bookes. For if they had béene additions of any newe doctrine, they had béene contrarie to the prohibition of the same law, and subiect to the curse of God. Yea the principall triall of all Prophetes,* that succéeded, was by the same lawe. In∣somuch that if a Prophet, or dreamer of dreames did arise, which taught an other God, or an other worship of God, not set foorth in the lawe, hée was thereby discry∣ed, to be a false prophet, although he could tell before of thinges that came to passe▪ or worke myracles. This argued suffici∣ently the perfection of the doctrine contai∣ned in that lawe, against which no signes or miracles, should be credited. Also Io∣sua in his exhortatiō made vnto ye people: Page [unnumbered] after that hée had deuided the lande vnto them, chargeth them to obserue and doe all that is written in the booke of the lawe of Moses, that they turne not there from, neither to the right hande, nor to the left, that is they doe neither more nor lesse, but that is written in the holy scripture, ther∣fore the booke of the lawe of Moses was perfect and sufficient, for the instruction of that people. And what sayeth our Sauiour Christ vnto the Saduces which receiued no parte of the olde Testament but only the fiue bookes of Moses: Doeth hée not say, they erred, because they knowe not the Scriptures and power of God? And what Scripture? but the scripture of those fiue bookes, out of which hée doeth so pithily and effectually prooue the article of the resurrection of the dead, that hée stopped the mouthes of those ob∣stinate and arrogant heretikes. And who doubteth? but euen as that one ar∣ticle of the resurrection, was by our Sa∣uiour Christ so substantially prooued, so all other articles of Christian beliefe, by that diuine wisedome of his, might as necessarily bée concluded out of those fiue Page [unnumbered] bookes of Moses. This alwayes is to bée remembred, that it was neither necessarie nor conuenient, for the Church of those times, vnto which these bookes alone were committed: to vnderstand or know, these articles of our beléefe so plainly, so distinct∣ly, so largely, as they were after reuealed by the Prophets, & especially by the scrip∣tures of the new Testament. But that al necessary points of saluatiō, & euery thing there to belonging, was sufficiently & per∣fectly set foorth in those scriptures, which the wisdom of God thought to be conueni∣ent for their instruction: So ye they shoulde not depend vpō the vncertain credit of mē, but alwaies haue the touchstone of Gods word contained in his holy writing inspi∣red by his spirit, to trye & examine all doc∣trines & teachers thereby. But now ye wée haue shewed, that the holie scripture is a sufficient & most plētifull testimony of the word of God, let vs sée, what other witnes of Gods word, the Papists woulde thrust vpon vs. The word of God (say they,) be∣side y• which is contained in the scriptures, is continued also partly by tradition part∣ly is reuealed by the sentence and oracle of the church, & of the chiefe shepheard therof which is the Pope, all which is of equall, Page [unnumbered] authoritie and certaintie, with that which is contained in the holie scriptures. And first concerning tradition: the scripture it selfe, doth testifie, that it is to be receiued, whether it be by writing, or vnwritten. For so the Apostle cōmaundeth the Thes∣salonians, saying:* Hold fast the traditiōs, which you haue learned, whether it be by word of mouth, or by our Epistle. So say they, the scripture it self commandeth vn∣written verities, & traditions, beside the scripture, to be holden fast, and not to bée despised: therefore the scripture alone is not sufficient, to teache vs the worde of truth, but we must also leane vnto vn∣written traditions. There is no Papist almost, that openeth his mouth, or setteth his pen to paper, to defend tradition, but this is the principall bulwarke, to main∣tain vnwritten verities receiued by tradi∣tion. A sore place I promise you. Out of which if you will gather rightly, you must thus cōclude. Saint Paul had taught the Thessalonians, partly by preaching, and partly by writing, and taught the truth in both necessary to be reteined, therfore the holy scripture doth not contain al doctine néedful vnto saluation. Or thus, S. Paule Page [unnumbered] in one or two Epistles, had not compre∣hended all necessarie truth, therefore all necessary truth is not comprehended in all the bookes of the scripture.
For hée speaketh not of traditions, that were no where written, but not writ∣ten in his Epistle. Signifying what∣soeuer hée did deliuer vnto them, either by worde of mouth, or by his Epistle, was the truth of GOD, whiche they were bounde to beléeue, and yet hée de∣liuered nothing for any doctrine of sal∣uation vnto them, but that whiche hée confirmed by the scriptures of the olde Testament, as it is manifest by ye which S. Luke reporteth of their neighbours the Berthaeans which dayly searched the scriptures, if those thinges which Saint Paul taught, were euē so. Wherfore this place doth nothing fauour vnwritten tra∣ditions, yt are altogether beside the holie scripture, but only such as are not contai∣ned in the first & second Epistle to ye Thes∣salonians, but were preached by S. Paul, and tried by the scriptures. The strongest bulwarke being thus rased & made euen with the ground: what force can there bée Page [unnumbered] in their other féeble fortresses? why do you so exclaime against tradition, & vnwritten veritie, & striue so much for your Castle of only scripture say they? know you not that the Churche of God continued more then two thousand yeares without any worde of the Bible written: & how was the word of God then continued, but by vnwritten traditiō: There is not therfore such neces∣sitie of the scriptures, seeing ye church could so long continue the pillar & stay of truth, without thē, but ye nowe hauing the scrip∣tures for witnesse of some parte of Gods word, shée may cōtinue the rest y• is neces∣sary, for the instruction of Gods people by tradition only, wt out the scriptures. Heere is a godly shew for traditiō, but indéed no∣thing els but a vain shew, wtout any pithe of matter: yea, containing manifest vn∣truth & false matter. For the word of God was not so long cōtinued only by traditiō of men, but by a much more certain testi∣mony of truth, namely by diuine reue∣latiō from god, which was renued in eue∣ry age, yt the word of God might not stand vpon the bare credite of men, or be left to the vnsure & deceiueable deliuery of men, Page [unnumbered] from hand to hand, but be euermore con∣firmed by heauenly oracle, that ye Church might be certaine, not to be carried away by vntrue reports of deceueable men, but to depend alwaies vpon the mouth of god. For in al that time, the lord had a regard, that his people should not be like children wauering, & carried about with the wind of euery doctrine, by the deceit of men, and by their craftinesse which haue a methode of errour,* as the Apostle saith of the church of Christ since his ascention, & therfore hée did in all generations, beside the tradition and deliuerie of the doctrine of truth, from the parentes to their children, & posteritie, s••rre vp Prophets & Preachers cōfirmed by extraordinary & wonderful reuelatiōs and gifts of his holy spirite, which testified of that truth, & word of God that was con∣tinued by tradition, yt it should neither bée doubted of, among so many errors as Sa∣tan raysed vp, nor be corrupted, either by the subtletie of the deuil, or by the infirmi∣tie & forgetfulnes of men. Wherefore the tradition being thus cōtinued & cōfirmed, was not a bare traditiō, & deliuery of mē, such as the Papists would draw vs vnto, Page [unnumbered] from the holie scriptures: but a most cer∣taine and vndoubted testimony of Gods word, & his truth, such as he in wisdome, did sée to be most cōuenient for his church in that season. Beside this heauenly & di∣uine reuelation, which alwaies waighted vpon Gods word, in those times continu∣ed by tradition: The very tradition it self, was farre vnlike to the pretended traditi∣on, of the Papists. For the Lord God, who in that time, would haue his holy word to be preserued from generation to generati∣on, by tradition without writing, commit∣ted the same to faithfull witnesses, whose liues he enlarged vnto so many yeares, as we read of in the holic scriptures, not on∣ly for propagation of their kinde, but also, and especially, that they might continue the doctrine of his word, which he had de∣liuered vnto them, vnto many generati∣ons, & to a long posteritie after them. For this cause Adam liued, 930. yeares. Seth, 912. yeares Methusalach, 969. Noach, 950. yeares. So that Adam, which first receiued the doctrine of GOD, both of the lawe & the Gospell, and also the exter∣nal forme of worshipping god by sacrifice, which hée taught his sonnes, insomuch Page [unnumbered] that Abell by fayth offered an acceptable* sacrifice vnto God,* which coulde not bée without hearing of the worde of God, as the holie Ghost witnesseth: continued a faithfull witnesse and teacher of the same doctrine, vnto many thousandes of his posteritie, by the space of 930. yeares, beside his godly sonne Seth, and other of his after commers. And whereas by the wicked generation of Cain, the true inuocation of God was prophaned in the dayes of his Nephew Enoch, which vn∣godly broode dayly increased in wickednes* corrupting many euen of the posteritie of*Seth. The Lorde stirred vp an extraor∣dinarie Prophet Enoch, to confirme the true doctrine taught by Adam, Seth, E∣noch, and other of his godly posteritie, and tooke him our of the worlde miracu∣lously, both to confirme the faithfull in the hope of the resurrection, and to confound the reprobate, that despised his holy cor∣rection and discipline. Now let vs con∣sider the certaintie of this tradition. No∣ach, was 600. yeare olde, before the Lord God sent the floode to destroye those im∣pudent contemners, So that of his Page [unnumbered] father Lamech, and of his granfather Me∣thushalech which might sée and heare, The first of the worlde Adam, which Seth, Enoch and all the godly Patriarkes that were before him, did receiue the doctrine of Gods worde, as it was deliuered by God himselfe vnto them, without any addition or corruption. Besides that Noach, which receiued the tradition, but from the second mouth, of them which receiued it from the mouth of God, is againe confirmed with diuine reuelation, with whom, and his posteritie, the couenant of God is againe renewed: so that it appeareth howe for the space of a thousande and sixe hundred yéeres, the worde of God, and doctrine of saluation, was continued in the church by tradition, without any danger, or doubt of corruption from Adam to Noach.
Nowe let vs sée howe this tradition was maintained after the flood, vntill the time of Moses, which was the first writer of the Canonicall Scripture. First it is certaine by the computation of the age of Sem, the sonne of Noach. who was one of them that were preserued in the Ark, and with whom the couenant was renewed, Page [unnumbered] that hée liued vnto the time of Abraham, yée vntill Isaac was 50. yéere olde & more, for hée liued 502. yéeres after the flood. So that all this time, there continued a faith∣full and credible witnesse of the worde of God and historie of the world restored, of whō the people might learne the certain∣tie of the doctrine, without any perill or doubt of corruption. But when the Lorde called Abraham, and seuered him and his posteritie for his peculiar people, and cho∣sen congregation, and that the age of man was nowe contracted, and drawne vnto a much shorter time of life: that the certein∣tie of his heauēly truth should not be com∣mitted to vncertaine tradition of many generations, hée renewed his couenaunt with Abraham, Isaac, and Iacob, and euery one of them, and confirmed the same to their children in euery age by diuine reue∣lation, vntill it was his pleasure to record the same, in the most certaine Tables of the holy Scriptures. For from the death of Ioseph one of the twelue Patriarkes, which liued after the comming of Iacob in to Egypt thréescore & ten yéeres, there pas∣sed but thréescore yéeres vntill ye birth of Page [unnumbered]Moses. Leui an other of the xii. Patriarks, liued 23. yeres after Ioseph, whose daughter Iacobed was mother vnto Moses. And Mo∣ses long time before hee brought the people out of Egypt receiued diuine reuelation as S. Steeuen testifieth, so that hee thought his brethren shoulde haue acknowledged that God had appointed him to bee there deliuered,* by killing the Egyptian that op∣pressed them. So that the certaintie of this tradition appeareth from the begin∣ning of the worlde, vnto the wri•ing of the holy Scriptures, to haue béen confir∣med, in euery age by reuelation from god and by witnesses aboue all exception, such as receiued the Oracles and confirmati∣of them, from God him selfe: whose life was prolonged into such number of yéeres that the Church might neuer lacke a pro∣phet inspired of God, of whom they might hée instructed in truth of Gods worde.
So that the Lorde did neuer permit his worde to bare tradition of men, suche as the Papistes affirme the tradition of the Apostles to haue béene, whiche shoulde haue deliuered the doctrine Page [unnumbered] to their successors, without writing, and they to their successours, and so from age to age, without any assurance of the fideli∣tie of al their successours, through an hun∣dred handes before it come vnto vs. By whiche vncertaintie of the Tradition, a wyde gate is opened vnto Satan, to bring in any falshood & strange error, & to father it vpon the tradition of the Apostles. As it is manifest, he did in ye heresie of the Va∣lētiniās, Maniches, Montanistes, & such other monstrous heresies, who had none other refuge to couer ye noueltie of there strange opinions, but a secret tradition, beside the Scriptures, according to which the Valen∣tinians,* iumpe with the Papists, as Irenae∣us testifieth, they affirmed the Scriptures were to bée interpreted, & not otherwise. But when Irenaeus not content to confute them by Scriptures, seeketh to ouerthrom them also by tradition what certaintie of truth findeth he in the traditiō of the apo∣stles as it was receiued in his time? And a man woulde thinke, hée being so néere the time of the Apostles, so that hee had séene them, which had heard the Apostles, shoulde haue had a much greater certain∣tie Page [unnumbered] and assurance of their traditions, then we can haue in these times, after so many heresies, corruptions, alterations, perse∣cutions, contentions, which take away al¦certaintie from such vnwritten traditiōs. Yet euē this godly father Irenaeus, whiles hee striueth to beare downe the Heretikes not only by scriptures, but also by traditi∣on, in which they gloried: was deceiued by a false and counterfet tradition contra∣ry to the Scriptures, by which it was af∣firmed that our sauiour Christ liued more then fortie yéeres in the fleshe. And yet to iustifie this tradition, hée alleadgeth for witnesses, all the elders of Asia, which had conuersation with S. Iohn the Disciple of our Lorde, who liued with them vntill the time of Traianus the Emperour,* all which affirmed, that Saint Iohn deliue∣red the same thing vnto them. Yea some of them had séene, not only Iohn, but other Apostles also, and hearde the same things of them, & testified of such report. What a godly shew of truth hath this tradition? Yea what woulde a man require almost for greater certaintie of such a tradition, then the vniforme consent of al them that Page [unnumbered] had séene and hearde the Apostle, of which some had hard ye other apostles also. What like assurance can the Papistes make vs for their pretended traditions of the Apo∣stles? And yet this traditiō which Iraeneus aduoucheth, with such shew of credit to be a true tradition, is a very falshood and vn∣truth contrary to the Historie of the Go∣spell,* which expresly affirmeth that Christ was but 30. yéeres olde when hee began to teache in the 15. yéere of the Emperour Tiberius, after which time hee liued not a∣boue 3. yéeres and an halfe. You sée there∣fore what it is to leaue the holy scriptures & to follow vnwritten traditions, where∣of what certaintie can there bée, when they that liued so néere the time of the A∣postles were so grossely deceiued with im¦pudent lyes and fables, and yet coloured with such shewe and appearance of cre∣dite. And no maruell if Irenaeus which receiued this tradition at the second hand was beguiled with a fained vntruth whē euen they that were the schollers of the Apostles them selues coulde not agrée a∣bout their traditions which were beside their holy writinges.*Eusebius out of I∣renaeusPage [unnumbered] testifieth that when Polycarpus Bi∣shop of Smyrna came to Rome in the time whē Anicetus was bishop there, they could not agrée about the tradition of the Apo∣stles, concerning the celebratiō of Easter. For neither coulde Anicetus persuade Po∣lycarpus, to alter that which hee had seene Saint Iohn and other of the Apostles to practise, neither coulde Polycarpus persuade Anicetus to forsake that, whiche hée had receiued of his predicessors who pretended to haue receiued the same, of the Apostles Peter & Paule. So that when the first and immediate successors of the Apostles, cannot agrée vpon their traditi∣ons: What hope of certaintie can wee haue after so many generations? These were both auncient fathers, both godly fathers, which acknowledged yt all things necessary to saluation were contained in the holy Scriptures, and therefore, al∣though they coulde not agrée in the vse of a Ceremonie, yet they dyd not breake Christian vnitie for that diuer∣sitie. Whereas if they had thought vnwritten Traditions necessarie, as Page [unnumbered]Victor that was after successor to Anice∣tus séemeth to haue thought, they woulde not haue so brotherly communicated the one with the other, as they did, but rather as Victor, erroniously and presumptuously tooke vpon him, to excommunicate the churches of Asia that agréed not with him they woulde haue detested the one the o∣ther. This story also doeth plentifully witnesse, that the Bishop of Romes au∣thoritie in the beginning of the primitiue Church, was not reputed to bée a matter of such certaintie, yt all mē must obey his censure, and no man gainesay, or thinke o∣therwise then hée doeth, in any case of reli∣gion. For Polycarpus doubteth nothing at all, to dissent from Anicetus Bishop of Rome, where hée thought hée had better grounde, neither doeth Anicetus obiect the necessitie of obedience vnto Saint Peters chayre, as the Pope nowe a daies preten∣deth, but when hée coulde not perswade Polycarpus to consent with him, in a mat∣of small importance, and which is beside the holy Scripture, hée is content, that hée shall dissent from him, both in opinion, and in practise, But howe farre from Page [unnumbered] this modestie, is ye Pope of Rome in these dayes, which though hée can tollerate di∣uersitie of Ceremonies, as the Papistes say, to colour this matter, yet will he not tollerate that any man shall dissent in o∣pinion & iudgemēt frō him, in any of those things, for which he hath no groūd out of the holy scriptures, but only a counterfet & falsly pretēded tradition of the apostles. Well, you sée by the example of Polycarpus and Anicetus, that there is no certaintie in vnwritten traditions, when they y• were the next and immediate successors of the Apostles, were not resolued vpon thē, but continued in contrary iudgementes of them. And no maruell, when Iohn him selfe testifieth, that euen among the ve∣ry Disciples of Christe, there went a wrong tradition, concerning the death of Saint Iohn: which hauing no ground vp∣on the wordes of our sauiour Christe, but being cleane contrary to the truth of the holy Scriptures, was yet receiued from an vnwritten veritie, vntill by the writ∣ten Gospell of Saint Iohn it was plain∣ly confuted. But it will bée obiected, that the auncient fathers. Page [unnumbered]Tertullian, Epiphanius, Basilius, and such like doe maintaine that there were some vn∣written Traditions of the Apostles in their times, which were necessary to bée obserued.
I answere, although the auncient fa∣thers, and euen these before named, doe sometime auouch the sufficiencie of ye ho∣ly scriptures, yet it must bée confessed, that otherwhile they ascribed too much to vn∣written traditions, wherein what cer∣taintie it was likely for them to haue, you may consider by that whiche hath béene saide alreadie, beside that they agrée not a∣bout their Traditions, either with the papists, or with vs, or among themselues altogether. Therefore very wisely and like an Apostolike man, ye holy worthy Ig∣natius (as Eusebius writeth)* when hée was trauelling through Asia, towarde his mar∣tyrdome, which hée suffered at Rome, and in euery Citie where hée came, exhorted the people to continue in the faith of the gospell, & to beware of heresies, which thē beganne to spring and multiplie, in clea∣uing fast to the Tradition of the apostles, Page [unnumbered] hée testified, that the same Tradition, that it might bée certaine and vndoubted, was already committed to writing: for by that time all the bookes of the new Testa∣ment were written. And that tradition so written, hée thought it necessary to bee plainly taught, and set foorth vnto the peo∣ple.
This sounde and vncorrupted iudgement of Ignatius, a most auncient father & next successor vnto Peter in the Church of Antiochia, concerning the Apostles tradition if they which came after him, had retei∣ned, they had neither so easily béene drawen into errour themselues,* as Papias A great admiror of tradition, vnwritten was, Irenaeus, Tertullian and other: nor gi∣uen occasion to heretikes by alleadging the insufficiencie and imprefection, of the holy Scriptures, to cloke their new here∣sies vnder the name of auncient traditi∣ons.
Thus you haue hearde, that the worde of truth, is not to be sought in the vnwrit∣ten traditions, but in the vndoubted wri∣tings of the prophets & apostles vpō which Page [unnumbered] foundation the Churche of Christ is buil∣ded, as Saint Paule testifieth,* and not vpon the vncertaine reportes of forgetfull and deceiueable men.
Now must wée examine the tow other pretended recordes of the word of GOD. The Churche and the principall Pastor thereof, which they say, is the Pope, Con∣cerning the Church, the Apostle seemeth to giue a cléere testimonie, that the an∣swere thereof, is an infallible Oracle of Gods worde, when he saith, It is ye piller and stay of truth, whereof it may bée in∣ferred, that the Church alone, whiche as the holy Scriptures, is sufficient to vp∣holde and stay the truth, that it should ne∣uer faile nor decay in the worlde. Much rather when it hath the assistance of the Scriptures in some part, is the Church able to maintaine an other part of truth, without the Scriptures. After this ma∣ner, the Papistes reason out of this text, to prooue that all truth is not conteined in the holy Scriptures. But this is a very féeble kinde of reasoning.
For graunting that the Church is ye pil∣ler and the stay of truth, as it is in déede, Page [unnumbered] it followeth not thereof, that it vpholdeth any truth which is not comprehended in the holy Scriptures. But contrari∣wise, séeing it hath béen plētifully prooued, that all true doctrine is taught in the holy Scriptures, euen to the perfection of the man of God, it followeth that the Church is the piller and stay of that true doctrine which is taught in the Scriptures, and not of any truth beside the Scriptures: For when all truth is taught in the scrip∣tures, it followeth that whatsoeuer is not taught in the Scriptures is not truth. But if this be ye proper note of ye Church to bee the piller of truth (say they) it is prooued thereby, that the Churche can∣not erre, so that if it set foorth any thinge beside the Scriptures, the same muste needes bée true. I answere, this Sophi∣strie, is already confuted, for it it bée graunted, that the Church cannot erre, as in matters necessary to saluation the whole Churche of God cannot erre, to continue therein, it is because the Church cannot depart from the doctrine contai∣ned in the Scriptures, which are able to Page [unnumbered] make a man wise vnto saluation. But admit it were graunted, that the Churche cannot erre at all, what shoulde that a∣uaile the Papistes: verily nothing, but to prooue that they are not the Churche.
For if this be a proper & inseparable note of the Churche, that it cannot erre, what companie soeuer doth erre is not the Churche. But the Papistes whose do∣ctrine containeth so grosse contradiction of the worde of GOD doe shamefully and abhominably erre from the truth, there∣fore the Popishe faction is not the Church which is the piller and stay of truth. Thou shalt make no images for religion saith the worde of God. Thou shalt make some images for religion saith the Popish Churche. Thou shalt not fall downe to them, nor worship them, saith Gods commaundement. Thou shalt fall downe and worship them, saith the popish Sina∣gogue. Thou shalt worship the Lorde thy God, & him only shalt thou serue, saith our Sauiour Christ. When hée was tempted to fall downe and worship the Diuell, not as GOD, but as Gods Minister Page [unnumbered] to whom the kingdomes of the worlde were committed to dispose: The Pope saith, thou shalt worship and serue other, beside the Lorde thy God, so thou wor∣ship them not, and so thou serue them not as Gods. I might runne ouer a whole hundreth of contradictions, which the pa∣pistes doe holde and teach contrary to the worde of truth written in the Scriptures by which it is more then manifest, that they holde and teache damnable errours, therefore they are not the Churche of the liuing God, which is the piller and stay of truth, at the least wise in matters ne∣cessary to eternall saluation.
But let vs sée whether the Apostle by these wordes, intended to priuiledge the Churche of God, from all possibilitie of erring in any matter, albeit the Church should departe from the certaine direction of the holye Scriptures in any thing. Firste it muste bee remembred, that Saint Paule in the Chapter 1. Timo∣thie 3. describeth the persons and offices of Christian Bishoppes and Deacons, Page [unnumbered] which doone, he addeth immediatly. These thinges doe I write vnto thée, hoping to come vnto thee shortly, but if I tarry long, that thou mayst knowe howe it be∣houeth thée to bée conuersant in the house of God, whiche is the Churche of the liuing God, the piller and stay of truth: In which wordes wée haue to note, first that the Apostle hath written briefly that which hée purposed (if they met shortly,) more at large to set foorth and confirme: Secondly that if he were disapointed, so that hée coulde not come shortly, that Ti∣mothie might haue a sufficient direction howe to behaue himselfe for ordering of the Church of god in appointing the mini∣sters of the same. By which it is mani∣fest that this which hée speaketh of the pil∣ler and stay of the truth, is meant in re∣spect of the Pastors and Teachers of the Churche, by whom the truth of heauenly doctrine is vpholden and continued in the worlde, which without their ministery woulde vtterly fall to the grounde and de∣cay. For euen as hée writeth to the Ro∣mans:* séeing faith commeth by hearing of Page [unnumbered] Gods word, of them that are sent, of faith commeth inuocation, and from thence sal∣uatiō, if none be sent, there can be no prea∣ching, no hearing, no faith, no innocation, no saluation: So the Church of the liuing God, in respect of the faithfull Ministers of the same, which teach the truth to the saluation of Gods people,* in which respect they are said to saue themselues, and them that heare them: is rightly called the pil∣ler and stay of truth, which Ministery if it be taken away, the truth also is taken a∣way, Euen as the remoouing of the Can∣dlesticke in the reuelation, signifieth the ouerthrowe of the Church of Ephesus,* vn∣to whom it is threatned if they doe not re∣pent. The Candlesticke which signifieth the Church, vpholdeth the light of the gos∣pell, by the continual preaching of the Mi∣nisters thereof: so is it a piller and stay of the truth, so long as preaching of the Go∣spell is continued, which if it cease, then followeth darknes, blindnes, ignorance, errour, and destruction. This is the true and plaine meaning of the Apostle, where hée saith, The church is the piller and stay of truth. Not that it is vnpossible for the Page [unnumbered] church to erre at any time, or in any mat∣ter, or that the determination of ye church, without the scripture, is a sufficient te∣stimony of Gods worde, or of the truth in any cause, as the Papists maintaine. For Paule instructeth Timothy by writing, howe hée ought to behaue him selfe in the Church of God, which is the piller & stay of truth, although hée should haue no fur∣ther conference with him in the matter: These thinges doe I write vnto thée (saith he) yt thou maist know & so forth, whereas if in calling the church the piller of truth, hée had meant that the church without the scripture was able to haue instructed him, hée would haue said. If any thing want in my writing, thou maist aske the determi∣nation of the church, which is the piller and stay of truth. But S Paul saith, that hée had written: that Timothie might know, & be able to instruct the church of God, that it might be the piller of truth, not that the church, as the piller of truth, should instruct him. For, Timothie was to teach the truth of Gods worde vnto the church, yt the church might be the piller of truth, he was not to learne of ye church, as Page [unnumbered] of a teaching piller, in which sense Iames and Peter & Iohn are called pillers.* And no doubt but they wer pillers of ye church, and of the truth: yet they were not priui∣ledged thereby, but that they might erre in some parte, as the errour of Peter is declared in the same place. Againe it is certaine, that the Apostle in saying the church is the piller and stay of truth: spea∣keth of the church of Ephesus, in which hée had lefte Timothie. And the same is true of euerie particular church of God, in any place, that it is the house of God, the piller and stay of truth, so long as it is the church of the liuing God. For hée tea∣cheth not Timothie by this writing, how to be conuersant in the whole vniuersall church of Christ, but namely in that par∣ticular church, vnto which Saint Paule hoped to come vnot him, and by example thereof, in any other particular church, wheresoeuer vpon like occasion hée should be placed by the Apostle. Now the papists them selues doe confesse, that euery parti∣cular church may erre, but it is, the catho∣like and vniuersall church which they say can not erre.
Page [unnumbered] But séeing that whiche the Apostle here speaketh, is principally spoken of a parti∣cular Church, and is true of euerie parti∣cular Church, that it is the piller and stay of truth, as well as of the vniuersall and Catholike Church: The catholike church is no more priuiledged from erring, by this texte of scripture, then any particu∣lar Church in the worlde. But this que∣stion of the Church is so intricate, and vn∣certaine among the Papists themselues, that although they holde this as a princi∣ple, that the Church can not erre, yet they can not define what they meane by the Church, in this proposition. For if you aske them whether you meane by the Church, all and euerie member of the bo∣die, they will deny it. Where shal we then haue the determination of the truth ma∣ny doubtfull cause? They will answere of the generall Councell, which is the Ca∣tholike Church represented. But here if they are not resolued, what maketh the generall Councell. For some holde, that the Councell is aboue the Pope, and may determine without him & against him. O∣ther hold, that the pope is aboue the coun∣cell, and that the councell may determine Page [unnumbered] nothing, either against him, or with∣out him. But contrariwise, that the Pope without the councel, hath al lawes, right, and truth in the closet of his brest, so that hée may determine of any doubt, and that all men are bound to beléeue his determination, as procéeding from him which can not erre. The most of our eng∣lish Papistes at this time, doe holde that the Pope is aboue the Councell, and that the determination of the Councell with∣out the Popes approbation, is nothing to build vpon: So that when they haue pra∣ted neuer so long of the authoritie of the Church, the ende of all the talke commeth to this point, that the Church is not all the faithfull, but the generall Councell, only, the Councel is not all the Prelates, but the Pope only, without whom they can determine no truth, and who without them may determine all truth, & can de∣termine no errour. So that against this secte of Papistes, it shall be sufficient to prooue, that the Popish Church may erre, if I can prooue that the Pope which is the only piller and stay of truth, therein may erre. But séeing wée knowe the Pope to be a meere mortall man, howsoeuer some Page [unnumbered] of them haue made him more thē a man, yea, a GOD aboue all Gods, some nei∣ther GOD nor man, but a newter be∣twéene both, as if any of them will de∣ny, I can bring their owne sayinges to their shame:* and séeing the scripture pronounceth of euerie man which is but a man, that hée is a lyar, and that God only is true: let vs consider, what im∣pudent shifte they haue to iustifie their Pope from errour, that God only should not bée true.
Some of thē say, the Pope may erre as a man, but not as a Pope, other say the Pope may erre as Pope also, but not in matters of faith: others séeme to say, if they durst speake out, that the Pope may erre also in faith, but not to induce any mā into a false faith by his error. Thus are they at variance among them selues, and mince the matter so small, yt at length it cōmeth to as good as nothing at all, that they brag of the spirit of truth giuen to the Pope in suche measure, that hée cannot erre.
But how do they assure them selues, that Page [unnumbered] the Pope hath such a priuiledge that hée cannot erre in matters of faith? Our Sa∣uiour Christ (say they) praied for Peter, th•t his faith should not faile: willing him after his conuersion to confirme his bre∣thren.
And what in Gods name, maketh this to prooue that the Pope cannot erre? Yes forsooth: hée prayed for Peter, that is for him & all his successors, because he was the rocke of the church, that none of their faith might faile, that is, they might not erre.
This is a very strange interpretation. For the naturall sense of that place, is manifest by that hée said before, Simon, Si∣mon, behold satan hath desired to winow you, as wheat. But I haue prayed for thée that thy faith should not faile.
By whiche wordes hée signifieth, that the desire of Satan was vtterly to di∣sperse the Churche, that it might ne∣uer bee gathered together, and Pe∣ter was in greatest daunger of all the Apostles, through his shamefull Page [unnumbered] and cowardly deniall, and forswearing of his maister, howbeit, hée declareth that hée hath obtained by his prayer, that Pe∣ters faith should not be altogether qu•n∣ched but that hée shoulde by repentance, take holde of Gods mercy, and be resto∣red, willing him after his conuersion and experience of Gods mercy, to strengthen his brethren which likewise were weake in fayth, though none so néere to falling a∣way, as hée. So that the effect of Christes praier was, that Peter through the great∣nes of his sinne, should not dispaire of for∣giuenesse, but by faithfull repentance, bée renued and conuerted, not that Peter should neuer erre in his owne person and much lesse, that none of Peters successors should erre in any master of faith: which thing by no logike in the worlde can possi∣bly be concluded out of this place: For what kinde of reasoning is this? Christ prayed that Peters fayth should not faile, Ergo, Peter had suche a prerogatiue by Christes prayer, that hée could not erre, neyther hée nor any of his successours. Christ prayed not only for Peter, but for all his Apostles, & in this my text, praieth Page [unnumbered] for them all, that his father would sancti∣fie them in ye truth: shal wée therfore say, it was not possible for them to erre in a∣ny matter? The Papistes will not so reason of all the Apostles, for then the like would follow of all their successours. And yet Christ obtained the effect of his pray∣er, that all his Apostles were sanctified in Gods truth. Yea hée prayeth not this, for his Apostles and other Disciples of that time only, but for all them that should be∣léeue in him through their preaching, for all true Christians are sanctified in Gods truth, that they should not erre finally frō the way of saluation. But hereof it cannot be gathered, that all true Christians, no not after their calling to the knowledge of truth, cānot erre or be deceiued in matters of faith and doctrine, although they cannot continue in errour of any thing that is ne∣cessarie for thē rightly to know vnto eter∣nall saluation. Christ promiseth to sende the comforter, euē the spirit of truth, vnto all his Apostles, & to his whole church,* to supply ye want of his bodily presēce which should lead thē into al truth: & yet it were no good conclusion to gather, yt none of the Page [unnumbered] Church of Christ might erre in any thing, as it is a sure argument, that they cannot finally erre, in any point necessarie to sal∣uation. Peter him selfe, whose faith was specially prayed for, as there was speciall cause, for his greatest perill, after his con∣uerson, & after he had long time exercised his Apostleship, was ignorant, & of igno∣rance erred, cōcerning the admission of the Gentiles into the fellowship of the gospel, vntill hée was reformed by the heauenly vision.* Yea long after this: Peter did erre in seperating him selfe from the Gentiles by dissimulation, for feare of them of ye cir∣cumcision, when I saw that they did not walke aright (saith S. Paul) according to the truth of the Gospel, I said to Peter be∣fore them all.* I know the Papists wil say this was an error of conuersation and of fact only, not an error in faith & doctrine. But this is a vaine deuise to escape. For Peter erred not in 〈◊〉 only, but in a mat∣ter of doctrine and faith also against the truth of the Gospell. For he counterfaited before the Iewes, for no worldly respect, but because hée thought it was his duetie before God to so doe, rather then to offend Page [unnumbered] the Iewes. And where as some of them say, the Pope cannot induce any other men into error, although he erre him self, let thē cōsider this example of Peter, who not only erred himselfe, but also brought, yea cōpelled others to Iudaize with him, insomuch that Barnabas also was carried with them into the same dissimulation: wherefore although Christ prayed for Pe∣ters faith, that it might not faile, yet Pe∣ter both erred, & induced other into error with him: although being admonished by Paul, he did willingly reforme his error. Wherfore this matter is cleare, that the establishing of Peters faith from fayling, was not to priuiledge him from erring, but from dispairing, & therfore can not ex∣tend to his successours, in as much as it is but a personal benefit, obtained for Peter, except you wil say by analogie of the scrip∣ture, that the like praier is made for euery one of gods elect, which in this sence I cō∣fesse to be true, but yet it followeth not, that they are discharged of the frayletie of man in falling into error, much lesse any one order of men, which should be Peters successours.
Page [unnumbered] And if wée should graunt that this priui∣ledge was giuen to Peter that hée shoulde not erre, and so should be deriued vnto all his successours, many other intricate que∣stions, and in extricable doubtes woulde grow, before wee could be resolued who were Peters successours. For séeing all Bishops be successours of the Apostles, as Cyprian saith, all Bishoppes are succes∣sours also of Peter, for if you should say, that none were successors of the Apostles, but suche as bee ordained in those places where ye Apostles did teach, it could not be truely said of Cyprian, that all Bishops be successors of the Apostles. But admit that they be only Peters successours, that sit in Peters seat, séeing the stories affirme that Peter had two seats, at Antioche, and at Rome: why should not his successours at Antioch, enioy this prerogatiue as wel as his successors at Rome? That Peter was at Antioch, wée finde in the scripture, that hée was at Rome, wée finde not, but least of all that he bequeathed this priuiledge to Rome, and not to Antioch. Well let that also be admitted, that the bishops of Rome are the only successours of Peter, howe Page [unnumbered] is it verified of them, that their faith ne∣uer fayled: The Papistes them selues doe confesse, and the stories are to many to denye, that there haue beene no wickeder men on the earth, then many Popes haue béen in all kind of sin and vngodlines. Yea what for all y• (say they,) their maners fai∣led frō gods law, but their faith neuer fai∣led from his truth. I think in déed yt many of their faithes did neuer faile, for they ne∣uer had any, yt it might faile, who brought foorth no fruites, but of infidelitie and cor∣ruption. For of such wicked persons the* scripture saith, yt they haue denied y• faith, & are worse thē infidels, & yt they which cō∣mit such things, shall not inherit ye kingdō of Christ & God. Tush they say, you mi∣stake the matter,* we deny not, but y• they might and did faile from the faith which worketh by loue, and by which a man is iustified, for many of them are damned spirites in hell.* Uerie well, then I per∣ceiue, yt you take not faith in this palce,* for a sure trust in the mercyes of God, by which a man is iustified and assured of e∣ternall life, but for a bare knowledge of the truth, such as the Deuilles haue Page [unnumbered] and tremble suche as Saint Iames cal∣leth a dead faith, which is voide of good works.* And did our Sauiour Christ, pray that a dead, fruitlesse, barren, and Deuils faith might cōtinue in Peters successors? was this ye effect of our sauiour Christes prayer? A goodly priuiledge of the Bishops of Rome, that they shuld haue knowledge of the truth & yet goe vnto the Deuill. I know you will reply, that although they through their owne defalt, take no benefit by this priuiledge, yet it is very necessary for the whole Church, to kéepe it in vnitie of faith. But that our sauiour Christ prai∣ed not for the continuance of such a fruit∣lesse faith, it is plaine by this reason, yt al∣though Peters successours shoulde be ad∣mitted vnto the participation of this be∣nefite, yet Peter him selfe might not be excluded. But what a miserable comforte was this for Peter, if after his maister had shewed him in what daunger he & all his fellows stood, through the malice of sa∣tan, which desired them to winnow or sift thē, as wheat is scattered abroad in win∣nowing, insomuch that before the crow∣ing of the Cocke, hée shoulde denye him Page [unnumbered] thrise, our Sauiour Christ should tel him no more, but that at this prayer & request, hée should retaine such a faith as the De∣uill hath, so that hee should know ye truth in his conscience, although hée did deny it with his mouth? What comfort coulde Peter haue by this faith? which rather did increase his sinne, in that hee was not ignorant of the truth, then help his weak∣nes whereby he was afraid to confesse the truth. Wherfore seeing Peters faith, for confirmation wherof our Sauiour Christ did pray, was that true & liuely faith by which Peter was raysed vp from weake∣nes to a trust in Gods mercy, and a sure hope of saluation: it is manifest that hee prayed, not for the sayth of such successors of Peter▪ as succeeded only in place, not in true faith, but continuing in wickednes, and refusing a good conscience, m•de ship∣wrack of the faith, and are thrown down into euerlasting condemnatiō. Well this notwithstanding, let vs imagine, y• Christ prayed for the continuance of a dead & de∣uilish faith in Peter & his successours, that is such a gift of knowledge, that they can not erre in any question of fayth: shall Page [unnumbered] that bée found in all the Bishops of Rome that glorie in the succession of Peter: No verely. For many times the Pope is a man voide of learning, and knowledge of diuinitie, as most of y• Cardinals are, out of which order hée is cōmonly chosen, and euen this Pope that nowe raigneth, Gre∣gorie the 13. by reporte of them that haue séene him and heard him speake, is not greatly learned. And oftentimes as the storie reporteth of them, they haue béene but pelting Canonistes, comming vp of Scribes and Notaries, neuer professing nor taking vpon thē ye knowledge of diui∣nitie. And shall wée thinke, that he which is this day an vnlearned man, not able to decyde a meane question in diuinitie, bée∣ing to morow chosen Pope, and set in Pe∣ters chayre, is sodainly endued with such knowledge, that hée cannot erre in any thing, or rather that the spirite of Prophe∣cie commeth vpon him, as it did vpon Cai∣phas, which spake the truth, without his skill and against his will, because he was high Priest of that yeare? Uerely I will not deny, but God may direct the tongue Page [unnumbered] of the Romish Caiphas, that hée may vtter at one breath, both a blasphemie, and a pro¦phesie, as that Iewish Caiphas did, but al∣beit hée were able to prooue, that hée sitteth in Peters chaire, aswell as the other could prooue, that he sate in Aarons chayre, & that Peters chayre is set vp by God, aboue all other Bishops chayres, as well as Aarons chayre was set vp aboue all the Iewishe Priestes stooles: yet shoulde not the Pope haue greater Priuiledge then the High Priest had. For the best high Prieste that euer was of Aarons order, might bee deceiued, and many were Heathenish I∣dolaters, as V•ias, Menelaus, Alcinus, Iason, and other wicked Saduces, as Annas and Caiphas, which denied the resurrection and immortalitie of the soules: Such as Pope Iohn the 2. was, who was conuicted of that heresie in the Councell of Constance. For such hell houndes our sauiour Christ prayed not, that their faith might not faile, nay rather hée saith expressely in the 17. of Iohn, That hée prayeth not for this worlde, but for those whom his father had giuen him out of the worlde. Séeing ther∣fore a number of Popes, haue been by the Page [unnumbered] Papists owne confession, children of this worlde, and not children of light, no true members of Christe, it is certaine that hée prayeth not for them, and therefore whē he praied for Peter, he praied not for all his successours. Yes say the Papistes, yt the Church may alwayes haue one that may confirme or strengthen the weak bre∣thren, or as though one singular person, were able to confirme all the brethren in all places of the worlde, aswell as Peter was able to strengthē his fellow disciples at Ierusalem. Beside that the very words of Christ are plainly directed vnto the per∣son of Peter, with suche a circumstance, as cannot agrée to all his successours, ad∣mitting ye Bishops of Rome were the on∣ly successours of Peter. And thē (saith he) after thou art conuerted, strengthen thy brethren. All the Bishops of Rome haue not denied Christe as Peter did, that they might bée conuerted: Wherefore it is spoken singularly vnto Peter in respect of his fall, that hée shoulde bée conuerted and by experience of Gods mercie bée bet∣ter able to strengthen his weake brethren Page [unnumbered] who were in daūger to fall as déepe as he, if Gods goodnesse had not vpholden them. Hether to therfore we haue not found such assurance of truth in ye successiō of Peter, that we should acknowledge any vndoub∣ted witnesse thereof, beside the holy Scriptures, which although the Papistes woulde miserably racke out of all ioynte and order, to establish the dignitie of their popedome: yet can they finde nothing which is not by the onely testimonie and authorite of Scriptures, prooued to stand against them. Let vs nowe see what experience saith, of the failing of Pe∣ters faith in his Successours, and the certaintie of truth in the determination of Councels confirmed by the Pope, for the most of our English papistes, as I said be∣fore, acknowledge no councell to bée law∣full and frée from error, except if bée con∣firmed by the Pope: if experience there∣fore doe prooue, that Councels and Popes haue shamefully erred, it is manifest, that they ought to be no rule of truth vnto chri∣stians, as they are pretended to deface the only infallible rule of the holy scriptures. Page [unnumbered] To prooue the error of the Popes, I will not beginne wtMarcellinus, which offered Sacrifice vnto idols, for it will be quickly answered, that his faith failed of infirmi∣tie, & not of ignorance of the truth, being ouercome with the terror of persecution, not beeing deceiued with the error of the Gentiles. Neither will I stande vpon the presumptuous censure of Victor, who for difference in a Ceremonie, tooke vpon him to excommunicate all the Churches of Asia, for which hée was sharpely reproo∣ued by Irenaeus, Polycrates, & other as Eu∣sebius* testifieth, & by the Bishops of Asia, which countermaunded him in his proud and vncharitable excommunication. I am able to iustifie my terme of countermaun∣ding, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. They did countermaund him (saith Euse∣bius.) Victor commaunded them to al stain from the Communion, and they on the contrary side commaunded him to be qui∣et. By which is manifest that the bishops of Rome, vsurped authoritie, was resisted euen in the first claime and practise of it. For as I declared before, Anicetus dissen∣ting from Polycarpus in the same question, Page [unnumbered] offered him no discourtesie, but brotherly did communicate with him, yea permit∣ted him his place to celebrate for honors sake. well although the error of Victor is héere reproued by Irenaeus and many other holy Bishops, yet I will not vrge it, be∣cause they will say, it was an error in dis∣cipline, rather then in faith, although it was such an error in discipline, as gaue the onset to one of the greatest errors of ye pope, I meane his supremacie: which then was reiected and countermaunded of all sides.
Therefore I will come to Pope Libe∣rius, who at the first manfully resisted the Arrians, insomuch that for his constancie, hée was by the Emperor Constantius put out of his Bishopricke, and driuen into banishment: But afterward being ouer∣come with tediousnes of banishment, and seduced by one Fortunatianus as S. Hierome affirmeth, he subscribed to the Arrian here∣sie, and was restored to his See at Rome, from whence he chased Foelix that occupi∣ed the place in his absence.
Thus haue you a Pope deniyng the e∣ternal diuinitie of our sauiour Christ con∣uicted Page [unnumbered] of heresie, by ye testimonie of Hiero∣nime, one that liued in the same Churche, not long after.
Héere the Papistes stampe and starcle, denying the testimonie of Hieronyme as sufficient. Yet thus muche at least is gayned that Hieronyme beleeued not this Popishe principle, The Pope cannot erre, for then hee woulde not haue affir∣med,* that Pope Liberius subscribed vnto hereise. But yf Hieronyme alone bée not sufficient, what say you to Anthanasius? Is hée a credible witnesse? Hée liued in the time of Liberius and knewe him, hee affirmeth the same of him.
But if Athanasius bée not great e∣nough to carry away the matter, what say you to Pope Damasus one of his succes∣sours,* coulde hée erre or no? Uerily Pope Damasus chargeth him with reuol∣ting vnto heresie, saying, That hée subscribed, but yet hee was not rebap∣tised, and entred into Rome like a Con∣querour, holding councell with the he∣retikes.
I knowe the impudent Papistes Page [unnumbered] when they are driuen to the wall by this example of Liberius, for their last re∣fuge, doe say that hee subscribed in∣deede to the condemnation of Athanasi∣us, but not to the Heresie of Arries, which is a shamelesse lye, Ad subscriptio∣onem Haereseos, to the subscription of heresies saith Saint Hierome. The like dothe both Athanasius and Damasus af∣firme.
Therefore wée haue founde one Pope falne into a damnable errour. After him wée finde, that Pope Innocentius erred, although not in so waightie a matter. For Innocentius defined a∣gainst the Pelagians, that it was as necessary for infantes to eate the fleshe of Christe and drinke his blood in the Communion, as to bee Baptised. As testifieth of him Saint Augustine,* saying: Qui parvulis definiuit &c. Whiche hath defined, that little chil∣dren can by no meanes haue life except they eate the fleshe of the Sonne of Man.
Page [unnumbered] Some Papistes cauill, that although the Pope may erre, yet hée cannot erre in his definitiue sentence. Beholde Augustine saith, that Innocentius hath héere desined of this matter, and yet it is an error, which the Papistes them selues doe not holde at this day. And yet Augustine affirmeth that this was the errour of all the We∣sterne Churches in his time.
But if any man thinke Saint Augu∣stine no sufficient witnesse, to depose a∣gainst Pope Innocentius, let him take paines to reade the Epistle of Pope Inno∣cent himself, sent vnto the Bishop of Africa assembled in councell. Where ye words of Augustine cited out of him, are plainely set downe. But héere I knowe the vaine replie of the Papistes, will bée readie to obiect, that Pope Innocent and Augustine, with the rest of the Catholike Bishops in that time, did practise in déede to minister the communion to infantes, as soone as they were baptised, but that was no error so long as they did not hold it to bée neces∣sary for infants to receiue the Communi∣on.
Thus they graunt the practise, and denie Page [unnumbered] the errour, eyther in the opinion or in the practise of those times.
But if they were not so impudent, yt they had framed their foreheads not to blushe at any lye, they woulde neuer a∣gainst so cléere testimonies both of Augu∣stine and Innocentius, séeke to excuse them of that opinion, which they doe so willing∣ly maintaine.
The Pelagians denied that Baptisme was necessary for the saluation of infants whcih they said were without sinne: both Augustine and Innocentius prooue the neces∣sitie of Baptisme, by the necessitie of com∣municating, which may bot be graunted to any that is not Baptized. Therefore, saith Innocentius in his diffinitiue Epistle to the Affricane Bishops. Illud vero quod eos vestra fraternitas asserit praedicare, paruulos aeternae vitaepraemiis etiam sine bap∣tismatis gratia posse donari, perfatuum est &c. But that thing which your brother∣hood affirmeth them to preach, that young children may obteine the rewards of eter∣nall life, euen without the grace of Bap∣tisme, it is a very foolishe thing. For ex∣cept they shall eate the fleshe of the Sonne Page [unnumbered] of man and drink his blood, they shall haue no life in themselues. But they whiche defende this vnto them: without regene∣ration, seeme to mée that they will make fustrate Baptisme it selfe: Beholde saith Augustine vpon these wordes, Pope Inno∣cent* of blessed memory (euery Bishop was called Papa in his time) saith, that little children cannot haue life, without the baptisme of Christ, and without the par∣ticipation of the body and blood of Christ. By which saying you sée they affirme as well the necessitie of the one Sacrament as of the other. For what other thing mooued them to giue the Communion to infants, but because they thought it neces∣sary to saluation, while they missevnder∣stoode those wordes of Christ in the sixt of Iohn, as though they had béene spoken of Sacramentall eating of Christes body, as they did the other in the third of Iohn as though Chirst had spoken of the sacra∣ment of Baptisme, whiche hee saith of the necessitie of regeneration.
Furthermore where the Papists are inforced to affirme, that it was not erro∣nious, Page [unnumbered] but a laweful practise, to minister the Communion to infants, as to baptise them, although the one bée not so necessa∣ry as the other, the plaine doctrine of the Scripture doth confute them.* For S. Paule forbiddeth any man or woman, to presume to the Lordes Table without examination and iudging of themselues, which thinges because infantes cannot performe, it can be none other, but a méere prophanation of the Lordes Supper, to minister it vnto young infants, euen as it was of them which ministred it vnto dead bodies vpon the same erronious persuasiō of the necessitie thereof vnto eternall life. And whereas the blinde Cardinall Hosius affrmeth, that infants may aswell exa∣mine themselues by other men as in bap∣tisme they beléeue by other men, and ther∣fore by the Churches authoritie without grounde of Scripture, are baptized. I answere, if wee had not better grounde of Scripture, then either the authoritie, or reason of the Popishe Churche, for the baptisme of infants, wée woulde not pra∣ctise if any more then we doe minister the Page [unnumbered] Communion to infants. But wée baptise them not for the faith of other mē, but for the couenant of God which extēdeth euen to the séede of the faithfull, so that there children are holy and not vncleane, as the children of Paganes and Infidels, as we sée by manifest Analogie and proportion, that the Sacrament of baptisme, hath vn∣to the Sacrament of Circumcision, which was the Sacrament of regeneration, vn∣to the Iewes, as baptisme is vnto vs, and was commaunded to bée ministred vnto infants, therefore the Sacrament of bap∣tisme is likewise commaunded vnot in∣fants.
Also by Analogie which the Lords Sup∣per hath vnto the Pascall lambe, wée doe plainely perceiue, that it ought not to bée ministred vnto infants. For in the insti∣tution of the Sacrament of Passeouer, the Parents were commaunded to teache their children the right vse thereof, beside that many things were to bée doone in the celebration of it, as it was first instituted, which coulde not bée doone of infants, as to eate in standing, with staues in their handes, yea the meate it selfe which was Page [unnumbered] rosted flesh with sowre or bitter hearbes, and vnleauened bread, colde not bée eaten of young infants, therefore neither the Lordes Supper which is succéeded in the place of the Passeouer, ought to bee mini∣stred to infants. It was therefore an errour in Innocentius and the Church of yt time, to thinke it lawefull for infants to communicate, although they had not thought it necessary: as I haue plainely prooued that they thought both: and ther∣fore erred in both points. But this you will say was no damnable heresie. I will therefore leaue Innocentius and come to Pope Honorius, which was condemned in the sixt generall Councell, holden at Constantinople for defending the heresie of the Monochelites, which affirmed that our Sauiour Christ had but one will as God, which was all one in effect, as if they had denied him to consist of two natures, for if hée had an humane nature hée must al∣so haue an humane will, though alwayes subiect to his diuine will, as is prooued plainely by many places of the scriptures. This heresie did pope Honorius hold while Page [unnumbered] hée liued, as was prooued by his owne writings vnto Sergius Bishop of Constan∣tinople, so that both the Popes of both the Romes (for Cōstātinople, was called new Rome) were at once infected with that horrible heresie, and therefore they were condemned by that councell and accursed. The like censure is thundred against him in the second of Nice. What can you nowe say, why the Pope shoulde not bée burned for an Heretike? Peraduenture you will say, those Councels were not confir∣med, by the Pope, yes verily, the one by Leo the seconde, the other by Pope Adrian the first, yet saith one, you cannot prooue that any Pope although hee erred himself went about to seduce other, or to chaunge the auncient Catholike faith, which was alwayes helde in the Churche of Rome, yes that I can. And that by suche a wit∣nesse, as you may not refuse. For I will bring foorth no lesse witnesse, then Pope Leo the second himselfe, which in his Sy∣nodall Epistle, by which hée confirmeth the decrées of the sixt Councell of Constan∣tinople, as you may reade in the 18. actiō of Page [unnumbered] that Councell, hath these wordes.