That the Ceremonies are inexpedient, because they are preparatives for greater evils.
FIrst then, the Ceremonies are inexpedient, because our most holy Faith, for which we should earnestly contend, receaveth no small harme and prejudice, and is like to re∣ceave still more and more by their meanes. Our case is not much different from the estate of the Churches in Germanie, when Charles the 5. caused the booke called Interim to be published, t expediency then was pretended, of setling the peace of Germanie by this as the best way: but it produced a very great inconveniency, and in stead of effectuating peace, it brought forth a hotter contention, as well between the Protestants themselves, as between them and Papists. Expediency is now no lesse pretended for the Ceremonies, yet no more truly. But before the bad effects of the Interim were seene, the wiser sort of Protestants u wrote against it, and warned men, ut ab eo tanquam a praesentissima peste sibi caverent. Notwithstanding that the Emperour had straitely inhibite all impugning of it. And Sl•…idane tels us, the reason which made them so mislike it, was, x be∣cause they thought such as were upon that course, were opening a way to the Popish Religion, peradiaphora seu res medias, and y be∣cause they wished to retaine the saving Doctrine puram & salvam a technis illorum, qui nunc dum Ceremonias restaurare videri volunt, colluviem totam doctrinae Pontificiae rursus introducunt. The like reason have we to mislike Conformity with Antichrist, in these Ceremonies which are obtruded upon our Church; for may we not justly feare, that hereby we shall be drawne on, to conforme with him also in dogma∣ticall and fundamentall points of Faith? Nay, what talke I of feare? we have already seen this bad consequence in a great parte, for it is well enough knowen, how many Heterodoxe Doctrines, are main∣tained by Formalists, who are most zealous for the Ceremonies: an•…nt Vniversall Grace, Free-Will, Perseverance, Iustification, Images, Antichrist, the Church of Rome, Penance, Christ his Pas∣sion & descending into Hell, necessity of the Sacraments, Apocrypha bookes, Christs presence in the Eucharist, assurance of Salva∣tion, &c. Their errors about those heads we will demonstrate, if need be, to such as doubt of their minde. In the meane time it hath been preached from Pulpits among our selves; That Christ died for all alike; That the Faithfull may fall away from Grace; That Iusti∣fication is a successive action; That none can be assured of Salvation in this life; That Images in Churches are not to be condemned; That Christ descended locally unto the place of the damned; That Page 16 the Pope is not Antichrist; That Rome is not Babylon the Whoore; That the Government and Discipline of the Church must alter like the Frensh fashion, at the will of Superiours; That we should not runne so faire away from Papists, but come as neare to them as wee can; That abstinence and Almes, are satisfactions or compensations for sinne. These and sundry such like tenets, have not been spoken in a corner.
How farre Conformity to the Ceremonies of the Church of [Sect. II] Rome, hath drawn Conformists of greatest note, to conforme to her Faith also, I may give instance in the Archbishop of Spalato,z He holds, that many Rites of the Romane Church are auncient and approveable, that others, though neither, auncient nor universall, yet because of Custome should bee tollerated; and that few onely are either to be abolished, or by some prudent and easy way purged and refined. Now, will we know how farre this unity in Ceremo∣nies, drew him to a unity in substance, then let us heare, what is his verdict of Protestants, as well as of Papists, who suffer for their Re∣ligion. aCertepotius martyres mundi, quam Dei sunt, qui ex utraque par∣te sub titulo conscientiae sanguinem frustra fundunt: quasi vero fides & Religio Romana, & Fides ac Religio protestantium sunt duae Fides & duae Re∣ligiones, &c.b He tels us moreover, that if the Protestants will not have peace with those whom they call Papists, & communicate with them, then are they Schishmatikes, and are not in the true Church. And in the declaration of the motives, whereupon he undertooke his departure out of the territory of Venice, he expresseth his judge∣ment of such bookes as are framed against the Doctrine of the Church of Rome, that he held them above measure detestable. Nei∣ther doth he stand alone in this pitch, for among the sect of Forma∣lists, is swarming a sect of Reconcilers, who preach and professe unity with the Church of Rome in matters of Faith. For example, c they•… say, that that which the learned Papists holde concer∣ning Iustification, is Orthodoxe, and therefore they will not con∣tend against them, except it be for their contending with us, who doe agree with them.
These Reconcilers are too farre on in the way to Popery already. [Sect. III] But if they will be fully reconciled with Papists, they must transporte themselves altogither into their tents, because Papists will not come * forth to meet them midway. The Interim of Germany tēded to Recoci∣liation, yet the Papists wrote against it. Cassander sought this Reconci∣liation, but eBellarmine confuteth his opinion. The Archb. of Spalato was upon the same course of Reconciliation, but his bookes were con∣dēned as Hereticall, in the decree given at Rome, an. 1616. by the con∣gregation of Cardinals deputed by Pope Paul•… the 5. for the making and renewing of the Index, of prohibited bookes. f The RhemistsPage 17 tell us, that they will avoide not onely our opinions, but our very words which we use: our adversaries professe, that they reject some expositions of certaine places of Scripture, against which they have no other reason, but because they are our expositions. Are their mindes so aliened from us? and must we be altogither drawne over∣stayes to them? Are they so unwilling to be recōciled to the prejudice of their errors? And shall we be so willing to be reconciled with them to the prejudice of the trueth? O strange and monstrous invention! That would reconcile Christ with Antichrist; agree the temple of God and Idols; mixe light and darkenesse togither. g Hee had good reason for him who objected to the Archbishop of Spalato, that qui ubique est, nusquam est. For in stead of reconciling Protestants and Papists, they make themselves a third partie, and raise more con∣troversy. O bellua multorum capitum!
Thus we perceave, what prejudice hath arisen, and yet ariseth, to [Sect. IV] the true and saving Doctrine, by the meanes of symbolizing with the Church of Rome in these Ceremonis. But because some Forma∣lists approve not of this course of Reconciliation, they (I knowe) would purge the Ceremonies of the blame of it; I will therefore shew, that Reconcilers are set forward in their course of Reconciliation, by meanes of the Romane Rites remaining in Reformed Churches.
G. Gassander in his booke de officio pijviri, relates unto us, how hee was entered into this course, and conceived this purpose of Recon∣ciliation: and tels, that from his youthood hee was most observant of Ecclesiasticall Ceremonies, yet so, that he abhorred all supersti∣tion. And when he had read the Writers of that age, who promised some Reformation and Repurgation of superstitious worships and absurd opinions, he saith, mire illorum institutum placuit: qui tamen ita superstitiones & abusiones, quae nonnullis Ceremoniis Ecclesiasticis admixtae e∣rant, exos as haberem ut ipsam Ecclesiasticam politiam, quae his Ceremoniis fe∣re constat, non sublatam & eversam, sed repurgatam & emendatam esse vel∣lem. Wee see the first thing which induced him to a Reconciliation, was his liking which hee had to Popish Ceremonies, and their re∣maining in Protestant Churches. And as this course hath been at∣tempted, so is it also advanced by the Ceremonies: for thereby h people are induced to say, as they said once, when Popish Ce∣remonies did reenter in Germany. We perceave now, that the Pope is not so blacke as Luther made him. And as for the Reconcilers themselves, may they not conceave strong hopes to compasse their end? may they not confidently imbarke in this businesse? may they not with great exspectation of prosperous successe atchieve their project? when once they have footing upon our union with Rome in Ceremonies and Church policy; they can not but hereupon conceive no small Page 18 animosity to worke out their intended purpose.
Doe I talke of a Chimaera, & imagine now that which is not? Nay, I will really examplify that which I say, in that Proteus and Versipel∣les the Archbishop of Spalato. For in the narration of the passages which were betwixt his Majesty and him, collected by the Bishop of Durham, we finde, i that he thought the procuring of concorde betwixt the Church of England, and the Church of Rome, to be easie. And his reasons were, because k he was verily perswaded, that the Pope would approve the English Liturgie, and the publike use of it, as he professed in his colloquy with the Bishops of London, and Durham, and the Deane of Winchester. And further, l he told he was of opinion, that the Churches of Rome and of England, excluding Pu∣ritans, were radically one Church. This made him say; mI doe finde here, why to commend this Church, as a Church abhorring from Puritanisme, reformed with moderation, and worthy to be received into the Communion of the Catholike Church. In the following words he tels, that he could carry something out of the Church of England, which should comfort all them who hate Puritane strictnesse, and desire the peace of the Church, (meaning them who desired the same Reconciliation with himselfe.) What is more cleare, then that the English Ceremonies, were that which made him prosequute, and gave him hope to effec∣tuate, a Reconciliation betwixt the Church of England, and that of Rome?
But put the case, that as yet we had seene no greater evils follow∣ing [Sect. V] upon the Ceremonies, yet must they be aknowledged to be in∣convenient, because they are dangerous preparatives for many worse things then wee are aware of, and may drawe after them sundry evill consequences which are not feared. We have heard before from Spotswood, that novations in a Church, even in the smallest things, are dangerous. Who can then blame us to shunne a danger, and fearing the worst, to resist evill beginnings? to give no place to the Divell; to crush the Viper while it is in the shell; to abstaine from all appearance of evill, 1 Thessal 5. 22. And to take the little ones of Babylon; whiles they are young, and dash their heads against the stones?
It skils not, that many will judge us too precise for doing so. What? doe they think this precisenesse any other, then that which the Law of God requireth even n observing of the Commandement of God, without adding to it, or diminishing from it, and o kee∣ping the straight path, without declining to the right hand or the left? or doe they thinke us more precise then Mordecai,p who would doe no reverence to Haman, because he was an Amalekite, and so not q to be countenanced nor honoured by an Israelite? Are we more precise then Daniel,r who would not close his windowe when hee Page 19 was praying, no not for the Kings Edict, knowing, that because he had used to doe so aforetime, his doing otherwise had been both a denying of his former profession, and a insnaring of himselfe by yeelding in small things, to yeeld in greater, & after an inch to take an elle? Are we more precise then the Apostle Pauls who gave no place to the Adversaries of Christian liberty, no not for an houre▪ Are we more precise then David,t who would not doe so much as take up the names of Idols into his lips, left from speaking of them he should be ledde to a liking of them: or may not the sad and dole∣full examples, of so many and so great abuses and corruptions, which have crept into the Church, from so small and scarcely observable originals, make us loath at our hearts, to admit a change in the Po∣licy and Discipline, of a well constitute Church, and rightly orde∣red before the change, and especially in such things as are not at all necessary?
O! from how small beginnings did the Mistery of iniquity ad∣vance it's progression? How litle moates have accresced to Moun∣tains? Wherefore usimplicitatem Christi nos oportet coler•…, à qua ubi primum •…xtulit pedem vanitas, vanitatem sequitur superstitio, superstitionem error, erro∣rem presumptio, presumptionem impietas Idololatrica. We have cause to feare, that if with Israelz we come to the sacrifices of Idols, and eate of Idolothyts, and bow downe or use any of superstitious and Idolo∣trous Rites; thereafter we be made to joyne our selves to these Idols, and so the fierce anger of the Lord be kindled against us, as it was against them.