The rise, growth, and danger of Socinianisme together with a plaine discovery of a desperate designe of corrupting the Protestant religion, whereby it appeares that the religion which hath been so violently contended for (by the Archbishop of Canterbury and his adherents) is not the true pure Protestant religion, but an hotchpotch of Arminianisme, Socinianisme and popery : it is likewise made evident, that the atheists, Anabaptists, and sectaries so much complained of, have been raised or encouraged by the doctrines and practises of the Arminian, Socinian and popish party
Cheynell, Francis, 1608-1665.

CHAP. III. The Danger of Socinianisme.

LEarned Grotius may remember that there was a time when he himselfe thought Socininisme to be very dan∣gerous, Cum haeresis sit venenum ecclesiae, & quidem praesentis∣simum, sed tamen haereseos aliqui sint gradus, ut sit hac illâ no∣centior priorem aliam non reperiri haresi Socini, ad cujus etiam mentionem pii omnes exhorreant, in his speech to the States cal∣led H. G. Pietas. Certain all pious men may well tremble at * the very mention of Socinianisme, at the very repeating of Page  24 their basphemies. For my part I dare not call them Christians,* because they deny the Godhead and satisfaction of Christ, they will not be baptized in the name of the Trinity, they labour to pluck up Christianity by the roots, and to overthrow the very foundation of Religion. I cannot but blot out Smalcius his name out of the white roll of Christians, if it were but for that one blasphemy, Christianus esse potest qui divinam Christi*essentiam negat. Smal, contr. nova monstra. An errour that takes away all Prayer to Christ, and worship of him, doth utterly destroy Christian religion: but the denyall of the Godhead of Christ doth take away all prayer to Christ and worship of him, ergo. This argument was urged by Fran∣ciscus Davidis and Simon Budnaeus, but Fanstus Socinus (ut su∣pra) was not able to give any satisfying answer to this tri∣umphing Reason. The Socinians are mad with reason, if they conceive it reasonable to give Divine honour to any save God alone. None pretend to be greater enemies to Idolatry, then the Socinians, and yet they doe clearly maintain this Idola∣trous principle, namely that divine Honour may be given to one whom they conceive to be a meer man, Christ bles∣sed for ever.

The Socinian Errour is Fundamentall, they deny Christs satisfaction, and so overthrow the foundation of our faith, * the foundation of our Justification; they deny the Holy Tri∣nity, and so take away the very Object of our Faith; they deny the Resurrection of these Bodies, and so take away the foundation of our hope; they deny originall sinne, and so take away the ground of our Humiliation, and indeed the necessity of regeneration; they advance the power of Nature, and destroy the efficacy of Grace. It is an Antichristian er∣rour, because it takes away the very Essence and Person of Iesus Christ, for they deny him to be God, and so take away his Essence; they deny him to be the second Person in the Tri∣nity, and so destroy his very person also. They doe in effect rob him of all his offices, for if Christ be not God, he is not that great Prophet foretold by Moses, who is Prince and*Page  25Author of life, Act. 3. 15. 22. ad finem, Act. 7. 37, 38. Nor can he be a Priest able to save by the offering of himself, because the merit of his sacrifice depends upon the dignity of his person: the offering of a meer man cannot satisfy for so many thou∣sands of men: and therefore the Socinians having denyed the Godhead of Christ, deny that he hath given God full satisfaction. Nor can Christ be a King, who hath an heaven∣ly and eternall kingdome by nature, if he be not God.

It is an Anti-spirituall errour, for they deny the Nature and Person of the holy Ghost, the speciall grace and saving efficacy of the holy Ghost; they say, we can understand the deepest mysteries of faith, and beleeve in Christ without the speciall assistance of the holy Ghost.

They overthrow the very nature of Faith, for they con∣found faith and workes; Obedience to Gods commands is faith it selfe, or the very substance and Forme of faith. Fides (quâ justificamur) obedientiam prceptorum Dei non qui∣dem ut effectum, sed ut suam substantiam & formam continet. Socin. Miscl. p. 162.

They destroy the Morall Law which was delivered by Moses, by saying that is imperfect. Christ came to fulfill (that is, say they) to make the Law perfect; and they over∣throw the Gospel, by saying that we are justifyed by the workes of the Law, and by their confounding of the Law of Faith, and the Law of workes; they say as the Jewes say, that the great work of the Messiah is to proclaime and confirme the Law, only they adde that it w•• his inent, le∣gem Mosaicam ceu minus perfectam perficere & locupletare, and therefore they say, Christ and his Apostles did so often presse obedience to the Law, to shew that we are to be ju∣stifyed by the works of the Law: and hence it is that they call our blessed Saviour, Mosen Mosissimum, as if Christ had not preached the Gospel, the Law of Faith, as the Apostle calls it, Rom. 3. 27. And by this meanes the Law of Justi∣fication by faith alone without the works of the Law, which is the scope of the Gospel, is quite overthrown.

They set open a wide gap to Atheisme, by denying that the soule of man can possibly so subsist by it selfe after this Page  26 life, as to be capable of joy or torment, of reward or punish∣ment; they may when they please speak plain English, and say, that there is neither Heaven nor Hell. Animadvertendum est (say they) Christum & Apostolos coactos fuisse quodam∣modo*hominum opinionibus, quae tunc plerun{que} vigebant, se accom∣modare, quemadmodum satis aperte docet parabola Divitis & La∣zari. Nam aliquem in inferno fuisse & ibi torqueri, in sinu A∣brahae decumbere, sunt plane fictitia, & similia illis, quae Poetae de Ixione, Sisypho, Tantalo scribunt: hâc etiam prudentiâ hodie apud vulgus Christianorum in hac materiâ utendum, &c. I have tran∣scribed this out of Doctor Josuah Stegman the Reverend Su∣perintendent of Scawenburg, and when ever I cite Stegman briefly in the margin, I intend that learned Author, and not Ioachimus Stegman the grand Socinian.

The Socinians desire to take us off from giving any heed to the received interpretations of aFathers or Councells, that so they may obtrude their own fancies and conceits upon us as solid, and Rationall, most accurate, but very moderate Interpretations, vide Brev. Disq. p. 7. They of all men doe most affect the conduct of their own private spirit, which they call Right Reason; and though they pretend that we are more busie in enquiring after the unanimous consent of Fathers and Councels, then the true sense of the Scriptures, yet they doe not endeavour by this out-cry to extoll and enthrone the Scriptures, but to set their own private spirit or b judgement in the chaire, which is indeed to make every man a Pope. This conceit of theirs cannot but take well with the multitude, for every man (as Luther saith) is born with a Pope in his belly; and with a Pope in his braine too, for every one would faine have his reason, his fancy to sit Judge in all controversies, every man is apt to think himself infallible, and that his Private Iudgement ought to be the Publike Stan∣dard. Finally, every one desires to give a Toleration or a Dis∣pensation to himselfe, that he may be allowed to maintain such opinions and goe on in such courses as are generally con∣demned by the judgement of Learned and Pious men. There is another quarrell that they pick with the Reformed Churches, and that is for extolling their Doctours too high∣ly, Page  27 such as Luther, Brentius, Melancthon, Bucer, Chemnitius, Calvin, Beza, Zuinglius and the rest, but they would pardon this errour, if they did not oblige other men to stand to the Judgement of these and such like Reverend Authours; if they might have but their liberty of prophecying according to their own private spirit or judgement they would be con∣tent, * but that the Churches passe their censures upon such as dissent from the most received interpretations of Fathers, Councels and the Reformed Divines, though such interpre∣tations seem unreasonable to the Private Judgement of our acute Socinians.

But there is a third fault greater then any of the former, & that is, that the Reformed Divines make the Holy Spirit spea∣king * in the Scriptures (and shining into the hearts and minds of men by a glorious light to enable them to under∣stand the Scriptures) the Judge of controversies, for by this means say they, the judgement of sound Reason is made use∣lesse and of none effect or Authority before the illumination of the Holy Ghost: this is an high fault indeed; we are it seemes in great danger of being seduced from the dictates of blind carnal reason to follow the light and voice of the Scrip∣tures, & the Holy Spirit. Besides, there is another greater dan∣ger, if we follow the Spirit so much, we shal not be able to an∣swer that Seraphique Doctour, Valerianus Magnus, his book, de Acatholicorum credendi Regulâ Iudicio, set forth at Prague,* 1628. but it may be the book needs no answer, or they that follow the Spirit and the Scriptures are not at leisure, they have better imployment.

But let the Socinians speak their minde clearely, then what is it they would have? why, they would throw the Pope out of his chaire, and they would sit there themselves by turnes, that so they may be Popes round; for every man say they hath reason enough before he is inlightned by the Holy Ghost to judge of the authority of Scriptures by Histories, and other principles, and to collect out of the Scriptures compared, and the foresaid principles, not onely all things necessary to salvation, but many profitable truths besides, though not so necessary. I should be very glad to Page  28 learne what those other Principles are besides the Scripture out of which we may collect truths necessary to salvation; for this you must look into the seventh Chapter of this Bre∣vis disquisitio, Caterùm ad sacrarum literarum anctoritatem & genuinam mentem dignoscendam principia etiam illa quae Philoso∣phica appellant advocanda esse. But if a man be no Scholar, why, then those principles which are knowne to him by nature, * and his owne observation, are the Rules whereby hee must examine; first, whether the Scriptures be the word of God, and then, what is the true sense and meaning of them; if such a man have but a good wit, a little experience (saith hee) will serve the turne. Nay, he affirmes that it will serve the turne, if by the helpe of those good principles, his owne good wit, and conference with others, he do but heare the summe of those few things which the Socinians conceive necessary to * salvation, though he never heare or know, that there is any such booke as the booke of God. Mr. Chillingworth comes very neere this Disquisition-monger in his accurate Treatise, for he saith, The Scripture is not to be believed finally for it selfe, but for the matter contained in it, so that if men did believe the doctrin contained in the Scripture, it should no way hinder their sal∣vation not to know whether there were any Scripture or no, chap. 2. pag. 65, 66. I thought it had beene necessary to have recei∣ved those materiall objects or Articles of our Faith, upon the authority of God speaking in the Scriptures; I thought it had beene Anabaptisticall to have expected any Revelation but in the Word of God; for a Revelation, nay a supernaturall revelation is necessary to help naturall reason, as the same Mr. Chillingworth acknowledges. Knot had very unhappily branded Mr. Chillingworth for a Socinian, because he main∣taineth, That nothing ought or can bee certainly believed, farther then it may be proved by evidence of naturall rea∣son, (where I conceive, saith Mr. Chillingworth, naturall rea∣son * is opposed to supernaturall revelation) and whosoever holds so let him be Anathema. Sect. 28. in his Answer to Knots Direction to N. N. Now let Mr. Chillingworth say that either there is a Revelation to be expected out of the Word, as the Enthyfiasts do, or else let him acknowledge, that God Page  29 hath ordained the Scriptures as the meanes and instruments to reveale saving truths, and let him teach men to depend upon the Ordinances of God, and not make men stand at a gaze to expect a Revelation in an extraordinary way. Or else let him speake plaine, and say there is truth enough written in the hearts of every man by nature to save him, or that it may be learnt from Philosophers writings; let him say as Socinus doth, that the substance of the promises is e∣ternall life, that the maine thing God lookes after is pra∣ctise, that Heathens and Christians have the same practicall rules written in their heart, and so if a man doe but hope for eternall life by observing these practicall rules (as many Heathens did, witnesse that verse of Phocylides,

〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,
and the Discourses of Socrates, Plato, Hermes, &c.) hee may be eternally saved; and then we shall know how free he is from Socinidnisme. Or else let him confesse, that natu∣rall Reason being helped by a supernaturall Revelation in the Word, is not able to discerne saving truths, so as to be∣leeve them after a saving manner, without the speciall assi∣stance of the holy Ghost, such assistance as is vouchsafed to none but the Elect of God, and then I will acknowledge that he is no Socinian. But otherwise, if either he thinke as he seemes to thinke, that all the materiall objects which are necessary to salvation, may be knowne out of some other booke then Scripture, or by some other meanes; and that if a man beleeve them meerely as truths probable by reason, and doe not receive those truths as the Oracles of God, but dictates of Reason, then sure he may be a Socinian still; nay, if he hold a supernaturall Revelation by the Word to be ne∣cessary, it being the meanes which God hath ordained, and so is made necessary to us by Gods ordinance; yet if hee thinke this outward revelation to be sufficient, without the inward and speciall revelation of the Spirit, he may be a So∣cinian still.

But this by the way, I shall say the lesse of Mr. Chilling∣worth, when I come to touch upon his Booke; sure I am, such dangerous principles as these, will beate greene heads Page  30 from the study of the Scriptures, if they be not censured upon every occasion. I know Master Chillingworth protests that he is willing to stand to the judgement of the Catholique Church, of this and former ages, to the consent of Protestants, the Church of England; but if he put in the Papists into the Catholicke Church, as I beleeve he will; then he will say the Papists doe not agree, and therefore the Catholick * Church of this age is not against the Socinians; nay the Fathers doe not all agree, and so there is not a Catholick consent of the Ancients, as Mr. Chilling∣worth I beeleeve did purposely shew at large in the eighteenth Section of his Answer to N. N. that so he might winde himselfe out the better in this 28. Section: Nay, peradventure he will put the Socini∣ans in for to give a vote, if you aske for the consent of the Catholique Church of this Age, for hee cals them a company of Christians in the 29. Section; and though he saith, They are erroneous in explicating (he doth not say in denying) the mysteries of Religion, & allowing greater liberty in speculative matters, (so the Socinians call the Articles of the Christian faith) then any other company of Christians doth, or they should doe, yet for their honour he saith, they explicate the Lawes of Christ with more rigour and lesse indulgence to the flesh then the Papists doe, and that is true, but not much for their commendation, because they thereby disgrace the Morall Law of God, and say it was imperfect, till Christ gave new Lawes; but Mr. Chillingworth was willing to take any occa∣sion to commend them. Moreover if Mr. Chillingworth by the Church of England, meane the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury and his faction, then indeed there will not be a generall con∣sent of the Church of England against the Socinians. Once more, if he take in all the Arminians, and some Iesuited Pa∣pists, that (as Vertumnus Romanus prescribes) come to Church and heare our Common prayers, and receive the Sacrament in some Congregations in this Kingdome, though they bee of Mr. Fisher, or Mr. Flued his minde, and ranke all these a∣mongst Protestants (for we have had strange kinde of Pro∣testantsPage  31 for these twelve yeares last past,) then I beleeve there will not be a generall consent of such Protestants against the Socinians; and so Mr. Chillingworth may oppose Socinianisme, when all these agree together to oppose it. But indeed hee hath one Argument which makes me beleeve that he and more of that faction who countenance many Socinian errors, doe not agree with the Socinians in all points, because Socinia∣nisme if it be taken in all its demensions, is such a Doctrine by which no man in his right minde can hope for any ho∣nour or preferment either in this Church or State, or in any other. Many men do indeed adventure as farre as they dare this way, onely they are afraid of thwarting the great De∣signe, as I shall hereafter shew. I dare not excuse Mr. Chil∣lingworths dangerous principles, though I account him a very rationall man, yet I beleeve him to be the more dangerous, I dare not therefore give him that liberty which he gives others, and cry, Quisque abundet in sensusuo, because they are not the words of S. Paul, though Mr. Chillingworth father them upon him, chap. 2. pag. 92. the words of the Apostle are, Let every man be fully perswaded, or assured in his own minde, Rom. 14. 5. I goe on to shew the danger of Socinianisme. It is an Hotch-potch of Gentilisme, Turcisme, Judaisme, and I know not what, they have put in some scruples of Christia∣nity to make up the messe. The Centuriatours say, that Ma∣homet did compose his Alcoran by the helpe of the Iewes, and Iohannes Antiochenus an Arian: and truly Turcisme doth much savour of Iudaisme and Arianisme. Now Socinia∣nisme is compounded of the selfe same ingredients, Socinus borrowed very much from Servetus, and Servetus from the Alcoran, as Wajekus proves, and Socinus doth acknowledge, vide Antiwajek. Soc. pag. 33. They say we hinder the con∣version of the Turks, by departing so far from them; where∣as they agree with Turks in denying the Godhead, eternall generation, meritorious satisfaction of Christ, in blasphe∣ming the Trinity: Paul Alciat, and Adam Neuser, two So∣cinians turned Turks; nay the Turks discourse more solidly a∣bout the Prescience of God, then the Socinians, or Armini∣ans doe.

Page  32 The Resurrection of these very bodies was believed by * none but Iewes and Turkes at first, (as the Socinians would make us believe) and the Protestants have received it from them.

They open a gap to an Atheisticall Libertinisme, by promising salvation to all Hereticks, ignorant persons, if they live but chast, sober, just lives, and expect eternall life, for that is the summe of the promises, and they need not know or beleeve more: all the mysteries of faith are by them counted but meere notions, speculations at best, and it is no great matter if men have diverse and contrary opinions about them they may all fare well enough; truly I thinke one as well as another, if there be neither heaven nor hell.

Socinians are not to be permitted in any Church, for they deny that there is as yet any Triumphant Church above, nor is it necessary that there should be any Militant Church here below. The Arminians jumpe with them in the same * conceit, they say, Christ may bee a King without a kingdome, an Head without a body: Neque verò necesse esse credimus ad hoc ut Christus rex & caput maneat in terris Ecclesiam veram semper esse. Their reasons are, because Christs kingdome doth rather consist in his owne Soveraigne Authority, then in the obedience and subjection of any people. Besides, if there were a necessity of it that there must be a Church on earth, then Christs people would not be a free willing peo∣ple, and so there would be no spirituall Church, if they are not left at liberty, to accept or refuse Christ; sure that is a re∣bellious Liberty, for a liberty to reject Christ, is a liberty to rebell.

No man they say need inquire after the true Church, much lesse is it necessary that he should be a member of the true Church, Ubinam quaeso est scriptum Christum praecepisse ut unusquisque inquirat, & norit quaenam sit vera Ecclesia? Soci∣nus de Eccles. Thes.

They would not have any marks given of a true Church, I suppose for fear theirs should be discovered to be a false; but especially they deny, that the pure preaching of the word is a Page  33 note of the true Church, for with jeasting Pilate they aske, What is Truth? How shall it appeare, say they, that any Church preaches the saving Truth? Nay Arminians and Socinians both tell us, that there is no need of preaching: saving Truths are sufficiently manifested they say, and yet it seemes it is not sufficiently manifested to them, for they cannot tell what it is. They doe not see any great use of the Sacraments, they cannot believe that the sprinkling of water upon the body, should have any spirituall effects upon the soule; they cannot believe that our faith can bee strengthened, our pardon sealed, Christ and his benefits im∣parted to us by eating of Bread, and drinking Wine. Now sure a Church that is without Ministers, Sacraments, markes or signes of a true Church, would be but an empty Titular Church, and to such a Church onely should Socinians be ad∣mitted.

Socinians are not to be suffered in any State, for they will not shew any obedience or respect to Magistrates; they say, they have no power to punish hainous offenders in time of peace, nor have they power to defend themselves or the people by the Sword, in time of Warre. But especially, they charge the Magistrates to beware how they meddle with good honest Hereticks, for all Hereticks in the opi∣nion of Arminians and Socinians (who speake favoura∣bly in their owne cause) are good pious men. What they say of the Law of Nations, or of a particular State, I had rather you should reade in their Writings then in mine.

I beleeve your patience is already tyred with this briefe narration, if any desire to be farther satisfied in particulars let them reade this book.