Reasons against popery in a letter from Mr. William Chillingworth, to his friend Mr. Lewger, persuading him to return to his mother, the Church of England, from the corrupt Church of Rome.
Chillingworth, William, 1602-1644.
Page  [unnumbered]

Reasons against Popery IN A LETTER FROM Mr. WILLIAM CHILLINGWORTH, To his Friend Mr. LEWGER, Perswading him to Return to his Mother, The CHURCH of ENGLAND.

From the Corrupt CHURCH of ROME.

The Second Edition.

LONDON, Printed for Robert Pawlet, at the Sign of the Bible in Chancery-Lane, near Fleet-street. A. D. 1673.

Page  [unnumbered] Page  1

Reasons against Popery, in a Letter from Mr. Wil∣liam Chillingworth to his friend Mr. Lewger, &c.

Good Mr. Lewger,

THough I am resolved not to be much afflicted at that which is not in my power to Help; yet I cannot deny but the loss of a Friend goes very near to my heart, and by this name of a Friend, I did presume, till of late, that I might have called you; because though perhaps for want of power and oportunity I have done you no good office, yet I have always been willing and ready to do you the best Service I could, and therefore I cannot but admire at your affected strangeness which in your last Letter to me you seem to take upon you; renouncing in a manner all Relation to me, and tacitly Excommunicating me from all Interest in you. The Superscription of your Letter is to Mr. William Chillingworth, and the Subscription Iohn Lewger, as if you either disdained, or made a Conscience of stiling me your Friend, or your self mine. If this proceed from passion and weakness pray mend it; if from reason pray shew it: If you think me one of those to whom St. Iohn forbids you to say (God save you) then you are to think and prove me one of those Deceivers, which deny Christ Iesus to be come in the flesh: If you think me an Heretick, and therefore to be avoided, you must Page  2 prove me to be 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, condemned by mine own judg∣ment, which I know I am not, and therefore think you cannot. If you say I do not hear the Church, and there∣fore am to be esteemed an Heathen or Publican, you are to prove then that by the Church is meant the Church of Rome, and yet when you have done so, I hope Chri∣stians are not forbidden to shew humanity and civility even to Pagans?

For God's sake Mr. Lewger free your self from this blind Zeal, at least for a little space, and consider with reason and moderation, what strange Crime you can charge me with that should deserve this strange usage, especially from you: Is it a Crime with all my under∣standing to endeavour to find your Religion true, and to make my self a believer of it, and not to be able to do so? Is it a crim to imploy all my reason upon the Ju∣stification of the Infallibility of the Roman-Church; and to find it impossible e to be justified? I will call God to witness, who knows my heart better than you do, that I have evened the Scale of my Iudgment, as much as possibly I could, and have not willingly allowed one grain of worldly motives on either side, but have weighed the rea∣sons for your Religion, and against it, with such indifference, as if there were nothing in the world but God and my self; and is it my fault that the Scale goes down which hath the most weight in it? that the Building falls that hath a false foundation? Have you such power over your understanding, that you can believe what you please, though you see no Reason? Or that you can suspend your belief, when you see Reason? If you have, I pray for old Friendship's sake, teach me this trick, and until I have learned it, I pray blame me not for going Page  3 the ordinary way, I mean for believing, or not believing as I see reason. If you can convince me of wilful opposition against the known Truth; of negligence in seeking it, of unwillingness to find it, of preferring temporal re∣spects before it, or of any other fault which is in my power to amend, that is indeed a fault, if I mend it not; be as angry with me as you please; but to im∣pute to me involuntary Errors, or that I do not see that which I would see, but cannot; or that I will not profess that which I do not believe; certainly this is a far more unreasonable errour, then any you can justly charge me with; for let me tell you, the imputing Socinianisme to me (whosoever was the Author of it) was a wicked and groundless Slander. Perhaps you will say (for this is the usual Song of that side) Pride is a voluntary fault, and with this I am justly chargeable, for forsaking the Guide that God hath appointed me to follow: but what if I forsook it, because I thought I had reason to fear it was one of those blind Guides, which whosoever blindly follows, is threatned by our Saviour, that both he and his Guide shall fall into the Ditch? then I hope you will grant it was not Pride, but Conscience, that moved me to do so; for as it is wise humility to obey those whom God hath set over me, so is it sinful credulity to follow every man, or every Church, that without warrant will take upon them to guide me: shew then some good and evident title which your Church of Rome hath to this Office; pro∣duce but one reason for it, which upon tryal will not finally be resolved and vanished into incertainty, and if I yield not unto it, say, if you please, I am as proud as Lucifer.

Page  4 In the mean time give me leave to think it strange, and not far from a Prodigy, that this Doctrine of the Roman Churches being the Guide of Faith (if it be true Doctrine) should either not be known to the Evangelists, or if it were known to them, yet being Wise and Good Men, they should either be so envious of the Churches Happi∣ness, or so forgetful of the Work they took in hand, which was to write the Whole Gospel of Christ, as that not so much as one of them should mention so much as once this so necessary part of the Gospel, without the belief whereof there is no Salvation, and with the belief where∣of, unless men be snatched away by sudden death, there is hardly any damnation. It is evident they do all of them with one consent speak very plainly of many things of no importance in comparison hereof, and is it credible or indeed possible that with one consent or rather conspiracy, they should be so deeply silent concerning this Unum Ne∣cessarium? You may believe it if you can, for my part I cannot, unless I see demonstration for it: And if you say they send us to the Church, and consequently to the Church of Rome, this is to suppose that which can never be proved, that the Church of Rome is the only Church, and without this supposal upon the Division of the Church, I am as far to seek for a Guide of my Faith as ever.

As for Example: In that Great Division of the Church when the whole World wonder'd, said St. Ierom, that it was become Arrian, when Liberius Pope of Rome (as St. Athanasius, St. Ierom, and St. Hilary testifie, subscribed their Heresie, and joyned in communion with them: or in the Division betwixt the Greek and Roman Church, about the Procession of the Holy Ghost, when either side was the Church to it self, and each part Schismatical and Page  5Heretical to the other: what direction could I then, an ignorant man, have found from the Text of Scripture, Un∣less he hear the Church, let him be unto thee as an Heathen or a Publican: Upon this Rock will I build my Church, and the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.

Again, Give me leave to wonder that neither S. Paul writing to the Romans, should so much as intimate this their priviledge of Infallibility, but rather on the contrary put them in fear in the 11 Chapter, that they, as well as the Jews, were in danger of falling away!

That St. Peter, the pretended Bishop of Rome, writing two Catholick Epistles, mentioning his departure, should not once acquaint the Christians whom he writes to, what Guide they were to follow after he was taken from them!

That the Writers of the New Testament should so fre∣quently warn men of Hereticks, false Christs, false Pro∣phets, and not once arm them against them, with letting them know this onely sure means of avoiding their dan∣ger!

That so great a part of the New Testament should be imployed about Antichrist, and so little, and indeed none at all, about the Vicar of Christ, and the Guide of the Faithful!

That our Saviour should leave this only means for the Ending of Controversies, and yet speak so obscurely and ambiguously of it, that now our Iudge is the greatest Con∣troversie, and the greatest hindrance of ending of them!

That there should be better evidence in the Scripture to justifie the King to this Office, who disclaims it, than the Pope, who pretends to it!

Page  6 That St. Peter should never exercise over the Apostles any one Act of Iurisdiction, not they ever give him any one Title of Authority over them!

That if the Apostles did know that St. Peter was made Head of them, when our Saviour said, Thou art Peter, they should still contend who should be the First, and that our Saviour should never tell them that St. Peter was the man!

That St. Paul should say he was nothing inferiour to the very chief Apostles!

That the Catechumeni in the Primitive Church should never be taught this Foundation of their Faith, that the Church of Rome was the Guide of their Faith!

That the Fathers, Tertullian, St. Ierom and Optatus, when they flew highest in recommendation of the Roman Church, should attribute no more unto her than to all Apostolical Churches!

That in the Controversie about Easter, the Bishops and Churches of Asia should be so ill Catechised as not to know this Principle of Christian Religion, The necessity of Conformity of Doctrine with the Church of Rome!

That they should never be pressed with any such Con∣formity in all things, but only with the particular Tradi∣tion of the Western Churches in that point!

That Irenaeus and many other Bishops notwithstanding, Ad hanc Ecclesiam necesse est omnem convenire Ecclesiam, should not yet think that a necessary Doctrine, nor a suf∣ficient ground of Excommunication, which the Church of Rome thought to be so!

That St. Cyprian and the Bishops of Affrick should be so ill-instructed in their Faith, as not to know this Foun∣dation of it!

Page  7 That they likewise were never urged with any such ne∣cessity of Conformity with the Church of Rome, nor ever charged with Heresie or Errour for denying of it!

That when Liberius joyned in Communion with the Arrians, and subscribed their Heresie, the Arrians then should not be the Church, and the Guide of the Faith.

That never any Hereticks for five Ages after Christ were pressed with this Argument of the Infallibility of the pre∣sent Church of Rome, or charged with the denial of it as a distinct Heresie, so that AEneas Sylvius should have cause to say, Ante tempora Concilii Niceni quisque sive vivebat, & parvus respectus habebatur ad Ecclesiam Romanam!

That the Ecclesiastical Story of these times, mentions no Act of Authority of the Church of Rome over other Churches; as if there should be a Monarchy, and the King for some Ages together should exercise no Act of Iurisdiction in it!

That to supply this defect, the Decretal Epistles should be so impudently forged, which in a manner speak no∣thing else but Reges & Monarchas, I mean the Popes ma∣king Laws to exercise Authority over all other Churches!

That the Affrican Churches in Saint Austin's time should be ignorant that the Pope was Head of the Church, and Judge of Appeals Iure Divino, and that there was a ne∣cessity of Conformity with the Church in this and all other points of Doctrine!

Nay that the Popes themselves should be so ignorant of the ground of this their Authority, as to pretend to it, not upon Scripture or Universal Tradition; but upon an imaginary pretended Non-such-Canon of the Council of Nice.

That Vincentius Lirinensis seeking for a Guide of his Faith and a Preservation from Heresie, should be igno∣rant Page  8 of this so ready an one, the Infallibility of the Church of Rome!

All these things, and many more, are very strange to me, if the Infallibility of the Roman Church be indeed, and were always by Christians acknowledged the Founda∣tion of our Faith: and therefore I beseech you pardon me, if I chose mine upon one that is much firmer and sa∣fer, and lies open to none of these Objections, which is Scripture and Universal Tradition.

And if one that is of this Faith may have leave so to do, I will subscribe with hand and heart,

Your very Loving and True Friend, W. Chillingworth.

Page  [unnumbered]

A Catalogue of some Books Printed for, and sold by Robert Pawlet, at the Bible in Chancery-lane, near Fleet-street.

EPiscopacy not prejudicial to Regal Power, Written by the special Command of the late King: By Robert San∣derson late Lord Bishop of Lincolne.

The Gentleman's Calling, Writen by the Author of The Whole Duty of Man.

The Causes of the Decay of Christian Piety; Or an Impartial Survey of the Ruines of Christian Religion, undermin'd by Uncristian Practice: By the Author of the Whole Duty of Man.

A Scholastical History of the Canon of the Holy Scrip∣ture; Or the certain and Indubitate Books thereof as they are received in the Church of England: By Dr. Gosin, Lord Bishop of Durham.

Golden Remains of the ever Memorable Mr. Iohn Hales of Eton-College, with Additions from the Authors own hand.

Divine Breathings, or a Pious Soul thirsting after Christ, in an hundred excellent Meditations.

Hugo Grotius de Rebus Belgicis, Or the Annals and History of the Low-Country Wars, in English, wherein is manifested, that the United Netherlands are indebted for the glory of their Conquests to the Valour of the English.

A Treatise of the English Particles; shewing much of the variety of their significations and uses in English; and how to render them into Latine, according to the propriety and elegancy of that Language; with a Praxis upon the same: By William Walker, B. D. School-Master of Grantham.

The Royal Grammar, commonly called Lillies Grammar explained, opening the meaning of the Rules with great plainness to the understanding of Children of the meanest capacity, with choice observations on the same from the best Authors: By W. Walker, B. D. Author of the Treatise of English Particles.

A Catalogue of the names of all the Parliaments or repu∣ted Parliaments, from the year 1640.

A Narrative of some Passages in or relating to the Long Parliament, by a Person of Honour.

Page  [unnumbered] Sober Inspections into the Long Parliament: By Iames Howel Esquire.

Dr. Sprackling against the Chymists.

Nemesius's Nature of Man, in English: By G. Withers Gent. Inconveniences of Toleration.

A Letter about Comprehension.

A Rationale on the Book of Common-prayer of the Church of England: By Anth. Sparrow, Lord Bishop of Exon.

The Bishop of Exons Caution to his Diocese against false doctrines: delivered in a Sermon at his Primary Visitation.

A Thanksgiving Sermon Preach'd before the King, by I. Dolben, D. D. Dean of Westminster, and Clerk of the Closet.

Bishop Brownrigs Sermon on the Gunpowder Treason.

A Letter to a person of Quality concerning the Fines re∣ceived by the Church at its Restauration, wherein by the Instance of one of the pichest Cathedrals, a fair guess may be made at the receipts and disbursements of all the rest.

A Narrative of the Burning of London 1666. with an ac∣count of the Losses, and a most remarkable Parallel between it and MOSCO, both as to the Plague and Fire.

Lluellyns three Sermons on the Kings Murder.

A Collection of the Rules and Orders now used in Chan∣cery.

A Charge given by the most Eminent and Learned Sir Francis Bacon, at a Sessions for the Verge, declaring the Ju∣risdiction thereof, and the offences therein inquirable, as well by the Common-Law, as by the several Statutes.

Mr. Whites learned Tract of the Laws of England.

Graphic, Or the Use of the Pen and Pensil in Designing, Drawing and Painting: By Sir William Sanderson, Knight.

Hypocrates Aphorismes in English.

The Communicant instructed for worthy Receiving the Lords Supper: By Tho. Trot, of Barkston near Grantham.

Petavius's History of the World.

Military and Maritine Discipline.

All sorts of LAW-BOOKS.

Page  [unnumbered]