Z. Isham R. P. D. Hen. Episc. Lond. à Sacris. 1685.
AN ANSWER TO SOME PAPERS Lately Printed, concerning the AUTHORITY OF THE Catholick Church In MATTERS of FAITH, and the REFORMATION of the CHURCH of ENGLAND.
LONDON, Printed for Ric. Chiswel at the Rose and Crown in St Paul's Church-Yard. MDCLXXXVI.
IF the Papers, here answered, had not been so publickly dispersed through the Nation, a due Respect to the Name they bear, would have kept the Author from publishing any An∣swer to them. But because they may now fall into many hands, who with∣out some assistance may not readily re∣solve some difficulties started by them, He thought it not unbecoming his du∣ty to God and the King, to give a clearer light to the Things contained in them. And it can be no reflecti∣on on the Authority of a Prince, for Page [unnumbered] a private Subject to examine a piece of Coyn as to its just value, though it bears His Image and Superscripti∣on upon it. In matters that concern Faith and Salvation, we must prove all things, and hold fast that which is good.Page 1
AN ANSWER TO THE First Paper.
IF all men could believe as they pleased, I should not have fail'd of satisfacti∣on in this First Paper; the Design of it being to put an end to Particular Di∣sputes; to which I am so little a Friend, that I could have been glad to have found, as much reason in it to convince, as I saw there was a fair appearance to deceive. But there is a Law in our Minds distinct from that of our Inclinations; and out of a just and due regard to That, we must ex∣amine Page 2 the most plausible Writings, though back'd with the greatest Authority, before we yield our Assent unto them.
If particular Controversies about Matters of Faith could be ended by a Principle, as visible as that the Scripture is in Print, all men of sence would soon give over Disputing; for none who dare believe what they see, can call that in Question. But what if the Church, whose Authority, it is said, they must submit to, will not allow them to believe what they see? How then can this be a sufficient reason to perswade them to be∣lieve the Church, because it is as visible as that the Scripture is in Print? unless we must only use our senses to find out the Church, and renounce them assoon as we have done it. Which is a very bad requi∣tal of them, and no great Honour to the Church which requires it.
But with all due submission, it is no more visible that the Roman Church is the Catholick Church, than it is, that a part is Page 3the whole, and the most corrupt part, that one Church, which Christ hath here upon Earth.
It is agreed among all Christians, That Christ can have but one Church upon Earth, as there is but one Lord, one Faith, one Ba∣ptism. And this is that Church we profess to believe in the two Creeds. But if those, who made those Creeds for our direction, had intend∣ed the Roman Catholick Church, why was it not so expressed? How came it to pass that such a limitation of the sense of Christs Catholick Church to the Roman, should never be put to Persons to be Baptized in any Age of the Church? For I do not find in the Office of Baptism, even in the Roman Church, that it is required that they believe the Roman Catholick Church, or that they deny the validity of Baptism out of the Communion of the Roman Church. From whence it is to me as visible as that the Scri∣pture is in Print, that the Church of Rome it self doth not believe that it is, the one Ca∣tholick Church mentioned in the two Creeds. For then it must void all Baptism out Page 4 of its Communion, which it hath never yet done. And as long as Baptism doth enter Persons into the Catholick Church, it is impossible, that all who have the true form of Baptism, though out of the Com∣munion of the Roman Church, should be Members of the Catholick Church, and yet the Communion of the Roman and Catho∣lick be all one; as it must be if the Ro∣man Church, be the Catholick and Apostolick Church professed in the Creeds.
If we had been so happy to have lived in those Blessed Times, when the multitude of them that believed were of one heart, and of one soul, it had been no difficulty to have shewed that one visible Church, which Christ had here upon Earth. But they must be great strangers to the History of the Church, who have not heard of the early and great Divisions in the Communion of it. And there was a remarkable difference in the Na∣ture of those Schisms, which happened in the Church; which being not considered hath been the occasion of great misaplication of Page 5 the sayings of the Antients about the One Catho∣lick Church. Some did so break off Communi∣on with other parts of the Catholick Church, as to challenge that Title wholly to themselves; as was evident in the case of the Novatians and Donatists; for they rebaptiz'd all that em∣braced their Communion. Others were cast out of Communion upon particular differen∣ces; which were not supposed to be of such a nature, as to make them no members of the Catholick Church. So the Bishops of Rome excommunicated the Bishops of Asia for not keeping Easter when They did; and the Bi∣shops both of Asia and Africa, for not allow∣ing the Baptism of Hereticks. But is it rea∣sonable to suppose, that upon these Differen∣ces they shut out all those Holy Bishops and Martyrs from the possibility of Salvation, by excluding them from their Communion? If not, then there may be different Communi∣ons among Christians, which may still con∣tinue Parts of the Catholick Church; and con∣sequently no one Member of such a Di∣vision ought to assume to it self the Title and Authority of the One Catholick Church.Page 6 But if any One Part doth so, though never so great and conspicuos, it is guilty of the same Presumption with the Novatians and Donatists, and is as much cause of the Schisms, which happen thereupon in the Church, as they were.
For a long time before the Reformation, there had been great and considerable breach∣es, between the Eastern and Western Church∣es; insomuch that they did renounce each other Communion. And in these Differences four Patriarchal Churches joined together against the fifth, viz. that of the Bishop of Rome. But the Eastern Patriarchs sinking in their Power, by the horrible Invasion of the Enemies of the Christian Faith; and the Bishops of Rome advancing them∣selves to so much Authority, by the ad∣vantages they took from the kindness of some Princes, and the Weakness of others, They would hear of no other terms of accommodation with the Eastern Church∣es, but by an intire submission to the Pope as Head of the Catholick Church. Which all the Page 7 Churches of the East refused, however diffe∣rent among themselves; and to this day look on the Pope's Supremacy as an Innovation in the Church, and Usurpation on the Rights of the other Patriarchs and Bishops. In all those Churches the Two Creeds are profes∣sed, true Baptism administred, and an un∣doubted Succession of Bishops from the A∣postles; How then come They to be ex∣cluded from being Parts of the One Catho∣lick and Apostolick Church? And if they be not excluded, how can the Roman Church assume to it self that glorious Title? So that it seems to me as visible as that the Scripture is in Print, that the Roman Church neither is, nor can be that One Church, which Christ left upon Earth.
And this Principle being removed (which ought to be taken for granted, since it can never be proved) we must unavoid∣ably enter into the Ocean of Particular Di∣sputes. And I know no reason any can have to be so afraid of it, since we have so sure a Compass, as the Holy Scripture Page 8 to direct our passage. But the reason of a∣voiding particular Disputes is, because the evi∣dence is too clear in them, that the Church of Rome hath notoriously deviated from this infallible Rule. And it is as impossible for a Church, which hath erred, to be Infalli∣ble, as for a Church really Infallible, to err. But if a Church pretend to prove her Infal∣libility by Texts, which are not so clear, as those which prove her to have actually er∣red; then we have greater reason to recede from her Errors, than to be deceived with such a fallible pretence to Infallibility.
Well! But it is not left to every phantastical mans head to believe as he pleases, but to the Church.
And is it indeed left to the Church to be∣lieve as it pleases? But the meaning I suppose is, that those, who reject the the Authority of the Roman Catholick Church, do leave eve∣ry man to believe according to his own fancy. Certainly those of the Church of England, can∣not Page 9 be liable to any imputaion of this Na∣ture. For our Church receives the three Creeds, and embraces the four General Councils, and professes to hold nothing contrary to any U∣niversal Tradition of the Church from the Apostles times. And we have often offered to put the Controversies between Us and the Church of Rome upon that issue. And do not those rather believe as they please, who believe the Roman Church to be the Catholick Church, without any colour from Scriptures, Anti∣quity or Reason? Do not those believe as they please, who can believe against the most convincing evidence of their own senses? Do not those believe as they please, who can recon∣cile the lawfulness of the Worship of Images, with Gods forbidding it, the Communion in one kind with Christ's Institution, and the praying in an unknown Tongue with the 14 Ch. of the first Epistle to the Corinthians?
But all these and many other Absurdities may go down by vertue of the Churches Authority, to whom, it is said, Christ left the Power upon Earth to govern us in matters of Faith. We do not deny that the Church hath Au∣thority Page 10 of declaring matters of Faith, or else it never could have condemn'd the Antient Heresies. But then we must consider the difference between the Universal Church in a General and free Council, declaring the sense of Scripture in Articles of Faith, generally received in the Christian Church from the Apostles Times, as was done when the Ni∣cene Creed was made; and a Faction in the Church assuming to it self the Title of Ca∣tholick, and proceeding by other rules, than the first Councils did, and imposing new Opinions and Practices, as things necessary to the Communion of the Catholick Church. And this is the true Point in difference be∣tween us, and those of the Roman Church about the Churches Authority in matters of Faith, since the Council of Trent. For we think we have very great reason to com∣plain, when a Party in the Church, the most corrupt and obnoxious, takes upon it self to define many new Doctrines, as ne∣cessary Points of Faith, which have nei∣ther Scripture, nor Universal Tradition for them.
Page 11 It were a very irrational thing, we are told, to make Laws for a Coun∣try, and leave it to the Inhabitants to be Interpreters and Iudges of those Laws; for then every Man will be his own Iudge, and by consequence no such thing, as either Right or Wrong.
But is it not as irrational to allow an Usur∣per to interpret the Laws to his own advan∣tage, against the just Title of the Prince, and the true Interest of the People? And if it be not Reasonable for any private Person to be his own Iudge, why should a publick Invader be so? But we hope it will be al∣lowed to the Loyal Inhabitants of a Coun∣try, so far to interpret the Laws, as to be able to understand the Duty they owe to their King, and to justifie his Right against all the Pretences of Usurpers. And this is as much as we plead for in this case.
Page 12 Can we therefore suppose, That God Almighty would leave us at those un∣certainties, as to give us a Rule to go by, and leave every Man to be his own Iudge?
And can we resonably suppose, That God Almighty should give as a Rule not capable of being understood by those to whom it was given, in order to the great End of it, viz. the saving of their Souls? For this was the main end of the Rule, to direct us in the way to Heaven, and not meerly to deter∣mine Controversies. The Staff, which a Man uses, may serve to measure things by, but the principal design is to walk with it. So it is with the Holy Scripture, if Contro∣versies arise: It is fit to examine and com∣pare them with this Infallible Rule; but when that is done, to help us in our way to Heaven is that which it was chiefly intended for. And no Man can think it of equal con∣sequence to him, not to be mistaken, and Page 13 not to be damned. In matters of Good and Evil, every mans Conscience is his immedi∣ate Judge, and why not in matters of Truth and Falshood? Unless we suppose mens in∣voluntary mistakes to be more dangerous than their wilful sins.
But after all, We do not leave every Man to be his own Iudge, any further than it con∣cerns his own Salvation, which depends up∣on his particular Care and Sincerity. For to prevent any dangerous Mistakes by the Artifice of Seducers, we do allow the As∣sistance of those Spiritual Guides, which God hath appointed in his Church, for the better insturcting and governing private Per∣sons: We embrace the Ancient Creeds, as a summary comprehension of the Articles of Faith; and think no Man ought to fol∣low his own particular Fancy against Do∣ctrines so universally received in the Chri∣stian Church, from the Apostles Times.
Page 14 I do ask any Ingenuous Man, whe∣ther it be not the same thing to follow our own Fancy, or to interpret Scrip∣ture by it.
If we allowed no Creeds, no Fathers, no Councils, there might have been some colour for such a Question. But do we permit Men to interpret Scripture according to their own Fancy, who live in a Church, which owns the Doctrine of the Primitive Church more frankly and ingenuously, than any Church in the World besides, without setting up any private Spirit against it, or the present Roman Church to be the In∣terpreter of it. And now I hope I may have leave to ask some Questions of any in∣genuous Man; as, whether it be not the same thing for the Church of Rome to make the Rule, as to assume to it self the fole Power of giving the sense of it? For what can a Rule signifie without the sense? And if this were the intention of Almighty God, Page 15 had it not been as necessary to have told us, to whom he had given the Power of Inter∣preting the Rule, as to have given the Rule it self? Whether it be reasonable for the Church of Rome, to interpret those Texts, wherein this Power of Interpreting, is to be contained? For this is to make it Iudge in its own Cause, which was thought an Absur∣dity before. And whether it be not as mis∣chievous to allow a Prosperous Usurper the Power of interpreting Laws, according to his own Interest, as any private Person, ac∣cording to his own Fancy? Whether it be possible to reform Disorders in the Church, when the Person principally accused is Su∣pream Judge? Whether those can be indif∣ferent Judges in Councils, who before∣hand take an Oath, to defend that Autho∣rity which is to be Debated? Whether Tra∣dition be not as uncertain a Rule, as Fancy, when Men judge of Tradition according to their Fancy?
Page 16 I would have any Man shew me, where the Power of deciding matters of Faith is given to every particular Man.
If by deciding Matters of Faith be under∣stood the determining them in such a man∣ner, as to oblige others, I do not know where it is given to every particular Man, nor how it should be. For then every par∣ticular Man would have a Power over every particular Man; and there would want a new Decision, whose should take place. But if by deciding Matters of Faith, no more be meant, but every mans being satisfied of the Reasons, why he believes one thing to be true, and not another; that belongs to every Man, as he is bound to take care of his Soul, and must give an account both to God and Man of the Reason of his Faith. And what can be meant in Scripture by Proving all things, and holding fast that which is good, 1 Thess. 5. 21. By trying the Spirits, whether Page 17 they be of God, 1 John 4. 1. By judging of themselves what is right, Luke 12. 57. unless God had given to Mankind a Faculty of dis∣cerning truth and falshood in Matters of Faith. But if every Man hath not such a Power, how comes he to be satisfied about the Churches Autority? Is not that a Matter of Faith? And where ever any Person will shew me, that every Man hath a Power to determine his Faith in that matter, I'le un∣dertake to shew him the rest.
Christ left his Power to his Church▪ even to forgive Sins in Heaven, and left his Spirit with them, which they exercised after his Resurrection.
But where then was the Roman-Catholick Church? And how can it be hence inferred, That these Powers are now in the Church of Rome, exclusive to all others, unless it be made appear that it was Heir-General to all the Apostles? I suppose it will be granted, that the Apostles had some gifts of the Spi∣rit, Page 18 which the Church of Rome will not in Modesty pretend to; such as the Gift of Tongues, the Spirit of Discerning, Pro∣phesie, Miraculous Cures and Punishments. Now, here lyes the difficulty, to shew what part of the Promise of the Infallible Spirit (for the ordinary Power of the Keys relates not to this matter) was to expire with the Apostles, and what was to be con∣tinued to the Church in all Ages. A Pro∣mise of Divine Assistance is denied by none but Pelagians: But how far that extends, is the Question. In the Souls of good Men it is so as to keep them in the way to Heaven, but not to prevent any lapse into sin; and it were worth our knowing, where God hath ever promised to keep any Men more from Error, than from Sin. Doth he hate one more than the other? Is one more disagree∣ing to the Christian Doctrine than the other? How came then so much to be said for the keeping Men from Error, when at the same time, they confess they may not only com∣mit great sins, but err very dangerously in the most Solemn manner, in what relates Page 19 to the Doctrine of Manners. Would any have believed the Apostles Infallible, if they had known them to be Persons of ill Lives; or that they had notoriously erred in some Rules of great Consequence to the Welfare of Mankind? Now, all this is freely yielded, as to the Pretence of Infallibility in the Church of Rome. It is granted, that the Guides of that Church have been very bad Men; and that in Councils they have fre∣quently erred about the Deposing Power, being only a Matter of Practice, and not of Faith. Whether it be so or not, I now dis∣pute not; but it is granted, that notwith∣standing this Infallible Spirit, the Roman Church may grosly err in a matter of mighty Consequence to the Peace of Christendom; and yet it cannot err in decreeing the least Matters of Faith. As for Instance, it can by no means err about the seven Sacraments, or the Intention of the Priest about them; but it may err about Deposing Princes, and Absol∣ving Subjects from their Allegiance: Which in easier terms is, They can never err about Page 20 their own Interest, but they may about any other whatsoever.
I pass over the next Paragraph, the sense being imperfect, and what is material about the Creeds, hath been spoken to already.
That which next deserves Consideration, is,
That the Church was the Iudge even of the Scripture it self, many years after the Apostles, which Books were Canonical, and which were not.
We have a distinction among us of Iudges of the Law and Iudges of the Fact: The One declare what the Law is, the Fact being supposed; the Other gives judgment upon the Fact, as it appears before them. Now in this Case about the Canonical Books, the Church is not judge of the Law. For they are not to declare whether a Book appear∣ing to be Canonical ought by it to be recei∣ved Page 21 for Canonical; (which is taken for gran∣ted among all Christians) but all they have to do, is to give Judgment upon the Matter of Fact, i. e. whether it appear upon suffi∣cient Evidence to have been a Book written by Divine Inspiration. And the Church of Rome hath no particular Priviledge in this matter, but gives its Judgment as other parts of the Christian World do: And if it takes upon it to judge contrary to the ge∣neral sense of the Christian Church, we are not to be concluded by it; but an Ap∣peal lyes to a greater Tribunal of the Uni∣versal Church.
And if they had this Power, then I desire to know, how they came to lose it?
Who are meant by They? And what is understood by this Power? It is one thing for a Part of the Church to give Testimo∣ny to a matter of Fact, and another to as∣sume Page 22 the Power of making Books Canonical, which were not so. This latter no Church in the World hath, and therefore can never lose it. The former is only Matter of Te∣stimony, and all parts of the Church are concerned in it, and it depends as other Matters of Fact do, on the Skill and Fide∣lity of the Reporters.
And by what Autority Men sepa∣rate themselves from that Church?
What Church? The Catholick and Apo∣stolick? We own no Separation from that; but we are dis-joyned from the Commu∣nion of the Roman Church, that we may keep up the stricter Union with the truly Catholick and Apostolick Church. And this is no Separating our selves, but being cast out by an Usurping Faction in the Church; be∣cause we would not submit to the unrea∣sonable Conditions of Communion impo∣sed by it; the chief whereof is owning Page 23 all the Usurpation, which hath by de∣grees been brought into it. To make this plain by an Example: Suppose a prospe∣rous Usurper in this Kingdom had gained a considerable Interest in it, and challenged a Title to the whole, and therefore re∣quired of all the Kings Subjects, within his Power, to own him to be Rightful King: Upon this, many of them are forced to withdraw, because they will not own his Title: Is this an act of Rebellion, and not rather of true Loyalty? Schism in the Church is like Rebellion in the State. The Pope declares himself Head of the Catho∣lick Church, and hath formed himself a kind of Spiritual Kingdom in the West; although the other parts of the Christian World declare against it, as an Usurpation. However, he goes on, and makes the own∣ing his Power a necessary Condition of be∣ing of his Communion. This many of the Western Parts, as well as Eastern, dis∣own and reject, and therefore are ex∣cluded Communion with that Church, Page 24 whereof he is owned to be the Head. The Question now is, Who gives the Occasion to this Separation? whether the Pope, by requiring the owning his Usurpation, or We, by declaring against it? Now, if the Conditions, he requires, be un∣just and unreasonable; if his Autority, he challenges, over the Catholick Church, be a meer Usurpation (for which we have not only the Consent of the other Parts of the Christian World, but of Scripture and the Ancient Church) then we are not to be condemned, for such a Separation, which was unavoidable, if we would not comply with the Pope's Usurpation. And upon this Foot the Con∣troversie about Schism stands between Us and the Church of Rome.
The only Pretence I ever heard of, was, because the Church hath fail'd in wresting and interpreting the Page 25 Scripture contrary to the true sense and meaning of it; and that they have imposed Articles of Faith upon us, which are not to be warranted by Gods Word. I do desire to know who is to be Iudge of that, whether the whole Church, the Succession whereof hath continued to this day without interruption; or particular Men, who have raised Schisms for their own advantage.
The whole force of this Paragraph de∣pends upon a Supposition, which is taken for granted, but will never be yielded by Us, and we are sure can never be proved by those of the Church of Rome, viz. That in the new imposed Articles, the whole Church in a continued Succession hath been of the same judgment with them, and Page 26 only some few Particular Men in these last Ages have opposed them. Whereas the great thing we insist upon next to the Holy Scripture, is, that they can never prove the Points in diference, by an Universal Tradition from the Apostles Times, either as to the Papal Supremacy, or the other Ar∣ticles defined by the Council of Trent. VVe do not take upon our selves to contradict the Universal sense of the Christian Church from the Apostles Times in any one Point. But the true Reason of the proceeding of the Church of England was this. VVhile the Popes Authority was here received and obeyed, there was no liberty of search∣ing into abuses, or the ways of Reform∣ing them. But when Men were encoura∣ged to look into the Scripture, and Fathers, and Councils, they soon found the state of things in the Church extreamly altered from what they ought to have been, or had been in the Primitive Church: But they saw no possibility of Redress, as long as the Popes Autority was so absolute and inviolable. Page 27 This therefore in the first place they set themselves to the accurate Examination of, and the Result was, that they could find it neither in the Scriptures, nor Fathers, nor Councils, nor owned by the Eastern Churches: And therefore they concluded it ought to be laid aside, as an Usurpation. Our Church being by this means set free (even with the consent of Those, who joyned with the Church of Rome in other things) a greater liberty was then used in examining particular Doctrines and Pra∣ctices, which had crept into the Church by degrees, when Ignorance and Barba∣rism prevail'd; and having finish'd this en∣quiry, Articles of Religion were drawn up, wherein the sense of our Church was delivered, agreeable to Scripture and Antiquity, though different from the Mo∣dern Church of Rome; and these Articles are not the private sense of particular Men, but the Publick Standard whereby the World may judge, what we believe and practise; and therefore these are the sense of our Church, and not the opinions or fancies Page 28 of particular Men. And those who call the retrenching the Popes exorbitant Power by the name of Schism, must by parity of reason call the casting off an Usurper Re∣bellion. But certainly those who consider the mighty advantages and priviledges of the Clergy in the Church of Rome, can never reasonably suspect any of that Order should hope to better themselves by the Reformation. And if we judge of Mens actings by their Interest, one of the most surprising considerations at this day is, that the Clergy should be against, and Princes for the Church of Rome.Page 29
AN ANSWER TO THE Second Paper.
IT is a sad thing to consider, what a world of Heresies are crept in∣to this Nation.
But is it not a strange thing to consider, that no distinction is here put between the Religion by Law established, and the Par∣ties disowned by it, and dissenting from it? And yet many of these, though justly liable to the charge of Schism, embrace no Page 30 Heresies against the Four or Six first Gene∣ral Councils. But if the Dissenters were guilty of never so many Heresies, how comes the Church of England to bear the blame of them; when the weakning its Power and Authority was the occasion of such an overflowing of Schisms and Here∣sies among us? And it is indeed a sad thing to consider how many Ways and Means have been used by all Parties to introduce and keep up Schisms and Divisions amongst us, and then how the Church of England is blamed for not being able to suppress them. But if all Doctrines opposite to the Church of Rome be accounted Heresies, then we desire to be informed, how the Church of Rome came to have this Power of defining Heretical Doctrines; or how any Doctrine comes to be Heresie by being contrary to its definitions. For Heresie is an obstinate opposing some necessary Article of Faith. It must therefore be proved, that what the Church of Rome declares, doth thereby be∣come a necessary Article of Faith, or it is very unreasonable to lay the imputation Page 31 of Heresie upon us. And this can never be maintained, without proving that the Church of Rome hath a Power to make Do∣ctrines not necessary before, to become ne∣cessary by her Definition: which is the same thing with making New Articles of Faith. But these can never be proved to be such by Universal Tradition; which the Church of Rome pretends for all her Articles of Faith.
Every Man thinks himself as com∣petent a Iudge of Scripture, as the ve∣ry Apostles themselves.
Doth Every Man among us pretend to an infallible Spirit? And yet Every Man owns that the Apostles had it. But what is meant by being a Iudge of Scripture? If no more be understood, then that eve∣ry Man must use his understanding about it, I hope this is no Crime nor Heresie. The Scripture must be believed in order to Salvation, and therefore it must be un∣derstood; Page 32 for how can a Man believe, what he understands not the sense or meaning of? If he must understand the sense he must be Iudge of the sense; so that every Man, who is bound to be∣lieve the Scripture in order to his Salva∣tion, must be Judge of the sense of the Scripture, so far as concerns his Salva∣tion. But if by being a Iudge of the Scri∣pture be meant giving such a judgment, as obliges others to submit to it, then among us no particular Man doth pre∣tend to be a competent Iudge of Scripture, so as to bind others to rely upon his Au∣thority in expounding Scripture. We own the Authority of Guides in the Church, and a due submission to them, but we do not allow them to be as competent Iudges of Scripture as the very Apostles.
And 'tis no wonder it should be so, since that part of the Nation, which looks most like a Church, dares not bring the true Arguments against the Page 33 other Sects, for fear they should be turned against themselves, and confuted by their own Arguments.
This is directly level'd against the Church of England, which is hereby charged with Insincerity or Weakness in dealing with the Dissenters. But we must consi∣der the meaning of this charge. It is no wonder it should be so, i. e. That every Man should think himself as competent a Iudge of Scri∣pture, as the very Apostles, because the Church of England dares not use the true Arguments against the Sects. Whence it appears that this true Argument is the Churches infal∣lible Authority, and the Obligation of all Members of the Church to submit their judgments intirely thereto. I confess that if the Church of England did pretend to this against the Sectaries, they might just∣ly turn it against her; because in our Ar∣ticles, though the Churches Authority be as∣serted, yet Infallibility is denyed. If there can be no Authority in a Church, with∣out Page 34 Infallibility; or there can be no ob∣ligation to submit to Authority, without it, then the Church of England doth not use the best Arguments against Secta∣ries. But if there be no ground for In∣fallibility, if the Church which hath most pretended to it, hath been most grosly deceived; if the Heads of that Church have been not barely suspected of Heresie, but one of them stands condemned for it in Three General Councils, own'd by that Church; then for all that I can see, the Church of England hath wisely disowned the pretence of Infallibility, and made use of the best Arguments against Sectaries from a just Authority, and the sinfulness and folly of the Sectaries refusing to submit to it.
The Church of England (as 'tis cal∣led) would fain have it thought, That they are the Iudges in matters Spiri∣tual, yet dare not say positively, there is no Appeal from them.
Page 35 Is not the Church of England really what it is called? I would fain know what it wants to make it as good a Church, as any in the Christian World? It wants neither Faith (if the Creed contain it) nor Sacra∣ments, (and those entire) nor Succession of Bishops, (as certain as Rome it self) nor a Liturgy, (more agreeing to Primitive Worship, then is any where else to be found.) Why then the Church of England, as 'tis called? Well! But what is this Church now blamed for? They pretend to be Iudges in matters Spiritual, and yet dare not say there is no appeal from them. How then? Are there no true Judges, but such as there lies no Appeal from? There lies an Ap∣peal from any Judges in the Kings Courts to the Court of Parliament; are They not therefore true Judges in Westminster-Hall? There lay an Appeal from Bishops to Metropolitans, from them to Patriarchs, from Patriarchs to General Councils, ac∣cording to the Antient Polity of the Church. Were there therefore no true Judges, but General Councils?
Page 36 What follows relating to the Churches Authority, and every Mans following his own judgment, hath been answered already. I proceed therefore, to what further concerns this matter of Appeal.
What Country can subsist in Quiet, where there is not a Supreme Iudge, from whence there can be no Appeal?
The natural consequence from hence appears to be, that every National Church ought to have the Supream Power within it self. But how come Appeals to a fo∣reign Jurisdiction to tend to the Peace and Quiet of a Church? They have been al∣ways complained of in the best Ages of the Church, and by the best Men; such as S. Cyprian, and S. Augustine, and the whole African Churches. The worst Men began them, and the worst Church en∣couraged them, without regard to the Peace of the Christian Church, so it increased its own Grandeur by them.
Page 37 We have had these hundred Years past, the sad effects of denying to the Church, that Power in matters Spiri∣tual, without an Appeal.
And our Ancestors for many hundred Years last past, found the intolerable In∣conveniencies of an Appeal to foreign Ju∣risdiction. Whereby the Nation was ex∣hausted, Justice obstructed, the Clergy oppressed, and the Kings Prerogative great∣ly diminished. But these were slight things in Comparison to what we have felt these hun∣dred Years past for want of it.
Have not the Kings Courts been open for matters of Law and Justice, which have been fill'd with Men of as great Abi∣lities and Integrity, since the Reformation, as ever they were before? Hath not the Appeal to the King in his High Court of Chancery been as much for the King and People, as ever the Appeal was to the Court of Rome? Have not all the Neigh∣bour Page 38 Princes been forced for the preser∣ving their own Dignity to set Bounds and Limits to Appeals to Rome, and to Orders or Bulls that come from thence? How then comes the want of such an Appeal to be thought to produce such sad effects here? All Christendom groans under the sad effects of them; and it is a very self-de∣nying humour for those to be most sensible of the want of them, who would really suffer the most by them.
Can there be any Iustice done, where the Offenders are their own Iudges, and equal Interpreters of the Law, with those that are appointed to Admi∣ster Iustice?
And is there any likelihood, Justice should be better done in another Country, by another Authority, and proceeding by such Rules, which in the last resort, are but the Arbitrary will of a Stranger. And Page 39 must such a one, pretending to a Power he hath no right to, be Iudge in his own Cause, when he is the greatest Offender himself? But how is this applied to the Protestants in England?
This is our Case, here in England, in matters Spiritual; for the Protestants are not of the Church of England, as 'tis the true Church, from whence there can be no Appeal; but because the Di∣scipline of that Church is conformable at present to their fancies; which, as soon as it shall contradict or vary from, they are ready to embrace or joyn with the next Congregation of People, whose Discipline or Worship agrees with the Opinion of that Time.
The sense of this Period is not so clear, but that one may easily mistake about it. That which is aimed at, is, that we of the Page 40Church of England, have no tie upon us, but that of our own judgments; and when that changes, we may join with Independents or Presbyterians, as we do now with the Church of England. And what security can be grea∣ter, than that of our Judgments? If it be said to be nothing, but fancy and no true Iudg∣ment, we must beg leave to say, that we dare Appeal to the World, whether we have not made it appear, that it is not fan∣cy, but Iudgment which hath made us firm to the Church of England. Might it not as well have been said, that the Protestants of the Church of England, adhered to the Crown in the Times of Rebellion out of Fancy, and not out of Iudgment? And that if their Fancy changed, they might as well have joined with the Rebels? Will not this way of Reasoning hold as strongly against those of the Church of Rome? For why do any adhere to that, but because it is agreeable to their Judgment so to do? What evidence can they give, that it is Iudgment in them, and only Fancy in us? If Reason must be that which puts the dif∣ference, we do not question, but to make Page 41 ours appear to be Iudgment, and theirs Fancy? For what is an infallible Iudge, which Christ never appointed, but Fancy? What is their unwritten Word, as a Rule of Faith to be equally received with the Scriptures, but Fancy? What is giving honour to God by the Worship of Images, but Fancy? What is making Mediators of Intercession, besides the Mediator of Redemption, but Fancy? What is the Doctrine of Concomitancy, to make a∣mends for half the Sacrament, but Fancy? What is the substantial Change of the Elements into the Body of Christ, but Fancy? for both Senses and Reason are against it. What is the deliverance of Souls out of Purgatory, by Masses for the Dead, but meer Fancy? But I forbear giving any more Instances.
So that according to this Doctrine, there is no other Church nor Interpre∣ter of Scripture, but that which lies in every Man's giddy Brain.
Page 42 Let Mens Brains be as giddy, as they are said to be, for all that I can see, they are the best faculties they can make use of, for the understanding of Scripture, or any thing else. And is there any Infallible Church upon Earth, which must not be be∣holding to Mens giddy Brains for believing it? And it may be, never the less giddy for doing it? For God-sake why do any Men take the Church of Rome to be Infallible? Is it not, because their Understandings tell them they ought so to do? So that by this consequence, there is no Infallible Church, but what lies in every Mans giddy Brain.
I desire to know therefore of every serious Considerer of these things, whe∣ther the great Work of our Salvation ought to depend on such a Sandy Foun∣dation as this?
Page 49 I thank God I have seriously considered this matter, and must declare that I find no Christian Church built on a more sandy Foun∣dation, than that, which pretends to be setled upon a Rock; I mean, so far as it imposes the new Faith of Trent, as a necessary Condition of Salvation. Had we no other reason to em∣brace Christianity, than such as they offer for these New Doctrines, I am much afraid Chri∣stianity it self, to all inquisitive Men, would be thought to have but a Sandy Foundation. But what is this Sandy Foundation we build up∣on? Every Man's private judgment in Religi∣on? No understanding Man builds upon his own Judgment, but no Man of understand∣ing can believe without it. For I appeal to any ingenious Man, whether he doth not as much build upon his own Judgment, who chuseth the Church, as he that chuseth Scripture for his Rule? And he that chuseth the Church, hath many more Difficulties to conquer than the other hath. For the Church can never be a Rule without the Scriptures, but the Scriptures may without the Church. And it is no such easy matter to find the Churches Infallibility in the Page 50Scripture. But suppose that be found, he hath yet a harder Point to get over, viz. How the Promises relating to the Church in general, came to be appropriated to the Church of Rome. Which a Man must have an admirable Fa∣culty at discerning, who can find it out, either in Scripture, or the Records of the Ancient Church.
The places of Scripture which are brought about Christ's being with his Church to the end of the World, about the Power to forgive Sins; about the Clergy being God's Labourers, Hus∣bandry, Building, having the Mind of Christ; do as effectually prove Infallibility of the Church of England, as the Church of Rome; for I can∣not discern the least inclination in any of them to favour one against the other.
And pray consider on the other side, that those who resist the Truth, and will not submit to his Church, draw their Arguments from Implications, and far-fetch'd Interpretations, at the same Page 51 time that they deny plain and positive Words: which is so great a Disinge∣nuity, that 'tis not almost to be thought that they can believe themselves.
This is a very heavy Charge; To resist the Truth, to deny plain and positive Words of Scrip∣ture; to be guilty of great Disingenuity, so as not to believe our selves, are faults of so high a na∣ture, as must argue not only a bad Cause, but a very bad Mind. And God forbid, that those of the Church of England, should ever be found guilty of these things. But to come to Particulars; Is it resisting Truth, or argu∣ing from Implications, and denying plain and po∣sitive Words of Scripture, to say, We must not worship Images; We must make God alone the Ob∣ject of Holy Worship; We must give the Eucharist in both kinds according to Christ's express Insti∣tution; We must understand our Prayers, when St. Paul's words are so clear about it? So far at least we have plain and positive Words of Scripture on our side. And for Implications, and far fetch'd Interpretations, commend me Page 52 to the Pope's Bulls, especially when they have a mind to prove their Authority from Scrip∣ture; which they can do from In the beginning, to the end of the Apocalypse. But that which seems to be aimed at here, is, This is my Body; wherein the words seem to be plain and posi∣tive on their side, and our sense to be from Im∣plications, or far-fetched Interpretations. To which I Answer, That there are Expressions in Scripture as plain and positive as this, which none think themselves bound to understand in their literal sense. For then we must all be∣lieve, that God hath Eyes and Ears, a Face, Hands and Feet, as firmly, as that the Bread was then turned into Christ's Body, when he spake those words. And I would know, whe∣ther the Christian Church rejecting the Do∣ctrine of Those who made God to be like to Man, was not chargeable with the same resisting the Truth, and denying plain and positive Words of Scripture, as we are? And yet I hope the Christian Church did then believe it self. Sup∣pose any should assert, That the Rock in the Wilderness, was really changed into Christ's Body; would not he have the very same Things to Page 53 say against those who denied it? For are not the Words as plain and as positive, That Rock was Christ? But Sacramental Expressions, by the consent of the Christian Church, and the very Neture of the Things, are of a different sense from Logical Propositions. And if this had been intended in the plain and literal sense, St. Paul would never have as plainly and posi∣tively called it Bread after Consecration; nor the Cup be said to be the New Testament in his Blood.
The Conclusion is:
Is there any other Foundation of the Protestant Church, but that if the Ci∣vil Magistrate pleases, he may call such of the Clergy as he thinks fit for his turn at that time, and turn the Church either to Presbytery, or Inde∣pendency, or indeed what he pleases? This was the way of our pretended Reformation here in England. And by the same Rule and Authority, it may be altered into as many Shapes and Forms as there are Fancies in Mens Heads.
This looks like a very unkind Requital to the Church of England, for her Zeal in assert∣ing the Magistrate's Power against a Foreign Jurisdiction; to infer from thence, that the Page 55 Magistrate may change the Religion here which way he pleases. But although we at∣tribute the Supream Iurisdiction to the King; yet we do not question, but there are inviola∣ble Rights of the Church, which ought to be preserved against the Fancies of some, and the Usurpations of others. We do by no means make our Religion mutable, according to the Magistrate's pleasure. For the Rule of our Religion is unalterable, being the Holy Scripture; but the Exercise of it, is under the regulation of the Laws of the Land. And as we have cause to be thankful to God, when Kings are Nursing Fathers to our Church; so we shall never cease to pray for their con∣tinuing so; and that in all things we may behave our selves towards them, as becomes good Christians, and Loyal Subjects.
AN ANSWER TO THE Third Paper.
THE Third Paper is said to be written by a Great Lady, for the satisfaction of her Friends, as to the Reasons of Her leaving the Communion of the Church of England, and making her self a Member of the Roman Ca∣tholick Church. If she had written nothing con∣cerning it, none could have been a competent Judg of those Reasons or Motives she had for it, but her self: but since she was pleased to write this Paper to satisfy her Friends; and it is thought fit to be published for general Satisfa∣ction, all Readers have a right to judg of the strength of them; and those of the Church of England, an Obligation to vindicate the Ho∣nour of it, so far as it may be thought to suffer by them.
Page 57 I am sensible how nice and tender a thing it is, to meddle in a Matter wherein the Memo∣ry of so Great a Lady is so nearly concern'd; and wherein such Circumstances are mention∣ed, which cannot fully be cleared, the Parties themselves having been many Years dead: But I shall endeavour to keep within due bounds, and consider this Paper with re∣spect to the main Design of it, and take no∣tice of other Particulars so far as they are sub∣servient to it.
The way of her Satisfaction must needs ap∣pear very extraordinary; for towards the Con∣clusion she confesses, She was not able, nor would she enter into Disputes with any Body. Now where the Difference between the two Churches lies wholly in Matters of Dispute, how any one could be truly satisfied, as to the Grounds of leaving one Church, and going to the other, without entring into matter of Dispute with any body, is hard to understand. If Persons be resolved before-hand what to do, and there∣fore will hear nothing said against it, there is no such way, as to declare they will enter into no Dispute about it. But what Satisfaction is to be had in this manner of proceeding? How Page 58 could one bred up in the Church of England, and so well instructed in the Doctrines of it, ever sa∣tisfy her self in forsaking the Communion of it, without enquiring into, and comparing the Doctrines and Practices of both Churches? It is possible for Persons of Learning, who will take the pains of examining things themselves, to do that, without entring into Disputes with any Body; but this was not to be presumed of a Person of her Condition. For many things must fall in her way, which she could neither have the leisure to examine, nor the Capacity to judg of, without the Assistance of such who have made it their business to search into them. Had she no Divines of the Church of England about her, to have proposed her Scru∣ples to? None able and willing to give her their utmost Assistance in a Matter of such Im∣portance, before she took up a Resolution of forsaking our Church? This cannot be ima∣gined; considering not only her great Quali∣ty, but that just esteem they had for her whilst she continued so zealous and devout in the Communion of our Church.
But we have more than this to say. One of the* Bishops who had nearest Relation to Page 59 her for many Years, and who owns in Print,*That he bred her up in the Principles of the Church of England, was both able and willing to have removed any Doubts and Scruples with respect to our Church, if she would have been plea∣sed to have communicated them to him. And however she endeavoured to conceal her Scru∣ples; he tells her, in his† Letter to her (which he since printed for his own vindication) That he had heard much Discourse concerning her waver∣ing in Religion, and that he had acquainted her High∣ness with it, the Lent before the Date of this Paper; and was so much concerned at it, that he ob∣tained a Promise from her, That if any Wri∣ting were put into her Hands by those of the the Church of Rome, that she would send it either to him, or to the then Bishop of Oxford,* whom he left in Attendance upon her. After which, he saith, She was many Days with him at Farnham; in all which time she spake not one word to him of any Doubt she had about her Religion.* And yet this Paper bears Date, Aug. 20. that Year, wherein she declares her self changed in her Religion: So that it is evident she did not make use of the ordinary Means for her own Satisfaction, at least as to those Bishops who had known her longest.
Page 60But she saith,* That she spoke severally to two of the best Bishops we have in England, who both told her,* there were many things in the Roman Church, which it were much to be wished we had kept; As Confession, which was no doubt commanded of God; that Praying for the Dead, was one of the Ancient Things in Christianity; that for their parts they did it daily, though they would not own it. And after∣wards,* pressing one of them very much upon the other Points; he told her, That if he had been bred a Ca∣tholick, he would not change his Religion; but that being of another Church, wherein he was sure were all things necessary to Salvation, he thought it very ill to give that Scandal, as to leave that Church wherein he received his Baptism. Which Discourses, she said, did but add more to the desire she had to be a Catholick.
This, I confess, seems to be to the purpose; if there were not some Circumstances and Expressions very much mistaken in the Repre∣sentation of it: But yet suppose the utmost to be allow'd, there could be no Argument from hence drawn for leaving the Communion of our Church, if this Bishop's Authority or Ex∣ample did signify any thing with her. For sup∣posing he did say, That if he had been bred in Page 61 the Communion of the Church of Rome, he would not change his Religion: Yet he added, That be∣ing of another Church, wherein were all things ne∣cessary to Salvation, he thought it very ill to give that Scandal, as to leave that Church wherein he had received his Baptism. Now why should not the last words have greater force to have kept her in the Communion of our Church, than the former to have drawn her from it? For why should any Person forsake the Commu∣nion of our Church, unless it appears necessary to Salvation so to do? And yet this yielding Bi∣shop did affirm, that all things necessary to Salvation were certainly in our Church; and that it was an ill thing to leave it. How could this add to her de∣sire of leaving our Church? unless there were some other Motive to draw her thither, and then such small Inducements would serve to inflame such a Desire. But it is evident from her own words afterwards, that these Conces∣sions of the Bishop could have no Influence upon her: for she declares, and calls God to wit∣ness, that she would never have changed her Reli∣gion, if she had thought it possible to save her Soul otherwise. Now what could the Bishop's words signify towards her Turning, when he declares Page 62 just contrary, viz. not only that it was possi∣ble for her to be saved without turning, but that he was sure we had all things necessary to Salva∣tion; and that it was a very ill thing to leave our Church? There must therefore have been some more secret Reason, which encreased her Desire to be a Catholick after these Discourses: unless the Advantage were taken from the Bishop's cal∣ling the Church of Rome the Catholick Religion; If he had been bred a Catholick, he would not have chang'd his Religion. But if we take these words so strictly, he must have contradicted himself; for how could he he sure we had all things neces∣sary to Salvation, if we were out of the Ca∣tholick Church? Was a Bishop of our Church, and one of the best Bishops of our Church, as she said, so weak as to yield, That he was sure all things necessary to Salvation were to be had out of the Communion of the Catholick Church?
But again; there is an inconsistency in his saying, That he thought it very ill to leave our Church; which no Man of common sense would have said, if he had believed the Roman Church to be the Catholick, exclusive of all o∣thers that do not join in Communion with it.
Page 63 The utmost then that can be made of all this, is, That there was a certain Bishop of this Church, who held both Churches to be so far Parts of the Catholick Church, that there was no necessity of going from one Church to ano∣ther. But if he asserted that, he must over∣throw the necessity of the Reformation, and con∣sequently not believe our Articles and Homiles, and so could not be any true Member of the Church of England.
But the late Bishop of Winchester hath made a shorter Answer to all this; For he first doubts, Whether there ever were any such Bishops who made such Answers;* And afterwards he affirms, That he believes there never was, in Rerum Naturâ, such a Discourse as is pretended to have been between this Great Person, and two of the most Learned Bishops of England. But, God be thanked, the Cause of our Church doth not depend upon the sin∣gular Opinion of one or two Bishops in it, wherein they appareently recede from the esta∣blish'd Doctrine of it. And I am sure those of the Church of Rome take it ill from us, to be charged with the Opinion of Particular Di∣vines, against the known Sentiments of their Church. Therefore supposing the Matter of Page 64 Fact true, it ought not to have moved her to any Inclination to leave the Church of England.
But after all, She protests, in the Presence of Almighty God, that no Person, Man or Woman, di∣rectly or indirectly, ever said any thing to her (since she came into England) or used the least Endeavour to make her change her Religion; and that it is a Blessing she wholly ows to Almighty God. So that the Bishops are acquitted from having any hand in it, by her own words; and as far as we can understand her meaning, she thought her self converted by immediate Divine Illu∣mination. We had thought the pretence to a private Spirit had not been at this time allowed in the Church of Rome. But I observe, that many things are allowed to bring Persons to the Church of Rome, which they will not per∣mit in those who go from it. As the use of Reason in the Choice of a Church; the Judg∣ment of Sense; and here, that which they would severely condemn in others as a Private Spirit, or Enthusiasm, will pass well enough if it doth but lead one to their Communion. Any Motive or Method is good enough which tends to that end; and none can be sufficient against it. But why may not others set up for the Page 65 Change as to other Opinions upon the same Grounds, as well as this Great Person does, as to the Change from our Church to the Church of Rome? And we have no Pretenders to En∣thusiasm among us, but do as solemnly ascribe the Blessing wholly to Almighty God; and look on it as the Effect of such Prayers as she made to him in France and Flanders.
But I wonder a Person, who owed her Change so wholly to Almighty God, should need the Di∣rection of an Infallible Church; since the ut∣most they can pretend to, is no more than to have such an Immediat Conduct; and the least that can be meant by it, is, that she had no As∣sistance from any other Persons. Which may not exclude her own Endeavours: but suppo∣sing them to be employed, and an Account to be here given of them; yet there is no Con∣nexion between any of the Premisses, and the Conclusion she drew from them; and therefore it must be Immediate Impulse, or some con∣cealed Motive which determin'd her Choice.
The Conclusion was, That she would never have changed, if she could have saved her Soul otherwise. If this were true, she had good Reason for her Change; if it were not true, she had none; Page 66 as it is most certain it was not. Now let us examine how she came to this Conclusion; and I will suppose it to have been just in the Me∣thod she sets it down in.
First, she saith, She never had any Scruples till the November before; and then they began upon read∣ing Dr. Heylin's History of the Reformation; which was commended to her as a Book to settle her; and there she found such abominable Sacriledg upon Henry the 8th's Divorce, King Edward's Mino∣rity, and Queen Elizabeth's Succession, that she could not believe the Holy Ghost could ever be in such Counsels.
This was none of the best Advices given to such a Person, to read Dr. Heylin's History for her Satisfaction. For there are two distinct Parts in the History of our Reformation; the one Ecclesiastical, the other Political: the former was built on Scripture and Antiquity, and the Rights of particular Churches; the other on such Maxims which are common to States∣men at all Times, and in all Churches, who la∣bour to turn all Revolutions and Changes to their own Advantage. And it is strange to me that a Person of so great Understanding, should not distinguish these two. WhetherPage 67 Hen. 8. were a good Man or not; Whether the D. of Somerset raised his Estate out of the Church Lands, doth not concern our present Enquiry; which is, Whether there was not sufficient Cause for a Reformation in the Church? And if there was, Whether our Church had not suf∣ficient Authority to reform it self? And if so, Whether the Proceedings of our Reformation were not Justifiable by the Rules of Scripture and the Ancient Church? These were the pro∣per Points for her to have considered, and not the particular Faults of Princes, or the Miscar∣riages of Ministers of State. Were not the Vi∣ces of Alexander the 6th, and many other Heads of the Church of Rome for a whole Age toge∣ther, by the Confession of their own greatest Writers, as great at least as those of Henry the 8th? And were these not thought sufficient to keep her from the Church of Rome; and yet the others were sufficient to make her think of leaving our Church? But Henry the Eighth's Church was in Truth the Church of Rome un∣der a Political Head, much as the Church of Si∣cily is under the King of Spain. All the diffe∣rence is, Henry the 8th took it as his own Right; the King of Spain pretends to have it Page 68 from the Pope, by such Concessions, which the Popes deny. And suppose the King of Spain's Pretence were unlawful to that Jurisdiction which he challengeth in the Kingdom of Sici∣ly; were this a sufficient Ground to justify the thoughts of Separation from the Church of Rome?
But the Duke of Somerset raised his Estate out of Church-Lands, and so did many Courtiers in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.
Are there not Miscarriages of the like nature in the Church of Rome? What is the Popes making great Estates out of the Church-Lands, for their Nephews to be Princes and Dukes? a thing not unheard of in our Age. And is it not so much worse to be done by the Head of the Church?
These she confesses were but Scruples; but such as occasioned her examining the Points in dif∣ference by the Holy Scripture. Now she was in the right way for Satisfaction, provided she made use of the best Helps and Means for un∣derstanding it; and took in the Assistance of her Spiritual Guides. But it seems, contrary to the Doctrine of the Church of Rome, she found some things so easy there, that she wondered she had Page 69 been so long without finding them out. And what were these? No less than the Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament; the Infallibility of the Church, Confession, and Praying for the Dead.
These were great Discoveries to be made so easily, considering how those of the Church of Rome, who have been most vers'd in these Matters, have found it so difficult to make them out from thence.
(1.) As to the Real Presence; as it is in the Dispute between us and the Church of Rome, it implies the Real and Substantial Change of the Elements into the Body and Blood of Christ. But where do our Saviour's words, in calling the Sacrament his Body and Blood, imply any such thing? The wisest Persons of the Church of Rome have confessed, that the bare words of our Saviour can never prove it; but there needs the Authority of the Church to interpret them in that sense. How then could she so easily find out that, which their most Learned Men could not? But there is no∣thing goes so far in such Discoveries as a wil∣ling Mind.
(2.) As to Confession. No doubt the Word is often used in Scripture, and therefore easily Page 70 found. But the Question between us, is not about the Usefulness or Advantage of Confes∣sion in particular Cases, but the Necessity of it in all Cases, in order to Remission of Sins. And I can hardly believe any Bishop of our Church would ever say to her, that Confession in this sense was ever commanded by God. For then he must be damned himself if he did not confess every known Sin to a Priest. But some gene∣ral Expressions might be used, that Confession of Sin was commanded by God; Confess your Sins one to another: But here is nothing of a par∣ticular Confession to a Priest, necessary in or∣der to Forgiveness of Sin.
(3.) As to praying for the Dead; It is hard to find any place of Scripture which seems to have any tendency that way, unless it be with re∣spect to the Day of Iudgment, and that very doubtfully. But how came this Great Person to think it not possible to be saved in our Church, unless we prayed for the Dead? How did this come to be a Point of Salvation? And for the Practice of it, she saith, the Bishops told her they did it daily. Whether they did it or not, or in what sense they did it, we cannot now be better informed: But we are sure this could Page 71 be no Argument for her to leave the Commu∣nion of our Church, because she was told by these Bishops they did it, and continued in the Communion of it.
(4.) Lastly; As to the Infallibility of the Church. If this, as applied to the Roman Church, could be any where found in Scripture, we should then indeed be to blame not to submit to all the Definitions of it. But where is this to be found? Yes, Christ hath promised to be with his Church to the end of the World. Not with his Church, but with his Apostles: And if it be re∣strained to them, then the end of the World is no more than always. But suppose it be under∣stood of the Successors of the Apostles; were there none but at Rome? How comes this Pro∣mise to be limited to the Church of Rome; and the Bishops of Antioch and Alexandria, and all the other Eastern Churches (where the Bi∣shops as certainly succeeded the Apostles, as at Rome it self) not to enjoy the equal Benefit of this Promise? But they who can find the Infal∣libility of the Church of Rome in Scripture, need not despair of finding whatever they have a Mind to there.
Page 72 But from this Promise she concludes, That our Saviour would not permit the Church to give the Laity the Communion in One kind, if it were not law∣ful so to do. Now in my Opinion, the Argu∣ment is stronger the other way; The Church of Rome forbids the doing of that, which Christ enjoyned; therefore it cannot be Infal∣lible, since the Command of Christ is so much plainer than the Promise of Infallibility to the Church of Rome.
But, from all these things laid together, I can see no imaginable Reason of any force to conclude, that she could not think it possible to save her Soul otherwise, than by embracing the Communion of the Church of Rome. And the Publick will receive this Advantage by these Papers, that thereby it appears, how very little is to be said by Persons of the greatest Capacity, as well as Place, either against the Church of England, or for the Church of Rome.
An Advertisement Of Books Printed for Richard Chiswell.
THe History of the Reformation of the Church of Eng∣land. By GILBERT BVRNET, D. D. in two Volumes, Folio.
The Moderation of the Church of England, in her Refor∣mation, in Avoiding all undue Compliances with Popery and other sorts of Phanaticisms, &c. By TIMOTHY PVL∣LER, D. D. Octavo.
A Dissertation concerning the Government of the Anci∣ent Church: more particularly of the Encroachments of the Bishops of Rome upon other Sees. By WILLIAM CAVE, D. D. Octavo.
An Answer to Mr. Serjeants [Sure Footing in Christia∣nity] concerning the Rule of Faith: With some other Discourses. By WILLIAM FALKNER, D. D. 40.
A Vindication of the Ordinations of the Church of Eng∣land; in Answer to a Paper written by one of the Church of Rome, to prove the Nullity of our Orders. By GILBERT BVRNET, D. D. Octavo.
The History of the Gunpowder Treason, collected from Approved Authors, as well Popish as Protestant. With a Vindication of the said History, and of the Proceedings and Matters relating thereunto, from the Exceptions which have been made against it, And more especially of late Years, by the Author of the Catholick Apology, and others. 40.
A Relation of the Barbarous and Bloody Massacre of about an hundred thousand Protestants, begun at Paris, and carried on over all France, in the Year 1572. Collected out of Mezcray, Thuanus, and other Approved Authors. 40.
The APOLOGY of the Church of England; and an Epistle to one Signior Scipio, a Venetian Gentleman, con∣cerning the Council of Trent. Written both in Latin, by the Right Reverend Father in God, IOHN IEWEL Lord Bishop of Sarisbury: Made English by a Person of Quality. To which is added, The Life of the said Bishop; Collected and Written by the same Hand, Octavo.
A LETTER writ by the last Assembly General of the Clergy of France to the Protestants, inviting them to re∣turn to their Communion. Together with the Methods proposed by them for their Conviction. Translated into English, and Examined, by GILB. BVRNET, D. D. 80.
The Life of WILLIAM BEDEL, D. D. Bishop of Kilmore in Ireland. Together with Certain Letters which passed betwixt him and Iames Waddesworth (a late Pensioner of the Holy Inquisition in Sevil) in Matter of Religion, concerning the General Motives to the Roman Obedience. 40.
The Decree made at ROME the Second of March, 1679. condemning some Opinions of the Iesuits, and other Casu∣ists. Quarto.
A Discourse concerning the Necessity of Reformation, with respect to the Errors and Corruptions of the Church of Rome. Quarto. First Part.
—The Second Part of the same Discourse; shewing the Vanity of the Pretended Reformation of the Council of Trent, and of R. H's Vindica∣tion of it; [in his Fifth Discourse concerning the Guide to Controversies.] 40. In the Press, and will be published in few days.
A Discourse concerning the Celebration of Divine Service in an Un∣known Tongue. Quarto.
A PAPIST not Misrepresented by PROTESTANTS. Being a Reply to the Reflections upon the Answer to [A Papist Misrepresented and Represented]. Quarto.
An Exposition of the Doctrine of the Church of England, in the several Articles proposed by the late BISHOP of CONDOM, [in his Ex∣position of the Doctrine of the Catholick Church]. Quarto.
A CATECHISM explaining the Doctrine and Practices of the Church of Rome. With an Answer thereunto. By a Protestant of the Church of England. Octavo. In the Press.Page [unnumbered]