Christianity ABUSED BY THE CHURCH OF ROME, AND Popery shewed to be a Corruption of it: BEING An Answer to a late Printed Paper given about by Papists.
In a Letter to a GENTLEMAN.
By J. W.
Revel. 2. 5.
Remember from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will re∣move thy Candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
LONDON, Printed for Walter Kettilby, at the Bishops Head in S. Paul's Church-yard. 1679.
THE POPISH PAPER.
IT will not be denied but that the Church of Rome was once a most pure, excellent, flourishing and Mother * Church.
This Church could not cease to be such, but she must fall either by Apostasie, Heresie, or Schism.
1. Apostasie is not only a renouncing of the Faith of Christ, but the very Name and Title to Christianity: No man will say, that the Church of Rome had ever such a fall, or fell thus.
2. Heresie is an adhesion to some private and singular Opinion, or Errour in Faith, contrary to the general ap∣proved Doctrine of the Church.
If the Church of Rome did ever adhere to any singular, or new Opinion disagreeable to the common received Doctrine of the Christian World, I pray satisfie me as to these Particulars, viz.
1. By what General Council was she ever condemned?
2. Which of the Fathers ever writ against her? Or,
3. By what Authority was she otherwise reproved? For, It seems to me a thing very incongruous, that so great a Church should be condemned by every one that hath a mind to condemn her.
3. Schism is a departure or division from the Unity of the Church, whereby the Band and Communion held with some former Church, is broken and dissolved.
If ever the Church of Rome divided her self by Schism from any other Body of faithful Christians, or brake Com∣munion, or went forth from the Society of any elder Church: I pray satisfie me as to these particulars.
1. Whose company did she leave?
2. From what Body did she go forth?
3. Where was the true Church which she forsook?
For it appears a little strange to me, that a Church should be accounted Schismatical, when there cannot be assigned any other Church different from her, (which from Age to Age, since Christ his time, hath continued visible) from whence she departed.Page 1
To my honoured Friend Mr. S. B.
I had no sooner perused the Paper which I re∣ceived from you, but I perceived that it was penn'd for the sake of such, as either are not well acquainted with the matters in Contro∣versie betwixt us and the Church of Rome, or with the Way and Method of arguing. To such as these they are wont to pretend high: To those that are ignorant of the former, they talk of Antiquity and Universallity; and to such as are unskilful in the latter, of Demonstrations, and self-evident Prin∣ciples, of Axioms and Definitions. But all this is a meer flourish of Words; for if these things come strictly to be examined, instead of Antiquity we shall too frequently find Forgery and Imposture; instead of the Catholick Church, the Church of Rome; instead of Demonstrations and Definitions, Sophistry and Fallacious Arguments. And after this strain is this Paper wrote, in which things are so artificially mingled, that they look very speciously to those that do not understand them; and are so well fitted to work upon the easie, the ignorant, and inconsiderate, that after it had been printed, as I perceive, long since in Fiat Lux, it is again singled out Page 2 to be put into the hands of such as they have a design upon. But I shall endeavour to unravel it, and hope, by that time that I have done, that what is therein said will appear to be wholly insufficient to justifie their Church, and acquit it of those Crimes it is charged with: And this I shall do by shew∣ing,
1. That the whole is false.
2. That the particulars are very fallacious.
The former I shall make good by these following Considerations.
1. That a Church may fall from what it once was.
2. That the Church of Rome is not now what it was in Apostolical and Primitive times; when it might most of all pretend to be (as he calls it) a most pure, excellent, and flourishing Church.
3. That the alteration from what it was then, to what it is now, is to the worse; and that it is there∣by intolerably corrupted.
If these Propositions be proved, then the way taken by our Author will signifie nothing; since it will not be worth the while to enquire how it is, whether it be fallen by Apostasie, Heresie, or Schism, when it is demonstrable that so it is, that it is fallen.
1. That a Church may fall from what it once was; that is, from its Primitive Purity and Sim∣plicity in Faith and Manners, is evident to any that will read the Scriptures, and mind what is therein said of the Churches of the Jews, Sardis and Lao∣dicea; or that are acquainted with Ecclesiastical History. And this they of the Church of Rome are bound to grant; they must acknowledge, ac∣cording Page 3 to their own Principles, that we once were a Church when in their Communion; and they call us Apostatical, Heretical, and what not, since we have forsaken it.
2. That the Church of Rome is not now what it was in Apostolical and Primitive times, but is chang∣ed in Principles and Practice.
In Principles, as,
1. That the Pope is Christ's Vicar; that is, that he is the Universal King over Christ's Flock, and hath a Jurisdiction over all Churches whatsoever, is a new Principle. This the Scripture (which the Church of Rome of old used to appeal to) is so far from giving any Countenance to, that our Saviour ex∣presly cautions the Apostles against any such Usurpa∣tion. Luk. 22. 25. When there was a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest; he said unto them, The Kings of the Gentiles exercise Lordship over them, &c. but it shall not be so: but he that is the greatest [or will be great, Mark 10. 43.] among you, let him be as the younger, &c. and in the 30. v. saith, ye shall sit upon twelve Thrones, &c. not preferring one before the other. And lest what he had occa∣sionally spoke to Peter, Mat. 16. 19. Whatsoever thou shalt bind on Earth shalt be bound in Heaven, &c. should be misconstrued, he doth give the same power to the rest of the Apostles, both before his death, Mat. 18. 18. and also after his Resurrection, Joh. 20. 23. And if we would understand the sense of Antiquity as to this matter, I know no surer nor shorter way, than to see what is said by the Councils; for then the Fathers may be suppos'd to speak most impar∣tially and with greatest authority; and of this I Page 4 shall give you a brief account. The first general Council was that of Nise, called by Constantine the Great, and held An. 325. which in the sixth Canon doth thus decree, That the Bishop of Alexan∣dria, and accordingly of Antioch, and of other Provin∣ces, should have power over their own Provinces accord∣ing to ancient Custom, and the Custom in that case of the Church of Rome; and that none should invade the Priviledges of each other. The same is said and confirmed in the second Canon of the second gene∣ral Council held at Constantinople by the command of Theodosius the Emperour, An. 380. And further ratified by the third general Council at Ephesus, in the year 431. Can. 8. If we go forward, we shall find that it was further decreed in the above-said Council of Constantinople, Can. 3. That the Bishop of Constantinople should have the order of Primacy next to the Bishop of Rome, because it is New Rome.
And what is thereby to be understood, is suffici∣ently declared in the 28th Canon of the Fourth General Council assembled at Chalcedon, An. 451. in which it is decreed, That the Church of Constan∣tinople should have equal Priviledges with that of Rome, there being the same Reason for that as the other, as it was the Imperial Seat: and according∣ly is there a particular instance given in case of Ap∣peals, Can. 9. From this Jurisdiction which eve∣ry Church had over its own Members, proceeded other Canons; as, That those who were excluded the Communion of one Church, should not be received by another. So Can. 5. of the aforesaid Council of Nice, That no Appeals should be made to foreign or transmarine Churches. So the Council held at Mi∣levisPage 5 in Africa (where S. Augustine was present) An. 416. which Canon †Bellarmine confesseth was made with a particular respect to Rome. To the same purpose the Sixth Council held at Carthage, an. 420. (in which also S. Augustine was) passed a Decree *. From all which you may observe, 1. That the Bishop of Rome had anciently a limited Jurisdiction, it was over his own Province only. 2. That the Jurisdiction which he had over his own Province, was such as all other Supreme Bishops had over theirs. 3. That none had a power to transgress the ancient and setled bounds of Jurisdiction, or to invade those of anothers. 4. That the Honour given to the Bishop of Rome (whatever priority it was that he had) was not by any Divine Authority, but as Rome was the Imperial Seat. 5. That the Honour and Privilege which it had by that means, was what another was capable of; for the same was given to Con∣stantinople. 6. That none of these Decrees in those General Councils were ever opposed by the Church of Rome, 'till the Council of Chalcedon. 7. That at that time the pretences of the Popes Legates were universally opposed and rejected. And I may add, 8. That what was at any time in those days claimed by the Church of Rome, was claimed not upon any Divine Authority, but only upon the Au∣thority of the Council of Nice (as it appears from the transactions in the afore-cited Council of Carthage) 9. What was then claimed under that pretext, was upon a pretended, if not a forged, Canon of the Council of Nice, which was detected so to be by that Council of Carthage, and their Usurpation rejected, Page 6 as is evident from the Acts of that Council, and the Epistle written by the Fathers there assembled, and Pope Celestine upon it.
From all which it appears (and more I could shew) that there was no such thing originally, as this Universal Pastorship, which the Bishop of Rome doth now challenge, and that Rome is therein changed from what it was.
And now let our Author ask (if he please) by what Councils was the Church of Rome ever condemned? And you may answer, by the four first general Coun∣cils. Let him ask again, which of the Fathers ever wrote against her? And you may answer, no less than 1068, for so many were then concerned in all these Four Councils. And if this suffice not, we may turn him to the Councils of Milcvis and Carthage before mentioned, and to others also of good Au∣thority, besides particular Fathers. I have been the longer upon this, not only because it could not be well comprised in less, but also because if this Claim of theirs fall, their Cause must fall with it.
2. Another new Principle of theirs is, That the Pope hath at least, in ordine ad Spiritualia, a Pow∣er over all Kingdoms within the Church, and of deposing Kings in case of Heresie, or obstinacy, &c. and of absolving Subjects from their Allegiance to them when thus deposed. That this is the Princi∣ple of their Church is plain, from Can. 3. of the Fourth Council of Lateran, and from the Coun∣cil of Trent, in Sess. 25. de reform. c. 19. where it is somewhat covertly expressed, for a Reason which the state of Affairs at that time made necessary. That this is the Doctrine of their Church, is Page 7 proved beyond all contradiction, by the present Lord Bishop of Lincolne, in his late Learned Trea∣tise Of Popery, &c.
But that this Doctrine of theirs is new, is com∣monly confessed among themselves, and maintain∣ed so to be by several of their own Communion, and which any one may so far receive satisfaction in, from what is written by Roger Widdrington (alias Preston) in his Apologia pro Jure principum, and his humilima supplicatio ad Paulum Quintum.
3. Transubstantiation was not originally an Arti∣cle of their Creed as it is now. So it is said by Jo. Yribarn, *an approved Author of theirs, in Primi∣tivâ Ecclesia de substantia sidei erat, &c. It was of the substance of Faith in the primitive Church, to believe that the Body of Christ was contained under the spe∣cies of Bread and Wine; but it was not of Faith, that the substance of the Bread should be turned into the Body of Christ, and upon Consecration should not be Bread. For, saith he, this was not found out by the Church till the time of Innocent the Third, in the Coun∣cil of Lateran, where many Truths that before lay hid are explained in the Chap. of Firmiter Credimus, a∣mongst which, this of Transubstantiation is the chief. So also saith Peter Tataret. †And this was the O∣pinion of Scotus, *the great Schoolman.
Now it is supposed that Scotus, who lived within 150 years after, must better understand what was the Doctrine of their Church before it, and what was the sense of that Council concerning it, than he that comes about 450 years after, and chides him for so doing, with a minime probandum.†
4. The Doctrine of Infallibility, respecting their Page 8 Church as the Seat of it, was not anciently known, neither claimed by themselves, nor granted by o∣thers; amongst all the directions given in Scripture for finding out the truth, there is not one word to this purpose; and amongst all the Disputes in the Primitive Church, we find no such course taken for the final determination of them, as the having re∣course to the Apostolical Chair of Rome. Heresies were not then so scarce, nor the confutation of them so easie, as that this relief should be forgotten. And it seems they themselves did then as little understand their own Priviledges, as they did the Principles of Faith; for this was never so much as thought of, in all those Councils which were called on purpose for the suppression of Heresies, and where the Legats of the Pope were present: Nay to this very day, they are at a loss where to go for it, whether to the Pope, or a Council, or both, or Tradition, or the Collective Body of Christians; that is, they know not whe∣ther to give up the Cause or to maintain it. I must confess, if I should hear a person solemnly declare, that he hath Treasure enough in his possession to enrich the whole World, and should gravely in∣vite all persons to address themselves to him, but in the mean time perceive (though he hath been of the same mind for several years,) that he can neither tell where it is, nor is he and his Family for all this the richer, or in a better condition than other Folk, I should vehemently suspect him either to be a noto∣rious Imposter or perfect Lunatick. And when we hear the Church of Rome confidently asserting its own Infallibility, but find withal that she knows not where to fix it, and that its ruptures and dif∣ferences Page 9 are in the mean time as great as in other Churches, and what are never ended by the way it pretends to, but by plain Turcism and downright force, I cannot for my heart but think there is more of Interest than Reason in the case, and what they themselves do rather live by than believe.
But in my mind there is no better Evidence that this is new, than that its false; and no better evi∣dence that it is false, than that it hath mistaken. Of which, besides what hath been or shall be far∣ther said of alterations in that Church, I shall give you two plain Instances, The Council of Trent†saith, that Traditions are to be received with equal reverence as the Scriptures; and Maldonet*tells us, that The giving the Eucharist to Children was a Tra∣dition in the Church for 600 years after Christ; which is now condemned (as he shews) by the Council of Trent. Again, S. Hierom†saith, that the Latine Church then did not receive the Epistle to the Hebrews amongst the Canonical Scriptures: But that is now taken into the number by them, and required so to be under an Anathema, Sess. 4. Decr. 1. Counc. Trid. Now Infallibility and Falli∣bility are contradictory, and if that Church hath erred (as erred she hath) then she cannot be In∣fallible, and so consequently the Infallibility of the Church of Rome was not the Principle of the Pri∣mitive Church of Rome.
I could shew as much of Novelty in the Do∣ctrines of Indulgences, Purgatory, the Mass's be∣ing a Propitiatory Sacrifice, and of no Salvation out of the Romish Church, &c. but what I have said I think is sufficient.
Page 10 2. The Alterations are as great in point of Pra∣ctice; the Church of Rome differs therein as much from what she originally was: As,
1. The keeping the Scriptures and Publick Ser∣vice in an Unknown Tongue, is new. The first is evident from the Translations of the Scripture into several Languages, and especially into the Latine (at that time a vulgar Tongue) of which no sufficient Reason can be given, were it not for the use of those that understood not the Originals. The latter is not only clear from 1 Cor. 14. but what Bellarmine*doth acknowledge; who saith, that the custom of the Peoples saying, Amen [that is to what they understood] as they did in the Apo∣stles time, continued long in the Western, as well as Eastern Church.
2. Worshipping of Images, which was first esta∣blished in the second Council at Nice, but is so different from and contrary to the practice of the Primitive Church, that Cassander†(an Author of theirs) saith, that the Christians had not then so much as Images in their Churches; and doth further declare from Origen, that the Ancients ab omni veneratione (the very word used by the Coun∣cil of Trent, Sess. 25. decret. de Invocat.) ima∣ginum abhorr•erunt, that all veneration of them was abhorred. To this I refer the worshipping of Saints, which was so little thought of, that many of the Fathers did not think that the Souls of any should enjoy the beatisick Vision, and be in a state of happiness till the Resurre∣ction, as Stapleton*doth shew. And it seems not to have been an Article of Faith in the Page 11 time of Lombard or Scotus, the former of which saith †it's not incredible the Saints do hear what we say; and the latter *that it's probable God doth re∣veal our prayers that are offered unto them. It was then the Doctrine of probability only, but now are required to believe it under an Anathema by the Council of Trent.*
As much is to be said concerning the innovation of Worship to the Virgin Mary, of which we read nothing in Scripture or Antiquity, unless in what was practised by the Hereticks, called Colyridiani in Epiphanius†, that used to carry about her Image, and offer Cakes and Worship to it; with whom that good Father thus encounters: What Scripture hath delivered any such thing, &c. Let Mary be in honour, but let the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost be worshipped; let no man worship Mary.
3. Communion in one Kind expresly contrary to the Scripture, and the practice of the Romish Church. The former is acknowledged by the Council of Constance*when they decreed notwith∣standing for it. The latter is acknowledged by Cassander†, who saith, that the Roman Church it self retained the practice of receiving in both Kinds, for above one thousand years after Christ, as is evi∣dent from innumerable testimonies of ancient Wri∣ters.
To these I might add the practice of saying pri∣vate and solitary Masses, of the Adoration of the Host, and carrying it about in Procession, Con∣fession Page 12 (as used in their Church) &c. but I shall forbear.
3. These alterations are to the worse, and gross Corruptions. For if the Pope is not Christ's Vi∣car originally, and by his Deputation, then he is a great Usurper. If he hath not a Power over Kings, to depose them, and absolve their Subjects from Allegiance to them, he is a notorious distur∣ber of the World. If their Church be not Infal∣lible, and can no more penetrate into or resolve and determine points of Faith than another, they are great Impostors. If Transubstantiation be a Doctrine of their own and not of Christ's, they are great Deceivers. If the Scriptures are free to all, then their Church is guilty of the damnation of all amongst themselves, that perish through the want of knowing and understanding them; and of all the ignorance in the Christian World which proceeds from that Cause. If worshipping Images, Saints and Angels, the Host, and Relicks, be not Christian Doctrine, and that these are no lawful Objects of such Worship, then they are Ido∣laters. If Christians are obliged to partake of the Wine as well as the Bread in the Lords Supper, then they are tyrannical that deny and forbid it. In fine, they that do such things are Enemies to the Kingdom of Christ and the Christian World.
If all this be true, that a Church may fall from what it once was, and be alter'd to the worse, and that theirs is so, then we need not spend time in disputing what Apostasie, Heresie, and Schism is, upon which he may talk prettily and subtilly; or Page 13 by which of them that Church is fallen, as long as fallen she is. But yet, to clear the matter of all wrangling Disputes, I shall consider these things also; and shew,
2. That the Particulars are very fallacious; which will appear from the consideration of the several terms.
1. Most pure, excellent, flourishing Mother Church; of all which little or nothing is said in the places of Scripture quoted by him in the Margin. If we consult the Epistle to the Romans, there referred to, we shall find, That it was so far from being at that time a flourishing Church, that it is there not once so much as called a Church. The Apostle directs two Epi∣stles to the Church in Corinth, and two to the Church of the Thessalonians, and one to the Churches of Galatia; but to the Romans he writes thus, Ch. 1. v. 7. To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be Saints; as if they were yet Converts at large, without any other setled Constitution, than what was in the House of Aquila, which he there∣fore calls a Church, Ch. 16. v. 5. And therefore Salmeron, aware of it, thinks St. Paul would not call them a Church purposely, because of the Facti∣ons that were there at that time betwixt the Jews and Gentiles. Tom. 13. in Rom. 1. disp. 7. p. 299. col. 2.
But if we should grant it a Church; yet how doth that, Rom. 1. 8. prove that it was flourishing, when it's only said there, Your Faith is spoken of throughout the whole World; and in Ch. 16. v. 19. (for I suppose that is the other place he would refer Page 14 to) Your obedience is come abroad unto all Men; by which doubtless no more is to be understood, but that the Conversion of many to Christianity in that City was spread throughout the Roman World; and did tend much to the propagation of it, as that City was then the Imperial Seat. This is the ex∣plication given of this place by some of their own Writers, viz. Rigaltius, in his Notes upon St. Cy∣prian, Epist. p. 78. and Tolet who in c. 1. ad Rom. An∣not. 16. calls it a true Exposition, and saith it's to be understood as 1 Thes. 1. 8.
As for the term Mother, I hope he means not that the Gospel first came from thence; for in that sense she was a Daughter, and not a Mother. And if any Church could pretend to any Authority from that consideration, it must be Jerusalem, which in this sense was the Mother of us all. But if he means thereby, that she was an Original and Apostolical Church, planted by the Apostles, or in Apostoli∣cal times (for so Tertullian useth these Words alike lib. de proscript. cap. 21. when he calls them Ma∣trices & Originales Ecclesiae, and again Ecclesiae Apo∣stolicae) then such also was Ephesus in Asia, and Co∣rinth in Achaia, &c. as Tertullian there shews, c. 32. and 36. of which Churches it will be hard for him to find any thing remaining, and which, while they did remain, he must acknowledg to have fallen and been grosly corrupted. And therefore Rome's being a Mother Church, in this sense, is no security against Apostasie, Heresie and Schism.
2. Apostasie, he saith, is a renouncing not only the Faith of Christ, but the very Name and Title toPage 15Christianity. This indeed is Apostasie with a Wit∣ness; but as it is no more than a Branch or particular kind of it, so it can be no compleat or true definition of it. It being just as if he should say, that Theft is the violent and forcible taking away of another Man's Goods; which indeed is the highest degree of it, and what we usually call Robbery; but there are other sorts of Theft besides; and though it be never so surreptitiously and clande∣stinely done, it is as well Theft, and a breach of the Eighth Commandment as the other. So it is in the present case; the highest degree of Apostasie is a renouncing the very name of Christian, the turn∣ing a Renegado, a Turk, or Jew: But that is Apo∣stasie also, when there is a departure from the Faith of Christ, or from any great Article or Articles of it. And so far a person may be truly an Apostate, and yet retain the Name and Title to Christianity. I must confess, I always took those to be Apostates, whom the Apostle speaks of, 1 Tim. 4. 1. that de∣part from the Faith of Christ, who yet seem to have continued in the profession of it. And I am apt to believe Antichrist will be thought an Apostate; and yet it's the Opinion of many among themselves, that he shall retain the name of Christian. But if this will not do, I must refer him to the Bulla Coenae of Paul the Fifth, where its said in the first Article of it, Excommunicamus, &c. We Excommunicate and anathematize, &c. all Hussites, Wicklevists, Luthe∣rans, Zuinglians, Calvinists, Hugonots, Ana∣baptists, Trinitarians, & à Christianâ side Apostatas, ac omnes & singulos alios Haereticos, &c. and all Apo∣statesPage 16from the Christian Faith, and all other Here∣ticks, &c. which is doubtless spoken of such as have not, nor are supposed to have renounced the Name and Title to Christianity. So that either the Pope in one of his most solemn Bulls is mistaken, or this Gentleman: And if we take to the former, as I hope he either in modesty, or for a more important rea∣son which he is privy to, will allow, then the Church of Rome may be fallen by Apostasie, though she doth retain the Name and Title, and will needs be the only Church of Christ.
3. Heresie, he saith, is an adhesion to some private or singular Opinion or Errour in Faith, contrary to the general approved Doctrine of the Church. Be∣fore we admit this Definition, there are a great many things to be considered; as first, that the relation which he makes Heresie to have to the Doctrine of the Church, is not current amongst themselves. For many of them do say, that He∣resie is nihil aliud quàm Error in rebus fidei cum pertinacia, Heresie is nothing else than an Error in the matters of Faith with obstinacy, as Sayrus acknowledg∣eth in his Clavis Sacerdotum l. 2. c. 9. n. 34. and Durand is of the same mind (notwithstanding what Sayrus saith of him to the contrary) as appears l. 4. dist. 13. Q. 5. where he makes the respect which Heresie hath to the Church, to be because the Church is constituted, per unitatem fidei, by the uni∣ty of the Faith: So that according to these, the respect which Heresie hath to the Church, is only from the respect which the Church hath to the Faith: And to find out what Heresie is, we must Page 17 enquire not what the Church is, but what is the Faith. And if so, a Church, even that of Rome, may fall by Heresie, though she may hold the ge∣neral approved Doctrine of the Church. But I doubt if we should admit the whole, and yet take it in any sense but one, viz. for the general approv∣ed Doctrine of the Church of Rome in the last Ages of it, that we shall find her guilty in this point also. Shall the Church be taken for the Primitive Church three or four hundred years after our Savi∣our, then they are guilty of Heresie who will have the Pope to be Christs Vicar, and to have Jurisdicti∣on over all Churches; that do maintain worshipping of Images, Angels and Saints to be lawful and ne∣cessary, &c. contrary to the general approved Do∣ctrine of those Ages. Should we take the Church, for the Church Catholick in any Age (as Cassander doth; Consult. Artic. 22.) that is, the Congregation of Christs faithful people all over the World, then still Rome would fall into the same Condemnation, since that she is but a little part in comparison of the whole. Should we take Church again for the Ro∣mish Church in the first Ages of Christianity, it would then also condemn it self, as I have before shewed. And I see no way for them, even ac∣cording to this definition, (which is perfectly one of their own making) to avoid this imputation, but by stifly maintaining, that they thereby understand the Church of Rome for some Ages last past; if that will do; and then we know where to find them, and what to understand when they talk of the Church.
Page [unnumbered] 4. Schism, he saith, is a departure from the U∣nity of the Church whereby the Band and Communion held with some former Church is broken. This is as lame and fallacious a definition as any of the rest. For by foysting in that word Former, which he af∣ter runs upon, he restrains it to one particular Branch of Schism; and its just as if he should say, A Church is an Assembly of Christians that join in Communion with each other in the City of Rome; which none will allow to be a sufficient definition of a Church: For that term added, In the City of Rome, doth no more than prove that the Assembly of Christians there met is a Church; but is no de∣finition of a Church; for then no Church could be out of the City of Rome, and every Church, if it be a Church, must be in that City and no where else, if that be a true definition of it. So it is here, the word Former added to the definition of Schism here given, doth prove no more than that a de∣parture from the Unity of a Former Church is a species and sort of Shcism, but is no adaequate de∣finition of it. For if it is, then no Church can be guilty of Schism, that doth, how unwarrantably so∣ever, refuse to hold Communion with, or doth break off from the Communion of a Church that was not a Church before it. And consequently, though the Church of Jerusalem had denied to hold Communion with any Church whatsoever (though it were even with the Church of Rome it self) she could not be guilty of Schism, because she was the first Church, and none was prior to her. And we also should be quit of that blame (if we Page 19 had nothing else to say for our selves) for as much as a Church was founded here in Brittain two years be∣fore that of Antioch; and St. Peter was seven years at Antioch before he presided at Rome, as Baronius saith, An. 35. Num. 5. and An. 39. Numb. 23. from whom and from which time they pretend alone to derive their Supremacy.
And now this will hold, although the Church thus separated from had given no reason or colour at all for it. For according to the definition of our Author, it must be a Former Church which the departure must be from to make it Schism. We may indeed say that Schism is when the Band or Communion held with any Church, is (without just reason) broken and dissolved; because all Christian Churches ought to maintain Communion with each other, where it may be had: But if so, then the Church of Rome is the most Schismatical in the World, that denies Communion with all Churches that are not in all Tridentine points one with her.
If you now, Sir, reflect upon his Scheme and frame of Arguments, you will see that they hold in nothing which he produceth them for.
For what will it signifie if it be granted that the Church of Rome was once a most pure, flourishing Church, if she be now abominably corrupted? What if she was a Mother Church planted by the Apostles, and watered with their Doctrine, and their Blood, when she now preacheth another Do∣ctrine than she was taught by them, and hath grosly corrupted that Faith which they did there Page 20 establish. What if she was a Mother Church to some other Churches, yet, that as it gives her no Authority over those whom she was not in any sense a Mother to, so even not over such as she might pre∣tend that Relation to, when she is now not to be ap∣proached to, or held Communion with, without apparent hazard of Salvation; and is fallen from those Principles and that Faith which she at their first conversion instructed them in? When she is fallen by Apostasie, Heresie, and Schism.
By Apostasie, as she hath forsaken the Primitive Church, and is not now what she originally was, either in Faith or Manners.
By Heresie, as she hath received new Articles of Faith, that were not such before, and so obsti∣nately persisted therein, that she hath turned the Anathema upon all Dissenters in those points from her. Such Articles she hath embraced and doth now hold, as have been condemned by Councils, wrote against by the Fathers, and reproved by Authority.
Some of these she was particularly charged with, and reproved for; and in others she is as much concerned, as if particularly charged, because she hath embraced those things which were by them condemned. For if the things and principles were condemned, whoever holds them is as much so condemned by that Authority, as if particularly named. As they will acknowledge, that if a Church now in Communion with them should fall off from them, she is thereby as much under the Anathema of the Council of Trent, as if she had at the meeting of that Council been so far faulty, and thereby been particularly condemned.
Page 21 By Schism she is fallen, as she denies Commu∣nion with all other Churches in the World, whe∣ther they were so before she was a Church, or were Churches converted and established at the same time with her, or that have embraced the Chri∣stian Faith since she did. The company of such she hath left: From these Bodies she is gone forth: And these were the true Churches which she for∣sook. So that she will be found as often guilty of Apostasie as there are particulars of Faith, Do∣ctrine, Worship, and Manners, which she is fallen from the Primitive Church in. As often of Here∣sie, as she hath new Principles of Faith, and which the Church was not then acquainted with. As often of Schism, as there are Churches in the World, that she will not hold Communion with, only be∣cause they will not embrace those Principles, or join with her in those practices which she holds con∣trary to them, and with them to the Primitive Church.
And thus, Sir, I have made good, I hope, what I first undertook, and if thereby any service can be done to you or our Religion, it will be a great satis∣faction to,
Your Servant. J. W.
Febr. 7. 1678/9.
Guil. Jane, R. P. D. Henr. Episc. Lond. a Sac. Dom.
PAge 2. line ult. for they must read who must. p. 3. l. 3. for they call us read that call us. l. 10. for King read Pastor. p. 4. l. penult. after Nice put a full stop. l. ult. after Churches put a comma,