1 COR. Cap. XIV. Ver. XXXIII.For God is not the Author of Confusion, but of
THAT there is a God, and that this God was the Maker, and is the Preserver, and Disposer of all things, is a Truth generally con∣sented to by all Mankind. A∣gain, that this God, who made us, and preserves us, and provides for us, is to be Worshipped, and Adored, and Obeyed by us; no Man, that acknowledgeth there is such a God, can be so unreasonable as to deny. Lastly, that there can be no Way of Worshipping, or of Serving God, so Fit, so Safe, or so Acceptable unto him, as that which himself prescribes, I presume there is no consi∣dering Person but he must needs grant. And there∣fore, all Wise Men that ever took upon them to teach Religion, or the Way to serve God, howsoever they have differed in the Matter of their Doctrine, they have always agreed in the Manner of proposing, or Page 4 Tradition of it, whilest either they pretended falsly, or professed truly some Divine Revelation, or other, to authorize and countenance whatsoever Religion it was, which they taught the People.
Thus Numa Pompilius (though he himself devised all that ridiculous rabble of Superstitious Ceremonies with which he taught the Pagan Romans to Worship their false Gods) yet he pretended a Divine Revelati∣on from the Goddess Egeria for them all. And thus Mahomet, that impious and impure Impostor, preten∣ded an Inspiration from the Holy Ghost (by the whis∣pering of a Dove into his Ear) for all that Farrago or Hotch-potch of lies and blasphemies in his cursed Al∣coran, whereby so great a part of the World hath been so grosly abused, and so strangely seduced for above a thousand years together. To conclude, there never was any Religion in the World, (whosoever was the Deviser, or Teacher of it) but it was always fathered upon God; whereby it plainly appears, that even those men that taught others to Worship God falsly, did themselves believe, that none could be taught to Worship God truly, but by God himself, or by such as were taught of him, what they were to teach o∣thers.
And therefore what the Devisers and Teachers of all false Religions pretended falsly; the very same did the Teachers of true Religion profess truly, namely, that they were sent from God, and that the Doctrine which they taught others was neither more nor less than that what God himself had taught them. Thus Moses the Lawgiver of the Old Testament, was but Gods Page 5 mouth whereby he spake unto the Jews, as Aaron was his mouth when he spake unto Pharaoh; nay, thus even our Saviour Christ himself, the Law-giver of the New Testament, tells us that he spake not of himself, but as he had heard of his Father: For my Doctrine (saith he) is not mine, but his that sent me, Joh. 7. 16.
Now as the Doctrine which Moses and the Prophets at first taught the Jews, so the Doctrine which Christ and his Apostles at first taught the Christians, was evi∣denced to come from God, or to be the Truth of God, by their doing of such things for the Confirmation of it, as none could do but God, or could not be done but by the power of God. But then as in the Jewish Church after Moses and the Prophets were dead and gone, there were some that sate in Moses Chair, who did in the name of Moses and the Prophets, teach the People to believe and do such things as never were taught either by Moses, or any of the Prophets: so in the Christian Church likewise, after Christ and his Apo∣stles were gone, there were some that succeeded them in the Governing and Teaching of the Church, espe∣cially some of those that pretended to sit in St. Peter's Chair, who in the name of Christ and his Apostles, have introduced such Doctrines and Practises into the Christian World, as never were taught by Christ, or any of his Apostles; nay, such as are quite contrary to the Belief and Practise of the first Christians.
Again, as some of those who sate in Moses's Chair, perceiving there was nothing in the Writings of Moses, or the Prophets (rightly understood) to countenance them in their own Ambitious, and Covetous Designs, Page 6 and yet not daring in terminis, or point-blank to contra∣dict the Doctrine of Moses, or the Prophets, for fear of the Jews, they did either wrest, what Moses and the Prophets had written, to their ownsense, by false Glosses and In∣terpretations, as the Scribes did, (witness Christs Sermon upon the Mount to convince them of it) or they did pretend to unwritten Traditions successively derived to them from Moses, and the Prophets; and consequently of equal Authority to the Prophetical Writings themselves; as the Pharisees taught the People, and thereby did not only teach them to Worship God in vain by teaching for Doctrines the Traditions of men, Matt. 15. 9. but to make the Word of God it self of none effect, Mark 7. 13. The former, when by some of their Traditions they made more than God had commanded by Moses or the Pro∣phets to be necessary; the latter, when by other of their Traditions they made that which God had com∣manded by Moses and the Prophets, not to be necessary; even so, or just in the like manner and to the same ends, there be some that pretend to be the true, nay, the only true Successors of Christ, and his Apostles; who not finding in the Gospel of Christ (as it is recor∣ded by the Evangelists, and the Apostles) enough to serve their turns in order to their own Ambitious and Worldly Designs, and yet not daring openly to avow any other Gospel for fear of St. Paul's Anathema, and of discovering themselves to be Antichrist, or at least the fore-runners of Antichrist; they make men believe that to be the Doctrine of Christ which indeed is not; partly by interpreting the Apostolical Writings in their own sence, and partly by pretending Apostolical Tradi∣onsPage 7 for that which cannot by any Interpretation be wrested from the Apostolical Writings. And by this means in process of time, they have made Christ's King∣dom, which, he himself tells us, is not of this World, to be of this World, and themselves to be the Governours of it; and whosoever will not be Perswaded, must be Compell'd to believe it.
And thus the Evangelical Dove is made a prey to the Roman Eagle, whilst Maxims of Humane Policy are taught for Articles of Divine Faith, and men are made to be∣lieve that God is the Author of such Doctrines, and Pra∣ctices, as are contrary, not only to the Truth of his Word, but to the Holiness of his Nature. I mean such Doctrines and Practices, as tend to the Distraction and Destruction of Kingdoms and States; as if Christ came not to save the World (as he saith he did) but to de∣stroy it, which he saith he did not: or as if God were not the Author of Peace, as St. Paul, saith he is, but the Author of Confusion, which St. Paul says he is not. But let God be true and every Man a lyar. And God (as St. Paul tells us in my Text) is not the Author of Confusion, but of Peace.
In which Words we are to consider,
- 1. The Occasion,
- 2. The Sense or Meaning,
- 3. The Intention or Scope,
- 4. The Use, or Uses, which by Way of Applicati∣on we are to make of them.
First then,* as to the Occasion of these Words, it is [ I] Page 8 implied in the first of them, in the Word, For; which, being a Note of connexion, must needs argue that the Words following have a relation to something spoken of before, as the Occasion of them. Now that which S. Paul had spoken of before, and whereunto this Saying of his doth relate, was the dangerous condition, which those of that Church of Corinth were then in, by reason of certain erroneous, and seditious Doctrines, which under the notion of Apostolical truths, were cunningly infused into them, and credulously entertain'd by them, as appears by many Passages in this, and the precedent Chapters, especially the first, where the Apostle tells them he had heard there were Divisions amongst them, some say∣ing they were of Paul, others of Cephas, and others of Christ, and each of every sort exclusively to all the rest; thereby excommunicating one another, by ap∣propriating Christ and his Apostles, and the Apostolical Doctrine unto themselves: as if all that did not be∣lieve in Christ, just as they did, were no Christians. Besides, some of them to gain Proselytes unto them∣selves, and to increase and strengthen their own Party, were content to dispence in point of Practise with those that were, or would be of their Faction, by per∣mitting, or at least by conniving at Incestuous Marria∣ges, Cap. 5. 2. as likewise with the departing of Wives from their Husbands, and à fortiori with departing of Husbands from their Wives, Cap. 7. 10. and of Ser∣vants from their Masters, Vers. 20, and 21. of the same Cap. and by the same reason, of Children from their Parents, and of Subjects from their Soveraigns al∣so. Now certainly the Teaching of such DoctrinesPage 9 and the Allowing of such Practises as these, must needs tend to the disturbance of the publick Peace, and to the introducing of Disorder and Confusion, not into Churches only, but into States also.
Now this being then the State of Corinth, whereunto it was brought by such as pretended to be Apostles, or to be as infallible at least as the Apostles themselves were; nay, and were believed to be so, by those whom they had seduced, and who being seduced could not chuse but adhere to their seducers, and to the Do∣ctrines they were taught by them, until they were convinced of the falshood of those Doctrines, and con∣sequently of the fallibility of their Teachers, by some such argument, as neither they, nor their teachers themselves could disprove, or deny: therefore St. Paul to prove those Doctrines to be false, he proves them to be inconsistent with Peace, as evidently and undenia∣bly appeared, by the Divisions and Factions that were at that time in Corinth, and which St. Paul ascribes to the aforesaid Doctrines as the natural, necessary, and unavoidable Effects of them. And this being experi∣mentally and apparently true, it follows of necessity that either those Doctrines which caused those Factions, and Divisions, and Confusions, were false, and conse∣quently that the Teachers of them were Seducers and false Apostles, which was that whereof St. Paul was to convince the Corinthians; or else, that such Doctrines as are naturally and necessarily the cause of Contenti∣on and Confusion are true Doctrines, which if either the Seducers were so Impudent as to affirm, or the Se∣duced so Foolish as to believe, they must needs affirmPage 10 and believe likewise, that such Doctrines (notwith∣standing their being the cause of Faction and Confusi∣on) must be from God, or that God must be the Au∣thor of them; because God is the Author of all Truth, and consequently such Doctrines, supposing them to be true, must needs be supposed to come from God, as the Author; and if as the Author, then as the Approver of them also. But this Supposition is im∣possible to be True, nay, it is blasphemously False, as being indeed a contradiction not only to the Word, or revealed Will of God, but even to Gods very Nature, and Essence it self; as St. Paul demonstratively proves by this Theological Principle or Aphorism in my Text, when he tells us, that God is not the Author of Confusion, but of Peace; which being a Theological Principle (as I said be∣fore) needs no Proof, it being self-evident to any one that believes there is a God, and considers what God is, and what is meant either by Confusion, or by Peace; and what it is to be the Author of the one, or of the o∣ther.
[ II] And therefore having shewed you what was the Occasion of these Words,* I am now, in the second place, to give you the plain Sense and Meaning of them.
And here I do not intend to ingage my self in a Discourse either of Confusion or of Peace in the gene∣ral Latitude or Extent of the Words; and much less by way of Common-place, to give you a Catalogue of all the blessed Effects of the one, or of all the mischie∣vous Consequences of the other; but only to tell you, First, What is meant by the word Confusion, and what is meant by the word Peace in the Text. Secondly, To Page 11 shew you how, and in what sence, God may be said to be the Author of the one, and not the Author of the other.
First then by the word Confusion here in this place, is meant the unsetling, disordering, and disturbing of any Society Civil or Ecclesiastical, whether it be by force or fraud, by Words or Actions: and consequent∣ly by the word Peace, as it is here opposed to the word Confusion, is meant neither the Internal peace of Grace, nor the Eternal peace of Glory, (though God be the Author, and the Author 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, of peace in both these notions also) but only an External peace here in this World, as it is the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the well-ordering or happy Constitution of a Church or State. And this is that which St. Paul in my Text means by Confusion and Peace, when he saith, that God is not the Author of the one, and is the Author of the other.
But then, Secondly, If by Peace be meant Order and Settlement, and by Confusion be meant Disorder and Disturbance in Churches and States, how can God be said to be the Author of the one and not of the other? seeing there be so many places of Scripture, wherein the putting down as well as the setting up, the overturning and overthrowing as well as the supporting and esta∣blishing, the dissolution and desolation as well as the safety and preservation, and consequently the Confu∣sion, as well as the Peace of Kingdoms, Churches and States, are in express terms ascribed unto God.
I answer, that the disturbing and confounding of Kingdoms, States, and Churches, may be considered either as they are mala Culpae or mala Poenae; that is, Page 12 either as they are Sins, or Punishments for Sin. Now as they are mala Culpae or sins in themselves, so they are not from God, nor cannot be ascribed to God, but to the inordinate or immoderate Passions of those Men, who are either the Agents in them, or the Con∣trivers, Abetters and Fomenters of them, according to that of the Apostle, From whence come Wars? from whence come fightings among you? come they not from hence, even from your Lusts? Jam. 4. 1. And yet the same Disorders, and Disturbances, which, as they are mala Culpae, or Evils of sin, must be ascribed unto Men; may, nay they must (as they are mala Poenae, or Pu∣nishments for sin, be ascribed unto God, as the vindi∣cative effects of Divine Justice. But by Confusion in my Text is meant only malum Culpae, the Evil of sin in those that are the disturbers of Churches and States; and therefore God cannot be said to be the Author of it. The truth is, that neither God nor Man can properly be said to be the Author of any thing, which is not done either immediately by himself, or mediately by his Command, or at least either by his Advice and Dire∣ction, or by his Consent and Approbation: but this cannot be said of Confusion in Churches or States in refe∣rence unto God: for neither is God the worker of it himself, neither doth he command, or advise, or di∣rect, or allow of it: Whereas he is not only the Author but the God of Peace; and his Son is the Prince of Peace, and his Spirit is the Spirit of Peace, and his Gospel is the Gospel of Peace, and his Way is the Way of Peace: neither doth he command or teach any thing that is in∣consistent with Peace, in any Kind or any Degree whatsoever.
Page 13 And thus having shewed you the Occasion and given [ III] you the Sence of these Words: I am now in the third place to speak of the Apostles Scope or Intention in them,* which was (as I conceive) to leave upon Record, for all Posterity, a certain, a constant, and an infal∣lible 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or Touchstone, whereby upon tryal, any man of an ordinary capacity might discover and discern many of those Doctrines to be false, which the Apostle himself saw had been, and foresaw would be, preached in the Church of Christ, and as a part of the Gospel of Christ in the name of Christ, to the great Pre∣judice of Humane Society, to the great Offence and Dan∣ger of Princes and Governours, and to the great Scan∣dal of Christianity it self: namely, such Doctrines as must be (if they be believed and practised) destru∣ctive of the publick Peace and Safety of Churches, States and Princes. For although (as I said before in my first particular) the Occasion of these Words was the Disorder, Faction, and Confusion, which St. Paul saw with his own Eyes to be the Effects of such seditious Doctrines as were brought into the Church and City of Corinth by the seducers of those times: yet his Scope and Intention in these Words was not only to rectifie the Disorder ond Confusion which he saw in that one Church and State for the present; but likewise to pre∣vent the same, or the like, or perhaps worse Disor∣ders, which he foresaw might be, and would be in any Church or State; nay, in all Churches and States for the fu∣ture, if the like Doctrines, I mean any Doctrines in∣consistent with the publick Peace, or tending to publick Confusion, were any where else taught and believed to Page 14 be from God. And therefore the same Use, which St. Paul then made of this 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 this Theological Principle in my Text, may and ought to be made of it by us now, if there be the same Occasion for it.
Because God is as much the Author of Peace, and no more the Author of Confusion now, than he was then. And if he be not the Author of Confusion, he cannot be the Author of any Doctrine or Doctrines tending to Confusion neither; which is St. Paul's own Inference, and not mine. For indeed the very reason, why St. Paul tells the Corinthians that God was not the Author of Confusion, but of Peace, was to convince them, that many of those Doctrines, which were brought in among them, and pretended to be from God, were not from God indeed, because they were inconsistent with Peace, or because they tended to Confusion: which could not have been a convincing Argument to them then as to that particular, if it were not always true in the general, that no Doctrine tending to Confusion, or to the making of disturbance either in Church or State, can truly be said to be from God, or that God is the Author of it.
But was not (will you say) the preaching of the Gospel,* the preaching of Christianity it self, the Cause of great Commotions and Disturbances in the World? and was it not in this respect that Christ himself saith that he came to send a Sword, and not Peace? and con∣sequently it seems that either Christian Religion it self must be false, or that some Doctrines that cause Distur∣bance and Confusion in the World may be true.
Page 15 To this which is the only considerable Objection I can think of,* I answer, that Christian Religion was in∣deed the Occasion, but not the Cause of those Commoti∣ons and Disturbances, which it did not make, but meet with in the World, when it was first published. For those Commotions (whatsoever they were) did not proceed from mens believing and obeying, but from their not believing or their not obeying the Doctrines of the Gos∣pel.
And as for the Sword that Christ saith he came to send into the World, it was a Sword of passive Persecu∣tion, and not a Sword of active Invasion, Resistance or Rebellion: it was a Sword wherewith Christians were to be slain themselves, and not a Sword with which they were to destroy others: the Weapons of their War∣fare being Spiritual to work upon the Soul, and not Car∣nal to make any impression upon the Body: the Gospel being not to be planted or propagated by force (as the Turkish Alcoran was) but by perswading of it, and suf∣fering for it; nor otherwise to be defended by Subjects against their Soveraigns, but by Prayers and Tears, and laying down their lives in defence of it. The truth is, Christian Religion truly so called, is so far from be∣ing a Cause of Commotion or Disturbance in King∣doms and States; that were there any Kingdom or State in the World, where Christian Religion were truly taught and truly practised, it would be impossi∣ble there should be any Dissention or Discord, any o∣pen Rebellion, or privy Conspiracy, or any thing but Concord, Unity, and Peace in such a State or King∣dom: because all the Articles of the Christian faith, and Page 16 all the Precepts of the Christian practise, tend unto Peace;—Peace betwixt man and man in general, by forbid∣ding all men to Injure any man, or to Revenge them∣selves if they be injured; by commanding every man to do good unto all men, and each of us to love one ano∣ther as our own selves. Peace in private Families, by commanding Husbands to love their Wives, and Wives to obey their Husbands, Parents to provide for their Children, and Children to be dutiful unto their Parents, Masters to be just and kind unto their Servants, and Servants to be faithful, and diligent, and obedient unto their Masters. Lastly, Peace in publick Societies, whether Civil or Ecclesiastical, nay, even in Camps and in Armies also; by teaching all Superiors to Govern justly, and prudently, and moderately, and carefully; and by teaching all Inferiors to Obey readily, willingly, and chearfully when their Superiors command things lawful, and never to resist or rebel, but to suffer meek∣ly, and patiently, when they cannot obey, that is, when their Superiors commands are absolutely and evidently unlawful. Whence it is (as I told you before) that the Gospel of Christ is called the Gospel of Peace, not only because it makes men to be at Peace with God, and at peace with themselves, but at peace with one another, nay, with all the World, as much and as far at least as the World will suffer them to be so. And consequently whatsoever Doctrine there is, the belief and practise whereof doth cause disorder, di∣straction and confusion, that Doctrine though it be Preached in the Name of Christ, is no part of the Gos∣pel of Christ, or of Christian Religion truly so called.
Page 17 Which truth being so evidently grounded upon this Theological Principle, or 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in my Text, and suffi∣ciently cleared from the only Objection that I can ima∣gine may be made against it; let us proceed to make [ IV] that Use which the Apostle intended we should make of it:* which is the fourth and last particular I proposed unto you, and which I am now to speak of by way of Application of all that hath been said in General, to the occasion of this present meeting of ours in Parti∣cular: which is with all humble and hearty Thank∣fulness unto God to commemorate that Great, and Wonderful, and almost Miraculous Deliverance of the then King, Queen, and Prince, and likewise of all the Lords both Spiritual and Temporal, together with all the Representatives both of the Clergy, and of the Laity, from being all of them destroyed at once by the most hor∣rid Conspiracy, and most Diabolical design that ever was hatched in Hell, or attempted here on Earth: and yet was no more than what those who were the Contrivers of it, and were to be the Actors in it, were prompted unto by some of the Doctrines of that Reli∣gion that was professed by them, I mean, the Religion of the Church of Rome. Which that it may the better appear unto you, the first Use I will make of St. Paul's 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or Touchstone in my Text, shall be by way of Discovery or Conviction.
For if according to the Apostolical Aphorisme or Canon in my Text God be not the Author of Confusion,*but of Peace; then whatsoever Church it is that makes God the Author of Confusion, by teaching such Doctrines in his Name, as must, if they be believed and practised, of Page 18 necessity produce Confusion; it is not an Orthodox or true believing Church, how confident soever it may pretend to be so; but a Company of Hereticks and Schismaticks, so far forth at least as they teach and pra∣ctice any such Doctrines.
And such indeed are all the several Sorts and Sects of Dissenters from our Church at this time here in Eng∣land, by what denomination soever they are called and distinguished from us, and from one another: who though they differ in many things among them∣selves, yet in these two Particulars they all agree; namely, First, In maligning and opposing of the Church of England: and, Secondly, In teaching such Doctrines as must necessarily, if they be believed and practised, produce Faction, and Sedition and Confu∣sion amongst us, and consequently must needs (if the teachers of them be not suppressed or restrained) be finally at one time or another destructive to the Peace and Safety of the present Government in the State as well as in the Church. Which though it might be ve∣rified (more or less) of all the several Sects that dis∣sent from us, yet because the Doctrines tending to Se∣dition and Rebellion which are held by all the rest, seem to be derived, and borrowed from those of the Church of Rome, and because the Deliverance, we this day Celebrate, was from a Popish, and not from a Presbyterian Conspiracy (though some of the Popish Party did give it out it was) I shall at this time make use of the Touchstone in the Text, in relation only to such Doctrines and Maxims as are held and taught in the Church of Rome, and which must needs Page 19 be false, if S. Paul's Touchstone be true; because by evi∣dent and necessary consequence, they make God to be the Author of Confusion, or at least to be believed to be so.
Such are, First, The Doctrine of the Popes Supre∣macy, and that not of Order or Precedency only, but [ 1] of Authority and Jurisdiction also. Absolute Au∣thority and Universal Jurisdiction,*supra universam Ecclesiam, saith Bellarmine, over the Universal Church, that is, over all Christians, and consequently over all Christian States as well as Churches, and over Kings as well as Subjects, and that not in Spiritualibus only, but in Temporalibus also. For omne jus Regum à me pendet, All the Right which Kings have is from me, said Pope Clement the V. in the Council of Vienna. He should have said Per me Reges regnant, by me Kings reign; and then he had spoken like a Rex Regum, and Domi∣nus Dominantium, a King of Kings, and Lord of Lords indeed, as some of his Flatterers* are not ashamed to call him. In the mean time, whether this Pleni∣tudo Potestatis, this fulness of Power in Temporals as well as in Spirituals be in the Pope directly, as Baronius, Ca∣rerius and all the Casuists hold; or indirectly only, or in order to the enabling him for the better exercising of his spiritual jurisdiction, as Bellarmine, and with him the whole Tribe of Jesuits say; it matters not: For which way soever it be held, this Doctrine is destru∣ctive to the Soveraignty of Princes over their own Sub∣jects, and consequently to the Obedience of Subjects to their own Soveraigns; than which, what can be more destructive to the Peace and Safety of a State? And yet this is that Article of Faith, which Bellarmine, in his Page 20 chiding Letter to Blackwell the Arch-Priest here in England, calls the foundation of the Catholick (he should have said of the Roman Catholick) Religion: for so in∣deed it is.
[ 2] And that you may see what they mean to build up∣on this Foundation, it is a second Doctrine of theirs, That Princes Excommunicated and Deposed by the Pope may be not only deserted,*but destroyed by their Subjects; as be∣ing not only absolved from their Allegiance, but obli∣ged to put the Popes Sentence in execution: which if they cannot do themselves, they are to joyn with any foreign Prince, to whom the Pope shall please to give away the Kingdom (as he did this of England to Lewis of France in King Johns time) And against this Do∣ctrine it was, that the Oath of Allegiance was specially intended, and for this Doctrine sake it was, that the Pope forbad all of his party to take the Oath.
[ 3] Again to the end that Subjects might with the less scruple of Conscience conspire and rebel against their Soveraigns, when they shall be Excommunicated or declared Hereticks by the Pope; there is another Do∣ctrine of the Church of Rome, which teacheth them, That all power which Sovereign Princes have over their Peo∣ple, is derived from the People,*and may be resumed by the People, to be transferred and collated upon any whom the Supreme Pastor shall think fit to invest with it. This Doctrine was proposed and defended in the Council of Trent by Jacobus Laynez the Popes Divine there emphatically so called, and one of the first Je∣suits who is herein followed by Bellarmine, and by all of the same Order. And this Doctrine saith King JamesPage 21 (in his Admonition to Christian Princes) is fundamentum seditionis,* the ground or foundation of Sedition.
Fourthly, That the Pope may always have a Party of his own and immediately depending upon himself in all States and Kingdoms; it is another of their Do∣ctrines, [ 4] that all the Clergy in all places are exempted from all secular Jurisdiction in all Causes criminal, whether Civil or Ecclesiastick: so that there is no Prince (whether he be of the Roman Communion or no) but he hath thou∣sands that are born, and bred, and live under the Pro∣tection of his Laws, and that are not subject to him, but to a foreign Power: neither are they answerable to him for any Crime they do or may commit (whe∣ther Murder, Felony, or Treason) unless the Pope will give him leave to proceed against them; which Exem∣ption (where it is allowed of) gives that Clergy cou∣rage to attempt any thing for the Pope against Princes; especially being unmarried, and consequently not ha∣ving that obligation of Wife and Children upon them, which other men have, to indear them unto their Country, and their Country unto them, they are always the readier and the willinger to serve him up∣on whom wholly and only they depend. And in order to that end no doubt it was that both Marriage was for∣bidden, and Exemption from Secular Jurisdiction was granted unto the Clergy, though Suarez saith the latter of these is of Divine Right, and therefore is so general that it admits of no exception, and so certain that it cannot be denied, without contradicting an Article of Faith; I suppose he means the Article of the Pope's Supremacy, whereunto the Exemption of the ClergyPage 22 from Secular Jurisdiction is subservient in a very high degree, and no less dangerous to the safety of Kings and Princes, as King James observes in the aforesaid Admonition.
[ 5] Now if Kings or States to prevent the danger they are in by the aforesaid Doctrines shall require an Oath of Allegiance from their Subjects upon such Penalties, as that they dare not but take it, they have another Do∣ctrine of Equivocation, or Mental Reservation, whereby they are qualified to say or unsay, to swear or forswear any thing that shall be or can be proposed unto them, and thereby to avoid both the Penalty of refusing, and the Conscience of performing this or any other Oath whatsoever.
[ 6] But if the Oath be so warily and so strictly word∣ed as that as it obligeth them to take God to witness, that they swear what they do swear without any Equi∣vocation or Mental Reservation, as they must if they take the Oath of Allegiance; then the Gordian Knot which cannot be untied must be cut asunder by the omnipo∣tent power of Papal Dispensation. For Catholici omnes intelligunt (saith Tortus or Bellarminus larvatus,*) All Catholicks understand that it belongs to the Popes Power to Absolve not only from Sins, but from Pe∣nances, from Censures, from Laws, and from Vows, and from Oaths too.
[ 7] But what if it be part of the Oath to abjure the Popes Power of Dispensing with that Oath (as it is in the Oath of Allegiance) why! yet they have another Doctrine to help them at a dead lift, which is, that Faith is not to be kept with Hereticks; and it is not to be Page 23 supposed that Catholick Princes or States will tender such an Oath as takes away one of the best flowers of the Popes Triple Crown; especially if his Power of Di∣spensing be taken in the largest extent, or according to the practise of it; for so it reacheth to the ratifying or making void of any thing, not as it is right or wrong, lawful or unlawful, but as it is, or is not, for the Inte∣rest of him and of his See; though it be to the undoing of Families, the dis-inheriting of right Heirs, or the embroyling of Kingdoms in long and bloody Wars, as hath been often done by his Dispensing with Ince∣stuous Marriages, by his Legitimating unlawful Issues, and by his permitting causeless Divorces, which must needs produce endless Disputes, and irreconcileable Quarrels in the World.
To these I will add but one Doctrine of theirs more, [ 8] and that is, the Indispensable Obligation of their Priests to conceal (I suppose they mean from all but the Pope) whatsoever they hear in Confession, though it be the inten∣ded murder of Kings, or destruction of States, saith Cardinal Tolet; nay, the ruin of the World, saith Henriques; which is so horrid a Doctrine (as King James saith in his before-cited Admonition) that no Prince or State can be safe where there be such Confes∣sors; no, nor Romish Catholick Princes themselves, as appears by Henry the III. and Henry the IV. of France, who would neither of them have been so barbarously murdred as they were, had not Fryar Clement and Ra∣villiac's Confessors been of this opinion. So that of what Religion soever they be, neither Princes nor States can be secured from the danger of this Doctrine, much Page 24 less from the danger of this and all the former: of all which I may boldly say that if the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or touch∣stone of my Text be true, every one of them is false, and consequently none of them from the God of truth, who is the Author of Peace, but all and every one of them from him who is the Author of Lies, who is the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the stirrer up of Strife, and the Author of Confusion; whence it follows, that the Church that teacheth such Doctrines, is so far from being the Catholick, that she is not so much as an Orthodox Church; so far from being the only true Church, that she is not so much as a true Church; I mean in a moral sence, or so far at least as she teacheth such Doctrines.
If it be replyed, that it is not the Church of Rome it self, but only some particular Doctors of that Church that teach all or any of the aforesaid seditious Doctrines. I answer, that these and the like Doctrines being pub∣lickly asserted, and maintained by the chief Pillars, and Professors of that Church, and notoriously coun∣tenanced and abetted by the Head of that Church, and never condemned, censur'd, or disclaimed by the Representative Body of that Church; no, nor so much as taken notice of, as dangerous, or erroneous, by their Index expurgatorius, which censures all such Authors and Opinions as that Church doth not ap∣prove of: we must needs conclude them to be the Doctrines of the Church it self, and not of some of her particular Doctors and Professors only; though some of her particular Doctors may Dissent from some of them, which signifie little or nothing, as long as the Page 25 Head of the Church approves them, and as long as they all hold the Pope to be Head of the Church, where∣unto the whole Body of the Church must submit, and whereby it must be guided; and consequently, they all hold he hath an Universal Jurisdiction over all Chri∣stians, which is the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the first of those false seditious Doctrines, I before named; and whereunto all the rest are but instrumental, and subservient, as being at first invented, and ever since maintain'd in order either to the bringing in, or keeping up of that grand Imposture (as one of our Bishops calls it) I mean the pretended Soveraignty of the Papacy over all Chri∣stendom, which whosoever will acknowledg and sub∣mit unto, he may hold either pro or con in almost all of the Controverted points besides, and yet be a good Catholick as they call him, as appears by the offer made by Paul the IV. to Queen Elizabeth, which was this, That if she would acknowledg his Supremacy, and take it as a Favour from him, or as an Indulgence granted by him and by his Authority, Gratiam facturum Ponti∣ficem, ut sacra hìc omnia hoc ipso quo nunc sunt apud nos mo∣do procurari fas esset; his Holiness would graciously di∣spence with our way of serving of God in all things pertaining to his Worship, in the very same manner as now we do: They are the words of Bishop Andrews one of the Worthiest, most Pious, and most Learned of my Predecessors, in his Tortura Torti, from whence (as he infers) it plainly appears that the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that which is so much contended for by the Pope, and those of his Party, is not that Faith, or any part of that Faith, which was once delivered to the Saints, as Saint Page 26Jude tells us, and which he exhorts us earnestly to con∣tend for; but the exorbitant power of the Papacy, in and over the Church of Christ, for the gaining, or keep∣ing, or recovering of which exorbitant power, that Ball of contention hath been kept up for so many hundreds of years in the Christian World.
For what was that which made that great Schism in the Church, whereby the Eastern were, and still are divided from the Western Christians? or what is that which now divides that of the Roman, from all other Christian Churches, but the Popes affecting and assu∣ming the title of Universal Bishop, or of being Head of the whole Church? as if all other Patriarks, Metropolitans, and Bishops, were all of them but his Vicars, and he Christs. Again, what made all those quarrels first be∣twixt the Popes, and the Senate, and People of Rome, and afterwards betwixt the Popes and the Roman Empe∣rors, as likewise betwixt the Popes and the Kings of France, and betwixt the Popes and the Kings of England, whereby all Europe was sometime in one place, and sometimes in another, distracted and divided, and torn in pieces, as it were, by Feuds, and Factions, and by causeless and cruel Wars, sometimes the Father against the Son, and sometimes the Son against the Father, and always Christians against Christians. What was the cause of all this, I say, but the extending of the Popes aforesaid Primacy over the whole Christian Church in spiritual things, to a Supremacy over the whole Christian World, or over all Christian Princes and States in the World? Lastly, what was the cause of so many Conspiracies against Queen Elizabeth, espe∣cially Page 27 after her Excommunication by the Pope, which was seconded, first by a Rebellion in the North of Eng∣land, and afterwards by the Spanish Invasion in Eighty Eight? or, what was the cause of the Gunpowder-Treason it self? was it not a zeal for the recovering and re-establishing of the aforesaid pretended power of the Pope here in England? I am sure those that were the Contrivers of it and Actors in it, (as many of them I mean as were brought to Tryal for it) did all and every one of them confess, that to be the only cause for what they did and for what they suffered, namely, their zeal for the Catholick Religion (as they call it) of which (as I told you before) their great Cardinal tells us the Popes Supremacy est unum ex praecipuis fun∣damentis, one of the chief foundations.
And as it was the restoring of the Popes pretended Authority that was the cause of that horrid Conspiracy; so the Bull of Clement the VIII. (whereby a little be∣fore the Queen died, he had forbidden all of his Party here to suffer any but a Roman Catholick to succeed her) was the ground or warrant whereupon they undertook it; as appears by what Catesby, the chief of the Lay Conspirators said when some of his Complices seemed loth to proceed in it without the Popes express com∣mand for it, or approbation of it: To what end, said he, should we trouble his Holiness any farther? was not the forbidding us to receive him warrant enough for the removing of him assoon and by what means soever it might be effected? He might have added, that Heretical Princes might be Deposed, or taken away by their Subjects, even be∣fore the sentence of Excommunication or Deposition be Page 28 pronounced by the Pope against them, as some of their Doctors hold; and therefore there was no reason they should stand upon such formalities in a matter of such Importance; and which required a speedy Executi∣on. And thus no doubt they were resolv'd in point of Conscience by Garnett, the Provincial of the Jesuits, at that time here in England, and the chief manager of this inhumane Conspiracy, together with Oldcorn, and three more of the same Order, of all whom it was confessed by their Lay-Complices that they were not only privy to it, but Authors of it, I mean of the a∣foresaid Conspiracy, and that they were the aforesaid Jesuits that had encouraged them to undertake it; and had often by the Sacrament of Penance and the Eucha∣rist confirmed them in the Resolution of it, as of a most Catholick and meritorious Undertaking; and now all Scruples being removed, and all danger of Discove∣ry being as they though prevented, by every mans having taken an Oath of secrecy and received the Sacra∣ment upon it, the Eve of that day was come, which next to that of Sadom and Gomorra should have been the blackest and dismallest that ever the Sun beheld: The Eve of that Day which was to have been the Doomsday of this Kingdom: The Eve of that Day was come, I say, upon which assoon as the King and Prince, toge∣ther with the Queen and her Ladies, and all the Lords and Peers were come into the House of Lords, and the whole House of Commons were come up into the same Room to attend his Majesty, it was intended that fatal Blow should have been given, of which what would have been the dismal and direful Effects I had Page 29 rather leave it to every mans fancy to Imagin than vainly indeavour to Express, what would have been indeed beyond all expression. But thanks be to our great and good God, that it never arrived to any other existence but what it had in their Intention, and what it hath now in our Imagination. For that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 that severe all-seeing eye of the Divine Justice and Pro∣vidence, which had lookt upon this Embrio of darkness from the first Conception until all its Limbs were formed, and framed, and fashioned, did then, even then when it was come unto the Birth, and was ready to be brought forth, suddenly, and strangely, and al∣most as much to ours as their amazement, discover it, or rather made it discover it self; so that it was stopt, it was smother'd, it was stifled; it was buried in its own Vault, in that infernal Womb wherein it was conceived. And thus the snare was broken and we were delivered even before we knew the Danger we were in; which was so much the greater, because we had no Apprehension at all of it, and consequently no hu∣mane Possibility to prevent it, to avoid it, or to deli∣ver our selves from it. And therefore what we could not possibly do for our selves, God himself was plea∣sed at that time to do for us without any concurrence of our own towards it. But we must not think be∣cause it was so once, it will be so always, or that we shall always be saved by Miracle, neither must we think because we have escaped one, that therefore we are secure from all dangers, or that we may not possi∣bly be in as great danger now, or at another time, as we were then, because we do not see it, not fear it, Page 30 nor suspect it; for we did not see it, nor fear it, nor suspect it then neither. But rather to consider, Whether this Barbarous Design (considering who were the Con∣trivers of it, and Actors in it) were not the product of all, or some of those Doctrines before specified, and proved to be the Doctrines of those that govern in the Church of Rome. Secondly, Whether the same Causes are not likely at some time or other to produce the same or the like Effects. Thirdly, Whether we may not in Conscience, and ought not in Prudence, to pre∣vent the sowing and growing of such Tares amongst our Wheat, of such Doctrines, in our Church. I pre∣sume no man here doubts but we may and ought to do so; especially considering that none of these Do∣ctrines, which are and will be always the seeds of Se∣dition, Conspiracies and Rebellion, are yet disclaimed by any declaratory Sentence either of Council or of Pope, but are still avowed and maintained by the prevailing party in that Church: nay, considering likewise that this horrible Conspiracy it self, the Gunpowder-Treason, hath not been as yet ever branded with any note of Infamy or Detestation set upon it by any publick Au∣thority of the Church, but rather magnified and glo∣rified by suffering Garnett and Oldcorne to be put into the Martyrology, or Catalogue of Martyrs by the Jesu∣its, which they durst not have done without the Popes knowledg, and consent to it; which must argue his approbation of it, though he did not make a Pane∣gyrick Oration in praise of these Traytors, as Sixtus Quintus did in praise of Fryar Clement for killing Henry the III. King of France, because that was prosperum ac∣foelix Page 31 scelus, and this was but an Attempt only: consider∣ing these things, I say, no man can blame us for look∣ing as well as we can to our selves, and providing as well as we can for our own security from the danger of such Practises, which we have experimentally found to be the fruit of such Doctrines. And therefore from the Use of this Touchstone by way of Discovery, I come to the Use we are to make of it by way of Caution.
And I will give it you in the words of our Saviour himself,*〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Beware of false Prophets, yea, though they come to you in sheeps cloa∣thing, as if they and none but they were of Christs fold, whereas inwardly and indeed (saith he) they are not only Wolves, but ravening Wolves, that is such as intend to make a Prey of you, and by their fruits (saith he) you shall know them, that is, by their teach∣ing such Doctrines as are inconsistent with Peace, and tending to the stirring up of strifes, and to the em∣broyling of Kingdoms and States in discord and dis∣sention, which is an Evidence that they are not of a Lamb-like, but of a Woolvish nature and disposition. Try them therefore by this Touchstone in my Text which will never fail you. The name of Catholick may be falsly assumed, Universal Tradition may be falsly alledged, the Churches Infallibility may be falsly pretended, Miracles may be fraudulently forged, nay the Word of God it self may be falsly interpreted, or fal∣laciously applied. But Gods nature can never be chan∣ged; he is the God of Peace, and therefore he is not nor ever was, nor ever can be the Author of Confusion, nor of any Doctrine or Practise tending to Confusion. Mark Page 32 therefore, saith Paul, those that cause Divisions among you and avoid them. Mark them, I say, and set some mark upon them that others may know them and avoid them also. For of this sort, as this same Apostle tells us, 2 Tim. 3. 6. are they who creep into Houses and lead captive silly Women laden with sins, and led away with divers lusts; following herein the Devils method, beginning as he did with the weaker Vessels, and hoping to have the same success as he had in seducing our Adams by our Eves. And thus going up and down and converting (as they say) but subverting (as St. Paul saith, Tit. 1. 11.) whole Houses they do by little and little under∣mine such Churches and States, as are not built upon their own foundation.
And yet I will not say (as St. Paul saith, Gal. 5. 12.)〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, I would they were even cut off that trouble you, or that cause troubles amongst you: No, God is my witness before whom I stand, it is not their Persecution, but our own Preservation that I contend for. For as I differ from them in many other Opinions, so do I in this also, that It is lawful to put men to death for any dissent in opinion, though it be in matters of Faith, so it be but in opinion only—And yet no doubt it is lawful by all Laws Humane and Di∣vine for any Society of men to secure themselves by all just means from those whom they have just cause to be affraid of, and consequently from those who teach such Doctrines as are practically destructive either to humane Society in general, or to this or that Society in particular. It behoves us therefore in order to our own preservation, and in order to the Page 33 preservation of the present Government both in Church and State to take care, it may not be in their power to make any change or alteration in it. For when it is in their power they profess they are obliged to do it. And if you ask them why the Primitive Chri∣stians did not depose or rebell against either the Pagan or Arrian Emperors (that is) against Infidel or He∣retical Princes, Bellarmines answer is quiâ deerant Vires, because they were not enow, or had not power enough to do it. And Pope Gregory the XIII. saith in excuse of the English Roman Catholicks for not putting Pope Pius the V's▪ Bull in execution against Queen Elizabeth, by taking Arms against her, and deposing of her, that they were not obliged rebus sic stantibus in regard of their present weakness, but would be obli∣ged so soon as they were able to do it: (Tortura Torti, pag. 5.) so that if either the Cardinal, or the Pope him∣self knew the Doctrine of their own Church, no Pro∣testant Prince or State can, morally speaking, be secure from the generality of their Popish Subjects any longer than they are in such a condition, as that they cannot hurt them. From the generality, I say, of such Sub∣jects, I do not say from all of them; for I know there be many of them very worthy and loyal Persons, and such as have hazarded, and will hazard their lives again for the defence of their King and of their Country as frankly as any of our own Religion, when there shall be cause for it; at least they are for the present resolved to do so, and do unfeignedly believe them∣selves when they profess they will do so; But Dic mihi, cùm fueris tu Leo, qualis eris? Alas! how do they know Page 34 whether they shall be always of the same mind or no? Are they not liable to temptation as well as other men, or can they tell how or to what degree, Abili∣ty, and Opportunity, and hope of Impunity, nay, of meriting a Crown of glory, together with the in∣terposition of the Popes Authority, may work upon them? and therefore that neither they may be led in∣to temptatiou nor we be exposed to the danger which otherwise we may in reason expect from them; the best way for us and them too will be, at least, to pre∣vent the Growth and Increase of them, either in Num∣ber, or in Power; for if they increase in Number, they will incease in Power; and if they increase in Power, they will increase in Number also: which because it is already provided for by the Kings most gracious Answer to the Petition of both his Houses of Parliament to that purpose, I shall no longer insist upon it. Only I will add for the justifying of our Laws that are made against those of the Romish Party, that if they seem somewhat to have a more watchful Eye, or to hold somewhat a stricter Hand over them, especially in jealous times, they are to blame themselves and not us for it; who could do no less than we have done to secure our selves from them: or rather indeed it is their own holy Father the Pope, whom both they and we are to complain of, for ne∣cessitating us to deal more hardly than otherwise we should do with them, and them to suffer more than otherwise they should do from us, by prohibiting them to take the Oaths either of Supremacy or Allegiance; and consequently prohibiting them also either to ac∣knowledg Page 35 the Kings Sovereign Power over all his own Subjects within his own Dominions, which is asserted in the former; or to secure the King of their indispensable Loyalty and Obedience which is promi∣sed in the latter. And truly why any Roman Catholick may not without any prejudice to his Conscience take either, or both of these Oaths, I see no other reason but the Popes prohibition only: I am sure that of the two which is most stuck at, I mean the Oath of Supre∣macy, was made, and given and taken by those of the Romish Religion in Henry the VIII's. time: but one of all the Bishops (which was Fisher Bishop of Roche∣ster) refusing it; and some of the most eminent of them in parts, and place writing for it: namely, Gardiner Bishop of Winchester in his Book De verâ obe∣dientiâ, prefaced by Bonner Bishop of London, who certainly were both of them as learned and as zealous Roman Catholicks as any were at that time of their Or∣der in this Kingdom, I might add and as great perse∣cutors of the Protestants and of the Protestant Religion also: so that unless the Pope hath made a new Article of Faith since, not only the Oath of Allegiance, but the Oath of Supremacy likewise, may be taken by any Ro∣manist without Heresie.—But of this enough, and therefore I shall close up all with the third and last Use I shall make of this 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 at this time, viz.
With a Thanksgiving unto our good and most graci∣ous God,*first for delivering the King, the Nobility, and the Gentry that then were, and consequently the King, the Nobility, and the Gentry that now are, who Page 36 were then in the Loins of their Progenitors from that fatal Blow, which would at once have destroyed them, and all that were to come of them. Second∣ly, For delivering the whole Nation from the conse∣quences of that Blow, which would have been the enslaving of us all, (the King himself not excepted) in our Persons, in our Purses, and in our Consciences, to the Tyrannical Usurpation of the Papacy: the in∣tolerable yoak whereof our Ancestors for so many hundreds of years did groan under. Thirdly, and last∣ly, We are to thank God and to congratulate with one another for the Preservation of our Church, from that, and all other Designs, and Conspiracies against it: for the preservation of our Church (I say) which as it was reformed at first (as the Temple of Hierusalem was built, without noise of Axes and Hammers) without Tumult, Sedition, or Rebellion, being in∣troduced by Sovereign Authority and Advice of the Reverend Clergy, and with the Consent of the Nobili∣ty and Representative Body of the whole Kingdom; so she hath ever since continued a Mother of peace, and peaceable Children, whom she trains up in humble Obedience to the King, and to the Laws without teach∣ing them, or suffering them to teach any thing, where∣by the People may be incouraged either to despise the one, or to resist the other.
And this indeed is the peculiar Glory of the Church of England, that she, and no other Church but she, hath plainly and positively declared unto the World without Iffs or Ands, or any other clause, or words of exception or reservation, that It is not lawful for Page 37 Subjects severally, or joyntly, or in any capacity whatsoever, to take up Arms, or to joyn with any that do take up Arms, either offensive or defensive against Sovereign Authority, or without Commission from Sovereign Authority, in any case, for any cause, or upon any either pretended or real provoca∣tion, and least of all upon the account of Religion, because that were in terminis, or in plain terms to contradict the Apostle in my Text, by making God the Author of Confusion and not of Peace.
For what Peace could there be among Christians, if it were lawful for Subjects to rise up or to conspire against their Sovereigns for defending or introducing of that which they call, or think to be the true Religion? For every man and Sect of men takes their own Religion to be the truest, otherwise they would not, nay, they could not in earnest be of it themselves; so that if it were lawful for Subjects to take Arms, or to attempt any thing against the State, or present Government, for that which they think to be the true Religion, all States and Kingdoms must needs be always embroyl∣ed in Civil Wars; because there is no State or Kingdom but it hath some (I am sure ours hath many) of se∣veral Religions in it; who might all as well as any take Arms upon this account against their Sovereign, who can be but of one Religion himself. If it be repli∣ed that though the Sovereign can be but of one Religion himself, yet there may be a Toleration given of all the rest; I confess there may be so, but not without ex∣treme hazard (as I humbly conceive) both to the Religion and Person of the Sovereign. 'Tis true, that all of all Religions cry out for Liberty of Conscience until Page 38 they themselves are in possession of the Sovereign power, and then they will give none to others: Witness the practise of those of the Church of Rome, during Queen Maries Reign here in England, and at this day in Spain and Italy, and wheresoever else the Romish Religion is in its full power: Witness likewise the pra∣ctise of the several Sectaries in their several turns of governing in the late Changes here at home, when there was none of them that did not, or would not have suppressed all other Sects but their own, as much as they did, if it had been in their power. The best and safest way therefore for Prince, State and People, is to profess, protect, cherish and allow of that Religion, and that only which allows of no rising up against, or resisting Sovereign Power, no not in its own defence, nor upon any other account whatsoever; which most Christian, and most Orthodox Profession, if those of the Romish, and those of other Perswafions that live a∣mong us, but are not of us, would make as frankly, and as ingenuously and as sincerely as we do, though it would not presently reconcile all other Differences betwixt us and them, yet it would perhaps be enough to make us live peaceably, and charitably, and secure∣ly together, without Fear or Jealousie of one another, which would be a good step towards an Accommoda∣tion of all other Controversies betwixt us in time also: which is all that I have to say at this time upon this Occasion: only let me intreat you all to joyn with me in this short Prayer to God the Father.
That all who are called by the name of his Son, all Christians may through the powerful inspiration, and ope∣ration Page 39 of his Holy Spirit, be brought to agree in the Truth of his Holy Word, and to live together in Unity and God∣ly Love. That there be no more Heresies, nor no more Schisms, no more Sects, nor no more Factions, no more Controversies, nor no more Scandals, nor no more Wars, Seditions, Conspiracies, or Rebellions amongst Christians, but that all of us in our several Places and Stations may indeavour to adorn our holy Profession by an holy Life and Conversation, that so we may be no longer Christians in name only but in deed. Amen.