A generall treatise against poperie and in defence of the religion by publike authoritie professed in England and other churches reformed. VVherein they that either want leisure to read, or that haue not iudgement to conceiue, or that are not able to buie the learned treatises of other concerning particular points of religion, may yet euidently see poperie not to be of God, and our religion to be acceptable in his sight. Very necessarie for these times, for the confirmation and strengthening of men in our religion, that neither by Iesuits, nor by any other, they may be drawne to poperie, or any other heresie or sect: and likewise for the winning of Papists and atheists to an vnfained liking and true profession of our religion. By Thomas Stoughton minister of the word.
Stoughton, Thomas.
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The generall summe of all all things comprehended in this trea∣tise following.

The reasons why this worke was taken in hand and the state of this cause beeing first breefly decla∣red, then followe these generall arguments against popery and for our religion.

1 All true religion and acceptable to God, is wrought in the hearts of men by the ministerie of God his word conteiued in holy scripture. Popery is not wrought by the ministerie of that worde in as much as where that word is most plentifully & sin∣cerely taught, there popery most falleth, and where that word is wanting there popery most abounde, as also because papists will neither voluntarily come, nor by authority be drawne, either to the preaching or reading thereof in our Churches, neither doe de∣light in the priuate reading thereof at home, ergo Popery is not true religion &c.

2 All true religion is vpheld and maintained by good and lawefull meanes, needing no euill & vn∣lavvefull meanes to vphold it. But popery is vpheld Page  [unnumbered] and maintained by all vnlawfull meanes, as by force and violence, by fire and fagot, corrupting, adding vnto, and diminishing the text of scriptures, by false alleadging the authorities of men, by clipping and mangling the works of the auncient fathers, both in citing their testimonies, and also in printing of the bookes themselues by authority of the popish church, by lying miracles, and such other indirect meanes, ergo, &c.

3 The subiect matter of true religion is con∣tained in the written word of God. The subiect mat▪ of poperie is not comprised in that written worde of God, but is directly contrarie therevnto in all, the principall points thereof. ergo &c.

4 The forme of true religion is also compre∣hended in the canonicall Scripture. The forme of poperis is not there comprehended, but is altogether diuers from the forme of God his worship in that word prescribed, yea rather poperie hath in a man∣ner no worship of God at all. ergo.

5 All true religion referreth all things to God his glorie. Poperie referreth not all things to God his glorie, but so aduanceth the Pope, saints, and man himselfe, that it spoileth God of all his glorie. ergo.

6 True religion bringeth forth obedience to the orall law of God contained in the tenne comman∣dements. Poperie (and not Papists onely) baingeth Page  [unnumbered] forth no such obedience, but transgresseth euery one of these commaundements, and that in the highest degree. ergo.

7 True religion worketh true ioy and sound com∣fort in euery heart where it taketh true place, as cer∣tifying she same both of the present fauour of God, and also of the continuance thereof. Poperie worketh no such ioy and comfort, as the which depriueth men of the Scriptures, whereby their eyes are to be opened and their mindes instructed in true wisdome, as the which teacheth likewise that it is presumption for a man to say that he is perswaded of God his fauour, and of his owne saluation, and wherein no man euer knoweth whither he receiueth the true sacrament or not. ergo.

8 All true religion is wise as he that is the au∣thor thereof. Poperie is not wise, but most foolish and ridiculous, grossely worshipping many homely relikes, absurdly baptizing bells and Churches, &c. and without all wit and reason (much more without di∣uinitie) citing, condemning, and excommunicating them that are dead. ergo.

9 All true religion is vnsauorie and vnpleasant to the nature of man. But poperie is most pleasant thereunto, because it teacheth men not to take any paines in the scriptures, yea forbiddeth all such paines, because it affirmeth that the worke done is sufficient howsoeuer it be done, and that therefore Page  [unnumbered] men neede not to be carefull about their hearts, be∣cause also it commendeth especially the commande∣ments of men, giuing all libertie vnto men from the commaundements of God: and teaching that what good soeuer is neglected, or what euill soeuer is by a∣ny committed, yet by confession of all this with the mouth, by a little voluntarie afflicting of the bodie, and especially▪ by a peece of money, a man may haue forgiuenes of all. ergo.

The contrarie of all the former arguments is prooued of our religion, from whence it follovveth that it is true and acceptable vnto God.

10 Both the former conclusions, the one against poperie, the other for our religion, are prooued by a∣ctuall testimonies of God.

  • These are shewed to be
    • 1 The gifts of God promised to the latter times for the commendation of the Gospel.
    • 2 The works of God.
  • The gifts of God are shewed to haue beene
    • 1 Excedingly decaied, and almost dead and buried in the chiefe times of poperie.
    • 2 Repaired, reuiued, raised vp, and greatly to haue flourished, &c. at the breaking forth of our religion out of the darknes of poperie.
  • The works of Godare
    • either single
      • against poperie.
      • against our religion.
  • or mixt both against poperie and for our religion.
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All these former arguments beeing plentifully handled, then followeth the conclusion, wherein are exemplified the manifold vse of the whole treatise.

Concerning them which are
  • of our re∣ligion
    • all generally vveake and strong.
    • more particularly great persons, and those
    • also
      • either generally all,
      • or specially Dauids
      • Worthies.
  • not ofour religion
    • Atheists and all of no re∣ligion.
    • Papists
      • 1 weake & er∣ring onely of ignorance.
      • 2 obstinate and wilfull.