A DEFENCE OF THE CONFUTER OF BELLARMIN's Second Note of the Church, ANTIQUITY, AGAINST THE CAVILS of the ADVISER.
IMPRIMATUR, May 31. 1687.
LONDON: Printed for Ric. Chiswell, at the Rose and Crown in St. Paul's Church-yard, MDCLXXXVII.
A Defence of the Confuter of Bellarmin's Second Note of the Church, Antiquity, &c.
I Apprehend by this Author's Genius, that 'tis much easier for some Men to write Farce than Controversy: And tho I cannot say whether or no any man ever undertook the Confutation of Bellarmin over a Pot, as our Author elegantly begins his Advice; yet he seems to me, by his ludicrous Behaviour, to have engaged in his Defence in that sort of humour. He may think it Vanity, if he pleases, in the Reverend and Learned Author of the Piece he attaques, to assail the Roman Champion him∣self; yet even I, who never enter'd the Field of Controversy before, shall presume to engage with such a Smatterer in the Noble Science, as his Second.
And yet, immediately after this fit of Rhetorick, he do's not pretend, that the Pot-qualifications are the case of him who has undertaken to answer Bellarmin's Marks of the Church. No, Why then do's he commence his Advice with such a Suggestion? Did he think fit to publish to the World, that he had a mind to be impertinent? An humour, espe∣cially in Conjunction with Buffoonry in serious Affairs, I would advise him against for the future, if the powerful In∣fluence of an ill habit has not totally over-rul'd his Liberty in the matter.
And thus, after the witty Introduction to his little good Will; little enough, I dare say; we come now to receive the Advice of this grave controversial Counsellor, in the Case depending.
First, Then he pretends, (for I'le relate his Advice in short-hand, as much as I can, till I find something worth Page 2 the transcribing) that Bellarmin never meant what his Ad∣versary undertakes to prove, that the Plea of bare Antiqui∣ty is proper to the Church: No! but this Gentleman must own that he did, when I have told him only, that by bare Antiquity, his Adversary understands Antiquity abstracted from the Consideration of Truth, those Ancient Truths deliver'd in the Scriptures. Now, I presume, he will not say, that Bellarmin any where expresly in his Book of Notes, muchless in this Chapter, makes the consent of Doctrines with the written Word, which is not bare, but true Antiquity, a Note of the Church; tho indeed, such is the force of Truth, he can hardly keep off of that Argu∣ment. In his ninth Chapter, he makes agreement in Doctrine with the Ancient Church, a sixth Note of the Church: Ancient, he farther explains by Apostolic; telling us likewise out of Tertullian, that a Church is so call'd, as for other Reasons, so for her conspiring with the Apostles in their Doctrines; and yet, after all, most pitifully slides off to quite another thing, as will appear to any one who shall examine that Chapter.
But it may be almost worth a man's while to read the Adviser's Comment upon Bellarmin's Text, tho I hate tran∣scribing. He says, indeed, says my Author, that whoever at this time will find out the Catholick Church, profess'd in the Creed, amongst so many pretenders, must not apply him∣self to any upstart Congregation, which was never visible in the World, but of late years; but to such a Church which has been of as long standing, as ever since Christ and the Apo∣stles days, and consequently such a Church to which Antiquity of necessity at this time belongs. This Bellarmin asserts.
Where I observe, First, that, by this last Expression, he Represents his own flourishing Gloss, as Bellarmin's Words, which they are not; a thing that looks a little towards a design of putting a trick upon his Readers. 2ly, That we are here shrewdly directed to find out the Catholick Page 3 Church by finding out a particular, to which we must stick without farther enquiry. 3ly, That this Man passes a ge∣nere ad genus, from Antiquity to Visibility, which the bet∣ter Logick of his Master Bellarmin would not probably have suffer'd him to have done. And lastly, after all, that he unluckily says the same thing in substance, with what he disproves in his Adversary; for what do's all his Gloss a∣mount to, but to this; That he who would find out the true Church, must overlook all such as boast not of Anti∣quity at all adventures, without any regard had to the true Antiquity of their Doctrines, or any thing else they pretend to; and pitch upon that, without any more ado, which has been of as long standing, (of as long standing barely, without any farther respect) as ever since Christ and the Apostles days? And what is such a standing as this, but bare Antiquity? Unless he can prove a necessary entail of Truth upon a long Succession, which all the World can never do. And therefore, hoping he may be a little more happy in fol∣lowing, than in giving Advice, I present him with his own, and the second he gives; That when he would confute his Adversary, he say not the same thing that he do's; and withal, desire him to attend, for the future, more diligent∣ly to the Sense, than to the Expression of a Period.
But wherein do's the Confuter of Bellarmin thus unlucki∣ly jump with him? Why, in explicating and proving the same Antiquity to be a Note of the Church, which Bellarmin affirms to be such. To which I answer, first, that if Bellar∣min by Antiquity meant such as his Confuter explains, p. 45. as is pretended, then he understood by that word, an agree∣ment in Doctrine with Christ and his Apostles, for so 'tis plain his Adversary meant; but we have shown before, that that could not be Bellarmin's Intention. 2ly, That if the Cardinals Discourse upon this Note do's really tend to prove, not Antiquity, (but as the Confuter compendiously distin∣guishes, Priority) to belong to the Church, as it seems Page 4 to do; then 'tis demonstrable to me, that he presently grew weary of his Note, which he could not manage without blending and confounding it with another more proper and pertinent to his business, tho besides his design.
The third Inconsistency which he thinks he has found in the Confuter of Bellarmin, is this, That having prov'd Anti∣quity not to be a proper Note of the Church, because it did not always belong to it, as a proper Characteristick of a thing ought to do, there being a time when the Church was new, p. 42. He should, nothwistanding, in the 45 p. assert that the holy Scriptures are the true Antiquity, there being a time when they were new likewise; and here he thinks he has undoubtedly caught him. But alas, his Pen was more nimble than his thoughts were deep. If indeed Bellarmin's Adversary in this point had advanc'd this Proposition, That Antiquity is a proper Note, or inseparable Property of the Scriptures, or written Word, and had after this undertaken to prove, that Antiquity could not be such a Note of the Church, because the Church was once new; the Argument would with equal force have recoil'd upon that same Asser∣tion of his in relation to the Scriptures. Or if Bell. had af∣firm'd only that the Church is truely Ancient, and his Adver∣sary had denied it upon the Score of its former newness; he could not neither, if his own Objection were good, have rightly affirm'd that the Ss. are the true Antiquity: But who can discover the least repugnancy betwixt these two Asserti∣ons, that Antiquity is a Note of the Church, and consequently, as the Confuter well argues, proper to it, and inseparable from it, which yet cannot be true, if the Church was once new; and this, that the Scriptures are the true Antiquity; i. e. that the Doctrines deliver'd in the Scripures or written Word, are the oldest and truest Doctrines in the Christian Church. Thus I have often observ'd, that a few plain Words will unriddle great Mysteries in appearance; and that some Men are un∣happily apt to run away with a bare jingle of Words, instead of harmony in Sense.Page 5
In the fourth Remark we meet with no less a charge than that of a contradiction; and that's a bad business in∣deed in so narrow a compass of Pages; but where has this starter of difficulties espied it, for 'tis not easily discernable? Why, the Confuter of Bellarmin has asserted absolutely, p. 42. That Antiquity is not a proper note of the Church, where∣as p. 45. He has found out an Antiquity that is proper to the Church. In good time! Bellarmin uses the word equivocally, either for that which is ancient, or for that which is first; the former his Confuter says, p. 42. is not a Note proper to the Church; but that the latter, which Bellarmin did not originally mean by his Note of Antiquity, tho he was forc'd to run into it, belongs to the Church. And is this now ad idem? and if not, where's the contradiction? If, discoursing with this Gentleman, I should own my self a Member of the Catholick Church, and finding afterwards that, according to their usual and presumptuous blunder, by the Catholick Church he meant the Roman Catholick Church, I should deny my self to be a Member of it, should I be guilty of a Contradiction? for shame what tri∣fling is this? I thought some sort of People had better un∣derstood the dubious import of Words used equivocally.
His fifth Remark wants nothing but Truth to make it a very good one; and is this, That the Confuter of Bellar∣min has produced a Citation out of St. Cyprian, which is so far from favouring his own Cause, that it really supports his Adversaries, and is the very ground of what they maintain, and he opposes. And in earnest then, amongst such great variety, he was very unhappy in his choice. But how does the Adviser make this appear? why, by two or three pert Interogations, and that's all. To which if I opposed only as many more, I might reasonably seem to have gi∣ven him a just Answer. For the place is so extremely per∣tinent to the Argument the Confuter was upon, that, for my own part, I can scarce perswade my self the Adviser Page 6 was in earnest when he made his Remark, if he knew what he was about. The Confuter was showing, that bare Anti∣quity, as before explained, could not be a proper Criterion to judge of the true Church by, for that, amongst other Reasons, wicked Doctrines running down to Posterity, e∣ven from the Infancy of the Gospel, made use at length of the Plea of Antiquity to give them countenance and sup∣port; which pretence, says he, was notwithstanding refu∣ted by the Fathers in several remarkable Words. Amongst others of which he alledges that passage in St. Cyprian's E∣pistle to Pompeius. Custom without truth is but Antiquity of error—and there is a short way of Religious and simple minds to find out what is truth; for if we return to the beginning and original of Divine Tradition, Humane Error ceases—Thi∣ther let us return to our Lords Original, the Evangelical Be∣ginning, the Apostolical Tradition, &c. Is not now our Lord's Original, the Evangelical Beginning (terms synonimous with Apostolical Tradition) that ancient Truth the Confuter de∣sires to appeal to? Or, is this, as the Adviser farther boasts, That setting up the very Tradition which Catholicks appeal to? Yes, says he. But why so? for no other reason doubtless but because he luckily espied the Word Tradition in that sentence, and perhaps found it under that head in his Com∣mon-place Book. Now seriously, if this Gentleman pleases, I'le produce him half an hundred Instances out of the An∣cient Fathers, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Cyprian, &c. where Tra∣dition is used by them for the Scriptures, or written Word of God. If he had but consulted that other Epistle to Cae∣cilius, Cited by the Confuter in his Margent, he would have found it taken there five or six times in that very sense; and that 'tis really so in the place now before us, is so de∣monstrably evident from the Epistle whence it is cited, that none who had ever consulted the Original, could with the least modesty, or judgment, have alledged it in Defence of Tradition, as stated in the Church of Rome. For the Page 7 Holy Martyr refuting here what Pope Stephen had replied to him in a Letter concerning the Baptism of Hereticks, repeats several Passages of it. Of which this is one, Si quis ergo a quacunque Haeresi venerit ad nos, nihil innovetur nisi quod Tra∣ditum est, ut manus illi imponatur in poenitentiam. To which St. Cyprian immediately replies, Whence is this Tradition? does it descend from the Authority of our Lord and the Gospel, or from the Injunctions and Epistles of the Apostles? For God testifies, That those things are to be done which are written. If therefore it be commanded either in the Gospel, or in the Epistles of the Apostles, or in the Acts, that they who come from any Heresie over to the Church, be not Baptized, but only have imposition of hands for repentance; let this Divine and Holy Tradition be ob∣served. But if, &c. And now what thinks our Adviser of St. Cyprian's Apostolical Tradition, which pleased him so won∣derfully at first sight, and I dare say he never look'd farther? Are the Gospels, the Epistles, and the Acts, the only Tradition which Catholicks appeal to? Let him remember his Trent-Creed, and then tell me.
We come now, in the next place, to his Remarks and Ad∣vice in relation to the Confuter's second Proposition, That the present Church of Rome vainly pretends to true Antiquity, i. e. ancient Truth. And here we find him all on a sudden ta∣ken with a very strong fit of the Gentleman; he's upon his Punctilio's, and teaching his Adversary better manners than to charge the Church of Rome with Lyes; and yet this Master of Controversial Ceremonies is off of his breeding within two Pages after, where we have him ranking the Divines and Dis∣putants of the Church of England with honest Coblers and Tink∣ers, as if they were really at a Club together over the Pot he speaks of in his Introduction, for the Confutation of Bellarmin; and, to instance no farther in this fulsome kind, what else is his whole scribble but one continued breach of Good Manners and common Civiliey, unless he thinks it the part of the Gen∣tleman to Boffoon a whole Church, and all her Clergy? I shall Page 8 not farther recriminate, though I justly might, from several of their late Papers, were it worth the while. I shall only there∣fore tell him, that Bellarmin in that very Chapter we are now upon, gives his Adversaries the Lye twice very roundly; and why should he be angry with a man for copying after such an Original? And that I could wish some People were not so deeply concern'd in the Character of those who, in the Apo∣stle's homely Phrase, shall in the latter times speak Lyes in Hy∣pocrisie [1 Tim. 4. 2.] and by lying Wonders [2 Thess. 2. 9.] impose upon the People, as to deserve such plain English. But the Lye deserves a Stab, they say, and therefore we may now expect a keen Pen, when pointed with such generous Resentments.
In the second place therefore he pretends, that the Confu∣ter, in kicking down the Church of Rome, has overthrown his own at the same blow. For he having asserted, p. 49. [not, as the Adviser words it, That the addition of Articles to the ancient Creed, takes of all claim to the ancient Truth, as if a Church that coins new and false Articles of Faith, does thereby for∣feit her Title to those true and ancient ones she before retain'd, though not impugn'd by these new ones, as the Adviser would suggest, but] that the present Church of Rome, having super∣added several Articles of her own, contrary to several of those Christian Truths upon which she was originally founded, be∣comes another Church from what she was then, and cannot plead Antiquity for her present Constitution; the Adviser sub∣sumes, that neither then can the Church of England be the ancient Church, who besides the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, has another of a later date, of nine and thirty Articles, besides another Plot-Creed call'd the Test. Sure this Man wrote only to make People merry. Or, is he really not able to distinguish betwixt Articles of the Christian Faith, of necessity to be be∣liev'd in order to Salvation, and such he cannot but know the Church of Rome accounts all the Articles of the new Trent Creed, and those of Communion and external agreement, Page 9 which, tho ancient Truths, (and if we cannot give better proofs of their true Antiquity than they can do of their ne∣cessary Articles, wee'l be content to lose them) are yet of an inferior Nature. And as to our Plot Creed in particular, I'le set another Plot-Creed with a Witness against it; and that is, the deposing Power, by Law establish'd, by a Law that's a Creed in the strictest Sense to them, the Definition of a General Council; and had it not been for this, and other Plot-Creeds of absolving Subjects from their Allegiance, and the like, I am apt to believe they had never been troubled with ours.
In the next Paragraph the Adviser leads us such a Dance, there's no keeping Pace with him. He frisks and frolicks it so in his Field of Crontroversy, that he puts me in mind of the Di∣version of another sort of Animal, lately come into a good Pa∣sture, and in a warm Sun. I was in despair for some time of finding out his meaning in his long Ramble of two Pages, but beating about, for it laid in a very narrow compass, I found it at last in a Corner of the Field of Controversy; and 'tis in short, this, That the Confuter's Argumentation, which see p. 50. &c. do's not prove that when a Change or Alteration in Religion begins publickly to be abetted, maintained and propa∣gated, &c.—That then such an Alteration in Religion could spread it self over the whole Christian World, and yet the Authors, Promoters, Abetters, and Embracers of it, not be known, and ta∣ken notice of. This being a popular, tho very weak refuge in∣sisted upon by greater men than the Adviser, I shall give it a more distinct, tho short, Answer.
First, then I say, That the Confuter, p. 52. has given him one particular Instance of an acknowledg'd Change, of which they themselves cannot yet assign the Author by whom, nor the time when, it was introduc'd; and that he has farther, p. 53, &c. as much as his design'd Brevity would admit, evinc'd the Rise and Progress of two notorious changes in Religion, establish'd in the Church of Rome, and the Opposition they met with, and could at h pleasure have farther enlarg'd upon this Subject.Page 10
Now either of these Ratiocinations are a sufficient Confuta∣tion of Bellarmin's, adopted by the Adviser; And how little he has replied to his Instances, we shall see by and by.
2dly, He is mightily out in his Computation, unless the old blunder of the Roman being the Catholick Church, run still in his Head; if he thinks all those Doctrines of theirs, which we charge with the want of true Antiquity, were ever universal∣ly receiv'd over the whole Christian World, as he flourishes to exaggerate the Matter; What thinks he of one of the Con∣futer's instances, the Papal Authority, to go no further? But I hope his better Knowledg in this point will supersede me the labour of enlarging upon so copious an Argument.
3dly, I must tell the Adviser, that the Doctrines we com∣plain of, being generally such as are calcuted for the Meridian of Rome, the greater Veneration, Wealth, and Grandeur of the Pope and his Clergy; 'tis no wonder at all that we hear not of so much Bustle and Noise about them in the Western World, as we might otherwise have expected. And if he asks me, as he's good at such silly questions, Where the Church of England was all this time, and why She did not Preach, and make Laws against such Corruptions and their Abetters; I presume to ask his Wisdom again, Where She was under the late Reign of Cromwel, and why She did not Preach and make Laws against him and his Abetters.
Why truly She was, in both Cases, under the invincible Ty∣ranny of an Usurper; and therefore, methinks, the general Answer of the Housholder to his Servants, asking him whence came the tares, that an Enemy had Sown them, might satisfie in this Anti-tipe of the Parable likewise; especially, since we find neither Master nor Servants any farther sollicitous in par∣ticular Enquiries about them, even when they grew up, and were consequently seen and discern'd; for ill weeds to be sure grow fast enough. And I shall only in this place, desire the Gentlemen, who are so ready to boast of the present Continu∣ance of the discriminating Doctrines of the Church of Rome,Page 11 notwithstanding the Opposition they have met with, to make this farther Remark with me upon the Parable of the Tares, That they were suffer'd to grow up with the Wheat until the Har∣vest, and let them recollect what became of them then.
4thly, Were there no other method for Errors to spread in the Church, than by what the Adviser seems to Dream of, by appearing in open Contradiction and Defiance to the true Church, condemning its Doctrine, and opposing the Articles of her Faith, as Erroneous and Heretical, as he tragically expresses it; then his inference might probably hold good, unless we will suppose such Errors to have appear'd in a very dark and supine Age in∣deed, and even in a more cautious, 'tis possible Records might be lost; but alas, since they usally grow up and advance after a quite different manner, pedetentim, by little and little, as Fisher Bishop of Rochester owns the Doctrine of Purgatory did; or, it may be under the Colour of greater Piety and Devotion, or the like, as the Doctrines of Image and Saint-worship, and thereby draw in the Pastors of the Church themselves for their Maintainers and Abetters; his Argumentation falls to the Ground.
5thly, He ought to distinguish betwixt such Errors, as im∣mediately confront the prime Foundations of the Christian Faith, and that Apostasy the Spirit hath foretold should be brought in by such as speak lies in Hypocrisy, [1 Tim. 4. 1, 2.] of the first sort were the early Heresies, concerning the Person of our Saviour, His Divinity and Humanity, The Resurrecti∣on of the Body, and the like; such as these indeed did not, nor cannot well be suppos'd to appear in the Church without a mark upon the time of their rise, their Authors and open Em∣bracers. The other is a mystery of Iniquity, and may be ad∣vanc'd by specious and almost imperceptible methods, as is hinted above, without any great stir or din about them.
6thly, To the single Instance of the Confuter concerning an acknowledg'd change, the rise whereof they themselves cannot account for, the half Communion, I shall add two more, the Page 12 Doctrines of Purgatory and Indulgences, both own'd by Fisher Bishop of Rochester, and Cardinal Cajetan, to be of uncertain Original; thereby acknowledging them not to be of the num∣ber of those Ancient Truths we contend for, and yet are not able to tell who first brought them in. To his two Instances of Alteration in Religion, the Papal Authority, and the wor∣ship of Images, which we can account for according to the Adviser's Directions, I add one more; The great Burning Arti∣cle of Transubstantiation; whose Rise, Progress and Opposers, they have lately been told of, [See Disc. against Transubst.] re∣mitting the Adviser to Polydore Virgil for farther Instruction in this matter, if he desires it. After all which, I must farther pre∣sume briefly to remind him of the several new Definitions of the Trent Council, and of others, which from Doctrines formerly taught, sprang up presently, in that prolifick Soil of Religion, into Articles of Faith; and sure 'tis a considerable Alteration in Religion, to make the belief of Points necessary to Salva∣tion, which were not so before. And yet I hope we are able to name the who, the where, and the when, of those Alterations. But
Lastly, I must tell the Adviser, that, tho out of complai∣sance to him and his Betters, I have so far enlarg'd upon this Argument; yet, as stated by himself, with reference to the publick Appearance of Corruptions; 'tis answer'd in one word, by the same curt Ratiocination as it was before, when consi∣der'd with Relation to their first rise only. For, tho we could give no account of the open Maintainers, Embracers and Abet∣ters, nor of the Opposers of any Doctrine or Practice prevailing in the present Church of Rome; yet, if we are able to demon∣strate that such Doctrine or Practice manifestly differs from what was at first establish'd in the Church by Christ and his Apostles; or going yet farther, can show out of unquestiona∣ble Records, that no such thing, as for instance, the present Papal Authority, was ever own'd in the Church for such a time, 600 years for example; do's it not inevitably follow, Page 13 That a change however has been made, both from the true Antiquity, the Scriptures, and the subordinate Antiquity of so many Centuries of the Church, tho we could not name the place where, the time when, and the Persons by whom, such Corruptions were publickly maintained and abetted? I can scarce, for my own part, believe that men are in earnest, when they oppose such a wretched piece of Sophistry to the unan∣swerable argument of matter of Fact, and the plainest expe∣rience in the World.
We come now to his Remark upon the Confuter's instance of Communion in one kind, and his advice to him here is, to prove in his next, That a diversity of practise is an alteration in Religion; and especially of such a practise, which Christ left indifferent in respect of the Laity, and without any positive com∣mand of their receiving it in both kinds. But since he has not thought fit to prove this at all, which was his proper pro∣vince in this place, unless by two or three frivolous Citations, of which afterwards; I shall still take the contrary for grant∣ed, being well assured, first, That he can show no positive command to the Clergy to receive it in both kinds, which does not equally include the Laiety; and, secondly, That they, being equally interested with the Clergy in the benefits that accrue to mankind from the effusion of our Saviour's Blood, and the Sacrament of the Eucharist being instituted in Com∣memoration of this effusion of his Blood, as well as of the breaking of his Body; the drinking of the Cup, as well as the eating of the Bread, becomes as necessary a part of this Sacra∣ment, in relation to the Laiety, as it is to the Clergy; they who equally partake of the benefits of both, being equally con∣cern'd in the Commemoration of both. And a thousand years constant practice accordingly, is a good exposition of our Sa∣viour's Design in the institution; and can then the refusing the Cup to the Laiety be called a diversity of Practice only of ad∣ministring it to them? Or, is the abolishing of a practice (of such Divine Authority, and of so long a continuance in the Page 14 Universal Church) in relation to such Myriads of People, on∣ly a differing modus of exercising it? A familiar Instance will illustrate the matter, though it seems sufficiently to discover it self by its own natural absurdity. Suppose then some friend of the Advisers should, by his last Will and Testament, leave so much Beer, and so much Bread, to be distributed every Week, for instance, to the Poor of the Parish where he had lived; and the Adviser, his Executor, should, for a long time, take care to have both the Beer and the Bread faithfully distri∣buted according to the Testator's Will; but yet, at last, for some private reason of his own, should deprive them of their portion of Beer, and confine them to Bread only; does he imagine he could sham off the Wotld, and the Poor People concern'd, with this piece of Sophistry, That what he did was only a diversity of Practice in fulfilling the Will of the Deceas∣ed, and no alteration of the Will it self? Who sees not, at first sight, the illusion of such an evasion? But now because the Adviser counsels the Confuter to prove in his next, That a diversity of Practice, as he pleasantly calls the denial of the Cup, is an alteration in Religion; I'le endeavour to do it for him, in as few words as I can, now that I am upon the spot, and save him the labour. For, if the Sacrament of the Eucha∣rist be a part of the Christian Religion, and I hope 'twill be granted to be a very considerable one, and the Cup an essen∣tial part of that Sacrament; then they who deprive the Lai∣ety of the Cup, the diversity of Practice here spoke of, make thereby an alteration in Religion; but, &c. And I'le make good this Argumentation to him when he pleases. The custom of administring the Cup with Water only instead of Wine, was not, I hope, so great a diversity of Practice, as not admini∣string the Cup at all to the Laiety, who were at that time par∣takers of the Cup, such as it was; and yet it were worth his while to read what stress St. Cyprian, in his 63 Ep. to Caecilius, lays upon the practice of our Lord in his Institution of this Sa∣crament. And, in a word, so far is this defrauding the Laiety Page 15 of the Cup, from being no alteration in Religion, that, besides what has been said, it opens wide the Door to the greatest al∣terations imaginable. For, if the Church, nay, what is worse, the Church of Rome in particular, can, by her own transcen∣dent Prerogative, alter and act contrary to this positive Law and Institution of Christ, she may, by the same reason, dispence with, or formally abrogate any of the other at her pleasure. As for his Quotations out of Luther and Melancthon, I have not been able to find, upon a pretty diligent search, as much as the very Tract and Epistles from whence he cites them, and therefore am apt to imagine, that taking them up at second hand, he, or his Author, made a mistake in them. However it be, it matters not much; for his second Citation out of Lu¦ther appears, at first sight, so forreign to his purpose, that by it we may guess at the rest. But above all, recommend me to the Skull which could Cite that place of Spalaten∣sis, l. 5. c. 6. for the refusal of the Cup; or conclude, that because private Persons, upon extraordinary occasions, as want of Wine, antipathy to it, or the like, mentioned by this very Author, may lawfully receive in one kind, the Church may make an universal standing Law against the Laiety's re∣ceiving in both. Give me leave but just to continue the words of Spalatensis, where the Adviser leaves of, and you will be sufficiently able to pronounce of either the judgment or in∣genuity of this Author, without any farther descant upon him. After having told us then in the general, in what cases the Sa∣crament may be lawfully received under the species of Bread alone, he proceeds, Though in such a case, says he, the Sacra∣ment is not truly and properly whole. Wine may either be want∣ing, or the Person abstemious; or, it may be more convenient to re∣cieve at home, than in the Church, upon a lawful cause, in which case a man may carry the Bread along with him, tho not so conveni∣ently the Wine, as old examples teach us (a practice perhaps not altogether warrantable in the Church) But the Church neither could, nor can, by an universal Law deprive the Laiety of the Cup, Page 16 whether they will or no, upon no necessity at all; for what Christ granted to all men, is in vain denied by the Church; and where the whole Sacrament may and ought to be exhibited, it cannot be mutilated and halfed without the greatest injustice; and this is expresly prohibited under an Anathema by Gelasius in a Canon of the Church.
In the next Paragraph, the Adviser is all upon the ramble again, and you scarce know where to have him; I'le pick up the sense tho' he has dropt here and there, and digest it for him as well as I can. First, Then he is angry with the Con∣futer for dateing the rise of the Papal Authority he speaks of, so far back as Pope Victor; and his reason is, because the Church of Rome is generally believ'd to have been in those days pure and uncorrupt. Here wants nothing but a good consequence. The Faith of the Church of Rome was then sound and Orthodox, and therefore one of her Bishops could not be of a warm, pas∣sionate, or assuming temper, as Africans generally are, of which Country he was; and, by an unwarrantable action, undesignedly perhaps, lay the first Foundation of a future en∣croachment and usurpation. This is the whole Logic of the Business. But, the practises the Confuter censures, were own'd by the Christians of those days. I wonder then he did not show the vanity of what the Confuter alledges concerning the re∣primand that Celestine met with from the African Bishops up∣on his intrusion into their Affairs; or, to go farther back, did the Adviser never hear of the bustle that Victor's excommuni∣cating the Asiatic Bishops made in the Church? Or was no Body ever so kind as to tell him how ill that action was resent∣ed by Bishops of the Latin Church it self; as may appear from a fragment of a Letter of Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, to Victor upon this occasion? [see Euseb. Hist. l. 5. c. 24.] But, Se∣condly, Pope Victor's practise could be no other than an Apostolical truth, because he lived in the Second Century. I thought we should have him upon the Argument of bare An∣tiquity, for all his former indignation at the Confuter for tel∣ling Page 17 him 'twas Bellarmin's second Note of the Church; and here again is nothing but the poor business of a little Logic, and conclusiveness wanting. For the argument proves too much, and so proves nothing at all to his purpose, being that which a fortiori will justifie the Treachery of Judas, and all the He∣retical Doctrines that were broach'd before Victor's time. But I need not farther expose its absurdity, the Confuter having done it so excellently well in his first particular. His third ap∣pearance of reason, is, that the Popes the Confuter mentions as beginners of the present Innovation of the Papal Authority, living before or in the time of the four first General Coun∣cils, if what is pretended were true, those Councils would have taken notice of it. Now because he confines his ob∣servation to those Councils only, so shall I do my answer, which need be no other than this, That the Innovation was then perfectly in its Infancy; the Tares as yet, according to his own distinction, in the dark and under ground, not grown up, and overtopping the Corn, as they did afterwards, and therefore difficultly perceptible, at least in their future fa∣tal tendency and event; and as such might, consequently, easily escape the severe and solemn Animadversion of a general Council. But can the Adviser imagin, that if the Bishops of Rome had, in those days, presumed to have broke down all the ancient mounds and boundaries of Jurisdiction, the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 of the Council of Nice, and had, in a word, but offer'd at such an audacious attempt as an universal Monarchy over the whole Church of Christ, that they would not have been taken notice of by those Councils, as they were by others after∣wards, and by the African Bishops during that time? Yes, he may assure himself we should have had a brand of Infamy set upon them, that would have lasted to all Posterity, if any but the Church of Rome had the keeping of the Records. But there's something behind still in this Paragraph, which looks, as if he were fond of it; & therefore we must do it the civility of a remark; and that is, that the ancient Fathers urge the con∣tinued Page 18 succession of these very Bishops of Rome, as an Argument of the True Orthodox Faith and Religion professed in that Church. Ergo, What? What you please. I have told this Gen∣tleman before, that the Orthodoxy of the Faith of the Church of Rome in those days is no way concern'd in the present debate; for the Church over which the Bishops we speak of, presided, might be sound in the Faith; for the Pope's universal Jurisdiction was then no Article of it; and yet they, through passion, inadvertency, or perhaps natural ambition, lay the first Foundation of that monstrous Fabric of Papal power, that after-Ages built upon it. I shall not here enter upon a Discourse concerning the proof of the Truth of Doctrines by succession of Bishops, because the Adviser uses it only as a Medium to prove, tho' poor man he has made but bad use of it, that no Bishop of Rome could by any means sow those Seeds, which might be after∣wards improv'd into dangerous innovations; yet, I must tell him that, after all, those Fathers ultimately resolve the truth of all Doctrines into their harmony and agreement with the Apo∣stolic writings. The ridiculous Buffoonry that fills up the rest of the Paragraph, sufficiently exposes its Author, of it self; only whereas he tells us, we have no other way to look fair, than by blackning the Church of Rome; I must tell him in return, That, in my Mind, they are equally impertinent who would wash an Aethiopian white, and who would paint him blacker than he is.
In the next Paragraph about Image-worship, he palliates very finely, as if Paint and Varnish were still as requisite to a Dis∣course upon that indefensible Subject, as to the Subject it self. The Confuter hinting briefly to him by what advances Image-worship crept up to that height, wherein 'tis now taught and practic'd in the Church of Rome, begins as he ought, from the very first Steps, or unhappy Occasions only, of that religious Worship that was afterwards given them; viz. the Historical use of them 300 years after Christ, improv'd into the Rhetorical, as he well expresses it, in 300 years more after that. Now upon Page 19 this fastens the Adviser, without ever taking notice of the Religious Adoration that is paid them, that great Alteration of Religion the Confuter complains of, and of which the former uses of them were only unhappily Introductory; but slurs it over in the general terms of other Reasons; others with a wit∣ness, for which the Confuter condemns the Church of Rome of Innovation in Religion. Is this Ingenuity? Is this Arguing? But alas, 'tis as good as the Cause will bear. How then is the Church of England laid upon her back by the Alteration in Religi∣on, which the Confuter in this place charges upon the Church of Rome? Do's the Church of England worship Images? If not, She can never be in the same Condemnation, for not worship∣ping, with that Church, which doth worship them. But here perhaps lies the Mystery; Mr. Mountague, in the 21. Chap. of his Appeal to Caesar, approves of the giving them [Civil] Re∣spect and Reverence, as was done by Pope Gregory in Rememo∣ration, and more effectual Representment of the Prototype; all which amounts to no more, even in his own Exposition in that Chap. than to a bare Historical use of them; And what of all this? Do's it hence follow that the whole Church of England is equally laid on her Back with the Church of Rome, that religi∣ously worships them? Is there no difference betwixt Mr. Moun∣tague's private Opinion, and the Doctrine of the Church of England? No difference betwixt a meer Historical, and that Religious use that is made of them in the Church of Rome? Well, but Mr. Mountague confesses that the Historical and Rheto∣rical uses of them, are allow'd by the Church of England. And suppose so for once; what becomes of the poor Consequence still, for that's what I am concern'd for? The Church of England al∣lows an use of Images harmless in it self, and therefore She is equally culpable with a Church that allows, nay commands, an use of them, sinful in it self. Consquences so big with Absurdi∣ty, that a man needs but name them, to expose them. But after all, the Church of England has no such Doctrine that I know of, nor do's Mr. Mountague say so. He says indeed, Chap. 20. that we Page 20 do not account the Papists Idolatrous for these Historical and Rhetorical uses of them; and in the same Chap. that it is not the Doctrine of the Church of England to have departed from the Church of Rome about this point, if She had gone no farther in Practice nor Precept than what St. Gregory recommended; and that he, for his part, could have actually gone thus far along with them: But he affirms no such thing of the Church of Eng∣land, as the Adviser would make him. But, since he has been pleas'd to make use of Mr. Mountague's Name, as a sort of an Abetter of their Doctrino in this Point: I think I cannot do Him, nor the Reader, greater Justice, than here to give a Spe∣cimen of his Sense of this Doctrine and Practice of the Church of Rome. Thus, then, says he in the 19. Chap. one of those ci∣ted by our Author. I do not, I cannot, I will not deny that Idola∣try is grosly committed in the Church of Rome. The ruder sort at least are not excusable, who go to it with down-right Idolatry, with∣out any relative Adoration, worshipping that which they behold with their Eyes. This Idolatry is Ancient in their Schools, as he there shews; not amongst the Vulgar only.
The little Flourishes which follow, are not worth a remark; for who says, That such an use of Images, as he there speaks of, leaves the Church of Rome without all title to Antiquity, or, that it Ʋnchurches her? This I am sure is a Rhetorical use of words, instead of a Logical one, which obliges a Disputant to keep to his terms; a strictness, alas, that will never agree with thin Sense, and a bad Cause. The Confutation of his Comparison betwixt the Introduction of the worship of Images, and Lawn-sleeves, &c. I leave to the Laughter or Indignation of every Reader, as he is in Humour, when he meets with it; for he who would vouch∣safe such stuff any other Reply, might justly be thought guilty of as great trifling in refuting, as he in advancing it.
His Remarks upon the Confuter's Conclusion, are a pure Declamation, and I have no great appetite to encounter a School-Boys Exercise. He tells us, He cannot possibly make sense of what the Confuter says in reference to the Church of Eng∣land, Page 21 That her Religion, by Law established, is the true Primitive Christianity; for so run his Words; and what then? Is the Confuter bound to find him in understanding? He might have enough to do at that rate. I thought he had explain'd himself in the next Page, and that very pertinently too, by telling him, That our Religion is as old as Christ and his Apostles, with whom whosoever agrees, they are truly ancient Churches, tho of no longer standing than yesterday: As they that disagree with them, are new, tho they can run up their Pedigree to the very Apostles; and this he farther confirms by Tertullian's Authority. Now if the Adviser had had a mind, or ability, to have spoke per∣tinently to the matter in hand, he should have endeavour'd to have shewn, either, that Conformity with Primitive and Apo∣stolic Doctrine does not make a Church truly Ancient and Apostolic; or, that the Doctrines of the Church of Engl. have no such Conformity; for if they have, 'twill be found that Christ and his Apostles have a greater hand in the Constituti∣on of this Church, than in that of Rome, notwithstanding his trifling harangue to the contrary. The World knows very well, he tells us, when this Church was first establish'd by Law; and so does the World know too, when Christianity was first seat∣ed in the Throne, and protected by the secular arm, and yet I believe the Christians of those days thought no worse of their Religion for that; nor, I believe, would the Adviser think worse of his, if the Laws were on its side. But where this Church was before 'twas establish'd by Law, that is not so easie to tell. Why, truly in my mind, 'twas much in the same state with the Jewish Church under the Dominion of Pharoah in Aegypt; the one being born down and enslaved by a Temporal Tyranny; the other by both a Tem∣poral and Spiritual Usurpation; till God was pleased, as to rescue the one, so the other too, out of the House of Bondage. After this, he whissles and plays about the separation and no∣velty of this Church. To which I shall only return; That if he pleases to be but so kind to himself and to us, as to lay aside Page 22 the Buffoon and Declamator for a while, and condescend, for once, to speak to the purpose, upon that, or any other subject; he needs not fear a suitable reply from some or other. In the last place, he is for finding out the Confuter some work, in Rela∣tion to the proof of our adequate belief of the Creed, and in the same sense, in which it was taught by the Apostles, and professed by the Primitive Church. No man, who knows the Reverend and Learned. Confuter, can doubt of his Abilities for a much harder Task than what the Adviser would set him; but I pre∣sume he knows how to dispose of his time much better than to lay it out in refuting the Suggestions of every incompetent Adversary; and since he has thought fit to fling out this Sur∣mise about the belief of the Church of England; in my Ap∣prehension 'twould much more become him to make it out in the first place, and then, perhaps he may hear of the Con∣futer, if he chances to write any thing worth his Confuta∣tion.
He tells us, in one place, of the forwardness of the beardless Di∣vines of the Church of England. I must confess I know not whe∣ther the Down is still upon his own Chin, or no; but if not, I must needs tell him, that for ought I find in his friendly half Sheet of Paper, the Beard contibutes no more to the making of the Divine, than it do's to the making of the Philosopher; and therefore, I shall conclude with one piece of Advice to him, and that which may do him more true Service than all he has given the Confuter can ever do him, and that is, That, if it be really his hard fate not to be able to write more to the purpose, than what he has hitherto done, he would give over writing in this kind, and for the future follow the bent of his Genius, which seems to lead him rather to the Comical Humour of the Stage, than into the Field of Controversy.