A Winding-sheet FOR POPERY.
By RICHARD BAXTER, CATHOLICK.
LONDON, Printed by Robert White, for Nevil Simmons, Book-sellar in Kederminster, Anno Dom. 1657.
A winding sheet for Popery. BY Richard Baxter, Catholick.
AMong all the sects that have troubled the Church of Christ, there is none that have heapt up such a multitude of errours, and made such a vexatious stir for them in the world, by subtilty, importunity, flames and blood-shed, as the Papists have done. Where they dare do it, they cruelly torment, and bloodily murder those that are not of their errone∣ous mind: Yea, its part of their Religion to force all Christian Princes to destroy us; and if they will not, to absolve their subjects from their allegiance, and deliver up their Countries to a Papist that will destroy us. For this is the Decree of one of their undoubted Councils, Later. sub Innoc. 3. Can. 3. And where they cannot or dare not do this, they are busie day and night to deceive; turning themselves into the shape of various Sects, and creeping in among both rich and poor, but specially insinuating into Rulers and Com∣manders, that may do them the greatest service when they are sedu∣ced. And their ordinary way is to seek first to unsettle men, and make them doubt of their former profession, and bring them into dislike with their Teachers, and so to win them over to themselves. To which end, their common cry is, that we are of a new Religion, that we are Hereticks, that we are a small Party, and divided all to pieces among our selves, and that we are but lost in wandering and confusi∣on, and all because we have left the Church of Rome, which is the true Catholick Apostolick Church, and which all our fore-fathers lived and dyed in, and which is the Center and Head of unity, and the only judge of controversies, for want of whose infallible decisi∣on, every man interpreting Scriptures as he please, and being a Pope to himself, we are so many men, so many minds, and all out of the way, and shall never be right till we return to the Pope. Here's a fair and plausible tale, that may catch the simple, that know not what the Church or Religion is, and may shake those that never Page 2built upon the Rock. Like the words of the Harlot, Prov. 2.15. to 20. & 5.3. to 15. & 7. & 9.15, 16. To call passengers that go right on their waies; who so is simple, let him turn in hither.] And 22.14. The mouth of strange women is a deep pit; he that is abborred of the Lord shall fall therein.] For my part, I think he that would not fain know the truth if he could, when it is so lovely, and his salvation lyeth at the slake, is worse then a mad man: And if I could find that Pope∣ry is the way of God, I can boldly say, I would quickly own it, what∣ever it cost me, (by the help of grace.) But having searched into their writings and courses many a year, I am more and more confi∣dent, that for us to turn to Popery, is to turn from the will of God, from truth to errour, from the way of the Churches unity, to a sect, from safety to exceeding dangere, and from the way of duty to the way of sin. And of this I am now to give you my reasons: wherein I will promise you as before the Lord to whom I am even going to give an account, that I will not speak against my confcience, nor write any thing but what I would write, if this were the last day I had to live, as for ought I know, it may be; nor will I charge any thing on them falsly, but undertake before any man breathing, to prove out of their own writings or doings, that it is theirs; though they dare not own it all to the ignorant.
Reason 1. Popery is a way of notorious Schism, and therefore not the way of God. Papists are a very sect: most destructive to the unity of the Catholick Church, of any sect that I know of in the world. They delude the simple, that take their words, by telling them that they are the Catholick Church, and that the Christian world is of their minds, when the far greater part of the Christians in the world are strangers or enemies to Popery. The Christians of Athiopia and other parts of Africk, with all the Greeks, and the rest in Asia, and the Protestants and others in Europe, that disown them, are far more then the Papists. And it is not long ago since they were but a few, in comparison of the rest of the Christian world: and long after the Apostles daies, they were not known up∣on the face of the earth. When they were at the highest, they ne∣ver had near one half of the Christian world, under their govern∣ment. And yet they must needs be the whole Catholick Church: When a part of the Church, will needs be the whole, they make themselves a sect. They tell us of the smallness of our Church, and the greatness of theirs; but I must profess that the Church of Rome is not big enough for me to be a member of. The true Catholick Church consisteth of all the Christians in the world; of which the Papists are but a sorry corrupted part. That Church that pretendeth to be Catholick and the whole, and yet excludeth the far greater and better part of Christians, is too narrow for me. As the Anabaptists say, They are the Church; and other sects say, They are the Church; Page 3so the Papists say, They are the Church: and a defiled piece would swallow up the whole. As if the bramble should be taken for all the wood; and the Oak and the Cedar must be no part: Or the Oven or the Chimney must be all the house; or every Cabbin would be the ship; or a dirty village would be the whole Common-wealth. Its well for the Papists if they prove a part of the universal Church; for I am sure they are Schismatical in pretending to be the whole.
Reason 2. In this Schismatical pretence, the Papists are notorious∣ly Sacrilegious, and would rob Christ of the greatest part of his flock, and dismember the far greatest part of his body, that they may be taken to be the whole. Hath it cost Christ so dear to pur∣chase a peculiar people to himself? Tilus 2.14. Hath he purcha∣sed his Church with his own blood, Acts 20. and now shall the sons of men presume to rob him of the greatest part? Is his flock so little in all, and will these presumptuous Sectaries make it less? If you divide the world into thirty parts, according to the judgement of the best Geographers, nineteen of them are Heathens, and six are Mahometans, and but five are Christians taking in all sorts: and yet the Papists that are not near half of these five, would unchurch all the rest; as if they envyed Christ the fruit of his blood-shed. How would their King of Spain take it, if they should proclaim that the far greater half of his Dominions is none of his? If Christ be so tender of every particular sheep in his flock, that he laid down his life for them, and knows them by name, and none shall take them out of his hand, and he that toucheth them doth touch the apple of his eye, John 10.3, 15, 27, 28. Zech. 2.8. how then will he take it at the Papists hands that would rob him of the greatest part? But blessed be God that judgeth not as they.
Reason 3. Herein also they are guilty of most inhumane and un∣reasonable cruelty; in presuming to damn the far greatest part of the Church of Christ. If you are so straightly charged as to a parti∣cular man, [Judge not that you be not judged,] Mat. 7.1, 2. And so sharply taken up, Rom. 14.4. [Who art thou that judgest another mans servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth;] What then are they like to hear that will judge to damnation the most and the best of the Church of God? Perhaps the ignorant of them may say, that All of them are not so uncharitable; this is but some. I answer, If thou be not of this mind, thou art not a Papist; For this is essential to that which they call the Romm Catholick Faith, to believe that the Catholick Church is only those that are subject to the Pope as the Vicar of Christ, and Governor of the whole; and that out of this Church, thus headed by the Pope, there is no salvation. This is the soul of Popery: even as we believe that out of the true Universal Church that's headed by Christ only, there's no salyation. And me Page 4thinks, if thou have but the heart of a man, much more of a Chri∣stian in thy breast, thou shouldst not easily believe so bloody uncha∣ritable a Doctrine, as that all the Christian world are damned save your selves. Dost thou believe this at thy heart? If not, thou art not of the Roman faith: And if thou do, thou hast little Christian Chanty, and thy deceivers have almost taught thee to cast away the reason and the bowels of a man.
Reason 4. And, what a Proud and arrogant way is this? for a de∣filed piece of •he Catholick Church to say, We are the whole? As they in Isa. 65.5. [Which say, Stand by thy self, come not near to me, for I am holyer then thou.] To say, [You are all damned Hereticks save we, and we only are the Church: such horrible Pride doth not ani∣mate the Church and Cause of Christ.
Reason 5. And all this is done by them, against the very tenor of the Gospel; and Covenant of Christ; as if it were not enough for them to contradict the Scripture in smaller matters, unless they gain∣say the very Promise of life, and the Charter of the Saints, and the foundation of our hopes. For it is the scope of this Gospel, that Whosoever believeth in Christ shall not perish, but have everlasting life, John 3.15, 16, 18. & 1.12. John 17.20, 21, 22, 24. Acts 8.37. & 13.39. & 16.31. Rom. 3.22. & 4.11, 24. & 10.9. Gal. 3.22. 2 Thes. 1.10. John 16.27. & 20.29. Heb. 4.3. Mar. 16.16. Acts 5.14. John 3.36. & 5.24. & 6.35, 40, 47. & 7.38. & 11.25, 26. & 12.46. Acts 10.43. Rom. 3.26. & 9.33. 1 Pet. 2.6. 1 Joh. 5.1, 5, 10. John 14.21. 1 John. 4.7. An hundred texts might easi∣ly be cited, where God doth make the most peremptory promises, that all that believe in Christ, and love him, and hope in him, shall be saved. And yet as if it were in defiance of the Gospel, the Papists make it an Article of their Faith, that no man shall be saved that becomes not a subject of the Pope of Rome. Let him believe in Christ, and love Christ, and hope in Christ never so much; let him believe in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, yet can he not be saved, if he believe not in the Pope. No grace will save him; no degree of holiness will save him, that believeth not in the Pope: or at least, none have saving Grace, that believe not in him. Wonderful! that it should be possible for Christians, for men to be thus besotted? what must become of all those Christians that live many thousand miles from him, and scarce ever heard of his name, and know not whether he be a man or a woman, or whether there be such a place as Rome in the world? Must they therefore be all damned, as being out of the Church? Why then would not Christ have once mentioned to us this Article of our Faith? Why would he never put it in the Scri∣pture, [He that obeyeth not the Pope or Roman Church, shall be dam∣ned?] Why was it never in the Churches Creed, [I believe in the Pope, or Church of Rome] as well as, [I believe the Holy Catholick Church?]
Page 5Reason 6. Moreover the Papists cause is plainly carnal, being all resolved into a carnal interest, and maintained by it. The main que∣stion between us, is, Whether the Pope must govern all the Christian world, and all persons must obey him upon pain of damnation? And what is this but to exalt a worm, and lay the Kingdom of Christ up∣on his shoulders? If the question were, Whether we should be Ho∣ly or prophane? obey Christ or disobey him? we would be asham∣ed to be behind them? But when all this stir is to set up one City to be the Mistress of the world, and one man to be the head of the Church, and this without Christ and against him; what can we think, but that Ambition makes this Lucifer mad?
Reason 7. Moreover, the way of Popery is against Christianity, and shaketh the very foundation of it, and tempteth the world to infidelity, by building their faith upon an uncertain ground, yea on a ground that is certainly false. For according to the Papists, we cannot know the Christian Doctrine to be true, nor Scripture to be the Word of God, but on the authority of the Pope or Church? And its as clear as the light, that no man can know that the Pope or Roman Church hath any such authority, till they know the Doctrine of Christ to be true, by which they claim it (nor then neither) Who can tell that the Pope or Church of Rome is to be credited, more then any other Church or person, till he find some such thing in the Word of God? (which is not there.) And if they do find it there, they cannot believe it, because they receive it not on the authority of the Church. So that if you will be a Papist, you must hold that the Doctrine of Faith is not to be received, but on the authority of the Roman Church; and yet that the authority of the Roman Church cannot be known but by the Doctrine of Faith (as some say) Or else we must stay till they prove it by Miracles, as the Apostles did (as others say.)
Reason 8. Moreover, this Cause and this Church is a novelty and late invention; a thing unknown to the Primitive Church; and therefore it cannot be of God. And yet they are so shameless, as to call their opinions, the old Religion, and to perswade the sim∣ple that we are an upstart generation, and that our Church is but of two or three hundred years standing, because we have forsaken the Roman novelties, and are turned back to the Primitive Antiquity, For our parts, we say, and say again, Let him be the scorn of the Churches, that believeth any Catholick Church, that is less then sixteen hundred years of continuance! And, Let him be counted a man of no Religion, that is of a Religion that is less then sixteen hundred years old: And what can he expect, but to be accurst of God, that believeth any Gospel of less then sixteen hundred years continuance, Gal. 1.8, 9. Let us go to the Gospel, the Records of Antiquity, and see there whether our Religion or their opinion be Page 6the elder: and let the oldest carry it without contradiction. Where find you that Jerusalem, Corinth, Galatia, Philippi, and all, or any Church in the world, was then commanded to obey the Church of Rome? or that ever she was called the Mistress of all Churches, or the Universal Church. Then Rome was but a particular Church like the rest, and now forsooth it is become the Mistress, and Catholick Church, without obedience to which there is no salvation, (if the Pope must save us.) Where read you that any Apostle did direct men to receive the Christian Faith upon the Credit of the Church of Rome? Or, When did Paul, or Barnabas, or any Preacher tell the people, [You must believe in Peter, or in the Church of Rome, before you can believe in Christ;] Or, [You must believe the Christian Do∣ctrine on the Credit of the Church;] Or, [That Church is made the judge of all Controversies.] O how many Sermons have we of the Apostles and the Fathers, for many hundred years after, and never such a word in them? How many Nations and souls converted, and never such an argument used with them? How many controver∣sies hotly debated, and never such a remedy propounded. The Ro∣mish Dominion was then unknown.
Reason 9. Moreover, their Profession is much made up of meer contradictions, and the subjects of the Pope are sworn to these con∣tradictions (at least those in Orders:) By the Trent Confession, they are to swear that [They will never take and interpret Scripture, but according to the unanimous consent of the Fathers.] And yet they swear in the same Oath to many particulars which the Fathers were against, and many which they never unanimously consented in: They either know not what the Fathers hold, or else they know that there's but a small part of the Scripture, or at least far from all, that the Fathers do interpret with unanimous consent. And there is not one of an hundred or a thousand of them, that knows what the Fathers do unanimously consent in, and what not; their volumns being so many and so great, and time so short, and most so idle, or necessarily diverted. In abundance of Texts the Fathers differ among themselves: And here the swearers do bind themselves ne∣ver to interpret those Scriptures at all, till a Messenger from heaven shall tell them what the Fathers are agreed on since their death. They are sworn also to embrace the sense of their Church: whereas the Fathers and their Church do frequently disagree: They are sworn to [all things delivered, defined, and declared by the Canons, and Occumenical Councils, and this without doubting;] O strong faith! when even mens faith in Christ himself is oft mixt with such doubt∣ing, that we must pray, [Lord encrease our Faith; I believe, help my unbelief.] Yea, there is not one of a multitude of them that knows what all these Canons or Councils do contain. Yea, when these Canons and Councils do frequently contradict each other; and yet Page 7they are sworn to believe them all: The Council at Constance de∣cree that a General Council is above the Pope, and the Council of Basil did second them; but the Council of the Laterane under Julius 2. and Leo 10. decree that the Pope is above a General Council. The Council of Trent doth add to the Canon of Scripture, contrary to the Council of Laodicea, and Carthage 3. and the Papists at this day go contrary to the current judgement of the Church, in adding the Apocryphal Books to the Canon. Abundance more of their contra∣dictions may be shown.
Reason 10. Moreover, Popery is an uncertain Profession, both for the foundation, and the matter of it, the sense and the perfecti∣on. No man can fully tell what it is, or when he hath it, and when he hath it not. For the foundation of it, their Councils and Nations are yet disagreed, whether the Pope or General Council be the chief, and which must be followed when they disagree: and which is the infallible Judge of Controversies. And for the matter, how few in the world can tell what is in all the Canons, and Councils, and Fa∣thers, and what is their sense: and abundance other uncertainties I have fully manifested in my Book against Popery, Disp. 2. & 3. And for the very Articles of Faith, I have there shewed that they are still to them uncertain, whether they have yet all or not: be∣cause that the Pope may make those to be points of faith, as to the people, that were not so before; and so he may encrease them, who knows how much? Every time that the Pope determines a Contro∣versie, he makes us a new Article of faith: As he lately did against the Jansenians: And how many hundred controversies are yet to be determined, and consequently so many Articles to be ad∣ded.
Reason 11. Moreover, Popery is a humane Faith; and not a Di∣vine: It leadeth us but to man, and bottometh us on man: and therefore leaveth us short of God. They must first believe the Chri∣stian Doctrine and truth of Scripture, on the authority of the Pope or Church; and then they must take the meaning of every word of Scripture upon the credit of the Roman Church, and Fathers. So that the very upshot of all their Religion, is, They believe the Scri∣pture to be the Word of God, and Christ to be the Son of God, be∣cause the Church of Rome doth tell them so? And how know they that this Church is Infallible? Because they say so themselves, or because the Scripture saith they are infallible, (but who knows where.) But which is the infallible Church of Rome? The Pope, saith one: A Council saith another: A Council confirmed by a Pope, saith a third. And how knows the world that these are the acts of the Pope, and that he confirmed the Council? Because such a Cardinal, or our Parish Priest, or a Jesuit saith so. And here it is that the people are left.
Page 8Reason 12. Popery fets up a Head for the Universal Church that cannot possibly govern it, and a Center for the Church, in which it cannot possibly unite: And so it is but a titular Head, and a name and shadow, good for nothing but to divide and vex the servants of God; but the Uniting and Ruling of them, which is so much pre∣tended to, is a flat impossibility. It is not morally possible to bring all the Christian world, to be of the Popish opinion herein, it being a point that is so void of cogent evidence from Scripture and Rea∣son, that they are both against it. It is naturally impossible for the Pope of Rome to be the faithful Governor of all the world, if they would consent. How many years must they be travelling or sailing to Rome from the Antipodes or other remote parts of the earth? Most of them that had causes of Appeal to the Pope, would either be drowned at Sea, or destroyed by enemies in the passages, or spent with travel or Navigation, or wasted with age through the length of their journey: And when they come to him, how insufficient would the poor man be, to decide all their matters? How many thousand would be waiting every hour at his Holiness doors? when he hath leisure but for a few. How long would it be from the begin∣ning of a controversie to the end, by that time these poor men had travelled back again so many thousand miles? And when all the Princes of a great part of the world, are usually in wars; will they give their subjects leave to travail so far? and that where the Prince is an enemy to Christianity, as the Turk is? Or would the Princes that he is in war with, give leave to his subjects, to pass through their Dominions? Let us see first how well an Universal Monarch would rule the world by Civil Government, (though yet that is more easie) before a spiritual Monarch be set up.
Reason 13. And worst of all, this false pretended Head and Cen∣ter of the Churches Unity, doth make our Concord Impossible till this Head be taken down. The Papists are the greatest hinderers of the Unity and Concord of Christians, I am confidently perswaded in all the world! And yet all this mischief is done to the Church under the pretence of Unity and Concord. What if a subject should set up himself in Ireland or Scotland, and say, The Prince is absent, and I am his Deputy, and all are Rebells that unite not in me? Could there be a greater hinderer of Unity then this man? For all that submit to him are Rebells, and all that do not he will endeavor to oppress: So is it with the Pope. If we unite in him, we hazard a breaking off from Christ; at least, it is such a sin, that the Chri∣stian world will never venture on: and if we refuse it, the Papists proclaim us Hereticks, and will have no Peace with us. So that the Church will never have Concord, till this false Head be taken off, and Christ only be our Head.
Page 9Reason 14. Moreover, the Papists are at such difference among themselves, that its little encouragement to us to joyn with them. They differ in many hundred points, as the writings of the School∣men, the Thomists, and Scotists, and Ockamists, the Dominicans, Franciscans, and Jesuites, and other divisions among them do de∣clare. If you say, This is not in points of faith. I answer, 1. That is as pleases the Pope or Roman Church, who may make them points of faith at pleasure. 2. The reason why the Pope determin∣eth them not, is much because his Disciples are disagreed about them. 3. They differ in their great fundamental it self, even the seat of Supremacy and Infallibility, one part telling us it is the Pope, and the other that it is a General Council. This one differ∣ence surmounteth all the differences of the Reformed Churches, if they were set togther. Forsooth, we cannot be Christians, nor know the Scriptures to be the Word of God, but on the Authority of the Church: And when we come to know what the Church is, in Spain and Italy its one thing, and in France another.
Reason 15. Moreover, the way of Popery is a way of meer delu∣sion, and vain ostentation. They advance the Pope to be the final Judge of Controversies (or a General Council, as others) and when they have done, they are never the nearer an end of them. He seeth many hundred Controversies among them, and dare not speak a word to determine them. The Church of Rome is the true expounder of the Scriptures: and yet many hundred differences are known to be among their own Expositors, and many hundred Texts that the people understand not, and yet this Oracle will not speak; this Judge is as dumb as a fish, and leaves us all in as much doubt, and ignorance, and contention, as if we had no Judge? So that all the importunity in the world cannot open his mouth: And yet he learnedly inveighs against the Protestants that have no Judge of Controversies. What is it to make fools of men if this be not?
Reason 16. And what a cafe do the Papists put the Universal Church into, when our faith and the decision of our doubts must depend upon such a man as abundance of their Popes have been? Many of their own writers call them no better, then Apostates, Hereticks, Murderers, Adulterers, Sodomites, Conjurers, and such were the Heads of the Catholick Church, a long time together. I know the silly people are told by their lyars, that all this is lyes: But let them put it to the tryal if they dare, whether I will not as fully prove it out of their own writings, as that ever King William was alive in England? And are condemned Hereticks, and devilish Murderers and Adulterers likely to be the infallible Judges of all Controversies?
Reason 17. And many a time they have two, and there, and some∣tune four Popes at once, so that no man knew which was the Pope. Page 10And when Eugenius was deposed by a General Council, yet he con∣tinued in by force, and from him is the succession: And yet are these Saint Peters successours?
Reason 18. Moreover, Popery is a way of darkness: They flie the light, like Bats and Owls; and therefore it cannot be of God. Their publick prayers and praises of God are performed in a tongue which the people understand not. Their writers call it the Original of all Heresies to translate the Scriptures into a known tongue. And now they are forced at last to do it themselves; they disswade the common people from the reading of it. Yea they suffer no man to read such a translated Bible, but by a License from the Ordinary, which any man may know is not ordinarily granted, in their own Dominions. Many a man have they burnt to ashes, for reading the Bible in a known tongue. And how much they befriend the peoples ig∣norance in many other waies, their writings and sad experience tell us.
Reason 19. Yea, their profession is contrary to the light: They presume to contradict the very Word of God: Paul hath written a whole Chapter, 1 Cor. 14. against publick praying or prophecying in an unknown tongue: And yet they will use it, and make the silly people believe, that Paul meaneth no such matter as he speaks. How many and many times, is the worshipping use of Images forbidden; And yet they will use them, say God what he will? How plainly hath Christ instituted the Lords Supper in both kinds, and how oft is it recited; and they confess it was so used by the antient Church, for many an hundred years. And yet they will presume to alter all, and to forbid the Cup, even because they will do it. Abundance of such instances may be given of their contradicting Scriptures.
Reason 20. Yea, Popery fighteth with sense and reason, and would make men not only mad, but sensless. For upon pain of damnation, we must believe that the Bread in the Sacrament is no Bread, and that the Wine is no Wine: My eyes, and my taste, and my feeling tell me that it is Bread and Wine, and if I know not Bread and Wine when I see it, and touch it, and taste it, then I must be mad or sensless: And then how can I tell that I know any thing at all. And yet must I be here burnt at the stake, and hereafter burnt in Hell for ever, if Papists be my Judges, unless I will believe that the sub∣stance of the Bread and Wine is turned into the substance of the body and blood of Christ, and that there is now the colour, and smell, and taste, and quantity of Bread and Wine, without Bread and Wine. The colour which I see, and the taste which I relish, are the colour and taste, Of what? Of nothing. Nor of Bread and Wine. For now there's no such thing. Not of the Body and Blood of Christ; for that they deny, and well they may. So that if I know bread and wine when I see, and feel, and taste them; then do I know that Po¦pery Page 11is a deceit: And if I do not, then I know nothing. For if sense deceive us, all deceives us. Moreover it is against the knowledge and experience of our own hearts. Popery tells you that none are saved or have Charity but Papists, because forsooth they are all out of the Church. Here then is an Argument which Christians have in their breasts, that all the Papists on earth cannot answer. Look what de∣gree of assurance you have, that you have Charity or any special Grace, and so much assurance you have that Popery is a meer chear, which would perswade you that none have Charity but Papists. If any stand not to this censure, he is no Papist. For if a Protestant may have Charity, and be saved, then the Church of Rome is not the whole Catholick Church. Yea if you know any Protestant on earth that you are perswaded is a true Christian; you must needs be as much perswaded that Popery is false. In the mean time remem∣ber this to their credit, that by their own confession never did a god∣ly honest man turn Papist; nor can they desire any such to turn. So that every man that hath saving grace, is sure.
Reason 21. Popery doth too much befriend ungodliness, to be the way of God. It is fitted to build up the Kingdom of darkness. 1. How it befriendeth Ignorance, and fighteth against the means of Knowledge, I have toucht before. 2. They make people believe that many of their sins are but venial, and properly no sins, against no Law, and do not so much as deserve damnation; and therefore they need no Saviour, nor pardon of that punishment. 3. Concupiscence which inclineth men to all actual sin, they tell them is no sin in the Baptized, but before it is. 4. Their very frame and course of devo∣tion is so formal, that a man would wonder that rational men could approve of it. Such a multitude of ceremonies and histrionical acti∣ons and inventions of men, do they think to serve God with, that one would think they could not make themselves believe that the most wise and holy God will regard them. See my Book against Po∣pery, pag. 162, 163. It is against the nature of a spiritual man, to think such a service suitable to God, which is liker a Stage-play or a Morrice-dance. But the Mass bites not; the profane are well enough pleased with this. We find the worse our people are, the proner are they to such formalities.
Reason 22. And indeed the issue of their way, doth frighten me from it. I find none of ours so prone to turn to them as the most un∣godly. I hope well of many among them, but I never had the hap∣piness to meet with a heavenly experienced Christian, that would speak feelingly of the work of the Spirit upon their souls, among them all. And almost all that ever I was acquainted with, were ex∣ceeding ignorant. Many of them of no Religion at all; not know∣ing who Christ is, nor very little that a Christian should know: And many of those few that are among us, are of scandalous, care∣less Page 12lives: and few have any better then a formal wordy kind of Religiousness; to say so many prayers, and observe such hours and daies, and the like. Look among the common sort of the Papists, and impartially compare their Churches with ours, and see whether there be any comparison to be made in the holiness of the professors! At Rome it self, the seat of his Holiness, they have large revenues to the Church for the licensing or permitting of whore-houses.
Reason 23. And I confess I see not how they can be excused from Idolatry in worshipping the creature with a Divine worship. They first call the consecrated Bread, the very flesh of Christ it self, and their Lord God; and then they worship it as God, and carry it abroad in procession to that end, and command all to worship it with Divine worship on pain of Damnation. To pass by their praying to Saints and Angels, and the Idolatrous expressions that many of their writers do use of the Virgin Mary, and their setting one Saint or other to almost all the offices in the world, and filling the world with most ridiculous lying stories in their Legends, even to the re∣proach and dishonour of Christianity it self.
Reason 24. And it is not likely their way should be of God, which must be carried on by such ungodly means as it is. O the cruelty that they have exercised in the world; the streams of precious blood that they have shed; the bone-fires that they have made of holy persons, when they had first perswaded the world that they were the servants of the Devil; and continue to slander and blaspheme them when they are dead! And when we discover to the people the most palpable of their misdoings, they make them believe that all that we say are lies. If their cause were Gods, it needed not such sup∣ports as these.
Reason 25. And their Doctrine leadeth not to settle the soul in a durable well-grounded peace: for they lead men so much to their own works, and make so light of pardon and reconciliation by the blood of Christ; and lead men so much to ceremonies, and deny them assurance of Justification or Salvation, when they have done all, and then design them to the flames of Purgatory when they die, (unless the Pone will be so charitable as to ease them) that there is little setled Peace of Conscience to be hoped for that way.
Reason 26. And though their errours are so many and so great, that most Protestants take the Pope to be the Antichrist, yet are they so arrogant as to pretend to Perfection, as the Quakers do: Yea to a double perfection: Not only to be perfect without any sin (but venial, which is none) but also to be perfect by works of supererogation, and better then ever God Commanded them to be.
Reason 27. And to make all remediless, their Church is said to Page 13be Infallible; and so we must never hope that they should repent of any errour that ever they incurr; for then they should give away their Infallibility. So that there is no other cure for them, but by ceasing to be Papists; as there is no Peace to be expected from them to the Church, but by the deposing their pretended Universal Head, the Roman Pope.
Reason 28. And to make all desperate, and open the door to other errours, they have added all the Apocryphal Books to the Canon of the Holy Scriptures, contrary to the Council of Laodicea, and the consent of many ages of the antient Church, as Doctor Cosin hath fully shewed, and Dr. Reynolds, and many others before him.
Reason 29. Yea they have added Tradition it self, to be received [with equal pious affection, and reverence] with the holy Scriptures. Concil. Trident. Sess. 2. And this Tradition must remain unknown to others, and unproved, and we must take their words for it, when they have thus equalled it with the Word of God, corrupting thus the fountain of faith.
Reason 30. And when the Pope hath done this mischief to the world, they say, that no power on earth can judge him. Though General Councils have deposed many, and Bellarmine confesseth in the case of Marcellinus, that they may declare an Infidel Pope to be out of the Church, and that the Church may bear arms against the Pope when he would oppress it, and in Schisms may see that the Church be provided; yet for all this none may judge the Pope; Re∣concile these if you can. But herein they are disagreed among themselves.
In this one sheet of paper I have not room to mention their ma∣ny other errors, nor to annex the proofs of all these charges. But I offer my self to make them good to the face of any Papist living.
And now I leave it, to the judgement of those that are not willing to be deceived, Whether the Roman or the Reformed be the truer Ca∣tholick, and which of them is liker to be saved, and in the safer way. I doubt not but this Paper will be answered by some body: Its a bad Cause indeed that a man of learning can say nothing in: But if the silly people will be satisfied that its answered, without understand∣ing any thing in the answer that should satisfie a reasonable man, let them even be deceived, seeing they choose deceit, and let them take what they get by it.