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Liber cui Titulus, Two Dis­courses against the Ro­manists, &c. Authore H. Dodwell,

IMPRIMATUR, Geo. Hooper, Rmo. Dn•. Archiepiscopo Cantuar. à Sacris Domest.

Junui 8. 1676.

TWO SHORT DISCOURSES Against the ROMANISTS.

1. An Account of the Fundamen­tal Principle of Popery, and of the insufficiency of the Proofs which they have for it.

2. An Answer to Six Queries proposed to a Gentlewoman of the Church of England, by an E­missary of the Church of Rome.

By HENRY DODWELL M. A. and sometimes Fellow of Trinity Colledge near DƲBLIN.

LONDON, Printed for Benj Tooke, and are to be sold at the Ship in St. Paul's Church-yard. 1676.

AN ACCOUNT OF THE Fu …

AN ACCOUNT OF THE Fundamental Principle OF POPERY, As it is a Distinct Communion; AND Of the insufficiency of the Proofs which they have for it. WITH A PREFACE concerning the Ʋsefulness of this Undertaking.

By HENRY DODWELL.

LONDON, Printed for Benjamin Tooke. 1676.

A PREFACE Concerning the USEFULNESS Of the following HYPOTHESIS.

§. 1. THough I cannot undertake for what is mine in the manage­ment of the fol­lowing Dis­course; yet as to the design (for which I am wholly beholden to the [Page] Goodness of my Cause, and the intrinsick reasonableness of the E­vidences which prove it good) I think I may, without Immodesty, affirm that, if it hold, it must be of universal use with them of the Ro­man Communion.

use I §. 2. For 1. it must be of great use for the Laity and the Vulgar, who either have not the Abilities, or cannot spare the time, which would be requisite for Enquiring into the particular Disputes, to have the Controver­sies reduced into a narrow compass. And especially if these few things, to which they are reduced, may suf­fice for securing the Duty incum­bent on such Persons as well as if the Enquiry had been more mi­nute; and when withal the Evi­dence, [Page] on which their Resolution depends, is suited to the capacity of that sort of persons. Now all these things are provided for by the fol­lowing Hypothesis.

§. 3. All the Disputes between us are reduced to this one of the Popes Supremacy over the Ca­tholick Church diffusive. As for our Differences in Other Particu­lars, it is here proved, that, if we be not mistaken in This, themselves either cannot charge us with Er­rour, or not with any Errour of that consequence as may excuse them, either for Separating from our Communion, or for that rigor­ous Imposing their own Opinions which are contrary to it.

§. 4. And this does indeed ef­fectually [Page] secure the Duty of Or­dinary Laicks in this whole af­fair. For the Obligation incum­bent at least on such Persons who are not, by their particular Calling, obliged to Enquire, can only be to know so much as may secure their Christian Practice; and that is sufficiently secured by due adhering to that Communion where they may reasonably expect the perform­ance of those Divine Promises which are conveyed in the use of the Sacraments, and the other Or­dinary Means of Grace, so that the main concernment of such Persons is this, to know where such a Com­munion is to be had. Now the sol­ving of this Question appears from the Principles here laid down, suf­ficient to decide the whole Dispute concerning the true Communion. [Page] If it should prove true that the Pope has this Authority over the Catholick Church diffusive, it would follow that his particular Church must be the Catholick Church virtual, and so must have a Title to all those Promises made to the Catholick Church in the Scriptures (thus much at least will follow, even according to their Hy­pothesis who do not pretend that these Promises reach so high as Infallibility) and therefore that they were obliged to submit to A­ctive Obedience, to all Lawful Im­positions, and Passive even in Unlawful ones, so that in all Ca­ses it would be Unlawful to joyn with any other Communion in op­position to it. And on the other side, if it prove false, it will plainly follow that it is unlawful, [Page] either for those who are already in that Communion to continue in it, seeing they cannot continue in it without being accessary to the Divi­sions of Christendom by abetting a Tyrannical Power over it; or for others to desert their own Commu­nion to come to the Roman, which cannot on those Principles, be done with any such pretence of Necessity as may excuse their Separation from being Schismatical.

§. 5. The Evidence also into which this Dispute is ultimately resolved, must needs be such as must be suitable to the meanest capacity that is capable of acting prudently in this great affair (and certainly every one is in Interest, as well as Duty, obliged to make use of his utmost. Prudence in a matter wherein his greatest Interests are so [Page] nearly concerned) For the meanest Prudence that is, will require that where they cannot choose their way, there at least they should choose their Guide. And it is only the Au­thority of the Pope as a Princi­ple of Unity, and of the Church adhering to him as a Guide in Con­troversies, of which this Hypothe­sis allows them a Liberty to judge, in order to their own private satis­faction. And as the matter is such, concerning which the meanest Pru­dence, that can deserve the name of Prudence, is obliged to judge, so the Evidence is such as every one must be capable of judging who is capable of being Prudently and Rational­ly a Christian. For the very Truth of Christianity it self, in refer­ence to us in this Age, must be proved by Historical Testimonies [Page] of the Miracles by which it was attested from the beginning; and the Canon of the Scripture must be proved by the Testimonies of those by whom the Scriptures were delivered. And it is the same Historical Testimony, whether of express Scripture, or of express Tradition, to which they are here referred for the proof of this Su­premacy of the Pope: and the Subject concerning which this Te­stimony was to be given, could not but have had so general an influence on their Practice (if they had ac­knowledged any dependence on this Supremacy) as that it must have been as notorious to them who gave it, as those Miracles, or that Ca­non; and therefore their Testimo­ny must have been as Credible in one Case as in the other.

[Page]§. 6. Besides that the Negative Argument (which I here make use of) is much less Questionable than the Affirmative. That is, there is much more reason to doubt of a pretended Tradition, if it be not expresly mentioned in the Primi­tive Authors, (and doubting is sufficient for my purpose, to over­throw the Credit of that which pretends to be an Article of Faith) than to believe a thing to have de­scended from the Apostles, because those Authors pretend it did so. For in their Affirmations they ma­ny times deliver what they think on their own Conjectural Reason­ings, wherein they are as Fallible as others. But what they have not mentioned, if it be not al­lowed to conclude that they knew [Page] it not, and that therefore there was then no Historical Evidence for it, seeing that could not have escaped their knowledge; yet thus much at least will follow that we cannot be satisfied that they had any such Evidence, which is enough to render it doubtful to us whether it were an Apostolical Tradition. Now that they did not mention this Supremacy, I do not desire the Ignorant to take the bare word of our Authors; but I am content that they trust their own Judgments concerning the passages produced, as far as they are capable of judging them; or where they find themselves una­ble, that there they acquiesce in the Confessions of candid, learned Men, though of our Adversaries Communi­on. Which is no more than what they [Page] themselves count Prudent in the like Cases, when they occurr in the management of their secular affairs.

use II §. 7. Nor is it only thus Convenient, but it is almost Necessary, in dealing with our Ad­versaries, to begin, at least, with this Fundamental Principle. For till they be convinced of the Falli­bility of their Guide, all the Rea­sons produced against them are only taken for Temptations and tryals of the stedfastness of their Implicite Faith. And, in affairs of this na­ture, they are taught to distrust their own Judgment (nay, in matters of Faith the most Learn­ed Clergy are taught to do so, as they are considered in their private capacity, as well as the more igno­rant Laity) and they are further [Page] taught that, in such matters, their Faith is by so much the more ex­cellent and meritorious, by how much more it captivates their Understandings; and that this captivating of their Understand­ings implies a denial of their own Judgments when different from that of their Superiors. Now upon these terms it is impossible to deal with them by particular Reasonings. For the utmost that can be expected from the clearest Reasonings, is, that their pri­vate Judgments may be convinced by them. But if, when this is done, they distrust their own Judgments, nay, think themselves obliged to deny their own Judg­ments in complyance with that of their Superiors, nay, take it to be the greater glory of their Faith [Page] to deny the greater and more pow­erful Convictions; it will then follow that, by how much more Conscientiously they Act accord­ing to their own Principles, by so much the less capable they must be of this kind of Reasoning. It must needs be in vain to urge them with such Reasons, by which they will not be tryed, though they should indeed prove convictive, and that to their own Understand­ings.

§. 8. Nor indeed is it rational to expect that they should be other­wise disposed, pursuant to their Principles. For all Prudent Con­siderers of things will confess, that one direct proof that a thing is actually True, is more considerable than many Probabili­ties [Page] to the contrary. Especially if the direct proof be of it self stronger than any contrary Objection; as indeed no Objection can be so suf­ficient to prove any Proposition false, as the Infallibility of the Pro­ponent is to prove it true. Which must the rather hold, considering that they take the judgment of their Judge of Controversies for an ad­aequately-infallible Proof; never remembring that, though indeed the Spirit of God be Infallible, yet, the Arguments whereby they prove their Judge of Controversies so as­sisted by that Spirit as to partake of its Infallibility, that is, so assisted, as that their Judge of Controver­sies shall Infallibly follow the Infal­lible Guidance of the Spirit (other­wise themselves cannot pretend that all assistance of the Spirit must in­fer [Page] Infallibility, unless they will grant that every good Christian is Infallible, because they cannot deny that he is so assisted) I say, these Ar­guments are only Moral, and such as may, in many Cases, be exceeded by Arguments taken from the nature of the thing; and that the Conse­quence must follow the weaker part; so that still their Faith can be no more than morally certain, though their Judge of Controversies were granted to be Infallible in regard of his assistance.

§. 9. Yet even so, it should be remem­bred on our part, that no Arguments were fit to be admitted against the sense of an infallible Judge, but such as might exceed those whereby their Judg of Controversies seems to them to be proved Infallible; which would cut off many of those Arguments [Page] which are used in the particular Disputes. But beginning at their First Principle, it is easie to shew that they are obliged to take our Arguments into serious considera­tion, and to determine according as they judge Reasonable in their private Judgments. For the Judge of Controversies cannot, in reason, oblige them to captivate their Understandings to it self, till it be proved. And the Argu­ments here used are Antecedent to that Proof. And when upon examination of the Credentials of the Judge of Controversies, their proof of such a Judge shall be found insufficient, they will then, and not till then, have reason to trust their private Judg­ments in the particular Disputes. And then, and only then, the par­ticular [Page] Disputes may be likely to obtain an equal hearing from such of them as are truly Conscienti­ous.

use III §. 10. Besides, if this Hypothesis hold true, it will be very useful both to retain several in the Reformed Commu­nion, and to bring several others over from the Roman, who are already by their Principles dispo­sed for the Reformation.

1. There may be several, who, in the particular Disputes, may probably incline to the Roman side, and yet have an abhorrence for the Roman rigour in those principal ones concerning Infallibility, and the Popes Supremacy. These, if they may be perswaded that they may be admitted to that Commu­nion [Page] without professing the Be­lief of those Principles to which we are as yet to suppose them so very averse, may be tempted to think it lawful to joyn themselves in Communion with them. This seems plainly to have been Mr. Cressy's Case, whose entrance in­to that Commu­nion was very much facilitated by the account of Infallibility gi­ven him by Dr. Veron, Exom. (Second E­dition) Sect. 1. Ch. 19. §. 4. p. 74. Sect. 2. Ch. 21. §. 3. p. 188. Append. Ch. 5. §. 2. p. 516. See Verons Lat. Answ. to Q. Gener. 8. p. 561. at the end of the Exom. whereby he was perswa­ded that it was only a School-term, not used in the Decrees of any received Councils, no nor any way expresly defined, and that the use of it would not be exacted from him by their Church [Page] as a Condition of her Communion. For he acknowledges he had for­merly believed that this main ground of the Roman Religion (so he calls it) namely the Infallibili­ty of that Church was as demonstratively confuta­ble as any absurdity in Mathe­maticks. Exom. Sect. 1. Chap. 16. §. 3. p. 58. And particu­larly he confesses that Mr. Chillingworth's Arguments against it had to him appeared unanswerable;Sect. 2. Ch. 21. §. 4. p. 190. Sect. 2. Ch. 3. p. 90. and that his Book alone had the principal influence on him to shut up his entrance into Catholick Unity. But it is here proved that whatsoever may be thought of the Word (concern­ing which more may be said than was observed by Mr. Cressy's [Page] Friends, but that it is unnecessary to say it on this occasion) yet the Thing must necessarily be main­tained by them on the same Prin­ciples by which they have pre­sumed to censure the Reformation, and in that very sense wherein our Arguments are so conclusive a­gainst it. It is very strange to me, and seems disagreeable, I will not say to that Candor, but that ac­curateness, which was observed by him in that Enquiry, that he could pretend that it was the Word Infallibility against which Mr. Chillingworth's Arguments had been so successful, or that he could satisfie himself with that pre­tence in a matter of that impor­tance. Indeed, if his Arguments had been Grammatical, there might have been some colour for [Page] pretending that advantage was ta­ken from the ambiguity of the Word to pick out the most Invidi­ous sense among those many other more favourable ones of which it was capable; but being Notional and taken from the nature of the Thing, they must necessarily be levelled against it in some certain signification. And it had been easie to have shewn that they do as clearly overthrow the Infallibi­lity of Judgment in a Creature in the use of Fallible Means (which is the sense which I have here proved the Romanists obliged to maintain) though their Infal­libility were derived from the Divine assistance; as if it were derived from their own Nature, as that of God is, which is the sense which Mr. Cressy would make to [Page] be only concerned in these Argu­ments. It might easily have been also shewn that Mr. Cressy himself grants the very sense of the word here defined, and cannot deny but that it is very properly and naturally signified by it; nay that, by his own Principles, the Churches not using it in her Canons can be no Argument that she ever intended to leave pri­vate Persons at their liberty to use it, or forbear it, as they pleased. Whence it were easie further to in­fer, not only that it must needs be in­tolerable for private persons to de­ny it, but also that it must be justly Suspicious as much as to wave it (since it has been used,) though on pretence of another sense applicable to it, but never intended by them who brought it into the Roman Church, though at first they might [Page] have forborn the introducing of it. And if it be not free to Subjects, ei­ther to deny or forbear it, what room can be left for their Indulgence so much celebrated in this particu­lar? Nay, what Indulgence could it be, if they might indeed be excused from the Word, as long as they are obliged to maintain the Thing; I say obli­ged, by doing that which cannot possibly be defended without suppo­sing it? Certainly they cannot think but that Actions are as significative as Words in reference to God and their own Consciences.

§. 11. So also for the other point concerning the Popes Supremacy, it is an usual Artifice whereby ma­ny others are seduced, that they are perswaded that they may take the same Liberty that the French [Page] take, in Questioning the Popes Monarchical Power. But, from the Principles here laid down, it plainly appears that the Liberty taken by them is rather connived at by the Roman Court on politick Considerations, than approved or allowed by the Roman Commu­nion, as consistent with their Principles. The like might have been shewn concerning several o­ther Consequential Doctrines which facilitate the seducing of Proselytes; as that of the Di­stinction between the Church and Court of Rome, and the pos­sibility of Reforming the Abuses of the Court by the Power of the Church, &c.

[Page]§. 12. Now in Persons who have not been inured to those Prejudices of Education, and that great Credulity which are insensibly infused into Persons bred in that Communion (which must be supposed to be the Case of them who are not as yet Proselyted to it) these general Principles of Infalli­bility and the Popes Supremacy are like to meet with the most dif­ficult reception. For to such who have had experience of the diffi­culty of things by their own tryal of them, and who are not averse to any pains that may appear re­quisite for the satisfaction of their Consciences; it is so far from be­ing likely to appear that it is an Act of Christian Vertue to a­void Evidence, or to suppress [Page] their Convictions, when different from the Sense of those few inter­essed Persons who are plainly pos­sessed of the Government of that whole Communion, as that (till their Infallibility be first proved) it is not likely to pass for an Act of common honesty. Nay, their expecting such unreasonable Con­cessions from them at first, would, to such Persons, be a very just rea­son of suspecting them, when they should find themselves treated by them at the same rate as they might expect to be by the most professed Deceivers. For what more likely Art could any Deceiver use, than to perswade those, whom he had a mind to seduce, to trust in him without and against their own Con­victions? Nor is it likely that they who have no other inducement [Page] than the intrinsick reasonableness of its proof should be perswaded to believe it as easily as they who have been inured to it by Preju­dices of their Education. Nor is there that violence offered to their Faculties in following a weak and doubtful Proof in one parti­cular instance, as in renouncing their clearest Convictions Uni­versally, in all matters to be defi­ned by their Judge of Controver­sies. And therefore it is very possible for Persons favourable to the sense of the Romanists in many of the particular Disputes, still to be very averse to their pretences to Infalli­bility; and this not (as it is usually said by our Adversaries) only out of a haughtiness and unwillingness to yield, but on rational and truly-Conscientious accounts.

[Page]§. 13. Nor is the other Do­ctrine concerning the Monarchi­cal Power of the Pope less un­acceptable to Persons of another Communion before they are brought over to the Roman. I will not mention how much the consequence of believing such a Doctrine may impose upon their Liberty, because that will not by our Adversaries be thought a Conscientious Dis­swasive from it. Though certain­ly it be very allowable to stand upon their own Rights, till they be convinced out of them by a greater Evidence than would suffice for Concessions of less importance; which is sufficient for my present design. That which I had rather insist on at present, is, the inde­sensibleness▪ of the abuses of the [Page] Court of Rome, which are so gross and provoking, as that ge­nerally they are the last things to which Revolters are reconciled; and usually, when they are so, it is only on pretence that that Church is not concerned for them. But, by this Monarchical Pow­er of the Pope, the power of Reforming them is ascribed On­ly to him whose Interest it is they never be Reformed; and so to destroy all hopes of Reformation. Which is a consideration that, if seriously thought of, would certainly startle many of those who are brought over to them on accounts truly Conscientious, being seduced to it by such false pretences.

[Page]§. 14. For when it shall appear to this sort of Persons (as I have endeavoured to make it appear by the following Hypothesis) that their joyning in that Communion must necessarily imply their appro­bation of these Unacceptable Do­ctrines; they must find themselves unavoidably reduced to this choice, whether they will embrace these Doctrines rather than forbear their Communion, or whether they will keep off from their Communion ra­ther than own these Schismatical Doctrines. Nor will it be hard to judge how they would be likely to de­termine in such a Case. For if their aversation to these Doctrines be greater than their kindness to par­ticular Opinions or Practices of the Roman Communion (as I have already shewn that it is reasonable [Page] to believe that it is frequently the Case of Persons not yet Proselyted by them) they must necessarily think themselves obliged on these terms to continue where they are.

§. 15. 2. And the same things proportionably applyed may serve to shew the usefulness of this Hypo­thesis for gaining several moderate Persons of the Romanists them­selves. They who call the Doctrine of the Popes Infallibi­lity Archi-Heretical, White's Tab. Suffrag. and confess themselves unable, in this Principle, to defend their Church against us; when they shall find that the Fundamental Principle of their own, as a distinct, Communion, is this confessedly inde­fensible Archi-Heretical Doctrine & that without this they cannot jus­tifie [Page] either their Separation or their Impositions, they cannot think it safe in Conscience to continue any longer divided from us.

§. 16. The same thing is also applicable to that other Doctrine which prevails with several very considerable Parties of the Roman Communion, That the Supreme Judge of Controversies on Earth is either the diffusive Catholick Church, or a Council that is truly Free and General, and accordingly received as such by the Catholick Church dif­fusive, and that that alone is the seat of Infallibility. They who are of this Judgment, if the fol­lowing Hypothesis hold true, must necessarily be obliged to [Page] change their Communion on two accounts.

  • 1. That they cannot make out their own Title to their being the Catholick Church in this sense, nor can they consequently prove that many of our Doctrines, which they condemn as Heretical, have ever been Canonically con­demned by this Judge of Contro­versies. This will hinder them from abstaining from our Commu­nion for them.
  • And 2. that, on these Princi­ples, the Doctrines of the Popes Monarchy and Infallibility must be Heretical. This will oblige them to abstain from the Com­munion of those who maintain them.

[Page]§. 17. 1. They cannot make out their Title to their own being the Catholick Church in this sense. For evidently they are not the Ca­tholick Church diffusive, many considerable parts whereof are not in Communion with them. And therefore all the Plea they can make to the Authority or Infallibility of the Catholick Church must be grounded on the Notion of a Catho­lick Church Virtual, which Notion they must needs disclaim in asserting the Power of the diffusive Catho­lick or its Lawful Representative over all particular Churches. These things I conceive so clear from the Doctrine here delivered, as that I cannot think my self obliged to say any more concerning them at pre­sent. Hence it will follow, that all those particular Doctrines, which [Page] have been defined against us only by the Western Coun­cils, As the Florentine Council, &c. without the Suf­frages of the Eastern Bishops, or the reception even of all the Western Churches them­selves, must fail of that pretence to Infallibility which is here even from their own Principles proved necessary to justifie their Separati­on from us on that account. And when these are deducted, there will remain but few instances of Do­ctrines disputed between us, if any, which themselves can pretend to have been defined by the united Suf­frages of all Eastern and Western Bishops, and unanimously received in the particular Dioceses. Nor can they, on these terms, give any account why they condemn and ex­clude from their interest in the com­mon [Page] Judicatory of Christendom as many, and as great, and every way as considerable, Churches as themselves.

§. 18. 2. But if such Western Councils, As of Con­stance, &c. as are in this point defen­ded by our Adversaries of this Fa­ction, must indeed be admitted for the Supreme visible Judicatories, and consequently as intitled to that Infallibility which is by them as­cribed to this Supreme Judicato­ry; I cannot conceive how they can avoid thinking themselves ob­liged in Conscience to separate from the Communion of them who ascribe this Infallibility to the Pope and his Conclave. For there is no­thing that can be said to justifie their Separation from us, but will [Page] as strongly prove them obliged to separate from their own Brethren of that Perswasion. For these Councils have taken upon them to decide the Controversie concern­ing the Supremacy, by declaring this Power to be in the Church diffusive, and themselves to be Lawful Representatives of that Church; and consequently that all Ecclesiastical Power, the Pa­pacy it self being also expresly men­tioned, was subject to them. For can they think that Propositions, neither Necessary, as to their matter, nor Evident, as to their Proof, can oblige Subjects to their Belief under pain of incurring the Censure of Heresy, only on ac­count of their being defined by their Supreme Judge of Controversies? And is there any thing that them­selves [Page] can pretend to have been more expresly defined by that Judge, than this is? If they will think to evade this Argument, by pretending that this Doctrine of the Power of their Judge of Con­troversies is not so properly de fide it self, as a Principle antecedent to the belief of all Particulars that are so; yet this can derogate no­thing from their obligation to sepa­rate from the Communion of Dis­senters concerning it. For can they think themselves obliged to Sepa­rate for the denyal of one particular defined by that Authority? And is there not incomparably more reason they should do so for the denyal of the Authority it self? Is not the Authority it self more Fundamen­tal than the particulars can be which, on these Principles, derive [Page] their whole Credibility from it? And must it not be much more heinous to destroy the Credit of all possible Particulars, which, on these Principles, is included in the Judge of Controversies, than to refuse an actual Assent to any one Particu­lar? And as it hence appears, that the matter of these Differences a­mong themselves is more momen­tous, and more obliging to a Sepa­ration, than themselves can pre­tend those to be wherein they differ from us; so I may add farther, that the Separation, which ought in Conscience to follow hereupon, must be equally irreconcileable. For will it not come to the same Event, whether we utterly disown a visible Judge of Con­troversies, or whether we in­deed own one, but own such a one [Page] as that our Adversaries cannot think themselves obliged to stand to his decision? In both Cases there is equally acknowledged a Liberty of Appeal from all Power that is acknowledged by the Ad­versary. And that Power which must decide Controversies against an Adversary who does not think himself obliged (as much as in Conscience) to submit to such a Decision, must do it either by force or Arbitration, which are Reme­dies as allowable by our Princi­ples, as by those of our Adver­saries. Nay, in this Case they cannot plead even that pretence of Canonical Punctuality, at least so long to forbear separating from the Communion even of acknow­ledged Hereticks, till their Cause were declared to be Heresy by [Page] their competent Judge. For they who believe these Councils to have been the Supreme Judicato­ries, must consequently conceive themselves obliged to believe that their Superiority over the Pope has been defined by a Canonical Authority; and they who do so, can have nothing left to excuse them for forbearing an actual Se­paration. And as it thus ap­pears that they must hold them­selves obliged to abstain from the Communion of those Persons who professedly and expresly own this Doctrine of the Popes Monar­chy: So when they shall find that this Monarchy is indeed the Fun­damental Principle of the whole Roman Communion, as distinct from others; they must, by the same Principles, think themselves [Page] obliged to abstain from the Commu­nion of that whole Church, not only of those who do expresly de­fend that Monarchy, but also of others, though in terms denying it, as long as they keep to that Communion which cannot be kept without consequentially defend­ing it. It is in vain to think to weaken the Authority of the Decision of those Councils, because it was in a matter concerning their own Interest. For besides that this will give Us a plain advan­tage against any Authority where­by they can pretend that we are Canonically censured; They them­selves are sensible, on other occa­sions, that this is inseparably the Right of the Supreme Judica­tory, to Judge even in matters of its own Interest; seeing there lies [Page] no Appeal from it, even in such Cases, to any other Judicatory that might Judge more impartially con­cerning them. And they who think the Supreme Judicatory Infallible, must think themselves also obliged, not only to a Canonical Acquies­cence for Peace's sake, but also to an Internal Assent and Approbation of the Justice of such a Decree, e­ven out of Conscience. This I conceive at least sufficient to prove, in this Case of persons not proselyted, as well as in the former of persons already of that Communion, that they who do more firmly adhere to this Doctrine of the Superiority of the Catholick Church diffusive, must think them­selves obliged to separate from their communion when they are convinced of the inconsistency of this Doctrine with it. The only difference is that [Page] this firmer adherence to this Do­ctrine may more ordinarily and ea­sily be expected from Persons not yet Proselyted, than from those who are prejudiced in favour of the contrary by their Education in that Communion. These are those Dividing Principles intimated in the following An­swer to the Queries proposed to the Gen­tlewoman, Answ. to Q. 4. pag. 86. though I was unwilling on that occasion to enlarge further concerning them.

use IV §. 19. A fourth Use of this Hypothesis is for the direction of Peacemakers, to let them see what it is that renders our reconciliation impossible; and which, if it be not first accommodated, must render all their endeavours in [Page] particular Questions unsuccessful; and therefore against which they ought more earnestly to strive by how much they are more zealous for Catholick Peace. The way hitherto attempted has been to en­deavour to reconcile our particular differences. This has been, either by clearing their respective Chur­ches from all those things for which they have not expresly de­clared, and of which express Professions are not exacted from Persons to be reconciled unto them, by how great Authority soever of their particular Communicants they have been countenanced or maintained. This way has been taken on their side by Mr. Veron, &c. and on ours by Bishop Mon­tague. Or where the Churches have declared themselves, there [Page] by allowing the greatest Latitude of Exposition, and putting the most favourable Sense on their Decrees of which they are capable. Thus Grotius has dealt with the Council of Trent, and S. Clara with our English Articles. The design of all the endeavours of this kind has been to reconcile the Churches without any yielding on either side. I confess I think the number of Controversies may be exceedingly diminished by this way of proceeding, which must needs be very acceptable to any, who is more a Lover of the Catho­lick Church's Peace than of Dis­putation. Many of the Tenets on both sides, that are very in­vidiously represented by Adversa­ries, will, on a closer examinati­on, appear to be either mistakes [Page] of the Writers meanings, or O­pinions of particular Writers, or senses of the Church's De­crees which were never designed by the Church that made them; and consequently unnecessary to be assented to in order to a reconci­liation. But when all is done, they will fall very short of recon­ciling the different Communions. For though all their particular Decrees, even concerning Faith, were made tolerable by these means, (1) yet that were not sufficient to prove their Commu­nion Lawful; and (2) yet there can be no hopes of reconciling all particular Decrees by these means, but some will still remain which will make their Communion in­tolerable to them of the other side.

[Page]§. 20. 1. Though all their particular Decrees of Faith might, by these means, be made tolerable; yet that were not suf­ficient to prove their Communi­on lawful. For neither is there any security that that sense of their Decrees, which might be taken for tolerable, would in Practice prove such as would be admitted by Governours; so as that they on the other side might, on their owning of that sense, be received to their Communion. No, though it were countenanced by Doctors of never so eminent note, nay, by the Ecclesiasticks who should receive them. For still their Church ought to be ad­mitted to be the most Authentick Expositer of her own meaning. [Page] And I do not doubt but several of their Proselytes, who should go o­ver to them on account of many of these moderate Explications, would find themselves mistaken in many things as soon as their Church had any obligation to explain her self concerning them. And though the Church might not think it worth her interposition to do it up­on the reconciliation of every par­ticular Proselyte, yet She must certainly think her self obliged to it in order to the reconciliation of the whole Communions. Then many of these palliations would cer­tainly be found so repugnant to her design▪ and so destitute of any plau­sible appearance, as though She had been willing to yield in earnest in instances wherein She might not seem to do so (and that is the ut­most [Page] condescension that can in rea­son be expected from a Church which pretends to be Infallible, at least while She pretends to be so) yet they would not afford them e­ven so, as much as a Salvo for their reputation. Nay, though all her present Decrees of Faith had ap­peared tolerable, and appeared so in that very sense wherein She really understood them; yet even this would not suffice for a solid reconciliation of Communion, as long as the same Authority, by which these other Decrees had been defined, is still owned to be Infallible. For still the next General Council (in the sense wherein they give that Title to such as are not truly Occi­dental) may define new Articles ne­ver yet defined, or at least declare such Propositions to be so, which, as [Page] yet while they are not defined, may very innocently be disbelieved. And then, as they, who even now be­lieve what has been defined hither­to, not for the intrinsick Probabi­lity of the things defined; but for the Authori [...]y whereby they are de­fined, must find themselves obliged, by the same Principles, to receive such new Definitions of the same Authority; So we, who even now disbelieve them, on account of the unsatisfactoriness of their intrinsick Proofs, and for the contrary Proofs produced against them, and who do not believe the Authority of their Proponent a sufficient Argument to countervail these intrinsick con­futations, must still continue to dis­believe them, even when they shall be so defined; which will then ob­lige us again to divide as great a [Page] distance as ever. Nor is this to be looked on as a Case unlikely to happen, considering that there are already many very suspicious Do­ctrines so universally received, as that their Learned men confidently tell us that some of them are ferè de fide, and doubt of others whe­ther they be not already altogether so. Where it is observable that the grounds of their judging so, are, either the expressness of those Decrees of their Church which are already made concerning them, or the Universality of their re­ception, or the stress which is laid upon them, which, in all likely­hood, would prevail with such a General Council, if it had been assembled, to give their Suffrages for them.

§. 21. 2. But though a reconcilia­tion [Page] of the Particulars hitherto defined might have been more a­vailable for a solid Peace, than it hence appears likely that it would be, yet even this is not Practica­ble by all the means of Reconci­liation that have as yet been thought of. Some things have been defined in both Communions with such a design upon Dissen­ters, as that no mollifying Arts of Interpretation can prevail with any unprejudiced Person to be­lieve that the Senses really in­tended by them are reconcileable. Nor indeed have the Romanists any reason to expect that we should agree with them in all the Particu­lars defined by them, whilst we do not agree with them in ackowledging the Credibility of their Judge of Controversies. For, Antecedent­ly [Page] to their being defined, they con­fess many of them so obscure as that they may pardonably be dis­believed and opposed. And how can any wise man expect that all Men should be of one mind in so many instances of such a na­ture? And yet even one unlaw­ful Condition of Communion is a­lone sufficient to make their Com­munion unlawful, and the Churches irreconcileable.

§ 22. Now that there are some­things for which their Church her self is unavoidably concerned where­in we have all the reason, that can be desired, to expect that She should yield to us in order to the accommodation of our differences, I▪ think I might confidently Ap­peal to as many Learned Men, [Page] though of our Adversaries Com­munion, as have had as well the Courage to speak their thoughts, as the Candor to follow their own Convictions. The Testimonies of many of them, to this purpose, are already so well known, as that I believe it will not be expected that I should exceed my present design­ed brevity by producing them. This therefore being supposed, it will plainly follow that no solid Peace can be expected with those of that Communion without some Concessions on their side; and therefore that which inevitably hardens them against all Conces­sions must consequently ruine all hopes of a lasting Recon­ciliation. Now this is done by their Doctrine of Infallibili­ty, and their own Title to it. [Page] This is it that makes them pre­sume to define such things as them­selves confess to be inevident An­tecedently to their own defining them. This makes it impossible for them (as long as they pretend to it) to submit those things as much as to a review, in this Age of Knowledge, which were at first de­fined in Ages of very great Igno­rance. This hinders them from yielding to the clearest Convicti­ons to the contrary, or from ac­knowledging them even where they cannot chuse but yield to them. This keeps them from reforming any of those Errors, of which we have reason to believe themselves so sensible (since the great modern improvements of Ecclesiastical Learning) as that they would not have introduced them, if they had [Page] not found them already admitted, and thought themselves obliged not to desert them, nor to believe any Evidence sufficient to prove them blame-worthy, when they had once found them so admitted. And therefore it will concern all hearty well-wishers to Catholick Peace, to lay out their Zeal and Industry principally to discredit this one Doctrine which is so ex­tremely pernicious to it.

§. 23. And in order hereunto I have endeavoured to make it ap­pear, that the challenge of Infalli­bility to their whole Communion is truly grounded on a Principle disclaimed by considerable numbers of their Communicants; that is, the Popes absolute and unaccoun­table Monarchy over the Catho­lick [Page] Church. Whence it will follow, that, though Infallibility did indeed belong to the Supreme Representative of the Catholick Church diffusive, yet they can lay no claim to it who deny his Papal Monarchy. And there­fore they who believe these Pro­mises of Infallibility to have been originally made only to the Catholick Church diffusive, and withal deny this absolute Mo­narchy of the Pope, cannot lay any better claim to this Infallibili­ty than any other part of the Ca­tholick Church diffusive that is as great and as considerable as them­selves. But themselves confess Churches no less ample for extent (and indeed more considerable for the multitude of Apostolical Sees) than their own, to be so far [Page] from being Infallible, as that they believe them actually mistaken, e­ven in matters of Faith, and that for several Centuries together be­fore the Reformation. And there­fore all the Authority which they can challenge on these Principles is only a Canonical one, such as is due to particular Provincial or National or Patriarchal districts, which are, on all sides, acknowledged to be Fal­lible. Which will not only concern the Council of Trent, but also all o­ther Councils that are only Occi­dental.

§. 24. Now this Concession alone, that they are Fallible, would, at least, be sufficient to shew that they could not think it unlawful to review their own Decrees, and either to correct or repeal them, as they [Page] should Judge it reasonable upon that review. And though in­deed it is not for the Interest of the Publick that Governours should be too easie in rescinding their own Acts, and especially at the motion of such an challenge it as a Duty from them to rescind them, and when it cannot be done without an acknowledgment of their having been formerly mi­staken; yet it is withal as little for that Interest, that they should wholly devest themselves of the Power of actually Practising it, when it shall appear necessary by the exigences of the Communities for which they are intrusted. And, if, in any Case, this may be al­lowed to be Expedient, there can be no reason to doubt but that it is so here. The thing is of [Page] that importance, as that upon it depends the Reconciliation of the Divided Parties of Christen­dome, which are neither likely to be subdued by the Power of any one, nor possible to be recon­ciled without Concessions on some, if not on all, sides, by Churches, as well as by private Persons, and it cannot appear on which side the Concession is fit to be made, unless all submit to a tryal, and resolve, upon tryal, to yield to what they shall judge reasonable. Besides, there is a particular Reason why the Church should reserve an open Ear for all things that can be urg­ed for her information in matters of Faith. Not only in regard that the things are such as do not derive their Lawfulness or Un­lawfulness from her Authority, [Page] but are what they are, either True or False, Antecedently to it; so that her Authority, as it can­not change the Nature of the things in themselves, so neither can it alter their obligation in reference to the Consciences of those who are otherwise perswaded: Nor that She must be Responsible to God, how little soever She be so to her Subjects, if She betray her trust in the Faith once delivered to her; and thereupon drive out of her Communion Persons, who ought to have been encouraged to continue it, and break off from the Commu­nion of other Churches with whom She ought to have maintained a correspondence: But also because her whole Authority depends on it. For if She be Erroneous in Fun­damentals, especially if her Error [Page] be by way of Defect in them, She is uncapable of being a Christian Church, and consequently uncapa­ble of Ecclesiastical Authority. So that, as She tenders her whole Authority in other things, She is obliged to use all diligence to secure her self from Error in these, and it must be her best Policy to do so. Nay, the greatest Human Autho­rities that are, and who are most Critical in insisting on these Pun­ctualities of Policy in maintain­ing what they have once deter­mined, yet think it no dispa­ragement to them to conde­scend to a review, and to change their Judgments, upon better Information. And since the retriving of that sort of Learn­ing, which is requisite for clear­ing Apostolical Tradition, which [Page] came in with the Reformation of Religion, the Church of Rome her self is much better informed, and better qualified for Judging, than She was in those obscurer Ages wherein She first defined them.

§. 25. Supposing therefore that She were thus disposed to come to a review, it plainly follows further, that the whole force of her new Decrees upon this review, must be resolved into the merit of the Cause. For when her Judgment has once been acknowledged Fal­lible, there can then remain no further pretence of any greater Certainty in her Conclusions, than in the Premises from whence they were deduced by her. And from hence it would be very rea­sonable [Page] to expect 1. that She would not upon this new review define what She should believe insuffici­ently proved Antecedently to her Definition. This being ap­plyed to particulars, would cut off very many of her newly introdu­ced Articles which her most emi­nent Champions confess inevident Antecedently to her defining them. And we might expect the number of Articles, which would be redu­ced upon this way of Tryal, the more considerable, if 2. all those coun­terfeit Miracles and Revelations, and all those counterfeit Authors and Authorities were waved, which at the defining of these Ar­ticles were generally believed ge­nuine, but are since as generally acknowledged to have been Forge­ries. All those Doctrines which, [Page] upon such Testimonies as these, were taken for Apostolical, must lose their Credit of being so as soon as these Testimonies shall be convi­cted of incompetency for assuring us what was Apostolical. Espe­cally 3. if none but the earliest Writers be trusted, as indeed none else are competent, for conveying Apostolical Tradition to us. And 4. if they were wary in this kind to impose no Doctrines as Conditions of their Communion, but such as might appear even to themselves very Necessary and very Evident: If the defalcations were made which we have reason to believe would be made, even by them­selves, upon the Suppositions now mentioned, I do not see any reason to despair of so much Liberty to be allowed by them as would suffice to [Page] reconcile our Communions. And this I believe will be an information ve­ry useful, and very acceptable to all hearty desires of the Peace of Chri­stendom, that is indeed, to all truly-Christian Spirits.

use V §. 26. A fifth Use of this Hypothesis is, that it will serve for a Scheme of Principles to justifie the Reformation, for which some of our modern Adver­saries have been so very importu­nate. Nor do I pretend hereby to supersede the Endeavours of that admirable Person who has already underta­ken them.Dr. Stil­lingfleet. His Principles do ex­cellently well shew that, as to the Resolution of our Faith in those Particulars which are truly of an Apostolical Original, and wherein [Page] we do agree with the Romanists themselves, we can sufficiently prove them derived from the Apostles by competent Testimonies of the se­veral Ages through which they must have passed, without being any ways beholden to an Infallible Judge of Controversies. Nay that such an Infallible Judge is indeed a Means improper for such an End; as re­quiring many such things for its proof, to us, who must be supposed to live▪ at a distance from the time of its Original Institution, as are every way, at least, as liable to Dispute as the Controversies to be determined by it. So that hence it appears that we may be Christians, nay and Ca­tholicks too, that is, that we may believe as many Articles as at first were imposed as necessary to be be­lieved, without the least obligation [Page] of being Romanists, that is, of be­lieving all their superinduced No­vel Doctrines. And this is of excel­lent use against them in the whole Dispute concerning the Resolution of Faith, where they pretend that the Books of the Scriptures them­selves, and the Sense of those Books, and consequently all the Articles which are proved from those Sen­ses, cannot be proved Credible to Us without the Authority of their Judge of Controversies; and there­fore that as we follow this Authori­ty in these things, so we ought to follow it in all other things equally recommended by it, which must therefore be equally Credible with them. This Consequence will in­deed hold with them concerning whom the Supposition is true; and therefore it cannot be strange that [Page] the Romanists, who profess to be­lieve our common Articles on the Credit of this Authority, should look on those whom they call Here­ticks as choosers in Religion, and as self condemned, in refusing to believe other things as credible, and credible on the same Principles with those they do believe, they still supposing that they, whom they call Hereticks, believe the common Articles on the same Principles on which themselves believe them. But from the Principles of that excel­lent Person it plainly appears, that the Supposi [...]ion is not true concern­ing Us; and that as we profess we do not, so there is nothing that can in Reason oblige us to believe even our common Articles on the Authori­ty of their, or any other pretended Infallible Judge of Controversies.

[Page]§. 27. But the Principles here advanced do not so much concern the Articles wherein we are agreed, as those wherein we differ, and there­fore will more immediately reach the Popish Communion as Popish, and the Protestant as properly so called, that is, as protesting against their Errors, and against the Unca­nonical courses taken by them for Imposing their Errors; and for the suppressing of all opposition to the contrary. Here it is first proved that, it being our part only to Assert our own Liberty from their Addition­al Articles, they are obliged to prove, not we to disprove, their Impositions. Then, because the first Principles of their Impositions are not agreed on by themselves, but expresly denied by several Persons in their Communion, therefore I [Page] have proceeded to enquire after them, by knowing what it is that they are obliged by necessary conse­quence to maintain on account of their being of that Communion; so that by finding these we have all their particular Doctrines redu­ced to their first Principles. And the discovery of the weakness of the proofs producible for these (upon the former Supposition that they are obliged to prove them) is as clear a Discovery of the Justice of the Re­formation, from the first Principles as the nature of the thing will bear.

use VI §. 28. A sixth and last Usefulness of this Hypo­thesis above others is, that it is capa­ble of a more easie proof, and a proof more likely to prevail ad homines. For the several Parties among our Adversaries will not only grant us [Page] each of the Premises, but undertake to prove them for us; and an indif­ferent Person will not be beholden to either of them for the Conclusi­on. That he cannot be true to the Principles of their Communion (or, (to use their language) that he can be no sound thorough Catho­lick) who does not hold Infallibili­ty, and that confined to that part of the Church which is in their Com­munion on account of their being virtually Catholick, the Jesuites, and other high Papalins will affirm, and it is that for which they con­tend. To them therefore I shall refer all those of that Communion, who shall doubt of the cogency of the proofs here produced, for further sa­tisfaction. I could heartily wish that the odium of this reference might make them decline the Service; and [Page] should take it for a highly commen­dable condescension, if such as they, who have devoted themselves to the Service of the Catholick Church, could be perswaded to declare their dislike of Principles so pernicious to Catholick Peace. But I fear it is a favour too great to be expected from them. If any therefore doubt of the other Premiss, viz. the indefensible­ness of this challenge to Infallibili­ty, and of this Notion of a Catho­lick Church virtual, on which that challenge must be grounded, he may be pleased to consult those of their Writers who defend the Suprema­cy of General Councils, or rather of the Catholick Church diffu­sive. So that this way of proceed­ing will be most sutable for all sorts of Adversaries. If they read it with a desire of satisfaction, they [Page] will find that more easie when they shall consider that it proceeds only on that which themselves do partly grant true already, so that there will only one Premiss remain concerning which they can desire further satisfaction. If they read it with a design of confutation, they will also find that more difficult when they shall remember that they cannot undertake it without engag­ing a very considerable Party a­mong themselves in the defence of these Fundamental Principles of their whole Communion.

§. 28. Many great and considera­ble improvements might have been also made of this difference of their Authors in matters of so great im­portance to their common Inter­ests, which may hereafter be more fully enlarged on as themselves [Page] shall administer a further occasion for it. This will shew how little reason they have to boast of their U­nity when it thus appears that they are so little agreed in these Princi­ples of their Unity. So that, as it has already appeared that their difference herein must in reason ob­lige them to separate in their Com­munion, if they act conformably to their Principles, so nothing but a provocation like that which was given to Luther and Henry the Eighth, can be wanting to them who deny this Monarchy of the Pope, to make them do as they did, viz. actually to divide their Com­munion as their Principles already oblige them. This will also let them see how little advantage their Lai­ty is like to have above ours in judging of the Controversies which [Page] divide our Communions. They would have them take the Judge of Controversies's word for the Par­ticulars. That may be when they have found him. But when there are different Pretenders (as there are here, the Pope, the Council, and the Church diffusive) how shall they judge who has the justest Claim? Must they judge of the reasons, at least of Credibility? That is it that we would have them do, and for which we are blamed as putting them upon a task too diffi­cult for them, or encouraging them to entertain too good an Opinion of their own abilities. Must they take the Pope's word in the Case? But he is yet only a Party; and, till the Motives of Credibility be try­ed, can have no advantage above o­thers his Competitors. And then, [Page] why may not They be trusted also? If they be all trusted, their Pre­tensions being so inconsistent, the Laick, who trusts them, must still be lest as irresolute as ever. Must they therefore follow the judgment of their most Credible Divines concerning it? But that will again be as hard a task as the former, to be able, in so great apparent Equa­lity, to distinguish who are the most Credible; especially abstracting from the merit of the Cause. And what advantage the favourers of the Papacy have in numbers, that the others have in disinteressed­ness, which will go very far in re­commending the Credibility of an Authority in such a Case as this is. Besides the greatest Authority of Divines will not by themselves be allowed for any more than a proba­ble, [Page] and therefore a very fallible, inducement. But how much more so, when there are other Divines as eminent as themselves of another Judgment? And even Infallibili­ty it self, if it be received on a Fal­lible recommendation, will still a­mount to no higher than a Fallible Proof; which even themselves cannot judge sufficient for their pur­pose in such a Case as this is. If both Pretenders and Divines be trusted on both sides as far as their Preten­sions are not inconsistent with each other, this will effectually serve my purpose, and convince the Laick, who trusts them, of the insecurity of their whole Communion. For he must thus be obliged to grant both the Premisses of the Argument by which I have here proved it unse­cure. The Major is this,

[Page] Infallibility, as appropria­ted to the Roman Commu­nion by their Title to their being virtually Catholick, that is, by their adhering to the Papacy as a Principle of Catholick Unity in the sense above explained, is the Fun­damental Principle of that whole Communion as di­stinct from others:

This he must believe on the Au­thority of the Popes themselves who have declared for it, and of the Jesuites, and the rest of the high Papalins. The Minor this:

But this Authority of the Pa­pacy (on which the Title of that whole Communion to In­fallibility is grounded) is false and improbable.

[Page]This he must also for the same reason believe on the Authority of all those who defend the Supremacy of General Councils, or of the dif­fusive Catholick Church. So that in this way of judging by Authori­ties (which is agreeable to the Ge­nius and Principles and Arguments of that Church against us in other like Cases) the Laity, at least, must be obliged to distrust their whole Communion, as Fundamentally grounded on an unwarrantable Principle. But of these and other like matters, perhaps a larger ac­count may be given on future occa­sions.

A positive ACCOUNT OF THE Fundamental Controversie On which Depend all other Disputes, betwixt the Romanists and the other Communions of Christen­dom, with a short discovery of the little evidence they have on the Roman side in this Con­troversie.

BY the Fundamental Con­troversie, I mean that on which the particular Con­troversies do depend, and wherein what is maintained by the Ch. of Rome, does so nearly concern her [Page 2] that the whole subsistence as a di­stinct Communion, must adaequate­ly depend on the Truth or Fals­hood of it. And her Assertion herein is that Fundamental Principle, the confutation of which is alone sufficient for con­victing her of the guilt of that Se­paration of Communion, which has been caused by her unwarrantable Impositions in the particular Di­sputes, and for excusing all others who have permitted themselves to be excluded from her Communi­on rather than they would profess the belief of Errors, which was required as a Condition of their Communion. So that the Confuta­tion of this Fundamental Princi­ple does virtually and consequen­tially contain a resolution of all other particular Controversies debated between us.

For finding out this Funda­mental Principle, I sup­pose,

  • Suppositions.
    1. That the first For­mal Separation (I will not yet say Schism, for that im­plies a fault in it, which is to ap­pear from what follows) was made by the Romanists, at least as to us in England, with whom they communicated in the same Pub­lick Offices, till they separated themselves upon the prohibition of
    Feb. 25. 1569.
    Pius V.
  • 2. That this Formal Separation without sufficient positive grounds for it (though there were no suf­ficient convictive grounds to the contrary) is the Sin of Formal Schism; which is as properly in­curred, if the Separation be unne­cessary, as if it be unreasonable if it [Page 4] be without, as if it be against rea­son.
  • 3. This being supposed, for our Justification, who were on]y passive in the Separation, it is not requisite that we confute their pretences, but it is abundantly sufficient that the proofs produced by them are not directly conclusive to their purpose.
  • 4. This purely-negative way of proceeding, that they want suffi­cient ground to justifie their Pra­ctice, being alone sufficient for our purgation, the proof that the grounds of their separating from us were sufficient (which is their positive Assertion) will be incum­bent on our Adversaries, and we cannot be obliged to disprove them.
  • 5. This obligation to Prove is [Page 5] incumbent on them, not only as they are the first Separaters (which may only concern us of the Eng­lish Communion) but also as the Imposers of their own Sentiments on others as Conditions of Catho­lick Communion. Which will also relate to forreign Protestants, who were driven from their Commu­nion, being not suffered to conti­nue in it but on such Conditions.
  • 6. Our Adversaries being thus obliged to give a Positive account of their own proceedings; they have no way to justifie themselves but by vindicating that on which themselves lay the stress of their Separation (so that, if they fail here, no other proof will be suf­ficient for proving the necessity of it) which was noted to be meant by the Fundamental Principle.

[Page 6]Here therefore two things will be necessary to be shewn; 1. what this is on which they lay this stress; 2. that it is no way ju­stifiable.

For the First, it is clear

  • Proposi­tions.
    1. That the particular Propositions debated be­twixt us are not by them­selves thought necessary, to our Salvation, necessitate medii, so as that our Ignorance or disbelief of them should deprive us of some necessary Truth, without which we cannot be saved. For they themselves excuse such as did disbelieve them, as we do, be­fore the definition of their Church.
  • 2. That, even supposing we were erroneous in things not thus necessary, yet this were not suffi­cient [Page 7] to justifie their Separation or Imposition on intrinsick ac­counts; that is, an Error of so small importance, as to the value of the thing, could not in that regard, of its intrinsick value, ex­cuse either their Separation from us because we hold it, or their so rigorous Imposition of their own sentiments on us concerning it.
  • 3. That as there is no Intrin­sick Necessity of the Truth of the Propositions for our Salvation, so neither 1. is there that Extrin­sick Evidence of their being re­vealed by the Apostles that must necessarily argue, in him that should deny them, an Irreverence and Obstinacy against the Divine Veracity, on which their Credi­bility depends. This also ap­pears from their excusing the Er­rors [Page 8] of the Antients, who if they had had such Evidence in their times, could not have been in­culpably Erroneous. Which they take up from what S. Augustine had said to that purpose, in his Disputes with the Donatists con­cerning the Case of St. Cyprian, whom he therefore makes more excusable in the same Error of Rebaptizing Hereticks than the Donatists, because he lived before, but they after, the Nicene deci­sion of that whole Dispute. Nor 2. do themselves pretend that a­ny Error, which may not be pre­sumed obstinately persisted in, is sufficient to justifie a Separation from the Communion of Persons so Erroneous.
  • 4. Hence it follows that, seeing neither the Intrinsick Necessity of [Page 9] the Propositions themselves, nor their Extrinsick Evidence Ante­cedently to the definition of the Church, are, on their own Principles, sufficient to justifie the Severity of their proceed­ings against us: The only thing they have more to alledge for it must be our Disobedience in disbelieving those Propositions notwithstanding the Authority which their Church has given them by her Definition.
  • 5. That the Obedience required to these Propositions is not only not to make Parties and Divisions in the Church against them(such as our Church is generally thought to require to the xxxix. Articles) but also Positively to believe them, not only as Truths, but also as matters of Faith.
  • [Page 10]6. That this Positive Belief of their Church's Definitions exte­riorly professed in joyning in their Offices, and in abstaining from the Communion even of Peaceable Dissenters, and censu­ring them as Hereticks, cannot ve­raciously, nor consequently with­out Sin, be performed without an Internal Assent.
  • 7. That this Internal Assent cannot safely be given without a satisfactory conviction of the Truth of the Propositions so assented to.
  • 8. And therefore, that such an Assent may be given to Propositi­ons defined by their Church, on­ly on account of her Authority, it is requisite that her Authority be such a Medium as may assure us of the Truth of those Propositions.
  • 9. This Assurance (if it be nor, [Page 11] according to the Doctrine of their greatest Pretenders to Rea­son, Mathematical, yet) must, at least for matters of Faith (and such these Definitions are by them­selves esteemed) be Moral, that is, such as may exclude all Probabili­ty, if not all Possibility, of Doubt­ing, whether they be True.
  • 10. That Authority, which, up­on its own account, may be an Ar­gument to convince us of the Truth of her Definitions, must not be such as must depend on the use of Means: both 1. because that will leave a Liberty for such as are competent Judges of them to have recourse from such Authori­ty to the Means themselves on which such her Credibility will depend, which the Romanists will by no means permit: And 2. be­cause [Page 12] the Means are by them­selves acknowledged frequently Fallible, and the Infallibility only affixed to the Conclusions.
  • 11. That Authority which may assure us of the Truth of its Defi­nitions, independently on the Means, must needs be Infallible in its Judgment. Which though some few late Authors have en­deavoured to avoid, yet the Ge­nerality of them have found them­selves in pursuance of the former Principles, obliged to assert it.
  • 12. This Infallibility of Judg­ment, surpassing the use of Ordi­nary Means, must needs be Su­pernatural and Extraordinary; and therefore as to the light by which it judges, it must be assisted by new Revelations, though it be conver­sant about no newly-Revealed Ob­jects.
  • [Page 13]13. This Infallibility is by them challenged to themselves by virtue of those Promises of the Spirit in the Scriptures, which themselves confess to belong only to the Ca­tholick Ch. not to any one particu­lar Denomination of Christians.
  • 14. That therefore their Title to this Infallibility must, accord­ing to their own Principles, be re­solved into those Proofs whereby they make out their Title of be­ing the Catholick Church.
  • 15. They themselves do not, nor cannot, pretend to be the Catholick Ch. diffusive; that is, that all the Re­gular, legal, original Successors to the Apostles in all Apostolical Sees (most of which they cannot deny to have been in the Oriental parts (have e­ver submitted to their Authority, or are united to them in external [Page 14] visible Communion. Nay, they have condemned a much greater number of Apostolical Sees than they have among themselves.
  • 16. That therefore the Notion of Catholick, to which they may with any colour pretend, must be so limited as that it may agree to a Party of Christians in opposition to others.
  • 17. That though it may indeed be true, admitting an Appeal to the Primitive records, that a particular Church may hold all that which was originally taught by the Catho­lick Church diffusive, without any novel abusive Impositions that may oblige any Conscientious Per­sons to keep off from her Com­munion, and so by accident may deserve the name of Catholick, as that name distinguishes from o­ther [Page 15] Christian Societies of Here­ticks and Schismaticks. Yet speak­ing of such an Authority as they own in the Roman Church, which may prescribe against such Ap­peals, so that its own only sense is to be presumed to be the Sense of the Catholick Church, without par­ticular convincing Evidences of the concurrence of all in the Pri­mitive Ages with them, this plain­ly requires that this Notion of Catholick be certainly fixed, and fixed to a particular Judicatory, and this Antecedently to a tryal by the Primitive Records. For this prescribing against an Appeal so ra­tional as to the nature of the thing, must plainly imply an obli­ging Jurisdiction, Antecedently to, and therefore Independently on, that tryal. And Jurisdiction [Page 13] can signifie nothing unless the Ju­dicatory to whom it belongs, be also notorious, and notorious also Antecedently to the same tryal. So that in this way of proceeding it must necessarily be supposed that one certain part of the Catholick Church can never cease to be Ca­tholick, nor to have a Jurisdiction over the Catholick Church diffusive.
  • 18. These things cannot be ascer­tained to a particular Church, so as to prescribe against the now-men­tioned way of trying it, without maintaining the Notion of a Ca­tholick Church Virtual. That is, we cannot be assured that a particular Church must necessarily be Ca­tholick, Antecedently to the tryal of its Catholicism by a recourse to the Primitive Records, but by being first assured that that [Page 17] particular Church shall never fail of being Catholick it self, and that all other particular Churches must approve of their Catholicism by their conformity to that which can never be o­therwise. So that on these terms the knowledge of that one Church, and what is maintain­ed by her, will be virtually a knowledge of the Catholick Church diffusive, and what ought to be maintained by them. Which things put altogether, do plainly make up that which our Adversaries mean when they speak of a Catholick Church vir­tual.
  • 19. This Notion of a Catho­lick Church virtual, which may agree to one part of the [Page 18] Catholick Church diffusive in con­tradistinction to all others, must imply such a Principle of Unity to which all the rest are obliged, though that one part only do a­ctually adhere to it.
  • 20. This Principle of Unity must not only be a Principle of Order, but of Influence. For it is only by virtue of this Influence of this one Church over all o­thers that we can conclude that all others are obliged to be like it; and it is only on this obliga­tion of all other Churches to be like her that her Title to the name of the Catholick Church Virtual is adaequately grounded.
  • 21. This Principle of Unity must be in the Governours of such a particular Church. For our Adversaries will not have the [Page 19] Promises of the Spirit made to the People, but to their Governours. So that the People can have no further Right in them, but on condition of adhering to their Governours, who therefore must be the first Principle of Unity.
  • 22. This Principle of Unity must not depend on the Authority of the Church diffusive. Otherwise that same Authority of the Church diffusive might recall it, in which Case the adhering to it would not prove a certain Note of Catholi­cism.
  • 23. To apply therefore all this to the Romanists, their whole pre­tence of being the Catholick Church is adaequately grounded in that Notion of a Catholick Church vir­tual, whereby they confine it to that Multitude of Christians who [Page 20] are united under a visible Monar­chical Head as a Principle of their Unity, to which, Jure Divino, all are bound to be obedient.
  • 24. This Monarchical Head to which they pretend a nearer in­terest than others, is the Papacy.

The Summary.

Seeing therefore that nothing else can excuse their new Impositions but the Prop. 1. 2, 3, 4. Au­thority by which they are Imposed: And Seeing that no Authority can be sufficient for their purpose to oblige their Subjects Prop. 6. internally to believe what is neither Prop. 1, 2. Necessary as to its mat­ter, nor Prop. 3. Evident as to its proof, Antecedently to the De­finition of such an Authority, but [Page 21] one that must be Prop. 7.8, 9, 10, 11, 12. Infalli­ble: Seeing ▪ that they who do not in terms pre­tend the Popes Infallibility necessa­ry (and they who do so, already own what I would prove that all must own according to their Prin­ciples) can make no Plea to Infal­libility, but from those Prop. 13. Promises of the Spirit which themselves confess to have been primarily made to the Ca­tholick Church; and therefore though an Infallibility, even in Judgment, were granted to be­long to the Catholick Church, yet that can signifie nothing to our Adversaries purpose till they can prove Prop. 14. them­selves to be that Catholick Church to which alone those Promises confessedly belong: Seeing evi­dently [Page 22] they are not the Prop. 15. Catholick Church diffu­sive, and can therefore only pre­tend to the Title of their being the Catholick Church Prop. 16.17, 18. virtual: Seeing this Notion of the Catholick Church Virtual must necessarily imply such a Prop. 19. Principle of Unity to which all the Catholick Church diffusive is obli­ged to adhere, as to a certain Standard of their Catholicism; and this Principle of Unity, to which they can lay claim above o­ther Christian Societies, is only the Prop. 21, 23, 24 Papacy; and the Papacy, as a Principle of Unity, must be a Principle, not of Order Prop. 20. only, but of Influence; and that in­dependently Prop. 22. on the [Page 23] Judgment of the Catholick Church diffusive: All these things being considered together, It will plainly follow, that, if this influ­ential independent power of the Papacy cannot be proved, all their pretences to Infallibility, or even to any Authority for deciding these Controversies between us, must fall to the ground; and conse­quently all their particular Deci­sions depending on them will nei­ther be valid in Law, nor obliging in Conscience, which will leave their Separation and Impositions destitute of any pretence that may excuse them from being Schis­matical.

This is therefore the Funda­mental Principle on which all their Authority in defining all o­ther particular Doctrines must o­riginally [Page 24] depend: And to shew that this Principle is insufficiently proved, will alone be enough to invalidate all their other Defini­tions.

Secondly, Therefore to shew the insufficiency of their proof of it. This Proof must either be (α) from Tradition. And for this it is observable that,

  • I. This Notion of the Catholick Church Virtual, if it had been True, must have been originally delivered by the unanimous con­sent of the Catholick Church dif­fusive. We cannot judge otherwise unless we suppose a great defect, either of the Apostles, in not teaching, or of the Church, in not preserving the memorial of such [Page 25] a Fundamental Principle of their Unity.
  • II. This Topick, of Tradition delivered down by the Catholick Church diffusive, is the only pro­per one for the Church who pre­tends to this Authority to prove it by. And till it be proved, and proved to the judgment of parti­cular Subjects, there is no reason that She should expect that they should think themselves obliged in Conscience to submit to her Autho­rity. For Authority can be no rational Motive to them to di­strust their own Judgments, till it self be first proved and acknow­ledged. And therefore if it do not appear, and appear to us from this Topick, we can have no rea­son to believe it.
  • III. This Notion of the Catho­lick [Page 26] Church Virtual does not ap­pear to have been ever delivered as the sense of the Catholick Church diffusive:
    • 1. Not of that Catholick Church diffusive which was extant in the beginning of the Reformation. For then
      • 1. The Greeks, and most of the Eastern Christians professedly oppose it.
      • 2. Many of the Western Christians themselves, e­specially of the French and Germans, did not believe it.
      • 3. The Western Church it self Representative, in four, by them reputed General, Councils of Pisa, Constance, Siena, and Ba­sile, did not own the Popes [Page 27] Supremacy as a Principle of Catholick Unity, but ex­presly by their Canons declared themselves to be his Superiors, and treated him as being wholly subject to their Authority. This was not long before the Reforma­tion, and what they did had not then been repeal­ed by any Authority com­parable to theirs.
    • 2. Not of the Catholick diffu­sive Church in antienter times.
      • 1. Not of the Greeks ever since their Schism, as the Latines call it, under Pho­tius.
      • 2. Before that time, even whilst they were united [Page 28] with the Latines, the Popes Supremacy was dis­owned by them in that fa­mous 28. Canon of Chal­cedon, which equalled the Bishop of Constantinople with him of Rome, and owned only an Ecclesi­astical Right in both of them for the dignity of their Cities (which, as I have already
        Prop. 22.
        warned, will not suffice for our Adversaries purpose) that I may not now mention the Canon of Constantino­ple so expounded by the Fathers of Chalcedon in place, and maintained by the Greek Emperors. It was also disowned by the Council of Antioch a­gainst [Page 29] Julius; Disowned by the African Fathers, by whom the only Plea the Popes had from the Coun­cil of Nice was found to be a forgery.
    • 3. Not of the Catholick diffu­sive Church in those Primi­tive times, while the Christi­ans lived under Heathen Emperours: For,
      • 1. The Romanists them­selves are unwilling to be tryed by them, unless we will allow them to quote from the Decretal Epistles, &c. which Learned Men among themselves do con­fess to be suspicious, or manifest Forgeries.
      • [Page 30]2. Aeneas Sylvius, who was afterwards Pope Pi­us II. acknowledged that before the Council of Nice little respect was had to the Bishop of Rome above others.
        Ep. 188. ad Mart. Mayer.
      • 3. It appears by the free­dom wherewith Pope Ste­phen was resisted by St. Cyprian, and Pope Victor by the Asiatick Bishops, and by St. Irenaeus. And
      • 4. By the Canon of Carthage under St. Cyprian, which declared that no Bishop was subject to another, but that every one was Supreme in his own charge under God; not now to mention other passages in him to the same
        Ep. 72. ad Steph­fratr.
      • [Page 31]5. By the weakness of the Testimonies alledged to this purpose, the Presi­dency in the Region of the Romans in Ignatius, the powerful Principality in St. Irenaeus, the Pontificatus Maximus Ironically de­rided by Tertullian, and the one Bishop and one See in St. Cyprian, &c.

(β) For the Scriptures, them­selves do not seem very confident of them without the Expositions of the Fathers.

AN ANSWER TO Six Que …

AN ANSWER TO Six Queries Proposed to a Gentlewoman of the Church of ENG­LAND, by an Emissary of the Church of ROME; fitted to a Gentlewomans ca­pacity.

By HENRY DODWELL M. A. and sometimes Fellow of Trinity Colledge near DƲBLIN.

LONDON, Printed for Benj. Tooke, and are to be sold at the Ship in St. Paul's Church-yard. 1676.

THE CONTENTS.

  • Q. 1. Whether any one going from the Church of England, and dying a Roman Catholick can be saved? page 1.
  • Q. 2. Whether they be Idolaters, or No? 39
  • Q. 3. Where was the Church of England before Luther's time? 48
  • Q. 4. Why all the Reformed Churches are not United in One? 81
  • Q. 5. Why the Church of England doth not hold up to Confession, Fasting-days, Holy Oyl, which we our Selves commend? 94
  • [Page]Q. 6. Why was Reformation done by Act of Parliament? 110

ERRATA.

P. 34 l. 13 before vet add may. p. 42. l 13. after office add of. p. 58. l. 10. even for when. p. 92, l. 2. shews. p. 115. l. 8. for its r. his.

A PREFACE.

IT is of no further concernment to acquaint the Publick with the occasion of penning these Pa­pers, than as the occasion might have an influence on the design; and as it may be very useful to in­form the Reader of the design, that he may the better know what to expect in the performance.

He may therefore be pleased to understand that the following Queries were tendred to a Gen­tlewoman of the Communion of the Church of England by a Ro­manist, who had a design of se­ducing [Page] her; and that they were answered by another hand, but on such Principles, or in such a way of management, as that it did not give her the desired satisfaction. This gave occasion to some that were concerned for her to shew the Paper to some others in or­der to the inviting them to under­take it in a way that might be likely to prove more successful. By this means of communication it came at length to my hands from a Person who first desired my Opinion concerning it, and then with some earnestness im­portuned [Page] me to commit my thoughts to writing. Pursuant therefore to this occasion, my de­sign was in the first place to shew from sound Principles, that the Church of England is able to defend her Reformation from the Errors of the Romanists, and to clear her self, as far as She is charged with that Breach of Communion which followed thereupon, without giving any advantage to the Non-Confor­mists to justifie either their first Separation from Ʋs, or their E­ternal Subdivisions from one a­another. [Page] Nor was I willing to en­gage a Person in the Gentlewo­mans condition, in any Contro­versies that might be spared with­out Injury to the merit of the Cause; or to debate even such as could not so be spared, by such Arguments as might exceed her opportunities of Enquiring, or her capacity of Judging, so as to oblige her to depend on the con­duct of others more Inquisitive and Judicious. But I have either waved Authorities where I could debate the Case by Argu­ments less liable to Dispute, and [Page] better suited to the understand­ing of a Gentlewoman; or where I have been necessitated to insist on them, I have endeavoured to make out their Credibility by such Presumptions as are ea­sie to be understood, and famili­ar in parallel Cases, and gene­rally granted as most Prudent, whenever unskilful Persons find themselves obliged to ac­quiesce in the conduct of Per­sons more skilful and Judici­ous than themselves. And I have purposely avoided all ci­tations of Authors, even where [Page] necessary, but such as were to be had, even in English, and therefore might be consulted by the Gentlewoman her self.

I confess those other Reason­ings fit for Scholars, as they are more subtle, so they are withal more solid and conclusive. But withal I consider, 1. that those things wherein Scholars have the advantage of unlearned Persons, are principally such wherein Reading is absolutely necessary for their Historical con­veyance to us. It is certainly im­possible for any to know what Do­ctrines [Page] were maintained in the Apostles times (and conse­quently what Doctrines are true, where they are supposed capable of no other Evidence of their be­ing true, but because they were so maintained) without insight into the several Histories & Au­thors of the intermediate Ages through which they are to be de­duced. But for other things whose evidence of their being true, does not depend on such a conveyance, the Reason of the thing is a suffi­cient Evidence; and of this every equally rational Person, how [Page] little soever he be conversant in Authors, is an equally compe­tent Judge. And of this kind are many of the things here men­tioned, on which the stress of the Cause depends. The prudent Rea­der will easily discern which they are, without my instancing. And 2. even in those things which de­pend on Positive Revelation, and wherein the only means of our Assurance of them is Histo­rical Tradition; though it be indeed true that Persons of little Reading cannot so competently assure themselves of the writings [Page] and opinions of former Ages, with­out the assistance of others more conversant in those Studies: yet since it is not the way of Pru­dent rational Persons, therefore to conclude a thing to have been revealed by the Apostles, because such Authors tell us that it was so; much less because such Authors maintained it, as their own Opi­nion; but first to assure themselves of such things on which the Cre­dibility of such Authors in such matters may be made clear to us, and then of those Expressions from whence they conclude such [Page] Authors to have given Testimony to such a thing as an Apostolical Tradition: it is plain that the judgment of these things depends wholly on the reason of the things themselves. And therefore where Learned Men are agreed, as to their accounts of the Authors and their Expressions; and where the only remaining Dispute is, whe­ther such undoubted Works of such Authors be competent for the conveyance of a Tradition, and whether such Expressions, consi­dered in all their circumstances, come home to the Controversies [Page] at present debated; these are things whereof common Prudence and a cultivated natural Judg­ment may as well qualifie Men to pass a Censure as the greatest Reading imaginable. And this seems to me the best way in af­fairs of this nature, to wave such things as were disputed among Learned men concerning their Historical Informations, and only to found my reasonings on their unanimous Concessions. And most of the Controversies betwixt Us and the Romanists are of that nature as to be capable of this [Page] way of management. Now this way of not intermedling in the Disputes of Learned men, but only proceeding on their unque­stioned concessions is (as most solid and satisfactory to the most accurate Learned men themselves, so) most prudent and easie for those who are unlearn­ed. And 3. even as to those other things wherein I have indeed proceeded on popular Presum­ptions, yet considering that these are the only reasons which God has fitted to the capacities of the greatest part of Mankind, and [Page] that God is in his Goodness con­cerned to give them reasons suf­ficient for their direction, and that the nature of the things themselves is of importance to his Government, and that it is therefore requisite that their di­rection be such as may not only excuse their mistakes, but se­cure them of the Truth itself; I say, these things being consider­ed, there will be reason to believe that however fallible such gene­ral Presumptions may be in their own nature, yet that God in his Goodness has so ordered [Page] the matter in affairs of this na­ture, as that those who are gui­ded by these Presumptions may by the use of them be secured of the Truth it self in these particulars.

As for the Method observed in this Discourse, it is such as I conceived most clear and com­prehensive in few words, and yet withal most accurate and satis­factory to a doubting Person. For any one may be much more se­cure of a Consequence when he is first secured of all its Prin­ciples, and he can much better judge of them when he has an in­tire [Page] prospect of them in the na­tural order wherein they lye, and wherein they are necessa­ry for the deduction of such a Consequence. Yet I have neither deduced my Principles too re­motely, but as near as I could find them clear and indispu­table; nor have insisted on the proof of those that were clear, any further than I conceived it ne­cessary to do so from the actual Disputes concerning the Conse­quence. And I have been care­ful rather to prove than to con­fute; which I conceived to be a [Page] course, as less Invidious to Ad­versaries (who should find them­selves no further concerned than as the consequences of positive Truths might make them con­cern'd) so also more satisfactory to a Person in the Gentlewomans condition. And in the whole I am so little conscious of any de­sign of displeasing any to whom Truth it self might not prove dis­pleasing, as that if any Adversary shall think it worth his time to Answer what I have said, I am not my self affraid of provocati­on from any thing which he can say in following my Precedent.

AN ANSWER TO Six Queries, &c.

Q.1. Whether any one going from the Church of England, and dying a Roman Catho­lick can be saved.

I. IF by the words [can be sa­ved] be meant a possibility in regard of the means, we then deny it. For we hold that such Errors are maintained in that Communion as are in their own nature destructive of Salvation.

[Page 2]Such are

  • 1. The Doctrines even of their
    Vid Consid. of Pres. Concern.
    Church which oblige them to do mischief (as those concerning the Popes Su­premacy over Princes in Tempo­rals, and concerning their Duty of prosecuting He­reticks) The
    For the Jesuites, see theProvine. Let [...]. and the Moral Theolog. of the Jesuites; and for the rest of that Communion, the Jesu­ites defence of them­selves by way of recre­mination against others.
    loosness of their Casuistical Divi­nity, countenan­ced by such Au­thorities of Casu­ists as must needs influence such Persons as act conformably to the Principles of that Communion; and their generally allowing a greater Liberty to such per­sons as are desirous to reconcile their Vices with their hopes of Eternity, by their licentious ap­plications [Page 3] of those two Distincti­ons of Precepts and Counsels, and of Mortal and Venial Sins, where­by they make most Duties Coun­sels, and most Sins only Venial. Which danger is the more consi­derable to an Ignorant Person, who for want of skill of her own, must in Prudence, and by the Principles of that Communion, be obliged to trust such un-secure Guides.
  • 2. Not to mention the ill in­fluence of several of their Do­ctrines on the Lives of such as own them; the very imposing them as matters of Faith, the Ex­communicating and Anathemati­zing all that deny them, the con­demning Dissenters as guilty of Heresy and Schism (at least what they call Material) the inserting [Page 4] several of their controverted Do­ctrines into their Liturgies, so that they who cannot believe them, cannot veraciously joyn with them in their Devotions, are In­novations from the liberty allow­ed in the Primitive Church, wherein many (whom all own for excellent Persons and good Ca­tholicks) never owned, nay some of them doubted of, or contradi­ed such Conditions of Com­munion; in sum, their unreason­able grounds of dividing Catholick Communion, and their Uncharita­bleness to Dissenters, are Errors dangerous to the Salvation of the Person owning and abetting them. For all will own, even the Roma­nists themselves, that the Crime of breaking Catholick Com­munion, where it is justly im­puted, [Page 5] is destructive of Salva­tion.
  • 3. Several Abuses of that Church (I say of the Church, not only of particular Persons in it) are so gross as that several of the most eminent and candid men of their own Communion have owned them for such: such as Prayer in an unknown Tongue, denying the Chalice to the Laity, Fabulous Saints and Stories still continued in the best approved Ecclesiastical Offices, Martyrs canonized for bad Causes condu­cing to the greatness of the Ro­man See, as Beckes for Example. Yet by the Principles of that Communion, pretending to In­fallibility, it is impossible that a­ny Abuse (in defence of which their Church is engaged, as She [Page 6] is here) should ever be reformed, because it is impossible that a Church, so pretending to be In­fallible, should ever grant any such thing to be an Abuse. And many more Abuses are by the mo­derate Persons of their Commu­nion owned in the Court of Rome, which yet by the power allowed to the Court over their Church, by the general consent of the Church it self, cannot possibly be reform­ed. Seeing therefore that the Church of Rome does thus op­pose all possible Reformation of Abuses of this nature; and see­ing that, whilst these Abuses are not reformed, many of them may justifie a Separation, and most of them may do it when all hopes of Reformation are professedly op­posed; Catholick Peace on such [Page 7] terms as may, not only lawfully, but commendably, be yielded, will be impossible. And the a­betting of such a Party as makes Catholick Peace on just terms im­possible, must needs be an Error destructive of Salvation. This is a mischief unavoidably conse­quent to mistakes in a Society pretending to be Infallible.

As these Errors are thus of their own nature destru­ctive of Salvation, so go­ing over to that Communi­on from another, does na­turally involve the Per­son doing so in the actual guilt of the Errors them­selves:

  • 1. Because Communicating (according to all) does involve the Persons Communicating in [Page 8] the guilt of such Errors, at least, as are imposed as conditions of the Communion, as these are in the Church of Rome. This needs not to be proved against the Ro­manists who insist on it against Us as much as We do against them.
  • 2. This must especially hold in such as revolt from our Church to theirs: both because such an embracing of their Communion is more an Argument of choice and designed preference in such as leave others to come to it, than in such as are born in it, and con­sequently must signifie a more ex­press approbation of the terms of it; and because more expli­cite recantations of our Doctrines are required even from Laick Re­volters, than from such as are born in it.
  • [Page 9]3. Because the Resignation of Judgment is expected more in­tire from Women and Laicks than from skilful Persons (who may in some Cases be allowed the liberty of their own Judgments even by the Principles of that Communi­on) so that Persons in the Gen­tlewomans condition, may by this means come to be Responsible not only for the dangerous Do­ctrines of their whole Church, but also for the Personal Errors of their Priests and particular Con­fessors: both as they are (by the Principles of that Communion) allowed to be the Authentical Proponents of the Doctrines of their Church to unlearned Persons (who are not themselves qualified for Judging concerning them) as their Church is of the Doctrines [Page 10] of Christ to the Learned; and as the same Rules of Prudence ob­lige them as strongly to trust their particular Priests for Opi­nions, as they do their Church for Doctrines of Faith, where they are still presumed as unca­pable of Judging themselves.

II. If by this possibility of Salvation mentioned in the Que­stion, be meant only [a possibility of the Event] notwithstanding the dangerousness of the condition of Persons of that Communion, upon account of their being of it; then the Resolution will de­pend on this: How far Errors of their own nature damnative may not prove actually destructive to the Salvation of the par­ticular Erroneous Person, on ac­count [Page 11] of the Ignorance and Unvo­luntariness with which the Person comes to be engaged in such Er­rors? For on these accounts it may be conceived that the Er­rors may either not be imputed to her at all, or be imputed in so low a degree as to become par­donable by the general Stipula­tions and promises of the Go­spel for the pardoning of Sins of Inadvertency and humane frailty, which are supposed expiable by a general Care of fulfilling the conditions of the Evangelical Covenant, together with a gene­ral implicite Repentance of Sins unknown as well as known.

Now of these two waies whereby an Error damnative of its own Nature may be hindred from proving actually damnative [Page 12] in the Event to the Erroneous Person, it is only an Invincible Ignorance (that is, such as can be remedied by no means that are in the power of the Person who is supposed Erroneous) that can hin­der all Imputation of her Error to her; and only such a degree of Vincible Ignorance can suffice for extenuating the Imputation so far as to render it pardonable in the way now mentioned, that is very hardly avoidable by the Person, considering the frailty to which her condition in this Life is obnoxious. So that for judging concerning the Condi­tion of Revolters (which is the Gentlewomans case) the Enqui­ry will be, what degree of Igno­rance they are capable of that may make their Errors Involun­tary? [Page 13] that is, How far such as they are may be capable of being Ignorant of their Duty to adhere to ours as the true Communion? And for discerning this these following Particulars would be fit to be considered.

  • 1. That we are all agreed (Romanists as well as Protestants) that all sorts of Persons (Igno­rant as well as Learned) are ob­liged to adhere to the true Com­munion (whatever that is) in contra-distinction to others, at least, under pain of losing the Ordinary means of Salvation, and consequently that comfortable satisfaction of the security of their own condition, which they who enjoy the Ordinary means of Salvation must needs be more ca­pable of than they who are ne­cessitated [Page 14] to repose their whole confidence in Gods Extraordina­ry Mercies.
  • 2. That all Persons being thus obliged by God to embrace the true Communion, the Induce­ments to it must be supposed suf­ficient for the conviction of all, and consequently suited to the capacities of all who are thus concerned to receive Convi­ction.
  • 3. Therefore the Reasons be­ing thus supposed sufficient for the conviction of all, there can be no pretence of Invincible Ig­norance for any but such as are Ignorant of those Reasons, which cannot be supposed to be the case of Revolters.

[Page 15]Hence it follows, at least, that if Revolters act rationally, that is, Enquire what it is they leave, and why, and accordingly fol­low their Convictions as they ought, before their Change; they cannot be supposed capable of Invincible Ignorance. So that the only imaginable pretence for ren­dring their Error Invincible, must be the supposed Invincibleness of those Prejudices which may hin­der a well-meaning Person, acting conscientiously, from acting rati­onally. Which muft be ei­ther

  • 1. Opinions conceived obli­gatory in Conscience, hind­ring the Persons embracing them from Enquiry, or fol­lowing their own Convicti­ons; of which kind many [Page 16] instances may be produced which are favoured by the Casuists of the Roman Church: Or,
  • 2. Precipitation in passing Sen­tence on a partial Evidence, resolving on some particular advantage of one Cause without considering its disadvantages, or the ad­vantages of the contrary Cause, which might possibly over-weigh it if impartially considered: Or,
  • 3. An undiscernible favour to one Cause more than ano­ther, whereby we wish it rather true in regard of its greater complyance with some particular Interest or Affection which may be thought Innocent, at least, [Page 17] if not commendable; which may the more likely preju­dice a well-meaning Con­scientious Person, because it may indeed be Prudent in some Cases, and it is not easie for a Person acted by it to discern when it is not. But it is hard to conceive how any of these mistakes can be Invincible in Revol­ters.

Not the 1. for

  • 1. There can be no reason to take up such Opinions so gratui­tously, which are so Prejudicial to all Reasoning in general.
  • 2. There can be no reason to take them for granted as first Principles, without Enquiry, (by which means very absurd Proposi­tions [Page 18] may be taken up by very rational Persons) where it is known that many skilful, and (as far as can be judged) Conscien­tious Persons do, not only questi­on, but, deny them.
  • 3. Revolters from us cannot as much as pretend any Prejudi­ces of Education to excuse such mistakes, seeing that among Us they find them utterly discoun­tenanced. And as they have thus neither Reason, nor (among Us) Authority that may induce them to the belief of those Doctrines: So neither
  • 4. Can the Authority of our Adversaries be any probable inducement to perswade Revol­ters to the belief of these irra­tional Doctrines:
    • [Page 19]1. Because the Romanists them­selves are sensible of the ab­surdity of these Doctrines, and their unserviceableness to their own Interests when they have to deal with Per­sons whom they desire to seduce; so that they are not likely to recommend such Doctrines to such Persons, as Credible, on account of their own Authority. For if they should offer to per­swade such as they esteem Hereticks of the unlawful­ness of intermedling in Re­ligious Disputes, or follow­ing their own Convictions in them, it would be the means to make it impossible to Proselyte such to their own Party.
    • [Page 20]2. If they should be so im­prudent as to perswade them of the Truth of these Doctrines so prejudicial to their own interests in these Circumstances; yet the Per­son tempted would need no other Argument to confute them than their attempts to Proselyte her at the same time when they should teach her that it were unlawful to hearken to any Reasons, or to venture her own Judg­ment concerning them, if contrary to what at present she believed to be true.
    • 3. Because if she must not trust her own Judgment, but re­ly on Authority, it would be most Just, as well as most Prudent, to trust the Au­thority [Page 21] of her own Party whom She has experienced, than her Adversaries whom She has not; and therefore it could not be reasonable to trust Adversaries contra­dicting the eminent Guides of her own Party.
    • 4. Because, at least, the Au­thority of Adversaries can­not be presumed in Reason so great, with a Person not yet of their Communion, as to oblige her to believe, on their account, what She her self thinks Irrational: Nay, rather whilst it is que­stioned how far their Au­thority is to be trusted (as it ought, in reason, to be considered before a change) and whilst the private Judg­ment [Page 22] of the Person is tru­sted (as none else can be) in this debate; what in her own judgment seems unrea­sonable would rather ren­der the Authority suspe­cted if it should recommend it, than be it self believed for the Authority.
    • Especially considering 5. that to such a one as is not yet perswaded of the Credibi­lity of their Authority, this would afford a very pru­dent Argument for suspici­on of their Integrity, when they should urge her to the belief of such things whose Truth they would not al­low her liberty to examine by her own private Judg­ment.

[Page 23]Not the 2. for

  • 1. It is hard to conceive a Person educated in the true Church so ignorant of the ad­vantages of her own way, as to be Invincibly perswaded by those of the contrary, which upon a compleat comparison are (by the Supposals laid down in the beginning of this Discourse) so very dis­proportionable to them,
    Vid. II. 1, 2.
    and which may appear so by the Judgment of all who are con­cerned to judge concerning them.
  • 2. The fallacy of trusting such partial Representations is so ea­sily discovered by the most or­dinary Experience and Prudence in human affairs, and so univer­sally acknowledged in all other [Page 24] ordinary occurrences, as that it can hardly impose on any who proceeds with that Caution which all acknowledge requisite in changes of great and danger­ous consequence, as all confess those of Religion to be.
  • 3. Though a less advantage on one side above the other might suffice, where the Person were not pre-engaged in either; yet all confess the disturbance of a change, and the danger of ven­turing on an unexperienced way, so considerable, as that they are not to be attempted on barely E­qual terms; which is a further warning for the Gentlewoman to be wary, who is tempted to change from the Principles of her Education.
  • [Page 25]4. Supposing the Person were so Ignorant as not to discern the advantages of her own Communi­on above any other by her own observation, yet in that Case, it is on all sides held Prudent to hear on both sides what can be said by them who are skilful: which if She understand, and be able to judge of by her self, She must then (by the Supposals now mentioned) see the advantage of her own side; but if She does not, and so be necessitated, even in the choice of her Communion, to rely on the conduct of a Guide, it must in that Case be much more Prudent to trust a Guide whom She has experien­ced, than one whom She has not.

[Page 26]Not the 3. for

  • 1. That Favour which is whol­ly derived from the inclination of the Affections must needs be due to that side wherein the Person is already engaged: both in Ju­stice, as all generous Persons con­ceive themselves obliged in all Cases capable of favour, to be favourable to their old Friends rather than others; and in Pru­dence, because by this means the disturbance of a change is best prevented.
  • 2. If any Favour may be up­on reasonable and well-meaning accounts extended to one Cause above others: Either because the tryal of its Truth is easier, or because its Truth (if it may be proved) may be con­ceived subservient to better pur­poses; [Page 27] as Mr. Cressy confesses himself fa­vourable to the Argu­ments produced for a Judge of Controversies,
    Exomolog. Sect. 2. Ch. 16. §. 2. P. 162. Ed. 2.
    because the decision of that Controversie alone would prevent the trouble of Enquiring into the rest: yet even so (if this Favour be taken up and managed as it ought to be by a vertuous well-meaning Per­son) it will not render the mi­stake of a change Invincible. For,
    • 1. This Favour (as far as it is justifiable by reason) is to be had for the Religion wherein the Person had been educated, and of which She is actually possessed, upon the same rational accounts whereby that other Favour [Page 28] is conceived justifiable, and in as high a degree of obli­gation; both as we are bet­ter able to judge of what we know already than we can be presumed to be of a strange Religion; and as we can be more confident in the practice of a Religion we have alwaies maintained, than we can in that which must suppose us convicted of having been formerly greatly mistaken.
    • 2. This Favour, as far as it may ybe conceived Prudent and Rational, can only take place there where all other things are supposed Equal, which cannot be supposed in the true way.
    • [Page 29]3. This Favour ought not to hinder the Person from an Enquiry into the contrary Cause, unless the Evidence produced be very certain­ly convictive, which also cannot be supposed in the way we are speaking of.
    • 4. This way of Favourable Presumption being the only way by which the generali­ty of the Vulgar are capa­ble to Judge, and there be­ing in the true way induce­ments for all sorts of Peo­ple; therefore it must be said that if this way be man­aged impartially, that is, if all the Presumptions on both sides be considered, this must bring them to the Truth.

[Page 30]Hence it follows, by the Prin­ciples of all Parties, that the Er­ror of a Revolter can hardly be presumed Invincible, and conse­quently not wholly Excusable. So that for Judging concerning the Salvability of particular Per­sons, it only remains to be enqui­red further, Whether they be ca­pable of such a degree of Vincible Ignorance as may be expiable by a General Repentance, and the per­formance of all other Conditions of the Gospel in an Erroneous Com­munion? And the Resolution of this depends on these Enqui­ries:

  • 1. Whether the Erroneous Com­munion (the Roman for Ex­ample) embrace the Do­ctrine of Repentance so in­tirely, according to the [Page 31] Conditions required of it in the Gospel, as that the Repentance performed in it may be presumed such as God will accept?
  • 2. What degree of Vincible Ignorance is expiable by a General Repentance? For it is certain that all is not.
  • 3. Whether a Revolter from our Communion be capable of that degree of Vincible Ignorance which is so expi­able?

The exact Discussion of these things is too large to be insisted on at present, and therefore I shall only make application to the design of the Question. I shall therefore shew that what Possibility of Salvation soever we may allow to Persons of the Ro­man [Page 32] Communion, yet it is no pru­dent ground to encourage one who is not already of it, to re­volt to it. To this purpose I desire it may be considered,

  • 1. That all the grounds we pretend to have for our Charity, are rather Negative than Posi­tive: rather our unsatisfiedness with those Arguments which pre­tend to prove them actually dam­ned, than any Positive Convicti­ons that any of them are actually saved.
  • 2. That our Charitable Pre­sumptions are principally ground­ed on things impossible to be known by Us, such as are the uncovenanted Mercies of God, and the possibility of Sincerity, and e­ven particular Explicite Repen­tance of the Error in the Person; [Page 33] so that it is very easie for Us to be mistaken in our Charity, and we professedly chuse it as a mi­stake (if it should prove one) more pardonable than Censori­ousness.
  • 3. That the Case, concerning which we Judge Charitably, is so very rare and extraordinary, as that no particular Erroneous Per­son can be very confident that it is her own: Nay, when we say, that their Errors are of their own Nature destructive of Salvation, and that God has not interposed any General Ordinary means for preventing their proving actual­ly damnative in the Event, it will thence follow that there are very just fears concerning the genera­lity of their Communion, and consequently many odds to one [Page 34] of the miscarriage of each parti­cular Person, which the Gentle­woman may do well to think of seriously.
  • 4. That the degree of Peni­tence which shall be accepted by God in a particular Case, upon account of his uncovenanted Mer­cy, is very hard, if not impossible, to be known by the Person con­cerned; so that even they who shall enjoy the benefit of it in the other World, yet want the com­fort of it in this; and therefore can ground no confidence in any Practice undertaken on that Sup­position.
  • 5. That this Security is very much more hazardous, and more difficult to be Judged of, in Case of Vincible, than of Invincible Ignorance, which has been pro­ved [Page 35] to be generally the condi­tion of Persons concerned in this Enquiry.
  • 6. That it is certainly more difficult in the Case of Revolters, than of such who have had their Education in the Roman Commu­nion.

These things I conceive suffici­ent to shew that our acknowledg­ment in this affair can afford no security for a Revolt, to a Person who seriously believes Us, and is desirous to be Guided by Us. But if we be considered as Adversa­ries, and consequently our Au­thority be considered only as co­gent against our Selves, especial­ly when taken in conjunction with other things, as they usually ar­gue the Security of a change from our Singularity in Asserting the [Page 36] Salvability of our own Commu­nion, and our Agreement even with the Romanists in owning the Salvability of theirs; whence they conclude it safer for an Ig­norant Person to venture her Pra­ctice in that way, in the safety whereof we are all agreed, than in that wherein we are singular: In Answer hereunto I shall, at present, only propose these things to the Gentlewomans Conside­ration:

  • 1. That the unreasonableness of this Argument has been suffi­ciently shown by others; par­ticularly She may con­sult Bishop Taylor's Letter,
    On 1 Cor. III. 15.
    and the Dean of Canterbury's Sermon, which are in English, and are short and easie to be understood by her.
  • [Page 37]2. That the Supposition it self is false here. For they of the Roman Communion do as fully own the Possibility of the Salva­tion of particular Persons in our Communion, as we do in theirs, both as to the Principles whence it is deduced, (touching Invin­cible Ignorance) which are grant­ed as well by them as by Us, and even in express Confessions, when they are pleased to speak their minds freely; of which I must needs say, they are in Policy more cautious, for fear of giving Us a­ny encouragement to continue in our own Communion. If She doubt of this, She may, if She please, consult of our English Au­thors (for in dealing with her I would not willingly quote any o­thers) Mr. Richworth Dialog. 1. [Page 38] §. 7. pag. 38. Ed. Paris. 1648. Mr. Cressy Exomolog. Sect. 2. Ch. 50. §. 11. pag. 396. Knot in Charity Maintained, Part I. Chap. 1. §. 3, 4. compared with Mr. Chillingworths Answ. ib. §. 3, 4.
  • 3. That this Candor of ours, when compared with their reser­vedness in speaking their minds in this Case, is an Argument of our Ingenuity and fair dealing more than theirs, which is a considera­ble Argument of trust to an Igno­rant Person, who finds her self obliged to trust the Authority of one of Us.

Q. 2. Whether they be Ido­laters, or No?

I Must confess that I think the true Notion of Idolatry more difficult than is commonly con­ceived, and to my Understand­ing not yet sufficiently explain­ed. Nor am I willing on this oc­casion to engage on that Dispute, both because it would be too te­dious, and because I think most of the mistakes already enter­tained concerning it to have been occasioned by its having been sta­ted in Disputes with a design on some particular Adversaries. Not intending therefore to determine positively, Whether the practices required by their Church as Con­ditions [Page 40] of her Communion be ne­cessarily Idolatrous? I shall only, at present, recommend these things to a Person in the Gentle­womans Condition, whom I sup­pose not so capable of examining the particular merit of the Cause, and therefore it will be the most Prudent course for such a one to Judge by general Presumpti­ons.

1. That their Notions concern­ing the Saints are exactly the same with those of the later Heathens of the Primitive times concern­ing their Daemons then worship­ped; who yet were as certainly guilty of Idolatry (if the concur­rent sense of Primitive Christia­nity may be believed) as those accused of it in the Old Testa­ment, concerning whose sense [Page 41] we want those Records which might so fully inform us. For it might have easily been shewn, that those Daemons were confessed to be of an inferior Order, and not to require that supreme de­gree of Worship proper to the Supreme Being; nay, that they thought them deputed by the Su­preme Being it self to convey his influences to Us, and our Prayers to Him.

2. That if the Heathens (not­withstanding that their Devotions were designed for good Daemons) were yet deluded by Evil ones, who were by God permitted to interpose in their stead, because they paid that Relative respect to Persons whom he had not decla­red it his pleasure to have so wor­shipped, and before Images where [Page 42] they had no security from any pro­mise of God, that none but good Daemons should presentiate them­selves; How can the Romanists be secure that they are not the same way deluded, seeing they have as little Security from God's Word (which is the only com­petent means from whence they can in this Case have Security) that it is his pleasure that they should be publickly Invocated, and that he has given them the Office conveying his Blessings to Us, and our Prayers to Him, and that he will permit none but good Spi­rits to presentiate themselves at their Images?

3. That if Miracles pretend­ed to be done at such Invocations be urged as Arguments that God is pleased with them, this was [Page 43] pretended by the Heathens too. And it may be, if it were impar­tially Enquired into, there would not be greater and better attested Miracles for Invocation of Saints among the Romanists, than for the Invocation of Daemons among the Pagans.

4. That the same Arguments used by the Scriptures and Pri­mitive Christians against the Hea­then Idolatries, are applyed by the Protestants to the Image-wor­ship among the Papists now; and the same Answers given by the Papists now, were then also in­sisted on by the Pagans.

5. That as these are very shrew'd Suspicions of the dan­gerousness of this Worship, so this danger is ventured on with­out the least necessity; there be­ing [Page 44] undeniable Security from the Primitive Records and Revela­tions of Christianity, that God is pleased to accept such Prayers as are addressed to him through the Intercession of Christ alone, so that there can be no necessity of having also recourse unto the Saints.

6. That Image-worship is not countenanced by as much as any Venerable Authority of truly Pri­mitive Christianity, and that the Second Nicaene Council that in­troduced it, was put to very dis­ingenuous Shifts of counterfeit Au­thorities for it.

7. That whatever may be thought of the Worship designed by the Roman Church, yet even Mr. Thorndike himself (with whose Authority our Adversaries prin­cipally [Page 45] urge us in this Dispute) does not deny that Idolatry is pra­cticed by the Ignoranter Persons of that Communion, which the Gentlewoman may justly fear, lest it should prove her own Case.

8. That the Roman Church her self cannot be altogether excused from the Idolatry of her Ignorant Communicants, seeing she puts un­necessary Scandals in Ignorant Persons way, and is guilty of encouraging their Ignorance and Carelessness of Judging in matters of Religion.

9. That the Practice of that Communion is genera [...]ly worse and grosser than their Principles (as the Gentlewoman may inform her self of, in that impartial ac­count which is given of them by [Page 46] Sir Edwyn Sandys in his Speculum Europae) which yet is observed and countenanced by their most Eminent Guides; so that such as She cannot secure themselves from the danger of it.

10. That the Romish Church is by so much the more culpable in this Particular, because She has not been content only to coun­tenance and encourage a Practice in so great danger of proving Ido­latrous, so needless in it self, so destitute of all Authority, either of Scripture or the Primitive Catholick Church (which yet does so extremely stand in need of Authority;) but She has also imposed it as a Condition of her own Communion (which She calls Catholick) so that they who are willing to Believe and Practice [Page 47] all that was Believed and Pra­ctised in the Primitive Church, must now be Anathematized and condemned for Hereticks for re­fusing, to Believe or Practice any more, or to condemn those as He­reticks who do refuse it.

Q. 3. Where was the Church of England before Luthers time.

THE design of asking this Question is certainly to make our Confession of Novelty (in such Cases wherein our Ad­versaries presume our Novelty so notorious as that we our Selves cannot deny it) an Argument a­gainst Us; yet they themselves are concerned in some Cases to deny its cogency. For even they can­not deny that the deprivation of the Laity of the use of the Cup (for Example) has been lately introduced into their Church by a publick Law. If therefore it may appear that our Church is An­tient [Page 49] as to all intents and purpo­ses wherein Antiquity may be a­vailable, but that the Church of Rome is not so; and that in the sense wherein the Church of Eng­land has begun since Luther, there is no reason to expect that She should have been Antienter, and that the Justice of her Cause does not require it; and that the An­tiquity upon these Suppositions confessedly allowed to the Church of Rome is no Argument for the Justice of her Cause: these things, I think, will contain a fully sa­tisfactory Answer to the Gentle­womans Question. I shall not at present engage on an accurate Discussion of these Heads: but shall only suggest such short Ob­servations as may let her see how unreasonable our Adversaries [Page 50] confidence is in this Argument, wherein they do so usually tri­umph. Therefore

1. Antiquity is indeed necessa­ry to be pleaded for Doctrines, such especially as are pretended to belong to the Catholick Faith, and which are urged as Conditions of Communion. This is the Case wherein it is urged by Tertullian and Vincentius Lirinensis in their very rational Discourses on this Argument. And for this, I think, we may challenge the Church of Rome her self to instance in one positive Doctrine imposed by us which She her self thinks not An­cient. I am sure the Controver­sie is so stated commonly, that we are blamed, not for Believing a­ny thing antient or necessary which is not, but, for not believing some [Page 51] things which She believes to be so. And if She her self believe all our Positives, and withal be­lieves that nothing is so to be be­lieved but what is Antient; it will clearly follow that She cannot, in consistency with her own inter­ests, deny the Antiquity of our Positive Doctrines. But for the other Doctrines superadded by them, and denied by us, which are indeed the true occasion of the present Divisions of Communi­on, we charge them with Innova­tion, and are very confident that they will never be able to prove them, to the satisfaction of any Impartial Person, either from clear Scripture, or from genuine Antiquity of the first and purest Ages, which are the way wherein we are willing to undertake the [Page 52] proof of our positive Doctrines, Nay, their greatest Champions decline the tryal, and complain of the defectiveness and obscuri­ty of the Primitive Christian Writers, which they would not have reason to do if they thought them clear on their side.

These things therefore being thus supposed, That no Doctrines ought to be imposed but what are Ancient; That ours are so by our Adversaries own Confession, and that our Adversaries Doctrines are not so; and that in Judging this, the private Judgments of par­ticular Persons are to be trusted, as the measures of their own pri­vate Practice (as it is plain that those Discourses of Tertullian and Vincentius Lirinensis are princi­pally designed for the satisfaction [Page 53] of particular Persons, which had been impertinent if the Churches Judgment had been thought Cre­dible in her own Case, as a Judge of Controversies; besides that e­ven now this Argument from An­tiquity is made use of for convin­cing such as are supposed unsa­tisfied with her Authority, and therefore to whom that Authority can be no Argument) which Li­berty of private Judgment is then especially most fit to be indulged when the distance is so remote as it is now, when no Church has now those Advantages for conveying down Apostolical Tradition in a Hi­storical way as She had then: These things, I say, being thus supposed, it will follow that we are wrongfully Excommunicated, and therefore that we have no [Page 54] reason to fear that their Censures should be confirmed by God. And though I confess every Error in the Cause of the Churches Cen­sures will not excuse the Censured Person for continuing out of her Communion, when the Commu­nion may be recovered by any Submission, how inconvenient and harsh soever, if it be not sinful; yet that is the very Case here, that we are not only wrong­fully Excommunicated, but the terms proposed for our restituti­on to Communion would be di­rectly sinful, as has been shewn before.Vid. Q. I. §. I. Whence it will follow that we are excu­sable, not only in suffering our Selves to be cast out of their Com­munion, but also in continuing out of it. But because this is not [Page 55] our whole Case, who do not on­ly abstein from their Communion, but set up a Communion of our own, and maintain an Ecclesiasti­cal Body Politick distinct from theirs; our defence herein will depend on the Justice of the Ec­clesiastical power of those Persons who govern our Ecclesiastical As­semblies. And therefore

2. All our concernment for Antiquity here will be, that our Bishops derived their power from such as derived theirs with a power of communicating it in a continual Succession from the Apo­stles. And this we do acknow­ledge true concerning the Popish Bishops themselves, and do de­rive the validity of our Orders from the Antiquity of theirs with­out any more prejudice to our [Page 56] Cause than the Primitive Catho­licks did suffer by acknowledg­ing the validity of Baptism admi­nistred by Hereticks. For the Succession of their Pastors is very reconcilable with a supposed In­novation in their Doctrines (and certainly themselves cannot deny that it is so, whilst they charge the Orientals with Heresie, whom yet they cannot deny to have al­waies maintained as uninterrupt­ed a Succession of Bishops as them­selves) especially considering that the Innovations we charge them with, of adding false and new Articles of Faith; not of denying the old ones, do not in the least interrupt or invalidate their Succession. This therefore being supposed, that the first Bishops of our English Reforma­tion [Page 57] received their power from such as had derived theirs by an uninterrupted succession from the Apostles; it will follow that they were valid Bishops, and if so, had the power of keeping Church-Assemblies, and exercising Juris­diction in them, both for the Go­vernment of their present Char­ges, and communicating their power to succeeding Generations. For nothing of this is pretended to exceed the power of a valid Bishop. The charge of Heresy it self cannot hinder the validity of their Orders either received or communicated; though it may in­deed, in the Judgment of them who believe them so, render them obnoxious to Canonical Incapaci­ties of executing them, and to Legal Degradations, not from the [Page 58] Character, but from the actual Ju­risdiction properly belonging to their Office. But to such Cano­nical Incapacities and Degradati­ons, they will not deny even va­lidly-Ordeined Persons them­selves to be obnoxious, and there­fore cannot make that an Argu­ment against the validity of our Orders. And yet when this Charge of Heresy against our Bishops is not here to be Judged by the pretences of our Adversaries, but by the merit of the Cause; and therefore is not to be taken f [...]r granted till it be proved.

That therefore which is indeed new in the Church of England, is, That though her Positive Do­ctrines and Orders be Ancient, yet the Profession of her Nega­tives; and the open Assertion of [Page 59] her Liberty from the Encroach­ments of the Roman Court, and all her other Practices grounded on these Principles, were not a­vowed by her Ecclesiastical Go­vernors for several Centuries be­fore the Reformation. And in An­swer hereunto I shall insist on the heads already intimated. Therefore

  • 1. There was no reason to expect that her opposition to these Er­rors should have been Ancienter, though we should suppose the Er­rors themselves to have been so. For there was no reason to expect that Errors should have been dis­covered for some Ages before the Reformation, when there was so great a want of that kind of Grammatical and Historical Learn­ing which is only fit to qualifie a Person to Judge of Ecclesiastical [Page 60] Tradition; at least, they were not likely to have been discovered by such a number as had been re­quisite to maintain an open oppo­sition. And if the Errors had been discovered, yet it was not easie to expect success in holding out against the Court of Rome, which was then so very powerful, and there was no reason to ex­pect such attempts from Prudent Persons where there was no pro­bability of success. And there was yet least reason of all to ex­pect this opposition from Bishops then, when no Bishops were made without the Popes consent, which he was not likely to give to such as were likely to oppose him; when, after they were made, they were obliged to be true to Him by express Oaths, as well as by [Page 61] their Interests of peaceable con­tinuance, or hopes of future pre­ferment; when, at least, it was impossible to resist their Fellow-Bishops, the generality of whom were, in all likelyhood, sway­ed by these Prejudices; when they had seen mighty Princes themselves worsted in those Con­tests, and the extreme Severity of that Court against Dissenters; when, lastly, differing from the Church of Rome in any thing was counted Heresy, and Heresy was prosecuted with the extremest Infamy (which must needs weak­en the Authority of those Oppo­sers with others) as well as other Penalties of the Canon-Law. Nor
  • 2. Does the Justice of our Cause require a greater Antiquity for our Negatives: For,
    • [Page 62]1. Our Negatives are not pre­tended to be of perpetual obligation, but only for preventing the malignity of the contrary Affirmative Articles to which they are opposed. And therefore there is no reason to expect Formal Negatives opposed to Additional Articles from the beginning, before the Additional Articles them­selves were thought of; nor to expect a Reformation of Abuses before there were A­buses to be Reformed, see­ing that in course of Nature these Negatives presuppose the contrary Affirmatives, as a pretence of Reforma­tion must also presuppose Abuses. And therefore the [Page 63] pretence of the greater An­tiquity of our Adversaries Errors and Abuses is so far from prejudicing the repu­tation of our Negatives and Reformation, as that it is indeed the best Argument of their Justice and Season­ableness. For such Nega­tives as these, and such a Reformation, must needs have been unwarrantable, if there had not been before Errors fit to be denyed, and Abuses fit to be reformed. Nor
    • 2. Is it any Prejudice to the Justice of our Cause, that these Errors were not op­posed with formal Nega­tives as soon as they ap­peared. For such Errors [Page 64] as these were usually first received as the Opinions of private Persons before they were countenanced by Au­thority, and whilst they proceeded no further, there was not that mischief in them, nor consequently that obligation to oppose them, as when at length they came to be so countenan­ced. For the Errors of Private Persons, whilst they are no more, are not con­ceived so to oblige us to be of their mind, as that our silence should in any Pru­dence be expounded as an Argument of our consent; and consequently cannot be such a provocation to us to op­pose them openly in our own Defence. Nor
    • [Page 65]3. Is it necessary to expect that there should have been an open opposition of them, even as soon as countenan­ced by Authority. For if even in the reproof of the miscarriages of private Per­sons, Christianity obliges us to proceed with all pos­sible candor and modesty; we are certainly much rather obliged to proceed so in dealing with Persons of Au­thority. We should give them time to reflect, and we should bear with any Personal inconveniences that are not directly sinful; rather than occasion those disturbances which are u­sually to be expected from a publick opposition of [Page 66] them. Nor is this forbear­ance more agreable to rea­son, than to the sentiments of those Ages who were generally possessed with an excessive veneration for Authority, especially Ec­clesiastical; so that there is reason to believe that they would bear with such Er­rors as long as the Abuses were tolerable, however o­therwise inconvenient.
    • 4. Therefore that which makes these Errors intolerable to private Persons in dealing with Authority (for of such I speak) is the imposing and urging them as Conditions of Communion. And this might have been shewn to have been late, not before their Errors [Page 67] were defined and imposed in their Councils. And there­fore it was but lately that a­ny publick opposition was to be expected, even from them who were in their Consciences perswaded that our Adversaries Doctrines were Erroneous. And
    • 5. When they were thus im­posed, yet even then private Persons were concerned, in Conscience as well as Pru­dence, to forbear an open opposition, when there were no hopes of doing good, nay too probable fears of prejudicing their Cause by it for the future: when up­on their opposition, they must have expected to have been condemned; when be­ing [Page 68] condemned, they were to be cast out of Communi­on; when being Excom­municated for such a Cause, others would have been de­terred by their Example, and their credit must have been impaired by the Infa­my incurred by the Canon-Law then in force, and their very condemnation would for the future migh­tily prejudice Mens minds against the like attempts, when none could revive the like true Doctrine without the dis-repute of being sup­posed to revive an ancient­ly-condemned Heresy; and when there were no hopes of being able to preserve themselves in opposite Assem­blies [Page 69] without Bishops to Head them, without whom they could not maintain a Succes­sion of Priests, nor conse­quently of Sacraments, and the like employments and advantages of Ecclesiastical Assemblies; and when no Bishops were likely to coun­tenance such a design, whilst they were held in such cap­tivity to the Court of Rome by Oaths as well as their o­ther Worldly Interests, and when no Persons of a free ingenuous temper were likely to attain the honour of Episcopacy.
    These Reasons, with a very easie Application, may suffice to shew that in an ordinary way there was no reason to expect the Re­formation [Page 70] sooner than it was. And that there was no necessity suffi­cient to oblige God to interpose to raise Men up to it Extraordi­narily, will appear if it be con­sidered
    • 6. That it is not every neces­sity of the Church that can oblige God to use such Ex­traordinary means, but only such a necessity as must have destroyed a Church from the Earth, that is, such a Society of Men wherein Salvation might be attained by the ordinary Prescripti­ons of the Gospel. Now the prevalency of these Er­rors does not oblige us to acknowledge that such a Church as this must have failed even in those Ages [Page 71] wherein these Errors are supposed to have prevailed for some Centuries before the Reformation: For
      • 1. Though the Occidental Church had failed, yet Christ might have had such a Church among the several Communions of the Ori­entals. And I know no greater inconvenience, in this regard, in admitting the faileur of the Occiden­tal church, than what our Adversaries themselves are obnoxious to, in admitting the like defection in the Oriental.
      • 2. The prevailing of these Errors does not oblige us to deny an ordinary possibi­lity of Salvation according [Page 72] to the Prescriptions of the Gospel, even in the Church of Rome it self in those Centuries before the Re­formation: For
        • 1. We do not deny all Ne­cessaries to Salvation, e­ven according to the or­dinary Prescriptions of the Gospel, to have been taught even then in the Church of Rome. The Errors we charge them with, are not of Defect, but Adding to the Origi­nal Articles of Faith. And therefore
        • 2. If it may appear that the sin of Adding to the Faith was not (to such as were no farther accessary to it than by continuing in the [Page 73] Communion of such as were really guilty of it) so imputable ordinarily as to hinder the Salvation of such as were not other­wise wanting to them­selves in their own En­deavours; or at least not in such a degree as to ob­lige God to interpose in an Extraordinary way for its Ordinary prevention: this will be sufficient to shew that (supposing those Errors so danger­ous as we do indeed sup­pose them, yet) God was not obliged to raise up, and maintain a Communi­on in opposition to them for preventing the failing of such a Church as I have [Page 74] spoken of, even in these Western Parts. And that this was so, may appear from these Considerati­ons:
          • 1. That that skill in Eccle­siastical Learning, by which our first Reform­ers were enabled to dis­cover these Errors, was generally wanting in the Ages before the Refor­mation, which might make their mistakes then much more pardonable than now.
          • 2. That the great mischief of these Errors is, not so much the believing more for matters of Faith than really was so, as the mischievous [Page 75] Consequence of doing so, the Divisions of the Church necessarily fol­lowing hereupon, the condemning of good Ca­tholicks for Hereticks and Schismaticks, and exclu­ding them from Commu­nion, and hereby making the peace of Christendome impossible on any just and tolerable terms, and Abuses impossible to be Reformed. Which was not so imputable in those Ages when there was no visible Communi­on to be condemned by joyning with that of Rome; for as for the even unjust Excommu­nication of particular [Page 76] Persons, Providence is not so concerned as to interpose Extraordina­rily for their preventi­on. This I say on Sup­position that the Wal­denses and Albigenses, &c. were such as our Adversaries represent them. If they were o­otherwise, then among them there was a Suc­cession, for so long, of Churches holding our Doctrines before Lu­ther.
          • 3. The Prudential Reasons now given might then generally excuse private Persons, and all such as were not accessary to the guilt of introducing [Page 77] those Errors (who were much the greater Part, and it is only for the greater Part that Provi­dence is necessarily con­cerned) from the guilt of not publickly Reform­ing them. Yet even they are not so Excusable now, when the power of the Pope is so much decryed, and there are so many Churches and Church-Governours, un­der whose Protection they may put them­selves, and with whose Communion they may joyn, in opposition to them.
  • 3. The Antiquity allowed to their Errors on this Supposition [Page 78] is not sufficient to Justifie their Cause. For,
    • 1. This Antiquity is not Pri­mitive, but only of some later Ignorant Ages. And the Unrea­sonableness of presuming Do­ctrines to have been Primitive only, because they were actually found embraced by the Church in later Ages, and of Prescribing on that account against a new Exa­mination of them by immediate recourse to the Originals, might have been shewn from the Fathers as well as from the Protestants.
    • 2. The Antiquity of those Notions of theirs, whereby they confine the Catholick Church to that part of it in the Roman Com­munion (which might have been proved Fundamental to all their other Doctrines, as they are made [Page 79] Articles of Faith and Conditions of Communion) is contradicted by the Oriental Churches general­ly, who are as ancient, and of as Unquestionable a Succession, as the Church of Rome her self, and as ancient in teaching the contrary.
    • 3. The utmost Antiquity which we allow for their unwar­rantable Doctrines is not so great as must be acknowledged (by all that will Judge candidly) for se­veral, which on all sides are ac­knowledged to be Heretical, I do not only mean those of the Ari­ans, but also of those great Bo­dies of the Oriental Historians and Eu [...]ychians, continuing to this day divided from the Roman Church; especially if they be really guil­ty of those Heresies which are charged on them, and they must [Page 80] by Romanists be held guilty of some, for Justifying their own Practice of condemning them.
    • 4. Some of their present Decrees (particularly those con­cerning the admission of the Apo­cryphal Books into the Canon, and receiving Unwritten Traditions with Equal Reverence with the Written Word of God) I doubt are not more anciently imposed, as Conditions of Catholick Communi­on, than the Council of Trent it self, which was since Luther. And both of these are very considera­ble, and especially the later is ve­ry Fundamental to many of their other Decrees.

Q. 4. Why all the Reformed Churches are not Ʋnited in One?

I Presume the design of this Question is not so much a Curiosity to be Informed, either of the Politick Reasons which in the Course of Second Causes might have an Influence on those Divisi­ons which were occasioned by the Reformation; or of those that might move God to permit Second Causes to act according to their Natural Inclination, without the Interposition of any Extraordina­ry restraint: but only to lay hold on that Advantage from our ac­knowledged Divisions, which they may seem to afford to the [Page 82] Prejudice of our common Cause. I shall therefore at present on [...]y propose such things to the Gen­tlewomans Consideration, as may let her understand the weakness of this Argument (how Popular soever) when they conclude us either mistaken our Selves, or, at least, unfit to Guide others in the General Reformation; because we are not all agreed in all the Parti­culars.

To this purpose it will be at present sufficient to insist on two things: 1. That there is no rea­son why the Romanists should up­braid Us with this Argument, and that it is their Interest, as well as ours, to Answer it: 2. That the Argument it self is of no force as it is used by them against us.

  • [Page 83]1. There is no Reason why the Romanists should upbraid Us with this Argument, and they, as well as we, are obliged to Answer it. For,
    • 1. This very Argument was by the Primitive Heathens made use of against Christianity in General, as it is now against Us; and our Adversaries would do well to consider, whether the same An­swers pleadable by themselves now in behalf of those Christians, and actually pleaded by the Apolo­gists then, be not as pleadable for Us now. Nay, this multitude of Sects in Christianity is even now the great Argument of Irreligious Persons against the Truth of Re­ligion; and I cannot believe that any Piously disposed Person a­mong them, can be pleased to al­low [Page 84] the Argument to be of any force in either Case, rather than want an Argument against Us. Yet I believe they will never be able to shew any Disparity.
    • 2. If they speak, not of Divi­ding Principles, but of actual Di­visions, they, as well as we, have such among themselves. They have Divisions betwixt the Irish Re­monstrants and Anti-Remon­strants, Molinists and Jansenists, as well as Thomists and Scotists, and Jesuites, some of which Parties are Divided as well in Communi­on as in Opinions. If they say that these Divisions are not the faults of their Opinions, but the particular perversity of Persons, who will not stick to those Prin­ciples which might keep them U­nited, when their Interest inclines [Page 85] them otherwise; the same will be pretended by every Dividing Party. If they think it Injuri­ous that their whole Communion should be charged with the mis­demeanors of Persons condemned by it; We all of Us plead the same, for there is no Party that does not condemn all others in those things wherein they Divide from themselves.
    • 3. If they think our Differen­ces concerning the Particulars we would have Reformed, an Argu­ment that the whole design of a Reformation is in it self Suspici­ous and Uncertain; let them con­sider what themselves do or can say, when they are, in the like way of Arguing, urged by Us with the several Opinions con­cerning the Seat of Infallibility; [Page 86] whence our Authors conclude the Uncertainty of the thing it self. It might easily have been shewn, upon this and the like Occasions, how they do, and are obliged to, acknowledge the Unreasonable­ness of this way of Arguing. But the designed Brevity of my pre­sent Employment only permits me to point at the Heads of what might be said, not to enlarge on the Particulars.
    • 4. It might have been shewn that these Differences among them concerning the Judge of Contro­versies, tend Naturally, and by due Rational Consequence, to the dissolution of their Communion, a Charge which we think cannot be proved against that which we believe the Right Communion.
  • [Page 87]2. Therefore, to shew directly the weakness of this Argu­ment, Let it be considered
    • 1. That whatever Differences they upbraid us with, yet they can never prove that they follow by any Natural and Rational Conse­quence from the General Principles of the Reformation, though possi­bly they may indeed have been occasioned by that Liberty of Spi­rit which was absolutely requisite for undertaking a design of such a Nature; as it must on all sides be acknowledged possible that things really good may notwithstanding prove occasions of Evil. And how very Unjust and Unreasonable it is to charge Personal Faults upon Designs (that is in this Case the faults of Reformers upon the Re­formation) all, even the Romanists [Page 88] themselves, will acknowledge, in Cases wherein they are dis-inter­essed.
    • 2. That, this being Supposed, all that they can conclude from these Divisions of the Reformers, is only, that no one Communion of the Re­formers has that advantage over the rest as that, Antecedently to all Enquiry into the merit of the Cause,its Word is fit to be trusted as a Guide in Controversies, to assure any of its own Truth, and of the Error of all differing from it. This, if the Gentlewoman will observe, She will find that their Arguments from this and the like Topicks, only aim at. For because they challenge such a Priviledge themselves, they fancy Us to do so to; and that our design is not to overthrow a Judge of Controver­sies, [Page 89] but only to translate that Title from the Pope to Luther, or some others of our eminent Reformers, which is far from our design. But this difference in Opinion does not in the least prove, but that, upon a particular Enquiry into the merit of the Cause, one Party may be found to have the advantage of the other, which is all that we pretend to.
    • 3. That this difference of the se­veral Parties of the Reformation in other things, is rather a very strong Presumption (for an Igno­rant Person who must conduct her self by Presumptions) that there is great reason for those things where­in they are all agreed, and indeed is a greater Argument for the Cre­dibility of the Reformation in ge­neral, than for that of the Roman [Page 90] Communion. For to a dis-inter­essed Person the Agreement of those is a more valuable Argument for the Truth of what they say, who seem most of all acted by the merit of the things, and least of all influenced by the Opinions and Authorities of a few; and there can hardly be conceived a more con­siderable Argument of their free­dom in Judgment, than their actual difference in other things. What therefore the Protestants are a­greed in, seems more likely to be the real sense of all that are so a­greed upon an Impartial Enqui­ry; whereas the Romanists are ge­nerally Influenced by a few of the Court of Rome, to whom the rest do generally conceive themselves obliged in Conscience to con­form. And this advantage of the [Page 91] differences of Protestants for re­commending their Credibility in other things, above that of their Adversaries, to the Trust of an Ignorant Person, will appear the more remarkable, if it be consi­dered
    • 4. That they are not only agreed in general in the fitness of a Refor­mation, but also in most of the Particulars to be Reformed. In­deed if they were only agreed in general, that it were fit a Refor­mation should be, but agreed in no Particulars; it might seem too probable a Suspicion, that it was not Truth, but Faction, and the di­sturbance of the Publick, that was their common design. But that is far from being the Case here.
    • 5. The Divisions of the Prote­stants in Doctrine are not so irre­concileable [Page 92] as they may seem. The Harmony of Confessions shew them agreed in the Principal. As for the others, it is plain that our Church of England does not think them worth contending for, whilst She admits the several Parties into her Communion; and if other Prote­stants think otherwise, yet She is not Responsible for them, because She is not of their mind. The most pernicious Principles of all, which most Naturally tend to Di­vision, and which make the dif­ferences resulting from them most impossible to be reconciled, are the differences concerning Church Government; and in that our Church has Innovated nothing that should cause any breach, even from the Roman, much less from any other part of the Catho­lick [Page 93] Church. And most of their other Differences are no longer Ir­reconcileable than the Persons are likely to continue averse to Re­conciliation; but these Differences about Church-Government are so derived from the nature of the Things, as that they may Cause Division among Persons otherwise well-meaning, and of a Peaceable Disposition.
    • 6. This Argument from the Divisions of Protestants, is prin­cipally proper for such as are not actually engaged in any particular Communion of them, and even to them ought to have no more force than that of a Prudent Presump­tion, till the Person so Presuming might have leasure to examine Particulars. But that seems not to be the Gentlewomans Case [Page 94] whom I suppose to have been hi­therto educated in the Church of England, and to have had suffici­ent opportunities of Informing her self concerning us. For such a one it would sure be sufficient that our Church is no way guilty of these Divisions, whatsoever may be the Case of other Protestants.

Q. 5. Why the Church of Eng­land doth not hold up to Confession, Fasting-days, Holy Oyl, which we our Selves commend?

IT is a mistake that the Que­stionist does suppose Us to commend Holy Oyl.

However we think all the In­stances [Page 95] here mentioned lawful and indifferent, and so to be as obnoxi­ous to the Prudence of particular Church-Governors, as other things of that nature are by all acknow­ledged to be; and we shall con­ceive our Selves secure of the Gentlewomans Communion, if She will not alter till our Adver­saries prove them necessary Ante­cedently to Church Authority, which is more than they will as much as pretend to, at least, con­cerning some of them.

These things therefore being thus supposed, I shall propose two things to the Gentlewomans Consideration: 1. That supposing We were to blame in omitting them, yet this were no ground for Her to leave our Communion: 2. That as far as they are not im­posed [Page 96] by our Church, there was reason for their not imposing them.

  • 1. Supposing that we were indeed to blame in omit­ting these Ecclesiastical Observances, yet this would be no sufficient ground to excuse the Gen­tlewoman for leaving our Communion. For
    • 1. No Indifferent thing, how imprudent or inexpedient soever (and that is the highest Charge that the Churches mistake in a matter of this nature, is chargea­ble withal, as long as the Object is supposed of its own nature In­different) as long as it is not sin­ful (and certainly it can be no Sin to submit for Peace's sake to an imprudent Constitution) can ex­cuse [Page 97] a departure from a Commu­nion that is in other regards al­lowable.
    • 2. Whatever a Separation on this account might be in others, yet it is less excusable in Subjects, who are no way Responsible for as much as the Imprudences of such Constitutions, and who are cer­tainly bound to bear with all to­lerable frailties of their lawful Governours, and who are not in­deed so well qualified for Judg­ing concerning them, as neither being so well skilled in Politicks generally, nor being made ac­quainted with the secret Reasons of such Constitutions, which might make that, which without them might seem strange, appear highly commendable when consi­dered with them
    • [Page 98]3. The Gentlewomans Sex, and possibly her particular Conditi­on, may not have those Advanta­ges which many others (though Subjects also) have for Judging concerning them.
  • These Arguments are so agreea­ble to the Principles of our Ad­versaries themselves, as that they frequently make use of them for retaining Persons in their own Communion. Which the Gentle­woman may be pleased to take notice of, if any of her Tempters should Question them here, where they are disserviceable to their Interests. But farther
    • 4. Abuses in Governours ac­knowledging themselves Fallible (though they be supposed indeed to be Abuses) are much more to­lerable than in those who do not; [Page 99] seeing there may be hopes that Go­vernours, acknowledging them­selves Fallible, my in time be bet­ter informed, and may then them­selves reform what is amiss, with­out the compulsion of their Sub­jects; which can never be expe­cted from such as pretend to be Infallible.
    • 5. If Abuses of this Nature be conceived a sufficient Reason for leaving a Communion wherein we are already, much more are they sufficient for hindring our access to another, wherein as yet we are not. So that this same Reason, if it should make her desert the Communion of the Church of England, would also hinder her joyning in that of Rome, in which the most Judicious and Candid Persons of that Communion will [Page 100] acknowledge Abuses of the like nature.

  • 2. As far as these Omissions are countenanced by our Church, there is reason for it.

    I say [as far as they are counten­anced by our Church] and there­fore the reason I shall give for such Omissions shall be as they are considered under that Notion.

    • 1. Therefore, for Fasting Days, I think they are imposed with the same design of Religion in our Church as in that of Rome (for that account of Jejunium Cecili­anum, which is given by some, is not taken for the true sense of our Church by her most genuine Sons) and that our Church is con­ceived to have as much Authori­ty to oblige her Subjects in Impo­sitions [Page 101] of that Nature, so that I cannot look on this disuse pre­vailing in Practice as countenan­ced by our Church. If the Gen­tlewoman be so zealously con­cerned for them, I am sure She may Practice them in our Commu­nion, as well as in that of Rome, as several others do.
    • 2. Confession, even to a Priest, in order to his Advice and Absolu­tion, our Church, I think, owns as much as that of Rome; though we do not make it a Sacrament, nor make it absolutely necessary, in an ordinary way, for the remission of every particular Sin, that it be par­ticularly confessed: That the Pra­ctice of it is at present disconti­nued, our Church, I think, is not the Cause. That She has not in­terposed her Authority to con­tinue [Page 102] it, might have been excu­sed:
      • 1. Because the thing is only of Ecclesiastical Right. For the ancientest obligation to con­fess Sins, though scandalous in their own nature, yet not be­come notorious (though that differed much from the Con­fession which is now used in the Roman Church) was first introduced after the Perse­cution by Decius, and that in opposition to the Novatians, as Socrates affirms; and this was also afterwards taken awav by Nectarius Bishop of Constantinople, who order­ed every one to be left to his own Conscience in that mat­ter, for which other Bishops were so far from censuring [Page 103] him, that they followed him in it almost in all places, as the same Historian tells us, and that omission was vehe­mently pleaded for by St. Chrysostome, and obtained for no small time in the Greek Church, whatsoever it did in other places. Whence it follows that She has power, in discretion, to determine concerning its actual practice what She thinks fit.
      • 2. Farther, this being suppo­sed, that it was in our Churches power not to Im­pose it, that She did act pru­dently in not Imposing it, but rather recommending it to the Liberty of private De­votions, will appear, if it be considered that, if She had [Page 104] imposed it, She must necessa­rily have excluded all such fr [...] her Communion as had not been satisfied with it; and it had not been Prudent to have excluded Persons from her Communion for Indifferent things avoidable by her, when She was com­plaining of the like Tyran­ny In the Church of Rome, especially considering that it was also likely that the number was great of those who were so dissatisfied with it.
    • However, if the Gentlewoman be desirous to Practice it for her own Edification, I believe She may be furnished with Persons fitted for it in the Church of Eng­land.
    • [Page 105]3. As for the use of Holy Oyl in any of the pretended Sacraments, we do not so far condemn it, as to refuse Communion with other Churches that use it; nay, we our Selves retain it as a decent Cere­mony of Consecration in the Coro­nations of our Princes. Only we again conceive it
      • 1. A matter indifferent in it self, and not Essential to those Offices, because of the diffe­rences in the Church con­cerning it.
      • 2. This being supposed, our Church does no way conceive it Prudent to continue it: both because it was the de­sign of the Reformation to reduce the Sacraments to their Primitive Simplicity, that so Persons might Com­Communicate [Page 106] in them on the same free terms as then; and because the Errors of those who made them Essential to the Mysteries, were of great Consequence, and very fit to be so discountenanced by a discontinuance of the Pra­ctice it self.
    • If by the Holy Oyl here men­tioned, be meant particularly their Sacrament of Extreme Un­ction, [...]. Our Adversaries cannot prove a Sacramental Unction for the first Centuries. A Miracu­lous one they may, but seeing themselves confess the ordinary Use of the Miracle to have ceas­ed, there is no necessary reason ob­liging our Church to continue the external Ceremony. This is at least sufficient to shew that it is in the [Page 107] Churches power to continue it, or not. Which being supposed, I add, 2. That even in regard of the be­nefit expected by it, whether of Bodily recovery, or remission of sins, or Spiritual strength against the Agony of Death, the Gentlewoman, nor any other Subject of our Church, can suffer no loss by our Church's discontinuance of it. For all these things are as certainly attainable by the means continu­ed in our Church from Unquesti­onable Apostolical Tradition (as the Prayers and Absolution of the Priest and the blessed Sacrament) as they could by the Unction it self; so that I cannot perceive how a devout Person need to be concerned for the want of it, on the terms now mentioned. Espe­cially considering 3. That in the [Page 108] way it is Administred among them, to Persons past hopes of re­covery, and usually past sense of their own condition, it cannot be conceived in any rational way, capable of Edifying the Devoti­on of the Person concerned, and no other way is suitable to the Dispensation of the Gospel. And supposing it no Sacrament, there is no reason imaginable why the Prayers of the Assistants for such a Person may not be as accepta­ble to God, without the observa­tion of this external Ceremony, as with it. And as upon these concessions its Continuance must needs appear unnecessary, so 4. It would be inexpedient to countenance the Errors conse­quent to the Opinion of its being a Sacrament, which are of so [Page 109] weighty a concernment, by conti­nuance of a Custom which may so easily be spared. These things may suffice at present for satisfying the Gentlewoman of her little con­cernment for it, without engage­ing on the Dispute concerning its lawfulness.

Now this Fundamental Princi­ple of our Churches Proceedings in these and the like Particulars, concerning the power of the Church for Innovating from An­cient Customes, not only by Ad­ding new ones, but Abrogating old ones, might have been proved not only from the Principles, but from several Practices of the Roman Church her self.

Q. 6. Why was Reformation done by Act of Parlia­ment?

REformation may be consider­ed two wayes: Either

  • 1. As preached and imposed un­der pain of Spiritual Censures, and of Exclusion from the Communi­on of the Church, and a depriva­tion of all the Priviledges conse­quent to that Communion. And this is certainly the Right of the Church, and was accordingly pra­cticed by the Church in our Eng­lish Reformation:
  • 2. As Enacted as a Law of [Page 111] the Land, and consequently as urged the same way as other Laws are, under temporal Penal­ties and external Coercion, and encouraged by temporal Advan­tages. And this is undoubtedly the Right of the Secular power. And this was all in which the Secular power did concern it self in the Reformation.

What I can further foresee in favour of our Adversaries is, that 1. The Secular Power ought in Con­science to be herein advised by the Ecclesiasticks: and 2. That though external obedience may be paid to the mistaken Decrees of the Secu­lar power following the mistaken part of the Ecclesiasticks, yet the Obligation (in Conscience and Right) of such Decrees must be derived from the Justice of the [Page 112] Churches proceedings in advi­sing the Magistrate ▪ so that no Act of the Magistrate can make amends for any Essential defect in the proceedings of the Church. But the only Effect of the Magi­strates concurrence in that Case is, that what is already perform­ed without Heresy or Schism in the Church, may be by that means settled in such a particular Commonwealth without Schism or Sedition in the State. And therefore seeing they suppose that at the Reformation the greater number of the Bishops then being, were overawed and deprived of the Liberty of their Votes by the Secular Magistrate, and it is the nature of all So­cieties to be swayed by the greater Part; therefore they [Page 113] may think it unreasonable to as­cribe the Reformation to the Church of England, but only to a Schismatical part of it; so that the Magistrate having at­tempted this Reformation with­out warrant from the Church, they think they do well to call our Reformation it self Parlia­mentary.

To this therefore I Reply,

  • 1. That the use we make of this Topick of the Magistrates concurrence, is indeed no other than to clear our Reformation from being Seditious, which is ordinarily charged on Us by our Adversaries, and much more or­dinarily on the forreign Prote­stants.
  • [Page 114]2. That for clearing the very proceedings of the Magistracy from being Heretical or Schisma­tical, to the Conscience of the Magistracy it self, it is sufficient that the Magistracy gave its As­sistance and Protection to no other Church, but such as, at least, ac­cording to the genuine Dictate of their Conscience, was neither Heretical nor Schismatical. But this Justification of the private Conscience of the Magistracy is, I confess, a thing we are at pre­sent not so necessarily concerned for; and therefore
  • 3. We grant farther, that for satisfying our own Consciences of the Justice of these proceed­ings of the Magistracy, it is re­quisitethat we be satisfied that they were Advised by that part [Page 115] of the Clergy, whose Advice we conceive they ought to have fol­lowed. So that if this may ap­pear in the Case we are speaking of, this, and this alone, will be a sufficient Vindication of the Magistrates proceedings to the Consciences of its Subjects.
  • 4. Therefore the Determina­tion of the Justice of the Advice followed by the Magistrate, may be resolved two wayes: Either from the merit of the Cause; or from the Legal Authority and Right the Persons may be pre­sumed to have to be consulted on such occasions. As for the for­mer, it is in the present Case the principal Dispute, Whether the Reformation undertaken by the Magistrate, was right or not? and therefore very unfit to be re­lyed [Page 116] on as a Presumption to prove the Magistrates proceedings Irre­gular. The later therefore only is proper to be insisted on here. And it consists of two charges: That by the Laws of the Land the Magistrate ought to have been advised by the Bishops then pos­sessed of the several Sees; and That in advising with the Clergy, whoever they were, he ought to have allowed them the Liberty of speaking their minds, and to have been swayed by the greater part. These things are conce [...]v­ed so necessary, as that the Ma­gistrate not observing them, may be presumed to act as no way in­fluenced by the Clergy. Which is the Reason why they call our Reformation, wherein they suppose them not observed, Parliamentary.

[Page 117]1. Therefore as to the Legal Right of the Popish Clergy to advise the Se­cular Magistrate, two things may be Replyed:

  • 1. That this Legal Right may be forfeited by the Persons by their Personal misdemeanors, and of this forfeiture the Secular Ma­gistrate himself is the proper Judge; and that this was exactly the Popish Bishops Case at that time.
  • 2. That the consideration of this Legal Right is of no use for satisfying the Consciences of their Subjects, which yet is the only use that is seasonable for this occa­sion.

2. As for the Canonical freedom to be allowed them in advising, and the [Page 118] obligation of the Magi­strate to follow the advice of the greater part: These Canonical Rights can only satisfie the Consciences of their own Communion, but cannot be pretended necessary to be observed, where there are diffe­rent Communions. For

  • 1. The Romanists themselves never allow that freedom to Per­sons out of their Communion, as was plain in the Council of Trent, and still appears on all occasions.
  • 2. Especially in particular National Churches, as ours was, they themselves will not deny that the greater part may prove Heretical, and therefore likely to prevail by Plurality of Votes; [Page 119] in which Case themselves would notwithstanding think it unequal for the Magistrate to be swayed by them.
  • 3. This has alwaies been the Practice of the Church, and the Catholick Emperors, never to al­low any Canonical Right to the Assemblies and Censures of He­reticks, as Athanasius was resto­red first by Maximinus Bishop of Triers, then by Pope Julius, after that by Maximus Bishop of Jerusalem, and at last by the Em­perour Jovinian, without any Canonical revocation of the Sy­nods that had condemned him. Many Instances of the like Na­ture might be given.
  • [Page 120]4. The Popish Clergy had given the first Precedent of this Liber­ty themselves, in refusing to ad­mit of the Canonical Appeal of the Protestants from the Pope to a free General Council.
FINIS.

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