ANIMADVERSIONS ON A TREATISE Intituled Fiat Lux: OR, A Guide in Differences of Religion, between Papist and Protestant, Presbyterian and Independent.

By a Protestant.

LONDON; Printed by E. Cotes, for Henry Cripps in Popes-head-alley, and George West in Oxford, 1662.

To the Reader.

READER,

THe Treatise, intituled Fia [...] Lux, which thou wilt find examined in the ensuing Discourse, was lent unto me, not long since, by an Honorable Per­son, with a request to return an Answer unto it. It had not been many hours in my hand, before the same desire was seconded by others. Having made no ingagement unto the person of whom I received it, the Book, after some few days, was rem [...]nded; yet, as it fell out, not before I had finished my Animadversions upon it. But before I could send my papers to the Press, I heard of a second Edition of that Treatise; which also occasionally coming to my hands, I perceived it had been Printed some good while before I saw or heard of the first. Finding the bulk of the Discourse increased, I thought it needful to go through it once more, to see if any thing of moment were added to that Edition which I had considered, or any alte­rations [Page] made by the Authors second thoughts. This somewhat discouraged me, tha [...], my first Book being gone, I could not compare the Editions, but must trust to my memory, none of the best, as to what [...], or was not, in that I had perused. But not designing any use in a mere comparing of the Editions, but only to consider, whether in either of them any thing material was remaining, either not heeded by me, in my hasty passage through the first, or added in the second, un­discussed; I thought it of no great concern­ment to enquire again after the first Book. What of that nature offered its self unto me, I cast my thoughts upon, into the Margin of what was before written, inserting it into the same continued Discourse. I therefore desire the Reader, that he may not suspect himself deceived, to take notice▪ that what­ever quotations out of that Treatise he meets withal, the number of pages throughout, an­swers the first Edition of it.

Of the Author of that Discourse, and his design therein, I have but little to premise. He seems at first view to be a Napthali, an Hind let loose, and to give goodly words. But though the voice we hear from him some­times, be the voice of Jacob; yet the hands [Page] that put forth themselves, in his progress, are the hands of Esau. Moderation is pre­tended, but his counsels for peace, center in an advice for the extermination of the Ishmael (as he esteems it) of Protestancy. We know full well, that the words he begins to flourish withal, are not Vox ultima Papae. A disco­very of the inconsistency of his real and pre­tended design, is one part of our business. In­deed, an attentive Reader, cannot but quickly discern, that perswasions unto Moderation in different professions of Christian Religion, with a relinguishment of all others to an em­bracement of Popery, be they never so finely smoothed, must needs interfere. But yet with words, at such real variance among themselves, doth our Author hope to impose his sentiments in Religion, on the minds of noble and ingenious persons, not yet accustomed to those severer thoughts and studies, which are needful to form an exact Judgement in things of this nature. That he should upon any obtain both his ends, Moderation, and Popery, is impossible. No two things are [...] inconsistent. Let him cease the pursuit of the latter, and we will follow after the for­mer with him, or without him. And if any man be so unhappily simple, as to think to [Page] come to Moderation in Religion-fewds, by turning Romanist, I shall leave him for his conviction to the mistress of such wise men. My present business is, as I find, to separate between his pleas for the Moderation preten­ded; and those for Popery really, aimed at. What force there may be in his Reasons, for that which he would not have, I shall not ex­amine, but shall manifest that there is none, in them he uses for what he would. And, Reader, if this hasty attempt for the pre­vention of the Application of them find ac­ceptance with thee, I shall, it may be, ere long, give thee a full account of the new Wayes and Principles, which our Author, and the men of the same perswasion, have of late years resolved on, for the promotion of their Cause and Interest.

Farewel.

PREFACE.

COnsidering the condition of Affairs in these Nations, in reference to the late Miscar­riages, and present Distem­pers of men about Religion; it was no hard Conjecture, that some would im­prove the Advantage, seeming so fairly to present it self unto them, unto ends of their own: Men of prudence, ability, and leasure, engaged by all bonds ima­ginable in the persuit of any special In­terest, need little minding of the com­mon wayes of wisdom for its promotion. They know, that he that would fashion Iron into the image and likeness which he hath fancied, must strike whilst it is hot; when the adventitious efficacy of the fire it hath admitted, makes it plia­ble to that whereunto in its own nature, it is most opposite. Such seems to be, in these dayes, the temper of men in Reli­gion, [Page 2] from those flames wherewith some have been scorched, others heated, all provoked, and made fit to receive new impressions, if wisely hammered. Nei­ther was it a difficult Prognostication for any one to fore-tel, what Arguments and Mediums would be made use of, to animate and enliven the perswasions of men, who had either right, or confidence enough, to plead or pretend a Disinterest in our miscariages, for an embracement of their profession. Commonly with men that indulge to passion and distempers, as the most of men are apt to do, the last provocation blots out the remembrance of preceding crimes no less heinous. And what ever to the contrary is pre­tended, men usually have not that in­dignation against Principles which have produced evils they have only heard or read of; that they have against Practi­ces under which they have personally suffered. Hence it might easily be ex­spected, that the Romanists, supposing, at least by the help of those paroxysms they discern amongst us, that the mis­cariages of some of their Adversaries would prove a garment large enough [Page 3] to cover and hide their own, would, with much confidence, improve them to their special advantage. Nor is it other­wise come to pass. This perswasion and suitable practice thereon, runs through all the veins of the Discourse, we have proposed to consideration; making that seem quick and sprightly, which other­wise would have been but an heap, or a carcass.

That then this sort of men would not only be angling in the lesser brooks of our troubled waters, endeavouring to enveigle wandring loose and disconten­ted individuals, which hath been their constant employment; but also come with their nets into our open streams; was the thoughts of all men, who count themselves concerned to think of such things as these. There is scarce a for­ward Emissary amongst them, who cries not in such a season; An ego occasionem mihi ostentatam, tantam, tam bonam, tam optatam, tam insperatam, amitterem? What baits and tacklings they would principally make use of, was also fore­known. But the way and manner which they would fix on for the mannagement [Page 4] of their Design, now displayed in this Discourse, lay not, I confess, under an ordinary prospect. For, as to what course the wisdom of men will steer them, in various alterations, [...], He is no mean Prophet that can but indifferently guess. But yet there wanted not some beams of light to guide men in the exercise of their Stocastick faculty, even as to this also. That accommodation of Religion, and all its concernments unto the hu­mours, fancies, and conversations of men, wherewith some of late have pleased themselves, and layed snares for the ruine of others, did shrewdly portend, what in this attempt of the same party we were to expect. Of this Nature is that Poetical strain of Devotion so much applauded and prevailing in our neigh­bour-Kingdom; whereby men, ignorant of the heavenly power of the Gospel, not only to resist, but to subdue the strongest lusts and most towring imagi­nations of the sons of men, do labour in soft and delicate Rhymes, to attemperate Religion unto the loose and aery fancies of Persons wholly indulging their minds [Page 5] to vanity and pleasure. A fond attempt of men not knowing how to manage the sublime, spiritual, severe Truths of the Gospel, to the ingenerating of Faith and Devotion in the souls of sinners; but yet that which they suppose is the only way left them to prevent the keeping of Religion, and the most of the [...] party at a perpetual distance! So Ma­homet saw it necessary to go to the Mountain, when the Mountain for all his calling would not come to him. And of the same sort is the greatest part of the Casuistical Divinity of the Jesuits. A meer accommodation of the Princi­ples of Religion to the filthy lusts and wicked lives of men, who on no other terms would resign the conduct of their souls unto them, seems to be their main design in it. On these effects of others, he that would have pondered what a wise and observing person of the same Interest with them, might apprehend of the present tempers, distempers, humors, interests, provocations, fancies, lives of them, with whom he intends to deal, could not have failed of some advantage in his conjectures at the way and manner [Page 6] wherein he would proceed in treating of them, It is of the many, of whom we speak; on whose countenances, and in whose lives he that runs may read provo­cations from former miscarriages, supine negligence of spiritual and eternal con­cernments, ignorance of [...]hings past be­yond what they can remember in their own dayes, sloth in the disquisition of the truth, willingness to be accommo­dated with a Religion pretended secure and unconcerned in present disputes, that may save them and their sins to­gether without further trouble, de­light in queint language and Poetical strains of Eloquence, whereunto they are accustomed at the Stage, with sun­dry o [...]her inward accout [...]ements of mind not unlike to these. To this frame and temper of spirin, this composition of, humours; it was not improbable, but that those who should first enter into the Lists in this design, would accom­modate their style and manner of pro­cedure; Nec spe [...] fefellis expectatio. The Treatise under consideration, hath fully answered what ever was of conjecture in this kind. Frequent repetitions of [Page 7] late provocations, with the crimes of the provokers; confident and undue as­sertions of things past in the dayes of old; large promises of security tempo­ral and eternal, to Nations and all In­dividuals in them; of facility in coming to perfection in Religion without more pains of teaching, learning, or fear of opposition; all interwoven with tart Sar­casms, pleasant diversions; pretty Stories of himself & others, flourished over with a smooth and handsom strain of Rheto­rick, do apparently make up the bulk of our Author's discourse. Nor is the Ro­mance of his conversion, much influenced by the tinckling of Bells, and sweeping of Churches, suited unto any other princi­ples: A matter, I confess, so much the more admirable, because, as I suppose it, in the way mentioned, to have bin his singular lot and good hap; so it was utterly impossible, that for five hundred, I may say a thousand years after Christ, any man should on these motives be turned to any Religion, most of them being not in those days in rerum na­tura. A way of handling Religion he hath fixed on, which, as, I suppose, he [Page 8] will himself acknowledge, that the first Planters of it were ignorant of; so I will promise him, that if he can for a thou­sand years after they began their work, instance in any one Book of an approved Catholick Author, written with the same design that this is, he shall have one Proselyte to his Profession; which is more, I suppose, then otherwise he will obtain by his learned labour. That this is no other, but to perswade men, that they can find no certainty or esta­blishment for their Faith in Scripture, but must for it devolve themselves solely on the Authority of the Pope, will afterwards be made to appear, nor will himself deny it. But it may be, it is unreasonable, that when men are ea­gerly engaged in the persuit of their Interest, we should think from former Presidents, or general Rules of Sobriety, with that reverence which is due to the things of the great and holy God, to impose upon them the way and manner of their progress. The event and end aimed at, is that which we are to respect; the management of their business in reference to this world and [Page 9] that which is to come, is their own concernment. No man, I suppose, who hath any acquaintance with the things he treats about, can abstain from smiling, to observe how dexterously he turns and winds himself in his Cloak, (which is not every ones work to dance in) how he gilds over the more comely parts of his Amasia, with brave suppo­sitions, presumptions, and stories of things past and present, where he has been in his dayes; covering her deformities with a perpetual silence; ever and anon bespattering the first Reformation and Reformers in his passage. Yea, their contentment must needs proceed to an high degree of complacence, in whom compassion for the woful state of them whom so able a man judgeth like to be enveigled by such flourishes and pre­tences, doth not excite to other af­fections. The truth is, if ever there blew a wind of Doctrine on unwary souls [...], we have an instance of it in this Discourse. Such a dispo­sposition of cogging slights, various drafts in entising words, is rarely met [Page 10] with. Many, I think, are not able to take this course in handling the Sacred things of God, and Eternal concernments of Men; and more, I hope, dare not. But our Author is another man's Ser­vant; I shall not judge him, he stands or falls to his own Master. That which the importunity of some Noble Friends hath compelled me unto is, to offer somewhat to the judgement of impartial men, that may serve to unmask him of his gilded pretences, and to lay open the emptiness of those prejudices and presumptions wherewith he makes such a tinckling noyse in the ears of unlearned and unstable persons. Occasion of serious debate is very little administred by him; that which is the task assigned me, I shall as fully discharge, as the few hours allot­ted to its performance will allow.

In my dealing with him, I shall not make it my business to defend the seve­ral Parties, whereinto the men of his contest are distributed by our Author as such; not all, not any of them. It is the common Protestant Cause which, in and by all of them, he seeks to op­pose so far as they are interested and [Page 11] concerned therein; they fall all of them within the bounds of our present Defen­sative. Wherein they differ one from another, or any, or all of them do, or may, swerve from the common Principles of the Protestant Religion; I have no­thing to do with them in this business: And if any be so far addicted to their Parties, wherein, it may be, they are in the wrong, as to choose rather not to be vindicated and pleaded for, in that wherein with others I know they are in the right, than to be joyned in the same plea with them from whom in part they differ, I cannot help it. I pretend not their Commission for what I do; and they may, when they please, disclaim my appearance for them. I suppose, by this course, I shall please very few, and, I am sure, I shall displease some, if not many: I aim at neither, but to pro­fit all. I have sundry reasons for not owning or avowing particularly any Party in this Discourse, so as to judge the rest, wherewith I am not bound to acquaint the World. One of them I shall, and, I hope, it is such an one, as may suffice ingenious and impartial men, [Page 12] and thereunto some others may be add­ed. The Gentleman whose Discourse I have undertaken the consideration of, was pleased to front and close it, with a part of a Speech of my Lord Chancellor's; and his placing of it mani­fests how he uses it. He salutes it in his Entrance, and takes his leave also of it, never regarding its intendment, until coming to the close of his Trea­tise, to his Salve in the beginning, he adds an aeternùm Vale. That the men­tion of such an excellent Discourse, the best part in both our Books, might not be lost, I have suited my Plea and De­sensative of Protestantism, to the spirit and principles and excellent ratiocina­tions of it; behind that Shield I lay the manner of my Proceeding, where, if it be not safe, I care not what be­comes of it. Besides, it is not for what the men of his Title-page are dif­ferenced amongst themselves, that our Author blames them, but for what he thinks they agree in too well, in refe­rence to the Church of Rome; nor doth be insist on the evils of their Contests to perswade them to Peace amongst [Page 13] themselves, or to prevail over them to center in any one Perswasion about which they contend, but to lead them all, over to the Pope. And if any of them with whom our Author deals and sports himself in his Treatise, are fallen off from the Fundamental denominating Principles of Protestant Religion, as some of them seem to be, they come not within the compass of our plea, seeing, as such, they are not dealt with by our Author. It is the Protestant Re­ligion in general, which he charges with all the irregularities, uncertain­ties, and evils, that he exspatiates about; and from the Principles of it, doth he endeavour to withdraw us. As to the case then under debate with him, it is enough, if we manifest that that Profes­sion of Religion is not lyable or ob­noxious to any of the crimes or incon­veniences by him objected unto it; and, that the Remedy of our Evils, whether real or imaginary, which he would im­pose upon us, is so far from being spe­cifical towards their Cure, that it is in­deed far worse then the Disease pre­tended: to the full as undesirable as [Page 14] the cutting of the throat, for the cure of a fore-finger. There is no reason therefore in this business, wherefore I should avow any one Perswasion about which Protestants that consent in gene­ral in the same Confession of Faith, may have or actually have difference amongst themselves; especially, if I do also e­vince, there is no cogency in them, to cause any of them to renounce the Truth wherein they all agree.

Much less shall I undertake to plead for, excuse, or palliate the miscarriages of any Part or Parties of men during our late unhappy Troubles: Nor shall I make much use of what offers it self in a way of Recrimination. Certain it is, that as to this Gentleman's pretensions, sun­dry things might be insisted on, that would serve to allay the fierceness of his spirit, in his management of other mens crimes to his own ends and pur­poses. The sound of our late Evils, as it is known to all the World, began in Ireland, amongst his good Roman-Catho­licks, who were blessed from Rome into Rebellion and Murder, somewhat before any drop of bloud was shed in England, or Scotland,

[Page 15]
— Oculis malè lippus inunctis
Cur in amicorum vitiis tam cernis acutùm
Quàm aut Aquila aut Serpens Epidaurius?

Let them that are innocent throw stones at others; Roman-Catholicks are unfit to be imployed in that work. But it was never judged either a safe or honest way, to judge of any Religion by the practises of some that have professed it. Men by Doctrines and Principles, nor Doctrines by Men; was the trial of old. And if this be a rule to guide our thoughts in reference to any Religion, namely, the Principles which it avows and asserts, I know none that can vye with the Romanists, in laying foundati­ons of, and making provision for, the disturbance of the Civil Peace of King­doms and Nations. For the present, unto the advantage taken by our Au­thor from our late unnatural Wars and Tumults to reflect on Protestancy, I shall only say, That, if all the Religion of Sinners be to be quitted and forsaken, I doubt, that professed by the Pope must be cashiered for company.

[Page 16]Least of all, shall I oppose my self to that moderation in the persuit of our Religious Interests, which he pretends to plead for. He that will plead against mutual forbearance in Religion, can be no Christian, at least no good one. Much less shall I impeach what he declaims against, that abominable Principle of di­sturbing the Peace of Kingdoms and Nations, under a pretence of defending, reforming or propagating of our Faith and Opinions. But I know, that neither the commendation of the former, nor the decrying of the latter, is the pro­per work of our Author; for, as the present Principles and past Practises of the men of that Church and Religion which he defends, will not allow him to entertain such hard thoughts of the latter, as he pretends unto; so as to the former, where he has made some progress in his work, and either warm­ed his zeal beyond his first intendment for its discovery, or has gotten some confidence, that he hath obtained a bet­ter acceptance with his Reader, then at the entrance of his Discourse he could lay claim unto, laying aside those [Page 17] counsels of moderation and forbearance which he had gilded over, he plainly declares, that the only way of procuring Peace amongst us, is by the extermina­tion of Protestancy. For having com­pared the Roman-Catholick to Isaack, the proper Heir of the House, and Pro­testants to Ishmael vexing him in his own Inheritance, the only way to ob­tain Peace, he tells us, is, Projiee an­cillam cum filio suo; Cast out the hand­maid with her son, that is, in the gloss of their former practices, either burn them at home, or send them to starve abroad. There is not the least reason then, why I should trouble my self with his flourishes and stories, his Charact­ers of us and our neighbour-Nations, in reference unto moderation and forbear­ance in Religion; that is not the thing by him intended; but is only used to give a false Alarum to his unwary Read­ers, whilst he marches away with a Rhetorical Perswasive unto Popery. In this it is wherein alone I shall at­tend his motions; and, if in our passage through his other Discourses, we meet with any thing lying, in a direct ten­dency [Page 18] unto his main end, though pre­tended to be used to another purpose, it shall not pass without some Animadver­sion.

Also, I shall be farr from contending with our Author in those things where­in his Discourse excelleth, and, that upon the two general reasons, of Wil and Abi­lity. Neither could I compare with him in them if I would, nor would if I could. His quaint Rhetorick, biting Sarcasms, fine Stories, smooth Expressions of his high contempt of them with whom he has to do; with many things of that sort, the repetition of whose Names hath got the reputation of incivility, are things wherein as I cannot keep pace with him, (for Illud possumus quod jure possumus); so I have no mind to follow him.

CHAP. I.

Our Author's Preface. And his Method.

IT is not any Disputation, or Ra­tional debate about Differences in Religion that our Author intends; nor, until towards the close of his Trea­tise, doth he at all fix directly on any thing in Controversie between Roma­nists and Protestants. In the former parts of his Discourse, his Design is sometimes covered, alwayes carryed on in the way of a Rhetorical Declamation; so, that it is not possible, and is alto­gether needless to trace all the parti­cular passages and expressions as they lye scattered up and down in his Dis­course, which he judgeth of advantage unto him in the mannagement of the [Page 20] work he has undertaken. Some Suppo­sitions there are which lye at the bot­tom of his whole Superstructure, quick­ning the Oratory and Rhetorical, part of it, (undoubtedly it's best,) which he chose rather to take for granted, then to take upon himself the trouble to prove. These being drawn forth and removed, what ever he hath built upon them, with all that paint and flourish wherewith it is adorned, will of it self fall to the ground. I shall then first briefly discuss what he offers as to the method of his procedure, and then take this for my own; Namely, I shall draw out and examin the Fundamental Principles of his Oration, upon whose tryal the whole must stand or fall, and then pass through the severals of the whole Treatise, with such Animadversi­ons, as what remaineth of it, may seem to require.

His method he speaks unto, pag. 13. My method, saith he, I do purposely con­ceal, to keep therein a more handsom deco­rum: for he that goes about to part a fighting fray, cannot observe a method, [...] must turn himself this way and that [Page 21] as occasion offers; be it a corporal or men­tal Duel. So did good Sc. Paul in his Epi­stle to the Romans, which of all his other E­pistles as it hath most of solidity, so it hath least of method in the context; the reason is, &c. These are handsom words, of a man that seems to have good thoughts of himself and his skill, in parting frays. But yet I see not how they hang well to­gether, as to any congruity of their sense and meaning. Surely, he that useth no method, nor can use any, cannot conceal his method; no, though he purpose so to do. No man's purpose to hide, will enable him to hide that which is not. If he hath concealed his method, he hath used one: if he hath used none, he hath not concealed it: for, that which is wanting cannot be numbered. Nor hath he by this, or any other means, kept any handsom decorum: not having once spoken the sense, or according to the Principles of him whom he undertakes to personate: which is such an obser­vance of a decorum as a man shall not lightly meet with. Nor hath he disco­vered any mind so to part a fray, as that the Contenders might hereafter live [Page 22] quietly one by another; his business being avowedly to perswade as many as he can to a conjunction in one Party, for the destruction of all the rest. And what ever he saith of not using a method, the method of his Discourse, with the good words it is set off withall, is the whole of his Interest in it: He pretends indeed, to pass through loca nullius an [...] Trita solo; yet setting aside his mannage­ment of the Advantages given him by the late miserable Tumults in these Na­tions; and the Provision he has made for the Entertainment of his Reade [...], are Worts boyled an hundred times over, as he knows well enough. And, for the method which he would have us believe not to be, and yet to be con­cealed, it is rather [...] then [...] rather a crafty various distribution of entising words, and plausible pretences to enveagle and delude men unlearned and unstable, then any decent contex­ture of, or fair progress in, a Rational Discourse, or Regular Disposition of nervous Topicks, to convince or per­swade the minds of men, who have their eyes in their heads. I shall therefore [Page 23] little trouble my self further about it, but only discover it as occasion shall re­quire; for, the Discovery of Sophistry is its proper Confutation.

However the course he steers is the same that good St. Paul used in his Epistle to the Romans, which hath, as he tells us, most of solidity and least of method of all his Epistles; I confess, I knew not before, that his Church had determined which of St. Paul's Epistles had most of solidity, which least. For I have such good thoughts of him, that, I suppose, he would not do it of his own head: nor do I know, that he is appointed Umpire to determin upon the Writings that came all of them by Inspiration from God, which is most solid. This therefore must needs be the sense of his Church, which he may be acquainted with, twenty wayes that I know not of. And here his Protestant vizor which by and by he will utterly cast off, fell off from him, I presume at unawares. That he be no more so entrapped, I wish he would take notice against the next time he hath occasion to personate a Prote­stant; that although for method purely [Page 24] adventitious and belonging to the ex­ternal manner of writing, Protestants may affirm, that one Epistle is more metho­dical then another, according to those Rules of method, which our selves, or other Worms of the Earth like to our selves, have invented; yet, for their so­lidity, which concerns the Matter of them, and Efficacy, for Conviction, they affirm them all equal. Nor is he more happy in what he intimates of the im­methodicalness of that Epistle to the Romans: For, as it is acknowledged by all good Expositors, that the Apostle useth a most clear distinct and exact method in that Epistle, whence most Theological Systems are composed by the Rule of it; so our Authour himself as­signeth such a design unto him, and the use of such wayes and means in the pro­secution of it, as argues a diligent ob­servation of a method. I confess, he is deceived in the occasion and intention of the Epistle, by following some few late Roman Expositors, neglecting the Analysis given of it by the Antients: but we may pass that by; because I find his aim in mentioning a false scope and de­sign, [Page 25] was not to acquaint us with his mistake, but to take an advantage to fall upon our Ministers; and I think, a little too early, for one so careful to keep an handsom decorum, for culling out of this Epistle Texts against the Chri­stian Doctrine of good Works done in Christ, by his special Grace, out of obedience to his command, with a promise of ever­lasting reward and intrinsick acceptability thence accrewing. Thus we see still

Incoeptis gravibus plerun (que) & magna professis
Purpureus latè qui splendeat unus & alter
Assuitur pan [...]us; —
Sed nunc nonerat his locus.

Use of Disputing, has cast him at the very entrance of his Discourse, upon, as he supposeth, a particular Controver­sie between Protestants and Roman-Ca­tholicks, quite besides his design and pur­pose; But instead of obtaining any ad­vantage, by this transgression of his own Rule, he is faln upon a new misadven­ture; and, that so much the greater be­cause it evidently discovers somewhat in him besides mistake. I am sure, I [Page 26] have heard as many of our Ministers Preach as he, and read as many of their Books as he, yet I can testifie, that I never heard or read them opposing the Christian doctrin of good works. Often I have heard and found them pressing a univer­sal Obedience to the whole Law of God teaching men to abound in good works, pressing the indispensable necessity of them from the commands of Law and Gospel, encouraging men unto them by the blessed promises of Acceptance and Reward in Christ, declaring them to be the way of mens coming to the King­dom of Heaven; affirming, that all that believe are created in Christ Jesus un­to good works, and for men to neglect, to despise them, is wilfully to neglect their own Salvation: But, opposing the Christian Doctrine of Good Works; and that with sayings [...]ulled out of St. Paul's Epi­stle to the Romans, I never heard, I ne­ver read any Protestant Minister. There is but one expression in that Declaration of the Doctrine of Good Works, which, he saith, Protestants oppose used by himself, that they do not own; and, that is their intrinsick acceptability: which I [Page 27] fear he doth not very well understand himself. If he mean by it, that there is in good works an intrinsical worth and value, from their exact answerable­ness to the Law, and proportion to the Reward, so as on rules of Justice to deserve and merit it; he speaks dag­gers, and doth not himself believe what he sayes, it being contradictious; for he lays their acceptability on the ac­count of the promise. If he intend, that God having graciously promised to accept and receive them in Christ, they become thereupon acceptable and rewardable; this, Protestant Ministers teach dayly. Against the former Ex­plication of their acceptability, in re­ference to the Justice of God, on their own account, and the Justification of their persons that perform them, for them; I have often heard them speaking, but never with any Authority, or force of Argument, comparable to that used by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Ro­mans, to the same purpose. But this tale of Protestants opposing the Christian Doctrine of Good Works, hath been so often told by the Romanists, that I am [Page 28] perswaded, some of them begin to be­lieve it; however it be not only false, but from all circumstances, very incre­dible: and finding our Author hugely addicted to approve any thing that passeth for current in his Party, I will not charge him with a studyed fraud; in the finding it so advantagious to his cause, he took hold of a very remote occasion to work an early pre­judice in the minds of his Readers, against them and their Doctrine whom he designeth to oppose. When he writes next, I hope he will mind the account we have all to make of what we do write, and say, and be better advised, than to give countenance to such groundless Slanders.

CHAP. II.

Heathen Pleas. General Prin­ciples.

WE have done with his Method, or manner of proceeding; our next view shall be of those general Principles, and Suppositions, which animate the paraenetical part of his work, and where­on it is solely founded. And here I would entreat him not to be offended, if in the entrance of this Discourse, I make bold to mind him, that the most, if not all, of his Pleas, have been long since insisted on by a very learned man, in a case not much unlike this which we have in hand; and were also long since an­swered by one as learned as he, or as any the world saw in the age wherein he lived, or it may be since, to this day, though he died now 1400 years ago. The person I intend is Celsus the Philo­sopher, who objected the very same things, upon the same general grounds, [Page 30] and ordered his Objections in the same manner, against the Christians of old, as our Author doth against the Prote­stants: And the Answer of Origen to his eight books, will save any man the labour of answering this one, who knows how to make application of general Rules and Principles, unto particular Cases that may be regulated by them. Doth our Author lay the cause of all the Troubles, Disorders, Tumults, Warrs, wherewith the Nations of Europe, have been for some season, and are still, in some places, infested, on the Prote­stants? So doth Celsus charge all the Evils, and Commotions, Plagues, and Famines, wherewith mankind, in those dayes, was much wasted, upon the Chri­stians. Doth our Author charge the Protestants, that by their breaking off from Rome, with Schisms and Seditions they made way for others, on the same principles to break off seditiously from themselves? So did Celsus charge the Jews and Christians; telling the Jews, that by their Seditious departure from the common Worship and Religion of the World, they made way for the Chri­stians, [Page 31] a branch of themselves, to [...] them and their worship in like manner, and to set up for themselves: And fol­lowing on his Objection he applies it to the Christians, that they departing from the Jews, had broached Principles for others to improve into a departure from them; which is the sum of most that is pleaded with any fair pretence, by our Author, against Protestants. Doth he insist upon the Divisions of the Protestants, and to make it evident that he speaks knowingly, boast, that he is acquainted with their persons, and hath read the books of all sorts amongst them? So doth Celsus deal with the Christians, reproaching them with their Divisions, Discords, mutual Animosities, Disputes, about God, and his Worship; boasting, that he had debated the matter with them, and read their Books of all sorts. Hath he gathered a Rhapsody of in­significant words, at least, as by him put together, out of the books of the Quakers, to reproach Protestants with their Divisions? So did Celsus out of the books and writings of the Gnosticks, Elionites, and Valentinians. Doth he [Page 32] bring in Protestants pleading against the Sects that are fallen from them, and these pleading against them, justifying the Protestants against them, but at length equally rejecting them all? So dealt Celsus with the Jews, Christians, and those that had fallen into singular Opinions of their own. Doth he man­nage the Arguments of the Jews against Christ, to intimate that we cannot well by Scripture prove him to be so? The very same thing did Celsus, almost in the very words here used. Doth he declaim openly about the obscurity of Divine things, the nature of God, the works of Creation, and Providence, that we are not like to be delivered from it by books of Poems, Stories, plain Letters? So doth Celsus. Doth he insist on the uncertainty of our knowing the Scripture to be from God; the difficulty of understanding it; its insufficiency to end mens Differences about Religion, and the worship of God? The same doth Celsus at large, pleading the cause of Paganism, against Christianity. Doth our Author plead, that where, and from whom men had their Religion of old, [Page 33] there and with them they ought to a­bide, or to return unto them? The same doth Celsus, and that with pretences far more specious then those of our Author: Doth he plead the quietness of all things in the World, the Peace, the Plenty, Love, Union, that were in the dayes before Protestants began to trou­ble all, as he supposeth, about Religi­on? The same course steers Celsus, in his contending against Christians in gene­ral. Is there intimated by our Author, a decay of Devotion and Reverence to Religious things, Temples▪ &c? Celsus is large on this particular; the relinquish­ment of Temples, discouragement of Priests in their dayly Sacrifices, and heavenly Contemplations, with other Votaries; contempt of holy Altars, Im­ages, and Statua's of Worthies deceased, all Heaven-bred Ceremonies and come­ly Worship by the means of Christians, he expatiates upon. Doth he profess love and compassion to his Countrey­men, to draw them off from their fol­ly, to have been the cause of his wri­ting? So doth Celsus. Doth he deride and scoff at the first Reformers, with [Page 34] no less witty and biting Sarcasms than those wherewith Aristophanes jeered So­crates on the Stage? Celsus deals no otherwise with the first Propagators of Christianity. Hath he taken pains to pal­liate and put new glosses and interpre­tations upon those Opinions and Pra­ctises in his Religion, which seem most obnoxious to exception? The same work did Celsus undertake, in reference to his Pagan Theology and Worship. And in sundry other things may the parallel be traced; so, that I may truly say, I can­not observe any thing of moment or importance of the nature of a general Head or Principle in this whole Dis­course made use of against Protestants, but that the same was used, as by others of old, so in particular, by Celsus, a­gainst the whole Profession of Christi­anity. I will not be so injurious to our Author, as once to surmise, that he took either aim, or assistance, in his work from so bitter a professed Enemy of Christ Jesus, and the Religion by him revealed; yet he must give me leave to reckon this coincidence of argumentati­on between them, amongst other instan­ces [Page 35] that may be given, where a similitude of Cause hath produced a great like­ness, if not identity, in the reasonings of ingenious men. I could not satisfie my self without remarking this parallel; and perhaps, much more needs not to be added, to satisfie an unprejudiced Reader in, or to, our whole business: For, if he be one that is unwilling to fore-go his Christianity, when he shall see, that the Arguments that are used to draw him from his Protestancy, are the very same in general, that wise men of old made use of to subvert that which he is resolved to cleave unto; he needs not much deliberation with him­self what to do, or say, in this case, or be solicitous what he shall answer, when he is earnestly entreated to suffer him­self to be deceived.

Of the Pretences [...] before-mentioned, some with their genuine inferences, are the main Principles of this whole Dis­course. And seeing they bear the weight of all the pleas, reasonings, and perswasions that are drawn from them, which can have no further real strength and efficacy, then what is from them [Page 36] communicated unto them, I shall pre­sent them in one view to the Reader, that he loose not himself in the maze of words, wherewith our Author en­deavours to lead him up and down, still out of his way; and, that he may make a clear and distinct judgement of what is tendered to prevail upon him to de­sert that Profession of Religion where­in he is ingaged. For, as I dare not attempt to deceive any man, though in matters incomparably of less moment then that treated about; so, I hope, no man can justly be offended, if in this, I warn him to take heed to himself, that he be not deceived. And they are these that follow;

  • I. That we in these Nations first received the Christian Religion from Rome, by the Mission and Authority of the Pope.
  • II. That whence, and from whom, we first received our Religion; there, and wi [...]h them, we ought to abide, to them we must repair for guidance in all our concernments in it, and speedily re­turn to their Rule and Conduct, if we have departed from them.
  • [Page 37] III. That the Roman Profession of Re­ligion and Practise in the Worship of God, is every way the same as it was when we first received our Religion from thence; nor can ever otherwise be.
  • IV. That all things as to Religion were quiet and in peace, all men in uni­on and at agreement amongst them­selves, in the Worship of God, accor­ding▪ to the mind of Christ, before the Relinquishment of the Roman-See by our fore-fathers.
  • V. That the First Reformers were the most of them sorry contemptible persons, whose Errors were propagated by indirect means, and entertained for sinister ends.
  • VI. That our departure from Rome hath been the cause of all our evills, and particularly, of all those Divisions which are at this day found amongst the Protestants, and which have been ever since the Reformation.
  • VII. That we have no Remedy of our Evils, no means of ending our differences but by a return unto the Rule of the Ro­man-See.
  • [Page 38] VIII. The Scripture upon sundry accounts is insufficient to settle us in the truth of Religion, or to bring us to an agreement amongst our selves; seeing it is, 1. Not to be known to be the Word of God, but by the Testimony of the Roman Church: 2. Cannot be well translated into our vulgar Language: 3. Is in it self obscure: And, 4. We have none to de­termine of the sense of it.
  • IX. That the Pope is a good man, one that seeks nothing but our good, that never did us harm, and hath the care and inspection of us committed unto him by Christ.
  • X. That the Devotion of the Catholicks, far transcends that of Protestants, nor is their Doctrine or Worship liable to any just exception▪

I suppose, our Author will not deny these to be the Principal nerves and sinews of his Oration; nor complain, I have done him the least injury in this representation of them; or, that any thing of importance unto his advan­tage by himself insisted on, is here omitted. He that runs and reads, if he [Page 39] observe any thing that lies before him, besides handsome words, and ingenious diversions, will consent, that here lies the substance of what is offered unto him. I shall not need then to tire the Reader, and my self, with transcriptions of those many words from the several parts of his Discourse, wherein these Principles are laid down and insinuated, or gilded over, as things on all hands granted. Besides, so far as they are interwoven with other reasonings, they will fall again under our Consideration in the several places where they are used and improved. If all these Principles upon examination be found good, true, firm, and stable; it is most meet and reasonable that our Au­thor should obtain his desire: And if, on the other side, they shall appear, some of them false, some impertinent, and the deductions from them Sophistical, some of them destructive to Christian Religion in general; none of them singly, nor all of them together able to bear the least part of that weight which is laid upon them, I suppose, he cannot take it ill, if we resolve to be contented with our pre­sent condition, until some better way of [Page 40] deliverance from it be proposed unto us; which, to tell him the truth, for my part, I do not expect from his Church or Party. Let us then consider these Prin­ciples apart, in the order wherein we have laid them down, which was the best I could think on upon the suddain, for the Advantage of him who makes use them.

The first is an hinge, upon which ma­ny of those which follow, do, in a a sort, depend; yea, upon the matter, all of them. Our Primitive receiving Christian Religion from Rome, is that which influences all perswasions for a return thither. Now if this must be ad­mitted to be true, that we in these Na­tions first received the Christian Reli­gion from Rome, by the Mission and Au­thority of the Pope; it either must be so, because the Proposition carries its own evidence in its very terms, or be­cause our Author, and those consenting with him, have had it by Revelation, or it hath been testified to them by others, who knew it so to be: That the first it doth not, is most certain; for, it is very possible, it might have been brought [Page 41] unto us from some other place, from whence it came to Rome; for, as I take it, it had not there its beginning. Nor do I suppose, they will plead special Re­velation, made either to themselves, or any others about this matter. I have read many of the Revelations that are said to be made to sundry persons ca­nonized by his Church for Saints; but never met with any thing concerning the place from whence England first recei­ved the Gospel. Nor have I yet heard Revelation pleaded to this purpose by any of his Co-partners in design. It re­mains then, that some body hath told him so, or informed him of it, either by writing, or by word of mouth: Usually, in such cases, the first enquiry is, Whe­ther they be credible Persons who have made the report. Now the pretended Authors of this Story, may, I suppose, be justly questioned, if on no other, yet on this account, that he who designes an advantage by their Testimony, doth not indeed himself believe what, they say. For notwithstanding what he would fain have us believe of Christianity coming into Brittain from Rome, he knows well [Page 42] enough, and tells us elsewhere himself, that it came directly by Sea from Pa­lestina into France, and was thence brought into England by Joseph of Ari­niathea. And what was that Faith and Worship which he brought along with him, we know full well; by that which was the Faith and Worship of his Tea­chers, and Associates, in the work of propagating the Gospel recorded in the Scripture. So that Christianity found a passage to Brittain, without so much as once visiting Rome by the way. Yea, but 150 years after, Fugatius and Damianus came from Rome, and propagated the Go­spell here; and, 400 years after them, Austin the Monk. Of these stories we shall speak particularly afterwards. But this quite spoiles the whole market in hand; this is not a FIRST receiving of the Gospel, but a second and third at the best; and if that be considerable, then so ought the Proposition to be laid: These Nations a second and third time, after the first from another place, re­ceived the Gospell from Rome; but this will not discharge that bill of following Items, with is laid upon it. What ever [Page 43] then there is considerable in the place or persons, from whence, or whom, a Nati­on, or People, receive the Gospel, as farr as it concerns us, in these Kingdoms; it relates to Jerusalem and Jews, not Rome and Italians. Indeed, it had been very possible, that Christian Religion might have been propagated at first from Rome into Britany, considering, what, in these dayes, was the condition of the one place, and the other; yet things were so ordered, in the Providence of the Lord, that it fell out otherwise; and the Go­spell was preached here in England, pro­bably, before ever St. Paul came to Rome, or St. Peter either, if ever he came there. But yet, to prevent wrangling about Austin and the Saxons, let us suppose that Christian Religion was first planted in these Nations by Persons coming from Rome, if you will, men sent by the Pope, before he was born, for that purpose: What then will follow? Was it the Popes Religion they taught and preached? Did the Pope first find it out, and declare it? Did they baptize men into the name of the Pope? or, Declare that the Pope was crucified for them? You know whose [Page 44] arguings these are, to prove men should not lay weight upon, or contend about, the first ministerial Revealers of the Go­spel; but rest all in Him who is the Au­thor of it, Christ Jesus. Did any come here and preach in the Popes name, de­clare a Religion of his Revealing, or resting in him as the fountain and sourse of the whole business they had to do? If you say so, you say something which is near to your purpose, but certainly very wide from the Truth. But because it is most certain, that God had not promised, originally, to send the rod of Christs strength out of Rome, I shall take leave to ask, Whence the Gospel came thither? or, to use the words made use of once and again by our Author, Came the Gospell from them, or came it to them only? I suppose they will not say so, be­cause they speak to men that have seen the Bible: If it came to them from others, what Priviledge had they at Rome, that they should not have the same respect for them, from whom the Gospel came to them, as they claim from those unto whom they plead, that it came from themselves? The case is [Page 45] clear; St. Peter coming to Rome, brought his Chair along with him, after which time, that was made the head, spring, and fountain of all Religion, and no such thing could befall those places, where the Planters of the Gospel had no Chaires to settle. I think I have read this Story in an hundred writers, but they were all men of yesterday, in comparison; who, what ever they pre­tend, know no more of this business, than my self. St. Peter speaks not one word of it, in his writings; nor yet St. Luke; nor St. Paul, nor any one who by Divine inspiration, committed any thing to re­membrance of the state of the Church, after the Resurrection of Christ. And not only are they utterly silent of this matter; but so also are Clemens, and Igna­tius, and Justin Martyr, and Tertullian, with the rest of knowing men in those dayes. I confess, in after-ages, when some began to think it meet, that the chiefest Apostle should go to the then chiefest City in the world, divers began to speak of his going thither, and of his Martyrdom there, though they agree not in their Tales about it. But be it so; [Page 46] as for my part, I will not contend in a matter so dark, uncertain, of no moment in Religion; this I know, that being the Apostle of the Circumcision, if he did go to Rome, it was to convert the Jews that were there, and not to found that Gentile-Church, which in a short space got the start of the other; But yet, nei­ther do these Writers talk of bringing his Chair thither; much less is there in them one dust of that rope of Sand, which men of latter dayes have endea­voured to twist with inconsistent conse­quences, and groundless presumptions to draw out from thence the Popes Pre­rogative. The case then is absolutely the same as to those in respect of the Romans, who received the Gospel from them, or by their means; and of the Ro­mans themselves, in respect of those from whom they received it. If they would win worship to themselves from others, by pretending that the Gospel came forth from them unto them; let them teach them by the example of their devotion towards those from whom they received it. I suppose, they will not plead, that they are not now in rerum naturâ; know­ing [Page 47] what will ensue to their disadvantage on that plea. For, if that Church is utterly failed and gone from whence they first received the Gospel, that which others received it from, may possibly be not in a much better condition. But I find my self, before I was aware, faln into the borders of the second Princi­ple, or Presumption mentioned. I shall therefore shut up my consideration of this first Pretence, with this only; that neither is it true, that these Nations first received Christianity from Rome, much less by any mission of the Pope; nor, if they had done so, in the Exercise of a Ministerial work and authority, would this make any thing to what is pretended from it; Nor will it ever be of any use to the present Romanists, unless they can prove, that the Pope was the first Au­thor of Christian Religion, which, as yet, they have not attempted to do, and thence it is evident, what is to be thought of the second Principle before-mention­ed; Namely,

II. That whence, and from whom, we first receive our Religion, there, and with them, we must abide therein, to them we [Page 48] must repair for Guidance, and return to their Rule and Conduct, if we have depart­ed from them.

I have shewed already, that there is no privity of Interests between us and the Romanists in this matter. But sup­pose, we had been originally instructed in Christianity by men sent from Rome to that purpose, (for unless, we sup­pose this, for the p [...]sent, our talk is at an end) I see not, as yet, the verity of this Proposition. With the Truth, (where-ever it be, or with whomsoever) it is most certainly our duty to abide. And if those, from whom we first re­ceived our Christianity ministerially, a­bide in the Truth, we must abide with them; not because they, or their Pre­decessors, were the Instruments of our Conversion; but, because they abide in the Truth. Setting aside this Consi­deration of Truth, which is the Bond of all Union, and that which fixeth the Center, and limits the bounds of it, one Peoples, or one Churches abiding with another in any Profession of Religion, is a thing meerly indifferent. When we have received the Truth from any, the [Page 49] formal reason of our continuance with them in that union, which our recepti­on of the Truth from them gives unto us, is their abiding in the Truth, and no other. Suppose some Persons, or some Church or Churches, do propagate Christianity to another; and in progress of time, themselves fall off from some of those Truths, which they, or their Predecessors, had formerly delivered unto these instructed by them? If our Author shall deny, that such a Suppo­sition can well be made, because it ne­ver did, nor can fall out, I shall re­move his Exception, by scores of In­stances out of Antiquity, needless in so evident a matter to be here mentioned. What in this case would be their du­ty who received the Gospel from them? Must they abide with them, follow after them, and imbrace the errors they are fal­len into, because they first received the Gospel from them? I trow not; It will be found their duty to abide in the Truth, and not to pin their Faith up­on the sleeves of them, by whom mi­nisterially it was at first communicated unto them. But this case, you will [Page 50] say, concerns not the Roman-Church, and Protestants; for, as these abide not in the Truth, so they never did, nor can, depart from it. Well then! that we may not displease them at present, let us put the case so, as I presume, they will own it. Suppose, Men, or a Church, intrusted by Christ authorita­tively to preach the Gospel, do pro­pagate the Faith unto others according to their duties; these, being converted by their means, do afterwards, through the craft and subtilty of seducers, fall in sundry things from the Truths they were instructed in, and wherein their Instructers do constantly abide; yea, say our Adversaries, this is the true case indeed; I ask then, in this case, What is, and ought to be, the formal Motive to prevail with these persons to return to their former condition from whence they were faln? Either this, that they are departed from the Truth, which they cannot do, without peril to their souls, and whereunto, if they return not, they must perish; or this, that it is their duty to return to them from whom they first received the [Page 51] Doctrine of Christianity, because they so received it from them? St. Paul, who surely, had as much authority in these matters, as either the Pope, or Church of Rome, can with any modesty lay claim unto, had to deal with very ma­ny in this case. Particularly, after he had preached the Gospel to the Gala­tians, and converted them to the Faith of Christ, there came in some false Teachers and Seducers amongst them, which drew them off from the Truth wherein they had been instructed, in di­vers important and some fundamental points of it. What course doth the A­postle proceed in, towards them? Doth he plead with them about their falling away from him that first converted them? or falling away from the Truth whereunto they were converted? If any one will take the pains to turn to any Chapter in that Epistle, he may be satisfied as to this Enquiry; it is their falling away from the Gospel, from the Truth they had re­ceived, from the Doctrine, in particular, of Faith and Justification by the bloud of Christ, that alone he blamed them for: yea, and makes Doctrines so farr [Page 52] the measure and rule of judging and censuring of Persons, whether they preach the Word first or last, that he pronounceth a redoubled Anathema, a­gainst any creature in Heaven or Earth, upon a supposition of their teaching any thing contrary unto it, chap. 1.8. He pleads not, we preached first unto you, by us you were converted, and there­fore with us you must abide, from whom the Faith came forth unto you; but saith, If we, or an Angel from Heaven, preach any other Gospel, let him be accursed. This was the way he chose to insist on; and it may not be judged unreasonable, if we esteem it better then that of theirs, who by false pretending to have been our old, would very fain be our new Masters. But the mentioned Maxim lets us know, that the Persons, and Churches, that have received the Faith from the Roman-Church, or by means thereof, should abide under the rule and con­duct of it, and, if departed from it, re­turn speedily to due obedience. I think, it will be easily granted, that, if we ought to abide under its rule and conduct, whither ever it shall please to [Page 53] guide us, we ought quickly to return to our duty and task, if we should make any loapment from it. It is not meet, that those that are born Mules to bon­dage, should ever alter their condition. Only we must profess, we know not the Springs of that unhappy Fate, which should render us such Animals. Unto what is here pretended, I only ask, Whether this right of Presidency and Rule in the Roman-Church, over all per­sons and Churches pretended of old to be converted by her means, do belong unto her by vertue of any general right that those who convert others, should for ever have the conduct of those conver­ted by them, or by vertue of some spe­cial Priviledge granted to the Church of Rome above others? If the first, or ge­neral Title, be insisted on, it is most certain, that a very small pittance of Ju­risdiction, will be left unto the Roman-See, in comparison of that vast Empire, which now it hath, or layeth claim un­to, knowing no bounds, but those of the Universal Nature of things here be­low. For all men know, that the Go­spel was preached in very many places [Page 54] of the World, before its sound reach­ed unto Rome, and in most parts of the then-known World, before any such planting of a Church at Rome, as might be the foundation of any Authorita­tive Mission of any from thence for the Conversion of others; and, after that a Church was planted in that City, for any thing that may be made to appear by Story, it was as to the first Edition of Christianity in the Roman-Empire, as little serviceable in the Propagation of the Gospel, as any other Church of name in the World; so that, if such Principles should be pleaded, as of ge­neral equity, there could be nothing fixed on more destructive to the Roma­nist's pretences. If they have any spe­cial Priviledge to found this claim upon, they may do well to produce it. In the Scripture, though there be of many Believers, yet there is no mention made, of any Church at Rome, but only of that little Assembly that used to meet at Aquila's house, Rom. 16.5. Of any such Priviledge annexed unto that meeting, we find nothing; The first general Coun­cil, confirming Power and Rule over [Page 55] others in some Churches, acknowledge, indeed, more to have been practised in the Roman-Church then I know how they could prove to be due unto it. But yet that very unwarrantable Grant, is utterly destructive to the present claim and condition of the Pope and Church of Rome. The wings, now pre­tended to be like those of the Sun, ex­tending themselves, at once, to the ends of the Earth, were then accounted no longer, then to be able to cover the poor Believers in the City and Suburbs of it, and some few adjacent Towns and Villages. It would be a long Story, to tell the Progress of this claim in af­ter-times; it is sufficiently done in some of those Books, of which our Author says, there are enough to fill the Tower of London; where, I presume, or into the fire, he could be contented they should be for ever disposed of, and therefore we may dismiss this Principle also.

III. That which is the main Piller, bearing the weight of all this fine Fa­brick, is the Principle we mentioned in [Page 56] the third place, viz. That the Roman Profession of Religion, and Practise in the Worship of God, are every way the same, as when we first received the Gospel from the Pope, nor can they ever otherwise be.

This is taken for granted, by our Au­thor, throughout his Discourse. And the Truth is, that, if a man hath a mind to suppose, and make use of things that are in question between him and his Adversary, it were a folly not to pre­sume on so much as should assuredly serve his turn. To what purpose is it to mince the matter, and give oppor­tunity to new cavils, and exceptions, by baby [...]me [...]y-mouthed Petitions of some small things that there is a strife abou [...], when a man may as honestly, all [...] once, suppose the whole Truth of his side, and proceed without fear of di­sturbance. And so wisely deals our Author in this business. That which ought to have been his whole work, he takes for granted, to be already done. If this be granted him, he is safe; de­ny it, and all his fine Oration dwindles into a little sapless Sophistry. But he must get the great number of Books [Page 57] that he seems to be troubled with, out of the World, and the Scripture to boot, before he will perswade conside­rate and unprejudiced men, that there is a word of Truth in this Supposition. That we in these Nations received not the Gospel originally from the Pope, (which pag. 354. our Author tells us is his, purely his, whereas we thought be­fore, it had been Christ's) hath been de­clared, and shall, if need be, be further evinced. But let us suppose once again, that we did so; yet we constantly deny the Church of Rome, to be the same in Doctrine, Worship, and Discipline, that she was when it is pretended, that by her means we were instituted in the know­ledge of Truth. Our Author knows full well, what a facile work I have now lying in view; what an easie thing it were to go over most of the Opinions of the present Church of Rome, and most, if not all their practises in Worship, and to manifest their vast distance from the Doctrine, Practise, and Principles of that Church of old. But, though this were really a more serious work, and more useful, and much more accommo­dated [Page 58] to the nature of the whole diffe­rence between us, more easie and plea­sant to my self then the persuit of this odd rambling chase that by following of him I am engaged in; yet, lest he should pretend, that this would be a division into common places, such as he hath pur­posely avoided, (and that not unwisely, that he might [...]ve advantage all along to take for gra [...]d, that which he knew to be principally in question be­tween us) I shall dismiss that business, and only attend unto that great proof of this Assertion, which himself thought meet to shut up his Book withall, as that which was fit to pin down the Basket, and to keep close and safe, all the long Bill'd Birds, that he hoped to Lime­twig by his preceding Rhetorick and Sophistry. It is in pag. 362, 363. Though I hope I am not contentious, nor have any other hatred against Popery then what becomes an honest man to have against that which he is perswaded to be so ill as Popery must needs be, if it be ill at all; yet upon his request, I have seriously pondered his Queries (a captious way of disputing), and falling [Page 59] now in my way, do return him this answer unto them.

1. The Supposition on which all his ensuing Queries are founded, must be rightly stated, its termes freed from am­biguity, and the whole from equivocati­on: which a word or two, unto, first, the Subject; and then, secondly, the Predi­cate of the Proposition, or what is at­tributed unto the Subject spoken of; and thirdly, the proof of the whole; will suffice to do. The Thesis laid down is this, The Church of Rome, was once a most pure, excellent, flourishing and mother Church: This, good St. Paul amply testifies in his Epistle to them, and is acknowledged by Protestants. The Subject is the Church of Rome. And this may be taken either for the Church that was founded in Rome, in the Apostles dayes, consisting of Believers, with those that had their rule and oversight in the Lord; or it may be taken for the Church of Rome, in the sense of latter Ages, consisting of the Pope its Head, and Cardinals, principal members, with all the Juris­diction dependent on them, and way of Worship established by them, and their [Page 60] Authority; or, that collection of men throughout the world, that yield obe­dience to the Pope in their several places and subordinations according to the Rules by him and his Authority given unto them. That which is at­tributed to this Church, is, that it was once a most pure, excellent, flourishing, and Mother-Church; all, it seems, in the su­perlative degree. I will not contend a­bout the purity, excellency, or flouri­shing of that Church; the boasting of the superlativeness of that purity and excellency, seems to be borrowed from that of Revel. 3.15. But we shall not exagitate that, in that Church, which it would never have affirmed of it self, be­cause it is fallen out to be the interest of some men in these latter dayes to talk at such a rate, as primitive humility was an utter stranger unto. I somewhat guess at what he means by a Mother-Church; for, though the Scripture knows no such thing, but only appropriates that Title to Hierusalem that was above, which is said to be the Mother of us all, Gal. 4.26. which I suppose is not Rome, (and I also think that no man can have two Mo­thers,) [Page 61] nor did purer Antiquity ever dream of any such Mother, yet the vogue of latter dayes, hath made this ex­pression not only passable in the world, but sacred and unquestionable; I shall only say, that in the sense wherein it is by some understood, the old Roman Church could lay no more claim unto it, then most other Churches in the world, and not so good as some others could.

The proof of this Assertion, lies first on the Testimony of St. Paul, and then on the acknowledgement of Protestants; First, Good St. Paul, he says, amply testifies this in his Epistle to the Romans. This, what I pray? That the then Roman Church was a Mother Church: not a word in all the Epistle of any such matter. Nay, as I observed before, thogh he greatly com­mends the faith and holiness of many Believers, Jews and Gentiles, that were at Rome; yet he makes mention of no Church there, but only of a little As­sembly that used to meet at Aquila's house; nor doth St. Paul give any Testi­mony at all to the Roman Church in the latter sense of that expression. Is there [Page 62] any thing in his Epistle of the Pope, Car­dinals, Patriarchs, &c? any thing of their power, and rule over other Churches, or Christians, not living at Rome? Is there any one word in that Epistle about that which the Papists make the principal ingredient in their definition of the Church, namely, sub­jection to the Pope? What then is the This that good St. Paul so amply testifies unto, in his Epistle to the Romans? Why this and this only; that, when he wrote this Epistle to Rome, there were then li­ving in that City, sundry good, and holy men, believing in Christ Jesus, accor­ding to the Gospel, and making profes­sion of the faith that is in him; but, that these men should live there to the end of the world, he says not, nor do we find that they do. The acknowledgement of Protestants, is next, to as little purpose, insisted on. They acknowledge a pure and flourishing Church to have been once at Rome, as they maintain there was at Hierusalem, Antioch, Ephesus, Smyrna, Laodicea, Alexandria, Babylon, &c. that in all these places, such Churches do still continue, they deny, and particu­larly [Page 63] at Rome. For that Church which then was, they deny it to be the same that now is; at least, any more then Argo was the same ship as when first built, after there was not one plank or pin of its first structure remaining. That the Church of Rome, in the latter sense, was ever a pure flourishing Church, never any Protestant acknowledged; the most of them deny it ever to have been in that sense, any Church at all; and those that grant it, to retain the Essential con­stituting Principals of a Church; yet averr, that as it is, so it ever was, since it had a being, very far from a pure and flourishing Church. For ought then, that I can perceive, we are not at all con­cerned in the following Queries; the Supposition they are all built upon, be­ing partly sophistical, and partly false. But yet, because he doth so earnestly request us to ponder them, we shall not give him cause to complain of us, in this particular at least, (as he doth in general of all Protestants) — That we deal un­civilly; and therefore shall pass through them; after which, if he pleaseth, he may deliver them to his friend of whom they were borrowed.

[Page 64]1. Saith he, This Church could not cease to be such, but she must fall either by Apostacy, Heresy, or Schism: But who told him so? Might she not cease to be, and so conse­quently to be such? Might not the persons of whom it consisted, have been destroy­ed by an earthquake, as it happen'd to Laodicea? or by the sword, as it befel the Church of the Jews, or twenty o­ther wayes? Besides, might she not fall by Idolatry, or false Worship, or by Pro­phaneness, or Licentiouss of Conversa­tion, contrary to the whole rule of Christ? That then he may know what is to be removed by his Queries, if he should speak any thing to the purpose, he may do well to take notice, that this is the dogme of Protestants concerning the Church of Rome; that the Church planted there pure, did by degrees in a long tract of time, fall by Apostacy, Idolatry, Heresie, Schism, and Profane­ness of life, into that condition wherein now it is. But, sayes he,

1. Not by Apostacy; for that is not only a renouncing of the faith of Christ, but the very name and title of Christianity; and no man will say that the Church of Rome had [Page 65] ever such a Fall, or fell thus. I tell you truly, Sir, your Church is very much beholding unto men, if they do not sometimes say very hard things of her Fall. Had it been an ordinary slip, or so, it might have been passed over; but this Falling into the mire, and wallowing in it for so many Ages, as she has done, is in truth a very naughty business. For my part, I am resolved, to deal as gent­ly with her as possible; and therefore say, that there is a total Apostasie from Christianity, which she fell not into, or by; and there is a partial Apostasie in Christianity, from some of the Princi­ples of it, such as St. Paul charged on the Galatians; and the old Fathers on very many that yet retained the name and title of Christians, and this, we say plainly, that she fell by; she fell by A­postasie from many of the most material Principles of the Gospel, both as to Faith, Life, and Worship. And there being no Reply made upon this instan [...]e, were it not upon the account of pure civility, we need not proceed any fur­ther with his Queries, the business of them being come to an end.

But, upon his entreaty, we will follow [Page 66] him a little further: Supposing, that he hath dispatched the business of Aposta­sie, he comes to Heresie, and tells us; That it is an adhesion to some private or singular Opinion, or Error, in Faith; con­trary to the general approved Doctrine of the Church; That which ought to be sub­sumed, is, that the Church of Rome did never adhere to any singular Opinion or Error in Faith, contrary to the general approved Doctrine of the Church; but our Author, to cover his business, changes the terms in his proceeding, into the Christian World; to clear this to us a little, I desire to know of him, What Church he means, when he speaks of the approved Doctrine of the Church? I am sure, he will say, the Roman-Ca­tholick Church; and, if I ask him, What age it is, of that Church which he in­tends, he will also say, That Age which is present, when the Opinions mentioned, are asserted, contrary to the approved Doctrine. We have then obtained his meaning, viz. The Roman-Church did ne­ver at any time adhere to any Opinion, but what the Roman-Church at that time adhered unto; or taught, or approved, no other Doctrine, but what it taught [Page 67] and approved. Now, I verily believe this to be true, and he must be some­what besides uncivil, that shall deny it. But from hence to infer, That the Roman-Church, never fell from her first purity by Heresie; that is a thing I cannot yet discern, how it may be made good. This conclusion ariseth out of that pitiful de­finition of Heresie he gives us, coyned meerly to serve the Roman-Interest. The rule of judging Heresie is made the approved Doctrine of the Church; I would know of what Church: of this or that particular Church, or of the Catho­lick? Doubtless the Catholick must be pretended. I ask, Of this or that Age, or of the first? Of the first certainly. I desire then to know, how we may come to discern infallibly what was the approved Doctrine of the Catholick-Church of Old, but only by the Scri­ptures; which we know it unanimously embraced as given unto it by Christ, for its Rule of Faith and Worship. If we should then grant, that the approved Doctrine of the Church, were that which a departure from, as such, gives formality unto Heresie; yet there is no way to know that Doctrine but by [Page 68] the Scripture. But yet neither can or ought this to be granted. The formal reason of Heresie, in the usual acceptation of the word, ariseth from its deviation from the Scripture as such, which is the Rule of the Churches Do­ctrine, and of the Opinions that are contrary unto it. Nor yet is every private or singular Opinion contrary to the Scripture, or the Doctrine of the Church, presently an Heresie. That is not the sense of the word, either in Scripture or Antiquity. So that the foun­dation of the Queries about Heresie is not one jot better layed, then that was about Apostasie, which went before. This is that which I have heard Prote­stants say; namely, That the Church of Rome doth adhere to very many Opinions and Errors in Faith, contrary to the main Principles of Christian Religion delivered in the Scripture, and so, conse­quently, the Doctrine approved by the Catholick Church; and, if this be to fall by Heresie, I add, that she is thus fallen also from what she was. But then he asks 1. By what general Council was she ever condemned? 2. Which of the Fathers ever wrote against her? 3. By what Autho­rity [Page 69] was she otherwise reproved? But this is all one, as if a thief arraigned for steal­ing before a Judge, and the goods that he had stoln found upon him, should plead for himself and say; If ever I stole any thing, then by what lawful Judge was I ever condemned? what Officer of the State did ever, formerly, apprehend me? by what Authority were Writs issued out against me? Were it not easie for the Judge to reply, and tell him; Friend, these Allegations may prove, that you were never before condemned, but they prove not at all, that you never stole; which is a matter of fact that you are now upon your tryal for. No more will it at all follow, that the Church of Rome did never offend, because she is not con­demned. These things may be necessary that she may be said to be legally con­victed, but not at all to prove, that she is really guilty. Besides, the truth is, that many of her Doctrines and Practises are condemned by general Councils, and most of them by the most learned Fathers, and all of them by the Autho­rity of the Scripture. And whilst her Doctrine and Worship is so condemned, I see not well how she can escape; so [Page 70] that this second way also she is fallen.

3. To Apostasie and Heresie she hath also added the guilt of Schism in an high degree. For, Schisms within her self, and her great Schism from all the Christian world besides her self, are things well known to all that know her. Her inte­stine Schisms were the shame of Chri­stendom, her Schisms in respect of others the ruin of it. And briefly, to answer the triple Query we are so earnestly invited to the consideration of, I shall need to in­stance only in that one particular of making, Subjection to the Pope in all things, the Tessera & Rule of all Church-Communion, whereby she hath left the company of all the Churches of Christ in the world besides her self, is gone forth and departed from all Apostolical Chur­ches; even that of Old Rome its self; and the true Church, which she hath for­saken, abides and is preserved in all the Societies of Christians throughout the Earth, who attending to the Scripture for their only Rule and Guide, do believe what is therein revealed, and worship God accordingly. So that notwithstand­ing any thing here offered to the con­trary, it is very possible, that the present [Page 71] Church of Rome, may be fallen from her Primitive Condition by Apostasie, Here­sie, and Schism, which indeed she is; and worst of all, by Idolatry, which our Author thought meet to pass over in si­lence.

IV. It is frequently pleaded by our Author (nor is there any thing which he more triumphs in) That all things as to Religion were quiet and in peace; all men in union and agreement amongst themselves in the Worship of God, before the departure made by our fore-Fathers from the Roman-See. No man that hath once cast an eye upon the Defensatives written by the Antient Christians, but knows how this very consideration was managed and im­proved against them by their Pagan im­pugners. That Christians by their Intro­duction of a new way of worshipping God, which their fore-Fathers knew not, had disturbed the Peace of humane So­ciety, divided the World into Seditious Factions, broken all the antient Bonds of Peace and Amity, dissolved the whole Harmony of Man-kinde's Agreement amongst themselves, was the subject of the declamations of their Adversaries. This complaint, their Books, their Schools, [Page 72] the Courts and Judicatories were filled with; against all which clamors, and vi­olences that were stirred up against them by their means, those blessed souls armed themselves with patience, and the testi­mony of their Consciences, that they neither did, nor practised any thing that in its own nature had a tendency to the least of those evils, which they and their way of worshipping God, was reproached with. As they had the opportunity in­deed, they let their Adversaries know, that that Peace and Union they boasted of, in their Religion, before the entrance of Christianity, was but a Conspiracy against God, a consent in Error and Falsehood, and brought upon the World by the craft of Satan, maintained through the effectual influence of innumerable prejudices upon the innate blindness and darkness of their hearts, That upon the appearance of light, and publishing of the Truth, divisions, animosities, trou­bles, and distractions did arise; they de­clared to have been no proper or ne­cessary effect of the work, but a con­sequent, occasional, and accidental, ari­sing from the lusts of men, who loved darkness more then light, because their [Page 73] works were evil, which that it would en­sue, their blessed Master had long be­fore fore-told them, and fore-warned them.

Though this be enough, yet it is not all, that may be replyed unto this old pretence, and plea, as mannaged to the purpose of our Adversaries. It is part of the motive, which the great Histori­an makes Galgacus, the valiant Brittain, use to his Countrey-men, to cast off the Roman-yoke; Solitudinem ubi fecerunt, pa­cem vocant. It was their way, when they had by force and cruelty layed all waste before them, to call the remaining soli­tude and desolation, by the goodly name of Peace; neither considered they, whe­ther the residue of men had either sa­tisfaction in their minds, or advantage by their Rule. Nor was the Peace of the Roman-Church any other before the Reformation. What waste they had, by Sword and Burnings, made in several parts of Europe, in almost all the chiefest Nations of it, of mankind; what de­solation they had brought by violence upon those who opposed their rule, or questioned their Doctrine; the blood of innumerable poor men, many of them [Page 74] learned, all pious and zealous, whom they called Waldenses, Albigenses, Lollards, Wicklevites, Hussites, Caliptives, Subutra­guians, Picards, or what else they pleased, (being indeed the faithful witnesses of the Lord Christ and his Truths) will at the last Day reveal. Besides, the event declared, how remote the minds of mil­lions▪ were from an acquiescency in that Conspiracy in the Papal Soveraignty, which was grown to be the Bond of Communion amongst those who called themselves the Church, or an approba­tion of that Doctrine and Worship which they made profession of. For no sooner was a door of Liberty and Light opened unto them, but whole Nations were at strife who should first enter in at it; which undoubtedly, all the Nations of Europe had long since done, had not the holy wise God in his good Providence suffered in some of them a sword of power and violence to interpose it self against their entrance. For, whatever may be pretended of Peace and Agree­ment to this day, take away force and violence, Prisons and Fagots, and in one day, the whole compages of that stupen­dious Fabrick of the Papacy, will be [Page 75] dissolved; and the life, which will be maintained in it, springing only from se­cular advantages and inveterate preju­dices, would together with them decay, and disappear. Neither can any thing, but a confidence of the ignorance of men in all things that are past, yea, in what was done almost by their own Grandsyres, give countenance to a man in his own silent thoughts, for such in­sinuations of quietness in the World be­fore the Reformation. The Wars, Se­ditions, Rebellions, and Tumults, (to omit private practises) that were either raised, occasioned, and countenanced by the Pope's absolving Subjects from their Allegiance, Kings and States from their Oaths given mutually for the securing of Peace between them, all in the pur­suit of their own worldly interests, do fill up a good part of the Stories of some ages before the Reformation. What ever then is pretended, things were not so peaceable and quiet in those dayes, as they are now represented to men that mind only things that are present; nor was their Agreement their vertue, but their sin and misery; being centred in blindness and ignorance, and cemented with bloud.

[Page 76]V. That the first Reformers were most of them sorry contemptible Persons, whose Er­rors were propagated by indirect means, and entertained for sinister ends; is in several places of this Book alledged, and con­sequences pretended thence to ensue, urged and improved. But the truth is, the more contemptible the Persons were that begun the work, the greater glory and lustre is reflected on the work it self; which points out to an higher cause then any appeared outwardly for the carrying of it on. It is no small part of the Gospels glory, that being pro­mulgated by persons whom the World looked on with the greatest contempt and scorn imaginable, as men utterly de­stitute of whatever was by them esteemed noble or honourable; it prevailed not­withstanding in the minds of men, to era­dicate the inveterate prejudices received by Tradition from their Fathers; to overthrow the antient and outward glo­rious Worship of the Nations; and to bring them into subjection unto Christ. Neither can any thing be written with more contempt and scorn, nor with [Page 77] greater under-valuation of the abilities, or outward condition of the first Re­formers, then was spoken and written by the greatest and wisest and learnedst of men of old, concerning the Preachers and Planters of Christianity. Should I but repeat the biting Sarcasms, contemp­tuous reproaches and scorns wherewith, with plausible pretences, the Apostles and those that followed them in their work of preaching the Gospel were en­tertained by Celsus, Lucian, Porphyry, Ju­lian, Hierocles, with many more, men learned and wise; I could easily manifest how short our new Masters come of them in facetious wit, beguiling eloquence, and fair pretences, when they seek by sto­ries, jestings, calumnies, and false re­ports, to expose the first Reformers to the contempt and scorn of men, who know nothing of them but their names, and those as covered with all the dirt they can possibly cast upon them. But I intend not to tempt the Atheistical wits of any, to an approbation of their sin, by that complyance which the vain fancies of such men do usually afford them, in the contemplation of the wit [Page 78] and ingenuity, as they esteem it, of plau­sible calumnies. The Scripture may be heard; that abundantly testifies, that the Character given of the first Re­formers as men, poor, unlearned, seek­ing to advantage themselves by the troubling of others, better, greater and wiser than they, in their Religion, was received of the Apostles, Evangelists, and other Christians in the first budding of Christianity. But the truth is, all these are but vain pretences; those knew of old, and these do now, that the Per­sons whom they vilifie and scorn, were eminently fitted of God for the work that they were called unto.

The receiving of their Opinions for sini­sters end, reflects principally on this Kingdom of England; and must do so, whilst the surmises of a few interested Fryers shall be believed by English-men, before the solemn Protestation of so renowned a King, as he was, who first casheer'd the Popes Authority in this Nation; For, what he being alive avow­ed on his Royal word, and vowed as in the sight of the Almighty God, was an effect of Light and Conscience in him, [Page 79] they will needs have to be a consequent of his lust and levity. And what ho­nour it is to the Royal Government of this Nation, to have those who swayed the Scepter of it, but a few years ago, publickly traduced and exposed to ob­loquy by the Libellous Pens of obscure and unknown persons, wise men may be easily able to judge. This I am sure, there is little probability that they should have any real regard or rever­ence for the present Rulers, farther then they find, or hope that they shall have their countenance and assistance for the furtherance of their private In­terest, who so revile their Predecessors, for acting contrary unto it; And this Loyalty the Kings Majesty may secure himself of, from the most Seditious Fa­natick in the Nation; so highly is he beholding to these men, for their duty and obedience.

VI. That our departure from Rome hath been the cause of all our Evils, and particularly of all those Divisions, which are at this day found amongst Protestants, and which have been since the Reformation, [Page 80] is a supposition, that not only insinuates it self into the hidden Sophistry of our Authors Discourse, but is also every where spread over the face of it; with as little truth, or advantage to his pur­pose, as those that went before. So the Pagans judged the Primitive Chri­stians, so also did the Jews, and do to this day. Here is no new task lyes before us. The Answers given of old to them, and yet continued to be given, will suffice to these men also. The truth is, our Divisions are not the ef­fect of our Leaving Rome; but of our being there. In the Apostasie of that Church came upon men all that dark­ness, and all those prejudices, which cause many needless Divisions amongst them. And is it any wonder, that men, partly ledd, partly driven out of the right way, and turned a clean con­trary course for sundry Generations, should upon liberty obtained to return to their old paths, somewhat vary in their choice of particular Tracts, though they all agree to travail towards the same place, and in general, steer their course accordingly. Besides, let men say what [Page 81] they please, the differences amongst the Protestants that are purely religious, are no other but such as ever were, and, take away external force, ever will be amongst the best of men, whilst they know but in part; however they may not be mannaged with that prudence and moderation, which it is our duty to use in and about them. Were not the Consequences of our Differences, which arise meerly from our solly and sin, of more important consideration then our differences themselves, I should very little value the one or the other; knowing that none of them in their own nature are such, as to impeach either our present tranquillity, or future hap­piness. So that, neither are the Divisions that are among Protestants in themselves of any importance, nor were they occa­sioned by their departure from Rome. That all men are not made perfectly wise, nor do know all things perfectly, is partly a consequent of their condi­tion in this World, partly, a fruit of their own lusts, and corruptions; nei­ther to be imputed to the Religion which they profess, nor to the Rule [Page 82] that they pretend to follow. Had all those who could not continue in the Profession of the Errors, and Practise of the Worship of the Church of Rome, and were therefore driven out by violence and bloud from amongst them, been as happy in attending to the Rule that they chose for their guidance and di­rection, as they were wise in choosing it; they had had no other differences a­mong them than what necessarily fol­low their concreated different consti­tutions, complexions, and capacities. It is not the work of Religion in this world wholly to dispel mens darkness; nor ab­solutely to eradicate their distempers; somewhat must be left for Heaven: and that more is than ought to be, is the fault of Men, and not of the Truth they profess. That Religion which reveals a sufficient Rule to guide men into Peace, Union, and all necessary Truth, is not to be blamed, if men in all things follow not it's direction. Nor are the differences amongst the Protestants, greater than those amongst the Members of the Roman-Church. The imputati­on of the Errors and miscarriages of [Page 83] the Socinians and Quakers unto Prote­stancy, is of no other nature then that of Pagans of old, charging the follies, and abominations of the Gnosticks and Valen­tinians on Christianity. For those that are truly called Protestants, whose con­currence in the same Confession of Faith, as to all material points, is suffici­ent to cast them under one denomina­tion, What evils I wonder are to be found amongst them as to Divisions, that are not conspicuous to all in the Papacy? The Princes and Nations of their Pro­fession are, or have all been engaged in mortal fewds and wars one against ano­ther, all the World over. Their Di­vines write, as stiffly one against ano­ther, as men can do: mutual accusations of pernitious Doctrines and Practises a­bound amongst them. I am not able to guess what place will hold the Books written about their intestine differences, as our Author doth concerning those that are written by Protestants against the Papacy; but this I know, all pub­lick Libraries and private Studies of learned men abound with them. Their Invectives, Apologies, Accusations, [Page 84] Charges, underminings of one another, are part of the weekly news of these dayes. Our Author knows well enough what I mean. Nor are these the ways and practises of private men, but of whole Societies and Fraternities; which, if they are in truth, such as they are by each other represented to be; it would be the Interest of mankind, to seek the suppression and extermination of some of them. I profess, I wonder, whilst their own house is so visibly on fire, that they can find leisure to scold at others for not quenching theirs. Nor is the remain­ing agreement that they boast of, one jot better, than either their own dissen­tions, or ours. It is not union or agree­ment amongst men absolutely, that is to be valued. Simeon and Levi never did worse, then when they agreed best; and were Brethren in evil. The grounds and reasons of mens agreement, with the nature of the things wherein they are a­greed, are that which make it either commendable or desirable. Should I lay forth what these are in the Papacy, our Author I fear would count me un­mannerly, and uncivil; But yet be­cause [Page 85] the matter doth so require, I must needs tell him, that many wise men do affirm, that Ignorance, inveterate pre­judice, secular advantages, and external force, are the chief constitutive Princi­ples of that union and agreement which remains amongst them. But whatever their evils be, it is pretended, that they have a remedy at hand for them all: But,

VII. That we have no Remedy of our Evils, no means of ending our Differences, but by a Returnal to the Roman See. Whe­ther there be any way to end differences among our selves, as farr, and as soon, as there is any need they should be en­ded, will be afterwards enquired into. This I know, that a Returnal unto R [...]me will not do it; unless when we come thither, we can learn to behave our selves better, then those do, who are there already; and there is indeed no party of men in the world, but can give us as good security of ending our differences as the Romanists. If we would all turn Quakers, it would end our Disputes; and that is all that is pro­vided [Page 84] [...] [Page 85] [...] [Page 86] us, if we will turn Papists. This is the language of every Party; and for my part I think they believe what they say; Come over to us, and we shall all agree. Only the Romanists are likely to obtain least credit as to this matter a­mong wise men, because they cannot a­gree among themselves; and are as un­fit to umpire the differences of other men, as Philip of Macedon was to quiet Greece, whilst he, his wife and children▪ were together by the ears at home.

But why have not Protestants a reme­dy for their evils, a means of ending and making up their differences? They have the Word that's left them for that purpose, which the Apostles commend­ed unto them, and which the Primitive Church made use of, and no other. That this will not serve to prevent, or remove any hurtful differences from amongst us, it is not its fault, but ours. And could we prevail with Roman-Catholicks to blame and reprove us, and not to blame the Religion we profess, we should count our selves beholding to them; and they would have the less to answer for, another day. But as things are stated, [Page 87] it is fallen out very unhappily for them; that finding they cannot hurt us, but that their Weapons must pass through the Scriptures, That is it which they are for­ced to direct their blowes against. The Scripture is Dark, Obscure, Insufficient, cannot be known to be the word of God, nor understood, is the main of their Plea, when they intend to deal with Protestants. I am perswaded, that they are troubled, when they are put upon this Work: It cannot be acceptable to the minds of men to be engag'd in such undervaluations of the word of God. Sure, they can have no other mind in this Work, than a man would have in pulling down hi [...] House, to find out his Enemy. He that shall read what the Scripture testifies of it self, that is, what God doth of it; & what the Anti­ents speak concerning it, and shall him­self have any acquaintance with the na­ture and excellency of it, must needs shrink extreamly when he comes to see the Romanists discourse about it; indeed, against it. For my part, I can truly pro­fess, That no one thing doth so alienate my mind from the present Roman Reli­gion, as this treatment of the word of [Page 88] God. I cannot but think that a sad pro­fession of Religion, which enforceth men to decry the use and excellency of that, which (let them pretend what they please) is the only infallible Revelation of all that Truth, by obedience whereun­to, we become Christians. I do hearti­ly pity Learned and Ingenious men, when I see them enforced by a private corrupt Interest, to engage in this woful work of undervaluing the word of God; and so much the more, as that I cannot but hope, that it is a very ingrateful work to themselves: Did they delight in it, I should have other thoughts of them; and conclude, that there are more Atheists in the World, than those whom our Author informs us▪ to be lately turned so in Eng­land. This then is the Remedy that Protestants have for their evils: This the means of making up all their differences; which they might do every day, so far as in this World it is possible that that work should be done amongst men, if it were not their own fault: That they do not so, blame them still, blame them soundly, lay on Reproofs till I cry, Hold: but let not, I pray, the word [Page 89] of God be blamed any more. Methinks I could beg this of a Catholick, especi­ally of my Countrey-men, That what­ever they say to Protestants, or however they deal with them, they would let the Scripture alone, and not decry its worth and usefulness: It is not Protestants Book, it is Gods; who hath only grant­ed them an use of it, in common with the rest of men: And what is spoken in dis­paragement of it, doth not reflect on them, but on him that made it, and sent it to them. It is no Policy, I confess, to discover our secrets to our Adversaries, whereby they may prevent their own disadvantages for the future: But yet because I look not on the Romanists as absolute Enemies, I shall let them know for once, that when Protestants come to that head of their Disputes or Orations, wherein they contend that the Scripture is so, and so, obscure and insufficient, they generally take great contentment, to find that their Religion cannot be opposed, without casting down the word of God from its excellency, and enthroning somewhat else in the room of it. Let them make what use of this they please, [Page 90] I could not but tell it them for their good, and I know it to be true. For the present it comes too late. For, another main Principle of our Authors Discourse is,

VIII. That the Scripture on sundry ac­counts is insufficient to settle us in the Truth of Religion, or to bring us to an agreement amongst our selves; and that 1. Because it is not to be known to be the word of God, but by the Testimony of the Roman Church. And then 2. Cannot be well Translated into a­ny vulgar Language. And is also 3. In its self obscure. And 4. We have no way to determine of what is its proper sense. Atqui hic est nigrae sumus Caliginis, haec est Aerugo mera. I suppose they will not tell a Pagan or a Mahumetan this story: At least I heartily wish that men would not suffer themselves to be so far transported by their private Interest, as to forget the general concernments of Christianity. We cannot, say they, know the Scripture to be the word of God, but by the Au­thority of the Church of Rome: And all men may easily assure themselves, that no man had ever known there was such a thing as a Church; much less that it had [Page 91] any Authority, but by the Scripture. And whither this tends, is easie to guess. But it will not enter into my head, that we cannot know or believe the Scripture to be the word of God, any otherwise than on the Authority of the Church of Rome: The greatest part of it, was believed to be so, before there was any Church at Rome at all; and all of it is so by Millions in the World, who make no account of that Church at all. Now some say, there is such a Church. I wish men would leave perswading us, that we do not believe what we know we do believe; or that we cannot do that, which we know we do, and see that millions besides our selves do so too. There are not many Nations in Europe, wherein there are not Thou­sands who are ready to lay down their lives to give testimony, that the Scripture is the word of God, that care not a rush for the Authority of the present Church of Rome: And what further evidence they can give that they believe so, I know not. And this they do, upon that innate evidence, that the word of God hath in it self, and gives to its self, the testimony of Christ, and his Apostles, and the teach­ing [Page 92] of the Church of God in all Ages. I must needs say, There is not any thing for which Protestants are so much beholding to the Roman Catholicks as this, That they have with so much importunacy cast upon them the work of proving the Scri­pture to be of Divine Original, or to have been given by inspiration from God. It is as good a work, as a man can well be im­ployed in: and there is not any thing I should more gladly en professo ingage in, if the nature of my present business would bear such a Diversion. Our Au­thor would quickly see what an easie Task it were, to remove those his Repro­ches of a private spirit, of an inward testi­mony, of our own Reason; which himself knowing the advantage they afford him amongst vulgar unstudied men, trisles withal. Both Romanists, and Prote­stants, as far as I can learn, do acknow­ledge, That the Grace of the Spirit, is ne­cessary to enable a man to believe sa­vingly, the Scripture to be the Word of God, upon what Testimony or Authori­ty soever that faith is founded, or resol­ved into. Now this with Protestants is no private Whisper, no Enthusiasm, no [Page 93] Reason of their own, no particular Testi­mony, but the most open, noble, known that is, or can be in the World; even the voice of God himself, speaking publickly to all, in and by the Scripture, evidencing it self by its own Divine, innate light, and excellency, taught, confirmed, and testified unto, by the Church in all Ages; especially the first, founded by Christ and his Apostles. He that looks for better, or other Testimony, Witness, or Founda­tion to build his faith upon, may search till Dooms-day without success. He that renounceth this, shakes the very root of Christianity, and opens a door to Atheism and Paganism. This was the Anchor of Christians of old, from which neither the Storms of Persecution could drive them, nor the subtilty of Disputa­tions entise them. For men to come now in the end of the World, and to tell us, That we must rest in the Authority of the present Church of Rome, in our recei­ving the Scripture to be the word of God; and then to tell us, That that Church hath all its Authority by, and from, the Scripture; and to know well e­nough all the while, that no man can [Page 94] know there is any Church, or any Church Authority, but by the Scripture, is to speak Daggers and Swords to us, upon a confidence that we will suffer our selves to be befooled, that we may have the af­ter-pleasure of making others like our selves.

Of the Translation of the Scripture into vulgar Tongues, I shall expresly treat af­terwards, and therefore here passe it over.

3. Its Obscurity is another thing insisted on, and highly exaggerated by our Au­thor. And this is another thing that I greatly wonder at: For as wise as these Gentlemen would be thought to be, he that has but half an eye, may discern, that they consider not with whom they have to do in this matter. The Scripture I suppose, they will grant to be given by inspiration from God; if they deny it, we are ready to prove it at any time. I sup­pose also that they will grant, That the end why God gave it, was, that it might be a Revelation of himself, so far as it was needful for us to know him, and his mind, and will, so that we may serve him. If this were not the end for which God [Page 95] gave his Word unto us, I wish they would acquaint us with some other. I think it was not, that it might be put into a Ca­binet, and lock'd up in a Chest: If this were the end of it; then God intended in it, to make a Revelation of himself, so far as it was necessary we should know of Him, and his Mind, and Will, that we might serve him. For that which is any one end of any Thing, or Matter, That he intends, which is the Author of it: Now if God intended to make such a Revelati­on on of Himself, his Mind, and Will, in gi­ving of the Scripture, as was said; he hath either done it plainly, that is, without any such Obscurity, as should frustrate him of his end, or he hath not; and that because either he would not, or he could not: I wish I knew which of these it was, that the Roman Catholicks do fix upon; it would spare me the labour of speaking to the other: But seeing I do not; that they may have no evasion, I will consider them both. If they say, It was because he could not make any such plain Discovery and Revelation of him­self, then this is that they say: That God intending to reveal Himself, his Mind, & [Page 96] Will, plainly in the Scripture to the sons of men, was not able to do it, and there­fore failed in his Design: This works but little to the glory of his Omnipotency, and Omnisciency. But to let that pass, wherein men (so they may compass their own ends) seem not to be much con­cerned: I desire to know, Whether this plain sufficient Revelation of God, be made any other way, or no? If no other­wise, then, as I confess we are all in the Dark; so it is to no purpose to blame the Scripture of Obscurity, seeing it is as lightsom as any thing else is, or can be. If this Revelation be made some other way, it must be by God himself, or some body else: That any other should be supposed in good earnest to do that which God cannot (though I know how some Canonists have jested about the Pope) I think will not be pleaded: If God then hath done this another way, I desire to know the true reason why he could not do it this way; namely, by the Scripture, and therefore desisted from his purpose? But it may be thought God could make a Revelation of Himself, his Mind, and Will, in and by the Scripture, yet he [Page 97] would not do it plainly, but Obscurely: Let us then see what we mean by plainly in this business. We intend not, that every Text in Scripture is easie to be un­derstood; nor that all the matter of it is easie to be apprehended: We know that there are things in it hard to be under­stood, things to exercise the minds of the best, and wisest of men unto Diligence, and when they have done their utmost, unto Reverence. But this is that we mean by plainly; The whole Will & Mind of God, with whatever is needful to be known of him, is revealed in the Scri­pture, without such Ambiguity or Ob­scurity, as should hinder the Scripture from being a Revelation of him, his Mind, and Will; to the end, that we may know him, and live unto him. To say that God would not do this, would not make such a Revelation (besides the re­flection that it casts on his Goodness and Wisdom) is indeed to say, that he would not do that, which we say he would do. The truth is, all the Harangues we meet withal about the Obscurity of the Scri­pture, are direct Arraignments of the Wisdom and Goodness of God. And [Page 98] if I were worthy to advise my Roman-Catholick-Countreymen, I would per­swade them to desist from this Enter­prize; if not in Piety, at least in Policy: For, I can assure them, as I think I have done already, that all their endeavours for the extenuation of the Worth, Excel­lency, Fullness, Sufficiency of the Scri­pture, do exceedingly confirm Prote­stants in the truth of their present per­swasion; which they see cannot be touch­ed, but by such horrible Applications as they detest.

4. But yet they say, Scripture is not so clear, but that it needs interpretation; and Protestants have none to interpret it, so as to make it a means of ending differences, I confess, the interpretation of Scripture is a good and necessary work; and I know, that he who was dead, and is alive for ever, continues to give gifts unto men, accor­ding to his Promise, to enable them to interpret the Scripture, for the edificati­on of his Body the Church. If there were none of these Interpreters among the Protestants, I wonder whence it is come to pass, that his Comments on, and in­terpretations of Scripture, who is most [Page 99] hated by Romanists of all the Protestants that ever were in the World, are so bor­rowed, and used (that I say not stollen) by so many of them: And that indeed what is praise-worthy in any of their Church, in the way of Exposition of Scri­pture, is either borrowed from Prote­stants, or done in imitation of them. If I am called on for instances in this kind, I shall give them, I am perswaded, to some mens amazement, who are less conversant in these things. But we are besides the matter: It is of an infallible In­terpreter, in wh [...]se Expositions and Determi­nations of Scripture-sense, all Christians are obliged to acquiesce, and such an one you have none. I confess we have not, if it be such an one as you intend; whose Expositions and Interpretations we must acquiesce in: not because they are true, but be­cause they are his. We have infallible Expositions of the Scripture in all neces­sary Truths, as we are assured from the Scripture it self: But an infallible Expo­sitor, into whose Authority our faith should be resolved, besides the Scripture it self, we have none: Nor do I think they have any at Rome, what-ever they [Page 100] talk of to men that were never there; nor (I suppose) do they believe it them­selves: for indeed if they do, I know not how they can be freed, from being thought to be strangely distempered, if not stark mad: For not to talk of the Tower of London, this I am sure of, That we have whole Cart loads of Comments and Expositions on the Scripture, writ­ten by Members of the Church, men of all Orders and Degrees; and he that has cast an eye upon them, knows, that a great part of their large Volumes, are spent in confuting the Expositions of one ano­ther, and those that went before them. Now wh [...]t a madness is this, or childish­ness, above that of very Children, to lye swaggering and contending one with a­nother, before all the World, with fal­lible Mediums about the sense of Scri­pture, and giving Expositions, which no man is bound to acquiesce in, any further than he sees Reason; whilst all this while they have One amongst them, who can infallibly interpret all; and that with such an Authority, as all men are bound to rest in, and contend no further? And the further mischief of it is, That of all the [Page 101] rest, This man is alwayes silent, as to Ex­position of Scripture, who alone is able to part the fray. There be two things, which I think verily, if I were a Papist, I should never like in the Pope; because methinks they argue a great deal of want of good nature: The one is (that we treat about) That he can see his Children so fiercely wrangle about the sense of Scri­pture, & yet will not give out what is the infallible meaning of every place, at least that is controverted, and so stint the strife amongst them, seeing it seems he can if he would. And the other is, That he suffers so many souls to lye in Purgatory, when he may let them forth if he please; and (that I know of) hath received no or­der to the contrary. But the truth is, That neither the Romanists, nor we, have any infallible living Judge, in whose deter­mination of the sense of Scripture, all men should be bound to acqu [...]esce, upon the account of his Authority: This is all the difference: We openly profess we have none such, and betake us to that which we have, which is better for us; They pretending they have, yet acting constantly as if they had not, and as in­deed [Page 102] they have not; maintain a perpetual inconsistency, and contradiction between their Pretentions, and their Practice. The holy Ghost, speaking in and by the Scripture, using the Ministry of men fur­nished by himself, with gifts and abili­ties, and lawfully called to the Work▪ for the oral Declaration, or other Expo­sitions of his mind, is that which the Pro­testants cleave unto, for the interpre­ting of the Scripture; which its self dis­covers, when infallible. And if Papists can tell me of a better way, I will quick­ly imbrace it. I suppose I may, upon the considerations we have had of the rea­sons offered to prove the insufficiency of Scripture, to settle us in the Truth, & to end our differences, conclude their in­sufficiency to any such purpose. We know, the Scripture was given us, to set­tle us in the Truth, and to end our diffe­rences; we know, it is profitable to that end and purpose, and able to make us wise to salvation. If we find not these effects wrought in our selves, it is our own fault; and I desire that for here­after, we may bear our own blame, without such Reflections on the ho­ly [Page 103] Word of the Infinitely Blessed God.

IX. We are come at length unto the Pope, of whom we are told, That He is a good man, One that seeks nothing but our good, that never did us harm, but has the care, and inspection of us committed unto him by Christ. For my part, I am glad to hear such news of him, and should be more glad to find it to be true. Our Fore­fathers and Predecessors in the faith we profess, found it otherwise. All the harm that could be done unto them, by ruining their Families, destroying their Estates, imprisoning, and torturing their Persons, and lastly, burning their Bodies in fire, they received at his hands. If the altera­tion pretended, be not from the short­ning of his Power, but the change of his Mind and Will, I shall be very glad to hear of it. For the present, I confess, I had rather take it for granted, whilest he is at this distance, than see him trusted with Power, for the tryal of his Will. I never heard of much of his Repentance, for the Blood of those Thousands that hath been shed by his Authority, and in [Page 104] his Cause; which makes me suspect, he may be somewhat of the same mind still, as he was. Time was, when the very worst of Popes exhausted more Treasure out of this Nation, to spend it ab [...]oad to their own ends, th [...] some a [...]e willing to grant to the best of Kings, to spend at home for their goods. I [...] may be, he is changed, as to this Design also, but I do not know it; nor is any p [...]oof offered of it, by our Autho [...]. Let us deal plainly one with another, and (without telling us, That the Pope never did us harm, which is not the way to make us believe, that he will not; because it makes us suspect, that all we have suffered from him, is thought no harm) let h [...]m tell us how he will assure us, That if this good Pope get us into his Power again, he will not burn us, as he did our Fore-fathers, unless we submit our Consciences unto him in all things; That he will not find out wayes to draw the Treasure out of the N [...]tion, nor absolve Subjects from their Allegiance, nor excommunicate, or at­tempt the Deposition of our Kings, or the giving away of their Kingdoms, as he has done in former dayes? That these [Page 105] things he hath done, we know; that he hath repented of them, and changed his mind thereupon, we know not. To have any thing to do with him, whilst he continues in such Distempers is not only against the Principles of Reli­gion, but of common Prudence also. For my par [...], I cannot but fear, until I see Se­curity tendered of this change in the Pope, that all the good words that are given us concerning him, are but Baits to enveigle us into his Power; and to tell you the truth terrent vestigia. How the Pope imployes himself in seeking our good, which our Author paints out unto us, I know not; when I see the effects of it, I shall be thankful for it. In the mean time, being so great a stranger to Rome, as I am, I must needs say, I know nothing that he does, but seek to destroy us, Body and Soul. Our Author pleads indeed, That the care and inspection of our condition, is committed to him by Christ: But he attempts not to prove it, which I somewhat marvel at: For having pro­fessedly deserted the old way of plead­ing the Catholick Cause and Interest, (which I presume he did, upon convicti­on [Page 106] of its insufficiency) whereas he is an ingenious Person he could not but know, that Pasce ove [...] meas, Tu es Petrus, Tibi dabo claves, are as weak parts of the old Plea, as any made use of; belonging nothing at all to the thing, whereunto they are applyed; it is somewhat strange, that he would substitute no new Proofs in their room. But, it seems, it is not every ones h [...]p, with him of old, to want Opinions sometimes, but no Arguments. When he has got Proofs to his purpose, we will again attend unto him: In the mean time, in this case shall only mind him, That the taking for granted in Dis­putations, that which should principal­ly be proved, h [...]s got an ill name a­mongst Learned men, being commonly called Begging.

X. The last Principle which I have observed, diffusing its influences through­out the whole Discourse, is, That the De­votion of Catholicks, far transcends that of Protestants: Their Preaching also (which I forgot to mention before) is far to be preferred above that of these: And for their Religion and Worship, it is liable to no just exception. I desire that our Author would [Page 107] but a little call to mind that Parable of our Saviour, about the two men that went up into the Temple to pray. To me this discourse smels rank of the Pharisee, and I wish that we might all rather strive to grow in Faith, Love, Charity, Self-denyal, and universal Conformity unto our Lord Jesus; than to bristle up, and cry, Stand further off, for I am holier than thou. In the mean time, for the respect I bear him, I intreat our Author to speak no more of this matter, lest some angry Protestant, or some Fanatick should take occasion to talk of old matters, and rip up old sores, or give an account of the present state of things in the Church of Rome; all which were a great deal better covered. If he will not take my advice, he must thank himself for that, which will assuredly follow. I must also say, by the way, That that Devotion, which consists so much, as our Author makes it to do, in the sweep­ing of Churches, and tinckling of Bells; in counting of Beads, and knocking of Breasts, is of very little value with Pro­testants, who have obtained an experi­ence of the excellency of Spiritual communion with God in Christ Jesus. [Page 108] Now whether these parts of the Pro­fession and Practise of his Church, which he is pleased to undertake, not onely the Vindication, but the Adorning of, be lyable to just exception or no, is the last part of our work to consider; and which shall in its proper place be done accordingly.

As I before observed, He that shall but cursorily run through this Discourse, will quickly find, that these false Sup­positions, ungrounded Presumptions, and unwarrantable Pretensions, are the things which are disposed of, to be the Foundations, Nerves, and Sinewes of all the Rhetorick that it is covered and wrought withall; and that the bare drawing of them out, leaves all the remaining Flourishes in a more scat­tered condition, than the Sybils leaves; which no man can gather up, and put together, to make up any significan­cy at all, as to the Design in hand. I might then well spare all further la­bour, and here put a Period to my Progresse; and indeed would do so; were I secure I had none to deal with, but Ingenious, and Judicious [Page 109] Readers; that have some to tolerable acquaintance at least, with the estate of Religion of old, and at present in Eu­rope, and with the concernment of their own souls in these things. But that no pretence may be left unto any, that we avoided any thing material in our Au­thor: Having passed through his Dis­course unto the end of it, I shall once more return to the beginning, and pass through its severals, leaving behind in the way, such Animadversions as are any way needful to rescue such as have not a mind to be deceived, from the Snares and Cobwebs of his Oratory.

CHAP. III.

Motive, Matter, and Method of our Author's Book.

WHat remains of our Author's Pre­face is spent in the persuit of an easie task in all the branches of it. To condemn the late Miscarriages in these Nations, to decry Divisions in Re­ligion, with their pernicious conse­quences, to commend my Lord Chancel­lour's Speech; are things that have lit­tle difficulty in them, to exercise the skill of a man pretending so highly as our Author doth. He may secure him­self, that he will find no opposition a­bout these things from any man in his right wits. No other man certainly can be so forsaken of Religion and Humani­ty, as not to deplore the woful under­takings and more woful issues of sundry things, whereunto the concernments of Religion have been pleaded to give countenance. The rancour also of men, [Page 111] and wrath against one another on the same accounts, with the fruits which they bring forth all the world over, are doubtless a burden to the minds of all that love Truth and Peace. To prevent a returnal to the former, and remove or at least allay the latter, how excel­lently the speech of that great Counsel­lour, and the things proposed in it, are suited; all sober and ingenious men must needs acknowledge. Had this then been the whole design of this Preface, I had given his Book many an Amen, be­fore I had come to the end. But our Au­thor having wholly another mark in his eye, another business in hand, I should have thought it a little uncivil in him, to make my Lord Chancellour's Speech seem­ingly subservient to that which he never intended, never aimed at, which no word or expression in it leads unto; but that I find him afterwards so dealing with the words of God himself. His real work in this compass of words, is to set up a blind, or give a false alarm, to arrest and stay his unwary Reader, whilst he prepares him for an entertainment which he thought not of, The pretence he flou­risheth [Page 112] over both in the Preface and sundry other parts of his Discourse, is, the hatefulness of our Animosities in and about Religion, their dismal Effects, with the necessity and excellency of Mo­deration in things of that nature; the re­al work in hand is, a Perswasive unto Popery, and, unto that end (not of mode­ration, or forbearance) are all his Argu­ments directed. Should a man go to him, and say, Sir, I have read your learned Book, and find that heats, and contests, about differences in Religion are things full of evil, and such as tend unto fur­ther misery; I am therefore resolved quietly to persist in the way of Prote­stancy wherein I am, without ever at­tempting the least violence against others for their dissent from me, but only with meekness and quietness defend the Truth which I profess; I presume, he will not judge his design half accomplished to­wards such a man, if at all. Nay, I dare say with some confidence, that in refe­rence to such a one, he would say to him­self, Op [...]ram & Oleum p [...]rdidi. And there­fore doth he wisely tell us, pag. 12. that his matter is perceived by the prefixed [Page 113] general Contents of his Chapters, his Design which he cals his Method, he con­fesseth that he doth purposely conceal. But the truth is, it is easily discoverable, there being few pages in the Book, that do not display it.

The Reader then must understand, that the plain English of all his Com­mendations of Moderation, and all his Exhortations to a relinquishment of those false Lights and Principles, which have lead men to a disturbance of the Pub­lique Peace, and ensuing Calamities, is, that Popery is the only Religion in the world, and that centring therein is the only means to put an end to our diffe­rences, heats, and troubles. Unless this be granted, it will be very hard to find one grain of sincerity in the whole Discourse: and if it be; no less difficult to find so much of Truth. So that what­ever may be esteemed suitable to the fan­cies of any of them whom our Author courts in his Address, those who know any thing of the holiness of God and the Gospel, of that Reverence which is due to Christ and his Word, and where­with all the concernments of Religion [Page 114] ought to be mannaged, will scarsely judge, that, that blessed Fountain of Light and Truth will immixe his pure beams and blessing, with such crafty, worldly, sophistical devices; or such frothy ebullitions of Wit and Fansie as this Discourse is stuffed withall. These are things, that may be fit to entangle unstable spirits, who being regardless of Eternity, and steering their course ac­cording to every blast of temptation, that fills their lusts and carnal pleasures, are as ready to change their Religion (it men can make any change in, or of, that which in reality they neither leave nor receive, but only sport themselves to and fro with the cloud and shadow of it) as they are their cloaths and fashions. Those who have had experience of the power and efficacy of that Religion which they have professed; as to all the ends for which Religion is of God revealed, will be little moved, with the Stories, Pre­tenses and Diversions of this Discourse.

Knowing, therefore, our Author's de­sign, (and which we shall have occasion to deal with him about, throughout his Treatise) which is to take advantage from [Page 115] the late miscarriages amongst us, and the differences that are in the world in Re­ligion, to perswade men not indeed and ultimately to mutual moderation and for­bearance, but to a general acquiescency in the Roman-Catholicism, I shall not here further speak unto it. The five Heads of his matter may be briefly run over as he proposeth▪ them, pag. 13. with whose consideration I shall take my leave of his Preface.

The first is, That there is not any co­lour of Reason, or just Title, to move us to quarrel and judge one another, with so much heat about Religion ▪ Indeed there is not; nor can there be: no man was ever so madd as to suppose there could be any reason or just Title for men to do evil; To quarrel and judge one another with heats about Religion, is of that nature. But, if, placing himself, to keep a decorum, a­mongst▪ Protestants, he would insinuate, that we have no reason to contend about Religion, as having lost all Title unto it by our departure from Rome, I must take leave unto this general head, to put in a general Demurrer; which I shall after­wards plead to, and vindicate.

[Page 116]His second is, That all things are so ob­scure, that no man in prudence can so far presume of his own knowledge, as to set up himself a guide and leader in Religion. I say so too; and suppose the words as they lye, whatever be intended in them, are keenly set against the great Papal pretension: whatever he may pretend, we know, the Pope sets up himself to be a guide to all men in Religion; and, if he do it not upon a presumption of his own knowledge, we know not on what better grounds he doth it. And though we wholly condemn mens setting up themselves to be Guides and Leaders to their Neighbours; yet, if he intend, that all things are so obscure, that we have no means to come to the know­ledge of the Truth concerning God and his mind, so far as it is our duty to know it; and therefore, that no man can teach or instruct another in that knowledge; I say, as before, we are not yet of his mind: whether we shall be or no, the process of our Discourse will shew.

3. He adds, That no Sect hath any ad­vantage at all over another, nor all of them together over Popery. Yes; They that [Page 117] have the Truth, wherein they have it, have advantage against all others that have it not. And so Protestancy hath advantage over Popery. And here, the Pretext or Vizor of this Protestant be­gins to turn aside: in the next head, it quite falls from him.

That is, (4.) That all the several kinds of Religion here in England, are equally innocent to one another; And Popery, as it stands in opposition to them, is absolutely in­nocent and unblameable to them all. I am little concerned in the former part of these words, concerning the several kinds of Religion in England, having undertaken the defence of one only; namely, Protestancy. Those that are de­parted from Protestancy so far as to con­stitute another kind of Religion; as to any thing from me, shall plead for themselves. However I wish, that all parties in Eng­land were all equally innocent to one another, or that they would not be wil­ling to make themselves equally nocent. But the latter part of the words contain, I promise you, a very high undertaking. Popery is innocent, absolutely innocent and unblameable to them all. I fear we [Page 118] shall scarce find it so, when we come to the tryal. I confess I do not like this pretence of absolute innocency and un­blameableness. I suppose, they are Men that profess Popery, and I do know that Popery is a Religion or Profession of mens finding out; how it should come to be so absolutely innocent on a suddain, I cannot imagine: but we will leave this until we come to the proof of it, taking notice only, that here is a great promise made unto his noble and ingenious Readers, that cannot advan­tage his cause, if he be not able to make it good. The close is,

5. That as there neither is, nor can be any rational motive for Disputes and Animo­sities about matters of Religion; so is there an indispensable moral cause, obliging us to moderation, &c. But this, as I observed before, though upon the first view of the sign hanging up at the door, a man would guess to be the whole work that was doing in the house, is indeed no part of his business; and is therefore thrust out at the postern, in two short leaves, the least part of them, in his own words af­ter the spending of 364 pages in the [Page 119] pursuit of his proper design. But, see­ing we must look over these things a­gain, in the Chapters assigned to their adorning, we may take our leave of them at present, and of his Preface to­gether.

CHAP. V.

& Chap. I. Contests about Religion and Re­formation, Schoolmen, &c.

THe Title of this Chapter was pro­posed; the persuit of it, now en­sues. The first Paragraph is a decla­mation about sundry things which have not much blame-worthy in them. Their common weakness is, that they are com­mon. They tend not to the furtherance of any one thing more then another; but are such as any Party may flourish withal, and use to their several ends as they please. That, desire of honour and [Page 120] applause in the world, hath influenced the minds of men to great and strange Undertakings, is certain. That it should do so, is not certain, nor true: so, that when we treat of Religion, if we re­nounce not the Fundamental Principle of it in Self-denyal, this consideration ought to have no place. What then was done by Emperours and Philosophers of old, or by the later School-men on this account, we are little concerned in. Nor have I either desire or design to vellicate any thing spoken by our Author, that may have an indifferent interpretation put up­on it; and be separated from the end which he principally persues. As there is but very little spoken in this Paragraph, directly tending to the whole end aimed at, so there are but three things, that will any way serve to leaven the mind of his Reader, that he may be prepared to be moulded into the form he hath fancyed to cast him into, which is the work of all these previous Harangues.

The first is his in [...]nuation, That the Reformation of Religion is a thing pretend­ed by aemulous Plebeians, not able to hope for that Supervisorship in Religion which [Page 121] they see intrusted with others. How un­serviceable this is unto his Design as ap­plyed to the Church of England, all men know; for setting aside the considera­tion of the influence of Soveraign Royal Authority, the first Reformers amongst us, were persons who as they enjoyed the right of Reputation for the Excellencies of Learning and Wisdom; so also were they fixed in those places and conditions in the Church, which no Reformation could possibly advance them above; and the attempt whereof cost them not only their dignities, but their lives also. Neither were Heze­kiah, Josiah, or Ezra, of old, aemulous plebeians, whose lasting glory and re­nown arose from their Reformation of Religion. They who fancy men in all great undertakings to be steered by de­sire of applause and honour, are exceed­ing incompetent judges of those actions which zeal for the glory of God, love to the Truth, sense of their duty to the Lord Jesus Christ, and compassion for the souls of others, do lead men unto, and guide them in; and such will the last Day manifest the Reformation traduced to have been.

[Page 122]The Second, is a gallant commend [...]ti­on of the Ingenuity, Charity, Candor, and sublime Science of the School-men. I confess, they have deserved good words at his hands: These are the men, who out of a mixture of Philosophy, Traditi­ons, and Scripture [...] all corrupted and per­verted, have hamm [...]ed that faith, which was afterwards confirmed under so many Anathemaes at Trent. So that upon the matter, he is beholden to them for his Religion; which I find he loves, and hath therefore reason to be thankful to its Contrivers. For my part, I am as far from envying them their commendati­on, as I have reason to be, which I am sure is far enough. But yet before we admit this Testimony, hand over head; I could wish he would take a course to stop the mouths of some of his own Church, and those no small ones neither, who have declared them to the world, to be a pack of egregious Sophisters, neither good Philosophers, nor any Divines at all; men who seem not to have had the least reverence of God, nor much regard to the Truth in any of their Disputations, but we [...] wholly influenced by a vain Re­putation [Page 123] of Subtility, desire of Conquest, of leading and denominating Parties, and that in a Barbarous Science, barbarously expressed, untill they had driven all Learning and Divinity almost out of the World. But I will not contend about these Fathers of Contention: let eve­ry man esteem of them as he seems good.

There is the same respect, in that bit­ter reflection which he makes on those, who have managed differences in Reli­gion in this last Age, the Third thing ob­servable. That they are the Writers, and Writings that have been published against the Papacy which he intends; he doth more than intimate. Their Di­sputes, he rells us, are managed with so much unseemly behaviour, such unmanerly expressions, that discreet sobriety cannot but loath, and abhor to read them; with very much more to this purpose. I shall not much labour to perswade men not to be­lieve what he sayes in this matter; for I know full well, that he believes it not himself. He hath seen too many Pro­testant Books, I suppose, to think this Cen [...]re will suit them all. This was [Page 124] meet to be spoken, for the advantage of the Catholick cause: for what there hath been of real offence in this kind amongst us, we may say, Iliacos intra muros pecca­tur et extra; Romanists are Sinners as well as others: And I suppose himself knows. That the Reviling, and Defamations used by some of his Party, are not to be pa­ralleld in any Writings of man-kind at this day extant.

About the Appellatio [...]s he shall think meet to make use of, in reference to the Persons at variance, we will not contend with him: Only I desire to let him know, That the reproach of Galilean from the Pagans, which he appropriates to the Papists, was worn out of the World, before that Popery which he pleads for, came into it. As Roman-Ca­tholicks never tasted of the sufferings wherewith that Reproach was attended, so they have no special right to the ho­nour that is in its remembrance. As to the sport he is pleased to make with his Countrey-men, in the close of this Para­graph, about losing their wits in Religious contests, with the evils thence ensuing, I shall no further reflect upon; but once [Page 125] more to mind the Reader, that the many words he is pleased to use in the exagge­rating the evils of mannaging diffe­rences in Religion with animosities and tumults, so seemingly to perswade men to moderation and peace, I shall wholly pass by, as having discovered, that that is not his business, nor consequently at present, mine.

It is well observed by him in his se­cond Paragraph, that most of the great Contests in the world about perishing things, proceed from the unmortified lusts of men. The Scripture abounds in Testimonies given hereunto: St. James expresly; From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence even of your lusts that war in your mem­bers? ye lust and have not, ye kill and de­sire to have, and cannot obtain; you fight and warr, yet you have not, chap. 4.1, 2. Mens lusts put them on endless irregu­larities, in unbounded desires, and foolish sinful enterprizes for their satisfaction. Neither is Satan the old Enemy of the well-fare of mankind wanting to excite, provoke, and stir up these lusts by mix­ing himself with them in his temptati­ons, [Page 126] thrusting them on, and intangling them in their persuit. As to the Con­tests about Religion, which I know not with what mind or intention he terms an empty airy business, a ghostly fight, a skirmish of Shaddows or Horse-men in the clowds, he knows not what principle, cause, or sourse, to aso [...]ibe them unto; That which he is most inclinable unto, is, That there is something invisible above man, stronger and more politick then he, that doth this contumely to mankind, that casts in these Apples of Contention amongst us, that hisses us to warr and battail, as wag­gish Boys do Doggs in the street. That which is intended in these words, and sundry others of the like quality that follow, is, that this ariseth from the in­tisements and impulsions of the Devil. And none can doubt, but that in these works of darkness, the Prince of Dark­ness hath a great hand. The Scripture also assures us, that as the Scorpions which vexed the world issued out of the bottom­less pit, so also that these unclean spi­rits do stir up the powers of the Earth to make opposition unto the Truth of the Gospel, and Religion of Jesus Christ. [Page 127] But yet neither doth this hinder, but that even these religious fewds and mis­carriages also, proceed principally from the ignorance, darkness, and lusts of men▪ In them lies the true cause of all dissen­tions in and about the things of God. The best know but in part, and the most love darkness more than light, be­cause their works are evils. A vain con­versation received by tradition from mens fathers; with inveterate prejudices, love of the world, and the customs there­of, do all help on this s [...]d work wherein so many are imployed. That some preach the Gospel of God [...] with all their strength, in much contention, and contend earnestly for the Faith once de­livered unto the Saints; as it is their duty, so it is no cause, but only an ac­cidental occasion, of differences amongst men. That the invisible substances our Author talks of, should be able to sport themselves with us as Children do with Dogs in the street, and that with the like im­pulse from them, as Dogs from these, we should rush into our contentions, might pass for a pretty notion, but only that it over-throws all Religion in the [Page 128] world, and the whole nature of man. There is evil enough in corrupted na­ture to produce all these evils which are declaimed against to the end of this Se­ction, were there no Daemons to excite men unto them. The adventitious im­pressions from them, by temptations and suggestions, doubtless promote them, and make men precipitate above their natu­ral tempers in their productions; but the principal cause of all our evils is still to be looked for at home, ‘Nec te quaesiveris extra.’

Sect. 3. Pag. 34. In the next Section of this Chapter whereunto he prefixes, Nullity of Title, he persues the perswa­sive unto Peace, Moderation, Charity, and Quietness, in our several perswasions, with so many reasonings, and good words, that a man would almost think that he began to be in good earnest, and that those were the things which he intended for their own sakes to promote. I presume, it cannot but at the first view seem strange to some, to find a man of the Roman party so ingeniously ar­guing [Page 129] against the imposition of our senses in Religion magisterially and with violence one upon the other; it being notoriously known to all the world, that they are, if not the only, yet the greatest Imposers on the minds and consciences of men that ever lived in the earth; and which work they cease not the prosecu­tion of, where they have power, until they come to fire and fagot. I dare say, there is not any strength in any of his queries, collections, and arguings, but an indifferent man would think it at the first sight to be pointed against the Ro­man interest and practice. For what have they been doing for some ages past, but under a pretence of Charity to the souls of men, endeavouring to perswade them to their Opinions and Worship, or to impose them on them whether they will or no? But let old things pass; it is well if now at last they begin to be o­therwise minded. What then, if we should take this Gentleman at his word, and cry, A match; let us strive and con­tend no more; Keep you your Religi­on at Rome to your selves, and we will do as well as we can with ours in Eng­land; [Page 130] we will trouble you no more a­bout yours, nor pray do not you med­dle with us or ours. Let us pray for one another, wait on God for light and direction, it being told us, that If any one be otherwise minded, (than according to the Truth) God shall reveal that unto him. Let us all strive to promote God­liness, Obedience to the Commands of Christ, Good works, and Peace in the world; but for this contending about Opinions, or endeavouring to impose our several perswasions upon one ano­ther, let us give it quite over. I fear he would scarsely close with us, and so wind up all our Differences upon the bottom of his own Proposals; especial­ly, if this Law should extend it's self to all other Nations equally concerned with England. He would quickly tell us, that this is our mistake; he intended not Roman-Catholicks, and the differences we have with them in this Discourse; It is Protestants, Presbyterians, Indepen­dents, Anabaptists, Quakers, that he deals with al, and them only, and that upon this ground, that none of them have any Title or pretence of Reason to impose [Page 131] on one another, and so ought to be quiet, and let one another alone in mat­ters of Religion. But for the Roman-Catholicks, they are not concerned at all in this Harangue, having a sufficient Title to impose upon them all. Now truly, if this be all, I know not what we have to thank you for, Tantúmne est otii tibi abs re tua, aliena ut cures, ea (que) quae ad te nihil at tinent? There are wise and learned men in England, who are concerned in our differences, and do labour to compose them or suppress them. That this Gentleman should come and justle them aside, and impose him­self an Umpire upon us, without our choyce or desire, in matters that be­long not unto him, how charitable it may seem to be, I know not; but it is scarsely civil. Would, he would be perswaded to go home, and try his re­medies upon the distempers of his own family, before he confidently vend them to us. I know he has no Salves about him to heal diversities of Opinions, that he can write Probatum est upon, from his Roman-Church. If he have, he is the most uncharitable man in the world, to [Page 132] leave them at home brawling, and toge­ther by the ears; to seek out practise where he is neither desired, nor wel­come, when he comes without invita­tion. I confess, I was afraid at the be­ginning of the Section, that I should be forced to change the Title before I came to the end, and write over it De­sinit in piscem. The sum of this whole Paragraph is, that all sorts of Prote­stants, and others, here in England, do ridiculously contend about their several perswasions in Religion, and put trou­ble on one another on that account, whereas it is the Pope only that hath Title and Right to prescribe a Religion unto us all; which is not to me unlike the fancy of the poor man in Bedlam, who smiled with great contentment, at their folly, who imagined themselves either Queen Elizabeth, or King James, seeing he himself was King Henry the Eighth. But, seeing that is the business in hand, let us see what is this Title, that the Pope hath, which Protestants can lay no claim unto. It is founded on that of the Apostle to the Corinthians, Did the Word of God come forth from you, [Page 133] or came it unto you only? This is pre­tended the only Rule to determin, with whom the preheminence of Religion doth remain: Now the Word came not out originally from Protestants, or Pu­ritans, nor came it to them alone. So that they have no reason to be imposing their conceptions on one another, or own others that differ from them. But our Author seems here to have fallen upon a great mis-adventure; There is not, as I know of, any one single Text of Scripture, that doth more fatally cut the throat of Papal pretensions, than this that he hath stumbled on. It is known, that the Pope and his adherents claim a preheminence in Religion to be the sole Judges of all its concernments, and the imposers of it in all the world. What men receive from them, that is Truth; what they are any otherwise in­structed in, it is all false and naught. On this pretence it is, that this Gentle­man pleads Nullity of Title amongst us as to all our contests; though we know, that Truth carries its Title with it, in whose hands soever it be found. Give me leave then to make so bold (at least [Page 134] at this distance) as to ask the Pope and his Adherents An à vobis verbum Dei pro­cessit, an ad vos solos pervenit? Did the Gospel first come from you, or only unto you, that you thus exalt your selves above your Brethren all the World over? Do we not know by whom it first came to you, and from whom? Did it not come to very many parts of the World before you? to the whole World as well as to you? Why do you then boast your selves as though you had been the first revealers of the Gospel, or that it had come unto you in a way or manner pecu­liar and distinct from that by which it came to other places? Would you make us believe, that Christ preached at Rome, or suffered, or rose from the dead there, or gave the Holy Ghost first to the Apo­stles there, or first there founded his Church, or gave order for the empaling it there, when it was built? Would we never so fain, we cannot believe such prodigious Fables. To what purpose then do you talk of Title to impose your conceits in Religion upon us? Did the Gospel first come forth from you, or came it unto you only? Will not Rome [Page 135] notwithstanding its seven Hills, be laid in a level with the rest of the World, by vertue of this Rule? The truth is, as to the Oral dispensation of the Gospel, it came forth from Jerusalem, by the Per­sonal Ministry of the Apostles, and came equally to all the world: That Spring being long since dryed up, it now comes forth to all from the written word; and unto them who receive it in its Power and Truth doth it come, and unto no other. What may further be thought necessary to be discussed, as to the mat­ter of fact, in reference to this Rule, the Reader may find handled under that con­sideration of the first supposition; which our Author builds his Discourse up­on.

Sect. 4. Pag. 48. Heats and Resolu­tion, is the Title of this Section; in which if our Author be found blameless, his charge on others will be the more signi­ficant: The Impartial Reader, that will not be imposed on by smooth words, will easily know what to guess of his temper. In the mean time, though we think it is good to be well-resolved, in [Page 136] the things that we are to believe and practise in the worship of God; yet all irregular, and irrational Heats, in the prosecution, or maintenance of mens different conceptions and apprehensions in Religion, we desire sincerely to avoid and explode. Nor is it amiss, that, to further our moderation, we be minded of the temper of the Pagans, who in their Opinion-Wars (we are told) used no other Weapons but only of Pen and Speech: For our Author seems to have forgotten, not only innumerable other Instances to the contrary, but also the renowned Battel between Ombos and Tentyra. But this forgetfulness was needful, to aggravate the charge on Christians, that are not Ro­manists, for their heat, fury, and Fightings, for the promotion of their Opinions; as being in this so much the worse than Pa­gans, who in Religion used another man­ner of moderation. And who I pray is it, that manageth this charge? Whence comes this Dove, with an Olive-branch? This Orator of Peace? If we may guess from whence he came, by seeing whither he is going, we must say that it was from Rome. This is their Plea, this the [Page 137] perswasion of men of the Roman-Inte­rest: This their charge on Protestants: To this height the confidence of mens ignorance, inadvertency, and fullness of present things amounts. Could ever any one rationally expect, that these Gentlemen would be publick decryers of Fury, Wars, and Tumults for Religion? May not Protestants say to them, Quae regio in terris nostri non plena cruoris? Is there any Nation under the Heavens, whereunto your power extends, where­in our blood hath not given testimony to your wrath and fury? After all your cursings, and attempted depositions of Kings and Princes, translations of Title to Soveraignty and Rule, invasions of Nations, secret Conspiracies, Prisons, Racks, Swords, Fire, and Fagot, do you now come and declaim about moderati­on? We see you not yet cease from kil­ling of men, in the pursuit of your fancies and groundless Opinions; any where, but either where you have not power, or can find no more to kill: So that certainly, whatever reproach we deserve to have cast upon us in this matter, you are the unfittest men in the world to be manna­gers [Page 138] of it. But I still find my self in a mistake in this thing: It is only Prote­stants and others, departed from the Ro­man Church, that our Author treats: It is they, who are more fierce and disin­genious than the Pagans, in their con­tests amongst themselves, and against the Romanists; as having the least share of Reason, of any upon the earth. His good Church is not concerned, who as it is not lead by such fancies and mo­tives as they are, so it hath right (where it hath power) to deal with its Adversa­ries as seems good unto it. This then, Sir, is that which you intend; that we should agree amongst our selves, and wait for your coming with power to destroy us all. It were well indeed, if we could agree; it is our fault and misery, if we do not, having so absolutely a perfect Rule and means of agreement as we have. But yet, whether we agree, or agree not, if there be another Party distinct from us all, pretending a right to exterminate us from the earth, it behooves us to look after their proceedings. And this is the true state of all our Author's Pleas for Moderation; which are built upon such [Page 139] Principles as tend to the giving us up unarmed and naked to the power and will of his Masters.

For the rest of this Section, wherein he is pleased to sport himself in the mis­carriages of men in their coyning and propagating of their Opinions, and to gild over the care and success of the Church of Rome, in stifling such births of pride and darkness, I shall not in­sist upon it. For as the first as gene­rally tossed up and down, concerns none in particular, though accompanyed with the repetition of such words as ought not to be scosfed at; so the latter is no­thing but what violence and ignorance may any where, and in any age, produce. There are Societies of Christians, not a few, in the East, wherein meer dark­ness and ignorance of the Truth, hath kept men at peace in Errors, without the least disturbance by contrary opi­nions amongst themselves, for above a 1000 years; and yet they have wanted the help of outward force to secure their Tranquillity. And is it any wonder, that where both these powerful Engins are set at work for the same end, if in [Page 140] some measure it be compassed and ef­fected. And if there be such a thing among the Romanists (which I have rea­son to be difficult in admitting the belief of) as that they can stisle all Opinions, as fast as they are conceived, or destroy them assoon as they are brought forth; I know it must be some device or artifice unknown to the Apo­stles and Primitive Churches; who not­withstanding all their Authority and care for the Truth, could not with many compass that end.

Sect. 5. Pag. 54. The last Section of this Chapter contains motives to mode­ration three in number; And I suppose, that no man doubts, but that many more might be added, every one in weight out-doing all these three. The first is that alone which Protestants are con­cerned to look unto: not that Prote­stants oppose any motive unto moderati­on; but knowing that in this Discourse, Moderation is only the pretence, Pope­ry (if I may use the word without incivility) the Design and aim, it concerns them to examine, which of [Page 141] these pretended motives, that any way regards their real principle, doth tend unto; Now this Motive is, the great ig­norance our state and condition is involved in, concerning God, his Works, and Provi­dence; a great motive to Moderation, I wish all men would well consider it. For I must acknowledge, that I cannot but suppose them ignorant of the state and condition of mortality, and so con­sequently their own, who are ready to destroy and exterminate their neighbors of the same flesh and bloud with them, and agreeing in the main Principles of Religion, that may certainly be known, for lesser differences, and that by such rules as within a few years may possibly reach their nearest Relations. Our Author also layes so much weight on this Motive, that he fears an anticipati­on, by men, saying, That the Scripture reveals enough unto us; which therefore he thinks necessary to remove. For my part; I scarse think, he apprehended any real danger, that this would be in­sisted on as an Objection against his mo­tive to moderation. For to prevent his tending on towards that which is indeed his proper end, this obstacle is not un­seasonably [Page 142] layed, that under a pretence of the ignorance unavoidably attending our state and condition, he might not prevail upon us to increase and aggra­vate it, by entising us to give up our selves by an implicite faith to the con­duct of the Roman-Church. A man may easily perceive the end he intends, by the Objections which he fore-sees. No man is so madd, I think, as to plead the sufficiency of Scripture-Revelation against Moderation; when in the Reve­lation of the Will of God contained in the Scripture, Moderation is so much commended unto us, and pressed upon us: But against the pretended necessity of resigning our selves to the Romanists for a relief against the unavoidable ig­norance of our state and condition, be­sides that we know full well, such a re­signation would yield us no relief at all; this plea of the sufficiency of Scripture-Revelation is full and unanswerable. This put our Author on a work which I have formerly once or twice advised him to meddle no more; being well as­sured, that it is neither for his repu­tation, nor his advantage, much less [Page 143] for his souls health. The pretences which he makes use of, are the same that we have heard of many and many a time; The abuse of it by some, and the want of an Infallible Interpreter of it as to us all. But the old tale is here anew gilded with an intermixture of o­ther pretty stories, and application of all to the present humours of men; not forgetting to set forth the brave estate of our fore-fathers, that had not the use of the Scripture; which what it was, we know well enough, and better then the prejudices of this Gentleman will give him leave to tell us. But if the lawful and necessary use of any thing may be decryed, because of its abuse, we ought not only to labour the abo­lishing of all Christian Religion in ge­neral, and every principle of it in par­ticular out of the world; but the blot­ting out of the Sun, and Moon, and Stars, out of the Firmament of Heaven, and the destruction of the greatest and most noble parts, at least, of the whole Crea­tion: But as the Apostles continued in the work of Preaching the Gospel, though by some, the grace they taught [Page 144] was turned into lasciviousness; so shall we abide to plead for the use of the Scri­pture, whatever abuse of them by the wicked lusts of men can be instanced in. Nor is there any reason in the world, why food should be kept from all men, though some have surfeited, or may yet so do. To have a compendious Narration of the Story and Morality of the Scripture in the room of the whole, which our Author allows of, is so jejune, narrow, and empty a Conception, so unanswer­able to all those divine Testimonies gi­ven to the excellency of the Word of God, with Precepts to abide in the me­ditation and study of it, to grow in the knowledge of it, and the mysteries con­tained in it, the commendations of them that did so, in the Scripture it self, so blasphemously derogatory to the Good­ness, Love, and Wisdom of God, in grant­ing us that inestimable benefit, so con­trary to the redoubled Exhortations of all the Antient Fathers, that I wonder any one who dares pretend to have read it, or to be a Christian, can own and avow such a notion. All the fine Stories, Allusions, and Speculations, a­bout [Page 145] madness, that he is pleased to flou­rish withall in this matter, are a cover­ing too short and narrow to hide that wretched contempt of the holy Word of the great God, which in these No­tions discovers its self. Men who by corrupt Principles have been scared from the study of the Scripture, or by their lusts kept from its serious perusal, or attendance unto it, that value not the Authority of God, of Christ, or his Apostles, commanding and requiring the diligent study of it, that dis-regard the glorious mysteries, revealed in it on set purpose that we might all come to an acquaintance with them, and so, con­sequently, that have had no experience of the excellency or usefulness of it, nor lye under any conviction of their own duty to attend unto it; may per­haps be glad to have their lusts and un­belief so farr accommodated, as to suf­fer themselves to be perswaded, that there is no need that they should any further regard it, than hitherto they have done. But in vain is the Net spread before the Eye of any thing that hath a wing; for them who have tasted the [Page 146] sweetness of the good Word of God, who have attained any acquaintance with its usefulness and excellency, who have heard the voyce of God in it, making the knowledge of his Will revealed therein of indispensable necessity to the salvation of their souls; believe me, Sir, all your Rhetorick and Stories, your pretences and flourishes, will never pre­vail with them to cast away their Bi­bles, and resolve for the future to be­lieve only in the Pope. Of the inter­pretation of the Scripture I have spoken before, and shewed sufficiently, that neither are we at any such a loss there­in, as to bring us to any incertainty a­bout the Principles of our Religion; nor, if we were, have we the least reason to look for any relief from Rome. When I happen upon any of these Discourses, I cannot but say to my self; What do these men intend? Do they know what they do, or with whom they have to deal? Have they ever read the Scri­pture, or tasted any sweetness in it? If they instruct their Disciples unto such mean thoughts of the holy Word of God, they undo them for ever. And if [Page 147] I meet with these bold efforts against the wisdom of God twenty times, I cannot but still thus startle at them.

The two following Motives being ta­ken up, as far as I can apprehend, to give our Author an advantage to make sport for himself and others, in canvasing some expressions & discourses of our talkative times, and the vulgar brutish manage­ment of our differences, by some weak unknowing Persons, need not detain us. Did I judge it a business worthy of any prudent mans consideration, it were ea­sie to return him for his requital, a col­lec [...]on of the pretty Prayers and Devo­tions of his good Catholicks, of their kind treatments one of another, or the doubty Arguments they make use of a­mongst themselves and against us; abun­dantly enough to repay him his kindness, without being beholding to any of those Legends, which they formerly accommo­dated the people withall, in room both of Scripture and Preaching; though of late they begin to be ashamed of them.

CHAP. VI.

to Chap II. Obscurity of God, &c.

UNto the ensuing whole Chapter, wherein our Author exspatiates, with a most luxuriant Oratory, throughout; and oft times soars with Po­etical raptures, in setting forth the ob­scurity and darkness of all things, [...] ig­norance and disability, to attain a right and perfect knowledge of them, canting by the way, many of those pretty Noti­ons, which the Philosophical discoursive men of our dayes do use to whet their wits upon, over a glass of Wine; I have not much to offer: Nor should I once reflect upon that discourse, were it not designed to another end, than that which it is ushered in by, as the thing aymed to be promoted by it. Forbearance of one another in our several perswasions, on a sense of our infirmity and weakness, and [Page 149] the obscurity of those things, about which our minds and contemplations are conversant, is flourished at the en­trance of this Harangue: After a small progress, the Snake begins to hiss in the grass, and in the Close openly to shew it self, in an enticement unto an imbracing of the Roman-Religion; which, it seems, will disintangle our minds out of that maze about the things of God and Man, in which, without its guidance, we must of necessity wander for ever. As for his Philosophical notions, I suppose they were only vented, to shew his skill in the Learned talks of this Age, & to toll on the Gallants, whom he hath most hope to enveagle; knowing them to be Candidates for the most part, unto that Sceptism which is grown the entertain­ment of Tables and Taverns. How a man that is conversant in his thoughts about Religion, and his choice of, or settlement therein, should come to have any concernment in this Discourse, I can­not imagine. That God, who is infinite­ly wise, holy, good, who perfectly knows all his own excellencies, hath revealed so much of Himself, his Mind, and Will, [Page 150] in reference to the Knowledg which he requires of himself, and Obedience unto him, as is sufficient to guide us whilst we are here below, to steer our Course in our subjection to him, and dependence on him, in a manner acceptable unto him, and to bring us to our utmost end and blessedness in the enjoyment of him: This Protestants think sufficient for them, who as they need not, so they de­sire not to be wise above what is written; nor to know more of God, than he hath so revealed of himself, that they may know it. Those barren, fruitless Sp [...]cu­lations, which some curious Serpentine Wits, casting off all reverence of the So­veraignty and Majesty of God, have exer­cised themselves in and about, even in things too high and hard f [...]r them, dark­ning counsel and wisdom, by words of pretended subtilty, but real folly; are fitter to be exploded out of the world, then fomented and cherished in the m [...]nds of men.

Nor doth that discourse about God and his Essence, which lies before us, seem to grow on any other roots than ignorance and curiosity; Ignorance of [Page 151] what it is that God requireth us to know of him, and how; and Curiosity in prying into, and using words about what we do not understand, nor is it the mind of God that we should. Were poor sinners throughly sensible of their own condition, and what acquaintance with God their concernment doth lye in, they would little value such vain towring imaginations as some mens minds are exercised withal. Come, Sir, Let us leave these vain flourishes, and in deepest abasement of soul pray that we may know how the Father, whom no man hath seen at any time, is revealed by the only begotten Son, who is in his bosom. What he is in his Law towards impeni­tent sinners, what in the Covenant of his Grace to them that fly for refuge to the hope that is set before them; even that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, would give unto us the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation in the knowledge of him, that the eyes of our understanding being enlightned, we may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the Saints, and what is [Page 152] the exceeding greatness of his power to­wards them that believe, according to the working of the might of his power, which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in heavenly places; that our hearts may be comforted, be­ing knit together in love, and unto all riches of the FULL ASSURANCE OF UNDERSTANDING to the acknow­ledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge, and by whom alone we may obtain any saving acquaintance with them; who also is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true.

This is the Port-Haven of Prote­stants, whatever real darkness may be about them, or whatever mists may be cast on them by the sleights of men that lye in wait to deceive, That they need know no more of God, that they may love him, fear him, believe in him, and come to the enjoyment of him, than what he hath clearly and expresly in Christ revealed of himself by his [Page 153] Word. Whether the storms of this Gentleman's indignation be able to drive them, or the more pleasant gales of his Eloquence to entise them, from this Harbour, time will shew. In the mean while, that indeed, they ought not so to do, nor will do so with any but such as are resolved to steer their course by some secret distempers of their own, a few strictures on the most material pas­sages of this Chapter will discover.

It is scarce worth while, to remark his mistake in the foundation of his discourse of the Obscurity of God, as he is pleased to state the matter, from that of the Prophet, asserting, that God is a God who hides himself; or, as he renders it, an hidden God. His own Prophet will tell him, that it is not concerning the Es­sence of God, but the Dispensation of his Love and Favour towards his People, that those words were used by the Pro­phet of old, and so are unwillingly pres­sed to serve in the design he hath in hand. Neither are we more concerned in the ensuing Discourse of the Soul's cleaving to God by Affection, upon the Metaphysi­call representation of His excellencies [Page 154] and perfections unto it; it being purely Platonical, and no way suited to the reve­lation made of God in the Gospel, which acquaints us not with any such amiable­ness in God, as to endear the souls of sin­ners unto him, causing them to reach out the wings of their love after him, but only as he is in Christ Jesus, reconciling the world to himself; a consideration that hath no place, nor any can obtain, in this flourish of words: And the reason is, be­cause they are sinners, and therefore without the Revelation of an Attone­ment, can have no other apprehension of the infinitely Holy and Righteous God, but as of a devouring Fire, with whom no sinner can inhabite. Nor yet in the aggravation of the obscurity of God from the restless endeavours of mankind in the disquisition of him, who, as he sayes, shew their love in seeking him, having at their birth an equal right to his favour, which they could no wise demerit before they were born, being directly contrary to the Doctrine of his own Church, in the head of Original Sin.

That which first draws up towards the design he is in persuit of, is his Deter­mination, [Page 155] That the issuing of mens per­plexities in the investigation of this hidden God, must be by some Prophet or Teacher, sent from God unto men; but the uncer­tainty of coming into any better con­dition thereby, is so exaggerated by a contempt of those wayes and means, that such Prophets have fixed on to evidence their coming forth from God, by Mira­cles, Visions, Prophesies, ashew of Sanctity, with a concourse of Threats and Promises, as that means also is cashiered from yielding us any relief. Neither is there any thing intimated, or offered, to ex­empt the true Prophets of God, nor the Lord Christ himself, from being shuffled into the same bag with false pretenders in the close, that were brought forth to play their game in this pageant. Yea, the difficulty put upon this help of the loss we are at in the knowledge of God, by Prophets and Prophesies, seems espe­cially to respect those of the Scripture, so to manifest the necessity of a further evidence to be given unto them, then any they carry about them, or bring with them, that they may be useful to this end and purpose: And this intention [Page 156] is manifest a little after, where the Scripture is expresly reckoned among those things which all men boast of, none can come to certainty or assurance by. Thus are poor unstable souls ven­tured to the Borders of Atheism, under a pretence of leading them to the Church. Was this the method of Christ, or his Apostles, in drawing men to the Faith of the Gospel? this the way of the holy men of old, that laboured in the Conversion of Souls from Gentilism and Heresie? Were ever such bold as­saults against the immoveable Principles of Christianity made by any, before Re­ligion came to be a matter of carnal In­terest? Is there no way to exalt the Pope, but by questioning the Authori­ty of Christ, and Truth of the Scripture? Truly, I am sorry, that wise and con­sidering men should observe such an irreverence of God and his Word to prevail in the spirits of men, as to en­tertain thoughts of perswading them to desert their Religion, by such presum­ptious Insinuations of the uncertainty of all Divine Revelation. But all this may be made good on the considerati­on [Page 157] of the changes of men after their pro­fession of this or that Religion; namely, That, notwithstanding their former pre­tensions, yet indeed, they knew nothing at all, seeing that from God and the Truth no man doth willingly depart; which if it be universally true, I dare say, there is not one word true in the Scripture. How often doth God complain in the Old-Testament, that his people forsook Him for that which was not God? and how many do the Apostles shew us in the New, to have forsaken the Truth? It is true, that under the notion of God the cheifest Good, and of Truth the proper object and rest of the under­standing, none can willingly and by choyce depart: but, that the mindes of men might be so corrupted and per­verted by their own lusts, and tempta­tions of Satan, as willingly and by choyce to forsake the one or the other, to embrace that which in their stead presents it self unto them; is no less true, than, that twice two make four. And it is meer weakness and ignorance of the condition of mankind, since the entrance of sin, to conclude, that, be­cause [Page 158] men may forsake the Truth which they have professed, therefore there is no Evidence in that Truth which they so forsake; as though, Truth and its E­vidence were to be measured and judged by the carriage and deportment of cor­rupt and unstable men towards it. Though the Sun continue to shine in the Firmament, yet there be a thousand ways whereby men may become blind, and so rendred unable to see it. And there are no fewer▪ ways whereby men either wilfully themselves darken the eyes of their understanding, or suffer them to be put out by others. Shall the Truth be thence calumniated, as though it sent forth no beams whereby it may be clearly discerned? Are they not ra­ther justly to be supposed blind them­selves, who can entertain such thoughts of it?

We dwell too much on these remote attempts towards the special end aimed at. The Rhetorick of this Discourse is wound up, Pag. 76, 77, 78, 79. in a perswasive unto Popery; The substance whereof is, that the Papacy being re­jected, there is a necessity that all men [Page 159] must become Atheists; which requires a little further consideration. He says, then, That these dissentions of ours (he means, of Protestants, one of whom he most undecently personates) about the Faith in its branches so hot, so various, so extravagant, are apt to inferr a suspition in its very root; Are not a hundred in our own Countrey become Atheists already upon that very notion? And these men supposing substantial change once made in Religion, and deliberately admitted, are rather to be commended for their wit, than blamed. For they do but that suddenly, which all the Land will come to by degrees. This in ge­neral; in which entrance into his fur­ther application of what he had large­ly, and indeed loosly, before discoursed to his present purpose; I wish I could find any thing sound. If dissentions about the Faith, however extravagantly mannaged, are apt to inferr a suspition in its very root, it is most certain, that since the first preaching of it, or with­in a few years after its first Revelati­on, causes of suspition have been given, and will be given, and it is the mind of God should be given, who said, [Page 160] there must be Heresies, that the ap­proved may be tryed. And this very argument did Celsus press against Chri­stianity almost 1500. years ago; which is worthily answered by Origen ▪ nor is there need of adding any thing to what that excellent man replyed unto one of the first Coyners of this Obje­ction. The truth is; our dissentions are evils; our evils, the evils of men that are ingaged in them. And yet it may be, not all out so evil in themselves as is pretended; They are farr enough from meriting the Title of, lo here is Christ, and, lo there is Christ; Protestants are all of them well enough agreed, who is Christ, and where alone he is to be found: If they jump not wholly into the same conceptions, about some few things of less importance in the way and manner of the worship of Christ, it is no more, but what hath been the lot of the best of men ever since Christ was preached on the Earth, that were not infallibly inspired; Such contests ever were, and he that knows what men are, will have little cause given him to suspect the truth of the foundation [Page 161] of that about which they contend. Nor is any ground of such suspition admini­stred by these differences; Men of cor­rupt minds, may take occasion from them to vent the enmity which is in their hearts against the faith; ground of suspition none is given unto them. Nay rather, it is a strong evidence of the certainty of the faith in general, that all those who contend about the branches of it, do every one of them charge one another with the failure; and all agree, that the faith it self about which they contend, is certain, sure, and stable. And, I hope, the Gentleman is mistaken in the calculation of the numbers that are become Atheists in our Countrey; or, if he have brought them to the pole, I do not believe, that he hath taken a particular account of the occasions and reasons that cast them on that com­mendable piece of wit, as he styles it; and so knows not, but that they may have been made witty by some of those wayes, whereby, if a learned Frier may be believed, there were no less then 60000. become Atheists, and that not of Pro­testants, but good Catholicks, in one [Page 162] City in our neighbouring-Nation. But this falls out, saith he, by a supposal of a substantial change made in Religion, and deliberately admitted. This, indeed, were something; but, Whoever supposed so? The Religion of Jesus Christ, is the same, once delivered unto the Saints. This is still one and the same, yesterday, to day, and for ever, unalterable; as Christ himself. Men indeed, who are lyars, are changeable Worms; and ma­ny, as to their Profession in Religion, al­ter, change, turn, apostatize, with or without deliberation: but he that shall thence conclude, that his best course is speedily to be an Atheist, will not de­serve much commendation for his wit, less for his wisdom; and, for his grace, none at all. That the Land will come to Atheism by degrees, is the Progno­stication of our Author, calculated from the Meridian of Rome. For my part, I fear not such kind of Prophets: Prote­stant Religion hath, by the blessing of God, retrived the Nation from the doors of Atheism, and kept it safe almost these hundred years, notwithstanding the wo­ful miscarriages of some that have pro­fessed [Page 163] it; why they must now all by de­grees turn Atheists, I know no reason to fear, nor presume doth our Author, but that he is prompted to like his con­jecture, by his love to his Countrey­men, desiring they may follow them, who are so commended for their wit.

But we must proceed with the im­provement of this consideration. Pag. 11. If the Papist, or Roman-Catholick, who first brought the news of Christ and his Christianity into the Land, as all men must needs know, that have either heard or read of Christianities▪ ingress into England, or other Countries and Kingdoms, (for we do no sooner hear news of Christianity than Po­pery, and its Crucifixes, Monasteries, Reliques, Sacrifice, and the like), I say, If the Papist le now become so odious, as we see he is, and if the faith he brought and maintained a thousand years together, be now rent all a­sunder by Sects and Factions, which bandy all to the ruine of that Mother-Religion; if all her practical Truths, wherein chiefest Piety consists, be already abandoned as erro­neous; doth not this justifie the Pagan whom this Catholick Christian displaced to make [Page 164] way for his own Law? And must not this be a certain way and means to introduce A­theism, which naturally follows that faith once removed, even as a carkass succeeds a living body once deceased? For, one truth denyed, is a fair way to question another, which came by the same hand; and this, a third: till the very Authority of the first Revealer be at stake, which can no more de­fend himself then he can his Law? For the same Axe and Instrument, that cut down the branches, can cut up the root too; and, if his reverence, for which all the rest was believed, defend not their truth, it must needs at length utterly fail in his own; for all the Authority they had was purely from him, and he fails in them before he falls in himself. [...]. That the Papists, or Roman-Catholicks, first brought Christ and his Christianity into this Land, is most untrue; and I wonder how any one that hath read any story of the Times that are past, should so often a­verre what he cannot but know to be untrue. The Gospel might have been brought into England by Romans, and yet not by Papists; for I cannot find, nor can this Gentleman shew, that the [Page 165] Romans St. Paul wrote unto, were any one of them, in any one poynt, Papists. But neither was it brought hither by Romans, but came immediately out of the East; from whence also about the same time it came to Rome. Nor is it any jot truer, That we no sooner heard news of Christianity, than Popery, with its Crucifixes, Monasteries, Reliques, Sacrifice, (that is, the Mass), and the like; Apage nugas! What do we talk of tother-day things, when we speak of the first news of Christianity? The first planting and watering of these things, was in after-Ages, and their growing up to that con­sistency, wherein they may justly be cal­led Popery, a work of many Centu­ries. And yet, I shall grant, that most of them got the start in the World, of that Papal Soveraignty, whence Popery is peculiarly denominated. But the first news we hear of Christianity, is in the Gospel; where there is not the least tidings of these trifles, nor was there in some Ages, that next succeeded the pub­lication of it. If this Gentleman, give any further occasion, the particulars shall be evinced to him. For my [Page 166] part, I know not how, nor to whom a Papist is become odious, which nextly he complains of. I can, and do love their persons, pitty them in their mistakes, hate only their vices. But yet, cer­tain it is, a Papist may be odious, that is, men may not love those parts of his Religion, from whence he is so deno­minated, without the least impeachment of that faith that extirpated Gentilism in the World. It is for that faith which ruined Gentilism, that we contend a­gainst Papists. Let us have that, and no more, and there is an end of all our Contests. The things we strive a­bout, sprang up since Gentilism was bu­ryed, the most of them out of its grave, some from a deeper place, if there be a deeper place. For the practical Truths of the Papists, which he complains to be abolished, I was in good hope, he would not have mentioned them; their speculations are better then their pra­ctises, whether he intends their moral Divinity, or their agenda in Worsh [...]p; I would desire this Gentleman to men­tion them no more, lest he hear that of them, which, I know, he is not wil­ling [Page 167] to do. As for the Practical Truths of the Gospel, they are maintained, and asserted in the Church of England, and by all Protestants; and about others, we are not solicitous. What tendency then, the Rejection of Popery, which had no hand in supplanting Gentilism, and which is no part of the Religion of Christ, hath to the leading of men into Atheism, is as hard to discover, as the quadrature of a Circle, or a Subterranean passage in­to the Indies. But he gives his reasons; If one truth be denyed, a fair way is made to question another, which came by the same hand, and this a third, till the very Authority of the first Revealer be at stake, which can no more defend himself then he can his Law. This first Revealer, I take to be the Lord Christ; he that grants a thing, or doctrine, to be taught and delivered by him, yet denyes it to be true, doth in­deed deny his Authority: However, he will defend himself and his Law, let men do what they please. But, he that denyes such a thing to be truth, because it is not revealed by him, nor consistent with what is revealed by him, doing this out of subjection of soul and consci­ence [Page 168] to his Authority, is in no danger of questioning or opposing that Authority. Nay, be it, that it be indeed a truth which he denyes: being only denyed by him, because he is perswaded, that it is not of Christ, the first Revealer, and therefore not true; there is no fear of the danger threatned. But the mat­ter is, That all that is brought from Christ by the same hand, must be equally received. It is true, If it be brought from Christ by the same hand, it must be so; not, because by the same hand, but be­cause from Christ; They that preached Christ, and withall, that men must be circumcised, had put men into a sad con­dition; if, in good sooth, they had been necessitated to embrace all that they taught; the same men teaching Christ to be the Messias, and Circumcision to be necessary to life eternal. Amongst those that were converted to the Gospel by the Jews that were zealous of the Law, how easie had it been for their Teach­ers, to have utterly frustrated St. Paul's Doctrine of Christian liberty, by telling them, that they could not forgo Circum­cision, but they must forgo Christ also; for, all those things they received by the [Page 169] same hand. If, indeed, a man comes and delivers a Systeme of Religion upon his own Authority and Reputation only, he that denyes any one point of what he delivers, is in a fair way of everting all that he asserts. But if he come, as sent from another, and affirm, that this other commanded him to declare, that which he delivers for Truth in his Name, and produce for that end his Commissi­on, wherein all the Truths that he is to deliver, are written; if he deliver what he hath not received in Commission, that may honestly be rejected, without the least impeachment of any one Truth that was really committed unto him, by him that sent him. And this was the way, this the condition of them who planted the Gospel in the Name of Christ, not being themselves divinely inspired. So that, if in the second Edition of Christia­nity, in some parts of this Nation by Au­stine, and his Associates, any thing was taught or practised, that was not accor­ding to the Rule and Commission given by Christ, it may be rejected, without the least impeachment to the Authority of the first Revealer; nay, his Autho­rity [Page 170] being once received, cannot be pre­served entire without such rejection. I confess, I do almost mistrust, that by this Revealer of Christianity, and his Au­thority, which he discourses about, our Authour intends the Pope; which, if so, what we have discoursed of Christ, is, I confess, to little purpose; and it were easie to turn our Reply that way; but, because I have not clear Evidence for it, I will not charge him with so horrid a presumptuous Insinuation; when he declares his mind, he shall hear more of ours.

But he further specifies his meaning in an enumeration of Doctrines that were preached by the first Planters of the Gospel, in and unto the extirpation of Gentilism. If, saith he, the Institution of Monasteries, to the praise and service of God, day and night, be thought as it hath been now these many years a Supersti­tious folly; If Christian Priests and Sacri­fices be things of high Idolatry; If the seven Sacraments be deemed vain, most of them; If it suffice to Salvation, only to Believe, whatever life we lead; If there be no va­lue, or merit, in Good Works; If God's Laws [Page 171] be impossible to be kept; If Christ be not our Law-maker and Director of doing well, as well as Redeemer from ill; If there be no Sacramental Tribunal for our Reconcili­ation ordained from by Christ on the Earth; If the real Body of our Lord be not bequeathed unto his Spouse in his last Will and Testa­ment; If there be not under Christ a gene­ral Head of the Church, who is chief Priest and Pastor of all Christians upon Earth un­der God, whose Vicegerent he is in Spiri­tual Affairs; all which things are now held forth by us, manifestly against the Doctrine of the first Preachers of Christianity in this Land; then I say, Paganism was unjustly displaced by these Doctrines, and Atheism must needs succeed; for if Christ deceived us, upon whom shall we rely; and if they that brought us the first news of Christ, brought along with it so many grand lies, why may not the very story of Christ be thought a Romance?

I could wish there had been a little more clearness and ingenuity in this an­numeration; the mixing of what he takes to be Truths, with some Nega­tives that he condemns in the same Se­ries, breeds some confusion in the Dis­course: [Page 172] And I am also compelled to complain of want of candor and ingenu­ity in his representation of the Prote­stant Doctrin in every particular, where­in he takes occasion to mention it: Let us then separate the things that have no place of their own in this Argument, than what is ambiguously proposed: after which, what remains may be di­stinctly considered.

1. What makes that enquiry in our way at this time, If it suffice to Salva­tion, to believe, whatever life we lead? Who ever said so, taught so, wrote so, in England? Is this the Doctrine of the Church of England? or of the Presbyte­rians, or Independents? Or whose is it? Or what makes it in this place? If this be the way of gaining Catholicks, let them that please make use of it. Prote­stants dislike the Way as much as the End.

2. What is the meaning of that which follows, If there be no value or merit in good Works? Who ever taught that there is no value in good Works? that they are not commanded of God, that they are not accepted with him, that they [Page 173] are not our duty to be careful in the performance of; that God is not ho­noured, the Gospel adorned, the Church and the World advantaged by them? Do all these things put no value on them? For their merit, the expression being ambi­guous, unscriptural, and, as commonly interpreted, derogatory to the glory of Christ, and the Grace of God; we shall let it pass, as proper to his purpose: and much good may it do him with all that he gains by it.

3. If (saith he) God's Laws be impos­sible to be kept; but, Who said so? Pro­testants teach indeed, that men in their own strength cannot keep the Laws of God; That the Grace received in this life extends not to an absolute sinless perfection in their observation, which is inconsistent with the Covenant of Grace, and mens walking with God therein: but, that the Laws of God were in their own nature impossible to be observed by them to whom they were first given, or, that they are yet impossible to be kept in that way of their sincere observation which is required in the Gospel, Protestants teach not that I know of. He proceeds.

[Page 174]4. If Christ be not our Law-maker and Director of doing well, as well as our Re­deemer from ill. This is a little too open and plain; doth he think any man will believe him, that Protestants or Presby­terians ▪ teach that Christ is not our Law-maker and Director of doing well, &c. I dare say, he believes not one word of it him­self, what confidence soever he hath taken upon him of imposing on the minds of weak and unstable men.

Other things mentioned by him are ambiguous; as, If the seven Sacraments be deemed vain, most of them, &c. Of the things themselves, which they term Sacraments, there is scarse any of them by Prote­stants esteemed vain; that one of Unction, which they judge now useless, they only say, is an unwarrantable imitation of that which was useful: Of the rest, which they reject, they reject not the things, but those things from being Sacraments; and a practice in Religion is not pre­sently condemned as vain, which is not esteemed a Sacrament. There is no less ambiguity in that other Supposition, If the real Body of our Lord be not bequeathed to his Spouse in his last Will and Testament; [Page 175] which no Protestant ever questioned; though there be great contests about the manner of the Sacramental Participation of that real Body; the same may be said of some other of his Supposals. But I need not go over them in Particular: I shall only say in General; that take from amongst them, what is acknow­ledged to be the Doctrine of the Papists, and, as such, is opposed by the Church of England, or by Presbyterians (as Pa­pal Supremacy, Sacrifice of the Mass, Mo­nasteries of Votaries under special and peculiar Vows and Rules, necessity of auricular Confession, Transubstantiation, which are the things gilded over by our Author) and prove that they were the Doctrines, all, or any of them, whereby, and wherewith, the first Preachers of Christianity in this Nation, or any where else in the old known World, displaced Paganism; and, for my part, I will im­mediately become his Proselyte. What then can be bound with this Rope of Sand? The first Preachers of Christianity preached the Pope's Supremacy, the Mass, &c. By these Doctrines Paganism was dis­placed; If these Doctrines now be decryed, [Page 176] as lyes, why may not Christ himself be e­steemed a Romance? For neither did the first Preachers of Christianity, preach these Doctrines; nor was Paganism dis­placed by them; nor is there any ground to question the Authority and Truth of Christ, in case those that do first preach him, do therewithal preach somewhat that is not true, when they bring along with them an authentick conviction of their own mistakes, as was manifested before, and might be made good by in­numerable other Instances.

I shall not need to follow him in his declamation to the end of this Para­graph; the whole foundation of his ma­ny flourishes and pretences being totally taken out of the way.

CHAP. VII.

Scripture Vindicated.

WIth his three following Para­graphs, from pag. 82. unto 108. which have only a very remote and al­most imperceptible tendency unto his purpose in hand, though they take up so long a Portion of his Discourse, (seem­ing to be inserted, either to manifest his skill and proficiency in Philosophical Scepticism▪ or to entertain his Readers with such a delightful diversion, as that having taken in it a tast of his ingenuity, they may have an edge given their ap­petite unto that which is more directly prepared for them,) I shall not trouble my self, nor detain my Reader about. If any one a little skill'd in the Discourses of these dayes, have a mind to vye conje­ctures and notions with him, to velli­cate commonly received Maxims and vul­gar Opinions, to exspatiate on the events [Page 178] of Providence in all Ages, he may quick­ly compose as many learned leaves; only if he would be pleased to take my advice with him, I should wish him not to flourish and guild over things uncer­tain and unknown, to the disadvantage of things known and certain; nor to vent conjectures about other worlds, and the nature of the heavenly bodies, deroga­tory to the love of God in sending his Son to be incarnate, and to dye for sin­ners that live on this Earthly Globe. Neither do I think it well done, to mix St. Paul and his Writings, in this Scep­ticism, men [...]ioning in one place his fancy, in another his conceit, which he seems to oppose; such is the reverence these men bear to the Scripture and ho­ly Pen-men thereof; so also, that whole scorn that he casts on Man's Dominion o­ver the Creatures, reflects principally on the beginning of Genesis, and the eighth Psalm.

An unsearchable abysse in many of God's Providential dispensations, where­in the Infinite Soveraignty, Wisdom, and Righteousness of Him who giveth no account of his matters, are to be [Page 179] adored, we readily acknowledge; and yet I dare freely say, that most of the things instanced in by our Author, are capable of a clear resolution according to knowne Rules and Principles of Truth revealed in the Scripture; such are, God's suffering the Gentiles to wan­der so long in the dark, not calling them to repentance; with the neces­sity of Christian Religion, and yet the punishment of many of the Professors of it by the power of Idolaters and Pa­gans, as the Church of the Jews was handled of old by the Assyrians, Babylo­nians, and others. Of this sort also, is his newly inserted Story of the Ciru­brians, which it may be was added to give us a cast of his skill in the investi­gation of the original of Nations, out of Cambden; For if that which himself affirms of them, were true, namely, That they were devout adoring the Crucifix, which men usually are, when they cease to worship aright him who was crucified, (the sin mentioned, Rom. 1.25.) we need not much admire, that God gave them up to be scourged by their Pa­gan adversaries; but, not to mention [Page 180] that which is not only uncertain whe­ther it be true, but is most probably false; If our Author had ever read the Stories of those Times, and the Lamen­tations made for the sins of them, by Gildas, Salvianus, and others, he would have found enough to justifie God in his proceedings and dealing with his Ciru­brians, according to the known Rules of his Word. The like may be affirmed concerning the Irish; whose decay, like a true English-man, he dates from the Interest of our Kings there, and makes the progress of it commensurate to the prevalency of their Authority; when it is known to all the world, that by that means alone they were reclaimed from Barbarism, and brought into a most flou­rishing condition, until by their rebel­lion and unparalleled cruelties; they precipitated themselves into confusion and ruin. As for that which is insinua­ted as the conclusion, fit to be made out of all these premises, concerning the ob­scurity of God's Nature, and the works of Providence, viz. that we betake our selves to the infallible determination of the Roman-Church, I shall only say; [Page 181] that as I know not, that as yet the Pope hath undertaken Pontifically to interpose his definitive Sentence, in reference to these Philosophical Digladiations he glanceth on in the most part of his Dis­course; so I have but little reason on the resignation required, to expect an il­lumination from that obscurity about the Deity which he insists on; finding the children, indeed the Fathers, of that Church, of all men in the Earth most to abound in contradictory Disputes and endless Quarrels, about the very nature and properties of God himself.

But his direct improvement of this long Oration that he enters on, Pag. 122. may be further considered. It is, in short, this; That by the Scripture no man can come to the knowledge of, and settle­ment in, an assurance of the Truth; nor is there any hope of relief for us in this sad condition, but that living Papal Oracle, which if we are wise we will acquiesce in, Pag. 125, 126. To this purpose, men are furnished with many exceptions against the Authority of the Scripture, from the uncertainty of the rise and spring of it, how it came to us, how it was authorized, and [Page 182] by whom, the doubtfulness of its sense and meaning, the contemptible condition of the first Pen-men of it, seeming a company of ignorant men imposing their own fancies, as Oraculous Visions upon us; of whom how can we know that they were inspired, seeing they say no such things of themselves; not those especially of the New-Testament: besides, the many appearing contradictions with other humane infirmities, seeming unto Criticks e­ver and anon to occurre in them; and why might not illiterate men fail as well as, &c. With much more of the same nature and importance; unto all which, I shall need to say nothing but that of Job, Vain man would be wise, but is like to the wild Asse's Colt. Never is the folly of men more eminently display'd, than when confi­dence of their wisdom makes them bold and daring. I doubt not, but our Au­thor thought, that he had so acquitted himself in this passage, as that his Rea­ders must need resolve to quit the Scri­pture, and turn Papists; but there is an evident gulf between these Reasonings and Popery, whereunto they will cer­tainly carry any that shall give way to their force and efficacy: This is no other [Page 183] but down right Atheism; This the sup­plying of men with cavils against the Scripture its Power and Authority do directly lead unto. Our Authour would have men to believe these suggestions, at least so farr as not to seek for rest and satisfaction in the Scriptures, or he would not: If he would not; to what end doth he mention them, and sport himself in shewing the luxuriancy of his wit and fancy in cavilling at the Word of God? Is not this a ready way to make men A­theists, if only by inducing them to an imitation of that, which by his example he commends unto them? But it will be said, He only shews the uncertainties that are about Scripture, that men may not expect by, or from them, deliverance from the darkness and ignorance before spo­ken of? Suppose then they come to be perswaded of such an uncertainty, What course shall they take? Apply themselves to the Roman-Church and they are safe. But seeing the being of a Church, (much less the Roman-Church) hath no founda­tion in the light of Nature, and men can never know any thing of it, especi­ally of its Prerogative, but by and from [Page 184] the Scripture whose Authority you have taught them to question, and made doubt­ful to them, What remains for rational men but to renounce both Scripture and Church, and betake themselves to your commendable piece of witty Atheism. This is the old lurry, The Scripture can­not be known, believed, understood, but by the Church; the Church cannot be proved to have Being, Constitution, or Authority but by the Scripture; and then if you doubt of the Authority of that proof of the Church, you must re­turn to the Church again; and so on, un­til all Faith and Reason vanish, or men make shipwrack of their Faith, and be­come brutish in their Understanding, pretending to believe, they know neither what nor why. And this imployment of raising surmises and stirring up jea­lousies about the Word of God, it's Pen­men, and their Authority, do men put themselves upon, I will not say, to gra­tifie the Roman-Court; but, I will say, in obedience to their prejudices, lusts, and darkness, and saddest drudgery that any of the sons of men can be exercised withal. And if he would be believed, [Page 185] he professeth himself an Anti-Scriptu­rist, and in that profession which he puts upon himself, an Atheist. For my part, I am amazed to think how men are able to hold their Pens in their hands, that an horrour of the work they have be­fore them, doth not make them shake them out, when they are thus traducing the holy Word of Christ, and exciting evil surmises about it. Should they deal with a man of any Power and Authori­ty, they might not expect to escape his indignation; even, to publish to all the World, that he is indeed an honourable person, but yet, if men will question his Honour, Truth, Honesty, Authority, and affirm him to be a Cheat, Thief, Murder­er, Adulterer, they cannot see how they can be disproved; at least, he would have a difficult task in hand, that should en­deavour to free him from objections of that nature: Yet thus men dare to deal with the Scripture, that Word which God hath magnified above all his Name; If this be the Spirit that breathed in the Apostles, the holy Army of Martyrs of old, and all the Fathers of the Primitive Church, I am much mistaken; nay, I am [Page 186] greatly so, if with one consent they would not denounce an Anathema a­gainst such a defence of any Religion whatever. But you will say, The same person defends also the Scripture; just as he in the Poet did Pelilius.

Me Capitolinus convictore usus amico (que)
A puero est, causa (que) mea permulta rogatus
Fecit, & incolumnis laetor quod vivit in urbe;
Sed tamem admiror quo pacto Judicium illud
Fugerit.—

A defence worse and more bitter then a down-right accusation. I am not now to observe what prejudice this excuse brings to the cause of our Author, with all intelligent persons, having noted it once and again before; nor what con­tentment Protestants take, to see that the Truth they profess cannot be shaken without inducing men to question the Fundamental Principles of Christian Re­ligion; and, if this course be persisted in, for ought that I can understand, the whole Controversie between us and the Romanists, must needs be at last reduced unto this head, Whether the Scripture [Page 187] of the Old and New-Testament, was gi­ven by Divine Inspiration. For the pre­sent, having, in the consideration of the general suppositions of this Treatise, spoken before to this head, I shall not need to answer particular Exceptions given in against its Authority; nor do I think it incumbent on me so to do; unless our Author own them for his sense, which if he be pleased to do, I promise him, if God give me life, to give him a distinct answer to every one of them, and all that is contained in them. Moreover these things will a­gain occurre in his 15. Section, where he expresly takes the Scripture to task, as to its pleas for judging of, and setling Men in the Truth.

Proceed we to his next Section, p. 126.

CHAP. VIII.

Use of Reason. Sect. 11.

THis Section is set apart for the ca­shiering of Reason from having any hand in the business we deal about; and the truth is, if our Author can perswade us first to throw away our Bibles, and then to lay aside the use of our Reason, I suppose, there is no doubt but we shall become Roman-Catholicks. This work, it seems, cannot be effected, unless men are contented to part with Scripture and Reason; all that whereby they are Chri­stians and Men. But unless our Author have emptyed Circe's Box of Oyntment, whereby she transformed Men into Swine, he will confess it somewhat a dif­ficult task that he hath undertaken. Me­thinks one of these demands might suf­fice at once. But he presumes he hath [Page 189] put his Countrey-men into a good hu­mor, and knowing them free and open-hearted, he plyes them whilest they are warm.

We have, indeed, in this Section, as fair a flourish of words as in any other; but, there can be but little reason in the words that men make use of, to plead a­gainst Reason it self. And yet I am per­swaded▪ most Readers think as well of this [...] as any in the Book. To whom the un [...]easonableness of this is evident, that of the others is so also; and those who willingly imbibe the other parts of his Discourse, will little strain at this. Nothing is to be trusted unto Preju­dice. Nor, if we will learn, are we to think strange of any thing. Let us weigh then impartially, what is of Rea­son in this Discourse against the use of Reason. What ever he pretends, he knows full well, that he hath no differ­ence with any sort of Protestants about finding out a Religion by Reason, and adhere­ing only to its dictates in the Worship of God. All the World of Protestants profess, that they receive their Religi­on wholly by Revelation from God, and [Page 190] no otherwise; Nor is it about ascribing a Soveraignty to Reason to judge of the particulars of Religion so Revealed, to accept or refuse them, according as that shall judge them suitable, or not, to its principles and liking. This is the Sove­raign dictate of Reason, That whatever God reveals to be believed, is true, and as such must be embraced, though the bottom of it cannot be sounded by Rea­son's line; and that because [...] reason of a man is not absolutely reason▪ but be­ing the reason of a man, is variously li­mitted, bounded, and made defective in its ratiocinations. An objective Truth our Reason supposes▪ all that it hath to do, is but to judge of what is proposed to it according to the best Principles that it hath; which is all that God in that kind requires of us; unless in that work wherein he intends to make us more then men, that is, Christians, he would have us make our selves less then Men, even as Brutes. That in our whole obedience to God, we are to use our Reason, Pro­testants say indeed; and moreover, that what is not done reasonably, is not Obe­dience. The Scripture is the Rule of [Page 191] all our Obedience, Grace the Princi­ple enabling us to perform it; but the manner of its performance must be Rati­onal, or it is not the supposition of Rule or Principle that will render any act of a man, Obedience. Religion, say Pro­testants, is revealed in the Scripture, proposed to the minds and wills of men for its entertainment by the Ministry of the Church; Grace to Believe, and Obey, is supernaturally from God; but, as to the Proposals of Religion from Scripture, they averre, that men ought to admit and receive them as men, that is, judge of the sense and meaning of them, discover their truth, and finding them revealed, acquiesce in the Autho­rity of him by whom they are first re­vealed. So far as men, in any things of their concernments that have a moral good or evil in them, do refuse, in the choice or refusal of them, to exercise that judging and discerning, which is the proper work of Reason, they un-Man themselves, and invert the order of Nature; dethroning the [...] of the Soul, and causing it to follow the faculties that have no light but what [Page 192] they receive by and from it. It's true, all our carnal reasonings against Scri­pture-Mysteries, are to be captivated to the Obedience of Faith; and, this is highly reasonable, making only the less, particular, defective collections of rea­son, give place to the more noble, ge­neral and universal principles of it. Nor is the denying of our reason any where required, as to the sense and meaning of the words of the Scripture, but as to the things and matter signified by them. The former, Reason must judge of, if we are men; the latter, if, in conjuncti­on with unbelief and carnal lusts, it tu­multuate against it, is to be subdued to the Obedience of Faith. All that Pro­testants in the business of Religion a­scribe unto men, is but this, that in the business of Religion they are, and ought to be men; that is, judge of the sense and truth of what is spoken to them ac­cording to that Rule which they have received for the measure and guide of their Understandings in these things. If this may not be allowed, you may make a Herd of them, but a Church never.

[Page 193]Let us now consider what is offered in this Section about Reason, wherein the concernment of any Protestants may lye. As the matter is stated, about any one's setting up himself to be a new and ex­traordinary Director unto men in Religion, upon the account of the irrefutable Reason he brings along with him, which is the spring and sourse of that Religion which he ten­ders unto them; I very much question, Whether any instance can be given of any such thing from the foundation of the World. Men have so set up indeed sometimes, as that Good Catholick Va­nine did not long since in France, to draw men from all Religions; but, to give a new Religion unto men, that this pre­tension was ever solely made use of, I much question. As true Religion came by Inspiration from God, so all Authors of that which is false, have pretended to Revelation. Such were the preten­sions of Minos, Lycurgus, and Nunia of old, of Mahomet of late, and general­ly, of the first Founders of Religious Or­ders in the Roman-Church; all in imi­tation of real Divine Revelation, and in answer to indelible impressions on the [Page 194] minds of all men, that Religion must come from God. To what purpose then, the first part of his Discourse a­bout the coyning of Religion from Reason, or the framing of Religion by Reason, is, I know not; unless it be to cast a Blind before his unwary Reader, whilest he steals away from him his Treasure, that is, his Reason, as to its use in its proper place. Though therefore there be many things spoken, unduly, and, because it must be said, untruly also, in this first part of his Discourse, until toward the end of Pag. 131. which deserve to be animadver­ted on; yet, because they are such as no sort of Protestants hath any concernment in, I shall pass them over. That where­in he seems to reflect any thing upon our Principles, is in a supposed reply to what he had before delivered; where­unto indeed it hath no respect or re­lation, being the assertion of a Principle utterly distant from that imaginary one, which he had timely set up, and stoutly cast down before. It is this; That we must take the words from Christ and his Gospel; but the proper sense, which the words of themselves cannot carry with them, [Page 195] our own reason must make out. If it be the Doctrine of Protestants, which he intend­eth in these words, it's most disadvan­tagiously and uncandidly represented, which becomes not an ingenious and learned person. This is that which Pro­testants affirm: Religion is Revealed in the Scripture; that Revelation is deli­vered▪ and contained in Propositions of Truth. Of the sense of those words, that carry their sense with them, Rea­son judgeth, and must do so; or we are Brutes; and that every ones Reason, so farr as his concernment lies in what is proposed to him.

Neither doth this at all exclude the Ministry or Authority of the Church, both which are entrusted with it by Christ, to propose the Rules contained in his Word unto Rational Creatures, that they may understand, believe, love, and obey them. To cast out this use of Reason, with pretence of an antient sense of the words, which yet we know they have not about them, is as vain as any thing in this Section, and that is vain enough. If any such antient sense can be made out, or produced, that is a mean­ing [Page 196] of any Text that was known to be so, from their Explication who gave that Text, it is by reason to acquiesced in. Neither is this to be make a man a Bi­shop, much less a chief Bishop, to him­self. I never heard that it was the of­fice of a Bishop, to know, believe, or understand for any man, but for him­self. It is his Office, indeed, to instruct and teach men; but they are to learn and understand for themselves, and so to use their Reason in their Learning. Nor doth the variableness of mens thoughts and reasonings inferr any variableness in Re­ligion to follow; whose stability and sameness depends on its first Revelation, not, our manner of Reception. Nor doth any thing asserted by Protestants, about the use of Reason in the business of Religion, interfere with the rule of the Apostle about captivating our Un­derstandings to the Obedience of Faith, much less to his assertion, That Christi­ans walk by Faith, and not by Sight; seeing that without it we can do neither the one nor the other. For I can nei­ther submit to the truth of things to be believed, nor live upon them, or accor­ding [Page 197] unto them, unless I understand the Propositions wherein they are ex­pressed; which is the work we assign to Reason. For those who would re­solve their Faith into Reason, we con­fess, that they overthrow not only Faith, but Reason it self; there being no­thing more irrational, than that belief should be the product of Reason, being properly an assent resolved into Au­thority, which if Divine, is so also. I shall then desire no more of our Au­thor, nor his Readers, as to this Secti­on, but only this, that they would be­lieve, that no Protestant is at all con­cerned in it: and so I shall not further interpose, as to any contentment they may find in its review or perusal.

CHAP. IX.

Jews Objections.

THe title of this Third Chapter is that, No Religion, or Sect, or Way, hath any advantage over another, nor all of them over Popery. To this we excepted be­fore in general, that that way which hath the truth with it, hath in that wherein it hath the truth, the advantage against all others. Truth turns the scales in this business, wherever and with whomsoever be found; and if it lie in any way di­stant from Popery, it gives all the ad­vantage against it that need be desired. And with this only enquiry, With whom the Truth abides, is this disquisition, What wayes in Religion have advantage a­gainst others, to be resolved. But this course and procedure, for some reasons which he knows, and we may easily guess at, our Author liked not; and it it is now too late for us to walk in any path▪ but what he has trodden before us, [Page 199] though it seem rather a maze, then a way for Travellers to walk in, that would all pass on in their Journey.

His first Section is entituled, Light and Spirit; the pretence whereof, he treats after his manner, and cashiers from giving any such advantage as is in­quired after. But neither yet are we ar­rived to any concernment of Prote­stants. That which they plead as their advantage, is not the empty names of Light and Spirit; but, the truth of Christ revealed in the Scripture. I know there are not a few who have impertinently used these good words, and Scripture-expressions, which yet ought no more to be scoffed at by others, then abused by them. But that any have made the plea here pretended as to their settlement in Religion, I know not. The truth is, if they have, it is no other upon the mat­ter, but what our Author cals them un­to; to a naked Credo he would reduce them, and that differs only from what seems to be the mind of them that plead Light and Spirit, that he would have them resolve their faith irrational­ly into the Authority of the Church, [Page 200] they pretend to do it into the Scri­pture.

But what he aimes to bring men un­to, he justifies from the examples of Christians in antient times, who had to deal with Jews and Pagans, whose disputes were rational and weighty, and pusled the wisest of the Clergy to answer, So that after all their ratiocination ended, whether it sufficed or no, they still concluded with this one word, Credo; which in Logick and Phi­losophy, was a weak answer, but in Religion, the best and only one to be made. What could be spoken more untruely, more contu­meliously, or more to the reproach of Christian Religion, I cannot imagine. It's true indeed, that as to the resoluti­on, satisfaction, and settlement of their own souls, Christians alwayes built their faith, and resolved it into the Autho­rity o [...] God in his word; but that they opposed their naked Credo to the disputes of Jews or Pagans, or rested in that for a solution of their objections, is heaven­ly-wide; as far from truth, [...]. I wonder any man who hath ever seen, or almost heard of the Disputes and Discourses of Justin Mar­tyr, [Page 201] Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, Theo­philus Antiochenus, Athenagoras, Tertullian, Lactantius, Chrysostom, Austin, Theodoret, and innumerable others, proving the faith of the Christian Religion against the Jews from Scripture, and the reasonableness of it against the Pagans, with the folly and foppery of theirs, could on any ac­count be induced to cast out such a re­proach against them. But it seems Jacta est alea, and we must go on; and there­fore to carry on the design of bringing us all to a naked Credo, resolv'd into the Authority of the present Church, a thing never heard of, spoken of, nor that it appears dreamed of, by any of the an­cient Christians. The objections of the Jews against the Christian Religion are brought on the stage, and an enquiry made, how they can be satisfactorily an­swered. His words are Pag. 142. In any age of the Christian-Church a Jew might say thus to the Christians then li­ving; Your Lord and Master was born a Jew, and under the jurisdiction of the High Priests; these he opposed, and taught a Re­ligion contrary to Moses, (otherwise how comes there to be a faction?) but how could [Page 202] he justly do it? no humane Power is of force against God's, who spak [...] (as you also grant) by Moses and the Prophets; and Divine Power it could not be, for God is not con­trary to himself. And although your Lord might say, as indeed he did, that Moses spake of him as of a Prophet to come, grea­ter then himself; yet, Who shall judge that such a thing was meant of his person? For suice that Prophet is neither specifyed by his name, nor characteristical properties (well said Jew) who could say it was he more then any other to come? And if there were a greater to come then Moses were, surely born a Jew, he would, being come into the world, rather exalt that Law to more ample glory, then diminish it. And if you will fur­ther contest, that such a Prophet was to abrogate the first Law, and bring in a new one, Who shall judge in this case? the whole Church of the Hebrews, who never dreamed of any such thing; or one member thereof who was born a subject to their judgments. This, saith he, is the great Occumenical dif­ficulty, and he that in any age of Christi­anity could either answer it, or find any bulwark to set against it, so that it should do no harm; would easily either [Page 203] salve; or prevent, all other difficulties, &c.

The difficulty, as is evident, lay in this, That the Authority and Judgment of the whole Church of the Hebrews, lay a­gainst Christ and the Gospel. That Church when Christ conversed on earth, was a true Church of God, the only Church on earth, and had been so for 2000 years without interruption in its self, without competition from any o­ther. It had its High Priest confessed­ly instituted by God himself in an or­derly succession to those dayes. The interpretation of Scripture, it preten­ded, was trusted with it alone; and tra­ditions they had good store, whose ori­ginal they pleaded from Moses himself, directing them in that interpretation; Christ and his Apostles, whom they looked upon as poor ignorant contem­ptible persons, came and preacht a do­ctrine, which that Church determined utterly contrary to the Scripture and their Traditions: what shall now be an­swered to their Authority which was un­questionably all that ever was, or shall be, entrusted with any Church on the [Page 204] earth. Our Author tells us, that this great argument of the Jews could not be any way warded or put by, but by recourse unto the Churches infallibility, pag. 146. Which, sit verbo venia, is so ridiculous a pre­tence, as I wonder how any block in his way could cause him to stumble up­on it. What Church, I pray? the Church of Christians? When that argument was first used by the Jews against Christ himself, it was not yet founded; and if an absolute infallibility be supposed in the Church, without respect to her ad­herence to the rule of infallibility, I dare boldly pronounce that argument indissoluble; and that all Christian Re­ligion must be therein discarded. If the Jewish-Church which had at that day, as great Church-power, and prerogative, as any Church hath or can have, were in­fallible in her Judgment, that she made of Christ and his Doctrin; there re­mains nothing but that we renounce both him and it, and turn either Jews or Pa­gans, as we were of old. Here then, by our Authors confession, lies a plain Judgment, and Definition of the only Church of God in the world, against [Page 205] Christ and his Doctrine; and it is cer­tainly incumbent on us to see how it may be wa [...]ed. And this, I suppose, we can­not better be instructed in, then by con­sidering, what was answered unto it by Christ himself, his Apostles, and those that succeeded them in the profession of the faith of the Gospel. (1) For Christ himself; its certain he pleaded his mira­cles, the Works which he wrought, and the Doctrine that he revealed: but withall, as to the Jews with whom he had to do, he pleads the Scriptures, Moses and the Prophets, and offers him­self and his Doctrine to be tryed, to stand or fall by their verdict, Joh. 5.39, 46. Mat. 22.42. Luk. 24.27. I say, besides the testimony of his Works and Doctrine, to their authority of the Church, he opposeth that of the Scri­pture, which he knew the other ought to give place unto. And it is most vainly pretended, by our Author, in the be­half of the Jews, that the Messias, or great Prophet to come, was not in the Scri­pture specified by such Characteristi­call Properties, as made it evident that Jesus was the Messiah; all the descripti­ons [Page 206] given of the one, and they innume­rable, undeniably centring in the other. The same course steered the Apostle Pe­ter, Act. 2. & 3. And expresly in his se­cond Epistle, chap. 2. v. 17, 18, 19. And Paul, Act. 13.16, 17, &c. And of Apol­los, who openly disputed with the Jews upon this Argument, it is said, that he mightily convinced the Jews, publickly shewing by the Scripture, that Jesus is the Christ, Act. 18.28. And Paul perswaded the Jews concerning Jesus at Rome, both out of the Law of Moses, and out of the Pro­phets, from morning until evening, Act. 28.23. Concerning which labour and dispu­tation, the censure of our Author, p. 149. is very remarkable. There can be no hope, saith he, of satisfying a Querent, or con­vincing an Opponent, in any point of Chri­stianity, unless he will submit to the splen­dor of Christs Authority in his own Person, and the Church descended from him: which I take to be the Reason, why some of the Jews in Rome, when St. Paul laboured so much to perswade Christ out of Moses and the Prophets, believed in him, and some did not. Both the coherence of the words and design of the Preface, and his whole [Page 207] scope manifest his meaning to be, That no more believed on him, or that some dis­believed, notwithstanding all the pains he took with them.

And what was the reason of this fai­lure? Why St. Paul fixed on an unsuit­able means of perswading them, name­ly Moses and the Prophets, when he should have made use of the Authority of the Church. Vain, and bold man, that dares oppose his prejudices to the Spirit and Wisdom of Christ in that great and holy Apostle, and that in a way and work wherein he had the ex­press pattern and example of his Master! If this be the Spirit that rules in the Roman-Synagogue, that so puffes up men in their fleshly minds, as to make them think themselves wiser then Christ and his Apostles, I doubt not, but men will every day find cause to rejoyce, that it is cast out of them; and be watchful, that it return to possess them no more. But this is that which galls the man; The difficulty which he proposeth as in­soluble by any wayes but an acquiescing in the Authority of the present Church, he finds assoyled in Scripture on other [Page 208] Principles. This makes him fall soul on St. Paul, whom he finds most fre­quent in answering it from Scripture, not considering, that, at the same time▪ he accuseth St. Peter of the like folly, though he pretend for him a greater re­verence. However, this may be said in defence of St. Paul, that by his Argu­ments about Christ and the Gospel from Moses and the Prophets, many thousands of Jews all the World over were con­verted to the Faith; when it's hard to meet with an instance of one in an age, that will any way take notice of the Au­thority of the Roman-Church. But to return; this was the constant way used by the Apostles, of answering that great difficulty pleaded by our Author from the Authority of the Hebrew-Church. They called the Jews to the Scripture, the plain Texts and Contexts of Moses and the Prophets, opposing them to all their Churches real or pretended Au­thority; and all her Interpretations pre­tended to be received by Tradition from of old; so fixing this for a perpetual standing Rule to all Generations, that the Doctrine of the Church is to be ex­amined [Page 209] by the Scripture, and where it is found contradictory of it, her au­thority is of no value at all, it being annexed unto her attendance on that Rule. But it may be replyed, That the Church in the dayes of the Apo­stles was not yet setled, nor made firm e­nough to bear the weight that now may be laid upon it, as our Author affirms▪ pag. 149. So that now the great Resolve of all doubts must be immediately upon the Authority of the present Church; after that was once well cleared, the fa­thers of old pleaded that only in this case, and removed the Objections of the Jews by that alone. I am perswaded, though our Author be a great admirer of the present Church, he is not such a stranger to Antiquity, as to believe any such thing. Is the Authority of the Church pleaded by Justine Martyr, in that famous dispute with Trypho the Jew, wherein these very Objections in­stanced by our Author are thoroughly canvassed? Doth he not throughout his whole Disputation prove out of the Scri­ptures, and them alone, that Jesus was the Christ, and his Doctrine agreeable [Page 210] unto them? Is any such thing pleaded by Origen, Tertullian, Chrysostom, or any one that had to deal with the Jews? Do they not wholly persist in the way traced for them by Paul, Peter, and Apollos, mightily convincing the Jews out of Scripture? Let him consult their An­swers, he will not find them such poor empty jejune Discourses, as that he sup­poses they might make use of, pag. 148. and to the proofs whereof, by Texts of Scripture, he sayes, the Rabbies could answer by another Interpretation of them. He will find another Spirit breathing in their Writings, another efficacy in their Arguments, and other evidence in their Testimonies, than it seems he is acquainted with; and such as all the Rabbies in the World are not able to withstand. And I know full well, that these insinuations, that Christians are not able justifiably to convince, confute, and stop the mouths of Jews from the Scripture, would have been abhorred as the highest piece of blasphe­my by the whole antient Church of Christ: and it is meet it should be so still by all Christians.

[Page 211]Is there no way left to deny pretences▪ of Light and Spirit, but by proclaim­ing, to the great scandal of Christianity, that we cannot answer the Exceptions of Jews unto the Person and Doctrine of our Saviour out of the Scriptures? And hath Rome need of these bold Sallyes against the vitals of Religion? Is she no other way capable of a defence? Bet­ter she perished 10000 times, than that any such reproach should be justly cast on the Lord Jesus Christ, and his Go­spel. But whatever our Author thinks of himself, I have very good ground to conjecture, that he hath very little ac­quaintance with Judaical Antiquity, Learning, or Arguments; nor very much with the Scripture: and may possibly deserve on that account some excuse, if he thought those Exceptions insoluble, which more learned men than himself know how to answer and remove, with­out any considerable trouble.

This difficulty was fixed on by our Author, that upon it there might be sta­ted a certain retreat, and assured way of establishment against al of the like na­ture. This he assigns to be, the Authority [Page 212] of the present Church; Protestants, the Scripture: wherein, as to the instance chosen out as most pressing, we have the concurrent suffrage of Christ, his Apo­stles, and all the antient Christians; so that we need not any further to consi­der the pretended pleas of Light and Spirit, which he hath made use of, as the Orator desired his Dialogist would have insisted on the Stories of Cerberus and Co­cytus, that he might have shewed his skill and activity in their Confutation. For, what he begs in the way, as to the con­stitution of St. Peter, and his Successors in the Rule of the Church, as he pro­duceth no other proof for it, but that doughty one, that, It must needs be so; so, if it were granted him, he may ea­sily perceive by the Instance of the Ju­daical Church that himself thought good to insist upon, that it will not avail him in his plea, against the final resolution of our Faith into the Scripture, as its senses are proposed by the Ministry of the Church, and rationally conceived or un­derstood.

CHAP. X.

Protestant Pleas.

HIs Sect. 13. p. 155. entituled Inde­pendent and Presbyterians Pleas, is a merry one. The whole design of it seems to be, to make himself and others sport with the miscarriages of men in and about Religion. Whether it be a good work or no, that day that is coming will discover. The Independents he di­vides into two parts, Quakers and Ana­baptists. Quakers he begins withal, and longest insists upon, being, as he saith, well read in their Books, and acquainted with their persons; some commendati­on he gives them, so farr as it may serve to the disparagement of others, and then falls into a fit of Quaking, so ex­presly imitating them in their Discourses, that I fear he will confirm some in their surmises, that such as he, both set them on work, and afterwards assisted them [Page 214] in it. For my part, having undertaken only the defence of Protestancy and Protestants, I am altogether inconcerned in the entertainment he hath provided for his Readers, in this personating of a Quaker, which he hath better done, and kept a better decorum in, than in his per­sonating of a Protestant; a thing in the beginning of his Discourse he pretended unto. The Anabaptists, as farr as I can perceive, he had not medled with, unless it had been to get an advantage of venting his pretty Answer to an Ar­gument against Infant-Baptism; but the truth is, if the Anabaptists had no o­ther Objections against Infant-Baptism, nor Protestants no better Answers to their Objections then what are mention­ed here by our Author, it were no great matter what become of the Controver­sie: but it is Merriment, not Disputati­on, that he is designing; and I shall leave him to the solace of his own fan­cies.

No otherwise, in the next place, doth he deal with the Presbyterians: in per­sonating of whom, he pours out a long senseless rapsody of words, many in­significant [Page 215] expressions, vehement excla­mations, and uncouth terms, such, as to do them right, I never heard uttered by them in preaching, though I have heard many of them; nor read written by them, though, I suppose, I have perused, at least as many of their Books as our Author hath done of the Quakers. Any one with half an Eye, may see what it is which galls the man, and his Party; which, whether he hath done wisely to discover, his [...] will inform him, that is, the Preaching of all sorts of Protestants, that he declares himself to be most perplexed with, and therefore most labours to expose it to re­proach and obloquy. And herein he deals with us, as in many of their Sto­ries, their Demoniacks do with their Ex­orcists; discover which Relick, or which Saints name, or other Engine in that bufle most afflicts them; that so they may be paid more to the purpose. Some­what we may learn from hence; Fas est & ab hoste doceri. But he will make the Presbyterians amends for all the scorn he endeavours to expose them to, by af­firming, when he hath assigned a sense­less [Page 216] Harangue of words unto them, that the Protestants are not able to answer their Objections. Certainly, if the Pres­byterians are such pitiful souls, as not to be able any beter to defend their cause, than they are represented by him here to do; those Protestants are beneath all consideration, who are not able to deal and grapple with them: And this is as it should be; Roman-Catholicks are wise, learned, holy, angelical, se­raphical persons; all others, ignorant dolts, that can scarse say Boe to a Goose. These things considered in them­selves are unserious trifles▪ but seria du­cunt. We shall see, presently, whither all this lurry tends; for the sting of this whole Discourseis fixed in the Scripture.

Of the same importance is the next Section, pag. 170. Entituled Protestants Pro and Con, wherin the differences that are amongst many in these Nations are notably exagitated. I presume, in the intention of his mind upon his present design, he forgot that by a new change of Name, the same things may be ut­tered, the same words used, of and con­cerning Christians in general, ever since, [Page 217] almost, that name was known in the world. Was there any thing more fre­quent among the Pagans of old, than to object to Christians their Differences and endless Disputes? I wish our Author would but consider, that which remains of the Discourse of Celsus on this Sub­ject: particularly, his charge on them, that at their beginnings, and whilst they were few, they agreed well enough; but after they encreased, and were dispersed into several Nations, they were every where at variance among themselves, whereas all sorts of men were at peace before their pretended Reformation of the Worship of God; and he will find in it the sum of this, and the four following Sections to the end of this Chapter. And, if he will but add so much to his pains, as to peruse the excellent Answers of Origen in his third Book; he will, if not be perswaded to desist from urging the objections of Celsus, yet discern what is expected from him to reply unto, if he persist in his way. But, if we may suppose, that he hath not that respect for the honour of the first Christians; methinkes, the intestine irreconcile­able [Page 218] brauls of his own Mothers children, should somewhat allay his heat and con­fidence, in charging endless differences upon Protestants, of whom only I speak. Yea, but you will say, They have a cer­tain means of ending their Controver­sies, Protestants have none. And have they so? the more shame for them to trouble themselves, and others, from one generation unto another with Disputes and Controversies, that have such a ready way to end them when they please; and Protestants are the more to be pittied, who perhaps are ready, some of them, at least, as farr as they are able, to live at Peace. But why have not Protestants a sure and safe way to issue all their differences? Why; Because every one is Judge himself, and they have no Umpire in whose decision they are bound to acquiesce. I pray, Who told you so? Is it not the Fundamental Principle of Protestantism, that the Scripture de­termines all things necessary unto Faith and Obedience, and that in that deter­mination ought all men to acquiess? I know few Roman-Catholicks have the prudence, or the patience, to under­stand what Protestancy is. And certain [Page 219] it is, that those who take up their know­ledge of it, from the Discourses and Writings of such Gentlemen as our Au­thor, know very little of it, if any thing at all: And those who do at any time get leave to read the books of Prote­stants, seem to be so filled with prejudices against them, and to be so byassed by corrupt affections, that they seldom come to a true apprehension of their meanings; for who so blind as he that will not see? Protestants tell them, that the Scripture contains all things necessary to be believed and practised in the Wor­ship of God; and those proposed with that perspicuity and clearness which be­came the wisdom of it's Author, who intended to instruct men by it, in the knowledge of them; and in this Word and Rule, say they, are all men to rest and acquiess. But, sayes our Author, why then do they not do so, why are they at such fewds and differences amongst themselves? Is this in truth his business? Is it Protestants he blames, and not Pro­testancy? mens miscarriages, and not their Rule's imperfection? If it be so, I crave his pardon for having troubled [Page 220] him thus farr. To defend Protestants for not answering the Principles of their Profession, is a task too hard for me to undertake, nor do I at all like the busi­ness; let him lay on blame stil, until I say, Hold. It may be, we shall grow wiser, by his reviling, as Monica was cured of her intemperance, by the reproach of a Servant. But I would fain prevail with these Gentlemen, for their own sakes, Not to cast that blame which is due to us, upon the holy and perfect Word of God. We do not say, nor e­ver did, that who ever acknowledgeth the Scripture to be a perfect Rule, must upon necessity understand perfectly all that is contained in it; that he is pre­sently freed from all darkness, preju­dices, corrupt affections, and enabled to judge perfectly and infallibly of every truth contained in it, or deduced from it. These causes of our differences be­long to individual persons, not to our common Rule: And, if because no men are absolutely perfect, and some are very perverse and froward, we should throw away our Rule, the blessed Word of God, and run to the Pope for rule and guidance; it is all one, as if at noon­day, [Page 221] because some are blind and miss their way, and some are drunk and stag­ger out of it, and others are variously entised to leave it, we should all con­spire to wish the Sun out of the Firma­ment, that we might follow a Will with a Wisp.

I know not what, in general, needs to be added further to this Section. The mistake of it is palpable; some particu­lar passages may be remarked in it be­fore we proceed: pag. 173. he Pro­nounceth an heavy doom on the Prelate Protestants; making them Prevaricators, Impostors, Reprobates; an hard sen­tence, but that it is hoped it will prove like the flying Bird, and Curse cause­less! But what is the matter? Why, in dealing with the Presbyterians, They are forced to make use of those Popish Princi­ples which themselves at first rejected, and so building them up again, by the Apostles rule deserve no better terms; But, what I pray are they? why, the difference betwixt Clergy and Laity, the efficacy of Episcopal Ordination, and the Authority of a visible Church, unto which all men are to o­bey. There are but two things our [Page 222] Author needs to prove to make good his charge. First, that these are Popish Principles. Secondly, That as such they were at any time cast down and destroy­ed by Prelate-Protestants. I fear his mind was gone a little astray, or that he had been lately among the Quakers, when he hammered this charge against Prelate Protestants. For as these have been their constant Principles ever since the beginning of the Reformation, so they have as constantly maintained, that in their true and proper sense they are not Popish. Nor is the difference a­bout these things, between any Prote­stants what-ever, any more then verbal. For those terms of Clergy and Laity, because they had been abused in the Pa­pacy, though antiently used, some have objected against them; but for the things signified by them, namely, that in the Church there are some Teachers, some to be taught, Bishops and Flocks, Pa­stors and People, no Protestant ever questioned. Our Author then doth but cut out work for himself, without order from any Protestant; when he sets up an excuse for this change in them by a [Page 223] relinquishment of their first Principles, and re-assuming Popish ones for their defence against the Presbyterians. He that set him a work may pay him his wages. Protestants only tell him, that what was never done, needs never be ex­cused.

Nor will they give him any more thanks for the plea he interposes in the behalf of Episcopacy, against Presbyteri­ans and Independents; being interwoven with a plea for the Papacy, and managed by such arguments as end in the exal­tation of the Roman-See; and, that part­ly, because they know that their Ad­versaries will be easily able to disprove the feigned Monarchical Government of the Church under one Pope; and to prove that, that fancy really everts the true and only Monarchical State of the Church in reference to Christ; knowing that Monarchy doth not signifie two heads, but one: and partly, because they have better Arguments of their own to plead for Episcopacy then those that he suggests here unto them; or then any man in the world can supply them with, who thinks there is no communication [Page 224] of Authority from Christ to any on the Earth, but by the hands of the Pope. So that upon the whole matter, they desire him, that he would attend his own busi­ness, & not immix their cause in the least with his, which tends so much to their weakning & disadvantage. If this may be granted, which is but reasonable, they will not much be troubled about his com­mendation of the Pope, pag. 178. as the Substitute of Christ, our only visible Pastor, the chief Bishop of the Catho­lick Church, presiding, ruling, and di­recting, in the place of Christ, and the like elogium's: being resolved, when he goes about to prove any thing, that he sayes, that they will consider of it. But he must be better known to them then he is, before they will believe him on his bare word, in things of such impor­tance; and some suppose, that the more he is known, the less he will be be­lieved. But that he may not for the pre­sent think himself neglected, we will run over the heads of his plea, pretended for Episcopacy, really to assert the Papal So­veraignty. First, he pleads, That the Christian Church was first Monarchical un­der [Page 225] one Soveraign Bishop, when Christ who sounded it was upon the Earth. True; and so it is still. There is one sheepfold, one Shepherd and Bishop of our souls; he that was then bodily present, having promised That presence of Himself with his Church to the end of the World, wherein he continues its one Soveraign Bishop. And, although the Apostles after him, had an equality of power in the Church among themselves, as Bishops after them have also; yet this doth not denominate the Government of the Church, Aristocratical; no more then the equality of the Lords in Parliament, can denominate the Government of this Kingdom to be so. The denomination of any Rule is from him, or them, in whom the Soveraignty doth reside, not from any subordinate Rulers. So is the Rule of the Church Monarchical. The subversion of this Episcopacy, we ac­knowledge subverts the whole Polity of the Church, and so all her Laws and Rule, with the guilt whereof Prote­stants charge the Romanists. He addes, It will not suffice, to say, that the Church is still under its Head Christ, who being [Page 226] in Heaven, hath his spiritual influences over it. It will not indeed; But yet we suppose, that his presence with It by his Spirit and Laws will suffice; Why should it not? Because the true Church of Christ, must have the very same Head she had at first, or else she cannot be the same Body: Very good; and so she hath; the very same Christ that was crucified for her, and not a­nother; But that Head was Man-God Personally present in both his Natures here on Earth. But is he not, I pray, the same Man-God, still? the same Christ, though the manner of his presence be altered? This is strange, that being the same as he was, and being presert still, one circumstance of the manner of his presence, should hinder him from be­ing the same head. I cannot understand the Logick, Reason, nor Policy of this Inference. Suppose we should on these trisling instances, exclude Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, to day, and for ever, from being the same Head of his Church as he was; Will the Pope supply his room? Is he the same Head that Christ was? Is he God-Man, bodi­ly [Page 227] present? or what would you have us to conclude? A visible Head or Bi­shop if the Church hath not now over her as at first she had, she is not the same she was, and consequently in the way to ruine. This too much alters the Que­stion: At first it was, that she must have the same Head she had at first, or she is not the same; Now, that she must have another Head that is not the same; or she is not the same. For the Pope is not Jesus Christ. These arguings hang together like a rope of Sand; And what is built on this foun­dation (which indeed is so weak, that I am ashamed further to contend with it) will of its own accord fall to the ground.

CHAP. XI.

Scripture; and new Principles.

THe next Paragraph, p. 182. is a naughty one. A business it is spent in and about, that I have now of­ten advised our Author to meddle with no more: If he will not for the future take advice, I cannot help it; I have shewed my good will towards him: It is his debating of the Scripture and its Authority which I intend. This with the intertexture of some other gentle suppositions is the subject of this and the following Section. And because I will not tire my self and Reader, in tracing what seems of concernment in this Discourse, backward and forward, up and down, as it is by him dispersed and disposed to his best advantage in dealing with unwary men; I shall draw out the Principles of it, that he may know them where ever he meets them, [Page 229] though never so much masked and dis­guised, or never so lightly touched on, and also what judgment to pass upon them. Their foundation being so taken away, these Sections, if I mistake not, will sink of themselves.

Some of these Principles are co-in­cident with those general ones insisted on in the entrance of our Discourse; others of them are peculiar to the de­sign of these Paragraphs; The first I shall only point unto, the latter briefly discuss.

1. It is supposed in the whole Discourse of these Sections; That from the Ro­man-Church so stated, as now it is, or from the Pope, we here in England first received the Gospel; which is the Romanists own Religion, and theirs by donation from them, whom they have here pleased to accommo­date with it. This animates the whole, and is besides the special life of almost every sentence. A lifeless life; for, that there is not a syllable of truth in it, hath been declared before; nor, were it so, that by the Ministry of the Roman-Church of old, the Faith was first plant­ed in these Nations, would that one [Page 230] inch promote our Author's pretensions, unless he could prove, that they did not afterwards lose, or corrupt, at least, that which they communicated unto us; which he knows to be the thing in Que­stion, and not to be granted upon re­quest, though made in never so hand­some words. To say then, That the Go­spel is the Romanists own Religion, from them you had it, you contend about that which is none of your own; hear them whose it is, from whom you had it, who have the pre­cedency before you; is but to set up scare-Crows to fright fools and children: Men who have any understanding of things past, know that all this bluster and noyse comes from emptiness of any solid matter or substance to be used in the case.

2. It is also doughtily supposed, That whatever is spoken of the Churnh in the Scripture, belongs to the Roman-Church, and that alone; The Priviledges, the Au­thority, the Glory of the Church are all theirs; as the madd-man at Athens thought all the Ships to be his, that came into the Harbour. I suppose, he will not contend, but that, if you deny him [Page 231] this, all that he hath said besides, is to little purpose. And, I believe, he cannot but take it ill, that any of his Readers should call him to an account, in that which he every where puts out of question. But this, he knew well enough, that all Protestants deny; that they grant no one priviledge of the Ca­tholick Church as such, to belong to the Roman. All, that any of them will al­low her, is but to be a putrid corrupt member of it; some say, cut off, dead, and rotten. But yet that the Catholick Church and the Roman are the same, must be believed, or you spoil all his market. The Church is before the Gospel, gives testimony unto it, none could know it, but by her Authority, nothing can be accepted as such, but what she sets her seals unto; so that, to destroy the Church, is to destroy the Gospel? What then, I pray? Suppose all this, and all the rest of his Assertions about the Church, pag. 199, 200, &c. to be true, as some of them are most blasphemously false; yet, What is all this to his purpose? Why this is the Roman-Church of which all these things are spoken. It may be, [Page 232] the Roman-Church indeed, of which much of it is spoken, even all that is sinfully derogatory to the glory of Christ and his Apostles upon whom and whose Authority the Church is built, and not their Authority on it, Ephes. 2.18, 19, 20. But, what is truly spoken in the Scripture of the Church, doth no more belong to the Roman, then to the least Assembly of Believers under Heaven; wherein the Essence of a true Church is preserved; if it belongs unto it at all. And yet this rude Pretence, and palpa­ble Artifice is the main Engine in this Section, applyed to the removal of men from the Basis of the Scripture. The Church, the Church! the Roman-Church, the Roman-Church! and these forsooth are supposed to be one and the same; and the Pope to have Monopolized all the priviledges of the Church, contrary to express Statute-law of the Gospel. Hence he pretends, That if to go out from the Catholick be evil, then not to come into the Roman is evil; when indeed the most ready way to go out of the Catho­lick, is to go into the Roman.

[Page 233]3. Moreover, it is taken for granted, That the Roman-Church is every way what it was, when first planted. Indeed, if it were so, it would deserve as much par­ticular respect as any Church of any City in the World, and, that would be all: As it is, the case is altered. But its unalteredness being added to the former Supposition of its Oneliness and Catholi­cism, it is easie to see what sweet work a witty man, as our Author is, may make with this Church among good company. Many and many a time have the Roma­nists attempted to prove these things; but failing in their attempt, they think it now reasonable to take them for granted. The Religion they now pro­fess, must be that which first entered England; and there, saith our Author, it continued in peace for a thousand years; when the truth is, after the entrance of their Religion, that is, the corruption of Christianity by Papal usurpations, these Nations never passed one age with­out tumults, turmoils, contentions, dis­orders; nor many without wars, bloud and devastations, and those arising from the Principles of their Religion.

[Page 234]4. To this is added, That the Bible is the Pope's own Book, which none can lay claim to, but by and from him. This will be found to be a doubtful assertion, and it will be difficult to conclude aright concerning it. He that shall consider, what a worthy person the Pope is repre­sented to be by our Author, especially, in his just dealing and mercifulness, so, That he never did any man wrong; and, shall take notice how many he hath caused to be burned to death, for ha­ving and using the Bible without his consent, must need suppose, that it is his Book. For surely, his heavenly mind, would not have admitted of a provoca­tion to such severity; unless they had stoln his goods out of his Possession. But on the other side, he that shall weigh a­right his vilifying & under-valuing of it, his preferring himself and Church before and above it; seeing we are all apt to set a high price upon that which is our own; may be ready to question whether indeed he have such a property in it as is pretended. Having somewhat else to do, I shall not interpose my self in this [Page 235] difference, nor attempt to determine this difficulty, but leave it as I find it, free for every man to think as he seeth cause.

5. But that which is the chief ingre­dieet of these Sections, is the plea, that We know not the Scripture to be the word of God, but by the Church, that is, the pre­sent Church of Rome; which he manageth by urging sundry objections against it, and difficulties which men meet withall in their enquiry, whether it be so or no. Nor content with that plea alone, he in­terweaves in his discourse, many expres­sions and comparisons, tending directly to the slighting and contempt, both of its Penmen, and Matter, which is said to be, Laws, Poems, Sermons, Histories, Letters, Visions, several fancies in a diver­sity of composure; the whole, a book whereby men may as well prove their negative, in de­nying the immortality of the soul, heaven or hell, or any other thing, which by reason of many intricacies, are very difficult, if not im­possible at all to be understood; see p. 190, 191, 192, &c. Concerning all which, I desire to know, whether our Author be in good earnest or no; or, whether he [Page 236] thinks as he writes; or, whether he would only have others to believe what he writes, that he may serve his turn up­on their credulity. If he be in good earnest indeed, he calls us to an easie, welcome imployment; namely, to de­fend the holy Word of God, and the wisdom of God in it, from such slight and trivial exceptions, as those he layes against them. This path is so trodden for us by the Antients, in their Answers to the more weighty Objections of his Predecessors in this work, the Pagans, that we cannot well erre or faint in it: If we are called to this task, namely, to prove that we can know and believe the Scriptrue to be the Word of God, with­out any respect to the Authority or Testimony of the present Church of Rome; that no man can believe it to be so, with faith Divine and Supernatural upon that testimony alone; that the whole counsel of God in all things to be be­lieved or done, in order to our last end, is clearly delivered in it; and that the composure of it, is a work of infinite wisdom, suited to the end designed to be accomplished by it, that no difficulties [Page 237] in the interpretation of particular places, hinder the whole from being a compleat and perfect rule of Faith and Obedi­ence, we shall most willingly undertake it, as knowing it to be as honourable a service and employment as any of the sons of men can in this world be called unto. If indeed himself be otherwise minded, and believes not what he says, but only intends to entangle men by his So­phistry, so to render them plyable unto his further intention, I must yet once more perswade him to desist from this course. It doth not become an ingenious man, much lesse a Christian, and one that boasts of so much Mortification as he doth, to juggle thus with the things of God. In the mean time, his Reader may take notice, that so long as he is able to defend the Authority, Excellency, and Usefulness of the Scripture, this man had nothing to say to him, as to the change of his Religion from Protestancy to Popery. And when men will be per­swaded to let that go as a thing uncer­tain, dubious, useless, it matters not much where they go themselves. And for our Authour, methinks, if not for reverence [Page 238] to Christ, whose book we know the Scriptures to be; yet for the devotion he bears the Pope, whose book he sayes it is, he might learn to treat it with a lit­tle more respect; or at least prevail with him, to send out a book not liable to so many exceptions, as this is pretended to be. However, this I know, that though his pretence be to make men Papists, the course he takes is the readyest in the world to make them Atheists; and whether that will serve his turn or no, as well as the other, I know not.

6. We have not yet done with the Scripture. That the taking it for the only rule of faith, the only determiner of diffe­rences, is the only cause of all our differences, and which keeps us in a condition of having them endless; is also pretended and plea­ded. But, how shall we know this to be so? Christ and his Apostles were abso­lutely of another mind; and so were Moses and the Prophets, before them. The antient Fathers of the Primitive Church walked in their steps, and um­pired all differences in Religion, by the Scriptures; opposing, confuting, and condemning Errors and Heresies by [Page 239] them; preserving, through their gui­dance, the unity of the Spirit in the bond of Peace. In these latter dayes of the world, which surely are none of the best, we have a few unknown persons come from Rome, would perswade us, that the Scripture, and the use of it, is the cause of all our differences, and the means of making them endless. But why so, I pray? Doth it teach us to differ, and contend? Doth it speak contradi­ctions, and set us at variance? Is there any spirit of dissension breathing in it? Doth it not deliver what it commands us to understand, so as it may be under­stood? Is there any thing needful for us to know, in the things of God, but what it reveales? Who can tell us, what that is? But do we not see, de facto, what differences there are amongst you, who pretend, all of you, to be guided by Scripture? Yea, and we see also, what Surfeitings and drunkenness there is in the world; but yet, do not think, bread, meat, and drink to be the causes of them; and yet they are to the full as much so, as the Scriptures are of our Differences▪ Pray, Sir, do not think, that sober men [Page 240] will cast away their Food, and starve themse [...]es, because you tell them, that some continually abuse and surfeit on that very kind of food which they use. Nor will some mens abuse of it, prevail with others to cast away the food of their souls, if they have any design to live eternally.

7. The great safety and security that there is in committing our selves as to all the concernments of Religion, unto the gui­dance, rule and conduct of the Pope, is another great principle of this Discourse. And here our Author falls into a deep admiration of the Popes dexterity in keeping all his Subjects in peace and unity, and subjection to him; there being no danger to any one for fors [...]king him, but only that of Excommu­nication. The contest is between the Scri­pture and the Pope. Protestants say, the safest way for men, in reference to their eternal condition, is to believe the Scri­pture, and rest therein; The Romanists say the same, of the Pope. Which will prove the best course, methinks, should not be hard to determine. All Christians in the world ever did agree, That the Scripture is the certain infallible word [Page 241] of God, given by him on purpose, to reveal his mind and will unto us. About the Pope there were great Contests ever since he was first taken notice of in the world. Nothing, I confess, little or low, is spoken of him. Some say, he is the head and spouse of the Church, the Vicar of Christ, the successor of Peter, the supreme Moderator of Chri­stians, the infallible judge of Contro­versies, and the like; others, again, that he is Antichrist, the man of sin, a cruel Tyrant, and Persecutor, the evill Servant Characterized, Mat. 24.48, 49, 50, 51. But all, as far as I can gather, agree, that he is a Man; I mean, that almost all Popes have been so; for about every individual, there is not the like consent. Now the question is, Whether we shall rest in the Authority and Word of God, or in the Authority and Word of a Man, as the Pope is confessed to be? and, whether is like to yield us more security in our assiance? This being such another difficult matter and case, as that before mentioned, about the Bibles being the Popes book, shall not be by me decided; but left to the Judgment of wiser men. [Page 242] In the mean time, for his feat of Govern­ment, it is partly known what it is; as also what an influence into the effects of peace mentioned that gentle means of Excommunication hath had. I know one that used in the late times to say of the Excommunication in Scotland, He would not care for their Devil, were it not for his horn; and, I suppose, had not Papal Excommunication been alwayes attended with Warrs, Bloud, Seditions, Conspiracies, Depositions and Murders of Kings, Fire and Faggot, according to to the extent of their Power, it would have been lesse effectual then our Au­thor pretends it to have been. Sir, do but give Christians the liberty that Christ hath purchased for them, lay down your carnal weapons, your Whips, Racks, Prisons, Halters, Swords, Fag­gots, with your Unchristian Subtilties, Slanders, and fleshly Machinations, and we and you shall quickly see what will become of your Papall Peace and Power.

These are the goodly Principles, the honest Suppositions of the discourse which our Author ends his Third Book [Page 243] withal. It could not but have been a tedious thing, to take them up by pieces, as they lie scattered up and down, like the limbs of Medea's Bro­ther, cast in the way to retard her persuers. The Reader may now take a view of them together, and thence of all that is offer'd to perswade him to a relinquishment of his present pro­fession and Religion. For the Stories, Comparisons, Jests, Sarcasms, that are intermixed with them, I suppose he will know how to turn them to another use.

Some very few particulars need only to be remarked. As,

1. No man can say what ill Popery did in the world untill Henry the Eighths dayes. Strange! when it is not only openly ac­cused, but proved guilty of almost all the evill that was in the Christian world, in those dayes; particularly of cor­rupting the Doctrine and Worship of the Gospel, and debauching the lives of Christians,

2. With the Roman Catholicks unity ever dwelt. Never; The very name of Ro­man Catholick, appropriating Catholicism [Page 244] to Romanism, is destructive of all Go­spel-unity.

3. Some Protestants say, they love the Persons of the Romanists, but hate their Religion: the Reason is plain, they know the one, and not the other. No, they know them both; And the pretence, that peo­ple are kept with, as from knowing what the Religion of the Romanists is; is vain, untrue; and, as to what colour can possibly be given unto it, such an infant in comparison of that vast Giant, which of the same kind lives in the Romish Territories, that it deserves not to be mentioned.

4. Protestants are beholding to the Ca­tholicks, (that is, Romanists) for their Uni­versities, Ben [...]fices, Books, Pulpits, Gospel. For some of them, not all; For the rest, as the Israelites were to the Aegyptians for the Tabernacle they built in the Wilderness.

5. The Pope was antiently believed sole Judge and general Pastor over all. Prove it; ask the antient Fathers, and Councils, whether they ever heard of any such thing? they will universally return their answer in the Negative.

[Page 245]6. The Scripture you received from the Pope. Not at all, as hath been proved; but from Christ himself, by the Ministry of the first planters of Christianity.

7. You cannot believe the Scriptures to be the word of God, but upon the Authority of the Church. We can and do, upon the authority of God himself, and the influ­ence of the Churches Ministry or Au­thority into our believing, concerns not the Church of Rome,

8. You account them that brought you the Scriptures, as lyars. No otherwise then as the Scripture affirms every man to be so; not in their Ministry, wherein they brought the Word unto us.

9. The Gospel separate from the Church can prove nothing. Yes, it's self to be sent of God; and so doing, is the foundation of the Church. Sundry other passages of the like nature might be remarked, if I could imagine any man would judge them worthy of consideration.

CHAP. XII.

Story of Religion.

THe fourth and last part of our Au­thor Discourse, is spent in two Sto­ries: one of Religion; the other of him­self. His first of Religion, is but a summary of what was diffused through the others parts of his Treatise, being insinuated piece-meal, as he thought he could make any advantage of it to his purpose. Two things he aims to make his Readers believe, by it; First, That we in these Nations had our Religion from Rome; And secondly, That it was the same which is there now professed. Those whom he tels his Tale unto, are, as he pro­fesseth, such as are ignorant of the com­ing into, and progress of Religion amongst us; wherein he deals wisely, and as be­came him; seeing he might easily assure himself, that those who are acquainted before his Information with the true state of these things, would give little [Page 247] credit to what he nakedly averrs upon his own Authority. For my part, I shall readily acknowledg, that for ought ap­pears in this Book, he is a better Histo­rian then a Disputant; and hath more reason to trust to his faculty of telling a Tale, than managing of an Argument. I confess also, that a slight and superfi­cial view of Antiquity, especially, as flourished over by some Roman-Legen­daries, is the best advantage our Adver­saries have to work on; as a thorough Judicious search of it, is fatal to their pretensions. He, that from the Scrip­tures, and the Writings extant of the first Centuries, shall frame a true Idea of the State and Doctrine of the first Churches, and then observe the adven­titious accessions made to Religion in the following ages, partly by mens own inventions, but chiefly by their borrow­ing from, or imitation of, the Jews and Pagans, will need very little light or help from artificial Arguments to discover the defections of the Roman-Party, and the true means whereby that Church arrived unto its present condition. To persue this at large is not [Page 248] a work to be undertaken in this seamb­ling chase. It hath been done by others, and those, who are not unwilling to be at the cost and pains in the disquisition of the Truth, which it is really worth, may easily know where to find it, Our pre­sent task is, but to observe our Author's motions, and to consider whether what he offers, hath any efficacy towards that he aims at.

A triple Conversion he assigns to this Nation. The first by Joseph of Arimathea; about which, as to matter of fact, we have no contest with him. That the Go­spel was preached here in the Apostles daies either by him, or some other Evan­gelist, is certain, and taken for granted on all hands; nor can our Author pre­tend that it came hither from Rome; but grants it to have come immediately from Palestine. Whether this doth not over­throw the main of his plea in his whole Discourse, concerning our dependance upon Rome for our Religion, I leave to prudent men to judge. Thus farr then we are equal. As the Gospel came to Rome, so it came to England; to both from the same place, and by the same [Page 249] Authority, the same Ministry. All the question is, Whether Religion they brought with them? that now professed in England, or that of Rome? If this be determined, the business is at an issue; We are perswaded Joseph brought no o­ther Religion with him, then what was taught by Peter and Paul, and the rest of the Apostles and Evangelists in other parts of the World. What Religion men taught vivâ voce in any age, is best known by their Writings, if they left any be­hind them. No other way have the Ro­manists themselves, nor other do they use, in judging what was the Doctrine of the Fathers in the following ages. The writings of the Apostles are still extant; by them alone can we judge of the Do­ctrine that they preached. That Doctrine then unquestionably taught Joseph in Brittain; and that Doctrine (blessed be God) is still owned and professed a­mongst us. All, and only what is con­tained in their Writings is received with us, as necessary to Salvation. This Con­version was wholly ours. Quod antiquis­simum id verissimum. Being the first, it was certainly the best. Our Author [Page 250] indeed tells us of Crosses, Shrines, Ora­tories, Altars, Monasteries, Vigils, Em­ber [...], honouring of Saints, (you must sup­pose all in the Roman-mode) making Ob­lations and Orisons for the dead, and that this was the Religion in those dayes planted amongst us. If this be so, I wonder what we do to keep the Bible, which speaks not one word of that Re­ligion, which the Apostles and Aposto­lical men preached. Strange! that in all their writings they should not once mention the main parts and duties, of the Doctrines and Worship which they taught and propagated; that Paul in none of his Epistles, should in the least give the Churches any direction in, or concerning, the things and ways where­in their Worship principally consisted and their Devotion was chiefly exer­cised? but how comes our Author to know, that these things, in the Roman-mode, were brought into England at the first entrance of Christianity? Would he would give us a little Information from what Writings or Monuments of those times he acquired his knowledge. I know it is unreasonable to put an Histo­rian [Page 251] to his Oath; but yet, unless he can plead, that he received his acquain­tance with things that are so long past by inspiration, as Moses wrote the Story of the Creation and Ages before the Floud, being destitute of any other Mo­numents or Testimony that might give evidence to what he says, I hope he will not be offended, if we suspend our belief. Solus enim hoc Ithacus nullo sub teste cane­bat: This first conversion then, as was said is wholly ours, it neither came from Rome, nor knew any thing of that which is the present Religion of Rome, wherein they differ from us.

That which is tearmed our second Conversion, is the Preaching of Dami­anus and Fugatius, sent hither by Eleu­therius Bishop of Rome, in the dayes of King Lucius, in the year 190. as our Au­thor saith, Beda 156. Nauclerus, Baro­nius, 178. Henricus de Erfordia, 169. in the dayes of Aurelius, or Commodus. I have many reasons to question this whole Story. And sundry parts of it, as those about the Epistles of Lucius and Eleuthe­rius are palpably fictitious. But let us grant, that about those dayes, Fugatius [Page 252] and Damianus, came hither from Rome, and furthered the Preaching of the Go­spel, which had taking footing here so long before, and was no doubt pre­served amongst many; We know God in his Providence used many various wayes for the propagating of his Go­spel; Sometimes he did it by Merchants, sometimes by Souldiers, sometimes by Captives; as a poor Maid gave occasion to the Conversion of a whole Province. What will hence ensue to the advan­tage of the pretensions of the Romanists? The Religion they planted here, was, doubtless, that, (and no other) which was then professed at Rome, and in most other places in the world, with some small differences in outward obser­vances, wherein each Church took li­berty to follow Traditions or Prudenti­al Reasonings of its own. When our Author, or any for him, can make it appear, that any thing material in that which we call Popery, was in those days taught, believed, preached, or known among the Churches of Christ, they will do somewhat to the purpose, But the present flourish about the Catholick [Page 253] Faith, planted here, which no man e­ver denyed, is to none at all. It was the old Catholick Faith we at first re­ceived, and therefore not the present Romish.

After those dayes wherein this Pro­pagation of Christianity by the Ministry of Fugatius and Damianus in this Pro­vince, is supposed to have fallen out; a sad decay in faith and holiness of life, befel Professors, not only in this Nati­on, but for the most part, all the world over; which, especially, took place af­ter God had graciously in the Conver­sion of the Emperours to the Faith, in­trusted them with outward Peace and Prosperity. I desire not to make naked their miscarriages, whom I doubt not, but in mercy, God hath long since par­doned; but it cannot be denyed, that the Stories of those dayes are full of no­thing more then the oppressions, luxury, and sloth of Rulers, the Pride, Ambi­tion, and unseemly scandalous contests for preheminence of Sees and extent of Jurisdiction, among Bishops, the sen­suality and ignorance of the most of men. In this season it was, that the Bishop of [Page 254] Rome advantaged by the Prerogative of the City, the antient Seat and Spring of the Empire, began gradually to at­tempt a Super-intendency over his Bre­thren, according as any advantages for that end (which could not be wanting in the intestine Tumults and Seditions wherewith Christians were turmoyled) offered themselves unto him. Where­ever an opportunity could be spyed, he was still interposing his Umpirage, and Authority amongst them, and that some­times not without sinful Ar [...]ifices, and down-right forgeries, wherein he was alwayes accepted, or refused, according as the Interest of them required with whom he had to do. What the lives of Priests and People, what their know­ledge and profession of the Gospel, of the poor Brittains, especially, in those dayes were, our own Countrey-man Gil­das doth sufficiently testifie and bewail. Salvianus doth the same for other parts of the world. And generally, all the pious men of those ages; whilst the Priests strove for Soveraignty and Pow­er, the people perished through igno­rance and sensuality. Neither can we pos­sibly [Page 255] have a more full conviction of what was the state of Christians and Christianity in those dayes in the world, than may be seen and read in the hor­rible Judgments of God wherewith he punished their wickedness and ingrati­tude. When he could no longer bear the provocations of his people, he stir­red up those swarms of Northern Na­tions Goths, Vandals, Hunnes, Franks, Longo­bards, Alans, Saxons, &c. Some few of them Arians, the most Pagans, and poured them out upon the Western Empire, to the utter ruine of it, and the Division of the Provinces amongst themselves. After a while, these fierce, cruel and barba­rous Nations, having executed the Judgments of God against the ungodli­ness of men, seating themselves in the warmer Climates of those whom they had in part subdued, in part exstirpated, as is the manner of all persons in trans­migration from one Countrey to ano­ther, began to unlearn their antient Bar­barism, and to encline to the Manners, Fashions, and Religion of the people, to whom they were come, and with whom after their heats were over and lusts [Page 256] satisfied, they began to incorporate and coalesce; Together, I say, with their man­ners, they took up by various wayes and means the Religion which they did pro­fess. And the Bishop of Rome having kept his outward Station in that famous Ci­ty during all those turmoils, becoming venerable unto them, unto him were ma­ny Applications made, and his Authori­ty was first signally advanced by this new race of Christians. The Religion they thus took up, was not a little degenera­ted from its Primitive Apostolical pu­rity and splendor. And they were a­mong the first, who felt the effects of their former barbarous inhumanity, in their sedulous indeavour to destroy all Books and Learning out of the World, which brought that darkness upon man­kind▪ wherewith they wrestled for many succeeding generations. For having themselves made an intercision of the current and progress of studies and learn­ing, they were forced to make use in their entertainment of Christianity, of men meanly skilled in the knowledg of God or themselves, who some of them, knew little more of the Gospel, then what they [Page 257] had learned in the outward observances and practises of the places where they had been educated. Towards the be­ginning of this hurry of the world, this shuffling of the Nations, was the Pro­vince of Brittain, not long before, ex­hausted of it stores of Men and Arms, and defeated by the Romans, invaded by the Saxons, Picts, Angles, and others out of Germany, who accomplishing the will of God, exstirpated the greatest part of the British Nation, and drove the re­mainders of them to shelter themselves in the Western Mountainous parts of this Island. These new Inhabitants after they were somewhat civilized▪ by the Vicinity of the Provincials; and had got a little breathing from their own intestine feuds, by fixing the limits of their Leader's Dominions, which they called Kingdoms, began to be in some preparedness to receive impressions of Religion, above that rude Paga­nism which they had before served Satan in. These were they to whom came Austine from Rome; a man, as farr as appears by the story, little acquainted with the mystery of the Gospel; yet [Page 258] one whom it pleased God gratiously to use, to bring the Scripture amongst them that inexhaustible Fountain of Light and Truth; and by which those to whom he preached might be infallibly freed from any mixture of mistakes, that he might offer to them. That he brought with him a Doctrine of Observances, not formerly known in Brittain, [...]s notorious, from the famous▪ Story of those many Professors of Christianity [...] which he caused to be murdered by Pagans, for not submitting to his power, and refu­sing to practise according to his Tradi­tions; whose unwillingness to the [...]ain if they could have otherwise chosen, is that, which, I suppose, our Author call's their disturbing good St. Austine in his pi­ous work. But you neither will this Con­version of the Saxons begun by Austine the Monk, at all advantage our Author as to his pretensions. The Religion he taught here, as well as he could, was doubtless no other than that which at those dayes was profest at Rome; mix­tures of humane Traditions, worldly Policies, Observances trenching upon the Superstitions of the Gentiles, in many [Page 259] things it had then revived; but however it was farr enough from the present Ro­manism, if the Writers and chief Bi­shops of those dayes knew what was their Religion, Papal Supremacy and Infallibility, Transubstantiation, religious veneration of Images in Churches, with innumerable other prime fundamentals of Popery, were as great strangers at Rome in the dayes of Gr [...]gory the great, as they are at this day to the Church of England.

After these times, the world continu­ing still in troubles, Religion began more and more to decline, and fall off from its pristine purity. At first, by de­grees insensible and almost impercepti­ble, in the broaching of new opinions and inventing new practises in the worship of God. At length, by open presumptu­ous transgressions of its whole rule and genius, in the usurpation of the Pope of Rome and impositions of his Authority on the ne [...]ks of Emperours, Kings, Princes, and people of all sorts. By what means this work was carried on, what advan­tages were taken for, what instruments used in it, what opposition by Kings and [Page 260] learned men was made unto it, what testi­mony was given against it by the blood of thousands of Martyrs, others have at large declared; nor will my present design admit me to insist on particulars. What contests, debates, tumults, warrs, were by papall pretensions raised in these nations, what shameful intreating of some of the greatest of our Kings, what abso­lutions of subjects from their Allegiance, with such like effluxes of an abundant A­postolical piety, this nation in particular was exercised with from Rome, all our Historians sufficiently testify. Tantaemo­lis erat Romanam condere gentem! The truth is, when once Romanism began to be enthroned, and had driven Catholicism out of the world, we had very few Kings that past their days in peace and quiet­nesse from contests with the Pope, or such as acted for him, or were stirred up by him. The face in the mean time of Christianity was sad and deplorable. The body of the people being grown dark, and profane, or else superstitious, the generality of the Priests and Votaries ig­norant and vitious in their conversations, the oppressions of the Hildebrandine facti­on [Page 261] intolerable, Religion dethroned, from a free generous obedience accor­ding to the rule of the Gospell, and thrust into cells, orders, self-invented de­votions and forms of worship, supersti­tious and unknown to Scripture and an­tiquity, the whole world groaned under the Apostacy it was fallen into, when it was almost too late; the yoak was so fast­ned to their necks and prejudices so fixed in the minds of the multitude. Kings be­gan to repine, Princes to remonstrate their grievances, whole Nations to mur­mure, some learned men to write and preach against the superstitions and op­pressions of the Church of Rome. Against all which complaints and attempts, what means the Popes used for the safe-guar­ding their Authority, and opinions sub­servient to their carnal worldly interests, deposing some, causing others to be mur­dered that were in supream power, ban­dying Princes and Great men one a­gainst another, exterminating others with fire and sword, is also known unto all, who take any care to know such things, what ever our Author pretends to the contrary. This was the state, this the peace, [Page 262] this the condition of most Nations in Eu­rope, and these in particular where we live; when occasion was administred in the providence of God, unto that Refor­mation which in the next place he gives us the story of. Little cause had he to mind us of this story; little to boast of the primitive Catholick faith; little to pretend the Romish Religion to have been that which was first planted in these Nations; His concernments lye not in those things, but only in that Tyranni­cal usurpation of the Popes, and irregu­lar devotions of some Votarys, which latter ages produced.

CHAP. XIII.

Reformation.

THe story of the Reformation of Religion he distributes into three parts, and allots to each a particular Pa­ragraph, the first is of its occasion and rise in general, the second of its entrance [Page 263] into England, the third of its progresse amongst us. Of the first, he gives us this account: The pastor of Christianity upon some sollicitation of Christian Princes for a general compliance to their design, sent forth in the year 1517. a plenary Indulgence in favour of the Cruciata against the Turk. Al­bertus the Archbishop of Ments being dele­gated by the Pope to see it executed, commit­ted the promulgation of it to the Dominican Fryers; which the Hermits of St. August­ine in the same place to [...]k ill, especially Mar­tin Luther, &c. Who vexed that he was neglected, and undervalued, fell a-writing and preaching first against Indulgencies, then against the Pope. &c. He that had no o­ther acquaintance with Christian Religi­on, but what the Scriptures and antient Fathers will afford him, could not bu [...] be amazed at the canting Language of this Story; it being impossible for him to understand any thing of it aright. He would admire who this Pastor of Chri­stianity should be, what this plenary In­dulgence should mean, what was the prea­ching of plenary indulgence by Dominicans, and what all this would avail against the Turk. I cannot but pitty such a poor man [Page 264] to think what a loss he would be at▪ like one taken from home and carried blind­fold into the midst of a Wildernesse, where when he opens his eies, every thing scares him, nothing gives him gui­dance or direction. Let him turn again to his Bible, and Fathers of the first [...]or 500 years, and I will undertake he shall come off from them, as wise, as to the true understanding of this story, [...] he went unto them. The Scene in Religion is plainly changed, and this appearance of an Universal Pastor, Plenary indulge [...]es, Dominicans and Cruciata's, all marching against the Turk, must needs affright a man accustomed only to the Scripture-notions of Religion, and those embraced by the Primitive Church. And I do know, that if such a man could get to­gether two or three of the wisest Roma­nists in the world, which were the like­liest way for him to be resolved in the signification of these hard names, they would never well agree to tell him what this plenary Indulgence is. But for the present, as to our concernment, let us take these things, according to the best understanding, which their framers [Page 265] and founders have been pleased to give us of them; the Story intended to be [...]old, was indeed neither so, nor so. There was no such solicitation of the Pope by Christian Princes at that time, as is pretended; no Cruciata against the Turk undertaken; no attempt of that na­ture ensued, not a penny of indulgence-Money, laid out to any such purpose. But the short of the matter is, that the Church of Mentz, being not able to pay for the Archiepiscopal Pall of Albertus from Rome, having been much exhausted by the purchase of one or two for other Bishops, that died suddenly before, the Pope grants to Albert a number of pardons, of, to say the truth, I know not what, to be sold in Germany, agree­ing with him, that one half of the gain he would have in his own right, and the other for the pall. Now the Pope's Merchants that used to sell pardons for him in former dayes were the Preaching friers, who upon Holy-dayes, and Fe­stivals, were wont to let out their ware to the people, and in plain terms, to cheat them of their money; and well had it been, if that had been all. What [Page 266] share in the dividend, came to the ven­ders, well I know not: probably they had a proportion according to the com­modity that they put off; which stirred up their zeal to be earnest and diligent in their work. Among the rest, one Fryer Tecel, was so warm in his imploy­ment, and so intent upon the main end that they had all in their eye that Preaching in or about Wittenberg, it sufficed him not in general, to make an offer of the pardon of all sins that any had committed, but, to take all scruples from their Consciences, coming to particular instances, carryed them up to a cursed blasphemous supposition of ravishing the blessed Virgin; so coc [...] ­sure he made of the forgiveness of any thing beneath it, Provided, the price were paid that was set upon the pardon. Sober men being much amazed and grieved at these horrible impieties, one Martin Luther, a Professor of Divinity at Wittenberg, an honest, warm, zealous Soul, set himself to oppose the Fryers Blasphemies; wherein his zeal was com­mended by all, his discretion by few, it [Page 267] being the joynt-opinion of most, that the Pope would quickly have stopped his mouth by breaking his neck. But God, as it afterwards appeared, had ano­ther work to bring about, and the time of entring upon it was now fully come. At the same time, that Luther set him­self to oppose the pardons in Germany, Zwinglius did the same Switzerland. And both of them, taking occasion from the work, they first engaged in, to search the Scriptures, so to find out the Truth of Religion, which they discovered to be horribly abused by the Pope and his Agents, proceeded farther in their dis­covery, then at first they were aware of. Many Nations, Princes, and people, multitudes of learned and pious men, up and down the world, that had long groaned under the bondage of the Pa­pal yoke, and grieved for the horrible abuse of the worship of God, which they were forced to see and endure, hearing, that God had stirred up some learned men seriously to oppose those corrupti­ons in Religion, which they saw and mourned under, speedily either counte­nanced them, or joyned themselves with [Page 268] them. It fell out indeed, as it was mo­rally impossible it should be otherwise, that multitudes of learned men under­taking, without advising or consulting one with another, in several farr distant Nations, the discovery of the Papal Er­rors, and the Reformation of Religi­on, some of them had different appre­hensions and perswasions in, and about some points of doctrine, and parts of Worship of no great weight and impor­tance. And, he that shall seriously con­sider, what was the state of things, when they began their work, who they were, how educated, what prejudices they had to wrestle with, and remember with­all, that they were all Men; will have ten thousand times more cause to admire at their agreeement in all fundamentals, then at their difference about some lesser things. However, whatever were their personal failings and infirmities, God was pleased to give testimony to the uprigh [...] ­ness and integrity of their hearts; and to bless their endeavours with such suc­cess, as answered in some measure the Primitive work of planting and propa­gating [Page 269] the Gospel. The small sallies of our Author upon them in some legends about what Luther should say or do, deserve not the least notice from men, who will seriously contemplate the hand, power, and wisdom of God in the work accomplished by them.

The next thing undertaken by our Au­thor, is the ingress of Protestancy into England, and its progress there. The old story of the love of King Henry the Eighth to Ann Bullen, with the divorce of Queen Katharine, told over and over long ago by men of the same prin­ciple and design with himself, is that which he chooseth to flourish withall. I shall say no more to the story, but that English-men were not wont to be­lieve the whispers of an unknown Fryer, or two, before the open redoubled Protestation of one of the most famous Kings that ever swaid the Scepter of this Land, before the union of the Crowns of England and Scotland. These men, whatever they pretend, shew what reverence they have to our present So­veraign▪ by their unworthy defamation of his Royal Predecessors. But let men [Page 270] suppose the worst they please of that great Heroick Person: What are his miscarriages unto Protestant Religion; for neither was he the Head, Leader, or Author of that Religion; nor did he ever receive it, profess it, or embrace it; but, caused men to be burned to death, for its profession. Should [...], by way of Retaliation, return unto our Author, the lives and practices; of some, of many, not of the great, or leading men of his Church, but of the Popes them­selves, the Head, sum, and, in a manner, whole of their Religion, at least so farre that without him) they will not acknow­ledge any, he knows well enough what double measure, shaken together, pressed down, and running over, may be retur­ned unto him. A work this would be, I confess, no way pleasing unto my self▪ for who can delight in raking into such a sink of Filth, as the lives of many of them have been; yet because he seems to talk with a confidence of willingness to revive the memory of such ulcers of Christianity, if he proceed in the course he hath begun, it will be neces­sary to mind him of not boxing up his [Page 271] eyes when he looks towards his own home. That Poysonings, Adulteries, Incests, Conjurations, Perjuries, Athe­ism, have been no strangers to that See; if he knows not, he shall be acquainted from stories, that he hath no colour to except against. For the present, I shall on­ly mind him, and his friends, of the Comaedian's advice;

Dehinc ut quiescunt, porro m [...]neo, & desinant
Maledicere, malefactae ne noscant su [...].

The declaration made in the days of that King, that he was Head of the Church of England, intended no more, but that there was no other person in the world, from whom any Jurisdiction to be exercised in this Church over his Subjects might be derived, the Supreme Authority for all exterior Government being vested in him alone▪ That this should be so, the Word of God, the na­ture of the Kingly Office, and the an­t [...]ent Laws of this Realm, do require. And I challenge our Author to pro­duce any one Testimony of Scripture, or any one word out of any general [Page 272] Council, or any one Catholick Father or Writer, to give the least counte­nance to his assertion of two heads of the Church in his sense; an head of Influence, which is Jesus himself; and an head of Government, which is the Pope, in whom all the sacred Hierarchy ends; This taking of one half of Christs Rule, and Headship out of his hand, and gi­ving it to the Pope, will not be salved, by that expression thrust in by the way, under him; For the Headship of in­fluence is distinctly ascribed unto Christ; and that of Government to the Pope; which evidently asserts, that he is not in the same manner, head unto his Church in both these senses, but He in one, and the Pope in another.

But whatever was the cause, or oc­casion of the dissention between King Henry and the Pope, it's certain, Pro­testancy came into England, by the same way and means, that Christianity came into the World; the painful, pious Professors, and Teachers of it, sealed its truth with their bloud; and what more honourable entrance it could make, I neither know, nor can it be de­clared. [Page 273] Nor did England receive this Doctrine from others; in the days of King Henry, it did but revive that light which sprung up amongst us long before, and by the fury of the Pope, and his adherents, had been a while suppressed. And it was with the blood of English-men, dy­ing patiently and gloriously in the flames, that the truth was sealed in the dayes of that King, who lived and dyed him­self, as was said, in the profession of the Roman faith. The Truth flourished yet more in the dayes of his pious and hope­full Son. Some stop, our Author tels us, was put to it in the dayes of Queen Ma­ry. But, what stop? of what kind? of no other than that put to Christianity by Trajan, Dioclesian, Julian; a stop by fire and sword, and all exquisite cruelties, which was broken through, by the con­stant death, and invincible patience and prayers, of Bishops, Ministers, and People numberless; a stop, that Rome hath cause to blush in the remembrance of, and all Protestants to rejoyce, having their faith tryed in the fire, and coming forth more pretious than Gold. Nor did Queen Eli­zabeth, as is falsly pretended, indeavour [Page 274] to continue that stop, but cordially, from the beginning of her Reign, embraced that faith, wherein she had before been instructed. And in the maintenance of it, did God preserve her from all the Plots, Conspiracies, and Rebellions of the Pa­pists; Curses, and Depositions, of the Popes; with Invasions of her King­domes by his instigation, as also her re­nowned Successor, with his whole Regal posterity from their contrivance for their Martyrdom and ruin. During the Reign of those Royal and Magnificent Princes, had the Power and Polity of the Papal world, been able to accomplish what the men of this innocent and quiet Religion, professedly designed, they had not had the advantage of the late mis­carriages, of some professing the Pro­testant Religion, in reference to our late King of glorious Memory, to triumph in; though they had obtained that which would have been very desirable to them, and which we have but sorry evidence that they do not yet aim at, and hope for. As for what he declares in the end of his 10th. Paragraph, about the Reformation here, that it followed, wholly, neither [Page 275] Luther, nor Calvin, which he intermixes with many unseemly taunts, and reflexi­ons on our Laws, Government, and Go­vernours, is, as far as it is true, the glory of it. It was not Luther, nor Calvin, but the Word of God, and the practise of the primitive Church, that England proposed for her rule and pattern in her Refor­mation; and, where any of the Reformers forsook them, she counted it her duty, without reflexions on them, or their wayes, to walk in that safe one, she had chosen out for her self.

Nor shal I insist on his next Paragraph, destined to the advancement of his inte­rest, by a proclamation of the late Tu­mults, Seditions, and Rebellions in these Nations, which he ascribes to the Puri­tans. He hath got an advantage, and it is not equal we should perswade him to forego it; only I desire prudent men to consider, what the importance of it is, as to this case in hand; for, as to other con­siderations of the same things, they fall not within the compass of our present discourse. It's not of Professions, but of persons that he treats. The crimes he in­sists on, attend not any avowed Princi­ples, [Page 276] but the men that have professed them. And if a rule of chusing or leaving Religion, may from thence be gathered, I know not any in the world, that any can embrace, much less can they rest in none at all. Professors of all Religions, have in their seasons sinfully miscarried them­selves, and troubled the world with their lusts, and those, who have professed none, most of all. And of all, that is called Re­ligion, that of the Romanists might by this rule be first cashiered. The abominable bestial lives of very many of their chief Guids, in whom they believe; the Tu­mults, Seditions, Wars, Rebellions, they have raised in the World; the Treasons, Murders, Conspiracies, they have coun­tenanced, encouraged, and commended, would take up not a single Paragraph of a little Treatise, but innumerable Vo­lumes, should they be but briefly re­ported; they do so already; and which renders them abominable, whilest there is any in the world, that see reason not to submit themselves unto the Papal So­veraignty, their professed Principles lead them to the same courses; and when men are brought to all the bestial sub­jection [Page 277] aimed at; yet pretences will not be wanting to set on foot such practises, They were not in former dayes, when they had obtained an uncontrouleable omnipotency. If our Author supposeth this a rational way for the handling of differences in Religion, that leaving the consideration of the Doctrines and Prin­ciples, we should insist on the vices and crimes of those who have professed them, I can assure him he must expect the least advantage by it to his party, of any in the world; nor need we chuse any other Scene than England, to try out our con­tests by this rule; I hope, when he writes next, he will have better considered this matter, and not flatter himself, that the crimes of any Protestants, do enable him to conclude as he doth, that the only way for Peace, is an extermination of Protestancy, and so his tale about Religi­on is ended; he next brings himself on the stage.

CHAP. XIV.

Popish Contradictions.

THis is our last task; our Author's own Story of himself, and rare ob­servations in the Roman-Religion, make up the close of his Discourse, and me­rit in his thoughts the title of Discovery. The design of the whole is to manifest his Catholick Religion to be absolutely un­blameable, by wiping off some spots and blemishes that are cast upon it; indeed by gilding over with fair and plansible words some parts of their profession & worship which he knew to be most liable to the exceptions of them with whom he intends to deal. His way of managing this Design, that he may seem to do something new, is, by telling a fair tale of himself, and his Observations with the effects they had upon him; which is but the putting of a a new tune to an old Song, that hath been chanted at our doors, these 100. years; [Page 279] and some he hopes are so simple, as to like the new tune, though they were sick of the old Song. His entrance is, a bles­sing of the world with some knowledg of himself, his Parentage, Birth, and E­ducation, and proficiency in his Studies▪ as not doubting, but that great enquiry must needs be made after the meanest concernments of such an Hero, as by his acchievements and travails he hath mani­fested himself to be. And indeed, he hath so handsomly and delightfully given us the Romance of himself and Popery, that it was pitty he should so unhappily stum­ble at the threshold, as he hath done, and fall upon a misadventure that to some men wil render the design of his discourse sus­pected. For whereas he doth else-where most confidently averr, that no trouble ever was raised amongst us by the Roma­nists; here at unawares he informs us, that his own Grand-father lost both his life and his estate, in a Rebellion raised in the North on the account of that Religion. Just as before, attempting to prove, that we received Christianity originally from Rome, he tells us, that the first Planters of it, came directly from Palestina. It is [Page 280] in vain for him to perswade us, that what hath been, can never be again, unless he manifest the Principles which formerly gave it life and being, to be vanished out of the world; which as to those of the Romanists, tending to the disturbance of these Kingdoms, I fear he is not able to doe.

There is not any thing else, which Pro­testants are universally bound to observe in the course of his life, before he went beyond the Seas, but only the offence he took at men's preaching at London against Popery; not, that he was then troubled, if we may believe him, that Popery was ill reported of, but the miscarriage of the Preachers in bringing in the Papal Church hand over-head in their Sermons, speak­ing all evil and no good of it, and charg­ing it with contradictions, was that, which gave him distaste. He knows him­self best what it was that troubled him, nor shall I set up conjectures against his assertions. The triple evil mentioned, so farr as it is evil, I hope, he finds now remedyed. For my part, I never liked of mens importune diversions from their Texts, to deal with, or confute Papists, [Page 281] which is the first part of the evil com­plained of. I know a farr more effectu­al way to preserve men from Popery, namely, a solid instruction of them in the Principles of Truth with an endea­vour to plant in their hearts the power of those Principles, that they may have ex­perience of their worth and usefulness. That nothing but evil was spoken of Po­pery by Protestants, when they spake of it, I cannot wonder; they account nothing evil in the Religion of the Ro­manists but Popery; which is the name of the evil of that Religion. Noe Pro­testants ever denyed, but that the Ro­manists retained many good things in the Religion, which they profess; but those good things, they say, are no part of Po­pery; so that our Author should not by right, have been so offended, that men spake no good of that, which is the ex­pression of the evil of that, which in its self, is good, as Popery is of the Papists Christianity. The last parcel of that which was the matter of his trouble and offence, he displayes by sundry of the contradictions, which Protestants char­ged Popery withal. To little purpose; [Page 282] for, either, the things he mentions, are not by any charged on Popery, or not in that manner he expresseth, or the con­tradiction between them, consists not in the assertions themselves, but in some ad­ditional terms supplyed by himself to make them appear Contradictions. For instance, (to take those given by him­self) if one say, the Papists worship stocks and stones, another say, they worship a piece of Bread, here is no con­tradiction. Again, If one charge them with having their Consciences affrighted with Purgatory and Domesday, and Pe­nances for their sins that they never live a quiet life; another, that they carry their top and top gallant so high, that they will go to Heaven without Christ, or (as we in the Countrey phrase it) trust not to his merits and righteousness alone for salvation, here may be no contradi­ction: for all Papists are not, we know it well enough, of the same mould and form. Some may more imbibe some Principles of Religion tending in ap­pearance to mortification, some those that lead to pride and presumption; and so be liable to several charges. But nei­ther [Page 283] are these things inconsistent in them­selves. Men in their greatest conster­nation of spirit from sense of punish­ment, real or imaginary, wherewith they are disquieted, may yet proudly reject the righteousness of Christ; and if our Author knows not this to be true, he knows nothing of the Gospel. The next instance is of the same nature. One, he saith, affirmes, that Murders, Adulte­ries, Lies, Blasphemies, and all sin make up the bulk of Popery; another, that Papists are so wholly given to good Works, that they place in them exces­sive confidence. I scarce believe, that he ever heard any thus crudely charging them with either part of the imagined contradictory Proposition, Taking Po­pery, as the Protestants do, for the exor­bitancy of the Religion, which the Roma­nists profess; and considering the pro­duct of it in the most of mankind, it may be some by an usual hyperbole have used the words first mentioned; but, if we should charge the Papists, for being wholly given to good works, we should much wrong both them and our selves, seeing we perfectly know the contrary. [Page 284] The sum of both these things brought into one, is but this, that many Papists in the course of a scandalously sinful life, do place much of their confidence in good works; which is indeed, a strange contradiction in Principles, between their speculation and practise; but we know well enough, there is none in the charge. Let us consider one more; one affirmed, that the Pope and all his Pa­pists fall down to pictures, and commit Idolatry with them; another, that the Pope is so farr from falling down to any thing, that he exalts himself above all, that is called God, and is very Anti­christ. If one had said, he falls down to Images, another, that he falls not down to Images, there had been a contradi­ction indeed; but our Author by his own testimony being a Civil Logician, knows well enough that the falling down in the first Proposition, and that in the second are things of a divers nature, and so are no contradiction. A man may fall down to Images, and yet refuse to submit him­self to the power that God hath set over him. And those of whom he speaks, would have told him, that a great part of the [Page 285] Popes exalting himself against God, consists in his falling down to Images, wherein he exalts his own Will and Tra­dition, against the Will and express commands of God. The same may be shewed of all the following instances, nor can he give any one that shall mani­fest Popery to be charged by sober Pro­testants with any other contradictions, than what appears to every eye in the in­consistency of some of their Principles one with another, and of most of them with their practise. In the particulars by himself enumerated, there is no other shew of the charge of contradictory evils in Popery, then what by his Additions and wresting expressions is put upon them.

Weary of such preaching in England, our Author addressed himself to travail beyond the Seas, where what he met withal, what he observed, the weight and strength of his own Conversion, be­ing laid in pretence upon it, (indeed an Apology for the more generally excep­ted against parts of his Roman practise, and worship, being intended and persu­ed) must be particularly considered and debated.

CHAP. XV.

Masse. SECT. 22.

THe Title our Author gives to his first head of Observation, is Mes­sach, on what account I know not; unless it be with respect to a ridiculous He­brew Etymologie of the word Missa; as though it should be the same with [...] a word quite of another signification. If this be that which his title intends, I wish him better success in his next Etymolo­gizing, for this attempt hath utterly failed him. Missa never came out of the East nor hath any affinity with those tongues; being a word utterly unknown to the Sy­rians; and Graecians also, by whom all Hebrew words that are used in Religion came into Europe. He that will trouble himself to trace the pedigree of Missa, shall find it of no such antient stock, but a word, that with many others came in­to [Page 287] use in the destruction of the Roman-Empire, and the corruption of the La­tine-tongue. But as it is likely our Au­thor having not been accustomed to feed much upon Hebrew roots, might not per­ceive the insipidness of this pretended traduction of the word Missa, so also on the other side, its not improbable, but that he might only by an uncouth word think to startle his poor Countrymen, at the entrance of the story of his Tra­vels, that they might look upon him as no small person who hath the Messach, and such other hard names, at his fingers ends: as the Gnosticks heightned their Disciples, into an admiration of them by Paldab [...]oth, Astaphaeum, and other names of the like hideous noise and found.

Of the Discourse upon this Messach what ever it is, there are sundry parts. That he begins with, is a preference of the devotion of the Romanists incompa­rably above that of the Protestants. This was the entrance of his Discovery. Ca­tholicks Bells ring oftner then ours, their Churches are swept cleaner then ours; yea, ours in comparison of theirs are like stables to a Princely Pallace; their [Page 288] People are longer upon their knees, than ours, and upon the whole matter they are excellent every way in their Wor­ship of God, we every way blame worthy and contemptible: Unto all which, I shall only mind him of that good old ad­vice; Let thy neighbour praise thee, and not thine own mouth. And as for us, I hope we are not so bad, but that we should rejoyce truly to hear, that others were better. Only we could desire, that we might find their excellency to consist in things not either indifferent wholly in themselves, or else disapproved by God, which are the wayes that Hypocri­sie usually vents it self in, and then boast of what it hath done. Knowledge of God and his Will, as revealed in the Go­spel, real mortification, abiding in spi­ritual Supplications, diligent in Univer­sal Obedience, and fruitfulness in good works, be as I suppose, the things which render our profession beautiful, and ac­cording to the mind of God. If our Au­thor be able, to make a right Judgement of these things, and find them really a­bounding amongst his party, I hope, we shall rejoyce with him, though we knew [Page 289] the Spring of them is not their Popery, but their Christianity. For the outside-shews, he hath as yet instanced in, they ought not, in the least, to have influenced his Judgement in that disquisition of the Truth, wherein he pretends he was en­gaged. He could not of old have come amongst the Professors and Mystae of those false Religions, which by the light and power of the Gospel, are now banished out of the World, where he should not have met with the same Vi­zards and appearances of Devotion, so that hitherto we find no great discove­ries, in his Messach.

From the Worship of the Parties com­pared, he comes to their Preaching, and finds them as differing as their devoti­on. The Preaching of Protestants of all sorts, is sorry pittiful stuffe. Inconse­quent words, senseless notions, or, at least, Rhetorical flourishes, make it up; the Catholicks, grave and pithy. Still all this, belongs to persons, not things. Protestants preach as well as they can, and, if they cannot preach so well as his wiser Romanists, it is their unhappiness, not their fault. But yet I have a little [Page 290] reason, to think, that our Author is not altogether of the mind that here he pre­tends to be of, but that he more hates, and fears, then despises, the Preaching of Protestants. He knows well enough, what mischief it hath wrought his Party, though prejudice will not suffer him to see what good it hath done the world; and therefore doubting, as I suppose, lest he should not be able to prevail with his Readers to believe him in that, which he would fain, it may be, but can­not believe himself, about the excel­lency of the Preaching of his Catho­licks above that of Protestants, he de­cryes the whole work, as of little or no use or concernment in Christian Reli­gion. This it had been fair for him to have openly pleaded, and not to have made a flourish with that which he knew, he could make no better work of. Nor is the preaching of the Protestants, as is pretended, unlike that of the Antients. The best and most famous Preacher of the antient Church, whose Sermons are preserved, was Chrysostom. We know, the way of his proceding in that work, was to open the words and meaning of [Page 291] his Text; to declare the Truth con­tained and taught in it, to vindicate it from Objections, to confirm it by o­ther Testimonies of Scripture, and to apply all unto practise in the close. And as farr as I can observe, this, in general, is that method used by Protestants, be­ing that indeed, which the very nature of the work dictates unto them; where­fore mistrusting lest he should not be able to bring men out of love with the Preaching of Protestants, in comparison of the endeavours of his Party in the same kind, he turns himself another way and labours to perswade us, as I said, that preaching its self is of little or no use in Christian Religion; for, so he may serve his own design, he cares not, it seems, open­ly to contradict the practise of the Church of God, ever since there was a Church in the world. To avoid that Charge he tells us, That the Apostles and Apostolical Churches, had no Sermons, but all their Preaching was meerly for the Conversion of men to the faith, and, when this was done, there was an end of their preaching, and, for this he instanceth in the Sermons mentioned in the Acts, ch. 2, 3, 5, 10, 7, 8, 13, 14, 16, 18, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28. [Page 292] I wonder, what he thinks of Christ him­self, whether he preached or no, in the Temple, or in the Synagogues of the Jews; and whether the Judaical Church to whose Members he preached, were not then a true, yea, the only Church in the world; and, whether Christ was not anointed and sent to preach the Gospel to them? If he know not this, he is very ig­norant; if he doth know it, he is somewhat that deserves a worse name: To labour to exterminate that out of the Religion of Christ, which was one of the chief works of Christ (for we do not read, that he went up and down singing Mass, though I have heard of a Fryer, that conceived, that to be his imployment) is a work un­becoming any man, that would count himself wronged, not to be esteemed a Christian. But what ever Christ did, it may be, it matters not; the Apostles and Apostolical Churches had no Sermons, but only such as they preached to Infidels and Jews to con­vert them; that is, they did not labour to instruct men in the knowledge of the mysteries of the Gospel, to build them up in their Faith, to teach them more and more the good knowledg of God, [Page 293] revealing unto them the whole counsel of his will. And is it possible that any man who hath ever read over the New Testament, or any one of Paul's Epistles, should be so blinded by prejudicies, and made so confident in his assertions, as to dare, in the face of the Sun, whilst the Bible is in every ones hand, to utter a matter so devoid of truth, and all co­lour or pretence of probability? Me­thinks men should think it enough to sacrifice their consciences to their Mo­loch, without casting wholly away their reputation to be consumed in the same flames. It is true, the design of the story of the Acts, being to deliver unto us the progress of the Christian faith, by the Ministry of the Apostles, insists princi­pally on those Sermons which God in an especial manner, blessed to the con­version of souls, and encrease of the Church thereby; but, Is there therefore no mention made of Preaching in it, to the edification of their Converts? or, Is there no mention of Preaching, unless it be said, that such a one preached at such a time, so long, on such a Text? When the people abode in the Apostles Do­ctrine, Acts 2.42. I think the Apostle [Page 294] taught them. And the Ministry of the Word, which they gave themselves unto, was principally in reference unto the Church, Ch. 7.4. So Peter and John prea­ched the Word to those whom Philip had converted at Samaria, Ch. 18.25. A whole year together Paul and Barna­bas assembled themselves together with the Church of Antioch, and taught much people, Ch. 12.26. At Troas, Paul prea­ched unto them who came together to break bread, (that is, the Church) until midnight, Ch. 20.7, 9. which, why our Author calls a dispute; or, what need of a dispute there was, when only the Church was assembled, neither I, nor he, do know. And ver. 20. & 27. he de­clares, that his main work and employ­ment was, constant Preaching to the Disciples and Churches; giving com­mands to the Elders of the Churches to do the same. And what his practice was, during his imprisonment at Rome, the close of that book declares. And these not footsteps, but express ex­amples of, and precepts concerning, Preaching to the Churches themselves, and their Disciples, we have in that book purposely designed, to declare their first [Page 295] calling and planting, not their progress and edification. Should I trace the com­mands given for this work, the commen­dation of it, the qualifications and gifts for it bestowed on men by Christ, and his requiring of their exercise, recorded in the Epistles, the work would be end­less, and a good part of most of them must be transcribed. In brief, if the Lord Christ continue to bestow Ministerial gifts upon any, or to call them to the Office of the Ministry, if they are bound to labour in the Word and Doctrine, to be instant in Season, and out of Season in Preaching the Word to those committed to their charge; if that be one of the directions given them, that they may know how to behave themselves in the Church, the house of God; if they are bound to trade with the Talents their Master entrusts them with, to attend unto Doctrine with all diligence; if it be the duty of Christians to labour to grow and encrease in the knowledge of God and his will, and that of indispen­sable necessity unto salvation, according to the measure of the means God is plea­sed to afford unto them; if their peri­shing [Page 296] through ignorance, will be assured­ly charged on them who are called to the care, and freedom, and instructing of them; This business of Preaching, is an indispensible duty among Christians. If these things be not so indeed, for ought I know, we may do what our Adversary desires us; even burn our Bi­bles, and that as books that have no truth in them. Our Authors denial of the practice of Antiquity, conformable to this of the Apostles, is of the same na­ture. But that it would prove too long a diversion from my present work; I could as easily trace down the con­stant sedulous performance of this duty from the dayes of the Apostles, until it gave place to that ignorance which the world was beholding to the Papal Apo­stacy for, as I can possibly write so much paper, as the story of it would take up. But to what purpose should I do it? Our Author, I presume, knows it well enough; and others, I hope, will not be too forward in believing his affir­mations of what he believes not him­self.

[Page 297]The main design of this discourse is, to cry up the Sacrifice that the Catholicks have in their Churches, but not the Pro­testants. This Sacrifice he tells us, was the sum of all Apostolical Devotion, which Protestants have abolished. Strange! that in all the writings of the Apostles, there should not one word be mentioned of that which was the sum of their Devo­tion. Things, surely, judged by our Au­thor, of less importance, are at large handled in them. That they should not directly, nor indirectly, once intimate that which, it seems, was the sum of their devotion, is, I confess, to me, somewhat strange. They must make this conceal­ment, either by design or oversight. How consistent the first is with their goodness, holiness, love to the Church; the latter with their wisdom and infallibility, either with their office, and duty; is easie to judge. Our Author tells us, They have a Sacrifice after the order of Melchi­zedeck, Paul tells us, indeed, that we have a High Priest, after the order of Melchizedech; but, as I remember, this is the first time that ever I heard of a Sacrifice after the order of Melchisedech; [Page 298] though I have read somewhat that Roman Catholicks say about Melchisedechs Sa­crifice. Our Priest after the Order of Melchisedech, offered a Sacrifice, that none ever had done before, nor can do after him, even Himself. If the Roma­nists think to offer him, they must kill him. The Species of Bread and Wine, are but a thin Sacrifice, next door to no­thing, yea, somewhat worse then no­thing, a figment of a thing impossible, or the shaddow of a dream, nor will they say they are any. It is true, which our Author pleads in justification of the Sacrifice of his Church, That there were Sacrifices among the Jews, yea, from the beginning of the World, after the en­trance of sin, and promise of Christ to come made to sinners. For, in the state of innocency, there was no Sacrifice ap­pointed, because there was no need of an atonement. But all these Sacrifices, properly so called, had no other use in Religion, then to prefigure and represent the great Sacrifice of himself to be made, by the Son of God, in the ful­ness of time. That being once perfor­med, all other Sacrifices were to cease; [Page 299] I mean, properly so called; for we have still Sacrifices Metaphorical, called so by Analogy, being parts of Gods wor­ship tendred unto him, and accepted with him, as were the Sacrifices of old. Nor is it at all necessary, that we should have Proper Sacrifices, that we may have Me­taphorical. It is enough, that such there have been, and that of Gods own ap­pointment. And we have still that only one real Sacrifice, which was the life and soul of all them that went before. The substance being come, the light shaddowing of it, that was before, under the Law, is vanished. The Apostle doth expresly place the opposition that is be­tween the Sacrifice of Christian-Church, and that of the Judaical in this, that they were often repeated, this was performed once for all, and is a living abiding Sacrifice, constant in the Church for ever, Heb. 10.1, 2. So that, by this rule, the repetition of the same, or any other Sacrifice in the Christian-Church, can have no other foundation, but an apprehension of the imperfection of the Sacrifice of Christ; For, saith he, where the Sacrifice is perfect, and makes them [Page 300] perfect that come to God by it, there must be no more Sacrifice. This then seems to be the real difference between Protestants, and Roman-Catholicks in this business of Sacrifice. Protestants belie­ving the Sacrifice of Christ to be ab­solutely perfect, so that there is no need of any other, and that it is [...], a fresh and living way of going to God continually, with whom, by it, obtaining remission of sin, they know there is no more offering for sin; they content themselves with that Sacrifice of his, continually in its vertue and efficacy residing in the Church. Romanists looking on that as imperfect, judge it necessary to institute a new Sacrifice of their own, to be repeated every day, and that without any the least colour or warrant from the word of God, or example of the Apostles. But our Author puts in an exception, and tells us those words of Luke, Acts 13.2. [...], are well and truly rendred by Erasmus, sacrificantibus illis Domino: which one text, saith he, gives double testimony to Apostolical Sacrifice and Priestly Or­dination; [Page 301] and he strengthens the Au­thority of Erasmus with reason also, for the word can import nothing but Sacrifice, since it was made [...]: for other in­feriour Ministeries of the Word and Sacra­ments are not made to God, but the people; but the Apostles were [...], Administring, Liturgying, Sacrificing to our Lord. For what he adds of Ordi­nation, it belongs not unto this discourse. Authority and Reason are pleaded to prove, I know not what, Sacrifice to be intended in these Words. Erasmus is first pleaded, to whose interpretation, men­tioned by our Author, I shall only add his own Annotations in the explication of his meaning; [...], saith he, Quod proprium est operantium sacris, nul­lum autem Sacrificium Deo gratius, quàm impartiri doctrinam Evangelicam. So that, it seems, the Preaching of the Gospel, or taking care about it, was the Sacri­fice that Erasmus thought of in his Translation and Exposition: Yea, but the word is truly translated Sacrisicanti­lus. But who, I pray, told our Author so? The Original of the word is of a much larger signification. Its common [Page 302] use is, to minister in any kind; its so translated, and expounded by all learned impartial men, and is never used in the whole new Testament to denote Sacr [...] ­ficing. Nor is, [...], ever rendred in the Old Testament by the 70. [...] or [...], but [...], &c. Nor is that word used absolutely, in any Author, Profane or Ecclesiastical, to signifie, precisely, Sacrificing. And I know well enough what it is that makes our Au­thor say, It is properly translated Sacri­ficing; and I know as well, that he can­not prove what he sayes; but he gives a Reason for what he sayes, It's said, to be made to the Lord, whereas other inferior Ministerial acts, are made to the people. I wish, heartily, he would once leave this scurvy trick of cogging in words, to de­ceive his poor unwary Reader; for what, I pray, makes his, made, here? what is it that is said to be made to the Lord? It is, when they were Ministring to the Lord, so the words are rendred; not when they were making, or making Sacrifice, or when they made Sacrificing unto the Lord. This wild guord, made, [Page 303] puts death into his Pot. And we think here in England, that in all Ministerial acts, though performed towards the peo­ple, and for their good, yet men admi­nister to the Lord in them, because per­forming them by his appointment, as a part of that worship which he requires at their hands. In the close of our Authors discourse, he complains of the persecuti­ons of Catholicks: which what ever they are, or have been, for my part, I nei­ther approve, nor justifie; and do hearti­ly wish, they had never shewed the world those wayes of dealing with them, who dissented from them in things concerning Religion, whereof themselves now com­plain; how justly, I know not. But if it be for the Masse that any of them have felt, or do fear Suffering, which I pray God avert from them, I hope they will at length come to understand how re­mote it is from having any affinity with the devotion of the Apostolical Chur­ches, and so free themselves, if not from suffering, yet at lest from suffering for that which being not accepted with God, will yield them no solid Gospel-conso­lation in what they may endure or un­dergo.

CHAP. XVI.

Blessed Virgin. SECT. 23. Pag. 267.

THe twenty second Paragraph concerning the blessed Vir­gin, is absolutely the weakest and most disingenious in his whole dis­course. The work he hath in hand [...] is to take off offence from the Roman Do­ctrine and Practice, in reference unto her. Finding that this could not be handsomely gilded over, being so rot­ten and corrupt, as not to bear a new var­nish, he turns his pen to the bespattering of Protestants, for contempt of her, without the least respect to truth or com­mon honesty. Of them it is, that he says, That they vilifie and blaspheme her, and cast Gibes upon her, which he sets off with a pretty tale of a Protestant Bishop, and a Catholick boy; and lest this should not [Page 305] suffice to render them odious, he would have some of them thought to taunt at Christ himself; one of them, for ignorance, passion, and too much haste for his break­fast. Boldly to calumniate, that some­thing may cleave, is a Principle that too many have observed in their dealings with others in the world. But, as it con­taines a renuntiation of the Religion of Jesus Christ, so it hath not alwayes well succeeded. The horrid and incredible reproaches that were cast by the Pagans on the primitive Christians, occasioned sundry ingenious persons to search more into their way, then otherwise they would have done; and thereby, their conversion. And I am perswaded, this rude charge on Protestants, as remote from truth, as any thing that was cast on the first Christians by their adversaries, would have the same effects on Roman-Catho­licks, might they meet with the same in­genuity and candor. That any Prote­stant should be moved or shaken in his Principles, by such Calumnies, is impos­sible. Every one that is so, knows, that as the Protestants believe every thing that is spoken of the blessed Virgin, in the [Page 306] Scripture, or Creed, or whatever may be lawfully deduced from what is so spoken; so they have all that honour and respect for her, which God will allow to be given to any creature. Surely, a confident accusation of incivility and blasphemy, for not doing that, which they know they do, and profess to all the world they do, is more like to move men in their patience towards their ac­cusers, then to prevail with them, to join in the same charge against others, whom they know to be innocent as themselves. Neither will it relieve our Author in point of ingenuity and truth, that, it may be, he hath heard it reported, of one or two brain-sick, or frantick per­sons in England, that they have cast out blasphemous reproaches against the bles­sed Mother of God. It is credibly testi­fied, that Pope Leo should, before wit­nesses, profess his rejoycing at the ad­vantages they had at Rome, by the fable of Christ. Were it handsome now in a Protestant, to charge this blasphemy up­on all Papists, though uttered by their head and guide; and to dispute against them from the confession of the Jews, [Page 307] who acknowledge the story of his death and suffering to be true; and of the Turks, who have a great honour and ve­neration for him unto this day. Well may men be counted Catholicks, who walk in such paths, but I see no ground or reason why we should esteem them Christians. Had our Author spoken to the purpose, he should have proved the lawfulness▪ or if he had spoken to his own purpose, with any candor of mind, or consistency of purpose, in the pursuit of his design, have gilded over the practise of giving Divine honour to the holy Virgin; of worshipping her with Adoration, as Protestants say, due to God alone; of ascribing all the Titles of Christ unto her, turning Lord, in the Psalms, in most places, into Lady; pray­ing to her, not only to entreat, yea, to command her Son to help and save them, but to save them her self, as she to whom her Son hath committed the administra­tion of Mercy, keeping that of Justice to himself; with many other the like horrid blasphemies, which he shall hear more of, if he desire it. But in stead of this difficult task, he takes up one, which, [Page 308] it seems, he looked on as far easier, falsly to accuse Protestants of blaspheming her. We usually smile in England at a short answer that one is said to have given Bellarmine's works; I hope, I may say without offence, that if it were not uncivil, it might suffice for an answer to this Paragraph. But though most men will suppose, that our Author hath over­shot himself, and gone too far in his Charge, he himself thinks, he hath not gone far enough; as well knowing, there are some bounds, which when men have passed, their only course is to set a good face upon the matter, and to dare on still. Wherefore to convince us of the truth of what he had delivered concer­ning Protestants reviling and blasphe­ming the blessed Virgin, he tels us, that it is no wonder, seeing some of them in forrain parts, have uttered words against the very honour of Jesus Christ himself. To make this good, Calvin is placed in the Van, who is said, to taunt at His ignorance, and passion, and too much haste for his break­fast, when he curst the figtree, who if, as is pretended, he had studyed Catholick Divines, they would have taught him a more modest [Page 309] and pious interpretation. It is quite beside my purpose and nature of the present dis­course, to recite the words of private men, and to contend about their sense and mea­ning. I shall therefore only desire the Reader, that thinks himself concerned in this report, to consult the place in Calvin pointed unto; and if he finds any such taunts, as our Author mentions, or any thing delivered concerning our Lord Christ, but what may be confirmed by the Judgement of all the antient Fathers, and many learned Romanists; I will be content to lose my reputation with him, for any skill in judging at the meaning of an Author. But what thoughts he will think meet to retain for this informer, I leave to himself. What Catholick Di­vines Calvin studyed, I know not; but, I am sure, if some of those whom his ad­viser accounts so, had not studyed him, they had never stole so much out of his Comments on the Scripture, as they have done The next primitive Protestants, that are brought in, to make good this charge, are Servetus, Gibraldus, Lasmani­nus, and some other Anti-trinitarian He­reticks; in opposition to whose errors, [Page 310] both in their first rise, and after-pro­gress, under the management of Faustus Socinus, and his followers, Protestants all Europe over, have laboured far more abundantly, and with far greater success, then all his Roman-Catholicks. It seems they must now all pass for primitive Protestants, because the interest of the Catholick-cause requires it should be so. This is a communicable branch of Papal Omnipotency, to make things and persons to be, what they never were. From them, a return is made again, to Luther, Brentius, Calvin, Swinglius, who are said to nibble at Arianism, and shoot secrets darts at the Trinity; though all impartial men must needs confess, that they have asserted and proved the Do­ctrine of it, far more solidly then all the Schoolmen in the world were able to do. But the main weight of the discourse of this Paragraph, lies upon the prety tale, in the close of it, about a Prote­stant Bishop, and a Catholick Boy; which he must be a very Cato that can read without smiling. It is a little too long to transcribe, and I cannot tell it over again without spoyling of it, having [Page 311] never had that faculty in gilding of little stories, wherein our Author ex­celleth. The sum is, that the boy being reproved by the Bishop, for saying a Prayer to her, boggled at the repetition of her name when he came to repeat his Creed, and cryed, My Lord, here she is again, what shall I do with her now? To whom the Bishop replyed, You may let her passe in your Creed, but not in your Prayers. Whereupon our Author sub­joyns, as though we might have Faith, but neither Hope nor Charity for her. Certainly, I suppose, my Countrimen cannot but take it ill, that any man should suppose them such stupid blockheads, as to be imposed on with Sophistry, that they may feel through a pair of Mittens; Tam vacui capitis populum Phaeaca putasti? For my part, I can scarce think it worth the while to relieve men, that will stoop to so naked a lure. But that I may pass on, I will cast away one word, which no­thing but gross stupidity can counte­nance from needlesseness. The blessed Virgin is mentioned in the Creed, as the person of whom our Saviour was born: and we have therefore faith for her; that [Page 312] is, we believe that Christ was born of her; but do we therefore believe in her? Certainly no more then we do in Pontius Pilate, concerning whom we believe that Christ was crucified under him: A bare mention in the Creed, with reference to somewhat else believed in, is a thing in its self indifferent; and we see occasio­nally befell the best of Women, and one of the worst of Men; and what Hope and Charity should we thence conclude, that we ought to have for her? We are past charitable hopes that she is for ever bles­sed in heaven, having full assurance of it. But if by Hope for her, he means the pla­cing of our hope, trust, and confidence in her, so as to pray unto her, as his mea­ning must be, how well this follows from the place she hath in the Creed, he is not a man who is not able to judge.

CHAP. XVII.

Images. SECT. 24.

THe next excellency of the Ro­man-Church, which so excee­dingly delighted our Author in his travails, is their Images. It was well for him that he travailed not in the days of the Apostles, nor for 4 or 500 years after their decease. Had he done so, and, in his choice of a Religion, would have been influenced by Images and Pictures, he had undoubtedly turned Pagan; (or else a Gnostick; for those pretended Christians, indeed wretches worse then Pagans, as Epiphanius informes us, had got Images of Christ, which, they said, were made in the dayes of Pontius Pilate, if not by him.) Their Temples being richly-furnished and adorned with them, [Page 314] whilst Christian Oratories were utterly destitute of them. To forward also his inclination, he would have found them not the representations of ordinary men, but of famous Hero's, renowned through­out the whole World, for their noble acchievements and inventions of things necessary to humane life; and those pourtrayed to the life, in the per­formance of those actions which were so useful to mankind, and by which they had stirred up just admiration of their virtue in all men. Moreover, he would have found their learned men profound Philosophers, devout Priests, and Vir­gins, contemning the Christians for want of those helps to devotion to­wards God, which in those Images they enjoyed; and objecting to them their rashness, fury, and ignorance in demo­lishing of them. As far as I can per­ceive by his good inclination to this excellency of Religion (the imagery of it) had he lived in those dayes, he would have as easily bid adiew to Chri­stianity, as he did in these to Protestan­tism.

[Page 315]But the excellent thoughts, he tells us that such Pictures and Images are apt to cast into the minds of men, makes them come to our Mount Zion, the City of the living God, to celestial Jerusalem, and Society of Angels, and so onward, as his Translation somewhat uncouthly, and improperly renders that place of the Apostle, Hebr. 12. A man indeed di­straught of his wits, might possibly en­tertain some such fancies upon his en­tring of an House, full of fine Pictures and Images; but that a sober man should do so, is very unlikely. It is a sign how well men understand the Apostle's words, when they suppose themselves furthered in their meditation on them by Images and Pictures; and yet it were well, if this abuse were all the use of them in the Romish Church: I wish, our Author would inform us truly, whether many of those whom he tells us, he saw so devout in their Churches, did not lay out a good part of their devotion up­on the fine Pictures, and Images he saw them fall down before. Images began first in being ignorant peoples Books, but they ended in being their Gods or [Page 316] Idols: Alas poor souls! they know little of those many curious windings, and turnings of mind, through the Maean­ders of various distinctions, which their Masters prescribe to preserve them from Idolatry, in that veneration of Images, which they teach them; when it is easie for them to know, that all they do in this kind, is contrary to the express will and command of God. But that our Author may charge home upon his Countrymen, for removing of Images out of Churches, he tells us, that it is the judgement of all men, that the violation of an image, redounds to the Prototype. True, provided it be an image rightly and duly destined to represent him that is intended to be injured. But suppose, any man against the express command of a King, should make an Image of him, on purpose to represent him deformed and ridiculous to the people, would he interpret it an injury, or dishonour done unto him, if any one, out of allegiance, should break or tear such an Image in pieces? I suppose, a wise and just King would look on such an action as a re­wardable piece of service; and would in [Page 317] time take care for the punishment of him that made it. The hanging of Traitors in effigie, is not to cast a dishonour up­on the person represented, but a decla­ration of what he doth deserve, and is adjudged unto. The Psalmist indeed complains, that they broke down the [...], or carved works, in the walls and seeling of the Temple; but that those apertiones, or incisurae, were not Pictures and Images for the people to adore and venerate, or were ap­pointed for their instruction, if our Author knows not, he knows whither to repair to be instructed, viz. to any Com­ment, old or new, extant on that Psalm. And it is no small confidence to use Scripture out of the old Testament, for the Religious use of images, of mens finding out and Constitution; whereas they may finde as many Testimonies for more Gods; enow indeed, wherein the one are denyed, and the other forbid­den.

Nor will the ensuing contemplation of the means whereby we come to learn things we know not, namely by our sen­ses, whence Images are suited to do that [Page 318] by the eye, which Sermons do by the ear, and that more effectually, yield him any relief in his devotion for them. There is this small difference between them, that the one means of instruction is appointed by God him­self; the other, that is pretended to be so, absolutely forbidden by him.

And these fine Discourses of the actu­osity of the eye above the ear, and its facul­ty of administring to the fancy; are but pitiful weak attempts for men that have no less work in hand, then to set up their own wisdom in the room of, and above, the wisdom of God.

And our Author is utterly mistaken, if he think, the sole end of preaching the Cross and Death of Christ, is to work out such representations to the mind, as Oratory may effect for the moving of corresponding affections. This may be the end of some mens Rhe­torical Declamations about it. If he will a little attentively read over the Epistles of Paul, he will discern other ends in his preaching Christ, and him crucified, which the fancies he speaks of, have morally little affinity with all.

[Page 319]But what if Catholicks having no­thing to say for their practice in the ado­ration of Images, seeing the Protestants have nothing but simple pretences for their removal out of Churches; these simple pretences are express reiterate com­mands of God: which what value they are of with the Romanists, when they lay against their wayes and practice, is evident. The Arguments of Protestants when they deal with the Romanists, are not directed against this, or that, part of their doctrine or practice about Images, but the whole; that is, the making of them, some of God himself, the placing of them in Churches, and giving them religious adoration; not to speak of the abominable miscarriages of many of their Devotionists in teaching, or of their people in committing with them as gross Idolatry, as ever any of the anti­ent Heathens did; which shall at large be proved, if our Author desires it. Against this principle, and whole practise, one of the Protestants pretences, as they are called, laies in the second Com­mandment, wherein the making of all Images for any such purpose, is expresly [Page 320] forbidden: But the same God, say they, commanded Cherubims to be made, and pla­ced over the Ark. He did so; but I de­sire to know, what the Cherubs were I­mages of; and that they would shew, He ever appointed them to be adored, or to be the immediate Objects of any venera­tion, or to be so much as historical means of instruction, being alwayes shut up from the view of the people, and re­presenting nothing that ever had a real subsistence in rerum natura. Besides, Who appointed them to be made? As I take it, it was God himself, who did therein no more contradict himself, then he did, when he commanded his people to spoil the Egyptians, having yet forbid all men to steal. His own special dispensation of a Law, constitutes no general Rule. So that (whoever are blind, or fools) it is cer­tain, that the making of Images for Re­ligious veneration, is expresly forbidden of God unto the sons of men. But alas! they were forraign images, the ugly faces of Moloch, Dagon, Ashtaroth; he forbad not his own. Yea, but they are Images or likenesses of Himself, that in the first place, and principally, he forbids them [Page 321] to make, and he enforceth his command upon them from hence, that when he spake unto them in Horeb, they saw no manner of similitude, Deut. 5.15. which surely concerned not the ugly face of Moloch. And it is a very prety fancy of our Author, and inferiour to none of the like kind, that we have met with, that they have in their Catholick Churches, both, Thou shalt not make graven images, and Thou shalt make graven Images; be­cause they have the Image of St. Peter, not of Simon Magus; of St. Bennet, or good St. Francis, not of Luther and Cal­vin. I desire to know, Where they got that command, Thou shalt make Images? in the Original and all the Translations, lately published in the Biblia Polyglotta, it is, Thou shalt not. So it is in the Wri­tings of all the Antients; As for this new Command, Thou shalt make graven Images; I cannot guess from whence it comes; and so shall say no more about it. Only I shall ask him one question in good earnest, de­siring his resolution the next time he shall think fit to make the world merry with his witty Discourses; and it is this. Suppose the Jews had not made the Ima­ges [Page 322] of Jannes and Jambres, their Simon Magus's, but of Moses and Aaron; and had placed them in the Temple and worship­ped them as Papists do the Images of Pe­ter or the Blessed Virgin, whether he thinks it would have been approved of God or no▪ I fear, he will be at a stand. But I shall not discourage him, by telling him before hand, what will befal him, on what side soever he determines the question.

He will not yet have done, but tells us, The Precept lies in this, That men shall not mak [...] to themselves: as if he had said, When you come into the Land among the Gentiles, let none of you make to himself any of the Images he shall see there set up by the Inhabitants contrary to the Law of Moses, and the practise of the Synagogue, which doth so honour her Cherubims, that she abominates all Idols and their Sculpture▪ and thus if any Catholick should make to himself contrary to what is allowed, any pe­culiar Image of the Planets, &c. But that Nil admirari relieves me, I should be at a great loss in reading these things; for truly a man would think, that he that talks at this rate, had read the Bible no otherwise then he would have our peo­ple [Page 323] to do it, that is, not at all. I would I could prevail with him for once to read over the Book of Deuteronomy. I am perswaded, he will not repent him of his pains, if he be a Lover of Truth, as he pretends he is. At least, he could not miss of the advantage of being delivered from troubling himself and others here­after with such gross mistakes. If he will believe the Author of the Penta­teuch, it was the Image of the true God, that was principally intended in the pro­hibition of all Images whatever, to be made objects of Divine Adoration, and that without any respect unto the Cheru­bims over the Ark, everlastingly seclu­ded from the sight of the people. And the Images of the false Gods are but in a second place forbidden; the Gods themselves being renounced in the first Commandement. And it is this making unto a man's self any Image whatever, without the appointment of God, that is the very substance of the Command. And I desire to know of our Author, how any Image made in his Church comes to represent him to whom it is as­signed, or to have any religious Relati­on [Page 324] to him; For instance to St. Peter, ra­ther then to Simon Magus, or Judas, so that the honour done unto it, should re­dound to the one, rather then to the other. It is not from any appointment of God, nor from the nature of the thing it self; for the carved piece of wood, is as fit to represent Judas as Peter; not from any influence of vertue and efficacy from Peter, into the Statua, as the Heathens pleaded for their Image-worship of old. I think, the whole relation between the Image and the pretended Prototype, depends solely on the imagination of him that made it, or him that reverenceth it. This creative faculty in the imagina­tion, is that which is forbidden to all the sons of men in the Non fa­cies tibi, Thou shalt not make to thy self; and when all is done, the Relation sup­posed, which is the pretended ground of Adoration is but Imaginary and Phan­tastick. A sorry basis for the building erected on it. This whimsical terminati­on of the Worship in the Prototype by vertue of the imaginations Creation of a relation between it and the Image, will not free the Papists from down-right I­dolatry [Page 325] in their abuse of Images; much less will the pretence that it is the true God they intend to worship, that true God having declared all Images of him­self set up without his command, to be a­bominable Idols.

CHAP. XVIII.

Latin Service. SECT. 25. Pag. 250.

THe next thing he gilds over, in the Roman practise is, that which he calls, their Latin Service; that is, their keeping of the Word of God, and whole worship of the Church, (in which two, all the general concern­ments of Christians do lie) from their understanding, in an unknown tongue. We find it true, by continual experi­ence, that great successes, and confidence in their own abilities, do encourage men to strange attempts; what else could make them perswade themselves that they should prevail with poor simple mortals to believe, that they have no­thing [Page 326] to do with that, wherein, indeed, all their chiefest concernments do lie; and that contrary to express direction of Scripture, universal practice of the Churches of old, common sense, and the broadest light of that reason, whereby they are men, they need not at all under­stand the things wherein their communi­on with God doth consist, the means whereby they must come to know his will, and way wherein they must worship him. Nor doth it suffice these Gentle­men to suppose, that they are able to flou­rish over their own practice with such pretences, as may free it from blame; but they think to render it so desirable, as either to get it embraced willingly by others, or countenance themselves in imposing it upon them whether they will or no. But as they come short of those advantages, whereby this matter, in for­mer days, was brought about, or rather come to pass: So to think, at once, to cast those shackles on men now they are awake, which were insensibly put upon them when they were asleep, and re­jected on the first beam of Gospel-light that shined about them; is, I hope, but a [Page 327] pleasing dream. Certain I am, there must be other manner of reasonings, then are insisted upon by our Author, or have been by his Masters as yet, that must pre­vail on any who are not on the account of other things, willing to be deluded in this. That the most of Christians need never to read the Scripture, which they are commanded by God to meditate in day and night, to read, study, and grow in the knowledge of, and which by all the antient Fathers of the Church they are exhorted unto; that they need no [...] understand those Prayers which they are commanded to pray with understan­ding, and wherein lies a principal exer­cise of their faith and love towards God, are the things which are here recom­mended unto us: Let us view the argu­ments, wherewith, first the general custome of the Western Empire, in keeping the Mass and Bible in an unknown tongue, is pleaded. But, What is a general Custome of the Western Empire, in opposition to the command of God, and the evidence of all that reason that lies against it? Have we not an express Command, not to fol­low a multitude to do evill? Besides, [Page 328] What is, or ever was, the Western Empire unto the Catholicism of the Church of Christ, spread over the whole world? Within an hundred years after Christ, the Gospel was spread to Nations, and in places, whither the Roman power never extended it self, Romanis inaccessa loca; much less that branch of it, which he calls the Western Empire? But neither yet was it the custom of the Western Em­pire, to keep the Bible in an unknown Tongue, or to perform the worship of the Church in such a Language. Whilst the Latin Tongue was only used by them, it was generally used in other things, and was the vulgar Tongue of all the Nations belonging unto it. Little was there remaining of those Tongues in use, that were the Languages of the Provinces of it, before they became so. So that though they had their Bible in the Latin Tongue, they had it not in an unknown; no more than the Grecians had, who used it in Greek. And when any people received the Faith of Christ, who had not before received the Lan­guage of the Romans, good men trans­lated the Bible into their own; as Hie­rom [Page 329] did for the Dalmatians. Whatever then may be said of the Latin, there is no pretence of the use of an unknown Tongue, in the worship of the Church in the Western Empire, until it was over­run, destroyed, and broken in pieces by the Northern Nations, and possessed by them, (most of them Pagans) who brought in several distinct Languages in­to the Provinces, where they seated themselves. After those tumults ceased, and the Conquerors began to take up the Religion of the people, into whose Countries they were come, still retain­ing with some mixtures, their old Dia­lect; that the Scripture was not in all places (for in many it was) translated for their use, was the sin and negligence of some, who had other faults besides. The Primitive use of the Latin Tongue in the worship of God, and translation of the Bible into it in the Western Em­pire, whilst that Language was usually spoken and read, as the Greek in the Grecian, is an undeniable argument of the Judgement of the antient Church, for the use of the Scripture, and Church-Liturgies in a known Tongue. What [Page 330] ensued on; What was occasioned by that inundation of barbarous Nations, that buried the world for some ages in darkness and ignorance, cannot reaso­nably be proposed for our imitation. I hope, we shall not easily be induced ei­ther to return unto, or embrace, the ef­fects of Barbarism. But, saith our Au­thor, Secondly, Catholicks have the sum of Scripture, both for history and dogm, delivered them in their own Language, so much as may make for their salvation; good orders being set and instituted for their pro­ficiency therein; and what needs any more? or why should they be further permitted, ei­ther to satifie curiosity, or to raise doubt [...], or to wrest words and examples there recorded unto their own ruin, as we see now by experi­ence men are apt to do. What Catholicks have, or have not, is not our present dispute. Whether what they have of story and dogm in their own Language, be that which Paul calls the whole Counsel of God, which he declared at Ephesus, I much doubt. But the question is, Whe­ther they have what God allows them, and what he commands them to make use of? We suppose, God himself, Christ, [Page 331] and his Apostles, the antient Fathers of the Church, any of these, or, at least, when they all agree, may be esteemed as wise as our present Masters at Rome. Their sense is, That all Scripture given by inspiration from God, is profitable for Doctrine; it seems these judge not so, and therefore they afford them so much of it as may tend to their good. For my part, I know whom I am resolved to adhere to, let others do as seems good unto them. Nor where God hath com­manded and commended the use of all, do I believe, the Romanists are able to make a distribution, that so much of it, makes for the salvation of men, the rest only serves to satisfie curiosity, to raise doubts, and to occasion men to wrest words and examples. Nor, I am sure, are they able to satisfie me, why any one part of the Scripture should be apt to do this more then others. Nor will they say this at all of any part of their Mass. Nor is it just to charge the fruits of the lusts and darkness of men, on the good word of God. Nor is it the taking away from men of that alone, which is able to make them good and wise, a meet remedy to [Page 332] cure their evils and follies. But these Declamations against the use and study of the Scripture, I hope, come too late. Men have found too much spiritual ad­vantage by it, to be easily driven from it. It self gives light to know its excellency, and defend its use by. But the Book is sacred, he says, and therefore not to be sul­lied by every hand; what God hath sancti­fied, let not man make common. It seems then those parts of the Scripture, which they afford to the people, are more use­ful, but less sacred, than those that they keep away. These reasons justle one another unhandsomly. Our Author should have made more room for them; for they will never lie quietly together. But what is it, he means by the Book? the Paper, Ink, Letters, and Cover­ing? His Master of the Schools will tell him, These are not sacred; if they are, the Printers dedicate them. And it's a pretty pleasant Sophism, that he adds, That God having sanctified the Book, we should not make it common. To what end I pray, hath God sanctified it? Is it, that it may be laid up, and be hid from that people, which Christ hath prayed, [Page 333] might be sanctified by it? Is it any otherwise sanctified, but as it is appoint­ed for the use of the Church of all that believe? Is this to make it common, to apply it unto that use, whereunto of God it is segregated? Doth the Sanctification of the Scripture, consist in the laying up of the Book of the Bible, from our profane Utensils? Is this that, which is intended by the Author? Would it do him any good to have it granted, or fur­ther his purpose? Doth the mysterious­ness of it, lie in the Books being locked up? I suppose, he understands this So­phistry well enough, which makes it the worse.

But we have other things, yet pleaded, as the Example of the Hebrew Church, who neither in the time of Moses, nor after, translated the Scripture into the Syriack; yea, the book was privately kept in the Ark or Tabernacle, not touched or looked on by the people, but brought forth at times to the Priest, who might upon the Sabbath day read some part of it to the people, and put them in mind of their Laws, Religion, and Duty.

I confess, in this passage, I am com­pelled to suspect more of ignorance then [Page 334] fraud; notwithstanding the flourishing made in the distribution of the old Testa­ment, into the Law, Prophets, and H [...]gio­graphy. For first, as to the Translati­on of the Scripture by the Jews into the Syriack Tongue, to what purpose doth he suppose, should this be done? it could possibly be for no other than that, for which, his Masters keep the Bible in Latine. I suppose, he knows, that at least until the Captivity, when most of the Scripture was written, the He­brew, and not the Syriack, was the vulgar language of that people. It's true indeed, that some of the noble and chief men that had the transaction of affairs with Neigbhour-Nations, had learned the Sy­riack language toward the end of their Monarchy; but the body of the people were all ignorant of it, as is expresly declared, 2 Kings 18.26. To what end then should they translate the Scripture into that Language, which they knew not, out of that, which alone they were accustomed to from their infancy, where­in it was written? Had they done so, in­deed it would have been a good argu­ment for the Romanists to have kept it in [Page 335] Latine, which their people understand almost as well as the Jews did Syriack. I thought, it would never have been questioned, but that the Judaical Church had enjoyed the Scripture of the Old Testament, in their own vulgar language, and that without the help of a Translati­on. But we must not be confident of any thing for the future. For the pre­sent this I know, that not only the whole Scripture that was given the Church for its use before the Captivity, was writ­ten in the Tongue that they all spake and understood, but that the Lord suffici­ently manifests, that what he speaks un­to any, he would have it delivered unto them in their own Language; and there­fore appointing the Jews what they should say unto the Chaldean Idolaters, he expresseth his mind in the Caldee Tongue, Jerem. 10.11. Where alone, in the Scripture, there is any use made of a Dialect, distinct from that in vulgar use; and that because the words were to be spoken unto them, to whom that Dialect was vulgar. And when after the Captivity, the people had learned the Caldee Language, some parts of some [Page 336] books then written, are therein expres­sed to shew, that it is not this, or that Language, which on its own account, is to confine the compass of Holy Writ; but that that, or those, are to be used, which the people, who are concerned in it, do understand. But what Language soever it was in, it was kept privately in the Ar [...] or Tabernacle, not touched, not looked upon by the people, but brought forth at times to the Priest. [...] what Book was kept in the Ark? the Law, Prophets, and Hagiography? who told you so? A Copy of the Law indeed, or Pentateuch, was by God's command put in the side of the Ark, Deut. 31.26. That the Pro­phets, or Hagiography, were ever pla­ced there, is a great mistake of our Au­thor; but not so great as that that fol­lows; that the Book placed in the side of the Ark, was brought forth for the Priest to read in on the Sabbath days; when as all men know, the Ark was placed in the Sanctum Sanctorum of the Taber­nacle and Temple, which only the High Priest entred, and that once a a year, and that without liberty of bring­ing any thing out which was in it, for [Page 337] any use whatever. And his mistake is grossest of all, in imagining, that they had no other copies of the Law or Scri­pture, but what was so laid up in the side of the Ark. The whole people being com­manded to study in it continually, and the King in special, to writeout a Co­py of it with his own hand, Deut. 17.18. out of an Authentick Copy; yea, they were to take sentences out of it; to write them on their fringes, and posts of their doors and houses, and on their gates; all to bind them to a constant use of them. So that this Instance, on very many accounts was unhappily stumbled on by our Author, who, (as it seems) knows very little of these things. He was then evidently in haste, or wanted better provision, when on this vain sur­mise, he proceeds to the encomiums of his Catholick Mother's indulgence to her children, in leaving of the Scripture in the hands of all that understand Greek and Latin (how little a portion of her family; and to a declamation against) the preaching and disputing of men about it, with a commendation of that reve­rential ignorance, which will arise in [Page 338] men from whom the means of their bet­ter instruction is kept at a distance.

Another Discourse we have annexed to prove, That the Bible cannot be well translated, and that it loseth much of its grace and sweetness, arising from a peculiarity of Spirit in its writers, by any Translation whatever. I do, for my part, acknowledg, that no Translation is able in all things u­niversally to exhibit, that fulness of sense, and secret vertue, to intimate the Truth it expresseth to the mind of a believer, w [...] is in many passages of Scripture in its O­riginal Languages; but how this will fur­ther the Romanists pretensions who have enthroned a Translatiō for the use of their whole Church, and that none of the best neither, but in many things corrupt and barbarous, I know not: Those who look on the Tongues wherein the Scripture was Originally written as their Foun­tains, if at any time they find the streams not so clear, or not to give so sweet a rellish as they expected, are at liberty, if able, to repair to the fountains themselves. But those who reject the Fountains, and betake themselves to one only stream, for ought I know must abide by their own [Page 339] inconveniencies, without complaining. To say, the Bible cannot be well transla­ted, and yet to make use, principally at least, of a Translation, with an underva­luing of the Originals, argues no great consistency of Judgement, or a preva­lency of Interest. That which our Au­thor in this matter sets off with a hand­some flourish of words, and some very unhandsome similitudes, considering what he treats of, he sums up, p. 283. in these words; I would by all say thus much, The Bible Translated out of its own Sacred phrase into a prophane and Common one, loseth both its propriety and amplitude of meaning, and is likewise devested of its peculiar Maje­sty, Holiness, and Spirit: which is reason enough, if no other, why it should be kept in­violate in its own style and speech. So doth our Author advance his Wisdom and Judgment above the Wisdom and Judg­ment of all Churches and Nations that ever embraced the Faith of Christ for a 1000 years; all which, notwithstanding what there is of truth in any of his insi­nuations, judged it their duty, to translate the Scripture into their Mother Tongues, very many of which Translations are ex­tant [Page 340] even to this day. Besides, he con­cludes with us in general ambiguors terms, as all along in other things his practice hath been.

What means he by the Bible's own Sa­cred phrase, opposed to a prophane and common one. Would not any man think, that he intended the Originals wherein it was written? but I dare say, if any one will ask him privately, he will give them another account; and let them know, that it is a Translation, which he adorns with those Titles; so, that upon the matter, he tells us, that seeing the Bible cannot be without all the inconveniences mention­ed, it's good for us to lay aside the Ori­ginals, and make use only of a Translati­on; or at least preferre a Translation be­fore them. What shall we do with those men that speak such Swords and Dag­gers, and are well neither full nor fast­ing, that like the Scripture, neither with a Translation, nor without it? More­over, I fear, he knows not well, what he means, by its own Sacred phrase, and a prophane common one; Is it the Syllables and words of this or that language, that he intends? How comes one, to be Sa­cred, [Page 341] another prophane and common? The languages wherein the Scriptures were originally written, have been put to as bad uses, as any under Heaven; nor is any Language prophane or common so, as that the Worship of God perform­ed in it, should not be accepted with him, That there is a frequent loss of Proprie­ty and amplitude of meaning in Transla­tions, we grant. That the Scriptures by Translations, if good, true, and signifi­cant, according to the capacity and ex­pressiveness of the Languages whereinto they are translated, are divested of the Majesty, Holiness, and Spirit, is most un­true. The Majesty, Holiness, and Spirit of the Scriptures, lyes not in words and Syl­lables, but in the Truths themselves ex­pressed in them: and whilest these are in­corruptedly declared in any language, the Majesty of the Word is continued. It is much, that men preferring a Translation before the Originals, should be other­wise minded; especially, that Translation being, in some parts, but the Translation of a Translation, and that the most cor­rupt in those parts, which I know ex­tant. And this with many fine words, [Page 342] prety Allusions, and Similitudes, is the sum of what is pleaded by our Author, to perswade men to forgo the greatest pri­viledg, which from Heaven they are made partakers of, & the most necessary radical duty that in their whole lives is incum­bent on them. It is certain, that the giving out of the holy Scripture from God, is an effect of infinite love and mercy; I suppose it no less certain, that the end for which he gave it, was, that men by it might be instructed in the knowledge of his will, and their obedi­ence that they owe unto him, that so at length they may come to the enjoy­ment of him. This it self declares to be its end. I think also, that to know God, his mind and Will, to yield him the obedience that he requires, is the boun­den duty of every man; as well as, to en­joy him, is their blessedness. And, can they take it kindly of those, who would shut up this gift of God from them whe­ther they will or no? or be well pleased with them that go about to perswade them, that it is best for them, to have it kept by others for them; without their once looking into it, If I know them a­right, this Gentleman will not find his [Page 343] Countrey-men willing to part with their Bibles on such easie tearms.

From the Scripture, concerning which he affirmeth, That it lawfully may, and in reason ought, and in practise ever hath been segregated in a language not common to vulgar ears, all which things are most un­duly affirmed, and, because we must speak plainly, falsly; he proceeds to the wor­ship of the Church, and pleads that that also ought to be performed in such a language. It were a long and tedious business, to follow him in his guilding over this practise of his Church; we may make short work with him. As he will not pretend, that this practise hath the least countenance from Scripture; so, if he can instance in any Church in the world, that for 500 years, at least, after it, set out in the use of a Worship, the Language whereof the people did not understand, I will cease this contest. What he affirms of the Hebrew Church keeping her Rites in a language differing from the Vulgar, whether he intend be­fore or after the Captivity, is so untrue, as that I suppose, no ingenious man would affirm it, were he not utterly ignorant [Page 344] of all Judaical Antiquity, which I had cause to suspect before, that our Author is. From the dayes of Moses to the cap­tivity of Babylon, there was no Language in vulgar use among the people, but on­ly that wherein the Scripture was writ­ten, and their whole Worship celebra­ted. After the captivity, though insen­sibly they admitted corruptions in their language, yet they all generally under­stood the Hebrew, unless it were the Hel­lenists, for whose sakes they translated the Scripture into Greek; and, for the use of the residue of their people, who began to take in a mixture of the Syro-Chaldean Language with their own, the Targum were found out. Besides, to the very utmost period of that Church, the solemn Worship performed in the Temple, as to all the interest of words in it, was understood by the whole peo­ple, attending on God therein. And in that language did the Bible lye open in their Synagogues, as is evident from the offer made by them to our Saviour of their Books to read in, at his first en­trance into one at Capernaum.

[Page 345]These flourishes then of our Orator, being not likely to have the least effect upon any who mind the Apostololical advice of taking heed lest they be be­guiled with inticing words, we shall not need much to insist upon them. This cu­stom of performing the Worship of God in the Congregation in a Tong unknown to the Assembly, renders, he tells us, that great act more majestick and venerable; but why, he declares not. A blind vene­ration of what men understand not, be­cause they understand it not, is neither any duty of the Gospel, nor any part of its Worship. St. Paul tells us, he would pray with the Spirit, and pray with Un­derstanding also; of this Majestick shew, and blind Veneration of our Author, Scrip­ture, Reason, Experience of the Saints of God, Custom of the Antient Chur­ches know nothing. Neither is it pos­sible to preserve in men a perpetual ve­neration of they know not what, nor, if it could be preserved, is it a thing that any way belongs to Christian Religion. Nor can any rational man conceive, wherein consists the Majesty of a mans pronouncing words, in matters wherein [Page 346] his concernment lies, in a tongue that he understands not. And I know not wherein this device for procuring ve­neration in men, exceeds that of the Gnosticks, who fraught their Sacred ad­ministrations, with strange uncouth names and terms, intended, as farr as appears, for no other end but to astonish their Disciples. But then the Church, he saith, as opposite to Babel, had one Language all the world over, the Latine Tongue being stretched as large and as wide as the Catho­lick Church, and so any Priest may serve in several Countries administring presently in a place by himself or others converted, which are conveniencies attending this cu­stom and practise. Prety things to per­swade men to worship God they know not how; or to leave that unto others to do for them, which is their own duty to perform; and yet neither are they true. The Church by this means is made rather like to Babel, then oppo­site unto it: the fatal ruining event of the division of the Tongues at Babel was, that by that means they could not understand one another in what they said, and so were forced to give over [Page 347] that design which before they unani­mously carried on. And this is the true, event of some mens performing the Worship of God in the Latine tongue, which others understand not. Their Lan­guages are divided as to any use of lan­guage whatever. I believe, on this, as well as on other accounts, our Author now he is warned, will take heed, how he mentions Babel, any more. Besides this is not one to give one lip, one language, to whole Church, but in some things to confine some of the Church, unto one language, which incomparably the the greatest part of it do not understand. This is confusion not union. Still Babel, returns in it. The use of a language that the greatest part of men do not un­derstand, who are ingaged in the same work, whereabout it is employed, is right old Babel. Nor can any thing be more vain then the pretence, that this one is stretched, as large and as wide as the Catholick Church; farr the greatest part of it know nothing of this tongue, no [...] did ever use a word of it in their Church-service; so that the making of the use of one tongue necessary in the service of the Church is perfectly schis­matical; [Page 348] and renders the avowers of that Principle, Schismaticks, from the greatest part of the Churches of Christ in the world, which are, or ever were in it, since the day of his resurrection from the dead. And as for the conveniency of Priests; there where God is pleased to plant Churches, he will provide those, who shall administer in his Name unto them, according to his mind. And those, who have not the Language of other pla­ces, as far as I know, may stay at home, where they may be understood, rather then undertake a pilgrimage to ca [...]t be­fore Strangers, who know not what they mean.

After an annumeration of these conve­ences, he mentions, that only Inconve­nience, which, as he sayes, attends the solemnization of the Churches Worship in a Tongue unknown, namely that the vulgar people understand not what is said. But, as this is not the only inconv [...]nience that attends it, so it is one; if it must be called an inconvenience, and not rather a mischievous device to render the wor­ship of God useless, that hath a womb full of many others, more then can easily be [Page 349] numbred; but we must tye our selves to what our Author pleaseth to take notice of. I desire then to know, What are these vulgar people, of whom he talks? Are they not such as have souls to save? Are they not incomparably the greatest part of Christians? Are they not such as God commands to worship him? Are they not such, for whose sakes, benefit, and advantages, all the worship of the Church is ordained, and all the admi­stration of it appointed? Are they not those, whose good, welfare, growth in grace and knowledge, and salvation, the Priests in their whole offices, are bound to seek and regard? Are they not those, that Christ hath purchased with his blood; whose miscarriages he will re­quire severely at the hands of those, who undertake to be their guides, if sin­ning through a neglect of duty in them? Are they not the Church of God, the Temple of the Holy Ghost? called to be Saints? Or, Who, or What is it, you mean by this vulgar people? If they be those described, certainly their under­standing of what is done in the publick worship of God, is a matter of impor­tance; [Page 350] and your driving them from it, seems to me to give a supersedeas to the whole work it self, as to any acceptation with God. For my part, I cannot as yet discern what that makes in the Church of God, which this vulgar people must not understand; but this, saith he, is of no moment. Why so? I pray; to me it seems of great weight. No, it is of no moment, for three Reasons. Which be they? 1. They have the scope of all, set down in their Prayer-books, &c. whereby they may, if they please, as equally conspire, and go along with the Priest, as if he spoke in their own Tongue. But, I pray, Sir, tell me, Why, if this be good, that they should know something, and give a guess at more; it is not better, that they should distinctly know and understand it all? This Reason plainly cuts the throat, not only of some other that went before, about the venerable Majesty of that, which is not understood, but of the whole cause it self. If to know what is spoken, be good; the clearer men understand it, I think, the better. This being the ten­dency of this Reason, we shall finde the last of the three, justling it as useless, [Page 351] quite out of doors. Nor yet is there truth in this pretence; not one of a thousand of the people, do un­derstand one word, that the Priest speaks distinctly in their whole service; so that this is but an empty flourish. He tells us, 2. Catholick people come to­gether, not for other business at the Mass, but only with fervour of devotion, to adore Christ crucified; in that Rite he is there pre­figured as crucified before them, and by the mediation of that sacred blood, to pour forth their supplications for themselves and others; which being done, and their good purpose of serving and pleasing that holy Lord, that shed his blood for us, renewed, they depart in peace: This is the general purpose of the Mass; so that eyes and hands to lift up, knees to bow, and heart to melt, are there of more use then ears to hear. For his Ca­tholick peoples business at Mass, I shall not much trouble my self. Christ I know, is adored by faith and love; that faith and love, in the publick worship of the Church, is exercised by prayer and thanksgiving. For the lifting up of the eyes and hands, and bowing, and cringing, they are things indifferent, that may be [Page 352] used, as they are animated by that faith & love, and no otherwise. And, I desire to know, What supplications they come to pour forth for themselves and others. Their pri­vate devotions? They may do that at home; the doing of it in the Church, is contrary to the Apostle's Rule. Are they the publick prayers of the Church? A­las, the trumpet to them, and of them, gives an uncertain found. They know not how to prepare themselves to the work. Nor can they rightly say Amen, when they understand not what is said. So that, for my part, I understand not what is the business of Catholicks at Mass; or how they can perform any part of their duty to God in it, or at it. But what if they understand of it nothing at all? He adds, 3. There is no need at all for the people to hear or understand the Priest, when he speaks, or prays, and sacrifices to God, on their behalf. Sermons to the people must be made in the peoples language; but prayers that are made to God for them, if they be made in a language that God understands, it is well enough. This reason renders the others useless, and especially shuts the first out of doors. For, certainly it is [Page 353] nothing to the purpose, that the people understand somewhat; if it be no matter whether they understand any thing at all, or no. But I desire to know, What pray­ers of the Priest they are, which it mat­t [...]rs not, whether the people hear or understand? Are they his private devo­tions for them in his Closet or Cell, which may be made for them, as well when they are absent, as present, and in some respect better too? These doubt­less are not intended. Are they any prayers that concern the Priest alone, which he is to repeat, though the people be present? No, nor these neither; at least not only these. But they are the prayers of the Church, wherein the whole assembly ought to cry joyntly un­to Almighty God; part of that worship, wherein all things are to be done to edi­fication; which they are in this, and the Quakers silent meetings, much alike. Strange! that there is no need, that men should know or understand that, which is their duty to perform; and which if they do it not, is not that, which it pre­tends to be; the worship of the Church. Again, if the people neither need hear, [Page 354] nor understand what is spoken, I won­der, what they make there. Can our Au­thor find any Tradition (for, I am sure, Scripture he cannot) for the setting up of a dumb shew in the Church, to edi­fie men by signs, and gestures, and words insignificant? These are gallant attempts. I suppose, he doth not think it was so of old; for, sure I am, that all the Sermons, which we have of any of the Antients, were preached in that ve­ry Language, wherein they celebrated all divine worship; so that if the people understood the Sermons, as he sayes, they must be made to them in a Language they un­derstand; I am sure, they both heard and understood the worship of the Church also: but Tempora mutantur; and, if it be enough, that God understands the Lan­guage used in the Church, we full well know there is no need to use any Lan­guage in it at all.

But to evidence the fertility of his in­vention, our Author offers two things to confirm this wilde Assertion. 1. That the Jews neither heard, nor saw when their Priest went into the Sanctum Sanctorum, to offer prayers for them; as we may learn [Page 355] from the Gospel, where the people stood with­out, whilest Zacharias was praying at the Altar. 2. Saint Paul at Corinth, desired the prayers of the Romans for him at that distance, who also then used a Language that was not used at Corinth. These reasons, it seems, are thought of moment; let us a little poize them. For the first, our Au­thor is still the same in his discovery of skill in the Rites and Customs of the Ju­daical Church; and, being so great, as I imagine it is, I shall desire him, in his next, to inform us, who told him, that Zacharias entred into the Sanctum Sanctorum to pray, when the people were without; but let that pass: By the insti­tution and appointment of God himself, the Priests in their Courses, were to burn incense on the Altar of incense, in a place separated from the people, it be­ing no part of the worship of the people, but a Typical representation of the In­tercession of Christ in heaven, confined to the performance of the Priests by God himself; ergo under the Gospel, there is no need, that the people should either learn or understand those prayers, which God requires by them, and [Page 356] amongst them. This is civil Logick. Be­sides, I suppose, our Author had forgot, that the Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Hebrews, doth purposely declare, how those Mosaical distances are now removed by Christ, a free access being granted to Believers with their worship, to the Throne of Grace. But there is scarce a prettier fancy in his whole Discourse, then his application of St. Paul's desiring the Romans to pray for him, when he was at Corinth, and so consequently the pray­ing of all or any of the people of God, for their absent friends, or the whole Church, to the business in hand; espe­cially as it is attended with the enforce­ment in the Close, that they used a Lan­guage not understood at Corinth. But because I write not to men, who care not whether they hear or understand, what is their duty in the greatest concern­ments of their souls, I shall not remove it out of the way, nor hinder the Reader from partaking in the entertainment it will afford him.

But our Author foreseeing, that even those with whom he intends chiefly to deal, might possibly remember, that St. [Page 357] Paul had long ago stated this case in 1 Cor. 14. he findes it necessary to cast a Blind before them, that if they will but fix their eyes upon it, and not be at the pains to turn to their Bibles, as it may be some will not, he may escape that sword, which he knows is in the way ready drawn against him; and therefore tells us, that if any yet will be obstinate, and which after so many good words spent in this business, he seems to marvel that they should, and object what the Apostle there writes against praying and prophesying in an unknown Tongue, he hath three Answers in a readiness for him; whereof the first is that doubty one last mentioned; name­ly, That the prayers, which the Apostle, when he was at Corinth, requested of the Romans for him, was to be in an unknown Tongue to them that lived at Corinth; when the only question is, whether they were in an unknown Tongue to them that lived at Rome, who were desired to joyn in those Supplications. Surely this Argument, that because we may pray for a man, when and where he knows not, and in a Tongue, which he understands [Page 358] not, that therefore the worship of a Church, all assembled together in one place, all to joyn together in it unto the edification of that whole Society, may be performed in a Language un­known to them so assembled; is not of such cogency, as so suddenly to be called over again: wherefore letting that pass, he tells us, the design of the Apostle in that place, is, to prevent the abuse of spiri­tual gifts, which in those days men had re­ceived, and especially that of Tongues, which he lets them know, was liable to greater incon­veniences, then the rest there mentioned by him. But what, I pray, if this be the design of the Apostle? doth it follow, that in the pursuit of this design, he teaches nothing concerning the use of an unknown Tongue in the worship of God? Could I promise my self, that every Reader did either retain in his memory what is there delivered by the Apostle, or would be at the pains on this occasion to read over the Chapter, I should have no need to add one word in this case more. For, What are the words of a poor weak man to those of the Holy Ghost speaking [Page 359] directly to the same purpose? But this being not from all to be expected, I shall only mind them of some few things there determined by the Apostle; which if it do but occasion him to consider the text it self, I shall obtain my purpose. The gift of speaking with strange Tongues, being bestowed on the Church of Co­rinth, that they might be a sign unto them that did not believe, of the power and presence of God amongst them, ver. 22. divers of them, finding, it seems, that the use of these Tongues, gave them esteem and reputation in the Church, did usually exercise that gift in the Assembly, and that with contempt and undervaluation of prophesying in a known Tongue to the edification of the whole Church. To prevent this abuse, the Apostle layes down this for a stand­ing rule; that all things are to be done in the Church unto edifying, and that this, all men, as to gifts, were to seek for, that they might excell to the edifying of the Church; that is, the instructing of others in knowledge, and the exciting of the grace of God in them. And there­upon he shews them, that whatever is spo­ken [Page 360] in an unknown Tongue, whether it be in a way of prayer, or prophesying in the Assemblies, indeed tends nothing at all, to this purpose: unless it be so, that after a man hath spoken in a Tongue unknown, he doth interpret what he hath so spoken, in that Language, which they do understand. For, saith he, distri­bute the Church into two parts, he that speaks with a Tongue (whether he pray or preach) and those that hear; he that so prays and preaches, edifies and bene­fits himself; but he doth not benefit them that hear him: and that because they understand not what he sayes, nor know what he means. For, saith he, such words as are not understood, are of no more use, than the indistinct noise of Harps, or the confused noise of Trum­pets. The words, it is true, have a signi­cation in themselves; but what is that, saith he, to them that hear them, and un­derstand them not. They can never joyn with him, in what he speaks, nor say Amen, or give an intelligent assent to what he hath spoken. And therefore, he tells them, that, for his part, he had rather speak five words, that being un­derstood, [Page 361] might be for their profit, then a thousand in an unknown Tongue; which though they would manifest the excellency of his gift, yet would not at all profit the Church, whether he pray­ed or prophesied; with much more to the same purpose. It is hence evident to any Impartial Reader, that the whole strength of the Apostle's discourse, and reasoning in this case, lies in this, that praying or prophecying in the Church in a Tongue unknown, not understood by the whole Church, though known and understood by him that useth it, is of no use, nor any way tends to the be­nefit of the Church; but is a meer con­fusion to be cast out from among them. The case is no other that lies before us. The Priest says his prayers in a Tongue that, it may be, is known to himself, which is no great gift; the people understand nothing of what he sayes. This, if the A­postle may be believed, is a thing of no use, practised to no purpose; wherewith the people that understand not, cannot joyn, whereby they are not at all profited, nor can they say Amen, or give a rational assent to what he speaks. Now, saith [Page 362] our Author, What is all this to the ser­vice of the Church? I say, so much to that service, which he pleads for, as that it is condemned by it, as altogether useless, unprofitable, and not to be longer insisted on; yea, and this is so much worse than the case proposed by the Apostles, in as much as those, who prayed and prophesied with Tongues, received the gift and ability of so doing, in a miraculous manner from the Holy Ghost. And therefore might with much colour of reason plead for the free liberty of the exercise of those gift, which they had so received; but our Readers of the Service, do with much labour and pains get to read it in Latin; doing it by choice, without any in­timation for such a practice from any gift, that above others they have re­ceived.

If all this will not do, there is that which brings up the rear, that shall make all plain. Namely, That whatever is pretended, yet indeed Latin is no unknown Tongue, being the proper Language of Chri­stians, united to the Christian Faith, as a garment to a body? which he proves by [Page 363] many fine Illustrations and Similitudes; telling us withall, that this one Language is not spoken in a corner, but runs quite through the earth, and is common to all, as they be ranked in the series of Christianity, wherein they are trained up by the Father of the Fa­mily, and which, in reference to Religion, he only speaks himself. But because, I hope, there is none of my Countrymen so stu­pid, as not to have the wit of the Cynick, who, when a crafty companion would prove by Syllogisms, that there is no such thing as motion, returned him no other Answer, but by rising up and walking; and will be able at least to say, that not­withstanding all these fine words, I know, that Latin to the most of Christians is an unknown Tongue; I shall not much trouble my self to return any Answer un­to this Discourse. That there is an ab­straction of Christian Religion, from the persons professing it, which hath a Lan­guage peculiar unto it; that the Latin Tongue hath a special relation to Religi­on above any other; that it is any other way the trade-Language of Religion amongst learned men, but as Religion comes under the notion of the things [Page 364] about which some men communicate their minds one to another; that it is any way understood by the thousandth part of Christians in the world, that con­stantly attend the worship of God; and so that it is not absolutely as unknown a Tongue to them, when it is used in the service of the Church, as any other in the world whatever; are such monstrous Presumptions, as I wonder, a rational man would make himself guilty of, by giving countenance unto them. For him, whom he calls the Father of the Family of Christians; if it be God, he intends the only Father of the Family, all men know, he [...] to any of the sons of men im­mediately, nor by any Prophet by him inspired, communicated his mind in La­tine: If it be the Pope of Rome, whom he ascribeth that title unto, I am sorry for the man; not knowing how well he could make himself guilty of an higher Blas­phemy.

CHAP. XIX.

Communion. Sect. 26.

IN the next Section, entituled Table, our Author seems to have lost more of the moderation that he pretends unto, & to have put a keener edg upon his spi­rit, then in any of those fore-going; and thence it is, that he falls out into some more open revilings, and flourishes of a kind of a Dispute, than elsewhere. In the entrance of his discourse, speaking of the administration of the Sacrament of the Lords Supper by Protestants, wherein the Laity are also made par­takers of the blessed Cup, according to the Institution of our Saviour, the pra­ctice of the Apostles and the Universal Primitive Church; this civil Gentleman who complains of unhansome and unman­nerly dealings, of others in their writings, compares it to a treatment at my Lord Maiors Feast, adding scornfully enough, [Page 366] For who would not have drink to their meat? and what reason can be given, that they should not? or that a feast with Wine should not, caeteris paribus, be better then without. If he suppose, he shall be able to scoff the Institutions of Christ out of the world, and to laugh men out of their Obedience unto Him, I hope, he will find himself mistaken, which is all, I shall at present say unto him; only, I would advise him to leave for the future such unseemly taunts, lest he should provoke some angry men to return expressions of the like contempt and scorn, upon the transubstantiated Host, which he not only fancies, but a­dores.

From hence he pretends to proceed unto disputing; but being accustomed to a loose Rhetorical Sophistry, he is not able to take one smooth step towards the true stating of the matter he is to speak unto, though he sayes, he will argue in his plain manner, that is, a manner plain­ly his, loose, in concluding, sophistical. The plain story is this, Christ instituting his blessed Supper, appointed Bread and Wine, to be blessed and delivered unto [Page 367] them that he invites and admits unto it: of the effect of the blessing of these Ele­ments of Bread and Wine, whether it be a transubstantiation of them into the Body and Bloud of Christ, to be corpo­really eaten; or a consecration of them into such signes and symbols, as in and by the use thereof, we are made par­takers of the body and bloud of Christ, feeding really on him by Faith, is not at all now under dispute. Of the Bread and Cup so blessed, according to the ap­pointment of Christ, the Priests with the Romanists only do partake, the peo­ple of the Bread only. This exclusion of the people from a participation of the Cup, Protestants averre to be contrary to the institution of Christ, practice of the Apostles, nature of the Sacrament, constant usage of them in the Primitive Church, and so consequently highly injurious to the Sheep of Christ, whom he hath bought with the price of his Bloud, exhibited in that Cup unto them. Instead of arguing plainly, as he promised to do, in justification of this practise of the Church of Rome, he tells us of the Wine they give their people after they [Page 368] have received the Body; which he knows to be in their own esteem, a little com­mon drink to wash their mouths, that no crums of their Wafer should stick by the way. What he adds, of Protestants not believing, that the consecrated Wine is transubstantiated into the Bloud of Christ, (which is not the matter by him­self proposed to debate), of the Priest's using both Bread and Wine in the Sacri­fice, (though he communicates not both unto the people,) when the Priest's deli­vering of the Cup, is no part of the Sa­crifice, but of the Communion, (besides he knows, that he speaks to Protestants, and so should not have pleaded his fi­ctitious Sacrifice, which, as distinct from the Communion, Paul speaks of, 1 Cor. 11. neither do they acknowledge, nor can he prove it very vain, yet with these empty flourishes, it is incredible, how he triumphs over Protestants, for char­ging the Romanists with excluding the People from the use of the Cup in the Sacrament; when yet it is certain, they do so, nor can he deny it. Yea, but Pro­testants should not say so, Seeing they believe not in Transubstantiation. They [Page 369] believe every word, that Christ or his Apostles have delivered, concerning the nature and use of the Sacrament, and all that the Primitive Church taught a­bout it; if this will not enable them to say, the Romanists do that, which all the world knows they do, and which they will not deny but that they do, unless they believe in Transubstantion also; they are dealt withall on more severe terms, then I think our Author is authorized to put upon them. But, it seems, the ad­vantage lies so much in this matter on the Roman-Catholicks side, that the Protestants may be for ever silent about it; and why so? Why Catholicks do really partake of the animated and living body of their Redeemer; this ought to be done, to the end we may have life in us, and yet Protestants do it not. Who told you so? Protestants partake of his Body and his Blood too, which Papists do not; and that really and truly. Again; Catholicks have it continually sacrificed before their eyes and the very death and effusion of their Lords bloud prefigured and set before them, for faith to feed upon: This Protestants have not. I think the man is mistaken; [Page 370] and that he intended to say the Catho­licks have not, and to place Protestants in the beginning of the sentence; for it is certain, that this is the very doctrine of the Protestants concerning this Sacra­ment. They have in it the Sacrifice of Christ before their eyes, and the death and effusion of his bloud, figured, (for how that should be prefigured which is past, I know not) and set forth for faith to feed upon; This they say, this they teach, and believe; When I know not how Catholicks can have any thing figured unto them, nothing being the sign of its self; nor is it the feed­ing of Faith, but of the Mouth, that they are sollicitous about. But this, saith he, they do not; though he had not spoken of any doing before, which is an old last that we have been now well used to; and, yet this, saith he, ought to be done: For so our Lord commanded, when he said to his Apostles, Hoc facite, This do ye, which ye have seen me to do, and in that manner you see me do it; exercising before your eye my Priestly Function according to the order of Melchisedech, with which power I do also invest you, and appoint you to do the like, e­ven [Page 371] unto the Consummation of the world, in commemoration of my Death and Passion, exhibiting and shewing forth your Lords Death until he come. This Protestants do not, and we are mad-angry, that the Pa­pist does what his Redeemer injoyned him. I fear, his Readers, which shall consi­der this odd medly, will begin to think, that they are not only Protestants who use to be mad-angry. This kind of Wri­ting argues, I will not say, both madness and anger, but one of them it doth seem plainly to do. For, setting aside a far-fetched false notion or two about Melchisedech, and the Doctrine of the Sacrament here expressed, is that which the Pope with Fire and Sword hath la­boured to exterminate out of the world, burning hundreds (I think) in England for believing, that our Lord, instituting his blessed Supper, commanded his Apo­stles to do the same that he then did, and in the same manner, even to the Con­summation of the world, in the com­memoration of his Death, and Passion, exhibiting and shewing forth their Lord's death until he come; a man would sup­pose, that he had taken these words out [Page 372] of the Liturgie of the Church of Eng­land; for therein are they expresly found; and why then have not Prote­stants that which he speaks of. Yea, but Christ did this in the exercise of his Priest­ly Function, and with the same power of Priesthood, according to the order of Mel­chisedech, invested his Apostles. Both these may be granted, and the Protestants Do­ctrine, and Faith, concerning this Sa­crament not at all impeached; but the truth is, they are both false. The Lord Christ exercised indeed his Priestly Function, when on the Cross he offered himself to God through the Eternal Spi­rit a Sacrifice for the sins of the world; but it was by vertue of his Kingly and Prophetical power that he instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Bloud, and taught his Disciples the use of it, com­manding its Observation in all his Chur­ches to the end of the world. And as for any others, being made Priests after the Order of Melchisedeck, besides himself alone, it's a figment so expresly con­trary to the words and reasoning of the Apostle, that I wonder any man not mad or angry, could once entertain any ap­proving [Page 373] thoughts of it. That our Au­thor may no more mistake in this matter, I desire he would give me leave to in­form him, that setting aside his proper Sacrificing of the Son of God, and his hideous figment of Transubstanatition, both utter strangers to the Scripture and Antiquity, there is nothing can by him be named, concerning this Sa­crament as to its honour or efficacy, but it is all admitted by Protestants.

He pretends, after this loose Ha­rangue, to speak to the thing it self; and tells us, that the consecrated CHALICE is not ordinarily given to people by the Priest in private Communion; as though in some cases, it were given amongst them to the body of the people, or that they had some publick communion wherein it was or­dinarily so given; both which he knows to be untrue. So impossible it seems for him to speak plainly and directly to what he treats on. But it is a thing which hath need of these artifices; If one falsity be not covered with another, it will quickly rain through all. However, he tells us, that they should do so, is neither expedient nor necessary as to any effects of the Sacra­ment. [Page 374] I wish, for his own sake, some course might be found to take him off this confidence of setting himself against the Apostles, and the whole primitive Church at once; that he might appre­hend the task too difficult for him to un­dertake, and meddle with it no more. All expediency in the administration of this great Ordinance, and all the effects of it, depend solely on the institution and bles­sing of Christ; If he have appointed the use of both elements, what are we, poor worms, that we should come, now in the end of the world, and say, the use of one of them is not expedient nor necessary to any effects of Communion? Are we wiser then he? Have we more care of his Church then he had? or, Do we think, that it becomes us thus arbitrarily to chuse, and refuse in the institutions of our Lord and Master? What is it to us, what Ca­vils soever men can lay, that it is not ne­cessary in the way of Protestants, nor in the way of Catholicks; we know it is ne­cessary in the way of Christ. And if either Protestants or Catholicks leave that way, for me they shall walk in their own wayes by themselves. But why is it [Page 375] not necessary in the way of Protestants? Because they place the effect of the Commu­nion in the operation of faith, and therefore, according to them, one kind is enough; nay, if we have neither kind, there is no loss but of a Ceremony, which may be well enough supplyed at our ordinary Tables. This is prety Logick, which, it seems, our Au­thor learned out of Smith and Seaton. Protestants generally think, that men see with their eyes; and yet they think the light of the Sun necessary to the ex­ercising of their sight; and though they believe, that all saving effects of the Sa­crament depend on the operation of faith, (and Catholicks do so too, at least, I am sure, they say so;) yet they believe also, that the Sacrament, which Christ appointed, and the use of it, as by him appointed, is necessary in its own kind, for the producing of those effects. These things destroy not, but mutually assist one another, working effectually in their several kinds to the same end and purpose. Nor can there be any operati­on of faith, as to the special end of the Sa­crament, without the administration of it, according to the mind and will of Christ. [Page 376] Besides, Protestants know, that the fre­quent distinct Proposals in the Scri­pture of the benefits of the death of Christ, as arising sometimes from the suf­fering of the body, sometimes from the effusion of the bloud of their Saviour, leads them to such a distinct acting of faith upon him, and receiving of him, as must needs be hindred and disturbed in the administration of the Sacrament un­der one kind; especially, if that Symbol be taken from them, which is peculiarly called his Testament, and that bloud wherewith his Covenant with them, was sealed: So that, according to the Princi­ples of the Protestants, the Participation of the Cup is of an indispensible necessi­ty unto them that intend to use that Or­dinance to their benefit and comfort; and what he addes, about drinking at our ordinary tables; because we are now spea­king plainly, I must needs tell him, is a prophane piece of scurrility, which he may do well to abstain from for the fu­ture. What is, or is not necessary, accor­ding to their Catholick Doctrine, we shall not trouble our selves, knowing that which is so called by him, to be [Page 377] very farr from being truly Catholick; the Romanists Doctrine of Concomitancy, being a late Figment to countenance their spoyling the people of the legacy of Christ, unknown to Antiquity, and contrary to Scripture, and enervating the Doctrine of the death of Christ, whose most pretious bloud was truly se­parated from his body, the benefit of which separation is exhibited unto us in the Sacrament, by himself appointed to represent it; we neither believe nor value.

As the necessity of it is denyed, so also, that there is any precept for it; what think you then of [...]; drink you all of it; that is, this Cup: They think this to be a Precept to be obser­ved towards all those who come to this Supper. What Christ did, that he com­manded his Apostles to do; he gives the Cup to all that were present at his Supper, and commands them all to dri [...] of it; Why, I pray, are they not to do so? Why is not this part of his command as Obligatory to them, as any others? Alass, They were the Priests that were pre­sent, all Lay people were excluded; not [Page 378] one was excluded from the Cup that was there at any part of the Ordinance. What, if they were all Priests, that were there, as no one of them was, Was the Supper administred to them as Priests, or as Disciples? or is there any colour or pretence, to say, that one kind was given to them as Priests, another as Disciples; Dic aliquem, dic, Quintiliane, colorem. Was not the whole Church of Christ repre­sented by them? Is not the command e­qual to all? Nay, as if on purpose to ob­viate this Sacrilegious figment, Is not this word (Drink you all of this), added em­phatically, above what is spoken of the other kind? Many strange things there are, which these Gentlemen would have us believe about this Sacrament; but none of them of a more incredible nature then this, that when Christ says to all his Communicants, Drink you all of this, and commands them to do the same that he did, his meaning was, that we should say, Drink you none of this. They had need, not of a Spatula linguae, to let such things as those down our Throats, but a Bed-staffe to cram them down, or they will choak us in the swallowing; [Page 379] and, I am sure, will not well digest, when received. He must have an Iron-Stomach, that can concoct such crude morsels.

But if this will not do, he would fain have us grant, That the whole manner of gi­ving the Communion unto the Laity, whether under one, or both kinds, is left to the disposi­tion of the Church; I tell you truly, I should have thought so too, had not Christ and his Apostles before-hand de­termined it: but as the case stands, it is left so much to the disposition of the Church, whether the blessed Cup shall be administred to the people, as it is, whether we shall have any Sacraments or no, and not one jot more. And let not our Author flatter himself, that it was a pre-conceived Opinion of the arbitra­riness of this business, that made men scru­ple it no more in former ages, when the Cup was first taken from them. They scru­pled it, until you had roasted some of them in the fire, and shed the bloud of multitudes by the Sword, which was the old way of satisfying scruples.

At length our Author ventures on St. Paul, and hopes, if he can satisfie [Page 380] him he shall do well enough; and tells us, This indifferent use of Communion a­mongst the antient Christians in either kind, sometimes the one, sometimes the other, some­times both, is enough to verifie that of St. Paul, We are all partakers of one Bread and of one Cup. But what is this indifferent use, and who are these antient Christi­ans he tells us of? Neither is the use of one or of both indifferent among the Pa­pists, nor did the antient Christians know any thing at all of this business of depriving the People of the Cup; which is but a by-blow of Transubstantiation. He knows they knew nothing of it, what­ever he pretends. Neither doth the Apostle Paul say nakedly, and only, that We are all partakers of one Bread and one Cup; but, instructing the whole Church of Corinth in the right use of the Lords Supper, he calls to mind what he had formerly taught them, as to the celebra­tion of it; and this he tells them was the imitation of the Lord himself, according as he had received it in command from him, to give the blessed Bread and Cup to all the Communicants. This he lays down as the Institution of Christ; this [Page 381] he calls them to the right use and practice of; telling the whole Church, that as often as they eat this Bread, and drink this Cup, (not eat the Bread without the Cup) they do shew forth the Lord's Death until he come. And therefore doth he teach them how to perform their duty herein, in a due manner: Ver. 28. Let, saith he, a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cup. Adding the reason of his caution; for, he that eateth, and drinketh, unworthily, eateth and drinketh, &c. intimating al­so, that they might miscarry in the use of either Element. For, saith he, whoso­ever shall eat this Bread, and drink this Cup unworthily. In the administration of the whole Supper, you may offend, unless you give heed in the participation of ei­ther Element. What can possibly be spoken more fully, distinctly, plainly, as to Institution, Precept, Practice, & Duty upon all, I know not? And if we must yet dispute about this matter, whilest we ac­knowledge the Authority of the Apostle, I think, there is small hopes of being quit of Disputes, whilest this world con­tinues. The pitiful Cavils of our Au­thor [Page 382] against the Apostle's express and of­ten repeated words, deserve not our no­tice; yet for the sake of those whom he intends to deceive, I shall briefly shew their insufficiency to invalidate St. Paul's Authority and Reasonings.

1. He says, That we may easily see what was St. Paul's opinion from those words, whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink this cup of our Lord unworthily; and so say I too, the meaning of them is before declared; but, saith he, repeating the institution as our Lord delivered, he makes him, after the con­secration of the bread, say absolutely, Do this in commemoration of me. But after the chalice, he speaks with a limitation, Do this as oft as you shall drink it, in commemora­tion of me; What then? Pray, What are the next words? Are they not, For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup? Is not the same term as often annex­ed to the one, as well as to the other? Is it a limitation of the use of either, and not a limitation of that kind of Com­memoration of the Lord's Death to the use of both? From these doughty ob­servations, he concludes, that the parti­cle [and] in the other Text, must needs be [Page 383] taken disjunctively; we are all partakers of one bread, and of one cup. That is, all of us, either partake of both, or each one, at least, either of the one or other. A brave expo­sition! But, What shall we say to the other, and, in the other Texts, so often occurring to the same purpose? Are they also to be taken disjunctively? This, it seems, is to interpret Scripture ac­cording to the sense of the Fathers; to vent idle cavils, which they were never so weak, or perverse, as once to dream of. Had the Apostle but once used that expression, this bread, and this cup, yet adjoyning that expression to the Instituti­on of Christ, commanding the admini­stration of that bread and cup, it were temerarious boldness so to disjoynt his words, and render them incongruous to his purpose? But repeating the same ex­pression so often as he doth, still with re­spect to the Institution of the Ordinance whereof he speaks, to make us believe, that in all those expressions, he intended quite another thing then what he sayes, is a wild attempt. Miserable error! What sorry shifts dost thou cast thy Pa­trons upon? Who would love such a [Page 384] beast, that so claws and tears her embra­cers? The trivial instances of the use of the Particle (and or et) disjunctively, as in that saying, Mulier est domûs salus, & ruina? which is evidently used not of the same individual person, nor of the same actions▪ but only expresses the dif­ferent actings of several individuals of the same Species, concern not this busi­ness; whose argument is far from being founded alone on the signification of that particle (though its use be con­stant enough to found an Inference, not to be shaken by a few anomalous instances) but from the necessary use of it in this place, arising from the context of the Apostles Discourse.

Our Author further adds, that some­times the whole sacred Synaxis is called Breaking of bread, without any mention of the chalice. And what then? I pray, is not the body of Christ, sometimes men­tioned without speaking of the blood, and the blood oftner without speaking of the body; Is not the whole Supper cal­led the Cup, without mentioning of the Bread? 1 Cor. 10.21. all by the same Sy­necdoche? I shall not insist on his gross, pal­pable [Page 385] mistakes, from Luke 24.30. No­thing but domineering prejudices could ever put men upon such attempts, for the justifying of their errors. Upon the whole matter, we may easily discern, what small cause our Author hath from such feeble Premises, to erect his Tri­umphant Conclusion of the Non-neces­sity of participation of the blessed Cup by the people in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. As little cause hath he to mention Antiquity and Tradi­tion from the Apostles, which lye universally against him in this mat­ter; and that there is now no such Custome in the Romish Church, it is because they have taken up a practice contrary to the command and practice of Christ and his Apostles, and contrary to the Custom in obedience thereunto, of all the Churches in the whole world.

CHAP. XX.

Saints. SECT. 27.

FRom the Communion, we come to Saints; and these take up the longest Discourse of any one Subject in the Book. Our Author found it not an easie task to set this practice of his Church, in the Worship and invocating of Saints, right and streight in the minds of sober men. Several wayes he turns himself in his attempt, all, as far as I can perceive, to very litle purpose. In all of them, it is evident, that he is ashamed of their practice and principles in this matter; which makes his undertaking as to Pro­testants so much the worse, in that he in­vited them to feed upon that, which he himself is unwilling to taste, lest he should be poysoned. At first, he would perswade us, that they had only a respect­ful [Page 387] memory and reverence for the Saints de­parted, such as ingenuous persons will have for any worthy Personages that have formerly ennobled their families: To this, he adds the consideration of their example, and the pat­terns they have set us in the ways of holi­liness, to perswade, and prevail with us to imitate and follow them. And with sun­dry Arguments, doth he dispute for his honourable esteem and imitation of the Saints departed. Herein then, it may be, lies the difference between them and Pro­testants; that they contend, that the true Saints are to be thus honoured and fol­lowed; Protestants are of the mind, that neither of them is to be done: True; for, Luther, Wickliff, and especially Calvin, have intemperately opened their mouths against all the Saints; Calvin in special, against the persons renowned in the Old and New Testament, Noah, Abraham, Rebec­ca, Jacob, Rachel, Moses, &c. with a great number of others. Naughty man, what hath he said of them? It is cer­tain in general, that he hath said, that they were all in their dayes sinners. Is this to be endured, that Calvin, that holy-faced man should say of such holy per­sons, [Page 388] that they had need to be redeemed and saved by Jesus Christ? who can bear such intemperate Theiomachy? Nay, but he hath gone further, and charged them every one with sins and miscarriages: If he hath spoken any thing, of their sins and failings, but what God hath left upon re­cord on set purpose in his Word, that they might be examples of humane frailty, and testimonies of his grace and mercy in Christ towards them, for the encourage­ment of others that shall be overtaken in the like temptation, as some of them were, let him bear his own burden. If he have said no more, but what the Holy Ghost hath recorded, for him and others to make use of, I envy not their chear, who triumph in falsly accusing of him. But is this indeed the difference between Papists and Protestants about the Saints? Is this the doctrine of the Papists con­cerning them? Is their practice confined within the limits of these principles? Are these the things, which in their principles and practice, are blamed by Protestants? The truth is, this is the very Doctrine, the very Practice of Pro­testants. They all joyntly bear a due [Page 389] respect to the memorial of all the Saints of God, concerning whom they have assurance that they were so indeed. They praise God for them, admire his grace in them, rejoyce in the fruits of their labours and sufferings for Christ, and en­deavour to be followers of them in all things wherein they were followers of Christ; and hope to come to be made partakers with them of that glory and joy which they are entred into. Is this the Doctrine of the Council of Trent, or of the Harmony of Confessions? Doth this represent the practice of Papists, or Protestants? It is very seldom, you shall hear a Sermon of a Protestant, wherein the example of one Saint or other, is not in one thing or other, insisted on, and proposed to imitation. If this ve­nerable esteem, and sedulous imitation of Saints, with praysing God, for his Graces in them, his mercy towards them, and an endeavour to obtain the crown they have received, be the doctrine, and the whole doctrine of the Church of Rome about the Saints departed, why should we contend any longer? All par­ties are agreed. Let us contend no more [Page 390] about that which is not; but if it be otherwise, and that neither are these things, all the things that the Papists as­sert and maintain in this matter, nor are these things at all opposed by the Pro­testants, a man may easily understand, to what end our Author makes a flourish with three or four leaves of his Book; as though they were in difference be­tween us. Such artifices will neither ad­vantage his cause, nor his person with sober knowing men. As to his whole Discourse then, I shall only let him know, that Protestants are unconcerned in it. They bear all due reverence to the Saints departed this life, and strive to follow them in their course; although I must add also, that their example is very remote from being the chiefest incentive, or rule unto, and in, the practice of un [...] ­versal obedience. The example of Christ himself, and the revealed Will of God, in his Word, are their rule and guide; in attendance whereunto thousands amongst them (be it spoken to the praise of his glorious grace) do instantly serve God in all good conscience day and night, and holding the Head, grow up into [Page 391] him, who is the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

To close this Discourse, and to come to that, which he seems to love as a Bear doth the Stake; the practice of the Romish Church, in the invocation and adoration of Saints; he tells us, to usher it in, two prety stories out of Antiquity: The first, of the Jews; and last, of the Pagans. 1. For the Jews; that they accused the Christians▪ before the Roman Emperours for three things: That they had changed the Sabbath, that they worshipped images of the Saints, that they brought in a strange God named Jesus Christ. What if they did so? Was all true, that the Jews accused the Christians of? Besides, what is here about the invocation of Saints? somewhat indeed we have about pictures and images, which, it seems, are con­trary to the Judaical Law; not a word do we meet with about their invocation of Saints. But indeed this is a prety midnight story, to be told, to bring chil­dren asleep; as though the Jews durst accuse the Christians before Pagans, for having images and pictures, when the Pa­gans were ready every day to destroy [Page 392] those Jews, because they would have none? A likely matter they would ad­mit of their complaint against them that had them, or that the Jews had no more wit then to disadvantage themselves in their contest by such a complaint? Be­sides, the whole insinuation is false▪ nei­ther did the Jews so accuse them; nor had the Christians admitted any religious use of Pictures or Images in those days. And this their defence to the accusation of the Pagans, that they rejected all Images, makes as evident as if it were written by the Sun-beams to this day. Being charg­ed by the Pagans with an Image-less Re­ligion, they every-where acknowledge it, giving their Reason why they neither did, nor could admit of a Religious use of any Image at all. I presume, our Au­thor knows this to be so, and I know, if he do not, he is a very unfit person to talk of Antiquity.

Of the like nature is the Story which he tels us of the things the Pagans laugh­ed at the Christians for. Amongst these was the Worship of an Asses-head, which shews, saith he, the use and respect they had for Images. For the Jews had defamed our [Page 393] Lord Jesus Christ, whose head and half-pourtraict Christians used upon their Altars, even as they do at this day, amongst other things of his great simplicity and ignorance. So use men to talk, who either know not, or care not, what to say. I would gladly impute this Story of the Asses­head, and the Jews accusation, to our Au­thor's simplicity and ignorance; because, if I do not so, I shall be compelled to do it unto somewhat in him of a worse name; and yet that by-insinuation of the use of the Head and half-portrait of our Saviour upon Altars by the old Christians, before Constantine's dayes of whom he speaks, will not allow me to lay all the misadventure of this Tale upon ignorance. Surely, he cannot but know, that what he sug­gests, is most notoriously false, and that he cannot produce one Authentick Te­stimony, no not one, of any such thing; whereas innumerable lay expresly against it, almost in all the reserved Writings of those dayes. For the Story of the Asses-head; seeing, it seems he knows not what I thought ever puny-Scholar to be acquainted with, I hope, he will give me leave to inform him, that it was [Page 394] an imputation layed upon the Jews, not the Christians, and that the Christians were no otherwise concerned in the Fa­ble, but as they were at any time mi­staken to be Jews. The figment was in­verted, long before the Name of Chri­stians was known in the World, and di­vulged before and after, by as great wits as any were in the World, as Ap­pian, Tacitus, Trogus, and others. The whole rumour arising from their Wor­shipping a Golden Calf in the Wilder­ness, and afterwards his imitation pro­geny at Dan and Bethel. The confuta­tion of the Lye by Josephus, is known to all learned men; who tells Appian, That if he had not had the Head of an Ass, and the face of a Dogg, he would never have given credit unto, or divulged, so loud a lye. Little countenance therefore is our Author like to obtain from this lowd lye, invented against the Jews, to prove the worshipping of Pictures and Images among Christians; nor is that his business in hand, if he be pleased to re­member himself, but the Invocation of Saints, which now at length he is resolved (but I see unwillingly) to speak unto.

[Page 395]Had he intended plain dealing, and to perswade men by Reason and Argu­ments, he should nakedly and openly have laid down the doctrine and practise of his Church in this matter, and have attempted to justifie the one and the o­ther. This had been done like a man who liked and approved what his Inter­est forced him to defend; and upon honest Principles sought to draw o­thers to share with him in their worth and excellency. But he takes quite ano­ther course, and bends his design to co­ver his ware, and to hood-wink his Chapmen, so to strike up a blind bar­gain between them.

Two things he knows, that in the Do­ctrine of his Church about the Venera­tion of Saints, Protestants are offended at.

1. That we ought religiously to invocate and call upon, pray unto them, flying unto them for help and assistance; which are the very words of the Trent-Council, the avowed Doctrine of his Church, which whosoever believes not is cursed.

2. That we may plead for acceptance, grace and mercy with God, for their merits [Page 396] and works, which our Author gilds o­ver, but cannot deny. If he will plainly undertake the defence of either of these, and indeavour to vindicate the first from Superstition and the latter from being highly derogatory, to the mediation of Christ, both, or either, to have been known or practised in the first Churches, he shall be attended unto. To tell us fine Stories, and to compare their invocation of Saints, to the Psalmists Apostrophe's unto the works of the Creation to set forth the praise of the Lord, which they do in what they are, without doing more, and to deny direct praying unto them; is but to abuse himself, his Church, his Reader, and the Truth; and to proclaim to all, that he is indeed ashamed of the Doctrine which he owns, because it is not good or honest, as the Orator charged Epicurus. In the practice of his Church, very many are the things which the Protestants are offended with. Their Canonization framed perfectly after the manner of the old Heathen Apotheosis; Their exalting men into the Throne of religious Worship, some of a dubious ex­istence, others of a more dubious Saint­ship; [Page 397] their Dedication of Churches, Altars, Shrines, Dayes to them. Their composing multitudes of Prayers for their people to be repeated by them: Their divulging faigned, ludicrous, ridi­culous Legends of their lives to the dis­honour of God, the Gospel, the Saints themselves, with innumerable other things of the like nature, which our Au­thor knoweth full well to be commonly practised and allowed in his Church. These are the things that he ought to defend and make good their Station, if he would invite others to a fellowship and Communion with him. Instead of this, he tells us, that his Catholicks do not invocate Saints directly; when I shall undertake (what he knows can be per­formed), to give him a Book bigger then this of his, of Prayers allowed by his Church, and practised by his Catho­licks, made unto Saints directly, for help, assistance, yea grace, mercy, and heaven, or desiring those things for their merit, and upon their account; which as I shewed are the two main parts of their doctrine condemned by Protestants. I can quickly send him Bonaventure's Psalter, [Page 398] Prayers out of the course of hours of the blessed Virgin, our Ladies Antiphonies of her sorrows, her seven corporeal joys, her seven heavenly joyes, out of her Rosary. Prayers to St. Paul, St. James, Thomas, Panoratius, George, Blase, Christopher, Who not? all made directly to them, and that for mercies spiritual and tempo­ral; and tel him how many years of indul­gences, yea thousands of years, his Popes have granted to the saying of some of the like stamp; and all these not out of musty Legends, and the devotion of pri­vate Monks and Fryers; but the Authen­tick Instruments of his Churches wor­ship and Prayers. Let our Author try whether he can justifie any of these opi­nions or practices, from the words of the Lord in Jeremy, Though Moses and Sa­muel should stand before me, yet is not my Soul unto this people, declaring, his determinate counsel for their de­struction, not to be averted by Moses or Samuel, were they alive again, who in their dayes had stood in the gap and turned away his wrath, that his whole displeasure should not arise; or from the words of Moses, praying the Lord to [Page 399] remem [...]er Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob his Servants; which he immediately ex­pounds, as they are also in a hundred other places by remembring his Covenant made with them, and the Oath he sware unto them; these are pitiful poor Pillars to support so vast and tottering a Super­struction. And yet they are all that our Author can get to give any countenance to him in his work, which indeed is none at all.

Neither do we charge the Romanists, with the particular fancies of their Do­ctors, their Speculum Trinitatis, and the like; no, nor yet with the grosser part of the people's practise, in constituting their Saints in special presidentships, one over Hoggs, another over Sheep, another over Cows and Cocks, like the ruder sort of the antient Heathen, which we know our Au­thor would soon disavow; but the known doctrine and approved practice of his whole Church, he must openly defend, or be silent in this cause hereafter. This mincing of the matter by praying Saints, not praying to them, praying to them in­directly not directly; praying them, as Da­vid calls on Sun, Moon, and Stars to [Page 400] praise the Lord, so praying to them, as it is to no purpose, whether they hear us or no, is inconsistent with the doctrine and practise of his own Church to which he seemeth to draw men, and not to any private opinion of his own. And a wise piece of business it is indeed, that our Author would perswade us, that we may as well pray to Saints in the Roman-Mode, as Paul desired the Saints that were then alive to pray for him. We know, it is the duty of living Saints to pray for one another; we know a cer­tain way to excite them to the perform­ance of that duty in reference unto us; we have Rule, President, and Command in the Scripture to do so, the requests we make to them are no elicite acts of Religion; we pray to them neither di­rectly nor indirectly; but desire them by vertue of our Communion with them, to assist us in their prayers, as we might ask an Alms, or any other good turn at their hands. I wonder wise men are not ashamed thus to dally with their own and others eternal concernments. After all this, at one breath he blows away all the Protestants as childish (just as Pyrgopole­nices [Page 401] did the Legions of his Enemies) they are all childish; Let him shew him­self a man, and take up any one of them as they are managed by any one learned man of the Church of England, and an­swer it if he can. If he cannot, this boasting will little avail him with consi­dering men. I cannot close this Para­graph without marking one passage to­ward the close of it. Laying down three Principles of the Saints Invocation, whereof the first it self is true, but no­thing to his purpose; the second is true, in the substance of it, but false in an addi­tion of merit, to the good works of the Saints, and not one jot more to his pur­pose then the other; the third is, That God cannot dislike the reflexions of his di­vine Nature diffused in the Saints out of the fulness of his Beloved Son, when any makes use of them the easier to find mercy in his sight. These are good words; and make a very handsome sound. Wilt thou Rea­der know the meaning of them, and with­all discern how thy pretended Teacher hath colluded with thee in this whole Discourse? The plain English of them is this. God cannot but approve our pleading [Page 402] the merits of the Saints for our obtaining mercy with him. A Proposition as de­structive to the whole tenour of the Go­spel and mediation of Jesus Christ, as in so few words could well be stamped and divulged.

CHAP. XXI.

Purgatory. SECT. 28.

WE are at length come to Purgato­ry, which is the Pope's Indies; his Subterranean Treasure-house, on the Revenues whereof he maintains a hun­dred thousand fighting men, so that it is not probable, he will ever be easily dis­possessed of it. This is the only root of Dirge, though our Author flourishes, as though it would grow on other stocks. It is their Prayer for the dead, which he so entitles, and in the excellency of their Devotion in this particular he is so confident, that he deals with us as the Orator told Q. Caecilius, Hortensius would [Page 403] with him, in the Case of Verres, bid him take his option and make his choice of what he pleased, and it should all turn to his disadvantage; Hortensius by his eloquence would make any thing that he should fixe on, turn to his own end. He bids us on the matter, chuse whether to think the souls they pray for, to be in Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory; all is one, he will prove praying for them to be good and lawful. Suppose they be in Heaven, What then? What then? may we not as well pray for them, as for sancti­fying the Name of God, which will be done whether we pray or no. Suppose they are in Hell; yet we know it not, and so may shew our Charity towards them; but suppose they be in Purgatory, It is the only course we can take to help them. [Of Purgatory we shall speak anon.] If there be no o­ther receptacle for Saints departed, but Heaven and Hell, it is but a flourish of our Author, to perswade us, that Pray­ers for them in the Roman-mode, would be either useful or acceptable to God. Suppose them you pray for, to be in Hell; the best you can make of your Prayers, is but a vain babling against the [Page 404] Will and Righteousness of God; an un­reasonable troubling of the Judge after he hath pronounced his Sentence. Yea, but you do not know them to be in Hell, then neither do you suppose them to be there; which yet is the case you under­take to make good; Suppose they be in Hell, yet its well done to pray for them, and to say they may not be there, is to sup­pose they are not in Hell, not to suppose they are; unless you will say, Suppose they are not in Hell, you may pray for them, suppose they are in Hell; hereunto doth this subtilty bring us. But it is not the Will of God, that you should pray for any in Hell; no not for any in Heaven, unless it be the will of God, that you should oppose his will in the one, and exercise you selves in things needless and unprofitable in the other; both which are far enough from his mind, and that Word, which I believe, at last, will be found, the only true and infallible rule of Worship and Devotion. When we pray for the sanctifying of God's Name, the coming of his Kingdom, the doing of his will, we still pray for the continu­ance of that which is as to outward ma­nifestation, [Page 405] in an alterable condition; for the Name of God may be more or less sanctified in the world; and for that which is future. But, to pray for them that are in Heaven, is to pray for that for them, which they are in the unalte­rable enjoyment of: and besides, to do and practise that in the Worship of God, which we have no precept, no precedent, no rule, no encouragement for, in the Scripture; nor the approved examples of any Holy men from the foundation of the world. Whatever Charity there can be in such prayers, I am sure, faith there can be none, seeing there is neither pre­cept for them, nor promise of hearing them.

But it is Purgatory that must bear the the weight of this duty. This, saith our Author need not to be so condemned, being taught by Pagans and antient Rabbies, and so came down from Adam by a popular Tra­dition through all Nations, a great many of whose names are reckoned up by him, declaring by the way, which of them came from Shem, which from Ham, which from Japhet, to whom the He­brews are most learnedly assigned. For [Page 406] the Pagans, Virgil, Cicero, and Lucretius, are quoted, as giving testimony to them. This testimony is true; in the first especi­ally lies the whole Doctrine of Purgato­ry. Some Platonick Philosophers, whom he followed, have been the inventers of it. That some of the Pagans invented a Purgatory, and that Roman-Catho­licks have borrowed their seat for their own turn, is granted. What our Author can prove more by this Argument, I know not. The names of the old He­brew Rabbins that had taught, or did be­lieve it, he was pleased to spare; and I know his reason well enough, though he is not pleased to tell us. And it is on­ly this, that there are no such old Rab­bins, nor ever were in the world; nor was Purgatory ever in the Creed of the Judaical Church, nor of any of the an­tient Rabbins. Indeed here and there one of them seemed to have dreamed, with Origen, about an end of the pains of Gehenna; and some of the latter Ma­sters, the Cabbalists especially, have e­spoused the Pythagorean Metempsychosis; but for the Purgatory of the Pagans and Papists, they know nothing of it.

[Page 407]On these testimonies he tells us, that this opinion of the Soul's immortality, and its detention after death in some place citra coe­lum, is not any new thing freshly taught, ei­ther by our Saviour or his Apostles, as any peculiar Doctrin of his own, but taken up as granted by the tradition of the Hebrews, and supposed, and admitted by all sides as true, upon which our Lord built much of his In­stitutions. Gallantly ventured however! I confess, a man shall seldom meet with pretier shuffling.

Purgatory, it seems, is the doctrine of the Soul's Immortality, and detention in some place citra coelum: Who would ever have once dreamed of this, had not our Author informed him? This it is to be learned in the Roman Mysterie; the doctrine of Purgatory, is the doctrine of the Soul's Immortality; never was doctrine so foully mistaken as that hath been; but if it be not, yet it is of the detention of the souls in some place citra coelum: It is indeed; but yet our Au­thor knows, that in these words, as bad, if not a worse fraud than under the other is couched. It was the opinion of many of the Antients, that the souls of the [Page 408] Saints that departed under the old Testa­ment, enjoyed not the blessed presence of God, but were kept in a place of rest until the Ascension of Christ. And this our Author would have us to think, is the doctrine of Purgatory; he himself, I hope, enjoyes the contentment of be­lieving the contrary. But he tells us, that our blessed Saviour and his Apostles were not the first that taught this Doctrine, that is, of Purgatory. As though they had taught it at all, or had not taught that which is inconsistent with it, and destructive of it, which is notorious that they have! And for the Traditions of the Hebrew Church; as that was none of them, so I believe, our Author knows but little what were. But he takes a great deal of pains to prove, though very unsuccessfully, that the Jews did believe, that the souls of those that departed before the resurrection of the Messias, did not enter heaven; as though that was any thing to his purpose in hand; but he is, as I said, marvellous unsucessful in that attempt also. The Parable of Lazarus and the Rich man, prove only that Lazarus's soul was in A­braham's bosom; that Abraham's bosom [Page 409] was not in Heaven, it doth not prove. Peter, in the second of the Asts, proves no more, than that the whole person of David, body and soul, was not ascended into Heaven; the not ascending of his soul alone, being nothing to his purpose. But what he cannot evince by Testimo­nies, we will win by dint of Arguments. The Jews, saith he, could not believe what God had never promised; but heavenly bliss was none of the promises of Moses's Law nor were they ever put in hope of it, for any good work that they should do. It seems then, that which was promised them in Moses's Law, was Eternal Life in some place ci­tra coelum, or citra culum, until the com­ing of the Messias; for this he would fain prove that they believed, and that right­ly. This I confess, is a rare notion: and I know not whether it be do fide, or no; but this I am sure, that it is the first time that ever I heard of it, though I have been a little conversant with some of his great masters. But the truth is, our Au­thor hath very ill success for the most part, when he talks of the Jews; as most men have, when they talk of what they do not understand. Eternal [Page 410] life, and everlasting reward, the enjoy­ment of God in bliss, was promised no less truly in the old Testament, then un­der the new, though less clearly; and our Author grants it, by confessing that the estate of the Saints in rest extra Coe­lum, to be admitted thither upon the en­trance made into it by the Messias, was promised to them, and believed by them, though any such promise made to them, or any such belief of them, as should give us the specification of the reward they expected, he is not able to produce.

The Promise of Heaven is made clear under the New Testament, yet not so, he tell us, but that in the execution of this pro­mise, it is sufficiently insinuated, that if any spirit issue out of his body, not absolutely pu­rified, himself may indeed by the use of such Means of Grace, as our Lord instituted, be saved, yet so as by fire, 1 Cor. 3. I think, I know well enough what he aims at; but the sense of his words I do not so well understand. Suppose a spirit so to issue forth as he talks? seeing we must not be­lieve, that the blood of Jesus purges us from all our sins; Who, or What is it then that he means by himself? Is it the spirit [Page 411] after it is departed? Or is it the person before its departure? If the latter, to what end is the issuing forth of the spirit mentioned? And what is here for Pur­gatory, seeing the person is to be saved by the means of grace appointed by Christ? If the former; as the expression is uncouth, so I desire to know, Whether Purgatory be an instituted means of Grace or no? and, Whether it was be­lieved so by Virgil, or is by any of the more learned Romanists? I think it my duty a little to retain my Reader in this stumbling passage. Our Author having a mind to beg some countenance for Pur­gatory from 1 Cor. 3. and knowing full well, that there is not one word spoken there, about the spirits of men departed, but of their trials in this life, was forced to confound that living, and dead, means of grace, and punishment, things present, and to come, that somewhat might seem to look towards Purgatory, though he knew not what. Nor doth he find any better shelter, for his poor Purgatory turned naked out of doors, throughout the whole Scripture, as injurious to the grace of God, the mediation of Christ, [Page 412] the tenor of the Covenant of Grace, and contrary to express Testimonies; in those words of our Saviour, Mat. 5. who speaking of sinners, dying in an unrecon­ciled condition, having made no peace or agreement with God, says, that be­ing delivered into prison, they should not go forth, untill they had paid the utmost far­thing. For as the persons, whom he para­bolically sets forth, are such as die in an absolute estate of enmity with God; which kind of persons, as I take it, Ro­man-Catholicks do not believe to go to Purgatory; so, I think, it is certain, that those enemies of God, who are, or shall be, cast into hell, shall not depart untill they have paid the uttermost farthing; and, that the expression, untill, doth in Scripture alwayes denote a limitation of time to exspire, and the accomplishment afterward of what is denyed before; I suppose, nay, I know, he will not say. So that their lying in Prison untill they pay the uttermost farthing of their debts (which is not Gods way of dealing with them whom he washes and pardons in the bloud of Christ, who are not able to pay one farthing of them) is their [Page 413] lying there to eternity. And so also the sins of which it is said, they shall not be forgiven in this world, nor in the world to come, in one Gospel; its said, in another, that they shall never be forgiven; that is, not really forgiven here, nor declared, or manifested to be forgiven hereafter. Besides, methinks this should make very little for Purgatory, however the words should be interpreted; for they are a great aggravation of the sins spoken of, as the highest and most mortal that men may contract the guilt of, that can be pardoned, if they can be pardoned. That the remission of such sins may be looked for in Purgatory, as yet we are not taught: Nay, our own Author tells us, That mortal sins must be remitted, be­fore a man can be admitted into Purga­tory; so that certainly there is not a more useless text in the Bible to his present purpose then this is, though they be all useless enough in all Con­science.

But here a matter falls across his thoughts, that doth not a little trouble him; and it is this, That St. Paul, in his Epistles, never makes use of Purgatory, [Page 414] directly at least as a topick-place, either in his exhortations to virtue, or disswasions from vice; and I promise you, it is a shrewd Objection. It cannot but seem strange, that St. Paul should make no use of it; and his Church make use almost of no­thing else. Little, surely, did St. Paul think, how many Monasteries and Ab­bies this Purgatory would found; how many Moncks and Fryers it would main­tain; what revenue it would bring in­to the Church, that he passeth it by so slightly; but St. Paul's business was to perswade men to virtue, and dehort them from vice. And he informs us, that there is such a contemperation of heat and cold in Purgatory, such an equal ballance be­tween pains and hopes, good and evill, that it is not very meet to be made a To­pick for these ends and purposes; that is that indeed that is of no use in Reli­gion. The trouble and comfort of it, are, by a due mixture, so allaid, as to their proper qualities, that they can have no operation upon the minds of men, to sway them one way or other. Had some of our Forefathers been so far illuminated, all things had not been at [Page 415] the state wherein they are at this day in the Papacy; but, it may be, much more is not to be expected from it, and there­fore it may now otherwise be treated than it was yerst-while, when it was made the sum and substance of Religion. However, the time will come, when this Platonical Signet that hath no colour from Scripture, but is opposite to the clear testimonies of it; repugnant to the grace, truth, and mercy of God; de­structive to the mediation of Christ; useless to the souls of men, serving only to beget false fears in some few, but desperate presumptions, from the thoughts of an after-reserve, and second venture after this life is ended; in the most, abused to innumerable other Su­perstitions, utterly unknown to the first Churches, and the Orthodox Bishops of them, having by various means and de­grees crept into the Roman-Church, (which shall be laid open, if called for) shall be utterly exterminated out of the confines and limits of the Church of God. In the mean time, I heartily beg of our Romanists, that they would no more endeavour to cast men into real scor­ching [Page 416] consuming fire, for refusing to believe that which is only imaginary and phantastical.

CHAP. XXII.

Pope. SECT. 29.

IT is not because the Pope is forgotten all this while, that he is there placed in the rear, after Images, Saints, and Purgatory. It is plain, that he hath been born in mind all along; yea, and so much mentioned, that a man would wonder, how he comes to have a special. Para­graph here alloted to him. The whole book seems to be all-Pope, from the very beginning, as to the main design of it; and now to meet, Pope, by himself again, in the end, is somewhat unexpected. But, I suppose, our Author thinks he can ne­ver say enough of him. Therefore lest any thing fit to be insisted on, should have escaped him in his former discourses, he [Page 417] hath designed this Section, to gather up the Paralipomena, or ornaments he had forgotten before to set him forth with­all. And indeed, if the Pope be the man he talks of in this Section, I must ac­knowledge he hath had much wrong done him in the world. He is one, it seems, that we are beholding unto for all we have that is worth any thing; particularly for the Gospel which was originally from him; for Kingly Authority, and his Crown land with all the honour and power in the King­dom; One, that we had not had any thing left us, at this day, either of Truth or Unity, humanely speaking, had not he been set over us. One, in whom Christ hath no lesse shewen his Divinity and Power, than in himself; in whom he is more miraculous, then he was in his own person. One that by the only Autho­rity of his place and person, defended Christ's being God against all the world; without which, humanely speaking, Christ had not been taken for any such person as he is believed this day. So as not only we, but Christ himself is beholding to him, that any body believes him to be God. Now truly, if things stand thus with him, I think it is hightime for us to leave our [Page 418] Protestancy, and to betake our selves to the Irish mans Creed, That if Christ had not been Christ when he was Christ, St. Pa­trick (the Pope) would have been Christ. Nay, as he is, having the hard fate to come into the World, so many ages after the Ascension of Christ into heaven, I know not what is left for Christ to be, or do. The Scripture tells us, that the Go­spel is Christ's, originally from him; now we are told, It is the Popes, originally from him; That, informes us that by Him, (the wisdom of God) Kings Reign, and Princes execute Judgement; now we are taught, That Kingly Authority, with his Crown-land, is from the Pope. That in­structs us, to expect the preservation of Faith and Truth, in the world, from Christ alone; the establishment of his Throne and Kingdom for ever and ever▪ His building, guidance, and protection of his Church: but, we are now taught, that for all these things we are behol­ding to the Pope, who, by his only Au­thority, keeps up the faith of the Deity of Christ; who surely is much ingaged to him, that he takes it not to himself. Besides, what he is, for our better infor­mation, [Page 419] that we may judge aright con­cerning him, we may consider also what he doth; and hath been doing, it seems, a long time; He is one that hath never been known to let fall the least word of passion against any, nor move any engine for re­venge; one whose whole life, and study is, to defend innocence, &c. That by his gene­ral Councels, all held under, and by him; especially that of Nice, hath done more good than can be expressed; Careful, and more than humanely happy, in all ages, in reconci­ling Christian Princes, &c. One who let men talk what they will, if he be not an unerring guide in matters of Religion and Faith, all is lost. But how shall we come to know, and be assured of all this? Other men, as our Author knows and complains, speak other things of him; Is it meet, that in so doubtful and questionable a business, and of so great importance to be known, we should believe a stranger upon his word, and that against the vehement af­firmations at least, of so many to the con­trary: The Scripture speaks never a word that we can find of him, nor once menti­ons him at all. The antient Stories of the Church are utterly silent of him, as for [Page 420] any such person as he is here described, speaking of the Bishop of Rome, as of o­ther Bishops in those dayes many of the Stories of after-ages give us quite ano­ther Character of him both as to his per­sonal qualifications and imployment. I mean, of the greatest part of the series of men going under that name. In stead of Peace-making and Reconciliation, they tell us of fierce and cruel warrs, stirred up and mannaged by them; of the ruine of Kings, and Kingdoms, by their means: and instead of the meekness pretended, their breathing out threatnings against men that adore them not; persecuting them with Fire and Sword, to the utter depopulation of some Countreys, and the defiling of the most of Europe with bloudy cruelties. What course shall we take in the contest of assertions, that we may be able to make a right Judgment concerning him? I know no better than this, a little to examine apart the particu­lars of his Excellency as they are given us by our Author, especially the most e­minent of them; and weigh whether they are given in according to truth or no.

The first that we mentioned was, That [Page 421] the Gospel was originally from him, and to him we are beholding for it. This we can­not readily receive; it is certainly un­true, and fearfully blasphemous to boot. The Gospel was originally from Christ; and to him alone are we beholding for it, as hath been before declared. A­nother is, That Kingly Authority amongst us, and his Crown-Land is from him. This is false and seditious. Kingly Authority in General is from God, and by his Pro­vidence was it established in this Land, before the Pope had any thing to do here; nor doth it lean in the least on his warranty, but hath been supported with­out the Papacy, and against all its Op­positions, which have not been a few. A third is, that, humanely speaking, had not he been set over us, we had not had this day either Truth or Unity. I know not well, what you mean by, humanely speaking; but I am sure, so to blaspheme the care and love of Christ to his Church, and the sufficiency of his Word and promi­sed Spirit to preserve Truth in the World, without the Pope, whose aid in this work he never once thought of, request­ed appointed, is, if not inhumane and bar­barous, [Page 422] yet bold and presumptuous. That Christ hath no less shewed his Divinity in him then in his own person, is an expression of the same nature, or of a more dreadful, if possible it may be. I speak seriously, I do not think this is the way to make men in love with the Pope. No sooner is such a word spoken, but immediate­ly the wicked beastial lives, the igno­rance, Atheisms, and horrid ends of ma­ny of them, present themselves to the thoughts of men, and a tremor comes over their hearts, to hear men open their mouths with such blasphemies, as to af­firm, that the Lord Christ did as much manifest his Divinity and Power in such Beasts, as in his own Person. Yea, that he is more miraculous in him, then he was in himself: What proof, Sir, is there of this? Where is the Scripture, where the Antiquity, where the Reason for it? We tell you truly, we cannot believe such monstrous figments upon their bare af­firmation. Yea, but this is not all, Christ is beholding to him for all the faith of his Deity that is in the world; Why so? Why, by the only Authority of his place and per­son, he defended it. When? When it was op­posed [Page 423] by the Arrians, and he called his Council of Nice, where he condemned them. Who would not be sick of such trifles? Is it possible that any man in his right wits should talk at such a rate? Con­sult the writings of those dayes, of A­lexander of Alexandria, of Athanasius, Gregory, Basil, Chrysostom, Austine, who not? Go over the Volumes of the Coun­cils of those dayes; if he can once find the Authority of the Pope of Rome, and his Person, pleaded as the Pillar of the Faith of Christs Diety, or as any argument for the proof of it, let him triumph in his Discovery. Vain man that dares to make these flourishes, when he knows how those antient Christian Hero's, of those dayes, mightily proved the Deity of Christ from the Scriptures, and confounded their Adversaries with their Testimonies, both in their Councils, Disputes, and Writings, which remain to this day; Was not the Scripture accoun­ted, and pleaded by them all as the Bul­wark of this Truth? and did not some of them, Athanasius for instance, do and suffer for the maintaining of it, more then [Page 424] all the Bishops of Rome in those dayes, or since? and, what a triffling is it to tell us of the Popes Council at Nice? As though we did not know who called that Council, who praesided in it, who bare the weight of the business of it, of whom none were Popes, nor any sent by Popes; nay, as if we did not know, that there was then no such Pope in the world, as he about whom we contend. Indeed it is not candid and ingenious for a man to talk of these things in this manner. The like must be said of the six first Councils mentioned by him; in some of which the power of the Bishop of Rome was expresly limitted, as in that of Nice, and that of Chalcedon, and in the others; though he was ready enough to pretend to more, yet he had no more power then the Bishops of other Cities, that had a mind to be called Patriarcks. We do not then, as yet, see any reason to change our former thoughts of the Pope, for a­ny thing here offered by our Author; and we cannot but be farr enough from ta­king up his, if they be those which he hath in this discourse expressed, they be­ing all of them Erroneous, the most of them Blasphemous.

[Page 425]But yet, if we are not pleased with what he is, we may be pleased with what he does; being so excellent a well ac­complished person as he is; for he is one that was never known to let fall a word of passion. That, for casting off his Authori­ty should procure thousands to be slain, and burned, without stirring up any En­gine of Revenge, these are somewhat strange stories. Our Author grievously complains of uncivil carriage toward the Pope in England in all sorts, Men, Wo­men, and Children. For my part, I justi­fie no reviling accusation in any, against any whatever; but yet, I must tell him, that if he thinks to reclaim men from their hard thoughts of him, (that is, not of the person of this or that Pope, but of the office as by them managed) it must not be by telling him, he is a fine accom­plisht Gentleman, that he is a Prince, a Stranger, a Great way off, whom it is uncivil and unmannerly to speak so hardly of: but labour to shew, that it is not his principle to impose upon the consciences of men, his apprehensions in the things of God; that he is not the great proclaimer of many false Opinions, Heresies, and Su­perstitions, [Page 426] and that with a pretence of an Authority, to make them receive them whether they will or no; that he hath not caused many of their forefa­thers to be burned to death, for not sub­mitting to his dictates, nor would do so to them, had he them once absolutely in his Power; that he hath never given a­way this Kingdom to strangers, and cur­sed the lawful Princes of it; that he pleads not a Soveraignty over them, and their Governors, inconsistent with the Laws of God and the Land: Haec, cedo, [...]dmoveant templis, & farre litabo. For whilst the greatest part of men amongst us, do look upon him as the Antichrist foretold in the Scripture, guilty of the bloud of innumerable Martyrs, and Wit­nesses of the truth of Christ; Others who think not so hardly of him, yet con­fess he is so like him, that by the marks given of Antichrist, he is the likeliest Person on the earth, to be apprehended on suspition; all of them think, that if he could get them into his Power, which he endeavours continually, he would burn them to ashes;and that, in the mean time, he is the corrupt Fountain and [Page 427] Spring of all the false Worship, Supersti­tion, and Idolatry, wherewith the faces of many Churches are defiled. To suppose he can perswade thē to any better respect of him than they have, by telling them how fine a gallant Gentleman he is, and what a great way off from them, and the like stories, is to suppose, that he is to deal with fools and Children. For my own part, I approve no man's cursing or revi­ling of him; let that work be left to him­self alone for me: I desire, men would pray for him, that God would convert him, and all his other enemies to the truth of the Gospel; and in the mean time to deliver all his from their policy, rage, and fury.

We may easily gather what is to be thought of the other encomiums given to him by our Author, by what hath been observed concerning those we have passed through; as that his whole life and study is to defend innocency, &c. It must needs be granted, that he hath taken some little time to provide for himself in the world▪ he had surely never arrived else to that degree of excellency, as to tread on the necks of Emperours, to have Kings [Page 428] hold his stirr up, to kick off their Crowns, to exceed the Rulers of the earth in worldly pomp, state, and treasures, which came not to him by inheritance from St. Peter; and whether he hath been such a defender of Innocency and Innocents, the day wherein God shall make inquisition for blood, will manifest. The great work he hath done by his Ge­neral Councils, a summary of which is given us by our Author, is next pretend­ed. All this was done by him, yea, all that good that was ever done by General Councils in the world was done by him; for they were all his Councils, and that which was not his, is none. I shall only mind our Au­thor of what was said of old, unto one talking at that rate that he is pleased here to do:

Labore alieno magnam partam gloriam
Verbis saepe in se transmovet, qui habet salem
Qui in te est.

All the glory and renown of the old antient Councils, all their labours for the extirpation of heresies, and errours, and the success that their honest endea­vours were blessed withal, with the sea­soning [Page 429] of one little word, [his] are turned over to the Pope. They were his Councils; a thing they never once dreamed of; nor any mortal man in the dayes wherein they were celebrated. Convened they were in the Name, and upon the Institution of Christ, and so were [H [...]s] Councils; were called toge­ther, as to their solemn external Conven­tion, by the Emperors of those days, and so were, not their Councels, but Councils held by their Authority, as to all the ex­ternal concernments of them. This the Councils themselves did acknowledge; and so did the Bishops of Rome in those days, when they joyned their Pe­titions with others unto the Emperors, for the convening of them; and seldom it was, that they could obtain their meet­ings in any place they desired; though they were many of them wise at an after game, and turned their remoteness from them into their advantage. As they were called by the Emperors, so they were composed of Bishops, and others, with equal suffrages. How they come to be the Pope's Councils, he himself only knows, and those to whom he is pleased to impart [Page 430] this secret, of other men not one. In­deed some of them may be called his Councils, if every thing is his, wherein he is any way concerned; such was the first Council of Nice, as to his pretend­ed Jurisdiction; such that of Chalcedon, as to his Primacy; such were sundry fa­mous Conventions in Asrick, wherein his pretentions unto Authority, were ex­cluded, and his unseemly frauds disco­vered. Nay, there is not any thing upon the Roll of Antiquity of greater and more prodigious scandal, then the con­tests of Popes in some African Councils, for Authority and Jurisdiction. Their claim was such, as that the Good Fathers assembled wrote unto them, that they would not introduce secular pride and ambition into the Church of Christ; and the manner of managing their pre­tentions, was no other but down-right forgery, and that of no less then Canons of the first memorable Council of Nic [...]; which to discover, the honest African Bi­shops were forced to send to Constanti­nople, Alexandria, and Antioch, for Au­thentick Copies of those Canons; upon the receipt whereof, they mollified the [Page 431] forgery with much Christian sobriety and prudence unto the Bishop of Rome himself, and enacted a Decree for the future, to prevent his pretentions and claims. Besides, as the good Bishops averr, God himself testified against the irregular interposition of the pretended power of the Bishop of Rome; for whilest they being synodically assembled, were detained and hindred in their pro­cedure, by the Romanists contests for Su­periority; Apiarius, the guilty person, being convinced in his conscience of his many notorious evils and crimes, from a just censure whereof, the Roman Inter­position was used to shelter him, of his own accord cast himself at the feet of the Assembly, confessing all his wickedness and folly. Of the six first Councils then there is no more reason to call them the Pope's, or to ascribe their atchievments unto him, then there is to call them any other Bishop's of any City then famous in the world. In that which he calls the seventh General Council, indeed a Coven­ticle of ignorant, tumultuous, supersti­tious Iconolaters, condemned afterwards by a Council held at Frankfurt, by the [Page 432] the Authority of Charles the Great, he stickled to some purpose for Images, which then began to be his darlings; and though we can afford that Council to be His, for any concernment we have in it, yet the story of it will not allow us to do so; it being neither convened nor ruled by his Authority; though the brutish Monks in it▪ were willing to shelter them­selves under the splendor and lustre of his See. About those that follow, we will not much contend: it matters not whose they were, unless they had been better; especially such as laid foun­dations for, and stirred up Princes to shed the innocent blood of the Martyrs of Christ, to some of their perpetual igno­miny, reproach, and ruin. But yet our Author knows, or may know what long contests there have been, even in latter ages, Whether the Council should be the the Pope's Council, or the Pope should should be the Council's Pope; and how the Pope carried it at last, by having more Arch-bishopricks and Bishopricks in his disposal than the Councils had. And so much for the Pope's Councils.

Our Author adds, that he hath been more [Page 433] than humanely happy in reconciling Christian Princes; but yet I will venture a wager with him, that I will give more Instances of his setting Princes together by the ears, then he shall of reconciling them; and I will manifest, that he hath got more by the first work, than the latter. Let him begin the vye when he pleaseth; If I live, and God will, I will try this matter with him before any competent Judges; Tu dic mecum, quo pignore? How else to end this matter, I know not.

I see not then any Ground my Coun­trymen have to alter their thoughts con­cerning the Pope, for any thing here ten­dred unto them by this Author; yea I know they have great reason to be con­firmed in their former apprehensions con­cerning him. For all that truly honour the Lord Jesus Christ, have reason to be moved▪ when they hear another, if not preferred before him, nor set up in com­petition with him, yet openly invested with many of his Priviledges and Pre [...]o­gatives; especially considering, that not only the person of Christ, but his word al­so is debased to make way to his exaltati­on and advancement. Thence it is, that it [Page 434] is openly averred, that were it not for his infallibility, we should all this time have been at a loss for truth and unity. Of so small esteem with some men, is the wisdom of Christ, who left his Word with his Church for these ends, and his Word its self. All is nothing without the Pope. If I mistake not in the light and temper of my Coun­trymen, this is not the way to gain their good opinion of him. Had our Author kept himself to the general terms of a good Prince, an universal Pastor, a careful Guide ▪ and to general stories of his wisdom, [...]a [...]e, and circumspection for publick good▪ which discourse makes up what remains of this Paragraph; he might perhaps have got some ground on their affection and esteem, who know nothing concerning him to the contrary; which in England are very few. But these Notes above Ela, these transcendent Encomiums have qui [...]e marred his Marker. And if there be no medium, but men must believe the Pope to be either Christ, or Antichrist, it is evident which way the general vogue in England will go, and that at least until fire and faggot come▪ which, blessed be God, we are secured from, whilest our [Page 435] present Soveraign swayes the Scepter of this Land; and hope, our posterity may be so, under his Off-spring, for many Ge­nerations.

CHAP. XXIII.

Popery. SECT. 30.

OUR Author hopes, it seems, that by this time he hath brought his Disciples to Popery; that is the Title of the last Paragraph, to his business, not of his Book; for that which follows, being a parcel of the excellent speech of my Lord Chancellor, is about a matter wherein his concernment lies not: This is his close and farewell. They say, there is one, who, when he goes out of any place, leaves a worse favour at his departure, then he gave all the time of his abode; and he seems here to be imitated. The disinge­nuity of this Paragraph, the want of care, of truth, and of common honesty, that ap­pears [Page 436] in it, sends forth a worse favour then most of those, if not than any, or all of them, that went before. The design of it, is to give us a parallel of some Popish and Protestant Doctrines, that the beau­ty of the one may the better be set off by the deformity of the other. To this end he hath made no Conscience of mang­ling, defacing, and defiling of the latter. The Doctrines, he mentions, he calls the more plausible parts of Popery. Such as he hath laboured in his whole discourse to gild and [...]rick up with his Rhetorick, nor shall I quarrel with him for his do­ting on them: only, I cannot but wish, it might suffice him to enjoy and pro­claim the beauty of his Church, without open slandering and defaming of ours. This is not handsome, civil, mannerly, nor conscientious. A few instances will manifest, whether he hath fail'd in this kind or no. The first plausible piece of Popery, as he calls it, that he presents us in his Antithesis, is the Obligation which all have who believe in Christ to attend unto good works, and the merit and benefit of so doing; in opposition whereunto he sayes Protestants teach, that there be no such [Page 437] things as good works pleasing unto God; but all be as menstruous raggs, filthy odious, and damnable in the sight of Heaven; That, if it were otherwise, yet they are not in our power to perform. Let other men do what they please, or are able; for my part, if this be a good work, to believe, that a man con­scientiously handles the things of Reli­gion, with a Reverence of God, and a regard to the account he is to make at the last day, who can thus openly calum­niate, and equivocate; I must confess, I do not find it in my power to perform it. It may be, he thinks it no great sin to ca­lumniate and falsly accuse Hereticks; or, if it be, but a venial one. Such a one as hath no respect to Heaven or Hell, but only Purgatory, which hath no great in­fluence on the minds of men to keep them from vice, or provoke them to vertue. Do Protestants teach, There are no such things as good works pleasing to God, or that those that believe, are not obliged to good works? In which of their Confessions do they so say? In what publick writing of any of their Churches? What one in­dividual Protestant was ever guilty of thinking or venting this folly? If our [Page 438] Author had told this story in Rome or I­taly, he had wronged himself only in point of Morality; but telling it in England, if I mistake not, he is utterly gone also as to reputatiō. But, yet you'l say, That if there be good works, yet it is not in our power to perform them. No more will Papists neither, that know what they say, or are in their right wits, That it is so, with­out the help of the grace of God; and the Protestant never lived, that I know of, that denyed them by that help and assistance to be in our power. But they say, They are all as filthy raggs, &c. I am glad he will acknowledg Isaiah, to be a Protestant, whose words they are con­cerning all our righteousness, that he tra­duceth; we shall have him sometime or other denying some of the Prophets, or Apostles to be Protestants; and, yet it is known, that they all agreed in their do­ctrine and Faith. Those other Protestants whom he labours principally to asperse, will tell him, that although God do indi­spensibly require good works of them that do believe, and they by the assistance of his grace do perform constantly those good works, which both for the matter, [Page 439] and the manner of their perforance are acceptable to him, in Jesus Christ, accor­ding to the tenor of the Covenant of Grace, and which, as the effect of his grace in us, shall be eternally rewarded; yet, that such is the infinite purity and holiness of the great God with whom we have to do, in whose sight the Hea­vens are not pure, and who charges his Angels with folly, that, if he should deal with the best of our works, according to the exigence and rigour of his Justice, they would appear wanting, defective, yea silthy, in his sight; so, that our work [...] have need of acceptation in Christ no less then our persons; and they add this to their faith in this matter, that they be­lieve, that those who deny this, know little of God or themselves. My pen is dull, and the Book that was lent me for a few dayes is called for. Ex hoc uno; by this instance; we may take a measure of al the rest wherein the same ingenuity and conscientious care of offending is ob­served, as in this; that is, neither the one, or other, is so. The residue of his Dis­course is but a commendation of his Re­ligion, and the Professors of it, where­of [Page 440] I must confess, I begin to grow weary; having had so much of it, and so often re­peated, and that from one of themselves, and that on principles which will not en­dure the tryal and examination: Of this sort is the suffering for their Religion, which he extols in them. Not what God calls them unto, or others impose upon them in any part of the world▪ wherein they are not to be compared with Prote­stants, nor have suffered from all the world for their Papal Religion, the hun­dredth part of what Protestants have suf­fered from themselves alone, for their refusal of it; doth he intend; but what of their own accord they undergo. Not considering, that as outward affliction and persecution from the world, have been al­wayes the constant lot of the true Wor­shippers of Christ in all Ages; so, volun­tary▪ Self-macerations have attended the wayes of false-worship among all sorts of men from the foundation of the world.

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