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SIR LUCIUS CARY, LATE LORD VISCOUNT OF FALKLAND, His Diſcourſe of INFALLIBILITY, with an Anſwer to it: And his Lordſhips REPLY.

Never before publiſhed.

Together with Mr. Walter Mountague's Letter concerning the changing his Religion.

Anſwered by my Lord of FALKLAND.

LONDON Printed by Gartrude Dawſon, for Iohn Hardeſty, and are to be ſold at the Signe of the Black Spread-Eagle, in Duck-Lane, 1651.

To the Right Honourable, Henry Lord Ʋiſcount of Falkland, my Honourable Lord.

My Lord,

NOt long before the death of that incom­parable perſon, your Lordſhips Mother, that great example of piety and humi­lity, the Lady Viſ­counteſſe of Falkland, ſhe was pleaſed to commit to my hand that, which ſhe be­leeved, next her Children, the deareſt pledge of her dead Lord ſome excellent Monuments of his Reaſon, Wit, and In­duſtry. in the ſearch of that, which he would have as gladly found, as he hath rationally rejected, an Infallible Iudge here on Earth in all our Controverſies in point of Religion, of which the labour­ing world ſeemeth at preſent to ſtand in ſo much need. I have conſidered often of that ſingular truſt and friendſhip, in making me the depoſitarie of ſo rich a Jewell: And ſince ſhe, from whoſe hands I received it, is gone thither, where ſhe ſtands in no need of theſe diſcourſes, I know no perſon living that hath more right to it then your Lord­ſhip, or indeed to whom I would more willingly offer it. For though your Lordſhip be now out of my immediate charge and Tuition, yet as long as it ſhall pleaſe God to make me able to do, or point at any thing that may, though ne­ver ſo little, helpe forward to perfect a good work in you, I ſhall never account my ſelfe diſobliged. I muſt profeſſe to all the World, that there is no Family now in being, to which I owe more true ſervice, then to your Lordſhips: And ſhall to the utmoſt of my power, upon all occaſions make it good. I have no­thing left me but a poor thankfull heart, which hath been my onely ſure Compa­nion, when all things elſe have forſaken me: That ſtill remaines〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉and〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, being neither in the power of time nor perſons to ſpoile me of that, which like a good Conſcience to my ſelf, muſt to my friends be the beſt feaſt I can make them.

My Lord, my deſign is not by this to in­gage your Lordſhip in this Polemicall diſ­courſe, nor my ſelf neither, having neither ability nor leaſure for a buſineſs of that concern, and by reaſon of my buſie im­ployment, I had not been able to have pre­ſented it thus to your Lordſhip, without the aſsiſtance of Judicious Friends, that honour the work for the Authors ſake, and the Author for his owne.

But, My Lord, I hope I ſhall have my end in it however, an end which no good man will envy me, namely, an occaſion hereby to reminde your Lordſhip of the Gallant Author, your Noble Father, that by propoſing Him to you as your conſtant Coppy, you may do Him an honour be­yond all his Friends: For while they praiſe, you may imitate him.

Indeed, it is one of the greateſt com­forts I have in this calamitous life, to re­member, that I had the honour to be ſo: neare Him: And a reproach, which I cannot clear my ſelf of, to have been at the ſame time ſo neare, and ſo farr off; ſo neare in Converſation, and yet ſo farr removed from him in thoſe Excellencies, whereby he was the envy of this Age, and will be the wonder of the next.

His Religion, (for that I ſhould begin with) was the more Eminent, becauſe the more Early, at that age, when yong Gallants think leaſt on it: When they, yong Candidates of Atheiſme begin to diſpute themſelves out of a beleefe of a Deity, urging hard againſt that, which in­deed is beſt for them that it ſhould never be, a Iudgement to come; then, I ſay, that ſal­vation which theſe mention with a ſcoff or a Jeere, he began to work out with fear and trembling, and effectually to re­member, that is, to honour and ſerve his Creator in the daies of his youth.

In the next place, I may not forget his vaſt naturall parts: Dixit ex tempore ſaith Pliny of Iſoeus, ſed tanquam diu ſcripſerit,, and I may truely apply it to him, his Anſwers were quick and ſuddain, but ſuch, as might very well ſeem to have been meditated. In ſhort, his abilities were ſuch, as though he needed no ſupplies of induſtry, yet his induſt­ry ſuch as though he had had no parts at all. How often have I heard him pitty thoſe Hawking and Hunting Gentlemen, who if unſeaſonable weather for their ſports had betrayed them to keep home, without a worſe excerciſe within doores, could not have told how to have ſpent their time: And all becauſe they were ſuch ſtrangers to ſuch good Companions, with whom he was ſo familiar, ſuch as neither cloy nor weary any, with whom they converſe, ſuch com­pany as Eraſmus, a perſon much eſteemed by my Lord your Father, ſo much extolls in his 31, and 35, Epiſtle of his fourth Book: Not friends of the Cellar, or the Kitchin;〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in­deed their owne friends rather then his who entertaineth them: But ſuch, as being bidden, are ready, uninvited intrude not, that bite no mans meat or reputation, ſilent, not ſpoken to, ſpoken to, ſpeak as we pleaſe, what we pleaſe, how long and how much we pleaſe: Candidly communicating themſelves to us without betraying our ſecrets committed to them; that ſtill tell us ſomewhat that may de­light us for its Antiquitie, pleaſe us for its Novelty, or ſome way or other enrich our knowledge. While others ſtudied the Heraldry of Horſes, of Doggs, or at the beſt their owne: He, though not inferior to his Neighbours in Deſcent, and Honour, knowing well how much more glorious it is to be the firſt then the laſt of a Noble Family, (Blood without Vertue making Vice but more conſpicuous) was ſo farr from relying upon that empty Title, that He ſeemed Ipſe ſuos genuiſſe Parentes, to have begotten his Anceſtors, and to have given them a more Illuſtrious life, then he re­cieved from them.

Though there were as much true worth cloſely treaſured up in him, as well divided, had been able to have ſet up a hundred Pretenders, yet ſo much Modesty withall, that the hearing of any thing was more pleaſing to him then one tittle of his owne praiſe.

This Vertue was indeed in a high degree in him, and ſhewed it ſelfe upon all occaſions. If any thing, though never ſo little unhandſomely, had been ſpoken or done where he was, he was the greateſt ſufferer in the com­pany, and much more out of coun­tenance then he that made the offence. And ſurely he that was ſo tender of ano­ther mans Civility, may very juſtly be preſumed to have had a great regard to his owne. And ſo he had indeed. For though his Courage were as great as his Wit and his Learning, (and that is ex­preſsion high enough) his Valour ſo un­daunted and dreadleſſe, as his great fall witneſt,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, In that fatall Haile that made more Or­phans then his Children: Yet to do an ill or an uncivill thing, he was an ar­rant Coward: Though he was of Da­vids Stature, of his Courage too,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and in this moſt like him, afraid of nothing but to of­fend.

But what needs any body plead for his Civility more then this preſent Diſcourſe, where he excels his Antagonist in that, as well as in reaſon, and ſhewes that a Gentleman writ with a Scholars Pen.

Before I ſhut up all, my Lord, one Vertue there is yet to be mentioned, which of all that ever had relation to his Lordſhip, I may not, I muſt not ever forget, and that was his Friendſhip. That is a Vertue, which by the unintermitted af­fliction of my life, I have had more then ordinary occaſion to make uſe of. And that I muſt needs ſay was it, which made all his other Graces and Excellen­cies reliſh to me, He being the deareſt and the trueſt Friend, that through the whole courſe of my unhappy life I ever had the happineſſe to meet with.

If it be a kind of pleaſure to reade diſ­courſes of Friends and Friendſhip, What is it to enjoy ſuch a Friend in whom re­ally was, what Excellencie either Hiſtory can record, or almoſt Poëtry faine?

Nothing ſo hard in Lucians Toxaris, that he durſt not do, and nothing ſo handſome in all Seneca's Lawes of Bene­fits, that he knew not how to do, and to out-do for his Friend.

Let your Vertuous and dear Grand­mother, my Lord, and all your Kindred yet alive, ſpeak to this: And your bleſſed Mother were ſhe now alive, would ſay, ſhe had the beſt of Friends before the beſt of Husbands. This was it that made Tew ſo valued a Manſion to us: For as when we went from Oxford thither, we found our ſelves never out of the Univerſitie: So we thought our ſelves never abſent from our own beloved home. But I dare ſay no more of this, it being now a mellancholy thing, I am ſure to me, to call back into my memory happi­neſſe never to be recalled, and to afflict my ſelf anew with the conſideration of what felicity I have out-lived.

Your Lordſhip is now the onely ſurviving pledge of that admired Father, of whom-when we his poor ſervants have ſaid all we can, the Character will be farr too ſhort. It is in you, and onely you, my Lord to ſet him out truely, and to re­ſemble him to the life, and that will be by taking that Evangelicall Counſell, Tu autem fac ſimiliter: Do like him, live like him, and pardon me if I add one thing more, like him, Love

My Lord,
Your Lordſhips moſt humble and affectionately devoted Servant, TRIPLET.

The Preface to the READER.

THe eminent abilities in the moſt noble Author of the enſuing learned Diſcourſe, and learneder Reply, can ſcarcely be imagined unknown to any whom this language can reach: But if any ſuch there be, I ſhall deſire them to learne the perfections of that moſt excellent Perſon, rather from the Dedication, then this Pre­face; the deſigne of which, is onely to give the Reader ſome ſatisfation concerning the nature of this Controverſie in it ſelfe, and of theſe Diſſerta­tions in particular.

The Romiſh Doctrine of their owne Infalli­bility, as it is the moſt gcnerall Controverſie be­tweene them, and all other Churches excluded by them from their Communion: So it is of ſuch a comprehenſive nature, that being once proved and clearely demonſtrated, it would without queſtion draw all other Churches ſo excluded, to a moſt humble ſubmiſsion and acknowledgement, nay, to an earneſt deſire of a ſuddaine Reconciliation upon any Termes whatſoever. For howſoever they pleaſe to ſpeak and write of our Hereticall and obſtinate perſiſtance in manifeſt Errors, yet I hope they can­not ſeriouſly thinks we would be ſo irrationall, as to contradict him whom we our ſelves think beyond a poſſibillity of erring, and to diſpute perpetually with them, whom onely to heare were to be ſatisfied.

But when they have propounded their Deciſions to be beleeved, and imbraced by us as Infallibly true, and that becauſe they propound them, who in their own opinion are Infallible; if notwithſtanding ſome of thoſe Deciſions ſeeme to us to be evidently falſe, becauſe cleanly contradictory to that which they themſelves propound as infallibly true, that is the Word of God: ſurely we cannot be blamed, if we have deſired their Infallibility to be moſt clearly demonſtrated, at leaſt to a higher degree of evidence then we have of the contradiction of their Deciſions to the infallible Rule. Wherefore, The great Defenders of the Doctrine of the Church of England, have with more then ordi­nary diligence endeavoured to view the grounds of this Controverſie, and have written by the advan­tage either of their learning accurately, or of their parts moſt ſtrongly, or of the cauſe it ſelfe moſt con­vincingly, againſt that darling Infallibility. How clearely this Controverſie hath been managed, with what evidence of truth diſcuſſed, what ſucceſſe ſo much of reaſon hath had, cannot more plainly ap­peare then in this, that the very name of Infallibi­lity before ſo much exalted, begins now to be very burthenſome, even to the maintainers of it: Inſo­much as one of their lateſt and ableſt Proſelytes, Hugh Paulin de Creſſy, lately Dean of Lagh­lin, &c. in Ireland, and Prebendary of Wind­for in England, in his Exomologeſis, or faithfull Narration of the occaſion and motives of his Con­verſion, hath dealt very clearly with the World, and told us, that this Infallibilitie is an un­fortunate Word. That Mr. Chillingworth hath cumbated againſt it with too too great ſucceſſe, ſo great, that he could wiſh the Word were forgotten, or at leaſt layd by. That not onely Mr. Chillingworth, whom he ſtill worthily admires; but we the reſt of the poore Proteſtants have in very deed, very much to ſay for our ſelves, when we are preſſed unneceſſarily with it. And therefore Mr. Creſſy's adviſe to all the Romaniſts is this, that we may never be invited to combat the au­thority of the Church under that notion. Oh the ſtrength of Reaſon rightly managed! O the power of Truth clearly declared! that it ſhould force an emment member of the Church of Rome (whoſe great Principle is non-retractation) to retract ſo neceſſary, ſo fundamentall a Doctrine, to deſert all their Schooles, and contradict all their Contro­vertiſts. But indeed not without very good cauſe: For he profeſſes withall, that no ſuch word as Infallibility is to be found in any Councel: Neither did ever the Church enlarge her Authority to ſo vaſte a wideneſſe: But doth rather deliver the victory into our hands when we urge her Deciſions. In all which Confeſſions, although he may ſeeme one­ly to ſpeak of the Word, yet that cannot be it which he is ſo wearie of, becauſe we except not a­gainſt the word at all, but confeſſe it rightly to ſignifie that which we impugne, neither do we ever bring any nominall Argument againſt it. But as when Cardinall Bellarmine ſets downe the Doctrine of the Church in their poſitive tearmes. Summus Pontifex, cum totam Eccleſiam docet, in his, quae ad Fidem per­tinent, nullo caſu errare poteſt. We conceive he hath ſuffciently expreſſed the ſence of the word Infallibility, ſo that, Infallibilis eſt, & nul­lo caſu errare poteſt, are to us the ſame thing. It cannot therefore be the Word alone, but the whole importance and ſence of that word Infallibility, which Mr. Creſſy ſo earneſtly deſires all his Catho­licks ever hereafter to forſake, becauſe the former Church did never acknowledge it, and the preſent Church will never be able to maintaine it. This is the great ſucceſſe which the Reaſon, Parts, and Learning of the late Defendors of our Church have had in this maine Architectonicall Controverſie.

And yet though the Church never maintained it, though the Proteſtants have had ſuch advantage a­gainſt it, though Mr. Creſſy confeſsing both, hath wiſhed all Catholicks to forſake it, yet will he not wholly forſake it himſelf, but undertakes moſt irra­tionally to anſwer for it. If the Church never aſſerted it, if the Catholicks be not at all con­cerned in it, to what end will Mr. Creſſy the great mitigator of the rigor, and defendor of the latitude of the Churches Deciſions, maintaine it? If Mr. Chillingworth have had ſuch good ſucceſſe againſt it, why will his old Friend Mr. Creſſy endeavour to anſwer his arguments? eſpecially, conſidering when he hath anſwered them all, he can onely from thence conclude that, Mr. Chillingworth was a very had Diſputant, who could bring no argument able to confute that, which in it ſelfe is not to be maintained.

So unreaſonable it is and inconſiſtent with his Conceſsions, that he ſhould give an anſwer at all, but the manner of his anſwer, which he gives, is farr more irrationall. For deſerting the Infallibility, he anſwers onely the authority of the Church, and ſo makes this authority anſwer for that Infallibili­ty: from whence theſe three manifeſt abſurdities muſt neceſſarily follow.

  • Firſt, When he hath anſwered all M. Chilling­worth's arguments, in the ſame manner as he pretends to anſwer them, he muſt ſtill acknowledge them unanſwerable, as they were intended by him that made them. And no argument need to be thought good for any thing elſe, if he which made it knew what he ſaid, as Mr. Chillingworth certainely did.
  • Secondly, He onely pretends to anſwer thoſe arguments, as againſt the authority of the Church, ſimply conſidered without relation to ſuch an Infal­libility, which were never made againſt an autho­rity ſo quallified. And therefore whether the argu­ment of his deare friend were to any purpoſe or no, his anſwer manifeſtly muſt be to none.
  • Thirdly, If hee intend to refute all oppoſition made to their Infallibility by an aſſertion of their bare authority, then muſt he aſſert that au­thority to be as great and convincing, which is fal­lible as that which is infallible: that Guide to be as good, which may lead me out of my way, as that which cannot. That Iudge to be as fit to deter­mine any doubt, who is capable of a miſtake, as he which is not. And then I make no queſtion, but ſome of his own Church amongst the reſt of their diſlikes, will put him in mind of that handſome ſen­tence of Cardinall Belarmine, Iniquiſsimum eſſet cogere Chriſtianos, ut non appellent ab eo Judicio, quod erroneum eſſe potuit.

I once thought to have replied to thoſe anſwers, which he hath given to Mr. Chillingworth's ar­guments: but his antecedent Conceſsion hath made them ſo inconſiderable to me, that upon a ſecond thought, I feare I ſhould be as guilty in re­plying after my Objections, as he hath been in anſwering after his Confeſsions. Wherefore I ſhall conclude with an aſſeveration of min own, which ſhall be therefore ſhort becauſe mine: That the Reply of this moſt excellent Perſon, Sola operarum ſumma praeſertim in Graecis incuria excepta, is the moſt accurate Refuta­tion of all, which can be ſaid in this Controverſie, that ever yet appeared, and if what hath already been delivered have had ſuch ſucceſſe upon ſo emi­nent an adverſary, then may we very rationally expect at leaſt the ſame effect upon all, who ſhall be ſo happy as to read theſe Diſcourſes.

Which is the earneſt deſire of I. P.

OF THE INFALLIBILITY OF THE CHURCH OF ROME. A diſcourſe written by the Lord Viſcount FALKLAND.

TO him that doubteth whether the Church of Rome hath any errors, they anſwer, that ſhe hath none, for ſhe never can have any; this being ſo much harder to beleeve then the firſt, had need be pro­ved by ſome certainer Ar­guments, if they expect that the beleefe of this one ſhould draw on whatſoever they pleaſe to propoſe; yet this, if offered to be proved by no better wayes, then we offer to prove by, that ſhe hath erred; which are arguments from Scripture, and ancient Writers, all which they ſay are fallible, for no­thing is not ſo but the Church: Which if it be the onely infallible determination, and that can never be believed upon its owne authority, we can never infallibly know that the Church is infallible, for theſe other waies of proofe may deceive both them and us, and ſo neither ſide is bound to be­leeve them; If they ſay that an argument out of Scripture is ſufficient ground of Divine Faith, why are they offended with the Proteſtants for belee­ving every part of their Religion upon that ground, upon which they build all theirs at once. And if following the ſame Rule, with equall deſire of finding the Truth by it, (having neither of thoſe qualities which Iſid. Pelus, ſaith are the cauſe of all Hereſie,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Pride and Pre­judication) why ſhould God be more offended with the one, then with the other, though they chance to erre.

They ſay, the Church is therefore made infallible by God, that all men may have ſome certain Guide; yet, though it be infallible, unleſſe it both plainly appeare to be ſo, (for it is not certaine to whom it doth not appeare certaine) and unleſſe it be ma­nifeſt which is the Church, God hath not attain­ed his end; and it were to ſet a ladder to Heaven, and ſeem to have a great care of my going up, whereas unleſſe there be care taken that I may know this ladder is here to that purpoſe, it were as good for me it never had been ſet.

If they ſay we may know, for that generall Tradition inſtructs us in it.

I anſwer, that ignorant people cannot know this, and ſo it can be no Rule for them; and if learned people miſtake in this, there can be no condemna­tion for them.

For ſuppoſe, to know whether the Church of Rome may erre, (as a way which will conclude againſt her, but not for her) I ſeek whether ſhe have erred; and conceiving ſhe hath contradicted her ſelf, conclude neceſſarily ſhe hath erred, I ſuppoſe it not damnable, (though falſe) becauſe I try the Church by one of the touch-ſtones which herſelf appoints me (Conformity with the An­cients.) For to ſay, I am to beleeve the preſent Church, that it differs not from the former, though it ſeem to me to do ſo, is to ſend me to a witneſſe, and bid me not beleeve it; now to ſay the Church is provided for a guide of Faith, but muſt be known by ſuch markes as the ignorant cannot ſeek it by, and the learned may chance not find it by, can no way ſatisfie me.

If they ſay God will reveale the Truth to whomſoever ſeeks it theſe waies ſincerely, this ſaying both ſides will (without meanes of being confuted) make uſe of, therefore it would be as good that neither did.

When they have proved the Church to be In­fallible yet to my underſtanding they have pro­ceeded nothing farther, unleſſe we can be ſure which is it. For it ſignifies onely that God will have a Church alwaies which ſhall not erre, but not that ſuch, or ſuch a ſucceſſion ſhall be in the right, ſo that if they ſay, the Greek Church. is not the Church, becauſe by its own confeſſion it is not Infallible: I anſwer, That it may be now the Church, and may hereafter erre, (and ſo not be now infallible) and yet the Church never erre, becauſe before their fall from Truth, others may ariſe to maintaine it, who then will be the Church, and ſo the Church may ſtill be infallible, though not in reſpect of any ſet perſons, whom we may know at all times for our Guide.

Then if they prove the Church of Rome to be the true Church, and not the Greek Church, be­cauſe their opinions are conſonant either to Scri­pture or Antiquitie, they run into a Circle, pro­ving their Tenets to be true. Firſt, becauſe the Church holds them: And then theirs to be the Church, becauſe the Church holds the Truth: Which laſt, though it appears to me the onely way, yet it takes away its being a Guide, which we may follow without examination, without which all they ſay beſides, is nothing.

Nay, ſuppoſe that they had evinced, that ſome ſucceſſion were Infallible, and ſo had proved to a learned man, that the Roman Chruch muſt be this, becauſe none elſe pretends to it, yet this can be no ſufficient ground to the ignorant, who cannot have any infallible foundation for their beleefe, that the Church of Greece pretends not to the ſame; and even to the Learned it is but an accidentall Ar­gument, becauſe if any other Company had likewiſe claimed to be Infallible, it had over­thrown all.

The chiefeſt reaſon why they diſallow of Scri­pture for Judge, is, becauſe when differences ariſe about the interpretation, there is no way to end them: And that it will not ſtand with the good­neſſe of God, to damne men for not following Ins Will, if he had aſſigncd no infallible way to find it.

I confeſſe this to be wonderfull true, (〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) and let them ex­cuſe themſelves that think otherwiſe; yet this will be no Argument againſt him that beleeves, that to them who follow their reaſon in the interpretati­on of the Scriptures, God will either give his Grace for aſſiſtance to find the Truth, or his pardon if they miſſe it: And then this ſuppoſed neceſſitie of an infallible Guide, (with the ſup­poſed damnation for want of it) fall together to the ground.

If they command us to beleeve infallibly the contrary to this, they are to prove it falſe by ſome infallible way (for the concluſion muſt be of the ſame nature, and not conclude more then the pre­miſſes ſet down.) Now ſuch a way Scripture, and Reaſon, and infuſed Faith cannot be, (for they uſe to object the fallibility of theſe, to thoſe that build their Religion upon them) nor the authori­ty of the Church, (for this is part of the Queſtion, and muſt it ſelf be firſt proved, and that by none of the former waies, for the former reaſons.)

The Popes Infallibility can be no infallible ground of Faith, being it ſelf no neceſſary part of Faith, and we can be no ſurer of any thing pro­ved, then we are of that which proves it:) and if he be fallible, no part is the more infallible for his ſiding with them; So if the Church be divi­ded, I have no way to know the true Church, but by ſearching which agrees with Scripture and Antiquitie, and ſo judging accordingly: (but this is not to ſubmit my ſelf to her opinions, as my Guide, which they tell us is neceſſarie) which courſe, if they approve not of as fit for a learned, man, they are in a worſe caſe for the ignorant, who can take no courſe at all, nor is he the better at all for his Guide the Church, whilft two parts diſ­pute which is it, and that by arguments he under­ſtands not.

If I grant the Pope, or a Councell by him cal­led, to be infallible, yet I conceive their decrees can he no ſufficient grounds, (by their own axi­oms) of divine Faith.

For firſt of all, no Councell is valid, not approved by the Pope (for thus they overthrow that held at Ariminum) and a Pope choſen by Simony, is (ipſo facto) no Pope.

I can have then no certainer grounds for the in­fallibility of thoſe decrees, and conſequently for my beleefe of them, then I have, that the choice of him is neither directly, nor indirectly Simo­niacall.

Secondly, ſuppoſe him Pope, and to have con­firmed their decrees; yet, that theſe are the decrees of a Councell, or that he hath confirmed them, I can have'but an uncontradicted confeſſion of many men; (for if another Councell ſhould de­clare theſe to have been the Acts of another for­mer Councell, I ſhould need againe ſome certain way of knowing how this declaration is a Coun­cell) which is no ground, ſay they, of Faith, I am ſure not ſo good and generall a one, as we have that the Scripture is Scripture, which yet they will not allow any to be certaine of, but from them.

Thirdly, For the ſence of their decrees, I can have no better expounder then reaſon; which if (though I miſtake) I ſhall not be damned for following, why ſhall I for miſtaking the ſence of the Scripture? or why am I a leſſe fit Inter­preter of the one, then of the other? and when both ſeeme equally cleare, and yet contradictory, ſhall not I aſſoon beleeve Scripture which is with­out doubt of as great authority?

But I doubt whether Councells are fit deciders of Queſtions; for ſuch they cannot be if they be­get more, and men are in greater doubts after­wards (none of the former being diminiſhed) then they were at ffrſt.

Now I conceive there ariſe ſo many out of this way, that the learned cannot end all, nor the igno­rant know all. As (beſides the fore-named conſi­derations) who is to call them? the Pope or Kings? who are to have voices in them, Biſhops onely, or Prieſts alſo? whether the Pope, or Councell be ſuperiour: and the laſt need the ap­probation of the firſt (debated amongſt them­ſelves?) Whether any Countries, not being cal­led, or not being there, (as the Abiſsines, ſo great a part of Chriſtianitie, and not reſolved­ly condemned by them for Hereticks, were ab­ſent at the Councell of Trent) make it not gene­rall? Whether if it be one not every where re­ceived, (as when the Biſhops ſent from ſome places have exceeded their Commiſſion, as in the Councell of Florence) it be yet of neceſſitie to be ſubſcribed unto? Whether there were any ſur­reption or force uſed, and whether thoſe diſanull the Acts? Whether the moſt voices are to be held the Act of the Councell, or thoſe of all required (which never yet agreed?) Or whether two parts will ſerve, as in the Tridentine Synod? A con­ſiderable doubt; becauſe Nicephorus Calliſtus, rela­lating the reſolution of a Councell at Rome, againſt that of Ariminum makes him give three rea­ſons.

  • One, That the Pope of Rome was not pre­ſent.
  • The Second, That moſt did not agree to it.
  • The third, That others thither gathered, were diſplcaſed at their reſolutions.

Which proves, that (in their opinions) if either moſt not preſent, agree not to it, or all preſent be not pleaſed with it, a Councell hath no power to bind.

All theſe doubts I ſay perſwade me, that what­ſoever brings with it ſo many new Queſtions, can be no fit end of the old.

Then, if before a generall Councell have de­fined a Queſtion, it be lawfull to hold either way, and damnable to do ſo after; I deſire to know why it is ſo. Scripture and Tradition ſeem to me not to ſay ſo? but if they did ſo, I ſuppoſe you will grant they do this Doctrine, That the Soules of the bleſſed ſhall ſee God before the day of Judge­ment: (and not be kept in ſecret Receptacles) for without this, the Doctrine of Prayers to Saints, cannot ſtand; and yet, for denying this, Bellarmine excuſeth Pope John the 22th becauſe the Church (he meanes, I doubt not, a generall Councell) had not then condemned it.

I deſire to know, why he ſhould not be con­demned as well without one, as many Hereticks, that are held ſo by their Church, yet condemned by none: (which if he make to be the Rule of Hereſie, it had been happy to have lived before the Councell of Nice, when no opinion had been dam nable, but ſome againſt the Apoſtles Councell at Hieruſalem, becauſe there had yet been no other generall Councell;) at leaſt, why ſhould not I be excuſed by the ſame reaſon, though I beleeve not a Councell to be infallible? ſince I never heard that any Councell hath decreed that they are ſo. neither if it hath, can we be bound by that decree, unleſſe firſt made certaine ſome other way, that it ſelfe is ſo.

If you ſay, we muſt beleeve it becauſe of Tra­dition, I anſwer, Sometimes you will have the not beleeving any thing not declared by a Coun­cell, to have power enough to damne (that is when againſt any of us:) at other times the Church hath not decreed unleſſe a Councell have, and their error is pardonable, and they good Catho­licks.

Next, (as I have asked before) how ſhall an ig­norant man know it? For he in likelihood can ſpeak but with a few, from whom he cannot know, that all of the Church of Romes part do now, and in paſt ages have beleeved it to be Tradition, ſo certaine as to make it a ground of Faith, (un­leſſe he have ſome revelation that thoſe deceived him not) neither indeed can thoſe that ſhould in­form him of the opinions of former times be cer­tainely informed themſelves: For truely, if the relation of Pappias could cozen ſo far all the prime Doctors of the Chriſtian Church into a be­leefe of the celebration of a thouſand yeeres after the reſurredion, ſo as that no one of thoſe two firſt ages oppoſe it, (which appeares plainly enough, becauſe thoſe that after riſe up againſt this, never quoated any thing for themſelves before Dionyſius Alexandrinus, who lived at leaſt two hundred and fifty yeares after Chriſt;) nay, if thoſe firſt men did not onely beleeve it as probable, but Juſtine Martir ſaith, he holds it, and ſo do all that are in all parts Orthodox Chriſtians,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉ſets it down direct­ly for a Tradition, and relates the very words that Chriſt uſed, when he taught this, which is plain­ner then any other Tradition, is proved or ſaid to be out of antiquity by them) if I ſay theſe could be ſo deceived, why might not other of the ancients as well be deceived in other points, and then what certaintie ſhall the learned have (when after much labour, they think they can make it ap­peare, that the ancients thought any thing Tra­dition) that indeed it was ſo, and that either the folly or the knavery of ſome Pappias deceived them not? I confeſſe it makes me think of ſome that Tully ſpeakes of, who arcem amittunt, dum propugnacula defendunt, looſe the Fort, whilſt they defend the out-works; For whilſt they an­ſwer this way the Arguments of Tradition for the opinions of the Chiliaſts, they make unuſefull to themſelves the force, of Tradition, to prove any elſe by.

For which cauſe it was rather wiſely then ho­neſtly done of them, who (before Fevardentius ſet him forth) left out that part of Irenaeus which we alleadge, (though we need it not much; for many of the Fathers take notice of this beleef of his) yet he juſtifies himſelf for doing it, by ſay­ing, that if they leave out all errors in the books they publiſh, (that is, I ſuppoſe, all opinions con­trary to the Church of Rome) bona pars ſcripto­rum, Patrum Orthodoxorum evaneſceret, a great part of the writings of the Orthodox Fathers muſt vaniſh away.

But the Tradition that can be found out of An­cients (ſince their witneſſing may deceive us) hath much leſſe ſtrength, when they argue onely thus, ſure ſo many would not ſay this is true, if there were no Tradition for them,

I would have you remember, they can deliver their opinions poſſibly, but either before the con­troverſie ariſe in the Church, (upon ſome chance) or after; If before, it is confeſſed that they writ not often cautiouſly enough, and ſo they anſwer all they ſeem to ſay for Arrius, and Pelagius his Faith, before themſelves, and ſo conſequently, their controverſie (though it may be not their opi­nion) aroſe.

If after, Then they anſwer often, (if any thing be by them at that time ſpoken againſt them) that the heat of diſputation brought it from them, and their reſolution to oppoſe hereticks enough; I deſire, it may be lawfull for us to anſwer ſo too, (either one of theſe former waies, or that it was (as often they ſay too) ſome Hyperbole) when they preſſe us with the opinions of Fathers.

At leaſt I am ſure, if they may deceive us with ſaying a thing is Tradition, when it is not, we may be ſooner deceived if we will conclude it for a Tradition, when they ſpeak it onely as a Truth, and (for ought appeares) their particular opini­on.

Beſides, If Salvian comparing the Arrians with evill livers, (and that after they were condem­ned by a Councell) extenuates (by reaſon of their beleeving themſelves in the right) with much in­ſtance, the fault of the Arrians, and ſaith, how they ſhall be puniſhed in the day of Judgement, none can know but the Judge.

If I ſay, They confeſſe it to be his opinion, they muſt alſo confeſſe the Doctrine of the Church to differ from that of Salvians time, becauſe he was allowed a member of that, for all this ſaying, whereas he of the Church of Rome, that ſhould now ſay ſo of us, would be counted ſeſqui-heareti­cus, a Heretick and halfe, or elſe they muſt ſay (which they can onely ſay, and hot prove) that he was ſo earneſt againſt ill men, that for the ag­gravation of their crime, he leſſened that of the Hereticks, and ſaid, what at another time he would not have ſaid; which if they do, will it not overthrow wholly the authority of the Fa­thers? Since we can never infallibly know, what they thought at all times, from what they were moved to ſay, at ſome one time, by ſome Collatericall conſiderations.

Next, To this certaine and undoubted dam­ning of all out of the Church of Rome, which averteth me from it, comes their putting all to death that are ſo, where they have power (which is an effect, though not a neceſſary one of the firſt-opinion) and that averteth me yet more, for I do not beleeve all to be damned that they damne, but I conceive all to be killed that they kill; I am ſure if you look upon Conſtantines Epiſtle, written to perſwade concord upon their firſt diſagreement between Alexander, and Arrius, you will find, that he thought, (and if the Biſhops about him had then thought otherwiſe, he would have been ſure better informed) that neither ſide deſerved either death, or damnation, (and yet ſure you will ſay, this Queſtion was as great as ever roſe ſince) for having ſpoken of the opinions, as things ſo in­different, that the Reader might almoſt think that they had been fallen out at ſpurn-point, or kittle­pins, he adds,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, for that which is neceſſary is one thing, that all agree, and keep the ſame Faith, about divine Providence. I am ſure, in the ſame Author, Moſes (a man praiſed by him) refuſing to be made Biſhop by Lucius, be­cauſe he was an Arrian, and he anſwering that he did ill to refuſe it, becauſe he knew not what his Faith was, anſwered,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. The baniſhing of Biſhops ſhew enough thy Faith. So that it is plaine, that he thought puniſhing for opinions to be a mark, which might ſerve to know falſe opinions by. And I beleeve throughout Antiquitie, you will find. no putting any to death, unleſſe it be ſuch as begin to kill firſt, as the Circumcellians, or ſuch like: I am ſure Chriſtian Religions chiefeſt glory being, that it encreaſeth by being perſecuted; and having that advantage of the Mahumetan, which came in by force, me thinks (eſpecially ſince Syneſius had told us, and Reaſon told men ſo before Syneſius, that〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; Every thing is deſtroyed by the contrary to what ſetled and compoſed it;) It ſhould be to take ill care of Chriſtianity, to hold it up by Turkiſh meanes, at leaſt it muſt breed doubts, that if the Religion had alwaies remained the ſame, it would not be now defended by waies ſo contrary to thoſe, by which at firſt it was propagated.

I deſire recrimination may not be uſed; for though it be true, that Calvin had done it, and the Church of England, a little (which is a little too much) for negare manifeſta non audeo, & ex­cuſare immodica non poſſum, yet ſhe (confeſſing ſhe may erre) is not ſo chargeable with any fault, as thoſe which pretend they cannot, and ſo will be ſure never to mend it; and beſides I will be bound to defend no more then I have undertaken, which is to give reaſon why the Church of Rome is in­fallible.

I confeſs this opinion of damning ſo many, and this cuſtome of burning ſo many, this breed­ing up thoſe, who knew nothing elſe in any point of Religion, yet to be in a readineſſe to cry, To the fire with him, to Hell with him, (as polybius ſaith in a certaine furious faction of an army of ſeverall nations, and conſequently of ſeverall lan­guages,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉They all joyned onely in underſtanding this word, [throw at him.] Theſe I ſay, in my opinion were chiefly the cauſes which made ſo many, ſo ſuddenly leave the Church of Rome, that indeed to borrow the ſame Authors Phraſe,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉: They needed no perſwaſion to do it, but onely newes that others had done it: For as this alone if beleeved, makes all the reſt to be ſo too, ſo one thing alone diſliked, (where infal­libility is claimed) overthrowes all the reſt.

If it were granted, that it agreeth not with the goodneſſe of God, to let men want an infallible Guide, and therefore there muſt be one, and that the Church of Rome were it, yet if that teach any thing to my underſtanding contrary to Gods goodneſſe, I am not to receive her Doctrine, for the ſame cauſe for which they would have me receive it, (it being as good an argument this guide teacheth things contrary to Gods goodneſſe, therefore this is not appointed by God, as to ſay, it is agreeable to his goodneſſe there ſhould be one, therefore there is one) and ſure it is lawfull to ex­amine particular Doctrines, whether they agree with that Principle, which is their foundation; and for that (me thinks) to damn him, that neither with negligence, nor prejudication, ſearches what is Gods will, (though he miſſe of it) is as contrary, as the firſt can be ſuppoſed.

Next, I would know, whether he, that hath ne­ver heard of the Church of Rome, ſhall yet be dam­ned for not beleeving her infallible?

I have ſo good an opinion of them, as to aſſure my ſelf, they will anſwer he ſhall not.

I will then ask, whether he that hath ſearched what Religions there are, and finds hers to be one, and her infallibility to be a part of it, (if his reaſon will not aſſent to that) ſhall be damned for being inquiſitive after Truth, (for he hath com­mitted no other fault, greater then the other) and whether ſuch an ignorance, (I mean after impar­tiall ſearch) be not of all other the moſt invin­cible?

Nay, grant the Church to be infallible, yet me thinks, he that denies it, and imploies his reaſon to ſeek, if it be true, ſhould be in as good caſe, as he that beleeveth it, and ſearcheth not at all the truth of the Propoſition he receives; For I cannot ſee why he ſhould be ſaved, becauſe by reaſon of his parents beleef, or the Religion of the Country, or ſome ſuch accident, the Truth was offered to his underſtanding, when, had the contrary been offered, he would have received that. And the other damned, that beleeves falſhood upon as good ground, as the other doth truth, unleſſe the Church be like a Conjurers Circle, that will keep a man from the Divell, though he came unto it by chance.

They grant no man is an Heretick, that be­leeves not his Hereſie obſtinately, and if he be no Heretick, he may ſure be ſaved; It is not then certain damnation for any man to deny the Infal­libility of the Church of Rome, but for him one­ly that denies it obſtinately; And then I am ſafe, for I am ſure I do not; Neither can they ſay, I ſhall be damned for Schiſme, though not for He­reſie, for he is as well no Shciſmatick, though in Schiſme, that is willing, to joyne in Communion with the true Church, when it appears to be ſo to him, as he is no Heretick, though he holds He­reticall opinions, who holds them not obſtinately, that is (as I ſuppoſe) with a deſire to be informed if he be in the wrong.

Next, Why if it be not neceſſary alwaies to beleeve the Truth, ſo one beleeve in generall what the Church would have beleeved, (for ſo they excuſe great men that have held contrary opi­nions to theirs now, before they were defined, or knew them to be ſo) why I ſay, ſhall not the ſame implicite aſſent ſerve to whatſoever God would have aſſented unto? (though I miſtake what that is:) when indeed to beleeve implicitely what God would have beleeved, is to beleeve implicitely likewiſe what the Church teacheth, if this Doct­rine be within the number of thoſe, which God commands to be beleeved.

I have the leſſe doubt of this opinion, that I ſhall have no harme for not beleeving the Infal­libility of the Church of Rome, becauſe of my being ſo farr from leaning to the contrary, and ſo ſuffering my will to have power over my under­ſtanding, that if God would leave it to me, which Tenet ſhould be true, I would rather chuſe, that that ſhould, then the contrary.

For they may well beleeve me, that I take no pleaſure in tumbling hard and unpleaſant Books, and making my ſelf giddy with diſputing obſcure Queſtions,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. If I ſhould beleeve, there ſhould alwaies be, whom I might alwaies know, a ſociety of men, whoſe opinions muſt be certainely true, and who would〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, labour to diſcuſſe and define all ariſing doubts, ſo that I might be excuſably at eaſe, and have no part left for me but that of obedience, which muſt needs be a leſſe difficult, and ſo a more agreeable way, then to endure endleſſe Volumes of Commenters, the harſh Greek of Epiphanius, and the harder Latin of Trenaeus, and be pained by diſtinguiſhing between different ſences, and various Lections, and he would deſerve not the loweſt place in Bed­lem, that would preferr theſe ſtudies before ſo ma­ny, ſo more pleaſant; that would rather imploy his underſtanding then ſubmit it, and if he could think God impoſed upon him onely the reſiſting temptations, would by way of addition require from himſelf, the reſolving of doubts; yet I ſay not, that all theſe Books are to be read by thoſe that underſtand not the languages, (for them I conceive their ſeeking into the Scripture may ſuf­fice) but he who hath by Gods grace skill to look into them, cannot better uſe it then in the ſearching of his will, where they ſay it is to be found, that he may aſſent to them, if there he find reaſon for it, or if not, they may have no ex­cuſe for not excuſing him.

For whereas they ſay it is pride makes us doubt of their Infallibilitie.

I anſwer, That their too much lazineſſe and impatience of examining is the cauſe, that many of them do not doubt.

Next, what pride is it never to aſſent, before I find reaſon (ſince they, when they follow their Church as infallible, pretend reaſon for it, and will not ſay they would, if they thought they found none) and if they ſay, we do find reaſon, but will not confeſſe it, then pride hinders not our aſſent, but our declaration of it, which if it do in any one, he is without queſtion〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, con­demned by himſelf, and it muſt be a very parti­all Advocate, that would ſtrive to acquit him.

One much prevailing argument, which they make, is this, That whoſoever leaves them, fall into diſſention between themſelves, whereas they in the mean while are allwaies at Unity.

I anſwer,

  • Firſt, In this whereof the Queſtion is now, they all aſſent.
  • Secondly, When there is fire for them that diſagree, they need not bragg of their Unifor­mity who conſent.
  • Thirdly, they have many differences among them, as whether the Pope be Infallible? whether God predeterminate every action? whether Elect­ion and Reprobation depend upon fore-ſight? Which ſeemes to me as great as any between their Adverſaries, and in the latter, the Jeſuites have ancienter, and generaller Tradition on their ſide, then the Church of Rome hath in any other Queſti­on, and as much ground from Reaſon for the de­fence of Gods goodneſſe, as they can think they have for the neceſſity of an infallible guide.

Yet theſe arguments muſt not make the Domi­nicans Hercticks, and muſt us: If they ſay the Church hath not reſolved it, (which ſignifies onely that they are not agreed about it, which is that we object) I anſwer, It ought to have done ſo, if uni­formity to the Ancient Church be required, in which all that ever I could heare of, before Saint Auſtine (who is ever various I confeſſe in it) delivered the contrary to the Dominicans as not doubtfull; and to ſay it is lawfull for them to diſagree, whereſoever they do not agree, is ridi­culous, (for they cannot do both at once about the ſame point) and if they ſay they mean by the Churches not having concluded it, that a Coun­cell hath not: I Anſwer,

Firſt, That they condemne ſome without any Councell, and why not theſe?

Next, I ſay the opinion of the diffuſed Church is of more force, then the concluſion of the repre­ſentative (which hath its authority from the other) and therefore if all extant for the firſt four hun­dered yeares taught any thing, it is more Hereſie to deny that, then any Cannon of a Councell; But may not howſoever any other Company of People (that would maintaine themſelves to be infallible) ſay as much, that all other Sects differ from one another, and therefore ſhould all agree with them, would not thoſe (think they) aſcribe all other mens diſſentions, and learned mens fal­ling into diverſe hereſies to their not allowing their Infallibility, to their not aſſenting to their De­crees, and not ſuffering them〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to ſit as teachers of thoſe things that come in Queſtion, and to have all others in the place of Diſciples obedient to them, which is that which Nilus a Greek Biſhop profeſſed, that (becauſe the Greeks would not allow the Romans) was the chief cauſe of ſeparation between them.

Next, They uſe much to object, how could errors come into the Church without oppoſition, and mention both of them, and the oppoſition to them in Hiſtory.

I anſwer,

They might come not at once, but by degrees, as in the growth of a Child, or motion of a Clock, we ſee neither in the preſent, but know there was a preſent when we find it paſt.

Next, I ſay there are two ſorts of errors; To hold a thing neceſſary that is unlawfull, and falſe; or that is but profitable, and probable. Of the ſecond ſort, that errors ſhould come in, it appears not hard to me, (eſpecially in thoſe ages where want of Printing, made Books, and conſequently Learning, not ſo common as now it is, where the few that did ſtudy, buſied themſelves in Schoole ſpeculations onely, when the authority of a man of chief note, had a more generall influence then now it hath, and ſo as Thucidides ſaith the Plague did in his time,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the diſeaſe that firſt ſettled in the head EASILY paſſed through all the body, conſidering how apt men are to deſire that all men ſhould think as they do, and conſequently to lay a neceſſity upon the receiving that opinion, if they conceive that a way to have it received. And then if it were beleeved generally, profitable (as confeſſion) who would be apt to oppoſe their call­ing it necceſſary, for the ſame cauſe for which they called it ſo.

Beſides, If this error were delivered by ſome Father in the hot oppoſition of ſome Heretick, it may be none would oppoſe it, leaſt the adverſa­ries might take advantage by their diſſention, and he that diſputed for the Orthodox ſide, might loſe by it much of his authority.

The word neceſſary it ſelf, is alſo often uſed for very convenient, and then from neceſſary in that ſence, to abſolutely neceſſary is no difficult change, though it be a great one.

Then the Fathers uſe the word Hereticks, ſome­times in a larger ſence, and ſometimes in a ſtricter, and ſo differ in the reckoning them up, ſome lea­ving out thoſe that others put in, (though they had ſeen the precedent Catalogue) and ſo the doubt­fullneſſe of the ſence of theſe words might bring in error: Names alſo, as Altar, Sacrifice, Maſſe, may have been uſed.

Firſt, in one ſence, and the name retained though the thing ſignified received change; as it was once of an Emperour of Rome,Tacitus. cui proprium fu­it nuper reperta, (I leave out ſcelera) priſcis verbis ob­tegere, whoſe property it was to cover things newly found with ancient tearmes, And the ſame Author tells us, that the ſame ſtate, was as it were, cheated out of her liberty, becauſe there did remaine eadem Magiſtratuum vocabula, the ſame titles of Ma­giſtrates: And I beleeve, that if the Proteſtants beyond the Seas would have thought Biſhops as good a word as Super-intendents, (and ſo in other ſuch things) many, who underſtand nothing but names, would have miſſed the ſcandale they have now taken. Theſe waies I think theſe things may have come, without much oppoſition from being thought profitable to be done, and probable to be beleeved, to be thought neceſſary to be both; and how things may have been by little and little re­ceived under old names, which would not have been ſo at once under new ones; it is not hard to conceive.

The firſt of theſe being no ſuch ſmall fault, but that part of the Montaniſts Hereſies was, thinking uncommanded faſting daies neceſſary to be obſerved, which without doubt might lawfully have been kept, ſo that no neceſſitie had been im­poſed.

But my maine anſwer is, that if to be in the Church without known precedent oppoſition, be a certaine note of being derived from the begin­ing, let them anſwer how came in the opinion of the Chiliaſts, not contradicted till two hundred yeares after it came in.

To condude, If they can prove that the Scri­pture may be a certainer teacher of truth to them, then to us, ſo that they may conclude the Infalli­bility of the Church out of it, and we nothing; If they can prove the Churches Infallibility to be a ſuffcient Guide for him, that doubts which is the Church, and cannot examine that (for want of learning) by her chiefe marke, which is conformity with the Ancients: If they can prove, that the conſent of Fathers long together, is a ſtronger Argument againſt us, then againſt the Domini­cans; If they can prove (though it be affirmed by the firſt of them, that ſuch a thing is Tradition, and beleeved by all Chriſtians, and this aſſertion till a great while after, uncontradicted) yet they are not bound to receive it, and upon leſſe grounds we are; If indeed any can prove by any infallible way, the Infallibility of the Church of Rome, and the neceſſity under paine of damnation for all men to beleeve it, (which were the more ſtrange, becauſe Juſtin Martyr, and Clements Alexan­drinus among the Ancients, and Eraſmùs, and Ludovicus Vives among the Modernes, beleeve ſome Pagans to be ſaved) I will ſubſcribe to it, and

〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,
〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.

If any man vouchſafe to think, either this, or the Authour of it, of value enough to confute the one, and informe the other, I ſhall deſire him to do it with proceeding to the buſineſſe, and not ſtan­ding upon any ſmall ſlip of mine, (of which this may be full) and with that temper, which is fit to be uſed by men that are not ſo paſſionate, as to have the definition of reaſonable Creatures in vaine, remembring that Truth in likelyhood is, where her Author God was, in the ſtill voice, and not the loud wind; and that Epipha­nius excuſeth himſelf, if he have called any He­reticks in his anger, Deceivers, or Wretches, (〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. ) and I requeſt him alſo; to help to bring me to the Truth, (if I be out of it) not onely by his arguments, but alſo by his Prayers; which way if he uſe, and I ſtill continue on the part I am of, and yet doe neither〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, nor〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, neither am willfully blind, nor deny impudently, what I ſee, then I am confident, that he will neither have reaſon to be offended with me in this world, nor God (for that) to puniſh me in the next.




NAture being not able to perfect the work of humane kind, which ſhee had begun, and burſting at thoſe throwes and ſpringings, which her timely child gave, to ſee the light of eternall life, (whereof the diſtaſte of all things experienced in this world, and certain ſparklings ſowed in our ſoule had gi­ven it a dim notice) expected from her mercifull2 Creator, the aid (whereof how much greater the wonder was to bee, and the neceſſity, now divers thouſand yeers by lamentable experience was more deer, ſo much the readier was he) and it was to ſend from his eternall breſt, his only wiſedome to recount us wonders, and averre them under the ſeal of his immutable truth. He knew all ſecrets, and could not be touched with ſuſpition of igno­rance; he was all goodneſs, and free from all calum­nie of jealouſie or envie: who knew him, could not miſtruſt him, for beſide thoſe great Verdicts alreadie expreſſed in his favour, his works gave aſſurance of his words, he fulfilling in deeds, what­ſoever he perſwaded in words, and working to himſelf, what he wiſhed unto others. Lo here, the high, and ſage Maſter of our faith, whoſe O­racles we cannot miſ-doubt, ſo we be aſſured they are his; and who hath in vain ſpent ſo much ſweat, and pains, if after he paſſed from hence, he hath left no meanes to aſſure mankind, what it was hee taught and practiſed, and for the teaching and pra­ctiſing of it, eſchewed not the ſtormie paſſage be­twixt Bethlehem and Mount Calvarie: but as in Bethlehem he multiplied the three drops of his Cir­cumciſion into the thouſands of innocent Brooks; ſo upon the Mount Calvarie he opened the great Source, which hath now through 16. Ages irri­gated the world with an infinitie of ſtreames of proportionall examples of blood and ſufferance. Now was his Legacie performed, and hee from Mount Olivet triumphantly returned, from whence he was come, and the world left to be ſaved by3 faith, that is, by a conſtant perſwaſion of thoſe things which he had taught.

The Conditions of this Faith were three. Firſt, That it ſhould be a means fitting for humane kind, that is, for learned, and unlearned, for yong, and old, for wiſe, and fooles, for Princes and pea­ſants, Rabbies, and Ideots. Secondly, That it ſhould be a tenent, conſtant, undoubted, undiſpu­table, uncontroulable. Thirdly, That it ſhould be a rule of our life and actions, making but a paſ­ſage of this preſent life, to the following, and teach­ing us to contemn the preſent and ſeen ſubſtance, in hope of an unſeen and abſent fortune. Certes, a hard taske, and which needeth to be well groun­ded and founded by God himſelf. For who well conſidereth it, cannot doubt it, to be as great a miracle (to make the whole Maſſe of mankinde, to forſake what it ſeeth, and take to obſcure hopes or things, it does not ſo much apprehend what they are) as to force the ſtrongeſt works of nature, to hang the ſea in the aire, to alter the courſe of Moon, and Starres, and whatſoever elſe is ſtrange and incredible in nature. Beſides that, to make a way of knowledge common, and indifferent to learned, and unlearned, to make the ignorant un­derſtand, what the learned cannot reach unto, and the learned die in defence of the truth he hath no other warrant for, then becauſe he hath learned it from an ignorant perſon, was the work of him alone who framed them both, and underſtood in what veins ſo different blouds doe run.

But done it was to be, and how? Thoſe to whom4 during his life, he had moſt fully declared his mind, went, and told it to others, and all was done. We cannot denie the way to have been fitting, and ex­pedient, ſo it be found efficacious and powerfull to effect, what the Author intended. For if Faith muſt beleeve what Chriſt hath taught, what better inſtrument to breed faith, then who heard him ſpeak? If Faith muſt be common to learned, and unlearned, what better meanes, then by hearing? From which no unlearnedneſſe can excuſe, nor learnedneſſe be exempt. Every man may have from whom to hear and learn, if not a wiſer then himſelfe, yet one who may have properties to be a better witneſſe. Children naturally beleeve what their parents tell them, unlearned men what Do­ctors teach them, abſent men, what thoſe who were preſent doe report. All this goeth very well, ſo that this Expedient prove efficacious to the end in­tended.

Object. But it hath the prejudice of humane fallibilitie, for who, for weakneſſe that he doth not carry away what he hath heard, who, for vanity to ſeem to know more then his fellowes, who, to make ſome lucre of it, or for ſome emulation to ſome other; but ſeldome it hapneth that a multitude can carry away a thing all in the ſame manner; and 1600 yeers are paſſed ſince, ſo that it is not credible, a Doctrine ſo delivered can per­ſever incorrupted until this day.

Anſw. Yet if we look into the immediate progreſſe and joints of the deſcent, we cannot finde where it can miſſe, for the doctrine being ſupernaturall, and not delivered by mans skill or wit, the firſt and main5 principle of it can be no other, then to know what was delivered them by their Teachers, a thing not ſurpaſſing the underſtanding of any ſenſible wiſe man; ſo that put but twenty wiſe underſtanding men to agree, that the Preacher, to their certaine knowledge, ſaid ſuch a thing, there remaineth no probable nor poſſible doubt, but that it was ſo.

Now then ſuppoſe, that one of thoſe (who ha­ving been taught by Chriſts own mouth, had re­ceived by the confirmation of the Holy Ghoſt, that he could neither forget nor forgoe this re­ceived doctrine) ſhould have preached over and over again the ſame doctrine not long, nor hard to be carryed away in all the Cities, Towns, and Bo­roughs of ſome great Country, ſo that whilſt he ſtayd there, they were throughly underſtanding and endoctrinated in that way. Now let him be gone, and after him all dead, who had heard him ſpeake; and then ſome queſtion ariſe concerning this doctrine (as we may ſay in the ſecond age) let us ſee whether error can creep in or no, if the Chri­ſtians keepe unto their hold. Their hold is what they were taught by Chriſts Apoſtles. Let there­fore the wiſeſt and beſt men of thoſe Cities and Towns meet together about the controverſie, and diſcuſſe it out of this principle (what was delive­red unto them as taught by the Apoſtles) will not there be a quick end of their diſpute? For every man can ſay, My father heard the Apoſtle ſpeak, he underſtood him to have ſaid this, ſo he himſelfe beleeved, ſo he taught me, that this was that which, the Apoſtle taught us. And when6 out of divers Cities and Towns, ſhall come a mul­titude of witneſſes, all agreeing in one point, how can it be doubted, but that this is Chriſts doctrine, and that which his Apoſtle taught? And to diſ­agree how is it poſſible? Since all their fathers heard the ſame things, and things not above their capacity, and often told them, and well apprehen­ded by them when they were taught, and by con­ſequence could not tell their children otherwiſe then what they had heard and underſtood, in a matter of ſuch moment, and of which they appre­hended no leſſe, then that it concerned their own, and their childrens ſalvation, happineſſe, or miſe­ry for all eternity. And what here is moſt evi­dently certaine, in the children of thoſe who heard the Apoſtles, may be derived with as much evi­dence again in the grand-children, and ſo in every age even to our preſent; for if in any age any queſtion beginne, and it be reduced unto this prin­ciple; what did our forefathers teach us? neither can there be any pretended ignorance (for who can be ignorant of what was taught him when he was a childe, and in what he was bred, as in the grounds and ſubſtance of his hopes, for all eternity?)

True it is, that if men leave this principle, and ſeek to judge the controverſie by learned diſcourſe, then may the, Church be divided, one part follow­ing the authority of their Anceſtors; the other the ſubtle Arguments, and the great opinion they conceive, of the learning of their preſent Teachers: ſo that one ſide will claime ſucceſſion, and to have received it from hand to hand; the other the glory7 of great learning, and to have come by great in­duſtry to diſcover the errors of their forefathers. But it is evident, that if what the Apoſtles preached be the touchſtone of what is true, and what they preached to be ſeen in what thoſe beleeve who have heard them, and they who received it, from them that heard them; It is moſt evident, I ſay, that the one part, who ſeek for Chriſtian truth in learned diſcourſe, muſt needs forgoe the moſt cer­tain and eaſie way, of attaining unto what they aime at: And likewiſe evident, that who keep themſelves duly and carefully unto this principle cannot poſſibly in any continuance of time, ſwerve from the truth which Chriſt hath left unto his Church. So that the whole difficulty is redu­ced unto this, whether the Church for ſo many ages be perpetually preſerved in this principle, that what ſhe received from her forefathers is, that ſhe muſt beleive, and deliver unto her poſte­rity; A thing ſo grafted in nature; which ma­keth us receive our being, our breeding, our lear­ning, our goods, our eſtates, our arts, and all things we have, from our fathers, that it is a wonder of our mutability, that without forcible Engines we can be drawn from it.



NOw let us turn our diſcourſe, and as we have ſeen, that if our Saviour ordred his Apoſtles in the manner explicated, there was no way for his Church to ſwerve from his truth, but by ſwerving from the moſt plain, the moſt naturall, and moſt evident, and concluding rule of his doctrine, and that but one, and moſt eaſie; ſo let us ſee whe­ther from the preſent Church we can draw the like forcible train, which may lead us up to Chriſt and his Apoſtles. Be therefore ſuppoſed or imagi­ned, what no judicious man can deny to ſee with his eyes, if he hath never ſo little caſt them upon this preſent religion of Chriſtendome, to wit, that there is one Congregation or Church which layeth claime to Chriſt his doctrine, as upon this title, that ſhe hath received it from his Apoſtles without interruption, delivered ever from Father to Sonne, from Maſter to Scholler, from time to time, from hand to hand, even unto this day; and that ſhe does not admit any other doctrine for good and legitimate, which ſhe does not receive in this man­ner. Againe, that whoſoever pretendeth Chriſt his truth againſt her, ſaith, that true it is, that once ſhe had the true way, but that by length of time ſhe is fallen into groſſe errours which they will reforme, not by any truth they have received from hand to hand, from thoſe who by both parts are ac­knowledged to have received their leſſon from9 Chriſt and his Apoſtles, but by ſtudy and learned Arguments, either out of ancient Writers, or out of the ſecrets of nature and reaſon. This being ſuppoſed, either this principle hath remained unto her ſince the beginning, or ſhe took it up in ſome one age of the 16 ſhe hath endured; if ſhe took it up in ſome latter age, ſhe then thought ſhe had nothing in her what ſhe had not received from her fore fa­thers in this ſort: And if ſhe thought ſo, ſhe knew it. For as it is impoſſible now any country ſhould think it was generally taught, ſuch a thing if it were not ſo; ſo alſo was there the like neceſſity, and impoſſibility to be otherwiſe, if all men were not runne mad. Therefore clear it is, ſhe took it not up firſt then, but was in former poſſeſſion, and ſo clear it is, that ſhe could not have it now, if ſhe had it not from the very beginning. Now if ſhe had it, and hath conſerved it from the beginning, no new opinion could take root in her, unleſſe it came unto her under this Maxime, as received from hand, to hand; and to ſay, that any opinion which was not truly received from hand to hand, ſhould by ſuch a community be accepted, as recei­ved from hand to hand, is to make it beleeve, what it ſeeth clearly to be falſe, to lye unto it's own ſoule, againſt it's own ſoule, and the ſoule of it's poſterity. Let us adde to this, that the multitude of this Church is ſo diſperſed through ſo many Countries and languages of ſo divers governments, that it is totally impoſſible they ſhould agree together, or meet upon a falſe determination, to affirme with one conſent a falſity for truth, no intereſt being able to10 be common unto them all to produce ſuch an effect. Wherefore as an underſtanding man cannot chuſe but laugh at the ſelf-weening Hampſhire Clown, who thinks in his heart there was no ſuch Country as France, and that all that was told of it were but Travellers tales, becauſe himſelfe being upon the Sea ſhore, had ſeen nothing but water beyond Eng­land; ſo I think no wiſe man will accompt him leſſe then phrentick, that underſtandeth ſo little in humane wayes, as to think whole Nations by de­ſigne, or by hazard, can agree together to profeſſe, and proteſt a thing, which they know of their own knowledge to be a meer lye, and a well known falſhood to themſelves, and all their neighbours.


THe force of the declared linke of ſucceſſion, is ſo manifeſt to a capable underſtanding, that being compared with any objection made againſt it, it will of it ſelfe maintain it's evidence, and bear down the greateſt oppoſitors and oppoſition, if the underſtanding be left unto it ſelfe, and not wreſted by the prejudice of a ſome wayes intereſſed will. Nevertheleſſe, there is a deeper root, which greatly ſtrengthens and reduceth into action, the former efficacity of the tradition. And this is, that Chriſtian doctrine is not a ſpeculative knowledge, inſtituted for delight of man to entertain his un­derſtanding, and hath no further end then the de­lectation which ariſeth out of contemplation; but11 it is an art of living, a rule of attaining unto eternall bliſſe, a practicall doctrine whoſe end is to informe our action, that our life and actions ſquared by her directions, may lead us to that great good, the which God Almighty eſteemed ſo highly of; that he thought it reaſon enough for himto ſhade his Divinity under the miſery of man, to make us partakers of ſo great a bliſſe. Hence it follow­eth, that no error can fall, even in a point which ſeemeth wholly ſpeculative in Chriſtian faith, but ſoone it breedeth a practicall effect, or rather de­fection in Chriſtian behaviour. What could ſeem more ſpeculative, then whether the ſecond, or third Perſons of the Trinity were truly or parti­cipately God? Yet no ſooner was an error broach­ed in theſe queſtions, but there followed a great alteration in Chriſtian action; in their Baptiſmes, in their manner of Prayer, in the motives of Love and Charity toward Almighty God, the very ground-work and foundation of all Chriſtian life. Whether man hath free-will or no, ſeemeth a queſtion, belonging to the nature of man, fit for a curious Phyloſopher; but upon the preaching of the negative part, preſently followed an unknowen Libertinage, men yeilding themſelves over to all concupiſcence, ſince they were perſwaded they had no power to reſiſt, free-will being denyed. I need not inſtance in prayer to Saints, worſhip­ing Images, prayer for the dead, and the like; which is evident, could not be changed without an apparent change in Chriſtian Churches. So that a doctrine contrary to faith, is like a diſeaſe,12 which although the cauſe be internall, yet cannot the effects and ſymptomes be kept from the out­ward parts and view of the world. The conſe­quence which this note draweth, is, that it is not poſſible, that any materiall point of Chriſtian faith can be changed, as it were by obreption, whilſt men are on ſleepe, but it muſt needs raiſe a great ſcandall and tumult in the Chriſtian Com­mon-weale. For ſuppoſe the Apoſtles had taught the world it were Idolatry to pray to Saints, or uſe reverence towards their Pictures: How can we imagine this honour brought in, without a ve­hement conflict and tumult, in a people which did ſo greatly abhor Idolatry, as the Apoſtles, Di­ſciples did? I might make the like inſtance in other points, if the whole Hiſtory of the Church did not conſiſt of the invaſions made by Here­tiques, and the great and moſt violent waving of the Church to and fro upon thoſe occaſions. We remember in a manner as yet, how change came into Germany, France, Scotland, and our own Country: Let thoſe be a ſigne to us, what we may thinke can be the creeping in of falſe doctrine; ſpecially, that there is no point of doctrine, con­trary to the Catholique Church, rooted in any Chriſtian Nation, that the Eccleſiaſticall Hiſtory does not mention the times and combats by which it entred, and tore the Church in peices.

Let it therefore remaine for moſt evidently conſtant, that into the Chriſtian Church can come no error, but it muſt be ſeen and noted, and raiſe ſcandall and oppoſition to ſhew it ſelfe (as truly it13 is) contrary to the nature of Piety and Religion.

And when it does come, it cannot draw after it any others, then ſuch as firſt deſert the root of Faith, and Anchor of Salvation, that is to be judged by what their fore-fathers taught them, and affirmed to have received from their Anceſtors, as the Faith which Chriſt and his Apoſtles delivered to the whole world of their time, and to ſuch as ever claime and maintaine the right of ſucceſſion, as rule of what they beleeve. Yet may this alſo be worthy of conſideration, that as in our naturall body, the principall parts are defended by Bones, Fleſh, Skinnes, and ſuch like defences, in ſuch ſort, that no outward Agent can come to offend them, before having annoyed ſome of theſe; ſo in the Catholique faith, there are in ſpeculation thoſe we call Theologicall concluſions, and other pious opinions; and in practiſe many Rites and Cere­monies, which ſtop the paſſage unto the maine principall parts of Chriſtian beleife and action. And about theſe we ſee daily ſuch great motions in the Catholique Church, that he muſt be very ignorant of the Spirit of God, which quickneth his Church, that can imagine any vitall part of his faith can be wounded while it lyes aſleep, and is inſenſible of the harm befalleth it; for as in any Science a prin­ciple cannot be miſtaken, but it muſt needs draw a great ſhoale of falſe conſequence upon it, and lame the whole Science, ſo never ſo little an error in faith can be admitted, but in other Tenets and Ceremonies it muſt needs make a great change, and innovation.



NOw let any diſcreet man conſider, what further evidence he can deſire, or peradventure, what greater aſſurance nature can afford, and not be of an awkward wilfulneſſe to aske, that which is not conformable to the lawes of nature? Much like unto him, who being ſate in a chaire far from the chimney, could not think of applying himſelfe to the fire, but was angry the fire and chimney were made ſo far from him. The Phyloſophers ſay, it is indiſciplinati ingenii to expect in any Art or Science more exactneſſe then the nature of it af­fordeth. As if a man would bind a Seaman, to goe ſo far every day, whether wind and weather ſerved or no: So in morall matters, and ſuch as are ſubject to humane action, we muſt expect ſuch aſſurance as humane actions, beare. If for the go­vernment of your ſpirituall life, you have as much as for the managing of your naturall and civill life, what can you expect more? Two or three wit­neſſes of men, beyond exception, will caſt a man out of, not onely his lands, but life and all. He that amongſt Merchants will not adventure, when there is a hundred to one of gaining well, will be accompted a ſilly Factor. And amongſt Soul­diers, he that will feare danger where but one of a hundred is ſlaine, ſhall not eſcape the ſtain of Cow­ardiſe. What then ſhall we expect in Religion, but to ſee a maine advantage on the one ſide, we15 may caſt our ſelves on? and for the reſt remem ber we are men, creatures ſubject to chance and mutability, and thank God he hath given us that aſſurance in a ſupernaturall way, which we are con­tent withall, in our naturall and civill ventures and poſſeſſions, which nevertheleſſe God knoweth we often love better, and would leſſe hazard then the unknowne good of the life to come. Yet perad­venture, God hath provided better for his Church then for Nature, ſince he loved her more, and in his own Perſon did more for her. Let us there­fore examine the aſſurance he hath left her parti­cularly. It was found in the ſecond Chapter, upon this principle, that ſo great a multitude of men as cleave to this ground (to have received their faith by tradition) could not conſpire by lying, to de­ceive their poſterity. And if I be not deceived, this principle being granted, the concluſion (that this preſent Church is the true) followeth in as ſevere a way of diſcourſe, as in Ariſtotles Organ is taught, and exemplified in Mathematicall Writers; whoſe uſe and art it is to put the like ſuppoſitions, whence to enduce ſomething out againſt their prin­ciple. As in the ſaid Chapter you are bidden, to put what yeare, or age ſuch an error entred, and it is evidently true, that if it be true, then that yeare or age conſpired to tell a lye to deceive their po­ſterity. And as for the ſtrength of their princi­ple it ſelfe (although no morall man can be ſo abſurd as to doubt of it) yet may we conſider, that the underſtanding being the part, which ma­keth man to be a man, and truth being the perfection16 of our underſtanding, and true ſpeech the effect, naturall to true knowledge, or underſtanding: It is cleare, that to ſpeak truth is as naturall a fruit of mans nature, as Peares of a Peare tree, Grapes of a Vine, Hony of the Bee: and that it can be no leſſe grafted in nature, for men to ſpeak truly, then it is in any other naturall cauſe to yeeld the fruit, for whoſe ſake nature bred the cauſe. Wherefore as the conſtancy of the effect ſheweth, that it hol­deth upon eternall principles, that no one ſpecies of perfect creatures can periſh, although we are not ſo skilfull of nature, as hanſomely to weave the demonſtration; ſo cannot it be doubted, but that if one had all the principles of mans nature well digeſted, he might demonſtratively deduce the impoſſibility, of (that ſuch multitudes of men ſhould conſpire to a lye) the variety of particu­lars, ever holding their being from a conſtancy and uniformity in the univerſall. Adde to this the notoriouſneſſe of the lye, ſuch as he is rarely found, that is, ſo wicked as to venture upon; be­ſides the greatneſſe of the ſubject, and of the dan­ger enſuing upon himſelfe, and his deareſt pledges. The ground therefore aſſumed, is a demonſtrative principle, and peradventure in a higher degree then moſt phyſicall principles be: For who knoweth not the nature of the ſoule, to be the higheſt thing Phyſicks can reach unto? Who knoweth not, that immateriall things are leſſe ſubject to mu­tability then thoſe which are grounded in matter? Then as more noble, and as more immateriall, it hath greater exemption from mutability, then17 any other naturall cauſe whatſoever. One addi­tion more, may chance to cleare the whole buſi­neſſe more fully. Nothing more cleare then that, no naturall cauſe faileth of his effect, without there be ſome impediment from a ſtronger. Now the impediments which hinder a man from ſpeaking truth, experience teacheth us, to be no other then hopes and feares. The ſame experience giveth us to know, that it is a rare thing, that hopes and feares ſhould comprehend ſo great multitudes, as are in the union of the Catholique Church, ſpecially during an age, which is the leaſt time neceſſary for the effect we ſpeak of; that what per­adventure might at one time be ill admitted, ſhould not be rejected at another. But if there were; can any man be ſo mad as to think, it could be a ſecret hope or feare, which ſhould not break our amongſt the poſterity, and be knowen, that what was done was not true, but counterfeited upon feare or intereſt, which if it were, a whole ages counterfeiting would not be ſufficient to make the poſterity beleeve, they had received ſuch a point of doctrine by tradition. Wherefore I doe not ſee, how this principle of tradition, and the do­ctrine received by it, can be accompted of leſſe certainty, then any Phyſicall demonſtration what­ſoever; or Faith upon this ground not as ſure as any naturall cauſe, as the courſe of Sunne and Moon, as the flowing and ebbing of the Sea, as the Summer and Winter, Sowing and Harveſt, and whatſoever we undoubtedly preſume upon the like nature, and kind.


The principle which is taken in the following Chapter, is of no leſſe force (if not of far better) to who rightly underſtandeth the nature of God his workes, whoſe courſe it is deeplier to root and ſtrengthen thoſe things which he would have moſt to flouriſh, or whereof he hath moſt care. Now Chriſtians well know, that God Almighty hath made mankind for his elect, as the world which is about us for mankind. And therefore he hath rooted thoſe things which more imme­diately belong to the Elect (as is his Church, his Faith, and Holy Spirit in it) more ſtrongly then the principles either of mans nature, or of, the world which was made for it: himſelfe aſſuring us of it, when he told us, One title ſhould not miſſe of the holy Writ, though Heaven and Earth ſhould be diſſolved. And ſo ſeeing the latter principle, relyed upon the not failing of Gods Holy Spirit to his Church, which ſhould ever watch upon their actions, that nothing ſhould creep into Chri­ſtian life, which perſently the zeale of his faith­full ſhould not ſtartle at. I think it needleſſe to ſeek to further qualifie the ſtrength of that part, which receiveth it from the quality of ſo good a workman as was the Holy Ghoſt.



I Doubt not but whoſoever ſhall have received ſa­tisfaction in the diſcourſe paſſed, will alſo have received in that point we ſeeke after; that is in be­ing aſſured both that Chriſt hath left a Director in the world, and where to find him, there being left no doubt, but it is his holy Church upon earth. Nor can there be any queſtion, which is this Church, ſithence there is but one that doth and can lay claime, to have received from hand to hand his holy doctrine in writings and hearts. Others may cry loud, they have found it, but they muſt firſt confeſſe it was loſt: and ſo if they have, it was not received by hands, I meane, as far as it diſagreeth with Catholique doctrine; ſo that where there is not ſo much as claime, there can be no diſpute. And that this Church is a lawfull directreſſe, that is, hath the conditions requiſite, I think can no wayes be doubted. Let us conſider in her, preſence, or viſibility, authority, power. As for the firſt, her multitude and ſucceſſion, makes the Church if ſhe is ever acceſſible, ever knowen. The Arrians ſeemed to chaſe her out of the world in their flouriſh, but the perſecution moved againſt her, made her even then well known and admired. In our owne Countrey we have ſeen no Biſhop, no forme of Church for many yeares; yet never ſo, but that the courſe of juſtice did proclaime her through England, and who was20 curious could never want meanes to come to know her confeſſion of faith what it is, and upon what it is grounded. Whereſoever ſhe is, if in peace, her Majeſty and Ceremonies in all her actions, make her ſpectable and admired. If in war, ſhe never wanteth Champions to maintain her, and the very heat of her adverſaries, makes her known to ſuch as are deſirous to underſtand the truth of a matter ſo important, as is the eternall welfare of our ſoule.

For Authority: her very claime of antiquity and ſucceſſion (to have been that Church which received her beginning from Chriſt and his A­poſtles, and never forewent it, but hath ever main­tained it) giveth a great reverence unto her amongſt thoſe, who beleeve her, and amongſt thoſe, who with indifferency and love of truth, ſeek to inform them­ſelves; a great prejudice above others: For it draw­eth a greater likelyhood of truth, then others have. And if it be true, it carrieth an infinite authority with it, of Biſhops, Doctors, Martyrs, Saint, miracles, learning, wiſedome, venerable antiquity, and the like: that if a prudent man ſhould ſit with himſelfe and conſider, that if he were to chuſe what kind of one he would have it, to carry away the hearts of men towards the admiration and love of God Almighty, he could find nothing wanting in this, that could be maintained with the fluxibility of nature. For to ſay, he would have no wicked men in it, were to ſay, he would have it made of Angels and not of Men.

There remaineth Power: the which no man21 can doubt but Chriſt hath given it moſt ample, who conſidereth his words ſo often repeated to his Apoſtles. But (abſtracting from that) who doth not ſee, that the Church hath the nature and proportion of ones Country, unto every one? As in a mans Country, he hath Father, and Mo­ther, Brothers, Siſters, Kinsfolkes, Allyes, Neigh­bours, and Country-men, which anciently were called Cives, or Concives, and of theſe are made his Country; ſo in the Church findeth he in way of ſpirituall inſtruction and education, all theſe degrees neerer and farther off, until he come unto that further moſt of being, of all united under the univerſall Government of Chriſt his Vicar: And as he in his Countrey findeth bearing, breeding, ſettling in eſtates and fortunes, and laſtly protecti­on and ſecurity; ſo likewiſe in the way of Chri­ſtianity doth he find this more fully in the Church: ſo that if it be true, that a man oweth more unto his Maſter then unto his Father, becauſe bene eſſe is better then eſſe: certainly a man alſo (as far as Church and Country can be ſeparated) muſt owe more to the Church then to his very Country; wherefore likewiſe the power which the Church hath to command and inſtruct, is greater then the power of the temporall Country, and community, whereof he is part; Againe, this Church can ſa­tisfie learned and unlearned. For in matters above the reach of reaſon, whoſe ſource and ſpring is from what Chriſt and his Apoſtles taught, what learned man, that underſtands the nature of ſcience and method, can refuſe in his inmoſt ſoule to bow22 to that which is teſtified by ſo great a multitude, to have come from Chriſt: And what unlearned man can require more for his faith, then to be taught by a Miſtreſſe of ſo many prerogatives and advantages above all others? Or how can he think to be quieted in conſcience, if he be not content to fare as ſhe doth, who hath this prero­gative, evident that none is ſo likely by thouſands of degrees.


THe ſtemme and body of our poſition thus raiſed, will of it ſelfe ſhoot out the branches of divers Queſtions, or rather the ſolution thereof.

And firſt, How it hapned that diverſe Heretiques have pretended tradition (the Millenarians, Car­pocratians, Gnoſtiaks, and divers others) yet they with their traditions have been rejected, and the holy Church left onely in claime of tradition?

For if we look into, what Catholique tradition is, and what the ſaid Heretiques pretended, under the name of Tradition, the queſtion will remain voided. For the Catholique Church calleth Tradition, that doctrine which was publikely preached in the Churches, ordred and planted in the manners and cuſtomes of the Church. The Heretiques called Tradition a kind of ſecret do­ctrine, either gathered out of private converſation with the Apoſtles, or rather they pretended that the Apoſtles, beſides what they publikely taught23 the world, had another private or myſticall way proper to Schollers, more endeared then the reſt, which came not to publike view, but was in hug­germugger delivered from thoſe ſecret Diſciples unto others, and ſo unto them; where it is eaſily ſeen, what difference there is betwixt this Catho­lique Tradition and this pretended. For (the force and energie of tradition reſiding in the mul­titudes of hearers, and being planted in the perpe­tuall action, and life of Chriſtians, ſo that it muſt have ſuch a publicity that it cannot be unknown amongſt them.) Thoſe the Heretiques pretend both manifeſtly, want the life and being of tradi­tions, and by the very great report of them loſe all authority and name. For, ſuppoſe ſome pri­vare doctrine of an Apoſtle to ſome Diſciple, ſhould be publiſhed and recorded by that Diſciple, and ſome others, this might well be a truth, but would never obtain the force of a Catholique po­ſition, that is, ſuch as it ſhould be damnation to reject, becauſe the deſcent from the Apoſtle is not notorious, and fitting to ſway the body of the whole Church.

The Second Queſtion may be, How it commeth to paſſe, that ſomething which at firſt bindeth not the Churches beleef, afterward commeth to bind it? For if it were ever a Tradition it muſt ever be pub­lique, and bind the Church: And if once it were not, it appeareth not how ever it could come to be; for if this age, (for example) hath it not, how can it deliver it over to the next age that followeth?

But if we conſider, that the hope of Chriſtian do­ctrine24 being great, and the Apoſtles preaching in ſo great varietie of Countries, it might happen ſome point in one Countrie to have been leſſe un­derſtood, or peradventure not preached at all, which in another was often preached, and well both un­derſtood and retained, we may eaſily free our ſelves from theſe brambles. For the Spirit of Tradi­tion reſiding in this, that the teſtimony of that, the Apoſtles delivered this Doctrine be exceptione majus, and beyond all danger of deceit; It is not neceſſa­ry to the efficaciouſneſs of Tradition, that the whole univerſall Church be witneſſe to ſuch a truth, but ſo great a part as could be a Warrant againſt mi­ſtaking and deceit; ſo that if all the Churches of A­ſia, or Greece, or Aphrique, or Egypt, ſhould con­ſtantly affirm ſuch a Doctrine to have been deli­vered unto them by the Apoſtles, it were enough to make a Doctrine exceptione majorem: Whence it inſueth that if in a meeting of the Univerſall Church it were found that ſuch a part had ſuch a Tradition, concerning ſome matter, whereof the reſt either had no knowledge or no certainty, ſuch a Doctrine would paſſe into a neceſſary bond in the whole Church, which before was either un­known or doubted of in ſome part thereof. A likely example thereof might be in the Canonicall bookes, the which being written ſome to one Church, and ſome to another, by little and little were ſpread from thoſe Churches unto others, and ſo ſome ſooner, ſome later, received into the conſtant beleife of the Catholique world.


The Third queſtion may be, How (Chriſtian religion, conſiſting in ſo many points) it is poſsible to be kept incorrupted by tradition, the which de­pending on memory, and our memory being ſo fraile, and ſubject to variation, it ſeemeth, cannot without manifeſt miracle, conſerve ſo great diverſity of points unchanged, for ſo many ages?

But if we conſider, that Faith is a Science, and Science a thing whoſe parts are ſo connexed, that if one be falſe, all muſt needs be falſe, we ſhall eaſily ſee that contrarily; the multitude of divers points is a conſervation the one to the other. For, if one be certaine, it of it ſelfe is able to bring us to the right in another, whereof we doubt. And as in a mans body, if he wanteth one member, or the operation of it, he muſt needs find the want of it in another: And as a Com­mon-wealth that is well ordained, cannot miſſe any office or part, without the redounding of the deſſect upon the whole, or ſome other part; ſo a Chriſtian, being an eſſence inſtituted by God, as ſpecially as any naturall creature, hath not the parts of his faith and action by accident and chance knitted together, but all parts by a naturall order, and will of the Maker, ordred for the conſervation of the moſt inward eſſence, which is the charity we owe to God, and our Neighbour. Where­fore Chriſtian life and action conſiſteth but upon one main tradition, whoſe parts be thoſe particu­lars, which men ſpecifie, either in matter of Be­leefe or Action: So that this connextion of its parts amongſt themſelves, added to the Spirit26 of God, ever conſerving zeale in the heart of his Church, with thoſe helpes alſo of nature (where­with we ſee wonders in this kind done) will ſhew this conſervation to be ſo far from impoſ­ſibility, that it will appeare a moſt con-naturall and fitting thing. Let us but conſider, it con­ſtant nations, their language, their habits, their manners of ſacrificing, eating, generally living; how long it doth continue amongſt them. See that forlorne nation of Jewes, how conſtantly it maintaineth the Scripture? how obſtinately their errors? The Arabians of the deſert, from Iſmael his time unto this day, live in families, wandring about the deſert. Where Chriſtians labour to convert Idolaters, they find the maine and onely argument for their errors, that they received them from their fore-fathers, and will not quit them. The King of Socotora, thinking to pleaſe the Por­tugals by reducing a nation, that had the name of Chriſtians, to true Chriſtianity, he found them obſtinately proteſt unto him, that they would ſooner loſe their lives, then part with the religion their Anceſtors had left them. The Maronites, a ſmall handfull of people, amongſt Turks and Heretiques, to this day have maintained their re­ligion in Siria. And certainly thouſands of ex­amples of this kind may be collected in all Na­tions and Countries; eſpecially, if they be either rude, and ſuch as mingle not with others, or ſuch as be wiſe, and out of wiſedome ſeek to maintaine their ancient beleefe. And Catholiques are of both natures: For they have ſtrict commands,27 not to come to the Ceremonies and Rites of other religions, and in their own, they have all meanes imaginable to affect them to it, and conſerve a re­verence and zeale towards it.


TO come at length to the principall aime of this Treatiſe, that is, to give an anſwer to him that demandeth a guide at my hands. I remit him to the moderne preſent viſible Church of Rome, that is, her, who is in an externe ſenſible commu­nion with the externe ſenſible Clergy of Rome, and the externe ſenſible Head and Paſtour of the Church. If he aske me now, how he ſhall know her? (I ſuppoſe he meaneth, how he ſhould know her to be the true) I muſt contreinterrogate him, who he is? that is, in whoſe name he ſpea­keth? Is he an ignorant man? Is he unlearned? yet of good underſtanding in the world? Is he a Scholler? and what Scholler? A Gramarian, whoſe underſtanding hath no other helpe then of languages? Is he a Phyloſopher? Is he a Di­vine? (I meane an Academicall one, for a true Divine is to teach, not to aske this queſtion:) Is he a Stateſman? For he who can think one anſwer, can or ought be made to all theſe; may likewiſe expect, that a round bowle may ſtop a ſquare hole, or one cauſe produce all effects, and hang lead at his heels to fly withall. Yet I deny not, but all theſe muſt have the ſame guide,28 though they are to be aſſured of, that in divers ſorts and manners. If therefore the ignorant man ſpeaketh, I will ſhew him in the Church of God an excellencie in decencie, Majeſtie of Cere­monies above all other Sects and Religions, where­by dull capacities are ſweetly enſnared, to beleeve the truth they hear, from whom they ſee to have the outward Signs of vertue and devotion. If the unlearned ask; I ſhew him the claim of Antiquitie, the multitude, the advantages of ſanctity and learn­ing, the juſtifiableneſs of the cauſe, how the world was once in this accord, and thoſe who oppoſed, when they firſt parted, firſt began the Schiſm; how the points of difference be ſuch as on the Catholike ſide help devotion, and on the contrary diminiſh the ſame, and ſuch like ſenſible differences which will clearly ſhew a main advantage on the Catholike ſide, which is the proportionall motive to his un­derſtanding: To the Grammarian I will give two Memorandums.

Firſt, that ſeeing Catholiques were firſt in poſ­ſeſſion both of the Scriptures and the interpretati­ons, the adverſe part is bound to bring ſuch places as can receive no probable Expoſition by the Ca­tholikes. It is not ſufficient that their Expoſi­tions ſeem good or better; that is, more confor­mable unto the Text, but they muſt be evincent, to which no ſo ſound anſwer, even with ſome impro­priety can be given. For who knoweth not, that is converſant in Criticks, how many obſcure, and difficult places occurre in moſt plain Authors: and the Scripture of all Books (the greater part of29 the men who wrote them, ſpecially the new Teſta­ment, being not eloquent, and writing not in their native tongue) for the moſt part are ſubject to many Improprieties.

The other Memorandum is, That to prove a Catholike point by Scripture, it is ſufficient that the place brought, do bear the Explication the Ca­tholike beareth, and if it be more probable by the very letter, it is an evincent place. The reaſon is, Becauſe the Queſtion being about a Chriſtian Law, the Axioms of the Juriſts taketh place that Conſuetudo optima interpres Legis. So that if it be manifeſt that Chriſtian practiſe (which was before the controverſie) be for the one ſenſe, and the words be tolerable, no force of Grammar can prevail to equalize this advantage. The Gram­marian therefore who will obſerve theſe rules, I turn him looſe to the Scriptures, and Fathers to ſeek in them what is the faith of Chriſt, and pro­perties, of his Church to know her by. Of the the Philoſopher I exact to go like a Philoſo­pher, and to ſearch out the pecificall differences of every Sect, and when he hath found them, if any one but the Catholike hath any rule of Faith and good life: which I remit to him to enquire? But at leaſt when he hath found the Catholiques to be this claim of Tradition before declared, then, if this doe not bring him as demonſtratively, as he knoweth any concluſion in Philoſophie, and Mathematicks, to the notice that this is the only true Church of Chriſt, for my part I ſhall quit him before God and man. The Divine if he hath tru­ly30 underſtood the principles of his Faith in the nature of a Divine (I mean, Trinity, Incarnation, Redemption, Euchariſt, Beatitude, the Creation and Diſſolution of the World) and hath ſeen the ex­act conformitie with the deepeſt principles of na­ture, with an unſpeakable wiſedome of the contri­ver: If he does not plainly confeſſe it was above the nature of man to frame the Catholike-Religi­on, and ſeeth not that onely, that is conformable to nature and it ſelfe; I ſay, he hath no ground ſuf­ficient to be of it. At laſt, the Stateſman who is truly informed of the Church, (how far it is really of Chriſts Inſtitution, and what either pious men have added, or peradventure, ambitious men encroach­ed,) If he does not find a government of ſo high and Exotick ſtrain, that neither mans wit would dare to have attempted it, neither mans power could poſſibly have effected it. If he findeth not eminent helpes, and no diſadvantage to the temporall go­vernment, I ſhall think there wanteth one Star in the Heaven of the Church, to direct theſe Sages to Bethlehem. But if God Almighty hath in all ſorts and manners provided his Church, that ſhe may enlighten every man in his way, which go­eth the way of a man; then let every man con­ſider, which is the fit way for himſelfe, and what in other matters of that way he accompteth evi­dence. And, if there be no intereſt in his ſoule, to make him loath to beleeve, what in another matter of the like nature he would not ſtick at, or heavy to practiſe what he ſeeth clearly enough, I feare not his choice; but if God ſend him time31 and meanes to proſecute his ſearch any indifferent while, it is long ago known of what religion he is to be of

After this followeth no order of Chapters, becauſe it is applied to the diſcourſe which was occaſion of it.

Although if what is already be not ſatisfaction unto the writing, and the Author thereof, (for whoſe ſake and contentment, all that hath been diſ­courſed hitherto, hath been ſet down:) I confeſſe, that I have not ability to give him ſatisfaction: yet leaſt it ſhould be interpreted neglect, If I did not make an application of it unto the writing, I ſhall as breifly as I can, for avoiding tediouſ­neſſe, runne over the diſcourſe. And true it is, ſpeaking of the Church of Rome, as this day it is the true Church of God: I anſwer the doubter, ſhe neither hath, nor can have any error, which he need to feare, and be ſhye of. The which two limitations I adde, for avoiding queſtions, impertinent to our diſcourſe. The firſt, for thoſe which are concerning the connection of the Sea of Rome to the univerſall Church. The lat­ter, to avoid ſuch queſtions as touch that point, whether the Church may erre, in any Phyloſo­phicall or other ſuch like matter? which queſti­ons are not ſo pertinent to our matter.

Neither doe I remit the Queſtioner unto Scrip­ture for his ſatisfaction, although I hold Scrip­ture32 a very ſufficient meanes, to ſatisfie the man, who goeth to it with that preparation of under­ſtanding and will, which is meet and required. Howſoever this I may anſwer, for them who prove it out of Scripture, that becauſe they diſpute againſt them who admit of Scripture, and deny the authority of the Church, if they can convince it, they doe well; though they will not them­ſelves admit generally of a proofe our of Scrip­ture, as not able to prove every thing in foro con­tentioſo.

That they ſay, the Church is made infallible, that we may have ſome guide, I think it very rationall. For nature hath given ever ſome ſtrong and uncontroulable principle in all natures to guide the reſt. The Common-wealth hath a Governour not queſtionable, our underſtanding hath ſome principles, which ſhe cannot judge, but by them judgeth of all other verities. If there ſhould not be ſome ſuch principle in the Church, it were the onely maimed thing God had created; and maimed in its principall part, in the very head. And if there be ſuch a principle, the whole Church is infallible by that, as the whole man ſeeth by his eyes, toucheth by his hands. Neither can I deny, but that the Author well excepteth, or aſſumeth, that there is no leſſe neceſſity, the Church ſhould be known to be infallible, or which is this Church, then that there is one. For if I ſhould admit abſolutely, that it is neceſſary for every man to know the Church is Infallible, precedently to the knowledge of which is the true Church, I ſhould33 forget what I had before ſaid, that ſatisfaction is to be given to every one, according to his capa­city. It is ſufficient for a Childe to beleeve his Parents, for a Clown to beleeve his Preacher, about the Churches Infallibility. For Faith is given to mankind, to be a meanes to him of be­leeving, and living like a Chriſtian: and ſo he hath this ſecond, it is not much matter in what termes he be with the firſt. The good women and Clownes in Italy, and Spaine, trouble not themſelves to ſeek the grounds of their faith, but with a Chriſtian ſimplicity, ſeek to live according unto that their Preachers tell them; and without queſtion, by perſeverance, come to the happineſſe, great Clearks by too much ſpeculation may faile of. Such therefore know no otherwiſe the In­fallibility of the Church, then becauſe ſhe telleth it them, to whom they give credit, as innocently as any child to his Mother.

The Church therefore was made infallible, becauſe ſo it was fitting for her Maker, ſo it was fitting for her ſelfe, ſo it was fit for that part of mankind, that had more refined wits; not becauſe it was neceſſary for every one which was to come to her, or live in her, whereof the greateſt part firſt commeth to her, drawn by ſome of the meanes before delivered, and beleeveth her about her infallibility.

Neither doe I remit him to a generall and con­ſtant tradition, as if himſelfe ſhould climbe up every age by learned Writers, and find it in every one. I take it to be impoſſible. Teſtimonies34