Page images
PDF
EPUB

the infallibility of the church confession, and praying for the dead.

These were great discoveries to be made so easily; considering how those of the church of Rome, who have been most versed in these matters, have found it so difficult to make them out from thence.

(1.) As to the real presence, as it is in the dispute between us and the church of Rome, it implies the real and substantial change of the elements into the body and blood of Christ. But where do our Saviour's words, in calling the sacrament his body and blood, imply any such thing? The wisest persons of the church of Rome have confessed, that the bare words of our Saviour can never prove it; but there needs the authority of the church to interpret them in that sense. How then could she so easily find out that, which their most learned men could not? But there is nothing goes so far in such discoveries as a willing mind.

(2.) As to confession, no doubt the word is often used in scripture, and therefore easily found. But the question between us is not about the usefulness, or advantage, of confession in particular cases; but the necessity of it in all cases, in order to remission of sins. And I can hardly believe any bishop of our church would ever say to her, that confession, in this sense, was ever commanded by God; for then he must be damned himself, if he did not confess every known sin to a priest. But some general expressions might be used, that confession of sin was commanded by God;“confess your sins one to another:" but here is nothing of a particular confession to a priest necessary, in order to forgiveness of sin.

(3.) As to praying for the dead, it is hard to find any place of scripture which seems to have any

tendency that way, unless it be with respect to the day of judgment, and that very doubtfully. But how came this great person to think it not possible to be saved in our church, unless we prayed for the dead? How did this come to be a point of salvation? And, for the practice of it, she saith, the bishops told her they did it daily. Whether they did it or not, or in what sense they did it, we cannot now be better informed; but we are sure this could be no argument for her to leave the communion of our church, because she was told by these bishops they did it, and continued in the communion of it.

(4.) Lastly; as to the infallibility of the church; if this

, as applied to the Roman church, could be any where found in scripture, we should then indeed be to blame not to submit to all the defini. tions of it. But where is this to be found? Yes, Christ hath promised to be with his church to the . end of the world; not with his church, but with his apostles: And if it be restrained to them, then the end of the world is no more than always. But suppose it be understood of the successors of the apostles; were there none but at Rome? How comes this promise to be limited to the church of Rome; and the bishops of Antioch and Alexandria, and all the other eastern churches (where the bishops as certainly succeeded the apostles as at Rome itself) not to enjoy the equal benefit of this promise? But they who can find the infallibility of the church of Rome in scripture, need not despair of finding whatever they have a mind to there.

But from this promise she concludes, that our Saviour would not permit the church to give the laity the communion in one kind, if it were not lawful so to do. Now, in my opinion, the argu: ment is stronger the other way : the church of

Rome forbids the doing of that, which Christ enjoined; therefore it cannot be infallible, since the command of Christ is so much plainer than the promise of infallibility to the church of Rome.

But, from all these things laid together, I can see no imaginable reason of any force to conclude, that she could not think it possible to save her soul otherwise, than by embracing the communion of the church of Rome: And the public will receive this advantage by these papers, that thereby it appears, how very little is to be said by persons of the greatest capacity, as well as place, either against the church of England, or for the church of Rome.

A

DEFENCE OF THE PAPER

WRITTEN BY

THE DUCHESS OF YORK,

AGAINST THE ANSWER MADE TO IT.

I DARE appeal to all unprejudiced readers, and especially to those who have any sense of piety, whether, upon perusal of the Paper written by her late highness the Duchess, they have not found in it somewhat which touched them to the very soul; whether they did not plainly and perfectly discern in it the spirit of meekness

, devotion, and sincerity, which animates the whole discourse; and whether the reader be not satisfied, that she who writ it has opened her heart without disguise, so as not to leave a scruple, that she was not in earnest. I am sure I can say, for my own particular, that when I read it first in manuscript, I could not but consider it as a discourse extremely moving; plain, without artifice, and discovering the piety of the soul from which it flowed. Truth has a Truth has a language to itself

, which it is impossible for hypocrisy to imitate: dissimulation could never write so warmly, nor

with so much life. What less than the spirit of primitive Christianity could have dictated her words? The loss of friends, of worldly honours and esteem, the defamation of ill tongues, and the reproach of the cross-all these, though not without the strugglings of flesh and blood, were surmounted by her; as if the saying of our Saviour were always sounding in her ears, “What will it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his soul!"

I think I have amplified nothing in relation either to this pious lady, or her discourse : I am sure I need not. And now let any unbiassed and indifferent reader compare the spirit of the answerer with hers. Does there not manifestly appear in him a quite different character? Need the reader be informed, that he is disingenuous, foul-mouthed, and shuffling; and that, not being able to answer plain matter of fact, he endeavours to evade it by suppositions, circumstances, and conjectures; like a cunning barreter of law, who is to manage a single cause, the dishonesty of which he cannot otherwise support than by defaming his adversary ? Her only business is, to satisfy her friends of the inward workings of her soul, in order to her conversion, and by what methods she quitted the religion in which she was educated. He, on the contrary, is not satisfied, unless he question the integrity of her proceedings, and the truth of her plain relations, even so far as to blast, what in him lies, her blessed memory, with the imputation of forgery and deceit; .as if she had given a false account, not only of the passages in her soul, and the agonies of a troubled conscience, only known to God and to herself, but also of the discourses which she had with others concerning those disquiets. Everywhere the lie is to be cast upon her, either directly, in the words of the bishop of Winchester, which

VOL. XVII.

« EelmineJätka »