Page images

ture, by his scurrilous misinterpretation of it. For as the wise man said, “ To fear God, is wisdom,” (or true learning) and “ to depart from iniquity, that is « a good understanding;” and as Jesus Christ said, “ They that do my will, shall know of my doctrine." How then can the Papists infer from hence, that the fcriptures are imperfect, in the more fundamental points of faith and worship? Can it be the word of God, and yet wanting sufficiency?

A free general council is a monster, in the Romilh church! How dare they talk such language here in England, who know the severity of the Jesuits and Popish faction against it beyond the seas? What meant those ill resentments against White and Serjeant of England, and Welch of Ireland, in Rome, if this latitudinarian or new kind of popery had not disgusted? Nor can I take it for an instance of their return; but as the next best step to the exorbitancy of popith infallibility:

What should a council be called for? That principles should be received or disowned? Then must a general council give faith, and understanding; or else men must be concluded to believe against their belief, by plurality of votes: a thing ridiculous, with half-witted people. If God's grace, and the scripture record, be not sufficient, reason and experience tell us that general councils are much more insufficient. Besides, this were to usher in all kind of impiety: for whatever interest in the general council (as that of Trent) concludes as requisite to be received or done, that must indispensably be obeyed: so that the moral or doctrinal good or evil of an act, or principle (in and from a man's own judgment) shall not be obliging ; but he must be bound against his own sense, reason, and faith.

The sense of antiquity, and their own authors. Their pretence of using tradition for a necessary supply to the defects of the scriptures, is a mere jug


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

gle; since they only evade the clearness of the one, to Ihroud their defective doctrines under the abused antiquity of the other. For it is well known, that by their “ Expurgatory indices,” they have endeavoured to purge the works of the first fathers, of such matters as might make to the overthrow of their superstitious doctrines. This is evident out of Junius, in the case of Bertram, elder than Theophylact, Oecumenius, &c. Bellarmine himself sticks not to allow it, but shifts it off to an Arian.

This may be farther feen, in the collection Binius made of the fathers, pag. 28. 2. edit. an. 221. In short, whole sentences are put out, and whole sentences put in. Much might be said of this, but in my other discourse I shall enlarge.

And what they mean by a free general council, we may read in the council of Trent, whose simony and cheats outdo all precedents.—Besides, these men little dream of one Turrecremata, that in so many words tells us, The Pope is the foundation, rule, and prin• ciple of FAITH:' (which is God's gift) · for to him sit belongs,' says that doctor, 'to be the measure,

rule, and science of things that are to be believed, cand of things which are necessary to be believed un< to life eternal.' Turrecrem. lib. 2. cap. 107. This is the sting. Consider the pope's intereft ; and what that is, such will be his impositions : horrible Navery, and most unpardonable idolatry! For as he can make a new creed, or symbol of faith, so he can multiply new articles one upon another, says, Aug. Triumphus extravag. de Urb. Qu. 59. Art. 2.

Salmeron Prolog. in com. in Epift. ad Rom. part 3. p. 176,

II. Of


Hæref. lib. 1. cap. 23. It is forbidden to us to use

that deceitful art,' said Clemens Alexandrinus, more than 1300 years ago, lib. 6. Strom. The pictures of what was worshipped were prohibited to be painted on the walls, or that there should be any images in churches (so called.) Thus in the council of Eliberis, Placuit piłturas in ecclefiâ elle non debere ; ne quod colitur, aut adoratur, in parietibus depingatur, Con. 36. So August. de Morib. Ecclef. lib. i. cap. 24.

III. Of Justification of MERITS.

Papilt. W

E firmly believe that no force of na

ture, nor dignity of our best works, can merit justification; but we are justified freely • by grace, through the redemption that is in Christ « Jesus.'

Answ. The Roman Catholick is so far from firmly believing what he says, that upon his own avowed principles he believes nothing firmly. Can any fober person think, that to be justified for the sake of works, is to be justified by grace? If so, contradictions are most reconcileable, and darkness may not unaptly be termed light. This is the very case that Paul of old strenuously argued against the meritorians of his time, “ If of grace, then not of works; if of works, then « not of grace.”

It is to mock the world to say, "That Romanists ' expect to be justified by grace,' who have for ages impieaded that doctrine, as dangerous and heretical. Bellarmine, in his discourse of this point, is most plain, and more modern authors follow his steps. But they say,

Papift. 'All other merits (according to our sense of that word) signify no more than actions done by the assistance of God's grace, to which he has promised a reward. Thus we believe the merit or re

( wardableness

wardableness of holy living (both which signify the same with us) arises nor from the self-value even of our best-actions, as they are ours, but from the grace and bounty of God.'

Answ. Methinks these men are run to a narrow frait, who venture to reconcile merits and grace: they cannot wholly be divorced from merits, and yet would they fain espouse grace; and by seeking to wed both, they do not a little manifest their own palliated designs: for either they must confess themselves, and all their ancestors most ignorant persons, that they could never find any distinction betwixt merit and grace before; or else they would retain the force of their meritorious opinions, under their more general concession of God's grace: a way of evading, they are not a little skilled at.

Nor is there less difference betwixt merit and rewardableness, as they phrase it, than betwixt the middle and the end. Grace and merit, as stated by Calvinists, and Papifts, are taken for “ faith without

works,” and “ works without faith ;” like the two poles : doctrines the most opposite. Now rewardableness is neither ; but something in the middle; and indeed the most true : for grace is a free gift, requiring nothing: merit is a work proportioned to the wages: rewardableness is a work without which God will not beltow his favour, and yet not the meritorious cause; for that there is no proportion betwixt the work, that is finite and temporary, and the reward, which is infinite and eternal : in which sense both the creature obeys the commands of God, and does not merit, but obtain only, and God rewards the creature, and yet so as that he gives too. But the Papists are very far from this medium; and their shuffling this doctrine of merit betwixt grace and rewardableness, only shews how unwilling they are to venture it in the plain field, and not that any thing of resemblance is betwixt it and them, they being of three distinct natures and significations.


[ocr errors][ocr errors]


Besides, it is wretched to think by what ways the abufed Romanists fancy to merit justification; not by keeping the moral law (as we shall shew anon); not by fulfilling the evangelical precepts; but by their vain repetitions of their Ave Maria's, beads, fasts, < feasts, holy days, adoration of images, frequenting • of masses, praying to the dead; invoking the Virgin • Mary for her intercession; figning themselves with • the crofs; abstaining from Aesh, and priests from

marriage; by perpetrating some notorious fact for

the good of their church, whether by killing a • prince, or blowing up a state.' These, and the like practices (ftrange and exotic to the primitive and Christian faith and worship) are the grand motives to justification; and sometimes they have gone so high, as to deserve a canonizing at Rome itself. Thus briefly have I given an account of their merits of juftification,

IV. Of the Holy EUCHARIST.

[ocr errors]

Papift. I

[ocr errors][merged small]

N the holy eucharist, or moft venerable

« facrament of the body and blood of our • Lord; we acknowledge that there are, as in all • other facraments, two things: the visible fign, < which is the forms of bread and wine, to which no « Catholic may, or doth, direct his worship. There is also invisible grace signified, the body of our • Lord; whom, being present, we worship with all * poffible reverence for so great a blessing, warranted « herein by our Blessed Lord himself in two of the

[merged small][ocr errors]

• gospels.'

Answ. Above all other instances, this is the most pregnant for defence of our assertion ; namely, That either these men have relinquished their old doctrine, or else they go about to put the trick upon us. We hear no word at all of transubstantiation herein, the most sacred of their mysterious absurdities, but what


« EelmineJätka »