Selected quad for the lemma: cause_n

Word A Word B Word C Word D Occurrence Frequency Band MI MI Band Prominent
cause_n church_n schism_n separation_n 4,536 5 11.0940 5 true
View all documents for the selected quad

Text snippets containing the quad

ID Title Author Corrected Date of Publication (TCP Date of Publication) STC Words Pages
A75279 A vindication of the Church of England from the foul aspersions of schism and heresie unjustly cast upon her by the Church of Rome. In two parts Altham, Michael, 1633-1705. 1687 (1687) Wing A2935A; ESTC R229441 47,990 70

There are 8 snippets containing the selected quad. | View lemmatised text

disturbed and their Communion rent and shattered if not dissolved by evil Members As for the former viz. the Civil State when by some factious and seditious Members Feuds and Animosities are somented and by that means the Unity is broken and the Body divided into several Parties then doth it labour under a dangerous Schism We have an eminent instance hereof in Holy Writ 1 Kings 12. v. 16. The Ten Tribes of Israel being violently rent and torn from the House of David in the days of Reboboam Nor are we without as great an instance in our own memories and in this Kingdom But this is not the Schism we are now to treat of As for the other viz. the Ecclesiastical State it is no less subject to it than the Civil And hath been so much pestered therewith that from the first foundation thereof untill this day we can hardly name a time I am sure no long time in which it did ever enjoy perfect Peace and Tranquillity How much the Church of God is broken and divided and crumbled into parties and factions at this day is but too apparent and who can look upon those wounds and bruises which she hath received thereby without melting into tears and being overwhelmed with grief and sorrow How great and crying their sin is who have been the occasion thereof they will one day find and severely suffer for it unless with the tears of true and unfeigned Repentance they do in time wash off the guilt of it and by that means find favour with God. I pray God give us all grace seriously to consider what share we have in the Church's Sufferings and in our several places to make it our great and only business to restore Peace and Unity thereunto SECT II. Of Schism in the Church THIS is the Crime which by our Adversaries is laid to our charge and this is that which I have undertaken to vindicate the Church of England from And it is high time to doe it for on that account they begin to look very scornfully upon us and esteem us no better than Heathens and Publicans And we are roundly told that whilst our Schism subsists uncleared it is to no purpose to enter into debate with us about any particular points of Doctrine nor are we to be hearkned to in any particular Controversie But if a bare accusation without proof be a sufficient Conviction they may doe well to look to themselves for there are those who will not stick to charge them with the same Crime and perhaps upon better grounds than they charge us and if so then their Argument may be retorted upon themselves But I do not think a bare Re-crimination sufficient either to clear us or burthen them and therefore I have chosen another method viz. by laying open the Nature of Schism and stating the Notion of it in so large plain and comprehensive terms that it may easily be applyed to those who are guilty of it And in pursuance of this method I shall now present you with a Definition of Schism Definition of Schism Schism is a voluntary and causeless Separation from the Communion of a Christian Church of which we are Members This I take to be as large and comprehensive a Definition of Schism as they can justly require By this we are willing to be tryed and if found guilty to submit to the Censure due to Schismaticks and would willingly hope though as yet we have no great reason for it that our Adversaries will be so ingenuous too To put the matter therefore upon trial I shall take this Definition in pieces and having laid the several parts before you proceed to discourse of them severally 1. Schism is a Separation i. e. a breach of Unity and dividing of some well compacted Body 2. It is a Separation from a Christian Church i. e. from such a Society between which and us there either is or ought to be a Religious Union and Conjunction for between Christians and Jews or Turks there can be no Schism because they are not joyned together in any Religious Society 3. It is a Separation from the Communion of that Church in Faith Worship and Government under that Notion as they are bonds of Communion 4. It is a voluntary and causeless Separation i. e. being neither forced thereunto nor having any sufficient cause or ground for so doing 5. It is a Separation from that Church of which we are Members i. e. which hath a jurisdiction over us and to which we owe subjection and obedience SECT III. I. Schism is a Separation THE word Schism naturally imports a Separation and the word Separation as naturally implies a breach of Unity in which consists a good part of the Nature of Schism Yet are they not terms convertible for though every Schism be a Separation yet every Separation is not a Schism in the strict notion of it unless it be attended with all those other requisites of a Schism There may be a good and lawfull as well as an evil and sinfull Separation if a Separation be grounded upon good reason and managed to good ends and purposes then is it not only good and lawfull nor only excusable but very well justifiable too But if there be no good ground for it nor any good end promoted by it then is it evil and unlawfull and by no means excusable much less justifiable The former of these seems to be warranted by the express Doctrine of St. Paul who tells us That there can be no fellowship between righteousness and unrighteousness 2 Cor. 6. v. 14 15 16 17. nor any Communion between light and darkness nor any concord between Christ and Belial nor any participation between a believer and an infidel nor any agreement between the Temple of God and Idols And thence concludes Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate saith the Lord and touch not the unclean things and I will receive you And the other seems to be as plainly condemned by the same Apostle who commands us to keep the Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace Eph. 4.3 This may be farther illustrated by some familiar instances Suppose a Society of Thieves and Robbers or any other sort of wicked men united and linked together by some common ties rules and laws framed and devised by themselves for the support of their wicked Community if any one should separate himself from that Company and thereby not only break the Unity but do what in him lies to dissolve the Society it self would this be imputed to him as a Crime Or would it not rather be looked upon by all mankind as a good and generous and in a sober sense as a meritorious Act Or suppose any particular Society of Men though legally established yet making the terms of their Communion such as could not in honesty and justice be complied with if any one should separate himself from that Society would it be a Crime in him Or ought he
be warranted by the Church and to make his words good he produceth great Credentials from the Pope and many other great Men. This great and learned Prelate in his Exposition of the Catholick Faith c. hath these words We acknowledge a Head established by God Sect. 21. p. 50. to conduct his whole Flock in his paths which Head is the Pope as Successour to St. Peter the Prince of the Apostles and that the Papal Chair is the common Centre of all Catholick Unity Sect. 1. p. 2. And in another place he promiseth not to meddle with any thing but the Decrees of the Council of Trent because in them the Church hath given her decision upon these matters now in Agitation Which Council was called by the Pope's Authority only and the true sense of all its Decrees by the Bull of Pope Pius IV. reserved to be explained by him alone So that the great noise of the Catholick Church is at last dwindled into the Roman Catholick which we of the Church of England take to be a contradiction in Terminis the same with a particular Universal for they may as well say that the City of Rome is all the World as that the Church of Rome is the Catholick Church Besides this notion of the Catholick Church virtual is altogether new having no foundation either in the Holy Scriptures or in any Primitive and Authentick Antiquity and therefore we can by no means admit of it This is that Church by which and towards which we are charged with the guilt of the horrible sin of Schism And God be thanked it is no worse for from any Criminal Schism in this case I hope we shall without any great difficulty be able to acquit our selves 2. If we consider a Christian Church as it is particular then are we to understand it of a number of Men professing Christianity formed into a Society under lawfull Governours and governed by such Laws and Rules as are not different from but agreeable to the Laws and Rules of the Catholick Church And if any Man or number of Men who are Members of that Society shall without just cause separate themselves from the Communion thereof he or they so doing are certainly guilty of Schism Nor is every occasion which a capricious humour or discontent may suggest to us to be taken as a sufficient ground of Separation Nay though there be something really amiss or at least we are persuaded that there is so in the Doctrine or Discipline of that Church whereof we are Members yet ought we rather to suspect our own Judgments and suppress our own Sentiments than break the unity and peace thereof In a word unless such a particular Church shall make the terms of her Communion such as cannot be complied with without sin I do not know any other just ground of Separation therefrom Thus have I considered the subject of Schism in its greatest latitude And now let us see how far any thing that may be gathered from hence can affect the Church of England 1. If the Church of England hath made no defection from the Catholick Church diffusive i. e. from the One Holy Catholick and Apostolick Church which compriseth all Men and all Societies of Men professing Christianity Nor from the Catholick Church representative i. e. the Prelates and Pastours of the Universal Church lawfully assembled in a Council that is truly free and general If she profess no other Doctrine nor exercise any other Discipline than what she hath received from Christ and his Apostles and was constantly profest and exercised by their Successours in the primitive Church If she be willing to submit all matters in difference between Her and any other Sister-Church to be tried by the Holy Scriptures the primitive Fathers and the Decisions of the four first General Councils Then can she not be justly charged with Schism upon that account And that she doth and is willing to doe all this that is here supposed we are ready to make good whenever our Adversaries shall give us the occasion so to doe 2. If their notion of a Church virtually Catholick be altogether new without any foundation either in the Holy Scriptures or in any primitive and authentick Antiquity then the power and privileges which the present Church of Rome challengeth upon that account are mere nullities and consequently the Schism which she chargeth of the Church England with upon that score a mere Chimera which vanisheth of it self If they think to avoid the force of this supposition they must produce some good and authentick Record which as yet hath not been discovered 3. If the Church of Rome be onely a particular Church and no otherwise Catholick than her Neighbours are who profess the same common Christianity If she can have no more power to censure us than we have to censure Her then can she not without great presumption and great injustice charge us with the sin of Schism 'T is true indeed we do not joyn in Communion with her and the reason why we do not I have given in the third Section But it is as true that we hold the Catholick Unity and for the sake of that they themselves will grant that we may lawfully depart from the Unity of any particular Church SECT V. III. Schism is a Separation from the Communion of a Christian Church AS the Act of Schism is Separation and the Subject thereof a Christian Church so the Object in and about which the Separation is made is the Communion of that Church Now there are three great Bonds of Communion viz. Faith Worship and Government and whosoever shall separate either from the Catholick or any particular Church whereof he is a Member in any of these I do not see how he or they so doing can be acquitted from the guilt of Schism unless the corruption in some one or more of these be so great as to render the Communion sinfull to him who knows it SECT VI. I. Of Faith as it is a Bond of Communion BY Faith here I understand the established Doctrine of the Church that common Christianity which we all profess to own and embrace For it is not every Doctrine that is received and taught in any particular Church that is properly the Bond of Communion but such Doctrine as is or ought to be received by all It is plain and our Adversaries themselves will acknowledge it that we may and ought to differ from particular Churches in some Doctrines Otherwise why do they differ from us from the Greek Church and indeed all other Churches besides their own in many things On this score is it that we cannot receive their new Articles of Faith those additions which are made unto and those alterations which are made in the old and common Christianity by their Council of Trent We believe all that is contained in the Holy Scriptures to be infallibly true all that was ever taught by Christ and his Apostles and their Successours
the Primitive Church and in the Canons and Constitutions of the four first General Councils But if by Government we understand the Government of particular Churches then is it lodged in the Pastours and Governours of those Churches and is to be administred by them according to such Laws and Rules as are agreeable to those of the Catholick Church And in this case it can have no influence from one National Church to another for as such they are equal and Equals have no power over one another But whosoever is a Member of any such Church and refuseth all due obedience to the Pastours and Governours thereof doth thereby contract the guilt of Schism Now whether the Church of England or the Church of Rome by the violation of all these Bonds of Communion have disturbed the Peace of the Christian Church broken the Unity of the Universal and of all particular Churches and thereby incurred the guilt of Schism you may take a prospect in this short parallel which I shall now lay before you 1. As for Faith considered as a Bond of Communion What the Church of England believes and what she is ready and willing to comply with I have told you in the 6th Sect. But the Church of Rome not contented therewith added to the sacred Canon some Apocryphal Books which were never before received either into the Jewish or Christian Canon And as if the revealed Will of God were an imperfect Rule she undertakes to supply the defects of it by groundless Traditions She makes new Creeds witness the Trent Creed and that both without the consent of the present and against the Doctrine and Practice of ancient Churches Now which of these hath violated this Bond of Communion Judge ye 2. As for Worship considered as a Bond of Communion I have given you our Sentiments of it and told you wherein it consists in the 7th Sect. Now how far the Church of Rome hath corrupted that pure Worship of God both by her subtractions and additions I shall briefly acquaint you As for Prayer it must be performed in publick in an unknown tongue which the People understand not So that they must not know what they pray for and consequently cannot with any true devotion say Amen It must be offered to Saints and Angels and not immediately to God who glories to be styled a God hearing Prayers and this we take to be an Act of Religious Worship due to the Creatour only but by them paid to Creatures As for the reading of Holy Scriptures if any portion of them be read in publick it must be in Latin a Language not understood by the People and therefore impossible for them to be instructed by it It is true indeed they sometimes interpret some portion of Scripture by preaching in the Vulgar language but then the People must take all they say upon trust they must not without special leave be allowed the Bible in their own Language no not in private lest with the Noble Bereans they should examine whether those things be so or no. As for the Sacraments they have added five that were never instituted by Christ and taken away half of one of those which they cannot but own was of his Institution i. e. they deprive the Laity of the Cup in the Lord's Supper besides those many Superstitions which they have intermix'd and therewith corrupted the pure and primitive Worship of God. Now let any indifferent Person judge whether they or we have violated this Bond of Communion and consequently which of us may be charged with Schism 3 As for Government considered as a Bond of Communion What our thoughts are of it you may see in the beginning of this Sect. Now how far the Church of Rome doth differ not only from us but from the Catholick Church both ancient and modern and from all other particular Churches in this point will appear if we consider That she usurps a Dominion condemned as Antichristian by one of their own Popes disowned by the whole Church at that time and which we at present cannot own without betraying the Liberty of the Church That by virtue of this Usurped Power she imposeth unreasonable and unlawfull conditions of Communion and for non-compliance therewith excommunicates not only the Church of England but as some will tell you three parts of the Christian World besides Now if the Church of Rome by setting up and exercising this Exorbitant Power hath broken this Bond of Communion then who is chargeable with the Schism judge ye SECT IX IV. Schism is a voluntary and causeless Separation from the Communion of a Christian Church THese are the two conditions of Schism it must be voluntary and causeless and from these two conditions it receives its greatest aggravation and becomes a sin of the deepest dye and greatest guilt 1. It must be a Voluntary Separation I call it Voluntary to distinguish sin from punishment Schism from excommunication for though by the latter a man be cast out of the Church and made no member thereof yet strictly speaking he is thereby separated from the Church and doth not separate himself 'T is true that every sin is a voluntary act in the sinner but doth that excuse him or rather doth it not aggravate his guilt If a man be separated from the communion of the Church by some pressing necessity this may be his misfortune and not his fault Or if a man be under a constraint and have a force put upon him if he be frighted with threats and menaces or wheadled with promises and allurements if his fears and hopes those two prevalent passions in man be raised to that height as to darken his understanding and overpower his will these circumstances may extenuate though they cannot altogether excuse his guilt But when a man doeth an evil action not by chance but of choice not by force but by inclination not rashly and inconsiderately but deliberately and advisedly this makes his sin to be exceeding sinfull For thereby the Schismatick puts himself out of the ordinary way and means of salvation divideth the body of Christ despiseth and condemneth the Church of God and breaketh the bond of peace which ought to be kept intire and inviolate And therefore do I make this a Condition of Schism because if we can suppose a Separation from the communion of the Church to be involuntary it will not deserve that name SECT X. II. It must be a Causeless Separation c. THAT Schism in it self is a great and grievous sin and in its consequences extremely mischievous to the Church of God and to the Schismatick himself is agreed on all hands But how much greater must the sin needs be when thereby all this guilt is contracted and all this mischief done without any cause i. e. without any sufficient cause Now a Separation may be considered either as it relates to the Catholick or Particular Churches And then a Separation from the Catholick Church taken in the most comprehensive
sense is not Schism but Apostasie and it will be impossible for any man to find a sufficient reason for that But if it be considered as a separation from the communion of some particular Church then it is implied that possibly there may be such cause given as may justifie the Separation and if so then the guilt of Schism will lie at the door of that Church which gives such cause and not at his or theirs who separate therefrom Now I have already told you that I know no cause which can justifie such a Separation save onely this when a Church makes the terms of her Communion such as cannot be complied withall without sin And in this case methinks it is very plain That it cannot be sin to separate when it is sin to communicate for no Laws of Men can abrogate or dissolve the obligation of the express Laws of God. But if there be no such cause then to break communion with any Christian Church upon any other account will amount to a Causeless Separation and consequently incur the guilt of Schism If therefore the Church of England ever did or now doth forsake the communion of the One Holy Catholick and Apostolick Church or if she ever did or now doth voluntarily and causelesly break communion with any particular Christian Church then may there be some colour to charge her with the sin of Schism but if none of all this can be made appear against her then ought she to be acquitted of that charge Now whether any such thing can be made out against her or whether the whole charge will not fall heavy upon the Church of Rome will appear in the sequel of this Discourse SECT XI V. Schism is a Separation from the Communion of that Church of which we are Members THis is the last part of our Definition and I add these words of which we are Members because Schism imports a Division of some united and well compacted Body or a making two of that which before was but one On this score is it that we cannot charge Turks Pagans and Jews with Schism because they never were of the Christian Church nor joyned with her in any Religious Society And here the Church will be at a great loss how to fix the guilt of Schism upon the Church of England for if we neither are nor ever of right ought to have been under the Government of that Church then hath she no Jurisdiction over us nor do we owe her any subjection and obedience and consequently cannot be guilty of Schism towards her nor hath she any power to censure us for it We own her to be a Sister-Church and a true though unsound Member of the Catholick Church and so far as she holds the Catholick Faith and Worship we are ready and willing to hold Communion with her But we cannot submit to her Usurpations nor communicate with her in those Errours Abuses Superstitions Additions Subtractions and Alterations by which she hath so grosly corrupted the pure and primitive Faith and Worship of God's Church SECT XII The Church of England acquitted from the Scandal of Schism IF this Definition of Schism be allowed as I see no cause why they should disown it and not applicable to the Church of England then is she unjustly charged with the guilt of Schism by the Church of Rome Now whether it be applicable to the Church of England will appear by taking a review of the several parts of it 1. Schism is a Separation i. e. a breach of Unity or a dividing of some well compacted Body And here we are charged for breaking the Unity and dividing the Body of the Roman Catholick Church as they call it To which I answer if that Church were truly Catholick either in respect of place or Doctrine this charge would lie heavy upon us but being neither we shall be able with less difficulty to answer this Objection It must be acknowledged that the Church of Rome at the time of the Reformation and some long time before that had usurped a certain Power and Dominion over us and had exerted the same in such extravagant impositions as at last became too heavy for us to bear That Church had indeed by a long custome gained such an ascendent over our Fore fathers that she had enslaved their Judgments and obtruded what she pleased upon them she had unawares led them into many Errours in Doctrine many Superstitions in Worship and almost swallowed up their Liberty in Point of Government At length it pleased God to open the Eyes of our Fore-fathers to see the slavery and bondage they were in and how far they were gone from the Unity of the Catholick Church both in Faith in Worship and in Government To retrieve themselves many Efforts were made and great Endeavours used for a Reformation But none of those prevailing they at last bethought themselves of casting off the Roman yoke which by the assistance of the Civil Authority not in tumultuary but in a regular way was effected and when that was done then upon mature deliberation they reform those other abuses which were crept in among them Whether this broke Catholick Unity or no let the World judge If this be a Schism we must own our selves guilty of it but we see no reason to own it to be so yet for in all this we have done nothing but what we are able to justifie before all the World. For even our Adversaries themselves will not deny but that a National Church hath power in it self to reform abuses within it self But it may be they will tell us that we are not a Church but a faction or party made up of Schismaticks and Hereticks broke loose from the Church If this were true we should have little to say for our selves but a bare accusation is no proof They may do well therefore to recollect themselves and consider that before Austin the Monk set his Foot in England there was a Christian Church settled here under lawfull Governours which Church opposed the proceeding of that proud Monk and denyed obedience to the See of Rome for which they severely suffered If notwithstanding all this our Adversaries shall as they frequently do revive that old thred-bare question so often baffled Where was your Church before the Reformation Our answer is ready it was where it is the same for substance now that it was then It is indeed reformed and repaired but not made new There is not one stone of a new foundation laid by us the old Walls stand still only the overcasting of those ancient stones with the untempered Mortar of new inventions displeased us and that we washed off Durand Ration l. 1. What their own Durandus saith of material Churches is very applicable to the Spiritual If the wall be decayed not at once but successively it is judged still the same Church and upon reparation not to be reconsecrated but only reconciled If therefore our Church be the same for
substance now that it was before the Reformation then it is plain that by our Reformation we made no Separation from the Church we only laid aside the corruptions i. e. those unsound and unwholsome additions which the Church of Rome had made to the ancient Structure of Christ's Religion and when those were removed the Church which was by them obscured appeared again in her primitive Lustre and Beauty Now if the Church be the same still it will necessarily follow that we who are of that Church do now hold the same Communion in all the Substantials and Essentials of Religion with all other Christian Churches that we did before For as to all the Essentials of a Church we hold the same Faith the same Worship and the same Government now that we did before the Reformation and which now is and always hath been owned by the Catholick Church in all Ages And if so then can we not possibly be guilty of any Schismatical Separation 2. Schism is a Separation from a Christian Church i. e. from such a Society between which and us there is or ought to be a Religious Union and Conjunction That we cannot upon that score be justly charged with any Schismatical Separation either from the Catholick or any particular Christian Church I hope is sufficiently made out in the 4th Sect. of this Discourse to which I refer the Reader being unwilling either to give him or my self an unnecessary trouble 3. Schism is a Separation from the Communion of a Christian Church in Faith Worship and Government considered as Bonds of Communion And here we are roundly charged by the Church of Rome with a Schismatical Separation from her and a manifest breach of all these great Bonds of Communion But having in the beginning of this Sect. I hope sufficiently vindicated the Church of England from any Schismatical Separation from the Catholick or any other Christian Church in her Reformation and cleared her innocency as to the breach of any of these great Bonds of Communion in the 5th 6th 7th and 8th Sections I shall not need to say any more of it here There is only one thing which as yet I have taken no notice of and with which they often twit us viz. The Derivation of our Orders from them Mr. Harding in his answer to Bishop Jewel's Apology doth mightily triumph in this telling us That a Church cannot subsist without lawfull Pastours and Governours that there can be none such without lawfull Ordination by imposition of hands that we neither have nor ever had any such but from the Church of Rome that those who received that power from her becoming Schismaticks and Hereticks by their Separation from her forfeited that power and could not convey it to others that therefore we have now no such thing as lawfull Priests and Bishops among us without which we cannot be a Church that herein we have broken the great Bond of Communion viz. Government by departing from that Church from which ours had its Being and therefore cannot be excused from the sin of Schism To this B. Jewel hath given a long learned and full answer to which I shall refer the Reader He may find it in the second part of the defence of the Apology of the Church of England Chap. 5. Division 1. But to shew you in how empty and insignificant a show this mighty triumph ends I shall here offer some few things to consideration 1. That the conferring of Orders giveth no Power or Jurisdiction to him or them by whom they are conferred over him or them on whom they are conferred For do we not know that the Bishop of Rome is always consecrated by the Bishop of Hostia and yet I hope they will not say that the Bishop of Hostia is therefore above the Bishop of Rome 2. Let it be granted that we derive our Orders from the Church of Rome not as from the Fountain or Original of Orders but as from the conduct or means of conveyance I would ask this question do they believe their Orders to be good and valid or not If not why do they presume to exercise those high and holy Functions to which they are admitted thereby If they do then our Orders must be good and valid too and we have as good right as they have to that Succession which they so much boast of 3. That the Bishops and Pastours of the Church of England are true and rightfull Successours to those that have been before them being elected consecrated confirmed and admitted in as an effectual a manner as they were If their Predecessours were deceived in any thing they succeed them in Place but not in Errour For though they were indeed their Predecessours in Office yet were they not the Rulers and Standards of their Faith. And it cannot be denyed but that a Succession in Faith and Doctrine is far more considerable than a Succession of Persons and that God be thanked we are able to make good from the pure and uncorrupted Fountain In Doctrine therefore we succeed the Church of Rome as the Day succeedeth the Night as the Light succeedeth Darkness and as Truth succeedeth Errour 4. That those Bishops and Pastours who have once been duly elected consecrated confirmed and admitted in and to those sacred Functions do not by departing from the Errours and Superstitions of any other Church though it be that from which they received their Orders lose the power that was thereby committed to them but are still in a capacity to convey the same unto others 5. That the Bishops and Pastours of the Church of England being legally possessed of having duly exerted and constantly and regularly exercised this power the Orders conferred by them by virtue thereof are to all intents and purposes good and valid and consequently our Church cannot be said to want true and lawfull Pastours and Governours 6. That though the Church of England in her Reformation have cast off the Usurpations and laid aside the corruptions of the Church of Rome yet hath she not thereby broken any Bond of Communion with the Christian Church and therefore cannot justly be charged with the guilt of Schism For whilst she holds fast those three great Bonds of Communion viz. Faith Worship and Government in all the substantial and essential Parts thereof the guilt of that horrid Schism which hath so much bruised and wounded rent and torn the Church of God can never be laid at her door These things I thought good to offer to consideration and when they are seriously and deliberately weighed I do not doubt but that the ingenuous Reader will so well improve them as to satisfie himself and others that all this mighty triumph is no more than a vain and empty show 4. Schism is a voluntary and causeless Separation from the Communion of a Christian Church i. e. When men have full liberty to make their own choice having no force nor constraint put upon their inclinations nor any cause or
occasion given to justifie their Separation then may they be truly said to act voluntarily and without cause And if this be our case we must confess our selves guilty of Schism but if not then are we unjustly charged with it That our recession from the Church of Rome was not a voluntary act in us but a necessity upon us occasioned by force and violence constraint and compulsion is plain and evident We did not attempt a Separation but only desire a Reformation that so we might walk together in the House of God as friends If they would have hearkned to us and removed those errours and abuses those Superstitions and corruptions that tyranny and usurpation which they had introduced into the Faith Worship and Government of Christ's Church we had still peaceably continued in Communion with them But so far were they from hearkning to these our just desires that instead thereof we were menaced with fire and fagot with imprisonment with confiscation of our Estates with all kind of sufferings and even death it self if we refused to comply with their Corruptions and innovations And therefore we may truly say with the Learned Causaubon Causaub ad Peron Non fugimus sed fugamur We did not run away from them but were driven away by them But yet notwithstanding all this force and violence if we had not sufficient cause to justifie our recession we must still be criminal Eusch l. 6. c. 44. for we are of opinion with Dionysius Alex. in his Epistle to Novatus That any thing must rather be born than that we should rend asunder the Church of God. But alas we had too great cause for what we did The Church of Rome had corrupted the Faith of God's Church with her unwarrantable additions and alterations The primitive beauty and purity of God's Worship she had defaced with Superstitions That goodly and well compacted structure of Government which had been erected and established in the Church of God she had quite demolished and instead thereof had erected an unheard of tyrannical Government unknown to the Primitive Church and condemned by all other Churches ever since it appeared in the World. In a word she had made the terms of her Communion such as could not be complied with without sin and when it is sin to communicate it cannot be sin to separate Thus much I hope may suffice to satisfie any indifferent and unprejudic'd Reader that the recession of the Church of England from that of Rome in her Reformation was neither owing to a dividing humour nor without just cause And therefore she is unjustly charged with the guilt of Schism by the Church of Rome upon that account 5. Schism is a voluntary and causeless Separation from the Communion of a Christian Church of which we are Members i. e. which hath a Jurisdiction over us and to which we owe Subjection and Obedience Schism imports a breach of Unity a dividing of that Body which before was but one it implies the casting off of a lawfull Jurisdiction to which we were obliged to yield Subjection and Obedience Now if we neither are nor ever were of right Subjects of that Church if we neither are nor ever were such parts of that Body as are to depend upon the Head of it then can we not justly be charged with breaking the Unity of that Church or dividing of that Body because that Church or that Body doth still remain the same it was notwithstanding our recession therefrom And if it neither hath nor ever had any lawfull Jurisdiction over us then we neither do nor ever did owe any subjection or obedience thereunto and therefore cannot without great injustice be charged with a Schismatical Separation therefrom To prove this Negative would require a much longer Discourse than is now designed and therefore at present I shall only say that this we insist upon That the Church of England neither is nor ever was by any divine Authority bound to be in obedience to the Church of Rome And whenever they please to make their claim we are ready to defend our selves against it In the mean time till they make this good they have no reason to brand us as hitherto they have unjustly done with the odious Names of Schismaticks and Hereticks Thus have I taken a review of the several parts of the Definition which if it be allowed will fairly acquit the Church of England from the guilt of Schism And now let us see whether the Church of Rome can so well discharge her self of it SECT XIII The Church of Rome guilty of that Shism with which they charge the Church of England IT is a rule generally allowed that the Cause makes the Schism If the Church gives cause of Separation there is the Schism if not the cause of Schism is in the Separatist So that where the cause is found there the charge of Schism resteth If therefore the Church of Rome hath given just cause of Separation from her then is she causally guilty of that Schism and I am afraid will hardly be able to acquit her self from being so of almost all other Schisms in the Church Their ingenuous Cassander confesseth Cass de Offic. boni viri c. that the Roman Church is not a little changed from her ancient beauty and brightness and that she is deformed with many diseases and vicious distempers And being thus sick Bernh de vita solit St. Bernhard undertakes to be her Physician and prescribes her a Diet which he tells us must be profitable though unpleasing i. e. she ought to be reproved and a Reformation required And if thereupon an offence be taken Bernh ad Hug. de Sancto vict Epist 77. the same Saint Bernhard shall acquaint you where the scandal will rest When saults are taxed and scandal grows thereupon He is the cause of the scandal who did that which was worthy to be reproved not he that reproved the ill doer And that the Church of Rome hath given occasion both to the reproof and scandal let their own President in the Council of Trent inform you Who saith Orat. praes Concil Trident Sess 11. That the Depravation and Corruption of Discipline and Manners in the Church of Rome was in a great measure the Cause and Original of all those Schisms and Heresies which then troubled the Church But that it may appear that I have a desire to deal fairly and friendly with them I shall here present them with a Copy of their Charge and give them time to plead to it The Charge was long since drawn up by two great men of our Church viz. Bishop Hall and Bishop Bramhal and never yet pleaded to that I know much less cleared Bishop Hall in a little Book intituled The Old Religion dedicated to his Diocess of Exeter chap. 4. lays down their Charge in these five particulars 1. Nothing can be more plain than that the Roman is a particular Church as the Fathers of Basil
well distinguish it not the Universal though we take in the Churches of her subordination or correspondence This truth we might make good by authority if our very senses did not save us the labour 2. No particular Church to say nothing of the Universal since the Apostolick times can have power to make a fundamental point of Faith It may explain or declare it cannot create Articles 3. Onely an Errour against a point of Faith is Heresie 4. Those Points wherein we differ from Romanists are they which only the Church of Rome hath made fundamental and of Faith. 5. The Reformed therefore being by that Church illegally condemned for those Points are not Hereticks This I take to be a fair discharge for the Church of England from that foul aspersion which hath been cast upon her by the Church of Rome But Bishop Bramhal chargeth them more home and particularly in five Articles more and lays the sin at their door 1. The Church of Rome usurps an higher place and power in the Body Ecclesiastical than of right is due unto her 2. Se separateth both by her Doctrines and Censures three parts of the Christian World from her Communion and as much as in her lies from the Communion of Christ 3. She rebelleth against general Councils 4. She breaks or takes away all the lines of Apostolical Succession except her own and appropriates all Original Jurisdiction to her self 5. She challenges a temporal power over Princes either directly or indirectly which draws Sedition and Rebellion after it and is