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A44334 The works of Mr. Richard Hooker (that learned and judicious divine), in eight books of ecclesiastical polity compleated out of his own manuscripts, never before published : with an account of his life and death ...; Ecclesiastical polity Hooker, Richard, 1553 or 4-1600.; Gauden, John, 1605-1662.; Walton, Izaak, 1593-1683.; Travers, Walter, 1547 or 8-1635. Supplication made to the councel. 1666 (1666) Wing H2631; ESTC R11910 1,163,865 672

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which they are called Seals of God's Truth The Spirit affixed unto those Elements and Words power of operation within the Soul most admirable divine and impossible to be exprest For so God hath instituted and ordained that together with due administration and receit of Sacramental signs there shall proceed from himself Grace effectual to Sanctifie to Cure to Comfort and whatsoever else is for the good of the Souls of Men. Howbeit this opinion Thomas rejecteth under pretence that it maketh Sacramental Words and Elements to be in themselves no more than signes whereas they ought to be held as causes of that they signifie He therefore reformeth it with this addition that the very sensible parts of the Sacraments do Instrumentally effect and produce not Grace for the Schoolmen both of these times and long after did for the most part maintain it untrue and some of them unpossible that sanctifying Grace should efficiently proceed but from God alone and that by immediate creation as the substance of the Soul doth but the phantasie which Thomas had was that sensible things through Christ's and the Priest's Benediction receive a certain supernatural transitory force which leaveth behinde it a kinde of preparative quality or beauty within the Soul whereupon immediately from God doth ensue the Grace that justifieth Now they which pretend to follow Thomas differ from him in two points For first they make Grace an immediate effect of the outward signe which he for the dignity and excellency thereof was afraid to do Secondly Whereas he to produce but a preparative quality in the Soul did imagine God to create in the Instrument a supernatural Gift or hability They confesse that nothing is created infused or any way inherent either in the Word or in the Elements nothing that giveth them Instrumental efficacy but Gods mere motion or application Are they able to explain unto us or themselves to conceive what they mean when they thus speak For example let them teach us in the Sacrament of Baptisme what it is for Water to be moved till it bring forth Grace The application thereof by the Minister is plain to sense The force which it hath in the minde as a moral instrument of Information or Instruction we know by reason and by Faith we understand how God doth assist it with his Spirit Whereupon ensueth the Grace which Saint Cyprian did in himself observe saying After the bathe of Regeneration having scowred out the stained foulnesse of former life supernatural light had entrance into the Breast which was purified and cleansed for it After that a second nativity had made another man by inward receipt of the Spirit from Heaven things doubtful began in marvellous manner to appear certain that to be open which lay hid Darknesse to shine like the clear light former hardnesse to be made facility impossibility casinesse Insomuch as it might be discerned how that was earthly which before had been carnally bred and lived given over unto Sinnes That now God's own which the Holy Ghost did quicken Our Opinion is therefore plain unto every man's understanding We take it for a very good speech which Bonaventure hath uttered in saying Heed must be taken that while we assigne too much to the bodily signes in way of their Commendation we withdraw not the honour which is due to the Cause which worketh in them and the Soul which receiveth them Whereunto we conformably teach that the outward signe applyed hath of it self no natural efficacy towards Grace neither doth God put into it any supernatural inherent Vertue And as I think we thus farre avouch no more than they themselves confesse to be very true If any thing displease them it is because we adde to these Premises another assertion That with the outward signe God joyneth his Holy Spirit and so the whole Instrument of God bringeth that to passe whereunto the baser and meaner part could not extend As for operations through the motions of signes they are dark intricate and obscure perhaps possible howbeit not proved either true or likely by alledging that the touch of our Saviour's Garment restored Health Clay Sight when he applyed it Although ten thousand such Examples should be brought they overthrow not this one Principle That where the Instrument is without inherent the Effect must necessarily proceed from the onely Agents adherent power It passeth a man's conceit how water should be carried into the Soul with any force of Divine motion or Grace proceed but merely from the influence of God's Spirit Notwithstanding if God himself teach his Church in this case to believe that which he hath not given us capacity to comprehend how incredible soever it may seem yet our Wits should submit themselves and Reason give place unto Faith therein But they yield it to be no question of Faith how Grace doth proceed from Sacraments if in general they be acknowledged true instrumental Causes by the Ministry whereof men receive Divine Grace And that they which impute Grace to the onely operation of God himself concurring with the external sign do no lesse acknowledge the true efficacy of the Sacrament then they that ascribe the same to the quality of the sign applyed or to the motion of God applying and so farr carrying it till Grace be not created but extracted out of the natural possibility of the Soul Neverthelesse this last Philosophical imagination if I may call it Philosophical which useth the terms but overthroweth the rules of Philosophy and hath no Article of Faith to support it but whatsoever it be they follow it in a manner all they cast off the first opinion wherein is most perspicuity and strongest evidence of certain truth The Councel of Florence and Trent defining that Sacraments contain and conferr Grace the sense whereof if it liked them might so easily conform it self with the same opinion which they drew without any just cause quite and clean the other way making Grace the issue of bare words in such Sacraments as they have framed destitute of any visible Element and holding it the off-spring as well of Elements as of Words in those Sacraments where both are but in no Sacrament acknowledging Grace to be the fruit of the Holy Ghost working with the outward signe and not by it in such sort as Thomas himself teacheth That the Apostles Imposition of Hands caused not the comming of the Holy Ghost which notwithstanding was bestowed together with the exercise of that Ceremony Yea by it saith the Evangelist to wit as by a mean which came between the true Agent and the Effect but not otherwise Many of the Antient Fathers presupposing that the Faithful before Christ had not till the time of his comming that perfect Life and Salvation which they looked for and we possesse thought likewise their Sacraments to be but prefigurations of that which ours in present do exhibit For which cause the Florentine Councel comparing the one with the
that over-corrupt Fountain from which they come In our speech of most holy things our most frail affections many times are bewrayed Wherefore when we read or recite the Scripture we then deliver to the People properly the Word of God As for our Sermons be they never so sound and perfect his Word they are not as the Sermons of the Prophets were no they are but ambiguously termed his Word because his Word is commonly the Subject whereof they treat and must be the Rule whereby they are framed Notwithstanding by these and the like shifts they derive unto Sermons alone whatsoever is generally spoken concerning the Word Again what seemeth to have been uttered concerning Sermons and their efficacy or necessity in regard of Divine matter and must consequently be verified in sundry other kindes of teaching if the Matter be the same in all their use is to fasten every such Speech unto that one only manner of teaching which is by Sermons that still Sermons may be all in all Thus because Solomon declareth that the People decay or perish for want of Knowledge where no Prophecying at all is they gather that the hope of Life and Salvation is cut off where Preachers are not which prophecy by Sermons how many soever they be in number that read daily the Word of God and deliver though in other sort the self-same matter which Sermons do The people which have no way to come to the knowledge of God no prophecying no teaching perish But that they should of necessity perish where any one way of knowledge lacketh is more then the words of Solomon import Another usual point of their Art in this present question is to make very large and plentiful Discourses how Christ is by Sermons lifted up higher and made more apparent to the eye of Faith how the savour of the Word is more sweet being brayed and more able to nourish being divided by Preaching then by only reading proposed how Sermons are the Keyes of the Kingdom of Heaven and do open the Scriptures which being but read remain in comparison still clasped how God giveth richer increase of grace to the Ground that is planted and watered by Preaching than by bare and simple Reading Out of which premises declaring how attainment unto life is easier where Sermons are they conclude an impossibility thereof where Sermons are not Alcidimas the Sophister hath many arguments to prove that voluntary and extemporal far excelleth premeditated speech The like whereunto and in part the same are brought by them who commend Sermons as having which all men I think will acknowledge sundry peculiar and proper vertues such as no other way of Teaching besides hath Aptness to follow particular occasions presently growing to put life into words by countenance voyce and gesture to prevail mightily in the sudden affections of men this Sermons may challenge Wherein notwithstanding so eminent properties whereof Lessons are haply destitute yet Lessons being free from some inconveniences whereunto Sermons are more subject they may in this respect no less take then in other they must give the hand which betokeneth preeminence For there is nothing which is not some way excell'd even by that which it doth excel Sermons therefore and Lessons may each excell other in some respects without any prejudice unto either as touching that vital force which they both have in the work of our Salvation To which effect when we have endeavoured as much as in us doth lye to finde out the strongest causes wherefore they should imagine that Reading is itself so unavailable the most we can learn at their hands is that Sermons are the Ordinance of God the Scriptures dark and the labour of Reading easie First therefore as we know that God doth aide with his grace and by his special providence evermore bless with happy success those things which himself appointeth so his Church we perswade our selves he hath not in such sort given over to a reprobate sense that whatsoever it deviseth for the good of the Souls of men the same he doth still accurse and make frustrate Or if he always did defeat the Ordinances of his Church is not reading the Ordinance of God Wherefore then should we think that the force of his secret grace is accustomed to bless the labour of dividing his Word according unto each man's private discretion in publick Sermons and to withdraw it self from concurring with the publick delivery thereof by such selected portions of Scriptures as the whole Church hath solemnly appointed to be read for the Peoples good either by ordinary course or otherwise according to the exigence of special occasions Reading saith Isidore is to the Hearers no small edifying To them whose delight and meditation is in the Law seeing that happiness and bliss belongeth it is not in us to deny them the benefit of heavenly Grace And I hope we may presume that a rare thing it is not in the Church of God even for that very Word which is read to be both presently their joy and afterwards their study that hear it S. Augustin speaking of devout men noteth how they daily frequented the Church how attentive ear they gave unto the Lessons and Chapters read how careful they were to remember the same and to muse thereupon by themselves St. Cyprian observeth that Reading was not without effect in the hearts of men Their joy and alacity was to him an argument that there is in this Ordinance a blessing such as ordinarily doth accompany the administration of the Word of Life It were much if there should be such a difference between the hearing of Sermons preached and of Lessons read in the Church that he which presenteth himself at the one and maketh his Prayer with the Prophet David Teach me O Lord the way of thy Statutes direct me in the path of thy commandments might have the ground of usual experience wherupon to build his hope of prevailing with God and obtaining the Grace he seeketh they contrariwise not so who crave the like assistance of his Spirit when they give ear to the reading of the other In this therefore Preaching and Reading are equal that both are approved as his Ordinances both assisted with his Grace And if his Grace do assist them both to the nourishment of faith already bred we cannot without some very manifest cause yielded imagin that in breeding or begetting faith his grace doth cleave to the one and utterly forsake the other Touching hardness which is the second pretended impediment as against Homilies being plain and popular instructions it is no bar so neither doth it infringe the efficacy no not of Scriptures although but read The force of reading how small soever they would have it must of necessity be granted sufficient to notifie that which is plain or easie to be understood And of things necessary to all mens salvation we have been hitherto accustomed
contrary Internal Powers Which whosoever doth think impossible is undoubtedly farther off from Christian Belief though he be Baptized then are these Innocents which at their Baptism albeit they have no conceit cogitation of Faith are notwithstanding pure and free from all opposite cogitations whereas the other is not free If therefore without any fear or scruple we may account them and term them Believers onely for their outward professions sake which inwardly are farther from Faith then Infants Why not Infants much more at the time of their solemn Initiation by Baptism the Sacrament of Faith whereunto they not onely conceive nothing opposite but have also that Grace given them which is the first and most effectual cause out of which our belief groweth In sum the whole Church is a multitude of Believers all honored with that title even Hypocrites for their Professions sake as well as Saints because of their inward sincere perswasion and Infants as being in the first degree of their ghostly motions towards the actual habit of Faith the first sort are faithful in the eye of the World the second faithful in the sight of God the last in the ready direct way to become both if all things after be suitable to these their present beginnings This saith St. Augustine would not happily content such persons as are uncapable or unquiet but to them which having knowledge are not troublesome it may suffice Wherein I have not for case of my self objected against you that custom onely then which nothing is more from but of a custom most profitable I have done that little which I could ●● yield you a reasonable cause Were St. Augustine now living there are which would tell him for his better instruction that to say of a childe It is elect and to say it doth believe are all one for which cause sith no man is able precisely to affirm the one of any Infant in particular it followeth that precisely and absolutely we ought not to say the other Which precise and absolute terms are needless in this case We speak of Infants as the rule of piety alloweth both to speak and think They that can take to themselves in ordinary talk a charitable kinde of liberty to name men of their own sort Gods dear children notwithstanding the large reign of of Hyprocrisie should not methinks be so strict and rigorous against the Church for presuming as it doth of a Christian Innocent For when we know how Christ is general hath said That of such is the Kingdom of Heaven which Kingdom is the Inheritance of Gods Elect and do withal behold how his providence hath called them unto the first beginnings of Eternal Life and presented them at the Well-spring of New-birth wherein original sin is purged besides which sin there is no Hinderance of their Salvation known to us as themselves will grant hard it were that loving so many fair inducements whereupon to ground we should not be thought to utter at the least a truth as probable and allowable in terming any such particular Infant an elect Babe as in presuming the like of others whose safety nevertheless we are not absolutely able to warrant If any troubled with these seruples be onely for Instructions sake desirous to know yet some farther reason why Interrogatories should be ministred to Infants in Baptism and be answered unto by others as in their names they may consider that Baptism implieth a Covenant or League between God and Man wherein as God doth bestow presently remission of sins and the Holy Ghost hinding also himself to add in process of time what Grace soever shall be farther necessary for the attainment of Everlasting Life so every Baptized Soul receiving the same Grace at the hands of God tieth likewise it self for ever to the observation of his Law no less then the Jews by Circumcision bound themselves to the Law of Moses The Law of Christ requiring therefore Faith and newness of life in all men by vertue of the Covenant which they make in Baptism Is it toyish that the Church in Baptism exacteth at every mans hands an express Profession of Faith and an inevocable promise of obedience by way of solemn stipulation That Infants may contract and covenant with God the Law is plain Neither is the reason of the Law obscure For sith it rendeth we cannot sufficiently express how much to their own good and doth no way hurt or endanger them to begin the race of their lives herewith they are as equity requireth admitted hereunto and in favor of their tender years such formal complements of stipulation as being requisite are impossible by themselves in their own persons to be performed leave is given that they may sufficiently discharge by others Albeit therefore neither deaf nor dumb men neither surious persons nor children can receive any civil stipulation yet this kinde of ghostly stipulation they may through his indulgence who respecting the singular benefit thereof accepteth Children brought unto him for that end entrech into Articles of Covenant with them and in tender commiseration granteth that other Mens Professions and Promises in Baptism made for them shall avail no less then if they had been themselves able to have made their own None more fit to undertake this office in their behalf then such as present them unto Baptism A wrong conceit that none may receive the Sacrament of Baptism but they whose Parents at the least the one of them are by the soundness of their Religion and by their vertuous demeanor known to be Men of God hath caused some to repel Children whosoever bring them if their Parents be mis-perswaded in Religion or sot other mis-deserts ex-communicated some likewise for that cause to withhold Baptism unless the Father albeit no such exception can justly be taken against him do notwithstanding make Profession of his Faith and avouch the childe to be his own Thus whereas God hath appointed them Ministers of holy things they make themselves Inquisitors of mens persons a great deal farther then need is They should consider that God hath ordained Baptism in favor of mankinde To restrain favors is an odious thing to enlarge them acceptable both to God and Man Whereas therefore the Civil Law gave divers Immunities to them which were Fathers of three children and had them living those Immunities they held although their children were all dead if war had consumed them because it seemed in that case not against reason to repute them by a courteous construction of Law as live men in that the honor of their Service done to the Commonwealth would remain always Can it hurt us in exhibiting the Graces which God doth bestow on men or can it prejudice his glory if the self-same equity guide and direct our hands When God made his Covenant with such as had Abraham to their Father was onely Abrahams immediate issue or onely his lineal posterity according to the flesh included in that
the web of Salvation is spun Except your Righteousness exceed the Righteousness of the Stribes and Pharisees ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven They were rigorous exacters of things not utterly to be neglected and left undone washing and tything c. As they were in these so must we be in judgement and the love of God Christ in Works Ceremonial giveth more liberty in moral much less than they did Works of Righteousness therefore are added in the one Proposition as in the other Circumcision is 31. But we say our Salvation is by Christ alone therefore howsoever or whatsoever we adde unto Christ in the matter of Salvation we overthrow Christ. Our Case were very hard if this Argument so universally meant as it is proposed were sound and good We our selves do not teach Christ alone excluding our own Faith unto Justification Christ alone excluding our own Works unto Sanctification Christ alone excluding the one or the other unnecessary unto Salvation It is a childish Cavil wherewith in the matter of Justification our Adversaries do so greatly please themselves exclaiming that we tread all Christian vertues under our feet and require nothing in Christians but Faith because we teach that Faith alone justifieth whereas by this speech we never meant to excluded either Hope or Charity from being always joyned as inseparable Mates with Faith in the man that is justified or Works from being added as necessary Duties required at the hands of every justified man But to shew that Faith is the onely hand which putteth on Christ unto Justification and Christ the onely Garment which being so put on covereth the shame of our defiled natures hideth the imperfection of our Works preserveth us blameless in the sight of God before whom otherwise the weaknesse of our Faith were cause sufficent to make us culpable yea to shut us from the Kingdom of Heaven where nothing that is not absolute can enter That our dealing with them he not as childish as theirs with us when we hear of Salvation by Christ alone considering that alone as an exclusive Particle we are to note what it doth exclude and where If I say Such a Iudge onely ought to determine such a case all things incident to the determination thereof besides the Person of the Judge as Laws Depositions Evidences c. are not hereby excluded Persons are not excluded from witnessing herein or assisting but onely from determining and giving Sentence How then is our Salvation wrought by Christ alone Is it our meaning that nothing is requisite to man's Salvation but Christ to save and he to be saved quietly without any more adoe No we acknowledge no such Foundation As we have received so we teach that besides the bare and naked work wherein Christ without any other Associate finished all the parts of our Redemption and purchased Salvation himself alone for conveyance of this eminent blessing unto us many things are of necessity required as to be known and chosen of God before the foundation of the World in the World to be called justified sanctified after we have lest the World to be received unto glory Christ in every of these hath somewhat which he worketh alone Through him according to the Eternal purpose of God before the foundation of the World Born Crucified Buried Raised c. we were in a gracious acceptation known unto God long before we were seen of men God knew us loved us was kinde to us in Jesus Christ in him we were elected to be Heirs of Life Thus farr God through Christ hath wrought in such sort alone that our selves are mere Patients working no more than dead and senseless Matter Wood Stone or Iron doth in the Artificers hands no more than Clay when the Potter appointeth it to be framed for an honourable use nay not so much for the matter whereupon the Craftsman worketh he chuseth being moved by the fitness which is in it to serve his turn in us no such thing Touching the rest which is laid for the foundation of our Faith it importeth farther That by him we are called that we have Redemption Remission of sins through his blood Health by his stripes Justice by him that he doth sanctifie his Church and make it glorius to himself that entrance into joy shall be given us by Him yea all things by him alone Howbeit not so by him alone as if in us to our Vocation the hearing of the Gospel to our Justification Faith to our Sanctification the fruits of the Spirit to our entrance into rest perseverance in Hope in Faith in Holinesse were not necessary 32. Then what is the fault of the Church of Rome Not that she requireth Works at their hands which will be saved but that she attributeth unto Works a power of satisfying God for Sinne yea a vertue to merit both Grace here and in Heaven Glory That this overthroweth the foundation of Faith I grant willingly that it is a direct elenyal thereof Iutterly deny What it is to hold and what directly to deny the foundation of Faith I have already opened Apply it particularly to this Cause and there needs no more adoe The thing which is handled if the form under which it is handled be added thereunto it sheweth the foundation of any Doctrine whatsoever Christ is the Matter whereof the Doctrin of the Gospel treateth and it treateth of Christ as of a Saviour Salvation therefore by Christ is the foundation of Christianity as for works they are a thing subordinate no otherwise than because our Sanctification cannot be accomplished without them The Doctrine concerning them is a thing builded upon the foundation therefore the Doctrin which addeth unto them the power of satisfying or of meriting addeth unto a thing sabordinated builded upon the foundation not to the very foundation it self yet is the foundation by this addition consequently overthrown forasmuch as out of this addition it may be negatively concluded He which maketh any work good and acceptable in the sight of God to proceed from the natural freedom of our will he which giveth unto any good works of ours the force of satisfying the wrath of God for sinne the power of meriting either earthly or heavenly rewards he which holdeth Works going before our Vocation in congruity to merit our Vocation Works following our first to merit our second Justification and by condignity our last Reward in the Kingdom of Heaven pulleth up the Doctrin of Faith by the roots for out of every of these the plain direct denial thereof may be necessarily concluded Not this onely but what other Heresie is there that doth not raze the very foundation of Faith by consequent Howbeit we make a difference of Heresies accounting them in the next degree to infidelity which directly deny any one thing to be which is expresly acknowledged in the Articles of our Belief for out of any one Article so denied the denial of
would prove at least tedious and therefore I shall impose upon my Reason no more then two which shall immediately follow and by which he may judge of the rest Mr. Travers excepted against Mr. Hooker for that in one of his Sermons be declared That the assurance of what we believe by the Word of God is not to us so certain as that which we perceive by Sense And Mr. Hooker confesseth he said so and endeavors to justifie it by the Reasons following First I taught That the things which God promises in his Word are surer to us then what we touch handle or see But are we so sure and certain of them If we be Why doth God so often prove his Promises to us as he doth by Arguments drawn from our sensible experience For we must be surer of the proof then of the things proved otherwise it is no proof For example How is it that many men looking on the Moon at the sametime every one knoweth it to be the Moon as certainly as the other doth But many believing one and the same Promise have not all one and the same fulness of Perswassion For how falleth it out that men being assured of any thing by Sense can be no surer of it then they are when at the strongest in Faith that liveth upon the Earth hath always need to labor strive and pray that his assurance concerning Heavenly and Spiritual things may grow increase and be augmented The Sermon that gave him the cause of this his Justification makes the case more plain by declaring That there is besides this certainly of Evidence a certainty of Adherence In which having most excellently demonstrated what the Certainty of Adherence is he makes this comfortable use of it Comfortable he says as to weak Believers who suppose themselves to be faithless not to believe when notwithstanding they have their Adherence the Holy Spirit hath his private operations and worketh secretly in them and effectually too though they want the inward Testimony of it Tell this to a Man that hath a minde too much dejected by a sad sense of his sin to one that by a too severe judging of himself concludes that he wants Faith because he wants the comfortable Assurance of it and his Answer will be Do not perswade me against my knowledge against what I finde and feel in my self I do not I know I do not believe Mr. Hookers own words follow Well then to favor such men a little in their weakness let that be granted which they do imagine be it that they adhere not to Gods promises but are faithless and without belief But are they not grieved for their unbelief They confess they are Do they not wish it might and also strive that it may be otherways We know they do Whence cometh this but from a secret love and liking that they have of those things believed For no man can love those things which in his own opinion are not And if they think those things to be which they shew they love when they desire to believe them then must it be that by desiring to believe they prove themselves true Believers For without Faith no man thinketh that things believed are Which Argument all the Subtilties of Infernal Powers will never be able to dissolve This is an Abridgment of part of the Reasons he gives for his Justification of this his opinion for which he was excepted against by Mr. Travers Mr. Hooker was also accused by Mr. Travers for that he in one of his Sermons had declared That he doubted not but that God was merciful to save many of our Forefathers living heretofore in Popish Superstition for as much as they sinned ignorantly And Mr. Hooker in his Answer professeth it to be his judgment and declares his Reasons for this charitable opinion to be as followeth But first he states the Question about Iustification and Works and how the Foundation of Faith is overthrown and then he proceeds to discover that way which Natural Men and some others have mistaken to be the way by which they hope to attain true and everlasting Happiness And having discovered the mistaken he proceeds to direct to that true way by which and no other Everlasting Life and Blessedness is attainable And these two ways he demonstrates thus they be his own words that follow That the way of Nature This the way of Grace the end of that way Salvation merited presupposing the Righteousness of Mens works Their Righteousness a natural ability to do them that ability the goodness of God which created them in such perfection But the end of this way Salvation bestowed upon men as a gift Presupposing not their Righteousness but the forgiveness of their Unrighteousness Iustification their Iustification not their natural ability to do good but their hearty sorrow for not doing and unfeigned belief in him for whose sake not doers are accepted which is their Vocation their Vocation the Election of God taking them out of the number of lost Children their Election a Mediator in whom to be elect This Mediation inexplicable Mercy this Mercy supposing their misery for whom be vouchsafed to die and make himself a Mediator And he also declareth There is no meritorious cause for our Iustification but Christ no effectual but his Mercy and says also We deny the Grace of our Lord Iesus Christ we abuse disannul and annihilate the benefit of his Passion if by a proud imagination we believe we can merit everlasting life or can be worthy of it This Belief he declareth is to destroy the very Essence of our Justification and he makes all opinions that border upon this to be very dangerous Tet nevertheless and for this he was accused considering how many vertuous and just Men how many Saints and Martyrs have had their dangerous opinions amongst which this was one That they hoped to make God some part of amends by voluntary punishments which they laid upon themselves Because by this or the like erroneous opinions which do by consequene overthrow the Merits of Christ shall Man be so bold as to write on their Graves Such men are damned there is for them no Salvation St. Austin says Errare possum Hareticus esse nolo And except we put a difference betwixt them that erre ignorantly and them that obstinately persist in it how is it possible that any Man should hope to be saved Give me a Pope or a Cardinal whom great afflictions have made to know himself whose heart God hath touched with true sorrow for all his sins and filled with a love of Christ and his Gospel whose Eyes are willingly open to see the Truth and his Mouth ready to renounce all Error this one opinion of Merit excepted which he thinketh God will require at his hands and because he wanteth trembleth and is discouraged and yet can say Lord cleanse me from all my secret sins Shall I think because of this or a like Error such men touch not so
case our Apology shall not need to be very long 3. The mixture of those things by speech which by Nature are divided is the Mother of all Error To take away therefore that Error which Confusion breedeth distinction is requisite Rightly to distinguish is by conceit of minde to sever things different in Nature and to discern wherein they differ So that if we imagine a difference where there is none because we distinguish where we should not it may not be denied that we misdistinguish The only trial whether we do so yea or no dependeth upon comparison between our conceit and the nature of things conceived Touching matters belonging to the Church of Christ this we conceive that they are not of one sute Some things are meerly of Faith which things it doth suffice that we know and believe some things not onely to be known but done because they concern the actions of men Articles about the Trinity are matters of meer Faith and must be believed Precepts concerning the Works of Charity are matters of Action which to know unless they be practised is not enough This being so clear to all mens understanding I somewhat marvel that they especially should think it absurd to oppose Church Government a plain matter of Action unto matters of Faith who know that themselves divide the Gospel into Doctrine and Discipline For if matters of Discipline be rightly by them distinguished from matters of Doctrine why not matters of Government by us as reasonably set against matters of Faith Do not they under Doctrine comprehend the same which we intend by matters of Faith Do not they under Discipline comprise the Regiment of the Church When they blame that in us which themselves follow they give men great cause to doubt that some other thing then judgment doth guide their speech What the Church of God standeth bound to know or do the same in part Nature teacheth And because Nature can teach them but onely in part neither so fully as is requisite for mans salvation not so easily as to make the way plain and expedite enough that many may come to the knowledge of it and so be saved therefore in Scripture hath God both collected the most necessary things that the School of Nature teacheth unto that end and revealeth also whatsoever we neither could with safety be ignorant of nor at all be instructed in but by Supernatural Revelation from him So that Scripture containing all things that are in this kinde any way needful for the Church and the principal of the other sort This is the next thing wherewith we are charged as with an Error We teach that whatsoever is unto Salvation termed necessary by way of excellency whatsoever it standeth all men upon to know or do that they may be saved whatsoever there is whereof it may truly be said This not to believe is eternal death and damnation or This every soul that will live must duly observe Of which sort the Articles of Christian Faith and the Sacraments of the Church of Christ are All such things if Scripture did not comprehend the Church of God should not be able to measure out the length and the breadth of that way wherein for ever she is to walk Hereticks and Schismaticks never ceasing some to abridge some to enlarge all to pervert and obscure the same But as for those things that are accessary hereunto those things that so belong to the way of Salvation as to alter them is no otherwise to change that way then a path is changed by altering onely the uppermost face thereof which be it laid with Gravel or set with Grass or paved with stones remaineth still the same path In such things because discretion may teach the church what is convenient we hold not the Church further tied herein unto Scripture then that against Scripture nothing be admitted in the Church lest that path which ought always to be kept even do thereby come to be overgrown with Brambles and Thorns If this be unfound wherein doth the point of unsoundness lie Is it not that we make some things necessary some things accessory and appendent onely For our Lord and Saviour himself doth make that difference by terming Judgment and Mercy and Fidelity with other things of like nature The greater and weightier matters of the Law Is it then in that we account Ceremonies wherein we do not comprise Sacraments or any other the like substantial duties in the exercise of Religion but onely such External Rites as are usually annexed unto Church actions is it an oversight that we reckon these things and matters of Government in the number of things accessory not things necessary in such sort as hath been declared Let them which therefore think as blameable consider well their own words Do they not plainly compare the one unto Garments which cover the Body of the Church the other unto Rings Bracelets and Jewels that onely adorn it The one to that Food which the Church doth live by the other to that which maketh her Diet liberal dainty and more delicious Is dainty fare a thing necessary to the sustenance or to the cloathing of the Body rich attire If not how can they urge the necessity of that which themselves resemble by things not necessary Or by what construction shall any man living be able to make those comparisons true holding that distinction untrue which putteth a difference between things of External Regiment in the Church and things necessary unto Salvation 4. Now as it can be to Nature no injury that of her we say the same which diligent beholders of her works have observed namely that she provideth for all living Creatures nourishment which may suffice that she bringeth forth no kinde of Creature whereto she is wanting in that which is needful Although we do not so far magnifie her exceeding bounty as to affirm that she bringeth into the World the Sons of Men adorned with gorgeous attire or maketh costly buildings to spring up out of the Earth for them So I trust that to mention what the Scripture of God leaveth unto the Churches discretion in some things is not in any thing to impair the honor which the Church of God yieldeth to the sacred Scriptures perfection Wherein seeing that no more is by us maintained then onely that Scripture must needs teach the Church whatsoever is in such sort necessary as hath been set down and that it is no more disgrace for Scripture to have left a number of other things free to be ordered at the discretion of the Church then for Nature to have lest it unto the wit of man to devise his own attire and not to look for it as the Beasts of the field have theirs If neither this can import nor any other proof sufficient be brought forth that we either will at any time or ever did affirm the sacred Scripture to comprehend no more then onely those bare necessaries if we
or Light of Reason or Learning or other help they may be received so they be not against the Word of God but according at leastwise unto the general Rules of Scripture they must be made Which is in effect as much as to say We know not what to say wel in defence of this Position And therefore lest we should say it is false there is no remedy but to say that in some sense or other it may be true if we could tell how First that Scholy had need of a very favorable Reader and a tractable that should think it plain construction when to be commanded in the Word and grounded upon the Word are made all one If when a man may live in the state of Matrimony seeking that good thereby which Nature principally desireth he make rather choice of a contrary life in regard of St. Pauls judgment That which he doth is manifestly grounded upon the Word of God yet not commanded in his Word because without breach of any Commandment he might do otherwise Secondly whereas no man in Justice and Reason can be reproved for those actions which are framed according unto that known Will of God whereby they are to be judged and the Will of God which we are to judge our actions by no sound Divine in the World ever denied to be in part made manifest even by the Light of Nature and not by Scripture alone If the Church being directed by the former of these two which God hath given who gave the other that man might in different sort be guided by them both if the Church I say do approve and establish that which thereby it judgeth meet and sindeth not repugnant to any word or syllable of <