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A40795 A discourse of infallibility with Mr. Thomas White's answer to it, and a reply to him / by Sir Lucius Cary late Lord Viscount of Falkland ; also Mr. Walter Mountague (Abbot of Nanteul) his letter against Protestantism and his Lordship's answer thereunto, with Mr. John Pearson's preface. Falkland, Lucius Cary, Viscount, 1610?-1643.; Pearson, John, 1613-1686.; Chillingworth, William, 1602-1644.; Montagu, Walter, 1603?-1677.; Triplett, Thomas, 1602 or 3-1670.; White, Thomas, 1593-1676. Answer to the Lord Faulklands discourse of infallibility. 1660 (1660) Wing F318; ESTC R7179 188,589 363

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the Character will be farr too short It is in you and onely you my Lord to set him out truely and to resemble him to the life and that will be by taking that Evangelicall Counsell Tu autem fac similiter Do like him live like him and pardon me if I add one thing more like him Love My Lord Your Lordships most humble and affectionately devoted Servant TRIPLET OF THE INFALLIBILITY OF THE CHURCH OF ROME A discourse written by the Lord Viscount FALKLAND TO him that doubteth whether the Church of Rome hath any errors they answer that she hath none for she never can have any this being so much harder to beleeve then the first had need be proved by some certainer Arguments if they expect that the beleefe of this one should draw on whatsoever they please to propose yet this if offered to be proved by no better wayes then we offer to prove by that she hath erred which are arguments from Scripture and ancient Writers all which they say are fallible for nothing is not so but the Church Which if it be the onely infallible determination and that can never be believed upon its owne authority we can never infallibly know that the Church is infallible for these other waies of proofe may deceive both them and us and so neither side is bound to beleeve them If they say that an argument out of Scripture is sufficient ground of Divine Faith why are they offended with the Protestants for beleeving every part of their Religion upon that ground upon which they build all theirs at once And if following the same Rule with equall desire of finding the Truth by it having neither of those qualities which Isid. Pelus saith are the cause of all Heresie 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 Pride and Prejudication why should God be more offended with the one then with the other though they chance to erre They say the Church is therefore made infallible by God that all men may have some certain Guide yet though it be infallible unlesse it both plainly appeare to be so for it is not certaine to whom it doth not appeare certaine and unlesse it be manifest which is the Church God hath not attained his end and it were to set a ladder to Heaven and seem to have a great care of my going up whereas unlesse there be care taken that I may know this ladder is here to that purpose it were as good for me it never had been set If they say we may know for that generall Tradition instructs us in it I answer that ignorant people cannot know this and so it can be no Rule for them and if learned people mistake in this there can be no condemnation for them For suppose to know whether the Church of Rome may erre as a way which will conclude against her but not for her I seek whether she have erred and conceiving she hath contradicted her self conclude necessarily she hath erred I suppose it not damnable though false because I try the Church by one of the touch-stones which herself appoints me Conformity with the Ancients For to say I am to beleeve the present Church that it differs not from the former though it seem to me to do so is to send me to a witnesse and bid me not beleeve it now to say the Church is provided for a guide of Faith but must be known by such markes as the ignorant cannot seek it by and the learned may chance not find it by can no way satisfie me If they say God will reveale the Truth to whomsoever seeks it these waies sincerely this saying both sides will without meanes of being confuted make use of therefore it would be as good that neither did When they have proved the Church to be Infallible yet to my understanding they have proceeded nothing farther unlesse we can be sure which is it For it signifies onely that God will have a Church alwaies which shall not erre but not that such or such a succession shall be in the right so that if they say the Greek Church is not the Church because by its own confession it is not Infallible I answer That it may be now the Church and may hereafter erre and so not be now infallible and yet the Church never erre because before their fall from Truth others may arise to maintaine it who then will be the Church and so the Church may still be infallible though not in respect of any set persons whom we may know at all times for our Guide Then if they prove the Church of Rome to be the true Church and not the Greek Church because their opinions are consonant either to Scripture or Antiquitie they run into a Circle proving their Tenets to be true First because the Church holds them And then theirs to be the Church because the Church holds the Truth Which last though it appears to me the onely way yet it takes away its being a Guide which we may follow without examination without which all they say besides is nothing Nay suppose that they had evinced that some succession were Infallible and so had proved to a learned man that the Roman Chruch must be this because none else pretends to it yet this can be no sufficient ground to the ignorant who cannot have any infallible foundation for their beleefe that the Church of Greece pretends not to the same and even to the Learned it is but an accidentall Argument because if any other Company had likewise claimed to be Infallible it had overthrown all The chiefest reason why they disallow of Scripture for Judge is because when differences arise about the interpretation there is no way to end them And that it will not stand with the goodnesse of God to damne men for not following his Will if he had assigned no infallible way to find it I confesse this to be wonderfull true 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 and let them excuse themselves that think otherwise yet this will be no Argument against him that beleeves that to them who follow their reason in the interpretation of the Scriptures God will either give his Grace for assistance to find the Truth or his pardon if they misse it And then this supposed necessitie of an infallible Guide with the supposed damnation for want of it fall together to the ground If they command us to beleeve infallibly the contrary to this they are to prove it false by some infallible way for the conclusion must be of the same nature and not conclude more then the premisses set down Now such a way Scripture and Reason and infused Faith cannot be for they use to object the fallibility of these to those that build their Religion upon them nor the authority of the Church for this is part of the Question and must it self be first proved and that by none of the former waies for the former reasons The Popes Infallibility can be no infallible ground of Faith being it self no
in any point of Religion yet to be in a readinesse to cry To the fire with him to Hell with him as Polybius saith in a certaine furious faction of an army of severall nations and consequently of severall languages 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 They all joyned onely in understanding this word throw at him These I say in my opinion were chiefly the causes which made so many so suddenly leave the Church of Rome that indeed to borrow the same Authors Phrase 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 They needed no perswasion to do it but onely newes that others had done it For as this alone if beleeved makes all the rest to be so too so one thing alone disliked where infallibility is claimed overthrowes all the rest If it were granted that it agreeth not with the goodnesse of God to let men want an infallible Guide and therefore there must be one and that the Church of Rome were it yet if that teach any thing to my understanding contrary to Gods goodnesse I am not to receive her Doctrine for the same cause for which they would have me receive it it being as good an argument this guide teacheth things contrary to Gods goodnesse therefore this is not appointed by God as to say it is agreeable to his goodnesse there should be one therefore there is one and sure it is lawfull to examine particular Doctrines whether they agree with that Principle which is their foundation and for that me thinks to damn him that neither with negligence nor prejudication searches what is Gods will though he misse of it is as contrary as the first can be supposed Next I would know whether he that hath never heard of the Church of Rome shall yet be damned for not beleeving her infallible I have so good an opinion of them as to assure my self they will answer he shall not I will then ask whether he that hath searched what Religions there are and finds hers to be one and her infallibility to be a part of it if his reason will not assent to that shall be damned for being inquisitive after Truth for he hath committed no other fault greater then the other and whether such an ignorance I mean after impartiall search be not of all other the most invincible Nay grant the Church to be infallible yet me thinks he that denies it and imploies his reason to seek if it be true should be in as good case as he that beleeveth it and searcheth not at all the truth of the Proposition he receives For I cannot see why he should be saved because by reason of his parents beleef or the Religion of the Country or some such accident the Truth was offered to his understanding when had the contrary been offered he would have received that And the other damned that beleeves falshood upon as good ground as the other doth truth unlesse the Church be like a Conjurers Circle that will keep a man from the Divell though he came unto it by chance They grant no man is an Heretick that beleeves not his Heresie obstinately and if he be no Heretick he may sure be saved It is not then certain damnation for any man to deny the Infallibility of the Church of Rome but for him onely that denies it obstinately And then I am safe for I am sure I do not Neither can they say I shall be damned for Schisme though not for Heresie for he is as well no Shcismatick though in Schisme that is willing to joyne in Communion with the true Church when it appears to be so to him as he is no Heretick though he holds Hereticall opinions who holds them not obstinately that is as I suppose with a desire to be informed if he be in the wrong Next Why if it be not necessary alwaies to beleeve the Truth so one beleeve in generall what the Church would have beleeved for so they excuse great men that have held contrary opinions to theirs now before they were defined or knew them to be so why I say shall not the same implicite assent serve to whatsoever God would have assented unto though I mistake what that is when indeed to beleeve implicitely what God would have beleeved is to beleeve implicitely likewise what the Church teacheth if this Doctrine be within the number of those which God commands to be beleeved I have the lesse doubt of this opinion that I shall have no harme for not beleeving the Infallibility of the Church of Rome because of my being so farr from leaning to the contrary and so suffering my will to have power over my understanding that if God would leave it to me which Tenet should be true I would rather chuse that that should then the contrary For they may well beleeve me that I take no pleasure in tumbling hard and unpleasant Books and making my self giddy with disputing obscure Questions 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 If I should beleeve there should alwaies be whom I might alwaies know a society of men whose opinions must be certainely true and who would 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 labour to discusse and define all arising doubts so that I might be excusably at ease and have no part left for me but that of obedience which must needs be a lesse difficult and so a more agreeable way then to endure endlesse Volumes of Commenters the harsh Greek of Epiphanius and the harder Latin of Irenaeus and be pained by distinguishing between different sences and various Lections and he would deserve not the lowest place in Bedlem that would preferr these studies before so many so more pleasant that would rather imploy his understanding then submit it and if he could think God imposed upon him onely the resisting temptations would by way of addition require from himself the resolving of doubts yet I say not that all these Books are to be read by those that understand not the languages for them I conceive their seeking into the Scripture may suffice but he who hath by Gods grace skill to look into them cannot better use it then in the searching of his will where they say it is to be found that he may assent to them if there he find reason for it or if not they may have no excuse for not excusing him For whereas they say it is pride makes us doubt of their Infallibilitie I answer That their too much lazinesse and impatience of examining is the cause that many of them do not doubt Next what pride is it never to assent before I find reason since they when they follow their Church as infallible pretend reason for it and will not say they would if they thought they found none and if they say we do find reason but will not eonfesse it then pride hinders not our assent but our declaration of it which if it do in any one he is without question 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 con demned by himself and it must be a very partiall Advocate that would strive to
eò perspicaciores esse That the more modern Doctors are the more prespicatious that per incrementa Temporum nota facta sunt Divina mysteria quae tamen antea multos latuerunt In processe of time Divine Mysteries have been made known which before lay hid from many That it is infirm arguing from Authority and answers to the multitude of them who in times past had opposed him with these words of Exodus That the opinion of many is not to be followed leading us out of the way with some other very Anabaptisticall answers and very contrary to your Tenets for sure it were a strange Tradition which had so many Orthodox Opposers and nothing inferiour to that saying of Zuinglius so much exaggerated Quid mihi cum Patribus potius quam cum Matribus The same Author in same place saies that Saint Hierome durst not affirm the Assumption but Saint Austine durst and by that meanes the Church perswaded by his reason believes it Such a notable Tradition have all her opinions for even this affirmation which he confesseth brought in this beliefe is it self not now believed to be Saint Austines for I take it he must mean his tract of the Assumption counted not his by your own Divinity-Criticks the Lovaine Doctors which have set it forth at Cullen And because I am willing to spend no more time in the proofe of so apparent a Truth I will not urge Posa who to perswade the defining of an opinion which hath a great current of the Ancients against it so farr it is from having any Tradition for it reckons many other opinions condemned by your Church and defended by the Ancients unlesse you will believe his impudent Assertion that they are all corrupted and will passe to the Conclusion of this which shall have for a Corollary the Confession of a Spanish Arch-Bishop who is to be thought to speak with more authority then his own because being imployed to bring that to passe which was desired by so great a Part of your Church he can scarce be supposed not to have had the advice and consent of many of them in what he sayes He then tell us First every Age either brings forth or opens her Truth Things are done in their times and severall Doctrines are unlockt in severall Ages Secondly To shew that though his opinion had no such Tradition as you say your Church claimes for all her Doctrines yet it may and ought to be defined he desires to know who ever taught the Assumption of the Virgin before Saint Austines and Hieromes time and by whom was that opinion deduct from the Apostles Nay he absolutely affirmes that before Nazianzene no man ever taught any thing of her delivery without paine yet many thought the contrary Thirdly and lastly For your absolute confutation he confesseth that we believe and hold in this Age many things for Mysteries of Faith which in former Ages did waver under small or no Probability and many Things are now defined for Articles of Faith which have endured a hard repulse among the most and the weightiest of the Ancient Doctors and no light contradiction among the Ancient Fathers and having reckoned up five Particulars The Validity of Hereticks Baptisme The Beatificall Vision before the day of Judgment The Spirituallity of Angels The Soules being immediately created and not ex traduce And The Virgines being free from all actuall Sinne He shuts it thus Many of these kinds of Opinions there are which sometimes declined to one Part sometimes to the other and had contrary Favourers according to severall times untill a diligent and long disquisition being praemitted the Truth was manifested either by Pope or Provinciall or generall Councels nay and saies that the disquisition is made by conferring of Places of Scripture and Reason which is the way which you mislike These things considered whosoever shall after say that your Church claimes all her Doctrines to have come by a Verball and constant Tradition to her from the Apostles I will not say that he is very impudent but I cannot think that a small matter-will put him out of countenance for your part I esteeme you so much that I am confident you have not so little Nose as not to find the contrary nor so little Forehead as not to confesse it having received the Affidavit of such a cloud of Witnesses Whosoever pretend Christ his Truth against her saith that true it is she had once had the true way but by length of times she is fallen into grosse Errors which they will reform not by any Truth which they have received from hand to hand from those who by both Parts are acknowledged to have received their lesson from Christ and his Apostles but by Arguments either out of Ancient Writers or the secrets of Reason This is no farther true then as it concernes the Protestants for the Greek Church will not suffer your proposition to be generall but forbid the Banes They pretend not to have made any Reformation but to have kept ever since the Apostles what from them was received Barlaam saies they do 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 keep safe and whole the Tradition of the Catholique Church nay he proves his to be the sound Part because by them 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 Nothing was ever more esteemed then her Tradition And he objects it to your Church that she doth 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 difanull the Tradition of the Catholique Church and setting them at naught bring in strange and undenizon'd opinions And that Greeke who is joyned to Nilus and Barlaam in Salmatius his Edition disputing against a Cardinall chargeth you that you do 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 sow Tares among the Tradition of the Apostles and Fathers if when they make this claime they either say so and think not so or think so and erre then this proves that though the Roman Church did make that claime which you say she doth yet she too might either claime it against her Conscience or against Truth For this claime of the last cannot be denyed but by him who will imitate that Hamshire Clown of whom you give me warning and believe no more then he sees himself especially since your own Authors when they dispute for Traditions prove their authority from this profession of the Greekes but I cannot blame you to forget them if we would suffer you since they cannot be remembred but by your Religions disadvantage For I verily believe that if they had but one Addition which they want I mean Riches not onely most of them who leave the Protestants would sooner go to them then to you unlesse they would take their Religion as we take Boates for being the Next but money among you who though they dislike your pretended Infallibility that the Popes usurpations upon the rights of other Bishops his not ancient claime of power to deliver Soules out of Purgatory c And yet are frighted from joyning
contrarie That the Scripture cannot prove every thing in foro contentioso I beleeve but all necessarie Truths I beleeve it can for onely those which it can are such I denie not but that a contentious person may denie a thing to be proved when his own Conscience contradicts his words but so he may Arguments drawn from any other ground as well as Scripture so that if for that cause you refuse to admit of proofes from thence you might as well for the same refuse to admit of any by any other kinde of Arguments And certainlie if the Scriptures I meane the plaine places of it cannot be a sufficient ground for such and such a point surelie it cannot be a sufficient ground to build a ground upon as the Churches Infallibilitie and therefore though it it seemes you desire so much that this be beleeved that so it be you care not upon what proofe yet a considering Protestant who is not as hot to receive your Religion as you are that he should may presentlie say when he is press'd by you with Scripture to this since this is a way of proofe which your selves admit not of an Argument from hence may bring me from my own Religion but never to yours because it is a beame which that relies much upon that by any other way then the authoritie of the Church no man can be sufficientlie sure of the meaning of Scripture That they say the Church is made infallible that we may have some guide I thinke it very rationall for Nature hath given ever some strong and uncontroulable Principle in all Natures to guide the rest The Common-wealth hath a Governour not questionable our Understanding hath Principles which she cannot judge but by them judgeth of all other verities If there should not be some Principle in the Church it were the onely maimed thing God had created and maimed in its Principall part in the very head Andif there be such a Principle the whole Church is Infallible by that as the whole man seeth by his eyes toucheth by his hands Christ is our unquestionable and infallible Governour and his Will the Principle by which we are guided and the Scripture the place where this Will is contained which if we endeavour to find there we shall be excused though we chance to misse and therefore want not your guide who either is not or as hard to find as the way and againe when he hath defined the certaine meaning of that definition as hard to find as herfelf Neither is a company of men thus beleeving maimed in the head though having no other more uncontroulable Principle If your guide were evident of her self as those Principles are by which we judge all things else then your Similitude would hold a little whereas being neither knowable in her self nor proveable by ought else what you have said onely shewes what an ill match is made when Witt is set against Truth It is sufficient for a Child to believe his Parents for a Clown to believe his Preacher about the Churches Infallibility For Faith is given to mankind to be a meanes of believing and living like a Christian and so he hath this second it is not much matter in what tearmes he be with the first To what you say I answer that I confesse that it is not possible that without particular Revelations or Inspirations the ignorant even of the Orthodox party should receive their Religion upon very strong grounds which makes me wonder that even from them you should exact an assent of a higher nature and a much greater certaintie then can be ministred to them by any arguments which they are capable of yet if they believe what they receive with an intention of obedience to God and supposall that their opinions are his Revelations and use those meanes which they in their Conscience think best to examine whether they be or no though it be when they find themselves unable to search by trusting others whom they count fittest to be trusted I beleeve they are in a very saveable estate though they be farr from having of the truth of their Tenets any Infallible certaintie and the same I think of those which are in error for since you cannot deny but that a Child or a Clown with the same aptnesse to follow Gods will may be taught by his Parents or his Preacher that what God forbids he commands that Christ's Vicar is Antichrist or the Church Babylon and scarce teacheth any truth though it could not teach the least error why should such a one be damned for the misfortune of having had Hereticall Parents or a deceiving Preacher For no more it seemes is required of such then to give his beliefe to those And indeed the same reason extended will excuse him who though learned impartially aimeth at Gods will and misseth it for though you seeme to insinuate by the cause you give of what you say that so men believe and do what they heare God command he careth not upon what grounds yet I who know that God hath no other gaine by our so doing then that in it we sacrifice to him our soules and affections cannot believe but that they shall be accepted who give him that which he most cares for and obey him formally though they disobey him materially God more considering and valuing the Heart then the Head the end then the actions and the fountaine then the streames And truely else he who through stupidity or impotence abstained from any vice or through negligence or prejudice miss'd some error would be as well accepted of by God as he that by a care of his waies and of obedience to him who should rule them did avoide the first and by a studious search the second I cannot part from this Theame without one consideration more and that is that if so Fallible a Director as you speak of may be cause enough of assent to one Truth why may they not be so to another and why shall not the beleefe of our ignorants upon their testimonie that the Scripture is the Word of God be as well founded as that of yours to the Infallibility of the Church upon the same And yet it is daily objected to us that this beleefe of ours is not surely enough founded since not received from their Church although the unlearned among us receive it from their Parents and Preachers and the learned from Tradition as from the first of those your unlearned do and from the second of which your learned pretend they do receive the authority and infallibility of the Church it self Although we be so much more reasonable then you that we require them not to be so sure upon it as they are of what they know by sence but onely to give them so much credit that they may give up their hearts to obedience Neither do I remit him to a generall and constant Tradition as if himself should climbe up every age by learned
when a Childe as the substance of his hopes for all eternitie and so cannot in reason have his books either forbidden or pasted up for delivering any thing contrary to it Secondly Who are these Censors who forbid and paste up books certainly not the Universall Church nor yet the Representative the latter is not alwaies in being nor when it is at leasure to consider and judge all authors and of the first these Authors are a part if then they be fallible as they must be if they be not the Church why may not they erre and the Martyr-books speake truth which yet will easily by this meanes be kept from Posteritie if those in the Dictatory Office dissent from it as they will be sure to do if the opinion contradict never so little the power or greatnesse of the Pope upon whose favour these Oecumenicall Correctors must depend or they not longremaine in their places and yet you expect that your adversary should produce succession of their opinions in all ages though nothing be let passe but what a few please and though when in time all of you are agreed as you will soon be or appear to be if one side appear to be gag'd then this consent though thus brought about becomes the consent of the Church and a very notable Motive And since you say that what all are bound to is onely a prompt subjection to the Church why leave you it so in doubt what is the Church as if men were tyed to be subject but must not know to what you say indeed that the adherers to the Church of Rome are now the Church but what they may be you will not plainely declare So that if a Schisme among them should happen we are all as farr to seek as if you had been wholly silent for since the infallibility lies not in the particular Church of Rome and consequently the adhering to her is not ever a sufficient note of the Church as you will not say nor is it among your selves de fide since the Universall Church whatsoever she be can never define any thing and of the authority of the definitions of the Representative and of what constitutes both her and her decrees you refuse to speak what remaines there to which this prompt subjection is to be the onely everlasting Note of the true Church but onely the Truth whensoever she appeares Thus as the Priests of Apollo therefore peradventure called Loxias used to spread lies and secure his reputation the first by the antiquity and the second by the darknesse of his Oracles so doth your Religion gaine upon many men and secure her seflf rom many objections by the manyfold acceptions and consequently difficulty of this tearme Church For whatsoever is said in Scripture concerning her being free from all spot or prevailing against the gates of Hell or their danger who resist her the first meant as I believe and the place denies not by any circumstance of the Church Triumphant the second of the Church of the Elect and the third of the Professors of Christianity in generall or at most of those who are in all necessary points Orthodox among them That they without sufficient proofe resolve to be spoken of the Church in their sence they have fancied That is some ever known body of Christians which must be still guide to the rest and then claime to be that because no other all else being more ingenious claimes it besides themselves whereas if considering that 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 and the Oraculous truth of my great Lord Bacon's observation that unlesse men in the beginning of their disputes agree about the meaning of their tearmes they must end about words where they ought to have begun they had marked what other sence these words were capable of for if it will here beare another then this cannot hence be concluded but by leave they would then soon have seen the weaknesse of their building by the slightnesse of their foundation Againe they prevaile much by working upon mens assents by the meanes of their modesties and presse it to be an intollerable pride to oppose their opinions to the consent of the Catholick Church whereas if it be weighed how small a part of it they mean by that word and yet of them how many follow blindly the decrees of one and how soon those prevaile against that few not backed by any power who do not it will then appeare that not onely other Churches but even a John or a Thomas have as much reason to be lead by their own understandings as by the opinions and decrees of and Vrban or a Gregory upon which that consent is so often founded And as they make their advantage of this word in their offensive warres so do they in their defensive for when they are press'd unto the absurdity of their Tenets then though indeed they be generall yet they pretend that they are the opinions but of private though many men and not of the Church and againe when any Fathers who yet sometimes they say are wholly theirs are shewed to contradict some of their Doctrines so plainely that none of those subterfuges which in one of their expurgatory Indexes they consesse they often use will serve to palliate it then they strive to scape by answering that the Church had not then defined it whereas if it be examined how farre they consent about what is the Church and what are her Definitions whereof they are not yet agreed for some say she hath defined what others say she hath not this onely will be certainlie found that it never can be certainlie found what are her opinions of any point or when she hath declared her selfe As besides manie other Arguments some press'd by my selfe and others by other Pens more fit to treat of so weightie a matter appeares by your refusing to leave your Latibula and declare plainlie your opinion concerning it which if you saw defensible and you were all agreed about it you would quicklie have done and not incurred the reprehension of that Axiome which teacheth that Dolosus versatur in generalibus which makes me thinke that if this were generallie enough mark'd you would no longer be able to dazle any mans eyes with the splendid title of Somes to the Catholique Church as Alexander hoped to doe those of the Barbarians with stiling himselfe 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 the Sonne of Jupiter although indeed he was so much the more moderate then the second as never to denie that any other could be Sonne to the same Father whereas you will not allow that any may have interest in your Mother besides your selves To conclude this Paragraph give me leave to aske one question and that is how your saying that Truth is more easie to finde now then in the Fathers times will agree either with the way which you say is the onely Catholique one to finde Truth by for sure such a Tradition was alwaies equallie easie to finde and if the first
been any we know no force was equal to the courage of the Christians of those times Their lives were then at command for they had not then learnt to fight for Christ but their obedience to any thing against his Law was not to be commanded for they had perfectly learn't to dye for him Therefore there was no power then to command this change or if there had been any it had been in vain SECT 9. What device then shall we study or to what fountain shall we reduce this strange pretended alteration Can it enter into our hearts to think that all the Presbyters and other Christians then being the Apostles Schollers could be generally ignorant of the Will of Christ touching the necessity of a Presbyterial Government Or dare we adventure to think them so strangely wicked all the World over as against knowledge and conscience to conspire against it Imagine the spirit of Diotrephes had entered into some or a great many of the Presbyters and possessed them with an ambitious desire of a forbiddden superiority was it possible they should attempt and atchieve it once without any opposition or contradiction and besides that the contagion of this ambition should spread it self and prevail without stop or controul nay without any noyse or notice taken of it through all the Churches in the World all the watchmen in the mean time being so fast asleep and all the dogs so dumb that not so much as one should open his mouth against it SECT 10. But let us suppose though it be a horrible untruth that the Presbyters and people then were not so good Christians as the Presbyterians are now that they were generally so negligent to retain the government of Christ's Church commanded by Christ which we now are so zealous to restore yet certainly we must not forget nor deny that they were men as we are And if we look upon them but as meer naturall men yet knowing by experience how hard a thing it is even for policy arm'd with power by many attempts and contrivances and in a long time to gain upon the liberty of any one people undoubtedly we shall never entertain so wild an imagination as that among all the Christian Presbyteries in the World neither conscience of duty nor love of liberty nor aversenesse from pride and usurpation of others over them should prevail so much with any one as to oppose this pretended universal invasion of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and the liberty of Christians SECT 11. When I shall see therefore all the Fables in the Metamorphosis acted and prove stories when I shall see all the Democracies and Aristocracies in the World lye down and sleep and awake into Monarchies then will I begin to believe that Presbyterial Government having continued in the Church during the Apostles times should presently after against the Apostles doctrine and the will of Christ be whirl'dabout like a scene in a masque and transformed into Episcopacy In the mean time while these things remain thus incredible and in humane reason impossible I hope I shall have leave to conclude thus Episcopal Government is acknowledged to have been universally received in the Church presently after the Apostles times Between the Apostles times and this presently after there was not time enough for nor possibility of so great an alteration And therefore there was no such alteration as is pretended And therefore Episcopacy being confessed to be so Ancient and Catholique must be granted also to be Apostolique Quod erat demonstrandum FINIS The Preface to the READER THe eminent abilities in the most noble Author of the ensuing learned Discourse and learneder Reply can scarcely be imagined unknown to any whom this language can reach But if any such there be I shall desire them to learne the perfections of that most excellent Person rather from the Dedication then this Preface the designe of which is onely to give the Reader some satisfaction concerning the nature of this Controversie in it selfe and of these Dissertations in particular The Romish Doctrine of their owne Infallibility as it is the most generall Controversie betweene them and all other Churches excluded by them from their Communion So it is of such a comprehensive nature that being proved and clearely demonstrated it would without question draw all other Churches so excluded to a most humble submission and acknowledgement nay to an earnest desire of a suddaine Reconciliation upon any Termes whatsoever For howsoever they please to speak and write of our Hereticall and obstinate persistance in manifest Errors yet I hope they cannot seriously thinke we would be so irrationall as to contradict him whom we our selves think beyond a possibillity of erring and to dispute perpetually with them whom onely to heare were to be satisfied But when they have propounded their Decisions to be beleeved and imbraced by us as Infallibly true and that because they propound them who in their own opinion are Infallible if notwithstanding some of those Decisions seeme to us to be evidently false because clearely contradictory to that which they themselves propound as infallibly true that is the Word of God surely we cannot be blamed if we have desired their Infallibility to be most clearly demonstrated at least to a higher degree of evidence then we have of the contradiction of their Decisions to the infallible Rule Wherefore The great Defenders of the Doctrine of the Church of England have with more then ordinary diligence endeavoured to view the grounds of this Controversie and have written by the advantage either of their learning accurately or of their parts most strongly or of the cause it selfe most convincingly against that darling Infallibility How clearely this Controversie hath been managed with what evidence of truth discussed what successe so much of reason hath had cannot more plainly appeare then in this that the very name of Infallibility before so much exalted begins now to be very burthensome even to the maintainers of it Insomuch as one of their latest and ablest Proselytes Hugh Paulin de Cressy lately Dean of Laghlin c. in Ireland and Prebendary of Windsor in England in his Exomologesis or faithfull Narration of the occasion and motives of his Conversion hath dealt very clearly with the World and told us that this Infallibilitie is an unfortunate Word That Mr. Chillingworth hath cumbated against it with too too great successe so great that he could wish the Word were forgotten or at least layd by That not onely Mr. Chillingworth whom he still worthily admires but we the rest of the poore Protestants have in very deed very much to say for our selves when we are pressed unnecessarily with it And therefore Mr. Cressy's advise to all the Romanists is this that we may never be invited to combat the authority of the Church under that notion Oh the strength of Reason rightly managed O the power of Truth clearly declared that it should force an emnient member of the Church of Rome whose
acquit him One much prevailing argument which they make is this That whosoever leaves them sall into dissention between themselves whereas they in the mean while are allwaies at Unity I answer First In this whereof the Question is now they all assent Secondly When there is fire for them that disagree they need not bragg of their Uniformity who consent Thirdly they have many differences among them as whether the Pope be Infallible whether God predeterminate every action whether Election and Reprobation depend upon fore-sight Which seemes to me as great as any between their Adversaries and in the latter the Jesuites have ancienter and generaller Tradition on their side then the Church of Rome hath in any other Question and as much