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have shown you hath been an ancient cheat, and that we ought not to be so easy as to be deceived by it. But to be very wary, and afraid of trusting traditions of such a Church, as hath not only perverted some, abolished others, and pretended them where there hath been none; but been a very unfaithful preserver of them, and that in matters of great moment, where there were some; and lastly, warrants those which it pretends to have kept, by nothing but its own infallibility. For which there is no tradition, but much against it, even in the original tradition, the holy Scriptures; which plainly suppose the Roman Church may not only err, but utterly fail and be cut off from the Body of CHRIST; as they that please may read, who will consult the eleventh chapter to the Romans, v. 20, 21, 22. Of which they are in the greater danger, because they proudly claim so high a prerogative as that now mentioned, directly contrary to the Apostolical admonition in that place: "be not high-minded, but fear."-pp. 11. 16. 32.


We see from hence how groundlessly, how unreasonably, we Protestants are charged with Heresy by our adversaries. They make no scruple of calling us Heretics, and telling us we shall be damned upon that account, unless we come over to their Belief. Why, what is it they would have us believe? We believe all that JESUS CHRIST and His Apostles taught to the world, so far as we have knowledge of it. We believe all the holy Scriptures, and not only so, but we make them the rule of our Faith. We believe all those articles of Faith, into which all Christians in every country, from CHRIST's time to this, have been baptized, and which by all the ancients have been accounted a perfect summary of the Christian Faith; nor do we hold any thing inconsistent with them. We own both CHRIST's Sacraments: and we administer them entirely. We renounce all the Heresies that were condemned by the ancient general Councils; nay, we are ready to refer ourselves to those Councils, and to the primitive Fathers who lived at that time, for the trial of all the points which are disputed between us. And lastly, we are sure we are not obstinate in our errors, if they should prove so; we are sure we have no secular ends to serve in the maintaining them; and most of all we are sure, that we are not self-condemned, that our own conscience doth not accuse us for being of this way; (which yet is one of those things that go to the making of an Heretic.) Now if all these things can be truly said of us, (as I think they may be truly said of the Church of England, and of all the honest members of it,) how is it possible that we can in any sense

be guilty of Heresy? In the sense of the Scriptures and of the Fathers, I am sure we are orthodox Christians; and in the sense of the greatest Divines, even in the Roman Communion, I am sure we are no heretics. And if after all that, we must be branded with that name, all that we can say is, that "after the way which they call Heresy, so worship we the GoD of our Fathers."--Vol. vi. p. 5.


We do not find, that in the controversies which arose in the ancient Church about matters of Faith, the guides of the Church ever made use of this argument of the Church's infallibility for the quieting and ending of them: which yet, had they known of any such thing, had been the properest and the easiest means they could have used. Nay, further we know, that the ancient Fathers had another method of confuting Heretics and Schismatics than by appealing to the Church's infallibility: namely, by bringing their doctrines to be tried by the ancient usages and doctrines of the Apostolic Churches, and especially by the Divine oracles of Scripture, which they looked upon as the entire and only Rule of Faith.-Vol. vii. p. 61.

POTTER, ARCHBISHOP.-Charge to the Clergy of the Diocese of Oxford.

To begin with Faith, the foundation of all other Christian duties. You cannot be ignorant, what attempts have lately been made, and are still daily further advancing, to destroy some of the principal doctrines, not of ours only, but of the Catholic Church in all ages; and I wish I could not say, to weaken and undermine all the rest: "these things have not been done in a corner."

Great industry hath been used, and that with too much success, to revive the Arian and Semi-arian Heresies; and with the professors thereof to unite almost all other sects of Christians, however they may differ from one another as to opinion, in the same visible Communion. So that instead of rejecting those, who deprave the Christian Faith, as St. Paul commands; or, in obedience to St. John, of refusing even to "receive them into our houses," or to "bid them GoD speed;" should this design prevail, we must pray with them, and partake with them of the LORD'S Table, and associate together in all other parts of religious worship; and those alone will be reputed Schismatics, who separate themselves from the Communion of Heretics.

Some have so far proceeded in this scheme of general com

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prehension, or rather confusion, as to assert, that all sorts of error, except those which immediately relate to practice, are innocent and unblameable. With these men one may, perhaps, deserve the name of an Heretic, who outwardly professeth something he inwardly disbelieves, and in that sense condemns himself: but in any other ease, besides this of acting directly against the dictates of conscience, under which it is on all hands confessed to be a fault to defend the truth itself, they plainly intimate, that there is no harm in maintaining even the doctrine of Mahomet, or any other, though ever so opposite to the Christian Revelation. We must not, therefore, wonder to hear it affirmed, that in order to be justified before God, there is no need of anything more, than to act agreeably to our present inward persuasion, or in other terms, with sincerity: or, that equal degrees of this quality will in all cases (for I find no exception made,) entitle men to equal degrees of Divine favour: whence it follows, that they who denied, or even crucified our SAVIOUR, provided they did it without remorse or hesitation, might deserve an equal reward with those who are martyrs for Him.

We have been accustomed, and this agreeably to the judgment of all other Churches, and the most evident principles both of Natural and Revealed Religion, to think it the duty of Christian princes to maintain God's true Religion and virtue; and the Church, our Mother, hath taught us in the Communion office to pray, that all in authority under them may do the same. Now, if by God's true Religion nothing be meant, but that moral virtue, from which it is plainly distinguished in this place, then our new masters may still perhaps allow the magistrate to execute this part of his office; but, if God's true Religion signifies that, which it always hath signified among Christians, the worship of One True GOD, as opposed to that of idols and false gods, or the way of worship prescribed in the Holy Scripture, in opposition to Heathenish, and other superstitions; or, if God's true Religion be understood to imply the belief of Three Persons in one Godhead, of the Incarnation, sufferings, and satisfaction of CHRIST, of the Resurrection of the Body, or of any other doctrine ever so plainly revealed by GoD; then it is openly declared, that for Christian magistrates to discourage false Religion, even in the least degree, or to favour and encourage that which is true, is to do something highly inconsistent both with the nature and ends of their own authority, and with the kingdom of CHRIST.

This may seem strange doctrine in a Christian country; but, since the Faith was for several ages maintained without the favour or protection of the civil magistrate, they who advance these and the like novel opinions, may perhaps be thought more

excusable, if they endeavour to recompense for the loss of these temporal advantages by their hearty concern and just zeal for that spiritual power, which our LORD hath left in His Church. But instead of this, these men describe the Church, rather as a number of persons disunited from, and independent on one another, than as an orderly society under lawful governors of Divine, or necessary appointment; and thus root up, as far as in them lieth, the very foundation of all Ecclesiastical authority at once. It might easily be shown, how by the schemes lately published, every branch of this authority hath been very much weakened and impaired; or, rather, totally subverted and destroyed: but I shall confine myself to the subject of which I have been chiefly speaking, viz. the Christian Faith; in things relating to which, it hath been thought, not only highly inconvenient, but absurd and impracticable for the Church to have any sort of authority whatsoever. Our own Church, indeed, in her twentieth article, hath expressly declared, that the Church hath authority in controversies of Faith; and therefore some of them, who do not approve this passage, have taken great pains to persuade the world, that it was not originally in the article, but inserted there by some, who affected more power than of right belonged to them; but this attempt not succeeding according to their desires, the rest always speak of it with such reservations and evasions, as plainly show they heartily wish it were quite expunged. One of the chief causes of their complaint is the obliging men to declare their assent to human decisions, as they are called; that is, to articles of Faith, or doctrines, which however clearly deduced from the Holy Scriptures, are not found there in express words. For when "unlearned and unstable" men, to use the words of St. Peter, "wrested the Scriptures to their own destruction," it was always customary, even from the most primitive ages, for the Church, in order to prevent the spreading of such infections, to require her members, especially such of them as had been distinguished by any public character, to make an open and solemn confession of their Faith; not in the very words of Holy Scripture, which had been perverted and misunderstood, because that would have been ineffectual to the purpose intended; but in others more fully, and distinctly setting forth the true sense and interpretation of those words. With this view it was, that the Fathers of Nice inserted into their Creed those clauses, which declare the true Divinity of our Blessed LORD, against Arius; that not long after, in opposition to the Heresy of Macedonius, others were added by the general Council of Constantinople, to assert the Divinity of the HOLY SPIRIT; and that in the next century, though no further change was made in the Creed, other declarations of the true Faith, concerning the Incarnation of CHRIST, and the personal union of

His two Natures, were composed by general Synods assembled at Ephesus and Chalcedon, when the two opposite Heresies of Nestorius and Eutyches first showed themselves in the world. In these later times, indeed, this authority hath been very much abused; instead of articles of Faith, men have been compelled to declare their assent not only to disputable opinions, but to such as are evidently contrary, as well to the principles of natural reason as to the Holy Scriptures, and the doctrine of the best ages; and those worthy men, whom God endued with power from on high, to withstand these unjust impositions, have been exposed to so many and great trials, as even the first Christians endured in the Heathen persecutions. These practices, together with the principles from which they proceed, can hardly be too much detested: but shall we then, instead of reforming these or the like abuses, quite discard that sacred authority which hath been abused?....

But I am in hopes, that in the opinion of every true son of this Church, it will be a sufficient confutation of all innovations, which have been, or hereafter shall be, advanced, to say with St. Paul, "we have no such custom, neither the Churches of God;" or, in the words of our Blessed LORD," from the beginning it was not so." To become the author of new Hypotheses in Religion, or to call those doctrines into question, which have always been firmly believed in the Church, even from the most early ages to our times, savours more of the pride and arrogance of some vainglorious philosopher, who by making strange discoveries, and contradicting the rest of the world, seeks to raise in others a great esteem of himself, than of the humility of a good Christian; whose chief glory consists in the entire resignation of his understanding, and the stedfast belief of all the truths, which God hath revealed to him, whether he doth, or doth not, clearly comprehend them. I speak not of improvements in the liberal arts and sciences; which had their rise from study and observation, and therefore must be advanced, and perfected in the same method: whereas the Christian Religion having been completely published to the world by our Blessed LORD, and His Apostles, no addition can be made to it without a new Revelation. Here, then, is no room for invention or discovery; but, on the contrary, if any doctrine be new, if it be not truly primitive and Apostolical, we may safely, without further examination, reject it as false and spurious, and no part of "the Faith once delivered to the Saints." Whence our best writers, as well in their controversies with the Papists, as with other Sectaries and Heretics, constantly appeal to the judgment and practice of the Church in the next centuries after the Apostles: which, as she had better means of information than can be pretended to in any succeeding age, so cannot reasonably be supposed, either through negli

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