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gence or design, and this in all parts of the world at once, to have depraved the Faith, whilst her Pastors, and other chief members, were daily suffering martyrdom in its defence: and few there are, or rather none at all, as far as I have been able to observe, who refuse to allow the testimony of the primitive writers its due weight and authority, such only excepted as have not read them, or are afraid of their evidence, and, therefore, in order to divert us from the true sense of the Holy Scriptures, (in discovering which those interpreters have commonly the best success, who most carefully compare them with other books of the same or the next ages, as the best critics always do in explaining other authors) would strictly confine us to the mere words, because these alone, and unsupported, may more easily be forced to countenance their innovations.- Works, vol. i. pp. 283. 296.

Defence of the Charge.

There is not, therefore, the least ground to think that the practice of the Church in this respect is contrary to Scripture. Let us now see whether this writer hath succeeded better in another accusation he hath brought against it, viz. that it is Popish. I have allowed that this practice hath been abused to very ill ends by the Church of Rome; which, instead of explaining the true sense of Scripture, hath invented and imposed new Articles of Faith, contrary both to Scripture and reason. Which doth by no means satisfy this writer, who will, therefore, have the practice itself to be Popish; for unless he means this, he would, instead of contradicting me, say only the same thing I have done before. He pretends, that "by this engine it was that step by step came on the claim of Infallibility." (p. 252.) Whereby if he understands that the authority of the Church was through the ambition of some men, and the negligence of others, so far by degrees increased and abused, that at length a claim of Infallibility was set up, he affirms nothing more than what I have allowed, that this authority hath been much abused; but then I must still put him in mind that the abuse of authority in one age is no just ground for laying it aside in another. But if he would have it thought that the claim of Infallibility is a certain or necessary concomitant, or consequent, of this authority as exercised at the Council of Nice, or the other general councils mentioned by me, he must pardon me if this be not granted; for there is nothing more evident in History, than that no such authority was either then, or for many hundred years after, claimed by any person in the world. Nay, so far was any thing done in these councils, from giving birth to the exorbitant power of the Pope, who claims this Infallibility, that the popish writers have never been able to prove, that in several of them he was

allowed so much as to preside; and even in the last of them, that at Chalcedon, the See of Constantinople was, notwithstanding the warm and earnest opposition of the Pope's Legates, put upon the level with that of Rome, agreeably to what had been before decreed at Constantinople in the second General Council. These councils, therefore, are so many plain proofs against the Pope's authority, and are commonly insisted on as such by the Protestant writers. Neither doth it appear that any authority was there exercised in relation to the interpretation of Scripture, which is not exercised or approved by the Church of England and other Protestant Churches: for in these there are Creeds, or Confessions of Faith; and such as reject any of the principal Articles of these Creeds, or Confessions, are commonly debarred both from Holy Orders, and also from Communion. This, therefore, having been the practice of Protestant Churches, and particularly of the Church of England, ever since the Reformation, which cannot be questioned, will, I hope, be excused from the imputation of serving the popish claim of Infallibility; unless it can be supposed that the Protestant Churches, and this, from the very beginning, have generally so far misunderstood, or acted inconsistently with their own principles, as to retain the very essence of popery. But to give some show or colour of popery to the practice of which I have been speaking, this writer hath filled his discourse with long and heavy complaints of the injustice of denying Christians the liberty of examining, and judging for themselves; in which unfair proceeding of his, I desire leave once more to say, that I am no farther concerned than the body of Protestants; who, as they invite men to read the Scriptures, and to see with their own eyes, so have never denied the Church authority to judge what persons are qualified for her Communion and for Holy Orders.

I must not forget under this head, that I am again charged not only with favouring Popery, but with being a Papist in disguise, with "acknowledging the Protestant principles for decency sake, but steadfastly adhering to the Popish" (p. 275); and all this, as it seems, for having referred you to the practice and writers of the Primitive times, and of the next ages after the Apostles; whereby I am represented to understand the reign of Constantine, which happened, as he saith (p. 270-274), almost three hundred years after. Now I am not in the least apprehensive of my being suspected as a favourer of Popery by any man, who knows the true meaning of Popery; but sure it is such a compliment to the Popish Religion, as no Protestant would have made, who understands his own principles, to date its rise from the time of Constantine; the claim of Infallibility, and of the Papal Supremacy, as now exercised, the Doctrine of Transubstantiation, Invocation of Saints, Image Worship, Prayers in an unknown tongue, forbid

ding laymen to read the Scriptures, to say nothing of other peculiar tenets of the Church of Rome, having never been heard of during the reign of this great Emperor, or for a long time after; as a very little insight into the Popish Controversies, or Ecclesiastical Historians, would have informed this writer. It would have been much more to his purpose, and equally consistent with truth and justice, to have told his readers that by the next ages after the Apostles, I meant the times immediately preceding the Reformation but then one opportunity would have been lost of declaiming against the times wherein the Nicene Creed was composed, and Arianism condemned. As to the primitive writers I am not ashamed, or afraid to repeat, that the best method of interpreting Scripture seems to me to be the having recourse to the writers, who lived nearest the time wherein the Scriptures were first published, that is, to the next ages after the Apostles; and that a diligent inquiry into the Faith and practice of the Church in the same ages, would be the most effectual way, next after the study of the Scriptures themselves, to prevent innovations in doctrine; and, lastly, that this hath been practised with great success by some of our best advocates for the Protestant cause, as Bishop Jewel, for example, Archbishop Laud, Archbishop Ussher, Bishop Cosins, Bishop Stillingfleet, Dr. Barrow, Bishop Bull, with many others at home and abroad. To which it will be replied: That "our best writers, at least, in their controversies with the Papists, are so far from appealing to the judgment of the Church in the next centuries after the Apostles, in any such sense as the Bishop is arguing for against his adversaries, that the very best of them, Mr. Chillingworth, has declared, upon the most mature consideration, how uncertain generally, how self-contradictory sometimes, how insufficient always, he esteemed this judgment to be. He had seen Fathers against Fathers, Councils against Councils, the consent of one age against the consent of another, the same Fathers contradicting themselves, and the like, and he found no rest but in the Protestant Rule of Faith. He was willing to yield to every thing as truth, Quod semper, ubique et ab omnibus ; because he well judged that nothing could be conceived to be embraced as truth at the very beginning, and so continue in all places, and at all times, but what was delivered at the beginning. But he saw, with respect to some controverted points, how early the difference of sentiment was." (p. 265, 266.) In answer to this, I shall not take upon me to determine what rank Mr. Chillingworth ought to bear among the Protestant writers; it being suffirient for my purpose, that many others, and those of chief note for learning and judgment, in their controversies with the Papists and others, have appealed, and this in the manner I have recommended, to the Primitive writers, as every one may soon learn who will take the pains to look into their books. In the next

place, it appears from this very passage of Mr. Chillingworth, as here represented, that this design was to prevent appealing to Fathers and Councils as a Rule of Faith; agreeably whereunto I have all along declared, that, in my opinion, the Scripture is the only Rule of Faith, and have no farther recommended the study of the Primitive writers, than as the best method of discovering the true sense of Scripture. In the third place, here is nothing expressly said by Mr. Chillingworth of the most Primitive writers or Councils, or of any who lived in the next ages after the Apos tles; but he may very well be understood, notwithstanding any thing here produced, of those latter ages wherein both Fathers and Councils degenerated from the Faith and doctrine of those who went before them; which is the more likely, because mention here follows of the Article which divided the Greeks from the Roman Communion; this having not been openly disputed before the seventh century. Fourthly, he is introduced as speaking in express terms of controverted points, but saying nothing of any principal point of Faith, nothing of any Article which was originally in the Nicene Creed. On the contrary it may be observed, in the last place, that he plainly speaks of doctrines received by the Church in all places and at all times, even from the very beginning, which for that reason he presumed not to reject. Now it cannot possibly be known what these are, without having recourse to the writers of the Primitive ages. So that, upon the whole, the method I have recommended is so far from being contradicted, that it is rather enforced by what this writer hath cited from Mr. Chillingworth.-p. 358.


It is the contempt of the Ecclesiastical Tradition, reaching down from the Apostolic age to our own, which causes Christians who are called to one Faith and to one hope, to split into various sects; each of which professes Scripture for its Rule of Faith, but bends our Lord's declarations to its private likings and wishes, and refuses communion to all who differ from it, depriv ing them of all privileges, bodily and spiritual. On one side upon Traditions truly Catholic and Apostolic, are superadded new opinions and superstitions which falsely pretend to the name; on the other, that is torn away, overlooked, nay, sometimes rejected, which has been believed and practised in the Church always, every where, and by all, and for this sole reason, because it is inconsistent with the new decrees and determinations, or altogether hostile to them.-Meanwhile, till public peace is restored to the world, we must see to our own private peace and safety, lest we be involved in the aforementioned evils, and perish in the ruin

of others. We shall escape this mischief if we build ourselves up upon the faith once delivered to the Saints, and best unfolded in the writings of the ancient Fathers, not admitting aught which beyond or against it be latterly added, uncertain, false, vain, superstitious, idolatrous, nor agreeing with those who detract from the traditions of the Catholic Church, and contentiously revile the most ancient doctrine and discipline, nay, those who do not obey it with their whole heart.

Id-De forma Consecrationis Eucharistiæ.

The form of consecration and opinion of the consecrated elements, in which both Catholics and Heretics, in the age immediately succeeding the holy Apostles, have agreed together, and which, ever since, has been kept in all ancient Churches, and is by some of the Fathers expressly reckoned amongst the unwritten apostolical traditions, and is moreover hinted at in the very writings of the New Testament, cometh undoubtedly from the Apostles, if not from our LORD himself, and ought, therefore, by no means to be changed, otherwise it will make the consecration doubtful, or at least unlawful for them that understand this matter. It is, therefore, an indispensable duty, incumbent upon every Christian Church, and every priest in it, strictly to keep to the same matter and form which our LORD JESUS CHRIST and his holy Apostles have used in the first institution and celebration of this sacred mystery, and to do in and with it what these have done, lest if they diminish or take aught off it, they should lose either the substance or the benefit of this most holy Sacrament, and consequently, if through ignorance or mistake a fault or defect hath happened any where in these things, it is the bounden duty of the bishops and priests of that Church to rectify the same, the received customs and human laws notwithstanding; and of every one who, by reading the holy Scriptures and writings of the ancient Apostolical Fathers, is come to the knowledge of such fault or defect, to put them in mind of it, and to show the same in order that it may be amended, since every one who knoweth the truth and doth not declare it, shall be judged by the LORD on the last day.-p. 75. 84.


Since then the will of God being once revealed, is to be known afterwards by tradition only, it behoves us to inquire how we may be satisfied that this tradition does not deceive us: for it is a general opinion here that tradition is very deceitful, and not at all to be relied upon; and I do readily grant that mere oral tradi

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