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illusory evidence, which though it speak truth, yet does not speak all the truth.
Fratres sumus, quare litigamus? says St. Augustine, We are all brethren, by one Father, one Almighty God, and one mother, one Catholic church, and then why do we go to law together? At least, why do we not bring our suits to an end ? Non intestatus mortuus est pater, says he, Our Father is dead; for, Is not he:
e your Father that bought you?? is Moses' question ; he that bought us with himself, his blood, his life, is not dead intestate, but hath left his will and testament, and why should not that testament decide the cause ? Silent adrocati, suspensus est populus, legant terba testamenti: This that father notes, to be the end in other causes, why not in this? That the counsel give over pleading, that the people give over murmuring, that the judge calls for the words of the will, and by that governs, and according to that establishes his judgment. I would at last contentious men would leave wrangling, and people to whom those things belonged not, leave blowing of coals, and that the words of the will might try the cause, since he that made the will, hath made it thus clear, Si quo minus, If it were not thus, I would have told you, if there were more to be added than this, or more clearness to be added to this, I would have told you.
In the fifth of Matthew, Christ puts a great many cases, what others had told them, but he tells them, that is not their rule. Audicistis, et ab antiquis, says he, you have heard, and heard by them of old, but now I tell you otherwise. So Audicimus, et ab antiquis, we have heard, and heard by them of old, that the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ is so absolutely ne sary, as that children were bound to receive it, presently after baptism, and that no man could be saved without it, more than without baptism: this we have heard, and heard by them of old ; for we have heard St. Augustine to have said so‘, and the practice of the church for some hundreds of years to have said so. So Audivimus, et ab antiquis, we have heard, and heard by them of old, that the saints of God departed out of this life, after their resurrection, and before their ascension into heaven, shall enjoy all worldly prosperity and happiness upon the earth, for a thousand years: this we have heard, and heard by them of old, for we have heard Tertullian say so, and Irenæus, and Lactantius, and so many more as would make the balance more than even. So also Audicimus, et ab antiquis, we have heard, and heard by them of old, that in how good state soever they die, yet the souls of the departed do not see the face of God, nor enjoy his presence, till the day of judgment; this we have heard, and from so many of them of old, as that the voiee of that part is louder, than of the other. And amongst those reverend and blessed fathers, which strayed into these errors, some were hearers and disciples of the apostles themselves, as Papias was a disciple of St. John, and yet Papias was a millenarian, and expected his thousand years' prosperity upon the earth after the resurrection : some of them were disciples of the apostles, and some of them were better men than the apostles, for they were bishops of Rome; Clement was so; and yet Clement was one of them, who denied the fruition of the sight of God, by the saints, till the judgment.
3 Deut. xxxii. 30.
* Maldon, in John vi. 35.
And yet our adversaries will enjoy their liberty to depart from all this which they have heard, and heard from them of old, in the mouths of these fathers. And where the fathers are divided in two streams, where all the fathers, few, scarce any excepted, till St. Augustine, placed the cause of our election in God's foresight, and fore-knowledge of our faith and obedience, and, as generally after St. Augustine, they placed it in the right centre, that is, only in the free goodness and pleasure of God in Christ, half the Roman church goes one way, and half the other'; (for we may be bold to call the Jesuits half that church) and in that point the Jesuits depart from that which they had heard, and heard of old, from the primitive fathers, and adhere to the later ; and their very heavy, and very bitter adversaries, the Dominicans, apply themselves to that which they have heard of old, to the first opinion. In that point in the Roman Catholic church they have fathers on both sides ; but, in a point, where they have no father, where all the fathers are unanimely and diametrally against them, in the point of the conception of the most blessed Virgin, Etsi omnes sancti uno ore assererent, says a wise author of theirs, though all the ancient fathers with one entire consent affirm that she was conceived in original sin, esti nullus author contravenerit, says he, though no one ancient author ever denied it, yet, says he, Infirmum est ex omnium patrum consensu argumentum, Though our opinion have no ground in Scriptures (that, says he, I confess) though it be no apostolical tradition, (that, says he, I confess) yet it is but a weak argument, says he, that is concluded out of all the fathers against it, because it was a doctrine manifested to the church but about five hundred years since, and now for two hundred years hath been well followed and embraced : as the Jesuit Maldonat says in such another case, whatsoever the ancient fathers have thought, or taught, or said, or writ, that the marriage of priests after orders taken, and chastity professed, was a good marriage, Contrarium nunc verum est, whatsoever was true then, the contrary is true now.
s Historia Vossii 1. 7. Thes. 8. fo. 538. &c. Benius ca. 26, Pererius Ro. 8.
If then these men who take to themselves this liberty, will yet say to me, in some other points, Si quo minus, Surely if you were in the right, some of the ancient fathers would have told you so; and then, if I assist myself by the fathers, they will say, Si quo minus, if it were not otherwise, some general council would have told you so; and again, if I support myself by a council, Si quo minus, if that council were to be followed, some pope would have confirmed that council, and if I show that to have been done, yet they will say, that that confirmation reaches not to that session of the council, or not to that canon of that session, or not to that period in that canon, or not to that word in that period; and then, of every father, and council, and session, and canon, and period, and word, Ejus interpretatio est sensus spiritus sancti, His sense and interpretation must be esteemed the interpretation, and the sense of the Holy Ghost, as Bellarmine hath concluded us, why will they not allow me a juster liberty, than that which they take? That when they stop my prayers in their way to God, and bid me turn upon saints, when they stop my faith in the way to Christ, and bid me turn upon mine own, or others' merits, when they stop my hopes of heaven upon my death-bed, and bid me turn upon purgatory, that when as yet it is in debatement and disputation, whether man can perform the law of God or no, they
will multiply their laws, above the proportion of Moses' tables, and when we have primogenitum ecclesiæ, the eldest son by the primitive church, the Creed of the Apostles, they will superinduce another son, by another center, by a step-mother, by their sick and crazy church, and (as the way of step-mothers is) will then make the portion of the later, larger than the elder's, make their Trent-Creed larger than the Apostles, that in such a case, they will not allow me, neither in my studies in the way, nor upon my death-bed at mine end, to hearken unto this voice of my Saviour, Si quo minus, If it were not so, I would have told you, this is not only to preclude the liberty, but to exclude the duty of a Christian.
But the mystery of their iniquity is easily revealed, their arcana imperii, the secrets of their state easily discovered. All this is not because they absolutely oppose the Scriptures, or stiffly deny them to be the most certain and constant rule that can be presented, (for whatsoever they pretend for their own church, or for the super-sovereign in that church, their transcendant and hyperbolical supreme head, they will pretend to deduce out of the Scripture) but because the Scriptures are constant, and limited, and determined, there can be no more Scriptures, and they should be shrewdly prejudiced, and shrewdly disadvantaged, if all emergent cases arising in the Christian world, must be judged by a law, which others may know before-hand, as well as they; therefore being wise in their own generation, they choose rather to lay up their rule in a cupboard, than upon a shelf, rather in scrinio dectoris, in the breast and bosom of one man, than upon every desk in a study, where every man may lay, or whence every man may take a Bible.
Therefore have so many sad and sober men amongst them, repented, that in the council of Trent, they came to a final resolution in so many particulars; because how incommodious soever some of those particulars may prove to them, yet they are bound to some necessity of a defence, or to some aspersion if they forsake such things as have been solemnly resolved in that manner.
Therefore it was a prudent, and discreet abstinence in them, to forbear the determination of some things, which have then, and since, fallen into agitation amongst them. Be pleased to take one in the council, and one after for all. Long time it had, and then it did, and still it doth, perplex the consciences of penitents that come to confession, and the understandings of confessors, who are to give absolution, how far the secular laws of temporal princes bind the conscience of the subject, and when, and in what cases, he is bound to confess it as a sin, who hath violated and transgressed any of those laws; and herein, says an author of theirs?, who hath written learnedly de legibus, of the band * and obligation of laws, the pope was solicited and supplicated from the council, in which it was debated, that he would be pleased to come to a determination ; but because he saw it was more advantage to him, to hold it undetermined, that so he might serve others' turns, and his own especially, it remains undetermined, and no confessor is able to unentangle the conscience of his penitent yet. So also in another point, of as great consequence, (at least for the peace of the church, if not for the profit) which is, those differences, which have arisen between the Jesuits and the Dominicans, about the concurrence of the grace of God, and the freewill of man, though both sides have come to that vehemence, that violence, that virulency, as to call one another's opinion heretical, (which is a word that cuts deep, and should not be passionately used) yet he will not be brought to a decision, to a determination in the point, but only forbids both sides to write at all in that point; and in that inhibition of his, we see how he suffers himself to be deluded, for still they write with protestation, that they write not to advance either opinion, but only to prepare the way against such time, as the pope shall be pleased to take off that inhibition, and restore them to their liberty of writing; for this way hath one of their last authors, Arriba, taken to vent himself. In a word, if they should submit themselves to try all points and cases of conscience by Scripture, that were to govern by a known, and constant law; but as they have imagined a monarchy in their church, so have they a prerogative in their monarchy, a secret judgment in one breast, however, he who gives them all their power, make this protestation, si quo minus, if it were not thus, and thus, I would have told you so.