صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

excludes both that imaginary insufficiency of the Scriptures, which some have ventured to aver, (for God shall never call Christian to account for anything not notified in the Scriptures) and it excludes also those imaginary dolos bonos, and fraudes pias, which some have adventured to aver to, that God should use holy illusions, holy deceits, holy frauds, and circumventions in his Scriptures, and not intend in them, that which he pretends by them; this is his rule, Si quo minus, if it were not so, I would have told you, if I have not told you so, it is not so, and if I have, it is so as I have told you: and in these two branches we shall determine the first part, the rule of doctrines, the Scripture.

The second part, which is the particular doctrine which Christ administers to his disciples here, will also derive and cleave itself into two branches; for first we shall inquire, whether this proposition in our text, In my Father's house are many mansions, give any ground, or assistance, or countenance to that pious opinion, of a disparity, and difference of degrees of glory in the saints in heaven: and then, if we find the words of this text to conduce nothing to that doctrine, we shall consider the right use of the true, and natural, the native and genuine, the direct, and literal, and uncontrovertible sense of the words; because in them, Christ doth not say, that in his Father's house there are divers mansions, divers for seat, or lights, or fashion, or furniture, but only that there are many, and in that notion, the plurality, the multiplicity, lies the consolation.

First then, for the first branch of our first part, the general rule of doctrines, our Saviour Christ in these words involves an argument, that he hath told them all that was necessary; he hath, because the Scripture hath, for all the Scriptures which were written before Christ, and after Christ, were written by one and the same spirit, his spirit. It might then make a good problem, why they of the Roman church, not affording to the Scriptures that dignity which belongs to them, are yet so vehement, and made so hard shift, to bring the books of other authors into the rank, and nature, and dignity of being Scriptures: what matter is it, whether their Maccabees, or their Tobies be Scripture or no? what get their Maccabees, or their Tobies by being Scripture, if the Scripture be not full enough, or not plain enough, to bring

me to salvation? But since their intention and purpose, their aim, and their end is, to undervalue the Scriptures, that thereby they may overvalue their own traditions, their way to that end may be to put the name of Scriptures upon books of a lower value, that so the unworthiness of those additional books, may cast a diminution upon the canonical books themselves, when they are made all one: as in some foreign states we have seen, that when the prince had a purpose to erect some new order of honour, he would disgrace the old orders, by conferring and bestowing them upon unworthy and incapable persons.

But why do we charge the Roman church with this undervaluing of the Scriptures, when as they pretend, (and that cannot well be denied them) that they ascribe to all the books of Scripture this dignity, that all that is in them is true. It is true; they do so; but this may be true of other authors also, and yet those authors remain profane and secular authors. All may be true that Livy says, and all that our chronicles say, may be true; and yet neither our chronicles, nor Livy' become Gospel for so much they themselves will confess and acknowledge, that all that our church says is true, that our church affirms no error; and yet our church must be a heretical church, if any church at all, for all that. Indeed it is but a faint, but an illusory evidence or witness, that pretends to clear a point, if, though it speak nothing but truth, yet it does not speak all the truth. The Scriptures are our evidence for life or death; Search the Scriptures, says Christ, for in them ye think ye have eternal life. Where, ye think so, is not, ye think so, but mistake the matter, but ye think So, is ye think so upon a well-grounded and rectified faith and assurance. Now if this evidence, the Scripture, shall acquit me in one article, in my belief in God, (for I do find in the Scripture, as much as they require of me to believe, of the Father Son, and Holy Ghost) and then this evidence, the Scripture, shall condemn me in another article, the Catholic church, (for I do not find so much in the Scripture, as they require me to believe of their Catholic church) if the Scripture be sufficient to save me in one, and not in the rest, this is not only a defective, but an

In the folio edition it stands, "and yet our chronicles, nor Livy."
2 John v. 39.

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 your Father that bought you3? 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 advocati, suspensus est populus, legant verba 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. Audivistis, et ab antiquis, says he, you have heard, and heard by them of old, but now I tell you otherwise. So Audivimus, 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 necessary, 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 thou

Deut. xxxii. 30.

Maldon. in John vi. 35.

sand 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 Audivimus, 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.

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 asseverent, says a wise author of

Historia Vossii 1. 7. Thes. 8. fo. 538. &c. Benius ca. 26. Pererius Ro. 8. disp. 22.

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.

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

6 Canus.

« السابقةمتابعة »