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To uphold the religion which at this day is maintained in the Church of Rome, and to discredit the truth which we profess, three things are here urged, by one who hath undertaken to make good the papists' cause against all gainsayers. The first concerneth the original of the errors wherewith that part standeth charged: the author and time whereof he requireth us to shew. The other two respect the testimony, both of the primitive Church and of the sacred Scriptures: which, in the points wherein we vary, if this man may be believed, maketh wholly for them and against us.
“ First then would he fain know, what bishop of Rome did first alter that religion, which we commend in them of the first four hundred years? In what pope's days was the true religion overthrown in Rome?" To which I answer. First, that we do not hold that Rome was built in a day; or that the great dunghill of errors, which now we see in it, was raised in an age: and therefore it is a vain demand, to require from us the name of any one bishop of Rome, by whom or under whom this Babylonish confusion was brought in. Secondly, that a great difference is to be put betwixt heresies, which openly oppose the foundations of our faith, and that apostacy which the Spirit hath evidently foretold should be brought in by such as
speaka lies in hypocrisy.” The impiety of the one is so notorious, that at the very first appearance it is manifestly discerned: the other is a “ mystery of iniquity,” as the apostle termeth it; iniquitas, sed mystica, id est, pietatis nomine palliata (so the ordinary Gloss expoundeth the place), an iniquity indeed, but mystical, that is, cloked with the name of piety." And therefore they, who kept continual watch and ward against the one, might sleep while the seeds of the other were a sowing ; yea, peradventure might at unawares themselves have some hand in bringing in of this Trojan horse, commended thus unto them under the name of religion and semblance of devotion. Thirdly, that the original of errors is oftentimes so obscure, and their breed so base, that howsoever it might be easily observed by such as lived in the same age, yet no wise man will marvel, if in tract of time the beginnings of many of them should be forgotten, and no register of the time of their birth found extant. We read that the Sadducees taught there were gels: is any man able to declare unto us, under what high priest they first broached this error? The Grecians, Circassians, Georgians, Syrians, Egyptians, Habassines, Muscovites, and Russians, dissent at this day from the Church of Rome in many particulars: will you take upon you to shew in what bishops' days these several differences did first arise ? When the point hath been well scanned, it will be found, that many errors have crept into their profession, the time of the entrance whereof you are not able to design : and some things also are maintained by you against them, which have not been delivered for catholic doctrine in the primitive times, but brought in afterwards, yourselves know not when.
Such, for example, is that sacrilege of yours, whereby you withhold from the people the use of the cup in the Lord's Supper; as also your doctrine of indulgences and purgatory: which they reject, and you defend. For,
1 2 Thess. chap. 2. ver. 7.
a 1 Tim, chap. 4. ver. 1, 2. c Acts, chap. 23. ver. 8.