Page images

Law, to call upon the only true God in and through Christ, to communicate in the same Holy Sacraments instituted by the Lord of Life, cannot but be acknowledged a true Christian, and worthy of our free and entire communion.

And if more do so, to the making up of a whole assembly, orderly congregated under lawful pastors, what can debar them of the title and privilege of a true Christian Church?

SECT. 4.

The Injurious Uncharitableness of the Romish Church, in excluding
Christian Churches, and condemning their Professors.

Ir is, therefore, a high degree of injurious uncharitableness and
presumption in whomsoever, to shut those out from the Church of
Christ, who can truly plead all these just claims, for their undoubted
interest in that Holy Society.

Amongst whom, we can confidently say, all the water of Tiber cannot wash the Church of Rome from the heinous guilt of this double crime; whose unjust and imperious censure hath cruelly cashiered all the Churches upon earth, save those of her own correspondence, from the challenge and benefit of Catholic Commu


In which number, first steps forth the GREEK CHURCH; and doth vehemently, at the bar of heaven, implead her Latin corrival of extreme insolence and injustice*, in excluding her from the line of this sacred communication; being yet no whit less large, noble, ancient, orthodox than herself.

And, indeed, the plaint will be found most just: for, if we examine the original and proceedings of this quarrel, we shall find the ground of it ambition, the pretence heresy.

The heresy charged upon that Church is concerning the Procession of the Holy Ghost, which procession they hold to be from the Father, but acknowledge not from the Son. The subject is of a high nature. Every notion, that concerns the Infinite Deity, is worthy to be important. So as the sound of the words justly seems heinous to a Christian ear: but if the opinion be taken whole, and with the favour of their limits and explication †, much of the odious

* Nilus, Orat. de Causis Dissentionum Ecclesiæ, imputat omnes divisiones orbis Christiani Ecclesiæ Romanæ ; quòd præsumpserit absque Græcis de rebus fidei definire, ita ut omnes contrà sentientes Anathemati subjecerit.

Damas. Spiritum Sanctum esse per Filium sed non à Filio. Lib. de Orthod. Fide, c. xi.-- Κυραλλὸς Παίριαρ. Κονςαντ. Ὁμολογία Πίσεως. Πνεῦμα ̔́Αγιον ἐκ τῶ Πατρὸς δι Ὑις προσερχόμενον, Πατρὶ καὶ Υἱῷ ὑμούσιον-Non ex Filio, sed Spiritum Filii esse dicimus, et Patris per Filium. Damas. 1. i. Fid. Orth.—Sanè sciendum est, quod licet in præsenti articulo à nobis Græci verbo discordent, tamen sensu non differunt. Mag. Sent. 1. i. c. 11.—An verò quia Spiritus est Filii que Spiritus, ideo Spiritus à Filio quoque procedat; statuunt illi, qui planè percipiunt, quid sit in divinis procedere: ego, cum antiquis patribus, fateor, me quid sint iste processiones in divinis ignorare. Marc. Ant. de Dom. de Rep. Eccles. 1. vii. c. 10.



ness will be abated; and it will be found rather erroneous than heretical, and more full of scandal than of danger. Did they deny the Holy Ghost to be the Third Person in the Glorious Trinity, or that he is True God, of the same substance with the Father and the Son, they were worthy of our utmost defiance: but now, while granting all these, they stick upon the only terms of the immediate principle of his divine procession, the quarrel is rather Scholastical than Christian; and hath in it more subtlety than use. Yea, that it may appear this controversy hath in it more verbality than macter, they do willingly grant and profess, that the Holy Spirit is le Spirit of the Son, no less than of the Father, though not proceeding from the Son: a metaphysical nicety, not worthy to mar the peace of God's Church, or to make a defendant heretical: so as those three Plenary Councils, as Cardinal Bellarmin styles them, viz. that of Lateran, that of Lyons, that of Florence, by which the Greek Church is upon this point condemned of heresy, and shut out from the claim of catholicism, have justly run themselves upon the just censure of foal uncharitableness.

As for those other points of difference about Purgatory and Primacy, heretofore agitated betwixt them, that Eastern Church is so far from just blame, that it clearly bath the advantage.

Shortly, in all the main points of Christian Religion, if the Greek Church profess that doctrine, which their late learned and religious Patriarch hath in her name published to the world, she may well merit the claim of a sisterhood to the most pare Church under heaven neither was Græca fides, in another sense of old, more infamous, than the Faith of the Greek Church is now worthily honoured through the Christian world. Ard, for us in this island, as in our first conversion to Christianity we he d correspondence with the Greek Church, and continued it so till abou: seven hundred years after Christ's Nativity, to the great regret of the Roman; so still the entireness of their agreement with us in this wordby Confession of their Faith, challengeth from us the dearest of all Christian respects to them.

In the next place, the PROTESTANT OF EVANGELICAL CHURCHES of our European world, do justly cry out of the high injustice of Rome, in excluding them from the Communion of the truly Catholic Church of Christ. What a presumptuous violence is this! What a proud uncharitableness! How often, and bow sadly, have we appealed to the God of Heaven, to judge between us!

What is, what can there be required, to the entire being of a Christian Church, which is not to be found eminently conspicuous in these of ours? Here is One Lord, that sways us by the sceptre of his Law and Gospel; One Faith, which was once delivered to the Saints, without diminution, without adulteration; One Baptism, the common laver of our regeneration; One Spiritual Banquet of Heavenly Manna, whereby our souls are fed to eternal life; One Rule of our Christian Devotion: shortly, here is a sweet communion of the members with their Head, Christ; and of the members. with themselves.

Let them say then, what is wanting to us, even in their worst prejudice; save that we are not theirs. And the fault of that is their own. They have both gone from themselves and abandoned us: had they continued still what they once were, they had been ours, we had been theirs, both had been Christ's. If they have departed from Christ and themselves, we can bewail them; we dare not go along with them. Thus long have we differed; yet could they never name any one article of all the anciently approved Creeds, which we have denied; any one fundamental error, which we have maintained: neither shall ever be able to do it. Before God, and angels, and men, the wrong lies at their door, who have laid more and other foundations, than God ever intended for the raising up of his Church.

Envy itself cannot accuse us of any positive error, that can so much as strike at the true foundation, much less raze it. We are only charged with negatives; in that we cannot admit those novel impositions, which they would injuriously obtrude upon God's Church, as matters of faith; in that we cannot allow every determination of the now-Roman Church to be oracular and fundamental: a resolution, which we dare not forsake; lest our God should forsake us, as he hath them.


So then, let them prove that their Twelve Tridentine Articles, which they would force upon the Church of God, are part of the truth delivered once to the Saints, or that there may be now any new faith, or that it is in the power of the Church of Rome to determine that her decisions shall pass for matter of faith; and we shall then cry her up as only Catholic, and confess ourselves justly branded with the note of Heretical pravity. In the mean time, woe be to them, by whom the offence of this division cometh! We call heaven and earth to the witness, of our innocence, and their injustice.

But, while they are so busy in censuring and ejecting others, we do well to call their eyes back to themselves; whom our Divines have sufficiently convinced of errors, though not directly, yet reductively fundamental: which might easily be displayed here, if that discourse were proper for the subject we have in hand. I remember learned Tilenus, in our frequent and familiar conferences, was wont to instance in four grounds of our discession from the Romanists: their Tyranny, under which were comprised their challenged Primacy and Impeccability; their Idolatry; their Heretical Opinions; their Flagitious Practices and Doctrines tending to the establishing thereof, as the lawfulness of the murdering of princes, the toleration of stews, the allowance of children's deserting of parents on pretence of religion, the maintenance of their equivocations, and the like: from all, from any of which, it will be a hard task for their skilfullest advocate to make good their vindication.

* Quis ferat istos, qui tantum sibi sumunt, ut, ubi libitum fuerit, pro gcrmana Scripturâ suos assuunt pannos? Erasm, Præfat. in Hilarii Opera.

But we are not now upon a theme of accusation; rather desiring to employ ourselves upon the furtherance of our own peace; so far only meddling with the Roman party, as they are injurious to our interest in the Catholic Church of Christ.

SECT. 5.

The undue Alienation of the Lutheran Churches from the other Re


BUT how happy were it, if this uncharitableness were only confined to the Seven Hills; and were the peculiar stain of the Roman Church! It is too lamentable to see how it hath enlarged itself, even to some of those sister Churches, who, together with us, have withdrawn themselves out of Babylon. Amongst whom, some of the rigid followers of the way of Luther, have not stuck to pray; "From having any brotherhood with Calvinists, Good Lord, deliver us*." How sad a thing is it, to see such deadly discord amongst brethren! Woe is me, what evil spirit is this, that bath gone between the professors of the same religion, and wrought so desperate an alienation of hearts, in so small a difference of opinions?

With what heat have those Sacramentarian wars been followed, in several successions! first+, between Luther and Carolostadius ; then, betwixt Luther and the Divines of Zurich; after that, betwist Westphalus and Calvin; yet again, betwixt Heshusius and Clebitius; then farther, betwixt Brentius and Bullinger; and now, ever since, by the abettors of Ubiquity, to this present day: when as, if both sides would have calmly scanned and fairly interpreted each others' judgment, it would have appeared, that there was no just ground for so mortal a hostility.

Sometimes, when passion and prejudice were laid aside, they came so near to each other in their expressions, that any by-stander would have verily thought the quarrel had been at an end.

Besides that famous Conference at Marpurg, Anno 1529; very memorable was that convention of worthy Divines at Wittenberg, Anno 1536: wherein, when Capito, Bucer, and Musculus, with the most eminent Divines of Higher Germany, in a meeting with Luther, Melancthon, Jonas, Pomeranus, Cruciger, and the other Doctors and Preachers of Wittenberg, had conferred their judg ments in a loving and quiet way; Luther and the rest of his art were so well satisfied with the professed explication of the other side, that, after some little withdrawing, he and his associates returned with this answer: "If ye believe and teach, that, in the Holy Supper, the true body and the true blood of our Lord is exhibited, given, and taken, and not mere bread and wine only; and that this

*Prolæus. A fraternitate Calvinianĉ, libera nos, Domine. Fascicul. l. i. q. 7. ↑ Jo. Jeslerus Scaphusus, de Belli Eucharistici Diuturnitate. Hospinianus in Historiâ Sacra è Lodovico Rabo et Jo. Swiccio, ex Buceri Scriptis Anglicanis,

receiving and exhibiting is truly, and not imaginarily done; we are all agreed, and we do acknowledge and receive you as our dear brechnen in the Lord." This, when Bucer and the rest openly and cheerfully avowed, they all shook hands, and embraced each other, and departed.

Who would not have now hoped, that the flood-gates of this strife had been let down and fully stopped; so as we should have heard no more of this controversy, to the world's end? And why should there not be an eternal peace, upon these terms †? That, which Bucer and his associates averred above a hundred years ago, we still say and maintain: that, which was a truth then, hath been so ever since, and shall be to all eternity. Well, therefore, may we ask, with Tiberius's soldiers, Tí μazóμelz; "What do we fight for?"

But, if the great make-bate betwixt heaven and earth, the commoa enemy of mankind, will not yet suffer us to be quiet; but will be raising causeless broils in the Church of God, how well doth it beseem those, who have the better of the cause, after the example of good Abraham, to sue for that peace, which should be sued for to them!

Wherein I do much congratulate the exemplary practice of the eminent Divines of our own and the neighbour Churches, actuated by the unweariable endeavours of our worthy and never-enoughcommended Daraus 1, who have given noble testimonies of their holy forwardness and zealous inclinations toward a blessed union of the Evangelical Churches; and have clearly shewed the easy reconcileableness of these differences, if some harsh men were not too much wedded to their own wills and opinions.

And, certainly, nothing can be more evident, than that we all agree in fundamental truths; and that those things, wherein we differ, are mere points of scholastical disquisition: such as may, perhaps, be fit for Divines to argue in their academical disputations; not worthy to trouble the public peace, or to perplex the heads, much less the hearts, of Christian people.

For instance, in this business of the Eucharist §, which hath been made the fuel of the greatest fire, so much as toucheth the foundation, is, That the body and blood of Christ are so truly present in the administration of the Sacrament, as that they are truly received by the worthy Communicant: That the bread and wine are the elements ordained by Christ, in the worthy receiving whereof the prepared Communicant partakech of the body and blood of Christ,

*Si creditis et docetis, in Sacrá Caná, verum corpus et verum sanguinem Domini exhiberi, dari, et sumi, et non panem et vinum tantùm; et quod perceptro et exhibitio hrc verè fiat, et non imaginariè; inter nos convenit, vosque agnoscimus et recipimus ut charos fratres in Domino. Hosp. è Scriptis Bucer. Ang! Fortunatus Calvinista dicit corpus Christi in Sacramento verissimè realissinèque percipi. Valent. Tom. iv. dis. 6. q. 3. + Diu satis erat credere, sive sub pane consecrato, sive quocunque modo, adesse verum Christi corpus. Fasm. i Cor. vii. M. Jo. Duræus. Vide Sententias 4. de Pace Evangelca. § Vide D. Davenant, ubi supra, Adhortat. ad Pacem, et Sentent. 4 Ti.col.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »