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certainly is the most holy Sacrifice of the Mass; by the benefit of which it comes to pass, that Men by a kind of Anticipation + enjoy Heaven in Earth, whilst they do not only see with their Eyes, but handle with their Hands the Creator of Heaven and Earth.]
III. You also Worship the meterial Cross, as I have already proved ; and nothing can excuse you, much less justify you from Idolatrous Worship in these Instances, but such like Apologies as the Philosophers framed to justify the Pagan Idolatries; and what hath usually been said in defence of your Idolatrous Worship, will go a great way to justify theirs. All this, Sir, is as true as your Conclusion is false, that if you are guilty of Idolatry in these Instances, as we not only affirm, but prove, that therefore the Roman Catholick Church is no true (i. e. no real) Church of Christ, nor was it when we left it. I have already shewed the Difference between a true Church in a metaphysical and in a moral Sense; and told you before, that when I came to this part of your Reply, I would use real, where you use true Church, to discover the Fallacy of your Argument, and how you imposed upon your Convert, by the ambiguity of that Expression. And pray, Sir, let me ask of the single or personal Members of your Church or any part of it, upon Supposition that you are guilty of that Idolatry we charge you with: Do they therefore cease to be Christians, as well as found and orthodox Christians ? Are they no more Christians, than if they had maliciously renounced Christianity? Are they become profess's Infidels of any Sort, Jews, or Turks, or Pagans, or Atheists, or Deists, by being Mem
bers of a Christian Church corrupted with Idolatry ; and if they are true, that is, real Christians, notwithstanding their Idolatrous Belief and Praetices, [as most certainly they are,] how comes the whole" Church, which is made up of those fingle Members, to lose her Being, and become no Church by the same Idolatry? As they are real Christians guilty of Idolatry, so is she a real Church guilty of Idolatry: And, as if they would forsake Idolatry and other Errors of your Church, they would thereby commence sound and true, as well as real Christians , fo would she reform from Idolatry and her other Errors and Corruptions, she would thereby become a Church morally, as well as metaphysically true, i.e. [Cærus or Congregatio Catholicorum, ] a holy, pure, found, orthodox, as well as a real Church. [To confirm what I say, I entreat you to consult Canon. Apoft. lxxii. Canon. Concil, Nicen. xi, xii, xiii, xiv. and the first nine Canons of the Council of Ancyra, which was before the Council of Nice. From these Canons it is evident, that Christians who denied God and Christ, and sacrificed to Idols, and eat of the Meats which were offered to them in the Decian, Licinian, and Dioclefian Persecutions, and by Consequence were declared Idolaters; yet were not thought by their Fall to have fallen from Christianity, or become Gentiles, or cease thereby to be Christians. Nay, the Clergymen who denied and facrificed, were not thought thereby to fall from their Clergy or Orders, or cease to be Bishops, Priests, or Deacons, though in some cases they were thought worthy to be degraded or reduced to Lay-Communion, and in others, keeping their Rank and Dignity, they were only filenced, and forbidden to execute their Funčtions; which Thews in the Judgment of those early and pure
Ages, that the Sin of Idolatry did neither destroy the Being of a Christian as such, nor deface the Character nor null the Orders of a Priest. If that had been the effect of it, they could not have been reconciled or restored to the Church, according to those Canons and the Praĉtice of the African Church in the Decian Persecution, as may be seen in the Synodical Epistle of the African Bishops to Cornelius, which is the LVII in the Oxford Edition of St. Cyprian, and in that Father's Traĉt De Lapsis, where you will find, that Lapsers into Idolatry were reconciled by degrees of Penitence proportioned to the degrees of their Crimes. The fame was the Praĉtice of the Church of Rome under Cornelius, as appears from Eufebius's Eccl. History, lib. vi. cap. xliii. particulary from the Story of Trophimus a Bishop, whom, though he had offered Incense to Idols in the Persecution, that Pope admitted to Lay-Communion. I muft also entreat you to consult St. Hierom's Dialogue against the Luciferians ; where he proves the † Arian Priests and Bishops to have been true, that is, real and valid Priests and Bishops, and the Arian Churches to have been true, i.e. real Christian Churches against Lucifer of Calaris and his Followers, * who looked upon them as no Christians, but as Gentiles; and their Bishops,
+ Ita etiam tempore Arianæ hæreseos, quicumque cum Arianis 'communicaverant, aut in Arianum dogma lapsi fuerant, non solum suscepta sunt in Communionem, sed etiam Episcopatus retinuerunt. Ac contraria Luciferi Calaritani, severitas improbata est. Du Pin de Antiquæ Ecclefiæ Disciplinâ. Dissert. iii. cap. ii.
* Orthodox. dixit, Omnes ergo hæretici Christiani non sunt. Lucif. Jam superius audisti. Orthod. Si Christiani non sunt, Diaboli sunt. Lucif. Nemo dubitat. Orthod. Si autem Diaboli sunt, nihil refert baretici, an Gentiles, Lucif. Non refello.
not as Bishops, but as Heathen Priests; and their Churches, not as Christian Churches, but rather as Synagogues of Antichrist and Satan, like the Capitol, which ought not to be called Churches. That Dialogue and St. Hierom's way of arguing in it, is wholly. contrary to yours ; and tho® I will not charge the Heresy of Lucifer upon you, yet I affirm it is the Consequence of your Arguments; and I pray you to consider of it, and tell me, if you think the * corrupt Church of Pergamus ceased to be a Church or lost her Being, by having those among them, who not only held (and taught ] the Doétrine of the Nicolaitans, but the idolatrous Doctrine of Balaam, who taught the Children of Israel to eat things facrificed to Idols, and commit Fornication, and put Antipas, Christ's faithful Martyr, to Death, because he bore his Testimony against them. Did Orthod. Igitur præfixum inter nos habemus de hæretico fic loquendum ficut de Gentili. Lucif. Planè fixum. Orthod. Quere nunc, ut libet, quoniam inter nos constat hæreticos Gentiles esse. Lucif. Quod interrogatio mea cogere volebat, exprefl'um est hæreticosChriStianos non effe. Nunc restat conclusio. Si Ariani hæretici sunt, O hæretici omnes Gentiles funt, Ariani Gentiles sunt. Si autem Ariani Gentiles funt, tum constat nullam focietatem Ecclefia esse cum Arianis, id est, cum Gentilibus : manifestum est vestram Ecclefiam, qua ab Arianis, id est, à Gentilibus Episcopos suscipit, non tam Episcopos recipere, quàm de Capitolio Sacerdotes, ac per hoc Anti-Christi magis Synagoga, quàm Christi Ecclesia debet nuncupari. Orthod. Ecce impleta eft prophetia : paravit mihi foveam, & ipse incidit in eam. Lucif. Quonam modo? Orthod, Si Ariani,, ut dicis Gentiles sunt, o Arianorum conventicula caftra sunt Diaboli, quomoda in caftris Diaboli Baptismum r&. cipis.
Angelo Ephesi deserta charitas imputatur. In Angelo Pergamens Ecclefia Idolothytorum ejus, & Nicolaitorum doctrina reprehenditur. Item apud Angelum Thiatyrorum Hielabel Prophetiffan fimulacrorum efca, & fornicationes increpantur. Et tamen
omnes hoc ad pænitentiam Dominus hortatur, sub comminatione future pæn& nifi convertantur. Hieronymus adverfùs Luciferianos.
the Church of Thyatira cease to be a real, as well as a pure Church, because she let the Woman Fefabèl teach and seduce her Servants to commit Fornication, and to eat Things sacrificed to Idols
j which provoked God to threaten to cast her into a Bed of Sorrow, and them who committed fpiritual Adultery with her into great Tribulation, unless they repented of their Deeds ? So he threatned the Church of Pergamus to fight against her with the Sword of his Mouth, unless she repented. Repentance, if real, would have made them pure and morally holy Churches; and fo Repentance and Reformation would make yours. But if she will not remember from whence she is fallen, and repent, if she will not reform from her spiritual Fornications, and do her first Works, God will come upon her as a Thief, and she shall not know in what Hour he will come upon her. He shall call her to account, when she doth not think of it, and make her pay the long, long Reckoning of hiş infinite Patience. The Churches shall then know, that he is the searcher of the Reins and Hearts, and will give to every one of them according to their Works. He can call for the Whirle-wind and spoilers from the North, to avenge his Cause upon her. For three Transgressions of Tyrus, and for four, he will not turn away the Punishment thereof; he can, he will find a way to make her and her Shepherds lament and houl : And tho' she flatters her self with the Promise of Perpetuity, and faith in her Heart, I shall never be moved, usurping the Stile of the one holy Catholick and Apoftolick Church; yet he can do unto her as unto the Midianites, as to Sisera, as to. Fabin, as to the Princes of Zeba and Salmanna, and make her as the Dung