« PreviousContinue »
of the Earth. He can * call for another Alarick, not only to fack, but utterly to destroy her ; hé can make another Lewis Stamp upon his Coins, Perdam Nomen Babylonis, and another after him fulfil the Inscription. The Kings of the Earth, whom she hath made drunk with the Cup of her Enchantment, he can cause to hate the Whores, and make her desolate and naked, and eat her Flesh, and burn her with Fire. ' Do you think, Sir, that the four
once great and glorious Oriental Churches of Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria and Constantinople, which you now despise, were Sinners above all other Churches ? I tell you, nay, but except your Church; your Church, which exalts her Throne above the Stars of God; your Church, which takes upon her to be the Mother and Mistress of all Churches ; your Church, which still thinks she fits as Queen; unless she repent and reform, she shall be brought into their Condition, if not finally perish. I am no Prophet nor a Prophet's Son, but take upon me to foretel, that if she will still afcend above the height of the Clouds, and be as Lucifer, like the
most High, she shall be brought down as low as Hell. God can make the Horsemen of Euphrates trample upon her, as well as upon the Oriental Churches; he can pull down the Cross from the Dome of San Petro, and plant the Crescent in its Place. Something he will do, to something he will call to destroy her ; he will hiss for the Flie, and send for the Horner, unless she repents and amends. May she rather prevent her Ruin by her Reformation. May God of his Mercy to the Christian
* Socrat. Hift. Ecc!es. lib. vii. cap. x. Oux é sa ton é o gove της από τα οκά σορομαι· αλλά τις καθ' έκασω όχλά κοι βασανίζων, και λέγων· απιθR * Ρομαίν πόρθησαν πόλιν. .
World World send a double, a decuple Portion of Marcellus the Second's reforming Spirit upon his Successors, and fill the Conclave as he did the House, where the Apostles met on the Day of Pentecost, with the Holy Spirit
, that Rome may again become a holy Catholick and Apoftolick Church indeed, and all the Churches of her Communion be at last delivered from the Bondage of Corruption into the glorious Liberty of the Children of God.
UT I must hasten to your second Proof of
this Consequence, that if our Religion were true, yours would have been none at all. It is in your Eleventh Paragraph as follows : 2dly, I prove it out of the foresaid 191h Article of their own Church thus . The visible Church of Christ is a Congregation of faithful Men, in which the Sacraments be duly administred according to Christ's Ordinance : But in the Roman Catholick Church, according to their Doftrine, the Sacraments are not duly administred: Therefore the Roman Catholick Church is not ( was not when they left it) the vifible (nor a visible) Church of Christ. Sir, I grant both your Premisses and your Conclusion from this Definition of the Church. For the Church of Rome is neither the visible nor a visible Church of faithful Men, in which the Sacraments are duly adminiItred according to Christ's Ordinance, but a Church of unfaithful Men, in which the Sacraments are not duly adminiftred according to Christ's Ordinance ; and therefore she is neither the visible nor a vifible Church. I grant you more than you require,
for I do not allow that you administer Baptism duly; and yet, tho' you administer both Sacraments corruptly, but the one much more corruptly than the other, doth it follow from thence, that you are no Church at all, because in the Scholastical or Theological sense of the Word Visible, ( for the Cætus fidelium,] you are neither the, nor a visible Church? Indeed, in the civil or vulgar Signification of the Word, you are a visible corrupt Church, or, if you please, a Church most visibly corrupted in Doctrine, Worship, and Polity; for whích Reason, you can neither be the visible, nor a visible Church, in the Theological Sense of the Word, in which it is (restrained to signify] in general, the true holy Catholick Apostolick Church dispersed over the Earth, or particularly any part of it, in which the pure Wod of God is preached, and the Sacraments duly adminftred according to Christ's Ordinance. But your Argument is formed upon the civil use of the Word in common Conversation, and not as it fignifies in Controversy and in the Schools; and thus you pervert our unskilful People with Fallacies ; you jingle our straying Sheep from our safe to your pernicious Fold, from us and from the Truth, and from the Visible or Catholick Church of England, to your Uncatholick Church, with ambiguous founds of Words, for which you must one Day give an Account to God. The Catholick Church of Christ or Universality of faithful Believers, came, as I observed before, to be called the Visible Church, because it ordinarily holdeth visible Assemblies, in which it useth external Worship and Sacraments, and maketh open Professions of the Apoftolick Faith, and teacheth nothing as necessary to Salvation, that is dubious, false, or damnable.' This visible Church is not confined to place, nor to any number of Persons beyond so many, as may make a publick Assembly. And wherever it is, it is confpicuous and discernable by the lustre of its pure DoEtrine, Worship, and Ministry (excepting some Seasons of Perfecutions) and like a light set on a Hill, which cannot be hid, it shines wherefoever it appears in the Eyes of Jews, Gentiles and Hereticks, and thereby calls and invites them unto it; and all diligent Enquirers who come to any part of it, may easily discern it by the purity of its Doctrine, Worship, and Ministry, as by a light, that it is the true Catholick Church. Such a Church as this, greater or less, Christ will always have in some part of the World ; and such a Church ours is, as it stands reformed from yours; which is a true, but not a good Church, true or real in verity of Effence, though no part of the visible Church, in this striæ Theological Sense of the Schools.
II. Your third Proof in your twelfth Paragraph is of the same fallacious Sort, and therefore I need but transcribe it to confute it. 3dly, Out of the foresaid Article, the visible Church is a Congregation of faithful Men, in which the pure Word of God is preached, &c. But in the Roman Catholick Church, according to their Doctrine, the pure Word of God is not preached, therefore the Roman Catholick Church is not, nor was not when they went from it, the visible (or a visible ) Church of Christ
. Sir, I grant the whole, for in its best and purest State, it never was the visible Church, but only a glorious part of it; but it is now many Hundred Years fince it was a visible Church or a Congregation of faithful Men, &c. But because it is neither the visible nor a visible Church, neither the pure Catholick nor a pure Catholick Church,
therefore is it no Church at all? Did it lose its Being with its Putity, or cease to be, when it ceased to be good ? What think you of the corrupt idolatrous Churches of Judæa and Israel, described above, and of Pergamus and Thyatira? Were they Churches, or were they not, when God taxed them with their Corruptions, and sent his Prophets by Word or Writing to reform them? What think you of the heretical idolatrous Arian Church spread over the face of the Empire, and diffused through the Oriental and Occidental Churches, when + almost all the Latin Churches turned Arians ? Did their Heresy or Idolatry destroy their Being as Churches ? Were they in a State of Gentilifm? And did they become no Churches at all for denying the Divinity and eternal Generation of the Son, and worshipping what they believed to be but a meer Man? Or will you, dare you say they were incapable of being reformed, because they were no Churches, nor had any Christianity at all, because their Religion was corrupt? Will you allow this way of arguing against their Reformation, which you use here against ours? Will you stand to the fame Consequences in both Cases ? Pardon me, Sir, if I presume to say you will not, you dare not. You will not, because you cannot answer the Arguinents of St. Hierom in his fore-cited Dialogue against the Luciferians ; and you dare not, because you dare not oppose so great an Authority, and stand to the Consequence
+ Item quando Arianorum, venenum non jam portiunculam quandam, sed pene Orbem totum contaminaverat, adeò ut prope cunctis Latinis Sermonis Episcopis partim vi, partim fraude deceptis Caligo quædam mentis offunderetur, doc. Vincent Lirinensis Common. Cap. vi. vid. Faustini Presbyteri libellum precum. Ingemuit totus Orbis, Arianum se esse miratus eft. Hieronymus adversùs Luciferian.