Page images


lical, but in all the parts of your Ecclesiastical Constitution a most corrupt uncatholick Church. Do but follow our Example and reform, do but set back your Church to what it was a thousand Years before the Council of Trent; and then of a real Church which you are, and for whose Reformation I daily pray, you will recommence a right and true Church.

III. From your Proofs I pass to your Consequences, (which you say are of great Importance, but] which can be of no greater Importance than your Proofs; and therefore your Proofs being so plainly disproved, your Consequences from thein can be of no Importance at all, though you introduce them with great shew to raise Expectation, in your Thirteenth Paragraph. Thus, say you, have I proved, that according to their Principles the Roman Catholick Church was not a Church of Christ, when they pretended to reform it. To which I answer without any Thus, that you have tricked, and shamefully trifled and wasted your Ink and Paper, and proved nothing at all. But let us go on : It follows, first, that no Protestant Church could reform it, no more than one can was e Face that hath no Being. But I have proved it had a Being, and having a Being it did reform it self, as a sloven may wash his own dirty Face. Then it follows ; So that they are not a reforma ed Religion, but absolutely a New Religion, i.e. a falfe Religion ; for it is evident, their Religion is new, if it was not reformed. But I have shown that it is not a new, but a renewed and reformed Religion, which retains the pure, and reje&ted all the impure Additions which you still keep : What our Church hath now, it had before it reformed it felf, though it hath not all that it had, because it had much more that it ought to have



[ocr errors]

had. You know the Church is often taken fynecdochically for the Clergy; and the Clergy of the Church of England reformed themselves, and the Doctrine, Worship, and Polity of their Church. They fifted the Popish Chaff from the Primitive Wheat, the Dross and baser Mixtures from the pure Metal. They retained that which while they were a corrupt Popish, made them a real Church, and by throwing off all the Popish Errors, Innovations, Abuses and Corruptions, they recommenced a true pure Catholick Church. To heal a Sore (* faith an ingenious Gentleman of our Church) to purge a sick and diseafed Body, is not to make a new Body, but to renew it and restore it to its former Health. Let me give you but one familiar Example of your own in this latter Age : St. Francis established the Order of Franciscans ; and they, according to the meaning of their first Founder, did for a long Time follow the Institution of their first Orders: Afterwards, when certain Errors and Corruptions bad crept in among them, some separated themselves from the reft, and were called the Recollects. Upon this Occasion a Suit was commenced, to decide whether ibe Recolleêts or the other Franciscans did adhere to the true Order of St. Francis. After Examination and Deliberation had, the Recollects were found to adhere to the ancient Institutions of their Order ; and thereupon Fudgment was published or their behalf, and they were afterwards called the Reformed Francifcans. Such (faith he) is the State of the Reformed Churches at this Day: The true Church was first planted, and established by Christ and his Apostles, which continued found

* Sir Humphrey Lynde in the Preface to his Via Devia.


in Head and Members for many Ages ; but afterwards, when Error and Superstition had crepe in and gotten the upper-band, there were ceza tain Recollects, Bilio complained of the Corruptions and Errors, 'which had sprung up in the Roman Chutch. Whereupon, after mature Deliberation had of the true Dottrine of Christ and his Apostles, Públication was made in behalf of the Recollects, that they were found to adhere to the Institutions of Christ and his Apostles 3 and from that Time, they were called the Reformed Churches.

[ocr errors]

NOW proceed to your Fourteenth Para-

graph, in which with a Presumption common to all your Curial Doctors, you fpeak of Rome Chriftian as URBS ÆTERNA, in atrogating to her the Promises of perpetual Duration. It follows, (fay you) 3dly, That the Roman Catholick Church is the true Church : For some Church must be the true Church of Christ ; and it can be none, to whom the Promises of Indefe&tibility, or perpetual Duration have not been made good : But these Promises have not been made good to any but the Roman Catholick Church, and bade evidently fail'd all Protestants for the space of 900 of 1000 Véars: Therefore the Roman Cara tholick. Church is the true Church of Christ. Sir, this Paragraph is resolvable into two plain catégorical Syllogisms, whereof this is the first. Some one Church must be the true Church of Chrift; But no Church but the Roman Catholick Church is

M 2



that one true Church : Therefore the Roman Cetholick Church must be the true Church of Christ

. Let us examine each of the Premisses of this Syllogism in order : Someone Church must be the true Church of Christ. To which I anlwer, that the true Church of Christ is taken either in the general Signification, for the one holy Catholick Church of all the Faithful dispersed over the Earth, of which Christ alone is the Head ; or in the particular Signification for this or that particular Church, which in some part or other of the Earth is a Member of the one holy Catholick Church. In the former Signification, in which you (still abusively ) take it, this Propofition is not only false, but a Contradi&tion

because some Church, that is, fome one particular Church cannot be the whole Church of Christ : For if it is the whole Church, it cannot be fome one Church, as I have shewed above. The second or minor Proposition is this; But no Church but the Roman Catholick Church is that one true Church : Which is false; because, as I have proved above, it is neither the true Church nor a true Church of Christ, as true signifies found, pure, or truly Catholick in a moral Senfe: And therefore your Conclufion is false, which is this, Therefore the Roman (miscalled) Catholick Church must be the true Church of Christ.

II. The second Syllogism, by which you prove the minor Proposition, is this No Church, to which the Promises. of Indefe&tibility or perpetual Duration have not been made good, is the true Church of Christ : But those Promises have not been made good to any but the Roman Catholick Church : Therefore the Roman Catholick Church is the true Church Christ. Sir, the truth and certainty of this con



[ocr errors]

clusion ought to be made out from inost sure and evident Principles, if you would convince any of us, who are not Members of your Church: But the Principles from which you go about to prove it, are neither fure nor true; and so far from having any Evidence of Truth and Certainty, that they are clearly_false. I'll begin with the major. Proposition : No Church, to which the Promises of Indefe&tibility or perpetual Duration have not been made good, is the true Church of Christ. No Church, i. e, no one Church, to which the Promises of Indefectibility and perpetual Duration, &c. Here, Sir, after your usual manner, you suppose what is not true, take for granted what we never granted to you, and shamefully lay it down as a Principle without any previous Proof, that there is some one particular Church above all others, to which Christ made the Promises of In defe&tibility or perpetual Duration. Before you made this Proposition a Premise to infer such a Conclusion, you ought to have made good Proof of it; but instead of proving it, you doughtily suppose it to be true: And a bold Supposition in a Guide, who is himself supposed not capable to deceive, will pass for an Argument with such easie Proselytes, as give up themselves to his Conduct. But, Sir, I challenge you to prove this Proposition and if you can make clear and fubftantial Proof of it, I will surrender my self; and be your Proselyte, and you shall send me, as the Roman General did Carattacus, to be led in Triumph at Rome. In the mean time, I beseech you to tell me, if the Churches of Sardis, Pergamus, and Thyatira, the Persian, the African Churches, were not true Churches in their Time ; and yet you will not say, the Promises of perpetual Duration were made to thein; You will not say it, because in your mi

M 3


« PreviousContinue »