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every parcel whereof I am ready to justific against all gainsayers; when these Men therefore shall ask, where our Church was, anfwer them boldly, where it is; It is wich Churches, as with those leverall persons, whercof they consif, give me a Man that having becn Romih for opinion is now grown wiser, and reformed, he hach still the same form or efsence, though not the same errors, he is the samc Man then, yea I add he is the famc Christian that he was whiles he holds firmly all those Articles of Catholick faith which are essentiall to Christianity ; if he now find reason to reject those hideous novelties of the incrrability of a Man of sin, of the new and monstrous, but invisible, incarnation of his Saviour by charm of a sinsull Priest
, of marring of fins, of purgatory flames, and the rest of thar upstart rabble of the Tridentine Creed, whiles he undoubtedly believes all those truths which carried our Fathers f who lived before the hatching of these devices) fafely and directly to Heaven, who can deny him the honor of trac Catholicisme and Christianity: No orlingwise is it in whole Churches, whereof every believeing foul is an abridgment ; if any of them find juft cause to refuse some newl; obtruded opinions, which the rest are let to maintain, whiles are mean time the foundation remains. entire, this can be nogic Lad to dis-Church that differing company of Christians, neither are they other from themselves, upon this diverfity of opinion.
But I hear what some whisperers say: It is the determination of the Church which makes what points she thinks fir, de fide, and fundamental:. Let me confidently say this is the moft dangerous in-. .novation that can fall into the cars, hearts, hands of Christians ; If the Church can make another God, another Chrift, another Heaven, other Prophets and Apostles, she may also lay another foundacion ; But the old rule of the chosen Veffcl, wheron I securely caft my soul, is, Fundamentum aliud ponere nemo poteft
. Bar, that you may perfc&tly discover the fraud, what Church is it, I beseech you,ta.whom this power ir arrogated? and by whom is ic ulurped ? None, but the Roman, and what is that but a particular Church ? I speak boldly, there was never so grofle argullory in the World as this ; what interest harḥ Rome in Heaven more then. Constantinople, chen Paris,, then Prague,then Bafil, then London,
or any other City under Heaven, or what priviledg hath the Italian Church, above the Greek, French, Germane , English, It is the charge of the Apostle : My Brethren have not the faith of God in refpe& of persons :I may upon the same Grounds, fay,in respect of places, the locality of truth is the most idle and childish plea, that ever imposed upon wise men: Away with this foppery che true divinity of St. Peter was, and is, in every Nation he that feareth God and workech righteousness is accepted of him, the climate makes no diffcrence and if more respect have been antiendly
given to that See, then to others, it was che foveraignty of the City which then drew on chose honours to the Church; which upon the very same reason were no leffe transmitted to Constantinople : Set those aside, and what holineffe can Tiber challenge above Rhene, or Thames : Lec fooles be mocked with these fancies, but you whom God hath indued with singular judgment and understanding in all things will eally resent the fraud ; and fee that there is no more reason why the Englith Church should conform in opinion to the Romish(were the Do&rines cqually indifferent ) then che Roman Church to the Englifh. They are but the several limys of one large and universal bədy; and if in respect of ourward ox;. there have been or may be acknowledged a precedency, yet in ley:od of the main substance of truth we cannor admit of any dependance on any Church undco Heaven; Here, that which is the purer from Error and corruption, mult cake the wall, maugre all the loud throats of acclaming parafites, yea so far must we needs be from pinning our faith upon che flecve of Rome, as chat we cannot ( withour violence offered to our own consciences ) but see and say that there is no particular Church on Earth, fo branded by the Spirit of God, in the Scriptures, as Kome; In so much as the beft abbettors, and deareft fautors of that See, are glad to plead that Rome is St. Peters a d St. Johns Babylon: we blesse God for standing on our own feet, and those feer of ours stand upon the infallible grounds of the Prophers, and Apostles, of Primitive Creeds, Councels, Fathers, and therefore we can no more deceive you, then they can deceive us.
The censuré char the enemies of our Crurch caft upon it, is not untruth, but defect,chev dare not bat grant what we say is true, but they blame us for not saying all is true which they say; now thac which we say, was enough to serve chosc anticne Chriftians, which
lived before those lately devised addicions, the refusal whereof is made haynolxs and deadly to us; 'how safe, how happy is this erring ? Let my soul be with those blessed Martyrs, Confeflors, Fathers, Christians which never lived to hear of chole new Articles of the new Roman faith, and I dare say, you will not wish yours any ocher' where, there can be no danger in old cruths, there can be nothing but danger in new ob trufions. But I finde how apt my pen is to over-run the bounds of a letter, my zeal of your safety carries me into this length, the errors into which these seducers would lead you arc deadly, especially upon a revolt : your very ingenuicy I hope (besides grace) will suggest better things to you: Hold thac which you have, that no man take your crown; My Soul for yours you go right ; lo sure as there is a heaven, this way will lead you chicher, go on confidently, and cheerfully in it, let me never be happy, if you be not; you will pardon my holy importunity, which shall be ever seconded with my hearty prayers to the God of truth, that he will stablish your heart in that cternal truth of his Gospel which you have reccived, and both work and crown your happy perseverance ; such shall be the fervent apprecations of
Pour much' devoted
Hereas there are many loud quarrels, and brabbles about matter of
Religion, this is my firme and steadfast Reso
lucion, wherein I finde peace with God, and my own Soul, as being undoubedly certain in it self, and hə'ily charitable to others, and that in which I conftantly purpose ( God willing ) as so Live so to Dye.
1. I do believe and know thar there is bur one way to Heaven, even the Truc and Living way, Jesus Christ, God and Man the Saviour of the World.
2. I believe and know, that this way however it is a narrow and straight way, in respect of the World, yet hath much Latitude in it self: So as those that truely believe in this Son of God, their Saviour though they may be mis-led into many by-pathes of small errors, yet by the mercy of God are acknowledged not to be out of the main high way to cternal life.
I believe and know, that the Canonical Scriptures of God are the true and unfailing Rule of our Faith, so as whatsoever is therein containd is the infallible Truch of God, and whatsoever is neceffary to be believed to eternal Salvation, is therein exprefly, or by clear and undoubted confequence contein’d, and so set forth as it neither needeth farther explication, nor admits of any probable Contradiction.
4. I believe and know, that God hath ever fince the creation of Mankinde had a Church upon Earth, and so shall have to the end of the World, which is a Society or Communion of Faithful man professing his Name, againft which the gates of Hell shall never be able to preváil, for the failing thereof. s. I believe and know, that the consenting voice of the successi
ons, and present universality of faithful Men in all times and places, is worthy of great auchority, both for our Confirmation in all truths, and for our direction in all the circumstancial points of Guds service; so as it cannot be opposed, or (cver'd from, without jutt offence to God.
6. I believe and know, that besides those neceflary truths contaia'd in the Holy Scriptures and Seconded by the Consent and Profession of all Guds faichfal ones, there may bc, and ever have been, certain collateral and not-mainly importing verities, wherein it is not anlawful, for several particular Churches, to maintain their own Teners, and to diffent from other; and the several members of chose particular Churches are bound, so far to tender the common Peace ; as nor tu oppose such publiquely received truths.
7. I do confidendly believe, that if all the particular. Churches, through the whole Christian World, should meet together, and determine these secondary and animporting truches to be believed upon necessity of Salvation,and shall cnaa Damnation to all those which shall deny their
aflent therennto, they should go beyond the Commission which God hath given them, and do an act which God hath never undertaken to warrant : Since there can be no new Principles of Christian Religion, however there may be an applica. cion, of some formerly received Divine cruches to some anergenc occafions, and a clearer explication of some obscure verities.
8. I do confidently believe that God hath never confind the desermination of his will in all questions and matters, pertaining co Salvation, or whatsoever controverfics of Religion to the breaft of any one Man, or to a particular Church, or to a correspondence, of some particular Churches, so as they shall not possibly err in their Definitions and Decrees.
9. I do confidently believe, that the Church of Rome comprehending both the head and those her adherents, and dependance, being bur particular Churches, have highly offended God in arrogating to themselves the priviledg of infallibility which was never given them, and in ordaining new Articles of faith, and excluding from the bosome of Gods Church, and the Gates of Heaven all those which differ from her in the refusal of her late bred imposicions, though otherwise holy men, and no less true Chriftians, then any of themselves.