Imatges de pÓgina
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Chap. 3. and whether the Deceas'd are capable of pre Queft.7. fent Relief, if they are not in a State of Suffering, and in a middle State betwixt Heaven and Hell: whether it was a Sin in the Chriftians, to have a particular Esteem and Veneration for the Handkerchiefs and Aprons of S. Paul, meerly because they were his, when they faw [4] Miracles done by applying them to the Sick, and to the Poffefs'd: Whether converted Gentils in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia, were not once bound in Confcience to obferve what the Apoftles at Jerufalem commanded,and thought [5] necessary; I mean, to abstain from eating Blood, and things ftrangled; and whether it was not still true, that what[6] goes into the Mouth, does not defile a Man, tho' Difobedience to lawful Superiors may: Whether Apoftolical Tradition be not as necessary, to keep the Original and only true Senfe of the New Teftament, as it is to keep the Books themselves: Whether we have any divine Promise that the Scripture fhall never be loft; and if by the Force and Power of Infidels, that ineftimable Treasure were taken from us, would Christ cease to remain (according to his Promife) with true Believers even to the end of the World; what would be their Rule of Faith, when the Scripture is fuppos'd to be gone; and is that a neceffary and whole Rule of Faith, without which, Faith would fubfift: whether Toby, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclefiafticus, and the Machabees, are infpir'd, or not. And fince these Things cannot now be certainly

[4] Acts xix. v. 11. 12. [5] Acts xv. v. 28, 29; [6] S. Mat. xv. V. II.

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certainly discover'd in the New Teftament it- Chap. 3.
felf, how attentively foever it be read: 'tis Queft.7.
plain, that the whole Chriftian Revelation can-
not be convey'd to us by the Scripture only.

Secondly, The firft Chriftians knew the Ori-
ginal and only true Sense of the New Tefta-
ment, by the daily Inftructions of the Apostles,
and of other Apoftolical Men, and by their
daily Practice in the publick Exercise of Re-
ligion. For Apoftolical Faith, and Apofto-
lical Practice, are the two great and neceffary
Lights: without which, if you read the Scrip-
ture, you read it in the dark. By the latter
of these two Lights, the first Christians could
have refolv'd the Questions, I lately mention'd,
of adoring Chrift, and the Holy Ghoft, as
God Of Infant-Baptifm: Of the Washing
of Feet: Of keeping Saturday holy Of ef-
fectual Signs of Grace: Of adoring Chrift in
the Bleffed Sacrament: Of praying for the
Dead Of honouring Relicks; Of obeying
the Commands of lawful Superiours. But
the Inftructions of the Apostles, and of other
Apoftolical Men in the first Century, are yet
more extenfive. For by them the firft Chri-
ftians were inabled to know both these, and
all the other Points abovemention'd.

Thirdly, The first Christians knew the Original and only true sense of the New Teftament, and of the whole Bible, by the authentick and frequent Expofitions of the Apostles and of the Apoftolical and infpir'd Men, their Fellow-Labourers in the Chriftian Miffion, who upon a thousand Occafions declar'd, what the Scripture meant in fuch and fuch Places. For, as Religion was the whole Concern of thefe

Chap. 3. thefe great Men; it cannot be doubted, but
Quest.
Queft.7. they made it their Business, on all Occafions,
to expound the Scripture according to the Ori-
ginal and true fense of it.

II. The feeming Senfe of the New Tefta-
ment is that, which the Words might bear,
fetting afide the Lights, which the firft Chri-
ftians had to understand it right: Or it is the
Senfe, which the words may bear to a fober
Turk, or an Indian. Which fenfe is often
falfe, and always uncertain in difputed Points.
And it is this, that makes our Adverfaries fo
wavering and unfettled in Matters of Religion.
What one of them grants, another denies:
And what he holds to day, he will condemn
as heartily to morrow. Nor would the fober
Turkish or Indian Judges, to whom some of
our Adverfaries, in religious Controverfies,
think fit to appeal, be more united in their
Opinions. For if the Bible were put into the
hands of a hundred difcreet Turks, or Indians;
in giving us what they thought the true Senfe
of it, they would differ from each other, on a
hundred Occafions, in Matters where Salvation
is concern'd. So impoffible it is, to find the
Original and only true Senfe of Scripture, at
this Distance of Time, without the Help of
Apoftolical Tradition:

III. The Rule of Faith, is the Meafure and Means by which we judge that our Faith is right. And to be a Rule of true Faith, it must have two Properties. First, this Rule must be known by him, who ufes it. Secondly, it must be certain. For the Rule of true Knowledge cannot be unknown to him, who follows it. And the Rule of certain Knowledge cannot be uncertain.

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uncertain. Scripture and Apoftolical Tradi- Chap. 3
tion are known to the Catholick Church. And Queft.8..
if fhe be always what fhe is, the Catholick
and Orthodox Church, they are a certain Rule
for her Direction.

IV. When I fay, that Scripture is Part of her Rule of Faith; my Meaning is not, that we are fure, that the Scripture fhall never be taken from her by the Violence of wicked Men (for where does the word of God affure us of this?) but that, whilst she has it, she will always use it, as a Part of her Rule of Faith. The whole Rule then of Chriftian Faith is Scripture and Apoftolical Tradition; but the necessary Rule of Christian Faith is Apoftolical Tradition only. See the Rule of Faith, an. 1721. p. 14, 15, 16, of the Poft-fcript.

V. But is not the Scripture, confider'd in the Sense in which it was writ, the whole Rule of Chriftian Faith? In this I dare not be po→ fitive. Probably it is. But this includes both Scripture and Apoftolical Tradition, and cannot, be certainly discover'd by the bare Reading of the Bible, with the utmost Attention, as I obferv'd before.

Eighth QUESTION.

Is the Faith and Language of the Catholick
Church the fame in all Ages?

ANSWER,

H

ER Faith is always the Same ;
her Language is not.

Her Faith is always the Same. Because Ca-
tholick Faith and Apoftolical Faith are the very

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fame

Chap. 3. fame Thing. If fo, fhe has no Articles of Queft.8. Faith, but what were reveal'd to the Apoftles. And, if fhe has no Rule of Faith, no Means of knowing what they believ'd, but only the Scripture, which the fees and reads, and Apoftolical Tradition, which is convey'd to her either by Oral Tradition which fhe hears, or by the Writings of Catholicks in former Times, which the reads and fees; She does not come to the Knowledge of the primitive Revelation of Christian Doctrine by any Revelation made immediately to her, but only by Natural and human Means, which the Providence of God forefaw would have this Effect, according to his Promife, that She fhould be always what She is, the Catholick and Orthodox Church.

II. But did not the Catholick Church make new Articles of Faith, when She defin'd against the Donatifts, that Baptifm may be validly adminifter'd out of the Catholick Church, and when She fettled the whole Canon of Scripture? for the first was not an Article of Faith in S. Cyprian's Time; nor was the latter, even in the fourth Century. ANs. She made indeed, as an Orthodox Guide, those two Articles (of which fome of her Children had formerly doubted) known to the Faithful: but She did not make them Articles of Faith. For this is more, than the Apostles themselves could do. Articles of Chriftian Faith are the Work of God only. He made them all, by revealing them to the Apostles, who were commiffion'd to make them known to the Catholick Church; as She is commiffion'd, when the primitive and Apoftolical Faith is call'd in Queftion, to make it known to her Children. For to make Articles

of

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