Imatges de pÓgina
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Chap. 2. der the Scripture, the Creed, or the Tradition, Questio and Succeffion of all Ages) yet I am not unwilling to Suppose, that fome may have it. My Reafon is, because Scholars have been once Children, as well as others: and, if their Friends and Parents were ingag'd in Schifm, have run through the whole Course of popular Objections, and vulgar Errors. They have had early and repeated Inftructions of the horrid Cruelties, Irreligion, Follies and Fopperies of Popery, from the warm Endeavours and Zeal of the Parent, the Nurfe, the Tutor, the Pulpit and the Prefs. To these you may add the more judicious and lafting Prejudices of their own Studies, in a rich and learned Univerfity, and in the Eyes of the World, not without Hopes of profitable and advantagious Places in Church or State, if they will but rail loud against Popery, as every Body does. And cannot Objections be started, against the most undoubted Parts of Religion, which every Scholar perhaps knows not how to Anfwer? How then can I be fure, that no one of them can poffibly have invincible Ignorance of the true Church?

II. But as Scholars have the greatest Helps againft vulgar Errors, and popular Mistakes: 'tis fo much harder for them, than it is for others, to be invincibly Ignorant of the Catholick Church.

They know, or may know, that none have ever reform'd the Faith of the Catholick Church, in feventeen Centuries, but they have always been cenfur'd and condemn'd by her, as Hereticks and Apoftates.

They know, or may know, that in the Time of the Apostles, and in every Age fince, there

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have been several Reformations of Catholick Chap. 2. Faith and that all Reformers of it have con- Questio ftantly accus'd the Catholick Church of their own Crimes, that is, of deteftable Errors, of Impiety, of Apostasy, and of caufal Schifm.

They know, or may know, that all Communions, which began by Schifm, continue fo still that no Schifm is less, because it is National that the Faith of an Orthodox Church cannot be reform'd: and that Schifm cannot be justify'd.

They know, or may know, that in the third Century, before the Roman Emperors were Christians, Rome was (1) the principal See, from which the Unity of Priesthood is rifen.

They know, or may know, that Praying for the Relief of the Faithful departed, is a Custom as ancient as (2) Christianity. And that, by Purgatory, Catholick Faith means only this, that fome Souls, after Death, are in a State of Suffering, in which they may be reliev'd, by the Prayers and Charities of the Faithful.

They know, or may know, that the words of Confecration, This is my Body, This is my Blood, if they be taken literally, in which Senfe the

(1) In fuper navigare audent, & ad Petri Cathedram; atq; ad Ecclefiam principalem, unde unitas Sacerdotalis ex orta est, literas ferre. S. Cyprianus Epift. Iv. (2) The Practice of the Church in interceding for the Dead, at the celebration of the Eucharift, is fo general, and fo ancient, that it cannot he thought to have come in upon Impofture, but that the fame Afperfion will feem to take hold of the common Chriftianity, fays Mr. Thorndike, a learned Divine of the Church of England, in his Juft Weights, and Meafures. Chap. xvi.p. 106.

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Chap. 2. the Catholick Church has always understood Queftio them, do not fignify, that the Body and Blood of Christ are prefent with the Bread and Wine; but that, what seems to be Bread, and Wine, is the true Body and Blood of Chrift: that Tranfubftantiation means nothing but this: and that, (notwithstanding all the Outcries of our Adverfaries, who cannot bear the Thought, that any Part of Popery and Chriftianity should stand upon the level; and all their Invectives against us, as if we favour'd Arianifm, because we are not afraid to own the Truth) there are as plaufible Objections, both from Authority and from Reason, against the Confubftantiality of the Son, as there are against Tranfubftantiation. For if we must be lieve nothing, but what Reason, by its own Lights, can know to be poffible; the Faith of the B. Trinity ought certainly to be reform'd. Why fo? Because, to Reason, it feems as impoffible, that three Perfons fhould be one God, as that three, or three hundred Perfons fhould be one Man. And if Chriftian Faith can believe that, which to Reason alone without the Help of Revelation, would appear impoffible; the most plaufible Argu ments against Tranfubftantiation fall evidently to the Ground. Yet what is this after all, but only to fay, that God knows more to be true, than Man knows to be poffible?

They know, or may know, that if Christ be really prefent under the Sacramental Signs; he ought to be ador'd under them, and that the Offering of him to his Father is a propitiatory Sacrifice.

They

They know, or may know, that the Prin- Chap. 2: ciples, which the Reformation us'd for Scaf- Queftio folding, are either laid afide, as impertinent as that all the Actions of Men in this Life are deadly Sins, and that it is impoffible to keep the Commandments of God: or else have dwindl'd away into verbal Controverfies: As the Question of Juftification, of Original Sin, of Predeftination, of Merit, and Free-will, as now stated by many Proteftants, are only, or chiefly Questions about Words.

They know, or may know, that what the Ten Commandments fay of (3) graven Images, or Idols, and bowing to them, obligés Chriftians no further, then as it is a Precept of the Law of Nature, that is, as it forbids thé Worshipping of FALSE GODS, and of other GRAVEN, OR PAINTED IMAGES, For whatever' is not commanded us by the Law and Light of Reason and Nature, but yet was a Part of the Jewish Inftitution, is ceremonial only, and does not oblige Chriftians, as the Church of England rightly obferves in the feventh of her 39 Articles. Of this we have a plain Inftance in the Commandments, which Chrift himself approv'd S. Mat. xix. v. 17.

To have fome Days appointed to the Worfhip of God, is a Precept of the Law of Nature. But this Law does not determine, whe ther the feventh, for example, or the first Day of the Week fhall be the day of Worship. The Seventh, in memory of the Creations had been always the Day of publick Worship by the Institution of God himself, Gen. ii. v. 3. Which

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(3) Exod. xx. 0.4, 5. Deut. v. v. 8, 9:

Chap. 2. Which Inftitution was renew'd, and confirm'd Queftro in the Commandments, Exod. xx. v. 8, 9, 10, II; and Deut. v. v. 12, 13, 14, 15. That this Day was Saturday, is unquestionable, both from the continual Practice of the Jews to this Time, and from the Gospel itself. For our B. Saviour was crucify'd on Good-Friday. And it appears by the Gospel, that he was put to death on the Day (4) before the Sabbath, and that he rose again the (5) Day after it. Hence in memory of his Refurrection, the first, not the Seventh, Day became, amongst Christians, the Day of publick Worship. So that what the Independents faid, in their Meeting at the Savoy, the Year in which Cromwel died, an. 1658, October 12, was very true, that the Day of Worship (6) from the Beginning of the World to the Refurrection of Chrift, was the laft Day of the Week; and, from the Refurrection of Christ, was chang'd into the first Day of the Week, the Obfervation of the laft Day of the Week being abolish'd. But if this Change be allow'd (for which in particular we have no plain Scripture) it is manifeft, that the Commandments oblige Christians no farther, than as they are Precepts of the Law of Nature: and that it is as lawful for Chriftians to bow to a Crucifix, as it was for the Jews to lye proftrate before the Ark, Jof. vii. v. 6. and for Chriftians to bow to the (7) Altar, to the

(4) S. Mar. xv. v. 42. S. Luke xxiii. v. 54. 56. S. John xix. v. 31. (5) S. Mar. xvi. v. 1, 2. S. Luke xxiv. v. I. S. Jo. xx. v. 1. (6) in their Declaration of Faith, and Order. Chap. xxi. numb. vii. (7) See the fecond Tome of the true Church, against Mr. Lefly, pag. 348.

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