Imagens das páginas

of passion and heat of contention, truth should sindge her wings (as too oft she hath done) and take her flight, leaving the parties wholly unsatisfied.

First, to avoid all needless questions, and endless disputes, we must distinguish between these two things, to be an heretick, and to embrace an heresy, or an opinion that is erroneous.

For not every one, whose opinion is heretical, is to be reckoned and listed in the black roll of hereticks, but only he, who, having been baptized in the Christian faith, shall stiffly maintain, and obstinately defend an untruth against it. By the Christian faith, we are not to understand in general the word of God in its whole latitude, viz. the prophetical and apostolical doctrine contained in the books of the Old and New Testament; for not every false interpretation of any one place of Scripture, nor every opinion, resulting from that place so interpreted, falls under the name and notion of heresy (as St. Jerom seems to assert it in his commentary upon the Galatians) but, by the Christian faith, we mean those four principles of our faith, which are the four kinds of fundamentals, the denial and opposing any one whereof with pertinacy intitles a man to the guilt of heresy, and the name of heretick.

The first of those fundamentals is placed in the Apostles Creed.
The second, in the Decalogue or Ten Commandments.
The third in the Lord's Prayer.
The fourth is the two Sacraments and the Lord's Supper.

Thus the reverend and learned Bishop Davenant determines the case, in that most judicious and schism-confounding work of his, intituled, Ad Pacem Adhortatio*. 'So then, he that shall perversly deny any article of the creed, which is Christianorwnfidei et spei formula veritatis summa ac fundamentum (to use the terms of the Tridentine Catechism) the form of a Christian's faith and hope; the epitome and foundation of truth;' he that shall likewise wilfully err, inprincipiis moralibus, i. e. in the principles of manners, or good living; he that shall believe or maintain the contrary to any precept or moral command, as, that simple fornication is no sin, which is the opinion of the f Jews and Papists; that it is lawful to worship an image, the works of men's hands, or the like; he that shall overthrow the doctrine of the sacraments, cither denying the exercise or use of the sacrament of baptism, or not baptizing, according to the tenor of Christ's J injunction, In the name of the Father, Sori, and Holy Ghost, or not celebrating the eucharist according to our Saviour's institution, by denying the cup to the people, or the like: Lastly, He or they that err in the fundamental doctrine concerning prayer, making their addresses to any one, hut Goo) alone, through the mediation of Christ his son, by faith in whom, and being knit to them in love, we are bold to call God our Father, &c. He that shall obstinately persist both in opinion and practice against any precept or doctrine in these four kinds of fundamentals, he cannot be exempted from the number of hereticks, whose names are not regist An exhortation to peace. + Vid. Kimchi in Psal. $ Mat. xxviii. v. ult.

tered in the book of life, into which none shall enter that work abomination, or make a lie, Rev. xxi. 27. Such workers of mischief are those airsteiat ieyiTM, as * Cyril rightly tells them, men that are leaders and abettors of an heresy. Such men, whom we may call Dcemonke Meridiana (as St. t Jerom once called Arius) men blown up with pride, and infected with a diabolical, daring spirit, you must decline, as you would those that have the leprosy or plague. Heresy is a catching disease, and hard to be cured; it enters into the soul by the eye and ear (when you either read1 the books, or hear the sermons of hereticks) and, entering thus in, it brings death and destruction, as its attendants, with it. St. Paul was not ignorant of this, as appears by his wholsome and seasonable exhortation for these times. Rom. xvi. 17. '1 beseech you, brethren,' (observe the apostle's earnest supplication, grounded upon the danger of heretical infection)' mark them which cause divisions and offences, contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them. Verse 18. For they, that are such, serve not the Lord Jesus Christ, but their own bellies.' They are commonly covetous and luxurious persons, given over to their appetites. They are dissembling hypocrites, for, as it follows there, with fair speeches and flatteries they deceive the hearts of their simple followers and auditors. If there come any such unto you, and bring not the doctrine of Christ (but that which is contrary to it) receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed, 2John. 10. i. e. have nothing to do with him, neither shew him any sign of familiarity or respect, lest, under the guise or fleece of a lamb-like tcacher,you meet (in the conclusion,) with devouring wolves, proud Anabaptists, or soul-murdering Jesuits; who now, like their great master, the prince of darkness, go about, seeking whom they may destroy with their anti-scripture, antichristian, infectious tenets, or heresies. None, more than these grand impostors, are pleaders for conventicles, that so they may with more security open the fardal of their mass (that maze J of idolatry) among themselves, and draw poor deceived souls from the love of the church, and their ministers. znmuTt, mark with diligence, those that preach this doctrine, and conclude with yourselves, that they are either immediately sent from Rome, that antichristian synagogue, or seduced by the Romish agents, whose only aim in these times is, to blow the coal of division (using the Separatists || as his bellows for this very purpose) and to draw men's minds from the love of the truth and learning, knowing full well, that the fabrick of their superstition and idolatrous worship relies only upon the rotten pillar of ignorance, the only prop too of the pope's greatness.

For (as§ that examinator of the council, or rather conventicle, of Trent, says well) ut bonarum literarum instauratione facessere capit ignorantia, SgC i. e. So soon as the cloud of ignorance was dispelled by the bright beams of learning, the authority of the pope began presently to fail and suffer a great diminution. Therefore I exhort you again, rxcmit>, to mark those who are sowers of division, who endeavour to disjoin your hearts from the love of those, whom God hath placed over you, to be your guardians and watchmen*, such among the reverend fathers of the church are now (God be blessed for it) yet living, to the terror and grief of our adversaries; such likewise yet breathe (though with much discouragements) amongst the inferior ministers, who are more famous for the pulpit and schools, than for the press, and are able to wield the sword of argumentation, to the confutation and confounding of Rome's factors; who deal by us, as the hereticks of the former age by those propvgnatores fidei, defenders of the faith, Basil, Nazianzen, Ambrose, Augustine, Jerom, &c. whom (as f Lindanus notes) the others impudently called, hereticks, hxretici htsrcticos appellabant, so they undeservedly and most uncharitably term us. To whom I shall only reply in the words of St. Augustine J to the Pelagians: Impetremus, si possumus, i fratribus nostris, ne nos insuper appellent hereticos, quod cos talia disputantes nos appdlare possumus fortasse, si vellemus, fyC. i.e. We wish that we might obtain this favour of our brethren, that they would not call us hereticks, which we might (if we were so pleased to break the rule of charity, which loveth peace ||) rightly call them, &c. as might be evidenced and proved by the former definition of heresy, and description of an heretick. To all which I shall subjoin this, to strengthen my assertion, that, as an error in fundamento, in any one of the forenamed fundamentals, so, one that is circa fundamentum, about, or bordering upon the foundation joined with conviction (after the testimony of the whole church, in word or writing to the contrary) and that conviction backed with contumacy, these do constitute an heretick.

• Cjril. 1. 1. in Joh. cap. 4. + Hieron. Apol. adversus Ruftn. lib. 2. J So called

in the confutation of the Papists catechism, pag. 29. u Doctor Crackanthorpe, in bis de

fence of our church, does call them fitly, flabclla Jesuitirum; i Qentillet.

He that comes boldly in a man's face, and cuts his throat, and ho that steals behind his back, and knocks him on the head, are both equally guilty of murder (and would be found so, were they to be tried.) So he that directly and manifestly destroys a fundamental truth, and he that obliquely does it, teaching, or obstinately maintaining those things, which, if they be granted, by a necessary consequence overthrow the doctrines of faith, both these antiscripturists are to be reckoned amongst hereticks, although the former are far worse than the latter.

Thus the heresy of the § Marcionites, and Manichees, who destroy the human nature of Christ, by allowing him only a phantastick body, is somewhat worse than that of the Popish transubstantiators, who, by consequence, do that which is directly intended by others. For that, with the defence of this their absurd opinion, the articles of the incarnation, ascension, and session of our Lord Christ, at God's right hand, all these will fall to the ground, as the reverend and most learned bishops, **Morton, Hall, and White; also, the judiciousCrakanthorpe, in his elaborate defence of our church against Spalatensis+f> prove at large.

You may hereby collect what great boldness hath seized upon the tongues and pens of the proud Romanists, who dare throw that dirt upon us which covers their own faces, whilst they, with as much audacity as falsity, stile us (what they are, indeed, themselves judged by th* learned tobe) i. e. hereticks. Thus the Arians dealt by the Christians in the primitive times, as we find in Salvian, who complains thus of them: In tantum se Catholicos esse judicant, ut nos titulo hxreticc e pravitalis infament; which words would rightly fit our tongues in reference to our Romish adversaries, who (speaking and writing a mere contradiction) call themselves Catholicks, when, indeed, they are not truly so. It is a term proper only to the universal church of Christ, dispersed and scattered over the face of the whole earth. They are a particular church, and thcrerefore, whilst they stile themselves (indeed, it is stilo novo) Catholicks, they speak as much, or, in effect, as if a man should say, a particular universal, or universal particular, which is absurd, and against the rules of logick. Therefore, in that, they appropriate to themselves the name of Catholicks, they do this as falsly, as when they fasten upon us the name of hereticks, which is a term disgraceful and odious.

• Ezek.liii. 17, 18, 19.' + Prafat. in Panopliam. t Aug. contr. Pelag.

US Cor. xiii. 7. I Deliii vid. Epiphan. Aug. Philast. de haeresibus. (Cranmer. adv. hsrei.

"Ep. Mort. contra Missam. lib. 8. cap. g. Hall in his treat, called Bome irreconcil. White-. against fisher, q. 19, Dr. Crakanthorpe, cap. 48 Num. S3. ft Antonio de Douiois, ank

kishop -f Spalato in Italy. Salr. lib. i. de guber. Dei.

Lord, open their eyes, that they may see the truth, and inflame all our hearts with a greater love of it, that, knowing what we believe, and practising what we know, we may, at the last, be crowned amongst those, who, with that invincible* Athanasius, have contended earnestly for the truth, even to the loss of their lives and liberties. This is enjoined by St. Jude, ver. 3, and a clear description of such an heroick spirit we find, Heb. xi. 37. It. c. x. 3*. Which things were written for our instruction, that we, being compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, should t resist even unto blood, and strive against heresy and hereticks, men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth; from such separate yourselves, 1 Tim. vi. 5. Converse not with such pestilentious persons. This, too, was the wise counsel of the blessed martyr Ignatius, who (as we read in J Eusebius) used to go from house to house, through all the churches in the diocese, admonishing and intreating the Christians to abstain from the society of known hereticks, who, like || pitch, defile the weak, with the least touch of private conference,

§ Beware of false prophets, &c.

The Third Query.

Whether it be lawful (or allowable by the word) for any to frequent conventicles, forsaking the publick meetings of Christians in churches.

AS there is a peevish industry in wickedness, to find or make associates, so** it is a commendable and industrious piece of virtue or goodness to oppose the attempts of wickedness, especially those of schismaticks, who, not contenting themselves with the bounds of their own impieties, never rest till they have corrupted others with the poison of their ungodly tenets. And I cannot but grieve to see the once brave spirits pf our nation (shewed in the subduing the Genevising Scots) suck in with greediness the positions of the new Jesuitising Englandians, who are infected with the venom of old moth-eaten heresies, which have lain asleep for a long while, but are now awakened and revived by the prince of darkness, and transported into our church.

* Athanasius cont. Mundum. Raimund coot. Athanasium, vid. Ribadio. in vita ejus. t Heb.xii. i.4 4. t Euseb. lib. 3. cap. 3a II Eccl. liii. l. { Mat. vii. 15.

* Si periiDacia insuperabiles vires habere conatur, quaatas debet habere epnstantia? dec. Aug.

Ep. i67- festo.

The ground (as I humbly conceive) of all the enormities and loose opinions amongst us, is, the discountenancing and discouraging of the publick ministry, and the crying down of churches (vox diabolmn sonat, non Deum certe) as if there were none other, but those, that are spiritual when, as we find upon record, both in the * word and in ancient writers, there were material churches f, houses built and set a-part for the publick worship of God, wherein the Christians solemnly met at the least once a week; this was the practice of the primitive times, even in the days of the apostles]:, and continued from them tous through all ages by uninterrupted successions,

There is a fable, amongst the mythologists, of a maiden, and a lionr who fell in love with her^and she promised out of fear to yield to his desires,on condition that she might first knock out his teeth; which he presently yielded to, and was by her immediately destroyed.

Thus the only aim of the devil, and his associates, is not only to pluck out the teeth of discipline (the wall) but even the tongue of sound doctrine, which is the heart of the church. This he now endeavours, by stopping the mouths of God's lawful ministers, and sending out his |f Shemaiahs, Nehelamites, his dreaming chaplains, who dream of a form of government never thought of, nor intended by Christ, and, having no commission to preach, thrust themselves into conventicles, where they vent their dreams, and propagate their fancies, to the destruction of many poor well-meaning Christians.

Concerning the unlawfulness of which private meetings (congregated by men, who have no calling to teach, and in opposition to the unity and uniformity of our national church) I shall now, in all love and tenderness to the souls good of the unlearned, enlarge my thoughts, and deliver my opinion, which I trust will be embraced by those, who shall peruse this short treatise without a partial prejudice; which, like a curtain drawn before a window, shuts out thelight of truth,and keeps darkness in; it harbours errors and mistakes, which breed hatred and dissension. First, take a conventicle, for a meeting of men and women in a private house upon the Lord's-day, then when they should join with the people of God in a church appointed for God's publick worship and service thus to convene and meet (though in times of restraint) without a lawful minister to head that body, and by enjoined prayers and preaching to sanctify the work, is held utterly unlawful. Which I shall prove both by the word of God, the practice of Christ, together with the authority of fathers, and interpreters of the holy scriptures, as also by arguments drawn from reason, which commonly (if not perverted) is a sure guide, and a good judge.

First, then, if we weigh the truth, in the balance of the sanctuary, if we look into the scriptures, we shall find a flat prohibition to the contrary, as Heb. x. 24, 25. Let us consider one another to provoke to

'i Cor. mv. 35. + x\.11. % Vide a full and learned discourse of tais in Mr.Meile'i

Diatribas. (I Jer. uii. 81. Jude 8.

« AnteriorContinuar »