« PoprzedniaDalej »
to be the true Catholick Faith or Religion, which hath the Testimony of Scripture and Catholick Tradition before his time, or which can be proved by Antiquity, Univerfality, and Confent. Secondly, In cafe I could not anfwer your Challenge in Naming any Bifhops, Writers, or Churches that profefled our Religion 900 or 1000 Years before our Separation; yet you could make no advan tage of it, because you can name none who profeffed yours, as diftinguished from ours, in either of thofe times. Thirdly, In naming Bishops, Writers, and Churches, that profeffed our Religion in thofe or earlier times, I must except the negative Doctrines of our Religion, which you have been told cannot be older than the more modern Errors, which they deny [and against which we proteft.] Fourthly, I muft alfo except all Doctrines and Traditions, whether confifting folely in Opinion, or tending to Practice, which Bishops, Writers, and Churches may differ in, and yet be and be esteemed of the fame Religion, and hold Communion with one another, notwithstanding their different Opinions and PraEtice [in fuch Doctrines and Things] fuch as thefe was the Doctrine of re-baptizing those, who had been baptized by Hereticks, which was held differently by the African Churches, with Tome of the Oriental Churches, and the Church of Rome, who were of the fame Religion and Communion with one another. So the Eaftern and Western Church differed in their Opinions
+ Tertul. de Pudicitiâ, cap. 19. Prafcript. adverfus Haret. cap. 12. & de Baptifmo. Cyprian LXXIII. Epift. ad Fub. & Epift. LXXI. ad Quintum de baptizand. Hæret.
Firmiliani Epift. ad Cyprian. LXXV. Lombert's Preface before his Tranflation of Cyprian's Works into French. p. 77.
and Practice, as to the time of obferving Eafter ||; and yet both thought themselves of the fame Religion, and lived after fome debate in perfect Concord with one another, as Polycarp Bishop of Smyrna did with Pope Anicetus. Though Pope Victor afterwards was for breaking of Communion with the Afian Churches, because they would not keep Eafter at the time the Latins did. Hitherto therefore I may reduce all differences in Churches, as to Liturgies, Ceremonies, Penances, Rituals, Ordinals, Calendars, or number of Feftival Days provided they are pure as to Substance, or have no intolerable Errors or Corruptions in them. Likewife all Doctrines, which not being any part of the Chriftian Faith, or neceffarily to be believed or disbelieved in order to Salvation, may be held in the affirmative or negative, without any danger to the Soul; as the ancient Doctrine of the Millenaries, which though generally believed for almoft the three firft Centuries, is now a Herefy in your Church, and I think rejected by all other Churches; fo many Bishops and Fathers of ancient times thought it fafeft, if not neceffary, for little Children to receive the holy Eucharift. It was always the practice of the African Church. And in the time of St. Auguftin, Pope + Innocent the First, as well as he, thought it neceffary; and if it was that Pope's belief, no Man will doubt but it was then the belief of the Church of Rome, though it now ftands condemned and anathematized by the Council of Trent, Seff. XXI. Can. IV. Thus Opi
Eufeb. Eccl. Hift. lib. V. cap. XXIV.
+ St. Aug. Ep. to the Fathers of the Milevitan Council, which is the XCIII. inter Epift. Auguftini Tom. 11. & Contra Julianum, lib. 1. cap. 11.
nions and Practices, which do not affect the common Faith of Chriftians, I mean the Faith once delivered by the Apostles to the Saints, nor have any neceffary ill influence upon good Life and Manners, nor are contrary to pofitive Divine Inftitutions, but may be fafely taught in one Age or Church, and not in another, make no difference as to Religion between Bishops and Bishops, Writers and Writers, Churches and Churches.
CHA P. III.
THESE four Preliminaries being premised, a more regular, clear, and Anfwer to your Challenge, I affert, First, That 1000 Years before our Reformation from your Church, that is to fay in the middle of the fixth Century, or the Year of our Lord 556. the whole Catholick Church, the Church of Rome not excepted, then profeffed the Religion of the reformed Church of England; or, which is the fame thing in other terms, the reformed Church of England profeffeth, and hath the fame [Faith or] Religion, which the whole Catholick Church, the Church of Rome not excepted, profeffed in the middle of the VIth Century. This I affirin, because the hath the fame Canon of Scripture and the fame Canon of Faith, i. e. the Apostles Creed [commonly fo called] as confirmed and explained in the Nicene and Conftantinopolitan Confeffions against the Herefies of the Arians, Eunomians, or Eudoxians, Semiarians, or oppofers of the Godhead of the Son and the Holy Ghoft, together with the Sabellians, Marcellians, Photinians, and Apollinarians, all Enemies of the
Catholick and Apoftolick Faith. She also owns, as the whole Catholick Church them did, the Doctrine and Confeffions of the firft General Council of Ephefus, and of the General Council of Chalcedon, which guarded the Apoftolick Canons of Faith against Neftorius and against Diofcorus and the Eutychians. [In a Word, fhe owns all the Creeds and Doctrines, and condemns all the Herefies and Hereticks, that are recited, own'd, and condemned in lib. 1. tit. 1. of the Code of Fuftinian the Emperor, who flourished in this Century] and hath retained the Creed, commonly called the Creed of St. Athanafius, as a moft familiar and edifying Form of Confef fion, comprehending all the other Confeffions, and more particularly illuftrating the Mysteries of three Perfons in one Nature of the Holy Trinity, and of two Natures in one Perfon of Chrift, against the aforefaid Herefies and Enemies of the Chriftian Faith, though it be not of fo ancient a Date as your Writers fay it is. This One Catholick and Apoftolick Faith profefed, † explained, and defended in thefe Creeds and Confeffions, was tranfmitted from the VIth to the VIIth Century pure and entire, in the beginning of which Auguftin the Monk propagated the Chriftian Faith in England. And therefore I affert, Secondly, that 900 Years before our feparation from your Church in 656, the whole Catholick Church, and particularly the Church of England, then profeffed the Religion which we profefs now, and no other. This is evident from the Confeffons extant in that Century, as that of the Council of Sevil, A. D.
+ Δια τύτο γραφικαῖς μυρίαις τὸ αὐτὸ μάθημα οἱ εἰρημλύσι. ρν· ἄξιοι πατέρες σαφηνίσαν]ες ἐτράνων, &c. Cod
lib. 1. Tit. 1. vii.
619. That of the 4th Council of Toledo 633. That of the 6th Council of Toledo 638. That of the Council of Lateran 649, against all the Enemies of the Faith from Paulus Samofatenus, to Sergius Bishop of Conftantinople. That of the Council of Chalon 663. That of the XIth Coun-· cil of Toledo 675. That at Rome under Pope Agatho in the Caufe of Wilfrid 679, or rather 680. That of the VIth Oecumenical Council of Conftantinople 681, against the Monothelites, which in its firft Canon declares, that no Innovation was to be made in the Apostles Creed, that the Nicene Creed was perfect, and the Conftantinopolitan inviolable, and laftly that of the XIVth Council of Toledo 684.
IL ALL thefe Confeffions are found together with those mentioned before in one of your own Epitomifers of the Councils, Gregor. de Rives, under the Title of Confeffiones Fidei Catholica: And the Title of the Book is, Epitome Canonum Conciliorum. It was Printed at Lyons 1663. I fay, this one Catholick and Apoftolick Faith fet forth in the ancient Creeds, and explained and confirmed in the Nicene and Conftantinopolitan Creeds, and in the Confeffions of the Councils of Ephefus and Chalcedon, without any addition of new Parts, was tranfmitted pure and entire from the VIth Century to the VIIth, and was that very primitive Catholick Faith in all its Articles, which we now profefs [in the Apostles Creed] and which St. Auguftin brought to our Saxon Ancestors at the latter end of the VIth Century, and propagated among them in the VIIth. That very + Word of Life, as Bede calls it. The Word of GOD declaring the Redemption of Mankind,
† Bed. Eccl. Hiftor. gent's Angl. Edit. Cantabr. p. 76.