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nor any certain truth, upon which men may safely rest without fluctuation, or fear of error: and if so, I demand,
1. Why are all your clergy bound to swear, and consequently your laity, (if they have communion of faith with them) by your own grounds, bound to believe, that the Roman church is the mistress of all other churches? Where, it is evident, from the relation and opposition of the Roman to other churches, that the Roman church is there taken for that particular church.
2. Secondly, Why then do you so often urge that mistaken saying of Irenæus, Ad hanc ecclesiam necesse est omnem convenire ecclesiam? Falsely translating it, as Cardinal Perron in French, and my L. F. in English-All churches must agree with this church? for convenire ad signifies not, to agree with, but to come unto; whereas it is evident, for the aforesaid reason, that the Roman is here taken for that particular church.
3. Thirdly, If that particular church be not certainly infallible, but subject to error in points of faith; I would know, if any division of your church should happen, in which the church of Rome, either alone, or with some others, should take one way, the churches of Spain, and France, and many other churches, another, what direction should an ignorant catholic have then from the pretended guide of faith? How shall he know which of these companies is the church, seeing all other churches, distinguished from the Roman, may err, and seeing the Roman church is now supposed subject to error, and consequently not certain to guard those men, or those churches, that adhere unto it from erring?
4. Fourthly, If that particular church be not infallible in faith, let us then suppose, that de facto it does err in faith; shall we not then have an heretical head upon a catholic body? A head of the church, which were no member of the church? Which sure were a very strange and heterogeneous monster! if to avoid these inconveniences, you will say, that Roman catholics must of necessity hold that particular church infallible in faith; I suppose it will evidently follow, that St. Augustine and St. Cyprian (notwithstanding those sentences you pretend out of them) were no Roman catholics, seeing they lived and died in the contrary belief and profession. Let me see these absurdities fairly and clearly avoided, and I will dispute no more, but follow you whithersoever you shall lead.
3. Thirdly, I answer, That the places alleged are utterly impertinent to the conclusion you should have proved; which was, that it was impossible, that two societies of Christians, divided upon what cause soever in external communion, may be in truth, and in God's account, both of them parts of the catholic church: whereas your testimonies, if we grant them all, say no more than this; that the societies of heretics, which are such as overthrow any doctrine necessary to salvation; and of schismatics, which are such as separate from the church's communion, without any pretence of error in the church, or unlawfulness in the conditions of her communion; I say, they prove only this, that such societies as these are no parts of the church: which I willingly grant of all such as are properly and formally heretics and schismatics; from which number I think (with St. Augustine)
they are to be exempted, Qui quærunt cauta solicitudine veritatem, corrigi parati, cum invenerint. Whereas I put the case of two such societies, which not differing indeed in any thing necessary to salvation, do yet erroneously believe, that the errors, wherewith they charge one another, are damnable; and so, by this opinion of mutual error, are kept on both sides from being heretics.
Because I desire to bring you and others to the truth, or to be brought to it by you, I thought good, for your direction in your intended reply, to acquaint you with these things:
1. That I conceive the rule in your discourse is this: that whensoever any two societies of Christians differ in external communion, one of them must be of necessity heretical and schismatical. I conceive there is no such necessity; and that the stories of Victor, and the bishops of Asia, St. Cyprian, and Pope Stephen, make it evident; and therefore I desire you to produce some convincing argument to the contrary; and that you may the better do it, I thought good to inform you what I mean by a heretic, and what by a schismatic.
A heretic therefore I conceive him, that holds an error against faith with obstinacy. Obstinate I conceive him, who will not change his opinion, when his reasons for it are so answered, that he cannot reply; and when the reasons against it are so convincing, that he cannot answer them. By the faith, I understand all those doctrines, and no more, which Christ taught his apostles, and the apostles the church; yet I exclude not from this number the certain and evident deductions of them.
A schismatic I account him (and Facundus Hermianensis hath taught me to do so) who, without any supposition of error in the conditions of a church's communion, divides himself either from the obedience of that church to which he owes obedience; or from the communion of that church to which he owes communion.
2. Another thing, which I thought fit to acquaint you with, is this: that you go upon another very false and deceitful supposition; viz. that if we will not be protestants, presently we must be papists; if we forsake the church of England, we must go presently to the church of Rome: whereas if your arguments did conclude (as they do not) that before Luther's time there was some church of one denomination, which was the catholic church, I should much rather think it were the church of Greece than the church of Rome; and I believe others also would think so as well as I, but for that reason which one gives, why more men hold the pope above a council, than a council above a pope; that is, because councils give no maintenance or preferment, and the popes do.
Think not yet, I pray, that I say this, as if I conceived this to be your reason for preferring the Roman church before the Greek (for I protest I do not); but rather, that conceiving verily you were to leave the church of England, to avoid trouble, you took the next boat, and went to the church of Rome, because that bespoke you first.
You impute to me (as I hear) that the way I take is destructive only, and that I build nothing: which, first, is not a fault, for Christian religion is not now to be built; but only I desire to have the rubbish and impertinent lumber taken off, which
you have laid upon it, which hides the glorious simplicity of it from them who otherwise would embrace it. Remember, I pray, Averroe's saying, quandoquidem Christiani adorant quod comedunt, sit anima mea cum philosophis: and consider the swarms of atheists in Italy, and then tell me, whether your unreasonable and contradictious doctrines, your forged miracles, and counterfeit legends, have not, in all probability, produced this effect. Secondly, If it be a fault, it is certainly your own; for your discourse, intended for the proof of a positive conclusion-that we must be papists, proves, in deed and in truth, nothing; but even in show and appearance, no more but this negative, that we must not be protestants. But what we must be, if we must not be protestants, God knows: you, in this discourse, I am sure, do not shew it..
Mr. Lewgar's Reply.
§ 1. The minor of Mr. Chillingworth's argument against my ground is very weak, being framed upon a false supposition, that a protestant could name no other church professing a diverse faith, &c. from the Greek church, which was the catholic church: for if he could not indeed name any other, the title would remain to the Greek church; but he hath the Roman to name; and so my ground cannot conclude either for the Greek, or Abyssine, or any other besides the Roman; but for that it does, except he can name some other.
§ 2. His second answer is weak likewise; for my minor is always true, at least they thought it to be so, whose authorities I produce in confirma