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impossible. This have not done, nor I believe can do; and, therefore, all your places fall short of your intended conclusion; and if you would put them into syllogistical form, you should presently see you conclude from them sophistically in that fallacy, which is called, a dicto secundum quid, ad dictum simpliciter. Thus: No two divided societies, whereof one is heretical or schismatical, can be both members of the catholic church; therefore simply no two divided societies can be so. The antecedent I grant, which is all that your places say, as you shall see anon; but the consequence is sophistical, and therefore that I deny it is no better nor worse, than if you should argue thus: no two divided societies, whereof one is outlawed and in rebellion, are both members of the same commonwealth; therefore simply no two divided societies, &c.
But against this you pretend, that the alleged places say, not only that the societies of heretics and schismatics are no part of the church, but that the church cannot be divided into more societies than one; and they account societies divided, which are either of a diverse faith, or of a diverse communion. This is that which I would have proved, but as yet I cannot see it done. There be eleven quotations in all; seven of them speak expressly and formally of division made by heretics and schismatics, viz. 1. 3, 4, 7. 9, 10,211. Three other of them (viz. 5, 6, 8.) though they use not the word, yet Mr. Lewgar knows they speak of the Donatists, which were schismatics; and that by the relative particles you and them are meant the Donatists. And, lastly, the second, Mr. Lewgar knows, says nothing but this, that a
heretic cannot be accounted of that one flock, which is the church.
But to make the most of them that can be: the first saith, The unity of the church cannot be separated at all, nor divided. This I grant; but then, I say, every difference does not in the sight of God divide this unity: for then diversity of opinions should do it; and so the Jesuits and Dominicans would be no longer members of the same church. Or if every difference will not do it, why must it of necessity be always done by difference in communion, upon an insufficient ground, yet mistaken for sufficient? For such only. I speak of. Sure I am, this place says no such matter. The next place says, The flock is but one; and all the rest, that the church is but one; and that heretics and schismatics are not of it: which certainly was not the thing to be proved; but that of this one flock, of this one church, two societies divided, without just cause, in communion, might not be true and lively members; both in one body mystical in the sight of God, though divided in unity in the sight of men. It is true, indeed, whosoever is shut out from the church on earth, is likewise cut off from it before God in heaven: but you know it must be clave non errante; when the cause of abscission is true and sufficient.
Ad §. 3. If you say so, you say no more than the fathers: but what evasions and tergiversations are these? Why do you put us off with ifs and ands? I beseech you tell me, or at least him that desires to reap some benefit by our conference, directly and categorically-Do you say so, or do you say, it is not so? Were the excommunicated
churches of Asia still members of the catholic church, (I mean, in God's account) or were they not? but all damned for that horrible heresy of celebrating the feast of Easter upon a diverse day from the western churches? If you mean honestly and fairly, answer directly to this question, and then you shall see what will come of it. Assure yourself, you have a wolf by the ears: if you say they were, you overthrow your own conclusions, and say, that churches divided in communion, may both be members of the catholic: if they were not, then shall we have saints and martyrs in heaven, which were no members of the catholic Roman church.
As for Irenæus's μn TρокоTTEV, and Ruffinus'sAbscindere ab unitate corporis; they imply no more but this at the most, that Victor (quantum in se fuit) did cut them off from the external communion of the catholic church, supposing, that for their obstinacy in their tradition, they had cut themselves off from the internal communion of it; but that this sentence of Victor's was ratified in heaven, and that they were indeed cut off from the mystical body of Christ, so far was Irenæus from thinking, that he, and in a manner all the other bishops, reprehended Victor for pronouncing this sentence on them, upon a cause so insufficient; which, how they could say, or possibly think, of a sentence ratified by God in heaven, and not reprehend God himself, I desire you to inform me and if they did not intend to reprehend the sentence of God himself, together with Victor's, then I believe it will follow unavoidably, that they did not conceive, nor believe, Victor's sentence to be ratified by God; and, conse
quently, did not believe, that these excommunicated churches were not, in God's account, true members of the body of Christ.
Ad §. 4. And here again, we have another subterfuge, by a verbal distinction between excommunication and voluntary separation: as if the separation which the church of Rome made in Victor's time from the Asian churches, were not a voluntary separation; or as if the churches of Asia did not voluntarily do that, which was the cause of their separation; or as if (though they separated not themselves indeed, conceiving the cause to be insufficient) they did not yet remain voluntarily separated, rather than conform themselves to the church of Rome: or, lastly, as if the Grecians of old, or the protestants of late, might not pretend, as justly as the Asian churches, that their separation too was not voluntary, but of necessity; for that the church of Rome required of them, under pain of excommunication, such conditions of her communion, as were neither necessary nor lawful to be performed.
Ad §. 5. And here again the matter is straitened by another limitation. Both sides (say you) must claim to be the church: but what then, if one of them only claim (though vainly) to be the church, and the other content itself with being a part of it? These then it seems (for any thing you have said to the contrary) may be both members of the catholic church; and certainly this is the case now, between the church of England and the church of Rome; and, for aught I know, was between the church of Rome and the church of Greece: for I believe it will hardly be proved, that the excommunication between them was mutual;
nor that the church of Greece esteems itself the whole church, and the church of Rome no church; but itself a sound member of the church, and that a corrupted one.
Again, whereas you say, the fathers speak of a voluntary separation; certainly they speak of any separation by heretics; and such were (in Victor's judgment) the churches of Asia, for holding an opinion contrary to the faith, as he esteemed: or, if he did not, why did he cut them off from the communion of the church? But the true difference is, the fathers speak of those, which by your church are esteemed heretics, and are so; whereas the Asian churches were by Victor esteemed heretics, but were not so.
Ad §. 6. But their authorities produced, shew no more than what I have shewed; that the church is but one, in exclusion of heretics and schismatics; and not that two particular churches divided by mistake upon some overvalued difference, may not be both parts of the catholic.
Ad §. 7. But I desire you to tell me, whether you will do this, if the doctrines, produced and confirmed by such a consent of fathers, happen to be, in the judgment of the church of Rome, either not catholic, or absolutely heretical. If you will undertake this, you will hear further from me: but if, when their places are produced, you will pretend (as some of your side do) that surely they are corrupted; having neither reason, nor shew of reason for it, unless this may pass for one, (as perhaps it may where reasons are scarce) that they are against your doctrine; or if you will say, they are to be interpreted according to the pleasure of your church, whether their words