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like old snakes, casting their skin and their poison together, and becoming wholesome and catholic doctrines; I must have desired pardon of my uncle, if I were not so undoubtedly certain, what was not catholic doctrine in the days of my fathers.
Nay, perhaps I should have gone farther, and told him, that I was not fully assured, what was the catholic doctrine in some points, no not at this present time. For instance (to lay the axe to the root of the tree) the infallibility of the present church of Rome, in determining controversies of faith, is esteemed indeed by divers that I have met with, not only an article of faith, but a foundation of all other articles. But how do I know there are not, nay, why should I think there are not, in the world divers good catholics, of the same mind touching this matter, which Mirandula, Panormitan, Cusanus, Florentinus, Clemangis, Waldensis, Occham, and divers others were of; who were so far from holding this doctrine the foundation of faith, that they would not allow it any place in the fabric?
Now Bellarmine hath taught us, that no doctrine is catholic, nor the contrary heretical, that is denied to be so by some good catholics. From hence I collect, that in the time of the forenamed authors this was not catholic doctrine, nor the contrary heretical; and, being then not so, how it could since become so, I cannot well understand. If it be said, that it has since been defined by a general council; I say, first, this is false: no council has been so foolish as to define, that a council is infallible; for unless it were presumed to be infallible before, who or what could assure
us of the truth of this definition? Secondly, if it were true, it were ridiculous: for he that would question the infallibility of all councils in all their decrees, would as well question the infallibility of this council in this decree. This therefore was not, is not, nor ever can be, an article of faith, unless God himself would be pleased (which is not very likely) to make some new revelation of it from heaven.
The Tρorov Veudos, the fountain of the error in this matter is this, that the whole religion of the Roman church, and every point of it, is conceived or pretended to have issued originally out of the fountain of apostolic tradition, either in themselves or in the principles, from which they are evidently deducible; whereas it is evident, that many of their doctrines may be originally derived from the decrees of councils, many from papal definitions, many from the authority of some great man; to which purpose it is very remarkable what Gregory Nazianzen says of Athanasius : * What pleased him was a law to men; what did not please him, was a thing prohibited by law: his decrees were to them like Moses' tables, and he had a greater veneration paid him, than seems to be due from men to saints.'
And as memorable, that in the late great controversy about predetermination and free-will, disputed before Pope Clement VII. by the Jesuits and Dominicans, the Pope's resolution was, if he had determined the matter, to define for that opi
* Τοῦτο ἦν νόμος αὐτοῖς ὅ τι ἐκείνω ἐδόκει, καὶ τοῦτο ἀπώμοτον πόλιν, ὃ μὴ ἐδόκει· καὶ πλάκες Μωϋσέως αὐτοῖς τὰ ἐκείνου δόγματα, καὶ πλεῖον τὸ σέβας ἢ παρὰ ἀνφρώπων τοῖς ἁγίοις ὀφειλέται. Orat. xxi. in laudem Athan.
nion, what was most agreeable, not to Scripture, not to apostolic tradition, nor to a consent of fathers, but to the doctrine of St. Augustine; so that if the pope had made an article of faith of this controversy, it is evident St. Augustine had been the rule of it.
Sometimes upon erroneous grounds customs have been brought in, God knows how, and after have spread themselves through the whole church. Thus Gordonius Huntleius confesses, that because baptism and the eucharist had been anciently given both together to men of ripe years, when they were converted to Christianity; afterwards by error, when infants were baptized, they gave the eucharist also to infants. This custom in short time grew universal, and in St. Augustine's time passed currently for an apostolic tradition, and the eucharist was thought as necessary for them as baptism. This custom the church of Rome hath again cast out, and in so doing, professed either her disregard to the traditions of the apostles, or that this was none of that number. But yet she cannot possibly avoid, but that this example is a proof sufficient, that many things may get in by error into the church, and by degrees obtain the esteem and place of apostolic traditions, which yet are not so.
The custom of denying the laity the sacramental cup, and the doctrine that it is lawful to do so, who can pretend to derive from apostolic tradition? Especially when the * council of Constance, the patron of it, confesses, that Christ's institution was under both kinds, and that the faith
* Sess. xiii.
ful in the primitive church received it in both. Licet Christus, &c. "Although Christ after his supper instituted and administered this venerable sacrament under both kinds; although in the primitive church this sacrament was received by the faithful under both kinds-Non obstante, &c. Yet all this notwithstanding, this custom, for the avoiding of scandals (to which the primitive church was as obnoxious as the present is) was upon just reason brought in, that laics should receive only under one kind."
Brought in therefore it was, and so is one of those doctrines, which Lerinensis calls, inducta non tradita, inventa non accepta, &c. therefore all the doctrine of the Roman church does not descend from apostolic tradition.
But if this custom came not from the apostles, from what original may we think that it descended? Certainly from no other than from the belief of the substantial presence of the whole Christ under either kind. For this opinion being once settled in the people's minds, that they had as much by one kind as by both; both priest and people quickly began to think it superfluous, to do the same thing twice at the same time; and thereupon, being (as I suppose) the custom required, that the bread should be received first, having received that, they were contented that the priest should save the pains, and the parish the charges, of unnecessary reiteration. This is my conjecture, which I submit to better judgments; but whether it be true or false, one thing from hence is certain, that immemorial customs may by degrees prevail upon the church, such as have no known beginning nor author; of which yet this may be evidently
known, that their beginning, whensoever it was, was many years, nay, many ages after the apostles.
* St. Paul commands, that nothing be done in the church, but for edification. He says, and if that be not enough, he proves, in the same place, that it is not for edification, that either public prayers, thanksgiving, and hymns to God, or doctrine to the people, should be in any language, which the assistants generally understand not; and thereupon forbids any such practice, though it were in a language miraculously infused into the speaker by the Holy Ghost, unless he himself, or some other present, could and would interpret it. He tells us, that to do otherwise, is to speak into the air; that is, to play the barbarians to one another; that to such blessings and thanksgivings the ignorant, for want of understanding, cannot say Amen. He clearly intimates, that to think otherwise, is to be children in understanding. Lastly, in the end of the chapter he tells all that were prophets and spiritual among the Corinthians, that the things written by him are the commandments of God. Hereupon Lyranus upon the place acknowledgeth, that in the primitive church blessings and all other service was done in the vulgar tongue. Cardinal Cajeton likewise upon the place tells us, that out of this doctrine of St. Paul, it is consequent, that it were better for the edification of the church, that the public prayers, which are said in the people's hearing, should be delivered in a language common both to the clergy and the people. And I am confident, that the learnedest
* 1 Cor. xiv. 26–28. ix. 11. 16. 20. 27.