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church should be in such a language as the assistants understand?

The like confession we have from others concerning purgatory and indulgences.

Others acknowledge the apostles never taught invocation of saints.

Rhenanus says as much touching auricular confession.

It is evident from Peter Lombard, that the doctrine of transubstantiation was not a point of faith in his time.

From Picus Mirandula, that the infallibility of the church was no article, much less a foundation of faith in his time.

Bellarmine acknowledges, that the saints enjoying the vision of God before the day of judgment, was no article of faith in the time of Pope John XXII.

But as the proverb is-When thieves fall out, true men recover their goods; so how small and heartless the reverence of the church of Rome is to ancient tradition, cannot be more plainly discovered, than by the quarrels which her champions have amongst themselves, especially about the immaculate conception of the blessed Virgin.

The patrons of the negative opinion, Cajetan, Bannes, Bandellus, and Canus, allege for it, first, a whole army of scriptures, councils, and fathers, agreeing unanimously in this doctrine, that only Christ was free from sin. Then an innumerous multitude of fathers expressly affirming the very point in question, not contradicted by any of their contemporaries or predecessors, or indeed of their successors for many ages.

All the holy fathers agree in this, that the

Virgin Mary was conceived in original sin. So Bannes.*

Cajetan brings for it fifteen fathers, in his judgment irrefragable; others produce two hundred; Bandellus almost three hundred. Thus † Sal


That all the holy fathers, who have fallen upon the mention of this matter, with one mouth affirm, that the blessed Virgin was conceived in original sin. So Canus.‡

And after, That the contrary doctrine has neither Scripture nor tradition for it. For (saith he) no traditions can be derived unto us, but by the bishops and holy fathers, the successors of the apostles; and it is certain that those ancient writers received it not from their predecessors.

Now, against this stream of ancient writers, when the contrary new doctrine came in, and how it prevailed, it will be worth the considering.

The first that set it abroach was Richardus de Sancto Victore, as his countryman § Johannes Major testifies of him: "He was expressly the first that held the Virgin Mary free from original sin: or, he was the first that expressly held so." So after, upon this false ground, which had already taken deep root in the heart of Christians, That it was impossible to give too much honour to her that was the mother of the Saviour of the world, like an ill weed, it grew and spread apace. So

* In Part. prima, 1. Art. viii. Dub. 3.

+ Disp. 51. in Ep. ad Rom.

Lib. vii. Loc. cap. i. cap.

iii. n. 9.

§ Omnium expresse primus Christiferam virginem originalis noxæ expertem tenuit. De gestis Scotorum, iii. 12.

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that in the council of Basil (which Binius tells us was reprobated but in part, to wit, in the point of the authority of councils, and in the deposition of Eugenius, the pope) it was defined and declared to be holy doctrine, and consonant to the worship of the church, to the catholic faith, to right reason, and the Holy Scripture, and to be approved, held, and embraced by all catholics; and that it should be lawful for no man for the time to come to preach or teach the contrary. The custom also of keeping the feast of her holy conception, which before was but particular to the Roman and some other churches, and, it seems, somewhat neglected, was then renewed and made universal, and commanded to be celebrated, sub nomine Conceptionis-under the name of the Conception. Binius in a marginal note tells us indeed, that they celebrate not this feast in the church of Rome, by virtue of this renovation, cum esset conciliabulum, being this was the act not of a council, but of a conventicle; yet he himself in his index styles it the œcumenical council of Basil, and tells us, that it was reprobated only in two points, of which this is none. Now whom shall we believe? Binius in his margin, or Binius in his index?

Yet in after times Pope Sixtus IV. and Pius V. thought not this decree so binding, but that they might and did again put life into the condemned opinion, giving liberty by their constitutions to all men to hold and maintain either part; either that the blessed Virgin was conceived with original sin, or was not. Which constitution of Sixtus IV. the council of Trent renewed and confirmed.†

* Sess, 36.

+ Sess. 5.

But the wheel again turning, and the negative opinion prevailing, the affirmative was banished, first by a decree of Paul V. from all public sermons, lectures, conclusions, and all public acts whatsoever; and since, by another decree of Gregory XV. from all private writings, and private conferences.

But yet all this contents not the university of Paris. They, as Salmeron tells us, admit none to the degree of doctor of divinity, unless they first bind themselves by solemn oath to maintain the immaculate conception of the blessed Virgin.

Now I beseech you, Mr. R. consider your courses with some indifference.

First, You take authority upon you, against the universal, constant, unopposed tradition of the church for many ages, to set up, as a rival, a new, upstart, yesterday's invention, and to give all men liberty to hold what they please. So Pope Sixtus IV. the council of Trent, and Pius V. that is, you make it lawful to hold the ancient faith, or not to hold it, nay, to hold the contrary. This is high presumption: but you stay not here, for,

Secondly, The ancient doctrine you cloister and hook up within the narrow, close, and dark room, of the thoughts and brains of the defenders of it, forbidding them, upon pain of damnation, so much as to whisper it in their private discourses and writings; and in the mean time the new doctrine you set at full liberty, and give leave, nay, countenance and encouragement, to all men to employ their time, and wits, and tongues, and pens, in the maintenance and propagation of it. Thus Paul V. and Gregory XV. Yet this is not all: for,

Thirdly, You bind men by oaths to defend the

new opinion and to oppose the ancient. So the university of Paris. Yet still you proceed farther: for,

Fourthly, By your general councils, confirmed by your popes, you have declared and defined, that this new invention is agreeable, and consequently that the ancient doctrine is repugnant, to the catholic faith, to reason, to the Holy Scripture. So the council of Basil.

These things I entreat you to weigh well in your consideration, and put not into the scale above a just allowance, not above three grains of partiality, and then tell me, whether you can with reason or with modesty suppose or desire, that we should believe, or think that you believe, that all the points of doctrine, which you contest against us, were delivered at first by Christ and his apostles, and have ever since by the succession of bishops and pastors been preserved inviolate, and propagated unto you.

The patrons, I confess, of this new invention set not much by the decree of the council of Basil for it, but plead very hard for a full and final definition of it from the see apostolic: and finding the conspiring opposition of the ancient fathers to be the main impediment of their purpose, it is strange to see how confidently they ride over them.

"First, (says *Salmeron in the place forecited) they press us with a multitude of doctors, of whom we must not say that they err in a matter of such moment.


We answer, (says he) out of St. Augustine† and

* Disp. 51. in Epist. ad Rom.

↑ De moribus Ecclesiæ, 1. 1. cap. ii.


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