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They urge Luke x. 16. He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me.
But this will not do you any service, unless of favour we grant, that you here is you of the church of Rome; and but very little, if that be granted; for then
2 every bishop, every priest must be infallible. For there is not the meanest of the messengers of Christ but this may be verified of him, That he that heareth him heareth Christ; and he that despiseth him despiseth Christ.
They urge out of St. John xiv. 16, 17. I will ask my Father, and he will give you another Paraclete, that he may
abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth. But here also what warrant have we by you to understand the church of Rome? whereas he that compares verse 26. with this, shall easily perceive that our Saviour speaks only of the apostles in their own persons; for there he says, going on in the same discourse, The holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said to you : which cannot agree but to the apostles themselves in person; and not to their successors, who had not yet been taught, and therefore had not forgotten any thing, and therefore could not have them brought to their remembrance. But what if it had been promised to them and their successors ? Had they no successors but them of the Roman church? This indeed is pretended and cried up, but for proofs of it desiderantur.
Again, I would fain know whether there be any certainty that every pope is a good Christian, or whether he may not be, in the sense of the scripture, of the world ? If not, how was it that Bellarmine should have cause to think that such a rank of them went successively together to the Devil ?
III. A Conference concerning the Infallibility of the
Roman Church: proving, that the present Church of Rome either errs in her worshipping the Blessed Virgin Mary, or that the Ancient Church did err in condemning the Collyridians as Heretics.
1. Demand. Whether the infallibility of the Roman church be not the foundation of their faith, which are members of that church?
Ans. The infallibility of the church is not the foundation, but a part of their faith, who are members of the church. And the Roman church is held to be the church by all those who are members of it.
Reply. That which is the last reason, why you believe the scripture to be the written word of God, and unwritten traditions his unwritten word, and this or that to be the true sense of scripture, that is to you the foundation of your faith; and such unto you is the infallible authority of the Roman church. Therefore unto you it is not only a part of your faith, but also such a part, as is the foundation of all other parts. Therefore you are deceived, if you think there is any more opposition between being a part of the faith, and the foundation of other parts of it, than there is between being a part of a house, and the foundation of it. But whether you will have it the foundation of your faith, or only a part of it, for the present purpose, it is all one.
2. Demand. Whether the infallibility of the Roman church be not absolutely overthrown, by proving the present Roman church is in error, or that the ancient was?
Answ. It is, if the error be in those things wherein she is affirmed to be infallible; viz. in points of faith. Reply. And this here spoken of, whether it be law
ful to offer tapers and incense to the honour of the blessed Virgin, is, I hope, a question concerning a point of faith.
3. Demand. Whether offering a cake to the Virgin Mary be not as lawful as to offer incense and tapers, and divers other oblations, to the same Virgin ?
Answ. It is as lawful to offer a cake to her honour, as wax-tapers ; but neither the one nor the other may be offered to her, or her honour, as the term or object of the action. For, to speak properly, nothing is offered to her, or her honour, but to God in the honour of the blessed Virgin. For incense, it is a foul slander, that it is offered any way to the blessed Virgin; for that incensing, which is used in the time of mass, is ever understood by all sorts of people to be directed to God only.
Reply. If any thing be offered to her, she is the object of that oblation : as if I see water, and through water something else, the water is the object of my sight, though not the last object. If I honour the king's deputy, and by him the king, the deputy is the object of my action, though not the final object: and to say these things may be offered to her, but not as to the object of the action, is to say, they may be offered to her, but not to her. For what else is meant by the object of an action, but that thing on which the action is employed, and to which it is directed?
If you say, that by the object of the action you mean the final object only, wherewith the action is terminated; you should then have spoken more properly and distinctly, and not have denied her simply to be the object of this action, when you mean only she is not such a kind of object; no more than you may deny a man to be a living creature, meaning only that he is not a horse.
Secondly, I say, it is not required of Roman catho
lics, when they offer tapers to the saints, that by an actual intention they direct their action actually to God; but it is held sufficient, that they know and believe that the saints are in subordination and near relation to God, and that they give this honour to the saints because of this relation; and to God himself rather habitually and interpretativè, than actually, expressly, and formally: as many men honour the king's deputy, without having any present thought of the king, and yet their action may be interpreted an honour to the king, being given to his deputy, only because he is his deputy, and for his relation to the king. Thirdly, I say, there is no reason or ground in the world for any man to think that the Collyridians did not choose the Virgin Mary for the object of their worship, rather than any other woman or any other creature, merely for her relation to Christ; and, by consequence, there is no ground to imagine, but that at least habitually and interpretativè, they directed their action unto Christ, if not actually and formally. And ergo, if that be a sufficient defence for the papists, that they make not the blessed Virgin the final object of their worship, but worship her, not for her own sake, but for her relation unto Christ; Epiphanius surely did ill to charge the Collyridians with heresy, having nothing to impute to them, but only that he was informed that they offered a cake to the honour of the blessed Virgin ; which honour yet they might, and without question did, give unto her for her relation unto Christ, and so made her not the last object and term of their worship: and from hence it is evident, that he conceived the very action itself substantially and intrinsically malicious ; i. e. he believed it a sin that they offered to her at all; and so by their action put her in the place of God, by giving unto her this worship proper to God; and not that they terminated their action finally in her, or did in very deed think her to be God, and not a creature. “ But, to speak properly," you say, “nothing is of
· fered to her, or to her honour, but to God in honour of the blessed Virgin.”
Belike then, if through Henley I go from hence to London, I may not be said properly to go to Henley, but only to London; or if through water I see the sand, I may not be properly said to see the water, but only the sand. Away with such shifting sophistry; either leave your practice of offering to saints, if it be nought, or colour it not over with such empty distinctions, if it be good : Christ saith to his apostles in regard of their relation to him, He that heareth you heareth me, and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and yet who doubts but they that heard the apostles did properly hear them, and they that despised them did properly despise them, though their action stayed not in them, but reached up to heaven and to Christ himself? You pray to saints and angels, though you do not terminate your prayers in them; and yet I doubt not but your prayers to saints may be as properly called prayers, as those you make to God himself. For though these be of a more excellent nature than they, yet do they agree in the general nature, that they are both prayers : as, though a man be a more excellent living creature than a horse, yet he agrees with him in this, that both are living creatures. But if nothing be properly offered to her, or to her honour, why do you in your sixth answer say,
You may offer any thing to the Virgin Mary, by way of presents and gifts, by the doctrine of the Roman church ? Certainly he that offers by way of gift or present, offers as properly as he that offers by way of sacrifice; as a horse is as properly a living creature as a man.