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you might lawfully offer any thing, provided you do not call it a sacrifice.
So again, Hares. 79, besides his putting cunningly ipsa fuit, which before we took notice of, he makes no scruple to put in dogma and sacrificium, wheresoever it may be for his purpose. Epiphanius's title to this heresy is, “ Against the Collyridians, who offer to Mary;" Petavius puts in “sacrifice.”
Again, in the same page, before D, he puts in his own illo dogmate ; and whereas Epiphanius says, “in all this,” he makes it, “ in all this opinion.”
Page 1061. tÒ Onduras útovoiâs, he translates, “this womanish opinion;" whereas úróvora, though perhaps it may signify a thought, or act of thinking, yet I believe it never signifies an opinion which we hold.
Ibid. at B, TOLOÛTO, “this,” he renders “this opinion.”
Page 1064, at C, “ Nor that we should offer to her name,” simply and absolutely; he makes it, “Nor that we should offer sacrifice to her name.” So many times is he fain to corrupt and translate him partially, lest in condemning the Collyridians he might seem to have involved the practice of the Roman church in the same condemnation.
My seventh and last reason is this : had Epiphanius known that the Collyridians held the Virgin Mary to be a sovereign power and deity, then he could not have doubted whether this their offering was to her, or to God for her; whereof yet he seems doubtful, and not fully resolved, as his own words intimate, Hæres. 79. ad fin. Quam multa, &c. “How many things may be objected against this heresy! For idle women, either worshipping the blessed Virgin, offer unto her a cake, or else they take upon them to offer for her this foresaid ridiculous oblation. Now both are foolish, and from the Devil.”
These arguments, I suppose, do abundantly demonstrate to any man not veiled with prejudice, that Epiphanius imputed not to the Collyridians the heresy of believing the Virgin Mary God; and if they did not think her God, there is then no reason imaginable why their oblation of a cake should not be thought a present, as well as the papists offering a taper; or that the papists offering a taper, should not be thought a sacrifice, as well as their offering a cake; and seeing this was the difference pretended between them, this being vanished, there remains none at all: so that my first conclusion stands yet firm ; that either the ancient church erred in condemning the Collyridians, or the present errs in approving and practising the same worship.
IV. An Argument drawn from the admitting Infants
to the Eucharist, as without which they could not be
saved, against the Church's Infallibility. THE condition, without the performance whereof no man can be admitted to the communion of the church of Rome, is this; that he believe firmly, and without doubting, whatsoever the church requires him to believe. More distinctly and particularly thus :
He must believe all that to be Divine revelation, which that church teaches to be such : as, the doctrine of the Trinity; the hypostatical union of two natures in the person of Christ; the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son; the doctrine of transubstantiation; and such like.
Whatsoever that church teaches to be necessary, he must believe to be necessary: as baptism for infants ; faith in Christ, for those that are capable of faith; pen
ance for those that have committed mortal sin after baptism, &c.
Whatsoever that church declares expedient and profitable, he inust believe to be expedient and profitable : as, monastical life; prayer to saints; prayer for the dead ; going on pilgrimages; the use of pardons; veneration of holy images and relics; Latin service, where the people understand it not; communicating the laity in one kind ; and such like.
Whatsoever that church holdeth lawful, he must believe lawful: as, to marry; to make distinction of meats, as if some were clean and others unclean; to fly in time of persecution ; for them that serve at the altar, to live by the altar ; to testify a truth by oath, when a lawful magistrate shall require it; to possess riches ; &c.
Now it is impossible that any man should certainly believe any thing, unless either it be evident of itself, or he have some certain reason (at least some supposed certain reason) and infallible ground for his belief. Now the doctrines which the church of Rome teacheth, it is evident and undeniable that they are not evident of themselves, neither evidently true, nor evidently credible. He therefore that will believe them, must of necessity have some certain and infallible ground whereon to build his belief of them.
There is no other ground for a man's belief of them, especially in many points, but only an assurance of the infallibility of the church of Rome. No man can be assured that that church is infallible, and cannot err, whereof he may be assured that she hath erred, unless she had some new promise of Divine assistance, which might for the future secure her from danger of erring; but the church of Rome pretends to none such.
Nothing is more certain than that that church hath
erred, which hath believed and taught irreconcilable contradictions, one whereof must of necessity be an
That the receiving the sacrament of the eucharist is necessary for infants, and that the receiving thereof is not necessary for them—that it is the will of God that the church should administer the sacrament to them, and that it is not the will of God that the church should do so—are manifest and irreconcilable contradictions; supposing only (that which is most evident) that the eucharist is the same thing, of the same virtue and efficacy now, as it was in the primitive church ; that infants are the same things they were, have as much need, are capable of as much benefit by the eucharist now, as then; as subject to irreverent carriages then, as now; and lastly, that the present church is as much bound to provide for the spiritual good of infants as the ancient church was: I say, these things supposed, the propositions before set down are plain and irreconcilable contradictions; whereof the present Roman church doth hold the negative, and the ancient church of Rome did hold the affirmative: and therefore it is evident, that either the present church doth err, in holding something not necessary, which is so; or that the ancient church did err, in holding something necessary which was not so.
For the negative proposition, viz. That the eucharist is not necessary for infants; that it is the doctrine of the present church of Rome, it is most manifest, first, from the disuse, and abolition, and prohibition of the contrary ancient practice. For if the church did conceive it necessary for them, either simply for their salvation, or else for their increase or confirmation in grace,
and advancement to a higher degree of glory, (unless she could supply some other way their damage in this thing, which evidently she cannot,) what an uncharitable sacrilege is it, to debar and defraud them of the necessary means of their so great spiritual benefit! especially seeing the administration of it might be so ordered, that irreverent casualties might easily be prevented; which yet, should they fall out against the church's and pastor's intention, certainly could not offend God, and in reason should not offend man. Or if the church do believe, that upon such a vain fear of irreverence (which we see moved not the ancient church at all) she may lawfully forbid such a general, perpetual, and necessary charity, certainly herein she commits a far greater error than the former. Secondly, from the council of Trent's anathema, denounced on all that hold the contrary, in these words: “ If any man say, that the receiving of the eucharist is necessary for little children, before they come to years of discretion, let him be anathema.” Concil. Trid. Sess. 21. De communione parvulorum, Cant. 4.
Now for the affirmative part of the contradiction, to make it evident that that was the doctrine of the ancient church, I will prove it, first, from the general practice of the ancient church for several ages; secondly, by the direct and formal testimonies of the Fathers of those times; thirdly, by the confession of the most learned antiquaries of the Roman church. My first argument I form thus : If to communicate infants was the general practice of the ancient church for
many ages, then certainly the church then believed that the eucharist was necessary for them, and very available for their spiritual benefit; but it is certain that the communicating of infants was the general practice of the church for many ages; therefore the church of those times thought it necessary for them. To deny the consequence of the proposition is to charge