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" than to one particular church ?"__That, if the church of England had its authority, the church of Rome had it long before her, and upon better grounds than she : that if the church of England by its authority might solemnly determine that Christ went down into hell, and that Arians and Socinians are undoubtedly damned when they die, and perish everlastingly, but yet there is hope, when they die, that they rest in Christ, and are taken to God in mercy, the church of Rome, by the same authoritys might solemnly determine that images are to be worshipped, and that a piece of bread is transubstantiated into the body of Christ, there being nothing in the one at all more incredible or absurd than in the other? Town I see not but upon this principle, the king acted right; and that every one that believes this XXth article of your church, ought to follow his example, to immediately forsake it, and go over to the church of Rome.*
Thus acted the renowned Chillingworth. He thought there was a necessity of an infallible livéng Judge of controversy; or, that there always was, and must be, some church upon earth that could not err; which, in other words is, that had authority in controversies of faith: finding, therefore, the church of Rome claiming it with a better grace, and upon fairer and stronger grounds, than the church of England could pretend to do,
• In a debate on a bill against blasphemy, &c. brought into the house of lords, anno 1721, the Earl of Peterborough frank ly said Though he was for a parliamentary king, yet he did not desire to have a parliamentary God, or a parliamentary religion; and, if the house were for such an one, he would go to: Rome, and endeavour to be chosen Cardinal ; for the had ra. ther sit in the conclave, than with their lordships upon those terms. Tindal's Hist. Eng. Vol. IV. p. 647.
Dr. Wm. Tindal was also by the same principles, perverted to the church of Rome. Vide Second Defence of the Rights, &c. p. 79.
he too hastily went over to the church of Rome, because he had not at that time so thoroughly examined the subject, as to see that neither the one nor the other, had any right to that authority which they respectively claimed; but he afterward saw his error, and well atoned by his incomparable writings for that precipitant step: « but he was too great a master of reason (you “ say) to take authority for the same thing with
infallibility, under a different expression ; and " that, therefore, our church, in claianing the “ former, did, in effect, claim the latter."* Whatever Chillingworth's views might have been at this time, of the nice distinction which you wish to make, nothing is more plain than that the claims are undoubtedly the same. For, that, to whomsoever God gives authority in controversies of faith, he gives also infallibility, incontestably appears hence, viz. that otherwise a man might really have authority from the God of truth 10 lead men into error; he might have a power, a right from heaven, to seduce and to deceive. The absurdity of which is so apparent, that it needs no farther to be exposed.
To talk therefore, of the church's limited authority " to decide controversies according to the " rule of soripture and universal tradition; and " that these decisions (so long as they evidently “ contradict not that rule) oblige her members to " obedience,” is quite trifling, and beneath the character of a rational divine : for who, I ask, is to judge whether the church's decisions are, or are not, according to the rule of scripture and universal tradition the church herself, or her members? If the church herself, and not her members, then the authority is absolute, a popish tyranny is erected, and a blind unlimited obedie ence takes place. But, if the members are them
II. Defence, p. 186.
selves to judge, and are no farther to yield obe dience than they themselves see the decisions to be according to the rule of scripture, then all authority is overthrown, the determinations of the gravest synods are to be weighed in the balance of every man's private judgment, and, according as they appear to him to agree with scripture or not, are absolutely to stand or fall. Between authority and no authority, in matters of faith, there is no possible inedium : as for limited and unlimited, they are only cant expressions, to which you affix no determinate idea ; nor can you pretend to tell the world, what limits the authority has,—where it is circumscribed,-in whom it is lodged,--and how far its bounds go!
Accordingly, you find that noble champion of the protestant cause, when escaped from the pernicious snares in which his notions of church authority had at first unhappily entangled him, expressing himself thus: “ For my part, after
long and impartial search, I profess plainly “ that I cannot find any rest for the sole of my « foot, but upon this rock only, namely, that the “ bible, the bible I say only, is the religion of
protestants. I see plainly, and with my own
eyes, that there are popes against popes, coun“ cils against councils, some fathers against * others, the same fathers against themselves, a
consent of fathers of one age, against a consent " of fathers of another age; the church of one
age, against the church of another age;-in a “ word, there is no sufficient certainty, but of scripture
only, for any considering man to build upon. This, therefore, and this only, I have
reason to believe. I will take no man's liberty “ of judgment from him, neither shall any man 66 take mine from me. I am sure that God does “not, and therefore, that men ought not to re
quire any more of any man than this, to believe « the scripture to be God's word, to endeavour to * find the true sense of it, and to live accordingle « it.”* These are the true principles of protestantism and of Christianity, to which your church must necessarily come back, if ever she would maintain her ground against the dangerous, assaults which popery is making on her; for, as long as she stands hampered with that perplexing and unhappy article, (the XXth.) she must remain the dupe and the jest of insulting Jesuits and unbelievers, and be content to see her members led in triumph away from her by hundreds in their snares.
Of the POSTURE in which our LORD and his
APOSTLES eat the SACRAMENTAL SUPPER.
HIS is the only point I shall at present farther consider. Concerning which I observe,
1. That it is most certain that they eat it in their table-posture, whatever that was; it was the posture in which they were wont to take their food at meals. This is all we need to know to justify our practice. Our Lord and his apostles took the sacrament in an eating, not in an adoring posture. Let no man, then, think himself wiser, nor pretend that he can take it in a more humble, devout, and fit posture than they. And,
2. Though it was, perhaps, somewhat different from the posture we at present use, (as there are several different ways of sitting in different countries and times, yet there was no word, in the English language, so proper by which to render avaminw, and avoneiuevos, as sitting, which our translators, and I after them presumed to use; for which I have fallen under your rebuke.
Chillingworth's Rel. Prot. Chap. IV. Sect. 56. p. 879.
You tell me, page 184," that the posture was “ lying down or along; and yet, just after, " that " it was with the upper part of the body erect; and
advise me to try how conveniently a man may “ eat and drink in that posture.” But, to lay my body down, or along, and keep its upper parts erect, is a position so extraordinary, that, without. the help of some posture-master, or your farther good instructions, 'I despair of ever compassing so arduous a point.
That it was the custom of the antients, both Romans and Greeks, to sit at their meals, cannot be denied; nueba douvwućnoi. Homer. Odyss. And Virgil, who wrote near the time of our Saviour, says, Soliti patres considere mensis.* Æneid. VII. The custom of lying, or learing, at table, was not introduced among the Romans till the primitive severity of their manners was corrupted by the effeminacy and luxury of the east; and, even then, the posture of sitting was retained in their sacred feasts in the capitol.
And, as for the usage of the Jews, Dr. Lightfoot, Sir, is an authority, which, if you presume to attack without being strongly armed, the blow will surely rebound, and hurt yourself. But the learned doctor assures us, “ That, at other meals
they either sat as we do, with their bodies erect;
or, when they would enlarge themselves to more “ freedom of feasting, or refreshment, they sat
upon the beds, and leaned upon the table on " their left elbow. But, on the Passover-night,
they used this leaning posture, being the pos“ ture of free men, in memorial of their freedom. " And thus we are to understand those texts “ which mention John's lying on Jesus's breast,
Porro considere, non in lecto recumbere ad mensas heroicis temporibus morem fuisse diximus. Not. Delp. in Loc. and in Æneid, I. L. 702.
+ Valer, Max, L. 2. 3,