Page images

for distinct Heads; and they are accordingly difPersód up and down, and very ealily found, in their proper Places.

The Second Proposition. If it be inquired, whether the Church affirms, and consequently whether we be oblig'd to subscribe, no more than that the Church of Jerufalem, Alexandria, and Antioch have erred ; or that the Church of Jerufalem, Alexandria, and Antioch have, like the Church of Rome, erred in Matters of Faith; as well as in their living, and manner of Ceremonies: I -answer, that tho? 'tis poffible, the Compilers of the Articles might mean the latter ; yer ir doth not appear that they did; and 'tis certain, that their Expressions do not ne: ceffarily signifiy, and consequently we are not bound to subfcribes more than the former,? And accordingly I have worded the Proposition. Wherefore he that believes, that the Church of yérusalem Alexandria, and Antioch, have érred at all, whether in Living, or in manner of Ceremonies, or in mata ters of Faith (tho' perhaps he is not satisfied, that they have erred in all these Respects, or it may be in more than one of thein) may honestly subscribe this Proposition, iw.??

Now that the Churches of ferufalem, Alexandriaand . Antioch have erved, none can doubt, who considers, that Arianism had once overspread those Parts of the World. This is a plain Instance in matters of Faith. If any Man thinks his Subscription obliges hiin to own, that they have also erred in Living and manner of Ceremonies; the Truth of this Charge is too plainly prov'd. For, 1. No Church ever wanted some degree of Depravity of Manners. 2. These Churches have been tainted with the Remin Pollutions in Worship,


i The Third Proposition is evident from the whole Course of our Controversies with the Church of Rome. Their Errors in Life they dare not deny; and their Errors in Faith and manner of Ceremo. nies evidently appear from their Trent Creed, which is burdened with a vast Variety of such abominable. Falshoods, as have grievously corrupted their very Worship. For instance, the Doctrin of Transubstanciacion has led them to the grosseft Idolatry. I forbear other Particulars, which are equally now torious.


Of the Authority of the Churck.

T HE Church bath power to decree rites or ceremonies,

and authority in controversies of faith: And yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God's word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of holy writ, yet as it ought not to decree any thing against the same, so besides the Same ought it not to enforce ang thing to be believ'd for necessity of Salvation.

[ocr errors]

This Article contains Six Propositions.
1. The Church has power to decree Rites or

2. The Church has Authority in Controverfies

of Faith. 3. It is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God's Word written.

[ocr errors]

arbore of the Riso a notorioidence, that in the Churme

4. The Church may not so expound one Place ... of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. ''S The Church is a Witness and Keeper of Holy

Writ. (..) Pritis , fi 6. As it ought not to decree any thing against 1" Holy Writ, so besides the same ought it not to -:':enforce any thing to be believed for Necefficy

: of Salvation. .. : The First, Second, Third and Fourth Propofitions ard establish'd in the present Order, in the Second Part of the Rights of the Clergy, Chap. ;.";

The Fifth is a notorious Matter of Fact. For it appears by historical Evidence, that the Holy Scri. ptures have been constantly Extant in the Church, and that she has in all Ages receiv'd the same Scriptures which we now enjoy, and therefore she is a Witness and Keeper of them.“

The Sixth Proposition has two Branches. ;. The Church ought not to decree any thing against Ho1y Writ. This is a Repetition of the Third Proposition. 2. She ought not to enforce any thing to be believ'd for Necessity of Salvation, which is not contain’d in Scripture. See the Two first Propositions of the Sixth Article.

he has in antly Extant ithe Holy Scribe

Of the Authority of General Councils.

[ocr errors]

ENERAL Councils may not be gathered together CI without the commandment and will of Princes. And when they be gathered together (forasmuch as they be an afsembly of men, whereof all be not governed with the spirit


and word of God) they may err, and sometime bave erred, even in things pertaining unto God. Wherefore thingsiora dained by them as necesary to Salvation, have neither strength nor authority unless it may be declared, that they be taken out of boly Scripture.

This Article contains Five Propositions. : 1. General Councils may not be gathered toge

ther without the Commandment and Will' of

Princes. 12. General Councils be an Assembly of Men, a whereof all be not govern'd with the Spirit

and Word of God. 1. 3. General Councils may err even in things per:

taining to God. 4. General Councils sometime have erred even . in things pertaining to God. * 5. Things ordained by general Councils as ne.

cessary to Salvation, have neither Strength nor Authority, unless it may be declared that they be taken out of Holy Scripture.

The First Proposition manifestly supposes, that the Princes be Christian. Otherwise the Apostles themselves could nor lawfully have held a Council at Jerusalem ; nor could the Christian Church have lawfully held so many Councils before the Convers sion of Constantine. For those Reasons, which make it unlawful to hold General Councils, do equally prove it unlawful to hold Provincial ones, without the Will and Commandment of Princes. Again, the Church in this Article manifestly opposes Genea ral Councils to Particular, that is, National or Provincial ones. And consequently, by that Phrase She does not understand those only, which we commonly call General ones, viz. such as were not


only gathered out of many Nations, but were also Örthodox in their Definitions; but any great Ali semblies of Bishops from different Quarters of the World, even tho' cheir Definitions were heretical Otherwise she could not say in this very Article, that General Councils have erred in things pertain ing to God. There Observacions being premised, see what I have written touching this Point in the Discourse of the Independency of the Church on the State,


The Second Proposition. The Reason of the thing, and constant Experience, confirm the Truth of this Affertion. . The Third Proposition. That they may err, see the Fourth Chapter of the First Part of the Confutation of Popery ; which may easily be applied to gene. ral Councils ; and compare the Nineteenth Chapter of the Seventh Book of Limborch's System, from Sect. 25. to Sect. 33. inclusively. And that they may err in things pertaining to God, is evident, because there is no Proinise of their being secured from Error in those, more than in other Matters.

The Fourth Proposition. For the Proof of this take a remarkable instance. The Council of Ari. minum consisted of above Four Hundred Bishops from all parts of the Christain World, a Number much superior to that which assembled at Nice. And yet, tho’’owas Orthodox at first, it fell in at last with the Arians; and consequently erred even in Things pertaining to God.

The Fifth Proposition. See the First and Second. Propositions of the Sixth Article.


« PreviousContinue »