תמונות בעמוד


of the Bible, that varied but a Word from his ? And yet did not 'Pope CLEMENT VIII. put out another very much different from the former, and damn all that us’d any other? If you deny this I can prove it; and therefore which of those Bibles to ufe, as the Rule of Faith, you your selves will be hard puzzled to tell : Or if Infallibility be placed in the Pope, which of these two Popes was in the right? If Clement, whose Bible you now use, was in the right, then Sixtus in Cathedra was in

wrong. O unhappy Papists ! who are involved in these and many other inextricable Difficulties, which if I had known as well formerly, as I thank God, I now do, I had not, Sir, become your Proselyte, nor remained so long in your Church, Then as to that which is the Capitol of Rome, I mean the Pope's Supremacy, the Doctors of Sorbonne are as much against it, as the Doctors of Lovain are for it; both Romish Universities and Schools. And as to the Title of Universal Bishop, St. Gregory the First was as zealous to condemn it, as Gregory VII, who was no Saint, was to assume and maintạin it; both Bishops and Popes of Rome : and as such according to your prefent Doctrine, Heads of the Universal Church. Touching the immaculate Conception, what fierce Contentions are there concerning it among your Priests; I have heard it my felf preach'd by some of your Priests, as necessary to be believed under the pain of Dam nation; and I know Profelytes that believe it equally with any Article of their Creed; and if I would have been one of those credulous Souls, I should have been a Favourite among them : But ! was of their lide, who did not believe it at all, much lefs could I bring my self to assent to it, as a Doctrine which was necessary for a Christian to believe.

Wherefore, Sir, not finding that Unity among you which I was bid to expect; but on the con


trary, as many and great intestine Parties and Divifions, as in any other Church, I began to fear I had made an unhappy Exchange : and that perhaps as there was not that entire Union anong you, which you promifed, so there might not be that Purity of Do&trine and Practice neither in your Church, which you assured me there was. I began then, by the Grace of God, First, to reflect on your many and foul Superstitions, and superstitious Practices, of which the Religion I had left, was free and pure. I need but name Indulgences, ReJicks, Imageș, Medals, Scapulars, Bells, Girdles, set numbers of Prayers, Beads, Offices of the Blessed Virgin, and the Offices of the Sodality, which call themselves of the Society of Jesus, and the like; which were taught me by the Jesuits, under the fpecious Pretences of Piety, Merit, and strange Virtue and Efficacy ; though you, Sir, prudently and craftily concealed them from me.

But though it was my good Fortune to be proselyted by you, yet how many Thousands are misled into those superstitious Errors by other Guides; who allow not their Disciples, when once reconciled, any farther use of their Reason. But you did not so stri&ly impose upon me, whom you discerned to be of an inquisitive Temper, which led me to inquire into the Grounds, and Causes, and Originals of Things. Indeed it was against my Nature to believe implicitly, I could not forbear to examine, and judge, and give Attention to the Arguments of Adversaries, with whom I now and then contended for what I was made to believe was Truth.

After I set my self to examine and enquire, ! found some false and groundless, others dangerous, and some uncertain and dubious Doctrines imposed by your Church upon the Belief of her Children, as necessary to Salvation. I need not mention them all to you, or insist upon them: For the single Poctrine of Transubstantiation is enough to fright


[ocr errors]

any one, who, considers it, from your Worship, and by consequence from your Church. For can I be sure not to commit Idolatry at the Mass? Because if the Priest's Intention, and other a Qualifications, which your Missal faith are requisite to that Sacrament, chance to fail, as I cannot be certain that they all, or some of them may not, then there is no Sacrament, no Transubstantiation ; and yet Adoration must be given to the Hoft. In that case the Worshippers must be guilty at least of material Idolatry. But from the lowest kind and least Tincture of that piacular Sin, from the Friages as well as the Garment of that Abomination which provoketh God to jealousy, Good Lord deliver me.

Sir, it is matter of great Humiliation to me, to think I'must leave a Church to which I was engaged, and in which through Mistake, I thought ny Soul safe. But having, by God's Grace, dircovered my Error, and how dangerous it is to persevere in it against my Convictions, I think my self obliged to acknowledge my own Weakness and Ignorance in being misled; and rather to take Shame to my self as an humble Penitent, than stand out any longer against the Truth. Change I must once more in returning to my Mother Church, whom I was so unhappy as to leave in her Di-stress; and I hope you will not impute my Change to Rashness, or presuming upon my own Under:

a De defectibus in celebratione Missarum cccurentibus. 1. if the Bread be not wheaten Bread, there can be no Sacrament. the Wine be not made of Grapes of the Vine, or if it be made of Soure or unripe Grapes, there is no Sacrament. 3. If the consecrating Priest happen to leave out any words in the Consecration; which are necessary to the form of Consecration, there is no Sacrament. And the Priest Speaking the words of Consecration secretly, none of the People, at least those who kneel at a good distance from the Altar, can tell what he says, or whether or no he leaves out any necellary words out of the Torm of Confecration.


2. If


standing; for I assure you, Sir, it is the effect of long, and serious search and deliberation. I have done what I could to find out the Doctrines and Practice of the ancient Catholick Church, and have followed her Guidance in understanding the Scriptures, which I believe contain all Verities necessary for Salvation. And I here declare, and profess, that I believe all that the Universal Church taught and believed as Matters of Faith for the first Five Hundred Years; and particularly I believe all that is in the Confession of Faith made by Pope a Gregory the First, in which I can find none of the Twelve new Articles that are in the Creed of Pope Pius IV. But I find that the present Church of Rome doth not agree with the Universal Church of God for the first Five or Six Hundred Years. She hath not Antiquity, Universality, and Succession of her fide, nor can I believe her to be the Catholick Church, either as Catholick fignifies Universal Church, or as it signifies a found and pure Church which hath the ancient Apoftolick Faith, Worship, and Government. First, She is not Catholick, as Catholick fignifies the Universal Church, because she, and all the Churches within her Pale and Communion, are but a part, and perhaps not above the Twentieth part of Christendom, or of the Universal Church dispersed over all the Earth. Nor is fhe, and the Churches in Communion with her Catholick, as the word signifies Sound and Pure, but a Corrupt, Unsound, Impure part of the Universal Church. Corrupt, as our learned Writers have Thewn, in Doctrine, Worship, and Government, having receded from the Rule of Scriptures, and from the true, ancient, Catholick Tradition, to which all Churches ought to be conformed, and according to which I wish the were by a happy Re

* See the Confeffons of Gregory I, in Liber diusnus Romanorum,


formation made, as conformable as ours. How corrupt and eccentrick she is in Doctrine from the ancient Catholick Church, your Creed compared with the ancient Creeds and Confeflions doth shew, and how corrupt in Worship she is, and differing in that from the Practice of the ancient Church in all Places: Your praying unto Saints for bleffings Temporal and Spiritual, your invocation of Angels, your worshipping the Cross, and declaring Latria to be due to it, and your consecration of Images, setting them over your Altars, and directing your Devotions through them to Christ and the Blessed Virgin, and other true or false Saints, whom they are made to represent, are a plain, full, and ample Testimony. And then as for the Government or Discipline of it, it is mere Tyranny and Usurpation, contrary to the collegiate Nature of the Catholick Church; the particular Church of Rome not only pretending contrary to Fact delivered in Scripture, to be the Mother and Mistress of all Churches, and as fuch to be the Center and Principle of Unity unto the Catholick Church; but that her Bishop, as St. Peter's Successor, is Christ's Vicar and supreme Head of his Church on Earth; which the Greek, and all the Oriental Churches, and the Church in the Abysin Æthiopia with the greatest Scorn and Indignation withstand to this Day... Yet this is the Church you say, which brings me to the Scriptures, and from which I must receive the Senfe of the Scriptures, tho' she hath added Books to canonical Scripture, which the ancient Catholick Church never owned to be such, and wrested them to. Senses in divers places, in which she never understood them. But admit it were she which brings me to the knowledge of the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The Rubrick to Ordo ad recipiendum processionalicer Imperatorum, in the Roman Pontifical,


[ocr errors]
« הקודםהמשך »