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Q U E R I ES
Sent by a
Roman Catholick to a Divine of
the Church of England; With his ANSWER to them.
The Q U ERIES.
Should be glad to know, if it can be deny'd, but that the Church of Rome was once a most Pure,
Excellent, Flourishing, and Mother Church; and it seems to be acknowledg’d by several learned Anthors, and also by King James in his Speech to the Parliament.
This Church could not cease to be fuch, but she must fall either by Apostacy, Heresy, or Schism. Apostacy is not only a renouncing of the Faith of Christ, but the very Name and Title to Christianity. No Man will say that the Church of Rome had ever such a fall, or fell thus.
Heresy is an adhesion to some private and fingular Opinion, or Error in Faith, contrary to the general approved Doctrine of the Church.
If the Church of Rome did ever adhere to any fingular or new Opinion, disagreeable to the common receiv'd Do&trine of the Christian World; pray satisfy me as to these particulars.
1. By what General Council was she ever condemned? 2. Which of the Fathers once writ against her ?
3. By what Authority was fhe otherwise reproved ? For it seems to me to be a thing very incongruous, that fo great a Church fhould be condemn’d by every one that hath a mind to condemn her.
Schism is a departure or division from the Unity of the Church, whereby the Band and Communion held with some former Church is broken and dissolved.
If the Church of Rome divided her self by Schism from any other body of faithful Christians, or brake Communion, or went forth from the Society of any elder Church: I pray satisfy me as ta these particulars.
1. Whose Company did she leave ?
It appears strange that a Church Mould be accounted Schismatical, when there cannot be assigned any other Church different from her, which from Age to Age, fince Christ's time; hath continued vifible, from whence fue departed?
His Stuff put in a new Dress, hath for the whole
Matter of it been answer'd a hundred times over, but if they should take notice of our Answers, it would spoil their Trade ; they therefore resolve to pursue their old Artifice in laying down the same seeming Doubts, or sophistical Proposals with a little variation of Method, and with them to set upon well-disposed, but unskilful Perfons, and commonly upon such as are young, and of an unsteady, and over inquisitive Temper. Now though
it be neither ingenuous nor fair, thus to pass over our Arguments in filence, and looks like holding the Conclusion in spite of the Premises, yet that Y may, as much as in me lies, prevent others from hazarding their Souls, by going off from a Pure to a most corrupt and dangerous Communion, I shall for once take upon me this unreasonable Task, and answer this busy Romanist in every Particular. And thus he begins.
I fhould be glad to know if it can be deny’d, but that the Church of Rome was once a most Pure, Excellent, Flourishing, and Mother Church; and it seems to be acknowledged by several learned Authors, and also by King James in his Speech to the Parliament.
Refp. Our concern is not so much to know, what the Church of Rome was at first, as what it is now ; for if she prove bad now, instead of an advantage, it will rather be a Reproach and Dishonour to her to have been so good in former Times. It is an uncomfortable saying, How is the faithful City become an Harlot ? But not to deny them any Pretensions which carry the face of Truth, I am as ready as any of his learned Authors, or King James hiniself, to acknowledge, that the Church of Rome was once a glorious Member of the Catholick Church. But I must except against one thing in his description of her, wherein he calls her Mother Church, as if the Rise and Beginning of all Churches was from her, and wherein he would Nily infinuate the belief of that manifest Falfhood no less than thrice foysted into the determination of the Council of Trent, that she is Omnium Ecclefiarum Mater @ Magistra, i.e. The Mother and Mistress of all Churches; whereas we were grafted into the Jewish Stock, and the sound of the Apostles went out into all the World from Jerusalem, and there was the first Chriftian Church; and Rome was not only later than her, but than several others, and if any can be called
properly properly the Mother Church, it must be that of Jerusalem. But to do him all the right I can, if by Mother Church he will be content to mean no more than Tertullian doth by his Matrices Ecclefie, such as Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, and others planted by the Apostles themselves, I will grant her to have been a Mother Church in the sense that they were, though it is certain some of them were before her : But now she is much changed from what she was then by Corruption, both in Doctrine and Practice; and unless she can justify the doing Evil, when she thinks good may come of it, whose Damnation the Apostle faith is just, (Rom. 3. 8.) I see not how she can vindicate her self in sending forth her Emissaries, to put on all Shapes to create numerous Sects and Divisions, to instil Enthusiastical Notions, to preach and argue among Presbyterians, Independants, Anabaptists, Quakers, and what not; and to poison them with Notions contrary to the true Hierarchy, Doctrine, and Discipline of the Church. For at this rate, instead of being a Mother Church, she looks more like what St. Fohn calls the Mother of Harlots, Revel. 17. 5. But this Querist thinks he hath got a quirk to acquit her of these and all other Crimes; and though he takes too much upon him in imposing upon others what way of Proof they shall proceed in, yet I will follow him in his own way. And thus he proceeds.
This Church could not cease to be such, but the must fall either by Apostacy, Heresy, or Schism. Apostacy is not only a renouncing of the Faith of Christ, but the very Name and Title to Christianity. No Man will say, that the Church of Rome bad ever such a fall, or fell thus.
Resp. Far be it from me to accuse her, or any other Church, of more than they are guilty of; I had niuch rather there were no cause for any accufation at all : And since it is granted, that the
proof of any one of the Three is sufficient to carry the Cause against her, I am willing to drop this first; and I pray God preserve her and all other Churches from Apoftacy, to prevent which it may become us often to call to mind that of the Apostle, Let him that thinketh be ftandeth take heed least he fall, 1 Cor. 10. 12. For the Church of Rome, as a particular Church, hath no better security against a total falling away, than had the Afiatick Churches mentioned in the Revelations, which are all gone, or the African Churches, which though now lost, were once a more eminent Pattern of Christian Simplicity, Humility, and Piety, than her contemporary Church of Rome, though then of great Reputation. She ought not therefore to be so proud and scornful, as to despise those who advise her to beware, lest those foul Corruptions cherished in her, and abetted by her, should, by the just Judgment of God, have a tendency in time even to A postacy : But let this pass, that we may come to the next; which he sets down thus.
Heresy is an adhesion to some private and fingular Opinion or Error in Faith, contrary to the general approved Doctrine of the Church.
If the Church of Rome did ever adhere to any fingular or new Opinion, disagreeable to the common receiv'd Doctrine of the Christian World: Pray satisfy me as to these particulars.
1. By what General Council was the ever condemn'd? 2. Which of the Fathers ever wrote against her?
3. By what Authority was she otherwise reproved ? For it seems to me to be a thing very incongruous, that so great a Church should be condemned by every one that hath a mind to condemn her.
Refp. His account or definition of Herefy seems to me to be too narrow, for not only Errors in Faith, but such as are founded upon Principles utterly inconsistent with and destructive of a good Life , may come within the Notion of Heresy :