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SECT. 1. Status nunc Romanæ Ecclesiæ. NULLA æquè hominum ingenia torquet hodie, ac quæ de Ecclesiâ quæstio esta.

Infantiam quidem Ecclesiæ sublimior hæresis de Deo, de Christo, malè diuque solicitam, habuit: axunu verò et senectam paulò levior quædam de nobismetipsis exercet velitatio; quæ tamen tantò majores ubique tumultus ciet indies, quantò quisque se impensiùs quàm Deum diligit.

Reliqua quotquot uspiam terrarum occurrunt alias ζητήματα, eaowμev evdei: de nostrâ, deque Romanâ.Ecclesiâ ita plærique mihi perperam sentire videntur, quasi duæ semper ab origine sui fuissent; tempore ac loco, non secus ac Babylon et Hierosolyma, duæve illæ celebratissimæ Augustino civitates, palàm disterminatæ.

Hinc illæ sciolorum hominum otiosæ percontatiuncula: Ubi tandem latitaverit Ecclesia nostra: Quo consule ac die nata: Quo demum seculo illa altera desierit: Cur nos nihilo ulteriùs ab istorum oris subducti: Quid de proavis nostris factum : Quæ fuerit prisci ævi religio?

Hinc rigidiusculæ illæ utrinque, cùm novitatis, tùm deploratæ abscedentium animarum salutis, censuræ.

Deus bone! quæ et opinionum monstra et questionum istinc enata! et non tam s uos authores, (verè enim Oraculum illud Delphicum, Εἰ κε πάθοι τὰ κ ̓ ἔρεξε, δίκη τ ̓ ἰθεῖα γένοιτο,) quam Ecclesiam Christi miserè divexârunt! Quot miselli naufragium istic fecerunt; quibus hercle votivà tabellà parum usus fuisset, si tantum didicissent inter nos et Pontificios discriminis constituere, quantum inter Ecclesiam pessimis modis corruptam, et luculentè perpurgatam; inter morbidam ac moribundam, et sanam, vegetam, vividamque, necessariò concedendum est!

G. Cassand. lib. de Consult. Art. 7. Ex articulo hoc de Ecclesiá, omnis hæc distractio, quæ hodie est in Republica Christianá, originem ducit.

Aug. de Civit. (1. 14. c. 9. s. 28.)

Julian, Cæsaris. Judicium, si quis quæ fecit perferat, æquum est.

Neither therefore did that Valdus of France, nor Wickliffe of England, nor Jerome of Prague, nor Luther of Germany, ever go about to frame a new Church to themselves, which was not; but only endeavoured, not without happy success, to cleanse, scour, restore, reform that Church which was, from that filthy soil, both of disorder and errors, wherewith it was shamefully blemished. All these rather desired to be accounted physicians to heal, than parents to beget a Church.

And the same have we carefully done, ever since; and do seriously and ingenuously profess of ourselves at this day.

Rome is alike to us, as it was of old to Jerome, with Eugubium, Rhegium, Alexandria: save that this city is both more famous and more near us. Places do not vary either faith or title. What Church soever God shall call Daughter, we will call Sister and so we safely may.

How many honest and chaste matrons have we known, that have been ashamed of a lewd sister; and have abhorred filthiness in one of their own blood! So it fareth now with us. Rome is overgone with heresy, with idolatry. Let her practice her whoredom at home, by herself: it was not for us, with the safeguard of our honesty, to dwell with such a partner.

Not only her wickedness hath thrust us out: but her violence. We yield, therefore; and sorrowfully complain, with the Prophet, How is the faithful city become a harlot! It was full of judgment, and justice lodged therein; but now it is full of murderers. Thy silver is become dross, and thy wine is brewed with water: Is. i. 21, 22.

Away with the imperious name of a Mother. We are all the same Church, by the virtue of our outward vocation, whosoever, all the world over, worship Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, and Saviour of the World; and profess the same common Creed. Some of us do this more purely; others, more corruptly in the mean time, we are all Christians; but sound Christians we are not.

But how harshly doth this sound to a weak reader, and more than seems to need reconciliation with itself; that the Church should be one, and yet cannot be reconciled! Certainly; yet so it is. The dignity of the outward form, which comprehends this unity in itself, avails nothing to grace, nothing to salvation, nothing to the soundness of doctrine. The net doth not strait make all to be fish, that it hath dragged together: ye shall find in it vile weeds, and whatsoever else that devouring element hath disgorged.

The Church is, at once, one, in respect of the common principles of faith; and yet, in respect of consequences, and that rabble of opinions which they have raked together, so opposed,

Non ergo Petrus ille Valdus Lugdunensis, non Jo. Wiclefus, non Hussius, non Lutherus, novam sibi unquam procudere Ecclesiam voluerunt; sed priorem illam, et morum et érepodidaoKaλiwy sordibus miserè foedatam, verrere, mundare, expolire, ac splendori pristino restituere, haud infœlici operâ studuerunt. Medicos haberi se maluerunt isti qui sanarent, quàm parentes qui Ecclesiam progignerent.

Idemque nos ex eo sedulò fecimus, et de nobis hodie seriò et ingenuè prædicamus.

Pariter se nobis habet Roma, uti olim Hieronymo, ac Eugubium, Rhegium, Alexandria; nisi quod urbs illa paulò et celebrior, et vicinior. Loca non variant fidem, non titulum. Quamcunque Ecclesiam Deus Filiam, nos Sororem salutabimus: et tutò quidem istud.

Quot pias pudicasque fœminas novimus, quas malè moratæ sororis dispuduit, quæque germanum prostibulum haud parum oderint! Illud idem nobis istic usu venit. Roma hæretica est, idolatrica est. Meretricium apud se suum exerceat; nobis cum illâ tali cohabitare, salvâ pudicitiâ, non licuit.

Hujus nos extrusit nequitia, pepulere vires. Cedimus loco, et mosti interim conquerimur, Quomodo effecta est meretrix urbs fidelis; et plenissima jure, in quá justitia pernoctabat, ea nunc homicidarum plena est! Argentum tuum abiit in scorias, merum tuum aquá inspurcatum est: Is. i. 21, 22.

Apage matris imperium! Una omnes eademque Ecclesia sumus, externæ vocationis merito, quotquot ubivis terrarum Jesum Christum, Dei Filium, unicum Mundi Servatorem colimus, idemque communis fidei Symbolum profitemur. Puriûs hoc alii facimus, alii verò corruptiùs: Christiani sumus interea omnes, sani non sumus.

At quàm temerè (inquis) ista; quæque conciliatore ipsa nimis indigeant; una ut sit Ecclesia, quæ tamen conciliari nescit! Certè. Exterioris formæ dignitas, quæ unitatem hanc in se complectitur, nihil quicquam confert ad gratiam, nihil ad salutem, nihil ad sanitatem doctrinæ. Non efficit sagena ut pisciculus illico sit, quicquid ipsa corraserit; vilem hîc algam comperies, et quicquid eructaverit vorax illud elementum.

Et una ergo est, quoad communia fidei principia; et quoad consecutiones, adjectitiorumque dogmatum farraginem, ita sibi

d A. D. 1160.

e Hieron. Epist. 85, ad Evagrium. f Iren. 1. i. c. 2, 3.

that it cannot, by any glue of concord, as Cyprian speaketh, nor bond of unity, be conjoined. That which Rome holds with us, makes it a Church: that which it obtrudes upon us, makes it heretical. The truth of principles makes it one: the error and impiety of additions makes it irreconcileable.

Neither doth this late and spurious brood of traditions more oppose us, than it doth those very principles of religion, which the authors themselves desire to establish.

Look on the face, therefore of the Roman Church, she is ours, and God's: look on her back, she is quite contrary, Antichristian.

More plainly, (for it is no disputing in metaphors, as Clemens said well,) Rome doth both hold the foundation, and destroy it. She holds it directly, destroys it by consequent. In that she holds it, she is a true Church, howsoever impured: in that she destroys it, whatever semblance she makes of piety and holiness, she is a Church of Malignants, Ps. xxvi. 5. If she did altogether hold it, she should be sound and orthodox: if altogether she destroyed it, she should be either no Church or devilish: but, now that she professes to hold those things directly, which by inference of her consequences she closely overthrows, she is a truly visible Church, but an unsound. In what she holds the principles, we embrace her: in what she destroys them, we pity her error, and hate her obstinacy.

The common bond of Christianity never ties us to favour gross errors, so much as with silence. There is no such slavery in the dear name of a Sister, that it should bind us to give either aid or countenance to lewdness. Have no such fellowship, saith St. Paul, but rather reprove; Eph. v. 11. So we have done; both modestly and earnestly. The same is befallen us, which befell the blessed Apostle: we are become their enemies, for telling the truth; Gal. iv. 16.

Behold, now we are thrust out of door; spat upon; railed at; and, when opportunity serves, persecuted with most curious torments. And, lest any mischief should be wanting, obstinacy is now, at last, added unto error; and a cruel rage, arising from impatience: and now their wickedness began to please them more, because it displeased us.

And what should we now do, in such a case; we, the despised and rejected patrons of this spiritual chastity? To let fall so just a cause, we might not; unless we would cast off that God, who challenges this plea for only his. To yield and give in, were no other than to betray the truth of God, and damn our own souls. No course remains, but this one; (and here is our only safety;) with all our courage and skill, to oppose the wicked paradoxes and idolatrous practices of the Romish

opposita, ut nullo concordiæ glutines, aut unitatis vinculo, copulari possit. Quæ nobiscum illa tenet, Ecclesiam faciunt; quæ nobis obtrudit, hæreticam. Principiorum veritas unam facit; adjectionum error et impietas, insociabilem.

Neque tam nobiscum pugnat posthuma hæc et spuria traditionum soboles, quàm cum illis ipsis, quæ stabilire maximè discupiunt authores, religionis suæ principiis.

A facie ergo, Romana Ecclesia et nostra est, et Dei est : à tergo, aliena est, Antichristiana est.

Planiis, (μὴ γὰρ διαλέκτεον ταῖς μεταφοραῖς, verè Clemens,) Fundamentum et tenet Roma, et tollit. Directè tenet, tollit ex consequente. Quà tenet, vera Ecclesia est, quantumlibet impurata: quà tollit, éκкλησía Tоvnpevoμévwv est, Ps. xxvi. 5, quicquid simulet pietatis ac sanctimoniæ. Si prorsus et omnimodè teneret, sana foret et orthodoxa: si æquè itidem destrueret, aut nulla foret, aut diabolica: jam verò, cùm ea directè tenere profitetur, quæ clanculariâ consecutionum vi subinde destruat, verè visibilis Ecclesia, sed malesana est. Quà tenet, amplexamur; quà destruit, et errantem misericordiâ prosequimur, et odio pertinacem.

Non illud à nobis postulat commune Christiani nominis vinculum, ut erroribus crassissimis vel silentio faveamus. Non illa Sororia servitus est, ut germanæ operam præstemus malis artibus. Μὴ συγκοινωνεῖτε, inquit Paulus, μάλλον ἐλέγχετε ; Eph. v. 11. Fecimus nos quidem, modestè et seriò. Idem nobis accidit, quod Apostolo: ἐχθροι γεγόναμεν, ἀληθεύοντες ;

Gal. iv. 16.

Ecce nos nunc exturbamur foras, conspuimur, obruimur planè contumeliis, quæsitissimis denique pœnis afficimur. Et ne quid fortè mali deesset, accessit demum errori pertinacia, natusque ex impatientiâ furor; tantóque magis arridere cœpit vitium, quantò nobis displicere solet.

Nos verò quid nunc agimus exclusissimi, despicatissimique melioris pudicitiæ patroni? Lite quidem tam nimis justâ cedere non licet; nisi Deum ipsum, cujus unius causam dicimus, floccifacere mavelimus. Animo autem succumbere, cessimque ire, æquè tutum esset, atque animas nostras, veritatis divinæ proditrices, ire perditum. Unum illud restat, (et una hic salus,) prava Romanæ Ecclesiæ paradoxa, moresque idololatricos,

Cypr. 1. iii. Ep. 13.

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