Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

But, alas! I must be forced to complain, and that not without extreme grief of heart, how that it cannot be determined, whether those, that boast themselves for Catholics, be greater enemies to Truth or to Charity: to Truth, in that they have of late forged neu errors, and forced them upon the Church ; to Charity, in that they have not stuck to condemn the adverse part, and to brand them with the black mark of heresy.

I will speak, if you please, more plainly. Three manner of ways, do these Romanists offend against Charity: first; that they will not remit any thing, either of their most convicted opinion, or vicious practice; no, not for peace' sake: secondly; that for Articles of Christian Faith, they put upon the Church certain opinions of their own; false, doubtful, and uncertain ; peculiar only to the Schools; which do no whit touch the foundation of religion: and, lastly; that, if they meet with any faithful and sound monitors, which do never so little gainsay these new Articles, they cruelly cast them out of the bosom of the Church, and throw them headlong into hell: " Away with these schismatics, heretics, atheists.”

I wis the Protestants have no Church, no faith, no salvation. Good Lord! what fury, what frenzy distempers Christians; that they should be so impotently malicious against those, who profess themselves to be redeemed by the ransom of the same most precious blood! At length, at length, Oye Christians, be wise; and acknowledge those, whom the God and Father of Mercies holds worthy of his arms, yea of his bowels.

Let frantic error bawl what it list, we are Christians, we are Catholics; the undivided members of One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Let us meet at this bar, if you please. Let who will maintain the plead. What is it, which maketh a Church? What is it, which maketh that Church, One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic? Is it not One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Faith? But which is that? Is it not the same, which was delivered by Christ and the Apostles to the whole world ; and was always and every where approved through all ages, even unto our times? Wherefore are the Scriptures, wherefore the Creeds, wherefore were the primitive Councils, but that there might be certain marks, whereby Catholics might be undoubtedly discerned from Heretics? You know the Epilogue of the Athanasian Creed ; “This is the Catholic Faith." believe Leo, the heads of all heresies are quite cut off with this one sword of the Creed: how much more then, with that two-edged sword of the Scriptures; and of the Fathers, their interpreters! What then? Those that then were Catholics, can they in any age be condemned for Hereticse? No: Faith

If we may

« « Listen, whoever will.” Original.- PRATT,
* The Original adds, “ to adopt the words of Gerson.”—Pratt.
VOL. XI.

D

[ocr errors]

manemus.

ut ævo possint? Nugæ : Sibi semper constat Fides; et superstructa fidei Ecclesia. Ecquem verò nos Priscæ Theologiæ articulum clausulamve negavimus unquam, ecquem in dubium vocitavimus ? Aut ergo Christus, Apostoli, Concilia, Patres â Catholicâ veritate abhorruerunt; aut nos usque Catholici per

Reliqua quotquot uspiam occurrunt de religione dogmata, fidem neque constituunt neque verò diruunt violantve. Cedo falsa ; cedo vitiosa ; stipula fænumque sunt, illa scilicet quæ nihil ad basin æterni hujus edificii. Sanior profectò corruptiorve est pro istorum ratione Ecclesia : magis minùsve Ecclesia non est. In istis constat Ecclesiæ sive deformitas sive pulchritudo : non constat vita, salus non constat. Profectò, qui Verbo Dei æternis Literarum monumentis consignato, qui Symbolis quibusque primoribus, qui Conciliis quatuor Generalibus, qui communi Patrum per sexcentos à Christo annos judicio lubens subscripserit, quod nos facere religiosè profitemur Reformati; si errare in minimis poterit, Hæreticus esse non poterit. Peccare facilè potest particularis aliqua Ecclesia hæresim affingendo sententiæ immerenti, sive veræ forsan illi, sive leviter erroneæ; graviter certè errare non potest anima vel Ecclesia, quæ universalis veterisque vestigiis solicitè insistit. Pontificius ergo ut quis mori necesse habeat, qui Catholicus obire velit? Lepidum illud est, tribusque Anticyris dignum.

Date veniam, Patres : Interpellant orationem meam beatissimi manes sanctissimi illius nuperrimique Sedis hujusce Episcopi'; jubentque ne sinam cineres suos tam turpiter violari. Neque silere possum præ indignatione, neque præ animi commotione loqui. Non modò percrebuit fama, sed et per orbem volitarunt passim libelli, de optimi illius integerrimique Præsulis, spiritum reddituri, palinodiâ; moribundum nempe rediisse Romæ in gratiam; hæresibus Ecclesiæ scilicet Anglicanæ suspirabundum renuntiasse ; tandemque, à sacrificulo Pontificio absolutum, in Fide Romanâ suaviter obdormiisse. Neque defunctæ animæ defuerunt, alicubi, hoc nomine, uti fertur, Missificantium suffragia et oblationes. Deum Immortalem ! quæ hæc blasphemia est! Potestne ipsa quidem impudentia ita frontem omnem exuere, ut hæc calumniosissima mendacia, tam audacter, confingat, contra tot testium fidem, contra illius ipsius Sacerdotis Pontificii solennem detestationem, contra familiarium intimorumque omnium religiosissimas dejerationes, contra doc

| The Prelate here referred to, was Dr. John King, Dean of Christ Church in 1605, and Bishop of London in 1611. King James used to style him The King of Preachers ;” and Lord Chief Justice Coke often declared, that "he was the best Speaker in the Star-Chamber in his time.” He was so constant in preaching, after he became a Bishop, that he never failed on Sundays, while his health permitted, to preach in some pulpit in or near London.

fle

is always constant to itself; and so is the Church, that is built upon that faith. Did we ever deny, or make doubt of, any article or clause of that Ancient Divinity? Either then Christ himself, the Apostles, Councils, Fathers, erred from the Catholic Truth; or we yet remain Catholics.

Whatever other opinions we meet withal concerning religion, neither make nor mar it. Say they be false ; say they be vicious; they are but hay and stubble, which nothing appertain to the foundation of this everlasting frame. The Church may be either more sound or more corrupt for them: it cannot be more or less a Church. The beauty or deformity of a Church may consist in them: the strength, the welfare of it doth not. Surely, whosoever willingly subscribes to the Word of God, signed in the everlasting monuments of Scripture, to the ancient Creeds, to the four General Councils, to the common consent of the Fathers for six hundred years after Christ, which we of the Reformed Church religiously profess to do; if he may err in small points, yet he cannot be a Heretic. Some particular Church may easily offend by imputing heresy to an undeserved opinion, whether perhaps true, or lightly erroneous; but neither soul nor Church can greatly err, while it treads in the steps of the most ancient and universal. Must he therefore of necessity die a Romanist, that would die a Catholic? This is an idle fancy, and worthy of no less than Bedlam.

Give me leave, ye Reverend Fathers: The blessed ghost of the most holy and latest Bishop' of this See, interrupts my speech ; and charges me not to suffer his ashes so shamefully to be wronged. I can neither be silent for indignation, nor speak for anger. It was not only rumoured, but books were cast abroad over the world, concerning the revolt of this worthy and excellent Prelate ; reporting, that, at his death, he reconciled himself to the Church of Rome; and, with many sighs, renounced the heresies of the Church of England; and, at last, being absolved by a popish priest, sweetly slept in the Faith of the Church of Rome. Neither did his departed soul want, somewhere, as is reported, suffrages and oblations of Massmongers in this behalf. O Immortal God! what blasphemy is here! Can impudency itself so cast off all shame, as to raise so slanderous a lie, thus boldly, against the credit of so many nesses, against the solemn detestation, of their own priest, against the religious oaths of his nearest friends and domestic

wit

died March 30th, 1621 : and, soon after, the Papists reported, that he died a member of their Church : but the falschood of this story was fully exposed by his son Henry, in a Sermon at St. Paul's Cross, to which Bp. Hall refers above ; by Bp. Godwin, in the Appendix to his “ Commentarius de Præsulibus Angliæ ;"" and by Mr. John Gee, in a book entitled “ The Foot out of the Suare.” See the General Dictionary. Folio. vol. vi. pp. 527, 528.—Pratt, tissimi tantoque patre digni filii Concionem scriptionemque publicam? Alia quidem mendacia colorem sibi aliquem vulgò quærunt quo conciliant fidem: huic, præter audaciam, nullus est, Quot nostrûm adsedimus fidelissimo nostro, ægrè jam tum spiritum trahenti Pastori ; accepimusque à languentis ore, voces constantissimæ pietatis ! Sed et aliqui vestrum, Patres, viaticum unà cum ipso sacrum, panem omnium quos gustavit postremum, panem Domini, devotè sumpsistis ; emigraturæque animæ, cælumque anhelantis motus ultimos persensistis. Noster vixit; noster mortuus est; noster in cælis coronatur. Pergite modò, cacognotæ ; pergite mentiri strenuè: hærebit aliquid. At veritas non est, quæ mendaciorum fulcris indiget. Tantillum hoc παρεκβατικώς.

s. Prodeat nunc quivis è Scholâ Pontificiâ vel audicissimus sophista, suscipiatque sibi, si per frontem licuerit, defendendum, notississima quæque Fidei Tridentinæ assumenta, (quæ nos sola rejicimus,) toti fuisse Ecclesiæ, omni ævo, pro necessariis religionis capitibus receptissima; aut nos in Unius Sanctæ Catholicæ Ecclesiæ Fideique communione constanter perstitisse fateatur necesse est. Novitatem ille suam facilè prode t; heresin ullam nostram nullus unquam evincet.

Verè aureum est illud Cardinalis Contareni: Auscultate, si qui ingenuè favetis Romæ: “Non opus est," inquit, “Concilio, non syllogismis, ad sedandas hasce Lutheranorum turbas; charitate opus est, humilitate, mente bonâ denique: ut, immunes ab omni hâc perniciosâ philautiâ, animum inducamus ea in quibus manifestò peccatur corrigere ac reformare.” Hæc ille. Tu demum sapis, Contarene. Utinam æquè et tui!

At nos matris Ecclesiæ filii sumus immorigeri rebellesque; cujus dum jussa capessere, decreta recipere ac venerari detrectamus, turpi schismate involvimur, dirisque infensæ parentis meritò percellimur. Odiosam verò contumeliam. Matrem non agnovimus; agnovinius sororem, At, cedo filios fuisse; mancipia profectò non fuimus. Novam Fidem procudere sibi pro libito, suisque imperiosè obtrudere, non parentis est, sed tyranni. Hanc nos licentiam, fatemur enim, neutiquam sanè ferre potuimus; parùmque ferentes cædimur palam et non uno perstringimur anathemate. Neque secùs nobiscum egêre Romani, quàm imprudens ille vicinus apud Gersonem, qui, cùm muscam à fronte proximi abigere satageret, hominem excerebravit.

servants, against the Sermon and public writings of his learned son, a son well worthy of such a father ? Other lies have some colour to plead for their credit: this, besides boldness, hath none at all. How many of us sat by that faithful Pastor of ours, then breathing towards his last; and received from his dying lips, words of most constant piety! And some of you, Reverend Fathers, devoutly received with him that sacred Viaticum, the last bread that ever he tasted, even the bread of the Lord; and were witnesses of the last motions of his soul, then ready to depart, and breathing towards his heaven. Ours he lived; ours he died; and now, as ours, is crowned in heaven. Go on now, ye miszealous spirits: go on to lie stoutly: somewhat will always stick fast to the accusers 5; but, in the mean time, it cannot be truth, that needs the props of lies. Only this by the way.

Let the boldest sophister of the Romish School come forth now, and, if he can for shame, let him undertake to prove, that those most noted additions of the Tridentine Faith, (which only we reject,) were received of all the Church, in all ages, for necessary heads of religion ; or let him confess, as he needs must, that we have still constantly persisted in the communion of One, Holy, Catholic Church and Faith. He shall easily bewray his own novelty ; but never shall evince any heresy of ours.

It is a golden saying of Cardinal Contarenus: Hearken, I beseech you, if any ingenuous spirit of you all be a friend to Rome : Non opus est Concilio, non syllogismis, ad sedandas hasce Lutheranorum turbas, gc. “There needs no Council," saith he, “no syllogisms, to allay these broils of the Lutherans ; but only charity, humility, and a sincere mind : that, being void of all self-love, we may be persuaded to correct and reform those things wherein we have manifestly transgressed.” Thus he. Thou art wise indeed, O Contarenus. Would to God thy fellows were so also !

But we, forsooth, are the disobedient and rebellious children of our mother the Church ; whose commands while we disdain to receive, and obey and reverence her decrees, we are enwrapped in a shameful schism, and stricken with the curses of an angry mother. Surely this were an odious contumely. But, for us, we have not acknowledged her a mother; a sister, we have. But, grant we were sons; yet we are no slaves. To forge a new Faith, and imperiously thrust it upon her own, is not the part of an indulgent parent, but of a tyrant. This lawless liberty, we confess, we could never endure; and therefore are we openly thunder-stricken with more than one anathema. Neither have they otherwise dealt with us, than that foolish fellow in Gerson, who, being very busy to drive away a fly from his neighbour's forehead, brained the man.

&" To the accusers," is added by the Translator ; but I suspect that it is an error of the press for “ to the accused,” which the sense requires.—Pratt.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »