Imágenes de páginas

this antichrist were the open, professed enemy to Christ, then all this were true: because their corrupt additions would not by dark consequences, but so directly contain the denial of Christianity or the true ministry, that it were not possible to hold both. But (as our divines commonly note) antichrist is to sit in the temple of God, and the pope's treason is under pretence of the greatest service and friendship to Christ, making himself his vicar general without his commission. So that they that receive power from him, do think him to be Christ's vicar indeed, and so renounce not Christ, but profess their first and chief relation to be to him, and dependance on him, and that they would have nothing to do with the pope, if they knew him to be against Christ. And some of them write, that the power or office is immediately from Christ, and that the pope, ordainers, and elec-. tors do but design the person that shall receive it; (because else they know not what to say of the election and consecration of the pope himself, who hath no superior). And the Spanish bishops in the council of Trent held so close to this, that the rest were fain to leave it undetermined; so that it is no part of their religion, but a doubtful opinion, Whether the power of bishops be derived from the pope, though they be governed by him.

But as to the other, the case seemeth like this : if a subject in Ireland usurp the lieutenancy, and tell all the people that he hath the king's commission to be his lieutenant, and command all to submit to him, and receive their places from him, and obey him; and the king declareth him a traitor, (antecedently only by the description of his laws,) and maketh it the duty of the subjects to renounce him : those that now know the king's will, and yet adhere to the usurper, though they know that the king is against it, are traitors with him : but those from whom he keepeth the knowledge of the laws, and who for want of full information, believe him to be really the king's lieutenant, (and specially living where all believe it,) but yet would renounce him if they knew that he had not the king's commission; these are the king's subjects, though in ignorance they obey an usurper. And on this account it is that Archbishop Usher concluded, that “an ignorant Papist might be saved, but the learned hardly. But when the learned, through the disadvantages of their education, are under the same ignorance, being learned but on one side to their greater seduction, the case may be the same.

The same man therefore may receive an office from Christ, who yet ignorantly submitteth to the pope, and receiveth corrupt additions from him.

But suppose I be mistaken in all this, yet to come to the second question,

III. Whether baptism and ordination given by them be nullities? I answer, no; on a further account, 1. Because that the ministry which is a nullity to the receiver, (that is, God will punish him as an usurper,) may yet perform those ministerial acts which are no nullities to the church". Else how confused a case would all churches be in? For it is hard ever to know whether ministers have all things essential to their office. Suppose a man be ignorant, or an heretic against some essential article of faith; or suppose that he feigned orders of ordination when he had none; or that he was ordained by such as really had no power to do it; or suppose he pretended the consent of the majority of the people, when really the greater part were for another: if all this be unknown, his baptizing and other administrations are not thereby made nullities to the church, though they be sins in him. The reason is, because that the church sball not suffer, nor lose her right for another man's sin! When the fault is not theirs, the loss and punishment shall not be theirs. He that is found in possession of the place, performeth valid administration to them that know not his usurpation, and are not guilty of it. Otherwise we should never have done re-baptizing, nor know easily when we receive any valid administrations, while we are so disagreed about the necessaries of the office and call; and when it is so hard in all things to judge of the call of all other men.

2. And as the Papists say, that a private man or woman may baptize in extremity, so many learned Protestants think, that though a private man's baptism be a sin, yet it is no nullity, though he were known to be no minister.

And what is said of baptism, to avoid tediousness, you may suppose said of ordination, which will carry the first case

h Matt, vii. 23--25. Phil. i. 15—17. Mark ix. 40.

far, as to the validity of the ministry received by Papist's ordination, as well as of baptism and visible Christianity received by them. For my part, God used Parson's “ Book of Resolution Corrected,” so much to my good, and I have known so many eminent Christians, and some ministers converted by it, that I am glad that I hear none make a controversy of it, whether the conversion, faith, or love to God be valid, which we receive by the books or means of any Papist!

Quest. iv. Whether it be necessary to believe that the pope is

the antichrist?

It is one question, whether he be antichrist, and another, whether it be necessary to believe it? To the first I say, I. There are many antichrists : and we must remove the ambiguity of the name, before we can resolve the question. If by antichrist be meant, · One that usurps the office of a universal vicar of Christ, and constitutive and governing head of the whole visible church, and hereby layeth the ground of schisms, and contentions, and bloodshed in the world, and would rob Christ of all his members, who are not of the pope's kingdom, and that form a multifarious ministry for this service, and corrupteth much of the doctrine, worship, and discipline of the church ;' in this sense no doubt but the pope is antichrist.

But if by antichrist be meant him particularly described in the Apocalypse and Thessalonians, then the controversy • de re,' is about the exposition of those dark prophecies. Of which I can say no more but this, 1. That if the pope be not he; he had ill luck to be so like him. 2. That Dr. More's moral arguments, and Bishop Downham's and many others' expository arguments, are such as I cannot answer. 3. But yet my skill is not so great in interpreting those obscure prophecies, as that I can say I am sure that it is the pope they speak of, and that Lyra, learned Zanchy, and others that think it is Mahomet, or others that otherwise interpret them, were mistaken.

II. But to the second question, I more boldly say, 1. That every one that indeed knoweth this to be the sense of those texts, is bound to believe it.

2. But that God who hath not made it of necessity to salvation to understand many hundred plainer texts, nor absolutely to understand more than the articles and fundamentals of our religion, hath much less made it necessary to salvation to understand the darkest prophecies.

3. And that as the suspicion should make all Christians cautious, what they receive from Rome, so the obscurity should make all Christians take heed, that they draw from it no consequences destructive to love, or order, or any truth, or Christian duty. And this is the advice I give to


Quest. v. Whether we must hold that a Papist may be saved?

This question may be resolved easily from what is said before.

1. A Papist as a Papist, that is, by popery, will never be saved, no more than a man's life by a leprosy.

2. If a Papist be saved, he must be saved against, and from popery, either by turning from the opinion, and then he is no Papist, or by preserving his heart from the power of his own opinions. And the same we may say of every error and sin. He that is saved, must be saved from it, at least from the power of it on the heart, and from the guilt of it by forgiveness.

3. Every one that is a true, sincere Christian in faith, love, and true obedience shall be saved, what error soever he hold that doth consist with these.

4. As many Antinomians and other erroneous persons, do hold things which by consequence subvert Christianity; and yet not seeing the inconsistence, do hold Christianity first and faster, in heart and sincere practice, and would renounce their error if they saw the inconsistence, so is it with many Papists. And that which they hold first, and fastest, and practically, doth save them from the power, operations, and poison of their own opinions : as an antidote or the strength of nature may save a man from a small. quantity of poison.

5. Moreover we have cause to judge that there are mil

i Vid. Hun. Eccl. Rom. non est Christiana: and Perkins. A Papist cannot go beyond a reprobate.

lions among the Papists, corrupted with many of their lesser errors, who yet hold not their greater ; that believe not that none are Christians but the pope's subjects, and that Christ's kingdom and the pope's are of the same extent, or that he can remit men's pains in another world, or that the bread and wine are no bread and wine, or that men merit of God in point of commutative justice, or that we must adore or worship the bread, or yet the cross or image itself, &c., or that consent to abundance of the clergy's tyrannical usurpations and abuses : and so being not properly Papists, may be saved, if a Papist might not. And we the less know how many or few among them are really of the clergy's religion and mind, because by terror they restrain men from manifesting their judgment, and compel them to comply in outward things.

6. But as fewer that have leprosies, or plagues, or that take poison escape, than of other men, so we have great cause to believe, that much fewer Papists are saved, than such as escape their errors. And therefore all that love their souls should avoid them.

7. And the trick of the priests who persuade people that theirs is the safest religion, because we say that a Papist may be saved, and they say that a Protestant cannot, is so palpable a cheat, that it should rather deter men from their way. For God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God: and all men must know us to be Christ's disciples, by loving one another : and he that saith he loveth God, and loveth not his brother, is a liar: and charity believeth all things credible. That religion is likest to be of God which is most charitable, and not that which is most uncharitable, and malicious, and like to satan.

To conclude, no man shall be saved for being no Papist, much less for being a Papist. And all that are truly holy, heavenly, humble lovers of God, and of those that are his servants, shall be saved. But how many such are among the Papists, God only knoweth who is their Judge.

The questions whether the Greeks, Abassines, Nestorians, Eutychians, Antinomians, Anabaptists, &c. may be saved, must be all resolved as this of the Papists, allowing for the different degrees of their corruption. And therefore

« AnteriorContinuar »