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by the temptation of satan the prince of pride, deceit, and darkness. The proof of which is the matter of whole loads of Protestant writings. And indeed the proof of their policy being incumbent on themselves, they fail in it, and are still fain to fly to pretended, false tradition for proof, in which the sophisters know that either they must be judges themselves, and it must go for truth because they say it; or else that if they can carry the controversy into a thicket or wood of fathers and church history, at least they can confound the ignorant, and evade themselves. Of this see my “ Disput. with Johnson,” and my “ Key for Catholics,” &c.
5. The bishop of the English Papists, Smith called bishop of Chalcedon, in his Survey, cap. v. saith, “To us it sufficeth that the bishop of Rome is St. Peter's successor; and this all the fathers testify, and all the Catholic church believeth ; but whether it be jure divino' or 'humano' is no point of faith.' The like hath Davenporte, called Fransc. à Sancta Clarâ more largely. By this let the reader judge whether we need more words to prove their church to be such as Christ never instituted, when the belief of their divine right, is no part of their own faith.
6. If the church of Rome in its formal policy be but of human institution, it is, 1. Unnecessary to salvation. 2. Unlawful; because they that first instituted it had no authority so to do, and were usurpers. For either the makers of it were themselves a church or no church. If no church, they could not lawfully make a church : infidels or heathens are not to be our church makers. If a church, then there was a church before the church of Rome, and that of another form. And if that former form were of Christ's institution, man might not change it; if not, who made that form ? and so on.
7. Our divines therefore that say that the church of Rome is a true church, though corrupt, do not speak of it formally as to the Papal policy or headship, but materially. 1. That all Papists that are visible Christians are visible parts of the universal church. 2. That their particular congregations considered abstractedly from the Roman headship may be true particular churches, though corrupt;
e System. Fidei.
which yet being the only difficulty shall be the matter of our next inquiry.
Quest. 111. Whether we must take the Romish clergy for true
ministers of Christ? And whether their baptism and ordination be nullities.
I join these two distinct Questions together for brevity.
I. As true signifieth regularly called, so they are commonly irregular and not true ministers. But as true signifieth real opposed to a nullity, so it is now to be further considered.
The doubt lieth either of the sufficiency of his call, or of somewhat that is supposed to destroy it by contradiction or redundancy. 1. Whether he want any thing of absolute necessity to the office, who is called in the church of Rome, or 2. Whether there be any thing in his office or entrance, which nullifieth or invalidateth that which else would be sufficient.
For the first doubt, it is not agreed on among Papists or Protestants what is of necessity to the being of the office. Some think real godliness in the person is necessary; but most think not. Some think that visible, that is, seeming, professed godliness, not disproved by mortal sin is necessary; and some think not. Some think the people's election is necessary, and that ordination is but ad bene esse;' and some think ordination necessary ad esse,' and election ‘ad bene esse,' or not at all ; and some think both necessary ' ad esse,' and some neither. Some think the election of the people is necessary, and some think only their consent is necessary, though after their election by others : some think it must be the consent of all the flock or near all ; and some only of the major part; and some of the better part, though the minor. Some think the ordination of a diocesan bishop necessary ad esse,' and some not. Some think the truth of the ordainers calling, or power, to be necessary to the validity of his ordination, and some not. Some think the number of two, or three, or more ordainers to be necessary, and some not. Some think it necessary to the validity of the ministry that it come down from the apostles by an uninterrupted succession of truly ordained bishops, and
some think not. Some few think that the magistrate's command or licence is necessary, and only it, and most deny both. Johnson, alias Terret, the Papist, in his Disputation against me, maintaineth that consecration is not necessary 'ad esse,' nor any one way of election, by these or those, but only the church's reception upon such an election as may give them notice, and which may be different, according to different times, places, and other circum
In the midst of these confusions, what is to be held ? I have opened the case as fully and plainly as I can, in my second “ Disput. of Church Government,” about ordination, to which I must refer the reader: only here briefly touching upon the sum.
1. There are some personal qualifications necessary to the being of the office (of which anon), and some only to the well-being
2. The efficient conveying cause of power or office, is God's will signified in his own established law; in which he determineth that such persons so called shall receive from him such power, and be obliged to such office-administrations &
3. Any providence of God which infallibly or satisfactorily notifieth to the church, who these persons are, that receive such power from God, doth oblige them to submit to them as so empowered.
4. God's ordinary established way of regular designation of the person, is by the church's consent, and the senior pastor's ordination.
5. By these actions they are not the proper donors or efficients of the power, or office given, but the consent of the people and the ordination do determine of the recipient, and so are regularly 'causa sine qua non' of his reception. And the ordination is moreover a solemn investiture in the office : as when a servant is sent by delivering a key to deliver possession of a house, by his master's consent, to him that had before the owner's grant; and so it ceremoniously entereth him into visible possession; like the solemnizing of marriage, or the listing of a soldier, &c.
| Ephes. iv. 6—11.
6. The people's consent (before or after) is not only by institution, but naturally necessary, that a man become a pastor to those persons (for no man can learn, obey, &c. without consent): but it is not of necessity to the being of the ministry in general, or in the first instant: a man without it may be authorized as a minister to go preach the Gospel for conversion, and baptize and gather churches, though not to be their stated pastor.
7. When death, distance, corruption, heresy or malignity of pastors within reach, maketh it impossible to have ordination, God's choice of the person may be notified without it; as by 1. Eminent qualifications. 2. The people's real necessities. 3. And the removal of impediments, and a concurrence of inviting opportunities and advantages. 4. And sometimes the people's desire. 5. And sometimes the magistrate's commission or consent; which though not absolutely necessary in themselves; yet may serve to design the person and invest him, when the ordinary way faileth ; which is all that is left to man to do, to the conveyance of the power.
The case being thus stated, as to what is necessary to give the power or office, we may next inquire whether any Papist priest have such power, by such means.
And, 1. We have sufficient reason to judge that many of them have all the personal qualifications which are essentially necessary. 2. Many among them have the consent of a sober Christian people (of which more anon). And Mr. Jacob who was against bishops and their ordination, proveth at large, that by election or consent of the people alone, a man may be a true pastor, either without such ordination, or notwithstanding both the vanity and error of it. 3. Many of them have ordination by able and sober bishops; if that also be necessary. 4. In that ordination, they are invested in all that is essential to the pastoral office..
So that I see not that their calling is a nullity through defect of any thing of absolute necessity to its being and validity; though it be many ways irregular and sinful.
II. We are next therefore to inquire whether any contradicting additions make null that which else would be no nullity. And this is the great difficulty. For as we accuse not their religion for being too little, but too much, so this is our chief doubt about their ministry. .
And 1. It is doubted, as to the office itself, whether a mass-priest be a true minister, as having another work to do, even to make his maker, and to give Christ's real flesh with his hands to the people; and to preach the unsound doctrines of their church; and these seem to be essential parts of his function.
The case is very bad and sad; but that which I said about the heresies or errors which may consist with Christianity, when they overthrow it but by an undiscerned consequence, must be here also considered. The prime part of their office is that (as to the essentials) which Christ ordained: this they receive, and to this they sew a filthy rag of man's devising; but if they knew this to be inconsistent with Christianity or the essentials of the ministry, we may. well presume (of many of them) they would not receive it. Therefore as an error which consequentially contradicteth some essential article of faith, nullifieth not his Christianity who first and fastest holdeth the faith, and would cast away the error if he saw the contradiction, (as Davenant, Morton, and Hall have shewed, Epist. Conciliat ). So it is to be said as to practical error in the present case. They are their grievous errors and sins, but for ought I see, do not nullify their office to the church. As a mass-priest, he is no minister of Christ, (as an anabaptist is not as a re-baptizer, nor a separatist as a separater, nor an antinomian, or any erroneous person as a preacher of that error); but as a Christian pastor ordained to preach the Gospel, baptize, administer the Lord's supper, pray, praise God, guide the church, he may be.
The same answer serveth to the objection as it extendeth to the erroneous doctrines which they preach, which are but by consequence against the essentials of religion.
2. But it is a greater doubt, Whether any power of the ministry can be conveyed by antichrist, or from him? And whether God will own any of antichrist's administrations ? Therefore seeing they profess themselves to have no office but what they receive from the pope, and Christ disowning his usurpation, the same man cannot be the minister of Christ and antichrist; as the same man cannot be an officer in the king's army and his enemies.
But this will have the same solution as the former. If