« AnteriorContinuar »
For (whether other Particulars may be added, or no) 'tis certain, that due Disciplin, as well as Pu-. rity of Doctrin, and a due Ministration of the Sà. craments, is required by Christ's Rule. And this our Church her self teaches in the Second Part of the Homily for Whitsunday, saying, The true Church is an universal Congregation or Fellowship of God's faithful and ele&t People, built upon the Foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the head Cornerstone. And it bath always three Notes or Marks whereby it is knowin. Pure and found Do&trin, the Sacraments ministred- according to Christ's holy Institution, and the right Use of Ecclefiaftical Disciplin. This Description of the Church is agreeable both to the Scriptures of God, and also to the Doctrin of the ancient Fathers, so that none may. justly find fault therewith. That Church therefore, which joins due Disciplin to Purity of Doctrin and due Ministration of the Sacraments, is for that Reafon a more true Church, than that which has Purity
of Doctrin, and a due Ministration of the Sacra, ments, but wants due Disciplin.
This Article therefore does not enumerare all things, that a morally true visible Church has, or ought to have; but asserts, that a morally true visi ble Church has or ought to have those Particulars : even as he that saiés, a Man is a Creature that has a rational Soul, does not enumerate all the Parts of a Man; for he ought to have a Body too. How ever, as that Person, who faies, a Man is a Creature that has a rational Soul, speaks truly, tho'he does not speak all that he might: even so when the Article faies; the morally true visible Church is a Congregation of faithful Men, in which the pure Word of God is preach'd, and the Sacraments be duly ministred according to Christ's Ordinance in all those things that of Neceflity are requisite to
the same; it expresses true Doctrin, tho' it does not express all that it might have express’d, concerning the Properties or Marks of a morally true visible Church.
In short therefore, the Case stood thus. The Papists were constantly objecting to the Protestants, that they were no part of the visible. Church; be cause they had forsaken the Communion of the Bishop of Rome. To obviate this Pretense, our Article asserts, that the visible Church of Christ is a Congregation of faithful Men, in which the pure Word of God is preach'd, and the Sacraments be duly ministred according to Chrift'sOrdinance, in all those things that of Neceflity are requisite to the same. And hereby, i. Io vindicates our own Claim to the Title of a visible Particular Church, or a part of the visible Catholic Church; Because we have Purity of Doctrin and a due Ministration of the Sacraments, which are, tho' not all, yet the principal Marks of a morally true visible Church, 2. It retorts the Charge upon the Papifts, who want those two Marks,: . and who tho' they are a visible Church, and consequently a true visible Church by a Metaphysical Verity ; yet are not such a morally true visible Church, as they ought to be. This is most certainly the meaning of the Proposition ; tho' I must own, it might have been more happily worded.
The Sense of the Proposition being clear’d, the Truth of it is self evident, and readily acknowledged by Papists as well as Protestants. Whether the Papists had or wanted such a Purity of Doctrin and due Ministration of the Sacraments, as the Article speaks of, is another Question. The Compilers of the Article justly thought they had them not : but did not specify Particulars here, reserving them
for distinct Heads; and they are accordingly difpers'd up and down, and very ealily found, in their proper Places
The Second Proposition. If it be inquired, whether the Church affirms, and consequently whether we be' oblig'd to subscribe, no more than that the Church of Jerufalem, Alexandria, and Antioch-have erred ; or that the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch have, like the Church of Rome, erred in Matters of Faith; as well as in their living, and manner of Ceremonies: L-answer, that tho' 'tis poflible, the Compilers of the Articles might mean the latter; yet ir doth not appear that they did; and 'tis certain, that their Expressions do not ne! ceffarily fignifiy, and consequently we are not bound to fubfcribe, more than the former. And accordingly I have worded the Proposition. Wherefore he that believes, that the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, have erred at all, whether in Living, or in manner of Ceremonies, or in mata ters of Faith (tho' perhaps he is not satisfied, that they have erred in all these Respects, or it may be in more than one of them) may honestly subscribe this Proposition. ib.
Now that the Churches of Jerufalem, Alexandriaand Antioch have erred; nonc can doubt, who considers, that Arianism had once overspread those Parts of the World. This is a plain Instance in matters of Faith. If any Man thinks his Subscription obliges · him to own, that they have also erred in Living and manner of Ceremonies; the Truth of this Charge is too plainly prov'd. For, 1. No Church ever wanted some degree of Depravity of Manners. 2. These Churches have been tainted with the Remin Pollutions in Worship,
The Third Proposition is evident from the whole Course of our Controversies with the Church of Rome. Their Errors in Life they dare not deny ; and their Errors in Faith and manner of Ceremonies evidently appear from their Trent Creed, which is burdened with a vast Variety of such abominable Falshoods, as have grievously corrupted their very Worship. For instance, the Doctrin of Transubftantiation has led them to the grossest Idolatry.
1 forbear other Particulars, which are equally notorious.
The TWENTIETH ARTICLE.
Of the Authority of the Church.
HE Church bath power to decree rites or ceremonies,
and authority in controversies of faith: And is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God's: word written, neither may it so expound one place of scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of boly writ, yet as it ought not to decree any thing against tbe Jame, so besides the same ought it not to enforce any thing to be believ'd for necessity of Salvation.
This Article contains Six Propositions. 1. The Church has Power to decree Rites or
Ceremonies. 2. The Church has Authority in Controverfies
of Faith. 3. It is not lawful for the Church to ordain any
thing that is contrary to God's Word written.
4. The Church may not so expound one Place
of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another, s! The Church is a Witness and Keeper of Holy jiWrit. 4.. 11.::
6. As'it ought not to decree any thing against ["Holy Writ, so besides the same ought it not to w::: enforce any thing to be believed for Neceffity V:of Salvation.
.! The First, Second, Third and Fourth Propofitions aro establish'd in the present Order, in the Second Part of the Rights of the Clergy, Chap.
The Fifth is a notorious Matter of Fact. For it appears by historical Evidence, that the Holy Scriptures have been constantly Extant in the Church, and that she has in all Ages receiv'd the same Scriptures which we now enjoy, and therefore she is a Witness and Keeper of them.
The Sixth Proposition has two Branches, 1. The Church ought not to decree any thing against Holy Writ. This is a Repetition of the Third Propofition. 2. She ought not to enforce any thing to be believ'd for Neceflity of Salvation, which is not contain'd in Scripture. See the Two first Propositions of the Sixth Article.
The TWENTY FIRST ARTICLE.
Of the Authority of General Councils.
ENERAL Councils may not be gathered together
without the commandment and will of Princes. And when they be gathered together (forasmuch as they be an afsembly of men, whereof all be not governed with the Spirit