Imágenes de páginas
PDF
[ocr errors][merged small]

To uphold the religion which at this day is maintained in the Church of Rome, and to discredit the truth which we profess, three things are here urged, by one who hath undertaken to make good the papists' cause against all gainsayers. The first concerneth the original of the errors wherewith that part standeth charged: the author and time whereof he requireth us to shew. The other two respect the testimony, both of the primitive Church and of the sacred Scriptures: which, in the points wherein we vary, if this man may be believed, maketh wholly for them and against us. “First then would he fain know, what bishop of Rome did first alter that religion, which we commend in them of the first four hundred years? In what pope's days was the true religion overthrown in Rome?” To which I amswer. First, that we do not hold that Rome was built in a day; or that the great dunghill of errors, which now we see in it, was raised in an age: and therefore it is a vain demand, to require from us the name of any one bishop of Rome, by whom or under whom this Babylonish con- , fusion was brought in. Secondly, that a great difference is to be put betwixt heresies, which openly oppose the foundations of our faith, and that apostacy which the Spirit hath evidently foretold should be brought in by such as

“speak* lies in hypocrisy.” The impiety of the one is so notorious, that at the very first appearance it is manifestly discerned : the other is a “mystery" of iniquity," as the apostle termeth it; “iniquitas, sed mystica, id est, pietatis nomine palliata (so the ordinary Gloss expoundeth the place), an iniquity indeed, but mystical, that is, cloked with the name of piety.” And therefore they, who kept continual watch and ward against the one, might sleep while the seeds of the other were a sowing ; yea, peradventure might at unawares themselves have some hand in bringing in of this Trojan horse, commended thus unto them under the name of religion and semblance of devotion. Thirdly, that the original of errors is oftentimes so obscure, and their breed so base, that howsoever it might be easily observed by such as lived in the same age, yet no wise man will marvel, if in tract of time the beginnings of many of them should be forgotten, and no register of the time of their birth found extant. We read" that the Sadducees taught there were no angels: is any man able to declare unto us, under what high priest they first broached this error? The Grecians, Circassians, Georgians, Syrians, Egyptians, Habassines, Muscovites, and Russians, dissent at this day from the Church of Rome in many particulars: will you take upon you to shew in what bishops' days these several differences did first arise? When the point hath been well scanned, it will be found, that many errors have crept into their profession, the time of the entrance whereof you are not able to design: and some things also are maintained by you against them, which have not been delivered for catholic doctrine in the primitive times, but brought in afterwards, yourselves know not when. Such, for example, is that sacrilege of yours, whereby you withhold from the people the use of the cup in the Lord's Supper; as also your doctrine of indulgences and purgatory: which they reject, and you defend. For,

* 1 Tim. chap. 4. ver. 1, 2. * 2 Thess. chap. 2. ver, 7. * Acts, chap. 23. ver, 8.

touching the first, Gregorius" de Valentia, one of your principal champions, confesseth, that the use of receiving the sacrament in one kind began first in some churches, and grew to be a general custom in the Latin Church not much before the council of Constance, in which at last (to wit, two hundred years ago) this custom was made a law. But if you put the question to him as you do to us, What bishop of Rome did first bring in this custom 2 he giveth you this answer, that it “began to be used, not by the decree of any bishop, but by the very use of the churches, and the consent of the faithful.” If you further question with him, “Quando primum vigere coepit ea consuetudo in aliquibus ecclesiis ? when first did that custom get footing in some churches” he returneth you for answer, “Minime constat:” it is more than he can tell. The like doth Fisher" bishop of Rochester, and cardinal' Cajetan, give us to understand of indulgences; that no certainty can be had, what their original was, or by whom they were first brought in. Fisher also further addeth concerning purgatory: that in the ancient fathers there is either none at all, or very rare mention of it; that by the Grecians it is not believed, even to this day; that the Latins also, not all at once but by little and little, received it: and that, purgatory being so lately known, it is not to be marvelled, that in the first times of the Church there was no use of indulgences; seeing these had their beginning, after that men for a while had been affrighted with the torments of purgatory. Out of which confession of the adverse part you may observe: 1. What little reason these men have, to require us to set down the precise time wherein all their prophane novelties were first brought in: seeing that this is more than they themselves are able to do. 2. That some of them may come in pedetentim (as Fisher acknowledgeth purgatory did) by little and little, and by very slow steps, which are not so easy to be discerned, as fools be borne in hand they are. 3. That it is a fond imagination, to suppose that all such changes must be made by some bishop, or any one certain author: whereas it is confessed, that some may come in by the tacit consent of many", and grow after into a general custom, the beginning whereof is past man's memory. And as some superstitious usages may draw their original from the indiscreet devotion of the multitude, so some also may be derived from want of devotion in the people; and some alterations likewise must be attributed to the very change of time itself. Of the one we cannot give a fitter instance, than in your private mass, wherein the priest receiveth the sacrament alone: which Harding" fetcheth from no other ground, than “lack of devotion of the people's part.” When you therefore can tell us, in what pope's days the people fell from their devotion; we may chance tell you, in what pope's days your private mass began. An experiment of the other we may see in the use of the Latin service in the churches of Italy, France, and Spain. For if we be questioned, When that use first began there 2 and further demanded, Whether' the language, formerly used in their liturgy, was changed upon a sudden’ our answer must be, that Latin service was used in those countries from the beginning: but that the Latin tongue at that time was commonly understood of all; which afterward by little and little degenerated into those vulgar languages which now are used. When you therefore shall be pleased to certify us, in what pope's days the Latin tongue was changed into the Italian, French, and Spanish, which we pray you do for our learning; we will then give you to understand, that from that time forward the language, not of the service, but of the people, was altered. “Nec enim lingua vulgaris populo

* Valent. de legit. usu euchar. cap. 10. • Roffen. assert. Lutheran, confutat. artic. 18. f Cajet. opusc, tom. 1. tract, 15. de indulgent. cap. 1.

s So saith Bonfrerius, the Jesuit, of the vulgar Latin edition of the Bible. Pedetentim usu ipso et tacita doctorum approbatione coepit esse in pretio, hac aestimatione sensin sine sensu crescente. praeloqu, in scriptur. cap. 15. sec. 2.

* Hard. answer to the first article of Jewell's challenge, fol. 26, b. edit. Antwerp. ann. 1565.

* Allen, artic, 11. demand. 9.

« AnteriorContinuar »