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56 Catholic church.” Thus he does by reason clearly and infallibly evince, that reason cannot be otherwise than a most blind and fallible guide. This it is to talk of things when a man looks only upon one side of them ; as if because reason has a blind fide, and is uncertain in some things, therefore we ought to conclude her univerfally blind, und uncertain in every thing; and as if because all men cannot think all things reasonable which any one man thinks to be so, therefore it is to be doubted, whether those common principles of reason be true which mankind are generally agreed in. And that Mr Cressy speaks here of the use of our private reason in the finding out of our rule, is clear from what he says in the next fection, viz. that “ this hood-winked guide (inqui“ ring into scripture, and searching after tradition) may
possibly stumble upon the way to unity and truth; " that is, the true Catholic Church.” If this be true, why does Mr S. pretend, that he can by reason demonstrate the infallibility of tradition, and by this hoodwinked guide lead men to the true rule of faith? And what a pitiful encouragement would this be to an inquisitive philosopher, who knowing no other guide but his reason whereby to find out whether scripture or tradition be the rule, to tell him, that, by the help of this hoodwinked guide, he might possibly stumble upon the right?
A man may justly stand amazed at the inconsistency of these mens discourses and principles. In one mood they are all for demonstration, and for convincing men in the way of perfect science, which is the true rule of faith. But then, again, when another fit takes them, there is no such thing as fcience. Human reason grows all on the sudden dim-fighted, and at the next word is struck stark blind ; and then the very utmost that it can do towards the bringing of an unprejudiced and inquisitive person to the true rule of faith, is, to leave him in a pollibility of stumbling upon it: but if he be a heretic that makes use of private reason for his guide, then “it is impof« fible, but that he with his blind guide should fall in“ to the pit," ( Append. c.7. 98.). I cannot, for my part, imagine how they can réconcile the blindness of human reason with all that noise which they make about science and demonstration : but this I must conЕe2
« fefs, that these kind of discourses which I meet with in Mr S. and Mr Cresfy, are very proper arguments to persuade a man of the blindness of human reason. And indeed there is one passage in Mr Creffy which gives me very great satisfaction concerning these matters; where he tells us, ibid. that “the wit and judgement of Ca" tholics is, to renounce their own judgement, and de.
pose their own wit.” Now, he that professes to have done this, may write contradictions, and no body ought to challenge him for it. However, it is a very ingenu. ous acknowledgement, that, when he forsook our church, and turned Papist, he laid afide his judgement and wit; which is just such an heroic act of judgement, as if a man, in a bravery, to shew his liberty, fhould fel him. self for a slave. i am glad to understand, from an experienced person, what charges a man must be at when he turns. Roman Catholic, namely, that whoever will embrace that religion, must forfeit his reason.
3. 2dly, The way of demonstration is, according to Mr S. no certain way to find out the rule of faith. In his fourth rippendix against my Lord of Down, P. 253. 25.4. one of the eight mines, as he calls them, which he lays to blow up my Lord's disfuafive against Popery, is this : “ That the method he takes in dissuading, cannot “ be held in reason to have power to dissuade, unless it « be proper to that effect; that is, not common to that “ effect and a contrary one. Now, that being most evi
dently no method or way to such an effect, which ma. ny foliow and take, yet arrive not at that effect, it is
plain to common sense, that my Lord of Down mifac calls his book a diffuafive ; and that it can have in it “ no power of moving the understandiag one way or oas ther, unless he can firft vouch fome particularity in the c method he takes, above what is in others, in which we “ experience miscarriage," &c. If this be true, then his metliod of demonftration is no way to make men certain of what he pretends to demonstrate ; because that is “ moft evidently no way to an effect which many fol« low and take, yet arrive not at that effect ;” so that " it is plain to common sense, that Mr S.'s demonstra. os tains can have in them no power of moving the un" derflanding one way or other, unless he can vouch
“ fome particularity in the demonstrations he pretends “ to bring, above what is in other pretended demonstra“ tions, in which we experience miscarriage." Do not Thomas and Scotus (as Mr White tells, Exetasis, p.24.) all along pretend to demonstrate ? and yet it is generally believed, that, at least where they contradict one another, one of them failed in his demonstrations. Did not Mr Charles Thynne pretend to have demonstrated, that a man at one jump might leap from London to Rome ? and yet I do not think any one was ever satisfied with his demonstration. And Mr S. knows one in the world, whom I will not name, because he hath since ingenuously acknowledged his error, who thought he had demonstrated the quadrature of the circle; and was to confident of it, as to venture the reputation of his demonstrations in divinity upon it; and some of those divinity-demonstrations were the very
same with Mr S.'s. Since, therefore, the world hath experienced so much miscarriage in the way of demonstration, before Mr S.'s demonstrations can be allowed to signify any thing, he must, according to his own law, vouch fome particularity in his way and method of demonstration above what is in other mens, He hath not any where, that I remember, told us what that particularity is, wherein his way of demonstration is above other mens : nor can I, upon the most diligent Search, find any peculiar advantage that his way has, more than theirs above mentioned ; unless this be one, that he pretends to demonstrate a self-evident principle, and herein I think he hath plainly the advantage of Mr Charles Thynne; and unless this may be counted another advantage, that he has so extraordinary a confidence and conceit of his own demonstrations; and in this particular, I must acknowledge, that he clearly excels alt that have gone before him. In all other things his way of demonstration is but like his neighbours,
Sect. II. Mr S'.'s demonstration à priori.
Come now to examine his demonstrations of this
felf-evident principle, (as he often calls it), That oral tradition is a certain and infallible way of convey
E e 3
ing Christ's doctrine from one age to another, without any corruption or change; which is to fay, that it is impossible but that this rule should always have been kept to. That this is not a felf-evident principle, needs no other evidence, than that he goes about to demonstrate it. But yet, notwithstanding this, I think he hath as much reason to call this a self-evident principle, as to call his proofs of it demonstrations.
§ 2. In order to his demonstration à priori, he lays these four grounds, which I shall set down in his own words, p. 59. 60.“ 1. That Christian doctrine was at “ first unanimously settled by the Apotles, in the hearts “ of the faithful, dispersed in great multitudes over se“ veral parts. of the world. 2. That this doctrine was.
firmly believed by all those faithful, to be the way to « heaven; and the contradicting or deserting it, to be 55 the way to damnation : so that the greatelt hopes and “ fears imaginable were, by engaging the divine autho"rity, strongly applied to the minds of the first believers, “ encouraging them to the adhering to that doctrine, “ and deterring them from relinquishing it; and indeed “ infinitely greater than any other whatever, springing “ from any temporal consideration : and that it is was. “ in all ages the persuasion of the faithful. 3. That “ hopes of good, and fears of harm, strongly applied,
are the causes of actual will. 4. That the thing was as feasible, or within their power: that what they were “ bred to, was knowable by thein. This put, it follows
as certainly, that a great number or body of the first « believers, and after faithful in each age, that is, from
age to age, would continue to hold themselves, and s teach their children as themselves had been taught, " that is, would follow and stick to tradition; as.it doth, " that a cause, put actually causing, produceth its effect. This is his deinonstration, with the grounds of it.
$ 3. To shew the vanity and weakness of this pretenda ed demonstration, I shall affail. it these three ways; by fhewing, 1. That if the grounds of it were true, they would conclude too much, and prove that to be imposfible, which common experience evinceth, and himself muit grant to liave becil, 2. That his inain grounds
are apparently false. 3. That his demonstration is confuted by clear and undeniable instances to the contrary.
SECT. III. The first answer to his demonstration. § 1. TF the grounds of it were true, they would conclude
too much, and prove that to be impoflible, which cominon experience evinceth, and himself must grant to have been. For if these two principles be true, " That " the greatest hopes and fears are strongly applied to the s minds of all Christians," and, “ That those hopes and “ fears, strongly applied, are the cause of actual will to “S adhere constantly to Christ's doctrine,” then from hence it follows, that none that entertain this doctrine can ever fall from it; because falling from it is inconsiitent with an actual will of adhering constantly to it. For fuppofing (as he doth) certain and constant causes of actual will to adhere to this do&rine, those who entertain it muit actually will to adhere to it; because “ a cause
put actually causing, produceth its effect;" which is constant adherence to it. And if this were true, these two things would be impossible: 21. That any Christian fhould turn apostate or heretic;. ' 2. That
any Christian should live wickedly; both which not only frequent and undoubted experience doth evince, but himself must grant de facto to have been.
$ 2. First, It would be imposible that any Christian fhould turn apostate or heretic. Heresy, according to hiin, is nothing else but the renouncing of tradition. Now he tells us, p. 60. that “ the first renouncers of “ tradition must have been true believers, or holders of “ it ere they renounced it;" and I suppose there is the fame reason for apoftates. But if all Christians, or true believer's, (as he calls them) have these arguments of hope and fear strongly applied, and hope and fear strongly applied be the causes of actual wilt to adhere to this doctrine ; it is necessary all Christians should adhere to it, and impossible there should be either apostates or hereties. For if these causes be put in " all the faithful actually
causing,” (as the grounds of his demonstration suppose), and " indefectibleness be the proper and neceffary & effect of these causes," as he also faith, p. 75. then it