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certainty of sense, does in so doing overthrow the certainty of the Christian religion. And what can be more vain, than to pretend, that a man may be assured, that such a doctrine is revealed by God, and consequently true, which if it be true, a man can have no assurance at all of any divine revelation ? Surely nothing is to be admitted by us as certain, which being admitted, we can be certain of nothing. It is a wonder, that any man who confiders the natural consequences of this doctrine, can be a Papist, unless he have attained to Mr Cressy's pitch of learning; who, fpeaking of the difficult arguments wherewith this doctrine was pressed, says plainly, (Exomol. c. 73. $ 7.), “I must answer freely “ and ingenuously, that I have not learned to answer such arguments, but to despise them.” And, if this be a good way, whenever we have a mind to believe any thing, to scorn those objections against it which we cannot folve ; then Christian religion hath no advantage above the vilest enthusiasis; and a Turk may maintain Mahomet and his Alcoran, in opposition to Christ and his doctrine, against all that Grotius, or any other, hath said, if he can but keep his countenance, and gravely fay, “ I have not learned to answer “ such arguments, but to despise them.”

§ 10. I will add one instance more in another kind, to shew the uncertainty of oral and practical traditions ; and that shall be the tradition concerning Pope Joan; than which scarce any was ever more generally received in the historical kind, Many and great authors affirm it, as testifiers of the general fame. None ever denied it till the reformers had made use of it to the disadvantage of Popery. Since that time, not only Papists deny it, but several of our own writers cease to behieve it. Phil. Bergomensis tells the story thus : “ Anno “ 858, John, the 7th Pope, &c. The tradition is, that " this person was a woman,” &c. Here is an oral tradition. He concludes thus : " In detestation of whole

filthiness, and to perpetuate the memory of her name, “ the Popes, even to this day, going on procession with " the people and clergy, when they come to the place " of her travail, &c. in token of abomination, they turn from it, and go a by-way; and, being past that

66 detestable

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os detestable place, they return into the way, and finish “ their proceflion.” Here is one practical tradition. “ And, for avoiding of the like miscarriages, it was de“ creed, that no one should thereafter be admitted into “ St Peter's chair, priufquam per foratam fedem futuri

Pontificis genitalia ab ultimo Diacono Cardinale attree

tarentur. Here is another with a witness. Sabellicus relates the same, (Ennead. 6. 1. 1.), and moreover says, that “.this porphyry chair was, in his time, to be “ seen in the Pope's palace.” He adds, indeed, that

Platina thinks, that this tradition of Pope Joan was “ not faithfully delivered to pofterity. But, however,

(fays he), such a tradition there is concerning the first

practical tradition.” Platina says, that “ he may “ not deny it." For the second, he thinks “ the chair “ rather designed for a stool, for another use,” &c. He concludes, " These things which I have related are

commonly reported, yet from uncertain and obfcure " authors : therefore I resolved (says he) briefly and

nakedly to set them down, left I should seem too ob“stinately and pertinaciously to have omitted that which “ almost all affirm.” It is no wonder that he says the authors of this report were uncertain and obscure, since so very few writ any thing in that age. But, fuppose none had writ of it, so long as he acknowledges it to have been a general oral tradition, attested by a folemn and constant practice, it has, according to Mr S.'s principles, greater certainty than if it had been brought down to us by a hundred books written in that very age: So that here is an oral and practical tradition, continued, we are sure, for some hundreds of years, preserved and propagated by a solemn pra&ice of the Popes, clergy, and people of Rome, in their processions, and by a notorious custom at the election of every Pope ; and in a matter of fo great importance to their religion, (the honour of the fee of Rome, and the uninterrupted succeffion from St Peter, being so nearly concerned in it); that, had it been false, they had been obliged, under pain of damnation, not only not to have promoted it, but to have used all means to have discovered the falsity of it. Therefore Mr S. is bound, by his own principles, either to allow. it for a truth, or else to give an


account when and how it began ; which may posibly be made out by “we metaphysicians,” (as he styles himself and his scientifical brethren, p. 340.), but I assure him it is past the skill of note-book learning, p. 336.

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Sect. X. The fourth answer to his second demonstration.


T is not the present persuasion of the church of fcended to them by oral tradition as the sole rule of it. And this being proved, the supposition upon which his demonstration is built, falls to the ground.

And for the proof of this I appeal to the decree of the council of Trent ( Decret. primum quarta feli) in which they declare, that becaule the “ Christian faith “ and discipline are contained in written books and: “ unwritten traditions, &c. therefore they do receive: " and honour the books of scripture, and also tradi“ tion, pari pietatis affe&tu ac reverentia, with equal pious as affection and reverence ;

” which I understand not how those do who set aside the scripture, and make tra-: dition the sole rule of their faith. And consonantly to this decree, the general doctrine of the Romish church: is, that scripture and tradition make up the rule of faith. So the Roman catechism (set forth by order of the couno cil of Trent) says:( in præfat.) that “ the sum of the 66 doctrine delivered to the faithful is contained in the word of God, which is disributed into fcripture and “ tradition.” Bellarmine (De verbo Dei, &c. I.4.C 12.) speaks to the same purpose, that " the scripture is a: 6 rule of faith, not an entire, but partial one. The en66 tire rule is the word of God, which is divided into two partial rules, fcripture and tradition." According to this the adequate rule of faith is the word of God, which is contained partly in fcripture, and partly in the tradition of the church. And that scripture is looked upon by them as the principal rule and primary founda-tion of their faith, and tradition as only supplying the de-fects of scripture, as to some doctrines and rites not": contained in scripture, must be evident to any one that has been conversant in the chief of their controversial di:


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vines. Bellarmine, (De verbo Dei non fcripto. l. 4, c. 9.) where he gives the marks of a divine tradition, speaks to this purpose, that that which they call a divine tradition is such a doctrine or rite as is not found in scripture, but embraced by the whole church ; and for that reason believed to have descended from the Apostles: And he tells us farther, (ibid. c. 11.) that the Apostes committed all to writing which was commonly and publicly preached ; and that all things are in fcripture which men are bound to know and believe explicitly : but then he says, that there were other things which the Apostles did not commonly and publicly teach ; and these they did not commit to writing, but delivered them only. by “ word of mouth to the prelates and

priests, and perfect men of the church." And these are the Apoftolical traditions he speaks of. Cardinal Perron says (Reply, observat. 3. C. 4.) that “ the scrip“ ture is the foundation of the Christian doctrine, either mediately or immediately. And that the authority of “ unwritten tradition is founded in general on these sentences of the Apostle, Hold the traditions, &c, 2 Theff. « ii, 15. again, The things which thou haft heard of me

among many wirnelles, commit to faiihful men, &c." 2 Tim. ii. 2. And that “ the authority of the church to “ preserve, and especially to declare these, is founded " in this propofition, viz. That the church is the pillar and ground of truth.1 Tim. ii. 15. So that, according to him, the primary rule of faith is the scripture " in “ which the authority of tradition is founded." Mr Knott (Charity maintained, c. 2. $ 1.) says expressly, We acknowledge the holy scripture to be a most perfect rule, for as much as a writing can be a rule ; we “ only deny that it excludes either divine tradition,

though it be unwritten ; or an external judge, to keep, “ to propose, to interpret it,” &c. So that, according to him, fcripture is a perfect rule ; only it does not ex clude unwritten tradition, &c. By which that he does not understand, as Mr S. does, a concurrent oral tradition of all the same doctrines which are contained in scripture, but other doctrines not therein contained, is plain from what he says elsewhere, (Reply to Mr Ghillingworth, c. 2. $.170.), "We do not distinguish tradis

66 tion

« tion from the written word, because tradition is not “ written by any, or in any book or writing ; but because “ it is not written in the scripture or Bible.” Bellarmine (De verbo Dei, &c. l. 4. c. 2.) also says the same. And as for the interpreting of scripture, he tells us, that this is not the office of a rule, but of a judge. “ There is “ (says he, Charity maintained, c. 2. 93.) a great and “ plain distinction between a judge and a rule : for as “ in a kingdom the judge hath his rule to follow, which

are the received laws and customs; which are not “ fit or able to declare, and be judges themselves, but “ that office must belong to a living judge : so the holy

scripture is and may be a rule, but cannot be a judge. Here he makes the scripture as much a rule for matters of faith, as the laws of the land are for civil matters. And, in his Reply to Mr Chillingworth, he hath a chap: ter of above 150 pages, the title whereof is, Scripture is not the only rule of faith ; which (had he with Mr S. believed oral tradition to be the sole rule of faith) had been as absurd as it would be to write a book, to prove that Turks are not the only Christians in the world. Mě Cressy likewise (not very confiftently with himself ), lays down this conclufion, (Exomolog. c. 20.), “ The entire " rule of faith is contained not only in fcripture, but “ likewise in written tradition.” 7. § 2. Now, all this is as contrary as can be to Mé Rushworth's new rule of faith. Therefore Mr White says,(Tabul. Suffrag. p. 96.), “ They speak ill, who teach “ that some things are known in the church from scrip

ture, some by tradition.” And Dr Holden (in oppofition to those who make scripture any part of the rule of faith) advances one of the most wild and uncharitable positions that ever I yet met withal, viz. (Analys. fid. l. 1. 6.6.) That “ if one should believe all the ar* ticles of the Catholic faith, &c. for this reason, be“ cause he thought they were all expressly revealed in

scripture, or implicitly contained, so as they might "be deduced from thence, and would not have believed them, had he not judged that they might-be e“ vinced from scripture : yet this man could be no true “ Catholic ; becaufe (as he tells us afterwards, 6. 8.) we must receive the Christian doctrine as coming to


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