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“ us by tradition ; for only by this means (excluding “ the fcriptures) Christ hath appointed revealed truths
to be received and communicated." In the mean time, Cardinal Perron (unless he altered his mind) is in a sad case, who believed the authority of tradition itfelf, for this reason, because it was founded in scripture.
§ 3. And this fundamental difference about the rule of faith, between the generality of their divines and Mr S.'s small party, is fully acknowledged by the traditionists thremselves. Dr Holden says, (l. 1. c. 9.), that 66 their divines who resolve faith according to the com.
mon opinion, do inevitably fall into the shameful “ circle [of proving the divine authority of the fcrip.
ture by the church, and the infallibility of the church " back again by the fcripture] because they dare not 6 build their faith upon the natural evidence and cer: 66 tainty of tradition.” So that Dr Holden's way of refolving faith, is different from the common opinion of their divines, which, he says, (1. 1.c. 3.), " does not “ differ from the opinion of those who resolve their be faith into the private fpirits :” and this (according to Mr White, Extas. p. 70.), is the very way of the Calvinists, and of the absurdest fects. Nay, Mr White saysfarther, ibid, that he will be content to “ fuffer all the
punishment that is due to calumniators, if the Roman “ divines (he there: speaks of) do not hold the same “ rule of faith with the Calvinists, and all the absurdest " sects.
So that it seems that the Calvinists, &c. do: not in their rule of faith differ from the Papists, but only from Mr White, Mr S. &c. Now, the divines he there speaks of, are the cenfors of doctrines at Rome, according to whose advice his infallible holiness, and the Cardinals of the inquisition, do usually proceed in censuring of doctrines. Concerning these divines he goes on to expoftulate in this manner; (ibid. p. 73.), si Shall we endure these men to fit as censors and judges “ of faith, who agree with heretics in the very first
principles which distinguish_Catholics from here“ tics?"Again, p. 144;
". These are thy gods, o “ Rome ! upon these thou dependest, whilst prating
ignorance triumphs in the Roman college.” And he says the same likewise of the generality of their school.
divines, whom he calls sceptics, because they do not own his demonstrative way : infomuch that he tells us, p. 64. that “ few found parts are left uninfected with * this plague of scepticism;" that “this is an universal
gangrene," p. 149. that “ there are but few that “ the way of demonitration, and these are either wea“ ried out, or else live retiredly, or despair of any re“ medy of these things,” p. 67. 68. And indeed all along that book he bemoans himself and his traditionary brethren as a desolate and forlorn party, who have truth on their fide; but want coinpany and encouragement. So he tells us, p. 101. that “ the true scientifical di“ vines dare not profess their knowledge, left they “ fhould be exposed by the sophisters of their church to " the derision and scom, either of their judges, or of - the people.”
§ 4. So that, upon examination of the whole matter, it appears, that Mr S.'s demonstration proceeds upon a false supposition, that it is the persuasion of their present church that tradition is the sole rule of faith. For there is no such matter; unless Mr S. mean by their church, a few private persons, who are looked upon by those who have the chief power in their church, as heretical : as we may reasonably conjecture by the proceedings at Rome against Mr White; many of whose books are there condemned, as “ containing things manifestly he " retical, erroneous in the faith, rash, scandalous, fe“ ditious, and false respectively," &c. (Exetaf. p.9.) and all this done, notwithstanding that the chief subject of those books is the explication and defence of this most Catholic principle, “ That oral tradition is the
only rule of faith; " To sum up then the whole bu. siness : If nothing be to be owned for Christian doctrine, (as the Traditionists say), but what is the general persuasion of those who are acknowledged to be in the communion of the Roman Catholic church; then much lefs can this principle, " That oral tradition is the fole “ rule of faith,” which is pretended to be the foundation of the whole Christian doctrine, be received as defcended from Christ and his Apostles ; since it is so far from being the general persuasion of that church at the present, that it has been, and still is, generally difown.
ed. But Mr White has a salvo for this : For although he grants, (Apol. p. 38.) that "
very many of their “ schoolmen maintain, that tradition is necessary only “ for some points not clearly expressed in fcripture ; “ whence (he says) it seems to follow, that they build
not the whole body of their faith upon tradition : yet (he tells us) there is a vast difference betwixt re
lying on tradition, and saying or thinking we do so.” Suppole there be; yet I hope, that mens saying that they do not rely on tradition as their only rule, is a better evidence that they do not, than any man's surmise to the contrary is, that they do, though they think and fay they do not; which is, in effect, to fay, that they do, though we have as much assurance as we can have, that they do not. Besides, how is this rule “ self“ evident to all, even to the rude vulgar, as to its ru“ ling power," (as Mr S. affirms it is), when the greateft part even of the learned among them think and say, that it is not the only rule ? But Mr White (ibid.p. 39.) endeavours to illustrate this dark point by a fimilitude, which is to this fenfe : As the sceptics, who deny this principle,
" That contradictions cannot be true at once ;" yet in their lives and civil actions proceed as if they owned it; fo the schoolmen, though they deny tradition to be the only rule of faith, yet by resolving their faith into the church, which owns this principle, they do also in practice own it, though they fay, they do not. So that the generality of learned Papists are just such Catholics as the sceptics are dogmatists; that is, a company of absurd people, that confute their principles by their practice. According to this reasoning, I perceive the Protestants will prove as good Catholics as any ; for they do only think and say, that tradition is not the rule of faith ; but that they practically rely upon it, Mr S. hath passed his word for them : for he assures us, p. 30. & 31. (and we may rely upon a man that writes nothing but demonstration), that “ if
we look narrowly into the bottom of our hearts, we 66 shall discover the natural method of tradition to have
unawares settled our judgements concerning faith; « however, when our other concerns awake design in us, we protest against it, and feem perhaps to our
“ unreflecting selves to embrace and hold to the mere “ guidance of the letter of fcripture.” So that, in reality, we are as good Catholics, and as true holders to tradition, as any Papists of them all, at the bottom of our thoughts, and in our fettled judgement: however we have taken up an humour to protelt against it, and may seem perhaps to our unreflecting felves to be Protestants.
$ 5. Thus much may fuffice to have spoken to his two great arguments; or, as he (good man) unfortunately calls them, demonstrations, p. 173. which yet, to say truth, are not properly his, but the author of Rushworth's dialogues ; the main foundation of which book is the substance of these demonstrations. Only, before I take leave of them, I cannot but reflect upon a passage of Mr S.'s, wherein he tells his readers, p. 163. that they are not “ obliged to bend their brains to study his “ book with that severity as they would do an Euclid;" meaning perhaps one of Mr White's Euclids; for it does not appear by his way of demonstration, that ever he dealt with any other. As for the true Euclid, I suppose any one that hath tasted his writings, will, at the reading of Mr S.'s, unbend his brains without bidding, and finile to see himself to demurely discharged from a ftudy fo absurd and ridiculous.
Sect. XI. Concerning some other advantages of tradi
tion, &c. $ 1.I Should now take into consideration his ninth dif. , in which
open the in“ comparable strength of the church's human authority, "s and the advantages which accrue to it by the super“ natural assistances of the Holy Ghost;” but that there is nothing material in it which hath not been answered already. Only, I desire him to explain how the supernatural affittances of the Holy Ghost can, according to his principles, add to our assurance of the certainty of tradition ; because we can have no greater certainty of the supernatural aslistance of the Holy Ghost, than we have, that there is an Holy Ghost; and of this we can have no certainty, (according to Mr S.), but by
tradition, which conveys this doctrine to us. And if tradition of itself can infallibly assure us, that there are supernatural affistances of the Holy Ghost, then a man must know, that tradition is infallible, antecedently to his knowledge of any supernatural aslistance. And if so, what can any supernatural assistance add to my assurance of the certainty of tradition, which I do fuppose to be infallible before I can know of any supernatural assistance ? Can any thing be more ludicrous, than to build first all our certainty of the asistance of the Holy Ghost
upon the certainty of tradition ; and then afterwards to make the certainty of tradition to rely upon the aslistance of the Holy Ghost ? as if that could contribute to our asfurance of the certainty of tradition ; which, unless tradition be first supposed certain, is itself wholly uncertain.
$ 2. The conclusion of this ninth discourse is somewhat exstatical; pollibly from a sudden disorder of his fancy upon the contemplation of his own performances, to see what a man he has made himself, (with the help of Rushworth's dialogues), or rather, what his party has made him by the office they put upon him: for it seems (by his telling, p. 165. and 166.) Mr Cressy, and the relt, are ordained to cajole the fools, leaving him the way of reason and principles; and that himself is chosen out to demonstrate to the wise, or those who judge of things per altisimas caufas. In the discharge of which glorious office, he declares, that he intends no confutation of those authors which Mr Cressy and others have meddled with : “ any
will be fo charitable as to “ judge he hath folidly confuted them, because he hath
radically and fundamentally overthrown all their ar
guments, &c. he shall rejoice, and be thankful.” That the intelligent reader (for he writes to none but fuch, p. 159.) may also rejoice with him, I shall recite the whole pallage : for it is thick of demonstration, and as likely as any in his book to have the altissimas causas contained in it.
“It would require a large volume to unfold par6c ticularly how each virtue contributes to Thew the in“ errable indeficiency of tradition, and how the principles of almost each science are concerned in demon