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“ be more impudent, it will be good to recite a few paf. “ sages out of scripture,” &c. And from thence he confutes them at large. It was so gross an error, that he thought it might be sufficient, without bringing particu. lar arguments out of fcripture against it, to say, that it was contrary to the ancient faith : but yet, left they should (if he had said no more) have taken boldness from thence, and thought that nothing more could be said against it; therefore he confutes it from particular texts of scripture. And what, in his opinion, was the sufficient rule of faith, Mr S. might have seen at the beginning of this epistle, from these words : “ That faith which “ was profesied by the fathers in that council (viz. the “ Nicene) according to the scripture, is to me sufficient," &c. It seems that scripture was to him the rule and standard whereby to judge even the creeds of general councils.
Mr S. says he will be shorter in the rest. And so will I: for what is to be said toîtestimonies brought at a venture; when he that brings them, had he read the books themselves, could not have had the face to have brought them? Such is this out of Clem. Alexander. (Stromat.l. 7.) “ As if one of a man becomes a beast, like those in* fected with Circe's poison ; so he hath forfeited his be.
ing a man of God, and faithful to our Lord, who “ spurns against ecclesiastical tradition, and leaps into “ opinions of human election.” Mr S. knows whose way of quoting this is, to pick a bit out of the midst of a text that sounds something towards his purpose, and leave out the rest, which would make it evident to be meant just contrary. Yet I cannot charge this wholly upon Mr S. whose implicit faith, were it not for his culpable ignorance, might excuse him. But for his feducer, Mr White, how he can acquit himself of so foul an imputation, I leave it to any ingenuous Papist to judge, when I have nakedly set the whole paffage before him. Clement, speaking of heretics who relinquish the fcripture, or abuse it by wresting it to their lusts, says, 's Men who deal in matters of highest importance, must s! need commit great errors, if they do not take and 6. hold the RULE OF FAITH from truth itself. For s such men having once deviated from the right way,
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“ do likewise err in most particulars; probably because “they have not the faculty of distinguishing truths and “ falsehoods perfe&ly exercised, to chuse what ought to “ be chosen : for, if they had this, they would be ruled by " the divine SCRIPTURES. [Therefore, as if any of " mankind should become a beast, in such fort as those s who were çaprazlean, bewitched by Circe; eren so " he hath lost his being a man of God, and abiding « faithful to the Lord, who hath fpurned against the “ tradition of the church, and skipped into the opi" nions of human sects, dipecewv,] (not of human election, " as Mr S. blindly following Mr White, does most
absurdly translate it) : but he that hath returned from “ his errors, and hearkened to the SCRIPTURES, and “ conformed his life to the truthi, is as it were advan« ced from a man to a god.” At the same rate he goes on for several pages together, taking the scriptures for an indemonftrable principle, from which all divine doctrines are to be demonstrated, and for the criterion whereby they are to be tried ; and charges the heretics in such words as we cannot find fitter for our adversa. ries : “ As (says he) naughty boys shut out their school. “ master, so these drive the prophecies out of the church,
suspecting that they will chide and admonish them " and they patch together abundance of falsehoods and “ fictions, that they may seem RATIONALLY not to “ admit the scriptures.” Again, speaking of those here. tics affronting the scriptures, he tells us, “they oppose " the Oza napadbois, divine tradition, with human doc" trines, Siitepwa tupsy xeipácEw, by other traditions [de“ livered from hand to hand] that they may establish a ** sect or herefy.” Again, he fays, “they adulterate “ the truth, and steal the rule of faith, &c. but for O. “ RAL frauds they shall have WRITTEN punish66 ments.” But enough of this. Whosoever desires to see more of it, let him read on, where these men, to their own shame, have directed us, and see whether any Protestant can speak more fully and plainly in this controversy. The whole trust of the Papists is upon the equivocal sense of the word tradition. Which word is commonly used by the fathers to fignify to us the scripture or divine tradition, as Çlement here calls it; but
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the Papifts understand it of their unwritten tradition; and to this they apply all those passages in the fathers where tradition is honourably mentioned. So Mr S. deals with us in the testimonies I have already examined: and there is nothing of argument in those few which remain, but from the ambiguity of this word : which I ned not thew of every one of them in particn. lar ; for r:hosoever shall read them with this key, will find, that they are of no force to conclude what he drives at.
§ 5. As for his citations out of the council of Trent, by which he would prove it to be the persuasion of their present church, that tradition is the sole rule of faith, I have already shewn, that that council hath declared o. therwise, and is otherwise understood by the chief of their own writers. And therefore he did prudently to conceal in an &c. those choaking words, in which the council declares itself to "receive and honour, with equal pious “ affection and reverence, the books of scripture and "unwritten traditions." And, after a deal of shuffling, what a pitiful account is it that he at last gives of that council's putting scripture constantly before tradition ; because scripture being interpreted by tradition, is of the fame authority," as if an Apostle or an Evangelist “ were present; and therefore no sonder they honour “ fcripture testimony so as to put it before tradition ?” which is to say, that because fcripture is subordinate to tradition, and to be regulated by it, therefore it deserves to be put before it. Besides, if fcripture and tradition be but several ways of conveying the evangelical and apoftolical doctrine, why faould he imagine an Evangelist or Apostle to be more present by the scripture than by oral tradition ; especially if it be con Gidered, that he supposes scripture to be an uncertain, and tradition an in.. fallible way of conveying this doctrine ?
SECT. II. The testimonies on the behalf of fcripture.
LL ihat now remains, is, to confirm the pre
cedent discourse, by testimonies of the most eminent persons of the church in several ages. In which I shall not need to be large, being so happily prevented by VOL. III. M m
that full account which is given of the sense of the ancients in this matter, in the answer to Labyrinthus Cane tuariensis; which Mr S. may, if he please, consult for his farther conviction.
§ 2. I begin with the historical account which Eusebius gives of committing the gospel to writing; which is to this purpose (Hist. ecclef. 1.2.c. 14.) viz. that “the “ Romans were not content with the doctrine preached, “ unless it were also committed to writing; and there• fore did earnestly beg of Mark, Peter's companion, - that he would leave them a monument in writing, of " that doctrine which had been delivered to them by ” word of mouth. And this was the occasion of the “ writing of Mark's gospel. And when Peter did un“ derstand, that this work was published, being fuggeft“ ed by the divine revelation of the Holy Spirit, it is “ faid, he was very much pleased with the ready and “ earnest defire of those persons; and that, by his au
thority, he confirmed this writing, to the end that it « might be every where read in the church.” As for St Matthew and St John, he tells us (ibid. l. 3. C. 18.) that “ of all the disciples, they two only have left mo
numents in writing; of whom it is also reported, that
they betook themselves to write, being drawn there“to by necessity. Matthew, after he had preached the 66 word of God to the Jews, and was resolved to go to “ other nations, wrote his gospel in the language of so his country; and thus, by the diligence and pains of
writing, did abundantly supply the want of his pre. “ fence to those whom he left. And when Mark and " Luke had published their gospel, it is reported, that
John (who always used to preach the word without
writing it) being at length wrought upon by the same “ reason, did betake himself to write.” From this account it is clear, that the Apostles thought it neceffary, for the preservation and fure conveyance of the Chri. ftian doctrine, that it should be put into writing; and that they judged this a better way to suppy the want of their presence, than oral tradition. Therefore the same author tells us (ibid. c. 31.) that “ the disciples who
immediately succeeded the Apostles, as they travelled ss to preach the gospel to those who had not yet heard
“ the word of faith, did, with great care, also deliver to " them the writings of the holy Evangelists.” Again, (ibid. c. 30.), that " Ignatius, as he travelled towards is Rome, where he was to suffer, exhorted the churches “ of every city, to hold fast the tradition of the Apostles; “ which (as also by writing he testified) for the greater “ fecurity, he held neceffary to be copied in writing.”
§ 3. That the heretics of old made the same pretence which the Papists make now, of oral tradition in opposition to fcripture, the fame Eusebius tells us; and with. al, that books are a sufficient confutation of this pretence. “ 1 hole (says he, ibid. 18.104.22.168.) who were of the “ Heresy of Artemon, said, that all their forefathers, and “ the Apostles themselves, had received and taught the “ fame things which they also did, and had preserved “ the true teaching unto the time of Victor Bishop of “ Rome; whose fucceffor, Zephyrinus corrupted it. " And this (faith he) would have great probability;
were it not first of all contradicted by the scripture; “ and next if there did not remain the writings of other “ brethren, much more ancient than Vidior's time; “ &c. in the books of all whom Christ's divinity is ac“ knowledged.” And afterwards he tells us, that these heretics did change and corrupt the scriptures, to bring them to their opinions. So M. S. tells us, that the outward letter of fcripture ought to be corrected by tradition, and sense written in mens hearts.
St Hierom also tells us (Com. in Ifa.6.9.) that “ the “ heretics were wont to say, We are the sons of the “ wise, who did from the beginning deliver down to
us the apostolical doctrine ;' but he adds, that “ the true fons of Judah adhere to the scripture,”
$ 4. That scripture is sufliciently plain in all things necessary.
St Chryfoftom (in 2 Thel.c. 2. hom. 4.) “All things “ in the divine fcriptures
are plain and straight. What“ foever things are necessary, are manifest."
St Austin, having spoken of the profoundness of scripture, adds (Epift. 3.) “Not that those things which
are necessary to lalvation are so hard to be come at; 66 but (saith he) when one hath there attained faith;
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