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Dispute betwixt the Church of Rome and us, ás Invocation of Saints, Purgatory, &c. to go at once to the bottom of the Cause, and examine the Ground and Foundation of Faith; as taught in the Church of Rome ; which is [bewed, I think to a Demonstration, to be wholly precarious and uncertain : And that there is no greater Difference and Confusion among any fort of Men, upon any Subject whatsoever, than there is among the Divines of the Church of Rome, concerning her Rule of Faith, and Infallible Judge of Controversy. And every one of the different Opinions about it, is in flat Contradidion to all the others, so that if any one of them be true, all the rest inuft be false: And yet they all pretend to belieye with Divine Faith, and think it necessary in this case, because it is the Foundation of their Faith.
Now if according to these Learned Doctors, the whole Church failed upon our Saviour's Death, then the Gates of Hell did prevail for a time. And if the Virgin Mary were excepted, that would not do much as to the Standing of the Church. But
have they anys Revelation, to ground Divine Faith. upon, or upon what Grounds do they believe, that the Virgin Mary knew the Scriptures, or the Refurre&tion of Christ, more than the Apostles, and was not under the same Defpondency as they were ? This feeins to be that Sword which Simeon' told her, thould pierce through her own Soyl also, Luke ii. 35.
L. To avoid all these things, forme fuppose, That the Christian Church was por formed till the Descent of the Holy Ghoftat Pentecoft, when Peter converted about 3000, as told in the 2d of the ÃEts. And that it was of this Cbrist spoke, when He told Peter that He would build His Church upon him, and called him à Rock, and that it was fulfilled at this time, when Peter was made the Instrument of that first and great Conversion, which was the Foundation of all that followed. pm G. If the Christian Church was not formed, as fome think, till after the Resurrection, because our Redemption was not till then conpleated: Or, as orhers think, till the AfcenFion, when Christ commissioned his Apostles to ĝo and teach all Nations, Matth. xxviii. 19. Or till the Descent of the Holy Ghost, when they were endued with Power from on High. Luke xxiv.
any of these ways it will follow that there was no Cbriftian Church before the Death of Chrift. And then that the Jewilly was the only true Church while Christ lived in the World. For the Jewish Church was to last till the Christian was formed, elfe there was no Church at all after Christ came, till His Refurre&tion. And then it would follow, that the only True Church in the World did reject our Christ. And then there will be no Choice left us, but either to acknowledge the Fallibility of the Church, or to reje& Chrift from being the Meffiab. But if the Christian Church was formed upon the fir& Appearance of Christ in the
World, or upon his Ordaining the Twelve Apostles, and sending them out to preach, or upon any other Act done in his Life; then, as said before, the whole Çburch failed
upon His Death. But if the Church cannot fail, no not for a Moment, because of the Necessity of a Living Infallible Judge always in being, the Succession of the Monarchy of the Church ought to be Hereditary, where the King never Dies : For this Scheme will not adınit of an InterRegnum for. Months or Years that may be spent in the Election of a Pope, in all which time the Church has no Head or Monarch. Much less when there are Popes and Anti-Popes, which has occasioned 26 Schisms in the Church of Rome, some of them of long Continuance. And who is Judge in fuch a Case? Is every Man left to his own private Judgment. s And is it all one which of the Contending Popes he adheres whether to the Rigbt or the Wrong? Or can the Church have two or three opposite Heads at the same time?
L. Therefore in France, where I received my Education, they place not the Infallibility in the Pope, but in a General Council
. G. I told your Lordship. before, that there never was a Council truly General. That there are Disputes in your Church concerning General Councils, some receiving those, or Parts of thein which others reject. And who Thall be Fridge in this Case ?'
Bur suppose you were agreed among your selves concerning your Councils, and that they
- were Infallible, yet they are not a living Judge always in being ; you have not had one fince that of Trent, which began in the Year 1545, and concluded in the Year 1563. Now 1150 Years ago. And there may not be another in twice that time, if ever. Where then is the living Judge always in being, which the Bisbap of Meaux and others think necessary?
L. General Councils may in this Sense be called Living, and always in being, that their Canons are clways in being, and determin Contraverfies to those who regard them. And if new "Herefies, or Controversies, or Schisms of Pope's Jarise, new Councils may be called to Deternin
thein. *.G, And Ages may pass before that can be done. And the Churck may be corrupted in the mean time for want of such a living Fudge. As
Europe is now situated it would be pretty difficult to have a General Council. And it
be Jong enough before any Pope may be of Opinion to call one, or hazard his Supremacy upon it.
(19.) But, My Lord, the Canons of Paft Councils are not Living, nor can speak for themselves. There are Volumes Printed of the Learned in your own Communion giving contrary Expositions of the Canons. I will in ftance in one, the Third Canon of the Fourth, commonly called the Great Council of Lateran, acknowledged to be a true General Council by all of the Church of Rome, established in most exprefs and positive Terms, the Pope's Power
of Deposing Princes, and Absolving their Subje&ts from their Allegiance, not only if he please to call them Hereticks themselves, but if they do not Extirpate all Hereticks out of their Dominions. - This is maintained in the literal Sense by Bellarmin and the Italian Doctors. On the other hand, the Gallican Church who have Condemned the Deposing Doctrine, and yet own this Council of Lateran, are put to hard Shifts, and many Distinctions to Solve this, but it is impoflible, for either that Doctrine must be true, or this Council has greatly Erred.
L. But not in Faith. This is no Matter of Faith.
G. But is it not Matter of Salvation, for which we shall be Judged at the last Day? St, Paul says, Rom. xiii. 2. They that resist the (Lawful)Powers,fball receive to themselves Damnation-Wherefore (says he, Ver. 5.) re must needs be Subje&t, not only for Wrath (or fear of temporal Punishment from these Powers) but also for Conscience sake, that is, towards God. And what are these Guides of Conscience who lead us wrong in this? In the Description of the last Judgment given by Cbrift, Matth, xxv. 31. to the end, Men shall be Judged chiefly for their Practice. There is nothing mentioned there but what Men have done. And have we no Guide as to Practice, while we çaise such Contentions about a Guide in Faith? Or is the Church a Guide in Practice too? And is a General Council the Church. Then the Church has led us into a dumnable Practice, un