« PreviousContinue »
And if this was considerable in Austins dayes, who lived within two hundred years of those times, how much more weighty must it be co us that come twelve hun. dred years after him ? Now then to put a case (because this confideration shakes the very pillars of Popery, and overthrows almost all their pretensions from Tradition and the Authority of the Fathers.) Suppose the Major: part of the Antient Fathers had said in terminis, that the Bishop of Rome was supreme head and infallible governour of the Church (though nothing was further from their thoughes :) and suppose a lesse number of the Fa.. thers did in that age contradid it, though the contradictours happily either did not commit their opinion to Writing, or if they did, their Writings might be fuppressed by the major part (as hath been the lot of most Ages) or by the injury of cime are lost(which the Papists cannot fay was impossible for the Writings of the Fathers, seeing they tell us that de facto some of the Books of Holy Scripture are loft:) The next age comes and understands the truth of what i have now supposed : The question is, Whether the Authority of the Major part of the Fathers of the former age be a fufficient foundation for their faith in the Popes Supremacy and I'nfa.libility? Melchiôr. Ganus faith No: Now then th next age or ages having happily forgocren such contradictions(which che Age immediately next remembred.) The question is whether that foundation which was insufficient to the precedent Age is now chrough their ignorance of such contradiction become sufficient to the following Age? ifthey affirme it, it would become the Jesuites in point of gratitude to Write a Panegyrick in praise of Ignorance which is, it seems, not onely the Mother of Devotion, but of assurance and certainty of knowledge ; if they deny it, they confesse the weaknesse of their assertion: In Mort, he that will lay she foundation of his
Faith upon such a quicksand, must either prove the negative that there was no such contradiction as wee bave supposed (which is impossible, or confeffe his Faich'relies upon the Sand (which is dreadfull,) And againe admit they had the consent of Fathers in this Tradition. I have given severall instances, wherein they acknowe ledge they have departed from the content of Fathers and
that there were severall Do&rines which (if we bea lieve che Papists when they tell us the Fathers owned no Doctrine. but what they had by Tradition) che Fathers recieved by Tradition, wherein they were de fa£to miftas ken, and why might they not be mistaken in this ? We all know how generall the Millenary opinion was among the Fachers of the second and third Centuries, thougli it be said all came from the mistake of Papias , an honelt, but credulous Doctor. And dare these men ventura their Souls upon it, that Papias was the only credulous Author ? and that this was the only mistaken Tradition? or that it was imposible for those Fathers who were so many of them imposed upon by one credulous person in one point to be imposed upon by another in other points? All these and many other uncertainties must not only be allowed but are laid in the very foundation of infallibility.
S. 6. The second particular'is chis : That if the Ancients did believe the infallibility of Councels, yet it doch not follow they believed it upon the account of such a Tradition, for they might believe ic upon
other grounds. It is evident they believed many (nay, to speak the cruch all) Doctrines because chey apprehended them to be contained in the Scriptures, and why miglio it not be so with this? Why might not the Fathers believe this (if they did believe it) upon the same misappre. henfions and mistakes (which the Papist, at this day run into ) concerning the sence of thoie Scriprures which are alledged for the infallibility of Councels ? And con
fequently the Fathers opinion of the Infallibility of Councels doch not argue that they received such a Tradicion from the Apostles, but onely chat this was their cpinion; wherein, no lesse chen in ocher poines, they were subject to errors, as I have proved.
$ 7. The third Proposition is this: It doth not appeare, ibat the ancient Fathers did believe the Infallibility of Councels for triall hereof I shall refer my self to those Arguments and Authorit es which are alledged for the proof of the contrary posició: Bel: brings three arguments to fhéw that the antient Fathers held that general Couns çels could nor erre,& noc one of them speak to the point.
His first Argument is this: They affirme that the sentence of a geniral Councel in the cause of Faith is the last judgment of the Church, from which there lies no apo peale , and which cannot be made void or retracted. Hence 1t evidentiy follumes that such Councels cannot erre, because alle it were a very unjust thing to compell Christians that th-y should not appeale from ihat judgment which way be cyronegles (a). I answer, 1. Sr. Austin did hold chat the sentence of a general Councel might be retracted, though not by private Christians, yet by a following geperal Councel, former general Councels (faith he) are corrected by the latter, of which more by and by,and that is enough to shew he did not believe it infallible. 2. The Consequence is weak and denied by the Protestants and therefore might be denied by the Fathers: ; If the cousequence be infirme now, it could not be strong then; and for cbis we bave the Testimony of a Papist, S. Clara, who tels us that Calvix, and Robertus Baronius, and all ob Prot ftants, and fome otbers, who deny the Infallibility of a general Cuuncil,do neverthelesle acknowledge it to be the Supreme fudge of Controversies upon Earth, and that such a Councel bath a determining and decisive powit, which all are externally bound baund to obey to prevent Schisme (a). Nor is it unjust, but necessary for the prefervation of order and prevention of worse mischiefes, that there should be a Supreme though fallible Authoricy, beyond which there might be no appeale: And as it is no injustice that there lies no appeale beyond the Şupreme Magistrate in civil affaires, though he be confelled to be fallible ; fo neither can it be any injustice that there is no appeale beyond the Supreme Ecclefiafti. cal Judicatory in Church matters though it be fallible, provided it be granted (which the Protestarts with che Fathers do affert and have proved) that such Judicatories do not bind the conscience but onely regulare the outward Acts, and prevent visible confusions.
a Affi imant primum Concilii generalis fententiam fe in caufa fidei u'timum Ecclefiæ judicium, à quo appellari non poffit , quodque nullo modo irritati relvetreftari queat. Hinc autem aperuiffimè confiat ajal. 33. Concilianoa errare etc. lib. z.de Concil.auctor.c.3.
- Sue a Fatetur Baronius Concilium generale effe fupremum in terris Controversiarum fudicem ---determinativam dccifivam pot Patcm agnofcunt Adversarii, cui omnes exterius obtenperare terentur, ne fobisma fiat. S.Clara in system.fidei cap.20.num. 14.0 15.
$ 8. And che fame answer will serve for Bellarmini's second Argument, which is this: The Fathers and Coun. cels teach that they which do not acquiesce in the sentence of general Councels are hereticks,deferve excommunication, ardiherefore they thought such Councels could not erre.(b)
Answer , 1. I deny the Consequence againe for the dow mentioned reason: The civill cutting of such as resilt che sentence of the Magistrate doch as fully prove the Magiitrates Infallibility, as the Ecclesiastical cutting of such as do not reit in the sentence of a Councel doch prove the Councels Infallibility. 2. The Fathers did not account men Hereticks, meerly because they refted not in the sentence of a Councell as such (for chen chey Thould have been Hereticks for rejeding the Arrian Councels) but because the Dodrine wbich they oppofed, and the Councels aflerted was true; and so it was the verity of the Do&rine, nor the Conciliarity (if you will pardon the word of the sentence by which they judged of Hereticks. That cannot be an Argument that the Fathers beheved the Infallibility of Councels, which is common to thote that deny. their Infallibility, but tbe calling of those Hereticks who do not acquiesce in the sentence of Councels is common to those that deny the Infallibility of Councels; for the Protestants themselves have branded and censured and sometimes put to death as Hereticks Tuch men as in fundamentall points of Religion have receded from tbeir publick Confessions of Faith, and the decrees of their Synods, without ever pretending to Infallibility.
b Docent. Patres & Concilia effe hæreticos como excommunicandos omines qui non acquiefcunt Conciliis plenariis. Ex que manifè fequitur kos butaffe Concilia 607 erraie. Bellar. ubi fuprà,
should i crees
But (tbát I may improve the Cardinals Argument for him to the highet) Put case the Fathers had said tbac men were bound to believe all the affertions of their general Councel, yet this doch not evince that they thoughe chem Infallible ; I prove it plainly chus. The Papilts maintaine chat people are bound to believe their Paltours, and to receive all their Doctrines without examination or hæfication (according to that which Stapleton fo largely and frequently defends; That Pastours are simply to be heard in all things)and yet they do not hold these Pastours to be Infallible: So they tell us by vertue of that Text, Marth. 23.2, The Jewes were bound to believe all the Do&rines publikely caught by the Scribes and Pharisees, and yet they do not hold that the particular Scribes and Pharisees (of whom chat Test speaks ) were infallible; And the Fathers might justly say all men were bonnd to believe all the decrees of their Counfels which then were past, not that they thought Counfels were Infallible, but because they judged all their de