« PreviousContinue »
a gion, which he spent in talking and teaching others, i and scribling of idle Pamphlets, and railing at Learned
and Godly Ministers; these objections which through a bis ignorance and unacquaintednesse with those points
feemed new so bim, would have been discovered to him
as they are to others, to be but coleworts not cwice but * twenty times fod;and Arguments long since exploded.
3. To this let ine adde, che wonder is the greater, and che designe more credible, to confider chac his conversion ; fhould be wrought by fuch Authors: as Fiat Lux, and
Knots Answer to Chillingworth: . The former, nothing but an beap of words and an empty found, which if ftripe
of all its -gauderies, and rhetoricall Aalhes, (apt to take le none bur children in understanding) and all the weight
of reasons were picke out and brought sogether, ir u mighe (withouc sucb Art as was showed about Homer)
be put into a Nut shell, unleffe happily that was the Are gument that convinced him, that the Author tels us (u I say who are English-men and remember the Ma rian Perfecution, and the Irish Massacre, and the bloodineffe of the French Leaguers, and the barbarities of High and Low Germany, and the late Ferities of Piemont) that the Pope is a very honest Gentleman that never did any harme.
And for Knots infidelity unmasked, that man chat fhall take that Book for a solid confucation of M' Chilling worth, must have lost both reason and conscience; (for the losse of one of them will hardly serve turne) by which you may see the Capcaine was prepared for a change, and like loft Wax ready to receive the impresfion. And this is all I shall say concerning the quality of the perfon, and the manner of his change; I Thall now come to the Dogmaticall part.
The first and principall thing will be to consider the force of that Difcourse which did the work, which shough it be a very filly one, yet is commensurate to many mens capacities, and meeting with an ignorant proud or loose Protestant, sometimes is the meane of Their perversion.
The Popish Gentleman asked me ( faith my Author) whether i was fo certainly and infallibly affured of the Truth of the Christian Religion, that it was not possible for me, or for those who taught me Christianity to be mistaken sherein, and he gave me this reason for his question, that otherwise, as to me, Christianity could be no more then probably true, and we could not condemne the few, or Türke, or Pagan, fince they were as well perswaded of their feverall wayes, as we comld be of ours, upon á fallible certainty, and for onghe' we knew, ( not having any infallible certainty for our Christianity.) Some of them might be in the right, and we in the wrung way , for it is possible you may be mistaken,
This is that that did the deed, and this is the shield of Hercules, or rather the sword of Goliah, by which they fometimes do execution upon an ungrounded or ungodly Protestant, which therefor it will be worcb wbile a little to inlift upon.
i. Let it be observed, what rare Champions the Papilts are for the Christian cause, and what a singular course they take for the Conversion of Jewes and Turks and Pagans : For more clearneffe I shall reprefent it in a Syllogisticall forme: If the Church of Rome (1.e. the Fope and a Councell) be not infallible, a Jew, or Turke, or Pagan are as well perswaded of their severalt waies, as we of ours, these are the Authors words : Bur the Church of Rome(whether you mean the PopeorCouncel or both) is not infallible. This I hope hath been made evident enough from the foregoing discourse, Ergo, a
Jew, or Turk, or Pagan are as well perswaded of their several wayes, as we of ours: a glorious Conclufion! and most crue of Icalian Christians : Turks and Pagans are as well perswaded of their wayes, as they are of Christia nity. Nor is it without cause that so many Authors(some of them Popish) complain so much of the swarms of Atheists in the Church of Rome; for certainly this is as com, pendious a way to Atheisme as can lightly be imagined; to hang the verity of Christianity and the Pope's or Councels Infallibility upon the same pin;and consequently those learned Papists, who doubtless many of obem laugh in their sleeves to see so credulous and simple a world to believe the latter, can easily shake off the fence of the former.
2. Let us examine a little the strength of this pretty Propofition: That if we be not infallibly assured of the truch of Christianicy, Jewes, and Turks, and Pagans are as well perswaded of their wayes as we of ours. What a mad affertion is this, that nothing is credible, but what is infallibly certain, and that there is no difference between probabilities and improbabilities, and yet such Whirlpools and quick-sands must they needs sink into, that give up themselves to the conduct of fopish guides and principles. I am not infallibly cersain, that there is such a place as Jamaica, (for it is posible all Geographers may mistake, and all Travellers may lye, unleffe bis Holinessc should chance to make a voyage to see :) therefore by this doughcy argument, I am as certain, that there is a Sea-passage to China by the Norch. I am not infallibly sure, that the Sun is bigger chen a Bashel, (for Epicurus thought it no bigger, as Cia ciro informes us :) Therefore (it seems) I am as cere tain that there is a World in the Moon, or in every Star (as fome Philosophers held.) I am not infallibly certain of the existence and archievement of Alexander, the
Great; by this argument it will follow, that I am no lesse fure of the history and adventures of S. George of Eng land. What if I be not infallibly sure of the truth of the Christian Religion, may there not be such clear probabilities, and cogent evidence, that none but a mad-man can deny ic ? What if in a frosty morning I should find 2 or three verses writren upon a glasse window, will any man in his right wits doubt, chat some man or other writ them ? and yet it is not impoflīble (because it implies no contradiction) chat the Froit (which oft times carves out various and curious figures ) should some time or o. ther have a lucky hic, and fall into a vein of Poetry. Or what if I see a Calf in a field, will any fober man question whether it came from a Cow, because I am not infala libly certain ic did not drop out of clte Clouds, as once one did ? In like manner , if I be not fimply infallible (taking the word in a strict and proper notion of the Truth of Christian Religion , yet certainly it may fuffice against any Turk, or Jew, or Pagan, or Papilt erther,wbo irrthis argument, as in many other things, are confede. rate with chem, whose Realon makes him a person fit for Discourse, that there are so great and many and pregnant evidences, that no man can deny without forfeiture of his reason, discretion, and modesty, and all the principles of humanity.
3. If this argument be cogent, and beGides the certitu. do obječti, the infallibility of the thing, there be required a certitudo subječti, che infallibility of the Person, to be fa. tisfied, (which here is contended for,) then not onely che Pope and Councel, but every particular Christian must have this gift of Infallibility, (an ampliation of the pri viledge which his great Ghostly Father will never allow, for mark it, that is the thing which the Catholick Gentleman urged, and wherewich my Captain was gra. velled; He asked me (saich be) whether I was sure and cer
mi sain, and whether I was so certainly and infallibly assured
of the truth of Christian Religion, or elle (said he) as to me Christianity was but probably true , else it is possible you may
mistaken: and at this race do they use to calke to such as they desire co Profelyre. By all which it appears,
that che infallibility mult be particular in every indi**vidual person, that would be fatisfied himself, or would
convince another of the Truth of Christianity. I am not ignorant of a shuffling arcifice, which this Catholick used
in confounding two things togecher , necessary to be diiftinguished, (as no wonder to meet with confusion of lan( guage in the builders of Babel) whilst be ( too cunning money for twenty of these Novices) Itates the businesse chus:
He asked me ( faith my Author) whether I was so certain, that it was not possible for me, or for those who taught me Christianity, to be mistaken in this, p. 5. Here lies the mye stery of Iniquity, and here was the blind cast before the eyes of chis unequal combacant, which he had neither wit enough to understand bimself, nor humilicy enough to learn from others. But I shall endeavour to bring this Fox out of bis hole by this Argument: Either a subje&ive certainty or infallibility of belief of the Truth of Christianity is necessary for particular Christians, or it is not: if it be not necessary, then in vain do Papifts urge this argument, and boast so much of it,as unanswerable; whereas now they give it up, and confess probable evidence fufficient for particular Christians, and Infallibilicy necessary onely for the Pope or Councel : and so che poor Captain hach lost his Infallibilicy, and had best think of his old military word, As you were, for dere che cord is aut afunder, by which he was drawn over co Rome, for now the Protestant stands upon even ground (at least) with the Papift. For fuppose, for once, contradictions were reconciled, and che Popish opinion of che Churches infallibie auchority were true in it felt certitudine objectis