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Doctrine of the Scripture alone being Judge and rule of Controversies be untrue and indefenfible (as they pre tend it is) we may expect she demonstracion of it from a man of his wit and learning and experience in the Controversy, as having thoroughly considered all precensions and arguments of both parties, and taken in the advice of the most famed Doctors of the Romish Church: But I must not diffemble that I was wofully disappointed in the perusal of Mr Crely's piece, and whereas I expected komeching solid and substanciall, or at least very plaufible,which I might have fome ground in charity to believe might give at least a colour for bis change, 'I find little in him worthy of consideration, but what hath already received satisfactory Answers: Yet because the cau:e affords no better Arguments, I fall briefly consider what he and the Capcaine and his asliltants deliver in this matter.
That the Scripture is not the onely rule of Faith and Judge of Controversies, is the Proposition they attempt to prove, and their Arguments are those which follow.
Arg. 1. Scripture cannot be this Judge and Rule, becaule it dosb not answer its end, for they that own this Fudge disagree among themselves, Everard Epist. p. 33. Scripture doth not reconcile them. Thus Grily, by this rule it u impossible that ever Controversies soonld be ended. Sect.2.chap.4.1.1.
Anfw. Scripture might be ( as really it was ) designed instituted and ordained for the ruling of mens Faith and the judging and deciding Controversies, though through the depravednesle of men this end might not be obtained: If this Argument have any weighc in it, I may upon the fame ground argue thus: Preaching of the Gospell was not instituted for the salvation of the World, because it doth not answer its end, but proves to many a favour
o death : Or the Law of God was not instituted by God for a rule of Life, because it doth noc obtaine its end, and men will not be ruled by it: In a word let it be observed , ifthis Argument prove any thing, it proves what the very Papists deny, that the Scripture is not so much as a part of the rule, neither of Faith nor manners, for still according to the present Argument it doth not Aniwer its end, for there is no one controversie in Faith,. which Scripture alone decides so as to filence all differen ces, which is the thing pretended necessary to a Judge of Controverfies. For the further discovery of the impertinency and vanity of this Argument, however it is their Goliah which they most boast of, I shall offer them this Dilemma relating to chat power of ending all differences among Christians which they suppafe was necessary for and by Christ committed to the Judge of controversies Either (1 say) chat power is absolute, uncondicionáll and effectual, and if so, there could be no Herefies, Schismes, or differences in the Christian World, which wee see is most false, or it is a condicionall power sufficient of it Seif for the ending of differences, though frustrable and impedible in its effects by the ignorance or perversnelse of men (which is the reall truth) And in this fence the Scripture may be judge, i. e. there is enough in it faid and clearly delivered, by which all controversies might be ended, if men would be humble , studious, and self-denying : and in the former sence the Church of Rome' is no judge of Controversies. Peradventure it will be said that all men are bound to submit and hearken to all the decrees of the Chnrch of Rome , and when they do so submit, it is an effectuall means to end all differences' : In the very fame manner and upon farre better grounds ) say of the Scripture, that all are bound to submit and hearken to all its Councels and decrees, and when they do fo, it will effedually end all Conero
versies: If it be further said, that the Church hach a power of coercion do compel diffencers to submit:1 answer eicher that coercion they speak of is fpiricuall by Church cen. Lures and excommunication, cc. or civili by corporall pen dries, death.&c.If they understand it of civill coercion, that is not at all necessary nor intrinsecall to an Eclesiasticall judge of controversies, otherwise the Apostles (who
had noc chis civild power) nay Christ himselfe (who de. nies that he was judge or ruler) hould not be such a Judge, and the Church for the first 300 years had no judge of controversies : Nay, the Papists themselves in pretence at least abjudicate this from the Church, and refer it wholly to che civill power : If they speak of a spia ricuall coercion, then the Scripture hach Tuch a power of inflicting spirituall penalties upon its violaters & concem ners, such as obduration, and ejection from the prelence of God, and such excommunication as the orber is but a Ihadow ofic: And whecher they speak of one or other, the Proceltant Judge of concroverfies is not deltitute of eicher advantage : If it be remembred that the Protestants own an Ecclesiasticall Politicall Judge, which Judge although their modesty will not suffer chem co pretend co Infallibilicy,and a power to oblige all people to receive all their decrees though anti-fcripturall, withouc enquiry; and though they say with the Apostle, they have their power for edification, not for de strudion , 2 Cora 132, 10. and chey can do nothing against the Truch buc for the Truch, and though it is their advice to their people, which was the councell of the Apostle to his people, 1.Cor. 11.1. Be followers of me evin as I also am of Christ: Yec chey have a power to explaine and maintaine che Doctrines of the Scripture, and they acknowledge a powe er in the Magistrace by civill sanctions and penalties to suppresse and restraine such as shall corrupi the Truth and infed peoples foules with the poyfon of Hereticall
Do&rines. And this may abundantly ferve for Anfwer to their Achilles or principall argument which makes such a noise in the world.
Arg. 2. Scripture cannot be a perfect rule, because fome books of Scripture are loft, and it is the whole Scrip ture which is this rule.
Ans: i. Then Tradition also cannot be a rale, for di: verse Traditions are lost as Crely confeflech, Sect.i.Ch.8. #5. and all the Papists acknowledg.
Answ: 2. It doth not at all appeare that any one of those Books are lost which concerned controversies of Faith, or the rule of Life; All which to this day bach been proved is this , Thar fome Books Written by Holy men and Prophets are lost: Buc ic is a vainc imagination, without the shadow of a proof, that all which was writter by fuch men was a part of Canonicall or Divine Scripture, for we read that the Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, which infpired them not at all times, but onely when he pleased, there being this difference between the spirits inspiration of Christ and all other Holy men, chat it was in Christ wichout measure, and without difference of time, but in the Apostles it was a gift , confined to such seafons and proportions as God law fit for them. Is any man so absurd as to think that every letter which a Prophet or Apostle might write about any private affaires was a part of the Sacred Scripture? Or if Solomons Herball wete extant, must it need be admitted into the Canon of the Sacred Scripture? Or how can they prove (and if they do not prove it, this Argument is impertinent) that the Histories which Joshua, or Nathan,or Samuel,or Gad,&c. might or did write concerning the Warres of the Lord, or the Civill transactions of the Kingdomes of Israel and fudab must needs be a part of the Canon? Or did che temporary transient and extraordinary inspirations of
the Holy Ghost deprive them of their common gifts and facukies? And was the capacity of a Prophet incon filteat with that of an Hiftorian? or because Balaam was once inspired, mut we needs Canonize all that afterwards he spake, if it were extant? or becaule Hannah was once inspired, 1 Sam.2. and Simeon, and Elizabeth Luk... did ever any man, unlesse in a dream , imagine that all their afcer Discourses were Canonicall?
Answ.3. Although fragmenta auri sunt pretiosa che least freds of Scripture are of inestimable value, yet we must distinguish becween the essentiall and integrall parts of the rule of Faich, every part and parcell of it is a choice bleffiog for our bene ile and more abundant direa &tion and confolation, yet is it not an essentiall part of the rule of Faith, for the farre greacest part of those sacred Books is fpent in the explication of such general lawes and directions as were of themselves lufficient ftriétè loquendo, or the repetition of the same things wbiçb- mans dulneffe and backwardnesse to such things made highly expedient and beneficiall: The five Books of Moles were sufficient to Salvation before any of the other Books were indiced, and the following Writings of the Prophets were büt Comments upon them, which if by Gods Providence they had been lost, no doubt the firft five Books would have been sufficient for Salvation for that state of tbe Church: So when St Matthew had Written his Gospell wherein the Doctrine of che person andioffice and works of Christ (who is the marrow of both Testaments, and the sole sufficient object of saving knowledge foh. 17. 3.) is clearly revealed and fully proved, I do allert (and let any of our Adversaries prove che contrary if they can ) that that had been sufficient for our Salvation : And yet it must be acknowledged a wonderfull favour from God chat he hath fo plentifully provided for us, and so carefully watched by his Provi