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each, either more briefly or more largely, as the opportunity of my present leisure would give me leave. And so at last, after many interruptions, I have made up, in such manner as thou seest, a kind of a doctrinal history of those several points, which the Jesuit culled out as special instances of the consonancy of the doctrine now maintained in the Church of Rome with the perpetual and constant judgment of all antiquity.

The doctrine that here I take upon me to defend, (what different opinions soever I relate of others,) is that which by public authority is professed in the Church of England, and comprised in the book of Articles agreed upon in the Synod held at London in the year 1562 ; concerning which I dare be bold to challenge our Challenger and all his accomplices, that they shall never be able to prove, that there is either any one article of religion disallowed therein, which the Saints and Fathers of the primitive Church did generally hold to be true, (I use the words of my challenging Jesuit,) or any one point of doctrine allowed, which by those Saints and Fathers was generally held to be untrue. As for the testimonies of the authors which I allege, I have been careful to set down in the margin their own words in their own language, (such places of the Greek Doctors only excepted, whereof the original text could not be had,) as well for the better satisfaction of the readers, (who either cannot come by that variety of books, whereof use is here made, or will not take the pains to enter into a curious search of every particular allegation,) as for the preventing of those trifling quarrels that are commonly made against translations: for if it fall out, that word be not every where precisely rendered by word, (as who would tie himself to such a pedantical observation ?) none but an idle caviller can object, that this was done with any purpose to corrupt the meaning of the author ; whose words he seeth laid down before his eyes, to the end he may the better judge of the translation, and rectify it where there is


Again, because it is a thing very material in the historical handling of controversies, both to understand the times wherein the several authors lived, and likewise what books be truly or falsely ascribed to each of them; for some direc

tion of the reader in the first, I have annexed at the end of this book a chronological catalogue of the authors cited therein; wherein such as have no number of years affixed unto them, are thereby signified to be incerti temporis ; their age being not found by me, upon this sudden search, to be noted by any: and for the second, I have seldom neglected in the work itself, whensoever a doubtful or supposititious writing was alleged, to give some intimation whereby it might be discerned, that it was not esteemed to be the book of that author, unto whom it was entitled. The exact discussion as well of the authors' times, as of the censures of their works, I refer to my Theological Bibliotheque; if God hereafter shall lend me life and leisure to make up that work, for the use of those that mean to give themselves to that noble study of the doctrine and rites of the ancient Church.

In the mean time I commit this book to thy favourable censure, and thyself to God's gracious direction ; earnestly advising thee, that whatsoever other studies thou intermittest, the careful and conscionable reading of God's book may never be neglected by thee. For whatsoever becometh of our disputes touching other antiquities or novelties; thou mayest stand assured, that thou shalt there find so much by God's blessing, as shall be 'able to make thee wise unto salvation, and a to build thee up, and to give thee an inheritance among all them that are sanctified. Which, next under God's glory, is the utmost thing (I know) thou aimest at; and for the attaining whereunto I heartily wish, that the word of Christ may dwell in thee richly in all wisdom.

1 2 Tim. iii. 15.

2 Acts xx. 32.

3 Coloss. iii. 16.



How shall I answer to a Papist, demanding this question ?

Your Doctors and Masters grant, that the Church of Rome for 400 or 500 years after Christ did hold the true religion. First, then, would I fain know, what Bishop of Rome did first alter that religion, which you commend in them of the first 400 years? In what Pope's days was the true religion overthrown in Rome ?

Next, I would fain know, how can your religion be true, which disalloweth of many chief articles, which the Saints and Fathers of that primitive Church of Rome did generally hold to be true ?

For they of your side, that have read the Fathers of that unspotted Church, can well testify, and if any deny it, it shall be presently shewn,) that the Doctors, Pastors and Fathers of that Church do allow of traditions : that they acknowledge the real presence of the body of Christ in the Sacrament of the altar: that they exhorted the people to confess their sins unto their ghostly Fathers : that they affirmed, that Priests have power to forgive sins: that they taught, that there is a Purgatory; that prayer for the dead is both commendable and godly; that there is Limbus Patrum; and that our Saviour descended into hell to deliver the ancient Fathers of the Old Testament, because before his Passion none ever entered into heaven: that prayer to Saints and use of holy images was of great account amongst them : that man hath free-will, and that for his meritorious works he receiveth, through the assistance of God's grace, the bliss of everlasting happiness.

Now would I fain know, whether of both have the true religion, they that hold all these above-said points, with the primitive Church; or they that do most vehemently contradict and gainsay them ? they that do not disagree with that holy Church in any point of religion; or they that agree with it but in very few, and disagree in almost all ?


Will you say, that these Fathers maintained these opinions contrary to the word of God? Why, you know that they were the pillars of Christianity, the champions of Christ's Church, and of the true Catholic Religion, which they most learnedly defended against divers heresies; and therefore spent all their time in a most serious study of the holy Scripture. Or will you say, that although they knew the Scriptures to repugn, yet they brought in the aforesaid opinions by malice and corrupt intentions ? Why, yourselves cannot deny, but that they lived most holy and virtuous lives, free from all malicious corrupting or perverting of God's holy word, and by their holy lives are now made worthy to reign with God in his glory. Insomuch as their admirable learning may sufficiently cross out all suspicion of ignorant error ; and their innocent sanctity freeth us from all mistrust of malicious corruption.

Now would I willingly see what reasonable answer may be made to this. For the Protestants grant, that the Church of Rome for 400 or 500 years held the true religion of Christ : yet do they exclaim against the above-said Articles, which the same Church did maintain and uphold; as may be shewn by the express testimonies of the Fathers of the same Church, and shall be largely laid down, if any learned Protestant will deny it.

Yea, which is more, for the confirmation of all the above-mentioned points of our religion, we will produce good and certain grounds out of the sacred Scriptures, if the Fathers' authority will not suffice. And we do desire any Protestant to allege any one text out of the said Scripture, which condemneth any of the above-written points : which we hold for certain they shall never be able to do. For indeed they are neither more learned, more pious, nor more holy than the blessed Doctors and Martyrs of that first Church of Rome, which they allow and esteem of so much, and by which we most willingly will be tried, in any point which is in controversy betwixt the Protestants and the Catholics. Which we desire may be done with Christian charity and sincerity, to the glory of God and instruction of them that are astray.

W. B.

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