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One Faith: One Baptism.

279 tongue wherewith to speak. He which amongst the guides book 111.

Ch. i. 6,7,8. * of the Church is best able to speak uttereth no more than “ this, and less than this the most simple doth not utter," when they make profession of their faith.

[6.] Now although we know the Christian faith and allow of it, yet in this respect we are but entering ; entered we are not into the visible Church before our admittance by the door of Baptism. Wherefore immediately upon the acknowledgment of Christian faith, the Eunuch (we see) was baptized by Philip*, Paul by Ananias t, by Peter an huge multitude containing three thousand soulst, which being once baptized were reckoned in the number of souls added to the visible Church.

[7.] As for those virtues that belong unto moral righteousness and honesty of life, we do not mention them, because they are not proper unto Christian men, as they are Christian, but do concern them as they are men. True it is, the want of these virtues excludeth from salvation. So doth much more the absence of inward belief of heart; so doth despair and lack of hope; so emptiness of Christian love and charity. But we speak now of the visible Church, whose children are signed with this mark, “One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism.” In whomsoever these things are, the Church doth acknowledge them for her children ; them only she holdeth for aliens and strangers, in whom these things are not found. For want of these it is that Saracens, Jews, and Infidels are excluded out of the bounds of the Church. Others we may not deny to be of the visible Church, as long as these things are not wanting in them. For apparent it is, that all men are of necessity either Christians or not Christians. If by external profession they be Christians, then are they of the visible Church of Christ : and Christians by external profession they are all, whose mark of recognizance hath in it those things which we have mentioned, yea, although they be impious idolaters, wicked heretics, persons excommunicable, yea, and cast out for notorious improbity. Such withal we deny not to be the imps and limbs of Satan, even as long as they continue such.

[8.] Is it then possible, that the selfsame men should belong
* Acts viii. 38.
† Acts xxii. 16.

| Acts ii. 41.

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Ch. i. 8.

280 The Visible Church, as in Israel, may be corrupt. BOOK II. both to the synagogue of Satan and to the Church of Jesus

Christ? Unto that Church which is his mystical body, not possible; because that body consisteth of none but only true Israelites, true sons of Abraham, true servants and saints of God. Howbeit of the visible body and Church of Jesus Christ those may be and oftentimes are, in respect of the main parts of their outward profession, who in regard of their inward disposition of mind, yea, of external conversation, yea, even of some parts of their very profession, are most worthily both hateful in the sight of God himself, and in the eyes of the sounder part of the visible Church most execrable. Our Saviour therefore compareth the kingdom of heaven to a net, whereunto all which cometh neither is nor seemeth fish*: his Church he compareth unto a field, where tares manifestly known and seen by all men do grow intermingled with good cornt, and even so shall continue till the final consummation of the world. God hath had ever and ever shall have some Church visible upon earth. When the people of God worshipped the calf in the wilderness f; when they adored the brazen serpents; when they served the gods of nations; when they bowed their knees to Baal || ; when they burnt incense and offered sacrifice unto idols : true it is, the wrath of God was most fiercely inflamed against them, their prophets justly condemned them, as an adulterous seed** and a wicked generation of miscreants, which had forsaken the living Godtt, and of him were likewise forsaken 11, in respect of that singular mercy wherewith he kindly and lovingly embraced his faithful children. Howbeit retaining the law of God and the holy seal of his covenant, the sheep of his visible flock they continued even in the depth of their disobedience and rebellion $$. Wherefore not only amongst them God always had his Church, because he had thousands which never bowed their knees to Baal || || ; but whose knees were bowed unto Baal, even they were also of the visible Church of God. Nor did the Prophet so complain, as if that

* Matt. xiii. 47.
+ Matt. xiii. 24.
I Exod. xxxii; Ps. cvi. 19, 20.
§ 2 Kings xviii. 4.
il Jer. xi. 13.
[ 2 Kings xxii, 17.

** Isa. lvii. 3.
tt Isa. i. 4.
If Isa. lx. 15.
$$ Jer. xii. 11.
11 || 1 Kings xix. 18.

Ch. i. 9.

Error of the African Bishops on that Point. 281 Church had been quite and clean extinguished ; but he took BOOK III. it as though there had not been remaining in the world any besides himself, that carried a true and an upright heart towards God with care to serve him according unto his holy will.

(9.) For lack of diligent observing the difference, first between the Church of God mystical and visible, then between the visible sound and corrupted, sometimes more, sometimes less, the oversights are neither few nor light that have been committed. This deceiveth them, and nothing else, who think that in the time of the first world the family of Noah did contain all that were of the visible Church of God. From hence it grew, and from no other cause in the world, that the African bishops in the council of Carthage*, knowing how the administration of baptism belongeth only to the Church of Christ, and supposing that heretics which were apparently severed from the sound believing Church could not possibly be of the Church of Jesus Christ, thought it utterly against reason, that baptism administered by men of corrupt belief should be accounted as a sacrament. And therefore in maintenance of rebaptization their arguments are built upon the fore-alleged ground +, “ That heretics are “ not at all any part of the Church of Christ. Our Saviour “ founded his Church on a rock, and not upon heresy I. “ Power of baptizing he gave to his Apostles, unto heretics “ he gave it not §. Wherefore they that are without the

Church, and oppose themselves against Christ, do but “ scatter His sheep and flock, without the Church baptize

they cannot." Again, “ Are heretics Christians or are they “ not? If they be Christians, wherefore remain they not in 6 God's Church? If they be no Christians, how make they

Christians ? Or to what purpose shall those words of the
Lord serve: "He which is not with me is against me;'

and, • He which gathereth not with me scattereth || ?' " Wherefore evident it is, that upon misbegotten children " and the brood of Antichrist without rebaptization the Holy “ Ghost cannot descend (.” But none in this case so earnest * (A.D. 256.]

$ Matt. xxviii. 19. † Fortunat. in Concil. Car. [t. i. li Matt. xii. 30. 233. ed. Fell.]

T Secundinus in eodem Concil. Matt. vii. 24. xvi. 18.

[ibid. p. 23+.]

66

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282 The supposed Incorruption of the Visible Church BOOK III. as Cyprian: “I know no baptism but one, and that in the (h. i. 10.

“ Church only; none without the Church, where he that “ doth cast out the Devil hath the Devil ; he doth examine “about belief whose lips and words do breathe forth a canker; " the faithless doth offer the articles of faith; a wicked “ creature forgiveth wickedness; in the name of Christ * Antichrist signeth ; he which is cursed of God blesseth; " a dead carrion promiseth life; a man unpeaceable giveth

peace; a blasphemer calleth upon the name of God; a “profane person doth exercise priesthood ; a sacrilegious “ wretch doth prepare the altar; and in the neck of all " these that evil also cometh, the Eucharist a very bishop of “ the Devil doth presume to consecrate." All this was true, but not sufficient to prove that heretics were in no sort any part of the visible Church of Christ, and consequently their baptism no baptism. This opinion therefore was afterwards both condemned by a better advised council *, and also revoked by the chiefest of the authors thereof themselves.

(10.) What is but only the selfsame error and misconceit, wherewith others being at this day likewise possessed, they ask us where our Church did lurk, in what cave of the earth it slept for so many hundreds of years together before the birth of Martin Luther? As if we were of opinion that Luther did erect a new Church of Christ. No, the Church of Christ which was from the beginning is and continueth unto the end : of which Church all parts have not been always equally sincere and sound. In the days of Abia it plainly appeareth that Judah was by many degrees more free from pollution than Israel, as that solemn oration sheweth wherein he pleadeth for the one against the other in this wiset : “ Jeroboam and all Israel hear you me: have ye “not driven away the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron " and the Levites, and have made you priests like the people 6 of nations? Whosoever cometh to consecrate with a young “ bullock and seven rams, the same may be a priest of them - that are no gods. But we belong unto the Lord our God " and have not forsaken him; and the priests the sons of “ Aaron minister unto the Lord every morning and every

* In Concilio Nicæno. Vide Hieron. Dial. adv. Lucifer. [ii. 146.] + 2 Chron. xiii. 4, 9, 10, 11.

Ch. i. 10.

a great Principle of Romish Error.

283 “ evening burnt-offerings and sweet incense, and the bread is BOOK III. “ set in order upon the pure table, and the candlestick of “ gold with the lamps thereof to burn every evening; for we “ keep the watch of the Lord our God, but ye have forsaken - him.” In St. Paul's time the integrity of Rome was famous ; Corinth many ways reproved; they of Galatia much more out of square*. In St. John's time Ephesus and Smyrna in far better state than Thyatira and Pergamus weret. We hope therefore that to reform ourselves if at any time we have done amiss, is not to sever ourselves from the Church we were of before.

In the Church we were, and we are so still. Other difference between our estate before and now we know none but only such as we see in Judah ; which having sometime been idolatrous became afterwards more soundly religious by renouncing idolatry and superstition. If Ephraim “ be joined unto idols,” the counsel of the Prophet is, “ Let « him alone.” “ If Israel play the harlot, let not Judah “ sint.” “If it seem evil unto you," saith Joshua Ś, “ to “ serve the Lord, choose you this day whom you will serve; “ whether the gods whom your fathers served beyond the “flood, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land ye dwell : “ but I and mine house will serve the Lord.” The indisposition therefore of the Church of Rome to reform herself must be no stay unto us from performing our duty to God; even as desire of retaining conformity with them could be no excuse if we did not perform that duty.

Notwithstanding so far as lawfully we may, we have held and do hold fellowship with them. For even as the Apostle doth

say of Israel that they are in one respect enemies but in another beloved of God || ; in like sort with Rome we dare not communicate concerning sundry her gross and grievous abominations, yet touching those main parts of Christian truth wherein they constantly still persist, we gladly acknowledge them to be of the family of Jesus Christ ; and our hearty prayer unto God Almighty is, that being conjoined so far forth with them, they may at the length (if it be his will) so yield to frame and reform themselves, that no distraction

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(Rom. i. 8; 1 Cor. i. iii-vi; Gal. i. 6.] + Apoc. ii. Vide S. Hieron. (ubi sup. 146.] Josh. xxiv. 15.

|| Rom. xi. 28.

Hos. iv. 17, 15.

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