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(Ita ut non nova dicantur, sed antiqua novè) An office and use of Tradition, which is recognised by our best Divines, and is accordant with the sense of our 6th article; if there be not in this declaratlon a tacit reserve of meaning, by which these Sorbonne Divines, in describing Tradition only as a witness and a comment, secretly maintained, that it is a witness and a comment of equal authority with the text itself. Such a reservation, whatever credit it might reflect on their talent for negotiation, would add little lustre to their character for simplicity of speech, and honourable openness of dealing.



An extract from Archbishop Secker's five Sermons on this controversy, will form a suitable sequel to the preceding observations, and may be considered, at the same time, as a recapitulation of the principal matters contained in them.-The felicity with which this Prelate has comprehended in the following passage the main arguments of our opponents, and the admirable brevity and force with which he has replied to them, make it worthy of being used as a manual of the Protestant advocate.

"Now it must be owned, indeed, that our Saviour delivered his doctrine to the Apostles,

and they to all the world by word of mouth; and this way of delivery at first was sufficient; and therefore St. Paul exhorts the Thessalonians to hold fast the Traditions he had taught them whether by word or by letter. But then in the nature of things, how long could this last ? Suppose but the easiest common story were to be told from one person to another, without being written down, for only one hundred or two hundred years; and let each person, as he received it, have never so strict a charge to tell it in the same manner; yet, long before the end of that time, what security could we possibly have, that it was true at first, and unaltered still? And you cannot but see there is much less security, that a considerable number of doctrines, especially such as compose the Popish creed, should be brought down safe for 1700 years together, through so many millions of hands, that were all liable, through ignorance, forgetfulness, and superstition, to mistake them, or, through knavery and design, to alter them. But it will be said, in a case of such importance as religion, men would be more careful of delivering truth, than in others. Undoubtedly they ought; but who can be secure that they would? It is of equal importance to be careful in practising it too; yet we all know, how this hath been neglected in the world; and therefore have reason to think, the other hath been no less so.-But whoever made the first change, they say, must have been immediately discovered.


Now so far from this, that persons make changes in what they relate, without discovering it themselves; alterations come in by insensible degrees: one man leaves out, or varies, or adds one little circumstance; the next, another; till it grow imperceptibly into a different thing. In one age a doctrine is delivered as a probable opinion; the following age speaks of it as certain truth and the third advances it into an article of faith.Perhaps an opposition rises upon this, as many have done; some have said such a doctrine was delivered to them, others that it was not; and who can tell whether, at last, the right side or the wrong have prevailed ? Only this is certain, that whichsoever prevails, though by a small majority at first, will use all means of art and power to make it appear an universal consent at last; and then plead uninterrupted Tradition. But though such things as these may possibly be done in almost any age, yet they are easy to be done in such ages, as were five or six of those, that preceded the Reformation; when, by the confession of their own historians, both Clergy and Laity were so universally and so monstrously ignorant and vicious, that nothing was too bad for them to do, or too absurd for them to believe.— Secker's Five Sermons against Popery.



The other great question in difference between Protestants and Romanists regards the constitution, and authority of the Church of Christ: and amongst modern controversies there is none perhaps more important than this, whether we consider its influence on the faith and morals of mankind, or whether we restrict our view to the political interests of our own Empire. To the discordant determinations which have been formed respecting it, may be traced the greater part of our civil and religious dissensions; whilst unanimity on the vital points which it embraces, is the true secret, which would quickly induce agreement on most of the inferior questions, not only between the Church of England and the Romanists, but between that Church and Protestant sectaries. Amidst the heats produced by mutual misunderstanding and misrepresentation, inseparable from debate conducted in the arena of a public theatre, it will tend, it is hoped, to the increase of charity, if not to the establishment of concord, rightly to state the matter at issue between us and our Roman Catholic brethren.

"You know," says an intelligent Romanist of this country, "we calumniate each other." -Columbanus' Letters. But, if the doctrines of enlightened Romanists of the present day, have been misunderstood from the silent modifications which they have undergone since the Reformation;-modifications to which that great event has in no small degree contributed;—the Church of England has no less reason to complain of misrepresentation; since her tenets respecting the constitution and authority of the Church of Christ have been accused of popery by sectaries, on the one hand; and have been confounded with the lax notions of sectarism by Romanists, on the other.The complaint is, at least, as old as the days of Laud, and it is as just, now, as it was then. “Tis a hard condition," (says that illustrious and much calumniated prelate) "The Church of England professeth the ancient Catholic Faith, and yet the Romanists condemn her of novelty in her doctrine. She practiseth Church Government, as it hath been in use in all ages and places, where the Church of Christ hath taken any rooting, both in and ever since the Apostles' time; and yet the separatist condemns her for Antichristianism in her discipline. The plain truth is ;-she is betwixt these two factions, as between two mill-stones; and it is very remarkable, that while both these press hard upon the Church of England, both of them cry out upon persecution."-Laud against Fisher, Pref.

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