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laughter. Now if error and knowledge cannot consist, then error and ignorance must be inseparable. He then that professeth your errors may well be considered either as knowing or as ignorant. But him that does err indeed, you can no more conceive without ignorance, than long without quantity, virtuous without quality, a man and not a living creature, to have gone ten miles and not to have gone five, to speak sense and not to speak. For as the latter in all these is implied in the former, so is ignorance of a truth supposed in error against it. Yet such a man, though not conceivable without ignorance simply, may be very well considered either as with or without voluntary and sinful ignorance. And he that will give a wise answer to this question,-whether papist dying a papist may be saved according to God's ordinary proceeding ? must distinguish him according to these several considerations, and say, he may be saved ; if his ignorance were eid ther invincible, or at least unaffected, and probable; if otherwise without repentance he cannot.
To the rest of this Preface I have nothing to say, saving what hath been said, but this ; that it is no just exception to an argument, to call it vulgar and thread-bare: truth can neither be too common nor superannuated; nor reason ever worn out. Let your answers be solid and pertinent and we will never find fault with them for being old or common.
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CHAPTER 1. The state of the question; with a summary of the ' reasons for which, amongst men of different res
siligions, one side only can be saved. "Never is malice more indiscreet, than when it chargeth others with imputation of that, to which itself becomes more liable, even by that very act of accusing others : for though guiltiness be the effect of some error, yet usually it begets a kind of moderation, so far forth, as not to let men cast such aspersions upon others, as most apparently reflect upon themselves, Thụs cannot the poet endure that* Gracchus, who was a factious and unquiet man, should be inveighing against sedi
and the Roman orator rebukes philosophers, wou i ana who, to wax glorious, superscribed their names upon those very books, which they entitled, Of the Contempt of Glory. What then shall we say of D. Potter, who, in the title and text of his whole book, doth so tragically charge-want of charity on all such Romanists as dare affirm, that protestancy destroyeth salvation; while he himself
. "Quis tulerit Gracchum," &c.
is in act of pronouncing the like heavy doom against Roman catholics ? Por, not satisfied with much uncivil language, in affirming the Roman church* many ways to have played the harlot, and in that regard deserved a bill of divorce from Christ, and detestation of Christians; in styling her that proudt and curst dame of Rome, which takes upon her to revel in the house of God; in talking of an idolf to be worshipped at Rome; he comes at length to thunder out his fearful sentence against her: For thatş mass of errors (saith he) in judgment and practice, which is proper to her, and wherein she differs from us, we judge a reconciliation impossible, and to us (who are convicted in conscience of her corruptions) damnable.' And in another place he saith: "For us who are convinced in conscience, that she errs in many things, a necessity lies upon us, even pain of damnation, to forsake her in those errors. By the acerbity of which censure, he doth not only make himself guilty of that which he judgeth to be an heinous offence in others, but freeth us from all colour of crime by this his unadvised recrimination. For, if Roman catholics be likewise convicted in conscience of the errors of protestants, they may, and must, in conformity to the Doctor's own rule, judge'a reconciliation with them to be also damnable. And thus, all the want of charity. so' deeply charged on us, dissolves itself into this poor wonder-Roman catholics believe in their conscience, that the religion they profess is true, and the contrary false.
1000 ; cite lis 110
try * Page 11.
I Page 4, edit. 1. Page 20.
JLH Page 81.
2.“ Nevertheless, we earnestly desire, and take care, that our doctrine may not be defamed by misinterpretation. Far be it from us, by way of insultation, to apply it against protestants, otherwise than as they are comprehended under the generality of those, who are divided from the only one true church of Christ our Lord, within the communion whereof he hath confined salvation. Neither do we understand, why our most dear countrymen should be offended, if the universality be particularized under the name of protestants, first given* to certain Lutherans, who, protesting that they would stand out against the imperial decrees, in defence of the Confession exhibited at Augsburg, were termed protestants, in regard of such their protesting: which Confessio Augustana, disclaiming from, and being disclaimed by, Calvinists and Zuinglians, our naming or exemplifying a general doctrine under the particular name of protestantism, ought not in any particular manner to be odious in England.
“Moreover, our meaning is not, as misinformed persons may conceive, that we give protestants over to reprobation; that we offer no prayers in hope of their salvation; that we hold their case desperate; God forbid! We hope, we pray for, their conversion; and sometimes we find happy effects of our charitable desires. Neither is our censure immediately directed to particular per
The tribunal of particular judgments is God's alone, when any man, esteemed a protestant, leaveth to live in this world, we do not instantly with precipitation avouch that he is lodged in hell. For we are not always acquainted with what sufficiency or means he was furnished for instruction; we do not penetrate his capacity to understand his catechist; we have no revelation what light may have cleared his errors, or contrition retracted his sins, in the last moment before his death.' In such particular cases, we wish more apparent signs of salvation, but do not give any dogmatical sentence of perdition. How grievous sins disobedience, schism, and heresy are, is well known; but to discern how far the natural malignity of those great offences might be checked by ignorance, or by some such lessening circumstance, is the office rather of prudence than of faith.
* Sleidan, 1. 6. fol. 84.
4.“ Thus we allow protestants as much charity, as D. Potter spares us, for whom, in the words abovementioned, and elsewhere, he* makes ignorance the best hope of salvation. Much less comfort can we expect from the fierce doctrine of those chief protestants, who teach, that for many ages before Luther Christ had no visible church upon earth. Not these men alone, or such as they, but even the Thirty-nine Articles, to which the English protestant clergy subscribes, censure our belief so deeply, that ignorance can scarce, or rather not at all, excuse us from damnation. Our doctrine of transubstantiation, is affirmed to be repugnant to the plain words of † Scripture; our masses to be blasphemous | fables, with much more to be seen in the Articles themselves. In a certain confession of the Christian faith, at the end of their books of Psalms collected into metre, and printed cum priviligio regis regali, they call us idolaters and limbs
I Art xxxi,
* See page 39. VOL. I.
+ Art. xxviii.