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very strange, that protestants should charge uş so deeply with want of charity, for only teaching, that both they and we cannot be saved, seeing themselves must affirm the like of whosoever opposeth any least point delivered in Scripture, which they hold to be the sole rule of faith. Out of which ground they must be enforced, to let all our former inferences pass for good : for, is it not a grievous sin, to deny any one truth contained in Holy Writ? is there in such denial any distinction between points fundamental and not fundamental sufficient to excuse from heresy ? is it not impertinent to allege the Creed containing all fundamental points of faith, as if, believing it alone, we were at liberty to deny all other points of Scripture? In a word, according to protestants, oppose not Scripture, there is no error against faith ; oppose it in any least point, the error, if Scripture be sufficiently proposed (which proposition is also required before a man can be obliged to believe even fundamental points) must be damnable. What is this, but to say with us, of persons contrary in whatsoever point of belief, one party only can be saved. And D. Potter mnst not take it ill, if catholics believe they may be saved in that religion for which they suffer. And if by occasion of this doctrine, men will still be charging us with want of charity, and be resolved to take scandal where none is given, we must comfort ourselves with that grave and true saying of St. Gregory, If scandal * be taken from declaring a truth, it is better to permit scandal than forsake the truth. But the solid grounds of our assertion, and the sincerity of our intention, in uttering what we think, yields 'us confidence, that all will hold for most reasonable the saying of Pope Gelasius to Anastasius the Emperor,
* St. Greg. Hom. 7. in Ezek,
• Far be it from the Roman Emperor, that he should hold it for a wrong, to have truth declared to him ! Let us therefore begin with that point which is the first that can be controverted betwixt protestants, and us, forasmuch as concerns the present question, and is contained in the argument of the next ensuing chapter.”
ANSWER TO THE FIRST CHAPTER:
Shewing, that the adversary grants the former
question, and proposeth a new one; and that there is no reason why, among men of different opinions
and communions, one side only can be saved. Ad.g. 1. Your first onset is very violent: D. Potter is charged with malice and indiscretion, for being uncharitable to you, while he is accusing you of uncharitableness. Verily, a great fault, and folly, if the accusation be just; if unjust, a great calumny. Let us see then how you make good your charge. The effect of your discourse, if I mistake not, is this:-D. Potter chargeth the Roman church with many and great errors ; judgeth reconciliation between her doctrine and ours, impossible; and that for them, who are convicted
in conscience of her errors, not to forsake her in . them, or to be reconciled unto her, is damnable : therefore, if Roman catholics be convicted in conscience of the errors of protestants, they may and must judge a reconciliation with them damnable ; and consequently to judge.so, is no more uncharitable in them, than it is in the Doctor to judge as he doth. --All this I grant; nor would any protestant accuse you of want of charity, if you went no further : if you judged the religion of protestants damnable to them only who profess it, being convicted in conscience that it is erroneous. For if a man judge some act of virtue to be a sin, in him it is a sin indeed : so you have taught us (p. 19). So, if you be convinced, or rather, to speak properly, persuaded in conscience, that our religion is erroneous, the profession of it, though itself most true, to you would be damnable. This therefore I subscribe very willingly, and withal, that if you said no more, D. Potter and myself should not be to papists only, but even to protestants, as uncharitable as you are: for I shall always profess and glory in this uncharitableness of judging hypocrisy a damnable sin. Let hypocrites then and dissemblers on both sides pass. It is not towards them, but good Christians; not to protestant professors, but believers, that we require your charity. What think you of those that believe so verily the truth of our religion, that they are resolved to die in it, and, if occasion were, to die for it? What charity have you for them? What think ye of those that, in the days of our fathers, laid down their lives for it? Are you content that they should be saved, or do you hope they may be so? Will you grant, that, notwithstanding their errors, there is good hope they might die with repentance? And, if they did so, certainly they are saved. If you will do so, this controversy is ended. No man will hereafter charge you with want of charity. This is as much, as either we give you, or expect of you, while you remain in your religion. But then you must leave abusing silly people, with telling them (as your fashion is) that-protestants confess papists may be saved, but papists confess not so much of protestants; therefore yours is the safer way, and in wisdom and charity to our own souls we are bound to follow. For, granting this, you grant as much hope of salvation to protestants, as protestants do to you. If you will not, but will still affirm, as Charity Mistaken doth, that protestants, not dissemblers, but believers, without a particular repentance of their religion cannot be saved; this, I say, is a want of charity, into the society whereof D. Potter cannot be drawn but with palpable and transparent sophistry. For, I pray Sir, what dependance is there between these propositions: we that hold protestant religion false should be damned if we should profess it; therefore they also shall be damned, that hold it true? Just as if you should conclude, because “ he that doubts is damned if he eat,” therefore he that doth not doubt, is damned also if he eat. And therefore though your religion to us, and ours to
you, fessed against conscience, would be damnable; yet may it well be uncharitable to define it shall be so, to them that profess either this or that according to conscience. This recrimination therefore upon D. Potter wherewith you begin, is a plain fallacy: and, I fear, your proceedings will be answerable to these beginnings.
if pro2. Ad. §. 2. In this paragraph, protestants are thus far comforted, that they are not sent to hell without company; which the poet tells us, is the miserable comfort of miserable men. Then we in England are requested not to be offended with the name of protestants. Which is a favour I shall easily grant, if by it be understood those that protest, not against imperial edicts, but against the corruptions of the church of Rome.
3. . 3—6. That you give us not over to reprobation, that you pray and hope for our salvationif it be a charity, it is such a one as is common to Turks, and Jews, and pagans with us. But that which follows, is extraordinary; neither do I know any man that requires more of you than there you pretend to. For there you tell us, that when any man esteemed a protestant dies, you do not instantly avouch that he is lodged in hell.-- Where the word esteemed is ambiguous: for it may signify, esteemed truly, and esteemed falsely. He may be esteemed a protestant that is so: and he may be esteemed a protestant that is not so. And therefore I should have had just occasion to have laid to your charge the transgression of your own chief prescription, which, you say, truth exacts at our hands, that is, to speak clearly or distinctly, and not to walk in darkness ;-—but that your following words, to my understanding, declare sufficiently, that you speak of both sorts. For there you tell us, that the reasons why you damn not any man that dies with the esteem of a protestant, are, 1. Because you are not always acquainted with what sufficiency of means he was furnished for instruction ;-you must mean touching the falsehood of his own religion, and the truth of