Abbildungen der Seite

ference without a disparity. The Holy Ghost speaking only in Scripture, is no more intelligible to us than the Scripture in which he speaks ; 'as a man speaking only in Latin, can be no better understood, than the tongue wherein he speaketh, And therefore to say, a judge is necessary for deciding controversies about the meaning of Scripture, is as much as to say, he is necessary to decide, what the Holy Ghost speaks in Scripture. And it were a conceit equally foolish and pernicious, if one should seek to take away all judges in the kingdom upon this nicety, that albeit laws cannot be judges, yet the law-maker speaking in the law may perform that office, as if the law-maker speaking in the law were with more perspicuity understood than the law whereby he speaketh. : 5.“ But though some writing were granted to have a privilege to declare itself upon supposition that it were maintained in being, and preserved entire from corruptions; yet it is manifest, that, ņo writing can conserve itself, nor can complain, or denounce the falsifier of it; and therefore it stands in need of some watchful and, not-erring eye to guard it, by means of whose assured vigilancy we may undoubtedly receive it sincere and pure.

6.“ And, suppose it could defend from corruption, how could it assure us, that itself were ca-. nonical, and of infallible verity, by saying so ? Of this very affirmation, there will remain the same question still; how it can prove itself to be infallibly true? Neither can there ever be an end of the like multiplied demands, till we rest in the external authority of some person or persons bearing witness to the world, that such or such a book

[ocr errors]

is Scripture; and yet, upon this point, according to protestants, all other controversies in faith depend.

7. “That Scripture cannot assure us that itself is canonical Scripture, is acknowledged by some protestants in express words, and by all of them in deeds. Mr. Hooker, whom D. Potter ranketh* among men of learning and judgment, saith, Of thingst necessary, the very chiefest is to know what books we are to esteem holy; which point is confessed impossible for the Scripture itself to teach. And this he proveth by the same argument, which we lately used, saying thus" It is not the word of God which doth, or possibly can assure us, that we do well to think it is his word. For, if any one book of Scripture did give testimony of all, yet still that Scripture, which giveth testimony to the rest, would require another Scripture to give credit unto it. Neither could we come to any pause whereon to rest, unless, besides Scripture, there were something which might assure us, &c. And this he acknowledges to be they church. By the way, if of things necessary the very chiefest cannot possibly be taught by Scripture, as this man of so great learning and judgment affirmeth, and demonstratively proveth, how can the protestant clergy of England subscribe to their sixth article? wherein it is said of the Scripture-whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article

* Page 131.
+ In his first book of Eccles. Polit. sect. 14. p. 68.
$ Ibid. 1. 2. sect. 4. p. 102.

L. 3. sect. 8. p. 1. 146, et alibi.

of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation:--and concerning their belief and profession of this article, they are particularly 'examined when they are ordained priests and bishops. With Hooker, his defendant Covel doth punctually agree. Whitaker likewise confesseth, that the question about canonical Scriptures, is defined to us, not by testimony of the private spirit, which (saith he) being private and secret, is* unfit to teach and refel others; but (as he acknowledgeth) by thet ecclesiastical tradition: an argument (saith he) whereby may be argued, and convinced, what books be canonical, and what be not. Luther saith, Thiss indeed the church hath, that she can discern the word of God from the word of men : as Augustine confesseth-that he believed the gospel, being moved by the authority of the church, which did preach this to be the gospel, Fulk teacheth-that the churchợ hath judgment to discern true writings from counterfeit, and the word of God from the writing of men; and that this judgment she hath not of herself, but of the Holy Ghost.' And to the end that you may not be ignorant from what church you must receive Scriptures, hear your first patriarch Luther speaking against them, who (as he saith) brought in anabaptism, that so they might despite the pope. Verily (saith he) these men build upon a weak foundation: for, by this means, they ought to deny the whole Scripture, and the office of preaching :

[ocr errors]

* Adv. Stap. 1. 2. c. 6. p. 270. 357, + Ibid. 1. 2. c. 4. p. 300. I L. de cap, Bab. tom. ii. Witt. f. 88. Ø In his Answer to a counterfeit Catholic, p. 5. V Ep. con. Anab. ad duos Paroch. tom. ii. Ger. Witt.

for all these we have from the pope ;' otherwise we must go make a new Scripture,'. 1. -8But now in deeds they all make good, that without the church's authority no certainty can be had what Scripture is canonical, while they cannot agree in assigning the canon of the Holy Scripture. Of the Epistle of St. James Luther bath these words: The* Epistle of James is .contentious, swelling, dry, strawy, and unworthy of an apostolical spirit. Which censure of Luther, Illiricus acknowledgeth and maintaineth. Kemnitius teacheth--that the Second Epistlet of Peter, the Second and Third of John, the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Epistle of James, the Epistle of Jude, and the Apocalypse of John, are apocryphal, as not having sufficient testimonyf of their authority, and therefore that nothing in controversy can be proved out of theseg books. The same is taught by divers other Lutherans; and, if some other amongst them be of a contrary opinion since Luther's time, I wonder what new, infallible ground they can allege, why they leave their master, and so many of his prime scholars ? I know no better ground, than because they may with as much freedom abandon him, as he was bold to alter that canon of Scripture, which he found received in God's church.

9. “What books of Scripture the protestants of England hold for canonical, is not easy to affirm. In their sixth article, they say in the name of the Holy Scripture, we do understand those canonical books of the Old and New Testament, of whose

* Præf. in Epist. Jac. in ed. Jen. + In Enchirid. p. 65. # In Exam. Conc. Trid. par. 1. p. 55.,

♡ Ibid.

authority was never any doubt in the church.' What mean they by these words that by the church's consent they are assured what Scriptures be canonical! This were to make the church judge, and not Seriptures alone. Do they only understand the agreement of the church to be a probable inducement? Probability is no sufficient ground for an infallible assent of faith. By this rule (of whose authority was never any doubt in the ehurch) the whole Book of Esther must quit the canon, because some in the church have excluded it from the canon, as * Melito Asianus,

Athanasius, and I Gregory Nazianzen. And Luther (if protestants will be content that he be in the church) saith, “The Jews 5 place the Book of Esther in the canon; which yet, if I might be judge, doth rather deserve to be put out of the canon. And of Ecclesiastes he saith, “This book is not full; there are in it many abrupt things : he wants boots and spurs, that is, he hath no perfect sentence, he rides upon a long reed, like me when I was in the monastery.” And much more is to be read in him; who saith further, that the said book was not written by Solomon, but by Syrach, in the time of the Maccabees, and that it is like to the Talmud (the Jews' Bible) out of many books heaped into one work, perhaps out of the library of King Ptolemeus. And further he saith, that**

Apúd. Euseb. I. iv. Hist. c. 26. * In Synops. $ In Carm. de Genuinis Scrip. ♡ Li. de serv. arb. con. Eras. tom. ii. Wit. fol. 471. ll In lat. serm. conviv. Fran. in 8 impr. anno. 571.

9 In Ger. colloq. Lutheri ab Aurifabro ed Fran, tit. de lib. Vet. et Nov. Test, f. 379.

** Ib. tit. de Patriarch. et Proph. fol. 282.

« ZurückWeiter »