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church, against which the gates of hell can never so far prevail, as that she shall be permitted to deceive the Christian world with false Scriptures. And Luther himself, by unfortunate experience, was at length forced to confess thus much, saying, • If the world* last longer, it will be again necessary to receive the decrees of councils, and to have recourse to them, by reason of divers interpretations of Scripture which now reign.' On the contrary side, the translation approved by the Roman church, is commended even by our adversaries; and D. Covel in particular saith—that it was used in the church one thousandt three hundred years ago, and doubteth not to prefer thatf translation before others. Insomuch, that whereas the English translations be many, and among themselves disagreeing, he concludeth, that of all those the approved translation, authorized by the church of England, is that which cometh nearest to the vulgar, and is commonly called the Bishop's Bible. So that the truth of that translation, which we use, must be the rule to judge of the goodness of their Bibles: and therefore they are obliged to maintain our translations, if it were but for their
17. “ But doth indeed the source of their manifold uncertainties stop here? No, the chiefest difficulty remains, concerning the true meaning of Scripture; for attaining whereof, if protestants had any certainty, they could not disagree so hugely as they do. Hence Mr. Hooker saith, We
* Lib. con. Zuing. de verit. corp. Christ. in Eucha. + In his Answer unto M. John Burges, page 94.
man, of whom our Saviour had given testimony, and that he should be consulted in this question, we should make no doubt to perform what he should say, lest we might seem to gainsay not him so much as Christ, by whose testimony he was recommended. Now Christ beareth witness to his church.' And, a little after, Whosoever refuseth to follow the practice of the church, doth resist our Saviour himself, who by his testimony recommends the church.' I conclude therefore with this argument: whosoever resisteth that means which infallibly proposeth to us God's word or revelation, commits a sin, which, unrepented, excludes salvation : but whosoever resisteth Christ's visible church, doth resist that means which infallibly proposeth to us God's word or revelation: therefore whosoever resisteth Christ's visible church, commits a sin, which, unrepented, excludes salvation. Now, what visible church was extant, when Luther began his pretended reformation, whether it were the Roman or protestant church, and whether he, and other protestants, do not oppose that visible church, which was spread over the world, before, and in, Luther's time, is easy to be determined, and importeth every one most seriously to ponder, as a thing whereon eternal salvation dependeth. And because our adversaries do here most insist upon the distinction of points fundamental, and not fundamental; and in particular teach, that the church may err in points not fundamental; it will be necessary to examine the truth and weight of this evasion, which shall be done in the next chapter."
ANSWER TO THE SECOND CHAPTER:
Concerning the means whereby the revealed truths
of God are conveyed to our understanding ; and • which must deterinine controversies in faith and
religion. Ad. §. 1. He that would usurp an absolute lordship and tyranny over any people, need not put himself to the trouble and difficulty of abrogating and disannulling the laws, made to maintain the common liberty; for he may frustrate their intent, compass his own design as well, if he can get the power and authority to interpret them as he pleases, and add to them what he pleases, and to have his interpretations and additions stand for laws; if he can rule his people by his laws, and his laws by his lawyers. So the church of Rome, to establish her tyranny over men's consciences, needed not either to abolish or corrupt the Holy Scriptures, the pillars and supporters of Christian liberty; (which in regard of the numerous multitudes of copies dispersed through all places, translated into almost all languages, guarded with all solicitous care and industry, had been an impossible attempt:) but the more expedite way, and therefore more likely to be successful, was to gain the opinion and esteem of the public and authorized interpreter of them, and the authority of adding to them what doctrine she pleased, under the title of traditions or definitions. For by this means, she might both serve herself of all those clauses of Scripture, which might be drawn to cast a favourable countenance upon her ambitious pretences, which in case the Scripture had been abolished she could not have done; and yet be secure enough of having either her power limited, or her corruptions and abuses reformed by them; this being once settled in the minds of men, that unwritten doctrines, if proposed by her, were to be received with equal reverence to those that were written; and that the sense of Scripture was not that which seemed to men's reason and understanding to be so, but that which the church of Rome should declare to be so, seemed it never so unreasonable and incongruous. The matter being once thus ordered, and the Holy Scriptures being made in effect not your directors and judges (no farther than you please) but your servants and instruments, always pressed and in readiness to advance your designs, and disabled wholly with minds so qualified to prejudice or impeach them; it is safe for you to put a crown on their head, and a reed in their hands, and to bow before them, and cry, “Hail King of the Jews!" to pretend a great deal of esteem, and respect, and reverence to them, as here you do. But to little purpose is verbal reverence without entire submission and sincere obedience; and, as our Saviour said of some, so the Scripture, could it speak, I believe would
say to you, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not that which I command you?" Cast away the vain and arrogant pretence of infallibility, which makes your errors incurable.
Leave picturing God, and worshipping him by pictures.
not for doctrine the commandments of men.” Debar not the laity of the testament of Christ's, blood. Let your public prayers and psalms, and hymns, be in such language as is for the edification of the assistants. Take not from the clergy that liberty of marriage which Christ hath left them. Do not impose upon men that humility of worshipping angels which St. Paul condemns. Teach no more proper sacrifices of Christ but one. Acknowledge them that die in Christ to be blessed, and to “rest from their labours.” Acknowledge the sacrament, after consecration, to be bread and wine, as well as Christ's body and blood. Acknowledge the gift of continency, without marriage, not to be given to all. Let not the weapons of your warfare be carnal, such as are massacres, treasons, persecutions, and, in a word, all means either violent or fraudulent: these and other things which the Scripture commands you, do, and then we shall willingly give you such testimony as you deserve; but, till you do so, to talk of estimation, respect, and reverence to the Scripture, is nothing else but talk.
2. For neither is that true which you pretend —that we possess the Scripture from you, or take it
upon the integrity of your custody ;-but upon universal tradition, of which you are but a little part. Neither, if it were true that protestants acknowledged the integrity of it to have been guarded by your alone custody, were this any argument of your reverence towards them. For, first, you might preserve them entire, not for want of will, but of power, to corrupt them, as it is a hard thing to poison the sea. And then, having prevailed so far with men, as either not to look at