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all into them, or but only through such spectacles as you should please to make for them, and to see nothing in them, though as clear as the sun, if it any way made against you; you might keep them entire, without any thought or care to conform your doctrine to them, or reform it by them (which were indeed to reverence the Scriptures); but, out of a persuasion, that you could qualify them well enough with your glosses and interpretations, and make them sufficiently conformable to your present doctrine, at least in their judgment, who were prepossessed with this persuasion—that your church was to judge of the sense of Scripture, not be to judged by it.
3. For, whereas you say-no cause imaginable could avert your will, from giving the function of supreme and sole judge to Holy Writ; but that the thing is impossible, and that by this means controversies are increased and not ended; you mean perhaps, that you can or will imagine no other cause but these. But sure there is little reason you should measure other men's imaginations by your own, who perhaps may be so clouded and veiled with prejudice, that you cannot, or will not, see that which is most manifest. For what indifferent and unprejudicate man may not easily conceive another cause which (I do not say does, but certainly) may pervert your wills, and avert your understandings from submitting your religion and church to a trial by Scripture? I mean the great, and apparent, and unavoidable danger, which by this means you would fall into, of losing the opinion which men have of your infallibility, and consequently your power and authority over men's consciences, and all that depends upon it. So
that though Diana of the Ephesians be cried up, yet it may be feared that with a great many among you (though I censure or judge nó man) the other cause which wrought upon Demetrius and the craftsmen, may have with you also, the more effectual, though more secret, influence; and that is, that by this craft we have our living; by this craft, I mean, of keeping your proselytes from an indifferent trial of your religion by Scripture, and making them yield up and captivate their judgment unto yours. Yet had you only said de facto, thạt no other cause did avert your own will from this, but only these which you pretend out of charity, I should have believed you. But seeing you speak not of yourself, but of all of your side, whose hearts you cannot know; and profess not only, that there is no other cause, but that no other is imaginable, I could not let this pass without a censure. As for the impossibility of Scriptures being the sole judge of controversies, that is the sole rule for men to judge them by (for we mean nothing else) you only affirm it without proof, as if the thing were evident of itself; and therefore I, conceiving the contrary to be more evident, might well content myself to deny it without refutation : yet I cannot but desire you to tell me, if Scripture cannot be the judge of any controversy, how shall that touching the church and the notes of it be determined ? And if it be the sole judge of this one, why may it not of others ? Why not of all? those only excepted, wherein the Scripture itself is the subject of the question, which cannot be determined but by natural reason, the only principle, beside Scripture, which is common to Christians.
4. Then for the imputation of increasing contentions, and not ending them, Scripture is innocent of it; as also this opinion—that controversies are to be decided by Scripture.--For if men did really and sincerely submit their judgments to Scripture, and that only, and would require no more of any man but to do so, it were impossible but that all controversies touching things necessary and very profitable should be ended; and if others were continued or increased, it were no matter.
5. In the next words we have direct boys play, a thing given with one hand, and taken away with the other; an acknowledgment made in one line, and retracted in the next.-We acknowledge (say you) Scripture to be a perfect rule, forasmuch as a writing can be a rule; only we deny that it ex; cludes únwritten tradition.- As if you should have said, we acknowledge it to be as perfect a rule as writing can be; only we deny it to be as perfect a rule as a writing may be. Either therefore you must revoke your acknowledgment, or retract your retraction of it; for both cannot possibly stand together. For if you will stand to what you have granted, that Scripture is as perfect a rule of faith as a writing can be; you must then grant it both so complete, that it needs no addition, and so evident, that it needs no interpretation : for both these properties are requisite to a perfect rule, and a writing is capable of both these properties.
6. That both these properties are requisite to a perfect rule, it is apparent; because that is not perfect in any kind which wants some parts belonging to its integrity; as, he is not a perfect man that wants any part appertaining to the integrity of a man; and therefore that which wants any acsies, infallibility settled in a living judge, is incomparably more useful and fit, than if it were conceived as inherent in some inanimate writing. Is there such repugnance betwixt infallibility in the church, and existence of Scripture, that the production of the one must be the destruction of the other? Must the church wax dry, by giving to her children the milk of Sacred Writ? No, no: her infallibility was, and is, derived from an inexhausted fountain. If protestants will have the Scripture alone for their judge, let them first produce some Scripture affirming, that by the entering thereof, infallibility went out of the church. D. Potter may remember what himself teacheth; that the church is still endued with infallibility in points fundamental; and, consequently, that infallibility in the church doth well agree with the truth, the sanctity, yea, with the sufficiency of Scripture, for all matters necessary to salvation. I would therefore gladly know, out of what text he imagineth, that the church, by the coming of Scripture, was deprived of infallibility in some points, and not in others? He affirmeth, that the Jewish synagogue retained infallibility in herself, notwithstanding the writing of the Old Testament: and will he so unworthily and unjustly deprive the church of Christ of infallibility by reason of the New Testament? Especially, if we consider, that in the Old Testament, laws, ceremonies, rites, punishments, judgments, sacraments, sacrifices, &c. were more particularly and minutely delivered to the Jews, than in the New Testament is done; our Saviour leaving the determination or declaration of particulars to his spouse the church, which therefore stands in need of infallibility more than verities, if she cannot write them down; neither is that an interpretation which needs again to be interpreted. If she can, let her do it, and then we shall have a writing, not only capable of, but actually endowed with, both these perfections, of being both so complete as to need no addition, and so evident as to need no interpretation. Lastly, whatsoever your church can do or not do, no man can, without blasphemy, deny that Christ Jesus, if he had pleased, could have writ us a rule of faith so plain and perfect, as that it should have wanted neither any part to make up its integrity, nor any clearness to make it sufficiently intelligible. And if Christ could have done this, then the thing might have been done; a writing there might have been, endowed with both these properties. Thus therefore I conclude; a writing may be so perfect £ rule, as to need neither addition nor interpretation: but the Scripture you acknowledge a perfect rule, forasmuch as a writing can be a rule, therefore it needs neither addition nor interpretation... : 108. You will say, that though a writing be never so perfect a rule of faith, yet it must be beholden to tradition to give it this testimony, that it is a rule of faith, and the word of God.-I answer, first, there is no absolute necessity of this, for God might, if he thought good, give it the attestation of perpetual miracles. Secondly, that it is one thing to be a perfect rule of faith, another, to be proved so unto us. And thus though a writing could not be proved to us to be a perfect rule of faith, by its own saying so, for nothing is proved true by being said or written in a book, but only by tradition, which is a thing credible of itself: yet it may be so, in itself, and contain all the material objects,