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; Give me leave (good reader) to inform thee, by way of preface, of three points: the first concerns D. Potter's Answer to Charity Mistaken. The second relates to this Reply of mine. And the third contains some premonitions, or prescrip'tions, in case D. Potter, or any in his behalf, think fit to rejoin. 1.2. “ For the first point, concerning D. Potter's Answer, I say in general, reserving particulars to their proper places, that in his whole book he hath not so much as once truly and really fallen upon the point in question; which was, whether both catholics and protestants can be saved in their several professions ? and therefore Charity Mistaken, judiciously pressing those particulars,
, wherein the difficulty doth precisely consist, proves in general, that there is but one true church; that all Christians are obliged to hearken to her; that she must be ever visible and infallible; that to separate one's self from her communion'is schism; and to dissent from her doctrine is heresy, though it be in points never so few, or
never so small in their own nature; and, therefore, that the distinction of points fundamental and not fundamental, is wholly vain, as it is applied by protestants. These (I say) and some other general grounds, Charity Mistaken handles; and out of them doth clearly evince, that any the least difference in faith cannot stand with salvation on both sides. And, therefore, since it is apparent, that catholics and protestants disagree in very many points of faith, they both cannot hope to be saved without repentance; and, consequently, as we hold that protestancy unrepented destroys salvation, so must they also believe, that we cannot be saved, if they judge their own religion to be true, and our's to be false. And whosoever disguiseth this truth, is an enemy to souls, which he deceives with ungrounded false hope of salvation in different faiths and religions. And this Charity Mistaken performed exactly, according to that which appears to have been his design, which was not to descend to particular disputes, as D. Potter affectedly does ; namely, whether or no the Roman church be the only church of Christ; and, much less, whether general councils be infallible: whe
ther the pope may err in his decrees common to the whole church: whether he be above a general veouncil: whether all points of faith be contained in Scripture: whether faith be resolved into the authority of the church, as into its last formal object and motive: and least of all did he discourse of images, communion under both kinds, public service in an unknown tongue, seven sacraments, saerifice of the mass, indulgences, and index expurgatorius. All which, and divers other articles, D. Potter (as I said) draws by violence into his book :, and he might as well have brought in Pope Joan, priantie christ, or the Jews who are permitted to live in Rome ;'which are common themes for men thati want better matter, as D. Potter was forced to fetch in the aforesaid controversies, that so The might dazzle the eyes, and distract the mind, of the reader, and hinder him from perceiving, that in his whole Answer he uttereth nothing to the purpose and point in question; which if he had followed closely, I dare well say, he might have dispatched his whole book in two or three sheets of paper. But the truth is, he was loth to affirm plainly, that generally both catholics and protestants may be saved.
be saved. And yet seeing it to be most evident, that protestants cannot pretend to have any true church before Luther, except the Roman, and such as agreed with her; and, consequently, that they cannot hope for salvation, if they deny it to us ; he thought best to avoid this difficulty by confusion of language, and to fill up his book with points, which make nothing to the purpose: wherein he is less excusable, because he miust grant, that those very particulars, to which he digresseth, are not fundamental errors, though it' should be granted that they be errors, which indeed are catholic verities : for since they be not fundamental, nor destructive of salvation, what imports it, whether we hold them or no, forasmuch as concerns our possibility to be saved ? ***
13:26 In one thing only he will perhaps seem to have touched the point in question; to wit, in his distinction of points fundamental and not funda? mental, because some may think, that a dfferences in points which are not fundamental breaks not the unity of faith, and hinders not the hope of salva
tion in persons so disagreeing.' And yet,- in this very distinetion, he never speaks to the purpose
indeed, but only says, that there are some points i so fundamental, as that all are obliged to know
and believe them explicitly; but never tells us) whether there be any other points of faith, which a man may deny or disbelieve, though they be sufficiently presented to his understanding as truths revealed or testified by Almighty God;
15 which was the only thing in question. For if it be damnable, as certainly it is, to deny or disbe lieve any one truth witnessed by Almighty God, though the thing be not in itself of any great iconsequence or moment; and since, of two disagreeing in matters of faith, one must necessarily deny some such truth; it clearly follows, that amongst men of different faiths, or religions, one only can be saved, though their difference consist of divers, or but even one point, which is not in its own nature fundamental, as I declare at large in divers, places of my first part. So that it is clear, D. Potter, even in this his last refuge and distinction, never comes to the point in question: to say nothing, that he himself doth quite overthrow it, and plainly contradict his whole design, as I shew in the third chapter of my first part.
th 4. "And as for D. Potter's manner of handling those very points, which are utterly beside the purpose, consists only in bringing vulgar mean objeetions, which have been answered a thousand timès; yea, and some of them are clearly an-i swered even in Charity Mistaken; but he takes no knowledge at all of any such answers, and much less does he apply himself to confute them. He; allegeth also authors with so great corruption, and fraud, as I would not have believed, if I had not found it by clear and frequent experience: In his second edition, he has indeed left out one bn two gross corruptions, amongst many others no less notorious; having, as it seems, been warnt ed by some friends, that they could not stand with his credit: but even in this his second edi, tion he retracts them not at all, nor declares, that he was mistaken in the first; and so his reader of the first edition shall ever be deceived by him, though withal he read the second. For preventing of which inconvenience, I have thought it necessary to take notice of them, and discover them in my Reply, - 5.“ And for conclusion of this point I will only say, that D. Potter might have well spared his pains, if he had ingenuously acknowledged where the whole substance, yea, and sometimes the very words and phrases of his book, may be found in a far briefer manner, namely, in a Sermon of D. Usher's, preached before our late Sovereign Lord King James, the 20th of June, 1624, at Wansted; containing A Declaration of the Universality of the Church of Christ, and the Unity of Faith professed therein : which Sermon having been roundly and wittily confuted by a catholic divine, under the name of Paulus Veridicus, within the compass of about four sheets of paper, D. Potter's Answer to Charity Mistaken was in effect confuted before it appeared. And this may suffice for a general censure of his Answer to Charity Mistaken..sy 26." For the second, touching my Reply: if you wonder at the bulk thereof, compared either with Charity Mistaken, or D. Potter's Answer; I desire you to consider well of what now I am about to