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“ command a wicked Thing, and abhorrent to Nature." 'Tis therefore a figurative Expression, commanding us to partake of the Passion of Christ, and sweetly, and profitably keep in Memory, that his Flesh was crucified
As for the Number of the Sa.
In the fixth Century we have this positive Testimony in illyricus: (a) “ The Divines of this Age, as others of “ former Times, acknowleged only two Sacraments, “Bapiim, and the Lord's Supper.
As to Image Worship.
St. Hierom faith; (b) “ We worship only one Image “ of the Invisible and Omnipotent God.". Wherewith agreeth St. Austin, who faith, (e) “ No Image of " God ought to be worshipped, but that which is the “ fame Thing which he is.” Both thele Fathers meaning our Lord Jelus, who is ftiled by the Apostle, (d) “ The Image of the invisible God, and the Brightness of - his Glory, and express Image of his Perfon."
Nay, St. Austin condemns the Use of Images, even when they are not adored for themfelves, but made as loftruments to worship God. Saying, (e) "They de • serve to err, which seek Christ and his Apostles in paint" ed Images, and not in written Books." And again, Warning his Readers against the Practice of some who
(a) Catal. Teft. Verit. Lib. 6. (b) Hier. in Ezek. Cap. 16. (c) Aug. Epift. 119. ad Fannar. Cap. 11." (d) Col. 1. 15. Heb. 1. 3. (e) Aug. Tom. 1. de Mor. Ecclef. Cap. 34.
were wont to kneel luperstitiously in Church-Yards, betore the Tombs of Martyrs, and the painted Histories of their Sufferings, he says, (a) “ Follow not the Compa
ny of such ignorant Men, who in the true Religion “ it self are superstitious. I know many that are Wor
shippers of Graves and Pictures; but this I advise
you, that you ought not to upbraid the Catholick « Church with the Manners of these Men, whom she “ herself condemneth and seeketh every Day to correct
as Children that do amiss.” So that it is plain, tho' fome mil-informed People might use Image Worship in St. Austin's Time, yet it was far from being then allowed by the Church in general, but condemned by the wifest and moft learned.
So as for Prayers to Saints.
St. Austin asserts, (b) “. That the Worshipping of “ Men, that are dead ought not to be any Part of our
Religion.” And St. Hierom days, (c) “ We ought to « invoke, that is, pray unto none but God alone.
But St. Chryfoftom is moft copious ia refuring those, who, in. Consideration of their own Unworthiness, and God's dreadful Majesty, should go about, and seek unto him, by the Mediation of Saints or Angels, and faith thus: (d) “ When thou hast need to sue unto Men, “ thou art forced first to deal with Porters and Servants, " and to entreat Para Gites and Favourites, and so go a long
Way about ; but with God there is no such Matter, he « is intreated without any Interceffor but Christ: It suf“ ficeth only that thou cry in thine Heart, and bring
(a) Aug. Tom. 1. de Mor. Ecclef. Can. 34. (b) Aug. de Ver. Relig. Cap. 55.
(c) Hier. Tom. 7. in Prov.. Gap. 2. (d) Chryft. Ser. 7. de Penitens, Tom. 6.
« Tears with thee, and then entring straightway thou
may'st draw him unto thee.” And on the Acts of the Apostles, Ch. 10. he says, (a) “ God doth tben “ molt for us when we do not use the Intreaty of e. " thers: For as a kind Friend be then blamcth us, when,
if not daring to trust his Love, we make use of . “ another's Interest and Addrefses to supplicate him. « for us, oC.
And Theodoret speaks home to this point on the second: and third Chapters to the Coloffians, where he exprefly fays, and that by the Authority of the Council of Laodicea, that Angels are got to be prayed unto : And if not Ana gels, then certainly, neither Saints nor Martyrs.
Juftification by Faith as before explained, is largely witnessed unto in these Ages, and the popish Conceit of Merit disowned.
“ Faith alone purifieth the Heart, says St. Auftin on: " the 88th Pfalm." St.Chryfoftom frequently uleth the fame Form of Speech, that, “ Faith only juftifieth.". As on the 4. Rom. and in his Discourse of Faith, and the Law of Nature, Tom. 3:.
Both Hierom on Ephef. 2. and Chryfoftom on Matthew, Hom. 53. alledge that Text in the 8th of the Rom. gainst Merit. And St. Austin in his Confession saith, My. good Deeds are thine Ordinances and thy Gifts, my evil ones are my Sins and thy Judgments.
The Council of Orange thus bravely decreed against the Semipelagians, (b) * We do wholesomly profess “ and believe, that God first of all, no good Merits of
ours preceding, inspireth into us, both Faith and the « Love ot him.' Which Place (c) Binnius hath fhamefully corrupted to a quite contrary Sense, by inserting Multis, instead of Nullis, many good Works going before, instead of None.
But our modern Romanists reckon it amongst their good Works, to deprave and corrupt Councils, Fathers
(a) kom. 3,6. (b) Can. 25. (c) Tom. 2. Fo. 392.
and all Monuments of Antiquity, when they make against · their late invented Errors. For this Realon, and no other, they bave their Judices Expurgatorii
. Having had frequent Occasion to mention the learned Doctors which Aourished in the Church for these fix primitive Centuries, usually. Atiled the Fathers: And by the numerous Testimonies we have taken from their Works, and it appearing how they in general maintained the same Opinions with us, and since our Adver-faries so boldly challenge them, and clamour at us for fighting their Authority; we think fit here to declare the: Respect we have to those holy Men and their Writings.
We reverence the antient Fathers, but fill with Relervation to the Father of us all, whom alone we acknowledge the Author and only absolute Director of our Faith, on whom we fately ground our selves in Things chat are to be believed. For every Article of Christian Faith must be grounded on divine Revelation, but all Opinions of the Fathers are not divine Revelation. We despise noc their Authority, we neglect not their Testimony; whereever we seem to vary from any of thein, 'tis either, 1. la Things Human, Arbitrary, and Indifferent : Or, 2. In: Matters not fully discussed by the Antients: Or, 3. In: Poiats where they do not joinily agrec among them. felves: Ori Lastly, In Things which are contradicted by plain Testimonies of holy Scripture,
And this Beterence and Respect to their Writings, as it is as much as is due, so they themselves require no more, allowing a Liberty of Dissenring, for that they were Advisers not Dictators; and therefore St. Aufin freely tells us, (a) “I wou'd have none embrace all my Opinions, « so as to follow me, unless only in those things wherfin 6 he hall find me to follow Truth.” And again, he candidly acknowledges, that, (b) · As in his Manners, fo in “ his Writings, many Things might justly be taxed." And
(a) Ang. de perfev. Sanet. Cap. 21. Tom. 7.
elsewhere he delivers bis Opinion, which is also our's': (a) “ This Reverence and Honour have I learned to give " to those Books of Scripture only, which are called Cao “ nonical: That I most firmly believe none of their Aus " thors have err'd in their Writings; but others I'read “ with this Liberty, that with what great Holiness or “ Learning soever they do excel, yet, I do not think any
thing to be true, because they so thought it, but be« cause they perfuade me, either by Scripture, or Reason, “ that it does not iwerve from Truth.
The present Romanists themselves do not yield Infallibi. lity of Judgment to the Fathers, but very often exprefly, and more frequently obliquely, and in Faet reject their Dogma's, and Opinions. This is confessed and allowed by two of the most Learned, that ever wore Purple in that Church; that is, Bellarmine, and Barronius. The first tells us; (b) “ Their Writings are no Rules of Faith,.
nor have any Authority to bind." The Second, in his Annals, faith, (c) “ The Church doth not always, and “ in all Things, follow the Fathers Interpretation of the “ Scriptures."
And, Canus, an eminent Author des clares, “ That the antient Fathers sometimes err, and,
being only Men, advance monstrous Opinions." So their great Canonist, Gretser, concludes, (d). " That if as the Fathers teach otherwise than the Church, they are, “not Fathers, but Step-fathers, not Doctors, but Sedu« cers." Apd, Mus, Bishop of Bitonto, on the 14th of the Romans, sticks not to affirm, “ That in Points of « Faith, he gives more Credit to one Pope, than a thou“ fand dustins, Hieroms, &c." Yet, these are the Men that upbraid us for contemning the Fathers, whereas in truth they themselves do but use them as Merchants do. their Cyphers, lometimes standing for Pence, sometimes. for Pounds, even as they are necessary to make up their Accompts.
(a) Epift. 19. Tom. 2. (b) De Concil. Author. Libi 2. Cap. 12. (c) Ad. An. 34. (d) De jure prohibendi Libres. Lib. 2. Cap, 10: