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their own lack of understanding, and through their own blindness, these men have them fast yoked, and in their danger.
Grounds of the Reformation.'
Sect. 1. Verily, we for our parts, as we have said, have done nothing in altering religion, upon either rashness, or arrogancy: nor nothing, but with good leisure, and great consideration. Neither had we ever intended to do it, except both the manifest and most assured Will of God, opened to us in his Holy Scriptures, and the regard of our own salvation, had even constrained us thereunto. For though we have departed from that Church which these men call Catholic, and by that means get us envy amongst them that want skill to judge ; yet is this enough for us—and it ought to be enough for every wise and good man, and one that maketh account of everlasting life—that we have gone from that Church which hath power to err; which Christ, who cannot err, told so long before, it should err; and which we
from their pens.
f [This chapter is worthy of the closest attention. Every section is replete with sound wisdom and the dictates of admirable judgment. The whole forms one of the fullest and fairest statements of the motives by which the Reformers were actuated, and the principles which regulated their proceedings in their momentous work, that has proceeded
In some of the preceding pages, the spirit of concession, perhapsperhaps the necessity of arguing from principles common to his opponents, occasionally led JEWELL into concessions in which it would be unwise to follow him; while, on the other hand, at times he urged his opposition to the great errors of Romanism to extremes unwarranted by Scripture or primitive and apostolic doctrine. In this chapter a perfect safeguard against the dangers attendant on either of these courses is provided. The great principles of Christian liberty, private judgment, Scriptural authority, and the consent of antiquity, are clearly stated. The use and authority of Councils are reduced to their proper limits; and the extravagant" pretensions of the Pope to an exclusive possession of the ministerial succession are briefly and temperately refuted.—The very keystone of the arch of reformation is comprised in these discussions.)
ourselves did evidently see with our eyes to have gone from the old holy fathers, and from the Apostles, and from Christ himself, and from the primitive and catholic Church of God: and we are come, as near as we possibly could, to the Church of the Apostles and of the old catholic bishops and fathers—which Church, we know, was sound and perfect, and as TERTULLIAN termeth it
a pure virgin," spotted as theń with no idolatry, nor with any foul and shameful fault; and have directed according to their customs and ordinances, not only our doctrine, but also the sacraments, and the form of common prayer.
Sect. 2. And as we know both CHRIST himself, and heretofore all good men, have done; we have called home again to the original and first foundation that religion which hath been foully neglected, and utterly corrupted by these men. For we thought it meet thence to take the pattern of reforming religion, whence the ground of religion was first taken; because this one reason, as saith the most ancient father TERTULLIAN, hath great force against all heresies : • Look whatsoever was first, that is true : and whatsoever is latter, that is corrupt.”—IRENÆUS oftentimes appealed to the oldest
6 "Id esse verum, quodcunque primum: id esse adulterum, quodcunque posterius." Tertull. adv. Pratean. c. ii. [TERTULLIAN expresses the sentiment more fully elsewhere :-"Id esse dominicum
verum, quod sit prius traditum: id autem extraneum et falsum, quod sit posterius immissum." De Præscr. Hær. c. xxxi.
" To the severe test of this primitive canon, we must ultimately bring the lofty pretensions of the Latin Church. The real question is not, whether many of its doctrines and practices be not of very remote antiquity ; but the real question is, whether they can claim such antiquity as reaches to the age of approving apostolic authority. Unless a chain can be constructed, which shall bind the modern Church of Rome to the primitive Church of Christ, the mere comparative antiquity of its peculiar doctrines and practices will assuredly avail nothing. The connecting link will be wanted : and let such doctrines and such practices have been introduced when they may, still, since they cannot be shown to have existed from the beginning, they stand convicted of novelty; and on that specific ground, they must, agreeably to the canon of TERTULLIAN, be rejected as spurious.
“If the claim of immutability from the very age of the Apostles could, indeed, be substantiated, every dissident from the Latin Church would forthwith incur the charge of manifest heresy. But here lies the grand difficulty of Romanism : a claim is preferred, which never has been, and which never can be substantiated. The very circum
Churches,” which had been nearest to Christ's time, and which it was hard to believe had been in error, stance of such a claim having been preferred, brings the whole matter to a question of naked historic fact; and by the resolution of that question, the Church of Rome is clearly found guilty of innovation.” FABER, Dificulties of Romanism, B. I. ch. i.]
b IRENÆUS Adv. Hæres. Lib. III. c. iii. [From the very beginning of the Reformation, this passage has been a bone of contention between Protestants and Romanists. Because among his "old Churches" IRENÆUS has named as chief that of Rome, the advocates of Papal pretensions put in a loud and pertinacious claim for his suffrage to their cause : and no demonstration of the incongruity of the context with such an interpretation of the passage, or of its inconsistency with all IRENÆUS' conduct
, and opinions elsewhere expressed, is sufficient to silence their clamours. This adherence to their perversion of the passage is a sufficient warrant for the insertion of the whole of JEWELL'S solid confutation; prefixing the passage in dispute.
Si recondita mysteria scissent Apostoli, quæ seorsim et latenter ab reliquis perfectos docebant, his vel maxime traderent ea quibus etiam ipsas Ecclesias committebant.–Sed quoniam valde longum est, in hoc tali volumine omnium Ecclesiarum enumerare successiones, maximæ, et antiquissimæ, et omnibus cognitæ, a gloriosissimis duobus apostolis Petro et Paulo Romæ fundatæ et constitutæ Ecclesiæ, eam quam habet ab Apostolis traditionem et annunciatam hominibus fidem, per successiones episcoporum pervenientem usque ad nos, indicantes confundimus omnes eas, &c.--Ad hanc enim Ecclesiam propter potentiorem principalitatem, necesse est omnem convenire Ecclesiam, hoc est, eos qui sunt undique fideles, in qua semper ab his qui sunt undique, conservata est ea quæ est ab apostolis traditio.”—“ If the Apostles had known any secret mysteries which they were in the habit of teaching to the perfect apart from the rest and secretly, they would most certainly have imparted them to the persons to whom they committed the Churches themselves (which they had founded).* But as it would be very tedious to enumerate the successions of all the postolic Churches in a work of this size, we will confound them (the Gnostics, whom he is opposing,] by tracing, through the succession of bishops down to our own times, the instruction derived from the Apostles, and the faith delivered to men, as it was received by the great, and most ancient, and universally known Church founded at Rome by the two glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul.- For every Church (that is, the faithful every where) in which, by those of every region, the apostolical doctrine has always been preserved, must needs agree with this Church, on account of its pre-eminence.”+
(Irenæus is arguing against Gnostics, who, admitting that their doctrine was not to be found in the Scriptures, maintained that it had been communicated by the apostles orally to certain niore advanced disciples, whom they called the perfect. • If there were such an oral doctrine,' Irenæus argues, ` where should it be found, if not among the bishops of the apostolic Churches? The purport of all the remainder of the chapter is to show that among them it was not to be found. ]
[This sentence contains the principal point of the dispute between Romanists and Protestants. It involves two or three ambiguities; and as the original is merely a badly executed Latin version of the Greek in which IRENÆUS wrote, it is perhaps impossible to say with certainty what is an accurate translation. That given in the text, is most agreeable to the context, and gives the most consistent
Others may be given more favourable to the pretensions of the Church of Rome; and some, perhaps, not quite as much so; but they are all liable to serious objections. )
But why at this day is not the same common regard and consideration had? Why return we not to the pattern
On this passage, JEWELL thus remarks : "The pre-eminence that IRENÆUS giveth to the Church of Rome, standeth in consent, and unity, and agreement of doctrine ; not in superiority, or government over all the world. For proof whereof, ye may understand that IRENÆus in the same place likewise specially noteth the Church of Smyrna, planted by Polycarp; and the Church of Ephesus, planted by St. John;* and generally, sundry other great Churches planted by men of apostolical dignity : unto which he willeth us in like manner to repair ; and not only to the Church of Rome.t
"The emperor Theodosius willeth his subjects to conform themselves in doctrine, not only to the Roman bishop, but also, either to Nectarius the bishop of Constantinople; or to Timothy the bishop of Alexandria ; or to Pelagius the bishop of Laodicea ; or to Diodorus the bishop of Tarsus; or to Amphilochius the bishop of Iconium ; or to Optimus the bishop of Antioch ; or to Helladius the bishop of Cæsarea ; or to Otreius the bishop of Melite ; or to Gregory the bishop of Nice; or to Terennius the bishop of Scythia ; or to Marmarius the bishop of Martianopolis. (Cod. Theodos. Lib. XVI. Tit. 3.) Unto all and every of these notable great Churches, the emperor willeth all other inferior Churches tp repair.
"So saith TERTULLIAN: 'Videamus quod lac a Paulo Corinthii hauserint ; ad quam regulam Galathæ sint recocti ; quid legant Philippenses, Thessalonicenses, Ephesii ; quid etiam Romani de proximo sonent, quibus evangelium Petrus et Paulus, sanguine quoque suo signatum, reliquerunt.' 'Let us see what milk the Corinthians drew from Paul; according to what rule the Galatians were reformed; what the Philippians, the Thessalonians, the Ephesians, read; what sound the Romans give, who are so near to us, to whom Peter and Paul left the gospel, sealed with their blood.” (Contra Marcion. Lib. IV.)
"Thus the ancient godly fathers willed the faithful to have recourse unto every of these Churches, of Smyrna,” &c.—"not for any secret unremoveable virtue in them contained, but only, as IRENÆUS saith, for that the tradition and doctrine of the Apostles had continued there still without corruption : 'In qua semper conservata est ea quæ est ab apostolis traditio.'
“Therefore TERTULLIAN saith : 'Percurre Ecclesias apostolicas, apud quas ipse adhuc cathedræ apostolorum suis locis præsidentur; apud quas ipsæ authenticæ literæ eorum recitantur, sonantes vocem, et repræsententes faciem uniuscujusque. Proxima est tibi Achaia ? habes Corinthum. Si non longe es a Macedonia, habes Philippos, habes Thessalonicenses. Si potes in Asiam tendere, habes Ephesum. Si autem Italiæ adjaces, habes Romam : unde nobis quoque authoritas præsto est.'
* Run over the apostolic churches, in which the apostles'
(Towards the close of the chapter: "Et Polycarpus autem non solum ab apostolis edoctus-in ea quæ est Smyrnis ecclesia constitutus Episcopus,” &c.
Sed et quæ est Ephesi ecclesia, a Paulo quidem fundata Joanne autem permanente apud eas usque ad Trajani tempora, testis est verus apostolorum traditionis."]"
† " Valde longum est, omnium ecclesiarum enumerare successiones.”
of the “ old Churches ?” Why may we not hear at this time amongst us the same saying which was openly pronounced in times past in the Council of Nice by so many bishops and Catholic fathers, and nobody once speaking against it: HOH APXAIA KPATEIT2-HOLD STILL THE OLD CUSTOMS ?
Sect. 3. When Esdras went about to repair the ruins of the temple of God, he sent not to Ephesus, although the most beautiful and gorgeous temple of Diana were there : and when he purposed to restore the sacrifices and ceremonies of God, he sent not to Rome, although peradventure he had heard that there were the solemn sacrifices called Hecatomba, and other called Solitaurilia, Lectisternia, and Supplicationes, and Numa Pompilius' Ceremonial Books, or Manuals, or Portueses,k containing the service of their gods. He thought it enough for him, to set before his eyes, and follow the pattern of the old temple, which Solomon at the beginning builded according as God had appointed him; and also those old customs and ceremonies which God himself had written out by special words for Moses.
The prophet Haggai, after the temple was repaired again by Esdras, and the people might think they had
chairs are yet still continued ; in which their authentic letters are recited, sounding out the voice, and representing the face, of each one of them. Is Achaia nearest to you ? you have Corinth._If you be not far from Macedonia, you have the Philippians, and the Thessalonians. If you can go to Asia, you have Ephesus. If you border on Italy, you have Rome : whence we also (dwelling in Africa (to which Rome was the nearest apostolic church]) may readily obtain authority.' (De Præscript. cont. Hæret.)*
“ Thus the ancient fathers taught the people to reform themselves by the example and doctrine, not only of the Church of Rome, bnt also of all other notable apostolic Churches."-Defence, p. 616, 617.]
i [This temple, so famed for its magnificence, is too well known as one of the so called 'wonders of the world' to need any description here. The first temple, (that burned by Eratostratus,) which was much more splendid than its successor, was in existence in the time of Ezra.)
k [This obsolete word (otherwise spelt portass,' and so given by JOHNSON) is nearly 'synonymous with manual,' signifying a breviary, or portable book of prayers.]
[This passage of TERTULLIAN is examined by FABER, in his Difficulties of Romanism, Chap. I. and Appendix.]