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they will believe not to be against them; and they which are too plainly against them, shall be no authorities. And indeed the whole world hath been so much abused, that every man thinks he hath reason to suspect whatsoever is against him, that is, what he pleaseth : which proceeding only produces this truth, that there neither is nor can be any cera tainty, nor very much probability, in such allegations.
6. But there is a worse mischief than this,- besides those very many which are not yet discovered, which, like the pestilence, destroys in the dark, and grows into inconve nience more insensibly and more irremediably, and that is, corruption of particular places, by inserting words and altering them to contrary senses : a thing which the fathers of the sixth general synod complained of, concerning the constitutions of St. Clement, " quibus jam olim ab iis, qui à fide aliena sentiunt, adulterina quædam, etiam à pietate aliena, introducta sunt, quæ divinorum nobis decretorum elegantem et venustam speciem obscurârunt 8." And so also have his recognitions, so have his epistles been used, if at least they were his at all ; particularly the fifth decretal epistle that goes under the name of St. Clement, in which community of wives is taught upon the authority of St. Luke, saying, the first Christians had all things common ;—if all things, then wives also, says the epistle : à forgery like to have been done by some Nicolaitan, or other impure person. There is an epistle of Cyril extant to Successus, bishop of Díocæsarea, in which he relates that he was asked by Budas bishop of Emessa, whether he did approve of the epistle of Athanasius to Epictetus bishop of Corinth ; and that his answer was, “Si hæc apud vos scripta non sint adultera : nam plura ex his ab hostibus ecclesiæ deprehenduntur esse depravata h." And this was done even while the authors themselves were alive : for so Dionysius df Corinth complained, that his writings were corrupted by heretics; and Pope Leo, that his epistle to Flavianus was perverted by the Greeks. And in the synod of Constantinople before quoted (the sixth synod) Marcarius and his disciples were convicted, " quod sanctorum testimonia aut truncârint aut deprâvarinti.” Thus the third chapter of St. Cyprian's book de Unitate Ecclesiæ,' in the edition of Pamelius, suffered great alteration ; these words— primatus Petro datur—wholly inserted, and these super cathedram Petri fundata est ecclesia :' and whereas it was before, ' super unum ædificat ecclesiam Christus,' that not being enough, they hàve made it "super illum unum.' Now these additions are against the faith of all old copies before Minutius and Pamelius, and against Gratian, even after himself had been chastised by the Roman correctors, the commissaries of Gregory XIII. às is to be seen where these words are alleged ; * Decret. c. 24. q. 1. can. Loquitur Dominus ad Petrum.” So that we may say of Cyprian's works, as Pamelius himself said concerning his writings and the writings of others of the fathers, “Unde colligimus (saith he) Cypriani scripta, ut et aliorum veterum, à librariis variè fuisse interpolafak.” But Gratian himself could do as fine a feat when he listed, or else somebody did it for him, and it was in this very question, their beloved article of the Pope's supremacy; for “de Pænit. dist. 1. c. Potest fieri,” he quotes these words out of St. Ambrose, “ Non habent Petri hæreditatem, qui non habent Petri sedem :” fidem,' not sedem,' it is in St. Ambrose; but this error was made authentic by being inserted into the code of the catholic church. And considering how little notice the clergy had of antiquity but what was transmitted to them by Gratian, it will be no great wonder that all this part of the world swallowed such a bole, and the opinion that was wrapped in it. But I need not instance in Gratian any farther, but refer any one that desires to be satisfied concerning this collection of his, to Augustinus archbishop of Tarracon, in emendatione Gratiani,' where he shall find fopperies and corruptions good store noted by that learned man. But that the indices expurgatorii,' commanded by authority, and practised with public license, profess to alter and correct the sayings of the fathers, and to reconcile them to the catholic sense, by putting in and leaving out,-is so great an imposture, so unchristian a proceeding, that it hath made the faith of all books and all authors justly to be suspected! For considering their infinite diligence and great opportunity, as having had most of the copies in their own hands, together with an unsatisfiable desire of prevailing in their right or in their wrong, they have made an absolute destruction of this topic: and when the fathers speak Latin m, or breathe in a Roman diocess, although the providence of God does infinitely overrule them, and that it is next to a miracle that in the monuments of antiquity there is no more found that can pretend for their advantage than there is, which indeed is infinitely inconsiderable ; yet our questions and uncertainties are infinitely multiplied, instead of a probable and reasonable determination. For since the Latins always complained of the Greeks for privately corrupting the ancient records both of councils and fathersn, and now the Latins make open profession not of corrupting, but of correcting, their writings (that is the word), and at the most it was but a human authority, and that of persons not always learned, and very often deceived; the whole matter is so unreasonable, that it is not worth a farther disquisition. But if any one desires to inquire farther, he may be satisfied in Erasmus, in Henry and Robert Stephens, in their prefaces before the editions of the Fathers, and their observations upon them ; in Bellarm, de Scrip. Eccl. ;' in D. Reynolds de Lib. Apoc. ;' in Scaliger; and Robert Coke, of Leeds in Yorkshire, in his book' de Censura Patrum.'
& Can. 2.
h Euseb. 1. 4. c. 23. i Act, 8, vid. etiam. synod. 7, act. 4,
* Annot. Cyprian. super Concil. Carthag. n. 1.
1 Vid. Ind. Expurg. Belg. in Bertram. et Flandr. Hispan. Portugal. Neopolitan. Romanum ; Junium in præfat. ad Ind, Expurg. Belg. Hasenmullerum, pag. 275. Withrington. Apolog. num. 449.
SECTION IX. Of the Incompetency of the Church, in its diffusive Capacity,
to be Judge of Controversies; and the Impertinency of
that Pretence of the Spirit. 1. And now, after all these considerations of the several topics, tradition, councils, Popes, and ancient doctors of the church, I suppose it will not be necessary to consider the authority of the church apart. For the church either speaks by tradition, or by a representative body in a council, by Popes, or by the fathers: for the church is not a chimera, not a shadow, but a company of men believing in Jesus Christ; which men either speak by themselves immediately, or by their rulers, or by their proxies and representatives. Now I have considered it in all senses but in its diffusive capacity; in which capacity she cannot be supposed to be a judge of controversies, both because in that capacity she cannot teach us; as also, because if, by a judge, we mean all the church diffused in all its parts and members, so there can be no controversy : for if all men be of that opinion, then there is no question contested: if they be not all of a mind, how can the whole diffusive catholic church be pretended in defiance of any one article, where the diffusive church being divided, part goes this way, and part another ? But if it be said, the greatest part must carry it (besides that it is impossible for us to know which way the greatest part goes in many questions), it is not always true that the greater part is the best; sometimes the contrary is most certain ; and it is often very probable, but it is always possible. And when paucity of followers was objected to Liberius, he gave this in answer, There was a time, when but three children of the captivity resisted the king's decree . And Athanasius wrote on purpose against those that did judge of truth by multitudes : and indeed it concerned him so to do, when he alone stood in the gap against the numerous armies of the Arians P.
m Videat Lector Andream Christovium in Bello Jesuitico, et Joh. Reynolds in lib. de idol. Rom.
n Vid. Ep. Nicolai ad Michael. Imperat,
2. But if there could, in this case, be any distinct consideration of the church, yet to know which is the true church is so hard to be found out, that the greatest questions of Christendom are judged, before you can get to your judge; and then there is no need of him. For those questions which are concerning the judge of questions, must be determined before you can submit to his judgment; and if you can yourselves determine those great questions, which consist much in universalities, then also you may determine the particulars, as being of less difficulty. And he that considers how many notes there are given to know the true church by, no less than fifteen by Bellarmine, and concerning every one of them almost, whether it be a certain note or no, there are very many questions and uncertainties; and when it is resolved which are the notes, there is more dispute about the application of these notes than of the newToxçıvóMEVOV ;-—will quickly be satisfied that he had better sit still • Theod. 1. 2. c. 16. hist.
ľ Tom. 2.
than to go round about a difficult and troublesome passage, and at last get no farther, but return to the place from whence he first set out. And there is one note amongst the rest, holiness of doctrine, that is, so as to have nothing false either in doctrina fidei' or morum' (for so Bellarmine explicates it), which supposes all your controversies judged before they can be tried by the authority of the church; and when we have found out all true doctrine (for that is necessary to judge of the church by, that, as St. Austin's counsel is, “Ecclesiam in verbis Christi investigemus"), then we are bound to follow, because we judge it true, not because the church hath said it; and this is to judge of the church by her doctrine, not of the doctrine by the church. And indeed it is the best and only way: but then how to judge of that doctrine will be afterward inquired into. In the meantime the church, that is, the governors of the churches, are to judge for themselves, and for all those who cannot judge for themselves. For others, they must know that their governors judge for them too, so as to keep them in peace and obedience, though not for the determination of their private persuasions. For the economy of the church requires, that her authority be received by all her children. Now this authority is Divine in its original, for it derives immediately from Christ; but it is human in its ministration. We are to be led like men, not like beasts. A rule is prescribed for the guides themselves to follow, as we are to follow the guides: and although, in matters indeterminable or ambiguous, the presumption lies on behalf of the governors (for we do nothing for authority, if we suffer it not to weigh that part down of an indifferency and a question which she chooses) ; yet if there be error manifestus,' as it often happens; or if the church-governors themselves be rent into innumerable sects, as it is this day in Christendom ;-then we are to be as wise as we can in choosing our guides, and then to follow so long as that reason remains, for which we first chose them. And even in that government, which was an immediate sanction of God, I mean the ecclesiastical government of the synagogue (where God had consigned the high priest's authority with a menace of death to them that should disobey, that all the world might know the meaning and extent of such precepts, and that there is a limit beyond which