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as the whole Claim of the Church of Rome depends upon her being in all Points infallible : fo, if in any fingle Point The proves to be mistaken, her Pretence of being believed in the rest falls intirely to the Ground. But indeed, though for yoạr fuller Satisfaction I have confuted many of her Doctrines, yet any Person may have sufficient Satişfaction of his own being in the right Way, without so much as knowing or having heard what any one of her Doctrines is. For let him but keep close to the Creed and the Commandments ; believe those Things which Scripture hath made necessary to be believed, and do those Things which Scripture hath made necessary to be done ; and he is under no Manner of Obligation to enquire, what any Church on Earth thinks fit to believe or do besides. Many Opinions may be true and useful; many Practices may be innocent and edifying ; but nothing can be Matter of Necessity, except what Christ and his Apostles have required as Terms of Salvation. Every Person, that complies with these, is a true Christian : every Church that teaches these, is a true Church : and neither Ignorance, nor Error about any other Matters can forfeit our Title to everlasting Life. Search
then the Scriptures and see: is there any one Thing made necessary there which our Church forbids ? Is there any one Thing declared sinful there which our Church requires? If not, let other Churches prohibit or enjoin as they please at their own Peril. We are no Way bound to inquire what they do, or why. Letting alone their Peculiarities, we are sure is safe. Whether making Use of them be or not, is their Business to consider, not ours. So that were Transubstantiation, for Instance, and Purgatory true; were ,the Worship of Images and praying to Saints lawful ; which, God knows, they are far from being; yet as there is no Pretence that they are neceffary Doctrines and Practices; the Mistake of rejecting them could have no Harm in it; but the Uncharitableness of condemning and accursing those who reject them may have great Harm. For when once Chrift hath said, believe and do such and such Things, and you shall be saved; who is it that shall dare to say, believe and do more, or you shall not be saved? It is dreadful Arrogance, therefore, which the Church of Rome shows in this Respect; coining new Articles of Faith, some of which they own were not Articles of Faith from the Beginning, and sentencing Men to Hell for not believing
what, before that Sentence, themselves acknowledge no Body was bound to believe. This, you see, is changing the Terms of the Christian Covenant arbitrarily, and making a new Gospel at their own Pleasure. But in Opposition to their Decisions and Anathemas, hear one of St. Paul: Though an Angel from Heaven preach any other Gospel unto you than that which we, the Apostles of Christ, have preached, let him be accursed. Trust then yourselves on this Foot : for other Foundation can no Man lay, than that which they laid •. Nor indeed did the primitive Church, for several hundreds of Years, attempt it, or make any Doctrine necessary, which we do not: as the learned well know from their Writings; and the unlearned may know from the most ancient of their Creeds, which we now use in our constant Service. Afterwards indeed needless Additions first crept in, then false ones: but, had they begun ever so much sooner, our Cause had received no Prejudice. To the Law and to the Testimony, as the Prophet directs, we appeal: if they Speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no Light in them?.
or Cor. iii. 11. P Il. viii. 20.
1 PET. V. 12. -Exhorting and testifying that this is the
true Grace of God wherein ye stand.
T COME now to conclude the Subject on
which I have been so long employed. A
fufficient Number of the Doctrines of the Romanists have been considered, and what they plead for them, examined. But besides the Pleas they make for each in particular, they have others for all in general. Should they, when they want to make a Convert, fairly propose to him each of their Notions separately, and give him Proofs, first that it is true, and then that it obliges him to quit our Communion for theirs; this they are sensible would be a hopeless Undertaking. And therefore very wisely they are for shorter Work, and have general Arguments, it seems, to prove that, let their