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he thought, was left to stand alone; I say, in this case, when, as he verily believed, he had no body to stand by him, he was very jealous for the Lord God of hosts; and with an undaunted courage stood up for the worship of the true God, and reproved Ahab to his face for his defection to the worship of idols, 1 Kings xviii. 18.

And those three brave youths, in the prophecy of Daniel, chap iii. did in the like resolute and undaunted manner refuse to obey the command of the great King Nebuchadnezzar, to worship the image. which he had set up, when all others submitted, and paid honour to it; tel-, ling him plainly, If it be so, our God whom we serve, is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out

of thine hand, o king : but if not, be it known unto thee, o king, that we will not ferve thy gods, vor worship, the golden image which thou hast set up, Ý 17. 18.

In like manner, and with the same spirit and courage, Daniel withstood the decree of Darius, which forbade men to ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, fave of the king only, Dan. vi. 7. and this under the pain of being call into the den of lions : and when all others gave obedience to it, he fet open the windows of his chamber towards Jerufalem, and kneeled down upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime, y 10.

In the prevalency of the Arian heresy, Athanasius almost stood alone in the profession and maintenance of the truth. And in the reign of antichrist, the true church of God is represented by a woman flying into the wilderness, and living there in obscurity for a long time; infomuch that the professors of the truth should

hardly be found. And yet, during that degeneracy of so great a part of the Christian church, and the prevalency of antichrist for so many ages, some few in every age did appear, who did resolutely own the truth, and bear witness to it with their blood : but these did almost stand alone and by themselves, like a few scattered sheep wan. dering up and down in a wide wilderness.

Thus, in the height of Popery, Wickliffe appeared here in England ; and Hierome of Prague, and John Huss, in Germany and Bohemia. And in the beginning

of

of the reformation, when Popery had quite over-run these Western parts of the world, and subdued her enemies on every Gide, and antichrist sat securely in the quiet possession of his kingdom; Luther arose, a bold and rough man, but a fit wedge to cleave in funder so hard and knotty a block; and appeared ftoutly against the gross errors and corruptions of the church of Rome; and for a long time stood alone, and with a most invino' cible spirit and courage maintained his ground, and reGifted the united malice and force of antichrist and his adherents; and gave him so terrible a wound, that he is not yet perfectly healed and recovered of it.

So that for a man to stand alone, or with a very few adhering to him, and standing by him, is not a mere imaginary supposition, but a case that hath really and in fact happened in several ages and places of the world. Let us then proceed to consider, in the

2. Second place, the due limits and bounds of this peremptory resolution. In all matters of faith and practice which are plain and evident either from natural reason, or from divine revelation, this resolution seems to be very reasonable : but in things doubtful, a modest man, and every man hath reason to be so, would be very apt to be staggered by the judgment of a very wise man, and much more of many such; and especially by the unanimous judgment of the generality of men ; the general voice and opinion of mankind being next to the voice of God himself.

For in matters of an indifferent nature, which God hath neither commanded nor forbidden, such as are many of the circumstances and ceremonies of God's worship, a man would not be singular, much less stiff and immoveable in his fingularity; but would be apt to yield and surrender himself to the general vote and opinion, and to comply with the common custom and practice ; and much more with the rules and constitutions of authority, whether civil or ecclesiastical : because in things lawful and indifferent, we are bound by the rules of decency and civility not to thwart the general practice ; and by the commands of God we are certainly obliged to obey the lawful commands of lawful authority.

But in things plainly contrary to the evidence of sense

or

or reason, or to the word of God, a man would compli. ment no man, or number of men : nor would he pin his faith upon any church in the world; much less

upon any single man, no not the Pope; no though there were never so many probable arguments brought for the proof of his infallibility.

In this case, a man would be singular, and stand alone against the whole world ; against the wrath and

rage

of a King, and all the terrors of his fiery furnace: as in other matters, a man would not believe all the learned men in the world against the clear evidence of sense and reason. If all the great mathematicians of all ages, Archimedes, and Euclid, and Apollonius, and Diophantus, &c. could be supposed to meet together in a general council, and should there declare in the most folemn manner, and give it under their hands and seals, that twice two did not make four, but five; this would not move me in the least to be of their mind : nay, I who am no mathematician, would maintain the contrary, and would persilt in it, without being in the least startled by the positive opinion of these great and learned men; and should most certainly conclude, that they were either all of them out of their wits, or that they were biassed by some interest or other, and swayed, against the clear evidence of truth, and the full conviction of their own reason, to make such a determination as this. They might indeed over-rule the point by their anthority, but in my inward judgment I should still be where I was before.

Just fo, in matters of religion, if any church, though with never so glorious and confident a pretence to infallibility, should declare for transubstantiation; that is, that the bread and wine in the sacrament, by virtue of the confecration of the priest, are substantially changed into the natural body and blood of Christ ; this is so notoriously contrary both to the sense and reason of mankind, that a man should chuse to stand single in the opposition of it, and laugh at, or rather pity the rest of the world that could be so servilely blind, as seemingly to conspire in the belief of so monstrous an absurdity.

And, in like manner, if any church should declare, that images are to be worshipped, or that the worship of God is to be performed in an unknown tongue; and that the holy scriptures, which contain the word and will of God, and teach men what they are to believe and do in order to their eternal salvation, are to be locked up, and kept concealed from the people, in a language which they do not understand, left, if they were permitted the free use of them in their mother-tongue, they should know more of the mind and will of God than is convenient for the common people to know, whose de. votion and obedience to the church does mainly depend upon their ignorance; or should declare, that the facrifice of Christ was not offered once for all, but is, and ought to be repeated ten millions of times every day; and that the people ought to receive the communion in one kind only, and the cup by no means to be trusted with them, for fear the profane beards of the laity should drink of it; and that the saving efficacy of the facraments doth depend upon the intention of the priest, without which the receiver can have no benefit by them: these are all of them fo plainly contrary to scripture, and most of them in reason fo abfurd, that the authority of no church whatsoever can oblige a man to the belief of them.

that

Nay, I go yet further, that being evidently contrary to the doctrine of the gofpel, though an Apostle, or an angel from heaven should declare then, we ought to reject them. And for this I have St. Paul's authority and warrant; who, speaking of some that perverted the goSpel of Christ, by teaching things contrary to it, Though we, (says he), or an angel from heaven, preach any other. gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, Though an Apostle, though an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you, than that ye have received, let him be accurfed, Gal. i. 7.8.9. You see he repeats it over again, to express not only his own confident afsurance, but the certainty of the thing. And here is an anathema with a witness, which we may confidently oppose to all the anathema's which the council of Trent hath fo liberally denounced against all those who shall presume to gainfay these new doctrines of their church; which are in truth another gospel than that which our blessed Saviour and his Apostles taught : and yet, on their side, there is neither an Apostle, nor an angel from heaven in the case.

To give but one instance more : If Bellarmine shall tell me, as he expressly does, that “ if the Pope should de“ clare virtue to be vice, and vice to be virtue, I were « bound to believe him, unless I would sin against con“ science ;” and if all the world should say the same that Bellarmine does, namely, that this infallible declarer of virtue and vice were to be believed and followed : yet I could not possibly be of their mind; for this plain and undeniable reason, Because if virtue and vice be all one, then religion is nothing ; since the main design of religion is, to teach men the difference between virtue and vice, and to oblige them to practise the one, and to refrain from the other : and if religion be nothing, then heaven and hell are nothing : and if heaven be nothing, then an infallible guide thither is of no use, and to no manner of purpose; because he is a guide no whither, and so his great office ceases and falls of itself. And now,

lest
any

should think me singular in this assertion, and that thereby I give a great deal too much to the single judgment of private perfons, and too little to the authority of a church, I will produce the deliberate judgment of a very learned man, and a great asserter of the church's authority, concerning the matter I am now speaking of : I mean Mr. Hooker, in his deservedly admired book of ecclefiaftical polity. His words are these : “ I grant, (says he), that proof derived " from the authority of man's judgment, is not able

to work that assurance which doth grow by a stronger “proof: and therefore, although ten thousand general “councils should set down one and the same definitive “ sentence concerning any point of religion whatsoever;

yet one demonstrative reason alledged, or one testimony

cited from the word of God himself, to the contrary, could not chuse but oversway them all; inas« much as for them to be deceived it is not so impossi« ble, as it is that demonstrative reason or divinę testi" mony should deceive.

And again, “For men (says he) to be tied and led by authority, as it were with a kind of captivity of " judgment, and though there be reason to the contra

ry,

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