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distance, that they were the doctrine of Christ, and that they were not either totally innovated, or else corrupted in the conveyance from what they were at firit. And if he can fhew this concerning any point in difference, I promise to yield it to him.

§ 3. I come now to his demonstration, which I shall fet down in his own words, with the principles upon which it relies, p.77.78. “ The effect then we will pitch upon, “ and avow to be the proper one of such a cause, is, the “present perfuafion of traditionary Chriftians, (or Ca“ tholicks), that their faith hath descended from Christ “ and his Apostles uninterruptedly, which we find most “ firmly rooted in their heart; and the existence of this “ persuasion we affirm to be impossible, without the ex“ istence of tradition's ever indeficiency to beget it.

To prove this, I lay this first principle, That age « which holds her faith thus delivered from the Apostles, “ neither can itself have changed any thing in it, nor “ know or doubt that any age since the Apoitles had “ changed or innovated therein. The lecond principle “ shall be this : No age could innovate any thing, and “ withal deliver that very thing to posterity as received " from Christ by continual fucceflion.” The sum of which is this, That because a present multitude of Christians (viz. the Roman church) are persuaded, that Christ's doctrine hath descended to them solely by an uninterrupted oral tradition; therefore this persuasion is an effect which cannot be attributed to any other cause, but the indeficiency of oral tradition. For if neither the

prefent age, nor any age before, could make any change or innovation, then the persuasion of the present age is a plain demonstration, that this doctrine was always the fame, and confequently that tradition cannot fail.

$ 4. In answer to this, I shall endeavour to make good these four things.

1. That these principles wholly rely upon the truth of the grounds of his demonstration à priori.

2. That these principles are not sufficiently proved by him.

3. That doctrines and practices, which must be acknowled have been innovated, have made the. same pretence to uninterrupted tradition.

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4. That

4. That it is not the present persuasion of the church of Rome, (whom he calls the traditionary Christians), nor ever was, that their faith hath descended to them folcly by oral tradition. If I can now make good these four things, I hope his demonstration is at an end.

$1. THE

SECT. VII. The first answer to bis second demonstration,

*Hat these principles wholly rely upon the truth

of the grounds of his demonftration à priori. For if the doctrine of Christ was either imperfectly taught in any age, or mistaken by the learners, or any part of it forgotten, (as it seems the whole Greek church have forgot that fundamental point of the procession of the Holy Ghost, as the Roman church accounts it), or if the arguments of hope and fear be not necessary causes of aétual will to adhere to tradition, then there may have been changes and innovations in any age, and yet men may pretend to have followed tradition. But I have thewn, that ignorance, and negligence, and mistake, and pride, and lust, and ambition, and any other vice or interest, may hinder those causes from being effectual to preserve tradition entire and uncorrupted. And when they do fo, it is not to be expected, that those persons who innovate and change the doctrine, should acknow, ledge that their new do&rines are contrary to the doErine of Christ; but that they should at first advance them as pious; and after they have prevailed, and gained general entertainment, then impudently affirm, that they were the very doétrines which Christ delivered ; which they may very securely do, when they have it in tiieir power to burn all that shall deny it.

§ 2. I will give a clear instance of the possibility of this in the doctrine of tranfubftantiation, by shewing how this might eafily come in, in the ninth or tenth age after Christ. We will fuppofe then, that about this time, when universal ignorance, and the genuine daughter of it, (call her devotion or superstition), had overspread the world, and the generality of people were firongly inclined to believe strange things; and even the . greatest contradictions were recommended to them under the notion of mysteries; being told by their priests


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and guides, that the more contradictious any thing is to reason, the greater merit there is in believing it: I fay, let us suppose, that, in this state of things, one or more of the most eminent then in the church, either out of design, or out of fuperstitious ignorance and mistake of the sense of our Saviour's words used in the consecration of the facrament, should advance this new doctrine, that the words of confecration, This is my body, are not to be understood by any kind of trope, (as the like forms in scripture are, as, I am the vine, I am the door, which are plain tropes), but being used about this great mystery of the facrament, ought in all reason to be fupposed to contain in them some notable mystery; which they will do, if they be understood of a real change of the substance of bread and wine, made, by virtue of these words, into the real body and blood of our Saviour. And in all this I suppose nothing, but what is so far from being impossible, that it is too usual for men, either out of ignorance, orinterest, to advance new opinions in religion. And such a doctrine as this was very likely to be advanced by the ambitious clergy of that time, as a probable means to draw in the people to a greater veneration of them ; which advantage Mr. Rushworth seems to be very scnfible of, when he tells us, (Dial. 1. $4.), that the power of the priest in this particular, is “ such a privilege, as if “ all the learned clerks that ever lived since the begin

ning of the world, Mould have studied to raise, advance, and magnify some one state of men to the highest pitch of reverence and eminency, they could

never, without special light from heaven, have ibought “ of any thing comparable to this.” I am of his mind, that it was a very notable device ; but, I am apt to think, invented “ without any special light from heaven. Nor was such a doctrine less likely to take and prevail among the people, in an age prodigiously ignorant, and Itrongly inclined to superstition, and thereby well prepared to receive the groffest absurdities under the notion of mysteries ; especially if they were such as inight seem to conciliate a greater honour and reverence to the {acrament. Now, supposing such a doctrine as this, so fitted to the humour and temper of the age, to be once allerted, either by chance, or out of design, it would


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take like wild-fire; especially if, by some one or more
who bore sway in the church, it were but recommended
with convenient gravity and folemnity. And although
Mr. Rushworth says, ( Dial. 3. $ 7.)," it is impossible
“ that the authority of one man fhould sway so much in
" the world; because (says he) furely the devil himself
“ would rather help the church, than permit fo little

pride among men ; ” yet I am not so thoroughly fatiffied with this cunning reason: for though he delivers it confidently, and with a firely; yet I make fome doubt, whether the devil would be so forward to help the church; nay, on the contrary, I am inclined to think, that he would rather chuse to connive at this humble and obfequious temper in men, in order to the overthrow of religion, than cross a design so dear to him, by unseasonable temptations to pride. So that, notwithstanding Mr. Rushworth's reason, it seems very likely that such a doctrine, in such an age, might easily be propagated by the influence and authority of one or a few great persons in the church. For nothing can be more suitable to the easy and passive temper of superstitious ignorance, than to entertain such a doctrine with all imaginable greediness, and to maintain it with a proportionable zeal. And if there be any wiser than the rest, who make objections against it, as if this doctrine were new, and full of contradictions, they may easily be borne down by the stream, and by the eminency, and authority, and pretended fanctity of those who are the heads of this innovation. And when this doctrine is generally swallowed, and all that oppofe it are looked upon and punished as hereticks, then it is seasonable to maintain, that this doétrine was the doctrine of forefathers; to which end it will be sufficient to those who are willing to have it true, to bend two or three sayings

of the ancients to that purpose. And as for the contradictions contained in this doctrine, it was but telling the people then, as they do

that contradictions ought to be no fcruple. in the way of faith ; that the more impossible any thing is, it is the fitter to be believed; that it is not praifeworthy to believe plain pollibilities; but, this is the galfantry and heroical power of faith, this is the way to oblige God almighty for ever to us, to believe flat and


in effect now

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downright contradictions : for “ God requires at the “ people's hands (as Mr. Rushworth tells us, Dial. 1. * $ 4.) a credulity of things above and beyond nature;

nay, beyond all the fables, be it spoken with respect, " that ever man invented.” After this doctrine hath proceeded thus far, and, by the most inhumane feverities and cruelties, suppressed diflenters, or in a good meafure rooted them out; then, if they please, even this new word transubstantiation may pretend also to antiquity, and in time be confidently vouched for a word used by Christians in all ages, and transmitted down to them by those from whom they received the doctrine of the fac crament, as a term of art appendent to it. And when a fuperstitious church, and designing governors, have once gained this post, and by means of this enormous article of transubstantiation, have sufficiently debauched the minds of men, and made a breach in their understandings wide enough for the entertaining of any error, though ever so gross and senseless ; then innovations come in amain, and by shoals; and the more absurd and unreasonable any thing is, it is for that very reason the more proper matter for an article of faith. And if any of these innovations be objected against, as contrary to former belief and practice, it is but putting forth a lusty, act of faith, and believing another contradiction, that though they be contrary, yet they are the fame.

$ 3. And there is nothing in all this but what is agree. able both to history and experience. For that the ninth and tenth ages, and those which followed them till the reformation, were thus prodigiously ignorant and superAtitious, is confirmed by the unanimous consent of all histories ; and even by those writers that have been the greatest pillars of their own religion. And experience tells us, that in what age foever there are a great company of superstitious people, there will never be wanting a few crafty fellows to make use of this easy and pliable humour to their own ends. Now, that this was the state of those ages of the church, will be evident to any from these testimonies. Platina (in vit. Romani, Pape 117. a. C. 900) writes of Pope Romanus, that he nulled the acts of his predeceffor Stephanus : " for (says he) these Popes minded nothing else but how they might ex

“ tinguish

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