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“ dition from the written word, because tradition is not “ written by any, or in any book or writing ; but be“. cause it is not written in the scripture or Bible.” Bellarmine (De verbo Dei, &c. 1. 4. c. 2.) also says the same. And as for the interpreting of scripture, he tells us, that this is not the office of a rule, but of a judge. « There is (says he, Charity maintained, c.2. $3.) a
great plain distinction between a judge and a rule : “ for as in a kingdom the judge hath his rule to follow, “ which are the received laws and customs; which are
not fit or able to declare, and be judges themselves, “ but that office must belong to a living judge: so the
holy scripture is and may be a rule, but cannot be a
judge.” Here he makes the scripture as much a rule for matters of faith, as the laws of the land are for civil matters. And, in his Reply to Mr. Chillingworth, he hath a chapter of above 150 pages, the title whereof is, Scripture is not the only rule of faith; which (had he with Mr. S. believed oral tradition to be the sole rule of faith) had been as absurd, as it would be to vrite a book, to prove, that Turks are not the only Christians in the world. Mr. Cressy likewise (not very consistently to himself) lays down this conclusion, (Exomolog.c. 20.), " The entire rule of faith is contained not only in scri
pture, but likewise in unwritten tradition.”
$2. Now, all this is as contrary as can be to Mr. Rushworth's new rule of faith. Therefore Mr. White says, (Tabul. Suffrag. p. 96.), “ They speak ill who “ teach, that some things are known in the church from “ fcripture, some by tradition.” And Dr. Holden (in opposition to those who make scripture any part of the rule of faith) advances one of the most wild and uncharitable positions that ever I yet met withal, viz. ( Analys. fid. l. 1. c.6.), That “if one should believe all the ar.ticles of the Catholick faith, &c. for this reason, be“ cause he thought they were all expressly revealed in “ fcripture, or implicitly contained, so as they might be " deduced from thence, and would not have believed 6. them, had he not judged that they might be evinced « from scripture : yet this man could be no true Catho“ lick ; because (as he tells us afterwards, c.8.) we “ muft receive the Christian doctrine as coming to us by:
« tradition ; “ tradition ; for only by this means (excluding the scri“ ptures) Christ hath appointed revealed truths to be re“ ceived and communicated.” In the mean time, Cardinal Perron (unless he altered his mind) is in a fad case, who believed the authority of tradition itself, for this reason, because it was founded in scripture.
$ 3. And this fundamental difference about the rule of faith, between the generality of their divines and Mr. S.'s snall party, is fully acknowledged by the traditionists themselves. Dr. Holden fays, (1. 1. c.9.), that “ their divines who resolve faith according to the com
mon opinion, do inevitably fall into that shameful “circle, (of proving the divine authority of the scripture " by the church, and the infallibility of the church back
again by the scripture], because they dare not build “ their faith upon the natural evidence and certainty of “ tradition.” So that Dr. Holden's way of resolving faith, is different from the common opinion of their divines; which, he says, (l. 1. 6.3.), “ does not dif“ fer from the opinion of those who resolve their faith “ into the private fpirits :” and this (according to Mr. White, Exetaf. p. 70.) is the very way of the Calvinists, and of the absurdest sects. Nay, Mr. White says. farther, ibid. that he will be content to “ suffer all the “punishment that is due to calumniators, if the Roman “ divines (he there speaks of) do not hold the same “ rule of faith with the Calvinists, and all the absurdest “ sects.” So that it seems that the Calvinists, &6. do not in their rule of faith differ from the Papists, but only from Mr. White, Mr. S. &c. Now, the divines he there speaks of, are the censors of doctrines at Rome, according to whofe advice bis infallible Holiness, and the Cardinals of the inquisition, do usually proceed in censuring of doctrines. 'Concerning these divines he goes on to expoitulate in this manner, (ibid. p. 73.), is Shall we endure these men to fit as censors and judges “ of faith, who agree with hereticks in the very first “ principle which distinguishes Catholicks from here« ticks ?'” Again, p. 144.
“ These are thy gods, o “ Rome! upon these thou dependelt, whilst prating
ignorance triumphs in the Roman college." And he says the same likewise of the generality of their school
divines, whom he calls scepticks, because they do not own his demonstrative way: infomuch that he tells us, p. 64. that “few found parts are left uninfected with W this plague of scepticism ;” that this is an univer"fal gangrene,” p. 149.; that “there are but few that
go the way of demonstration, and these are either « wearied out, or else live retiredly, or despair of any “ remedy of these things,” p. 67. 68. And indeed all along that book he bemones himfelf and his traditiona, ry brethren as a defolate and forlorn party, who have truth on their side, but want company and encourage ment. So he tells us, p. 101. that “the true scientifio cal divines dare not profess their knowledge, left they “ should be exposed by the sophisters of their church to 66 the derision and scorn, either of their judges, or of " the people.”
$ 4. So that, upon examination of the whole matter, it appears, that Mr. S's demonstration proceeds upon a false sopposition, that it is the persuasion of their prefent church that tradition is the fole rule of faith. For there is no such matter; unless Mr. S. mean by their church, a few private persons, who are looked upon by those who have the chief power in their church, as heretical : as we may reafonably conjecture by the proceedings at Rome against Mr. White; many of whose books are there condemned, as containing things ma“nifestly heretical, erroneous in the faith, rash, fcan
dalous, feditious, and false respectively, doc.” (Exetaf. p. 9.): and all this done, notwithstanding that the chief subject of those books is the explication and defence of this most Catholick principle, That oral 66 tradition is the only rule of faith.” To fum up
then the whole business : If nothing be to be owned for Christian doctrine, (as the traditionists say), but what is the general persuasion of those who are acknowledged to be in the communion of the Roman Catholick church; then much less can this principle, “ That oral tradition " is the sole rule of faith,” which is pretended to be the foundation of the whole Christian doctrine, be received as descended from Christ and his Apostles; since it is so far from being the general persuasion of that church at the present, that it has been, and still is ge
nerally nerally disowned. But Mr. White has a salvo for this: For although he grants, (Apol. P: 38.), that “ very
many of their schoolmen maintain, that tradition is “ necessary only for some points not clearly expressed “ in fcripture ; whence (he says) it seems to follow, “ that they build not the whole body of their faith up“ on tradition : yet (he tells us) there is a vast diffe“ rence betwixt relying on tradition, and saying or “ thinking we do so.” Suppose there be ; yet I hope, that mens saying that they do not rely on tradition as their only rule, is a better evidence that they do not, than
man's surmise to the contrary is, that they do, though they think and say they do not; which is, in in effect, to say, that they do, though we have as much assurance as we can have, that they do not. Besides, how is this rule “ felf-evident to all, even to the rude “ vulgar, as to its ruling power,” (as Mr. S. affirms it is), when the greatest part even of the learned among them think and say, that it is not the only rule ? But Mr. White (ib. p. 39.) endeavours to illustrate this dark point by a fimilitude, which is to this fenfe: As the scepticks, who deny this principle, “ That contra“ dictions cannot be true at once,” yet in their lives and civil actions proceed as if they owned it; so the schoolmen, though they deny tradition to be the only rule of faith, yet by resolving their faith into the church, which owns this principle, they do also in praEtice own it, though they say they do not. So that the generality of learned Papists are just such Catholicks as the scepticks are dogmatists; that is, a company of absurd people, that confute their principles by their praetice. According to this reasoning, I perceive the Protestants will prove as good Catholicks as any; for they do not only think and say, that tradition is not the rule of faith ; but that they practically rely upon it; Mr. S. hath passed his word for them : for he assures us, p. 30. &
31. (and we may rely upon a man that writes nothing but demonstration), that, “ if we look narrowly “ into the bottom of our hearts, we shall discover the « natural method of tradition to have unawares settled
our judgments concerning faith; however, when our “ other concerns awake delign in us, we protelt against
it, and seem perhaps to our unreflecting selves to em“ brace and hold to the mere guidance of the letter of “ fcripture." So that, in reality, we are as good Catholicks, and as true holders to tradition, as any Papists of them all, at the bottom of our thoughts, and in our settled judgment : however we have taken up an humour to protest against it, and may seem perhaps to our unreflecting selves to be Protestants.
5. Thus much may fuffice to have spoken to his two great arguments; or, as he (good man) unfortunately calls them, demonstrations, p. 173. ; which yet, to say truth, are not properly his, but the author of Rushworth's dialogues ; the main foundation of which book is the substance of these demonstrations. Only, before I take leave of them, I cannot but reflect upon a parsage of Mr. S.'s, wherein he tells his readers, p. 163. that they are not obliged to bend their brains to tu
dy his book with that severity as they would do an “ Euclid;” meaning perhaps one of Mr. White's Euclids : for it does not appear by his way of demonstration, that ever he dealt with any other. As for the true Euclid, I suppose any one that hath tasted his writings, will, at the reading of Mr. S.'s, unbend his brains without bidding, and smile to see himself so demurely discharged from a study so absurd and ridiculous.
SECT. XI. Concerning some other advantages of tra
dition, &c. § 1 1.I
Should now take into consideration his ninth discourse, in which he pretends to open
the incomparable strength of the church's human authority, and the advantages which accrue to it by the su
pernatural assistances of the Holy Ghost; but that there is nothing material in it which hath not been answered already. Only, I desire him to explain, how the supernatural assistances of the Holy Ghost can, according to his principles, add to our assurance of the certainty of tradition : because we can have no greater certainty of the fupernatural allistance of the Holy Ghost, than we have, that there is an Holy Ghost; and of this we can have no certainty, (according to Mr. S.),