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ply in St. Hierom's words, ( Adverf. Helvid.), “As for * Tertullian, I have nothing to say of him, but that he “ is not a man of the church.” Whatever he was, these are his words, “If thou beest but a Christian, believe “ what is traditum, delivered.” And here's nothing again but the word delivered; which (as I have said) is indifferent to written or oral tradition, if the circumstances do not determine it to one, as here they do (very unluckily for Mr. S.) to the scripture. For he disputes here against Marcion, who denied the flesh of Christ; and who, to maintain that, denied his nativity, and expunged the whole history of it out of the gospel*: “But « (faith Tertullian) by what authority doelt thou this? “ if thou be a Prophet, foretel fomething; if an Apo“stle, preach publickly; if Apoftolical, be of the Apo“ Atles mind ; if no more but a Christian, believe what “ is delivered.” And where delivered, but in those instruments or books of the gospel, out of which (as Tertullian immediately before tells us) Marcion had made bold to cxpunge this story?
As for his testimonies out of Athanafius, the two first of them prove nothing, but that faith comes down from our ancestors, or was by them delivered to us; which no body denies : nor is there a word in either of them concerning oral, in opposition to written tradition. The third testimony is out of an epistle to Epictetus, to whom Athanafius, writing concerning those who held Christ's body to be consubftantial with his divinity, tells him, this was so gross a conceit, that it needed no solicitous confutation, but that it would be a sufficient answer to say in general, “ The orthodox church was not of that “ mind; our fathers did not think so.” From whence Mr. S. infers, that " tradition is held by him a sole suf“ ficient rule of faith, and the only answer to be given
why we reject points from faith, &c.” But if he had consulted the book, he would not have inferred, that this
the only answer to be given, doc.” for it immediately follows, “But lest from our being wholly silent, “ the inventers of evil things should take occasion to
* His opinor consiliis, tot originalia instrumenta Christi delere Marcion aufus eft, ne caro ejus probaretur. Ex qua, oro te, autoritate, &c.
“ be more impudent, it will be good to recite a few paf“ sages out of scripture, &c." And from thence he confutes them at large. It was so gross an error, that he thought it might be sufficient, without bringing particular arguments out of scripture against it, to fay, that it was contrary to the ancient faith : but yet, left they should (if he had said no more) have taken boldness from thence, and thought that nothing more could be faid against it; therefore he confutes it from particular texts of scripture. And what, in his opinion, was the sufficient rule of faith, Mr. S. might have seen at the beginning of this epistle, from these words : “ That faith
which was professed by the fathers in that council, “ (viz. the Nicene), according to the scripture, is to
me sufficient, doc.” It seems that scripture was to him the rule and standard whereby to judge even the creeds of general councils.
Mr. S. says he will be shorter in the rest. And so will I: for what is to be said to testimonies brought at a venture; when he that brings them, had he read the books themselves, could not have had the face to have brought them ? Such is this out of Clem. Alexand. (Stromat. 1.7.), “ As if one of a man becomes a beast, « like those infected with Circe's poison; so he hath “ forfeited his being a man of God, and faithful to our “ Lord, who spurns against ecclefiaftical tradition, and
leaps into opinions of human election.” Mr.S. knows whose way of quoting this is, to pick a bit out of the midst of a text that sounds soinething towards his purpose, and leave out the rest, which would make it evident to be meant just contrary. Yet I cannot charge this wholly upon Mr.S. whose implicit faith, were it not for his culpable ignorance, might excuse him. But for his feducer, Mr. White, how he can acquit himself of so foul an imputation, I leave it to any ingenuous Papist to judge, when I have nakedly set the whole pafsage before him. Clement, speaking of hereticks who relinquish the scripture, or abuse it, by wresting it to their lufts, says, “ Men who deal in matters of highest im
portance, must need commit great errors, if they do,
not take and hold the RULE OF FAITH from “ truth itself. For such men having once deviated from
: 16 the
" the right way, do likewise err in most particulars ; “ probably because they have not the faculty of distin
guishing truths and falfhoods perfectly exercised, to “ chuse what ought to be chosen : for, if they had this, “ they would be ruled by the divine SCRIPTURES. “ [Therefore, as if any of mankind should become a “ beast, in such sort as those who were papel.ccy Ocion, “ bewitched by Circe; even so he hath lost his being a “ man of God, and abiding faithful to the Lord, who “hath spurned against the tradition of the church, and “ skipped into the opinions of human sects, aspércov,]; “ (not of human election, as Mr.S. blindly following Mr.
White, does most absurdly translate it): but he that “ hath returned from his errors, and hearkened to the “ SCRIPTURES, and conformed his life to the “ truth, is as it were advanced from a man to a God.” At the same rate he goes on for several pages together, taking the scriptures for an indemonstrable principle, from which all divine doctrines are to be demonstrated, and for the criterion whereby they are to be tried ; and charges the hereticks in such words as we cannot find fitter for our adversaries : “ As (says he) naughty boys shut o out their schoolmaster, fo these drive the prophecies “ out of the church, suspecting that they will chide and “ admonish them; and they patch together abundance of “ falfhoods and fi&tions, that they may seem RATI“ONALLY not to admit the scriptures." Again, speaking of those hereticks affronting the fèriptures, he tells us, “they oppose the feit Tapadlogel, di“ vine tradition, with human doctrinés, dierepov To" per expirear, by other traditions, [delivered from hand “ to hand], that they may establish a sect or heresy.” Again, he says, “they adulterate the truth, and steal the * rule of faith, &c.; but for ORAL frauds they shall “ have WRITTEN punishments.” But enough of this. Whosoever desires to see more of it, let him read on where these men, to their own shame, have directed us, and see whether any Protestant can speak more fully and plainly in this controversy. The whole trust of the Papists is upon the equivocal sense of the word tradition. Which word is commonly used by the fathers to signify to us the scripture or divine tradition, as Cle
ment here calls it :, but the Papists understand it of their unwritten tradition; and to this they apply all those passages in the fathers where tradition is honourably menLioned. So Mr. S. deals with us in the testimonies I have already examined : and there is nothing of argument in those few which remain, but from the ambiguity of this word : which I need not shew of every one of them in particular-; for whosoever shall read them with this key, will find, that they are of no force to conclude what he drives at.
§ 5. As for his citations out of the council of Trent, by which he would prove it to be the persuasion of their present church, that tradition is the sole rule of faith, I have already shewn, that that council bath declared otherwise, and is otherwise understood by the chief of their own writers. And therefore he did prudently to conceal, in an &c. those choaking words, in which the council declares itself to “receive and honour, with e
qual pious affection and reverence, the books of scri
pture and unwritten traditions.”, And, after a deal of shuffling, what a pitiful account is it that he at last gives of that council's putting fcripture constantly before tradition ; Because scripture being interpreted by tradition, is of the same authority, “as if an Apostle or an E"vangelift were present; and therefore no wonder they ho
nour scripture-testimony so as to put it before tradition ?” which is to say, that because scripture is subordinate to tradition, and to be regulated by it, therefore it deserves to be put before it. Belides, if fcripture and tradition be but several ways of conveying the evangelical and apoftolical doctrine, why should he imagine an Evangelift or Apostle to be more present by the scripture than by oral tradition ; especially if it be considered, that he supposes scripture to be an uncertain, and tradition an infällible way of conveying this doctrine ?
SECT. II. Testimonies on the behalf of fcripture. $1. "ALL
LL that now remains, is, to confirm the precethat full account which is given of the sense of the ancients in this matter, in the answer to Labyrinthus Can. tuariensis ; which Mr. S. may, if he please, consult for his farther conviction.
dent discourse, by testimonies of the most eniinent persons of the church in several ages. In which I shall not need to be large, being so happily prevented by VOL.III, M m
§ 2. I begin with the historical account which Eufebius gives of committing the gospel to writing ; which is to this purpose, (Hil.ecdes. l. 2. c. 14.), viz. that “ the Romans were not content with the doctrine “ preached, unless it were also committed to writing; " and therefore did earnestly beg of Mark, Peter's com
panion, that he would leave them a monument in “ writing of that doctrine which had been delivered to “ them by word of mouth. And this was the occali“ on of the writing of St. Mark's gospel. And when " Peter did understand, that this work was published,
being fuggested by the divine revelation of the Holy Spirit, it is faid, he was very much pleased with the ready and earnest desire of those persons; and that,
by his authority, he confirmed this writing, to the “ end that it might be every where read in the church.” As for St. Matthew and St. John, he tells us, (ibid. 1.3. C.18.), that, “ of all the disciples, they two only « have left monuments in writing; of whom it is al“ fo reported that they betook themselves to write, being “ drawn thereto by necessity. Matthew, after he had
preached the word of God to the Jews, and was re• solved to go to other nations, wrote his gospel in " the language of his country; and thus, by the dili
gence and pains of writing, did abundantly supply “ the want of his presence to those whom he left.
And, when Mark and Luke had published their gospel, it is reported, that John, (who had always used to preach the word without writing it), being at length wrought upon by the same reason, did be
take himself to write.” From this account it is clear, that the Apostles thought it necessary, for the preservation and secure conveyance of the Christian doctrine, that it should be put into writing; and that they judged this a better way to supply the want of their presence than oral' tradition. Therefore the same author tells us, (ibid. c.31.), that “the disciples, who immediately * fucceeded the Apostles, as they travelled to preach the