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gospel to those who had not yet heard the word of faith, did, with great care, also deliver to them the

writings of the holy Evangelists." Again, (ibid. c. 30.), that “ Ignatius, as he travelled towards Rome, " where he was to suffer, exhorted the churches of eve

ry city, to hold fast the tradition of the Apostles ; “ which, (as also by writing he testified), for the greater

security, he held necessary to be copied in writing.'

$ 3. That the hereticks of old made the same pretence which the Papists make now, of oral tradition in opposition to fcripture, the fame Eusebius tells us; and withal, that books are a sufficient confutation of this pretence. “ Those (says he, ibid. 1.5. 6. 27.) who were 66 of the heresy of Artenon, said, that all their forefa" thers, and the Apostles themselves, had received and

taught the same things which they also did, and had

preserved the true teaching unto the time of Victor " Bishop of Rome ; whose fucceffor, Zephyrinus, cor

rupted it. And this (faith he) would have great probability, were it'not first of all contradicted by the scripture; and, next, if there did not remain the wri

tings of other brethren, much more ancient than Vi“Etor's time, &c. in the books of all whom Christ's di

vinity is acknowledged.” And afterwards he tells us, that these hereticks did change and corrupt the scriptures, to bring them to their opinions. So Mr. S. tells us, that the outward letter of scripture ought to be corrected by tradition, and sense written in mens hearts.

St. Hierom also tells us, (Com. in 1fa. C. 19.) that " the hereticks were wont to say, We are the fons of " the wise, who did from the beginning deliver down

to us the apostolical doctrine; but he adds, that “ the true fons of Judah adhere to the scripture.”.

$ 4: That fcripture is sufficiently plain in all things neceffary.

St. Chryfoftom, (in 2 Thef. c. 2. hom. 4.) “ All

things in the divine fcriptures are plain and straight. “ Whatsoever things are necessary, are manifest.”

St. Austin, having spoken of the profoundness of scriptare, adds, (Epift. 3.), "Not that those things which

are necessary to falvation are so hard to be come at; ” but (faith he) when one hath there attained faith, M m 2

66 without

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“ without which there is no pious and right living, “ there are besides many dark and mysterious things, "&c." Again, (ibid.)," The manner of speech in

scripture, how eafy is it to all, though few can

penetrate to the bottom of it? Those things which “ it plainly contains, it speaks without disguise, like a “ familiar friend, to the heart of the learned and unlearned.” How will Mr. S. reconcile this with bis great exception against scripture ? And what these things are, which are plainly contained in fcripture, the same father tells us elsewhere, in these words : (De doct. Chrift. 1. 2. c.9.) " Anong those things which are “ plainly fet down in scripture, all those things are to “ be found which comprehend faith and good manners.” The same St. Austin, (as also Clement in the book which Mr. White quoted), for the understanding of obscure texts of scripture, directs us not to tradition, but to the plain text, without which, he expressly fays, (De unitate eccl. c.5.), there would be no way to under“ stand them.”

$ 5. That fcripture is so plain, as to be fit to determine controversies.

Jastin sure thought so, when disputing with Trypho, concerning a point wherein the Jew had tradition on his side, he told him, “ he would bring such proofs

[to the contrary] as no man could gainfay. At" tend (says he) to what I shall recite out of the holy fcriptures; proofs which need not to be explained, but only to be heard.” Mr. White might have found likewise much to this purpose in his Clement.

But, not to tire my reader in a point which the ancients abound with, I shall only produce the judgment of Constantine, in that folemn oration of his to the council of Nice, (Theodoret. hist. lib. 1. c. 7.), wherein he bewails their “ mutual oppositions, especially in “ divine things;" concerning which, they had the doctrine of the Holy Spirit recorded in writing: “ For

(says he) the books of the Evangelists and Apostles, « and the oracles of the old Prophets, do evidently “ teach us what we ought to think of the divine Ma

jesty. Therefore, Jaying aside all seditious contention, let us determine the matters in question by te

o stimonies

of any

“ stimonies out of the divine writings." . Not a word

other tradition but scripture, which was held evident enough in those days, though now Mr. S. tells us, it is not sufficient to decide that controversy about the divinity of Chrift.

$ 6. Lastly, That scripture is the rule of faith.

Irenæus, (l. 3. C. 1.), “ The method of our salva« tion we have not known by any other but those men " by whom the gospel came to us; which then they “ preached; but afterwards, by the will of God, delivered it to us in the scriptures, to be for the future “ the foundation and pillar of our faith.”

St. Cyprian.the church' hath ever held a good Catholick; yet Mr. S. takes notice, p. 314. that he erred in a point of faith ; and perhaps the rather, because Mr. Rushworth had told him, that he was not theirs in this controversy: “ For (says hë, Dial. 3. § 13.) St.

Cyprian seems to think, that the resolution of faith

was to be made into scripture, and not into tradi“ tion.” But that we may not seem to accept of this courtesy from him, nor yet wholly to despise

. it, I shall offer this one testimony, instead of many, out of that father : who being opposed with an argument from tradition, demands, Epift. 74.),

“ Whence have you that “ tradition ? comes it from the authority of the Lord, “ and of the gospel, or from the epistles of the Apo“ stles ? for God testifies, that we are to do those things which are written, &c. If it be commanded " in the gospel, or contained in the epistles or acts of " the Apostles, then let us observe it as a divine and " holy tradition.”

Hilary ( ad Constant.) commends Constantius the Emperor “ for regulating his faith only according to those

things which are written.” And to oblige him to deserve this commendation, he adds, “ He who refu« ses this, is antichrist; and who dissembles in it, is “ anathema.”

Optatus, concerning the controversy with the Donatists, (lib. 5. de fchifm. Donat.), alks,“ Who shall be “judge?" and answers himself, “The Scriptures." Which heillustrates by the Gimilitude of a father, who delivered his will orally to his children while he was living ;


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but when he was dying, caused it to be written in lasting tables, to decide all controversies that might happen among them after his death. This passage is large, and it is obvious to apply it.

Balil, maintaining the doxology as it was used in his days, says, (De Spirit. Sancto, c.7.), “ Thus we re“ceived it from our fathers;" but adds immediately, This is not enough for us, that it is the tradition “ of the fathers for they followed the authority of the “ fcriptures, making its testimonies the principles upon “ which they built.' He has indeed in the same book, 6. 27. a passage much insisted on by the Papists concerning unwritten traditions ; but withal, he says those traditions were secretly conveyed; which makes all the rest of no use to Mr. S.

Chryfoftom (Hom. 8. in Epift. ad Heb. c. 5.) having mentioned several heresies, directs how they may be avoided, viz. “By attending to the faith delivered, " and looking upon all that disagrees from that, as “ adulterate. For (fays he) as those who give rules, “ do not put men upon a curious inquiry after many “ measures, but bid them keep to the rule given; fo is " it in opinions. But no body will attend to the scri

ptures : if we did, we should not only not fall into

errors ourselves, but also rescue those that are de“ ceived.” Again, (Hom. 52. in Joh.), would be thoroughly conversant in the scriptures, we “ should be instructed both in right opinions and a

good life.” Again, (Hom. 33. in Act. Apoft.), “ Among the many fects of Christians, it will be easy to

judge of the right, if we believe the scriptures, be"cause they are plain' and true. If any one agree with

these, he is a Christian; if he contradicts them, he « is far from this rule.”

St. Austin (De bapt. cont. Donat. I. 2. C. 6.) calls the fcripture the divine balance for the weighing of doEtrines. Again, “ The holy scripture (says he) fixeth “ the rule of our doctrine.' And accordingly himself uses it, both in his dispute with Maximinus, to whom he says, (contr. Max. l. 3.), “ Neither ought I now to alledge the Nicene council, nor thou that of Ariminum; for neither am I bound to the authority of the


If we

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one, nor thou of the other. Let us both contest with the “ authorities of scripture, which are witnesses common « to us both ;” and also against the Donatists in these words, (De unitate eccl. c. 16.), “ Let them, if they

can demonstrate their church, not by the talk and

rumours (or oral tradition] of the Africans, not by “ the councils of their own Bishops, not by the books “ of their disputers, not by deceitful miracles, &c. but “ by the prescript of the law, prophets, &c. i. e. by « all the canonical authorities of the holy books."

Hierom faith, (Comment. in Agg. c. 1.), “ Of those " things which, without the authorities and testimo“ nies of the scripture, men invent of their own heads “ as from apoftolical tradition, they are smitten with " the sword of God.”

Theophilus Alexander, whom Hierom hath translated, calls fcripture more than once “ the rule,” and the testimonies of it “ the firm foundations of doctrine," (Pafchal. I. 3.). And again faith, (1. 2.) “ It comes dc from a demoniacal spirit, that men follow the sophisms “ of human minds, and think any thing divine that “ wants the authority of scripture.”

Theodoret (Hæret. fabul. 1. 5.) charges all heresies upon the not following of scripture ; which he calls " the inflexible rule of truth.” Again, “ We have “ learned the rule of opinions from the divine scri


After the fathers, I shall produce the testimonies of two eminent persons of later times, Gerson and Lyra.

Gerson, in his book of the trial of doctrines, part 1. consid. 2. hath this remarkable paffage : “ In the trial “ of doctrines, that which is first and principally to be « considered, is, Whether a doctrine be conformable

to the holy fcripture ? &c. The reason of this is, “ Because the scripture is delivered to us as a SUFFICIENT and IN FALLIBLE RULE “ for the government of the whole ecclesiastical body, " and its members, to the end of the world. So that “ it is such an art, such a rule or exemplar, that any “ other doctrine which is not conformable to it, is to “ be renounced as heretical, or to be accounted suspi“ cious, or not at all appertaining to religion.” A

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