Thomas Ward.

An interesting controversy with Mr. Ritschel, vicar of Hexham online

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Why shall we hesitate to throw ourselves upon the authority of the catholic
church, which lias always maintained herself by the succession of bishops,
by the faith of the people, by the decision of councils, and by the authority
of miracles ? Not to acknowledge her doctrine, is a proof either of great
impiety- or extreme arrogance. St. Augustine.









Chapter 1
Chapter 2


Whether the protest-
ant church of England is the
catholic church ?






Chapter 1. Whether the protes-
tant church of England is a part
or true member of the catholic
church ?
Chapter 2. Whether the protes-
tants of the church of England
are as true catholics as ever lived
upon the face of the earth ? 43

Chapter 3.-jAn examination of
some texts of scripture alledged
to prove the church of God to
have been corrupted in faith be-
fore the coming of Christ. - 50
Chapter 4 Your ridiculous dis-
tinction, Mr. Ritschel, between
a true church and a sound church
considered ; as also, your.fansiliar
examples of an infected man
and drossy gold.
Chapter 5. Mr. Rogers' proposi-
tion that " the visible church
may and has erred in doctrine"
by you owned, and by you con-
tradicted. - _
Chapter 6. That the protestants
have made articles of faith,
clearly demonstrated.
Chapter 7. Thcprotestant church
of England denounces her ana-
themas or excommunications
against all such as deny this her
new creed.
Chaptf.r8. The protestant church
of England holds communion
in faith with no other church in
the whole world. - - 102
Chapter 9. Where was the true
church of God, at the time when
you began your pretended refor-
mation ? and what public pro-
fessor- had she holding and teach-
ing the true faith? - . \\[)
Chapter 10 Evident from Mr.
Ritschel'swritings that the church
of Rome i-, the true church of
God the catholic church l.'M
Chapter 1 Some remarks upon
certain particular passages in

- 78

- 98


your letters which have little or
no relation to the point of your
being part of the catholic church.
And first, upon what you write
about the conversion of our Eng-
lish nation to Christianity : se-
condly, upon your calumnies
against St. Augustine ; and
thirdly, upon that epistle falsely
pretended to have been sent from
pope Eleutherius to king Lucius. 130
Crapter 2 An account of Jewel's
challenge, and himself detected
for a corruption of the primitive
fathers' writings. - - 161

Chapter 3 The fable of a fe-
male pope, or the history of pope
Joan detected for a ridiculous
fiction. - _ - 172

Chapter 4. Your examination of
the tree of life is an evident de-
monstration of Mr. Ritschel's
infidelity . . lgg

Chapter 5 The account you
give of your faith examined, to-
gether with your reason for re-
jecting pope Pius' profession of
faith. - . - 188

Chapter C Whether the marks
of God's church, by which she
is noted in the apostles' and Ni-
cene creeds, can properly be ap-
plied to, or agree with the pro-
testant church of England! - 198
Chapter 7. The Roman catholic
church is the one, holy, catholic
and apostolic church. - 014,

Tub pope's supremacy and spiritual
jurisdiction over the whole catho-
lic or visible church on earth
proved from sacred scripture and
the primitive fathers. - 227

The real presence of Christ's body
and blood in the blessed sacra-
ment of the eucharist, proved
from holy scripture, and the tes-
timonies of the primitive fathers. 238
Limbo, purgatory and prayers for
the dead, proved from holy scrip-
ture and the primitive fathers. 2">j
Invocation of saints and angels,
and that they pray to God tor us
proved from holy scripture and
the testimony of the primitive
fathers. - . og-

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Following Controversy.


HOMAS WARD was the son of a respectable farmer, and was
born at Danby Castle, in the Moors of Yorkshire, on the 13th of
April, 1652. The early part of his life passed away undistinguished
from that of ordinary children, and nothing remarkable of him is
known until his fourteenth year, when he was at Pickering School,
giving the first indications of his genius, and excelling his brothers
in his taste and knowledge of the classics. Here he was initiated in
the first principles of arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy, in
which sciences lie became a great proficient. So much was his fa-
ther pleased with his eldest son's early propensity to learning, and
the abilities which he discovered, that he determined to rescue
him from the obscurity of a country life, and destined him for one
of the learned professions. Young Ward was accordingly offered
his choice to become a clergyman, a physician, or a lawyer; but,
with a mind already matured by study and thinking, he hesitated
and at length declined his father's offers. In the practice of the law
he observed there were too many temptations to dishonesty, and he
doubted his firmness to resist them. The profession of physic
was repugnant to the delicacy of his feelings; and, as a clergyman,
he feared that lit- might contribute more to the destruction than the
salvation of his fellow-men. Thus, perhaps, a too fastidious nicety
in his conscience and ideas, left him without a calling, and he enter-
ed into the world with very little prospects of a permanent subsis-

About this time his talents and acquirements first began to intro-
duce him into notice, and he accepted an invitation from a gentleman


of fortune to live with him as a companion, and tutor to his children.
In this retreat he had an opportunity "f following the particular bias
of his mind, and accordingly he bent himself with incredible appli-
cation to the study of controversy, then the rage of the day. Church
history, the ancient fathers, the scriptures, and the more modern
catholic controversies, always occupied his literary hours; but he
still found occasional recreation and delight in poetry and the clas-
sics. He read incessantly, but not with the frivolity of one who
skims the surface, and seeks only to arm himself with subtilty and
sophism for impertinent disputation; he read to enrich his mind, to
correct his understanding, and improve his heart. To this serious
disposition and habit of reflection must be attributed the change in
his religious sentiments, which immediately took place. His father
and all his family were protestants, and he himself was educated in
hostility to catholic opinions. His liberal and penetrating mind/
however, disdained to wear the trammels of prejudice, and he even
shook off" the authority of a parent, rather than remain a slave, con-
trary to conscience and conviction, to the false principles lie had at
first imbibed. He accordingly embraced the catholic faith, which,
together with his marrying a young lady of the same persuasion, so
highly incensed his father, that at his death, which happened soo"
after, he bequeathed all he possessed to his protestant wife and chil-
dren. This disappointment and blasting of his hopes, with his con-
sequent destitute situation, it might be expected would have pro
duced envy and irritation on his part; but his was no ordinary mind,
and, raising himself above every little consideration of self, in the
enthusiasm of charity, he directed his whole endeavours to the con-
version of his mother and family. Providence blessed his exertions,
and he had the happiness of seeing himself united to them in faith
as well as in affection. His own good life did not a little contribute
to this; for his change of religion had an influence on his manners
in general; and his irreproachable conduct, and sweetness of temper,
gave him the character of being beloved by God and man. To a
youth of uncertainty, disquietude, and seperation from his family,
succeeded the calm of domestic peace, and the security of compe-
tence. For some years he remained buried and contented in this
domestic retirement; but \m genius opening with age, and expand-


ing with increase of knowledge, began to be restless, and thirsted
for universal information. Sated with books, he wished to know
mankind; and, with this intention, having, with much entreaty,
obtained his mother's and wife's consent, he left his own country,
and passed over to France. In France he continued for some time,
learning the manners and language of the people; thence he went
into Italy, and settled himself at Rome. In this famous city, the
wreck and monument of ancient greatness, he had a wide range to
gratify his taste to contemplate the fallen and mutilated glories of
the ancient arts: he was continually in the churches, the public
buildings, and public libraries, and spent a great portion of his time
particularly in the Vatican. Here he had an opportunity of seeing
some of the best documents respecting the history of England, from
which he did not neglect to make numerous and useful quotations.
Controversy again became his favourite study, which was soon
interrupted by his accepting a commission in the Pope's guards, in
which he remained five or six years, during which time he served in
the maritime war against the Turks. His military career ended
with the war, and he returned to England, at the pressing solicita-
tions of his wife and relations, in the 34th year of his age. On his
arrival, he was patronized and received on terms ot friendship by
Lords Derwentwater and Lumney, Col. Thomas Radcliff, Mr. Thorn-
ton, and others, to whom he was recommended by his learning, hit
wit, and a suavity of manners peculiarly his own. About this period
he set about writing his Errata to the Protestant Bible, which was
publishedinth e year 1688. His Monomachia, or Duel with Dr.
Tillotson, appeared next, but anonymously; which made Dr. Tillot-
son observe, that it must have been written by some able Jesuit,
not imagining so much force of argument and ecclesiastical research
could be possessed by a layman. His Tree of Life, an ingenious
device, presenting at one view an epitome of church history, accord-
ing to the most exact chronology; his Controversy of ordinations
truly stated; his Controversy with Mr. Ritchel, Minister of Hexham;
his Notes on the 39 Articles and the Booh of Homilies, all fol-
lowed one another in rapid succession. Soon after appeared
his burlesque poem on England's Reformation, commonly called his
Cantos, in which he imitate* Butler with cousiderable success. Th


notes to this poem collected from the most approved historians, as
Stow, Camden, Speed, Baker, Burnet, Heylin, Clarendon, &c.
form a complete History of ecclesiastical affairs in England, from
Henry the Eight's time to the end of Oates's plot. This was
the last publication that came from the pen of Mr. Ward, though
he afterwards compiled and wrote the History of England.* It is
much to be regretted, that a coincidence of untoward circumstances,
and particularly, his being obliged to fly the country and go over
to France, prevented this work from being ever given to the world :
the documents for it were collected by him with great diligence,
and he himself esteemed it his best production. He died in the
56th year of his age, anno 1 708, and was buried at St. Germain's
in France, where his obsequies were performed with a solemnity
becoming so pious and learned a man ; leaving one son and three
daughters; whereof two of the latter were married, and the third
died a nun at Brussels.

* It is stated that Mr. Ward had it in agitation to continue his poem
down to the period of the revolution ; and, previous to his death, had com-
menced another Canto. His intentions, likewise, were to review and pub-
lish what he had written, to add some things, and blot out others. Of the
latter description, was the dialogue between Henry VIII. and queen Eliza-
beth. The author also, out of too much modesty and deference to a gen-
tleman well skilled in the serious part of poetry, suffered him to erase and
insert what words he thought proper: who, by foisting grave words
and expressions in the place of ludicrous ones, considerably diminished
the gaiety of the design. For instance, he had such a dread of the
word sprite, that he always put spirit in its place, though it made a
material alteration in the measure of the rhyme.


Jjublttfirfd tyettott.



HE hand of oppression has been so long raised to
banish catholicity from the British soil, and the pulpit
and the press have, with the same view, been the vehicles
of so many gross abuses of its sacred tenets, that the
memories, not only of those who have suffered persecution
and death in its defence, but of such, too, as have ad-
vocated its cause by their writings, must be held in eter-
nal veneration by every sincere and pious catholic. In
the long list of champions, who, since the pretented
reformation in this kingdom, have entered the field of
controversy to shield the religion of our forefathers from
the attacks of protestantism, the author of the following
pages holds too distinguished a place for a doubt to be
entertained as to the reception they will meet with from
the catholic public. As long as history shall record
that the impetuous passion of the last of our Henrys
made him withdraw this country from its spiritual subjec-
tion to the see of Rome, and that Elizabeth, the offspring
of his adultery, caused her parliament to sanction the
articles of a new creed, and to style herself Head of the
Church ; as long as it shall be known that penal laws sub-
jected a catholic of the British empire to the severest
penalties and made a priest liable to be hanged, drawn
and quartered; so long will it be recorded that Mr.
Ward, a layman, anda convert from the new religion, stood
forth as one of the ablest and most celebrated controver-


tists, who have advocated the cause of catholicity and
exposed the fallacy of protestantism.

The work, which is here offered to the public, was
occasioned by a personal interview, between the author
and Mr. Ritschel, vicar of Hexham, on the subject of re-
ligion. The particulars of this interview Mr. Ward laid
before the world in a book entitled A conference with Mr
Ritschel, vicar of Hexham. Mr. Ritschel replied : answers
were exchanged on either side ; and the following pages
are what Mr. W. wrote in reply to the second letter of the
vicar of Hexham.

The point at issue between the contending parties was,
whether the established church of England, or that of
Rome, be the true church of Christ the catholic church.
The present production is in the form of an epistle and
consists of three parts. In the first, Mr. Ward under-
takes to prove that the method proposed by his opponent
of finding out the true church is fallacious. The object
of the second is to shew that the protestant is not so much
as a part of the catholic church. The last commences
with some remarks upon certain passages in the letters of
Mr. R. which have no immediate connexion with the main
point in question, together with a refutation of some ca-
lumnies thrown by pro test ants upon the catholic church,
and concludes with a comparative view of the repectivc
claims of the two churches to the four marks of unity,
sanctity, catholicity and apostolicity. To the letter is sub-
joined a postcript, in which the reader will find the impor-
tant questions of the pope's snprrmacy, the real presence,
purgatory and the invocation of saints, proved in the most
ample and satisfactory manner from the written word of
(iod and the concurring testimonies of the holy fathers.
But, although what are mentioned constitute the promi-
nent features of this work, it may, on the whole, be re-
garded as a compleat body of controversy, there being


scarcely a single point, wherein the two churches of Eng-
land and Rome are at variance, on which the author does
not treat.

The productions of some more recent controvertists
may perhaps display a neatness and correctness of style
which those of Mr. Ward do not possess, but in force of
argument and perspicuity of expression he cannot be
surpassed. His reasoning must carry with it convic-
tion to the mind of every impartial and dispationate
reader, and upon obstinacy itself it must impose

Should it be objected to the following pages, that in
many parts the language is calculated to give offence
rather than to conciliate and that it is interspersed with
sarcasms which can only wound the feelings without con-
vincing the understanding; let it be remembered by whom
such language was provoked. Let the expressions of
Mr. Ward be compared with the insults, and (what is
worse) the repeated calumnies of the adversaries of the
catholic church, and ample apology will be discovered
for all that he has written either harsh or sarcastic.
Can it be expected that the catholic, who feels within
himself the most intimate conviction of the high su-
periority which his religion possesses over all the inven-
tions of men, who knows that his is the religion of the
great bulk of mankind, whilst that of his enemies and
persecutors is professed but by a few individuals of a
small island can it be expected that he should submit
in silence to their abuse, and, if he can do no more,
not at least, (like the lion in the fable, whose indignation
was roused by the kicks which the ass gave him with
impunity,) shew himself indignant at the insolence of
his insignificant oppressors ?

Religious discussion, it cannot be questioned, had
much better be conducted with temper and forbearance


than with harshness and severity. But, when those,
who provoked the contest in this kingdom, were the
first to set example to the contrary, they cannot with
justice complain if for insult they receive insult, and
if, in return for calumny and misrepresentation, since
the catholic scorns these, he indulge at least a little
in sarcasm and ridicule.

44, Deansgate,





Yours dated May 2d. 1698, came to me on
July 21st. It consists of two epistles. In the
first, you very civilly take leave, at the foot of
eleven pages, making your exit in a notable
extemporary prayer, which you kindly conclude
thus; "Sir, your real friend to serve you for
your souls health", to which you add an "tyc," and
then your name. I could not divine what myste-
rious matter that "^fc." could have wrapped up in
it; but I concluded, that it must contain some-
thing sovereignly good, because it seemed to add
to the soul's health. However, finding you pre-
tending yourself a soul-physician, in the first
epistle, I assured myself of meeting with abun-
dance of spiritual receipts and sovereign soul-
medicines in the second. But, opening it, I stood
amazed to see it stuffed brim-full of baneful
compositions, all fitted for death and damnation,
not only of particular souls, but of the universal
church ; and the professed soul-doctor himself
offering them for every one to swallow, with a
declared design of first wounding, bruising, ul-
cerating, corrupting, and totally destroying the
whole church, on purpose that he might thereby
raise it again to life and a sounder state of health
than ever it had enjoyed for one thousand two
hundred years before. In this, Sir, you act like
that Spanish chymist who cut bis master in
pieces and put him into his sublimatory glass,


with a design of raising him again by chymical
operation to a more durable and better state of
life than he had before when he was of Gods

In these two epistles I expected you would
have supplied the defect of your first letter
dated March 4th. 1697; m which you should
have proved what you asserted in our confer-
ence in Hexhamshire, viz. that " the church of
England is the catholic church". But they are so
far from affording us what was wanting in that,
that on the contrary, in the latter of them, (which,
for the sake of distinction, I shall hereafter call
your book) you tell us, page 5th. that "to bid you
prove yourselves the catholic church, is so wild
and extravagant a fancy, that you shall not
trouble yourself to give it an answer". Yet, for
all this, you put us in hopes of great matters. In
the former of these epistles (I mean in that dated
May 2nd, 1698 ; for this which I call your book,
has neither name nor date) you shew, first, the
necessity of finding out the catholic church ; then
you propose divers ways and means of ascertain-
ing Avhether the catholic church of Rome, or the
church of England, is it ; which shews that you
allow the claim to one of the two. Then you
promise to make it appear, " that the church of
Rome is not the catholic church" ; and in the next
paragraph you oblige yourself, on the other
hand, to make it appear, " that the faith and re-
ligion of the church of England is that truly
ancient catholic and apostolic faith, which was but
once delivered to the saints ; and that you hold
communion with the true church of God in all
ages. "If all this appear, then it will follow",
you say, "that the church of England is the
true church of God, which is to say that the
church of England is the catholic church."

Before you propose the means of effecting all
this, you wisely declare the necessity of doing it


in these words. "As to find out the truth is a
noble design, so it is no less needful in the
present case to find out the catholic church.
This is a matter of great importance : for, accor-
ding to your own principle, till we find it, we
can neither tell what is holy scripture, nor under-
stand it; and then God knows in what a sad
case we are !"

This is, indeed, an undeniable, truth, and you
do well in making it the frontispiece of your
letter. It is also your church of England's doc-
trine, as well as yours and mine, and by the
hand of Mr. Rogers, upon the twentieth of her
39 Articles, she delivers it thus : " The church
hath authority to judge and determine in con-
troversies of faith. All of us (protestants) do
grant that the church as a faithful witness
may, yea of necessity must, testify to the world
what hath been the doctrine of God's people
from time to time ; and as a trusty recorder is
to keep and make known what the word of God
is which it hath received. The church hath
power to interpret and expound the word of
God. To interpret the word of God is a peculiar
blessing given by God only to the church."
These are your own church of England's propo-
sitions, and are all true.

This principle, thus owned by yourself and
established by your church of England, and as-
serted by the church of Rome, must remain
always firm, viz. that till we find the catholic
church, we can neither tell what is holy scrip-
ture, nor understand it. We come noM' to the
means you propose to find it.

The first means.

" In old times," you say, " the holy scriptures
were accounted the only means of finding out
the true church of God."

I cannot believe that ever man so much forgot

CHAP 1.] 4 [PART I.

himself as you have done here. First to declare,
that "till we find out the catholic church, we
can neither tell what is holy scripture, nor under-
stand it" : and then, in the very next words, to
make the scripture the means, yea the only
means, of finding out the catholic church. The
truth of the first renders the second impossible.
Besides, what you say of ancient times is fable :
for, in ancient times, between the days of Adam
and Moses, for above two thousand years, we do
not find that there was any scripture written ;
and yet there existed, during all that time, a
true church, and the world knew how and where
to find it. In the beginning of Christianity, the
New Testament was not written till several
years after the christian church was established;
yet, all this time, infinite numbers found the

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Online LibraryThomas WardAn interesting controversy with Mr. Ritschel, vicar of Hexham → online text (page 1 of 22)