Andrew Thomson John Owen.

The works of John Owen, Volume 14 online

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To the Reader S

Preface 5


I. - Oar anther's preflMe, and his method • • • • • 11

IL— Heathen pleas— General principles . . • • • •• 14

III.— Motiye, matter, and method of onranthor's book . • • .44

lY.— Contests abont religion and xefoannation, schoolmen, eta • • .48

v.— Obscurity of God, eta 68

YL— Scripture Tindicated •••••••• 69

Vn.— Use of reason .•••••••• 73

VIIL— Jews' objections •••••••• 77

IX.— Protestant pleas 83

X.— Scripture, and new principles •••••• 87

XL— Story of religion • . • • • * • • .94

XII.— Reformation 104

XIII.— Popish contradictions • • • • • • ,110

XIV.— Mass lis

XV.— Blessed Vii8^ 120

XVI.— Images 123

XVIL— Latin serrioe 128

XVIII.— Ckimmunion •••••••••143

XIX.— Saints 151

XX.— Purgatory ••••••••• 167

XXI.— Pope ••••••••••163

XXIL— Popery 170


Pripatobt Non BT THx EnuoB • • • • • • •174

To the Reader , « « 176

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Grip. Paob

L— An answer to the prefiioe or introduction of the reply to the " Animad-

Tersions" . . ...... 183

II. — ^Vindication of the first chapter of the ** AnimadTersions" — ^The method

of ** Fiat Lax " — ^Romanists' doctrine of the merit of good works . 199
nL— A defence of the second chapter of the ** AnimadYersions"~Principles of
Fiat Lux" re-examined — Of our receiying the gospel ftrom Rome — Our
abode with them from whom we receiyed it ... . 206

IV.— Farther vindication of the second chapter of the ** Animadyersions"—
Church «f Rome not what she was of old-^Her fUls and apostasy-
Difference between idolatry, apostasy, heresy, and schism— Principles
of the church of Rome condemned by the ancient church, fathers, and
councils— Imposing rites unnecessary— Persecution for conscience-
Papal supremacy— The bran<^es of it— Papal personal infallibility-
Religious yeneration of images ...... 212

y. — Other principles of "Fiat Lux" re-examined — Things not at quiet in
religion, before reformation of the first reformers— Departure from
Rome no csvse of diyistons— Retumal unto Rome no means of
union ......... 237

VL — ^Farther yindication of the second chapter of the ** Animadyersions" —
Scripture su£Scient to settle men in the truth — Instance against it exa-
Bined, remoyed— Principles ef Protestants and Romanists in reference
unto moderation compared and discussed .... 248

Vn.— Unity of faith, wherein it consists— Principles of Protestants as to
the settling men in religion and unity of faith, proposed and con-
firmed ......... 257

VIIL— Principles of Papists, whereon they proceed in bringing men to a settle-
ment in religion and the unity of faith, examined .281
IX.— Proposals frx>m protestant principles tending unto moderation and unity 310
X.— Farther yindication of the second chapter of the " Animadyersions"-

The remaining principles of **Fiat Lux" considered. .319

XL— Judicious readers— Schoolmen the forgers of Popery^Nature of the dis-

ooursein«FiatLux" 323

XIL— False suppositions, causing false and absurd consequences— Whence we
had the gospel in England, and by whose means— What is our duty in
reference unto them by whom we receiye the gospel . . . 327

Xin.— Faith and charity of Roman Catholics 349

XIV.— Of reasons-Jews'* objections against Christ . . . .356

XV. — ^Pleas of prelate Protestants— Ohrist the only supreme and absolute head

of the church ..... \ .861

XVl— The power assigned by Papists and Protestants unto kings in matters

ecclesiastical- Their seyeral principles discussed and compared . 378

XVn. — Scripture^tory of the progress and declension of religion vindicated —
Papal artifices for the promotion of their power and interest— Adyan-
tagee made by them on the Western Empire . .898

XVin.— Reformation of religion^Papal contradictions— ** ^ice ancillam" . 408

XIX.— Of preaching— The mass, and the sacrifice of it— Transubstantiation—

Seryice of the church ••..... 411

XX.— Of the blessed Virgin 426

-Images— Doctrine of the council of Trent— Of the second Nicene— The
arguments for the adoration of images— Doctrine of the ancient church
—Of the cWef doctrine of the Roman church— Practice of the whole—
Vfun foundations of the pretences for image-worship examined and dis-

proyed 426

-Of Latin seryioe 457

-Communion ......... 476

-Heroes— Of the ass's head, whose worship was objected to Jews and
(Siristiaafl 476

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PaxTAiokT Nora BT THX Bditor . . . . . , .482

Pre&oe 483

The ChoKih of Borne no Safe Qnide ... .... 485


Pbkfatobt NoTB BT THB Editor ...••.. 518

Some CkmsideratioDBi eta ....••«. 619


Prbtatobt NoTR BT THB BnrroB .....•• 580

The State and Pate of the Protestant Religion • • • . .681

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1 BB nestoratioii reri^ed the hopes of the Boman Catholks that their Churdi would
ere long reooyer its ancient influence in Britain. The re-acUon by which the dynasty
of the Stuarts recovered possession of the British crown extended in some measure to
the doctrines held by the great hodj of Protestant Nonconformists, who had raised
Cromwell to the Protectorate. The members of the English diurch, who were really
attached to Protestantism, and at the same time lealous for the Bestoration, were too
apt, under the bias of their political views, to regard Nonconformity as synonymous
with rebellioa. It was but a step farther to insinuate that Nonconformity was only
Protestantism under another name and with sli^t modifications ; that Protestantism was
really the fountain of bitterness which had recently overflowed in rebellion and anarchy ;
and that unless the doctrines of the Church of Bome were embraced and generally dif-
fused throu^^out the nation, the ark of the State would never alight on any Ararat of
settled peace and permanent safety.

The Church of Bome has always emissaries at command to seiae such an opening as
now presented itself. It is certainly remarkable, however, that It produced at this
time, and down to the Bevolution, no British controversialist, in whom the Barrows and
Owens of the Protestant cause could recognise ** a foeman worthy of their steeL" The
Jesuits were busy in their own style of secret and successM intrigue, but on the
Popish side of the controversy no work appeared exceeding in importance and plausi-
bility the "Fiat Lux" of John Vincent Cane. It was published in 1661, and a
good conception of its leading design may be gathered fh>m its title if given at length ;
** Fiat Lux; or, a general conduct to a ri^^t understanding in the great combustions
and broils about religion here in Enolant^ betwixt Papist and ^testant, Presby-
terian and Independent, to the end that moderation and quietness may at length happily
ensue after so various tumults in the kingdom. By Mr J. V. C, a friend to men of aU
religions, 1661." Cane was a Franciscan friar, and had previou^y been the author of
a work entitled '* The Reclaimed Papist'* When he was eighteen years of age, he had
gone to the University of Cambridge, and, having studied there for two years, left it
for London, whence he entered for some time on a course of foreign travel. He pro-
fesses to have become attached to the Bomish Church firom the solemnity of its ritual
abroad, though he admits hereditary prepossessions in its favour, as his grandfather was
a Papist, and had been ** so faf impMdied about the rising of the Earls in the north, that
he lost estate and life." **Fiat Lux" consists of five chapters, in which, under a sub-
division of thirty-one ** paragraphs," it is shown, — 1. That there is no occasion for fiery
leal about religion; 2. That all tbings are so obscure that no man should presume to
guide his neighbour in matters of religion; 8. That no religion is superior to Popery;
4. That the Boman religion is truly innocent and unblamable,— quite as much so
as other religions opposed to it are to one another ; and histly, follow " moral topics for
diarity and peace."

The character of the times gave importance to such a publication. Thou^ not
remarkable either for learning or aignment, it is crafty and plausible, contains some
dexterous hits at the differences among Protestants, and, when the weak points of Bo-
manism are to be covered, is written with « misty vagueness, in which sentimentalism
is made to do the work of logic. It assumes as its text a passage in a speech by the
Lord Chancellor, which seems to ha^ brought it speedily into notice with the hi^er
circles of society. Before Owen had finished his *< Animadversions " in reply to it, it
was in a second editiout It is believed that Clarendon, the Lord Chancellor, is " the
person of honour," who, aooordang to Asty, sent the work to Owen, requesting him to
prepare an answer to it.

Our author had the book in his possesion for "a few days only." The " Animad-
Tersions," published in 1662, were the result of the attention he bestowed on it. He
answers Cane most suocessf^y. The readers of Owen will not much wonder that the
Franciscan should be quite overwhelmed by the superior learning of the Puritan, but
they will hardly be prepared for the resources of wit, humour, and iro^y, by which these
** Animadversions" retain all their freshness and pungency to the present day, and
Cane found his own favourite weapons of ridicule and sarcasm turned upon himself
with Irresistible effisct Cane, it may be added, found another antagonist in Mr Samuel
Mather, who wrote, in reply to *' Fiat Lux." ** A Defence of the ^testant Beligion."
It was published in Dublin, 1671, 4to.— En.

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The treatise entitled " ¥\a,t Lux," which thou wUt find examined in the ensuing
discourse, was lent unto me, not long since, by an honourable person, with a re-
quest to return an answer unto it. It had not been many hours in my hand
before the same desire was seconded by others. Having made no engagement
unto the person of whom I received it, the book, after some few days, was re-
manded ; yet, as it fell out, not before I had finished my Animadversions upon it.
But before I could send my papers to the press, I heard of a second edition of that
treatise ; which also occasionally coming to my hands, I perceived it had been
printed some good while before I saw or heard of the first. Finding the bulk of
the discourse increased, I thought it needful to go through it once more, to see
if any thing of moment were added to that edition which I had considered, or any
alterations made by the author's second thoughts. This somewhat discouraged
me, that, my first book being gone, I could not compare the editions, but must trust
to my memory, — none of the best, — as to what was, or was not, in that I had per-
used. But not designing any use in a mere comparing of the editions, but only
to confflder whether in either of them any thing material was remaining, either
not heeded by me, in my hasty passage through the first, or added in the second
undiscussed, I thought it of no g^eat concernment to inquhre again after the first
book. What of that nature offered itself unto me, I cast my thoughts upon into
the margin of what was before written, inserting it into the same continued dis-
course. I therefore desire the reader, that he may not suspect himself deceived,
to take notice, that whatever quotations out of that treatise he meets withal, the
number of pages throughout answers the first edition of it.

Of the author of that discourse, and his design therein, I have but little to pre-
mise. He seems at first view to be a Naphtali, a hind let loose, and to give goodly
words. But though the voice we hear f^om him sometimes be the voice of Jacob,
yet the hands that put forth themselves, in his progress, are the hands of Esau.
Moderation is pretended ; but his counsels for peace centre in an advice for the
extermination of the Ishmael (as he esteems it) of Protestancy. We know full
well that the words he begins to flourish withal are not ** Vox ultima Papse." A
discovery of the inconsistency of his real and pretended design is one part of our
business. Indeed, an attentive reader cannot but quickly discern, that persuasions
unto moderation in different professions of Christian religion, with a relinquish-
ment of all others to an embraoement of Popery, be they never so finely smoothed,
must needs interfere. But yet, with words at such r^ variance among them-
selves doth our author hope to impose his sentimepts in religion on the minds of
noble and ingenuous persons, not yet accustomed to those severer thoughts and
studies which are needful to form an exact judgment in things of this nature.
That he should upon any obtain both his ends, — moderation and Popery, — ^is im-
possible. Ko two things are more inconsistent. Let him cease the pursuit of the
latter, and we will follow after the former with him or without him. And if any

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man be so aiihappily%imple as to think to come to moderation in religion-feads by
turning Romanist, I shall leave him for his conviction to the mistress of such wise
men. Mj present business is, as I find, to separate between his pleas for the
moderation pretended, and those for Popery really aimed at. Y^iat force there
may be in his reasons for that which he would not have, I shall not examine; but
shall manifest that there is none in them he uses for what he would. And, reader,
if thb hasty attempt for the prevention of the apptioation of them find acceptance
with thee I shall, it maybe ere long, give thee a full account of the new ways and
principles which our author, and the men of the same persuasion, have of late years
resolved on for the promotion of their cause and interest.


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CoNsiDERiNO tbe condition of affiuts in these nations, in reference to the late mis-
carriages and present distempers of men about religion, it was no hard conjecture
that some would improve the advantage, seeming so fairly to present itself unto them^
unto ends of their own: men of prudence^ abOity, and leisure, engaged by all bonds
imaginable in the pursuit of any special intere^ need little minding of the com-
mon ways of wisdom for its promotion. They know that he that would fashion
iron into the image and likeness which he hath fancied mugt strike whilst it is hotf — ^
when the adventitious efficacy of the fire it hath admitted makes it pliable to that
wh^eunto, in its own nature, it is most (^posite. Such seems to be, in these days,
the temper of men in religion, from those fiames wherewith some have been
scorched, others heated, all provoked, and made fit to receive new impressions, if
wisely hammered. Neither was it a dMIcult prognostication for any one, to fbretell
what arguments and mediums would be made use of to animate and enliven thei
persuasions of men, who had ^ther right or confidence enough to plead or pre-
tend a disinterest in our miscarriages for an embracement of their profession.
Commonly, with men that indulge to passion and distempers, as the most of men
ftre i^t to do, tbe last provocation blots out the remembrance of preceding crimes
no k»s heinous. And, whatever to the contrary is pretended, men usually have
not that indignation against principles which have produced evils they have only
heard or read of, that they have against practices under which they have person-
ally suffered. Hence it might easily be expected that the Romanists, supposing,
at least, by the help of those paroxysms they discern amongst us, that the miscar-
riages of some of their adversaries would prove a garment large enough to cover
and hide their own, would^ with much confidence, improve them to tilieir special
advantage. Nor is it otherwise come to pass^ This persuasion, and suitable prac-
tice thereon, runs through all the vdns of the discourse we have proposed to con-
sideratbn; making that seem quick and sprightly whieh otherwise would have
been but a heap or a carcases

That then M$ sort of men woi^ not only be <mgUng in the lesser brooks of
oar troubled waters, endeavouring to mveigle wandering, loose, and discontented
iadividiials (which halii been tlieir constant employment), but also come with their
nets into our open streans, was the tixmghts of all men who count themselves
oo&cemed to tldnk of such things ae thesow There is scarce a fi>rward emissary
amongst them who criea not, in such a season, *< An ego occaskmem mihi ostentatam,
taotam, tasnt bonam, tarn optataok, tast in^>er«tiH», amitterem?" What baits and
tadttings they would pTind|Mdly make use of was also foreknown. But the way and
mamiec which thej would ftc on foe ttie manag^sent of thdrdesign> now displayed in
tiu^diaoeurse^ lay not, I oonfess, undesan erdiaftry prospeet. For, as to what course
tibe wisdom of men wiU steer tbe]% in various alterations, ftArrts Mfirrtf tfrtt tUd!^u
mm^t, [Eurip. Frag. inc. C!zzviii.}>— ^* he is no mean prc^het that can but indiffer-
ently guess." But yet there wanted not some beams of light to guide men in the

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exerdse of thdbr stochastic* £ftculty, even as to tins also. That accommodation of
religion and all its concernments unto the humours, fimdes, and conversations of
men, wherewith some of late have pleased themselves, and laid snares for the ruin
of others, did shrewdly portend what, in this attempt of the same party, we were
to expect. Of this nature is that poetical strain of devotion so much applauded
and prevailing in our ndghbour kingdom ; whereby men, ignorant of the heavenly
power of the gospel, not only to resist hut to subdue the strongest lusts and most
towering imaginations of the sons of men, do labour, in soft and ddicate rhymes,
to attemperate religion unto the loose and idry fancies of persons whoUy indulging
their minds to vanity and pleasure ; — a fond attempt of men not knowing how to
manage the sublime^ spiritual, severe truths of the gospel, to the ingenerating of
faith and devotion in tiie soulis of sinners; but yet that which they suppose is the
only way left them to prevent the keeping of religion and the most of their party
at a perpetual distance t So Mohammed saw it necessary to go to the mountain,
when the mountain, for all his calling, would not come to him. And of the same
sort is the greatest part of the casuistical divinity of the Jesuits. A mere accom-
modation of the principles of religion to the filthy lusts and wicked lives of men,
who on no other terms would resign the conduct of their souls unto them, seems
to be their main desigpi in it. On these defects of others, he that would have
pondered what a wise and observing person of the same interest with them might
apprehend of the present tempers, distempers, humours, interests, provocations,
^cies, lives of them with whom he intends to deal, could not have failed of some
advantage in his conjectures at the way and manner wherein he would proceed in
treating of them. It is of the many of whom we speak, — on whose countenances,
and in whose lives, he that runs may read provocations f^om former miscarriages ;
supine negligence of spiritual and eternal concernments ; ignorance of things past,
beyond what they can remember in their own days ; sloth in the disquisition of the
truth ; wiUingpiess to be accommodated with a religion pretended secure and un-
concerned in present disputes, that may save them and thehr sins together without
farther trouble ; delight in quamt language and poetical strains of eloquence, where-
unto they are accustomed jit the stage ; with sundry other inward accoutrements
of mind not unlike to these. To this frame and temper of spirit, this composition
of humours, it was not improbable but that those who should first enter into the
lists in this design would accommodate thdr style and manner of procedure, —
** Nee spem fefellit expectatio." The treatise under consideration hath fully
answered whatever was of conjecture in this kind. Frequent repetitions of late
provocations, vnth the crimes of the provokers ; confident and undue assertions of
things past in the days of old ; large promises of security, temporal and eternal, to
nations and all individuals in them, — of facility in coming to perfection in religion
without more pains of teaching, learning, or fear of opposition; all interwoven with

Online LibraryAndrew Thomson John OwenThe works of John Owen, Volume 14 → online text (page 1 of 67)