Andrew Thomson John Owen.

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haps, abide in it themselves? Great part of Flanders was first con-
verted by Englishmen; and yet are they not obliged to accompany
the English in our now present ways." I am glad you confess this
principle now to be false: it was sufficiently proved so to be in the
" Animadversions," and your whole discourse rendered thereby use-
less; for to what purpose will the preceding assertion, so often
inculcated by you, serve, if this be false? For what matter is it from
whence or whom we received the profession of religion, if there be no
obligation upon us to continue in their communion, any farther than
as we judge them to continue in the truth? And to what purpose
do you avoid the consideration of the reasons and causes of our not
abiding with you, and manage all your charge upon the general head
of our departure^ if we may have just cause, by your own concession,
so to do? It is false, then, by your own acknowledgment; and I am
as sure, m the sense which I understand it in, that it is youra And
you labour with all your art to prove and confirm it, both in your
" Fiat," pp. 44-4i7, and in this very epistle, pp. 38-41, eta On the
account that the gospel came unto us from Rome, you expressly ad-
judge the pre-eminence over us unto Rome, and determine that her
we must all hear, and obey, and abide witL But if you may say and
unsay, assert and deny, avow and disclaim, at your pleasure, as things
make for your advantage, and think to evade the owning of the whole
drift and scope of your discourse by having expressed yourself in a
loose flourish of words, it will be to no great purpose fie^er to talk

with you.

** Quo teneam TultuB matuitem Protea nodot" — Hor. Ep. L 1. 90.

To lay fast bold, and not startle at a new shape, was the counsel his
daughter gave to Menelaus; and I must needs uige you to leave
off all tlioughts of evading by such changes of your hue, and to abide
by what you say. I confess I believe you never intended knowingly

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to assert this principle in its whole latitude, because you did not, as
it should se^m, consider how little it would make for your advantage,
seeing so many would come in for a share in the privilege intimated
in it with your Roman church, and you do not in any thing love
competitors. But you would &in have the conclusion hold as to
your Soman church only: those that have received the gospel from
her must always abide in her communion. That this assertion is not
built on any general foundation of reason or authority, yourself now
confess; and that you have no special privilege to plead in this
cause hath been proved in the " Animadversions," whereof you are
pleased to take no notice.


Farther vindication of second chapter of the " Animadversions^ — Church of Rome
not what she was of old — Her falls 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 branches of it — Papal
personal infallibility — Religious veneration of images.

The third assertion which you review is, " That the Boman pro-
fession of religion, and practice in the worship of God, are every way
the same as when first we received the gospel from Rome ; nor can
they ever otherwise be." Whereimto you say, "This, indeed, though
I do nowhere formally express it, yet I suppose it, 1)ecause I know
it hath been demonstratively proved a hundred times over. You
deny it hath been proved ; why do you not then disprove it? Because
you decline, say you, all common-placea" All that I affirmed was,
that you did suppose this principle, and built many of your inferences
on the supposition thereof; which you here acknowledge. And so
you have ahready owned two of the principles whereof, in the fore-
going page, you affirmed that you could hardly own any one, and
that in the sense wherein by me they are proposed and understood!
But what do you mean, that you " nowhere formally express it?" If
you mean that you have not set it down in those syllables wherein
you find it expressed in the ** Animadversions," no man ever said
you did: you do not use to speak so openly and plainly; to do so
would bring you out of the comers, which somewhat that you pre-
tend unto never led you into. But if you deny that you asserted
and laboured to prove the whole and entire matter of it, your fol-
lowing discourse, wherein you endeavour a vindication of the sophism
wherewith you pleaded for it in yom: " Fiat," will sufficiently con-
fute you. And so you have avowed already two of the " hardly any

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one" principles ascribed unto you: and this you say hath been " de-
monstrativ^y proved a hundred times over," and ask me why I do
not disprove it, giving a ridiculous answer, as fix)m me, unto your in-
quiry. But pray, sir, talk not of demonstrations in this matter: pal-
pable sophisms, such as your masters use in this cause, are far enough
from demonstrations. And if you think it enough for you to say that
it hath been proved, why is it not a sufficient answer in me to remind
you that it hath been disproved, and your pretended proofs all re^
futed? And according to what rules of logic do you expect argu*'
ments from me to disprove your assertion, whilst I was only answer-
ing yours that you produced in its confirmation? But that you may
not complain any more, I shall make some addition of the proofs
you require, by way of super^ogation, when we have considered your
vindication of your former aiguments for the confirmation of this
assertion, wherewith you closed your discourse in your " Fiat Lux."
This you thus propose again> " The Roman was once a true, flourish-
ing church; and if she ever fell, she must fall either by apostasy,
heresy, or schism*" So you now mince the matter: in your " Fiat"
it was " a most pm^, flourishing, and mother church;" and you know
there are many that yet acknowledge her a true church, as a thief is
a true man, who will not acknowledge her to be a pure church, much
less ^^ most pure." God be merciful to poor worms! This boasting
doth not become us; it is not unlike hers who cried, " I sit as a queen,
and shall see no sorrow." I wish you b^in to be sensible and ashamed
of it, but yet I fear it is otherwise; for whereas, in your " Fiat," you
had proclaimed your Boman church and party to be absolutely inno-
cent and unblamable, you tell us, p. 10 of your epistle, that you can
make it appear that it is fiar more innocent and amiable than you
have made it; more than absolutely innocent, it seems,— a note so
high that it sounds harshly. And whereas we shall manifest yom:
church to have lost her native beauty, we know that no painting of
her (which is all you can do) will render her truly amiable unto a
spiritual eye. She hath too often defiled herseK to pretend now to
be lovely. But to this you say I reply, " The church that then was,
in the apostles' time, was indeed true, — not the Roman church that
now is;" and add, " So, so; then I say that former true church must
fisdl some time or other. When did she fall? and how did she fall, —
by apostasy, heresy, or schism?" Sir, you very lamely represent my
answer, that you might seem to say something unto it, when indeed
you say nothing at alL I discoveml unto you the equivocation you
use in that expression, " The church of Rome," and showed you that
the thing now so called by you had neither being nor name, neither
essence nor affection, in the days of old; its very being is but the
" terminus ad quem " of a church's fall I showed you also that the

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church of old, that was pure, fell not whilst it was so; but that the
men who succeeded in the place where they lived, in the profession
of religion, gradually fell from the purity of that profession which the
church at its first planting did enjoy. But all that discourse you pass
by, and repeat again your former question, to which you subjoin my
first answer, which was, '^ It was possible she might &11 by an earth-
quake, as did those of Colosse and Laodicea;'' to which you [reply,]
" We speak not here of any casual or natural downfidl, or death of
mortals, by plague, famine, or earthquake, but a moral and voluntary
lapse in faith. What do you speak to me of earthquakes? '^ It is well
you do so now explain yourself ; your former inquiry was only in
general, how or by what means she ceased to be what she had been
before? as though it were impossible to assign any such : neither did I
exclude the sense whereunto you now restrain your words. And had
I only showed you that it was possible she might fall and come to
nothing, and yet not by any of the ways or means by you mentioned,
without proceeding unto the consideration of them also, yet your
special inquiry being resolved into this general one, from whence it
is taken, how a pure, flourishing church may cease to be so? I had
rendered your inquiry useless unto your present purpose, though I
had not answered your intention; for certainly that which oeaseth to
be, ceaseth to be pure, seeing " non-entis nuUae sunt aflfectionea" The
church of the Britons, in this part of the island now called England,
was once as piure a church as ever was the church of Rome; yet she
ceased to be long since, and that neither by apostasy, heresy, nor
schism, but by the sword of the Saxons. And, to tell you the truth,
I do not think the old church of Rome unconcerned in this instance,
then especially when Rome was left desolate by Totilas, and without
inhabitant; for the church of Rome is "urbis" and not, as you vainly
imagine, " orbis ecdesia."

Again: I told you she might Ml by idolatry, and so neither by.
apostasy, heresy, or schism. To which you reply, " Good sir, idola-
try is a mixed misdemeanour both in faith and manners. I speak of
the single one of faith ; and he that falls by idolatry, if he keep still
some parts of Christianity entire, he falls by heresy, — by apostasy, if
he keep none." I am persuaded you are the first that ever gave this
description of idolatry, and the last that will do so: '' It is a mixed
misdemeanour in faith and manners.'^ Manners you speak of in con-
tradistinction to faith, and you so explain yourself; in which sense
they relate only unto moral conversation, regulated by the second
table. That idolatry hath been and is constantly attended with cor-
ruption in manners, the apostle declares, Rom. L, and I willingly
grant; but how in itself or in its own natmre it should come to be **a
mixed misdemeanour in faith and in manners," I know not: neither

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can you tell me which is the fleshy, which is the fishy part of this
Dagon, — what it is in it that is a misdemeanour in faith, and what in
manners. According to this description of yours^ an idolater should be
an ill-mannered or an unmannerly heretic. But you speak of the single
misdemeanour in faith ; but who gave you leave so to restrain your in-
quiry ? I allowed you before to except against one instance, whereby
many a church hatii fedlen ; but if you will except idolatry and man-
ners also, your endeavour to provide a shelter for your guilt is shame-
ful and vain. For what you except out of your inquiry, if you confess
not to have been, yet you do that it may be or might have been.
And you do wisely to let your adversary know that he is to strike
you only where you suppose yourself armed, but by all means must
}et naked parts alone; and doubtless he must needs be very wise who
will take your advice. " The church of Judah was once a pure church,
in the days of David; how came she, then, to fall? by apostasy, he-
resy, or schism?'' I answer, if you will give me leave, she fell by ido-
latry and corruption of manners; against both which the prophets
were protestants, 2 Kings xviL 13 : ^"t "'P!!, — God protested against
them by his prophets. Again : the same church reformed in the days
of Ezra, Nehemiah, Zerubbabel, and rfA'^^^ nojp ^riK "the men of the
great oongr^ation," was a pure church. How did it fall ? not by ido-
latry as formerly, but by corruption of life, unbelief and rejecting the
word of Qod for superstitious traditions, until it became " a den of
thieve&" You see, then, there are other ways of a church's fedling
from its pristine purity than those by you insisted on. And if you
shall inquire how it may fall, you must exclude nothing out of your
inquiry whereby it m&y do so, and whereby some diurches have done
so. And if you will have my thoughts in this matter, they are, that
the beginning of the Mi of your church and many others lay in un-
belief, corruption of life, conformity to the world, and other sms that
were found in the most of its membera And it is a fancy, to dream
of the purity of a church in respect of its outward order, when the
power and h£e of godliness is lo^ in its members; and a wicked de-
vice, to suppose a church may not be separated from Christ by unbe-
lief, whilst it abides in an external profession of the doctrine of faith.
Such a church, though it may have ^' a name to live," yet indeed is
'^ dead," and dead things are undean. We speak of its purity, and
acceptation thereon in the sight of GJod; neither will men " dead in
trespasses and sins" be '' terrible" unto any ^' as an army with ban-
ners," unless they are like those in Ludlius, who,

<*nt pmeri infimtes credimt sigim omnia ahena
Yiyere et esse homineB; sio isti omnia ficta
Vera putant; crednnt signis oor inesse ahenis;"

as Lactantius reports him But you say, " If they fall by idolatry,

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and yet keep any parts of Christianity, they fall by heresy/' But
why so? Would you had thought it incumbent on you to give a rea-
son of what you say ! Are idolatry and heresy the same? Terfcullian,
who, of all the old ecclesiastical writers, most eillargeth the boimds of
idolatry, defines it to be '* Omnis circa omne idolum famulatus et ser-
vitus;'' — " Any worship or service performed in reference to or about
any idoL" I do not remember that ever I met with your definition
of idolatiy in any author whatever. Bellarmine seems to place it in
" Creaturam sequ^ colere ac Deum;^' — " To worship the creature as
much or equally with the Creator:'' which description of it, though
it be vain and ^x)undless (for his "sequfe" is neither in the Scripture
nor any approved author of old requii'ed to the constituting of the
worship of any creature idolatrous), yet is not this heresy neither, but
that which differs firom it " toto genere." We know it to be " Cultus
religiosus creaturae exhibitus," — " Any religious worship of that which
by nature is not God;" and so doth your Thomas grant it to be.
Gregoty de Valentia, another of your great champioUE^ contends that
" tanquam Deo," "as unto God," is to b^ added unto the definition;
as though religious worship could be given unto any thing, and not
as unto God really and indeed, though not intentionally as to the*
worshipper. Where a man gives religious worship, there he doth,
" ipso facto," assign a divine eminency, say he what he will to the
contrary. Neither will his intention of not doing it " as imto God,"
any more free him from idolatry than an adulteress will be fi-ee by not
looking oh her adulterer as her husband. I confess he adds after-
ward a distinction that is of great use for you, and indispensably ne-
cessary for your defence, De IdoL, lib. ii. cap. 7. St Peter, he tells
us, insinuates some ** worship of idols," — " cultum aliquem simula-
chrorum," — ^to wit, that of the holy images, to be right oi* lawful, when
he deterreth believers " ab illicilis idolorum cultibus," — " from the
unlawful worship of idols," 1 Pet iv. 3: 'AtfijtA/rwg ildukoXarpifatg.
This were somewhat, indeed, if all epithets were distinguishing, none
aggravating or declarative. When Virgil said, " Dulcia mella premes,"
Geor. iv., he did not insinuate that th^re was any bitter honey. Nor
is it allowable only for poets, to tise explaining and declaring epithets;
but Aristotle allows it in the best orators also, so they use not f^axpoTg fj
Axatpoii ^ TuxwTi;, "long or unseasonable ones," or the same frequently:
and the use of this here by Peter is free from all those vices. When
the Roman orator cried out, " O scelus detestandum !" — " O wicked-
ness to be abhorred I" he did not intend to insinuate that there was a
wickedness not to be abhorred, or to be approved. But if it will fol-
low hence that your church is guilty only of lawfril idolatry, I shall
not much contend about it; yet I must tell you, that as the poor
woman, when t3ie physicians in her si(^ess told her still that what

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^e complained of was a good sign, cried out, olfjkoi W dya^Zv d^^XXu^u,
— " Good signs have undone me/' — ^your lawful idolatry, if you take
not better heed, will undo you. In the meantime, as to the coincid-
ence you imagine between idolatry and heresy, I wish you would
advise with your " angelical doctor," who will show you how they are
contradistinct evils; which he therefore weighs in his scales, and de-
termines which is the heaviest, 2286 q. 94, a ad 4. The church in
the wilderness fell by its /iwcj^oToi/ot, — its " making and worshipping a
golden calf," as a representation of the presence of God. That they
kept some parts of the doctrine of truth entire is evident from their
proclamation of a feast to Jehovah. Do any men in their wits use
to say this fall was by heresy, though all agree it was by idolatry?
so that your church might fall by idolatry and not Ml formally by
heresy, according to the genuine importance of the word, the use of
it in the Scriptures, or the definition given of it by the schoolmen, or
any sober writer of what sort whatever. And here I must desire you
to stay a little, if you intend to take Protestants along with you. They
constantly return this answer unto you, in the first place, and tell you
that your churdi is Mien by idolatry: it is fiEdlen in the worship
which you give unto the " consecrated host," as you call it ; wherein, —
if the Scriptures, which call it " bread," and the others, who term it
the " figure of the body of Christ," if reason, and all our senses, de-
ceive us not, — ^you are as plainly idolatrous as the poor wretches which
fell down and worship a piece of red cloth : so your own Costerus
assures us, Enchirid., cap. viii. '* Tolerabilior," saith he, '' est eorum
error, qui pro deo colunt statuam auream, aut argenteam, aut alte-
rius materise imaginem, quomodo Gentiles deos sues venerabantur,
vel panniun rubrum in hastam elevatum, quod narratur de Lappis,
vel viva animalia ut quondam .^Igyptii, quam eorum qui frustum
pams colunt;" — " Their.error is more tolerable who worship a golden
or silver statue, or ah image of any other matter for a god, as the Gen-
tiles worshipped their gods, or a rag of red cloth lifted upon a spear, as
it is reported of the Laplanders, or living creatures, as did the Egyp-
tians of old, than theirs who worship a piece of bread." This is that
which made Averroes cry out, " Seeing the Christians eat the god
whom they worship, let my soul be among the philosophers." You
do the same in your worship of the cross; which the chiefest among
you maintain to be the same that is due to Christ himself And you
are in the same path still in the religious adoration you give unto the
blessed Virgin, your prayers to her, and invocations of her; which
abound in aU your books of devotion and general practice. And
what need we motion any particular instances, when you have begun
some of your conciliary actions, the greatest solemnities of Christi-
anity amongst you, with invocation of her for help and assistance?

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So did your council of Lateran, joining with Cardinal Cajetan, in
their opening of the second session, in these words: " Quoniam nihil
est quod homo de semetipso sine auxilio opeque divina possit poUi-
ceri, ad gloriosam ipsam Yirginem Dei matrem primum o(Hiyertan>
orationem meam;" — '' Seeing there is nothing tluit a man may pro-
mise to himself, as of himself, without divine help and assistance, I
will first turn my prayer unto the glorious Viigin, the mother of God."
This was the doctrine, this the practice, this the idolatry, of our La-
teran council And again, in the seventh session, '* Deiparse nostrsB
prsesidium imploremus;" — " Let us pray for the help or protection of
our blessed Mother of Ood.'' And in the tenth session of the same
council, Stephen, archbishop of Patras, prays, " Ut ipsa beata Virgo,
angelorum domina^ fons onmium gratiarum, quae omnes hereses
interimit, cujus oper& magna reformatio, concordia prindpimiy et vera
contra infiddes ezpeditio fieri debet opem ferre dignetur;" — " That
the blessed Virgm, the lady of angels, the fountain of all graces, who
destroyeth all heresies, by whose assistance the great reformation, the
agreement of princes, and sincere expedition against the infidels" (the
business of that coimcil), " ought to be performed, would vouchsafe
to help him, that he might," eta ; and thereupon sings this hymn
unto her, recorded in the acts of the council: —
« Omniiun splendor, decoa, et perenne

Yirginum lumen, genetrix Superni,

Gloria humani generis Maria
** Sola ta Tirgo dominaria astria^

Sola ta term maris atqne coeli

Lumen, inoeptis faveas rogamus

Indyta nostris.

" Ut queam sacros reserare sensus

Qui latent chartis nimlum sevens;

Ingredi, et celseo, duce te benigna, .
Hsenia terrsD."

" Mary! the beauty, honour, and everlasting light of all virgins,
the mother of the Highest, the only glory of mankind ; thou. Virgin,
alone rulest the stars; thou alone art the light of earth, sea, and
heaven. Do thou, glorious lady ! we entreat, prosper ray endeavours,
that I may unfold the sacred senses which lie hid in tiie too severe
writings " (of the Scripture), " and kindly give me, under thy good-
ness, to enter the walls of the heavenly countriea" I suppose it can-
not be doubted whence the pattern of this Conciliary prayer was
taken: it is but an imitation of —

** Fboebe, sylTarumque potens Diana
Lucidum ooeli decus, o oolendi
Semper et culti, date qusD precamur
Tempore eacro.

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«* Alme Sol, oomi nitido diem qui
Promis et oelas, aliusque et idem
Nasceris; possis nihil urbe Boma
Viaere majtis.
** Rite matuTOS aperire partus
Lenis Ilithyia, tuere matres :
SiTe tu Lucina probas vocari,

Sea Genitalis.
Diya." Horat. Cann. Sewmlara

And if this be not plainly to place her in the throne of God, I know
not what can be imagined so to do. Your worship of angels and of
saints is of the same unportance, concerning whom you do well to
entitle your paragraph, " Heroes/' your doctrine and practice con-
oeming them being the very same with those of the ancient heathen,
in reference unto their demons and heroes. So your own learned
Vives oonfesseth of many of you, in August de Civit Dei, lib. xxviil
cap. ult " Multi Christiani," saith he, *' divos divasque non aliter
venerantur quam Deum; nee video in multis quod sit discrimen inter
eorum opinionem de Sanctis, et id quod Gentiles putabant de suis
diis;" — " Many Christians worship he and she saints no otherwise
than they do God; neither do 1 see, in many things, what difference
there is between their opinion concerning the saints and that which
the heathen thought of their gods.'' And it is known what Polydore
Virgil before him affirmed to the same purpose. Your idolatry, in the
worship of images of all sorts, shall be afterward declared. Be, then,
this a single or mixed misdemeanour, it matters not ; a misdemeanour
it is, whereby we affirm that the Roman church is/aUen from its
pristine purity. And this we think is a fidl answer unto your in-
quiry. We need not, you cannot comi)el us, to go one step farther;
but our way is plain and invites us. I shall therefore proceed to let
you see once again that she is fallen, by all the ways you thought
meet to confine your inquiry unto.

You proceed: " Finding yourself puzzled in the third place, you
lay on load. *She fell,' say you, 'by apostasy, idolatry, heresy,ich I am no way bound unto by the law of our discourse

Online LibraryAndrew Thomson John OwenThe works of John Owen, Volume 14 → online text (page 27 of 67)