Andrew Thomson John Owen.

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Hildebrand, and pronounceth hun deposed, with all those that ad*
hered imto hint Another synod, anno 1080, at Brizia in Bavaria,
condemns him also for the same causes. All the heroic potentates
of Europe, espectally the emperors of Garmany, the kings of En^and
wid France, with whole assemblies of their dargy, have always op-
posed and condemned this branch of your supremacy. And to this
purpose hundreds of their laws, decrees, edictcf, and declarations, are
at this day extant

4. Your pope's personal imfcMihiUty^ with the requisite qualifica-
tions, is another heretical ojunion that your church hath &llen by.
And herein you axe flwrox«r(£%/>/ro#,— " condemned of yourselves," —
and we need no ibrther witness agamst you; you have been often
taken iimvrof(ap^^^ in the very Sact," I know tb^re is an opinion
secretly advandng amongst some of you, whereby you woidd cast out
of the bounds of your defence this personal infallibility of your pope ;
but we have no more reason to esteem that opinion the doctrine of
your diiunoh than we have to condude that the Jesuits' new position,
asserting him in&llible in matt^ of &ct, is sa And though I know
not pei^fecUy what your opinion is in tins matter, yet I may take a
time to show how utterly unserviceable unto your purpose the new
way of the explication of infiallibility is. For it ha£h but these two
general inconveniences attending it^ — first. That it is not the opi*
nion of your dmrch; secondly. If that be the ordy in&llibility we axe
to rest on, the whole daim of your churdi, and its int^:est therein,
falls to the ground;— both whidi I hope to have an opportunity to
manifest. In the meantime, we take that for the doctrine of your
church which is dedared by itself so to be, which is explained and
defended by her most fEunOus championa And, indeed, you in your
^'Fiat'' assert, as I have showed, the pope personally to be an
unerring guide; whidi is that we inquire after. BeUarmine tells us
that all Catholics agree in these two tilings: — (1.) "Pontificem, cum
generali oondlio, non posse errare in condendis decretis fidei, vel
generalibus prseceptis morum;'' — ^'That the pope, with a general
council, cannot err in making decrees of fedtb, or general precepts
concerning manners.'' (2.) *' Pontificem solum, vel cum suo particulari
concilio, aliquid in re dubia statuentem, sive errare possit sive non,
esse ab omnibus fidelibus obedienter audiendmn;" — "All believers
must willingly obey the pope, cither alone or with his particular
council, determining in doubtful matters, whether be may err or na''



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S34 A VINDICAtlON OP THE ANMABVERSIONS ON FIAT LUX.

I confess, if tliis be so, and he must be obeyed, whether he do right
or wrong, whether he teacheth truly or falsely, it is to no great pur-
pose to talk of his inSedlibility ; for follow him we must whither ever
he leads us, though it should be to helL And the Catholic proposi-
tion that he asserts himself is, that, ^'Summus pontifez, cum totam
ecclesiam docet in his quae ad fidem pertinent, nuUo casu errare
potest;" — ^**The pope, when he teacheth the whole church, can in
no case err in those things which appertain unto faith,'' De Rom*
Pontif., lib. iv. cap. 2, 3. What a blind that is ''of teaching the
whole church,'' children can see. The pope can no way teach the
whole church but as he declares his opinion or judgment; which may
be divulged unto many, as that of another maa Let us see, then,
how well they have made good this their infallibility, and how well
their judgment hath been approved of by the church of old. I will
not here mind you of the decree fitthered on Clemens, wherein he
determines that ''all things among Christians ought to be common;
and among them, wives;" — ^because I know it ia falsely imposed on
him, though you may be jusUy charged with it, who are the authors
of those forgeries whereof that is a part Nor shall I rake the epistles
which you ascribe unto divers of the ancient bishops of Rome, that
are full of ignorance, errors, and pitiful nonsense, because they are,
questionless, pseudepigraphal, though you who own them may be
justly chained with their folliea Nor will I much insist on the tes-
timony of TertuUian in his book against Praxeas, that the bishop of
Rome owned the prophecies of Montanus, until Praxeas persuaded
him to the contrary; because, it may be, you will say that perhaps
Tertullian spake partially in favour of a sect whereunto he was him-
self addicted,— though, for aught I know, he is as sufficient a witness
in matter of fact as any one man upon the roll of antiquity. But
what say you to Marcellinus? Did he not sacrifice to idols f which, ac-
<3ording unto you, is "a mixed misdemeanour in faith and manners"
(Con. tom. L, Vita MarceL), and therefore certainly a shrewd im-
peachment of his infallibility; and was he not judged for it? What
think you of Libenus? did he not subscribe to Arianismf Sozo-
men tells you expressly that he did so, lib. iv. cap. 15; and so doth
Athanasius, Epist ad Solitaries, giving the reason why he did so, —
namely, out of fear; and so doth Jerome, both in Script Ecclesiast
Fortunat and in Euseb. Chron. Pope Honorius was solemnly con-
demned for a Monothelite heretic in the sixth general council, act
12, 13; which sentence was afterward ratified by your own darling,
the second of Nice, act 3, 7, and is mentioned in a decretal epistle
of Pope Leo II. So infallible was he during his life, so infallible
was he thought to be when he was dead, — ^whilst he lived he taught
heresy, and when he was dead he was condemned for a heretic; and
with him the principle which is the hinge of your present faith.



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APOSTASY OF THE ROMISH CHURCH. 23^

Neither did Vigiliiis behave himself one jot better in his chair. The
council of Pisa deposed Gregory XIL and Benedict XIII. for schis*-
mattes and heretics. The councdl of Constance accused John XXIIL
of abominable heresy, sess. 11. And that of Basil condemned Euge-
nius as one ''a fide devium et pertinacem hsereticum/' ses& 34; —
" an erroneous person and obstinate heretia"" Other instances of the
like nature might be called over, manifesting that your popes have
erred, and been condemned as persons erroneous; and therein the
principle of their infallibility.

I would be unwilling to tire your patience, yet, upon your reiter-
ated desire, I shall present you with one instance more; and I will
do it but briefly, because I must deal with you again about the same
matter.

5. Your church is fisJlen by idolatry^ as otherwise, so in that reli-
^ous veneration of images which she useth; whereunto you have
added heresy, in teaching it for a doctrine of truth, and imposing the
belief of it by your Tridentine determination on the consciences of
the disciples of Clurist I know you would £Edn mince the matter,
and spread over the corrupt doctrine of your church about it with
pnfMiei putfdfoif, " silken words," as you do the posts that they are
made of with gold, when, as the prophet speaks of your predecessors
in that work, you lavish it out of the bag for that purpose. But to
what purpose? Your first council, the second of Nice (which yet
was not wholly yours neither, for it condemns Honorius, calls Tha-
rasius the oecwmenicai patriarch, and he expounds in it the rock on
which the church was built to be Christ, and not Peter) ; your last
council, that of Trent; your angelical doctor, Thomas of Aquine; your
great champions, Bellarmine and Baronius, Suarez, Yasquez, and the
rest of them; with the Catholic practice and usage of your church in
all places, — declare suflSciently what is your faith, or rather misbelief,
in this matter. Hence Azorius, Institut lib. ix. cap. 6, tells us that
"Constans est theologonim sententia, imaginem eodem honore et
cultu coli, quo colitiur id cujus est imago;" — " It is the constant
judgment of divines, that the image is to be worshipped with the
same honour and worship wherewith that is worshipped whose image
it is." The Nicene coimcil, by the instigation of Pope Adrian, ana^
thematizeth every one who doth but doubt of the adoration of images,
act 7. Thomas contcndeth that the cross is to be worshipped with
" latria," p. 3, q. 25, a, 4; which is a word that he and you suppose
to express religious worship of the highest sort And your council
of Trent, in their decree about this matter, confirmed the doctrine of
that lestHcal^ convention at Nice, whose frauds and impostures were

» An einthet, Xn^ftniu plundering op piratical, — applied to characterize a ootmcil
whose acts, accordine to Gibbon, are *< a curious monument of superstition and ignor-
ance, of falsehood and foUj."— Decline and Fall of the Homan Empirei chap, xlix.— £a



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236 A VINDICJOTOIf OF THB AKnUPVERaiOlTS OiT FIAT LUX.

never paralleled in tiia world but by it(iel£ And do you think thut
a few ambigtiaus jSourishing words of you, an unknown pewon, shall
ntake the world believe that they nndentaod not the doctrine and
practice of your churdi, which is proclaimed unto them by the Others
a^nd masters of your pensuafiion herdb, and expressed in pnictices
mxd&c their eyes every day! Do you think it 8o easy kac you, " Cor-
nicum oculos^ con%ere/' aa Cioera tells us an attorney, one Cn, Flah
vius, thought to do, in goijag beyond all thtyt the great lawyers had
done before him, Orat pro Mursana, 11. We cannot yet be persuaded
that you are so great an interpreter of the Roman oracles as to be-
lieve you before all the sages before mentioned, to whom hundreds
may be added. And what do you think of this doctrine and prac-
tice of your church? Hath it been opposed, judged, and condemned,
or no? The first writers of CSuristianity, Justin Martyr, Iienaeus,
Qrigen, TertuUian, Amobius, Lactantius, utterly abhorred the use of
all images, at least ^'in saoris.'' The council held at Eliberk in
Gpoin^ twelve or thirteen years before the famous assembly at Nice,
positively forbid all use of pictures in churches: Can. 36, '^ Placuit,
picturas in ecdesia esse non debere; ne quod colitur et adc»atur in
paxietibus depingafcur;" — *' The council resolved that pictures ought
not to be in churches; that that which is worshipped and adored be
not painted on walls." Cyprism condemns it, Epist ad Demetriad.
And so, generally, do all the lathers, as may be gathered in the piti-
ful endeavours and forgeries of the second Nicene coundl, endear
vouring to confirm it from them. Hpiphanius reckons it among the ,
enx)r9 of the Gnostics; and himself brake an image that he found
hanging in a church, Epist ad Johan. HierosoL Austin was of the
same judgment, see Lib. de Morib. Eodes. CathoL cap. xxxiv. Your
adoration of them is expressly condemned by Gregory the Great, in
an^istletoSerinus, lib. vii epist 111, and lib. ix. epist 9. The Greek
church condemned it, in a synod at Constantinople, anno 754. And
one learned man in those days undertaking its de£^ce (and, indeed,
the only man of learning that ever did so until of late), they eaxxym-
mumcated and cursed him. This was Damascenus ; concerning whom
they used those expressions, repeated in the second Nicene council:

<foypd^(f) Ma¥Wvp cb'd^f^a* rf r«D Xpt^rov bCpi^rfl xa) mMXt/f r^; jSatf'i-
\$iag M.av(fo^f amhfMi' rp r^g d^iQuag dida(rxdX<ft %ai ^aptpfi^vsvrfi rijg
^iiag ypapH; Mavtfoup dvdlltfAa' — " Unto Mansour,^ of an evil name, and
in judgment consenting with Saracens, anathema; to Mansour, a wor-

* Johannes Damasoenns flourished during the first half of the eighth oentuiy, and
died at the monastery <^ St Saha in a.i>. 756. He wrote extensively on philosophical
and religious questions, and his works, exclusive of manuscripts still extant, fill two folio
Tolomes. On account of his oratorical powers, he was named Chiysorriioas ; but, according
to Bayle, he called himself Mansour, **the redeemed," while his opponents termed him
Mansei^ "« the ba«tard." - ^£D.



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ALLEGED UNITY OF THE CHUBCff 09^ ROMS. 23T

flliipper of images and writer of falsehood, anathema; to ICansour^
eontnmeUons against Christ axid traitor to the empire, anathema; to
Hansonr, a teacher 'of impiety and perverse inter[»reter of Scripture^
anathema,'' Synod. Nic. ii Act. 6. For that it was Johannes Damas^
eoanQB that they intended, the Nicene fathers sofficientiy manifest in
tiie amwer following, read by Epiphanhis the deacon. And this reward
did he meet withal, &om the seventh comicil at Constantinople, for
his pains in asserting the veneration of images; although he did not,
in that particular, pervert the Scripture as some of you do, but laid
the whole weight of his opinion on tradition; wherein he is followed
by Yasques among yo«r8eIve& Moreover, the western chnrdies, in
a great council at Frankfort in Germany, utterly condemned the
Nioene determination, which in your Trideirline convention you ap*
prove and ratify, anno 794. It was also condemned here by the
church of i^ngland, and the doctrine of it fuQy confuted by Albinus,
Hoveden AnnaL anno 791. Never was any heresy more publidy and
solemnly condemned than this, whereby joni church is fallen fixmi
its pristine purity. But hereof more afterward.

It were no cUffieult matter to proceed unto aU the chief ways
whereby yomr churdi is faUen, and to manifest that they have been
all publidy disclaimed and condenmed by the be^r and sounder
part of professors; but the instances insisted on may, I hope, prove
sufficient for your satisfaction. 1 shall therefore proceed to consider
what you offer unto the remaining prindples whidi I conceived to
animate the whole discourse of your ** Hat Lux.^



CHAPTER V.

Other pnncq^ of "Fiat hva^ re-eKanined— Things not at quiet in religion,
before reformation of the first refomers-^Deporture from Borne no cause of
divisions^-Retumal onto Rome no means of union.

You proceed unto the fourth assertion gathered out of your ** Fiat,**
which you tims lay down: ** * It is,' say yon, ' frequently pleaded by
our author that all things, as to religion, were ever qtdet and in peace
before the Protestants' reUnqtnshment et the Boman see.' That
* ever' is your own addition, but let it pass; what say you hereunto?
This principle yo« pretend is drawn out of ' Rat Lux,' not because
it is tiiere, bnrt only to open a door to yourself to expatiate into some
wide general discourse about the many wars^ distractions, altercations,
that have been albretime up and down in the world, in some several
' ages of Christianity. And you therefore say, it is frequently pleaded
\^ me, because indeed 1 neveo: tipeke one word of it, and it is in truth
a fiilse and fcnd assertion; though neither yoa nor I can deny thai



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?38 A VINDICATION OF THE ANMADVIBSIONS ON FIAT LXTX.

such as keep unity of fedth with the church can never, so long as
they hold it, fall out upon that account.*' Sir, I take you to be the
author of " Fiat Lux;'' and if you are so, I cannot but think you
were asleep when you talked at this rate. " The assertion is felse
and fond ; you speak not one word of it ! " Fray, sir, take a little ad-
vice of your son, " Fiat," not to talk on this manner; and you will
wonder yourself how you came to swallow so much confidence as in
the face of the world to vent such things as these. He tells us firom
you, pp. 234^-236, chap, iv., second edition, that "After the conversion
of this land by the children of blessed St Bene't, notwithstanding
the interposition of the Norman conquest, that all men lived peace-
ably together, without any the least distiu*bance upon the account
of religion, until the end of King Henry VIIL's reign, about five
hundred years after the conquest" See also what in general you
discourse of all places to this purpose, pp. 221, 222. And, p. 227,
you do in express terms lay down the position which here you so
exclaim against as " &lse and fond;" but you may make as bold with
it as you please, for it is your own. " Never had this land," say you,
" for so many hundred years as it was Catholic, upon the account of
religion any distiurbance at all; whereas, after the exile of the Ca-
tholic belief in our' land, fix)m the period of King Henry VIIL's
reign to these days, we have been in actual disquiet, or at least in
feara" " Estne hsec tunica filii tui?" Are not these your words?
Doth not your son " Fiat" wear tliis livery? And do you not speak
to this purpose in twenty other places? Is it not one of the main
suppositions you proceed upon in your whole discourse? You do
well now, indeed, to acknowledge that what you spake was " fond and
false," and you might do as much for the most that you have written
in that whole discourse; but now openly to deny what you have as-
serted, and that in so many places, that is not so well done of yoiL
There are, sir, many ways to firee yourself firom that damage you feel
or fear firom the " Animadversions." When any thing is charged on
you or proved against you which you are not able to defend, you
may ingenuously acknowledge your mistake, and that without any
dishonour to you at all: good men have done so; so may you or I
when we have just occasion. It is none of your tenets that you aro
all of you infallible, or that yoiu: personal mistakes or miscarriages
will prejudice your cause. Or you might pass it by in silence, as
you have done with the things of the most importance in the " Ani-
madversions;" and so keep up your reputation that you could reply
to them if you would, or were firee from flies. And we know UoXk(,Tg
&^6%pi<fii fi <r/ftKr^ rMyyo,m^ as Menander speaks ; — " Silence is with many
the best answer." Or you might attempt to disprove or answer, as
the case requires. But this that you have fixed upon, of denying
your own words, is the very worst course that you could have chosen^.



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ALLEGED UNITT OF THE CHUBCH OP ROME. 239

upon the account either of conscience or reputation. However, thus
much we have obtained, — one of the chief pretences of your " Fiat"
is, by your own confession, '^ false and fond.'' It is indeed no wonder
that it should be so; it was fully proved to be so in the " Animad^
versions: but that you should acknowledge it to be so is somewhat
strange; and it would have been very welcome news had you plainly
owned your conviction of it, and not renounced your own offspring.
But I see you have a mind to the benefit you aimed at by it, though
you are ashamed of the way you used for the obtaining of it; and
therefore add, " That neither you nor I can deny that such as keep
the unity of faith with that diurch can never, so long as they hold
it, &11 out on that account.'' But this, on the first consideration,
seems to me no very singular privilege; methinks a Turk, a Jew, an
Arian, may say the same of their societies: it being no more but
this, — " So long as you agree with us, you shall be sure to agree with
us!" They must be very unfriendly minded towards you that will
call these xvpiag U^a^ into question. Yet there remains still one
scruple on my mind in reference unto what you assert I am not
satined that there is in your church any such waity of faith as can
keep men firom falling out or differing in and about the doctrines
and opinions they profess. If there be, the children of your church
are marvellous morose, that they have not all this while learned to
be quiet, but are at this very day writing volumes against one an-
other,^ and procuring the books of one another to be prohibited and
condemned; which the writings of one of the most learned of you in
this nation have lately not escaped. I know you will say sometimes,
that though you differ ^ yet you differ not in things belonging unto
the unity of faith. But I fear this is but a blind, an apron of fig-
leaves. What you cannot agree in, be it of never so great import-
ance, you will agree to say that it belongs not unto the unity of
fiEuth; when things no way to be compared in weight and use with
them, so you agree about them, shall be asserted so to do. And in
what you differ, whilst the scales of interest on the part of the com-
batants hang even, all your differences are but in school and disput-
able points; — ^but if one party prevail in interest and reputation, and
render their antagonists inconsiderable as to any outward trouble,
those very points that before were disputable shall be made necessary,
and to belong to the unity of fiEuth; as it lately happened in the case
of the Jansenist& And here you are safe again: the unity of the
faith is that which you agree in; and that which you cannot agree
about belongs not unto it, as you tell us, though you talk at another
rate among yoiuselvea But we must think that the unity of faith

' The aQusion must be to the disputes at this time preYuling between the Jansenists
and Jesuits. — ^Ed.



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i40 A VINDICATION Of THE AKIMADr?BHSI0N9 OK FIAT LUX.

Is bounded by the oonfinee of yoor wnuciglemeDts, and your agree-*
ment is the rule of ii This, it may be, you think suits your turn:
but whether it be so well suited imto the interest of the gospel and
of troth, yott must give men leave to inquire, or they will do it " in-
gratiis,'* whether you will or no. But if by the unity of faith you
intend the substantial docftrines of the gospel proposed in the Soip-
ture to be bdieved on neoesmty unto aalvation, it is unquestionably
among all the churches in the world, and might possibly be brought
Icyrth into some tolerable eommxmion in profession and practice, did
not your schismatical interest and principles interpose themselves to
the Gontraiy.

The fiflh supposition in your " Piat," observed in the * Animadver-
mons,'' is, ^' Thatt the first reformers were most of them contemptible
persons, fh^ means indirect, and their ends sinister;'' to whi(^ you
reply, " Where is it, &■, where is it, that I meddle with any men's
persons, or say they are contemptible? What and how many are
those persons? and where did l^ey live ? But this you add of your
own is in a vast universe notion, to the end you may bring in the
apostles and prophets, and some kings, into the list of persons by me
sumamed ' contemptible,' and liken my speech, who never spake any
such thing, to the sarcasms of Celsus, Lucian, Porphyry, Julian, and
other Pagans." So you begin; but " ne saevi, magne Sacerdos!"
Have a little ptttienee, «nd I will direct you to the places where you
display in many words that which in a few I represaited. They are
in your " Fiat," chap, iv., sect 18, second edition, from p. 239, unto
sect 20, p. 251. Had you lost your " Fiat," that you n»ke such an
outcry after that which in a moment he eoCild have suiq[>lied you
withal? ** Calvin, and a tailor s widow,-— Luther and Catharine Bc^,
— ^pleased with a naked unicom,^*-swanDS of reformers as thick as
gmssbopper^-^fallen priests and votaries, — ambitious heads, emulat-
ing one anotJier, — ^if not the worst, yet none of the best that ever
were, — so eagerly quarrelling aimang themselves, that a sober man
would not have patience to hear their sermons or read theb: books;"
with much m;ore to the same purpose, you will find in the places
which I have now directed you unta But I see you love to say
what you please, but not to hear of it i^ain. But he that can, in no
more words, mom truly express the fuU jmd genuine sense of your
18th and 19tb chapters than I have dcme, in the assertion you so
cry out BgsoMt, shall have my thanks for his pains; only, I must
mind you that you have perverted it, in placing the last words a&
if they referred unto the refcmners you talk of, that they did their
work for '^siBister ends," when I only said that ^ their doctrine, ac-
cording to your insinuations, was received for sinister ends;" wherein
I comprised your foul reflections upon King Henry VIII., and



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ALLEGED UNITY OP THE CHURCH OF ROME. 241

Qu,een Elizabeth his daughter, — not placing them, as you now feign,
among the number of them whom I affirmed to be reported by you
as a company of contemptible persons. But now, upon a confidence
that you have shifted your hands of a necessity to reinforce this as-
sertion, which you find, it may be, in yourself an incompetency for,
you reflect back upon some former passages in the " Anunadversions,''
wherein the general objections that you lay against Protestancy are
observed to be the same for substance that long ago were by Celsus
objected unto Christianity, and say, " So likewise, in the very begin-



Online LibraryAndrew Thomson John OwenThe works of John Owen, Volume 14 → online text (page 29 of 67)