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gratularentur, solum successoris Petri qui hoc dedit, legatum, qui propterea missus est ut te in solio regni divina summi omnium regis quam affert pace et gratia, confirmet, non admitti? An si quidquam hie ad timorem proponitur, quominus eum admittis non multo magis Christi hac in re metuenda esset offensio, quod ejus legatus qui omnium primus audiri debuit, tamdiu fores expectet, cum csteri homines qui multo post venerunt, nulla interposita mora, introducti auditique sint & honorifice dimissi. At hie conqueri incipio; con. queror quidem, sed idcirco conqueror, ne justam tuae majestati causam de me conquerendi praebeam, quam sane praeberem, si cum periculi, quod ex hac cunctatione admittendi legati a Christo vicario missi, nobis vestroque regno impendet, reginam saepe admonuerim, nihil de ea re ad majestatem tuam scriberem; quod officium cum tibi a me pro eo quo fungor munere maxime debeatur, id me satis persoluturum esse arbitror, si his literis ostendero quantum periculi ei immineat, cui illud vere dici potest, ' distulisti Christum tuum.' Is a litem Christum differt, qui legatum missum ab ejus vicario, ad requirendam obedientiam ecclesiae, ipsi Christo debitam, ex quo nostra omnium pendet salus, non statim admittit. Differs vera, tu princeps, si cum accersitus fueris ut pro munere regio viam ad hanc diviuam obedientiam in tuo isto regno restituendam munias, ipse alia agas.
COPIES OF TWO PAPERS
THE LATE KING CHARLES THE SECOND,
OF BLESSED MEMORY.
The First Paper',
Jl HE discourse we had the other day, I hope, satisfied you in the main, that Christ can have but one church here upon earth ; and I believe that it is as visible, as that the Scripture is in print, that none can be that church but that which is called the Roman catholick church. I think you need not trouble yourself with entering into that ocean of particular disputes, when the main, and, in truth, the only question is, where that church is, which we profess to believe, in the two creeds? We declare there to believe one catholick and apnstolick church; and it is not left to every fantastical man's head to believe as he pleases, but to the church, to whom Christ left the power upon earth, to govern us in matters of faith, who made these creeds for our directions. It were a very irrational thing to make laws for a country, and leave it to the inhabitants to be the interpreters and judges of those laws; for then every man will be his own judge, and, by consequence, no such thing as either right or wrong. Can we therefore suppose, that God Almighty would leave us at those uncertainties, as to give us a rule to go by, and leave every man to be his own judge? I do ask any ingenuous man, whether it be not the same thing to follow our own fancy, or to interpret the Scripture by it? I would have any man shew me, where the power of deciding matters of faith is given to every particular man. Christ left his power to his church, even to forgive sins in heaven; and left his Spirit with them, which they exercised after his resurrection; first, by his apostles in these creeds, and many years after by the council at Nice, where that creed was made, that is called by that name; and, by the power, which they had received from Christ, they were the judges even of the Scripture itself, many years after the apostles, which books were canonical, and which were not. And, if they had this power then, I desire to know how they came to lose it, and by what authority men separate themselves from that church. The only pretence I ever heard of, was, because the church has failed, in wresting and interpreting the Scripture contrary to the true sense and meaning of it; and that they have imposed articles of faith upon us, which are not to be warranted by God's word. I do desire to know who is to be judge of that: whether the whole church, the succession whereof has continued to this day without interruption; or particular men, who have raised schisms for their own advantage.
This is a true copy of a letter, I found in the king my brother's strong-box, written in his own hand. James R.
The Second Paper. IT is a sad thing to consider what a world of heresies are crept into this nation; every man thinks himself as competent a judge of the Scriptures, as the very apostles themselves; and it is no wonder that it should be so, since that part of the nation which looks most like a church, dares not bring the true arguments against the other sects, for fear they should be turned against themselves, and confuted by their own arguments. The church of England, as it is called, would fain have it thought, that they are the judges in matters spiritual, and yet dare not say positively, that there is no appeal from them; for either they must say, that they are infallible (which they cannot pretend to), or confess, that what they decide, in matterss of conscience, is no further to be followed, than it agrees with every man's private judgment. If Christ did leave a church here upon earth, and we were all once of that church, how, and by what authority, did we separate from that church? If the power of interpreting of Scripture be in every man's brain, what need have we of a church or church-men? To what purpose, then, did our Saviour, after he had given his apostles power to bind and loose in heaven and earth, add to it, that he would be with them, even unto the end of the world? These words were not spoken parabolically, or byway of figure j Christ was then ascending into his glory, and left his power with hia church, even unto the end of the world. We have had, these hundred years past, the sad effects of denying to the church that power, in matters spiritual, without an appeal. What country can subsist in peace or quiet, where there is not a supreme judge, from whence there can be no appeal? Can there be any justice done, where the offendersare their own judges, and equal interpreters of the law with those that are appointed to administer justice? This is our case here in England, in matters spiritual; for the protestants are not of the church of England, as it is the true church, from whence there can be no appeal; but because the discipline of that church is conform. able at that present to their fancies, which, as soon as it shall contra. diet, or vary from, they are ready to embrace, or join with the next congregation of people, whose discipline and worship agrees with their opinion at that time; so that, according to this doctrine, there is no other church, nor interpreter of Scripture, but that which lies in every man's giddy brain. I desire to know, therefore, of every serious considerer of these things, whether the great work of our salvation ought to depend upon such a sandy foundation as this? Did Christ ever say to the civil magistrate (much less to the people) that he would be with them to the end of the world? or, Did he give them the power to forgive sins? St. Paul tells the Corinthians,
* Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building; we are labourers
*with God.' This shews who are the labourers, and who are the husbandry and building: and in this whole chapter, and in the pre. ceding one, St. Paul takes great pains to set forth, that they, the clergy, have the spirit of God, without which no man searcheth the deep things of God; and he concludeth the chapter with this verse:
*For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct
*him? but we have the mind of Christ.' Now, if we do but con. aider, in human probability and reason, the powers Christ leaves to his church in the Gospel, and St. Paul explains so distinctly after. wards, we cannot think that our Saviour said all these things to no purpose; and, pray, consider, on the other side, that those, who resist the truth, and will not submit to this church, draw their argu. merits from implications and far-fetched interpretations, at the same time that they deny plain and positive words; which is so great a disingenuity, that it is not almost to be thought that they can believe themselves. Is there any other foundation of the protestant church, but that, if the civil magistrate please, he may call such of the clergy as he thinks fit for his turn at that time, and turn the church either to presbytery, independency, or, indeed, what he pleases? This was the way of our pretended Reformation here in England; and, by the same rule and authority, it may be altered into as many more shapes and forms, as there are fancies in men's heads.
This is a true copy of a paper, written by the late king my brother, in hit oten hand, ishich J found in his closet.
A COPY OF A PAPER,
THE LATE DUCHESS OF YORK.
Folio, containing two pages.
XT is so reasonable to expect, that a person always bred up in the church of England, and as well instructed in the doctrine of it, as the best divines and her capacity could make her, should be liable to many censures, for leaving that, and making herself a member of the Roman Catholick Church, to which, I confess, I was one of the greatest enemies it ever had; that I chose rather to endeavour to satisfy my friends by reading this paper, than to have the trouble to answer all the questions that may daily be asked me. And first, I do protest, in the presence of Almighty God, that no person, man, or woman, directly,nor indirectly, ever said any thing to me, since I came into England, or used the least endeavour to make me change my religion: it is a blessing I wholly owe to Almighty God, and I hope the hearing of a prayer I daily made him, ever since I was in France and Flanders; where, seeing much of the devotion of the ca. tholicks, though I had very little myself, I made it my continual request to Almighty God, that, if I were not, I might, before I died, be in the true religion. I did not in the least doubt but that I was so, and never had any manner of scruple till November last; when, reading a book, called, 'The History of the Reformation,' by Dr. Hey I'm, which I had heard very much commended, and had been told, if ever I had any doubt in my religion, that would settle me; instead of which, I found it the description of the horridest sa. crlleges in the world; and could find no reason why we left the church, but for three the most abominable ones that were ever heard of among Christians: first, Henry the Eighth renounces the pope's authority, because he would not give him leave to part with his wife, and marry another, in her life-time; secondly, Edward the Sixth was a child, and governed by his uncle, who made his estate out of church lands.
And then Queen Elisabeth, who, being no lawful heiress to the Crown, could have no way to keep it, but by renouncing a church that could never suffer so unlawful a thing to be done by one of her children. I confess, I cannot think the Holy Ghost could ever be in such councils; and it is very strange, that, if the bishops had no design, but, as they say, the restoring us to the doctrine of the primitive church, they should never think upon it, till Henry the Eighth madeu breach upon so unlawful a pretence. These scruples being raised, I began to consider of the difference between the catholicks and us; and examined them, as well as I could, by the holy Scripture, which though I do not pretend to be able to understand, yet, there are some things I found so easy, that I cannot but wonder I had been so long without finding them out; as the real pre. sence in the blessed sacrament, the infallibility of the church, confession, and praying for the dead. After this, I spoke severally to two of the best * bishops we have in England, who both told me there were many things in the Roman church, which, it were, very much to be wished we had kept; as confession, which was, no doubt, commanded by God: that praying for the dead was one of the ancient things in Christianity: that, for their parts, they did it daily, though they would not own it; and, afterwards, pressing one of them + very much upon the other points, he told me, that if he had been bred a catholick, he would not change his religion; but, that being of another church, wherein, he was sure, were all things necessary to salvation, he thought it very ill to give that scandal, as to leave that church wherein he had received his baptism.
All these discourses did but add more to the desire I had, to be a catholick, and gave me the most terrible agonies in the world, within myself. For all this, fearing to be rash in a matter of that weight, I did all I could to satisfy myself; made it my daily prayer to God, to settle me in the right, and so went on Christmas-day to receive in the King's chapel; after which I was more troubled than ever, and could never be in quiet, till I had told my desire to a catholick, who brought a priest to me, and that was the first I ever did converse with, upon my word. The more I spoke to him, the more I was confirmed in my design; and, as it is impossible for me to doubt of the words of our blessed Saviour, who says, The holy sacrament is his body and blood; so I cannot believe, that he who is the author of all truth, and who has promised to be with his church to the end of the world, would permit them to give that holy mystery to the laity but in one kind, if it were not lawful so to do.
I am not able, or, if I were, would I enter into disputes with any body; I only, in short, say this, for the changing of my religion, which I take God to witness, I would never have done, if I had thought it possible to save my soul otherwise. I think I need not say, it is any interest in this world leads me to it: it will be plain enough to every body, that I must lose all the friends and credit I have here, by it; and have very well weighed, which I could best part with, my share in this world or the next: I thank God I found no difficulty in the choice.
My only prayer is, that the poor catholicks of this nation may not suffer for my being of their religion; that God would but give me patience to bear them, and then, send me any afflictions in this world, so f may enjoy a blessed eternity hereafter. St. James's, Aug. 20, 1670.
• Dr. Sheldon, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Dr. Blandford, Biihop of Worceiter.
♦ Or. Blandford, Bishop of Worcester.