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SERIOUS

DISSUASION FROM POPERY.

BY JOSEPH HALL.

To W. D. REVOLTED, &c.

You challenged me, for my bold assertion of your manifold divisions : I do here make it good, with usury.

Those mouths, that say they teach you the truth, say also, and you have believed them, that they all teach the same. As you find them true in this, so trust them in the other.

For me, I cannot, without indignation, see, that, in this light of the Gospel, God and his truth should thus be losers by you; and that a miserable soul should suffer itself, to be thus grossly cozened of itself and glory. Many can write to you with more profoundness; none, with more sincere fervency, and desire to save you.

I call heaven and earth to record against you this day, that, if you relent or answer not, your perishing is wilful. We may pity your weakness, but God shall plague your Apostasy. If you had been bred in blindness, your ignorance had been but lamentable; now, your choice and love of darkness is fearful and desperate.

Alas! you cannot be condemned, without our sorrow and shame. What should we do? We can but entreat, persuade, protest, mourn, and gage our souls for yours: if these avail not, who can remedy that, which will perish Hear this yet, you weak Revolter, if there be any care left in you of that soul, which you have thus prostituted to error; if you have any regard to that God, whose simple truth

you have contemned and forsaken. What is this, that hath driven you from us, allured you to them ?. For God's sake, let me but expostulate a little, ere my silence. Either be convicted, or inexcusable.

1. OUR BAD LIVEs have set you off :

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Woe is me, that they are no holier! I bewail our wickedness: I defend it not.

Only ask how they live in Italy: if they be not, for the more part, filths to the worst of ours, go with them and prosper. Let all indifferent tongues say, whether that very See, whereon your faith depends, even within the smoke of his Holiness, be not, for viciousness, the sink of the world. We may condemn ourselves : their lives shall justify us. But

you list not to look so far: you see their lives at home; you see ours :—The comparison is not equal: they take this, for the time of their persecution ; we, of our prosperity. The stubbornest Israelite and the most godless mariner could call upon God, in his trouble. We are all worse with liberty. Look back, and see how they lived, in former times, while they prospered : “ No Turks," saith Erasmus, “ more abominably;" though now, at the worst, how many holy professors might you find, which would scorn that the most strict Hermit or austere Cappucin, should go before them in a gracious life, and in true mortification ! Even amongst twelve, there will be one devil. I wish they were so good, that we might emulate them: but, for my part, I never yet could know that Papist, which made conscience of all God's ten moral laws.

Shortly, whatsoever is upbraided to us; the truth is pure, though men be unholy; and God is where he was, whatsoever becomes of men.

if

you had not fallen to cool affections and a loose life, you had been still ours. It is just with God, to punish your secure negligence with error and delusion; and to suffer you thus to lose the truth, who had lost your care of obedience and first love. And

you do well to shift off this blame to others' sins, which have most cause to accuse your own.

2. From Manners to look towards our Doctrine: THE NOVELTY OF OUR RELIGION, you say, hath discouraged you: theirs hath drawn you with the reverence of her age :

It is a free challenge betwixt us : let the elder have us both. If
there be any point of our religion younger than the Patriarchs and
Prophets, Christ and his Apostles, the Fathers and Doctors of the
Primitive Church, let it be accursed, and condemned for an up-
start.
Shew us evidence of more credit and

age,
and
carry

it.
The Church of Rome hath been ancient; not the errors: nei-
ther do we in ought differ from it, wherein it is not departed from
itself.

If I did not more fear your weariness, than my own; forgetting the measure of a Preface, I would pass through every point of difference betwixt us; and let you see in all particulars, which is the old way: and make you know, that your Popish Religion doth put on a borrowed yisor of gravity upon this stage, to out-face true antiquity : yet, lest you should complain of words, let me, without your tediousness, have leave but to instance in the first of all controversies betwixt us ; offering the same proof in all, which you shall see performed in one. I compare the judgment of the ancient

For you,

now

Church with yours: see, therefore, and be ashamed of your novelty.

(1.) First, our question is, Whether all those books, which in our bibles are styled Apocryphal, and are put after the rest by themselves *, are to be received as the true Scriptures of God :

Hear, first, the voice of the Old Church.

To let pass that clear and pregnant testimony of Melito Sardensis, in his Epistle to Onesimus, cited by Eusebius t; let Cyprian, or Ruffinus rather I, speak in the name of all

. " Of the Old Testament," saith he, “ first were written the five books of Moses ; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy: after these, the book of Joshua, the son of Nun; and that of the Judges, together with Ruth: after which, were the four books of the Kings, which the Hebrews reckon but two; of the Chronicles, which is called the Book of Days; and of Ezra are two books, which of them are accounted but single ; and the book of Esther ; of the Prophets, there is Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel ; and, besides, one book, which contains the Twelve Smaller Prophets : also Job, and the Psalms of David, are single books : of Solomon, there are three books delivered to the Church; the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs. In these, they have shut up the number of the books of the Old Testament. Of the New, there are Four Gospels, of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John ; the Acts of the Apostles, written by Luke: of Paul, the Apostle, fourteen Epistles; of the Apostle Peter, two Epistles; of James, the Lord's Brother and Apostle, one;

of Jude, one; of John, three : lastly, the Revelation of John. These are they, which the Fathers have accounted within the Canon, by which they would have the assertions of our faith made good. But we must know there are other books, which are called of the Ancients, not Canonical, but Ecclesiastical ; as the Wisdom of Solomon: and another book of Wisdom, which is called “ of Jesus, the son of Sirach;" which book, of the Latins is termed by a general name Ecclesiasticus : of the same rank is the book of Toby and Judith, and the books of the Maccabees.” Thus far that Father. So Jerome, after that he hath reckoned up the same number of books with us in their order, hath these words : “ This Prologue of mine," saith be 1, "may serve as a well defenced entrance to all the books, which I have turned out of Hebrew into Latin; that we may know, that whatsoever is besides these, is Apocryphal : therefore, that book, which is entitled Solomon's Wisdom, and the book of Jesus the Son of

* Especially, Toby, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Maccabees. Euseb. I. iv. c. 25. # Exposit

. Symboli Veteris Instrumenti

. Primi ominium Mosis quinque libri, &c....Hæc sunt, quce Patres intra Canonem concluserunt, ex quibus fidei nostric assertiones, &c. Alii libri sunt, qui non Ca. nonici, &c.

In Prologo Galeato. Tom. 3. p. 6. Hic Prologus Scripluram quasi galeatum principium omnibus libris, quos de Hebreo, &c. Ut scire valeanus, quicquid extra hos est, inter Apocrypha esse ponendum igitur Sapientia, quæ vulgò Salomonis inscribitur, et Jesu, &c. non sunt in Cunone, &c.

Woe is me, that they are no holier! I bewail our wickedness: I defend it not.

Only ask how they live in Italy: if they be not, for the more part, filths to the worst of ours, go with them and prosper.

Let all indifferent tongues say, whether that very See, whereon your faith depends, even within the smoke of his Holiness, be not, for viciousness, the sink of the world. We may condemn ourselves : their lives shall justify us. But

you list not to look so far: you see their lives at home; you see ours :-- The comparison is not equal: they take this, for the time of their persecution ; we, of our prosperity. The stubbornest Israelite and the most godless mariner could call upon God, in his trouble. We are all worse with liberty. Look back, and see how they lived, in former times, while they prospered : “ No Turks,' saith Erasmus, “ more abominably;" though now, at the worst, how many holy professors might you find, which would scorn that the most strict Hermit or austere Cappucin, should go before them in a gracious life, and in true mortification ! Even amongst twelve, there will be one devil. I wish they were so good, that we might emulate them: but, for my part, I never yet could know that Papist, which made conscience of all God's ten moral laws.

Shortly, whatsoever is upbraided to us; the truth is pure, though men be unholy; and God is where he was, whatsoever becomes of men. For you,

if you had not fallen to cool affections and a loose life, you had been still ours. It is just with God, to punish your secure negligence with error and delusion; and to suffer you thus to lose the truth, who had lost your care of obedience and first love. And now you do well to shift off this blame to others' sins, which have most cause to accuse your own.

2. From Manners to look towards our Doctrine: THE NOVELTY OF OUR RELIGION, you say, hath discouraged you: theirs hath drawn you with the reverence of her

age It is a free challenge betwixt us: let the elder have us both. If there be any point of our religion younger than the Patriarchs and Prophets, Christ and his Apostles, the Fathers and Doctors of the Primitive Church, let it be accursed, and condemned for an upstart. Shew us evidence of more credit and

age, and The Church of Rome hath been ancient; not the errors: neither do we in ought differ from it, wherein it is not departed from itself.

If I did not more fear your weariness, than my own; forgetting the measure of a Preface, I would pass through every point of difference betwixt us; and let you see in all particulars, which is the old way: and make you know, that your Popish Religion doth put on a borrowed visor of gravity upon this stage, to out-face true antiquity : yet, lest you should complain of words, let me, without your tediousness, have leave but to instance in the first of all controversies betwixt us ; offering the same proof in all, which you shall see performed in one. I compare the judgment of the ancient

1

carry it.

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