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There is the Great Body of the Church, there are but few at a time upon Earth, and of them we know not which belong to that truely Catholick Church or not. And who do not, cannot be truly Catholicks, though they bear that Name with us.' And of them so Called, you your selves will not say that there is Perfect Unity among them, in all the Necessary and most Essential Parts of it before Mentioned.
Bur if that Article in the Creed had been meaor in your Sense, it must have been the Holy Roman Catholick Church, and not left us to seek where to find this Church, the Irfalli ble Guide. And you yourselves have not found it, while you are in quite Contrary Opinions where to find it. But by leaving it in the General and Indefinitely under the Name of the Catholick Church only, it is rather Exclusive of any Parricular Church, and Extends to all Christian Churches, which make up the Catholick Church upon Earth, in such an Unity as our Fallen State will bear, where Human Pala fions are not Subdued, but mix themselves in our Religious as well as Temporal Concerns.
he Onity of the Church you cannot mean a Perfect Unity; no not even with your Head, and in Doctrines which are Indispensible towards your Eternal Salvation, as in the Deposing Doctrine, upon which the Apostle has Pronounced Damnation; and which, if not True, Cardinal Perron, as before Quoted, gives up the Church of Rome, for many Ages
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paft, for the very Synagogue of Antichrift. See also the Morals of the Jesuits, which though Condemned by some, are Defended by others. This is not Perfect Vnity, even in Necessaries; and the Bulla in Cæna breaks it to pieces, where wholeChurches and Nations are Excommunicated of those you say are in the Unity of the Church, and in his Communion who has Excommunicated them !... : '
But if we will be Content with no Unity in the Church but what is Perfect in all things, the Consequence must be, that we have no v. nity at all. As our Prétence to Infallibility is the greatest Instance of our Fallibility. And if we will have no Gaide but who is Infallible, we must have none upon Earth. And so the Church is render'd wholly useless to us, if we may not take their Help, as Instructors and Rational Guides, or in the Apostles Words, as (a) Hela pers of our Joy, without giving them the Dominión over ont Faith. <And indeed the Security you demand of an outward Infallible Guide, is Altering the Course of Nature, or as I called it, finding fault with the Creation ; for God has made us Rational Creatures, and given us no other Guide but our own Reason, with the Allistance of His Grace, to come at the Knowledge of Himself, and Confequently of all other things. And to find fault with this, is the Clay saying
T: () 2 Cor. 1. 24.
to the Potter, Why halt thou made me thuś! To
Son in us, tho' we may Blindfold it and keep it down for a time, yet it will Recoil upon us, and Convict us, wherein we have Deparced from it. Without this there could not be such a thing as a Sting of Conscience, for what is that but a Check to our Reason? What else is Repentance, or Returning from any Er. ror, or from any Evil we have done? You endeavour to Convert Men to your Church wholly upon their Reason, for you can have no other Topick whereby to lay hold of an Adversary : In vain therefore would you persuade him to Trust to that Choice of his Reason in Coming over to you, but never to Trust any other Choice his Reason Mould make afterwards, because it is very Fallible; I say this could not go down with any Man, but it must make him Doubt whether his Reason has Led him Right in the first Choice too of going to your Church, and from the same Argument, because his Réalon is very Fallible. God says to us [a] Come now and let us Reason together. We ask no more of you. Nay, you cannot Re. fuse it us, whether you will or not ; for your own Reason will, as I said, one time or other Return upon you, and Convince you of Obftinacy in not hearkening to Reason, for without this you cannot be said to have Acted according to Reason. This renders me Inexcufable, whether I be Right or Wrong; for if my Reafon Misleads me after due Examinati
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on; the Error is Human, and will be more easily Pardoned, but if I will not Hear, I will not open my Eyes, it mkes me Guilty though I were in the Right, because that is by Chance, and not my Choice upon Reafonable Conviction, which I have Refused. And Truth is never Afraid, for the more it is Canvassed it Appears the Brighter. It is strange to see those who Pretend to such an Asurance as is Infallible, and yet seek to Avoid the Light of Reason, as if Afraid of being Detected! And to Confess it in the very Body of their (a) Canon Lan, where they Excommunicate any Laick, who shall Publickly or Privately Dispute concerning the Catholick Faith.. • This Method will secure to them all that they have Caught: But if observed by others as well as by themselves, they would never Catch another. And it is a plain Indication that who are against Reason, Reason is against them.
For if Reason could be heard, it would make it very Obvious to you, That in all the particular Points before mention'd, the Cere tainty is on our Side, and the Doubt (at least) on yours. For Example, None make a Doubt but that we may lawfully Pray. to God, and not before any Image of Him: Or without the
. (a) Inhibemus quoque ne cuicunque Laice persone liceat publice vel privatim de Fide Catholica disput are. Qui vero contra fecerit, Excommunicationis Inqueo innodetur.
Corp Jer. Can. Sext. Decretal, lib. Quint. Tit, ii. cap. . 1. Paris. 1687.