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their own Judgment, and said unto them, Tea, Luke xii. 57. and why even of your own felve's
"" judge ye not what is Right? And,' John X. 37. if I do not the Works of my Father, believe me not. Was not this Appealing to their Judgment, whether He did the Works of His Father, or not? And as many as followed their own Judgment they believed on Him : But they who were tyed up Implicitly to the Authority of the Church, they re
... jected Him, they said, Have any John vii. 48. of the Rulers, or of the Pharisees 'believed on Him? But this people who knoweth not the Law are Curfed.'
L. If a Man durst dispute the Methods of Providence, it would seem strange that God did not order it so, as that the Church should have first known their Mesiab when He came, and have declared Him to the People, and then they all would have Believed on Him. : G. The Aposle says, That the foolishness of
. God is wiser than Men. And he i Cor. i. 25. gives the Reason in the Words following, why God chose the foolish things of the World to confound the Wise, that no Flesh kould Glory in his presence, but he that Glorieth, let him Glory in the Lord. And he applieth this to the Case we are upon, to the Revelation of Jesus Christ when he came. For if he had been Received upon the Declaration and Authority of the Church, We had Gloried in the Church, whose Authori.
ty would have been Prior and Superior to that of Christ himself, as being the Ground upon which we believed Him. But as the Sun cannot be seen but by his own Light, so God and Christ cannot otherwise be known no Adventitious or Borrowed Light can hew the Original Light whence all lesier Lights are deriv'd, which, like the Moon and Stars, Disappear at the Presence of the Sun. So the Church disappeared at the Presence of Christ, who was known by His own Light only, We bebeld his Glory, the Glory, as of the only begotten of the Father, John 1. 14: full of Grace and Truth. Here was no going to the Church to know which was He? Or if you had, she would have misled you. ~ It would have been like going to the Moon to ask where the Sun was. The Church is the Moon, and the Stars are the particular. Bishops and Doctors, and other Eminent Men : But Christ is the Sun of Righteousness, and He will not give His Glory to another.
L. But few believed Christ when He came, or in all His Life, for it is said, that He was to the Jews a Stumbling-Block, and to the Greeks foolifonefs.
Cor. i. 23. G. The Stumbling-block to the Jews was the Authority of their Church against Him, as I have shewed. And the Greeks, that is, the Gentiles, could not till after the Resura rection of Christ have any Notion of the Oeconomy of our Redemption by Him. Nor was He preached unto them till after the
Vifion of the Sheet to St. Peter Ac. x. For the Gospel was to be preached to the Jews first, but when they Rejected it, leaning upon
the Infallibility of their Church, then A&. xiii.46. it was sent to the Gentiles. Who being free from that Stumbling-Block of the Church, received it readily, and now make up the whole Body of the Christian Church throughout the World.
And this teaches us another thing, that is, That an Infallible Guide (supposing such a one) would not be an Infallible Assurance to us, unless we were Infallible too: For besides our not knowing Him, or mistaking another for Him, for there has been False Chrifts, We might Misunderstand his Doctrine, and turn it to quite contrary Purposes from what He intended. This was the Case in our .Saviour's Time. He was a Guide truly Infallible, and yet how few followed Him, notwithstanding all His Miracles and Heavenly Doĉtrine? Therefore while we are Fallible our selves, and lyable to Errors, and Mistakes, in vain do we Grope after an Infallible Assurance, otherwise than the Evidence of things makes them Plain to that Reason which God has given us.
The Angels of Heaven fell : Adam fell from his Innocency. And the Seven Bishops who
were the Seven Stars in the Right Rev. i. 20. Hand of Christ, and the Seven Golden Candlesticks, the Seven Churches in the midst of which He walked, these all are
Fallen, and what are We that we expect that fallibility? What Bishop, what Church now is so Infallibly Seated as these beloved Seven were'? What Church has a Promise of being Exempted from that General Defection which is foretold will be before the Second Coming of Christ, when He shall not find Faith upon the Earth ? Or may we not ra. ther think, that the Plea of infallibility in the Church of Rome. ( fo many ways Detected) which hides Repentance from her Eyes, and hinders her to Return from any of her Errors, which by this means continually Flow without any Ebbing on any, Side, I say, May we not think this always Increasing Cor: ruprion the chief Cause to bring on that Universal Defection in the latter times? Does it not seem to haften apace, to be even at the Doors, when we see no Absurdity fo Grear, no Text of Scripture so Full and Express, to be too hard for this Infallibility ? Not the Denying of all our outward Senses at once, and owning that we neither See, Hear, Feel, Taste, not Smell! Not the express Institution of the Lord's Supper in both Kinds, to which the Council of Constance claps a Nox Obstante, and takes away the Cup from the Laity! Nou the" Authority and Strong Reasoning of the Apostles, 1 Cor. xiv. againt Publick Prayer in an Unknown Tongue ! All these are OverRuled by Infallibility! And many more we have to Instance in the particular Doctrines in Dispute with the Church of Rome : In
all which, by Vertue of her Unlimited and Infallible Power of Interpretation, she leaves no Text of Scripture of any Meaning, other than she thinks fit to put upon them, let the Words be never so Express. And this indeed is no other than taking the Scriptures wholly from us, while we must not Read them with our own Understanding. And the Result of this, is, That the whole Foundation of our Faith is in the Church of Rome, without Scripture or any thing else, because the Scripture and every thing else is put Ab. solutely and Implicitly in her Power. And yet no Man alive knows what this Church of Rome is, or where to be found? I mean that Church of Rome to which the Infallibility is annexed. For if you travel to Rome, you will see nothing there but what, by a Modern Distinction, you call the Court of Rome. Where then is this Infallible Church of Rome ? Some place it in the Pope alone, as the only Heir of St. Peter, and Living fudge of Controversy, and therefore above all Councils, and the whole Body of the Church put together : Others like not this, and because some Popes have proved Heretical, and have been Cenfured and Deposed for it, and others of them have proved 'moft Wicked and Flagitious Men, who besides the Viciousness of their own Lives, have filled the World with Blood, Rebellions, and Usurpations, in pursuance of the Deposing Power they have allumed over Princes.; for these and other Reasons, they