I. It was ever granted that all authority in secular matters deriv'd from him who had the Soveraigne power, whether he were one Man, or an Assembly of Men. That the same in spirituall matters depended on the authority of the Church, is manifest by the next foregoing proofs; and besides this, that all Christian Cities are Churches endued with this kind of authority From whence a man though but dull of apprehension may collect, that in a Christian City, (that is to say, in a City whose Soveraignty belongs to a Christian Prince, or Councell) all Power, as well spiritual, as secular, is united under Christ; and therefore it is to be obey'd in all things. But on the other side, because we must rather obey God than Men, there is a difficulty risen, how obedience may safely be yeelded to them, if at any time somewhat should be commanded by them to be done which CHRIST hath prohibited. The reason of this difficulty is, that seeing God no longer speakes to us by CHRIST, and his Prophets in open voice, but by the holy Scriptures, which by divers men are diversly understood, they know indeed what Princes, and a congregated Church doe command; but whether that which they doe command be contrary to the word of God, or not, this they know not, but with a wavering obedience between the punishments of temporall, and spirituall death, as it were sailing betweene Scilla and Carybdis, they often run themselves upon both. But they who rightly distinguish betweene the things necessary to Salvation, and those which are not necessary, can have none of this kind of doubt. For if the command of the Prince, or City be such, that he can obey it without hazard of his aeternall Salvation, it is unjust not to obey them, and the Apostles praecepts take place: Servants in all things obey your Masters according to the flesh. Children obey your Parents in all things. Col. 3. v. 20, 22. And the command of CHRIST, The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moyses chair, all things therefore whatsoever they command you, that observe, and doe. Mat. 23. v. 2. On the contrary, if they command us to doe those things which are punisht with aeternall death, it were madnesse not rather to chuse to dye a naturall death, than by obeying, to dye eternally; and then comes in that which CHRIST sayes, Feare not them who kill the body, but cannot kill the Soule. Mat. 10. v. 28. We must see therefore what all those things are, which are necessary to Salvation.
II. Now all things necessary to Salvation are comprehended in two vertues, Faith, and Obedience. The latter of these if it could be perfect would alone suffice to preserve us from damnation; but because we have all of us beene long since guilty of disobedience against God in Adam, and besides we our selves have since actually sinned, Obedience is not sufficient without remission of sinnes. But this, together with our entrance into the Kingdome of Heaven is the reward of Faith. Nothing else is requisite to Salvation; for the Kingdome of Heaven is shut to none but sinners, that is to say, those who have not perform'd due Obedience to the Lawes; and not to those neither, if they beleeve the necessary articles of the Christian Faith. Now, if we shall know in what points Obedience doth consist, and which are the necessary articles of the Christian Faith, it will at once be manifest what we must doe, and what abstaine from, at the commands of Cities, and of Princes.
III. But by Obedience in this place is signified not the fact, but the Will and desire wherewith we purpose, and endeavour as much as we can to obey for the future: in which sense the word Obedience is aequivalent to Repentance. For the vertue of repentance consists not in the sorrow which accompanies the remembrance of sinne; but in our conversion to the way, and full purpose to sinne no more, without which that sorrow is said to be the sorrow not of a Penitent but a desperate person. But because they who love God cannot but desire to obey the divine Law, and they who love their Neighbours cannot but desire to obey the morall Law, which consists as hath beene shewed above in the 3. Chapter, in the prohibition of Pride, ingratitude, contumely, inhumanity, cruelty, injury, and the like offences, whereby our Neighbours are prejudic't, therefore also Love or charity are aequivalent to Obedience. Justice also (which is a constant will of giving to every man his due) is aequivalent with it. But that Faith and Repentance are sufficient for Salvation, is manifest by the Covenant it selfe of Baptisme; for they who were by Peter converted on the day of Pentecost, demanding him what they should do? He answered, Repent, and be Baptiz'd every one of you in the name of Jesus for the remission of your Sins. Act. 2. v. 38. There was nothing therefore to be done for the obtaining of Baptisme, that is to say, for to enter into the Kingdome of God, but to Repent, and beleeve in the Name of JESUS. For the Kingdome of Heaven is promis'd by the Covenant which is made in Baptisme; farthermore, by the words of CHRIST answering the Lawyer who askt him what he should doe to inherit eternall life, Thou knowest the Commandements, Thou shalt not Kill, Thou shalt not commit Adultery, &c. which refer to Obedience; and, Sell all that thou hast, and come, and follow me, which relates to faith, Luke 18. ver. 20. Mar. 10. ver. 18. And by that which is said, The just shall live by Faith, (not every man, but the just) for justice is the same disposition of Will which Repentance and Obedience are; And by the words of Saint Mark, The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdome of God is at hand, Repent yee, and beleeve the Gospell, by which words is not obscurely signified that there is no need of other Vertues, for our entrance into the Kingdome of God, excepting those of Repentance and Faith. The Obedience therefore which is necessarily requir'd to Salvation is nothing else but the Will, or endeavour to obey, that is to say, of doing according to the Lawes of God, that is the morall Lawes, which are the same to all men; and the civill Lawes, that is to say, the commands of Soveraignes in temporall matters, and the Ecclesiasticall Lawes in spirituall; which two kinds of Lawes are divers in divers Cities, and Churches, and are knowne by their promulgation, and publique sentences.
IV. That we may understand what the Christian Faith is, we must define Faith in generall, and distinguish it from those other acts of the minde wherewith commonly it is confounded. The object of Faith universally taken, namely for that which is beleev'd, is evermore a proposition, (that is to say a speech affirmative, or negative) which we grant to be true. But because Propositions are granted for divers causes, it falls out, that these kind of concessions are diversly called: But we grant Propositions sometimes which notwithstanding we receive not into our mindes; and this either for a time, to wit, so long, till by consideration of the consequencies, we have well examin'd the truth of them, which we call supposing; or also simply, as through feare of the Lawes, which is to professe, or confesse by outward tokens; or for a voluntary compliance sake, which men use out of civility to those whom they respect, and for love of Peace to others, which is absolute yeelding. Now the Propositions which we receive for truth, we alwaies grant for some reasons of our owne, and these are deriv'd either from the Proposition it selfe, or from the Person propounding. They are deriv'd from the Proposition it selfe, by calling to minde what things those words which make up the Proposition doe by common consent usually signifie: if so, then the assent which we give is called knowledge, or Science. But if we cannot remember what is certainly understood by those words, but sometimes one thing, sometimes another seeme to be apprehended by us, then we are said to thinke. For example, if it be propounded that two and three makes five; and by calling to minde the order of those numerall words, that it is so appointed by the common consent of them who are of the same language with us, (as it were by a certaine contract necessary for humane society) that five shall be the name of so many unities as are contain'd in two and three taken together, a man assents, that this is therefore true because two and three together, are the same with five. This assent shall be called knowledge, and to know this truth is nothing else but to acknowledge that it is made by our selves; For by whose will and rules of speaking the number || is called two, ||| is called three, &c. ||||| is called five, by their will also it comes to passe, that this Proposition is true, Two and three taken together makes five. In like manner if we remember what it is that is called theft, and what injury, we shall understand by the words themselves, whether it be true that theft is an injury, or not. Truth is the same with a true Proposition; but the Proposition is true in which the word consequent, which by Logicians is called the praedicate, embraceth the word antecedent in its amplitude, which they call the Subject; and to know truth is the same thing as to remember that it was made by our selves in the common use of words. Neither was it rashly, or unadvisedly said by Plato of old, that knowledge was memory. But it happens sometimes that words although they have a certaine, and defin'd signification by constitution, yet by vulgar use either to adorne, or deceive, they are so wrested from their owne significations, that to remember the conceptions for which they were first impos'd on things is very hard, and not to be maistered but by a sharpe judgement, and very great diligence. It happens too, that there are many words which have no proper, determin'd, and every where the same signification; and are understood not by their owne, but by vertue of other signes us'd together with them. Thirdly, there are some words of things unconceivable; of those things therefore whereof they are the words, there is no conception; and therefore in vaine doe we seeke for the truth of those Propositions, which they make out of the words themselves. In these cases, while by considering the definitions of words we search out the truth of some proposition, according to the hope we have of finding it, we thinke it sometimes true, and sometimes false; either of which apart is called thinking, and also beleeving; both together, doubting. But when our reasons for which we assent to some Proposition, derive not from the Proposition it selfe, but from the Person Propounding, whom we esteeme so learned that he is not deceiv'd, and we see no reason why he should deceive us; our assent, because it growes not from any confidence of our owne, but from another mans knowledge, is called Faith: And by the confidence of whom, we doe beleeve, we are said to trust them, or to trust in them. By what hath been said, the difference appeares first betweene Faith, and Profession; for that is alwaies joyn'd with inward assent, this not alwayes; That is an inward perswasion of the minde, this an outward obedience. Next, betweene Faith, and Opinion; for this depends on our owne reason, that on the good esteeme we have of another. Lastly betweene Faith and Knowledge; for this deliberately takes a proposition broken, and chewed; that swallowes downe whole and entire. The explication of words, whereby the matter enquir'd after is propounded, is conducible to knowledge; nay, the onely way to know, is by definition. But this is prejudiciall to Faith; for those things which exceede humane capacity, and are propounded to be beleev'd, are never more evident by explication, but on the contrary more obscure, and harder to be credited. And the same thing befalls a man who endeavours to demonstrate the mysteries of Faith by naturall reason, which happens to a sick man, who will needs chew before he will swallow his wholsome, but bitter Pills; whence it comes to passe, that he presently brings them up againe, which perhaps would otherwise, if he had taken them well downe, have prov'd his remedy.
V. We have seene therefore what it is to beleeve. But what is it to beleeve in CHRIST? Or what Proposition is that which is the object of our Faith in CHRIST? For when we say, I beleeve in CHRIST, we signifie indeed Whom, but not What we beleeve. Now, to beleeve in CHRIST is nothing else but to beleeve that JESUS IS THE CHRIST, namely Hee, who according to the Prophesies of Moyses, and the Prophets of Israel, was to come into this world to institute the Kingdome of God. And this sufficiently appeares out of the words of CHRIST himselfe to Martha: I am (saith he) the Resurrection and the life, HE THAT BELEEVETH IN ME, though he were dead, yet he shall live, and WHOSOEVER LIVETH, AND BELEEVETH IN ME, shall never dye. Beleevest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea Lord, I beleeve that THOU ART THE CHRIST the Son of God, which should come into the world. John 11. ver. 25, 26, 27. In which words we see that the question BELEEVEST THOU IN ME? is expounded by the answer, THOU ART THE CHRIST. To beleeve in CHRIST therefore is nothing else but to beleeve JESUS HIMSELFE saying that he is THE CHRIST.
VI. Faith and Obedience both necessarily concurring to Salvation, what kinde of Obedience that same is, and to whom due, hath beene shewed above in the 3. Article. But now we must enquire what articles of Faith are requisite: And I say, that to a Christian 1 there is no other article of Faith requisite as necessary to Salvation, but only this, THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST. But we must distinguish (as we have already done before in the 4. Article) betweene Faith, and Profession. A Profession therefore of more articles (if they be commanded) may be necessary; for it is a part of our obedience due to the Lawes; but we enquire not now what Obedience, but what Faith is necessary to salvation. And this is prov'd first out of the scope of the Evangelists which was by the description of our Saviours life to establish this one Article. And we shall know that such was the scope, and counsell of the Evangelists, if we observe but the History it selfe. Saint Matthew beginning at his Genealogy shewes that JESUS was of the linage of David, borne of a Virgin, Chap. 1. that He was adored by the Wise men as King of the Jewes; that Herod for the same cause sought to slay him, Chap. 2. That his Kingdome was Preacht both by john the Baptist, and Himselfe, Chap. 3, 4. That He taught the Lawes, not as the Scribes, but as one having authority, Chap. 5, 6, 7. That he cur'd diseases miraculously, Chap. 8, 9. That He sent his Apostles the Preachers of his Kingdome throughout all the parts of judea, to proclame his Kingdome, Chap. 10. That He commanded the Messengers sent from john to enquire whether he were the CHRIST or not, to tell him what they had seene, namely the miracles which were onely competible with CHRIST, Chap. 11. That he prov'd and declar'd his Kingdome to the Pharisees, and others by arguments, parables and signes, Chap: 12. and the following Chapters to the 21. That He maintain'd himselfe to be the Christ against the Pharisees, That He was saluted with the title of King, when he entred into Jerusalem, Chap. 21. That he forewarn'd others of false Christs, and That He shewed in Parables what manner of Kingdome his should be, Chap. 22, 23, 24, 25. That He was taken, and accused for this reason, because He said He was a King; and that a Title was written on his Crosse, THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWES, Chap. 26, 27. Lastly, that after his resurrection, He told his Apostles that all power was given unto Him both in Heaven, and in Earth, Chap. 28. All which tends to this end, That we should beleeve Jesus to be the Christ. Such therefore was the Scope of Saint Matthew in describing his Gospell; but such as his was, such also was the rest of the Evangelists; which Saint John sets down expresly in the end of his Gospel, These things (saith He) are written, that ye may know that Jesus is the Christ, the Sonne of the living God. John 20. vers. 31.
VII. Secondly, this is proved by the preaching of the Apostles. For they were the Proclamers of his Kingdome, neither did Christ send them to preach ought but the Kingdome of God, Luke 9. vers. 2. Act. 15. vers. 6. And what they did after Christ his Ascension may be understood by the accusation which was brought against them, They drew Jason (saith Saint Luke) and certain Brethren unto the Rulers of the City, crying, These are the men that have turned the world upside down, and are come hither also, whom Jason hath received; and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another King, one Jesus. Acts 17. vers. 6, 7. It appears also what the subject of the Apostles Sermons was, out of these words: Opening, and alleadging out of the Scriptures (to wit, of the old Testament) that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead, and that THIS JESUS IS THE CHRIST. Acts 17. vers. 2, 3.
VIII. Thirdly, By the places in which the easinesse of those things which are required by Christ to the attaining of salvation, is declared. For if an internall assent of the minde were necessarily required to the truth of all and each Proposition which this day is controverted about the Christian Faith, or by divers Churches is diversly defined, there would be nothing more difficult than the Christian Religion. And how then would that be true, My yoke is easie, and my burthen light? Mat. 11. vers. 30. and that litle ones doe beleeve in Him? Mat. 18. vers. 6. and that it pleased God by the foolishnesse of Preaching, to save those that beleeve? 1 Cor. 1. vers. 21. or how was the thiefe hanging on the Crosse sufficiently instructed to salvation, the confession of whose Faith was contained in these words, Lord remember me when thou comest into thy Kingdome; or how could Saint Paul himselfe, from an enemy, so soon become a Doctor of Christians?
IX. Fourthly, by this, that that Article is the foundation of Faith, neither rests it on any other foundation. If any man shall say unto you, Loe here is Christ, or He is there, beleeve it not, for there shall arise false Christs, and false Prophets, and shall shew great signes, and wonders, &c. Mat. 24. vers. 23. Whence it followes, that for the Faiths sake which we have in this Article, we must not beleeve any signes, and wonders. Although we, or an Angell from Heaven (saith the Apostle) should preach to you any other Gospel, than what we have preacht, let him be accursed. Gal. 1:8. By reason of this Article therefore we might not trust the very Apostles, and Angels themselves (and therefore I conceive not the Church neither) if they should teach the contrary. Beloved, beleeve not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God, because many false Prophets are gone out into the world, hereby know yee the spirit of God, every spirit that confesseth Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God, &c. 1 John 4. vers. 1, 2. That Article therefore is the measure of the Spirits whereby the authority of the Doctors, is either received, or rejected. It cannot be denied indeed, but that all who at this day are Christians, did learn from the Doctors, that it was Jesus who did all those things whereby he might be acknowledged to be the Christ; yet it followes not that the same Persons beleeved that Article for the Doctors, or the Churches, but for Jesus his own sake. For that Article was before the Christian Church, although all the rest were after it, and the Church was founded upon it, not it upon the Church. Mat. 16. vers. 18. Besides, this Article, that Jesus is the Christ, is so fundamentall, that all the rest are by Saint Paul said to be built upon it, For other foundation can no man lay, than that which is layd, which is Jesus Christ (that is to say, that Jesus is the Christ). Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stone, wood, hay, stubble; every mans work shall be made manifest: If any mans work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward; if any mans work shall be burnt, he shall suffer losse, but he himselfe shall be saved. 1 Cor. 3. vers. 11, 12, 13. &c. From whence it plainly appears, that by foundation is understood this Article, THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST. For gold, and silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble (whereby the Doctrines are signified) are not built upon the Person of Christ; and also, that false Doctrines may be raised upon this foundation, vet not so, as they must necessarily be damned who teach them.
X. Lastly, that this Article alone is needfull to be inwardly beleeved, may be most evidently proved out of many places of holy Scriptures, let who will be the Interpreter: Search the Scriptures, for in them yee think yee have eternall life; and they are they which testify of me. John 5:39. But Christ meant the Scriptures of the old Testament only: for the new was then not yet written. Now, there is no other testimony concerning Christ in the old Testament, but that an eternall King was to come in such a place, that He was to be born of such Parents, that He was to teach, and doe such things; whereby, as by certain signes, he was to be knowne: All which testify this one thing, that JESUS who was so born, and did teach, and doe such things, was THE CHRIST. Other Faith then was not required to attain eternall life, besides this Article. Whosoever liveth and beleeveth in me, shall never dye. John 11. vers. 25. But to beleeve in Jesus (as is there exprest) is the same with beleeving that JESUS WAS THE CHRIST. He therefore that beleeves that, shall never dye, and by consequence, that Article alone is necessary to salvation. These are written that yee might beleeve that JESUS IS THE CHRIST the Sonne of God, and that beleeving yee might have life through his name. Jo. 20. vers. 31. Wherefore he that beleeves thus, shall have eternall life, and therefore needs no other Faith. Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God. 1 Jo. 4. v. 2. And, Whosoever beleeveth that JESUS IS THE CHRIST, is born of God. 1 Jo. 5. vers. 1. And, Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that beleeveth that JESUS is the Son of God? 1 Jo. 5. v. 5. If therefore there be no need to beleeve any thing else, to the end a man may be of God, born of God, and overcome the world, than that JESUS IS THE CHRIST. that one Article then is sufficient to salvation. See, here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou beleevest with all thine heart, thou maist. And he answered and said, I beleeve that JESUS CHRIST is the Sonne of God. Acts 8. vers. 36, 37. If then this Article being beleeved with the whole heart, (that is to say, with inward Faith) was sufficient for Baptisme, it is also sufficient for salvation. Besides these places there are innumerable others which doe clearly, and expresly affirm the same thing. Nay, wheresoever wee read that our Saviour commended the Faith of any one, or that he said, Thy Faith hath saved thee, or that he healed any one for his Faiths sake, there the Proposition beleeved was no other but this, JESUS IS THE CHRIST, either directly, or consequently.
XI. But because no man can beleeve JESUS TO BE THE CHRIST, who, when he knowes that by Christ is understood that same King who was promised from God by Moyses, and the Prophets, for to be the King, and Saviour of the world, doth not also beleeve Moyses, and the Prophets, neither can he beleeve these, who beleeves not that God is, and that he governs the world; it is necessary that the Faith of God, and of the old Testament be contained in this Faith of the new. Seeing therefore that Atheisme, and the deniall of the Divine Providence, were the only treason against the Divine Majesty in the Kingdome of God by Nature; but Idolatry also in the Kingdome of God by the Old Covenant; now in this Kingdome wherein God rules by way of a new Covenant, apostasie is also added, or the renunciation of this article once receiv'd, that JESUS IS THE CHRIST. Truly other Doctrines, provided they have their determination from a lawfull Church, are not to be contradicted; for that is the sinne of disobedience; but it hath been fully declar'd before that they are not needfull to be beleev'd with an inward Faith.
XII. Faith and Obedience have divers parts in accomplishing the salvation of a Christian; for this contributes the power, or capacity; that the Act. And either is said to justifie in its kinde. For Christ forgives not the sins of all men, but of the Penitent, or the Obedient, that is to say the just, I say not the guiltlesse, but the just; for justice is a Will of obeying the Lawes, and may be consistent with a sinner, and with Christ the Will to obey is Obedience; for not every man, but the just shall live by Faith. Obedience therefore justifies because it maketh just in the same manner as temperance maketh temperate, Prudence Prudent, Chastity chaste, namely essentially; and puts a man in such a state, as makes him capable of pardon. Againe, Christ hath not promis'd forgivenesse of sinnes to all just men, but only those of them who beleeve Him to be the Christ. Faith therefore justifies in such a sense as a judge may be said to justifie who absolves; namely by the sentence which actually saves a man. And in this acception of justification (for it is an aequivocall terme) Faith alone justifies, but in the other, Obedience onely: but neither Obedience alone nor Faith alone doe save us, but both together.
XIII. By what hath been said hitherto, it will be easy to discerne what the duty of Christian Subjects is towards their Soveraignes, who as long as they professe themselves Christians cannot command their Subjects to deny Christ, or to offer him any contumely; for if they should command this, they would professe themselves to be no Christians. For seeing we have shewed both by naturall reason, and out of holy Scriptures, that Subjects ought in all things to obey their Princes and Governours, excepting those which are contrary to the command of God; and that the commands of God in a Christian City concerning temporall affairs, (that is to say, those which are to be discust by humane reason) are the Lawes and sentence of the City deliver'd from those who have receiv'd authority from the City to make Laws, and judge of controversies; but concerning spirituall matters; (that is to, say those which are to be defin'd by the holy Scripture) are the Lawes, and sentences of the City, that is to say the Church (for a Christian City, and a Church, as hath beene shewed in the foregoing Chapter in the 20. Art. are the same thing) deliv'rd by Pastors lawfully ordain'd, and who have to that end authority given them by the City; it manifestly followes, that in a Christian Common weale, Obedience is due to the Soveraign in all things, as well Spirituall, as Temporall. And that the same obedience even from a Christian subject is due in all temporall matters to those Princes who are no Christians, is without any controversie; but in matters spirituall, that is to say, those things which concern Gods worship, some christian Church is to be followed. For it is an hypothesis of the Christian Faith, that God speaks not in things supernaturall, but by the way of Christian Interpreters of holy Scriptures. But what? Must we resist Princes when we cannot obey them? Truly no; for this is contrary to our civill Covenant. What must we doe then? Goe to Christ by Martyrdome. Which if it seem to any man to be an hard saying, most certain it is that he beleeves not with his whole heart THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST the Sonne of the living God, (for he would then desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ) but he would by a feigned Christian Faith elude that obedience which he hath contracted to yeeld up unto the City.
XIV. But some men perhaps will wonder, if, (excepting this one Article, that JESUS IS THE CHRIST, which only is necessary to salvation in relation to internall faith) all the rest belong to obedience, which may be performed, although a man doe not inwardly beleeve, (so he doe but desire to beleeve, and make an outward profession, as oft as need requires, of whatsoever is propounded by the Church); how it comes about that there are so many Tenets which are all held so to concern our Faith, that except a man doe inwardly beleeve them, He cannot enter into the Kingdome of Heaven. But if he consider that in most controversies the contention is about humane Soveraignty; in some, matter of gain, and profit; in others, the glory of Wits; he will surely wonder the lesse. The question about the propriety of the Church, is a question about the Right of Soveraignty; for, it being known what a Church is, it is known at once to whom the Rule over Christians doth belong. For if every Christian City be that Church which Christ himselfe hath commanded every Christian subject to that city, to hear, then every subject is bound to obey his City, that is to say, Him, or them who have the supreme power, not only in temporall but also in spirituall matters. But if every Christian City be not that Church, then is there some other Church more universall, which must be obeyed. All Christians therefore must obey that Church just as they would obey Christ if He came upon Earth. She will therfore rule either by the way of Monarchy, or by some Assembly: This question then concerns the Right of ruling. To the same end belongs the question concerning infallibility; for whosoever were truly, and internally beleeved by all mankinde, that he could not erre, would be sure of all Dominion, as well temporall as spirituall, over all mankinde, unlesse himselfe would refuse it; for if he say that he must be obeyed in temporalls, because it is supposed he cannot erre, that Right of Dominion is immediately granted him. Hither also tends the priviledge of interpreting Scriptures. For he to whom it belongs to interpret the controversies arising from the divers interpretations of Scriptures, hath authority also simply and absolutely to determine all manner of controversies whatsoever. But he who hath this, hath also the command over all men who acknowledge the Scriptures to be the Word of God. To this end drive all the disputes about the Power of remitting, and retaining sinnes; or the authority of excommunication. For every man, if he be in his wits, will in all things yeeld that man an absolute obedience, by vertue of whose sentence he beleeves himselfe to be either saved, or damned. Hither also tends the power of instituting societies; for they depend on him by whom they subsist, who hath as many subjects as Monks, although living in an Enemies City. To this end also refers the question concerning the Judge of lawfull Matrimony; for he to whom that judicature belongs, to him also pertains the knowledge of all those cases which concern the inheritance, and succession to all the goods, and Rights, not of private men onely, but also of Soveraign Princes. And hither also in some respect tends the Virgin-life of Ecclesiasticall Persons; for unmarried men have lesse coherence than others with civill society: and besides, it is an inconvenience not to be slighted, that Princes must either necessarily forgoe the Priesthood (which is a great bond of civill obedience) or have no hereditary Kingdome. To this end also tends the canonization of Saints which the Heathen called Apotheosis; for he that can allure forraign subjects with so great a reward, may bring those who are greedy of such glory to dare, and doe any thing. For what was it but an honourable Name with posterity which the Decii and other Romans sought after, and a thousand others who cast themselves upon incredible perils? The controversies about Purgatory, and indulgencies, are matter of gain. The questions of Free-will, Justification, and the manner of receiving Christ in the Sacrament, are Philosophicall. There are also questions concerning some Rites not introduced, but left in the Church not sufficiently purged from gentilisme; but we need reckon no more. All the world knows that such is the nature of men, that dissenting in questions which concern their Power, or profit, or preeminence of Wit, they slander, and curse each other. It is not therefore to be wondred at, if almost all tenets (after men grew hot with disputings) are held forth by some or other to be necessary to salvation, and for our entrance into the Kingdome of Heaven; insomuch as they who hold them not, are not only condemned as guilty of disobedience (which in truth they are after the Church hath once defined them) but of Infidelity, which I have declared above to be wrong out of many evident places of Scripture; to which I adde this one of Saint Pauls, Let not him that eateth, despise him that eateth not; and let not him that eateth not, judge him that eateth; for God hath received him. One man esteemeth one day above another, another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully perswaded in his own mind, Rom. 14. v. 3, 5.
1. I say, that to a Christian. Although I conceive this assertion to be sufficiently proved by the following reasons, yet I thought it worth my labour to make a more ample explication of it, because I perceive that being somewhat new, it may possibly be distastfull to many Divines. First therefore when I say this Article, That Jesus is the Christ, is necessary to salvation; I say not that Faith onely is necessary, but I require justice also, or that Obedience which is due to the Lawes of God, that is to say, a Will to live righteously. Secondly, I deny not but the profession of many Articles, (provided that that profession be commanded by the Church) is also necessary to salvation; but seeing Faith is internall, Profession externall, I say that the former onely is properly Faith; the latter a part of Obedience; insomuch as that Article alone sufficeth for inward beleefe, but is not sufficient for the outward profession of a Christian. Lastly, even as if I had said that true and inward Repentance of sinnes was onely necessary to salvation, yet were it not to be held for a Paradox, because we suppose justice, Obedience, and a mind reformed in all manner of vertues to be contained in it: so when I say that the Faith of one Article is sufficient to salvation, it may well be lesse wondred at, seeing that in it so many other Articles are contained. For these words, Jesus is the Christ, do signifie that Jesus was that Person whom God had promised by his Prophets should come into the world to establish his Kingdom, that is to say, that Jesus is the Sonne of God, the Creatour of Heaven and Earth, born of a Virgin, dying for the sinnes of them who should beleeve in Him; that Hee was Christ, that is to say a King; that He reviv'd (for else He were not like to reign) to judge the world, and to reward every one according to his works, for otherwise he cannot be a King; also that men shall rise again, for otherwise they are not like to come to judgement. The whole Symbol of the Apostles is therefore contained in this one Article; which notwithstanding I thought reasonable to contract thus, because I found that many men for this alone, without the rest, were admitted into the Kingdome of God, both by Christ, and his Apostles; as the Thief on the Crosse, the Eunuch baptized by Philip, the two thousand men converted to the Church at once by Saint Peter. But if any man be displeased that I doe not judge all those eternally damned, who doe not inwardly assent to every Article defined by the Church (and yet doe not contradict, but if they be commanded, doe submit) I know not what I shall say to them; for the most evident Testimonies of Holy Writ which doe follow, doe withhold me from altering my opinion.
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