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lodged: Datur ergo infallibilis controverfiarum fidei judex. That is, we have infallibility fomewhere, and some how or other lodged in our church. For what fignifies an uninterrupted fucceffion from the apostles, if their fucceffors are not vested with the SAME POWERS which they had? But why do I call them fucceffors, fince they can have no right to be ftiled fuch, unless they have the SAME POWERS? Will any one say that a doge is or can be properly faid to fucceed a monarch? Though he should pretend to fit on the fame throne, and to put on the fame drefs and pageantry with the king that preceeded; yet if he does not fucceed to the legal authority and power, a man fhall as foon perfuade me that Efop's beaft in the lion's fkin was what he pretended to be, as that fuch a doge can continue the fucceffion of a monarchy. So that to deny infallibility to our church, is at once to deftroy its whole title to an uninterrupted fucceffion from the apostles; it is taking away the divine right of epifcopacy; it is diminishing or rather (I fear) abrogating all church authority, by founding it upon the poor fecular bafis of a decent human inflitution. This may serve to fhew the danger and folly of difclaiming infallibility.
Iconfefs at the end of that paragraph, which I already cited out of your first letter to the
bishop, you say that he (Chrift) made none of them (the apostles fucceffors) i fullible. This the world has underftood to be faying, that they had and that they had not the fame powers with the apostles, in the fame breath. Such expreffions in the bishop must indeed have pafs'd for grofs nonfenfe, becaufe that he, being unacquainted with our church-logick, could not have brought himself off. But I will undertake that, thro' the help of fome nice diftinctions, you fhall appear very confiftent, with all us true fons of the church, and which is harder yet with your own felf. For it is plain, that you do not any where affert that the fucceffors of the apostles are not infallible, but that he (Chrift) made none of them fo. Now every one knows that infallibility was the gift of the Holy Ghoft, a confiderable time after Christ was afcended into heaven. And fince we are, none of us, Arians, (as many of the bishop's friends are) but do allow a distinction of perfons in the Trinity, it is evident that you affirm a truth, when you fay, Chrift made none of them infallible. Thus may you fee how, by a fubtle diftinction kept in Petto till a time of need, we can avoid the charge of nonfenfe and contradiction. A liberty never communicated to the laity; as being a right only annexed to the indelible character. And indeed, we feldom fail of making ufe of our privilege; for
when we write for proteftantifm we never forget to tack a popish salvo, and when we write for popery, we put in a proteftant falvo. In which art of writing, our good friend the dean has difcovered a moft admirable talent. From what has been faid, it manifeftly appears, that you never really declared against infallibility, as the generality of readers thought you did. But, worthy doctor, your feeming falvo, I confefs, was very prudently fubjoined to your claim of apoftolical powers, that thereby (as you* term it) our claim might appear the more INNOCENT. For thofe fuperficial readers, the laity, fhould we be fo imprudent as to claim fullness of power and infallibility at the fame time, (tho' the one does neceffarily include the other) might be fo alarmed and provoked, as to deny us both. No, Sir, let us but get our power once confirmed, and we fhall not ask any body leave to be infallible. For we fee that the power of our fecret friend the pope, does not so much consist in his infallibility, as his infallibility is built on his power. Thus, Sir, tho' our church politics utterly forbid us to fpeak out, unless we are drove to a pinch; yet you yourself, as well as all other true churchmen, do know, that the apostles left behind them a fucceffion of men vested with the
*Second letter, p. 51.
fame powers with themselves, one of which we are fure was infallibility; and tho' we do not think it expedient to mention the word (which like Balaam's angel might open the mouth of our beast the laity) yet tacitly we claim no lefs. And therefore I cannot think the bishop has acted a fair part in bringing an argument against us which is only founded upon an opinion that we dare not speak our mind freely, and fupport our juft claim to authoritative power in interpreting scriptures, by owning our infallibility, which that learned prelate knew was the only thing that could entitle us to it.
The last argument which the bishop has urged against our church's intereft, which I fhall take notice of; is, that the notion of an uninterrupted fucceffion of bishops is not to be fupported from any words of fcripture, and is not to be made out in hiftory; and that 'twould be wicked to make fuch a nicety a thing on which our falvation fhould depend. I anfwer to this, I was once determined to have produced * thofe many texts out of fcripture, which you affirm. that you could bring to evince the contrary. Now as I knew that you could not mean the common edition of the fcriptures, I looked into an old bible in my study; which unluckily hap
*First letter, p. 20.
pened to be that heretical one tranflated by Tindel; in which I could not even find the word church, much less any account of vicegerents and uninterrupted successions in it. This plainly convinced me that he did not underftand G; for had he killed it as well as Dr. Sherkek and fome of us do he would never have rendered the word ἐκκλησία con gregation, but convocation or church, nor Aiaxovos minifters, but lords or rulers, nor Пaúλ& deλòs gy. Inor Xpisă, Paul the fervant of Jesus Christ, but Paul Chrift's vicegerent: For as the dean very rightly obferves Axλòç does not always fignify a fervant or flave, but may for the good of the church be translated, as his holinefs's motto Servus Servorum, which fignifies the lord of lords. However these gross errors of Tindal are amply made up by the pious and ingenious editors of the Rhemish teftament (which I am confident is the fame, which you + brag of) where we can find to our great confolation, not only the words church, rulers, vicegerents, and uninterrupted fucceffions; but also a number of other wholfome texts, with very learned notes, as pat to our scheme of church-government, as if you and I had written them ourfelves. Now, reverend Sir,
+ Second letter, p. 42.