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OUR ADVERSARIES, HOWSOEVER THEY PRETEND
BY TAKING AN OATH TO MAKE THE FATHERS
INTERPRETERS OF THE SCRIPTURES,
DEED THEY MAKE THEMSELVES SOLE INTER
PRETERS OF SCRIPTURES AND FATHERS.
It is an Article of the Romane Creed", published by Pope Pius the fourth, and by the oath their Foreman hath taken, all Priestes and Jesuites are sworne, Not to receive or interpret the Scriptures, but according to the uniforme consent of Fathers. It is a large and faire promise, and delivered upon oath: and for my part, if the Church of Rome can make good the uniforme consent of Fathers, for all their twelve newe Articles of Faith, (which hath been often promised, but never as yet by any one performed,) I shall willingly listen to their interpretation, and preferre it before any private, or latter Exposition.
It was the profession of our late King of famous memory, Whatever the Fathers of the first four hundred yeares did with one unanime consent agree upon, to be beleeved as a necessary poynt of sal
* Bulla Pii Quarti. Art. 2.
vation, I will beleeve it also, or at leastwise will bee humblie silent, not taking upon mee to condemne the same *
I speake not this, as if we should decline the practise of the ancient Church in expounding Scripture by Scripture, but to demonstrate to the world, that our adversaries in this poynt of their faith, have neither followed the ancient Church, nor the Decree of their Trent Councellt; whereby it shall appeare, that either this Article was newly created, or the former Pope and Councells have disagreed from the latter.
Cardinall Cajetan was so far from subscribing to the Pope's Creed in this poynt, that on the contrary hee gives this Præmonition to the Reader of the Scriptures; Not to loathe the new sense of the holy Scriptures for this, that it dissenteth from the ancient Doctors, but to search more exactly the Tert and coherence of the Scriptures; and if hee finde it agree, to praise God, that hath not tyed the exposition of the Scriptures, to the sense of the ancient Doctorst. This Protestant doctrine is far different from the Tenet of the Roman Church, insomuch that Bishop Canus, his fellow Romanist,
Apolog. for the Oath of Allegiance, pa. 36. + Concill. Trid. Sess. 1.
Nullus itaque detestetur novum sacræ Scripturæ sensum, ex hoc quod dissonat a prescis Doctoribus, sed scrutetur perspicacius textum Scripturæ, et si quadrare invenerit, laudet Deum, qui non alligavit expositionem Scripturarum sacrarum priscorum Doctorum sensibus. Cajet. in Genes. 1.
was much troubled, that a prime Cardinall should oppose an Article of the Romane Creed: one while he chargeth him, that acutiùs multò quam fælicus : hee expounded the Scriptures in some places more wittily then happily: an other while he would so seeme to excuse him, that hee might be convinced by this or the like argument, To follow the Fathers in all, were to condemne our owne witls, and deprive ourselves of the meanes to finde out the truth". What arguments might prevaile with the Cardinall, I cannot tell, but sure I am, his doctrine disagreed from the Article of the Roman faith. And Doctor Payva Andradius, a principall Pillar of the Trent Councell, rebuketh Canus for his rash reprooving of Cajetan, and defendeth his Tenet with the same doctrine. Hee teacheth †, that when the Fathers seeke the literall sense of the Scriptures, they doe not alwayes find them, but givedivers senses, one unlike to another. He professeth; We may forsake their senses all, and bring a new 'unlike to theirs. He addeth further; that experience forceth us to confesse, unlesse we will be unthankefull to most excellent wits, that very many things in Moses and the Prophets, are in this our age expounded more exactly, through the diligence of learned men, then ever they were before : And thereupon he concludeth, that the Holy Ghost (the onley and faithfull Interpreter of the Scriptures) would have many things to bee knowne to us, which
* Canos. Ibid.
† Andra. def. tid. Triden. lib. 2.
our. Ancestors knewe not, and hath wrought by meanes unknowne to us, knowne to him, that the Fathers noted good and godly mysteries out of very many places of the Scriptures, whereof the right and naturall sense hath been found out by posteritie. And thus Canus against Cajetan, and Andradius against Canus, and Cajetan and Andradius both against the Trent Article, allowe the Exposition of Scripture by Scripture, and sometimes against the streme of Fathers. I proceed to the examination of more witnesses, and I call Cardinall Bellarmine to testifie the same doctrine, that neither hee, nor his associates, doe holde themselves tyed by their new Article of faith, to the Exposition of the Fathers. It is one thing (saith he *) to interpret the Law as a Doctor, another thing as a Judge: of the one is required Learning, of the other Authoritie; the opinion of the Doctors is to be followed according to reason; but the Judge's opinion is to bee followed of necessitie. Saint Austen, and the Fathers in their Expositions, supplyed the places of Doctors, which we may follow as wee see cause, the Pope and Councell supply the places of Judges, with a Commission from God, and therefore they must be observed and followed of necessitiet.
Thus we have seene three severall Judges and Expositors of the Scriptures. First the ancient
* Aliud est interpretari legem more Doctaris, aliud more Judicis, &c. Bell. de verbo Dei lib. 3. cap. 10. - + Scripta Patrum non sunt Regulæ, nec habent authoritatem obligandi. Idem ibid.
Fathers made the Scriptures the onely Judges, and true Interpreters of themselves ; next the Trent Doctors, decreed the ancient Fathers for Interpreters; and now at length, the later Schoolemen have proclaimed their Popes and Councels, for their chiefest Judges, and best Interpreters of the Scriptures: and These (say they) must bee followed of necessitie. Pardon them, Necessitie is a deadly dart; there is no necessitie by their doctrine to obey the expositions of Fathers, (which is the second Article of their Faith) but there is a necessitie to obey the Authoritie of their late Popes and Councels, in their Exposition, which is but matter of opinion ; and from hence it will follow, that either the Articles of the Roman Creed were newly created by Pope Pius the Fourth, and that creation was not in his power; or that those Doctors and Cardinals had not the oath administered unto them; or we may justly suspect they have forsworne themselves. Neither was this the opinion of these particular men onely, but the Romane Church, (notwithstanding their solemne protestation, by which they are enjoyned to interpret the Scriptures) doth in many things, by her owne confession, wave the Interpretation of the Fathers. It is the testimony of Cardinall Baronius, Although the most holy Fathers, whome for their great learning wee rightly terme the Doctors of the Church, were indeed above others with the grace of God's holy Spirit, yet the Catholique Roman Church doth not follow them * Durum telum Necessitas.