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In III. PARTS.
I. The Controverfy concerning the
By THOMAS BENNET, M. A.
The FOURTH EDITION.
Printed by M. J. and fold by JAMES
HOSE Books, which have been written in our own Language against the Corruptions of the Church of Rome, are of two forts; viz. fuch as treat of fome one or more particular Difputes, and are wholly filent concerning the rest or fuch as are of a more comprehenfive nature, and take in all the material Differences between the Reformed Churches and the Church of Rome.
Thofe of the first fort are very well ftor'd with excellent Learning: but the Treatifes being fingle, and confequently very numerous, a good Collection is fcarcely to be found; nor can they be purchas'd at fuch a price, as the generality of Readers are able or willing to bestow upon them. Befides, it is a matter of fome trouble and difficulty to difpofe a confiderable quantity of them in a good order, and digeft them into a regular body of Popish Controverfies.
As for thofe of the fecond fort, they are extremely Short. The Authors of them have faid fome general things and rather proposed their Reasons, than driven them home. Such difcourfes are fitted for the use of the meaneft Readers, who cannot examine the merits of a Cause, or enter far into it: but Men of greater Capacities are willing to go deeper, and understand the force of an Argument.
Wherefore, tho' the Nation is plentifully furnifh'd with Books against Popery, yet I have thought it advisable to publish the following Confutation of it. Because, tho' I have omitted fome anneceffary Difputes, and spoken very briefly of feveral others; yet I am perfuaded, that thefe Papers will give the Reader a full view of all the material Branches of the Popish Controversy.
'Tis true, I have not fbewn the Judgment of the Ancient Fathers concerning it: but I think I have determin'd the great question concerning the Rule of Faith with fo much plainess, that the Judg ment of the ancient Fathers is for that reason fuperfluous, and the Reader ought not to expect it from me. For 'twill be readily granted, that if the Scriptures do contain all things neceffary to Salvation, as I hope I have prov'd in the first Part; then, tho' the Ancient Fathers had really maintain'd all the Popish Tenets, yet we may and ought to reject them. Because I have shewn in the fecond Part, that all the particular Doctrines of the
Church of Rome, which are worth difputing, are either abfolutely falfe, or forbidden in Scripture, or not contain'd in it.
Befides, very few Perfons are able to judge of the Opinions of the Ancient Fathers. Nothing is more common, than for each Party to charge the other with falfe or imperfect Quotations: and 'tis impoffible for any Man to tell who represents an Author fairly, unless he be skill'd in the Original, and have opportunity of confulting it. But the method 1 bave us'd, will enable even fuch as are not acquainted with the learned Tongues, or cannot have recourfe to well-furnifb'd Libraries, throughly to understand the prefent Difputes between us and our Adverfaries. For if I have faithfully render'd fome few Authorities, which I found it necessary to al ledge (and for this I dare appeal even to the Popifh Priests themselves) then any Perfon, who has an ordinary Share of common Senfe, and an English ·Bible, is a competent Judge of these matters.
If it be objected, that these Papers are unfeafonable, because we are not now in danger of Popery; 1 defire the Objectors to confider three things
First, That tho' the danger of Popery may be vanish'd away; yet the Popish Controverfies ought not to be utterly forgotten. 'Tis true, the Church is now more vigorously attack'd from other Quarters. There are many pernicious Doctrines of a quite different nature, which appear barefaced among