INTRODUCTION. I. THE Roman party glories much in unity and certainty of doc- trine, as things peculiar to them, and which no other men have any means to attain; yet about divers matters of notable considera- tion, in what they agree, or of what they are certain, it is hard to descry. They pretend it very needful that controversies should be decided, and that theyhave a special knack of doing it; yet many controver. sies of great weight and consequence stick on theirhands unresolved, many points rest in great doubt and debate among them. The núptut Km [leading tenets] of the Roman sect, concerning doctrine, practice, laws and customs of discipline, rites and cere- monies, are of divers sorts, or built on divers grounds; some estab- lished by (pretended) general synods; some founded on decrees of popes; some entertained as upon tradition, custom, common agree- ment; some which their eminent divines or schoolmen commonly embrace; some prevailing by the favour of the Roman court and its zealous dependants. Hence it is very difficult to know wherein their religion consists; for those grounds divers times seem to clash, and accordingly their divines (some building on these, some onothers) disagree. This being so in many points of importance, is so particularly in this. For instance, the head oftheir church, as theycall it, is, one would think, a subject about which they should thoroughly consent, and which they, by this time, should have cleared from all disputes, so that (so far as their decisive faculty goes) we might be assured wherein his authority consists, and how far it extends; seeing the resolution of that point so nearly touches the heart of religion, the faithand practiceof all Christians, the good of the church, and peace of the world; [and] seeing that no one question (perhaps not all questions together) has created so many tragical disturbances in Christendom as that concerning the bounds of papal authority.1 Agitur de summa rei ChristianaBell. Præf. de Rom. Pont. "Upon this one point the very sum and substance of Christianitydepends."