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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

they

have

a

special

knack

of

doing

it;

yet many

controver.

sies

of

great

weight and consequence stick

on

their

hands

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

on

others)

disagree.

This being

so

in

many points

of importance,

is so

particularly in

this.

For

instance,

the

head

of

their

church, as

they

call 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

faith

and practice

of 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

Christiana

Bell.

Præf.

de

Rom.

Pont.

"Upon this

one

point the very sum and substance of

Christianity

depends."